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 30, 2013

And now Eric is the coolest member of the church...

This past week has been awesome, and FULL of awesomeness. Of course things like Christmas and calling home and stuff were highlights of the week, but Eric's baptism on Tuesday was exceptionally powerful. It was totally perfect; everything went the way it needed to, and the spirit was so powerful Eric was in tears before he even entered the water. He was on a massive spiritual high all week long; every time we saw him he was grinning ear to ear, and his soon to be wife was super ecstatic. Sunday, he received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and afterwards bore an incredibly powerful testimony. He talked about his favorite scripture being 1 Nephi chapter 4 vs 13. "It is better that one man perish than a nation dwindle and perish in unbelief" He said that the first time he read it, it struck him in a metaphorical way, with Laban being Eric's "natural man" and the nation being his posterity. He said "I'm so excited and grateful to let my old self die so that I and my family after me can have this gospel." What a BOSS!!! Right after that we also got to go and participate while the Bishop conferred the Aaronic priesthood upon him. He will be married to Lanessa on January 8th!

In other news with investigators I've worked with; Leticia out in Simi Valley has been a total boss apparently. This last week that branch had 17 investigators at church!!! (Remember how dead it seemed when I was there!?) AND Leticia was the one who got most of them going! I was super excited to hear about all that.

One of the gifts that Elder Jenkins received this past week has really impacted me spiritually. It's a Musical CD called "Lamb of God" by Rob Gardener. The best way to describe it is, take Phantom of the Oprah, but replace the story and themes with the Last week of the savior's life, especially focusing on the Atonement. It is INCREDIBLE, and super emotional. I highly recommend everybody check it out, it's really made me think on the plan of salvation and what Jesus Christ did for us. Some favorite tracks of mine are "Is it I?" a Duet based on two of the Apostles speculating on whether it was himself who would betray Christ, and "I know this Man" a solo by Peter, expounding on his emotions directly after denying Christ 3 times and the repentance he goes through because of it. I don't know if there's a movie version of it all, but it would probably be the absolute most intense/ beautiful movie of all time if there were. (So if there isn't one, I'll make it!) But definitely take some time to listen to it on YouTube or something; it's really made it all a lot more real to me.

I really love the mission, and I'm super grateful to everything everyone has done to support us. We took the two Elders who room with us out to Olive Garden (Thanks for the gift cards!) And everyone just had a great Christmas. Thanks for being the best family in the world, I love you all!


Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hello everyone!

This week has been pretty crazy again.  We've been getting everything in order for Eric's baptism; and that's going perfectly.  It was kinda funny, we gave him a heads up that oftentimes, the week before baptism is a super tough one; the adversary works really hard to prevent it, and he said. "Huh?  Oh, yeah.  Don't worry, I'm staying strong.  I've been reading my Book of Mormon a lot more lately."  He's awesome!!!  We connected really well this week too; after one of our lessons we got talking about his interests, and it turns out he's a massive Pokemon and Legend of Zelda fan!  So, naturally, he really liked my conversion story.  

I got to go on two exchanges this week; one with Elder Slaugh and one with Elder Payne.  Both of them are really awesome, solid elders, and it was a total blast.  On the exchange with Elder Slaugh, we ran into a guy on the street named Joe, and as we got talking, he asked if the church had any programs to help people who are financially struggling.  I told him that I didn't really know what there was, so I gave him the Bishop's number and said that even if the church didn't have anything to help with, the bishop could at least tell him where to go.  Later, I kinda regretted not giving him the missionaries number as well, but RIGHT before we finished our day, we ran into him again, and he told us "I lost the card you gave me!" Miracle!  So we were able to give it to him again, and with our info as well!  It was really cool.

The Christmas devotional was Super fun, and way spiritual.  There were a number of awesome musical performances, and our Zone sang "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day."  The lunch and games afterwards were the best though; every Elder I've trained was there; Elder Mortimer, Elder Lewis, Elder Law and of course Elder Bautista!  It was great to see them all and see how well they're all doing.  It's really weird being some of the oldest Spanish missionaries left; in three transfers I think we will be the oldest ones, and there's not many ahead of us now.  

I'm still not quite used to all this YSA work.  It's great fun, but it's weird being around a bunch of young people.  It's great though, because they are ON TOP of their missionary work.  There is a bunch of fire and drive; Elder Jenkins and I haven't spent a single minute tracting since we've arrived.

We're very excited for Christmas coming up, especially since Eric's getting baptized!  I'm very excited to call and talk to everyone, I hope this Christmas is a good one all around!  I'll do my best and work hard, and we'll talk in a bit!  Love ya!

Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, December 16, 2013

It's been FOREVER since I wrote last!!! Like, FOUR WHOLE DAYS!!!

Hellos to all the peoples!!!  This week has been pretty good since we last talked.  It's kinda weird to think that we could have so much go down since Wednesday when I got to write.  It's kinda weird actually writing on Monday; I feel like I haven't done that in forever!  But we've been pretty busy and have gotten a lot of great stuff done.  We had exchanges with Elder Eggleston and Elder Dollar, a district leader training meeting, and we actually got to get out and proselyte!
Well to start with, the district leader training meeting was fantastic.  Elder Jenkins and I had to have everything all set up and ready before-hand, and thankfully he was right on the ball.  We were able to have 100% of everything in order, which was a huge relief because I can imagine it would be awkward to have President Castro come in and find it all a mess.  Elder Jenkins also led a great edpep on teaching simply.  Way to go Elder Jenkins!  I got to see Elder Law there, and it was a super happy re-union.  He's doing super well out in Lom Poc; his Spanish is practically perfect!
A really neat miracle went down at the training meeting; a man walked in looking for the bishop.  It turns out, he'd met Elder Jenkins before when he walked into a DIFFERENT church building looking for help.  He'd recently had a lot of tough trials and was looking to move out here from Arizona.  So, Elder Jenkins was able to point him to the local bishop, who turns out to be someone he knew back in Arizona.  The man was REALLY grateful, and expressed a lot of desire to join the church as well.  It was awesome!
That same day we had a lesson in the Hunt family's home.  They live in and operate a MASSIVE care center for older people, and two of their employees had agreed to meet with us; one a Hispanic mother of three kids and another YSA woman.  It was weird, because we started off teaching Monica and her kids in Spanish, and then had to accomodate Domonique (the YSA woman) when she arrived.  Both of them seemed to be really interested, they were really good lessons!
Eric is doing great; we'll have to move his baptism date to the 24th, but he's excited for it anyway.  Hopefully we can meet with him more often in the coming week; I've only seen him twice.  He came to the YSA ward though, and loved it; although the Gospel Principles class on the final judgement had a little too much deep doctrine for him.  It was kinda scary to sit there and hope he listened to the spirit and not his fears.  He asked good questions about it afterward though, and is going to read some scriptures in the Doctrine and Covenants on the questions he has. 
We have our Christmas devotional coming up, and that'll be a blast!  We'll be meeting in the Santa Barbara Stake Center, so that'll be interesting.  We're planning on calling between 11-1 o' clock on Christmas.  I hope you all have a beautiful Christmas, and that you all feel the spirit of the season.  Keep looking for those opportunities to serve, teach and testify, and more than everything, have fun!!  I love you all, and I'm very grateful for everything you all do!
Elder Matthew David Clough

PS: I broke my glasses finally; they were on their last leg anyway, and when I tried to fix the lenses that kept falling out, the frame snapped in half. :(  So I'll be utilizing my contacts for the next little while until I figure out what to do about them.

