Goodness.. a week has already flown by?? That is crazy because the days have been soo long! (very very good though). Thursdays are my p-days and it has been such a blessing today! We got to go to the temple earlier this morning and do an endowment session so that was really cool to go and do those again! This week I've been studying the difference between faith and TRUE faith. The bible dictionary explains it as a "confidence or a trust", that was a powerful word. Think to yourselves what the word confidence means. Cool how it can apply to faith!
I saw Laura Mann in the temple so that was fun to see a familiar face, even though I see them all the time around here! I've been able to run into so many buddies from LP and now as missionaries it's so awesome to see those friendships grow!
Ah I don't like emailing from here because it is such a time stress, but I'll try and fill you guys in as much as possible! My companion Elder Jackman is such a capo! (stud in most Latin American countries: drug dealer in others :) use that word carefully I guess). He best reminds me of Spencer Simpson, I swear he's his mini-me, but he has been a great buddy and a heaven sent in helping me to learn Spanish. In looking back over this last week I feel like I didn't know anything, but through the spirit and the comfort that it brings I know that we are able to see things through an eternal perspective and be able to have a clear view of things that we need to grow and improve on!
haha You guys will get a kick outta this... the food!!! INCREDIBLE!! The second day, I think it was, I popped a button off one of my pants! :) hahaha dang tailors didn't do something right apparently! Haven't sown it back on yet cause the sewing stuff intimidates me. Also I'm sitting here doing my laundry and well that's a mess too! But the Lord has plans to help us grown in many different aspects! I'm not pudging, but I'll be running up more stairs from now on!
The MTC is an incredible place, I can't say that enough! I feel like I've experienced every single emotion possible, but I have nothing but faith and love for my dear Savior! Spanish is interesting because the word choice is on such a deeper level, like they translate words and phrases to mean things a lot different. For example if you want to say through it can be por.. or a traves. A traves is used to describe going "through a process" so A traves la expiacion de Jesucristo podemos ser limpiado de nuestros pecados! meaning: going through the process of knowing and understanding and doing the Atonement we can become clean from our sins! How beautiful is that? That was it isn't just a check off list, but we really come to know and understand this process that our Savior went through in order that we can become new. Another amazing thing is the gift of tongues! I know that this is a gift only through the holy spirit! We teach our progressive investigators everyday and I've been able to actually communicate a little of what I want to say and I think tomorrow or the next day we're going to "commit" one of them to baptism!
Sorry time is running out... I'll write more in my letters to you, but I just want to end with something that Elder Hallstrom said on the Tuesday night devotional. Reverance is defined as: to revere or show respect and love for Diety. As missionaries and especially PERSONAL representatives of Jesus Christ if we are living our lives with reverence towards God then the most important message that we, or members of this church, can bring to others is the "message", if you will, of ourselves. We are the message we bear this sacred opportunity as we live our lives with love and respect towards our Heavenly Father. I KNOW that my Savior lives. He is my light and my hope. If we can focus and give 100% of our devotion and lives to Him he WILL guide and direct us. I've seen and come to know that this week.
YEAH! Welcome aboard Elder! Man I have been especially excited for this Preparation Day to email you, and I've loved hearing about all that's going on and a snapshot into the MTC. I can't believe you've only got 3 weeks- soak up every minute because that time will go by like nothin! Elder Wilson and I would always joke around saying "What happened to this Elder or that Elder? (in the 3 week groups)" while we were zone leaders because they would unpack and then it seemed their plane tickets came. Ahhhhh..... I have a hundred things to say but don't know where to start. When's your preparation day? Thursday? I know that the time crunch when you email is intense in the MTC but give us a rundown of your companion and such. You're going to love it. In a month from now even being in a restroom alone will be super awkward- you'll have the companion mindset and all working for you. Remember that every companion you get is an assignment and opportunity from Heavenly Father, one to bless said Elder, and the other is to learn from his strengths. Look for that in each Elder you will serve with. How's the MTC food? Sweet ya? Ahhh the foods good there- with time and a little luck you could get your cheeks back!
