Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Last Week!

¡Hola a todos!

This is my last week in Argentina. It´s a mix of emotions knowing that I will see my family after two years and recalling all of the people I met and served here. I´m not who I thought I would be, but I´ve changed so much that I can´t really recal who I was two years ago. We spent a part of today buying some last minute treats to share with my family and I´ll be packing up all of the suveniers I´ve collected. However, the most valuable thing I take home with my will be my testimony.  I know that families are for forever! This past Saturday, we got to help with another Capilla Abierta and Elder Roberts and I got to present the pamphlet about family history. I felt the spirit talking through me: "this is my favorite part about the church because it means that my family can be together forever. It has everything to do with who I am and where I´m going." We invited all of them to start learning about their ancestors and to prepare for the temple.
Diego came to church for the first time! He really liked it!

I also know that the atonement of Jesus Christ is real. Jesus suffered, died, and rose again. Because of Him, all of us will be resurrected after we die. According to our diligence and repentance, we will be able to live with God again in our families. I have felt the peace of repentance and I know that God forgives me when I change.
I know that  the Book of Mormon is true and that the fullness of the gospel was resored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know because I read the Book of Mormon, considered it´s message, and asked God, multiple times, if it is true. Though I have to wait paciently every time, He answers through a peace that I feel. He has answered many of the prayers of the people I have visited. He answered Valeria this past week!

Missionaries preparing for the Capilla Abierta In Quitilipi. Lunch was delicious!
I know that President Monson is a prophet. I feel the peace of the Holy Ghost as I listen to his words.
I am super excited to continue with these amazing truths into the world. There is so much still left to learn and so many more people to serve. I am excited to go out and do it!

This week, I have an invitation with a scripture. In the Book of Mormon, there was a king´s servant named Abish. One day, a missionary came an preached to her king and queen. Abish had already "been converted unto the Lord for many years, on account of a remarkable vision of her father" but had not yet "made it known"(Alma 19:16-17). Once she saw the incredible miracles happening in the lives of the king and queen, she ran out into the streets inviting everyone to come and see. God doesn´t always ask us to go door to door talking to everyone, but we can follow a similar pattern. First, we must become converted. This is a constant process, not just an event. I invite you to study the scriptures and pray daily to continue the process of conversion. As you do, look for oportunities to invite others to come and see (John 1:39). Invite them to activities and to learn more. Invite them to become converted too! As you do, you will come to know God more and more and you will find greater peace in your life.

See you soon!
Elder Cloward

The Conradi family. Hermano Conradi is the District President.




Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Good Job

¡Hola!

The work has been a little slow this week, but Gustavo is still progressing. He accepted a baptismal date and we´re looking forward to visiting him tonight. He just seems to understand more than others that we are visiting not just to share nice stories, but to help him change and prepare for baptism.

We´re in Las Breñas!
We had a really great field trip this week that turned out to be a miracle. This past Saturday, we were asked to spend the day in Las Breñas (about 2 hours away) to help with a Capilla Abierta. We got to dress in white and teach about baptism and the Holy Ghost. In the second session, a family I had met two years ago in divisions, entered the room (see my letter from 1/25/16). I was so excited to see them! What was even more special, the whole family remembered me and my very short visit to them that long ago. It was so amazing to know that I had been able to create that kind of an impact on someone. It was God´s way of telling me "you have done many good things on your mission. Good job." 

Capilla Abierta with the Enriquez family.
I am so grateful for this opportunity God has given me to serve Him and His children. I know I could never repay Him for all He has done for me, but I am so grateful to be able to grow and find joy in this service. I know God lives. He is real and He loves us. I know that families are forever. Jesus died for us and lives again. We will all live again after this life. Through our diligence and the Grace of Jesus, we can all live with God again.

I invite each of you this week to share your testimony with someone and strengthen them with your experiences and words. As you do, you will feel God working through you and your testimony will increase.

¡Que tenga una semana feliz!
Elder Cloward


Eating out at Pizza Libre.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Asado and Repentance

¡Hola todos!

This week, we found several new potential families to teach. It´s such a wonderful experience to find someone new. You walk up to person(s), not knowing beforehand what you will say. You are constantly aware that what you say may influence whether or not they choose to learn more about the message. With many people, you can tell almost instantly that they don´t want to change their lives. But with a few, they accept to learn more and it brings a happy feeling. The really hard part is working with them and inviting them to change. They don´t know what they are missing until we invite them to come to Christ. Each of them has unique needs and interests and it´s impossible to help them with out the help of the Holy Ghost. He helps us to say exactly what every person needs.

