Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Leavin' on a Jet Plane...

A sad and happy day!!  Sad, because we won't be seeing her cute face and or hearing her tinkling laugh for awhile.  Happy, because she will be busy doing good works for others.  Sister Cluff enters the MTC (Missionary Training Center) on Wednesday, Sept. 28th.  She will be writing home once a week. 

It's Official

I am "officially" a missionary now.  I was set-apart which means I had a special blessing from my stake president.  He layed his hands on my head and gave me the authority to serve as a representative of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Oregon-Eugene mission.  During the next 18 months I will be helping and supporting people who choose to join The Church.  I will also be doing service in the community and teaching people who want to know more about what Mormons believe.  I am excited!  (P.S.  My Mom will be the one posting excerpts from my letters and photos from here on out.)

Dress Up

My Mom and I spent a day playing dress-up.  Since I will be limited to 2 suitcases and 1 carry-on bag during the next 18 months, I have to make my wardrobe stretch.  There are some general guidelines for missionary clothing.  As a representative of The Church, all my clothes need to be modest and not too distracting.  I have chosen clothes with sleeves and skirts that fall below my knees.  I want to look neat and clean while wearing a missionary tag.
I began my dress up adventure by bringing all the possible items into my Mom's room and putting them on top of the bed.  For the next few hours, I tried as many combinations as possible... different scarfs, jackets, beads, shoes.  I posed for pictures.  The acceptable ones were put together on cards and labeled by item.  The pictures above show about half of the ideas we had for wearing the brown skirt and my plaid skirt.  I also have cards for my blue skirt, black/white dress, and grey skirt.  I hope when I'm in a clothing slump, I can be inspired by some of the pictures we took.         

Let's Eat Cake!

Aunt Shawna made a great cake for me.  She is following the tradition set by Aunt Brenda, who made a cake for Uncle Eric before he left on his mission.  The cake was very cute as you can see in the photo.  She designed it to look like me.  It was almost too pretty to eat.  Thanks Aunt Shawna for the delicious memory!

Surrounded with Love & Support

I feel so blessed.  I gave my last talk at church before my mission starts.  So many of my family drove or flew in to see me.  I was both happy to see everyone and also nervous to speak in front of so many people.  My Dad and I also invited some of our neighbors to come to the church meeting.  Many of our closest neighbors came.  It was great to have their support too.
My speaking assignment was on a subject I will spend the next 18 months experiencing for myself -   Service and Love.  Some of the questions I asked myself are:   “Do we serve because we love?”  Or “Do we love because we serve?”   I think the answer is both.  We serve because we love God.  We also come to love people as we serve them. 
One of the stories I told was about my personal experience in learning to love more.   Here’s the quote from my talk notes:  “…living in an apartment with 6 girls can be tough, especially when it is time to clean.  One time, I was going throughout my life, working on homework, classes, and work and I noticed for about 2 days the sink was getting piled up with dishes.   As the dishes were getting higher and higher in the sink, I began getting irritated at my room-mates.  One day I finally did the dishes and a funny thing happened, I began to get happier with every dish I washed.  By the time I finished washing the dishes I loved my room-mates more than ever.”  My service helped me feel joy, love, and peace.
I also liked one of the stories about Jesus from the Bible.  It inspires me to serve even when I don’t feel like it.  Again, here are my notes:  “When Jesus Christ heard that John the Baptist, his cousin, was beheaded he went off by himself in the desert.  When the people heard he was going out, they followed him.  Matthew 14:14 says, ‘And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.’  Not only did he heal their sick, but when the disciples urged Jesus to send the multitude away so that the people could buy food, Jesus would not hear of it.  He told the disciples to feed them. There were only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes, with this they fed more than 5,000 people.”  When I feel sad or discouraged and just want to nurse my own wounds, I try to remember my Savior’s example.
How blessed I am to be surrounded by people who love and support my decision to serve a mission.  Thanks to all those who made a personal sacrifice to be with me.  Thanks to all the other family who couldn’t visit me in person but have sent their love and prayers my way.  I love you all.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Red Shoes Match Everything!

Having my mission call in hand, I was excited to begin my preparations.  Since my Mom and sister Kendra were in Germany, I went shopping the first time with Aunt Shawna.  I quickly fell in love with these red shoes.  Red goes with everything....  Right?  It took a little time to convince my mother of this fact.  I wanted some fun shoes to wear on my mission.  I didn't want to only wear black, practical shoes.  I bought them.  I still love them.  They're perfect!!  (P.S.  I have a pair of black shoes too.)