This blog chronicles the 732-day adventure of Elder Jalla, a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Thank you for reading along! We invite you to show your support by writing words of encouragement to strengthen this stellar spiritual stud and to reassure him of your ongoing love for him. -Claire and the Jallas
Pre-script: Called the MTC this morning and confirmed that we have the correct addresses for Elder Jalla. People I spoke with couldn't figure out either why he isn't receiving his letters. But don't despair. Keep writing! And now, Elder Jalla's email.
Dear family and friends,
Hello from the Provo, MTC! I finally have time to write to all of you and I am excited to tell you about all my experiences. First off, I am okay. Definitely feeling the weight of the calling and authority of a representative of Christ now. I have learned so much in just the three days that I have been here. The spirit is so powerful and evident in these holy edifices, sacred meetings and classroom instructions. I haven't been so spiritually drained and at the same time uplifted to the point where I don't want to turn in at 1030 but I want to stay up and learn and learn and learn. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience!
Everyone is helpful and kind. I LOVE my companion, district, and zone. I am the only missionary in our zone from the United States. We are all here for the next two weeks! Honestly, days seem so long, but I love it because this is truly the Lord's work. My companion and I were just talking as we were walking back to our residence last night drained and dragging his feet from being completely exhausted, asked he: "How long have we been here Elder Jalla.....?" I responded..."Elder, I know the answer is only 2 days but it feels as if we've been here for 2 years." Haha. So our district, we have a total of 6 missionaries in it. My companion's name is Elder Naboviluvula. (Na-boo-vi-loo-voo-la) It's so fun to say! This is his first time in the United States, I love him. He smiles and shakes everyone's hands.... and when I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE! haha. He is from Fiji and despite his concerns with his English, I feel the spirit as he speaks from his heart and know that his English will continue to improve as he studies and learns the doctrine of Christ. And so the names of all those in my district are as follows: Elder Naboviluvula (Fiji) Elder Baleanacagi (Fiji) Elder Ayumado (Ghana) Sister Wang (Taiwan) and Sister Yaep (Malaysia). It has only been 2 days but I sincerely love these missionaries!! The other district members in the zone are as follows: Elder Belandres (Philippines) Elder Tamafee (Tonga) Elder Maatu'u (Samoa) Elder Pagnin (Italy) Sister Williams (Micronesia) Sister Fetuli (Tonga).
Yesterday we had Zone Meeting where we met our Branch Presidency. President Marion is an inspired, loving, and....intimidating man of God. I'll admit, he scares me a little but after the meeting he took my hand, pulled me in, and expressed his love. Oh, did my fears dissipate right away. I mean, I'm not "as intimidated" as before. He exudes love in a unique way, he knows that we, as missionaries, will not be treated with sunshine and rainbows out on the field and so he is stern with us but nevertheless I know that he loves us. Did I mention that his mission president when he served was President Thomas S. Monson?! Yes, my branch president served under the prophet... how flipping cool is that?! Said President Marion after last night's spirit filled zone meeting, "In all my years in the MTC, I have never felt the spirit as I have tonight. My dear Elders and Sisters, you have touched my heart." I was then called to be the district leader.
I love all that I am learning here. I love the MTC! I think about all the missionaries that have returned home and all the missionaries currently serving and now understand completely how they came to be such devoted, wise, and heavenly instruments of the Lord. It is within these very walls that missionaries are taught, loved, and prepared to bring salvation to the souls of men (and women). The food is amazing! I am staying true and faithful to my Pescatarian ways despite all the temptations of streak and grilled chicken! I absolutely love Utah! I have never been out west and I couldn't take my eyes off of the mountains! The scenery out here is gorgeous! Mom and dad, I hope your eyes are still set on us moving here, because if not, your son will be gone for a lot longer than two years. Haha, but then you can visit me out here then and not be restricted by the mission rules. :)
I am a little bummed out that nobody e-mailed me. All the missionaries in my district are telling me about their family and friends back home through the letters and emails they are receiving. It's totally fine though. Regardless of receiving or not, keep in mind that you are always in my heart. I think of all of you often, well, when my mind is not already preoccupied with all that I am learning (which is a lot) I reflect back every night, however, on my loving and supportive family, the AMAZING Rockford YSA, and the many valiant sister missionaries that have taught me to be a missionary back home. I miss you all. I know that God loves you, I hope and pray that you know that. I also hope you know that I love you. How much you know you know not, suffice it to say that there is not enough words in the English language or otherwise that could express my love for you.
