Monday, March 30, 2015

March 30, 2015

Hello Family and Loved Ones --
I am just going to start by saying that this week hasn't been the  most effective week as far as working goes, haha, but we did have a couple of cool moments.
One of the cool moments was last Tuesday.  We had gone to Filadelphia for  p-day (as usual) to get our ciber stuff done (emailing and branch work) because as most of you know, we really can't email or do any computer stuff here in Neuland because we don't have a computer.  It's kind of frustrating because I have talked to the guy who is supposed to be getting us the computer, and he said the computer should have been here by now, but it just hasn't come.  One thing I have learned on my mission is that the Paraguayan people are really laid back and not stressed at all, and so when they say that are going to do something or give you a date for something, you know it is going to take longer.  For example, they were planning on making our church a little bit bigger so we could fit  more people into the chapel for sacrament.  Originally they said our church would be remodeled by the beginning of the year 2015, and here we are in April of 2015 and they haven't even started it yet.  It's kind of crazy, but that's just the way Paraguayans do things.  I have found it's really important to keep on top of things or things can get lost.  :)

But yeah, as for the cool moment that I was talking about ... we were coming back to Neuland from Filadephia and we received a call from the Hermana Franco, our Relief Society President.  She called us and asked us if we could come over and give her and her mom a blessing because they had fallen ill. It was night time when we got back to Neuland, and we were able to go over to her house and talk to her and give her and her mother a blessing.   As we were there, it reminded me of a time when mom was going in for surgery and dad called Steve Young to come and help him give her a blessing. I remember Steve saying that he was so grateful and humbled by the fact that we would call him and put the trust in him to ask him to give a blessing. It made me think that I have earned the trust and the confidence of these people enough that they know when they need something as important as giving a priesthood blessing, they can call us and we will help them.  It was really a great experience.  It was kind of random because we weren't expecting to give her a blessing, and when we did it was such a great experience.  It completely put into play the part of my Patriarchal Blessing where it tells me that I should always be ready and willing to serve others when called upon.  If my comp and I had been doing something stupid or doing things that had made us not worthy to give the blessing, the members would have lost a lot of trust in the missionaries and it would have been a horrible thing.  It's nice to think that as we live worthily, we will be prepared to answer the call whenever it comes.

Another cool experience is that I got my hair cut, and I'm not gonna lie I am looking pretty sexy! HaHa :) 

So we had a Zone Meeting and interviews with President McMullin on Saturday.  It was quite funny because President is trying to help the people in the Chaco to grow and to be self sufficient, and he was asking the Elders in Abundancia how their area was doing and things were going good, and then he asked the Elders from Filadelphia how their area was doing and there were going good there too.  Then President asked us about how things were going in Neuland and as we talked to him and told him all of the problems that were going on, he started to laugh about why and how much we are struggling.  President McMullin said that he is very much aware that the work is much harder in Neuland than in any other area in the Chaco because the people are so prideful. 
Another cool experience was that in my interview with President McMullin, he told me that when he was doing changes and trying to figure out which missionary he should put in Neuland, he thought really hard about it and prayed a ton about it.  He told me that when he asked God to help him find the perfect missionary for this area, my face immediately popped in to his head.  I know that I have been personally called of God to be in Neuland, and even though it is frustrating some times, as the scriptures say "I will go and do the things The Lord has commanded because I know The Lord doesn't give commandments unto the son of men save He also gives a way for them to complete it." (1st Nephi 3:7)   Honestly, it is really hard to serve in Neuland some at times, but I know that I have a lot of work to do and I know that God has enough trust in me to put me in this area to be able to help the Neviclay (Lamanite) people remember the things that they need to be doing. 

And another cool thing that happened this week was that we had 12 people at church.  The funny thing ... they were all children and one old lady. Haha.  Oh and for the first time since I have been here, we had more then one hour of church. I helped the Primary President teach the children and my companion taught the adults in Sunday school. It was super nice, and a great accomplishment. :) 

I really enjoyed the package that y'all sent me for my birthday, I made the cake and it was so delicious, so thank you for all of that. :)  (Mom's note:  Because Jon is serving in the Chaco and it is so far away from Asuncion, his packages take weeks and weeks to get to him and, consequently, his birthday package got to him very late). 

