Pages

December 11, 2012

The Spirit of Christmas

Last week was an amazing and weird week. A lot of our appointments fell through but that is alright. We were able to find two new investigators and put a young man on date to be baptized Dec 29!
It was amazing as one of the youth called us and said, "I have a friend that wants to take the lessons. I have it set up to teach in the bishop's home on Saturday at 4pm. Can you be there?" We responded with an excited YES!!! It was amazing! The miracle of this experience was this young woman was not afraid to act upon the promptings of the Holy Ghost and share what she believes.

I gave a talk in one of our wards yesterday and before sacrament meeting the Ward Mission Leader came up to me and asked, "What are you speaking about?" I responded, "I have no clue"; and he gave me a puzzled, worried look. I told him I came up with three different ideas/themes but they never felt right the morning of the meeting. I then said, "I feel at peace and you need not worry." I was the first speaker and I spoke for my 20 minute time. When I sat down I thought, "What did I say?" I remember talking about acting upon the spirit of the Holy Ghost a lot and telling a few stories. I learned with greater understanding that the Spirit is the teacher. At the beginning I said, "I can't teach you anything new or convince you, but the Holy Ghost can and will teach each one of you 'one by one'". I was also taught. I just hope that everyone will come to know the power behind bearing your testimony and letting the spirit testify and touch the lives around each one of us.

This Christmas season is a great time to think about what the birth of the Savior means to us. I am learning that there are many hands that hang hopelessly down during the Christmas season. Sometimes it's because they can't afford the newest this and that or they can't have a Christmas like their neighbor. If we get these hands helping and serving others, it will be a marvelous Christmas. Last week as we were doing mormon.org training we came across this video that I love. http://www.lds.org/pages/mormon-messages?lang=eng#christmas-spirit
I hope to help lift the hands that hang down. Everyone can be a special angel to someone, somewhere.

We have two (maybe three) baptisms this Saturday: Ruby and Molly (sisters)! We are so very excited!

I love this gospel. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and can help us prepare for the future. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is for everyone and will help us through life's challenges. I love this work and am excited to see this work move forward.

I love you all!

From my Heart to Yours,
Elder David Cluff

November 26, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving was great. We had to have two thanksgiving dinners (one in each stake). We had one at 2pm and another at 4pm, then one of our investigators gave us a whole pumpkin pie---Elder Pew and I were very smart and ate the whole pie that night. Let's just say that will never happen again. We also had a Turkey Bowl as a zone and if you remember what I do every year...you will know just what I was doing--Taking photos and serving everyone hot chocolate...what I do best. :) I learned that thanksgiving is much better with family and that made me more grateful for my wonderful family. I handled it all very well and throughout the day I thought of last thanksgiving and how special it was to me. I felt your prayers that day and always. :)

I love hearing about those amazing sacrament meetings. We had a lesson like that last week on Monday. I was on splits with a young man that just turned 16 a few weeks prior. That young man bore such a powerful testimony that it touched our investigator, Adam, and his wife who is a member. The Sunday before the lesson he did not feel ready to be baptized that coming Saturday (November 24) and said that if he did he wanted to do more lessons. So we booked a lesson for him every day and that Monday his desire changed and he said, "I want to be baptized this Saturday!" We had a lesson with him every day and even took him to Temple Square to watch the Joseph Smith Movie. Then on Saturday at 7pm he was baptized! It was amazing and there were so many tender mercies. For example, we had to move everything to a different building at the last minute (like an hour and a half before the baptism). We still had to fill that font and we prayed really hard that it would be filled on time. We started filling it up and it was filled up on time! We told the Stake President about it and he said, "You know that font takes about 3 hours to fill and it is a process to keep it warm." It was a tender mercy from the Lord!

Last week we were downtown everyday expect Thursday and Sunday! Monday we had our temple trip, Tuesday mission leadership training, Wednesday Temple Square tour with a part member family, Friday Temple Square tour with Adam and Saturday Temple Square Tour with another investigator. We have to now do the tours as the temple square sisters are short on sisters and also are busy with the holiday visitors. Let's just say that after doing three tours...we did much better than our first attempt. When I get off my mission I can give you all a tour of temple square. :)

Last night one our ward mission leaders said, "I don't think I could handle what you elders have to do in this mission"--Especially after he heard how our Sunday went. We had to be out of our first meeting at 7:45am and had a meeting every hour until 8pm! We did not get time to eat so we fasted. We had to help with a confirmation, do sharing time in two primaries, go to three sacrament meetings, teach two less active families, one investigator and two stake correlation meetings...all back to back! It was a little crazy! I will also be interpreting this Sunday!! There is a 17 year old girl who is deaf and has cochlear implants and is a member but is struggling with the hearing world and deaf world; so when she heard from other members about me she said, "I have to meet him." So, I got a call from a ward mission leader who said, "Elder Cluff, I have an odd favor to ask of you...can you talk to this girl, who wears the same thing as you, about your story and answer her questions?" I laughed and said sure, love to. So we have it set up for this Sunday. I am praying that I will be able to sign. I met another deaf couple at temple square and they pretty much ran up to me and started signing. I tried my best and I gave them my card with a link to my story. They were so excited. Elder Pew laughed and said, "How many people have these things and how many know you?" This has been happening a lot more lately.
Starting today there is a new missionary tool for you. Go to www.mormon.org/christmas and you can share what Christmas means to you. We had training on this last week and we'll be using it a lot this coming month.

