Thursday, December 1, 2016

Baptism of Maira and Yanel

Hola todos!

We are super happy today. On Saturday, Maira and Yanel got baptized. They were super happy, especially Maira who was running all over the place with excitement. She told me several times, "today is my baptism!" She is only 8, and perhaps doesn't know perfectly what her baptism means, but she sure recognizes how special it is.
Afterward, we had a lunch with the branch and everyone brought a little food to share. We brought a super delicious cake we made. It was an incredible success, not only physically, but spiritually.

Maira and Yanel´s baptism! We are so happy for them!
Laura helped Yanel and Maira a lot in their decision. She is about to go on a mission too.
The next day it rained really hard and hardly anyone came to church. We were worried that Yanel and Maira wouldn't be able to be confirmed and receive the Holy Ghost until next week. We decided to call them and call a taxi to go pick them up. Laura (20) went to look for them and they all made it to church, even though they were an hour late. The four of us missionaries gave the talks, and though there were few present, the spirit filled in all of the empty spaces! What happiness!

Laura and Yanel
Today we went to the costanera (river shore) and ate lunch there. We had a blast going to the small museum on the river (it was a museum boat) and taking pictures.
We went to the river today. It was beautiful!
This is the last week of the transfer, so I´ll be writing you all on Tuesday next week.

¡Que tengan una feliz semana!

Elder Cloward

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Joy During Our Trials and Problems

¡Hola de Argentina!

It´s been a good week. My companion and I are growing stronger together and Yanel and Maira are preparing for their baptism this comming Saturday. They are so excited and ready!

We had an asado (Latin American BBQ) with all of the priesthood holders of the branch.

It is imposible to share all of the miracles that occur each week. As we were walking to one of our next lessons, we saw a lady sweeping in front of a house, and though we were in a rush, I felt prompted to ask her if she needed help. She told us that she had seen us before and wanted to talk to us, but that she had been afraid to call us. She is struggling with some very big chalenges in her life that have left her angry and confused. We said a prayer with her and read a scripture testifying of the role of Jesus Christ in her life. She felt a peace as we spoke and when she prayed at the end of the lesson, that peace grew. We realized that we couldn´t solve her problems for her, but that she can solve her problems with the peace that Christ has to offer her. Jesus doesn´t take away our problems. He helps us to carry them with joy and peace.

President Escobar (Elders Quorum president) and Sebastian (mission leader). The asado was delicious!
The mission is a whirrlwind of learning, mistakes, frustrations, and joy. Sometimes it is a bit overwhelming, but we have great leaders that always help us to do our best. Most of all, we have God and His son, Jesus Christ. When I pray, I feel a peace and a resolve to change, to work harder, and to become better. I love God!

¡Que tengan una feliz semana!
Elder Cloward

Six investigators came to church!

¡Hola todos!
Thank you for all of your prayers in our behalf. We saw some incredible miracles this week. This Sunday, thanks to several members, six investigators came to church! That has only ever happened one other time in my mission. A few of these people we just recently began teaching and one we haven´t even taught yet. We will be pretty busy this next week teaching all of these people and inviting them to be baptized.

I don´t have any new pictures, but I have good news! A family living in Avellaneda that was trying to get married for 2-3 years finally got married and were baptized right afterward. Lidia and Julio are in the back with their son Branco in the white shirt.

One of the greatest miracles I have ever seen occured this week with Yanel. She has really enjoyed learning in the lessons, goes to church regularly now, and reads the Book of Mormon on her own. She has been super excited for her baptism and has a sincere desire to follow Jesus Christ and be obedient. The only thing holding her back was her boy friend. He doesn´t want to get married with her and they have been living together. This week, we finally got to talk with him. However, he told us he has no immediate plans to get married. Just a few days ago, we received news that Yanel had broken up with him. She recognized that he wasn´t going to support her in her desire to be baptized, so they split up. She has so much faith! She and her neice are going to get baptized together next week on the 26th. We are so excited for them!

