Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fotos galore

Fotos from the past few weeks:
Elder Cloward loves his tree and all the ornaments!
Elder Cloward and Elder Wagner and the "trunky" tree (haha)

Thanks for the ornament, Adriana! And what is Joel doing on the tree?

Fotos from service (cleaning the Young Women President's rug):

Fotos from Elder Cloward's mission Christmas party: Elder Butterfield, President Jones, Elder Cloward
Elder Cloward, Elder Mawhinney, Elder Krainik

The Jones family (Mission President, wife and children)

Semana 9 en Los Arcos

"So right now I`m sitting in an internet cafe on the other side of the world, and `Take on Me`is playing in the background (does he mean 'Take a Chance on Me' maybe?). nice. So we didn`t do email yesterday because we were in the Christmas activity pretty much all day. It was really fun. We went to the chapel of Rivas Vicuña at about 8:30 and changed into our pday clothes to play (you guessed it, soccer) and some other games that Sister Jones had organized. Then we watched the `restrospectiva`which is like a slide show of the past year, and we all got a copy of it after. Then we ate lunch, sang some christmas songs, and President Jones spoke, then we took a pic of the whole mission, but I don`t have it, because they didn`t want to take the picture 160 times for the whole mission. So they will email it to me and I will email it to you.

"The Christmas activities for our ward and stake were this weekend, too. The ward activity was Friday and the stake activity was Saturday. On Saturday we had a whole stand set up outside with pamphlets, Liahona`s, pictures of Christ, etc. and we contacted pretty much every person that walked by to invite them to come in to the activity. Fernando Tapia (the 11 year old that we have been teaching from Flia. Tapia) came to the activity, but didn`t want to go in because he wanted to be outside with us and help us talk to people about Jesus Christ. He is a really great kid and we are going to try to set a date for his baptism tonight. Yesterday I asked him what he wants to do when he grows up and he told me he wants to be a missionary so he can help people. He also told us that he has been reading 4 pages from his Book of Mormon every day and he brings it to school and sometimes reads it with his friends. So yeah he is basically golden. His dad, Angel, came to church for the first time on Sunday and loved it. He was very impressed by how kind the members here. He told us they treated him like someone that they had known for a long time even though they were meeting him for the first time. Fernando didn`t come on Sunday because his dad told him he had to stay home and finsih his homework, so yesterday we told Fernando to make sure he has his homework done before Sunday so he can come to church.

"We are still teaching Katy but it is hard to get an appointment with her. Her fiancè, Erick, got fired from his old job and is now driving a radio taxi (basically someone calls him whil he is driving around and he picks them up and drops them off where they want to go) and he gets home very late from work and works every other Sunday. And Katy wants Erick to be there when we do the lessons (as do we) so we will see what happens with that, but they are going to get married January 30th and after that Katy can get baptized.We still have lunch every day with the members, but we are not sure who we will eat Christmas dinner with yet. Here Christmas dinner is always on the 24th and they open all of the gifts at midnight, which I guess is kinda cool, but then they just don`t really do anything on the 25th. They all think that I am crazy because we open the gifts on the 25th in the morning. I tried explaining that you have to go to sleep early on the 24th so that Santa Claus (here his name is `viejito pascuero`, literally `the old christmas man` haha) can come during the night to leave the gifts. oh well different country different traditions.

"I will take a picture of me by the tree and one up close of adrianna`s ornament. I really like the one that cousin Connie made of my new cousin `oopsie`hahaha. I put all of the ornaments that you sent me on the tree, so please let everyone that made an ornament know and tell them thank you. Thank you so much for all of the gifts the 12 days of christmas makes me laugh every time I open one. I try to guess what it will be before I open it and I have gotten a few of them right (animal crackers, fruit rollups) when I opened the Payday bar I was guessing it would be 100 grand, so I almost got that one write haha. well everybody I love you very much and cant wait to talk to you tomorrow! (2:oo my time 9:oo your time) talk to you soon!"

Feliz Navidad! or, Semana 10 en Los Arcos

"Merry Christmas and happy 2009!!! (almost) It was great to talk to everyone on mom`s birthday. Thank you so much for all of the ties and tell grandma Sharon thank you so much for the white shirt and tie! I really love all of the ties you sent. I decided that I am going to call the white and black one my zebra tie haha but I really do like it I wore it the day I opened it. I am feeling better too I just need to rest a little bit (he was a little sick when he called us).

