Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hello everyone!

More than halfway through the MTC!

This week has been awesome, busy, fun, fast, and everything in between. This week is the mission president seminar, so schedules are moved around like crazy, and 1M (the main building) is off limits for missionaries cause that's where they are holding the seminar. About 12 of the 15 general authorities have been and will be coming down here for the seminar until Sunday. They keep 1M locked up pretty tight... it's been difficult resisting the temptation to go full out black ops on 1M to scope out the apostles. All I want is a handshake...and maybe a quick blessing from Pres. Monson...nothing too crazy ; ) I actually had a sick dream last night that I was walking by 1M and Elder Bednar came walking out. So obviously I run over and I'm like "Elder Bednar!" So then we chat a bit and he says "follow me." So I go with him to the gym and there was a devotional going on, so we sit down in the audience together and he looks over at me and says "we were hoping you'd come." Whaaaaaaat? I've been trying to decide all morning if it actually means something or if it's just the MTC apple juice doin some funky stuff to my dreams. Still not sure, but it was cool either way!

Cool experiences this week:
Sunday we had choir practice. This week for the Tuesday devotional we sang a cool version of "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer." The choir is made up of about 90% of the missionaries in the MTC, so there's just a ton of power behind our songs. The spirit is so strong when we sing, and Brother Egget (the chorister) tells us the most amazing stories and really breaks down the meaning of the songs we sing. I could listen to that man for hours. After practice I found Sister Streetman (Matisse) and said goodbye. She left for North Carolina on Monday. Tisse is the best. She carries the spirit so strongly and she's going to do so well in North Carolina. I'll send you pics we got.

Sister Bishoff, Sister Streetman, Elder Jolley and Elder Petersen

After choir practice we had a devotional from Brother Littlefield and his wife. Brother Littlefield is over the mission call department, so he's super involved in the work. He gave us an awesome talk about fulfilling our purpose as missionaries. He and his wife actually have a daughter in the MTC right now. Their daughter didn't know they were coming to speak so it was super cool. When his wife got up to speak she looked out in the crowd at her daughter with tears in her eyes and the first thing she said was "Hi sweet girl...we miss you." Ahh. It was so sad, and she had the same "emotional voice" as you do mom so I almost fell over haha.

After the devotional we went to watch the new Joseph Smith movie. I love that movie so much, gets me every time. My testimony of Joseph Smith has really strengthened during my time here in the MTC so watching that movie really hit home. I think often times we forget the magnitude of Joseph Smith's experiences. So amazing. Just like Dad said, I can't wait to meet him someday.

Tuesday came fast and we did a quick choir rehearsal before our performance in the devotional. I got a head cold at the beginning of the week so I was a bit congested. I always sing Tenor 1, but this week with my cold it was getting pretty hard to hit some of those high notes. If you haven't already guessed by now,  I'll just say I probably had one of the top 3 voice cracks of my lifetime. I almost shattered some windows and I'm pretty sure I knocked a few guys around me back into puberty haha. Elder Petersen was crying next to me from laughing so hard and Elder Nowjack on my left just muttered "Wow...that was bad." I was trying so hard to keep my composure, but I know I looked red as a tomato haha. Whatever... at least the church is true. ;)

Our performance went super well and my voice cooperated (thank the heavens). I kept the sheet music they passed out so I could always remember that song. It's seriously beautiful. I wish you guys could have heard it. After our performance we heard from Elder Nash of the Seventy. He gave an awesome talk about the Plan of Salvation and how everyone in our areas is going through trials, and that we bring the ONLY way to overcome those trials. That really hit me, I loved it.

