Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Photos of Albardon

Hey Mom! Happy Memorial Day!!
So yeah, I only remembered that it was Memorial Day because Dad told me haha. Sorry, I have realized I'm AWFUL at saying happy birthday even when Dad tells me whose birthday is coming up, and then with holidays. So please forgive me! And happy birthday to everyone I have missed so far!!
Well I'm sleeping a lot better, although the last few nights a little less. But it's alright, it's not nearly as bad as my last area. And I use the bed, because an elder told me that the hammock will kill your back for the next week if you sleep in it. The weather is just really annoying, so it's a little rough. As for our lunch with Bishop, well we didn't get to have it since he had to work, so we took stuff back to the pench and ate there. But it was still really good!
Oh yeah! Tell Dad that I ordered the scipture cases today, so I'll keep you updated on that! I´m excited haha!
Oh THANK YOU for mentioning Peter Breinholt, only because I wouldn't have remembered to ask you this if you hadn't reminded me of music. Can you PLEASE send me the Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD "Love Is Spoken Here"? The one in the green case? I love that CD, Elder Alberro had it and we listened to it almost every day for the transfer. It has some of my favorite songs on it. So yeah, can you send me a copy or however you can do it? That would be awesome :)
I did hear about the tornadoes, and I'm glad for your updates, because somewhere along the "telephone wire" between the US and Argentina, things get WAY out of context. Of course, the hermano that was telling us is a little crazy too, way too obsessed with learning EVERYTHING the world has to offer, and neglecting some of the basics (sorry, I love the guy still! I just feel bad for the situation of his family; they´re really awesome people). But he told us over 100 people were dead, like 60 of them being little kids, so I was pretty shocked. But I guess it wasn't quite as bad, although still terrible. I try not to listen too intently when they tell us things, because it's always a little off. Like South Korea decalring war on the US, and now lots of deaths... yeah, what a lovely hour of television! But I'm glad to know Mike and Emma are doing okay still!
And good job Nathan! Welcome to the mom delivery system business! It may not last long, but enjoy it! At least you get to drive :P I remember those days very well. And now I can't even imagine driving, I'm so used to walking. Can't wait till I drive again haha. Lucky Elder Hardy, being in the offices and getting to drive. But, I'm happy to be out here still! The offices would be hard.
I´m glad the choir concert went well! I've lost my singing talent due to lack of practice, but I still sing pretty well compared to many hermanos down here. Our ward just doesn't sing!! It's me, Elder Rogers, and the Bishop basically, and I know that because we sit in back, yet all we can hear is Bishop up front. Pretty sad. That's what you get with a ward of a million little kids!
That's so weird that Diane and Justin are gone to Texas now. I'm glad you got to spend some time with them though! They´re just all over the place, whether in Caldwell for the fair, or in Holland for a few years, Utah, now Texas, where next??
Hey, something to read! (Jeff told him we're sending him Clayton Christensen's new book "The Everyday Missionary," which he just finished reading.) Well thank you! Make sure you don't put any vitamins or medications in the package, we aren't allowed to get those anymore, Buenos Aires just gets rid of the package, and we never receive it. The 25 dollar maximum value thing is still a rule too! Just don't put in any pills or anything. Darn, I was wanting some dinosaur gummy vitamins haha. I'm excited to read the book, beacuse the attendance part is going to help A LOT!! We need that very badly here.
Elder Rogers and I have stepped it up a little bit this last weekend, due to a call from the DLs and ZLs wanting to know why (kindly and how they should have done it, of course) our numbers haven't been so great. And we told them of our frustration and everything, how we just can't get anyone to church and no one is progressing. So with their help we´ve started doing a little more focus on searching and finding new people, which is what we desperately need. And in the last three days we saw lots of fruit from our efforts, so I hope these next three weeks go just like that, with plenty of people to teach. It's way frustrating not teaching very often...thought I got used to that in Justo Daract, but I guess it's just a different experience, different area.
Thank you Dad for the advice, from the book and you. I'll try and get that working better. The obispo keeps telling us these last three weeks, jokingly but obviously seriously too, when we ask him what he needs, that we need to bring investigators to church. At first it was a little annoying, because we haven't had a bunch of help from members so far, but I realized he has plenty on his mind, with a ward of 300+ members that have only 45-50 attending every week. So I got down from my high horse pretty quickly.
Wow, another one going to the islands, and St. George (recent mission calls in our stake)!! I want to go to the St. George Temple someday. I just recently listened to a talk by Ezra Taft Benson, from the same BYU speech website, called "God's Hand in Our Nation," and it boosted my patriotic level and my reverent respect towards the Founding Fathers quite a lot, and since President Woodruff saw them in vision in that temple, I'd love to see that mural in there. Maybe one day. But I recommend that talk! I know Dad likes talks like that, and it's a very powerful one.
There was something else I wanted to share, a change of attitude that I had recently. Or something I realized, better put. I´ve noticed that whenever we are with some people, and the members are there and less active or non members, I am drawn to talk and walk with the non member people. We were walking with two sisters yesterday down the road to their house where we had an appointment, and the member (okay, she´s actually not a member, but she does EVERYTHING a member does, and wants to be, but can't be baptized yet), she was talking to us about a bunch of stuff, and I found myself drawn towards the other sister, her actual sister, and tried talking to her, since she is inactive. I don't know what it is, but the thought crossed my mind yesterday, the words from the Bible and from the Book of Mormon, "they that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." It's a little attitude I have now, that yes, I love talking to members and getting to know them, but usually in situations like that the less active or non member gets excluded, or excludes themselves, since they don't understand or know what we´re talking about. But I've noticed that I always separate myself from that situation (not from my companion, don't worry) and I would rather talk to them, make them feel welcomed and comfortable, because I hate when people look or feel uncomfortable. So that little thought passed through my mind last night, and I realized that it is more or less like an attribute of Christ, because He always reached out to those who actually needed His help, and I'm trying to do the same! So that was a little checkmark for me :) Sorry if that's not as exciting for you as it was for me haha, but I just wanted to share that.

