Monday, September 28, 2015

The Journey to Consecration...


This week was hard... fun... necessary... and filled with blessings! In the beginning of the week Elder Baker, Pilacios, and Caparroz went to a leadership conference in Bahia Blanca, so Elder Arnes and Rust joined me for a couple days. That was a lot of fun. We had a great time and laughed a lot. We had to stay home most of Tuesday because the plumbers came to do... something... to our house. Still trying to figure out what that something was because not much changed, but oh well! So I took the day to have a great study, I made some delicious chicken tomato pasta for lunch for the three of us, then spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up after the plumbers, then that night we got to go visit a few people and had a good lesson about Charity with a member family (not sure the last name... but it's the family of Antonella and Julieta, who were baptized around the time I arrived in Argentina).

 How many Argentine plumbers does it take to fix the house? They´ve come like 3 times in the past week and we still have random overflows...
 Cleaning up our nasty house after the plumbers came with Elder Arnes and Elder Rust (Elder Rust is the one holding the camera)

The plumbers came... made noise, spoke colorful language, made a mess, then they left... Not sure if they actually fixed anything, but I sure had a great time cleaning up after them!

Elder Baker and the zone leaders (Pilacios and Caparroz) arrived on Wednesday morning and brought me a letter from Alyssa! That was a much needed boost to my week, especially because she included two amazing talks on missionary work. One is called "The Consecrated Missionary" by Tad R. Callister. It is a LIFE-CHANGER and I highly recommend it. It´s obviously about missionary work, but can also apply to how we should live our lives in general. I have been focusing a lot this week on trying to follow the counsel in that talk. To truly humble myself and submit myself to whatever the Lord would have me be and do. It´s been hard, but as I have truly tried to break the natural man and be humble and have charity I have seen such a change in me and the work that has come through my Savior. Whether it´s choosing not to argue or get offended with companions and others around me, or just disciplining myself to be as obedient as possible.

One night as we (a group of 6 Elders... our usually group plus Elder Killinger and Franco) were walking to an appointment, I was feeling super stressed, frustrated, and alone because a couple of Elders had been on my case and I wasn´t sure why. I wanted so bad to snap back or confront them as to why I was being treated that way... but instead I turned my thoughts to the Lord and made the (rather difficult) decision to follow my goal to humble myself and not say anything. Right then, John 16:33 came to my mind: "Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world." I had the strongest feeling of love and comfort come over me, and I didn´t feel alone anymore. In my mind I felt as if the Savior had put His arm around me and was walking by my side. Lately I have felt so much closer to Him. Both in the work and personally, as I learn about Him and go through a VERY small portion of what he went through in His life on earth and with the Atonement that he performed for us. I am soo grateful for Him and that Atonement that makes me better and stronger, and brings me comfort. I know He lives and that He loves us! I want to share a quick quote from The Consecrated Missionary: "Our Heavenly Father doesn´t expect immediate perfection, but He expects immediate progress. True consecration may seem like Mt. Everest at times, but with each step, and with His help, we can reach the summit." May we all try to submit ourselves to do His will... whatever it may be. In doing so I know we can reach our happiest state in this life, and exaltation in the life to come!

I love you all! Have a fantastic week.
Elder Jolley

Monday, September 21, 2015

Hello America!

It´s been another fantastic week here in Mar Del Plata :)

This past week I had the opportunity to go to a city called Batan for exchanges. This was the first time I have been able to be the person that leaves the area for exchanges. Each time I´ve been the one that stays. At first I was a bit worried and reluctant to go somewhere else, just because I´m comfortable in my house and I didn't want to go stay in some nasty missionary apartment somewhere else and work in a nasty area. I spoke to soon though. Batan was BEAUTIFUL. So peaceful, with quaint little dirt roads and trees everywhere, huge farm fields, blossoms everywhere because it's spring right now, and at night you can see the stars so clearly because there´s hardly any light pollution. Also, the house there is great. It´s the top floor of this cute little brick house, with a huge farm field right behind it, and even a BACK YARD! Wow. The house reminds me of a cabin or a tree house or something, and in the yard there is orange trees, kiwi trees, and LEMON trees! I´ve never seen a lemon tree and I think Heavenly Father let me go to Batan just to experience that. My jaw dropped when I saw it haha. Batan seriously felt like a mini Italy or something.

