Monday, September 30, 2013

Ups and Downs

Hey Mom! Yes I got your email last week, I read it before leaving, but we were headed out fast. It was a good pday, we were going to try the "best ice cream in San Juan," and then the member that was going to drive us couldn't, so that was a bummer. And today, I think we might just be going back to Albardon to clean and rest a little. We have a really good week planned though, it's going to be awesome!

So yeah, this last week has been pretty frustrating, mostly because we found a LOT of awesome people on Tuesday when I did intercambios with Elder Torres, from Paraguay, and then the rest of the week those people wouldn't answer our calls or texts, and were NEVER HOME. Then Elder Southwick went to Mendoza this last week, so much for a normal week! And he went alone, he was pretty proud of it haha. But it meant we lost two days of work, AGAIN.  Then on Friday we had an activity like the one we had with the flia Muñoz (the one when they came to church that next Sunday), and it's supposed to be for people to invite friends. But when we showed up 45 minutes late, there were only four member families at the activity, with NO friends or invited people, and the person in charge didn't even come. So we had a very makeshift activity. And then on Saturday it was FREEZING, after being spring weather all week. And then to top it all off, we got some scary news from Bishop. If this ward doesn't have 100 people at Sacrament Meeting and at church on Sundays by the end of the year (so in three months), they´re going to shut down the ward and everyone will have to go on bus or in car 20 minutes to Chimbas.
So... we´ve had that in our mind constantly now, and then everything seemed to be getting worse Sunday morning, because yesterday was Missionary Work Sunday, where people are supposed to bring friends and all the classes are focused on missionary work. I had to speak, and the ward mission leader had to speak. I texted the ward mission leader 15 minutes into the meeting (sorry, I know I never did that back home), because he wasn't even there yet. I was pretty frustrated. We were singing one of the hymns like "Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel," a working song, and I just couldn't sing because I was super frustrated. The familia Muñoz didn't even come to church, and no one knows why yet. So, with all that background, that's why I was in a rough moment yesterday morning in Sacrament Meeting at 10:20.
(Alright, I just realized I'm starting this email off really bad, but don't worry, it gets better.)  I´ve never felt so disappointed or frustrated in my mission, and it was super hard, especially since no one realized until Sunday that they would have to go to Chimbas, a HUGE sacrifice, if they don't take advantage of what they have right now. But, as always, the good moments come after the hardest ones. While I was sitting there being sad and frustrated, I didn't want to look behind me at the congregation because I didn't want to be disappointed. I heard a few people come in during the first 20 minutes, but I didn't see who was there until I got up to speak, once again with only 10 minutes left in the meeting, and with one more speaker after me, plus the prayer and music. So again I didn't get to say even a fourth of what I had prepared (super frustrating), and when they handed me that dumb TIME paper, my mind went blank. So that didn't help. But I realized that there were quite a few people in the meeting, I just hadn't seen them come in. PLUS there was a man that I met with Elder Rogers who refused to come to church until he could pay tithing, who came to stake conference, and now he came to sacrament meeting! So that was way cool. And then after Sacrament Meeting I found out that A_____ the daughter of the lady who can't get baptized yet but is the most active in her family, came to church too! First time in a couple years, and the first time in my time here.  I've been trying to get that family to church for MONTHS now, so that kinda just helped me realize that I am making a difference, even if it's small. I was curious, so I asked her why she came to church, and she didn't give me an answer, but we took advantage of the moment and asked her to come to Conference, and to come on Sundays. We taught a little lesson, plus she wants to learn piano, so we offered to teach her and do like a 30 minute piano lesson (since Elder Southwick is a musical genius), and then talk a little, and maybe we can get her other inactive siblings to the church. So that was very cool as well. So after church, everyone was super happy, because we had the highest attendance in my whole time here, even though they were all members.
So yeah, things got a lot better. I feel pretty lame for having felt so frustrated, especially since all the members came and told me MUCHAS GRACIAS por su discurso, or in English, thank you so much for your talk, it was beautiful, or it was really good. So that was a big surprise but helped too. It's just very interesting to realize so plainly that God always blesses us after the trials and hard times, just like he did for Nephi in Helaman 10:2-5. Those verses helped me alot yesterday. 
So yeah, that was last week, we worked like crazy, taught a lot, and besides the frustration that I had, it was a really good week.  (Elder Southwick is great. A good thing about him being new, he is still down for ANYHING and was constantly telling me to cheer up and have more faith.)  And this week is going to be AWESOME with General Conference!!! I can't believe it's already General Conference time though... it's the third one so far :( which means only one more on the mission... it's so crazy. But that's alright, I'm going to take advantage of it as much as I can!
Jjust a funny coincidence (or was it...? I don't belive in those anymore), I read D&C 26. It gave me some encouragement this morning in my personal study. You can read it if you want!

