This last weekend we were blessed by a visit from Elder Stevenson from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, as well as Elder Bragg from the Presidency of the South America Area, along with their wives and a couple other area authorities such as Elder Salas and the Buenos Aires Temple President. What a powerful and memorable experience. On Saturday we had a conference with Elder Stevenson, Elder Bragg, and their wives with the WHOLE entire mission. What a cool opportunity! He was only supposed to be with us for about an hour, but he just kept teaching and it turned into two. The man knows Preach My Gospel inside and out so we had such a great discussion about inviting people to repent through commitments and also the importance of promising blessings. We also were all able to shake his hand. It was cool because President had me stationed at the door of the chapel to let everyone know when he was walking in so we could all stand up. So when he comes around the corner, I signaled to everyone and opened the door for him. He stopped when he saw me and said "Well there's a missionary! What's your name Elder?" I told him and he asked me where I was from and stuff. I think I had a permanent stupid grin on my face for the rest of the day. Meeting him and Elder Bragg was a very impactful experience for me. Such genuine and happy people, and it's so contagious! On Sunday they came for a luncheon at the mission home, and Elder Bragg asked President if my companion and I could be there as well, and because Sister Cifuentes had to spend the afternoon with the wives on Saturday, she requested that I make a salad and a few other things for the lunch. Aaanyway, so I got to spent some time prepping and cooking some delicious food (thanks to my mom's recipes ...you're the best mom!) in the nice mission home kitchen on Saturday. No complaint here :) On Sunday we had a special Stake Conference from Elder Stevenson and his wife about prayer and missionary work. Then the luncheon afterwards. We were able to chat a bit with them when they first arrived to the mission home, then for the first part of the lunch we were asked to stay in the kitchen and help so they could have a meeting over lunch. Then towards the end we were invited in to chat, and Elder Bragg set us up with a photo opportunity with him and Elder Stevenson! (best. wingman. ever.) Heavenly Father could beam me up right now and I'd be content with that kind of happy ending to my life haha. Totally kidding... but it really was such a memorable experience and a huge blessing to be around such genuine, humble, and powerful men.
p.s. Elder Stevenson had a bodyguard there named Michael. I was chattin with him a bit afterward and I asked to see his "church security" pin on his lapel (it's cool). Such a funny guy! I feel like they hardly ever talk cause they have to be serious, but when you get them going it's hilarious. After lunch we were sitting there and he said "Ugh... I'm gettin fat..." President right next to him looks over and says "Dude... you sound like a girl.." The bodyguard just looked side to side, shrugged his shoulders and says "...ya... you're right." haha! It was hard to keep the laughter in.
p.p.s. We ate something called Vitel Toné, with parsley garlic fingerling potatoes, orange glazed carrots, and a spinach salad with strawberries, candied pecans, tilei cheese, and two really good dressings from the list you sent me, mom. I think everyone liked it. Elder Bragg even said "Excellent salad, Elder Jolley!" probably just bein nice.. but I'll take it. ; )
I'm so blessed to be a part of this work, and I am continually reminded of that. Doesn't mean it's easy at all, but the blessings received out here outweigh the trials by far. I know this work is His, and I'm proud to be a part of it.
On our way to Mar Del Plata last week for Zone Conferences it was getting dark on us while we were still a ways out, so we decided to stay the night in Necochea and finish the drive in the morning. All the better because my two best buddies in the mish live right there in Necochea in the same house! We snuck into their house and scared the caca out of them haha. It's always refreshing to see Elder Tannyhill and Elder Price and have some good laughs. They're both zone leaders together right now so we all get to interact a lot more, which is super fun.
Doing divisions with Elder Schiess (from the first group I welcomed as AP with Paleka) and his son, Elder Muzzi (been in the mish for 2 weeks). Unfortunately Elder Schiess got super sick from food poisoning and threw up like 20 times during divisions... sooo Elder Muzzi became the nurse and had a nice study sesh while Elder Schiess was passed out in bed. Poor guy. We had a great time anyway though.