Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Christmas Phone Call

Gygi Family Christmas 2016
Our family had an excellent 45 minute Skype with Elder Gygi on Christmas.  He looked happy and healthy and enthused for his missionary work.  Most importantly, he had the look of a missionary serving the Lord in the best way possible.  We got to meet his new companion, Elder Carreño, who is from Columbia and speaks just a bit of English.  It was fun watching Jared seamlessly flipping back and forth between English and Spanish as he translated for us as we spoke a bit with Elder Carreño and with the local family hosting them for Christmas dinner.  We got a kick out of listening as Elder Gygi now seems to speak English with a Spanish accent – and he was completely unaware of this. 
As you can see from the pictures, Elder Gygi was blessed to be able to baptize E. two days before Christmas.  We can’t think of a better Christmas present than being able to bring someone to Christ through baptism.  Elder Gygi’s District consists of two sets of sister missionaries and Elder Carreño and himself.  Other than one of the sisters, all of the missionaries in his District are natives with limited English.  But Elder Gygi loves working with the native missionaries and using his Spanish.  You can see his District performing service by cleaning a pool and also singing carols at a local plaza. 
We are grateful for Elder Gygi’s missionary service in Argentina and to the Lord for keeping him safe.  When we asked when he might next get transferred, he laughed and said that his Mission President recently told him that he won’t be sent to the “rough” areas because he just looks too American with his blonde hair and fair complexion, which could consist of regular relief of personal belongings! 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

¡¡Feliz Navidad!!

¡¡Feliz Navidad!!

It is almost Christmas even if the weather doesn't feel like it! We had a great week! 

Yesterday at church we had the annual primary program. The electricity went out right before sacrament meeting started. But they went on with the program. It was beautiful hearing the little kids sing all the songs i had grown up singing, but in spanish. songs like "Dime las Historias de Cristo" "Soy un Hijo de Dios" and many others. Then all of a sudden, during one the girls talks, the lights came back on! They said that the primary had said a prayer before the performance asking for the power to come back on. It was great to witness that!

I hope everyone is in the true spirit of Christmas. As President Monson said, "To find the true spirit of Christmas, we need only drop the last syllable, and it becomes the spirit of Christ." 

Merry Christmas!!

Elder Gygì

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Week of Surprises

Elder Captain America
 It is just going to keep getting hotter here in San Justo! We had a great week full of surprises. I am with my new companion, Elder Carreño. It is great with him. He is from Ibague, Colombia. He has been a member for a little over 3 years! He was baptized at 18 and then left on the mission 1 year later. He and I got here to Argentina on the same day so we both have 15 months in the mission. He speaks almost no English hahaha but he really wants to learn so I am trying to teach him. Elder Bragg also told me that I need to teach him English because he will use it in other church callings. 

Our investigators are doing good! A. has his baptism on the 23rd. We changed it from the 17th because he wanted his mom to be able to come too. J. does not have a date yet. 

We had a great surprise on Sunday. We were sitting in the Gospel Principles class when Brother Nielson (1st counselor in the bishopric) asked me to come out for a minute. He took me out and said "Elder Gygi your family came to visit you!... just kidding!" but then he took me into another room and i saw 3 people, all looking very American and not Argentine, and I recognized one of the kids. I said "Hey, I know you!" and I gave him a big hug. It was Marcus Bragg, a friend of mine from EFY Santa Barbara about 4 years ago! I had no idea that his dad was a general authority! His dad, Elder Mark Bragg of the 1st quorum of the seventy, was called as a member of the presidency over the South America South area and was visiting our chapel. Marcus told me that he saw a picture of me in Argentina on my Instagram and showed his dad. Elder Bragg then called President Robertson to ask what area I was in. He told him that I was currently in San Justo, so he and his family came to visit the ward and see me! And of course they just happen to show up the one Sunday I was assigned to give a talk. I spoke on member/missionary work and how we are not separate but one body working together. Sister Bragg even took a picture of me speaking, hahahaIt was great to see them. I translated Elder Bragg's talk to his son Marcus who doesn't really speak Spanish. He is going to an international school here. A bunch of ward members thought they were my family!

Elder Bragg then stood up to give us a short message. He looked at all 4 of us missionaries and said "Elders and Sisters, I have sat in a room with 2 apostles, Elder Holland and Elder Cook, as they assigned mission calls. I watched as they prayed and pleaded for each missionary. I can tell you personally that you have all been put here by revelation." 

