Friday, October 28, 2016

Isle of Arran, Baptismal Preparation and Stake Conference

Hello Family and Friends! It's been another amazing week filled with adventures and fun filled lessons with the Eastons and Sian Preparing them for their baptisms. This week has really taught me to count my many blessing.

Oct. 17th
We finally made it to the Isle of Arran!!!! Miracles are real. We have tried to go for the past three weeks, and have missed our ferries. We had the most amazing weather this side of Scotland has ever seen lately, but Monday when we hopped on the ferry it was bucketing rain, but I didn’t even care, we made it on the ferry! We did it all, from exploring the wilderness to checking out a cheese factory. To finish it all up we explored an epic castle! Just as we walked to the other side of the castle we saw an amazing view of the ocean. As a gazed over the horizon in deep pondering I saw a wee boat headed towards us. Then it clicked. THAT’S OUR FERRY!! Next we ran like mad men for 20 minutes all the way to the other side of the Island. With my many years of cross country training and several frantic prayers we made it back just in time! I wish I could say that was the first time I almost got stranded on an Island... 

Oct. 18th
This morning we had a beast of a district meeting in Ayr. It was from DL Elder Divinas. He is a 26 year old recent convert from Lithuania. He's not the easiest to understand, but when that man speaks the spirit teaches!!  Afterwards we had a great exchange with the Elders in Paisley. I spent the day with Elder Corcoran. What a lad! We had a great time finding new people to teach!

Oct 19th
The greatest part of Wednesday was a lesson we had with Sian. We went through all of the baptismal interview questions with her and she is just ready as can be! One of the greatest things to see was her Book of Mormon all marked with notes and bookmarks, and her baptismal calendar neatly marked down one day at a time, with "The Big Day" written in bold letters on the 29th. What a blessing it has been to be able to teach her! 

Oct. 20th
Today we had a wonderful lesson with the Easton girls! We taught them all about the Plan of Salvation, and agreed that we would all have a big party in the Celestial Kingdom one day! Later on we met up with Sian and went over Service, Learning, and Missionary work. I can see Sian bringing all her friends and family into the gospel! It's going to be Glorious! To finish up the night we ate some tasty Salmon.

Oct. 21th
Friday morning we had what they are calling a "Cluster Meeting" I came prepared with a speech, only to find out that it was just two districts put together for one district meeting, so we role played to the max! We were able to catch up on some good finding time and teach Sain again, but nothing too special for today. 

Oct. 22nd
Saturday morning we arose and had a morning lesson at the church with Sian. We taught her all about families and temples, and committed her to go to the temple within the first three weeks of her baptism. Her face lit up as we shared all about temples and the work we can do there. She can't wait to experience it for herself. We were also blessed with another great opportunity to teach the Eastons. We taught about the Holy Ghost and how we can have Him with us all the time. The wee ones are excited for their baptisms and to have the Holy Ghost as their new friend, to help lead and guide them. To finish up the night we traveled down to Paisley where we were able to attend the Saturday night session of Stake Conference with the Easton’s, then spent the night with the Johnston Elders. 

Oct. 23rd
Sunday has got to be my favorite out of the lot. Out of the 16 months I have been on my mission 13 of those have been spent in the Paisley Zone, which means when I go to Paisley Stake Conference I pretty much know everyone and their pets! It was like one big family reunion! I especially enjoyed being able to spend some time with the Higgins family from the good old days in Greenock. What a blessing they have been to me! It is amazing to see Gavin now as the first counselor in the Greenock Branch. It feels like his baptism was just yesterday! It was another great blessing to have Sain and the Eastons join us in Paisley for conference. I loved each of the talks, especially the one given my Elder Pills of the Area 70's from Germany. The main theme was "Remember Him". 

 It’s been a very miraculous and blessed week, but this week is going to be the Big Burrito with Elizabeth and Andrea Eaton along with Sian all being baptized on Saturday October 29th. We have plenty of reason to rejoice with great gratitude to our Father in Heaven.

Elder David A. Bednar: "The very process of people prayerfully seeking inspiration to learn and to improve—they will be taught things by the Holy Ghost that no lecture is ever going to dispense."

Love, Elder Cluster

Sunday, October 23, 2016

All ScotlandConference, ZLC, and A Castle!

