Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20, 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015

July 13, 2015

Hey Family, so life is pretty good ...

Umm where to start.

Monday -- P-day was pretty lame, we really didn't do much.  But it is okay because after being in the Chaco and getting use to not doing much, I am use to lame P-days.  Haha.   I think one of the hardest things about being lejos (far away from other missionaries) to die (finish his mission) is that I don't get to see any of my friends, but it's all good because most of my friends are lejos as well, so it really isn't that big of a deal. :)

But yeah, this week was super good.  We were able to find a bunch of new investigators that are super nice -- who are really thinking about the things that we are telling them, and so that is super cool.  

Life is good here in Paraguay.  One exciting thing from this week is that it appears all of the hard work that we did in Neuland is paying off.  I heard from Elder Eaquinto that 51 people came to church this past Sunday, and so that is super cool.  Also, one of the families that I was going to baptize actually came to church, and so they are definitely moving forward.  So, yeah, I am super stoked about how good things are going in Neuland now.  When I arrived in that area we had only six people coming to church, so 51 is amazing.  I honestly learned a lot from serving in Neuland and I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to get to know the people of Neuland and to be able to learn things from them.  

It's interesting because when I got in to my new area, my comp said that this area was doing so well -- the best it ever has -- until two weeks before I arrived.  You know how in the scriptures when people are doing the wrong things, they don't want to hear about it.  Well apparently one of the Counselors in the mission came to Tacuati and "dropped Cain" (spoke very frankly) on a lot of the members, and ever since the people have been in kind of a fallen state.  Apparently the fall is going to be big from what I have heard from my new companion and the new Group Leader, so we are going to work a fool (work hard)  and hope that the fall isn't a really big fall and that we can avoid it so it doesn't go down.  :)

But, yeah, what I have learned from my mission is that God puts me in areas that are about to fall, and then helps me to help the people come back.  It is going to be interesting to see how these experiences from my mission help me in my future.  Maybe some day I am going to live in a falling area, you never know.  :)  But, instead of worrying about the fall here in Tacuati, I am going to keep Neuland mind and where they are now -- 51 at church, that is super, super cool.  I am super happy with that.  :)

So we had a zone meeting on Saturday, and so I had to travel from Tacuati to Horquetta to Concepcion to get to that. The traveling was so miserable because on Friday I woke up feeling super sick with super hard sheeves (diarhea).  It was super hard because I couldn't go like ten minutes without using the bathroom and I was traveling, so that was hard.  But it's chill because I took some crazy pills that they have here in Paraguay -- which are similar to Pepto Bismal -- and that kind of helped.  It's funny because I didn't know if I should chew the pills or let them dissolve and so I chewed them and they turned my tongue black for a while. Haha.  But I am starting to feel better now, so that's all good. ;) 

But yeah, I didn't really sleep well Friday night because in order to catch the bus, we had to be at the bus stop of 5:00 a.m., and so I kept waking up.  Then I had to take a 90 minute bus ride, and I was sick and didn't feel good and I just wanted to be home.  Because I was sick, I couldn't sleep on the bus and so I was feeling a little grumpy, but I got over it.  

So we had our zone meeting and that was super good.  It was about how we need to help the people learn to resolve their own doubts ... we need to teach them to fish, not just give them fish ... and that was super good.   Also in the zone meeting they talked about how as missionaries we have such a great power, and how important it is to always have the Spirit with us, not only now, but after our missions.  They talked a lot out pornography and the things we need to do to be able to avoid temptations that are going to us come after our  missions.  It was really a super good zone conference, I liked it.  So yeah, I haven't been in my area since Saturday early morning. In the last couple of days I have been able to do divisions with Elder Munoz and Elder Bronson, who is my zone leader, and we were able to apply some of the things we learned from the zone meeting.

But yeah, other than that the week was super interesting.  A lot of people in my area speak Portugese and I can actually understand them pretty well, so that is good. Today has been really cool because I was able to play soccer with some of the missionaries from Concepcion -- having been in the Chaco for the last six months, I have really missed playing sports and doing activities with other missionaries. So that was actually a lot better then what I have had in a really long time. ;) 

Anyway, I sure love y'all and I hope that y'all are doing really well. ;) 

Elder Turley

Questions of the week

So how are things going? 
Things are going just fine ;)

Are you getting use to Tacuati? 
Yes I am. It is really green compared to the Chaco.

