Mexico Guadalajara East Mission

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Monday, January 24

Toothaches and a comparatively uneventful week

Querida Familia,
Oh my goodness!! Michele!! You look so beautiful in your pictures!! I´m glad you had fun time and a good date. :)
Yes, Kevin and Michele!! Patriarchal Blessings are the best!! But seriously, read them a lot and often!!
Ok, so today I went in to Guadalajara, because I had a tooth (#20) that was bothering me on and off during the week. So Hermana Jesperson had me go in to a specific dentist in Guadalajara. (I guess she doesn´t have much confidence in the dentists in their little shops here in Uruapan ;) )  He spoke almost perfect english, his vocabulary was just really formal, which is fine, but you could just tell it wasn´t his first language... like me with Spanish ;) I think he was of Jewish decent too. All it turned out to be was part of a filling pushing on a tooth and that was moving it. So he just ground it down and that was it.  So we had a total of 9ish hours in a bus today traveling... fun, huh!? ;) I got a lot of mail in the offices, so it was worth it. ;)
This zone is a lot bigger than my first one, but that`s only because there are a couple of areas that are like two hours away. All the rest are touching. Actually I think that areawise, this area is smaller than Revolución. There are four missionaries total in my district. I´ve been here for three weeks and every week I´ve been put in a different district... we must be the problem companionship... ;) Just kidding we´re good, there`s just adjusting going on still. There aren´t any sister missionaries in the zone of Uruapan, but I think there are in the zone next door in Zamora.
What dates are the letters that you haven´t recieved? I´ve written every week, I promise! Just send the dates and I´ll send the letters. ( to dad´s email address to make sure that you get them )
That´s all for this week, I love this area, I love the members, and I love the mission!!!!!
con amor,
Élder Gibson
P.S. Here´s some pictures of the area and the locals ;)

Monday, January 17

Conferences and baptisms and out-house holes! Oh my!!


Querida Familia,

It sounds like it´s going to be a busy week for you all!! I hope you all have fun!! En especial tú, Michele!

We got 18 referrals from the open house this time. Which is a big improvement from last time´s 6 and half of which we were already teaching... So I´m happy with it. :)

Yeah, Kevin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Missioness!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you are so going to Madagascar!!!! Ja ja!!  Jk, I´ve heard that that is a mission though...

We had a conference with the area seventy, President Johnson. It was so awesome!! Looking back, pretty much all he did was ask questions... but I don´t know, it was awesome and I learned a lot!! ... Reflective questions or something... Ja ja!! at one part of the conference he said, "I´m only asking questions, I don´t know why you all look so guilty..." then he laughed. (rhetorical questions) ;) 

Yesterday, we baptized Agripina and Carlos!!! Daniel Angel will have to wait another 4 years until he´s 8. It was a simple little service right after church, and the water wasn´t warm (it wasn´t too cold either... just a little colder than I would have liked... ;) ) but it was good and they´re happy. :) They live in a humble little house. It doesn´t have running water or electricity, but it´s a house!! I love going over there, because she´s so ready to learn every time we go over there.

There´s a family of our ward that was forced to sell their house to pay off some debts, and had to move to their little piece of land out in the middle of no where. It doesn´t have running water or electricity So our ward decided to go help them. They were living under a little pavilion type thing, so we went and put some planks on it so they could have walls. Some of us started digging a well, and others of us started digging a hole for the out-house. (That was the second one that I´ve dug in México now... ;) )  The young men came too. There was this one ¿14? year-old... Oh my graciasness!! (or as they say here: ¡No manches!)  I´ve never seen a kid work that hard. And he´s like this little stick person! He picked up two five-gallon buckets full of dirt, one balanced on his shoulder with one hand, and carrying the other with the other hand! I wish I got a picture of it! I kind of got a picture of him... he´s the one in the circular hole with the blue shirt. I was just plumb amazed. I got tired a lot faster than I used to. I haven´t done that kind of work in a long time...

I actually haven´t gotten sick since I´ve been here. The level of "impressiveness" of the food has gone down, but it tastes just as good! I love mexican food!!!! One sister made us these enchiladas... SO good!!

 Well, I´m still loving it here!! Keep the prayers coming!!

con amor,
Élder Gibson

Monday, January 10

Constituyentes, Uruapan, Michuacan, Mexico

Querida familia,

I love this area soooooooo much!!!!  So many people listen to us it´s nuts!! Well, it´s not like everyone listens to us, but a lot more than in Guadalajara. I love it!! Oh, in this house, it´s only my companion and I. It´s about double the size of my last house for half the people. The rent is a little less too. ;)  Yesterday we had about double the amount of people in sacrament meeting as in the other ward, and the bishop (there´s a Bishop!!) made me speak. ;)  Oh, and I´m in the city of Uruapan. Élder Petersen from the MTC is in my zone here.  We have two baptisms scheduled for this next Sunday: Agripina and her son, Carlos.