This week Elder Thomson and I were able to spend extra time working with a lot of amazing missionaries. We are very blessed with all the missionaries in the Zone and their fantastic examples, along with every missionary in Scotland that we got to see on Thursday! We are truly unified in this great work. I also had the major blessing of getting to see Sain and the Easton families grow in the Gospel and make some major steps towards their Baptisms!
Oct 10th
Monday was absolutely beautiful! We quickly changed and ran out to the ferry for our journey to the Isle of Arran! We arrived right on time… Just in time to find out that we need to get there 20 minutes early to get on. So there we sat watching our ferry sail out to the lands we so desperately dreamed of for the past three weeks. (Today is ridiculously grey and wet, but you better believe we'll be on that ferry!!) So instead of exploring the Island we went out to my favorite castle wall and relaxed on the top of it contemplating the beautiful things of life. I could have stayed up there forever, but instead we came home and hit the streets teaching everyone about Jesus! 

Oct. 11th
Today we had a Zone Leadership Training where we got to instruct and counsel all the District Leaders in the Zone about how we were going to meet all our new goals and recognize all of God's miracles in our work. I would say the two main points were Faith, and learning how to work with members to the fullest! After our meeting, I went on exchange with a new missionary Elder Stevenson. All of the appointments we had set for the day kept getting pushed back until everyone wanted to see us at the same time. So we told them all to meet us at the church where we taught a class about the restoration with three investigators and two recent converts. It was pretty legendary. 
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Oct. 12th
Wednesday morning we drove the Johnston Elders home and used their shower because ours is flooding out our downstairs neighbor. Next we met up with a new investigator in a little cafe next to the Dundonald Castle; we got some sweet chicken noodle soup! Later on in the day we were getting ready to see the Easton’s when our joint teacher canceled on us. As we were frantically trying to find someone who could join us I got a call from a random number. It was my favorite English missionary Elder Gates and he was in Irvine! He was thrilled to help us out with our teaching. What a blessing. What a legend! We finished up the night by conducting a baptismal interview in Paisley. 

Oct. 13th
Thursday was a painfully early trip and long drive to Edinburgh for an All Scotland Conference. It was all worth it when we arrived. It was an amazing conference with a very powerful spirit. I must say though, the best part was when Elder Thomson and I got to instruct every Missionary in the Country on conversion. When the meeting was all finished up we grabbed the Stranraer Elders and started our journey back home. On the way back I got the most incredible chicken burger from KFC! I know KFC started in Utah, but the KFC in Great Britain is so much better! The only thing that could have made is better would have been a cold glass of Root Beer! Then we closed the night by teaching a lesson to a group at the church!

Oct. 14th
One of the greatest parts about Friday was the lunch we had with my favorite old lady. She is super sweet, and loves Jesus more than anyone I've ever known!! Another Great blessing was teaching the Easton family about the life of Jesus Christ, little Andrea is really starting to get it. I sure hope they make their baptismal date for October 29th!

Oct. 15th
Friday was made up of running around Glasgow helping a couple of our missionaries move into their new flat. After we finished up with all the silly monkey work, we met up with the sister missionaries in the area and went crazy on the town with family history pamphlets! We are going to baptize so many old folk! Today we also taught Sian the law of Chastity. She's committed, can't wait for her baptism at the end of the month! #KingdomBuilder

Oct. 16th
Sundays are always great. Both the Easton’s and Sian had a great experience. It was so nice seeing them there! Partaking of the sacrament next to your investigators is always very rewarding. I love it! The rest of Sunday wasn't anything to special. I had some pretty kick butt spaghetti, which was a good experience! 

Thank you so much for all of your prayers this week,specially the ones for the Easton’s and Sian. I am very grateful for that! Never forget how present God is in our lives. As we build our faith we will recognize his miracles. The Lord has said, “For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.” (2 Ne 27:23).  “And I said unto them: If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done. “And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me?” (1 Ne 17: 50-51).

Love you!
Elder Brycen Cluster

Monday, October 10, 2016

Blessings and Crazies!

It’s been a great week filled with Blessings and lots of Crazies! Let me give you a few of the greatest moments of my mission this week!
What Ever Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part
Oct. 3rd
Elder Thomson and I ran as fast as we could to get out ferry to go explore the Isle of Aran. We bought our ticket and then we were told that there is not only one boat and it doesn't leave till 5.45pm. We sadly walked back to the car. Next I got an awful haircut by a Turkish man who couldn't speak English; it took him half the P-day to do too! We finished P-day by doing some crazy manly workouts in the flat and then had a great family home evening with the Easton family!

