Monday, May 14, 2018

Week 67. La Pastora, Mexico.

Week 67: Mother's day week

Well its been heating up here in Monterrey! I am going to have to be real good at putting on sunscreen this summer ­čśé. Anyways to start off, what a great mothers day week! The 10th was Mother Day here in Mexico. In our ward here in La Pastora I would say that 40% of the ward are widows. With this, Elder Hernandez and I baught 24 roses and went by all their houses to give a rose. It was a great experience to see their faces light up when they opened up their door. Along with the rose we would read to them Alma 56:42-48. In which talks about the 2000 stripling warriors and how thier mothers taught them to never doubt and trust in the Lord. What a great experience. To top everything off I had the chance to talk to my family especially my mother yesterday. What a wonderful time! Also probably the last call home before I actually get home ­čśČ. The time just keeps rolling on.

Our investigators are doing great! We have our fingers crossed the Erik is going to be baptized this Saturday! He is super prepared and ready! We are excited for him. Guadalupe is so determined to get baptized and shes hauling her family with her. They just got to come to church haha. Yazmin is doing awesome to! We are hoping to baptize her the 22nd of May! Our contact with Arturo has gotten better but still shaky. Working super hard and having a great time finding new investigators and teaching a whole lot of lessons. It feels awesome because we have a whole lot of people to teach or contact. Its awesome here.

I know that God loves us and has brought us this gospel as a way to return to his presence. What a great blessing to have the gospel in our lives! Love you all! Take care.

Love, Elder Gibson

Monday, May 7, 2018

Week 65 and Week 66: La Pastora, Mexico.

Week 65: On to month number 16.

What another wonderful week we had here in La Pastora. Filled with a lot of fun and crazy adventures. The work here is constantly growing and I couldnt be happier to be a part of it.

Time goes fast here on the misi├│n but even faster when you are working hard. Elder Hernandez and I keep finding a lot of success here in La Pastora. We have been able to bring a new energy that has been missing here. We have 6 investigators that we have progressing towards baptism right now. Erik has been one of our newer investigators that we found this week. He had a really cool experience though. He said that a man he had never met before showed up at his house and told him that he needed to go to church and be baptized. It was an insane story. A super amazing experience and now he has a baptismal date for the 19th of May and is loving church. It was a chosen one. Another one we found while knocking doors. Her name is Guadalupe. At first she wasnt super into it but as we got talking, she started to feel it. Then we got her husband and their daughter in on it. This past week we were able to have an amazing and spiritual lesson with them about the Gospel of Jes├║s Christ. It felt amazing and we were able to extend the baptismal invitation. They accepted the date for the 26th of May! Elder Hernandez and I are super happy. We are hoping for several baptisms in May! Fingers crossed we can do it all.

Just a great week for us. We also had the sweet opportunity to have Intercambios with Presidents Asistants. Elder Hernandez and I have been working a lot as well with other missionaries in our Zone in their áreas doing divisions to help them find new people. We have been working closely with all the Elders to help them find new ways to find people to teach. As well as giving them an example and help in their áreas. Its been sweet to see how those little moments can change áreas. We had several struggling áreas who have been doing a lot better now and have great people progressing. Its been a blessing to be able to work as a Zone Leader. Im learning so much about this Gospel. I have learned to really put my trust in the Lord. We havent had a whole lot of time in our área, but the Lord always seems to pull through and put people in our path. I love this work!

We were in the a very rich part of Monterrey and were invited into a very nice house, felt like I was back home, but there was a mom, her friend, and her son. Hahah It was a weird lesson because the rich people of Monterrey dont know much about God and so they were asking all of these wild questions about cremation, hell, the end of the world. Haha we would answer a question, then the two moms would talk super loud, fast, and sassy for like 10 minutes, then they would ask us another question. It was funny to see the looks and expressions on their faces as we answered their questions. It honestly felt like I was in a Dramatic Mexican Telenovela. Hahah it gave us a good laugh but we left there feeling a little weirded out. Haha just a fun weird week. Oh and today we went on a hike to see the waterfalls! We got high enough to get into the fresh spring water! It was a great hike after alot of rain this past week.

