Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year!

Antonela's baptism!
Hey everyone!  Not gonna lie, it feels like a LONG TIME since we skyped already! But it was really good to see almost all of you! I really enjoyed it. 

So Mom and Dad, to answer your question, yes Antonela was baptized Saturday and confirmed Sunday! It was a really short notice thing, but she told the elders in the interview that she would love to do it on Saturday, so we planned everything short notice and had a lot of support from the Bishop and the members, so it turned out really well! So that helped us complete our goal of 3 as a companionship, and yes Dad, there are elders that think more about numbers than people, but I promise you, I´m not one of those! It's hard as a zone leader to focus on people and not just numbers, but we do it!
Hey we have to run a quick errand, we´ll be back in a little bit! But I wanted to send a little something before we go.

To be continued....

Alright, again, sorry for not writing a whole lot, but I had to send so many forms today. I already told you the good news about Antonela! But anyway, this week is going to be crazy, we can't leave the pench unless we have a fixed appointment in a safe place, since it's going to be really crazy with lots of drunk and drugged people for New Years. And then Friday we are going to be in Consejo again as ZL planning for January! So that's going to be crazy. I think we got 75 baptisms this month. We didn't get the goal of 100, but it's still SOOO much better than any other month this year, and hopefully we can keep it up this next year instead of doing what happened last year, as in a lot of baptisms in December and then this year has been in the 20´s or 30´s. So yeah, we are really excited! We have a really awesome zone with awesome sisters and elders!  Lots to do, but that's normal, lots of calls to answer. I feel like a secretary haha :/ Oh well, it's all worth it to help people out!

Anyway, sorry, we need to get going, but next week won't be as crazy!I love you all and hope you have a really great time this week! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!! Let's all start it out the best way possible!!! :)

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Alberto got baptized!

Hey Mom!  Alright, this will be the normal email, not trying to figure out all the craziness for skype tomorrow! Plus we have to figure out all the problems of the zone too, since not a single cyber is going to be open on the 25th, and that's the day President wants us to Skype (don't worry, I already asked him and I have permission to Skype tomorrow) but now people don't have anywhere to do it or they can't do it on the 25th, and things like that. So we´ve been calling the assistants a lot. Haha the job of zone leaders... it's not always fun.

But the Christmas party was way cool!!! I got to see Elder Braithwaite who recently left from Justo Daract, and Elder Chipman, but I didn't even get to know where he is at right now! Elder Johnson and Elder Hardy had their party Wednesday, so I didn't see any of them. But I saw Elder Fullmer! And Elder Connolly! And a bunch of other elders. So it was a really good party! We have a new senior couple serving, and they are way cool! They know where Mountain Home is! Haha and he served here in Mendoza 40+ years ago, like Elder Christofferson and everything! So he gave his testimony of the missionary work and it was super powerful! He is amazed at how much things have expanded down here since the last time he came down. So he dressed up as Santa Claus since the Ences are now home! And they gave us all Argentina flags, but instead of the sun, it's the Mendoza Mission symbol, it's way cool!!!

Also, we played a lot of soccer, and that was super fun. I didn't get burnt, I was super happy about that! I played with a bunch of latins, and there weren't many other gringos that wanted to play, so everyone was surprised, and as usual, assumed I was just a random gringo. But then when we started playing in smaller teams at the church, and I got together with Elder Pearson (plays REALLY well), Elder Bayles (also plays really well), Elder Stephans (new elder that plays really well), and Elder Jones (doesn't play soccer, but he´s like 6 foot 4 and he just tore it up as goalie!) and we played against a bunch of all latin teams, and we destroyed them! We played 7 games in a row, each game until two goals, and we just kept scoring and scoring and scoring. We decided it has to do with the fact that we are from the UNITED States of America ;) We just played together, while some of the latins like to be one-man teams. But it was really fun, all the gringos and even a few latins were cheering us on! Super fun :)

So, we had the ward Christmas party too and it turned out pretty well! We had a nativity scene that the Primary kids put on, it was really cute. And then we had a spritual thought from the bishop and then we all ate and talked. Elder Villegas and I came up with the idea to have everyone write their thoughts of Christmas and New Years, and then we put a pass along card of Christ on the front of all of them and we are going to get them laminated, and hand them all back as a little reminder. So that will hopefully be really cool! Get some confidence of the members.

