Monday, December 28, 2015

¡Hola amigos!

¡Hola amigos!

I know I wrote home Saturday, but some other really great things have
happened since then!

I got to Skype home to my family! I really loved being able to talk to
each of them. I know that God loves us and I felt His love and Spirit
as I spoke with them. We all cried a bit and I felt more peace
afterward. I can`t wait to see them again in May, but as my Dad said,
until then I will try to focus more on the people I am serving. My
family will be there when I get back. That is happy to me!

On Christmas, I got to have my first asado, which is the Argentine
equivalent of BBQ. My companion cooked the meat and did a pretty good
job. We cooked it out on the church soccer field. There may or may not
be burnt holes in the grass now ;). There was a lot of meat though,
probably too much.
My companion cooking asado.

Saturday, our branch had a fun mini nativity where members of the
branch dressed up as Christmas characters. One of our investigators
came to the activity, which was really exciting!
Characters from the activity. The branch president is the shepard in brown.
All of the characters from the branch activity.

The next day, we woke up and there was a bird in our pension! We
didn`t have any windows open, but there are two small holes that it
must have gone through. It made it out safely.
The House Sparrow that got stuck in our pension. Poor girl!

The work is going very well. My companion and I improve together each
day. We are focusing on finding more people that God has prepared to
hear His word. We seek the guidance of the spirit to know what God
wants us to do. I know that this is God`s work and I am so excited to
be a part of it. I am happy to share the joy of the teachings of Jesus
Christ with God`s children and share the joy my family has

I invite each of you to share something important to you with a
friend. This could be a scripture, a teaching of Christ, an experience
that has been a blessing in your life, or a picture that represents a
blessing in your life. I am learning that we don`t have to step
outside of ourselves to share Christ`s gospel. We share what is
important to us that we know will bless our friends. Share as if you
were talking to a sibling or someone close to you. I promise that in
sharing, you will have greater joy and happiness.

Until next week! Make memories; your life is from God, and He gives
you freedom to be happy through the Atonement of Christ! Act, do not
be acted upon.

¡Nos vemos!
Elder Cloward

Friday, December 25, 2015

¡Feliz Navidad!

Merry Christmas everyone! We have had another two weeks of much learning and many miracles.

First, some of the fun stuff. I bought some indoor "slippers" (Toms, I think they are called), or traditional Argentinian shoes for less than $8. I also got a potato peeler, which is so nice because before, I had to use a knife.

New Shoes

We have learned that whenever we get lost (sometimes even when we have the map) it is for a reason. One day, we were going to a specific investigator's home and some how passed it by 6 or 7 streets. We walked back by another way and saw another investigator that we had met a few days previous. We ended up setting up a member lesson with her (a lesson with a member of the church involved), which was amazing because it was our first set member lesson and both the member and the investigator were available at the same time the following day. God works through small miracles. Another day, we accidentally passed someone we had intended to teach and ended up teaching a different investigator who has relatives in the church and is more likely to receive Jesus Christ's teachings. We make plans for every day, but sometimes God uses our talent for getting lost to accomplish His purposes. It is both funny and humbling; a powerful testimony that this is His work, not ours.

Oops, I should probably get our of the road. However there is a siesta in Argentina that lasts for several ours in the middle of the day, otherwise, it would be really busy. Also, 9:00PM is the normal time for dinner. Pretty crazy!

This week was also a week of practice and listening. My Spanish is improving, though always much slower than I wish. I am able to teach more parts of the lessons now and Elder Takapu let me take charge of one of our lessons. I taught what I thought was an excellent lesson and shared my testimony. Then the lady we were teaching turned to my companion and said something to the effect of: "I don't understand him. What is he saying?" This is harder than I thought... I can understand a lot more than I can say at this point and just need more practice. I practice frequently with my companion and learn through the spirit every time. I am learning what it means to teach a lesson (bad), and teach through conversation with an investigator (very good). That's why in Spanish, we call it a charla (or chat) because we learn so much more through conversation than through lectures.

Buying Meat for the Asado. Mmmm!

