Monday, May 31, 2010

Last Concilio

Elder Cloward with Elder Finter and his family
House that we helped build for service

Pictures of all of the missionaries in the Chile Santiago West Mission mission.
I took a picture when I first left the office. This is the way it will look
for the next 4 weeks. Can you find Elder Cloward?????

Dear Family,
Well on Wednesday night we had a pleasant surprise around 10:30 at night Just as we were finishing our plans for the next day, when Elder Finter showed up to our pension with his parents and his little brother! It was so funny because Elder Finter`s parents knew who I was right when they saw me without asking my name. They said "Oh you must be Elder Cloward! We´ve seen your blog and your pictures and read your emails!" "We found your blog right after the earthquake. I thought that was really funny. Thanks to all of you for keeping that blog updated for the last two years. I have yet to see it but everyone that has loves it! It was funny because Sister Finter was giving "Landon" (Elder Finter) a guilt trip for not sending pictures home while he was on the mission. She kept saying things like, "I really loved seeing your pictures and reading your emails, Elder Cloward. It was so nice to see my sons mission, since he never sent me pictures." Haha, we all just laughed about it. They are a really sweet family. They brought american candy with them to give to the missionaries which I thought was a really great idea. They said that they are having an awesome experience meeting the people Elder Finter taught.
So about our miracle family from last week... they are being kind of stubborn! But we will keep working with them. We visited them Saturday night again with my new companion who I just realized that you don´t know who he is yet. But that´s another story. Anyway we were there and Karen and David both told us: "We love it when you Elders come by! We have such a special feeling of peace and tranquility and our whole family just seems better and more united and loving." So we explained that that is because they are feeling the Holy Spirit. I asked them if they wanted to always have that feeling in their home and they said of course. So we told them that they need to come to church on Sunday! They said "no we don´t want to go to church". WHAT??? That was kinda weird. We think that their plan is just to have us come to their house a couple times during the week and feel the Spirit that way. So our plan is to visit them this Wednesday and have a "charla franca" (frank talk?) with them and tell them that we can`t keep coming by if they´re not willing to fulfill the commitments and keep the commandments, starting with coming to church. We truly believe that that is the best way to help them.
We are teaching another family too that lives in Silva Chavez, a different branch in our district. A couple of weeks ago, Victoria, the mom of Trinidad a recent convert and Manuel, an investigator, went to the hospital in Santiago. While she was there, her other son, Victor, has been in her house here to take care of Trinity and Manuel. We have been teaching Victor´s family: his wife Paola, and his daughters Aderlina, Carla, Francisca, and Yasna. They asked us, "so, according to your religion, what does one have to do to be saved?" my comp and I said "great question!" Then we taught them about baptism. Then they asked, "what does on have to do to be baptized in your church?" And I thought, "Even better question!!!" So we are going to teach them as much as we can and send the missionaries from Silva Chavez to teach them once they get home.
Antonio is still truckin´ along. He didn´t come to church yesterday and we don´t really know why. so we´ll find out about that.
Well my new companion is...................................................
Elder Alex Robinson from South Jordan, Utah. Yep, that´s the Elder that´s going to kill me. Then he has to finish off this change with some other companion, then he only has one change left in the mish. He´s my 6th gringo companion and the 4th from Utah!
He´s a cool guy.
He started his mission in Talagante and he was Elder Whipple´s last companion.
Alright I gotta bounce. We´re gonna go play "baby futbol". for our zone activity. This change we want to play soccer against Talgante so we are going to train today for the big game!
Love you family!!!
I know this church is true. Iknow that this is the Lord´s work and He is directing it. I know that this work will advance, not becuase of our abilities but rather becuase it is the Lord´s work and not ours. So He´ll make sure we won´t fail as long as we follow the Spirit and keep the commandments.
Elder Cloward

Thursday, May 27, 2010

21 de Mayo

Elder Cloward and Elder Jergins with all the desserts
Elder Cloward's 21st birthday cake
(turned out just like Mom's!!!)

