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.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Week Eight



Elder Clifford and his Dad a week before he reported to the MTC.
No pictures this week, the computer he was using was too slow to upload pictures.


This week was better but it was still just as crazy. I can’t remember everything that happened in it right now so I’ll just write the things I remember the most.

Can’t remember the names but the sketchiest thing I ate this week was this taco of cesos or sesos or something. Its cow brains or something but I didn’t know till after.   

I had my first couple of lessons this week, but I don’t really have any investigators yet. We have one but I forgot the guy’s name so I don’t think he counts. Anyways, yeah, it’s a lot easier for me to teach the lessons then talk to people for some reason. I can understand a lot of what people are saying now, but if there is background noise than I am done. I must freak people out because I’m concentrating so hard on trying to understand what they are saying that I am just staring at them long after they are done talking. Oh that reminds me, people here really must not see white people very often because everywhere I go they stare at me. I can’t look anywhere without making accidental eye contact with someone and then they look away or give me a dirty look. It’s kinda funny actually. Some people will straight up stand on top of me when I am on the bus and pretend I am not there but every time I look somewhere they check to see what I’m doing. Little kids are the best. They shamelessly stare at me for like 30 minutes straight and then kinda freeze up when I look back at them. They’ll say something and I’ll go huh and then they’ll mumble. Pretty much everyone does that to me actually haha.

Crazy experience of the week would have to have been when we were visiting Antiguo, can’t remember how its spelled, investigadores and this guy let us into his house shack thing. He went off on us because he liked the church and was attending one day but came ten minutes late and they shut the doors on him and wouldn’t let him in because they were eating lunch. We were confused for a second and realized that they had closed the doors for sacrament. We explained the sacrament to him but it still took a solid 30 minutes to make him believe us. Later in the lesson he lit up a cigarette while we were talking to him and blew the smoke in my face and then asked me if I “speakey espanish” kind of like you hear the Chinese people in the movies. I just shook my head and waited for the lesson to be over.

Overall this week was pretty good. We moved into our new apartment today, but I don’t know where we are sleeping yet. We don’t have beds so I might be sleeping on the concrete floor.   My new area is awesome. Where I used to live was kinda ghetto, but could have been worse. It’s rained a lot. I don’t know about beds, the mission is figuring it out. We’ll probably have them tomorrow at the latest.     

We are in the Jardins de Castillo I think. It’s a pretty nice neighborhood. I used to live in Agaves. I’m safe. My comp is nice.  We don’t have time for fun because there’s been so much work to do. We are pretty much re opening an area but technically not. Before there weren’t enough Elders for our area so they kind of neglected it but taught a few investigators every once in a while. We are visiting old ones and have a few appointments for this week.
All I usually have to eat every day is lunch. I’m buying breakfast and dinner stuff this week. I’ll have way more time now that I don’t have to ride a bus for 3 and a half hours a day. Members are nice, but they are a little poor. So I feel bad eating their food but I eat a bunch anyways because I am hungry from all of the walking.
It’s all good though because for some reason the stomach bugs have left me alone and I haven’t gotten sick yet. I’m probably the luckiest white guy in Guad.

Adios,

Elder Clifford

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week Seven




Elder Clifford with Presidente y Hermana Camarillo the day he got to Mexico (September 15)
(he says they are awesome!!)





Hola familia!


This week has been one of the roughest weeks of my life, but I think that it’s also been a good thing.
First things first, I got my Trainer!!  His name is Elder Sanchez, and he is from Ecuador. He doesn’t speak English, but he’s pretty good at charades so I think we’ll be alright.   Which brings me to the next item of business -  I suck at Spanish.  I’ve tried as hard as I can all week but no matter what I do I cannot understand very much of what anyone says.  Then when I try to talk back to them they just laugh at me and call me a guerro.  Guerro is the same as gringo, but I haven’t heard gringo very much.  Kinda funny actually, this crazy Mexican guy wearing a huge sombrero and a beard halfway down his chest, yelled at me and started yelling guerro like 20 times. It scared the crap out of me (not literally, luckily).


I live in a kind of sketchy place. Well, not sketchy by Mexico standards I don’t think, but in America everyone would be freaking out if they lived there. The people are nice though.  Well, most of the people are nice, I’ve met a couple Mexican people who apparently don’t like white people this week, but it doesn’t matter because I can’t understand what they are yelling at me anyways.
Another thing that has surprised me here is how crazy the driving is.  I’ve almost been hit by like 15 cars this week. Mexico is like real life frogger. The busses are just as crazy as the other cars and motorcycles too.  Bus is my main form of transportation for this transfer, and I’ve spent most of my money on the bus rides all over the area.  By the way, my area is called industrial.  Look up Guaves and see if anything comes up. I think that’s the name of the actual place but I have no idea.  It’s a lot of guessing for me right now.  It kind of sucks because my companion has never been to this area, and we had to rent|negotiate|buy a house and we still aren’t moved in yet. The house is smaller than your bedroom.   No kitchen but we have a sink kind of thing and the mission gives us these mini kind of grill things.  There isn’t any hot water.  I’m in the outer part of Guadalajara, so it’s kind of not that nice.  I feel safe for the most part.  I know what kind of places I should and shouldn’t walk and what kind of things to stay away from.


