Monday, September 30, 2013

Ups and Downs

Hey Mom! Yes I got your email last week, I read it before leaving, but we were headed out fast. It was a good pday, we were going to try the "best ice cream in San Juan," and then the member that was going to drive us couldn't, so that was a bummer. And today, I think we might just be going back to Albardon to clean and rest a little. We have a really good week planned though, it's going to be awesome!

So yeah, this last week has been pretty frustrating, mostly because we found a LOT of awesome people on Tuesday when I did intercambios with Elder Torres, from Paraguay, and then the rest of the week those people wouldn't answer our calls or texts, and were NEVER HOME. Then Elder Southwick went to Mendoza this last week, so much for a normal week! And he went alone, he was pretty proud of it haha. But it meant we lost two days of work, AGAIN.  Then on Friday we had an activity like the one we had with the flia Muñoz (the one when they came to church that next Sunday), and it's supposed to be for people to invite friends. But when we showed up 45 minutes late, there were only four member families at the activity, with NO friends or invited people, and the person in charge didn't even come. So we had a very makeshift activity. And then on Saturday it was FREEZING, after being spring weather all week. And then to top it all off, we got some scary news from Bishop. If this ward doesn't have 100 people at Sacrament Meeting and at church on Sundays by the end of the year (so in three months), they´re going to shut down the ward and everyone will have to go on bus or in car 20 minutes to Chimbas.
So... we´ve had that in our mind constantly now, and then everything seemed to be getting worse Sunday morning, because yesterday was Missionary Work Sunday, where people are supposed to bring friends and all the classes are focused on missionary work. I had to speak, and the ward mission leader had to speak. I texted the ward mission leader 15 minutes into the meeting (sorry, I know I never did that back home), because he wasn't even there yet. I was pretty frustrated. We were singing one of the hymns like "Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel," a working song, and I just couldn't sing because I was super frustrated. The familia Muñoz didn't even come to church, and no one knows why yet. So, with all that background, that's why I was in a rough moment yesterday morning in Sacrament Meeting at 10:20.
(Alright, I just realized I'm starting this email off really bad, but don't worry, it gets better.)  I´ve never felt so disappointed or frustrated in my mission, and it was super hard, especially since no one realized until Sunday that they would have to go to Chimbas, a HUGE sacrifice, if they don't take advantage of what they have right now. But, as always, the good moments come after the hardest ones. While I was sitting there being sad and frustrated, I didn't want to look behind me at the congregation because I didn't want to be disappointed. I heard a few people come in during the first 20 minutes, but I didn't see who was there until I got up to speak, once again with only 10 minutes left in the meeting, and with one more speaker after me, plus the prayer and music. So again I didn't get to say even a fourth of what I had prepared (super frustrating), and when they handed me that dumb TIME paper, my mind went blank. So that didn't help. But I realized that there were quite a few people in the meeting, I just hadn't seen them come in. PLUS there was a man that I met with Elder Rogers who refused to come to church until he could pay tithing, who came to stake conference, and now he came to sacrament meeting! So that was way cool. And then after Sacrament Meeting I found out that A_____ the daughter of the lady who can't get baptized yet but is the most active in her family, came to church too! First time in a couple years, and the first time in my time here.  I've been trying to get that family to church for MONTHS now, so that kinda just helped me realize that I am making a difference, even if it's small. I was curious, so I asked her why she came to church, and she didn't give me an answer, but we took advantage of the moment and asked her to come to Conference, and to come on Sundays. We taught a little lesson, plus she wants to learn piano, so we offered to teach her and do like a 30 minute piano lesson (since Elder Southwick is a musical genius), and then talk a little, and maybe we can get her other inactive siblings to the church. So that was very cool as well. So after church, everyone was super happy, because we had the highest attendance in my whole time here, even though they were all members.
So yeah, things got a lot better. I feel pretty lame for having felt so frustrated, especially since all the members came and told me MUCHAS GRACIAS por su discurso, or in English, thank you so much for your talk, it was beautiful, or it was really good. So that was a big surprise but helped too. It's just very interesting to realize so plainly that God always blesses us after the trials and hard times, just like he did for Nephi in Helaman 10:2-5. Those verses helped me alot yesterday. 
So yeah, that was last week, we worked like crazy, taught a lot, and besides the frustration that I had, it was a really good week.  (Elder Southwick is great. A good thing about him being new, he is still down for ANYHING and was constantly telling me to cheer up and have more faith.)  And this week is going to be AWESOME with General Conference!!! I can't believe it's already General Conference time though... it's the third one so far :( which means only one more on the mission... it's so crazy. But that's alright, I'm going to take advantage of it as much as I can!
Jjust a funny coincidence (or was it...? I don't belive in those anymore), I read D&C 26. It gave me some encouragement this morning in my personal study. You can read it if you want!

