Monday, December 26, 2011

Hello Family!

So so good to talk to you all yesterday! I can t believe how fast it went, but it made my day! I hope that everything else went well for you all and that you were able to enjoy the presents that you got! For me talking to you guys was the greatest present and so fun to already see how different everyone is looking. After I got of the call I went into the other room for a Christmas Lunch. The members that let us come to their house also cooked us some delicious pasta, so we ate for a bit. Most of the time I kept quiet (thinking about the call and cause there was like 10 Argentines talking at the same time! ha makes things difficult). We were over at their house for most of the afternoon until we left for the Pinch. Rules this year were that we had to be in Pinch by 6 so when we got there we decided to go up to "the nesting spot" on the roof to enjoy Christmas night! (Kendyl please notice the matching Toms) I read from Jesus the Christ about the birth of the Savior and wrote in my journal, a very peaceful night. I love how James E. Talmage writes and was able to learn a lot about the story. The rest of the night was really calm and now we're onto the week. Right now we are going to have a zone soccer game in San Vicente! It is always a blast to be able to get with the other elders. We have so many great Elders here that are so so fun to be with! I am out of time, but I'll fill you in next week! Happy Christmas to everyone there, I hope it was everything and more for you guys! I love you all so much. You mean more than anything! I love Argentina and love the love of My Redeemer. He came and He did the will of the Father. He lived for me and continues to live for all of our benefit. I LOVE being a missionary! I pray the spirit of CHRISTmas will be with all of you!

Take care!
Elder Jolley

Elder Lewis and Elder Jolley spending Christmas with a member family

Merry Christmas!

Christmas evening on "the nesting spot" of the pinch

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hello family! 2 months have come and gone today.. I don´t know how, time goes by so fast! Today are transfers and one of the Elders from our Pinch left for casa today, it was so strange to see someone go home and even though I have a long time to go I just dread the thought of going home! Also yesterday with Chris´s farewell I was following the hours and what would be going on during the day with him. I felt like that was yesterday and am just in awe by the blessing from my dear Savior who has blessed me up to this point. I hope all that went well.

Well my week! Nothing but experiences and opportunities to see the Lord's hand. I loved in Elder Jolley Sr. email he talked about how we don´t know the final outcome of what the Lord is doing with our missions, but my thoughts have been amazed at all the possibilities that are going to come. Argentina has been pretty cold this week. (Remember how I told the guy that I didn´t need an umbrella until winter.. Well it dumped one day as we were walking!) so it has given me a new perspective. This week I have been able to learn a lot, with a lot of help from Elder Lewis. He continues to be so patient with me as I learn to work out little bugs in my missionary self. He is a capo! We´ve been able to teach a little bit this week and have a couple solid investigators that we´re really excited to keep teaching. One is this old Bolivia man who LOVES to work! He told us this last week that 2 hours of sleep is just fine for him, other than that he just goes all day! He is really smart and has a great desire to learn! Most of the people that we find down here in Argentina wonder about why there are so many churches... hmm boy do we have a story to tell them! The restoration has come to be something new as we teach it. I have loved learning how significant it was to have a restoration, but more than that, that there is a way highlighted that they can find out for themselves! We have lots of people shout at us saying that all we do is say fancy words to ¨win the people over¨ but if nothing else the restoration helps them decide for themselves. One lady that we have been teaching named Sylvia has been to several different churches and this week, we invited her to pray and find out for herself. She did, but she was confused as to what she should be looking for as an answer! This opened up such a great lesson for us. We taught her about the fruits of the spirit and at the end of the lesson invited her to say the closing prayer, she did, and was overcome with a feeling of tranquilida from the prayer. As missionaries we sometimes promise people things with the hope and faith that because our Heavenly Father loves us that He will answer, it is a leap of faith for us to promise those things on our own but in this experience it built my testimony that the spirit would be given! That all things that testify of the truth will be visited by the comforting power of the Holy Ghost. Teaching is definitely so new in spanish, but I love being able to practice!

The highlight of the week was the baptism that we had for The family Cordoba/Larrea yesterday. It was a family of 4 and it was an amazing service! The family is really quiet and is just comfortable how they are, not very outgoing or anything like that but just so nice! I was able to baptize the boys and Elder Lewis baptized the girls! Baptisms are so incredible. We are able to see the power of the Atonement in a new and SO powerful way. These people are completely cleaned and to be able to see that is more than a blessing. Modesto (the dad) as we were walking to the font was literally jumping up and down just giddy with excitement, he is not like that at all! The spirit was so strong there and I felt like jumping up and down with him but had to refrain!

