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 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