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, December 31, 2012


Holy Hannah banana, mom's email just about blew my mind! I can't believe Brian and Aj are heading off, especially Aj! It's crazy to think they're out there, and I don't really know why.  It just seemed like it should have been a lot farther down the road. At any rate, I wish them both all the success in the world. It was also cool to hear about Brother Embry's daughter going out too. Wasn't her name... Amanda? (It's not Amanda but I'm not sure what her name is.  She is just older than Amanda)  I don't know why I think it is; I really have no idea. But make sure everyone else goes too; it's the most important thing out there now!

So, we had a really great week; Christmas was especially good stuff, and after that the days just seemed to fall into the normal groove.    The highlight of the week was definitely seeing Brother Palmer get baptized! It was really cool to see and affected a lot of the members in a very positive way. They all knew that if he didn't know VERY deeply that this was absolutely true, he'd never be doing it. But he did. Brother Bryan baptized him, and then Sunday we all stood in the circle to confirm him and give him the gift of the Holy Ghost. I can't wait to see how it's affected him over the course of a few days. I'd never realized how much it completely changes people as I have out here. Seeing Rosario, Ernestina, Guillermo, and now Carmen grow so much in a few short weeks has been absolutely miraculous. Another cool thing that happened just last night was when we finally got around to going to the Savea's house again. So, as we were talking, waiting for dinner, Fusi comes into the room, and guess what? Fusi's opened his mouth! He's speaking in both English and Samoan. Sometimes he tries to go back to his hand guestures and babble, but Sister Savea tells him off when he does.  It was really awe inspiring to me, to see a blessing like that work so suddenly. I felt very grateful to be part of that.

Another cool experiance that happened this week; Elder Marquez and I were on exchanges, teaching Katrina (Benjamin's wife) in Maricopa. He was sick and couldn't meet with us, but she told us she'd read, and she really loved the plan of Salvation when we taught it. Unfortunately they didn't make it to the baptism, or to church, but she told us she loved that Matthew is really starting to like us. She says we're good people to look up to, which is nice to hear, all things considered.  Anyway, after that we decided to go tracting, so we picked a street, walked along it a ways, and then I just walked up to a house and knocked on the door. Inside I could see an older woman and a teenager, and she answered the door. Right after she did, I hear this old man shout "Come in!" A bit perplexed (this is a VERY uncommon occurance. It's never happened to me before.) we walked in and he asked us "who we were with" so we told him we're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He then replied "Oh. Well I go to the Church of Christ, so I'm not interested." But I figured we were in there for a reason, so I said "that's fine." and started talking to him anyway. He's got a pretty interesting life; he was an electrician on airplanes; specifically, he helped work on and design? the really cool black triangle bomber, the air force uses all the time. He's got a cool picture of him and a bunch of guys standing in front of one of them, and on the front row is Neal Armstrong. Very cool. At any rate, we taught him and his wife the Gospel of Jesus Christ (article of faith #4) during which she gave us some newspapers from the Church of Christ (interesting stuff, mostly true. closer than a lot of other peoples stuff I've read) so we took the opportunity to give them the Restoration pamphlet, and we taught them the whole restoration. The spirit was incredibly strong.

So that's been our week. Yes, I did get the packages for Christmas, and I'm really very grateful for everything you all do for me. Also, tell Dad I finally realized why he never uses punctuation correctly. Spanish is worse on your punctuation than it is on your spelling, believe it or not. They use question and exclamation marks like parentheses in the middle of the sentence, run on sentences are completely legal and in fact required (I've read paragraphs in Predicad Mi Evangelio that are a single HUGE sentance whereas in Preach My Gospel the same paragraph is composed of 12 different sentences) and so are double negatives. (some passages in the Book of Mormon REALLY confuse spanish speakers because they're not in Double Negative format.) So I've developed sympathy for him.

At any rate, I love you all, and can't wait to hear what you've all been up to. Stay feelin' good!


Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, December 24, 2012

White Christmas!

This week has been absolutely crazy! We've been on a kind or roller-coaster of excitement.

The first thing that happened was that Alicia passed her interview! We were so happy and excited to see her finally ready. So, much to our surprise and dismay, the VERY NEXT DAY their father decides to go back to Mexico. Alicia had been crying all day when she found out, because she wouldn't be able to be baptized Sunday. So, Thursday morning at 2:00, in spite of everything we said and talked to them about, they hauled off. Of course, we gave them the direction to the church down there, but it's at least a 2 hour drive, so if her parents won't come to church when it's 5 minutes away, how are they going to come down there!? Not to mention how they're going to pay for the gas and provide for their family. It was a really tough morning. The rest of the day was good though. We went to the Christmas devotional with the other zones in Bakersfield. It was really cool to see Elder Jenkins and Elder Vaca Guzman there. The President and everyone gave really great talks, to inspire everyone, and also showed us the PianoGuys Christmas video (the one mom was talking about) It was really great!

So, that was pretty rough, but we still pushed forward for Carmen. We were exceedingly busy, though, and didn't quite take as much time as we might have to visit her. Fortunately she's a trooper, so she fought pretty well. Then, when we asked Rosario to give the talk on the Holy Ghost, she not only accepted it right off (which was a huge surprise for me) she ran by Carmen's to talk to her, which was HUGE because Carmen was struggling in her testimony. She was saying she wasn't sure she'd received an answer that the Book of Mormon is true (which isn't true, she was on FIRE up until the last day before the baptism.) Rosario talked to her a good bit, and then when we passed by we helped her really get excited and in gear. So on Saturday, we got ready to baptize Carmen. It was... something else. So, in most church buildings when you run the water in the font, you've got to run it straight hot, and then it'll run out of hot water and the water will be about right. So we did that. Apparently the building in Taft has an infinite supply of hot water, because when I got in the water to Baptize Carmen it was VERY VERY hot! She couldn't get in, and I couldn't blame her. It was a lot hotter than any hot tub I'd been in. So, we ran the water straight cold, and I jumped in and started stirring the water around for close to 15 minutes. My hands and feet were redder than a stop sign and I was pouring down sweat. Elder Johnson about laughed his head off, as well as the Zone leaders.    So then, I forgot part of the Baptism ordinance (comisionado), so it's a good thing Elder Johnson reminded me. When she was baptized and I went to change, though, the spirit was very strong. So, then the next day Elder Johnson gave her the gift of the Holy Ghost. It felt really good, especially since Elder V gave me the mandate to go help her.

Brother Palmer is progressing like a boss. He's a licensed Baptist Minister, but he's received a witness that the Book of Mormon is true, and while he has a hard time with certain ideas in the Gospel, he's told us he's going to learn and work on it. We've taught him everything, he's good with it all, so we're having his interview on Wednesday and on Saturday he'll be baptized by Brother Bryan, his home teacher. He's super excited, underneath his cool, grumpy shell.   When his wife bought him a triple combination this weekend, he got all happy and said "Now I've got All of them!" That's real cool, given his total alliance and devotion to the King James.

As for Isaias, we're going to have to wait a bit longer; we haven't had much time to teach him, and he's got a learning disability anyway. So we're going to plan on next week.

Also; while Brother Estill and Sister Estill were coming back from Fiji with their son, Elder Ben Estill; they ran into Paul and Family! It was really cool to talk to them about Paul and his mission and stuff, but they forgot to mention that they know his cousin! So if someone could let Paul know at some point in time that I ran into Elder Estill and family, I'd appreciate it.

So that's pretty much it; We've been having a totally crazy time here in Taft. I'm sorry I haven't had time to send out a lot of letters and mail to people, but I really think about you all a lot. I love you and wish you all a merry Christmas!


