Monday, May 19, 2014

The last e-mail!

Hey Mom and Dad, last email!!! Crazy...

This last week went by way too fast. It was one of the best weeks of my mission, without a doubt. I worked with Elder Higdon and his trainee, Elder Ransom, both awesome missionaries, working really hard. It was a good few days with them, I was able to teach a lot of cool people and find lots of new people to teach. Lots of seeds planted! We had some really good lunches and I barely missed the service project because it was the day I went out to Albardon. Let me tell you about that... best four days ever!

So I got to see just about everyone I wanted to see! We kept running into members in the streets and having to go by their houses so they were all SUPER surprised to see me there! They remember my name :) probably the best part! It was also pretty hard at first, because when I first got together with the missionaries, I started asking them about a bunch of people, and a lot of the news they told me was not what I expected, lots of changes.. Albardon is still struggling, but there are also a few new families that were very less active when I was here that are now actively coming! So there´s the good and the bad. We built another mud oven, just like in my first area, and that was super fun! Then we ate lunch with the Gordillo family, and we visited the other Gordillo family (they bought me a fake Messi jersey, it was way cool!! they handed it to me on Sunday). And then I got lucky and got asked to do the interview for Milagros Chavez! She turned eight a week ago and since her parents aren´t members, the Elders taught her and she got baptized on Thursday!! It was a really special baptism, she was really happy, especially that her dad came to the baptism, too! So that was a good day to start out with on Thursday.
 
We visited the Malla family, the Escudero family, the Cespedes family, the Alganaras family, and of course, the familia Muñoz! Like I said, there were a few unexpected novelties, but I did my best to encourage all of them to stay strong. But we had a really good visit with them, and they all came to church together, for the first time in a good while, and Maria was as happy as can be! And that made me happy, because the others were happy as well. On Sunday we had ward conference in Albardon, so a lot of stake leaders came, and it was the fullest I´ve ever seen that chapel! I was super happy, it was overwhelming, especially since they have had an average of 50 people about every week. I want to ask to know how many were there yesterday. But there were probably 20 Priesthood men and then a few young men, and that was always the weak spot of the ward! It was the best Sunday of my mission, without a doubt. Milagros was confirmed, and in the classes the stake leaders talked about the same thing, how to increase the attendance in the Sacrament Meeting, and they got the members really excited to go and bring someone back or introduce someone to the church. I hope that their efforts will give them the results that they want and need! And then after church, we just got attacked by everyone, to take pictures, to talk, to say goodbye. I didn't get to say goodbye to everyone because some people had to hurry and I was talking to other people who were not in a hurry... it was all just a whirlwind.
 
I didn't want the Sacrament Meeting to end, it was like another reminder that things are coming to an end, or a new beginning I like to say. So I got a lot of pictures, but it was super bright outside and a lot of the pictures didn´t turn out well because I´m super white and I look like some paranormal thing. But I was really glad to say goodbye to a lot of people. I don´t have a lot of time today so I will just show the pictures when I get back. I don´t know if i have 5000+ pictures (like Jalen does), but I do have a lot :)

Anyway, then the husband of Sister Escudero took us to the terminal, and there Elder Hardy met up with Elder Paima and me, but before we got on the bus, two of the coolest families in Retiro, I know both of them, showed up in church clothes to say goodbye to Elder Hardy, so he got a going-away party at the terminal! It was really emotional. It's the old stake president in Chimbas who is now going to be mission president in Rosario, and then the de los Rios family that I met a few times, but they remember me too! It made me feel really special haha. All I did was bring their little grand-daughter a Book of Mormon in drawings, but they told Elder Hardy that they wanted to see me before I left too. So that was rough, saying goodbye.

Then Elder Hardy and I took the bus from Mendoza terminal to here in the offices, and I had my last interview last night. It was a really good interview, I will never forget what President told me and the advice he gave me, it will help me out a lot. It was another slap in the face, saying " time is almost up." But then last night our entire MTC district was in the offices, so we just all slept down on the first floor with mattresses and talked till really late. And today Elder Johnson and I are going to do some shopping and go out to Rodeo to see the Gutierrez family! :) So, I will let you know how that went.. later this week!

I can´t believe time is up, but I´m not going to miss it to the point that I want to go back. I´ve given my all, and I won´t look back longingly, just to remember the amazing experiences and changes that have happened to me and the countless number of people I´ve met. I can´t wait to get in contact with them all again. Any idea when we are going to make a trip down here as a family?? A lot of people are really expecting that, really excited! I still don´t feel like its time to come home, but I know that will change when I see you, Mom and Dad and Jalen and Nathan and Kate, and the rest of the family. Forgive me if I´m a little weird or changed when I get back, but I promise, it's for the better. I love you all! And, I´ll be seeing you too soon. 

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, May 12, 2014

Jalen's home!

Hey Mom and Dad!

Well this will probably be short as well haha, considering the good time we had to talk last night. It was really good to see everyone!

Anyway, last night I started feeling a little sick, I think I had a fever all night, and woke up feeling the same haha. So poor Elder Wright and I are both just chilling in the "quarantine room" in the offices. Well, I´m not right now, I had to see my email haha. But don´t worry, it's already wearing off. Elder Hardy and I (he finally got back from Guaymallen today!! Poor guy!) are going to San Juan tonight. I´m going to work with Necochea, Elder Higdon (from San Rafael, my Idaho bro) and his comp, Elder Ransom! And then Thursday morning I´ll head to my last area, Albardon!!! I´m so excited! It's going to be a great week. Just the fact of returning to a few areas that I already know makes me super happy and gives me the last motivation to keep working until the last day, which I am going to do. I don´t feel weird about coming home, because I´m not even going to think about it until the day that comes. It's a good philosophy, it's helped me stay focused for the last two years.

Haha, tell Jalen to just stay calm, he´ll have his companion in a week :) Meanwhile, we will both feel pretty weird as we do some traveling solo. Still not used to that yet.

Anyway, I think Elder Hardy needs to go do some shopping today, so I´m going to see if he wants to go do that now. I hope you all have an AMAZING week! Just like I know I will! I love you all so much! And the next time we talk, well, it might not be by email!!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, May 5, 2014

I'm in Villa Mercedes again!

Hey Mom and Dad!!!! 

Wait, Jalen gets home on a Friday??? What the heck, that is really weird!! Wait, so he is going to be there when I Skype on Mother's Day?? Yes I`m going to Skype. I don`t know where I will be this week, since I`m (as of very recently) going to be heading back to Mendoza on Tuesday or Wednesday (I`m back in Villa Mercedes right now, can you believe it?), but when I get back to the offices I assume that everyone will have already done it or be doing it, and Elder Hardy and I will join in. I can't tell you what time yet, sorry, but yeah just wait for my call, you will get it.

Alright, so I`ll start off this week`s story haha. Well Monday was my birthday, thank you everyone who emailed me saying happy birthday! Sorry if I didn't respond to everyone. I appreciate it a lot! But then we went and worked in Mendoza Centro, and I didn`t get to see anyone. It just didn't work out very well. But Elder Hardy and I talked to some people in the street and then got Fidelitos (it's all American food, the guy was born here but then he lived in New York, Texas, and California for like 30 years, then came back with the idea to make American food in Mendoza!) and it was super good, although I'm worried about my adjustment to American food now. It didn't settle very well. 

