Week 40-“As for right now I am the branch president in a very large branch and I’m not sure what in the heck I am doing”

Hola!!

This week was awesome. We got to have interviews with President Clayton and a training from Sister Clayton. I love those days. I love being trained cause they just receive straight revelation for all of us. We focused a ton on reading the scriptures. They told us that any thought impression or feeling we have while reading the scriptures is REVELATION. So that was a good reminder and they gave us the challenge to write all of those things that we feel or think right there in the scriptures wherever we are in the book. It’s been super awesome to see and realize that the more I write, the more I receive. Que loco.

We went to another area to help out a companionship with a baptism. That’s another interview I got to do, and I think it was one of the more special ones. I had little Carlos pray (9 years old) to start the interview. As he was praying it was just like your basic prayer but then all of the sudden he started talking to Heavenly Father. Unlike I have ever heard any kid pray. He was asking with all his heart to have help to be able to answer the interview questions so that he could be baptized. It was incredible and before I even could give the interview I knew he was ready. It was such a great experience. Learning to receive and recognize revelation has been something I have loved so much. I’m so thankful for this grand laboratory of a mission to learn all of these things and I know that they will shape my life forever.

We got home from helping with that baptism and went right to church. We got there, and I had already known that they were going to release our branch president but I didn’t know who they were going to call, and the district president, President Arias called me out into the hall. He said “Elder will you help us out and be the branch president?” Woah woah woah President, hold your Mexican horses. I don’t know if I can do that. He was like, “yeah President Clayton told me I could call you.” So there I was after the block, giving temple recommend interviews and counting fast offerings. President Clayton called me later that night and told me that president Arias did the whole thing wrong, but that I had his permission to be the branch president for a bit. So we will see how long it lasts, but as for right now I am the branch president in a very large branch and I’m not sure what in the heck I am doing. So that’s just a little taste of the mission for ya. Gotta stay on your toes at all times.

This is the last week of the transfer. I thought I was out of here but my new calling makes me think different. Goodness gracious I’ve been in this zone my entire mission and it’s actually very taxing. But I think all in all its the coolest zone in the mish. Its definitely the hottest though.

The nightmare of the Pday fast came true today. We couldn’t get our fast started on time so here we are right now, fasting away. I love it though, and I’m going to do it more often then I have been. I know that there is so much power in the fast and I never realized how often it talks about fasting in the Book of Mormon. It’s incredible. I love you all and I miss you all so much. I hope that you all realize the blessings you are getting everyday.

Elder Cluff

Week 39- “The blessings of missionary work are endless”

Hola!

It’s been a great week this week and I’m super thankful for it. ‘Ive learned a ton. The highlight of the week was definitely the exchanges with the assistants. I was with Elder Contreras for the Dominican Republic. He goes home in about a month and a half. He is one of my best friends. He is super humble and super funny. He is just super great to be around. He wants to live in the US and I’m super down to do whatever I can to help him because he has changed my life.

The assistants are just next level. Every time I’m with them I’m just like holy crap I am not that class of missionary and they make me wanna be better. I know they are called of God to be the assistants in our mission. During companionship study Elder Contreras knew exactly what to say and he hit every point of worry that I’ve been having. I was super thankful for that half hour to study I had with him.

I got to go to the very outskirts of the mission and give a baptismal interview this week as well. It ended up taking two days because they live so far out there. It was such a cool experience. They meet there in a tiny little house of prayer. The font was so tiny there was barely room for them in there. It was cool to get to go out there and help with the baptism. I love giving baptismal interviews. It’s a great opportunity to see how the gospel has changed the people. Even the little 9 year old I got to interview. I did feel weird asking him if he’s ever participated in an abortion tho. But we are in Mexico so I had to ask him.

A bunch of crap has been happening in the branch here so I’m pretty sure we will be getting a new branch president this weekend. It’s good but also sucks because I’m not sure anybody has the ability to do that besides the President right now. We will see what type of effect it has on the area.

