Monday, May 26, 2014

Colder than a Klondike campout...

It took me a while, but I finally found a sign for the city of Reconquista!!

So this week was better than last week. Roconquista is muy duro. It is VERY rare when people allow us into their homes. But this week we had success! ...including 1 investigator at church! I know that sounds low, but it's actually high hahah! :D YAY!!

We also met a man named Luis who's in his 50's and lives with his daughter.  Although he's a little slow, he is very sincere about his desire to learn and grow closer to God. He is our only progressing investigator right now, so please pray for him. I feel that he will be our next baptism, and he currently has a date for the 14th!

We also taught a first lesson with two women, a mother and daughter named Graciela y Janina. They give me hope as well. It was only a first lesson, but one of the most exhilarating I have had during my time here in Reconquista. So I would ask that you pray for them as well ...aannnnd that we find more people. ;)

Scripture - Moroni 7:48
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.
Charity is the pure love of Christ. And it is a commandment of God that we try to develop this kind of love. We must do as Moroni invites and pray to God that we are filled with kind of love. Love for ourselves, for others, and for God. 

Preach My Gospel (Spanish, page 124)
And this scripture goes perfectly with PMG 124 about talks about Charity. It says that if "we follow  and continually do good works, our love will grow, especially for those we work for." Simple enough. Since I want to grow my love for others, I pray constantly to God to be filled with this type of love. I suspect true love is found in service.

I'm wearing a sweater 'cause it's getting COLD down here!
Elder Thomas and I received a "best smile in the mission" award

So it is getting kinda' cold here lately. I bought a sweater that I now wear under my jacket. Have I said this already is freezing!!  I bet it's colder than that one Klondike campout when all those scouts went home ...that was nothing ;-) I challenge those scouts to come down here: Argentina winter with like 150% humidity (I promise it's possible) is a killer; it'll show you what real cold is. Super penetrating.  Oh, and uh ...I really miss central heating.

But I do love my mission. I realize intellectually that every missionary obviously has ups and downs, but in reality my mission's been nothing but "up" so far. I've heard that many returned missionaries say their mission was the best two years of their life ...they're not lying because it is.  I love it! :)

True happiness is found in service to others, and even more so in service to God. I'm incredibly happy to be a missionary. I love what I do, and I live what I believe. I know it's true. I know Christ died and now lives for us. And I know that God called the young boy Joseph Smith to restore the original truths lost centuries earlier. The restored gospel blesses the family. I know it.

Loves all!!!


In front of Pereva's home.  (Bro Bunnel knows them)
Another view of Pereva's home

The local church building in Reconquista.  Pretty nice.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Up at 1:30 with honey bananna pancakes, dulce de leche, y syrup ...heaven :D

Breakfast this morning @ 1:30am!!   Pancakes with honey banannas, dulce de leche, y syrup ...heaven :D

Hola Todos!!

We had to get up at 1:30am to get to Corrientes !
So I finally got a call to go to Corrientes to do some Visa stuff. I went with Elder Goycochea (another Elder from my zone) this last Thursday.  Unfortunately, we had to get up at 1:30am :P to get to Resistencia by 6 so Elder Goycochea could do some other pre-Visa things.  While there, I just chilled in the office with the Assistants.

I hung with the APs in the Resistencia office waiting for Elder Goycochea

...and then from there we headed to Corrientes!

It was such a fun trip, loved it! Corrientes is a beautiful city! And all we really had to do there was to sign a couple papers and get finger printed ...which took a grand total of like only 10 minutes :D

Wow, I love hamburgers!
After we were done, we all went to this burger shop and bought some hamburgers, super good!!!

Then we went back to the bus terminal to buy a ticket back to Reconquista ...but the earliest one left at 4:45 we had to wait the rest of the day before we could head home. Sweet!

We took the opportunity to just roam around the city, take pictures and such. It was nice. In fact, my favorite "P-day" so far (even though it wasn't considered one, hahaha)

Same cathedral as Bro Bunnel 25 years ago!
Church headquarters in Reistencia @ 6am
Reconquista is a really nice place. Yep, statue's still here Bro Bunnell :)
Corrientes from the bridge

Preach My Gospel (Spanish pg 66)
I was reading chapter 3, section 3, about enduring to the end. I read a phrase that was cool which says (poorly translated) "If we continue in the path with patience and faithfulness, we will gain eternal life." The word "patience" jumped out at me. So I continued reading about patience in Chapter 6 which says "patience is to bear delays, problems, opposition, and suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, nor anxious." This just testifies to me that though throughout life there will always be trials, we just have to bear them with patience and faithfulness to have eternal life. 

Scripture Helaman 10: 4-5 
Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.

And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.
This is what I hope God will one day think of me. That I put forth my full effort into this work much so that He has blesses me with power and the constant companionship of His spirit. 

