Monday, January 30, 2012

¡Querido Familia!

How are you? What a boost I get to hear about all your experiences in the week! I pray for you all and hope the best for you! Again I can´t help but exclaim how much I love our Savior and how much I can see His hand in our lives. In yours and in mine.

I´m gonna dive right in, Transfers hit and I´m out of Longchamps! It was a sad goodbye to many families and a big hit leaving the Elders that were working in the Longchamps with me. Yesterday was filled with thoughts and a rollarcoaster in my tummy! I felt exactly how I did as I flew into Argentina, just anxious for what the Lord has in store. Something that I learned these last couple transfers is how to be patient with the Lord and with myself. We´ll call it the "theme for the transfer." We cannot comprhend the things that the Lord does and we know not what is best for us. What we want and what He wants is completely different. I have learned.. His way is SO great! As I thought about that yesterday, I tried to review what I had done, did I do all He wanted me to do, did I do all I could with my time? As I thought about that, I was just filled with a peace and comfort as I received a few incredibly nice letters from people that I was able to meet in my time in Longchamps. I realized that what I thought I wanted to do with the people, wasn´t what the Lord did with me. As President Stapely says, as we sanctify ourselves and do all we can to follow what we are asked to do we will be prepared to meet the people the Lord has waiting for us.

I have been asigned to Villa Fiorito!! I am with an Elder Merritt from Bear Lake, Idaho! :) We have already talked about those delish raspberry shakes up there. He came with Elder Lewis and is an amazing Elder! His spanish is great and will be a huge blessing in my life. He and I have a lot to work on here in Fiorito and a lot to improve but I know that the Lord has a purpose in me being here! He´s a stud and I can´t wait to learn a lot from him. Villa Fiorito is a great area and is pretty similar to Longchamps. More city type feel but also this is the first time I´ve been here so we´ll see how it goes. We are going to meet with the branch president tonight and we´ll be getting to know the members more and more too!

I feel terrible for ending but the time for email was cut a little bit! Elder Lewis and I had and incredible week in Longchamps. We worked hard to focus ourselves on progressing investigators and as we did we were blessed to find those who were truly prepared. I know with all my heart that the Plan of Salvation is the key to happiness. More and more my eyes are opened to the blessing that it is and my understanding of the purpose of this life grows! Families will be together forever if founded on Jesus Christ our base! I love you all my family so very very much and am grateful for your strength! I feel your love and pray for the Lord's choicest blessings to be with you all.

More from Fiorito next week!
Con Amor
Elder Jolley

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hello Family!

How is everyone?! Glad to hear that you guys made it through this week without dad! I was really thinking about you all and hoping that everyone would be okay, and from the sounds of it we have yet another blessing from our Heavenly Father through neighbors and macho younger brothers! I hope that you all continue to do well and know that you are in my prayers! I am still so blessed by your example of obedience. :)

Alright so I have a confession to make.. I was getting myself prepared all week by writing more diligently every day in my journal about experiences and people that I could share with you all but I forgot it in the rush of cleaning up broken glass and fear of the Siesta falling of Longchamps. So I will do my best but my memory is.. a little more than parr! (I can´t remember how that phrase goes.. shoot proved my case!) but I promise that I will have more people and story experiences next week because I know I have been slacking on that. So I apologize for any boring emails I´ve sent.

Along with the broken class story though, Elder Rios and I were kicking the pelota around this morning in the pinch and it was just fine until we started to pick up the skill level of our kicks. We would juggle it a couple times then try and kick it, well I got the juggling and kicking down really well and like Messi I launched SUCH good tiro into a light bulb.. :) That game stopped. And with the Siesta, I don´t know if I have told you guys about it to much yet. Here in Argentina everything shuts down for 3 or so hours.. everything. And when it is right in the middle of the day it can get a little tricky if your not on top of your time. To me it is sometimes a pain, and usually the hardest time of the time when we experience the most "fodged" citas. As a culture, we (ha we´ll consider us as Argentines) eat SO much for lunch and hardly anything for breakfast and maybe nothing for dinner. So after lunch everyone experience a wave of "Fiaca" or just a wave of laziness come over them and everyone just wants to go to bed! This is terrible but something that is easily overcome as we come to desire to work our hardest for the Lord.

