Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Group selfie :-)
We had a good week!!

After months of hard work, we have finally been able to make some solid success. It's been tough!

For some odd reason, the parents of Jonny really didn't want to continue talking with us ...and didn't want Jonny to get baptized. So we sought help from his sister Vanina, who will soon be leaving on a mission. We got her to practice a bit with us, then sent her off to convince her parents to give Jonny permission. We don't know what happened, but with prayers and a bit of faith in the Lord (for a good cause), she was able to convince the parents and got their signature giving Jonny permission to be baptized!!! :D So as of now, we are planning a baptism for June 6th :)

Another miracle
On Friday, as we were endlessly contacting everyone we could find, we found this 18 year-old girl named Julieta. She was baptized Catholic, but has never attended church, nor comunión. She is super interested and super prepared. We taught her the "Restoration" discussion on Friday, the "Sabbath Day" on Saturday, and then SHE CAME TO CHURCH ALL 3 HOURS on Sunday.  On Monday, we taught her the "Plan of Salvation" and she accepted a date to be baptized the 13th of June!!! How miraculous is that!??!

I don't believe that has happened to me on my entire mission. She is just so prepared!! And in a very real sense, I suspect the Lord sent us on missions to find those who were already receptive to His voice.  Our next appointment with her is Thursday ...but we can't be there because we have to go up to Resistencia for a Zone meeting.  But we've luckily been able to arrange with the Familia Micheli to visit her and teach her the lesson!!!   #evermemberamissionary !!!!!!!!!!!


Holy cats!!  Nicest bus EVER !!!
An eventful week
Besides the missionary work, our week was also super full of other stuff. Yesterday, Elder Caceres had to go up to Corrientes to do some visa work, and I went up with him. (This is why I couldn't write to you guys on Monday or Tuesday. Don't worry mom, I am not dead ...but you should have seen what Elder Caceres' mom did hahaha).  We got up at 2:00 am and went to Corrientes. While waiting in the immigrations office, we met a gringa!  Her name is Allison.  She is from Georgia and came down here to "teach English and be a missionary" ...but they both fell through.  And now she's just chillin' out for a while, haha. She's a Baptist.  We had plenty of opportunity to teach her the Restoration discussion ...and a bunch of other things. We literally had like 5 hours to talk, so we talked about everything from school to life to churches. She was super open, and intelligent, and really funny. I ended up giving her a Book of Mormon in Spanish ('cause that's all I had).

Wow, they even fed us breakfast.  Check out this awesome meal!!
We finished visa stuff and went back to Resistencia around 4:00p to eat lunch. We ate some pizzas that the office bought. Everyone was given 4 slices, but very few finished them all. I ate 3 ...and my companion ate 7 hahaha. But somehow he stays skinny. :p We then left Resistencia around 6:30 on the nicest bus I have ever been on. I was literally in shock, soooo nice!!! We couldn't really sleep because they were blasting a movie called "Olypus has Fallen." Hey, since you can't really avoid it, just make the best of your opportunities and watch. SOOOO COOL!!! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It is super weird that my mission is coming to a close :-( :-(

...but I am convinced that there is still work to do and people waiting to hear the gospel! I promise I'll work to the last minute! :D

Love you all!!

Elder Clemons

Monday, May 18, 2015

A sacred, holy experience...

There are these sweet black guys that sell watches in the plazas,
they speak Spanish, French, and their tribal African language.

Super tight. The watches are pretty nice and costed very little.

And since I broke my watch like forever ago, I decided to buy a new one :D
Hello Familia!!!

Alright, this semana was super successful para nosotros! We worked hard!! And ya, The Lord really blessed us this week!

We have made lots of progress with Jonny and his family. We have been working with Jonny through his sister Vanina, who is essentially teaching him everything, and we just pass by to verify. It is working really well.

On Tuesday, we taught the whole family about the Sabbath day. It was super calm, and you could tell they really understood it. And we applied everything we taught completely to the family, because that's what they care about the most (awesome!). We encouraged them to go to the Cultural Activity for the Córdoba Temple -- which the mom came to! -- so that was a huge step forward!

I made some sweet tacos the other day!

