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October 17, 2017

Convert Fireside

Okay so something really cool that happened just yesterday was the "why I believe" fireside put on by the mission in order to let some recent converts share their testimonies and lift our spirits as well as the spirits of members all over the mission. It was such a spirit filled meeting where the whole mission sang as the choir, 4 recent converts shared their story and testimony, and we also got to hear a few musical numbers from other missionaries and a few words from president savage as well. It was amazing the way music when done with the right spirit can bring such a spirit to the room. The entire mission sang a special arrangement of "this is the Christ" as well as a special arrangement of "we'll bring the world his truth."  (not the EFY medley) and during both of these numbers you could sense the testimony and conviction within the voices that sang them (even if it was voices like mine). My favorite was "this is the Christ" because I decided that as we sang i wanted to imagine Christ in the meeting as if we were singing because he had appeared. This enhanced and uplifted my experience while singing and brought to my heart a conviction of the Savior and His love for us. 
   My Email this week will be short, because I mainly just want to share with you the Love I have for my Savior and how He has changed my life. We often times think that if we grew up in the church then when we meet those that haven't we should automatically jump to our "personal conversion" story that every one of us has. But something I have come to realize is that when people ask if I have grown up in the church I ought to shout for joy and say "YES!! And do you know how good that was for my life?" and then I could continue to tell them of how the gospel and church shaped my life and made me the person I am today. I am so proud and happy to say that I was born in the Church. Christ has been shaping me through the gospel and church since I was a baby, and it has changed my life. My faith in Christ has carried me through anything and everything that has been hard or unwanted in my life. This last week I have had temporary arthritis in my left knee and it doesn't feel too grand when I walk but I am proud to say that Christ has strengthened me enough that I could go out and work every single day just as hard and as long as I would without the arthritis. One day we even played soccer with some kids and i was able to play without pain. I may have had less mobility, but there wasn't pain which was a miracle that day in my life! God is not absent today, and He never will be. There are so many people who think they are without God in their lives and this is not true. God is always there but he can't help us any more than the amount we allow Him. The nice part is that we don't have to do much more than simply reach out in order to allow Him to help us more. I hope we will all continually reach out a little further for God and His helping hand in our lives. I can promise that He is there because I am a witness of His love and mercy, I am a witness of the literal help that Christ can offer and the true friend that Christ can be to us. 

I love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff 

Covenant Makers are Miracle Chasers

Hey there! Well it has been a fun and busy week as always but I feel that there was a lot of fun and a lot of success this week. We were able to go on exchanges with a companionship in the zone and that was tons of fun and we had some meetings which were pretty fun. But its really weird because i think my sense of fun has changed since i've been on my mission, or at least its been added upon I guess would be a better way of putting it because I still enjoy other things just as much. But the reason I say this is because of a certain experience I had this week while on exchanges with Elder Hartwig. We were getting ready to go and swap back to our normal companions when we saw a lady walking on the sidewalk so we stopped and talked to her and she ended up being pretty interested and said that we could come back. But at this point we are running a little late to meet our companions so we start walking a little bit faster to get back to the car. When we were almost to the car we walked past a guy out on the sidewalk smoking by his apartment and I felt that maybe i should stop and talk but then I thought of how late we were so I kept walking. I once again felt the prompting to go back and talk to him.. once again I said we were too late so we hopped in the car and I felt the prompting yet again, so this time I decided with my spirit instead of my head and I drove by him, rolled down my window and stopped... But what am I supposed to say when I'm in the car stopped in front of this guy? I can't use any of my normal phrases in this moment, so I simply relied on the spirit and told this man that God loves him as well as his family. He then walked over to the window, reached out his hand to shake mine and said "thank you for stopping, that means a lot." But unfortunately we had to go so I gave him our number and got his phone number and apartment number and then told him we would be back soon. So what does this have to do with having fun? well I have found (mostly since my mission) that when I am able to act on the promptings of the spirit and simply do things I have already promised to do (like talk to everyone) then I am filled with a sense of joy that is very similar, if not the same, as the feeling I get when I am having tons of fun. The spirit doesn't always give us gentle taps and spiritual nudges. Sometimes he makes us so excited that we cant deny our faith, he makes us so excited that we want to share the gospel and live a righteous life. But in order to feel the spirit this way we have to be willing to "be strict in the plain road" (2 nephi 4:32). I think that verse is something my mother pointed out to me before but I never really gave it much thought until just this last week when I came across it in my own studies. I think its interesting how we always talk about how simple the Gospel is but we fail to see that simpleness is not thoughtlessness or mindlessness. We must grasp the fact that yes all Lehi said to do is hold onto the iron rod, but he said to hold onto it tightly. Don't let go to meet a friend half way, or to impress a group of your peers. You can't let go of your righteous habits for five minutes while you cheat on a test, or lower your standards just for one day while you're on a school trip and your parents aren't there. This is not the time or place to fear God only when He is scaring you. This IS the time though to Love and Honor God even when we can't see Him standing there. This life is hard. We all know that in one way or another, but when Nephi told God that he wanted to be strict in the plain road he also asked God for something in return. He asked God to shut the gates of hell continually before him. I think to an extent we can ask that same thing from God in return for following Him at all times. We promise every sunday to take upon us the name of  Christ and always remember Him. Now I think we need to ask ourselves more often if what we are doing is helping us remember Christ. We will not fail and Hell cannot conquer if we are built upon that Rock which is faith in Christ. Now are we too far away from that rock to even use it as a support when the winds and storms come? or are we continually holding fast to that rock and preparing ourselves and others for those storms? 
        

I Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff

October 8, 2017

A Week of Inspiration... Or Just 2 Days

General Conference was amazing. Gathering to hear the words of the Prophets and Apostles is always special, but this time for me was especially cool because although I was able to have personal questions answered, most of the time I was able to have others (most of which I am teaching) in mind and try to find answers for them and what I could share with them. Sad to say, many of the people who I am most concerned about are those who have already seen the light and Joy of Christ and His Gospel but they simply dont care anymore or they dont think they are good enough to keep partaking of that joy. But I think those are exactly the people I needed to have on my mind because they are the ones that so many of the talks were directed to. We received so much guidance on how we shouldnt beat ourselves up but we should simply press forward with faith and continually strive to become a little bit better every single day. God does not expect us to either be perfect or get out. This is not a pass or fail test, this is God telling us that if we strive to be better then we win every single time! This is not the work of perfection, this is the work of salvation. None of us are perfect and we never will be during this life, so our focus should be fully on how to gain favor in the Lords sight each day so that we can return to live with Him one day. And as I stated earlier, all that it takes to gain favor in his sight is to simply strive. We strive to be better, we strive to study the scriptures every single day, we strive to serve others as often as we can, and if we do this then we will soon become so caught up in the simple things of the gospel that we can no longer imagine being where we used to be on our path of righteousness.
      During Dallin H. Oaks talk a specific quote kept coming to mind. It is something that Neal A. Maxwell said in his talk "swallowed up in the will of the Father." Here's what he said: "If one minds the things of the flesh, he cannot have the mind of Christ because his thought patterns are far from Jesus, as are the desires or the intents of his heart." Now when he said this he had scripture references with it but i didnt want to type all that up too. But as I was reflecting on this quote I started to wonder how one would come to have the mind of Christ? Or how one would completely forsake minding the things of the flesh? those questions flew around in the back of my mind most of the weekend until I realized that even though that would be amazing to have the mind of Christ and not mind the things of the flesh or the world at all, that is not necessarily what we are meant to have at this time. Once again we are supposed to strive to be better every single day which means our minds will come more in alignment with Christs and we will start to avoid minding the things of the flesh but Christ was the only one who had flawless performance while on this earth and he is the only one who will; but because of that and because He also felt all of the pains and struggles we have He is now able to help us perfectly and support us and teach us and give us divine guidance in accordance with each one of our lives.  My point is not that we cant become perfect so dont even try, my point is that we may not be able to become exactly perfect right now so dont get down on yourself. Our goal is to become OUR BEST, and that is what God intends for us to become through that divine guidance from our personal Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

I hope we can all look through general conference again and gain more hope and confidence in ourselves and then go out and fulfill the call to continually push forward. This life is hard for every single one of us. It may be in different ways but it is still hard all the same and this means that we should never look upon ourselves as better OR worse than any other person that we see, meet, or hear about. 

I love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff

The Light of Christ

Alrighty, so I wanted to share a couple insights from my studies this last week. First thing that i found super interesting is the relationship between Power and the Holy Ghost. I was reading in the section of preach my gospel about "my purpose" and one of the things it was talking about was having power in my work and i had no idea what it was talking about other than simply strengthening my ability to teach by practicing the required skills in preach my gospel. But as I studied the Scriptures that were referenced i started to see that in almost all of them it says something about how they had been given their knowledge or their power through the spirit. This ignited a deep desire within me to have more power, which seems like a dirty thing that only warlords want. But through reading those scriptures that preach my gospel referenced i realized that true power, or true spiritual power i should say, comes through the spirit. Whenever we have the spirit with us we have spiritual power that others can see, so naturally whenever we have the spirit with us stronger we are also carrying with us more spiritual power. So in order to gain more power we now know that we have to have the spirit with us more and we can do that through simply doing the things that prophets and apostles have asked of us, both in the scriptures and in modern days. Now the reason I think this is so important is because I think to some extent we all want people to join us in this wonderful Gospel and feel the Joy that we feel and the way that we will be able to help others more is by growing our light so that they will see something different in us and want to find out what it is. I dont know if that made much sense. I was trying to explain what i found through my studies and im not the best at that. So lets just move on shall we? 
      So this week I have gained a stronger testimony of the light of Christ that can be found in so many people that we pass everyday. just one example of this is some young adults that are all rooming together (theres like 4 of them) in a town home. We ran into these guys a few weeks ago and they were busy and said to come back and then we went back a few days later and they were busy again and said to come back and so at this point i was wondering if they were just trying to get rid of us. But we went back just yesterday and knocked on their door and one of them opened the door and said "oh hey come on in" and so we went in and had a quick conversation before he had to go and then he apologized for cutting it short and told us to swing back by in a few days. I have no doubt that the light of Christ touched that young man yesterday and gave him the desire to invite us in. We also have several other people who arent searching for the truth of the gospel yet but they love having us come by and just talk. I used to think most of those people were lost causes and there was no point in going by, but after realizing that I myself would never accept someone elses gospel until i at least become their friend I started to put more effort into strengthening relationships by bringing in more of the light of Christ and His spirit and not just preaching about it. I have seen even in the last few weeks that people have been more open to us, the members have started caring more about our work, and the investigators have started feeling like they are more than a number. The blessings of the spirit are much more apparent when we feel it, not just hear about it.

Well, I dont have a whole lot more for this week. I have a bad memory when it comes to what has happened.

Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff

Transfer Week

Holy Smokes!
So let me run you through a couple things, first off I stayed in my area and I got a new companion Elder LaPerle from the Seattle area. Now heres what this week looked like at a glance.

     Monday: It was P-day but it was more like "get elder Layton ready to leave day" because I had zero time to even do anything i needed to since Elder Layton told so many people he would do things for them before her left and so i ended up just being the runner for him. And then Monday night we had to make the rounds so that he could say goodbye to people. 
     Tuesday: we had to drop Elder Layton off at the mission home and then for the rest of the day i was in a trio with the elders in the next ward over, that was a blast but we were super busy, we had to help ,ove some sisters from an apartment to a house and then we had to make sure one of the elders i was with had everything packed and ready to go for wednesday and then we had to figure out how to get his bike to transfers. It was crazy.... but not as crazy as wednesday...
      Wednesday: I had to be at our stake center by 9:30 and then once missionaries started coming who were in my zone i had to figure out how to get them and their luggage back to their living quarters, and I dont really know if I could write out everything we had to do during my email time but we were running missionaries and their luggage around from 11am till 9:30pm
      Thursday: we had to go borrow a truck from some other Elders so that we could take 5 bikes around to Elders who they belonged to in our zone, we had to deliver missing wallets, go to a district meeting and then have a bunch of lessons. 
      Friday: we had to go to another district meeting, and then go to a service project, and then we went to a lesson and once we parked our car we sar a couple trying to change their brakes on their car and so i went over and offered them a helping hand and they said they would love it because they couldnt figure out how to make the new brake pads fit. so thanks to Dad i was able to help them out and and then they let us into their home to wash our hands and share a lesson with them.
     Saturday: I cant even remember what we did that morning, but from 3:30 until 8 we had a stake fair where we just wondered around and talked to people and helped out at different booths.
      Sunday: We had church meetings until 4 and then we had dinner and then we had some lessons and talked to some people walking around at an apartment complex. 

So, Im not sure what you got out of that but what my body is telling me is that we were busy and now im tired. But the strength that the Lord gives us is so real. We got to teach seminary this morning and it was tons of fun, we only had the juniors and seniors and we talked about 1 nephi 16 and about how the Lord can give us strength and tell us what to do even in the midst of trials and hardships.  It felt weird teaching the youth who are pretty much the same age as me but it was so cool realizing that when I leave the mission field I will be leaving it in their hands and i feel so confident in that thought. I have no doubt that even those who are just behind me will be able to do things that i never could. I love knowing that we always have a choice to do good or to murmur We were talking in seminary and one of the young women said something like "well its often times a choice to be happy" and then we took that and applied it to the end of verse 20 when it says that they were exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur, so the sorrow came before the murmuring. We cant possibly expect to be happy when we are sorrowful. We all know that those are opposites. So its no wonder that two of the first songs we even learn in the church are about Jesus wanting us to be a sunbeam and turning our frowns upside down because when we are happy then we wont murmur and we will have a clear conscience in order to make important decisions and to get ourselves out of any rut or trial of life. I hope we are all able to smile and look to the lord whenever anything is about to make us sad, because thats when we will feel the very power of God lift us up and guide us along our way. He Loves us, He doesnt want us to look down on ourselves or life, He wants us to be Exceedingly grateful and rejoicing! 