Things are going super well with our investigator Jamie, and we got a baptismal commitment from our other investigator Ivan. Woop woop! Jamie is probably my favorite to teach. She asks really good questions that are sometimes hard to answer in Spanish, but this week Elder Arnold and I worked together really well and were able to answer a lot of her questions and get through some good lessons. She doesn't want to get baptized yet... emphasis on the yet. :) She had a really cool experience with prayer this past week. Her husband took the MCAT on Tuesday and was super nervous over this last weekend. She remembered what we said about prayer and that God would listen and help her in her trials. So she prayed and asked for Heavenly Father to help her husband. He had gotten a 12 (pretty bad) on a practice test last Saturday, so she was putting a lot of effort into her prayers. Her husband ended up getting a 23!! That's about 95%. She was so happy when she told us and so grateful to Heavenly Father. I could feel the spirit so strong and was so grateful to Heavenly Father for helping Jamie and her husband. It was awesome.

Halfway through our lesson on Thursday, they made an announcement asking all the Sisters in the MTC to come for a meeting in the gym. We were all super jealous thinking that they would be getting a talk from President Monson or something. Nope! Turns out a girl in 17M (the new building where all the sisters got moved last week) woke up with a bat on her shoulder. HA, what? So they asked all the sisters to go pack up cause they were going to evacuate 17M haha. All because of one bat! I told Elder Mikesell that the bats planned the whole thing out just so they could have 17M to themselves. He laughed so hard and we've just been exaggerating the story more and more the past couple days. There's not too much comic relief here in the MTC so when you find something funny you just gotta run with it. haha

Anyway so after class we went and got in a huge line of Elders to wait to help the Sisters take luggage back to their old buildings. It was so refreshing to do some REAL service. Everyone was helping each other and having a great time and we pretty much got everything moved in like an hour. It was awesome. I even helped a Sister from Bahia Blanca! I freaked out when she told me and then I asked her 200 questions about Bahia Blanca. Her accent was so beautiful and it made me so excited to be with the people. It was all I could do to not hug her haha. Probably creeped her out a bit... whoops :)

With the mission president seminar going on, we had an activity as a district where we all got taught by some new mission presidents on Thursday and Friday. President and Sister Perez were with us for both days. They're from Chile and it was so fun to speak Spanish with them. They're accents are awesome and they both have amazing testimonies.

 Mid-lesson with President Perez

President and Sister Perez

Friday night I got to meet the new mission presidents for Bahia Blanca!! President and Sister Cifuentes. They are a power couple and I have no doubt in my mind that they're calling is inspired. It made me so excited for my mission. At the end of our meeting with them they just said "See you in Bahia Blanca!" and I almost collapsed haha. I'm seriously so pumped. I wish I would have gotten a picture with them, but I didn't cause I'm an IDIOT, why do I always DO THAT (name that movie...ok it's tommy boy).

That's pretty much it for my week! Sorry for the novel. I love missionary work. Really the only trial in the MTC is just trying not to be lazy. Sometimes I have to kick myself in the butt to use my time wisely, but overall I am learning a lot and loving it. President Sweson gave us some awesome advice after Tuesday's devotional about becoming the fourth missionary and turning your heart to the Lord. (President Swenson is my role model, I try to soak up everything he says). I really want to be able to do that and say that I did that when I finish this crazy adventure, to get to a point where I don't hold anything back from the Lord and completely follow his will. I know that that is really the most and only intelligent decision I could make out here. He then showed us a cool youtube video called "Facing the Giants." Look it up, it's awesome. Also look up a video from a company called "Thai Life Insurance." I'm not exactly sure what the video is called, but it's in Chinese with subtitles. It's about giving and is an awesome example of Christ-like love.

I love you all! Thank you for your letters, love, and support. 

Elder Jolley IV

 Photos from the traffic hosting on Wednesday

 Choir practice!

Skyler, Elder Mikesell, and Elder Petersen

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Greetings from Provo.

The time here seriously goes by soo fast. It's freaking me out that it's already P-day again. I'll stop saying that every week after this I promise...but wow. Also thanks so much for the package. I'm obsessed with the pictures, and I loove my new glasses. They're super nice.

