Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014

Hi Family --

I hope you are all well.  I have had a great week.

Monday. We went to a town called San Lorenzo and Elder Gummersall bought some sick (awesome) leather shoes that I think I am going to get before I leave because they will apparently last forever.  Then we went to a South American Museum of Soccer and that was super cool. Apparently Paraguay, Cerro Porteno, isn't that good at soccer and have only won the title a couple times since  the 70's. Then when p-day was over we arrived home and went over to the Lopez house and played Uno. I was eating some Halls throat lozenges and the Lopez' family thought I was eating candy, and so I gave them the rest of them.  Then we had a debate as to whether or not Halls are candy. They eat them like candy down here. Haha. 

 Jon outside the Soccer Museum

 Jon is so funny ... always striking a pose!

CP means Cerro Porteno -- Paraguay's Soccer Team

Tuesday. On Tuesday we walked a lot because all of our appointments fell through,  so nothing really too cool happened. We had district meeting in the morning and then talked to a guy who we think can convert but we aren't sure if he is actually interested which was not too cool.

Wednesday was sick (awesome), we had an amazing lesson with a member, but half way through the lesson she starts breast feeding and that was pretty crazy and we got super thrown off.  The lesson went really well, and the member gave a super dope (amazing) testimony, and they are "nuevos" (new investigators). After, I got to play volleyball in the dirt with one of the people we are teaching, and that was super sick because they don't play very well down here and we are like the "Michael Jordan" of volleyball. They were all saying that I should go pro. Haha

Thursday... Thursday was pretty cool, we didn't have that many things to do but did we watch The Lion King in Spanish and that was super crazy.  I had only seen it in English and it was super gnarly (interesting) because the guy related it to the gospel perfectly.  He said that the conflict that Scar brings is what happens when you have secret combinations, and Rafiki is a Prophet and when Simba was a baby he had a blessing ... It was so cool the way he tied it into the gospel, and it all made sense. 


Friday... Our house lit on fire and it was super crazy because Elder Gummersall thought that I was hiding behind the shower door with matches when really I was kicking it (relaxing) in our room. Our thermostat caught on fire, but we quickly put it out when Elder Gummersall realized it wasn't me playing a joke.  Then our dueno (landlord) brought us ice cream because she felt super bad about it.  Next we went to a lesson and the girl had a monkey who was kicking it (hanging out) in a tree and running around during the whole lesson and that was super distracting. After that we talked to the guy we have been working with, but aren't sure is quite getting it yet.  Then we went to a member's house and apparently her husband doesn't want us teaching her daughters, but we are going to keep trying to work with them because we really think they will get baptized at some point.  Finally, we went to Ariel's house and met with his cousin, and he seems to be excited about the gospel.


Saturday. On Saturday there was a sick (awesome) activity with the youth where they went out and contacted the less actives, and it went over really well.  Then we taught a few lessons.  After that we went to see our recent converts, Ilse and Matias, and then we talked to Ariel's cousin again.  Ariel went on a mission, but came home early because he didn't really like his companion, but he is excited about the gospel and wants all of his family to join.  We think his cousin will for sure join the church, and we are hoping for Ariel's sister and mom, that would be super, super sick (amazing).  Finally we talked to Moroni, and Elder Gummersall is going to baptize him. My companion and I have been very blessed as far as the work goes.  With the current baptisms we think we have, we will have had seven baptisms in three months.  If Ariel's family joins, it will be 12.  I feel like my mission scripture, Alma 26:12, says "Yea, I know that I am nothing. As to my strength, I am weak; therefore, I will not boast of myself but I will boast of my God. For in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land. For which we will praise his name forever."

Sunday.  Our church on Sunday was really good, we had nine in-actives there and they were all super stoked (excited) to meet us.  After church, we walked around a lot and taught some lessons, but the best part was that we got to talk to Ariel's Uncle, and he committed to be baptized.  It's crazy because he was the dad who didn't let his kids get baptized or go to church because one time a missionary kicked over his glass of wine, so that has been a struggle for him. But we found him very easy to teach, and he seemed to like the things he was hearing, so we are going to keep working with him and get him baptized.