Then Tuesday we had the consejo, and it was a really good meeting. President talked about a lot of different things, but sadly I can`t tell you what because he sent all of us assistants to run a bunch of errands and fix problems that kept coming up. So I missed his part and Hermana Avila`s part :( which is always my favorite. But then Elder Hardy and I had to give a little 15 minute training about companionship unity in planning and teaching. It was pretty funny, because after President assigned us to do that, we realized that we are the "least unified" companionship in the entire mission, since we have never once taught together and we spend only one day together each week, no more. Haha but wow, it was one of the most spiritual moments I've ever had on my mission. We decided to give two demonstrations, the first one being bad, and everyone enjoyed tearing us apart and telling us what we did wrong. So then we read in Preach My Gospel from chapter 10 about companionship unity, and testified about the blessings and the fulfilment of the promises that it gives there. Then we sat down and did the exact same teaching, the story of Joseph Smith and the first vision, but did it well this time. And it was one of the best lessons I`ve ever taught. It's amazing that the Spirit can be so strong even when you are just pretending to teach. We got to the first vision, Elder Hardy recited the first vision, and then there was silence, for about 25-30 seconds. And no one in the room wanted to break it. I took a second to look around, wanting to know if everyone else was feeling what Elder Hardy and I and the two elders we were teaching were feeling, and I just saw tears everywhere. I looked over at Hermana Avila and she was overwhelmed. And then I gave my testimony that Joseph Smith really did see God and Jesus Christ, and that they did not need to spend another minute looking for the guidance they needed in their lives (the fake investigators, I mean) and after that, we just shared our testimonies, commited the zone leaders to teach their zones how to better teach like that, and we sat down. I was on a high the entire day.

Anyway, that was the consejo, and then afterwards, I found out that Elder Rainock has been pretty sick for a week and a half now, and so randomly President called me and told me that I was going back to Villa Mercedes as a "zone leader replacement" until the weekend. But things got really complicated with Elder Rainock (he`s better now, don`t worry), and so I ended up staying until today, and I`m not leaving till tomorrow. But it was a long ride back here to Villa Mercedes, and I got to see so many people again in church yesterday, and of course I shared my testimony in Sacrament Meeting, I couldn`t pass up my last opportunity to do that in the mission. So this last week we just worked like crazy. We only had four days, since Sunday we couldn't do a lot (a bunch of families asked us to pass by since I was back one last time...), but we did as well as any normal week. I`ve been with Elder Braz, from Brasil. It's been awesome. We`ve had some really good lessons, and we had two church tours in one day, both of them turning out really good. It was the best way possible to spend one of these last weeks, teaching, finding, searching, and sharing my testimony. Just like you said, Dad! Don`t worry, I`m doing it. 

That's about all for me really. But dang, Kenzie is engaged!! That punk, she didn`t write me and tell me that. (I know you`re reading this, Kenz!! :D) But at least I`ll be home for the wedding! Thanks for waiting haha. I really want to go into the Twin Falls Temple too. So that's perfect.

Alright, so you've got me teaching the Priests on June 15th--I will start preparing my lesson then! How many Priests are there, anyway? Wait, Nathan is a Priest now. What the heck. But thanks for the topic, too. It's perfect for me, in many ways.

I`m on the MH 4th ward directory in lds.org right now, looking at the missionaries from our ward... man there were a bunch before people started getting home! And do you have a Latina hermana in the ward? Does the Spanish Branch have elders or hermanas? I want to speak Spanish with everyone possible haha.

Alright, I have already been looking at stuff for souvenirs. Today I was going to go and get stuff, but I`m still in Villa Mercedes, so it's going to have to be all next Monday! But I already have things in mind!

Mom, don't worry, I haven`t lost too much weight haha, I`m still at 150, back to normal, but I`ve at least got some muscle now thanks to morning exercises. I was a little bigger last winter in San Juan, but now it's all back to normal. Actually a little better than normal. You worry too much :)

Nathan and Kate are getting my room ready?? Haha did they really move in there? Wow, that means they have too much stuff! Hopefully they have kept it somewhat clean. Do you know how weird it's going to be sleeping in a room, alone?? I`m probably going to have to keep the door open haha.

I´m glad you got to spend your anniversary doing something special! It sounds like everything has changed about the house. It's going to be weird seeing that.

Something interesting, I don't know if it's just having a good grasp on the language of Spanish or having been with a Brasilian comp for 5 days, but we started watching some videos in Portuguese, and I understand everything! It's super weird, maybe it was just a spiritual  moment. But I want to study Portuguese when I get home, then I can be tri-lingual :) Might come in handy. 

Speaking of studies and plans, I got my letter of stewardship, and I have to write that over the next two p-days. I think I`ll start now and finish next week. But yeah, that's another little nudge reminding me of how little time remains. But I have big plans for these last two weeks, especially in Albardon! 

Today I guess we`re getting together as a zone, something we never did last transfer, so that's good! But I don't know what we`re going to do. But it should be fun! I`ll make it fun if I have to. The weather here in Villa Mercedes is killing me again, I don't like the humidity, I miss the Mendoza weather. But oh well, it's a sacrifice worth making!

Well, I need to start on that letter of stewardship, so I`ll let you go for now. But I`ll talk to you next Sunday! 
 
Oh and Happy Birthday Logan!! Hope you enjoy being 21 for the three days that remain haha!

Elder Tyson Gibbons          

Monday, April 28, 2014

Birthday

Hey Mom and Dad,

Thank you for the birthday wishes. and thank you so much for the slideshow, it was awesome, very emotional!! Thank you so much Mom. 

This week went by slow thankfully, we had plenty of time to work, and we were just here in Godoy Cruz, the other half of the city of Mendoza. It was a really good week. I worked with Elder Torres (from Chimbas) and Elder Figueroa, and then I got to work with Elder Roessler, (from Nampa, Idaho!!) and my grandson, Elder Lafleur, from Salt Lake. It was a really good week, I enjoyed it a lot. We saw quite a few miracles, with less active members and with investigators. The first area was a pretty normal place, a lot like Mendoza centro, but the weekend I spent in just about the richest part of Mendoza/Godoy Cruz, it was really weird. And on Sunday we got on the bus to go to church and it was completely full of drunk, drugged teenagers, really sad. That just looks like a lot of fun....

Elder Fullmer is now training, AGAIN, just like me, except he´s training the newly arrived Brasilian, Elder Pereira, so I have three grandkids now, one of them being from Brasil! It's cool.

Anyway, instead of taking a bus back to Mendoza on Easter Sunday, President and Elder Wright (yes he comes home with me) were driving through San Rafael and picked us up, a lot cheaper and faster. So that was nice to get to talk with President personally.

Elder Hardy is from Portland, so we´re going to be pretty close, that's why I invited him to the beach house.

I´m glad prom and the wedding went well! I wish the best to Drew and his new wife, and I can't belive Nathan already went to prom. I looked at the picture and for just a second I thought I was looking at my old prom pictures from the first year, he´s lookin good in a pink vest and tie, just like I did. Haha, just kidding, that was a joke, about me I mean. If he´s got the looks, it's because... he looks a lot like me :)

Anyway, this week we have consejo tomorrow, and tonight we´re going to work in Mendoza centro so I can go visit a few people and then we´re going to get fidelitos for my birthday dinner, it's an American guy who makes American food down here, and everyone who has tried it loves it. So I´ll eat the closest thing to American food that I have for two years now.

In the Book of Mormon I´m finishing Helaman, and I really liked the story of Nephi. It's like I shared a while ago, and then Mom you sent me that story, and I really liked it, but it's sticking out to me even more and more, because he did a lot of great things, and then he was STILL upset with himself, feeling like a failure. And I feel the same every once in a while. Looking back on my mission not so much, I feel great about this time (obviously it wasn't perfect, but it's the best two years I´ve ever lived, concerning gospel living and faithfulness to your belief), but more thinking about my past life, since I look back on a lot of things and wince, thinking about how I could possibly have failed in things so simple? But I know that I have changed, and that I´ll never be the same, because I´ve felt things that I will never forget during these two years. It's like the voice that came to Nephi when he was on his way home (ironically, very similar to my position.) As hard as things have been, and most likely will be when I get back, it's going to be different, because I have taken huge steps spiritually, and what seemed like big problems before are not as serious... It's one of the biggest advantages I have now. Whatever comes at me, I know I can handle it, as hard is it will be, because I know I´ve done everything I can. I guess I can call that self confidence and self esteem right?

Oh and today we went and I bought a new shirt to wear when I go home, just one, since all of mine are too big, since I´ve lost some weight. And a tie. And I am going to buy a couple jerseys and something for Sister Eagley.