I'll try to remember as much as I can. So last Saturday after writing emails we did our temple trip and I saw Brayden and Megan! You guys already know that, but that was super fun. I didn't see it coming and it totally caught me off guard. That was a nice surprise. Then Megan hugged me and I've been repenting all week...geez ;) 

Sunday we had some changes in leadership because the older district all left on Monday. I got called to be the new District Leader! I'm super excited about it, I know it's going to help me become a better missionary. I love my district and learn a ton from everybody.

Tuesday we had a devotional and our whole district sang in the choir. The choir was huge cause of all the new missionaries coming in. We sang "Jesus, Once of Humble Birth" and it was super powerful. I loved it. We heard from David F. Evans of the Seventy during the Tuesday devotional.

Wednesday we got to do traffic hosting for the new missionaries. I got to be the dude that directs cars right or left when they come through the gate. I had a walkie talkie and the whole shabang. Elder Mikesell kept sayin funny stuff to me through the walkie talkie so I was laughing the whole time and probably looked like the biggest goober directing traffic with a huge grin on my face. I was tryin to look happy though in hopes to calm down the sobbing mothers driving in... haha. 

That's pretty much all the highlights. Lessons are going well and I can pretty much say anything I want in Spanish now which is nice. It's definitely not super smooth yet, but it's coming along.
We are currently teaching four investigators, so lessons for dayssss. We finished up teaching Leonardo and the next day he walked in with a shirt, tie, and teacher tag on. Whaaaa? Ya that threw me for a loop. So he's actually a member and our new language teacher. I was a little bitter for like an hour that he wasn't real...I prayed my soul out for that guy ;)

I'm loving it here and having a great time. I'm trying to strengthen my testimony and gain a better personal relationship with Christ while I'm here.

Love you all!
-Elder Jolley

P.S. Dear family and beloved friends that may check my blog. Please send me pictures or Dear Elders or something. Doesn't have to be special, but it would be awesome to hear from everyone :)

Elder Petersen, Elder Jolley with Sister Wilson and Sister Bishoff (Skyler's friends from high school) on Monday before Sister Wilson flew out to serving in Canada.

Study time with Elder TaufaTofua

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Missionary Spotting Today!

Boy he looks good! Miss him, but he's doing awesome!

video

Buenos Diassss!

Santa vaca. Time flies in el CCM! It feels like I just emailed you guys yesterday. But at the same time, I feel like I haven't been home...in yearssss (said in Pres. Monson voice).

This week has been awesome. Sometimes hard, but overall just amazing. Sometimes I take advantage of the fact that I'm ACTUALLY a missionary. I'm beyond grateful to my Heavenly Father for this opportunity and there is no where else I'd rather be. Besides Argentina :) Even in the hard/stressful times, it's still awesome. Why?? Cause the only thing I stress about is SAVIN LIVES yo. Life doesn't get much better.

It's impossible to tell you guys enough details about my week, I can barely remember everything without reading my entire journal. I write a ton in my journal. Sometimes it's a burden because I end up staying up later than 10:30 to get all the details in, but there's just so much to write sometimes and I know I'd regret it later if I didn't.

I'll give a quick sum up of Elder Arnold for you guys. He's from Idaho, comes from a family of 10, he's the youngest of 8 boys (ya...what??). He's a pretty smart kid. Knows a lot about the scriptures. He doesn't really like to talk. So I just sing hymns while we walk places to break the silence haha. Also he doesn't like to walk right next to me. He will usually keep about a 10 foot distance walking behind me. Even if I stop and wait for him to catch up..he'll just wait for me to get ahead again and hang back...live your life I guess. This past week he finally laughed at one of my jokes during lunch time. I almost fell off my chair out of shock. Usually he'll just look at me like I'm really dumb... sometimes I deserve it haha. He's a good guy. Like I said, we're polar opposites so it's been a learning experience trying to figure out how to relate to him and get along, but I know Heavenly Father paired us up for a reason so I'm just trying to love him and learn from him.

