A Quarter-Pounder

I mean, a quarter of the way done. (It's going waaaay too fast!)

Dear friends and families,

       How in the world is everyone doing? It has been forever since I last e-mailed, I am sorry for running out of time to e-mail on preparation days to write. An hour is not enough time to get all my scattered thoughts and memories in a letter that makes sense. So no promises that what I will say from here on out will be noteworthy, okay? There you have been warned.

       First, off--- I love being a missionary. I'll be honest it is the hardest thing I've ever done, and a few of you can attest to that, but once you truly forget yourself and get to work, you just fall in love with it. I wake up excited to see what the new day will bring. Talking to random strangers and loving the people you serve has never been more exhilarating and sought after. I'm no longer worried if the person will either smile back or spit back. All that matters is that I share my testimony of the divinity of the work and the role that Jesus Christ has in each and everyone one of our lives. An eye single to the glory of God qualify us for the work. It is so true. Me and all my inadequacies, weaknesses, and slue of other things I cannot meet the expectation of doesn't matter! If you have faith, all things are possible. If you have faith in Christ, you will prevail.

         Okay, jumping off my soapbox. So it has been a total of 7 months of waking up tired, going to work tired, biking tired, teaching tired, eating tired, and sleeping tired--- in the best place ever! I am still in my first area, yes... this Elder is still serving in Clovis California with the wonderful members of the Peachwood Ward. I prayed and fasted big time to stay another transfer and my desires were granted! Woohoo for prayer! I am not sure if I'm mentioned my second companion in previous letters: His name is Elder Shepherd, 19 year old from North Carolina. Quirky but I love him! Last transfer we had 30 quality lessons each week--- yeah, hence the tired in all aspects. The work here is steadily increasing with people coming out of the woodwork. Nothing beats missionary life--- eat, sleep, breath the gospel and not worrying about the "real world" is very nice, to say the least.

         Alright, you ready for this one? Last paragraph, I promise--- So last week, or actually, two days ago literally hit the both of us like a ton of bricks. My companion, friend, and brother was hit by a car who failed to yield at an intersection. No worries, he is okay, he is a tough Elder. Miraculously the only injury he sustained was some swelling above the knee and slight pain in his left ankle. His bike on the other hand is done for. We have been instructed to stay home for a couple days and I've reflected upon the accident and how blessed we are to be here. As strange as my companion is at times I would like to share what he told me as he laid in bed recovering, "Elder Jalla--- find me some crutches, we need to get back out there." What fortitude of character, what sheer will and determination. Barely half an hour before a car almost took his life his first inclination was not, "poor me, why me..." rather, let me be a voice of reason, let me help someone come closer to Christ. I have pondered upon his reaction to this and realized that because of our knowledge of the plan of salvation we have no fear of death, not to say we welcome it, but we are at peace with whatever may come our way. Our mission is to give that same hope to those that are scared, that are fearful, saddened, discouraged--- in essence, those who are hopeless. Our hope and faith is in the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom we represent. If people knew of the joys that could be experienced and the scope of the eternal happiness that lays before them, oh how better this world would be. That's why I'm out here. I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who saved me from the gulf of misery and the jaws of hell itself. Others need this, others are seeking for it.

I pray that I may be a means of bringing to pass Heavenly Father's work and glory. I pray that all of you who have ever donned the badge remember the covenants that you made, the 2 years or 18 months was to change you forever, BE that change for others. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not building a religion it is building a relationship with God, the Eternal Father and His Beloved Son. May we strive to diligently do as the Savior has done and stand still to witness the majesty of God in our lives.

I love and care and miss all of you deeply,

Your eternal brother, friend, and fellow missionary,

Elder Jalla


Tough Choices, Weak Constitutions

Dear friends and family,

I almost decided not to write an e-mail this week. It was truly a trying week with all that is happening out here, or rather, lack of.

Zone conference week... all the missionaries were anticipating this because we were going to have the Mission President from District 2 series come. However, my companion got sick so I stayed in the apartment with him...for 4 and a half days. 

I felt sorry for him and I tried my best to comfort, console, and play nurse for those 4 excruciatingly long days. In the meantime, I was mostly left alone to study and plan for our investigators, recent converts, and less-actives. Our heater is broken and although 50 degrees sounds like paradise to most of you, it is quite frigid and depressing when you're confined in a solitary home. Some days were so terribly quiet that you could hear the window panes crack from the frost forming on them. 

