Hey Mom!!! :)
Alright, so this last week sounded pretty fun for everyone! It's weird thinking Nathan and Curran and Yeager and Joey and Benny and Christian and Talon are all going on the Jamboree. And there's no way they're gonna have as much fun as we had!!! Our bus driver was defintely the bomb, Styx, an African American that could play some awesome jazz and classical music on the piano while we ate some delicious Amish style food! I'll never forget that. I like the uniform colors by the way. If the blue was a little darker, the people staring at my screen right now would probably think they're all weirdo fans from Boca hahaha. Even funnier, Kate fits in with the colors--one, because of her shirt, but two, because she has that color mix naturally, something every Argentine can't help but stare at, whether they're young, old, man or woman. Still not used to it really. I just try and convince myself that it's the white shirt and tie haha.
So, this last week was... fun! I won't get into too much detail, but I was sick, all week! I got so tired of being in the pench by the late afternoon everyday that we left for at least one or two hours everyday anyway, but only if I felt better. I think I had the quickest getting-sick and getting-better cycle of the flu that has been known to man! Because the flu symptoms only lasted the first day, the rest was just the repercussions in the stomach, and intestines and head and respiratory system. It was a semana of suffering for sure! But then Friday night, to avoid too much grossness, I was in the bathroom all night, didn't sleep much. But whatever was inside, was no longer inside haha, and since then, I have felt GREAT!! Seriously, not even the stuffiness or the sinus problems or anything else is still bugging me. I feel good enough to suit up and play a 90 minute game! But of course, I think my physcial state isn't quite as good as it used to be. But that's how I feel, so that's good enough right??
So with only a few hours each day, we tried to just focus on getting our people to come to church! And after plannning SOOOO much with the familia M_____, and after having received news that NONE of the others were going to come for various reasons, I was SOOOOO upset when they didn't come Sunday, but we did all we could do and that's not our fault. Things just always happen to the members when it's their turn to take over, and no one went to pick them up! I'm still trying to decide what to tell them tomorow becuase she's going to ask us why no one came, because she was waiting. I hate it when that happens, seriously... But we had a new guy show up with an older sister in the ward, and we are going to meet his family today! So there's another family, and the good thing is, they live like 80 feet from the church! It's perfect! That was a huge blessing.
So I have a funny story about the men in our ward from yesterday. We are in the class, us elders and a bunch of elderly Argentine and Chilean men. So the class is on the Relief Society, which I thought was pretty ironic, I actually laughed to myself and got some weird looks from the others, just because we're in class with a bunch of guys, who usually are more prideful, and we're talking about the women of the church and all the amazing things they do to help this church and the world, so a bunch of guys have to go to class to sit and learn about the women. Maybe not as funny as it was yesterday, but that's the setting. So we get started,and the teacher immediately gets off on one of his favorite topics, the situation with the water in San Juan. So he starts giving his speech (funny that he sells water filters, or did in the past) and then NATURALLY that leads the oldest hermano to start sharing all of his knowledge on the subejct, which leads to the next oldest (the new guy who came for the first time) to throw in his opinion, which leads to everyone yelling, screaming, and trying to teach everyone else, and the teacher standing at the front trying to point and get people's attention... And then two little gringos sitting in the middle of it all, staring at the ceiling or the floor or our hands, and laughing so hard. So we finally control everything, the older hermano leaves to tell all the classess it's time to end, and the new guy thinks he offended him, so everyone starts apologizing, and then the teacher gets everyone to stop talking, returns to the board, underlines the words "Relief Society," testifies how it's a very important organization, and we end. WEIRDEST CLASS EVER. I just thought it was ironic that a bunch of men, naturally proud of their own doings and knowledge completely changed the subject about all the service the women do in the world, to their own knowledge of water and plants and gardening (which women usually know more about anyway) for an entire hour. That's the men for you, with a little Argentine twist ;)
No Mom, you haven't told me all the families we are losing in 4th Ward!! I just know the Perigo family, the Pittard family, but who else??? Maybe it's best you don't tell me, I'm pretty sad already knowing they're leaving.
Wait, so did you choose the picture of us in Florida where I'm crying really hard??? Haha that would be funny :) If not, I guess that's cool too. (I told him I'd brought in family photos to make a family tree on the board for singing time in Primary yesterday, and I brought one of our old family photos from Florida. No, it wasn't the one where he's crying! :) ) Wow, that just made me feel super old... I've grown up there, for twelve years! I'm not surprised that Sister Eagley cried seeing that picture, it's pretty sad, mostly for me to see how fast the time has gone!! And she is probably thinking "I miss those two boys when they were littler and more innocent and better behaved" :D Haha just kidding, hopefully not!
So if there is anything I learned this week, it's that I know for sure that my instinct now as a missionary doesn't let me stay in the pench all day. I can't even go one day without getting out and teaching or visiting a family, it feels so wrong, and then I realized last night that we still got some pretty good work done, even feeling as crappy as I did, so that was a big help too. Being sick stinks!!! But overcoming it and still getting out to work is way better than just suffering it. I feel like I truly lived Elder Zwick's statement this week, "Suffer with joy." :)
Anyway, the familia M_____ is still very solid and firm. They have their baptismal date in three weeks, and we're helping them this week to make plans to get married and live the Word of Wisdom. We don't have any worries, because she has been having some really amazing personal experiences related to what we're sharing, so she already feels and knows it's the right thing to do. Now we're just helping the rest to get as enthusiastic as she is!! She told us last Friday, our first visit for two weeks, and we were way worried that two weeks is a long time for something to happen, but she told us that the day before, well, she had a dream, and to not give away her special experience, basically we just helped her understand how she felt and what that meant for her. She is so AWESOME! So is the rest of the family, of course.
