Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A New Transfer

¡Hola todos!
Elder Takapu and me.
This week was a traveling week. Every day, we traveled somewhere. Monday we had a zone activity. We got to play ping pong with the other Elders and Sisters. It was really fun even though I lost every time. The next day, we went to Resistencia for a Multi-Zone conference where we got to hear from our mission president. We had to wake up early to go, but none of us set an alarm. Five minutes before the bus showed up, the Sisters called us and asked us where we were. Our zone leader answered the call. "Just give us five minutes," he said, and the 6 of us Elders leaped out of bed and started wrestling the door open. It was really funny! We all made it to the bus some how. I hope that doesn`t keep happening to us!
It´s been really rainy and windy here. Argentine flag!
I enjoyed going to the multi-zone conference and hearing from President Franco. Each zone got to teach the other zones a short lesson about a specific gospel topic. I got to share a short passage of scripture that talks about faith. To grow our faith, we must have experiences with the scriptures, with prayer, with the church, or with doing what we want to grow our faith in. As we exercise our faith in Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father by keeping their commandments, our faith will grow in them as we see the blessings. That was a great experience.
We went back to our area for a day, but them had to go back to Resistencia to do paper work again. We ended up sitting in a building all day just waiting for the paper work, which was a bit frustrating, but we got to talk to a Colombian family about their culture and some of the food they make. That was cool.
Hello Dolly bars- super good dessert Elder Takapu made.
Then we had divisions and I worked with one of the Zone leaders while the other interviewed Angelica for her baptism. Her baptism was on Saturday and it was a marvelous experience. She has been investigating the church for over 20 years, and now after her baptism and confirmation, she appears so much happier! The mission leader, who just received his mission call to another location in Argentina, set up the whole baptism and we were just able to come and participate. I led the music, which was harder than I thought because we sang a song I didn't know and just had to sight read it as I sang in Spanish and led the music. That was fun.
A member family and me in front of the Chapel
The Savior led the perfect life as an example for us. He was baptized, even though he was perfect, to show us the way to happiness now and after this life. Baptism is essential to be able to live with God after this life, but is only the first step. After baptism, we teach all of the lessons again and invite new members of the church to prepare to go to the temple and learn more about God there.
My last day with my trainer. Waiting for the bus.
Monday, I got a new companion, Elder Sender! He is from Ohio, is 19, and has about 8 months in the mission. We are still in Villa Angela. I am excited to work with him and look forward to telling you all more about him. This week is going to be great!

You all are amazing!
Elder Cloward

Week 11 ( I only know because in-field training is 12 weeks)

What a week! It really felt short because I was sick for a day and a half. I learned so much and there were many small miracles.
Funny painting and my hat.
After we came back to the pension for lunch on Friday, I didn`t feel too good and wasn`t able to eat lunch. I slept through studies. When I woke up, I asked my companion for a preisthood blessing. During the priesthood blessing, I remembered a scripture Ether 12:6 that says something like "ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." I didn`t feel too much better after the blessing, but I felt, "if you want to see miracles, you first have to act. When we have faith, we believe in God and in His power. Then we act so that we can receive the blessings he has ready for us. We first have to know His will, because if we have faith He will bless us with a good thing, but it is not His will, we still won`t receive. I felt that it didn`t make sense that His will would be to stay in the pension, so I got up, put on my shirt, and we went out to work. It was important to me to help the people we hd planed to visit. 

However, I still felt really bad. We ended up visiting a different man, and though we didn`t teach a lesson or share scriptures, we cheared him up. That was happy. We had to go back because I was feeling terrible. I made it back to the pension and a half our later, I threw up. This is not a story of failure or an event that weakened my faith. God taught me a lot about faith in this experience. We were able to help a lot of people and even made some friends (my companion is realy funny! Story for later...) I know that God lives. He loves us and is always there for us, though it`s not often how we expect.
We have an investigator named Angelica that is very close to baptism. We are excited for her!
Love you all!
Elder Cloward


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Fulfilling Week

This week was full and I have 15 minutes to write it all. Here goes!

This week, we went to Resistencia for a day to do some paper work. We woke up at 3 to make it there. The paper work only took about 10 minutes to complete, but we got to go to Subway! There aren't many restaurants like that here in Argentina and it was really good! Sadly, I lost my wallet on the bus. I didn't lose too much, but I`m going to need another one. We missed the bus back to our area by about 10 minutes and had to wait for 4 hours for the next bus. That was unfortunate. After all the time we missed traveling we had to work really hard the rest of the week. We saw many miracles when we worked hard.

