Monday, February 25, 2013

Another week come and gone!

Hey Mom! And everyone else too!
Another week come and gone! I don't know how the time is passing like this. It's crazy. The week is so long! Yet here I am at the computer again talking to everyone. But, this last week was very good in itself. We had made some big plans to do visits with different members for the next weeks, to go to their part of town, since we divided all of our area in 7 secttions, and we have names and days to go, so finally we are going to complete our goal of working with members more fully! The bishop and his wife have always helped us, but now we have a lot of members asking us when we are going to pass by their house and do visits with them. This last week, if it served for nothing else, would be satisfactory, because I realized just how much confidence the ward has in Elder Galicia and me. It is good to know that we have worked hard enough and brought enough success so that they can realize our efforts and have that desire to help us even more! Last night we went to the bishop's house and he left to go to his "finca" to get some fruit. (I still don't know if he buys it or what, being Sunday and all. But I don't think that is as big of a deal down here.) But he came back with literally 6 bananas, 4 apples, and 8 oranges, but only let us eat them. I always feel bad when the members buy us things and don't even share with their kids or anything, but it's also nice to know they care for us so much. These people here are just awesome. I love this ward! But not because of the social aspect or the friends I´ve made, but because they really have the desire to help us do our job as we help them with theirs. I see a lot of future success coming up this next month, and the next ones to come.

So Mom for the stake choir we are just singing hymns from the hymnbook, not as fun as the songs I sang in choir or anything (I still have trouble not yawning during regular hymns... it's a curse). But we are singing Joseph Smith´s First Prayer, Did You Think to Pray? and a few others that we haven´t learned yet. But about the choir.. yesterday we showed up and the pianist didn't show up. So she asked us again if we knew how to play piano. So I said well I can at least play the parts for each group. And instead of helping the groups then singing, I was at the piano playing parts and (thankfully) just playing the rhythym of the hymn the whole time, and singing the alto part to help them(never thought I´d really use my falsetto voice) or the tenor part, or the bass part. The basses kept complaining that I was playing the piano instead of singing with them, but I told them they had the part just fine from what I could hear. So that was just a really interesting two hours. But I was glad I was of a little more use! Although I felt embarrassed more than any other time that I didn't really know how to play. I´m sorry Mom. But it was a good practice, and I got to play a little more, since I haven´t played since I left my last area.

This week we had to go to the offices to renew Elder Galiciás visa, so I received one package from Jenn and Scott! That was super exciting! But there weren´t any letters, for anyone in our zone. It was weird. In two weeks we´ll have a zone meeting and I´m sure something else will show up. But I´m in no rush! The package was great Jenn and Scott, thank you so much! Especially the Dr. Pepper jelly beans. I was terrified that I had forgotten how my favorite drink tasted! Even if they are just jelly beans, they are better than endlesss coke down here. coke, fanta, sprite, and the occasional pepsi. But the coke is better down here, the fanta is better in Europe, and the pepsi is awful here so I would say it's better back in the good ol USA. But yeah! And thank you for the letters! Be expecting letters in the next couple weeks.

But yeah, while we were in the offices, I got to see president of course, always a fun time! Along with talking with some elders that I know. I saw Elder Day my papá again, so we had a good talk about the last few months. Also saw Elder Taylor who left our district this transfer. Then I saw Elder Ashby of all people, my fellow Idahoan! That was super fun. so I got to talk to a lot of elders I haven´t seen for awhile. It was a good day.

I´m glad to hear that things went well with the surgeries (Jeff's cousin and a friend of ours both had major surgeries this past week)! Also that nothing worse happened with the fire. (A house on our street had a fire in their garage in the middle of the night last week--no one was hurt, thankfully.) I don't know how you are such deep sleepers, I got the opposite genes from someone! I have the hardest time sleeping deeply. every little noise wakes me up. That makes it bascially impossible to sleep here, with dogs barking outside our 1/2 inch thick windows and mosquitos and everything. It's a curse too. But oh well. I'm just glad nothing happened. Also about the jazz choir thing, I didn't know that they had judges for the pianists! I am pretty sure if I was in your spot, I would´ve reproved the guy a little bit since I am basically doing it by my will to help out the choir, but like you said, you don't have any interest in being a jazz artist! I have to admit that that was the reason I didn't want to do jazz band anymore. I'm not creative, although I like jazz a lot, but I can't improvise or anything like that, and when professionals came and made us do all these practices, I hated it haha. So yeah, that was a shame, but I'm glad you have more patience than me and maintained your composure! Way to be a good example :) That happens a lot here too though, when people say stuff about the United States or gringos or the Mormons, I always want to flip out as a first reaction because it makes me mad when people say so many things uneducatedly. But, then I tell myself that I really am no better, in fact I'm far worse in many other ways than them, and that helps me maintain the love that I have so fervently prayed for. It's always a reaction to flip out, but thankfully I think I´m overcoming that reaction, step by step. Just gotta love how much I'm improving! But I won't brag about it, because even with all the great changes I've made in this time, I still have such a long way to go.

