Tyson with his beloved Andes in the background
The mutant banana
So, we got transfer news! I am staying in Rodeo del Medio, as expected, and Elder Galicia is leaving to go to San Martin, as expected. My new companion will be Elder Alberro from California, who is basically Argentine-American since his grandparents are from here, but he was raised in California. He speaks English and Castellano perfectly, so I guess I'll keep working on my Castellano! I have people tell me the thing I could do better with my Castellano, and EVERYONE says I need to say the double r´s correctly, and I have to tell them well, I will always have this gringo accent because I can't do that! So hopefully I can change that, it's my goal before I leave the mission. But we´ll see :/ my tongue just doesn't want to cooperate so far. But other than that, Elder Bulva and Elder Tapia are staying, and Hermana Salcedo is going to more central Mendoza, (I was sad, I´ve been with her my whole mission so far! Even if she was in San Luis capital 3 hours from Justo Daract) and a new Hermana, Hermana Cheta, is coming to be with Hermana Dipuy. I met Hermana Cheta when she arrived here last transfer, and she´s super nice. I thought she was American but nope, Argentine. So yeah, this will be a really good transfer! Change is necessary and we should make the best of it.
WHAT?? I had no idea Justin was old enough to go on a mission! How crazy. But that's super exciting! Somehow, I pictured him always in some place really cold like that (Russia), he´ll fit right in haha. And I also know he´s super prepared, just from hearing Jalen complain about his ability with the scriptures in seminary. So that will serve him well. And Sydney is going to Chicago?!?!?! That's so crazy!!! And she leaves almost on her birthday! Haha that's pretty interesting too. But she will do good work as well. The thing is, I'm pretty sure every one of these people knows more than I did when I left on the mission. Good for them! And I'm learning haha, just a little later than I would have liked. But hey, who´s to blame for that other than me?
So this weekend was stake conference! It turned out really well! Haha we only sang Saturday though, I was sad. Because they all turned out AMAZING! The sister in charge was crying afterwards because it sounded so good. She went around hugging everyone and almost hugged me before she remembered I was an elder. But she thanked me for helping with the choir and playing the piano a few times. Elder Galicia, being absentminded sometimes (I say that because he knows it and is the one who told me, so I can say it haha :D) he said we had to be in the chapel in Gutierrez early, but we arrived early to the meeting, not to the choir practice, and we missed the choir practice because we decided to go to the leadership priesthood meeting. But it was a GREAT meeting! I may not be a leader, but I learned a lot. Then we sang and it was great, and even though I was sick, I sang better than I ever have I think. My voice was super low but I could hit all the high notes too, instead of lingering in the middle haha, so I was content.
Then Sunday we showed up to the conference after staying the night in the ZL´s pension, and we found Graciela and Hermana Gutierrez and Miriam and a few other members, but were upset that none of our investigators, including the son of Graciela, had come. But we were wrong, at the end we saw a TON of people that had come, and so it ended happily. During the conference, Elder Shane Bowen spoke, Jean Stevens of the Primary I believe, Elder Whitney Clayton, and Elder Russel M. Nelson spoke. And even though Elder Nelson doesn't speak Castellano, he gave his talk in Castellano! His accent wasn't so great, but everyone was just blown away that he stood up and told his translator that he wanted to speak in Castellano. It was all written and translated already but he read it and did REALLY good, and his message was great. They all were, I should say! It's always surprising to see a 70 or a member of the 12 get up and just start speaking Spanish haha, it was way cool. But my favorite part was when Elder Nelson talked about Salvation and Exaltation. And the primary difference was this, that salvation is an individual matter, but no person can receive exaltation without their FAMILY. I just felt the spirit so strong, testifying of the importance of the family, and naturally I thought of my family and my friends and their family, and I just had the strongest desire to share with all of them, all of YOU, that the family is seriously the most important thing in this life, because without the family, we can all be saved, and receive salvation or immortality, but without the family living according to the gospel, and performing the ordinances necessary, we will be saved, individually, and be alone, FOREVER. This doctrine goes a LOT deeper, study it on your own, but I just realized right then that my family is my first priority, because I would NEVER choose to spend eternity, alone, without my most loved family and friends and their families. It showed me the importance of the temple, and the song "I love to see the temple" came to mind, and I just felt so thankful for the Primary teaching me that song, because it really does stick in every fiber and tendon of my body, and I realize even more profoundly the importance of the temple. So that was a really good talk, even if he didn't know Spanish!!!!
