Monday, April 8, 2013

Last Transfer & Testimony

So, transfer news…  Guess what?!  I am being transferred to the Illinois Chicago Mission!  Weird, huh?  [She’s just kidding.  She’ll be finishing her mission tomorrow and coming home!] 

Today, I am still a missionary and I am still thinking about the MB Ward, and my present and past companions.  Sister L, my current companion, is getting trained by another amazing sister in the mission.  Sister L (a different missionary), who was also serving in the MB Ward, is going with Sister T.  And yes, I know the names probably don't mean very much to you all.  The important thing is that the work is going forward and we are getting 7 new sister missionaries this transfer.  It is going to be weird not counting time in "transfers” [6-week increments of time].

So, about my week....  It has been an exciting week, the week before transfer week always is.  Looking forward to General Conference was super exciting.  It was like Christmas.  [General Conference is a semi-annual, world-wide broadcast from Church leaders in Salt Lake City.]  There were so many good talks. I really liked the talk with the tomato plant analogy. [She’s referring to a story about a tomato plant grown from one seed and how it can multiple into hundreds of future tomatoes with proper care.]  I have seen the potential of others especially this last week in those people around me.  And, when the little girl talked about the millions of tomatoes she could get from her one little tomato plant it was a perfect description of how I feel about those people I work with.  Even when we water them and help them they still have to have the desire to grow.

Well, family and friends, I love you sooooo much!  Thank you for all of the support, prayers, and love you have given me during my mission.  I can't say that enough.  I just want you all to know that I know without a shadow of a doubt that this church is true.  I know that Jesus Christ lives and loves each one of us so much that he gave his life to save us.  I know that Joseph Smith was able to restore the Church of Jesus Christ back to the earth again.  I am so grateful for the direction that we have in our lives from latter day prophets.  And I know that the Spirit testifies of the truth of the gospel.  I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Love, Sister Cluff

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sisters on Bikes

Sister Cluff and Sister L ride bikes. 
Photo taken by some Elders serving in the area. 
Thanks Elders!  It's great to see those smiling Sister missionaries!

Temple Trip

This week was great but it also seemed a little bit short.  I was able to go to the temple with the departing missionaries.  It was amazing to be there.  The Portland temple is beautiful!  And, even prettier than its looks are the feelings that you get when you go inside.  It is a special house of the Lord that I was lucky enough to be able to go to.  It was really great having President Y and Sister Y there along with other missionaries I have served around during my mission.

Another wonderful thing happened this week.  While I was waiting to go to the temple, I was able to serve with two other sister missionaries.  We found a family that they can start teaching.  Something that I have learned while I have been on my mission is that families are the best to teach.  The gospel can bless and strengthen the whole family.  I am so excited for the Sisters to start teaching this family and I am hoping to be able to keep finding people who want to learn more about Christ's gospel.

Keep doing good and working hard!  Love, Sister Cluff

A Great Week!

I had a really good week, this last week.  One of the exciting things that happened was that I got pink pancakes for my birthday breakfast.  They had pink frosting and sprinkles inside and outside.  They were like dessert for breakfast.  My companion was experimenting and they were pretty good.  Thank you for all of the birthday wishes!  They made my day really special.

One of the miracles I saw this week was that we were able to start teaching someone who missionaries taught a little bit in the past.  She seems a lot more ready at this time.  This lady told us of her desire to quit smoking.  (We had randomly stopped by the first time.)  She said she had smoked her last cigarette about an hour before we got there and she was determined to quit.  We taught a bit about the Word of Wisdom.  [A code of health given to early members by revelation from the Lord to the prophet Joseph Smith.  It describes foods that are good to eat as well as substances to avoid.  Promises are made to those who live this law that they will receive health, strength, and wisdom.]  It was great to visit with her.

Another exciting thing this week is that I get to go to the Portland temple with President Y, Sister Y, and all of the departing missionaries.  I am really excited.  I have been looking forward to it my whole mission.  I hear the Portland temple is beautiful.

