Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Jyvaskyla, FInland

 Some snippets from her last email -

-It looks like Sister Ehlen and I will both be staying in Jyväskylä together for another change.
-One of our investigators informed me yesterday at church that she would like to live in the church because it makes her so happy.
-Another told us that he prays every night, and sometimes when he is bored, and has nothing else to do, he prays.
-Another wouldn't talk to us after church yesterday because she was very into the Book of Mormon, and she also didn't do any homework all weekend because she was too busy reading the Book of Mormon.
-We've got some pretty great investigators...clearly.
-My branch president from the MTC will be leaving in June to be the Kenya Nairobi Mission President.

The weather is really turning into spring here. Although, we did have snow twice last week. But we also had a few days of rain, which makes the snow go away faster. The lakes are starting to melt. Pretty soon there will be green everywhere. I can't wait!

We had a really great lesson this week with a family. They were a referral from another family in the ward who are their neighbors. We had met with them once before, and their potential is incredible. Almost immediately after our first lesson with them (immediately meaning the next morning after an already scheduled lunch appointment) we started fasting for them. We prayed for them deeply, and often. I don't know how much else of anything I thought about all week. We knew that a miracle could happen.

We spent extra time preparing for this lesson on that day, and we were pumped and ready to go. We went in, and really followed the Spirit. Which was so strong, it was hard not to follow it. We talked about the restoration, and eternal families. We testified, we asked truly inspired questions, we did exactly everything we are supposed to in a lesson. We could see the Spirit in their eyes, we knew it was touching them. They had kept their commitments. They had good questions that we were able to answer with the help of the Spirit. But when it came time to extend another commitment, one that we had really thought and prayed about, they said no.

We were upset. But we also had feelings that were stronger than being upset. We knew we had done everything we were supposed to. It is our job to bring the Spirit to the hearts of people. But it is their choice to let it in. We know that one day they will begin to accept it. We did our best to do the Lord's work for them this week. Somewhere down the road I know that they will bring the gospel into their lives--because this church needs a family like theirs. 
I hope everyone has a great week, including myself. 

Love, Sisar Clifford

Monday, April 1, 2013

Change of Address

Hey everyone!

We have decided to combine blogs for all the Clifford Sisters' for their updates and photo's. So for more updates, photo's, addresses, and more we have moved to:

Hopefully you can meet us there!

Thanks for all your love and support! Sisar Clifford would love a letter if you could manage one!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Photos from the MTC

The only palm tree on her mission. 
Looking for Justin Bieber

Picking up her Visa in L.A.

Monday, March 4, 2013

'Grateful that this family could eat us'

Well, this week has been a cold one. But I'm also glad to report that I have successfully gone from Monday to Monday without any major health issues. Except for I apparently have tendonitis in my knee and have to ice it four times a day, and am not allowed to walk up and down stairs. Obviously. Let me fill you in on a few of my favorite things from last week:
-Singing "Happy Birthday" to Justin Bieber in an elevator with a potential investigator.
-Going to Helsinki (I'm obsessed with that place).
-I didn't get much practice of Finnish this week due to the many lessons I had in Chinese, Cambodian, half-Swahili or some random African language, half-Vietnamese, half-Russian, and English (yes, random, I know).
-We had Sisar Xu (a mini missionary) with us this week, hence the Chinese lessons, and I felt like I was back in Taiwan.
-I got to go to the temple when I was in Helsinki.
-For four months I've been craving butter chicken and naan...definitely got it last week.
-We tracted into the most phyisically active 90 year old woman I've ever met in my life. She "doesn't even need her glasses all of the time, just sometimes."
-I had a Gilmore moment yesterday afternoon when I learned that I live on Vomit Street. Nice.
-Also last night in a prayer I was trying to say that we were grateful that a family could feed us, but I didn't know the verb for "to feed" and so I just said some form of the word "eat," (half the things I ever say in Finnish I'm just making up, haha) but then later realized I had said, "We are grateful that this family could eat us." Oh man.
We have been meeting with a man for some time, and he actually spent some time investigating from the elders, but we really needed him to start to take this seriously, and put in some effort from his side. We had a lesson with him on Thursday and were somehow able to commit him to baptism. I said a lot of things, don't really remember what, but I know I ended up being a lot more bold than I was planning on, and maybe should have been. I just really wanted him to understand that if he really wanted this change in his life, he was going to have to work a little for it. In fact, maybe I had a little panicked break down in the building after we left his apartment. Maybe there were tears. But we set up a lesson for him this week, and will also be doing a Family Home Evening with him and his children on Saturday. We invited him to church, but he hasn't come in awhile. So we were all quite surprised when he walked into the building on Sunday. The ward members immediately helped in welcoming him, and are thrilled that he will one day join them. We even noticed some friends for him, and already have them lined up to come to the next few lessons with him.
On Sunday my companions and I (also our entire district) are heading to Helsinki for four days for Leadership Training, and also one day for a language class for the elders in my group and myself. That means we're going to have a crazy Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to fit all of our lessons in for the week. But I'm excited to see my elders, funny how that works isn't it?
-Sisar Clifford

