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, January 28, 2013

Talofa! O fea le mea na alu ai le moa?

Translation of the above (which is Samoan) : "Hello! Where did my chicken go?"

yup! We were at the Savea's last night, and they taught us how to speak "some" Samoan. It was really fun to ask them how to say stuff, both gospel relevant stuff and... less relevant.

At any rate, we've had an absolutely crazy week! Jose, who we started meeting with Sunday, has progressed at the speed of light. We came back to his house Monday and taught the Restoration, and it went WAY good. Then we taught him the Plan of Salvation on Wednesday, and when we finished, we asked him to kneel down and ask Heavenly Father what day he should be baptized on. So, he did, and when he was finished he told us the number 26 kept popping into his head. Elder Buckmiller and I just about died when we heard it. So, we cracked down and asked what he understands about the word of wisdom. Unfortunately, he'd drank tea ONCE late last week at his girlfriend's house. So, after deliberating about it with the Zone Leaders and with President, we came to the conclusion that while he's exceedingly ready to be baptized, we must wait the three weeks since he drank it. So, we are continuing to meet with him and preparing him to be baptized on 2- 6 (A nice run around on the revelation by Elder Buckmiller.)

Another crazy thing that happened this last week, is that we'd gone over to Rosario's house to see what's been going on. We'd been fasting and praying that her husband Benito will soften his heart and accept the message, and allow his family to continue progressing together, and whatnot, and while we were talking to her we asked her several times if she needed anything. Of course, she said no 'cause she's a sweetheart, but just before we left, I started telling her (Why, I don't know) that something big is going to happen at her house, and that something important is on the way. I told her we'd been fasting and praying and that something good would help Benito out. But then she said, "I don't think so. I think I've got cancer." She says she's got a lump somewhere, and is getting it checked on the 26 of January. (That's past now, but I don't know the results, haven't seen her.) So, we ran and got Brother Morrow since he doesn't speak Spanish (she didn't want anyone to know) and gave her a blessing. I really hope the blessing is honored and that all will be well, for the last line was "Sea Sanado" or, be healed. We dropped by on Friday to check up and she seemed to be a lot more cheery and hopeful.

And... we FINALLY talked to Sister Beare's sister! She's like a unicorn; everyone knows about her, Sister Beare's been telling everyone she wants to be baptized, but NO-ONE including Sister Beare's home teacher has ever seen her! So we finally taught the unicorn. She's an old, frail, deaf Italian lady named CJ (how awesome can you get!?) who is absolutely adorable. Not to mention she's got faith like scouts have badges. She hasn't come to church yet, but every DAY she watches the BYU channel and loves it. She's been reading the Book of Mormon, and more than that, she's been analyzing it on a 'life lesson' level. For example, last time she was going on about Laman and Lemuel, and how Lehi continually was hoping and praying and helping them, but they chose to follow other paths, and what that means in our responsibilities as parents. (And Grandparents. and GREAT Grandparents. AND...) At any rate, she's going to be baptized sometime this month. So, if all goes well, we'll have Jose on the sixth, Cami and Josh on the eleventh, and CJ on the 23rd. Crazy!!!

In other news; SHERRY AND AARON came to church Sunday! and after that they went over to the Estills house for lunch with half the ward. It's so awesome to see them taking steps forward.

Hasta Luego mi querido familia y amigos! (See you later my cherished family & friends)

Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, January 21, 2013

Welcome to Taft; the best of places!

So... I'm not really sure where to start. So much stuff has gone down this week that I don't know where to begin. Lets see...

So in the Taft area; it turns out we work in 11 different towns: Taft, Ford city, South Taft, Taft Heights, Maricopa, Mickittrick, Valley acres, Dustin Akers, Derby Acres, Fellows and Tupman. Most of our work had been centered in the first five there, but Elder Buckmiller and I have been tracting out the different villages and some pretty crazy stuff has come to pass. First off, on Thursday we went out for operation "STOMP! Maricopa" and ran into Nelson, a guy from El Salvador who moved here three months ago. The lesson we taught him was exceedingly good, and when we gave him a Book of  Mormon in Spanish, he asked if he could have one in English too, so his kids could read it. So we gave it to him. The last time we talked was really good too.  They all seemed very ready to get the Gospel, so it was cool to find him. Later on we went out to Fellows, and while there found a guy named Levi. Levi looks like Brian, only thirty years old, but he seemed very... strange. He seemed really beat down, and when he said stuff, it made no sense whatsoever, until I realized that he was making intensely complex puns. For example, he asked us, "Do you know what a belfry is? I suppose I can't ask you to look for it yourself, it'd be a really long Steeplechase." But as we talked to him, I felt like there was a lot of pain in him of some kind. Elder Buckmiller studied micro-expressions (Sherlock Holmes style of reading faces to discern thoughts) at one point in time, and realized someone close to him had recently passed away. He promised Levi that Christ could help him with the pain and confusion he's feeling and stuff like that, and when Levi said something on the lines of "I just don't know where I fit in, you know?" I felt prompted to testify that he is a child of God, and that's how. So we left him with a restoration and a plan of salvation pamphlet, and he asked us to come back tomorrow. It turns out he was too busy yesterday, so we couldn't teach, but it was un-real to see the difference in his eyes. He was more talkative, made more sense, and it was like he was a completely different person. The Gospel is just cool.

