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, October 22, 2012

Ventura begins! 22 October 2012

Well, I'm here! The last plane flight seemed to take forever; I sat next to a woman who, soon as she saw me, jammed earphones rather violently in her ears and turned to read a book at the window. Yikes! But you know what? We don't try and convert you if you don't want to listen. That's not how Christ did it.

Showing up here was AMAZING though! The Santa Barbera airport was drastically different from the other two we went through; it was like a spanish ranch house with airplanes on the side. The air was beautiful; after 3 years of lung-cracking dry Utah air, it actually felt great to breath in the heavy, sea air in Santa Barbara. We met President Castro and the A.P's, and then they drove us out to the mission home. At the mission office (in Oxnard) we filled out a bit of paper work, and then Elder Jenkins and I went out to "Declare" (which is Venturian for tracting) with Elder Van Tassle (Who doesn't speak Spanish.) It was neat but really hard, not because we weren't willing to do it, but because we couldn't understand most of what the first hombre was saying! He had his car out running, he was mumbling, and he spoke spanish with a seriously thick mexican accent. We had a blast though, and it was a real pleasure to teach a real person with Elder Jenkins, after all that time spent in the MTC. I had my interview with President Castro who is the Man! I'm hyper excited to work for him and gain his trust. That night we stayed with a member family in Ventura. Their house was sweet, it was like a roman villa setup, very similar to my future home. ;)

The next day we went out to a gorgious church building in ventura. I've NEVER seen a chapel like this one, it had a chandelier, some kind of sparkely cieling, etc etc. The building itself looks more like a spanish mission from the outside than a church building! Anyway, we had transfer meeting, where the oldest generation gave their testimonies and "died." We got our trainers and areas. Elder Vaca Guzmán is my trainer, straight from the land of Bolivia. He´s hyper excited to be training for the first time, and he really knows how to love and help the people. We got a ride from a recent convert to head to Taft California, which is a small town just outside of Bakersfield. It´s pretty sweet though, there´s a river that runs through the middle of town, and it´s really green, it´s like a rainforest out here! I´ve included a picture, so you can see just how gorgeous it really is.

At this point you´ve probably seen the picture already. It´s something of a tradition to tell the greenies when they head out here just how vibrant and lovely taft really is. Actually, the main deal out here is the oil fields. There´s miles and miles of the big old drinking rigs. That´s the reason Taft survived the economic crash rather well. The air is fantastically awful, I think it´s worse than smoking. The town is literally surrounded by mountains just about as close as the wasatch front is to Clinton, but you literally can´t see them. There´s some kind of purplish white haze in the way. Not only that, but I´ve learned a bit about a wonderful ailment known as ´´valley fever´´ some kind of fungus grows in the dirt around here, and if it decides to move to your lungs, you´re pretty much finished. Ay ay ay! But seriously, I actually really love it here. The reason is entirely the people. I'm running out of time, but I'll give a quick overview.

The first thing is that it's a little bit difficult here, because the Elder I'm coming in for was seriously rebelious.   So we're constantly apologizing, and striving to represent better. We work almost every day with a recent convert  from guatemala. He's a very humble, kind man who just wants to help everyone. We're hoping that in a year from March, he can go to the temple and go on a mission. If he does, the MTC is going to explode from sheer intensity. (Although from the E-mail, it sounds like it's going to anyway) We have a decent sized pool of investigators to teach, and a TON of Less-active-Recent-convert work to do. One of the coolest things to be going on is we have two baptisms in a single family coming up, a sister and her daughter. These two have been investigating off and on for FOUR YEARS! They're getting baptized this Saturday, but the coolest part about it is that her husband; a grouchy old mexican, is getting baptized on November tenth! We were at his house, and every day for the past week, we've asked him "Have you quit coffee yet?" And he'd say "No, I'm not gonna quit coffee." I wondered why he'd say it with such gusto, when we asked him this time, and he said "Actually, I've quit coffee for 6-7 days." He'd been teasing Elder Vaca Guzman so bad! It was hilarious, and he was laughing pretty hard. At any rate, that night Elder Vaca Guzman shared a powerful lesson, and I committed him to baptism. When we suggested he get baptized in December, he said "Do I have to wait THAT long!?" It's been amazing to see.

Thank you so much for the letters and the love: any more mail should be sent to the mission office in Oxnard; we get same day forwarding from there. Keep up the good work, it sounds like Stake Conference was pretty amazing! Have a great week, be careful, and work hard!

Con Amor;
Elder Clough