Elder Clifford is serving a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to Mexico Guadalajara East from August of 2014 to July of 2016.

E a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to Mexico Guadalajara East from August of 2014 to July of 2016.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Week Three

Elder Clifford's mission scripture

Buenos Dias!

I made it through another week in this crazy place. I swear that the longer I stay here the less I have to talk about. I'm sure that as soon as I’m done writing this email I’ll be like, oh yeah I wanted to talk about that one thing and then I’ll run back to the computer and see that they are all taken up by other people. I guess that I’ll start off this letter by describing the West campus. And the obvious prejudice that the main campus has against the West campus. They are just jealous of our mad Spanglish skills ;)  But let’s see……

I’ll start things off with the place that matters more than anything else on this campus, the cafeteria. Well the Chapels probably matter more but they’re kind of like spiritual cafeterias that feed my soul. Anyways, the cafeteria is exactly what you'd expect a cafeteria to be. I won’t bother describing tables or anything lame like that. I’m here to talk about the people who work there. There's this one lady who we call El Diablo, who works in there, and she knows me by name and she has a serious issue with me. She literally watches me the whole time I eat like a hawk. First I should explain why she watches me like a hawk though, it’s probably not unwarranted. So here comes little brand new Elder Clifford, a little confident and a little shell shocked after his first day of the CCM. I think hey, you know what would be the greatest idea? (I swear that my brain hates me man).  I grab some ice cream with the innocent intention of taking one to my apartment and eating one on the way there. Who doesn't enjoy a nice walk with an ice cream? Well apparently El Diablo doesn’t because I get 1 foot out the door and I just hear this shrill voice scream at me "Elder, have some respect. You are an example of Christ, what are you doing stealing that ice cream?”  I turn around with a spoon full in my mouth, and I promise you I tried to explain but my mouth was full of ice cream. All that came out was what sounded like some kind of sarcastic grumble but I was trying to say, “Sorry I didn't know, I’m a newbie”.  Well, apparently I shouldn’t have taken my dork dot off of my nametag as soon as I got it because I looked like some kind of veteran of the MTC or something. How was I supposed to know that I’m not allowed to take food out of the cafeteria, it says all you can eat? What do you think, I’m gonna turn around and sell those little tiny pints of ice cream or something? Maybe I should just start up a little ice cream black market in the CCM to get back at these guys……  Anyways, she gives me a lecture and I just nod my head and I make the walk of shame in front of everyone in the cafeteria to put the ice cream back. This is what started it all with El Diablo. A week later I was playing this game called what are the odds, where if you and someone else say the same number then you have to do some kind of dare. I filled up a cup with powerade and chocolate milk and right as I started to drink it guess who came running over to my table?? None other than the Diablo herself. We got lectured how the kids in Mexico don’t have enough to eat and that we shouldn’t waste food. Well I wasn’t wasting lady, I was gonna chug that thing like the game demanded. She also caught me going through the line without swiping my card one time, but that one isn’t very interesting because she just told me to swipe my card. These are the reasons for my rivalry with the one I call El Diablo. The day I leave I will go into that kitchen and walk out with two ice cream in hand and my head held high. I will win the battle against El Diablo. So there’s that I guess.

The rest of the campus is an apartment complex converted into classrooms. I’ll send some pictures or something. Now onto the pressing matter at hand... The rivalry between West campus and main campus. Now I’ll admit that this may be slightly biased, and it may also be a little exaggerated, and that I may also be insane for thinking this, but hear me out. Every week the West campus has to wait for the main campus to file into the auditorium thing for devotionals and we only get to have like 50 people in the Choir. If I hadn’t made it into the choir this last week then I wouldn’t have randomly ran into Elder Chou. I don’t even like singing either. I just go so that I can see myself on the big screen. The entire time I just mouth the words and hope that no one notices. Anyways the main MTC is prejudice against the West side. Well probably not, but take my word for it someday the West campus will take over the main campus. We’ll have this all out language war and we'll lose a lot of people against the people learning Korean and Japanese and stuff, but we’ll win in the end because of el poder de nuestros corazons. (**Mom here, I had to look this up.  Translation: the power of our hearts.)  It'll be pretty legit.