One more question, are you going to be mad if I leave some clothes for the offices and for members that I visit when I go back to Albardon? That's going to help me pack a lot easier, since I have to be under 50 pounds. Oh and I saw my itinerary, which was weird, but it's still awesome because it still hasn't hit me yet! I have a lot more work to do these next three weeks! I hope they go by even slower! I love you all, thank you for your support and love and everything you´ve given me. I´ll talk to you next week!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter

Hey Mom and Dad!

So the Easter celebration was quite...non-existent. I switched to a different ward on Thursday so I wasn't with Elder Braithwaite anymore, and no one invited us over for lunch, so the two Latins I was with and I ordered chicken from a rotiseria. Don't know how to spell that in English or Spanish. But on Sunday it was nice to have at least the bishop and his counselor speak about Pascua (Easter). The two first speakers had a misunderstanding and they hadn't prepared anything for this week, so the bishop had to speak, but they did it very smoothly and they shared some really powerful testimonies about Jesus Christ and the resurrection.

But for me, it turned out to be just like my first Christmas here, when there were no commercial distractions drawing my attention away from the real meaning of Easter, so I really enjoyed it. Especially driving home with Presidente Avila and Elder Wright, we passed through the beautiful Valle de Uco with its fall colors (got one picture, that's it) and talked about all the blessings we have received and seen in these last two years, since the three of us are, well, yeah. (What he doesn't want to say is that they're all three going home soon, President Avila too.) Then we ended the day watching the new Bible video, "My Kingdom Is Not of This World." It's a really good video. Same with the main one on the lds.org page, "Because of Him." Both really good videos, I recommend them. 

But anyway, yeah, Elder Hardy and I have enjoyed the short time we´ve been together. I already invited him to come swing by the beach house for a day or so when we go, since he lives super close. He said that would be cool, we can go to the Tillamook cheese factory and I told him about Oswald West beach. Pretty cool places.

Alright, I´m glad I know where I´m living in Provo at least. It'll be nice to be in the same ward as Logan, maybe we´ll get to work together a little bit!

Thanks for letting me know about Jalen, I'll send him a little email and pray for him. I just hope he realizes that there´s a reason he was sent there and not me. It's always the stronger people that have the stronger challenges, and he´s always been the better half of this brotherhood.

Anyway, don't know where we are going this week, so I might not let you know until next week! But I'm excited to get out and work. Next Monday is my birthday, that's crazy. Have to play some soccer with the elders in Mendoza or something! I love you! Hope you can handle all the things that you are called to do during this week! Well, I don't hope, I know you can!

Elder Tyson Gibbons 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Easter!

The Zarate twins from Villa Mercedes
 
Elder Rainock and me
 
The beautiful Valle de Uco (Uco valley with the snowcapped mountains).
 Closest place to Utah and Idaho that I´ve seen in a while!
 You can look at that and just relax, all that natural beauty. :)
 
Elder Holmstead from Middleton (recognize him?) and me and Elder Sanz

Hola family!

Happy Easter to all of you too! Hopefully you can enjoy the real meaning of Easter, down here it's a little less commercial (unless you go downtown, of course) but mostly people just eat fish instead of meat on Thursday and Friday! Don't know if I´ll get to eat any, but it's very possible. Fantastic!...

The new calling is based in the offices, so every Sunday night we come back here where all our stuff is (except the packed suitcase we take around everywhere) and sleep, and then Monday is still p-day, but we can basically just do what we want for p-day! I think we're going to make tacos today. Anyway, as for traveling, we are going to be taking a LOT of buses, we usually have to pay but then we get reimbursed afterwards. But it will be super nice to choose which company to take and when! We are planning on getting the suites (180 degree reclining chairs, still only 85 pesos) when we go to San Juan our last week! :)

So it's a really cool "calling" to put it that way, getting to see a lot of areas and elders, and like you say Dad, it is pretty rough because you don't know the people you teach, and it's hard to get their confidence, but I consider it a challenge to help me improve my people skills and teaching skills! But like you said, it will be cool to know just about the entire mission, for when we come back!

It's also a pretty weird assignment, because we literally have a lot more freedom than anyone else. We both have a phone, if we have to travel alone we can (long bus ride on Saturday morning, alone... pretty weird, but weirdly pretty: lots of mountains and vineyards and the closest thing to a forest I´ve ever seen down here), and we just don't know what to do with ourselves most of the time when we are here in Mendoza. When we are traveling to other areas we are going to get to work normally, which is good. 

This week we are going to San Rafael. I´m going to be working with Elder Braithwaite and his companion in Cuadro Nacional till Thursday, and then with Barrio 3 till Sunday afternoon. I´ve been to both areas a few times before, so it will be cool to go back! Elder Hardy gets to work in one of his old areas, Parque Molino, and then in El Cerrito with his kid Elder Hartman! 

Don't know if I'll get to work with Elder Southwick or Elder Fullmer, but I did get to meet Elder Southwick's kid, my grandson, Elder Grandy. Just like Elder Southwick.

As for the packages, still nothing I think, but the letters come a little bit faster. But you can probably stop sending the letters because at this point they might get here after I leave! This is probably the last week you can send stuff and have me get it. I'll read the rest when I get home :)

Thanks for giving me such an awesome topic to speak on! Can I just ask, what is Jalen going to speak about, since I will not be there to hear him?? I will start thinking things out and preparing. (I guess Tyson doesn't know that he and Jalen will be speaking together on May 25!  We're making Jalen wait a few weeks so people don't have to travel twice.)

That's crazy that your teaching of repentance to the youth turned into a teaching experience with a Seventy and the stake president! That is kind of what I feel like when I get asked to teach in a conference with just President Avila there, pretty nerve-wracking.Thankfully the Spirit is also known as the Comfortor, keeps our knees from trembling and collapsing! :)

I really like that quote, thanks for sharing it. I´ve been thinking a lot about that recently, the Atonement and how it has applied in my life, and that quote puts things into a very important perspective. He NEVER sinned, and yet suffered ALL the consecuences. How in the world can we expect to SOMETIMES sin (intentionally), and yet receive ONLY the blessings? It's sad to see that so many people all over the world need to understand that principle better. I guess Easter is as good of a time as any to testify of that crucial difference!

So this last week I was in Valle de Uco, I had never been there before. It was cold, freezing actually, but I loved being there and working with the elders! First I worked in La Consulta with Elder Pearson and Elder Alcalde, and we taught some really good lessons and saw a few different miracles with finding prepared people to teach. And then I went to Urbana with the zone leaders, Elder Sanz and Elder Holmstead (from Middleton, in the picture I sent attached to this email. I recognized him the first time I saw him in San Juan, and he recognized me! We played soccer against each other for years, and against his older brother for few years. He remembered I had a twin and said that he always dreaded our games because me and Jalen were really tall and really fast haha). And I went to church in their branch. It was a really good fast and testimony meeting! I was really cold, but I really wanted to share my testimony so I got up there and the adrenaline kind of warmed me up! But I just gave my testimony about coming to know the Savior even closer during these two years. Couldn´t let my second to last chance slip by! But I met many awesome, faithful members and it helped me to recognize the growth in the church, since Valle de Uco isn't a stake yet, it's only a district, meaning President Avila is basically the stake president. But those were some of the most faithful, missionary-work-involved members I´ve seen in my time here. 

Anyway, I'll have lots more adventures in these next weeks, so I´ll take as many pictures as possible and write the miracles that we see! I love you all!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, April 7, 2014

Conference!

Hey Mom and Dad,

Alright we´re in the other cyber, a little bit less pressure now for writing! Although I don't have much to write anyway, the Conference and the leadership council were basically everything this last week! Not much time to get out and do the normal work! But the Conference was amazing, one of the best that I´ve seen in my few years of enjoying Conference to the fullest! We got to see all the sessions, with the only satellite failure in the talk on Sunday of the sister, I don't remember her name, sorry, when we missed the story of that boy on the street. But that was the only inconvenience haha! But I really liked Elder Aidukaitis´ talk about recognizing truth, and Elder Ballard´s talk about following up, and Elder Bednar´s talk as well. I really liked all of them.  Especially the gratitude one, and the one about love (well there were a few, all really good!). I don't have my notes on me, but I was very satisfied after the Conference. Now I have 6 months to apply everything.