Bleeding my finger
So funny story about my finger. It got so painful that I called the area doctor.  He told me it hurt so much because of the high blood pressure ...that the blood had to leave my finger. So he told me to heat up a little iron rod/wire ...and burn it through my fingernail and finger. And so that's what I did! :D  ...see those little holes. Didn't hurt too bad, and I got a pretty cool video of it! So thankfully it feels better now, but I suspect it'll fall off pretty soon :(
...taking every opportunity to be a missionary  ;-)
I know the church is true. I've never doubted it, nor shall I ever. I love the church and Christ who is at its head so much. It has brought me much happiness. I don't care how many people reject me, I have a powerful message that is the single most important message that they can hear. I will contintue to proclaim it loudly and boldly.

I love my family, and I know that this message is the greatest blessing for my family. Christ's church is a church of the family. I Love them. :)

Love Elder Clemons

Monday, May 12, 2014

Thumbing our way to Sans Peña at 3:45am...

Me with President and Sister Heyman at a zone conference
Hola! and Happy Mothers day!! Loved Skyping home!! See ya at Christmas! :D

Thumbing our way to Sans Peña
So this week was super crazy...

On Tuesday, we went to Sans Peña, about 6 hours away. We had to get up and leave by 3:45am!!! :P Not fun. :P But after like 1 hour, the bus broke down!! So we were stranded for an hour in the middle of the night in the middle of no where!

I actually passed through my old area Fontana! It was really quite cool ...I miss that place.

But anyway, we had a really cool training opportunity in Sans Peña. Presidente was there, and we got trained on how to recognize the Holy Ghost, how to contact, and how to use members.

I also got to meet a lot of my old friends!! Elder Atwood, my comp from the MTC, Elder Cannon, Elder Hernandez, My Old Zone leader and now assistant Elder Perez, and just Old Missionaries from past zones! Really fun experience, loved it!

Elder Atwood!  My comp from the MTC!!
Elder Ayala
Elder Cannon
Elder Hernandez, my old Zone Leader
Elder Perez, AP
So the work here in Reconquista is pretty tough ...I'm struggling to find new people to teach. But we have found a couple of people to teach, so we will see where that goes. :) And we also have some members working on setting up appointments with their friends.

One of our investigators is Melina. She is super cool, but she just needs to get married, and HE doesn't want to. :P But she is so ready for baptism! But cool news, just yesterday she had her baby! Cute huh! But we need to get her married first! So we will be pushing a little for that. ;)

Preach My Gospel, page 172 (Spanish)
So like I have said, it is super hard to find people here in Recon to teach, so I've been studying a lot in PMG on how to find investigators. I read something that jumped out at me: it said that as I contact people and center my message on the family, I will find more people to teach. That's a promise from PMG ...if I talk about the family, I'll find more people to teach. 

Scripture of the Week
Omni 1:26

And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.

I love this scripture. I found it as I was randomly flipping through pages during sacrament meeting. I love how it says come unto Christ and offer up your whole soul as an offering to Him. To live with Christ, we have to become like Him; and the only way to do that, is to give ourselves to Him and let Him mold us into a Christ-like disciple.

Bishop Juchau
Bishop Juchau is now Stake Presidente!??!  Dang. Wow!  He never really got a break.  But he is perfect for the job. :)

So I kinda had an accident yesterday just before Skyping; I slammed my index finger in a door. It didn't hurt at the time, but it's killing me now, and it's super black  ...way worse than when I took this picture.  I hope my fingernail doesn't fall out. :P


There was a really pretty sunset a couple nights ago. So I jumped up on our roof and snagged a few photos. Here out in the mission I have really grown an appreciation for nature and the beauty thereof. I like the sunrises and sunsets here.  Not having any mountains really makes them quite different, but spectacular. :)

Well, my finger really hurts, so I am going to bid you farewell. Just know that I love my mission and the work that I am doing. I wouldn't trade it for the world, but not even that is worth the happiness this work brings. I know the church is true, and I'll live what I cherish.

Love Elder Clemons!!


...ok, one other funny experience: the zone leaders called the other Elders who live with us last night. And in mid-call, one of the Elders let out a super loud, blood curdling scream. It was hilarious. Everyone laughed -- including the Zone Leaders -- for like 10 minutes. OK now Chau!!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

Note from editor:

Travis called today.  It was wonderful to hear his voice and see his smiling face.

He seems happy and looks like he's doing great!

Since it was Mother's Day, we thought it would be a good idea to also have Grandma and Omi here to hear from him.  I suspect they enjoyed the opportunity to talk to him on this very special day (one of only two a year) where we get to hear his voice.  We also had Kimi and Ryan and Grandaddy here to round things out.  And Lisa popped-in unexpectedly ...and got a chance to say hello as well.
Finally, fluffy Tug and Missy got to say hi as well :-)

Travis learns for the first time that Kimi and Ryan are engaged to be married   :D

Monday, May 5, 2014

Rain, rain, go away...