I also want to mention that as a Mission we are starting to read The Book of Mormon, and I think it would be a really good family goal to all read The Book of Mormon together and try to finish it before the end of the year.  I know that there are a couple of you that are always reading, but I am also guessing that some of you aren't :),  and so I think it would really a really good thing for us to do as a family. :)

I am really excited for General Conference this coming weekend.  I expect all of you to watch and to write me and tell me which were your favorite talks. :)

So other than those cool things, my week was super boring.  We traveled a ton.  We went to Filadelphia from Sunday to Tuesday, then to Abundancia from Friday to Saturday.  Then we came back to Neuland for Sunday, and then came to Filadelphia again to be able to use their computer so I could write this email.  It's crazy how much we travel, but it's super chill.  I don't really mind it other than it takes a lot of money, but igual no mas, I'll do whatever it takes to be able to write to my beautiful family. :)

I sure love y'all!

Elder Turley 
Jon's Birthday Package
(We also sent him some white shirts 
and a few other items from the Paraguay Distribution Center).

Jon requested some new gel inserts for his shoes,
he definitely needed them. :)

The way they roll in the Chaco

Jon's Birthday Cake

Jon got to catch up with Elder Gummersall (his Trainer and one of the mission AP's) at Zone Conference!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

March 23, 2015

Hey family how are you doing?

So this week was pretty normal.  :)   So basically the weeks go by here super, super quickly, mainly because we are always traveling. Sunday night we left to go to Pariaso and then to Abundancia where we had our p-day and our district meeting.  After district meeting, we were waiting for our neighbor to take us back to Neuland, but after a few hours of waiting, the neighbor told us that he wasn't going to be able to take us and we were going to have to walk.  After some convincing by me, he decided to take us to the next town where there would be a bus to take us home ... turns out though that the bus didn't exist, and so we got stuck in the next town.  So, after a ton of walking we decided that we would hitch hike to the Ruta and wait for another bus that was to come at 9.  So we get on the 9:00 bus but it only took us to Filadelphia.  So we camped out at the Elder's house in Filadelphia Tuesday night.  

Wednesday morning there was a bus to Neuland at 11:30, and so we headed to the bus, but my companion was having a difficult time walking and needed to eat, and he thought we had time, but I was getting nervous ... I did not want to miss the bus to get us home.  So we did stop to eat, and then we walked to the bus stop just before 11:30 and we ask the people standing there about the bus to Neuland, and they tell us that it had just left.  So we ran to Centro, another stop on the route, and we were able to get on the bus and return to Neuland, but it was quite an ordeal -- it took us two days to get home.  Haha 

So ya this week was just like any normal week. We worked with the same people as usual.  We passed by the house of our investigator, E.V., like four times, but he was never there, which is kind of sad because we are really hopeful that he will progress, but we will keep trying.  We also have been working a lot with our Primary President.  So I need to clarify something, she isn't a lesbian, but somehow a rumor got started that she is a lesbian and so people think she is a lesbian and are a little leary of her.  Anyway, sorry for the confusion about that. ;) 

So it turns out that while we were working with the Primary President, she told us that she did want to go to church last week, but her brother -- the Branch President -- told her that she shouldn't go.   So here's what actually happened ... The Primary President woke up a little bit late for church, and her family was already leaving, and so she told them that she was going to get ready really quickly and to wait a moment for her.  Unfortunately, her brother -- the Branch President -- told her that church is like school, and if you are late, it's better off to just not go because it is bad manners to show up late to church.  :)  We explained to her that this wasn't the case at all and that everyone should always go to church, even if they wake up late, so that was good to clarify with her, and she did come to church on Sunday, and not only did she come but she brought her cousin who is an investigator, which is super cool!  The Primary President is really cool, she is just super shy around us ... I am sure because I am super good looking ...  Haha.  But yeah, things are going well with her. :)

