Thursday, April 27, 2017

Another busy week, and a lot more blessings!

The highlight of this last week was being able to accompany President Cifuentes to Olavarria this past weekend for a few meetings he had. It was just me and him so that was a cool opportunity to chat about both personal and administrative topics. Knowing I won't have opportunities like that here pretty soon is quite the bummer to me... I really treasure my relationship with him and all that he's taught me. 

The second part of mentioned "highlight" is that I was in Olavarria! I took the opportunity to do divisions with the zone leaders (Elder Mardones and Elder Rivadaneira) there who are in the same area I was for the first eternity of my mission, Urquiza! We had a great time and I was able to take some time to discuss and verify their plans in person which is always nicer than a phone call. I was kickin myself for not bringing my camera along, but as John Mayer says "you should have seen it with your own eyes... no more 3x5's" (sorry... got John on the brain... not sure why...*cough* family *cough*). I must have done something right... or there is just an anvil sized humbling trial coming up, cause I keep getting these awesome nostalgic opportunities! I even got to attend sacrament there on Sunday before returning to Bahia! I absolutely loved seeing the old area, friends, and members there. Bishop Medina was really cool during announcements before sacrament to say "we'd like to recognize the presence of Elder Jolley who served here previously, we're very excited that he's come home." haha (half the crowd probably thought "oh shoot... he's back!") ; ) They even played "En un lejano cerro fue" (figure it out) for the sacrament hymn. Wow I love that one! Also, we got to take part in the open chapel of the Independencia ward there on Saturday night. Super fun!

 Zone conference with the Bahía and Villa Mitre zones combined (about 60 missionaries at once.. woof)

 Arriving for the zone conference in Viedma. Love to catch some pretty views along the way.

Random pic w/ Elders: Frampton, Moi, Schiess, Valle, Griffith, Bruton, and Rasmussen (the son of Mrs. Rasmussen from 5th grade)

That's kind of all I can think of. Zone conferences are going well and our investigators are progressing steadily. Not too many updates besides some good lessons (had a great one about the Book of Mormon with Piru.. she was already reading Carlos's BoM before we taught her about it haha.. she's a cutie), so I'll try to give a better report on them next week!

Elder Jolley

Bday party at the Martinez house with our investigator Piru

Bday surprise in the crib with Price and Nummys.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Email from Tuesday, April 17th:

Hola amigos,

I sent a bunch of pics today so this is gonna be a short email. Transfers are over and we're back into the normal groove. The conferences started off in Tandil last week. The first one is always the lab rat conference, but it went pretty well so it can only go up from here (shout out to Shania Twain). This transfer, as the assistants, we are teaching about how to help our investigators make and keep commitments. I love this subject and am super excited to teach about it.

We saw Lucrecia for the first time in a few weeks this past week, she has a boyfriend and that's put a few obstacles in her course. She'll be fine, I'm not too worried about her, but keeping her in your prayers would be appreciated. She just needs to feel the desire and the importance of obedience.

Piru (the wife of Carlos) has now been to church twice and is loving it! We're taking it light on the subject of baptism, but she's softened up a lot too it and we're planning on her being baptized in May for sure.

Alan, who came to the open chapel, has now been to church twice and is loving it as well, he's a stud. Because of time complications we haven't met with him too much, but we will get to that more this week.

Have a fantastico week! I for one loved Easter weekend and the spirit that came with it. I know the atonement of Christ is there for us to use it freely, and I love the opportunity to do so.

Elder Jolley

This is definitely the highlight of my week! After zone conference last Friday in Tandil we went over to the open chapel in the 2nd Ward (where I served with Elder Christensen) to help out with things. I saw Sister Ortallado there, who is the visiting teacher of my converts Patricia and Belen. She mentioned to me that Patricia and Belen were super bummed that I showed up while they were gone last time. So she sends a selfie of her and I to Patricia, and after an excited phone call from Patricia, she literally showed up to the chapel in like 15 minutes haha. Man, it was just like seeing good family after a long time, it was so good to see her! We chatted and caught up for a sec, then the ward pulled a smooth move and took her through a church tour. I took the opportunity to walk through with her and that was cool to be with her and hear those messages, I think she really felt the spirit during that. Afterwards Sister Ortallado got her excited about family history and set an appointment for tomorrow (Tuesday) to do family history with her. She also invited her to come to church on Sunday and Patricia said she would love to go. So that was a good experience.

