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November 24, 2014

London Streets | Balloons

An excerpt from my brother's letter this morning.

"I am having a lot of fun with Elder Bradshaw. Sometimes we wonder if we are having too much fun. The other day we went out to a really posh (very nice) town where we usually don't have any luck getting people to listen to us. We went there as it was getting dark and went to the high street. Those two things usually equal in people not wantin to listen to us at all. But instead of just going out with the usual, "Hi we are missionaries..." "Leave me alone!" , we did this. We blew up a bunch of balloons and put different questions in them. We took these out on the high street with a thumb tack and asked people to pop our balloons. They would pop them and then read the question that was inside. It was so much fun! People who would have never stopped for us ended up becoming good friends by the time we were done talking with them and in the missionary language we got a lot of potential investigators." -Elder Colton Cluff  

November 12, 2014

Grateful

   
  As November rolls around we all begin to think about what we are grateful for. Over the last few weeks I have been thinking about everything I am grateful for. I came across this photo that got me thinking about how grateful I am for prayer. 

   This photo was taken around my six-month mark on my two-year mission in Salt Lake City, Utah. There are very few that really know the meaning behind this photo as it was taken after a hard mountain that I had to climb. It was not an easy time. The day after Mother’s Day of 2012 I was all the sudden experiencing pain around my Cochlear Implant site on my head. I did what I knew best, which was to trouble shoot my equipment first and make sure my external equipment was in good shape. Everything looked fine but the pain kept coming and then sounds started sounding really strange to me. At that moment my worst nightmare was becoming a reality. I called my mission president and tried to explain just what was going on. He was by my side within the hour and advised, “You can call home for help.” I dialed my mother’s number with tears coming down my face. Her familiar voice came on and I explained everything once again. Within three hours the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Team and the University of Utah Hospital Team were communicating back and forth about my problem and I was then set up to see a specialist the following morning. That night my mission president’s wife showed up with cookies, milk and a book that would soon become my best friend.

   The first appointment turned into a long six-month process. They could not figure out the problem. After six months of working with doctors there and talking to my doctors in St. Louis, the hospital got a specialist from California involved. My parents were able to come to the appointment as they were vacationing with family in Utah. I was hooked up to the computer as they ran scans to find out what was going on. At this point I began to think about all the “what if’s.” They were able to make some changes and hoped that it took care of the issues. A few days after all these events I sat in the hall of a church building just feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to go about this as some of the issues were still coming and going. I began to pray and just asked for help, and then gave it all to Him. I knew I could not control everything in my life but I knew that God could. Once I handed it to Him and trusted in His plan, I began to find more peace despite the challenges I faced.

David with Sister Winn, the mission president's wife. 
The book that I was given that first night with the cookies and milk was titled, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” I had many of those days but I learned to not let them pull me down but to laugh, count your blessings and move on. We are all going to experience one of those days at some point in our lives. Prayer is a huge part of my life and I am grateful for this time of year to be reminded of what really matters.


During my mission I would add my own little
 moments to the book for me to
look back and laugh. 






June 16, 2014

A Good Day To Smile!

   Today's letter from my brother, Elder Colton Cluff,  just made me smile and reminds me that even when things get hard we can still smile! Enjoy! -David
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Family!
   It is sure great to hear your stories! It has been a pretty funny week over here. On Monday when we were at Seven Sisters we got a call letting us know that there was a flood in the flat above us so there may be water damage in our flat and the electricity had been shut off. We went on with our day and got back at 9:00 that night to a dark, wet flat. We got ready in the dark, planned in the dark, and then went to bed in a very moist atmosphere. I woke up at about 1:00 to a very loud dripping noise but I was too tired to be bothered. I woke up a bit later to a sound and Elder Reed was out of bed and said, "Man, there is like a two inch puddle all over the floor." There was a little April shower coming through our ceiling. There was also a terrible wet carpet stench so we grabbed our mattresses and went into the living room to sleep for the night. It was about 2:00 at the time and we just laughed and laughed about it all. "Oh how great it is being a missionary", we would say. It took about two days for the stink to go away and we will need to have the ceiling replaced soon. It was a lot of fun! This was definitely a week with a lot of those "missionary stories". 