We had the open house in a plaza here on Saturday. We set up tents and put the Cristus and all the posters inside. We had almost 300 new investigators go through. We´ll probably get the referrals (I´m doing this for you, Scott. I hope you´re happy... ;) ) sometime this week.
I´m pretty sure that my Christmas package is in the offices... but I now live 3 hours away, instead of 30 minutes. So I will get it, someday... I just have to wait until my zone leaders go to Guadalajara.
Woooooooo hooooooooo, Michele!!!!!!!!  Have lots and lots of fun!! Send me a picture of you in your dress!!  Normally people answer in a way that´s related to how the other person asked. How did he ask her? You could relate it some how to the brownies. :)
Amanda´s married!? ... ... ... weird... ;)  Were some of the cookies Peanut butter cookies with reeses cups on top? ;)

I wrote Élder Ray about two weeks after you sent the address. So... about 3 or 4 months ago... Élder Ashton had a friend in Brasil, and he said that it took a really, really long time...   I sent Michele´s birthday card with Brian´s birthday card in the red envolope that had the family Christmas card in it... if you got it... but I did send one! :)  I was just thinking about Dallin´s birthday the other day... I´ll get his card in the mail. It´s going to be a little late...

con amor,
Élder Gibson

Monday, January 3

Out with the old . . . In with the new!

Querida Familia,

It´s good to hear that everything went well over the Christmas break! Things went well for me here too.

That´s right, I´m no longer in the Revolución Ward. I´m in the Constituyentes 2  Ward   ;) now... I think that´s the name... I don´t remember. It`s something like that. ;)  I got a call last night at about 10:00, saying that I had changes, (Yes, Scott, I know that they`re called "transfers" ;) ) and I found out that I really don´t like packing after six months of being in an area... ;)  This is actually an area of my old zone leader. He gave me some notes for a family that he baptized. About half of the zone of Tlaquepaque was "transferred" ...weird word... so we were all in the bus station in the morning, but I was the only one going to the zone I´m in now. So I traveled solo. That was weird. Ha ha!

I was waiting for a bus, listening to a speaker that I couldn´t understand, to go on a 4-hour bus ride to my second area... and I´ve never been on a bus like that. It was fun though. Then I got there and no one was there... so I just waited, not knowing for sure if I was in the right place or not, because there weren´t any signs or anything in the bus station telling me where I was. So I just waited some more. ;)  Then another elder showed up and I could see him from across the station (he was a young American in a suit with lots of luggage, so I figured he was an elder) So I walked over to him and we talked while we waited for our companions to show up.

My new companion is Elder Lopez, also from Veracruz. He`s also from the generation of Elder Cruz too. This area is still a city, but it`s smaller of a city. We drove through lots of fields and there were lots of trees and other plants... but they were all dead because it´s the dry season. I think that I´m going to like it here. :) Apparently the ward is really awesome, Oh! and we have a bishop here! They don´t have a chapel, but they do have a... what are they called in English... Prayer House, House of Prayer,? (casa de oración).  Anyway, they have one of those. The house that the elders have here is a lot bigger than my last house. And four elders live in this house. I don´t know if the other ones are Mexican or American, but I´m kind of hoping for Mexican so that there`ll be more Spanish in the house, so I can learn more, faster.

I forgot my camera and my USB because they´re packed away somewhere... so there´s no photos this week... sorry...

I think that that`s all for this week... I don´t like it when something big happens right before Monday, because then I can´t remember things that happened earlier in the week. 
I´ll probably remember more stuff after I send this... Oh well... ;)

con amor,
Élder Gibson

Sunday, December 26

It´s time to... to... um, to... write a letter!

Querida familia,

It was great to talk to you on Saturday, even though I wasn´t able to use Skype... I guess that´ll have to be for the next one... The other elders that live with us said that it was really fun. I guess I'll see you on Mother´s Day!

After the call, we went home and waited for the other elders to get home and opened our presents that we had and then we had our Christmas dinner. We had a roast, mashed potatoes, bread, and ginger ale for the drink. Oh, and a make-shift pumpkin pie... It was quite delicious. Poor Elder Cruz... He has to eat delicious food from the U.S. on holidays. I´m sure he´s just so disappointed... ;) He has an uncle from the U.S. that has made him food more or less of that type, but he hasn´t had a lot of it. Here´re some pictures of dinner. :)

There isn´t really much more to write... seeing as I just talked to you all... Or I just am loosing my memory young... sorry it´s so short...

I love you all!!!
con amor,
Élder Gibson

Sunday, December 19

¿See? ya´ll on Saturday!

