Monday, January 25, 2016

Winter Storm Jonas

First, y'all got a blank email from me on Saturday and I apologize.. But this email is the one that counts. I'm sending it to everyone in my little black book. I thought I'd tell everyone about my experiences out here so far! So listen up cause it's gonna be good.

When I first got to Virginia we met the Pres and his AP's in baggage claim waiting for us. We spent the night at the mission home and got trainings the next day. After we got our iPads and all of our other various trainings we met our trainers and split (I got such a good trainer Elder Hudmasterflex). I was fortuned enough to end up in Fredericksburg. When we got to our apartment our dinner was already waiting for us. Let me just say... People in Virginia know how to eat. We got fed fried chicken, corn, rice and all that good stuff. I'm on a bike though so all that Virginia weight is being fought! So it took me about a week to get into the routine of mission life, and I have to say it wasn't really a huge shock to me as I thought it was going to be. I got introduced to all of our investigators in about that weeks time. The neighboring elders are the coolest people on earth, we go to lunch with them a lot.. Watch out msf.. And thank goodness for Zone Leader Exchanges. They provided me with some serious insight on how to find, teach and love.

I love missionary work. It is completely different than how I imagined. You start developing a love for the people you teach and it makes you want to share the gospel even more. I want to share an experience but there are far to many to choose from so I'll share the most recent one. We were actually at dinner with a family from the ward. We bonded super well with them and their kids. After we shared our thought and said goodbye we were driving home with the father, when out of the blue he said, "you probably don't know this about me but I'm actually not a member.." Awe man Elder Hudson and I were speechless! "Yeah I've seen all three of my kids get baptized and I haven't been baptized, but I think I'm ready now." (Did I not say missionary work is the bomb?) So we started teaching him and his entire family is flying in next month to see him get baptized! I mean this is just one of many... There are so many that I could list off but I'm not in the mood to keep typing. Another thing that I love about the mission is studying! I look forward to my morning studies I don't know about the rest of y'all. I love it.

Reminder to all those serving: You are surrounded by people. People who will support you and people who will tear you down. Love both even when it's hard to love. My advice to you is don't let those bad people get to you! I've had some super negative confrontations with people that hate missionaries, but I try to not let it get to me. Sometimes it does, but remember you aren't standing alone. People fight the fight with you and love you along the way. Love everyone who wants to be loved and everyone who doesn't!

Hope everyone is holding on and teaching strong.

- Elder Caleb Gibbons

*We got some wicked snow here in Virginia and we were stuck inside so we had a lot of free time on Saturday. Made me miss Utah. Also a picture of my comp and my district.

First Transfer

A lot of things out here are moving way to fast. The first transfer is over and my 2 month mark is just around the corner. I'll sum up this last week as best as I can! On Monday we had another cold one with the wind chill around 5°. And the cold here is a lot different than the cold in Utah. We ended up hanging out with the zone leaders and the neighboring elders. We visited as many people as we could before the storm rolled in for the weekend. Oh and by the way we got a lot of snow out here! So I'm not to sure how I feel about Virginia snow. I went out to enjoy the snow like you would in Utah, and it's the most hard packed stuff ever. It sucks. No way I will ever ski on the east coast... We were suppose to use the snow as an opportunity to serve others with snow removal, however we are right in the middle of a 3 sq mile apartment garden. AND to add to the difficulty of trekking through the snow to go shovel driveways, we didn't have shovels. So I thought it was always awkward to knock on the door and ask them if we could shovel their driveway with their own shovels. The other thing
that was awkward is people asked us what we charged even after we explained that we were missionaries. We got a lot of shoveling done on Sunday when it stopped snowing and the sun came out. We actually helped dig cars out of the snow. That was fun to see everyone try to get out before we got to them. We ended up shoveling snow for 6 hours.. And Elder Hudson is starting to feel the soreness.

I'm glad everyone is over the sickness. I don't enjoy being sick. And take some pictures of the cruise next week and get them too me! Oh and I almost forgot. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAMANTHA!! You'll be getting a birthday gift from me in the mail pretty soon.

Well I think that's all for now! Stay warm and be safe! Much love!