I know that this church is true. 

Elder Gygi

Sunday, December 11, 2016

EFY Santa Barbara

Dear Gygi Family,

I had the opportunity to meet your wonderful son while attending the San Justo Ward in Buenos Aires.  He is a tremendous missionary.  He actually spoke in the Sacrament Service so I was able to see him in action.  My wife snapped a probably "inappropriate" foto of him at the pulpit but we will repent.

He is happy, healthy and working very hard.  He is a blessing to President Robertson.  We actually went there this Sunday expressly to meet your son.  He went to an EFY a few years ago with our son, Marcus.  When Marcus found out that your son was in a Buenos Aires mission he asked if we could go visit him on an off weekend.  Since we did not have an assignment this weekend it worked out perfectly!  Marcus is finishing up his senior year in high school here in BA and wants to go back for splits sometime soon.

Thank you for preparing such a fine young man who is so ready and willing to bless the lives of others in this very special part of the Lord's vineyard!  He is a fantastic example and a natural leader.

Un abrazo.
Elder Mark A. Bragg
Presidencia de Área
Área Sudámerica Sur

Spiritual Seeds Planted by Sisters

Hey family! 

Transfers came this week and we got the news. Elder Ehlert is leaving to be President Robertson's secretary! I will be staying here and my new companion is Elder Carreño from Colombia! He came with me to the mission so we have the same time here. I will be the district leader. In our district are us and 4 other sister missionaries. It is going to be a great transfer!

We had great success in finding people this week. One person we have been teaching for a few weeks accepted a baptismal date. His name is A. He is 23 and his best friend is on a mission right now in Brazil. He has come to church a few times but is now more interested. He will be baptized on the 17th.

We found a man name J. this past week. He saw us walking down the street towards him and ran into his house. He then walked out and came up to us with an old Book of Mormon in his hand. He told us how some sister missionaries gave him that book 10 years ago and how he always reads it. He listened to our message but was not set on attending church. Then on Sunday, just before sacrament meeting started, I saw J. walking out in front of the church. I left my comp (probably shouldn't have done that) and ran out to catch him before he walked away. I invited him in to the meeting and he came in and listened. It was great!

I hope all have been participating in the 25 days of Christmas campaign! 

Merry Christmas!

Elder Gygi

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving Pancakes

This past week was great! First of all it was Thanksgiving. We celebrated by having an FHE with one of our investigators. Elder Ehlert and I went to the house of M, our 11 year old investigator, and we made pancakes for them and even made maple syrup! (thanks mom and dad for the syrup flavoring!) That was delicious.

We had an incredible experience on Saturday. We got caught in a big rain storm with out any jackets. We were on our way to lunch and we saw two other missionaries in our area. They were stopped under a little roof looking at a map. We thought they were from the Buenos Aires South mission (our area is on the border of the mission) and were just really lost. So we asked them where they were from. They said they were from the Buenos Aires MTC! One was from Mendoza, Argentina, and the other was from Ecuador. They told us that the MTC was doing an activity where they sent the new missionaries into an area with a map for a few hours to practise knocking doors. Unfortunately for these two, the day they were scheduled to do this was a bad storm. So we took them with us and knocked some doors to see if anyone would let us in. After 5 doors of rejection, we knocked one more time. A nice man came out and let us in, gave us some towels, made us some mate cocido (Argentine tea thing) and listened to our message. These 2 young elders had started the mission just 1 week ago. We let them teach from the Book of Mormon and share their testimonies. The man, E, accepted the book and an invitation to read it. 
I know that we were put in the path of these two elders on purpose. If I had been in their position- wet, cold, nervous, scared and not sure what to do- i would have been praying for someone to help us. It is great to be a tool in the Lord´s hands.

Everyone needs to go share the Church's new video #LightTheWorld It is all about Christ and Christmas! 25 ways to change in 25 days.

Elder Gygi

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Best Weather

Hi! I'm really tired today but that's not any different from other days! The good news is that it is bright and sunny here, the best weather

This week we had divisions with the other elders. I went to a part of the city called Ramos Mejìa with Elder Canales, he's from El Salvador. It was a great day with him! He is one of the elders in the offices, so to go from our area to theirs, they picked us up in their car! I know that sounds super normal but this isn't the Mesa AZ mission where every companionship gets a car. Our mission has 3 cars, and one of those is President's! So it isn't very often that we get to ride in it. I was very excited. 

