Monday, March 27, 2017

Buuuuueeeenos Dias.

Well the past month has been a rollercoaster of weather (almost like Utah, except with humidity thrown into the mix). This last week I think the Lord wasn't very happy with Argentina cause it's like the city was cursed with mosquitos for the past 4 days. I've been eatin alive.

Last week we went to Mar Del Plata for zone conferences. Traveled with President, I got to see Elder Tannyhill in Necochea after stopping so President could chat with Elder Goeckritz about getting his patriarchal blessing or something... anyway that was fun. I think one of my favorite parts of being AP is just surprise visiting my buddies all over the mission. Also, now that I've got Elder Price here in Bahia with me living in the same house it's been super awesome.

The conference went well. Afterwards President did interviews, then we met with the Zone Leaders about their monthly goals and plans, then afterward we were scheduled to have a meeting with the Stake President but he canceled on us... and since it was too late to do anything super productive President took us the Nike Factory haha. No complaints. There were these dope retro high tops on sale and I showed them to President and said "whatcha think?" and he goes "ya get 'em... if you wanna look like a gomer pile." haha I laughed pretty hard and told him that to my mother one of my names is gomer pile. Right mom? ;)

This week we are taking off to Tandil, Olavarria, and Trenque Lauquen for zone conferences. Gonna be a long week, but I'm really excited to visit converts in some of my old areas. Also I'm super excited for General Conference as always. Still gotta come up with a good question to keep in my mind.

This last weekend was a little stressful just with a lot of things happening at once. On Saturday I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown haha. Obviously exaggerating a bit, but sometimes I feel spread so thin out here and that in the end things fall through the cracks and it's so hard to please everyone. Sunday, after taking the sacrament and singing one of my favorite hymns "En un lejano cerro fue/There is a Green Hill Far Away" for sacrament, I felt a lot of the weight on my shoulders lifted... Not that things got easier, but I just felt strength and mental clarity. I guess to be able to take on what I have on my plate... that was a huge blessing and really strengthened my testimony of the sacrament and the atonement. 

Also Danilo Laspina (recent convert) was invited to bear his testimony for the Easter program yesterday and bore his testimony for the first time in public. Those moments are so special for a missionary seeing the people you love and work to express the changes in their life and almost show you up in a way like "wow.. that was really... great." Sister Tidei from behind (her and her husband came with us to one of the first lessons with the Laspina family) whispered "wow Elder... que satisfacción, no?" All I could think about was that I really hardly did anything... all that change that Danilo has had has been from his own effort to live the gospel and the covenants he's made and the gift of the spirit working on him. I'm nothing more than an instrument in the process.. but I'm so grateful to play even that role.

I LOVE this work. I LOVE our Savior and I KNOW He lives.

Happy Easter, Happy Conference.

Elder Jolley

Monday, March 20, 2017

This weekend President and Sister Cifuentes had to stay in Santa Rosa after the zone conference for a Stake Conference held on Sunday. Sister Cifuentes asked me to watch the house and the dogs for them until they got back. I didn't have to think for too long about the answer haha. I said yes and she also let us take Elder Price and Elder Numbers (who live in our house with us) along. We had a blast running with the dogs (Ruby and McKinley) Saturday night and enjoying a sleepover in the beautiful and clean mission home. Must admit I was quite tempted to swan dive into their pool, but I was able to control myself and just showered in their fancy shower instead. Fun times. 

Going out for a jog in the cheto neighborhood of Palihue with squirt guns to fend off the street dogs.

 Exhausted after basically sprinting all over the neighborhood with the overexcited dogs.

Also, this last weekend our investigator David Palacios got baptized! We're very happy for him and his family as they now start the year countdown to their temple sealing. It was also a blessing to see our convert Danilo Laspina (who was baptized by our other convert Isidro Maneiro) have the opportunity to use his recently conferred priesthood to baptize David. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Well I guess the up side of having a messed up pday schedule is that on the flip side I get to write again really soon. So.. surprise?

