Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Slowly but Surely

We're back! This week was slow, but we made some serious progression none the less! The area hasn't exploded with missionary work yet like I thought it would, but its well on its way!

July 18th
P-day was pretty lame to be honest. They always are in Dalkeith, transportation in this area is the bane of my life!! By the time we are finished with everything we have to get done we are about out of time... I'm putting in extra effort to have an adventure today though! After P-day jazz we had another lesson with Josie and Jonathan. We taught them the word of wisdom and it went really well! Jonathan is so super determined to quit drinking and I know he will do it! Josie is going to struggle a bit more with smoking though... We are starting a quit smoking program with her today, so we'll see how that goes!

July 19th
Tuesday was absolutely wild! First we had an amazing District meeting in Dalkeith, and the Zone Leaders joined us (Who are both some of my best friends from way back in the MTC!) The spirit was really strong as we went over getting investigators to church, and setting goals to baptize like mad in August! After DM were exchanges with the ZL's in Edinburgh. I went with Elder Tullis… What a lad!! We talked to people on the streets all day long... It was amazing though, nice, sunny, and warm for once! Everyone was out and about! It was so funny to watch everyone going wild over the sunshine! Everyone and their cats were at the park lighting up their little BBQ's and listening to music! I felt like I was in Cali! It was also good fun to get to talk to so many open minded University students instead of grumpy old farts!

July 20th
I woke up in Edinburgh this morning to the first clap of thunder I've heard in over a year! It was a tender mercy because I've been pretty trunky for some good thunder and lightning! I saw no more than a couple flashes of light, but I was still jumping up and down with excitement! When Elder Crockett and I arrived back in Dalkeith we did a fair share of chapping, and then had an amazing night! A less active that has come to church the past couple weeks had us over for dinner. This man is a complete champion! His life story and conversion story are amazing! His wife is practically Anti Mormon and was glaring at us the hold time, but he doesn't even care anymore! He is as solid as can be! He said "I'm back and I'm staying till the day I die" What a boss. After Dinner we went to the Addiction Recover Program at the church. I managed to convince Josie and Jonathan to come. I walk into them talking about baptism and bearing testimony about how much the church has already changed their life!! It was incredible! After the meeting I showed them the Baptismal font. Jonathans’ face just lit up! It was a beautiful moment!

July 21st
Today was just more finding for the most part. The main highlight of the day was when I had dinner with one of my old missionary friends, Elder Tarbet and his family! It was so good to see him again! I can't believe he's an RM now. Elder Tarbet was in my first District, and trained my buddy from the MTC (Elder Tullis)

July 22nd
Friday we taught Josie and Jonathan the Ten Commandments, Jonathan also made us cookies! Later on we chapped this ridiculous atheist lady, I mean any atheist is ridiculous but this one really blew a fuse! I eventually just had to ignore her, and walked off and pretend I couldn't see her glaring at us through her window, and we chapped the rest of the street. Our day got better when we taught this super old lady named Dorothy for the first time. She attends like four different churches and loves to learn, she was so excited and happy that we came!

July 23rd
Today consisted of three things. First was 3 hours of finding, second was an amazing meal with my favorite mission mum Anne, and third was studying for District meeting on Tuesday.

July 24th
Sunday, Church was good stuff as always. However, Josie and Jonathan got sick and weren't able to make it.... that was sad. Something exciting was when this classic Utah Mormon family came waltzing through the doors. They were just down to visit, It was so weird to hear the Utah accent again! I loved it!! That was a tender mercy too seeing as I couldn't stop thinking about Pioneer days and fireworks! After church we tried by this recent convert who is going through the hard time. I bore some crazy strong testimony and the tears began to flow... She's knows the Gospel is true and can bring the peace and healing again. She'll be alright :)

 It was a pretty grand week, but this one is going to be even better! Its already off to an amazing start too as it’s my Mum’s Birthday! Dang, I've got a cool Mum.... She's my number one and I could I wouldn't be here today without her in life and on my mission.... Thank you for raising me right and being my most gentle loving mum a kid could ever have. You are incredible and I thank God for you every, single, day. I love you Mum!
~ Elder Brycen Cluster

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

And the Ball Starts Rolling

I'm happy to report this week’s better than the last! To be honest, there still wasn't loads of excitement, but we managed to do lots of little things that I know will bring great things to pass!

July 11th
Also known as 7/11, I was trunky all day thinking about all the free Slurpee's happening in Utah. They don't even use ice here, let alone sell Slurpee's! I'm going to get fat off of those things the first week I'm back! All in all it was a pretty boring P-day, Dalkeith doesn't have much to do, and by the time we get everywhere with the buses and get everything done, there isn't time to do anything anyway! The highlight of the day, and one of the highlights of the week was a lesson we had with our investigators Josie and Jonathan. We taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ and committed Jonathan to be baptized August 6th! He was so excited! His Mum told us that he spent the rest of the day praying, what a champ!

