Thursday, March 27, 2014

Doin' "the Haka" in Argentina...

Wow, there are a lot of dogs around here !!
The locals are grumpy when they can't play soccer :(

Primero, sorry for not writing yesterday. Argentina has these random lazy holidays where no one works and everything shuts down. I don't think they're celebrating anything in particular's just another day to not work.  This one's called "feriado."

It has been super rainy here lately.  And it's always a sad day when the neighborhood soccer field floods. The locals just get kinda' grumpy.

And there are a TON of dogs here, like ...super tons. It's crazy. But the puppies are sure cute.

So a lot has happened recently.

A few weeks back, I created a list of "Keys to receiving guidance from the Holy Ghost" for my personal studies. Each "key" had a ton of scriptural references as well as references out of Preach my Gospel. President Heyman is always encouraging us to receive inspiration in our callings as missionaries, so I thought I'd really study the topic.  I sent it to him to look over and give me some advice. He ended up loving it so much that he sent it out to the entire mission. :)

Also, wow, the assistants called me and Elder Sufia this last week to personally congratulate us on our numbers ...seems like we had a pretty good week. :)

And my comp knows how to do the Haka!!  ...I'm trying to get Elder Sufia to show me so I can film it and learn, but he is stubborn.  I'm sure with time, I'll wear him down ;-)

Making "temples" with toothpicks and puff balls ...we had a blast!
We had a super awesome Noche de Hogar con la familia Junco. We talked about temples, how they are sacred to us, the ordinances we perform in them, and the impact they have on our lives. We then each made our own temples out of toothpicks and these "chip puff" things ('cause marshmallows don´t exist here :p) It was super successful! Everyone loved it :)

So looks like we might have a few baptisms coming up. We are currently teaching V's brother's family. They still need to get married, but I suspect we'll baptize the kids not too long from now, and the parents in a couple weeks let's hope and pray. :)

So, I'm sure it will come as no surprise when I tell you that we walk a lot here in Argentina ...I mean, a lot a lot. Turns out about a month ago I developed an ingrown toenail. Ouch! Long story short, it never got better, and finally yesterday I got it taken care of ...Argentine style. That was such a delightful experience. ;)

But all is better now.

Elder Travis Clemons

I'm always amazed to see these tiny homes ...with a sweet dish!! :D

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Miracles happen at the end of the day the rain ;-)

My new companion, Elder Sufia, is a Samoan living in New Zealand!!
The coolest companion EVER !!

So transfers happened ...and yup, I'm still in Fontana ...buuuut I've got this awesome new companion ....Elder Sufia!! He's from New Zealand, but is of Samoan descent. :D How cool is that?!! ...and how lucky am I! I am companions with the only Polynesian  in the mission! He has been in the mission for a little over a year. He was trained by one of the current Assistants to the President, and has been both a District and a Zone Leader, so he is super experienced and an excellent teacher. I know I am going to learn a TON from him!

And he is so fun too.  It's only been a few days, but I love it! We are always laughing and really enjoying life. And he eats a lot ...oh yeah, this is going to be such a fun companionship, I can't wait to learn!

So nothing super exciting this week. We had an interesting chat with Vilma's son about the Law of Chastity. Um ...let's just say that he is no longing taking the lessons. Ohp!

But we did have success in church attendance this week, 7! I believe that's the most we've ever had! :D And Vilma's brother came with his whole family. :D  I hope the liked it.

Unfortunately, I'm actually a bit scared to bring people to church here in Fontana; it's just not super uplifting.  But nonetheless, we work through it. We set fechas with the whole family so we will see where that goes.

Well I don't know what to write.....soooooo, oh wait, thanks so much for the package! I finally got it! Love the gel insoles! Thanks!

Oh, I do have one more story...

So it's standard practice here for the missionaries to immediately go to a member's house or back to the apartment when the power goes out (which happens often).  Turns out the likelihood of being robbed goes way up when the power's off. So the power went off last Friday, and we started home to our apartment like we're supposed to.  Almost immediately as we got home, a HUGE storm erupted. So we changed our clothes for the night and settled in with no power or light. But the outage lasted only 30 minutes, and by 9:00 the power had come back on ...which meant we could go back out and work for 30 minutes because we're supposed to work until 9:30.

But the storm was still ragging. And in all fairness, we didn't really have the strongest desire to go out and work since there was only 30 minutes left. So we kinda' debated what we should do. But in the end, decided to go out and fulfill our duty :D  So we got our clothes and rain gear back on, and went out into the storm and started walking. We decided to knock on a house that had some lights on, but no one answered we hit the house next door. And God blessed us with a tender mercy.

There we met the Araya familia who let us in :).  They probably felt some compassion for the sorriest-looking, dilapidated, soaked-to-the-bone missionaries. But hey, whatever works...  The Araya's are a young couple with 2 little daughters, one loves to sing us songs. :)  We shared with them the lesson on the restoration ...and they accepted everything, including baptism. :)  Of course, we'll have to spend a bit more time with them to see if they'll progress, but I thank God He lead us to this family, allowed us to share His message, and gave us a chance to get out of the rain and wind. :)

See ...miracles DO happen at the end of the day ...and in the rain. :)

Always look up.  That's all I've got.

