Monday, June 27, 2011

Argentina - Entre Rios #61

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons
Date: Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 12:56 PM
Subject: Argentina
To: Bonnie Gibbons <bonnie.gibbons@cox.net>
So I really can't believe I am writing my last letter home, it doesn't feel like it.  This feels like what normal life is, what I should be doing, that there is no other style of living.  I love this, I love people staring at me wondering what is this tall blonde girl doing here?  She speaks so funny.  I love having little kids run to me with open arms, knowing that I will show them love or give them some candy.  I love the look on people’s faces when I share the story of Joseph smith, the Plan of Salvation or just answer a question that they have always had. 

  I don't know why God sends us...weak little punks who still don't know what we want in our lives...to teach His kids.  He trusts us, even though we make mistakes and sometimes don't do all that we should.  This work moves on and we are part of it.  It’s kind of cool, I like learning about the blacks right movement, I always thought if I lived back in that time, I would be walking right alongside with my black brothers and sisters.  I would not allow people to treat them the way they did just because of skin color.  I would have loved to have been part of something so big and something that changed history......but LOOK, I am, along with all the other missionaries and members too!!!  We are in a movement WAY BIGGER and a movement that lasts for the eternities.  It’s cool to think, all the missionaries (like Elder Mathews, Rogers, Birtcher, Sister Whipple (I think she's home) are all walking alongside our brothers and sisters to help them fight off Satan and his ways of getting into our minds and our homes.  It's pretty cool. we look at that number increase in members for the year...and in some way we've helped a little with that...maybe just a little...but we made a difference.  I love knowing that even though I will be in my house and I will not be doing this full time anymore, that I can still be a part of the movement.  This is one that will never end, never get old and always has new challenges, believe me!!!!!  haha

   Well I hope you all have a wonderful week, thank you for all of your support throughout my mission and for being there for my family!  I love you all and I can't wait to personally thank you for your kindness and prayers.  As always...keep the faith

--
Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Argentina - Entre Rios #60

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons
Date: Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 1:44 PM
Subject: goodies!!!!!!!!!
To: Bonnie Gibbons <bonnie.gibbons@cox.net>, Vince Gibbons <vinceg@tri-core.com>
Ok, so I have really enjoyed reading the talks from this last conference!  It is so amazing! I love the one

More Than Conquerors through Him That Loved Us

Wow what a powerful talk!  So incredible! he says some of the most amazing things about trials...man I know we have trials but they are so important...because if everything was easy we would never grow...we need to grow...that’s the whole reason we are here!  To grow, to gain experience, to be better than we were before...to become like Gods and receive everything that he has.

"I doubt many of us would label our afflictions light. Yet in comparison to the blessings and growth we ultimately receive, both in this life and in eternity, our afflictions truly are light.
We don’t seek out tests, trials, and tribulations. Our personal journey through life will provide just the right amount for our needs. Many trials are just a natural part of our mortal existence, but they play such an important role in our progress."
Sometimes we want to have growth without challenges and to develop strength without any struggle. But growth cannot come by taking the easy way. We clearly understand that an athlete who resists rigorous training will never become a world-class athlete. We must be careful that we don’t resent the very things that help us put on the divine nature."

 It would be so great if I could just enter into a house, ask people to get baptized, they say yes and boom bam bang, they get soaked, get the gift and then live perfect lives....haha ya no it’s not that easy. Plus I’m pretty sure I wouldn't love the people as much as I do. 
  Dayana and Dario, are not getting married this weekend, Dario had an accident in work and now he can't get married,  I’m way bummed, but we are seeing if it is possible for next week!  Pray that it can happen, if not they will be members soon! I know it!
I feel that sometimes we forget how blessed we are to have trials...but more than that to have the help and the love of a God, someone who is more powerful than all the things in this world!  I feel that I am an imperfect daughter of God, and for that reason He sends me hard times...I know I have nothing on Joseph Smith or the early pioneers or even our Savior Jesus Christ, but man life is hard.  Life throws things at you when you least expect it.  BUT we don't have to let it take us down...we can choose to push through it...climb that really steep mountain to be able to see that sunrise over the city!  Practice for hours and hours to play that one championship game and put your all into it!  Invite someone to dinner, share how the gospel has changed your life and then a few years later see them in the gospel with the joy that you have.   Loose a family member or friend, that helps you better understand the plan of salvation.
  Never give up or give in to the bad thoughts that Satan puts into your mind.  You can do it, with God’s help you can do it!  I love you all! Have a wonderful week!  Keep the faith!

 
Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons

Argentina - Entre Rios #59

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons
Date: Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 9:37 AM
Subject: goodies
To: Bonnie Gibbons <bonnie.gibbons@cox.net>


Hey all you friends back home!
  Wow, I don't know why Heavenly Father keeps making miracles happen.  Yesterday after church, we went to stop by a contact we had, that said the only time they are in their house is medio día...oh sorry..middle of the day, on Sunday, so before we went home to eat, we went to find them, ya it wasn't their house, but this girl came out and I decided to contact her and then come back another day.  She seemed really uninterested, but I kept talking, I asked her about her son and she went in to go bring him out to us.  He is adorable!!!  I took a moment, asked God to help me say something to help her (usually I just talk...so bad), I started saying something about how our message will help her become a better mother and wife.  Her face change, and she asked us to come in before we could even ask.  We met her boyfriend and we started to talk to them about the importance of having God in our relationships...They are so amazing, they talk about everything, they are very united and they do everything for their son. They live in a teeny tiny house and he works a ton, but they make it by.  There were tears and I could feel the spirit so strong. I felt the spirit confirm the words I was speaking; I felt that they both were touched.  They (Gonzalo and Vanessa) are excited to read and to pray!

