No I can't believe it's March. Already a fourth of the way into the year.. I don't know where the time goes. It's been a good week, it's definitely had its ups and downs, but the downs have just helped me realize my mistakes and change them, so why bother mentioning those! Just the ups will suffice. The weather has been changing and cooling down steadily, and yesterday I had the first smell of a normal brisk autumn wind, and the leaves are starting to change color, so thank goodness autumn is on the way. I'm done with summer, although you are all looking forward to it. It's weird, being in opposite sides of the world.
Yes this last week we did intercambios again, and of course I got to go to Bombal, so I rode bikes around for another day. But I was a lot more accustomed this time, I didn't hurt nearly as bad. And I slept very well, and woke up to a real shower, so that made the day pretty good. Then I came back to our pench and it's all the same haha. So yeah, what can you do about that? It's just the life of a missionary.
So the plans with the sectors still haven't given their fruit, because this last week we had so many things to do besides work in the different sectors, so this week we set aside days to go to each sectore, and now we just have to make sure the person who signed up to accompany us can do it on that day. But it will work very well I imagine, when we finally get it going! Things are just crazy right now still, with the Vendimia going on. For those that don't know what that is, it's basically a big beauty pageant for all the counties of Mendoza. They have a competition in the county, choose one girl as the queen of that county, and then all the queens have a competition to basically be crowned queen of Mendoza. But it wasn't always just a beauty pagaent. It all has to do with wine, since the winning queen has her picture put on every wine bottle that Mendoza makes during this year of 2013, and in the older days the candidates had to basically do the wine making process on their own and that was part of their judging, but now it's all just about looks. Sad what the modern world can do to even the culture. But it's a huge deal in Argentina so everyone was going crazy this last week. I don't know who won, but hopefully things calm down a little this week.
The choir is going well. The majority of the same people come every week, so that's nice. I had to play the piano again yesterday, but it was a little easier this time. And we finally finished the first two hymns and are going to decide on the third and fourth I think. But we just don't know which ones, because none of the basses (me and the others) know the parts to the songs they sang in the past, since we weren't part of the choir. But I already learned one part, so hopefully I can help the rest of them and we can start practicing All Creatures of our God and King next week.
We have a zone meeting this Wednesday, and they´ve told me I have a few letters and maybe my package will be there too. I don't think you need pictures of Christ on padded envelopes, Jenn and Scott´s package came without problems! But yeah, I'll let you know when I get it.
All I have to say about Nathan and Kate is wow. I don't know what happened to the little siblings I had. I'm really glad they are branching out more though. And what makes me more happy than anything is that even after the stupid things I did and said to them before, they still turned out alright, or better said, even better than I did. I've had moments where I've felt just awful for the mean stuff I've done to them, and hearing how amazing they are really makes me feel better, and very proud of them. Mountain Home High School nor Junior High will forget about them for quite a while for sure. They are bascially fraternal twins, like me and Jalen, and since me and Jalen were well known just beacuse we were twins, I think Nathan and Kate will have a little more influence. And by the way, thanks for the pictures of the play! I have to say Nathan looks alright with makeup on (just kidding). But seriously, he just makes me think of Luke from the "5000 Days Project." I don't have the right to say I was Sam, I'm sure Jalen was more of that role than me, but Nathan is fulfilling the role of Luke perfectly, it's amazing.
So this week we had the exchanges when I went to Bombal, and it's always a nice thing to have a change in the normal routine. But I learned a lot, mostly about myself. That I am a better teacher than I think sometimes, and that I have a testimony of a few things that maybe I didn't think I had, or of things that I knew I had, but it has been strengthened. We were teaching an investigator the plan of salvation, and Elder Bulva was explaining the Atonement. When he teaches, the spirit is there, no matter what. And as I listened to him explain the atoning sacrifice that Christ made for us, I sat and looked at the picture in the pamphlet of Christ praying in Gethsemane, and tears just came to my eyes as I felt things click in my heart and mind. I had a testimony of the Atonement, but this moment changed things for me, I decided to live what I preached and take full advantage of this blessing we have in our lives, to change mistakes, to be a different person, a better person, and to repay the people that were affected by my actions. I have always had a hard time with a few of the steps of repentance, one of them being forgiving myself. I don't know why it's so hard for me, but I'm glad to have had all the experiences that I've had to help me grow and practice with that, because I have no trouble forgiving others, I think I've always been that way. But for myself, it's different. We are always harder on ourselves than what others would normally be, and it's been really really hard for me to forgive myself and move on... but today I feel that way. That I have finally given in and forgiven myself, forgotten things, and now I can move on more fully, and not be held back by this. Obviously it's not going to be all easy, I know there could be some more problems and difficulties in the future, but I just trust in my Savior and know I'll overcome them, even if it takes me days, weeks, months, years, or a lifetime. As Job says in chapter 27, I echo his statement,
"5 God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.
6 My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live."
I won't forget this day, even if I feel distracted and have a lot on my mind, I can now 100% sincerely and without doubt say that my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live. I don't intend to let anything hold me back from what I want, and I will work until I die to repay every last drop of blood Christ shed for me, and every last injury I've caused to any one of you in my life. I promise you that. There really is truth in the promise that we can be pure and clean before God if we give ourselves in and let Him make us what we should be. I feel like I've for the first time gone through that whole process, because I feel different, lighter, more free than I ever have! And I know there are more times it's going to happen in my life, but I welcome them, and know I'll be quicker in the process than I have been in the past. If anyone is having trouble with the same problem, please just turn yourself in and let Him change you, and forgive yourself! Yes we are imperfect, but with God, like it says in all scriptures, "nothing is impossible," and as President Monson said in his talk last conference, men CAN change. It's possible. I know it is, I may not be a man, I don't feel like it, but I know I've changed.
That's bascially the biggest thing that has happened this last week. A lot more happened but I just feel distracted today, It's something I still have to get used to, this feeling. And I just have a lot on my mind, so sorry it's not a usual long email. I promsie next week it should be normal! But please know I love each and every one of you, more than you know, and want to fix any wrong I've done to any of you, because with the perspective of eternal families and friends, I don't want there to be anything between you and me that doesn't go in harmony with God or the teachings of Christ. I apologize to any that I may have offended or done wrong, and please forgive me, even if it takes time. I'll do everything I can and need to to fix it! I know Christ hasn't given up on me, even if for too long I felt like He had, and there was no hope. Please try and do the same. We are all imperfect.
I hope this week is better than any week in March you´ve had so far this year! With any big events I hope you enjoy them to the last second! This life is better when we are focused on the good parts and not the little bad details. Like I've said before, these memories will be the June flowers in whatever December, winter, cold situation comes into your life. Just remember all the good things that have happened, and rejoice that they have happened, and expect more in the future. That's the best way to look at life!
Elder Tyson Gibbons