We played soccer the other morning and I rolled my ankle pretty bad. After ice, elevation, and some prayer I was ready to go and now I'm walking fine with a brace.

Our investigator, E, has come to church 3 weeks in a row now! He just is waiting to finish college which ends this next week and then he said he can spend time reading the Book of Mormon and will be baptized. He is a great kid!

The church is starting a new Christmas program that is going to be coming out this week so make sure you are all looking out for it!

Also Elder Dominguez (my son!) just got put into the mission offices! 

D&C 50:24

Elder Gygi

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Ye Are My Friends

September 2015
Hey family!

I hope all is great back home! We have been doing really well here in San Justo. Last week we had a great meeting with President Robertson and our zone. We had a great spiritual meeting about how our calling here is to teach repentance and to baptize. That is what we need to focus on. Any extra activities that will not lead to finding a baptism should be reconsidered if they are worth our time. He told us how there are so many people ready to be baptized and we just need to find them. 

Immediately after that meeting we got back to our area excited to work. As we were walking to an appointment, we saw a kid walking by and stopped him to talk. His name is E. and he is a 20 y/o college student. He accepted a Book of Mormon and was very interested to learn more. We went back and taught him and he committed to be baptized on the 26th of this month. He came to church for the past 2 Sundays, even though it was a rain storm this past Sunday! Just shows that people are prepared to hear us. 

Yesterday we had a meeting with the Stake presidency and our bishopric. One of the counselors shared a great spiritual thought. He told us this example- if your mean boss told you to stay in and work overtime unpaid, would you do it? But what if a good friend asked you for a favor with nothing in return, then would you? How well would you want to complete the job for you friend? 
September 2016

This is what Christ taught us in John:
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
The Savior calls us His friends. If we want to show Him the we love Him too, we should be willing to go beyond what He asks us to do.

Elder Gygi

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Formerly Picky-Eater Jared Becomes a Foodie

Our area San Justo is doing well. As for our investigator G, she actually lives a few blocks outside of our limits so we gave the referral to the other missionaries, I haven't heard anything new of her. About meeting with the University Director, we haven't been back yet. We have to write a letter to the him to ask to meet him. I am using the skills I learned in senior English class of "how to write a business letter" but now in Spanish! We'll see how that goes. 

(I asked Jared if it was hard for the locals to tell Jared and his companion apart...) Yes it is hard for people to tell us apart. They call us Elder Uno and Elder Dos. 
Nispero fruit

Can you see Jared's hand under this burger?
I found out the name of the fruit! It is called Nispero in Spanish. It is very tasty. I am a fan of the street vendor food here. It is mostly good. I have bought hamburgers, hot dogs, chorripan (an Argentine classic, kind of like a spicy bratwurst), and also sweet roasted peanuts. 

(Mark attended church in Berkeley last week and sent a few photos of the church to Jared. Jared's comments...) That’s an interesting chapel. I have seen a few different traditions. In the ward in Loma Grande and after the sacrament meeting was over, the congregation would stay seated while the pianist played a soft hymn and the deacons retired the sacrament, folded up the cloth and took it to another room, and then the bishop would dismiss everyone. I liked that a lot. (Any of you have any different traditions from areas you lived?)

Berkeley Chapel

Mode of Berkeley transportation

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Guess The Fruit

Definitely not mission approved transportation
This was a great week and it is now warm and humid, just how South America should be! All the plants are blooming. I discovered a new fruit that is really good. I have no idea what is called but it is like an apricot/lemon/grape thing. It is orange and about the size of a golf ball and has the feeling of a grape. They`re kind of sweet and sour. They grow all over. So we can just pick them off the trees and eat as we are walking! (Help me out friends of Jared, any guesses?)

We went to Walmart last week for the first time in my mission. It was incredible. I bought actual donuts

In our area is the National University of Argentina. We heard that the University director is a member of the church, so we went in to see if we could have a meeting with him. We have an idea to try and get an event or a speech scheduled where we could talk about religion. So we went in but we couldn't talk to the director. But we talked to his secretary. And she is really interested in the church! Her name is G. and she asked us to meet her in the university library another time. We went back and taught her the first lesson in the library! It was a neat experience!

Also it was elder Ehlert's birthday last week. We are both 20 now! We had a fun little party with a cake he bought, in Walmart of course.

I hope all is well back home!

