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December 21, 2016

The Life of a Missionary

   Merry Christmas! 


So this week I thought was a pretty good week, mostly because we were given a car for 2 weeks. Since the missionaries going home this transfer left on Friday to be home for Christmas there are some extra cars for a couple weeks and we got one! it was just in time for the 6 inches of snow too so that was perfect. And the snow doesn't really effect driving at all here its crazy! It's nothing like the ice back home.


Something funny happened this week. We went to have dinner with the youngs on Wednesday night and we were going at like 7 because her husband works late and he had to get off early just to make that time work, but when we got there sister young answered the door and said that her husband had forgotten and he just barely left his office. So we thought we would just have to find a different dinner since we can't be in the house with her and their little kids, but then she said that she had already set everything up on the table and gotten it ready for us so that they could just leave and go for a drive while we eat. We told her we really could just find somewhere else but she said that it really wasn't a problem and insisted on us eating there. So they left and we went in and sat at their table in this empty house and it was the strangest thing, but then luckily brother young got home like 5 minutes later so they all came back and ate with us. but it was definitely a strange experience. They were a super cool family, though.


We also had Zone Conference on Wednesday and it was super good and very inspiring! we had a guest speaker named Curtis Jacobs and he's been in the church educational stuff for years and I think he wrote some books or a book maybe. But he did an amazing job with his talk. The thing that stood out to me the most is when he talked about the 3 levels of Christmas. The first level is the "Santa Clause level" and it's all about the presents and the hottest gift and going shopping on time, and all you can really take of that level is about 12 days anyways before you start to hate it. The second level is the "Silent Night level." This level is much more humble and it's about the baby Jesus. It's about a mother giving birth to a child, who will save us all, in a stable with animals everywhere and her little baby laying in a manger, possibly in the courtyard of a khan (Curtis Jacobs told us about how it's very likely that that's where Jesus was born). The third level is the "Adult Christ level." This level is about gaining a better understanding of the atonement and realizing that "there would be no Christmas if there had not been an easter". This season is a season for us to learn about Christ and want to gain a better understanding of his atonement. If we can find the right balance between all of these levels of Christmas then we will be able to have a much more meaningful and joyous Christmas with Love and kindness filling our hearts and homes helping us touch the lives of others.


At the end of the Conference Sister Mendenhall spoke for a few minutes and she pointed out something I have never thought about. She was talking about the little drummer boy and how he didn't have anything to give, but "he played his best." We are all poor and don't have anything to give but Christ doesn't ask us for gifts or presents. He wants us to bring our nothingness and just play our best for him. He wants to see us use our talents and he wants us to just try our best to follow him. I'm so glad that I have the opportunity to "play my best for him" 24/7 for my whole mission. Its impossible to be perfect but its also impossible to mess up at trying our best. Our best is our best, there's no minimum or maximum, it's whatever we can give.

-Elder Cluff

December 6, 2016

Fun, Slow and Crazy!


Hi Everyone,


MEOWY CHRISTMAS! 

This week was super fun, slow, and crazy. I'll start with the crazy cause it's my favorite story from this week. So we went on exchanges with the zone leaders and I went to their area and elder Otterstrom stayed in our area, we mostly just went around meeting some people that had been taught only once or twice before and one guy that we stopped by named Gary was supposed to just be your "normal" investigator but after we started talking to him he told us how he actually dropped the whole Christianity thing a while ago mostly because "there's no one listening when we pray... that's just how it is", So we talked to him a little bit about that and then he said he's just on a different path now and so we asked him what path that is and he told us he found this amazing thing where you can train your body to go to sleep but your spirit is still awake and you can actually leave your body and travel through space or around the world or just go wherever you want really, this obviously startled us a little and also made us want to just start dying laughing but that probably wouldn't have been very nice so we just asked him if he has ever actually done this and he totally believes that he has and that he has talked to other beings and only a few of them were bad ones.. At this point we figured it was probably best if we wrapped it up and left but he still had some things he wanted to tell us about so he continued to tell us about how this spirit named Joshua (I can't remember if that was the name or not, I have it written in my journal) has been with him since 1704, and again me and elder Waynewright wanted to just bust up laughing because we have no idea where he got that date from, he believes that he's been alive for millions of years and lived on lots of different planets and places but he just can't remember them since he's reincarnated every time. but then he started telling us about one of the ways this spirit directs him and he pulls out this copper stick that he holds "freely" and it will point to things, so he held it and said "Joshua, point towards the door so that these elders know you are here Joshua" and we could totally see his elbow and forearm move to make this thing point towards the door which was yet another moment we had to hold back the laughing. But even tho it was funny to watch we knew this was not a place that we should be and this guy was too insane to even give anything we would say a second thought so we asked if we could say a prayer and then we left. So ya that was a highlight of that day.

