March 8, 2013

Miracles All Around

I got your letter on Saturday after a crazy day! I loved your little "deaf joke"! People often ask why I make funny jokes about being deaf...they were shocked at first but then thought it was really cool that I am confident about it all.

Being Zone Leader is very interesting and I'm just taking everything one step at a time. As for your question about Elder Ulbreg and the 5 week thing...this transfer is actually a 5 week transfer and transfers day will be on March 27th! We are expecting a bigger group of new missionaries coming the next few transfers. June 31, 2012, the day before the mission split, we had 210 missionaries in the mission. Now on June 31 of 2013 in the same area where we had 210 missionaries, we will have 700 missionaries the day before the split!!! How crazy is that!

This past week I worked with the following languages: Spanish, Korean, Chinese, ASL and finally ENGLISH! I was doing exchanges with one of our Spanish speaking elders and that was interesting and the other languages...not really sure how we managed to do that. Thanks to Temple Square we are able to take them there and have Sisters help teach in those languages.

I also got to spend the day in my first area and help the missionaries build faith in that area. That area has been struggling and the District Leader asked if I could do exchanges with his elders since I spent 6 months there. I was all for it and was excited to be back. The exchange was set for this past Saturday and I had about a week to prepare through a lot of prayer and studying. The day came and we started with a prayer. I then asked Elder Sakuma, "How many new people do you want to find to teach today?" He paused and said, with thought, "seven people". I then said, "Ok, do you have faith that we can reach that goal?" And he said "Yes". I then responded with excitement, "Yes, we will!". That day we contacted every referral, talked to everyone, worked with leadership and members, skipped lunch and we worked hard. I was able to introduce him to some part-member families that I knew about but that he never heard about. One is a single mother of three. Her oldest son is baptized but the other two are not. I felt really impressed to go visit them. Before I even knocked on the door, Shona, the mother, opened the door and her mouth dropped. She was almost in tears. She said, "Elder Cluff! I am so glad to see you!" I then asked how everything was going. She responded, "Well, my ex-husband just passed away un-expectantly a few days ago---the father of my three boys." The oldest is 14 and the youngest is 7. She goes on and says she doesn't know what to do and starts to list all the things their dad was planning on doing with the boys--pinewood derby, a trip to California, and camping trips. I then felt impressed to say, "Heavenly Father loves you so much and he wants to help. Will you pray and ask for help?" Tears about to fall, she said yes. I then asked if it would be alright if the missionaries came by and talked about the Plan of Happiness? She said, "Yes, that would be great." I was able to see that their hearts are changing through this life changing experience. The missionaries now have a part-member family that is ready to learn and rely on God. After some words of encouragement she left to go pack up all of his personal items and let the boys see his apartment one last time. I was grateful I was able to act upon the prompting to go visit that family.

Another experience was Elder Sakuma said, "We need to go visit Anthony, a non-member." I paused and said, "Is this the crazy Anthony that was on drugs and got really mad at me and threw a Finding Faith in Christ DVD into the street?" He said it wasn't. We then pulled up to the house and I said, "Are you sure??? This looks just like his house." I kept picturing him like I remembered and braced myself for the approach. We rang the door bell and the door opened slowly, calmly, and Anthony opened the door. I almost fainted and I then said, "Anthony is that you?" He said yes and I could see in his eyes that he had changed and was saying sorry for what he had done in the past. He now is clean, has a job and is making huge changes. It reminded me of President Monson's talk at the priesthood session about how "Men can change". That was a huge testimony builder. After we got into the car Elder Sakuma then talked about how in some of their visits with Anthony he would often express how he wished he could say sorry to the missionary that he was rude to. Me showing up at his door was an answer to his prayer.

At the end of the day we were able to find 7 new people to teach! There are miracles all around. At the end of the day our testimonies were strengthened. I was able to help remind the leadership that miracles do happen and share experiences that I saw when I was in the area. Elder Sakuma learned that working with members is key to the work in those two stakes. He liked how I use my implants to break the ice with people who are not interested in talking with us and we got referrals from them too! The Lord blessed us that day; our faith and hope were increased and miracles are happening all around.

I was able to run into some of the members that I worked with and they all said, "Wow, you have changed and you seem so much more confident than before!" They also said that some members still talk about the talks/testimonies I gave in the wards. That meant a lot to me and it made me want to always strive to become a better follower of Christ.