- Elder Caleb Gibbons

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Fwd: Virginia Snow

From: "Kenneth Traveller" <>
Date: Jan 24, 2016 2:27 PM
Subject: Virginia Snow
To: "Arla Gibbons" <>

Elder Gibbons made it through his first Virginia Snow storm.  We spent the day shoveling out the  needy.  The storm left us with 18 inches. He is a hard worker and says his health problem is better. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

One more concluding thought

Yes I did buy a bike on the discover, sorry I forgot to mention that. Also thanks for the spiritual thoughts they mean a lot! Some thing else pretty cool, when I had return and report I told president that I was running into a lot of Latinos. So he gave me and Elder Hudson 30 minutes to study a language in the morning, Elder Hudson doesn't really want to learn anything right now because he goes home in a month, but I am and I'm getting a Spanish name tag in the mail. Also, could you make sure that everyone is emailing my lds email? I found out that grandpa emailed my regular one and so did Jacob. Thanks for all your support! Love you tons.

- Elder Caleb Gibbons

On Jan 17, 2016, at 11:01 PM, Paul Gibbons <> wrote:


Just want you to know that I think about you a lot and I'm really proud of the way you're approaching your mission.  Keep it up.

Also, I assume that the charge on your discover card was for your bike?  Let me know.

One of the things that has strengthened my testimony through the years has been the spirit bearing witness to me whenever I read or hear stories about the Prophet Joseph Smith.  Moroni told him that his name would be had for good or evil throughout the world.  In my case, it's been for good.  Spend the time to learn about him.  He was an incredible man and prophet.

Mom is really sick tonight.  I just hope that the flu bug doesn't find me.  Here's wishing.  I love you,


January 18, 2016

Almost one transfer out! And I'm still loving it. This past week was a pretty slow week for us. On Sunday, however, we went over to a members home and had dinner. We bonded with the family and after we gave them a spiritual thought the dad drove us home. On the way home he said, "Hey guys, I don't know if you know this or not but I'm actually not a member." Elder Hudson and I were speechless.. We've seen this guy and his family at church every week and he's not a member? So we started talking to him and we realized that he married into the church 17 years ago, and after he was married he started going to church and just started to make it a routine. He never really thought baptism was a necessity until his kids were baptized. So then he started to read the Book of Mormon and praying more. And after we gave his family the spiritual thought he had enough courage to tell us that he wanted to take lessons from us and get baptized as soon as he could. Super cool experiences just keep coming..

We were tracting in an area that's usually notorious for drug use, and we ran into a lady who was willing to let us in. After the first lesson she started shooting questions. And very deep doctrine questions... Some of these questions we had no idea of how to even begin answering. So we told her we would come back with some answers. After her discussion we ran into a guy named Dave who wanted us to come by later on in the week. He gave us his apartment number and his cell. Well anyway Margaret (the lady we ran into earlier) texted us later that week and said "I don't want to take discussions with you guys any more." Well it wasn't really anything new to us, but we were sad to see her leave. So Thursday night we were driving around with a member and I kept thinking of her and how to get her back with the missionaries. So I suggested running into s grocery store and getting her a gift to let her know we were thinking of her. On the way over to her place, we thought we should stop by Dave's house, and give a quick restoration lesson. So we knocked on the door and another girl opens it. Her name was Lakia. We asked for Dave and he wasn't there, he was at his moms house. Lakia and Dave were siblings, and Margaret was their mom! So we talked to Lakia and got her super interested and she told us to come back when she wasn't so busy. We ran over to Margarets house and sure enough to ran into Dave. We ended up giving Margaret the gift and taught them both a quick and very powerful lesson. She told us that she was grateful that we didn't give up on her.

Cool experiences like those keep coming! We've been trying to get more and more people set on date for baptism and it is working! However I'm definitely starting to feel the stress of missionary work. So I'm working on it right now, trying to figure out what's stressing me out, but I think I'm starting to get over it. My companion suggested taking long hot showers but I don't believe that will help me (He takes the longest showers ever). But I'll figure it out and get over it. Well that's all for this week! I hope all is well and the sickness goes away... That's not fun that is happening. We got our first snow of the year yesterday in Virginia, so that was definitely fun! And there is rumor that we may get a car..... So keep that in your prayers because we need one! And no I will not hit any deer with the mission car. Stay warm, stay healthy and stay safe. Love you lots!

