Monday, September 24, 2012

Hey Family!!

Okay... maybe the whole hospital thing came out a little "critical", I´m doing good I promise! :) Thank you so much for your concern and for your love! I think one of the things that characterizes so perfectly the plan of our Father in Heaven and of this Church in general is LOVE! I couldn´t be more grateful for this special attribute and for the many ways that it is felt in my life. From what I´ve heard and what the people think is that because of how "heavy"the food is here in Argentina and the amount of flours and other types of ingredients that are used here that it could be that my body had some allergic reaction that in a way "paralyzed" the regular movements of my intestines causing them to be... full... and to swell up! They´ve had me on some pills and other medications to stimulate the normal rhythm of my intestines again and to help things move along. Haha we´ll talk about the treatments when I get home, they should make for a good family laugh! There is nothing like a mission to help you to be able to experience, like you guys put it, new things that all have a lesson! I´m doing well though and not anything long lasting! If anything I´ll just have to check if it was some kind of allergy.

Shoot, time flies so quickly! It sounds like you had a great time at Lagoon and.. Go Riser (I´ve done some soliciting down here to put in my part for the open house that ya had, so we´ll see if we can land ya some projects)! Thanks for all your stories and great experiences that I get to hear about! :) I love to here about em all! Things right now are great and to answer some of your questions Pops, right now we are doing great as a zone, we came off of a great week! We had 4 great baptisms in the zone and was a really rewarding thing to hear of the experiences that they had in helping others to come unto Christ. Responsibility wise, I feel like I´m still in the fast seat, trying to learn as I go. Elder Mines and the rest of the zone leaders are a huge help in giving me support and being examples in how we can manage the Lord's vineyard. I´ve learned that unity is a key ingredient to a successful team. If all gears are not spinning at the same time then our productivity begins to slow down or can end up causing further damage to the other members of the team. As a leader it is important to learn our duties and then to act in all diligence so that our part of the vineyard is well taken care of. I feel humble in the calling that I have and really blessed to be learning so much from everyone else. I love the scripture in Proverbs 27:23: Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. Right now I´m learning how to center my mind on others. So many times I believe we can feel unqualified and unprepared for the responsibilities that the Lord sees fit to give us. We all have been given special lessons and gifts even from the counsels in heaven to be prepared for all service that we would give in our time here. I have learned that the best way to progress is to center all that we do on the needs of others. Study for them, work for them, love them and when we do this we progress in our own lives. It is a great blessing to be able to be serving a mission! :)

Well this week we had a super great week, we found GOLD! Since I´ve been here I´ve had the strongest feeling that there are people who are waiting for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to come into their lives, I´m so sure of this knowledge, not only for us but for the whole Zone. (In each occasion that we can talk with them we try and emphazise this point!) We found here in Villa Elvira a couple great families! One lady that we found is named Luisa. She was a contact that I had the other week when we went out on divisions- the truth is that I didn´t know the area really well and thought it was the house of where our appointment was- but it turned out well!! We passed by again and before we said anything she was opening up the gate and inviting us to come in.. not to shabby! She is a perfect investigator!! She listens so well, asks questions when she doesn´t understand and takes our invitations to read the Book of Mormon as if her life were depending on it! We met with her a couple of times before she left for el campo to spend the weekend. Tomorrow we should have a lesson with her again! I´m very excited to see how much she has been able to progress.

The other family we found has been a little bit longer of a process. At first the family was a reference from a member in our ward. When we passed by the first time she was just leaving, but got the chance to talk with the mom named Lorena. She talked a million miles per hour and just about the most depressing things... kinda a stress case! We listened to her for about 15 minutues (I guess the errands weren´t so important which was a blessing) and really grew to have empathy for her and the things that her family was going through. We expressed to her that we understood her and just tried to express how much we cared and wanted to help. At the end she looked at us really weird and said,"ya know, you guys are strange. You transmit a feeling of peace that I´ve never felt in my life." Apparently something had changed her mind and she set up an appointment with us for the next day! We´ve been back to see the family a couple times. They are 4 in their family and all are great. The dad, Favio, Lorena, Juan Cruz and Constansia! Each time we go over there we experience the most hectic household that you could imagine. The kids are all over the place and won´t listen to the parents and the parents are ripping their hair out cause of work and kids and who knows what else but at the end, I can feel the spirit stronger than any other time in the day- they have gone quiet and are listening intently and there is a peace that can´t be explained. I have gained the strongest testimony with this family of the witness of the spirit and the power of this companion that we have! His presence is essential in our lives and without Him we really are left "in the world." I´ve come to appreciate the family that we have and the peace that is in our home, but even more the power that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has to change and accommodate the environment for this special witness of our Heavenly Father to testify of the truth. I´m so certain that we are going to help them with all we can so that they accept baptism and this peace into their lives daily!