I know that God is real. He can talk to us through the Holy Ghost, which brings a feeling of peace and calming happiness. I love the words of the hymn "Lord, I Would Follow Thee." The fourth verse is thus:

Savior, may I love my brother
As I know thou lovest me,
Find in thee my strength, my beacon,
For thy servant I would be.
Savior, may I love my brother--
Lord, I would follow thee.
When it things get hard and when it is hard to love others, Jesus can help us to love our brothers and sisters. He is our strength and our example. I love Him!

Have a happy week!
Elder Cloward

We Never Have to Be Lost For Long

¡Hola todos!

This week was full of memorable experiences. I am grateful for the confidence God has in my to do great things.
Yanel came to church again on Sunday! She shared her testimony in fast and testimony meeting. She shared that she has gone to several churches looking for help, but only now after reading the Book of Mormon and going to this church has she finally started to find answers. She feels a peace as she reads and she is receiving answers to her prayers. It makes me so happy to think that God led us to find her. She just needs to get married before she can get baptized and as of yet, her boy friend still doesn´t want to. We are praying for him.
We received permission from Myra´s mom to teach her and baptize her. We´re super excited because she learns really fast and doesn´t have any obstacles. Hurray!

A really stormy day! We probably shouldn´t have been on the roof...
We had a pretty funny experience early in the week. We were asked to travel to a nearby town (about a half hour away) and drop off one of my suitcases to a missionary so they could pack up and move to another area. We emptied my big suitcase and got on the bus, waiting to get off at a terminal or big bus station. As we were going, we saw the welcome sign entering the town... and then the sign exiting the town. Before we knew it, we were several miles away from where we were supposed to be. We got off the bus as soon as we could, but quickly recognized that that was a mistake. We were stuck out in the middle of nowhere with my big suitcase.

My suitcase in the middle of nowhere.

It was a good moment to reflect on how blessed we are. We didn´t have to be lost, stuck in the middle of nowhere, because we had the power to get back. We could call our leaders and we had money to pay a taxi. It´s the same in our lives. We may feel lost and far from where we are supposed to be, but we never have to feel this way for long. Asking for help from others, especially Jesus, we can repent, change course, and make it to our final destination, home to live with our Father in Heaven.

We had a happy and fun week over all and we are learning to bond more closely.
We ended up waiting patiently and a bus going towards the town stopped for us. We ran to the bus with the suitcase high above our heads. It was a silly and happy experience.
I am grateful that I never have to be lost for long.

Elder Cloward

Progress! Humility Equals Changeability

¡Hola todos!

We have had a really great week here and we are seeing a lot of progress in muchos aspects of the work. Two of our investigators came to church again! Their names are Yanel (17) and Myra (8). They both want to get baptized! Every time we talk to Yanel about her baptism, she says "I just can´t wait for that day to come. She has to get married first which might be difficult because her boyfriend wants to wait before getting married. We are praying for them. We introduced them to a young member of the church, Laura, who lives near by and is preparing for her mission. She is helping them so much! Yanel and Laura have very similar stories and Laura was able to share her testimony about how following God helped her to mend her family. It was amazing!

After all of the rain, we had a rainbow!
We are also helping a member who recently got baptized, but has begun to go to church less regularly and smoke again. We visited him with the branch president yesterday. It was really great to enjoy just being with him, supporting him, and laughing with him. It was a little bit like a home teaching visit in that we weren´t their to teach anything new, just to strengthen and love. That was happy to me. He came to church yesterday and has plans to go to church more regularly. Several other people came to church that haven´t come to church in a long time. You can imagine that Sunday was one of the happiest days of my mission!

We ate asado (BBQ) with Sabastian, the branch mission leader. My third asado in the mission! It was really good!
I learned a lot about service this week. There is a member here who, with short notice, helps us with just about whatever we need. He´s been taking my companion, who´s toe had an infection, to the foot doctor. Afterward, he bought my companion the medicine he needed to heal. He threw away the receipt so we couldn´t reemburse the money and pay him back. He is incredible!

My companion and I are beginning to understand each other better, though we still rub a little at times. I have begun to recognize how much I am like him and it has helped us a lot to be humble, changeable, and teachable. Only when we are humble can God help us to change and grow. I am grateful for this time to grow and serve. 