Elder Cloward's birthday tie

Dear Family,
Well my birthday week went pretty well. Last year I didn`t really tell anyone that it was my birthday. So in my first couple weeks in Melipilla when people asked me about my birthday I told them it was May 21st. They thought it was cool that my birthday is a national holiday. It's not my style to go around and tell everyone that it is my birthday. The wonderful people of Chile have done so much for me already. Elder Jergins, Elder Bybee and Elder Prado made me breakfast and we made the lemon cake (it turned out just like mom's) and Elder Bybee made me a cheesecake. After we ate lunch at Hermana Meza`s house (the hermana that washes our clothes) we went to the chapel real quick to see how the activity was going. One of the hermanas eating lunch at the activity, Marisol Cabezas, asked me really quietly " Elder Cloward is it your birthday?" and I quietly said, "yes" and she told me Happy Birthday and said "it might be a different birthday for you since you are far from your family and friends and without all the comforts of home but it will be your best birthday ever, because you are in the mission doing the Lord`s work and there is no greater blessing than that!" So that really made me feel good.
I honestly love the whole Cabezas family. The dad is the first counselor in the district presidency (and he just walked into our internet cafe haha), the mom is the district family history director, their oldest son Gustavo is a returned missionary (he got back from Ecuador about a year ago) and they have another son serving in Argentina. They also have two daughters, Belen and Coni that have helped out a ton with fellowshipping the investigators and new converts. We went out and worked as hard as we could on my birthday and we had a great day. I opened my tie in the morning and wore it all day! Thanks for buying it for me I love green ties!
Here`s my informe to President Jones about how it went with our goal to do 100 contacts and find a family to teach:
President Jones,
"Well Elder Jergins and I had a great last week together. He truly was a great example to me of dedicated missionary service and enduring to the end. We set a goal to do 100 contacts in our last week together. We did 76, so we didn`t quite reach our goal but I think we did a lot more than we would have if we hadn`t set the goal! We found more investigators this week than any other week we were together, and all of them were thanks to the contacts and doors knocked. We also set a goal to find a family of 4 or 5 people to teach and baptize, and we found a couple that have great potential. We contacted a man in the street named David. He said that he`d have no problem receiving us in his house. We got a cita and went back, and his pareja, Karin opened the door. Elder Jergins knew her because she is a less active member that he had visited with Elder Krainik a couple times. She had told the missionaries that her husband David was very "malgenio" and wouldn`t want to listen to the missionaries, but he was more than happy to recieve a visit from us, and it turns out that he is also a member of the church! Upon returning for another visit we found that they have 5 children, and three of them are old enough to be taught and baptized. So needless to say we are very excited about the opportunity to teach them.
We also wanted to share with you some things that we learned about contacts this week:
1. An effective contact really doesn`t have to be too long. Most people that will accept a visit from the missionaries in their home will accept after about 2 minutes, and those who truly have no desire to recieve us won`t accept, even if we talk to them for 20 minutes about why they should listen to us. Of course there are always those on-the-fence people that can feel the spirit and be convinced to receive us.
2. Láminas are great to use too, but they´re not always necessary. Sometimes people say they are really in a hurry and then if we offer them a picture of Christ they stop in their tracks and accept it, then they´ll listen for a little while and many accept a visit.
3. It´s a great idea to set a cita with the person right when you contact them. That way you set aside the time that is necessary to go and visit them. I learned from Elder Marin that it`s good to say things like, "On Tuesday and Thursday we have citas that are close to your house, we could pass by tuesday in the afternoon or Thursday night" and they usually accept. If not it can be difficult to find the time to go by.
4. The necessity of following the Spirit. The Spirit knows so much more than we do! That`s one of the things I learned from the beginning of my mission and from Elder Noguera. I might be right on time on the way to an appt but if the spirit tells me to contact someone I should do it (easier said than done but we´re working on improving in that aspect.) On a few occasions early in the mission I have felt the impression to contact someone but I have thought, "no, there`s not time right now we have to get to the appointment" and then we get to the appointment and the person isn´t even there waiting for us. Now when the Spirit tells me to stop and teach I listen. The Holy Ghost is much more intelligent than I am, so I am doing my best to put my trust in Him and not in my own understanding.
"Well I hope you have a great afternoon with all of the returning champions. I´m looking forward to one more change of spiritual experiences in the Lord´s work. I will let you know how the week goes visiting all the missionaries.Have a great week and thanks for al that you do.
"Elder Cloward"
Sorry that was a little long. I went with Elder Jergins, Elder Rosas, and his companion Elder Terán to the mission office in Maipú today we had to be there at 9:30. Elder Rosas and Elder Jergins had their closing interviews with President Jones. I saw Elder Finter there and asked him, "Hey Elder Finter, when do your parents get here to Santiago?" and he said "two hours ago!" Haha so that was kinda funny. He looks so excited to see his family again. I will continue to do my best and do all that the Lord expects of me here in Melipilla.
Elder Terán and I are together right now, we will go to changes together tomorrow and get our new companions. My companion will have to be a zone leader, since I will be finishing in the middle of the change. He`ll have to keep doing the work there for a little while without a comp unless President Jones does a bunch of special changes.
In other news, I´m a little worried right now about the progress of the zone. When looking at the key indicators that we have to send to the assistents, I realized that in this change the zone has gone down in every key indicator. There was also a sector closed in the zone. I know that numbers are not my motivation to do the work, but I do know that we need to do better. There are only 10 elders in the zone now, and we will be working very hard this change to help more people come unto Christ and work our their Salvation. I know that the Lord will bless us when we work hard, it´s a promise! (see D & C 82:10) but I know that He blesses us in His own time and in His own way. But the blessings are worth working for. Well I love you all and I will send some pictures now.
Love always,
Elder Cloward