I read, pondered, and prayed for the majority of the time. Eventually one of the other missionaries did a mini-exchange with me to visit some of the people we were working with. That was a very tough night, suffice it to say... it would have been better if I stayed home with my sick companion. I woke up the following morning with the same illness as him. 

Further tribulations continued as the week moved on. I don't know why we are going through such trials and hardships at this time. I only know that faith prevails and God knows whats best for us. 

I've come to deeply appreciate and love the Prophet Joseph Smith through this troubling time. He went through so much. The persecutions he endured and the isolation from his family and friends. I could scarcely imagine what he must have felt when incarcerated in Liberty jail, nor as he sat in the small room in Carthage with his brother mere hours away from his eventual martyrdom. How firm in the faith was this man, how ever inspiring are the sacrifices. All for the purpose of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of Heavenly Father's children. The salvation of souls lay in the tilting point of saying either, "No more" or "Endure to the end." There is always opposition. Perhaps my companion and I are meant to swim in deep water in this particular part of our mission so that we may be tested and eventually, hopefully buoyed up by a loving Savior when we can no longer stay afloat. 

I hope and pray for a swift recovery and a week of miracles and blessings. If I am meant to go through more than I pray that Heavenly Father may consecrate mine afflictions and that I am changed for the better when all is said and done.

May God continually keep you, may you remember the love the Savior has for one such as you. For God so loved the world, and so loved you---that He gave His only begotten Son. I know that He loves you. If you want to be truly happy then live the gospel, not only know it, but live it wholeheartedly. I love you all.

Your eternal friend and fellow missionary,
Elder Jalla


Short But Sweet

Dear friends and family,

Faith is a decision. It is a choice to act on what we have been taught and we know to be right even when we don't feel like it; it is moving forward and pushing on even when we are not feeling--and it may have been some time since we felt--the strong convictions of the Spirit. In fact, deciding to act in faith, even when we are not feeling very faith-filled, sometimes brings heaven's most remarkable blessings.

Elder Neil L. Andersen said, "Faith is not only a feeling; it is a decision" 

This week was quite the roller coaster of emotions. I hit major low points and soared high on other points. It's crazy how you can start out your day as a missionary with everything going according to plan with a smile on your face and joy in your heart--- and in a span of 12 hours walk back into your home frustrated, confused, and disheartened. And vice versa. You can leave your house feeling down and a bit unwillingly and just have back to back spiritual experiences that you lay on your bed exhausted but genuinely happy that you decided to get up and get moving that day.

One thing I have come to learn and have been reconfirmed this week was the concept of 'no coincidences'. At one of my low point days I looked out the window and thought to myself, "I could do more good somewhere else with someone else. I wish I could move forward with my life." I got a strong impression and answer reminding me that perhaps I can move forward but someone right outside my window needs what we as missionaries have to share. Some of my hardest days out here was brought about because I forgot that, first and foremost I am out here for others. In the missionary handbook it states our loyalty is first to the Lord, then to the mission president, then to our companion. I've heard it said that the most important conversion on your mission is yourself. However that only comes about when you "forget and lose yourself" in the work. You all have something to share to help uplift the wounded individual, to encourage the disheartened, and to provide peace and happiness through the truths of the gospel that you have come to know and live by. You have the potential to save a life today.

Our lives are intertwined, and we do so much good when we get up and get moving. 

Okay, this e-mail is a hot mess, I have so much more to say--- but I am out of time. I hope that there was something noteworthy in this e-mail :)

With love,
Your eternal friend and fellow missionary
Elder Jalla

p.s. here is Elder Mo'o and I as we prepared lunch for other missionaries. Spontaneous act of love


Miracles and Thoughts

Dear friends and family, 

 Happy New Year! I know I'm 12 days late but I've been under the weather for the past week. Everyone in our area is coming down with something and I was no exception. I'm all good now though. As soon as we finished planning at night I would get ready for bed and just crash. Waking up half dead at 6am to run was no fun, but exact obedience calls for some sacrifice. There was one day when I just could not move and I was able to sleep in till 6:30, which was nice :) 

There is something rewarding about giving it your all to the literal point of exhaustion that makes it all worth it. I have little "motivators" that keep me going. The main motivator is realizing that no matter how tired or sick I can get the Savior has endured it all, He suffered, bled, and died so that I can have immortality and eternal life. 2 years is too short of a time to spread the gospel and make it known to all that they can receive the same blessings. I'm coming to realize that every second counts out here, there is no breathing room when the salvation of souls requires so much more than you can give. And because this is Heavenly Father's work and His glory, you are given power from on high to rise above and become super-human. 