Have a happy week!
Elder Cloward

Activities and a New Plan


This week feels like two weeks. It´s been really fulfilling.

Us and the impending storm. Their was a lot of lightning yesterday!

We´ve had some really great activities this past weekend. The branch had a dance and ate sausage sandwiches. It was a great success!

The Escobar family, members of the church.

We also had what is called a Capilla Abierta ("Open Chapel") in the other branch of Goya. The missionaries conducted a "tour" of the building, presenting our basic beliefs as members of Christ´s church. Elder Zabala and I were in charge of teaching everyone who came about baptizm and the Holy Ghost. It was one of the most important parts of the event because we got to invite those who came to be baptized. We felt the spirit as we testified of Christ and His baptism. We follow Jesus as we are baptized in the same way He was baptized, by immersion and the proper authority. Afterward, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, one of the greatest gifts God has for us. The Holy Ghost guides and protects us as long as we are obedient. We dressed in white and taught in front of the baptismal font. Though no one accepted baptism, it was a succesful event as many people who weren´t members got to learn more about our beliefs.

After the Capilla Abierta ("Open Chapel")

We are teaching several people that want to be baptized but have not yet put forth the effort to go to church. We are devising a plan to have the members help these people get to church so they can continue progressing and be baptized. The more I teach these people, the more important they become to me and the more I can´t bear to think of them not getting baptized. We are working especially with Victor (17) and Raul (15), two boys from an inactive family. They have great desires to be baptized and their parents are willing to help them get there. We are also still teaching Yanel (17) who has a great testimony, but hasn´t made it to church in a while. Please pray for these people that they can overcome their obstacles and increase their testimonies.

All of the missionaries in the branch with the branch mission leader.

I love the work we are doing here and I am happy to keep working another transfer in my same area with Elder Zabala!

There´s still been a lot of rain.

¡Que sean felices!
Elder Cloward

A Capibara belt and keychain souvenir I bought today.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Repentance is a Change in Character

¡Hola! ¿Como estan todos?

This is the last week of the transfer, so next week I will be writing on Tuesday. I am excited to see what will happen! My guess is I will stay with Elder Zabala for his last transfer in the mission and stay one more transfer, or go this transfer to a new area. We will see.

We did divisions with some other Elders. Elder Hernandez (Chile) and I got soaked on the way back to the pension.
This week has been very interesting, especially because of all of the rain we have been receiving. We weren´t used to it raining so much, so we went out several times without rain gear. We got soaked multiple times! It was pretty silly. The streets were full of water after it rained. I brought my tall boots thinking I would be fine. However, there was so much water, I didn´t see a ditch and fell in! My boots filled up and I was no longer dry. As I poured the water out of my boots, I looked up and saw a family staring out at us from their house. It was pretty silly.

A lot of water.

Elder Zabala and I are learning a lot together. It was a tough week and we really had to come closer and work together to make it through. I have recongnized several of my weaknesses that I have had for some time. Now that I have recognized these weaknesses, I can receive help from God and He can make my weaknesses strong (Ether 12:27). When things are difficult and we seek to follow God and to become better, we can know that God is strengthening us to help others even more.

Elder Zabala, our mission leader Sebastian, and me. The streets were full of water!

We are seeing slow but steady progress in our investigators. Brian and David, the sons of Oscar Martinez are beginning to enjoy more and more the lessons we are teaching. Hermano Martinez is an inactive member who wants his two sons to be baptized, but is having trouble coming back to activity. He is beginning to change though and we have hope that he will come back to church.

Yanel is also reading the Book of Mormon and has many great questions. She didn´t come to church again and we don´t know why. We are learning to be patient with these people as we do all that we can to help them. When ever I think, "why don´t people come to church? Why is it so hard for everyone?" I remember my own weaknesses and try to do better myself. One can change his behaviors, but if he does not change himself, it means little. I am greatful for Christ, who helps us to change ourselves, especially when it seems impossible. I promise that He can help you when it is most difficult as you are humble, teachable, and patient with yourself.

