Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Tie Clip

This picture was taken the day of the transfer meeting two weeks ago. Sean is wearing a tie clip that he got from the Bishop of the Ramos Mejia Ward in Argentina for meeting their baptism goals for the Ward.

Ramos Mejia- Week #70

Hey Family,

Another week in the books…they are passing by so quickly now…I don’t even know what to write, because it feels like I just wrote you yesterday. Well, Elder Sabey’s birthday was fun. We celebrated it yesterday with President and Hermana at the mission home. They cooked us breakfast, egg casserole and pancakes…it was so good. Then we went golfing with President. It was fun, and I did a lot better than last time we went. I took a few videos so you could see my athletic prowess…I only lost one ball in the water hazard. So that was fun yesterday. It wasn’t actually his birthday yesterday though. It was last Friday, so to celebrate together we bought a pineapple and ate it. Our tongues were pretty ripped up after from the acid intake. Have you ever tried eating a whole pineapple before? Let’s just say when it is your birthday, or your companions, you just have to be wild and eat a whole pineapple. Sounds like everyone is keeping busy with the holidays coming up, while here in Argentina I haven’t even seen one hint of Halloween…it isn’t very big here. I actually can’t believe it is this week.

Well, Elder Sabey and I came to the realization that no matter what our companionship is coming to an end in four short weeks. It definitely will be weird to have a different companion, after being with him for four transfers. We were talking about it in our weekly planning, and realized that for both of us this has been the most successful companionship we have ever been a part of, and that we have been blessed with more baptisms in this ward than any other companionship that has served here before, as far as the mission records go. I am not saying that to brag, or put us up in the spotlight, because it really did humble us. We realized that we have two baptisms planned for the end of the transfer, and two things could happen. 1. It would be really easy to coast until the end. We would still have two baptisms this transfer and we could reminisce about the glory days of yester-transfers, and no one would really be the wiser. We would still have had a great companionship, but after talking about it, we both agreed that we don’t care about how things were in “the good ol' days…because these ARE the good ol’ days!” HAHAHA ok sorry, that was just a family inside joke…good old Denson Bates from Bossier Ward talking about the good old days. Anyway, moral of the story is that we chose option 2. We decided to sprint to the finish, as they say, and give this last month every single thing we have left to end one of the most important relationships I have had in my mission. We set some pretty high goals, and are going to do all we can to stay diligent and meet them. We also took a moment to realize that it might still be that we only end up with two baptisms, and to the outside world, to the mission, to the ward, and to President, it looks as if situation one occurred, but we know what the Lord expects out of us, and we want to do the right things for the right reasons. So we are excited for what happens this month we have left together.

So yesterday Hermana Benton said something that really hit me. She always has these one-liners that sound like they should go into an inspirational quote book, because they inspire me to try and do better more often than not. In Argentina there is a phrase that people love using. It is “Drop the cane”. They use it when someone is chewing someone else out…or calling them to repentance or something. It is used a lot during General Conference. For example, Elder Scott dropped the cane on pornography. Or, my mom dropped the cane on me for getting home late. (Hypothetical example) Anyway, we were talking about it at breakfast yesterday, and Hermana Benton had some really good insight on it. She mentioned how she didn’t think it was a very effective way to try and correct someone’s actions. Then she said, “People already know all about their faults. They need their strengths emphasized.” It is so true. GO HERMANA BENTON! People need to hear the great things they are doing, not just the things they need to do better. It is something that I am going to try and do better at. So, as a missionary of the Lord I challenge anyone reading this to try and give out a few more sincere compliments this week, and see how you help brighten someone else’s day. President and Hermana Benton are the masters at giving compliments. They notice little things that others do and thank them for it. Let’s not take the people around us for granted. Anyway, that’s all I have for this week. I hope you all have a happy Halloween. Thanks for all the pictures family. Keep them coming.

Love, Elder S. Michael Gilmore

P.S. yeah I got all the cereal Dad, it is great!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hospital Posada

This is when Sean went to the hospital to play with the terminally ill children

This is Milagros who was not allowed to eat the chocolate they brought her so they gave her a toy.