I love you all and I know that Christ lives!

-Elder David B. Cluff

October 23, 2012

First Transfer

  I am emailing from....Layton! Yep, I got transferred out. Not only that...I am whitewashing the area and I am serving as district leader. When I found out I was going to be District Leader and then transferred, I prayed to Heavenly Father and said, "You know just as much as me how change is often hard on me...please bless me with strength, peace and the faith to go through these changes."

He answered my prayer, every word from my heart!!! He really did! Some major miracles that happened to me personally: I never had a tear drop, never felt overwhelmed, never felt worried, felt at peace, happy and full of strength. I am so so so proud of myself and very grateful for the Lord's help. He is my light!

A little how the week went and transfers: Monday night I got the leadership call and I was in shock and speechless. Elder Baier can testify of that. Tuesday, I had this strong feeling that I was leaving. I started saying my goodbyes, not a tear dropped (which is what I really needed) and I put in my best effort on my last day. I gave it my all and I was at peace when the night came. I started packing up and at that moment I was really grateful for the past 6 months, the companions I had, seeing all of you and all the experiences I had. They indeed were preparing me for this new area. Wednesday morning came and I finished my last bit of packing...had to sit on my suitcase to zip it since one of my space savers had a tiny little hole. loaded it up in the car and the Jaggi's said that they wanted to feed me breakfast before I left. So I got a nice hot breakfast and said our goodbyes and drove off into what seemed unknown. I arrived and they were showing the film of our trek (like what I make for youth conferences) and I loved it. President Winn spoke and said that our mission is going to have a ton of changes! Basically what is going to happen is that they want the Stake Presidents and Bishops to act more like "Mission Presidents" and we as missionaries are going to work a ton more closely with the stake president and bishops. All that is in the process of changing right now. It is huge but we are so very excited about it. Plus, we now have 240 missionaries in the mission right now and we are getting more! Sister Winn then talked about how our appearance should be and that we should look our very, very best and not try to look like "we worked hard" type missionary. Then transfers came. All 240 missionaries gathered outside with excited faces, tears and joy. As we all embraced for the posters to go up, we looked for our names...we all knew this is what the Lord wanted to happen. I saw my name on the Layton Zone as one of the two district leaders and my companion is Elder Pew, from Austin Texas. He has been out 10 months, was also companions with Elder Robinson and was also trained in the same area I was trained. It was funny since we saw each other at the temple and he would ask me about people in the area and now here we are as companions. :) Also, Elder Steel looked great and is happy!

Arriving in Layton: Ok, well, I am definitely not in Salt Lake City any more. It is 45min away from the mission office and our area is 3x bigger than my last area---plus as a district leader I have to know half of Layton. I am just very grateful for my GPS and for a car. They have huge hills like our house (it is like that everywhere...not a very flat place.) We still live with members and it is a very nice apartment, much more space and we have our own kitchen. Love it!

My new address:
1942 Dan Dr.
Layton, UT 84040


So, the two stakes were actually praying for a whitewash and they got it. Let's just say that there were a lot of burned bridges and we are in the process of re-building them...a lot of them. We came in and there was nothing going on and there was not anything set up for us at all! Our first night we met with the Stake leaders and worked our way to all the ward leadership. You would not believe what tool has helped us with some of the people...my cochlear implants! One of the high council men said to me, "You are going to attract all the doctors in the area and a ton are less active or not a member." Yesterday, I had about 4 people come up and say, "You wear a cochlear implant?" And some said, "I need to introduce you to someone!" Since Elder Pew and I got into the area we got 17 referrals in three days! We are seeing so much work that needs to be done. We met a guy last night in a bishop's home and he accepted an invitation to be baptized on November 4th! His wife was soooo excited and the bishop's family too! It has been so amazing to see leaders excited and calling us everyday about something that they found. We are so very excited about this area...at first I missed my last area and knowing where and who everyone is. But, I am getting it all down and just love this place and it is right by the mountain. We cover the Kays Creek Stake and the Layton East Stake.

Life as a District Leader:
How do I put this...it is a ton of work but it is great. Sunday night was the longest and I was sooo ready for bed. I have two companionships of sisters and one companionship of elders. There are only two districts in this zone and the other district leader is Elder Singleton who was my 1st zone leader and we were so excited to find that we are both working together with the zone leaders. our district meetings are now on Thursdays and I had to do the training for the first time last week. It was OK...felt like I jumped all over the place and was kind of freaking out and my battery died in the middle of it....oh well, I have 5 weeks to practice. :) I have a great district so I am happy with that. I am also more busy with meetings---in fact I'm going down to the mission office tomorrow morning at 7am. I also did my first baptismal interview last Friday! It was neat and I could not believe that I was doing it! It was for the sisters' investigator who is 13 years old.

I just want you to know that I am very grateful to be here on a mission...best choice ever! The Lord has blessed me in so many ways that I can't even count them!
I know that Christ Lives and Loves each one of us. I know that this is Christ's Church. I know that our example speaks louder than anything else! I know that I can gain my fondest dream through Him. I love each and every day...even if they seem rough or hard. He gives me strength to endure.

I love you all so very much and I am well and at peace.

From my heart to yours,
Elder David Cluff

August 24, 2012

The Refiners Fire

Mom and Dad,

 What a crazy week! We have been having a hard time finding investigators and most of our investigators have been sick, busy, or on their last minute trip to Lake Powell before school starts. So that has been really tough but all is good! We have two baptisms this Saturday and really hoping these two boys follow through and don't give up. They have been taught by over 5 sets of missionaries. They are 13 and 8 years old and the mom has been less active.

