First class train to Mendoza
The Munoz family
Well, I hope your worries are gone now, things turned out just perfectly! Satan has power, yes, but when the people really have the desire to do things, they don't let anything get in their way. I'll share some of the things that happened that could've gone horribly wrong, but that still ended up happening! But I'll get to that in a little bit.
So to start talking about the week, we went over on Tuesday and had a fun visit for María's birthday. We brought brownies, and now they are crazy about brownies, but we also met some family members! Then Wednesday we went by to find out what time the wedding was on Friday, since they couldn't answer us back (their phones broke, they didn't have credit, etc.) but she told us it was at 11 Friday morning (sidenote, that quick five minute visit we had Wednesday was actually really special for me, because it was the same exact place, time, weather, and things happening as the first day we talked to her. But the difference, she was hundreds of times happier, there wasn't a single worry or shadow in her life that day, and better said, that whole week).
Then we took off to the terminal, and we got on the bus to head to Mendoza. So, the bus was first class, with SUITES, or that is, personal TVs, chairs that reclined to 180 degrees, better than a lazyboy, and the front seats on top, so we could see everything. It was beautiful. And then the rest of the trip went like this: we got to the office pench, talked with Elder McBride (Elder Chipman's trainer, who trained him in Albardon, and is now the AP) into the night about Albardon and all the people he baptized and taught. (This week for interviews we are doing intercambios with him, in Albardon. He is super excited, especially since we set up a lunch with their active converts from a year ago! That will be a cool experience.) And then we woke up at 5 to go wait outside from 6 to 8 in the morning, freezing, to do some fingerprints and paperwork. We met a mega millionaire guy from Chicago though, who has lived down here for like 30 years. His wife is Argentine, and she speaks pretty good English, and he just talked to us about a bunch of stuff. Imagine if the missionaries got into his house.... It would be hard though, he got his money through the wine business haha. Then we got back on a bus at 1, after waiting and eating some panchos completos (in other words, a hot dog, but longer than normal, and completo is with everything on it. Sometimes it comes with onions or vegetables, but this one was just the four main condiments, ketchup, mayonaise, mustard, and salsa golf--the fry sauce equivalent--so that was still pretty good). And then on to another bus, not nearly as nice as the first one, but I was so tired I slept all right anyway, after watching bits of The Soloist. The music was so attracting, I really like cello music now.
Then we got back Thursday afternoon, and I still didn't go back home, I stayed in Retiro with ZL Elder Hone, and we went and visited some people, and two kids who were getting baptized there that Saturday (it was a good Saturday for the zone!), and we did some interviews. Then we went to their pench and I ate like everything they had in the fridge, because I was so hungry. But then Elder Fullmer and Elder Thurgood called us to tell us how the interviews went with the familia Muñoz, and they were good to go!! Elder Thurgood just said "Wow, that is one amazing family, congrats you guys!" and that just started the suspenseful weekend wait!
So Friday morning we switched companions back and I went back home to shower, something I hadn't done for two days, gross, and then we went to the wedding! It wasn't anything like a wedding they show in movies or anything, but it was legal, and they just wanted to do it and get baptized the next day! So the next setback comes, and they showed up almost 30 minutes late because their ride never showed up, and they even ended up leaving Lucila at home! And their older daughter who was going to come didn't get to come either, so it wasn't the whole family even. But they came because they knew they had to to be able to get baptized on Saturday. So we met some more of their family Friday, and then Saturday we had everything set up, planned for 6 o clock.... and we are at the chapel at 550 waiting for ONE PERSON to show up, or better said, for ANYONE to show up, because no one had yet. And it was because of this school parade they had, that was supposed to start at 4 and ended up starting at 5:30, classic Argentine schedule. It's even worse than Mormon standard time hahaha! But they all showed up. Maria's dad came with his wife (her stepmom) and her younger sister (way weird, her younger sister is only like 10, but it's becuase her stepmom had her recently) and their oldest daughter came too! And then a bunch of members flaked out, which made me pretty frustrated, but they didn't care much, they were all just super excited and happy. So I baptized Maria and Valentin, and the bishop baptized Fabian and Lucila. Maria asked me to do it because I had "changed their family so much" and I just said well, I just kinda helped, but I felt super special that she would say that. That's the phrase every missionary wants to hear, for a couple reasons. One, you fulfilled your goal as a missionary, and two, it's a family that's getting baptized! So I did that, and Maria´s reaction before entering the font was classic, she got super nervous and emotional, but she stayed strong and was so anxious to get in there after a minute or so. It was a really, really good experience. And then Elder Fullmer and I brought out our 100 brownies we had made, and they were all GONE in about 10 minutes, even though there were only like 18 of us there. Crazy huh? Now everyone wants the recipe. So I'll have to do that too.