I talked about Richard last week, the investigator that just loves talking about Jesus... Well my Elder Otterstrom and Elder Teeples taught him again on Wednesday while we were on exchanges so I wasn't there but i talked to Elder Otterstrom about it and it didn't go near as well as it did last time, he didn't read the chapter we told him to read so they read it with him and he had a really hard time with 2 Nephi 31:16 where it says we have to follow Jesus Christ to be saved because he believes that you just have to believe in Jesus Christ and recognize him as your savior to be saved and that'll last forever. So they were kinda stuck on that the whole time and couldn't get him to move forward at all so we are trying to come up with some scriptures in the bible that will help him recognize that this isn't a new concept because he really respects everything in the bible and i also told Elder Otterstrom that one of the things that will help us the most is the fact that he already believes in the holy ghost and personal revelation and so if we can get him to truly ask the Lord with an open heart if the Book of Mormon is true then i think he will know when he receives his answer. So I really hope the Spirit is able to get through to him and open his heart and mind to our teachings because he is already so knowledgeable about Christ and the scriptures and it would be so sad to see him deny the extra strength, knowledge, and comfort that comes from the Book of Mormon and the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Something kind of funny that we actually found out last week but I forgot to mention it is that the members we are staying with will actually be out of town during Christmas so me and my companion were talking about how we are going to wake up to a huge empty house on Christmas morning and then we are going to put our presents under their tree and open them and then have breakfast and stuff and make it just like a normal Christmas morning minus the people hahaha, but we will get to spend the rest of the day with people and we are both sooooo excited to talk to our families. I can't wait!

Love, Elder Cluff
Raking Leaves...LOTS 


A ton...

Elder Cluff & Elder Otterstrom serving ice cream at
an elderly rehab center.

Elder Cluff doing his morning study. 


December 2, 2016

Light of the World

Let’s start with the best experience this week. So a guy in our ward, Spencer Hill, asked us to go with him to talk to/teach his neighbor Richard who loves to talk about Jesus and anything related to Jesus. So we went with Spencer on tuesday and when this guy opened the door me and Elder Otterstrom had to keep ours jaws from dropping cause this guy had arms like bowling balls, and then the second thing we noticed is that the spirit was practically already there. I mean this guy was genuinely just an amazing spiritual person. We got to know him a little bit. He has a wife and a 3 year old girl that were out shopping. He’s a deacon in his church, he’s 50 years old, he’s gone from a normal life to homeless to now having a Ferrari in his garage, so he’s seen a lot through his life and most of the time i felt like he was teaching me about Jesus and the gospel. He even mentioned once how he believes that there are different heavens, and another time he talked about how the godhead is three separate beings. So after talking for almost an hour and teaching him the whole first lesson throughout that, this guy honestly seemed like he has figured out a lot of things that even a lot of LDS individuals haven’t. We asked him to read the book of mormon (specifically the intro and 2 nephi 31) and pray about it to find out for himself if it’s true. He said he would with excitement and then talked to us about how we have to find out the truth of anything through the spirit. It was just amazing. I mean he was super super open to anything we had to say and talked about how anyone who believes in God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost is his friend and brother. We are going back to teach him again tomorrow at 5 and so I’m sure i will have more to tell next week.
I’m sure you have all heard this already but have you watched the Christmas initiative video?? because if you haven’t you really need to ASAP. It’s amazing and really just brings the spirit to any room and any crowd. The whole Christmas initiative this year is amazing and it’s so cool that we are giving everyone, LDS or not, a chance to act, serve, and follow the Savior this Christmas season. I hope that you guys will take part in doing the small acts of service and kindness the 25 days leading up to Christmas so that i can take some comfort in knowing that my family and friends are doing the same things as me every day.