Anyway, one of the biggest surprises of the day yesterday was a call we received between sessions. We had just started eating, and we get a call, I look at the phone and it's Presidente Ávila. So I talked to him for a few minutes, and it was bascially an ahead-of-schedule transfer update, telling me that I was going to be traveling the entire mission for the last six weeks! I´m going to be doing intercambios with elders all over the mission, helping them improve their planning and teaching (still don't really understand why me, but I don't doubt the choice President made, so I´ll do everything I can to help). But yeah, my companion for the few days that I´m not with other people in their areas, is Elder Hardy! Awesome, right?? So we´re going to be traveling all over the mission together. I guess we´ll see if I get to go to any old areas or see any old companions, although many of them are home anyway! But that's the news for changes. I leave Villa Mercedes for the second and last time of my mission. It's sad, I even had an asado promised me by the Familia Giordano, who came to our talent show on Friday (turned out great by the way! They asked Elder Rainock to sing a song, and it was really good. I was the only one who understood haha, but it was really good.) Sadly, I think something happened to my sd card and I lost 5 of the 8 videos :(  oh well.. stuff happens!

I´m sad to leave this area and ward, and Elder Rainock. It was probably one of the best transfers I´ve had, absolutely no problems between companions, and just working hard and having fun doing it! Maybe I´ll come back to Villa Mercedes within these 6 weeks, but I don't know yet.

Anyway, I can't believe the first week of April is over! Oh and happy birthday Church (yesterday, 184 years since the Restoration, and many many centuries before that!). I´ll be turning 21 in no time, I feel like. Oh and just so you know, in the leadership council, Presidente Ávila received an email from the Area Seventy presidency, saying that parents should not send packages anymore, to anywhere in Argentina, because they simply won't get through. It's not prohibited, but it's 90% likely that the stuff they send will never make it to their Elder or Sister. Sad, huh? I´m glad I at least got most of mine! (Still have two chances to get my other two Christmas packages...)

The area is being left in good hands and also in good shape! We have a lot of people to teach, just lots of them needing to get married first, so that's something that will be a focus this next month! 

Anyway, I think most of us are focusing on having an attitude of gratitude. I definitely will be improving that as I am traveling so much and sleeping on old mattresses and living-out-of-a-suitcase level 2 (since these two years have been like that already, now just on a different level). Gratitude is going to be a big factor! But I have a good start, I can't believe how great this time has been until now! And now I hope to get the final refining to start off well in a matter of months! I love you all and hope you can find success applying the many things we learned this weekend! Gratitude, diligence, obedience, love, whatever it may be! Choose one, and work on it till you improve it a lot, and choose another! It's all part of life! 

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, March 31, 2014

Diligence

Hey Mom and Dad!

Wow, I had forgotten about BYU registration, but I´m glad things worked out fine! Thanks for sacrificing so much by staying up till midnight to do that!

Yesterday was a pretty chilly day, it rained for about an hour, of course right before church was supposed to start, so that meant that a lot of people didn't come! Sadly, no investigators, and a lot less members. But it was still a really good Sunday! The other elders in Hipolito had a baptism, and we finally met the best friend of the Hipolito elders' ward mission leader, which we´ve been trying to do since the beginning of these 6 weeks! So that was a miracle!

So this last week was so much better than the one before!! We had a really successful week. We had lots of lessons and a lot of them were with new people, so we have a bunch of new families to teach! It's great! Lots of them are part member families, where the husband or the wife have been less active for years, but they are all really awesome!!!  This means that this area will still be going come transfers this next Sunday, which is always a big concern. I´ve been in areas that are left with nothing when I get there, and it's always a huge struggle trying to get things going again!

Wow, I forgot that Jalen has transfers one week early! I can't believe that... hopefully he doesn't leave his area. I think that would be really hard for the members, investigators, and the missionary himself, having to give everything knowing that it isn't going to be permanent. Thankfully here the members don't see me in that light. 

So the people that were supposed to get married didn't end up being able to. We even warned all of them that Satan was going to put a lot of things in the way, and it happened just like that, whether they got lazy or were starting to get sick or other things came up. But oh well, we still have time to work with them! We´ll hopefully get them to take out a turn in this next week or the following, so they could still get baptized in this month of April!

Speaking of April, I can't believe it's already April!!! What is going on? I´m going to be 21 in like 4 weeks. Super weird... but I´m super excited for General Conference!!! It's going to be a huge boost in excitement and desire for the missionary work! No better way to start off a transfer, I think!

Oh yeah, but we don't know transfers until next Sunday, so I´ll let you know next Monday! I´m pretty sure I´m staying, and all the members want me to stay haha, but I´d really like to stay with Elder Rainock. We´re like twins from different mothers. We really have a lot in common, just not a rock band or anything like he had haha. But it's been some of the best 5 weeks of my mission, it really has.

Today we have to leave to Mendoza for leadership council so we´re going to miss like half the week, since the weekend is going to be an intense General Conference weekend! Plus, Friday we have a ward talent activity (just like in San Rafael). But next week I´ll definitely have lots to share, from Conference and council and everything!

It's very sad that it took the act of going on a mission to really value personal scripture study and prayer, because I really wasn't very good at that before. But thankfully God always helps us see from the other perspective! And now I know that if there are three things I will NEVER leave undone during the weeks and days, they will be personal prayer, scripture study, and going to church. I just can't miss those three things, or I´m going to lose so much spiritual strength and protection. I´ve already been on the wrong side of that, I will not go back.

Thanks for your challenge Dad, it's very reinforcing, because on Sunday, being the 5th Sunday, all the adults got together and the bishop talked to us about chapter 6 in Preach My Gospel, the Christ-like attributes. He printed off the activity at the end of the chapter, and he made us ALL do it right there in the class. And at the end, he challenged each one of us to choose one of the nine attributes with which to work during the next month, and what I chose was exactly what you challenged me to do later that day, to be diligent. I don't believe in coincidences anymore. I take the challenge, full heartedly. I don't know what will come with transfers next Sunday, but whatever it is, I just want to work! The time still hasn't settled in, but I know it will soon, and I want to take advantage fully of these last 6 weeks.

I can't believe how much I´ve changed, and I can't believe the best time of changing personally is coming to an end that I never thought would arrive. I wouldn't change anything about these 2 years for any price, I can't, they will always be a huge part of me.

Love you Mom and Dad!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hola!

Hey Mom and Dad!

So this last week was pretty good! Long, with lots of walking,but it's alright, there are always lower weeks to make the good ones look even better! We had a great weekend last week, and then this week we had only half of the members in church, and no investigators. But then we ended up running into L_____ again in the street and we are going to meet with him today and start up the frecuent appointments! Plus he´s still going strong, we just lost contact because of the vacations, and he was traveling to Cordoba all week.

But this week we have two people that are going to take out a turn to get married in the next weeks! So we are super stoked about that! They didn't come to church, but they were going to come and we´ll find out what happened this week when we pass by! But they are doing really well. We thought at the beginning of the transfer that maybe they didn't even want to get married, and now we go this last week and they all told us that they had been talking about it and were already planning out the day to go and do it!! It was really cool, some miracles amongst all the fallen appointments and long days!

And today we are just exhausted, as usual, but I think I´m going to make the funfetti cake that I got in the first Christmas package, and when we go to Mendoza next week we´ll probably get the rest of our packages! So yeah I'll let you know!

I´m glad to hear that Nathan's driving test turned out well, and that you are not reduced to one driver anymore! That will be very helpful, and I guess I´m glad to hear that the green car is running still! I thought it was out of commission when I left haha. Tell him not to wreck it!

Glad to hear that Nathan won his tennis match, and that Kate had her first drive! Awesome milestones! Keep it up!

What the heck, I didn't even know that Karissa was pregnant! Maybe I did, but had just forgotten! But that's awesome! Now I have a lot of cousins to meet when I get home. That's awesome!! I looked again at the Christmas card that Jill and Jason sent and was blown away when I didn't see a little baby Olivia! It's going to be a pretty big adjustment! But hopefully they accept me haha!