Then on Thursday my companion, Elder Caceres, and Elder Gonzalez (another elder from our district) went over and taught them lesson 3, about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to receive permission from the parents to baptize Jonny. Unfortunately, I wasn't there 'cause I was doing exchanges with Elder de Avellaneda. But my son (Elder Caceres) did some seriously great work! And they were able to receive permission for Jonny's baptism! :D  The kid wants to be baptized sooo bad that I know he'll keep progressing to make that happen. He is such a happy little guy, and is always playing with his Hot Wheels cars or with marbles; we like to play with him a little bit before each lesson. I am certain that with the help of Vanina, he'll be baptized on the 6th of June!  Please pray that the father's heart will remain soft so that he will go through with his word that he gave us.

My exchange with Elder Avellandeda was super fun. I went with Elder Bingham to his area. He's been out in the mission field a long time, like me. And we already knew each other, so it was pretty chill. Elder Bingham is a funny guy.  I love how he contacts people ...always interesting and funny. I went to their area to give an interview for one of their baptismal candidates named Agustin ...such a good kid. Passed with flying colors. At the end of the night, Elder Bingham and I bought 30 empanadas; ooooo they where so good.

But the highlight of the week was easily the dedication of the Córdoba temple. I was extremely blessed to have been able to participate in this incredible event for Argentina. Last Saturday night was the cultural activity.  We missed the first half because we were looking for investigators to bring to it.  Thankfully the Lord blessed us, and we were able to bring Vanina's mom, who loved it. :D So we did catch the 2nd half. It was really nice and to watch the faithful Argentine youth celebrate their new temple. There were dances and songs from every providence and state displaying to the world their culture. It was really nice.

The next day, Sunday, was the temple dedication. I was able to participate in all 3 sessiones. I loved it. You could feel this "higher power" present in the temple. Now, we weren't physically in the temple, but the chapel we were in was "transformed" into an extension of the temple. And we watched the dedication on a giant screen. The power and spirit of the temple was easily noticeable to all in attendance. We had to be an hour early, and we couldn't talk as we waited. This was a perfect opportunity to ponder about my mission and the significance of the temple. Man, how I miss being in the temple!! As we waited, pictures of temples from around the world, both inside and outside, would move across the screen. Being in this environment, in complete silence, in perfect meditation with God, made it so easy for me to receive a strengthened testimony that this is the House of the Lord. Temples are so beautiful. The temple is where He walks and where His presence is felt.

There was one part that I just loved. Elder Uchtdorf and Elder Christofferson went outside to set the last stone (I forgot what it is called in English), and after they had each done their part, they invited some kids to come up and participate. It was really special to see. About 5 little boys and 5 little girls, each about 3-5 years of age, ran up to "set the stone." This reminded me of the part in the BoM when Jesus takes the kids and blesses them. They are so pure and loving; much closer to Christ than we are as adults. It was so cute to see all these happy smiling little kids run up to the apostles to help them in placing the stone. Children are clearly of the Kingdom of God.

I felt the spirit the strongest at the beginning of the dedicational prayer of the first session. It was read in English, and then translated into Spanish. The spirit overcome me when Pres. Uchtdorf began to speak. His prayer was incredible. The words were definitely revelation and came straight from the spirit. You could just feel the spirit of unity in the chapel, and I'm sure amongst all the saints of Argentina. These brothers and sisters have worked so hard and for so long for their temple, and just to be there, united in prayer with them, was such a privilege.

I know the temple is where families can be sealed for eternity. I am grateful that I was sealed to mine. This temple dedication increased my love for you guys, my family, and my gratitude for your faithfulness. I love you and miss you so much. Thank you for your example to me my whole life. I understand so much better now how blessed and lucky I was to have parents like you. Love you so much!

Elder Clemons

Talk to the hand...

Brother Micheli has got some sick gear!!  This is his helmet and gloves.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Holiness to the Lord - The House of the Lord

Mother's Day

Skyping home on Mother's Day...

I loved being able to see you guys yesterday! Everyone look so good and happy! I love you all so much and can't wait to see you soon! You mean everything to me. I have learned so much about the importance of the family. I love you all and am so grateful for all that you do.

This is a River Soccer jersey shirt that a member bought for me!
Super funny because I am a fan of the rival Boca team ...haha :-)
So, I feel like God is trying me to the very end of the mission. We had huuuuge potential for lots of our investigatores coming to church this week (we even had members lined up to go pick them up and all), ...but then it rained. :p And when it rains, no one goes to church. :p So we took a big hit.