I love you!  Thank you for all the good that you do!  You are in my prayers.  Love, Sister Cluff


This week has been a really good week.  First off, the weather was beautiful.  It was in the 50's-60's and sunny.

We had a few lessons that really stood out this week.  One of them was to a Catholic lady who is always kind and welcoming to the missionaries.  She was taught a couple of lessons almost a year ago and then we decided to go back this week and see how she was doing.  We were able to set up a time to meet with her on Saturday.

When Saturday came we had planned to teach her about the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ.  We weren't exactly sure how this lesson would go.  We were able to go in there and teach her at her level of understanding.  She has such amazing faith.  She knows that God is there and that he has saved her life many times.  It was amazing to hear her testimony and for us to be able to testify that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that he had the same question that she had, "Why are there so many churches?" We were able to share his experience and talk about why prophets are so important.  We were able to share our testimonies of the truth of the Book of Mormon.  It was a sweet experience.  Heavenly Father loves all of his children so much.

We also had a zone conference this week with President Y.  One of the things that stood out to me in this meeting was when he talked about all of the different ways we can use prayers.  We can teach investigators about prayer and invite them to pray right then.  We can invite members to pray for missionary opportunities as well as pray for a specific street the missionaries can tract on.  And the one that stood out to me was to pray with people while we go tracting or visiting.  We have made a special effort to pray with those people whose doors we knock on or visit with.  It brings the spirit in a special way.  I have seen many of the people we have prayed with who are touched by the prayers.  I am excited to see the results of these prayers.

Well, I love you all so much!  Thank you for all of the good you do in the world.  Love you!  Love, Sister Cluff

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sister Missionaries on Bikes

This week was really good.  I think the most exciting part was that I got to ride a bike, and I will keep getting to ride a bike.  Right now we are sharing a car with the other two sisters serving in the MB Ward, so we switch off with the car every other day.  It was an adventure at first riding a bike in a skirt, but it is not as bad as I thought it would be.  (Don't worry, Mom, we have bike lights and helmets!)  My companion is a bike expert.  She did a couple of triathlons and she will be a biking missionary when she goes to Denmark.  This will give her good practice and it will be an adventure.  Now I can say I have ridden a bike as a sister missionary, in a skirt.

I want to tell you about a couple of miracles we saw this week.  One of them was that we arrived at our dinner appointment early and decided to go tracting in the area.  We were able to knock on the door of a Hispanic lady with four little kids.  She accepted a Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet and we are planning on stopping by soon to give her a Book of Mormon in Spanish.  Sister L and I are both very grateful that we were able to meet her.

Another miracle was that we had a lesson with Bev.  She has had questions about prophets and how you know if they are truly prophets of God.  We were able to watch a movie called On the Lord's Errand, which is a biography about Thomas S. Monson.  It really spoke to Bev's needs and concerns because it helped her to see what kind of a person President Monson is.  There is a good spirit felt in that video.

I love you, family and friends. Thank you for all of the good you do in the world. Thank you for being the answers to prayers.
Love you!  Love, Sister Cluff

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My Busy Week

It has been great being back in one of my former mission locations.  I really missed it. I am enjoying the sun, that's for sure. Okay, so I decided that I needed to do a day by day of last week:

Monday:  I got to write emails, and then I went to another area several hours away.  While there, I was a companion with a sister who serves in a YSA [Young Single Adult] Ward.  It was pretty fun.  We got to pick up and drop off a lot of other sister missionaries who were being transferred.  I got to go to the YSA talent show that night.  Another temporary companion and I got to say the opening and closing prayers for the talent show.  There are some very talented people in the world.

Tuesday:  I got to go to 2 lessons with a couple of other sister missionaries.  They were both waiting for the new group of sister missionaries to arrive as well.  It was fun to see the work going on in a different area and get to work with two amazing sisters that I haven't worked with before.  It was wonderful that we were able to teach together so well.  We also got to go to Trainer's training session that started at 2:30pm.  It was great to see all of the trainers.  I was surprised at how many I knew.  It was fun to see everyone and hear their testimonies of this great work.

