This week has been super good, and probably the busiest of my entire mission! I loved it. We started of the week going to do a baptismal interview in a different area, so that took away our entire afternoon of work in our area, but it was a great experience and I loved it. The next day, Wednesday, we left after lunch to Guadalajara to attend a family night for the Zone Leaders. It was awesome. Elder Mora and I ate at our favorite restaurant and then we went to the offices to the family night. It was so sweet to see all of the leaders of the mission. It really was a great atmosphere. We had a training from the assistants, and everybody participated and it was a great, spiritual night. We had some moneyyy tacos for din btw. Thursday morning we all bounced from the offices to our Mission Council. It was absolutely fantastic. Sister Clayton killed it as normal. I could listen to her all day. She was a seminary teacher for years so she really knows what shes doing. President hit some great points as well. The assistants taught for a sec as well and it was great. Even though everyone prefers to listen to President and Sister Clayton, we have to give a little time to the assistants too. The best part about all of council is what we have seen since. Elder Mora and I have put to the test what they taught us and we have had a stellar week, even though we haven’t been in our area a lot. We saw so many direct miracles from applying what we learned. Friday we got back to our area in the morning and went to work. We found a new investigator and walked a ton. It was a good day. Saturday I had to go to one area and my comp to another for baptisms. We had 2 as a Zone this week which is awesome because our Zone has been baptizing every week! How exciting. Sunday was a great day and I was able to meet a lot of the members and give my testimony in church. I love this branch, it’s the biggest I’ve been in. I feel really content and happy this week. I feel a sense of satisfaction because we have been working and teaching. We learned a lot about promises in our council and I have been able to make some stellar promises this week. The Spirit is so strong when we do. If we do it with complete faith, we know that God will honor our words. What a special blessing that is. I love this work. I feel more of a love for it now than I ever have. I love it and I’m thankful to be a part of it. I don’t have a lot of time to give it my all everyday, so these two years are special. I hope everyone has a great week and that you can all recognize the many blessings that we receive daily. I love you all!!! Have a good week.
PS if any of you were wondering, Elder Koyle and I laugh every night, all night long. Super happy to be with him again.
This week was awesome! I got to go to temple!! I haven’t been in a year and it was such an amazing feeling to be there and be able to go back after so long!! I miss it. It was a good reminder to go as often as I can when I get home. We got back to our area and we were in trio for a couple of days because an elder from our district finished his mission. It was a fun couple of days. We had a couple of great lessons, neither of which were planned so that’s a blessing. I love blessings. This week we had transfers. I really wasn’t expecting transfers, but I got transferred to a new area called Ciudad Guzman. It is awesome here. It is the coolest zone in the mission because it is up in the mountains and it rains all the time. I’m gonna have to buy a sweater. Who would have thought? We live in a house that used to be the house of prayer and is owned by the church. It’s huge. It has tons of rooms and bathrooms. It has a little room with weights and stuff and it has a basketball court out back!! It’s sweet. I’m excited. I think the coolest part is that we live with Elder Morales and Elder Koyle. Us three were in a trio for a week once and it was super fun. I love Elder Koyle. We were together for a long time and I’m excited to be with him again. We aren’t comps. But we live together. Even better:) My companion is Elder Mora. He is from Mexico City. We were friends before so I’m really excited. He has told me that there are a few progressing investigators here so we will see. I’m really excited. We will be serving as Zone Leaders together so we will get to work a lot with other missionaries which I love. I don’t have a lot to say this week, but I’m sure next week I will have all sorts of news. I love you all and I’m thankful for all of the prayers on my behalf, I feel them and I am thankful for them. Heavenly Father really loves us and blesses us. I feel his love today. What a blessing. Have a great week!