But yeah, so all is good.  We seem to have such crazy problems here, and it can get frustrating because the members do some "interesting" stuff.  This week, there was a husband and wife who were fighting, they just don't get that you need to be willing to work with your spouse and put others first, they like to play the blame game.  Anyway, the couple asked my companion and I for advice, and it's super crazy because I'm only 21 and I don't have any experience as far as relationships go ... the only real relationship I have had was with Jenna, and that relationship certainly didn't help me to be the best relationship advice coach. Haha. :)  But I just did my best and followed the Spirit and said the things that I was inspired to say, so it's all good.  So yeah, nothing is really new, just the same ole, same ole out here in the Chaco. :)

So I do have one funny story, so last night I was sitting on Elder Luke's bed and all of a sudden it broke -- ahha, so it turns out that maybe I am gaining a little weight. Haha.  BUT ... the funny thing about this is that we thought we fixed the problem by putting a broom stick underneath it to balance it out, and it was working well until I stood up to get off of the bed and the broom stick broke.  So yeah, it turns out that I broke Elder Luke's bed ... twice.  Haha.  It was pretty crazy, but it was super funny. :) 

But yeah, I love you all so much and hope that all is going well with all of you. :) 

Love Elder Turley 

Questions of the Week:

1.  Tell us about the weather in the Chaco, what would you compare it to? Is it humid, dry? 
It's hot and dry like Arizona 

2.  Do the mesh garments help with the heat?
Yeah, they help, but they are super big though. Haha. 

3.  Do you use the wet cloths? Do you need anymore? 
Yes, I use them, and no I don't need anymore, I am fine for right now.  

4.  Have you received our latest package -- your birthday package? Please ALWAYS take a picture of the packages you receive and send it to us.
I haven't gotten it yet. 

5.  Do you have any pictures for us?
Just one picture of us hitch hiking, that's the way we get around out here. 

6.  Who are your investigators?
Right now we are really trying to work with E.V. and are hopeful for him. 

6a.  Who is your favorite person from this week and why?
Julie, the Primary President, she cut my hair.

7.  What was your most spiritual moment this week?
I was having a hard time and thought of a scripture in D&C that I needed in that moment. 
8.  What was your craziest moment this week? 
Trying to catch the bus. 

9.  What was your happiest moment this week?
Seeing Julie, our Primary President, in the chapel.

10.  What was your hardest moment this week? 
Just that the people want us to solve their relationship problems.  That's kind of been a struggle.

11.  What was your funniest moment from this week? 
Breaking Elder Luke's bed -- twice.

12.  Do you have a favorite scripture from this week? 
I really like the scripture that came to me when I needed it.  

D&C 6:22-23. 
22 Verily, verily, say unto you, if you desire further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto
 me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things.
 23 Did not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?

13.  Do you know that you make me happy, that you have always made me happy?  Here is a quote about the way I feel.  "When they slipped you into my arms 21 years ago, you slipped into my heart!" 
Thanks mother, I know I mean a lot to you. :) You mean a lot to me too.

Hitch Hiking -- Our form of transportation in the Chaco

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 16, 2015

Hey parents and family. 

So yeah this week was a little bit hectic. 

As you all know I have been 21 for a week, and as a newly turned 21 year old I thought to myself  ... "Hmm what would be a funny picture to send to the family," and then I thought "Hmmm I am going to go to a gas station and take a picture with a beer can as a joke (because now I am legal to drink beer in the United States)".  Right after I thought that though, I quickly realized that holding a beer can as a joke wouldn't be the best idea because as you know, I have a name tag that says "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints," and I don't think it would be very good press for the Church to get a picture of me holding a beer can for my 21st birthday. So instead of a joke picture for my birthday,  you get the responsible action of a more mature son. :)  I figured y'all would like it if I was more responsible. Haha. :)  (Mom's note:  It's so exciting to me that he has grown to know that it is important to think before you act -- hooray)!!!! 

But yeah, so this week was a little bit stressful.  It turns out the community thinks that we, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, aren't hard working because we don't give them donations of food or clothes like the Mennonite church, and so they are mad at us.  We have been working with the people on this and trying to help them understand that they need to do all they can and obey the Lord's commandments and the Lord will provide for them.

