Well this week has been just crazy. It's had some of the highest and lowest points in my mission, that's for sure. I've talked about some hard weeks we have had here, but this is at the top. But I'll exlain more about that later, because well, the week is over and it's a new week and I want to be happy! And well, I am pretty happy thanks to a few certain emails!
Alright, so I'll start with Friday. We had our zone conference and it was combined with the other zone here in San Juan, so I got to see Elder Miller from Middleton again! And a bunch of elders I know. President talked to us about our plans, but my favorite thing was the story analogy that he taught us. If any of you haven't read this, read it, and tell me what you think. Haha I'll explain why he used it, but it's in Judges of the Old Testament, chapter 7, about their little war going on. It's a pretty weird story right?? But once he started talking a little, it all went CLICK in my mind, and it was so crazy to realize how much he must have prayed and studied to help us work better. Basically he talked about how the Lord's way is always better than our way, no matter how hard or difficult or even impossible sometimes it seems. 300 men against 135,000 of the enemy (that number is found in verse 10 of chapter 8), it reminded me of the story of 300 from the Greek and Roman history, but I have to say that the Spartans don't have anything on these 300 Israelites that have God behind them. He related us to that small group. And made us realize the importance of faith, faith that leads us to work our hardest, knowing we'll find those who are needing our message, and faith that if we do it how God wants, everything will turn out right. It's funny how they beat the 135,000 too. I didn't understand it very well reading the verses, but he described it. One of the enemies had a dream that they were defeated by a small rolling boulder coming down the mountain where they were camped, and so they got scared. Then the 300 started blowing on their trumets and making weird noises, and the already paranoid soldiers started getting so scared, that they started freaking out and killing each other when they took out their swords. The 300 didn't even take out their swords!!! How cool is that?? And it just goes to show that God ALWAYS knows best. We just have to trust in Him, and do as He says. Just like Gideon, the leader of this small group, he told his men "fear not, and do what I do" and they had comlete confidence in him. Awesome!!! Anyway, then we listened to Hermana Avila, who gave her testimony after and made us all cry, she was basically saying how she does feel like our mother and wants us to be obedient so that we can accomplish our goals we have. Then the assistants talked, and we had the testimony meeting. That was the most spiritual part. Those who had recently arrived and those leaving had to bear their testionies and so that meant Elder Rogers and a few others. It was very touching, especially when Elder Rogers got up, and in his normal, not-speaking-much way, brought us all to tears. I couldn't say anything for the rest of the meeting or I would've started crying pretty crazy. Who would've thought that I was such a sensible sensitive crying guy? I feel like I wasn't always like that.
Anyway, that was definitely one of the highest moments of my misssion... and then came the next two days, two of the most difficult days I've ever had. After all the excitement we had after meetings, we went out Saturday and accomplished absolutely nothing. I don't know how many evangelical churches I passed, sometimes one every block, or even two on a few of the same blocks, so many people heading to Mass, not wanting anything to do with us, and just church after church passed, with more talk and jokes about us and more doors closed in our faces... it was a really, really hard day. I was just mad. Like Chris said a few weeks ago, or maybe a month ago, how he was knocking doors and kept going even though he was just mad. That's what I felt like, but we DIDN'T get any miraculous miracle at the end of the day. Then Sunday was ward conference, and it was really good, the stake president is an awesome leader, really motivating, and he talked us up quite a bit and all the members are being a little more helpful now. But when we were in Priesthood I just realized how small I am to be here, trying to rebuild this ward here, with so many responsibilities, and it seems like honestly this last month has brought no progress, and with the members I've been getting a pretty cold vibe, like we aren't working or helping their ward... It's a pretty frustrating feeling, don't know if you have ever felt that! So I just started feeling really upset, with the members, and most of all myself, that I wasn't doing this or that better, and that I hadn't seen any fruits of our work really, and I was physcially exhausted on top of everything. The only relief I had yesterday was that two of the inactive families who haven't come for at least 3 or 4 years came, and we've been passing by them quite a bit, helping them. The members told the stake president that they had tried everything and they never came, and then after telling us that we are wasting time with those families, they showed up! So I felt better, but then realized that that feeling was coming from my pride, and I felt bad again. But yeah, today is just a new week and I feel a lot better!!
But yeah, that was the crazy week I had, and even with all the difficulties, I've realized today that our numbers were better than ever, we worked really hard, and I can feel good that I really gave it all I had this last week, even with the problems.
