With Elder Zwick of the Quorum of the Seventy
Birthday stash--part of it
Well good day everyone!!!
Wow, I got on today and just had like 20 emails, all for my birthday. I feel pretty overwhelmed, you are all just awesome. It's going to take me a little while to answer everyone back personally, which I'm going to do, so please be patient! Just being a missionary, and missionaries don't have as much time as you would think haha. But thank you all for the birthday wishes. It was a really good birthday, and even being a long way away from everyone, it turned out to be one of the best! And yes Dad, it was probably the first Sunday birthday I've actually enjoyed hahaha and exactly for that reason--I see everyone I love here at church, and it was crazy to see how many knew it was my birthday. I felt like I was in my home away from home. What else could anyone want?? :)
Sorry about last week, the hermanas had a bike ride planned with us elders, and by the time I was typing the email, my time was ending and we were already late, and we still didn't even know how to get there, so we didn't want to make them mad. It was a really cool conference, I'll probably be sharing things for a while, because I learned SOOO much from that meeting. I already sent the picture. :)
So yesterday there were a TON of people in church, and we saw some miracles right there too. It was like a totally different but awesome kind of birthday gift. We had to teach principles of the Gospel class, and I was nervous, but it turned out WAY good, and it was exactly how that class was supposed to be, spiritual with the new members sharing their testimonies and experiences with the others that are learning and want to be baptized and become members. It was so perfect, and thanks to the class we had some of the non members come up, tell us they got basically miraculous vacation time so we could teach them and they could be baptized. It was just amazing. Completely different than what a "Gift" would've meant for me a year ago, but just as awesome. We were both just shocked, and super excited. It helepd that the class we taught was talking about covenants, so that was perfect too :) I realized I have learned a LOT about teaching in a year, because 9 months or 10 months ago I had to teach that same class, alone, to people I had known for 5 weeks in the East Ridge Ward in Albuquerque haha and I'm very grateful for the experience I have now.
Today we have an asado planned for my birthday with a bunch of the youth from the ward, and then we´re renting a real soccer field, grass and everything!!! I'm SOOO EXCITED! Haha I haven't seen grass in so long... it's going to be great! But that is giong to be the plan today, and it's basically only because it's my birthday; any other week we try to get people to commit to play and it's never a set thing until Monday morning. But this has been planned for weeks. I feel a little manipulative pinning people down because of my birthday, but not really. Everyone wants to play on a good field like that right? :)
Mom, thank you so much for sending all those pictures... (I e-mailed photos from past birthdays--from the day he was born to last year's--fun!) I feel like such a weirdo looking at them. It doesn't look like me haha, the baby ones are making all these teenagers behind me look, but I don't care anymore haha. I can just laugh and enjoy it. I have definitely changed... but for the better I'm pretty sure. Also, I'm trying to watch the birthday cake video and Kelly´s video, but the sound isn't working on this computer. :/ I'm going to switch with someone before we go. Because I'm already getting really really nervous/anxious to watch it... anyway, that will be the last thing before we go play, and I think it's going to make the entire day! Thank you Kelly!! And everyone else too, I would name you, I just haven't seen the whole video yet haha, so sorry... next week!
I don't feel 20. Especially since me and Elder Alberro ask everyone how old they think we are and they tell him 17 or 18, which he LOVES, and they tell me 25 or 26... do I really look that old??? It's embarrassing haha. I just say it's because I tower over almost everyone here haha, that's my excuse. But he thinks it's hilarious. Oh well. We´ve all got challenges right?
That's so cool about Eric's call to Paris, France!!!! He´s another one going to join the Euro missionaries over there! :) That's way cool though that he is going to sleep in those same bunk beds we did... I remember that house, it was so cool. (My dad was president of the Paris mission from 1999-2002, so we visited my parents in the mission home there when Tyson was in 2nd grade.) And it's cool that the grandpa or great grandpa of Elder Waite from the MTC bought that house for the mission. Pretty cool huh? Good luck Eric, French is an.. interesting language :)
Wow, Kate is progressing in soccer! That's awesome. I had a little proud moment sitting here, I'm pretty sure everyone looked at me like I was a weirdo. But that's way cool! I may have improved a little down here, but not much. I'm just glad she´s in on the soccer bandwagon now :D I'm proud of you Kate!!!! As for Nathan driving, well I still just can't imagine it haha, how weird... don't crash or anything!
Yesterday in church the people were talking a lot about families, and so I was just thinking all about you Mom, Dad, Nathan, and Kate, and Jalen, and extended family, so that made my birthday really good too! I'm really glad that this life isn't the end of the family relationships, and that you two, Mom and Dad, have taken the steps necessary to make sure that that really happens. I don't want to be a weak link in that chain, because I've been it already before and I won't go back to that! Thank you so much for your love and patience, which I know you have a lot of. I love you Mom and Dad, and Nathan and Kate and Jalen. And my extended family and friends too! I miss you all, but I've still gotta take advantage of the next year and 2 weeks right? I'm planning on it. I hope you all do too!
Well I need to get going, but thank you all for the posts on facebook (which my mom told me about, don't worry I'm not breaking mission rules haha) and emails! I will answer you all in the next weeks, I promise!
I know that this gospel is the only thing that can bring happiness in EVERY aspect of life, even though it seems like they have nothing to do with each other, the Church and rest of life, but if they get combined, you'll realize it all is connected! Trust me, I've been doing that and living that for the last year. :) Do you trust me?? Hopefully you do. I want nothing but the best for all of you too. Whether now or later, I hope you all realize the hand that God has in every part of your life, and when that happens, you´ll find strength beyond your own to face this sometimes hard, rough life! I know that's true.
Que Dios les bendiga!
Elder Tyson Gibbons