This week we had a lot of good lessons, I definitely feel like my understanding of the lessons is coming along but there is still so much to become familiar with as we strive to understand according the what preach my gospel teach THEN TEACH by the spirit according to what we have learned. We sometimes have a difficult time engineering our lessons to the people and it´s easy to get into a routine of saying the same thing. For me this also translates over to the language. If we are saying the same things then I´m getting no where with my castellano. Having 2 American Elders is hard for the reason. We struggle to speak castellano tons. So to answer your question mom, I am feeling more comfortable in my understanding but there is a funny thing about being comfortable, the Lord, in my opinion, never wants us to be to comfortable! This is something I am afraid of!! If we are comfortable, we are then stuck in a rut of non progression. This week I took the opportunity to do another "grito" in the train with an Elder Lem! We shared a message about the Book of Mormon. In the message my castellano was flowing great and the day after I felt like my speaking ability was incredible... The next day I became "uncomfortable." Nothing could come out of my mouth and it was tough.. just tough! But what a blessing to be humbled and to be reminded that we are ALWAYS being guided by a loving Heavenly Father!

Time is short today I´m very sorry, better news next week with Translados this week, I´ll let you know what happens. A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to mama this Saturday! (Your letter will be about a week late.. I´m sorry! Mail here is a mess but it is on its way!)

Quiero expresar mi testimonio de nuestro Salvador Jesucristo y su amoroso expiacion que el hizo por nosotros. Que amor y que bendicion que tenemos a causa de este expreccion de nuestro hermano mayor. He tenido la oportunidad a estudiar las bendiciones de este sacrificio este semana y ¡Que tesoro que es! Les invito a buscar por algunos escrituras que encontré: D&C 45:4-5 y D&C 19:16. En estes escritures sé que podemos encontrar un amor y gratitud mejor por lo que el hizo. Me asombré al amor que el me ofresca en su expiacion. Testifico, sin duda, que hay poder cuando encontremos este gozo. ¡Les amo y les oro! Tengan una semana espectacular.

Elder Jolley

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hey Family!

How are you all?! So good to hear from you all and to hear about the different experiences and views that each of you have of your week. Sorry to hear about the bummer Ogden trip! I really hope that you all get the chance to head up today and there is a light at the end of the tunnel ya? Again I wish that I could be there to be helping you all out but I know and can see that you are being blessed by our Heavenly Father. His ability to help in times of secret is incredible to me. Right now especially I know that He is heavily involved in our work right now, just depends how much we are wide we are willing to open up our eyes. I need mine to get a little wider in order to FEEL His love more in my life. I pray that you all will be blessed with the ability to make it through.

Let's see my week.. well first of all I don´t think that I will ever read Elder Jolley´s emails before sending mine again because I just feel lazy right now! What a growth he has made and he sounds completely different. Busy guy, we´ll just pretend that "because of time" I won´t be able to tell about all my travel and transfer stress.. there has been a lot! ;) Haha.

No my week has been good and continues to teach me new things and requires a lot of new abilities that I don´t have all the way yet but there isn´t a better way to stretch. This morning I studied just a few of the "expectations" that we as missionaries are expected to do in our time here. Preach My Gospel is a dream and is such an inspired book for these type of questions. I was reading about the power of our setting apart. In that section it talks about how we need to: love those we serve, know the scriptures, be obedient, be worthy of the companionship of the spirit, honor the name of Jesus Christ, and do OUR best! Very simple expectations but like you all know I like to complicate things, just.. ya know.. because. Our mission focus is "Yo Creo" and I am learning (like all of us it seems) to believe in our Heavenly Father, that He knows what´s going on.

Elder Lewis is our District Leader and because of that he has had to do a lot of inter cambios (can´t remember what those are in English.. sorry) but that has given me a lot of opportunities to work with other missionaries in our zone and also to take charge of our area for a day. This week I went on one with our zone leader Elder Larsen. He has the same time as Ryan so it was kinda fun thinking that this is how Ryan would be if I was working with him. We got shut down pretty hard that day, nobody likes to be in their houses at the right times but we still found 4 new people that day. From Elder Larsen I learned a lot about time management and how effective we can be if we enter into a lesson with a better purpose. This was Tuesday.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were all relatively similar. A lot of people not in the houses. More and more the Lord has been showing me the importance of weekly planning and planning in general. We should have a MEANINGFUL activity for every hour of the day and it all starts with planning. This has been a struggle that Elder Lewis and I have had, to make plans, but slowly we are improving and it was especially helpful these few days when we had to fall to our back up plans.