Right now we are living with a companionship who lives like an hour and a half from our area because that’s the closest to our area. We don’t know our area so we’ve been spending a lot of time tracting around it and just figuring it out. We’ve gotten contact information from 52 people who want to learn more about our message, but we haven’t called any yet because it’s too hectic going from place to place as is. Hopefully at least 2 or 3 of those people were actually interested.  So yeah, I haven’t taught any investigators yet and that kind of makes me feel like a failure but it’s okay I guess.  Our mission is really strict about letting people get baptized.  They have to go to 5 weeks of church in a row to get baptized.  I know they can do it.  I have faith in them but dang.  I never expected that I would have to get people to go to church for a month before they could be baptized.  I guess I’ll just have to teach a ton of people every week to make up for those people who don’t go to church.  


Speaking of church, I had a funny experience at it this week. They asked me to give a talk but I thought they asked me talk about myself,  so I stood up there and said my name is Elder Clifford, I am from Utah, I am excited to be able to work with such a great ward and I sat down.  Everyone laughed.  I was confused.  I laughed as well.  Needless to say, I think that the bishopric may not have been the happiest people in the world, but they’ll probably have me give a talk next week anyways so it’s all good.


The food here is awesome!  I haven’t gotten sick yet, but I have no idea when I’m supposed to get sick.  I haven’t eaten anything weird yet that I know of.  I had carne en su jugo the first night and I had tortas another night.  I’ve had tortillas with almost every meal.  All in all, I have been taken care of pretty well if you ask me.  


But yeah, that’s all I’ve got for this week.


Hope everyone is doing well and is healthy and everything.


Adios,


Elder Clifford

Elder Clifford and his companion Elder Sanchez

  

Elder Clifford and Elder Sanchez at Zone Conference the day after Elder Clifford got to Mexico.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bonus Letter


Elder Clifford's response to a letter from one of his adopted mom's
(mother to his good friend who is also on a mission right now)
 
 
 
 
 

I'm doing great thanks for asking! I'm not gonna lie to you guys I really just want to go to Mexico and be completely confused already. I can't believe that G's just about to leave for Peru, it feels like just a short time ago that I was there at his mission call opening. Good luck to you guys with all of the craziness in the next few weeks.
 
Oh and you already probably do this because you guys are awesome but if I could go back I would make myself give my mom and dad the longest hugs in the world. I always thought that I was some tough guy who didn't need to show his love for his parents or something like that but now I wish I could.
 
Love you guys! Thank you so much for your love and support!

Elder Clifford


 

Monday, September 15, 2014

He's off to Mexico!!!


Elder Clifford left the Provo MTC today for Mexico!!!

At his layover in Phoenix I spoke with him and asked him to bear his testimony to me in Spanish, here is part of it:

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bonus Letter


Letter between Elder Clifford and his 12 year old brother Carter


Bonjour,
How are you? If you didn't already know I lost both of my games last week. School is boring. Except for French Class. It's my favorite part of school. 
 From, Carter
 
 
 
 
It's boring at this place too. Next week I'm gonna eat dog or something probably. I'm excited for it I guess.
 
Good luck this week.
 
Elder Clifford


 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bonus Letter

 
Here is a bonus letter between Elder Clifford and his 14 year old brother Cameron.




Hola,How are you? Are you having a good time? I hope you are. How is your Spanish doing? Are you speaking well? Have you made any new friends?  It is very boring here. We have been doing nothing but school. I don't have anything to do all day. Well, I don't know what else to write, so see ya.
                                                      From,
                                                                Cam




All I do all day here is study Spanish. So basically its the most boring thing ever. I'm the best Spanish speaker in the world. Not. Well the branch presidency acts like I am, but that's just some weird thing I have no control over.
Next week I get to go to Mexico.


Bye,
Elder Clifford

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Week Five






Alright, this is it.

