Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February 17, 21014 -- Tengo dos bautismos el 15 de marzo -- I have two baptisms on March 15!

Tengo dos bautismos el 15 de marzo -- I have two baptisms on March 15!

Dear Family

I arrived in Paraguay and I really like it! The climate at the moment is just like Newport, so it isn’t hot, and there is a lot of humidity and a breeze.

My companion is Elder Jace Gummersall, he is 19 and he is from Spokane – a place called Liberty Lake or something like that.  I’m not sure if Bill served in his area.  I asked him if he knew Bill, but he was only nine when Bill was there, so he doesn’t remember.  My companion is super cool!  He keeps telling everyone that I am famous because I was in High School Musical. (Side note: Jon was a basketball player on the same team as Zac Effron).  So apparently I am pretty cool within the Missionary Crowd. I really like my companion and we get along really well.

My Spanish is doing decent, but I have a lot to learn.  I understand the people of Paraguay less than I understood the Argentina people, but it is coming along – I can bear my testimony in Spanish so that’s all I need. Haha. The people in Paraguay speak super fast and super slurred and it’s kind of crazy, but I will get it, but please keep praying for me.  Also, please pray for my cough and sinuses to get better.  My cough was gone, but it came back two days ago.  It’s funny because they use “Hauls Cough Drops” as candy down here, so it is super cheap and they are all over the place, so I got like six packs today.   I think I have allergies, so I am going to buy some allergy medicine and see if that helps.  I use Breathe at night and it works great, but during the day while we are out, it wears off.  My area is nice we have water and the main street is gravel so that is pretty cool.

So President McMullin sent Elder Gummersall and I into a brand new area of the mission, a city called Luque in an area called Laureltyl (about 30 minutes away from Asuncion). This area has been closed for a while because the last missionaries that were there didn’t really work it and so nothing was getting done.  Our President sent us there to open it back up.  My companion and I had no contacts or anything to work with because the last missionaries there didn’t keep a record.  It seemed kind of crazy to me to open a new area as a greenie, but my companion and I were up for the challenge and we are on fire.  In the last four days, we have contacted over 100 people, have hit all our goals, and have committed two people to baptism. 

The two people we have committed to baptism are a grandmother and her grandson.  The grandson told us that he took the lessons a long time ago and wanted to get baptized, but his grandmother said “no” and so he never did it.   When we met with the grandmother and grandson (side note: I wish he would have told us their names), we talked to them about the Joseph Smith Story and told them to pray about it, which the grandmother said she would do because she was able to feel The Spirit strongly with my companion and I.  When she did pray about it, she had a spiritual revelation that Joseph Smith is indeed a prophet and said she would be baptized.  We are pretty excited about it and are looking forward to keep working with them and seeing them enter the waters of baptism on March 15th.

It is really cool here in Paraguay, I like it more than Argentina. Everyone down here drives crappy cars, but they have really sick sound systems -- like really good.  It’s funny because everyone here sits in front of their house drinking Te Te Te, which is an herb with cold water like a tea. I think I am going to bring some home because they won’t let us have any down here because it’s passed around so much they don’t want us to get sick.  Most of the roads are dirt and my companion and I walk a lot and we talk to a lot of people. A cool thing, there are a lot of horses, dogs, and cows, just walking on the road every day.

We are talking to another guy named Bruno right now.  He started not believing in God about a month ago, so we are trying to get him to believe again.  Right now he is pulling that “I don’t want to accept your message because I want to be right” type thing, which is kind of stupid, but we are going to keep working with him because we both think that this kid understands and that it is just going to take a little diligence.  

My first day in Laureltyl, we went to lunch at a family’s house who is pretty poor, but they were super nice.  They showed us a video of the last missionaries killing a goat. Apparently that is a thing they do on birthdays here, so looks like I am going to have to take a machette to a goat’s throat in a few weeks --  I will be sure to get photos of that and a video (side note:  mom will not be watching this).

My companion and I walk a lot and teach a lot of first lessons, but it is hard to get people to commit to a second lesson.  I really like the people here in Paraguay, though. 

I live across the street from a Pizza Hut, so that’s cool.  You can get like a specialty pizza with breadsticks and soda for ten dollars.  Everything is super cheap and I don’t think I’ll have any problem living within the budget the mission gives me. The weirdest thing I have seen is cow stomach.  They bread it like chicken in the states.  I ate some in the MTC, when I didn’t know what it was, but I haven’t eaten it here yet, and am not sure if I will.  But Paraguay is pretty dope and I am glad I am here.  There are always people playing volleyball and soccer and having fun.

I live on a main road and it is like a bunch of dirt roads.  We are responsible for part of a city and the area we have reminds me of downtown Los Angeles.  My apartment is pretty clean.  It’s two bedrooms with a bathroom and a kitchen, so it is pretty chill – nothing too out of the ordinary.  There are some mosquitos around, but I have been using repellent so I haven’t been bitten.   The mission has us spray something all over our house so we don’t really have many bugs, just some spiders, but they aren’t really a bother.   There are chalk marks all over our apartment walls, and I wrote my name on it, so that was pretty cool.  We have a dumbbell and the weights are made of a steel pipe and two rocks on each side of them. Pretty cool, HaHa.   Our Church Building is nice.  Sunday’s are cool.  I had to bear my testimony yesterday, and a guy came up and said that they have had missionaries who have been in the ward for a long time who don’t talk as well as I do.  That was cool and made me feel pretty good.  So something funny, the Sacrament started, and I looked down and a dog had run in between my legs.  Apparently if anyone leaves the door open, dogs will come into the building.

