Monday, November 26, 2012

Hola!! Buenos Días!

Happy Thanksgiving!! Wow... that came and went really quick! It has been another super great week in Villa Elvira and super entertaining with Elder Villalba. He´s such a funny hick! He´s from Entre Ríos y is a total worker... don't know how to say that better but ya get what I mean! I LOVE the extra dose of Argentina that I get with him, the culture, the accent, the weird sayings- all of it is SO SO good! We´ve been able to have a really productive week and are gonna be able to get lots of things done together. He has about 22 months in the mission (along with half my other companions) so it´s really nice to again have the experience on my side and to be able to learn from him. He has a really direct and clear way of working that has helped us to be more efficient in our missionary efforts! Haha in the picture, last night we did a little culture exchange.. he dressed me up like a Gaucho and I hooked him up with some Nike! The Guacho has some really unique ways and strict forms of life. The hat I have on is called a Boina and the pants are like the "Wranglers" of Argentina, they're called Bombachas! I love being able to learn more about the culture and the lifestyle that is lived in el Campo de Argentina.

Elder Villalba and Elder Jolley

This week we were trying to get things going... little rough! Taking over the area wasn't hard but having to plan and arrange things solo for a week or so brought a lot of "blanks" to my mind. We got by alright though! We got out in the week only being able to see our investigators each one time... that was a bummer! Right now Javier and Gonzalo are at that point where their interest level can go speedily up or begin to fade pretty quick. We´re trying to do everything we can to help them keep going on their commitments and to continue to invite them to do that which is most important! They both are a little hesitant in baptism for a couple reasons, mostly they are just caught in the thougts that they don´t feel ready! This Sunday though Gonzalo was able to come to an hour or so of church and "lucky" enough one of the lessons that was taught was about the Spirit of Promise!! I was so grateful that he was able to be there for that lesson. The teacher explained to the class that when we embarque (? haha) on a covenant or ordinance that the Lord wants us to make we have the promise that we will know that what we have done is the right things we´ll feel the surety that what we have done is accepted by our Heavenly Father. That was special for me and I also hope that it was for Gonzalo. It has been one of our goals and something that we´ve felt strongly that we need to do in Villa Elvira is to work closely with the ward members! We have an incredible Bishop that is a convert hace dos años! He is excited and so willing to work! We have been working on making plans with him to improve the work. One of these plans has been to take a member to every lesson that we have, it makes a huge difference and is helping the members to get more excited about the work! We met with Javier on Saturday and were able to bring the secretary of the ward with us, it was a great blessing to have him there and we already have plans to have him help us with Javier in the coming week!! Things are steadily continuing to progress, we´re trying to do everything we can to work hard and strengthen the church where we´re at to make sure everything is ready for the success that we´re praying to have!

For Thanksgiving here in Argentina, we were a little bit busy to even think about it. Half-way through the day Elder Williams (the other american Elder in our apartment) remembered that it was Thanksgiving! We stopped for some sandwiches and Sprite for lunch and then quickly headed back out to work! I did enjoy some candy-corn and some of the treats that you guys sent in the package! (I´m saving the stuffing and potatoes cause our bishop said that he would bring us back a fish from his river trip.. see if we can have a 5 star meal here soon!) In Argentina it isn´t really celebrated, but the Thanks was given.

Enjoying Thanksgiving Argentine style

I loved reading today in 2 Nephi 33 about Nephi´s strong testimony of the power of "The words of Christ" that he had received.. plainly.. from the spirit. He promised us that the same spirit would show us and tell us all things so that we would not be detoured in our testimonies. He pleads with us to believe in Christ and then trust that what he has written comes from the same Christ. I loved when it says that the words will persuade us to do good. Many times we will read or hear or experience things in our life that cause us to wonder, In Ether 8, Moroni also testifies that when these situations come we can have complete trust that by reading and praying over the Book of Mormon we will not have a doubt what is right and what is wrong in our lives!

 26 Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved.

I add my testimony that these words persuade and instruct any man to do good, to love, and to believe in the Savior of the world. These are His tender words and messages that He has for us! I know that Christ lives, a pesar de todo sepan que Él vive and this can be our sure foundation!