Also, as you know we have been having a lot of problems with the people out here and getting them to church, and when they do come to church they tend to fight with each other.  So this week we have been trying to reach out to the people and help them have a change of heart and to start loving one another.  It's frustrating because between our two areas (Neuland and Paraiso) we have about 130 members.  Out of the 130, we have like 20 people who come to church regularly.  What is amazing though is that the 20 who come to church are really solid and are paying tithing and doing all they can.  Unfortunately, the other 110 are very difficult.  I love them, I am just not sure what I can do to help them at the moment.  

For instance, we have a Primary President who is a recent convert, and it was so exciting to call her to this position because she was going to learn a lot about the church through her service to the people and to the children.  We thought that would be a great call for her because she would be teaching the basics of the gospel and at the same time, learning more about the basics.  But it turns out that one of the families in our branch doesn't like her and they are mad that she is the Primary President.  The other day, they actually called her a prostitute to her face.  The Primary President is really the coolest person, she is a single mom who is doing her best, but because she is a single mom, the members don't like her.  Anyway, now she is all flustered about the church and didn't come this week because she is scared that when she goes to church the people are going to yell at her and call her names. 

So I got thinking about how we could help the Primary President do the things that she needs to be doing, and I thought that if she had a friend at church it might make her feel more comfortable coming to church.  So my companion and I went to visit a woman who was similar in age to the Primary President, but who is inactive.  We figured this would not only help the Primary President, but also help the woman come back to church.  Well, while visiting this woman, we were shocked to hear that she can't be friends with the Primary President because she heard a rumor that the Primary President is a lesbian and all the women in the area are scared of the Primary President hitting on them.
I have honestly been so  shocked about all the things that have been going down in the ward, and it really bugs me, but I know that I am here for a reason and that I need to be patient and the answers will come.  Luckily for me, I have a lot of patience, right?  Haha. :)  (Mom's note:  I am so thankful that Jon has a patient, loving, kind personality, I have no doubt that he will figure out exactly what to do to unify these people.)

So yeah, we are trying to work with a couple of people on their baptisms, but don't really have anyone that is really progressing right now.  I would have to say that my focus right now is a lot on the members and helping them learn to love one another -- we will see how that works out. :)  

But yeah, so the funny story of the week ... So yesterday, Sunday, we went out to Paraiso to hold Sacrament Meeting there.  It took us an hour to get out there, and as soon as I got there I realized that we had forgotten to bring the bread for the Sacrament. So I went around to all the members to see if any of them had bread, and no one did.  About then, it started to rain hard, and I realized that if I were to try to go somewhere to get bread, I wouldn't be there for Sacrament Meeting, so I was trying to figure out what to do.  All of a sudden it came to me that I have candy!!!  So I look up the scripture D&C 27:2 about the Sacrament and it says that it doesn't matter what you use for the Sacrament, as long as you bless it in the name of Christ and do so in the right mindset.

D&C 27:2
For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory—remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins. 

Well the Stake President happened to be at the meeting, and so I went up to him and told him that I didn't have bread and there wasn't any way to get any, but that I did have candy.  I then showed D&C 27:2 to him and asked him if it would be okay to use my candy as the bread, and he said it would be just fine.  So yeah, I blessed candy for the sacrament.  The sacrament prayer went like this "Oh God the Eternal Father, we ask Thee in the name of Thy son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this candy for the souls of all those who partake of it ..."  It is interesting to be in the Chaco, and the things we have had to do to improvise -- rain water for the sacrament water, candy for the sacrament bread, but what's interesting is the Spirit is always there and it is the same.  I have definitely had experiences out here that I don't think I will ever forget. :)

But yeah, I sure love y'all.  I am very happy to be here.  It is a little difficult, but I know that with faith and patience I will be able to help these people.  No igual no mas!!!

Elder Turley

Jon loves dogs and has expressed frustration over how poorly the dogs are treated in Paraguay, and how most of them have fleas and seem to be so miserable.  

Jon is always so happy and has the best attitude!


Jon's name tag in German.  He now has one in Spanish, Guarani, and German.  Funny thing, he tried to get one made in English, but was told he couldn't get one because they don't speak English in his mission.  :)

Monday, March 9, 2015

March 9, 2015

Hey y'all, so this week was a stressful one, haha, well kinda. ;)

So Monday we were in Abundancia for a little bit and that was interesting... Our District Leader just changed to Elder Torres, my old comp, and he is very "letter of the law," and I am more "spirit of the law," so it's a bit interesting. So we planned to play soccer, and Elder Torres said we could play until 9, but then they didn't even come out to the field until 8:45.  But we still played and actually ended up playing until 9:30.  It was nice to be able to do something physical because there are so few opportunities.  And it all worked out fine that we played until 9:30, because we still went to sleep at 10:30.  