The people in Argentina love to talk! And sometimes we can't get them to stop talking. It's great because we get to know who they are really well, but frustrating sometimes because we can't say anything back and have to interrupt them constantly if we want to say anything and cut them short when we have to leave. Its great practice for listening to Spanish, but I don't get many opportunities to speak. I know that God will help us in our individual trials. He knows each of us personally and wants to helps us. We just have to show Him that we are willing to work hard for His help.

Where we buy eggs and vegetables.

Christmas is a little different here, especially because it is so hot. Fortunately there have been a lot of clouds so it's only in the upper 80's. Last night, I couldn't sleep because there were so many fireworks right above our pension and it got really hot because the power went out in the city. Many stores and homes have small decorations, but as for Christmas traditions, I have heard that it is a special day to be with family, eat food, and watch a movie. As for whether there are many presents given, I'm not sure.

Our district and the zone leaders.

I am well and happy! On this special day, I get to talk to my family through Skype, which is really special because I only get to do that on Christmas and mother`s day. My parents will probably write how that goes below. I love my family and know that they are a blessing from God. My goal as a missionary is to share the happiness I have in my family with the people of Argentina so they can have this great joy in their lives as well.

My favorite bird here. It looks like a dinosaur and sounds so cool!

An Astronomy center in Villa Angela.

Cicada- yes, they are here too and as loud as ever.

Breakfast for the Zone. My companion is a great cook!

I know that Jesus Christ lives! He loves us and died for us so that we can change, repent, and return to live with our Heavenly Father again. I love them so much. I know that if we follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, we will live with our families with God forever!

You all are awesome!
Elder Cloward

Thursday, December 17, 2015


¡Hola amigos!

What a week! My companion and I grew so much. God has blessed us many times to find the people who are ready to receive our message. I have discovered countless times my weaknesses, but God has made everything work out.

Every day at night, missionaries set goals and make plans for the following day. My companion and I made plans every day this week. However, almost none of our days actually go to plan. Some days, nearly all appointments fall through and absolutely nothing goes to plan. That happened a lot this week. One day, my companion and I ran our of ideas for who to help because no one was available. We decided to pray to ask God what he wanted us to do. We prayed once, without any ideas of what to do, and didn't receive an answer. We realized then, that in order for God to help us, we had to first put forth some effort and think of some ideas for Him to chose from. We prayed again with ideas in mind. We didn't receive a definite answer, but God did send His peace. I know he was pleased with our efforts and was happy that we prayed. We just started walking and God led us to a family we had taught, but couldn't find again. God works many small miracles like this that are mighty, but easy to pass over. When we receive blessings like this, we should always pray and thank God. There were a lot of thank you prayers this week.

My companion on a dirt road.

My companion and I have half of the city of Villa Angela to help. That is huge! One night, I just felt so overwhelmed by the task. I told my companion, "we are so imperfect, yet God trusts us with all of these people." Though we are far from perfect, we are giving our all and God is with us.
God's help is evident in our work. There are some children that we have passed by many days who like to try to speak English back at us. "Hello!" they say. Once one of them shouted, "my name is Lukas!" Through conversation as we passed by in our work, we befriended them. One day, my companion and I decided to actually visit with them and their parents. That same day, we had received a reference for a family nearby. We decided to contact that family and went to ask the kids where the family lived. Before we asked, they invited us into their home and we quickly learned that the reference, and the family in front of us were the same! They are an amazing family. They have 14 year old and 8 year old boys and a 12 year old girl. We taught them that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth, that Joseph Smith prayed to know which church was true. When I taught that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father, the Holy Ghost confirmed powerfully the message I was sharing. Afterward, we invited them to read the Book of Mormon, evidence that Joseph Smith was called as a prophet, that Jesus Christ lives, and that the gospel is restored. The whole family listened intently and accepted our invitation to read the book and pray about it. We learned that they were searching for jobs. I got to talk with the children, who were really excited to talk to me and learn more. I then showed them a toy my family gave me, that you drop and it bounces over your head. They loved it so much! They immediately asked, "how much is it?" We'll have to see, but I may just give it to them. Every time we pass, the youngest runs up to me to ask to play with the toy! We passed by later, and the father of the home now has a job! We look forward to visiting them again.