- Elder Caleb Gibbons

Monday, January 11, 2016

January 11, 2016

Well I have a lot to write about but so little time to write it all! I hope all is well over there in Utah. I'll share a quick experience and then I have to go. This last week we had to go to return and report, which is basically a see how you're doing type of thing for the trainees, we had a chance to go street contacting out in Richmond. So I was able to be companions with an Elder I came out with.we were walking the streets of VCU and went to a park called Monroe Park. And if I can sum it up it was basically homeless housing. So we walked through and met some cool people but no one was really that interested. Now we ran into three guys on a bench all sharing a cigarette. We started to talk to them and immediately one of the guys started yelling at us, saying we are a cult, we worship Joseph Smith, The Book of Mormon is a fake book, and all of this basically made up garbage. My companion fought back with him for about 5 minutes while I didn't want to hang around all anymore. Finally we brought up church. I said "why don't you come to our church and see for yourself that we
don't do any of those things?" He laughed and replied saying if he did he would be cursed and all that nonsense. So finally I said. "You're hearing it out of the horses mouth and you don't want to listen that's fine, but we have other people that want to listen to us." Shook their hands and left. So I guess it was kind of an eye opener that some people are really really close minded. And in those situations I don't want to waste time when there isn't even a slight chance that he'll listen to us.

Missionary work is tough, but so worth it. We have 3 people on date for baptism and more coming. So that was just a small highlight of things that happened to me this week. We are still working hard as ever and hope that all is well back home. I love you all very much and will write you next week.

Love from your Elder,

- Elder Caleb Gibbons

Monday, January 4, 2016

Elder Gibbons Photos Fredericksburg Mary Washington House

From: Kenneth Traveller <>
Date: January 4, 2016 at 9:31:20 PM MST
To: Arla Gibbons <>,
Subject: Elder Gibbons Photos Fredericksburg Mary Washington House

In 1772, George Washington purchased a house in Fredericksburg, Virginia for his mother. Mary Washington spent her last seventeen years in this comfortable home. Tradition has it that, during the Revolution, General Lafayette found Mrs. Washington in her garden attending her favorite hobby. The President-to-be came to this home to receive his mother's blessing before attending his inauguration in 1789.
No photos were allow inside the home, but the Elders enjoyed a guided tour of the home.  Was able to take photos of the kitchen and the sundial in the garden and it indicated the correct time.
Also visited Mediation Rock a short distance from the home where Mary Washington went daily to pray for the safety of her son and country during the dark days of the revolution.
Virginia was a slave state and there is still a slave auction block in downtown Fredericksburg.  The old Salem Church was used as a hospital during the Civil War and the Elders are pointing to some on the bullet holes from the Civil War.
Ken Traveller

Elder Gibbons Photos Fredericksburg Kirkland Monument

From: Kenneth Traveller <>
Date: January 4, 2016 at 8:46:25 PM MST
To: Arla Gibbons <>,
Subject: Elder Gibbons Photos Fredericksburg Kirkland Monument

This afternoon on their P-Day we took Elders Hudson and Gibbons plus Elders Goold and Bryant from the Massaponax Ward to a couple of historical sites in Fredericksburg.

Please read the attached talk by President Monson about Sgt. Kirkland.  The photos include the Elders taking their position at the original stonewall and at the Monument.  The last photo is the Elders giving a lesson last week to one of their investigators named Emmanuel.

Ken Traveller

Mercy—The Divine Gift 

Thomas S. Monson

First Counselor in the First Presidency

April Conference 1995

At an earlier time and in a different conflict—namely the American Civil War—a historically documented account illustrates courage, coupled with mercy.

From December 11 to 13, 1862, the Union forces attacked Marye's Heights, a large hill overlooking the town of Fredericksburg, Virginia, where six thousand Rebels awaited them. The Southern troops were in secure defensive positions behind a stone wall which meandered along the foot of the hill. In addition, they stood four deep on a sunken road behind the wall, out of sight of Union forces.

The Union troops—over forty thousand strong—launched a series of suicidal attacks across open ground. They were mowed down by a scythe of shot; none got closer than forty yards from the stone wall.  Soon the ground in front of the Confederate positions was littered with hundreds, then thousands, of fallen Union soldiers in their blue uniforms—over twelve thousand before sunset. Crying for help, the wounded lay in the bitter cold throughout that terrible night.