Well I need to get going, I'm starving. But I will keep taking pictures and sending them! These are a few from the last two weeks, the first two on Sunday, our normal Sunday morning walk to and from church, and then the other in the middle of nowhere, with the sunset behind the mountains. Beautiful, isn't it? Reminds me of Mountain Home alot! I miss that place.

I love you Mom! And I'll keep you updated on the scripture cases and pictures and my sleeping patterns haha! Until next week! Enjoy your holiday and this week, and try and send me that CD when you can please! I'll pay you back even haha :)

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, May 20, 2013


Hey Mom!

Okay this is the real email. We´ve had a really good week, filled with some interesting happenings, but a lot more calm than last week with transfers and everything. I´ve gotten used to the weather, or at least I had, until it decided to be warm again these last two days! It's driving my immune system insane, but it's actally fighting with Elder Rogers' immune system, poor guy. So I'll get to that a little later.
But, I think I'll start from the bottom of your email, so yeah! We are getting along just fine, even better actually. I've matured a little bit, as a missionary, but as a person too, and since he was with me as a newbie the last time, I think he is a little happier now that I know how to work and everything. We had lunch with the bishop's family (talked all about Spain, because they used to live there!! It was awesome!) and his wife told me that when Elder Rogers told them who his next companion was going to be, "he had the biggest smile on his face" is what she said. So that made me feel good! As for investigatores, well I´m kinda in the same situation as all my other areas. We are looking for new people, as always, because those we have just don't want to come to church! (Justo Daract all over again, right?) So I'm kinda starting from scratch, but at the same time I´m not. It's complicated. BUT this area is seriously so big but really really beautiful. I have some pictures, I'll send them next week! I forgot my camara :( sorry.
As for food, yes I bought food! And it lasted me perfectly through this week haha, we just have a tiny mini market place that takes cards in Albardon, so we shopped there. They just don't have nearly as much selection as Carrefour :/ But I ate the last of it last night, so I chose wisely I guess!
Anyway, so on Friday we spent the whole day in the pench again! Apart from 5 hours traveling, waiting, and traveling again to and from the hospital! Elder Rogers had some x rays done in a hospital. He waited at the door for the supposed "clinical check ups" for about an hour and a half, and there was a line and everyone was getting really impatient! So I just sat there and wrote a letter to the Gutierrez family, and to Kelly, and talked to this random guy that was like 20 years old that I THINK was only talking to me because he wanted to tell me what I was doing was a waste of time. But, I seemed to thwart him in his efforts with all my well-guided missionary standard questions, and he ended up taking out his phone, answering a call from his mom and left. The thing is, his phone wasn't ringing, and I didn't hear a voice answer him, and he was literally right next to me, so that was just really funny haha.  But then we had to go to the hospital in Albardon because they didn't have the medication for him there in San Juan. I have a lot more willpower to take really really good care of myself now. It just turned out that he had the starting symptoms of pneumonia, and is taking an antibiotic now. How crazy? I'm doing everything I can not to contract the same thing.
Congrats Nathan on driving to church! You´ve hit a milestone! Haha but just wait till you go to Utah, that'll be an adventure. I´m glad Kate is going to EFY with Rachel and Elisha, that will be super cool! And a Real Salt Lake game!!! They're going to love that, being soccer fans and all. When we went during BYU year with Matt, he was just foaming at the mouth, he was so excited. They might be a little more sophisticated than that, but we´ll see ;)
President of the Portland Temple!!! That's so cool! I remember that temple just from Jacci´s wedding, it's beautiful. But I just am biased towards anything that's Oregon, since I love Oregon. But I would like to go there some day!! Along with the Boise one obviously. I want to see how awesome it is now. (Correction, more awesome, since it was already an awesome temple.)
Oh man, that birthday dinner sounds really good :( I miss good ol' homecooked food. We get rare glimpses of it with a few members, but it's still the classic noodles and sauce haha, oh well. But we had a really good torta de papa (like a weird quiche but made mostly out of potatoes) and then REALLY REALLY good raviolis. So I'm excited for the next 10 Tuesdays with the bishop's family :) I hope Kate had a very enjoyable birthday!! Send me a picture of the giant giraffe pillow, it suits her well! So tall :) and her personality is just so spotted ;P just kidding, nada que ver!
