Monday, December 28, 2015

Missionary Christmas

Hey Everyone!

 Hope Everyone had a fabulous Christmas and that you enjoyed time with family and friends. Christmas in the mission field was special. We started the week by making sugar cookies for our investigators and decorating them as a zone (and with Elders around of course a majority of them were eaten). Who can forget our P-day sports madness, which ended in an intense game of signs. We went through the week contacting and had an awesome lesson over the phone with an investigator named Muise. He is in Mexico right now and will be back sometime next month. He told us he read Moroni's challenge in (Moroni 10 :3-5) and that he wants to keep reading the Book of Mormon to know if its true. My comp was jumping on the couch (like Tom Cruise) out of excitement :)

We had Christmas Conference with the missionaries this week and that was loads of fun! We had a white elephant gift exchange, and each district sang a musical number we chose "What Child is this?" In between the musical numbers President and Sister Cannon spoke and we had a carol sing-along which with tons of missionaries was definitely a good time. The conference was in Ontario which meant I was back to my homeland (Payette is about a 5 min drive from there). It was good to see all the missionaries who I served with in my zone last transfer and it felt like a big reunion. The trio was together again which was super fun:) I loved Presidents message he talked about how the lord answers our prayers. It was an awesome and simple message. 

The next day we went over Alisha and her parents house where we made more sugar cookies. We got to go caroling with them the next day. We got to teach about the people in the Americas who were waiting for the sign of Christ. (3 Nephi Chapter 1) She has three kids who are all in their teens and they were a bit reluctant to make cookies at first but we told them they wouldn't be able to eat any if they didn't make some! That got them moving :) We made fudge and Dollie bars too, to go on the plates. The next night we went caroling with Alisha and her family in probably 14 degrees and it had just snowed the night before, but we went out singing "Jingle Bells" and "We wish you a Merry Christmas" it was a great time. We ended the night going to dinner and reading Luke 2 with a sweet family in the ward who are empty nesters. 

Then came Christmas which was jammed packed with stuff. Breakfast with a family in our ward and they gave us the cutest stockings for Christmas that say "Sister" on them! We then went to watch a movie and have lunch with another family in the ward. They have a movie theater and which would make watching any movie fun, we ended up watching "The Emma Smith Story" and I zonked out from a food coma. But it's okay because I had already seen the movie. We went to dinner and ate again and we had some much fun at the members house they have two of their grand kids living with them and they were super excited about everything they got for Christmas. They made us pillowcases for Christmas :) Of course who can forget Christmas Skype; super great to see the family again and of course laugh uncontrollably . Saturday we had an awesome lesson with a member who just got out of jail about two months ago. he is 21 and has had a hard past but he has been coming back to church and we taught him about making the sacrament a more influential part of our Sabbath and the sacrament meeting itself. We came into church on Sunday and he was dressed different then his jeans and shirt. He sat in the pew with a white shirt, black pants and tie. He told us the night before he felt like he needed to get some church clothes and we were so proud of him!

But in all the fun things this week one of the best miracles happen Sunday night. When we had about 20 mins left before we needed to get home. You always hear about those stories of missionaries going to the right place in the last minutes they have in the day and that happen to us. We were driving and I had the impression that we needed to see a family. I told my companion and she said the same name popped into her head a few minutes before but hadn't said anything because she wasn't sure. We decided that we would stop by in the last 20 minutes we had. We went in and the parents were still up talking they didn't really know us that well as missionaries so we preceded to talk to them about being a missionary and serving in Caldwell. The husband was just recently baptized and they have been struggling a little bit. We asked if we could share a message with them. We taught from Doctrine and Covenants Section 50:40-42 as I read the verses I heard crying and I looked up to see the mom in tears. When i finished reading I said to them "We don't know exactly why we were suppose to come here, but Heavenly Father is truly aware of you both and as representatives of Jesus Christ we can testify of that" As the words left my mouth tears filled my eyes and my chest felt like it exploded I felt nothing but love for these two parents. I knew in that moment that the was how the Savior and Heavenly Father felt for them. I'm grateful for moments like these, that truly are miracles. It is such a privilege to minster to the lords children and follow the direction in which he gives us through inspiration.  We both left the house and sat in the car for a minute soaking it all in. We ended the night in gratitude for Heavenly Father trusting us to meet the needs of his children that night. That's contributes to what its all about. Everyday in the field listening to where the Lord will lead us to go and testifying of the love that he has for his children. Have a great week! and Happy New Year Everyone :)