Wednesday:  All of the sister missionaries got to sleep over at President and Sister Y's house.  We got to go on a run/walk with President Y on a beautiful little pathway.  We then got ready for the day and had more training until the new missionaries came in.  They came in at around 2pm.  President Y spent the next few hours interviewing all 35 new missionaries (11 were sisters).  My new companion is Sister L.  She is waiting for her visa for Denmark.  She is from New Hampshire and she is amazing!  Sister L and I slept over at President and Sister Y's house again because there wasn't enough time to make it to our area that night.

Thursday:  We drove for several hours to get to home.  Yay, we are finally here!  We got to teach two lessons that day to investigators who I had taught before.  It was great.   We are in the process of trying to figure out how to work most effectively with two sets of missionaries in the same ward.

Friday:  A major highlight of Friday was that we were able to see 2 of my recent converts and have a lesson with them.  They didn't know I was coming back to this area.  It was really good to see them.

Saturday:  We moved to a slightly bigger apartment so we could have separate study areas.  We are now in a 2 bedroom apartment.  It is nice to be settled.  We got to go to the adult session of stake conference.  It was really fun to introduce my companion to everyone.

Sunday:  We had stake conference. [A Stake is a group of approximately 8-10 wards/congregations.  Stake conference is held twice a year.]  It was really good.  Some things that they emphasized were missionary work, and temple and family history work.  The work of the Lord is going forth and we all get to help in that.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is good and true.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's church restored back to the earth.  I know it is true because I have prayed and felt that confirming witness.  I love you, family.  Thank you for your support and your love. Keep up the great work!  Love, Sister Cluff

Transfer Calls!

So, are you ready for the big news?  I am getting transferred back to my former location!  I will be going back to the same ward (MB Ward) I was working in before this last transfer.  I am super excited.  It was funny because I was looking at my postcards last week that I had bought, and I figured I couldn't use some of them because they didn't apply anymore. Well, now I can use them again.

The sad part is that I am not going to be companions with Sister T anymore.  She was definitely one of my favorite companions.  She is going to a little town and serving with a Sister who is just as new as she is (both are only 5 weeks out).  This will be super exciting.  She and her companion are going to see a lot of miracles.  I am going to be training another brand-new sister.  And, another exciting bit of news is that there are going to be two sets of sisters serving in the MB Ward!  Having two sets of missionaries in one ward is a first for a family ward in our mission.  I am not sure yet who the other two sisters are going to be, but I am excited to find out.  I am sad to be leaving my last area though.  I got attached to all of the ward members there, that's for sure.  And, I am going to miss the rain.

Well, the work is carrying on in the area I am just leaving.  The two Elders that are coming into the ward are going to be awesome.  We have been really working with the ward to help them in their missionary work.  I never realized how big of a role the members play in missionary work.  Missionaries are really just there to teach and be consultants for the members.  I think I served here to learn that lesson. This is a very missionary minded ward and I have loved it.  I am excited to see what happens down the road for this ward as they move forward.

Well, family and friends, I love you a lot. Thank you for all you do!  Love, Sister Cluff

A Special Valentine

Here's a fun little surprise that arrived in our inbox on Valentine's Day....
"Sending you a Valentine of Sister Cluff.  We are excited to have Sister Cluff serving in our BR Branch.  My husband and I just met her today.  She is a lovely lady!"
 ---Love, Sister E & Brother E

Sister Cluff feels loved.

- Sister T and Sister Cluff -
A kind family remembered the missionaries
serving in their area on Valentine's Day.