Wow that is one crazy situation with Shannon! That would be a cool mission, but I guess getting married is a pretty cool mission too haha. Both have their perks, and both require going to the temple so I guess either way she wins, right? That is pretty crazy how things worked out though. It sounds like lots of girls are wanting to go on a mission, but there´s also lots more people proposing to them too :P

I have to reflect Nathan´s statement about Paul. He really is awesome! Now that we just finished our Book of Mormon challenge this last Saturday, I am going to start reading the New Testament again, beacuse it really does interest me, I just never had the right state of mind to read it and learn things back in high school. Sorry Bro. Sell, I know you are disappointed :/ I read a lot in seminary! Just not in the right state of mind. But I want to read all about the apostles and learn more of the favorite scriptures and everything, because everytime anyone asks us about the Bible or such and such a scripture, I hardly remember where it's at, but Elder Galicia thankfully knows a lot. So I have plans to improve that! But I have to say the same thing for Peter too, he is pretty awesome as well. I still can't believe Nathan and Kate are learning so much more than me. I obviously didn't follow the right example!

So this last week I finally got to play soccer again! But in the street, in missionary clothes, and with Elder Schirner, our zone leader. He plays futbol better than me, and when we saw a family playing soccer he said we should go play with them. I said no because all my companions I've had have told me that we only play sports on Monday. But Elder Schirner showed me that well, yes that's a rule, but also there is a spiritual side to the law, and the law itself. We went to play, because there was a FAMILY. We played, had a lot of fun, made a mess of our clothes, but that opened up an non-awkward-situation environment to talk to them, get to know them, and teach. Which is what we did. I LOVED IT. Plus it showed me that you really can apply anything to the gospel if you try hard enough! And you never know the people before you talk, turns out they have talked with missionaries before, and that's always a good sign! Less explaining for us to do, and more opportunity to be invited in! So that was a really good learning experience. Even though the interview for one of our investigators didn't happen (that was the reason the zone leaders came to our area-to interview someone: things just got complicated with the interview and in the end with this investigator, particularly his son) the day still ended in a really good way! I realized that you have to use your talents that you have to the maximum, because they are the talents that God has given you to reach out to the people around you. Maybe Elder Schirner struggles with his Spanish a little, but he plays futbol REALLY well, and the people realize that, and it catches their interest, and opens up opportunities to talk. So I will be watching for more chances in the future!
One thing I like about divisions, you always learn something from the other companion if you are willing to humble yourself and look deeply. Every person that enters our life has a purpose being there, we just have to drop our pride sometimes and say to ourselves "alright, I'm going to forget myself and try and learn what is there for me to learn from this person." If we all went through life doing that, well I can't even imagine how much better we would be as members, and citizens of our community, or even a nation or world as a whole! Doesn't matter if the person is good, bad, different, we can learn something from them! I have been trying to do this even more recently, because I know I have a lot to learn and to change still. So yeah, that's a nice attitude to have! I hope we all can try a little harder to do that, every day, in whatever circumstance. It's a win win situation, there´s no way we´re going to lose if we find that little pearl of great price that will help us be better! So why not try?

Well I'm glad to know all went relatively well this last week! I can say the same here. It's been a calm yet fast paced week. And yet it goes by slow sometimes. Time, you will always baffle me. It hurts my brain thinking about the theory of relativity haha, but at the same time, some parts of it make a lot of sense. Anyway, that is bascially all the main stuff that happened this week! It ended with a really good Sunday, and now a really good Monday to start off another week! Another week to learn, grow, love, smile, laugh, care, and share! Let's all try our best to do each of those things! I know this Church is true, and I know it all has to do with FEELING. I wouldn't be a member if I didn't have that feeling of belonging, of being closer personally with my Father in Heaven and with Christ. I know it's true, and that the blessings that are found in the church, by the right authority, are superior to all things of the world. Again, I wouldn't be here if I hadn't given my efforts, done my part to find out. That's all it takes, just your best efforts and God is obligated to bless us, whether with knowledge, an answer, or something we asked for, or didn't ask for, the fact is He is obligated! So lets take advantage of that as well! Whatever you are searching for in your life, the best person to ask for help is none other than God Himself, and His servants that He has chosen.

I love you Mom, and the rest of you too! Thank you for your examples for me and your prayers and thoughts. Keep on being awesome!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hola todos!

Hola todos!