Elder Clough

Monday, December 17, 2012

It's the end of the world as we know it!

Or at least that's what it seems. Dec 21 2012 is coming up fast, and it's making a lot of a bigger fuss than it should.  I did really like an add by Dominoes, advertising their BIGGEST sale ever (just in case) on that day. I kept it.

In other news, I need to wish you a happy birthday Mom!  Love you a ton, and thanks for everything.

So, the day after the world ends, we're going to have two baptisms! Carmen passed her interview Sunday with President Ellige, and Elder Vaca Guzman is hyper excited to hear about it. Alicia also came to church, so she'll be ready for the 22nd! Unfortunately, at her brother's birthday party, her dad was definitely drinking, so I don't think he'll be ready to baptize her.   It's really sad to see that, but maybe seeing that he can't, and he should will wake him up.

We had a ton of crazy miracles last week too! First off, at the Christmas party, Sister Palmer, an older woman whose husband is not a member, came up to us and told us that her husband wanted to talk to us. (exciting!) I was hesitant at first (my mistake) because the last lesson Elder V and I had had with him did not go well. He's told us that he was going to study it, but he was highly skeptical, and is of the disposition that if it's in the Bible, then it's true, otherwise, it's wrong. (fortunately, it IS all in the bible, it's just misunderstood most of the time. ) Elder Johnson knew it was going to be good though. So later on, Elder Mancuso (who is the new missionary this transfer) and I went on exchanges, this past Saturday. During that exchange, we talked to him, and he was totally different! Brother Palmer told us that he knows it's true, wants to be baptized and though he'd have a hard time accepting some stuff, he told us he'd learn! Apparently, during the time after me and Elder V last taught him, he actually did study, and realized that the Book of Mormon was telling him the same stuff his "King James" did. (So by his own logic, it's true.) Then, he prayed and asked Heavenly Father that if this "whole Mormon nonsense" wasn't right, to turn him away from it. Funnily enough, He led him deeper into it. So, we asked him to be baptized, he said yes, and so he's going to be baptized on the 29th! Then Elder Mancuso and I also talked to Carmen's son, Isaias, who is 12 and looks about 7. So, after comparing the Gospel to, we asked him if he'd be baptized, and he also said sure! So he's also going to be baptized on the 29th! Later that day, we drove out to a town called Maricopa, to visit the family of Matthew, the little boy that called us over. Benjamin (the dad) was sitting right out front at his gate, and waved at us so we hopped on out and ran over to talk to them. After we talked for a little while (said his luck is really going up, but still no job) we taught them the restoration. As we did that, we emphasized more than usual on how Joseph Smith was a prophet, just like Moses, or Noah. Benjamin was actually really excited to find that out, because his parents had taught him that we worship him. (Not!) We testified again that he was a great man and a prophet of God, but just a man, and the way to know that is to read the Book of Mormon. So, we gave one to them, and he was so happy to get it he had us sign and date it! Apparently that's what he does when someone gives him a bible. (Good foot to start reading it on huh!? Sometimes we work for EVER to get them to understand that it's similar to, but not, a bible) The family has promised to read and pray, so WE'RE praying that they do it! As we left, he walked us over to our car, and then told us that he was gratefull that we'd come. Apparently, he'd been praying for guidance in his life, in any form God would give him, and that's when Elder Johnson and I showed up. It was very humbling but exciting to hear.

So the work is going great here. The Spanish class at church moved to a different room, because it's about doubled (or tripled) since I showed up, but that's not saying much when you've only got 1 real solid member.   It is still cool to see it beginning to grow.

I hope you all have a wonderful week, and remember that when times get hard, that's when we need to fight that much harder. Heavenly Father can only bless us if we are doing.


Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, December 10, 2012

To the dump! to the dump! to the dump! dump! dump!

Hola Familia!

This week has been pretty packed! We've been working like crazy to get stuff rolling here in Taft. We'll see what happens and how it turns out!