Monday.  Today we went to a Chinese Buffet because we were celebrating a kid's birthday, and it was all you can eat, and so I was able to eat a lot of food. Guess what, they had California Rolls (Jon's favorite).  It was cool.  

Overall this week was pretty sick (awesome) and it was a super, super dope (amazing) and I am so stoked (happy) to be here.

With love --

Elder Turley

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014

Hi Family –

How are you all doing?  I hope everyone is well.  Here is my week:

Monday was pretty chill, we went to Burger King and that was pretty sick (awesome, great) because it tasted super, "super" because it was close to American Food!   After we left Burger King, we went to help a family move, and I was carrying their oven a couple of blocks and it started pouring rain … oh it gets worse … then the oven broke, the lid that covered it fell off and so I felt really badly about that.  But the good thing was that the family was so stoked (happy) that we helped them move that they didn’t even care that their oven broke.  So that was really sick (awesome, great)!  After that our day was over and we went back to our apartment and went to bed.

Tuesday, we went on Divisions and I was with my Zone Leader, so that was pretty cool.  We didn’t have very many lessons, but we were able to talk to some people and so it went pretty well.  That night I slept over at our Zone Leader’s house, and I woke up in the middle of the night completely soaked in rain.  My pants, my shirt, everything was soaked.  Apparently their bedroom has seven leaks in the roof, so that was pretty crazy, but I slept through the rest of the night because I was so tired, so that was good.  It also made me appreciate our apartment more. (As his mom, I am so happy that he can see the positive in things). 

Wednesday, I reconnected with Elder Gummersall, and we were kicking it with (teaching a lesson to) a family of less actives, and it was a pretty dope (amazing) lesson.  Right as we were about to leave, the guy dropped the statement “I have one more doubt about things.”  Then he started talking about the house next door and how it was filled with demons, and he got into some pretty sketchy (crazy) stuff.  In Paraguay there are a lot of people who become possessed, and so it’s kind of a crazy thing.   Then the investigator asked if we could go into the possessed house and pray for the demons to leave it.  Well my comp said “no,” (Side Note: Right before Jonny left, he had some night terrors – where he felt like someone was trying to hold him down, and so he talked to his leaders about them and they gave him some wonderful scriptures and advice for him.  He has not had any since he was set apart as a full-time missionary), but I was able to give him some scriptures that seemed to help him.  I am not sure if we will ever go into the house, but probably not, but I was really glad that I was able to share with them some of the things I had learned because I really want to help, and eventually re-activitate this family.  While we were walking home, it started raining really hard and a girl saw and told us to come in out of the rain, and so we kicked it with (taught a lesson to) her and her brother, and they are now our Neuvos (our new investigators). Then we talked to the family that we are going to baptize on April 12th and taught them some more English, so 
that was pretty cool. 

Thursday, wasn’t that eventful.  We went on Divisions again, and the missionary
 I was with had a messed up knee, so we weren’t able to go out tracting or be 
very active, so I felt super unproductive, but it’s all chill (okay).  We were able 
to convince two families to come to church, so that was pretty cool.  That night, we ordered Pizza Hut, so that was way cool.

Friday, was sick (awesome).  We talked to a menos activo (less active) family and got them to come to church, so that was super sick.  Then we talked to the Hermana's investigators who were to get baptized on Saturday, Aljendra and Cinthia, and my comp interviewed them, and they are ready.  Then we went back to talk to the family who live next to the demon house, and they seemed to be doing better.  Finally, we talked to Ariel and he is so sick (awesome).  He just came back to church and is working with us to baptize his family.  We gave his mom a blessing and she cried during it, and then we asked her to give the closing prayer and she cried again, the Spirit was so strong!  Ariel is just super cool. He said he got along good with the missionaries that were there a while ago (Jon and his companion re-opened the area they are in) and was friends with them, but told us he feels the Spirit super strong whenever he’s with us. So that is sick (awesome)! 