Scripture: John 15:1-2

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

What really caught my attention about this scripture was the word purgeth. God will cut down (prune or thin) the branches that bear fruit, so that they produce more fruit.  God will sometimes cut us down (even when we are good and righteous) just so that he can mold us and make us that much more successful.

PMG: Chapter 3, Section 1
I was reading in Chapter 3, Section 1, about the restoration. How God called Joseph Smith to be a prophet, gave him the authority of the priesthood, and called de nuevo 12 apostles. In our Church, we believe in the same organization that Christ formed.  And we believe God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  The ancient Church was lost, its leaders killed, the priesthood killed off with the early apostles.  And so it was necessary for a restoration, to recreate it in its original form ...and to do so under His direct guidance (modern revelation), with His authority (priesthood), and through His designated mouth-piece: His prophets and apostles.

This week has been raining sooooo much. The roads have literally been rivers ...I have worn my rain boots nearly all week. 

So the investigator situation is a little tough. Of the 3 we had, we had to drop one, one left his wife and moved out, and the other one doesn't want to get married. Sooooo, it is literally step one right now. The area is very different from my last, the people here are a lot more stubborn. Contacting door-to-door doesn't really work. So this week we've focused a lot on working with members.  For now, just visiting them and getting to know them, and from time to time asking them to acompany us to a lesson.

We managed to receive 10 referencias de los miembros. So we will see where these go. I suspect I will learn a lot about patience and working with members in this area ...hahaha.

So one of the Elders in my apartment has this super fun game called Munchkins. We play it in nearly every free moment, which means on p-days and the 15 minutes we have before bed. It's a lot of fun. I am going to buy it when I get home. :D

C'ya Sunday when I Skype home for Mother's Day!  :D

Elder Clemons

Friday, May 2, 2014

I'm not in Fontana any more...

So cool news, Brother Bunnel is going to like this....I was transferred to Reconquista!!! :D
Super excited!!

Saying Goodbye to Elder Sufia ...what an awesome companion!!
Goodbye Fontana!
Oh, but I really miss my old area. I really got close to many of the members there as well as the area. I know it better than the back of my hand. I didn´t think I would be sad to leave, but now that I am gone, I really miss it.

I also really miss Elder Sufia.  He was super fun.  We got along really well. and he taught me so much. I just seems like those 6 weeks really flew by. He is a great missionary.

Hermanas Loli & Damaris
The Junco Family

My Fontana Zone is cool !!
...and I am cool too ;-)

Hello Reconquista!
5 hour trip to Reconquista!
The difference between Fontana and Reconquista is quite dramatic. I went from clapping my hands to introduce myself at the entrance of mud and brick houses, to talking through intercoms to people living in mansions!

But I already love it here.  And compared to Fontana, it's SUPER NICE!  I mean, they actually have PAVED roads here everywhere.  As far as I'm concerned, I'm back in the States again joke.  It's clear that all the people here are well off.

My desk is way nicer than my last place!

I live essentially in the city center, not exactly, but really close.  My pension is super nice ...WAAAAAYY better than my last.  I live with 3 other Elders which makes it super fun.

My bed - bottom right
But with the good also comes the bad.  I can tell that the work here is going to be very different than in Fontana.  The acceptance rate is way lower than it was in Fontana, so I suppose I'll have to adapt to it.

But I'm not going to let that stop me goal is to improve the work in this area. ;)  Right now we have 3 investigators....and I am about to drop 2 of them.  But we'll see how it goes this next week. ;)

Elder Thomas and I
My new comp is Elder Thomas.  He is cool.  He has one less transfer than I do, and he's been here for 2 transfers already ...and this will be his 3rd.  I'm convinced we'll be good companions.  ...I'm super excited to work with Elder Thomas! :D

I haven't met too many members yet in this area, but the ones I have met are pretty cool ...they feed us 4 out of 7 days, so that's awesome. :)

Scripture & Preach My Gospel
Scripture of the week: Mathew 18:12-13

How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

I really it because it shows that God doesn't expect perfection. None of us are what we know we should be. But that is what Christ came for, to help us achieve what we are destined to be. God only expects that we progress with the help of Christ.

PMG, page 63
I was reading a little bit in Chapter 3, lesson 3, about repentance. It caught my attention that we show our love to God not only through obedience, but also through daily repentance. Every day should be a step of repentance and one step closer to perfecting ourselves. That is what repentance is, continual progression.

Mother's Day
Oh ya! Mothers day! I will Skype home on the 11th. I don`t know what time yet, nor exactly how we'll do it.  I'll try to figure something out, but just to be safe, can you get me a calling card with all the information and the directions so I can call you if I can´t find a member with internet access? Thanks so much!

Well, that's all. Love you all very much ...and I love my mission!

Elder Travis Clemons