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Week 2 in the Field

This week was a good one, and it was a long week. Maybe it seemed so long due to the entire day I spent sleeping. I don't know what my deal is, I just can't seem to quite get better. But after the, oh I don't know, maybe 27 hours of sleep, I felt a lot better. This poor body of mine, it's never going to forgive me for what I've put it through the last few months.
Tuesday was a great day though, Sister Ehlen and I had a cool experience. We had a few options of what to do and where to go, and after praying, we decided to go visit a very less active. After making it to her apartment, there was no answer. So, we prayed again, obviously. We had brought a Proclamation to the Family with us, and we took a minute to study it before we made a decision where to go. Both Sister Ehlen and I felt good about walking in the same direction. After walking for a few minutes, we both knew that we had gone too far. So we turned around, and prayed to know where to go from there. We decided to take a right turn. Immediately after turning right, there was a little park-ish area with a little path and a young mother with two kids and a stroller walking down the path. So we went to talk to her.
Now, I'm far from fluent, but with the confidence that the Spirit brought I began to talk to her. I began saying something about families, I don't really remember, but she listened. Sister Ehlen took a turn, and talked about the Family Proclamation and shared a part of it with her. We each testified and asked if we could get her phone number and talk to her more about it another time. At this point I was a little confused, but what I wasn't confused about was the Spirit that was there in the little wooded area. She agreed, and even made an appointment for a few days later. I know that the Spirit touched her, and that is why she wanted to meet with us.
Our meeting didn't work out, due to a broken leg, but we have another meeting set up, and she ensured us that she is still very interested in hearing what we have to say. I hope and I pray that we will be able to help bring light into a concern that she has in her life, particularly in raising her young family.
On Friday we picked up a mini missionary for the next week! Her name is Jenny Xu. She is 18, in high school, and was baptized in December. She has two callings because she knows she can do so much! She is great! So we have been spliting up the time with her. On Saturday Sister Ehlen and I took a train to Hankasalmi to visit a member couple. It was beautiful. They picked us up from the train station and drove us up the nearest hill to over look the village. I think everyone should google this place. There is a beautiful wooden church, and then the houses surround it from there.
The couple that we visited live right on a lake, in the most perfect cottage. They said I could move in with them, so that was perfect. The husband was actually one of the main translators of the Book of Mormon into Finnish, that was really neat. It was a long day, but it was nice to get to know them, and eat some decent food. Decent, meaning food that wasn't cooked by me. Meaning, food that isn't cereal or a sandwich, or nutella.
Tomorrow we have a district meeting in Tampere, and then Sister Pendleton and I will head to Helsinki for her six month language school, and I will go to the temple! Woohoo!!
I've been trying to concentrate on the little tender mercies in my day. Today, most occured in the grocery store. Maybe it involved the music playing throughout the store, and maybe one of my companions humored me by translating the tabloid cover with me, the best one? "The Halaballu about Kate's Pregnency." And also, I surprise myself with the fact that I can understand a decent amount. Ok, like, a really decent amount. I understood a story some old lady was telling us about being a widow, and how the doctor thought there was cancer in her nose. Now, all we gotta do is figure out a way that I can speak as well as I can understand. So, wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Departure for Finland

Kamille FINALLY  received the clear to leave for Finland this


at 11:35.  If anyone has any final words or stories of advice before she hits the field—I'm sure she'd love to get a few last Dear Elder's.  Send them in by noon so she can receive them by this evening.  
Thanks for all your love and support during this hard time!

don't worry Finland... Sisar Clifford is on her way!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Operation Frank: Success!

Welcome back, folks!  Sorry for the short hiatus, in case you hadn't heard (hopefully you didn't) Kamille was home for 11 days (I think Ken has the minutes and seconds she was home he was so excited) because she had the privilege of getting her tonsils out.  Turns out she had a severe case of tonsil stones.  If you didn't know those existed, neither did we.  Feel free to check out that link *beware of graphic content*.  Hopefully this will be the solution to some of her health problems.  

While she was home she was still a missionary; which meant she still had to have a companion 24/7, could not listen to music or watch movies, or see family or friends.  We named it Operation Frank (as in Anne) for a code name because we felt as if we were hiding a Jew in 1942 Germany.  We dropped her off at the MTC Monday afternoon just in time for her afternoon language lesson, hoping that she'd still be able to head off to Finland next weeks.  The news is in her email.....