It´s a beautiful spring season right now and we are enjoying all the new signs of live here in Buenos Aires! :) Temperatures are coming up and there is a new hope for what is possible in our lives. Yo se q estamos en La Iglesia Verdadera. Sin ninguna duda nosotros tenemos las ordinanzas necesarias para la eternidad de nuevo restauradas en la tierra. Jesucristo es nuestro esperanza por el nuevo comienzo que estemos buscando en nuestras vida y la única esperanza por lo que queremos lograr en la vida que viene. Yo se que mi Salvador ha resucitado y ha roto las ligaduras que nos tengan cautivos, podemos progresar y llegar a ser como El Hijo de Dios.

1 Corinthians 15:

14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

Yo se que Cristo se ha levantado y ha tomado sobre si la gloria de su Padre para hacernos herederos y ganadores en nuestras vidas!

Que tengan una semana maravillosa!
Elder Jolley

Monday, September 17, 2012

Querida Familia!

Hey!! How are you! So.. we´ve got royalty in the family! :) Skyler with the studly face to win the crown! Haha sounds like you guys had such a great week. Thank you for sharing it with me!! This week was great. Life throws us things that I think we´re not always able to imagine or that we thought could have happened. I have been so thankful for this week and for the will of our Heavenly Father! Many times we are asked to do things or be okay with things that aren´t exactly what we had in mind!

Monday and Tuesday were normal days out in the mission field. We´ve been working with a couple families really closely to help them through some problems that they´ve had while also being able to teach family members and friends about the gospel. Right now in Villa Elvira we have been finding the most success with part member families! They have been saving us and helping us to help the members as well. One family in particular we´ve visited a lot this week. The Family Arroyo is a menos activo family that we´ve found 2 incredible people. Maria y Gonzalo! Maria is a 14 year old girl that has been through a little bit of everything in her life and was kicked out of her house by her mom.. she didn´t want to deal with anymore problems so one day she sent Maria a message that her things were on the steps and that she needed to come and get them and find a new place to live! Just a terrible situation for her, we were able to teach her a couple times. She was really sad to be neglected by her mom and came to be so sincere in her prayers. The first day we invited her to begin praying so that she´d be able to have that "friendship" that we are offered through prayer. After a couple visits she was asking to pray and I loved her prayers. I felt closer to God from just hearing her! Unfortunately her mom this weekend called her and wanted her to come back... we are just praying that her mom can take care of her this time (I guess this isn´t the first time she has been kicked out). Gonzalo is a cousin to these members and has been an active member of an Iglesia Evangélica. We were able to have a great conversation with him, he has talked to missionaries before but never wanting to really be engaged in the conversation so this time we were super grateful that he was willing to open up and to talk a little bit more. Something that I´ve been learning this week is about the purpose of this gospel and the purpose of the message that we share. A lot of the people that we talk to are found without hope and don´t have anything to really look forward to that is good and lasting. I loved Moroni 7 - this week I´ve been trying to help our investigators to have this greater hope in their lives, to be free from worry and free from guilt so that they can live in a better world!

40 And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?

41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.

So Wednesday!! Big 20 :) We woke up headed off for a normal day working and it went really well. A couple fechas that we have invited us to visit each with them for a great Peruvian lunch. That morning I woke up pretty sick, or just had a pretty bad stomach ache. The food was super good and it was so nice to be able to spend time with them! The rest of the day went pretty normally. I don´t know if I´ve told you guys, but right now we are living in a 4-man apartment. That night the Elders had bought a cake and surprised me with a lot of singing and a faceful of cake!! It was a great surprise and made the Big day complete!