SO!! That's all about last week.  Anyway, for this week, we´ve found a new game type thing, they´re called trompos, and they´re like big wooden tops with a string, and you spin them really fast and you can do stuff with them. So we were doing that today. But yeah, it's cool, it took me awhile to get it down, and now I get it every time. Too bad I don't have a soccer ball... I need one badly. It's been almost 6 months since the last time I played. That's ridiculous!!  Elder Barrera (who was with me in Maipu the beginning of this year) just told me to go play soccer with him and Elder Johnson and Elder Gauna and a few other elders, but I don't think it'll happen, because it's the other zone, and we would have to go all the way back to Albardon and get clothes... dang. Hopefully soon then!
So last week I wrote Hermana Christensen, our teacher from the MTC, and she wrote back today! It was good to talk to her, and plus somehow I just happened to write her last week, and it was her birthday last Monday! So that was a pretty cool "coincidence," although I felt like I should write her, since I had procrastinated it for months, just kept forgetting. But it was cool to talk to her! Today I'm going to send a quick one to Hermano Snyder, and maybe Hermano Hale, who wasn't our teacher but helped and subbed a lot, and I just found out that he was one of the teachers for Elder Southwick as well! And Elder Southwick told me he moved to Spain with his wife, since she was from Spain! Crazy. We were in the MTC when he got married, hahaha funny story... but for a different time. 
So as for the sno cones, I'm pretty excited I guess. I wish those existed down here, although today isn't super warm either, we´ve had pretty crazy Oregon weather down here this last week. But whatever, it'll go away soon, and I'm fine with the SUPER hot San Juan weather staying away for now. 
I'm surprised Oscar knew those were my cleats Nathan wore last week!! Haha that makes me feel special that he remembered. They were special cleats anyway, no one had anything like them, until I got the black ones and then Casey copied me :) But yeah, now I have the blue ones and I've never seen them anywhere else. So I guess that's cool! What kind does Nathan have? Did he follow the cheap, millions of pairs-style like Jalen, or did he buy quality for a little more and not worry about quantity? ;) Just wondering.
Congrats Kate!!! Sounds like you´re doing very well in school!!!! :) Keep working hard!
We didn't get asado or empanadas like we wanted last week, but I did buy asado flavored Doritos for lunch on Monday! They´re pretty good, haha maybe they´ll come out in the States (not likely). It's been a long time since we had an asado...
Elder Day goes home the 3rd of December! So one and a half transfers left! It's crazy. Maybe Elder Fullmer will train this next transfer and we can get a 4 generation picture somehow! (not likely either)
So we´re going to go and buy a lot of food and snacks for the gringo room for General Conference, so I´m gonna finish this up! But thank you for the pictures, Hallie is super cute! It's weird thinking I still don't know some of my own cousins! And I'm glad you found that other photo with us playing Teg, I wanted that one! (I found it on Elder Pyne's blog--thank you Pyne Family!)  That's such a long time ago.... weird. I love you Mom! Good luck with all the many things you´re doing, piano, sports, church, piano lessons, etc. I definitely couldn't organize all of that as well as you have!! You´re a great example :) I love you Dad and Nathan and Kate as well! Keep working hard in school and work and everything! Until next week!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, September 23, 2013

Family Reunion!

Three generations:  Elder Southwick and Elder Fullmer (my sons),
Elder Day (my dad), and me!
Meeting with Elder Nunez of the Seventy.
Can you find me?
Hey Dad and Mom!

Elder Southwick is doing very well, he has started speaking a lot more this last week, and I think the initial shock has passed, so now he´s starting to meet everyone and talk openly. It's quite nice, last weekend I was genuinely worried. His humor will definitely help him through, since these last two weeks it's already worked, and I'm not sure there´s any stopping it, he is just a naturally funny, story telling kind of person. We didn't get to teach a bunch this last week, since it was still cold and EVERYONE was inside, except us of course. 
The familia Muñóz is doing well too, María keeps sharing a bunch of crazy dreams that she keeps having, and she is very very converted. We are focusing on the other three family members. Valentin is very good friends with Facundo and is just a good kid, and Lucila really really likes Young Womens and the Personal Progress book, so we´re hoping she can avoid any type of problems. María keeps them on track very well, so I don't worry too much. With General Conference coming, I see it as just another confirmation that they are in the right place.
That's pretty interesting about the snow cone business... I guess I can enjoy some snow cones for the year long summer I´m going to have whenver the heat picks up here! It was quite a surprise though. So is Nathan still going to mow lawns? That's going to be a crazy few summers in a row!