PPS:   I forgot a miracle!!!  During the exchange with Elder Dollar in Nipomo; as we biked out to a remote family, the road we were on turned into a half mile of sand!  I had about 1-1 and 1/2 inch street tires, and I wrecked several times during the first ten feet.  There was just too much psi on the sand, and when I tried to bike it just fish-tailed or dug into the sand.  Finally, I said a prayer in my heart, saying that if it was the will of God that we should visit this person, give me the ability to bike the rest of the way without falling again, but if we were wasting our time and were to turn around, let me fall.  It wasn't easy; I had to fight it the whole way, but I finished the rest of the half mile without stopping or falling once.  We didn't find the person we went to see, but we made a good connection with the husband, and he was very willing to have us return.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

So I've been frying my brain on a desk for the past week and a half...

Sorry this letter comes late!  We've had a CRAZY week this past couple of days!  It's been pretty weird getting used to the new assignment as a zone leader.  It's kinda blowing my mind; there was SO MUCH administrative work to get done!  It took us straight from Transfer tuesday 'till sunday to get it all figured out; we had Zone Goals to create and report, Evaluation forms to fill out, Exchanges and district meetings, and all other kinds of stuff.  It was really weird sitting in the church all week instead of proselyting!  We did manage to get a little bit of work done, but largely we've had to rely on the Lord working in our area instead of us.  I have met one investigator; his name is Eric and the lesson we had with him was amazing!  It was incredible teaching with Elder Jenkins; he's super developed as a missionary!  Eric's story is something else;

Eric met with Elder Buckmiller and Elder Haws originally, which was RIGHT after Elder Buckmiller left Taft.  He was atheist, but he really caught the spirit of the message and was progressing way fast.  At some point though, he slipped up, felt unworthy, and dropped them!  After a long while, he texted Elder Bernards and Elder Jenkins (Who had no idea who he was)  and said "I want to be baptized.  Can you give me the lessons so I can do that?"  They thought it was a joke for a while!  But after they realized what was going on, they started teaching him, and now he is set to be baptized on the 25th of December.  White Christmas!

The reason I got this letter off late to everyone is because we didn't have P-day till today!  On Monday, Elder Jenkins and I went down to Ventura for a "Zone Leader training" meeting.  It was a super spiritual meeting and really helped me catch the spirit of sacrifice that this assignment requires.  It's a very curious point of the mission, because of the 14 Zone Leaders, 7 were new.  The coolest part of the day was President Castro took us on a hike up into the mountains, and as we went up, we broke into different groups and discussed different parts of the 5 areas of focus: we are Preach My Gospel Missionaries, We Baptize, We Obey with Exactness, We Seek to Be Trusted More Than Loved, and We Teach With Power and Authority.  As our group went up, we discussed "we seek to be Trusted more than Loved.  It was SUPER helpful to analyze leaders I trusted and ones I struggled to trust.  When we came back down, we had a short soccer match.  It was great fun, and I actually scored a goal!  President Castro was the Goalie on our team, and it was really wierd to see him out of his suit and running around like that but it was awesome!  To his credit, we won 5-0, so they never actually managed to score on him although really talented players tried!

Tuesday we had our Mission Leader Councle meeting.  It was super insightful to see all that goes into those.  We learned a lot about SO MUCH it would be impossible for me to recount it all to you now.  But it was really great.

I love you all, and I'm very excited for this transfer and this Christmas season.  I don't anticipate to have e-mail problems like this for the next little while, but we'll see what happens.  Take care and be awesome!


Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, December 2, 2013

Transfer calls have come in with most epic news...

I'm leaving already!!!  I barely got here, but I'm getting called out.  :(   I'm staying SUPER close though, I'm going to be in Santa Maria.  Elder Bautista and I are WAY disappointed to be separating already; I think the only missionary I've gotten along with as well as I have with him would be Elder Buckmiller!  I've learned so much from him and this hard area; and I am certain that when I make it to the Celestial kingdom, these last six weeks will be one of the pivotal-points where I got put on the path to make it.  I'm a little disappointed to be leaving the area without any progressing investigators, but we have 4-5 appointments lined up for the first week; and that's WAY more than we had coming in.  The area is organized and prepared nicely; and most of all; WE GOT THE TRANSLATION DEVICE YESTERDAY!!! WHOOO!  I feel like; if nothing else, that's why I came here, because we fought so hard to get it!  It felt good to finally hold one.  I also know that this area will be taken care of because, 1: Elder Bautista is a mega-boss!  and 2: His new companion is going to be ELDER MORTIMER!!!!  It's going to be so awesome to watch these two tear it up!  I can't believe the first missionary I trained is going to follow up train the last missionary I've trained so far!

But on to my next assignment!  I'm going, as I said, to be stationed in the Spanish branch in Santa Maria, AND, I'm going to be working in the YSA ward, so that's going to be new.  Actually, I already know my new companion pretty well; but it'll be interesting to see how he's progressed.  Hopefully I don't disappoint his expectations!  I'll be serving with ELDER JENKINS!!!!  I was hoping for a last transfer run with this man, but this is super exciting anyway!  He's going to have to help me out a lot though; because I'm also going to be a zone leader.  I've given up panicking when I get new assignments;  I still don't feel ANYWHERE near qualified, but from what I've seen so far that's a pretty common thing.  It seems like every time I start figuring things out the Lord puts me somewhere where I don't know what I'm doing again. :P  But I shall do my best.  