Saturday we had an amazing lesson a la capilla. The other day we were on the collectivo and I noticed some guy starring at my plaque and squinting to read it, I didn´t do anything about it. But while we were out walking later that day we passed by a house and I saw this same guy just sitting in their yard. We walked past and the memory of him starring flooded into my memory. Quickly I walked back and started to talk with him. His name is Eloy and he doesn´t have anywhere to live. The house we saw him at was his sisters and it was lucky that we found him. We set a return visit for Saturday. We taught him about the Restoration and the importance that the church of Christ is built upon his foundation. He took to it and really is a prepared man. I look back at that moment and see it as circumstance but I realize now how much we were led to find him again. As we were contacting we saw this "back street" (boys.. ha get it?) and we weren´t about to go down it but Elder Lewis and I decided to try it out.. not thinking that anything would come from it. But we found him and have a baptism date for the 29th with Eloy!! I am humbled at how simple the spirit works but how great the results are!

I´m out of time but I know that the best counsel to improve our desires in the gospel is to increase our understanding of the Atonement. Like Lehi, this gift is precious, is pure, and is available to others also. But not until we have partaken of it ourselves. The Atonement it incredible! We MUST use it in our lives. We MUST come to understand what power it has in our lives.

I love you all so very much!
Elder Jolley

PS I would love the emails from Elder Reiber if ya can! Love ya´ll.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Buenos Dias from Buenos Aires!

Good morning Family! How are you all?! Wow your week sounded depressing, but I´m so excited for you guys to be moving forward in this process. I can´t even tell you how amazed and grateful I am for our family! There is nothing to describe the blessing that you all are as I read and am instructed because of you examples. I hope that our Heavenly Father will bless and support you all with ALL of His love and peace as you continue to take the steps to follow our Savior. I know that He is able to do many things as we wait on Him. Speaking of which, that has been a golden topic for everyone this past week. Every email I read! This has been a difficult thing for me to overcome the past week... I continue to push myself because of my desires and because of what I want to become. Because of that I feel like my progress has been put on hold as a missionary. It has been really lonely as I realize that I am pushing myself away from the only one who can help me! When we come to depend on someone, sometimes we take advantage of that person. This has definitely been my case. Getting back to that point is life or death right now for me. As a companionship we are learning so much and have SO much to come that will allow us to bless others so I´m taking seriously how much the Savior is needed in this process.

This week we worked with a lot of new investigators that we have found and it has been great to begin to help them progress in the Gospel. We met with a couple that are AMAZING their names are René and Elaina. They are both looking to be baptized (..hmm we might be able to help?), but are really serious in searching every option. We had an amazing first lesson with them about the prophet Joseph Smith and his humble search for truth. They LOVED it, but when we went back a couple days later we found a different answer than what we were thinking. Elaina said that she had been "sick" that week because of wanting to know so when Saturday came she decided to attend her old church and she told us that it was "like coming home! Everything felt right." NOO! Not at all what we taught, so that was a bit frustrating but allowed us to give a great lesson on the Book of Mormon. Throughout my time on my mission I have been really trying to study and gain a stronger testimony of the Book of Mormon and really have come to realize how much of an influence that it was in my time before my mission. Never can I remember any HUGE experiences with it, but I can think back to every difficult time that I went through and as I began to read the Book of Mormon again, somehow things would start to click again. My camino (can´t think of the ingles word) was turned back towards our Savior. Doesn´t matter what it was, friends, school, or anything in between. The Book of Mormon has a power within its pages to change the course of one's life. That has been something that we have been focusing on giving to people, the NEED to read the book of Mormon. So with René and Elaina I am excited to see (tomorrow) what is new in their search for the truth!

This week was exactly the opposite as last week. FLEW BY! But I will share an amazing experience we had yesterday. We have a recent convert named Francisco (fun name to say... name that movie :) ha) anyway.. He and his family live in the absolute campo of Argentina with practically nothing to live with. Their house is made of wood and nearly uproots in a storm. Our Bishop pulled me aside after the reunion and asked us to go by and ask about the condition of the family. He was concerned they were without food. Turns out that he was right. They had nothing to feed them and their 4 little kids. Heartbreaking/humbling experience. He does have one of the strongest testimonies of our Savior and continues to show remarkable faith and desire to give everything he has to others. He told me that he doesn´t do anything to help. I realized though how much he had done for me with nothing but a simple testimony and a burning desire to do good for others. What a testimony! I assured him that even though he can´t do much work with his hands that he had done wonders for me. Our Savior, to my knowledge, never spent His days with a hammer and nails building secure places for others to live, but He through His example gave them security and protection in "the mansions that His father has prepared." From him I know that the power of kind words and living our testimonies does more than any sweating service project could do! These people have nothing but to their Savior and others they are willing to give everything. Their example is amazing! I am grateful to my Savior who desires to help through His Atonement have and do give me strength. We are sometimes far away from Him, if we read the Book of Mormon and have but a desire to be better and try our best to act on that we will again find security in His love.