   I know that God always has a reason for things. We were lied to, about where this other couple lives, but it took us to another couple that was prepared to hear our message!  So when things don't go the way you planned, try and find guidance from God, because you never know what could happen.  Ok so maybe you’re thinking...right Gibbons, that only happens in the mission...no, you can have this guidance every day, every minute.  WE are so blessed to have someone that is with us always to give us the answers, we are just too stubborn or too "busy" to listen.  I read a talk the other day and there was a story about José Smith, he was talking to a reporter and he was asked...”What is the difference between your church and all the others?"  He simply replied, we have the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Don't take this gift lightly, we are given the "Mercedes Benz" type of gift in this world and we sometimes treat it as though it were a broken down, rusty "Geo" (sound familiar family?? hehe) 
  I love you all, try to be guided by the spirit!  Try to be a little better every day!  Remember all the good things in this life aren't easy to have...you got to work a little! hehe!  Keep the Faith my friends!
 --
Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons

Monday, June 6, 2011

Argentina - Entre Rios #58

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons
Date: Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 11:41 AM
Subject: all
To: Bonnie Gibbons <bonnie.gibbons@cox.net>
Hey all you fine and wonderful people back home,
   Can I just tell you how amazingly cold it is today!!!  Woo hoo, the wind and rain just cuts right into those bones! Hehe!  But hey, whets the misión without a little rain!  I love the rain, in fact, those of you close to me know that if it rains, I find a way to be out in it!  I just love how it feels, the smells and I don’t know, it just makes everything seem… Better! Clean again! 
  Well I can’t believe that I am once again writing you, this week went flying by!!  I had a crazy week of emotions.  Dayana and Dario are sooooooooo excited to get married and baptized.  We had some really awesome lessons with them and then Friday we dropped by to invite them to a baptism at the church, but we ended up helping Dayana with something she was reading in the Book of Mormon.  She’s so amazing, she has a little fólder that she takes a ton of notes in, it’s got definitions of words and then all her thoughts and feelings about what she read!  Man, I don’t even think that half of the members keep as good of notes as these!!
  Then Dario came home and he joined in the conversation, way awesome…THEN…they just blurted out, we are not going to get married on the 24th which means we won’t be getting baptized before you leave.  Ok can I just tell you I cried my eyes out, not because I wouldn’t be here to See their baptism, but because they KNOW what they need to do and they are putting it off…well the whole thing was they couldn't pay for the place they wanted to rent and Dayana doesn’t want to be married until they have their own place.  You can bet your bottom dollar that I immediately went out looking for another place for them and I found it!  One of the members has a place, so we checked it out together and it looks like it just perfect for them.  I understand why she wants out of that house.  They drink, smoke and yell a lot.  They others in the home also talk bad about us and are annoyed when we come over.  Dayana and Dario are an amazing example of diligence.  They want to follow God, but they want to do it right. 
  I am so grateful to God for all that he does and for all that he blesses me with.  I read once again "the love of God" by Uchtdorf, such an amazing talk!  I love what he says... 
For what we love determines what we seek.
What we seek determines what we think and do.
What we think and do determines who we are—and who we will become.
       ...it’s so true, what we think and love is who we will become.  I believe that we all have to sacrifice something at sometime in our life to follow God.  But when we prove that God is the most important thing in our life, we see blessings and miracles we never thought possible.  Who ever thought that I could learn Spanish and live in a different country without my mom, my friends, or the normal commodities of life...I didn't hehe! Or that the hard hearted could become soft and choose God?  It’s possible, pray for those to soften their hearts!  They need the blessings of the Gospel!  I love you all!  Keep the faith!


--
Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons


Dayana, Dario, and Thiago
I love them sooooooo much!
They told me they are going to kidnap me
and make me stay with them!  hehe!

Dayana, Dario, and Thiago

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Argentina - Entre Rios #58

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons
Date: Mon, May 30, 2011 at 9:18 AM
Subject: noticias!
To: Bonnie Gibbons <bonnie.gibbons@cox.net>
Ok so I have a huge testimony of prayer and fasting.  It was Saturday and we have found a ton of new people, but we’ve only been able to teach them once, not really progressing.  And we really wanted people to come with us to church this Sunday which means just that much closer to being baptized.  So we started our fast and set out for the afternoon, man the first 3 hours were rough, every said no or weren’t there! We even had 2 citas (appointments) with a member that totally fell through.  But we continued on and I felt like we should stop by a contact we met a while ago, a cute little girl.  We met her sister, who then let us in to met her mom, brother and other sister.  They loved what we taught and told us we are welcome to come whenever we want.  The 2 girls came with us Sunday!!!!!!  It was so cool and they loved it, and can’t wait until we come by again! 
Remember nothing is impossible with Heavenly Fathers help, even though we have been knocked down over and over again, we will see the miracles…they are there.  I know that God loves us and does give us trials, trials that make us stronger and happier.  I know I can look back and some things I have experienced and say, I am a little stronger than I was back then.  Never forget that we are to live in the world, but not of it.  Take that to heart, see what you can change in your life to be…even more peculiar than we already are.  Who wants to be like everyone else anyway?  Let’s show the world how God lives!  I love you all have a great week!


--
Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons

a main street in rafaela, centro

Juancito, just after getting out of the water!

futbol!


