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, November 26, 2012

Here goes transfer 2!

So here we are on the last P-day of the transfer! It's been a hectic, crazy week, especially since we got a heads up that Elder Vaca Guzman would be getting out of here. We got the transfer call this morning; Elder Vaca Guzman is going to Buena Vista South Bakersfield to be with Elder Burgos, and I'm staying here in Taft. That's great, because there's a lot of unfinished business I have to see through. My follow-up trainer is going to be Elder Johnson; who interestingly enough, was Elder Jenkins' trainer. It's gonna be interesting to meet him and see how Elder Jenkins has been. Another crazy thing about this next transfer is that poor Elder Johnson is going to be the District Leader too! Training and being the District Leader sounds like a lot of responsibility. I'll definitely do my best to help him out and make his burden a bit lighter.

I'm not sure what to talk about today... Elder V had a scary time last Monday. We went to a doctor about his back, and found out his Fillet Mignon isn't working well. He told him that he'd have to go to physical therapy three times a week. Then, President Castro called us and it seemed like he'd have to go home!   Fortunately, on Tuesday the Physical Therapist himself told us that he'd only have to go once a week. So, we'll see what happens. He's feeling a lot better already, because of the stretches and stuff the therapist taught him, and by next week he should be good. That is if he doesn't push himself and get hurt again.

I didn't get the mail, because when transfers come up, the mission office holds all the letters and gives them to us at Transfers meeting, but since we're both staying in this side of the mission, we're not actually going to Transfers meeting.  So I'll get the letters (Or whatever there is) in a little while.

So, that's pretty much all I can think of to talk about... We're doing great out here, and we'll see what the next month and a half has in store!

Con amor,

Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, November 19, 2012

Transfer 1, week six! AH!

I can't believe we're winding down on the last of the transfer! This last week is probably my last with my awesome companion! He's been here in Taft for three transfers, and they usually pull him after that. Also, since I'm in training, the standard procedure is to spend one transfer with your "Dad," and then you get your follow up trainer, your "Mom." He's done a really good job, although he's really struggles with health troubles here.  I'm not totally sure what to expect, but I'm sure it'll all be great!

We had a great, though relatively normal week this past week. We really saw how the Lord blesses us when we do all we can within a given bound; we didn't do hardly any Declaring this week because Elder V's had a hard time walking about, (I think we talked to 2 people)  But regardless, we have 4 new investigators, which is more then the entire time since I got here! One of them had a shirt with Gaara on it, which was cool because I was able to talk a bit about that and break the ice. I thought I'd share that for Brittney; she knows who I'm talking about.

Remember Fusi? Cute kid in the Iron man suit? We went to his birthday party yesterday, and it was great! The older brother and sister have really grown to love us, and man, we'll miss them if we get transferred out!  Their dad tells tons of stories, and he's a seriously spiritual chief! Most of what he says is in Samoan, though, and his daughter-in-law has to translate for us. He's told us that even if we forget him, he'll never forget us, and he wants us to visit him in Samoa sometime. (If only! If I make that kinda money I'll visit everyone I meet out here!) At any rate, we're dropping by sometime today to play the guitar and piano, sing Samoan songs, and hang out for our p-day activity. I'm gonna get seriously outclassed- he has recorded CD's being sold out in Samoa, and Elder V was a Bolivian Rock Star before he came out here!

We also visited for a part member family's birthday party, and MAN it was nuts! We didn't stay long, because Latino parties get pretty crazy pretty quick. I did eat Tacos de lengua (cow tongue) for the first time there, though. They were okay, but I think I'd like to stick with the regular beef, if it's all the same.