Other than that this week was mostly eventless. We gave 3 blessing this week. I guess people saw how it helped the Hermana and wanted that help as well. This week we started teaching a progressing investigator. I doubt that he's a real investigator but it’s pretty fun when I get to talk. (MY COMPANION WONT EVER LET ME TALK!!) The kid goes on and on and then drops the hard questions off on me. I just speak from the heart though and tell them what I think about the question. It's funny, because this kid goes to all of this trouble to memorize lines and stuff to say to the investigators, and gets mad at me when I tell him I refuse to memorize anything other than the baptismal pledge, the first vision and our purpose. I’m not here to tell people words straight out of a book you know? I’m here to invite them to come unto Christ, and while I can do that by saying memorized lines, it will never be as powerful as when I look them in the eye and I tell them cree en mi. Cree in what I’m saying. (**Mom again!  Translation: Believe in me.  Believe in what I'm saying.)  I promise you that your prayers will be answered, or I know that if you read the book of Mormon and pray faithfully, that you will be given an answer that it’s true. I refuse to memorize lines, because I know that as long as I’m worthy, and as long as I study hard, that the Holy Ghost will give me the words that I need to say to that person in the very moment that I need them. Now I know that these aren’t real investigators, but these are real members, with real problems, and there’s a possibility that what I say may just give them the strength or the help that they need to get through whatever thing they need to get through at the moment.  I love helping people and teaching lessons and bearing my testimony and I feel really strongly that I need to push through all my problems. It’s a little hard because I feel like Dios doesn't really listen to my prayers sometimes. Funny thing is that I’ve taught people the reasons for that in full Spanish and now my new investigator is kinda myself. It’s probably true that your first convert needs to be yourself.   I've gotta end here because I’m just above the hour writing minute, but I want you all to know that I love you, and that if you will put all of your faith in Christ, that he will help you and he will carry you through your problems. I promise you that. 

Hope this week goes well for all of you guys!!

Love, Elder Clifford

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Week Two

Provo Temple

Hola mi familia!

This week was kind of a crazy week.

Let me just start by saying that the days here are the longest things ever. I wake up and head to class and we study or whatever and I try not to fall asleep and then I kind of fall asleep and then we go back to studying and then we hit lunch and that rocks. But pretty much every day feels like 2 days and every week feels like it was only one day. Honestly it’s pretty hard to remember all of the stuff that I did in the week but it’s coming back to me now so we’re good.

Saturday was one of the funniest days I’ve ever had. It starts out like a normal boring day, well not boring. It’s probably a sin or something to say that it can be boring here at the MTC sometimes. Anyways I wake up, take a super quick shower and try eating a real quick breakfast so that we can make it to class on time. My comp. just kind of lounges around takes a 15 minute shower, eats slow as heck and then tells me we need to sprint to class so that we can make it to class on time and get the blessings of obedience. How about no, man. I walked as slow as I could walk. I thought it was pretty funny. My comp did not. The day goes on and we were just heading back from one of the best dinners I’ve ever had. In the MTC after a long day I think that every dinner is the best dinner I’ve ever had. (I forgot to mention in my last email but I’ve already gained 10 pounds last I checked on Sunday.)  Anyways I’m just chilling with the other guys from my district because we have 10 minutes to class and I mean who doesn’t like to chill outside and joke around? (Not my comp in case you were wondering).  Comp comes out of class and goes berserk. And when I say berserk I mean like the kind of crazy you see when a mom thinks she’s lost her child and it’s your fault somehow. He starts yelling and we all laugh because we thought he was joking and that was the wrong move I guess, because he told me he was going to punch me for a bunch of reasons. He said some not so choice words to me and lectured me on how I was the worst missionary in the MTC and needed to fix my attitude and to start obeying the rules. At this point I’m just laughing at everything he says and all the other guys and I haven’t moved from our spots on the ground. I continue laughing and reply, “Well hey, no one can live as perfectly as you. Plus you just broke a rule by swearing at me so we’re kind of on even ground.”  He has nothing to say to this so he does what any other sore loser would do, tries to fight me. He walks up (I’m still on the ground) and pushes me back into the ground. I start to shoot my foot towards his stomach when out of nowhere Elder Hansen straight up pushes the guy like 10 feet. He yells at him and says that he’s sick of the way he treats everyone and that it’s not his job to bully people. He says that if he tries anything else that he'll personally knock him out. My comp thinks he’s tough and sneers back at him, “Bring it." Hansen pushes him on the ground and walks away. By this time I was about to knock my comp out and Wagner grabs me and pulls me into the classroom. We all talked for a while and my comp stormed off and started "studying".   Elder Sasser and Wagner went on a split so I didn’t have to go with him. Time goes by and we remembered that there was a Sister in our district who needed a blessing because she was having these crazy bad asthma problems. So I and the other 3 elders who were there gave her a blessing. It was my first experience with a blessing and I had no idea what to expect. Standing in the circle I just felt really great. Like I was ready and worthy to help someone out with my priesthood and I was finally getting to help. The blessing brought the spirit back into the classroom and we all finished studying in peace.  The Hermana is fine by the way. Anyways my comp and I worked everything out and he apologized for flipping out on me over nothing.  I told him that while the mission needs 100 percent of our effort when it comes to study and our work, that a huge aspect of it was making relationships that will last a lifetime. I didn't come out on my mission to seclude myself from others and to preach the gospel to random people I was assigned to. I came out and I knew that the only way that I was ever going to learn how to really convert someone is if I showed them I loved them. And sure knowledge is a great way to tell someone what they need to hear, but there’s no way to help someone feel what they need to feel if you never went out of your way and truly loved them.

