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.