The next day, a Sunday, dawned cold and foggy. As the morning fog lifted, the agonized cries of the wounded could still be heard. Finally, a young Confederate soldier, a nineteen-year-old sergeant, had had all he could take. The young man's name was Richard Rowland Kirkland. To his commanding officer, Kirkland exclaimed, "All night and all day I have heard those poor people crying for water, and I can stand it no longer. I … ask permission to go and give them water." His request was initially denied on the grounds that it was too dangerous. Finally, however, permission was granted, and soon thousands of amazed men on both sides saw the young soldier, with several canteens draped around his neck, climb over the wall and walk to the nearest wounded Union soldier. He raised the stricken man's head, gently gave him a drink, and covered him with his own overcoat. Then he moved to the next of the wounded—and the next and the next. As Kirkland's purpose became clear, fresh cries of "Water, water, for God's sake water" arose all over the field.

The Union soldiers were at first too surprised to shoot. Soon they began to cheer the young Southerner as they saw what he was doing. For more than an hour and a half, Sergeant Kirkland continued his work of mercy.

Tragically, Richard Kirkland was himself killed a few months later at the battle of Chicamauga. His last words to his companions were, "Save yourselves, and tell my pa I died right."

Kirkland's Christlike compassion made his name synonymous with mercy for a post–Civil War generation, both North and South. He became known by soldiers on both sides of the conflict as "the angel of Marye's Heights." His loving errand of mercy is commemorated by a bronze monument which stands today in front of the stone wall at Fredericksburg. It depicts Sergeant Kirkland lifting the head of a wounded Union soldier to give him a drink of refreshing water. A tablet to Kirkland's honor hangs in the Episcopal church in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. With simple eloquence, it captures the essence of the young soldier's mission of mercy. It reads: "A hero of benevolence, at the risk of his own life, he gave his enemy drink at Fredericksburg."

Challenge for Sydney

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Caleb Gibbons <>
Date: Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 6:32 AM
Subject: Re:
To: Paul Gibbons <>

Hi Sydney! Hope everything is all good there! I've heard all about
beaver and already told the girls that when I get back I'll take you
all skiing! It will be a fun little trip. And I'm glad that the girls
are making progress. I hope all of you are better than I al by the
time I get back!
So I was thinking about something last night that kept coming back to
me. New Years resolutions.. Of course I have a couple but for some
reason I was thinking about resolutions for back home. So I'll only
set goals for the oldest kids. So one that came to my mind for you was
of course music. You're one of the most talented singers/performers
know and I want to challenge you while I'm not there. There's two
parts. Are you ready for the goal?

 "Don't limit your self; Expand your musical inventory but learning or
relearning a musical instrument. Share the gift of music; Sing to
people whenever you see a need. Sing as often as you can in church,
school, and around the house. Singing is a gift from above and you
were fortuned enough to receive it. Why not share it?"

I believe that by doing this you will see growth and happiness.
Exercising your talents will bless you. And you will be blessed more
ways than you could imagine. (Matt 25)
Love ya sis! Let me know how it's going!

- Elder Caleb Gibbons

> On Jan 3, 2016, at 7:32 PM, Paul Gibbons <> wrote:
> Hey, Caleb!
> I hope you are doing great!  A new year has started, even though it doesn't feel like it at all.  In these three first days of the new year, I have learned that its hard for me to keep new year's resolutions, I am not ready to go back to school, and that Sariah will probably never learn how to pronounce library (libary) and granola (ganerla) right.  It's alright though because I think it is super cute.
> Yesterday, we went to Beaver with the girls and they took lessons for two hours of the time we were there.  On the lift afterwards, I asked Sariah what she learned.  She couldn't remember anything but how to turn.  Then she said, "Ooh, I also learned that there are invisible goats on Goat Trail!"  I laughed but she persisted on making me believe in the magical goats.  "No, really!  They steal your poles and sometimes even your skis and snowboards!  And then when I was on it, I heard a baaaaa but it was only Samantha."  She is actually a pretty good little skier and likes to refer to herself as a "PERfessional".
> We miss you!!!!  Hope that you are having a blast!  After all, life is what you make of it.
> Love you!
> Sydney :)

One month in!

