Thursday, December 19, 2013

Editor's note:
So, one of the emails we sent Travis last week asked if he had received his permanent visa yet.
Travis sent us his weekly letter as he normally would on his regular p-day, but it contained only one word:
"No"
That's all we received from him, no other letters, no mission progress report, no "I love it here"  ...nada.

Monday waned on, and we ultimately went to sleep with no additional information ...wondering if this was another one of his antics (see here and here for details).

=================================================
Here's what we unexpectedly got on Tuesday:

Hello, sorry for the delay, the power shut down in the whole city ...the riot is still partially going on.
I have called this week Zombie Apocalypse week just because everyone is scared and preparing. We have been on lockdown for nearly a week. For 2 days we couldn't even leave the apartment, and the rest of the week we had to be in at 7, or before nightfall. This week, we've been allowed to come in at 8, but word is going around that another riot is going to take place on the 20th, so we might be forced into our pensions again. But nothing has happened to any missoinaries so far. :)

So thank you all so much for praying for our investigators; we have also been fervently praying for them to come, and even had a fast for them. But sadly, no one came. :( Which means we won't have a "White Christmas" (baptism in December) after all. That really crushed me. I have never worked for and prayed so hard for my investigators before, but still no fruit came of it. It is hard, but hopefully with the transfer tomorrow, I can restart and pick myself up again. :)

So Elder Pickle and I had our first legitimate scripture bashing lesson a couple days ago. We went to visit our investigator Rosaña, and her evengelico friend was there. She started attacking many points of the Church, and we had supportive verses from both the Bible and Latter-Day Saint scriptures to prove each and every one. It was quite empowering. We were literally able to respond to every doubt. I must admit I felt quite proud defending our Church.

Of course, "proving" things from the scriptures is not the Lord's way.  But this incident actually worked out in our favor because as we passed by Rosaña's home the following day, we had opportunity to tell her we don't like scripture bashing, and that the Lord teaches through the Spirit. This experience showed her that the missionaries really do know the scriptures, but that we prefer to teach the truthfulness of the Gospel by the Spirit.  We testified to her that our Father in Heaven really does answer prayers, and leads and guides His children if they seek His help.  Rosaña's now has increased confidence in the missionaries, and she feels it's true ;)

Bahahahaha, so the hija de Hermana Barrio's (Damarís) bought me Christmas presents! She got me all these chocolates and the Book of Mormon on CD in Castillano. I thought it was super nice of her, I guess she likes me a bit ;)

As a funny side note, por cause de la riot, we've had to wear mostly non-mission clothes all week, so Hermana Barrios said that we've finally fulfilled one of her dreams ...to see an American missionary in jeans ...how funny is that!

In case you're wondering why we visit the Barrios family so much, it's because we don´t have our own phone. And because the Barrios live closest to us, our mission leaders call their phone each night to communicate with us.  So each night we're at their house for a short while.

Oh, I gave a talk in church last week (my 2nd). I felt honored to be able to share my testimony and preach the Gospel and hope to inspire the local members. The Lord really blessed me in this talk to be able to articulate and touch the people's hearts. I love bringing hope, joy, and truth to people, and to see it in their eyes really filled my soul with joy.

The Lord's gospel is a gospel of happiness. And the church is true :)  I am really humbled to be a member of the Lord's true Church, and consider it a privilege to bring people to this knowledge. :)

Love you all,
Elder Clemons


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Argentina is in revolt! ...so we've had to stay inside for a few days

So first off Hi,

Sorry it took so long to right this week, Argentina is essentially in revolt; it's kinda thrilling. 


Safety
For our safety, we had to stay inside for a couple of days ...so boring!

Anyway, the police here have gone on strike since they make too little, and so the country has taken advantage of the lack of a police force. Stores are being robbed and multiple killings have occurred. Everyone is preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse. Each day during the day the store owners build up their defenses and try to barricade their goods inside, and once the sun sets, everything goes chaotic. The city has been thrashed.

President told us to have 60 liters of water in storage to last us, and we had to wear normal clothes (YES!) so we blended in. It was an exciting week, but spent mostly indoors. :p

So I'm safe, but pretty upset at the revolt going on.  We are losing valuable time teaching our investigators! And we had all of our important lessons scheduled for Monday and Tuesday nights... the days we had to stay inside. :( We still haven't been able to make contact with them. I really hope we can still teach them and that nothing bad happened. Gah, these were really critical lessons we had planned. If our investigators don't go to church this week, then we can't baptize them in the month of December ...and I really want to have a "White Christmas" in Argentina! 


