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February 24, 2014

A Wedding & Baptism in California

Remember Elder Smith? Well, Elder Smith and I taught this investigator, Todd. He was so ready for baptism but there was one little thing that needed to happen first....marriage. So, after a crazy night on temple square just days before Christmas they got engaged! That is a crazy story to tell when I have more time to write. But, after a little rollor-coaster ride they decided to get married in California this past weekend and then have Todd get baptized the following day! I just got the photos today since we could not physically be there. They are just such awesome people! Miracles happen far and near!




Silent Miracles, His Story

  Elder Cluff is known as a blogger for “Silent Moments, My Story” which tells his journey through the silent moments of his life. Today he tells about the Silent Miracles that he and his companion, Elder Valdez, have seen. Miracles are ways our Heavenly Father tells His Story.


 The journey began on February 18th, 2014, which was transfer day. Elder Valdez and I pretty much knew that we would be companions as President Eberhardt wanted us to open up the American Sign Language (ASL) Program for the first time in almost 20 years. There are two deaf wards in the Salt Lake area and for a long time they have been praying for ASL missionaries to come help.
 The dream they were praying for was becoming a reality. The first day Elder Valdez and I were companions we kept asking ourselves…”How are we going to do this? How are we going to get better at signing and understanding it?” Plus, many more questions you ask yourselves when you whitewash or open a new area. Since it was all very new we were also given a stake to work with while we build the ASL program. Elder Valdez has already served in this stake and so that was very helpful to already have some foundation to stand on while we build another.
Elder Cluff and Elder Valdez signing
 in their morning studies. 
  On our first nightly planning session Elder Valdez and I got on our knees and prayed for inspiration, guidance and assurance on how to go about working with the deaf ward. We felt that we needed to sign as much as we can so we can understand our leaders in the deaf ward. So, our first planning session, on day one, together was done in ASL. I took my Cochlear Implants off as it makes it so we have to sign. Since then I now take my Cochlear Implants off when we arrive to our apartment until we leave the following morning. Through that our signing as gotten better and better as each day goes by. We now say all our prayers in ASL which seems to make our prayers more meaningful and sincere. Each day we would pray for miracles. One day was filled with many silent miracles. It was on a Thursday, February 20th, 2014 when we were working with a investigator and our ward mission leader comes up to talk to us. He saw that I had Cochlear Implants and starts to sign...I sign back and then Elder Valdez signs a question “I did not know you sign?” The Ward Mission Leader goes on to say “I help work with the deaf and so that is how I know sign.” He was very excited about us and we found another resource to help us! Then at our dinner that night we saw another Silent Miracle! We were eating at a place called Parklane close to downtown Salt Lake City. While we were eating the conversation came up about how Elder Valdez and I sign and work with the deaf. One of the ladies said “Oh, I need you to meet someone.” After dinner we were introduced to the Executive Director for Parklane. He took us to his office and once we sat down he started to sign. We talked in ASL for about 20 minutes and he gave us ideas and suggestions on how to work with the deaf. He used to be a branch president for a deaf branch back east someplace. Elder Valdez and I walked away in awe as to how real Heavenly Father answers prayers.
  Saturday came and we had dinner set up with the Bishop & Ward Mission Leader for the deaf ward. Elder Valdez and I walked into the Bishop’s home we arrived to big smiles and warm hearts. Bishop Loosli and his wife were so thrilled to have us in their home. They said it was the first time in almost 15 years since they got to have the missionaries over in their home for dinner and actually communicate with them. The Ward Mission Leader was there too and brought over a copy of each lesson pamphlet. He pulled them out and asked “How would you use these??” Elder Valdez and I smiled as our mission has been trained and re-trained on how to use the pamphlet . We pulled the restoration pamphlet out and taught the family the restoration in ASL. It was so powerful.
 The following day, Sunday, we went to their Ward Council Meeting. I have never seen a ward council more excited than this group. All they talked about was “How can our ward support the missionaries? Who can benefit from their message?” Names were written, ideas were thrown out on the table and their desire to be more apart of the Work of Salvation increased. They felt that they had a bigger role in the work. Before all they could do was drop food off to the missionaries doorstep hoping their efforts were helping with the work of salvation. Now, they can communicate with the missionaries and feel that they are helping lift where they stand.
  There are many more Silent Miracles to come. Elder Valdez and I have seen how the gospel
changes lives and causes us to want to share that with others. We also learned that there is no mountain too tall that we can’t climb. I hope each one of us will pay close attention to the silent miracles that occur in each day of our life.