Wow I honestly cannot believe that it's been a month. It's crazy how fast time has flown and how blurred together the days are. I guess I'll try and start from the beginning of the week. On Monday, we had a zone p-day. It's basically where the zone gets together and plays sports and President Wilson comes by to do some personal interviews.  But I had a lot of fun! The mission invented a game called Oompah.. It's basically a mix between basketball, ultimate frisbee, and football. Essentially you play ultimate frisbee with a football in a gym trying to shoot hoops. It's a lot harder than it sounds but still super fun.

On Tuesday we went on exchanges, which in a simple term means switch up the companionship with the zone leaders to see how the companionship is doing. I got privileged enough to go with Elder
Wagner, who is probably one of the best tracing missionaries I've met. I was able to pick up so much from going on exchanged with him and I felt like it actually started to mold me as a missionary. That experience changed the entire week. If I could describe the amazing week Elder Hudson and I had I would use a couple words like: everybody in sight, doubled our investigators, and hardest I've worked so far.

Wednesday we went tracting, and before we started knocking Elder Hudson said a short prayer and said "we know by faith that we will find 5 new investigators and everyone will be open hearted. We knocked a complex and ended up placing all three book of mormons, and we made an appointment for another. So we left feeling pretty good! We went to dinner and then out to appointments with a member. All of the appointments we had fell through, so the last minute we thought we would go try an investigator again, because we missed him earlier. We pulled up and I saw a guy standing out on the porch, next to the investigators house, looking at us pretty funny. So instead of knocking I went straight over and struck up a conversation. Most kind hearted person I've every contacted. He was raised in New York on the streets. He's seen people killed and he himself has been shot and he vowed to stop the violence and started an anti-gang movement called "40 Wolves". Their whole goal was to show kids growing up that there was a better life than gang life. Not even 2 minutes into the our
introduction as missionaries he said "just before y'all pulled up I prayed to god about my current situation and for him to help me out. And I think God maybe heard me this time." So it turns out that Larry had been in contact with the missionaries a while ago in New York and he decided he wasn't interested. He said he kept close to god all throughout his life, and after running into us he is now VERY interested in the gospel and is starting to progress towards baptism.

So we ended up hitting our goal of 5 investigators, and my testimony has never been stronger. The rest of the week was non-stop contacting. We continued to grow our investigator album, and it will keep growing. Hopefully next week is as prosperous.

On New Year's Eve we met with the Zone Leaders and had a fun little celebration, that had to end around 9:30. But we popped open the sparkling juice and toasted to the new year!

So. That's just a small part of the week. I have so many experiences I could sit down and tell to you, but I'll keep it short because I have to reply to other emails. So in summary, this week I became a Preach My Gospel missionary. I still have a lot to learn and I know that but I took such a big step this week and I can't wait how future weeks pan out.

Love you all and miss you! Hope everything is all well at home and thanks for the pictures! Also have a good time at school! Till next week~

-Elder Caleb Gibbons

Fwd: Samantha - Skiing

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Caleb Gibbons <>
Date: Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 6:13 AM
Subject: Re: Samantha - Skiing
To: Paul Gibbons <>

Samantha I told Sariah that when I get back I'm going to go with you
guys, so get your practice in! And if your boots are to tight wear
slightly bigger boots and put another layer of socks on, or just wear
thick socks so it's more comfortable. Instructors will tell you not to
do that but it's okay for when you're learning. Just make sure that
when you start getting really good you go back to a tighter fitting
boot. Make sure you love others and be happy always 😊
Love you Samantha!

- Elder Caleb Gibbons

> On Jan 3, 2016, at 7:13 PM, Paul Gibbons <> wrote:
> Hi Caleb I went skiing on January 2, 2016.  It was so much fun but I got hurt by the boots.  I hope you are having fun.  love Samantha.

Response to Sariah

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Caleb Gibbons <>
Date: Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 6:10 AM
Subject: Re:
To: Paul Gibbons <>

Oh Sariah that's so cool! When I get back you better be good enough to
come with me down the mountain😉. You'll probably be better than me at
that point. Keep having fun!
Love you!

- Elder Caleb Gibbons

> On Jan 3, 2016, at 7:03 PM, Paul Gibbons <> wrote:
> Dear Caleb,
> I have a lot to say.It will be long .so I will chry to be fast.I went to beevr it was so fun!dad made me and samantha  have a teecher . Nou me and samantha  are  pferfashinl love sariah
> <Photo on 1-3-16 at 5.01 PM.jpg>