Week 56-” I know that God will answer us through his prophets and apostles.”

Hola!

This week has been a good one. We have had some good lessons, and we have a little bit of hope here in Cocula, Jalisco. First of all, how cool is it that I get to be in Mexico for two years… Who gets that opportunity?                                                                                              We have a convert here, she got baptized about 3 months ago. I’ve mentioned her before, her name is Francisca. She is the cutest little lady and she loves us and the Gospel. She does what she is asked without fail and she is a prime example of faith. She has a son that also got baptized, Manuel, but he struggles a little bit more and she kind of drags him around. We showed up to her house earlier this week to talk to her and she had some teenage girl with her. We were like, “what the heck?” So we talked for a little bit and she told us that she was her granddaughter and that she was going to be staying with her. We went back the next day and only Francisca was there this time and she told us she had been praying and praying that a grandson or granddaughter would show up to live with her. Out of nowhere her granddaughter, that she barely even knows and hasn’t seen since she was 7, shows up and asks to live with her because of some family problems. So she is going to be living with Francisca. This is a little beacon of hope and light. She has potential to be a perfect investigator. We still haven’t really formally talked with her, but we are going to tonight. Francisca can take her to church because she has a car, and Francisca is there to help her and be a friend. There are just so many problems that we usually face with investigators that we will be able to jump right over with her. So we will see how things go, but I am praying and hoping for big things.                              Yesterday I read the entire book of Helaman.  It is a super good book of scripture and I think that Nephi, son of Helaman, son of Heleman, is my new favorite in the Book of Mormon. He was a monster. He and is brother, Lehi were so sweet. Such powerful teachers and servants of God. I definitely loved reading about them.                                      We also had a good lesson with Rigo a couple of days ago. He also has the means to get to church and a friend already there so there is a lot of hope there as well. Anyway we taught him and he understood everything. It was awesome he learned a lot and was able to answer questions and understand the importance of everything. He and his family are listening, but he and his mom are the most interested.                                                           The hardest thing here is that 1- everyone is catholic and doesn’t want us here, and 2- the people that do listen to us just listen because all things that come from God are good, but dont really understand that we are teaching something different.                                     While all things that come from God are good, and many religions have great things, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only church that has the authority of God to perform all of the necessary ordinances to return to live with God. You can say that right to somebody’s face and they just nod and agree with you and stuff but don’t want to do anything about it, or don’t really understand it. It’s fantastic. That is why we search and pray for people that are prepared to hear the gospel, because nobody else will accept it.                                                                                                                                            I’m doing wonderful here in the mission field. I’m learning a ton and I’m thankful. I was reading a marvelous talk by Henry B Eyring the other day and it just really snagged my attention. Its called “The Priesthood Man” I invite all of you to read the whole talk, but i’m going to leave a little part that really called my attention.

“We all pray, but the priesthood holder you want to be prays often and with real intent. In  the evening you will get on your knees and thank God for the  blessings of the day. You will  thank Him for parents, for teachers, and for great examples to follow. You will describe in your prayers specifically who has blessed your life and how during that day. That will take more than few minutes and more than little thought.  It will surprise you and change you. As you pray for forgiveness, you will find yourself forgiving others.  As you thank God for His kindness, you will think of others, by name, who need your kindness. Again, that experience will surprise you every day, and over time it will change you.”           

I love this part so much. I read it and immediately knew that I needed to do this. If I want to become “The Priesthood Man” I want to be,  I need to do this. I have been doing it the past few nights and I love it. I feel closer to the Lord, my prayers feel more personal and I recognize and receive the answers while on my knees. It has surprised me. I know doing it consistently day by day it will change me.                                                                                    I hope that everyone has a fantastic week. I hope that everyone can go into General Conference with questions and worries ready. I know that they will be answered. I know that we can receive personal revelation in every general conference. I know that God will answer us through his prophets and apostles. Write your questions down, listen intently,  feast on the spirit of revelation, and act on the answers you receive. I promise that you will feel the blessings of heaven and the love of our Heavenly Father and Savior. Have a great week!!

 

Elder Cluff

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Week 55-“Anytime we do what God wants us to do we feel happiness”

Hola!

