Monday, April 20, 2015

April 20, 2015

Hello family --

What's up?  So this week was super interesting. We had work to do and we went out and did it.  And guess what, it's super sick (cool).  When I first came to the Chaco and was companions with Elder Burger, we had really low attendance at church -- 10 to 12 people each week.  Since I have been here, our average has gone from 10 to 25, and that's awesome. 

It's crazy because I have felt that my efforts have been counter productive, and we have had problem after problem.  But it recently hit me that my point of view is crucial.  As a missionary, I have had a lot of success in the baptism area, and it was hard to come to the Chaco where baptisms are not as common.  It's hard to see success when success is measured by baptisms.  So with all the problems we are having and not a lot of baptisms, it could be super hard and super discouraging if  I let it.  But I realized this week that I need to change my point of view.  We are growing as a branch!  Maybe we aren't getting 40 people to church, and I am not baptizing lots and lots of people, but we are still growing! 

Honestly, at first I was kind of scared and a little lost as to what to do, but I was able to change my point of view on things and I realized that we are growing and I just need to show faith and do the things that I need to be doing. :)   Honestly, the past few months have been a little hard out here, but I am doing fine now, and I know that I am here for a reason -- I know that, and so I know that I am going to be doing good things here. :) But yeah, the work is going well out here and we are doing good things. 

So our Chaco problem that we are having this week is that the kid came home from his mission and is now officially "in-active."  This is so sad because we were hoping that he would come home and help his family become active again, but "no," he has decided to go in-active.  This is honestly something you never want to hear as a missionary.  This kid had grown so much on his mission and had gained a testimony, but now he is just going to throw it away because of things that his parents said happened to them by other church members (that really didn't even happen).  It is sad and a struggle, but we are going to keep working with him and his family.  

But yeah, on a happier note, I am in Asuncion right now and we are going to the Temple tomorrow.  I have been able to see Elders Garner, Singer, Mclelland, and all my other friends, so that has been so cool.  It's always nice to "kick it" with the homies (good friends).  But yeah, I will be in the Temple tomorrow and I will be praying for all of you. :)
I love all of you, and hope things are going well for all for y'all!

Love --

Elder Turley

 Scenes from the Chaco

Jon loves dogs so much!!!

This is a picture of a man from BYU Idaho who has come to the Chaco to help the Neviclay people.  
Jon said that the children "loved him."

Oh just a little beehive!!!

Pictures of Neuland, Paraguay

Jon made chilli for dinner -- he is getting to be quite the cook!

On the bus going to Asuncion -- an 8 hour drive!
(He seems a little tall for the bus)

I noticed that his fingers look rough and worn, one of the blessings of living and 
working in the Chaco.  I love him and am so proud of him!!!

Monday, April 13, 2015

April 13, 2015

Hey Y'all --

So this week hasn't really been that cool, so this is going to be a short email.  Basically we went out and worked hard until I got sick -- I think I have a sinus infection.  Today I am feeling a  little bit better although I am still sick, but I am fine, mom. :) 

So usually when I am sick, I go out and work anyway, but this week I felt really yucky and so I decided that I was going to try to get some rest and get feeling better, so my work week wasn't the best.  I am looking forward to this coming week to go out there and get it done. :)

So, yeah, basically all I did this week is paint our Branch President's house, which was interesting. 

We did have a challenge this week as we had to go to F. M.'s house to talk to him about his son.  Let me back up.  I got a call from President McMullin and he said that F.M. is demanding that his son come home from his mission (he is serving a full-time mission here in Paraguay) so that the son can go in-active with the dad.  This is really random, because I have never heard of a person demanding their son come home from his mission (he has been out about a year) and go inactive with him.  It is super apostasy.  So President McMullin told me that he wanted to have a personal interview with F.M. and that he would send his son home after that interview.  So I went to F.M.'s house and told him what President McMullin had said, to which F.M. responded that if the President wanted to talk to him, he could come to Nueland.  He said "I am not going to Asuncion, and if I go there, I will take all my family and we are going to go fighting."  He said "I promise you, if I see the President or a Counselor of the Mission President, I will hit him."  It really was pretty gnarly (intense) and super interesting.  I was kinda confused about it all ... but you know it's just a regular day in the Chaco. :)  Anyway, F.M. went behind the President's back and called his son and convinced him to come home, he will be home tomorrow.  Mockanada ...

So I know this is really not the best email I have ever sent, HaHa, but really nothing happened this week.  Our church attendance is growing, which is a real blessing because we have had so many problems out here.  :)  But other than that I have nothing for you this week.  

I love y'all so much and hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Turley 

Painting the Branch President's House
(You can tell he's sick).