There is a young woman here named Lupita. She always comes to church with her sister and her family that are super active. Shes not actually a member but she comes every single week. Well theYW president came up to us after church this week and said “I’ve been working with Lupita and shes ready to listen to you guys and get baptized.” All we need now is her moms permission. It might be a little difficult because shes a member of another church. But the young women’s president is super involved and helping us a lot so I’m thinking that it can happen. I’m praying for her and this is such an answer to prayers. I’m thankful for people to teach. The biggest blessing for missionaries honestly is just people to teach. Help the missionaries find people to teach. Help them have full schedules. Even if you don’t think that they will listen and get baptized, put your fear behind you and just help them get into contact with missionaries. I know it can be hard, but just do it. The blessings of missionary work are endless.

I’m liking Santiago even tho its really hot. We have two weeks left in the transfer and this week will have interviews with the President. I’m excited for that. The mission life is great. Thank you all for your support and love! Keep praying for me and my area!

Love Elder Cluff

Week 38-” I think that the time will keep going faster and faster so we all just need to enjoy it.”

Hola!

This week was an adventure. We had a pretty good week teaching repentance and stuff. Towards the end of the week my comp and I stopped in to the church to go on some weekly visits. We were there for like five minutes and he went into the bathroom and threw up. Well to keep it short, he didn’t stop for 3 hours. The poor kid was in the bathroom stall for 3 hours. He lost 100 percent of his strength and couldn’t even stand up. He managed to leave the stall for about 20 seconds to get a blessing. He made it back to the house in a taxi without throwing up again, but then in the house he started throwing up blood. So we made our way to the ER and stayed there till 1 in the morning. Well everything is great now and we should be able to work this week just like normal. Anyway…needless to say, I had my first Mexican emergency room experience.

In some of the down time I had in the house, I shredded the Book of Mormon. I love reading it quickly but attentively. I get so much out of it and I remember whats going on. It’s been a great experience studying it this month.

This week, we wanted to find more people, so we put a table up in the plaza and contacted the heck out of everyone. It was pretty awesome and we met some cool people and had a good time with the zone leaders. We found some more people to teach and hopefully we can help some of them progress a lil bit.

Its been a good week overall, I’ve learned a lot and it felt like a quick week. I also hit 9 months this week and that’s nuts to me. The time is going super quick. Its weird to think that its been a year since graduation and all that stuff, it literally feels like it was yesterday. I think that the time will keep going faster and faster so we all just need to enjoy it.

Les amo mis amigos. Grracias por sus oraciones y amor. Sé que nuestro padre celestial nos escucha y quiere que hablemos con el en todo momento. Sé que estamos en la iglesia verdadera. Puedo ver la felicidad que trae el evangelio, y la tristeza que hay sin Jesucristo. Se que i felicidad duradero en cristo, y que uno no la puede encontrar en ningún otro lado. Sé que dios nos ama a cada  uno de nosotros. Que estén bien. pórtense bien y si se portan mal, me invitan.

 

Elder Cluff

Week 37-“We need to show our God that we are ready to accept his will and act on promptings.”

Hola!

This week finished so great, talking to my mother. Shes just such a great mom and I’m glad I was able to talk with her. Until Christmas fam.

This week was actually a long one because my comp and I were both sick and we couldn’t leave the house for two of the days. We couldn’t leave the house because well, in simple terms, my companion couldn’t even leave the bathroom. Ate some bad shrimp or somethin. Not sure about it cause I ate a half pound of those delectable sea creatures and not a thing happened to me.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about how I can find more people to teach, how we can find people that are ready to listen to us, and how we can help people progress. I’ve been pondering that because we really are struggling in all three of those categories. ‘Ive come to a conclusion and it sounds so normal but really it’s just that I need to rely more on the Lord. How I’m going to do it, not sure. But it will require a lot of prayer. Sometimes as a missionary, (maybe as normal church members too) we trick ourselves into thinking we are relying on our Heavenly Father, when really we aren’t doing that at all. Sure we pray and read the scriptures, but are we really putting everything into His hands and doing what He asks? Its almost overwhelming to think about trying to develop that type of relationship. We’ve all tried so many times haven’t we? We have all found ourselves begging on our knees for Heavenly help, but why is it that maybe we don’t feel like our relationship with Heavenly Father is progressing or like we aren’t receiving that help? Well probably because we don’t find ourselves begging every single night. We probably don’t find ourselves preparing for the prayer, and meditating it after. We forget to listen and find the answers. So how is it that we CAN do those things? I think its different for everyone. We need to show our God that we are ready to accept his will and act on promptings. We need to prepare ourselves to go before our Maker with an empty mind and a ready heart. We need to listen, after we pray, for the answers we are looking for. I think if we really focus and just get that feeling that He is there listening to us, then we are on the right track.