Seeing these photos made us smile.  We apprieciate the kindness shown to our missionary.  It also makes us want to be a little kinder to the missionaries we meet.  Thanks Brother & Sister E!!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Nourished by the Word of God

This week's best adventure was that we got to go out to the BR Branch [a Branch is a smaller congregation than a Ward].  We are covering both a ward and a branch, but we cover the branch only one day a week. Wednesday is our "BR Branch Day."  While we were there, we were able to teach a few less active members.  There was one lady who hasn't been to church in 30 years and I think she is ready for a change.  We went into the lesson planning on talking about Enos and prayer, but that didn't feel right.  We were able to read a Book of Mormon scripture with her in Moroni 6:4-6:

"And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith. And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls. And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus."

We were able to testify about the importance of church and we were able to teach by the Spirit according to her needs.  I am so grateful that the Holy Ghost can give us guidance in what we need to say, that he will bring scriptures to our remembrance.  I am also grateful that He told my companion that prayer wasn't the right thing to talk about so when I started reading a completely different scripture she didn't panic.  She was able to take it in stride and testify about church and its importance as well.

I love this church and I love sharing my testimony of it with other people. Keep up the great work, family. I love you all so much!  Love, Sister Cluff


P.S.  Transfers are coming up again.  Next Monday is transfer day and I will know for sure on Saturday what is going to happen.

Sunny Oregon

This week has been nice and sunny for Oregon, it hardly rained at all!  It was kind of weird, and makes me excited for the springtime.  I keep saying, "What?! I thought this was Oregon" to Sis. T.

We had a wonderful lesson this week with a lady named Angela.  She has several friends in the ward and was actually a referral.  She is from Germany and it is interesting to learn more about her. This week we shared information about the Restoration with her.  We taught her about how God has a pattern and reveals His truth to the prophets, not just once but over and over again, and how he did the same when Jesus Christ was on the earth.  She really wanted to learn more.  She said, "What happened next?"  She is loving and developing a greater relationship with her Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  It is wonderful to see that growth.  She has learned so much in the short time we have met with her.  The Spirit is really strong when she prayed at the end of the lesson.  She prayed in German and it helped me remember that God hears and answers each of our prayers, even when they are in a foreign language.

I love you all so much! Thank you for all the good things you do in your lives and thank you for all of the support I have received while I have been on my mission.  I love you!  Love, Sister Cluff

Answers from the Spirit

One of the highlights of this past week was that we got to have President Y and Sister Y at our district meeting and training session.   We had just started the hour of training with our zone leaders and other trainers/trainees in zone when they came.  President Y and Sister Y found out for themselves just what a great teacher Sister T is.  I keep warning her that she is going to be training in 3 weeks.  She doesn't like to hear that.  She says she wants to stick it out with me for the next couple of months, and I would be happy with that as well.  As a newbie (new missionary), I didn't like it either when my companion told me that I would be a trainer soon.  Sister T may not be training, but that is not because she is not ready to.  She is a wonderful missionary.

Sister T and I have been looking for miracles lately and the other day we had a pretty wonderful miracle.  We were looking in our area book and calling everyone to see if they are ready to learn more.  We called a girl named Brittney.  We were able to meet with her and share the message of the Restoration of the Gospel.  We also shared our own personal testimonies of how we came to know the Church and the Book of Mormon are true.  It was a pretty different lesson than most in the sense that this was driven by her questions.  It was amazing to be able to share information about the Restoration and be able to answer all of her intense and varied questions with the help of the Spirit.  We asked her how she knew the Bible was true and related that to how we knew the Book of Mormon and Bible are true.  I think she is definitely curious about learning more. There is for sure no way that we could have answered those questions without the Spirit.

I know this church is true. I know that Jesus Christ is the son of God.  I know that He lives.  He suffered for my trials and mistakes as has yours.  The Book of Mormon is true and I bear solemn witness of that.  This church is the Church of Jesus Christ once again established on this earth today.

Thank you for all the good you do. Thank you for your sacrifice and service. I love you all.  Love, Sister Cluff

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Picture and Note

This is a picture we received in December from the mission office.  It is the first picture we have seen of Sister Cluff in a long time!

