Pages

November 30, 2017

What a Great Week

This week had a lot of planning involved for next week. We decided that we are going to go to 16th st mall with all the missionaries in the stake as well as all the youth we can gather on the 2nd and do some caroling and hand out light the world cards, so we decided that we would meet at our building downtown at 5 and go from there... Being young and just out of high school we figured that's all it would take, but then the questions started flooding in: "what about the city, are they okay with that big of a group at 16th street?" "Our ward mission leader wants to hear from the stake presidency that this is approved." "People are upset that this is last minute." and "How are we going to get there from the grant building (our downtown building)?" And these are all wonderful questions. I just didn't know that they were going to pop up so we have had a lot of calls and preparations to make this last week. But its been tons of fun. We've been able to continue on with our plans and make the arrangements necessary to make this now called "event" happen. 
    Thanksgiving this week was a much needed day for many missionaries. We were able to spend a little bit more time around members and talk to them about the building of the ward and how we can be of the most help and support. One of the coolest things to see this time of year is the praise and thanks that people give to God that they normally would not give... as if God is only watching and helping us this time of year.  And the goal as missionaries is to help people see that this is a feeling of peace and hope that they can feel all year round for the rest of their lives. Christ can be a part of us all the time no matter where we are and that is one of the biggest blessings to have. I hope that all of us can see how to be more spiritual throughout this season but then to also see how to become more spiritual once this season passes. 
     We had a pretty fun dinner last night where the member we were going to eat with invited 3 of our investigators as well and I don't know that I've been to such a lively dinner before. Everyone was talking, investigators were sharing past life stories, we shared a message, the food was great, the member asked a question that led to our investigator keith talking about when he attempted suicide and then he changed his life after that and now his main goal is to love and serve God. There were just a lot of interesting stories shared at that table last night. But the cool part was that because we were in a Christ centered home the spirit took over even in the hearts and minds of the investigators. There were such tender moments when people would all of the sudden notice what they were feeling to be the spirit and they would express their desire to feel that more often! I love being able to be a part of so many different peoples lives while they make these critical decisions in their lives to follow Christ and give up portions of their worldly habits to give place for holy habits and righteous routines. 

I know that Christ is at the head of everything we do as long as we are listening to the spirit. The spirit will not lead us astray. I love you all so much and I pray that you may stay strong through anything that may be thrown your way.

Love, Elder Cluff

It's a Great Day to be Alive

I love being able to serve right now as a missionary and especially under the direction of President Savage and Sister Savage. I feel that they are trying to prepare us for when we get home way more than they are trying to prepare us for right now. I have felt a sincere desire from them to bless our entire lives not just our missions. And right now it is so much fun to serve because God is trying extra hard to sharpen His tools (us) and give them every possible aid to push the work along. Light the World is coming up soon and we will all be able to participate in spreading the light of Christ that way. The biggest goal for us as missionaries is to get people to go watch the video on mormon.org on their own devices so that they know somewhere to go where they can get true and unchanging truths about the Gospel and Church of Jesus Christ.   
       Something cool that happened this week was the young single adult face to face last night. I thought something that they said was really neat. I can't remember who said this but they said "I will not let my sexuality interfere with my spirituality." now before you judge my email and stop reading because I said the word sexuality, think about replacing that word with any portion of your life that could possibly compete with your spirituality. This is something that will be different for everyone. There was a time in my life where I had to decide that my recreational activities would not interfere with my spirituality. There have been times on the mission where i have had to make sure that my natural man and tired body didn't interfere with my spirituality. Whatever it may been that is getting in the way for us, we need to make sure that we make that decision to choose spirituality first. This does not mean we must forsake and abandon our entire lives, that is not at all what I am saying. We need to be proud of what we do and share it with others, but we also need to make sure that our own choices and ways of living do not interfere with how deeply the spirit can touch us and trust us. 

Honestly I don't have a ton to say this week. I'm just not really coming up with much in my head. Hopefully even though it was short you will still be able to find Joy in the Spirit this week as you reflect upon what may be keeping you from feeling the spirit more. 

Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff

November 14, 2017

A Fun Filled Week

So this week we were able to go on some exchanges which were fun and we were able to do some fun service projects as well as we were able to teach a bunch of lessons and meet a lot of people!! It was a grand time. But the best part was that we had a zone conference with Elder Wilford Andersen and his wife. I felt the true inspiration that he brought to our mission and I felt that he had truly searched out to find out what we needed to hear. One of my favorite things that he told us was something like, "Do not soft pedal the truths of the Gospel. You are on solid ground when you teach truth." And for me I know that simple phrase changed my mindset when I teach. I now sense the importance of telling people things as they really are. President Savage says something similar a lot. He says, "We can't do the Lord's work in the Devils way," meaning that we can't coerce people into doing what we want. We cannot use our own charisma to bring to pass salvation in others lives or our own. We cannot begin to bribe or cheat or lie our way through sharing the gospel. The only way that God intends for us to spread His Gospel is by sharing it, but we have to share it plainly without sugarcoating. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is already enough, is it not? In 3 Nephi 27 Christ states a couple times that He has given us His gospel, and I wrote next to that "so go and do!" because I think we over complicate things so often and it makes us look down upon ourselves when that is not necessary. God just wants us to try harder today than yesterday. He wants us to live righteously and do our best. It sounds so easy when we just say it but then we go out and put it to the test and all the sudden we find ourselves over complicating things again. Here is an example from this week. We had an investigator who started going to a food bank to get food and the food bank that he chose is where we do service once a week with the missionaries in the next ward over. And at service last week after we left, the other missionaries talked to our investigator and committed him to go to church and have a lesson with them. Now they had no idea that he was our investigator or that he didn't live in their area so i don't blame them at all. He ended up going to church with them and then having a lesson with them right after church which is when they found out that he was our investigator. The church meetings and lesson went great and now they had a choice to make. The other missionaries could either make it a huge deal and think that they now have to keep teaching him and do a pass-off lesson and whatnot, and maybe even call president and ask him what they should do... or they could simply let us know and then we could just tell Keith (the investigator) that there was a mistake and that we would continue to teach him because we are literally the same church.  Now I won't say which one the missionaries did but that is just the only example I could think of without embarrassing myself because I am one of the worst at over complicating things sometimes. I'm not sure how applicable you can make this in your own everyday lives. For all I know I might be the only one who finds myself over complicating things a lot but I'm sure the Holy Ghost can tell you something cool while you read this either way. 

I hope you all have a fantastic week! 
I love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff 

November 10, 2017

Learning to Live After the Manner of Happiness

I feel like the last few months i have been telling myself week to week that the next week will be less busy with less meetings and I will be able to get out and do more stuff in our area, but i have come to realize that the thought of being less busy next week is indeed false. Something President said about 6 weeks ago has started to ring very true in my mind. He talked about how busy things are getting and how we are starting to ask more of the missionaries which means that we will have to start using our time more efficiently. For example, when the previous normal amount of finding hours in a week was around 40 or so, we will now be down around 20 and we will still be finding the same amount of people because we will rely on the spirit more and put more effort into sharpening our skills so that the spirit can use us better. Now I was not writing this to show you how busy we are, but rather to show you that maybe being busy isn't a bad thing. We simply have to use what little time we do have more wisely and efficiently. I never understood before now the rush that Dad always had when working and getting a job done when the only thing he had to look forward to was another job after that. This mindset that my father has is not something that I could understand until I understood the purpose of this life, Alma 34:32 states, "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors."
After reading this scripture and pondering it for the last year in the back of my mind I realized that the mindset my Dad has is one of Christlike willingness to work. There have been several times this week where I thought we were going to be way too busy to get everything done that we needed to, but without fail God always made a way as long as we were willing to put in the work that He expected of us. We had our stake conference on sunday and something that President Krumholz (our stake president) said really caught my attention. He asked us if we are only being obedient to be obedient? or if our obedience comes from willingness and a love for God? This made me think a whole lot harder about my own spiritual journey and where I am at. I think that for the most part all of the people I teach are more willing at times to be obedient than I am because this is new to them and they have to truly choose to take this obedience into their hearts, but for me I feel like a lot of the time I am just being obedient because I have been told that it will bring blessings. But after yesterday I believe my desire to be obedient has already changed. I want to be obedient because I love my God. I love this Gospel and what it brings to my life even when life is hard and I know that God is always there. God does not leave us behind. That is the entire reason why He sent his son... John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Please, take your leap of faith and believe on Him!!

We have had tons of people lately who have been willing to meet and talk to us but they just don't want to know for themselves. They think our testimonies are great and they love going to their church but they do not care to grow closer to Christ if it feels uncomfortable to take the next step. I would plead with you to not fall into this trap that satan has created of comfort and ease. As my brother David would always say, "This Gospel is a Gospel of transformation," which means that we continually grow closer to Christ. Some of the people that I was talking about are members of our faith but instead of continually growing closer to their Savior they begin to relax and think that they are at a good place to rest for a while. This is the opposite of the mindset that my Dad has. I am convinced that my dad will never stop laboring with his hands and his spirit, even until the day that he dies. I hope to obtain the same mindset as him so that I will never stop growing physically and spiritually just as my dad has never stopped. I am so grateful for the example that I have had from immediate family members as well as so many others that have played a part in my life. If you do not feel that you have an example to look towards then take king Benjamin's invitation from Mosiah 2:41 and look around at those who are keeping the commandments and you will see that they are the happiest and most joyful, and then simply follow their examples even if you are doing it from afar at first. You will notice a change in your life and you will notice a change in the lives of those with whom you associate. 