Saturday, we helped a member Rafeal Lopez make empanadas for the Relief Society Activity, and we ate some and that was pretty cool.  Afterwards we had a lesson with the Aquino family, and they are now coming to church again.  
Then we had the Hermanas (Sisters) baptism. and I baptized Alejandra, but Cinthia had anxiety issues (see March 17th email), and so she left the church without being baptized.  It was very sad! (Side Note:  I was told that Cinthia was finally baptized, although I heard that from the Mom of the Hermana, Sister Cowger, who taught Cinthia and not from Jon).  Finally we had a lesson with Ariel and his sister, and his sister became a Neuvo “investigator,” which is pretty sick.  Her name is Luz De Los Angeles – which is light of the Angels in Spanish, 
so that is very cool! 

 Sunday we had 75 in church which is 15 more than we had last week.  We had nine less actives in Church, so yeah we hit our goals!  After church, we had dinner with a ward family, the family Fernandez, and then we went and talked to a kid named Moroni, he is almost eight and wants to be baptized. It’s kind of cool because every one in his family is less active except his Grandmother.  We also had the confirmations of Grandma Ilse and Matias (the two people we baptized last week), and then we went  over to their house and watched The Joseph Smith Movie.  The sad thing was that there were cigarettes in the house, and it’s kind of sketchy because we are pretty sure that Grandma Ilse is smoking again, but she is confirmed and we don’t really know what to do, it’s now between her and The Lord.  

Anyway, this week has been pretty cool!

I love you all and hope you are all doing well.


Elder Turley

 Alejandra's Baptism

 Jonathan with another Elder ... I need to find out his name!

Jonathan's latest watch ... he is enjoying collecting watches!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March 17, 2014 -- First two Baptisms

March 17, 2014
Hello Family, how are ya’ll doing?  
Here is a re-cap of my week.
Monday:  Monday  was a pretty chill P-day, we just kind of went around and bought stuff and that was pretty legit because I got some really cool socks and I was able to get a watch and that was sick.   After P-day was over, we went to the Palma Ponce family (Grandma Ilsa and Matias) and when we got there we learned that Grandma Ilsa had smoked after we talked to them on Sunday and that was really sad because the daughter and the grandma both lied about her not smoking, and it was a little heart breaking because they lied. Luckily, 10 year old son, Matias, called out his grandma and she confessed.  We told her that we couldn’t baptize her if she had been smoking and she said she would quit. 