This week was an interesting one.  We had a great start and a fantastic finish, but in the middle, we got stuck in the apartment for two days while Elder Bautista was pretty sick.  He used some kind of mexican throat spray though and it went away pretty darn quick!  The best part of this last week was when we dropped by a potential investigator named Edgar.  We asked if we could come in and have a lesson and he welcomed us on in!  The Lesson was really good, and he payed attention, but after Elder Bautista asked him to read and pray to know, and he agreed, I asked him why he wanted to do that.  He thought a minute and said, "Well, I'm actually pretty interested! I want to know more about this book and get closer to God."  It was awesome!!!  Hopefully he is ready to start progressing; he could be the key!  

I love you all, I'm very grateful for all your love and support.  I can't believe Elder Hoffman's coming home soon; I got floored when I realized how far along I'm coming.  It really does go way too fast; and if it slows down for these next months, I won't be any the sadder.  I love this work!

Elder Matthew David Clough

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This week has been pretty fantastic!

We had zone conferences which were amazing, and I just realized that since we e-mailed you guys on Thursday last week you already knew that.   But either way, they were still awesome!

What's gone down since then? hmm... We dropped by a woman named Maria out in Nipomo, and while we were there, we met Efrain (Ephraim), her brother.   It was a very different lesson, because Maria is almost completely blind, and Efrain just got out of a mental hospital, but Efrain invited us in on the spot and really seems to want to be better.   He talked a lot about how he has been looking for a way to overcome his vices.   Even though the room was almost completely dark, I really felt the spirit as we taught the restoration and testified of the healing powers of Christ.   Unfortunately they weren't there when we brought a ride for them to come to church, so we were SUPER close to having somebody at church this week, but we're not there yet.

I also went on Exchanges with Elder Kingrey this week. Aside from having a fascinating name, he's also a truly fascinating Elder.  He's from Alaska and Alabama (among others) and he loves anything that makes him different. It was neat to be on exchanges with him, though, because his one weakness is that he's got a heavy speech disorder.  It's really difficult for him to get words out.  But the cool thing is that he doesn't let it intimidate him, he is SUPER bold and willing to talk to anybody.  He even turns this weakness into a true strength by recognizing that people are hesitant to argue with or interrupt him!  He says the things and speaks up when the people normally wouldn't let him.   It was awesome to see!

Then, on P-day we finally got out to play sports with the rest of the district, and it was great fun, although I'm incredibly sore! It's amazing how sitting in a car for a year can DESTROY your ability to run and jump around. OUCH! My Ego took a major blow after that!

We're excited for week six, I can't believe it's aready here!!! We're putting the pedal to the medal this week, and we're intent on setting this area up well for next transfer. I REALLY hope I get another round with Elder Bautista; he's way too much fun to be around!

I love you all, and hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving! Keep up the good work and more than anything keep those smiles up!


Elder Matthew David Clough

Thursday, November 21, 2013

In other news; I survived my first attack from an Evangelical guy!

This last week and a half have been CRAZY. (Sorry we didn't get to e-mail on time; we had an exchange with the traveling trainers on that day, and then Zone Conference on Wednesday. But better late than never!)
This last week was interesting in the work. We haven't been able to get a hold of any of our investigators. We also went on a couple exchanges. I learned a lot on one where I went with an Elder named Elder Fridal. Unfortunately, the lessons I learned all came from me messing up all over the place. I'd ended on a really rough note, and I felt SUPER down. It was amazing to see how the Lord helped me through it though, I saw many small miracles attempting to lift my vision and help me keep going. The biggest one was the traveling training exchange; it came at a very difficult moment, and I felt really not up to it. We did it anyway though, and I learned so much. Elder Whited came with me out to Nipomo and he really helped me get the right perspective on things. We saw crazy miracles too. We knocked on one door and ran into a guy named Chris. He was super cool, about 19 years old, and the spirit was very strong as we got talking about his life, and as we talked and testified of various stuff, he kept saying "that's crazy! i was just thinking about that!!!" It reminded me of when King Lamoni was convinced Ammon could read his thoughts (People just don't work it that way anymore!) Finally, I asked him how religion has influenced him in his life and he just started crying!!! I was stunned; I've never seen anyone cry on the doorstep like that! I'm really excited to go back and see him next week!
Zone Conference was also incredibly powerful! I was amazed as I watched President Castro get up and start nailing every single one of the concerns of our district members, including my own! It really helped me renew my resolve and desire to work hard.
I'm sorry for using so much money off my card!!! I ran out of funds due to having to vacuum out the car a bunch and other random, weird expenses like that. X_X I should be good 'till the end of the month; and then we'll be getting our next payment. But I want you to know I'm super grateful for the sacrifices you make to support me.
Keep being awesome and doing your best for the Lord! Be strong with your faith and hang on to all we're asked to accomplish; life is the best!!!
(Also; Elder Bautista said to have Dad call his dad; Brother Bautista's from Tuxtla-Guiterrez, and he said Brother Bautista would love to talk to him about the mission in Mexico.
Love you all; keep being awesome!
Elder Matthew David Clough

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I've REALLY perfected that Jumbalaya dish: be excited for it!!!

Sorry we're late getting back to ya!  The Libraries were closed on Tuesday for the holiday so we weren't able to write.  We're getting it in now though!
Things have been pretty crazy this last week.  We had a couple of exchanges that blew my mind, and now we're working harder than ever!  For the first time in a long while, we've been meeting or exceeding the standard of excellence on declaring.  I went out to Nipomo with Elder Eggleston, which was awesome!  He was with me in Simi Valley, and it's been great having him in the district again.  He's grown BUNCHES; that Elder isn't scared of anything!!!  His strategy for dealing with people that are angry is to keep declaring restored truth to them until the Spirit calms them down. (SUPER good idea!!!) That exchange was one of my funnest days out here; we talked to almost literally everybody we saw to offer them the Gospel.  The only exception was when we were on a street with about 13 people walking on it; so we couldn't catch them all.  It was a real testament to me that if you work like mad, you'll be happy.  Elder Bautista was here with Elder Dollar who is also on his first transfer.They were a bit nervous, but they really rocked it;  and Elder Bautista is on fire now.  I'm afraid I'm the one holding him back from being truly effective!  We're stepping up our game this next coming week though, and we'll see miracles like crazy.  Elder Bautista has been really helping me loosen up and relax about myself and my progress, which is great.
We've not had any luck getting people to church so far, but we've got a man named Alonzo who REALLY wants to come.  He's an older Mexican guy, who lives in an old unfinished basement like I used to (I told him it reminded me of home!) ;)  He's way receptive, although teaching him will be rough, because he can't read.
As far as how we're doing; we're doing great out here!  Thanks for offering to help some missionaries out here, but everyone I know of is pretty well supported.  (Elder Kidd is the one you remember; and he's returned already.)  I actually am going to need another journal soon; the one I'm writing in only has enough to MAYBE finish off this year.  I can't believe I've almost finished it already!!  It's super weird. 
Tell Sara Judkins and her new husband congradulations for me!  That's super exciting for them!  I hope everything is going well at home and that Dad holds out against all this traveling!  I love you all, and I'll write you next Tuesday!  Love ya!
Elder Matthew David Clough

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Don't EVER get fleas in your car. it's a SUPER bad idea!