Thursday we went to district meeting and had to come right back cause my stomach was in shambles! After a couple hours my stomach had swelled up pretty good and with a good stomach pain I was taken to the hospital! After taking some tests and x-rays they found that my intestines had stopped working. President Stapley at that time had come down to La Plata to be with me and help me out! It turned into a very long night and in the end they kept me in the hospital for the night to do some treatments! All ended up fine and I left the next morning without problems, but it turned out being an intersting end to some great birthday festivities! No worries at all, everything went well and I´m doing good and am happy! :)

It was interesting to be in the hospital and to have a minute or two to think about the things that happen to us and how involved our Heavenly Father is in our lives. I don´t necessarily understand why things happen or what things are going to happen, but I learned and know without doubt that whatever happens, God is in it! He does not leave us alone, even for 1 minute of our lives. I know that was with me in the those moments and that each moment and each decision that we take has an Eternal Significance, helping us to grow in our ability to accept what comes and choose to put our faith in Christ. I was grateful to have you all there with me and to have you in my life, I know that it is for a reason! This life is a process of being optimistic and hopeful for the future. The way to progress is accept the Savior's role as our Redeemer and to trust that one day we will be perfected in Him. :)

I thank you all for your love and for being there for me as an example! I hope you have a great week :)

Elder Jolley

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Elder Jolley!

We Love You

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dear Family!

Wow, thanks so much for all emails and all the love! :) Was a great testimony to all that happened this week with the Rededication and the focus on families! Thank you so much for being who you are and for all your support!! This week has been incredible.. if that´s a strong enough word? I can´t believe that it has come and gone so quickly! But I´m so happy to say that there is now a dedicated TEMPLE IN BUENOS AIRES!! When Presidente Eyring said that on Sunday it was an eye opener to me for what that actually would mean for the amazing people of Buenos Aires. I know that now the Savior and His spirit are here in this land and that they will be able to enjoy more of His peace, something that is definitely needed right now.

I´ll start a little bit with the days that we were in our area (they weren´t much), but we were able to get work done! I´m starting to get a hang of the area more and understanding how the streets work and what side is up and which is down. Ha I´m impressed by the trust and patience of Elder Mines in this process. A couple times I´ve gotten the courage to say, "nah, I got this" and end up lost! It´s a good plan that they´ve set up to have a companion there who already knows the area.. keeps things effective for the most part! We FOUND PEOPLE!! This week our prayers and efforts to find were answered! We had been looking for people who were just interested to listen to us and on Tuesday we were able to find a lady named Soila and her nephew Lenn. They are family members of a couple young men that we have in the ward. They first told us that they aren´t interested and that they don´t believe in a God. Thankfully they let us share a message with them and it went really well. We´ve taught them about the Restoration and worked to help them pray! It´s been fantastic and when we past by last night Soila offered to say the prayer and it was the most personal and "casual" prayer that I´ve heard. She has really come to trust in our Heavenly Father and to see Him as a friend and a support in her life. Her and Lenn have a baptismal date for the 29 de Septiembre! We worked hard for what we could and actually ended the week with great opportunities and more people to be able to teach for this week that is coming! :) Here in Villa Elvira it´s a pretty "rich" zone and we find a lot of people that just simply don´t believe in anything greater, they don´t have a need for it. I´ve seen with Soila that everyone needs God! At some point or another everyone falls and in that moment is when people have to know that there is something greater- it is a blessing as a missionary to be there so that when that time comes they know where to look!

On Wednesday we went up to Banfield to have a Leadership meeting in President's house. In all, this week, we´ve traveled about 11 hours from La Plata to Banfield. :) Super! I didn´t know that traveling could be so impactful (?) on your energy, but it gave me a great time to work on reading Jesus the Christ! It was a great opportunity to be able to work closely with the other Zone Leaders and especially with President Stapley! He is an amazing man. It was interesting, when we heard from Elder Christofferson this last weekend, he said that a big portion of our call is considered by the Mission President that we will have. The majority of missionaries are called to their missions because they need to be with that mission president and learn what he has learned. I think that is a large part of my mission. I have seen so many things.. fulfilled as I´ve heard from and learned from Presidente Stapley. The rest of the week passed by quickly as we got back and tried to get in some more work in our area. 

