Monday, May 28, 2012

Hey Family!!

This week was another fabulous week for being a missionary! We are finding ups and downs and all arounds in the work but it is always so great to have the consistancy that comes from our Savior.

To fill ya´ll in a little bit on the week, we´ve been working hard to fill up the number of people that we are working on and to be able to help those who are progressing arrive at baptism. Meanwhile we have a great number of less active families that we are working to help reactivate! I wish that the weeks weren´t so short and that time wasn´t a barrier. There is so much work to be done and it is a blessing to learn how to balance it all! We are learning to involve the spirit in our planning so that we can balance everyone and help to bring them what they need in order to come closer to Christ. We have been able to find a lot of people this last week and have great plans this week to teach and invite our investigators to change.

Donene and Juana unfortunately weren´t able to come to church this week and it has been awhile since we talked to them.. They are reading the Book of Mormon and are loving what it teaches. (That right now is a huge blessing that we´re seeing with the families that we have, they are understanding and finding worth from the Book of Mormon). On the 25th Argentina celebrated it´s Independence day!! Our Rama had a activity in the church and we had invited Donene and Juana to come. We had to stay back and do our weekly planning but helped plan everything out so that they would be able to go and get to know the Rama a little better. Something happened though and when they showed up to the church nobody was there so they turned around and headed home.. BOO!! Lame. When we showed up though we were able to stay for a little bit and help them celebrate by eating empanadas! Not to shabby of a party :) Our president and I had a little contest of who could eat more.. I think I won with a little over 20? I remember reading Ryan's email and it said that he was getting pretty good at pounding things down.. I´m getting my practice in too! The Rama here is incredible. They are so few but each one is so important and we have a unique friendship with everyone, I love Fiorito tons!

Yesterday we had a special experience as we were working to finish up our week. We have been working hard to get our standards and yesterday we were down just a couple.. We had made great plans to visit some families and bring members to the lessons, as we went on in our day though plan after plan kept falling through. I´ve learned from my time in Fiorito to be ready with anything and I believe Heavenly Father has helped us to become creative and quick in our ideas in order to use his time wisely to bless others. It was a fun feeling running around yesterday hungry for some success! In the end of our day we hadn´t wasted a minute stopped to think of "what should we do know?" We had been blessed to know and we went and did! We hadn´t gotten all the goals we wanted but we were blessed (through some hermanas in our Rama) to find a great lady who they had talked to. Her name is Carla! We didn´t have much time to talk with her but introduced ourself and shared a message with her about families. (She is a single mom with a daughter who has down syndrome and another baby on the way) As we got talking the conversation switched to her special needs daughter. She at first was angry with God for this special trial in her life but later came to accept it. Through all that we shared with her before I believe it was this topic that touched her the most. Listening to her I was very interested in her story, when she finished I opened my mouth and was surprised by my response. I went on to explain to her what my belief was as to why she was blessed with this special girl. I know without a doubt that I wasn´t speaking.. I couldn´t have been because I was learning too! The spirit has a special role in the lives of those He touches, "They are edified, and both learn together." It opens up a chanel to greater understanding of our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ. I gained a special testimony of how the spirit works and was very touched by what I learned.

Alright so on Monday we finished with a great FHE with a family in our Rama. It was a rainy night and when it rains NOBODY is outside. Elder Merritt and I had left and were waiting at a bus stop with an Hermana. When it rains the buses take forever and don´t come for a long time. We were waiting there for about 20 minutes when 3 guys walked around the corner and came up to us asking for the time... That is there "hit" line. When we said that we didn´t know they came up and started getting a rough with us. Elder Merritt had 1 kid reaching in his pockets and stole our cell phone and some money from him. I had a couple guys reaching in my pockets and the other had my arms held. When they other guy got the cell phone they started to run.. ripping off my backpack and all that was in there.. camera included!! NO! Needless to say I wasn´t very happy.. it felt like a huge punch in the gut to lose all that stuff. This whole week I´ve been trying to process the whole situation and it is just dumb.. Tuesday and Wednesday weren't the best! haha I´m alright, nothing happened to us and to be honest I am very grateful it happened. Along the path there are speed bumps for sure that land us on our backs! I learned that I like being happy to much to be sad. I was grateful to be on my back for those couple days because it gave me a greater view at Heaven. I came to rely on my Savior a lot more and changed a lot of things. In our weakest moments there is the Atonement to make us strong. I testify that it is an "all-topic" Atonement, to strengthen and lift us up no matter what we may be feeling. The photos are a bummer but the greater memory has a greater worth! I know that Jesus Christ lives. Our Heavenly Father understands us and loves us. I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ restores us on our feet and ignites the light in our lives that may have faded!