A little bit of Argentina.
In one such encounter, a lady asked me why I was serving in a mission. I remember always wanting to, but not knowing when I would send in my mission papers. As I prayed, God answered me in a very personal way that I had to go right away. I know that God wants me here right now!

Valeria, one of the investigators here is slowly obtaining her testimony. She seems to know that the Book of Mormon is true, but she doesn´t know it yet. We´ve been visiting her in the house of the Ayala family, a couple of two return missionaries. The lessons with her are so great! Please pray for Valeria.

Today, we made asado (Argentine BBQ) with Hermano Ayala. He taught us a super easy way to start the fire and how to make a super delicious condiment on top. It was really tasty!

That looks tasty!
Asado with Hermano Ayala.
More than anything, I learned this week about humility and repentance. Our mission as missionaries is preach repentance and baptize converts. Elder Roberts and I realized that if we don´t know very well for ourselves how to repent, it is difficult to teach others. Repentance is more than just changing our behaviors, it´s changing our desires and our will, who we are. For example, we found that just reading the Book of Mormon doesn´t changing anyone, it´s applying the words to oneself, asking God if it´s true, and seeking for truth, that makes the change. I invite each of you to ponder a weakness you have and with God´s help, make plans to change not just your behavior, but your desire. As you will, the change you make will be eternal and you will grow closer to God. You will come on know Him better.

¡Que tenga una semana feliz!
Elder Cloward




Monday, August 28, 2017

Gratitud- Busque las Cosas Pequeñas

¡Hola todos!

Today, we went to the Saenz Peña zoo! It was really fun to see lions, bears, tigers and a hole bunch of birds. We basically had the whole zoo to ourselves because we went during lunch time.

Lots of water
That´s a big tiger!
Us enjoying the tigers.
It´s a tucan! It was really colorful and made clicking sounds with it´s beak.
We are teaching a lot of great investigators. This past Sunday, five of them came to church and they all enjoyed it. The members really helped sitting with all of them and helping them feel welcome. We focused this week on really trying to understand who the investigators are, what they hope for the future, and helping them see how we can help them. Valeria is still reading and looking for her answer to know that it is true. Cristian is also reading and praying. A recent convert came with us for the first time to visit another young man named Gustavo. There is a bunch of work happening and it is great!

A lot of investigators are finding their biggest obstacles and we get to help them overcome them. That is really hard, but so exciting when they move past them and become truly converted. I really hope that happens within the four weeks I have left, but mostly I want to be able to say that I did everything to help them. I hope that all of them can get baptized in the future!

I know that God lives! He loves us! He wants us to succeed. Many times God helps us in ways so small, but so profound that it is difficult to see them. I saw many of those little things this week. I would invite each of you, especially if you feel overwhelmed, to each day of the week find at least one thing that God has done to help you and thank Him in your prayers. You will probably find that the list is much more extensive than you thought! Be grateful and you will find greater peace and happiness.

¡Que tenga una semana feliz!
Elder Cloward





Monday, August 21, 2017

Talents

¡Hola todos!

This week, we had the branch activity. A bunch of people came and we had churri-pan, basically sausages in bread, and Elder Roberts and I presented a video demonstrating the unity of the missionaries with a member family of the church. I love this video because it shows that this is not the missionary´s work, but our work together. The missionaries are always happy to help the members of the church with their service, whether it be giving advice, or teaching a friend with them. "Ask the missionaries! They can help you!"

We found some great new families too. One is a young mother of three who heard the missionaries over 5 years ago. God led us to her door. She accepted a baptismal date and seems really ready to accept more in her life. When we invited her to church, she sad "I´m bring my husband too! It will be good for both of us." We are excited for them.

Gregorio and Marilin are doing great too and already know that the Book of Mormon is true.They still have a lot of challenges to overcome before they can get baptized, but we recently introduced them to a member family here. They love it when we pass by.

Valeria is an investigator that we have been teaching ever since I got to Saenz Peña. She´s started to read a lot in the Book of Mormon and she went to church once. We've introduced her to so many of the members already and she went to the branch activity. She just needs to ask God to know if the Book of Mormon is true and we are excited for her to receive her answer. Please pray for her too!