MI HIJA EATING HER FIRST ALFAJOR

Argentina - Entre Rios #57

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons
Date: Tue, May 24, 2011 at 10:39 AM
Subject: a todos!
To: Bonnie Gibbons <bonnie.gibbons@cox.net>

Hey all you back home,
   Wow can I tell you this has been a great week.  On Sunday, I was asked to teach the Gospel principles class because the teacher wasn't there.  The topic was on faith in Jesus Christ.  We started off naming other words for faith (to believe, to have confidence in something...) and then it somehow turned to the temple, and how that is our goal.  Daiana and Dario (the coolest couple ever) were there and were asking a ton of questions.  We have been teaching them for about 3 or 4 months, and they love everything about the gospel, they just need to get married.  I just felt prompted to ask the whole class about the temple and what blessing we can receive from them.  Dario said that we do all things because we have faith, without faith, or Christ, there is no meaning...to what we are doing or to life.  I then asked him to give the closing prayer, but he said I have an announcement first.
     "We are going to be baptized, 2nd of July!!!"  
  They are soooooo excited and they are telling everyone, today they are going to set their date with the Judge to be married (they are shooting for the 26th of June).  Daiana was really scared before and about a week ago I left them with a written invitation to their own baptism, I put the date for the 2nd of July and she kinda freaked out...but with this picture of Christ and the wonderful things that they have felt from the gospel and the things they've learned, they prayed together and they want nothing more than to be baptized!!!!!!!  Oh my gosh, I wanted to scream and jump around and just show them how much God loves them and is excited for their decision.
  I love them with all my heart and I know that God blessed me to be here with them.  They are 21 and 22 years old, and they have one kid, Thiago and hopefully one more on the way.  They have embraced the gospel and they are going to be great examples for their family!
  Yesterday, we had a FHE (family home evening) in a members house with them.  Dario said, in his neighborhood he always saw 2 young men walking around, they never stopped by his house, but they were always there.  He and his friends would make fun of them, yell things at them, some of his friends even went so far as to spit on them and rob them of their cell phone.  He teared up a bit and said, if I had known that the message they shared was so beautiful, I would have gone running to them and begging them to forgive me and teach me.
  Then Daiana said, when the sisters first came over, they were teaching my mother-in-law and she would let us know they were coming, so we would either leave or go hide.  One day we just sat and listened and after they left we just felt peaceful, but we didn't really understand why.  They came back again and taught us some more.  Once again we were filled with this peace...we talked together and both agreed, its them, they are bringing this into our lives.  From then on, we kept asking...when are you guys coming back???
  I know that each one of you has a testimony of the gospel and through your example you can touch the hearts of others.  For those of you who have not heard the message that The Church of Jesus Christ offers, please go to the nearest church, email my mom or look for the kids the ride around in suits and a black tag, you will never regret your decision to listen.  I love that I know that families can be together forever, that Christ heals all types of pains and afflictions and with this knowledge, we can overcome anything and do it with joy!
  I love you all!!!!

“Es duro fracasar en algo, pero es mucho peor no haberlo intentado.”
"It’s hard to fail in something, but it’s much worse to have not tried"
Ralph Waldo Emerson
--

Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Argentina - Entre Rios #54

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons
Date: Mon, May 16, 2011 at 1:19 PM
Subject: everyone
To: Bonnie Gibbons <bonnie.gibbons@cox.net>
(I think we lost the beginning of Mandy’s letter here!)

They went around first asking what some talents people in the Bible had and then the teacher asked about people in the ward. What were the talents of Leanor…Hna Hoyo…and in that moment, God gave me an amazing gift.  I felt as though I could see these women in a different Light.  I could literally see their talents and see that God had so much more in store for them.  I was overwhelmed with love for them, I couldn’t help but cry!  I love these women.  What an amazing branch we have  here.  These women do so much, they have their families to take care of, jobs, their callings and many of them take the time to feed us and go out with us to some appointments. I love them, I can’t describe how much I just wanted them to feel that, to feel how much their Heavenly father wanted to bless them.
  I love the way the spirit Works and how we can always receive answers or we can learn things even when we are not expecting it!  I hope you all know how much God loves you.  Don’t ever forget it.  He wants you to be soooooo happy and so do I!  Please keep talking with Him and keep reading your scriptures.  They may sem. Simple, but they are soooo important.  I love you all, have a wonderful week!
  


--
Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Argentina - Rafaela #56

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons
Date: Mon, May 9, 2011 at 11:09 AM
Subject: everyone
To: Bonnie Gibbons <bonnie.gibbons@cox.net>
Hey all you mothers back home!!!
   Wow, happy mother’s day!  Can I just say thank you for you sacrifice and the time that you spend raising your kid’s right!  First I have a few friends on missions as well as many of them already returned and married!  I just love seeing what they have done with their lives.  They are trying to serve the Lord and all of their brothers and sisters! Also a ton of your sons and daughters have been an example to me in times of trial and in times of big decisions.  I have wanted to serve a mission because of all the things I have heard from my friends, as well as receiving an answer to my prayers.  Thank you for being mothers, for putting all your effort to teach us kids to be more like Christ.
  This Sunday was so amazing.  I don't know if I have been telling you about Dario and Daiana, but they are this cute couple that I can't wait for them to get married and then get baptized.  Dario makes sure that they pray together every night and he's been the strength to help them get up and go to church in the morning.  It was so cute, I tried to call them Sunday morning and the phone cut off twice so I thought they were annoyed or just didn't want to come.  But then about 15 min into sacrament meeting, they come in, holding hands, smiling faces and their son walking alongside.  Dario tried to sign to me that the phone was not working and then after the meeting he came running up to me, I’m so sorry about the phone.  He said he loved sacrament but had to go early today because he had a soccer game (he’s trying to go pro).  Daiana stayed the whole time, she loved it sooooo much!  In the Gospel principles class she was asking questions and at the end she asked if she could have the book that goes along with the class so she can study at home!  She loves reading and loves learning and she can't wait to come back and loves when we come and teach her anything!  Please pray that they will be able to set an appt. so they can get married before I head home!
  I love being a missionary and I can't believe my time is coming closer and closer to an end.  I was reading in Enos, and something that my trainer showed me when she was ending her mission as well (out here we say dying)
 
 26And I saw that I amust soon go down to my grave, having been wrought upon by the power of God that I must preach and prophesy unto this people, and declare the word according to the truth which is in Christ. And I have declared it in all my days, and have rejoiced in it above that of the world.
 27And I soon go to the place of my arest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall brest. And I rejoice in the day when my cmortal shall put on dimmortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the emansions of my Father. Amen.
  I hope that I can say this at the end, that I have declared the gospel all the days of my mission.  That I can go before God and tell him that I did all that I could.  I love this gospel and I know without a doubt that it is true!  That God lives and loves us and wants us all to be happy, even if we don't want anything with him or we don't feel like keeping his commandments, he still loves us and will always bring us back into his arms.  I love you all and I hope this made sense...the sickness that Mitchell gone has gone around the whole house and I can feel it a little bit right now...but it’s all good...
Keep the faith my friends!

