Monday, December 19, 2016

The majority of my week was traveling. Traveling with the Cifuentes' is always enjoyable because we have a good time chatting and I can just ask President all the questions I have stacked up in my brain. I've said this before, but I love conversing with people like President. He's so wise and I love how our conversations always turn into counsels pretty much. It's a blessing to spend time with him as I learn so much. Through those "counsels" we were able to make a few plans to improve the mission and help our missionaries progress. The conferences were fun and it was great as always to see old mission friends and meet the few newbies that came while I was in Tandil. I'm missing like 5 missionaries that I'll meet this week before I can say I know everyone in the mission personally again. It's cool being able to say that and helps me as a leader to better serve when I know my "sheep." It was a bummer to not work in our area as much as we wanted, but we were doing what we were asked to do. The Lord blessed us anyway with a few great highlights and experiences that I'm excited to share.

Elder Valle and I, by the beach

First, we had an appointment with our investigator Lucrecia for the first time this week, and brought Gianfranco Tidei (the missionary I saw arrive in the airport from his mission about 4 months ago - p.s. our new neighbours are the Tidei family after moving a week ago, we love it). We got there and, long story short, Lucrecia said she wanted to be baptized, set her own baptismal date, AND told us that she no longer desired to finish her sleeve tattoo! My jaw was on the floor. What a blessing and an answer to our prayers. It never ceases to amaze me how God can somebody's mind/heart. So anyway she will be baptized January 7th. She's super ready and knows so much about the gospel. 

Second, the Laspina family confirmed their date to be baptized. The 31st of December at 4pm. New Year, the baptism of my beloved Laspina family, AND another brother married... big day :) We're so excited for them, such good people and they're so ready (I guess that applied to the Laspina's and Rauren).

Third. President asked us to go help the Elders from Coronel Dorrego (Way and Duncan) along with the Stake President and some counselors go do "divisions" in a place called Monte Hermoso (the beach I went to last year with my zone in like October or something). Well we picked up the Elders from Dorrego and got to Monte Hermoso around 7, and we found out that the Stake President was actually organizing a sacrament meeting there. This next transfer we will be opening Monte Hermoso up as a new area in the mission, so they are trying to help provide the sacrament to the few members that are out there right now in an effort to prepare them spiritually for the mission work to come in that city. Such a beautiful place and it was fun to run out in divisions and round up some members for this meeting. (We also drove past the beach on the way to a members house during sunset... I think that was a Christmas present from God cause I about drooling from the view of those golden tinted waves... mm). We ended up starting pretty late, around 8:30, but enjoyed a beautiful sacrament meeting in the home of a member there who was baptized in Paraguay. I was amazed by the fact that the spirit could be felt just as strong, if not stronger, in the humble home in a beach town as in a big chapel. I felt the "Christmas spirit" so strongly as I led our tiny congregation in "O Come All Ye Faithful" for the opening hymn and smiled as I thought about how weird but special that whole night and situation was. It really felt like we were lighting the world. What a cool experience. Afterwards, because of how late it was, we stayed wtih Elder Way and Elder Duncan in Dorrego. Super fun being with them. Elder Way is a cool guy and a long time mission friend, and Elder Duncan is part of the group I brought in the last time I was AP, so it was awesome to see the progress over this last while.

(left to right): Elder Duncan, Elder Way, Moi, Elder Valle




I'm excited to have both a Holly "Jolley" Christmas as I chat with the fam next Sunday ; ) and a "White" Christmas as well, dressed in white to bring others unto Christ next week.

Strive to light the world always and this next week especially as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. 

Elder Jolley

Monday, December 12, 2016

Long time no... email.

Well now that you are all filled in a bit on transfers and all that, I'll dive into a bit more detail on my current companion, area, and investigators.

So my comp right now is named Elder Valle. He's from Chile and he actually goes home at the same time I do, but arrived here a bit earlier just because of the difference in MTC time. He's hard working and has been a Zone Leader in Santa Rosa for the past 11 months (ooo long timmmee). Being with Elder Christensen spoiled me a bit cause I was able to enjoy normal American humor with a kid fresh out of high school, which made it so fun. Elder Valle has a good sense of humor, but is kind of a spaz... which isn't bad... just different. haha. Anyway, great guy, we're gonna get some work done. 

So I'm in the same ward/area as before. It's weird to be back here cause it feels like nothing has changed. It was cool to come back and find that the members recognized me and were excited to see me.. would have been awkward if they didn't haha. As far as investigators, I'm back to working with the Laspina fam! I'm soo pumped about it. They are doing really well and will be getting married on the 27th  and baptized on December 31st. When I left they were planning on getting married and baptized in October, but I guess some things fell through work wise and they had to postpone. I love them a ton and it was a huge blessing to come back and have them here and to be able to be here for their baptism. I called them when I was back here and talked to Danilo (the dad) and he said "Heeeeey Jolley!!" and in the background I heard the kids (Selena and Liam) chanting "Jolley! Jolley!" haha. It was super fun to see them again and play games with the kids. Especially Liam. He's such a little stud.

We also have another investigator named Lucrecia. We actually met her at church haha.. She looks like Zooey Deschanel, which is cool.. and apparently she's been attending for about a month and seems to be doing really well. She participates in class and has attended various church activites. Super ready to be baptized.. but I guess the only thing holding her back is that she wants to finish her sleeve tattoo? hmm... *to be continued.*

Heading off to Santa Rosa today for the first Christmas Conference tomorrow. Then later this week I think we're going to Tres Arroyos or Mar Del Plata. We'll just be driving out with the Cifuentes' and staying the night in a missionary house. I actually have no idea what the plan is for the Chirstmas conference. Probably just some games and stuff, also Hna Cifuentes REALLY wants to watch the Croods for some reason haha.. Merry Christmas? ; ) Elder Valle and I are in charge of cooking the hamburgers. Livin the dream haha. Kidding, it'll be great. I'm just excited to be able to go out and do divisions with missionaries afterwards and pass out a bunch of Christmas cards when Pres. stops for gas. : ) #iluminaelmundo

Until next week. 