Elder Gygì

Monday, October 31, 2016

A Missionaries Favorite Question

For the next 6 weeks, Elder Ehlert and I will be staying together in San Justo! We are both very excited to stay and keep working here. 
The work is just increasing and getting better and better. We have found some great new people to teach. Yesterday we were walking along a park/field and a guy saw were a little lost so he asked where we wanted to go. He helped us out so we thanked him, introduced ourselves as missionaries. He then asked what we were doing here in Argentina. (That is a missionaries favorite question!) We shared our purpose and message and he is very interested! His name is J. and he is 50 years old. The best part of missionary work is bringing the message of Jesus Christ to those that don't have it in their lives. I know this church is true. I wouldn't be here if I didn't!

Élder Gygí

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Argentine Mother's Day

Thanks for the delivery
The weather today is perfect! Finally short sleeve weather. This week was productive and great. So the contract of our apartment runs out this November so we had 2 choices: renew it or look for a new one. We decided to look for a new one. And we already found one that is so much nicer! I am so excited to move in to it! I felt like a real adult while negotiating about price and property guarantees and all that. Really strange to think about that.

Also I got my birthday package!! Thank you mom and dad for sending me that! Swedish fish, Sour Patch Watermelon, m&ms, ties, candy corn, and an iPod full of conference talks, MoTab, Piano Guys, EFY and my mom's favorite: Mike Hicks!!! I am so very happy with that! Thank you mom and dad!

Yesterday was actually Mother's Day here in Argentina so mom, ¡¡Feliz Dia De Madre!! 

Not too much to update, we have transfers next week so I will know if I am leaving or staying. 

Elder Ehlert's family just bought a house in Gilbert so he is going to be right by us!

Hasta la proxima!
Elder Gygí

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Americans Anonymous Questival Challenge

This is my brother, Taylor and his Americans Anonymous team during the Cotopaxi Questival Adventure Race

Do you have a Bucket List? This may be the challenge for you!!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Humble Prayer Answered

My birthday party was a success! By success I mean that Elder Ehlert and I bought an ice cream cake and pizza and that’s it, hahaha but it was really good! 

We had a great experience with a new person we found to teach. His name is J. and we found his name on a list of people that the other missionaries had left us. He lives really far away, 1 hour walking distance from our apartment, so we never went to go see him. But one day we had time so we walked all the way over there. We got to his house and knocked 3 times. No answer. So I said a prayer something like this, "Heavenly Father we just walked so far to get here, help this guy hear us knocking." Then we knocked one more time, and he answered! He lives in down an alley and his house is pretty far away from his alley door so that’s why he couldn’t hear us knocking. But he told us that for some reason he felt that he should walk towards his front door, that was right when he heard us knock. We had a great lesson and he confessed that he has felt unsatisfied with the church he currently attends and is looking for the truth. We happily shared our message and gave him a Book of Mormon. I know that God prepares people to hear His truth. 

Elder Gygi

PS: If you want to help the missionaries, read "Sharing the Restored Gospel" by Dallin H. Oaks form the last conference and apply it!!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Happy Birthday, Elder Gygi

A cat joined him at the Cyber Café
Tomorrow I will turn 20 years old! Kinda strange not being a teenager anymore, ha ha I guess it's time to grow up! Good news is that to celebrate my birthday we went out to eat pizza today! That was very fun!

I hope everyone was able to watch all of conference this past week. I watched it in the mission offices with the 4 other English-speaking missionaries in the city. Everyone else watched it in Spanish. It was a great conference. What I felt and understood was the message of simplicity. Especially President Monson's short address. He told us that God has a perfect plan for each of us, all we need to do is keep his commandments. Great advice for all of us. I really enjoyed when President Eyring expressed his gratitude for all the missionaries serving in the world. It felt very comforting to know that the apostles and prophets personally thanked us. 

Elder Ehlert and I decided that we are going to wake up early to get more study time and I can tell that I have been blessed with more knowledge and an increased amount of the spirit throughout the day. I found one verse that I love. it is found in DyC 88:

73 Behold, I will hasten my work in its time.

What I learned from this short verse is that missionary work is not ours to speed up. Too many missionaries have the mentality, "Oh if we would have worked harder we would have baptisms!" When really if we do all we can, we can know with a surety that the Lord is pleased. He will hasten the work, we just need to be ready to go when He gives the word. I know this is true.
San Justo District

I hope all is well back home! Only 3 months till Christmas and I can Skype!