Thanks for those quotes, I really liked all of those, and I really really like the talk The Laborers in the Vineyard, so that had a special place for me. This work is definitely not easy, but there are so many Christ-like attributes that we can work on and improve to help us along the way, especially since our companionship is vital to the success of the work, and if there is anything depriving us of the Spirit, things won't work out very well. 
The conference with Elder Nuñez was really really cool. It was very spiritual and he gave a lot of good counsel that I felt I could work on and improve. I guess that's what the Spirit does, right? Tells us what we need to hear. Elder Southwick was struggling, poor elder, he was half asleep the whole time, since we didn't have the best night's sleep the night before, having to sleep in the other elders' pench. But he still felt the Spirit and when he was fully alert and conscious he understood most of what Elder Nuñez said, so that was good. We´re going to talk about all that we learned tomorrow in district meeting, so that will be a very good meeting too. For example, one of the things I liked that Elder Nuñez talked about was how the Argentina Mendoza Mission is number 1 in all South America for finding new people to teach, but that the baptisms aren't as high as that finding number should indicate. So we talked about some of the vital steps of the conversion and teaching process, and I learned a lot of what I can do better here, since we do find a lot of people, but hardly any of them progress. And instead of things that they need to do or what we should teach better, he went straight to the primary source, the Spirit, or the lack of said Spirit. He shared Mark 10 with us, the story of the young rich man, and how the young rich man said he had kept all the commandments since his youth (which he then pointed out, how is that possible? We all make mistakes!) but instead of telling him that he was lying, Jesus simply tells him what  his weakness is and tells him to abandon it, sell all that you have, and come follow me. So he committed each of us, to write in our journals that night, what we think Jesus would tell ME personally to abandon, so I did that that night. It was super powerful. He said this phrase a lot, "pay attention to details," but the cool part was, that he actually said it in English! He spoke perfect English, and he told all the latin elders that they need to learn English, and he called it the language of the Restoration, and talked about how some words even in the scirptures aren't translated perfectly to mean the same thing. And he talked about General Conference translators and how they work so hard but sometimes just can't get the exact same message across. And he talked about how him learning English helped him with his job and calling, because guess what, He got to drive President Hinckley´s car all around Santiago when they came to re-dedicate the Santiago temple! It was a very powerful testimony.
That's so cool about Kody´s baptism!!! I´m sure glad he is seeing the fruit of his labors, that defintely is a completely different world and mission, but I'm glad everyone is where they should be!
Oh yeah, yes I gave the money to President Avila, sorry again for all the craziness. I haven't bought another pair of shoes though since he just bought them and I have my two pairs now. So everything is going good.
Wow, you already have plans for a mission then?? That's way cool! I was gonna say, I dunno if we two could support all four of you at the same time. So maybe it's better to wait. Where do you and Mom want to go???
Oh, just a quick note, Elder Pyne´s parents say thank you for updating the blog so quick and nicely. Haha.
Alright I'll send some pictures. One is a "three-generation" photo--with Elder Southwick, Elder Fullmer (my sons), and Elder Day (my dad) and me.  The other is all of us with Elder Nunez, can you find me?
We´re going to get going soon. I love you Mom and Dad! And Nathan and Kate! I hope this week is awesome! I´ll make sure to eat some empanadas and maybe an asado (it's been a long time....) for you all ;)

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, September 16, 2013

Training again!

Hello everyone!!

Man, was it a crazy week last week! It was like 95 degrees on Monday and Tuesday when I was with Elder Fullmer, then Tuesday until today has been FREEZING. I hate this climate change down here, it's not letting me heal completely!!! I´ve been with a runny nose and congestion back and forth for too long haha. But, my new trainee is loving it!! There were like 20 new elders that got here, and only two were latinos, it's CRAZY. So many young, fresh from the MTC elders and a bunch of trainers all getting thrown into the same mix. They took our ties from us trainers and gave one to each new elder, and he had to figure out whose it was, that's how we found out who we were assigned to. When I was assigned, I realized I hadn't talked to him at all before while we were all getting introduced haha, so that was pretty embarrassing. But we´ve talked plenty since then, so there´s no problem. There were also 5 latina hermanas too! That was crazy, and one from Utah. We were just PACKED the whole day. Honestly, the meeting part with President and the assistants lasted 1/3 of the time, and the rest was all interviews, lunch, and get to know each other time.