The note said:
"Here is your daughter and her companion at zone conference. She is doing great and we love her. Have a Merry Christmas!"  
--President Y & Sister Y

New Companion & Area - It's going to be great!!

This last week was full of excitement.  The new sister missionaries came in!  All 12 of them!  There was one from Chicago, two with hard-to-pronounce last names, and a bunch of other wonderful sisters. 

It was pretty nerve wracking to find out who my new companion was going to be.  President doesn't assign them until he has had an interview with each of the new missionaries. This time I was called second to last to get my companion assignment.  My new companion is Sister T.  She is one of the two sisters with a hard name to pronounce.  She is from the Los Angeles area and she is one quarter Samoan.  She has curly brown hair and blue eyes.  (Sound like someone you know?)  She is a super softball expert and was recruited to the University of Hawaii.  Pretty cool, huh?

My new area is pretty great. It is right on the outskirts of mission headquarters.  We will also be spending a little bit of time doing missionary work in the BR church branch which is about 45 minutes away.  

It is great to see the rain again.  I missed it.  It is also fun to see the moss going crazy on the trees.  I call them alien trees.  I will have to send some pictures of them along with pictures of myself and my new companion.

A miracle happened this week while we were out tracting.  This was Sister T's first tracting experience and after the first door she knocked on (she did great; by the way), we met a guy sitting on his porch.  We were able to invite him to church and share a Book of Mormon with him.  Later that evening he texted and he asked us more questions about the church and our experiences.  I was able to bear my testimony through text messaging that I knew the Book of Mormon was true myself.  Pretty cool!  Sister T thought that was great: missionary work through texts.  The man committed to read the Book of Mormon.

I definitely have a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I am so grateful for it. I am grateful for my Savior of whom the Book of Mormon testifies. I know this Church is true with all of my heart.

Thank you so much, family & friends, for all of the good you do. Thank you for your testimonies. I love you all so much!  Love, Sister Cluff

Monday, January 21, 2013


This last week we had a new investigator, her name is Sylvia.  She told us that she felt inspired when she met Sister H, a member who we are meeting with.  Sylvia asked if she could sit in on the lesson with us.  We were able to teach her a bit about how God has established a pattern of apostles and prophets, Christ establishing his church, the great falling away, and finally the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ.  When we shared Joseph Smith's first vision she said that it gave her goosebumps and we were able to testify to her that that was the Holy Ghost speaking to her.  We then were able to share a talk by Pres. Uchtdorf, one of our latter day apostles.  The talk was titled "You matter to Him."

I was also able to share my testimony this Sunday during the gospel essentials Sunday School class.  I was able to bear my testimony about Joseph Smith.  I am so grateful that we are each able to gain our own testimony, that we don't have to just take some person's word for it.  But that the Spirit can talk to our hearts and testify of the truth.  We can know for ourselves if Joseph Smith truly was a prophet, by asking our Heavenly Father and listening for our answer.  It is as simple as that.  Heavenly Father loves us so much and he wants us to learn for ourselves.

I am excited for this next transfer.  I will be training a new missionary in another area of Oregon.  Sister L is going to stay here and train a new sister missionary as well. It is going to be an adventure.

I love you all!  Thank you for all the good you do!  Love, Sister Cluff

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Importance of Friends

As I was thinking about this letter and what I would write today, I was reminded of a lesson we had this week.

This appointment reminded me of the importance of friends and the importance of church.  I also want to share a scripture that goes along with my thought that is in Moroni 6:4.  It says:

 "And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith."