And then, Saturday, we had a baptism!! Alberto got baptized!!! It was a really good baptism, he was so ready to be baptized. And his whole family showed up (well the family of the wife, who are mostly inactive) and then HIS mom showed up, and came to the confirmation Sunday as well! It was just awesome! And this weekend we are trying so hard to have one more baptism, to meet our goal and the zone´s goal! So we will let you know. The Christmas spirit will probably help us along a lot!
Super excited to skype with all of you tomorrow! Again, please let me know if 11 o clock works for you all, if not, it will be 3 o clock your time, and we´ll go to a different member's house at 7 our time or 3pm your time and talk then! But with Jalen, please tell him to wait for my call!

Anyway, we have some citas today and a lunch with a member so we need to get going! I guess I won't know if 11 will work for you, but that's when Elder Villegas is going to talk to his mom so I'll just get online and see if you are available, and if not, then we´ll plan on doing it at 7 like you said! I love you all! Here are some pictures of this past week. It's been a very Christmas-y week, and this week will be just the same!!! I love Christmas! The Christmas spirit is amazing, everyone is just happy! Let's help everyone feel it this year!!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, December 16, 2013


On exchanges with Elder Gorge,
playing with hats we found in the pench
Elder Gorge's delicious homemade cinnamon rolls!

Hey Mom!!  Yes we have been going crazy coordinating everything for the mission Christmas party tomorrow, but everything is set and it's going to be super great, especially to be in my old chapel ;) And I´m going to get to ask how Desiree and a few other people are doing!! And I have a reference for the sisters there in Mendoza centro, so I feel good being able to see all of them again! Also, I´ll get to see Elder Fullmer too! But I don't think I'm going to see any of the elders from my group, MAYBE Elder Chipman or Braithwaite, but Elder Wright and Elder Johnson won't be there, it's set.

And I'm pretty sure tomorrow my packages will be there under their Christmas tree that they will have set up! And so I´m going to enjoy that! :) 

Elder Villegas is from Viña del Mar, Chile. So maybe Dad will be excited to talk to him for a little bit! Speaking of Skype, I think we are going to skype the 24th as well,  just later in the afternoon or just after skyping with Jalen! Please coordinate with him, so we know if I'll talk to him first or with you first, but I know he is skyping you all at 7-8-ish his time, so 1-2 your time. And we have a little easier schedule, only being 4 hours apart. So it all depends on when Elder Villegas´ mom can do it. But Jalen did email today so I emailed him back and we´ll figure it all out! It doesn't matter if he doesn't tell me the time until Monday, I think we´ll probably just come to a cyber, I don't think there is any member with internet or anything.

So yesterday they baptized one of the four kids, the other three fell through because the family is going on vacation. I understand vacation but sometimes I feel like people could have their priorities a little more aligned! But it's alright, we have a set baptism this weekend, A_____ the husband of a reactivating sister, so that will bring our zone to 6 out of 9, and we have a lot of other people that are to be baptized this weekend and the next, so our zone will for sure get our goal of 9!!! We are super excited.

So Saturday we had a miracle, and that led to a few miracles, even if they were small, on Sunday as well. So we literally walked out of our apartment, walked two houses down, and we saw this older gentleman, so we talked to him. I didn't understand anything because he was out of breath, but we understood that he had problems in his lungs, so Elder Villegas told him "Hermano, we are Priesthood holders in our church, can we come to your house and give you a blessing?" And he said yes, come in, and we went to his house, which was the next one, (so we´re neighbors!!!). We met his wife, we started teaching a little, we explained the blessings, and we gave a blessing to her and him, and invited them to church. The hermano told us before we left "Elderes, whatever you want me to do, we´ll do it" and we were  just stunned. So on Sunday, we had to pick them up in a car. So we get a member at the last minute (miracle!! People were just not helping us at all!) and then we make it two block and his car dies, so we get out, and RIGHT THEN our investigator who's being baptized this weekend, A_____, walked by, and decided to help us (little miracle). And then a less active member stopped and helped us too (another little miracle). And then I said a prayer that the car would work, and five minutes later, it was running without problems (miracle!!)! And then we got to the couple's house (they are an older couple, he´s 88 and she´s in the late 70´s) and they were still there waiting for us (little miracle) and so we brought them to church, and they LOVED IT! And then the sister that just returned from her mission to Brasil last week went with us, and she told us right when we first introduced ourselves "Elders, I really want to work, can I do visits with you two and work with you??" and we of course said.... no. Haha just kidding, YES!!! Please!!! So she is going to visit the grandparents with us this week, and to other visits as well. But when she got to the pulpit to share her testimony, even though she said a lot of words in Portuguese, it didn't matter, I still understood because the spirit was SUPER STRONG. Elder Villegas and I were trembling. I don't know if you´ve ever had the sensation, but our hearts were beating at top speed just listening to her share her testimony. That defiinitely shows how powerful of a missionary she was. So she should help us out quite a bit!