That's awesome that Bryan did a Footloose sketch! I've never seen that movie but I always hear people talk about it, so yeah, it must´ve been good if they are posting it all over the place! I´ll have to check that out when I get back. Among all the other things. 

I´m glad you finally replaced the fence out back! It should stand up to a lot more kicks and soccer balls :) And hopefully the neighbors' dog didn't make a mess! I never loved dogs a whole lot, but down here, they are just everywhere, which means they leave their mess everywhere as well. Haha it's pretty ridiculous. I´m pretty sure there are more dogs down here than in the United States, because no one takes care of them so they just go around the streets doing whatever they want!

Anyway, this week is going to be good, I´m excited! And I cannot believe that general conference is going to be next weekend! What is happening to the time? I don't have any time to waste! Which is good, so I won't waste it!

Well, today we are going to clean a little and sleep because we are just super tired, plus it's a holiday so there´s no way we can do anything else! I love you all and hope you have a great week! 

But before going, my favorite thing I´ve found in the Book of Mormon reading this week was something I read this morning, in Jacob 4:3. It just hit me very strongly the recognition that the prophets in the olden days, like here, 550+ years before Christ was born, knew that they were writing those things for us in these days, because that's what God had told them. It strengthened my confidence and testimony in the great blessing of having prophets in these days! We wouldn't have the scriptures if we didn't have prophets! So we definitely need to be grateful, I am! But, all in all, the Book of Mormon is for us! Written for these days, to help us with our problems, and it really does! Doesn't matter what problem it may be.

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Great Sunday!

Our zone, Villa Mercedes!
As small as a district haha, but we´re awesome so we are a zone!
 
 
Hey Mom and Dad!

Wow, I can say that that news was pretty unexpected, but just know that I support you 100%, and am really happy to have a dad that lives up to his callings no matter what it is, whether he likes it or no. The ward will be extremly blessed to have you as bishop! And if you need people you can trust, I know there are lots of people in the ward that look up to you and will support you. We all do!! I can´t really say I´m proud of you, being the son, that's a dad´s job. But I can say that I´m proud to have you as my dad, and my bishop! No matter how worried you feel, the Lord will never call without qualifying and purifying. I know you are going to be a great bishop! Do I still need to call you Bishop or can I call you Dad?

I´m really glad everyting turned out well yesterday with the sustaining and setting apart! I´m glad you chose two trustworthy counselors as well, I´ve always looked up to Brother Hiddleston and Brother Crockett a lot! And sorry Dad, but I´m sure it must have been a humbling experience having to speak for quite some time, and hobbling up to the podium with your leg brace! I´m glad you made it!

I´m glad things are going as planned with Nathan playing tennis and and Kate taking drivers ed! And wow Mom, that sounds like a really intense festival regimen. I struggle with songs with more than one sharp or flat, but of course, that's coming from me who can´t even play piano. So what does that matter. Haha I know it will all turn out great! 

The schedule changes have been interesting, but it's awesome because we have more time outside, and even though we have time set aside for planning and studies, we usually don't get to take full advantage of them because we have appointments and the travel is what kills us, taking a bus for 20 minutes or walking for 20 minutes, everything is just really spread out! But our zone meeting went really really well. It was perfectly timed, really simple, and we have awesome leaders that gave really good little capacitations (question, is that a word in English?).

And the Book of Mormon challenge is awesome! I love reading it, even in English! And I´m definitely getting a lot more out of it than I did before the mission! I have been marking little phrases that stick out to me, even in the chapters from Isaiah, which are pretty rough sometimes. We´re in 2 Nephi 12 starting tomorrow, and I´m all caught up! I find myself reading it at night when I would´ve normally been eating or talking or doing other stuff (sorry, it's really taken over my journal time; between reading the Book of Mormon, verifying and resolving zone problems, and having to get ready for bed, these last months won't be very detailed in the journal, to say things simply), and I always have to have my marking pencil close. One of my favorites so far, 2 Nephi 10:10-14, he´s talking about America! It all just makes sense.

I went to Justo Daract, and it was just how I remember it! With a few improved plazas, that's all. I didn't get to see many people, since it was a rainy day and no one wanted to talk to us haha. But, we saw a few miracles. And when we ate with the Alaniz family, they helped Elder Ortez out a lot by giving them some more information about some investigators that is really crucial at this point. And we taught some good lessons! All in all, I enjoyed the day. But I have to admit, I recalled Dad´s words that he said when we went to visit the MTC before leaving on the mission, "It feels really good to know that I´m not stuck in here this time!" Things are tense there, more than they were when I was there, but mostly because of elders in the past 2 years that have been lazy, and lost completely the trust of some of the members. It's sad, but it taught me something! "Whe'er thou art, act well thy part," knowing that the people that come behind me are going to suffer for my mistakes or be grateful for the blessings I´ve left, according to my decisions! I feel happy knowing that I gave it my all there. 

Next month I should get my last two Christmas packages. They couldn't bring them to the conference in San Luis because the elders went and picked them up on Wednesday, but President had already left Mendoza and didn't go back until the next week. But I will get them, don't worry! 

Anyway, yesterday was a day of miracles!! It was by far the best Sunday I´ve had in a while! There were 115 people in church!!!! Incredible, never had so many before! But what's even better is that there were investigators, less actives, and almost all the active members, and they all got along just fine! All the active members greeted the investigators enthusiastically, and welcomed again the less actives. For example, a less active lady came to church for the first time in a year or so with her 8 year old son, and 1) she invited one of our investigators to sit with her when she found her outside alone not knowing what to do (we were already sitting down, getting started... our bad) and 2) our ward mission leader went up to her and just hugged her, and she started crying, and that was the pure example to me of fellowshipping, that's how all members should be when they see a loved friend or loved one return after having distanced themselves for a time. That's how I want to be! And then the gospel principles class was really great. The investigator that sat with the less active sister is actually an investigator from Justo Daract, she´s friends with Hermana Alaniz, and she LOVED everything she saw, so there´s lots of potential there. So it was a really good Sunday!

Anyway, I love you all and hope you enjoy the cold weather along with me! (Although it's just cold right now; it's supposed to be 92 I guess later! We´ll see!)  Enjoy your week, and recognize God´s hand in all the little details of your life. That's a motivator, if I´ve ever seen one!

Elder  Tyson Gibbons
 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Great week!

Hey Mom and Dad!

So, good news! We had a baptism on Friday!!! I´m sorry I forgot to even mention that last week, but it turned out really well! And I´m sorry that I don't have a single picture to send, my camara is out of batteries and I keep forgetting to buy some! So we´ll get that picture later. His name is Cristian, his wife was less active but now she´s active, he got baptized, and they already have the goal to go to the temple next year! It's like a perfect baptism for a missionary, a family that will make it to the temple! So that was a good thing this week :)

We also had a really good week, we found A LOT of new people to teach. We´ve talked with so many people and now with the changes in the work that we do (Elder Ballard had a meeting with all the mission presidents in South America South area) and now we leave the pench at 9:30 every morning, we have to talk with 20 people a day at least, our schedule got mixed up a little, but it's so worth it! We saw a lot of miracles this last week!

We had a zone conference on Friday as well, so we got to enjoy the first half, eat lunch with President (he´s funny when you get to talk with him for a while; I´ll tell some jokes when I get back), and then we booked it over to the terminal to get the bus at 3, while the rest of the zone and the San Luis zone stayed until about 6. We ended up showing up just in time for the baptism, even though we showed up late, and it was awesome! But I got to see Elder Johnson, who is in San Luis, and a few other elders I have met before. It was a really good conference! And tomorrow we have to go over bascially everything President and the assistants talked about on Friday, but it's going to be a great meeting too!

Anyway, this week is going to be awesome. A full week with the new schedules and standards that we have to meet, and we´re really excited! We have a goal of three baptisms in our area, and we have plenty of people to achieve it, it's just going to take good spiritual lessons, planning, and prayers! But we feel very confident that we can make it. 

Dad, you asked awhile back about my MTC companions. Elder Braithwaite is in Godoy Cruz, Elder Chipman is in Alvear, Elder Hardy is in Mendoza, Elder Johnson is in San Luis. Elder Fullmer is still in Godoy Cruz and Elder Southwick is still training in Valle de Uco. I hope I get to see those two before it's too late!