So my new companion is Elder Southwick, from Utah. He, get ready for this, is 18!!! I can't believe they´ve arrived here now. So, he was in the MTC for six weeks and now has been here for one! Crazy right?? I feel bad, I can't imagine what it would be like coming straight here, since I didn't do that. So the language is definitely a hard challenge. But the good thing is, he´s super excited, happy, and funny, and he doesn't get embarrassed easily, so that will help him out a lot!! I definitely wasn't like that when I first got here. So anyway, it's way weird to think that he just barely graduated, like Tyler and Courtney and all them.
And then seeing Solomon and Kate and Nathan is just SUPER WEIRD, I can't believe they´re in high school. But that's so cool, that sounds like they have a very strong group of members in the high school at this moment! Can I just say, I can't believe Solomon is a senior as well? I know they´re all growing up, but they were always the younger kids, and now they´re where I was at just years ago. Alright, enough of that.
So the familia Muñoz is doing very well! Fabian said the opening prayer in sacrament meeting, the closing prayer in gospel principles, and the closing prayer in priesthood as well (I just mention that because when we first started teaching them, they all refused to pray and told Maria to do it; and now look at them!!), and Lucila gave a talk about friendships! It was AWESOME! She didn't seem nervous or scared at all, and kept her composure the whole time. I tried to imagine my first time speaking, and I'm pretty sure I was red, watering eyes, and shaky voice haha. But nope, she did an awesome job. The only bummer was that Maria was going to invite her dad to come, and we were going to start teaching them, but then she wasn't able to call him, since they have a broken cell phone. She was going to use her daughter's phone, but the daughter disappeared in the morning, and didn't come back in time. So that was a bummer, but this week we´ll foresee that and make sure it happens! Maria was super excited to invite him because we talked about what she could say and practiced with her, it was great!
So to answer your question, yes I´m district leader. When Elder Smith left I was the only one in the district that had more than 2 months in Argentina besides the zone leaders (Elder Pyne and Elder Fullmer arrived together, then a mini missionary...), so by default it fell to me. It was a weird change, I wasn't prepared at all haha. But, that's why you trust in the Lord and just do everything you can for everyone else. That's all I have done, haha.
So about the Everyday Missionary book, I´ve gotten about halfway through, I think. I just read it a little before going to bed, because our studies for the 12 weeks with the newer elders is supposed to be based in the scriptures and Preach My Gospel. So I´ve been doing my best with that, it's been a really good couple of days with Elder Southwick already. But it's a good book! I like how he explains lots of different scenarios and perspectives that lots of us have probably had but that we can never express. I'll definitely be using some of them when I get back!
So Nathan is looking pretty good with those plaid outfits... and MY shoes!! I guess I always forget that we left like two closets full of clothes for him to use. What a spoiled guy! I´m glad the shoes still look nice though. Where on earth did he get that suit and pants?? I like it, obviously not together, but it's pretty cool! Sounds like they had fun for homecoming week! That's sad that we almost tied the football game! It's been a long time since we´ve won haha, but oh well. That is one CRAZY costume that Solomon has on, I bet they probably made that, huh? He´s definitely got the Polynesian culture running in his veins! What a stud. I can't believe he´s a senior and will be going on a mission in less than a year possibly! And that dress Kate has is like a perfect match for Tangled, that was very creative of her. Everyone down here of course thinks she´s beautiful just for her long blonde hair :).... then I tell them she´s only 14 and they don't believe me. It's a classic. You're welcome Kate! :)
So this Thursday we are going to Mendoza as a zone for a meeting with Elder Nuñez, one of the Seventy, I believe, and it's going to be a very spiritual meeting. He sent us 6 sets of scriptures to study before this meeting, and I wanted to share those with you so you could read them and get into the mood of sharing the gospel! Mosiah 28:3, 3 Nephi 28:4-10, Ether 12:13-15, Helaman 10:3-5, Alma 29:1-2, and 1 Nephi 2:16. I read all of those and was super excited to share the gospel, and it will be the same for you! These are 6 different instances in the Book of Mormon, in the lives of different people. But becuase they had the truth, and were filled with the Spirit and with so much faith, they all received the same exact feeling, a desire to share and teach to EVERYONE. And that is an attitude I´m still working hard on developing, because I´m here for lots of reasons, and a lot of those reasons are people, who need my help, and it hasn't been easy. It's not easy, and will never be easy, but that quote you shared Mom was perfect. We all will at one point in life or another pass through our own Gethsemane, but I really liked your insight, that when we find ourselves on that personal path to "Calvary," we need not feel alone or unwanted or forgotten, because being there automatically puts us with the BEST company we could hope for. Our Savior Jesus Christ is already there. It's been hard, but I look forward to those moments because they are when I MOST can trust in the Lord and expect even more blessings and help when I need them. It's amazing.
Since last week was a blur and super short, I don't really have much to report for now! But thank you for all your thoughts and prayers, I feel them always! I know this restored Church and this restored Gospel are true, not because I was convinced, rather, because it was confirmed to me. It's always about our feelings in this Gospel, because with the Spirit at our side, God has the chance to guide us with those feelings to make us the people HE needs and wants, and knows we can be. I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for the changes I´ve made to make myself available for that help and guidance. I recommend the same for everyone, because there is a big difference in how happy I was before and how happy I am now! You´ll see the same thing!
Have a good week everyone! I love you all!

Elder Tyson Gibbons :)

Monday, September 9, 2013


Hey everyone! Buen día!