We met a lady who has been investing the church for a long time, named Angelica. She told us she didn't want to get baptized. The next day we visited her. The lesson was powerful and we could all feel God´s love for her. We invited her to be baptized and she said yes! Her baptism will be in two weeks on Saturday, if all goes well. Wow!

The next day, it was really late, but we decided to visit one more investigator. She wasn't there but one of her relatives was. He was watching soccer and didn't look like he'd be interested in our message. My companion asked if we could share with him, and he said yes! He turned off the TV and we had a great lesson. We hope he will come to church in the following weeks.

The next day, Sunday, we only had the afternoon to teach. Our goal was to teach 4 lessons with investigators, but here, that is a big goal for a whole day! We went looking for some specific people but couldn't find them. We were prompted multiple times to stop and talk to specific people. We found two new families to teach and two other new people. We taught four lessons, all to new investigators who look like they will accept our message and perhaps get baptized within the next year. That was a miracle!

I know that when we do all we can, God blesses us. Not always does God give us large miracles like this week, but he loves His children and sends us to help them when they are ready to receive the message of Jesus Christ. I am happy and full!

Juan didn't get baptized yet. We haven´t seen him in a while and pray for him.

To answer questions:
  • There is one branch in our city; right now with us and two sister missionaries.
  • My camera is back but still broken. My pictures may be at funny angles because I can´t see what I have taken.
  • We have plenty of food to eat. We bought oatmeal and milk in bulk and cook great pasta. We haven´t gotten sick and are very well.

You all are great!
Elder Cloward

A lot of oatmeal and milk. Delicious!

Rolling out the churros.

Churros ready to cook.

My companion frying the churros.

We made a kilo of Churros! They are soo good!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Mission President, Juan, and Invitations

¡Hola amigos y familia!
I am happy to write to you this week. It has been another week of progress, miracles, and happiness.

I continue to learn every day. There was one day when I shared my testimony of the Book of Mormon, how we can know that it is true if we read it and pray, asking God to know if it is true. After I shared this, the person we were teaching said, "What? I don´t understand. You used some complicated words." That made me think. The best way to teach is not to talk more, or to use complicated words. It is to share sincere powerful truths. If there isn´t more to say, I don´t need to keep talking. The Holy Ghost teaches through short sincere messages.
My companion has begun to teach me how to lead a companionship, plan what we are going to do the next day, and lead discussions too. It´s really hard sometimes. It is important to be bold, to look at the options, make a decision, and stick with it. As I continue to make more choices, it becomes easier to see which choices are best. I know that God helps us when we trust in Him and are willing to do what he asks. Be bold! It is better to be bold, be wrong, and then change than to be unsure and not make anything.
We had interviews with the mission president, President Franco, this week! He taught us some new ways to find new people to teach and we are put them in practice. We visited a big member family and encouraged each of them to think of someone they could share a Book of Mormon with. We then gave them a Book of Mormon. We are excited to hear about their experience. I invite each of you to share a Book of Mormon with a friend. This book is the greatest gift we have because it teaches us everything we need to do to be happy in this life and the next. When we come to know it is true, as it says in the introducion, we come to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God´s church on the earth.
As missionaries, we have a meeting with the other missionaries in our area every Tuesday. However, now we have to travel to another city to have them because the other Elders in our area have moved out. This coming Wednesday, my companion and I have to travel to Resistencia to fill out some papers for me. This means this coming week, we will be out and about. We have plans to teach with the young men of the branch here which is really exciting! There are about six young men that will be going on their missions this year or next, which is incredible since there are only about 30-40 members here at church every Sunday. They have strong testimonies.
These youth have a friend, Juan (17), who has been coming to church for about six months and even went to EFY (a spiritual week for the youth). He has shared his testimony and is preparing to be baptized. He is praying this week to know when he should get baptized and we are excited for him!

Until next week...
Elder Cloward
My companion and I. It´s actually really hot here, but we know it´s winter in the states. Preparation day is silly sometimes.

Drinking mint leaves with lemonade. It was really good with the bombilla (Argentine straw for yerba mate), but I decided to make a funny face.