Monday, February 27, 2012

¿Que tal familia?

Ahh!! where in the world has the week gone.. No clue! I know that I only have 4 little months in the mission but I was in church the other day and I was blown away at where I was and how fast time has gone. As I thought about how fast this will go and the thought of not being in Argentina I made some lagrimas in my eyes... This time to be a missionary is just to amazing and I don´t even want to think about the time when I won´t be here.

This week I really realized how important it is to take advantage of every experience that we are given and how important every experience is to learn from, if we aren´t careful time with catch up to us and we will miss a growing opportunity with the Lord. I read the talk fromElder D. Todd Christofferson on the gift of Repentance and was just blown away at how incredible and how important it is to change.. more importantly to use the Lord to help us change. He mentions how sacred is the person that instead of just saying sorry, ASKS for time and opportunity to perform at the level that the Lord knows that we can!

This week I really tried to incorporate that into my prayers, to ASK not only for forgiveness but for opportunities to learn how the Lord wants me to. This transfer I have noticed a lot of change in ME personally.. A lot of need to sanctify myself and learn to put off theNatural man that I have. It has been a journey of patience, trial and error and worn out knees. BUT I know that the Lord does give us time and opportunity as we have the sincere desire to persevere until we learn. What a life this is!

This week was a great week! We worked hard and learned a lot of ways that we can apply to be more effective with our time and with ourInvestigators. A highlight of the week was the baptism of Soledad Acosta and her two twins, a boy named Enzo and a little nena named Pricila! I learned how much of a blessing this baptism was. At the beginning of the week she was still having troubles smoking and wasn´t really at the point where we thought she needed to be as far as understanding of the lessons but she had the strongest desire to be baptized. She always told us that she was sick of the "soledad thatshe was" and wanted to change and be new and better so that her kids would look to her as an example... Sounded pretty good to me, really what more can you ask for! As Elder Merritt and I prayed and prayed for her we were down to the wire with her. She had a couple things to get past, but after her interview she was ready to go and she was baptized! It was a great baptism and the spirit was very strong! Unfortunately she got water in her ear, a lot of it, and wasn´t able to show up for her confirmation.... Hmm. So we´ll be waiting on that special step to be taken.. Only a little bit important from what I´ve heard? Haha.

Sorry today we are pressed on time! I want you all to know how much I love you and how much I know that change is possible. Change is looked at or measured in leaps and bounds, but the Lord measures us and exalts us by simple means changes. One less doubtful thought, one more smile in the day, even one more thought of Him and we are promised La vidaeterna. How incredible is the rate of change that we can make within ourselves with our Savior at our side. He supports us in a way that is so tender as to eliminate all discouragement and fear. I love Him and this work. I know we are more than capable through our Advocate.

I love you all and hope you have a great week! This week is Zone Conferences so I´ll have a lot more next week! Perdón.

Elder Jolley

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dear Family!

Lots about St. George this week! Hope that it was a great time to relax after all the comotion for you all! I love to know before hand the things that you guys are doing and now to hear from your experiences I can picture how it all played out! Thanks so much for always keeping me up to date and in the loop!

Well four months has come and gone.. Huh!? No clue where time is going but it definitely gets tricky on me. I feel like I have come a long way but look forward to the remaining time that I am given to be the servant that I am capable of being. This week we worked real hard, walked an awful lot and tired our little legs out! Right now I feel like I´m getting the hang of Fiorito. I wouldn´t say that it is necessarily harder than Longchamps was just, that the work is different. We are "re-building" this area so there is a lot to do and Elder Merritt and I are trying to understand how this area needs to grow. This week we found a monton! 27 new investigators here! :) — the field is white and ready to harvest. We´re working with the investigators still to SHOW UP for the harvest... sometimes we can´t find them en casa. I still feel a little upside down when trying to figure out what to do, but I am learning and the Lord has given me a LOT of opportunities to learn, put in practice, and teach the little bit that I know. I feel very grateful for responsibility that I am given. I have had a rough time this week trying to maintain that responsibility. Sometimes we all want to have someone else take the first step, put that responsibility off on someone else. Instead of trusting what we know maybe we don´t press forward with faith but I´m coming to realize that that first step has been taken by our Savior, our way is marked and secure and it really is our faith in Him that allows us the courage to seguir adelante.