Anyway, that's enough about that stuff! I'm glad to hear all is going well at home. Sounds like a crazy next couple weeks! Good luck with girls camp and everything Mom! I wish you could be my cook for just a week during the mission. I guess I'll just wait another year haha :) And good luck with the sports camps and driving and activities for Jamboree, Nathan! Enjoy it! I haven't played soccer for a month now, so it stinks haha.
Wow, I can't believe Dylan has 4 years now!!! That's so crazy. I can totally picture him hugging his gifts and saying that, that's the best part! :) Makes me smile. And Jenn is having another girl!! How awesome!!! Merrick is definitely super duper excited, that's for sure! I'm excited too. Another cousin that I will meet when I get back, haha that's a weird thought... they don't know me :( Oh well, it will be alright! I can win my way back up to favortie cousin easily ;)
So with the fruit lady, we met her new boyfriend and we are going to talk to both of them this Tuesday, so that should be interesting! He's been living with her since about a week ago, out of the blue, so yeah, we'll just see with that haha, but we are working really hard with the flia M_____, the lady who told us about her family situation the second visit, and then we got in the house this last week, set a baptismal date with her and her daughter, and then on Friday with the husband too. She told us a bunch of things on Friday. She said she has felt different since she met us, and also that her husband--even though we left on an awkward note since he showed up two minutes before we left on Tuesday--was saying to her that he wants a change, and then she just said that baptism would be that change for him, so it was like having a lesson with a member when we taught him, and this family is just awesome! Things didn't work out yesterday to come to church, but we'll be working on that this week. They are an awesome family, and we are thinking about them all the time. But we are still finding new people too! Can't forget everything else and just focus on a baptism, sadly.
This whole transfer we have been in the part of the cycle where we have been searching for people who are going to progress, and now we've found some really good ones, but we are still searching for new people because President described the process of the cycle in the zone conference we had. He talked about just that, how we spend so much time with those who are going to get baptized that we forget to keep finding those who are going to replace them. But we are doing good with that for now.
Yeah, we can't go to Centro San Juan anymore. It's just because a bunch of elders are staying all the day in Centro or too late, and are buying a bunch of stuff and then being unfocused during the week. Now we can only buy recuerdos our last Monday, before we go home. So that's gonna be interesting. Good thing I only want some alfajores and mate cocido and a Messi jersey haha.
Elder Rogers and I have one week together still! We'll find out on Monday about transfers, but we already know he's leaving, but he still has one more transfer. So it will all be suspenseful as to what I will be doing. He keeps saying I'm going to train, but I don't know how many elders we are going to get. We got quite a few this last transfer, but all the 5 gringos showed up, then the Latinos slowly filed in during the first two weeks of the transfer. That's why Elder Alberro got shipped out mid-transfer, he went up as zone leader in Villa Mercedes! So I guess they've opened Villa Mercedes as a zone! Now they don't have to go to San Luis capital for meetings! Pretty nice. But a bunch of elders got called to train a week into the transfer. Elder Braithwaite is training right now! An elder from Peru. So that was pretty exciting!
So we finally got the Liahona for May!! I can finally read the General Conference talks again. I have read Elder Perry's, Elder Holland's, President Monson's talk about obedience, and a few others, and I just love reading them again, there is always something new that comes up when you are reading. I'm going to download Elder Holland's talk when I can, since this cyber is the same one from last week, and I can't even use USB. So yeah, next time I suppose.
Anyway, that's about all the news for this week! I'm sorry, since I'm still in the same cyber so I can't send fotos or anything, or even try to download talks or those songs... I'll try to go to a better cyber soon. But yeah, I'm hungry haha but I'm so happpy today!! I hope you all are too!! If not, try and make it that way! This is going to be a great week, for everyone! I hope you enjoy it and find lots of fun things waiting for you! I love you Mom! And family! I'll talk to you next week. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts, they do help!! I'm so grateful for my faith, for knowing I can trust in God in all things, because when one doesn't feel they can trust in God, they can't really trust in anyone, and that's just a sad life. I hope you all can keep increasing your faith always, through all the different things like prayer and scriptures and church, it's the only way to overcome whatever problem that can come, and end the day and week and month and year happy! And at the end, our lives! We just have to keep the faith, like Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:7. I love that verse, read it! Ii love being here. It's been a rough week, but that just helps me realize how much I really do depend on the Lord, and that's a good humbling exereience for anyone. And I always try to be humble!
Elder Tyson Gibbons
Elder Tyson Gibbons