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.
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.