Elder Jolley

Friday, December 9, 2016

Well, hello.

What a crazy week and a half! Feels like it's been a month.

So we finished up Elder Christensen's training last week. What a great 12 weeks it was! Transfers came and I find myself right back where I was before, here in Bahia Blanca. I'm serving as AP again, and my new companion's name is Elder Valle. We've seen a couple changes in the office and in the mission, and it looks like my job here is going to be a lot different than before. The sad part is that I won't be driving the truck anymore because it's going to stay here with the office while my companion and I travel the mission with President to do zone conferences and interviews EVERY TRANSFER now. It's going to be nuts. Remember how the AP's Elder Bosco and Elder Dement came and did divisions with me and Elder Jackson in Olavarría? So my job is pretty much going to be like their's, just with zone conferences thrown into the mix as well. While President does interviews in each zone, my comp and I will be leaving to "feed sheep" in a sense as we do divisions with missionaries who are a little behind or struggling with their work and obedience and what not. Traveling is tiring, especially for President. So please pray for me that I can have stamina and be a good support to him. Overall it will be fun and I'm excited for the experiences to come.

Leaving Tandil and ending my time with Elder Christensen and our area was really hard. That time in Tandil was filled with blessings and miracles and was a huge tender mercy for me, but I'm grateful that I was allowed to have that experience in the first place. This last week was the perfect way to finish with a bang with two successful baptisms, Elder Christensen's birthday, and a huge miracle that I'll tell you about in a sec.

So last week everything was going great with Patricia and Belen. We were all excited for the baptism, and pretty comfortable with the way things were going, but what happens when we get comfortable? BOOM. Humbling trials :) haha. So anyway, Thursday night, two days before the baptism, and a day after they had passed their baptismal interviews, everything was happy and peaceful and the only thing that was in our way seemed to be time. Then Friday morning after a nice jog to get our laundry from the zone leaders house, we get back home and I get a phone call from Patricia while my comp was showering. I answered all happy, but I could tell there was something wrong by the tone in her voice. She proceeded to tell me that she invited her 12 year boyfriend Fabio to her baptism and he told her that if she got baptized he would never talk to her again. My heart dropped as she then said she wouldn't be baptized, at least for right now, but I remained calm as I talked to her about faith and agency and that she needed to pray for guidance. She agreed to let us come over after lunch that day to chat with her while we gave her time to process and pray about her decision. I got off the phone and turned around to find a white faced Elder Christensen who had apparently entered the conversation and could tell something was wrong. I explained a bit about what happened and we both hit the books right away. I probably had the best and most desperate study of my whole mission as we prayed and disected the scriptures for anything to help Patricia. After putting together a plan, we left the house into the muggy mid-day heat (with empty stomachs because we had studied instead of eaten) to make the half hour (felt more like a half-day) trip to Movediza. This sounds super dramatic but we felt like we were marching into a war to fight for Patricia haha.

So we get there to Patricia's house and first find Belen outside. When Belen saw us she starting crying. She was pretty hurt about Patricia's irrational decision to call off the baptism. Saying "we were going to do this together...I wanted to do this in the first place to support her, and now she's leaving me to do it alone." we talked with her about how this was just a trial of faith for all of us, and that she needs to pray for Patricia and have faith as well. She said "ok..but if she doesn't, I'm getting baptized anyway." (Belen is the bomb). So then she took off with her daughter Mía to take her to school while we sat down with Patricia in her front yard to chat. Our chat with Patricia went really well. We listened as she expressed her frustration and fear of having to choose between Fabio and Jesus (the choice is obvious...but she cares about Fabio so we heard her out). When she was done asking questions we opened fire with all we had and took her through this discussion we had planned out and tried to answer her questions and fears with the Bible and the Book of Mormon. That helped, and I think we were expecting her to say at the end "you're right...I hate Fabio, and I will get baptized :)" haha. That didn't happen. She said she would ponder her decision throughout the rest of the day and that we could pass by at night time to find out her decision. That made us nervous, but we respected her in that and just kept emphasizing that she needed to pray and turn to the Lord for an answer and for help. She then gave the closing prayer to our lesson and offered a beautifully humble prayer asking the Lord to help her to continue in this decision she had made and to accompany her in this trial. We left her having faith that it would work out, but definitely anxious to know the outcome. Literally 10 minutes later Elder Christensen and I are walking on a dirt path in the middle of a field on the way home and we get a call from Patricia. I answered and was about to say some kind of ice breaker like "wow did ya miss us?" or something but she started talking a million miles an hour saying "JOLLEY! I just barely got a call from Fabio and he told me that he changed his mind about the baptism and that he's sorry for having opposed to it!" I was about breathless but told her I was so happy for her and that we would continue getting everything ready for Saturday. I got off the phone and told Elder Christensen what happened, and we spent the next 5 minutes laughing, crying, and celebrating in the middle of a hot dusty field. Probably one of the happiest moments of my life. After that little emotional rollercoaster we humbly offered a prayer thanking our Heavenly Father for that trial, for being able to help Patricia, and for softening the heart of Fabio. On the other side of the story. While Belen was sitting and waiting outside of Mia's class, she told us that she said a pray asking for Heavenly Father to guide the situation and help Patricia, and that was about the time we were in the middle of a field and Patricia got the phone call. After calling us Patricia let Belen know, and that was a huge answer to Belen's prayer as well. haha so dope.

Well if that was too long to read you can probably find it in the Ensign over these next few months. ; ) Such a necessary experience for all of us involved. I was thinking through the whole process about Elder Holland's talk about how all of us somehow will have to pay the price of salvation and walk at least of few steps in the shoes of Christ. When that issue first came up, my first few thoughts were "ohhh man. why would Heavenly Father let this happen?" and even started to blame myself for the trial she was having, thinking maybe I did something wrong or wasn't worthy of the blessing to be able to bring her to the step of baptism. Later after the trial had passed. I realized how valuable that experience of putting faith in the Lord was for Patricia, Belen, and my companion and I. I'll never forget that.

