Monday, January 27, 2014

Finding Families

Hey Mom and Dad!

Well this week as you´ve noticed was pretty crazy, weather-wise. We started off nice and hot, and peaked in the middle with really hot wind blowing really fast (basically viento sonda like in San Juan, which NEVER has happened down here), and then the rest of the week was actually really nice! So that was a great relief, although it wasn't the end of the physical problems, since I as well have been suffering from very random different little things. Thankfully I haven't lost my voice yet, like you Mom. But I´ve come close, today more than any other day. But, all in all, things are going great!

We worked like crazy this week, finding a bunch of families, that's the best part! A lot of them are less active families, but they all have family members that haven't heard the missionaries and aren´t members, so we have started to teach all of them! It's the plan of the Prophet, working with the less-actives to help them come back, and all the while asking for their family members and friends, so they come back and stay back. Also with the recent converts, we had a little visit with Margarita, who got baptized in December (well, baptized end of November, confirmed in December). She wrote a little dedicatory note in a Book of Mormon, and we practiced with her how we were going to go with her and give them the gift that she had. It ended up that we got into the house, taught them a lesson, and now the mom is reading a lot! (The husband is really cool too, but he drives buses from here to Bolivia, so he´s home one day of the week, every week.) So we saw a miracle working with the recent converts too! And now her granddaughter that has come with her quite a few times, turned 8 three days ago! So we´re going to talk with the parents and help them understand the importance of baptism, and we know that Margarita will start seeing the changes in her family that she has been waiting for. So we have many miracles in store there, waiting for the right moment!

Talking about the right moment, thank you Dad for sharing that scripture. I don't believe in coincidences much, and I know that it wasn't coincidence. I will take that advice to heart, and I will keep doing what I´ve wanted to do, work harder and harder until the last moment. It's been my goal since the beginning of the mission, personally and somewhat forced upon me by Hermana Alaniz in Justo Daract, who made me promise her I wouldn't get "trunky" or anything like that. So I´m not going to do it! I want to find the miracles, because it's true that now I know what I´m doing (still have a lot to learn too, don't worry) but I just want to enjoy applying everything! And that's what we´ve been doing these two weeks. This weekend we are going to have people at church and we have our goal of 4 baptisms in our companionship, so we´re going all out. We didn't get any this month, we went through a cycle of searching for new people, and we have really good FAMILIES right now, that's the best part.

So today we have to go to Mendoza again. I don't want to bring my suitcase this time, because last time the three boxes of BoMs broke the little leg that keeps it upright, so that was really frustrating. But we´ll see. I´m excited and nervous because it's always a long night when we stay in the office pench. Oh well.

I´m really glad everything turned out great at the end with the surprise for Grandpa Madsen! Those are the best times, when a surprise that special is completely unexpected but really really nice. I like doing that down here too, surprising investigators or members with little simple things, but that help them feel special and feel our love for them. Even with all the craziness that happened with Mike and Nikki, thankfully it all turned out perfect!

I´ve been feeling fine, it's just been these last few days that have been rough. I had low blood pressure, allergies (I´m positive I have seasonal allergies now, because I´ve been going through the same thing the last 4 summers of my life, it's not just irritation from mowing lawns), headaches, cold, sore throat, dizziness, heat exhaustion (dont worry, I got almost to the point of heat exhaustion, I didn't actually get it). But all of that has happened, starting Thursday until today. Today I´m just struggling with a sore, swollen throat, but I still have my voice at least! It's not going to be super hot this week, so that's good too. I still shower almost every night, since I hate waking up with my sheets sticking to me. As for sleeping, it's been getting a little better, but it's still rough. No changes there.

We are still planning on doing the exchanges, we have them all planned out for this next month, so we´re going to be helping all the elders to work hard and stay excited and diligent, since that's always the hard part, especially at the end of transfers. But I do remember how I looked up to the zone leaders, and I always remember thinking "thank goodness I'll never get to that same point in the mission...." and now here I am. I don't ever know if I´m making a difference in the lives and work of these elders, but I always give my best, so I just hope and pray that I can be a good example and help someone in need.  