After seeing her I took off to run a couple errands and get things closed up from the zone conference we had while Patricia went home, then I drove by their house on the way back and said hi to their family! Ahh what a cool opportunity. I love that family so much. Belen ran out of the house all teary eyed, and her daughter Mìa gave me a cute little hug when I bent down to give her a high five. We were able to chat and catch up for a few minutes before we had to go. I also called Elder Christensen in Santa Rosa and had Patricia answer the phone. He was like "OHHH! Holaaaa!" Super funny. Patricia is like the older sister I never had haha, telling me stuff like " better study, and i think you should be a doctor, and you have to write, and don't forget..." She was also shared that she had been talking with Sister Ortallado and that she told her about how before this life we knew each other and promised certain people that we would find them and bring the gospel to them. Patricia and Belen told me that they felt that it was like that between me and their family and that they were so grateful I had come. I had always dreamed that as a missionary I would find such people, and what a blessing to hear that I had out of the very mouth of my converts. At the end I bore my testimony to them and we took the opportunity to say a "family prayer" together on our knees in their house, and then I took off.

P-day lunch at Bambu wit da homies (Elders Valle, Farley, Price, and Numbers)

 President Mark and Jenny Cifuentes everybody. (pic setup at the open chapel for the Tandil 2nd Ward where I served)

 Making funny "peanut gallery" comments during Sister Cifuentes' lesson with President.

 Mid-lesson candid pic during zone conference in Tandil. 

Huge fair in Tandil for Easter

Sunday, April 16, 2017

(Note from the editor: sorry for the delayed post. This email came on Tuesday the 11th... Happy Easter Sunday!)

Dear Fam and Frenzz

Sorry again to those who I don't get to write back, I always print off the emails and read them, so know that I love hearing from you guys and I appreciate you taking the time to write me.

This last week was super busy on all sides of the work. We had Leadership training, leadership conference, zone conference in Necochea, a baptism, open chapel, then confirmation and the beginning of transfers on Sunday. Woo! The leadership conferences went smoothly. We're really focusing on trying to help our leaders plan more efficiently so that we can get more out of our efforts.

 New Leader Training Meeting

Leadership Conference with Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders

Traveling to the conference in Necochea this past week we stayed the night in Elder Tannyhill's house before the conference the next day. We got there a bit early and played a game of soccer with him, his investigator, and some members from his branch. We played so hard and it was probably one of the funnest games I've played on the mish. I scored a legit goal too... felt like such a big boy ;) haha. After soccer we turned in for the night. I stayed up chatting with Elder Tannyhill pretty late that night. We had some cool conversations reflecting on the mission and evaluating things about the work and a few of the things from the leadership conferences. It got me thinking a lot over the weekend about and refreshed my desire to work hard and help the zone leaders to work better and reach their goals as well. I'm grateful to have good friends who are great examples to me here in the mish.

Noelia got baptized this last Friday! After we finished up the zone conference in Necochea and a little meeting with the zone leaders afterward (Elder Tannyhill and Elder Rickeberg) we quickly headed out to make the three hour trip in time for the baptism at 7. We got there like 5-10 minutes after 7, but luckily our ward mission leader Facundo Currulef had our backs and had filled up the font and gotten all the preparations done. The cool part was that we had a "Open Chapel" last weekend and there was lots of members there prepping for Saturday and lots of them joined us for the baptism. Noelia is the nicest person and because of moving around a lot and having her baby she doesn't have a lot of friends or much time to find some, so she was really touched at how many people turned up for her baptism. I think that surprised her and she was a bit emotional about it saying she was so grateful for everyone who came. Her Uncle-in-Law and ward member Jorge Martinez (in the photo below with his wife Gabriela) performed the ordinance. It was a really special ceremony. 

This transfer is off to a good start with an additional companion and some good looking horizons for a few investigators. We've been getting more and more referrals and help from members, the wife of our convert Carlos is praying about a baptismal date, and I only have to see the Bahia Blanca airport one more time after today ;) not important though.

Transfers end tomorrow and we take off for our first zone conference in Tandil (gonna try to see Patricia and Belen again) Thursday afternoon.

Pon tu hombro a la lid!
Elder Jolley

 Say hello to the new Assistant trainee, and our third wheel, Elder Eric Farley! He's my first (and last) Argentine companion, and I'm pretty excited to have him. I met him a year ago in a Necochea zone conference when I was being trained as AP with Elder Paleka, and Elder Paleka had a transfer left. Now Farley is in my exact same spot, with a year to go, but he has to kill not just one, but two companions at once. Wow, give him a round of applause folks. Also, he speaks English so that's pretty fun. I'm gonna help him practice and he's gonna make sure I go home speaking full Argentine. Deal.