Few highlights of the week. On Sunday we had a devotional from President and Sister Tanner (the next Pres of BYU - HI). That was pretty good, they talked about obedience and how Temple covenants bless and empower us. After the devotional we watched a movie called "The Character of Christ." I'm sure the boys have seen it. It's an address from Elder Bednar that he gave at Christmas one time in the MTC. Changed my life. Alyssa told me about it when she was in the MTC, I couldn't find it on the internet, but you guys should try cause it's seriously amazing. Elder Arnold and I also got to give the sacrament prayer in Spanish last Sunday. That was cool, and President Swenson told us that he was super impressed with our accents cause usually guys in the MTC butcher it like crazy, but he said we did pretty good. President Swenson is our Branch President. The guy is sharp... I'm tellin ya. He and his wife have been mission presidents in Chile and have been serving as Branch President for the past four years. I literally absorb everything he says. He's a super nice guy, with a good sense of humor...but I can tell it would not be fun to be on his bad side haha. He gave the lesson in priesthood last Sunday and talked about using inspired questions in our lessons. Read Alma 5 for example. The questions in there will pierce your soul haha. That changed my perspective on teaching and helped a lot with our lessons this last week.

So lessons. Last Saturday Elder Arnold and I kind of botched our lesson with Leonardo on the restoration. Leonardo does this thing where right as we're getting to the peak of the lesson like bearing our testimony or getting a commitment. He'll cut us off and be like "No tengo mucho tiempo" or something like that. So last Saturday we kinda just panicked and left without even finishing our testimonies or getting a commitment. Que feo! Ah. So this last week we kind of had to recover. We sort of re-taught the Restoration and got a commitment for him to pray about it. Leonardo doesn't talk much and every question we ask he just replies "mm..mas o menos" or something like that... I just pray for patience and try not to give him the stink eye haha.

We started TRC's this week and are teaching a Latina named Jamie. She's married and in her 20's with a little girl. She's super nice and it's been awesome teaching her. I love teaching girls because it's way easier to help them to feel the spirit.

Cool experience. So I was having a hard time with Restoration. I've always believed that it's true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but I've never like KNOWN to my core. My testimony of the restoration could still use some exercise, but this last week I memorized the first vision in Spanish and was able to recite it to Jamie without any help. El don de lenguas babyy! Anyway when I recited the first vision to her I felt the spirit soo strong. Almost got a little choked up...the MTC is makin me soft ;) Anyway that was super cool. I want to study the restoration more for myself so I can have an experience like that every time.

We also had a devotional from Sister Burton (General Relief Society Pres.) this past week. That was awesome and she talked about becoming a disciple of Christ. She's awesome. I loved her talk. She got super choked up when she read a quote from Elder Perry too. It was sad... but cute.

I know you guys heard, but I got to see Ryan this week! That was awesome. Fun to see a family member. I know a ton of people here, but it's different when it's family. Maddi Bishoff and Matisse Streetman also came into the MTC this last Wednesday. It was awesome to see them :) I love my friends. ;)

Okay this is a novel, sorry. Overall I love my life and this is great. I pray for all you every night. I still suck at basketball, but that's okay cause I'm getting better haha. We played soccer this week too. I looove soccer. I'm decent at soccer for an American... but I know the Argentine's are going to be rolling on the ground when they see me play. Oh gosh.

Love you all! La obra es marvillosa y me encanta este Evangelio!! (spanish is comin good too as you can see ;))

-Elder Jolley IV

 Skyler with his District in their classroom

 Skyler with his companion, Elder Arnold

 Skyler with Elder Petersen

 Elder Arnold, Elder Jolley, Elder Mikesell and Elder Petersen

 Elder Jolley, Elder Arnold, Elder Nowjack, Elder Healey

 His Zone.

 His District.

Another of his District with the Provo Temple in the background.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ryan (Skyler's older brother) works at the MTC and was able to see and visit with
Skyler today for a brief minute. He's doing great!


Saturday, June 6, 2015

The First Letter!!

Hellooo Everybody!