To answer some of your questions, our area is really different than Longchamps. To me Longchamps was more campo whereas Fiorito is more a lot of houses, buildings packed in together; more crowded if you will. It is closer to the city and has a lot of factories near it so it gives it a more smoggy feeling. I miss Longchamps for the fact that there isn´t as many "pretty views". Longchamps was filled with them! Our apartment is near the center of Fiorito. It makes it convenient if we need to run to the chino (supermarket) or whatever else. Here we have a lot more shops with cool little "do-dads" so I mean.. one never can be upset with "do-dads." :) This pinch only has very small windows so it´s an oven.. Ha interesting story. So the other night our ventilator was acting up and would turn on and off.. kinda strange but it was working fine as we went to bed so I didn´t think much about it. But I woke up at around 2 a.m. because I was supa sweaty....Ew. I look over at the fan and it´s going nuts! Then in that moment a little fire ball puffed out the back of it. No more fan. BUT thanks to some redneck wiring work we got some scotch tape and fixed er up! Elder Merritt is a great electricianist I found out!

Argentine eating is not the same, it´s strange. As missionaries we have 2 hours for a lunch and that´s it. We don´t have a time to take off for dinner. So we POUND during lunch and finish the day off with bread and water or juice and little cookies. A great start to your balanced diet :) haha. I´m doing fine though mama! Usually for lunches we llevar una bianda (a sack lunch) from the members. Usually it´s anything from melonesa, pollo, arroz, aveces papas o algo asi. It´s DELISH! I love Argentine food, don´t really have a preference.. I just like to eat!

One of the coolest things this week happened yesterday. We met a couple walking through the villa and started talking with them. All was good and we set a return cita for yesterday. As we were teaching them yesterday, I felt that things were just alright. The Tele was on and we were just wondering if the message was reaching them. This guy is an Argentine Polynesian! He is probably is 350+ pounds and has the COOLEST hair that I´ve seen! Ha! He is a super friendly guy with a sailor's mouth, but super great. As we gave them a Book of Mormon, we shared our testimony of the importance that this book has in our lives. We expressed our love for them and our desire to give them this book that had brought such a change in our lives. As I finished talking I looked over at Javier and he was crying!! It was a strange moment and I didn´t know what happened. He thankfully took the Book of Mormon then explained how many other religious missionaries have passed by in the past but he has never allowed them to come in. He doesn´t know why he let us in but I can only imagine the work that the spirit did in this family.
I´m so excited to get to talk with them again. I learned something very important, we aren´t perfect teachers as 19 year olds, but we have a perfect message with a perfect Savior to touch the lives of these people. I see my weaknesses magnified as we worked to just bring the spirit into the lesson. It went so different. But I was touched by what it taught ME!

I know how much I am imperfect, but I know how much better my Savior is making me experience by experience. I am humbled by the opportunity to be a missionary, it is teaching me to be a man of Christ, not of the world. I know He has an affect in our lives, we MUST look for Him and seek Him diligently. I know He is real.

Love you all and hope you have a great week.

Elder Jolley Jr

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dear Familia! Happy Valentines day.. Can´t believe we´ve arrived here already!

Glad to hear about your week and to be able to share in your experiences too!

Fiorito is continuing to progress as we are diligent in our work. We came out with about 13 more investigators this week! Which is a testimony to me of how much the Lord has prepared this part of His vineyard. The hardest part right now is getting the people to keep to their citas! In order for us to complete our purpose we can´t just find then baptize.. Ojala que, but we have to be able to teach them.. that is the struggle though! I would love to share some teaching experiences with you all but... I´m still waiting for them too :) How amazing of a test though, "after the trial of our faith" and diligence in not giving up or turning in early each day we are going to see miracles. It is hard sometimes to just walk place to place and not have anyone let us in, but I know without a doubt that we are trying and I know that the Lord is doing something with this time that we are given.

We did have a couple experiences that I´d love to share that have really strengthened my testimony. The first was when we were meeting with a family for the first time. They are give Evangelicas and so they know just about everything about the bible.. Intimidating- but not impossible! We were teaching the mom and the dad and as we covered the Restoration we were talking about how the church fell and how things weren´t being led by priesthood authority. Well, things just weren´t making a whole lot of sense to them. One of my goals this week has been to listen very close to the spirit. In this situation I was listening as hard as I could for something that would make sense to him. As we talking I realized that something that we explained could be explained in another way.. I thought I´d try it! As we talked things started to click for this man and the lesson was able to make more sense to him! WOW! I know in that situation that had we not listened things wouldn´t have gone anywhere, even though we could have said many things.. nothing would have had any relevance!

The second was just a personal blessing for me. Because we meet with a lot of people that are really aware of the bible, we are torn down a little bit for our church, yesterday we were told how our minds have been corrupted and the "blessed" is that our minds would be clear to not follow this church that we are in.. That was a mean thing to say i´ll add. But as I reflected on that I was put into thinking about what I know of this church and if I knew it was the truth. The introduction of the Book of Mormon came to mind, the last two paragraphs. (I invite you all to read it together) It talks about 4 promises that we obtain just from knowing that the Book is from our Heavenly Father. As I thought about the truthfulness of the church, and I will admit that my testimony was questioned, but I could not deny the divinity of the Book of Mormon. Even if this church isn´t true (but it is) I could not go without this book!! It was a special experience that testified of the promise given in the introduction.

