Monday, May 23, 2016

May 2, 2016 Letter...

Yes, the temple is the best. I cannot wait to go with you and dad and maybe Skyler and Ashley when I get home. It'll be a blast :) And yesss Skype... can we do it at 5:00 PM Peruvian time? I think that would be better! If you guys could maybe make the sacrifice! And yes mom I get to register here in the mission, but what I'm asking you for is A LIST OF CLASSES, REQUIREMENTS AND IDEAS so that when the time comes here, I will be able to put all of my classes in. You know what I mean? :) I know that I need English, also like American Heritage (I want to know if there is a way out of that one) also, I'm going to take the most advanced Spanish so I can test out and get the credits, and a few others I'll need. I'll be calling you I believe from a members house!

Good to hear also that school is almost out and everyone is doing well. :)

It’s good to talk to ya'll once again. This week has been a great week though, things are definitely improving here in our sector. We didn’t have as much time as we would have liked, but we did have more time to work and teach the gospel than past weeks, so that was really nice. We also had to continue going this week to Barranco to continue teaching the investigators there that can’t be taught by the sick Elders. Anyways, our labors in doing that have paid off and we had a baptism this week for a sister named Maria. She is really great. We met her about three weeks ago and when we met her, she had desires to follow the Savior and do His will. She just had a lot of fears and doubts because her husband was traditionally catholic, like every single person here, and she wanted to be baptized together with him. Although that would have been ideal, we couldn’t let her wait. So we began teaching and sharing many testimonies and with the help of the members who did a great job, she was able to listen to the influence of the holy spirit and gain a very strong and unshakable testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I can really say that her conversion was due to her own actions and diligence, reading, praying, and going to church, which brought the spirit to testify to her and confirm to her the truth. Her baptism was also a great experience and she is now super happy and shared with us a powerful testimony. We passed by her house yesterday and taught her about temples and family history and she is very excited to get in on that!

On Friday this week we also had one of the most special and miraculous days of our lives. We had taken appointments out for the whole day, because this day was one of the few we would have to work here. I’m going to tell you about three miracles we had this week (they all basically happened on Friday)…

First miracle: The first appointment we had on Friday was with a brother named Daniel. He is a 78 year old man who has prostate cancer and severe osteoporosis, which inhibits his ability to walk well. He is from the mountains of Peru (not from Lima… which means he’s humble and receptive hehe) and has come here to Lima to get medical attention. Anyways, last week at church we were just sitting in the chapel waiting for the service to start, when all the sudden this little old man walks in limping. We didn’t think much of it because we thought he was from the sector of the other Elders. They then came over and told us that he was from our sector and that he just showed up at church because a random member in the street had invited him. We were like yeah… okay. So after church we took him home and we then took out an appointment with him. We had taught him for the first time on Wednesday and we felt something very special about him, the only bad thing was that we couldn’t talk much due to the little time we had. So on Friday in the appointment we found out that he was born and raised catholic and that’s all he has ever known, so we decided to talk about the baptism of Jesus Christ and the example he gave us and also receiving the gift of the holy ghost. We had to teach this lesson in one of the simplest ways, due to his age, like we were speaking to a child, but the spirit was SO STRONG and he understood every single thing we explained him. At the end of the lesson he was asking us to baptize him because he wanted to follow the example of the Savior in the correct way. He was like.. I didn’t know.. my parents just baptized me when I was little… Then in the final prayer… it made me choke up so much.. he was asking to Lord and thanking him in tears for showing him the correct path. I really do love this man. I love the Lord. I was able to realize from this experience once again.. (as missionaries we tend to forget) that the LORD directs and performs his work.. not us.. when we think it’s us.. we lose. We have been struggling in our sector for the past month or two due to the little amount of time that we’ve had, but this man was literally sent to us from the hand of the Lord. One member felt impressed to invite him randomly to church and now he is going to be baptized next week.

Second miracle: On Friday, right after Daniel, we went to this guy named Christian’s house that we had met in the street a few months back. I had met him with my last companion and we had talked and everything, but he didn’t know the direction to his house nor did he have a cellphone so we lost contact with him. Then with Elder McPhie the other day we were walking by and this dude caught my eye, and I was like hey I know him, so we talked and we made a firm appointment and we went. Christian 24 years old and is from Colombia. He came here alone to Lima to work and study. So yeah in the appointment we explained to him all of the Restauration, and he loved it. He was super excited and accepted the invitation to be baptized this month. This was such a cool experience because I had completely forgotten about this guy, but the Lord had put him right in our path so that we could teach him and bring him the gospel!

Third Miracle: Right after that appointment with Christian we went to the Lares family’s house, a strong family of converts of 4 years that has one missionary out and serving, and another missionary that leaves this month. They are awesome. They called us early on in the week and told us there was this family friend, a girl named Jenifer that needed a lot of help and that they wanted us to teach her. Apparently, she has suffered her whole life with self esteem issues and anorexia. So we got to the Lares family’s house this day and waited for her on Friday. We honestly didn’t know how it was going to turn out, but we were hopeful that it would turn out well. She arrived and we began to teach her. We taught her about the importance of obeying the commandments of God in order to receive his divine help. We also touched on the Atonement of Jesus Christ in order to overcome difficulties and hard moments and to be clean to enter into the presence of God. We tied it all off with baptism and explained to her that she can really start everything all over again through baptism. She explained to us her sincere desire to change and the fact that she wanted to do better, that she wanted to be happy, and she understands that kind of happiness can only come from God. So we began to testify more of the baptism and at the end she asked us if she could be baptized… We told her YES. I could see a lot of pain in her eyes honestly from a lifetime of heartache, but as we taught her, that pain slowly dissipated and she began to smile from ear to ear. The spirit was super strong during the lesson and it really did testify of the eternal truth that we were teaching. We are so thankful to this family Lares for wanting to share the gospel and recognizing that the gospel is the solution to our day to day problems. What a great experience.

So yeah, all those experiences happened in one day. We went from having about zero people for this month of May.. to three… in a matter of a few hours, thanks to the Lord. I am ever grateful to him for helping us out when we most need it. Those three people I talked about also came with us to church and stayed the three hours. They are progressing right now towards their baptism!

Love you guys and I'll see you on Sunday!

Elder Cluff

Maria's Baptism

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