Well thats all i got!
Have fun!!
Love you all.
Love. Elder Cluff 

September 16, 2017

Power in Prayer

This week I learned a lesson that will not easily be forgotten. I'm not sure if I already told all of you that Bryan Borst got baptized on saturday by Elder Layton and then yesterday I had the special opportunity to confirm him. Now, whenever I have given blessings or anything of the sort in the past I have always prayed to be given the words to speak during the blessing and I feel like the spirit has always been there to help my thoughts and words run together beautifully. But saturday night my stomach was bothering me pretty bad and that was all I was able to focus on before I went to bed, so when it came time to say a prayer before I went to bed I made it rather quick and forgot to mention the help I would need the next day to give that blessing to Bryan. The same thing happened the next morning as my stomach was still hurting and I was too selfish to really think about what would be going on later that day. I'm sad to say that I didn't truly realize what I was going to be doing until they announced it in sacrament meeting. At that point it was too late to offer much of a prayer, but I still said a prayer in my heart that even though I neglected the responsibility that I had to prepare through prayer and study, that I would still have the words given to me that I needed to speak. I then confirmed him and blessed him and I did feel that throughout the blessing my thoughts were very jumbled but I still felt the Spirit tell me something like this: "don't worry, I can still work through you to get my message across." This was a special time to me where I felt the atonement of Jesus Christ lift me above my previous selfish behavior. Even though it was a minor wrongdoing which some may say wasn't a wrongdoing at all, I felt as though Christ himself was teaching me the importance of never looking inward even when things hurt and He also taught me that there is power in prayer and that through speaking with my Heavenly Father I could have been more prepared for that sacred blessing. Now, that same day, I gained a testimony yet again of how aware God is of us and our feelings. After Church I talked with my companion about how he prepares for blessings and how he recognizes the spirit as he is giving them. He gave me some advice and then in my own mind I thought "well how will I be able to tell when my blessings are given strictly by the spirit and not my thoughts?" Literally 2 minutes later we ran into a member who was struggling in their life and they asked Elder Layton to give them a blessing. After that blessing I realized that I wanted to prepare now, and everyday, for the next blessing I would give. That night we stopped by a Less Active member who we felt we needed to offer a blessing to. She asked if I could act as voice and so I did and I felt as if the windows of heaven opened up and shouted at me words that I should speak. I have no doubt that this was Heavenly Fathers way of telling me that all I need to do is have faith and simply expect the spirit to tell me what to say as long as I am worthy. I recognized that God loves each one of us and He gives freely opportunities to grow if we search for them. Often times the hardest part of growth is just asking for those opportunities. 

Something else that I realized this week was simply that Satan is trying so hard right now to tear everyone apart. I have never seen so many broken homes and broken families as I have in the last month. I feel like every other house we go to I end up walking out and saying "holy cow, there is so much that is missing and broken in that family, how does that happen?" I have grown to love random people that we run into so much more as I have come to realize that any bad or dark situation they are in is only because they fell into something satan threw their way and now it is my calling to bring them a solution to any and all problems as long as they are willing.  Please don't let Satan get you down or tell you that you aren't worth it. One of his biggest lies is that we, in some way, aren't worth anyone's time, especially God's. Stay strong and recognize that YOU are God's child and He Loves You. 

Well, that's all I got. If it doesn't make sense.... sorry. 

Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff


Sushi and Sin

So, this week was pretty great! Just don't ask me why because i can never remember which stuff i did this week and which stuff i did last week... But one thing i know happened this week was we had a dinner yesterday with the relief society president in our ward and we met her at a restaurant which turned out to be a sushi restaurant!! Well I've only had sushi like twice in my life and it was just a taste i didn't think i liked; so when we got there last night and i saw that it was sushi i figured maybe its not as bad when its made the "right way" (whatever that means), and so i told sister Clancy that i hadn't really had much sushi but i was willing to go for it. She then proceeded to order a massive amount for the 3 of us and i knew after the first bite it was going to be a rough meal to force down. Now here is where the biggest problem came in--she is a super nice lady so she asked me after like two pieces if i was okay with the spice that was on it and if i liked the sushi in general. So I probably shoulda said "you know, i'm not the biggest fan." But of course i didn't say that because i'm a man and i have pride and "i can put it down, i know i can." So i continued to eat and force this stuff down while maintaining a joyful countenance, a quiet laugh/gag, and because we loved it so much she ordered some more against our will. We ate that too and then left and i couldn't stop thinking of that awful taste the rest of the night. So the reason i included this in my email is because as i was thinking about it i saw a relation to our spiritual lives. Often times we make small mistakes in our life that lead us to never want to do it again because of the awful feeling or taste we had... until our friend invites us to try it out again and tells us its super fun/good. At this point we have to make one of the most important decisions to say no right from the first before we even start. Now the reason its so important to say no right away is because if we don't, then we have to go through the humiliation of saying no after we have already said yes or we have to keep on sinning or making the same mistake until we feel that awful sense of regret from letting our pride get the best of us. I don't have any more time to explain but my hope is really that none of us will ever let others talk us into doing those things that we know are wrong!! 

Okay, I gotta go, hopefully it made sense at least a little... bye!

Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff

August 29, 2017

A Week of Miracles

So, let me give you a little rundown of some of what happened this week and then I'll talk about a few of the things.

Monday: Mission wide P-day and watching the Eclipse.
Wednesday: Zone Conference
Friday: Went to a youth conference to bare testimony.
Saturday: Had a lesson at the temple with the Savages and the Borsts. 
Sunday: Some random guy standing outside the church building came in with us to sacrament meeting when we invited him. 


Okay, so the first one I wanted to talk about is Zone Conference. one of the things that stood out to me the most was a quote that was shared which was, "are you just trying to fill your day with activities? Or are you trying to fulfill your day with activities?" I thought this was so neat mostly because I feel like we so often try to just get our day packed enough that we look busy and no one will tell us how to do better. I have definitely done that a lot on my mission, but this quote struck me in the fact that if we are not planning out days and activities in order to fulfill, then our day really isn't being used for what God intended. He didn't give us time just to waste it. My own opinion is that He gave us time in order for us to be able to measure our obedience. Time makes it possible to say, "I'll just do that later" but God has asked us to keep His commandments now and if we do then we will be blessed. 