I couldnt be happier to be serving the Lord. I love it here in Monterrey. Im doing great. Have a wonderful week. I will talk to you all so soon.

Love, Elder Gibson

A picture of the zone a few weeks ago at the temple, and our hike.

Week 66: Transfers!!

This past week has been awesome! We had transfer calls but we got some good news. I get to stay with Elder Hernandez for another transfer here in La Pastora. Why not another one? We have had a lot of success this past transfer and we hope to see our fruits of baptism flourish this next transfer.

First things first, Jazmin has been progressing super well. She has now been to church 5 times and has stopped smoking. She had alot of doubts about the life after baptism. We had a lesson with a recent convert and this really helped her to resolve alot of her doubts. She told us she has decided to be baptized the 15th of this month. After nearly 5 months of battling with addictions and problems in home, we hope to complete this date. I can still remember the first night we met her outside of her house while she was smoking a cigarette and knew absolutely nothing haha. What a change we have seen in her!

Secondly, Arturo showed up to church and he told us this week he has finals in the university but after this week he will have time to progress to baptism.

Also, we were able to have a very special lesson this past Saturday with Guadalupe and her husband Juvencio. The bishop and his wife acompanied us as we spoke about the sabbath day and it was just what they needed. Guadalupe usually works in a market Sunday morning but she told us she was going to experiment with the blessings with keeping the sabbath day holy. Guadalupe told us she was going to come to church for the first time however her husband Juvencio had to work Sunday (Juvencio will have the oppurtunity to come next week). Okay so we were there waiting in the chapel for them to come. And we waited some more... and some more haha. We were very discouraged until right before the sacrament, Guadalupe came walking in. I stood up and directed her to the front and I sat by her during the meeting. I noticed that she started crying during some of the testimonies. At the end of the meeting she told us, "I have recieved my answer and I just want to know when I can be baptized!" We gave her advice that she should pray with her husband so they can make this decision in their life together. Guadalupe has also mentioned that before we showed up knocking at her door, her and her husband were talking about how they needed to change thier lives to be more focused on the Lord. Oh how the Lord provides the means to find these wonderful people! What a great way to start the transfer! Erik as well is smooth sailing and has his baptism date for the 19th of May.

To end I would like to give testimony that the Gospel of Jesus Christ helps us in the hard times of our life (Check the link). We must look at the temporal things as less importance than the eternal things. Time after time I have seen the Gospel repair the broken heart, mend broken relationships, and reconstruct a family. Alot of time we get so caught up in the world we forget out main purpose of this life! The goal is to return in the presence of our Great Creater. Do the necesarry to complete this goal. Love you all! Have a great week.

Love, Elder Gibson

Monday, April 23, 2018

Week 64: La Pastora, Mexico.

Week 64: Busy week!

Well this week has gone by so fast, in fact I cant beileve that I am already writing you guys again! Now with 3 transfers here in La Pastora I have gotten to know this área very well. It is kinda cool to have gained the confidence of alot of the people that live in this área! Everyone on our street is always asking us to give them a hand with moving heavy things or do small service projects for them. Even if this área isnt the easiest, I have leanered alot of important lessons and how to love everyone... Its done me well!

Anyways, we have had alot of work this past week. We were busy all week with teaching some good folk. We had a lesson with a new family we found this past week. We taught The Restoration and The Plan of Salvation to them. They are very intertested and told us that they have been looking for a church to join for a while now. They are a family of 4 and have alot of potential to progress in the g├│spel!

Also remember Arturo and Jazm├şn? Arturo wasnt responding to any of our texts or calls last week. We were really worried that he had lost interest and didnt want to hear more because of the problems he has had in his house. However, yesterday at church Arturo came walking in and Elder Hern├índez and I were so happy! He told us that he was just really busy studying and preparing for his finals that he had in school. He also commented that he still desires to be baptized. What a relief. Now with Jazm├şn, well we left her last week to do some thinking because she wasnt progressing very well. We told her Monday that it was time that she starts putting in her part. We told her she has to read, pray, and attend church. We said we are going to give you this whole week to do these 3 things by your own power and if you really have a desire, we will see you at church Sunday. We were a little bit direct with her but it was necassary for her to start progressing. After the lesson, Elder Hern├índez and I thought that maybe we had made a big mistake and that she was just going to fall away and return to her old life. When we were at church we were nervous to see if she was going to show up. To our surprise she showed up to the church, she even showed up in church appropiate clothes (In the past she just wore jeans and a sweatshirt). After the sesi├│n she told us that she really liked the meeting and she started talking about the Book of Mormon and the story of Nephi! Elder Hern├índez and I were so excited to see that she completed with the three things we invited her to do. Again, what a relief!