 Remember my last e-mail about Elder Mo'o and I staying together for another transfer because we felt impressed that someone is prepared specifically for us? Well, last week we had the honor and privilege of baptizing a family of four into the church! 

The family began meeting with missionaries almost 2 year ago. In fact, all the missionaries that taught them are all home from their missions. I truly count it a blessing that I happened to be the missionary that asked them to be baptized and them saying yes. I don't think I did anything different than the past missionaries, and so my testimony that everything is done in God's perfect timing has been solidified. 

I didn't cry in my own baptism, nor any after, but I wept when I witnessed the baptism of this family.

The baptism was packed, all the leaders of Peachwood ward was there, the mission president and his wife, and past missionaries that taught them. I was asked to bare my testimony in front of all of them, of course, in true missionary style, on the spot. 

 Nervous yet feeling empowered I got in front and bore with power and authority the testimony that I had in me about baptism and the love that God has for each and everyone of us. My entire frame shook as I stood there bearing down in pure testimony. I remember sitting down afterwards and realizing that I had tears streaming down the side of my face. 

I can't say that I am a perfect missionary, in fact I know that I am far from it, but I do know and can say without a doubt that God loves us and knows us individually. We all have a reason and a purpose in the little time we have here in mortality. What a wonderful event, what a glorious work--- I love being a missionary. 

And now I wanted to transition this e-mail over to the Rockford YSA. 

 My dear beloved YSA, 

 How I've missed you all so greatly, I wanted to say thank you for all the experiences and memories that helped shape me into who I am today. I often reflect back on just how much of an impact the YSA branch was for me. The friendships made and the lessons learned during my short stay has prepared me immensely to be a true disciple and servant of God and Jesus Christ. I wish I could serve there with all of you because I think I finally understand just how important this work is and what great potential you all have to bless the lives of the people of Rockford. Your friends, neighbors, and family members need what you have -- The Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

 "What you know will always trump what you do not know." 

 Lead with your faith and allow the Lord to make you a most powerful force for good. 

I recently found out that we no longer have our own set of missionaries. We are back to sharing with another ward huh? Do Not Let That Stop Or Slow Down The Work! You, each of you, owe it to the missionaries past that gave their blood, sweat, and tears to that part of the vineyard. Remember when Sister Ferguson and Sister Hunter opened the area and how barren the field must have looked like? And yet through fasting and prayer look at the fruit that was reaped and how missionary work became the priority of the branch! The many Aloha's from Sister Umphress as she inspired us to stretch beyond our capacity to reach out with love. Sister Clayton taught us how to be humble and was desirous for all of us to be missionaries. Sister Holmes and Sister Yates showed us that missionary work can be fun and that we are a family, "we can be facebook friends forever". Sister Winward taught us to be bold and not fear. Sister Dias inspired us to go beyond our comfort zone and to do as directed when prompted by the spirit. Sister Carver showed us that we are loved immensely by a loving Heavenly Father. 

 Each and every one of our missionaries taught us individually something and left a legacy of faith, hope, and love in the Rockford YSA. The fire that they ignited and kept alive within the branch and each and everyone of you still burns bright. Don't Let It Die. Fan the flame of your faith. Keep in remembrance what they did to build up the Lord's kingdom in that special part of His vineyard. 

 I add my testimony to theirs as a representative of Jesus Christ that this work is true and that we are all called as His missionaries to save our brothers and sisters. 

I ask you all individually, will you re-commit yourself to the work of salvation? Will you be a disciple of Christ this day? 

I know that someone out there is prepared specifically for you to open your mouth and share what you know to be true. To share what brings you happiness allows you to love as Heavenly Father does is a gift that will be bestowed upon you as you endeavor on this labor of love. The past, current, and future missionaries of the Rockford YSA truly were, is, and will be a part of a most glorious work. 