 I love you all and hope you have a great week. Watch out at bus stops! ;)

Elder Jolley

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hey Family!

So I think I need to apologize if I didn´t make sense.. A couple people have said that I need some help on the English end! I really hope that you guys were smiling and nodding because you understood me and not cause you just hadn´t seen me for a while! My brain feels like someone shook it up (no offense Skyler) with spanish and english and now it´s trying to figure out which one to use. It is such an awesome feeling and at the same time makes things interesting.

Well this last week was just incredible!! Something happened this week and Fiorito is beginning to explode. I feel incredibly grateful to my Heavenly Father for just how involved He is in our work right now! My testimony is so strong that this Church is guided by His hand. We have been able this week to find in their homes ALL our investigators and have been able to introduce a member into each charla that we have. We have about 12 investigators right now that we are heavily invested in
and they are all so great and all willing to progress and make the changes needed towards baptism. In our weekly planning session this week we had the ablility to set some pretty high goals for what we
wanted to accomplish.. not blindly though! It was probably the best, and most spirit guided planning that I have had and I understand the difference when we plan with our investigators needs in mind and by the spirit. To say the best part of it we should by the end of this week have 12 people with a fecha bautismal for the month of June!! :) Wahoo!!! That is more than Fiorito has seen in months and is a testimony to how different this area has become.. we are seeing the Lord's hand opening doors and opening posibilities to do things that I thought were impossible when I first got here!

I´ve told you a little bit about Donene and Juana, well this week they both accepted a fecha for the 2 June and have been able to see great progression with them! We had a great/weird lesson with them on Saturday. When we passed by Donene´s cousin from el campo (basically a hick from the south is what I´d compare it to) was there and is a huge evangelical member. We had to avoid.. contention.. by saying things that he didn´t think were good. We were able to teach them though about the influence that the Book of Mormon has in helping us to receive answers- especially the connection with Joseph Smith. They committed to be  better about reading. Juana told us about an interesting dream that she had where she was in a "darkness" and a man appeared to her with a bronze ball and told her to go to church and she´ll find an answer to her questions... This ring familiar to anybody else?? HA it was all me and Elder Merritt could do to not bust out laughing and teaching her ALL of Lehi´s vision in that very second!! We´re super excited for them!

Also this week we had a very humbling experience with a man named Alfredo. We were actually looking for someone else when we asked Alfredo for better directions. We began to talk with him and he told us that he never really has given religion a lot of importance until now. He feels that there is an empty space that needs to be filled. We explained to Him our purpose and about the nature of our Heavenly Father in helping us in our lives. Alfredo promised us in the moment that although he doesn´t know much about our or any other church, that he wants us to guide him to having God be more involved in his life!

I love being a missionary and being able to witness the power of the spirit in helping to give hope and comfort to those who may not know it well. We are working hard, I feel like I´m growing as a missionary and coming to know my Savior better. Sergio Gomez explained it last night in a special way saying that Elders have the special priviledge to LIVE the true and pure Gospel of Jesus Christ.. The true essence of it. I am humbled to be His disciple and to know of the redemption that
He brings to those who will be faithful in believing and "hoping for a better world." We can gain this hope now in this life and transform it to a knowledge. In D&C 138:12-15 it talks about how we can go into eternal life with a firmness in hope- by maintaining a faith and trust in Christ. I´d invite ya´ll to read it! We had a great week and were able to grow and mature as missionaries for sure!