God loves you and so do I

Love, Elder Cluff 

October 31, 2017

A Gift From Heaven

I loved Elder Hollands talk in conference where he states that "our only hope for true perfection is in receiving it as a gift from heaven- we cannot earn it." This quote has given me much food for thought and as i have thought about it I have started to reflect on gifts that I got as a child. I started to think about how when I wanted a gift from my parents I would oh so sneakily say something like, "Mom, doesn't that bike look really cool?" because then obviously she would now want to have the bike just as badly, and I'll tell you what, it worked almost every time... as long as I had enough money to pay for it. But that's obviously not what the word "gift" means right? So what about the times where I got a true gift from my parents? These things were always very special to me. That is one definition of my own for the word gift. Looking back though, i feel like I kind of earned those gifts. I mean i was a good kid, i did my chores almost half the time and i tried to do the dishes without complaining more than ten times, so didn't I deserve that new set of pajamas on Christmas eve? NO, not at all. Sure I might have tried harder to be good the last 3 days before Christmas but in no way did I really deserve to get more than what my parents were already giving me. God has given us our entire lives and everything that we do in our lives and we think that after all of that, that maybe we deserve a gift, an increase, something more because we are now bored of last years gifts. That is not how this works. Until now I honestly kinda had it in my head that I did deserve those gifts because I was a semi good kid and my parents were my parents. But in reality, I never did deserve more than they already gave me. I probably didn't even deserve that! But everything that my parents gave me was truly out of a profound love that they had for me, and all my Mom and Dad asked me to do was small insignificant tasks that would show and build my love for them. This is all that our Father in heaven asks for as well. He asks that we show our love for Him and His Son by keeping His holy commandments (see john 15:15). God will give us gifts more abundantly the more we serve and love Him but His gifts are still given through His perfect love for us, His children. I hope that i may love and serve God with all my heart, not so that I can earn His gifts, but so that I may become more worthy of them. I love my Father in Heaven and I love Jesus Christ. "Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and my friend, is He yours?" 

I love you all and I love this work!
Love, Elder Cluff

October 24, 2017

Transfer Week

So first off, I am staying in my area with the same companion which hasn't happened since my first area haha so I'm pretty excited! The biggest goal for this next transfer is really getting on top of all the assignments that have been given to us and then on top of that we have been promised that if we work harder and longer than the rest of the zone then we will find so much fruit that we cannot even handle the teaching load. But as for things that have happened this week, we have had a lot of fun with the zone while getting ready for and organizing transfers. For the most part our zone stayed the same and we are super happy with that. We only have one new missionary here this transfer and his trainer is one of the best missionaries. I love being able to see new missionaries and remember the way I felt when I first got here and know that they are feeling very similar. It has been one of the coolest experiences to see how much greater the faith of new missionaries is than even the faith of some who have been out here the longest. These Elders and Sisters have come out on fire and they are just full to the brim with faith filled courage. I hope that I can learn from them rather than dampen their excitement and faith by telling them about the worldly things rather than what Christ can do. 
    This week we had a lot of time spent doing needed service for the zone like picking up bikes and luggage, moving around cars, getting lost bags where they need to be, getting missionaries to interviews, and many other various activities that took time away from us being out with the people who we need to talk to, and so Elder LaPerle and I made the goal this week to simply be out more and put off the mindset of "well [insert name of Elders] need us to use the truck to move their bikes to another companionship so we better do that now because we are just walking around right now." Because really when we are out even just walking around a park or knocking on doors, there's a better chance that we will fulfill our missionary purpose doing that than driving around. 
     On Saturday night we had a "Zone Leader Sleepover" at the Savages house and it was a ton of fun but it was also just a super spiritual meeting and we were able to talk about how to uplift the mission. President had us read a few things from the Mission Presidents Handbook which was also really cool because we got to see some of what the first presidency has in mind for us. The coolest part about this weekend though was that we just felt like we were on a spiritual high the entire time. We had that meeting saturday night and then we had magnificent church meetings with great lessons and then we went to the same fireside as last sunday but this sunday it was in the north half of the mission and there were different speakers and what not, and so it was all around just a wonderful weekend filled with the spirit and I know that other people were touched as well through that same converting spirit. 
   My favorite quote from conference is "look beyond what you see" because I think that is something we have to do often, just like the blind man who Christ healed. He wasn't able to see anything at all but when he looked beyond what he could physically see it was then apparent to him how much faith he had in Christ, and that Christ the son of God could heal him of any physical ailment. I hope to be able to do the same and look beyond my physical weakness to reveal to myself the spiritual strength I have and then to also be able to look beyond others outward appearances so that I may be the means by which they can be blessed by Heavenly Father. Please take a look at your life today and then take a look deeper into your life beyond what you can see and find the blessings that God has given you and the beauty that each and every one of you have in your hearts and in your spirits. 

I love you all!!
Love, Elder Cluff 

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