Main street.
Sunday was a really special day for me. My companion and I gave talks in sacrament meeting and I taught about the Holy Ghost. I felt the Holy Ghost as I spoke. The joyous feeling of they Holy Spirit is priceless. We were fasting that day that our investigators would come to church, but it rained that morning, and hardly any of the members even came. This is a sad thing that happens here. Even still, I had a very spiritual experience. I remembered again why I was serving a mission and how I want to help everyone to feel Gods love. It is empowering to have a purpose you know you can achieve!
Our pensión.
Many other small miracles happened this week that I don't have time to relate. Many of them included being in the right place at to right minute to see specific people who were out and about. We taught a lesson to two drunk men, something I never could have seen myself doing before my mission, and may have even convinced one of them not to commit suicide. I still cant speak Spanish very well, but God did use what little I do know to share a scripture, 3 Nephi 17:6-7. Jesus invites all who are afflicted in any manner to come to him and he will heal them. I invite each of you to come to Christ with your own afflictions, willing to do whatever He asks and I promise as He promises, that He will heal you. He is filled with compassion.

¡Hasta luego!
Elder Cloward

I probably wont email next week because I get to Skype my family on Christmas. Hurray!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

First Week in Argentina

¡Hola amigos!

I am in Argentina! It is amazing here! I have a lot to say.

I left the United States last Monday. We went to the airport at 8:30AM and got to call home. How happy it was to talk to my Mother and sister again! I can't wait to Skype home for Christmas! We then went on an airplane to Atlanta. It was really weird being outside of the MTC talking to people that werent members of our church. I was the only one going to Resistencia Argentina, but there were about 23 of us in total going to Argentina. I got to invite serveral people to learn more about my mission on the way. Right before I got on the airplane to Argentina, I called most of my family members. At about 9:20PM we left on the plane. Wow! I got to sit next to a Lady who was searching for a job and was taking vacation in between. I loved talking to her and knowing that really good people were also going where I was going. I hope she will pray about what job to get as I was prompted to ask her.

Buenos Aires

We got through security and I met a stake counselor of Buenos Aires that took me to a church building to wait for my flight to Resistencia. I missed saying goodbye to my MTC friends, but I'm sure I'll see them again.

I got to meet a missionary that was finishing his mission the same day I came. He was really friendly and he and another lady took me for a walk around the city. Everything is so different here! The buildings are tall and old looking and the trees are exotic. We bought a buffet lunch and shortly after, I went to the airport again. I met up with two other new missionaries, one from Chile, one from Argentina.

The other two new missionaries and me
That's when I realized, I cant speak Spanish. I couldnt understand anything they were saying! While we waited in the airport, they tried to teach me new words in Spanish. It was really hard and fun. We arived in Resistencia late. The mission president, his wife, and his Assistance were there waiting and smiling. I was so excited!

Sister Franco, Mission President Franco, Me, and My Awesome Companion Elder Tacapu
They took us to a hotel and we slept. We woke up and had a really small breakfast, which is common here. We then went to the mission office and received some training in Spanish (I hope it wasn't too important ;) ) and I got to meet my knew companion! His name is Elder Tacapu. He is from the United States and his family has a Tongan origin. I'm so glad he speaks English. He is an amazing teacher for me and for each person we meet. He is very brave and already, we are very good friends.

A hamburger with fried egg. Strange but tasty!
We had lunch and I got to meet some of the really great missionaries of the mission. We sang a little and waited for a bus to take us to our area in Villa Angela (So much traveling!)

Our Zone
Well, enough history. I'm here now in this beautiful city serving the people here. We have a pension with a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and clothes room, a lot of space!

Home Sweet Home (Kitchen)
Little things, like how different the keys are, the sidewalk, and crazy traffic remind me how different this place is. We get to wash our clothes by hand in buckets and cook our own food, two things I have never done before. My companion and I mastered an hashbrown recipe, but it takes about an hour to cook.