I hope you all have a great week. Thanks for your emails, congrats to the kiddies who get summer in a couple weeks! Go Nuts!

Until next week,
Elder Jolley

Dad! Way to go skinny! You look so fit and I´m super proud of ya for finishing! Sky man you´re in my prayers buddy.. take it easy aight?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hey family!!

Wow... don´t know if it even feels like 5 months from Christmas, yesterday felt too normal to be talking to you all! SO good to see all your smiling faces (please excuse my mix up on time and for holding back the frustration with the mix up!) I can´t believe how different you all look and sound- Andraya! It was great to talk with you and I really can´t say enough how much I appreciate the support and the love that comes from your end.

Well I´ll try and wrap up a few things that I wasn´t able to explain when we were talking. Our baptism with Juan was the Highlight of the week and a great "goal achieving" experience for us! In Fiorito we had one of the best weeks that I´ve seen in my time here. We were so blessed to have the Lord's hand in our lives guiding us and directing us to be Producing Misioneros! Something clicked this week and we were able to work in a better way. We had a scripture shared with us that really affected my outlook on the work that we do in the Lord's Church.

Elder Merritt, Juan and Elder Jolley

3 Nephi 26:8-11 says:

 8 And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken.

 9 And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made
manifest unto them.

10 And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation.

11 Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people.

Although it is talking about the Book of Mormon, we learned that it applies to more than just that. As we work as members of the church we know that there are the mysteries of God and the majesty of His numberless creations, there is a lot available to us His children. Naturally here in the mission field I have the desire to do all by the power of the spirit and to achieve the greatest goals possible. I
learned this week that sometimes the Lord tests us in a more simple way. Sometimes we have missed out on opportunities to bring a member to a lesson because we didn´t feel the revelation of who we can bring or who would be best. The Lord might "forbid" to give us the greater blessings in His work until we can accomplish the little things He has asked us to do. I was grateful for that lesson that taught me to be more faithful in His work and in obeying every little thing He asks even if I don´t feel like I´m receiving all the possibilities that His blessings bring. We were able to, without questions, cumplir con our Heavenly Father this week and we saw His blessings.

We worked a lot with a family Martinez who has a fecha bautismal for the 2 June. This family is so great! The are such fans of religion and of God. They are an older lady Luz, her daughter Maria, their
grandson Luis, and a friend named Rodrigo. We taught them about the Restoration this last week and after inviting them to be baptized, Luz mentioned something to us that was really great, we had asked them to pray to know if this message is true when she quickly stopped us and explained that she had already prayed.. She had asked God that if this is the way that she should follow to allow Elder Merritt and I to keep showing up at their house! I am super excited for this family. They have come to church and told us how much they loved it. They will be some work but I believe that we´ll have a great day on June 2nd! :)

Well time has caught up with me, again it was so so good to talk with you all yesterday and what a blessing you all are in my life. Thanks for keeping me in touch and for your constant prayers. I know that the Lord looks for our dedicaton and our willingness to continue forward in obedience and faith.. and so we will do! I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Con amor   Elder Jolley

Dad Good luck with your big race this weekend!! Go get em tiger! Run your little bum off. You. Can. Do. It! I hope you have a great week and your the man! :)

End of a long day waiting for a collectivo...

These last two are of a zone activity...
We were playing fútbol and just hanging out.

Monday, May 7, 2012

¡Hola! Cómo les va?

No puedo creer cómo vuela el tiempo, vamos a hablar en una semana, re loco. Estoy re animado. Para contestar su pregunta que me hizo nosotros hemos planeado a llamarles cómo a la una por allí el día domingo. ¿les parece? Vamos a llamar de la casa de nuestro presidente de rama así que deberíamos tener una buena llamada otra vez! No pued esperar a verles. :) tengo todo para entrarme en Skype entonces espérenme entre 12.30 y 1.00!

