June 19, 2013

"What the Lord has done for me"

Mom and Dad,
Sounds like you had a crazy week and an early morning. :) Hopefully you and Sadie can recover from girls camp and enjoy this week. It will go by pretty fast. :)  I am really grateful that I am not on that scout campout! Yikes! Have fun Sam and Dad! :) 
This past week has been crazy and I am really excited for transfers. If everything happens the way President Winn told me a few weeks ago...I will have a lot less stress but I will also get a new kind of stress training a new zone leader who will leave for home on July 24th. I also found out that I will be the only active zone leader for tomorrow and Wednesday so that will be interesting to see how that works out. Oh boy! "Come what may and love it!" That is the motivation for me right now---just love it. :) 
All is well here. We had a Chinese baptism this past week and it was good. I have no clue what is being said in the lessons but that is okay. 
I get to work in the deaf ward again this Wednesday and that should be interesting as last week they cancelled. Summer is here and it has been very, very hot. 
This past week we were training on our desires and this is the scripture that stood out to me: 
"O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!  Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth. Yea, and I know that good and evil have come before all men; he that knoweth not good from evil is blameless; but he that knoweth good and evil, to him it is given according to his desires, whether he desireth good or evil, life or death, joy or remorse of conscience.
Now, seeing that I know these things, why should I desire more than to perform the work to which I have been called?

Why should I desire that I were an angel, that I could speak unto all the ends of the earth?
For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true.
I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.
And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me."
Alma 29 1-2, 5-10
After each trial I do remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me and that he heard my every prayer both spoken and silently. :) How amazing is that. God wants to grant our desires and sometimes our desires seem small to everyone around us....yet they are big in His eyes. During one of the lessons recently I had a desire to share parts of my story of my hearing loss. I did not know if it would matter to anyone around me but at one point during the lesson someone asked me if I had a story about the power of prayer in my life that I was willing to share. I was able to share what I was thinking and feeling. That simple question was an answer to my prayer/desire and a reminder that God really does care about each and every one of us.
I love this work and I love how Heavenly Father works with each one of us very personally. I feel that my mission was packaged just for me. The people I have worked with and come in contact with helped build my faith and I felt that I have known them before. I know that Jesus Christ lives and loves me, and each and every one of us, one by one. 
I am grateful for the time I have right now to come closer to my Savior. 
I love you all so very much and hope you all survive this week without the boys. :) 
Have a wonderful week! 
From my heart to yours, 
Elder David Cluff 

"Come What May and Love it!"

Mom and Dad,
Summer really is here! Yesterday it was 95 degrees and in the car it said 107!  This week has been interesting. Your letter about Youth Conference was so amazing and I felt the spirit so strong. You captured the events in a very real way and I longed to be there watching the youth during the reenactment of the Savior coming to the Nephites. That image stands out in my mind very vividly. What an amazing few days that must have been. :) 
Talking with TeeMarie really helped me and she talked about a new processor that is coming out this winter (hopefully) for my implants. It is supposed to be smaller, better microphones and Bluetooth capability! She said it will help with me using the phone, music and more comfort for my ears. I was blown away by that. :) 
Teaching the deaf girl was amazing! Her name is Kathryn, 9 years old. I took her to watch a baptism of twin girls that I taught last May with Elder Robinson. After the baptism she signed "I want baptism". Her parents are hearing but don't know ASL very well and so I have to interpret what the daughter is saying to the mother and what the mother is saying to her daughter. It made me grateful for the "best of both worlds" that I live in. The baptism was amazing and I had to interpret for two hours and I was beat by the end but the Lord blessed me with the gift of hands. The member that went with me was from the deaf ward and he would sign so fast that I felt a little lost. It was a little hard but I survived. I was not able to make it to the deaf ward as I had to speak in another ward and was also trying to be at three places at once already. The ward mission leader of the deaf ward said that he has 4 people he would like me to teach. So that is exciting.

