April 28, 2014 – Weekly Greetings From Boliviaaaaa!

Alright, well this week not a lot has happened.. but I´ll make sure to talk about my highlights!

First off, I’m  a ´panera´ which means that I am a fanatic about pan (bread) and an hamburgesera, so tambien, a fanatic about hamburgers and… uhhhh… yeah. Hahaha! Every day my companion looks at me and says “we’re fatties”.

ALSO! PACKAGE AND LETTERS INFORMATION!!!!

For letters:

Rachel Susanne Gibbs

Bolivia Santa Cruz Mission

Casilla de Correo 2042

Santa Cruz, Bolivia

PACKAGES! SEND THEM THROUGH THE U.S. MAIL POSTAL SERVICE! And put pictures of Mary and Jesus on the part where you open, only then will people not open it!

THE ADDRESS IS..

Rachel Susanne Gibbs

Bolivia Santa Cruz Mission

c/Saaverda esq. Cochabamba

Torres Cainco, Blq Empersarial, Piso 9

Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz

Bolivia

I never say no to Girl Scout cookies Mammy and Daddy (hint hint nudge nudge!) I’m just kidding! But really..and chocolate too! And Mac and Cheese.. oh how I miss Mac and Cheese…

ON TO THE GOOD STUFF!!! So I decided this week that I want to read the ENTIRE BIBLE. 1500 PAGES. No biggie.. I realized I have never read the entire Bible, or Doctrine and Covenants, OR the Pearl of Great Price before. So I wanna be able to say I’ve read them all before I finish my mission! As of now I’m in Lev.. I can’t remember the full name but hey! I made it through Exodus!

This week I was cleaning my room (Ii know.. miracles really do happen!) and I looked at the bottom of my shoe. In the middle of the sole was a HUGE RUSTY NAIL. Thank you Mammy for making me buy ´those big chunky´ shoes. They saved me from a world of hurt and who knows what!

I also learned that there is an insect here that if it bites you, you can die at any moment.. SO I LOVE YOU ALL JUST SO YOU KNOW! Hahahaha!

Lets see… We didn’t get to proselyte much because my companion’s foot is super bad! She has a hurt tendon and cannot walk for a long time. But she is so amazing and keeps pressing forward! This gives me more time to study and learn more about the Gospel. It’s a blessing really!

Spanish.. oh Spanish.. It’s still a daily process of learning, but I really REALLY hope I can look back on it all and laugh because I get frustrated with myself too easily.

The church is true. And I feel so blessed to have it in my life and hope that I can help others receive the same happiness I have. Many people ask me “Hermana Gibbs, why are you so happy” before my mission. I now realize it’s because I have nothing bad in my life. And when I do, I have ways to fight the sadness!

I love you all and miss you dearly! I hope you all have had an amazing week! and I pray for you all daily!

Love,

Hermana Gibbie! (Barbie in Bolivia)

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April 21, 2014

Sorry y’all for no letter last week, I had literally no time for my big letter!! ALRIGHTIE THEN

This week we got to play some volleyball! Can you tell who is one happy camper? Also, last p-day we got to take pictures with the ZEBRAS OF BOLIVIA! We asked one if they would take a photo with my comp and I then the zebra yelled (in spanish) PHOTOOOOOOO COME BE IN THE PHOTOOOOOOOO! I´ll send the other one of the selfie the zebra took with all of us. Not this past Sunday, but the Sunday before a returned elder came back to visit. He’s this tall blonde elder from, can you guess? Utah. ahaha! His parents and younger brother came along with them so I got the opportunity to speak English, I was so happy! I’m not sure if they sent the picture of me back to my parents and called yet, but now they will know to wait for the call, ya? 🙂 Also, the thing that helped me get through a hard week was the C. girls, a family who we are teaching their mom, drew for my companion and I pictures of us with them. It was so darling! I’ll send the photo back next week tambien! P.S. Mammy or Al, can you put my address for letters cuz I wish to hear from my beloved friends in the States! 🙂 Also, I’ve told my companion the same tongue twisters that everyone knows! Haha! So we need new ones!