Elder Gygí

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Our Purpose and Potential

Definitely a great spiritual week! I am trying to learn Portuguese because we have 3 Brazilian girls who we are teaching! So these 3 girls are all friends who moved here 4 months ago to study at a college in our area. They are all 20 years old. One is an active member of the church and brought her two friends who aren’t members. They don’t speak very much Spanish so we are using as much Portuguese as we know to teach, ha-ha. They have already accepted baptism and will hopefully be baptized this month!

I got to meet some church General Authorities this week. On Tuesday, Elder Salas of the 70 attended our missionary zone conference. He taught us about our purpose and potential. He said that our job here is to exercise faith. That is how miracles happen. He read to us Alma 13:3 and explained how each is preordained to be great and share the gospel.

Then on Sunday, Elder Batalla of the 70 attended our church! He used to be a bishop here over ten years ago and is now a 70! It was great to learn from him because we were the only missionaries there. He taught us about the need to rescue less active members. One quote that really struck me was his teaching about perseverance. He said, "Perseverance, if it is not until the end, is worthless." I thought of my mission and how dumb it would be to make it 23 months and then give up. Make it the whole way!

I hope all is well back home,

Elder Gygí

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The New York of South America

Our new area is awesome! It is the New York of South America! San Justo is a very affluent area with tons and tons of people living here. I am basically in downtown Buenos Aires. Just to give you guys an idea of how nice this area is, we have a McDonald's, Burger King, and a Walmart. I have not seen a Walmart in over a year. 

This area will be a bit of a challenge, though. The San Justo ward has not had Elders in 6 years. There have only been 6 baptisms in the past two years. The Bishop had been asking our mission president for missionaries for a while and so that is why Elder Ehlert and I were sent here so suddenly. President Robertson told us that we have a big responsibility here. We are going to set the pace for missionary work in this ward for years to come. The Bishop is 28 years old and got back from his mission 6 years ago. He is very very very excited that we have come and wants to work with us as much as possible. My companion also wants to work hard! Elder Ehlert is from Alberta, Canada and got to Argentina a month after me. Both he and I are young blonde kids, we stand out here. 

We are very excited to get to work. The Lord has given us a big job but he can make us ready to meet the task. We pray every day for people to teach and know that we will be blessed for all the work we put in.

Elder Gygi

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Transfers and a New Companion

Transfers once again! I am leaving the farmland of Marcos Paz and moving to the big city Buenos Aires Capital! My new area is called San Justo, Ramos Mejía. My new companion is Elder Elhert from Canada. He and I are both together in Marcos Paz together right now and we will move to San Justo together to replace the sister missionaries that were there. So in missionary language, we are being white-washed and opening a new area! Elder Elhert is great! He has one month less than me in the mission. We are very excited to work hard.

So this week was exciting. I got bit in the leg by a dog! But I kicked it pretty hard and I got a rabies shot back home in the States so I'm all good! Also some man tried to rob us. He just walked up to us and said, "Do you have 10 pesos?" I said no, because people always ask for money. Then he says, "Give me 10 pesos or I’ll break your head" and he raised a big wooden plank to hit me. I just turned and started walking away while he was shouting for us to come back. Then he throws his weapon at me and hit me in the back! But I caught it and kept walking away hahaha. Crazy guy!

Next week I will update on how our new area is!

Elder Gygi

My favorite scripture I read this week- Alma 38:5 Trust in God = Strength During Trials

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Ward Rescue

Traditional Burning of the Hump Day shirt
Hey family and friends! I am doing good here even though the weather went back to cold after a week of sunshine. My waterproof jacket and boots have proved to be money well spent. 

We did a ton of work with the ward members this week. The relief society president had an idea to do a 'Ward Rescue' this week. She divided the ward into 4 areas marked out every less active member on the map. Then everyone who wanted to participate was assigned some families to visit. On Saturday, we all left to visit these members. Elder Cobb and I even split up with 2 other members and visited 6 families each in two hours. We found many inactive members whom we had never met. 

Can you find Elder Gygi?
The other day a random man stopped us in the street and told us we needed to come visit him. We didn’t feel very good about it at first so we set a day to come back later. I thought he was going to try and rob us. When we went back we taught him and 2 other friends the Restoration and committed all 3 of them to baptism on the 1st of October. He is very excited for baptism! He even told us to come over to his house Sunday morning at 8:00 to wake him up for church! It was a great miracle. Just shows how some people are prepared to receive our message.

con amor,

Élder Gygí

A God of Miracles

Hello family!
Elder Dayton and Elder Gygi 

Just heard that my best friend Elder Dayton entered the MTC last week! Almost one exactly after me! So proud of that guy!