--
Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons

Argentina - Rafaela #55

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons
Date: Mon, May 2, 2011 at 11:30 AM
Subject: everyone!
To: Bonnie Gibbons <bonnie.gibbons@cox.net>
Sorry I have been horrible at writing!  Miracles
  Dayana and Dario:  came to church, told us their life has changed since they started listening, they received answers when reading the book of Mormon, are so excited to get married, might be pregnant with their own!, just amazing!!

Familia Aguilar:  they are progressing soooooo much and I just feel bad, the mom has a tumor and is on morphine until they can start chemo. 
 
I love you all so much, oh I am training a newbie!  Hna. Olivares is from El Salvador and she is pretty cool!  I am a mother, man I’m so old!  I hope all you mothers have a wonderful mother’s day! 

--
Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons


Argentina - Rafaela #54

Mi hija!
From Amanda Gibbons
To Bonnie Gibbons <bonnie.gibbons@cox.net>
Date Mon, May 2, 2011 at 11:03 AM
Subject Re: we get to talk to you next Sunday!!!!!!! (from a letter to me)

So I got a call Tuesday night and they said, Hna Gibbons you are going to Train.  So I have a newbie, Hna. Olivares for El Salvador.  She is a cute girl and as we say in the mission I am her “mom” and she is my "hija" (daughter/child)!  So crazy, I’ve got to teach her the ropes, so you bet I’ll be working hard!  Right now we are working in a trio until we can find a mini (another companion, I think!) for Hna Mitchell, but I am still in Rafaela and I am pretty sure that I will be dying (finishing out her mission) here!  I love it!  I am sooooooooooo ok with that! 
Love ya, Hermana Gibbons


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Argentina - Entre Rios #53

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons
Date: Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 12:13 PM
Subject: (a response from a letter to me/mom)
To: Bonnie Gibbons bonnie.gibbons@cox.net

Well I had a really cool experience.
   We had a girl in our agenda and I, for some reason had put a star next to her name, but we could not remember who she was for anything!  So we decided to go anyways, and when we were about to turn the corner to her house, we remembered who she was.  Just a girl that didn't seem too excited or interested and we almost decided not to go.  When we got there a cute lady opened up and told us we could come in.  This family is SOOOOOO AWESOME!!!  They are reading and praying.  We've had some really awesome experiences with them. They love the message we bring and they just make me sooo happy!  The oldest daughter has the most interest.  It’s funny, because sometimes you can ask people and they'll just lie and said they have read, but she said to us...so those pamphlets you guys leave, they teach exactly what you just taught us.  Is that what you wanted to give us? Haha, I love her.  Then we came by Saturday night to invite them to church, they said they wouldn't be able to come because everyone was coming to their house for Easter and they would love to come next week.  They said of course, but you guys are going to come by before net Sunday right???  Mom it’s just soooo cool when you can see and hear people begging to hear the truth!  The mother has a tumor in her arm and is in pretty bad pain, she is going to start chemo here in a little bit.  I love this family already, maybe you can put their name I the temple for me.  Maria Cristina Aguilar.
   … I will keep working hard!  … Keep the faith …
Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Argentina - back in Entre Rios #52

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons
Date: Tue, Apr 12, 2011 at 7:45 AM
Subject:  transfers

HEY,
 
SO transfers and you are not going to believe it!!!  Hermana
Mitchell and I and staying together for a 3rd transfer!  So so crazy,
but we are pretty stoked about it!  We are so excited to get out there
and help those people we have met get baptized! I have learned a lot
with her, how to enjoy life while working hard!  I don’t know how many
of you have seen the movie “Charly”, but I feel like I kinda like Sam,
who just works and Hna Mitchell is like Charly, goofy, and enjoys life,
but still knows what’s right and has a very strong testimony!
 
Our wonderful converts are still going strong, and I love them so
much!  They are growing so much.  Agustin, 12, just received the
Aaronic priesthood this week and next week he will pass the sacrament!
 He is so excited, he has is white shirt and tie and has been talking
‘bout how he can’t wait to go on a mission and how he can’t wait to
marry a good Mormon girl!  There is a member kid who was saying bad
words when they were hanging out, and Agus said, hey that’s not cool,
that’s not what God wants us to do!
 
I felt so blessed last week to be able to hear the words of our
beloved leaders!  They are so amazing!  Its one thing to read their
words, but another to actually see them and hear their sweet voices.
Then it hit me the other day, we were reading 3 Nephi 11 with an
investigator (for all of your returned missionaries out there you know
we use this one a lot), this is when Christ comes and visits the
Americas, and I couldn’t help but think how amazing that would be to
hear the voice of our Savior.  I think we would recognize it, because
we lived with Him before and he is our brother.  I love that, knowing
that as we continue to study about His life, apply His teachings and
keep his commandments, that when He does come again, we will be ready,
we will recognize his voice of love.  What a glorious day that will
be.  I am so grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ! We
are so blessed to know the truth and to know that we can be with God
forever!  I love you all!!! Keep the faith!
 Love
 Hermana Gibbons!


cool paintings in Rafaela


So bored at the Mission Home...can't wait to get back to work!