Time is my enemy at this point. We have only 3 Sundays left in which we can bring people to church so that they can be baptized the 13th of June, just before my time in the mission is over :-(

And this coming Sunday is going to be a very special Sabbath. It's the DEDICATION OF THE NEW CORDOBA TEMPLE!!! And all the missionaries get to participate!!! I am so excited to be a part of this! It's really a blessing to be serving the Lord at a time when a new temple is to be dedicated! This is a rare opportunity!!  This is also a huge milestone for Argentina as they will now have 2 operating temples in the country. God bless Argentina!

And it seems like Argentina is actually making some spiritual progress. Seems they just passed a law that will also take effect this coming Sunday that certain businesses aren't required to operate on Sundays. Argentina is actually going to partially keep the Sabbath Day! How cool is that! :D

But for me, this will also be a little bit of a sad day.  You see, due to the temple dedication, we aren't allowed to bring investigatores to church. In order to participate in the actual temple dedication, they are going to extend the sacredness and sanctity of the Temple into the local chapels ...and you'll have to be a member with a current temple recommend to be able to enter the church. So I'm seeing my Sunday options for investigatores dwindling even further. :P

Our Goya Zone shirts.
I scalded my head with some hot water :-(
So about our investigatores. We made good progress this week. On Friday, we visited with the Romero Family and gave them the Charla Franco, explaining that if they don't read and pray about the things we are teaching them, that we won't be able to visit them as often. The next day, Saturday, we visited with them again, and they had started reading the scriptures! :D Woot!

We then made plans for a member to drop by and pick them up for church. (What I mean by "drop by and pick them up" is "clap their house and walk with them to church.")  But as I already sadly mentioned, it rained, and where they live it is impossible to enter or leave when it rains. So, we've set up another appointment with them for today, and we'll once again ask a member to go with them to church on the Sunday after the dedication.

We've decided to focus our attention on Ori, the Romero's 14 year-old daughter. She is expressing the most interest in the Restored Gospel and seems to have a genuine desire to come to Christ. So our goal will be for Ori to get baptized on the 13th of June!

We were not able to meet with Vanina's family at all this whole week. We passed by their home like 14 times, but never got a chance to hook up with them. You'll recall from last week's letter that Vanina is a member of the church who is preparing to leave on a mission soon.  She and her brother are members.  But her mom, dad, and one other brother are not.  The good news is that the mom and brother (Jonny) have already gone to church once.  But of course, they missed yesterday because of the rain. Turns out Jonny has actually already gone to church like 7 times; he often attends with Vanina.  All we need at this point is his parents' permission for him to get baptized.

So please pray for both of these families ...that the Word of God will touch their hearts, that they will have a desire to come unto Christ, that they will have the strength to keep their commitments, and that they will be able to be baptized on the 13th.

Don't worry about me. I love the mission, and I love what I do. We are working incredible hard, probably harder than I have worked my entire mission. My companion and I both want to baptize new members into the Lord's Kingdom, and are working extremal hard to do so.

Of course, true success is found in your dedication to the work, not in particular achievements.

I love the mission, and love what I do. See you soon!

Elder Clemons

We finally received the Zone Shirts we designed while I was in Goya!  Sweetness!!  :D

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tender mercies

My companion and I bought some new suits for $180.  Pretty good quality, and very inexpensive!! :D

Just FYI, this week was transfers. But nothing changed in the entire zone ...except my district received another pair of missionaries.  I am still the District Leader.

So after 6 long weeks without assistants (editor: investigators) at church, we finally had 2!!!! Vanina's family (the Romeros). Vanina is a young member who will soon be going on a mission.  Her family aren't members yet, so we have been working hard with them to get them to go to church.

We had a super powerful lesson with them on Friday. We went with Vanina and taught lesson one -- The Restoration -- which went very smoothly. We felt impressed to also focus this lesson on the family. As we did so, the mom, Sandra, kinda' opened up and talked about some hard childhood experiences she has had and how her family has been affected. We then testified about how Christ came to suffer those very pains, and that He is the one that can help us overcome them. Luckily, Vanina had her computer, so we were able to show the video "He lives." Now I have seen this video well over 50 times, but watching it in this environment, with these people, was completely different. The spirit was undeniably present and overwhelmingly powerful. I immediately felt God's love and comfort enter the room, and I could sense that Sandra did as well. We bore powerful testimony after the video that God loves her and that Christ is her Savior. All we need to do is ask for our Heavenly Father's help.