I'm going to include most of this weeks details in the email but I want to share with you a cool scripture that I found again and loved reading/pondering/and sharing this week in my work. It's Luke 14. The whole chapter is incredible, but there is an especially powerful parable in verses 16-25. Many people wonder why we need the Gospel, or what the benefit is (a very sad perspective but nonetheless a start). But this is a great reply from the Savior and I have learned a lot from studying it. I loved getting your email this week. You're full of the missionary spirit and desire to serve God! That's the key factor in success! I'm now getting the "old missionary" feeling Elder- but more than anything I want to serve hard right until the end! Remember when we used to go running? As soon as you hit the last turn til home, or get in the neighborhood you start sprinting. That's the mode I am getting myself into for these last 8 months- I want to be dead tired and sure that I gave the Lord my best! It's been especially strange now that I have this double-duty in the office because it takes out my morning study time and such- but that's going to be improving this next transfer. Transfers! I forgot to tell you. I'll be still serving as assistant but am also going to be training a new American missionary! So that means you've already met my companion before I did. With that I will be able to get more study and more time to focus on training him better. I couldn't be more excited! Where at first I was worried about language with Elder Verdusco, my language fears are subsided and now I just want to get out and teach with him as much as possible. I've also got a baptism coming up this Friday! My first since being back in Sansar, but this investigator, Munkh-Orchlon, is incredible. Goes to Institute, attends choir, and is extremely committed to following the Savior. I love this work and I'm so excited to hear about your experiences as I share with you mine! Gotta go, Preparation Day is getting sucked away in the office and so we're going home to pack up- heading out to a new apartment this week. Love ya bud!
Family!! You would not believe the butterflies that are floating around in my stomach right now! I didn't think I'd be able to get an email off to you guys until next week but they gave us a time to do laundry today, so I'm postponing doing that so i can write you guys! Thanks so much for the DearElder letters, those were fantastic... might have brought a tear or two to my eye! It was at the most perfect time. I felt all your love and support and I have really been feeling it during these first few days. I can't believe that it's already Saturday! Here in the MTC all days feel the same.. I've lost track of days having names. I only know things by what is going on in our schedule. (scheduling the MTC way is divine!!) Being new and everything we've been being taught a lot of "the missionary" way or doing things and as me and my companion have strived to be obedient to mission rules and to goals that we've set as companionship I have felt the spirit with me more. Yesterday at the end of the day, I was beyond tired and my mind felt like it had hit its max capacity.. which isn't to much as you all know. Ha ha ha i make funny jokes still ;) but i felt just drained and never thought i'd be able to get all my "end of the night" stuff done but I know that because I got those things done that i had extra time. I ended up with time to just sit around for a minute. My district is fantastic. Did you guys get my letter?? I sent it on thursday but anyway in there it'll explain a little more that I've been put in the Advanced class and that I am with 6 fantastic spanish speakers. All but two of us have grew up with spanish influence. So even though it is hard, the Lord has really blessed me with resources to grow in the language. So remember how in that email we were planning on me leaving on December 20?.. Scratch that. I leave on November 9th to Argentina to start my work in the field!!!!!! Ah! How crazy is that? I feel a little sad because i was so looking forward to this MTC experience and the concentrated work that this place brings but it'll be such a rich opportunity to get out there quicker and start to serve. This also brings a lot of intimidation and the huge responsibility to take advantage of everyday! I'm doing soo well at understanding. The lord is so much apart of this work! Heavenly Father is such a loving and merciful Father. I have been surrounded by his love so much and especially comforted. My speaking lacks.. but it's coming as I am immersed in constant spanish all day. What a blessing! so much of my time is working on growing in teaching that I have kinda been slacking on general gospel study but that is where I'm grateful for the prep. I had before the mission. I'm doing well. Sleeping great and striving hard to be the missionary i should be. I know the Lord is blessing me and as i continue with a faith-filled attitude I know that i will grow.. i know that the language will come and that i'll be ready for Argentina in 21/2 weeks. WOO!! How's home life?? Did the kids have a fun fall break? what's new? I don't know what else to ask cause i just want to be filled in completely. Tomorrow will be the first sunday (obviously) but I've heard that they are amazing here! My branch president is fantastic and I look forward to growing with his help. We all have to prepare a talk for sundays because they call on people randomly. Being in a spanish branch this means that it will have to be in spanish. (K. I know i'm pointing out the obvious but sometimes it's the obvious that strikes us the hardest) So at least mine will be catered to primary/nursery age children :) haha. Let me know how home is and I'll fill ya in more as i go! Thanks for your prayers and again for the letters. Incredible! Love you all so so much! Elder Jolley Jr. PS. You'll probably get to talk to ryan first so let him know that i contacted the mongolians and they are thrilled to be coming out! They're a great bunch of guys and will continue being a benefit to that place! Also Brother Mortensen passes on his love! Sorry for no pictures, i barely got on to the email without problems. (Sky man you woulda been useful)
Well, here we were(again... seems like we just took Ryan to the MTC!?!).