This lesson was with an older couple who Sister L had taught when she was in her previous area and who wanted to be taught by sister missionaries.  He was an inactive member and she isn't a member.  They have both been around the church for a really long time.  She told us that she didn't know why she wasn't baptized.  She bore her testimony to us on the power of the priesthood for priesthood blessings and she said she felt like the Book of Mormon is true.  He has a testimony as well, but is hesitant on coming back.  It is a hard thing coming back to church.  A lot of times it is embarrassing and you feel self-conscience.  I had a thought about repentance and how it really is a change from who you are to who you need to be.  It is using the Atonement in your life. Where the friend part comes in is that they said they had really good friends who were helping them and then they moved.  This couple just wants a friend to sit by at church to help them feel more comfortable there, especially in the first couple of months.  Friends are vital and often times that can help someone get to church so they can be "nourished by the good word of God" and to help to keep them "in the right way."

I am so grateful for this opportunity to be a representative of Jesus Christ.  I am grateful for you all and all of the support you have given me.  I am grateful for all of the things you have taught me as well.  I love you!  Love, Sister Cluff

P.S.  I am going to be training a new “little sister” missionary.  The new missionaries are coming a week from Wednesday.  Yes, the end of the transfer is here.  On Saturday we are going get transfer calls and I will know where I am going to be next.

Priesthood Miracles!

This last week we saw some priesthood miracles that I wanted to share with you.  They were both blessings of healing for our investigators.  One was for a sister named Nicki.  She has brain cancer and her head was just starting to hurt really bad when we came for a lesson.  We were able offer to call the Elders to give her a priesthood blessing.  She had had a blessing a month or so before and she described it as feeling like there was glitter going from her head to toes.  I really like that description.  The Elders came over and administered to her and she was comforted and able to calm down and feel better.  It really helped a lot.

The other priesthood blessing was for another sister named Bev.  Her stomach was feeling nauseous and had been that way for about a week.  She couldn't handle the pain anymore and she had never had a priesthood blessing before.  The Elders were able to come and give one.  It was a special experience.  She said she felt comforted and she mentioned that she never heard of any other churches giving blessings like that.  I had never thought of it like that before.  We thought it was just a blessing of comfort but then when we called her about a week later she said that the night of the blessing she went home and she realized she wasn't feeling sick.  She said that she didn't have the nauseous feeling at all after she had the blessing.  What a miracle!

It was also a testimony to me that Heavenly Father puts us where he needs us when he needs us to be there.  I love it when I am able to recognize that in my life.  I have seen so many miracles in my life and it is wonderful.  We truly have a magnificent Father in Heaven.  He blesses us so much and he blesses all of his children.

I love you all so much!  Thank you for all the good you do.  Thank you for bringing about miracles in the lives of our brothers and sisters.  I love you!  Love, Sister Cluff

Happy New Year!

It was so great talking to my family on Christmas day.  I love you all so much! It was definitely a highlight in my week.

Another highlight, or miracle, of the week was Sharwyn getting to church. Sharwyn is a 9 year-old girl who we have been teaching for a while.  It is hard for her to attend church because we have no way to contact her (via phone) and we have to arrange a ride for her with a member.  So, yesterday was her first day at church and she loved it!  We had another recent convert, Tatum, who is 9 also and they were in the same class.  It was awesome and they seemed to hit it off really well.  It was great for Tatum to be a mini missionary.  She is already planning on going on a mission.  It was also so wonderful for Sharwyn.  She really loved it.  She has been saying that she wants to be baptized and wants to be Mormon.  She has felt the spirit during the missionary lessons at home, but it is really good that she came to church.  It is helpful for an investigator to learn by the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses, so they know we aren't the only ones who believe what we are teaching.  Church is great! Church is a place to feel the Spirit and to learn with others who are the same age.  Going to church helps strengthen my testimony as well.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is true. This church is the church of Jesus Christ, and it is true.  Jesus Christ is my Savior and the Savior of the world.  I am so grateful for him.  I love you all so much.  Thank you for all the good you do in the world.  Love, Sister Cluff

Christmas Morning Call

This is Sister Cluff's Mom.  I just wanted to share a little about our phone call on Christmas day.  Besides weekly email, a missionary gets to call home only twice a year, on Mothers' Day and on Christmas.  Both the missionary and the family at home anticipate the phone calls for weeks ahead.  The actual phone call flies by and it is over before you know it.

