Thursday, July 31, 2008

Weekly Email #4

More updates from the MTC:

-"The choir is pretty fun. It only takes an extra 2 hours a week. I sing bass every time we go, because it's the manliest part, and also cuz my voice cracks when I try to do tenor or baritone. On Sundays we learn the song and practice for 1 hr, then Tuesdays we practice for another hour, eat dinner, then perform the song for the devotional."

-"This next week is our first week teaching in the TRC in Spanish. We are teaching Lesson 1. From here on we will probably be doing lessons in Spanish. It should be fun. In the TRC we start off with a Spanish task (getting to know the person, helping them move, setting up return appointments) then we take a 10 minute planning period, then return and teach a lesson for 35 minutes. We only go to the TRC Wednesday nights, usually 6 or 7."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Halfway to Chile!

It's Elder Cloward's halfway-through-the-MTC mark! We dropped him off four weeks ago today, and he'll leave the MTC four weeks from yesterday!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Weekly Email #3

(Sorry this is posted so late. I've been celebrating my heritage all day, as you'll see below.)

-Happy Pioneer Day! For those of you who aren't in Utah (and are missing out on the state holiday and multiple fireworks shows, rodeos and carnivals), today we celebrate the arrival of the pioneers in Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Elder Cloward's thoughts on the holiday: "Pioneer Day is such a huge deal here it's ridiculous. tThe bookstore closes early and we don't get any mail! Oh Utah... there'll probably be a parade or something ridiculous like that haha gotta love Provo." (FYI, there is a parade, but it's in Salt Lake. It involves the Prophet and Apostles dressed like pioneers riding in covered wagons down the middle of downtown.)

-They won their volleyball game, "but it was just for fun"

-Their district is down to six elders, all going to Santiago! A sister missionary who went to Santiago West came in to talk to them about it. Here's what Elder Cloward had to say about that: "Apparently in Santiago they stay up late, so our schedule is to sleep from 11:30 to 7:30, so that should be interesting. They apparently also have a national nap time between 1 and 3 (it's called a siesta), so we will have lunch at 1 and do an hour of personal study at 2. They don't let us take naps with the rest of the country. She said it gets pretty cold in the winter and rains a lot, but whatever I can deal with it. I just want to get out there!"

-Elder Low and him are in the MTC choir. At first they did it for better seats at the devotionals and to find friends in other districts, but now they also really like to sing.

-Yes, Diane, he is taking his vitamins, washing his face, brushing his teeth and eating his fruits and vegetables (just no salad for breakfast...yeah that would just be gross)

-They taught the second discussion (on the plan of salvation) in English at the TRC yesterday. One set of volunteers was a returned missionary and his very pregnant wife. "Elder Low and I saw a golden opportunity and talked a lot about eternal families and what not. It was really cool to teach them." At the RC, most of Elder Cloward's phone calls were wrong numbers, but one of the wrong numbers talked to him for awhile and then asked for the missionaries to come tell her more, and even gave him two referrals!

-His branch president is President Evans from Fresno, CA. He's "pretty laid back." Aside from Elder Low, Elder Cloward's roommates are Elder Krainik from Lonetree, CO, and Elder MaWhinney from Midway, UT.

-Here's a peak at an average day at the MTC:
6:30 Wake Up! (but if they want to get ready, they need to get up at 6:15)
7-7:30 Personal Study
7:30-8 Breakfast
8-12 Class
12-12:45 Lunch
Gym for 50 minutes, or straight to class
2:30-5 Class
5-5:45 Dinner
Either gym or straight to class
5:45-9 Class
9-9:30 Plan
9:30-10:30 Get ready for bed

Whew, that's a long post! Elder Cloward says thanks for all the packages, letters and Dear Elders!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Weekly Email #2

Some things are better said in Elder Cloward's own words. Here's what he's been up to this past week:

-(Shout out to The Best Two Years) "We received a notice from the mission president that we shouldn't say "Book of Mormons" or "Books of Mormon" but "copies of the Book of Mormon"... I thought it was pretty funny"

-"So yesterday in the R.C., Elder Low received a call from a man that was a member of the church already, but he was calling to file a complaint against his bishop!!! It was so funny. Elder Low answered the phone and then just said "Can I put you on hold?" He had to ask the guy that ran the R.C. what he was supposed to do. We're not supposed to take complaints about bishops! So Elder Low spent about ten minutes talking to the guy and trying to get him to just talk to the bishop about his problems. It was pretty torpe (Spanish word for awkward)."

-"This Saturday my district is challenging another district in our zone to a volleyball match. It should be pretty interesting but I think we can win! Elder Moser, who is going to Santiago North, is from L.A. area and he played volleyball in high school too so we play pretty well together. We also have Elder Mahwinney, who's 6'5", so he's just automatically going to dominate... so that should be pretty fun."