Speaking of being the only gringo in the district, I think I'm also one of two gringos in the zone haha. Just realized that yesterday. So things are pretty interesting! But, things are going good. This last week was... well exactly how Dad described it (sorry Dad, didn't break the trend very well). We went from lots of success the week before to a wake up call from Satan basically. Things just didn't seem to happen how they should have. Things kept coming up with investigators and we hardly taught any of our progressing investigators. But, no matter! We still worked hard and suffered in the heat and have made plans for these next weeks to work more organized in certain sectors of our area, and also with the members! So, with all that work, we were rewarded today and yesterday with a relief from the heat! And all this week is supposed to be in the 20´s, it's so GREAT!!! I actually was cold this morning when I woke up. It was a miracle haha :) But, despite all the hard stuff that came up, we ended well. And yesterday I called the Alaniz family to get the number for Aida, and I talked to them for a while (by the way Mom and Dad, they say THANK YOU very very much for the Christmas card, they loved it). And it was funny because Hermana Alaniz asked to talk to me and she kept avoiding saying goodbye. Something always came to her mind to say, so eventually I had to say goodbye and hang up haha. But it made me feel loved so I won't complain. :) Then I talked to Aida, and we had a good talk, and she sounded excited to talk to me. I guess she doesn't even remember my last name (let's be honest, hardly anyone does down here haha, it's too hard to say). So she calls me Elder Gringito (little gringo bascially) but that was a nice talk too. Everything turned out good and she sounded very happy! So that was a good way to end such a crazy week.
So Monday we did have our asado with the Gutierrez family! And it was really good. I ate so much... but mostly meat, so that of course sent me back to all the days of being full after eating at Tucano´s haha, but it was homemade and that is always better (although I miss the pineapple...). And I guess Jorge the son´s birthday is coming up not this week but next week and they already invited us over for another asado. So that's three for sure! But yes, this one was better than the first, it was a real asado not just a quick lunch thing. I have pictures but not very good ones, Elder Galica has all the good ones. I'll ask for them and send them later.
Well Nathan and Kate sound super busy, as usual! How do they do all of it? They definintely got the multi tasking genes, since I had a hard enough time with choir, soccer, hanging out with friends, and reading hahaha. That is a pretty nerdy descrpition of myself, but I can't deny it. Oh well. But they are doing everything!! Nathan, I'm sorry you keep getting injured. Just remember, I've already been there. I don't know why, but it happened every year for me, something big. Hopefully you don't get the same bad luck!
As for the stake dance, I agree with Dad´s statement about the crutches. And I laugh at Nathan´s response, it seems like he has adopted a little bit of Yeager-attitude. Oh well, maybe it will serve him well haha. (Nathan rolled his ankle pretty badly Friday night in a basketball game and was on crutches this weekend. Jeff accused him of using his crutches to get sympathetic dance partners at the stake dance. Nathan responded with "As if I needed crutches to get dance partners!")
As for Kate, that's pretty cool that she sang a duet! And with the time difference, we were probably singing within hours of each other! I don't remember if i said anything last week but we are singing in the stake choir for stake conference in March, because the director sister asked us missionaries to join because she is always missing men. And yesterday, we had this one older hermano who was taking charge of the basses and he sings good, and has a really low voice, and I had so many urges to correct different parts of the song that we were singing wrong (thanks choir, after 5 years I still have those instincts haha, glad I haven't lost it all, although my voice is suffering from singing so much with a gap of almost 2 years). But at one point I corrected one part with the piano(no one knows how to play really, the hermana that plays our parts learned just so she could play our parts for us. They asked us when we got there if we knew how to play...... Mom, I'm sorry I quit learning piano. I said no, but I think with my few months in Justo Daract playing the keyboard, I could maybe help a little more.) So yeah, after that, the hermano that had taken charge made me stand in the middle because I learned the part really fast(again, thanks choir) and had everyone listen to me, and made me sing solo a few times. So that was... exciting? embarrassing? Not sure. But, I felt good that my past had helped me quite a bit. So yeah, that was our Sunday! A few hours of singing, and at the end this hermano was announcing to everyone that I was a really good singer and that all the parts should put the best singer in the middle and listen to them. THAT part was embarrassing. I may have been in jazz choir and men's choir and everything, but I never considered myself to be that good of a singer. Just good enough to keep the tone haha, so that was a nice surprise I guess. It's just hard to ignore my "ooh wrong note" instinct. Oh well, it's all worth it. Elder Schirner, our zone leader, doesn't like to sing, so it's entertaining being in choir with him because he just likes to talk. He told me a bunch of things that happened to them last week because he didn't want to sing, hahaha poor guy. He cracks me up.
Kate is going to play soccer??? WHOO HOOO!!!! That makes me happy. It's the sport of the world, haha. Kate, it doesn't matter if you feel like you aren't a good player, I felt that way always. It's why I didn't play the first year of competitive with Jalen and Blake and Ryan and Ben and everyone. But I regretted it A LOT. Just enjoy it! Plus, if Kent is being so flexible, take advantage too! You can do what you like best, but give soccer your best effort! I know you´ll like it, it's in our blood :)
Haha it made me laugh knowing the two boyfriends of Morgan and Kenzie came to Grandma´s house. What an experience! It's a different world there :D But, you have to get used to it if you want to be included in this awesome family in any way! Dad said Kelly and her mom came over too! I imagine she was a little more used to it than they were. It just made me laugh imagining how they felt (the Jakes, I mean--our cousins Kenzie and Morgan are both dating guys named Jake). What a crazy house and family... But hey, there´s a first time for everything, right?
No I haven't gotten any mail or packages for the last two weeks or so, just becuase the zone leaders haven't gone to any meetings, with transfers and everything happening. But this next week or after we should get some mail. I'm still looking forward to it! And yeah, I wanted to ask, what on earth is Jalen wearing, not to mention his companion? Don't tell me he blew 500 euros on a suit or something? Haha that would be a little over the top. But thank you for the pictures! Chris looks as happy as ever haha. If you send me pictures of them, are you sending them pictures of me?? Which ones are you sending?
Anyway, that's really all for this week too. We had a rough week, but there were still little miracles that happened. Like I said, it all depends on the perspective. We have set up plans to visit all the really active members and try and do divisions with them or visit their neighbors or friends with them. We receive so many references from them, so yes there is definitely some potential in the future of this transfer! We had a high point the week before, and I don't intend on letting that be the peak, I'll at least match it if I can't pass it. We both have that goal, so we´ll be working together of course to achieve it!
There was just one thing I wanted to share from the reading assignment this morning. We read Mormon chapters 8 and 9 and Ether chapter 1. But I want to share some verses from chapter 9, the last one in Mormon.
"15 And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.
16 Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God?
17 Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought?
18 And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles.
19 And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust."
Basically, these verses stood out to me alot because they reminded me of what Alma teaches to Korihor, the antichrist, in Alma chapter 30. But also as I was saying last week about miracles, this stood out to me even more, after having experienced so many of these spoken miracles personally. I wish I had the power to speak like these old prophets. I have no doubt their words were so powerful and full of the spirit, and it would be so hard to ignore them when they spoke! Yet, as it says in verse 20 that acording to the people and their dwindling in unbelief, it's possible to not believe. But the great thing is that THAT part is left up to us, to believe or not. God can make us believe, but he isn't going to do that. He expects us to give it our best effort and then He is allowed to reveal the truth to us. Like with the Book of Mormon, we can´t know if it's true or if it's false if we haven´t read it ourselves, asked God, and received an answer. There may be lots of people out there who say it's false, but the majority of the time they haven´t even tried to read it. It's from God, or it's not. and who can tell you which one it is? Only God. And He isn´t going to lie, He can´t. Like it says in verse 19 He does not change! I remember a verse from Moses chapter 1 verse 4 that says " 4 And, behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease." He cannot change or lie. So, if all these miracles happened in the past, how is it possible to say that these miracles have ceased, that God doesn't talk to man anymore like he did to Moses and Adam and Noah and all of His ancient prophets? If He Himself has declared in the scriptures that He is an unchanging God, then He means it, and He hasn´t changed. These miracles still happen today, but only by those who have the authority of God, who have faith sufficient to perform or witness them, and only in the name of Christ. The world we have is the most obvious witness that God is a God of miracles, who with mere words created this earth, everything on it, including us. Like it says in Alma 30:44, everything points to God, because He is the Creator of all things. So, if all of these things are still happening today, well why don't we see them as often? Again, it depends on our righteousness, our efforts to follow Him, our faith in Christ, the Son of the Living God, and our perspective. Obviously the world isn't in the best condition today, but that doesn't mean that God isn't working miracles. We are just so distracted by all the bad that we overlook the small, powerful details and miracles. The Book of Mormon is one, as the Bible says, "by their fruits ye shall know them" referring to the prophets. If Joseph Smith was a prophet, this is his fruit, and those who want to know if it's true, just have to try it out. Start reading, pray, ask God, and you´ll find out for yourself. I wouldn´t be here if that didn´t work, so you have my witness that it does. If anything, let that be enough to give you the will to at least try! It really is a miracle that we have the authority of God, prophets and apostles, and faithful followers and disciples of Christ still in this day, with all the distractions and sins that surround us. Let's just try and keep our eyes focused on the good, the wholesome, the happy, the miracles worked by the servants of God. That will help us have a happier life, don´t you think?