So that’s my plan this week, is to really focus on that. I really want to focus on not falling into that routine prayer cycle. I want to get something out of each prayer. It’s a lot easier said than done, but I’m gonna go for it.

I love being a missionary. I love being here in Mexico. Even though right now I’m having a hard time finding people that will listen to us, I know that I’m still having an impact in some way. I know that Heavenly Father is pleased with me, but I know I can do more.

The Book of Mormon is changing me as I dive into each story, and as I strive to understand whats going on. I’ve read the Book of Mormon many times before always just taking out the doctrine and the teaching. But this time I’m really focusing on who? why? and where? and I’m really getting a lot more out of those same doctrines.

My comp and I are making a timeline of the Book of Mormon and it’s super cool. I love reading the Book of Mormon with another person and seeing their insights. That’s why it’ll be super dope to be married in like 7 years.

I know that this church is true, and that it’s been restored by Joseph Smith. I know that it all leans of the Book of Mormon and the testimony that we have of it. I know that it’s true and that is contains the fullness of the Gospel. I know that the Prophet of God, Thomas S. Monson is the prophet called for this time. I know that he speaks face to face with Jesus Christ and that if he challenged us to read the Book of Mormon, we NEED to do it. So don’t put it off, and do it. I love you all and I know many blessings await us, even more than all the blessings that we are ALREADY receiving.

 

Until next week,

Elder Cluff

Week 36-“Lets make like Coriantumr and get the Shiz out”

Hola!

This week has been a lengthy one. But a good one. The weeks are feeling a little long right now because the investigators aren’t progressing. The other hard thing is that most of them can only meet or only want to meet one time a week, when normally we like to visit every other day. So often times we find ourselves with out very many set plans. But that’s not gonna stop anything. We are gonna keep going till we have our agenda full.

My comp and I are getting along great. Hes got this wicked impression of “Rex Kwon Do” from Napolean Dynamite. I was walking around the house a couple nights ago and he was just like “look at what I’m wearing…how’d you like a roundhouse kick to the face while I’m wearing these bad boys?… Forget about it” I died laughing. I literally passed away. Then later he was like ” do you think anybody thinks I’m a failure cause I go home to Starla at night” and I just couldn’t get a hold of myself. Haha then later in the week we were leaving church and he was just like “lets make like Coriantumr and get the Shiz out” I also died after that one. He couldn’t believe that I’m from Utah and I’ve never heard that. Let’s just say it made the journal.

We had zone conference this week! I love zone conference and I love President and Sister Clayton. It was such a good conference. This time it was like a pep talk. Like… you guys are doing alright but you can be way better. I always leave those conferences ready to baptize my whole area.

So normally to end the conference Sister Clayton talks with the Sisters and President talks to us. Something weird that happened was that Sister Clayton came in and started talking to us the Elders. She talked to us about how Satan is attacking us, and about how many Elders have problems on the mission with morality. (thoughts and actions) but what she told us was to trust in President Clayton and repent. I don’t know why she felt like she needed to tell the Elders that, but she did. And she did it straight forward. Its was awesome. I don’t have those problems, but obviously she knows that some Elders do and she gave some great counsel. I loved something that she did to end the little chat. She made us all hold our hands up and look at them and to promise that we would never touch or do anything we shouldn’t with them. She said it like ” I’m pleading with you as your mission mom to not let Satan win” she said with tears in her eyes ” I have never worried one time about what President Clayton is doing” and I felt the Spirit so strong. It gave me this renewed desire to be a strong righteous priesthood holder. I want my wife to be able to say the same thing. and I’m going to make sure she can.

