Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 25, 2011

Mexicans don't really ever eat chocolate. Mexican candy is interesting--it's like a lollipop or a Jolly Rancher, but always with chile powder on the outside. But they don't really associate Easter with candy like we do. We didn't sing either of the Easter hymns (not like it would have sounded nice anyways...like I said before, music was NOT God's gift to the Mexicans).


April 25, 2011

Querida familia,

Happy Easter! Everything is amazing as usual here in the #1 mission worldwide. Being in San Clemente has definitely taken the edge off summer. I feel bad for the last district leader who I replaced here...he got put in my old area in Escondido. Easter was great (it was a lot easier to get people to come to church on Easter Sunday, of course). Celebrating Easter Mexican-style has been fun. There are a lot of Catholic traditions involved, and for a month beforehand they aren't allowed to eat meat (some of the people we talk to on the street are completely convinced that Jesus says in the Bible not to eat meat a month before Easter). Of course, this means that the traditional Mexican Easter meal is . . . . fish or shrimp (or both). And not just Easter dinner...it is also the entree every night in the month leading up to Easter. Needless to say, I have had to quickly shed my refusal to eat seafood. I won't say I like it, but I will admit that eating seafood at least isn't an unpleasant experience anymore (I actually had fish yesterday that was very good). With that said, I am very much looking forward to my next carne asada.

We have had an amazing week. We have been really focusing on working with the members more, and we have seen real success. Last Saturday, we shared a message with a sister in our ward and asked her who she knows that we could teach. She told us about one of her friends, who has before told her that he wants to meet with us. So we innocently suggested, "Well, we could meet him here at your house next Wednesday and we could cook a dinner for all of us." So she agreed, except that she would cook the dinner (I've learned how to get people to cook for us: tell the members/investigators that you want to cook for them, and they invariably say, 'No, we will cook for you. Just come hungry.' Never fails!). So when her friend showed up on Wednesday, he brought two of his friends! They are a couple who have had problems in the past but now want to strengthen their family and are looking for a church. Of course, we were more than happy to help them out. And the wife came to church on Sunday!!! (the husband was working).

We have been having success with other families too. One family in our ward told us that every Tuesday night they will cook us dinner and that we are welcome to bring investigators to eat and then teach them in their house after (awesome). And tonight we are having a family home evening with a family in our ward and their friend, who we committed them to invite to meet with us in a previous visit. And when we're not with members, we have been going crazy with talking to everyone on the street. We have been exhausted every night, but it has been so much fun and so productive.

Well, that's all for now. I will let you know how the conference with Elder Perry went next week!

Elder Gibbons
April 19, 2011

Remember the guy (Augustine) I wrote about last week, who we talked to on the street and then came to church? It gets better. We tried to go over and teach him all this week, but couldn't because he was very busy with work. We finally talked to him on Saturday as he was leaving for Tijuana and he told he us that he was already planning on coming to church again this week. He loved it, again. We finally got to teach him yesterday, and it was incredible. We had the lesson in the church building, and he agreed to be baptized! He says he needs to quit smoking and drinking coffee first (he learned that from the Word of Wisdom lesson two weeks ago in Elder Quorum) but he is excited. He said that the day we found him on the street, he wasn't planning on leaving his house that day but for some reason he just got up and went outside, and he considers that as an answer to his prayers because he has been praying to have God tell him which of all the churches is true. Needless to say, we are more than happy to teach him and help him which his question.

April 19, 2001

Our District

April 19, 2011

The view from our church building in San Clemente.

April 19, 2011

This is Adan Apolonio, the amazing ward mission leader from Oceanside (the one where the missionaries a year ago got frustrated and decided to find a ward mission leader).
April 12, 2011

Querida familia,

Everything is going great here in San Clemente. The weather is amazing, as usual. This week the days were in about the lower 60s with no clouds. Tomorrow our district has interviews with President Cook, so I am very excited for that as well. Two weeks from today, the Carlsbad Mission and San Diego Mission (better known as the Carlsbad South Mission) are getting together in Del Mar to meet with Elder L. Tom Perry! We are so excited (speaking of which, that week our preparation day will be on Monday the 25th instead of Tuesday the 26th, so expect my email on Monday instead of Tuesday).

We have had a lot of great experiences this week and have seen a few miracles. One of the coolest things that happened this week occured in the space of about 5 minutes. It was Saturday, and a lesson had just fallen through so we were talking to all the people who were outside. We met a guy named Augustine, who told us that he was Catholic but never went to church, and we invited him to come to church the next day and gave him directions and he said he would try (we didn't actually expect him to come...we invite people to church all the time), but the next morning when we were passing the sacrament, as I was walked up the row, I saw Augustine sitting there! It completely surprised me. He stayed for all three hours, and loved it. He even said after we were done that he was going to come next week and he was going to try to help his wife see that this is the way that God wants them to go. We are looking forward to being able to teach him!

Miracle #2 (although slightly less eternally important): Last preparation day, everything we had scheduled canceled on us, and so we had the choice to go back and eat dinner or just keep going, and we decided to skip dinner that night and keep looking for people. We decided that the Lord would bless us with being able to find people since we were giving up dinner (we hadn't really eaten anything at all that day, it was such a busy day...not even breakfast), so we did find several promising potential investigators, but by when it was about time to go in, we were starving. About half an hour before we went in, we were walking down the street and saw a lady getting out of her car and we said hello and started talking to her. We had a great conversation and she gave us her phone number and address, and right before we left, she asked, "Hey, are you guys hungry? I just went and bought In-N-Out for my family but I bought extra." We couldn't believe it. We said, "No, we're fine" (to be polite) but when she re-extended the invitation we gladly accepted the manna that had just fallen from heaven. For some reason, the lady had just decided to buy extra hamburgers when she went and got food for her family ("take ye no thought for what ye shall eat, or drink" haha).

Oh, and we met possibly the grumpiest crusty old man in the world. It was pretty funny, we were knocking on doors and this old guy with a cane answers, and we say (smiling), "Hey! How are you doing?" And he scowls at us for a moment and then says grumpily "Worse, now that you knocked on my door." We laughed (we thought he was joking, but he just kept glaring at us), and so we smiled more and said, "Oh, sorry about that. We were just trying to brighten your day!" And he looked at us bitterly again and said, "Well, you didn't. You made me get out of my chair." And we said, "Is there anything we can help you with?" His refreshingly pleasant response: "You can say goodbye and never come back." We walked away and started laughing, but to top it all off, we knocked on the next house and the lady wasn't interested, but when we asked if she knew anyone who we could visit, she pointed at the old man's house and said, "Well, you can go visit my neighbor. He's a really nice guy." Trying not to laugh, my companion and I replied, "Oh, yeah, we just met him. He's unusually pleasant."

Well, that's about all. Oh, I turned 11 months old today (this is killing me...I feel like I just flew into the San Diego airport yesterday). These dumb library computers don't allow you to connect cameras, so I will send you pictures in the regular mail. Enjoy your week!

Sincerely,
Elder Gibbons
April 5, 2011

“I have the worst white shirt collar tan in my district. Everything above my collar line is tan, and below is like a strip of white paint.”