What was your favorite meal this week? 
I am not really sure, I had some good rice yesterday. 

Do the members feed you all the time? 
Yes, we have lunch citas (appointments) every day. 

What types of things do the members feed you?
A lot of like spaghetti stuff, that isn't spaghetti, just normal Paraguayan food.

Are you staying warm? 
Yes, I am mother.

How are you feeling physically? 
I have had some stomach issues, but nothing too bad.

What was your happiest moment this week? 
Hanging out with other missionaries for p-day.

What was your most difficult moment this week? 
Just that the people don't want to go to church because they don't have a calling.

What was your funniest moment this week? 
I don't really have one. 

Tell me about your favorite lesson this week? 
We had a lesson that was super good with Juanie.  She felt that the things we were saying were true, and that our church is the only church that says those things.

Do you know that I love you more than life itself? 
Yes I do ;) 

Welcome to Tacuati

 Black Tongue -- result of the "Paraguayan stomach pills"

Monday, July 6, 2015

July 6, 2015

Hey Parents --

So yeah, I am in Tacuati -- in the middle of nowhere which is kind of interesting because I am almost positive that I will die (finish my mission) here.  I was super sad because I didn't want to die lejos (finish my mission in an outlying area), but I think that is what is going to happen.  But, it's all good.  I have met some pretty cool people, and work wise and food wise, it's a lot better than Neuland.  

So as you know, for the past six months I have been cooking for myself.  And although I can cook, I can't really cook from scratch, so that has been super interesting the past six months.  Now that I am in Tacuati, I have breakfast, lunch, and dinner which is super cool because I am so over cooking. Haha :)  

So I have been able to get to know the Group Leader (similar to branch president, but over a "unit" not a branch) and some of the members and they are all pretty cool.  Tacuati is pretty different than Neuland.  Instead of being in a desert like I was in the Chaco, I am now like in the middle of the jungle.  There are a lot of trees and it's really green.  To be honest it is super pretty out here ... and the people are super nice, so that's pretty awesome.  So I was thinking about this change (transfer) and it most likely will be the last area I will serve in (although you never know), and it kind of blows my mind that most likely when I pack again, I will be packing to come home, so that's going to be cool.  Haha. :)

So not much happened this week.  I was with Elder Luke for about half of it -- or at least until Wednesday morning when I went out and waited for the bus to take me to my new area.  I really wasn't excited for a bus ride, and I really wasn't feeling very well, and so as soon as I got on I popped a couple of Nyquil and slept the whole time.  Apparently I was so out of it that the other missionaries who were traveling with me took pictures of me and threw stuff at me and I didn't even notice.  Apparently it was super funny.  So we arrived in Horqueta where we stayed for the night, and then the next day, Thursday at around noon, I left for my new area, Tacuati.  It took like three hours to get there and I arrived at around 3.

Tacuati is really such a different area than Neuland.  It's kind of cool because I have served in a lot of different areas.  So there is a river in my area, and that is where we perform baptisms, so I am kind of hoping I will be able to perform a baptism in the river -- that's pretty original. :) 

So yeah, I really don't have much more to say other than I am stoked (excited) to be here, it will for sure be a whole new experience for me.  I am kind of sad that I won't be ending my mission around my friends, but it's cool that I am getting to know a little bit more of Paraguay.  :) 

Life is good, and I am happy to be here.

I love y'all. 

Elder Turley

Questions of the Week -- There are a lot since Jon is in a new area.

How is Tacuati? 

It's good, I like it.

What is it like -- Desert, tropical? 

It's in the middle of a jungle.  

What is the town like? 

It seems to be a poorer town, but the people are so nice.

Are there restaurants?

There are a couple of places where you can get hamburgers and stuff.

Are there stores? (If you don't have stores, how far do you have to go to get your food)? 

There is a little store that we go to. 

Are there dirt or paved roads?

They are mostly dirt road. 

Do the people have cars? 

 A couple of them do. 

What are the peoples' houses like? 

Mostly little and made of wood or brick. 

What is your apartment like? 

I live in a super poor house, but it's a lot bigger than my place in Neuland so that is a positive. :)

Do you have indoor drinking water? 

If there is water in the city, then yes.  (Mom's note: I'm not really sure what he meant by this, I wonder if the city runs out of water).

Are you missing anything in your apartment - like a kitchen sink? (Jon didn't have a kitchen sink in Neuland because he didn't have drinkable running water).