I'm headed to Mexico on Monday. Honestly this last week nothing memorable has happened. I don't have any stories or anything. My flight leaves for Phoenix from SLC at 7:10. I leave the MTC at 3:30 am and wait around at the airport for like an hour or so I think.  We get one carry on so that’s cool I guess. I fly from Phoenix at 9:00 (I land around 7:45) and will be in Mexico at around 2:00. It kinda sucks though because they made me the travel leader so I basically have to make sure no one does anything stupid and I have to find everything and call when we have problems.

Other than that I don't have much else to say. I'm super excited to get to start my mission. I know that I'm going to have a great mission and that this is the one for me.

I love you guys and hope everything is going well at home.  I have not committed any shenanigans this week. Maybe next week.

 This is Elder Clifford’s mom, I was possibly stalking my computer ‘just in case’ I could be there when he emailed.  I emailed him back right away to see if he was still there, the following is an excerpt from our email conversation: 

Mom: Hello!  Are you there?  Do you need me to send you anything?

His reply:

I have no need for anything. I have too much food. I’m going to give it to the newbies. They all worship me like and treat me like I'm older than them, but I’m like the youngest person in the MTC. Seriously top 50. 

Mom:  Are you going to have a tie trade or are you banned from it for life now?

His reply:

They put me on the MTC's most wanted after they caught me, so now there’s this security guard who follows me around and makes sure I don’t trade ties. Yeah, we'll have a trade on Sunday night. Everyone wants my ties, but I want my ties too so I guess I'm going to have to think long and hard about what ties I can deal with trading for. Everyone in the entire zone has been fighting over my fish tie that I randomly brought with me, but it's grown on me so I might keep it.

Mom:  NO!!!!!!!  Not the fish tie!!!  Don’t trade the fish tie!!  That one is special from Dad!

His reply:

Which ones am I not allowed to trade? I have a general idea, but I’d still like to know.

Mom:

Well, he mentioned that one specifically that he hoped you didn't trade it, I will ask him.  You trade what you want to though, they are your ties.  :) 

His reply:

I’ll choose my ties wisely. Also, I'm not gonna lie to you I am getting fat. Putting on suit pants is a struggle. Oh, also one of my shirts got a hole from the washing machine and I sewed it back up so I’m pretty cool. 

Mom:

I’m glad you gained weight!!  It's good to gain weight in case you get sick, you have something to lose.  Hopefully you don't get sick, all these years of Rancherito's iffy meats should have hardened your stomach by now hopefully!!! 

His reply:

I haven’t puked any of the times I played soccer, what are the odds.  So I think I have a dang strong stomach.

Mom:

I hope you have a strong stomach!! I love you, this has been awesome for me talking back and forth with you Col.  It really has.

His reply:
I have to go. I love you. Hear you on Monday.


So happy I was able to 'talk' to Elder Clifford today.
 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Bonus Letter





Letter between Elder Clifford and his 12 year old brother Carter.




My team lost the Mayor's Cup, Seriously every single game. I have the first game of the season tomorrow. I'll email you if we win. I also have a game Saturday. Today at the Court of Honor I earned seven merit badges. Soil and Water Conservation, Computers, fish and Wildlife Management, Forestry, Emergency Prep., Mammal study, and nature. I got 3 rank advancements, Scout, Tenderfoot, and Josh and I both got Second Class. School has been extremely boring, Except for French class. Nothing has really happened at our house. I hope your having fun.
                                                      From, Carter





Bien Hecho!!
That is a ton of merit badges!! I have a sister in my district from Belgium who has taught me some French words. Jetaime! She's mostly just taught me insults actually but you'll figure those out I guess. School will get better the farther you get in. Have a good week and bueno suerte con sus games!! You'll do great!
Love,
Colby

Friday, September 5, 2014

Bonus Letter


Letter between Elder Clifford and his 9 year old sister Kapree.




dear elder Clifford Hi how are you? I'm in school. I have to go to bed. Bitsy is being cute. I miss you so much. I love you so much have a great week !!!!!!!!                                                               
                        
                                       Love,
                                         Kapree


Gracias mi Hermana por la amor.
I hope you have a good time in school.
Love,
Colby

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Week Four



Elder Clifford found Elder Chou!!!  They both sang in the MTC Choir last Sunday.


Hola familia.  

This past week has been super bien. You guys wanted to specifically know if I've been a new missionary host and boy have I got a story for you guys concerning that. Before I get into that though, I just want to express my gratitude and love for my family and for all of those people who have been writing me. I love you guys so much!! 

