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Monday, November 26, 2012

Progressing Investigators!

I have already talked about Mirta in one of my earlier messages. We went by her house last night to share a message with the entire family, kind of having a family home evening. Towards the end, she looked at us and started to ask some questions about temples. She also talked about her baptism and told us she felt ready, which really made everyone smile in the room. Her husband, who has served in the church for the last couple of years, felt great and shared his testimony with all of us. All of their kids have already been baptized, but Mirta always had her doubts. However, after listening to the missionaries for these past six months, she has studied and really thought it through. In the end, she has come to the conclusion that it all makes sense, and she wants to go with her family to the temple, a great goal that requires her personal baptism. Everyone in the room that night had an indescribable light in their eyes, and we left feeling great as we walked home to the apartment.

I felt extremely grateful and excited for her family, as well. A mix of emotions has hit me, and I realized why I came here to Pergamino. Elder Valenzuela and I have done over 500 contacts and worked incredibly hard these past couple of weeks. After all the strenuous work, the conversion process seen within the life of Mirta makes it all worth it. We plan to go and plan the baptismal program at her house this Wednesday. If all goes as planned, we should have the baptismal service on December 8th. 

We have already talked to some members and plan to have a musical number, refreshments, and basically just a solid program with numerous members. We are excited, and so is our Bishop. :)

I have little time today, but I really appreciate everything you all do for me. The letters, prayers, and encouragement really hit home with me. As we all work together, we will really build the kingdom and see its blessings throughout the world, little by little, day by day. 

We finally made it to the post office!!! After five long weeks, we finally found a post office! I sent a letter to each of you, Kailey and Malia. Thank you for your support and awesome stories. I have a few more written and will try to send them soon, Shantel and Kimbz!!!! It is like a 30 min walk to the post office, so I will have to convince someone to go with me again. I will try to mail those today.

Like always, thanks for everything. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

Elder Jones

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pergamino's Preparation Days

Editor's Note:  Due to Transfer Week, Elder Jones' P-Day was moved to Tuesday, so the post comes a day late!

Hello from Pergamino, Argentina. My companion had a migraine this past week, which left me with a lot of free time both in the hospital and apartment while he recovered for three days. While he was recovering, i wrote up an ESPN article in Spanish, just to practice my translation skills. It isn´t perfect, but it turned out alright. Then I decided to translate it back from Spanish to English. Every part of it is true, except the quotes, which are obviously made up from scratch, but basically portrays how everyone feels. I hope you enjoy it. Here it is:


Pergamino´s Preparation Days
Elder Rory Jones

For as long as anyone can remember, the missionaries here in Pergamino, Argentina, have always played soccer on Monday, their famous preparation day when everyone rests from the strenuous work and simply just takes a break.

"I´m not gonna lie, Mondays are totally rad and chill," said Elder Hixon, one of the current district leaders here in the zone. "If only they were a little longer. . ."

With a mere seven hours of free time, these devoted missionaries really have to use their time wisely. Just like Elder Hixon, the majority find themselves wishing for more time as the day comes to a close.

"At least three more hours to relax would be perfect," responded Elder Rodriguez at the last press conference, when asked if he thought Mondays should be extended in the future. "I mean, who doesn´t want more free time to eat, sleep and recharge yourself," he added later while yawning and further debating about the official preparation day schedule.

Whether the typical Monday schedule changes or not, everyone will always enjoy the leisure time, regardless of its length!

"I just go hard all day and never stop," said Elder Sáez, one of the largest missionaries know for his immense stature and limitless strength. "Sometimes people call him the `human tank.´"

And there you have it. From the crack of dawn until the end of each day, Elder Saez keeps plowing forward, always accompanied by his faithful companion, Elder Welsh.

"On Mondays, every second counts, just like in BYU football games," exclaimed Elder Welsh, when asked for his opinion during the last mission council.

Currently serving as a zone leader here in Pergamino, Elder Welsh has chosen to suit up for the Lord these next two years, leaving behind his fame and putting his future career and football scholarships on hold. He does it with good intentions, though.

"We are glad to have him on our team," reported President Hugo Giuliani, the current leader and president of more than 200 missionaries here in southern Argentina. "He was a beast on the field in Provo, and he´s a spiritual beast here in the mission field."

One might say that Elder Welsh´s prayers were answered this past week and his sacrifices recognized. Why? Well, surprisingly enough, the whole zone gathered together and played American Football this past week, breaking traditions and giving some Latin Americans quite the experience. Despite the fact that 95% of them had never touched a football before the mission, two of them managed to score touchdowns!

"I caught the ball and just took off running," said Elder Valenzuela, the newest missionary in Pergamino who arrived with Elder Jones about a month ago. "Everyone kept screaming, so i just kept running like a madman."

The saying "Third time is a charm" really defines this extraordinary play of the game. After bobbling and dropping two previous passes, Valenzuela grabbed ahold of the third one and bulleted into the endzone.

"Yeah, there you go, man!" shouted Elder Jones, the quarterback at the time who threw a perfect, spiral bomb to his companion.

One hour later with the score tied at 14, all 12 missionaries lined up and waited for the hike. As soon as possible, Elder Eliosoff shot off the line at lightning speed, showing no sign of fatigue. Later, before anyone knew what was happening, Eliosoff was launching himself into the air to avoid the last defender and belly-flopping into a bunch of knee-high weeds and untamed grass.

