Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Sweet Smell of Success, and my Hump Day!

It’s been another incredible week in the Scotland Ireland Mission! This week I hit my year mark… That was fast!! But the absolute best part of this week has been preparing Rachel and Emma for their baptisms this Saturday!

 June 20th
Monday we had one heck of a P-day! We started off by shooting some hoops with Emma, Rachel, Vicky, and Dayna. I showed those Scots what Basketball really is!! #NothinButNet after ball Elder Wilson and I were trying to figure out somewhere exciting to go because we knew we would be losing the car on Saturday. Eventually we agreed to head to the Mull of Galloway. It was a pretty great decision! The Mull of Galloway is the southernmost point of Scotland and on a clear day you can see Ireland, The Isle of Man, and part of England! And believe it or not it was a clear day so we got the full scoop! We also had a good time with the Coo's and cute little Puffins. To end off the night we taught Emma and Rachel about temples, and how that is their next step after they are baptized. They are so excited, and are already asking question about the branch temple trip coming up!  

June 21st
Tuesday was Zone Interview Training in Irvine. It was a nice long dive, then a long day of Spiritual enlightenment! As always my favorite part was the departing testimonies of all the dying missionaries. Two of my old companion landed in that mix. Elder Clawson (My Dad) and Elder McFarlane. All together I had four of my old companions with me at the conference! Afterwards we had a peaceful drive home, then slept like a log. 

June 22nd
This morning we saw Emma and Rachel again. We talked a litter more about Temples, then talked about missionary work and went over their baptism plans. A lot of members wouldn't be able to make it up to Ayr and the local swimming pool is all booked out, so we might have it in the Ocean! How cool is that? Pray we don't have another rain storm! Another exciting part of the day was when we traveled to Port William and visited old man Dave. You gotta love Dave!

June 23rd
Today a lot of hectic running all over, but it was a great day none the less! We saw Tia for the first time in a while, she's going to be moving to Stirling soon but I have confidence the missionaries there will finish the job! Dinner was really great. The Branch Presidents family had us and Vicky over, I think it was really good for Vicky to start spending more time with the members. 

 June 24th
Friday we had a great coordination meeting where we were able to iron out some wrinkles for the baptisms. My favorite part of the day was traveling out to Wigtown to do some service for Eric the Buddhist. My job was to make a massive bonfire! I got rid of the equivalent of three trees, so I'd say we did a pretty good job! He also fed us nachos and hash browns... it was a little different from the authentic Netherlands food he usually gives us, but it was all good none the less!  

June 25th
Happy Hump Day to me! It’s crazy to think it’s already been a year. As I burned my shirt at the sea side I reflected on all the experiences I’ve been blessed with on my mission so far. I thought about the people I've been able to serve, and labor to help them return home to our Heavenly Father. I reflected on myself in the MTC and how much I’ve changed to be the person I am today. I'm so grateful for the way my Heavenly Father has shaped me over this past year and I can’t wait to see what the rest of my mission has in store for me. It’s all downhill from here! The momentum starts NOW! On a less positive note the Ayr Elder came down and stole our car because my US license is officially expired for the UK, and then I ate a ridiculously bony fish Martin caught and cooked for me....bless em. 

Jun 26th
Sunday was pretty crazy stuff. The branch president was called out to work and his counselor (The only other priesthood in the branch) was away! Up until the very end of church it was just Elder Wilson and I holding down the fort! It was fun stuff, I felt like my dad! We also had Emma, Rachel, Tia, Eric, and Norman join us so we had a nice big happy group! The second best part of the day was a beautiful roast dinner at the Hanlen’s! 

There it is folks. I'm way excited for everything this week is going to bring. Please pray for Emma and Rachel…. that everything goes perfectly for their baptism on Saturday! This week is also moves call... Anything could happen, so stay tuned!

Love you all!   -Elder Cluster  

Monday, June 20, 2016

A week of Miracles

From top to bottom this has been an amazing week filled with tender mercies! Our prayers are always answered.

June 13th
P-day was really fun! This week Elder Wilson and I went down to the Harbor with our Czech friend and did some fishin'! It was so much fun! I never expected to catch anything, but low and behold there I was reeling in two little mackerel! I thought long and hard about taking em home and cooking them up, but we decided to give the poor little guys a second chance. So we counted to three and tossed them in the water. One swam down right away, and the other one was a little confused and swimming around in circles. I never expected what came next; a massive seagull swoops down out of nowhere and steals my fish!!!

June 14th
We drove up to Ayr early Tuesday morning and had an awesome district meeting on asking inspired questions and listening. After wards I took Elder Gates and Elder Fehoko home with me for a BLITZ/ Exchange. I went with Elder Fehoko as his very first exchange; I also took him chapping for his first time. The poor kid was scared out of his mind. I was praying he would get a potential. It took some convincing but after a while he agreed to take the first door. A nice girl answered the door, after Elder Fehoko figured out what he wanted to say in English she invited us back right away! What a blessing! We also had a great lesson with Vicky on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She is progressing so well.