Ramos Mejia- Week #69

Por favor.... Por favor

Hey Grandpa Mike and Grandma Page,

I’ll answer your questions first. The package came, and it was not in one piece. I didn’t have to pay anything for it. It had been broken into. I took a video of it so that you can see the state it arrived in. Long story short, it looked like they ripped into it, ripped open every bag that had candy in it, (I assume looking for valuables) and somehow didn’t find the ring, the memory card, or Dad’s patriarchal blessing. Go figure! They did however eat a few of the apple sauces. I guess there was so much stuff inside they got bored before they got to the valuable stuff at the bottom. So I saw the videos, and have cracked up and fallen in love with Rihanna…I mean Rhiannon…I mean, well you know what I mean. She is going to be perfect for me to take out and attract women with, you know showing my sensitive fatherly side…nah just kidding, that stuff never works, and I wouldn’t stoop so low as to manipulate a five year old like that. My toe is fine, Mom, I only wake up with my sock soaked in blood a few times a week now, so I think it is healing. Also, that last sentence was just dripping with sarcasm, don’t worry, it is completely fine. That’s cool that you made Enrichment stuff for the house. Also, go Lacey super step-mom. Elder Sabey hadn’t heard of the pizza place in Denver. We haven’t really started anything yet for Elder Bednar. He will be visiting here in Ramos Mejía and North and South mission are coming, so it will be more like the time we saw Elder Nelson, and less like with Elder Zivic. I don’t know any more details that that.

So as for Daylight Savings Time: I don’t know if you heard, but Argentina did not participate in it. This is not a joke…they actually refused to do it. President printed off an article that says, “Argentina Says No to Daylight Savings Time”…ha…haha…really? Yes, so we didn’t change any clocks, because the government here decided like the day before that they would have none of it, because there is “no need for it.” I don’t think that they or I fully understand the consequences of this decision, but I am sure that this somehow throws off the whole Gregorian calendar and Ben Franklin is scratching his head in the Spirit World. The biggest thing about this that affects the mission is flight times…but I am sure everything will work out.

So it was another busy week. It always seems like there is a lot that happens, but it doesn’t translate over into an interesting email. It was just busy. One cool thing that did happen was that, like in Brett’s mission, for the first time we as office elders were invited to the zone leader conference at the mission home. Most of them are my good friends, so it wasn’t awkward for me to be there like it was for Brett. Or at least, it wasn’t like what Kyle assumed it was like for Brett. I had a good time. There was a huge ping pong tournament, which Team Gilbey entered…and…we lost in the semi-final against the zone leaders of Marcos Paz…I could give excuses…but I’ll just say that we made too many mistakes. Alright change of subject.

So we went down with the zone leaders, President, and Hermana Benton to Rio de la Plata for a short walk, and had a very interesting experience. We stopped on a little bridge looking thing to take a picture, and there was a small hill / look out point that we were going to go up onto. Well there were like 10 college kids up there and they see the army of black suits nearby. It turns out that they were from the States, studying abroad, and it was apparent that they knew who we were. So we were just taking some photos and some guy that was too cool for his own good yells down at us, “Polygamists!” Good one, buddy. We just minded our own business, and a few seconds later he yells, “Child-Rapists!”…our general opinion at this point is that he is an idiot…and President turns around and says to him, “Hermano por favor”…just trying to be nice and courteous. Then he can’t shut his mouth and down right mocks President Benton, and with an imitation of his accent he says, “POR FAVOR POR FAVOR!” I won’t forget how I felt in that moment or the way that I saw 22 other Elders tense up at the sound of our President being disrespected like that. President just brushed it off and started to walk toward us. I thought that we were just going to leave and forget about it, and then I learned a valuable lesson from President Benton. He said, “Let’s go up there.” So we followed him up and we started talking with all the students there. All of them were really friendly, and President talked with them about the Church and everything. The immature kid just kind of sat in silence after that, and we got to know these other students just getting to know Buenos Aires. They took pictures of us all lined up, and then one girl asked if she could have a picture with us, President said yes, and she came on over and put her arms around me and Elder Hatch…Elder Hatch was just mumbling under his breath, “five more weeks, five more weeks.” He goes home in five weeks, and my hands shot into my pockets. President was just laughing. I told him I would probably need an interview after that, and he has joked around with me about it a few times since then. So I basically had a girl wrapped around me on the romantic Rio de la Plata…it is probably on the internet by now.