Another crazy, kinda scary thing that happened was that Mynor got sick. His stomach had been killing him, so we promised to come by the next day to see how he was. Well, when we came by again, he could hardly move, he was sweating all over and looked awful. So we called up Sister Morrow, who is a nurse, described his symptoms to her, and she said he'd better book it down to the ER, because he's probably got appendicitis. So we called Carlos to give him a ride to Bakersfield, convinced him to go, (He's from Guatemala after all) and last I heard, they took it out, and he's laid up on pain-killers in the hospital. The poor guy was feeling really alone and everything, so we called him up to keep his spirits up. Hopefully he'll be home soon and we'll bring by some of the ward members.

Also, yesterday a total miracle happened. Jose, who is an AWESOME dry-Mormon, came up to us and asked us to start meeting with him. To give you all some background on him, he's been coming to church since before I came out here, but that's not all; he ALSO drives an hour out to Bakersfield to attend all three hours of the YSA meeting there! Missionaries have tried for ages to talk to him, but he's told us he wants to finish the Book of Mormon first. Well, he's not done yet, but he's fast coming to the conclusion that this is the path he needs to take. He went to another church recently with his girlfriend and said, "It was a nice concert, but I just didn't feel anything." So, we'll be working closely with him to see what goes down.

Keep me posted on your lives! I love you all, and hope everything's going good. Work hard, and play harder!


Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday, 14 January 2013

Well... We've had an absolutely insane week. First off, I'm pretty sure Elder Buckmiller is one of the coolest people I've ever met. He's absolutely HILARIOUS, and gets my sense of humor too, which we all know is a bad combination.   But that's all right, because he's an awesome missionary. It's funny too; because just like Elder Johnson, he's the District Leader here, and for his first time too! He's a little more nervous about it. We've been doing really good work this week.

First miracle; on the first day we got here, Elder Buckmiller and I decided to drop by Billy's house. He's a younger guy who's learning to be a police officer in Bakersfield. At any rate, we'd tracted into him with Elder Johnson, but he was ALWAYS busy every time we came by. This time, I guess it was just time, because they let us in, and we proceeded to teach him and Chloe (his wife) the most awesome restoration lesson ever. He was asking all kinds of questions that we hope and practice for, but no-one ever asks. For example; when we taught that Joseph Smith was called as a prophet, he said "Yeah, that could be true; I mean, I believe there could be prophets and stuff, but how do you find out if he was a prophet?"    So, we taught him about the Book of Mormon, why it's important, and how it'll change his families lives. Unfortunately, when we reached in our backpacks, we realized that neither of us had an English Book of Mormon. He still wanted one though, so we told him to wait a minute and booked it down the road to where our car was parked. Alas, there was only spanish in there too! So we ran into the Morrow's home which we were parked outside of; and begged them rather dramatically for a pass-along copy of the book of mormon, which they thankfully had at hand. So hopefully, they'll read and pray and be baptized and be sealed and be awesome.

Later, we went to teach Cami (I think I've mentioned her before; reading the Book of Mormon for the first time in 2 years and stuff like that.) We decided to teach them the plan of Salvation, and in order to capture her boyfriend Josh's attention; we devised the single coolest way to present the plan of Salvation. Since he plays Magic:the Gathering (a card game like Pokemon mixed with Dungeons and Dragons) a lot, we made a set of cards, out of cardboard and in color and everything. We called it Magic: the Plan of Salvation.  The lesson was pretty good, but the discussion afterwards was just miraculous. Cami and Josh and his mom Tana have all agreed to be baptized! It was absolutely mind-blowing to be part of it; and the whole poor Morrow family was bawling to pieces.