July 12th
Tuesday morning was epic. We had a Zone Leader Ship Conference in Edinburgh, and then got the whole Zone together for a massive District meeting! It was all centered on the Atonement. The spirit was so strong, everyone was in tears! Probably one of the greatest meetings I've ever had! One of the best parts was when I instructed on getting motivated with one of my best friends on the mission, Elder Tullis. We threw it down had had everyone jumping up and down, stoked to do the work! We filled the rest of the day with some solid finding.

July 13th
Today was pretty rough to be honest.... We did finding all day long and ran into nothing but grumpy old people! We'll see if they're set in their ways in spirit prison! The fun part of the day was this Addiction Recovery Program we help with at the church. It’s the churches 12 step program and in this lesson we focused on Truth. Everyone we talk to needs to start doing to this class.

July 14th
Alright today was probably the craziest day of the week. We started by just walking around the town Centre and talking to everyone, when all of a sudden we get a phone call from this potential named Mikey that Elder Crockett and his old companion had found. He sounded like a real nice fella so we set up an appointment to see him on Saturday. He called back about five minutes later and asked to talk to me. Apparently this old creep saw me in the town and explained all about how he wanted to break the law of chastity with me.... I hung up pretty fast and changed his contact name to "DO NOT ANSWER!" he called about 20 times throughout the day and now I have to live in fear every time I go to town, not even knowing what this guy looks like!  But on a brighter note we got a new investigator today!! Her name is Tasha, we met up with her in the town and taught a really powerful lesson on the Plan of Salvation. She comes from a catholic background but committed to work towards baptism on August 6th!! That's going to be a big beautiful day for us here in Dalkeith!

July 15th
Friday was a bit of a struggle, all of our appointments fell through so the day consisted of knocking doors in the rain. What made it even worse was I forgot my jacket in Edinburgh. Let’s just say…I got wet!

July 16th
More finding and failed try by's on Saturday. We did teach a pretty good lesson out of the Ensign to a less active though so it wasn't all bad. He came to church this week so it must have meant something to him!

July 17th
Sunday was probably my favorite out of the bunch! First off we had Josie and Jonathan at church; they seemed to really enjoy it! Every time I see them I get an even clearer vision of them in the baptismal fount! Next the primary president had us in to teach a short lesson on the Pioneers and how they sacrificed to build temples. Elder Crocket and I came up with the idea of helping them build temples out of sugar cubes! I remember doing that back when I was a young whipper snapper! They loved every second of it! I'm pretty sure they're parents all hate us for the sugar, glue combo now though.... After church was an amazing dinner appointment at the Campbell's. This family is like a classic Mormon family, those are super hard to come by in this mission! It was good fun; one of the best parts was talking to one of their daughters who is exactly like my sister Ivy! It brought back some good memories. To finish the night out we knocked a street where we got two solid potentials and a return appointment! I fell asleep feeling like we made up for the last two days!

There you have it, another week in the Scotland Ireland Mission. I'm excited to say the great ball of missionary work in finally starting to roll in Dalkeith. These next few weeks will be hard ones full of finding and preparation. However, next month will be one of tender mercies and reaping the fruits of out labors! Thank you for your love and support. I love you all!

Love, Elder Cluster

Monday, July 11, 2016

Eternal Perspective/ Moves Call/ Sick Companion

I was going to name this week’s Email "Reaping the Fruits of Our Labors" but there was a few let downs this week so now I’m just trying to focus on the “Eternal Perspective.” I was unable to email last week due to Transfers but nothing really happened this last week, so I’ll give you the week before in detail then just sum up this past week! 

June 27th
P-day was alright, but later Monday night we were totally lead by the spirit to this man’s door named Ross. Ross is a total champ, and let us in right away. He said he felt something and knew we came for a reason. He invited us back, and asked if his wife could join next time!! What a blessing! After the lesson we walked outside and saw a huge rainbow, to me that was God reminding us what a miracle he just sent us.

June 28th 
We had District meeting in Stranraer for the first time today! It was good stuff, I also had an awesome exchange with Elder Gates, and we had lots of adventures! One of my favorite parts was when we were chapping doors and found this goofy dog with his head poking through the bottom of the fence! It’s always a good time with Elder Gates! 

June 29th
Wednesday was busy, we made Emma and Rachael's baptismal program, and had a fantastic fish and chips dinner with my buddy Anne (she came bearing gifts from home for my year mark and the 4th of July!)
After was Rachael and Emma's baptismal interview, they did amazing and passed with flying colors. They have learned so much these past few weeks! To end the night off we taught Ross and his wife Angela again. We planned on teaching the restoration, but the Lords had other plans. When we sat down I knew I had to teach the Word of Wisdom, and it went great! We also got them thinking about baptism! And get this, when we walked back outside, we saw another rainbow!
June 30th
Not as much to report on for Thursday, The best part was probably the dinner appointment we had at the branch presidents. Vicky made the meal!

