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