Well, the church is true. Yesterday after lunch (there was pretty much nothing in the "here you just got your tonsils out, eat this" category) I made all of the Finnish elders say multiple prayers for pudding at dinner. All day long I would remind them. Even as we said our prayer right before we left for dinner, we included it (good thing Elder Downs learned random food words last week). And what do you know? There was pudding! And it was delicious. There was also mashed potatoes, I got a whole plate full, and also skor cake, which was quite soft and went down well. I was a happy missionary. I am also getting off the pain meds, slowly, at least during the day. I will probably take one tonight before dinner, because last evening was really rough.
I have a doctors appointment tomorrow, and hopefully they will ok me to leave on Monday with my elders! But if I have to stay an extra week, it would be ok. I'm enjoying companions number 8 & 9. Motra Forte from Sandy, and Motra Hawkins from Tremonton.
I basically can't really speak Finnish anymore, but it is ok I guess. It will come back. We said good-bye to one of our teachers on Monday, he moved to Switzerland today. I got back right in time to see him, which was a nice little tender mercy. He said his whole drive here he was thinking, "what if Sisar didn't make it back, what if I can't see her. I could write her a note, but what if she never gets it!" So it was good that I got back. I didn't realize how much I like to talk. Yesterday was a little painful, but I don't think I over did it. I made it to 9:30 just fine, I was very tired, but it was fine. Once I'm all the way recovered, I should be good to go!
I got a fun get well package full of paper valentines from the Dopps, that was so sweet. And yesterday I got some Valentine goodies from the Christensens, so that was really great.
Yesterday I was trying to teach a lesson, and I couldn't remember any of the words I was trying to say, which ended up forcing me to tears (I don't know where all this emotion is coming from). But the investigator (one of the elders) said that even though I couldn't remember how to say anything, the Spirit touched him very strongly, and he assured me that he understood what it was that I wanted to tell him. One of our teachers alwas tells us that it's ok if we can't speak Finnish, the Spirit can, and that's all we need to worry about. Because we are just the tool God is using to touch these people, and if all we can do is bring the Spirit, and help it to touch people in some way, we're doing our job. As missionaries, we really don't do much in the conversion process, it is all up to the Spirit. Chapter 10 in Preach My Gospel has some really good scriptures in the D&C that talk about all of this. It was perfect to study that after my very miniture break down. It will be hard come Tuesday night when I get to Finland, but it will all work out. I'll just work as hard as I can, and I'll have an amazing trainer (I am the only Sisar showing up, so of course they'll give me the best, right?) And it will all work out. God's got it under control.
I'm grateful for my time here in the MTC. I have learned SO much. I'm grateful for all of my companions, and each person I've met here. They've all helped me to learn something. I'm also extremely grateful for my teachers, they each helped to change my life in a different way. I know that I needed to have them, and God puts all of us in the paths of people we need in our lives, and I feel that way deeply about each of them. 12 weeks is a long time, and I'm ready to get to Finland, but it will be sad leaving here. Even being so sick the whole time helped me, and getting my tonsils out was what needed to happen, after I got some learning done of course.
I miss home. It was good to be there for a short time. Home is good. But this is better. I'm grateful that I can be a missionary, and that I am able to go to Finland. It was a little touch and go there for awhile, but I know that this is what I want, and that I will do my best, because it is a blessing that I can have this oppurtunity. Wish me luck, and I have no idea if I'll email when I get there or what. But horray! I can't wait for the next 15 months. They are going to be amazing!