Next, on Friday afternoon we got a call from president Savage and He asked us if we could switch our appointments around that night in order to be at a youth conference 45 minutes away at 8. We said we would and asked why we were needed. President said he needed us to bare testimony to the youth and help them also see what missions are about a little bit. There ended up not being enough time for both of us, but Elder Layton bore powerful testimony and it was so cool being able to just sit there and see the youth and feel the powerful spirit that they bare even in the midst of trials and afflictions in their lives. 

On saturday we had a lesson at the denver temple with the Borsts. They are a younger couple and she is a member but he is not. The borsts actually gave us a ride to the temple and on the way there they told us that Bryan (the husband) wants to be baptized on the 9th of next month!!!! Needless to say, we were extremely stoked! Especially because we were planning on inviting him to be baptized in the lesson but he came out and just told us before we even got out of the car. We then had a super spiritual lesson with the Savages present as well as two of their daughters. Bryan was one of the last people we would've guessed to want to be baptized when I first got here, but now he is on fire and he comes to church out of his own desire! Its so cool to see the way the gospel changes people, even marriage issues often become much less of an issue as people choose to live the principles of the gospel out of their own desire.

And then sunday was super cool too, we were walking into church and saw a guy just off standing by the curb so we went over and talked to him and invited him in to church and he said that's actually what he was hoping to do because he was baptized 20 years prior and hadn't been to church in 15 years. He sat with us during sacrament and said that he wants to get back into the habit of going to church every sunday. He wasn't able to stay after sacrament meeting but he did love that part. I just think its so cool to see the Lord work His miracles in our lives as long as we are faithful enough to receive them. 

Well, thats all i got for this week. have fun out there! 

Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff

Give Me This Mountain

Hey, so this last week has been fun!! Let me give you a rundown of some of the miracles within my area this week. 

Menga- Menga is someone we found not too long ago and he is on fire! Let me give you an example of how great this guy is. One of our last lessons we had was about the plan of salvation and we talked about how important church is as well. Immediately after the lesson as we were walking back to the bus stop with him, he told Elder Layton and I that he needs to get Sundays off at work so that he can go to church with us. We did not need to ask him to stop working at that workplace or talk to his boss, he simply felt the spirit testify to him that the importance of church is real and it will bless his life. As Missionaries we are the vessel which carries the message but if the spirit is not able to testify because our attitudes don't let him then our message will simply be lost in the cracks of life and forgotten, as missionaries AND latter-day saints we must do all that we can to be worthy of the spirit and his testimony at all times so that when the time comes for us to share whats so precious to us with others then the spirit and his Holy presence will be welcomed and enjoyed by us and those we are talking to. 

Bryan Borst- Bryan is the husband of a returning less active in our ward and we (the missionaries) have been teaching him and her for the last few months, but Gods timing isn't always the same as ours... actually hardly ever is His timing the same... I'm sure that the missionaries have been doing all they possibly could to help Bryan understand the message they were sharing but he just wasn't ever very attentive during the lessons. I experienced this lack of motive on his part the first time i taught them, but in the last week we have talked with them or taught them probably 3-4 times and every single time Bryan has been very awake and alert as well as asking questions which is a massive change for him. The reason i have shared this is because he was the last person when i came here that i would've seen getting baptized any time soon, but now he has gone to church the last two weeks without complaint and he has been asking us lots of questions about what comes with baptism and what he would need to do to prepare. The Lord certainly does work in mysterious ways and He works this way for our good, sometimes i think He chooses to work this way just to show us that He is in charge and He can truly make a way for us to accomplish whatever it is that He would have us do! 

The theme for our mission this year is "give me this mountain". It comes from something Caleb said in  Joshua 14:12 after like 45 years of waiting to gain the land of inheritance that God promised him and his people long ago, but along with gaining this "promised land" there came the task of overthrowing the so called giants that are living there and this is why Caleb says "give me this mountain." He's ready. He says in the verse prior that he's just as strong now as he was 45 years ago and he is ready to take what's his. He's ready to see the hand of God do what God said it would do which is to help them take over their land.  God will work miracles in our lives but we have to be willing to believe and give it all we got. This is no time to relax. Being a missionary you are able to see even more the rapid change in the world and the wickedness thereof. It is not a pretty sight. Even within months i feel like more people have chosen not to believe in God because of things that have happened in their life and they no longer think God cares. This is not the case brothers and sisters! GOD CARES! God cares about each of you. God cares about Jennifer Isaacs whose grandmother died last week and she was able to come to church with us and feel at peace. God cares about my companion who's had more family problems than anyone, yet he stayed out here on his mission and saw the hand of God reach out and bless his family back in canada. God cares about Menga who probably won't see his family for another 3 years because of visa problems but God sent us to tell him that he will be with his family far beyond this life as well and so these 3 years seem just a little shorter to him and he has felt comfort and peace beyond what he thought was possible all because he was open to the comfort of the Holy Ghost. So I hope and pray that none of you ever even have to wonder if God cares about your personal trials and your personal life, because He does. God loves all His children. Never take for granted the things that God gives us in such abundance that its easy to forget and not notice them. If you don't know what i'm talking about then please go watch the mormon message "Earthly father, Heavenly Father". 

I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember how much God has given you and how much He intends to still give you in the future as long as we will remain true to Him and faithful to His commands. 

Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff

Hello

Hey hows it goin? 
Well let me tell you about my week! I don't think I have ever worked so hard on my mission physically. We have been trying to use our time wisely and so whenever we don't have anything going on we just park the car and walk where we need to go and usually we do that from about 12:30 till dinner at 6. It definitely feels good to know that we aren't wasting time in the car, but the coolest part is that often times when we take that step to show the Lord that we are ready to work He starts placing people in our path (literally) that have been prepared to at least hear a few words concerning their spiritual well being. I have loved talking to random people about whatever and then seeing it start to tie into the gospel as we testify and then pretty soon we are teaching the first lesson. God truly qualifies who He calls but we have to still be willing to go to the training camp so that He can qualify us. Our position as saints in the latter-days is not one of relaxation. Do you think a pro boxer became qualified by sitting on his couch eating chips and watching tv? No, he had to go to the gym and train harder then ever in order to qualify for match after match. The same is true for us. We must workout our spiritual strength harder than ever every single day in order to qualify for the match against satan tomorrow. The other thought I had as I was thinking about these daily battles was that winning does not mean we don't get hurt. Satan will get us down on ourselves sometimes by the hurt that he inflicts upon us, but the true battle is found within ourselves in the choice to get back up or not. So the question I now ask myself when i feel like my feet hurt too much to keep walking or when I feel like it would be easier to just drive around to random places is this, "Am I going to be the guy that backs down in the championship fight because the other guy looks tough?" 
      Another great lesson I learned this week is the necessity for fun in our lives. We have got to make sure that we don't let ourselves get so overwhelmed by the stress in the world that we forget to have fun. Fun is what keeps us going. Fun is always what we look forward to so why not have it all the time? Now don't get me wrong-- there is a time and a place to goof off and laugh, but that's not the only way to have fun. Some of my funnest memories from the last while are the meetings that I have been in because the leaders have been so good at making it fun while also inviting and cherishing the spirit. 
        Well there's a little bit from my week! I'm lovin it!
Thanks for all the support!
Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff

What A Week

Well, this week was very eventful. I didn't realize how much running around helping other missionaries we would have to do as Zone Leaders. There's gas receipts to collect, GPS's to take to new Elders and Sisters, meetings to attend, luggage to move around. It was just all sorts of fun that first couple days. But the up side is that when there's so much stuff like that to do it makes me that much more anxious to get out and get to work finding God's children who need us and Him in their lives. It has been a great few days with Elder Layton though. We get along super well and we both have a desire to get out and work super hard! Elder Layton is from Vancouver Canada and he is wrapping up his mission with this transfer. He is one of the strongest missionaries I have met. He lost his Dad very early on in his mission and he has watched many other trials and tribulations come upon his family as he has been out here serving the Lord and he will still bear witness that serving the Lord has brought an abundance of blessings to his family and loved ones. I don't know how he stays so strong and concentrated with so many spiritual storms coming his way. I am truly excited (if that's the right word) to observe his example and hopefully obtain even a sliver of that attribute which he has and uses. 
    Something I studied this week was the different blessings that come from Baptism, Church attendance, scripture study, and many other gospel related actions that we can take. One of the biggest blessings that i have found that is common between all righteous action is the blessing of joy, but the thing that stinks is that joy is not always temporal happiness. Joy often comes through a change of mindset and a change of heart which is always better than a change of circumstances because circumstances although pleasing at the first can become old and stale, whereas a joyful mindset and a joyful heart can guide us and lead us through the most troublesome and the most wonderful circumstances without ever becoming old and unpleasing. This joy that i have mentioned only comes through growing closer to the Savior Jesus Christ, and we find that within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints there is a never ending ability to grow closer to the Savior. There are no dead ends and there are no breaks. We can truly become closer to Christ continually when our hearts and minds are set upon it. 

Well, that's all I've got for this week! Don't forget to grow closer to your brother Jesus Christ continually. 

Love you all!!
Love, Elder Cluff

Full Time Missionary = Full Time Service

So this week was pretty great not gonna lie. We got to talk to some super cool people and we were able to do lots of service on saturday which is mainly what i wanted to talk about. So we were out knocking on a few doors the other day after an appointment fell through and one guy answered, Luke, and said he wasn't interested so we asked him if we could help them with any physical service or anything and he said no, so we wished him a good day and moved on. But 4 or 5 doors down we found someone who was very interested and then as we were walking away from her door we heard someone shout out at us so we turned around and it was Luke, so we asked him what he needed and he said he just didn't want to swallow his pride and ask for help at first but he really does need it. He then continued to ask us if we had any knowledge in construction and if we could help him replace some boards on his deck. I told him i knew enough to replace some boards and we told him we could come back saturday in better clothes and get it done. Well we went back on saturday and found out that Luke has been having really bad vertigo for the past 2 years off and on and so that's why they really needed the help. It was a humbling experience to see someone who was so willing to do the work but was unable to because of unpreventable circumstances, and then to be able to use our own willingness and abilities to help him accomplish something so simple yet so out of reach for this family. Now their little 2 year old girl will not stub her toes because of the rotten boards or fall of the deck because of the missing railing. We also were able to help someone move on saturday as well as play basketball with an investigator whose sleep schedule was all messed up so that he would get worn out and go to sleep earlier so that he could wake up for church. I truly felt that the phrase "more used would i be" from the hymn book was coming true in my life that day. I have been trying so hard to do my part and now the Lord placed those in our path who could truly use a helping hand. This was a great week where i was able to learn the importance of doing all we can even when things are a little rough because just as i shared last month, it is often when things get the hardest that we get to the peak of the mountain and see the amazing view that God has made for us. And i feel like saturday was once again one of my simple mountain peaks that lifted my spirit and made me feel more used in the hands of the Lord. 

I know this was a simple and short email but I am definitely grateful for service and the blessings that come from it! 
I am excited for this next transfer and it will be interesting to be serving in denver. Ill let you know more about it next week. 
I love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff

July 31, 2017

A Mighty Change of Heart

So yesterday I decided that I wanted to study a mighty change of heart because I have felt in the last couple weeks that the missionaries in this area (myself included) may not have their hearts in quite the right place right now and with transfers coming up next week I wanted to find a way to make a difference here with these missionaries before they leave. but then I realized that I don’t even really know what the word "heart" means or refers to in the scriptures, and I can’t give a training on something that I don’t know like the back of my hand. So i decided to go to the index and ask the Book of Mormon what the word means. Once i started to see different prophets using the word in different contexts I began to see a little bit of what my heart truly is and what I need to go through to change it. In the very first scripture that the index ties to the word heart, which is 1 nephi 17:44 it tells us (in my own words) that what’s in our hearts matters a whole lot more than our mindset or our actions, so we have got to keep our hearts clean. We have got to make sure that those deep desires and appetites within us are clean and pure. And then in the next chapter, chapter 18 verses 19 and 20 we can learn that only God can soften or change our hearts. Not even Nephi's wife with all her tears and anguish and her kids with all their tears and begging could soften or change the hearts of Laman and Lemuel, but the power of God could, and it was the only thing that could! God is so loving and kind that if we will even turn to Him just a little then He will help us to have a mighty change of heart. 2 Nephi 4:16 tells us that we should be pondering in our hearts the words of scriptures and modern-day prophets so that we can grow closer to Christ. And in 1 Nephi 22:26 we learn that if we can become righteous enough then satan won’t have any power over our hearts! He can’t touch us and persuade us to do evil!! I think that’s one of the coolest promises. If we will do all we can to further our spirituality and grow in our faith then satan can’t touch us. What more motivation do we need to "do good continually"? but if we do need more motivation then God’s got us covered because in Mosiah 2 verse 41 we learn that if we keep God’s commandments then we will be blessed in ALL things, not just with a better knowledge of the scriptures or a better job, but in ALL things. God is the God of everything so if we want to be blessed with anything (or everything) then we ought to turn to Him a little more and obey His wise counsel found in the words of His prophets. 
    I love this gospel and I love the things we can find in the scriptures. I stink at remembering where i find things and what’s taking place in that time but i never fail to remember the lessons i have learned and the joy that fills my soul in such a way that i cannot deny the divinity of Christ’s Church and Christ’s Gospel. There are many missionaries who are able to read the Book of Mormon, The Bible, and The Living Christ multiple times on their mission which does increase their knowledge immensely. But I am definitely not one of those missionaries. I can’t sit down and read for more than 5 minutes without being lost and not remembering what i just read and so I have found myself on many occasions studying one or two verses for 30 or 40 minutes and it completely satisfies my want/need for more spiritual knowledge. The reason I wanted to share this with you was because too many people get caught up in how much others are studying the scriptures when all we really need to worry about is coming away from those studies with the feeling that we have accomplished what we sat down to do which should always be to grow in our own spirituality, to feel of God’s love for us, and to become aware of something we can do better. Repentance is the biggest message that we carry with us as Christ’s disciples and so we must always remain strong in our own repentance and in changing our own lives to become more aligned with Christ’s life. 