Anyway, moral of the story is that President showed that it is possible to share the gospel in all places and situations. It would have been easy enough to just leave and forget about it, but he marched up there and shared the gospel with them. He didn’t retaliate to pathetic insults, but instead was just loving and friendly and got to know some people who needed the gospel. It was really cool for me to see the patience and love that President shows towards all people. I was also thinking about how I felt in that moment. It was a sickening feeling to see a man I admire and love so much be mocked like that. That kid didn’t know the influence that President has had on me, the other missionaries, or this world, and then the soul-searching question presented itself. How do I feel when I hear the lips of men mock our Lord, Jesus Christ? The Son of God, who I admire and love so much, who has had such an influence on me, and on the world, is mocked more than any other being I can think of. How do I feel in those moments? Interesting question to ask yourself. Our lives are constantly filled with opportunities to learn and recognize the Savior’s influence in our lives.

Elder Gilmore

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ramos Mejia- Week #68

Busy Busy Busy

Hey Mom and Dad,

Well this week has been really busy, and I haven’t gotten much sleep in the past three days. We have some really good news, and that is that Bryan’s parents, Carmen and Luis, have a marriage date for the 20th of November, and a baptismal date for the 21st. It is the last week of the transfer, and a few days after Elder Bednar is going to visit the mission. We have a few other prospects for baptism before that too, but we will see. This week has been transfers, and fifteen new missionaries are about to show up in about 2 hours or so. It has probably been one of the busiest transfer weeks I have participated in so far. Elder Woodmansee is now with his parents, and we have welcomed in our new assistant, Elder Aceituno. He is from Chile, but speaks English really well. It is the first time that President Benton has had a Latin assistant since he has gotten to the mission. I think it will be good for the mission, and Elder Aceituno is awesome.

Well, Sunday night was crazy because we were trying to get ready for the big transfer meeting we have, and I had to get all of the sound technology stuff…i.e. microphones, projector hook-ups, and it was getting complicated. The member who usually gets us all our stuff was on vacation or something, and so I had to call the counselor in the stake presidency to track down a key to the sound/audio room. It was stressful…because we can’t have the meeting unless we have the projector and microphones. Well we could, but it wouldn’t be good. So we ended up getting a key at 7:00 Monday morning, the day of transfer meeting, and we told by the stake that after the broadcast of General Conference everything was disconnected, so good luck. Ha GREAT! So cables were going everywhere, and we used some from our own stash to jimmy-rig some kind of miracle solution to the problem. Long story short…lot of stress…everything worked out fine.

1 day later…Ok so right now I am writing Wednesday morning because there was no time for anything. All the 15 new missionaries made it fine. There is a new sister missionary whose family is from Spain, and she has dual citizenship in the USA and Spain. She speaks perfectly in both languages…well, at least as well as she can with that strange Spanish accent, and her lisping all the time. I feel bad for Brett that he has to learn such a weak and feeble version of the language. Nah, just kidding, it isn’t that strange, and I can’t really talk, because she is fluent. So for the past two days as well we have been playing host to all the missionaries going home, and the trainers. It has been interesting. They have taken over the offices, and that is one of the reasons I haven’t written earlier. There are only four computers in here, and for some reason everyone thought that they could get on them whenever they wanted, so there were never any free ones to use, but the madness has passed and no harm was done.

Sorry this one is short, but there really is no time for anything this week. There isn’t very much to tell anyways, just running around loving every minute of it. We never did get to play our championship match, but President invited the staff over for the zone leader conference on Friday where there will be two ping pong tables set up for the ultimate tournament. We hope to be in a good rhythm on Friday. I let you know how it turned out next week. I love you, and sounds like things are looking up. That’s great that you two are doing well on your weight loss challenge! Just keep working Mom, you will break through a wall and will start to shed the pounds like crazy. I’m glad Lacey is doing so well, too. Well, talk to you next week.