Well first things first, yes Mom, I got your package yesterday, right in time!! The stake conference was amazing and since President and Hermana Ávila came to speak, they also brought all the mail and everything, and the package was one of the items!!! :) I was super excited, because I wasn't expecting it to come before I left, so I was starting to worry. The only bummer was that three of the sloppy joe packets for Bishop got punctured somehow, so I opened the package and EVERYTHING was covered in/smelled like sloppy joe seasoning. Haha but oh well, everything showed up in good shape, and Mom you can stop worrying because I have the card and it is safe. 
Anyway, that was the first important thing. Second thing... so for the meetings in Mendoza last week, they were leadership meetings, the first big meeting with the zone leaders, district leaders and sister training leaders all together. It was super cool! And very inspiring. And no, I didn't have to travel alone, don't worry. But, speaking of traveling alone... well I´ll get to that. Sorry I'm getting ahead of myself. 
Anyway, about the stake conference, it was super good! Yes, the familia Muñoz came, but María left Fabian in the house with Gonzalo, the little kid, because she didn't want him to be super loud or obnoxious in front of a bunch of people she doesn't know. I guess she wanted to make a good impression. Then we got there, the third ward to make it out of all 8 wards, and she saw all the crazy little kids and felt bad that Fabian hadn't come. But oh well, at least it wasn't because he had a problem or something! But María loved it, and after the two hours she just turned to me with a huge smile on her face and told me that EVERY SINGLE SCRIPTURE that the speakers had used in their talks, she had read them this last week. She thought that was awesome. So did I! She has a gift, I think. We all rode on the bus to stake conference, yes! It was pretty cool. 
But then afterwards they were all in a huge rush for some reason and they left us elders there, because President Avila told us to go to his car to get mail and everything. So we were there waiting for 30 minutes for him to show up, and he never did. But Hermana Avila came and gave us everything, and then we all tried to pry some news for transfers out of her. She only knew a few things, but didn't say anything. Elder wells is going to the offices as secretary, and then when I said goodbye, all she said was "Goodbye Elder Gibbons, take care, we´ll be seeing each other soon...." and I just stopped and turned and asked what she meant, and she tried to cover it up by saying we´d see each other at conference, and that settled my mind. But then ten minutes later I realized, why would I be seeing them at conference if I´m still here?? So I just didn't know what to think at that point. 
But all is well, they called us FINALLY at 10:30 last night to let us know what was happening. So, I guess I don't have anything else to talk about important, so I´ll just let you all know. I am staying! It's crazy, 6 months here in Albardón, just like Elder McBride and Elder Squires. But... it could turn into 7 and a half months... because Elder Fullmer is leaving, going to Lavalle in Guaymallen, to be with one of the Latino elders that came in at the same time as him. So that leaves me without a companion... until Wednesday, because tomorrow I´m going to Mendoza, AGAIN, to get my SECOND kid :) I´m training again! It was such a shock! Dad's prophecies about training are coming true though, there are 27 missionaries getting here tomorrow, and 5 are sisters. (That's way cool that Mountain Home is getting sisters, by the way! Too bad Kate won't be able to hang out with them a whole lot, if they´re way out there in the 2nd ward.) So yeah, as for traveling solo... I´m pretty sure that's what I´ll be doing tomorrow haha. That's going to be an adventure!
So I´ll be letting you all know next week about my companion, although you might see pictures on the mission blog before I let you know! But I´m super excited. I know there´s definitely a reason I´m staying, and a reason I´m training again, since I feel like Elder Fullmer has trained me more than the other way around, so I guess I just need more help! Haha :) But I'm willing to be taught, so let's get it started!
Anyway, other changes in the zone, there aren't many! Only four elders are leaving, Elder Fullmer to Lavalle, Guaymallen; Elder Wright is going to Rawson, in the San Juan zone, next door; Elder Wells is going to the offices; and Elder Braithwaite... is going to Justo Daract!!!!! As district leader!!! I´m so excited for him! Haha he´s going to love it! He was always asking me about Justo since I talk about it all the time, and so did Elder Day when he was with him, so now he will know for himself :) I´m going to send some letters to those families with him! As for the elders that are coming, Elder Reynolds (came in one or two transfers before Elder Fullmer, so 4 transfers ago) as district leader to replace Elder Wright, Elder Baldwin (haven't met him yet) to replace Elder Wells, and Elder Magdaluyo (Elder Fullmer´s MTC comp!) to replace Elder Braithwaite. Pretty cool changes, by far the weirdest transfer I´ve had down here! Going on a year and five months, and only three areas! Crazy...
So Saturday night we had another bonfire, but it is all just really ironic now, since I was burning all the outdated letters I have (I´ve read them all a number of times, and I kept the most recent 5 letters from everyone) but I had no room in my suitcase, so I wanted to get rid of them in a way without worrying about people's information being stolen or anything, so we burned a lot of letters. And now I´m not even leaving yet! But oh well, I feel a lot more orderly and organized. I dunno what I´m going to do in the future, because I literally felt like an evil person burning those letters, how am I ever going to get rid of random clutter in the future, without feeling super bad?? I´ll send a picture though. I took some videos too but those aren't sendable.
Wow, that's a way interesting bit of information, proposing on Temple Square!! But that's pretty crazy that it was Lucas!!! I´m glad Kyle helped out and everything, maybe that will get him excited to be doing the same thing haha. Temple Square is quite beautiful, so that makes sense. That's way cool that Amanda is engaged too! Way weird that we´re getting to that age, I thought it would never happen. Especially being out of the loop for two years haha.
Wow, I can't believe Dylan is coming home this week!!!! I was always wondering when he was going to finish, but I always forget to ask. I bet they are super happy!!!! He´s going to be the same Dylan, but better for sure. I'll meet him eventually, right?? Tell me how he adjusts back to the normal world!!
Wow, that's a pretty interesting story Mom, getting cussed out by a little 80-yr-old lady (my friend and I had an interesting experience on our Meals on Wheels route). Poor lady, just being miserable for over 40 years or more, that's crazy.  I can't say that has happened down here, but yes, I have been rejected and talked to quite a few times! That one is still on my bucket list I guess, maybe it'll happen in the next 9 months! :) Haha usually the 80-yr-old ladies just smile, don't let us share anything with them, and say May God Bless You! It's pretty funny. Just keep serving with all your heart, and people will love you anyway! 
Alright, to answer Dad's question about the showers, no it has nothing to do with cold water, i just don't have room for clothes, snacks, and a towel in my backpack, so I usually just load on the deodorant the day after hahaha then shower when I get back. But I think this time I will bring my towel, because I bought two new ones (it was LONG overdue...) and they´re not as thick, and that way I can shower and shave, instead of looking like I spent the night on the street and then went to a perfume store and sprayed on the closest aerosol there was haha. That's how it's been for the last few trips. But that's pretty funny imagining all the cold showers you took in Chile! The thing is, I hate cold showers. I can't even get over it by screaming. I remember on the jamboree 8 years ago, I think I showered maybe 2 times (I know, gross huh?) because they only had cold water. Don't worry though, in the hotels I showered EXTRA haha. Wow, I'm pretty grossed out by my own lack of hygiene, even 8 years later. I assure you all that it DOES NOT work that way anymore haha.
So this last week Elder Fullmer lost his card. We think he took money out of the ATM and then forgot to take his card back out. It happens quite a bit I suppose, and the poor elder has left the store and the pench countless times without his backback or getting his things. He´s just super concentrated in talking to people and helping, so that's the good thing! But we don't know when he´s going to get a new card, hopefully soon, especially since he´s headed to a new area this week!! We already notified Elder Hardy and he cut the account, so there´s no problem there.
******urgent****** alright not really urgent, but Elder Pyne just notified me that his mom and dad are waiting for you, Mom, to update my blog, because you are a week behind. So they say please update it! Hahaha that just made me laugh, I can't believe how many people are reading the blog! I've still never even seen it...Elder Fullmer was a blog stalker before coming here, so it was creepy when I would talk about a story and he would know how it ended haha, way crazy. But yeah, I guess you should update it??  (I think this is the first week I've completely missed....  Sorry!)
Well we´re going to go eat lunch and head over to Elder Fullmer's last pday with our district, but before finishing, I wanted to share something really special that I studied this morning. I was planning the district meeting for tomorrow, which is about the Book of Mormon and how to better use it in our daily work, so I was studying in Preach My Gospel chapter 5, and even though I´ve read it countless times, I guess the circumstances always change, and it was a really cool study I had. President Ezra Taft Benson talks about how the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion, and why its so important. He names three things it is: 1) it's a witness of Jesus Christ, 2) it contains the fulness of the doctrine for salvation, and 3) it is the foundation of testimony. Those three things made me think about the promise that Joseph Smith gave, that's found in the Introduction that says, "Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book."
If you really want to become more like Christ, which requires understand who He is and what He does, this is the book for you, I highly recommend it. If you want to know if you are on a good path towards salvation, I again recommend this book. And if you want to understand for yourself, and feel in your heart that Jesus is the Christ and that what the book shares and what we teach, as missionaries and members of this Church, is true, read this book. I've done it, all my friends on missions have done it, my family members have done it, the majority of members in the WORLD have done it, and they all came to the same conclusion. They felt that it was true, and that's what happened to me, and thanks to what I've learned and continue learning from the Book of Mormon, I am who I am today.  The changes in me you may or may not have seen over this last year and few months, come from putting myself in line with God's will, and forgetting my own, all of which the Book of Mormon helps to do. Because it doesn't speak about Joseph Smith, he just translated it.  It doesn't speak about a Mormon church, rather that nickname came from the book and people who haven't read it and don't understand (no wonder so many of us always use the phrase "Don't judge a book by its cover").  It doesn't talk about another Christ or another God, because there is only ONE God, and ONE Christ, which is Jesus, and the ENTIRE book talks about them and their purpose and their goals that they have for us, and their plan that they teach us. The verses in 2nd Nephi chapter 33 are some of my favorites:
10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ.  And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, because they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.
11 And if they are not the words of Christ judge ye--for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.
12 And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day.

