Week 50-“I wish that everyone could understand what a mission can do for you. It is a priesthood duty, but it is more of a blessing than anything.”

Hola!

Que onda raza. I’m doing great here in Cocula. I’m happy to be here in this part of the world in this work.

This week we have seen some difficulties that have really done a number on me and I can’t help but feel sad.

The week I got here, two sisters, Brenda(13) and Gabi(11) were baptized. These girls come from incredibly difficult circumstances. Their mom and dad are both drug addicts and have abandoned them more than once. They have two little sisters ages 10 and 4 who are just the sweetest ever. Brenda and Gabi and their two sisters were living here in Cocula with their aunt to try and start a better life. The week before I got here, the mom came here and took the younger two girls. The 10 year old has just the saddest little life. Her name is Julia and her mom just kind of sends her away so she doesn’t have to take care of here for long periods of time. Julia somehow is pregnant and her mom just came a stole her back and she is living in terrible conditions in Guadalajara. My heart just breaks as I think about these 4 sisters who love each other so much but have the worst life. I cant imagine. No 10 year old should have to suffer what Julia is suffering.

Only Brenda and Gabi are still here and they have been our best little friends. But things have been weird these last couple weeks. With a lot of questions and worries, we have come to find out that the uncle of the girls thinks that we pay their aunt to take them to church and now he will not let them leave the house or talk to us. I don’t know why, but this experience is really taking a toll on me. I just instantly fell in love with these two girls the first time I met them and I just have been constantly thinking about what we can do to help these girls. Everything was great and we were teaching them everyday, but now this has happened and this is where we are kind of stuck. I’m sad for this family. I know that the Lord hasn’t forgotten them and He never will, but they need prayers and love.

That’s been the overall burden of the week, but we have had a good time and it hasn’t been all sadness. I love this work and there is all sorts of happiness to find in it. We have had a lot of appointments fall and lot of things that you would think to be disappointing but we aren’t disappointed. We are working and finding and having faith that what God wants to happen will happen.

This week we are going to have our Zone Conference. I’m super excited to get to be with the Zone. Some of my best mission buds are in the zone and I’m excited to see them and hang out with them for a sec. We are all going to travel together so it will be fun. I’m even more excited to see President and Sister Clayton and learn from them. I love them so much and they teach with so much power and I just want that little boost I get when I listen to them.

Overall I’m doing so great and I’m thankful and happy to be here. It’s hard and I love it. I’m thankful to be able to grow everyday and I wouldn’t change this experience for the world. I wish that everyone could understand what a mission can do for you and how much it can help you. It is a priesthood duty, but it is more of a blessing than anything.

Love you all!

Elder Cluff

Week 49-“If it’s not just kneel down and pray for help and listen to Heavenly Father and everything will work out in the best way possible.”

Hola!

This week has been a little difficult because my comp and I have both had these vicious colds. This cold is no respecter of persons and it just took us out for a whole week. We couldn’t see Antonio this week which was just a real bummer but we will try and get back with him this week.

This morning we had a district leader training meeting in Guadalajara. So we got to spend our whole P-Day here in the city. Let me just tell you how different this city is from the rest of Mexico (that I’ve seen) We went to this massive mall called Galerías. It was amazing. It was the most American experience I’ve had since being here. It was a massive mall with all my favorite stores and more.

I found this new store. It was more of a little boutique type thing. It was called “laces” and it was a freakin’ sneaker boutique. I just started goin’ off with these dudes asking about the sneaker culture down here. Turns out its absolutely massive. It was super cool to see a lot of new stuff. You won’t even believe what happened next.. A NIKE STORE. They had all the latest releases. I was just so overwhelmed at everything and I was like “what is all this stuff??” But it was super sick. I loved it. I bought some new socks and stuff in h&m and I just had a grand day with some great elders. It was so great. My favorite P-Day of the mish so far.

The training we had this morning was super great. We have some stud Zone Leaders here and I’m just happy to be around them. I was able to learn a lot of new things that I’m excited to try as a District Leader. I love my district and I hope I can help each one of them to grow. I think the best way to help/lead other people is by your example. I think the most important thing that I can do is just be obedient and work hard. So that’s what I’m trying to do everyday.

I really like my new zone and I’m excited to get to know them all even more! Right now I’m staying with my comp from the MTC and it’s just so fun. I love him and there just aren’t many people like him.

Shout out to the sickest mom. I got a fantastic package and I’m looking like a missionary that just arrived in these new pants and ties. I feel great physically AND spiritually to say the least. What a mother I have. I love you mom.

I’m really just loving the scriptures. I’m wanting to read them and I feel a desire to study them. It’s a great feeling that I hope never goes away. I’m loving the mission. It’s already half way over. I come home a day from yesterday and that really just blows my mind. It kind of grinds my gears too because I’m lovin the mish and I literally have know idea what the heck I’m gonna do when I’m back on US soil. I don’t need to worry about that now, but it is a little spooky…

Well I love you all. Thank you for all the support and love. I need it and love it. I hope that all is well. If it’s not just kneel down and pray for help and listen to Heavenly Father and everything will work out in the best way possible.