Don’t forget who we are serving and who we are thinking about this Christmas season especially as we are trying to be the light of the world.

November 22, 2016

My First Few Days: The Best Of Both Worlds


Hey Everybody!

There's a lot to talk about when you get thrown into the deep end of trying to help people have salvation and eternal life as your day job... and night job. I titled this the best of both worlds because it definitely has been, we will start with the rough. My first day (Wednesday) I got to the mission office and we had our orientation and everything and then we met our companions and mine is Elder Otterstrom and when I asked him how our area is he said "I'm not sure, we are sweeping (white washing) so it's new to both of us" and I was just like "oh no, how is this gonna turn out when I'm still confused about how to do a door approach." But that still wasn't too bad because I knew the Lord has a plan and a reason for sending me there. So then I asked him if we were just going to drive down to Parker once the meeting was over and he told me that we were going to be dropped off by the AP's (assistants to the Mission President) because we are in a biking area, but that still wasn't that bad because I had wanted to be on bikes to stay in shape. And then when we had tons of problems with some of the missionaries paperwork and stuff so we didn't leave the mission office until like 7:15pm and it's an hour plus drive as we had to make other stops. When we were finally on our way to our new area we ended up getting lost on the only back road in Parker and our AP couldn't turn the van and trailer around on the little road in the dark so I told him that I could do it. I was half asleep when I got into the driver seat and I was able turned it around on the first try, which made me very grateful for all the practice I've had back home. We finally got to the member's house that we are living with at almost 9:30pm and went straight to bed. So that was a wonderful first day in my opinion because I didn't have to go out and teach while I was half asleep from waking up at 2:30am. And the next two days were really slow but we were able to learn a lot about street names and how much colder it is when you're on bikes going 15mph instead of walking, it was really hard to keep going those two days because nobody would talk to us and the people that would have weren't home so we just rode around in the cold all day but Saturday and Sunday we finally got to talk to more people and it really lifted my spirit because I was able to then catch a glimpse of why we are here. Last night a family in our ward had us over for dinner, the Mojicas, and they were super cool, they're a young family with 4 little girls. I was able to feel the same spirit in their home that I felt back in my home in Missouri. I was so grateful to know that no matter where I go, I can still feel the same comfort that I feel when I'm in my own home, it also made me realize the importance of a Christ-Centered home because people can feel the difference when they walk in.

There have been plenty of rough times even though I have only been out here for 5 days in the field, I know that those rough times are only there to show me that I need to look towards the Savior for comfort even if all I want to do is be with my family and friends. The Savior tells us so many times that his plan is one of happiness. I'll have to admit sometimes when I'm looking at it from the start of the path it seems like the hardships won't bring happiness but I have to keep reminding myself that while I'm looking up the mountain seeing all the rocks ahead and a long, rough and steep path, the Savior is on top looking down the other side with hope that I will soon see the path that he sees on the other side of the mountain. The support and comfort that comes from the spirit is immense and he truly is able to help us change our perspectives and see that we are here for a reason. I am so excited to be out here and to be able to serve the Lord. He has given us everything and all that he is asking of me is to open others doors for him so that he can bless their lives as he has blessed mine.

Elder Sam Cluff

November 13, 2016

Grateful

Hey Mamma,

Elder Cluff ran into the Gillens!
   That's a very good point about being able to talk through the spirit, I have felt that many times already and I am very grateful for that gift that God has given us. I definitely have been telling him everything as I go through the many emotional rollercoasters here. The grace that Jesus Christ has for us missionaries is amazing. I watch someone come to the MTC extremely homesick and within days they are feeling so much better and just can't wait to get to the field. Some of the new Elders have come to Elder Tonga and me as if we are counselors and we never have much to tell them but they somehow take it and apply it to their own lives and are able to change their perspective with the huge help of the Holy Ghost.

Something cool that my district is doing is a pilot program for emailing and skyping our investigators while we are in the MTC. We are able to check our email every day whenever we want as long as it's not class time because we have to email our "investigators" things that we want them to read or little thoughts of encouragement and then remind them of lessons that are coming up. It's really nice because they can email us back questions that they have and we can prepare to answer them in out next lesson or sometimes even answer them through emails.