Sunday was a tiny bit of a panic. We'd asked Alicia, Carmen, Paula, and Olga, all 4 of whom now have baptism dates (Alicia and Carmen on the 22nd of this month, and the others on the 26th of January.) Unfortunately, none of them came. However, Alicia had been ready, and although her parents were supposed to call someone to get her a ride, they didn't. They wouldn't answer their phone, and then when we called a member and asked her to drop by and pick her up, the member just called and since no-one was answering, didn't go get her.   Moral of the story; when the missionaries ask you to go pick someone up, it means we've already tried calling, please just go and do it. After all the only reason we ask is because we can't do it ourselves. Well, next week the plan is to set the ride anyway, and THEN if the parents can take Alicia, we'll tell the ride not to go.

I also tried translating for the first time in Sacrament meeting. It didn't seem as hard as I expected, but since I don't know all the grammar rules and words anyway, who knows how much they understood. 

We had a lot of chances to do service this week. We hauled a truck load of garbage out of Carmen's yard, and took it to the dump, we did the grout in Brother Estill's kitchen, and we helped Aaron and Terry pick up branches and leaves while they trimmed trees. It was pretty crazy. It was really cool to learn to grout and all, but it was especially fun to go to the dump. 

I also gave two blessings this week. Poor old Terry, who's had health problems through the roof, got ran over by his own car door. I guess while he'd been grabbing bags from the seat over; being half in and half out of the car and all, he accidentally put the car into reverse. The crazy part is, that with a messed up back and all, he tried to hold the car back with his legs (while he was lying on the ground) and he totally destroyed the door. It was bent and wrinkled to pieces! Then, after it ran him over, he got up and chased after it, tried to get in, and it happened again. The car was in pretty bad shape, and he was in really bad shape. So that night, me and Elder Gigena (our Zone leader who was on exchanges with me) went over and gave him a blessing. Afterwards, we got to teach the restoration to him, which seemed to go well enough. Later, the most awesome Savea family invited us over last night for dinner, and when we finished we gave their son Fusi a blessing. Fusi is the man, but when he talks no-one understands him! He speaks, and he's speaking words, but it's not Samoan, English, Spanish, Portuguese, or Italian! (Elder V. couldn't understand him, that's why I list the extra three at the end) At any rate, being three years old, he ought to say a lot more than he does now, and so his g-parents and parents were worried and had us bless him. It was a great blessing, I just hope that it was what the spirit was telling me, not just what I wanted to say. I'm not quite good enough to tell yet; I just kinda say what I think on.

So, that's what's been going on in Taft; I'm not quite sure what else to mention... Elder Jenkins Baptized Miriam this last Saturday. Elder Johnson was sad to have missed it, but I guess he's supposed to be here. Also, we're going on exchanges with Elder Foote the Great, and his trainee Elder Mancuso this week. The weird part is Elder Mancuso is newer than I am, and we're going to be here in Taft.    Greenies in the house! I guess we'll find a way to survive.

I love you all, and hope things are going great! Go do some missionary work out there too; It's a lot easier than it looks. After all, I apparently count.


Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, December 3, 2012

03 December 2012

So, another week has gone by! It's been pretty wild. I'll get into the details of what happened in a minute.

Elder Johnson's a really cool Elder. He's way more mellow than Elder Vaca Guzman, but we do some pretty random stuff occasionally. Like throw nails and screws at an apple.   It was rather fun, and a good way to relieve stress. At any rate, he's a very excellent missionary, and I'll be able to learn a lot from him. He also is doing a great job as a District Leader; he has a lot of love for the missionaries, and tries his best to inspire them to reach a little higher.