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Elder Jergin's last week

Dear Family,
It`s me, Elder Cloward!
Sorry we weren´t able to do internet on Monday. Elder Jergins and I went to Santiago so he could see his converts one more time before he heads out. We got lost on the micro and didn`t have time to do internet, but they gave us time to do it today. So here I am!
This last week was pretty eventful for us. We went to the temple on Thursday with the zone of the Coast and 5 de Abril. I asked the elders in El Rosal about Pedro Muñoz and they said that he is still super active and coming to church every Sunday that he can. I asked the Elders in Rivas Vicuña about the Correa family and they said that they aren´t coming to church and don`t want to receive the visits of the Elders in their house. I gave the elders fotos to give to Pedro and the Correa family with a note on the back telling them that I`ll be back near the end of June to visit them again with my parents. I hope the Correa family will receive us. I`m not sure what happened to them but hopefully we`ll be able to share some scriptures with them and they`ll feel the spirit again and feel the desire to come back to church.
Antonio is still doing well, he has his baptismal date now for the 12th of June, we`re hoping that that will be the day for him. He and his wife, Leticia, come to church every Sunday. He is worried about buying some sort of special cane to be able to get down the stairs in the baptismal font. I don`t know if I told you but he had an explosion accident when he was younger.
Manuel Guajardo we haven`t seen this whole week. His mom Victoria apparently got really sick and they had to go to the hospital in Santiago the whole week. We saw a light on in their house last night, but there wasn`t time to visit them, so we will pass by today in the afternoon. I don`t think Elder Butterfield knows him, since he is the older brother of Trinidad, a recent convert that Elder Krainik and Elder Jergins found about 4 months ago. Benjamin´s last name is Oviedo. Tell "Wesley" that he is Joselo`s little brother maybe he`ll know who he is.
We visited him last night and talked about the importance of baptism. He still hasn`t read the Book of Mormon we gave him last week or come to church, so we taught him that he needs to do all of these things so that he can be baptized, and he needs to be baptized to enter into the kingdom of God. So he committed again to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, and also come to church. He`s only 10 years old so he`s trying to understand the importance of a few things still. We`re still doing the best we can to follow the spirit and find new people to teach. Elder Jergins and I set a goal to do 100 contacts during his last week, and we`re at 20 right now. About half of them have given us their addresses to go and visit them this week.
We also have the goal to find a "cool" family of 4 or 5 people that can be baptized in the church. Actually it really doesn`t matter if they are cool. But if they want to get baptized I think that`s cool enough!
We don`t have too many special plans for my birthday but it`s all good. Several of the hermana's want to make dinner for me but we have several appointments that day. So we will try to make it to all the homes because Elder Jergin's needs to say good bye, too. Maybe we´ll find our family on that day! That would be a pretty great birthday day gift. There`s a branch activity in the chapel to celebrate the holiday, but I`m not sure if we have permission to go. We are thinking of planning a noche de hogar with Viviana, one of the recent converts. Their family is way cool and we are teaching the youngest son, Andrès. So we can teach him, and I`ll be able to enjoy my birthday without wasting time. It`s a good deal.
After the district meeting today I got a letter from Grandma Sharon and a birthday card from her, Grandpa, and Priscilla and Cliff Nielsen. Please thank them for me. I`m sure your cards will get here in pouch next Wednesday. Thanks for sending them!
Well I hope you all have a great day and week, talk to you all again on Monday!
Elder Cloward
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Happy Mother's Day Mom!!!!

