Monday, October 26, 2015

Hey family!

Well.. I basically just barely wrote so there isn´t too much to update and I am low on time so I will give a quick sum up.

This weekend we had interviews with President Cifuentes. We met with him and his wife on Friday morning and had a chat before interviews. Probably the highlight of my week. President Cifuentes is the best and it gives me such a boost every time I see him and his wife. Not sure what I did to deserve such a solid guy for my mission president, but I´m super grateful and I know I will learn so much from him on my mission.

Saturday we had a branch activity at our little chapel/house. We had a pretty good turn out and such a good time! We ate asado, played soccer, celebrated "el dia de la madre," and just had fun. We also had a random Karaoke session and cake .:) It was fun to just hang out and feel somewhat normal for a little bit.

 Cooking Asado with Branch President Flores

 Branch Activity. Huge Asado with all the members (including the family from Villalonga). We played soccer after and celebrated ´Dia de la Madre´ after with cake. Yummm! 

ASADO! Seriously the best. enjoy my remix:
"This is why I´m fat...this is why I´m fat...this is why, this is why, this is why I´m fat." 

After the Asado, Elder Guzman (he and his wife are service missionaries who live in Bahia Blanca and attend/help with the branch here on weekends) randomly went on a Karaoke spree and sang like 7 songs. I admire his courage, but he´s tone deaf and the songs he sang were awful. Everyone just awkwardly sat and listened and clapped between songs. By the third or fourth song I had to walk into another room to laugh. I was so confused haha!

Funny stories: 
1. There is a sister in our ward from Bolivia that takes pictures of me ALL THE TIME. I have no idea why and it's so awkward, but every time I turn my head she has her phone out taking a pic of me. I never know what to do so I usually just walk away...

2. Apparently I am betrothed... at the end of the activity, this 14/15 yr old girl from the Villalonga family comes up to me and puts her arms out to give me a hug. So I quickly just gave her a "strong double high five" and pushed her away to avoid the hug. She just laughed then asked "You're going to come visit us after your mission right?" I said "I don't know, we´ll see!" and she goes "Good! because I want you to be my companion!" or something like that. I wasn't listening all the way and just said "Ya ya sure." So she ran off and about thirty seconds later my brain registered what she said... and then I felt super uncomfortable all weekend haha. Not sure where that came from, but no thanks!

Yesterday was elections in Argentina and the President sent out a message saying no one could leave the house to work after church because of elections. So after church yesterday we sat in our house. That was nice, but also really long haha. I got to catch up on my  journal and do some reading though, which was nice.

That´s it for my weekend! Hope you all have a great week! 

-Elder Jolley

Found a "cool shell" at the beach, then the next day I noticed it was open.. then would close as I walked by. Ha! I was so confused at first... then realized I found a living clam. So we boiled it and I ate it. Didn´t taste as good as clam chowder., but it wasn´t bad!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hey everyone.

Wow this week and a half has been nuts. I was talking with Jackson a while ago about how emails are so hard because no matter what we say, no one will really understand what we`re experiencing out here. I could go on for hours with details, but I guess I will just start from the beginning and do my best to fill you in. 

As far as the mission work, it`s a bit frustrating right now. Our days are seriously filled with contacting.. and rejections in our follow up appointments with previous contacts. People listen here, which is really nice, but it`s just that no one does anything. We have so many contacts that go soo well, then we go back for a follow up appointment and we just get fed a bunch of excuses as to why they don`t have time or whatever else they come up with. Last week we had exchanges with the AP`s, and Elder Carhuaz and I got 25 new investigators (new investigator means like.. address and phone number and follow up appt). That's awesome, but almost every follow up that we`ve made since then just evaporates. AH! It`s so hard when you know someone has felt the spirit, but they reject your message anyway, or don`t act.. one of the hardest things in the mission.

Exchanges with the APs went well, but the APs, and some other missionaries, like to shoot for "same day baptisms." Basically where you just get someone really excited about baptism in the first contact, then drag them to the chapel and make it happen. It`s like selling the gospel and it makes me mad. Elder Carhuaz tried to do it with one of our contacts and I cut in and shut it down. He was pretty bugged at me after that, but I don`t think it's right. I realize that some people may be ready earlier than others to make that commitment, but without church attendance and at least a basic understanding of the restored gospel... no, that doesn`t fly with me. 