(we got rid of them though.)
This week has been a madhouse!!!  We've been incredibly busy; and we had far more success than last.  It's neat, because we could feel Heavenly Father opening up the area and leading us to where we should be.  We found several cool people, and hopefully we will have this unit going strong.  Our goal this transfer is that by the end we want to have four progressing investigators, who come to church, and three of which to have a baptismal date.  Lets see it happen!
We only have one investigator right now, and he's brand new.  His name is Salvador; we went over to check up on him last night and he welcomed us into his house.  We got to know him a little bit, and when we started teaching the restoration, I noticed that he'd opened the pamphlet to the page that shows Joseph Smith's first vision, and was staring at it as we talked, and when I asked him what caught his interest, he started telling us what little he knew about Joseph, and bore testimony to US that Joseph Smith was led by a higher power, and that he believed it all to be true!  WHOA!!!  It absolutely blew my mind!  He accepted a Book of Mormon very gratefully and promised to read it, and also accepted the invitation to be baptized, once he knows it to be true.  It was me and Elder Bautista's first REAL lesson here and it was incredible.  So hopefully Salvador acts on the witness he's apparently already received!
We've also gotten to know our bishopric a bit more, and they are super excited to form the Spanish branch; they've even made goals to learn Spanish so as to help us!  There's a few ward members who are Spanish speakers, and that's starting to be a huge help.  As a matter of fact, a miracle happened sunday when we took the O'Donnels over to Salvador's house for our appointment.  He wasn't there (which is why we dropped by monday)  so I asked them who we should go see and they said "Oh!  Let's go see the Hiriarte family!"  It turns out they lived just down the road from where we were at, and when we showed up, they were both home!  That's a big deal because the husband and wife BOTH own their own businesses and are SUPER busy (which is why they never get to church)  They were super awesome, and it was very convenient because the bishop had asked us to go visit them, and Hno. O'Donnel is their new home teacher! 
It sounds like Christmas is going to be exciting!  It's going to be a great opportunity to serve someone outside the family during the holiday.  The only suggestions I can think of is to be very real about everything;  the more sincere the focus on Christ, the stronger the Spirit will touch his heart.  As he asks questions; answer them.  Maybe you could read from the Book of Mormon AND Bible on Christmas Eve?  Keep things simple!  That's how we stay focused on the Celestial kingdom.  
Love you all, and be awesome!  I gotta roll, but keep on being bosses.
E. Matthew David Clough

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Welcome to the Five Cities!

That's our new area!  Five whole massive cities all stuck together; Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach, Oceano, Halcyon and Grover Beach.  There's literally no gap between, they just all mesh together.  Our area itself is huge too!  We cover all three wards that meet here, and our eastern boundary actually touches my old area; Taft!!!  WOW!  It's crazy being so close but... not...  How I miss that place!

My new companion is Elder Juan Bautista.  That's right; I'm with John the Baptist!  It's crazy!  He's about that awesome too.  He's from Salt Lake City Utah, but he was born in Tapachula, Chiapas!  He's got perfect Spanish AND English, and he's ridiculously good at missionary work.  He just walked up and handled business with the very first person we saw outside our apartment! Another cool fact about him is that his older sister AND younger brother are all serving missions right now.  It's gonna be a sweet transfer.

Our assignment here is a bit crazy; I noticed you asked if we were still spanish speaking, and the answer is yes.  We are on a secret mission to start a Spanish Unit!!!  (It's not actually secret)  Although, when President Castro pulled me aside to "debrief" me at transfers on what we're actually doing here, it felt like it!  There's a lot of balancing to do between the three wards and the stake, so it's kinda like walking on eggshells.  At this stage, we have only one native spanish speaker in the ward (who speaks perfect English and is married to a guy who doesn't speak spanish at all)  and NO TRANSLATION EQUIPMENT!  So that's our first objective: 1: find equipment, 2: find members, and above all, find investigators!  We had two but one's out of town for the next 3 weeks, and the other dropped us on the door.  So we'll be doing a LOT of tracting. It's also been tough because I had to wait 'till this morning for my wallet to catch up to me. XP  oops!  So we've been on foot for a while, but we should get rolling just nice now!

Transfer meeting was the most amazing meeting ever.  Elder Buckmiller finished his mission and returned in honor!!!  I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!!  I love that Elder so much; he's a HUGE part of the change I've made this past year.  It was a very emotional parting; but I can't wait to see him later (And married too; she waited!!!)  Elder Mortimer and Elder Lewis are training!  Elder Jenkins is my Zone Leader!!!!! WOOHOO!  And one of the best parts was that the morrow family from Taft came to see Elder Buckmiller off, so I got to see Samantha, who's heading off to BYU Idaho in a bit, Travis, who's turned in his papers and is expecting a mission call, Cami who's looking just great with JACKSON!!!  SHE HAD HER BABY AND HE'S SOO DARN CUTE!!!!! I was so happy to see them all, it was a huge moral boost! Taft's also got SIX MISSIONARIES in it!  I was like; NANI!!?!?!!?!!? (Ask Brittney if you don't know what I just said) (Danielle says this means "What?" in Japanese.)

We've got ten missionaries here in the five cities; and they're all awesome.  Sorry I didn't e-mail yesterday, We couldn't work it out.  I love you all, and hope everything is going awesome.  keep up the good work; pray and seek missionary oportunities!  I'm seeing the importance of that now!!!


Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, October 21, 2013

Transfers are in and...!

I'm leaving again!  I'm taking off for Arroyo Grande!  I can't believe I'm leaving Oxnard already.  It's been a total blast out here with this ward and Elder Law!  He's going to be staying here (Although he's opening a new area) and being follow up trained by Elder Fairbourne!  (Elder Jenkins trained him!)  Also, Elder Jenkins is going to be my Zone Leader out there!  WAHAHA!!!  This is gonna be too much fun!  I'm also going to be white-wash training district leader again!  Hooray for stress!


