Monday, June 30, 2014

Putting Moroni's promise to the test ...again

Familia!!

Les amo muchisimo!

So this week nothing really happened. It was a pretty hard week, but as missionaries we don't look back at the bad, we just look at the white field ahead of us and plan on how to harvest it. :)

Good times predicting the World Cup!!
Mundial has made Argentina crazy. Tomorrow we have to stay in again because of the game. Argentina plays Nigeria and the USA plays Belgica. And if both the States and Argentina win, they face off in the next round. So that is going to make the work here fun. :P They are so serious about their soccer, but it does rub off ...I am super excited about it too. Everyone in the mission has these little brackets that we fill out will the counties, it is super fun. And my room Elders and I have this guesing game going on. It is a lot of numbers, but something fun to do at the end of the night.

So I had a pretty spiritual experience this week. A couple of days ago I finished reading the  BoM in Spanish. I usually never have time to just sit and read because in one way or another, we're always studying something for our investigators. But I decided to once again put Moroni's promise to the test ...just as I have done before. I found a secluded room and knelt down and offered up a prayer asking God if the Book of Mormon was true. As I ended my prayer, I sat up and waited pondering. I waited for nearly 10 minutes, and nothing was happening. I sat there wondering "why would God not answer my prayers?" I wasn't doubting the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon; I just wanted a confirmation. But still nothing. So I decided to reread Moroni's promise. And the words, "having faith" really penetrated me. I suppose I had faith, but was it sufficient? Then I thought, "everyday I go out and promise people that if they will just read 3 verses of the Book of Mormon and pray and ask God, their literal father, that He will answer them." And they do receive answers. Now if they can do it after 3 verses, surely I can do it after having read the entire book. And it was at that moment -- that moment when I fully expected an answer -- that I received it. I was overcome by a sensation of peace and calmness which started from my heart and spread throughout my body.

My mind was guided to the scripture in Galatians 5:21-22 where it lists the fruits of the Spirit. Explaining the spirit is a tough thing to do, but I felt exactly what was described in this scripture: peace, joy, love. At that moment, when God manifested the truth of the BoM to me, is when I felt an immense amount of love towards my family. True love is found in God and in His work. I have never felt so much love towards others before than at that moment.

I want to declare to the world that I know the Book of Mormon is true. And I will not deny the importance of the work we do. I also know the church is true, that it is Christ's church, and that it was restored through Joseph Smith, a real prophet of the Lord, and that love is found in God. We must love others as He loves us. I love what I do. :)

Love you all!

Elder Clemons

P.S.  I have a new mission president.  His name is President Rodolfo C Franco.  Haven't met him yet, but he's from South Jordan, born in Buenos Aires. He used to be an Area Seventy.


video
A really short video just to see if it works.  Meet my companions...



Monday, June 23, 2014

Changing of the guard...

So this week was awesome! :D So sorry I didn't write yesterday, there just wasn't any time.


Hermana Heyman y yo !!


This last week is essentially Presidente y Hermana Heyman's last week in the mission. :( So we had a mission-wide conference in Resistencia ...giving them a chance to say good-bye. It was super fun to catch up with all my old companions and friends and just relax. Presidente got Subway sandwiches for everyone and Pringles! Super yum! He also got every missionary a leather agenda case!  Super nice of him.

But although it was really fun, it was also really sad. I have really grown to love Presidente y Hermana Heyman. And to know that I won't see them again in the mission is a little saddening. They really love us, and they have really served diligently. They were great examples to me.


President took time to say good-bye to ever single missionary
At the very end of the conference they made us stand in a huge line and one by one shook everyone's hands and said a personal good-bye. It took nearly 3-4 hours. And the things they said to each of us were really nice. They are great people. :) I'm going to miss them.

But I do understand that their time has now come to an end, and that the keys of the mission will now transfer to Presidente Franco. So I am super excited to get to know him. :)




My average day...
Ok, so you want to know what my average day looks like? Bueno...  So I get up at 6:30 and exercise for 30 minutes every day. From 7 to 8 I eat and get ready for the day. From 8-11 we have personal study, companion study, and language study. From 11-12, we work for 1 hour near the apartment, but that hour isn't often very productive because everyone is preparing their lunch.  Like everyone else, around 12 we have lunch, but we usually get to spend it with members, a veces (editor: at times) we just eat in the apartment. After lunch, we work until 9 or 9:30.