  Some highlights of the week:
1) Got our first Anti-LDS call from a part-member family. The father was sooo mad at us for stopping by (we had no clue that he was anti) and so he called us that night and asked for President Winn's number. We were like "sure, go right ahead!" We called President Winn right away and warned him. He laughed and said "It happens all the time, don't worry." He later called and said "Yeah, I would stay away from that family." :)
2) Yep, Satan is really trying to pull me down. The spacers have been helping but I still experience some pain and headaches (only around my magnet site) which comes at random times and I either take something and it helps or it does not. I just have to keep moving forward.
As for my balance, OH BOY, it has been a crazy ride for me. When it starts to get dark it gets really bad (Remember Scout Camp, Dad?). But last night I was almost going to fall (as we were walking back to our car) so Elder Baier put his hand on my shoulder and I immediately was able to stand still in the dark. I have not met with Dr. Shelton and I really don't want to make a big deal about it and I know everything will be fine. During our dinner last night I had this overwhelming feeling that Heavenly Father is preparing me for something greater.  It gave me some sense that everything will be alright. I have to really walk by faith right now.
3) I set up a time to call President Winn to talk to him about everything and just to talk things out. He was so helpful and said right now you get a car and if things get harder we will make some arrangements. I also told him about my worry about my implants as a distraction. He just laughed and said, "Well, they are noticeable!" :) He said, "Don't worry about it!" Just as simple as that! I also said, "When I left I thought I would be able to leave behind the constant telling of my story and be a normal missionary." He laughed again and said. "You are not a normal missionary and you are an inspiration to so many. Do you know how many phone calls I have gotten from your two stakes about you? They are all so amazed with you and are touched by your story! You are doing great...don't let that stop you." That helped me a ton. So, I just have to focus on sharing the gospel...even if it means through my implants. :) It has just been a beautiful heartbreak all along the way. He LIVES---oh sweet the joy!

I am learning so much and had to give a talk yesterday. I did it the post-it note style that you always did, mom, in seminary. It actually really helped me! I talked about remembering your purpose from the premortal life and the choice that each of us made and how we need to remind those that are dear to us to remember what they chose in that realm. It was amazing how Elder Baier's and my talk fit perfectly...just like general conference. :)

I love you all so very much!

I hope you have a great week and please pray for our zone this week as we strive to raise the vision of the mission up even higher.

LOVE YOU!!!!!

Elder David Cluff

August 9, 2012

Flipped Right Side Up :)

Wow, what a crazy week! My world was flipped right side up! Going from greenie to Senior Companion is a bit crazy. My companion is Elder Baier and he is amazing! He has only been out two months! Sister Winn, President Winn, Brother & Sister Jaggi (the member we live with) all said they were so excited about our companionship. Our first day we found out that Elder Baier's sister married into the Hemming family and met Sister Christensen's dad and step mom. He was also born in Ballwin, MO and moved to North Carolina when he was 4.
We get along so well and we are training each other each day. We also work harder than ever! We spent 3 hours on Friday and Saturday looking through the area book and trying to find former investigators. We have no one on date and it is driving us crazy. Sunday was very interesting as Elder Baier previously only had one branch (a language program for the valley), and when we went to 5 wards and two correlation meetings he was burned out by dinner. It reminded me of my first Sunday. We also were running to speak to two ward classes in the same hour...one at 11 and the other at 11:30 at different buildings. We were church'n from 8:45am-4pm! We are also eating with Clark Hinckley this coming Monday! Crazy!!
Ok, so one thing that we started doing is when we are contacting referrals we say a lot of prayers and then double the faith knocking. (meaning we both knock at the same time.) It has been so much fun for us and we talk and have fun while we are walking--which has helped me so much and I don't get discouraged as much. :) :) YAY!
I can't tell you how happy I am!

That is too bad my car is dying. :( I miss my long drives to work in that car. At least my prayer was answered for it to last me until my mission. :)

Mom, I will be including parts of my "The Healer's Hand" entry this week. I just emailed Elder Baier's parents to let them know that he is really amazing and a great strength to me.
My new district leader is also an amazing source of strength to me. I really can't tell you how happy I am! It is amazing to be a missionary and to see the Lord's hand in all things.
I love you all so very much and I have gained a stronger testimony of prayer. One experience: We kept knocking on this house day after day trying to get in contact with them. On Friday, Elder Baier and I decided to stand at the door and pray that we will get in contact with this person. We prayed and then knocked. Nothing...but then we heard someone walking with a hose on the side of the house and it was the person that we have been trying to contact! We had one of those "best two years (movie)" moments as we looked at each other. :)

I am forever grateful for you and all the prayers I have felt. I love you and admire you for stretching your faith and trying new things. You are amazing examples to me. :)
Thank you and have a great week in Nauvoo.

Love you!!!!!!
Elder Cluff

July 13, 2012

"Sacrificing Something Ordinary for Something Extraordinary"

Mom and Dad!
  What a joy it was to get your package on Saturday. It came at the moment I needed it most. You really know what I need...everything in there was perfect and came as answers to many prayers. :) This past week has been a testimony of how much the Lord watches over me. On Saturday I saw that I did not have a $5 bill, I only had a $20, and I did not know how I would break it to pay fast offerings. The thought came to mind, "Take no thought for what ye shall eat, drink or say;" and within the next hour a guy came up to Elder Robinson and I and gave each of us a $5 bill. I was shocked and knew it was an answer to my prayer. In the mission we are told to accept money from people so we always accept. That was a little miracle as well as many other little things.