On Saturday we were making dinner and we wanted something more than just pasta and sauce out of a jar. We opened up the pantry and looked at what else we could put in. We through in some sausage and minced then we though it would be a good idea to put an egg in it. After that we seasoned it a little with salt and pepper, of course, and then chili powder, garlic granules, mixed herbs, and a couple other things that have fled my memory. We finished it off with some lemon juice and cinnamon and called it a job well done. It tasted pretty fantastic! I love being a missionary! 

   David will be getting baptized this Saturday! He is so great. A guy was teaching priesthood yesterday said something that wasn't quite right and so David raised his hand and corrected what he was saying about the oath and covenant of the priesthood and callings. This guy knows his stuff! The Sisters asked if they could use him to help teach their investigators. They have been taking him and they said that he is a fantastic missionary! It is so cool!

  James has gone missing again. It is such a pain not being able to get a hold of him. He keeps saying he is real exited for baptism but then he doesn't show up for crucial things. Hopefully we will find him soon. Last night it was 8:30 when we finished accounting and we wanted to drop a note off to James. It was going to be real tight to get there and then back home on time but we felt it was important. We got on a bus and the bus was going to make a two minute loop near where James live and then head back to our flat. We had to catch that bus if we wanted to get home on time. Just before the bus turned to make the loop we jumped off and booked it for James' flat. We slipped the note through the post box and booked it back to the bus stop. We barley got there before the bus was going to pull away. It was awesome! I love being a servant of Christ, literally running around assisting Him in this great work. I love being a missionary!

   It is so great serving with Elder Reed! We both have great desires to be powerful servants of Christ. We almost constantly are having profound gospel discussions. We are striving to serve diligently in the ordination wherewith we have been ordained at this time and we are also doing all we can to, through this service, prepare to be great servants and instruments in the Lords Kingdom here on earth in these last days! The missionaries in the district call us Elder Holland and Elder Bednar. We are striving to be missionaries like Ammon, Alma, and others. It is a blast!

    Today should be pretty good. We are spending the afternoon with our ward mission leader and the Sisters. Our ward mission leader is like in his 50's but he is a very funny guy so it should be fun hanging out with him and strengthening our relationship with him.

I hope and pray that all is going well back there. This is the work of the Lord and it so great! I hope you have a fantastic week!


-Elder Colton Cluff   

May 26, 2014

"I am not ashamed"

  I love Mondays as I get to read emails from my brother who is serving a mission in London, England! He is serving in a very interesting part of England. The Lord is teaching him many lessons that will last him a lifetime. Today’s email held a story that shows his testimony and his firm stand as a witness of our Savior Jesus Christ. Here is an except from his email:

"I can always find a bull, even in England"
“I don't have much time but I will share a funny story with ya. I wrote this in a letter that I will try to send this week so sorry that you will have to hear it twice. This will be a shortened version though. Yesterday evening we were out talking to people on the streets. We were talking to this guy and something was a bit off about him so when the conversation was passed to me I just asked the guy if we could leave him with a card because we needed to go. He said, "No, I want to hear the message from you". I said, "Our message is that Jesus Christ is our Savior, now we need to go, have a nice day". Right then he grabbed me around the back of the neck and pulled me close to his face. I thought he was gonna kiss me! I pushed against his chest to keep him at a distance. He said something like, "Now you listen to me!" Then some words that I shouldn't repeat and I don't even remember all that he said. He started yelling to everyone to see what he had got a hold of. I just let him pull me around thinking to myself, "What the heck is going on". As a missionary so many weird things happen that it can be hard to tell when we should be worried and the flight or fight system is slow to kick on. I struggled just a little bit to try to get him to let go of me. He finally let go, pushed me away, and kicked me. It was so awesome! We just walked away around a corner and I started laughing real hard. I am so proud to bear the name of Jesus Christ! Let men revile and spit on me, I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ!” -Elder Colton Cluff