Have a great week! 
Elder Jolley!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Querida Familia! :)

Ah.. Such a relief to hear from you guys and to be able to hear a little bit from you guys! Thank you :) you always know how to bring a smile to my face! Things sound like they are going great for all and I´m excited to be able to share a little of the Thanksgiving spirit- Argentine Style- this week! Here, it´s funny, Thanksgiving, everyone knows about it and what it is, but it isn´t really celebrated like we do at home. From what I remember last year, our day was normal and we ate noodles... it isn´t the Turkey that you´d expect but it was good! For this week I don´t believe we have/or will have any crazy plans. I loved what ya said mom, it´ll probably be a day of "Giving Thanks" to all those around us. Please travel safe and know that I give thanks for all of you! :) So when it comes to be my turn going around the table that my Savior, this Gospel, and my Family are all that I could ask for. I can´t wait for pictures and loved the picture this week, I hardly recognized "little" Candy, she is WAY different and SO beautiful!!

Well we hit transfers this week! I´ll be staying in Villa Elvira (VERY excited to be able to stay) and Elder Mines was changed to Avellaneda. It has been a super fast 3 months with him and it goes by faster every transfer! I´m gonna miss Elder Mines and for all the things that he helped me to become.. companions truly become answers to our prayers! I heard the other day something that I loved and was reminded how true it is. When we pray for patience, God doesn´t give us patience, but rather gives us opportunities to be patient! I know that our Heavenly Father truly answers our prayers in this way! I attached a picture that we took today of all my companions in the Mission so far (menos Elder Juarez who still is in Fiorito). I am now with an Elder Villalba from Entre Rios, Argentina! An incredible Elder that I´ve known for some time and am excited to work with him now! In Villa Elvira we are only improving from here, we are gonna work so hard to help our Zone continue to grow! Elder Villalba is bien Gaucho, del campo- directamente! :) He loves to sing old Argentine "folk" songs... it´s awesome, I think we´re gonna get a long great! :)

Elder Lewis, Elder Mines, Elder Jolley
Elder Juarez and Elder Merritt

This week we were able to get things moving along even more in Villa Elvira. In my setting-apart blessing there has been a line that has been on my mind for a while that I´ve been working to follow through with right now, it said "Don´t be short in your duties." Right now I´m trying to understand all that I can do and all that I should do in the work and to do it effectively and diligently.. a little bit slower in work, but already we´ve been able to see a lot of blessings start to come in our area. We were able to FIND!!! YES! :) haha it felt great to be able to find a few more people to work with. I never realized how much I missed the action of balancing a bunch of investigators and trying to manage their progress and having to be on top of our schedule. We´ll get there soon! Right now Gonzalo and Lenn have kinda fallen off the "fast-track" towards baptism. Lenn is working a lot right now- 13 hours a day and it doesn´t leave us much time to find or even communicate with him! Gonzalo we´re still working with him and is continuing to grow and be stronger and stronger.. I think that is the best way to explain what´s going on with him right now. He´s getting the "profound teaching." I´m sad that we´re not seeing as much progress with them, it bites when the enthusiasm that these investigadores have going towards baptism levels out a bit. We are very very happy with the work and the progress that we´ve seen with Javier this week though! Poor guy has hit a lot of speed bumps since we´ve met him (sometimes I feel like the missionaries are a curse to the people haha). But with all the difficulties that he has had I´ve been praying hard that he would be able to find more interest and more support in the church, that when we would teach him he would feel the spirit! We only were able to find him one time this week, but it was such a funny lesson. He had people coming and going throughout the lesson and we saw that he wasn´t very focused. Finally we sat him down and finished the lesson and tried with all the spirit and conviction that we could find to invite him to church and to our surprise he looked at us and said, "Chicos, I was already planning on going. I was gonna make sure that you guys were still gonna go." Ha student became the master on that one! Well Sunday turned out to be a very helpful day for Javier.. immediately he started chatting with the bishop y otros hermanos de la Iglesia. He was a natural! :) It was a great and really successful end of the week for us.

Elder Jolley, Javier, and Elder Mines

So to explain the other picture that I sent, we were at the Bishop's house on Saturday doing a service project weed wacking a bunch of weeds and raking up trash when Elder Mines screams for me to come and look at something... I found my first spider in Argentina! Qué Asco! I didn´t like the service project after I saw that monster.. tried to keep my cool, but every few seconds I was scanning around my feet to make sure nothing was crawling towards me.