Everything here is super cheap.  Apparently I can get solid gold or silver rings and necklaces down here for $10, so if ya’ll want something, let me know before I come home. Haha.

I wanted to send some pictures but this computer is really slow, so I will for sure send some next week.  Well, I love ya’ll.  Thanks for all that you do for me.  You are amazing parents and I am so grateful for you guys and all that you do.  By the way, mom, how are you feeling?  Read D & C 42 verse 40ish something.  It talks about how if you have faith, you will be healed in God’s time if it is His will.  In that scripture it says if you die then that was God’s will, but don’t read that part because you aren’t going to die. Haha! 

Dad, I love you.  Thanks for all you do for me you are the World’s Best Dad! ;)

I love ya’ll, I will be praying for you.



Friday, February 14, 2014

February 14, 2014 - Email from Jon's Mission President

What a wonderful Valentine's Day surprise to open my email and find an email and pictures from Jon's Mission President!

President and Sister McMullin picking Jon up at the airport
Dear Family of Elder Turley:

We are so happy that your son has joined us here in the Paraguay Asuncion North mission.  We know that as he commits to work hard and be obedient to mission rules, and continues to study and seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost, he will have a great experience on his mission.  He will grow to love the people, he will be willing to pass through difficulties, and he will come to know and love his Savior in a more profound way than he has ever known.

All of the incoming missionaries received some training on staying healthy, finances, mail, etc. Your son was also interviewed and met his trainer, Elder Gummersall, who was specially chosen for him.  His trainer has proven himself as someone who can help your son develop the skills he will need to be a good missionary.  We hope you will enjoy these pictures that we are attaching as well.

Thank you so much for raising such a fine young man who is so willing to serve his Father in Heaven and be a blessing to the people here and to his fellow missionaries.  We truly pray for them every day and are also committed to working diligently to help them in whatever they need to be happy and successful.

May the Lord bless you, and your son, for the sacrifices and the love that you are extending to the people here.  Thank you for all of your support.

With much love,
President  and Sister McMullin

Jon with President and Sister McMullin and Jon's Trainer, Elder Gummersall

Thursday, February 13, 2014

February 11, 2014

Elder Jonathan Turley has finished his time at the Argentina MTC and is now in Paraguay, I don't know which city yet, or who his companion is, and can't wait until email Monday! Jon would love letters, if you have a minute to write, which should be sent to the mission home address below:

Elder Jonathan Turley
Paraguay Asuncion North Mission
Casilla de Correo 1871
Asuncion 1831

Postage is $1.10 an ounce

You can also send a single page letter, folded in 3 with the top taped, and the following address on the front: 

Elder Jonathan Turley
Paraguay Asuncion North Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150

Postage is regular a US Stamp

Thursday, February 6, 2014

February 6, 2014

My MTC experience is coming to an end, I leave for Paraguay on Tuesday.

This week has been really cool actually. In one of our classes we do a thing called IP where, with our teacher, we simulate talking to an investigator and teaching them random lessons about the Gospel.  I have enjoyed these, and up until now I felt like I was doing a decent job.  This past week, however, I have been reading my scriptures a lot and have been pulling random things out of them that have been boss -- (translation ... that investigators will be drawn to).

Anyway, the last two IP's I have done, I have been able to commit my teacher to baptism -- not everyone has been able to do this.  In my last IP, the teacher was simulating a dad and was saying that he had problems with his back and stuff and was losing work because of it.  The lesson we were giving was about the Restoration and about how Christ had the authority to heal.  I told my investigator/teacher that my companion and I have the same authority that Jesus Christ had and told him we could give him a blessing.  He said he would like that and so right there in class, we ended up giving our teacher a blessing.  My teacher said that had never happened before and was a very cool experience.    I did the simulation in Spanish, but gave the blessing in English because I didn't want to mess it up. Haha.

This week we were given a new area in Buenos Aries to tract and I finally found a store that would take Visa. I bought myself some more Alphajores, they are the bomb. They have some Oreo ones that are semi-soft Oreo cookies dipped in chocolate, and they are freaking awesome! Apparently you can only get Alphajores in Argentina, so I think I may need to get some on Saturday since I leave for
 Paraguay on Tuesday. Haha

Estoy listo para mi viaje a Paraguay. Soy un poco nervioso, pero Dios me ha enviado aquí por una razón. Mi español es malo, pero cuando hablo con los investigadores y para la gente de Argentina, el Espíritu es fuerte y me entiende. Estoy muy emocionado de estar con mi familia después de mi misión y vivir con mi familia increíble para toda la eternidad.

So basically that says "
I am ready for my trip to Paraguay. I am a little nervous, but God sent me here for a reason.  My Spanish is bad, but when I talk to investigators and to the people of Argentina, the Spirit is strong and they understand me. I am excited to be with my family after my mission and to live with my amazing family for eternity."

I am stoked to go to Paraguay!

I love you mother, you are a huge inspiration in my life. Thank you for doing my blog and for all that you do for me.  I am super, super happy that you are feeling better. I have been praying for you ... that you will get feeling better, so that is an answer to my prayers. :) I love you mother, you are amazing.

Please tell dad that I am thankful for all he does for me, it means a lot to me. Tell him that I love him, that he is an huge inspiration to me too, and that I am praying for him.

Elder Turley