We were walking down the street and my comp said "Look! That dog looks like a lion... take a picture with it!" so I did :) and it actually does look like a lion...

Contacting all day and talking with so many different people from different religions, you get a lot of mean comments about the church. Lately I`ve been struggling with a lot of doubts in the back of my head as to why missionary work is important and a other things like that. I still know the church is true.. and I`m learning to doubt my doubts before I doubt my faith just like President Uchtdorf taught. I know for sure that no other church brings as much clarity to life than ours though. It was funny the other day as some Jehovah`s Witnesses knocked on our door in the morning during studies. I opened the door and just gave them a big smile. Their eyes got a little wide as they saw my tag... then we began "the battle of the pamphlets." Haha! I was nice and heard out their messages, then responded to each one with the truth. They just got angrier and angrier with me as I defended the truth, and in the end I got one of them to take a restoration pamphlet (which is against their rules.. jehovah's witnesses can't take pamphlets from other religions). I win :) haha

Another time, while we were contacting, we started talking with a young mom who lives with her parents. Her mom is an Evangelica and walked in right as we were teaching about the first vision. She flipped, saying that Joseph Smith was a terrible man and all that. It turned into the usual argument, us helping them to see the purpose and importance of prophets, them telling us that prophets don`t exist and how only the bible is true (which was written by prophets...what??). She was super angry and fought every single thing we said. After she finished her rant and it finally got silent, I just bore my testimony that I know this is true. After I finished the room stayed quiet, and she took the pamphlet and said she would pray. Yes! The power of testimony is real :) She then saw a picture of the Book of Mormon on the back and started to get all riled up again haha. So I said "Just pray about what we talked about, and we can explain the Book of Mormon later." She wouldn`t set an appointment with us... but we`ll pass by :)

Yesterday we had pday as a Zone and went to the beach in Monte Hermoso. After traveling the night before and going to bed super late, we woke up at 5 am and met up with everyone in our Zone to take a bus at 6:30am. We spent about 6 hours hanging out and playing soccer and other games at the beach. It was so nice to be in the sand and hear the ocean (even though we couldn`t swim... that was a temptation of a lifetime wow). In the morning I was trying to teach the sisters how to do a two person cartwheel. Elder Barros overheard and told me he knew how. So I had him come over and do it with me so we could give an example. He started and we did one revolution just fine, then as he was bringing me up in the air for the second time, he collapsed for some reason... sending my face right into the ground. OUCH! Haha Now I have a bruise/cuts around my eye and on my forehead. I was fine and just laughed my head off on the ground cause I was so confused. One of the sisters caught it on video. It looks pretty bad and I was lucky I didn`t break my neck... it's a good thing God likes me haha :)

 Never was the best with jump shots

 Doing some meditation with Hermana Flores (left) and Hermana Recio (right).

After hanging out some more and taking some pictures we had lunch, then after everyone just chilled and I decided to take a nap. I don`t know what it is about the beach, but my naps always go a bit too far haha. I ended up pulling a "Cancun" and slept for like an hour and a half. Annnnd now I look like a burn victim because my body hasn`t seen the sun in 5 months.. haha. We were at the beach for quite a while though so every white person got pretty burnt. Poor Hermana Chesler looks like a tomato haha. 

 Me and the Zone at the Playa

Had some sushi for lunch.

After we got back from the beach, Elder Sotelo and I had to go to a baptismal interview before catching the bus for Pedro Luro at 8. On the bus we passed out again. I was so tired from being in the sun all day and messing around. Sooo we ended up missing our stop in Pedro Luro and ended up in Villalonga. Shoot! It was too late to catch another bus for Pedro Luro so we were stranded... so we called the Villalonga family and they said they had an extra bed because one of the sisters was out of town. We got to their house... got laughed at because we missed our stop... then got laughed at more because I`m so sunburnt... then they showed us to the room. One of the sisters brought me a REAL aloe vera plant and a cold wash cloth for my burns (apparently there is Aloe Vera here.. who knew?). That was heavenly and really helped me to feel a bit better. I was super grateful for that and for their loving hospitality to us. I think Heavenly Father was just shaking His head at me all day yesterday haha... he knows me too well and I`m so grateful for His patience towards me.

