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