My brother was able to walk away from this experience knowing who he is and not be ashamed to stand for truth. My favorite part was he walked away with a smile. He did not let that experience bring him down or feel to hide. This brings me to ask, “Are we willing to not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ?” If you’re preparing to serve a mission I would ask you to read or watch the talk by Elder Jeffery R. Holland titled “The Cost—and Blessings—of Discipleship” which fits perfectly to what my brother experienced.  If you returned home from a mission—the cost and blessings of discipleship does not end when you step onto the plane ride home. You have to keep pressing forward and do hard things.  


https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/the-cost-and-blessings-of-discipleship?lang=eng#d 

May 13, 2014

Your best---it's all He asks

Just because my Full-Time mission is over does not mean I can’t continue to write on this blog.  I would like to continue to write and share advice, lessons I learned being a “Returned Missionary”.

I returned from my mission in Salt Lake City 43 days ago and life has been a whirlwind. I have learned many lessons and today I would like to share with you one of them.

Comparing. Comparing against another is one of the worst things any human can possibly do. I see too much of that. Not only in the world but even on missions. On Sunday, Mother’s Day, I decided to go to my family’s ward and then leave after sacrament meeting and go to my own ward. I sat there listening to the talks. The couple that spoke touched my heart. They were talking about not comparing against another. Too many mothers compare against the “other mothers” around them and think they are not the best. I sat there and something hit me. I realized that the past few weeks I have been comparing myself against “the others”. I would have thoughts…you are not good enough or you are not like “them”. I would beat myself up about it but I did not know how much it was affecting me until today when my Heavenly Father reminded me. As I drove for 15 minutes to my church building, I had a tender moment on the road with my Heavenly Father. I was reminded of an experience I had early in my mission.

It was my first month or so in the mission---one of those rough days and weeks where I wondered, “Am I going to make it through?” One night I was in the bathroom washing my face and feeling like I could never measure up and kept saying, “I am not me”. I remember looking in the mirror as I dried my face and I took a look at myself and I heard the words, “You are still, David. You will be okay.” I learned that Heavenly Father still knew me and that I was still me and that I would be okay. I took a deep breath and said, “Okay, I can do this. I don’t need to know everything right now and I’ve got to do MY version of best.” The wife that spoke talked about this concept of, “Do YOUR best, not someone else’s best.” All of you that are preparing to serve a mission, or are a newly returned missionary, or simply chasing your dream… don’t compare.

  This brings to my next point: “It’s okay to be different.” When you get home from a mission everyone asks you the same questions over and over…so buckle up and enjoy the ride. They are just simply excited for you and your life but sometimes your plans may be different than the typical BYU boy or girl dream. When people ask me what I am doing for school I say, “I am going to start in the fall doing the BYU-Idaho Pathway program here in St. Louis.” The responses I get are almost identical to the responses I get when people ask me, “Where did you serve your mission?” When I say, “Salt Lake City, Utah.” I get this surprised look and then an, “Oh…cool.” I learned to laugh silently at people’s reaction. It is quite something to watch. 

One of my dreams and hopes is to be a motivational speaker and writer. I have been reading articles and watching and learning from other motivational speakers the past few days. Something this one person said really hit me: “Don’t try to be better than everyone else but be different.”  What makes you, you?


To summarize, don’t compare yourself and don’t compare others. Even those that seem to “have it all” still compare themselves to their version of “the others” so just avoid comparing. If you feel like you are being compared, don’t let those thoughts dwell in your head. You have better things to think about. Be happy and be you!



April 28, 2014

David's Mission, A Journey of Faith

This is a video that tells about my mission. It is a journey of faith! I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father who helped me every step of the way. The making of this video was amazing--full of tender mercies.I am grateful for my mission and the lessons I learned--even when gas spilled on me. Enjoy!


April 20, 2014

Happy Easter - Because of Him

Happy Easter! Because of Him I have been able to hear, and enjoy the blessings of the gospel. This gospel is a gospel of transformation! My life is so much better with Him. Please take a moment to write down your feelings of our Savior today. Because of Him I too live.