As for what Dad said about Jalen, that is a pretty good description of how I´ve been feeling these last weeks. It's like a tiredness that I can't get over, but the amazing thing is that I´m still going out, working, and taking advantage of the time. I watched the end of "The District 2" where they all get off the plane and find their families in the airport (that part was weird, did my best not to imagine anything. But I don't think about it) and I remember what Elder Christensen says, "I´m....tired." And I think about what President Avila said once, that if we are tired, it's a good sign, because we are still giving it everything we have! So that keeps me going too.

About playing soccer, it didn't turn out well last week. We only had 6 people since a few elders betrayed us and went with a different group to play (no hard feelings), but we stil had fun! And it got really cloudy and stormy for a few hours so we enjoyed it A LOT. But, we´ll be playing again in the future for sure. Not today, we´re goign to rest, clean, and head up to Mendoza!

Dad, Elder Bulva has the same time as me, just that he got to the mission two transfers earlier than me, since he´s Latin, and since we gringos have the MTC for 9 weeks (6 weeks now, poor elders and hermanas) and they only go for 2. But we started the same day, May 16, 2012. So it's nice to be in the same time frame, we can tell everyone here that we have the same time but then show them that we aren't old elders that give up or slack off at the end, which is the stereotype. So we are excited!

Anyway, that's about all I have to share for now. Hopefully Nathan gets back in shape soon! Tell him to avoid any contact with elbows or knees or soccer balls (unfortunately :[ )and tell Kate to keep her head up with work and school and all the other commitments she has! It'll help her out a lot on the mission if she goes! I love you all, and I hope this week isn't too cold for you all! Look for the good in everything, the key to a successful, happy week!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, January 20, 2014


Hey Dad! Wow is it really MLK day? That's crazy, I feel bad I don't know my own country´s holidays very well. But I do remember that we went and saw "Invictus," on MLK day one year, which is still one of my favorite movies to this day! I really like stories of people like that, for me they really are heroes, because they are a minority (sometimes an individual, even) standing against the world and fighting for what is right, and just, and fair. And I really feel like as members, as priesthood holders, as missionaries, and as God´s children here in the world, that's our life story every single day. And hearing stories of men and women so brave, gives me more reason to keep fighting. It's never going to be easy, but I am comforted knowing that at least I will never be alone.

Yeah we heard about the poor kids over there getting attacked by those biting fish, thank goodness we aren´t allowed to swim or anything, I´ve never been too fond of deep water. Even though boating and things don´t bother me too much, that just makes it a little worse.
Things are going well with Elder Bulva. He was in my district when I was in Maipu, in Rodeo del Medio. and he was in Colonia Bombal, with the bikes. Remember the picture I sent after my first intercambio on bikes? Yeah, so we already know each other. But he has been a Zone Leader for a while now, this is his 4th transfer as Zone Leader, so he knows the ropes a little more I guess, and he naturally takes charge of things, but for some reason President put me as Zone Leader 1, which I thought meant I had been in the area longer, but I guess it means senior comp? Either way, we decide everything as a companionship, that's how it should be. Equality is the only way to have the spirit. and another good thing is that he is very focused on having the spirit. So it's helping me a lot too. We teach really well together, and we´ve been finding a lot of families so that's the important thing!
As for knowing the zone a little better, we are going to be doing exchanges with every companionship this transfer, so I'll get to know them all a little more, which I am really excited about. That has always been my goal, to know who my people are, and help them feel and know that they can trust me and that I care about them. Dad, I guess you didn't need to tell me that advice, I think it just came naturally in my genes! And I always knew why people loved it when you coached us, because we all felt like we were worth something, and that helped the unity of the team. And even better, in consejo this month President talked about exactly that, getting to really KNOW and care for the missionaries in our zone. So I felt really good when he talked about that, I felt like I was getting the hang of things, and being right about a need of the zone here. So things are going well.
And some good news, Elder Bulva does play soccer! And pretty well! When Elder Alberro, Elder Bulva, and Elder Tapia and I made a team, we beat the other team really bad, so today we´re going to see if we have the same unity. So that should help use my soccer shoes a little!

Wow, that is awesome that there were 10 investigators in church! I have never had that many down here, I think my highest was 6 (not trying to compare or anything, just saying). That is awesome that the members are doing their job and the hermanas there must be working like crazy! The hermanas here, Hermana Hill and Hermana Sorensen, are just the same. They taught 19 lessons this week, not including lessons with less active families or recent converts, in total I think it was about 40ish. They are blowing us all out of the water, they are super dedicated. I´m glad they stayed together for a transfer more. They are huge examples for our zone.

