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.