I as well leave my own impressions, all I have talked about, because I KNOW that the Book of Mormon is a book, a special book, a great gift from God given to this generation, to help us in our confused, difficult, maybe even lonely fight to return to live with God again. I am pretty sure that is the goal that all churches have, right? Well, we have the Book of Mormon, and its words come from prophets of old, just like Moses and Noah, men with the same calling and election from God, and they testify of Christ, the Messiah, and of His way that He has given us to return to be with Him again. I recommend this book, again, to all who have not read it, who have never wanted to read it, and to those who unfortunately maybe have something against it. I promise you all, no matter your situation, that you will find that your doubts and worries and questions will be resolved quickly, but not by the clever words of men, rather by the Spirit of God, which illuminates and instructs and edifies and teaches. In fact, I think it's better to say that you will FEEL them go away more than you will SEE them, the Spirit is a person that is FELT more than HEARD. We just have to put him to the test! Please just do it! Even if you don't have any desires to change religions or anything, read it, and your faith and confidence in Christ will grow, that much I can promise you. And this isn't coming from "super religious, devoted Elder Gibbons" although maybe that falls under the category still, it's coming from Tyson, your friend, relative, cousin, son, brother, peer, and maybe even just acquaintance, and anyone else reading, some random kid you found while randomly looking up Mendoza, Argentina on Google. :) It's a personal invitation.
So I had a really good study, as you can tell, and I´m hoping the meeting turns out well tomorrow too. I'm sure it will. Well I need to get going, I love you all! keep up the hard work with school and work and everything! 
Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mendoza agaiin

Hey Mom and Dad!