Anyway, those are the few miracles I wanted to share. We have our little troubles too, with other investigators, but we are going to overcome. There were too many prayers answered yesterday to leave any room for doubt! God is in charge, and He will always help those who want to follow Him, right? I know that without a doubt. So I´ll be doing my best to have the Christmas spirit and spread it to others!! I hope you all enjoy this week, and can prepare even more for Christmas next week!! Don't forget, don't ever take Christ out of Christmas! He is the reason we celebrate, but also the reason we have everything we have already, disregarding presents and parties and whatever other things we may focus on. He offered us His life, and the chance to change and follow Him, so think about it, what gift are you willing to give to Him this Christmas? This is more serious than a new year's resolution, since those usually last a few weeks or months. He deserves more than that, I think! Think about it, and do everything you can to do it! I love you Mom and Dad and family! I'll be talking to you next week!!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

San Rafael!

With Elder Marsh and Elder Johnson
Mendoza Centro Ward missionaries
With Elder Connolly and former mission leader
from Mendoza Centro Ward
With current mission leader from
Mendoza Centro Ward, a newly returned missionary
Hey Mom! 
Okay, first things first, having to send a lot more information every Monday, my emails might be a little shorter, or at least today when I´m getting used to everything. And I'm also helping Elder Villegas with his college applications as I type, so please forgive me this week!

But things are going really good here. San Rafael is a big zone, but we have a lot of good elders and 4 sisters! There are a lot of new elders too, but they are learning how to work well! We just had zone conference yesterday (oh, sorry, that's why i didn't email yesterday!!!) and we are all just SUPER PUMPED to get out and work!! One of our areas has four baptisms set for this weekend, so that is way cool!! This has been a good month so far, and it will continue being a good month!
I´m glad to hear the Creche turned out very well!! I did miss it this year. I don't like the humid heat, and I really miss all the other Christmas songs that I can't hear right now. But it's alright, we are singing Christmas hymns in a lot of our appointments so that helps us feel the Christmas Spirit as well! And I´ve come to like that Christmas isn't just a big show of lights down here (although I´d much rather have lights than a bunch of drunks and drugged people shooting fireworks and guns... I think that might be a safety hazard? Haha!)
We have the mission Christmas party the 17th, and I'll get to be with my old zone, Mendoza! 
So when we had traslados and everything, guess who I saw in the terminal? BOTH Elder Fullmer and Elder Southwick!!! And Elder Southwick just talked to me about Albardon for literally an hour, and he missed his bus, I felt pretty bad!! But things are going SOOO WELLL there!! A lot of families have come back, and they baptized the kid we did a church tour with! So they are seeing a lot of changes! I was super excited to hear all of that!!

And then I talked with Elder Fullmer a little bit, he is district leader now! Same with Elder Connolly! Those two are studs, they both taught me more than I taught them I think. And Elder Fullmer already trained somewhat, it was a Latino that was trained in the other mission, but oh well. I´m a grandpa! haha.
So I mentioned a little more about the leadership council in the email to Dad, but it was super cool, and guess what we ate for lunch?? TACOS!!!! I was super excited! And I guess that's a tradition so.... I am excited to eat tacos at least 5 more times! :)
Last pday was super fun! I'll send pictures. We played volleyball and soccer, and I just had a lot of fun, having not played for a long time. I didn't get burned, I put on sunscreen! Well I didn't put it on my wrist where my watch has been, so I did get a red line on my wrist, but it was alright! :) And I'm excited to play at the Christmas party as well. Everyone is always surprised to see a gringo play so well (even though I feel like I still don't play that well) and they say I'm the first gringo they´ve met that actually knows how to play! So that made me feel good at least :)
So it was pretty hard to say goodbye to Mendoza people, literally and physically. Literally because when I was with them, I had just gotten to know them well and then I was leaving. And physically because well with everything we had to do and the schedules and addresses of everyone, I only got to say goodbye to five people haha of ALL the people I had met! But that's alright, they all told me to leave my facebook info with Elder Connolly so hopefully he´s handing that out! 
Anyway, today we have a bunch of really important appointments so we´ve gotta get going! I love you all, and will make sure to write you more next week!

Elder Tyson Gibbons
These pictures are 1) Elder Marsh, me and Elder Johnson; 2) the missionaries of Mendoza Centro ward!; 3) us with the former ward mission leader; 4) the new ward mission leader, he´s awesome, got back from his mission in September!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Transfer Time Already!