This week was a good one. We started the week pretty well. The Zone Leaders wanted to have exchanges in our area so we planned that and on Wednesday we got to work with them and it was really fun. I got to work with Elder Christensen from Minnesota and he was able to help me and talk with me and we had a great day working together. The next morning we got to work a little bit more together, but that was just straight walking. We ate and then left to Guadalajara for a leadership training meeting. It was awesome. Anytime President or Sister Clayton speak we are all edified. President spoke a lot about motivation and commitment. He talked a lot about how we have to first be motivated if we expect our Districts to be excited about the work. He talked a lot. He spoke for about an hour and fifteen minutes. He talked about the Doctrine of God and about how, if it is understood, it will change us (our behavior and attitude). He said that if we understand who God is, his characteristics, powers, abilities, attributes, etc, than we won’t complain, we won’t want something different, or feel sorry for ourselves. But rather we will understand that our life is aligned with the will of the Father. I really loved that and I think its so true. All of our trials are for our good and they bless us so much. A friend wrote me a couple of weeks ago talking about how we have to learn that sadness nor happiness last forever and we need to learn to enjoy the moment that we are in. I loved that and I think it’s true. Sister Clayton spoke about our heart and how it has to be willing. She took a back door approach to the whole obedience thing and I really enjoyed her message. She talked about how we have to let the gospel INTO our hearts if we want it to change. If we do, than we will have a desire to be obedient and it will trickle down into our Districts. I love them both, they both speak with the Spirit and have a real effect on all the missionaries. President started his teaching with the phrase, “Every time we do what God wants us to do we will feel happiness.” He said it like thirty times in his talk and it really stuck with me. President always makes us powerful promises, but the promise he made us on Thursday was wild. He said “I know that you guys have to travel a lot as missionaries. Sometimes you travel to a little town far from your area to teach and the investigator ends up not being there.” He continued with tears in his eyes saying, “I promise that there is somebody waiting for you in those moments. I promise that as you talk to the first person that you see as you leave the door step you will find people that are ready and waiting to hear you.” I was like wow… that’s incredible. We don’t have to travel too much, but I figured that the principle applied with any appointment that falls through. Later the next day my comp and I were walking to an appointment. We got to the house and knocked and knocked and nobody came out. We walked away and passed the first person I saw. The spirit quietly reminded me of the promise so I turned around and walked up to the man. I introduced myself and explained who we are and what we do. I asked him if we could pass by to teach him. I was all pumped and excited. “This is the man, this is him. This guy is gonna get baptized.” These type of thoughts were running through my mind. The man looks at me and opens his mouth and says, ” I don’t want anything to do with you guys. I’m a catholic and I love my faith.” I walked away, but I was SUPER happy. Why? Because I did what I was asked to do, and anytime we do what God wants us to do we feel happiness. I love that concept and I believe it with my whole heart. I know that God blesses us. Always. As we read in Ether, the blessings come after the trial of our faith. Very seldom do the blessings come before we act, but they always come after. I know that this mission is the best place on earth and I’m so thankful to be here. I know the message we share blesses lives and changes behavior and attitude. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has been restored along with the priesthood power of God and saving ordinances. I invite anyone who has doubts about the Church to read the Book of Mormon, ponder its message, and ask God in the name of Christ if it is true. When you receive your answer, I invite you to ACT, be baptized, and watch the blessings flow, now and forever.

I love you all! Have a stellar week.

Love, Elder Cluff

Week 54-” yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God”

Hola!!

