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June 16, 2017

More Effort=More Blessings

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

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

Love you all!
  Love, Elder Cluff!

By Small and Simple Means

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

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

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

Well, that's all i got!

Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff

"I Like That Boulder, That Is A Nice Boulder"

Hey Everybody!!!
So on tuesday of last week i got a call from my mission president and he asked if i would go to boulder (louisville ward)  the next day because neither one of the elders up there have driving privileges and they needed someone there who could drive so i packed up and moved up to boulder 24 hours later. Now before i jump into what else has happened with this transfer let me share a different part of me week.
   So yesterday for p-day we went and hiked the green mountain trail and we drove up pretty far so that we only had to hike about a mile and a half to the top and climb 1,600 feet during the hike. it was a fairly steep hike most of the way with lots of natural steps and log steps, but once we got to the last quarter mile it got really steep and there were lots of big rocks to go over/around and so needless to say this was the hardest part of the hike and you couldn't see where the end was until you were practically there-- but once you got there the view was AMAZING. You could look one way and see over all of the denver metro area and then you could look the other way out over the rocky mountains and I soon realized after reaching the top and feeling such peace and joy that our lives often follow the same pattern. They are hard most of the time, and then whenever we are getting close to something great it becomes even harder, and even easier to have the thought of turning back and descending down the mountain to the comfort of flat ground. But these times are when we have to continue to push harder then ever because once we reach the top there is something so glorious and beautiful waiting for us along with peace and rest in God's hands. 
      Now the reason i wanted to share this experience and insight is because after seeing this correlation i then saw the correlation between that mountain and my life this last week. While i was in Arvada it was hard but i felt that it was consistent and i had figured out my pace. I also felt that miracles and blessing were soon to come. My mistake in this thought was that i had imagined those miracles and blessings being in arvada during the next 4 weeks, but then on tuesday last week i hit that last quarter mile where it began to become very difficult. I loved being with Elder Fonger and we quickly became great companions as well as friends and i was not too thrilled to leave that companionship, as well as that area to come to Boulder. Once i got to Boulder i realized that the small miracles and blessings which i felt would soon be seen were to be received here in this area of the Lord's vineyard. On Saturday I had the opportunity to go back to Arvada for Corina's baptism. It was an amazing experience and I loved being able to see some of the people i had come to know while i was there, but it was also during that baptism where i realized that i was no longer needed in Arvada. I am now needed in Boulder and so that is where i will place my heart and my might now. I want to be one that the Lord can trust with random inconvenient tasks. I don't want to be one that can only serve the Lord where i am comfortable or where i am well known. I have been called of God to serve. The where does not matter to me as long as i am fulfilling that grand call with which i have been entrusted.
Well, this week has also been a great week for teaching. We haven't had very many appointments set up but we did have many open their doors to us and let us teach and serve them and their families. 
   I don't really know what else to say about this week because not much else was on my mind all week but i hope to have more to share next week in relation to this area and the teaching opportunities which we are having.
Love you all!!
  Love, Elder Cluff