Monday, January 28, 2013

Dear Family!


What a week to tell you guys about! I´m not sure HOW but I´ll do my best. I sure believe that there are special moments when we are blessed to learn more about ourselves and in turn grow closer to our Heavenly Father. Through revelations and the still small testimony builders that happen every day it could not be more clear that God loves us so much and has GREAT things planned for our futures. It´s impossible to deny that there is a God in His heaven who knows us. This week has been a special week to see that tanto cómo misionero y con nuestros investigadores.

I think I told you a little bit about the Flia. Ortiz Martinez... maybe not?? No me recuerdo.. Anyways there is this amazing family that we met recently. Betina and Javier are married (it´s a big deal when you find married people) and are both inactive members of the church. They have two amazing kids, Elias and Abril. They were happy to receive us and from day one we were laughing and were able to develop so much confidence with them. They´ve gone through some hard times and from what they told us they are in great need of the Gospel. Last night we passed by and taught them about Jesus Christ, His propósito en el Plan de Salvación por todos nosotros. It was a great lesson.. but what was
even better was what we were able to open up and then teach more about. They expressed to us doubts in their faith about God and His nature. The Lord has so kindly taught us that these are His children and can´t just be talked at, but has allowed us to see what they need and then give them the porción of the Gospel that they need. Abrilita isn´t a member so our goal is to activate this great family and help them to be an eternal family!! It was genial, last night we were talking about how our Heavenly Father teaches us even when we make mistakes, Betina made the comment, "Oh, I get it. God really is a father, He is our Dad!" then began to explain what she had learned to her husband and family. Wow!! The spirit was soo strong and a really great experience!

Also this week we were working hard to continue to help and get to know our zone! We´ve put the meta to help all the areas work better with their members, in a way to grow the spirit of missionary work in the wards and to help our investigators feel more comfortable in the chapel. It has been a really inspired work that Pte. Stapley is helping us to learn! In our exchanges that we´re doing I went out with Elder Escobar from Chili. He is new in the mission but this Elder is incredible. Such a powerhouse missionary! A lot of the time I was just letting him take over and do everything! We have an amazing zone! Fa wish you guys could meet them all! This last week we had some of the highest numbers we´ve seen (numbers aren´t what matters- we are more than happy because it shows that we are understanding and working as a team!)

On Friday we had surprise interviews with Presidente Stapley! We were supposed to do them in the coming week but had to change his schedule. SO we got everything ready for him down here in La Plata and turned out to be the best interviews that I´ve had. I got to be first and Presidente and I were chatting for about a half hour or so.. he is an amazing and inspired man. I learned things about myself that I didn´t know. I had been praying that the Lord would continue to teach what it is that I can do to help the zone and Villa Elvira and had some of the strongest impressions in that interview. President shared with me a scripture that I wanted to share with you guys in 1 Pedro 1:5-9:

5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be,ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

My testimony is that it is like Peter explains. Sometimes we cannot see what the Lord has in store for us and we must pass through trials at times, but I love Him and am grateful to serve Him. I promise that what we go through will all be worth it one day and know our Savior Jesus Christ will teach us as we allow Him to mold us. I love being a missionary- couldn´t be who the Lord wants me to be without this experience.

I hope that you guys have a great week! Happy February! :) Un abrazo a todos ustedes y un besito.

(Big hug, little kiss)
Elder Jolley

Monday, January 21, 2013

Querida Familia!! :)

Shooot.. looks cold there! Ha. :) (that just cursed us for a storm!) Glad to hear from you guys and love all that I hear!! Today in Buenos Aires it has been a fantastic day and we´re coming off a EXCELLENT week! This last week I felt more love than ever in my mission, I felt like it was for everyone and for everything. I think the experience that stands out the most was a lesson that we taught to some less active members while on exchanges. The familia Leva. It´s a part member familia that have kinda gotten "lazy", they believe in everything that the Church teaches buut just want to live in the world for a minute! It was a blessing to not look at them weird and ask what is going through the "coconut?!" We listened to them for a minute and felt to share in Helaman 5:10-12 (mama if you could please insert that :) ).

10 And remember also the words which Amulek spake unto Zeezrom, in the city of Ammonihah; for he said unto him that the Lord surely should come to redeem his people, but that he should not come to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins. 

11 And he hath power given unto him from the Father to redeem them from their sins because of repentance; therefore he hath sent his angels to declare the tidings of the conditions of repentance, which bringeth unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls.