Querida familia,

Yup! Sounds like winter! Except for all the rain... and I really like your granola... ;)
So first off and very important... ;)  For the phone call on Christmas:  We were told that we can use Skype if we want to do a video call.  I wish we had a little more notice, but oh well. So what we would need is:
               -for you to have an account
               -to make me an account with this info (same capitalization and spacing)
                     -username:   Elder Gibson
                     -password:   REVOLUCION
               -add me as a friend on your account (and you as a friend on my account)
               -both of us need to be on at 10:00 a.m. sharp! ;)
I think that`s all. Elder Cruz is going to call his family first at 9:00. But if something goes wrong you can expect a call todos modos.
I DO get to play the cello!! I´m so excited! We found a member that has one and she let me borrow it so I could practice. We´ll be performing this Wednesday from 4 to 8 for 15 minutes at the beginning of each hour, at the stake center next to the temple. I´m playing with the hymns and two special numbers: Oh Holy Night, and What Child Is This? I´m so excited!!
We got to go to the temple and Sirloin Stockade for our Christmas activity. When we got there the Assistants told us that we had an assignment to bring 7 people who needed (not wanted) to eat with us. So we split up and went searching. My group didn`t find anyone, but we got the 7. Actually it was like 8 or 9... There was a family there so that made me happy. Then we had a gift exchange (...I got hair removing wax...), a piñata and a devotional. It was a lot of fun. Then we were able to go to the temple! It´s a really small temple (your chapel is bigger) but it`s just as awesome! Another cool thing was that I understood pretty much everything even though it was in Spanish.
That`s really all that I can remember from last week... It was a highlight of my mission though. :)
See ya on Saturday hopefully!!

Con amor, 
Élder Gibson

Sunday, December 12

Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall on your kneeeeeees, Oh heeeeee eaaar the angel vooooooiiices!

Querida familia,

I´m glad to hear that everyone´s doing great. I love all the Christmas-music-program-things that always happen at this time of year. Oh! and guess what! for the singing thing at the temple, guess what I get to play! The Cello!! Ha ha! Well, my companion volunteered me, then we had to find a member who had one and was willing to let us borrow it, and actually I still don´t have it... but I´m hoping to start practicing today... Because I need to practice... Because I haven´t played in over a year and a half... Aaah! but it´ll be ok, I actually had to write a cello part because this arrangement didn´t have a cello part. So I know how it goes, hopefully it´s not too hard to play... :/ (side-note: The catholic church next to this Internet shop is singing to the virgin "...era Mexicana, era Mexicana..." the day of the virgin was yesterday)

Our first counselor called us on Saturday and asked us to speak in church on Sunday, and I just thought, "when am I going to have time to prepare a talk?" But of course we said yes. It turned out better than I thought and it didn´t have to be very long because there were four people total speaking. I spoke about why we as members should want to share the gospel. And of course everyone complimented my Spanish, and actually, apparently I speak "perfect Spanish" so says an older Hermana in our ward... Yes it has improved a lot since I first got here, but It could be a ton better. I don´t think that it´s quite "perfect" yet... ;) 

Yeah! Go Michele!! Keep playing that piano! I wish I could play the piano... apparently that´s really common for elders from Utah... not me! I play the cello! but I wish I played the piano... it´s more useful. ;)

I´m glad my package got there ok. I was kind of worried, but I guess DHL is probably more reliable and faster than Correo de México. 

We´re going to the temple this Thursday to do a session. It´s going to be in Spanish so that will be a little different, but hey, I speak Spanish, right? ;) I´m excited to go! We´re going to this buffet called Sirloin Stockade later too. 

We´re kind of having a hard time having our investigators keep their commitments... but we´ll find some that are ready. We´ve just got to talk with everyone to be able to find them.

Well I think that that´s all for this week. Keep remembering the Christmas Spirit! and the hot chocolate, and the lights, and the tree, and the carols, and the... every thing else! 
Especially the real reason for the season!

I love you all!!

Con amor,  
Élder Gibson

Monday, December 6

¡¡Diciembre es aquí!! - December is here!!

Querida Familia, (it just occurred to me that I´ve been spelling that wrong for my whole mission... it´s querida instead of querido) 

This year has flown by! I´m pretty sure I just left the MTC... Ha ha, the Zone Leaders are training a new Elder, and they had him bear his testimony in a Zone meeting. That showed me how much my Spanish has improved. I was actually impressed with his Spanish, though. He caught his mistakes and fixed them, but it was just a little slower. He´ll learn fast, his trainer is Mexican. 

We put up our Christmas tree. It´s about 1´ 6" tall. So the six foot one is just huge. That´s actually bigger than the ones that I´ve seen here. They have real pines too! ...but they´re like $40 - $50 USD for a 5´ tree... so we didn´t get one of those... ,) 

My Christmas list? ummm... probably just ties and some American candy (chocolate... it´s not as good here) oh, and maybe some "Stephen´s" wassail... That´s all. :) 

The mobile visitor´s center is going to be at the temple this month for four days. We´re supposed to bring a family every one of the days. They´re also putting lights up too. I´m not sure on what, because all the trees still have their leaves... They chose our Zone to go and sing for that. I think it´s the 19th. We have practices every Monday and Friday until then. 

 We gave the referral of Alejandra to other elders, because she actually lives in their area. We´re finding new investigators that look at least somewhat promising every couple of days!  

Here´s our Christmas tree and our family Christmas picture except that Elder Rossiter (bottom left) was replaced by Elder Hollingsworth. 
Con amor,  
Élder Gibson