Well I hope that all is and will continue to go well for you this week! :) I loved this week being able to focus my studies on understanding the characteristics of our Savior. I put myself to study how He was and how I can become and loved how great the scriptures teach us about Jesus Christ. Truly by studying and deciding to follow His example we will find experiences every day that will help us to be more like Him. Everyday we are required to go through many, many things but each has an easier way handled! He truly lived. His was a perfect life because it was lived perfectly. I know that He lives today!! He will teach us and guide us the principles and techniques that He continues to use to lead a more perfect life! I know that the Book of Mormon brings joy to our hearts and a better knowledge of the Son of God.

With all my love,
Elder Jolley


Monday, November 12, 2012


Phew! Glad that you guys got the package! I have been worried that it would have gotten lost. Glad that you liked the little regalitos! :) I thought that they were pretty cool and I´ll definitely be getting more stuff to send/bring back in the future! Sorry Mom and Dad, I was in the middle of writing your guys letters, but Aubrie and Gustavo came a little early and wouldn´t be coming back so I had to give what I had. I promise a couple letters for you guys too! Perdón. (P.S Skyler... Argentine Cotton ;) so ya know it´s good!) I hope scarfs are in style for you guys... if not you can be a couple maricones that support your brother! haha.

What a week! Wow, time is flying by and it´s hard to believe that we´re coming up on Christmas again, after receiving the fall/halloween/thanksgiving package, I´m so grateful for everything that you have already sent to me. I got a kick outta the shirt and am glad to be supporting Riser from down here! We are all enjoying in our Pinch the great treats and all the food that you have sent our way.  I´ll do my best to think of any NEEDS that I have this week and will email you back with greater details next week! :) This week we have been busy trying to keep things progressing in Villa Elvira, I think finishing up everyday doesn´t really show the greatness of the week that we are able to see Sunday. Yesterday was a needed day and gave us a lot of happiness to actually see what we accomplished throughout the week, how we changed and what the Lord was busy doing along side us. Thank Heaven for Sundays and for the great perspective that they give in our lives, for everyone. We were busy trying to find, open up new ways to help the ward and to manage the Zone. I feel like I´m starting to get a hang of things now.. in the beginning it felt a little bit like I was running blindfolded, but now I´m able to understand my responsibilities and can begin to "magnify" them. Slowly we´re progressing and I personally can see the Lord teaching us what the right thing to be doing is! Our Zone right now has been progressing greatly, the missionaries are seeing their true potential as they continue to work hard. I´m very grateful for their efforts and it is great to see the excitement as the work of the Lord moves along.

This Tuesday I went on an intercambio with one of our Disrict Leaders, Elder Pender from Canada (good roots there). It was such a fun experience! In their area they work on bikes so I had my fun that day with the pants tucked into the socks, the sweet helmet and a beach-cruiser. :) Argentines have great style with their bikes and I hope you can imagine the added Missionary touch to it all! Haha I enjoyed learning from Elder Pender and was impressed by his ways of teaching and the peace that he brings into an appointment. He´s a great kid! That day we were able to get a lot of things done and were able to invite 2 of their investigators to be baptized who before had been pretty closed to the idea of the church! They have some pretty difficult family problems and what better than to apply and come closer to the Savior's teachings to change the circumstances. We saw their hearts soften and feel the hope that the Restored Gospel provides. I LOVE being a teacher of this Gospel and helping people to understand the things that have been understood in my life! We are excited that that area in our zone continues to progress and work hard! Wednesday and Thursday were pretty normal days for us. We met with Gonzalo and Lenn a couple times and they continue to do well. We figured out a better way to plan- there has been a lot of evaluation on our part- to help all those that we can talk to progress. Especially we were focuesed this week on the experiences that our investigators would have in the Church. We prayed a lot and asked for the Lord's help, when we did something that He could fill in the spaces where we weren´t able to! We wanted to help Gonzalo this week be able to feel "at home" in the ward and to look and feel like a member of the church. After praying we decided to focus on putting everything in order so that he would have friends, people to help him and messages to uplift him this Sunday... what MIRACLES the Lord does in our lives. We provided the shirt and the tie and the Lord provided a Primary Program!! Ha you can always count on the niños! :) In their program they talked about making the right choices, being baptized and being eternally happy!... I love that the Lord knows exactly what say and how to say it! It was the best Sunday that we've had in Villa Elvira and we left feeling so grateful and convinced that Gonzalo also felt a lot closer to our Heavenly Father. Successful plan!

