Mailing Address

Elder Matthew David Clough
California Ventura Mission
3301 West Gonzales Road
Oxnard, California 93036

Phone: 1-805-485-1034 (only necessary for packages)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Homecoming for Matthew

Matthew's homecoming is scheduled for August 24th at 9:00 am at the Clinton 15th ward.  Anyone who would like to come, I am sure Matthew would love to see you.  We will have a get-together at our house afterwards.  We will let you know our new address if you would like to come.  Just email to let us know if you are coming.  Thanks for your support of Matthew.

Stephanie Clough

The End of my Legend

That's the way I see this.  It's like when you get to the end of a Legend of Zelda game and you are super happy about the way the story played out, but just a bit sad that you are actually done.  This last week was very interesting to say the least, but we saw many miracles. 
Our investigators are struggling.  We had a hard time actually finding them, but many people are doing very well.  In particular a young man named Jose that Elder Lee and I met is doing amazing!  Elder Lee's been teaching him, and he has completely changed!  When I met him he was into drugs and gangs, and used the fact that his father isn't around as an excuse.  But after we taught him a bit he started opening up and wanting to meet with us.  Now, he loves the Book of Mormon, wants to serve a mission, and says he wants to be a Priesthood man.  It's amazing what the gospel does to people when you let it!
Our biggest miracles this week were from working with the missionaries.  First off, we presented the sugar cube temple to the zone, to our district first on Monday, and then to the one in Fillmore on Thursday for district meeting.  We held a discussion about the building of the wall in Nehemia; and how the grammar is worded funny, so that it doesn't say "So and so built this gate" but it says "The gate repaired so and so."  We asked "How do our callings and assignments build us?"  and they said some amazing things!  Especially when we made observations about the temple we built and the symbolism there.  We noticed how the temple was missing large portions of it: there was a number of holes and most of the spire wasn't built.  But instead of focusing on the negative one missionary said "It's not perfect, but it's awesome!"  I love that: that's exactly what this life is all about.  We're not perfect, we've got a lot of building still to do; but we're awesome.  We're children of God, and someday we will be perfect and like Him. 
Tonight is going to be one of the best of my mission.  We're going to go teach some amazing people, and then we're going to go meet with Felipe and Carmen.  Our lesson is on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  He sacrificed so much for us!  And then we're going to exhort Felipe to sacrifice his Sunday job because he loves the Lord. 
I know this work is true.  I know it with everything I am.  It's weird how more real it gets as you go.
I'm very excited for the next phase of life, I'm going to give everything to prepare for and find my future family and help all of us make it to the Celestial Kingdom of God.  I am so very grateful I served a full-time mission.
Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, July 28, 2014

Thank heavens I'm an Anime Fan: Being able to tie it to the Gospel comes in handy at times!

This week was crazy busy!  It's been one of the best weeks of my mission all around, but at the same time there's been a couple challenges.  But there's some amazing things happening in the Ventura Spanish Zone!
First off, we had to complete the Zone evaluation; when we write to President Felix about all the strengths of each member of the Zone, if we have any concerns for any of them, and what kind of transfer they would benefit from most.  It was an absolute pleasure to evaluate the zone this time around, because more so than ever, we have no concerns, and we had so much to say about each person!  Those that were struggling before have all grown so much, and those that were already doing fine have really kept up the good work.  I'm so proud of all of them!
Then, this week we had 19 appointments!  The work is absolutely bustling out here in Ventura, and although many people weren't there for their appointments we taught a LOT of lessons; almost as many as when Elder Lee and I were serving together! 