I love you Mom and Dad, thank you for making it possible for me to serve our Heavenly Father and be a representative of His Son, Jesus Christ. Claire, my dearest sister, I miss you, I know I'm no longer there to tease and make fun of you so I hope Laira is stepping up and continually reminding you that you are a majestic horse! Charlie, keep working out my brother, exercise in the MTC is hard to come by, we're always studying... but when we play sports or lift weights, better believe that I go HARD in the PAINT! Haha. Laira, I love you and miss you my partner in crime, continue your scripture study because I am going to quiz you on EVERYTHING when I get home. My beloved friends in the YSA, stay united-- in fact, become more united than you have ever been before, work on fellowshipping, not only the investigators and those that are just coming back to church, but strengthen and uplift one another! You have no idea how far your influence can spread---so smile and have fun, enjoy in each other's company, I'm no longer there physically, but I am in spirit. I love you YSA! Sister Missionaries, past and current--- I love you, all that you have taught me is coming together here in the MTC, I pray for you everyday, I am honored to be serving in this great work with the likes of you! Stay strong, be faithful, never ever ever doubt this work and the calling you have been given, for it is beyond words the majesty and quiet but strong dignity of holding the missionary mantle and be called a missionary!
I love you all!
p.s. I would love to hear back from all of you! A missionary's life line is his letters, plus it kinda sucks to be the only not receiving an e-mail or letter. hahaha I kid, but seriously....I am the only one without a letter. (Claire, you can include this post script)
Dearelder.com is a fantastic and free service that offers same-day letter delivery to the Provo Utah MTC (provided you write before noon on a weekday). Elder Jalla will be at the MTC from now until Wednesday, October 8. After that, you may continue to use Dearelder.com to write to him in California. Here's the information you will need to fill in when it comes to addressing messages to him while he's at the MTC. Name: Elder Carlo Jalla Unit Number: 27 Mission Code: CA-FRE Expected MTC Departure Date: OCT 08
The small and simple things sometimes have the greatest value. You may feel like a postcard or a thoughtful note may be just a "little thing", but I know that it could make a huge difference to a missionary who may be feeling a bit homesick, discouraged, or just plain exhausted from a long day of hard work. I encourage you to take counsel from a truly wise woman who taught us to "never suppress a generous thought" (Camilla Kimball). Act on those feelings of love and concern for Elder Jalla and drop him a line or two. Who knows, you might just say exactly what he needs to hear that day and gladden his heart from far away! Hope you all have a fantastic 729 days! -Claire
Glad to report that the Elder Jalla has safely arrived at the MTC (Missionary Training Center)! AND SO... it begins! Elder Jalla will be writing a general email once a week, which I will post here on this blog by 6 pm every Tuesday night. So, watch for that. He would love to hear from you! Even though he is far away, you are still very close to his heart just as he is close to yours. I encourage you to continue praying for him, but also to find ways to write words of love and encouragement to him whenever you miss him or think about him. Letters sent via US postal service are the best way of communication these next two years. He only gets one hour a week to read and respond to emails. Those 60 minutes go by very fast. To make sure he gets to read what you send to him, I highly recommend the traditional letter. Here are his addresses: From now until 08 October 2014: Elder Carlo Basconcillo Jalla OCT08 CA-FRE 2007 N 900 E Unit 27 Provo UT 84602 From 09 October 2014 - 24 September 2016: Elder Carlo Basconcillo Jalla California Fresno Mission 1814 N Echo Fresno, CA 93704 United States His email is: carlo.jalla@myldsmailnet You can also write to him using dearelder.com. I've used this before and am a big fan because it's convenient, cheap, and easy. You first create an account (this is free) and then just follow the prompts. If you have questions, please feel free to make a comment or contact me directly. Happy 732 Days, everyone! -Claire