Elder Cloward and Elder Bybee
playing beach volleyball (without a net)
at a zone conference.
Elder Cloward with his companion Elder Jergins
at a zone conference on the coast

Elder Cloward and Elder Jergins
at Leticia's baptism with her
husband and grandson.

Dear Familia,
It was wonderful talking to all of you on Saturday. I can`t wait to see all of you again. But for now there`s still work to be done here in Melipilla, and as I always say, somebody`s gotta do it. Elder Butròn always said when he was my companion, "Si nosotros no lo hacemos, ¿quién lo va a hacer?" in other words, "if we don`t do it, who will?" Good question Elder Butrón, good question. This last week as I was reflecting upon life and other details, I remembered a quote from President Jones. He said, "the windows of heaven open and we start to see miracles when we stop counting time and start making time count." That is the quote I have written in front of my desk: "Stop counting time and start making time count." So we`re doing our very best in that department.
I forgot to tell you about a cool experience I had when I went to Bollenar on divisions this past week. I went there with Elder Terán, a Peruvian Elder who has about 6 months in the mission and has an insane amount of ánimo (energy). Bollenar is a campo sector, and is one of the biggest sectors in the mission. The missionaries use bikes there. When I got there Wednesday afternoon we had to go pick up the bikes from one of the hermano`s houses. He patched up one of the bike tires that had a leak in the tire. Very nice of him. So then we took the bikes out on the freeway (freeways here only have two lanes.) we were on our way to a cita with Alejandra, a 15 year old girl that I interviewed on Sunday (she should be getting baptized on May 23rd, which is awesome since there has only been one convert baptism in Bollenar in the last 2 years. There are only about 40 active members in the branch but we have faith that someday it will be its own stake!). So anyway we were on our way to her house. our appointment was at 5:00 and it was about 5 `til five. When suddenly... I heard a pooffff sound coming out of my back tire and realized that it had popped. So that was a bummer. Elder Teran informed me that we were still very far from Alejandra`s house, that we`d have to go back walking without bikes and leave them in a member`s house and then take a bus to Alejandra`s house. So that was a bummer. But then I thought, hey, if our bike tire popped in this exact place, it must be for a reason. We are always praying for the Lord to put is in the right place in the right time, aren`t we? I had a very strong impression that we were there for a reason. So we decided to knock a couple doors in the area and see what would happen. We knocked the first door and didn`t get in. Then we walked to the next door, and there was a Señora who had just walked into her front gate. She turned around and said , "Hola elderes" then she told us that she was a member, but inactive. She had been in Bollenar for about 2 months but didn`t know where the chapel was. So Elder Teran gave her the Chapel address and directions. Then we asked her if we could come in and offer a blessing in her home. She agreed!!! It turns out that she and her husband are sealed in the temple. Her husband has served as branch president and she has been relief society president. Now in Bollenar that is a big deal! More active members that can have callings and serve in the church is exactly what that branch (and all of melipilla) need! We are convinced that the Lord sent us to that house.
She also gave us two references for Silva Chavez, another sector in our zone. One was her sister, who she called on the phone while we were there and asked her if she wanted the elders to come visit her, and she said yes! The other referal was her dad, who was at her house while we were visiting. That was awesome.
Here`s our investigator update:1. Antonio: doing awesome, has his date for June 5th (but he still thinks it`s the 29th of May, we`re gonna tell him that tomorrow). He`s excited for his baptism, and also excited to receive the priesthood and bless his family. He´ll be a great member of the church.
2. Manuel: He`s 20, the older brother of Trinidad, a recent convert. He is also progressing well, we taught him the word of wisdom and the law of chastity on Saturday with hermano Pizarro, one of the counselors in the branch presidency. Manuel says he`s still thinking about his decision to be baptized, he doesn`t want to rush. He said he would tell us his answer on May 22nd.
3. Andres: He`s 12, the younger brother of Francisca, the son of Viviana, two other recent converts. He`s a video game addict and hasn`t come to church yet, but yesterday we taught him the plan of salvation with his whole family there to help teach. He understood it very well since he told us that to get to the celestial kindgom he has to "come to church on Sunday instead of staying home to play video games" (his exact words). He understands it well, but he`s still deciding if he wants to get baptized and keep the commandments. I think it would be a good idea!!
4. Daniela and Melina: They commited to come to church yesterday but then didn`t. They went to the campo to visit Melina`s mom for Mother`s day, which is understandable. They want to get baptized but need to show a little more commitnment.
5. Benjamin and Manuel: two of Elder Butterfield's old investigators. Manuel thinks that the Book of Mormon is satanic and refuses to read it. But then we taught him using scriptures from the Bible and the Book of Mormon that it is necessary to have two witnesses that Jesus is the Christ. So he is considering the idea of reading it.
Other than that we are looking for investigators and remembering that you are praying for us to
find people and following the promptings of the Spirit. We have faith that the Lord will bless us. This is His work and His church.
I love you all!! Have a great week!
Elder Cloward