Anyway, Batan was great and fun and all the people we met were so friendly! We visited a bunch of families including the Soliz family. They are Bolivian and moved here to Argentina because they have a handicapped son and the heat in Bolivia wasn´t good for his health, so they packed up everything and came here for him. They´re all so friendly and everyone has jobs to pay for the house and Alejandro´s (the handicapped son) medical bills. They are all so happy and you can feel the spirit so strong in their house. They fed us dinner the night that we visited and we chatted and laughed the whole time. I love them so much. At the end they found out I was from a different area and was just visiting and they kept saying stuff like "Are you going to come back?" and "Don´t forget about us! Please come visit again." It was so sad and I told them I would try to and if the Lord wanted me to I might even get transferred there one day. They said "Okay, we will pray that the Lord will let you come back to see us." So glad I was able to meet them and to learn about their story.

Unfortunately I didn´t bring my camera to Batan because I´m an IDIOT, but I think we might do exchanges again and I will send you guys pics :)

Fun facts:
• Argentina loves mayonnaise. You literally cannot find a store that doesn´t have a whole shelf dedicated to mayo. It´s a bit gross. People put mayo on everything haha.
• The plumbers came this last week! After 2 months of calling haha... Argentina. They opened up this pipe in our patio.. it was overflowed with stagnant water. There were maggots and leeches and spiders and who knows what EVERYWHERE. Nassssty. Also, they cleared out a bunch of trash, including an ear of corn... Argentina... don't ask.

Lately I have been reading a lot in Jesus the Christ. I love it! It´s such a neat experience to learn more about the mortal Christ and His ministry when He was on the earth. He becomes more and more real to me as I learn about His personality and the trials that He endured when He was on earth. All my life I have just figured that because He is perfect, He never had a problem resisting temptation. I was amazed to learn that Christ COULD have sinned, but because of His complete submission and loyalty to the Father, He made the decision and set the perfect example of doing only what would please the Father no matter what. I love Him and am trying to be more like Him in my daily life, especially as a missionary. We can´t be perfect like Him in this life and sometimes we are too hard on ourselves because of our imperfections, but THROUGH Him we can be made perfect, AFTER all we can do. I testify of that, and I know that He will give us strength as we strive to be more like Him, and follow His example of doing only what would please the Father. That is what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about.

I love you all and you´re in my prayers.
Elder Jolley

 The Liquin family fed us a ton of pizza yesterday. Hermana Liquin just kept bringing out more and more. I probably ate 2 and a half pizzas myself. Bread and cheese is life.

 The daughter of one of our investigators drew this picture of me. She is 9 and has cancer and a bunch of other health problems. Her name is Brisa and one day we went to visit her and she told me she liked to draw, so I asked her to draw me a picture and she gave me this the next time we visited. She´s so cute. And yes it does look like I have a purse and high heels...but its actually a scripture bag and manly leather church shoes :)

 The benefits of being in a soccer country. cheap remeras :) 

Elder Caparroz tryin to get creative. Almost insta-worthy

Monday, September 14, 2015

Buen Día a todos!

Spring has sprung here in Argentina and apart from the random two minute snowstorm in the morning this past week, the weather has been beautiful and I haven´t even had to wear a sweater :)

This week has been a lot better. The ups and downs of the mission seem to be getting a bit smaller, but they´re definitely still there. It keeps daily life here interesting though so it´s ok. This past week, Elder Baker and Elder Caparroz (he lives with us) were sick a lot, and being the "new guy" I usually get put on babysitting duties for whoever is sick at the time. That kind of put a wrench in my productivity this week and I´m hoping this week I will be able to dig in a bit more.

