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


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.