Well, today and for the past week we've gone out with just white shirts and now coats because it's been weather straight from the spring! so nice. But this Thursday we're taking an awful deep plunge into the arctic waters of Greenland, It seems like we're going from spring directly to the heart of winter. It's about that time anyway. So yeah, I'm enjoying it today and tomorrow, and as long as I can! Today we're having an asado and playing ping pong with the other elders so that will be fun :)
So Saturday we had planned a noche de peliculas, sorry, I mean a night of movies with two less active families, and when we get there, we see that they've got a HUGE asado going and we were just like... Uh oh. We're not getting home early tonight hahaha. But Elder Fullmer got to try asado, and we watched some good videos, but the best part wasn't even until the next day....
We changed our schedule for church to 10, and we now have the Sacrament Meeting first, and I have never felt so happy to see so many people walk into the chapel!! The best though was the four members of the S_____ family (one of the less actives that we were with the night before) but even better, the two youngest daughters and the dad of the Ma_____ family (the other less active family we were with, the Hermano Ma_____ is the brother of Hermana S_____, and get this, they are next door neighbors! Awesome huh?) So we felt very content that we had done some good, because this is now the second time they have come, but only with us as elders visiting them. Dad, I told you we are tyring to reactivate a ward mission leader, and that is Hermano Ma_____. He is so awesome! His family just doesn't help him much, they are content being inactive, but he's not, which is good for him and the whole family. He's still got the fire burning strong somewhere in there, and we just build it up a little bit more when we go. We'll get him soon!
Anyway, we gotta go. Gotta buy our lunch and then go enjoy some asado and ping pong!!! But I'm so grateful for this last week and for all I learned. We never stop learning unless we stop trying to learn! Don't let anything get in the way, because all the good that happens, even during the worst times, is magnified a hundred times when it's said and done, because of the simple fact that we overcame, no matter the cost or the sacrifice. That reminds me of the quote I listened to again by Winston Churchill from World War 2, let me share it with you... This is Elder Holland quoting it in one of his talks,
"I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat."
"We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land, and air, with all our might and with all our strength that God can give us. . . .That is our policy. You ask, What is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror; victory, however long and hard the road may be. [Churchill: the Life Triumphant, American Heritage, 1965, p. 90]
This is one of the most awe-striking periods in the long history of France and Britain. . . . Behind us . . . gather a group of shattered States and bludgeoned races: the Czechs, the Poles, the Norwegians, the Danes, the Dutch, the Belgians, upon all of whom the long night of barbarism will descend, unbroken even by a star of hope, unless we conquer, as conquer we must; as conquer we shall. [Churchill, p. 91]
We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender." [Churchill, p. 91]
If there was ever a quote that stirs up so much patriotism in someone, it would be this one. But the way Elder Holland puts it in his talk, is what I like better. He is talking about when he was finishing his mission and headed home into the craziness of the real world, without much hope or future, and he read this talk that changed his attitude. It definitely changed mine, listening to it. Maybe we're not in World War 2 right now, far from it, but we're going through a war everyday, the most common war known to man, in almost every movie, book, play, school, work, and especially in religion and the scriptures: the never ending war between good and evil. God and Satan. It's a pretty awful war, we can look around us and see the consequences of the good and bad decisions, whether in our life or the life of a loved one or friend. And even with that ominous scene in front of us, do we ever have reason to stop? Reasons to quit? Maybe, or maybe those are just the appearances of any type of "convenient offer" in this life. But we weren't made to follow the path of convenience, Christ certainly didn't and look what He has become? And if we are the very same spiritual children of God, what does that put our potential as? I'll let you think about that... and reading this quote, invite you to observe the wrecks and bumps, the sunny and rainy days, and just think about this one word... WHY? Why do you keep on doing it? I had a long week to do just that, and I've made some rather big changes due to that time thinking and pondering. And I would love it if everyone could have that same chance. There's a reason why we keep going, and it's because we know where we're trying to get, and I personally at least won't ever let anything convenient or attractive that just doesn't last keep me from reaching that goal. And that's how your life should be, and yours, and yours, and all of you too. Because I'm no different than you, and you aren't different than me. We're all going in the same direction in the end, but how we get there is different for each of us. But I KNOW where I'm going, and I KNOW how I'm going to get there, I've never been so certain about anything else in my life. It's nice to be sure and confident, life stinks when it's full of uncertainty. Try it sometime!
Anyway, I recommend the talk as well! It's "However Long and Hard the Road" by Elder Holland, from the same BYU speeches website. It's one of my new favorites. It's really good! Really inspiring.
I love you all and hope you have a really good week, with the remaining time of summer vacation!
Elder Tyson Gibbons
Elder Tyson Gibbons