  Sarah's baptism went great! (I attached a photo) and at the end she said "I don't know what I am so happy about, but I am so happy!" At the end of the baptism one of our investigators, Daniel, came up to me and said,"I felt this strange feeling as Sarah went under water and I don't know what it is..." I talked to him and told him it was the Holy Ghost and asked him, "Do you want to follow Sarah's example of following the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized?" He said, "Yeah, I do." We had a lesson with him the next day and he is now on date for the 14th! So excited for him! It all started with a member running into him on the bus and they started talking about the church and he said he wanted to learn more. He is in his 30's and had a pretty crazy life.

  Yesterday, I got to bare my testimony and included the hymn, "I stand all amazed". I talked about---Yes, we are faced with many fires and much destruction all around us...but does it not cause you to stand all amazed at what God can do? We, as members of the Church, have to be extraordinary missionaries and share what we know. The world, your friends and family desperately need to hear about the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can't calm the fires and such on our own...we need to unite in faith and prayer to our loving Heavenly Father. The world needs to remember the basics of how to live in humility and rely of our Savior Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is full of all the events that we are facing today...we need to learn from them and pray for strength and faith to endure. How can we become that extraordinary missionary? We need to live what we believe and also test the principle of sacrifice. My definition of sacrifice is, "Sacrificing something ordinary for something extraordinary." We live in a world where it is ordinary to be immodest, rude and selfish...but it is extraordinary to be modest, kind and selfless to all those around us. We also need to speak up and share what we know to be true. One simple way is to create a Mormon.org profile and share your testimony and pray for those opportunities to share what you believe. As a missionary I see a desperate need for true believers...not 85% believer but 100%. That is what my goal is: to make sure that I am that 100% and give it my all.
I am able to apply what I have learned about deafteens.org...it takes thinking outside of the box and trying new things to do something extraordinary. It is the same with missionary work---we can't tract in Utah since it does nothing, so we have to work through members to find those that are ready to hear the gospel.

I am so grateful for the gospel and the blessings that I see everyday.
I love you all so very much and can't believe that it is already July!! Crazy!
Tell everyone hello for me.

All my love,
Elder David Cluff

July 12, 2012

Time Flies

 Sounds like youth conference was fun! I totally can picture everything that you guys did--after all I was behind the camera for 3 years. :) I LOVE how you guys rented a 15 passenger van. When I read that I thought "Yep, that's my parents" and it made me laugh out loud. Have you guys gotten any rain yet? We got some the day after the 4th. We also had a lot of our fireworks shows  called off as some areas like Park City were seeing ashes from all the fires. On Tuesday I saw smoke coming from behind one of the mountains--which was from the Alpine fire. It has been a very interesting summer here.
 
Ok, I went to walmart and can't believe that they are already doing the Back to School shopping and sales!! Crazy...feels like I just got here. I totally agree with you about time and how fast it is going. Some nights I lay down and think to myself...is it really July and my 3rd transfers in two weeks! It blows my mind...even more so when I can now tell people I have been out 3 months, not 3 days.
The 4th of July was great and always ends up with water fights...yes, Sister Winn got President Winn soaked and then the grandkids got Sister Winn back. I got to help take some photos with Sister Winn's camera. :) My district is so awesome and they always guarded me when someone was coming close with a water gun as everyone is still learning that I can't get my head wet. :)

This Wednesday our district is singing at zone conference. We are singing "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" and I am going to sign it. I kept praying about how I am going to portray this song in sign language. I was looking in my dictionaries and everything but nothing felt right. Then last night I got to catch a peak of a fireside presented by the Merrill Osmond family. Their son, Justin, was speaking and I could tell that he was deaf but was not sure. Then he said, "I served an ASL mission and I would like to sign the first vision to you." My heart started to pump and he had his brother play the organ and had some other background music and he signed it. It was the most amazing thing I ever saw and I wanted sooo badly to stay for the rest but we had an appointment. It just made my night and was an answer to my prayer on how I wanted to do it. Then today, we were at the Tie Guy and he asked if I went to the fireside and I said I only saw him sign the first vision. He said "oh, man I wanted to introduce you to him as he also has implants." He said that his wife is working with him this Thursday and they are going to bring my name up. SOOO COOL! That just made my day.

Then on Tuesday I got to go on a private tour of the Conference Center! OH MY GOODNESS that place is huge and I stood where everyone speaks in conference and looked up and around at all those chairs and I felt peace and comfortable. We got to see pretty much everything...even where all the translators are. It was so neat and we got to take all the tunnels that go under the streets and connect all the buildings. Then we took one of our investigators to Temple Square on Saturday and that was neat.

We have a baptism tonight for Fiona, an 11 year old girl. We are very excited for her and her family. They have been really excited as her mother got re-activated!

The other day a guy came up to me and said "is that a cochlear implant?" and I said yes. He asked, "Can I take a picture of you with it on?" and I said sure. He was so excited to show his wife. He is in his 40's and his son just got baptized. I also met someone, a recent convert, who also has equilibrium loss--like me. His was not as severe as mine but it just happened to him a few years ago and he has a hard time keeping balance for too long. It showed me how blessed I am! When he found out I had the same loss, he felt hope and knew that it would take time and patience.