The day had come... Wednesday, October 19, 2011. What a beautiful fall day!
We had a great morning. Such a calm and peaceful spirit. We enjoyed a yummy french toast breakfast, as per Brayden's request.
We got things gathered together and after a few family photos, were on our way.
Brayden was to report to the MTC at 12:55 p.m.
As we arrived and started our decent into the MTC "drop off" area, we were greeted by many helpers and elders. There is such a wonderful, happy spirit of welcoming at the MTC. A couple of elders helped Brayden unload his luggage. We gave our hugs and love and he was off.
Brayden was set apart on Tuesday night, October 18, 2011. Our immediate family along with a few Aunt and Uncles, Bishop Davis, a few of Brayden's close friends and Stake President Bangerter and President Glade gathered to share in this special evening. President Bangerter gave each of us the opportunity to share and express our love, testimonies and feelings to Brayden. The spirit was very strong and the room was filled with lots of love and emotion.
President Bangerter then set Brayden apart as a missionary and offered him a beautiful blessing. Brayden then had the opportunity to share his feelings and testimony. What a powerful testimony he bore of our Savior Jesus Christ. Brayden will be a wonderful, humble missionary... and you could feel it!
Brayden with (Aunt & Uncle) Cherie and Jeff Campbell
Jake Wright, Brayden, and Zach Newman
Tanner Jensen and Brayden
Draya and Brayden
Brayden with Kendyl
Brayden with his Dad and Mom
We carried on our tradition from when Ryan left of having a family "camp out" down in the family room. Again, being altogether as a family, sharing our last bit of time before Brayden was to leave the next day!
The last few days to wrap things up. Brayden was very well prepared and only need to figure out how to get everything he needs for two-years into 3 pieces of luggage (and yes, we did get it all in!). We also were able to attend our Stake Conference in which we were privileged in having Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve and Elder Gary Doxey of the Seventy attend. This month of October truly has been a spiritual and uplifting feast for us.
After finishing up his packing, Brayden spent Tuesday afternoon (October 18th) saying good-bye to family and friends...
Brayden and Megan Jackson
Jessica Walker and Brayden
Cousin Clare and Calvin, Brayden and Aunt Jill
Cousins Tanner, Ty Brayden, cousins Allie and Kylee (missing Haley in the picture, she was at gymnastics)
After a wonderful "farewell meeting" weekend, we took a few days in the sunny, warm state of Nevada to enjoy some final family time. It was nice and relaxing and great to have that extra time to enjoy being together.
Brayden's Aunt Kelly and her family live in Las Vegas. They were able to come meet up with us for a day to play.
Bradyen, Aunt Kelly and Mom
Andraya, Bentley, Skyler, Trey, Kendyl and Natalia
Fun family time together
A last good-bye with the Pias
Kendyl, Andraya, Skyler and Brayden
On our way home, we stayed in St. George with Brayden's grandparents. We loved visiting and being together with them too.
Sunday, October 9th. Brayden's mission farewell. The last few days have been really chilly and rainy, but we woke up to a beautiful, sunny fall day. As we arrived at the church, not only were we grateful to be there with our ward family, but to have so many family and friends there in attendance was amazing and wonderful. We are so blessed and thankful to have so many people come and support Brayden at this time as he has prepared to go to serve the people in Argentina.
Brayden was asked to speak on "Personal Revelation" and gave a beautiful talk. After the meeting we came back to our home to enjoy some food and to visit with all those who came. It was a packed house with family and friends!