So we started to read the Book of Mormon again in 66 days, just like 2 Christmases ago, and I´m super excited. But it's weird because I´m doing it in English this time. I haven´t read the Book of Mormon in English for almost 2 years. Last time was in the MTC when I read it all in English. It's going to be a really good next two months, reading that and getting a stronger testimony! 

I haven't made it to Justo Daract yet, but I´ll be going there on Friday for exchanges, I´m excited!

I can't believe Nathan is going to prom, that's pretty crazy. Asking a junior to prom, huh? I guess that's alright if he´s already been planning it out with her. Interesting. But I hope he enjoys it!

And Kate is starting drivers ed soon? That's weird, she´s too little!! Or she was when I left haha. Oh, and about the drivers extension, I filled it all out, I´ll mail it to you today then! That way it gets there soon and I can drive to Oregon!

As for trying to work at the MTC, I think that would be AWESOME! I don't know how good of a teacher I am, but I would love to be in that atmosphere again, even for short periods of time!

Anyway, we´re going to eat fajitas with the elders and hermanas for lunch soon. I guess Hermana Vasquez is from Mexico. I didn't know that, but the name does make it clear I think. But I just want to let you all know that I love you! And I´m loving it here in Villa Mercedes, this place is the best!! I´ve never felt so excited to get out and work everyday, since now I´m comfortable with all the parts of the work, although yes there is still room to improve! I'll let you know more about our investigators and stuff next week!!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, March 3, 2014

Goodbye San Rafael, Hello Villa Mercedes

Alberto and family. They bought me a really nice mate cup and bombilla!!!
It's super cool, it has their name on it too.  :)
Now I can drink mate! (When I get home.)

A mix of the familias Gerry, Calderon, and Aspitia

The family of Antonela

Our district in San Rafael:
Elders Ruiz, Bulva, Alcalde, Prado, Rojas, and me, clockwise
 
 
Hey Mom and Dad!!

Alright, things are going WAY good out here in Villa Mercedes. The ward here is super involved in missionary work. It's one of the best functioning wards I´ve seen on the mission, and we have a LOT of people to work with. There´s one family that we visited yesterday (that I had visited once many months ago when I was starting here) that has six families with which they are working, and almost all of them have had a visit with the missionaries in the house of these members! And the ward mission leader is awesome, the bishop is awesome, all the members are awesome! And I got a very warm welcome yesterday, since a lot of them remembered me. And guess what? Our lunch yesterday was with the familia Z_____, and it turns out that 1) they have twin sons that are less active, and 2) the dad is the brother of the familia Z_____ that I visited in Justo Daract, who moved and then we never heard from them again! And he said that they are planning on coming back to Justo Daract, so how crazy is that? It's amazing how much progress and change has happened in almost two years. I´m just super happy when I wake up, and all the time, because I´m back here. We have so many families that we are going to be working with, so if we plan well, we´ll be having plenty of awesome baptisms and we´ll be helping all these families on their way to the temple and an eternal family. It's just great. :)

So Elder Rainock and I get along just fine. We are really similar in almost every way, so we´re going to work like crazy. He´s from Virginia, in Richmond, so I wanted to ask where we lived when Grandma and Grandpa were living there. I thought it was somewhere around Richmond? Just wondering.

I´ve been planning on going to Justo Daract ASAP, of course. It might not happen this week, although I think it should happen. President on Wednesday said he wants me to go there often.  Long story short, my buses got mixed up so I left San Rafael, went to the offices and chilled there for three days, helping out the assistants and the office elders with planning the consejo on Friday, running errands, and geting little things done in the offices, like sorting mail and putting together the material orders for each zone. Super long days. I also went out to work half a day with Elder Braithwaite and Elder Gorge in their area in Godoy Cruz! It was legit. And anyway, President gave me a special assignation, to go to Justo frequently to help the elders get the area going again, and to get the confidence of the members there more quickly. But the Elders Ortez and Kidman are STUDS, they had a WAY good week this last weekend. With only four days of work, they taught more than I taught maybe in two weeks while I was there. That area is picking up and quick! What's cool is that they are teaching some of the people that I tried working with, some of them being a couple that ended up telling us that we shouldn't come back anymore, and now they´ve been coming to church for months and all they are missing is to get married! So that is AWESOME!!! Over all, this is going to be an AMAZING set of transfers here. I couldn't be in a better place, honestly! This is the best area I´ve had so far. Maybe it's just because I am now just applying everything I´ve learned!

So yeah, that's what's going on so far. It's been a long two days, but I like it. I don't want it to pass by fast!! 

That's awesome that we´re going to have two family reunions this summer! I´m super excited to go to Oregon, that's going to be great. And I´ve never been to Texas, so that will be interesting!

And working at the MTC... I´ve thought a lot about that during the mission. At first I didn't want to, but now I think it would be really cool. That's definitely an option as well! And I´m glad Chris will be in town as well!

I'm sending photos of my goodbyes in San Rafael.  I will miss them all!
 
Anyway, we´ve gotta get going, not a lot of time! Lots of things to do! I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, February 24, 2014

Transfers

 The stake president and his wife dancing the Cueca

This family came to the activity and loved it!!!
 
The first goodbye picture I have taken here in Pueblo Diamante.
It's the family Aspitia, really awesome family!
They help us out a lot with visits and transport.
 
 
Hey Mom and Dad! 

Okay, I don't have much time, we need to go eat and get things going because we´re spending the day with the district leaders. If we want to help the districts in the zone, we need to help the leaders first. So we´re going to go eat together! But yeah, it's another really rainy day, just like two weeks ago, so it's pretty crazy!! But doesn't bother me! I´m happy...

And you want to know why I´m happy?? Well, I know you maybe forgot that yesterday we received transfers... and I am leaving!! That's not why I´m happy, I´m actually really sad to leave here, because I feel like I just became part of the ward and was ready to work even harder, and now I´m gone. But it's alright, I´ve done all I can while I´ve been here. But guess where I´m going to go???.......... I´m going back to Villa Mercedes, I´m going to be in the same zone and same district when I was born in the mission!!!!!!! Which means.... I´m going to be able to go back to Justo Daract! Can you believe it?!?!?!?! I´m super excited! I´m going to be with Elder Rainock, he got here a year ago about. I don't know him super well but he was traveling assistant before he became zone leader, so at least I know he works hard too!! So I´m really excited for this transfer. 

Anyway, not much news, except the activity that we had on Saturday was really really good!!! It turned out really well. There were about 80 people there, including investigators, less actives and active members! Elder Bulva did his magic tricks (I filmed the whole thing, too bad I can't send videos by email, but you´ll see them when I get back) and there were a bunch of other talents. It was a huge success, and everyone loved it! We walked out the front doors and there was a random teenager walking by and we called him over, asked him where he was going, if he wanted to see a talent show, and he came right in! Made friends with the youth and enjoyed the talent show. Then we got his direction and they will be passing by to visit his family! So that's awesome. :)  And Dad, the stake president and his wife along with a few spectators from Chile danced the Cueca. I don't know if you remember or even know what that is, but it was quite a sight! Really interesting.

Anyway, I´m really glad the surgery went well!! That is not a delightful picture, hopefully it's not that swollen for a long time! That doesn't look super fun. But I´m glad you´ve gained a stronger testimony about the word of wisdom haha. I don't understand why people intentionally drug themselves to feel like that either.

The families are doing alright, we´ve been visitng both of them, and today we´ll visit the quorum president to say goodbye. The invisible friend activity turned out really well, but a lot of elders forgot. Everyone participated at least 50 percent, either giving their gift or receiving haha. But I think I´m one of the only ones that gave and received! Elder Olaya, the Colombian, gave me a planner (that I´m going to use after the mission obviously) and a wood-carved key hanger, so that was cool! But hopefully the people that participated enjoyed it!

Anyway, yeah I need to get going. But here are a few fotos from the activity!

I hope it's not raining or cold like it is here!! Have a great week!!! I love you all.