It was a very touching, simple moment. I often feel that the simple moments in life are the most spiritual, as was this one. The video, combined with our testimonies and the testimony of Vanina, was enough to get Sandra and her son to go to church ...even in the rain. Now that's what I call a miracle and tender mercy.

Now there's two hansome missionaries!!
We also had another incredible lesson with the Romero family. They are a family of 5. The mom Lorena, son Gaston, daughter Luz with her boyfriend Juan, and the youngest daughter Oriana. The kids have different schedules from the mom, so we teach the mom separately, and sometimes even share different messages with her based on her needs.

The lesson we had with the kids was on prayer, and we brought their cousin Aldana (who is a member) with us. They love it when we come over and everything, but they haven't taken the initiative to actually pray! On the other hand, they do read the scriptures that we ask them to read; so that's good. The last time we visited them, we really wanted to emphasize the power of prayer. So we read with them the Book of Enos and used it to testify that God will answer prayers ...of course, you have to put in some genuine time and real effort. We then shared Moroni 10:3-5 to show them what God expects us to do before we can receive answers to our prayers. I then shared with them a personal experience I had had about receiving a real answer about leaving on my mission, and Aldana shared an experience about how she came to know the Church was true. (I don't know why, but I feel like the testimonies of members are always more powerful than ours they're more simple, pure, and personal.) Aldana bore a tender testimony that really touched everyone in the room. I think the lesson was a great success, and really helped the Romero kids understand the importance of prayer and the reality of a loving, personal, and attentive Father in Heaven.

On Saturday we taught the mom the Word of Wisdom. Kind of a tough lesson since she smokes about 10 cigarettes a day. Her situation is a little different than most of our investigators: she reads the scriptures and pamphlets consistently, and she already knows the church is true. But she hasn't gone to church (we're hoping next week she'll go, si o si!!!), and of course she smokes. So on our last visit with her, we explained that everything we teach her is to help her family. Thar our purpose as missionaries throughout the world was to bring whole families to Christ, and that sometimes things in our lives prevent us from doing that. She took it really well and admitted that she always knew smoking was bad; she'd just never taken the initiative to try to stop. So we encouraged and helped her to create a plan to do so ...her goal is to stop smoking by June 6.

Unfortunately, the family wasn't able to make it to church because it rained all through the night :-( :-( And it's especially hard for them to get to church because they live in a pure dirt area of the city, and when it rains it's super muddy.  So now we're hoping for NEXT WEEK!

Please pray for these 2 families. Pray that they will receive and recognize the answers to their prayers strong enough that the experience encourages them to accept and live the commandments. It's sad that I've only got 6 weeks left ...please pray that they get baptized before then!

The Micheli family is totally boss!!
Today's p-day was a lot of fun!  The zone got together, and we played some good old basketball! We haven't played in a looooong time ...well, I haven't por lo menos (editor: "at least").  We decided to play District against District. My District against the Zone Leader's district.  And yup, we won both games! Of course, we all played like crap (keep in mind that as missionaries we haven't played real basketball in nearly 2 years; so we were all super bad).  But igual, it was fun.  Wow, I sweated so much; but winning made it all worth while. We played for about two hours, at which point we were pretty much dead.  A super good p-day!

So here's a little tender mercy that happened to me this week.  It was so simple, but it still just makes me smile to know that God is always near, and it was clear evidence that He works though many small and simple means. It was Saturday night, and my companion and I were in a grocery store grabbing a couple things to eat for Sunday (because obviously you can't shop on Sunday).  I grabbed a few things -- bananas, oatmeal, milk -- and waited in the cash-register line to pay.  When I got to the front, lo and behold, I had forgotten my credit card and was unable to buy any food!  All I had in my pocket was about 30 pesos in cash. So I bought what I could with that (which turned out to be just the plain oatmeal), and walked out of the store back to our apartment. Suddenly, we heard from behind us, "Elder!! ¿Como va a comer avena sin leche?" (editor: "How are you going to eat oatmeal without milk?). This random guy ran up to me and gave me the milk I wasn't able to buy. What a sweet, simple act of kindness. I had never met him before.  But he had noticed that I wasn't able to buy the milk, and so out of the kindness of his heart, he bought it for me ...and chased me down just to give it to me. It's just a simple testimony to me that God is always aware of his children and is always sending us simple messages saying that He is there and cares for us.

I know God lives and I know He loves us. The more we look for Him, the more we'll notice Him in our lives ...the more He answers our prayers with tender mercies.

I love the mission and love what I do!