LOVEEE YOU
ps shout out to Ry for hittin’ that big 20 a little bit ago. I love you dog.

Elder Cluff

Week 48 -“Coolin’ in Cocula”

Hola!
This area is just too awesome. I am just ecstatic to be here. I love it so much. It’s super green and the weather is just a complete game changer. I’m sleeping with blankets at night. and sweats. It’s just such a blessing and I’m excited to be here.
Elder Barlow and I are getting along great. We are always doing something funny and messing around with each other. Its gonna be a fun transfer. We will only have this one transfer together because hes already been here forever. It will be a good six weeks. He’s loving it because we are obedient. Apparently his last comp wasn’t too obedient so he is just all sorts of excited.
This week we worked the whole week in Cocula. Which is weird for me I haven’t had an entire week in my area in a couple of months. I actually loved it and we were able to find a ton of new people to teach. One of them is named Antonio. He is married to the daughter of a pretty less active family that the missionaries have been working with for a while. His wife, Anahí, hasn’t been to church in years, but it will change. Antonio has loved our lessons so far and it’s been fun to teach him. I see a lot of potential in him. He is 20 and his wife is 18 and they just had a little baby. It is just a perfect situation for the gospel to work in them. I hope that they will choose to let it happen.
We’ve got a cool little branch in the area Estipac. There are two other missionaries there that just hang out with us all day every pday. Estipac is like 30 minutes away and that’s where the building is. The branch is really cool. I really loved Sunday. It was nice and calm and I really enjoyed it.
It’s been raining a lot here and I love it. It’s just really cool here. I cant get over it. It’s awesome.
I’d say that one of the downsides to Cocula is how Catholic everyone is. In my previous areas everyone has been catholic but nobody went to church or anything. Here everyone goes every single Sunday and they can’t imagine that there is life outside of the Catholic. We are just searching for the people that are ready.
I loved my first week here. I still feel a little weird. I dont know any of the other missionaries in the Zone very well, so I’m excited to get to know some of them. Hopefully we can start having some fun activities this week. I just love activities. Wholesome recreational activities.
I’m still loving the missionary life and I feel that the routine we follow has just become my life. It’s not weird to me anymore. I love waking up at 6:30 and studying the scrips. It’s the best. It’s another habit I would love to keep up after the lds mish. I’m loving how much I’m learning about myself and about this gospel. I know that it changes lives. We have to accept it and let it work within us and when we do it changes us. I’m just happy here. I know that that comes from the work I’m doing and the gospel I’m living.
I love you all. Have a sensational week.
Elder Cluff

Week 47-“I love that somehow we do hard things and little by little, hard thing after hard thing, we grow and change into the person that the Lord wants us to be.”

Hola!

Traaaaaaansfer Sunday! After almost an entire year in my zone, after four companions, tons of new friends, quite a new vocabulary, and a whole bunch of Mexico, I have been transferred. I got transferred to one of the cooler parts of the mission called Cocula. It is THE birth place of mariachi. It’s a little village but it is so pretty I love it. I loved driving into it. It’s all green and just like a breath of refreshing air after being in the hottest area in the mission. I feel great.

My companion is a stud. His name is Elder Barlow. He’s from Huntington Beach, California. The man is 6’9″ and I feel tiny walking next to him. But he’s a hooper so I’m sure we are gonna get along just fine. He has the same amount of time as Elder Koyle so it’s gonna be fun. I’m gonna keep being district leader so that will be fun. My companion has been in this area for what will be 7 months so the poor thing is gonna have to grind out another transfer. But he’s super pumped and excited so I’m happy.
We live next door to a panaderia (bakery) and the whole street just smells like Christmas. It’s awesome. Also the house isn’t nearly as bad as the one I was in. I think I won this transfer.

I’m really actually sad to leave Nayarit after a year. There are like certain sayings and gestures and stuff in that state that I wont use here and that makes me sad. I’m leaving a little piece of myself there, but I’m excited to start a new part of my mission here in Cocula.

The last month or so, as a mission we have been doing a Book of Mormon challenge. We have to write down on each page of the book something that helped us that day or sometime. I have learned so much and felt so much during this challenge. More than anything I have learned how the Book of Mormon speaks to me, and I think that is super important. It’s been awesome to see, and even more awesome to feel a bigger desire grow and grow to read it. I just pray every night that it can become a need in my life. Something I can’t go without. I want it to become a part of me so that when I come home it is a daily, constant thing. I have noticed that tons of missionaries stop reading the scriptures almost instantly when they get home and that’s just scary to me. I’m going to do everything I can to not let that happen and to get it engraven in my heart now.

I love the mission. Little things happen all the time that just make you love it. Like today I had to travel all by myself to a new area that I had no idea where it was. I was all sorts of stressed but somehow I did it. I love that somehow we do hard things and little by little, hard thing after hard thing, we grow and change into the person that the Lord wants us to be. 

I’m sure next email will be full of some crazy experiences and that my letter will be more interesting. I love this gospel and I’m thankful that it’s changing my life.

I love you all, have a good week!!

 

Elder Cluff