Jumping for joy to be back in Entre Rios with her companion Hermana Mitchell


Monday, March 28, 2011

Argentina - Mission Home in Rosario #51



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons
Date: Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 9:25 AM
Subject: everyone
To: Bonnie Gibbons
Wow,
 Hey everyone, crazy, crazy week!  So I helped a girl come out of a seizure and have been in and out of the hospital and private practices for like a good week!  I am in the mission home and have been here since Friday with her.  It's kind of a bummer, because I am not with my comp, I haven't been able to work in my area and I missed the baptism of Roque y Dora.  It's not fun to be stuck in the pench (I think this means apartment) or to be hurt and not be able to do anything about it.  I feel really sad for the Hermana because she just started about a month ago and she has never had problems like this before.  WE went to the doctor today, but we still have to go to a neurologist to see exactly what happened.
   So now I get to see how the offices work, crazy as all the other elders! Haha.  We were able to go to a district meeting with them and ya started out all crazy like, but then we got done to business and we talked about prayer.  The elder gave us a question to think about...
  
           Have you ever had a specific prayer, in which you experienced a CONVERSATION with your Heavenly Father when He talks with you directly????
   Would you like to have an experience like that?

  Man that hit me hard, I have experienced that, but very few.  Then I realized.  I am out all day teaching people to pray...to TALK to their Heavenly Father.  Have you have been in a conversation, where the other person just keeps talking even when you have something to say...something that you think would help them out.  It feels horrible, I just want to hit people sometimes! haha, well, I know that we do that a lot when we talk to God...we just say a list of things we are grateful for and what we need, with feeling and with love, but the part we forget is to listen...Ask a question, wait...He WILL answer you...Then you continue on talking!  I have such a hard time doing this!  I have such a habit to tell him everything but not wait for him to tell me anything.  Yes, I am fulfilling the commandment to pray, but I could be getting so much more out of it!  I challenge you all to try and talk to your Father in Heaven.  Prayer is soooo insurmountably important.  It’s the only way we have to talk to our Father.
  I love you all and I hope you have a great week and you have the opportunity to hear your father’s voice!  Keep the faith
--
Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons

Argentina - Entre Rios #50

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons
Date: Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 1:30 PM
Subject: todos!
To: Bonnie Gibbons
Hey everyone,
  Wow, what an amazing and crazy week!  I went to a capacitación or a (training) meeting of liders (leaders) in the misión!  It was way awesome! I learned so much about how I can improve my teaching skills and how to trust in the lord!  I have been trying to apply them as I teach and meet new people!  One thing that I didn’t have problems with before, but now I do, was talk a lot and not teach very simply!  I have been trying to shut my mouth and listen to the spirit!  It’s really hard, but I know it is possible!  Basically, they said we need to take a second, let God give us a question that will help us understand what they need.  Which means, let there be silence.  I do not do good with that.  But then they said something that hit me really hard.  When I let there be a silence and allow the spirit to talk to my heart and mind, I show God that I trust him, that I trust in the spirit!  Man, what a change in the lessons we’ve had.  I can feel the spirit and the words of the scriptures just testify.  It allows for them to figure it out for themselves before I tell them what it means. 
   Azucena and Agustin (son and mother) got baptized this last Saturday!  They are so amazing!  Azucena Works a lot and still doesn’t always have what she needs, but she absolutely loves the Lord and wants to follow him!  She has been working Sundays to get more Money, but we taught her what it means to the Lord when we take a Day to remember him, and to serve others.  The next day she told her boss that she will no longer work Sundays.  She is very firm in it and I love her!  Such a great example.
   I love my companion.  She is so awesome, she is pretty sick right now and has no desire to stay in the house, but she def can’t go out!  So today we only left to tell them family we are ok and to eat lunch in the park!  It’s starting to get a little cooler here and I love it!  I love everything about this place. Its weird to think that soon, this will only be a memory, but as of right now, I just keep thinking about the now and who I can help!  I love you all, remember the Lord is only obligated to bless us, when we do what we promised we would!  I love you all!  Keep the faith!


--
Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons

REDFERN I hope you know how much I love you!!! Keep working hard and keep being the example to everyone, just like you always were and are to me!  Keep the faith "Madre"!!!

Rachel Norton, Can I tell you how much I love you!! It’s so good to hear that you are doing well and I can't believe you are almost done with school!!!  Keep it up and you can then help me when I need to study!  Ha!  TE QUIERO!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Argentina - Entre Rios #49

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons
Date: Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 7:27 AM
Subject: la gente!  (The people!)
To: Bonnie Gibbons

Hey all you out there!
   Wow, what a week.  I really can testify that God is a God of miracles!  He works in such small ways that if we aren’t in tune to the spirit, it would just pass us by like any other thing.  I am so grateful for the spirit and the things it prompts us to do or say. 
  1st we had a baptism on Saturday!!!  So awesome!  Valeria, she quit smoking, she reads every night, she asks the most amazing questions and has taught us some really amazing things.  Her husband was not able to come to the baptism, so we are still waiting to get to talk to him.  But wow, Valeria is an example of someone who searches, asks God, and then does what He asks of her.  She is so much happier.  She says that the relationship with her husband is a lot better, they don’t fight.  She is a lot calmer and just wants to do everything right!  I love her so much, she got married when she was 15 and has a 4 year old baby, so she really didn’t get to enjoy her childhood.   Hna. Mitchell got her all pretty before her baptism.  Valeria started to cry and say that no one has ever done anything like this for her.  It was also her birthday on the 3rd, so all in one week, she got baptized, confirmed, turned 20, and quit smoking!!!! Crazy!
2nd.  We have been working with Hector, 11 years old, for almost all of last transfer and he has come to church 4 times, been to 2 baptisms, goes to all the activities and comes all alone, on his bike, from the farthest neighborhood from the church!  He has wanted to get baptized and we have asked his mom twice and she still said no.  We fasted and prayed and Saturday morning we went to her and taught her the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ, and we asked her again.  I was scared she was going to kick me out of the house, but she answered, rather matter-of-factly, sure no problem, where do I sign???  HALLELUJAH!!!  We were crying and just so excited!  He is going to be the rock of his family!  We are still working with his other brothers, but he is just so stoked!!  He will be baptized this Saturday!!!!
 3rd, that same Saturday, we went and taught Gladi’s son (Dario) and his girlfriend (Diana), and we’ve been teaching them for a while, they’ve been there when we’ve taught Gladi.  Then we came back and taught them. Dario is praying and reading, Diana had a really hard life and is pretty upset with God, but she wants to talk to him, but she is reading.  We talked about repentance and Dario said “hey the priests in the Catholic church don’t have the power or authority to give anyone forgiveness…Joseph Smith was the one who was called to be a prophet.  And plus God taught us that He gives us the forgiveness, not men.”  BING Bing bing!!!  He understood that soooooooooo well!  They told us they love when we come and can’t wait to come to church with us!
  OK so there were a lot more than just those, but wow!!!!  I am so amazed at all that has happened. I know when we try and do God’s will, He is always there to bless us!  Remember, you CAN see miracles every day, it’s not something that should be rare.  Ask God to open your eyes to what’s going on around you!  I love you all!  Keep the faith!