Alrighty, we´ll skip to the good stuff! Friday we met up as a mission and got in some buses and headed up towards capital to a stake center where more than 600 missionaries were gathered together waiting for the arrival of President Eyring, Elder Ballard and Elder Christofferson. They showed up and the room went silent! What a blessing to have been in the presence of Apostles and Prophets. There was a feeling unmistakeable as they spoke and bore personal witness of Jesus Christ. Elder Christofferson actually served in Argentina so he whipped out some sweet Spanish for us and talked about the importance of the authority that we hold in bringing change and salvation to the world. He shared with us D&C 63:60-64 and talked about the need to help others to gain a testimony of Christ and to do it how the spirit directs. I don´t know how Highland, Utah is right now, but down here there are a ton of religions that preach the gospel and each testifies of Christ. Through the Authority that was restored through Joseph Smith we know that we do not take the name of the Lord in vain- we do not change His sacred Gospel Plan. It was a powerful talk as an Apostle explained of the power that we have as THEIR companions in bring to the world the truth of the Gospel.

Elder Ballard throughout the weekend referred to his grandpa and the prophecy that was made when Melvin J. Ballard dedicated South America. He prophesied that the church would not grow quickly, but when the truth would come to this land that it would grow and remain. That these people whom we are teaching are the direct lineage of Lehi and Nephi and that we must teach to them the Restoration of the promises that the Lord will make with them. Was a great talk to help us see how true the Book of Mormon is and the love that the Lord has for us and for all people. President Eyring is tall! Did you all know that?? I thought he was a little bit of a smaller guy but no! He is an amazing man.. I´ve never seen such a mature man appear like the most innocent child. He truly fits that description. From the time he entered into the room the most pure smile never left his face. He literally beamed as he bore such strong testimony that God doesn´t just know us and care for us but that He is WITH US. Don´t ever suppose that you are not guided, that He is not at our side was the message that he had for us. What a brilliant and powerful man! The emotion and sensitivity that he has to the spirit is inspiring and he truly said what was needed.. for me at least! Saturday was incredible!! :) I would give anything to go back and relive a culture celebration! Argentina is amazing! We got together in the Stadium for "The Devils" of Avellaneda (an ironic place to hold a mormon celebration), but it was sweet! It was a beautiful day and the dances were incredible. The youth did a great job in the end and was so well organized. Ha... afterwards I think a lot of missionaries and I decided to stay down here and get to know the rest of the country after the mission! They showed a traditional dance from each provincia of Argentina. Unfortunately, we weren´t able to bring any cameras into the stadium so we left without a single photo! :( booo! There should be some videos on Youtube that you could look up.. in Spanish probably you´ll want to look up- Celebración Cultural del Templo de Buenos Aires. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity! I loved it tons!

Wanted to share a great quote from Presidente Eyring that he said in the Rededication Ceremony on Sunday. Talking about hope he said, "God grants to us hope as a promise of greater things to come and of eternal gifts. For this reason the promise of His Son Jesus Christ and of a Savior of Mankind brings to us an everlasting hope." What a special time and special opportunity to remember the plan of our Father in Heaven and in who this plan centers. Our Savior Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end of our salvation. The hope and desire of our well being. He is the reason for our change and with all my heart I testify of Him. He is my hope and my promise of greater things to come. When I can´t, He can! When we don´t know how, He only asks that we maintain hope in what He has said and what He has done. Let us have patience in what we want and return to Great Beginning, where we accepted Him to restore us to our happy state! He lives and loves us dearly and is guiding us each step of the way!

With all my love,
Elder Jolley

Editor's note: Here are a couple of links for information about the events that Elder Jolley attended this past weekend

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dear Family!! :)

Hey hey what a week!! I´m super happy to be in Villa Elvira... What a different view!! Haha, the first day I felt like I was in the U.S. I think I said to Elder Mines a hundred times, "whoa.. you don´t see that in Fiorito!" It´s a super nice area and has GREAT potential. Elder Mines is such a great guy, we get along very good- from the beginning we´ve been laughing, sharing opinions and trying to help each other be better. I feel so blessed with such a great companion. This week, I´ve really just been trying to keep my eyes open to what I need to do and to learn the new responsibilities that we have. I don´t think I´ve been so tired in my mission!! Ha the first couple days we were running from place to place trying to get things done and planning our zone meeting that we had on Wednesday! I arrived at the Pinch the first couple nights just dead! :) I love it though and I feel so hopeful for all that we can do. Our Zone has 10 Elders and 4 Hermanas that are capos!! We ended this week SO SO happy! We saw greater faith and love from these missionaries that hasn´t been seen in a long time and are planning a great week that is coming! (we´ll have 2 and a half days to work in our area this next week- it´s gonna be a little bit different to try and do all that we want in this time frame.)