My studying has been interesting--when I read the part about Nephi and his brothers sneaking into Jerusalem, it made me think of Colton, Sam and me sneaking to do a Secret Leprechaun or some game. It just made me laugh as I never really thought of it like that.
Also, I finished The Infinite Atonement by Tad R. Callister yesterday and I have to say that it is the most amazing book I have ever read about the atonement...so far. :) I would encourage Colton to read it before his mission. It was a great thing for me to read and helped me a ton.

I love the work so much and the Lord works in so many ways in each one of our lives. HE LIVES and guides this church.
I know the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth; and I get to stand as a special witness of Jesus Christ and testify that He does Live and loves each and every one of us.

I love you all so very much!

All my love,
Elder David Cluff

June 19, 2012

Defenders of Zion

Well, this past week has been one crazy week! All day Monday and part of Tuesday everyone was wondering who was going to be in the new mission. Sadly, everyone from my MTC district, except one (Elder Smith), are going to be in the new mission. We were all heart broken at transfers but at the same time so excited! Transfers were really hard on President and Sister Winn as they had to pick 72 of our missionaries to go to the new West Mission. Everyone was in tears and you could see how much Pres. and Sister Winn care for each missionary. It was a great day as we got 40 new missionaries!  It was so much fun for me to watch where I was just 7 weeks ago. We have two of the "greenies" in our district and they are both awesome! Along with transfers we lost one of our stakes, Monument Park North, and Elder Robinson and I were heartbroken as it was hard to say goodbye to all the amazing people in the area. In that area I met the nephew of Elder Bruce R. McConkie, a granddaughter of Elder Wirthlin, and a cousin of Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley! It was crazy! :)
I also learned this week that second transfers are always easier than the first. :) Elder Steele is still in the mission and is still in Wyoming. I got to talk to him at transfers and he is doing great and happy!
 
Today we got to go to the temple and we got to do a session! It was an amazing experience! I loved every moment of it and felt so at home. Pres and Sister Winn were also in the session and some of the missionaries that will be in the new mission. It was a beautiful session as we were all dressed in white and I sat there thinking..."I have an awesome mission and we all love each other so much!" I love the Salt Lake Temple! It was just what I needed.

Last week I ran out of time to tell you about the girl we have on date for the 29th. Her name is Sara and she married a return missionary. She has been meeting with missionaries for the past two years (since they got married), but hasn't met with any recently. Elder Robinson and I decided to meet her for the first time and try to pick things back up again. We were on splits and Elder Robinson went to see Sara while I was doing two Stop Smoking Programs that night. After that visit Sara decided she needed to do something and felt really good after that first lesson. She goes to the U for dance classes and her instructor decided to do a little speech. She said, "Life is a dance, full of changes. I am not here to just be your dance instructor and you are not just here to learn how to dance. Dancing is all about changes and so is life. What are some things we need to change in our lives?" She then goes on.."Sara, you look completely different right now. What do you need to change?" Sara then tells her how she just met with the missionaries and was thinking about baptism. The instructor, not LDS, says "Well, looks like you need to get baptized." That was Sara's answer to her prayer. We then told her our story, which happened at the same time as Sara's story; how our stake president set a convert baptism date for the 29th. Not knowing who it would be as the date was only 3 weeks away at the time, he wanted us as a stake to stretch our faith. Three days after we set that date, Sara decided to be baptized on the 29th!! How amazing it is when we test our faith.

Yesterday we had one class and three sacrament meetings. During one of the three sacrament meetings I came across this hymn that totally conveys what I have been feeling these past few weeks. "More Holiness Give Me," Hymn 131. I just love it! Also, our mission theme song is, "Up, Awake, Ye Defenders of Zion," Hymn 248. I love the part, "Remember the trials of Missouri; Forget not the courage of Nauvoo." It is true; if you really think about it, my first time driving away from home was to Nauvoo and most of the trials I faced were in Missouri. Every time I see or hear anything about Nauvoo, Palmyra, Kirtland and all those church sites...my heart leaps. I have come to love all those places so much and to have gone there is the greatest gift to me. :)

People here complain about how hot it is when it is 95 and I was thinking it was cooler than that since there's no humidity. It has been funny though and I can't complain. I love the cool nights and mornings!

I gave up on looking for a nice, cheap calender and just got a really cheap big one at walmart and am SOOO EXCITED! I learned that I am a visual person...which makes my photography background more understandable. I have also learned that I am a routine, organized and happy guy! One of the sisters came up to me and asked, "Why are you always so smiley?" I just responded, "I guess I love to smile."
We recently taught primary in one of our wards (one that is no longer in our area) and one of the mothers came up to me and said, "My kids came home on Sunday talking about everything they learned from the missionaries in primary." She said, "That has never happened before and they taught the family the main steps of prayer in Sign Language [Dear, Thank, Ask, Amen]" She was so sad to hear that we were no longer in the stake. The primary president was very impressed with us. :) I am learning that there are lots of "goodbyes" in a mission.

