Monday, March 26, 2012

Hey everyone!!

Wow how time just flies! Glad to hear that you all decoded my message last week, good news is that we´ve got a high class keyboard going on right here and that we´ll hopefully make more sense today!

Today has been a great day, we´re together with the district today going around and crossing things off the list. I love in this area, how much more involved the district is, we really make it a point to get together and do things to help benefit each other. A really good experience that we had this week was on Friday. Our district leader, Elder Tantachuco had some training on weekly planning so we reunioned ourselves and really tried to figure out how to be better planners... I learned that isn´t the best idea to get six 19-20 year kids together just yet, a little maturing needs done on our part! Ha We had a good time and we were able to share lots of ideas on how to help investigators and progress in our areas. I learned a really powerful lesson that really has changed my idea of my mission. The past couple weeks we haven´t had to many opportunities to meet with investigators, so unfortunately our desire for baptism hasn´t really reflected when we set our goals. We had a great moment to reflect on our last couple weeks and be able to see that the Lord truly gives according to the desires of our hearts. I was humbled greatly in that moment and recognized my need show my Heavenly Father my desires to complete with my purpose. Elder Merritt and I had a couple of evaluating moments and moved forward with faith. That afternoon we weren´t able to meet with a couple less active families, so on our way to visit a few contacts that we had done, we walked in front of a couple Pibes that were sitting outside. They called us over to talk about "la palabra" usually this is a moment to pretend that you don´t know castellano and just keep going forward, but we decided to head over and talk to them. Turns out that this kid was really great! His name is Cristian and he has grown up in rough experiences. We talked with him a little bit about what we do and what it is that we teach. After a minute some more of his friends came up and started to talk to us about their beliefs and their doubts in religion and in God. Haha Elder Merritt and I had an interesting teaching moment as we ended up separating and teaching 2 different groups. He taught to these kids about our purpose here in life and how important God is to us. I was able to talk and bear testimony to Cristian of the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.. ah!! Nothing greater than to testify of that! I felt the spirit very strong as I also saw that the spirit had had an affect on this kid as well. He admitted to his desires to leave from the bad habits that he had and told me that he believed that our Savior could be of help to him. Wow! We had a great lesson with these guys and were given a huge tender mercy that after 2 weeks without finding any investigators we were blessed to find 3... just by being directed by our Heavenly Father. I learned how much "better gifts" our Heavenly Father is capable of giving when we set our desires with steadfast faith in Him. This Wednesday we´ll be having interviews with President Stapely! I am so excited, I love that man and excited to be able to receive more direction from Him.

This week was such a lesson learning week. I feel like Fiorito is just a huge refining fire. I have noticed a huge pattern in my time here. A moment of confusion and hardship as my faith is tested, followed by some aspect of the work that the Savior wants me to be more responsible and according to our obedience and diligence in growing we are flooded by blessing and miracles, things just fit together without explanation. A theme for our mission has been to Sanctify ourselves so that we are worthy of the companionship of the spirit. This week I focused myself in Humility. Humility I now know is such a key attribute that we must require in order to become as Nephi and Lehi taught, "humble followers of Christ." I think as church members this truly is our goal. I was a little confused on how to become a more humble servant of my Heavenly Father, with myself and my companion. I found in Helaman 3:34-35, PURE GOLD! It talks about the people of Nephi and the difference between the two types of people that were found, and what it was that they did to prevent themselves from falling into pride and be more humble disciples of Christ:

34 And they were lifted up in pride... Now this was a great evil, which did cause the more humble part of the people to suffer great persecutions, and to wade through much affliction.

35 Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.

MANY cries were made this week! I know that calling upon our Savior in our weak moments allows us to be strengthened in our weaknesses. I know that the Atonement of Christ is a strengthening and supporting power, and when we cry unto Him it strengthens our testimony and our faith in the Son of God! Time continues to fly.. I hope that you all have a great week. I love being a missionary and to have the privilege to declare to the world of the change that takes place as we cry unto the Lord in our weaknesses and as we strive to grow firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ. He is willing to lead us as we give more importance to Him in our lives.

I love you all and pray the Lords choicest blessings for you!

Elder Jolley

Monday, March 19, 2012

Heylo family¡ (I´m at a loss this week.. half the buttons aren´t working on the computer so upside down exclamations are the new cool thing¡¡¡¡

Wow what a week it has been¡ The first week of the transfer has been a great time to reflect and have the Lord help direct us in our work. I came away from the last transfer with a HUGE testimony of who is directing this work and was humbled even more to see the hand of the Lord touch our lives and prepare our paths. This week we worked hard to find a new set of investigators, to keep the work progressing and to be effective with our time. We have dropped a lot of our investigators because of lack of interest or because we can´t find them again. It is something that I am not a fan of doing, so much love and desire is had for these people as we understand more of their needs and just how perfectly the gospel of Jesus Christ will help them in their lives. Our purpose is to help (those that are prepared) to come unto Christ. I love in the Book of Mormon we are taught that we need to take care of the trees of His vineyard, some are ready and some need a little more time. But if we diligently work at it and if we come with the Spirit of the Lord, a seed of faith with be planted. So we opened our mouths a ton to try and find people and we came out with only one investigator.. Hmm. I was a little confused compared to what happened the last transfer.. but as we continued to work our eyes were opened to perhaps a better work that will help to complete our purpose. Without trying this week we found several Less active families that really have a desire to come to church, but don´t know where the first step is. What a blessing that this ¨rescuing¨ work is¡¡ I have come to love helping these families that started with a strong testimony make is back to the church.