SO!! That's all about last week.  Anyway, for this week, we´ve found a new game type thing, they´re called trompos, and they´re like big wooden tops with a string, and you spin them really fast and you can do stuff with them. So we were doing that today. But yeah, it's cool, it took me awhile to get it down, and now I get it every time. Too bad I don't have a soccer ball... I need one badly. It's been almost 6 months since the last time I played. That's ridiculous!!  Elder Barrera (who was with me in Maipu the beginning of this year) just told me to go play soccer with him and Elder Johnson and Elder Gauna and a few other elders, but I don't think it'll happen, because it's the other zone, and we would have to go all the way back to Albardon and get clothes... dang. Hopefully soon then!
So last week I wrote Hermana Christensen, our teacher from the MTC, and she wrote back today! It was good to talk to her, and plus somehow I just happened to write her last week, and it was her birthday last Monday! So that was a pretty cool "coincidence," although I felt like I should write her, since I had procrastinated it for months, just kept forgetting. But it was cool to talk to her! Today I'm going to send a quick one to Hermano Snyder, and maybe Hermano Hale, who wasn't our teacher but helped and subbed a lot, and I just found out that he was one of the teachers for Elder Southwick as well! And Elder Southwick told me he moved to Spain with his wife, since she was from Spain! Crazy. We were in the MTC when he got married, hahaha funny story... but for a different time. 
So as for the sno cones, I'm pretty excited I guess. I wish those existed down here, although today isn't super warm either, we´ve had pretty crazy Oregon weather down here this last week. But whatever, it'll go away soon, and I'm fine with the SUPER hot San Juan weather staying away for now. 
I'm surprised Oscar knew those were my cleats Nathan wore last week!! Haha that makes me feel special that he remembered. They were special cleats anyway, no one had anything like them, until I got the black ones and then Casey copied me :) But yeah, now I have the blue ones and I've never seen them anywhere else. So I guess that's cool! What kind does Nathan have? Did he follow the cheap, millions of pairs-style like Jalen, or did he buy quality for a little more and not worry about quantity? ;) Just wondering.
Congrats Kate!!! Sounds like you´re doing very well in school!!!! :) Keep working hard!
We didn't get asado or empanadas like we wanted last week, but I did buy asado flavored Doritos for lunch on Monday! They´re pretty good, haha maybe they´ll come out in the States (not likely). It's been a long time since we had an asado...
Elder Day goes home the 3rd of December! So one and a half transfers left! It's crazy. Maybe Elder Fullmer will train this next transfer and we can get a 4 generation picture somehow! (not likely either)
So we´re going to go and buy a lot of food and snacks for the gringo room for General Conference, so I´m gonna finish this up! But thank you for the pictures, Hallie is super cute! It's weird thinking I still don't know some of my own cousins! And I'm glad you found that other photo with us playing Teg, I wanted that one! (I found it on Elder Pyne's blog--thank you Pyne Family!)  That's such a long time ago.... weird. I love you Mom! Good luck with all the many things you´re doing, piano, sports, church, piano lessons, etc. I definitely couldn't organize all of that as well as you have!! You´re a great example :) I love you Dad and Nathan and Kate as well! Keep working hard in school and work and everything! Until next week!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

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