Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pink Washing

Here I am in the Oregon Eugene Mission!  President Y and Sister Y are the missionaries who are in charge of the missionary work in this area.

I am so happy that I finally get the chance to write you again.  It has been awesome here.  I see sooo many miracles and most of them I don't even realize as miracles at the time.  We had 26 referrals given to us in the last week!  Sister R (my companion) says it is a good week if you get like 5.  I have not been too phreaked out and haven’t acted like a newbie too badly.  It is kind of funny to see people's responses when I tell them that I have only been on my mission for like 6 days.  I should probably stop telling people even though I think it is fun.  People just want to tell me all of the pranks that they have played on greenies (brand new missionaries).  Sister W told me that President Y said he would send any one home that played a trick on a greenie so, I am safe. 
So, Sister R is amazing!  She is stellar, she has only been out about 4 months and we are white-washing, I guess it is technically pink-washing because we are sister missionaries.  White-washing is when the missionaries who have been in the area are both replaced.  So, there is a lot of work to be done.  I think that we are showing the people here we are really going to work hard.  The area is so grateful to have sister missionaries.  We are fed every night.

Back to Sister R, my missionary companion.  Sister R is from Utah.  She is a niece of one of our Texas friends.  She says to tell you that she is BOMB.  (Bomb means super awesome here.)  I have never really heard this term until I got here.  She has 6 siblings; 5 sisters and 1 brother.  She worked in a hospital as a CNA (Certified Nurse's Assistant) in the NICU (Newborn intensive care unit) at a huge hospital.  She is going to be going back to school to get a nursing degree.  We love laughing together.  I sometimes think that we are having too much fun while we are on our missions, but we are working really hard.  She keeps saying that I don't need any training.  Usually for the first 12 weeks a new missionary sticks with the same companion (aka "trainer") in the same area.  I get an hour of training time each day.  I guess I am keeping afloat pretty well.    So, don't worry about me.  We joke that pretty soon we won't know who the senior companion is, but I still get to back out the car.  I am not that good yet, but just give me four months.

The weather has been super sunny here.  I keep thinking this isn't Oregon, because it is so sunny.  I guess in the "winter" (or the rainy season, November to March) it is either raining or foggy because of all of the hills.  I hear it is drizzle rain, so I am thinking it must be kind of like Germany.  I thought it would be like a rain forest here but maybe that happens in the rain.  There are lots of spiders here.  Eww.  Luckily it is mostly spider webs, instead of spiders.

I just wanted to let you know that I know this church is true and that it can benefit everyone.  I wish more people would be willing to listen, but I am grateful for the chance to state my testimony with boldness.  I love wearing my black name tag.  It reminds me of who I am and why I am here.  <3 Sister Cluff

Oregon, USA

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Questions & Answers

What is your favorite part of the day? 
That is an awesome question.  I am not sure.  Some days I love teaching my investigators and some days that it is not my favorite part.  Gym is usually pretty fun.  I have been playing volleyball recently.  I actually got hit in the head , but I was fine and kept playing.  I have had Gym anywhere from 8am-9pm, and it is really hard to go and "exercise" when I am feeling exhausted by the end of the day.  I have felt myself grow more and more.  It is hard work, exhausting, and stressful but it is so worth it!  My mission is forcing me to be the kind of person I want to be.  I am not perfect, but I have progressed soooo much in the last 2 weeks I have been here.  And I can see all of my district progressing too.  (A district is my class that I do everything with.)  Our district has 3 companionships of elders and 1 companionship of sisters.  There are about 2000 elders and about 400 sisters here at the MTC now. 
 How are you getting along with your companion? 
Awesomely.  We are two different people and have lived very different lives.  She is a rough, tough, and loveable country girl with a country accent and I am a sweet, stubborn, sometimes klutzy city-girl.  I have been a lot more klutzy lately and she laughs with me about it.  I pretend to be offended or embarrassed.  Almost all of our interests are different.  She likes football, hunting, fishing, westerns, etc. 
We both have fun senses of humor.  We love laughing together and being together.  We are both kind of quiet; I am probably more vocal when teaching.  I am trying to learn how to share the talking time and not interrupt her.  When that happens, we work together to try to fix those problems.  We are both putting our all into this companionship.  We have learned that we need to be open, loving, and on the same page to teach most effectively. We also have both felt under the weather (only slightly-don't worry mom).
 Have you had any spiritual experiences?  Haha, funny question.  I feel like I have one every hour.  Yesterday Sister W and I taught the plan of salvation to a less active brother named Melvin.  He hadn't been to church since he was little (he is probably in his 80s) and it really brought peace to him.  His wife had been dead for 1.5 years and he hadn't prayed since then.  We were able to share the joy of the gospel with him.  Let him know that God gives us second chances.  We were able to teach these concepts with clarity and the spirit.  It was awesome!  And that is just 1 hour’s experience!
 I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior.  He loves me and has suffered my pain so that I don't have to.  Heavenly Father wants us back with him and he gives us second chances.  It is never too late, but that doesn't mean a person should procrastinate.  It is all about love and Christ.  Try to be like him. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Awesomely Challenging

Awesome is the word of the week!  They keep us all really busy here [at the MTC – Missionary Training Center].  This is an awesome place where you can feel the spirit so much.  Every activity is inspired and all of the materials we are given to learn are awesome.   I have been having 6 hours of classroom time a day. I am teaching 4 investigators [people who are seeking more information about The Church] and we have a lot of time to read scriptures and Preach my Gospel [a study guide for sharing the gospel].  It has been awesome to be surrounded by people with a common purpose, especially when we are all singing together.  I am in the MTC choir.  I can´t remember the words right now but we sang the song “I´m Trying to Be like Jesus.”  Every word rang true and applied to me right now.   We are a mighty army.
I enjoyed conference.  [Referring to the world-wide, semi-annual conference broadcast from Salt Lake City.  Kevin, Kendra, David, and Adam attended various sessions.  Andrew and Laurie watched from home.]  I heard the tentative plan for who was going to each session of conference.  I watched the broadcast from the MTC.  I picked out a couple of talks that I thought were good info for my family attending those sessions.  I then had to remind myself to look for things for me.  It wasn't very hard to do. (smiley face)
            I am doing good.  There are times when I am feeling discouraged and times when I totally feel like I got this missionary thing.  I am fitting in pretty well with my clothing, personality, and testimony.  And yet I am uniquely me.  It is great!
A funny thing happened this week.   The power went off.  I was taking a turn in the shower at this time.  Luckily, a lady came in and said those of us in the showers didn’t have to go outside for the fire drill.   I was really glad I didn´t have to evacuate in a towel!
            I have a great companion, Sister W. from Arizona.  She has 6 brothers, loves horses, hunting, and fishing.  We love to laugh and nicely tease each other.  We are pushing each other to be better.
            The most fun things I did this week were:
1.  Singing in the missionary choir.
2.  Going to the temple. (really nice)
3.  Taking a kickboxing class for the sister missionaries. (hard but cool)
            There are hard times too.  One night I was feeling super depressed and I was able to pray and ask Heavenly Father to help me use the Atonement to feel happier.  It worked!  I testify that the Atonement can heal hurt, loneliness, and disappointments.
            My next week schedule includes a lot of classes, teaching, and personal study time.  I only get part of a day to do laundry, write letters, have a little free time, and go to the temple.  I plan to leave for Oregon on Oct. 18.