I love you all!

Love, Elder Cluff

July 21, 2017

Hey There!

Well, this last week has been a great time for learning and growth. Now don't start thinking i'm going through a hard time just because i said growth, its actually been a super fun week. We have been having a little bit of a hard time finding more people to teach and at first i was kind of complaining to myself, but then i started to think about all those in the book of mormon who were unable to find willing souls to teach for many years. Then i decided that it's not up to me when i come across those whom the Lord has prepared, but it is up to me to prepare myself so that the Lord can then use me when the time does arise. And this is also what a lot of our zone conference was about this last week. Sister Savage gave a very bold teaching on how our mission's barrier is not found in how hard we work and needing to work harder, but that our barrier is found rather in how hard we are trying to have the spirit with us at all times to truly lead and guide us in our every step and thought throughout the day. Times have changed and these are the last days where we have to try harder than ever in order to help people see the light simply because satan is trying as hard as he can to blind them. This means that I can't just increase my ability to teach lessons in a way that will catch peoples attention. I have to have the spirit there to tell me what to say, not only in the important parts of the lesson, but throughout the whole lesson. I need the spirit to tell me what these people need in their lives. I need the spirit to tell me what blessings Heavenly Father will bestow upon them if they keep our commitments. "You cannot do the Lord's work in the Devil's way."  If we are trying to do what the Lord would have us do then we must do it his way. We can't try to find an easier route. We can't refuse to go to church but then attend the temple on a regular basis because all of our friends are going. In D&C 4 verse 2 it tells us that if we are going to follow and serve God then we need to do it with all that we have. We must show God and ourselves that we are willing to do what is necessary to find ourselves side by side with our brother Jesus Christ one day. 
    Sometimes we would like to think that God is a God of proportions-- meaning that if a trial comes our way then he will have to send the same amount of joy our way because that's just how it works. But i can testify that this is now how it works.... God is a God of love and compassion and mercy, and He will always bless us with much more joy and happiness than trials and afflictions. We just have to be willing to "wait upon the Lord" and bare our "afflictions with patience and long suffering" until the day comes when God sees fit to bless us. I love in 1 Nephi 17 how Nephi and his whole family are going through so many trials and afflictions that they can't even write about it yet they still rejoice in what the Lord has done for them (verse 6), but even after all these hardships and heartaches the Lord doesn't just let them rest and be happy like they've passed some test. The Lord then calls Nephi to go to the top of a mountain where He will be asked by the Lord to build a huge ship that he has no idea how to build. And then after they build a ship they head off to the promised land, but instead of just having a nice easy sail across the ocean Nephi"s brothers decide to tie him to a pole (just like any good brother would do right?) and then when they finally get to the promised land they just start fighting each other with real swords instead of just sticks. Like what the heck Laman and Lemuel? why you gotta be such haters? Anyways, my point by sharing this is that Nephi had to find Joy even during hard times and he had to rejoice in what the Lord had provided because it seems that he wasn't really going to get much rest until he was in heaven. This life is a test where we get to prove ourselves worthy to God and also to ourselves to enter into the kingdom of God. 

Well, that's all i got for ya!! 

Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff

My Testimony

So I figured its been a while since I have really born much of a testimony on here and so I wanted to take a few minutes to do so. I would like to start with a scripture, Matthew 6:24 "no man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other ; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. ye cannot serve God and mammon.". I have been trying to distinguish in my own life when i am serving God and when i am serving mammon so that i can then cut out the times when i am serving mammon, but that is no easy task. I often ask myself "how am I to know which is which?" but God is merciful and He never leaves me hanging. The scripture that always comes to my mind is St John 14:26 which tells us that the Holy Ghost can teach us all things. Now if the Holy Ghost can teach us all things then why doesn't He? Well, its because we need to be worthy, a member of the Godhead can't speak to us when we aren't even trying to get close enough to hear! I know that God wants us to grow and to learn through the guidance of the Holy Ghost, but we must put in our 110% and then God will put in his 110% to help us. Christ tells us in D&C 59:11 that "thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times." This is no standstill, complacent gospel. This is a Gospel that is meant to help us grow and become better through whatever means God would have us use. i love my Heavenly Father because He lets me grow by letting me choose whether or not to follow Him, and I do want to follow Him. The suffering that Jesus Christ went through for us and the love He has for us allows us to become more than we could ever deserve in our own eyes.  D&C 3:10 "But remember, God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandments which i gave you, and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work." When we sin it doesn't mean that we have lost our status in Gods eyes. It simply means we need to quickly repent and return to the commandments which God has given us. I know that the scriptures can teach us more then we can ever take in and that one of the things they can teach us is how to discern between God and mammon. we just have to be willing to search the scriptures and find those simple truths that we need in our lives. 
         We Got to meet President and Sister Savage this week and they seem like they will be an amazing mission President and Wife for these next 3 years. they are great teachers, they are straight forward and they reach out with love to guide and direct us as missionaries. I love seeing the difference between the Mission Presidents and Wives yet they still act through guidance and inspiration from the Holy Ghost. it just goes to show that we are meant to be ourselves with our individual personalities and life experiences. God didn't make us different just to have us be the exact same as someone else. He wants us to be ourselves and to love ourselves.... as long as we are serving Him and loving Him through it all. 
        We also got to go to our 4th of July picnic on Tuesday and its was tons of fun! we played frisbee, basketball, played catch with a football, tossed around a rugby ball.... and had to wear church clothes the whole time! it was great!! No it really was a ton of fun, the only part that wasn't so much fun was we broke a sweat just getting up to go get a piece of pie!
  
Well that's all folks! see ya next time!

Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff

Work is FUNdamental

This week has been a great one for getting out and doing the work, and i have come to find that if you choose to let yourself have fun then everything seems to become much more enjoyable and your mood is always one of joy and gratefulness. I think the biggest thing i learned this week to help me become happier as we are out all day everyday trying to share the gospel with everyone is to take everyday to God and tell him that i will do my best, and then i find that i am much more willing to be happy throughout the day because i know that God has now entrusted me with certain things throughout the day because He knows i have committed myself to Him. I hope that this has made sense so far because I'm not to good with my words and how i explain things. 
    Something that i learned from the scriptures this week was pretty cool and i thought i would share it with you. So I was reading in 1st Nephi 17 and i realized that whenever Laman and Lemuel were murmuring physically they couldn't feel the spirit and the insight from God that comes with the spirit even if they were wanting to have things confirmed by God, but whenever they were willing to go along with the physical demands of their journey without murmuring then they were able to feel the spirit and gain greater light and knowledge according to their faith. I think the relation between our physical bodies and our spirits is one that has to be wholesome and refined in order to receive revelation from God. I feel that whenever i see that i am murmuring and i stop immediately then that is the point where my life starts turning, that is the point where God is up there saying "he finally understands, now i can proclaim him worthy to receive my heavenly blessings." In light of this realization I am now going to strive even harder to take the advice of Nephi and keep the commandments of the Lord without any murmurings. 
   This week has also been a lot of fun just because Elder MacPherson and I have been enjoying ourselves all throughout the day by making the hardest moments into a time to laugh and tell ourselves it doesn't matter. I love the fact that we are able to lay aside any of those hard moments because the Savior has already dealt with them.  The Savior wants to help us, we just have to let Him.
       Well, once again that's about all i got for this week. Hope y'all can go out and have some good spiritual experiences this week and have fun doing it! "Make it personal, because it is." President Mendenhall.... RIP


Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff

July 6, 2017

Change is Good!

I love having things change because it keeps me from getting into these ruts with companions and/or areas. And this last week has given me many chances to make changes and try better. I got a new companion and we moved houses and then we are moving houses again this wednesday because everybody has family coming in and we have to jump around to whoever doesn't have family at the moment... so that's fun! But Elder MacPherson and I have been going nonstop since he got here and we also get along super well. We found a lot of people this week who were willing to hear a few words about Christ and the peace He can bring. 
   One of my favorite things from this week though was something i found in studies yesterday morning in 1 Nephi 16:23 because Nephi says earlier on that his bow broke and his brothers bows lost their spring but that would mean that their arrows are still perfectly fine, so why did Nephi make another arrow? Well this isn't doctrine by any means but I would like to share the thought that I had when I asked myself this question. My first thought was simply that the Lord asks us not just to replace parts of our lives that are broken but to continually upgrade our lives through repentance and continually striving to follow our Savior and his actions. My second thought, which confirmed the first, came when i read verses 30-31. Nephi says that He went to the top of the mountain to find food for his family and I find it to be no coincidence that the top of the mountains are God's temples because in order to enter Gods temples we must be clean and worthy both on the inside and the outside. We cannot just change our appearance (our bows) but keep our habits the same as before (our arrows). It is my hope that I can continue to break my old bows and replace my old arrows so that i may become the person that God would have me be. But it is often easy to want to replace our bows because we want food; the hard part comes when we have to willingly throw away our old arrows and put in the work to make new ones. 
       Man, one of my favorite things these days is when i'm able to find a cool scripture in my studies and then use it somehow throughout the day. I love how much insight is within the scriptures and how applicable every little verse is to our day. All we have to do is be willing to search the scriptures and really think about what they are saying. 
      I apologize for how short my emails always are. i just write whatever i feel i need to express and then i don't worry about writing anymore cause it'll just leave me with more stories to tell when i get home!

Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff  

Wow, That View is Worth 10 Regular Views!

So! good news!!! I'm staying in boulder this transfer! And i've got one of my favorite Elders coming to be my companion! Elder MacPherson!! I'm pretty pumped for this transfer. it'll be fun but there will also be tons of growth and teaching. this area has grown a ton lately when it comes to people to teach and so it's really made this transfer a great one! 
      We found this guy Gary the other day and He is just a super cool guy! We just ran into him on our way to someone else but he was super welcoming and actually invited us into his house for a few minutes. So then we went back a few days later and we taught him the first lesson after he told us about nutrition (which is how we got the return appointment) and how we can help our bodies to clear our minds so that the spirit can talk to us better. It was actually really cool, and then when we talked about the first vision, i told him what Joseph Smith said, and his mouth just dropped wide open. he was so amazed at the story and so we invited him to church and he went to church and now we are meeting with him tomorrow again! So that's just one miraculous thing that happened this week.
    We have also had the opportunity to help out at a local food bank and its always so cool to me to see the other volunteers there who sacrifice portions of their lives to help others, and they aren't on missions so they actually have to take time out of their busy days to go volunteer and they do it for like 4 hours twice a week! It just really opens my eyes to all the good people out there and it has made me want to get to know people better, not just teach them but really get to know them and understand why they do what they do and what brings them comfort in this day and age. Another experience that brought that thought to the forefront of my brain was this guy Jonathan who we ran into a couple weeks ago and he said we were welcome to stop buy and talk anytime if his car was there. so we stopped by on saturday and ended up just talking to him like we were old friends for like 40 minutes. But the really cool part was that as we tried to just befriend this guy the Lord really did intervene and give us the perfect set-ups to talk about the principles of the gospel and i think that this is something that i underestimate a lot because i definitely don't just befriend people that often without the thought in the back of my mind of how i'm going to get this person to investigate the church and go through the steps to be baptized; but when we genuinely care about someone and we just want to help out and be their friend then God sets up the gospel conversations, not us. 

Well Elder Siler and I have a bunch of packing to do and cleaning to do because he has to pack for transfers and we are also moving into a different ward members home on wednesday... so i might have to cut this short, but know that the Lord is on your side! "...when they are spit upon, and made a hiss and a byword, they are standing shoulder to shoulder with the best life this world has ever known." 
"fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever."
     It is my testimony that our Father in Heaven who loves us NEVER abandons us, even when we abandon Him, His arm of mercy is still outstretched ready to receive us once again. Never let yourself think that He is not there because times are hard or because you can't feel his immediate presence. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, so if he didn't abandon our dear prophet Joseph Smith when he was in the lowliest of places (D&C 121-123) then why on earth would our God be abandoning us just because we don't feel his embrace quite as strongly as we did yesterday? God Loves us!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love you all
Love Elder Cluff