On Saturday we had a (thank heaven) flawless baptism after all the flaws from the day before. Both my companion and I (father and son) were able to be dressed in white and participate in the performing of that sacred ordinance. I baptized Patricia and Elder Christensen baptized Belen. We had talks by Abigail (a member who is now really good friends with Patricia) and la Hermana Pepa (a cute old lady in our ward). 

 "Come to the water, you who search, and you'll search no more."

Left to right:
(top row): tiziano (abigail's son), hna Gutierrez, Hna Ortellado, Hna Garibay, Elder Christensen, Moi, Hna Muñoz, Hno Muñoz, Hno Vallejo, 
(bottom row): Abigail, Patricia, Belen, Mía, La Hna Pepa, Hna Romina Papini, Hno Dorado (our mission leader)

Over the weekend I got the call from President that I would be leaving Sunday night to get back to Bahía to be able to help with transfers with my comp Elder Valle and take over for Elder Eufrasio and Elder Ortega, who both went home. A crazy couple of days as usual, helping with transfers, but we made it through smoothly as always. It was fun to see familiar faces through transfers and the leadership conference we had yesterday. I like being a leader and being a part of all the action and stuff, but nothing compares to being a plain old missionary/trainer and working all day just teaching the gospel like I did the last two transfers, but maybe it's just another trial to keep me from getting comfortable and an opportunity to improve.

I love this work, testify of its truth, and of the love that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for all of us. And like it says in D&C 95:1. God gives trials to the ones that He loves :) so accept the trials that come with open arms.


Elder Jolley

Monday, December 5, 2016

Just fyi, I won't get a full writing time today. I'm back in the office as AP running transfers right now and I don't know when I'll be able to write, but I'll get on when I can to write everyone back and tell you guys about our AWESOME last week and some of the new changes. 

Love you love you.
Elder Jolley

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Last week of the transfer, and of Elder Christensen's training. Ah! So weird. I can't believe it. This week Elder Christensen and I are having a "Spanish party." aka trying to speak as much Spanish as possible and cut out the English in order to help him better. Most of his training we've spoke a good mix of the two, so this will definitely help.

Long walks through the middle of nowhere

Last week was different than normal with conferences and what not, but everything went super well. The sweet pork salads turned out delicious. thanks for the recipe mom. We had thirty people there so we had to start cooking and food prep the day before. Everyone loved it though. We definitely got a standing ovation and President and Sister Cifuentes told me the next day at Stake Conference in Olavarria: "We thought about it and decided that the lunch yesterday was the best thing we've eaten since being here in Argentina." Wussup! haha it was fun. That night after the zone conference and a lesson with Patricia and her family we went out for ice cream at Figlio (ate it at the top of the Tandil castle) with the AP's, Zone leaders, and Elder Frischknect who was here to do house inspections. That was a great time and it was fun to see them again. I'll send pics. Also Stake Conference was really cool in Olavarria. Good to see my old area again and the people there. I wasn't able to sneak away to see any investigators, unfortunately, but I saw a lot of members. I heard from my old bishop that Nadia and her husband Nicolas are inactive right now and that Nadia's sister convinced her to go back to a church called "Cosecha Mundial" with her. Super sad, I'm going to try to send her a letter or something. Keep her in your prayers.

 Kitchen crew

 Frischknecht and Jolley reunited

 Lunch is served

 Now I know how it feels to be whipped around in the back of the truck. #karma


 Ice cream on top of Tandil


Bus ride with no AC. Hotter than infierno

On the bright side of things. We now have TWO baptisms this weekend. Yep! Patricia's sister Belen has also decided to be baptized. They will both be interviewed tomorrow and the baptism will take place at 4 on Saturday, and they will be confirmed on Sunday. We're pumped and they seem excited as well. We've now had two really great family nights with them, and the one we had yesterday went so well. Patricia made all the assignments and we barely participated. It was great. We also watched The Restoration movie and everyone was locked in the whole time. Except her mom in the back who was wrestling with her grandson (the son of Soledad) Bautista (what a great name, right? Baptist :)). Then on the way home last night we tried to be creative and find a shortcut through the wilderness to get home faster and ended up getting very stuck in the wilderness and we got home late. Whoops. Bad dad..

First Ruiz Family FHE!

Blueberry muffins for FHE

Chasin the gooses

 Ruiz FHE round #2

 Celebratings Mia's (Belen's daughter) birthday.



Sunday, we had a read-a-thon after stake conference to catch up on our Book of Mormon reading goal, and we made pumpkin pie to celebrate Thanksgiving. Normally I'm not a pumpkin pie fan, but this was good. Reminded me of Thanksgiving too, so that was nice.

 P-day Eve Sleepover

 Pumpkin Pie

 100 contacts of November

Missionary tanlines 👌

Love you all! Keep us in your prayers so we can have a bomb last week of the transfer and that these baptisms go smoothly.

Happy December!

Elder Jolley

Monday, November 21, 2016

Feliz Dìa de Gracias!

What a great week we had here in Tandil. Elder Christensen and I were able surpass not only our contact goal, but our lesson goals as well as a result of all the contacts we made. It's been keeping us busy for sure, which is exhausting but so rewarding at the same time. We were able to see the blessing of our hard work this last week as one of our favorite contacts Patricia from a few weeks ago, who is now a progressing investigator, accepted a baptismal date for the 3rd of December and attended church for the second time. She is progressing so well and witnessing that progress has been such a blessing for us. Not only in her, but in her family as well! One by one her family of 8 are beginning to listen to the lessons and some have attended church. This evening we have a family home evening planned with them, which has us very excited! On another note, after baptizing a couple weeks ago, my bless-ed comp offered to sit out on this one and let me be the one in white for Patricia's baptism. I'm quite giddy to say the least haha :) it'll be the first time being in the water since my first transfer. woo hoo!

This week we will have zone conference on Friday right after Thanksgiving. The zone leaders asked me to run the lunch plans and we're planning on making pulled pork salads. Also this weekend is Stake Conference in OLAVARRIA! I get to go back and visit my old area, see my convert Nadia and all the other members. Maybe I'll try to sneak away with my comp and introduce him to some of my old investigators like Damian and Micaela and Haide or something. Maybe the hippies as well ;) 

With Thanksgiving this week, I'm especially grateful to be able to represent the Lord Jesus Christ and to witness the light of His atonement illuminate the lives of those we work with. There's nothing quite like it. I love being a missionary!