Elder Clemons

Monday, March 10, 2014

I've got quite the assortment of things to tell you about this week :-)

I've got quite the assortment of things to tell you about this week  :-)

Pricila said the most beautiful prayer
So one of the most adorable things happened this week with Pricila, Rosa's three year old daughter. After we finished the lessons, we asked who would like to say the closing prayer. She jumped up and bounced around saying that she wanted to do it. So she kneels down and offers up the most cutest prayer I think I have ever heard. It was so simple, but so rewarding. All you heard was just this little cute voice saying thank you and bless the missionaries and my family, etc. It was so incredible. Aw man ...I love kids.

Vilma's Asado¡¡¡
Also, Vilma and her family gave us an Asado¡¡¡ It is sooooo good¡ It's just sheer meat. Good for the manly soul that I have. It is so yummy, so juicy, and so awesome (editor's note: and sooo fattening). Vilma´s family really loves us ...a lot! They tell us that they pray everyday that we will stay in Fontana forever. I love going over to their house. They are so open to the gospel and LOVE learning about it. Yesterday, they bore their testimonies in church, and it really made me proud that I played a small role in their conversion. Their testimonies were powerful and penetrating. :D
Asado is AWESOME !!

President's spot-checking our teaching skills :)  Yikes!
Randomly, Presidente Heyman came to our District Meeting last week and made us all teach a random lesson about a commandment that we drew from a hat ...each of us had less than ten minutes in front of him. Scared me to death!! But me and Elder Pickle did quite well, I think we might have impressed him. :D 

So transfers are likely coming up this Wednesday, and I strongly suspect something HAS to happen to at least one of us. I'm really hoping I'll get a new companion, and that he's latino.  And much as I've absolutely loved Fontana, the people, the members, and all the work I've been able to do here, I think I'm ready to get a new area. 

But the best news is  .....VILMA WAS BAPTIZED¡¡¡¡¡

...buuuut along with JENNY¡¡¡¡ Jenny's mom took a complete 180 and allowed her to also get baptized. The two of them were baptized last Saturday, March 8th¡¡¡ :D

A lot of their family came, and the branch really supported them well (we had about 20'ish come). :D Awesome. It was so spiritually filling. :D They came out brighter, happier, and speechless. That's always one of the best moments as a missionary see the face of your convert as they come out of the water. Just pure joy. I love this work. Bringing other people to the joy of the gospel just fills everyone involved with great joy. 

Vilma and Jenny BOTH got baptized :-)
Also, Rosa gave a talk in church¡¡¡ That was another totally rewarding experience!! I gotta tell ya, I think I might have been smiling from ear to ear. :D  I was just sitting in the congregation listening to her give a talk and bear powerful testimony. And she did such a wonderful job¡ Way better than most new converts to the church¡ I'm sure it'll come as no surprise that it made me quite proud to have had the privilege of playing a part in her conversion. The room just filled with the spirit when she began to speak. Very uplifting. 

Gringo's vs. Mexicans :-)
Oh -- hahhahaha -- so one of my zone leaders is Mexican, Elder Hernandez. I just love Mexicans. Elder Hernandes and I often get into fun little arguments about which country is better, Mexico or America. So as he came to our area to interview Vilma y Jenny, he asked Vilma "which is better: a Gringo, or a Mexicano?" And she said "Gringo" :D  So he figured he'd try another question and asked, "which is better, a Gringo or an Argentine," and she again said "Gringo¡¡¡" :D  Oh the look of defeat on Hernandez´s face was priceless. :D ha!  Of course, she only said that because two Gringo's were the one's that taught her.  But it was awesome to stick it to Hernandez. 

Oh ya, turns out almost no one in the Fontana area can sing. I mean, they try so hard, but in vain, to sing correctly. They just have absolutely no understanding of beat or pitch. And they all sing like 5 notes too low. :p  But regardless of their examples, I sing super loud (and on key) in hopes they will catch on. 

So Rocio (the one who was baptized just two weeks ago) has a BF.  And as it turns out, he's been getting pretty mad (or perhaps jealous) that Rocio joined the church. It got to the point where he finally gave her a choice: him or the church. Ha, she dropped him there on the spot and chose the church. Woot¡¡ Score one for the God.

Welp, that's all I've got for this week. I love my mission¡¡¡

Elder Clemons

This is my wash machine ...but I am the motor ;-)
This is my pet dog, named Jerry.
He lives outside our apartment, he is very loyal and loving.
 President Heyman said we need to know the commandments better, so I made these little sticky notes for each one.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sometimes, life's a little crazy down here...


First off.....VILMA VA A SER BAUTIZADA!!!!! She told us last friday that she wants to. :) We don't know what changed her mind, but her baptismal date is Saturday, the 8th, in just one week. I believe it was because of 2 things: Rocio's baptism and the positive influence that has on everyone, and continually having to defend the church. Turns out many of Vilma's friends and family have been telling her lie after lie after lie about the church, but she simply defends it each time. I suspect after time she began to strengthen her own testimony. So ...looks like she's ready. :)

I am buff!   (Editor's note:  really?!!?)
Here are a few one-liners I thought were really funny:

By Silvia:
- Elder Clemons, why do you like Selena Gomez?
- Elder Pickle, are you a dad? I saw your daughter in the States.

By Rocio y Vilma:
- Amando is just so nice. He gets a little drugged up sometimes, but he always remembers who I am. Such a nice boy.
Note: we met Amando a few days ago ...Vilma and Rocio told us about him. He apparently has something called a "Carta Blanca" which means the police just leave him alone. He just roams around and does what he wants and the police just let him do it. Sounds like a pretty scary guy.

By Vilma's family:
- It doesn't say the name of Joseph Smith in the Bible.
- All Mormons are rich.

Short, sweet, and funny...

Love Elder Clemons