Talking about the slumps of the mission, well we talked about that in our last district meeting, about how every transfer there seems to be a slump, a decline in whatever it could be, obedience, diligence, numbers, work, you name it. And it's different for everyone. But it just gave me the motivation to try and break that cycle that happens to everyone all the time, and I realized that the elders that really have had lots of success, not only personally but in helping this work move forward, are those who are able to forget themselves and break that cycle. So that is my goal from now on as well. This week may have been lower than ones in the past, but it was definitely motivational and inspirational! You can always learn something from everyone, you just have to have the right perspective. I hope this transfer can be the start of many good transfers without that slump! And actually I would say my whole life! I don't want to make changes when I'll be home eventually and then continue with my same life, exactly how it was. I don't want that. I want it to be better! Same people, but better relationships!
So today I took some more pictures since I found out that one of my sd cards, the one with bascially all my MTC pictures and New Mexico pictures and Justo Daract pictures, somehow got a virus and got erased, so I´m glad I sent home all the ones that were most important! But I took some that I will send home with this email. They´re not great, they´re just what I have at the moment. Today we are going to go bowling!!! I'm super excited!!! Maybe I can win since it's more of an American sport haha, but that will be fun. I'll take more pictures there for sure, and next week we´ll send them! There's a picture of a mutant banana that we bought, it was two in one, a special deal! And then me today with the Andes, the Cordilleras, behind me and a not-so-good view of me. It's hard to smile when you´re cold haha, and when you´re trying not to look like a tourist. But yeah, hopefully you enjoy them! And we´re still waiting to hear about moving to the new apartment, the pensionista told us he was working on the contract with the guy, so this transfer I expect we´ll be able to move! Poor Elder Galicia--he found it and set up the contract and now won't be able to enjoy the best pension in the mission, as Hermana Avila called it! I'll send him pictures haha and I will be very grateful every night in my prayers.
Alright, today I will look for a watch to buy. I need one, Elder Galicia had the watch in the companionship!
Well I need to get going. Sorry that again, another week without much news about teaching or anything. We actually spent this last week just sick. Elder Galicia was in bed for a few days, and also other elders in the zone. I think it started with me... I feel bad. But everyone is feeling better now! It's just the radical changes in the weather, from super hot, to freezing, to hot again. I hate it. But oh well, what can you do? It's the weather.
I'm glad all is well back home! Or I guess on vacation for now! Enjoy the rest of your trip, make sure to tell Justin, Karissa, Jack, Elli, and Noah hello from Argentina!! I´m so grateful for this opportunity to serve, and I realize the urgency of these short two years with every passing day and week, and trasnfer! I´m so grateful for my family, and I love them so much, also all my freinds, and I want them to have their family forever too! There´s a quote I found in the ZL pension Saturday night that says, "Missionary- someone who leaves their family for two years so that others can be with their families for ETERNITY" and that just added to the love I felt during the conference and everything! Thank you family, for always supporting me, but most of all for raising me in the way necessary to be able to be with you all for eternity! I don't want it any other way, for ANYONE. And I will use that to motivate me to find others who I know want the same thing. And for those of my friends and family who maybe don't have a full perspective of that, please just think of all the happy times you´ve had with your family, think about that, then think about that for ETERNITY, in a better, happier, more heavenly place than this earth. What more could you possibly want? It seems too good to be true, doesn't it? Well I promise you that it's not. It's possible, and the way is clear, difficult but clear. It requires much, but think about eternity being happy with everyone you love... that's a prize worth paying for right? Or should I say, priceless!!
I love you all, hope this week is amazing!
Elder Tyson Gibbons :) Each smile brightens the world a little more!