Tuesday we pretty much spent the whole day just kinda chilling because we needed some guy to take us home, and we eventually got home at like 8 at night and by then the day was over. 

Wednesday we went out and visited a lot of the members, and they told us how bad of missionaries we are and that the reason our Branch doesn't function is because we, as missionaries, are racist ... and it is just getting old.  So I talked to them and said the reason the Branch isn't function is because the members and leaders will have a disagreement and their way of dealing with it is to stop going to church.  Consequently, we can't have success because the leaders and members aren't coming to the church because they don't like someone in the church.

Also, the members think that the church is there to give them money, and if they aren't receiving donations and money from the church, the church isn't true.  Their thinking is that the scriptures say that we need to be helping the poor, but what has happened in the past is that when the church has given the members money, they use it to gamble and play sports, and the church isn't willing to give them money to do that.  Yes, the scriptures says that we are supposed to help the poor, but they also say that we are supposed to go to church, and love one another, and pay tithing, and be obedient to the commandments, which the people aren't doing.  So, therefore, like it says in D&C 82, if we do what God wants we will be blessed, but if we don't do what God wants we have no promise.  It's kind of hard with the members, I know that I really need to work with them on Faith and Hope, and help them to understand that God works in His time and not theirs.

Thursday we did divisions to have our baptism interview and that went well.  We went out and visited a couple of people and then Mirna had her interview.  I was worried that Mirna would forget about her interview and not be home when we got there, and we were blessed because as we got there she was just leaving, but we got her to stay so that she could have her interview and the baptism could move forward.  :)  So that was super good, and she passed with no problems.  I could tell it was a little hard for Elder Torres because she and her family don't speak the best Spanish, but she has a really strong testimony and Elder Torres could feel that.  :)

Friday we had to do some stuff like clean the baptismal font, so we go to clean it out and it turns out there was no water.  So I called the owner of the building and he said he has put 5,000 liters of water in the font and that the missionaries just waste it, we missionaries are always getting blamed for something.  Anyway, I was a little worried that the font wouldn't get filled for the baptism, but as it turns out, the building owner got the water ready and we were able to fill it. 


Saturday. I had an audit for the branch and that took a while, but we were able to get everything closed up which is really positive for the branch president. Then we ate then got everything ready for the baptism.  So we get to the church at 5, and we waited and a couple of people showed up, but not Mirna (the girl getting baptized).  So we went over to her house at like 6 and asked her why she wasn't at the church, and her response was basically "Oh that was today."  Haha.  How does someone forget about their baptism? :)  But things came together and Mirna was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Sunday (Jon's 21st birthday) we went to church and there was another fight between the counselor of the mission and a member who was angry because he wasn't getting any donations.  It never ends. 

So yeah, other than that, it rained super hard and was really breezy.  It was really a random birthday, but it's igual no mas. :)   The highlight of my birthday was that I got to confirm Mirna, so that was super cool.  Sunday night (last night), we went to Filadelphia to be here for p-day. 

So yeah, the week was super stressful with the audit and the stress with the baptismal font and Mirna not showing up for her baptism and the members fighting us on everything -- overall it was a pretty interesting week. ;) 

Questions of the Week:

1.  Did you do anything special for your birthday? 
Not really .. there is nothing to do out here.. 

1a.  Did you have your baptism this week? 
Yes, it almost didn't happen, but I fought for it and it did, so it's all good. :) 

2.  How are your investigators doing?  Who are your investigators?
RIght now we are working on baptizing E.V.  He is like 35 and is super cool.  The hard thing is that he is starting to work a long ways from Neuland, so having lessons with him is getting more difficult. 