Anyway, just keep on pushing through with whatever you are facing in life right now! There is always the good after the bad, but also there is always bad amidst the good, we just have to make sure we make the most of the good, and learn from the bad! It's hard, but it's how we grow. Just keep focusing on the miracles in the world, and not the maldades (sorry, that's in Spanish because I wanted another m word. It just means evils) I love you all! February is almost over, what happened? Can´t wait to see what the next weeks and months bring for us all!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, February 11, 2013

Buen día todos!

Zone Meeting
Graciela's baptism
With Elder Galicia and Alexis
Getting ready to help the Gutierrez family fumigate corn
Elder Galicia and Alexis
Ready to go!
Hard at work
A little less hard at work...
Three Amigos

A good day's work
Juan Pablo's baptism

Buen día todos! Espero que todo vaya bien para cada uno de ustedes!!!! Porque todo está bien conmigo esta semana. Estoy contento. Alright, so, this email might be less fun stuff, but the thing is, that the spiritual stuff that I want to share is also fun! So yeah, just enjoy it like I did this last week. It has been a week of MIRACLES. Yes, those still exist, and I witnessed so many with my own eyes. It's all a matter of perspective, you know. So, try and have the right perspective! :)

So! Where on earth to start??? I already sent the pictures, and wow those were some super fun pictures! I have more, but those will have to wait for another 15 months, no more. ;) But, as the pictures show, Saturday was a day that will NEVER be forgotten, for me! I´ll start with Saturday morning, because really all the crazy stuff happened Saturday.
So, we woke up at 4 in the morning (I was SOOOO TIRED) and went to go set up the baptismal font, since with my luck I have always had a tarp font and it requires a lot more work to fill compared to the self-timer one we had in New Mexico (but the irony is that I never used that one....) So we get to the church, wearing normal clothes because it's 4 in the morning, and Bishop had locked the room with the font!!! And we didn't have the keys. so we actually broke the door kinda (I take responsibility, it was an accident really. And all for a good cause, right??) and started setting it up. So we set it all up, and left it filling with two hoses so that by 9:30 or 10 when the service was going to start it would be filled. But, being 4 in the morning, we were tired, and a little slow to observe (shoot, we should've been more like Mormon, who was quick to observe. Sorry Book of Mormon, I failed in applying your wonderful precepts D: ) and we left the hole unplugged in the bottom!! So we go back to the church at 8:45, an hour before the service was going to start, and it was filled maybe 1/8 of the way, because all the water just left through the plug hole. Now THAT was a heart attack. We wanted everything to be perfect for Graciela, since we finally got her to accept this day. So we plugged it and left it filling and ran back to the pension hoping that things would work. And you know what the first thing I did was? I went to the side of my bed and PRAYED. SO HARD. Because I felt awful that things weren't going to be as perfect as we wanted for her and her baptism. So I just prayed and prayed. But obviously God is happy when someone decides to follow Him, because when we went back an hour later, it was almost to the point of overflowing. You have NO IDEA how big my smile was, just realizing that without a doubt or other explanation, my prayer had been answered. There is no other way to explain it. So, we proceeded with the service, and it all turned out just perfect (except for her best friend Hermana Padilla, who gave her as a reference to the missinoaries in the first place; she is stuck in Chile right now, with all of her kids at home here, without her to help with anything. crazy situation....) so that turned out super good! Then we ate with Obispo and that was a super good lunch. But we found out that Juan Pablo, the son of Hermana Gutierrez who cooks us dinner every Tuesday and Thursday, received a call to work from 6 in the morning until 10 at night! So we thought his baptism wasn't going to happen. But first of all, this is the miracle with him:
So Tuesday we did intercambios again, but with the Assistants! It was so crazy. I went to Godoy Cruz Central Mendoza with Elder Tilleman, my first Zone Leader when I arrived here in Argentina, and that was a really cool day. But his companion, Elder Drennan, got to enjoy Elder Galicia´s birthday with the dinner with the Gutierrez family, who did an asado (why do I always miss it?? :( ) and cake as well. So all that went good I guess, but the best part was that Elder Drennan asked to have a special interview with Juan Pable to "get to know him" since that was supposedly the reason he was on exchanges with Elder Galicia. So they told the parents and family that, and they said sure. But in the interview, Elder Drennan asked him if he wanted to be baptized this weekend, as a surpirse for his mom, and he said yes he did. So instead Elder Drennan did the baptismal interview, and kept it a secret from the Hermana and his family. So when they told me about that Wednesday morning, I was seriously jumping up and down and punching the air! We have tried this whole transfer to get him to be baptized. So, that was the secret we had to keep this whole week. We had Bishop invite the hermana to have an interview Saturday night at about 8 as a reason for her to get to the church, but then that's when we found out that Juan Pablo had to work and also help his dad fumigate. So that is the reason we went to help his dad fumigate, to finish faster and be able to still have the baptism. And that turned into a few great hours of service and fun, as is seen in the pictures I sent. So then we had a little snack dinner with them when Juan Pablo got home, then at about 9:30 it stopped storming and raining (the storm was another