April 8, 2014

My Gentle Friend

   Well, I have been home for a week now! It has been a crazy first week for me. I pretty much just threw myself back into everything and so far so good. :)

  I titled this "My Gentle Friend" as that is what I thought of when I was released as a Full-Time Missionary. I heard stories from other returned missionaries on how this process goes. I decided to push everything I heard aside and embrace the moments I was about to experience. I went to my Stake President and he and I talked one on one about my mission. It was a chance for me to reflect on what I learned and how it has changed my life. Then we reunited with my family. Each family member then shared the blessings they saw as I served a mission. It was a tender experience. He then started to read this letter...then it came. The words "You are honorably released from your sacred calling as a full-time missionary" came. Once they were said I felt as if someone stepped beside me and said "You have done well and now it is time for me to go help other missionaries." I knew at that moment that my gentle friend that helped me through my mission was no longer going to be with me like that again.

   I spent two years helping others come unto Christ and I loved every moment of it. Now, I am back to making choices about my life. It is different but I am learning each day and I will be okay as My Gentle Friend taught me so many things. I will always help others come unto Christ.

April 3, 2014

David is Home!

  Monday, March 31st, 2014 came. A day I never thought I would see. I found myself surrounded by 13 others who felt just like me. 3pm came and we were in a 15 passenger van heading to the mission home for our last dinner together. Tears about to fall---we began to tell experiences that happened through out our missions. After the departing testimony meeting we went to the mission home to spend our last night. Smiles, tears and many yawns were given all through the night. We all fell asleep around 1:30am. Just in a few hours later we were loading up the truck with all our luggage and headed to the Airport. We arrived to the airport just before 7am and got everyone checked in. All 14 of us stood there and waved goodbye to our dear mission president and wife. We stayed together for a few short minutes and then headed our way into different parts of the world.


   Around 9:15am I found myself on a plane heading to St. Louis. Mix emotions filled my heart. around 12:30 I then was walking down a hall and found my parents and younger brother and sister waiting for my arrival. It was a tender moment. 





Thanks to the BEST Ward EVER!!!! Rockwood 2nd Ward--THANK YOU!! 

March 31, 2014

The view is great!



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."


June 19, 2013
"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. :) "

December 30, 2013
"I learned a lot this past week about faith, trust and prayer. I was struggling with being patient with myself and my hearing...again. I just simply wanted everything to sound right and perfect...but it was not. Last Saturday during one of my "moments" I was praying for someone who just might understand me to be placed in my path to help me. Seeing Kimball on Thursday and giving me a blessing was the greatest day so far that week. In the blessing I realized that Heavenly Father answered my prayer in a very real way. It was such a tender experience and to see just how much Heavenly Father cares for each of us. How amazing is prayer and faith! I love this gospel and the blessings it brings. Kimball's voice sounds just like Dad's and during the blessing I was constantly being reminded that I will be okay. My physical ears may have issues but my spiritual ears won't...as long as I keep doing the things that will allow me to hear my Savior's voice---I will be okay."

March 31, 2014
  Today I am filled with all sorts of emotion. Tomorrow morning I will be stepping onto a plane and to fly into a new chapter in my life. As I look back on my mission and the different mountains I have climbed--I have found the view to be great! I learned so much and grew closer to my Heavenly Father. I have said this often through out my mission but it is so real..."The Gospel is a Gospel of Transformation". I feel so blessed to have been able to witness lives change and transform into something beautiful. Miracles do happen each day...we just have to have eyes of faith to see them unfold. 
"The First couple I taught in my mission. Story behind
behind this photo coming soon."
   I know with all my heart that God lives! I know we are children of a loving Heavenly Father. I know that as I was able to help see lives change...my life changed along the way too. I love this work. Although, my time as a full-time missionary is coming to a close...I will always be "Elder Cluff" within. My brother who is serving a mission in the England London South Mission gave me some advice that I just love "When you wear your suit coat...place your name tag on the inside to remind you of who you have become." It has been a special time for my brother and I to serve our missions at the same time for a year. His year mark is in a few days. I learned that though he and I were far in distance we were close in heart as we worked on helping others come unto Christ. 

   The Gospel makes me happy and I love to see smiles on others as they learn about Jesus Christ. 
This mission will always be in my heart.

