Monday, November 24, 2014

Oreo smoothies :D

This week was really crazy busy.

First off, we had transfers.  Nothing happened to Elder León and me, but every other companionship in our zone had changes.  So now I have a lot of new faces to get to know.  And I feel like our zone has tons of potential!

Enjoying some smoothies at our district meeting.
I still don't know why our apartment has a blender!
But our week was also super fun and successful.  Remember when I told you our apartment has a
brand new blender, well I decided to bring it to our last district meeting in Goya.  A bit of ice cream, some oreos, and some bananas, and we had super delicious smoothies. Everyone loved it and had a good time ...except Elder León 'cause he was in Bella Vista attending their district meeting.  Bummer.

Got a chance to see Elder Thomas at our last Zone Conf
We've also had some success with our investigatores Mirta y Joana. We've been teaching them for about 3 months now, and they've each gone to church 9 times which is really quite good.  But they also each have obstaculos of sorts that prevent them from getting baptized, at least for now.  Mirta and her almost husband have been chatting about getting married.  We had a chance to talk to him this week, and it looks like they've finally decided to do it!! :D   So we're helping them make plans and everything, but it's going to take some time wouldn't believe how hard it is to get married here in Argentina.

And Joana really wants to talk to her boyfriend about her getting baptized, but he lives in Corrientes, about 3 hours away.  She finally took some time this week to visit him and talk about things.  Haha.  It sounds funny that she wanted his opinion, but anyways she got it and will get baptized this Saturday!  So really the Lord blessed us quite a bit this week.

Yikes, we got locked out!!
Yesterday we had a massive, terrible storm. We finished a lesson, went outside and looked up to the sky, and saw five giant mean storm clouds directly in front of us. We booked it to the nearest member's house, but still got seriously soaked. It was fierce! We stayed and talked with the family for a while.  They made us some churros and torta frita ...yummy. But igual, the storm didn't let up and we still had to walk home; so we headed out in the storm, and walked through rivers up to our knees, but eventually made it.  Cold, wet, and dirty, but it was super fun.

Putting in a little bit of service, cutting branches and fixing a roof.

Tomorrow, I am taking a trip to Bella Vista to visit the other half of the zone up there, so I'm quite excited for that!

We had a really good P-day today.  All the missionaries went to the church to play ping pong. It was nice to have some form of sport here.  And we had a good time.

Love you all super much.

Elder Clemóns

Bautismo of Andres Micheli in Reconquista!
(I'm sad I wasn't there for his baptism, but I had lots of great opportunities to teach Andres while I was there.)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Lots of pictures, few words

Just hangin' in the Argentina, Resistencia mission :-)

I'm really sorry, but I've got like no time this week to write. So here are just some quick things.

I'm happy to report that we were fairly successful this week, both in our personal area and as a zone.

As a zone, we're doing really well. We continue to include members in lots of our lessons and visits with investigators which really goes a long way to helping investigators integrate into the local branch. And we're super pumped about that.

Multi-zone conference in Corrientes
My zone
On Thursday we had multi-zona meeting in Resistencia. We rented a bus for all the missionaries from our zone to go there together. I got to see all my friends: Elder Conway, Elder Thomas, Elder Sufia, Elder Toledo ...just todos!
Me, Elder Leon, and Pres & Sis Franco
Elder Thomas
Elder Conway

Afterward, I convinced President Franco to let us go to the only McDonald's in the misión -- in Corrientes, which is along the way to Goya. I was shocked he let us go, but it was super fun, and the zona loved me for hooking us up.

Sadly, I worked in my area only 2 days this week because I was always on exchanges with other elders in our zone. I worked with Elder Carrasco in his area of LaValle (un pueblito above Goya), and with Elder Parsons (my old zone leader and example) in my area. And I learned so much from both of them!

Regarding our area, we have a teenage girl, Telma, who's chosen to get baptized the 13th of Dec. She is 13 years old and is the cousin of David (who recently got baptised). She's already come to church and loved it.

Transfers are this week. But I'm pretty sure I stay.

Love you all!

Elder Clemons

Monday, November 10, 2014

Your friendly neighborhood Gringo! :D

Alligator skin from last week's "Snake House" visit
Hola familia!!

Well, in short, this week was super busy (we had a ton of meetings this week), and a little bit disappointing. 

To start, we had Consejo de Lideres on Tuesday, a giant meeting of all the leaders of the mission with the mission president.  We had to get up and leave by 3am to get up there by 10 I was pretty tired, but I did really enjoy it. Presidente Franco started out by talking about being a consecrated missionary and being obedient in every aspect. He taught for around 1 hr 30 min. It was really good. I took a ton of notes because as ZLs we'd have to share with the zone what he shared with us.

The hermanas made home made alfajors, super good!
Then after we had lunch.  And guess what, after nearly 1.5 years in the mission, they finally changed the menu!! Every single time I have had any form of meeting in Resistencia, we have always eaten pizza and empanadas.  But Pres Franco finally changed the menu, and we had these giant hot pocket things with bananas!  Woot!!  Soooo good!

After lunch the assistants talked about helping out the new missionaries -- we just got 57 new missionaries, one of which is in my zone -- and how to overcome doubts with investigators.  It was really quite good and gave us an excellent opportunity to freshen up our teaching skills.