We also were able to bring 3 other people to church. Fernando, Erik, and Agustin. Fernando is the husband of a sister in the Ward. He has excepted a baptism date for 26 de Mayo. Erik is a teenager that showed up at church telling us that when he was a kid he would go to church with the Elders but than later they stopped passing by. He told us that he had seen us pass by a few times by his house and it gave him a desire to start learning more, so awesome!! Agustin is a 70 year old man who was a war veteran and a helicopter pilot. He has told us he has made a lot mistakes in his life but he wants to make things right with God. We accepted a baptism date for the 12th of May. God has blessed Elder Hernández and I with alot of great people to teach!

To end, I would love to share a phrase from President Monson. It says, "What is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should let them know." I hope that everyone is going great! Have a great week. Also, sorry if this was a long letter!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Week 63: La Pastora, Mexico.

Week 63: Pura Chamba.

This past week was one of the most stressful weeks of my whole mission. It was crazy busy. We barely had time to think haha.

A little bit about our investigators this week, so Arturo has been having huge family problems and Satan has been working super hard on him. He is so so close. He got in a arguement with his mom about baptism and he didnt feel comfortable and ready for the date we put with him. Its been super sad. We have been calling and texting him everyday and yet we get no responses. Its been kind of weird, this week we will see whats up. Jazmin has been falling into temptation a whole lot this past week. Shes smoked a couple times. Eduardo is still struggling with the law of chastity. This week, we want to focus on looking at the blessings if they keep the commandments, instead of what they are going to lose. Its been a little discouraging, however we have some great positives things to look forward to this coming week.

We found a couple new people who we see with a lot of potential. We found these 3 cousins who live together. Their names are Nayely, Monse, and Berenise. They are super awesome and have a strong desire to change. We will be focusing on them this coming week a whole lot. A couple other new investigators as well who we are going to be following up on this week. Including Marcelino, Agustin, Edgar, and the Familia Garcia. We are hoping for a great week!

Onto the busy stuff now, so we had Leadership Counsel on Wednesday. Leadership Counsel is when all of the Zone Leaders meet together with President and discuss what we can do better as mission and all of that fun stuff. It was really kind of cool.

Thursday, we had our Zone Conference. My companion and I really put some long nights into preparing for our Training. For our Zone Conference, my companion and I had to give a training on how we can use our testimony about the Book of Mormon with our investigators more effectively. As we were thinking about our topic and researching, we found out that ONLY 21% of of recent converts have read a full chapter of the Book of Mormon before their baptism. Thats super low. So we challenged our Zone to really use the Book of Mormon as the first tool of conversion. I have came to know that there is a difference between missionaries who focus on baptism and missionaries who focus on conversi├│n. The Book of Mormon is the best tool for conversion. Once they understand and gain a testimony of the divinity of that book, they will be more receptive to what we are teaching. For the conference we put out a dynamic situation. We had a Hammer, a Nail, and a piece of Wood. We asked a missionary to help us. We told him to push the nail into the wood with his hand, well he couldnt haha. Then we gave him a hammer and told him to push it in now. After about 10 hits the nail was firmly into the wood. The dynamic broken down was, the Elder pushing it in, is the natural man thinking he can do things without Gods help. The hammer is the Book of Mormon(Gods help) and every hit from the hammer was a Chapter in the Book of Mormon. The Nail is their testimony, and the wood is the person. If we use the Book of Mormon and read chapters with our investigators, their testimony will start to get firmer and firmer in our investigators till it gets to the point where we cant take it out of them! Pretty sweet, Huh? We exhorted our zone to use the Book of Mormon everyday and hammer it into their investigators hahaha. I thought it turned out great!

