So this last week has been the best week of this transfer by far! We had a really good week. The zone meeting turned out really good, and we talked about it yesterday in the leader meeting that we´re pretty sure everyone has taken to heart what we taught and shared, because EVERYONE had a really good week this last week. One of the areas, Rivadavia, had eleven investigators show up to church! That's just unheard of! But we´re pretty sure it has something to do with the meeting. My part turned out well, and so did all the other ones, so all in all it was a very spiritual meeting!
As for riding the spiritual wave after conference, yes I think that also made a big difference in our week! And we got a lot of the people that came to conference to come to church yesterday too! Yesterday was a really good Sunday basically. It started out almost exactly like the missionary work-Sunday when everyone showed up late?? It was five minutes till 10 and there were like three families there. I was starting to get a little worried, but I didn't let myself get too worried. I had to bless the sacrament and I was just sitting up there wondering why no one that we had invited had shown up, and during the sacrament hymn, Elder Southwick who was passing with Valentín, whispered, "ELDER GIBBONS" and when I looked at him he just had the biggest smile on his face, and I looked back into the far benches, and the ENTIRE familia Chavez had shown up: the mom who always comes, with the three youngest daughters who always come, but also with Juan, Arantxa, and Mayra. So that put a smile on my face. And then after the sacrament, Bishop gave his testimony, and another hermano did, and then no one stood up. and I was feeling that normal feeling like "You should go up. Do it." And I resisted a little longer, and then I got up. And right as I got up, another less active family showed up and sat in the back, and so I was super happy, and then I started bearing my testimony and I just told everyone how much I really did love them and was thankful for having met them, and I started talking about not getting discouraged, because that same Sunday there were a few people there that I thought just wouldn't ever come, and there they were (I´m pretty sure they knew who I was talking about) and then I got a little emotional because right when I was talking about that, two more inactive families walked in the door, sat down, and just looked up at me, and the feeling I had is impossible to describe, it was like God was telling me, through all those people, "Look, you haven´t been working so hard for nothing, look at the changes you´ve helped make." And so I just lost it, couldn't speak for a little bit, and then finished and sat down. But it's super crazy... if I hadn't followed that feeling to go up there when I did, that timing wouldn't have been so perfect, and I definitely wouldn't have felt the same reassurance as I did. SO, lesson learned, FOLLOW THE SPIRIT! Sometimes I think God has the best, most simple gifts planned for all of us, if we just keep pushing forward and never give up. I think that's one major truth I´ve learned here in Albardón.
So the testimony meeting was really good, even more so because there were a few people that haven't come for a good while and that were there, but one of them stood up and bore her testimony, which I think was rekindled on Friday when we did a ward activity. Remember how we´ve never been able to do recorridos or church tours so far? So we planned a ward activity where we just did a recorride with every family that showed up, and it turned out GREAT! They all LOVED IT! And the Spirit was super strong. But this hermana came to the activity, she´s a less active sister of the ward mission leader, and she didn't stop thanking us the whole time, and then she got up in sacrament meeting and thanked us a few more times, and talked about how that activity reminded her of how good she feels being in the church and made her feel at home. She participated A LOT in the Gospel Principles class and basically we got some more attendances from here on out. Which is good! We still need them. Yesterday we had about 60 people, which is so much better than when I first got here. We´re making it to the goal!!
So, as for seeing THAT goal be acheived, I´m not sure if I will be here to see it! This is the last week in the transfer, and I´m honestly not sure at all if I will stay or go. I´m 50/50 right now. Yes Elder Southwick is new, and I feel like I need a lot more time to help him, and I told President that, but then I think about Elder McBride who also trained his 4th transfer, he trained Elder Chipman one transfer and then left. But he left and went up as district leader, and I´m already district leader, so that's another 50/50 reasoning. So I just don't know... I´ll be letting you know tomorrow! But I told everyone in sacrament meeting that it's possible my last testimony bearing opportunity in sacrament meeting, and then everyone was asking me where I was going, when, why, all those questions, and I just told them, well I dunno. Haha but we will see...we talked about it in the leader meeting yesterday too, Elder Thurgood for sure is leaving, Elder Pyne is for sure leaving, Elder Gonzalez is leaving, Elder Rojas is leaving, Elder Varney & Reynolds are in bascially the same situation as me, so we don't know, and Elder Nazareno is leaving. Just about half the zone! Elder Reynolds, Elder Varney and I are the only three oddballs that we aren´t sure about yet.