We are all doing good here in Loma Grande (or as they say here "lo mas grande"). This work just keeps rolling along. I am so excited to be a part of it. One of the elders in our apartment, Elder Benitez, got sick this week but still managed to baptize someone on Saturday! But unfortunately he was too sick to preform the confirmation on Sunday. So I got to do emergency divisions with his companion and participated in the confirmation. It was a great experience! The new member is a 60 year old lady named P. She is just a nice little grandma! It was very special to be a part of her conversion to the gospel.

One lesson I learned this week is in Mormon chapter 9. Mormon is speaking about miracles:

15 God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.

21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

These verses told me that God can and will work miracles among us. All we have to do is ask and have the faith to follow the inspiration we receive. I know these things are true.

Elder Gygí :D

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hump Day!

Hey everyone! It’s been a great week! Our mission president surprised us and let all of us go to the temple on Thursday! It was a great experience. I haven't been since last Christmas. And it was only my second time going into the temple here in Buenos Aires. It has such a unique design and style! I know why the prophets and apostles have put so much attention on temple attendance. When you are there, you can feel the spirit so strongly. You are also in the service of our ancestors

So this Friday is the 26th of August and that means I have been living in a foreign country (without my mom and dad to take care of me) for 1 year. I think I have learned more in one year than I have in all of my 18 other years put together. I have been reflecting on my past year here and the next year to come and I have realized how short my time is here. With just so little time left, it is esencial that I work hard and give it my all every day. Once I get home, I won't be wearing a name tag and knocking doors to bring a life-changing message. The time for me to act is now! I am very grateful for all the support everyone has given me. I just pray that I can accomplish the task that Heavenly Father has given me to the best of my ability.

Élder Gygí

PS Mom thank you so much for the Hump Day package! I have never been so happy to see a jar of peanut butter, Doritos, Starburst, a KitKat, Snickers, and barbecue sauce! They do not sell any of that in this entire country! 

One night we had a family home evening with members and they made pizza for us and I brought the barbecue sauce. I put it on the pizza like at Venetia’s. The member wanted to try it and so she did, but she thought it was gross!!!

As far as investigators, we are trying to get two individuals married so they can be baptized, A. and L. They read the Book of Mormon together every night and believe that it is true! Then Elder Cobb and I also found a family by knocking on doors. The family has 12 people! We taught them all the first lesson and it went great! Hopefully we can baptize them all!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Open Your Mouth and Speak

Jared found a Jeep! 
First off I am very sorry that I couldn’t write home last week! Elder Cobb and I both got very sick and were stuck in bed in the apartment for 3 days. But don't worry because we are better now! It was awful not being able to leave and work. But we had orders from President’s wife to stay home. 

Other than that, the past two weeks has been straight work. We have just started talking with everyone and knocking on so many doors and we ad some miracles and found so many people to teach. We saw one lady just standing in front of her house and we walked over and asked if there was anything we could help her with. She asked if we could say a prayer for her family and called her family outside to listen to us. We taught them about the restoration of the gospel, set baptismal dates for 3 of them, and they even came to church! Then a few days later we knocked on a random door and a grumpy old man walked out with a cane. We explained who we are and why we are here and he told us to come back the next day. We left him with a Joseph Smith pamphlet and left. When we arrived the next day, he smiled and let us in! We sat down and he asked us "How did José Smith receive the authority of God to be a profet?" We gladly explained and testified and he committed to be baptized the next month. 

Suddenly all those verses in D&C about opening your mouth and declaring the gospel make sense to me. If we share the gospel in every situation possible, we will see miracles and the spirit will guide us. (And you don’t need a missionary badge and calling to fulfill that promise!)

Élder Gygí

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Gloves for Some Ties

This is last week's email, and no email from Jared on Monday, dang :(

August 1, 2016

Hey everyone! I hope all is well! This week is transfers and we got the news last night. I am staying here in Loma Grande and my companion Elder Hammond is leaving! I will receive Elder Cobb as my new comp. He is from the good ol’ Salt Lake City and has 6 months here in the mission. I already know him and he is a great elder! I am very excited for this next transfer.