The invitation Sister Clayton gave us about the Book of Mormon reading that we are doing right now is that we should dive in to every chapter. She said “help Nephi build the boat, pray side by side with Enos, cut a few arms off with Ammon, stand in king Lamonis court etc” and I thought it was a little funny but it made me excited to read like that. So I have and its so awesome. There is so much power in reading the Book of Mormon quickly. You are able to remember the stories, and better come to know the Book of Mormon. There is so much power in this challenge that President has given us.

On Saturday night, we passed by the houses of several investigators to invite them to church one more time. They all said oh yeah of course…. not one of them came. It’s so frustrating. But we will keep teaching, and we are going to focus the teaching on the Sabbath Day, hopefully that will help.

I know that this work is the best work. I know that I am where I’m supposed to be. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. and that all of the teachings are true. It teaches us to be baptized or else we cannot be saved in the kingdom of god. Even though baptism is one of many steps, it is important, and I know that without a baptism we cannot enter Gods kingdom. How great is it that we have the restored priesthood authority to perform those ordinances? Heavenly Father loves us so much that he has given us the opportunity to follow his son Jesus Christ and be baptized. I know many people that read these letters are strong members of the church, but I invite those of you who are not members of the church to be baptized, and experience the joy of  starting again, and feel a new commitment to follow Jesus Christ.

I love you all and hope that this week is sublime.

Elder Cluff

Week 35-“Obtain a copy of the Book of Mormon, read it, ponder it, live its principles, and you will find happiness now and forever”

Qué onda raza!!!

 

We had transfers this week. This Elder is staying here in good ole hot and musty Santiago Nayarit. Elder Koyle is stayin with me too so we are gonna cause a riot. He’s like the funniest nerdiest kid and every word that comes out of his mouth makes me laugh. I love it. We should have a good transfer and my hypothesis is that if we work hard then it will go fast.
This week we pretty good. Kinda weird because I don’t remember it very well!! We had exchanges with the zone leaders again.. that was good. Oh I got to do another baptismal interview and preside at a baptism so that was money.
This week as been super calientita. Super hot. I’ve been sweating like a slightly overweight elders quorum president helping the neighbors move in at mid day.
The sad news is the worst has yet to come. Oh well, mango season is right around summers corner and I am enthralled thinking about that. I’ve been eagerly picking them but they still just aren’t quite there.
This week our mission president extended us the invitation to read the Book of Mormon as a mission during the month of may. I’m super excited. He said that he invited us to do it as a result of our prophets address. I know that it’s revelation and each and every one of us should follow it. So read the Book of Mormon with me this month!! I promise that your life with be better. There will be more peace. The problems you face will seem small. The hand of the Lord will be visible. I know that the Book of Mormon protects us. As we read it we receive divine heavenly help that we need in each situation we face! I love the Book of Mormon
“Obtain a copy of the Book of Mormon, read it, ponder it, live its principles, and you will find happiness now and forever”

The ball is in your hands! If you want happiness you now know where to find it. I love you all and pray for you. I would love to hear from you all! 8 months in the mission and I feel like week old dust. Nobody remembers me!! Haha still love you tho.

 

Elder Cluff

Week 34-“I know without a doubt that the Savior lives. He passed beneath all things that he might save all things. I love him with all my heart.”

Hola!

This week was super awesome. It went super quick too. We had exchanges with the zone leaders in their area. In the night we played some mad pong and it was just a good night. I love the zone leaders.

On Wednesday, my comp and I felt like we should go home early to just hammer the area book, and really leave our mark on that sucker. As we got close, we sat down at a members house across the street from ours. Someone ran up to us in a fury of nervousness and said “there is someone in your house with a flashlight!!” well shiz!  I booked it to the house and was about to go in and then the wise member said “no don’t go in he could kill you” So I decided to listen and not go in. One of our friends, Roger, and I ran around back and saw someone standing on top off the house. Roger screamed at him, and I’ll spare you words he used, and said get down here. The kid screamed ” oh I’m not doing anything I just like to chill up here” alright dog, you’ve never chilled on top of my house before why are you doing it now?

We got him down and called the cops and it turns out he had my iPhone. So then we had to get all legally involved. I coulda put that guy behind bars for 2 years but president Clayton told me no. anyyyway this thief, Daniel, came up to us the next day and started to apologize. It was super dope because I didn’t feel even a tiny bit mad at him and I felt the love of Christ for him. I cut him off and began explaining repentance and how we can be forgiven. But I didn’t stop there. I straight invited this thief to be baptized on May 25. He said yes. I was super pumped and we’ve been having some lessons with him.