Friday, January 11, 2013

{Week 8}

January 9, 2013

Hello! It was good to talk to dad yesterday. Even though he cried...typical. Haha
This morning I woke up early and went to the temple with Sister Curtain, one of the Hungarians. We went and did inititories, and then joined everyone else for a session. It was really great. Especially because we are both kind of in the same boat. The Hungarians leave on Monday, but Sister Curtain has not been cleared by the doctor to leave yet. Hopefully tomorrow at her doctor appointment she will find out for sure. Last week she received a blessing, and in the blessing she was told to listen to the blessings given to us in the temple. Yesterday she invited me to go with her, and I'm so grateful that she did. I hadn't done initiories since my own, and the words and promises spoken there are so amazing. It was really what I needed to hear today. It was really hard to stay awake in the session, but if you ignore that fact, the time spent in the celestial room was amazing as always. I love that time that we have to be so close to God. To converse with Him without distractions of just praying in your normal room, which for me is packed with lots of junk, and lots of people. I hadn't been to the temple since before Christmas, I'm so grateful that I was able to go today, especially when all I need right now is a little comfort, and a little boost of faith.
Motra left yesterday, barely. It was a close one. About four a.m. a pipe in the basement broke and the fire alarm went off. We all had to wake up, grab coats, and hats, and scarves, and blankets, and then they sent us into the gym. until about 5:15. Motra needed to be at the travel office at 6. There may have been tears, and a lot of freaking out. We bombarded the security guard to let us back into the building so she could leave. It just so happened to be the security guard that drove her to the hospital last Monday night. He remembered her, remembered that she was supposed to leave last week, and then took off running to make sure she could leave yesterday. It was actually really nice. But we got her to the bus right on time, and right about now she is serving in the capital! Woohoo! 85 days here was long enough for her and she was not going to let anyone forget that! I'm grateful that we were able to be companions, and even though it was literally the worst week, there was so much laughter, and encouragment between us.
I don't know why I am still surprised every day how the inspiration of everything, but it all is. I'm so grateful for God's plan, and that He is looking out for me, WHEREVER that may be. But right now, that place is here in the MTC. I'm grateful for all of my companions, all five of them so far, each one has helped me to learn new things, and to become a better person. I'm especially grateful for Sister Burdick and Sister Chamberlain. Life savers. I'm grateful for my teachers. Each of them are so caring, and help me in different ways. They've been so great, and sweet while I've been sick. They have given me advice, and friendship. I couldn't ask for a better set up. My branch president has been such a comfort as well, I've talked with him a few times, and each time leads to more revelation. I really couldn't be in a better place...ok, maybe I wouldn't mind having my People app with me a couple times a day.
I love being a missionary, and I love knowing that I can help God's children.
Love, Sisar Clifford
PS. Why didn't anyone tell me that Harry and Swifty were tearing up the Canyons last week?? Thank you B-Swal. Thank you very much.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year! {Week 7}

January 2, 2013 

The MTC is quite the happenin' place. We brought in the new year with some strange flu. The last day and a half have been the closet thing to a zombie apocolypse I hope to ever encounter. People are dropping like flies. They keep making announcements, people are throwing up everywhere, you can only leave your room if you are well, they are canceling things right and left, calling in more doctors and cleaning crews, delivering water bottles, gaterade, and sack lunches (which consist of jell-o, a banana, and some packets of saltines) to the afflicted. There is also a strict no hugging, no handshaking, no breathing on other people policy, because it is spreading so fast. It's kind of crazy. They think it started with food poisoning, because the people who got it Monday are way worse off then the people who are getting it today...they don't have to go to the hospital.

I have a new companion now, Motra Flores. She was supposed to leave at 4 am on Tuesday for Albania, but was stricken with the plague and has to stay here for about a week. Which I'm actually pretty glad because all of the Hungarians started consecration week today, so at least now I have someone to speak English with. And also I've been sleeping, A LOT, so they put all the sickos together I guess.

I have now had enough visits to the doctor to warrant my own chart. And there are definitely more in the future, the first of which is on Tuesday. I went today and they took a lot of blood for a bunch of different tests, so Tuesday they will give me the results. And they have taken me off of the other prescriptions, so we'll see how it goes. This is how the end of the appointment went down, "Hey Dr. Brown, so this thing, this won't progress too bad that I won't be able to go to Finland right?" "Well Sister Clifford, hopefully we can avoid that." You can all think what you'd like...luckily there is another month for me to hopefully get better.

I've been trying to narrow down all the hilarious happenings of class, and I think I picked out the best one for the time I was in class this week. Last week we only had one of our teachers the WHOLE week. He likes to give us all types of rules, and we always feel like we have to follow them. So whether this rule is an actual Finnish principle, or a Veli Mock rule, I'm unsure. But our favorite verb is "rakastaa," which means to love. We rakastaa everything, chocolate milk, doughnuts, mail, each other, everything. So the other day in class he told us that we could no longer rakastaa anything that couldn't hug us back. Which led to the discussion of whether or not we could rakastaa a dog. To which, he said no.

The next day, Veli Mock started to talk to me about my namesake, the big red dog. He said he has been holding it in for the last month and a half and felt like we were good enough friends that we could talk about it now. So he starts talking about the books, and then says "Mina rakastan Clifford." To which the Elders freak out, because clearly, you can not rakastaa a dog. So then they are all arguing (this happens in the Finnish language, mind you. Ok, what we like to call Finglish) and then he says that he can for sure rakastaa Clifford the Big Red Dog. Then he also rakastaa-d Sisar Clifford. This was the response, "BUT SISTER CLIFFORD CAN'T HUG YOU BACK." We are so clever here in Suomi.

Other than that, I haven't really left my room, so nothing major to report. I do have some requests
-can you get me some new head nozzle things for my camel back water bottle?
-i need some updates, there was a request for katy perry and john mayer. I am personally very interested in swifty/styles
-maybe like in a week when i feel like eating you could send some brownies fantastico my way.

OH! I was looking out my window today and just happened to see the Coles dropping off Christine. I tried yelling to Kelsey, but she couldn't hear me. Our baby Fins came today! I met some of the sisters, and I am very excited to have more girls around!