I love this work and I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I KNOW the Book of Mormon to be the word of God and because of that I know that this is His church, preparing His children for the return of His Son. I am blessed beyond belief with the opportunity to exclaim to the world that there is Another Testament of Jesus Christ available to us! I hope that you all have a great week and that you will read with all diligence from this evidence that we have!

Elder Jolley

Monday, February 6, 2012

¡Buenas Tardes!

How are you all! Ah almost didn´t get the chance to come to ciber today, we had a zone activity today and it was prolonged too much so I´m so very grateful that I was able to get all your letters. Thank you very very much for the recap on your week and what a week it has been! The house looks good and cozy! Perfect :) and supa fresh livin´. The carpet looks fantastic.. day dreams of my carpet naps entered into my mind when I saw it. You all should try one out for me!

Fiorito! We sometimes don´t know what we´re in for while we are on the Lord's time, but he sure is going to help us find out! It has been a very productive and VERY tiring week. This has been one week that has put me pretty tired every day. But we want to work with unweariness and that has definitely been my goal this week. Fast walking and just go go go! Two Years... that´s all we get! Elder Merritt is awesome and has been very helpful to helping us get going in our work. We are working well together and both have a strong desire to work and to produce results. In this area there hasn´t been a lot of work done in the past, unfortunately there have been some trucho Elders here so we weren´t left with much as I came in. But we thrust in our sickle and grow where we are planted! One of our goals this week was to find as much people as possible and try and get a nest of investigators. We were so blessed to find 10 new investigators this week and I had a great testimony building experience everyday as we press on to complete this goal. I know without a doubt that the Lord is our guide and as we persevere we will eventually be blessed.

One lady named Graciela that we found yesterday was powerful! When we first talked to her she was telling us that she believes that she has been taught wrong in religion and that she just can´t find a church that allows her to feel comfortable... BIG SMILE and a raised eyebrow at that response!... Well, well do we have a message for you dear hermana! As she was talking to us about all these problems I couldn´t help but have probably the dumbest smile on my face! The message that we share is unlike any other. I have noticed a lot here in Argentina that a lot of religion is just based upon how much they ask you to pay in order to be baptized or if you like the pastor or not! What a blessing it is to freely give of this message and even better to Promise these people that they do not have to accept our words, in fact it is probably better that they don´t. But that our loving Savior is there to give the best response that they need, an eternal testimony that can burn in their hearts and give them goober smiles for no reason. It is a blessing that I cannot describe! I had the blessing to testify to her of the joy that I was filled with and the promise that she can feel the same. Isn´t this gospel incredible?!

It has been so hot here the last couple days with rain storms and humidity out of control! One of the days we got stuck in a down pour without an umbrella... that was a bummer! We came back just drenched. There has been a couple times that that has happened but it is actually really fun.. after the fact! I´m excited for February to be over just so we can start seeing some cooler temps but I´m not gonna tell you guys about that cause you´re in winter.

Right now we are excited to start meeting with these investigators a second time and really begin to help them progress. The first transfer after being trained really has been tough but such a blessing. I have really had to evaluate what it means to be a missionary and what it takes to work outside of your comfort zone. Every now and then I just have to wonder what in the world do I do here in Fiorito. It is a new way to think and I really know that something good is happening here, there is a change coming in Fiorito, there is SO much room to improve our branch so I´m excited to be part of this change and beginning to understand that it is by obedience and just unwearied perseverance that will get us to where we need to go. It is a journey but we know it is possible through our Savior.

Today I studied a lot about charity and love and found GOLD! I learned how important it is to be understanding! In Hebrews 2:18 it talks about what it means to succor. How He knows how to help us because He knows that this life is tough. It is amazing to me that our Savior had the same, if not more trials than we do but He was without sin! What a perfect foundation we have to build on!! He did it! This life and the problems that we are facing are possible. He understands that we aren´t perfect, no importa, He died anyway. He understands that we are going to fall into trials, no importa, He knows how to help us out! I know without a doubt my Savior is real. Time and time again I have proved myself right in this regard and time and time again I promise that He will prove His love to us! I know He understands.

I love you all so so much and can´t describe how badly I love this gospel. I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Jolley

P.S. Dear Mother. I know that is has been WEEKS that I have been promising pictures... This new area is a little more "sketchy" if you will and we're still trying to find out a good way to pull out the camera! I have TONS for you all but just want to be safe with my stuff. I am so so so sorry! Please forgive me and I promise that I have some coming! Thanks so much for yours! : ) I love you Mamma!