Buenos Aires continues to grow on me everyday that I am here. The people and the culture are so funny, but I love it so much! Lately Elder Lewis and I have got up on the roof of our pinch the enjoy the night sky of Buenos Aires and I stand all amazed at what the Lord is doing for me. I finished Alma today as a goal for the transfer and have such a love for this book and testify that it is true! It will teach us truths that we must have in our lives! Hard to believe that we all are gonna be talking this week. Hope all is well for you. May we remember our dear Savior this week and realize what He did, it's different to remember in 90 degrees and humidity, but it is the reason for the season!

Love you all and am grateful to my Heavenly Father for you and pray for you all!
Les amo
Elder Jolley Jr.

Cordoba/Larrea family baptism. (Modesto-dad, Norma-mom, Dana and Nahuel)

Enjoying the beautiful night sky on our roof- a new thing we´ve started to do.

Enjoying some home made (from the bag) pasta!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Heyllo! (this is the Argentine version of Hello that we get when they see Americans passing by!)

How are you family? So good to hear from you and to hear about things that are going on back at home with your ¨seasonal¨ fun. Today I watched a Mormon Message clip on the spirit of Christmas. It showed a family that was going through financial struggles and was worried about what presents they wanted. Meanwhile the little girl of the family was busy creating a nativity scene amidst all the contention over material things. As she finished the family went in to figure out what she was up to and found her reverently adoring the figure of Baby Jesus! It definitely silenced the family and silenced me at the same time. This week we stayed in the Pinch for two days while Elder Lewis was pretty ill (he drank some really bad water and felt the affects of it.. poor guy), but this gave me an amazing opportunity to study study study! I also read about Our Savior and His willingness to give up His life in order to grant our Eternal Life. I'm amazed. Watching that clip today I gained a stronger love for my Savior as He came to complete His fathers will, knowing what He would go through, but still He came. The Spirit of Christmas really is the Spirit of Christ. That He came and still will come as we open our hearts to Him.

Our work has been really slow these last couple weeks and has been a little speed bump for me. We´re in a big ¨finding¨ stage of our work right now, because we still lack a lot of investigators, our overall goals for the week have really decreased. So much of missionary work is realizing your goals, which help you be accountable with the time that we have been given from our Father in Heaven. So when we get really low in those it´s sad.. but thanks to Elder Lewis, he´s calmed me down and helped me to realize there are different stages in a mission and that as we keep working that we´re still keeping busy in His work, it´s just preparing to do the better work of baptizing. Find then baptize! He has been such a blessing to me, he´s a capo missionary who sees things differently than I do, but ends up opening my eyes wider to what I can do better. It has really helped put me into a ¨student¨ position. When I learn something I get really excited and I just want to go crazy and do it, but this isn´t the BEST way. We need to wait for the spirit to finish teaching then go forth and do. Speaking of the spirit, I´m amazed from your letters how incredible you all are and am learning so much from you. With this house stuff so much of what I´ve heard is that "I feel calm, I feel good, we feel comfortable¨, what better workings of the spirit can we have and truly I know that the spirit is guiding this family to things that are better than we know! Keep listening to these small ¨ordinary¨ feelings that we have that testify of the spirit.

You asked about my ward here. Such an amazing ward with so much room to grow! There are tons of strong and amazing saints here that really keep this church going here in Longchamps. It´s very small but everyone knows everyone. I´m still learning to get to know them as I learn to speak better, both are coming along slowly but surely. I try and keep an unusual smile on my face on Sundays to make up for my lack of conversational skills. Thank heaven there are like 9 different greetings that you are allowed to use here in Argentina, all of them mean the exact same thing, but it´s totally good to use them all! haha So I usually cycle through 'em all with one person then move on to the next! :) I´ve been so blessed with the language here and it is really coming so quick. I´ve been able to understand people so much more this week and my vocabulary is growing. The spirit is so amazing in helping me grow with the language!

On Saturday we went to an Hermano Tito´s house (he´s our ward mission leader) to do service for him. He wanted to chop down like half of a tree in front of his house, my American mind reverted to chainsaws, South America handed me the sweetest Lamanite tools I´ve ever seen! They basically are sharpened slabs of metal with a handle! I´ve been reading from the war chapters in Alma and I felt like I was right in the middle of it doing this project! We got the tree done and went in for an Asado. I can´t remember if I´ve explained an asado, but it´s basically a feast of meat. This time we had an asado of pollo, it was delicious and we also had a bunch of other Argentine Original food! I love it so much, it´s different, but so good! And I know what ya´ll are thinking, ¨watch the cheeks and the gut¨, but actually I´ve lost a good 15 pounds since getting here so all is in check!