Lavies Family
So we are teaching this one family named the Lavies.  They are super cool and receptive of Gospel discussion. However, he is hardcore Evangelico. At the end of our first lesson, we asked him to say the prayer. He excitedly accepted. He started out normal, but then started chanting and screeching, with random normal words in between ...a poor counterfeit of the Gift of Tongues. ;)  Sure it was the same "phrase" in repetition, but it was cool. The mad thing was very interesting. bahaha But he has a good heart and a sincere desire to learn, and he is actually friends with some members, so it's perfect!


So just random things I guess
It's super hot, like super hot; the humidity is satanic. Horrible. gah. I feel disgusting.

Everyone loves Americans. I don't understand why my friend thought he was hated; they worship Americans down here, especially the women ...I'm pretty sure the daughter of Hermana Loli has a thing for me, bahaha 

Fotana has lots of little Catholic "folk shrines" with random saints in them. Unfortunately, they are usually locked to protect from vandals. They are literally on every block. My favorite is Saint Gaucho Gil.  Apparently he was an Argentine Cowboy from the 1840's who was killed.  He's really popular in Argentina.

My favorite candies here so far are Pepas ...I literally bought 14 bags a couple days ago.  Should last me a couple weeks ;-)

Hunter the Frog still lives with us in our bathroom.  Bahaha.  He is very loyal and loving. Always willing to give me comfort in times of need.

Oh, the Argentine "100 pesos" bill has a ton of counterfeits! The ATM here even gave us two fake bills!!!  It's crazy identical! So good their own government can't even spot the difference! Bahaha But luckily, the people haven't caught on yet, so we got rid of them.

I'll send pics next week when I get to the library .....if it's operating ...I think it may have been destroyed.

So that's it :)

I love it here, and please pray that our investigators attend church. :)

Love you all!
Elder Clemons


...and could I have all the information on the doctrines of the Evangelico church, like scriptures and all? :)  Thanks!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sylvia got baptized!

Hello all,

Sylvia

So if you are wondering, the baptism did happen. SILVIA GOT BAPTIZED!!! So incredible. The branch essentially did everything for us, so all we had to do is make sure she was there. The support for her was also super incredible, the branch had about 30 people!! :) Her family doesn't really like us, but her daughter, cousins, and extremely close brother came to support her. :) And now the cousin wants to start taking the lessons! :)

Everything was just so touching. I didn't actually get to see her be baptized (too many people were in the room). But after she came up out of the water and the baptismal doors shut, you could hear her crying. That was touching. :) When she came out she was just so happy. :)


First baptism feels incredible. Everything was just incredible. The branch was so supportive, Sylvia was happy, just perfect. :)

Yesterday in church, despues she was confirmed, she bore her testimony. That was such a cool experience. She told us of her goals in life, how she never wants to go astray, and how she wants to bring her family into the church. :) Now that's a convert. :) Now all that is left is to teach her the other lessons, and to keep in contact with her forever ;)




The most amazing thing is that this coming 12th of December, Silvia is going to the temple!! :D Woot! The branch happens to be going, and she decided that she wanted to go to. Obviously just for baptisms for the dead, but still, she´s going to the temple, something she decided to do on her own. :)

The branch here is incredible; they have really absorbed her into the church. She is definitely in good hand.



The Big Sky
I miss the mountains. The world here is too big. The sky seems so much larger here without mountains. It's so weird to feel so open, but it makes the sunsets here incredible. When there are clouds, it's just jaw dropping.

Evita Peron
The current president of Argentina, a woman, recently changed the 100 pesos bill to Evita Peron!


Other Investigators
We have like no investigators. But we do have a couple of potentials: the Montanas y the Rojas. The Montanas have some Law of Chasity problems, meaning he is currently married to another women but living with her. And the Rojas have very deep faith in the Evengelio Church. But both have real potential, so pray for them. :)


And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
-- Doctrine and Covenants 18:15
How great is my joy to have brought one soul unto Christ. The feeling will forever go unmatched.

This baptism was such a testimony builder for me, the joy I felt just testified to me of the greatness and truthfulness of this work. :) This is His work and His glory. I love it out here. I know the church is true.
Elder Clemons



Some extra photos...

Some after baptism festivities :)
I think this little guy sleeps in our toilet...