Wow, those home videos you talked about make me realize how old I've gotten (not mature, just old haha). I remember all those people from Florida, and it's crazy that I haven't really talked to any of them for who knows how long! Wow that's weird that Ashley is 16, but I guess Kate is 15 (actually, she's 14 :) ) so it's about the same! And that's really funny, doing the happy dance or whatever they called it. I don't even remember what it was, I'll have to look that up when I get back. Or you can show me when Ashley and Nathan did it in Florida haha. I'm glad you are getting in contact with a bunch of people though! That's about the only thing I like about facebook. Other than that, it's just really distracting haha, too many things to do for too much time. But it's a blessing as well! Maybe one day Dad will join the bandwagon. :) (Not likely.)

Well today we are going to the seminary or institute building to play ping pong and everything, because last Monday we traveled all over, and no one was there, and the shopping was closed, and yeah. It was a long, boring p day. But we saw Elder Braithwaite here in cyber and talked to him, so that'll be cool to hang out with him again! :) Anyway, we´re starving and Elder Rogers has been sitting very patiently waiting for me for 45 minutes(not my fault, I guess he just doesn't write as much haha) but I need to get going! One last thing...
So on Saturday we talked to a less active person, and it was a really good experience. I don't know why, but it's the second time that a less active member has told me their life story, and they have both told me that they don't ever talk to anyone about anything like that, so I should feel special because "I guess I trust you enough already," so that made me feel good, knowing they trust me! Anyway, listening to the story of all that had happened, the reasons they don't go to church anymore, it was like I didn't believe them, because I was seeing them just like President Monson explained in October, that we realize they can change and that they´re just a child of God surrounded by things of the world trying to bring them down. In this circumstance, the person kept saying something and then "can you believe that??" and I seriously just looked at them and said "well, no not really. I don't see you like that" and it was amazing to see their face change and realize that we weren't having a normal less active visit where we come to tell them everything they are doing wrong. Elder Rogers and I shared some scriptures, talked about the Atonement and some other things, using the night sky as an example of God's power to help us change, and we testified more than anything. And I saw their face just pause, really think about what we were saying, and realizing they were feeling the spirit, something that maybe hadn't been present for a good while, and it brought me to tears, and them almost as well. One thing they said really hit me though. Because it was something I've thought too many times, they said that they didn't believe that things really could be just that easy, repent and change. And that's when the tears came and I just told them that well, it really is that easy. I know, from personal experience. It made me remember Elder Holland's talk from last year in April I think, and I am going to have them read it, because that's what helped me understand better. So I'm looking forward to that visit. But that was the highlight of my week!
It really is possible to see people surrounded with so many problems, yet realize that they aren't creatures of those circumstances, and all we have to do sometimes is help them to become the creators of their own circumstances. That's the joy of this work, helping people realize that they DO have power to overcome their problems, and weaknesses, and help them become the creators of situations, the captains of their own fate, masters of their own soul. (Can you send me that quote?? Please. I love it!) I hope you all can do the same, with a friend or family member in the same or varying circumstances, that you can see them literally through God´s eyes. It helps us love them even more, and teach them how they NEED to be taught or helped. It will help in all circumstances.
Just another weekly quote from talks (I can finally listen to them again! We have a good dvd player in the pench). Again from Elder Holland: "Honesty and truthfulness are the principles that should govern all organizations and ALL personal relationships" as well. Gotta love the apostles, they just have a lot of good one-liners.
Well I love you Mom! And my family of course. And all of you! I hope you have a great last week of school, and enjoy the beginning of summer!! I know that each of us is a child of God, with an INFINITE potential, and the only way to unlock that potential is to give everthing over to Him, and let him shape us into what He knows we should be.
Until next week!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, May 13, 2013