All My Love,

Sister Cleveland

This photo is a picture of one of our investigators who loves to play basketball he wants to play in the NBA. So we played with him the other day and we played HORSE and did all these trick shots it was tons of fun. We'll he saw these american flags in the closet and so we pretended it was the last 10 secs in the Olympic final game in Taiwan in 2030 and he had the ball. I was the announcer and waving the flag and he had a red,white and blue ball. My companion and I kept saying "Do it for America!" He shot it and made it it was a big deal :)

Monday, December 21, 2015

"And he shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace"

Hey Everyone!

Super short this week just wanted to share a thought! I love this time of year and am grateful to be a missionary and testify of the gospel and the Savior Jesus Christ! In 3 Nephi 1:19-21 It talks about the sign of darkness and when the star appears the people will know that the Savior of the World is born.It is my testimony that no matter how thick we may think the darkness is the savior will always be a light in our lives. The light represents hope, faith, and love which come through our Savior Jesus Christ. During this time of year people stop to remember the birth of the savior. In the Craze and demands of the Christmas season we can get lost in getting the perfect gift, hanging the trees, making sure every decoration we own is up for the holiday. The most perfect gift ever given was the Savior and it is my testimony that although the world stops to recognize his birth during this time of year, the blessing and mission of the Savior of the world can be understood and felt throughout each day of our lives. The light that was seen by the people in the Americas and the people in Jerusalem and Bethlehem is still here and lives within each of us. We can carry the light of Christ with us as we strive to love our father in heaven and the savior and stay on the path they have directed for us to return home. The blessing of his mission and his love will always be on the earth never to be taken away again because A SAVIOR IS BORN. 

Have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy the peace and happiness that comes from family and friends :) 

All My Love,

Sister Cleveland

Monday, December 14, 2015

Goodbye Payette!

Hey Everyone!

I can't believe it but I got transferred I thought for sure that I was staying in Payette. But I have been moved to Caldwell ! A family ward and a YSA ward will be my new home! I loved serving in Payette and will miss the families and people so much. Probably one of the hardest things to do as a missionary is leave the people you've grown to love. We had a really good week though. We went to a Christmas party and invited tons of less active to come and they did! It was the best thing ever. We walked into the party and we found most of all the people that we've invited. A family that we have visited a ton came to the activity and to church it was awesome! We've been spreading the Christmas Video and pass along cards like crazy and people love talking about the spirit of Christmas.  We had our last lesson with our investigator and that was super good. We committed her to come to church on a certain date and she said she would! Since she works on Sundays its super hard for her to come. But she has been reading the book of Mormon diligently and it has been great. She promised us she would keep reading :) We took some of the people we were teaching to Sports night over in Ontario and it was tons of fun. I ended being a goalie while we played soccer, that was an interesting experience but the people we brought loved it. In the beginning they didn't want to play. The boy starting tearing up because he was scared and an elder and I talked to him and we set up a game he liked to play so that he would feel comfortable.  They were also 11 and 9 :) but they were around a bunch of other people who were investigating the church and happen to love to play sports which is why we play!

This week I've been thinking about the Book of Mormon a ton, especially how it is another testament of Jesus Christ.  Sometimes as missionary we tend to become people's therapist but the best medicine or prescription we can give them is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel can free us from the chains of doubt, neglect, despair and confusion. Especially in such a lost world. We can feel the freeing power by "mere wanting to believe" and than acting on our belief in the Savior Jesus Christ. I love the scripture in 2 Nephi 29:7-8. Where one of  the purposes of the Book of Mormon is made manifest. We have this record, this testament as a witness that the lord loves all his children and wants them to have a fullness of his gospel. I know that the Book of Mormon has the power to change lives and as missionary I love that our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ. And we can do that as we read the testimonies which have been given of him and the examples of faithful children of god who lived in a world full of opposition and sometimes turmoil and hardships. The Savior and his gospel can bring light into our lives.

Can't believe its almost Christmas have a great week everybody :)

P.S I ran into Sister Smith at Transfers we both are serving in Caldwell this transfer she is Spanish speaking though which changed from her previous areas. We met before we came out in the mission :)

All My Love, 

Sister Cleveland

Monday, December 7, 2015


WARNING: This email contains tons of pictures!

 It's Finally December!!