There's not much else I can think to write of just now, just a weird sensation I had the other day. We were driving down a dirt road and Elder V rolled down the window and said "Hey listen; that's what it's like driving in MY country!" when I heard that noise though, I thought of riding in Grandpa's truck out to his farm; and the weirdest thing happened! I felt like I wanted to do that! Before that, if someone had asked me about farming, I'd have said NO WAY! I'd be bored to death! I'd never be able to do a menial, simple job like that! But now I'm not so sure. After all, the most important Man in the world was a carpenter for most of His life. Honestly the only problem I'd have with being a farmer now is the plain and simple fact that I wouldn't know what I was doing. :P At any rate, we'll see what happens. Fortunately I don't have to worry about it for quite some time.

One more thing; Mom needs to look up William Joseph's music for you guys. He's pretty awesome!

So that's my thoughts for the week; it was a rather uneventful week, but they happen. I love you all, stay safe, and more importantly, stay strong! You can do it!

Love, Elder Matthew Clough 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Baptism? Yes please! 12 November 2012

Well, this week has been absolutely nuts; lets see if I can relate it all.

First off, we dropped by Ernestina and Guillermo's house on tuesday, and we were fortunate enough to find Rosario there as well. We talked for a short while, and when we started teaching them, Ernestina said "well, yeah... when are we getting baptized?" We just about fell out of our chairs! So, we talked a bit, and decided that they had to be baptized on the tenth, because they're going on a trip to Mexico soon. We were shocked! First they drop us, then they get scared around us, and now they're on board again! So, we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off for the entire week, because we had to get everything in line for the baptism. We were fighting the Zone leaders the whole way back from the temple to get them down here to interview them on Thursday, but found a solution by doing a companionship exchange from Thursday through Friday. So they pass the interview with flying colors and Saturday shows up...

And Rosario won't answer her phone all day long! It was super scary, because she's the one who backed out first last time, and Ernestina and Guillermo were wondering what was wrong. We went ahead with the plans anyway, and got everything ready, from the program to the water in the font. While it was filling, we left Mynor to watch it, and we headed back to the apartment to grab some things. We decided to call her one more time, so while Elder Vaca did that, I knelt down and prayed. I just prayed for her to answer the phone, because if she did, everything else would work out. Before I'd finished, she picked up, and the first thing that she said was "I'm on my way, I'm coming!" It was great! So then we show up at the church, everyone's there, and Rosario shows up and tells us she's not going to be baptized. :( Her daughter was still in Bakersfield, and she wanted all three of her children to be there for the baptism. So, we start the program. I gave the talk on baptism, and Elder Vaca Guzman baptized Ernestina and then Guillermo. It was awesome, and the spirit was very, very powerful. After the baptism service was over, guess who showed up? Rosario's daughter! And Rosario felt the spirit so powerfully that after the closing prayer was said, she hopped up and asked to be baptized on the spot. So, we waited around for another hour for the font to fill AGAIN, and though the service was very short, and most of the people had left, Rosario was baptized, and it was the best one of the night. :)

So, Sunday morning they were confirmed by Elder V, and the blessings pronounced upon them were awesome. Guillermo physically shook when Elder Vaca said "Recieve the Holy Ghost!" so strongly that though my hand was on top, I could feel it. It was great, because many lessons before, he'd asked us what it feels like, when you get the gift of the Holy Ghost. Now, it seems he knows! ;) Now, they're all preparing to do baptisms for the dead soon, and go to the temple as a family in a year. Hopefully the Lord will soften Benito, Rosario's husband, and we can teach him and her two daughters.

The temple was awesome! I'm not a huge fan of the L.A. temple's outer design, but the inside is positively georgious. Brother Estill took us, and the only problem was he ran us through sessions like roller-coaster rides. It was still a great trip, and a huge pleasure to go with Elder "Papa Vaca"

Last night, we had dinner with the Savea's, and if I haven't mentioned them before, they are a huge, wonderful samoan family. We always make sure that if we visit, we haven't eaten anything for two meals, because they feed you enough to last for three! Their son, Fusi, was running about in his Iron Man costume, and he's way cool. Fusi's the man! So, the main reason I brought them up in this letter, is that after eating a ton of stuff, I also ate a fish. No, I didn't eat "fish" I ate A FISH. Like, all of it, (Except the gills, you don't eat this fish's gills) and I can now officially say I don't like to eat eyes. I barely got that part down. Either way, just thought I'd report the latest, most gross thing I've eaten out here. Not sure if I'll top that (Knocks on the wooden table!)