I love and am grateful for all of you!

Elder Jolley

 Argentine Wall Art


Monday, November 14, 2016

Bueeeen Diaaaa (said like an old Argentine lady)

Well, to be completely honest. Divisions are the pits. I love Elder Numbers to death, but those three and a half days without my comp and being in two areas were awful, haha.

On the bright side, we were able to squeeze a few contacts in between both areas, but there was a lot of busy work to do pertaining to district meetings and baptismal interviews, yada yada...I love being a normal missionary :) When Elder Christensen got back we were both hungry for some good ol' hot and sweaty missionary work, so we went to TOWN and back in our area. uphill both ways ;) Haha so like I think I said last week, we had some catching up to do on our contact goal, sooo Saturday we dug in and busted out 21 ("What's 9 plus 10??... 21") leaving us 4 more to make on Sunday to be on point with our goal. So how many do we make on Sunday? that's right.. 5 :) haha

In other news, Patricia came to church on Sunday! We had a few more people that were commited to come but I think their pillows convinced them otherwise. Not Patricia though! That sweet lady calls us during a huge rainstorm at 7:30 am as we're getting ready to make the valient quest to her house in the rain to pick her up to catch the bus and says "Don't come I don't want you guys to get wet!" A little disappointed that we couldn't make the valient quest walking, we called Hermano Dorado our mission leader (aka the clutch) and he came to the rescue to help us pick her up from her house. She was a little shy in church and the poor thing is so humble that she teared up in Gospel Principles when the teacher asked her how she felt about Jesus Christ. As she'd told us before, she said that she felt distanced from Him but that she wants to grow closer. She had to leave after 2nd hour but we have another appointment with her on Wednesday and are hoping to be able to invite her to be baptized this week. Pray for that to go well please :)

There are a thousand contacting, teaching, etc. stories that I would love to share but there's no time. I am doing very well. The downs in the mission still exist, but the ups become so much more powerful as I obey, work hard, and turn my focus outwards towards others as Christ would.

Chau!

Elder Jolley

Monday, November 7, 2016

(insert creative salutation)

Another great week!

This last weekend we had an "open chapel" activity we had in our ward. We spent the majority of the week contacting to both reach our monthly goal (as a mission) of 100 contacts per companionship and to pass out open chapel invitations. My companion and I had started a fast beforehand for the success of this activity and that something good would come of it for our investigators or unknown visitors. Our turn out was less than what I had hoped for, and with 15 minutes left in the activity that night we were a bit bummed, but we reminded ourselves to have faith. Right as the activity was coming to a close, one of our "eternigators" named Hugo who usually has a hard time following through with his commitments walks into the chapel for the first time since we've been in this area! We were so happy and even though our turnout wasn't hundreds of people like we would have hoped for, we were able to see God's hand and the Spirit touch the hearts of a few of His children who did show up.

My companion, Elder Christensen, and Elder Holmes are going to Bahia this week to take care of some documentation stuff, so I will be here kickin it with Elder Numbers for a few days trying to keep contact goals afloat for 2 areas. Bring it on :)

(insert loving farewell)
Elder Jolley

It's been a minute since I've been dressed in white. A very good feeling, especially as it reminds of being in the temple. I might just live in the temple for a bit when I get back cause I miss it so much. #trunkyspirit

Monday, October 31, 2016

Feliz...  Halloween (it's spelled the same in Spanish so it's not that cool)

I just blinked and we're already a week into the transfer. straaange!

So not too many changes. Elder Lee took off to Necochea and Elder Numbers (from my zone in Olavarria) took his place as a new zone leader here in Tandil. "Ohhh how the turn tables.." (name that) Sad to see Elder Lee take off, he's a good friend, but I love having Elder Numbers here! A solid kid for sure, and it's been fun to catch up.

Agustina has been dunked!Our baptism went very well last week and I loved seeing the pre-game jitters as well as the joy that my companion experienced during his first baptism. The spirit was very strong and it was especially cool to see that as our convert came out of the water she was able to look over and see her little twin girls plastered to the glass in silence watching their mother make a covenant with the Lord and bring their family one step closer to an eternal sealing in the temple. Very special.

 Proud father. Nervous son. Heavily practiced baptismal prayer :)


Another really cool experience from last week was a lesson with our investigator Patricia this last Saturday. Patricia is so nice and a really smart person who always asks great questions, I love teaching her cause our lessons always have so much momentum and that comes from both our preparation and her desire to learn. So from an earlier lesson she had committed to say a prayer in the next one (Saturday) and read some of the Book of Mormon as well. She did read a bit, but didn't pray by herself, although she sort of memorized/practiced how to do a prayer. We had a great lesson following up on the Book of Mormon, then talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and explained to her the role of the holy ghost and the kind of feelings it brings us. At the end she wouldn't commit to go to church and I was a bit disappointed, but we were able to help her set a goal for when she would go (the 6th or the 13th of November). Then she said a closing prayer for us. Such a solid prayer, but I could tell she was nervous. Then after the prayer we just sat there in silence and she began to cry. The spirit hit me so hard and I knew she was feeling it too. I asked how she felt and she said "warm." then continued to say that she "hadn't spoken with Him since she was a little girl" and that she wants to talk with Him more. Man that hit me like a freight train. That was such a good reminder to me about the blessing that prayer is to us and to be able to speak and receive answers from our literal Father who is in heaven.

Funny moments:

1. For some reason whenever me and my comp talk about something, it like pops up somehow. For example, I used the Spanish version of the "let it go" song to help Elder Christensen understand the word "libre." Then later that day this old lady somewhat jogging down the street calls out to her friend "Elsaaaa!" We just looked at each other in shock and my comp goes "do you wanna build a snowmaaan?" haha.
Then another day we were talking about Miss Congeniality (don't ask why.. not sure) and we walk into a lesson with our investigator Diego on Saturday and guess what's playing on tv. "dDscribe your favorite date." ha wow.