Remember that with God all things are possible. Jesus Christ suffered, bled, died, and was resurrected for you. Remember Him and use the atonement. Learn of Him and your purpose will be made known. Yes, remember the missionaries that brought us so much love, laughter, and joy, but never forget that it is because of the love that they and we have for the Savior that we are called to the work. Miracles are brought to pass and you are called to the work. If ye can no more than desire to believe, let that work in you. I love you all so much. I wish my mission would slow down and I could serve forever with my badge, but I also can't wait till see you all again. 

With love 

Your Eternal Friend and Fellow Missionary 

Elder Jalla


Elder Jalla Versus The New Year

Note from the Sister: Hello all! No mass update this week, but Elder Jalla is doing his best to reply to those who have emailed/written him... So watch your inboxes and mailboxes! 

If you're wondering where to send him care packages or letters, his current address is:

Elder Carlo Basconcillo Jalla
California Fresno Mission
1814 N Echo Ave
Fresno, CA 93704-6046
United States


Holiday Randoms
 I got this caterpillar that I nicknamed "koa-pillar"

Don't know what this is about.. he's spackling a ceiling?
Koa-pillar- A Christmas Gift

A New Year... And Two Pictures With A Boa
The missionaries were counseled to stay indoors because of New Year's craziness in California. But, it looks like he still had a good time. You know, until curfew... which was 9:30 pm. 

And... bonus!... He's wearing a boa in the last two pictures!


Christmas and Transfers

29 December 2014

Dear family and friends,

What a wonderful time of the year! Being a missionary for the holidays is quite enjoyable, especially if you're serving in the Peachwood ward! (The missionaries in the CFM call our area "The Celestial Kingdom" Haha) It is truly a blessing serving where you have your own home (with two bathrooms), a very active youth group who decorate your house with Christmas lights while you're out proselyting, ward members that always comes out and teach with us and also feed us FEASTS 7 nights a week. We even have a lunch schedule because our dinner calendars get full too quickly! I LOVE Peachwood ward! I know I wil miss the people here very much when I'm transferred out.

Speaking of which, Elder Mo'o and I are staying together for another transfer! We have been praying and fasting for us to stay together for another transfer for the past couple of weeks! We also asked ward members to pray for us to stay together-- most of them admitted to us that they already have been. Haha. Did I mention I love Peachwood ward? Our zone got destroyed. All the other companionships, all 15 of them has a companion leaving. Heavenly Father truly knows us and the desires of our hearts. Elder Mo'o and I jumped up and down hugging each other (as manly + dignified as we can) when the call-in came and said we were staying in Peachwood. We are going to light his place up! :) There are people prepared specifically for this companionship. Heavenly Father kept us together for a reason. The relationship of trainer/trainee is gone. We are yoked ewually as missionaries fully prepared and trained for what the Lord has for the both of us. The fire is back -- lets light Peachwood up!

Christmas was awesome! Skyping la familia was very refreshing and saddening as time ran out. To add on to the list of "the hardest things I've had to do on a mission" is clicking the "end call" button after only 40 minutes of talking to them. Gosh, I love my family. And I miss them, but I know that Heavenly Father is blessing them for the service and sacrifice I have willingly given. Here's a couple pictures of my Christmas... Haha

Elder Mo'o and I got in our first bicycle accident/crash. He went over his handlebars and I went over the right side of my bike with the bike landing on me. We're okay. Actually we got up and the first thing we did was look around to make sure everyone was okay and made sure no one was video taping us. How blessed we were. 1. Our bikes are okay. 2. No rips on our clothing from grinding on the pavement. 3. No injuries. We laughed about it later on, and actually right after we got in the crash. If you want to know what happened e-mail or write me asking. I don't want the public to know since all my e-mails home end up in the blog. Hahah

Love you all!

Choose This Day

22 December 2014

Merry Christmas dear friends and family

I have pondered about what I can do differently, change, do/give more of (or perhaps less of as in 'bury a weapon of rebellion') in order to more fully participate in and keep pace, to be a force for good, and a contributing factor to the Lord. I have struggled greatly with faith and motivation as I have been out here. I notice on days when I doubt it is difficult to get motivated and I allow such thoughts and feelings to dictate the day. One prayer can truly change an attitude, but it has to be sincere. This is Heavenly Father's work, and missionaries are His instruments. I need to have faith that if we are being exactly obedient and working diligently that He will bless us and the people that we serve to "hasten His work." 