"Today we are going to play volleyball for our zone activity I am so excited!!! finally! For the 24th we went to one of the sisters in Los Arcos and had dinner with her. She gave us socks for Christmas! haha I opened the gift from Lidia and she gave us socks too she is really funny. That is really exciting that Mitch is going to have his first baptism I am very excited for him. I am going to (try to) write them today I am not sure if i will have time with the zone activity. have you listened to the tape i sent or tried some of the cookies? I hope you like everything.

"Things are going well here yesterday Angel and Fernando came to church again. Angela didn`t come because she was feeling very sick again. Apparently she went to the hospital on Saturday and they are going again today. I really hope she will be okay. Apparently her mom died of ovarian cancer and her mom`s sister died of breast cancer and they think she might have the same thing, but she is only 16 years old. I feel so bad for the family and just hope that they will let the gospel help them overcome the challanges in their life. Well I have to go buy some stuff to get ready for the activity and I will talk to you again next week. I love you all so much!"

Christmas Call

Elder Cloward got to call us on Christmas Eve (which is also Rebecca's birthday) because the train stations and other public places wouldn't be open on Christmas. We had a great talk for about 45 minutes, and then the line went dead in the middle of his story! We were so sad, but we figured he had to go. About half an hour later he called us again! He said the power went out at the train station he was calling from, so he and his companion got on the next train, rode it up a stop, and called us again. It was so great to hear his voice and we're excited to talk to him again in May!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fotos! Semana 8 en Los Arcos

The Christmas Tree! See if you can find your ornaments
Also, please observe the musical Christmas ties from Dollar Tree

"Some old Catholic cathedral I thought looked really cool"

Elder Cloward & Elder Krainik at the mission home

Semana 8 en Los Arcos

"This week was pretty interesting. On Thursday I had to go to the mission office because I had to get my carnèt, which is basically my foreigner Chilean I.D. We had to go to three different gov't buildings throughout Santiago to get it and waited in lines for about 2 hours at each place. It was a good oportunity to make some contacts and talk to some peeps, but it was also a trial of my patience haha. So my card should be arriving in about 3 weeks. We had to wake up at about 5:30 a.m. and we did not get back to our sector until 6:00 p.m. but the sister who made us lunch, Hermana Corina Cancino, saved food for us. She is really cool and helps us a lot. I think it is because she has a son on the mission too and wants to help us as much as possible because she wants the members in Argentina to help her son like that. Her son, Elder Cancino, is serving in Buenos Aires North, is that Elder Anderson`s mission or Elder Williamson`s mission? They should know him since he is about to finish his mission.

"We also have taught the Familia Tapia to more times since last week. The daughter went to the hospital on Tuesday for a check up and the doctor could not find anything wrong with her, which I am pretty sure qualifies as a miracle considering how sick she was on Sunday. Also, they found the dad`s car which was stolen last week. So this family is seeing a lot of miracles which is really great. We have another lesson with them tonight.

"Thanks so much for the packages. I wasn`t sure about the stocking so I already opened it (but not the ties, I saved them for Christmas!) and gave the CTR rings, pencils, and stickers to the Primary kids and they loved them! The Primary president and her counselors were very grateful and wanted to thank you very much! I gave Elder Becerra his stocking too and told him to wait to open his tie until Christmas, but he openend it right away. I told him it was a very nice tie and he needs to take care of it, and he wanted to say "sank you very much" to the family (he has some problems making the "th" sound haha it doesn`t exist in Spanish). And I already put the treee up on the wall and finished decorating it today. I put the ties and the shirt from Grandma, along with the 12 days of christmas gifts "under" the tree it all looks pretty cool. I will send a pic today. The cookies and candy from your package were still very fresh I think putting the pieces of bread in there helped. As I was eating the cookies I thought how lucky I am to have a family that cares so much to wrap each individual cookie and send them in a container like that just so I could get them fresh. Thank you so much for all of the packages they are making our pension much more Christmas-y. Thanks for the cassette tape too I already listened to the whole thing during my exercize/get ready for bed time. I started laughing so hard when Mitch started talking. I also thought it was really funny when Elisabeth said that she couldn`t here me talking to her then when the girls explained to her that it was a recording that I would hear later and she said "oooohhh" haha made my day.

"We should be having Christmas dinner with one of the members, and we get to stay out until 11:00 p.m. woo-hoo!!! party day!!! haha."