Speaking of which, I went on an exchange with Elder Lee this week, and it was a very interesting experience.  I LOVE exchanges, and I was sad to realize that it was the last exchange I'd be going on in my mission.  But, I was super happy and privileged to be able to share it with Elder Lee.  He's grown so much serving as an Assistant, and we saw crazy miracles all day.  We met about four people in a row who were super prepared to meet us, just at the right moment. The spirit was super strong all day long, and we enjoyed being certain that we were where the Lord wanted us to be.
Then, this week we saw an amazing miracle happen with our investigator David.  He's been kinda off and on, sometimes he progresses and sometimes he gets a bit lazy.  But last week we watched the Full length Joseph Smith movie with him, and it left him super thoughtful.  Then, this week we came by on Tuesday, and he told us that even though he has Dyslexia, he's been reading in the Book of Mormon for an hour every day!  He also asked us to start coming by each evening.  He's really connecting with and understanding the Gospel, and two members that came to visit with us shared testimonies that really opened his eyes up.  Finally, the time came for a test of how sincere he really is.  He went to a family party with his wife, and as usual, EVERYONE was drinking a lot.  But this time, he decided before he left that he wasn't going to drink, and even though people were tempting him the whole time, he didn't drink one!  He said he did everything he would usually do at a party, but he just didn't drink, and just like we promised, he had more fun than he had at other parties.  He said when he got home he felt an immense amount of joy, more than he'd ever felt in his life, and that he was super proud of himself.  We were amazed!  We promised him that the joy he felt was the Spirit testifying to him that he did what was right, and that as proud as he was of himself, Heavenly Father is even more happy and proud of the change he's making.  He's starting another job this week so it will be difficult to find him, but he's determined to get Sundays off and join the restored church of Jesus Christ.
I'm excited for what this next week brings.  We're going to see a bunch of crazy awesome miracles, and do everything we can to help people follow this message.  Thank you so much for your prayers and support.  I love this work, and I know it's the most important thing we can do.  If you're in a ward full of less actives now: that's a fantastic opportunity to make a difference!  Be their friend, and a great example, and help them realize how much they've wanted to come back.
Keep up the great work. I love you all.  Ask the Peruvian neighbors if they know where to get some Inca-cola (Try it sometime; it's delicious!!!)  I've had that a lot at Peruvian houses, as well as a really good purple corn drink that I don't remember what it's called.
Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, July 21, 2014

Learned how to make Te de Limon (Lime tea) yesterday. We'll see how it goes!

I'm not sure why the last e-mail disappeared into the void, but I've sent it again, so hopefully it arrives soon!  I guess ya'll just get a massive up-date all at once!
This week was pretty hectic, but super good at the same time.  We were blessed with a LOT of people who wanted to talk with us, and especially a bunch of new investigators.  We also got to go on two exchanges, I went out to Ojai with Elder Griffin, and then I brought Elder Mackay up here to our area later on in the week.  They're both super solid, excited elders, and they've been working very hard.  We also saw a lot of miracles bringing Elder Mackay here; he served here for as long as I will have, and he really reached the people out here.  They loved seeing him, and he was able to really help them refocus on the gospel. 
Ivan is doing awesome.  Unfortunately, we had a hard time running into him all week, and then he wasn't able to come to church, but we found him afterwards on Sunday and had a great lesson on the Word of Wisdom.  He really showed how much he's progressed this time!  He had some questions about coffee, but he had a really great attitude about the whole law.  We were able to use some analogies to running to help him see how important it is to fully obey this commandment. (It's easier to keep running, even when you are tired, then to take a break and start again.)  Unfortunately, he'd drank a cup of coffee just that morning, so we'll have to count three weeks from then and move his baptism to the 16 of August.  He's super awesome though and is really excited to be preparing to serve a mission!
We also had interviews with President Felix this week, which were great but very different than the way I've been used to!  This time we had them one on one after district meeting; companionships just drove down to the stake center for their interview and left right after.  The interviews were also very casual; he asked a lot of great questions about how we do the work and how our areas are going, and in my interview specifically he asked me about my thoughts on some guidelines he wants to adjust.  In Elder James' interview, he asked Elder James what to do with everyone for transfers!  The spirit was very powerful though, and we could all feel how much he cares about us and what we're becoming.  Sister Felix was also super nice and friendly.  She asked a lot of questions about our lives, areas, and plans for the futures.  (She wasn't happy about my plans to attend the Spanish Branch though, she said "I'm concerned about that though because it will reduce your dating prospects!"  I'm not worried about that; how many people ACTUALLY find their future spouse in the YSA ward they're going to?  I haven't met many.)
Also this week we started teaching Blanca, which is Hermana Cisneros' sister.  Hermana Cisneros had just had surgery, and the Relief society helped out so much that it surprised her sister into wanting to know more about the gospel.  So, we came by with Fernando, a youth who's preparing to serve a mission here soon, and taught her the restoration.  She's looking so much for peace and the spirit in her life: she really desires to know the truth!  She asked us, after we taught about the Book of Mormon "Now that's what I've wanted to know my whole life!  There's so many different religions and each one says they're the right one. And they believe it! I've been raised catholic my whole life, but I've always wondered how do I know it's true, or if yours is true?  So now you're telling me that I'll find the answer in here? *raising the Book of Mormon*" Hermana Cisneros replied "No, the only place you can find the answer is from GOD.  You have to read, study, pray and come to church and everything else, but you won't find the answer anywhere outside.  You'll find it in you. You'll feel it and know it's true."  It was a super spiritual lesson, but right before we invited her to be baptized the rest of the Cisneros family showed up and the room exploded with chaos.  Next time!
We also listened to Omar Aranda's homecoming talk.  It was so incredibly powerful!  He's really served the Lord right, he's excited to work and progress in life.  He got called as the second councilor in the Elders quorum too.  It really inspired me to continue growing and changing. I've got a LOT to do!