From my heart to your, 
Elder David Cluff 

-------------------
This blog will be updated and improved overtime. It is David's prayer that this blog can be a place of inspiration and hope. 


Elder Cluff's last district meeting. He was the District Leader for two sets of sisters, two sets of senior couples and
one set of elders. On his last training President and Sister Eberhardt and the Zone Leaders were in attendance.
"I am going to miss working with these awesome missionaries!" -Elder Cluff 


March 24, 2014

One last week...

Elder Cluff 
    Life is sure interesting. Just when I think I got things figured out...Heavenly Father proves me otherwise. It is good a thing. Keeps things really interesting.

  This past week has been full of tender mercies and simply miracles. We have two people getting baptized this Saturday and they both have been miracles in the making for some time. It is amazing to watch how the gospel changes and transforms lives. Yesterday, I ran into one of my most favorite couples from my first area...Andrew and Mandy Nelson!!! Andrew was baptized and then they also got married just a few weeks before I arrived to the mission. I have been able to see them transform into who they are today. It was neat to see them as a few weeks ago I was trying to find where they moved to and no luck in that aspect. I started to pray that I will be able to find them somehow. Yesterday, we went to go pick up our recent convert from church to take him to get his patriarchal blessing. As I walked into the foyer I saw Andrew and Mandy. We all had our mouth fall wide open. They both ran up to me and said "ELDER CLUFF?!?!?" We exchanged hugs and talked for a minute. Turns out they live in my stake now! How crazy is that! Mandy and I share the same birthday so we are doing something today with them. It was a HUGE tender mercy for me.
Elder Smith 
Elder Valdez 
For all you future missionaries you may want to look forward to the new missionary videos on "Health and missionary life". Last week Elder Valdez, Elder Smith and I were in a church film for missionaries. It was filmed in a dentist office. It will be for "Missionary dental health" or something like that. I am just glad that Elder Smith got the role to be in the "chair" as they filmed him having his teeth brushed 60 times. I am in different parts like walking on the sidewalk and walking into a dentist office with elder Valdez. Our mission has been helping the church with the film. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out. I guess this is what happens when you serve in the shadows of the Church Headquarters. :)
We were in a tiro with Elder Smith for a few days and turns out he may be Elder Valdez's new companian next transfer as he knows the basics of ASL! Super awesome! 

It is really werid to think that in one week from tomorrow that I will be a plane flying into the next chapter of my life. The past two years have been the best two years of my LIFE! I learned so much! 

I am greatful for all those that helped me along the way and for the many prayers that have been said. I have felt them in a a very real way.   

Helping with the sound system.





Ready for this? 



Watch out for the sisters missionaries! 









March 17, 2014

Meet Elder Valdez

This is Elder Valdez! He and I are working in the American Sign Language Program! It has been a blast! 






1,300 photos, Three Zone Conference, Dinner with L. Tom Perry and a Wedding!

 This past week was crazy! We had a mission temple trip on Monday, which was amazing! Then Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday I had to help photograph Zone Conference Meetings. Friday night we had a mission photo, dinner with Elder L. Tom Perry and a devotional meeting with Elder Perry. Just when I was feeling sore from a crazy week. We had a wedding on Saturday and I did their family photos as a gift for them. That night Elder Valdez and I had to speak in Stake Conference. It was a crazy week to say the least. 

Some highlights from the week:

There is amazing story behind this photo! 


We will bring the world it's truth!!! 










Setting up for the mission photo. 

We Wedding Day!!

Meet Cole! 





March 12, 2014

What I see...

I love being a photographer. One of my new favorite things to photograph is missionaries. They are just always HAPPY!! Which just makes me smile even bigger. I LOVE IT! Thought you might like to see some smiles today! Zone Conferences are about 7-8 hours long but they just love what they do! It is a testimony builder to me each day!
SMILE!!

One of my favorite couples EVER! Meet the BOYERS!! 









They are even more happy when the food comes out! 







Even when they sing!! 


Hope everyone gets a chance to talk to these missionaries! They have a love for what they do and they are not afraid to show it!