MANN. I love it here so much. This is exactly what I need in my life and I couldn't be happier. I have felt the spirit almost constantly here. It's so cool being around other missionaries todos los dias. I'm still getting used to it though haha. Sometimes I'll look down a hallway and see two guys with plaques and for a second I'm like "No way! Missionaries!!" Then I remember I am one :) My district is awesome. Me and my companion are polar opposites, but we get along and I'm doing my best to love him, he tells the FUNNIEST stories though. His name is Elder Arnold and is from Kuna, Idaho. He comes from a family of 10 with 7 older brothers. He's a good guy, and says hi :) Oh my goodness, I have no idea where he gets them, but his sense of humor is so dry and he kind of has a russian accent (not really but a little bit). Also he never laughs which makes his stories even funnier, cause I don't know if I should laugh or not so it just makes me laugh even harder. He had me and Elder Petersen crying at lunch the other day and I don't think he even giggled once. It's hilarious. Elder Petersen is another guy in my district. He's a good guy, and almost like a Skyler 2.0. We're super similar and we have the exact same sense of humor so we've been cracking each other up this whole time. It's a blast.. Everyone else in my district is super cool. I will send pictures when I can. Spanish is coming good. Elder Peterson and I are probably the best speakers in the class. Everyone else is pretty decent too. Our teacher is Hermana White. She's a beautiful daughter of God and I want Ryan to meet her :) if things don't work out with Cydnee, por supuesto ;) I see Sister (Bailey) Wilson a lot, and also Sister Pitts. It's super fun to know other people here. Sister Wilson is loving it here as well.

As far as spiritual experiences, the first day was probably the best day of my life haha. Felt the spirit the whole time. Singing called to serve with all the new missionaries was super cool. The first night we had big group teaching sessions where an investigator would come in and we would talk to them and figure out as a group what they needed and what Heavenly Father wanted for them. On our third investigator, a hispanic woman named Mercedes, she told us that she had a lot of regrets and guilt in her life, so she feels bad about coming to God and doesn't feel like her guilt will ever go away. I was able to bear my testimony to her about how the atonement helps us to change, and takes away the guilt, but doesn't take away our knowledge of that sin so that we can learn from it. That was super cool and I really felt the spirit guiding me as to what I should say to her, and I know Mercedes felt it. It was awesome.

Thursday night we had a meeting with our whole branch and our branch presidency. We all had the opportunity to tell a little bit about ourselves and bear our testimonies. That was amazing and the spirit was so strong.

I haven't heard anything on my Mr Mac shoes, but if you could please send my red vans as well as those pictures as soon as possible that would be fantastic :) Also please talk to Kimber and ask her what the thing is called that Alyssa uses to enter her letters into the computer. You can buy it on amazon for like 20 bucks. If you could order one and send it to me that would help me a lot. Maybe if you could send my orange Nike Frees too? That'd be great. Thanks Maam :) Hope you guys are doing well. I love you all and pray for you guys every night (in spanish...wussup). If you could also send me a list of my friends mission emails from my gmail account? I think I know most of them but a list would be helpful if you can.

This morning we went running out by the soccer fields, then did a pretty good workout in the fitness center after breakfast, and played basketball after that. Every night and morning we all do pullups and pushups. I really don't want to deflate haha...but I know I will. Oh well, at least the church is true haha.

I am trying to be the best missionary I can. Sometimes I catch myself being lazy, but I want to be 100% obedient, and work hard! I really do love this work though, and I know that once I get in the groove a little more I can dig in and work harder. I'm so happy though, I really am. Laying in bed on the first night I just laid there with a huge grin on my face. that makes me sound like a huge idiot, but I was just so happy haha! Not a tear has been shed since my drop off (that was rough...thanks a lot girls and mom...just kidding, love you guys). Saturdays are my P days and we get to go to the temple in a little bit for the 2pm session. I can't wait! I love the temple and I'm so glad we got to go as a family (menos Ryan) on Wednesday morning!

Love you guys. Have a great week!!

- Elder Jolley IV

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

MTC Day

Wow! Can't believe June 3rd has finally arrived and it's Skyler's day to head off... in January it seemed so far out.