Thank you for the quotes, I´ve noticed that in these last months, I´ve prayed more diligently and more faithfully, more like Enos did, and I´ve really been seeing results. It's not just a memorized prayer like it was many years ago, it's a conversation, and I´m getting better at the two way dialogue. Definitely important for my future life I think. But I'm really grateful for the power of prayer, I wouldn't be anything without it.

I love you Dad, and hope you have a good week and keep improving really really fast with your arm and knee! I would like to be able to play a little bit when I get back!

Hey Mom, well I basically talked about everything in the email I sent to Dad, so you can probably just post that one, I forgot to add you and Nathan and Kate when I said I love you, but that's why I´m writing this one!

But thank you for the just keep swimming quote, this transfer is going to be really good, but at the same time I´m going to keep that in mind, becase there will always be frustrations or difficulties, but I´m not too worried!

Wow Nathan is just turning out to be a little genius, huh? Wait, he is a sophmore this year right? I need to go to some games of his, and Kate's. Even if I´m going to be in school, I need a way to travel home sometimes!

We were eating lunch yesterday and the youngest daughter has 12 years, and they asked about my little sister and I automatically said 12, but then I remembered, "Wait, it's been almost 2 years... she´s almost 15! What the heck!!!!" So I can't believe she´s already turning heads. Good thing she isn't down here, I´m just a guy and get heads turning all the time, be it guys or girls, since I'm blond. I can't imagine for her! Tell her to stop her growth please!

Anyway, we´re going to play soccer again, yay! And probably more than once this transfer! But we´ve gotta go. I sent Dad´s email already, but it's really for all of you, I love you all! I miss you too, but don't worry haha, I´m too happy here for now! I have a lot more to do!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, January 13, 2014

I'm staying!

Hey Mom!

So yeah, New Years was alright! No, it wasn't my Rubiks Cube, it was from the elder that I replaced that day. And Dad we split up because we had divisions planned, so I knew it was going to happen anyway. except for the asado part, I didn't know about that. That just happened to take place while I was in the other area. Haha but I don't mind. Oh, and I bought a pair of soccer shoes and a soccer ball for Christmas, that's about it so far, if you were wondering. Thank you so much everyone!

I don't think President will ban soccer, he likes it too much! Plus it was just a random accident, it wasn't anything to do with aggression or competitiveness. So yeah, thank goodness! It's not like I'll get to play much in the next 5 months anyway, looking at the graph of my mission so far haha.

So yesterday was transfers, and I'm staying here, so thank goodness I don't have to pack or anything! I knew I was staying anyway. Elder Villegas is going to Godoy Cruz to be with his "son," and obviously he is really excited. He talks about him ALL the time haha, so I was pretty surprised to hear that President let him be with him for the last 6 weeks.

As for who is coming here, I'm going to be with Elder Bulva! It was a surprise, but only a little bit, because right before they called, I had that thought, and then when they told me, I wasn't even surprised. So yeah, it's going to be a good transfer!  I just really hope that it's not as hard of a transfer as this one has been, mentally and spiritually I mean.

We had a few other changes in the zone, but not too many. Elder Varney is coming from Justo Daract and will be here in the zone, hopefully I can talk a little bit with him. And Elder Gorge, the giant, is going to be with Elder Braithwaite in Godoy Cruz. Other than that, those are all the changes of elders that I know. We are getting two more hermanas, and the others are staying the same. Pretty crazy. 

We have a lot of potential investigators, it has just been really hard to get into their houses for a second time, and even for the first time for some of them. So yeah, Dad, we are definitely in the finding mode, it's necessary! And yeah, they all seem to be elderly people, but that's alright. If they are prepared, that's who we´ll teach!

Congrats to the nephew of Carrie! Argentina is the best! Even if he isn't coming to Mendoza, he´s going to love it!
And congrats Mom on your inviting efforts! On the mission that is how our interractions go with other people of other religions that are preaching, we always do an exchange! It's all we can do, right? Just invite. Since I have no problem against any religion, i don't want to be one of those who tries to tear their beliefs down. If someone did that to me, I´d feel quite terrible I think.

A huge conference of family history? That sounds really intense. Hopefully you can go and learn some cool stuff! And I know how Grandpa and Grandma feel, I'm really out of the loop will all that technology stuff (as weird as that sounds).