We then finished off the week having Intercambios. As Zone Leaders we get to have the Intercambios with all the District Leaders and their companions. So I got to be with Elder Flores. He is one of my bestfriends here in the misi├│n and has been here with me since Jaurez! Hes from Guadalajara and has 20 months here on the mission. I loved my time with him. Saturday, Elder Hernandez and I had our first full work day and were able to get a some great work done here in La Pastora!

During all of this time this week we have been planning our Zone Activity on PDay. We decided to play some Minute'to'Winit games. It turned out great! For our food, we had 200 tamales prepared for us and got 30 liters of this delicious mexican juice made for us. It was a success!

Although this week was very busy disouraging, and very tiring, Elder Hernández and I felt accomplished. We know the Lord is with us every step of the way and is giving us the energy we need to push through these things. I am very happy with this wonderful work. I love my companion. I love Monterrey. I love you all. I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. You all are awesome! I will talk to you guy soon.

Love, Elder Gibson

Friday, April 13, 2018

Week 62. La Pastora, Mexico.

Week 62: Great week!

What an awesome week! Elder Hernandez and I were able to find alot of great people this past week. We really were praying a lot to find more people and God provided the means to find them. We normally find 3 to 4 new investigators each week but we were blessed to find 11 this past week. We were guided by the Holy Ghost to find these people who need the gospel in their lives. The faith and spirit we received from General conference and attending the temple last week really helped us find these prepared people.

One thing that I have came to learn in the mission is to follow the Holy Ghost and teach in the moment. Last week I had a great experience with these two principles with Elder Fernandez! Well firstly, one of my old companions Elder Fernandez is now in my zone so we were able to have exchanges... it was just like old times haha. Anyways back to the experience... We were knocking on doors trying to find some people to teach until a woman passed by looking at us for a very long time, it was quite strange. About 15 seconds after she walked by I felt inspired that we should have talked with her. I than told Elder Fernandez that we had to go talk and present ourselves with her. We started to follow her and I said to Elder Fernandez that if she turns around I was going to wave her down. 5 seconds later she turned around and of course I waved her down haha. We walked a very awkward 15 seconds until a came within reach to talk with her. We presented ourselves with her and she really wasnt too interested in our message...LAME! However right after we knocked on the nearest house and a man with 6 children came outside. He expressed to us that his new wife and 2 of her kids are members of the church. He also told us that he was interested in our message and that we could pass by the next day to share a message with all of his family. We passed by with the family the next day and had a lesson with all 8 of them! What a great expereince to teach a whole family about the gospel. It was interesting to see how the Lord guided us through a failed street contact to find these wonderful people. Its just like Nephi when he said, "I was lead by the spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do."

Also Arturo has plans to get baptized this week and Jazmin is progressing! The life is great with Elder Hernandez, we got the zone conference this week. Life is great, I hope everything is going great for you all. Take care!

Love, Elder Gibson

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Week 60, Week 61. La Pastora, Mexico.

Week 60: Transfers!

Well as you can tell by the subject of this letter that we had transfers yesterday! Elder Bautista is leaving this area and is going to go to my old area is Juarez. He is going to train someone new as well, super happy for him. I am also pleased that he can go to this area to help some of my converts over there keep progressing in the church. These past 2 transfers have been great with Elder Bautista, he will be missed. My new companion will be Elder Hernandez. Dont let the name fool you, he is actually from Utah haha. However yes he does look Mexican because his dad is from Mexico. This will be my first american companion in all of my mission! I am super excited for this next transfer!
This past week we had divisiones with the assistants of the mission. It was a good time becuase my trainer, Elder Rincon, is one of the assistants. I really did enjoy working with him again now that I know a little bit more spanish. We had a lesson with a recently married couple and we taught them about The Restoration. It was interesting to hear this comments after we taught the lesson. Comments such as "These new things you have taught me has resolved so many of my doubts and questions Ive had for the longest time" or "This is the truth!" It really is a wonder to see that at times people can recieve an answer if the church is true or not within the first lesson. I have came to find out that alot of people are prepared by God to listen to this message. At times, we just need to open our mouth! In fact, when Elder Anderson came to visit our mission he taught this same principle. He taught us that if we have the courage to open our mouth, God will give us the words we need to say and we will have more baptisms in the mission. I know that we will also be blessed beyond our needs when we put in out part to share the gospel. I hope that you all have a great week. Take care!

