Monday, October 28, 2013

Hello from.... Mendoza!!

Well, does that end your suspense? We finally found out transfers Tuesday night, and I am now in Mendoza Centro, close to the Plaza Independencia, basically where ALL the famous attractions of the Mendoza elders are found, the zoo, Cerro de la Gloria, hikes in the mountains, giant parks, dowtown Mendoza.... does that give any information about the kind of area I´m in??

So, I am now in a very, VERY RICH area, completely different than where I´ve ever been in my mission. It's been a hard change. I´m still not used to it, and even Elder Connolly, my new companion (he arrived with Elder Fullmer, so this is his 4th transfer), has a map and is always looking at it, because it's just so many streets and it's a BIG area. It's going to take a little longer to become familiar with everything. Another interesting thing! Our area was split this transfer, and we share the same ward with two Hermanas! So that's interesting, although it makes our job and their job a little easier, less area to cover. Another interesting thing: our ward is the ward where President Ávila´s family goes every Sunday, how´s that for pressure?!?!  It's beeen super good, and they told me that Hermana Ávila had only come twice in the last month or so, and that President had never come--they're always off visiting other zones. Guess who was there yesterday? Haha ALL of them, it was so cool!!! I´ve met a few members, but know the names of two of them so far, a recently married couple from Buenos Aires. She was baptized only 2 months ago!! And then the ward mission leader. But, things will improve, right?
So, if you´re going to look up the area or anything, just look for the Plaza Independencia, then close to north is the Parque Central, and we live right next to that. So we have a LOT of area. We live just to the east of the street Peru, there´s a roundabout and then to the east there´s another roundabout, surrounded by apartment complexes, and we live in one of those. We have four kioscos beneath our pench, plus a laundry mat (AWESOME!!!! Laundry took 30 minutes today, and it's cheap! I´m happy about that at least). And the other crazy news... it's a four man pench!! Four elders!! I´ve never had one of those, and from what I saw in Necochea and Reitro in San Juan, it's crazy. And it has been. It's me and Elder Connolly, then Elder Degracia from Panama and Elder Alfaro (who is from my group) from Peru. It's interesting. It's not one of the nicest penches... but oh well, I won't complain!
So Elder Manjarres from San Luis, who I mentioned a few times at the beginning of my mission, is with Elder Southwick now! I hope things are going well for them. I spent the entire week taking pictures and teaching one last time all the people I had met, and they all were very grateful for everything we helped them with. It was hard to say goodbye to all of them. And A_____ (the one that's active but can't be baptized yet, so active but not active) and her two inactive daugthers and the rest of their active kids came to church like I said. And then on Thursday I went to the meeting with Bishop to say goodbye, took pictures, and they showed up--A_____ and the two oldest daughters, and had bought me ice cream, and a watch! Way surprising, but they told me they just wanted to say thank you somehow for all the help I gave them. So I was very grateful as well. And then at 10:30 Bishop finally finished his meeting and we went with him to his house (pretty weird, usually a bishop would be pretty upset about being out so late... ). But we went and talked with them and they thanked me as well, made us pizza, and then brought us home. And Friday morning, I was out of there. Super hard to leave.... but I´ll just keep the good memories and try and make some here! I'll send pictures next week, the cyber here doesn't have usb ports that I can see.
As for a good memory, for lunch yesterday we went with this guy in his car to his house, and he lives literally at the foot of the mountains, PASSING the huge park and the zoo and the stadium and just up and up and up. Literally the edge of civilization (I told you it's a rich area).  And even though his house is just simple, it's surrounded by mansions, and the land he owns is just priceless. I took pictures. It looks over ALL of the city, it's even higher than Cerro de la Gloria. Really really cool, plus he made us asado, but a real asado. We had pig, steak, chorizo, and guess what else? MORCILLA, or better known as, blood sausage :/  I ate it... I´m not a big fan. I couldn't get the memory from Ecuador out of my head, where I touched it, licked my finger, and just tasted blood. Thankfully there was some onion with the blood! But it was all really good still!! Way cool family. He offered to go with us on a Monday to hike Cerro Arco, the mountain that the elders usually hike. So we´ll try and do that some time! And also, one of the AWESOME things that the member pointed out to us on the way to his house, was a big empty lot, fenced off, just below his house, looking over all of the city. He looked at me and asked me what I thought of the lot. And I remember something Elder Day told me about... it was the land for the Mendoza Temple, whenever they announce it!!!! SOOOO