Una Buena Visita!

With the bishop's wife and other elders in Rodeo del Medio
Saying goodbye to Rodeo del Medio and Elder Alberro
At Tyson's new apartment in Alberdon (they do have regular beds too)
Tyson's Mother's Day dinner--fry bread! 
Hey Dad!

That was a very relaxing par de horas talking to you all. I was expecting to be an hour and chau, but the zone leaders didn't come back until an hour later than they had planned, and well it's easy to lose track of time, isn't it? I'm very grateful for the time, however much it was, to talk with you.

Well I'm assuming this email from you yesterday is probably the one you are going to send me for today, so I figured I'd better answer since mom hasn't written me yet! (I´m probably going to be coming to cyber about this time while I'm in this new area, so if anyone is going to write me, they should probably do it Sunday).

I'm still impressed that in the dinosaur age (just kidding) like 20 yeras ago, only a phone call was allowed (he's referring to when his dad was on his mission--no skyping!.) It's truly a blessing to be able to see and hear live what the others look and sound like! And I'm sure it has nothing to do with your faith, I´m sure your parents were worried just as much! I don't even know what it will be like when my kids serve missions, holographic chat or something? Star Wars style haha.

You mentioned some elders being too focused on positions in the mission... It was a bigger thing in New Mexico than I´ve noticed here in Mendoza, but it's still a plague in pretty much every mission. I'll admit, in New Mexico I met the APs and I was determined to be like them, but my mindset changed from being at their position to actually being good elders like them. It's a small change, but makes all the difference. I noticed it here too, and I told my district in Rodeo del Medio my first transfer about that change in perspective I had had (I won't lie, I was kinda saying it for one of the elders there, since he was having some ego attitudes), and when I said it, it was like I didn't know it until I finished talking, and then I felt that idea engrave itself basically on my mind, and it's stuck with me ever since. I don't want anything to do with that craze for power or position really. I love verse 36 in chapter 60 of Alma. It's become a personal motto.

And that also is quite a low blow to me too, being so far away, that they say the missionaries hate Mountain Home. I know I never did anything to help them when I was there, but it just reminds me of how all the elders talk about Justo Daract. I fear that when missionaries believe those attitudes about a place they've been assigned, they miss the opportunity to shape the rest of their missions and lives in the future by overlooking all the learning opportunities. Not that I'm any more mature than any other missionaries, but I´ve been there and I feel like I took hold of the situation properly. Hopefully they can overcome those feelings! I know Mountain Home is not an easy area, I hardly remember any missionary work ever going on. But those are the places you LEARN the most from.

