How are we all doin? This is still so weird for me to be on the other side of the world and be sitting in a very different place than where I was last week... I was actually talking to you all last week at this time! Hmm.. Argentina is great and beautiful. There really is such a difference from the United States. But it's good and has its own special traits that make it so cool and also so so corky.
The traveling all went pretty well and well.. I´m here so that´s a tender mercy right there. I was able to sleep most of the time on the plane, but they had this cool little tv that would show you where you were on the screen so I kept getting up and looking at where we were. I ended up seeing Cuba and Jamaica and Paraguay and all these places that you only see on a map, granted that I only saw them in the night time, but still you knew they were there. I sat next to this real ¨stalky¨ guy who took up a little bit of my chair so things were a little bit crowded, but I ended up sleeping good. When we got here luckily there was some senior missionaries that ended up taking me under their wing when we got off and helped me through customs because at that time my eyes were just as wide as they could be and everyone else around me was speaking some weird language. (this first week I´ve gotten incredibly good at my "intensely listening" face and the occasional nod that satisfies the people that I know what they´re talking about... I don´t!) President and Sister Stapley are awesome!! As we headed back to the mission home, because it was just me that they were picking up, I got to have a nice little chat with them, they fed me at their house and let me take a shower. Whenever I tell any missionary that here they are always so amazed and tell me how special my treatment was! They´re really kind though and helped me out a ton to get accustomed to everything.
My companion's name is Elder Lewis from Greenville Colorado, I believe, and he´s such a good guy! The Lord has blessed me incredibly so far with 2 amazing companions that have (and will) help me to grow so much! He´s a really funny guy we have a good time jokin' around about stuff as we walk. We´re in the Longchamps B area and cover most of the poor side of Longchamps known as the villas (veshas), it´s a really really humble area and most of these people live in the worst of circumstances, but couldn´t be nicer. The people of Argentina, as a culture, are really humble and LOVE missionaries! We have lunch appointments everyday and these people will give you everything and will serve you until you abruptly tell them NO! A lot of the area is covered in trash for the most part. The houses are usually concrete blocks or wood, only one room, but everybody usually chooses to be in these villas just so they can get funding from government and just not have to do anything! Mom, I think you asked what I would compare my apartment to. In high school there was a big thing to try and find Ted Bundy´s house during Halloween and stuff, well everyone has been looking in the wrong place! :) We found it here and decided to live in it! I can´t tell you HOW badly I miss your clean, mama! The first few days were extremely hard for me. Culture shock isn´t a joke and with my problem of getting my head too much involved in my life, I kinda had a mental breakdown. My body wasn´t really sick, but because I got thinking of all the things that I was faulting in and how different everything was it started to affect me pretty good! No worries though :) I live with 4 Elders and I think on Thursday they gave me a blessing, I slept for a while and I was good! I can´t tell you enough the power of our Father in Heaven's love. There are no words to describe the sweet redeeming power of the atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. I´m still having to refocus my mind here and there to not dwell on unimportant things, but as we bring our weaknesses to our Savior and lay them at his beautiful feet, somehow, we are made strong!? He has changed my life and continues to be the influence in my life that guides and directs me to a better way.
Thank you for your prayers, everyone! What a miraculous blessing they have been in my first week. Normally fresh ¨Yankee¨ elders get soo sick the first, but my stomach has been a champ! Food is weird here. Breakfast doesn´t really happen, usually just a bowl of cereal and dinner is usually some crackers or some bread with some meat on it! The majority of my eating has come from lunch! We´ve had a ton of Melonesa, which is just a think slice of meat covered in bread.. like breaded chicken? It´s delish, but we did have our first Asado on Friday! That's where we basically eat a cow :) and they don´t hold back on the parts! At this one we had just regular steak and sausage, but in the mix was chinchulin and Morsilla! Morsilla is sausage filled with cooked blood and chinchulin is intestine! Thanks to coke a cola I quickly swallowed the morsilla, but the chinchulin got me... I straight up puked! But we're hoping not to have that one again!
Most of the mission is a walking mission, but we do take the bus a lot! Bus rides are really fun cause usually we are laughing and joking around in English so all the Argentines look at us like we´re weird or start giggling, I haven´t figured out what´s funny yet? Most of the roads we walk on are dirt because they´re in the villas, but other than that it´s just a nice little town! It was funny, yesterday while we were walking to church, Elder Lewis and I were walking up one side of the calle and we saw some kid walking up to us, fairly normal, but outta nowhere he jumps on us and starts pushing us around and acts like he has a gun! We´re now up against a fence while this kid has his hand to my throat Elder Lewis gives him about 80 pesos. I was incredibly startled by this, but so so amused. Obviously I knew the kid wanted something, but as he was shouting at us in Castellano I just had to shake my head cause I had no clue what he was saying! Kinda funny being the one out of the loop in a robbing! Nothing happened other than him acting tough, he took the money and ran!
This week has been awesome and the area is awesome! So many people are accepting to at least the first lesson just cause Argentines like to talk, which also creates problems when you have to keep to a schedule because you don´t want to offend anyone by saying that you have to leave. On my first night here we went clapping down a street (oh you don´t knock here, you clap outside peoples doors) and we found this lady and her son who are seriously the happiest people you´ll every see. We sat down and talked with her and at the end she committed to being baptized! Hmm.. there ya go! We´ve taught her a couple lessons since and she´s just so accepting of everything. She has a date to be baptized on the 4 of December!
Yesterday was an awesome day! At church everyone is so so kind and loves missionaries so with me being the nuevo in the area everyone came up and offered their welcomes to me! It´s a very small ward with not a lot of people! I´m very excited to continue working with them! I was also able to confirm a man named Oscar in sacrament meeting. I forgot beforehand that it had to be in Spanish so I was praying my lights out for the gift of tongues! haha It´s still a weird concept that everyone speaks Spanish down here, I always find myself telling little kids stuff in English then getting impatient cause they don´t listen, that´s when Elder Lewis reminds me that I´m not speaking their language! Yesterday we also had a baptism for a mom and a son named Norma and Latauro! I was able to baptize Latauro who´s about 12 which was really good and an awesome experience in this first week!
Oh man I love you guys so much! I show everyone the pictures that I brought and I get to try and brag to them how amazing you all are! Such a beautiful thing to have a family like you guys who have done so so much for me! For Christmas I really am just excited to talk to ya´ll. I would love a ton of those Quaker porage packs for the mornings :), that´s all I could think of!
I wanted to share a thought from 1 john 4:18-19. It says, ¨There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that hath fear is not made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.¨ The love that comes for our Father in Heaven is amazing, it´s something else. I´ve learned and experienced this love a lot this week with my fears that come from the mission. But I know with all my heart that we have a Father that sits in his heavens and cares and comforts his children. There is nothing that will separate us from that love! He lives and because He loves we will live and can love others. Fear is nothing but a lack of love! I´m working on loving my Savior more and with that I can literally feel my fears being taken away!
Love you guys so very very much!
Elder Jolley (Jr.)