Monday, March 22, 2010

Mini CCM and Franco's Baptism

Elder Cloward, Franco and Elder Hrabar.
Franco does martial arts and he is a body builder-
thus the fighting pose.
Franco's baptism

Photo of all of the youth and missionaries at the end of the mini ccm

Dear Family,
This week was pretty crazy but it went really well. During the week we talked to Rafael and he told us that he wanted to wait another week to baptize Daniela because he didn´t feel ready yet. He was ordained an Eder a week before Maximo, so we figured that he was worthy to baptize. But he told us that he wanted to talk to President Arancibia (the branch president) before doing the baptism. Elder Hrabar and I were both very impressed by his understanding of the Priesthood and the importance of using it worthily. Rafael talked to President yesterday and he said that everything´s cool now and the baptism will be this Saturday, the 27th of March.
On Saturday there was a mini MTC (CCM in Spanish) for the whole Talagante District. All of the young men, young women, and young single adults received a call letter (similar to the mission call letter that all full time missionaries receive) explaining that they would serve for a period of 12 hours and they had to report to the mini MTC (which was just the chapel in Talagante) at 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning. There were over 50 youth that came (that´s a really good attendance). They all had assigned companions and had to stay with them all day. In the morning they studied preach my gospel and practiced teaching Lesson 1 (the message of the restoration). At 1 o´clock the full time missionaries (there are 16 in the zone) came to the chapel. We ate lunch with the youth that were there, then we practiced teaching with them. At 3:00 the missionaries from the MTC in Santiago got to the chapel. Then from 3:00 to 6:00 we all went out proselyting here in Talagante.
The assistants (aka my old companions, Elder Butron and Elder Marin) also came to the activity. I went with Elder Butron and Elder Hrabar went with Elder Marin, and each companionship of missionaries went with a companionship of young men. It was way cool and a lot of the youth are excited to go on missions. I was really impressed by their testimonies and how valient they were sharing the gospel.
Then, at 6:00 we came back to the chapel and there was a devotional/testimony meeting and some of the youth shared the experiences they had while proselyting. Then, at 8:00 was Franco´s baptism. It was really special and very spiritual. He and his mom shared their testimonies after Franco was baptized. He said that he was never a very religious person, but then he felt the Spirit the first time he prayed and knew the church was true and that he had to be baptized. Then he said "if any of you here are investigators, and you´ve felt the Spirit, you all need to get baptized, like I did" it was awesome.
Here´s some other investigator updates:
1. Fernando- We saw him for the first time 2 weeks ago yesterday. We went with Fernando to an FHE with the young single adults yesterday. He felt really uncomfortable and left right after the closing prayer without saying bye to anyone. He´s going through a hard time right now, we are praying for him a lot so that he will feel the Spirit again like he did at the beginning.
2. Fernando the carabinero ( carabinero= a police officer here in Chile)- this guy is way cool. his wife, Margarita, is a less active member (but she came to church yesterday!) The family was a reference that Margarita´s mom (an active member) gave us 2 months ago when we ate lunch at her house, and now we are teaching them. Fernando and Margarita have three kids: Cristina, 6, Emilia, 2, and Benjamin, 6 months. It is really fun watching the kids run around and seeing the little girls take turns holding their little brother. It reminded me of growing up with 2 older sisters. I told them that my family was the same way! They are very receptive and have felt the Spirit a lot recently. The only complication is Fernando´s work schedule, since he´s a police officer. But we´ll worry about that later.
3. Francisca- she is twelve years old. Her mom, Isabel, is a less active member (but both of them came to church yesterday and last week!) and they live almost right in front of the church. The only problem is that Isabel´s husband, Francisco, won´t let his daughter be baptized until she is 18 so that she can "choose for herself" We´ll keep teaching her and pray that the Lord can soften the Dad´s heart.
4. Familia Rios- This family is awesome. We found them when Eder Marin and I were together about 4 weeks ago. They have come to church once, but they feel a lot of pressure to be baptized and are reacting badly to that. The mom still hasn´t prayed to know if the church is true, but she knows she has to. We think she´s a little scared to get a testimony, because once she does she knows she needs to be baptized. Elder Hrabar and Elder Marin visited them on Saturday.
That´s all for now, hope you all have a great week!
Elder Cloward
P.S. We haven´t felt any aftershocks this week. I think everythings going back to normal!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Note to La Mirada Ward

Dear La Mirada Ward Family,
Well, I want all of you to know that we are doing fine here in the Chile Santiago West Mission. I want to thank all of you for your cards and letters, and most of all for your prayers on our behalf. I was happy to hear that both of the Elder Mayberry´s are okay too. The earthquake on February 27th shook us up a little bit, but we´re all fine now and everything is mostly back to normal. There have been some pretty strong aftershocks, but most of us are just ignoring them now and continue life as usual teaching the Gospel. A lot of people are now convinced that God exists and respect the power that He has over all of His creations. It is sad how tragedies like this are necessary for people to Remember Heavenly Father and what He and His Son have done for us. The Lord is blessing Chile abundantly and there are many people that are being converted and coming to the waters of Baptism. The number doesn´t matter, because the worth of Every Soul is great to the sight of God. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to share the gospel with the people of Chile and also for the love and support that I have always received from the Saints of the La Mirada Ward. I know that the Church is true and that the Lord will bless us and protect us as we keep His commandmants and strive to do His will.
Con cariño,
Elder Cloward

Barbara's Baptism

Part of our zone after a service project in El Monte. this hermano´s house was made of adobe, and it was not safe to live their anymore. We took it apart and threw all the adobe bricks outside.