The meeting ended around 4:00, and then we had to do "pedidos" (get supplies).  I wish we had a picture, but we ended up filling two suitcases full of BoMs, pamphlets, and all.  Can I just say, books are suuuuper heavy.  Then we had to lug all that back home. We left Resistencia around 6:00 and finally got back home around 10ish.

Then we started planning.  The next day was our Zone meeting.  It's our job to convey everything we've learned to the other missionaries in our zone we staying up fairly late making plans.

The following day, we got up in the morning, went to church, and immediately began to prep for the meeting. We set up chairs, tables, chalk boards, bought lunch, and lots of stuff like that.  Then missionaries started to arrive, and we had our meeting. All in all, I thought it went great. I think everyone paid attention and participated, and I actually knew what to say, so all went well.

Not much progress
The bad thing is that because of the conferences, we didn't work at all on Tuesday and Wednesday.  And then on Sunday my comp got sick we had 3 days where we didn't work ...and it was very obvious. :(

And then, it was a really hard decision, we dropped every investigator we had. So we are once again starting from ground zero. The combination of these things really hit us hard, and we were seriously down both Saturday and Sunday; it just felt awful!  It seems like nothing this week went well for us.

But we'd like to be great missionaries and learn from our mistakes.  So Elder León and I have decided to mix things up and change the way we do missionary work in our area.  A crazy man is one who does the same thing again and again, and expects things to change.  We've decided we are going to attend family nights with the members, work more with recent converts, and visit former investigators.  Please pray that we're inspired to find success in our area. 

Pics from last week's "snake house" visit
We had lots of fun!
In last week's letter, I mentioned that we had visited "snake house" on P-day where we got to look at and hold a bunch of reptiles such as snakes, tirachulas, frogs, and the scales of an alligator ..."yacaré" in Guanani, the Indian language here.

But for some good news, looks like our zone is doing pretty good.  Elder León and I have been focusing much of our efforts these past two weeks mainly on helping out the zone, and I think it worked, haha ...just our area has suffered.

We went on exchanges with the missionaries in Belgrano.  I worked with Elder Idrogo who's been in the mission a really long time, and you could tell.  I really enjoyed my time with him. We had tons of success, and I also learned a lot of things from him. The only advice I gave him was to stay motivated and obedient at all times -- and not just when your leaders are around ;-)  I really enjoyed my time with him.

This coming week, we have a multi-zone meeting in Resistencia on Thursday.  And all of (the providence of) Corrientes is going ...which means I will get to see my old companion Elder Conway again!  Woot!  I am so pumped for that!!

Oh, and hey, some more good news, Andres Micheli received the priesthood!!!  I love it!

Gotta go! Love you all!!!! 

Elder Clemóns

Your friendly neighborhood Gringo! :D

Monday, November 3, 2014

Today we went to a snake house

What's a soccer ball doing in a baptismal font?
Hey, so I can't really think of anything important that happened this week ...hmm.

Well today we went to a snake house ...I know, I know, you're wondering what a snake house is.  Well, it's basically a house full of snakes of all kinds.  And they have lots of tarantulas, turtles, and frogs; not sure if these were for food or not ;-)  It was pretty cool; they let us hold some of the snakes.  I did get pictures, but sorry I'll have to send them next week. We asked 'em if we could hold the tarantulas, but they said no, that we would have to come back tomorrow morning to hold them. But obviously we work, so we likely won't hold a tarantula any time soon.  Haha. 

So Elder León and I have a calling in the branch here.  It's not a formal set-apart type of calling, we just fill in for just about anything. There are basically no leaders here to fulfill the callings. While we do have a branch president and a ward mission leader, that's just about it.  So we teach the young men, young women, and priesthood classes.  Haha.  Obviously, in order to prepare, we are constantly studying for these classes, in addition to our Zone Leader responsibilities, and of course working in our own area.  So we are very busy missionaries. ;)

One of the things I love about being a zone leader is that I get to do exchanges with all the other missionaries in our area.  It gives me an opportunity to get to know a lot of different people, and hear a lot of different life stories.  This week I went on exchanges with Elder Vasco.  Although one of our missionaries, he is also the Branch Presidente in BellaVista.  He came down from BellaVista (about 2 hours away) to Goya to be with me.  He wanted to learn more about setting good commitments with investigators and how to contact better using the Book of Mormon. So we worked on these things a lot.
We also had a lot of time to just chat I asked him about his conversion story.  He got converted when he was 19, and it literally changed his life.  And now he is on his mission :D  Oh, it is stories like this that just make me so happy.  I love the life-changing effects the gospel has on people!

So this week we had 3 investigators come to church. Mirta and Joana came again (they've now come 6 times ...this is a lot!) But they're not really willing to get baptized because of their boyfriends. Ugh!  I feel bad about it, but we might have to drop them this week.  And Maxy didn't come ...'cause he accidental slept in.  But if everything goes well, he will be baptized on the 22nd of this month. :) So pray that he makes it.

We found a couple of new people that we think can progress: Claudia y Telma. I'll give you more info on them next week if they begin to come to church.

Tomorrow, we're going to Resistencia for a meeting of leaders, so I'm getting up at like 2am to get there on time :P  Woot.  I am kinda nervous about going to a leadership meeting, but oh well. We'll see what happens.

I may have said this a time or two before ...but I do love my mission.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.  I also know that what we are teaching is true, and that it is good news for the world. Our message is that Christ died and rose again for us, and that we can return again to God through His suffering.  ...And I know our Heavenly Father loves us. 

Love you all!!

Elder Clemons!