We had a couple lessons this week that were really great¡ I think I´ve told you about Camila and Oscar. It is this young family that is really closed off and doesn´t like to talk to people, but LOVES us¡ We stopped by their house last Monday to help celebrate the cumpleaño of their little boy¡ It was a great time and were able to leave them with a very strong lesson of the importance of the family. We read from the Proclamación al mundo and the spirit was really strong as it testified of what the family can be. We invited them to be baptized and they said they just weren´t at that point yet... BOOO¡¡ But we´ll be working with them to help them act upon the commitments to help them have more faith in Christ.

Also we taught a family Solis that is a less active family. The first time we met them we were received incredible and invited them to begin to pray, (they went on vacaciónes for two weeks so not a lot was able to be done) but when we talked with them again they told us that they had acted upon the invitation and prayed several times, hand in hand as a matrimonio, and were blessed so much by that experience¡ LOVE when people act upon what the Lord has asked us to do. ¨I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say.¨ I know that that is the most real promise given to us. He will always comply with His end of the covenant. We have another cita with them this Thursday so I´ll let you know how they do¡

I had a really strengthening week this week as I studied about faith. Pte. Stapely shared Ether 12:27 with us and It was very powerful. I wanted to act upon that this week. I started by getting to know my Savior again, from the beginning. Understanding who He is and what It takes to have faith in Him and how we can in a pure way. I love the example of the Brother of Jared. He is a hero of mine. Ether 3: 26 really stood out to me:

¨For he had said unto him in times before, that if he would believe in him that he could show unto him all things—it should be shown unto him; therefore the Lord could not withhold anything from him, for he knew that the Lord could show him all things.¨

How simple no? Believe that He is, believe that He can do all things for us and He will show us who we can be. I love my Savior. He became more real to me this week, I know that He loves us and that He passed through the worst of all- despite all those that rejected and mocked Him... Pretty close relation to missionary work huh?- because He new that it would give eternal life to those that would just believe. What an incredible blessing¡

I am grateful for you all and for the blessing that you are in my life. There isn´t much to describe what a family truly means, but I am grateful to be helping the people here to understand a little bit of how I feel.

Love you all, have a great week¡
Elder Jolley

Monday, March 12, 2012

Good morning!!

Phew after a quick power outage we´re back on and ready to go! Thanks so much for all the emails and updates. Love hearing from you all and the new things that pick up in your lives. Today we are in Lanus, we dropped off some letters at correo, ate some delicious pizza and are back again at the ciber! Today has been the first monday in a few weeks where me and Elder Merritt have been cruising around solo! In this area we´ve done a lot more as a district. With transfers today though we weren't able to get together. Yes, that means we´re up for round 2 in da Fiorito! I'm excited and have my head on a little straighter of what it is that we need to do, a little more of "how to be a missionary" mentality. Elder Merritt and I are getting along great and I´m excited to keep learning and growing as we work together. Every companionship is completely different with two points of view, I´ve definitely learned a lot from his experience and have had to adjust myself in order to efficiently work with him and for the Lord. He´s a very funny guy. He has some incredibly funny sayings which keep me laughing and help distinguish him as Elder Merritt. It is going to be a great transfer, mostly refreshing to start over new and work on becoming more like Christ! That is the key.

This week we ate a lot with the members. Argentina food is sin sal (no salt). They don´t like spice really. So it´s a lot of rice with meat, or noodles with meat. We have this one hermana that cooks so so good. She makes up new recipes for us that keep the mouth on edge. I still cook up a mean bowl of cereal every morning and occasionally a mean bag of crackers. Haha I´ll come back knowing how to make something... I'm determined! But for the most part we are super taken care of by the members! Oh! So when I first got to Argentina it was my goal to eat everything that was offered to me.. oops! We were having a reunion with the President of our Rama (branch) and he ate an ant. Weird! I called him out on it and he then continued to surprise us by sharing his little past-time. Bug eating! :) If you remember off The Mummy those little scarabs, I think they’re called, well there is a minature version of those here. About the size of a little bigger than an ant. They nicely asked if I would like to try... :) delicious! Haha He said that you had to bite it in half so it wouldn´t crawl back up afterwards! It was kinda strange, but didn´t taste to bad. Gave a little spicy flavor for a second which was cool. Haha I love Argentina!!!!