This discussion reminds me though; How's Paul doing? I might have met the family of someone who knows him; Elder Mark Estill, who's finishing up his mission in Suva Fiji real soon. He hasn't written me back, so could you find out for me? Thanks a heap in advance!

We've had a miraculous week, we really have. I thought a lot about Brittney this week. I felt bad for not answering your questions and letters, and I promise I'll try harder. I love you a ton, and I want you to remember that, but I'll do better to show it! Keep up the good work, I'll send you a letter really soon. Thanks for all of you guys' love and support, I can't tell you how much we thirst for news from you all.

Also, could you send me more pictures like the one you sent of Danielle? I'd love a recent one each of Mom, Dad, and Brittney at least.

con grande amor;

Elder Matthew Clough

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hola otra vez! 05 November 2012

So we're already halfway through the transfer. <:[ I'm gonna be freaking out three weeks from now; Elder Vaca Guzman will be taking off for who-knows-where, and I'm gonna get my follow-up trainer. What am I gonna do about the Spanish work? There's a high chance that I won't get a Spanish trainer, and most of the non-native speakers don't speak it very well. We have to translate for sacrament, teach in Mizteco, etc etc. It's gonna be exciting!

We actually haven't gotten started on learning Mizteco yet. :/ We've been so busy with all this other stuff going on we've hardly had time to talk to Hermana Garcia. We'll get it done though. We had a crazy week, we taught a lot of people and saw a number of small miracles. We went to visit a very recent convert, but she was busy so we talked a while with her husband, who's been a long-time member. Turns out that he has been going through some really tough times, and just broke down in front of us, and it was all we could do to help him feel better. He seems to be doing quite better though.

Today is gonna be hectic; we've got a half P-day because we're going to L.A. to go to the temple Wednesday! ^ - ^ The rule out here is that you get to go on your birthday month, but Elder V didn't get the opportunity to go last month (Whoo Octubre!) so the President gave us the go-ahead to go now. As a result, we only have until three instead of six to get all our chores done. O-o So, tell Bishop Roselund that I'm exceedingly sorrowful for lack of time to write him, but I will do so soon! It's not that I haven't wanted to write him, it's just incredible how packed our days are.

One thing I think I've learned a lot about since getting here is how to pace yourself. President Castro likened the mission to a marathon the first day we were here, and I've seen a lot of that out here. Elder V is a great example for this. There's a lot of "hot" and "cold" missionaries, out here, and it's a constant battle for President to get them to level out. The cold ones are hyper-disobedient; and don't care a bit about the work. The hot ones are so absorbed in "following the rules" that they miss one of the first ones: Missionaries should strive to understand the spirit of the law. Like the pharasies of Christ's day, they take the rules and build fences around them to the point that they forget the purpose of the rules. The most important rule is to love the people; and I've already seen a lot of missionaries who don't realize that.  It's possible to be exactly obedient, and be relaxed at the same time. After all, in a marathon, if you run the first mile at your PR, you're not going to make it. X _ x

Thanks a heap for the letters! I love hearing from all of you; and I'm sorry that I probably won't have a chance to respond this week. But I love you, all of you. I know the gospel is true. I've seen some pretty awesome stuff out here, and I'm only three weeks out! I never imagined I'd be able to teach like I have been, and I know that it's by the Savior's power that it's possible. Stay strong, do what you have to do, and don't worry about the rest. I know that His plan for us is greater than anything we'd ever be able to work out for ourselves, so look for it: ask Him what he wants you to do, and be excited about it, because it's going to be great.


Elder Matthew Clough