3.  What was your happiest moment from this past week? 
That Mirna was baptized. 

4.  What was your craziest moment from this past week? 
Everything that went wrong for the baptism

5.  Most spiritual moment?
We were having a lesson with our Branch President and the Spirit was there so strongly, it was really cool. :) 

6.  Hardest moment?
That the members seem to hate us missionaries. 

7.  What can we pray about for you? 
That the people will love one another 

8.  How is your health? 
I'm doing fine health wise

9.  What was your favorite thing you ate this past week?
 I don't know we pretty much eat the same thing every day ... probably a lomito 

10.  Do you have any pictures for me??? 
I have already sent them

Cleaning the Baptismal Font

Mirna's Baptism

Life is good here in the Chaco

Monday, March 2, 2015

March 2, 2015

Hey family how are you doing? 

So the mission had changes and I have been assigned to stay in my area with Elder Paniafo. He is an Elder who is a little bit younger then I am in the mission, and he is from Peru. So yeah basically it has been a little hectic this week trying to get to Asuncion and back and that is like hours and hours of travel (I feel like I am always traveling here), so that took up my Tuesday and Wednesday.

It's a little crazy because now I am in charge of thinking  everything out, like where to go and how to get there. On Wednesday I had to figure out where the collectivo was going to drop us off and how to get home and everything, it gets crazy! 

So Thursday we got home to Neuland and I basically went out and showed my new companion our area.  As we were out and talking to some of the members, many of them made excuses as to why they weren't coming to church, such as they didn't  come because they thought my last companion, didn't like them because they were Neviclay and he was German, which is really funny because he really liked the people.  

When I first came to Neuland, my companion, Elder Burger told me that the people like to make excuses and also that they really like to gossip about everyone else.  Right now the big gossip that is going around is that the Primary President is a prostitute because she isn't married, but has a child. Talk about fetching apostasy. It really is ridiculous out here as far as gossip and rumors go. 

Sunday we had 15 people at church.  We are trying really hard to work with the in-actives.  The 15 people who came to church are really solid and are excited to learn, so we excited about that.

So it is my birthday week and I am stoked to be 21.   I may have a baptism this week, it all depends if we can teach her all she needs to know before being baptized.  If we don't get all the lessons in this week, her baptism will be next week.  Si oh si.

We are doing good work out here.  I was only in my area like two to three days this week so there is nothing to really say.  I know there is a lot to be done out here in the Chaco and it is going to be crazy, but I know that I am supposed to be here.  It's really important to have a lot of patience serving out here, but it's all good because patience is something I have definitely been blessed with.  But yeah, all is good and I am very grateful to be here. :)

Here are the questions ...

1. Tell me all about changes, did you get a new comp? 
What is his name? Elder Panifo  
Where is he from? Peru  

2.  Who all is in the Chaco now?
Myself and Elder Panifk
Elder Kenechelo and Elder Torres
Elder Luke and Elder Medina 

3.  Who are your investigators?
Right now we are working with E. V.  He is set for baptism on the 14th, so hopefully that will happen.  Mirna Martinez is the girl who is hopefully getting baptized next week.  

4.  What was your happiest moment from this week? Eating Burger King in Asuncion

5.  Craziest moment from this week? The people calling the Primary President a prostitute.

6.  Most spiritual moment from this week? We had a good lesson with the Primary President.  The Spirit was really strong. 

7.  Most difficult moment from this week? Just all the excuses the people have.

8.  Do you have any plans for your birthday? No, I might make a cake or something 

9.  Did you love your packages? Yes I did, Mother.

10.  What was your favorite thing you received in your packages?  You can list more than one thing if you want. I was really stoked for all of it, especially the Mios.

11.  What did you think of the ties? I loved them a couple of them got dirty, from the rain and candy canes but i am going to wash them.

Will you please take a picture with each tie so that we can give it to the person who's tie you are wearing?

12.  Do you have any pictures for me?  I loved all your pictures from last week!
No pictures this week. 

14.  Did you receive any birthday emails? 
Yes, I got lots of them.  All the family wrote to me, and I got lots of emails from the missionary moms.

15.  How is your health doing?
 I'm doing good. I had a sore throat last week but now I am good. 


16.  What can we pray about for you? That I can have the wisdom and strength to grow the branch.

 17.  Do you know how much I love you? :) I love you too, mom.