2. Elder Holmes always finds really cool things on the ground like a license plate, cool refrigerator magnet, etc. and it makes Elder Christensen really jealous. So now he walks around constantly scanning the ground for cool stuff. The other day we're walking and all the sudden he freaks out and runs over and picks up a 100 peso bill off the ground (don't get that excited.. it's like 7 bucks). Haha He was happy as a lark though and wouldn't stop talking about it for like 2 days. We're gonna use it to make blueberry muffins I think.

Well that sums it up! Love you guys! Keep trying to copy my cool costume ideas.. maybe someday you'll get there ; ) 

Elder Jolley

 Filling up the font... difficulty level: expert

Facturas before service. Health first :)


video

Monday, October 24, 2016

6 weeks of training down, 6 more to go!

Wow, that transfer flew by. It definitely made the favorites list though. Lot's of fun times and hard work that I'll never forget! Both Elder Christensen and I are very excited for the transfer to come and are determined to make it better than the first.

It won't be too hard either, because we'll be starting off week 1 with a baptism! Last week we visited Agustina and Santiago a couple times and almost had a family night with them and the Prieto family, but they bailed. We were also able to make some delicious muffins ("bits o' glass muffin... owww" name that haha) last week for Agustina's birthday and we took some extras around to other investigators. 

We had a super funny experience on Sunday morning before church. So we went to go pick up Agustina to walk with her to church because Santiago works on Sundays (grr..). We showed up at about 9:10 and she says "go ahead without me. I'll be right behind you!" and she wouldn't take no for an answer so we continued to church and waited outside watching for her and our other investigators. Then it was about 9:25 (and her baptism was going to be announced at about 9:35) and she still hadn't showed up. So I go in and look at our ward mission leader Hno Dorado to give him the "let's go get her" signal. He just gave me a nod and said "I'll be in the car" haha! He's such a stud. So we take off down the road in his car and see Agustina walking on the sidewalk about a block away from her house with her twin girls in this massive stroller. So we hop out and say "hi Agustina! go ahead and get in the car, they're about to start at church so let us take the stroller for ya." She goes "oh wow, thanks!" and hops in. So they take off and so do we, but now with this massive baby stroller, and we're a little ways away from the church. So imagine these two missionaries just running down the road in South America with a baby stroller... still smiling and waving to all the public as if there was nothing weird about it. haha! We were laughing so hard. My comp goes "Elder! We can't run with a baby stroller, that looks so bad!" but there was no time to waste... luckily that thing was like all-terrain or something cause we were running over curbs and train tracks and a few small buses. Fun stuff.

In the end we all made it to church right when they announced Agustina's baptism and everything worked out. You can call us the clutch :) Then I just sat there with a giant grin on my face as I partook of the sacrament and reflected on that morning and our last week and noticed how God's hand is involved in all of our efforts and I'm pretty sure He laughed with us as we were running down the street with a baby stroller. 

To make a long week of stories short. We had some killer lessons and ended up getting 6 lessons with members. We would have loved to get more, but that's actually quite a bit for us so we'll take it. I will try to give a better update on the rest of our amazing investigators next week.

I love being a missionary! Read your scriptures!
Elder Jolley

Monday, October 17, 2016

Buenas Tardes!

Can't believe we are coming into the last week of the transfer. They get faster every time and we've been working and enjoying ourselves so much this transfer that I forget about the time. Which is the way it should be so I couldn't ask for more!

Elder Christensen and I have been teaching a lot. Last week when the zone leaders reported the zone numbers on the board, my son leans over to me and says "psst... we taught a third of the zone's lessons last week.." and we really did! Out of six companionships too. Not that it's just about numbers, because it's not at all, but it was just a nice moment to see the fruits of our labors. Now we just hope to see even bigger fruits in the actual progress of our investigators! A week and a half ago Elder Christensen extended his first baptismal invitation, which our investigator accepted! Her name is Augustina and she is married to a less active member named Santiago. She has a lot of faith and desire to take care of her family and follow Christ, but their marriage is a bit of rollercoaster so it's been hard. We have so many great investigators,  but for some reason getting our investigators to church has been like trying to comb dreadlocks. We seriously do everything we can besides physically pick them up and haul them on our shoulders to the chapel! ... and i will..
haha kidding, it has to come from them and we want it to... we teach them how to spread their wings quite clearly... but apparently they need a little push to get them out of the nest. 

We have a goal to teach a lesson with a member every single day this week (or seven in total). We have lot's of good members who could help so much, so we're trying to give each of them a little push too, because we really need their support.

Here's to the last and best week of the transfer! Thank you for your prayers! They are felt and appreciated.

Elder Jolley

 Real time missionary work

Chalking the block with the plan of salvation in downtown Tandil! We chalked and talked all morning with all the passer-byers and got lots of contacts! Also a few humiliating rejections... but what can you expect :)
Super fun activity and definitely strengthened my testimony of the plan of salvation as I was able to visibly show these people this plan and testify of its' reality. Las familias pueden ser eternas!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Fun facts of the week:

- We now have a fully loaded and running house, besides a washer but, "beggars can't be choosers" as Teri always says.

- Hiked up last pday to see a giant rock called Movediza on top of the mountain only to find that the rock is only a replica of a rock that was there before... how interesting :)
 
- Just played basketball for the first time in about a year today and had a blast. Maybe living with my 6'5 basketball playing son is having an effect on me.

- We starting eating with members again last week... bye cooking.

- I've lost about 12K (25ish lbs) since last Christmas after blimping up in Pedro Luro. Wowza! Kinda feels more like I hover down the street now.

- It's officially spring here and we don't have to wear suit jackets anymore.

- We just ate cow tongue for lunch today... "Mmm num num num. Delicioso!"

- I've never actually seen someone mix chocolate like Dora's abuela here in South America...

Hope you enjoyed those. It's an adventure here.

