Monday, April 11, 2016

E-mail April 11, 2016: "Elder, is that approved?"

"Hey Elder what happened to your hair?"

"Whoa Elder, that's a little short isn't it?"

"Hey Elder, niiice haircut."

Yes, thank you, I know about my haircut. Those are a few of the comments I received last week from missionaries and church leaders alike. Last Monday we went to get haircuts where the elders typically get them here. Since this was my first time at the saloon (barbershops are called saloons here, unfortunately there are no songs and cowboy hats) I carefully described to my barber how to trim my hair and again ended with the phrase "brother, business cut." The barber signaled his supposed understanding with an enthusiastic head-bob and went to work. The poor lighting in the shop made it difficult for me to see what he was doing until he was finished. When I finally stepped of the barber's chair and into the light I concealed a gasp as I realized that he had left less than half an inch of hair on my scalp.

Surprise! My barber doesn't know English after all.

As I walked away my companion noted that with my new do I looked like a World Wrestler. Knowing that wrestling shows are extremely popular here I realized that John Ceno was probably the only American my barber had seen before, hence the reason for my cut. Oh well, three weeks to go before I look like a missionary again.

This last week went well. My companion and I were sick for a couple of days but we tried to stay busy by updated teaching records and organizing our area book. Regardless though, we still managed to find many new investigators and we finally have someone with a baptism date. Bro Raju has been meeting with the missionaries for months but recently was avoiding us. Yesterday we insisted that we meet with him before he left after conference and with some reluctance he agreed. As we talked with him we again tried to let the spirit guide our conversation and we learned of some fears he had that had kept him from progressing. We were able to successfully clear his doubts and now he's excited to be baptized on the 24th. I learned that listening is a powerful tool when it comes to helping people and it's a skill I'll definitely work harder to develop now. I'm grateful that the Lord helped us to understand and solve his concern.

Oh, and just in case some of you didn't scroll down to see the note at the bottom of last week's email-
April Fools! I didn't actually break my leg. Gotcha again ;)

Love you all! Until next week rock on and stay strong. :)
-Elder Cloward

Oh yeah-

I totally forgot to mention about general conference. My bad.

General conference comes a week later over here so we spent the last two days watching it in the church with the members. This was that most uplifting conference experience I've ever had and I felt uplifted and inspired more than ever before. I received answers to questions I had prayed for and some answers came for questions I forgot I had.

I think one reason this conference was particularly special for me is because for the first time I made the effort to pray right before it started that I'd be able to understand and that I'd learn what heavenly father wanted me to learn. I testify to the power of prayer and the effects it has on our personal growth.

I also testify of living prophets and apostles who lead and guide the work of God on the earth today. It's crazy how even though I've never met these men and women I've come to love them through their council, service, and examples. I was sad when conference ended and It's crazy to think that I'll be back the next time it comes around. I know what the Lord wants me to work on now and I'm ready to press forward better than before.

Love You all. :)
-Elder Cloward

Note from Jen (mom): He told us last week that his official mission release date will be Aug. 2, 2016.

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