Such a beautiful morning. Skyler, Brayden, Jeff and I woke up bright and early to attend a 6:30am temple session at the Mount Timpanogos Temple. Ryan, unfortunately, wasn't able to join because because he had a class to attend.  It was a great way to start  the day!



 Following the temple, we got things gathered together and were on our way.
We stopped for lunch together at Cubby's, as per Skyler's request.



Before the official drop off, we stopped for a few family photos at the Provo Temple.
 





Well... (sigh). The time had come to take him. As we started our decent into the MTC "drop off" area, we were greeted by many helpers and sisters and elders. There is such a wonderful, happy spirit of welcoming at the MTC. As they kept summoning us forward to drop him off, we realized they lead us through and past the drop off and to the exit! We had to start the decent all over again... It was pretty funny!

Boy, giving our last good-bye is never easy. BUT, it truly helps to know how ready and excited he is to go and serve.







We gave our hugs and love and he was off. God speed my son!




Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.(D&C 4:2)

Our Last Day

The last few days have been a whirlwind. So grateful to have been able to spend time with family and friends as Skyler wraps things up. Our last big feat was to actually pack things into the suitcases. "Packing" things up isn't Skyler's most favorite thing, but it now was a must! :)


We cranked it out together and got it done with a little over an hour to spare before he was to be set apart.

Skyler was set apart on Tuesday night, June 2, 2015. Our immediate family along with Kim Tycksen, Bishop Morrill, Bishop Johnson and President Lowry gathered to share in this special evening. President Lowry gave each of us the opportunity to share and express our love, testimonies and feelings to Skyler. The spirit was very strong and the room was filled with lots of love.

President Lowry then set Skyler apart as a missionary and offered him a beautiful blessing. He then added a few words of counsel and direction for Skyler.  Skyler will be an incredible missionary... the mantle that he now holds could be felt.

Pictures after the setting apart...

 Kim Tycksen with our family

 Draya with Skyler

 Skyler and Kendyl

 Skyler and Brayden

 Brothers

 Skyler with Ryan

Our tradition continues from when Ryan left of having a family "camp out" down in the family room. Being altogether as a family, sharing our last bit of time before Skyler was to leave the next day! By the time I captured this picture, everyone was out! 


Skyler's Farewell and Goodbyes

Sunday, May 31st was Skyler's Farewell. It was a beautiful Spring Day! Skyler was asked to share his thoughts on Elder Jeffrey Holland's talk  Where Justice, Love and Mercy Meet. He shared some wonderful thoughts, personal experiences and bore humble, sincere testimony of the Savior's atonement.

Following the meeting, many family and friends joined us for some yummy food and time visiting with Skyler before he heads out this coming Wednesday.

Skyler with:
 Lee's and Frederickson's

 Bengzten's

 Family and friends gathered at the park pavilion

 Reagan Curtis, Tieler Diederich, Sarah Nielson and Skyler

 Adam's

 Trewartha's (aunt and uncle)

 Tycksen's

 Nielson's

 Brother Ryan, Mom, Shannon Harmon, Skyler and brother Brayden

 Enjoying the yummy food

 Crane's (cousins)

 Moss'

 Willden's

 Family... From left to right, starting in the back: Brett Campbell,
Linda Campbell, Natalia Pia, Jill Christensen, (front) Megan Jackson,
Don Campbell, Stacey Summers, Grandma Campbell, Paka Campbell, Rich Christensen

 Pia's (aunt and cousins)

 Our family (minus older brother Ryan)

 Christensen's (aunt, uncle and cousins)

 Campbell's (uncle, aunt and cousins)

 Aunt Linda Campbell, Barb and Doug Campbell (grandparents), Uncle Don Campbell

 Diederich's


 Skyler with grandparents, Barb and Doug Campbell

 Campbell's (uncle, aunt and cousins). We were missing them today,
but glad that Skyler was able to say goodbye before the left!

Thank you to everyone for your love, support and well wishes for Skyler!