We've definitely had an interesting time here in Taft, now that Elder V's gone. We went and visited Carmen, who'd been a really solid investigator, but some issues came up, and she got scared. Her son called a lawyer on Elder V, and the lawyer told her a lot of lies about the Church, and Elder V called him out on it. Regardless, because of the situation, he promised her he wouldn't come back, which was really hard on both of them. As soon as he left though, me and Elder Johnson came to see her, and she was hyper excited! She pulled out some chairs, sat us down, and taught US the restoration. With later lessons, we've realized she's not really a "progressing investigator," because she know's it all now! Looking back in the Area book, it's really clear how much her testimony has grown. So, we're planning on having her baptized on the 22nd! Elder Vaca Guzman is going to be WAY pumped to hear about it, he really loved her, and promised her when he stopped teaching her that she would be baptized.

Then, when we were tracting in Maricopa, a small town that we cover with Taft, a young boy, about 2-3 years old called out "Hi!" and waved at us. We went over and said hi back, and the mom came out. She started talking with us, and was very attentive, and interested in what we were saying like few people I've taught yet. The husband also came out, and was super friendly and excited to see us. He said he was Southern Baptist, and really loved what we're doing, going on helping people and what not. He told us that God had sent us there, so that he could send us to go and help out a woman who really needed God in her life. We asked if we could come back and talk with him and his family, though, and he said absolutely! The wife was still kind of in shock, because little Matthew (the boy) is hyper shy, and rarely speaks to family, let alone strangers on the street. As a matter of fact, when we said hi back to him, his face changed, like "Oh, man, what am I doing!?" During the entire visit he hardly looked at us. So, we'll head back over this week, and see why exactly he called us over.   The woman that the father told us to go see was VERY disinterested, but we did our best to talk to her and share a bit about what we teach.

Probably one of the biggest miracles of the week happened last night, though. We'd had a rough day, no-one was home, Alicia's family might be taking her back to Oaxaca, and even our dinner appointment cancelled on us.   So we felt a bit down, but went over to a family's house to help set up their Christmas stuff. The father and his brother are both less-actives (IN-actives, really) and the two oldest girls are very recent converts (right before I showed up.)   The mom pulled her records from the Church a long time ago, and while she believes in the Church, and in Heavenly Father, she has serious problems with Him, and has a lot of very difficult-to-answer questions. Despite her outward appearances and personal vices, however, she is a really wonderful person. So, after we got done setting up the stuff, Elder Johnson told her that we need to share a message, and to my surprise she said "sure". So, since the kids were all in bed, we taught her as an investigator, for the very first time. The Spirit was very strong while Elder Johnson was teaching, and it was great until he told her that Christ knows what we're all going through. She said "I know he died for us, and that he suffered a lot of stuff, a lot of really hard things. But that was 2000 years ago, and the world was completely different back then." I realized while she was talking, that she was expressing her deep, real concern RIGHT THERE! She doesn't understand the atonement at all! So, I testified to her that in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ suffered more than just for our sins: He felt all of our pains, weaknesses, trials and fears. He knows us more than anyone else can, and we know this because of the comfort and support He gives us. I told her about scriptures in the Book of Mormon that teach us this, and she blew me out of the water when she said "Well, I guess I need to read the Book of Mormon again."   So, we gave her a copy, asked her to surprise us, and we all left wondering how on earth it all happened!

Well, I've gotta wrap up, so I'll just say; it was GREAT to see Elder Jenkins again. He's struggling with the language a bit, but it's coming along, and Elder Johnson was really happy to train him. We talk a lot about the funny stuff he says and does, and we're really excited to see how he turns out, because he's gonna be legendary.

As far as Christmas stuff goes, I really have no idea.   I seem to be holding up pretty well with what they give us; It's not expensive to live out here in Taft. So, whatever you think is a good idea works for me.  The only thing I can really think of is a small assortment of photo's from our family, and important stuff that happened in our lives. I've seen how cool they are to have around; Elder V used them all the time, and Elder Johnson has a set too. Wish I'd have thought to bring them already!

I love you all, keep up the good work, and have a great week!

Elder Matthew David Clough