Monday, May 22, 2017

"Don't cry because it's over, Smile because it happened" -Dr. Seuss

I don't really know how to start this email. It’s hard to process the fact that I am actually coming home in one week. I'll randomly get these thoughts in my head telling me to find a way to make it last longer, I keep feeling like President will make an exception, and ask me to extend. However these feelings are always followed by a prayer in my heart, and then peace from the Spirit telling me God has another plan.

Throughout my mission I have experienced things I never thought I’d be able to handle; Getting dropped by an investigator and friend, watching a recent convert lose their way, getting tossed around in a car crash, changing my clothes three times a day because the rain won’t stop falling and nobody will let us in when we knock on their door, having your flat burn down and losing everything, and worst of all is seeing God’s children reject Him. This list could probably go on for another good couple of pages, but that's not what I want to focus on.

I testify that through my trials the Lord has taken me upon his yoke and has made my burdens light. Without the rock of my Redeemer I would not still be here on my mission today. He has a pure love for each of us. He will always come to our aid. He will always come to our rescue. I have so been blessed to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord these last two years. He has blessed me to witness miracles. He has blessed me to see His children the way He sees them. He as blessed me to witness lives totally change as they come unto Christ and feel His Redeeming love. A wise friend once told me "Life is hard, but you'll find you wouldn't have it any other way" I am grateful for every second of my mission, especially the hard ones. I am grateful that the Lord took a recluse and broken soul such as I, and has molded me into something much better. 

I know He lives, and I know He loves us. He will guide us safely home.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Teaching Fernando

It certainly has been another great week of miracles!

First of all, we have had three sunny days in a row now; we are on day four and the skies are blue! This is by far the best weather I've had my entire mission. I was told that this is the Irish summer. Last week and this week have been beautiful, and then it will be back to clouds and rain. I'll enjoy it while I can!  

The most amazing spiritual experiences I had this week happened within the  walls of Fernando's home. We had our first lesson with him on Wednesday and brought along our joint teach who acted as an interpreter for us. Fernando grew up Catholic and was treated very poorly has a child in his catholic school. He told us about many experiences he had, like the nuns tying their hands behind their backs and trying to force then to speak. The priests would also teach the catholic community to stay away from missionaries and our church. It is a complete miracle that his heart was softened and Fernando decided to reach out to us. Very slowly and simply we began to teach the message of the restoration to him. His face lit up as we spoke about the love our Father in Heaven has for us. Our Interpreter explained to us that the vocabulary of a deaf person is very limited. When we testify we often use big phrases like "I know the church is true with every fiber of my being" But for a deaf person there is just only one translation. "I know the church is true." As we taught Fernando that was all he needed to know and although he could not hear the words of our voices I know he could hear the words of the spirit. The still small voice. Since then we have taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invited him to Baptism, and yesterday we gave him a tour of the church. The work of the Lord cannot be Frustrated. What a blessing it is to be a part of it! 

 Look to the Book, Look to the Lord. Within the books pages, you will discover the infinite love and incomprehensible grace of God. As you strive to follow the teachings you find there, your joy will expand, your understanding will increase, and the answers you seek to the many challenges mortality presents will be opened to you. As you look to the book, you look to the Lord. The Book of Mormon is the revealed word of God. Gary E. Stevenson.

Time is running out of this crappy library computer, but I want you to know that God is a God of miracles. Open your eyes and you will see them all around you.

Love, Elder Brycen Cluster

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Bank Holiday and Departing Testimony

Friends and Family! This is going to be an extremely short email but I just wanted to at least give a quick little update. Yesterday was a bank holiday in Ireland and all the libraries were closed so I was unable to do emails but I have a few minutes right now so i'll cram some stuff in!

This past week seemed like endless hours of finding without much success. However, even though I can not see any immediate fruits from the labours at the moment, I know we are doing what the Lord wants us to do, and for that reason He will bless us. In fact just the other day I received and contacted my very first real media referral! His name is Fernando, apparently missionaries gave him a pass-along card around Christmas time and he just went onto the website and requested a missionary visit. It was a bit of a surprise when we tried by and found out that he was completely def. Using pen and paper and with faith in our hearts we managed to set up and appointment with him and trust in God that we would be able to make it work some how. Miracle..... We found out yesterday that there is a member in our ward that knows fluent sign language! We just got in contact with her and she is happy to translate for us. Our lesson with Fernando is tonight! please pray for us that that lesson goes well and that he feels the spirit. 