View from a bridge we cross in Pedro Luro every day to get to our house... not bad :) This river is huge and reminds me a lot of Jordan River where we go bridge jumping. Every time we cross the natural man inside me says "jump! jump!" it`s a daily battle...

Well! That`s (more or less) my week! Wish I could just have a camera on me so you guys could see all the crazy/funny/amazing stuff that happens here, but emails will have to do. I love you all! The church is true... remember to rely on the light you have until more comes and to always doubt your doubts before your faith.

Elder Jolley

P-day last week at the Fair in Bahia Blanca

Monday, October 19, 2015

Stay tuned...

Hi Maam :)

Just fyi, our P-day is changed to Tuesday this week because of a leadership conference. I'm just on for a few minutes to send some reimbursements, and I'll get on tomorrow afternoon to write you guys.

Love you!
Elder Jolley

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hey fammm.

First off, congrats again to the happy couple this last week! The pictures killed me and I wish so bad I could have been there, but I´m so glad it went well! Love you guys.

This week has been nuts, but awesome. I heard a cool quote about the mission last week: "On this incredible journey, the load never gets lighter... but your back gets stronger." That's so true and I have felt that strength that comes from my Savior a lot this past week as my plate gets fuller and fuller here in the mission haha.

So... area update. My assigned area is Pedro Luro... but come to find out this past week that we have two other areas as well? One is an hour away (Villalonga) and one is two hours away (Maldonado). We have a house in Pedro Luro to ourselves and share one in Maldonado with Elder Barroz and Elder Malovich, we travel and work between all three areas, I have no idea where to unpack my things cause I never stay in one place... and I have a headache haha! wow

Pedro Luro is a tiny little pueblo where one of the most common forms of transportation is a tractor... and that pretty much sums it up haha. It reminds me a lot of Mona, UT. There are a lot of Bolivians and we are part of a cute little branch of about 30 people. Everyone is super friendly and the branch has such a "family" feeling to it. It´s awesome.

Villalonga is a random little town with a mix of super poor villas and rich people. It goes against a lot of the theories I learned in AP Human Geography... but here we are :) This amazing family (they´re all related and live together, but it's a mix of like 4 last names..s. o we´ll just call them the "Villalonga Family") of Bolivians lives there and they absolutely love missionaries so they feed us lunch and dinner on Fridays when we go to Villalonga. Then after lunch we play a quick game of Uno or Argentine Yahtzee with them and it´s the most entertaining thing because they take it SO seriously, haha.

Maldonado is where we go every Sunday after church until Wednesday so that we can be here for district meeting on Tuesdays. MY DISTRICT! Wow my district is the best, it´s all Hermanas besides me and Elder Sotelo haha. They´re all so awesome though. We all get along really well and laugh a lot, but everyone works hard and takes the work seriously which is such a blessing. I love being a district leader and being able to serve and learn from these missionaries.

Our quaint little chapel (house).

My District! (left to right) Hermana Tovar, Palma, Chesler, Mercado, Sanchez
Front: Elder Sotelo and me

Companion update. Elder Sotelo from Peru! We have a confusing bittersweet relationship haha. I think the Lord is planning on teaching me how to be the most patient person on earth haha. kidding... I´m grateful for what I have :) Elder Sotelo and I actually get along pretty good. He´s a funny guy and loves to joke around which is nice, but his sense of humor is the kind where he´ll say something really rude, laughs (leaving me with a confused "wait...what?" look on my face) and then 2 seconds later he´s like "I´m kidding haha! You know I love you compy... I´d love you more if you were dead... but I love you!" followed by more laughter. haha... I´ve learned to take 99% of what he says with a grain of salt... take a deep breath... and say something nice back.. patience :) Ha, but besides the confusing sense of humor, things are good between us. He leaves in two months so he is quite trunky (i.e. he makes sure I know every time he sees a pretty lady on the street haha), but when we teach or contact he actually works good and we´ve had some pretty good contacts and some powerful lessons so far, and that´s all that matters to me so I´m a happy camper!