What a week! Okay my companion was sick in the beginning but we got ourselves together and we were off to the races (kinda). We had a slow week and then it got better. Most of you know how much I love this time of year :) and everyone says Christmas as a missionary is super special and I am beginning to realize why! With the new Christmas Message for the season, we have been sharing the message with everyone we've come in contact with including the hashtag in my subject line and the beautiful message of the video, we also have pass along cards. This week we had a Christmas party in Payette 1st Ward and we had the video playing throughout the night and people got to fill out a paper that asked them to describe why Christ being born has changed the world! The kids loved it and were at the tables the whole time :) Santa even came to visit but we didn't get a picture with him this week!

We also stopped by one of our investigators house one night to check on her since she had had such a rough week. We ended up helping her decorating  her Christmas Tree with her and listening to Christmas Music. We also showed her the new Christmas Video and talked about the beauty of Christ birth and because of Christmas we have the atonement of Jesus Christ. We had a few people we visited this week who have had some sore trials and sharing the message of the peace and joy that comes from the Savior seems to softened the hearts of people no matter what circumstance. It truly is special being a missionary during this time of year! We ended the week with watching the Christmas Devotional which was so good! We also had breakfast for dinner with a member in the ward before we watched it. I love the message L. Whitney Clayton gave on "Fear Not" The Angels message to the Shepard's is the message to the world. Because of the light and life of the Savior we have hope in the world of turmoil. It reminded me of Lehi and his vision of the tree of life in 1 Nephi Chapter 8. It talks about the darkness in verse 23 and how the people held to the rod. As i thought about this I realized that that message is applicable in our day even more. It time for us as believers in God, Jesus Christ and their gospel to "tighten our grip" to the iron rod. Let us be faithful in all we do as believers in the hope, peace, and joy the gospel brings. And "heed not" as Nephi says to the distractions from the world. 

This week we also played basketball with a potential investigator who is a freshman at Payette High School. Her dad is a less active and I was showing her some post moves and drills that could help her. I can say... I've still got it everyone!! I was pretty proud! haha Although I was a little tired.. So that was fun part of the week as well!

I'm so grateful for this time of year and the courage to believe that begins to grow in the hearts of people! I grateful for the message of the Savior and the love that he has for each and everyone of his children. I can testify of that with everything I have! I hope you all have a great week. And invite you to share the message of #aSAVIORisborn with all you know!

Much Love,

Sister Cleveland

Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hey everyone!

Thanks so much for all the prayers and emails! I love reading them!

This week we started off with a service project helping a less active move to another house. We were packing and moving things which didn't take to long. We also met her dad and were able to talk to them for awhile. It's always nice wearing a name-tag because people recognize you! Later we went to make some sugar cookies and rice krispies over a members house and that was super fun. It's also fun to get people recipes here that i love, like one woman in the ward makes fresh cranberry salsa which is delicious! (Shout out to Sister Youngberg :) We ended up taking the cookies to people we taught and some members in the ward. 

Thanksgiving was a treat! We ate at three different homes, it was super fun to be with the families! It was hard  the last dinner because we were so stuffed. But we are so grateful for the wards and their willingness to feed the missionaries. I love the wards we are serving in :) My companion ended up getting sick this week so I've been tramped in the apartment for two days.. (hardly seeing sunlight) just kidding. But we've been in the house the past two days. It was not fun at all.  It is more fun doing missionary work. I was getting restless and my companion asked me if I wanted to visit people while she sat in the car. I almost took her up on the offer. I'm ready to hit the ground this week we've got tons of people we need to see so hopefully she gets better soon! 

Hope everyone had a great thanksgiving :)

All My Love,

Sister Cleveland 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Where Did the Week Go?!

Hey Everyone!