Check out the new contact page: Contact Elder Cluff

Poolside Baptism...once again!

We had another poolside baptism for John! It was amazing. I guess I have become an expert on poolside baptisms now. :)
John and Tom! 







Some of our favorite people! They all support and help each other!
It is amazing to see them love life and keep doing hard things! 

February 17, 2014

One Last Transfer...

This was 3-D printed! I love it!!

 What a crazy week it has been. I was on exchanges Monday, Tuesday, Wed and Thursday with 5 different Elders. It was a good last week as a Zone Leader. Nothing can surprise me now. But a few miracles happened!    On Tuesday I had to take two elders to meet with President and while I was waiting a young man and his mother walked in. I turned around to see who came in and I then said "Peter?!?!?". He responded "Cluff?!?!?" We exchanged hugs and I said "What you doing here?" He said "my mother is getting baptized!" To say the least I was thrilled and grateful to see how one baptism lead to another. 
   Peter was one of my last baptisms while I was at the U of U in YSA last summer. He told me after his baptism that he wanted to be a missionary. Sure enough his mother moved to America from Hong Kong 3 months ago and took the lessons and got baptized this past Saturday!  He is already a missionary! 

      
Happy Valentines Day!
-Elder Cluff & Elder Quinton-
Waiting for Dinner...like I said it was interesting. 
  


Valentines Day was interesting but good! Here is a photo of Elder Quinton and I all ready for Valentines Day! 














This week is transfers, tomorrow. After nine transfers of being Zone Leader I got the call last night saying that I will be released from being Zone Leader this Tuesday and will be placed as District Leader for my last transfer. I am really excited about it as I have been working on opening an ASL program for missionaries for the past two weeks, ever since we got a request from the ward and stake. This past week I did exchanges with Elder Valdez who also knows ASL, for a day. We helped the deaf ward with an activity and they were so excited to see us. We ate dinner at our apartment and my battery died and as I was about to change it--Elder Valdez stopped me. I kept them off and we just signed the whole time during dinner. It was AWESOME! We got better at understanding each other as the night went on. President Eberhardt told me that this exchange was the "test". Elder Valdez 
had a little idea what was going on but once I told him what we have been working on...it all made sense. He is super excited! We will be official companions starting tomorrow. Yesterday, he and I along with our real companions went to the deaf ward and it was SO COOL! The members were shocked to see the two of us signing to each other. Elder Valdez is from Washington and has only been out 3 months! It has been neat to see how everything came together to make this all possible.The common question about this ASL program Will you be traveling to all the places the ASL missionaries would cover--Provo, Tooele, Ogden...? Right now, we will start small. Elder Valdez and I will bounce between two missions to start off with. (Salt Lake City Mission and Salt Lake City East Mission) The goal is to find other missionaries in the other missionaries who are like Elder Valdez and I who know ASL to help us cover the ground. Once we find that there is a need we can contact the missionary department and ask them to assign ASL missionaries in the various missions in Utah. Since the ASL program is so new to our mission Elder Valdez and I will also cover the Central Stake in Salt Lake which also has a German branch. WHAT IS UP WITH ME AND ALL THE LANGUAGES?!?!? Anyway, hope that helps answer some of your questions. 