 I love you, keep it up and do your best!
Elder Matthew David Clough

Sleeping in a bed full of ants is not the funnest thing I've ever done... Email from 07-14-14

For me it's like sleeping in a hammock with a bunch of rattlesnakes in it.  Fortunately prayers work, because I survived the night.  I don't want to know how allergic I am to those little monsters nowadays.

This week has been amazing.  We got the report for the stake presidency done up super quickly, and we were able to hit the streets and work hard for most of the week.  We've had a harder time finding some of our more usual investigators, but the ones we've seen this time around have progressed super well.
We saw Jose again, the one who the YSA missionaries are teaching, and he's doing super great.  He asked us about the people we've been teaching and he is really anxious to start meeting with his missionaries (It's been tough for them to get in contact with him)  We have started teaching his mom, who's also really awesome, and we found out that a few days later the missionaries finally found him, and the first thing he said was "Finally!  It's about time!"  Later, as they taught him the Plan of Salvation, Elder Lee was teaching about the things we have to do in this life like faith, repentance, and baptism, and he asked "Alright, so what do I need to do to be baptized? How long does that take?"  So now he's set to be baptized about 5 weeks from now! 
We also started teaching Liz' father, Ramon.  He's a super nice old christian man, who loved the message we shared, and is really excited to read the Book of Mormon.  We're really happy about teaching them, the whole family has a lot of light.
The best news is about Ivan though; he's doing incredibly well!  We went by earlier to set up an appointment to watch Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration with him, and eventually he said "You know what? Last time I came to church it took a while after church was over to wait for my ride, so why don't we just watch it after church?"  We were floored: we hadn't even suggested he come again yet!  So, we got him a ride, and he came and loved it.  The Priesthood lesson on baptism was perfect for him, and afterwards he got talking to Omar, a missionary who returned just this last Wednesday.  As we were walking out he asked us, "So, it's two years: if I go on my mission in 2015, I'll come back in 2017 right?"  Again, we dragged our jaws on the floor for a while in surprise!  Then, we went to the Hernandez family's house to watch the movie, and it was super powerful.  I've never felt the spirit in a lesson as strong as that one, it was incredible!  Ivan loved it, and when Elder James invited him to be baptized on August 2nd, he said, "Yes, yes I will."  Yesterday was one of the best Sundays of my mission!
We also had a very powerful experience on Friday.  We went to have dinner at the branch president's house, but instead of letting us in they gave us a couple of burrito's to go in a bag, and after apologizing Presidente Rodriguez asked us to take the time from visiting their family and go to the hospital. The Garcia family had just had a baby, and the mom and baby weren't doing very well.  So, we rushed there as fast as we could, and after a bit of a hassle (The hospital was NOT up to date on it's records) and a couple helpful miracles we found the room they were in.  Hermana Garcia is holding up remarkably well, emotionally, and then Hermano Garcia took us up to give his new little daughter a blessing.  It was such a powerful, sacred feeling in the room where the little babies were being cared for in the NICU's.  The little Garcia baby looked really strong compared to the others, and the blessing her father gave her was beautiful and powerful.  We then came down and gave a blessing to the Mother that was really special as well.  It was an awesome opportunity. 
So, we're excited to work hard again this week and help people follow Christ.  We expect to see great miracles and we know great things are coming.  Keep working hard and doing your best: Prepare to serve missions, everyone!  I think that was one of the wisest counsels from the last couple general conferences.  This work is true, and it's so incredibly important!
Elder Matthew David Clough