This past week here are some things I learned and found interesting:

Live so that you will be prepared whenever The Savior comes again. Don’t WAIT for repentance.

When we have a sincere desire to sacrifice time, money, worldly possession and sins, we are promised that the blessings you receive are greater than any thing you will ever give up!

You can NOT linger in temptation and expect to over come sin.

Marriage, I found it interesting it says to marry/look for someone you can ALWAYS honor and respect. Someone who will complete you in your life. BEFORE you marry, be SURE you have found someone who you can give your ENTIRE heart, Your ENTIRE love, your ENTIRE allegiance and your ENTIRE loyalty. It hit me how much you give when you get married.

Family relationships require EFFORT but these efforts bring great happiness in this life and throughout eternity. Family is THE most important part of this life.

Also, and lastly, CONVERSION IS A PROCESS, NOT an EVENT. For me I always thought I was suppose to have this magnificent and extravagant event take place so that i could be “converted”, but it is by small and simple things that great things come to pass. The same goes for conversion!

This past week I FINALLY could recite the first vision IN SPANISH. WHOOP WHOOP!

And lastly about the name tag, many people have asked “Why does your name tag only have your apellido? (last name)”. It is simply this. You have your last name which represents your family and the name of our Savior Jesus Christ. This is significant because it means 1. you don´t have your first name which means THIS ISN´T ABOUT ME. This is about serving others and their needs and progression in life. and Second, Never, EVER do anything to dishonor your family name, that of the church or of our Elder brother Jesus Christ.

I love you all so much, and I hope you had amazing weeks. I miss you all dearly but I know I´ll see you all in a year and a half! Which is forever away! But time goes by quickly and I only have 16 months to serve these people with my whole heart. I LOVE YOU AND PRAY FOR YOU EVERY DAY!

Much Love,

Hermana Gibbs (Barbie in Bolivia)

Rachel

rachel_zebra

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April 07, 2014 – Another Amazing Week!

BUENOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

This week has been truly a spiritually uplifting week. For our church (The Church of JEsus Christ of Latter Day Saints) we had General conference which is when our leaders teach doctrines to us that we can all understand both old and young. IT WAS SO AMAZING! I wrote many questions in small hope that some could slightly be answered but instead of a little I got SO MUCH. For the first time I didn’t fall asleep or get distracted! Miracles really do happen! 🙂 I thought it was so amazing that they said even little primary children could be missionaries! THAT MEANS YOU, AUSTIN AND SAMMY BOY! You can be just like your Auntie Hermana Gibbs! I highly advise everyone, whether they be of our faith or not to read these messages on lds.org in the next few weeks. They can truly help you improve your lives. Basically what truths we have are what you know to be true, and a bit more to add to your faith. I’m so blessed to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I know it to be true and is the reason why I’m serving a mission.

Alright so now for the events of the week and maybe more information about the previous week. If I don’t get to the first week I’ll just write about it next week!!! 🙂 This week… we got locked out of our house.. soooo Brother W. broke the window of our study room so that we could get our keys. I have it ALL recorded on my camera so I’ll be sure to post it when I get home! ALSO! I GOT A SWEET ALPACA KNIT SWEATER! IT IS SOOOOOOOOOOO RAAAAAD! ME GUSTA MUCHO! Y my bag that I brought ripped after being out here for a WEEK. So I got a sweet Bolivian backpack.. which also ripped but thanks to my handy dandy sewing kit I SAVED IT! Thank you mammy, young womans and school for teaching me those skills!