Well we´re going to go meet up with some more elders and play ping pong or pool or whatever else there is to do! Tell Mom I'm sorry again, and also tell her that yes we are going to go shopping today, so I won't starve haha. I actually made some fry bread last night, and that filled me up. Who would have thought that you can eat well with flour, water, and some boiling oil?? I love you Dad, and I´m glad to know that you are proud of me. It really does make all the differnce. Sometimes, even though recognition shouldn't be sought after, it can be hard to keep doing what you´re doing when you don't know if anyone is actually paying attention or cares. Happens a lot on the mission, that's for sure. But I know I have my family behind me, and lots of good friends, and I feel extremely blessed for that.

I love you! And I'll talk to you in another week. Sorry I didn't share much about me, it's just that we talked about everything yesterday haha.

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Buenos tardes

Birthday soccer!
After the game
With Ricardo
Birthday asado with the Gutierrez family
Rodeo del Medio district
With Elder Alberro and the new sweater!

Buenas tardes Madre!
Well, I definitely don't feel much different being twenty. It's been a pretty normal week haha although crazy at the same time! I guess that's just how the mission is, right? Always an adventure, always new people, new faces, new needs, and exciting conversations!! It's a great two years, that's for sure haha.
Alright Mom, just so you don't worry, I'll talk about skype right now haha. So the thing is, we got transfers yesterday, and I'm heading to San Juan Alberdon, in the zona Chimbas, but guess who is my companion???? Elder Rogers!!! Again!! It's so crazy, I was so surprised when I heard that. I didn't believe them at first, I thought they were joking. But it's meant to be so I'm not complaining. I'm just glad I get along with him since we´ve already been together, and I'm pretty excited to go! But also really sad to leave Rodeo del Medio. It's been an awesome three transfers here as well. Anyway, moving back to skype, since I am leaving Thursday and will be there in a completely new area, I don't know what the plans are yet reallyl.... I'm going to try to send you a message before Sunday, but I'll let you know as soon as I figure it out! I was hoping Elder Rogers would send me an email or something, but no such luck. So I will let you know. But seeing as how things worked out just fine for Christmas, I'm sure they will work out for Mothers Day too! It's the same companionship, so don't worry. I told Dad it will probably be in the afternoon for you guys, like 2 or 3, or maybe if Elder Rogers goes first again a little later. But yeah! There you go, transfer news and skype, all wrapped up in one! Funny how things are so related :)
And we are in a different cyber today (sorry, a day late... I hate doing that) so I have sound and I can actually watch all the videos without problems! So I just watched our birthday one with the Elders haha that was pretty awesome. And Kelly's is going to be the last thing before I leave (sorry, I've said that three times now right? :/) But it's better late than never I guess! As for me looking older than Elder Alberro, it's just because I'm with someone shorter than me, and I dunno about the maturity thing. I feel like I've become more of a little kid on the mission, but I guess it's just because I've actually opened up to everyone, unlike me before. So that's a good thing! I hope. If not, well, que me soporten igual :P Dad you can translate that if you wish.
So the leaves have all started changing and falling, so it's officially fall!!! I'm way happy. The hot-cold changes are pretty annoying, but oh well. I sleep well (as well as possible for such a crappy bed anyway) and I'm just excited that it's not so stinkin hot anymore! And speaking of hot, I'm glad I'm going to San Juan for winter!! It's going to be more like home, sweet desert home :) I'm excited. I just hope I can see the mountains at least a little. But San Juan isn't as close as Mendoza is. Oh well, I've got plenty of time still right?
Mike Fisher is the tennis coach now at Kuna?? He´s just jumping all around! Haha but that's cool that you got to talk to him! His chemistry class was way fun. I hope all is well with him and his family!
And sorry Nathan that you don't have a big trust circle with the cars still.. just be patient :)  That will come when you get your license.
Wow that's a lot of songs to learn so quickly, I'll keep you in my prayers! I know you can learn them though, at least they are all familiar! It's weird seeing all those song names, I haven't sung a song in English for a long time. Haha thinking about choir is just crazy. I definitely don't have the same voice or talent after a few years. I'm glad you got to see Mr. and Mrs. Olmstead! And I'm glad they´re doing well. He´s always got a project to do, so that's good! Keeping busy! Retirement is great I imagine but you don't want to be bored! Tell them hi for me the next time. And if they could read the blog, that would be way cool too!