The other excitement happened today... We had an all Ireland meeting (My last one) and I gave my departing testimony with some of the other elders in my group. It was the craziest thing!! There was an amazing spirit all though that meeting, and it was hard to walk away after it was all over. I'm really going to miss those experiences. They also gave us the talk, (Collage, Jobs, and Dating) That was also very strange. They started the class by asking everyone what there plans were for when they get home, everyone in my group seemed to have everything perfectly mapped out, until they got to me.  My only response was, "I'm just gonna kinda wing it" I don't think the senior couple was happy with that answer because they called and said they want to meet with me again one on one... So yeah that's pretty much what we've been up to! I'm psyched for all the new experiences and opportunities to serve that await us in May. We will see miracles! 

Love you all!! Enjoy these wise words from our mission president!

"There is power that can cause things to happen that need to happen. There is a spiritual force that can stir a mortal soul toward the spiritual. Faith is a power, and it can cause things to happen that need to happen. It can cause a soul who is good, but dormant, to awaken to God.”(Elder Anderson)

Faith is a principle of power. God works by power, but His power is usually exercised in response to faith (see Moroni 10:7). He works according to the faith of His children. Doubt, fear (an absence of righteous works) are opposed to faith. In faith, we can accomplish what the Lord wants us to accomplish. We help bring about good in our own life and the lives of others. We are able to do miracles according to the Lord’s will. Our faith will be manifest through our diligence and (hard sustained) work. Faith includes confidence in the mission and power of the Holy Ghost. Through faith we receive answers to our prayers and personal inspiration to guide us in the Lord’s work." 
Love, Elder Brycen Cluster

PS. My new (and final) Address
22 Green Briar 
Blanchards Town
Dublin 15

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Whitewashing Verdemont

Friends and Family! This week has been something else! I'll be honest, whitewashing has been even harder than I expected, I mean, we're really starting from scratch here! No one to teach, no map to be found, our beds don't even have sheets....

My new companion is Elder Thompson, He's from Utah and is a Big Friendly Giant (He's 6'6"!) It’s nice to finally have a companion I can "Look up to" ;) We arrived here together on Thursday and have just been doing lots of finding and trying to get to know the place. My first impressions are... Nigerians. They are everywhere and it’s amazing! I mean, nearly half of sacrament was filled with people from Africa! I'm looking forward to getting to know all the different foreigners and to start working with them. I needed a change from the Irish! 

My favorite part of this week was a lesson we had with a Slovenian couple, they joined the church about a year ago and have been having a lot of questions and are struggling with some doctrine. They invited us over on Sunday and we were able to have a very spiritual conversation with them while we discussed some of their questions. They were so open and honest with us, it was amazing! They have a genuine desire to find the truth and for that reason, I know they will! 

My last few days in Mullingar were fantastic! I'm really going to miss that branch, I was able to spend some quality time with most of the members this week and for that I feel very blessed. I know I wouldn't have been transferred for my last 6 weeks unless it was part of Heavenly Fathers plan for me. The members are amazing here as well and I can’t wait for the friendships I have ahead of me! This week is going to be full of long finding days. Please pray for Elder Thompson and me. Please pray that we will be able to find those our Heavenly Father has prepared for us. We need to fill our teaching pool! 

Today, while the sun shines, work with a will;
Today all your duties with patience fulfill.
Today, while the birds sing, harbour no care;
Call life a good gift; call the world fair.
Today seek the treasure better than gold,
The peace and the joy that are found in the fold.
Today seek the gems that shine in the heart;
While here we labour, choose the better part.

Today seek for goodness, virtue, and truth,
As crown of your life and the grace of your youth.
Today, while the heart beats, live to be true,
Constant and faithful all the way through.

Today, today, work with a will;
Today, today, your duties fulfil.
Today, today, work while you may;
Prepare for tomorrow by working today.

I am so grateful for each of you, and I always keep you in my prayers. You are amazing and have divine potential from God! 

 Love, Elder Brycen Cluster

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Week and a Moves Call Surprise!

Easter week has been a great! I totally forgot how “Catholic” the Republic of Ireland was until this week! 

First things first, P-day on Monday was a blast! We went on this beautiful hike with most of the Zone to this place in Bray called Glendalough. The trail lead us up to this amazing lake where we played some hard core ultimate Frisbee! We stayed the night in Dublin so that on Tuesday we could have District meeting around all the other missionaries, it was a blast to just be around some good old friends again! After DM we traveled back to Mullingar with the Sligo Elders and I went on Exchanges with Elder Blettenberg. It was his very last exchange before he left for home. (In fact, he'll be on a plane right now!) Elder Blettenberg is actually in my group but his visa expired so he had to go home a transfer early. He was the first missionary I met. I remember feeling sad as I was going up the escalator after just saying goodbye to my family, but I felt so relieved when I got to the top and saw Elder Blettenberg and Elder Tullis waiting to catch the same plane.  It was sad to watch him go.