I love you all. I think about how incredible this time is in our lives and how amazing you all work in order to follow our Savior. Thank you!

-Elder Jolley

Monday, January 2, 2012

¡Feliz Año!

Shoot this was the longest week ever! Seems like forever that we talked, but so much good has been going on down here in Buenos Aires. We have been blessed with a glorious wave of heat and my new friend humidity!! Ha looking at your pictures, it is a completely different vista than what I´m used to. Sorry about the lack of snow.. that always makes things less than fun, I hope things start to change for you all! Hearing about your New Years and the last week of Christmas Break was so great! Sounds like you guys were able to get a lot done and mix some holiday fun in, ice skating.. not to bad! Seeing those pictures, all of you are looking so different. "Reppin" some new styles on us. New Years was awesome here, such a new and great experience with all the fuegos artificiales y cohuetes that everyone celebrates with down here! We passed the New Year with The Meneses family. I love this family so so much! They all are members and she is the one that washes our clothes and does so much to bless our lives as missionaries. We had dinner with them and were able to play around with the kids a lot that day! When we got back to the pinch we took care of our planning and went to bed... Happy New Year! :) It´s so funny to realize how different things are now, I think about "hanging out" past 10:30 now and just get a disgusting taste in my mouth, it´s so foreign.

This week we have really seen a change in the work. Before we´ve had tons of little rough edges that have put us behind of where we´d really like to be with reaching our goals and furthering the work here in Argentina. We´re starting to smoothen (is that a word?) out the edges and I know that as we´ve done that the Lord´s hand has come into our lives. The plan now is just to keep working on improving. The mission I´ve come to recognize this week is a process, so much we want things right now in our lives but that hinders the plan that Christ has for us. Each of us is loved more than we can imagine and because of that He knows what we are going to be, we don´t have any clue. As we all try and put on "the character of Christ" we gain a testimony that these things work. That´s great. But what does it profit us if only our mind is putting on that character? A lot of learning and growing has happened this week and I´m so excited to put into practice- over time -the things that I need to learn. I think that is something we´ve all been busy working on. Trusting our Savior more through our actions. I know when we do, WOO, things change so much for us.

We have been working with this couple named Gabriel y Cynthia the past couple weeks and had an amazing lesson with them last night. With our "smoothening" that we are doing we are working on becoming better teachers, last night wasn´t a good night-I thought- for us in teaching. Argentines LOVE TO TALK and they will talk forever about whatever, so you have to keep a leash on the lesson, well..last night "the bull got away from the cowboy" (enjoy the rodeo analogy) and I was a little frustrated. We taught the first vision, one of my favorite lessons to teach because of the changes that it brought and the changes that come into the investigators lives. I was able to tell them about Joseph Smith's experience, it was amazing and there was a different feeling. Cynthia apparently was filled with goosebumps and really understood that IF this was true then that would mean that all other churches aren´t the church of Christ. We invited her to pray and it was one of the best prayers that I´ve heard, so sincere and so hungry to know! I´m excited to follow up with them. I realized from this experience that we are 19 year old bad teachers, but it doesn´t matter, as we do what the Lord requires of us before then we will be blessed with the spirit! The spirit is so powerful and the best teacher! We had a lot of lessons this week where we were able to witness the spirit working in our teaching and it is the strongest testimony to me that the Lord is concerned, if we are perfect of not... not important. What are we doing to seguir adelante in Him? Trusting in Him and His miraculous Atonement brings all things into perspective and unbinds us from feelings of inadequacy or selfishness. It was the most selfless gift from our Heavenly Father and the most selfless act from our older brother, there is nothing like it!

I´m running short on time, but this was a great week and the Lord's hand is over all of us! I know it, and I can see it! He loves us so much and His comfort is only a prayer away. I love love love being a missionary for my Savior! I love you all so much and wish you a great 2012! ¡Les amo!

Elder Jolley