The nation went on strike for a day last week... not exactly sure why, but this is what the toll stations looked like on the freeway.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

This week was jam packed.. wish I could just send a voice recording and blabber it all out for you guys. 

So it started with traveling, as usual. Sister Cifuentes wanted to come this week, but couldn't leave Monday night. So Prez took off without us and we left Tuesday afternoon and took Sis. Cifuentes with us. Trips with Sister Cifuentes are fun, she's fun to chat with and she Skype's her fam a lot so I get to talk with real Americans a bit. The only catch is that it requires a gas station stop somewhere in the middle no matter what because ni loco (no way) am I gonna pass gas with her in the car, and holding it for a five hour car ride would be miserable (mom feel free to edit as necessary). We then met up with President in Tandil who had finished the zone conference already, and we took Elder Lewis and his companion Elder Hepworth who had three baptisms this month out for ice cream (incentives :)) along with the zone leaders Elder Osorio and Chavez. After that, before doing training and taking off to Olavarria, I took advantage of the opportunity to visit Patricia and Belen who I haven't seen for about 6 months. They wouldn't answer the phone so I bought a box of Havanna alfajors for them and we pulled up to their house by surprise. Their little sister Melina came out a little confused and when she saw me said "SHOLLY!" (jolley in an Argentine accent). It was super fun to see her, but I quickly asked for Patricia and Belen and she said unfortunately Patricia had left 10 minutes before and Belen was working. NO! I was super bummed, but I left them a note and the schedule for General Conference. 

After Tandil we had the zone conferences for Olavarria and Trenque Lauquen/Pehuajó. Both zones are a bit small so it's a bit harder to get participation.. but the conferences went well anyway. We've also been meeting with the zone leaders after to talk about their monthly plans and helping them to set goals and make plans more efficiently. So far I think we've been able to help the zone leaders a lot, now it's just in their hands to adjust and execute those plans.

Traveling Argentina with two Chileans.

Being in Olavarria was also nostalgic. After the conference, before taking off to Trenque Lauquen, I tried to pass by Nadia, but she wasn't home either. I was able to see the Soules fam and we shared a quick message, then I went to try to find Damian and Mikaela. I found Mikaela at home with their daughter Alma, but Damian was working. I chatted with them for a sec, then took off to the butcher shop where Damian works. I took one step in and right away heard "SHOLLY!!" Haha Damian in the middle of beating a giant slab of meat runs over and gives me a huge bear hug. Man it was so good to see him, being able to visit my converts in these trips is quite bittersweet. I can't tell you guys how much I love these people. It kills me that I wasn't able to finish teaching Damian and his family, and apparently it didn't go to far with the Hermanas after I left. I would honestly do anything if it meant they could have the gospel in their lives and be an eternal family. I know that the Lord does things in His own time and His own way though, so I have to have faith trust that he'll take care of them.

Visiting the Soules family along with Elders Mardones and Rivadaneira

Damian and Elder Jolley

After the trips and seeing a couple more good friends like Elder Holmes and Elder Guerrero, we were back in our area to prep for Conference weekend. Wow! Conference never disappoints. I have grown to love conference even more in the mission. It's even better when you have personally met people that are up there talking (Elder Bragg, Elder Stevenson, and a few other apostles). When Elder Bragg got up all the missionaries cheered. I love that man, for the short time he was here he sure left a big impact on me. Great leader for sure and President Cifuentes never seems to stop talking about how great he is haha.
We were excited to have two of our investigators join us for conference and quite a few recent converts. Piru (the wife of Carlos) came, as well as Noelia (who is getting baptized this Friday!). Her mom Paulina ALMOST came. Gosh... we had her.. but last minute she backed out. It was quite the lastima (pity) cause we had her committed to come to the Sunday Afternoon Session and I had promised her that if she showed her faith to show up and listen with real intent that God would include a talk tailored just for her. Well... God supported me in that promise and had Elder Costa stand up and give literally THE talk that Paulina needed, but she didn't show up. I was bummed, but also grateful to see that Heavenly Father did His part in supporting the promise I had made. 

Wish I could go in to detail about all the talks and things that stood out to me, but that will have to do for now. I think my favorite though besides Elder Bragg's was Elder Ballard's talk... especially as we are learning and teaching that to the mission right now. Very wise concepts.

Con amor,
Elder Jolley

So today we played around on a tank, went and ate lunch with President and Sis Cifuentes (made broccoli cheese soup cause it's a bit frescito outside), and the other day I thought about ceramics class in high school so we searched for a place with a pottery wheel, found a lady named Coqui that has a workshop with a couple, annnnd we made some pots :)

Successful pday? yes.