Later through the week I got really sick and had to slow down a little, which was really frustrating! Then on Friday (Good Friday) we had lots of good conversations with Catholics about Easter, they honor the whole week for Easter, not just the Sunday. It’s  great! 

Saturday we found ourselves back in Dublin on exchanges with the Zone Leaders. I was with Elder Woodfield, We had a lot of fun and did lots of solid work! I taught a Mexican!!! That was exciting for me considering I’ve only met two on my mission. I miss Mexicans and their food. 

We also got to attend a baptism; you’ll never find a trunky missionary at a baptism! And to finish off our night we got moves call. To my great surprise the call came from the mission home... (This means that someone is getting transferred.) And as even more of a surprise the call came that I was the one getting moved! To whitewash an area in Dublin nonetheless!  Elder Summersgill will be holding down the fort here in Mullingar. I'll be honest, I’m way sad that I won't get to finish training Elder Summersgill and I’m really going to miss the members here. They are complete legends and I hated saying goodbye to them on Sunday, but this moves call was also an answer to my prayers in some ways. I've been praying to be able to give my everything for my last transfer and to work as hard as possible, and by whitewashing an area and starting from scratch there will be plenty of hard tiring days with long finding hours ahead of me! 

Easter Sunday was wonderful, apart from all the sad goodbyes and the Easter Bunny forgetting my basket again... I loved reflecting on the Savior on this special day. He truly made a great and everlasting sacrifice for each of us, that we may find eternal peace and return to the presence of our loving heavenly father.  

 “He was the world’s greatest conqueror, yet He ruled no nations, led no armies, never raised a sword. Took no spoils. His only crown was made of thorns. He won victories, no one else could. He defeated death. He conquered sin and offers peace to all who follow Him. He can calm troubled seas and troubled souls. He can heal broken lives and broken bonds. He can turn water into wine and heartache into hope. He lived, died and lived again, so we will all live again. His resurrection brings us peace, now and forever. He is Jesus Christ, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace”

I am so very grateful for each of you, thank you for your friendship and your love, your encouragement and your prayers.

Love, Elder Brycen Cluster

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

P-day in Caves and Sunshine in Mullingar

The Lord must be smiling down on Mullingar, because I'm pretty sure we've gotten more sun this week than I have the rest of my mission put together! That being said we still got our fair share of rain too!

This week was full of fun and jam packed with learning experiences. On Monday we had a great P-day spelunking the caves of Keash down in Sligo. Apart from some of the massive spiders we ran into, the place was absolutely beautiful! One of my favorite parts was looking at the green rolling hills and seeing all of the baby sheep leaping around and playing with each other. At first I thought it was the sun making my heart melt, but nope, it was the cute little sheepy's! 

Monday night and all of Tuesday was spent in Sligo for exchanges. We did finding all day Tuesday but it was actually a lot of fun! Sligo is full of foreigners, Mostly Africans, Ukrainians, and Germans. Good chunks of the people in Sligo are refugees, it was nice to get away from all the grumpy Irish in Mullingar and talk to someone a little more humble.

The rest of the week in went quite well, the work is coming slowly but surely. President Monson said; "Persistence is the only thing that pays" So I'm going to hold him to that and I know we will be blessed! One of my favorite parts of the week was when we finally got to watch the Sunday night session of General Conference. That had to be my favorite session; I think it even beat out the Priesthood session this year! My favorite talk was by Elder Palmer of the 70's. He focus on Matthew chapter 10 "And Jesus beholding him, LOVED HIM" God asks us to do a lot of hard things, and we don't always understand why He would allow us to have the trials we face, or even ask us to keep all of His commandments. But one thing I know with a surety is that everything God asks us to do, He does out of love and because He wants to bless our lives. He loves us, so He cares what we become.  

I hope each of you have an amazing week and continue to Remember the Savior during this special Easter season!       

  Love, Elder Brycen Cluster                                                                                             

 If you are not reading the Book of Mormon each day, please do so. If you will read it prayerfully and with a sincere desire to know the truth, the Holy Ghost will manifest its truth to you. If it is true—and I solemnly testify that it is—then Joseph Smith was a prophet who saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

"Stand up inside & be all in"