It's a bit more difficult here in Reconquista than it was in Fontana ...especially durante la siesta. Bottom line, no one wants to listen to you during the siesta. To explain a little bit, for siesta in Argentina everyone goes to bed at 1 and literally takes a 4 hour nap until 5.  I know ...it blows my mind. But they get quite ticked when you wake them up during their siesta. Pero igual (editor: all the same), we do it anyway ...because we know the blessings they can recieve from our message. If we're lucky, we have 1 to 2 planned lessons a day; I always look forward to those. But we usually range about 2-3 lessons total a day because somebody unplanned usually lets us in.

My day-to-day life really just consists of looking for people to find, and asking for referencias de miembros.  I suspect we actually teach the Gospel for only about 2 hours a day :(


This week
But this week we did find a pretty cool mother and son: Delia y Diego. They are super nice and willing to complete all of the compromisos we give them. Delia can't read, but Diego reads out loud to her, so it works. They are Catholic, but attend the universal church (which believes that all the churches are true). It seems like they're pretty pumped to go to church, but something in the family happened this last week, and they had to leave until Thursday. We'll figure out what happened when they get back :) Please pray for them that they can receive answers to their prayers and have the animo to continue. :)


I got a package today!!!
Good news, YOUR PACKAGE CAME!!! I don't know how, but I got it. Blessings huh? :) I love all
my new tie clips. :) And I will slowly be eating the peanut butter. :) It is very yummy.

...love all the tie clips!!  Go BYU!!

I asked President during my personal interview with him how I could immerse myself more in the culture. I'm going to dedicate myself more to the work and love even more those I teach. I'm also going to ask Presidente Franco to put me with Latinos; we'll see. ;)

Well, I love you all a lot! and thanks for the package! :D

Elder Clemons


Monday, June 16, 2014

Mundial




I got to play in the bounce house on my birthday!
Hola familia!!

So my birthday was good! My roommate Elders made this sweet banner for me ...all decorated and such, very cool!!

And just before the baptism -- more below -- there was a birthday party for the 1st counselor's 2-year old daughter. So they gave me a cupcake to celebrate my 20th and let me play in the bounce house. ;)

Thanks to all of you who sent birthday wishes last week.  Sure was nice to feel all the love :D




Luis was very happy to get baptized!
Luis's Baptism
So this week was pretty rewarding, obviously because Luis got baptized! :D Everything was perfect and went smoothly. He looked pretty cool all in white with a cane! He loved it. He cant wait to start spreading the good news of the Gospel to his family. And isn't that what conversion is all about? Spreading it to others? I love Luis!
...it was a good week. :) 


P.S. Javier fell through because his mom literally shipped him off to Buenos Aires and changed his phone number ...and yet he's 24.







Mundial
Editor's Note:  I couldn't help it...
So Mundial started this week ...and let me tell you, Argentines are crazy about soccer. Like, Crazy. There are flags everywhere, and that is all anyone talks about. Um, religion isn't exactly on their minds right now.  It is actually kinda' dangerous for us to be out during the games, so whenever Argentina plays we have to go back to our apartment.

Our zone has created a "march madness" bracket so we can track it all and make guesses. It's a good bit of fun; I'll take a picture next week. If your prediction's wrong, you lose and have to buy the winner(s) alfajores. I've never really liked soccer too much (but did enjoy playing as a kid), but now that I'm winning the bracket, it is kinda fun ;) Actually pretty good for a gringo who knows nothing about world wide soccer. ;) 


So all in all. I love what I do. I love being a missionary and I love the Argentine people. I couldn't be happier. Pray that we find some more people. :D 

Love alls!
Elder Clemons!


P.S. Hey, so it was Father's Day here yesterday. Don't know if it's the same over there, but just in case it is, Dad, I want to let you know how much I love you and that I thought a lot about you yesterday! :) Happy Argentine fathers day! :D  Love your favorite son, Travis!

P.P.S. We asked Travis, "Please tell us a little bit more about your day-to-day life."
His answer:  "I contact all day."



Monday, June 9, 2014

Looks like I'm going to have a good birthday...

Hola Familia!

So nothing happened with traslados, I'm still here with Elder Thomas in Reconquista! But we did get a Latino roommate named Elder Dias. So I speak more Spanish than I did before. Yay! :) 

God has really blessed us this week. While our numbers weren't the greatest, we were nevertheless the recipients of two milagros that happened to us.