This weekend was pretty interesting. After emailing last Friday we went and had a lesson with our investigator Noelia and her mom Paulina (I think I told you guys, but her brother Alejandro is already a member and her step dad Orlando as well.. although he's pretty inactive). We planned to teach the Plan of Salvation and challenge Noelia to be baptized and at least invite her mom to church if not baptism (she's not religious at all so we were thinking baptism might be a long shot). So anyway, long story short, we get there and the whole family was there and Orlando even joined us for the lesson which has never happened. He also offered to say the opening prayer so that was really cool. Then we had just the classic spiritual bomb of a lesson teaching the Plan of Salvation. Everything went so smooth and beforehand Elder Valle and I had a good companionship study and did some practices which helped us a lot to be more united in our teaching. (Many times we kind of clash in our teaching because we both teach a bit differently so that was a blessing). Anyway, so then at the end of the beautifully clear and simple lesson we invited the whole family to follow the example of Jesus Christ, and Noelia and her mom to do so by being baptized. They both said yes and afterward to close the lesson Noelia offered the last prayer and the spirit was super strong. That was a really cool experience and this week we will work on setting a date for both of them. Paulina and Orlando have to get married first so we'll have to see how soon that can happen, but for Noelia we are thinking April 1st. Super excited for that. :)

On Friday night we were then finally able to communicate with Damian and Maira who kinda disappeared off the map a week ago. Apparently they got kicked out of their apartment and were living in Parque de Mayo (a park...) on the rugby field! So we made some calls and turns out Danilo Laspina knows a guy who knew a guy who had a house that he was selling for super cheap and affordable for them. So on Saturday morning we went with Hno Maneiro to hunt them down and take them and all their stuff to their new home. Such a bittersweet experience.. hard to explain.. It killed me seeing their two tiny children sitting there in the car on the way to the house with their big innocent eyes. Then the look of relief on the faces of Damian and Maira when they saw their new house and knowing that it would be a safe and affordable place for their family. Very humble house... but I think for them it was as good as a mansion. Such a humbling experience.

On Sunday we had a great turn out of investigators as well as less actives at church! The Vasquez family (that I used to visit with Paleka all the time) showed up out of the blue. Good to see them and their humble attitude of wanting to bring the gospel back into their lives. As well as the Miranda family. It was a really happy Sunday seeing our investigators progress and familiar faces return. 

Love being a missionary. Talk to you guys next week.

Elder Jolley

Friday, March 10, 2017

Hey folks.

This last week we had the reverse effect of all the hot weather. SO much rain and some amazing thunderstorms. Wish I had a better camera here to have been able to take some pictures of some of the coolest clouds and sunsets I've ever seen. That's one good thing about Argentina. The skies are huuuge (kind of like VA/East Coast). 

So this week and a half has consisted of zone conferences and teaching lessons whenever we can squeeze them into the schedule. Updates:

- David is progressing nicely and will be baptized on March 18th.

- Noelia also came to the family night at Lucre's house with her baby Crystal and really enjoyed it. She's progressing as well and seems to be really in tune with the spirit. Her, her mom Paulina, and her brother Alejandro are very genuine people, I like them. We are thinking about challenging her to be baptized in April.

- This transfer for zone conferences my companion and I are teaching out of Chapter 8 in PMG, focusing on the importance of key indicators and how to do an efficient comp inventory.... if anyone cares, haha :)

Well that's the sum up of my week. Whoever still reads these emails... wow... you've come to understand a little bit about "enduring to the end."

This last stretch of the mish is really bittersweet. President was sharing in the zone conference yesterday that there is no place he'd rather be in the world than here and with us. Even over his family, with all the love that he has for them. I feel the same way. As much as I love home, family, friends... I don't have any desire to not be where I am right now. South America has its moments, but I really love it here, I love being a missionary, and the fact that my days as a representative of Christ are running out makes me super sad. I love Him, His gospel, and the blessing I have to share it with others.

Buena semana.
Elder Jolley

FHE at Lucrecias house with the Laspina's and our investigator David Palacios with his family. A night with only converts and investigators, but our converts are now helping us teach our new investigators! I love the mission work cycle. They all strengthen my testimony so much! Our investigator David gets baptized on the 18th. He's really smart and excited to join his family and start his countdown to be able to go and get sealed to them in the temple.

Trip to Pedro Luro and Villalonga to do a baptismal interview for two more members of the giant family there in Villalonga. Antonio and Crystel.  We had to go chase down Antonio in an onion field like a half hour away, but we found him! They got baptized this last Sunday. SO fun to see them and to see the fruits in that family and the progress they've made. Also to spend a little time with my converts Luisa and Ronald with there new baby Ronald II. Love them lots.