This year, we talked to her on Christmas morning.  We called her from our hotel room in Texarkana, Arkansas.  Our phone call was a little shorter than we would have liked for two reasons.  One, we were on a road trip to Arizona (for a wedding) with a full day of driving ahead and worrying about possible bad weather.  Secondly, Sister Cluff wanted to save some of her limited phone call time to talk to her brother (in Utah) and her sister (in Texas). 

She sounded good.  She was surprised to hear from us early in the morning as we had told her we would call later in the day.  (Our early call turned out to be wise as the road conditions were terrible for most of the day.)  She was up and had opened her gifts.  She said it was a good thing the box didn't get there until the day before or she would have had a hard time not opening her presents.  She said it was great to get a box from home - even if it was mostly clothes!

We asked her what had been the most fun part of her mission so far.  She said "playing dodge ball."  We were a little surprised, so she explained a little more.  The missionaries would place a line of balls down the middle of the gym and line up around the edge.  When someone shouted "go" everyone would run, grab a ball, and start trying to get the other missionaries "out" of the game.  To add even more difficulty, they played it as companionships - so they had to watch out for their companion too.  If their companion got out, they were out too.  President Y asked them to stop playing dodge ball and find another way to get their morning exercise.  Now, Sister Cluff and her companion go to a exercise center located in a mobile home park in their area.  Not as much fun for my petite and competitive daughter, but much safer!

We also asked her what had been the hardest part of her mission.  I was expecting her to say "being away from home" or "eating fish."  Instead what she said shows her growth as a missionary.  She said the hardest thing for her was "when people tell you they don't want to meet with you anymore."  She went on to say that she could see how the gospel of Jesus Christ could bless their lives and strengthen their family in so many ways.  It was heartbreaking to walk away. 

It was bittersweet to end our phone conversation.  Knowing that she is in a good place and working hard to teach people about Jesus Christ is sweet.  Missing her, even if it is only a few more months, is a little sad.  How glad we are that she isn't thinking about herself and feeling melancholy, but instead looking ahead to all the new missionaries that will be coming in January.

Our family has been blessed by her service and dedication as a missionary. 

Merry Christmas!

It is always exciting getting ready for Christmas.  There are opportunities for service that don't come any other time of the year. Our ward purchased a bunch of "Joy to the World" DVDs.  (If you haven't watched it you should - it is really good.)  We had the opportunity to wrap them and hand them out to the people we have been working with. It is always fun to unwrap a Christmas present.  And it is great to share that kind of love with others.

I have been thinking lately that there is always something to look forward to, whether it is Christmas, talking to my family, New Year’s, or something else.  I think a lot of that comes from our Savior.  There is hope in our lives because of Jesus Christ.  That hope is because of the Atonement.  Without the Atonement there is no repentance or forgiveness that lasts, that means something.  Life would be so much harder without a Savior.  I am so grateful for Jesus Christ, my Savior.  I am grateful that he came to earth as a tiny babe; he lived a perfect life so he could make this Atonement, and then he completed that Atonement for each of us.  I know that he died for us and that he was resurrected.  He lives again.  The scriptures testify of that and the Spirit testifies of that to our hearts.

I love you all and thank you for all that you do!  Thank you for your kind acts of service!  Thank you for sharing Christ's light with those around you.  I love you!  Merry Christmas!  Love, Sister Cluff

Book of Mormon Stories and Christmas Party

Yesterday we had a zone conference with our mission president and so our P-day was changed to today.  Sorry if I scared any of you. [Monday is the normal preparation day for her mission.]  I am doing fine and I am getting excited for Christmas and the Christmas phone call.  It is going to be great!

