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. :)

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