All is well and I am happy. I am doing much better than I did about a year ago. :)

I love you all so much!

Come what may and Love it!

-Elder David Cluff

March 7, 2013

The Lord Works in Mighty Ways

Well, here I am--a zone leader and a U of U missionary, which covers the whole east side of Salt Lake. I am covering parts of my 1st area---only with a Young Single Adult (YSA) focus. I ran into so many people! First Hailey Hillam at temple square, then Emily Bishop at our institute building social and Steven Rose as I was bouncing around between wards. I cover 13 YSA wards and went to 6 wards yesterday! Crazy!

Anyway, YSA is a whole new world (sacrament meetings--very quiet and dinners a little awkward) and I am still trying to figure it all out. Funny note: Elder Ulbreg (my new companion) is from Independence, Missouri and we were in the MTC together--same MTC zone and he would hang out with our group.

Yep, 58 new missions and ours is splitting....again! We were told a few days before it came out in the news---so cool!! Most likely I will be in the East Mission but I won't know for sure until the end of May or early June. A lot of changes! Each mission here will have about 250 missionaries.

My first few days were rough and also great! I really miss Layton and the people. But, I am here so I am going to make the best of it. Being Zone leader is a lot of work! My first few nights I was so worn out and slept so good. I am excited and taking everything one step at a time.

We had a baptism on Saturday---great way to start off a new transfer. I am loving every minute of it! Also, I am teaching a lot of Koreans, Chinese, and some Spanish speaking people. Talk about my "deaf moments" that I have with many different accents. It is a whole new world here! I still can't believe I went from Salt Lake City to Layton and back to Salt Lake City. The Lord works in mighty ways.
Love you all so much and have a great week!
Dad, tell everyone at the office I said " Hi back". :)

God's Hand in All Things

Yesterday was such a busy day and yet so great! We saw God's hand in all things. We had stake correlation meeting #1 at 7am, started greeting people for Ward Conference #1 at 8:30, helped with a class at 10:15, Sacrament Meeting with a recent convert at 11am, finalized paperwork, called temple square and reminded investigators about church at noon and started greeting members for Ward Conference # 2 at 12:40. Then we went to talk to everyone from 2-3:30, Stake mission correlation meeting # 2 at 4:15, helped teach mission prep at 4:30, then dinner at 5:15 and splits/lessons starting at 6pm. It was a great day and the Lord helped us reach our goals!

A member came up to me while I was greeting at the door and said, "I was at an engineering conference/meeting and one of the professors was representing the department of Cochlear Implants." The member then leaned over to his co-worker and said, "I know someone that has them. He is a missionary serving in my stake!" He was so excited to talk to me about it. I could see he had a missionary experience. Pretty cool! Then I had a lesson with one of our investigators and found out his 5 year old son is deaf and it was caused by CMV! That is the 4th person I have met that had the same thing! Interesting how the Lord puts me in those situations. I was able to answer some questions and share parts of my story.

Leadership training was amazing, a little long (8am-5pm for two days), but great! I learned a ton and it prepared us all for all the new missionaries and doing missionary work the Lord's way.

I am continuing to see the Lord's hand in all things! Big or small, He is there watching over me. Another thing that kind of struck me a few days ago was how long I have been out, how much time I have left, and how quickly it will go. I almost cried and thought, "There is so much still to do and so little time!"

I know with all my heart that this Gospel is true. I know that Christ lives and watches over us all. I know through the power of the Holy Ghost our lives can be sanctified, clean, and renewed in Him. The Book of Mormon is true and on every page I find that He is there guiding me along. I love my Savior, Redeemer--my older brother. I love how if we fall seven times, He will help us stand up eight. I love missionary work and seeing lives change as this is a gospel of transformation. I don't teach anything new...only remind them of what they know deep down inside. Deep down they know that they are a beloved Son or Daughter of God, that they truly do have a loving Heavenly Father. Even when things go wrong, everyone yearns for the One who knows them better than anyone else and they start to look up. I know that Heavenly Father answers all my prayers...even my silent prayers in moments of need. I know that families are eternal and I love my family so much!

From my heart to yours,
Elder David Cluff
Come what may and love it...