This week we committed 2 of our investigators to baptism on august 20. M. y G. are two siblings of 16 and 10 y/o that we found a while back but we stopped teaching them because they weren’t reading the Book of Mormon. Elder Hammond felt we should come back one more time so we did and we had a great lesson about José Smith and they want to be baptized! They only need permission from their dad. We are praying that the dad will say yes! 
Neckitecture and the history of the Cravat

Also this week I lost my gloves... but it was for a good reason. I was on divisions with Elder Cortés and we were teaching a family when their 14 y/o son asked if he could have my gloves. I said I would trade them for something. He says "How about 3 ties?" And I thought about it for a minute and answered "...four." Then he went and brought out this huge bag of ties and said I could pick 4!! So now my hands are cold but I got 4 more ties! 

Sincerely Elder Gygi,

PS: if anyone wants to read an awesome scripture, 1 Nephi 17:50-51

Sunday, July 31, 2016

New Flatmates

Another good week! We have some fun news! 2 elders from the city next to us have moved in to our apartment and are living with us now! The reason is not so good. Their apartment got broken into and a lot of things were robbed including their keys. So they got all their stuff and moved in with us. Elder Frei (from St, George, Utah) and Elder Benitez (Paraguay) are really fun! It’s more exciting to be living with more missionaries. 

We had a cool miracle on Sunday. Once again our investigators did not come to church. We did everything we could to help but everyone has the ability to choose. And then a lady named M. walked into church and told us that she is not a member but wants to learn about our religion. We taught a great lesson and she invited us to her home this next week to teach her, her husband, and three kids! It’s always amazing how when we do our best, God sends us blessings. 

This is Taylor in Dubai: "Celestial water is sold everywhere"
I had an interview with President Robertson this past week and he told me that no good act will ever go unnoticed by our Heavenly Father. Someone will always be blessed for your work, whether it is you right now or your kids in fifty years, there will always be a blessing for your obedience.

Hope all is well back home! 

Elder Gygi

PS to Taylor: What country are you even in right now?? From mom and dad I have heard England, Czech, Austria, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, So. Africa and now India?! 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Sun's Out!

The sun is finally out! It's still 30° but at least the sun's out!

This week we did a lot of traveling. We had to go to Ramos Mejía, downtown Buenos Aires, to the mission offices because Elder Hammond had an interview with President Robertson. It's about an hour and a half by bus and train. When we got there, Elder Hammond went in for his interview and I waited in another room. Then Sister Robertson comes in and says she has a surprise for me. She takes me into her office and shows me her freshly baked batch of chocolate Texas Sheet Cake. She handed me a knife and said, "Elder Gygi, you can cut as big of a piece as you want and I'm not going to watch!" So I cut a big square and ate the whole thing in like 2 bites. It was the best thing I have had in 11 months.

Oh we started teaching English to try and find new people to teach the gospel! It is very fun. We started mostly with "Hello my name is..." "I am pleased to meet you" and stuff like that. Hopefully we can find some new people!

I learned this week that Peruvian food is delicious. It is the Chinese food of South America. Basically fried rice type stuff.

Nothing else I can think of, have a great week everyone!

Elder Gygí

Monday, July 11, 2016

There's a Gospel Metaphor In Here Somewhere

I am extremely tired (more than normal) and I’ll explain why in a second. It has been a busy but great week! Tons of stories and experiences. I’m fighting hard to keep up in my personal journal! 

So I have been learning a little bit of Guaraní, the native language of Paraguay. We did some service for a family from that country and I’m trying to understand them. We built a roof for their house, and my job was to make the cement for like 4 hours. Basically I shoveled rocks, sand, water, and cement mix into this big mixing machine. It was very heavy, but very fun! So if anyone back home in Arizona needs to know how to make low-budget concrete, I’m your guy! 

Also we got stuck in traffic. But we weren’t in a car. Elder Hammond and I were crossing a very busy street and got to the median, but there was fast and heavy traffic on both sides. I didn’t even have room to stick my arms out! I am happy I wasn’t hit! I am always looking to relate things to the gospel, so as I was in that moment I thought to myself, "this could be a gospel metaphor or something..." I began to think of how we are surrounded by Satan’s temptations every day and all around us. If we are not careful, we can find ourselves stuck with seemingly no way out. But the red light will come and the cars will stop. Just as we found a way out, the scriptures, prophets, and prayer offer everyone a way off the dangerous road of sin and temptation.