miracle. We had been praying all day for Juan Pablo and his baptism, and in the middle of fumigating, it started storming really hard, and we had to stop. But then we had to wait in their house for a little bit) so at 9:30 we finally got to the chapel, and she didn't know why Juan Pablo had come. But she went in to have an "interview" and while she was in there being detained, me and Juan Pablo changed into our white clothes. And we started singing, the 6 of us there besides the hermana and the bishop in his office, and when she walked out, she just paused, didn't realize why Juan Pablo had changed clothes, why he was wearing so much white... and then she just started to cry. It was the BEST surprise I have ever experienced or been a part of in my life. Because it was a surprise that has to do with, well, everything, eternal life, taking a step closer to Heavenly Father, and following Christ. So that really makes it the best so far. So we had a baptismal service for Juan Pablo as well, at 10:00 at night, with the rain, and it was just surreal. I don't know if my faith was the reason for these little miracles (and others that happened that day) but I know that whether it was or not, my faith has increased, and I will never forget that day, 9 of February, 2013.
So yeah, that was Saturday! It was so crazy. But such a good day! Two baptisms, one just perfect and how she wanted it, and the other a successful surprise. And then they both were confirmed yesterday, and it was another spiritual day.

Alright, so that was basically all the crazy good stuff that happened last week, so now about these next six weeks, because yeah transfers were today! And, I am staying! And so is Elder Galicia! Only Hermana Dana and Elder Taylor are leaving our district of 6! And two more Latins are coming, so I will now be the only gringo in my district. What's up with that? Haha but I LOVE IT. I am so excited that we're staying together. We work very well together. Like you said, Dad, a Latin and a gringo really is the best pair for this work. Best of both worlds. Hermana Dana finished her mission, so she is going back to Buenos Aires. She is from Buenos Aires, and her story really is inspiring. She is 33, already married and sealed, but one year after being sealed, her husband died in a car accident. And she decided to serve a mission, and she has trained half the hermanas here, she is a really good missionary and member too. So yeah, she goes home tomorrow! Her parents drove here from Buenos Aires and actually showed up in her Sacrament Meeting yesterday, she told us she just about fainted. And Elder Taylor is going to San Juan (poor guy... sooo hot) to be District Leader! I'll miss him too, he is a great elder. But I am super excited for this transfer! I just want to work more with the people we found this last transfer. We have so many people that are progressing, and they are right there on the border. So we have some work this transfer!
So that's about all with transfers. I don't know about anyone else from my district or any other companions, but this week I'm going to be calling A___ to talk to her before and after her baptism (since I told you I was going to ask President about going back for it, but I knew I wouldn't be able to, he said I could call before and after) so I'm going to do that. She and the mom of Yoni are being baptized this Saturday. It's going to be great for Justo Daract!
Anyway, yeah. that was a crazy week we had. Now things are going to calm down a little. Tonight we have another asado (famous Argentina BBQ) with the Gutierrez family (en serio, I LOVE this family!!!! They do so much for us!) It's the hermana's birthday today, so we are going to have an asado with them. And today we bought her a picture frame, with two places for pictures, and we are going to put a picture of us two, and then of their family in the other. So hopefully she likes that! But yeah, so I'm excited to have my second asado, FINALLY!!! I'll make sure to take pictures. :) Mom I hope you liked all the pictures today, I knew you would like more pictures of me, and I found out that it's better if I give the camara to others so I don't have control, that's the best way to get pictures of me. Haha so yeah, I'll make sure to continue improving :)
Okay I just have to say something about Kate. She is basically the most spiritual person in our family I think. I can't believe how much she already knows and understands, I think she would be a better missionary than me right now!!! Obviously all the spiritual genes got concentrated in her. Lucky her, haha just kidding. But seriously, I love that girl too. She is the best sister ever! And yes I can say favorite, because I only have one :) Way to go Kate, I'm proud of you. You have more experience than me concerning the spiritual things, and you still have time for all the rest! Keep it up, and thank you for your example! Seriously, I was just awestruck reading that paragraph. (I just told Tyson about an experience Kate had with prayers being answered.)
So yeah, sounds like things are all going pretty good for the major part back home! I can't believe Kate turns 14 this year. I show the picture of our family to everyone and they all think she has 16 years or 17, and I think I started believing that too. I always tell them she´s taller than me, and so is Nathan. That just makes them laugh because they don't believe me. But it's true (Nathan anyway). But yeah, people love my pcitures down here! Anyway, we need to get going, so I am going to end this here. But hopefully you all enjoy this week more than any other! And if your week last week wasn't as good as mine was, then make sure this one is :) It's all up to you, your attitude, your perspective, and your efforts!!! I love each and every one of you. Miracles do happen! The challenge is to look for one this week. Make sure your perspective is right ;) that's the difficult part!
Good luck with all your endeavors you have this week!
Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, February 4, 2013