Thanks for sharing all your great experiences during the week. Sounds like you got hit by something pretty bad this week and it didn´t leave anyone untouched. I´m very sorry and hope for your speedy recovery! Again I hope that you had a very Happy Birthday dad and are enjoying your new shirts.. Shnazzy! This week we´ve been trucking along and have had a great week! Everything is going and that´s what´s important. Every day it seems that we have a new path in front of us that allows us to be better servants and ultimately better people. That our Savior is doing a greater work than we can even imagine! This week as far as lessons went was one of the best weeks that we´ve had in Fiorito!! There was one day when we met with EVERYONE that we had planned!.. It probably was the most fulfilling and satisfying day on my mission and it felt so good to be going from one place to the next preaching the Word!

On Thursday as we were heading to a service project we said Hi to an older man that was walking down the street, he called us over and started talking to us. He said that he had spoken to Elders before but that it had been a long time. He has seen us walking in the streets a lot of times but hasn´t felt to say anything! His name is something crazy, I don´t remember, but his "street" name as he told us is Donene! :) You never can be too old for a sweet street name I guess. He is really known by all the Pibes in the area so that´s what they call him! We set up a time to come back and had an amazing lesson with them. They are super religious and love the bible, so listening to us is just icing on top! We´ve met with them a few times since and have invited them to be baptized! ... Unfortunately they are leaving the Province to visit her Mother for a few weeks. (Oh, mothers day here is in October entonces este vacación no tiene nada que ver). We were sad but left them with the Book of Mormon and they were super excited to read it! We´re praying for a miracle that they´ll finish it by when they return! "We must needs have Hope!" -Moroni

Our investigators right now are all SUPER great! We´re seeing true interest in our message and a lot of indecision.. Which is a good thing! It helps us to understand that they are interested in our message and that as we work by the spirit and teach according to their needs they will have a greater testimony in the Restored Gospel. I have been working hard this week to get lost in the work more! To lose myself in the things that we teach. I read something in PMG, that is a great guide! It invites us to Study the lessons, Believe in them, Love what is in them, Live according to the doctrines taught, THEN Teach according to the testimony that we gain. What a great recipe to get us lost in our work and to teach with power and authority!

Don´t have much time, but I wanted to share an experience I had on inter cambios this week. We taught a lady that knows the church back and forth and does everything.. just faults a testimony that we have a living prophet. We watched the biography of Thomas S. Monson! Wow.. what an inspired and spiritual giant! As I was watching I was interested in how these men become the men that they are, in 1 Nephi it talks about how Nephi became the great prophet that he was:

1 Nephi 2:16
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe...

and then,

1 Nephi 15:11
Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.

As we start with a desire and yearning to know Christ, He truly will allow us to believe. As we grow in experience and continued faith we can develop a trust with our Savior that is everlasting!! Through good and bad I know that trusting in the Lord allows us to develop that foundation of faith that President Eyring talked about that will allow us to overcome whatever situation is ahead of us. I saw in the life of our Prophet that in good times and bad He trusted that God was in the Heavens and that Jesus is the Christ who is mighty to save all those who come unto Him. With this trust, we can know that we will leave our trials greater and more seasoned as we continue to cry to him and always, always keep his commandments. What a special man that our Prophet is! He receives the word of God for our times and bears testimony of the power of our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that trusting in the Lord is an apostolic quality and even greater, an attribute of Christ.

I am so excited to talk with you all next week! I love you and see ya soon!

Elder Jolley

Ps. Totally typed the wrong scripture last week.. how embarrassing! Try D&C 64:33-34 :) I am a good Missionary! haha

  The first one is with our Branch president, Pres. Pulido!
You guys will get to meet him when we chat.
We are working to fix his roof! 

 Another service project that we did cutting off the branches
for an lady in our rama. Using some sweet Lamanite tools!

Elder Jolley and Elder Braden Saunders.. 
doing a little inter cambio Friday and Saturday.