June 15th
Today we finally met up with some potentials, James and Suzy who we've been trying to meet with for ages! We taught them about the plan of Salvation, they had so many questions, and it was great! They committed to be baptized when they know it’s true. And that's not all the excitement for Wednesday; Martin also made us Wiener schnitzel again!

 June 16th
Thursday was exciting; the best part was our lesson with James and Amy... James finally got his answer and now accepts Jesus Christ as the son of God!! This is a BIG deal to him. He's Mum been trying to get him to believe his whole life, and he said he’d never felt anything about it till we came along!

June 17th
We had a couple really good lessons today and a great dinner appointment! First we saw Vicky and taught the law of Tithing, next was our appointment withTia on agency and baptism. I think our lesson with Tia really got her thinking again. She'll be ready to commit soon enough! For our dinner appointment I had requested Taco's... they made them with curry sauce... They were yummy, but not quite the same. Scotland really needs a Taco Bell. Bless their hearts for trying!

June 18th
Saturday was just perfect! But far the best day of the week! The branch had a picnic today at the play called Dunskey. Dunskey is one of the many elaborate gardens of Scotland; one of my favorite parts was this massive maze! We also went on a scenic woodland walk where I caught lots of cute little baby frogs! But the best part by far was when Rachel stopped us and said that she wants to be baptized on July 2nd!! That night she had called Dayna in tears and told her that she prayed to know if the church was true, and was overcome with the spirit. After the picnic we met up with them and went over the baptismal interview. They are so ready! I'm so happy and excited for them!!

June 19th
Today was one massive rain and wind storm! However Rachel and Emma walked through it all and came to church. Church was grand, we taught Gospel Principals on baptism and got everyone excited for July 2nd! Later on we taught Emma and Rachel one of their last lessons, we talked about Temples and how that is the next step after being baptized. They love the thought of Temples. The branch is taking a trip down In August; it’s going to be an incredible experience for them. 

There ya have it, just another week in Stranraer! This little town is really shaping up to look like the Promised Land! I'm so grateful for everyone I've been able to meet and teach in this area. God blesses all of us with people to learn and grow from everyday, we just have to get out the door and greet them!

Love, Elder Cluster

Monday, June 13, 2016

Just Another Week In the Work Of Salvation

For the first time in ages we actually had a pretty normal week! We've had loads of adventures and surprises. We've also been able to set up a lot of new appointments for this week, so it should be an extra exciting one!

June 6th
P-day was great this week! Well P-day's are great every week, but this week Elder Wilson and I went to the beach and collected lots of fancy seashells! The weather was warm and sunny too, which was really weird! I felt like I was serving in the Hawaii Mission! Some members also took us to check out an old castle later on. It was soo cool! I couldn't help but to climb all the walls, even if they were on the verge of falling over!


June 7th
We started Tuesday off with a fantastic District Meeting in Ayr. My favorite part was when out new Tongan missionary instructed on "We Act in Love" . Love is the motivation, Amen Elder Fehoko! After DM we followed the ZL's back to Irvine where we had a Blitz/Exchange. I spent the day with Elder Martin, our day was mostly filled with finding but we treated ourselves to some Fish N' Chips before bed. I love me some Fish N' Chips. In Irvine it is a four man flat at the moment, you have the Zone Leaders, and then you have Elder Clawson (My Trainer) and Elder Hoppe (My Crazy German Companion.) It was so much fun to get to spend the night with them! Felt just like the good old days!

June 8th
First thing in the morning was our long drive home back to Stranraer. When we arrived at our humble flat we quickly changed into our Mormon helping hands shirts and rushed over to an old man’s home with Brother Mclean and a bucket of Paint! Two hours of painting fences... It was good fun! After we met up with Vicky and re-taught the Restoration lesson. The spirit was even stronger the second time around!

June 9th
Thursday, today we lost our car to get some repairs done. We walked for ages just to get to coordination meeting! It felt like we didn’t have time to do anything by the time we walked one place to the next. It’s doing to be brutal on the 25th when my license expires! One highlight of the day was our dinner appointment with the branch president, steak pie! I don't know was the world doesn't eat more steak pies.... 

June 10th
We taught Dayna and Vicky the Plan of Salvation today, we drew all the little pictures and everything! I must say, it is by far my favorite lesson to teach! Later on we taught Emma, Rachel, Dayna, and Vicky the Law of Chastity.... Probably my least favorite lesson to teach. I never thought I'd find myself teaching four teenage girls about the law of Chastity but it had to be done. To finish up the night our friend Eric had us up for dinner, he had his Italian buddy there who made us a fantastic authentic dish! Arno was the name, what a guy! 

June 11th
Saturday morning the Branch President had us up to destroy his old shed!! Talking down walls of an old damp shack is a good way to release stress! We also got to load up the big chunks and take it to the dump. Something less exciting was when we tried by our investigator Tina. Her husband answered the door and left to get her, but instead came back with our Book of Mormon and Restoration pamphlet and told us she didn't want to talk to us again. That was pretty lame. However, the Lord lifted our spirits because when we tried by a member after she gave us an amazing lamb sausage! 