This week has been so great! I probably sound like a broken record cause I say that every week, but really I'm having a blast and I love the work right now. We are now completely moved in and are finally able to dedicate our time fully to our daily work and study schedule. This house is such a blessing and we love it, but moving sucks haha.

Lately we have been focusing a lot on teaching the restoration and it's really renewed my testimony concerning that crucial aspect of our message. It's been cool to teach Elder Christensen all the things I have learned throughout my mission and especially after being able to break down the restoration with Elder Paleka last zone conference to the mission. I love our message and I love teaching and sharing it even more!

Say your prayers. Los quiero.

Elder Jolley

Hipster pic over Movediza

Monday, October 3, 2016

Hey Fam,

Feelin' up on spiritual cloud 9 right now after a solid general conference weekend! Wow I loved it. Usually I would go in with a question or something to think about, but this time I kind of just went with an open mind/heart to kind of let God surprise me a bit. Lately though I have been thinking about prayer and wanting to improve myself in that aspect a bit. Turns out Heavenly Father did take me off guard a bit and put not one, but TWO talks solely about prayer in the very first session. Sure, prayer is a general topic, but I really felt like those were for me and was grateful for that little personal message from God. It never ceases to amaze me how much he really knows us and pays attention.

We are moved into our new house as of last Friday! I really wanted to get in and settled before conference so Wednesday through Friday it was a lot of running around, somehow we were still able to reach the majority of our goals last week as far as the work so we were happy about that. Our new house is awesome and the best part is that it's in our area! No more wasting hours of walking for nothing! The only problem is that we don't have gas or electricity or a fridge, etc. haha. but you're not a real missionary until you live a few days without such things so it's fine... it builds character. We've been living off of fruit, crackers, and dulce de leche for the past few days cause we can't cook or refrigerate anything haha. Good times.

That's all I have time for. There are a lot more pictures, but I included one from pday today and will have to include the rest next week. 

Con amor,

Elder Jolley 


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Parenthood

Hello!

First off... lack of time. Sorry... again.

I'll dive right in. Things are going fantastic and week #2 here in Tandil with my son Elder Christensen was sick. We passed up our lesson goal last week by three lessons and have already met our contact goal for the month. Machines... I'm tellin' ya ;) haha kidding. We have to walk SO much though. We added it up and last Saturday we literally walked 6 hours JUST getting between appointments. Poor Elder Christensen has blisters, but hey.... you aren't a real missionary until you do haha. Also the shoes I use to work both have holes in the front now and I come home to dirt filled shoes every night haha. Luckily the arch is still in good shape so it's not hurting or anything... just funny to always have dirt covered feet on the inside haha. Livin the dream!

Huge blessing this week. So we found a house and also found out that it takes about a month to get all the paperwork done. So it just 'happens' that our ward mission leader is a real estate agent and deserves the homie-of-the-year award cause he worked some kinks and we will be getting in to our new house (cutting out an hour of walking) this weekend! Sooo pumped. God loves us.

Couldn't be happier, having a lot of fun and working hard. We got two new investigators last week and our previous ones (Luis and Romina) are going to church and progressing quite nicely. We visited them last week on Romina's birthday and Luis (a grown, tough man) broke down in tears because he couldn't find work and was worried about feeding his family and I quote "doesn't want to steal." Wow.. I listen to people's problems all the time and I know everyone has them, but that hits home for me. I felt so bad. We had a great lesson about faith and then that night we brought them brownies for Romina's birthday (they didn't have money to buy a cake). Such a simple thing and really the least we could do. but it made them soo happy and over the last few days Luis won't stop talking about how grateful he was that he brought brownies. Great people.

Back to work! Love you all!

Elder Jolley

 Elder Christensen and I in Tandil

 Sight seeing around Tandil last pday. We are lovin it here! 

Sorry for the kandid pic.. but I thought it turned out kinda cool. #hipster?

Tandil is COVERED in these beautiful orange trees. Reason #609 why I love Tandil. I decided if things don't work out in the States one day, I'll just get rich and move here to be a big fish in a little pond and live life laid back.. just an option :) but I love Tandil.

p.s. apparently the oranges are poisonous to some extent because they spray them with chemicals to keep birds away and make them look nice longer... we found that out a little late. They don't taste good if anyone wanted to know...

 Visited a few familiar spots with our zone leaders Elder Lee and Elder Holmes downtown. A restaurant named Golden where I went with Elder Paleka. Had a round 2 of their (fake, but delicious) tacos. YUM! Then swung by Figlio again as well! BEST ice cream ever, I'm tellin you guys. This morning we got some facturas and after writing today we will go get a fancy alfajor from Havanna. Also delicious :)


Monday, September 19, 2016

Surprise. I'm a dad.

It's a boy!

So this transfer brought a lot of changes to the mission on my end. About 2-3 months ago President asked me if I would be willing to train for him. I thought about saying no buuuut... ha just kidding. I said yes, of course. It was a little weird at first because I had gotten nice and settled in at the office, but for the past month or so I've been SO excited. I don't know how people wait 9 months for their real kids, cause waiting a transfer for mine took forever.

Let me introduce you to my son, Elder Christensen! (picture attached). He's a 6'5 basketball player from Lehi, Utah and he's a stud! I don't know what I did to get such a dope hijo, but so far I'm lovin it. 


We are here in our new area, TANDIL! (no.. I did not have any influence on President sending me here... :)) This is the city with the (almost) mountains, the cool castle, the best ZL's (Elder Holmes and Elder Lee), a fantastic zone, and the best ice cream in the world :) Our area is HEEEUUUUGE, let alone the fact that we are currently looking for a house and having to live with the Elders from Branch 3 almost an hour outside of our area. The Lord is getting back the walking debt I have with him after 3 months in the truck... oh boy haha. Not kidding, we literally walk 3 hours through forest, desert, tundra, ocean, etc. to get to ONE appointment with our investigators out in the straight boonies. Luckily my kid and I are machines and have a great time walking all over the city with blisters and working hard while we're at it. For being blind in our area we had a pretty successful week last week which makes me so happy that Elder Christensen can have that kind of a start to his mish.