Now let’s get back to business and talk about all of my shenanigans I get into here at the MTC. First off, I'll tell about my fantastic experience hosting new missionaries. If I thought my first day was crazy just looking at it from the new missionary perspective, then I would have thought it was just as crazy if I heard what the hosts do. Imagine these huge buses full of like 50 missionaries each coming every 15 minutes for an hour and a half. Now imagine having to first off, find a missionary to host, grab his luggage, and then rush him to his apartment and class within those 15 minutes. All of these kids look confused as heck and have no idea what to do. They'll step off the bus, and freeze right there in their tracks. I mean who wouldn’t be frozen with fear if they saw a huge horde of host missionaries blabbering in Spanish and sprinting towards them. But anyways I have to take these missionaries all over the west campus and I have to say it because no one will, but there are only two types of new missionaries: They either act like they are God’s gift to the MTC or they are these kind shy souls who don't start acting like they are God’s gift to the MTC until like week 3. Well not all of them, but a good deal of them. I'm not ashamed to admit that I’m terrible at Spanish, but this one kid I was hosting was telling me how he was probably already better than anyone in the CCM at Spanish because he'd taken Spanish for 3 years in high school. (Yes, you would be correct if you guessed he was from Utah.) He looks at me and goes “Watch, I can reply to anything you say”. And here I am thinking, you know what kid, any one in North America can reply to what I say if they've watched Dora the Explorer at least one time, well okay I’m not that bad, but in a week and a half I’m going to feel like that in Mexico. Anyways this kids feeling cocky so I ask him what he thinks of the CCM so far. He just looks at me all confused. "Huh?" I ask him again and he just says “Si Si” and nods his head. Great, this kid must have been following scripts from my first lessons with investigators. I figure he doesn't know a lick of Spanish so I just went ahead and asked him if he would be committed to baptism and follow the example of Jesus Christ. “Seguira el ejemplo de Jesucristo al ser bautizado por alguien que posea la autoridad de Dios?” He looks at me, "Yeah I think that Jesus baptized a lot of people too." What the heck kid? I thought that you were some kind of Spanish genius. Props for figuring out the two easiest words I just said though. Thank goodness that I finally got him to his class at that point. I also ended up carrying all the bags for two kids up three floors while they watched but that’s not as fun to talk about. On the bright side I figured out that I should probably start working out or something because I was breathing heavy after carrying all their stuff.

 People wanted to hear about my best bro's in the MTC but if I started picking favorites we'd probably have a full out riot or something over here. Joking of course, but I'm friends with everyone in my district who doesn't try to start problems with me. Everyone except for one certain person who I'm sure everyone is aware of by now. By the way, you wouldn't know how good I’ve gotten at digging us out of holes in discussions with investigators by now thanks to his crazy statements. The other day he went on this 15 minute rant because an investigator asked if it said in the Bible that Jesus came to the Americas. He went on and on about it and started to talk about the restoration and I just cut him off and told the investigator (who was confused because we suck at Spanish) that yes, there was a scripture that I knew of that would answer his question, but that I would bring it next time. We continued to teach about the plan of salvation. (Don’t ask me how we got on the topic of Jesus in the Americas because I myself still have no idea.) The kid will talk and talk and then drop it off to me for either really hard questions or if he doesn't know how to say something. No worries, I always just say to myself what a blessing it is that I am here learning how to answer these questions now instead of later.  

Okay back to my bros. This week we went to this tie trade off with our leaving district in our zone and had this huge black market tie trading deal thing. (The MTC does not allow elders to trade ties) I got this sexy yellow tie that I’m saving to trade to another elder in my district for a tie I really like, because in the tie market, it’s all about investment. But anyways we chilled there until like 10:10. Which is like midnight around here and then we started sprinting back with all of our ties around our shoulders because they live on the other side of campus. We got caught by a security guard for being out after curfew 1 minute late (10:16) and for trading ties. We were reported to our branch president and he just kind of laughed it off the next day, but at the time being we were all pretty sure that we were all dead meat. Anyways, if you’re going to the MTC, and happen to trade ties with someone, don’t wear them around your shoulders like spoils of war, security guards don’t like it.  
Elder Clifford's zone

Other than that this week was great. I got to give a blessing to an elder in the leaving district before they left. He wanted a blessing of comfort before he left. Every district does them with every missionary before they leave the MTC but it is usually just the district giving them to each other. They invited us to come to say good bye but he asked me to give him a blessing instead of his companion. I stepped up to the circle and gave him a blessing. He was the first blessing of comfort that I have ever given. I can't remember what I said, but I do remember that when they say that blessings are guided by the Spirit that they are not lying to you. I was nervous and didn't know what to say walking up, but as soon as I touched his head I felt peace and the words were given to me as I needed them. It was really a blessing of comfort for both of us if you think about it.  

That’s all I have time for this week.  

Love you guys!!  

Good luck with everything you have going on this week.
(Mom here: I refuse to believe that this innocent Elder would be involved in any shenanigans.
Oh wait, that tie is his spoils from the Black Market Tie Trade........)