Failed Hashbrowns (we realized to late we had to drain out the potato juice first. We figured it out for lunch today, but it takes way to long to make them. Still tasty!)
Hot dog spaghetti
My Spanish is developing rapidly, though I don't have to use it as much because my companion and I often speak English together. Yesterday, the branch president (the leader of the church in our area) asked us to share our testimonies and both my companion and I shared scripures and our excitement to serve the branch. God blessed me a lot! I didn't struggle with the words, they were given to me. Given to me by God. Wow!

Bird in Buenos Aires
Our branch is really great. Its really small though - maybe 50 members max. In Elders quorum meeting (meeting for men 18+), there where only 6 of us, including my companion and me. On Saturday, we had a service project cleaning a nearby clinic and we got to meet a lot of cool people. I cant wait to help each of them!

One family we have already grown close to is la familia Esquivel. They have two daughters, Brenda (12) and Aby (5?). Brenda asked me on Sunday when we were comming back. She loved having us over. We learned that Hermano Esquivel is less active. For about an hour, he told us his story, which I didnt understand very well. My companion and I then shared a scripture with him. We bore our testimonies to him of the importance of church attendance. I then pulled a picture of my family out and showed to him and his wife.

I explained how much we loved each other and how church attendance has blessed us. As we spoke to him, he began to change. He accepted our invitation and went to church this week! Latter, my companion told me how much of a miracle it was. He hasn't been to church in 12 years. I am so grateful for Gods miracles. I know that miracles are real because many other miracles occurred this week.

Bird in Resistencia
Cardinal In Villa Angela

Saturday, December 5, 2015

First Letter from Argentina

I am now in Resistencia!  Yesterday was really crazy.  We made it to the Buenos Aires airport in the morning and found some church representatives.  I left with one of them before I could say good bye to my friends.  That was hard.  We were suddenly in a different world.  The trees are very different here and the birds are even more so.  Wow!

We went to church headquarters where I met Elder Briceno who was going home from Resistencia.  He and another lady took me on a walk through the city and we got a buffet lunch.  At about 4:30, I left for the airport to go to Resistencia and met Elder Rossi and Sister Agilera, two other new missionaries going to Resistencia.  That's when I really realized I can't speak Spanish!  I can't tell what they are saying at all!  Elder Rossi is from Argentina.  He has been helping me learn.  If Ever I didn't know what he was saying, he would explain himself until I understood.  He has been so helpful!  We made it to Resistencia late at night, met President Franco, who is so nice, and the president's assistants took Elder Rossi and me to a hotel.  I was so tired, I slept just fine.

A lot of things are different here and I feel kind of helpless.  I recognize now that I need God's help even more than before.  I have to listen harder, pray harder, and work harder.  I play now that I can have the spirit with me always.

I hope all is well at home and that you are happy.  I will email you next week.  I have faith God will bless my Spanish because all I want to do is help other people.

        Elder Cloward

P.S.  It's funny to learn a new language because I'm starting to forget some words in English.  Oh dear!

Letter From The Mission President

Dear Cloward Family,

Sister Franco and I are pleased to inform you that Elder Cloward arrived in La Gran Misión Argentina Resistencia last evening.  We welcomed him to the mission, ate dinner, and let him rest. Today we had a small briefing of the fun facts and necessary information about the mission.  After that he met his new companion, Elder Takapu, and they headed off for their area called Villa Angela I in the province of Chaco.

A mission is a wonderful experience filled with challenges and successes that strengthens the testimony of each missionary.  A great support that you as a family can give your son during his mission is uplifting letters.  In addition to using email, you can send letters to the office address:

Élder Matthew Elijah Cloward
Misión Argentina Resistencia
Entre Ríos 435
Resistencia Chaco CP 3500

 You may also send letters (and only letters taped shut; no envelopes) via the ¨pouch¨:
                                                               Élder Matthew Elijah Cloward
                                                               Misión Argentina Resistencia
                                                               POB 30150
                                                               Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150

It will be our privilege to work closely with Elder Cloward here in Argentina.  We are blessed to have him join us in this mission to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Thank you for sharing your son with us. 


President Rodolfo C. Franco
Misión Argentina Resistencia