12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

As we read these versículos WOW what an incredible spirit entered into the room. Not knowing the family I felt like they were my own. We testified to them that the key to a future of happiness is based on Jesus Christ and in DOING what He wants us to do! We felt like we were only sitting in place of the Savior in that lesson. I don´t know if they ended up going to church like we invited them to but the whole week was filled with special moments like this one! As I´ve been able to pray and study, focusing only on others, it has deepened my understanding and love for my mission purpose! Serving a mission is the greatest thing!! :)

This week it´s been kinda crazy back and forth between areas. To help the zone lograr la Visión de la Misión, we´ve put the goal to do an exchange with each of the areas in our zone and get to know the missionaries and get a feel for how they work and be able to get to know them better. We got two done this week and they were fantastic!! I changed with 2 American Elders in our Zone, stayed in Villa Elvira for one of them and left the area for the second. I´ve been in Villa Elvira almost 6 months now and it was nice to see some other terreno but there is nothing like being at home! (Stayed in an apartment with carpet! :) was super tempted to take a nap on it! haha) Unfortunately I wasn´t there for the appointment that we had with Emanuel and Mikaela.. it´s been kinda tough to find them and sit down and talk, it´s been something that we´ve been trying to fix with all our investigators, but Elder Villalba was able to have a really great lesson with them. They heard the message of the Restoration and were able feel the spirit! You can tell they want to change and respond to the spirit so we´re super excited to be there to help them. We´ve got a couple of citas planned with them this coming week so we´ll be sure to let you know next week! Thank you so so much for keeping them in your prayers and for the people of Argentina. We are working hard to continue to find. The Lord must have "sowers" of the word and what changes I´ve seen in my life and in those around me as we do every little thing that the Lord requires of us.. We have the 9th of February as a goal for our whole Zone to baptize. I´m confident that we´ll do it! :)

Want to wish Mam a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! (I´m excited to be able to write to you on Monday but this is a little heads up!) Love you Mom! Have an incredible day! :)

Thanks for all that you guys do! I love you tons. Saludos a la familia y les mando un gran abrazo!
Elder Jolley 

MAC AND CHEESE!! (I made it, didn´t burn! Woo)

Elder Jolley with The Familia Cejas

Elder Villalba and I 

Day in the Plaza • The district playing some Fútbol

Elder Nelson and I en el bosque
The winning Fútbol team!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hey everybody!!

Good to hear from you guys, bad to hear about your temperatures.. haha that bites! Thought I was missing the cold, but then remembering really cold weeks like that makes things seem great here! Candy I think asked if it´s "tropical" here. In Villa Elvira I think it feels a lot like California (not sure if that is considered tropical, but there is something that you can compare it to). I really enjoy it here. As heavy as the humidity can get I think it´s pretty easy to manage. Anyways, I´m hoping that you guys will survive the cold and that ya´ll keep warm. I´m not sure if the house has a fireplace or not? Hope so.

Well what a week it´s been. A really satisfying week I´d say. With different trials that we had and things that we were trying to improve on it was great to sit down last night and reflect on what we were able to achieve! I think the greatest blessing of the gospel is this feeling of having become a little bit more like Christ. We were able to work hard and work towards completing our goals. From our experience in the Temple, Presidente Stapley had been teaching us about receiving our own "vision" from the Lord as to what we can do in our areas and in the zone. We felt really blessed to be able to start a new week with this in mind, I believe that it gave us more desire to work and a greater understanding of what we need to do. We worked with different members this week to be able to find new investigators, we found several that are great and we were able to share great experiences in introducing the Gospel. It was a serious answer to our prayers. For awhile we had been pretty "dry" with our investigators, having dropped those who weren´t progressing and out working to find new ones. We continue to strive to find those who are ready to harvest. As a zone a few weeks back we put the goal that ALL areas baptize the 02 of February. In our zone meeting this last week we talked about our progress and found that we weren´t doing so great progressing towards the 2nd. It was awesome to see a "counsel" take place in the Zone and we came to the conclusion that we would all work to find and secure someone for this date- from Wednesday to Thursday we also fasted together and the results were impressive. When one depends on the Lord, he truly comes to know that we have such a special relationship with our Heavenly Father and that we are supported in all that we desire to do. We´ll be continuing to work so that we can have a good turn out on the 2nd. :)