So on Saturday we went to Bishop´s house for lunch, and we got surprised by an asado! So that makes six I think in my whole mission, and this one was in the oven not the parilla, so it still only half counts I think. But it was SUPER good, I ate more than everyone else. I felt pretty crappy after haha, but imagine the flank steak that you make, Mom and Dad, and then take one piece and multiply it by 10, and that was the size of the pieces we ate. And I ate three of them. Haha I was pretty hungry. And then afterwards we went and I met the family that Elder Southwick and Elder Hone met and taught on Thursday when we did intercambios (oh yeah, I'll talk about that in just a second) and we met another one of the daughters and put fechas or baptismal dates with the mom and three daughters! They are a way cool family. The mom wants to change her life so she´s really receptive. They didn't come to church but they told us next week is super possible, so we´re just going to commit them good this week.
So we did intercambios with the zone leaders Thursday and Friday. I went to Retiro to work with Elder Thurgood, and we had a really really good day. We saw miracles Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. That always happens, intercambios are just full of miracles. So with Elder Thurgood we visited some of their investigators, put four fechas and met this really cool family that accepted us really well. We also bought empanadas for lunch Friday and they were WAY good.
But we had a really successful day, and I got to know Elder Thurgood more, and I really learned A LOT from him, plus he helped me get excited about the work, not that I was getting complacent or anything, but he boosted my excitement even more, there´s no doubt as to why he is a leader right now. He´ll be at UVU when I get back, and I guess a lot of other elders will be too, so I´m definitely going to hang out with them a few times, reminisce good memories from the mission! But before that, I have 7 more months to MAKE those memories, thank goodness!!!
So yesterday we ate a lot of empanadas again, and I dont think it settled well with me. I think a few of them weren't fully cooked or the meat wasn't at least, so this morning was a painful, long morning. But I feel fine now! Except it's really hot in this cyber and they aren't turning the fans on. But oh well, those are just mission experiences I guess! Oh and before I forget, I´ve been telling the other elders about the "Ogaard slip," that lovely uplifting conversation we had with Dad and the Ogaards before heading off to BYU. They were talking about them in the mission. But they all get a kick out of/are completely disgusted thinking about it. Thankfully that has NEVER happened to any of us, probably because we don't have bikes. Phew.
So I am on lds.org and looking at the Conference highlights, it's way cool!!! They have the quote from the actual talk in video, then they have it written, and then they have a cool little uplifting poster thing for each of the talks as well. It's super cool! I would definitely buy some of those and put them up on my wall or in my house, that is, when I have my own house.... But they are really powerful, go look them up! I got the same conference feeling inside just reading those short quotes, but it goes to show how powerful the Apostles' and Prophet´s words are for us. I think a few of my favorites are from President Monson´s talk in the opening session Saturday morning, Elder Ballard, President Uchtdorf´s from Priesthood session, President Eyring´s from the Sunday morning session, and Elder Scott´s from Sunday. Look them up, the quotes are really cool! And the picture poster things too.
Anyway, this is the last week of the transfer, and we´re going to make sure we go out with a bang, figuritively speaking. It's going to be an awesome week! We have many people to teach and this ward needs as many as it can get!
I love you all, and I hope all your endeavors continue being fruitful and successful, and that you all find the happiness you are looking for!
If there are any little words of wisdom I can leave with you all, it would be to persevere, even when you don't see the results you are hoping for, because eventually, as He always does, God will give you your reward, and it will ALWAYS make up for the seemingly fruitless and pointless efforts. I know it is true, that's honestly been my entire life. The things of most value in this life NEVER come without heartache, sacrifice, and perseverence.
Elder Tyson Gibbons