House update. I actually really like our house in Pedro Luro. The first time we walked in it looked like a grease/dirt bomb had gone off, and there was random crap everywhere... but over the past week I have organized and cleaned it up pretty good. I even found the dusty Area Book in a stack of mission supplies.. pretty sure it hasn´t been used in thousands of years cause I opened it up and found a teaching record for Laman and Lemuel. HAH! Mission jokes :) The house really isn´t bad... just needs a bit more cleaning and I will be able to live there in peace, haha. Also we have a crazy neighbor named Mario who has a strange dog named Pancho. Mario has beehives and will come knock on our hallway window sometimes and give us honey. I haven´t had honey since I was at home so I have been and will be taking advantage of that while living here, haha. 

Animal update: 
1.The week before last week, as we were walking from one side of the area to the other, this dog (it was like a rottweiler type) followed me around for like an hour. He was super friendly and one of his legs was crippled, but he could still run pretty fast with his other three. It was awesome haha! So anyway I stopped by a little kiosco and bought some bread for him and we were best friends for like the next half hour until we arrived at our lesson.
2.Yesterday morning when we left for church this little dog was sitting outside of our house and followed us all the way to church haha! We thought it was so funny because his head and feet were white, and his torso was all black, so it looked like he was wearing a suit. We named him Elder (it was either Elder or Rags haha - Lyssa)

Elder :) He cried outside of the door all during priesthood meeting cause we wouldn´t let him in.

Spiritual experience of the week: This past week in our first district meeting we played a question game just to get to know each other a little better. Each person would stand up and be asked a question or two from every other person in the group. When it was my turn, Hermana Tovar asked me, "If you had to have all your memories erased except for one, which memory would you choose?" Wow! So I started scanning my head, going through all my favorite memories. At first I was going for memories like "sunset in California" or trips with the family or my friends. I love those memories so much, but none of them felt like "the one." I mentally asked myself what is most important to me in this life and instantly an image popped into my head. I remembered the first time I went through the temple, being together with my family and loved ones in the celestial room of the Mt. Timp Temple. I could remember it so clearly and it instantly brought tears to my eyes. I felt like an idiot for getting a bit emotional in front of my district haha, and I´m sure they were a bit confused because they had no idea what I was thinking or why I was getting all teary eyed until I told them my memory. I was super grateful for that experience and for my testimony of eternal families that continues to grow each day out here in the mission field.

Tengan una semana buenĂ­sima! 

Con amor,

Elder Jolley

 My zone!

This is my new investigator Carlos. He´s the best listener I´ve met here in Argentina! 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Hey Family!

This one will be short because I´m super low on time, sorry. 

This week we finished up the transfer in Monolito and I was able to go to Batan as well for about half the week! Last night I left Monolito because I am being transfered to Pedro Luro, Bahia Blanca. I got called to be the district leader here and will be serving with my Peruvian companion Elder Sotelo.

My new companion, Elder Sotelo! From Peru.

I'm super excited for this next transfer and for the opportunity to have a calling and the opportunity to serve my district. I know it will be hard, but I know that it will press me to work harder and grow as a missionary. I´m super grateful and humbled that the Lord trusts me to do so.

Went to do exchanges in Batan again this week and worked with Elder Franco for a few days. Look how beautiful! This is the view from the window of the house. We had dinner 2 of the nights I was there. Fried chicken with the Soliz family and ASADO with the Sobino family. Such a fun time.

 Dinner with the Soliz family. Elder Arnes also goes home today. Gonna miss him!

This last week we celebrated the birthday of Elder Pilacios, as well as the last week of Elder Taysom and Elder Arnes by cooking a huge asado :) We also made some choripan. Sooo good :)

I hope you all loved the spiritual feast we enjoyed this last weekend with conference. I was sohumbled and received such a boost from all the talks and messages. I´m grateful for prophets and apostles and the perfect organization of this true church.

I love you all. Congrats to Brayden and Megan this week as they are sealed in the temple! There is nothing better you could be doing and I love you both! Enjoy the process :)

Elder Jolley

The family that lives below in Batan has 3 parrots. They´re hilarious and say a bunch of Argentine slang. My favorite is when they yell "La Peeeeeepa!!" (a pepa is an argentine cookie with this jam stuff in the middle). Here I was eating a peice of bread and the parrot leaned over and stole a peice.

 Then I ran out of bread and it started eating my ear. And doesn´t feel good.