June 16, 2017

More Effort=More Blessings

This week I have seen the hand of the Lord so abundantly as I have tried harder to grow my knowledge and use more of my knowledge when talking to others. The biggest thing I was working on was getting more scriptures in my head that I can pull out in lessons so that people are learning from the scriptures, which we know to be the word of God, and not from little old me who may have a tendency to add many unneeded details. As I did this I found so many inspiring verses that I had never really seen before and began to memorize them just well enough to remember the reference and the story line. I began to realize very quickly that the Lord would then bring these scriptures to my remembrance so often throughout the day when it was needed to comfort someone or to take the attention off of my words and show them words of the prophets of old. 
     Our mission put on this mission-wide convert fireside friday night where all 140 missionaries from our mission went, as well as all the recent converts we could round up. This was one of the coolest experiences I've had out here in relation to meetings or events. There were several recent converts that spoke and one of them showed up in jeans and a T-shirt thinking she was going to be standing by a big bonfire talking to a little group of individuals.... so if you ever invite someone to a fireside who hasn't been before make sure you tell them it's not a real fireside!  Another recent convert that spoke talked about how he wasn't really thinking that he wanted to join the church but he didn't want to go against Christ if it really is His Gospel so he prayed and told God that he needed a big answer, something to tell him this is the right path. Well a couple weeks passed and no answer came so he thought it meant that the church wasn't true. He was about to call it quits with the missionaries but on his way home from work he needed to stop by a bank so he found the closest one on his phone and clicked "GO". The only problem was that when his phone said he had arrived he found himself sitting in the parking lot of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints building. This was a pretty funny story and he ended up taking that as part of his answer and kept meeting with the missionaries and then got baptized.
    One of the coolest things for me at this fireside though was hearing/seeing these individuals who have only come to know these truths less than a year ago stand up and testify that this is Christ's Church here on the earth, this is his gospel, the book of mormon is true and it contains the word of God, Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God, and all these other things that one may testify of. But the Testimonies of those who have come to know these truths a little further into their lives than us who were born into it I believe are even more powerful because they could not have gained that testimony any way other than through direct inspiration from the Holy Ghost. I feel some aspects of my testimony come from the teachings of my parents or the conviction of my youth leaders, but this cannot be the case for those who have never heard the pleasing word of the Lord found within the Book of Mormon until now. It is my hope and prayer that we will all search for that confirmation from the spirit that the things we have been taught and are being taught are true. "No one can know of spiritual truths without prayer." -Preach My Gospel pg. 39
      One last thing that I learned while at the fireside. As one of the speakers said, "I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen," I truly felt that the things he had said were something that Christ would have said. I then had to ask myself the question, "when I close something that i say with Christ's name, am i truly saying something that He would say if he were here?" I think this is a question we can all often ask ourselves, and if the answer is no, then simply study the things that Christ has said to us and pattern your words and conversations after His. We should all strive to become as Nephi and Lehi (the ones in helaman) who were given those names to invite them to pattern their lives after their forbears as it says in verses 6 and 7 of helaman 5. For we have truly taken upon us the name of Christ through baptism and now we are continually invited to pattern our lives after His. 

Well that's about all I've got time for, but have a good week everybody!!! "I would desire that ye should consider upon the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God"

Love you all!
  Love, Elder Cluff!

By Small and Simple Means

What a great week it has been in boulder! The first of this week was a ton of fun. We got to talk to tons of people and help lots of people. But it didn't seem to bring much fruits. We were talking to everyone, we were teaching them restored truths, but they just weren't ready to receive yet. Well i learned very early on that this is not unusual and so we kept working harder and harder knowing that there was something that we could improve upon. We found near the end of the week that we had too much unneeded talk when we were teaching and testifying and we weren't extending enough commitments which allow people to choose whether they want this in their life right off the bat. So Friday comes along and we were ready to put all this to use.... but then we had to stay inside and plan for next week for 2 hours which we didn't really want to do at the moment because we were just barely figuring out what we needed to work on and we wanted to work on it! So we did our planning and then we headed out to talk to people, testify, and invite at every opportunity, and that's what we did. But guess what happened.... nothin. That's okay though because just like i talked about last week maybe this was just us getting close to the top of the mountain, and so we got home that night and talked again about what we could do better, but we pretty much kept the same goal for the next day. So we went out again on saturday and we ended up finding 4 new people to teach, and only one of them came from tracting, but all of them came as we were ready to get out and do whatever the Lord would have us do. I think the Lord truly saw our efforts and He placed people who were prepared in our path as He saw our willingness. One of these encounters was very miraculous and happened at just the right time. It was 8 at night and we didn't have enough time or miles to go make any visits so we decided that we were going to need to go knock doors. So we went to a nearby apartment complex and we prayed that our efforts would be consecrated and that we would be able to find someone who needed us. We got out of the car, talked to some lady walking her dog, and then we started walking towards the first building where there was a man outside smoking and talking on the phone. Well its rude to talk to people while they are on the phone so we weren't going to talk to him unless he got off before we got to him, and right before we got to him he saw us and said to whoever he was on the phone with "alright i gotta go, bye." He then turns to us and asks how our missions are going. He's not a member but he's pretty familiar with a lot of religions. He then asked  (after a short conversation about our mission) what we want to do after our missions. Elder Siler said he wants to be a physical therapist and i said i wanted to get into woodworking. He then asked if we had a few minutes, took us inside and showed us some things he made from wood. But we didn't talk about that for more than a few seconds before he asked, "So what do you guys have for me? what can you offer me? I just feel lost and i want my family to feel like a family and i want to have a church where i can talk to other people about what's going on in my life and know that i can trust them." We continued to talk to him for another 20 minutes about the restoration and the organization of the church and how families are so central to God's plan and that we have great people in our congregation who would love to meet him. And then we promised him, we said. "Justin, we can promise you in the name of Jesus Christ that you can find true happiness and Joy as you learn about this gospel." He started to cry and he said we could come back on tuesday and he would make us dinner. We told him we would be there and we would bring another member with us as well. Before we left he shook our hands and then he hugged us and said, "I can feel how much you two and God love me just from you talking to me." Needless to say this was a rare yet very spiritual and miraculous experience. We walked away from that apartment with a new view of our heavenly father's love for his children.... ALL his children. 

This week I started trying to memorize more scriptures and one of them i decided to memorize sunday morning was Mosiah 4:12 which says "and behold, i say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of Him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true."  And then during church while i was listening to the testimonies being born i realized just how appropriate that verse was for a sunday. I was like King Benjamin's people and those at the pulpit were teaching me and testifying to me of things that i could do to obtain the things spoken of in that verse. I thought that it was just so neat to see how the verse i picked that morning turned out to be more than just a random highlighted verse in my scriptures to help me work on my memorizing skills. It turned out to be something i could learn from as i repeated it in my head all throughout the day. Anything that is good comes from the Lord. Sometimes we can see that very directly happening in our lives, or sometimes it is something that we will never realize came from the Lord, but as we look for those ways that things come from the Lord we will notice them and we are then given the choice to follow their pattern and become better. 

One more thing before i end this. I just gotta say, we are living with the coolest old man ever right now. It's Brother Anderson. He's 86, his wife died 8 years ago, and he has the best memory of his whole life so he is always telling us stories from his life and sharing words of wisdom with us. I feel like he's just another grandpa and whenever we get home at night i go into the living room where he's sitting on a recliner and i sit down on the couch and talk to him about his life for like 20-40 minutes and we just talk like were old friends... but he's the only old one. And he also cooks us breakfast on mondays! 

Well, that's all i got!

Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff