Monday, June 8, 2015

My last letter ...I'm going to miss being a missionary in Argentina!

Yup, Jonny got baptized!  Super happy kid :-)

Hola Familia,
  This is the last letter you will receive from me, so weird to write that!!! :'-(

Us with Jonny and Vanina, his older sister!
Without Vanina, this wouldn't have happened.
So, God works miracles through the faith and diligence of those who serve Him. And that is exactly what He did with us and Jonny.  He softened the hearts of Jonny's parents who once again decided to allow him to be baptized ...which we took care of last week! :D

We decided to visit the family again last Tuesday morning to "give it one more try," and while there, had the opportunity to talk with the mom.  She started out by asking us if we were going to make some invitations for Jonny's baptism. ...Um, we just kinda' sat there confused for a little bit.  Hmmm, I think there might have been some type of communication problem between her and her "husband." He had said no to us the prior week, but now she was telling us yes. Of course, having to choose sides, we happily sided with the mom, made the invitations that very same day, and began planning the baptism.

He was probably the happiest kid on the planet as he came out of the water. He had wanted to get baptized sooo bad and for sooo long! And now he was finally able to do it. :)

Jonny and his parents
Wanna know what happened earlier in the week? The day before his baptism some of his aunts and uncles where over at their home, and when they heard he was about to get baptized, they started trashing on the church and telling him all these lies about things that were going to happen to him if he went through with it. Luckily, Vanina was also there and decided she'd help him out.  But he didn't need it; the little champ got up, told them all to stop bothering him about it, that he wanted to do it, that he was going to do it, and then walked out of the room. Wow!, that little kid has a testimony of the truth!! :)

The branch really supported his baptism about 30 people showed up.  His parents also came :D In fact, that was the first time his dad had ever set foot in the church. Hey, once you get your foot in the door (er, kinda') now we will see if we can start working with the parents again. Vanina was obviously super supportive, and made a toooon of foood! She is such a good cook!!!  Bah!  But sadly, the missionaries were fasting; so we couldn't eat any of it.  But, nicely, Vanina gave us a ton of food to eat after we ended our fast.

Seeing God gave us a miracle with Jonny, I am hopeful He will give us another with Julieta.

Now Julieta has thrown us into a pretty epic roller coaster. Last week, I told you guys that her mom didn't want her to go to church, nor even to meet with us again. Well, Julieta was able to take care of that one herself.  Turns out, like Jonny, this was also a misscommunication: bahahaha ...the mom thought that if Julieta met with us, she would have to become a missionary and go to the United States or Uruguay or somewhere far away with us.  While I'm sure her feelings were very real, it was pretty funny when she told us.

Soon after that, Julieta started progressing super fast once again. She always reads the chapters we give her, and is always waiting for us when we come for our appointments (we've visited with her nearly every day). On Friday, we passed by to verify that everything was good for her bapitsm on the 13th, and for coming to church. She was super excited.

Then the next morning we passed by again (for our next appointment), and that is when she told us that she didn't want to continue with us. She told us that she had prayed about the church, and she remembered when she had taken her Comunión (a Catholic program for younger children) and how happy she was taking it. She told us that she felt that was an answer indicating to her that she needed to remain Catholic.

Goodness, I hate situations like this. We explained that in life there are good things, better things, and excellent things. We told her that Comunión was good, and what we had to offer was even better, even excellent. We explained that the Holy Ghost testifies of truth, all truth.  And that what she had learned in her youth had parts of truth, so it testified to her that it was good. We asked her to pray about the Book of Mormon, attend church, and if she felt the same way, it was the Holy Ghost telling her that this is also true.  She accepted our challenge.

She decided to come to church with a very specific question in her heart about the truthfullness of the Restored Gospel.  We set another appointment to come back today at 7:30.  So in a few hours, we'll see if she believes or not.

But God is merciful, and a God of Miracles. If Julieta wants an answer to her prayers and continues to search, I am confident the Lord will grant an answer to her.

But if not, and she continues to seek Him, I am confident that at some point, she will find Him.