We've had one Heck of a week! I don't even know where to begin?! We got our first snow fall and it was kinda pathetic but we still went out to see it! It's definitely cold here in Idaho this morning it was 29 degrees when we left the house. Its just something you get use to, but the elders are still running around in shorts. This week we went tracting it was cold to say the least, we didn't have much luck but we'll be at it again tomorrow. It nice to get out of our car and walk around even if it is cold outside. We also had Zone Conference this week and the sisters from McCall there are four of them came down to stay with us so they didn't have to get up early and drive. Missionary Sleepovers are way fun. Six sisters in an apartment and 1 bathroom I'll have stories for days. Part of the trio was together and that's trouble waiting to happen Sister Sorenson and I are already embracing our Griswold Christmas and chatted all night. We had a fun time talking and laughing, the next day was zone conference and we all had to prepare a 5-min talk on "What would the Savior do?" Our Conference was a "Fast and Feast" and all the missionaries had begun their fasts the previous night and were fasting through the meeting. It was a great conference. I had prepared my talk and was confident that I wouldn't have to give it.. I mean 60 missionaries the chances of me speaking are pretty slim. But I was wrong and President Cannon walked up to me after a break and asked me to speak.  It went well and I answered the question he had given us by teaching about compassion from Mark 1:41 and Mark 9:22-24. I think it went well,  its nerve racking speaking in front of  missionaries who have been out longer than you! But conference was great overall!

Later that day the sisters from McCall had left, and we were out the door and they texted us that they were on their way back they couldn't get back home because it was snowing pretty hard and the roads were bad. So we had a sleepover round two. Popcorn and a movie is what we did after we finished our appointments for the day. I made all the sisters breakfast the next morning and we all left and were off to continue another day of missionary work. It was super fun to have the sisters come stay with us for sure! 

I also had my first adventure with sewing my own clothes. I made some Christmas flannel pajamas that seemed like they took forever but it was really fun! We got to sew with a less active member and chatted with her kids while we were, we found out they are interested in raising their children in the church. It was a fun experience overall. We're still teaching the boys and they have so much energy sometimes its hard to reel it all in. They had great lesson ideas and we taught one about the Plan of Salvation (or Happiness) and he asked if his friend was going to be in the Celestial Kingdom with him. It melted my heart! His mom told him if he was a good example that his friend would be! We've been visiting some of the sisters from the nursing home. We go and teach there every week. Cheryl and Betty are our favorites and they always remind us of our importance and they put a smile on our faces. We have had a great week and we are always busy. I'm super grateful to be a missionary and the love that the Lord has poured out to me and the people here in Payette. We went to a missionary farewell of a family who is sending out their first missionary they are beyond thrilled. He spoke in church and he has a stutter. He said he never knew if he would be able to serve a mission. In his talk he said that his grandpa told him the lord gave him his stutter because he new he would overcome it. It was a great reminder that the lord can use us as instruments if we are willing, we do not have to be perfect but as long as we are willing he can do great things with us.

Each and everyday I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary to testify and share my love of the gospel of Jesus Christ.It is a blessing to carry the message of a living Savior into the world and the blessing to do the work along so many awesome missionaries. I hope you all have a great thanksgiving and remember that we can be grateful in all circumstances of our life no matter good or bad. Have an awesome week! 

All my Love,

Sister Cleveland

Sunday, November 22, 2015

We Don't Know Nothing Y'all

Hey Everyone!

It's almost Thanksgiving I cant believe it! We have been busy this week helping people prepare for the winter coming up. We raked tons of leaves and help wherever we could. We have continually been teaching people and we have been blessed to learn from them as much as they learn from the gospel of Jesus Christ. We love meeting with the members and have been helping two boys prepare for baptism next month! They are eight and we are so excited for them. We are encouraged everyday with their faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It reminds me of the little children that Jesus Christ blessed in his ministry both in the Americas and in Jerusalem. He invites us to come unto him as little children. It takes the faith and humility of a little child to love the lord, rely on him and to follow him. Hope everyone has a great week!

All my Love,

Sister Cleveland

Monday, November 9, 2015

Its Transfer Week!!!

Hello Everyone!!

My second transfer has begun and my companion and I will be staying in Payette for the next 5 weeks! It's been a pretty odd ball week. But it was another week of strengthening our testimonies and helping others come unto Christ. This week we went on Splits with some of the Ward Mission Leaders and it went really well. Some of the women we got to visit were open to having us and we were able to share a message with them! We continue to work with the ward members helping to fellowship the in-actives and build the ward. We are continually seeing the fruits of our labors and getting more in-actives to attend church and activities.

We are beginning to teach a new family and are preparing three investigators for baptism. The work in Payette continues to grow. We also went on companion exchanges this week which was a great blessing because I was able to learn from my Sister Training Leader and found much comfort in her experience and her advice. We were busy all day and were incredibly busy, I even got to be senior companion and drive the car around Payette. It was one of my favorite days. I wish we could be companions sometime on the mission but she is leaving to go home next month. Although with the new transfers "The Trio" from the MTC is back together again we are serving in the same Zone for this transfer and are super pumped to be back together. Sister Sorenson is in my District which is awesome.