Alright, first things first just to get it out of the way, I´ll take the money out and I emailed Elder Spiker and told him I would bring it when I could. He says he doesn't know if President will take it, but I´ll get it out anyway. Sorry for all the hassle, I didn't tell you guys about my shoes because I wasn't worried that much when I left Rodeo del Medio (I left the Men's Wearhouse shoes there, they weren´t usable anymore). But then in the last month or so my other ones got very worn down just because of the area basically. But I´ll solve it as soon as I go to Mendoza, or someone goes. Transfers are this next Sunday, so it's possible I might be headed there a lot sooner than I want... guess we´ll find out.
Anyway, with that out of the way, this week was a pretty crazy week! Our trip to Mendoza was good, the buses weren't as nice, as I expected, and the sleeping arrangements weren't communicated very well either. We got to Mendoza at 9:15, and we´re there deciding whether to take a taxi or the bus. We finally decide on the bus, get halfway to the offices, and the leaders call us and tell me that I need to go to Unimev, that's where me and Elder Wright were going to sleep. So me and Elder Wright got off in the middle of Mendoza and walked around for 30 minutes trying to figure out how in the world to get to Unimev. We finally found a taxi, and thankfully he knew where the chapel in Unimev was, so he got us there. And since that was in my last area´s district, I knew where the pension was as well. So we get there at about 10:20, and we go to the pension, and no one is there. So we´re worried the elders are not being obedient. We go back to the chapel and see a bunch of people playing soccer, and we got even more worried that the elders might be there, but they weren't. So we got the number of their phone and called them, and they had gone to the pension of the zone leaders in Gutierrez, where I went every Sunday for that meeting with Elder Galicia and Elder Alberro. So the assistants freaked out on them, and they got back to the pench in a taxi in about 10 minutes (usually 30 minutes or more in a bus) with a police car following them haha. So that was just a crazy night. We got to bed about 11:30, but it was cool to meet Elder Olaya (Colombian) and see Elder Alaya again (he is in our group, he was with us when we got to Buenos Aires and we came together to Mendoza. He´s from the provincia of Chaco i think). But it was way weird sleeping in that pench knowing that 5 months ago when I was there, there were hermanas there. When they told me I was going to Unimev I freaked out since I didn't know that the hermanas had left, so I thought they were confused. But then I remembered Elder Johnson telling me that the sisters had left when he was district leader there in Rodeo. So yeah, that was fun.
Then all Wednesday we were inside, in the morning with all the zone leaders and district leaders and the new sister leaders, and then in the afternoon there was a new district leader meeting for all of them. But in the first meeting I got to see Elder Day again, and a lot of other elders. Elder Galicia, Elder Villegas, Elder Bulva, Elder Johnson, Elder Hardy, Elder Abad, Hermana Salcedo and Hermana Adorno. I also met Elder Ireland who is in Justo Daract right now, training, and as the new district leader there in Villa Mercedes! (I think I mentioned it, but Villa Mercedes is its own zone now, and Elder Galicia replaced Elder Alberro as zone leader there. The zone is doing really well, and there are hermanas there too! So crazy how things change so much.) So he got rushed out of the second meeting to get to the terminal on time, and I wrote a quick little note to President and Hermana Alaniz, so hopefully they got that! But then I got rushed out too, even though we got to the terminal and all the people from San Juan were still waiting there, and we waited for another 45 minutes. So I could've stayed, but I guess the other mission cars were gone so President had to take us early. I was originally going to be traveling home alone (I felt pretty weird about that), but then since the zone leaders couldn't change their tickets, I rode home with Elder Hone, Elder Thurgood, Elder Marsh, Elder Johnson, and Elder Warner. It was way cool. I caught up a little more with Elder Johnson too.
So we got back Wednesday night, and Elder Fullmer, Elder Pyne, and Elder Torres had set up a bunch of balloons and a banner saying happy birthday for Elder Thurgood, whose birthday was that day. So we stayed the night in their pench and went home Thursday morning bright and early. It was a huge relief to get back to the pench, almost two days without showering is gross, go figure.  Then Thursday and Friday were AWESOME! We basically got all of our work done those two days, since Monday was only a part day and Tuesday as well, but we had a really good rest of the week.

We didn't have anyone come to church yesterday, which was a bummer, because we had at least 8 people invited and committed to come, BUT, Fabian and Valentin came with their shirts and ties, and I blessed the Sacrament with Fabian, and Facundo (who plays the piano really well) and Valentin passed. It was actually super nerve-wracking. I realized too late that I hadn't done that for over 8 months, and then I was nervous for Fabian, who wasn't really that nervous, but that just made me more nervous. But then I got to relax a little, listening to all the testimonies. It was a good Sunday. And I'm SUPER excited for stake conference next week. It was fun traveling with ward members to stake conference in Rodeo del Medio, it should be fun here too! But we´re going to make sure the flia Muñoz gets there, obviously.