Elder Christensen is working hard on his Spanish. His accent screams gringo, and it's hilarious sometimes cause he knows it, but he doesn't let it get to him. We practice vocab and conjugating on the street in between appointments and he takes every opportunity he gets to make his "10,000 errors" (they say before you get fluent in a language or get good at something, you'll have to make 10,000 errors). 

It's SO fun being dad. I love this kid and I'm working hard to give him the training I wish I would have had (I sincerely love my trainer Elder Moraes, don't get me wrong... but my first transfers were rough haha). I'm so glad the Lord inspired President to make this change for me to add a little fuel to my fire and progress even more. I'm so grateful that He knows us and our needs, provides the guidance and correction necessary in His own time and His own way.

Here's to another fantastic week working in the field! ... but first we're going to enjoy a pday in downtown Tandil and get some ice cream at Figlio. Yummm

Elder immadad-Jolley

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Bonjour :) 

Got a French Book of Mormon recently. Don't know if I told you guys that,  but I'm loving it. Does Paka still speak French? I don't remember hearing it a lot, I just know he would always say funny things in English with a French accent and it always cracked me up. Todd knows French too, right?

Speaking of French. Recently we (last transfer) changed the music rule in the mission. So basically the rule is now that we can listen to anything that is appropriate and that doesn't make us trunky. Before, the music rule was only EFY and Motab. I love motab to death, but to be honest I think EFY repels the spirit for me sometimes haha. and President & Sis Cifuentes agree. So anyway, there are still those that abuse the rule. For example, soo many people listen to James the Mormon.... not saying that its bad, because he doesn't swear, and I guess if that motivates them... power too ya dude. The reason for the music rule is so that it doesn't distract us from the work, so as long as people work good and reach their goals, we don't see it as a problem. So I've definitely downloaded a bunch of Enya, Mat Kearney, Josh Groban, annnd French music like Celine Dion, cause I don't understand anything and it's beautiful so everyone's happy :) that's all.

So updates. We are currently finishing up transfers right now and it's been a bit nuts as usual, and for a cherry on top I just happened to get a nasty cold/fever last Saturday right as things started to move faster, so that's been fun. I'm starting to feel better now though.

Lot's of changes that still haven't quite moved into position.. and after a bit of debate I've decided to tell you guys next Monday about them, cause it will just be better. Might not be much of a hoo hah to you guys, but I'm really excited for what's happening. So I will be sending updates and pics next week.

As far as investigators go. Things are going really great. My love for each of them continues to grow. The Laspina family blows my mind by how prepared they are. Gabriela and Nazareno are doing great as well. Gabriela has read a ton of the Book of Mormon, loves it, and has great questions always. She is for sure getting baptized on the third of October, hopefully with Nazareno at her side. He still has a few doubts, but we're working on it. We also have an investigator named Yesica (the niece of the Maneiro family.. our converts from July) who will be getting baptized within the next two weeks or so, along with her brother if everything goes according to plan. Also on Saturday we got approached by a cute little family outside of the bus station as we were going to buy tickets for transfers who asked us who we are and what we do, then asked us if we could come to their house next week to teach them more. Wut? I've been shocked from some of the blessings we have seen this transfer... just people basically throwing themselves in our way. "Hi nice to meet you,  please teach me." Ha it blows me away and makes me so grateful.

I love this gospel and I love being able to bring it to these people here that I love so much.

Until next week...  #cliffhanger

-Elder Jolley

Monday, August 29, 2016

heyyy

Had a great week! This last Saturday we had the baptism of Sabrina Brustles and she was confirmed yesterday at church. At first we were a bit nervous about the baptism because everyone showed up late, but it went really well in the end. She's a bit shy and.. rebellious for lack of a better term... especially towards her parents. She's really nice, but kind of puts up a "too cool" wall sometimes. Anyway, so when her dad baptized her she came out of the water and started to cry and just stood there hugging her dad. Super sentimental and stuff :) haha kidding... the spirit was really strong though, successful baptism!

Things continue to go well in our area. Our investigators Gabriela and Nazareno both told us on Friday that they want to be baptized when we stopped by to say hello real fast. We haven't had an appointment yet to set a date unfortunately and they didn't show up to church, but we are hoping to see progress there this week. The Laspina family is also doing really well. On the fifteenth they will take out a date for their wedding which should be towards the beginning or middle of October. So we have a goal to set a goal for right now, haha. They're awesome though, I'm helping their daughter Selena with English, their son Liam is my little buddy and always sits by me in church which makes my day, and their little baby Sabrina is the cuuuutest. Oh man it's too bad missionaries can't hold babies cause I could just dunk her in my coffee... but we can't drink coffee either so I'm a bit stuck there. Anyways, she's just always happy and chill and does this little laugh when I make funny faces at her and it kills me haha. I love that family. They're a blessing to me for sure.

Things were a bit hard this last week for me. Ups and downs which isn't anything new, but I think I got a little whiplash from a couple of the downs haha. I won't bore you with details, but I think I've just been a bit low on battery or something. I hate feeling impatient, annoyed or angry... especially on the mission because it just doesn't make sense.. "Hi I represent Jesus Christ, but my attitude sure doesn't." I heard a quote once that I think I've shared with a lot of you, it goes "Courage is having the strength to continue after the emotion has passed." We all come out here on the mission, or start different phases in our lives with all this pizzazz. Then we hit a point every now and then that it's like "sooo uhh... how long is two years again?" or "wait.. how long did I have to study to get this degree?" Or whatever it is. I've been trying hard lately to improve my studies. I loved the quote my mom shared with me this morning that said "A mission is to know Him, and to make Him known." I need to know Him  and I need to treasure up His word for myself. "Recharge my batteries" in a sense. I know the more I have Him on my mind and the more like Him I become, the quicker my companion, obedience, stress, temper, etc. problems will fade away, or at least become so light or small to me that they won't hold me down.

Love you guys. read your scriptures, say your prayers, and "go to church!" 

Elder Jolley

Monday, August 22, 2016

fam bam.

Half way through the transfer. There are some interesting changes coming up this next transfer.. nothing set in stone yet, so I won't say anything else, but I'm excited for what's coming.