Every week is a new battle, but every time I say a prayer asking that God will help me focus and be patient, He sends a peace and a resolve to do my best. I know that everything will be okay as I continue to love Him and His children with all that I am and have. He has given me distinct experiences and talents to do His work and I am a unique and special tool in His hands. As I continue to encounter new situations and experiences, I can help even more people come closer to God. This week, I invite each of you to use one of your unique talents to invite someone else to come closer to God. As you do, you will find greater joy in your gifts and a stronger testimony that God is your father.

¡Que tenga una semana feliz!
Elder Cloward

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Be Bold!

¡Hola!

It`s my last transfer and I am staying here in Saenz Peña in the Obrero branch with Elder Roberts. We are happy to be together and excited to serve!

This week was really hard, but very rewarding. We are talking to a lot of people, but not very many people are interested. The progress of the investigators has been slow too. It has been a time of much inner reflection. Each day we have made huge changes. I have recognized at a new level the need to see things positively. One´s point of view changes drastically one´s ability to handle a situation. As I remember that this is God´s work and trust and love Him, I am able to love His children even more, listen to, and help them according to their needs. 

Sometimes I feel that I have had to look harder for God, but He is always there. There were several times during the week when I felt the Holy Ghost quietly confirming the truth of what I was teaching. Many of the people we teach have felt it too and that is the most exciting. For example, we have been teaching Gregorio and Marilin, an really amazing and open couple. They both know that what we are teaching is true because they have asked God and received a confirmation. They still have a lot of obstacles to come, but we are really excited for them! I love God! Though many challenging things happen and I don`t understand everything, I will trust in Him.

Be bold! No one can receive the blessings of the gospel if they aren´t invited to receive them. As you open your mouth not to please, but to invite others to learn more about the restoration of the gospel, they will be able to choose for themselves to receive more blessings. I invite all of you to invite with courage your friends to learn more about the gospel. This is eternal life we are talking about! They can choose it as you invite them. As you do, you will find greater courange in your lives and feel even more that God is helping you in all of your endevors.
Have a happy week!
Elder Cloward
We forgot to take pictures this week. Tomorrow, we have a big lunch with all of the branch, so there will be pictures next week.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Your Efforts Are Never Wasted

¡Hola!

This week, I focused on my testimony of the Book of Mormon. Elder Roberts and I quickly recognized the need to have a firm testimony of the book, especially after talking to another religious leader. The Book of Mormon and the accompanying witness of the Holy Ghost that it is true are esencial to know that God restored His truth through the prophet Joseph Smith. It was really great to make a short list of some of the scriptures that have helped me to become who I am and bring me closer to God. The list of scriptures included scriptures about the atonement of Jesus Christ (Alma 7:11-13), the time between death and the resurrection (Alma 40:11-12), faith and trials (Ether 12:27), and paciente in the face of trials (Alma 17:9-11). I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and can say with greater surety that I know that it is true.

We had some really amazing experiences in which the investigators we were teaching received their own personal witnesses that what we are teaching is true. It was so happy to see them find more light and advance on the path to God. Two of them are Gregorio and Marilin, a young couple we have been teaching for three weeks now. I was so happy when Gregorio told us that he prayed and received his answer that the Book of Mormon is true. Marilin also shared a story in which our prayers for her were answered.

On the other hand, we also saw many investigators lose interest and a couple tried to give the Book of Mormon back to us. That is such a sad experience, because they reject more blessings before they have even tried them. Not all or even very many people get baptized after the first contact with the church and it is important to remember that these efforts are not lost, but that they can lead to future baptisms. For example, the first sister I helped get baptized in my mission had heard missionaries 20 years ago and only after did she choose to be baptized. Her baptism lead to the baptism of several of her grandchildren and last I heard, one of them just recently went to the temple for the first time. Do not fear inviting others to learn about the gospel. It is more likely to have a greater impact than you think!

I invite each of you this week to reach out in a simple way to share a part of the gospel that has helped you with a friend or acquaintance. You can do this through a number of ways: through social media, a short note, or talking with them. As you are inspired, invite them to listen to the missionaries! I promise that as you do, you will strengthen your testimony in that aspect of the gospel. Your efforts are never wasted.

¡Que sigan ayudando a los demás a tener felices semanas!
Elder Cloward

The owner of our pension and his family gave us some Argentine plants to try. We made a salid of brucula (I still don´t know what it is) and rebanete (radish) and boiled some batata (it´s like sweet potato, but not as sweet). It was good except that we put too much oil and vinagre in the salid!