Tuesday:  We had a district meeting so we didn’t really get going until a little later, but we talked to the Soto Family and that was pretty cool because they are all inactive and the one sister wants to come back because her mom and her son have been going to church and her son is 7 and wants to get baptized as soon as he turns 8, which is this month, so we are working with them.  They have been a little difficult, because they say they will do things, but then they don’t do them, but we still feel very hopeful that they will come back to church.  Next, we talked to the Florentine Duarte family that is going to be baptized on April 12th,  they are super cool – they are “Golden” – and don’t have any problems they need to fix.  They asked US for a baptism date … which was so cool, we just need to get the dad.   We taught the girls English tonight – they are so worried about not passing their class and having to retake it and they don’t have the money for it – but here come the Lord’s Messengers to the rescue!  We are reading The Book of Mormon with them, and it’s a promise that if you read The Book of Mormon in the language you want to learn, that by the end of the book you will know the language (so if you and dad are going to Italy, you should for sure read The Book of Mormon in Italian).  Lastly we had a family home evening with a family, and it was kind of hard, because I taught the lesson and I messed up – I’m still learning.  That family gave me a cake for my birthday and that was pretty chill. 
Wednesday: Wasn’t that cool, but we talked with a family of menos activos “less actives” and they said that they know that they need to come back, it is just hard for them because church is so early. It’s kind of sad, but I think that they can for sure come back.  Next we talked with the Soto Family.  They are really nice and they gave us passion fruit juice which was pretty good. Lastly we went and talked to a member and her dad, and he was hammered and was talking to me and my companion, and my companion wouldn’t let me talk to him because I apparently need practice talking. HaHa.  But the dad was really funny and would like throw the bible above his head and then open a random page and yell at us to tell him what it said.  It really was sooo funny!
Thursday: We had a Zone Meeting and that was really long and so we didn’t get out of the house until 5 when we went to visit with the Soto Family.  After that we talked with a guy name Ariel, who wants us to baptize his family, and so that would be pretty cool.  We then taught another guy and it was really sad because he was like quoting the Bible but then was like “You Christians are liars, and I don’t believe in God, and I only got baptized because my family wanted me to.”  Apparently he had gone through some tough things in his life and blamed God for everything, which kind of sad, but it was chill because we promised him that if he prayed right now he would know it was real, but he wouldn’t, and I feel like the only reason he wouldn’t is because he did believe and didn’t want to be proven wrong.  I did hear some American music while I was out walking around and so that was pretty cool.
Friday: We talked to Soto Family again, and then we talked to a mom who has a menos activo “less active” in the family and we are for sure trying to get the kid back to church because he is 19 and can serve a mission.  The kid prays and reads The Book of Mormon, he just doesn’t go to church which is weird.  So Friday I was so tired so I got an energy drink called “Dark Dog” and it was terrible!  I didn’t like it, but I drank it because I am a man and I am pretty sure that overrides everything. J  Next we went to the Palma Ponce family’s home and Grandma Ilsa had stopped smoking and so we were really excited about that.  Finally my companion and I went to go interview some people from our District because they had a baptism the next day. 
Saturday: It rained the whole day .... we didn’t teach ... we didn’t do anything!  Haha.  Saturday evening we went on splits, and I was asked to be the witness for a baptism the Hermanas were having.  It really was such a mess.  People in Paraguay don’t ever go swimming, and apparently the baptismal font was filled too high and the lady being baptized freaked out because the guy baptizing her held her under the water too long.  But what was sad was that her foot popped out and so I told him that he would have to redo it, but she got scared and didn’t want to be re-baptized.  They tried to talk the woman into having me baptize her, and I was getting ready to do it, but they said that she didn’t want to be baptized anymore.  It was pretty sad. 
Sunday:  We baptized Ilsa de la Cruz Palma and Matias Jose Ponce Palma (Elder Gummersall baptized Ilsa and I baptized Matias).  It was super cool and you could feel the Spirit really strongly!  There were a couple of other people there and it all went really well.  After the baptism, we taught them another lesson, and they told us that felt really, really good!  It was super cool.  After the baptism, we taught a lesson to a guy who initially didn’t want to let us in (he is 16 and has a huge smoking problem), but by the end of the lesson he accepted to be baptized if God gave him an answer, so that was pretty cool!  Finally we went to the Eva’s house (Eva is a member) and talked to her and her daughters.  Her daughters want to get baptized, and one wants to serve a mission, but the dad doesn’t want them to, which is really sad.  We feel really good about them, though, so we will see what happens.

Monday:  Today we ate at Burger King, then we walked around and I bought another watch, so that was super cool, and now I am writing to you.

This week my comp and I made French fries and potato chips and I burned my finger in the oil.  I realized I didn’t bring any melaleuca with me, I had a little peppermint that I put on it, and it seemed to help a bit, but if you can send me some melaleuca, that would be great.  



I really like it here in Paraguay, but the more I think about it, I don’t think it is somewhere you or dad could ever live, it’s very different than Newport.
We talked to President McMullin’s wife and she told us that she had heard that Elder Gummersall and I are doing fantastic things.  It’s kind of interesting because we came newly into an area which had been closed down because nothing was happening and it seems like there is so much happening now.  It’s really super cool.
Thanks so much for the pictures of Emma.  She is so cute, it’s crazy to think that she will be two when I get home and get to meet her.  I really like the picture of Hurley protecting her.  Tell Chantelle “Good Job,” and that I love her.
Well, email time is over.  I love ya’ll mucho, and I will be thinking about you!  I love you mom and dad, have a good week, and let the family know that I love them! 
Love –
Elder Turley 

March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014

Hi Family –

So this week has been pretty cool, we did a lot of walking around.  We didn’t get our goals for this week, but we have five “Goldens” so that is pretty sick.  I know that Mom has asked for a more detailed account of my week, so I have been writing things down on a card so my emails are a bit more specific.  So here’s a re-cap of my week.