Things are going great our way. We have the baptism of our investigator Sabrina this Saturday. She's from an incomplete family in our ward and we've been teaching her for a couple weeks, so we're excited about that. Also the Laspina family is progressing beautifully. They are very humble and prepared. The recently converted Vasquez family in our ward (from Paleka and Chicoma) decided to go to a different church on Sunday... so that was kind of unexpected. Personally I think they were a bit more converted to the missionaries than the gospel, so when Paleka left they kind of tanked. We pass by every now and then to share a scripture, but before the missionaries were ALWAYS at there house... so I think they expect that from us and personally that's a waste of time to me when they've been baptized and our duty is to go find the people who haven't. Kind of a rock in a hard spot there, but we'll see what happens. The ironic part was that we showed up as they were leaving to the other church last night, and our current investigators Vanesa and Maxi (golden lesson last week) showed up all fancied up to go with them! ERRRRKLSDFALKDJF not cool,

There's not much else to talk about. This last Saturday we watched the Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration movie with Sabrina, her fam, and the Maneiro family (our converts from last transfer). Man that gets me every time. I think my testimony of Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Gospel in general has really solidified on the mish. Wow not even kidding, the spirit just sat there hittin me like a punching bag during the whole movie haha. With all the opposition against the church... it would be so easy to just throw in the towel and give in to doubt. If we try to comprehend the gospel based on our own logic.. it doesn't make sense, and I can see why people have doubts.. but I just know. I know it's true. I can't prove it on my own, but God promises that He will... and He does whenever we seek with a sincere heart and real intent, having faith in Christ.
Doubt your doubts before your faith.

Elder Jolley


 The Laspina Fam. Our golden investigating family for the transfer. Working right now on getting a wedding date, then we'll go from there. We love them!

Me and Liam (the Laspina's son). This kid is an Argentine clone of childhood Brayden. Not kidding! Lisp and all ("Thanta told me, Dad!"). He sits by me in sacrament meeting and it's a blast. He's a little ADD... so I just give him my pen and a paper and name off everything I can think of for him to draw... it keeps him quiet for the most part, but I love it :) Also this last week we implemented the "on your knees" concept of family prayer. Liam usually has a hard time sitting still through the whole prayer, but in sacrament meeting for the closing prayer, Liam 5 seconds into it hops off the bench and kneels down for the whole prayer! Such a stud.. haha.

Elder Guerrero and I. Snapbacks and dope sweaters.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Hiiii.

Alright totally walked out of the office after writing and realized "shoot.. didn't even write the fam." ha! Sorry. Anyway so I'm finishing up numbers here in the office so I'm sneaking in a couple lines real fast for the fam. Yes I'm sinning a little, but I'm just sitting here waiting for phone calls from zone leaders... and gangster rap made me do it.... k moving on.

This will be brief, but my week went fantastic. Things were a bit hard with the comp and there were a few minor problems. It was difficult and I must admit I was a bit negative about the situation in my head, just kind of wishing away my problems I guess... but soon realized that as always that doesn't help so I came up with a plan to fix it and a put down a rather eloquent execution of that plan last night in comp inventory, if I do say so myself ;) President always talks to us about trying to positively find ways to make it work with our companions because once we are married, "emergency transfers" will no longer exist, and we won't have a mission president to complain to. Smart guy, he's got a point. So anyway things are better there.

I can't explain how... but blessings and random investigators/referrals are raining like cats and dogs right now. Haha not kidding.. it's almost starting to not surprise me. Person: "Hey Elder we have a referral for you. It's a single woman who has heard the discussions before, wants the missionaries to come by, and has 10 children above the age of 8" Me: "Uhh... ok." One of these days I'm gonna walk into the office and a family is going to show up dressed in white. Like seriously this is weird. Random guy shows up to church and wants to hear more (tomorrow to be specific). Another family (Laspina family... currently attending church and making plans to get married) calls us saying they talked with the missionaries like 6 months ago and asked us to come by. Also our investigators that we already had before are all doing so well! I'm on cloud 9 right now.. my jaw is literally descending from my face as I type this haha.

Tonight I had the BEST lesson of my whole mission, with Vanesa and her boyfriend Maxi. People who I never expected even a mediocre lesson out of. We showed up. Chatted a bit. Laughed. Said nice things. You know, the uge (<---abbreviated form of usual. don't know how to spell that. "yoouge"?... moving on). Then normally at this point we cut the rif raf and say "k we got a message to compartir with ya." but not this time! We didn't have to. We just naturally transitioned into a lesson... I don't know where it came from, but all the sudden Maxi tells us about this dream where he's in front of all these men in suits (but like more like Catholic priest suits I guess... not missionaries) and he was angry with them and saying that God wants "sincere hearts and real intent"... light buuuulb :) So I took that and ran like the olympic dudes on the tv behind me (which a minute later Vanesa asked their friend Juan to turn off... WITHOUT us asking.. P.S. Juan and their other friend Esteban were homeless but live there with them for free because Vanesa and Maxi are saints... just not quite latter day saints hehe... they're both missin a few marbles so we focus mostly on Vanesa and Maxi but every now and then they make random comments). We dove right in to the restoration and Vanesa for the first time was just locked it. She was asking the perfect questions and the answers were just popping right into my brain, and apparently into my comp's brain to cuz he said some pretty good stuff. To make a long, awesome story short we ended with Moroni 10:3-5 OBVIOUSLY, and we read together the part where it said "and if ye ask with a sincere heart and real intent" (but in Spanish). Woof. I wish you could have seen the faces of Maxi and Vanesa when they connected the dots. Oh man the spirit was so strong. We challenged them to pray, promised blessings and bore testimony, then finished with a prayer. Best. :) And get this. As we are heading out Vanesa says "So when are you coming back??" *drop the mic*

Love my family, love my friends. I miss them all, but I love where I am, I love the people I'm with, I love these missionaries that I get to serve, I love President Cifuentes and his example to me, and most of all I love my Savior and stand amazed at the love that He offers me.


Elder Jolley