I KNOW THAT MY SAVIOR LIVES! I love being a missionary and working with His children. He really does know each one of us by name and how to best work with us. We all are missionaries and have a powerful effect on all those around us.
I can feel your prayers and love more than ever. I feel so close to you through all these experiences despite our many miles apart. :)
Love you all so very much and have a great week!!!
Elder David Cluff

May 23, 2012

A Walk in the Savior's Shoes

Things have been going great here and I am slowly getting the hang of things and finding my way around Utah. The people here are really nice and each have an interesting story. I am learning so much about how to deal with different people and how to be the best missionary I can be. Right before I left the MTC we watched a talk from an MTC fireside by Elder Holland. He said that when you are on a mission you are learning what it is like to walk in the Savior's shoes. I am--and have been seeing that more vividly. Each day as I walk these streets of East Salt Lake City, I feel the joy when people want to hear about the gospel of Jesus Christ and I also feel the sadness that comes when someone rejects the gospel. I have also felt part of the Savior's pain of when He was rejected and alone; and yet the Savior still loved all those around Him.
I love this work and I love how the Spirit can change lives through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Some days are harder than others but when you give it your all, you will be blessed. I have seen that and I am going to give it my all.
Thank you for all your prayers and support. I have felt your love surround me.
I know with all my heart that Christ lives and through Him we can do all things.

All my love,
Elder David Cluff

Tender Mercies

 I have so much to tell you!

  The second day with Elder Smith was a ton of fun and work. We were in his area and we got lost but found our way back. We shared the gospel with all those we came in contact with. It was great!
  Thursday night we put another boy on date for baptism this Saturday. He was taught all the lessons and was going to church with his grandparents but never took the final step. So, that is happening this Saturday as well as Mason's baptism! It will be an awesome day and a busy week for us. :)

  Ok, I can't hold this in!!! You would not believe what happened yesterday!!!!
Elder Robinson and I had meetings that started at 7:30am and went all through the day. We went to two sacrament meetings and had meetings in between it all. Crazy day! We were fasting as a mission for an Elder who was having medical issues; and I was also fasting personally as I had a really rough Saturday night and feeling discouraged. Anyway, at 3pm we had one last ward to attend to. We got there a little late and we sat in the back. After 10 minutes of sitting there I saw a guy walk in front of me and went to sit in the 3rd row. He looked so familiar and as he sat down and turned his head for a second I ALMOST FAINTED!!! It was Brother Dimas! I kept thinking...No way! Then I saw Jessica holding her brother. I was shocked!
  Right after the closing prayer I went up and put my hand on his back and said, "I told you I would run into you"...he turned around and he was shocked! He gave me a big hug...a hug of encouragement that I really needed. Jessica was so surprised and said, "I wish I could hug you!" A few weeks before I left, Brother Dimas and I were talking through LinkedIn and he said Jessica was getting married in SLC and I said that would be funny if we ran into each other while I am in SLC.
  The Lord was very much aware of what I needed and sent angels to comfort me in a time of need. Jessica gets married in the SLC Temple this Thursday. So neat!

  This morning I got to go to the temple. We get to go once a month!! I was so excited and really wanted to do a session but turned out we got there a little late so we had to do initiatories (spelling?). Heavenly Father really does know just what I need. As I listened to all the blessings, it gave me so much joy and encouragement. It really was what I needed at this time. I felt so uplifted! I loved every moment of it! :) Heavenly Father really does love and know each one of us!

Each day I am learning more and more about Jesus Christ. Being on a mission means taking a two year walk in His footsteps. Each day we must work our hardest to keep the faith...when we do, the faith will keep us. An amazing thing.

I just love this work! I am so excited for the mission to split! There are so many changes coming and a lot of exciting new things. 

I love you all so much and I really love this gospel and the joy that it brings to my life. :)

With all my love,
Elder David Cluff

May 16, 2012

 This is David and his first companion in Salt Lake City
This is the family that David had dinner with on Mothers day

The Missionary Roller Coaster

We are learning that missionary life is like an emotional roller coaster:)--and not just for the missionary but for the mom as well! The exciting part is that the "ups" will soon start to far outnumber the "downs." David had a little time later in the day to write us a quick letter which we received in the mail last Friday. We got to see how quickly things can turn around. David writes....

Wow! My mood has changed so much since this morning! I just got back from the most amazing baptism ever! Janie, whom I had never met until tonight, got baptized. I got to meet her at 6:30 (30 minutes before her baptism) and I was just so thrilled to meet her. Her story is amazing and such a great example to all those that attended. Her family are strong Catholics. They didn't really want her to be baptized but at the same time were very supportive of her decision. So many people came to the baptism, including Pres. and Sister Winn. It was all so amazing! Then the Bishop asked my companion and me to share our testimonies. My companion bore a powerful testimony and then I got up and shared my testimony and focused it on someone I hardly knew! The Spirit is so real! What joy filled my soul throughout the night.