Monday we had P-day and I played Piki Volley (which is like volleyball, but you play with your chest, legs, feet, and head) and that was pretty fun although I wasn’t very good at it.  I am used to playing regular volleyball and so my instinct was to go for the ball with my hands, but after a little while I got better and it was super fun.  After volleyball, we got some food to eat and that was good.  We ended the night with a “Noche de Hogar” which is Family Home Evening in Spanish – “Night at Home” which actually doesn’t make sense to me because it doesn’t say “family” at all, with the Lopez Family and that was a lot of fun.   As I was leaving the Lopez Family’s house, they cracked eggs on my head and threw flour all over me.   It was pretty funny!  The Lopez Family also made me a birthday cake, which I wrote “Happy Birthday” in Guarani on, which was pretty cool!
 was pretty funny!  The Lopez Family also made me a birthday cake, which I wrote “Happy Birthday” in Guarani on, which was pretty cool!

Tuesday:  On Sunday we had a family come to Church that we had never talked to before and they weren’t members, so we made an appointment with them for Tuesday.  Tuesday’s appointment was so amazing because after we taught them, they asked when they could be baptized.  This practically never happens and we are so excited.  The family is super into the church, they are “Golden.”  They are going to be baptized on April 12th for the wife and two daughters, and we are trying to get the dad ready to be baptized as well so we can complete the household.  On Tuesday, we also taught a less-active member, and it was really cool because she is so ready to come back to church.. 
Wednesday:  On Wednesday, we walked a lot.  That wasn’t very fun, but we apparently need to learn diligence, so I guess that is chill.  We did end up talking to one guy and the conversation was easier than it has been in the past, so my Spanish is definitely coming along.  But other than that, it was just a lot and lot of walking.
Thursday: We had lunch at the Lopez home, and then walked around a bunch.  We didn’t get that many lessons in this week, so we had to walk a lot and that was pretty boring.  A sad thing, we saw a dog that had a ton of fleas on it, and it looked like it was about to die, and I felt super bad because there are a lot of dogs just like this all over the place. Thursday night was had a Noche de Hogar with the Prietto Family and that was pretty cool.  My companion cooked soup and apparently they had never had it before. HaHa.  But yeah, that was pretty cool.  A crazy thing, while we were walking around on Thursday there was a guy that was having a bowel movement right in the middle of the street.  It was gross, but really, really funny. It is so different living in a third world country.  Other than that, it was just a normal day.  A lot of our lessons have been falling through, and so we do a lot and walking and I may be losing weight so that would be cool. 
Friday. We walked a whole lot again with little to no success in trying to get lessons, but it’s all good – I am getting in shape.  We did hit our goals on Friday, so our week was 1/5.  While out, we stopped by a member’s house, and it was her grandpa’s birthday so they were having a meal for him, and her husband was drunk and kept giving us lots and lots of really good meat, so that was fun.
Saturday:  Well Saturday was my birthday, and that was pretty fun.  We had a chill day and cooked steak (they have this thing called asalido or whatever and it is just steak marinated in soy sauce and some salt and it is super, super dank for like homemade kebabs) and made French fries for lunch, and then had dinner at the Bishop’s house, and he got a cake and everything so that was really cool.  We taught a few lessons with less active members on Saturday, in particular, one family we taught embraced what we were saying really well and when we left, they had planned to come to church the next day, which was sick.  Funny thing … While we were cooking lunch for my birthday, the next house had some American music playing, so I got to listen to American music on my birthday and that was super sick.  Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes, they meant a lot.  It is really, really nice to have the support of all of you! ;) 
Sunday, we had five “progressing investigators” in church and they all have baptismal dates, and we feel like they are super solid.  We taught Grandma Ilsa again Sunday and she was with her brother and asked us to teach him, which we did.  She then bore her testimony to him about how she feels so much peace and guidance when we talk to her and about how she wants us to baptize her whole family because she knows that it is the right path to be on, so that was super cool.  Please keep praying for Grandma Ilsa because she is struggling with the Word of Wisdom, but really wants to be baptized.  Finally, we taught the family who we are going to baptize in April, and they asked us if we were still going to baptize them, and that was pretty cool.  The dad is kind of “iffy” about being baptized, so we are still not sure about him.  Anyway, it turned out that the two daughters in the family are taking an English class, and if they don’t learn it, they have to re-take the class, so who better to teach them than the Mormon Missionaries.  Hopefully we can serve them and in the process convince the dad to be baptized as well.  Sunday we also had pizza with the Lopez Family.  The Lopez family seems to be the family in the ward who likes to take care of the missionaries.
Monday: I went into Luque and got a fake Rolex, so that is sick.  I also bought some sick Chelsea Soccer socks, and now here I am writing to you.
am writing to you.
Hopefully you have enjoyed this more detailed email, I will keep writing like this in the future.   
I love you all and hope you have a good week!
Elder Turley