Have a happy day!
Elder Cloward

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Building a Happy Family is Like Building a House - Brick By Brick

I have a new companion! His name is Elder Zabala and he´s from Paraguay. He only has two months left of his mission. I have really enjoyed being with him so far because he has a strong desire to work hard, be good, and love others. He is a good teacher and loves to be silly.

My new companion, Elder Zabala. He´s from Paraguay.

 We had some very special and important lessons this week. We got to teach Florencia again, who has been difficult to find because she is often busy or not home. We taught her and her children the ten commandments using signals with our hands and they loved it a lot! She still wants to be baptized, but didn´t come to church. We have several people like that and it´s difficult to find their needs. We also got to teach Yanel about getting married to prepare for her baptism. She is anxious to obey the commandments and protect her family, but her boy friend, Federico, doesn´t want to get married just yet. Please pray for them, especially Federico, that they can get married so Yanel can receive the blessings of baptism.

Elder Zabala is very likely to finish his mission here in Goya. He is really friendly and excited to work hard!

Yesterday, I really enjoyed one of our Sunday school classes about the family. I got to share my testimony about the importance of love in the family. God wants families to be together forever and we must do all that we can to be a forever family. However, it takes time to construct good traditions and love in a family, just like your must build a house brick by brick. If there are struggles in your family or in your relationships with others, be patient and do little things each day to strengthen these bonds.

I know that God loves us. As we do the little things in life, reading the scriptures, praying, and going to church, and as we are grateful for the things we have, we will see little by little the miracles that happen each day in our lives. I love the mission here and I am excited to serve another week!

¡Que tenga una feliz semana!
Elder Cloward

Elder Caceres and me.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Evidence of the Restoration

¡Hola! ¿Como están todos?

This week was very abnormal for me. My companion, Elder Caceres ended up having to go home for health reasons. I have been tagging along with the zone leaders until I can get a new companion. I am really enjoying it with them and hope that I can get back to work in my area. There are a bunch of people progressing!

I went with the zone leaders to Esquina, a small city south of Goya.
I went with the zone leaders to Esquina on Friday, a small city 2 hours south of Goya. Seven years ago, there was a branch of members there, but the church was disbanded for unknown causes. The missionaries have recently begun to visit again and the people are really prepared. There are several large member families with young children that the missionaries are teaching. Just this passed Sunday, four of them were baptized and in two weeks, there are 12 more that want to be baptized. It was a wonder to to teach a huge group of children between 8 and 11, each with their own Book of Mormon that they were reading. They reverently sat and listened, answering questions with enthusiasm. What an incredible experience!

Then, on Sunday, the church payed for two busses so that people from Esquina could attend church and general conference. 35 people came, 12 of which were not members of the church! It was a miracle!

The church rented two small buses and 35 people from Esquina came to general conference in Goya.
One of our investigators, Yanel, and her sister´s daughter, Myra, also came to one of the sessions of general conference. I am so excited for her. Please prayer for her that she can overcome her obstacles to be able to get baptized. She needs to get married which may be really hard for her. I think she can do it, but her family may or may not support her.

If you didn´t get to watch the general conference, I highly recommend it. The prophet and the 12 Apostles speak to the whole world! If you watch with questions, they will be answered. 

I bought bag of cheep cheetos for general conference. We only ended up eating half of the bag, there were so many!
I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet and that he guides us in our needs. Prophets are necessary to guide us and not only help us interprete the scriptures, but give us revelation for our day that protects us in this changing world. The effects of when we didn´t have a prophet are still evident today. There is a lot of confusion and many churches that all teach about Christ, but have conflicting ideas. God doesn´t want us to be confused, he wants us to be happy. He restored His full truth through the prophet Joseph Smith. His evidence for this restoration is the Book of Mornon, another testament of Jesus Christ. I invite you to read it, or share it with a friend so they can know that it is true. The Book of Mormon teaches us how to find Joy with God in this life and after too. I love the book!

I still don´t know who my new companion(s) will be, but I know that everything will work out okay, because I am doing my very best and God wants us to have joy!
We went to the beach and played football today.
Have a joyus week!
Elder Cloward

What Compliments Have to Do With the Atonement of Christ

This week was full of spiritual experiences and there are so many people now that are progressing towards baptism. I am so happy for them!