So that happened. Turned out to be a little bit of a blessing.

All that hubaloo made the week go pretty quick. We worked hard but also worked hard with the area book and with planning. So we weren’t able to visit as many people as we were hoping to see.

This week we should see some great success as we close out the transfer. I’m hoping to stay one more transfer to just get some of these great investigators that we have baptized.

More than anything this week I studied about Christ. I was overwhelmed several times with just a pure feeling of “this is the truth” I felt so peaceful as I studied about his resurrection and about his perfect life. I know without a doubt that the Savior lives. He passed beneath all things that he might save all things. I love him with all my heart. He is everything to me. I am thankful for the daily opportunity I have to repent, and strive the be better each moment. He loves us so much. I know that he does. May we strive to be more like him.

I love you all,

Elder Cluff

Week 33 -“Heavenly Father definitely reminded me this week that He’s in charge and He has helped me learn Spanish.”

Hola como estan mis chavos. Les extraño mucho y espero que esten al cien. I’m straight preaching the gospel out here so you already know I’m doing fantastic. How could Ii even complain. My biggest problems in the world right now have to do with whether or not people want to listen to me. Obviously being a set-apart missionary makes those problems seem absolutely monstrous, but when I really think about it. I dont have too many worries.

This week was good with the San Blas elders. We found 10 new investigators and set a few baptismal dates. The hard part is getting them to attend church, but we did get one of them to come and this guy is crazy smart.  Sometimes I’m a little nervous because some of the questions he asks are nuts. Like dude, just read the Book of Mormon, focus on your feelings, and shut off. You dont  need to know how spirit prison was formed man. Haha but he has a sweet spirit and a desire to learn so I think he will do great and I’m excited to teach him.

This week I really saw the gift of tongues. It’s weird because I can speak Spanish just fine and I don’t have too many problems. Until I forget to ask Heavenly Father for the gift of tongues  and then I feel like I’m still in my first week of the mission. Heavenly Father definitely reminded me this week that He’s in charge and He has helped me learn Spanish. I forgot to pray for help in that specific category one day this week. I wouldn’t say I was a mess but I would say I struggled. So I repented and asked for the Divine help.

Me and Elder Chamberlain, who has 3 months in the mission, were talking in the church bathroom and he just started laughing so hard. I was like…. what the??…. and then he just spit out “I only have 3 months in the mission!!!!”  I started busting up laughing so hard and then it hit me and I said “I’m not even half way.” we had a good laugh and talked about how weird the time is, and how he will enjoy it more when he has a companion that gets out of bed. I love him and we have plans to go to school together after.

Elder Koyle is dope. We are getting along and the weeks are moving quicker. So that’s cool. I would definitely say the hard part about the mish so far for me is that I’ve only been transferred once and I only got transferred like 25 minutes down the road so I feel like I’ve been in the same place for a fat minute. But now that we have some progressing investigators I dont even think about it too much.

It’s been a good week and I have seen the hand of the Lord. I know that He is guiding this work. I know that we are His children and He loves each one of us. He wants to help us. We aren’t alone even if we feel like we are. It’s never too late. He wants us to change and he’s waiting for it. Don’t let your past, or even your present, determine your future.

I love you all. have a great week.

Elder Cluff

Week 32-“I strive to make the piece of tile I kneel on sacred. I strive to beg and plead with my Heavenly Father. I strive to thank him and praise each blessing he gives me. Our prayers need to mean everything.