Actually, I'm hyper excited for this.  I'm going to be taking over the area that Elder Buckmiller just opened; so it's gonna be great.  Also; Elder Buckmiller has finished his mission!  I get to see him go home tomorrow! WHOO!!!  It's been incredible to see his growth and the power he radiates now!  Elder Johnson will also be starting his last transfer, and after that, I'm gonna be the oldest out of all the companions I've had!  That's super wierd to think about; I'm still not quite used to the idea; even though in my past four transfers I've been the oldest in my district.  Also; Elder Lewis is training already; and he'll be staying here in Oxnard!  One of the sisters in our district has been waiting on a Visa to go to Argentina, and she just got it; she leaves wednesday.  All in all, CRAZY exciting stuff is going down as usual! 


This area has been incredibly fun to work in.  I have complete confidence that Elder Law will take care of everyone here; including getting Saul, Coralia, Gloria, and Raquel ready to accept the covenant of baptism.  I'll be waiting for the pictures!


We also had stake conference; and it was intense!  The whole adult session was about hastening the work, and of course President and Sister Castro came and owned it.  It really put a huge drive on the members to work with us and help the massive amounts of missionaries we're receiving get stuff done.  The adult session had super bad audio; they wound up having to cut it off and use a cell phone feed instead.  Without the picture, and with the weird recording, it felt like we were watching conference in the 20's!  It was super good though, and had a lot of stuff I really needed to hear.


We also were able to go to the Temple in L.A. this week; and it was AMAZING.  The journey was great; we saw miles of beach and cool places like Malibu and Sher's house and the location where Iron Man stopped for strawberries in Iron Man 2.  It was a great drive!  We got to go with Alex Martinez and Anna Reyes; two of the most BOSS recent converts ever; and the temple proper was incredible.  The spirit was insanely strong and the session is rediculously amazing!  Obviously I can't say much, but if you haven't been to the temple in a while, GO!!!  Also; while I was there, we got in a session with four of my friends from Bakersfield!  Elder Flores, Elder Parra, Elder Fernandez, and Elder Scott were ALL THERE!  They're finishing up, and it was so great to go through there with them.  I love the mission!


I gotta run, but ya'll know I love you and pray all the time for you.  Keep that apostasy at bay, and be awesome!  Weird thing is; it's not actually that hard!



Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, October 14, 2013

Oct 14, 2013

Wow!  This week has BLASTED past!  I'm still not sure where all the time we supposedly have goes, but it gets there fast.  We worked really hard this last week, and while we weren't able to meet with a lot of our progressing investigators, we did get a lot done. 
The best part about this week was president's interviews.  This is only the third one I've had, but they all seem to be powerful enough to help me know how to get through the next couple months.  My interview with President Castro was incredibly helpful.  I have no idea how he crams so much inspired comments into about 7-10 minutes.  I was kinda thrown off though, because most of the discussion was centered on what I should do with my life.  When I answered that I hadn't yet gotten to college, he said, "Don't settle! You have the potential to have an influence much farther than your circle of friends!  Whatever it is you do, it needs to be somewhere you can do that, like, using your art, or teaching or something."  I thought it was hilarious because the two options I feel most strongly for are the two examples he gave! (Funny how it answered and didn't answer anything at the same time!) 
The work has been interesting again; the car definitely makes certain things easier and others not.  The bike is harder to get places, but the car restricts your ability to talk to people on the streets.  So hopefully we can continue to find ways to use it wisely. 
We were able to attend the baptism of Juana, and Elder Lewis Baptized her!  It was a very spiritual meeting, and she is being way solid and strong.  Unfortunately we weren't able to go to the temple, but we're planning on Thursday of this week.  Fingers crossed!  Also, Saul, Rosa and Anthony's baptisms will all have to be postponed because of Stake Conference.  Saul is doing awesome; him and Claudia have been talking to the Bishop a lot about eternal marriage, and he showed up at church in brand new shiny clothes and shoes!  He's lightened up so much since we started teaching him!
I love you all, keep up being awesome and helping people out!  Share the gospel; Utah's not totally converted yet!  Love ya!
Elder Matthew David Clough 

Monday, October 7, 2013

General Conference like a BOSS!!!

So this conference was ridiculously awesome.  Just saying!  Elder Law and I could barely write fast enough to keep up with all the revelation that was pouring through the window!  It was hilarious too because, as usual, our Zone Leaders made a point to remind us to not sit with other missionaries.  Well, we were packed into a tiny room and the population was about 98% missionary!  Everyone was passing out snacks and comments, and I handed out several sticks of fruit leather.  We had the best time, and I'm pretty sure if the Prophet who has BEEN IN the last 50 years worth of conferences says he's writing in his journal about how this was the most inspiring conference ever, he's right.  It was absolutely awesome!  

The best miracle ever this week happened when we tried to get Saul to come to Priesthood session.  We tried calling him and everything, but he didn't answer.  So, we dejectedly went into the English session.  As we sat there, I forgot worrying about it, because it was amazing!  The Church leaders aren't being vague or soft anymore; they mean business!  Afterwards, Elder Lewis comes running up to us and says; I saw Saul!  He came!  So we went running to where they showed the spanish, and there he was, grinning like a champ, talking with all these different ward members and being awesome!  He absolutely loved it!  He'd tried calling us during the conference, but our phone was off.  So, he wondered what to do, and finally went in by himself and found the spanish bunch!  So then we sat down and taught a ridiculously good Chastity lesson to him with the Bishop (Best Idea ever!)  They got along great, and Saul is committed to live it.  He's doing great on the word of Wisdom, and all is ready for the 19th-ish of October!  We're super excited!

This week has been MAD!!!  We weren't able to get out and work a lot for a ton of reasons, and when we would finally have time to get out, our bikes BOTH got massive flats.  My tire keeps getting flats for no reason; there's no holes at all! (Weird) and Elder Law's tire died Friday; it looked like he'd run over a porcupine!  Then, Sunday Elder Law's legs started hurting like crazy, so we had to come in and ice them.  We were not looking very good, until this morning.

We Got a CAR!!! We're back on wheels!  So that'll be interesting.  We're gonna go crazy on this area the next two weeks.

I barely noticed my birthday, although it's weird being 22!  (I'm not sure I'm happy about it!)  I was so busy with conference I almost missed it.  I loved the package though!  That Eclipse CD is the best Spiritual Pick-me-up ever!  I hope ya'll have a way to listen to those songs too, they're powerful.  Also, Mom, can you take out 2 dollars tithing for the 20 Gma Fuller sent me?  Thanks a ton!

I love you all, and I'm very grateful for all you do!  I know the things that were said yesterday are true, and they are real!  The prophecy that we will not always escape the persecutions our ancestors faced is frightening, but the promise that if we are solid in Christ we cannot fall is stronger.  Be strong!  Keep studying lots and being Bosses!  Love Ya!


