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May 25, 2017

Stake Conference Weekend

So we had a ton of great stuff happen this week but the biggest thing i wanted to talk about is the stake conference we just had. There was so much insight and inspiration given. 
First for the Adult session on saturday night, I can't remember her name but the first speaker  said something that i thought was very insightful. I can't remember the exact way that she put it but she said something about how the Savior doesn't only know us perfectly but he knows those whom we are trying to love, teach, befriend, tolerate, or whatever it may be. And if the Savior knows them perfectly as well then we should always turn to Him for guidance on how to better love others. 
    Another speaker, Sister Carlston, talked about youth a lot, but then she talked about missionary work and how we have to befriend people before we can truly share much of the gospel with them and once we have befriended someone we no longer need to tell them to go to church on sunday but we should invite them to join us in our church worship. the scriptures teach us that love will overcome or conquer fear, so if that is true then once we can come to love those around us then the fear of invitation can quickly become absent and we will be able to bring others closer to their Savior Jesus Christ! "Live your life so that those who don't know Him will want to know Him because they know you." 
      Sister Mendenhall's talk was centered around a story when she was younger when she and her cousin woke up too early easter morning and found that the easter bunny had not come yet. They ran to their parents room and told them about the devastating news. Her mom quickly woke up, threw off the covers and said "quick, go back to bed, He will come!" She then based her talk off of those three profound words, He will come. How often do we get depressed or confused in life and forget to remind ourselves that Christ will come? We are not alone, we are preparing the way for the Son of God to return to this earth and the adversary is working just as hard to ruin the work that we are so anxiously engaged in. This is not an easy task, how could it be? We must remind ourselves often that He will come! And we must become ready now to greet Him when He does come because no man or angel knows when that time will be. 
      Elder Rawson also came to stake conference and he gave a wonderful talk and gave us a very introspective question to ask ourselves often. It was, "Can i be trusted with revelation?" He talked about how we often try to figure out how to receive more revelation in our lives and how to find the answers we are searching for through revelation, but how often do we think about the position we are putting God in when we ask and seek for revelation in our lives? Can He trust us with the sacred knowledge we are asking for? 
      Okay i don't have too much more time but let me just put a couple quotes in here from the session on sunday.
   "Nothing would be worth destroying the protection and Joy that comes from regular temple attendance." 
    "Whatever we have to do to become/stay worthy to attend the temple and serve a mission is worth it."
   "He won't take away the burden or make it lighter, but He will strengthen us."
    "We have no idea, we don't even grasp the blessings and power and strength that is available when we attend the Temple on a frequent and consistent basis."
    "Just as we cannot catch up on meals after not eating for 6 days, we cannot wait till sunday to feed our spirits."
   
Well, that's about all i got folks! Thanks for reading! Bye!
Love you all!!!
Love,Elder Cluff

Happiness and Hard Work

Hey Everybody!!! 

This week i have truly seen the correlation between happiness and hard work. It's hard to work very hard if you aren't happy, but it's also hard to be truly happy if you aren't really doing anything. Elder Fonger and I have done tons of service and we have talked to so many people and we have been happy and enjoying ourselves through it all. I have found that when i am only focused on how i can get these people to take a Book of Mormon and let us come back then i'm not very happy while i'm doing it, but when i talk to these people like they're my best friend right when i open my mouth and i just talk to them about how much i love Jesus, then it almost always leads to good feelings in the conversation and good feelings towards the church. It also leads to me wanting to talk to more and more people. I'm not sure if that came out at all like i wanted it to but one point i wanted to get across with this is that the Lord blesses us with Joy when we choose to be happy, I can't even begin to tell you how blessed i feel as i choose to be happy and as i choose to not let things get to me. I hope that you can all feel the blessings from heaven falling upon you as you choose to become the person you want to be.... 

Okay, now for something a little less confusing. I wanted to talk a little bit about the peace of God. Jesus taught us in john 14:27 that His peace is greater than the peace that anything on earth can give when He said "peace i leave with you, my peace i give unto you: Not as the world giveth, give i unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.". Isn't that something we would all love? to not let our hearts be troubled or afraid? This is something that is possible through searching out Christ and coming closer to Him. The peace of God is something that all of us can have if we would just choose to ask for it and then do all we can to obtain it. I have learned a lot lately about our choices and how much they affect our lives and especially our happiness (as stated before). We cannot just pray and ask God to make us happier or give us peace if we are choosing to be angry and uptight about all that comes our way; but if we can strive every day to choose to be peaceful and to choose to search out peaceful things then God can and will consecrate our efforts and He will bless us with way more peace than we could ever obtain on  our own. it is my hope and my prayer that we may all turn to our savior Jesus Christ and give all our worries and fears to him so that in return He may grant us our hopes and dreams! 

I know my email was short this week but i just didn't feel that much else needed to be said. I hope you all have a wonderful week and i will try to write a less confusing and jumbled email next week.. 

Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff 

A Week to Remember

What a week!! 
So first off, i am not getting transferred but Elder Olsen is. I will be getting Elder Fonger as my new companion! I don't really know who that is but i'm excited to find out! 
        But as for the rest of this week, it was filled with tons of great things both spiritual and less spiritual... We had some amazing lessons in the YSA. We had an investigator show up drunk to FHE last monday; we had a guy slam his door so hard that his tin roof shook, as well as the rest of his house i think haha; and we had some miracles happen in the lives of our investigators this week!
     lets start with the miracles. forgive me if i repeat anything because i have no idea what i have said in the past... But a couple weeks ago Corina (a YSA investigator) told us that she wasn't sure about baptism yet and she wanted to hold off on setting a day. We met with her several times since and she has been progressing a ton this last week. But the miracle came when we met with her on saturday. We were just talking about how her Book of Mormon reading was going and she said it was going good, but then she all of the sudden got really excited and said "guys something crazy happened this week." So we asked what it was and she went on to tell us that after our last visit with her she decided to take everything to God and so she did and she told Him that she knows this gospel is true but she was gonna need Him to help her disconnect from flatirons (a big church out here), especially her women's group. And less than 24 hours after her prayer she said she got an email from the leader of the women's group that said she couldn't do it anymore because she wanted to spend more time with her kids and so the women's group just ended right there. God is so willing to help us in any way He can if we have a true desire to follow Him! He may not have needed to completely take away that women's group to help Corina make the decision to be baptized, but sometimes God gives us a little jump-start on our path. We just have to make sure that we never miss those jump-starts by saying that it was done by man and not by God. Heavenly Father is at the head of anything and everything that is good which means we can rest assured that if something is pushing us towards becoming something or someone better then it is surely from God!! Don't waste time doubting what you have already learned to be true, or searching for happiness you have already found. 
      I think one of the things i love most about serving a mission is that you get to see very early on in life how the gospel and the scriptures can be our source of guidance through anything. just from studying the scriptures and growing closer to my savior i am able to help and guide those who don't even know who God is to have an unshakable faith in him, or share a scripture with the mother who doesn't know what to do with her wayward daughter, or testify to the homeless of God's plan for all of us, or uncover feelings of love in a contentious home. These things come from Christ and from the spirit. Though i may be the vessel in which a message is carried, i am far from being the one from whom it comes. I love being able to see this gospel change lives for the better. I found a cool quote tucked away somewhere in my scriptures today and there was a particular part that stuck out to me. It said "the purpose of the gospel is to transform common creatures into celestial citizens, and that requires change." Some of us are farther along this path than others but the important thing to measure and question ourselves on often is, "how am i changing?" and there's many ways to apply this question. Am i changing for good or for bad? Am i changing a lot or a little? Or am i changing at all? All of these things are questions we should continuously ask our selves so that we can make sure we are still on the path to becoming a celestial citizen. 

Well that's all i got this week, i can't write too much cause i need something to talk about on Mothers day with the Fam. No, i actually just forgot to write stuff down that i wanted to talk about and now i'm just drawing blanks...

Love you all
Love, Elder Cluff

May 6, 2017

A Long Week With A Great Reward

The weeks where P-day isn't till Wednesday always seem super long, but its always more than worth it when we get to go to the temple Wednesday morning. we had to wake up at 5:30 this morning to get to the temple by 7 and i feel like that's the most awake I've felt on my mission right after i wake up because i was just so excited to go to the temple! I love doing the Lords work and then being able to go to the Lords house on occasion to feel even more in depth the Love that He has for all His children. 
       I can't believe this transfer will be over in a week. I have learned so much and have grown so much in the last 6 weeks which has made it go by even faster. One of the things that i have learned this transfer and more specifically in the last week is that there really is no such thing as one right way to do missionary work. Of course we are to follow the counsel and guidance given to us by God's servants whom He has told to direct us but beyond that there are our personalities and our quirks that make us more useful in the Lords hands with certain individuals, and even more important than those things is our individual testimonies. I have truly seen the Lords hand pushing me in certain directions this week because He knew that I was the only one at that moment who could touch certain peoples lives... I'm not sure if that made sense so let me share an example. We were teaching a YSA investigator last week and she was talking about how all the small changes that come from changing religions is what's going to be the hardest for her. When she told us that, i knew that i had a testimony/experience that she needed to hear. I told her about how when i came out on my mission i had been preparing for it my whole life and so the huge decision of coming on a mission for two years wasn't the hard part for me. The thing i found to be one of the hardest transitions was leaving my mom who knows the scriptures and the doctrines they contain like the back of her hand and could always tell me where to study or what to say in a talk or what advice to give others who are struggling. All i do out here is talk to people about God and Jesus Christ and how they can grow their faith. I would love to be able to just call my mom or go back home at night and ask her how i can help them, but i can't, and so I'm left lost unless i turn to the Savior. Now this wasn't a huge miraculous experience but i believe it was something that Corina needed to hear that day. We just taught her again yesterday and she told us that she does in fact believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God and that she has felt many times in the last week that God has been telling her she's ready for the next step which is baptism. There were many many things that prepared her to receive that answer and my small experience and testimony definitely wasn't a make it or break it kind of moment but i do believe that the small things we have to share are what makes the Gospel and its teachings more personal to those around us. I am so very grateful for the little things in my life that have impacted me which i am able to share with others so that they can know that i don't just talk about this Gospel but i live this Gospel. We can't just talk about the Savior, we have to follow Him!! 
       Its interesting the way we feel when we obey the promptings of the spirit vs when we do not obey the promptings of the spirit. i think these feelings alone may be the extent of the consequences we receive at times. Once we have felt the joy and the peace that comes from obedience to the Holy Ghost, then the pain that comes from disobedience is more than enough to redirect our course back to obedience, but the slippery slope within this thought comes when we become careless with those feelings of regret and unease that come after disobedience. If we reason within ourselves and let our natural man tell us that those feelings weren't from the spirit, or that they weren't strong enough to mean that we messed up that bad, then we will continue to do this until we no longer remember what it felt like to be obedient which will result in finding ourselves at the bottom of that slippery slope not knowing how to return to the top where obedience, love, and peace lie waiting for us. But when we feel those pains of disobedience and we immediately redirect our course, then we will find ourselves farther and farther from that slippery slope until it is no longer in our sight. 