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, February 17, 2014

More Miracles

Agustina with her family
 
Ailén and her family
 
Always thinking about home sweet home, Idaho :)
 
Hey Mom and Dad!

So this week was a week of miracles! And lots of trials that came before the miracles. pure fulfillment of Ether 12:6, the blessings or testimony or miracles never come until after the trail of your faith! And it was a pretty crazy week!

First things first, yes, we had the two baptisms of Agustina and Ailén!!! It turned out really really well, they were like two little angels, and the spirit was really strong. We talked with Agustina yesterday after church (oh yeah, they both got confirmed yesterday too) and she said she didn't want to get out of the baptismal font, and her older sister heard that and said that she had wanted to be inside the baptismal font! (Whether it was to be in the warm water or to be baptized, doesnt matter!) So we were super happy to hear that. We´re going to try and get Angela, the older sister, to accept a baptismal date for this weekend or the next, because she has all the lessons and is reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and the only thing that is hard for her is coming to church in the morning, but she has already come twice. So we´ll keep you updated on that!

Sorry about the confusion, the person who was hit by a car and passed away was the husband in the young family that we were teaching. He was the son of a less active member. But the less active member is part of the huge family that makes up the ward Pueblo Diamante, so everyone felt the loss. We are still going by to try and help them, and use the teachings of the gospel to help them. We stopped by last Thursday and the wife/girlfriend attended us really well, and told us that she didn't blame God for anything, because God would´ve taken him from her if he was sick or suffering, but she understands really well, and we promised her she would be blessed a lot for not blaming God for what happened, and that He would help her in the moments of need. So that gave us a little boost! As for the ward, the ward is really starting to stick together more and help out those people that are in need. We spent 10 minutes in Priesthood quorum yesterday naming the people that needed our help whether they needed visits or the Sacrament or things like that. It was a huge improvement, at least in my eyes. 

Yeah, that is the classic latino-ism, blaming all health problems on the liver. I´ve heard so many excuses about the liver that don't even make sense! Like they have irritated eyes (I think I can recognize a little bit, having worked with you Dad for a while) and they say it's because their liver is having problems. Or leg pains, or a sore back. Maybe some of those could have results like that, but seriously, every problem is always the liver haha!

Our ward doesn't really keep track of the reading, but every Sunday the ward mission leader prints off a little paper and hands it out to everyone that enters the chapel that has the week and the chapters to read each day. And every Sunday someone gets up to verify, to talk about what we learned this week, and yesterday Gonzalo Campos, who is 11, stood up and gave the best verification that I´ve ever heard! He´s a little stud! He´ll be a great missionary someday. But, we honestly don't know how many are doing it, since not everyone can get up and report. But we believe a lot are doing it because we have seen a lot of changes in the ward itself, and that defintely can happen through reading the Book of Mormon and sending their conversion roots deeper and deeper!

We are ending the invisible friend activity today, and honestly we hope that everyone rememberd! I know a lot of them did, but if someone doesn't get a gift, then at least we´ll know who doesn't want to be united! :D Haha just kidding, but that would be embarrassing. I bought Elder Van Orman (it's his second transfer here in Argentina, he´s a stud!) a yo-yo and a little random thing that jumps. I honestly can't think of a better explanation, sorry!

Alright, I guess if I can't get into summer semester, I'll just work at the clinic which is what I was going to ask to do if I was at home, and we´ll have to go down to Provo frequently for job applications and to visit friends and mission buds :)

As for the classes, I got online and looked at classes and decided on a few that I would like to take. I would like to have your feedback obviously since maybe I´m just hyped up and maybe the class combination is a little bit much, but I chose these classes: New Testament REL A 211, Spanish 321, Biology BIO 130 Chemistry 105 (I know how to study and try harder now!), and Calculus MATH 112. It's a total of....17 credits. I might change some of the serious classes and try and get some calmer ones to even it out, that's probably a good idea huh? I'll look at some of the recreative classes and stuff, and let you know next week, if I have until March!

Okay, I hope the surgery goes well! I'll be praying this week, hoping that the surgery can put back together my beat up Dad!! And Mom I´m glad the festival went much better this year, it's always fun to have someone critique you for something that doesn't have anything to do with you. Could be jazz piano playing, or being a missionary... some people just don't think before they speak! But we love them anyway :) Same thing happened to Christ!

I´m realy glad Nathan's game turned out really well this week!! It's always nice to find that little ray of sunshine amongst the shadows! I know how he feels. So Kate spent Valentines Day watching wrestling? I never enjoyed wrestling that much, (except for when I saw Kelly´s cousin Todd win, that was awesome).

That's cool that Lindy and Jackson are going to come this summer! We´ll make sure to talk about the mission and get them excited ;) It's been too long since we´ve seen them! 

Anyway, we´re going to get going. Just remember that in spite of all the trials that come, whether it's spiritual or physical, we just have to keep pushing forward, and God always does His part when we give it our all!! That's what I have learned this last week, with a straight week of rain, nonstop, trying to plan baptisms and plan how they were going to get there and how their family was going to get there, and lots of plans, and it all turned out perfectly. We had a great baptism, and they got confirmed and we found lots of miracles during the week, like going to the house of an new investigator that we found last week and happening to find a less active sister that served a mission and went to the temple and lives in our stake, who is really good friends with the investigator, and we taught the Restoration and had a really good lesson. God always puts people where He wants them!! :) He´ll do the same for you!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, February 10, 2014

Miracles

 
 
 
Hey Mom and Dad,

Wow, I didn't even know that the Olympics were back, although I guess it makes sense, since when I started the mission the Summer Olympics were goign on. I don't think anyone down here is paying much attention, there aren´t many reminders in the weather or anything like that. It's just hot.

This last week was a really good week, we saw lots of miracles, two of them being that this weekend the granddaughter or Margarita is getting baptized, along with the daughter of a half-active/half-inactive family, so it's going to be a really good, spiritual weekend! Thanks to the visits with members that we were able to have, we confirmed those two baptisms this past week.

About the visits with members, it was a really big success, even with all the trials that showed up before and after. I´m amazed at how important the plan of salvation is, because everyone who doesn't understand automatically has less hope in this life... and with all the things that have happened last week and recently with a received phone call, have made me think a lot about the reason for being here. After doing splits with the Elders Quorum president, we found out the day after that his wife, who had been in bedrest for her pregnancy, lost the baby. I couldn't believe when I heard it, and I was even more amazed at the way they were handling it. They obviously weren´t fine in any way, but they haven't let it shake their faith in any way. And seven minutes ago I received a call from the bishop letting us know that one of our investigators, a young family with two children, lost their dad last night, he was hit by a car. And now I can't get that out of my mind. We have plans already to visit his wife and kids tonight with the uncle of the dad. Even with the amazing week we had, it's hard to erase those events or replace them with the good. I just can't stop thinking about those two families now. It's alright, we are going to help them as much as we can! 

I´ve also noticed that with these events, the ward and the members have started to come out of their routine, their shell, and start to worry and care for the other members. I would never wish anything like this on anyone, but I do hope that the members can start to be even more united as they help these two families.

Well I don't like to dwell on the hard things, since we had a lot of miracles yesterday in church, so I´ll mention those too. We had 6 people come to church, 6 non members I mean, including the mom of Agustina (who is getting baptized this Saturday), the daughter-in-law of Margarita. So that was a big success. She told us in a lesson on Saturday that she would go (after telling us she wasn't going to promise us anything; we kept teaching and bearing testimony, and she changed her mind) and she even said she would keep going if she liked it and felt alright. And when she got there, ALL the members started greeting her and were helping her the entire time. She couldn't stay for the classes but she said she really liked it, and felt like she was with family, so we are going to work with her now. And then Agustina came, Aileen came (the other baptism this Saturday), a friend of the ward mission leader´s daughter came, a cousin of the Ortiz family came (Oh, Gonzalo and Antonela got married on Friday! It was really good!), and the granddaughter of a less-active member came for the first time in years. So it really was a great Sunday, it was a big blessing for us. I know that God does the rest if we do all that we can do, that's what happened this week. 

