So, this isn't going to be super long I don't think, but it was a very good week! Our focus kind of shifted from finding new people and teaching and everything to visiting A LOT of less active people and getting them to General Conference. Maybe we as missionaries can't get people to come back to chruch or feel the Spirit super strongly, but I think that's a good job for the Prophet and Apostles! Haha, but in all seriousness, things turned out super well yesterday.
So Saturday we had lunch with the family that usually gives us food on Sundays, and that made us late to the first session, so we missed the first half, and got there for the last 5 minutes of Elder Bednar´s talk. I was a little disappointed. but it all turned out well afterward! We had the gringo room again, but a lot more elders this time. In Maipu there were only three of us. But here we were nine I think. And getting there last always left me the crappy corner spot where there was a glare on the TV the whole entire time. But it's alright, it helped me realize that it doesn't matter if I see or not, I just need to be able to hear! So Saturday was really good, just a really late night with the priesthood session starting at 9 at night, but thankfully the bishop brought us home afterwards! And then Sunday, we had a rented bus just like for Stake Conference to bring everyone who needed a ride, and that was where things got crazy.
SO! During the week we spent a lot of time, like I said, visiting less active families, and committing them to come to Conference. So as missionaries down here we're allowed 200 texts a month, and I´m pretty sure I used about 40 of those just yesterday, communicating with the bishop and families we couldn't walk with since we went to Campo Afuera. So first of all, we woke up, and I just felt dead. I felt like maybe I was getting pnemonia like Elder Rogers did because I had no energy, was coughing (but only a little bit, he was coughing really bad) and I was stuffed up and congested and just tired. So I took a nap because that's what Elder Ence (mission nurse) told Elder Rogers to do when that happened. So then I woke up, we got ready and left. We got to Campo Afuera on a completely different bus route (there was a crash and the road was closed, another one of the hectic conversations trying to communicate with the bishop and the bus driver) and we went to the familia Muñoz first, and they were still just finishing getting ready, so we told them that the other family was already at the corner waiting, and they all showed up by themselves. Then we went by another family of investigators who said they would try to come, and we show up and they tell us they aren´t going to go, they have things to do. And then we go by the less active part member family that promised us they would come, and they were outside with other family members drinking and smoking.... so that didn't give me much hope. Thankfully I wasn't let down too much though! Elder Southwick was a little more let down, he had made them promise us, and for him, his word means everything. You give your word to someone, and if you don't fulfill, it's already almost impossible to trust them. So, he was pretty upset, and now we´re worried that this guy really does lie a lot, since his girlfriend/wife always rolls her eyes and tells us he´s not telling the truth. The frustrations of missionaries!!! So they said they were going to come alone late, which sadly but truly usually means they aren't coming. So they didn't come either! But we went to the familia Subieri, the family we´ve helped activate so far, and they helped us bring their family members that live next door, the familia Marinero, and then the mom of another less active fmaily came, and then the mom and a few grandkids and one of her kids all came too! And the bishop was VERY happy, but so were Elder Southwick and I.
We were sweating and making calls and trying to get people to hurry up (the people who were making the bus wait) AND ironically slow down (the bishop and the bus driver who called us, told us to walk to the bus, and then started driving away right as we started walking...?) but all turned out well in the end! We had more less active families with us than we did active! Which I think is just absolutely awesome! Our goal of 100 in attendance seems so much more achievable now, and I think the members and the bishop realized that. It was funny, the first words the bishop told me Sunday morning when we finally got on the bus were "Oh elder you have been driving me crazy this whole morning!" But it's kind of hard to round everyone up, then walk fast with a bunch of younger kids and moms in high heels. But obviously we got to Conference and those stressful feelings went away REALLY fast!