We´re still tracking down skype info so I´ll let you know when I can! Please wish Chris good luck for me and give him a good 'ol bro hug for me!

Thanks all so much for your support, love, and prayers. I can´t explain what it has done for me! I testify of our Lord and Redeemer. He is mighty to save and what an opportunity to share that glad message! Tengan una mejor semana todos! Les amo tanto, y sé qué nuestra familia serán juntos por la eternidad a traves de Jesucristo.

Elder Jolley Jr.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hey everyone!

How is everyone! I loved hearing all about your week and all the fun Christmas things that are happening around there.. It's so so weird to hear you guys talking about being cozy and snuggly by fires and what not, to me that's crazy! It is really nice though because it definitely takes my mind off anything that is going on at home! I just don't think about Christmas or anything like that right now. What a blessing! This week has been great though, TONS of walking! I have been very tired during the day from going from place to place, but there is strength that comes from doing this work! So long as we are obedient without compromise or without "a little rest" here or there we are blessed with success and somehow a new source of energy! Obedience is such a powerful principle and seriously is EVERYTHING in a mission, but also in life as well. Dad, I loved your experience that you shared with us and it was golden to how our Heavenly Father blesses us. I think I've said before that we have been a little without investigators for the last couple weeks, well we needed to change that so we have been doing a lot of contacting which have made our other goals and stats really low, obviously you want to see all of your goals completed so that was a bit of a bummer, but I couldn't be more excited to see what happens this week. We have been SO blessed by the Lord to find people that I believe we are gonna see baptized. It's funny, but an amazing experience, to feel as you are talking with someone the interest level they have and also just the good feeling you get! You can almost picture them with a role in the church at that moment so I pray things go well this next week!

Also this week we had Elder Aidukiatis come for our Zone Conference (yeah i guess we had one this week). Everyone the day before was talking about his reputation of "bajando la caña" a little bit and just being a really mean guy. He spoke to us for about 6 hours on how we need to improve and especially how we need to Open our Vision more on all the things that we are capable of doing! I loved it, he did get after us for not doing things good, but that's what needs to be said. I was really grateful for his strictness because it is going to bless this mission! He talked a lot about planning and how important that is in our work! It's tough to plan and requires a lot of faith, but I can't tell you how much it pays off! Oh I wish I could tell you guys everything but time says No. He was incredible though and really was a blessing to me on things that I need to be doing better!

Still I am learning a lot and have a long way to grow, but I am very grateful for the Elder Lewis. He is a capo! He keeps me on the ground and really helps me learn how to do things here in the field. I love this scripture in Alma 38:

For I know that thou wast in bonds; yea, and I also know that thou wast stoned for the word’s sake; and thou didst bear all these things with apatience because the Lord was bwith thee; and now thou knowest that the Lord did deliver thee.

5 And now my son, Shiblon, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your atrust in God even so much ye shall be bdelivered out of your trials, and your ctroubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

Such a great reminder that our success comes from patience! What a great attribute that our Savior shows, and oh how badly I need it! As I have been taught to have patience and to trust more in my Heavenly Father, I know and am so grateful to have been delivered from overwhelming trials. Also in Alma 37:40-47 (please read it!!) it talks about how much the scriptures help in our life! It's a delicious feast in Alma! South America is growing on me. I love this place, there's so many things that are just amazing. There is a place called Villa Paraguay in our area and each Sunday night different barrios get together to have a HUGE soccer competition on this dirt field! Soccer here is so fun to watch because it is so competitive! I try and get in on whatever action I can. Last night walking back to our Pinch there were two kids kicking a ball around, I kindly asked them to show me some tricks and they kindly did! Next I kindly asked them to pass the ball my way... kindly I was ignored! haha Being American sometimes is a joke to people when it comes to soccer, but its okay I have fun with it! Elder Lewis was dying laughing as I sat there waiting to get a pass for a little bit but it never came!

Love you guys tons and thanks for your emails! Also just in case you don't know, letters need to be sent to the mission office (Quintana 447 Adrogue Buenos Aires 1846).

Elder Jolley Jr.

Elder Jolley making some melonessa in the apartment

Elder Jolley with a recent convert named Franciso Acuna!,
they go to his house every Sunday for lunch