Hola todos de Maipú!

Maipu District
Hermana Alaniz and Hermana Dana (who drew the picture)
Pretty good for a chalkboard drawing!
Tyson, exhausted after a day as a bike missionary!
Tyson, a little worse for wear, and Elder Taylor--his
"bike companion" for a day

Hola todos de Maipú!
So, yes this last week I received the joke book. It was quite the laugh, I must say. I translated many of them into Castellano, and explained what Maipú says in English to Elder Galicia, and we both had a good laugh. So let Abby know that it arrived safe and sound haha :) The good thing about being so close to Mendoza is that I get mail every single week. Haha it's great. And all the elders and hermanas now know here that I get a lot of mail. And the cycle continues. I got at least 6 letters every week we got mail this transfer so far, and the most that anyone else has got at once was 3. So, thank you so much Sister Eagley, my parents, and everyone else who writes me! I am very spoiled.
So yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday huh? No I have to admit that I'm really glad I didn't know that. Haha and that's pretty cool the Ravens won! I don't have any team, so I'm glad for anyone who wins. But I know Ken, Kelly´s dad, will be upset. Sorry about the loss :/ haha. Wow it sounds like it was a very quiet Sunday dinner with you few people! I guess you still have more people than we do on Sundays. It's just me and Elder Galicia. Haha but it's okay, we have a good time, that's for sure.
So, about this last week, it was a GREAT week. We walked so much, taught so much, and although we didn't have any baptisms, we did enough with some people that this weekend, we for sure have one, and guess who it is??? G___!!!! We are so excited!!!! She had an interview with bishop yesterday too so it's for sure for sure. She has a lot of potential in the Church, and bishop realizes that so he is super excited for her as well. And about that, it was pretty funny how things worked out! We taught her on Thursday and set a sure date for this coming Saturday, and she was still hesitant, but with questions she eventually told us what the doubt was, and she just didn't want to have to repeat the interview for the 3rd time with some other elder that hasn't been there teaching her or anything. And by chance, we had interviews with President Ávila Friday, which turned out really good!! (I'll talk about that in a little bit.) And I mentioned this situation to President, and he gave us permission to do the interview ourselves, and so we were super excited to tell her the news Saturday. So we went, and she told us first thing that she felt bad for saying that about the interview and that she was willing to do it again, she just wants to be baptized! So we were kinda deflated, and told her the special permission we got, and she said sorry again, and it was all just a big fun adventure haha but it is for sure this Saturday. We are all super excited :)
Anyway, so about interviews! Of course, mine wasn't super long, because I'm still relatively new, but it was really good, I could talk freely about whatever thing without problems. and he complimented my Castellano, said it was perfect, and I just laughed because there are so many things I still don't know how to say. But we talked about lots of things, and then got the special permission for the interview situation, and then we headed back to our area. It was a good day! Hermana Alaniz went home afte rthe interview, so I said goodbye and gave her some letters I had written for her family, the Giordano family, and A___, who is going to be baptized on the 17th , but along with G___, the mom of Yoni who already was baptized, because she finally got divorced and will be married this next week, and they are getting baptized together! It's so cool! I'm super excited for Justo Daract, Elder Rogers and Elder Cisneros are working super hard, and the success is coming. What touched me most was that Hermana Alananiz (the mom) and A___ both asked me to ask President if I could come back and perform the baptism. I don't think he will allow it, but I asked just to satisfy my thoughts and their wants. I am honestly just excited that she is going to take this step, it doesn't matter to me who does it for her! But I was very touched that they asked me to do that. I will miss having updates from Justo Daract every week in district meeting, but oh well, life goes on, no? We just have to keep looking forward to the future.
So this last week we ended with such good numbers! I know the numbers don't mean anything about success, but we taught 18 lessons,(I know, nothing compared to the FORTY, yeah that's right--a 4 and a 0, lessons that Elder Olaso in Arizona has planned with his companion. His emails are awesome, inspiring), have 11 people with fechas, and a couple new people that don't have fechas still, and we have been contacting references like crazy! The numbers don't determine success, but they certainly make me feel like I worked super hard this week! It was such a long week but filled with good times, great lessons, hard moments, and smiles. Lots of smiles and laughs, with Elder Galicia but also with members, investigators, and random people even. I feel comfortable with this life. And I plan on enjoying all of it!
I got a letter from the Halls, and there was a page included in there with Kyle, Zane and Ste´fan writing me a message. I couldn't read Ste´fan's name, but it was written in Spanish, so I was thinking so hard about who it could be who knew Spanish! Then I remembered. So that was really cool! It was weird too because in my dream last night I tried to speak Spanish with Ste´fan and I couldn't speak at all. More like a nightmare haha but oh well. Your letters really do make a difference in my attitude! They are invading my dreams even haha.