This week started fantastic. We worked and found new people to teach. It was great my companion has like three months in the mission, but he was just rollin. We set two baptismal dates, but nothin too hot. The first three days were fantastic. Day four rolls around and my comp sleeps in until like eight in the morning. I wasn’t too worried I just thought maybe he was tired. Day five rolls around… sleeps in until ten. I definitely started to worry, and he hasn’t stopped sleeping in until ten. So that’s where we stand right now.                                                                                                                                                  Up until now in my mission, I haven’t had like a legit verbal argument with a companion. I’ve had a couple little things but last night was silly. Keep in mind my comp just doesn’t back down until you tell him he is right. Even if he´s wrong. We started talking about something and he shut me down so I decided to defend myself. One thing led to another and all of the sudden we were arguing. I wasn’t even thinking about whatever started the discussion. All of the frustrations and how annoyed I was feeling all week just came out and I just told this guy how it was. It was intense. I felt really bad after so when I went and got in bed I apologized and went to sleep feeling a little better.                                I woke up this morning and I studied and then I just started going to town on the house. Because it was dirty. I cleaned the crap out of it all morning and made breakfast and washed clothes and my comp rolls out of bed at like eleven. I’m just thinking in my mind like DUDE YOU HAVE 3 MONTHS IN THE MISSION. Please. Even after the little fight he didn’t wake up on time or help me clean the house.                                                                   So needless to say the rest of the week my comp did not want to leave the house, and I got to study until I could finally get him out in the later afternoon. I would say that this week in my mission has been huge. I feel a legit love for the scriptures that I thought I had before, but it’s intense now. Anytime I have a little sec I sit down to read. That has been my goal. With my sleeping beauty from Nicaragua I have been able to study about twenty pages in the Book of Mormon everyday this week. I am just enthralled with it. I’m reading it in Spanish and we have the goal as a mission to finish it before the end of the month. I am currently in Alma 42. So I’ve got some work to do but I’ll finish.                  Cute little Francisca, a convert of 3 months, just loves to take care of us. She calls us all the time asking if she can make us dinner. We try and visit her at least once every couple days because shes new and still really learning. She has tons of faith. She does everything she is asked and she cries real tears if she doesn’t get to go to church (which has only happened twice) because she really understands the sacrament and it makes her so sad to not be able to take it. She makes the hard days better.                                                       This week will be good. We have exchanges with the zone leaders tomorrow, and then on Thursday we will leave for Guadalajara and Friday we will have a leadership training with President and Sister Clayton. So I will be busy and we will for sure get to work tomorrow with the zone leaders which is thrilling.                                                                 The scriptures have spoken to me this week, as if they were written for me in this hard time. Heavenly Father speaks to us LIKE THAT. Through his scriptures. I can’t remember if I said this in another email, but I love something that Sister Clayton taught us. “The Book of Mormon doesn’t have an answer to every single little question we may have, but it brings us close to God, and he does have all the answers.” At times we get very direct answers while reading, but what I have come to find is that I can feel the spirit and Heavenly Father answers my questions while reading. I love how we can read something little but understand something so out of context and feel the power and love of our Heavenly Father. I feel peace, comfort, and love each morning as I study the pages of the Book of Mormon and I invite you to do the same. A great sense of conviction, dedication, and diligence will fill you and you will have desires to do good continually.                            I did not have this kind of testimony of the Book of Mormon before the mission. But I do now, and if I don’t see one single other fruit over the course of the next 11 months, I will still feel like Ammon when he said, (Alma 26: 1-2,35) “My brothers and my brethren, behold I say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted unto us such blessings?And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there were never men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my god; for he has all power, wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on hes name.”                                                                                                                                                     I really have learned so much while I’ve been here, it’s been a completely different experience than what I imagined, but I love it and I’m so thankful for the blessing that it is to be here in the work of the Lord. I love you all, have a great week!

Elder Cluff

Week 53-“I think the more obedient and dedicated we are the more we recognize success.”

Hola!

This week was the last of the transfer. Elder Barlow left….To my old area! SANTIAGO. He  was super excited. We will see how well he does there.                                                               I got a companion who just barely finished his training. His name is Elder Murillo. He is from Nicaragua and the kid speaks sooooo fast. I love his accent.  It’s crazy. But I understand him well. It’s weird to have a latino after 6 months without one. I’m excited to work with him and hopefully we can both grow a lot together.                                            We have an appointment on Wednesday with Rigo. I’m really excited about him . I don’t know why but for some reason I can see a ton of success with him. It’s just a matter of him acting on what we teach and I think that he will.                                                                  I think we are going to spend the whole week contacting extra hard because we don’t have a ton of solid investigators right now. We need to find more so we are going to hit the references and contacts and see if we can find any new people to teach.                           I’ve progressed a lot in Spanish the last few months and I still enjoy it so much. Learning another language is so cool. I’ve been blessed to learn it fast and well I’m super thankful for the great blessing that it is.                                                                                                          It hasn’t been a super eventful week, but we have seen little miracles here and there and that’s the important thing. I think the more obedient and dedicated we are the more we recognize success. Success comes in a variety of forms, and learning to recognize it is important.                                                                                                                                           We could really use some extra prayers out here in Cocula. We need more people to teach and people that will accept the message of the restored gospel. We are working hard, but a few extra prayers never hurt.                                                                                        I know that this gospel is restored through the prophet Joseph Smith and that everybody needs it. I know that the authority of God is found in this church and nowhere else in the world. I know that sometimes we have questions that dont have a specific answer but the faithful are blessed, and sometimes it just takes a little faith. I love this work and I love this gospel. I love you all and hope you all have a great week.

Elder Cloof