-Elder Cluff


November 6, 2016

The Lord's Hand

During the first few days of the MTC, Elder Sam Cluff become the District Leader and has been thriving. His MTC companion is Elder Tonga.

Here is the second email we got from him on Friday.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hey Mamma!


Elder Cluff at the Provo Temple
I was actually telling my district about how it's Lucas' birthday and he's one of the people I miss the most, his face really cheers me up, though. I can't wait till I get to see him again and run around outside. I did hear that she (McCall's Brother's wife) had her baby but I haven't heard if she's healthy and if everything is okay, Addie has been sending me a lot of dear elders so I've been able to look forward to that most days but it feels like a month or two in between Fridays. But I know that will soon get easier as well as the fears for my family and my beautiful girlfriend. I hope I get to see Addie's grandparents on Tuesday at the devotional, this last Tuesday we got to hear from Russel M. Nelson and he talked about writing the gospel of Christ on our fleshy parts and making it who we are not just what we do. One of my teachers brother Smith told us something that his mission president told him which was something like "isn't it nice that we get to practice teaching other people's families for two years before the important job comes where we have to try to teach our own?" I thought that was a pretty neat way to look at it.
Elder Cluff  and Elder Tonga
As district leader I have been having to deal with a hardship between our zone leaders who are in my district and they know somewhat how to be companions but they have no idea how to become friends and grow closer outside of scripture study and lessons, so as I prayed and studied I got the weirdest answer as to what I should have them do, this is the assignment I gave them...

Run around the track three times together every day and recite your purpose during the first lap and then talk about what kind of things you did for fun before your mission and DO NOT make fun of the other one or say that you would never do that for fun but instead find things about them that you think would be fun and that you would like to try, then report back to me on Sunday with these three things.


1. Something cool about your companion

2. Something admirable about your companion

3. Something quirky that's also neat about your companion

I have no idea if this will work but since it was Gods idea not mine then it should at least do something for them.


So the other day what we are learning in our classes and it's actually super cool, we just learn how to teach things so that people can understand them even if they don't know anything about the gospel and yesterday we actually had to teach the plan of salvation in 30 seconds and we couldn't just talk super fast so it was super cool how you can cut a lot out and still get your point across like my 30 lessons went something like this, "we used to live with god in heaven and he was our literal father and he made this earth so that we could come here and gain experience but he knew we would make mistakes so he sent his perfect son Jesus Christ to be an example to us and I know that as long as we follow that example then we can return back to God in heaven and be truly happy again" and I know that there's no way I would've been able to do that without my teachers help and without the Lords help. The food is actually pretty good here most days but it's also pretty unhealthy I feel like, but I've been trying to work out still so that I don't get fat.

We have two investigators so far and they are completely different because our first one John Garret just wants to be with his family members that have died and so once we got him to understand Gods love for us and the plan of salvation which took a little bit because the missionaries that taught him before us told him only Mormons can be saved which really freaked him out but we were able to put those thoughts to rest and teach him about the spirit world and how people who didn't have the chance to learn about the gospel here will get the chance there, and after that he just wanted to learn more and now he wants to be baptized, where our second one Sydney Young just hasn't really wanted to tell us anything about herself until last night when we asked her about her dad and she talked about him and his place in her life for almost 15 minutes. 

It's really cool to see the Lord's hand in missionary work when we are really willing to let him take over.

October 26, 2016

Introducing Elder Sam Cluff


Welcome back!! 

This blog has been redesigned for you to read about the mission experience of the Three Cluff Brothers

This blog started with David Cluff when he served in the Utah Salt Lake City and Utah Salt Lake City East Mission from April 2012-2014. You will also find some letters from Colton Cluff who served in England London South Mission from April 2013-2015. The last of the three is Sam Cluff who just left today to serve in the Colorado Denver North Mission.  Sam's letters may not be regular weekly updates and his two brothers might share some thoughts from time to time. 

Without further delay, introducing our newest missionary, Elder Sam Cluff! He left today for the MTC (Missionary Training Center) where he will be training for the next few weeks! 



We hope you will enjoy taking a look around the blog and feel free to write to Elder Cluff (on the right of the blog).