Being home a lot, I was able to clean the house pretty well (hallelujah). Our house... is great... but it has a few issues. For one, our kitchen sink overflowed a couple weeks ago and the pipe got disconnected from the wall. Remember when I told you guys how our house flooded with nasty water that one time? Our plumbing is super jacked up now. There´s a hole in the wall now where the sink was connected that throws up nasty water into the kitchen just about every day... so we keep a bucket under it and dump the water outside. Usually that does the trick, but every now and then it will flood the kitchen. I´m usually the one who cleans it up... and we´ll just say that I´m pretty good at mopping by now :) Also our key got stuck in the lock this past week and we couldn't leave the house because we couldn't shut the door and lock it, so we had Hermano Requelme come about an hour later to help us. Luckily he worked in construction so he had all the necessary tools. That was a blessing!

Funny story. My pants ripped about 3 times this week. Once in the pocket on the outside seam, then another time because a nail on our couch snagged my pant leg, and then one night the sink started to freak out again, so I squated down to check the bucket and I just heard a huge ripping noise. I looked down to see that my pants had completely ripped through the crotch, exposing my garments, and inviting a nice cool breeze. haha! Luckily the Lord blesses me with patience and happiness, so I´m able to just laugh most of this stuff off. Also we live close to a lady that repairs clothes soo... double blessings :)

Another quick funny story. The other night Elder Baker went to bed early because he felt sick. So I studied and wrote in my journal until 10:30. When I went in for bed, Elder Baker was talking in his sleep and said "hmmm... hmm... Soy de...Mexico? Hmm... la verdad que no.." Haha! Missionaries always say the funniest stuff in their sleep and the mission makes you have the weirdest dreams. 

This past week, we had the opportunity to go to a mission conference and here from President Cifuentes and his wife, as well as Elder Teixeira from the Seventy and his wife. It was so good and a much needed spiritual feast. President Cifuentes talked about breaking the natural man inside of us, just as you would "break" a horse to tame it´s wild spirit and train it to be more obedient. Elder Teixeira and his wife talked about ways that we could better find investigators, especially through references, as well as obedience. Hermana Teixeira specifically talked about how we need to do everything in our power to be obedient to ALL the rules, so that we can recieve ALL the blessings. I love that and it makes me think of the analogy "The gospel is not a buffet, you can´t pick and choose which commandments to obey." In the end, all that matters is that we are doing everything we can to please the Lord. If we make our decisions with the intent to please the Lord, we will never go wrong and will be exceedingly blessed.

Love you all! Have a fantastic week. 
Elder Jolley

 Had the opportunity to see Elder Price (from the MTC) as well as ELDER ARNOLD!! Ha I can´t tell you how happy I was to see them both. Elder Arnold is exactly the same, but I wouldn´t have it any other way haha. Love them both.

 Elder Arnes stayed at our house last week the night before the mission conference and found Elder Caparroz´s Capt. America hoodie. Haha!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Hey Everyone! 

Another great week here in Mar Del Plata. Not too much to report from last week and I´m a bit short on time today. We got to do exchanges this past week with Elder Arnes and Elder Franco. They are both from Chile. Elder Franco is new and I can tell has so much potential, he´s a great guy. Elder Arnes is in his last transfer, is super funny, and looks somewhat like a shark :) (just an opinion)

Not the best picture... but this is Elder Pilacios and I with Elder Franco (middle right) and Elder Arnes (middle left).

This last week I was really grateful for the power of prayer, and for the fact that God knows us each so individually. It´s so comforting to know that even out here as a missionary, teaching other people, my Heavenly Father still cares about me and my personal needs. In 3 Nephi 17, we see a perfect example of the love of Christ. As the Son of God, I can´t imagine how many things he must have on his lists of things to do, but he saw that the people needed him at that moment and he cared more that they were happy and blessed, over the next thing on his to do list. 

This work is hard, but it´s important and worth it. I´m so grateful for the hard times and trials that I have in my life because they help me to better understand the Atonement of Christ and use it more effectively in my life.

I love you all! Have a fantastic week.

Elder Jolley

I´m on a giant sea lion... live your dreams my friends.