First off, during planning on Friday, Julio sent us a message. Julio was an antiguo investigator from a couple months ago. The message simple said "how are you?" So as planning ended, we called him up; he wanted us to come over the next day. We were kinda' worried to go over because his mom dislikes us very (VERY) much. But he is 25, so he can make his own choices. He sat us down and explained to us that he knows the Book of Mormon is true ...and he wants to get baptized right away! Like, he actually wanted to get baptized that day. While we secretly wanted to accommodate his wish, we felt it would be wiser to wait just a bit. He has already attended church the required number of times, and has now passed the baptismal interview ...so this coming Saturday, the 14th (yes, my b-day) he will get baptized! :D How cool of a story is that! Such a sweet God-given tender mercy. We really had no part in his conversion, it was all just him and God. :)

Room mates
Part of our Reconquista zone










Another tender mercy was Luis. He has a really bad leg so he can't walk for long distances, and the church is quite far from his house. What we usually do to get him to church is pick him up in a taxi ...but that's clearly not a long-term solution when missionaries come and go.  So, to set him on the right path ("give a man a fish" vs "teach a man to fish") this week we told him that in order to get baptized, he's going to have to find a way to get to church on his own (wow, that was super hard to tell him).  So he made arrangements for his daughter to take him. We visited him Sunday morning just to see if everything was ok -- and it was -- so we said that we would see him in church. But church started, and he wasn't there. And although I had a talk to give that day, I was freaking out for him ...rather than my talk. You see, an investigator can't be baptized until they show a pattern of coming to church. I started my talk, and he still wasn't there.  I finished my talk, still no Luis. Finally, near the end of sacrament meeting, the phone buzzed and it was Luis saying that he was nearly there and that his daughter was bringing him. Elder Thomas and I were quite pleased. We went outside and, goodness, you would not believe the joy I felt to see this man come walking, actually struggling with his cane, to church. I don't think I've ever experienced so much love and joy before. I spent the whole meeting worried, but it was all overcome when I saw him finally arrive. His baptism is currently scheduled for the 14th, so pray for him :)

I just want you to know that I love my mission and I love what I do. I love the people of Argentina. I have never experienced so much joy before. Seeing souls come to Christ makes all the door slams worth it. I'm happy to be serving the Lord as a missionary. Pray for Julio and Luis so everything goes well for them. Love you all! 

Elder Clemons

My fingernail finally fell off.  Looks rather cool!

P.S.  Oh, and family ...write me! And thanks to those of you who do.  Just so you know, I do read every letter you write ...I just don't have time to respond. Sorry.  They give us 1 hour to write our weekly reports and to write all of our letters home.  It's really tough.

P.P.S. Today my finger nail finally came off! :P  I just brushed it gently against my pants, and it ripped halfway off, so with the help of mom's excellent tweezers, I pulled the other half off.  Really cool actually.




I got a Gaucho sombrero, Argentine soccer jacket, and Argentine belt -- of course, I don't wear these things when I'm working ;-)



Monday, June 2, 2014

25 lessons in 1 week ...we've become a legend in Reconquista!

Hola Flia!

This week has been the most successful week we've had together in Reconquista! We had 7 lessons with members, 16 without, and another 2 in church! I know it doesn't sound that high, but for this area, it's like legendary! We worked so hard ...WOOT!

So transfers are coming up this week. My guess is that Elder Thomas goes (since he's had 3 transfers here), and I stay. I hope I get a Latino! I want one so bad! There are the coolest! I love Latinos! :D

So I will tell you about some of our investigators. There are all old people ...hahaha. 

Luis is in his 60s. He has bad knees, so he can't really walk. He is also a little slow, but has a sincere desire to learn. He says we give him hope. He is really cool. He always loves talking about God, and reads what we give him. He has attended church 2 times now and went to watch a baptism last Saturday ...and he has a date for the 14th, my b-day!  How awesome is that!!

Sunilda was a pretty cool find. She is 76. She was an antiguo (editor: old investigator) from like 6 months ago. Our district leader actually received revelation for this one. Around 7:00 one night, he randomly called us and said that someone was outside waiting for us to find them. So we stopped contacting people in their homes and just randomly started talking with people outside. After about 30 minutes, we found her walking outside. We walked over, introduced ourselves, and she got super excited. :D Said that she was super happy to see us and wanted us to come over the next day. We went, talked, started teaching her lessons, and now she is also getting baptised on the 14th. She has already attended church 3 times, and has nearly read the entire Book of Mormon!

Miguel is also an antiguo. He is like 60'ish. Super funny. It is nearly impossible for him to focus on religious stuff, ha.  For instance yesterday he pulled out his PS3 and showed us all the games he has. Hahaha. But he does understand that he needs to balance his life out with religion. In reality, he doesn't really have a good understanding of God or how much He loves him. He's had a hard life: two divorces and the death of his oldest son just last year. So we focus a lot on eternal families.

Please know that we're working hard. And please pray for our investigators so that they can overcome their obstacles and get baptized. I love my mission!! 

Chau!!!
Elder Clemons