Well, that's all i really got this week. 

Love you all! 
Love, Elder Cluff

May 5, 2017

Tender Mercies of Obedience

So the last couple weeks Elder Olsen and I have been trying to look for any lack of obedience in our missionary work and we could definitely see the Lords hand outstretched to us this week giving us success. The biggest blessing that happened this week is that we were able to find a family to teach. As wonderful as it is bringing souls unto Christ one by one, it just feels good when you are able to teach a family how this gospel can bless and strengthen them as they learn together. We had talked to the Mother of this family once before but she told us to come back another time, so we went back a few days later and she told us they were really busy with house cleaning and so we told her we could help clean-- we could vacuum, we could sweep, we can move stuff, we can wipe stuff down, whatever she needs, and after like 5 minutes of hesitation because she was embarrassed of her dirty house she finally let us in and told us we could vacuum the upstairs. We vacuumed and then asked if we could sit down with the family and share a message and she said we could so we sat down with her, her two boys, and the grandma and taught them about the restoration of the gospel and they seemed like they were actually semi interested in what we had to say haha. we told them that we can come back this week and help them some more with the house and she said she feels bad having us clean but she needs the help so she accepted and said we could teach some more after we clean... Hopefully they open up to us again! 
       Another wonderful experience from this week was when we were reading the book of mormon with a less active family and at the end their 9 year old son said the prayer and in his prayer he said "thank you for blessing the family." I'm sure this was just a misuse of words as he was referring to his own family but it stood out to me as something more meaningful than that. As he said "the family" instead of "my family" i thought about how God has blessed THE family, not just the families within the gospel or the families that are living righteously but anyone that is part of a family (which is everyone in one way or another) can know that they are part of something beautiful that God has set up for us. 
       We had some wonderful talks in our YSA sacrament meeting yesterday, but one of them started their talk with a beautiful statement that i think applies to much of life. She said "i hope you can still feel the spirit of my words even if the delivery is shaky." I thought this was very neat because often times i think we feel as if we aren't quite good enough to do what the Lord would have us do. We think that we aren't too good with words, we can't phrase things the way they are in our heads, or we aren't smart enough, but none of these things matter if we can truly understand how the Lord works through us to make his plans work. We need to know that if the Lord has called us to do something then He will make a way. (1 NE 3:7) Most of the time that path that he makes for us is rocky, its not easy... its shaky. But we must remain faithful that the Lord knows what's happening and he won't give us more then we can handle (1 COR 10:13). If we will try our best then the Lord will work through us and whatever it is that He is trying to accomplish will surely happen. 

Alrighty, now for some of the funny things that happened this week. We went to this apartment complex early last week to try and find some YSA investigators because our zone leaders said it was a YSA goldmine, so we went there when we had a few minutes in-between appointments. We ran into these two cousins who let us in and we ended up talking to them for about 30 minutes and found out that one of them actually took some missionary lessons a while back and asked us if we still have game night on mondays because he wants to come to those, but the other one, Jeff, didn't really know anything about us and was just talking to us a lot about faith and how its helped him through a lot of hard times lately. Then he was telling us about how his aunt was mad at him and they haven't been getting along lately and then he said "and my dead cat is still in the freezer" which didn't go with what he was talking about at all! Apparently he didn't have enough money to cremate his cat so he had to put it in the freezer till saturday when he would get paid. so we set up a return appointment for saturday and then he called about an hour before our appointment on saturday and told us he might not be home because... "i gotta buy some groceries, cremate the cat, and just a bunch of stuff like that today." Oh my goodness, once we got off the phone we just started dying because nobody puts groceries and cremating their cat in the same sentence! 
    Well, that was kinda what my week looked like! Lots of weird people this week, but just as many wonderful people looking for the right path which is found within the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Hope this email had something in it that the spirit can touch your heart and mind through. 

Love, Elder Cluff