Monday, February 24, 2014

Rocio was baptized Saturday, February 22!


Vilma, Jenny (a cousin), and Rocio
 
Super slow week again, but it doesn't matter ...because we had a baptism!!!

Rocio was baptized Saturday, February 22! :D It was a very spiritual experience as always. :) And the Lord chose to give us a tender mercy as well. There was a terrible storm both in the morning and midday on Saturday. Just raging weather. Everyone was asking us if we were still going to have it. And obviously (with some serious prayers) we said that we were. And the Lord blessed us ...just about an hour before the baptism everything finally calmed down. And we had a beautiful baptism without any problems. :) Tender Mercy!

We don't have a font in the chapel where we attend, so we have to take a taxi to a neighboring ward. We went to Rocio´s house and from there called up a taxi; but it took over 50 minutes to arrive ...which made us start the baptismal service at least 30 minutes later than planned. :p (I hate being late!)

I had the privilege of being a witness for Rocio´s baptism. She has always been extremely quiet and shy during our several discussions, and she was really nervous to be baptized in front of everyone. But I got the impression she felt a sense of peace and tranquility as she descended into the water. And she came up out of the water just thrilled. She had a beautiful smile, and her face was just radiating. Truly a wonderful, cleansing, bright experience.

After the ordinance we had a little luncheon. Lots of pop, empenandas, y torta. Everyone was happy and talking. Rocio was taking pictures and videos of everyone. It was nice to see her enjoying it so much. It always warms your heart to know that your labors might have brought joy to someone else. :)

So a few random things:

I know why I am fat. Everything they make here is covered in oil. I have never eaten so little in my entire life, but everything I eat is completely covered in oil. Even the salad they make is drowning in oil! :p ewww! So my guess is that's why.

Also (for those of you who know the reference) we've once again resorted to "using plastic bags." Can I just say that I really don't like our apartment!!  But there are literally no other apartments in Fontana, and we've been trying for quite some time to find one.

On a positive note, I have gotten pretty good at making pizza though.
 
And from the vantage point of a glass half full, I'd have to say I love my mission a lot. Every day there are setbacks, we have ups and downs.  At times we're rejected; other times, accepted. Sometimes people show us considerable kindness; sometimes considerable disrespect. But it is nevertheless a tremendous blessing to be permitted to serve the Lord as a missionary in Resistencia, Argentina.
 
I know the church is true. Talking with thousands of people has only strengthened my own faith. I testify that this is the true church of Christ. That we are very literally God's children. That we are loved beyond comprehension. And that God is walking by our side waiting for us to seek His help. Christ suffered, trembled, and bled for us out of pure love. Joseph Smith was His prophet in this dispensation and sealed his testimony with his blood. I know it all to be true.

Elder Clemons
 
 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Confession, I have been robbed a few times...


Confession, I have been robbed a few times during my mission.
(Nothing bad happened, so don´t worry).
Elder Pickle and I received this little award for being robbed the most. ;) hahaha

Hola!

So once again this has been a super hard week. The people just aren't accepting us right now; we  found only 6 new investigators this week. But that doesn't really matter, we'll just need to work harder.  Oh, and we are going to have a baptism this week!! :D We will be baptizing Rocio and hopefully her mom as well.

I really don't have all that much to tell you, so I will just give you a rundown of my typical day:
My daily shower ;)
7:00We get up, do exercises, and eat breakfast.
8:30We start personal study.
9:30We go out and start proselyting.
12:00We break for lunch for 1 hour, and have 30 minutes for travel time.
1:30We start companionship study. During this time, we also make plans for the tarde, and learn more about and practice our lessons.
3:00We start language study. Here's what I like to do: I have the BoM in Spanish on DVD. So while listening to the DVD, I repeat it back talking with a pencil in my mouth. Obviously very annoying, but it really helps me keep my mouth open. So my accent is slowing coming along.
4:00Everyone's siesta is now probably over, so we go back to work.
9:30We return to our home and plan for the next day.
10:30We get ready for bed.

So that's my normal day basically. It's really weird to have companion study in the middle of the day, but absolutely no one is outside (they're all having their siesta) and it is blistering hot. So at least we get to go inside and sit and sweat instead of walk and sweat outside. ;)

Everyone here drives moto's ...basically, little motorcycles, como vespas. They are so annoying and super loud (and obviously not very environmentally friendly). And the people always like to drive as close as they possibly can to you. And yes, sometimes they like to hit you as they drive by. :p That always hurts ...so I don't like moto's very much.

I finally got a hold of this little Evangelica biblia.
And look, as of today I have accepted my savior
and I am now saved. :)
Oh, we are teaching Pero, a Jehovah's Witness. Very interesting doctrine. And like most Jehovah's Witnesses, he knows his version of the Bible very well. He gave us a book entitled "What does the Bible really teach." Very interesting. It's rather fun teaching him. But it's also very hard to teach someone who has to have every point proved to them using the Bible. Of course, besides the instruction, we try testifying of the truth, and I do think with time, it'll work. But we might have to use some force. :p

Well, as I may have said a time or two in the past, I do love it out here. I just love my mission! :D And living and serving in Resistencia is incredible! I love the people and the culture.

...but I do want a Café Rio burrito. I miss that. Oh well.

Love Elder Clemons

Monday, February 10, 2014

Vilma y Rocio

Howdy!

The work here in Fontana is really dying, we have been in a 4 week dip. Our acceptance rate is close to none. We walk a lot ;) But every area has its ups and downs, and I'm sure with more time and some genuine effort we'll be teaching again. ;)

My district from last transfer
So I told you a little bit about Vilma y Rocio la ultimo semaña. Since then we have had 3 charlas. Haha. But I'll tell you about the first one. We started by tackling all of their doubts, such as family, "a second baptism," and Joseph Smith. We then watched the Restoration video with them, and it was super powerful. I remember watching the video before my mission, but it's so much more powerful when you're a missionary. After-all, it explains the beginnings, the basis, of our religion. After the movie there was a huge pause, none of us said anything. Then we just flowed into a testimony meeting. We bore testimony -- including the members we had with us -- it was one of the most powerful moments I've had in my mission. Every single person in that room bore a penetrating testimony that was undeniable. I was so overwhelmed, but happy. It was undeniable that Rocio y Vilma felt the truthfulness of the church.

After the testimonies we asked Rocio how she felt about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. She just looked up and said that she knows it's true. We then asked Vilma, she said the same ...but then added that she doesn't know about baptism yet. So we testified about prayer and the Holy Ghost, and then invited Vilma and Rocio to have a kneeling prayer with us and to ask God about baptism. The Spirit was strong and powerful, but she still said no :-( which totally destroyed the Spirit ...and made Rocio want to push back her baptism as well. Vilma seems to always say she needs more time; she believes in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, but just needs more time is all. But we committed them to go to church.

A couple days later, we passed by their home again and focused solely on Rocio. We talked to her about her questions, testified of the truthfulness of our teachings, read some scritpures out of the BoM, and then asked her how she feels when she reads them. She paused and said "Segura" or sure. :D We then asked if she is so sure, why wait. And with that, we now have her baptism scheduled for the 22nd. :) I think she'll make it. :) And I believe Vilma will follow algunas semañas luego. :)

So baptisms are coming up!  ...but we still have literally only 2 investigators right now :-(

I do love the mission! And I'm working hard and won't give up!  I'm out here because I have a strong testimony of the truthfullness of the church. I'm out here because Christ suffered for me. I'm out here because Joseph Smith was martyred praising our God. I'm not out here for any selfish reasons. I'm not out here for personal gain, nor to please anyone. I'm only here to honor my God.

Love you all!! :D

Elder Clemons

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Nope

Hello Everyone!
 
So with transfers last week, I was pretty sure either Elder Pickle or I would be shipped out.  Nope, nothing changed, I am still here in Fontana with Elder Pickle. (Which is super strange because usually the trainer and the greenie always separate.) I believe it is because we were having a lot of success for Chaco. ;)  We did get rejected a ton though. NO ONE wanted to talk with us this week. But I did probably walk about 15 miles each day. So I'm dead tired ...I'll probably take a siesta after this email. :D
 
So there is this program for new missionaries called "12 Semanas" ("12 Weeks") -- pretty self-explanatory -- and I don't like it at all. And I've done it twice now because I've been in 2 missions. But I'm proud to say that after 7 months, ...I've finally finished the 12 weeks. ;)
 
I know I've said this before, but Resistencia is really hot. Really, really, really hot.  So of all the Lord's tender mercies, wouldn't you know it, but while randomly contacting ...we found a pool! Like a really big pool! Oh boy was that tempting. Since we were already soaked head to toe in sweat, really what difference would it make? But alas, we walked on. :(
 
As nothing really happened this week, I guess I will tell you about a family we are teaching. Although the family is huge, we are really only teaching 2 of them: the mom (Vilma) and the daughter (Rocio). Vilma tiene 45 años y Rocio 17 (editor's note: give it a try, I'm sure you can figure it out). They are Evangelica, and Vilma knows quite a lot about the doctrines of the gospel. They are awesome and come to church every week on their own and love the classes ...and they love their two gringo missionaries :-) They were both super happy that we stayed and weren't transferred.
 
Their baptisms are scheduled for this week, but we'll see if that goes through. Although there's a chance, we do have a little bit of doubt for Vilma since she's a bit scared to get "rebaptized." Also, she feels like she hasn't received a strong answer yet about Joseph Smith or the LDM (BoM). So the last time we visited them, we had an awesome charla (lesson) about the Holy Ghost and how it will feel to receive an answer. I've been studying that topic for like a month now, so I was able to use a ton of scriptures to help her. I think it helped them realize what the Holy Ghost's whispering might feel like.
 
I realize my next letter won't be for a week (so I won't be able to give you any progress 'till then), but we have a make-it-or-break-it lesson scheduled with them tomorrow, and we want them to get baptized this Saturday. So by next week's letter, they will hopefully already be baptized :D
 
Our plan is to watch the Restoration movie with them. We hope this will help identify her "true" doubts about the church (if she has any).  We're going to ask her to go into the movie with a specific question, and then look for her answer during the movie.  Of course, we'll bear strong testimonies, and invite her to be ready for baptism this Saturday. :) Wish us luck! :D
 
I am super excited to testify my soul out! :D
 
I love it here and I am super happy.  Love you all!
 
Elder Clemons