(we get to talk to him in 9 days!!!!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fotos Semana 7

We have no idea what is going on here, but the statue is cool.
Elder Cloward and - we think - Elder Kranick outside a pretty church.

Lidia's baptism - Elder Cloward, Lidia, Raul, Elder Becerra

Monday, December 8, 2008

Semana 7 en Los Arcos

"This Thursday we had interviews with President Jones and he knew about the situation with Lidia from my weekly email and he told us he had been praying about it a lot, and he felt from the Spirit that the baptism on Saturday was okay. He said that it is possible that I was wrong when I saw the tunica above the water, or it is also possible that it went under the water and came up after. He said that one time he saw a baptism and both of the witnesses said it was good, but he was sitting to the side and to him it looked like the person had not gone completely under water, and he wanted to say something, but he felt the Spirit confirm that it was okay. Lidia definitely showed her true intention by being baptized (about 6 or 7 times) and if part of her clothes left from the water, it is okay. President Jones told me that if he is wrong, then it will fall on his head, not on mine. I thought that was pretty funny, but it also made me feel a lot better. So we told Lidia that everything was good with her baptism and she was very excited. So that is the good news of this week, but here comes the better news... get excited!

"We had a great experience this week with a new family (sorry this is kind of long, but it is a good story, I promise!). We only found them through what seems like an accident (but we don`t believe in coincidences, right?). We were standing oustide of an investigator´s house (his name is Emilio... he is a great investigator too but that is a different story for a different day) last Monday and a member from another stake, Hna. Sandoval, stopped to talk to us and told us that we should go visit this family, la familia Tapia, that was a good friend of hers, and lived in the apartment building across the street from Emilio. So we went and visited the next day, and set an appointment for Thursday. On Thursday we came by, and someone had robbed the dad`s car, so it was not the best time to teach a lesson. We invited Àngel (The dad) to say a prayer with us, but he didn`t want to. He said that there are so many bad things that have happened in his life (his wife passed away about a year and a half ago) that it is hard for him to have faith. We came by again on Saturday, and Àngel was in the hospital with his daughter, Àngela (16 years old) and it seems that she is pretty sick, but we are not sure with what. I called saturday night and talked with the son, Fernando (11 years old) and he said that his sister was still in the hospital, and I invited him to pray for her and asked if he could come to church Sunday and he said yes. Sunday morning we went to their house and only Fernando came to church, because his sister and dad were waiting for a doctor to come by and do a house-call (I think that is what they are called). His dad told us that he had never let his son go out without him before, but he let him go with us. As we were walking to the church (which is across the street from their apartment) Fernando told us that when he prayed for his sister saturday night, she came home from the hospital right away. This kid is amazing! When he saw us paying fast offerings in the chapel he asked us what it was for, we explained it to him and after he wanted to pay (of course we explained to him he didn`t have to, but could if he wanted to). When we went back to his house he took out $300 pesos (about the equivalent of 50 cents) to give to the church! When we went back to his house, his sister was lying in bed and was feeling very sick. The same member that told us to visit the family, Hermana Sandoval, was in the house visiting and explained to the dad how we do blessings of health in the church. He wanted Elder Becerra and I to give Àngela a blessing, which we gladly did. We came back later that night to share a lesson with the family (the plan of salvation) and the daughter was feeling much better. The dad said that after the blessing she felt some of the pain leave and slept for a while, and after her nap they went to the store and she was walking around perfectly fine. The dad said that he wasn`t quite ready to say it was a miracle or to convert immediately to the Mormon faith, but he did say that there was a huge change in the health of his daughter, and that he could tell that there was `something good going on with the mormons.` He also thanked us very much because he could see that we were truly worried about the family and wanted to help, not just try to convert them. So we are very excited to teach them (we are going again tomorrow night). Fernando wanted us to come by today, but his dad said no because they are going to be out of town. It is amazing to see the ways that the Lord brings us to the people that are waiting for the truth. I also think it is kind of funny/ironic (or maybe a lesson in humility for me) that it was through no effort of our own that we were led to this family, so it is impossible for Elder Becerra or me to say ´I found this family.´ We were simply in the right place at the right time. So that is the really cool story of the week, I hope you enjoyed it.