Elder Mines and Elder Jolley with Gonzalo at the church on Sunday

Great part of the week was the interviews that we had with President. He is such a great man and I am so thankful to be able to learn from him. What he had to say was just right for me and for the next steps that I need to take in my mission to be able to keep serving. I want to run and most of all that my heart be overjoyed when I am in the service of God! This couldn´t be a more needed event in any young man's life, but especially in mine! I am thankful for our Savior, I want to be like Him and find peace knowing that by always falling back on Faith, Repentance, being worthy of our covenants, searching for the still small voice in our lives and just enduring to the end we WILL become like Him. That is my greatest joy! :)

I love you and hope that you have a successful and fun week! Please keep this work in your prayers! :) Thanks for all that have been offered!

Con Amor
Elder Jolley

Elder Jolley with a child in his neighborhood
(He's my best buddy!)

A ride on the train with the Elders

The Elders enjoying food at their pinch

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hello!! :)

So good to hear from you guys! Wow, this week was a lot of "events" to be filled in on! Halloween, Hurricane Sandy, elections, a lot of things going on back home! I have been a little bit worried about elections and really agree with you mother! Ha things are picking up speed in the whole process of things and it is nice to be "built upon a sure foundation." Elder Mines and I have been hearing a lot from President Stapley of different changes as more and more missionaries begin to join the team! How important it is (sky-man) that we are prepared for missionary service! Even more though, how important it is that we ALL learn and are involved in the service of Discipleship! How comforting to know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only thing that will "unite men and nations in the last-days!" We had a really good week and personally couldn´t be more grateful for my time as a full time missionary! :) I´m sure I´ll hear about the elections this week, but still I´d love to hear a little bit more about what you guys think next week! (My prediction can be summed up in Alma 4 :) )

Hello humidity, I remember you! Haha wow it has gotten hot! Right now the humidity is a lot so I think that´s what changes things more than anything! We have brought the fans back into our room at night and the mosquitos and bed bugs have come back a little more fiercely, but things are great and I prefer this weather over the cold any day! The afternoons are beautiful, the sun stays out a little bit longer and temperatures also cool down a little bit- feels like a nice day in California! :) I´m super glad to hear that Aubrey got in contact with you guys... I was getting a little worried that I didn´t know my own families number (oh wait.. I didn´t! Haha) The things that she has are yours to open when you get them.. I just said that it was a Christmas package because I figured I wouldn´t see another American before Christmas time! Hope that the things don´t stink... I remember the package from Ryan, so I´m a little self-councious of "my Argentine odor!" haha. ¡Qué disfruten!

This week was a little bit of the same story... Haha we will not and have not lost our diligence in the work and only are trying to understand more what else we can do in our part of the Vineyard! Truly we see many, many blessings in our lives and with our investigators! We love them and this week we have been able to feel more of our Heavenly Father's inspiration guiding us to strengthen and prepare them for what this Gospel has in store for them. A blessing that I´ve seen this week has been that our prayers have been being answered with our boy Lenn! We´ve been praying hard to know what we can teach him, what more he needs to hear. We had a fantastic lesson this week with him where he committed to live the word of wisdom!! We have been working with him for awhile with this and finally he was able to tell us, "I feel like I can do this and that it´s the right thing to do." Wahoo!! :) It was a powerful lesson and such a big blessing for him to feel that way! Looking back on our Teaching Records and the things that we had shared with him, we noticed how the Lord had prepared every word that we had shared so that Lenn could feel the spirit and have the strength to take this step in his life! It was one of the "Wow" moments where we were able to realize that our prayers really had been answered! The same happened with Gonzalo! Gonzalo is a very smart kid. He has read by now the whole book of Gospel Principles and understands it all. The other day we came with a sweet activity.. Magic Tricks! :) The purpose was to explain repentance and the miracle that it is in our lives! Little did we know that Gonzalo had read the night before that section in Gospel Principles and had been thinking a lot about it! He continues to keep his commitments and try and learn more each time that we can pass by! Although things pass slowly sometimes, I am 100% sure that our Heavenly Father hears and answers EVERY prayer that we humbly offer.

10 Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.

11 I know thy heart, and have heard thy prayers...

I was so impressed by your experience while house hunting! :) It makes me so happy that my family is living the Gospel and is striving to be better! Don´t worry :) God knows us! and the desires of our hearts and will answer. Just keep holding on and you´ll be able to feel what is right!

I love ya´ll so much and thank you for your example! Thanks for the support that you give to me and I hope you have a great week!

Elder Jolley