I’ve learned a lot about myself this week and I’ve thought a lot about my family. Yeah it’s hard, and yeah I haven’t been out that long, but honestly if it weren’t for all my friends in the district, I would be having such a hard time right now. Just wanted to let you guys know I love you and appreciate you for sending me goodies and letters and stuff. Good luck to all you siblings about to start school. I know that you guys can do it. Oh yeah I taught these things called trc's this week. It’s pretty much family home evening with members in full Spanish. I got paired up with this college chick and an old lady. All they did the whole time was compliment me on my Spanish. They can lie to me all they want, but I know with a surety that my Spanish is basura. That means trash I think.  All I know about my Spanish skills is that when I bear my testimony that I can feel the spirit. I look right into their eyes and I say everything I know how to say. If I can’t say it than I say it in English. That’s probably enough for one week.

Love you guys>

Hasta Luego!!

Elder Clifford 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Week One


Elder Clifford and his MTC companion.

How is everything going back home? Life here at the MTC is kind of hectic!!
I have no idea where to start so I guess I’ll start at the beginning. I come in first day and they shuffle me through this crazy mega huge line and I get my badge and everything. Anyways they throw me in a classroom with some other kids who look just about as dazed and confused as I undoubtedly look. Either way I figure hey, I’m pretty tired; why not go for a nap. As soon as I sit down I notice the teacher guy saying words to me that I don’t understand. All I could see is his mouth moving like in slow motion in a movie but none of the words even made sense so I just go along with it and act like I know what he’s saying. Bla bla bla? I just nod my head. oh bla bla bla. I continue to stare at him with a blank look on my face; I can just see it now. All I think of was wow what the heck did I get myself into? He told us in English that our first investigator would be coming to speak with us in full Spanish in two days so we might as well get started. This should give you an idea of how crazy the first day was. So anyways the next few days we study for like 8 or 9 hours a day and needless to say I think I know a little bit of Spanish now. I’ve given six discussions in Spanish and committed our investigator to baptism. By the way he is not a real investigator, just like our new teacher finding out where we need help at Spanish.
This email is going to be insane and probably won’t make any sense because I have to shove in a week and a half worth of information into a letter in less than an hour. Maybe I’ll break the rules, we’ll see I guess. Now let’s get to the nitty gritty. Schedule changes all the time so I really don’t know what to say about that. Let’s just say I wake up at the unholy hour of 6:30, get ready and run to class or breakfast or whatever. We have three three hour study periods, one hour of gym time, and lunch and dinner. Pretty easy schedule if I can manage to find something I feel like studying.

Honestly, this is going to sound typical Colby jerk but I can't stand mi companero.  He is a crazy stickler for the rules from Colorado.  I swear I he thinks I'm going to go to hell because I'll be chilling taking a 5 minute break with my new bro's and he races in there and says the Lord has no time for breaks and we need to study harder.  I told him that the mission needs a good balance of friends and work, like I need to be at least partially sociable as long as it doesn't actually interfere with the work.  He told me that missionaries don't need friends!!!  The heck??  Anyways, it seems he's a hypocrite because he's all for breaking the rules when he wants to do something, but if I'm talking to someone or want to do something the Spirit tells him its a bad idea.  I don't know, but I honestly couldn't give less of a crap anyway.
I went to the Mexican consulate for my visa picture or something with a bunch of other elders on Tuesday and it was pretty nifty. It was on the way back when all of the insanity started happening. So there I was minding my own business on the trax when some borderline homeless looking dude walks up to us. He was mumbling to himself and his hand was shaking a little bit like he was on drugs or something. He walks up and politely asks “Where are you handsome missionaries doing on such a fine day as this?" Oh, hey crazy guy, we're just getting back from the Mexican consulate. He gets a little mad, and says nope you’re wrong. Huh? I’m wrong that I know exactly where I was for the last 3 hours? He says something about how it’s the American consulate and keeps calling it continent. Anyways we get a rant about how live in America and are Americans and what not. Two missionaries walk away and he yells watch them walk away boys, watch them walk away. At this point I feel uncomfortable but trust me it gets worse. He tells us about how he’s Alice Cooper’s nephew and begins ranting about some cosmic rule of the universe. Then he starts trying to get us to sing "I hope they call me on a mission". No one wants to sing so he gets mad and punches the ceiling. He tells us that Thomas S. Monson is watching us and that if we don’t sing that Thomas will be disappointed and that we're not real missionaries and what not. Anyways, he tries again and no one joins in. We all get off the trax and he gets crazy mad and yells 'you are wasting your lives, disappointing Thomas, your parents are stealing your lives', and finally finishes with a flattering fbomb. He also gives us the good old middle finger for good measure and runs to the back of the train. So yeah, fantastic time my first day out of the MTC.
Anyways, I’m doing fine here. The food is pretty good and I can have as much as I want. No, I am not fluent yet. I’m pretty sure everything I say to the investigator makes no sense actually. My district is dope. I’m great friends with everyone, there are 8 elders including my companionship and 4 sisters. All the guys are going to the same mission! I’m gonna know these guys my whole mission!  Anyways, I hope you guys are doing alright. I can say prayers and bear my testimony in full Spanish. Anyways, I’m all good and hope you’re all good. 

Love you guys.

Elder Clifford

MTC classroom

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Reporting to the MTC

We took pictures at the Provo Temple across the street from the MTC and said our Goodbyes there.


There he goes!  Good luck Elder Clifford!
Vaya con Dios!