May 8, 2012

My New Life


I am so happy to hear from you! I do get mail every Friday; so as long as the mail makes it to the mission office on Thursday then I should get it. :)
I think this past week has been the hardest days of my life. On Wednesday I saw Elder Steele and that made my day and he helped me a little. President and Sister Winn are so amazing (more about that soon). My companion/trainer is Elder Robinson. He has been out for about 7 months and is from Alabama.
Heavenly Father likes to test me and see how I can handle hard things. Wednesday afternoon President Winn sent all the trainers and new missionaries to the streets of Salt Lake City to do some contacting. I liked it but it was really hard for me to hear people when there are so many cars and noises. But I got through it and committed three people to be baptized. Then after that we went back to the mission office to get my stuff and head over to our apartment. On our way to our apartment we had to get gas and Elder Robinson asked me to fill it up and showed me how to do the gas card and stuff. I was like--Ok I can do that. I filled it up and as I pulled the pump out, gas squirted all over the car and fell onto parts of my suit. Not sure what to do--I told him I needed to go to the bathroom and clean up. I got in there and all the sudden started crying as I tried to clean up. I felt alone and prayed really hard for help. I walked out with some tears still running down but I decided I would keep going. Change has always been hard on me and there is lots of that going on right now. Just when I got used to the MTC and was loving it, it was time to leave. I got through the hard times in the MTC and I know I will get through them now.
We got to the apartment which is actually a member's home with a basement bedroom and bath for us. I then found out we had a teaching appointment in about an hour. Still smelling like gas I went over and Elder Robinson said...you need to commit Mason (11 year old boy) to be baptized. The rest of his family are members but went inactive 3 years ago and are now getting back. The father used to be a bishop! At the end I committed him to be baptized on the 27th. We also have a baptism tonight!
Just when I thought things were going to get better...Heavenly Father wanted to test one more thing. I got a cold on Friday.  I thought it was allergies but turned out to be a summer cold. I just did the best I could and prayed. On Sunday morning I prayed really hard and everything almost went away! I learned many lessons! I also had to help drop things off to other elders in regular apartments and that made me so grateful for living with a member and the clean rooms we have! Now, I am ok with everything! We have a car so we don't have bikes...whew.
Ok, enough about that. So I am in the Salt Lake Zone (east side) and Elder Robinson and I cover 3 stakes which include 17 wards! Yeah, I was overwhelmed on day one. Everyone else covers one stake but we are the special ones and cover 3!! So, I have to work with 17 bishops, ward mission leaders, YM/YW leaders, and Relief Society leaders. It is crazy! I thought Mosby was hard to keep up with 5 departments. Yesterday we went to 1 ward council, spoke at a Relief Society meeting, had a meeting with one of the focus ward bishops, went to a correlation meeting with 5 ward mission leaders, went to 2 sacrament meetings and then a dinner/lesson. It was a crazy day! Since we have 17 wards we try very hard to be visible to everyone. We have dinners every night and they all have been really good so far. :)  Also, on day two I became a Stop Smoking expert!
Last night I felt an overwhelming sense of peace that everything will be alright. I feel so blessed! I know I will have hard days, experienced that already, but if I keep pushing forward I will be alright.
Please know...I am alright and in great care. I am surrounded by angels. President and Sister Winn are really helpful and very nice.

I love this work and wish you all the best and all my love.

All my love,
Elder Cluff

May 1, 2012

Final Day at the MTC

Ok, so this past weekend has been amazing! Despite my health I loved it! (David has had some stomach issues while in the MTC but is doing much better.) We sang in sacrament meeting and at the last part of  the hymn, "I need thee every hour," we had one of the elders sing alone, "Oh bless me now my savior; I come to thee." We practiced it over and over and in the middle of the song I had the strongest impression that I needed to sign that part as he sang. At first, I was like no way, then the next thing I know...I am signing it. My district came up after and said that was the coolest thing ever! I also got to talk to the deaf missionaries and one of them is going to Independence! Another also has a cochlear implant but we both have different stories. He does not even know if his is working. Everyone asks me what is wrong with his. I just respond I am not sure. So many people come up to me asking "what is on your head" and a lot of senior missionaries are interested. Very funny!

Cool story! So, the MTC switched things up again so we had to stop teaching George and start teaching someone else, Justin. Every missionary came up to us and said he is the hardest one to teach! As normal, my companion and I were let down. But, we prayed for the spirit to help us. This guy likes to talk about everything and often wondered why we have to go through challenges. My companion said to me, "share your story" so that is what I did. He was so fascinated by it and said, "you are a walking miracle."  As I continued to talk to him, I felt prompted to ask him to pray...since I shared my experience with prayer. It took us about 5 min to get him to but the spirit was working on him. He finally did and he gave the most sincere, heart felt prayer I have ever heard. He was in tears afterwords and the spirit was so strong. My companion and I looked at each other and we were shocked and excited. When we left we felt like we were floating! All the missionaries looked at us in awe and asked us how it happened. We responded at the same time, "The Spirit of God like a fire is burning...is real!" It was amazing and changed our view about everything. :)

Sunday was the longest day as we had many meetings, but after all those we got to hear an uplifting talk about "Make your mission fun!" (I wrote more about it in the letter I sent yesterday) It was really cool and I loved it.

Another cool story: Yesterday we had zone teaching and none of our teachers were there. So, I got up and started teaching. I hated sitting there and everyone looking at each other wondering what we should do. I did it for about 25min and then we had study time. One of the new elders came up and said "I am impressed that you had the courage to come up with a lesson on the spot and help answer questions all us new MTC missionaries have." It was a cool experience.

Well, I am almost out of time. I leave at 4:30pm for Salt Lake City! I have decided that I am just going to embrace each day...no matter how hard.

I love you all. You are all a huge support to me!

With all my love,
Elder David Cluff

PS: Tell Jeremy good luck and he will do great!

April 26, 2012

Last weekend at the MTC

David has spent the last 2 1/2 weeks at the MTC in Provo utah before heading north about 30 miles to where he will spend the rest of his 2 year mission.  Many have asked what the MTC is, so here is a link to a little information about it http://www.mtc.byu.edu/themtc-virtualtour.htm
David has become very familiar with this complex and now will be leaving it on Tuesday May 1st in the evening. 
So please send any letters to the Salt Lake address from here on out, I will take the MTC address off next time.  He does respond to letters and really enjoys a note from all who write.