--
Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Argentina - Entre Rios #48

From Amanda Gibbons
To Bonnie Gibbons
Date Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 9:33 AM
Subject los demas!

Hey everyone,
Awesome, crazy week, I am so baffled that it is already March!  Can someone put a stop to time for a second! Oh ya, transfers!  I get to stay!!!!!  Nothing changes for me!!!!! I am so happy!  I get to see the baptisms we have worked for!  This weekend, Valeria is getting baptized! She is an amazing women, 19, married, with a little terror girl, Milagros (go figure), but she contacted us, she asked us how she could become a member and now she has stopped smoking cold turkey.  She has already seen changes in her life, with her husband, and he is now starting to have interest.  I'm sure he'll be listening really soon.  I love her, what an example of someone who wants to follow Christ and just do all they are supposed to! She is super stoked and I just can't wait! 

We are teaching Hector, he is 11 years old and just comes to church all alone and he lives on the other side of town.  He wants to be baptized with all of his heart!  I am teaching a Jehovah’s Witness right now...and I need help...    How do we know that Jehovah is Christ???????????? (Bible scriptures would be amazing!!!)

Ok Friends, remember that God loves you and man he just wants us happy!  People change when they feel that love.  Don't be afraid to share the gospel with anyone!  I am so, so glad that we have a prophet of the Lord, because without them, we are a little lost.  Trying to figure out what we should do, what God wants of us...what a blessing to have someone who talks face to face with God, our Heavenly Father.  I just got slapped in the face in the lesson on Sunday.  They asked us what the prophet had last counseled us.  And I replied with what he taught in conference!  ya no!!! He talks to us every month in the Liahona!!!! Oh yeah, I guess in English that’s the Ensign.  Keep reading those words, they are here for us.  I love you all.   Keep the faith! Oh ya, Give an ensign as a gift to your neighbor...go ahead you know you want to!!!

--

Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons



P-Day Fun!


Packages from home!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Argentina - Entre Rios #47

Hma Gibbons y Hmo Cowley (from our Stake)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons
Date: Mon, Feb 14, 2011
Subject: HAPPY Valentine’s DAY

Wow,

Time just flies by! So we had a pretty awesome week! We had Zone Conference this last Friday and it was so perfect! They talked about everything that I had just realized I need to work on! It was so good! I left with that feeling, like after General Conference, so good and spiritually uplifted, but also a little sad, knowing I can be better! But here we go! ¡Vamos arriba! That’s why we have repentance right!!?? I love working out here, ya, so it’s hot, I’ve gained a few pounds, the mosquitoes love my blood, I don’t have a/c, my boyfriend left me for another girl and didn't have the guts to tell me, people yell at me about the world being horrible, I see 13 year old girls with babies....but I feel an outpouring of love from my father in heaven. I know, without a doubt, no matter what happens, I can be happy, I can have hope and joy!!! ...Because my savior suffered, more than I could or ever will suffer. It’s like what is says in D&C 122:8, the son of man has descended below them all. Art thou greater than he? ....I love my savior and I am so grateful for him. In the midst of all this turmoil, there is a light.

Just like yesterday, we came to a house and taught a family gathering of about 8, the lesson of the Restoration. It was so cool, they had a ton of questions about where is the truth, where is Christ’s church, and why does there have to be so much confusion. I told them they don't have to be confused, that I had the answer for them. God loves us so much, he called a prophet to help bring the gospel back to the earth. I recited to them the first vision and the look in their eyes changed, it was that of...hope...wonder and I guess peace... They told me after that (when he answered the door) he came to … just to tell me to leave, but then he felt he should let me in. We apparently, not only changed his view on "Mormons", but on North Americans as well...this family then invited us to come back for dinner this week! Pray that they will accept the gospel and bless the lives of their children.

I know God has a reason for everything, this family, one of the women (Gretel) listened to missionaries 20 years ago, but said she didn't feel anything with those boys...but she told me she felt joy, felt like she could have more in her life. I don't know what’s going to happen with them, but I know God has me here, with my loudness and big laugh to help others feel that love. I know that I am not perfect, but that’s why God makes up for the rest, the part where I fall short!! Remember He is always there to pull you back up, you just have to accept his help! I love you all, Keep the faith!

