January 27, 2014

My London!

Elder [Colton] Cluff in London! 

"Almost a year ago, on my year mark in my mission,  my brother entered the England London South Mission. It has been so cool having him out at the same time as me. I learn a lot from him through his emails and he is an awesome missionary! I have learned that despite the many miles that are between us we are united and close as we wear the same name tag. Elder Colton Cluff is my hero!" -Elder David Cluff 

Elder Cluff and Elder Quinton

Ryan and Kimberly! 

"Come What May and Love It!" 

Crazy, Amazing and Miraculous Week!

How do I begin to write about this past week!?!? I wish you could have been a fly watching everything that was going on. 

So the start of the week was calm and I thought, Okay, this week is going to be a "normal" week. By Thursday we were doing pretty good until around 10pm when we got phone calls that we needed to take a companionship to the office and then go two missions away to pick up a new car for this companionship. Then we had to be back by 1pm to do exchanges with one of our district leaders. We did not get get back until almost 1:30. Then we had to go talk to another companionship as we were getting complaints from their landlord. We ended up helping them clean for about 20 minutes and making sure it was up to the standard of the Landlord. It was a weird day. But, we managed to get a few lessons in that day, which was awesome! 

Friday morning came around and we got to the Zone Building where all our District Meetings are held. We were bouncing between the 3 districts and found out that one of our missionaries was really wanting to go home. The trainer who is training this new missionary that wants to go home came up to us asking what to do. We prayed and prayed about what we can do to help. He had already been given a blessing, been on exchanges and we'd done everything we could think of. I kept saying to myself, "I do not want another missionary to go home. We have to give it our all." After District Meetings were over we said "Come with us to our Temple Square lesson at 1:30." They came and we split off for our lesson while they walked around and tried getting this missionary's mind off the thought of wanting to go home. They left before us because they had a lesson at 3. Once we got done with the Jospeh Smith Movie and ended our lesson with a prayer we headed back to our car. On our way back we got a call from the mission office. Elder Quinton answered it and then said "Elder Cluff, this is for you." I thought it was maybe a question about one of the baptisms in our zone as that is what they usually ask us about on Friday afternoon. The next thing I heard was "Hello Elder Cluff, this is Sister Winn. I have a question for you. What airport / city will you be flying into on April 1st?" My heart stopped and there was a moment of silence. I then said, with a little shake in my voice, "Uh, St. Louis, Missouri." She then said "Great that is all I needed to know." She then hung up. I heard about these phone calls from other missionaries but it actually happened to me. There was about a 5 minute silence in the car. I did not know what to feel. Then Elder Quinton looks at me and says "It is really happening." I kept saying to myself...I am not leaving in April. I can't leave. I've got work to do. The thought of Sister Winn working on arranging all my departing flight really scared me. I just pushed all that aside and went back to work. At our dinner appointment the family kept talking about the temple. Then it hit me...we need to take this missionary to the temple!  
I called President Eberhardt and told him what we thought. He thought it was a great idea. He then asked "how are you going to do this when you have a baptism tomorrow?" I said "We will make it happen." Friday night we had a priest go out with us and it was around 7pm and nothing was going like planned. Everyone was falling through. I kept having this thought "You need to go on with these two elders in the neighboring stake." I thought "okay, lets do it." I then said "Elder Quinton, this may sound strange but this is what we are going to do...I am going to go with these two elders and you and Jesse will work the area." His eyes got rather big and he said "Uh...okay." This was Jesse's first time going on splits. I called the Elders and said "meet us at our stake center in 5 minutes." They got there and I got in their car and said "okay, what do you have planned tonight?" They looked at me confused and we went on with their plans. Towards the end they asked "So, what did Elder Quinton do?" I said "Well, I gave him the directory and said go work the area." These Elders looked at me again and said "ARE YOU CRAZY! You really just left him like that?!?" I said "Yeah, miracles happen." Sure enough Elder Quinton and Jesse had no idea what they were doing or where things were at. But, Elder Quinton's attitude is awesome...they went "spirit tracking". They went to one of our apartment complexes and went to a random door. This lady they came across was not kind to them. She would argue with them and tell them what really is right. Elder Quinton said to me "While she was saying this, I felt to ask, "Will you follow Jesus Christ's example and be baptized?" That caught her off guard and she said "" then went back to proving her point. Then again Elder Quinton said "Will you come to church with us this Sunday?" Amid the arguing within her...she paused and said "Yes, I will go to church with you." They gave her the address and everything and left. We then met back up and we asked the Elders if they could start filling the font for us the following morning at 9:30am while we were in the temple. They agreed and we gave them our keys. 