Hola!
It’s been a great week. I’ve learned a lot and felt a lot of growth. That’s how I like it. It was a quick week too. This week we had interviews with President Clayton. Love interviews. It’s the best to talk to President one on one and just get some real specific advice.
We also had a little training with Hermana Clayton and it was just spot on. Exactly what I think a lot of missionaries needed to hear. It was all about prayer. She said a phrase several times that I loved. “we need to pray at every intersection” and then we went into further detail about what are those intersections. Really at any moment when we don’t know what to do or our plans fall through, we need to pray. It’s praying at these intersections that is going to bring us success. We need that morning prayer that covers us like an umbrella during the day, but it’s not enough. We need to pray and speak with Heavenly Father at every intersection. We also need to make sure our prayers are sincere and heart felt. Many times we sit down to bless the food or begin a meeting with a very recited prayer. We have all heard it a million times. Like come on!  That prayer didn’t even make it past the ceiling. We need to pray with fervor thinking about each word, using the Holy Ghost, so that our prayers bust through the ceiling and make it to our Heavenly Father. We need to think and pray like we are talking to our God.
I often feel discouraged because I really have this desire to talk to Heavenly Father and I want to do it in a better way. I sometimes struggle to really keep myself focused on each word. I even fall asleep sometimes. I’m gonna go ahead and toss the blame on the fact that I’m a missionary and I’m tired. haha  But really I feel sometimes as if I can’t get better. But when I really think about it and really focus, I CAN do it. I strive to make the piece of tile I kneel on sacred. I strive to beg and plead with my Heavenly Father. I strive to thank him and praise each blessing he gives me. Our prayers need to mean everything.

I’m lovin the mish though. This week the Elders from San Blas are here with us because its a little nuts in their area during Semana Santa. So they are gonna work with us and I’m working with Elder Chamberlain who is also being trained right now (by my last comp Elder Hernandez) so if you’ve followed my letters at all you might know exactly how the training of Elder Chamberlain is going. So I’m really excited to help him and learn from him.

I had a super spiritual experience with him yesterday. We were teaching lesson one to a family that we’ve started teaching. I just stared at each one of them in their eyes for 45 minutes straight. Bearing testimony of each point in the Restoration. I knew in my heart and soul that each word I was saying was being conveyed to them by the Spirit. I knew for myself as well, that what I was saying was true. I had a smile on my face the whole lesson because the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored. We have it. We are part of it. How miraculous is that? I’m so thankful for this Gospel. I just love it.

I’d just like to bear my testimony of a few simple truths I know. I know that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for us so that we can live. I know that through him we can be cleansed from sin. I know that he appeared to Joseph Smith and restored the Gospel through him. I know that the priesthood of God has also been restored. I know that. I really know it. I know that our families through that power can be eternal. I know God loves us and knows us, and wants us to be happy. I love that I can share that with others. I’m on that grind and I’m doing  my best. I love you!!

Elder Cluff

Week 31-“As good as the spirit can make you feel, you can feel much worse when you don’t listen.”

Hola!

I cant even tell you how excited I was all week for Conference. I was talking to one of my mission buds last week, serving in Hermosillo, and he wrote me saying he felt like the biggest nerd because it felt like Christmas. Haha I feel like a very big nerd with freckles and glasses because I was also that excited. Unfortunately I was just as sad when it ended. Anyway, I took a little bit of advice from a loving mission president who asked us all to write down our questions and worries and he promised that we would find the answers…. Like always the promise was fulfilled.

I cant even explain the clarity of my answers. I honestly feel like the apostles read my questions and then wrote their talks. The answers were incredibly clear to very specific questions. Even down to “how should I study the Bible” I invite anyone who has questions and worries that they don’t have answers to, to write them down and go ahead and give conference another listen. Because they are there.

This week went kinda quick. Not super quick. But normal. Heavenly father has been blessing us as usual. We had some super spiritual lessons. That’s how you want it. Felt some super awesome spiritual promptings. I also didn’t act on a spiritual prompting to contact someone. I haven’t been able to forget their face. As good as the spirit can make you feel, you can feel much worse when you don’t listen.  I hope I can find the family again, because well, I’m gonna contact them this time.

The power of the Holy Ghost is so real. Its an amazing gift that we should strive to always have, we will fall short sometimes, but through Jesus Christ we can receive forgiveness and feel the Spirit again. I know that this his the Lord’s work. He is moving it. I know that as we all try a little harder to be a little better we will see the hand of the Lord. I know that he will walk with you and sometimes for you, so that you can reach your goal. I know that this is true. the longer I am here the more it clicks. It makes sense. it’s so perfect. I love it. and it’s becoming everything to me. I love you all. Have a good week!

 

Elder Cluff