Also my companion Hermana L. asked me about the meaning of ´Rolling in the Deep´ which I’m not too sure.. if you have a response that’d be awesome! TAMBIEN! I mean ALSO! We were teaching each other tongue twisters in English and Spanish, so if you know any tongue twisters besides the one about sally, the woodchuch or peter pipper let me know! and jokes too 🙂 I think it’s amazing how the lord will lead you to people. We stopped to buy pan (bread) and got a new investigator! We haven’t gotten to teach her yet but hopefully in the next week! I’ve already gotten blonder hair, gained more weight and have SWEET MISIONARY TANLINES! I’m babin´ it let me tell ya.. haha! Also in my mission we have a person who looks like Matthew Machanihay (sorry for the spelling but you know what i mean) and an elder that worked for Hollister or Abercrombie and Fitch. Lets just say, it’s super american in our mission. Haha! I don´t think that my family realizes how much the members, non members and investigators pray for them and also for my friends at home. You are loved and thought of often! I’ve taught my companion about the “Tim Tebow Moment” when something awesome happens, sooo basically it happens often. People here put ketchup and mayonnaise on EVERYTHING! It’s much different than the states but we put ranch and bbq sauce on everything soooo I guess that makes up the difference! 🙂

My Spanish is sort of improving! I’ve been told that my Spanish is better than almost all the gringos that have come into this area, so I guess you could say I’ve gone PRO. Just kidding. I’m still awful but I’m getting better!

I love you all. I pray for you all and I think of you all OFTEN! Like every day. ALSO I’m dead serious the name of my blog should have somewhere that says ´Barbie in Bolivia´ I have been called that by more than 3 people, strangers and members ALIKE. SOOOOO it’s official 🙂

DO WHAT IS RIGHT! You will never be disappointed. UNTIL NEXT WEEK! Thank you for all your love and support. It has helped me get through rough days and keeps me going! Your letters are what help me to know that I can keep going forward! LOVE YOU!

Hermana Gibbs, Barbie in Bolivia

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March 31, 2014

Dear One and All,

In order to write this letter I had to climb some really sketchy stairs and sat at a broken key board SO cherish this letter my dearies! This week has been one of many tender mercies and even more challenges. I’m sad that they don’t eat a lot of quinoa… but rice. As most of you know, rice is not my most favorite thing and my bag ripped which I count as a blessing because I want a back pack so the weight is evenly distributed.

My ward here is so incredibly sweet and kind. But before I go into that, I have to tell you about leaving the MTC in Colombia/ getting stranded in La Paz Bolivia.

Leaving the CCM (MTC) was one of the hardest and most saddening experiences of my life. I grew so close to all the people there especially my companion Hermama A! My group to Santa Cruz left the earliest than any other group before, and everyone was in tears, even the elders. I´m not much of a crier, but I had tears running down my face for a good.. 4hours, haha! I gave a couple of the latinos aside from my district one dollar bills, they were pretty happy.

And I’ve run outta time STAY TUNED FOR NEXT WEEK FOR THE CHRONICLES OF HERMANA GIBBS!

Much love and prayers for you all! Love you!

Con amor,

Hermana Gibbs

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Last Week In the CCM (Thank Goodness and I’m Sad)

March 21, 2014

Dear one and all!

As you can tell from my pictures I’m always ready for a photoshoot (not.) This has been a week full of tender mercies and trials of endurance and strength. Where to begin.. OH! We’ll start with the primary kids! There was a ward here that brought their little primary kids last Saturday where they sang ‘I Hope They Call Me On a Mission’. CUTEST THING EVER! Then we sang a song to them which I forgot even though they made me lead the song. They reminded me of Sammy and Austin so I kinda got teary eyed. I miss my sobrinos mucho!

We got to go to the temple TWICE! It was so fantastic. After we went today, there was a group of young men and young women who were there for a temple sealing I think. Anywho, it’s safe to say that I’m famous because they all wanted pictures of Hermana E., Hermana G., Hermana A. (my companion) and me. Pretty sure they were awestruck from my whiteness. One of the young men who was probably like 15 kept standing closer to me to which I tried to nonchalantly move farther away because you need to be ‘brazo’ length (arms length) away from males at all times, which makes sense.