Con amor,

Hermana Gibbons

Hermanas Gibbons y Mitchell y Suiti y Garcia
CHRIS AND CHARLEE DOXSEY...wow happy anniversary, one year!! I love it! But hey, I want to see some little Doxsey running around when I get home!! I hope that you are both doing well. I miss you tons. Remember my family is your family and we are here to help you with whatever (well you can go to my mom for now...hehe)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TIMMY! Hey brother!! Yeah! One more year! I love you so much!!! Next year we will celebrate together! Go out and do something crazy!! I hope you are enjoying being back in AZ!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRIANNA AND CRISTIAN! You guys are getting so big! I love you! Smooches!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Argentina - Entre Rios #46

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons
Date: Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 10:42 AM
Subject: weekly goodies!
To: Bonnie Gibbons
WOW!!!
   Hey family and friends!  So I just got news that Dan and Betty (awesome investigators from my last area) got baptized!!!!!  All 4 of their kids were baptized about 6 months ago and they have been waiting to receive divorce papers so they could get married, to be baptized!!!!  Dan basically already is a leader in the church.  He set up the activities that the priesthood does every other week!  Pretty much a miracle that they were able to get a marriage date so soon!!! I'm sad I missed the wedding and all, but the work goes on right!?  Plus I love my area and I wouldn't trade it for the world!  We met this amazing woman, Gladis, while we were walking down the street.   She was passing out some calendars for some politics.  We felt the need to stop her and contact her.  The first lesson we had with her, she told us that she would never change her religion, she is catholic for life.  I was a little set back and was ready to get another speech about her grandpa's grandpa was catholic and so that’s how it is...but she changed and started telling us about her life and the things that have happened.  We shared with her the hope and joy that comes from the gospel, from knowing the truth.  We shared the faith and the plea a young boy had to his father!  That he received an answer directly from the God the Father and Jesus Christ.  Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet for these days and through that power he received, restored the church of Christ on this earth, so that we can be saved!  She was so excited!  She thanked us so much and couldn't wait for us to come back!  We are going to teach her tonight!
 
    We had an investigator in church Sunday!!!   Her name is Adela, she is a very lonely and confused lady.  I think she has been used and pushed around a lot in her life.  She loves the message we have been sharing, but is pretty much anti baptism.  Her mom is Evangelist and when she was 12, her mom basically forced her into the water.  She told us she wants to be sure before she makes a decision.  She is so cute and has a ton of questions.  I know that she is looking for the peace that the gospel brings!
 
  So my companion is awesome, but she has had a really difficult time learning the language.  She is 9 months in the mission and talks like a newbie!  Poor girl is really frustrated about it, but is determined to learn!  She doesn't see it, but many of the lessons we've taught or the people we've contacted changed their minds because she bore testimony, or smiled while saying the Spanish that she knows!  Man, she really does bring a strong spirit, it’s been really fun working with Hna. Mitchell.  The only scary thing is that I have to understand everything they say!  It’s pretty crazy and I am just glad that I have the gift of the Holy Ghost who helps me understand and respond to the people in a way that they feel his love.  Who knew it would be so tiring teaching all the time?  Ha, usually when I turn the time over to my comp, she looks at me like I just asked her to go jump off a bridge into cold water!  But she teaches and they understand!

We live with 2 other sister, we actually are all in the same Branch!  It’s pretty crazy, but really awesome to see what we can all do together.  They get references for us, we get contacts for them...it’s just good stuff!

  So the other day, some drunk guy came up to us and called out to us, "Hermanas!!"  Turns out he was a member, but member or not, I usually get their address and pass by another time, hopefully when they are not wasted.  But for some reason I felt we should follow him to his house (no worries, it was 11am and there were a ton of people out).  Anyways, we’re sitting out front of his porch, trying to teach him and his friend about prayer, and he just keeps talking over us.  I even ask him to be quiet and listen (I have never done that before) and he just kept right on talking.  It was so funny that Hna. Mitchell and I couldn't help burst out laughing!  I had no idea why I was trying to teach this guy, but I didn't feel that I should leave!  Out came this guys Aunt, who turns out to be a member with 7 sons who were never baptized!  Also, she had one son who was in his bed with a high fever.  She asked us to call someone to come give him a blessing.  One of the members went and I haven't heard anything about the boy, but I know that we were there not only to find this family, but to help with the faith of this sister!
 
  So in every situation you are in, look around and see why god has placed you there!  I have to tell you all how proud I am of my parents!  They have begun to see how important and easy it is to share the gospel with others!  My dad shared his testimony with a work member (who said he was looking for something in his life) and my mom as well talked to some of her students and patients at the hospital!  I am sooooooooo proud of you guys.  This is what we are here to do!!  Now that we know the truth, our purpose is to help others find the truth!!  We keep working until our family, our neighbors and our friends know who we are and that they can be happy like us!!  Hehe, I love missionary work!  Keep the faith,
--
Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons



Monday, January 31, 2011

Argentina - Entre Rios #45

"Lost and Found" painted by Jorge Farias for Hermana Gibbons

Jorge Farias' Baptism

Jorge & his familia
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons
Date: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 11:13 AM
Subject: mis amigos!!!!
To: Bonnie Gibbons <bonnie.gibbons@cox.net>
Sorry, computer died for a good 20 min and now my time is up!!! I promise for a good letter next week! Oh the joys of writing in a cyber!!! Hehe I love you keep the faith! 
Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons

[I will share some excerpts from my “mommy” letter…]

Wow I still can't believe it’s been a year, time goes so quickly.  I don't want it to end... I want to see my family, but I don't want to end this work.  …I am just trying to work hard… I just hope that I am doing what God has asked of me!  … I opened a letter I wrote to myself, my first day in the MTC, with goals and things that I wanted to be doing 1 year into my mission!  Ya know what, I felt really good about all of them.  Of course there is always room for improvement, but wow I can't believe all that I have accomplished … how the Lord has changed me. 