March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014
Hi Parents –
This week was kind of a blur.  We contacted a ton of people -- it seemed like all we did was walk around trying to meet people, but we did find like eight new people we are working with and whom we think will be baptized, although they don’t have dates yet.  We found a family that is very interesting and we feel really good about them, so that was super cool.  The days all blend together but it is all so worth it!
Ilsa (the Grandmother) and Matnias (10 year old Grandson) are still on to get baptized on March 16th, so please pray that Ilsa can continue to not smoke, she loves the Gospel, but smoking has been very hard for her to give up.
So something random, when I arrived in Paraguay, I received a packet and in the packet it said my release date is December 17, 2015, so it looks like I will be home for Christmas 2015.  I don’t know if I want you to come pick me up because I really want a Ps4 for Christmas. HaHa
One exciting thing we did this week, we went to a family’s house for dinner and they had cooked some “bomb” meat.  It was so good.  They also had a parakeet as a pet, and I was able to hold that, so that was fun.

Thanks for all the birthday messages and for the birthday package.  I actually set the presents on my window sill and then it rained really hard and soaked the packages so I opened them early.
Please tell Grandpa Turley thanks for the birthday message, and tell Nonnie and Grandpa thanks for the card and money.  For my birthday, I bought a couple soccer jerseys (soccer is huge here) and they are pretty sick.  Today I am going to buy a Rolex watch.  Where I am is similar to New York, in that you can buy stuff really cheap.  The Rolex watches are like $5 which is pretty gnarly.
Today we had a district meeting and that was cool.  I totally understood the Spanish from the Latinos and Americans, but not from the Paraguayans. Because Paraguay is a third world country, a lot of the people are not educated and have bad grammar.  On top of that, they slur their words together and talk super fast (comparable to if I mumbled a bunch of words together and talked so softly so you couldn’t hear what I was saying).  The Paraguayans also speak two different languages (Spanish and Guarani) and so when they combine those, it makes it even more difficult.  Each week, the language seems to get a little better, so I know that in a couple of months I will be just fine.  The important thing right now is that I can bear a strong testimony in Spanish, so that is good while I work to understand the language better. 

Last night we had a Family Home Evening and it was really good.  The dad, one daughter, and one son are inactive, but the rest of the family goes to church.  The Spirit was there so strongly that the inactive son cried during the prayer, so we have hope for them.

Hey, when you send me my next package, will you please include tortillas and spices.  They don’t have tortillas here and the Paraguayans don’t put spice on anything – they do have a form of hot sauce, but it just isn’t the same.  So like some hot sauce, taco seasoning, Cholula, and Lawry’s would be so great. Oh and please send some more candy, chewy candy is the best.  Also I need some hair putty, Axe Messy Putty is the best.  The hair gel I brought doesn’t work in this humid of an environment, so I had to trade a package of Alphajores for the putty I am using now. Haha
Here is a picture of a random horse just standing in a field. There are horses all over the place here.

Hey will you please send me some recipes?  They don’t have salsa here and so dad emailed me the recipe and I am going to try to make that.  But send me recipes like Tortilla Soup and Hot Fudge.

Well, that is all the time I have for this week.  I love you, thanks for being such good parents.
Elder Turley