I´m glad Nathan is recoverng a little from the headaches, and that Kate is starting to miss sports! :) Sports are really fun, but you have to play with that focus, to have fun. Don't get too competitive. Aggressive is alright, but competitiveness doesn't always lead to good things... just saying.

And I'm glad Dad´s elbow is healing well! It was really weird to see him with a brace on Christmas, I had almost forgotten to expect that. And as for you Mom, a lot of people are getting sick around this time of year, down here I mean. Elder Villegas got heat exhaustion a couple days ago. Thankfully it wasn't too bad.

But anyway, since Elder Villegas is leaving, we have lunch with Alberto right now, and then I don't know what we´ll do. I wanted to play soccer but I don't think he wants to, and since he´s leaving, we´re going to do what he wants. So yeah, we need to go and buy a tie for Alberto, so I need to get going. I hope this week isn't too cold and everyone feels better healthwise and mentally and spiritually and physically! I know I´m praying for that! Mostly mentally and spiritually! I love you!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, January 6, 2014

Welcome 2014!

Happy New Year everyone!!!

Wow, I cannot believe it's 2014. It's sad, because I won't be the entire year on the mission! :( I don't like that thought!! But at least the week passed by REALLY SLOWLY! It was pretty dead, as far as missionary work. I´m sure all the other people were living the fast lane life, with their parties and everything! Haha too bad we don't participate!
So for New Years I was with Elder Higdon, from Idaho Falls, in his area. He´s relatively new on the mission, he´s actually being trained still right now. But it was nice to spend the New Years Eve with a fellow Idahoan! :) We didn't exactly party it up, in fact, we weren't allowed to leave the pench for those two days unless we had an appointment, and with almost no one home, we didn't leave much. Like you said Dad, it's the WORST sitting in the pench. We were super bored. I just ate a few extra treats I had bought for the night, and played with a Rubik's Cube. SUPER FUN, right? Ha kinda. We watched some church videos as well, but still not as good. So we slept a lot. While in my area, Elder Villegas and Elder Allen (Elder Higdon´s companion) were eating asado, and ice cream, and fruit salad (bascially, the best of the best down here). So yeah, that turned out well haha! 

And then on Friday we had to go to Mendoza, so that was an adventure, as always. The consejo was really good! But President was using a cane and had a big boot on his foot! I guess he was playing soccer with the elders two Saturdays ago and stepped in a hole or a sprinkler or something, and almost broke his ankle. There was a lot of crazy stuff that happened during these fiestas! But he was still as excited as ever!

I got to see Elder Johnson, always a nice little reunion, and a few other elders, but it's way weird to say goodbye to Elder Thurgood and Elder Bills and a few other elders I know, like Elder Wahl. they are all going home next week! :/ So crazy... But they all shared their testimonies and it was a really good meeting.

So in this point of the transfer, we´re looking for more people still. We have a few people, the grandpa that came to church with us a few weeks ago, another couple that's in the later years, and another woman that's even older than the others! Haha so we´re doing our best to get them to church! No one came yesterday, but that's because last minute party things were happening. Thank goodness the parties are over! This week should be a solid week!

Anyway, no news on the packages, except that everyone's package from the entire mission is waiting in Buenos Aires, because the mail is still on strike over there. So just a little heads up, Elder Egbert says that it's best if you don't send anything for awhile, until we let you know. They´re doing everything possible to get them over here, but we´ll see! It's alright if it becomes a birthday present I guess haha :) as long as I do get them before May!

Anyway, so today we bought a fan, and I´m carrying it around for now, not too heavy thankfully. We still have to buy groceries and then I think we´re going to relax in the pench. It's been a long week, and really hot.

But to end on a good note, yesterday was a really good day at church! Maybe no one came to church, speaking of investigators I mean, but the testimony meeting was really powerful, and the classes were really good as well. We didn't want to leave the chapel, even to have a really good lunch! I´m glad that things were the same back home too. It's a comfort to know that the church really is the same all over the world! Because the spirit is the same, of course!

I love you all, and I hope you can keep you New Year's resolutions for one more week at least! :P  But even better, I hope you can all keep progressing and start off this new year in the best way!!! Welcome 2014, I feel like it has a lot of changes in store for me, so I´m ready!!!
Elder Tyson Gibbons