Oct. 4th
Today I had a great district meeting in my home town in Greenock! It felt weird standing in the same spots as I did this time a year ago... After DM we went on exchange back in Irvine, I was with my homeboy Elder Harker. The craziest part of the day was when we were teaching out investigator Sian outside, when this crazy ball Born-Again sits down next to her and starts going buck wild saying that we are teaching her lies and that the Book of Mormon is false doctrine! Just when I was about to get up and fight the man Sian bears her testimony on the BOM being the word of God, and then she read him a scripture about baptism. It was one of the best moments of my life.

Oct. 5th
We awoke at 5AM and hit the road to Edinburgh for Mission Leadership Council dropping off the other Elders in Glasgow along the way. This was one of the greatest leadership meetings I've been too. We talked all about Faith and working with Members. The spirit taught me so much. Elder Thomson and I also did a stellar instruction on Scripture study.

Oct. 6th
My favorite part of today was when we knelt down and prayed before sharing a powerful lesson in the chapel with Sian. She's now committed to the Word of Wisdom, what a boss. The second greatest part was a baptismal interview I got to conduct in Paisley. Her name is Lindsay and she went from being a complete atheist to now being a full fledged Mormon in a matter of weeks! Her baptism was Saturday and she is now enjoying the blessing from the Gift of the Holy Ghost. 

Oct. 7th
Friday we were back in Edinburgh, this time on exchanges with the Assistance. I spent the day with Elder Crowe from Beyond 5! What a lad. We spent the day teaching lots of Chinese students and eating fish and chips. 

Oct. 8th
The greatest thing about Saturday was the lesson we had with Nicola at the beach. Nicola's testimony has grown so much since I first started teaching her! Her friends are awful and hate her being a part of the church, but she just sticks it to em because she won't deny the truth and is staying true to her faith! I also ate fish and chips again, for both lunch and dinner. 
Oct. 9th 
Church was absolutely incredible! We had Sian join us, she felt the spirit so strongly as all the members got up and shared their testimonies. She'll be baptized by the end of the month if it's the last thing I do!! We also spend a lot of time running all around Ayr moving a lot of old junk and trying to shut down an old missionary flat. It was good fun!

So there you go, lots of memories were made :) We are going to try once again to make it out to Aran now... So wish us luck!! 

PS. Please keep the Easton’s and Sian Bigham in your prayers.
Love, Elder Cluster

Monday, October 3, 2016

Moves Call, Moves Planning, Moves, and the Flu.

My family and friends!! I'll be completely honest with you, I'm almost out of time and I kind of just want to explore the Isle of Arran before the weather changes and we find ourselves in a monsoon again. But I’ll sum up the last couple of weeks for you with a couple of power statements! 
1. Moves call... That was something crazy! I got the call to serve with one of my good buddies Elder White, but when we found out that neither of us could currently drive in the UK they made a switcharoo and hooked me up with another South African named Elder Thomson, and asked me to train him how to be a Zone Leader. I'm still just trying to figure that junk out of myself so this is going to be an interesting transfer. Also I think I’m starting to get quite the strange accent being with a South African 24/7 and constantly speaking to Scots! 

2. Moves planning is harsh. On Monday we sat at the computer from 7am to 6pm on a spreadsheet with all the ZL's in the mission figuring out what Trains, Planes, Busses, Trams, and Ferries we would need to get in order to get everyone to their new areas! It was a struggle to say the least, but was nothing compared to the moves day itself. I got the Flu and felt like I got hit by a bus and still had to spend the day (and a good chunk of the rest of the week) driving all over Scotland trying to get new missionaries safe and sound into their new areas! Oh yeah, Elder Wilson also had a car fall on his foot. That slowed us down a bit! 
3. I ate a lot of fantastic food this week! My two favorites was the Haggis I had with the Easton Family, and the other was a burrito I got in Glasgow. That is probably one of the only Mexican restaurants in all of Scotland. It still didn't taste like a real burrito but I’ll take whatever I can get! 

4. Last but definitely not least was general conference! General Conference is just like Christmas for missionaries!! My favorites were Elder Uchtdorf and Elder Oaks. Dallin H Oaks was going powerhouse on missionary work! You can just look into the eyes of these amazing men and women and see a light. They've got something special. They are called of God! 

Well that about sums it up. I love you all so much! I am especially grateful for your prayers, they are heard and the Lord blesses me every day. Now it’s time for some hard core adventures!!! P-Day is a great break for us! Talk to you in a week!
Love, Elder Cluster