I got to talk to one of my converts in Santa Elena the other day, Jorge Farias (the one who painted the picture, if you go on her blog you can see pictures of Jorge on letter #27 & his painting on letter #36, http://mandyargentinamission.blogspot.com/  I will also attach them. ) He recognized my name without me saying who I was!  He sounded so happy and so just edified!  He sounded like he understood his life now!  It was so awesome mommy, I got "trunky" (homesick) for Santa Elena!  I love Jorge, he still is the miracle of my mission and an example of love and trust in the Lord and in his family!  I feel so blessed to have been there to see him change, to see him gain faith, gain light in his eyes and hope for the future! 

You quoted this in your lesson..."As members of the Church, we have been born again. We should continually seek to renew ourselves, to be reborn time and time again as we worship and partake of the sacrament on a weekly basis, as we strive to keep the commandments, and as we frequently go to the well of living water. As we do so, we will be blessed with peace in this life and eternal joy in the life to come."
   
 I didn't understand before my mission, just how important it is to take the sacrament!    When I see that people don't come just because of rain, or they are tired, or even a little sick, it just makes me sad!  They miss out on so many blessings!  My comps (companions) and I have made pacts, that we will never miss taking the sacrament!  Except if we are in the hospital or something like that!

Thank you for sharing … your (New Testament) class (with me). You know what’s cool, everything we teach, everything we do (&) learn...all goes back to serving others right?  …and what better way to serve them then to bring others unto Christ?  It’s like the saying "You can give a man a fish, and it'll feed him for a day. Or you can teach the man to fish, and he will be fed for a lifetime".  You can visit a friend, smile at someone, give them a gift and they will feel good for a bit and it’s something really important.  BUT, you give them a chance to hear the gospel, and they will be happy for eternity!  That’s so cool!

Thanks for your love, your letters, you keep me going!  I like to talk with you and report to you that I am doing good!  Keep smiling mommy, the day is coming soon :) SMOOCHES!

Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Argentina - Rafaela #44

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons
Date: Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 11:43 AM
Subject: rapido!
To: Bonnie Gibbons


Wow, so I had so much fun writing my mom this week that I don't have much time to write a letter!  I love my new area, its way beautiful!  It’s basically like I have come to open an area, but there is a branch here and they are pretty strong!  My mission leader is a professional soccer player and is so gung-ho for the work, he was the first one to be baptized in his family and he and his wife both served missions!  My comp is awesome Hna. Mitchell and she does not speak Spanish....basically nothing, but she is awesome and we work really well together!  She is from Utah and likes the ninja turtles too! Hehe, we've got a lot in common and we can't wait to see whets going to happen here in Rafaela!  The members are awesome and just want to help us out, it’s crazy there are 4 hermanas in one branch!  Our apartment isn’t bad, back to a bucket shower, no a/c, bunk beds, kitchen, some bugs (not as bad as others)!  (I asked Mandy/Hermana Gibbons how her Spanish is coming, she replied,)  my Spanish still needs work, but man I just pray I can always understand what they are saying!  Sometimes I am worried I don't exactly get what they want to say!  So glad for the spirit!

   The other sisters are going to have a baptism on Tuesday and today we get to go visit a friend of a member!  She is coming with us!  I am really excited!  I love this gospel and I sometimes don't understand why God trusts me with some things, but we just got to get out and work!  I love you all and I hope you are helping out the missionaries in your ward!  It’s hard to be away from home and not know anyone!  I love you all!  Keep the faith!

--
Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons

Argentina - Entre Rios #43

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amanda Gibbons


Ha-Ha!  I get it!!!  "Attention Machines at Work"!

Date: Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 7:49 AM
Subject: Transfers!
To: Bonnie Gibbons
Hey everyone!!!
   So ya, it is transfer week and surprise, surprise...I am once again packing up and moving!!!  I think I might be a little too crazy to be kept in one area for too long or something!  I am both sad and excited!  Sad because we have soooo many people here who are progressing and we have a baptism this weekend that I won't get to see!  But the most important thing is she is getting baptized!  Oh man, she is a daughter of a less active family and it was a MIRACLE that they came to church this week.  Hermana Hansen has been inviting them to come for 3 months and they finally came!!! Oh it was soooo good to see them there!  They are really an awesome family and they have big desires to serve God, they just need to get their booties back in church!!  Ha, Milagros is 9 years old and so excited for her baptism!  We had another miracle this week!  So here, when someone moves, it’s almost impossible to find them again!!  People give you directions like...They live over there next to the supermarket...or in the other neighborhood... most people don't have phones either, but Christian came back home and he is doing so good!!!!!!!  He is a miracle all in itself, he has a lot of problems with drugs and in his family, but he is working through them and going strong! So many wonderful things happened this week!  Carlos Aguirre was baptized by his younger brother.  It was so perfect, a whole family of converts, changing, growing and trying to be better!  Carlos is a very intelligent kid who knows that God exists and that God will bless him if he keeps his commandments and helps others!  He has no fear to share with others that he is a member and that he has made the greatest decision of his life!!!  
  Also, Fernando, the guy who was baptized just before Christmas, wow, can you say spiritual GIANT!!  He goes out, drinks his matè with his friends and shares scriptures, stories from the Liahona (a magazine put out by the church, like the Ensign) and introduces us, the missionaries to all of them! He knows that this gospel is what changes lives, what saves lives and for that reason, he wants all of his friends to have it as well!
  Ok so I am off to Rafaela and my comps name is Hermana Mitchell.  I will be senior companion, and I will be doing a whitewash!!!!!!  I am a little nervous, but I’ll just do what I can!  Work and trust in the Lord.  Pray for me! First that I can pack again (man I hate packing) and then that I will be an instrument in God’s hands! I love you all, keep going strong and have you read this month’s ensign???  There is a talk in there by Elder Oaks that he gave to students at Harvard! http://lds.org/ensign/2011/01/fundamental-to-our-faith?lang=eng    Way good!  You should read it...ok all my friends!  Look for ways to help others, and be open to hear the promptings of spirit, he is always trying to talk to you!  Keep the faith!

--
Con amor,
  Hermana Gibbons