E. Matthew David Clough

Beware... los ninos de la tierra!!!

This week has been a madhouse as usual!!!  It's been rediculous.  We had exchanges twice this week and when that happens, miracles come pouring through the windows!  It's been awesome!


So the first exchange was with the zone leaders, and I got to go with Elder Nalder!!!  It was AWESOME!!!  We had so much fun re-living those Simi Valley days, and he has grown a rediculous amount.  He was laughing and teaching and declaring and pretty much just loving the work to pieces.  It was a huge blessing to be able to serve with him. 


Then, I went to Elder Lewis' new area with him! So both exchanges were with previous companions.  It was too much fun!  They've been having a tough time in their area; people aren't incredibly friendly there, but he observed that as we went out and were just super friendly towards them, they opened up a ton towards us.  We dropped by a less active, whose been quite rebelious and even told them "I don't want to change"  and avoids gospel topics like mad.  As soon as I met him though, we connected super well; and after I talked with him about how he got involved in the church and what he wants in life, he finally started saying "I really need to change, I really want to!"  It was absolutely amazing!  It was a huge testament to me that expectations drive experiances; if we go in looking for a particular result, that's what we'll get.


Our own area back here has been doing marvelously well.  Coralia got into a huge discussion with a minister from another religion, and when he started ranting about how the Book of Mormon is made up and this and that, she defended it like a boss, and wound up leaving him stumped with "Well, if you say that the Bible is final; where in the Bible does it tell you to name your church '_______'?"  He had no answer!  We had an awesome lesson with her, and she's recognizing that the only real piece she's missing in her conversion process is a testimony of the Book of Mormon.


Saul came to church Sunday and LOVED it!!!!!  It was amazing!  We were super scared when he didn't show up at first, and when he walked in, he was all smiles!  The testimonies were really good, which is super important when you have an investigator there, and so were the class and priesthood meeting.  The ward instantly fellowshipped him on a boss level; even telling him stuff like "When you're baptized 'this and this and this.'" and "make sure you keep coming back!"  At first he was kinda shy and surprised, but towards the end he was smiling like crazy with his eyes all lit up and talking and laughing with everybody.  He loved the pictures we had up, especially the Brother of Jared.  We also had a awesome lesson with him on the Word of Wisdom.  He instantly agreed and gave examples back to us of why even coffee is bad, and is super committed to live it.  He's the best!!!


A cool miracle happened Saturday; I got a punctured tire around 2:00 in the afternoon, and we had a BUNCHES of appointments, so we resolved to just ride till it went flat.  I wound up forgetting about it, until we got done with our lesson with Saul at 7:00 and it had suddenly deflated!  But ALL DAY LONG it had stayed 100%!  When I went to fix it that night, I had about 4 big holes in the tire. 


I love you all, and yes; I'll be going to the temple on the 12th. Hooray!!  Make sure ya'll go often as well!  I have no Idea whether

Elder Law has any relations to ex-Elder Law, but we thought that was pretty cool!  Sorry I used the subway card so much; we'd run into some dire straights but we're good now! 

(By the way, ninos de la Tierra are VERY weird looking bugs.  VERY weird, and the mexicans say they bite and they'll kill you and they cry like babys.  VERY VERY weird.)

Keep being awesome, I love everybody!



Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, September 23, 2013

So aparently, everyone in oxnard wants to be baptized!

This week has been MAAAD!  We've still been getting outpourings of miracles like crazy, and all around things are just going swell.  We've been inviting somebody to be baptized almost every day, and almost all of them have said that as soon as they know it's true, they would!  Unfortunately, we had to re-divide our area for the third time now, because the sisters had a super sketchy part of Oxnard, so we handed almost all of them over to them.  But hey, just so long as they get baptized, I'll be happy! 


The crazy part is that most of those invitations happened while we were tracting!  We knocked a door this week looking for a guy named David, but his cousin "Martin" answered.  He was super awkward while we were standing there, but when I asked if he'd ever talked to missionaries before, he said "No." and I said, "well, do you WANT to talk to missionaries?"  and after a brief hessitation, he said, "Yeah, I'll give anything a try! Come in!" And we proceeded to have one of the most boss restoration lessons ever!  He's super excited to read the Book of Mormon, and really liked what we taught.  The Zone Leaders will be teaching him, because he's YSA age, but I'll let you know if anything awesome comes of it.


We also taught the coolest plan of salvation lesson ever to Saul, and as usual, Saul ate it up!  We made a bunch of really neat visuals so that he'd understand it better, and at the end, he flat out testified to US that everything we taught was true.  The spirit poked me in the back, so I then showed him (by taking away things like the kingdoms of glory and the premortal life) how other religions see the plan, and he was amazed, and because of that he knows Joseph was a prophet!  Elder Law proceeded to set him with a baptism date of October 19, so hopefully that'll go through!  He STILL didn't make it to church this week, we've been trying very hard to figure out that problem, but he's committed to do this and has immense desire.  Hopefully he acts!


Our other investigators are either doing okay or running into walls.  We got the Zarcos family back from the sisters due to the area change, and I'm super happy about that!  They're doing great as usual.


Elder Lewis is tearing it up in the new area he's in.  They have seven people with a baptismal date!  I'm super happy that he and Elder Hernandez are seeing such blessings there!  it's super good to see!.


Another great thing this week is that I finally found all the addresses to the Recent Converts in Taft!!! I've been lamenting the fact that I never wrote them down anywhere since I left, and I JUST REALIZED I'd wrote them somewhere in my planners so I could find their house!!!  (Elder Buckmiller was right, AGAIN!)  good thing I didn't toss those!  I'm glad too, because it's getting close to Rosario, Guillermo, and Ernestina's year mark, and they need to get sealed!


All in all, everything's going well as usual.  We're seeing crazy miracles every day, and Elder Law is continuing to be a total boss, so life is good!  I love you all, and hope everything goes according to plan this week! 



Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, September 16, 2013

Just another week in Taft! I mean, Oxnard!

This week has been CRAZY!!! I can't even begin to tell you how weird it's been. I don't think the work I've done in my mission has ever been this efficient. By that I mean we spent a lot of time doing organizational, preparation stuff, and we had very little time to work. Regardless of that, we have been seeing miracle after miracle, and it seems like every person we talk to wants to be baptized. We have so many golden people coming out of the woodwork; I almost feel like I'm back in Taft again!