"Everyone went bonkers," he exclaimed during his post-game interview. "Even though I got a bunch of weeds and prickles down my pants, it was worth it in the end," he later commented.

Eliosoff´s team came out with the win, and each missionary celebrated differently. All in all, it was just a chill and eventful day. Everyone enjoyed themselves--Latinos and Americans alike.

When asked about his experience, Elder Salt said the following: "I got pegged a few times like a kid in dodge ball, but that´s just part of the game, ya know?"

In sum, preparation days leave all companionships exhausted and satisfied--a goal quite hard to achieve.

I don´t think anyone could have put it better than Elder Nelson, known as "Nelly" by all missionaries, when he described preparation days like this: "Mondary are just flat-out sweet."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I had a great week. Due to little time, I will only contribute a paragraph or two about this past week. Overall, I must say that everything has gone well up to this point. I have lived in Pergamino for almost a complete transfer now, which means we have already completed half of our training program! Like always, we have a full plate, loaded with investigators and tons of members. We try to help out wherever possible, and during our service this past week I had a really powerful experience, one worth sharing with you all.

Washing the dishes for the Bishop´s family. Like I´ve said before, the people here struggle economically. Amongst those that struggle, which is the majority of my area, is the Bishop and his family. They come to church faithfully every week and offer us food each Friday. Overall, I feel accepted and really comfortable in their house. However humble or difficult the circumstances might be, they always extend a helping hand to everyone else--members of the church of not. This past Friday, we ate some sandwiches with them at their house. After the the meal, a quick spiritual thought, and a prayer, we prepared ourselves to head back home. We offered to assist with the dishes, explaining that we would like to contribute a bit since they always do so much for us. They gladly accepted. Long story short, my companion and I had to clean plates and cups for close to 30 minutes because this poor, faithful family doesn´t have running water. We had a small tub that we filled up with water from the hose. Later on, using the same hose, I then filled up a liter jug of water, which we later used to pour on the dishes and rinse the soap off. It was quite the process, and it really hit home withe me. The saying "you never appreciate something until it´s gone" really has profound meaning for me now. Just running water and a faucet makes everything so much easier.

At the beginning of my mission, I always complained since we didn´t have a dishwasher and had to do everything by hand. Now, I am grateful just to have a faucet since it takes almost twice as long to wash with just buckets of water. This humble family really taught me a lesson, and I admire their faith and commitment.

May we all count our blessings a little more in our lives is my hope and prayer, and I leave this quick thought with you guys as my main weekly message today. Thanks for all you do.

Elder Jones

Monday, November 5, 2012

Another Week Down!

Another Week Down!
I have had a crazy adventure during my first month here in Pergamino, Argentina. Here is some quick info about our two main investigators.
Mirta. About 40 years old, she already has a stable family with three kids and lives on a ranch.  About half of the population here in Pergamino has a ranch. Miguel, Mirta´s husband, takes care of their horses, chickens, and dogs. They have tons of land, forming a few acres, I think, just to give you guys a rough estimate. Miguel has served as a counselor in the Bishopric, and he has gone to church for many years. Due to job and money complications, they all stopped attending on Sunday for a decent chunk of time. For the last month or so, they have come every Sunday. We started passing by because we wanted to get to know Miguel better, especially since he is one of hte best members right now. With time, we became good friends with Mirta and all the kids. We pass by about twice a week to teach one of the missionary discussions or to have a family home evening with them. Something we said sparked Mirta´s interest, and right now she is reading the bible and book of Mormon regularly, a huge plus for us! She has a baptismal date for November 24th, so we will have to see how everything plays out! I¨ll keep you updated.
Juan. He worked on a farm for his entire life before retiring at the age of 65. He always ran tractors and worked with cattle and horses. He is kinda like a cowboy, and his Spanish has a slightly different accent. We passed by his house our second week here in the city, and he listens well and actually does in depth studying during his free time. He has already come to church twice, where he became good friends with Miguel and Mirta! We have a lesson with all of them together this week, when we will watch a church movie together and hopefully eat dinner together. Having Miguel as a friend and fellow member works great for both Mirta and Juan. After working for many years, Juan has developed a successful lifestyle and has a really nice house, especially for our little town here in Pergamino. Its bright bricks nad wooden roof really stick out when compared to the other cement or metal huts in our area. Also, he only received and elementary education, so we have to teach every thing on a basic level. He loves going ot church and still reads well enough to study on his own, so we will just have to see how everything goes here in the next few weeks. He accepted a baptismal date for the last week of November, as well!
Elder Valenzuala and I are really excited with our success. We have passed by the houses of many less-active families, and this past Sunday we had 42 in church. This is a huge improvement from a mere attendance of 16 our first week here. Work hard, fly right haha. It is kinda a joke here. If you work hard here for your two years, the flight back home should be really rewarding.
I have to go since we have little time this week to write home. We all got together and played American football today, which was a total blast. The zone leaders finally got mail, so i will have to read it throughout this week. I will have comments next Monday, no worries.
Thanks for everything. Many of you are in my prayers.
Elder Rojo.