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Renewed Sense of Urgency

Dear Family,
That is Elder Jergin`s and my theme for the next four weeks. Because at the end of this change he goes home. (I don`t remember if I`m going home soon or not ;-)Too much work left for me here to be thinking of that and we want to do as much as we can before he finishes his mission. Some elders get trunky because they think that they`ll be home soon so there`s no need to work hard. but I see it exactly the other way around. I`m not trying to say I`m perfect, cuz that`s far from true, but I just think we should finish the things we start and finish them 100%.
The sector is doing pretty well, the only problem at this moment is that all of the investigators that attended church haven`t accepted a baptismal date yet, and all of the investigators that have accepted the baptismal date didn`t come to church, and therefore their baptismal date will have to be postponed. So our focus for this week will to get the investigators that are attending church (Antonio and Manuel) to accept a baptismal date and to get the investators who have already accepted a baptismal date (Daniela and Melina) to attend church next week. But I have faith that everything will come together and work out the way Heavenly Father has planned. This is the Lord`s work. He`ll do His part if i do mine.
I have written a note for Jonah's baptism.
I hope that Jonah will feel the spirit on the day of his baptism. I remember when I was baptized by dad in the font in the Whittier stake center. I felt to so clean and pure after. It was a very special day. This will be the beginning of many more special and important dates in Jonah's life. Well I`ve g2g now and meet with our investigators. I hope ya`ll have a great week! I love you all and I know the church is TRUE!!! I am so thankful that the Lord has given me this oppurtunity to serve the people of Chile. They are near and dear to my heart. Love you!
Talk to you soon for mothers day!
Elder Cloward
P.S. Sorry there are no pictures again this week. This interenet cafe is not compatable with my camera. We will try another one next week. Janessa hope your having a great time! Cara have fun on your buisness trip! Love you both.