-"The food at the cafeteria is a lot better than the CANC (Cannon Center at BYU, where he was supposed to eat last year, but usually didn't). They usually have 4 different meals to choose from, and at least 1 of them is edible."

Other updates:
-They taught the first lesson in Preach My Gospel (about the Restoration) in Spanish in the TRC on Tuesday.

-He's seen lots of friends, including Elder Williamson now, and a lot of BYU friends! "I guess in a sense it's kinda like BYU all over again, except for the whole 'missionary' thing... haha"

-He's already getting a haircut (lol) because, as he puts it, "my hair is mas o menos (more or less) out of control." It's the Bellino in him.

Thanks for sending him letters! He loves them and you!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

MTC Pictures!

Through a series of unfortunate events (well, only one unfortunate event) Elder Cloward was without a camera charger when he entered the MTC. Being the accomodating sisters we are, Cara gave him her camera and I gave him my batteries and charger (since Cara and I have the same kind of camera, it was a perfect fit). Mom has since shipped up the right charger, so Elder Cloward mailed the camera, charger and batteries back to me. Why is this important? Because that means we got some pictures from his first week in the MTC!!!

(I have no idea who these other people are, so forgive the lack of captions.)

(I'm guessing Elder Low's ankle)

Typical "Matrix" shot using the ironing board. Too bad Elder Cloward's not in it!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Weekly Email #1

We got our first email from Elder Cloward! He included a tidbit for Bishop Thompson to read to the La Mirada Ward on Sunday, but here are a few other highlights:

-They can already pray and speak in Spanish!

-Yesterday they went to the RC (referral center) and made some phone calls. (The referral center is the place people send their contact information to if they want to know more about the Church. It's great practice for being on a mission.) Elder Cloward said, "I was really scared to talk to real people, but I think it went pretty well."

-They also went to the TRC yesterday (teaching resource center, where volunteers pretend to be investigators and ask the missionaries-in-training questions about the Church). They taught a 30-minute lesson on the restoration of the gospel to a volunteer. Next week they are supposed to be able to give the full lesson in Spanish!

-He's still playing volleyball (of course!) but, sadly, his companion Elder Low sprained his ankle playing volleyball on Tuesday. Two other elders in their district did as well. So now 1/4 of their district is a little crippled. They should be better soon, though!

-Since the Provo temple is closed, they got to go up to the Mount Timpanogos temple today! (That's right next to my/Janessa's/ office, and I'm sad I didn't know what time because I definitely would have tried to meet up with him, even though I know it's against the rules.) Anyway, that temple is gorgeous, don't you think?

Well, that's all for this week! Elder Cloward sends his love and thanks everyone for their love and support.

Hasta luego!

Monday, July 7, 2008

We got a letter!

We got our first letter today! By "we" I mean the family in La Mirada, but Cara was kind enough to read it to me over the phone. Here's what's going on with Elder Cloward:

His companion, Elder Low, is from Canada and likes to say "eh." He's also the district leader, which means he and Elder Cloward get to pick up mail twice a day. Elder Cloward likes that part.

Half of Elder Cloward's district is going to Santiago. He and two others are going to Santiago West, and Elder Low and two others are going to Santiago North. The rest of his district is going to either Spain or Guatemala.

Elder Cloward's three years of LMHS Spanish is coming back to him. He learned how to pray in Spanish and everyone thinks it's cool that he has a sister whose name means "expensive face." (That would be Cara.)

He's seen Elders Justin Bennett, Michael Scott, Eric Gibbs, and a few others I don't remember. Yay for having friends in the MTC!

He can't wear pink ties or his lapel pin. Lame on both counts, I say. That lapel pin is sweet.

He's having a great time though and we're so glad!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Taking Elder Cloward to the MTC

"Last Supper" at Tucano's

Mom doesn't like that phrase, but it's what they call it when missionaries come in for one last (delicious) meal before the MTC. Tucano's is a Brazilian BBQ buffet that is out of this world, and the best part is, missionaries eat free!

MTC Address and Dear Elder Instructions

Elder Cloward is officially a missionary as of 11:30 this morning, and we couldn't be prouder of him! He would love to hear from all of you at his MTC address:

Elder Michael Bradley Cloward
MTC Mailbox 220-0902
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, UT 84606

However, what we recommend is This is a free service (for the MTC and pouch missions like his, anyway) that sends your letters the same day you write them. Here's what you do:

1. Go to
2. In the top right area, there's a drop box that says "Select Mission." Use that box to select the first option "Provo MTC - FREE." Click "Write Letter."
3. Fill in the appropriate information (your return address, his name, etc.) For "MTC Mailbox #" enter "220" and for "Estimated Depature Date" enter "0902."
4. Type your letter the same way you would an email. When you're done, click "Send Letter."

Easy, right? And we know he'll appreciate it. Gracias!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008