Wow the Elliots are moving? And so quick after Tyler´s farewell? That sounds pretty crazy. Elder Alberro is going through the same thing, but the opposite since he´s finishing his mission. But his family is moving from Virginia where he left from, to Florida, but then his dad is going to London for a few years, so he is going home to London, staying there a little bit, then going to Florida, then going to Idaho for school (BYU I). Lots of travel! I can't imagine what it would be like to go home to a different world entirely! Hopefully they can handle it.
I like that quote from Mother Teresa a lot! I think I've heard parts of it before but never that whole thing. It's really true, and I promise I try to do that as much as possible!! It has a lot to do with that scripture in Ether as well. I remember reading that a couple months ago and thinking wow, that's so true, and so personal for all of us! I guess that's what the scriptures should be like anyway right? Personal and of benefit for us!! (1 Nephi 19:23) Thanks Bro Sell for scripture mastery haha.
So on Sunday as we were attempting to listen to the testimonies given (attempting, because in the room where we sit, like I've said before I'm sure, it's really loud with all the cars passing and everything) and I decided to ask Juan Pablo what his favorite scripture was. I was honestly thinking he was going to open to some random page and say something like "well I like this one, it talks about, you know, like it says, repent and whatnot" but I was very surprised when he turned straight to the book of Mormon (the book written by Mormon, before Ether and after 4 Nephi) and found chapter 7 verse 9. It says:
9 For behold, this is written for the intent that ye may believe that; and if ye believe that ye will believe this also; and if ye believe this ye will know concerning your fathers, and also the marvelous works which were wrought by the power of God among them.
I was still kinda skeptical so I asked him to explain it, and he just said he read it with Elder Daybell (different one from my last district leader in San Luis) and said it talks about the Book of Mormon and the Holy Bible, which we believe in as well, I might add!
He explained that if we believe in the Bible, we will believe in the Book of Mormon, if we at least give it a try of course. Can't read a book by its cover right? But that just led us to talking about his sister who is pretty skeptical when it comes to anything about our church or the Book of Mormon, and hence Elder Alberro and I have been doing things subtly this whole transfer. But it's just amazing how much you can find out about someone from someone that knows them better than almost anyone! I asked opinions of how to share things with her and how to get her to try things out at the least, and it was very impressive to see him talk about her with all the love and respect that siblings should have. But I was just surprised to see how much he WANTED her to give it a try, because he already undesrtands the Gospel and the fact that this is all about families, this life I mean. And even though I'm leaving now, I know Elder Alberro is going to work hard with them as well, along with his trainee (oh yeah, he´s training haha, he found out about three hours ago). But I still have tonight with them... I'm going to do all I can to leave them on a high note!!! I really love the Gutierrez family, because they are all way nice and loving, and give us too much honestly! Last night she gave me and Elder Alberro each a sweater (I'll send you pictures from today with it on. I think it's pretty cool haha, it's just authentic Argentine so I like it!!!) and their oldest daughter that I've literally only seen four times was devastated when she found out last night that I was leaving. She made me a scarf too! So I don't need to buy that now. Wow, I really love that family.
So yeah, you don't need to worry about the people who maybe don't treat us well, because there are the few and the loving that really do treat us better than we deserve! So don't worry Mom. :)
Anyway, I need to go say goodbye to a few people today, so we´re going to head to Carrefour and buy a few necessities and then head back to the area! I´ve still got to pack... joy joy joy! Speaking of packing, thank you Kelly for your vacuum bag idea that you unintentionally gave me when we went to BYU haha. I found some and bought them and they are going to help a ton.
Anyway, I will be writing you all from up north next week! I am way excited, and hopefully all the changes in your lives are going to be super exciting and fun for you too! Just make the best of it, because change is never 100% what we want, it always comes with good and bad (apart from repentance, of course. Thatss a change that benefits us 100% and costs us NOTHING. What a grand blessing that is, no?) To quote Elder Galicia, "Venga lo que venga, DISFRUTELO!" Or to translate, "come what may, enjoy it!" Let that be your motto for this next month of May! I love you Mom, tell Nathan and Kate hi for me! And anyone else that you see! Because yes, I love them all too. Until next week, fresh from cactus land!

Elder Tyson Gibbons