I don't have air conditioning, but I do have a kitchen sink.

Do you have heat and air conditioning? 

No heat, and it's been freezing. 

What is your companion's name?

Elder Simao 

Where is he from? 


Do you two get along? 

Yeah, we get along good.

What is he like? 

He is strict, but not super, super strict.  We get along good.

What is your "unit" like? 

It's interesting, the church is bigger than in Neuland and I don't have to speak ever Sunday, so that's cool.  

How many members on the rolls? 

I am not sure yet. 

What was your happiest moment this week? 
Being on a 3 day division with Elder Luke.

Was was your most spiritual moment this week?

Hmmm we didn't really have any spiritual moments because we were traveling most of the week, but we did have a testimony meeting that was really spiritual. 

What was your most difficult moment this week? 

Dealing with the fact that I am lejos again (in an outlying area, away from other missionaries).  

What was your funniest moment this week?

Hmmm probably when I dressed up in woman's clothes as a joke with all the "dying" Elders.  It was super funny ... don't ask. :) 

What was your favorite scripture this week?

Hmmm probably the one that "drops Cain" (speaks strongly) on people for not baptizing their children at 8 years old. 

Tell me about your favorite lesson this week? 

We didn't really have too many lessons this week. 

Who is your favorite person of the week? 

Elder Luke, he is a homie (like a brother). 

Do you know that I love you more than life itself?

Yes I do mother.

Saying "Goodbye" to Neuland
(Jon's last few days in the Paraguayan Desert)

 Jon with Elder Luke ...
one of his best buds from the mission.
Elder Luke completed his mission this change and was headed home.

 Jon with Elder ....

Saying "Hello" to Tacuati
(Jon's new home and the Paraguay jungle. 
Jon keeps commenting on how green it is).

Jon's new home in Tacuati

Monday, June 29, 2015

June 29, 2015

Hey Family.. 

So this week was a good one. I had another "crazy Chaco" experience this week but I'll tell you about that later.  
So basically things are super good out in the Chaco ... well they "were" super good because as it turns out, this week I have changes (transfers).  I am no longer in the Chaco ... or at least at this moment no longer in Neuland.  Right now I have no idea where I am going to be serving, but I guess that is the fun of it all.  :) 

Elder Luke has completed his mission and is going home, and so he and I traveled to Asuncion together so that I could find out my changes and Elder Luke could have his final interview with the President. I am hoping that I am going somewhere that is pretty close to the city, but I honestly have no idea -- there are a lot of places that I could go.  So ... I will let you know as soon as I can.  

But ya so this week was super cool. I kinda felt that I was going to be changed and so I actually packed everything up at night during the week.  It ended up being good because after I received notice that I was to go to Asuncion, instead of packing I was able to go out and do a lot of work. We visited with Adriano and his family, and they are doing well they are super stoked to get baptized which is super cool.  We did have to cancel their baptism date because they weren't able to come to church this week because of a death in the family, so they are going to have to re-schedule their baptism.

So ... now for the weekly "Chaco" craziness ... So first a sad thing ... our investigator, Narcissa, who we were going to baptize (and is the sister of the Branch President) actually died this week.  I'm not really sure what she passed away from, but her death kind of threw off the whole community.  

Anyway, the craziness of this is that my companion and I were able to attend Narcissa's funeral and I have to say it was one of the craziest things I have ever seen.  You know how on TV you see people going to funerals who just sit there and scream?  Yep, than happened.  There was a little sermon type thing and then they let everyone from the community go up and touch her body.  And when people would touch her, they would cry out and scream and fall over the casket.  It was pretty intense to be honest it, and was so super, super sad, but it was also super,super weird and super, super different at the same time.  A couple of times, I thought I might laugh out loud because it was so crazy, but it's all good because I was able to control myself.  But yeah, that is my "crazy Chaco" story from this week. 

But yeah, nothing else too interesting happened this week, just a lot lessons and then saying "goodbye" to the people of Neuland. 

But yeah, so this letter isn't the best, but I will have a good one for you next week. Haha :)

Love --
Elder Turley 

Questions of the Week:

1.  Who are your investigators?
I don't know at this very moment because I haven't arrived in my new area yet.  

2.  What was your church attendance this week? 

15, a lot of people missed because of the death.

3.  Did you make it to Paraiso? 

No, we are at the members' mercy to get there and it didn't happen.