We have begun to teach the family Lopez. The parents are inactive members of the church and their sons, Victor (17), and Raul (15), are not members of the church. The moment we invited them to be baptized, they both said yes! They are slightly mentally handycapped, but they understand very well what we are teaching them. It is amazing to see their progress and excitement. We taught them how to pray yesterday and Victor repeated the words that I said so that he could learn because he can´t read. He wouldn´t settle for that though, and right after the prayer, he said "now I am going to try." He prayed for other people who were suffering, that God would help them. I felt the spirit very strongly when he prayed.

We had lunch with they zone leaders. Giso. Mmmm!
We are still teaching Yanel (corrected from the last letter: Janil). She is amazing! We invited her to start reading the Book of Mormon from the begining, but not only did she read the first four chapters and relate back to us perfectly what happened, she also read the first three pamphlets and understood them very well. She is excited to be baptized and is teaching herself to be prepared because we can´t teach her fast enough. We are praying that she can come to church and also that she and her boy friend can accept to get married so that she can get baptized. It is amazing to teach people who have strong desires like her.

The difference between shined shoes and walking work shoes. For my time in the mission, my shoes are still in good condition. I hope I don´t have to buy a pair here.
My companion was sick for several days this week, so I got to go on divisions with our awesome zone leaders who helped us teach these investigators. It was interesting to see how they taught differently, and yet how their different methods also helped the people we taught. I learned that we are each who we are for a reason and we shouldn´t try to be someone that we aren´t or try to be someone else who we admire, because God can use us as who we are to help others. That doesn´t mean that we shouldn´t change and become better, but we should hold on to the good charactaristics that we have to build God´s kingdom. I´m looking for the traits that make up me and trying to teach in that way rather than the way of all of my companions.

Elder Caceres´ street!
I also learned what a difference it makes to tell someone that they are awesome. Compliments empower to do more good and invite happy feelings that help us to work hard and work together. I invite each of you to find good things to say about other people with the intention to make them happy. Don´t be discouraged if it doesn´t look like it makes a difference at first. Positivity makes problems easier. It´s just like the gospel. Though following Christ and being a good person doesn´t get rid of our problems, it does make them easier and help us to be happy. I love Jesus and the hope he provides for all of us. As we follow Him with out fear of what others will say or think, we have peace in our lives.

Thanks for everything. You all are amazing!
Elder Cloward

Learning, Protection, and Promised Blessings

¡Hola todos!

It´s been a great week with my new companion, Elder Caceres. We have been focusing especially on a new family. Eliana and Janil, two sisters have had really hard lives in the past, but have begun to listen to us. God has helped us answer many of their questions and we are praying that they can make it to church next week. I have felt the spirit talk to them through us several times and they are reading in the scriptures. One morning, before we went to visit them, I felt so excited. We were going to teach some prepared people more about how to be happy! It brings me so much happiness to teach people that are interested and I felt a little bit of Christ´s love for them. That was really special to me.

Elder Caceres crossing a sketchy bridge across the giant ditch. We´ve been practicing our "parkour" skills. There was another time when there wasn´t a bridge, so we jumped into the ditch, and jumped up the other side really quick. Not something I thought I would be doing as a missionary.

We also found, and have begun to teach several less active members, including one of the first member families here in Goya. It is normaly very difficult for people to return to the church, but when they have desires, it is posible. We have hope for them.

Really tasty gum.
I have learned more and more here in the mission the importance of keeping the commandments. We teach people who are not living the commandments, who are not happy, or who are suffering for their actions. I am greatful for God´s commandments that protect us and help us to be happy. It only takes seconds to mess everything up, but as we work diligently to do what is right, and keep ourselves in good places, we will be protected and have lasting happiness.

