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 27, 2012

Hello guys! August 27, 2012

Hello guys!
It feels so nice to say that.  I have a hard time saying "Elders" instead of 'guys.'  It's very important though!  Our Branch President is really adamant about it:  There's only two groups of people we refer to as "Elder So and so."  The Twelve Apostles and the Missionaries.  The reason for that is that both of us, the Apostles and the Elders, are called and set apart as special witnesses of Christ.  It's kinda mind-blowing to think about.  One of our Maestro's (Teachers) said "You stand on a pedastal with Prophets and Apostles when you say 'Yo se que El Señor JesuChristo Vive!"  ( "I know Jesus Christ Lives!")  It has been awesome to feel this happening as my companion and the others in my district testify as we teach.
Amalio improved a lot!  After the last lesson I talked about, we taught him the Restoration, and most importantly, the Book of Mormon.  During the Book of Mormon Lesson, we started by talking about his family troubles.  He told us a lot of things that were really hard to imagine dealing with.  I finally told him that I had no idea how to help him with his personal troubles; I'm only 20!  I don't even have a girlfriend or a family of my own.  I testified, however, that the Lord does know how to help him.  We were led by the Spirit to turn to chapters in a Spanish Book of Mormon that we certainly hadn't even planned for in our English one, but they were perfect.  We testified that if he did what the Lord wanted him to do, he would find true peace and happiness, come what may.  By the end of the lesson we had committed him to baptism!  Hooray for Amalio!  Good thing too, since the day after that we no longer have him as an 'investigator.'  We'll teach our new 'investigator,' Isabel, tonight at 6:00.  We're excited, what with being able to actually understand, if not speak, Spanish. 
We heard a pretty impressive talk by Elder Bednar, given last Christmas in the MTC.  It was "The Character of Christ."  Basically, he summed up the Character of Christ as "To turn outward when the natural man turns inward."  He talked about a time when he was on the phone with a woman who was telling him about a horrific accident that had occured, where two young women were in severe condition, and a third was dead.  He was on the phone with this woman, (realized that she was simultaneously on the phone with a nurse at the hospital) when she learned that the one who had passed away was her daughter.  Instantly, she told him "You need to tell the other mother's what is going on."  Later, on the day of her daughter's funeral, being the relief society president; she was called by a Sister (Who didn't know about the situation) who chewed her out because she'd been sick and no-one had brought her a meal.  On the way to the funeral she brought a dinner she had prepared herself. 
Wow!  The concept here kinda floored me.  I can hardly imagine that, but I'll try to love more like He did and care about myself less.
Nos Vemos!
Elder Clough
Ps: For you upcoming missionaries: to avoid the usual unfortune side effect of the MTC food: eat the Cottage Cheese.  I think I'm the only one in the district who does, and I've got no problems.

Monday, August 20, 2012

First email from the MTC August 20, 2012

Hola de la CCM!!!

CCM: That's what they call the MTC in Español although I still don´t know why they call it that.  It´s truly been awesome to be here.
I can hardly believe it´s been five days!  It feels like it´s been five weeks.  Our district is scheduled to leave October 15th, so by the time we leave, I think I´ll hardly remember life before the CCD. (I think he ment CCM)  The first day was madness.  We get hauled off, dragged through what seems like every building on campus, and stuck in a room with Brother Hop´oate, a huge Samoan who immediately starts talking to us in Spanish.  I was so grateful for High School spanish, although it certainly helped my speaking a lot less than my hearing.   By the end of the day, we get marched back to the main building where we cumulatively taught 3 ´´investigators.´´  A warning to those who are getting ready to go: DON´T FORGET RULE NUMBER 1!  Which is ´´Teach people, not lessons.´´  We got chastized heavily by one of them.  Oh well!  We´re here to be trained after all.
The rest of the days have been a bit of a blur.  We got an investigator: Amalio, on DAY 2!!!  Of course, he only speaks spanish. It´s simultiously hyper exciting and something of a nightmare.  Amalio is a Catholic who loves the Bible, but doesn´t agree with Catholic teachings, in particular, praying to saints and the hipocracy of many of his preachers.  In the first lesson, mi Compañero (my companion); Elder Jenkins, and I told him something like 7 times that God loves him, even though I´m pretty sure he said he believed it the first time we said it.  In the second lesson, we talked about prophets and that led into dangerous territory; the great Apostasy.  It kind of floored him when he came to the realization that the Pope is not the prophet.  I wanted to soften the blow a bit and tell him something like, ´´I´m sure he´s still a good person´´ but the spirit was very precise when it told us to tell him that he´s right, the Pope is not the prophet, and does not have the authority to direct the Church.  We ran out of time however.  Today, we´ll be talking about the restoration, and hopefully he´ll feel the truth in our words. 
Amalio´s lessons with the others in our district has been downright hilarious.  Elder Hilter tried to explain how the priesthood was taken from the Earth before it could be restored, and his visual demonstration with the Bible (He held up a bible and said ´´Sacerdocio.´´(Priesthood.) and then hid it under the desk and said ´´¿Donde esta el Sacerdocio?´´ (Where is the Priesthood?) led Amalio to exclaim ´´Magico!´´ (Magic!) And in order to demonstrate how priesthood authority was confirmed to Joseph Smith, he ´´gave´´ his companion the priesthood as Peter James and John!  I love the Elders in our district, Districto C.  They are powerful spirits, but they all have an amazing sense of humor as well.  It helps us survive the rigorous schedual.
Amalio also told us a Spanish joke.  What´s the difference between uno Pera (one pear) and Elder Ripley´s Novia(Girlfriend)?   Uno es una pera, Y Uno no espera!  Ask Dad to translate for you, it´s absolutely hilarious.  (David said the translation is "One is a pear, and one is not waiting.  I guess that is to suggest that the elder will be getting a "Dear John" letter eventually.)
The spirit here has been amazing, the work has been fun.  It´s hard to believe we´re going to be here for 10 weeks, but we´ll love every minute of it.  It´s frustrating, because when we´re praying and teaching, we know what we want to say, but we don´t know how in Spanish!
Well, I´ll be writing back next week.  I love you all
Hasta luego! (Until later!)
Elder Clough

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dropped Matthew off at the MTC!

Well, we dropped Matthew off at the MTC at 12:40 today.  He was very excited so he was one of the first ones there.  No waiting till the last minute for us. :)  We are all curious to see how his first letter or email sounds and to share in his experiences through photos and mail. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Here We GO!!!

Tonight I'll be set apart as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Tommorrow at 12:40 I'll check into the Missionary Training Center, and the adventure will begin!  I'm very excited to serve the Lord!  See you all in two years!