Villa Elvira has recently had a ward split so right now we´re at about the same amount of members that we had in Fiorito but we are considered a Barrio. During the week we did a lot to gain the confidence of the members and to begin to establish a working relationship with them, that will be the key for success in this area I believe. Ha during the week Elder Mines and I tried, I believe, every possible way to enter a house! I´ll share a couple techniques; we tried being super nice and loving about our message, but that I guess was annoying to the people, we tried being pretty straight forward with them and also tried to just talk normally with them. So it was a great week to practice doorstep approaches. Monday we found a couple named Pablo y Yamila. Yamila answered the door and had a super big smile on her face and was just very nice. We found out that they don´t believe in God and never really have bought into beliefs. They didn´t want to listen to us, but luckily we caught glimpse of a guitar in their house. Ha quickly I asked if they knew how to play (I was gonna offer my talents, but I couldn´t remember any "Dust in the Wind" or that one song that Dad always plays so I passed that idea). Pablo I guess is a stud with the guitar and ended up playing like a five minute song for us there in the doorway! I´m sure it would have been weird to see, but it was sweet. Toda onda! haha after the "concert" we shared with them that we know that God has given us a plan to help us to let us know that He exists and is here to help us, unfortunately they didn´t let us in in the end. It was a sweet contact!

We worked a lot this week with the members of the ward and WOW! They are amazing! There are a lot of young members and small families but there testimonies are huge and have a great desire to share the gospel. We worked pretty closely with the Flia. Marazita. They are a young young couple with 2 little chicos. They had been working hard to invite their friends to come and listen to us- 3 times we scheduled an appointment with La Hermana to meet with some neighbors but all 3 times they never showed up. We felt so sad, she was destroyed but with every time we were blessed to have very spiritual experiences as we shared with her how she can continue to share the Gospel. I learned a ton about the Atonement from this Hermana, we thought a lot about the story of Nephi in Helaman 10. Sometimes we are left rejected by the people for the cause that we support but the Lord is there to invite us to return with the promise that He will be there for us. I´ll be sure to update more as we see more come about here.

Right now I am super excited for the Re-dedication week!! As Zone Leaders we´ll be able to sit with President Eyring in the Sunday re-dedication ceremony!! :) nah just kidding that´d be sweet though! So this week, this is the plan. Friday the 3 missions in Buenos Aires are going to be able to have a fireside all day Friday with President Eyring and Elder Christopherson and Ballard. Saturday also the 3 missions are going to be able to take part in the cultural event!! The missionaries will be entering into the stadium singing "Called to Serve!" Que Ocupado no?! Ah i´m so excited! There has been a lot of work going into these events and to have them here is the greatest thing in the world!! :) I am hoping that during the fireside we´ll be able to shake the hands of the apostles but we´ll see? Sunday for the dedication we´ll be going to the stake centers to watch the ceremony. Kinda like you guys will be doing for Brigham City!

Well time is short but I wanted to share with you guys a great scripture that I read this week! It is found in Mathew 10:37-39

37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

I came to understand this week the importance of our dedication to the Lord. With the re-dedication of the temple I´ve been thinking a lot about what it means to dedicate. Our love to the Lord is first and foremost in our lives and in what we do. The promise that He makes us is that He has everything lined up for us so that we can obtain all that He has, but when we put our desires or wishes before Him we are without His direction and are worse off! I am grateful to dedicate my life to the Lord for these short years and am grateful to trust in Him more and have faith in His grace! I love Him and I testify that He loves us. I´m overwhelmed at the thought of His love, it´s infinite!

I love you all and look forward to telling you guys about the Re-dedication here in Buenos Aires! All my love to each of you and my prayers that the Lord will bless and guide you all!

Elder Jolley

 Elder Jolley and Elder Mines in Villa Elvira