I been studying a lot this week and finding so much joy in reading the New Testament about the Saviors ministry and the road of discipleship. It has been a great blessing to have time to study every morning. One talk I focused on this week as well was by Elder Robert D. Hales in this General Conference. He talks about having a "personal council" with ourselves. He invites us so take some time to think about what we can do better to strengthen ourselves and others. We are the pilots in our lives and are in charge. I have learned as a missionary that each day we have choices we can choose to be obedient and we can choose to be happy, we can choose each day to be better.

Lastly, towards the end of the week we were broadsided with a number of opinions about the things going on in the "outside world". I will just leave my testimony I know that the hand of the lord Jesus Christ is in this church and that he is at the head. I testify that the message we share each and everyday is truly the restored gospel here upon the earth and that the missionaries serving around the world are representatives of Jesus Christ called by a prophet of God. I testify that the men we sustain as Prophet, Seers and revelators are men called of God, led and guided by him. I know that the Savior will come again to this earth and that he loves all of his children and is and will always be mindful of each and everyone of us. This work is not about us missionaries it is about the children of God. Each and everyday it has been a blessing to represent my Savior Jesus Christ and to be whole heartedly invested in the work. I know that the message we share is true and that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love each and everyone one of their children because I feel it for the people here in Payette.

Have a great week everyone! 

All my Love,

Sister Cleveland

Monday, November 2, 2015

"Did I dooo that?"

Hey Everyone!

This week we had a couple fun experiences!

We were driving to a less active house and while were driving we passed an old woman raking her leaves. Her back was hunched and she looked like she had been out for awhile. We kept driving and I turned to my companion and said stop! She laughed and I told her we needed to turn around. We ended up turning around and my companion said "What are you going to say to her?" and I replied "I'm gonna ask her if she needs help" So I hoped out of the car and my companion followed and I ask her if she needed help she declined at first but I convinced her. So I raked leaves while my companion talked to her. Skirts and boots and all. When I finished she preceded to tell us about her life in Idaho and how she has been widowed for over 30 years. She's a gem and her name is Hazel June. (which I love) We didn't share message (don't worry we thought about it) but we did get a reminder that we are representatives of Jesus Christ and that he would have done exactly that. The best part was that on Sunday at church a member who had lived on that street told us that they saw us and were appreciative. We were just grateful to live up to the call that we have been given.

The second experience was with a less active who we have been trying to get to come to church for awhile now. We ended up visiting her because she bailed on us once again and told her that if she wasn't in sacrament meeting we'd come pick her up after for relief society and Sunday school. we also taught the importance of attending church and how it can bless our week and lives. She promised this week she'd be there. And sure enough she was. We were so excited. After church she talked about how good she felt even though it was a little uncomfortable at first. She even plans to come to the activities coming up this week!. 

Lastly was sweet KJ he is not a member but comes to church with his friends. He is eight. and loves the gospel so much. last night we got a go ahead from the bishop to begin teaching him the discussions! The bishop met with his dad and the dad is willing to let KJ get baptized and even said we could teach in there home. We are super pumped. KJ bore his testimony this week and said even though his family doesn't come to church he knows that the people who bring him to church is his family too. He melts my heart.

Also, because I cant help being a teacher one of the members asked me to help her daughter study for a test while we were over. She had tons of stuff going on and was swamped. we told her we could do dishes or whatever but she asked for me to help her daughter study. her name is Nicole and is awesome. She is in 6th grade but is at a 8 year old level and doesn't have very good fine motor skills. She just learned how to tie her shoes. She is a doll and I love seeing her at church! We studied that night and I told her what questions to go over before she went to bed. Her mom texted us and told us she got a 97% we were so happy for her!

Sorry its so late. We were in Nampa,ID all day today and got back pretty late. Anyway I hope everyone had a awesome Halloween. We were in by six due to President Cannon's instructions for the mission. I dressed up my comp did not :( (she's lame) and we carved pumpkins and passed out candy for about two hours. We watched 17 miracles which I balled my eyes out through, such a great message of what we are willing to do to draw closer to the gospel of Jesus Christ! Hope everyone has a good week! Thanks for all the letters and packages this week! :) 

P.S- I think my Urkel costume was one of the best costumes I've ever worn!

All my Love,

Sister Cleveland