My companion is Elder Law; and he's basically Superman. He looks like him, talks like him, wears sweet "Clark Kent" style glasses, and has missionary super powers. He's from Washington, but he didn't go to Utah to the MTC, he went to Benito-Juarez Mexico! He has got a SUPER good level of Spanish; and he's hyper willing to just jump in and work. I don't feel like I'm with a new missionary, his attitude, abilities, and understanding is more like a six month out missionary! It's fantastic and we're being super blessed for it.

Cool things happened at transfers; Elder Buckmiller is training in his last transfer!!!! I'm so happy for him, but I can't believe he's got one more! Elder Nalder is one of our Zone Leaders here; he's such a boss! And Elder Jenkins is a Zone Leader now!!! It shocks me sometimes how much he's grown. I'm so proud of him!

We had some adventures trying to aquire a bike for him, as well as the necessary equipment like bike-locks and such. It took us till Thursday to really be able to work, because we spent most of Wednesday with the other missionaries in the ward, re-dividing the areas. I'm still the district leader, so I got to fascilitate, and it was really cool. I really enjoy doing that, it's a super spiritual experiance. (By the way, the Missiona Council is Zone Leaders and up; not us.)

After that got taken care of, we got busy! We've finally confirmed that Salt Lake is looking for Rogelia's records, so we SHOULD finally have an answer soon. We also taught Saul again, and he's even cooler than before! Elder Law asked him if he liked what he's been learning, and he said he LOVES it! He talked about how it relaxes him from all the stress that's going on, how when he starts getting upset he just reads the Book of Mormon and it calms him down, and even when he was at work, he remembers the scenes he saw from "Finding Faith in Christ" and it helped him with his temper. We taught him the story of the brother of Jared and he was getting way into it! He didn't make it to church; he was kept late at work, but he really wants to come. We've also started teaching Gloria, a former who called us back! (That NEVER happens!) After we talked for a while, we invited her to be baptized and her reaction I found to be very profound: she instantly said, "Yes." and then, "Does that mean I have to change, like, give up coffee and stuff?" I loved how she committed first, THEN asked what the price would be! So, between all these people; it depends on their choices and Heavenly Father's will, but we could easily see 3-4 baptisms this next transfer. Crazy! We also have 2 other people that we still haven't seen who've already said they want to be baptized.

At any rate, this is one huge epistle, but a lot has gone down. I love you all, and I'm super proud of everyone.

(As a side note; I've picked up a CD player out here; it turns out mp3's are against THIS missions policy, so I haven't used mine. So, a cd would be best! If it can't be found, that's perfectly fine, buy something cool for Danielle!)


Elder Matthew David Clough

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Transfers are CRAZY AGAIN!!! Elder Lewis and I are going...

To stay!!!  Kinda...  It's pretty complicated.


Elder Lewis is actually going to serve in the Oxnard 6th ward area 3, and I'll be staying here in area 2!  He'll be getting Elder Hernandez, whom Elder Nalder follow up trained!  And guess what; I'm training AGAIN!!!  I can't believe I'm getting another new missionary!  What's cool is that we'll be in the same ward, so we'll see each other all the time.  And, we've still got the sisters in our ward, so we're going to have six missionaries here.  I don't know how the ward will deal with us all, but I guess it'll work out.


Speaking of Elder Nalder; he's actually coming here to be our Zone Leader!  I can't believe it, but I'm super excited for him.  It's going to be awesome to have him as the leader over here.  He'll be with Elder Bernards again.


This week was absolutely awesome.  The work is going great as usual, all the investigators are doing pretty well.  The highlight of the week was a lesson we had with Saul. (As usual!)  We came by and watched Finding Faith in Christ; and the spirit was really strong. It's a lot better in Spanish than in English in the first place.  Then, at the end of the movie, everyone was silent, until Saul said, "These are things I'd never before seen or heard."  He was literally awestruck by the movie!  He mentioned that he'd seen pictures of Christ on the Cross, but had never really understood what had happened to Him, and he was floored by how during His life Christ never judged or fought back, but just healed, taught and blessed.


Then, at church we didn't have anyone come, unfortunately, but the sister missionaries had 12 investigators there!!!  It was insane!  I can't believe so many people showed up!  They also had the baptism for Hector Macias and his confirmation, and it was one of the most spiritual baptisms I'd ever seen.  He'd been trying forever to get permission from his father, and he bore a solid, powerful and emotional testimony.  It was a great end to a great transfer. 


Thanks so much for everything you all do to support me; thanks for getting me Tom's address; I love that man!  I bet he's tearing it up out there in Indiana!  I'll be sure to write him soon.  I love you all, and I'll let you know all about what's going on with my new companion soon!



Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, September 2, 2013

Watch out for them Muslim Oranges!!!

This week's been a busy one. We had a lot of training and meetings and stuff to get done, so in some ways our work suffered. But at least we got more than the Zone Leaders did when they first showed up here. They spent something like 2 weeks trying to organize the zone. Transfers have been crazy for the past little while; I'm beginning to wonder if it's ever going to calm down. We'll find out next week; it's finally week six and I can't believe it. Six weeks aren't supposed to disappear this fast!

Last P-Day we got to do something cool; we went out to the Port Hueneme Pier! It's awesome because the pier itself doesn't touch the sand, so we are cleared to go out on it. It was super windy and it felt really good to relax and look out at the ocean. It was a really un-populated but beautiful beach. (reference for future vacation plans) It really helped to un-wind.

This last week we had a Spanish Language Training Meeting, which was VERY needed! It was conducted like a District Meeting with various people giving talks, presentations, and practices. All in all, it helped us all a lot to understand the gift of tongues better. Our Zone Leaders had come up with the idea, and President Castro liked it a lot, so I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes a more frequent training.

We had Rogelia come to church yesterday, but we couldn't get a hold of Jose all week and Raquel has started working sundays. (Nooooo!) So, we're still working on it. We still have no news on whether Rogelia is a member or not, so I don't think she'll be baptized this transfer. But oh well! We tried our best. We've given some thought to how we can overcome the problem of not finding anyone, and hopefully we'll have better success next week.

One cool thing that happened this week was that Elder Lewis carried on his first solo street contact! I was on the phone with the Zone Leaders about something, when a man walked up to him and started talking to him! He did a super job, and the man left with a restoration pamphlet and our number. Way to go Elder Lewis!

The "muslim oranges" joke comes from a few days ago; I was explaining to Elder Lewis that the spanish word "Ojala" has muslim ORIGINS; meaning "Alah willing." Instead, of Origins though, I reffered to the fruit; so I told a bunch of missionaries that "Ojala" has muslim Oranges! We thought it was hilarious.

I love you all, keep up the good work and keep being busy. Let me know when Dad gets his birthday present.


Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, August 26, 2013

One out of three isn't bad. Granted, that's only 33%, but hey, whose counting?

This last week has been really good. We've been working really hard and learning a lot.  We finally got to go on exchanges with the Zone Leaders, and that was a huge help.  I was starting to get a bit overwhelmed by everything, but Elder Bernards (who is a total boss) really helped me relax a bit and re-focus.  As usual, the main idea of the week has been: Elder Clough; you need to do better.  I'm pretty sure that's the general theme of life, but there you go!

This week we started teaching a woman named Coralia, and she's ridiculously cool.  She's a hilarious old lady from El Salvador. (Salvadorenos have the all-time best sense of humor by the way.)  She is the aunt of a family that has been meeting with the English Elders, and she's listened in every time but didn't get a thing out of it!  She's even been to the english ward.  So, we finally showed up and she talked about how she's never belonged to any church because as she went around she always found something wrong with them.  When we taught the Joseph Smith story, she instantly connected with it, she said "Yeah, that's exactly what I've been doing my whole life!"  She's got cancer so it will be hard to meet with her a lot, but she's super excited to read and find her answer.  Her Grandson/son is the member that introduced everyone, and one thing that's pretty cool is that she's been forcing him to go to church when he slacks off, "because you said you'd do that when you got baptized!!!"  We love her to pieces!!!

Church was interesting.  We'd been offered a ride to church by Jose, one of our golden new investigators, but had to turn it down at the last second because we had to walk Rogelia to church. (She's in a motor-chair so she can't go alone.)  So, he couldn't find the church and wound up chilling the whole time in the park right next to it!   So close!!!  He is planning on coming next week though.  Then, we'd set up a ride for Raquel AGAIN, and this time the ride actually showed up, but Raquel's baby had hit his head so she had to take him to the hospital.   poor guy!!  So we'll be dropping by to check up on them tonight.  Oh well; next week!

Another cool event; we dropped by Saul again, and although we didn't have time to watch "Finding Faith in Christ" like we planned, we had a really good short demonstration/lesson on faith.  He is really getting it, and has been reading.  I don't know if I've seen many people with as much raw thirst for the gospel!  At the end of the lesson, I showed him a copy of "The Testaments" and explained how later on he'd want to watch this one to understand the Book of Mormon better, and he got very excited.  He asked if we could get him one, and when I said of course, he asked us how much it costs.  We assured him it'd be free, and he said, "Thank you!  I really want one of those, Please get me one!"  He's super cool.

I'm not gonna lie and say I'm not going to worry or stress a bit, but I know I can't do much about the situation from here.  It's probably a good thing this happened while I'm out here instead of over there; I'd probably be way more upset.  All in all, just stay safe and do what you have to, and all will turn out good.  I love you all, and hope you have a better week.  Especially keep Danielle safe.  


Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, August 19, 2013

Get ready for a massive letter...

What a crazy week it has been!  Things are really starting to pick up around here, which is great.  I'm under the impression that the work has been this ripe all along, but since we were both new here none of us knew how to go about it.  (I think I still don't, but at least stuff is happening!

We've taught a BUNCH of super cool people this week.  Saul is still awesome.  We had a great lesson on Jesus Christ with him, reading from Nephi's vision of Christ's life, and he really understood it well.  He was loving the stuff we were sharing, and is really excited to watch "Finding Faith in Christ" this next week.  When we testified that the Book of Mormon would help him learn more of Christ, he said, "Yeah, that's true!  I haven't read much, but everything I did was about that!"  We also finally got to meet with the Zarco Family this week.  They've been through a LOT.  Hermano Zarco's parents died last year, and right after that, their son got hit by a car and has been in a "coma" ever since.  They loved the things they've been learning from the missionaries, and they have bucket-loads of raw faith.  As a test, Hermano Zarco asked us, "How can I know what church is true?" he said we gave him the same answer the last two did, and that was "Ask God!"  He loves that answer, because he said when he asked other religions, they just started pointing fingers at other churches, and talking bad about them.  He loves the respect we show for the others, and because of things like that, I think he's already got his answer, he just needs more knowledge and a spiritual confirmation.  His son's already finished the Book of Mormon!  We've also got a bunch of really solid referrals the past few nights.

One of those, a man named Jose we found by a miracle; we'd dropped by the address we had for him, only to find it didn't exist!  This was exceptionally disappointing because he's already got a date for baptism.  He'd walked into a lesson that the Sisters were having in a member's house, left after about ten minutes, and came back in with a Book of Mormon!  So, later on, as Elder Thornell and I (We were on exchanges) were riding around lost, (I'd forgotten my map.) we drove past a park and saw Hermano Silvestre, one of the best ward missionaries ever, at a party.  We dropped by to talk a bit, and he introduced us to a guy named Jose who wanted to be baptized.  He was awesome to talk to, and when I asked where he lived, the address was almost the same as the Jose we were looking for, just add a zero to the house number!  It was crazy!

As far as Rojelia goes, she's still coming along, but she wasn't able to come to church, and we're still waiting on Salt Lake to see if she's a member or not.  So we'll see what happens there.

I also went to a District Leader training this past week which was great.  I got to see Elder Jenkins there and congratulate him on a year well served!  It's awesome to see, he has grown ENORMOUSLY in the past year.  He's a spiritual BOSS!!  I also got to see Elder Johnson, he's been doing awesome as usual.  I don't think there's a spiritually tougher missionary out there.  The remarks President Castro gave at the training were really powerful. I really needed that!

I can't believe Brittney's in College!!!!  That's almost as weird as being a year out.  I have no comments on that subject; it's too weird of a notion to contemplate.  I try not to think about it!!  I do know that Brittney will do well.  She's a boss, she can't help but succeed!  I'm super excited and proud of her.  I hope Danielle does okay being on her own for a while though.

I love you all, but I gotta run!  I close mine epistle with oodles of Love!


Elder Matthew David Clough 

P.S. no I didn't forget Dad's birthday; HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! (The mail will probably be super late.)
I forgot to mention, Elder Johnson saw Leticia, AND her two kids, Samantha and Caesar baptized yesterday!!! YAYY!!!!!!!  I'm so excited for them!  I'll forward pictures as soon as I get them.

Can I get Brittney's E-mail address?  I forget it. :P  In the meantime, please forward this one on.

Brittney!  I'm super proud of your awesomeness!  I hope you have a boss, great roommate you get along with.  Follow the council given to missionaries in getting along with their companions.  Be patient, love and serve her, and ya'll will be great friends.  I'm super excited for you, keep me posted on everything!!!  Love ya!

E. Matthew D. Clough