If we missionaries do our part, we can have the peace of mind of knowing that our contribution is accepted of the Lord, and we do not need to be discouraged. I can promise you that I will work to the very last moment of the mission. If Julieta gets baptized this coming week, that's great.  But if not, the Elders that come after us will finish the work :)

I can proudly say that I have served my missoin honorably, that God allowed me to experience much success, and that I loved every minute of it.

I'm going to miss being a missionary in Argentina.

Nothing else really happened this week. I went on exchanges with Elder Casilla this week. He is from Bolivia, and is the only member of his family. He speaks Quechua, super tight!  He is a good, shy Elder.  Me cae bien!  We had a lots of fun and tons of success. While we only contected 6 people, 4 of them allowed us to teach them a lesson. That's something I'm just not used to ...probably because I have always served in the downtown areas of my cities my entire mission, haha. I sure had a good time with him ...we learned a lot from each other.

Found a frog in my bed
I am totally lost
But, um, who wouldn't be!
This is Elder Casilla's Bible,
 it's in the indian language Quecha
(something like that anyway)

God lives. The Book of Mormon is true, and everything that follows is true. Christ will help us in any situation, in every moment, if we just humble ourselves and seek His guidance.

See you soon!

Elder Clemóns

Monday, June 1, 2015

...I didn't recognize almost anyone :-(

Me, Elder Galido, Elder Naumann, y Elder Walker will all finish together :-)

Hey, so this week was kinda' uneventful ...especially considering that I just wrote you on Wed.

But on Thursday we did have a multi-zone conference, which included both the Santa Fe and Chaco zones. As always, it was super uplifting. Pres. Franco talked about the Spirit and how He can help us in our missionary work. It really motivated us, like amped us up. I was so inspired, I just wanted to go right out and do the work after that.

After Pres. Franco, the assistants trained us on how to use the agenda, I guess that was good, haha.

But the funnest part was after ...just being able to chat with all my mission friends. Wow, that's when I realized that most of them have already gone home; the mission has changed soooo much from when I first got here ...almost all of the faces are new now; I don't recognize almost anyone.

After the meeting, we all went to Subway for sandwiches, then headed back home. Elder Caceres and I got back to our apartment around 10:00. Hey, I love traveling now because all you do is just chat with everyone on the bus and tell stories. One thing's for sure, serving a mission sure teaches you how to talk to people. You learn to talk about just anything.

So about Jonny and Julieta, hrrrrmmmm. I don't know what happened, but out of nowhere Jonny's dad said he couldn't get baptized -- even though he'd already signed the permission slip.  So we don't quite know what to do right now.  We might try to postpone the baptism until next Saturday, the 13th. Jonny still came to church and all, but we haven't been able to sit down and talk with the dad yet.  I suspect he might be a bit scared of us; he knows if he talks to us, we'll probably convince him. Which isn't really all that hard ...hey, if your son joins the church, he'll become a better son, and a better future husband and father.  And he'll try harder in school to reach his full potential.  At this point, we are passing by daily to find the father home.

And Julieta, her mom doesn't really like that she is learning about the church. She's scared Julieta away from being baptized, and Julieta didn't come to church last Sunday either. Which is confusing to me, because Julieta didn't believe in God before, and never in her life attended a Catholic church mass. And now that she's wanting to learn more about her Father in Heaven, and attend church, her mom chases her away from it. :P  Doesn't make sense to me, but we'll see what we can do. We've talked with the mom a couple of times, but have never really had an extensive conversation or even lesson with her. We have an appointment today at 7, so we'll see what miracles God can perform for us today. :)

So for Pday we played some good old basketball. It was my district against the Zone Leader's district. We beat em 2-0. Yay! :)  It felt like some good old church ball back when I was in Young Mens ...a little bit of shouting, pushing, shoving, good 'ol uplifting basketball. It was awesome. I rocked with some hot pink socks I bought with Elder Naumann on exchanges last week. I think they really helped me to play well! :D  Ya, ok...

I love the mission.  Kinda' sad that it will soon be coming to an end.  But the end is still far away ...and I have work to do :-)

Love You!!

Elder Clemons