Well we had intercambios this last Wednesday, and I was in Colonia Bombal, with Elder Taylor from California . Their area is one of the three areas with bikes, so I was SUPER excited!!!!!!...... That lasted about 10 minutes . Hahahahaha it was HORRIBLE! I hated the bikes!!! But, I can say I have been a bike missionary. I have a few pictures of how I felt after the day, and one with Elder Taylor that I will send. But it was such a good day! Plenty of riding with a backpack, sweating, burning a little, getting dirt everywhere, and riding SO MUCH. But I met some amazing people, and I feel like I helped at least a little with a few of their investigators. We rode about 3 miles on a dirt and rock road, with the wind, and we didn't find who we expected, so we had a few people that we visited, but then at 8:30 we were rushing to get home in time, but it was impossible, because there came a HUGE storm, with lightning, wind, rain, and hail. But the thing is here, during the storms, all the vineyards shoot off bombs (yes, real bombs) to explode in the clouds and break up the hail, because the hail destroys all the grapes and everything. So it sounds like constant, short thunder, but it's actually bombs haha. Weird huh? Something new in every place, no? And we had to ride all the way back to the pension, about 5 miles, against 20 mph winds, and my legs couldn't support me standing, so I had to sit on the ever so uncomfortable seat and take every jolt that the bike and the road had for me. So I was plenty sore, let me say. Elder Taylor was full of energy because he has long since been used to it, but it was my first day, and I couldn't go faster than a snail. We got home about 9:45. I felt horrible, but oh well. It was agood day haha just full of exhausting biking! I don't know how they do it. I stood up to put the bike away, and I collapsed haha. Oh yeah, what good fun :)
Anyway, so I got back and Elder Galicia told me about all the miracles they had in our area!!! They found the kids of a family we have been teaching, and the two daughters are more excited about the Book of Mormon and learning more about us than the mom who we have been teaching has been, so that was a miracle (it's weird, they already knew who Joseph Smith was, we taught that and they just accepted it right off the bat, because they told us their church teaches using the Book of Mormon. ?????) But that was really cool. They also found an investigator that has been missing in action since December 10th-ish, so that was way cool! And we found a few really good new people. So that was a blessing to work with the other elder and achieve even more success! Elder Taylor is a stud, he is awesome. So yeah, I'll send those pictures :)
Anyway, that was very cool to see the Lord work through different elders to achieve even more success in the other area. So this last week the leaders of the zone called Elder Galicia and told him a bunch of great news of changes in the mission, starting tomorrow, so I am anxious for our meeting tomorrow!!! There are some changes being made, and especially with this week being the last before transfers, things are going to be super interesting this week. He hasn't told me anything because he can't, but be sure that I'll let you know when Monday comes again! Also, something SUPER exciting, is that we might be moving to a new apartment, because Hermana Avila came to our pension to do a cleaning check, but the whole time she was just complaing about how terrible a pension it was, and how sorry she was that we had to live here, with the kitchen and the bathroom that isn't worthy to be called a bathroom, so we went to check out some brand new (I mean BRAND NEW; they are still building half of them. But they would be so PERFECT: just a little expensive) apartments to get a feel for them. And Elder Galicia told President about that visit. and he said that it is almost 100 percent likely that despite the cost it gets approved because the missionaries shouldn't have to live in such a bad place. I don't have complaints really, it's fit enough to live where we are, but I would miss the view of the mountains since we have an almost unimpeded view from our windows right now. But yes mom, I love the Andes. They are majestic and beautiful, I'll be crying on the way home (in a long time :D) if just for the Andes haha. I would LOVE to move too, change always helps you keep going, like dad said about Jalen maybe leaving this transfer from his first area. Change really is something GREAT to make you refocus your perspective and learn what you really want to achieve. Trust me, leaving on a mission has definitely helped me do that! So yeah, I will keep you updated on that too. Transfers we will know next Monday for sure, so you can all wonder and ponder this week, like I will be doing, and Monday we will find out together! :D
So this weeek, with how busy we have been, and getting home late almost every day, I haven't been able to listen to any talks, even though I have about 40 now and I really want to listen to them. So I don't have any good thoughts from that, sorry! But this week we´ll see how busy I am during the night. Hopefully I can listen to a few. But, we have been finishing Alma with our Book of Mormon challenge as a mission, and I LOVE reading it so quick, in succession, because now I have filled in a lot of gaps that I had before, because I always read with long intervals in between. And I don't know why, but I understand even more in Spanish. President Avila told us gringos that we could read in our language if we thought we would get more out of it, but I LOVE reading the Book of Mormon, or rather the Libro de Mormón. I don't care if it has really old Spanish, I understand basically all of it, and it seems even more personal than any other time I have read it. It's amazing. But one thing that I would like to share is something that President Avila shared with Elder Galicia and he shared it with me. It's the fact that, especially for the missionaries, but also for all the rest who read the Book of Mormon, it teaches many principles and doctrines, but it teaches PEOPLE, not LESSONS, as it says in Preach My Gospel. We are to use the Spirit to determine what we teach and teach according to their needs, we don't just teach and ignore the things they say. Their needs are what lead us to teach the part that is going to capture their attention and is going to be their anchor when they take the leaps of faith to complete with the commitments. And it all just clicked in my head: this book, the Book of Mormon, is just plain magic and marvelous! It's a book, but it teaches US, according to OUR needs, not just teaching the same thing every time we read it. Anyone who has read it more than once has realized that different things stick out, or things that stuck out and helped us the day before don't mean the same thing this time. And it's like that! This book, although only an inanimate book (although I would say plenty living and thriving with the