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