4.  What was your most spiritual experience this week? 

The funeral.  It was sad and spiritual and weird all at once. 

 5.  What was your funniest experience this week? 
We had a lesson where none of us could stop laughing.  It was super hard because we tried to sing and we butchered the song because we were laughing too much. 

6.  What was your hardest experience this week? 

Leaving my area and saying "goodbye" was really hard.

7.  Did you get the computer? 

Nope, it has never come.

8.  Who is your favorite person this week and why? 

Adriano, he is super cool and is so ready to get baptized. 

9.  Do you have any crazy Chaco stories this week? 

The funeral which I wrote about above. 

10.  What can we pray about for you? 

That I can get along well in my new area. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015

Hey what's up Family --

So I would just like to say "thank you father for all that you have done for us."  It was your birthday recently and so I want you to just assume that your birthday letter applies to Father's Day because you know you are a super good dad and stuff and I kind of love you. :)

But yeah, this week was super dope.  It went really fast because we were traveling so much.  On Sunday we went to Filidelphia in order to email and do church stuff, and then we went back to Neuland to pack, and then went to Asuncion.  We went to Asuncion because we had a mission conference with Elder Gonzalez.  The conference was really cool.  Elder Gonzalez spoke about a lot of really cool things and I have been able to implement a lot of what he talked about, such as being more direct with questions such as asking people to go to church and to read The Book of Mormon.  He explained that we are going to be inviting the people to repentance through our questions to them.  He said that repentance is a "yes or no" answer -- either they want to repent or they don't.  It was really kind of a cool way to put things because I had never really thought about that before.  Since the conference, I have noticed that my questions have been more direct, and we have been able to have a lot of success through just changing one simple thing, and so it was super nice. I haven't received the mission picture they took at the conference, but as soon as I get it, I will send it to you. 

But other then that the week was super good.  We set up a couple of date for people to get married, like Adriano, and that was cool.  Adriano is super excited to get married and it is funny because we asked him "Hey, why is it important that you get married," to which he told us that it was important because he works and so he needs a woman to clean and cook and watch the kids.  It was super funny because the answer we were looking for was to complete and keep the commandments of God and so we can be blessed through our diligence in completely following God.  So he got it wrong, but it was super funny.   

This week we weren't able to connect with Adolfo.  We went by his house three or four times, but he was never there.  It actually was super weird that we weren't able to connect with him, but it will be okay because he is super prepared to be baptized and he did come to church, so it's all good.  So after we went by his house so many times, we were standing outside of his cousin's house and he walked out and said "Hey, I moved, sorry for not telling you."  Haha.  It would have saved us a lot of confusion. :)  But even though we weren't able to meet with him, he is doing well.   

But yeah, other than that nothing really crazy happened in the week ... just ordinary proselyting stuff  which is not really that fun ... at least for you all. :) 

I love y'all, and I am super happy to be a part of your family. 

With love -- 
Elder Turley 

Questions of the Week:

So how was your week? 
It was good. 

How are things going with Adolfo? 

Things are good but he cant get baptized for a while.

What about Adriano and his family? 

They are doing well. They are planning on getting married.

Have you been able to get back to talk to the guy where you were getting the USB ports from? 

Not with him, but with his brother.

Do you have any new investigators? 


How was your attendance yesterday? 


What was your happiest moment last week? 

Going to Asunscion.

Your funniest moment? 

Ummm I went to the batroom at like 4 in the morning at the Office Elders house and their toilet wouldn't flush.  Then the next morning I had to leave before they were awake, so I am sure they were surprised. Haha.

You toughest moment? 

One of my friends Elder Mcllelland went home with a concussion.

Your most spiritual moment?

The meeting with Elder Gonzalez 

How is your health? 

It's good, I'm not sick of anything. 

Were you able to get out to Paraiso this week?

No, the stake president went out without us

What was your favorite meal this week? 

I eat the same thing every day, but I was able to have Burger King. 

Who is your favorite person this week?

Mateo Vazquez.  He came to church for the first time in a while. 

What was your favorite scripture last week?

I really like Mosiah 4 about how to raise a family and to help other people. 

Any funny or random Chaco stories this week?

My companion roasted peppers and they hot-boxed my house and we couldn't breath without it burning our lungs.