I had a great spiritual experience in sacrament meeting this week. Two priests were preparing to bless the sacrament. One of them, named S., is mentally disabled. He had very slow movements and slow and shaky speech. The first priest blessed the bread and deacons passed it to the members. Then the time came for the water. I watched as S. got on his knees and began the prayer. Very slowly, he stumbled along. He messed up a couple of times and restarted. I thought surely his companion would take over and finish for him. But he continued. After multiple attempts, he successfully finished. His companion took him by the arms and helped him of the ground. I sat in the congregation with tears rolling down my cheek, pondering all the times I have quit in my life. I thought of countless occasions where I simply gave up. S. could have given up, but he knew unto what office he was ordained and he wanted to fulfill his calling. I have never, nor will I ever, hear a more beautiful prayer. I am grateful for his example in my life. I am certain he has no idea the influence he had on me.

Hasta Luego,
Elder Gygi!

PS: We played soccer this morning with our whole zone. It was super fun. It was an international team.  Elders and Sisters from America, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Spain, Chile, Mexico, Ecuador, Columbia, and Guatemala! I got everyone to sign my flag. (Jared has an Argentine flag for companions and missionaries to sign. It was a great idea from brother Taylor.)

Monday, July 4, 2016

President Benson and C.S. Lewis

July 4, 2016

This week it rained. Every hour. Of every day. I am not joking when I say I haven’t seen the sun in 6 days. And our area is 80% dirt roads (I guess technically I should say mud/water roads). But I’m a missionary serving in the Lord’s army so what more could I want?

Elder Hammond and I are doing good! Everyone thinks he is from the United States so they all complement him on his Spanish! It is really funny. It’s great to have a new elder as my companion because his energy keeps me going. 

So this morning I read the talk by President Ezra Taft Benson, "Beware of Pride." In his address, President Benson speaks of how pride is the most universal of all sins and the hardest to identify. He defined pride as "enmity towards God or our fellowman." I had to pull out my dictionary to define ‘enmity.’ It means opposition or hatred towards something. 

So we are being prideful whenever we are in opposition or hatred to God or our fellowman. Basically, it’s whenever we think our own judgment is better that God’s. Presidents Benson also quoted CS Lewis saying:

“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. … It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.” 

I have tried to apply this in the mission by not comparing myself to other missionaries and wishing I had their success. There’s a reason why pride is a central theme in the Book of Mormon!

Elder Gygi

PS: Happy Independence Day, 'Merica!

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Remís and Bungee Cords

Well, it is still cold here. I see no end in sight. But our new apartment has 2 heaters so it is better! I have moved from the big city life of Merlo to the rural back roads of Loma Grande. I like it more here. I am also the District Leader here. There are only 4 of us in my district. My companion Elder Hammond and one other companionship, Elder Jacobson (Mesa AZ!) and Elder Cortes (Chile!) I enjoy being a District Leader as I have some more responsibility. I will also have more contact with the Zone Leaders. This area is more rural with many dirt roads. Our apartment is on a dirt road! It was a fun adventure getting here. I took a remís (basically a run down, cheaper version of a taxi). The guy put my luggage in the trunk but it wouldn’t close so he tied it shut with bungee cords! I was laughing and thinking in my mind, “Yep, this is Argentina!” The ride was like 30 min. But hey it got the job done so I am not complaining! A  remís is like if you made a bunch of flyers saying you can give people rides in mom's Jeep and put them all over the city. Except instead of a new Jeep it was a 1988 Fiat. 

My new companion is Elder Hammond from Mexico! He has been in the mission for 3 months! He arrived here with my son Elder Dominguez. He actually speaks decent English because for the past 3 years he lived in San Luis, Arizona! So now I have had 3 Latino comps in a row. We only speak Spanish together. I am forgetting English. 

I am trying to adjust to the new area. We visited the R. family last week and taught their kids a lesson about Nephi and his brothers. After the lesson, my companion offered a prayer and we got up to leave.  As we were walking out, I felt something tug at my pant leg. I looked down and saw their little 4-year-old girl holding on to me. She says, with frown, "Elder I wanted to say the prayer!" So I kneel down next to her and say "Ok I’m listening!" She said a little simple prayer in the way that only a four-year-old can. The one sentence that really made me smile was this: "Heavenly Father, thank you for sending the Elderes to my house." I felt very humbled to be there and hear this prayer. Small moments like this are why I am happy that I came on a mission. 

¡Hasta la Proxima!

Elder Gygi