Another funny story along with that was while we were proselyting yesterday we were talking to some jovenes (teenagers) between the ages of 14-16. At one point they stopped me from talking and asked ‘Tiene un Novio??’ (translated to Do you have a boyfriend). I said ‘noooope! No tengo un novio’. They were quite shocked and kept asking WHY! I promptly told them ‘Yo no tengo tiempo por un novio. Yo soy un misionara’. After which my companion explained in Spanish why we both didn’t have boyfriends. Previously to that we were teaching a man who has a brother who is LDS and said he’d come to church and let us get his information so the Elders could visit him! TOTALLY AWESOME. And I got told I’m pretty but that’s not why I’m a missionary so… that’s just an extra fact. Thanks Mammy and Pappy for my genetics! ❤

My Latina companion is AWESOME! Her name is Hermana A., she is from PERU. She speaks pretty good English to which she sometimes has to translate when she knows the words in English. Of course I’m taller than her.. by a lot. She’s very loving and kind to everyone and is such an example to me! I’m going to miss her! I’m not used to how often she hugs and such. I guess you could say I’m like my mom. 🙂

I’ll be sending a picture of some of the Hermanas and I while proselyting. The bunny tried to put his arms around us sisters but we were all ‘NO NO NO’haahaha! It was awesome! The picture below is the nortes (nor-tays) and Brazilians! I’m gonna miss them dearly! I leave this Tuesday I think. It’s gonna be hard to leave but I’m super excited to start the next portion of my adventure!

Thank you for your love and support! It really truly helps me every day to know there are those praying and pleading for Heavenly Father to help me. It’s such a blessing!! I’m sorry I couldn’t write more individually!! I WILL THIS NEXT WEEK! LOVE YOU!

Hermana Gibbs

 

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March 11, 2014

Buenos Dias One and All!!!

Sorry that most of my emails at the moment are mass emails but I’ll do better when I’m outta the CCM and will (inshallah) have more time!!

It seems to me, that whenever I wanna speak Spanish my German/Arabic comes out instead. Makes life a bit of a challenge but I’m loving it! So these past four days have been great! I got a flu shot and so now I’ve been sick but I wouldn’t allow myself to stay in bed because I don’t wanna be a slacker! So here I am, on my p-day (preparation day), with a runny/rojo nose with only mascara on because I’ve decided that I don’t wanna use up all my time at night trying to scrub off make up but then my acne is acting up bad in some areas so I need to stop touching my face but IT’S SO HARD! UFF!

On the lines of touching my face and trying not to fall asleep during the day, we got to go to the temple again today! I LOVE GOING! It’s super hard because it’s in spanish but I’m learning! After we were done with the session and about to go to the cafeteria to eat (which their cafeteria has REALLY REALLY GOOD FOOOOOOOOOD). One of the sisters who works in the Temple let us tour around and see the sealing rooms, the children’s room and we even got special permission to see the baptismal font. They had a picture of Jesus being baptized in the baptismal font, it was SO beautiful! So I showed everyone in my district our family picture and I guess we have a really attractive family. Thanks mammy and pappy for the awesome genetics!

Today because of the fourth weekers (the elder and sister that flew here with me) we got to go adventure around Bogota. THIS CITY IS HUGE! They have TWO missions for just one city. It’s CRAZY! But we got to go to the top of the mountain which is super steep and got to see this chapel at the top. I found it interesting that it’s nice, but it doesn’t compare to how the temple feels. In the temple it’s like an over whelming sense of peace, but this chapel had it’s own sense of beauty. And we also went to a metal museum which had LOADS of gold artifacts and pottery. I personally loved the pottery because to me pottery is more delicate and breakable which is more valuable.