This is our last full week of the transfer and then next week is transfers! It helps to know what is going on but at the same time there are sooo many changes going on. Next Friday will be our last time to see the Winns and say our goodbyes. I am trying to accept the fact they are leaving and that this will be a good change. I am excited for it but it's also a little nerve racking. Over and over in sacrament meetings I heard people say "Come what may and love it." Heavenly Father was reminding me what I already know. Despite how crazy everything is and how fast time is going....I will be okay. :) 
I was able to go on exchanges with Elder Woodland, our AP for the east mission. He used to serve in my area at the U---I actually took his place when he left. It was a great exchange and he was able to give me more tips about the area. He is also from England and he is going to see if he can run into Colton. Mom, I agree with you about staying focused even though we are working on a college campus. I like your perspective. It is weird how well I know the east side of Salt Lake now.
I will now have spent a year in the Salt Lake Zone. Who would of thought. 
Dad, I will be watching the worldwide leadership training broadcast on June 23rd! It will be interesting to hear your thoughts on it. Sounds like you are going through alot of changes and that is good. Hope all goes well and that everyone adjusts well. :) 

Well, I better get going. But know that I love you all so very much and love this work. Come what may and love it. 
From my heart to yours, 
Elder David Cluff 

June 3, 2013

Many Languages and Cultures

Where do I begin? First of all, I have a new area added to the U of U area and Elder Portas and I have a 3rd companion. They added the Chinese Ward to our area, which covers the whole mission and parts of other missions, including some of Provo. Having Elder Guo, from China, with us has made things more stressful and a little tight in the apartment. But we are adjusting and with my ability to re-arrange EVERYTHING we were able to make the 3 beds fit. We found out on Wed at 1pm that we had to be at the mission office at 2pm to pick up our new companion. We had to make some rearrangements within the zone to accompany all the changes. It was a crazy day. The day we picked up Elder Guo he said, "We have a Chinese baptism tonight." Our life changed very fast and we ended up being triple booked that night. We mostly have him go on splits with the Chinese members to work with the Chinese since we don't speak a word. It will be an interesting change.

We had leadership training this past week and it was a really good day. It kind of prepared me for the "unexpected" that would take place the following day. Sister Winn did a training on how to teach loud kids in family settings, not that we struggle with that in YSA, and then President Winn trained on inviting the spirit into each lesson. So, on Thursday we had a lesson with a Chinese family and their member friends. The kids (ages 11, 9 and 18 months) speak English and Chinese but the mother speaks mainly Chinese. We were teaching the restoration and for the first half the kids were crying and not wanting to sit down. We got to the part where we were going to talk about the first vision. At that moment the 18 month old was just crying and hungry so the mother went to make a bottle and the 9 year old got a bloody nose and the 11 year old was off in his own world. The lesson was in Chinese and I felt like I could not do very much. But a thought came; "Sing." I then thought, "No way--and what song?" I remembered President Winn's training and invitation to sing in a lesson to bring the spirit. So, I leaned over to Elder Guo and Elder Portas and said, "We need to sing I am a Child of God." We all agreed and when the mother came back and everyone was back together, I said, "Ok, before we tell the first vision we are going to sing a song that talks how each of us are children of God and that He loves us and hears us." Elder Portas and the members sang it in English, Elder Guo in Chinese, and I signed it. The spirit came in very powerfully and the baby stopped crying and fell asleep, the two kids were much calmer and it was a great way to introduce Joseph's first prayer. The kids may not remember everything about the lesson but I hope they walked away knowing that they are a Child of God and that He loves them, one by one.

I am doing well, adjusting to all the changes and relying on my Savior each and every day. Life is so much better having Christ at our side and knowing that prayer is free and can be used at any moment and in any place. I am grateful to know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and watches over me when my loving parents can't physically see me. I feel such hope from the scriptures each day and know that everything will be okay.

I love this work. I love my Savior. He lives. "Lord, I believe."
From my heart to yours,
Elder David Cluff