Saturday Morning came and we left the apartment 5 minutes to 7am and met the missionaries so they could follow us to the temple. It was a beautiful morning. We got there and made it to the 8am session. This was Elder Quinton's first time in the Salt Lake Temple and I have not been able to go since before the mission split. It brought back many memories of the temple trips with the mission in the past. It was a small group in the session and just what we needed. I felt very much at home and I kept thinking about what will happen after April 1st and I kept having this feeling "Everything will work out" and I was able to trust in that and be okay. When you talked about my car and how you gave it away...I was at peace and I did smile. The same words came back "Everything will work out" and everything will. :) After the session this missionary promised us to give it 3 more weeks. I talked to president last night and he said that the temple was a great idea. We just hope that the next few weeks will bring experiences that will help this missionary keep going. 
We made it back to the the stake center by 11am and the elders said "The water is coming out cold!" I then said "OH BOY!!" We turned it off and I prayed that the water would stay warm to finish filling it up. We turned it on and the water was coming out HOT and it was able to fill and re-heat the font! We turned it off and we were all set to go. When we opened the doors steam came through and it was able to heat up the dressing room and bathroom! It was a miracle! 
1pm came and the entire primary room was filled with people from the ward! The baptism was such an amazing experience! We had her friend that was less-active when she introduced Teresa to the church. Something she said struck me "As I watch the gospel change my friend, Teresa, I realized that it was changing me too." I think we often think that change can only happen once but Christ teaches us that change can happen over and over. We are always in a process of change. It reminds me of another experience that happened on Thursday. A name of a less-active single mother came to my mind and I felt that we needed to visit her right at that moment. We went over there. She opened the door and she looked stressed out and started to cry. She told us what was going on with her family and work and she did not think that she could carry everything that she was dealing with. We then said "Would you like a blessing?" She said "I am not worthy of a blessing...that's what some people have told me." I said "What better time to get a blessing than when you feel lower than ever!" I told her that this kind of a blessing is for everyone! She then agreed to a blessing and asked me to do it. The spirit was so strong and she said after "That felt so good! I think I can keep trying." Her home changed in a matter of moments from when we first stepped in to when we left. Her son is also deaf and is a smart 5 year old. He is shy but I will keep signing to him. :) 

  After the baptism I went to pick up the photos of the pool side baptism that I printed as a gift to the McConnells. We then had a Church tour with two of our investigators at 3pm and then another lesson at 4! We made it all work and then got a wonderful dinner at 5pm. At 6:30 we dropped off the photos and the looks on their faces was a moment I will never forget. Sister McConnell was looking at each photo and started to get emotional as she looked back at her poolside baptism. It was a day of miracles! I love that family so much! At 7:30 one of our Elders was sick and has been for the past two days. So they have been doing exchanges. Their District leader was staying with him and I thought "We should have Elder Quinton stay there and I can help the district leader get some work done in his area." We got there and he and I went to work. Around 8 I got a call from Elder Quinton and said "we need to take him to the Insta Care now." The Elder and I made it back to pick them up and we went to the insta care. After 40 minutes of waiting we found that it was nothing major and that he should feel better in the next few days. At 9:30pm Elder Quinton and I were beyond exhausted! 