This week was great. I loved it. I learned a lot. I prepared specific questions before conference and I was able to get an answer to each one. Its amazing how a very General Conference can be very personal. I love revelation. Yesterday we had interviews with President. They were great. We also had a training from Sister Clayton. It was also great. I love being with them. I wish it was more common. I had a few crazy experiences this week. We have an investigator that we have been helping quit drinking. He has 11 days without alcohol and I’m supper happy for him. Last appointment as we finished we asked him to pray. He has prayed before, but he always gets nervous and doesn’t want to. We finally convinced him and we invited him to pray kneeling. We explained the steps again and we listened. He started praying and the spirit filled the room. He prayed for like 3 minutes. He prayed from the heart. He was saying thank you and asking for blessings. I was praying as he prayed for him to be able to remember all of the steps and to feel something. As he finished he closed the prayer perfectly in the name of Jesus Christ, which doesn’t happen very often. It was an incredible experience. As he prayed for a short time, I had an eternity of thoughts running through my mind. I was overwhelmed with love. This family is sooo poor. The poorest family I have met. They have a million problems.. Everything is so dysfunctional. The chances of them making it to baptism are very very thin, but that’s okay. The thoughts that I had were that it’s okay if they dont get baptized. We have helped them recognize the light of Christ. They have felt Gods love. They dont learn very well, but we have taught them how to pray. If we dont help them doing anything else, if I dont teach another lesson in my entire mission I am content with what I have been able to help with here in Cocula. We taught a family how to communicate with God. How important is that?? What a blessing it is to be an instrument in the Lords hand. I love my mission, even though it’s hard. I love teaching the gospel, even though people dont accept. I love God, even though I fall short. I know that God loves us and that we are his children. He wants us to make good choices and he will always be there to help us do that. I know that Jesus is our Redeemer, and that he died so that we can live. I know that Joseph Smith is the prophet of the restoration, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Lords Kingdom here on Earth.
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 a few minutes and more than a 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!!
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
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!
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.
This week has been great!! Elder Barlow and I went hard contacting people and we have a lot of people to stop by and talk to. I’m praying they will want to listen to us.
I’m so thankful for the Gospel and this opportunity I have to share it. It helps me everyday. I just wish that more people would accept it. It’s funny because this mission is a hard one to baptize in. I was sure before I left that we would be baptizing left and right but that hasn’t been the case. There are lots of Elders in the mission that haven’t baptized one time. Something that President Clayton emphasizes a lot is that we aren’t called to baptize. We are called to teach the doctrine in a clear way so that everyone has the opportunity to accept it. He talks about how everyone is called at different times for different reasons and that all we need to do is work.
There is no substitute for hard work.
les amo y deseo que tengan una buena semana.
We have had a great week here in the best mission on earth. We had a some great divisions this week with some great elders and we were able to learn a lot. It always helps me to be a better missionary when I’m expected to give training to other elders. It helps me feel a renewed sense of commitment and I love it. It’s fun to be able to work with other missionaries and learn from each one of them.
The best part of my week was definitely zone conference. It was superrrr long but it was so much fun and we got to learn so much and just feel the spirit super super strong. Listening to Sister Clayton is probably my favorite thing on earth, her conviction, dedication, seriousness, and love to the gospel just amazes me. It such a blessing to have her and President Clayton at the head of this mission guiding it. It’s been a great experience so far.
We talked a lot about the pamphlets that they give us and how they can be used more effectively. We did practices teaching the whole lesson in 2 minutes. It gave me such a great idea… that anytime I have 2 minutes with someone I need to teach them the gospel. It gave me a strong desire to share the gospel in every moment. I think we can definitely be more effective and dedicated as missionaries.
Today I had to come to Guadalajara again. This time to renew my visa because I hit a year this week. That is so nuts to me. I can’t believe it! It’s a scary feeling. I got to see all of the buddies I got here with and we had a good time. I’m thankful for all of the friends I have made on the mish.. Who knows how many of them will make it to post mish status but I’m thankful that they’ve made the mish status.
Right now one of the sisters that went home to Peru writes me every single week so that’s just wonderful.. the coolest part about it is that I actually never met her but somehow she snatched up my email and sends me about 25 selfies lol. Lets just say she probably doesn’t make that post mish status. I’m not fixin to live on a llama farm lol.
But I’m happy. I think the biggest thing I’ve been able to really learn so far, is that the gospel brings happiness. It really does. The people in the saddest of living conditions are still so happy because they are active in the church. The study the pages of the Book of Mormon. They pray to their God and the ask for forgiveness. That is the recipe for happiness. Jesus Christ taught His gospel and as we study it and apply it we become who He wants us to be and we become happy and I think that is one of the biggest blessings that this gospel brings us. I’m thankful I’ve been able to learn this at such a young age and I pray that I never forget it.
I know that Jesus is the Christ and that He died for each and every one of us and that He was resurrected three days later. I know that He established a perfect church and that He restored it once again through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that it’s true because I’ve read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it and received an answer! I love it. I love this mission. I love you all and hope you all have a great week!