Monday, April 6, 2015

April 6, 2015

Hello Family -- 

So basically this week went really fast and it was a good week.  Honestly, we really didn't do too much because it was Easter, and Paraguay decides to shut down Easter Week.  That means all the stores shut down, the busses, everything.  As y'all know, I am out in the middle of no where, and had to go to Abundancia in order to be able to watch Conference, so we have done A LOT of traveling this week.  We started the week in Filidephia, because as of right now we still don't have a computer at our church (I am pretty frustrated with that, by the way), so I have to go to Filadelphia on Mondays to do all the Branch stuff I do every week, so we went to Filadelphia on Monday and came back on Tuesday. 

Tuesday and Wednesday we spent a lot of the time visiting members and inviting them all to come to Abundancia to watch Conference.  Then Thursday morning we had to leave for Abundancia because the busses were going to stop running on Friday afternoon. So we went as far as Filadelphia on Thursday and then woke up Friday morning and took the last running bus to Abundancia, and I am back in Filadlephia tonight and will be until tomorrow.  Basically I haven't been in my own house since Thursday of last week, and we have changes tomorrow.  I don't know if I am going to get "changed", but if I do that means I will be going to Asuncion to get the changes, then going back to my house on Wednesday night to get my stuff and then going to my new area.  So ... if by some chance I have changes, I will not have been in my house for about a week.  Crazy stuff, right.  I never thought that I would have to travel this much on my mission.  It's actually been a little frustrating because the Mission Clerk has been talking to us because he thinks we are using too much money and he is trying to get us to cut down a bit.  The problem is that the money he gives us doesn't last as long as it should because we have to pay for bus after bus after bus, but it's all good ... just normal Chaco problems. HaHa:) 

As far as Conference goes, it was awesome.  I learned a lot about how I am going to be a sinner if I don't get married right when I get home, Haha, so keep looking for someone for me, mom!  

I really liked Conference.  The talk I liked the most was about the Prodigal Son, I don't remember who gave it, but it was super good.  

Between the last Saturday Session of Conference and before the Priesthood Session, the Elders in Abundancia asked us to all go out and re-invite the members to come watch Conference on Sunday.  Abundancia is a one street town with like 50 houses.  So we all went out there and re-invited the members for the fourth time. :)  There was a part of me that was a little bit down on this idea at first because I didn't understand why we had to personally invite the members so many times, it seems like the members should know that it's Conference and that we should give them an opportunity to show their faith and come, but we decided we needed to go and so Elder Luke and I took the last 20 houses and we pounded through the invitations. 

As Elder Luke and I were walking back to the chapel, we saw the other Elders and we decided to help them finish their houses.  So we knocked on one door and invite the family, and then we knocked on another door and the guy asked us to sit down and talk to him.  The man then told us that his children hate him, that they hit him all the time, and say that he isn't their dad.  He said his children no longer want to go to church.  So we talked to this man about Alma and Alma the Younger.  We told him that he needed to be patient and pray and do his part and his children would come back to him ... just like Alma the Younger came back.  I then told the man that if he were to come watch Conference the next day that he would hear something that he needed to hear.  We told him that as missionaries, we don't always know what people are going through, but God does know and He will talk to each individual through our church leaders.  It was a really neat conversation.  I don't know if the man came to Conference, I hope he did because I know the talk about the Prodigal Son was meant to help him cope with the challenges he was having with his children who were being a little rebellious. 

But yeah, that lesson with him made me miss a good half of the Priesthood Session because we talked to the man for a good hour and a half.  I also didn't get to see the last session on Sunday because I had to get on the bus to go back to Filadelphia.  If we didn't go then, we would have had to hitch hike back and that would have taken forever. 

So yeah, this week was pretty crazy as far as traveling goes, but it was really good because about 30 people from my Branch came to Conference, including all of my recent converts and the mom of my Branch President who isn't a member and has never gone to church.  I was super surprised that she made it, it was super cool.  Oh and Vivianna, a cousin to the Branch President's family came too, so we had two investigators there, which was way cool.  

But I am happy that all of you are reading your scriptures (well hopefully) and that y'all were able to watch Conference.  I am in 1st Nephi, Chapter 14 right now and I am going to finish The Book of Mormon in about 80 days, that's what our mission is doing. :)  I would love it if you would all of you would read with me so that you can be spiritually uplifted by the power of the Holy Ghost. :)

I love y'all so much and am grateful to have y'all in my life. 

Love --
Elder Turley 

This is how they watch General Conference
in Paraguay!

Oh no worries, they just have frogs 
and beehives to deal with. :)