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 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 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 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!