Yesterday, at the zone conference, we talked a lot about the importance of the Book of Mormon.  I want to share an experience that I had last week.  This last week we were able to catch up with a lot of people who we have kept missing.  One of those people was Bev.  We were able to have a lesson with her.  She mentioned that she had just barely started reading the Book of Mormon.  For our lesson that day we wanted to read with her.  She was at Lehi's vision (1 Nephi 8) and we were able to read with her. I was able to ask her an inspired question, "Have you ever had a dream where you felt like it meant more than just a random dream?"  We were able to apply Lehi's dream to her life in a way that she understood and recognized that these were real people.  We explained how Nephi asked to see the same dream as his father and to receive the interpretation of it.  She shared some of her dreams with us that she felt were symbolic or meant more than just a dream.  It was a great experience.

This last Saturday, we had our ward Christmas party.  We got to help out by building a giant gingerbread house out of cardboard.  It was pretty great.  I got to wield a hot glue gun.  Have I ever mentioned that I love doing service?  It is great!  Unfortunately the turnout for the party wasn't super great.  People didn't really want to drive in the snow.  We had a lot of snow this weekend and they don't salt the roads here.  We didn't have nearly as many people as we were expecting but it was still a lot of fun.

Well, I love you family!  And I am so excited to talk with you in a week.  Have a Merry Christmas and remember who the season is all about. I love you!  Love, Sister Cluff

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Christmas Transfer?

This transfer... I am not going anywhere! I am going to stay in my current area.  My new companion is Sister L.  We are Chicago buddies!  She is actually from a neighboring ward back home.  Do you remember when I was getting set apart [a prayer where hands are place on your head and you are assigned a specific responsibility in the church and also given blessings you need to help you fulfill your assignment] as a missionary?  President L mentioned there was another Sister going to the Oregon Eugene Mission as well.   I found her and now we are going to be companions.  It was funny, that memory had almost escaped me.  I vaguely remembered it a while after I met Sister L and found out she is from my same stake [a group of congregations] back home. Sister L just transferred from a ward that meets in our same church building so she only had to move about 15 minutes from her previous location. Transfers are crazy!  Sister S went to serve with Sister W (the sister who was my companion in the MTC).  It’s pretty great.

This last week was really busy.  We had a lot of baptisms and it was really fun to see all of the confirmations [a prayer in which a newly baptized person is confirmed a member of The Church and given the gift of the Holy Ghost, to have as a constant companion if they remain worthy] on Sunday during Sacrament meeting.  There were seven confirmations that happened in church!  It was crazy and amazing.  Sister S and I were richly blessed during our last transfer period!  It was amazing to work with all of those people and to see them make such special promises to their Heavenly Father.

I love you all so much! Thank you for your love and letters.  Keep up the great work!  Love, Sister Cluff

P.S.  …15 more days ‘til Christmas, 15 more days ‘til Christmas, 15 more days ‘til Christmas… and then we'll get to talk !  Hooray, Hooray, Hooray!  We'll play and play and play.  Oh, 15 more days ‘til Christmas...  [These words go with a tune that was invented by Sister Cluff’s older brother, David when he was about 4 years old.  Our family sings it to each other on the days leading up to birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates.]

Baptisms and Mission Changes

Sister S and I have been really blessed this week. On Sunday, we got to see a family be baptized into the church. The family consisted of a single mother and her two boys.  It was really amazing and this is truly going to bless their family.  This next week we are preparing even more people to be baptized.  It is a very special Christmas season.

There is going to be a huge change in our mission.  I just found out that there are going to be 13 new sister missionaries coming into our mission in January.  We will only have 15 experienced sister missionaries here at that time.  I am so excited!

My time is running out.  Sorry for the short letter. I better get going. I love you!  Thank you for all the good you do!  Love, Sister Cluff

P.S.  I just wanted to give you all a heads up.  I was told there is going to be a transfer period in February which is going to be 5 weeks long, instead of the normal 6 weeks. Because of this, my release date will probably be a week earlier... which would be about April 9th.