So far, I´m doing pretty good, only speaking Spanish this past week. There are a lot more words that I have to learn so that I can better express myself to my companion, and there are a lot of times when we don´t understand each other, but we teach very well together. Sometimes, I have no idea what to say or how to help a person, and then he begins to teach and everything he says sounds so perfect. I know that we are together for a reason.
Us in the plaza. Elder Caceres is pretty silly and a really good teacher.
I am happy to be serving God with all that I am. Right now, it feels like so little, and I make so many mistakes, but God expects us to do our very best, and I am doing the best I know how. I am greatful for Jesus Christ and his sacrifice. All of us can be forgiven, no matter what we have done. Sometimes repentance takes time, but God blesses people who have sincere desires to be better. As Elder Caceres taught several times this week, the blessings are always there, right infront of us. God waits for us to do our part, to reach for Him, and then he blesses us abundantly. "Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy (2 Nephi 2:25)."

¡Que tenga una semana feliz!
Elder Cloward

God´s Love and A Companion from Uruguay


How is everyone? I´m doing great here in Argentina! We just had transfers and I am still training. However, Elder Phillips was transfered to Resistencia and his new companion is from Uruguay. My new companion, Elder Caceres, is also from Uruguay. It´s only my first day with him, but I can tell we are going to work well together. He has a very difficult history full of perserverance and going the extra mile when others would quit. For the next little bit, I will only be speaking spanish, which will be exciting!

Elder Phillips went to Resistencia. I sure am going to miss him!

Learning is so fast here. As I look through my journal of what happened at the begining of the week, it feels like two weeks ago! We had a lesson with a family in which one of the family members asked me "if I feel good in my church and I feel what I am doing is right, is that okay?" Afterwards, I talked about the question with Elder Phillips, and we realized that as people do good things, the spirit confirms to them that it is right. Every church has a piece of the truth and they are not wrong. Our message is that there was a restoration of the full truth and that God put His church again on the earth through the Book of Mormon and through prophets. We can have even more truth, even more happiness, and we can live again with God and our families forever. I love this message and know it is true.

We found a great new family to teach. Eliana was visited by the missionaries before and we taught her the restoration, she felt that it was true. It was a sweet joy, especially because it felt like we had been guided to find her house.

 I got to baptize Alexis (8), one of the sister´s investigators!
We had a baptizm this past Saturday and I got to baptize an 8 year old boy the sisters have been teaching. As I was sitting next to him during the program, he said quietly "I am so excited! I am getting baptized!" He knew what he was doing was good and he couldn´t wait. He is being an example for all of his older siblings too, who are not yet baptized. That was so happy to me!

We have been teaching Florencia and her boyfriend Jose some more. Their three children are so amazing! They like to have fun, but when we say a prayer, they all gather, fold their arms and close their eyes. Florencia is excited to be baptized and Jose said he would too. They still have to get married and they are a bit worried about doing that so soon. Please put them in your prayers that they will have desires to be married and that that will go smoothly.

I might have too much stuff (I´m on the left).
Yesterday was one of the happiest days of my mission. I was with the zone leaders for the whole day while I waited for my new companion to arrive. One of the new zone leaders is the previous asistant to the president, Elder Dangelo. He has this exciting energy about him that is just contagous. He taught me so much through his example about my role as a missionary. He reminded me that it is not our responibility as members nor as missionaries to get other people to change or to accept God´s commandments. We teach, promise blessings, encourage, and inspire, and then leave it up to them to choose happiness. I also learned even more the importance of inviting with the Book of Mormon focused on big goals. For example, we taught an investigator that hasn´t been progressing very much, about the ten commandments. After reading, Elder Dangelo would ask, "will you keep these commandments so that you can be baptized on October 15 and live with God and your family forever?" Who can say no to that? It gave a real reason for why we were teaching and why she needed to do these things, but left her to decide to be obedient. I am exited to put these things in practice and want to be more involved and excited to work, just like he is. It´s going to be a good week!

My new companion, Elder Caceres, is from Uruguay. We are going to have a great time together!
God knows what we need. He has prepared everything to help us grow and be happy. Sometimes we have challenges, but these challenges lead to greater happiness as we put our trust in God and choose to love Him through our actions. I love Him very much and will try my best this week to show it.