I can trust more wholeheartedly in the Lord. Make a game plan for the day but if things fall through I can move forward in faith and as Nephi, "be led by the spirit not knowing beforehand, the things which I should do." I can change my attitude. I can trust that Heavenly Father knows me and truly believe it. Even though I have my weaknesses He promises to "make weak things to become strong" and that he "calls the weak things of the world". I can give up or "bury a weapon of rebellion" such as my pride and wanting to do lessons my way, it is never my work. I do not want to become jaded out here. To be more faithful and more humble is how I can keep pace with the Lord as He hastens His work. I need to trust in His plan for this area, for me and my companion.

Elder Bednar has said: "If we always do what we've always done then we'll always get what we've always gotten." He then went on to ask a question: "Will we keep pace with the Lord as He hastens His work or will we insist on doing things the way they have always been done, or the ways we are accustomed to or comfortable with?" 

We cannot grow in the comfort zone. I promise you that if you step out of the box harder things today, will become easier the next day if you choose to serve the Lord this day. Just keep swimming as Dori says. In fact here's a cool experience: So I am the worst at directions, I'm coming up to the end of my training (12 weeks) and I still cant find my way around most places... or so I thought: Last Wednesday I exchanged with another Elder who is fairly new and he was coming to my area. Our entire week had appointments lined up except for this one day. So here's the scenario: Zero appointments, we have no idea where we are going, and a new Elder. I prayed so hard the night before. As the exchange happened I confidently exclaimed that today "will be our busiest and most rewarding day on our mission!" I knew that if we put our trust in the Lord doubting nothing that miracles will proceed. We returned to our home at the end of the day having visited 15 families and individuals and setting even more appointments for the following week. We also rode our bikes around town without getting lost, in fact we pulled out our handy trusty map just once (the house we were looking for turned out to be on the next street over) and my companion of the day said, "Thank you Elder Jalla for reigniting the fire in this missionary's heart." I replied, "It was never me nor ever will it be about me." but thanked him nonetheless. :) We talked about how awesome missionary work is and how Heavenly Father is ever in the details of our lives. 

This work is true and it is the greatest work ever! And whether you wear a badge or not you can be a part of it! Choose this day whom you will serve. Do not withhold blessings that are just waiting to be poured out upon you. Complacency and discouragement comes when you stay in the comfort zone. Be of good cheer my dear friends and family. The Lord is ever mindful and watchful of you. 

Merry Christmas everyone! I wanted to write a Christmas e-mail but I realized I did that last week :) 

If anyone wants to know what to get me for Christmas here's my list:
1. Commit to read the Book of Mormon with a focus in mind. This time around will be "Remembrance" for my read through
2. Write me! I want to know how you are doing! Yes, this is to you! (For those that have already written me---I LOVE YOU, keep em comin') Haha jk. 
3. I would like some pens... I lost my pens, one kid ate my pen... LOL it was funny, and my other pens ran out of ink. Ball point pleaseeeee

I am just joking. You don't have to give me anything. Just enjoy this Christmas season and that will be enough for me. I truly miss and love you all. May you ever remember that there is One who will and does love you more than you can possibly comprehend or imagine and it is Him in whom we celebrate this holiday season. 

Your eternal brother and fellow missionary,
Elder Jalla

Peachwood Ward Youth Decorated Their Apartment

The One That's Christmas-Themed

These are various pictures from the Christmas Season courtesy of Elder Jalla, Elder Mo'o and their zone.

They Built A Manger

Their Zone Received Christmas Scarves

Our zone is way hot. 

Companionship unity right here!

Have Yourself A Very GQ Christmas

... Courtesy of Elder Jalla and Elder Mo'o. Featuring: Cardigans, Christmas trees, garlands, and lights. Brought to you... mostly by selfies. (^_^)

The Spirit of Christ This Christmas Season

08 December 2014

Dear friends and family,

http://www.mormon.org/christmas. Watch and or share this video with at least one person this week. Even if you think you've shared it with everyone possible, go out of your way and pray for an opportunity to bring the spirit of Christ into someone's life today.