COOOOOL!!! Everyone will flock to it, it's literally like the Bountiful and Draper temple sites, but we´re in Argentina so it stands out more. Or it will. And even crazier, it's right next to a GIANT Catholic school, so hopefully there won't be any crazy things that happen. And it's also across the street from Orange County, Mendoza. It's not really called that, but it's seriously the absolute richest neighborhood I´ve seen in the mission. It looks like the States, and it's all part of our area. Just crazy, huh?? If you want to look up where the member lives, he lives in a part called Challao, it´ll probably come up on a map if you look it up. Anyway, that was all the crazy stuff... before lunch. After lunch, he took us through the huge park, showed me all the cool things to see, gave me a tour bascially, so things I´ve wanted to be doing my entire mission all happened in about 3 hours... just ridiculous. It's still the Mendoza mission, but it's super weird at the same time. Very different. I´ll get used to it soon, hopefully!
Updates on the Albardon people, yes we´ve been working with the less active man and his girlfriend, and also his cousin's family. They are both the G_____ families, and we´re trying to help them get active again and those who aren't members to get baptized! I don't know how to ask Elder Southwick, so I might not know until December, and I hope not to get any bad news! :/ As for Maria, I went twice to say goodbye to them, and thankfully none of us got emotional, but I did as I was walking away. I told them that when they go to the temple to get sealed, I want to send them one of those pictures of the temple and their family name, just like you and Dad bought and is now hanging in the living room/hall. I will pay with my own money, but I already told them I will get it for them. I love that family so much, and I missed Maria´s talk on Sunday! But she had already prepared it on Tuesday when we went the first time, so I don't worry at all! Hopefully Fabian could go to church and not have to worry about taking care of the nephew like he has the last month... And the family that Elder Hone and Elder Southwick found have been listening still, but used Mothers Day as an excuse to not come to church. So I'll be asking Elder Southwick about them as well. We met even more of her kids, so there are a lot we were teaching, but we will see. BUT! On Monday night, we had a recorrido with two kids from Campo Afuera that were invited by one of their friends from the Rivadavia Ward, who came ALL the way from there to Albardon to do the recorrido. We put a fecha and taught them a really good lesson. I want to find out if they came to church!!! But it will all have to wait.
Thank you for the pictures! And yes, Karla is one of the members of the ward in Albardon. She will soon be the second missionary serving from the Albardon Ward! Both in Brasil, crazy huh?
I´m glad your trip to Seattle turned out well! I loved Seattle when we went. And next time you see Kali and Rob, tell them I say hi as well!  I can't believe Nathan is learning ukulele now, that's so weird... but cool too! He can play with Elder Southwick then haha, although I dont know how good Elder Southwick played ukelele, he was mostly guitar.
So being the new district leader here, I have A LOT of things to take care of and fix... thank you Dad and Mom both for sharing your thoughts about testimonies and the Spirit. I have always been really hard on myself, and so when I say that I feel much more secure spiritually now than before the mission, I still have little voices doubting, but I just ignore them. If there is anything I´ve received during the mission, it's been the help to re-align my testimony to be vertical and not horizontal. I still have a lot to do! But I don't care, at least I am willing to do it and keep moving forward! It's hard because one of the elders in my district just does whatever he wants. He´s been watching youtube videos this entire time in cyber, and it's on the main computer so the sound is really loud, and it's really distracting.  As a leader I have to help him correct it, but sadly I think he started out like that, so the roots are deeper than they should be... I´ll try and help him, but if that's any sign at all, I´m definitely not being the normal teenager I was before the mission. The mission is too sacred for me to be doing all the things I did before, like he´s doing now. It honestly just makes me really sad that someone would waste such an amazing opportunity... :/  I´ll get on that soon. It's not just here at the cyber, it's every day... so I'll try and fix things. It's a lot of responsibility. I have felt overwhelmed since I got here last week. But, it doesn't matter!  I hoped to never see that kind of attitude in a member of the Church or a missionary (even though I KNOW that no member is perfect, nor ever will be).  It's very sad to think that not all have super strong testimonies. But oh well!
We have to go now, but I will let you know how things go this next week! And I'll send pictures. We´re going to play soccer now, thank goodness! It's been so long!!! I love you all and hope you have a great week! Until next time,
Elder Tyson Gibbons

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