This is a "Chile helps Chile" poster that I´m saving. Apparently this guy wasn´t in his house in Concepcion when the earthquake hit. The next day he went to see how his house was and found it... on the ground. He was looking through his stuff and found his Chilean flag and was shaking it off, and a photographer that was close by told him to hold the flag out and took this picture. This picture is all over Chile.
Barbara's Baptism

So here I go again-I'm late posting Elder Cloward's email from March 15, 2010. Hopefully I will be able to keep up for the next 3 weeks.
Dear family,
This week was crazy busy but it was also way cool at the same time. So Elder Marín left last Monday around 6:00 p.m., and they didn´t give me a replacement companion. I just walked around in a trio with the other elders in the zone for the day. We visited with all of our investigators. Tuesday we went to changes and I met my new companion, Elder Hrabar. He has about a year and a half in the mission and he´s a great Elder. He´s from South Dakota, and he loves ska music just like me.
We had our concilio meeting with the zone leaders and the assistants (aka my two former companions, Elder Marin and Elder Butron) in the mission home. It was a really inspiring meeting. Elder Marin and Elder Butron are gonna be great together, this is the first time in my mission when we have two latin assistants. The only problem is that Elder Butron just got his drivers license like 3 weeks ago, and Elder Marin doesn´t have his license. So they are having a good time with that.
Barbara´s baptism on Friday!!!! She was a little nervous when we got there, but the baptism turned out really well, and she was so happy after! President Arancibia (the branch president) did the baptism. It was great and the spirit was so strong and it was wonderful to see her enter the waters of baptism. Her whole family came (including grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins) and they enjoyed seeing Barbara get baptized. They really felt the Spirit and are asking a lot of questions.
She was confirmed yesterday in Sacrament meeting and now we are going to start teaching her aunt, uncle, and cousins that live on the same property as Barbara´s family. (Here in Chile it´s common for one lot of land to have two or three houses on it).
So an Elder who finished his mission here 6 months ago came back to Chile with his parents and they visited Talagante yesterday. It was really cool because Elder Reese had started teaching Barbara 10 months ago and he saw her get confirmed yesterday!
On Saturday we had the zone meeting and talked to the missionaries in Talagante about what we learned in concilio on Wednesday.
Franco had his interview on Saturday, and Daniela had hers on Sunday, and they both passed and are preparing for their baptisms this Saturday. The missionaries in the MTC in Santiago are coming here on Saturday to work in Talagante. We have to prepare for that and pair them with our exsisting companionships!
Also, yesterday Máximo was ordained an Elder! He has come so far and is doing great in the Gospel. His testimony is so strong. We haven´t seen Fernando this week, but I have faith that we will talk to him soon. He will have to have a different date for his baptism.
Cris is doing well, I talked to him on the phone Saturday night, but he didn´t come to church yesterday and we don´t know why. I´m sure everything´s fine though.
Well, fam I gotta go do some missionary work! I know the church is true and I am so thankful that I have this opportunity to serve my Heavenly Father, Savior and the people of Chile. I am so thankful for everyone of you and all you have done for me!!!
Have a great week!!
Elder Cloward

Thursday, March 18, 2010

8.8 Terremoto

I want to apologize for not posting Elder Cloward's email sooner. Life has been a bit crazy. This is his email from March 8, 2010 and it was very brief because he had to get back to the pension to meet with the assistants.
Dear Familia,
That´s how you say earthquake in Spanish. Anyway, everything´s fine here in the zone. All of the missionaries and pensions are okay. When we felt the earthquake we decided it would be better to get out of the building. We thought that staying in the door frame wouldn't help us too much if 5 stories of apartment building came crashing down on us. So Elder Marin and I woke up the other Elders, and then we ran outside. The earth shook for over one and a half minutes and then it ended. Elder Marin and I went to the sister missionaries apartments to make sure they were okay and they were just a bit scared. Then we went to visit Maritza and her family and they were fine. Our branch president was next and his family was also fine. We went with him to check on members near our apartment. Then we went back to our apartment and tried to sleep a little. But we are all okay.
But here´s some news from the week:
1. President Jones called Elder Marín today at 12:30 to be the assistent with Elder Butron, and in 30 minutes we have to be in the pension waiting for Elder Butrón to come and pick him up. Therefore I have very very little time to write a nice long email like I would like to. Sorry but I´ll write as much as I can in the time we have.
2. Barbara had her interview yesterday and passed!!! She is getting baptized this Friday (the original date was on Saturday but her Dad works that day and he wants to be their obviously so now it´s on Friday)
3. Daniela has her baptismal date for March 20th
4. Franco also has a baptismal date for March 20th
5. Fernando has a baptismal date for April 3rd.
All of the investigators are doing really well. I´m anxious to know who my new companion will be. there are 5 weeks left in this change.
I´ll send some fotos but I´ve gotto go the assistants are coming for my companion!!!
Elder Cloward