 Pictures from Paraguay

Pictures from Neuland

Missionaries Having Fun

Mission Picture
(Jon is on the third row, third person on the left from the white wall.  Two people behind the Hermana in the red shirt.  He is standing two away from Elder Garner with Elder Luke in the middle of them). 

Monday, June 15, 2015

June 15, 2015

Hey Family 

So this week was pretty interesting.  We for sure had some crazy things go down, but we are doing pretty well as a companionship and we have a ton of potential as far as baptisms in the future go.  We are currently preparing a family (not Adolfo's -- more on that below) for baptism on the 11th of July, so that should be really cool. They are super stoked to be baptized.  It's so interesting, it's crazy how much of a change going through the Temple has made on our Branch President.  Ever since his family was sealed in the Temple, he is so excited about spreading the  gospel and has given us a ton of references for people who are really ready for baptism!

But yeah, this week we prepped for our "Noche de Rama" activity (evening branch activity), and it was super cool. At the activity, we talked about love.  It was super good, and I feel like the branch members are finally starting to understand that they need to love other people, especially the church members.  We explained to them they need to have love for everyone because, truthfully, they are a family (a branch family) and God has commanded them to love one another.  We explained that it is really important that they love one another and that they have a bond with each other so they can help and encourage each other. 

So are far as the week goes, on Monday evening we went to Abundancia and didn't get in until 3 in the morning.  Tuesday was district meeting, and I was able to get all of the branch finances handled so that was good.  Then we hitch hiked home and got back to Neuland around 6:00 p.m. 

When we got back to Neuland, we went to visit Adolfo and his family.  Adolfo talked to us about how much he has grown and how much he wants to be baptized to be forgiven of his sins.  He said he wants to change, just like he has seen our Branch President and his cousin change.  Apparently our Branch President was a pretty gnarly guy before he got baptized.  According to some branch members, our Branch President drank a lot and had a bunch of different girlfriends and smoked a lot, but when he accepted the Gospel and decided to get baptized, he changed completely!  It's super cool to see what has happened because he is such an example to a lot of people.  It really is amazing how much things can change through the example of just one person. 

Anyway in talking to Adolfo, and without going in to detail, we realized that he is so prepared for baptism and is super "golden".  As Adolfo opened up to us he told us of an issue from his past, and told us that through prayer he feels like the Lord has forgiven him, and he can't wait to be baptized to be really forgiven.  After talking with him, we explained that because of the issue, unfortunately, his baptism is not going to happen next week like we had planned.  We explained that there is a formality that has to be taken care of before he is baptized, but we will continue to work with him until he is actually able to enter the water! 

An exciting thing, this week I hit 18 months in the mission field.  In some aspects I still feel like I have a ton of time left, but at the same time I feel like it is going to go by so super quickly.  I remember when Elder Frost went home and Elder Luke only had six months left and he was telling Elder Luke that his last six months would go so quickly and be done in "no time."  And now, when I talk to Elder Luke, who goes home this coming transfer, he is telling me the same thing.  I seriously have learned so much from the people of Paraguay, and I know that I still have things left to learn from them.  I also know that I have a lot of work still to do, and I am super stoked to do it! :) 

We are going to Asuncion this week because a General Authority is visiting our mission, so that will be cool!

Well, I love y'all so much and I am thankful for all of the support that I have received from you.  Y'all are so amazing and I know for certain that if we do the right things, and live the right way, that we can be together forever as a family! ;) 


Elder Turley 

1.  Who are your investigators
Adolfo and Daisy
Adriano and his wife

2.  What was your church attendance this week?
We had 27 people at church, our attendance number went up -- even in the rain!

3.  Did you make it to Paraiso?
No, it has been rainy here and when it rains, the roads are pretty much inpassable.

4.  What was your most spiritual experience this week?
The lesson we had with Adolfo when he opened up and shared his past with us, and bore his testimony to us!

5.  What was your funniest experience this week?
Playing basketball in Asuncion.

6.  What was your hardest experience this week?
That we had to delay Adolfo's baptism. 

7.  Did you get the computer?
Not yet

8.  Who is your favorite person this week and why?
Elder Luke -- he is just an AMAZING Elder

9.  Do you have any crazy Chaco stories this week?
No, not really. Haha.

10.  What can we pray about for you?
That I can be inspired to now who to talk to and when.

Working hard in the Chaco

Jonathan loves animals ... especially Dogs!

 It's fun to see this hard working Elder, have some fun too!!!