Thursday, July 17, 2014

17 July 2014

Hey everyone,

We didn't receive an email from Matthew this week, but his new Mission President sent us a letter that gave us a website for the new mission blog.  I will still post Matthew's weekly letters here for the next 4 weeks.  Then he will be home!  There are several pictures with Matthew in them on the mission blog.  The mission blog info is:

It looks like they are having a great time in the Ventura mission!  I can't believe he will be home in just one more month!  The time has flown by.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The most Epic testimony meeting ever.

This week was awesome.  We got a lot done, and we saw amazing miracles, especially with Felipe and Carmen.
They came to church again!  And this time, they came to the Spanish branch.  It was fast Sunday again, and the testimonies were super powerful.  Then, at the very end, Felipe got up and went up to bear his testimony!  He told everyone how Saturday he'd been driving to work when the car broke down.  When he checked it, he saw that the radiator was missing a LOT of fluid, and he was really worried.  He knew that if he didn't go to work then he'd have to work on Sunday.  So, he prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help him. (As a funny side note, he also said "Joseph Smith; if you want me to go to your church, help me out!  give me a hand here!"  We'll work on helping him not pray to Joseph Smith soon enough!)  So, after he finished, he realized that he had a couple water bottles in the back of the car, so he dumped them into the radiator, and then started driving again.  When he got to work, the tank had filled up to the halfway point and when he got home it was completely full!  At the end he said "And so, my purpose in being up here today is to tell you... (he paused for a while to get control of himself)  I KNOW that this is the true church."  It was amazing!  Carmen loved it too, and she said Felipe REALLY wants to come every week, so hopefully this helps them take the steps they need to to come.
We also taught a couple of young people who were extremely ready who we passed on to the Assistants to the President, since they are YSA age.  One of them, Jose, met me and Elder Lee a while back, and when we saw him again he said he'd been reading the book of Mormon!  He shared how he felt the spirit while he read and said he would like to be one of us someday.  It was amazing: he's only been taught once and he wants to be a missionary!  The other, we've taught her twice now since we've been trying to get the whole family to listen to us, but that's coming along too slowly.  Her name is Liz, and she has a lot of basic questions about religion.  She loved everything we taught, and when Elder James invited her to be baptized she hesitated because she'd been baptized catholic.  But what she said wasn't like "I don't want to because I was baptized already." it was "Can I? I was already baptized so is that okay?"  After we explained Priesthood authority a bit and how God want's everyone to be baptized that way she agreed.  She was super happy too, and grateful for us coming to help her out.
Mission leader council was incredible this week.  President and Sister Felix are exactly what the mission needs right now.  They had a lot of questions about the mission and how we go about doing things, because they really want to get absorbed into the culture we've built up here.  It comforted me a lot when President Felix shared that we're going to be continuing all mission rules and policies until we receive direction otherwise.  It would be an utter mess to try and root everything up at once.  He also had us construct a massive list of all the unwritten rules we've been following so that he can review them.  I was amazed at how much sense most of them made.  They also shared their life experiences, how they met and raised a family, what they enjoy together, how they received their call (Dad would be interested to know that right before their call they were on a service mission teaching therapists to fit wheelchairs for people in Tucxla-gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico.)  They also shared how a short time ago, after they'd received their call, President Felix (Who is an incredibly healthy, active man) was biking along when he felt a sudden burning sensation in his chest, and his shoulders got heavy.  By a series of miracles, they got him to the ER, just in time for him to suffer a massive heart attack ON the examining table.  He was worked on for a long time with no pulse, but after they stabilized him, and he had a stint put in, he received a priesthood blessing that he'd be okay.  The doctors told him that the survival rate for what he went through is about 5%, and if he hadn't been right there he'd not have survived.  As he was set apart, Elder Nelson (of all the general authorities, the heart surgeon!) blessed his heart and told him the Lord intended for him to KNOW that he was supposed to be here now. 
That's all I've got time for this week, I'll let you know what happens next!  Keep up the good work, and stay on the lookout for those who need a hand. 
Elder Matthew David Clough