June 12th

Sundays make me happy. Emma, Rachel, Tia, and Vicky all showed!! It was grand, and to make the deal even sweeter there was a munch and mingle today! After church we did some finding and visited Martin. Let’s just say Martin is going through a hard time. But we fixed his printer so he seems a lot happier now!

Well, there's my week, it sure went by fast! I'm so great full for all the people I was able to spend my time with this week. They have been such a blessing to me and my companion. I pray that this week we will find many new friends to share the Gospel with! 

Love you all! 
Elder Cluster

PS A special shout out to my Dad for Father’s Day this Sunday! You're the best of the best! Thanks for leading your posterity in rightness and dwelling in so many tents for me during all those Boy Scout Camps!   

Monday, June 6, 2016

Vicky's Baptism

This week has been perfect. Victoria's baptism was amazing and I'm excited to tell you all about it, but I'm low on time, so we'll just dive right in!

May 30th
Happy Birthday to me! I was lucky enough to have my birthday on a P-day, which meant I could party!! I was so blessed on my birthday with a great companion and investigators who made it a special day! They planned the whole thing, first we got some fish and chips, and then we played some badminton. We took a wee break, and then met back up at the park where everyone surprised me with a cake and some party food! Then we ended off the night with some basketball and rounders (a British baseball knock off) I couldn't have asked for a better time! Although I was a little disappointed when I didn't get my breakfast in bed.... Or Birthday Crepes! 

May 31st
The two main events of today were helping a less actives son move, and when we went over the baptismal questions with Vicky! She was ship shape and ready for the real interview on Wednesday!

June 1st
Wednesday was a wild one! First we had to take the car a ways out into the country to get a couple of things checked out, while we were waiting for them to do their thing Elder Wilson and I got a sausage roll and an Iron Brew and enjoyed the sunny weather out on the sea side. It felt amazing! We’re trying to soak up all the sun we can because we know it will never last! Later on the Zone Leaders came down and did Vicky's baptismal interview. She passed and is all ready to go for Saturday!! Not long after, we were on our way to a dinner appointment with Martin out Czech friend, when we get a call from the AP's Telling us to speed down to the ferry terminal "And whatever you do, DO NOT LET ELDER CHEN GET ON THAT FERRY!" So I made like speed racer and caught him just in time. The poor kid had no idea what was going on, but Elder Chen is from China and his visa to Ireland was rejected. President didn't know what to do with him so he just told him to stay in a trio with us for awhile and they figured something out! We ended up still having that dinner appointment, and I don't think I’ve seen anything funnier than a Chinese man and Czech man try to communicate! 

June 2nd
Woke up bright and early today and had Elder Chen show me his mad skills on the numb chucks. Later we had coordination meeting, a lesson with James and Amy, and a lovely dinner with the branch president. Near the end of the night we got another call from the AP's telling us to put Elder Chen on a Train to Glasgow. I was sad to see him go, I learned a lot from that little Asian man in those two days. Elder Chen converted to the gospel three years ago. Back home he has to drive four hours to get to the closest church. He is the only Member is his Provence and is not supported by his family in anything to do with the church. And I used to complain when I had to go home teaching!! What an example! Elder Chen is no fool, the church is true. 

June 3rd
There was a lot that went on Friday, We had a couple lesson, made Vicky baptismal calendar, and later on I got a massive bloody nose from a basketball to the face! To end the night we got some kind of disturbing phone call from an unknown number...  

June 4th
Vicky's Baptism was today!! We traveled up to Ayr and got everything ready, we also had the Ayr Elders invite some members as not many people could make it from Stanraer because of the distance. I was pretty stressed hoping everything would work out, but the Lord had my back and everything was perfect. Vicky picked me to do the baptism, it felt amazing, I've been working with her for almost five months now, and I’ve gone through three companions here and most everyone wanted to drop her. But I always got the feeling that we should keep trying, and I guess now I know why! After the baptism we were both glowing the rest of the night. It was an amazing spiritual experience for the both of us. After the baptism we celebrated by having a ka-bab-tism with our new Tongan missionary Elder Fauco! What a way to end the night!

June 5th
Church was grand. Vicky received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit touched her heart, and she was left in tears for the rest of the testimony meeting. I can't even begin to explain how grateful I am to have had had these experiences. 

1. I like to look for rainbows whenever there is rain
And ponder on the beauty of an earth made clean again.

2. I know when I am baptized my wrongs are washed away,
And I can be forgiven and improve myself each day.

I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain.
I want to be the best I can and live with God again.

As I sang to words to this song on Saturday my thoughts were turned to my own baptism, and the promises I've made with the Lord. I know that as I am true to him in following the commandments, and his example that I will be blessed and guided by the Holy Ghost. That's a blessing I wish everyone had. And because I have been given much, I too must give. Till the Work is done.

Love, Elder Cluster