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,


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.