This week we had two ‘investigadors’ (which is really just our teachers being people who they’ve taught while on their missions) and our investigator ‘Claudio’ dropped us because his girlfriend said we were the devil and it was her or the church. It saddens me so much that people would make those they love choose between them and something that WILL bring them to God and Salvation. It didn’t bother me at first, but then I thought about it and understood why Elder Holland said that “when someone doesn’t keep a commitment the first thing to do is be DEVASTATED! It’s their soul and salvation at stake!”. Also my teacher Hermana M. found a new job and left, I BAWLED. She has helped me tremendously and I love her like I do Steph and Al.

Tomorrow I get my latina companion! I’M SUPER EXCITED! I’ve heard you learn Spanish even more fast, WISH ME LUCK! I hope that she and I can become super close because after the other sisters left last night/this morning I cried. Especially when Hermana S., a sister from Peru, we taught her ‘Happy happy birthday from all of us to you’ and she was singing it to us but got half way through and started crying. My heart broke! I’ve met so many amazing and strong people here! It helps me see the type of person I want to become without losing myself. All the Hermanas here are going to BYU and are trying to get me to go.. sooo mammy? Could you send college apps to BYU-Provo and Utah State? or Chris or Allison or someone could do it ^.^

I’m really curious now to who’s all engaged and getting married since I’ve been gone. We got to go proselyting again on Saturday and we talked with this cute couple who said they would read our pamphlet but they think they’re too old to change. I wish I could have better Spanish so that I could help them understand that it IS possible to change! EVERYONE can change, for better or worse! The Atonement makes all this possible for us to change and return to our Loving Heavenly Father’s presence! I almost spelled pamphlet as panthlet.. Silly Spanish is getting me all mixed up and spelling things how they’re spelled!

There is this hermana here who is HILARIOUS. I wanna be just like her! ^.^ She’ll say things with a serious face and tone and it’s hilarious!

Entonces… I’m gonna go blow my nose a lot more and switch rooms! I just wanna let y’all know in Spanish my testimony, what little I can say!

Yo se que el Evangelio de Jesucristo is verdadero. Yo se que nuestro Padre Celestial nos ama muy muy grande! Entonces yo se que todos familias poder ser juntos por eternidad.

I LOVE YOU ALL! AND HOPE YOU ALL HAD A FANTASTIC WEEK! and I miss you dearly! ❤

Con Amor,
Hermana Gibbs

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Week 4

March 7, 2014

Hola de Colombia!

So this has been the most jampacked week I think I’ve had so far in the CCM and I don’t have much time to write sooooooooo here is the longer synopsis.

This week was my 3 and 4 which meaaaaaaaaans.. THIS WEEK IS ADVENTURE WEEK! Either we get to go to the top of the mountain or maybe to the Salt Catholic church (not sure what it’s called..).The cute hermanas here make me sing to them and even the new ones call me Barbie so.. Hermana Barbie it is!

Since it’s my fourth week here we got to go PROSOLITING (pretty sure that’s spelled wrong too..) It was definitely nerve wracking but we had a maestra with us who helped us out. My teacher Hermana M. is leaving so basically an emotional time since I’m so incredibly close to her. The two weeks is up for this latin group which means Wednesday we get new people and I get my first latina companion! All I can say is pray for me since my Spanish is mal.. muy muy mal. Also my new district will all be in Spanish. Lucky for me, I’m finally used to listening to spanish all the time so my brain doesn’t feel like it’s imploding and exploding at the same time.

It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly spiritual these sisters are and how quickly I’ve grown to love and admire their strengths and their righteous desires to do what is right. I have a lot of catching up to do spiritually since I’m basically the spiritual midget to them. All in all tho I know that the church is true, that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and that He wants not just a few but ALL of His children to return to Him. I’m so incredibly blessed with the love of my family, friends and ward members. Your letters help me get through my struggles and put a smile on my face/ give me courage to face another week of happiness and trials. Always remember that even in your darkest hour, the Lord has provided a light for you to follow. Yo se que Jesucristo es nuestro Salvador. Yo se que familias son eternidad y es muy importante para la plan de Dios.

I love y’all and hope all is well!

Con Amor

Hermana Gibbs (aka Barbie)

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