"Katy and her member-boyfriend Erick are still taking the lessons and coming to church. They have a goal to get married this January and then in the temple one year later. We need to hurry up a little bit with the lessons though, it has been hard to teach them a lot because Erick works a lot (we have only done a lesson twice since I have been here) so we will see how that goes.

"Last week I got the letter from Mom and Dad, and also a letter from Elder Jensen and Elder Jergensen it seems like they are doing very well, they make me laugh. That is so cool that Ben is coming to Chile, too, now Jonah will have three cousins in Chile! (Aside from Elder Cloward, two of Jonah's other cousins will be serving in Chile very soon, but different missions). The Christmas party will be more like an activity. We are going to the chapel of Rivas Vicuña on the 22 and we are going to play soccer, which should be fun."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Meeting Elder Butterfield

Elder Cloward's first companion in Chile was Elder Butterfield. Elder Butterfield's mom sent Rebecca a bunch of pictures and video clips of them together, and here is one of our favorites!

Five month mark

Only 19 months to go!

too soon to count down? nah!

Semana 6 en Los Arcos

"So now comes the story of the year: I call it the almost baptism of Lidia Jara Santibañez. So yeah Saturday we had some problems getting the keys to the chapel and the bishop went to fill up the font. When we got there the font was filling up way too slowly so we used the emergency fire house in the chapel to fill it up faster. Then when Raul tried to baptize his mom, her knees could not bend and her whole body just floated up. She is 74 years old, not exactly flexible. So we closed the doors to the font so the whole ward wouldn`t see. I think Lidia was feeling a lot of pressure. So we closed the doors and went around back and tried to do it again, but Raul was having problems. So the bishop used the extra pants and shirt that I brought (I have been learning from past experiences) and came into the font to do the baptism. I was one of the witnesses and every time that they did it she did not go under. And then the bishop told her that they were going to do it only one more time, and she did it, but her clothes were floating about the surface of the water. I said that she didn`t go under, but the other witness said yes and the bishop said yes and told Lidia it was okay, so she left the font and started drying off. So yeah I talked to our district leader and he said that both witnesses need to agree that the person and their clothes went completely under water, and since that didn`t happen we need to do the baptism again. Nice. The only problem is that we have not been able to talk to Lidia since and she still thinks that she did it fine and is good to go. So that should be an interesting conversation. Needless to say we will be praying and fasting very much for her to have the courage to do the baptism again. She was basically a golden investigator and I knew that everything was going too easy! Oh well we will work from where we are and do our best to get the problem resolved as quickly as possible. So that is the catostrophic news for the day.

"Now some happier news. Elder Krainik had changes this cambio and now he is in my zone, so I get to see him once a week for district meetings and possibly on pdays too. Elder Mawhinney is in his 3rd change in the coast, I wonder how he is doing. We will see him for the mision christmas party. This morning we went and hiked the same hill that the president took us to on our first day here. It was weird to be there again. 3 months have gone by pretty fast, I would say. The weeks are short but the days are long, as we say here. We have been teaching a lot of different people / families. Most of them are just from contacts we made or doors we knocked, and others are referrals from members or other missionaries. I don`t like to say too many details when we have only started teaching them though, because a lot of times we teach them once and never see them again, so I will wait until things are a little more sure befor I get my and your hopes up. Although I do have a funny story from one of the investigators. In Los Arcos, there are two teenage boys we are teaching, Nacho (nickname for Ignacio) and Jeffry. They are friends of Rocìo Muños, the only active young woman in the ward. They are both ready to be baptized but there are two problems: Nacho lives outside of the sector, and Jeffry does not want to set a date for his baptism. We are talking with President Jones about Nacho to see if he can be baptized here or if he needs to go to his own ward. But Friday there was a stake youth dance and they went with Rocìo and were wearing white shirts ties and slacks, they borrowed our nametags and pretended to be missionaries, it was pretty funny. They taught us a lesson about prophets which was good because it showed us that they understand what a prophet is and why they are important. I am hoping we can get everything resolved with them too so that they can be baptized soon. So we will see what happens with that. Thank you for your prayers love and support (and packages!!!) I love you all so much and can`t wait to talk to you!"

Mas fotos

Elder Cloward & Elder Bacerra on top of the hill San Cristobal which we hiked today as a zone activity.
Elder Cloward's version of "O Jerusalem" (except in Santiago instead of Jerusalem).

Raul Padro, ward mission leader, filling up the baptismal font with a fire hose for his mother's almost baptism (see semana six email).