Spirit) gives us the things that we need to hear or read or understand IN THE MOMENT. That is why we preach and testify that it is so powerful, because it doesn't just teach about Nephi and Lehi, and the wickedness of Laman and Lemuel, and then Jacob, and Enos, and Mosíah, and King Benjamin, and Abinadi, and Ammon, and so on and so forth. Rather, it teaches the importance of family to someone who has enough desire to read to the first page of first Nephi; it teaches the importance of not judging those who may have a problem with their lot in life that "God has given them for their misery"; it teaches the ten commandments in a different setting that some may find easier to relate to; it teaches the power of prayer to the one who is struggling with guilt, or remorse for mistakes in the past, and the importance of praying with faith (it's no coincidence that a situation shows up in this book, when it has happened like that through all time, whether with Moses, Enos, or Joseph Smith); it teaches the importance of humility and love and charity for everyone to someone who may be passing through a prideful moment, thinking that they have everything and are on top of the world, and have forgotten the One who has given them everything; or, for one who may be unfamiliar with the gathering of Israel, it gives an intriguing story of an olive garden, grafting in branches, burning dead branches, all in a setting that teaches yet entertains and intrigues the mind to amazement, all at the same time. Truly this book can onlycome from the God of all that is good and truth and light! Only something from God could possibly allow the Spirit to discern the needs of those who turn to its pages, and show exactly what they need to know IN THE MOMENT. What better help is there in this world? We could wait till the next day to ask a friend in a time of crisis, or to ask a teacher, or a parent. Or, even better, we could turn to these inspired pages, read about our question, and ask God, our Heavenly Father, right there, IN THE MOMENT. It amazes me that so many people, including myself, have ever let a single night go without consulting with God, without invoking His holy name in prayer to ask for understanding, strength to overcome a difficult situation, comfort in the midst of sadness or hardship, or just plain conversation with a Father who loves us more than anyone in this world, and would give us EVERYTHING if we just did what He asked. I am grateful for this new perspective I have developed of this great work of literature, this book of God, the Book of Mormon. If any of you haven't read it, I beg you to just give it a try, but to do it with an open heart and open mind, with the intention of praying afterwards, because if it is from God, there is not ONE SINGLE DOUBT in my mind or any of yours that He, the Supreme Being of this world, wouldn't tell you directly that it isn't from Him if that were the case. His spirit accompanies any and everything that comes from Him, so if you ask about this, the spirit is obligated to respond. Please just try it, I promise you it can change your life. And i give that promise with all my heart, because it has changed mine.
So, I am super excited for this week as well! We have one sure baptism, with two possibles alongside of that one! So we are going to be working just as hard to keep this going. Because seriously, when you are teaching, testifying, and working hard, not hing in the world can get you down. I have been so happy this week, and the things that don't matter haven't had part in my mind or schedule. I'm completely focused, and I wouldn't want it any other way. I'm "in the pursuit of happiness" as Kid Cudi says (yes I know, sorry, that's not mission appropriate, but it's playing in the cyber right now, and the lyrics fit perfectly with this last week). I seriously feel like everything is shining and nothing can get me down. I would recommend that kind of attitude for everyone ;) do what you can to achieve that, it's worth whatever sacrifice that may be required.
Alright, enough about me! So, thanks for the updates on the mission calls. That is so CRAZY!!!!! Three people going to Korea!!!! How on earth did that happen? (Rhetorical question, I don't doubt the apostles' divine inspiration or anything.) Christina, you are going to be a great missionary, although I'm not sure you will fit in with all the Koreans much, you are pretty tall! :) But oh well! Just enjoy your last four months (from my experience, since yes I went through that). Just enjoy everything, but prepare yourself the most you can with Preach My Gospel, especially lesson 3! The more you know before, the easier it will be to adjust to another language and teach simply. Good luck! And congrats! The same goes for Matt and Levan too of course. Matt, you will do good no matter what. You said you were a crappy teacher, but trust me, for the first semeseter when I could actually listen to you teach, you had a special spirit and very strong testimony and it's going to bless the lives of the Korean people. And Levan, just keep it up haha. Thanks for your emails, they are very entertaining and inspiring. I'm glad he has a postive attitude all the time. That is my goal!! And Alyssa Goodrich is coming to good ol amazing Argentina? Sweet, I would recommend Argentina for anyone :) I LOVE it down here. I really do.
Well, that is about all the great stuff that has happened this last week, and be ready for more next week! I love each of you, and hope this week and this second month of this year is AMAZING! Just remember, be a controller of circumstances, not controlled by them, whatever your varying circumstances may be for each of you! You will find a lot of help and strength from the Savior as you turn to Him for guidance. Thank you all for all you have given me, your thoughts, prayers, support, and letters every once in a while! Keep on keeping on. This gospel is the greatest blessing I have had in my life, and yet I feel that I didn't start taking advantage of all of the posibilities until 8 months ago. Younger Generation, or others who are my age or even older, DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU. Take advantage of EVERYTHING, as soon as you can! Your life will be more full of laughs, love, smiles, memories, and joy, and you won't ever regret your decision, trust me. Until next week, hasta luego, que Dios les bendiga!
Elder Tyson Gibbons