Then Sunday was a good day, less crazy. That lady Elder Quinton invited to church did not come so we are going to find her again and invite her again. :) 

I love this work and am so excited for the baptism we have for this Saturday! It will be a miracle! Pray for Ryan and that he will make it through this week! 

I love you all so much! 

From my Heart to Yours, 

Elder David Cluff

"Come what may and love it"
Teresa's Baptism Day! 

January 13, 2014

My New Companion

Meet Elder Quinton! 
From Canada! 

 He got stuck with Elder Cluff! 

January 6, 2014

Simply Miracles!!

 This past week has been a week full of miracles! Simply Miracles! Before I begin to talk about that let me just say….IT’S 2014! I can’t believe it. The past year has gone by so fast and now I have two transfers left. It is really strange to think I will just stop there.
This week is also transfers and I will be staying. This will be my 9th transfer as a Zone Leader!

 Okay, now about the miracles!

  December 29, 2013: We had a lesson with two of our investigators who were on date for January 4th. The husband is in a wheelchair and had was in the hospital just days before and they were not sure he would be able to get in the water. They are also in their 50’s and have endured many, many trials the past few weeks but we said a prayer and we all felt strongly that January 4th was their baptism day. Elder Smith and I were praying really hard that everything would work out as we were still looking for a place to baptize him. There needed to be a ramp or a lift of some sort to place him in a pool to baptize him. That night we planned our P-Day around finding a location.

  December 30, 2013: Monday, P-Day, no luck finding a place. Fell on our knees once again praying for help. 8pm came and the wife called and said we got a doctors appointment tomorrow and we will find out if he can get baptized.

  December 31, 2013: New Years Eve. Got a call saying that he can get baptized! Got over that mountain but now we got to find a place to baptize them in four days! We went to a Recreation center around 11am and talked to the director about the options. They said we have everything you need but… you will need to rent the pool. It is a policy. So you are looking at $300.00 to rent the pool and staff. We decided we would keep looking. The Bishop said that if that was the only option the ward would make it happen.
  New Years Eve was spent in a interesting way. One of our District leaders wanted us to give them some extra supplies and we needed a form from them. We met at their stake center and they had us sit in on a set apart of a new mission. The stake president was also a physical therapist and had a pool that we could possibly use and wanted to talk to us about it after the set apart. Half way through the little opening meeting they did the District Leader said “Oh, by the way this young man got called to serve in Washington DC, American Sign Language Speaking
(ASL).” My heart started to beat a little faster and I got to stand and share my testimony in ASL and he had a few tears as he took ASL for about a year and understood most of what I said. He was thrilled to see me and it all worked out. The Stake president then was able to talk to us about his therapy pool being a option. We set up a time to see it the following day.

  January 1, 2014: New Years Day! Our New Years Day was spent most of the day in meetings. We had Mission Leadership Meeting from 9am to 3pm. Half of the time Elder Smith and I would run out to answer phone calls about the baptism. At 4pm we were meeting this Stake President at his office to see the pool. We took photos and then went to look at another option. So far nothing was matching to what we needed...except the recreational center that would cost us to use it. We then sent a text out to the whole zone to look for a place. We had 20 missionaries asking around and praying for a miracle.

  January 2, 2014: It is Thursday and we need to have a place and time set! We had President Eberhardt coming at 2pm to do the interview for us. We showed up about 15 minute early to show them the photos of the pools that we have found. None of them felt right. So, we called our Ward Mission Leader and Bishop and said “Ok, we need to go to Plan Z.” Once President arrived we said “we will be right back...we got a pool to find.” We went to the Recreational Center and told them we will rent the pool. The staff was amazing! With it being on Saturday they made sure 6:30pm was reserved just for us and had the contract ready for us to sign the following day. The Bishop also called us and said “I am getting the check tonight and when I sign the contract tomorrow I will pay for it there.”  We then made it back to the interview before it ended and told them the news. Everyone was smiling REALLY big and crying. It was a miracle! But, we still have more mountains to climb.