P.S. We made breakfast burritos for dinner, American style!!!

Love, Elder Gibson

He also wrote a letter to the family this week, details about his day to day life!.

Well, I got this new keyboard thing that saves everything that I write so this is kinda cool. I can write here during the week and send it out Monday. Well today is Wednesday at 10:52 PM. I am up a little late tonight. When we got home at 9:30, we had some calls to do and after I cleaned and shinned up Elder Bautistas shoes and mine. Right now I am going to go to take a shower and hit the hay but firstly Id like to express how my day went. I know that you are all asking what a normal day is like so I will tell you. Today we woke up at 6:30. From 6:30 to 7:00 I mostly just think about life and what I am going to do in the day. A little bit of time to reflect... Anyways after I shower I get ready and Elder Bautista and I will eat breakfast around 8:15. When 8:30 comes around we start our personal studies. We will study from 8:30 to 9:30 and from 9:30 to 10:00 we plan for the day in our agendas. We look at who we eat with, what lessons we have planned out, and what lidership responsibilities we have in the day. We went working in the morning looking for some of the contacts that we made out in Country. Sadly, none of them were home. We were left with alot of free time so we went and looked for some lessactive members. We had a quick lesson with a lessactive family and had to head out to an area called 21 de Enero. They asked us if we could go over there to do a baptism interview with one of thier investigators. I had the opportunity to do the baptism interview with a little girl of 12 years of age. She was very smart and is surely ready for her baptism. After the interview we shared a message with the family of the little girl, and had a quick snack with them. Later, we had to take a quick taxi back to our area to make it on time to eat. We eat everyday at 2 oclock here in our area. We showed up with the sister Medina at 2 in the afternoon. She made up carne asada, fried potatoes, beans, and rice. I will be honest, she is the best cook in the ward. Whenever we eat at her house we always leave walking like penguins haha. Anyways after all of this we went back to the house, we got home at like 3:30. We went to the bathroom and did our studies from 3:30 to 4:30. After we did our companionship and language studies, we went back out to work. We had 3 lessons with our investigators that are progressing. The first lesson was with a sister named Guadalupe and her husband. We found them last week and were very receptive. We passed by and knocked on thier door and they invited us in to talk. We started out by singing a hymn and offering a prayer. After all of this we just got to know them a little bit more. The brother is a bus driver and the sister is a stay at home mom. They are great and have great questions like "Why are there so many churches but only 1 bible?" or "Should we worship saints?" (here in Mexico, all the catholics worship thier angels and virgin Mary statues). They told us they were going to come to church this Sunday and we put another lesson with them for Monday in the afternoon. AWESOME!!!!! After we had a lesson with Eduardo Cantu. Man that guy7 is awesome! He is super funny. He has a baptism date for the 7th of April however he has told us he still doesnt feel prepared enough to be baptized. He has gone to church 3 times and has told us he likes it alot and wants to keep learning more. He also has a mental son. This has been hard for him because when his kid was born his wife left him with the kid. Despite all of this he is willing to progress and reach the point of baptism. We need to work real hard this next transfer with him so that he can feel ready. Our last investigator we passed by with is Jazmin. Well she has an interesting life to say the least. Long story short is that her dad left their family and her mom is not a good influence in her life. She used to smoke around 8 cigarettes a day, however we have made alot of goals with her to quit smoking and get on the right path. She is down to 2 cigarettes a day which is awesome! We are super happy for her progress and hope that she can quit permanently. It is going to be hard but I have faith that she has it in her to do it! Anyways these are 4 investigators that we have that are progressing! We also have another person named Arturto that is progressing and has a baptism date for the 8th of Abril. He is about 23 years old and has quit alot of addictions and really has changed his life around. He is a good friend with our mission leader. I think that this is all thats happened today. However love you all and take care!!

