Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January 18, 2016 Letter...

They should send my travel plans in like April or May I believe.. it's gonna be a while still, I imagine. And that's sooo fun that you guys were able to get together and have a good time. Good to hear that Skyler and Ashley are doing well and that everyone is happy. That's the best. I remember being in the MTC with Abigail Yingling haha.. that's funny stuff that she is now home. The time goes by sooooo fast. I can't believe it. So crazy.

This Wednesday, we had the great opportunity to be able to listen to President Uceda speak, with all the ward councils in the mission.. Wow.. I’m just completely blown away with the presence of this man, and the power and energy he uses when he addresses us. I love him. I love this church. It’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to my life. I love our leaders, with a love that extends much further than that of a simple friend or someone I admire. I can’t explain the love I have for them.

And then on Thursday it all got better. What a great and wonderful and productive day that was had. Today we woke up super early at 5 in the morning to get ready to get ourselves to the Magdalena stake to receive an all day training from the President Juan Uceda (Area President). This training changed me. So we get there, I had a bit of time to chat with elders I haven’t seen in forever (given that the whole mission was there) and that was a real blessing. We had a good time. Then the hour came and we began. Before we started we all had the opportunity to go up and shake president Uceda’s hand (and his wife's) and tell him where we are from and what stake. Wow. Then afterwards, President Larson gave a message, then sister Larson, then Sister Uceda, and then President Uceda… What a elect man called of God! What a powerful, but yet humble loving man. The most perfect balance of being loving, but at the same time very direct. A balance that I have never seen before. He talked about many things that I have written in my study journal. It’s all there. I’m not going to record it here on my large plates, But one experience I will put here. President Uceda, before the meeting had talked with President Larson, telling him that he would be needed a specific elder with a specific amount of qualities and requirements. President Larson thought, and then chose me, and gave my name to Elder Uceda. So in the meeting, President Uceda called me up (in front of the whole mission), then told me to give him a hug. I went up, and I was like "goodness, I'm gonna hug a general authority, what?" Then I got to hug him, then we did like a companion study demonstration to teach a certain principle.. the principles included: asking council and ways to improve from your comp, how to better extend invites and commitments and all that. President Uceda and I were stood up there and he asked me questions as we saw the video of The District (preach my gospel missionary demonstrations) when they invite an investigator Eric to pray. He pretended to be a comp, a comp who needed a lot of help, asking me a lot of advice, and I answered his questions with the knowledge I have accumulated over the past 18 months. It was amazing. He asked me some pretty deep questions, like: Comp, what do you notice the elders doing in the video; Comp, how can I better make eye contact with people in the lesson; Comp, how can I make my prayers more effective and from my hear; Comp, how can I love the people that I teach… and I felt the spirit flow through me so strongly answering his questions and giving him advice. Wow. It was like I was speaking, but the spirit was putting the words in my mouth. The prophecy in D&C 88:85 was completed through me. (not really a prophecy, but I like to say the prophecy was completed because it sounds cool) At the end he asked me a question, I can’t remember, and I responded to him inviting him to repentance. Hahaha. It was funny cuz the whole day he kept inviting us to repentence as missionaries, telling us it was something sweet.. something marvelous, not something to be ashamed of. So in the practice, even though he wasn’t being Elder Uceda, he was being my comp, I was like.. “Well comp, what can you do to get over this problem is do what you always invite me to do, repent. Because it’s something sweet.” Hahaha, he laughed and then the practice ended. I was up there for about 25 minutes with him answering his questions and teaching him. Just wow. I love him. And haha, even though it was a practice, I invited a general authority, to repent. Check that one off my list.

Then he taught us more about acting and doing things with our investigators.. if they don’t read, read with them; if they don’t pray, pray with them; if they don’t go to church, by golly go to church with them. He made us a promise that doing those 3 things, we would see a serious difference in all of our sectors and that our current investigators would begin to progress rapidly. Seriously, one of the greatest days of my life. We got home at like 4 then ate lunch and worked all day being soooo tired, but super full of the spirit.

Our investigator Carmen Ramos is progressing beautifully. We answered a lot of her questions and she didn’t complete with her commitment to pray and ask God if she should be baptized and if the Book of Mormon was true, so at the end we prayed with her and she received an answer! We applied exactly what President Uceda had taught us earlier that day, and it worked. I love this gospel and the mission. I love the leaders of this church. They are called of God and no one can dispute that. She´ll be baptized the 30th!

We had interviews with our wonderful president Larson the day after and those were also great. We talked for like 30 minutes or so. I got the feeling that I'm most likely going to have a transfer this next week. I hope and pray so. It's been a good journey here and I've learned a lot. The downward slope is declining more and more every day.. the mission goes by soooo fast. Wooooooww.

Anyways, I love you guys.

Elder Cluff

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