Elder Gilmore

P.S. I just read through this thing, and it is kind of boring…sorry about that…

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ramos Mejia- Week #67



So before I give my thoughts on Conference, first I would just like to say that I will be applying President Monson’s Priesthood session talk and not be angry or insulted by Mom’s email when she said that the part in my hair is ugly and I should stop doing it…first of all, I think you owe an apology to Elder Varela, he does his best, and second it is a mission rule to have a part in your hair, and although I think it is ridiculous, I would appreciate if the woman closest to me in my life would encourage me to obey mission rules. But for the record I hate it as well. Also, Elder Sabey does have a part in his hair, it just isn’t as noticeable. Also, Elder Zivic isn’t just an area seventy; he is up in the First Quorum of the Seventy. He was sitting there in the conference center. And I didn’t really lie about my toe in May, because it didn’t hurt in May, so I figured I wouldn’t worry you. That white house with the gate is the mission home where President and Hermana Benton live. I do not know an Elder Mason. Yes, Dad I would love some athletic socks, they don’t have to be ankle socks. Ankle socks aren’t good for Clay court tennis. I still have plenty of journal space left. I didn’t eat the avocado…Elder Varela used it for some kind of salsa…he is of Mexican descent. Anyway, now that we have that out of the way…

G-G-G-ENERAL COOOOOOOONFERENCE! Loved it. I had a lot of questions going into it, and received a lot of answers as well. After President Monson announced five new temples, Elder Scott answered a lot of my questions right off the bat about personal revelation, and being guided by the Spirit. I consider that one of my weaknesses. I think I have always relied a little too much on myself and not enough on the promptings of the Spirit, also he just dropped the cane all over the place on pornography, which Argentina needs to hear, because it is just infested with it. I also loved Russell Osguthorpe’s talk on teaching, because, well…I teach a lot. Then the two power hitters ended the session, Elder Bednar and President Uchtdorf. Both were so inspiring! It was very clear to me that the underlying theme of this conference was love, specifically God’s love for us and our love for God. President Uchtdorf taught us so much about the nature of our Father. Elder Oaks spoke on love as well, in a talk that was; as President Benton put it, “meaty”, which was true…I was trying not to let everything he was saying fly over my head. He packed a lot of ideas into 15 minutes. I also absolutely loved Elder Andersen’s talk on repentance. It feels like a long time since we have heard a talk specifically on that. I loved it all. I wrote down a few quotes from it, such as, “The Savior is able and eager to forgive our sins.” “In this life, it is never too late to repent.” And, “Repentance always means that there is greater happiness ahead.”

Priesthood session was really good, too. I was thinking about Dad the whole time Elder Ballard was talking about Father-Son relationships, as I am sure all sons were. Other than that, Priesthood session just made me trunky! It was all advice to returned missionaries. Elder Ballard and President Uchtdorf took a part of their talks to talk to returned missionaries. It was funny. Yoon Hwan Choi just made me laugh inside every time he said “rowdy boys” which he used frequently in his talk, and all of the First Presidency messages were great. Sunday was just as good with all the talks. All I have to say is that Elder Holland blew everyone’s mind with his talk/testimony. It was one of those talks where I didn’t take many notes, but instead just sat back and listened. I just love how he gets all fired up about everything. I don’t think I learned much “new doctrine” from it, but it definitely was one of the most inspiring of the conference, and I loved the story about Joseph and Hyrum, also the fact that he had the book with him there at the pulpit. Elder Christofferson gave a great talk as well to wrap things up. I loved all of it, and there are a lot of things that I need to improve on and change, but that is why we have Conference. I also just loved the music. I thought of Grandpa when they sang, “Have I Done Any Good?” and the time we sang it at his funeral, and O Divine Redeemer was amazing, too. Anyway, it was all so good, and all of our converts were there, and three investigators.

Today we are going to the mission home for a little family night, and last night we held an office meeting with President, were we all submitted a silent ballot as to what our three favorite talks were. The co-winners were Elder Holland and President Uchtdorf on love, so President told us we will watch those tonight at his house. Also, Team Gilbey (Gilmore-Sabey) will be defending its championship title in the Benton Classic Ping-Pong Tournament. Wish us luck.

Love, Sean