Wow, I can't believe how crazy your trip ended...ask my companion, he saw the worry as I was reading that whole story! I hope everything works out with the luggage and also Dad´s arm/knee. It seems we have bad luck with things like that. :/ But I´m glad the majority of the things you planned on doing worked out!

So first things first, María did get baptized on Saturday! :) It was a really good baptism, a really crazy weekend. The baptism started at 9:30 at night(we had permission, don't worry) and ended an hour later, but we stayed and cleaned, so we got home about 11:30, but we both woke up yesterday morning without a problem! Baptisms seem to help with your excitement! :) Haha but it was a really good baptism, really spiritual, and the members were all talking to Desireé, her daughter, asking her when she was going to get baptized, and instead of being turned off about the whole thing, she just told them she wanted to know a little more! And since we haven't taught her any complete lesson yet... :) problem solved! We have an appt. tonight with them, so that will be the start of another baptism! She already loves everything she has seen and learned, so that helps. She spent about 4 hours in President Ávila´s house with Carla, President´s daughter, talking about EVERYTHING, temples, studies, their future plans, a little bit of gospel stuff, activities of the ward in the future, everything. So that was AWESOME!!!  So Elder Connolly will make sure that all happens!

 I guesss I just gave it away... so we got transfer calls last night, and I´m leaving! Can you believe it?? I couldn't. I didn't want to leave at all, it was a big surprise! I´m going down south, to San Rafael(where I went during my time in Justo Daract for a conference with the Area 70, Elder Resek) and I´m going to be with Elder Villegas! He was the other district leader in Maipú with Elder Galicia and Elder Alberro, so I already know him prettty well. And I at least know that he works like crazy! So that's going to help me even more to forget about the time! I´m excited for that part, that we´re going to work like crazy. Plus we started out the month really well. Looking at the averages for the different zones, our zone had two baptisms this last weekend, and San Rafael had even more! Just this past weekend, so that's awesome! The zone I´m entering seems to already be in good hands, I'll just do my best to keep it going!  
As for Elder Connolly, he is now the District Leader!!! And... he is training!!! So he´s getting slapped with those two responsabilities just like I did with Elder Fullmer! Now I´m curious to know what Elder Fullmer is doing, he has the same time as Elder Connolly, 9 months. I can totally see Elder Fullmer training! He already trained me, so I guess I'll find out eventually!
As for the hermanas, Hermana Enos is going to open an area, in Malargue (very south of the mission) AND train, AGAIN, this being her 3rd transfer in the mission!! The elders in La Favorita are staying together. Elder Connolly will help them out too, he´s just taking the reigns!
I´m sorry you didn't get to see the giraffes, Kate!! I would've been disappointed too. I never got to go the zoo here, but I think there were giraffes. But I'm going about 2 hours away, so oh well, maybe in the future!
Well today we are having an asado with the hermanas in Mendoza centro and a few members from different wards, as well as Elder Da Silva and his companion. And then we´re going to play soccer, volleyball, and enjoy the last pday! It's going to be hot, so I´m going to buy some sunblock haha. 
So this last week as well I did intercambios again with the Favorita, and we did service, which turned into a six hour service, mostly because Elder Alfaro was trying to help with the first project and created a big second project... fixing their roof, since he put his foot through the roof! Haha it was really embarrassing... I'll send pictures of that as well. 
Other than that, there´s not much to report, sorry for a lame email as well! But I have pictures this time! :) I hope this first week of December turns out well! I already feel the Christmas spirit so I´m super excited for Christmas!! I hope you all enjoy the cold and the snow, if it snows, and the lights and everything! I'll enjoy the fireworks and roasted pig! :) 
Anyway, I love you all and hope you have a great week, and especially hope that all those problems get resolved! :/ Tell Dad to be careful!! I´d like him to be in one piece when I get back!

Elder Tyson Gibbons
PS  These pictures are of the baptism, of our celebration beforehand, ice cream at Bianco y Nero´s (I went there with Elder Day twice when we traveled here to Mendoza) and the service project that I did with Elder Alfaro.  The ones of the baptism, the one that doesn't have me has a recent convert who got baptized about 2 months ago, and he´s a stud. He´s the only guy I´ve given besitos to down here (you know how they like touch cheeks and make kissing noises? Well he always gives us a hug(to everyone actually, not just us) and gives us one besito, it was pretty uncomfortable the first time, but I´ve kinda gotten used to it because he´s a really cool guy, he helped us out so much with María, and was SUPER excited to hear she was getting baptized!)