Week 61: Temple

Well what a great General Conference weekend! It was good to hear such inspiring words from the Prophet. What a great blessing it is to have a living Prophet to watch over and receive revelation for us. I have came to relize that one of the most important principles of the restuared gospel is having a prophet to lead and guide us back into the presence of our God.
Elder Hernandez and I have been working super hard in our area. It has been super cool having a american companion for once. We can talk and relate about things from back home. We have the same ideas on how to work here in the mission which has been a huge blessing. I am going to enjoy this transfer alot.
Man, our investigators and the commandments of God dont seem to get along very well!! Eduardo has problems with the law of chasity so we had to move his baptismal date a little bit further in the future. Sometimes I feel weird as a 20 year old helping this 50 year old man with his love life haha. However it is difficult because he really wants to be baptized. We put a baptismal date with him in May so he can progress and make the necasarry changes. Jazmin on the other hand is doing awesome! She came to conference with us on Sunday and we had her write a tally mark each time she hear the word Jesus Christ, she got to like 210 in just one session! We were able to put a baptism date with here for the 28 of Abril! She hasnt smoked for 4 days now and is going strong. I have really felt the power of the Lord work through Jazmin to help her with her addictions. It is very difficult for her because she doesnt have any good influences in her life. In fact, we were teaching her last night and one of her friends passed by and made some negative comments to her about making these big changes in her life. I am very grateful for the many things I have learned from her. Lastly with Arturo, he is ready for his baptism. We are just waiting for special permission Presdient Maucotel to baptize him because he doesnt live in our area. We hope that we can get permission this week to complete his date for the 8th of Abril. I am so thankful for all of these 3 investigators!

We also got to go to the temple today which was awesome! We havent been in a pretty long time so it was a great day to recharge the spiritual batteries. After the temple, we were able to go to the zoo thats here in our area. I will say that it was pretty impressive! It has been a great week and I hope for all of you as well. Take care! Pictures at the temple, at church with
Jazmin, and at the zoo!

Love, Elder Gibson

Monday, March 19, 2018

Week 59. La Pastora, Mexico.

Week 59: Contacts in Country

This week was great. Elder Bautista and I had the opportunity to give a training in our zone conference this past week. We talked about how we can teach with more clarity and power here in the mission. We talked a lot about how we can use the Book of Mormon in the lessons with our investigators. I have came to learn that the Book of Mormon really does teach many deep doctrines in a very simple way. One of our investigators Jazmin has started to read the Book of Mormon and it has been interesting to see how she has been relating her life to the stories of Nephi and his family. The Book of Mormon really does have the power to answer the questions of the soul. What an amazing book!
This past Saturday we had exchanges, I stayed here in our area with Elder Lawerence. Elder Lawerence is newer in the mission so I used all of his energy to our advantage. We went up into Country (the rich part of our area) and just started to contact. I am pretty sure that we contacted for about 8 hours. Usually that is a whole lot of time to contact but the people in Country were receiving us very well. I was like "We totally have to take advantage of this". We felt hyped up and excited to see that the people weren't shutting the door in our face haha. We actually felt really good leaving that area until we were leaving Country. I felt an impression that we didn't finish our work over in that area. It was weird because I was thinking like "Seriously_ this is the most success I have had in this area my whole time here." However once again I felt the impression to go back and do some more contacts. The first 3 doors we knocked, we got rejected. I started to think if it was just a misunderstanding of my personal thoughts. However we continued contacting and came up to knock the last house of the street. A woman of 25 years came out and she couldn't speak very well. She explained to us that her throat had recently been operated on. However, she invited us in and later her other sister and mother came out to listen to us. They explained to us that one of their sisters is a member of the church , what a great start! We shared a quick message about the family and how God desires for us to be together as a family forever. I really did learn a message from this experience. Firstly, at times we have doubts about our impressions of the Holy Ghost. Like "Oh maybe its just my personal thoughts..." Nevertheless, I learned that if the action is leading to something good, JUST DO IT! I also learned that at times we follow the impression but sometimes we have to be patient and diligent to complete the impression that we have received from the Holy Ghost. Next Sunday we have transfers, I really am going to miss Elder Bautista if we have changes. I have finally came to love this area, even at times if the people here are very difficult! I hope the sun is out and blazing for you all in Boise like it is for me in Monterrey! Take care.

Love, Elder Gibson