Have a happy week!
Elder Cloward

Monday, September 5, 2016

God´s Truth Shines Through Any Cloud

This week was awesome! It feels almost like it was two weeks.

This picture about summarizes the week... Lots of rain, cold, and happiness!
I have been focusing on teaching the people we find according to their needs rather than according to the lesson plans. My companion and I split wit the zone leaders for Tuesday and Wednesday and I got to go with Elder Perez. He´s from Columbia and has only a few weeks left of his mission. He taught me so much! He and I contacted a small house made out of wood boards. A lady came out and as we started talking, she told us she didn´t believe in God. That surprised me because most people here believe in God. She told us that one of her children had died when he was only four days old. Her face was sad and cold. Elder Perez told her that we could tell her where he had gone and she let us pass and sit down. That also surprised me. As we taught her about God´s plan for us, she began to change and she began to smile. She even laughed a few times. I felt that I had been prepared to teach her as I told her my family´s story that something very similar had happened to us. We kept our faith, though at times things didn´t make sense, but we continued to believe in God. Then the miracle happened that is my youngest sister, Anatolia, who we adopted her from Ukraine. She is a miracle! It was amazing to feel the spirit so powerfully testify to her that God lives and loves us! Since that lesson, every time we pass by, she smiles at us. We are going to teach her more tonight!

A kilo of Ice cream each!
 My companion is progressing fast, though it feels slow at times. He teaches more during the lessons. I like when he talks, because I tend to teach very seriously, while when he teaches, we all chuckle with him as he works through the Spanish. It makes the lessons more relaxed. He doesn´t mind, though he wishes he could understand the people.

Our Zone.
God is blessing us to find many more families to teach. Thank you for all of your prayers! One day, it was super cold and we wanted to teach someone and get out of the wind and rain. We clapped a house, but no one answered. As we were about to leave, a three year old boy opened the door wide. We saw into the house and his dad rushed to the door. They may not have intended to answer us. We asked the man if we could come in and share something, just as a big gust of wind picked up. He let us in and we warmed up a bit. They reminded me a lot of my family. Their ten year old boy was playing Minecraft and there was Gravity Falls on the TV. The father looked very much like my dad. They didn´t accept the message as well as we hoped, but they did listen and said another day we could come back. We had several more experiences like this, as well as many witnesses that God has been preparing His children here to receive us. I love Him. He is very real to me. I am happy that I´m still not even half way done, that there is still so much time to work as hard as I can to invite people to come closer to Him. Time is going fast!

These are the deals at our favorite fruit stand, "Mega Frutas." Crazy!
God lives. He loves us. He sent His son to die for us. Through Jesus Christ and His teachings, we can repent and find joy. We can live with our families forever. He sends us prophets to guide us to Him. What a glorious plan!

Have a happy week!
Elder Cloward
It was 54 degrees in the pension this morning. We are going to buy an electric heater.

Listen, Listen to the Still Small Voice


Thank you for all of your prayers and emails. You all are great!

The branch mission leader Sebastian. He just turined 26!
We had a really exciting week and are starting to see great progress in the area. We found some new promising investigators. One family, the Biaz family accepted us very well and the mother is full of questions for us. They felt the spirit as we taught about the Book of Mormon and want to know more. A few days later, we passed by to invite her to church. She would have come if it hadn´t rained. She said, though, that she is reading the Book of Mormon and really likes it so far, but that she had some questions. When we taught her the last time, we told her it is "a rule" we have that someone without a tie says the first prayer and someone with a tie says the last prayer. She didn´t get that it was a joke so when we passed by, she asked us why that was a rule. That was pretty silly!
It rained hard Saturday night and on through Sunday. There were only eight people at church, five of us being missionaries. That was an interesting experience. We´ve got some work to do to strengthen the members here, and we´ve already started working more closely with the Elders Quorum president, Presidente Escobar. He and his wife have only been members for about a year, but they are very active in the church. Presidente Escobar told me that if he´s not doing something every day to strengthen the church, he feels empty. He is an incredible example to me!

Walking to church on a rainy day. There were only 8 people that attended because the rain was so strong.