So after the first session, everyone started getting out their food they had packed, and we hadn't brought anything because the family we usually eat with on Sunday told us they had brought food for us, but then EVERYONE just started offering us food, even people from other wards that I went and talked to. It was pretty cool, but I felt like a manipulator a little bit, like the people thought we just wanted food instead of talking to them. It wasn't true! But I had some delicious empanadas, pizza, sandwiches, and a couple fruits! I also taught Valentín how to tie a tie, and now he´s super excited about it, and his dad was pretty impressed. María told me that she had something to tell me about the first session, and I asked what, and she said, well can you guess what it is? And I said, well I bet all those scriptures they mentioned were ones you have read! And she just smiled and started laughing and I was just speechless. A normal Sunday makes sense, there are a few scritpures mentioned, but CONFERENCE?? With scriptures being quoted right and left, she recognized all of them! That woman has a gift. But they LOVED Conference! Honestly, the part that made my day was when I tried to take pictures with Valentin, and Fabian came back and told Valentin to hurry up so they could get seats up front! :) How could you not feel good after hearing that?? Other than that, I ate a lot of junk food, got pickpocketed by a kid from a different ward (he stole a sheet of stickers than Scott and Jennifer sent me) and then he wouldn't stop interrupting us in the gringo room. But everything else was AWESOME! :)
On the way home I met more people that had shown up by themselves but are less actives from our ward, and then we were the last ones on the bus, so we cleaned and said goodbye to everyone as they got off, and it all went really well!
So, to go a little more in depth with Conference, I will share a few things I really liked!
I really liked Gifford Nielson´s talk, he was very motivational, and I liked his remarks about the exclamation point so often! After his talk we all just looked at each other and were surely all thinking, " Whoa. That was awesome." And then I really liked Elder Ballard´s talk about member missionary work, I loved how a lot of Conference was concentrated on missionary work, especially after that broadcast in June. I loved Elder Scott´s talk, and I really liked how he mentioned that there is a difference between weaknesses and rebellion, and now tomorrow I have to speak about something along the lines of that in zone meeting, so I´m going to use some of his comments! I loved the talk from Elder Nelson as well as Terence Vinson-- he told us how the Lord can bless us SO much more when He can TRUST us, and that has a lot to do with me right now, so it stuck out to me a lot. But they were ALL really good talks. I will read the ones I missed next week once they are online, and that way I can learn everything I needed to know!
And Mom, about Elder Holland´s talk, I was thinking about Uncle Dave as well, with his physical infirmities, and it struck me very hard and strongly. It was one of the most spiritual moments of this General Conference. I miss him a lot too.
I can't even really think of anything else to talk about. It's just been a blur of a week, and Conference went by WAY too fast... I only have one more Conference in the mission! :( I can't believe that! But today is just the start of a new week, and it will be a good week too. Zone meeting is always motivational, and hopefully my part turns out well. And then we have the rest of the week to work hard! No distractions this week!
Oh and Dad, Elder Southwick had to go to Mendoza alone to get his visa papers done, just like Elder Day and I went to Mendoza last fall. It was a big surprise but it all turned out well.
Today I think we might just hang out with Elder Hone and Elder Thurgood, since Elder Pyne and Elder Torres had to go to Mendoza this morning. I don't really know why, neither did they. But it will be a good Monday for sure! I hope your week turns out well as you start doing all the awesome new stuff the prophets and apostles and leaders have taught us this weekend! I know you´ll all see little miracles as you do it, and I plan on doing it all as fast as I can, because this ward still needs some miracles!
One last thought that I really, really liked from President Monson, and I hope you think about it before every decision, whether big or small, that comes during this week, " Will I falter, or will I finish?" I plan on finishing, as the Savior did with his earthly mission, and is with His eternal mission now! We have a lot of work to do, and we frankly just can´t afford to falter anymore. The world already has faltered and gone away from a lot of truths and doctrines, and I don't want to add to it, that's for sure. I´m sure none of you do either! So keep up the good work, keep being examples! There is always someone to help.
Elder Tyson Gibbons
PS--The photo is our Star Wars picture, thanks to Elder Southwick´s special effects knowledge. Oh yeah, I forgot that question Dad. Elder Southwick is a musical genius because he plays guitar, piano, harmonica, violin, cello, drums, and a few others instruments with strings, and plus he sings really well. He had his own band before leaving on the mission, so that's pretty cool too.