April 24, 2012

April 24, 2012

Hello!!!!
I miss you all dearly! 

The MTC is really cool! The first few days are really hard and overwhelming, but then things start to fall into place. Two important pieces of advice for future missionaries: keep all the rules and learn to laugh even when things are hard.
I get to be a Host tomorrow for a new missionary and am really excited about it! (I actually prayed that I would be) I almost forgot what the first day is like. Colton, yes, I have been helping some "greenies". You know in the movie "best two years" and at the end the elder that was so worried at first about everything and then at the end at the train station he was acting like a pro and helping people find their way. Well, that is how I felt. The MTC is huge and can get so confusing where things are. Now, I am pretty comfortable on where everything is. It really comes with time.

Yes, growing does hurt but it is good.

I think I talked about this in my letter that should arrive to you today but I will touch base on it.
Last week we taught one of our investigators, George, who lost his leg. He felt like he could connect so well with me and I could too. He then opened up his scriptures to 1 Nephi 1:1 and said look at the word "affliction" and then look at the footnote for that word. It says a "blessing from God" and he started to have tears run down his face. I was being taught by him at that moment. He then said---when my Mormon friend showed me that...I knew I needed to listen to what you have to say. It was really cool and my companion was also in tears. I am relating so much of my life...more than I ever thought to these people. This gospel is amazing! I am learning so much about how to teach and teach with the spirit. This Friday we get a "crash course" on how to do things in the field. It goes from 8am-9pm! CRAZY LIFE HERE!!! I sent home my old schedule since we all got new ones on Monday due to changes. I thought you would like to see what life is like at the MTC.

Dad, sad news, I can't email photos. The MTC changes everything on the computers that make it so no one can send photos home until they are out of the MTC. I was sooo bummed.
Also, I get my first MTC hair cut today! We are required to get one 5 days before we leave...which is May 1st (at 4:30pm).

I love you all so much and am excited to get out in the field. I really am happier when I am working with people.

I thank you all for your support and love. When you went to the temple last friday, I felt so much peace and support from all the prayers.

With all my love.

Elder David Cluff

April 17, 2012

Happy Day! A Letter has Arrived!

April 11, 2012 (Letter written the day he arrived at the Missionary Training Center, or MTC)

I made it! I really did! I got dropped off and was not sure what in the world I was doing. I was met by a host missionary and the next thing I know I have a new name tag on my suit--Elder Cluff. Feeling strange and looking around, trying to take it all in, I then found myself in a classroom introducing myself and laughing with the other missionaries. Since I got here first, I had to wait for my companion. His name is Elder Mauinatu--he is Samoan and from California. He is awesome! We laughed as we were watching others teach and trying to learn what we could do better. I had to speak to an "investigator" today. It was interesting and I have a lot to learn. Elder M gave me a pat and said, "You did great!" It was a good learning experience.
Our district is awesome--we all clicked somehow and we laugh a lot. One of my other roommates, Elder Smith, reminds me so much of Sam. Not kidding! He makes everyone laugh.
The Zone leaders said to make sure you relax tonight because over the next 3 weeks you will not get another chance. I got our 3-week schedule and he is not kidding!
The minute I stepped onto the MTC grounds, I was no longer worried. Also, everyone in my district thinks my implants are so cool and they all help me so much. One of my teachers is a returned missionary and relates so much to us. There are about 5 of us that are going to Salt Lake. We love talking about how people reacted to our calls.
After a very long day, I finally got unpacked around 9 pm.

I know the Lord is watching over me!

I love you all!
Elder David Cluff

April 11, 2012

David's Adventure Begins

Today David  Elder Cluff flew out of St. Louis at 6:04 am.  His whole family got up and left the house at 4am so we could spend some time with him.  The very nice baggage people let the whole family go clear to the gate with him.  It was nice to spend the extra few minutes together.  Will update.

April 7, 2012

Starting April 11th, David will be in a Missionary Training Center (MTC) for three weeks. He would love to receive words of encouragement, stories from your life that you would like to share or if you just want to send a letter to him. Due to the busy schedule he is expected to have, it may take awhile for him to respond to your letters, but he will be reading them. Uplifting words and letters are what he will enjoy the most during his first few weeks away from home.

Here is the mailing address that he will be using for the first three weeks:
 
Elder David Benjamin Cluff
MTC Mailbox # 146 
UT-SLC 0502
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

March 25, 2012

Welcome

Hello everyone! This is David and one of the very few times that I will write directly to this blog. This blog is a blog sharing my journey as I am on my mission. On the side you will find what I believe, what a mission is and my mailing address for those that want to write. I would love letters but I may not be able to respond as fast due to the busy days that are ahead.
I will be leaving on April 11th, 2012 where I will leave behind everything and serve my Heavenly Father for two years. For the next few years I will be teaching about Jesus Christ and his teachings. I will be sharing a message of joy, love, peace and that families are, indeed, eternal families. I will share experiences from my life where I have felt the power of the atonement in my everyday life. I love this work so much and have been preparing myself ever since I was a little boy and hearing about my dad's mission.
My parents will update this blog for me as I press forward on this new journey in my life.
I express my love and appreciation to all those who have supported me, taught me and continue to do so each day.
Sincerely,
David B. Cluff