So after church María almost always has something to share with us, and yesterday she asked if she could share something and we said OF COURSE. And she told us that on Saturday, she was talking with her dad and stepmom, and they both said they wanted to come to church, also with the 10-year-old sister of Maria, so Maria was SUPER excited and we were too. So next Sunday we´re going to get her parents to church! We´ve had a lot of positive feedback from their family members, but this is by far the most interested that anyone has been. Her dad and mom told her that their perspectives of us and our church changed completely when they went to the baptism, and that they loved how the Mormon people were (as if before they didn't think we were normal humans) and they wanted to come on Sunday. So we´re going to do everything we can!! The ward in ward council as well was super excited about this family, because they also realize that if we can help all the family members to accept this gospel, we would double--maybe even triple--our attendance right now! So we´re all very excited :)

Anyway, other than that, I'm happy because next week is transfers (actually, not because, but that was a sidenote). I'm happy that this area is doing SOOOO much better than it has the rest of this year, and that's why I'm not too worried about transfers. If I leave, which the odds are pointing towards that, even though I don't want to, I will at least know that I followed the Boy Scout camping rule, "Always leave the area better than how you found it." Aren't I just a perfect Eagle Scout?? :) Haha, don't worry, you can burst out laughing. I'm definitely not perfect.

So other crazy news, after church yesterday one of the families got into a taxi to head home, and when the taxi tried to enter the street he hit a scooter with a mom and a 10-year-old-ish boy, and the boy was hurt (we don't know how bad, at least there wasn't any blood or broken bones, I think mostly he was in shock). But then it just got worse when a random old neighbor lady (not old, probably like 45 or 50) came out and started cursing and screaming profanities at everyone there, especially the police, for leaving the boy lying on the side of the road like a dead dog. Besides her, two teenagers decided to take out their vengeance on the police for who knows what, maybe some past offense, and started trying to shove the police out of the way and carry the boy to their car and drive him to the hospital. So they started almost fist fighting with the police officers, and a bunch of spectators and a few members (we have some big members haha) started holding them back. And eventually the police threw them in the back of a patrol car and took them to the police station. Meanwhile the woman is being held back by other neighbors, because she as well was trying to fight the police. All the while, a bunch of little kids and members are watching, hearing all those profanities, and there were a few thoughts going through my mind, and probably at least all the member´s minds, "what can we do to help??" And then something I thought was obvious too was that 1, the police know what they are doing, 2, you are NOT supposed to move anyone who's injured so you don't make the condition worse, 3, you don't assault the police, and 4, screaming, cursing, and yelling, especially profanities, does NOT help a 10-year-old in shock remain calm. I just wanted to shake that lady and tell her to be quiet, and tell her she was making things worse. The ambulance showed up and he was shipped off to the hospital with his mom, who was just quietly holding his head and trying to calm him down with those three crazy people screaming and fighting right next to her. It was so crazy. Thankfully, it appears that the majority of the community understands that its best to give the police and medical people room and let them do their thing, they are the officials. And a bunch of random people were helping these three random crazy people calm down. The dumb part of it all was that the three crazy people didn't have ANYTHING to do with any of it, yet they were escalating the situation so much more than any of the directly affected people.
So that was how our Sunday started off, after we just had the meeting at 4 and then ward concil at 6. Thankfully all the leaders came yesterday. It was by far the best ward council I've had in these last two areas. And then we ate "bombas de papas," or in English, potato bombs, for dinner. They were pretty good. I didn't get any pictures, I totally forgot. But they were just like balls of mashed potatoes filled with eggs and cheese and spices, and I would've just added meat. But it was good.

Anyway, returning to the spiritual side of this email, the meetings with President in Mendoza turned out VERY well. I learned so much, and I came back with my batteries overcharged and ready to work. And I still feel that, because it was such a good meeting. And we have found a lot of less-active families this last week who have people that aren't baptized but that were listening to missionaries last year or a few years ago, and we are going to go by and see if any situations have changed and teach them again. So there are SOO many people that we have to help make it to baptism. And then there was this little practice we did in the meeting, that is really for any member of this church. It's a practice of sharing the gospel. But it is literally only 20 or 30 seconds, and very powerful. We just had to mention SOMETHING that makes our church different than others, give a short testimony, and ask them if they would like to know more. If we get their interest, then they will say yes, and we have a lot more possibility to be able to share more in the future. I know I wasn't a missionary before the mission (a member missionary), but I can tell you with 100% certainty that IT DOES WORK. And there is always something that we can share, without trying to teach anything, to get people´s interest, whether it's another book of scripture teaching and testifying of Christ (the Book of Mormon), the power of God on earth to bless and help and serve all those in need (the Priesthood), a sacred building where we can be sealed as a family for all eternity (the temple), so on and so on. There´s a little challenge, see if you can come up with more! But if you look at the phrase and pretend you don't see the answer, those are some pretty interesting topics, for just about anyone! And I know that those three are true, and I am so grateful to have known these things all my life. And that's why I'm here, because other people need to know them too! 

Anyway, this last week of the transfer is going to be really good. We´re going to find as many people as we can and put baptismal dates with them, so that we can reach our goal of the month of September for our zone and district. It's completely possible, and even though our zone is SUPER young, all the new elders are just studs and are already at the same level that us old people are at. This mission will progress a lot in the future, I know it. Sorry about all the random "SUPER" things, I just can't emphasize in any other way.
I hope everyone enjoyed Labor Day weekend and today as well!  I´m glad to know no one was seriously hurt in that really weird random hail/dust storm. That sounded crazy. And I´m glad everything is going well with school! I love you Mom and Dad! And Nathan and Kate! Keep working hard in school! I´ll talk to you next week!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

p.s. A favorite scripture from this last week, Alma 19:6. I think what's happened over the last year and a few months is definitely similar to that verse, for me. :)