We had two really great opportunities to teach large groups of young children. It is one of my favorite things to do on the mission. At one time, I got to teach five to six young boys (ages 8-11) the ten commandments using hand signals to remember them. They enjoyed it so much and asked us when we would be coming back. Another time, we got to do an experiment with about six to seven young girls (ages 10-12) using yerba (kind of like tea leaves), soap and a bowl of water. We taught that as we got to church, we keep ourselves clean of the dirtiness of the world. They loved getting their fingers dirty in the yerba and watching the soap repel the leaves away from their fingers. I love children because they listen so closely and the lessons have to be powerful and brief to keep their attentions.

My companions bottle cap collection. Currently, he and I have collected about 242 bottle caps. It´s a fun thing to do while walking from place to place.
Many times this week, we missed really important opportunities and didn´t get to help people because we were late, or spent too much time with other people. I am glad this is God´s work, and that as I do my best, He makes up the difference. I love Him and I know He loves us! He guides us every day to find people who are prepared to listen. One day, we were walking past a family and I noticed that a young boy and girl were trying to get a ball out of the ditch with a stick. I went over an pulled it out for them and waved at their mom. We kept going on, but after a few blocks, I felt more and more that we needed to go back and share a message with the family. We did return and found that the ball was in the ditch again. I felt like time had rewound as I pulled the ball out of the water again and then asked the mom if we could share a message. She accepted and we had a very spiritual lesson. As we seek to recognize, understand, and obey the promptings of the Holy Ghost, God works through us to bless His children. I am so very grateful for the experiences He has given me that have made it possible to understand the Spirit and how it communicates with me.

Do all that you can this week to listen and obey promtings you may receive. Sometimes it may be difficult, but it will always be right and good. You will feel a powerful peace that God is happy with you.

Have a happy week!
Elder Cloward

A Representative of Jesus, A Representative of Happiness


We had a multi-zone conference this week in Resistencia. Our mission has been focusing on using the Book of Mormon more to invite people to action. President Franco, our mission president, has challenged each of us to invite our investigators to be baptized, inviting them three times using three different scriptures. At first I was a bit skeptical, but in the meeting, we got to see some missionaries do a practice with President Franco and his wife. In the practice, "Hermana Franco" said yes after being invited once, but for "President Franco," he still wasn´t certain after the three invitations. Eventually, he did accept and we all cheered. It was kind of a silly practice, but at the same time, there was a strong spirit there that was so happy! Since then, I have been trying to apply the same principle in our lessons, and we are seeing miracles because of it. I know that our leaders are inspired by God.
After the meeting, we started back in our little bus-van that we rented, but it quickly broke down. We had to wait at a gas station for three hours while a new bus came. We didn´t make it back until 2:30 AM! We were pretty tired the next few days but God helped us to recover quickly. What an adventure!

I´m happy here! I haven´t had my camera around with me as much because our area gets pretty dark at night.

We started praying for miracles in our area. It is only through miracles that missionary work is possible. We have been working hard, but teach many fewer people here than my past areas.

On Friday, we were guided to a man who talked to the missionaries a long time ago, but never joined the church. He has since separated from his family and feels very lonely. We taught a very spiritual lesson (using the method) and he has great desires to change and be baptized. He is going to have a hard time giving up smoking and drinking, but he wants to stop. It was a miracle!

My companion and me in the plaza.

We also met another lady whose children got baptized, but she didn´t get to. She also wants to be baptized. Both of these people have a lot of obstacles, but we are excited to help them. Yay!

Today, I spent most of the day cleaning mold off our beds. We should be mold free!

This is a difficult time to be a missionary here, but also an exciting one! We have to give our all and try new methods to help more effectively the people. Sometimes it leaves us pretty tired. However I know that this work is God´s. I am happy to serve Him and His children.

As missionaries, our purpose is to invite others come unto Christ by helping them to accept His gospel and apply it in their lives. The change is hard, but always brings greater happiness. I am happy to be a representative of Jesus, a representative of happiness. As members of the church, you too are representatives of Jesus. Find at least one thing you can do differently this week to better represent Him.

Have a happy week!
Elder Cloward