But then Sunday, we called a taxi in the morning, a good friend of one of the members who gives us a huge discount, and we went and picked them up, and Maria was pretty sick from having stayed out and talked with her family members who came over AFTER the baptism (what's up with that, too scared to come to the chapel but theyll take advantage of the event to have an asado!). So Maria had no voice yesterday, and Lucila was getting sick. But they all came, and they all got confirmed! And the scariest part, Bishop asked me who was going to do it, and I just thought well, you´re the bishop, you do it! But he said "Elder, are you going to do it?" and saw my hesitation and decided that we would each confirm the people we baptized. So, for the first time in my life, and second actually, I confirmed someone, in Spanish! It was super scary, but it turned out well, and the ward was way receptive and excited, even though half of them hadn't come to the baptism Saturday.
But that was the end of a really amazing weekend. Actually not quite, today is a holiday, so was yesterday, so the parties continue. But we are having a FHE with them tonight too, and it's going to be awesome!!! So four straight days of amazing experiences with this family. And it won't end yet either, because next week they will get the Aaronic Priesthood! I´m super excited. I don't know if the bishop will ask me to do that, but then again, I don't think I can? Maybe I'll study that just in case...
So that was the week! Pretty amazing, right? :) Can I just say, I am super happy, of course!
Anyway, sounds like things are just picking back up this last week, with school and sports and jobs and everything! I can't believe Oscar is the JV coach, that's so perfect! He will help out a lot, and now he´ll be friends with three tall gringos that play soccer :) I love that guy, I can't wait to see him again. I´m glad he hasn't forgotten about us! And I'm glad he´ll get to work with Nathan, and I'm glad to hear Nathan made the team!! And Kate is working too... what the heck, that's so weird. I guess I'm used to everyone following the lawn cutting trail. I guess I keep forgetting Kate is a girl. Hahaha not really, but it's weird to think she is in high school now. What the heck.
Wow, I can't believe the Hiddlestons' cabin is just ash now! That's so weird, I always remember that camping trip.
Alright so I just tried to convert the brownie recipe I have from Elder Day into Spanish measurements. I think it looks alright, I'll just have to experiment. But if it doesn't work, I can always tell them that we bought them in a box haha. But I can't do that yet, I want to show them I can make them too!! :) But they all loved them. Could I maybe have Grandma Gibbons' recipe too? I love those brownies, and no one would steal it since I'm all the way down here! If it's not a secret, of course.
Well, that's bascially all the news I have from this last week! Really good news, isn't it? I'm very happy. I hope all of you have an amazing week this week! I'll let you know how things are going next week! I love you Mom!
By the way, I saw Malcolm's email, and that is so crazy thinking he is in the MTC. They can't email from Tonga? Why is that? That's pretty cool I guess though, getting to write so many letters, it's old fashioned! Hopefully it's not as snail-like as it is down here. Wow, that picture of Malcolm just shocks me, he seemed so young when I left. But he looks older already. And a lot more like his dad haha. I´m just super excited that our stake and 4th Ward have so many missionaries out, all at the same time!! It's really cool to think about. :) I love being an Elder! There´s nothing more satisfying for me right now than to be doing this. All of you who could possibly try it, should do it!
Elder Tyson Gibbons