July 1st
Friday started out great, but had a pretty crappy ending. In the morning we went to a member’s home with Rachael and Emma and had them try on the baptismal clothes, that was pretty sweet. Later on the Hanlens had us for dinner and made some of the best steaks I’ve probably ever had!! They brought it out on a beautiful hot plate and everything! Bro Hanlens knows how to make and amazing pepper corn sauce too! But to put a sad ending to a happy story, we got a call from Emma and Rachael crying and saying that their parents got upset about them getting baptized, and think that we are brain washing their daughters... The baptisms were called off. It was really hard to handle, but we had no choice but to just take it and try to work things out with them. We managed to set up an appointment for the branch president to meet with their parents Saturday morning, and all that was left for us to do was wait and pray that everything went well.

July 2nd
Saturday we went out not accomplishing what we thought we'd do. However our prayers were answered, and after an hour and a half meeting with the branch president and Rachael and Emma's parents, their parents agreed to take the lessons with Emma and Rachael! If all goes according to plan they said they would give them the choice to be baptized in four weeks. I'm still a little heartbroken about the whole thing, but I know this will be an even bigger blessing in the end.

July 3rd
Sunday and Moves Call… Church was pretty good stuff. Fast Sunday is always extra brutal as a missionary. I had plenty on my mind to pray about to make it a meaningful fast, and that always makes a difference! We had Emma and Rachael at church again today, which was a big relief! I'm starting to feel more confident and at peace that everything will work out with them. The main event today was the moves call.... "Elder Cluster the Lord is sending you to be District Leader in Dalkeith (Edinburgh Zone) Your new companion will be Elder Crockett." I'll be straight up and honest, I was less than impressed with my moves call. This is one of the last places I wanted to go. However I know it is an assignment from God and where I need to be. I'll be putting and extra focus on humility this transfer! Looking back I never really wanted to go to Stranraer either, but I've seen some of the biggest blessing of my life in this area. I'll look forward to finding the reason I need to be in Dalkeith. 

July 4th To July 10th
Now to sum up this past week! Monday was the 4th of July, and it was a pretty trunky day for me.... This day a year ago I found myself at an All American Party at the MTC, drinking Rootbeer and singing the Star Spangled Banner. This year I found myself in a rush to shove all of my junk in my suitcases, then spend the rest of the day with an English man in Ayr. No one even mentioned this historic day! I made up for it by treating myself to some KFC and thinking about all the fireworks going off 7,000 Miles away.

Tuesday was a wild one! In the morning I got the Ayr Elders to drive us up to Glasgow where Elder Wilson got his new companion and I was put on a train all by myself to Edinburgh! When I was getting on the train, knowing I was going to be alone for the first time in a year I was thinking about all the cute girls that were going to try to sit by me, and different escape routes I could take in case of emergencies! I guess God had something else in mind. A man named Phillip found me, and started asking me all kinds of strange questions. I don't think he was all there and had one crazy eye that was going all over the place. Phillip really wanted to do a questionnaire game with me, to make a long story short he asked me some weird stuff and I lost. What he didn't tell me is that there is a challenge when you lose, and that was he got to find my "laughing spot" and I had to let him tickle me to death. He then spent the next half an hour trying to convince me to take off my socks and shoes so he could tickle me! Just when I thought I was going to get away, the train breaks down!!! No joke, we were 30 seconds from my station! I spent another 20 minutes trying to borrow someone's phone to call the zone leaders, and trying to convince Phillip that I wasn't taking off any of my clothes  so he could tickle me! To set his mind at rest little Phil had me write down a day and time he was going to meet me on the train to complete this challenge. He also made sure I wrote down that I was taking my shoes and socks off... All day yesterday I felt guilty thinking about poor Phillip trying to find me on the train. When I finally made it to my station, the Zone Leaders were nowhere in sight. The pay phone was broken… and I had to ask about 20 heartless Scots before I found a foreigner who let me use his phone. Turns out the Zone Leaders where just asleep in the car lot... I then spent the rest of the day running missionaries around with them because it turned out my new companion was sick and in the mission home. This brings me to the rest of my week… We did pretty much bubkiss, I cleaned the junk out of my new flat because everything was sticky and gross, but that’s about it. I got out once and met our only investigator, I'm still questioning if she's accountable... The best part of the week was probably church on Sunday. We've got a ward of 50 members which feels freakishly big compared to the 10 I was used to in Stranraer. Most of them are older, but everyone's really friendly, I can see myself getting close to this ward. Elder Crockett is feeling much better today, so it should be smooth sailing from here on out!

Well there ya have it, two solid weeks of humility and learning. It’s been real! Please pray we get new investigators...... Thank you for all of your love and support, I'm sure I'll have a much more successful and eventful week to talk about next Monday!

Love, Elder Cluster

PS this is my new address! 

150 Newbattle, Abbey Crescent
Dalkeith, Midlothian
EH22 3LR

Scotland, UK