 January 3, 2014: Friday! We had to take our car to get a oil change and tire rotation. They said it would only take 2 hours. We thought “Perfect, one of our district leaders will pick us up and go to Zone Meeting and then come back after lunch.”  10:30am Zone Meeting. It was a great meeting and Elder Smith and I loved how our training turned out. It was neat to work with all the missionaries. 1pm came and I called the shop to see how the car is doing. Their response was “Oh, it won't be done until around 5pm.” I thought “Are you kidding me?!? We have appointments starting at 4pm and we have to work on the baptism!” I was a tad frustrated. We had a companionship drive us to the mission office to pick up mail and supplies. When we got there we found that our mission got new cars, two being new VW Jettas! Yep, they are making Jettas Mission cars. Anyway, I told our AP’s what was going on and asked if we can take one of the new Chevy Cruze until our car got done. They handed us keys to a new black Chevy Cruze with only a 100 miles on it! Elder Smith and I loved the car even though our real car was the same just silver. We were able to convince the AP’s to let us have the car permanently.
  Once we got that settled we started making phone calls and arranging the baptism. It was a crazy day! A little Tender Mercy--A member let me borrow her camera which is a lot like mine back home. I did not realize just how much I missed taking photos with them. We wanted it for the baptism and keep those memories to share. Once I looked through those lens my photography side of me kicked in. I did photos of Elder Smith so he can send them home. He loved having good photos of him. He got some good ones of me too. :)

  January 4th, 2014: The car was finally done at 9am! It was nuts! Thanks to our AP’s for helping us get the car and make the switch. The day was stressful as we still had some small mountains to climb before the baptism. Elder Smith and I arrived to the Recreational Center around 6pm to find President and Sister Eberhardt there along with his counselor, the entire Stake Presidency and bishopric all anxiously waiting for this miracle to happen! People started coming in, one by one...then the next thing we knew we ran out of chairs!
The wheelchair van pulled up and in came the McConnells! Everyone was so excited to see them! Got everything arranged and started the baptism program. I got to speak on the Holy Ghost and there was such a powerful feeling in the Party Room by the pool. The time came for the baptism!
We all walked into the pool area standing on the side watching 4 men dressed in white, one of them being Elder Smith, pushing Brother McConnell on the ramp into the water. It was a powerful moment to watch these men do this and see their faces. It was a miracle in the making.
He was able to get baptized and then watched his wife step into the pool and walk to the spot she has been waiting for, for a long time. She was baptized by her brother and as she came up the biggest smile was on her face. Hugs were given, tears were shed and miracles continue to unfold!

Thanks to Elder Smith for taking photos! 
  January 5th, 2014: It was Fast and Testimony Meeting and it could not have been a more perfect day! We went to 3 wards. One of them our investigator was there and her friend, who was less active when she introduced her to the church! This less active member started to see the gospel change her friends life that she decided she needed to come back. So, for the first time in 30 years she went up and shared her testimony of how the gospel really does change lives. The whole ward was in silence as she said “I have not shared my testimony in 30 years but I will today.” It was the best testimony I have heard and tears about feel from my face. The spirit was touching every heart but I could see it working within her more than anything. She was a changing!
At the end of the night I knelt by my bed full of gratitude that Heavenly Father was willing to let me be apart of these miracles!  I felt sooo happy!

Each day kind words were given, tears were shed and miracles continue to unfold.

From my heart to yours,
Elder David Cluff

A Poolside Baptism!

Read the story and miracle behind this baptism: HERE

Mission President, President Eberhardt pushes
Brother McConnell to the pool. 

Meet My Companion...Elder Smith

Ok, a member let me use their camera and lets just say I love being behind the camera! :) Enjoy! 

Typical Zone Leader Life...ALWAYS ON THE PHONE! 

Trying to be like Elder Cluff by wearing his Cochlear Implants! 

These are the girls that got baptized two weeks ago and they are helping Elder Smith pose for the shot.