So yeah, it really was a good week, don't think it wasn't, I´m just sad right now for what has happened with these two families, but we´ll keep working hard. I really love this area and the people here. I just want to help them all, but it's really hard to have contact with everyone. I'll do my best. 

Zone meeting turned out really well, I got over the strep throat Monday night. It was still a little sore on Tuesday but I handled just fine. The meeting was really spiritual. We´re going to play a game as a zone, invisible friend. It's like white elephant gifts but the people are going to know who bought them a gift since we have to give it to them personally, But it's all part of trying to be ONE as a zone, since Christ says we need to be one (D&C 33:8) or we aren´t His. So that's a goal we have as a zone.

I guess I do have some latino-isms, Dad, now that I think about it. But at least I don't say that every problem I have is because my liver is failing. Everyone uses that one down here. But I´m not joking about the blood pressure or anything, it went from really hot to really cold, and I´ve learned that I do not adjust well to rapid changes. It sounds lame, I know. But I´ve had ridiculous allergies both of the summers I´ve been here, just like last year, at the same time as now.  But my health isn't a problem anymore, I feel really good!

Yesterday as well we were assigned to speak 5 minutes before Sacrament Meeting, but I got voluntold by Elder Bulva to be first. The bishop gave me the topic of obedience to the commandments, and I smiled since I gave the exact same talk in Albardon 8 months ago. So I did my best to remember how I gave the talk, and then I just followed the Spirit, and it turned out really well. Pretty amazing, huh? Giving a talk on a moment's notice. not that I agree with that concept, but it's nice to feel prepared.

Anyway, I´m going to look at a few classes later today. I think I do want to take the Spanish 321 class, but I need to look at the rest. So, I won't be able to study summer semester?? I guess it would be nice to know if it's possible or not, can you let me know when you find out? Does that mean I´m still going down there in the summer to work or something like that? I´m just trying to figure out the mental plan I have right now.

Anyway, we need to get going! If there´s anything I would like to share, it's a little miracle that we are seeing in the ward because of the inspired activity of reading the Book of Mormon as a ward, one chapter every day, that the ward mission leader and the bishop and the elders planned and started in August last year. We are starting 3 Nephi today. But a lot of members can see the big difference that it is making in the members, since I know that every member who is fulfilling their reading assigment is strengthening their own conversion, and I notice it in myself too. The Book of Mormon is powerful, and like it says in the front introduction, I feel a lot closer to Christ when I read it! That's what the book is for, to testify of Christ, just like the Bible. I also really enjoy reading the New Testament, I´m in 2 Corinthians right now, and I found a lot of little counsels and advice this morning in chapters 6-11. I love being able to study so much!

I hope this week and all its events turn out really well! Good luck with the jazz festival Mom. A little counsel that Elder Zwick gave us when he came and talked to us last year, "Suffer with joy." It's not fun to be criticized when we aren't in the position to be treated as such, but, I know how it is too so don't feel alone! It's not fun, but we can always learn something! :) I love you all! Talk to you next week.

Elder Tyson Gibbons

First picture is in the registro civil (like the courthouse, I guess) for Antonela and Gonzalo's wedding.
Second is the ceremony, missing a few people, it was a little while before starting. That's the chapel of Pueblo Diamante!
Third, outside the chapel, with Antonela´s little sister and cousin I think.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Hola!

Hey Mom and Dad!

Don't worry, talking about BYU doesn't make me trunky or anything (I'll explain a little later about a few cool miracles this week) but it's perfect timing because we have interviews with Presidente Ávila on Wednesday, so I will talk to him about all that there, and I also need my temple recommend interview so I think that covers everything that an ecclesiastical endorsement needs too! So there we go, killing two birds with one stone. Or three, I will ask him for permission to look at the BYU classes online. I would love to take the Spanish class. Everyone says I speak well, but I need to remember all the grammatical stuff and improve whatever problems I have, so hopefully I can get some credit! 

I just have one question, this is all for the fall, right? But for the summer, I´m going to go down there and live with Grandma and Grandpa and work, right? Not study? Just wanted to clear that up. How am I going to get from Grandma and Grandpa´s house and campus/work? Haha sorry, I just don't want to worry about anything, we´ll plan it all out.

So things went pretty well this week, but I did end up with a bad case of strep throat! Which I am still fighting against today, but it's almost over. I´m going to rest today, and tomorrow I should be good! But before that, it was all headache, fever, shivers, sweating, and dehydration mixed in with the council on Tuesday (longest council ever, but I persevered, and I learned so much!). I just consider it was a week of extreme trials for me, and I'm pretty sure I came out how God wanted me to come out! We had Margarita come with both of her granddaughters, one that comes every once in a while, but the other one had only come once and then never came again. But since their mom (Margarita´s daughter in law) committed to come, I guess that was good enough for the granddaughter! The daughter in law didn't come, but we´re working on it! It was a miracle Sunday, too. I bore my testimony about the power of the scriptures, because of the few miracles that had happened this past week, and it was really powerful, and our quorom president came up to me and said "I had something to say to you.... you have the face of a bishop" and then walked off. So that was a slap in the face, I´m just an elder, and would prefer to stay as such for a good while... But then we saw a visible change in the members. We printed off a calendar for the members to come out and work with us, and we have someone signed up for every single day, it's a miracle! Even the bishop wanted to go out! So we´re going to see big improvements, and then we have ward council the week that is coming, so things are just going upwards! :) We are super excited! Of course, after church, and after talking with so many people, I made my strep throat flame up a little bit worse, so I spent the rest of the day in bed resting, doing a bunch of random intercambios. Elder Higdon, my fellow Idahoan, came and stayed with me at the apartment during the first meeting we had, since he wasn't feeling too hot either, and then Elder Alcalde came for the second meeting, and that's how I saw a bunch of elders even when I was just in bed! But things all turned out really well!

Anyway, that's AWESOME that Papa bought Rosetta Stone!!! He should let me borrow it for a little, that way I never lose my touch! (It's going to be hard. I hope all my Mexican friends are home haha.)

I love the New Testament too! I´m glad Nathan and Kate are starting early to have their scripture interpreting abilities, since I feel like I just barely developed those, but I think they´re pretty advanced.. haha just kidding. But in the New Testament, I have been reading everywhere, and my favorite this past week was 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, where at the end he says "for when I am weak, then am I strong." So I shared that in my testimony, because I´ve felt sick for a week and a half, but this scritpure became a motto for me. And also about feeling fatigued and just tired like Jalen, I´ve been studying and praying a lot to overcome those barriers, and that's another one of the miracles I´ve seen. I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants 64 after receiving a lot of Christmas letters from Sister Eagley and the Primary and the ward, and someone had put D&C 64:33 and I read the rest of the section, and verses 25, 29-34 were just what I was needing these past days. About the work, about the ward, about our area, about our members, about my health, about the zone, just everything! And I just understood perfectly clearly in that moment what it was that I needed to do. 

"be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

 34 Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind;..." my new motto. and it went perfectly along with the things I have been praying for, specifically, to feel the same excitement and desire that I did at the beginning of the mission, despite the health trials and the struggles with the zone and the area and the ward, and it's happening. I don't just see it, I feel it. I´ve never been so excited and anxious to get out and work, to help the other elders, to help our members and serve them and just be a missionary! It's the best feeling in the world, I wouldn't change it for anything! And I won't, not for now! God answers prayers, and those who are diligent, have a willing mind and give their heart to Him, will receive what they are searching for, I know it's true! 

Anyway, today I´m going to cut my hair and relax, so I feel better for the zone meeting tomorrow, since I have to talk and right now it hurts to even breathe haha. But yeah, I will talk to you all next week! Don't let a single day pass by wasted!! There´s no time for that! Doesn't matter how tired, sick, fatigued, lonely, worn-out you may feel, just pray, lift your arms, square your shoulders, and face the day with a smile on your face! I´m convinced that one thing Satan hates worst is a good person waking up with a smile, ready to take on the day! more opposition for him! But I like that feeling, I really do.

I love you Mom and Dad and Nathan and Kate! Talk to you next week!

Elder Tyson Gibbons