A cool experience that we had this last week on Thursday, we headed out with a guy called Mauro Ramirez in our ward. We had made plans to do work in his neighborhood and visit several people. When we first left, we saw a group of his buddies sitting on a bench in a plaza, he led us to go over and talk with them. It was a group of like six, twenty year olds that were all smoking and they had their girlfriends and all that good stuff- in my mind I was preparing for an "interesting experience" to happen, thinking about all the things that could happen. (In Argentina sometimes the youth groups are a little sketchy), but as we got to know them and explained who we were, we got talking about what they believed and if they would be interested in hearing a message about the Savior. There was a kid named Emanuel who is 20 years who, by the look that he had, was bastante interesado en escucharnos. We ended up setting up a return cita with him. On Saturday he invited us to his house and we sat down and talked with him, his girlfriend and their daughter. It was an interesting experience for me, as we talked a little more I could see the sadness that Emanuel had seen in his life and the path that it lead him down. He has the exact same age as I do and to be able to sit down and share the message of the gospel with him was truly a blessing. As he listened and as the spirit indicated to us what to say, we felt that his heart had really softened and made room for the Savior. The spirit was really strong as we finished with them and set up a new cita to continue working with them. I had the greatest image of him and his family growing up in the Gospel as I left his house. This family is one that I´m super excited to have been able to find and we´re excited to meet with them again this week.

Well time continues to fly, gotta get going! I know that this is the Lord's church which He leads and guides. If I could express anything it would be how grateful and how happy I am!! Wow, words can´t describe what it means and how it feels to "come unto Him" really the best way is to do it! Without doubt I know that the scriptures are messages personally directed to us from our Father in Heaven. They are true. (1 Nephi 15:24-25)

I wish you all a great week! :)
Much Love!
Elder Jolley

 Elder Jolley and Elder Villalba

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hello Family!! :)

It has been such a quick week.. I feel exactly like you said mom, there were so much events that happened this week that it seems like last week was last year! Things were a lot crazy this week! I don´t know if it was because transfers started, but we found ourselves busy with some activity every day this week (and coming off festivities for the New Year..of course). We made a couple trips by train to the mission offices and had other meetings the other days! I missed good missionary work. I really noticed a big difference in the week and in the "nivel de pelea" as worked to complete our goals and help out our amazing investigators. Gratefully we were so blessed this week to do the things that we had to do and were able to get more work done in Villa Elvira. I´ve seen a big difference this week from something that I think the Lord has been trying to teach me for awhile, as we end the week we´re able to see little weaknesses in our work or areas that have the threat of becoming weaknesses. We´ve been focused on identifying these areas and making plans to fix them before they get worse! It has really been a blessing to strengthen our weakness and only worry about maintaining those things that we´re doing in- as we´ve done so we´ve really been able to see the potential of success that the Lord has for us. We are trying to apply this to our zone as well and help to "sanctify" all aspects of our work. We have a LOT of hope for what we´re going to be able to accomplish!! I can´t remember if I told you all about Pres. Stapley's plan for the mission to try and "obtain a better vision" of what the Lord wants us to do. This last week was the last week before we would be able to go to the temple! Wow.. what a blessing this 3 weeks have been for me. It´s impossible to explain how certain I am that the Lord really inspires us and guides us in our lives. And to top it off we had an incredible time at the temple today! :)We got there at 11 this morning and were able to take a few minutes to be out in the grounds of the temple and take some pictures. When it was our turn we went in with a big group and had an incredible session. I´ve missed the temple lots! The peace that there is inside the Lord's house is in itself a confirming witness that our Heavenly Father really knows and loves us. President and Sister Stapley were also inside the temple and we had a couple minutes to be with them inside the temple. Super cool experience!!

So sorry, gotta cut short today! I started this week the Book of Mormon with the goal to read 1 chapter a day in order to finish in August!! :) It´s gonna happen. I loved this week 1 Nephi 3:8 and how happy Lehi was with Nephi as a Father that Nephi was able to understand the things of the Lord. We also have the same opportunity as Nephi to be able to understand and be blessed by the Lord as we Desire to know the Mysteries of God. Hope that you guys find success in your goals! Stick to em!

Much Love
Elder Jolley
Elder Lewis and Elder Jolley

Elder Jolley zone group

Elder Alvarado, Elder Jolley and Elder Lewis,  Elder Villalba
(all his companions)
Buenos Aires, Argentina Temple

 Elder Villalba and Elder Jolley