This week has been a learning experience. It was a week of rest and meetings and most importantly the temple.

REST - Missionary work is hard work. We are allotted a 20 minute nap if we have enough time during our lunch. Trust me, I have taken those precious 20 minutes each day--- I am exhausted. I have never been this worn out spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally so when there is down time you best believe I take it. Haha, but on a more serious note, as I was laying on my bed my mind was brought to a remembrance of our Savior. His travails from Gethsemane to Calvary allotted him no respite from the pains and afflictions that he willingly suffered through for our sake and our salvation. Yes, he was inexhaustibly tired--- but he knew that countless of lives were in his hands. His mission was that of his Father's, "To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." And so is mine, and yours, and everyone's. We are to assist in the work in whatever measure of strength we can muster. Indeed, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength. I wanted so badly to close my eyes and rest, but I realized at that moment that for only 2 years I am a literal representative of Christ and I can rest for hours on end later... when my layover flight back home is delayed after giving it my all as a missionary of Jesus Christ!

MEETINGS - Zone meeting and zone conference. Yeah, it was awesome! We all received presents! I was super happy that we all got books... unfortunately it was a book that I read right before I came out on my mission. But I am grateful for the opportunity to read it again :) Believing Christ. Aw, I think that is one of the few books that actually made me cry. Read it if you haven't yet! We learned in zone conference that if we continue to do what is already done we will always get the same results. Okay, I butchered that quote, but basically we need to switch it up. We have a goal in the Fresno California Mission, the "Strength of a 1,000" And we will reach it!

TEMPLE - I love the temple. I can't describe in words the true peace and happiness you feel when you are in the hallowed halls. For 2 hours I was able to feel weightless and focused on what mattered the most to me. My relationship with my Heavenly Father and giving him all my burdens truly brought a sense of love and comfort into me. I was empowered and re-energized to go out unto all nations and peoples to proclaim the gospel with it's saving doctrine and ordinances. Baptism is a great start but the temple is where we want those who come out of the water to set their eyes on and one day enter into. 

Truth: I hit a really big roadblock this week. I got down on my knees in sheer frustration and disappointment. I wanted to go home and asked God if it is okay... my answer was something I did not expect: "Yes, it is okay... but Ineed you. You have promised me your all, and there is so much more that I can give if you but hold on. Please, stay with me. Your hurting, but it is for a small moment my son. Forget yourself and get to work."

This mission is not for me. It was never for me. Families of missionaries are blessed. So if for no one else I am doing this for my family-- my current one and my future one. For ones that are formed through them coming to know of the divinity and truthfulness of the gospel. If for no other reason, I am doing this for my eternal family, for my elder brother and friend Jesus Christ. Of all the things he could have asked of us all that he asks is a willing heart and a contrite spirit. Everything else falls in because when we open our eyes and hearts to what matters most we realize that this life is a time to prepare to know God and follow in His Son's footsteps. I am going to love my mission. I am going to because my mission is an extension of my love for my family--past, present, and future. 

"Some people feel the rain, others merely get wet." Feel the rain, enjoy the hard times because we are promised lasting happiness and peace in knowing that all is and will be well. 

I love you. I pray for you. I hope to see you one day when all is said and done.
Your eternal friend, brother, and fellow missionary,
Elder Jalla

With the Zone Leaders

Zone temple trip

Rain and Rainbows

"Some people feel the rain, others just get wet." 
Enjoy the rain because sights like these remind us of God's love.

the rainbow is the sign of the covenant. God showed the rainbow to Noah as a promise that He will never flood the earth again. cool eh?

my companion took a picture of me as I tried to get my camera back. lol

The 49ers

The family they're staying with bought them these sweet 49ers shirts. 

The One With All the Poly Elders, A Christmas Tree, and a Day with the District Leader

Poly Elders!

A day with the District Leader

The One Where They Went to Yosemite

During Week 6 or 7 of their transfer together, the Elders went to Yosemite National Park. Here are some awesome pictures he sent.

"Yosemite candid that I absolutely love!" -Elder Jalla 
1st picture. We hiked to the top of that waterfall. Insane yah? No pictures because camera would have gotten wet. Didnt want it to break.