This week we didn´t have very much success teaching people.. again. Kinda discouraging! This has been a tough week, but turned out with miracles around every bend! It started off with a girl named Elaina. She was a contact that we had who has had SO many family tragedies. Her son who was a huge mama's boy past away really.. unfairly. We shared with her the Proclamation to the Family and left her the invitation to read it, with our number. Thursday night we received a call from Elaina telling us about how much she loved what she read and that when we talked with her she had felt so much peace. Wow!! She ended the call by telling us to come by her house Sunday because she was going to church! ...okay I guess that would be something that we can do! :) We stopped by and gave her a Book of Mormon and invited her to read it! When Sunday came we went and picked her up and had an amazing day in church- I´ll talk about that in a minute. But she had ended up reading a good several chapters in 1 Nephi! I was blown away how willing she was to act on the peace that she had felt, trusting us (but even more trusting the spirit) to act upon our words. I testify and know how much the spirit is our tool and when used correctly can have a greater affect on the heart than any words! -Please keep in mind that we haven't even taught her a lesson or who Mormons are!

To end the transfer we had one of the best Sundays in my mission. The rama de Fiorito is very small and a little bit broken. I remember when I first got here the chapel and the reuniones (meetings) felt just incomplete and without life. People said that the rama was "asleep" and it really felt like that. We had a great opportunity to meet with several less active families and were able to help them back to church. Yesterday we were in a different place... The spirit filled the halls of the chapel and it felt like there was just this fire in the hearts of every member, everyone was just so happy. It was incredible! The rama is changing and that is what I love the most. I have seen the power of Love come into play as we’ve worked with leaders. -I will throw in a plug for home teaching, DO IT! This is the supporting unit of the church and it is mandatory for the benefit of our brothers and sisters that we nutrirles through home teaching, don´t miss a month!- The leaders of our rama are changing and I can´t wait for a new start with this transfer to see where the Lord is ready to take them!

Well shoot... Time flies! I want you all to know how much I love you all. This transfer I was working a lot on love, I´m not perfect, but I have felt the Perfect Love of our Savior and Know that when we do all we can to love others as He does, we are able to come closer and be more like Him. I know that He chose to give His life because of how much He loves us. Alma 7:11-13 couldn’t say it better. "His bowels are filled with mercy.. that He may know how to succor His people." I love you all and testify that there is nothing greater than the love of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Until next week,
Elder Jolley

Monday, March 5, 2012

Wow!! Time flies by too quick!

How are you all doing? Loved hearing about all the fun and excitement that this week had for you! And especially happy for the most recent member of the church! I´m so happy for you Draya and was thinking about you the whole day! :) — might have brought up some tears with that comment of us being in the circle with ya!

Okay I gotta a ton to talk about and not a lot of time!

This week we had zone conferences and it was INCREDIBLE! I am grateful every second of my mission for the lessons that are taught to us. I learned a lot and came away from the conference with a new fire. The theme of the conference was "Being constant in improving to be more like Christ" (exactly what was needed). The focus of the conference was in the Atonement. The spirit was so strong and was focused on the power that this gift has to CHANGE us, not just to make us feel better for a second, but to literally transform us! We were truly blessed to grow in our desire to follow Him and put on His divine character more. One of the things that I took away from the conference was a movie that they shared on the Atonement and missionary work. In weeks previous there has definitely been a lot of work in Fiorito with not a lot of direction in HOW to do it. A veces we think, why is this so hard? It should be easier! I realized how selfish I had been in not recognizing that in the life of The Perfect Son of God it wasn´t easy, salvation never was easy... only that it will be worth it! Bam! That hit me like a train. I felt really small and really ready to go forward in faith. I love 2 Nephi 31:20 that talks about a steadfastness in our faith. This is truly what we need.

The week has flown by and I really can´t believe transfers are next week. I´m scared how fast time is going, but determined to make the best out of it! We have done a lot this week to prepare ourselves for better weeks to come! Our goal this week.. help people keep their appointments! We have been guided a lot this week to find people who need to hear the message. We had a great experience yesterday with a lady named Juana. As we first started to talk to her she told us that she didn´t know if God exists. She has been through a lot with her family, they had a 9 year old grand daughter die 2 years ago, which brought a lot of questions as to why! Basically she was without any faith. We carefully taught about the plan of salvation for us and especially focused on the Atonement. As we explained of the comfort and power of this gift the spirit was so strong and left her asking us how she could have this in her life, what she could do to tap into this comfort. I watched a lady without faith and hope in God, even hating the heavens for what happened cry and desire with all her heart for this power and this source of hope. I was blown away and truly thankful for the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. I know it was because of Him that we all have a chance for faith. Our faith, my faith, begins and ends in this magnificent Atonement. It is what gives us hope and what allows us repentance to continue back in the direction of indescribable happiness. I know that He lived for us and chose freely to give of Himself. With this gift we can have faith. I loved seeing that in Juana as her complexion changed.

I love being a missionary for this great cause, I´m learning and being taught how to be a better priesthood holder, I know this is the work of our Heavenly Father wh0, without doubt and without fail, loves us intimately. I love you all and know that we, through the atonement, will progress through the eternities with His love that binds us!

Have a great week!
Elder Jolley