Check out the new contact page: Contact Elder Cluff 

February 14, 2014

An Exciting New Assignment

Mom and Dad, 

I am not really sure how to put into words what I am feeling right now. As you saw, we had interviews with president on Wednesday and he asked "How long have you been Zone Leader? What do you think about the deaf ward?" and so on. I told him this is my 9th transfer as a Zone Leader and that I love the deaf ward. He shared his thoughts on having me be released for my last transfer and work in the ASL program--Meaning start the ASL program for missionaries. I was excited about it but also unsure on how I feel about the whole thing. I asked him if I could talk to Brady and ask him questions and such. That's why I asked for his number. As I talked with Brady I learned that all the Utah missions don't have ASL missionaries...not even in Provo. Shocked...I talked with President Eberhardt the following day and he gave me a copy of the letter he got requesting ASL missionaries from the deaf ward. I read it and was excited but another question came..."just how big is this area going to be?" President was wondering that too. So yesterday we met with the bishopric and they talked about Ogden, Provo, Tooele, Park City and places all over the valley that need ASL missionaries. There is another missionary in our mission that knows ASL but that meeting made me feel like, "Man, I need more than 6 weeks to help get the program going." They all wish I was here for another 6 months to a year. I will be doing exchanges with the elder that knows ASL this week and see if we can make this work. He has only been out two transfers. I am thinking we will combine it with an area so it is not just working only with the deaf ward. But we will see. If that did happen they are thinking of putting me back in the Salt Lake Zone...where I started my mission. It will be interesting. It will throw a little twist into my last transfer. 

This past week was a whirlwind. 
Ryan got baptized on Monday night and the water was warm and everything went very smoothly. The spirit was so strong and it was simply amazing! 

Tuesday was Mission Leadership Council and if I get released from being Zone Leader..that was my last MLC. It is crazy to think that I was in the very first MLC that the Utah Salt Lake City East Mission ever had. It has changed and grown since then. Amazing! 

Wednesday was interviews and we have to be there to train each district that comes in. We were there from 9am to 5:30. Elder Quinton and I were the last to be interviewed. It was a long day, to say the least! 

A missionary decided that she could not do a mission due to health and so she flew out on Thursday afternoon. Thank goodness we had a another sister come to the zone just a week before all this took place. So we were able to arrange a new companionship just fine. Whew! 

Friday was Zone Meeting! A miracle on how we got into the building! So, Elder Quinton got inside the building, put his keys back in his bag and left his bag in the hallway. He "unlocked" the door but it did not fully unlock. So, we locked ourselves out of the church building. Elder Quinton goes running around the building trying to find an open door. I tried making some phone calls but no luck. I then started to pray. A very clear thought came to my mind: "Try the kitchen door." I started to walk around the corner to the kitchen door. I thought "There is no way that door is unlocked" but I went to the door and turned the knob and it opened! I walked inside the building and unlocked the doors. Elder Quinton and two other Elders asked "how did you get in?" I told them what happened. We then went back to the kitchen and tried to open the same door I came in. We then attempted but found that it was locked! Miracles still happen! 
Elder Quinton at the end asked me to share my testimony for the last time while the whole zone was together. That was hard! Half of the missionaries started to cry. It was a tender moment! 

Saturday we had a Temple Square Lesson which was a miracle how we were able to pull everything off. Then we had LeeAnn's baptism interview and she is ready! 

Sunday proved to be a day of challenges. That morning we got a call from LeeAnn saying "can we cancel the baptism?" We were able to talk it out and after many prayers she still got baptized! The baptism was absolutely amazing! The spirit was so strong. At the end many members came up to us and said "we know you cover many wards but I love how we feel like you are our missionaries just for our ward." Another member said I love how your recent convert always says "My Missionaries". I love hearing that as it reminds me that every effort is worth it. 

There is so much more I want to write about but just don't know how to put it all into words. 

I have been feeling really stressed out this past week with everything going on which has effected my hearing and sleep. But I am going to be okay. Just pray that my hearing goes back to "normal" soon.  

Love you all so much! 

-Elder David Cluff 

February 10, 2014

Meet Ryan and the gang!




Got Baptized on February 3rd, 2014



This is their favorite ORANGE couch! 


Someone got the CAMERA!

These are some AWESOME missionaries! 




Always remember to look up! He Hears you! 




Filling the Font



Meet Elder Quinton!







His favorite thing to do is fill a baptism font! 

Photos...

What happens when you wait for interviews with the President 

I love each expression! 


The Camera and I took a visit to the Holladay Zone! 



The COTTONWOOD ZONE! 






THE  DEAF MISSIONARY IS DRIVING! 


Just an ORANGE couch!