Things took a turn for the worse later on though. During our studies Thursday, Elder Buckmiller noticed helicopters flying over Taft. (Which is ridiculously unusual.) So, since what was going on seemed pretty close, we hopped up through the skylight to get a look at what was happening from the roof. There was a TON of police cars, three helicopters, a house was caution-taped off, and something was going on at the High School. We found out later that a young man had walked in with a shot gun, walked into brother Ryan Heber's class, and asked for a young man. When the other boy stood up, he shot him, and then Ryan Heber got grazed in another shot. He convinced the boy to give him the gun, though, and after that the police showed up. Brother Savea (the older one) had seen the boy walk into the school while trying to hide the gun, so he ran and called the police. Last I heard, the victim is in the hospital, in critical condition, but alive. It's VERY good it wasn't worse than it was; there was 20-something students he was after. It's really shaken up Taft though; it's not a very big place and EVERYONE knows everyone involved. Especially the youth in the church are having a rough time with it, but things are getting better. I still can't imagine it happened HERE of all places. Taft is one of the friendliest places I've ever been.

So; on a lighter note; Yesterday we set Cami and Josh both have a baptism date of the 13th of February!  She's committed to follow the commandments now; and Josh's commitment to step up and follow Cami in regards to her faith is a great insight into the depth of his character. Tana is progressing REALLY well; and we're praying for more miracles to come on down.

In the meantime I love you all! Keep on keepin' on; Rock that lesson Mom, and I'll talk to ya in a bit!


Elder Matthew David Clough

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What is a Clough? It's Welsh for "Like a BOSS!"

Actually; it's something about ten times less exciting. We were at the Palmer's the other day, and after we got done teaching brother Palmer about the priesthood, we got talking about their family history. After they told us where the name Palmer came from, I made the mistake of asking what a Clough was, because I was rather unsure. So she found out. First off, I'm happy to report that a Clough is a group of people that kicked biscuit in the battle of Hastings, so the Duke of someplace "gave them lands" for our "distinguished assistance" which I interpret to mean we fought like a boss.  However, I was rather bummed to find out that Clough is also a derivative of the welsh word "cluf" which means lame.   We're not welsh are we? (Actually the Cloughs came from England rather than Wales but the Montgomerys and the Griffiths were both from Wales.)

At any rate, this last week has been great. We had a number of crazy going on's. First off, the District Meeting of District Meetings was PERFECT. Elder Johnson's idea was rock solid and heavily inspired. Some of the Elders, rather shocked by what we'd done, said that the scriptures and potential we presented for them was actually something in their Patriarchal Blessing, or something they'd been struggling with. I know that I was blessed to be able to draw them all accurately and awesomely; because I'm not really that great at it. The Zone Leaders were even inspired by what we talked about. The basic idea we wanted to get across was "What's some miracles that missionaries of olden times have wrought? Like Aaron, Ammon, Alma, Nephi and Lehi? What about Dan Jones, who converted Thousands in Wales?" after we talked about that, and I'd brought up Dan Jones, I asked "Well, what's the difference between them and us?" And then Elder Johnson taught them, there isn't one. We are given the same commission to do the same work, by the same God. The miracles they wrought, from calling down fire, to raising the dead, to baptizing thousands, are possible unto us, if we have faith that it can happen. We all left feeling hyper pumped and ready to work.

So then we had a number of miracles ourselves. Holly and Carlos, two of the strongest members in the ward had a really tough trial Friday (I think). Their little baby girl has been very sick the past two months, and she'd been running a fever. Well, all of a sudden, she had a seizure, and then stopped breathing, so Holly screamed for Carlos and her father to give her a blessing, and then her mom started mouth to mouth. Fortunately, though she'd been "not breathing" for almost 15 minutes, she'd actually entered a "coma-state" so she's recovered and there's no lasting effects. Matter of fact, when we saw her yesterday, she was smiling and laughing up a storm (which is very unusual for her. I've usually seen her screaming or grumpy.  So it was actually a huge blessing, because as we sat in Church this Sunday, Sherry walked in OUT OF NOWHERE! I don't really know how to describe how much of a miracle this really was. We were both sitting in the pew praying very hard that it would go good. As it turned out, Holly got up and gave a very powerful testimony about the experience, and it hit us all, but ESPECIALLY Sherry very hard. So, hopefully she'll continue to progress, and come to Church.

The second miracle of miracles we saw this week is in regards to the Morrows family. They are a great family that four out of five of them joined the Church two years ago, and the parents got sealed just recently. Cami, however, has been an exceedingly tough cookie. She's about 20 years old, and while she comes to Church every week, she doesn't keep the commandments or do what she knows she should to progress. As a matter of fact, when we asked Sister Morrows and Sam (Cami's sister) how can we help Cami; they laughed in a kind of depressed way and said that every missionary that's come to Taft has asked them that, and they don't know, so good luck. Every time missionaries have tried to push her before, she just clams up and stops coming to Church and stuff. However, She and Josh have asked us to start working with Josh's mom, (who has her own list of problems) and we asked her to read a chapter in the Book of Mormon in order to prepare for the lesson. Guess what? Cami read. And it was the first time in the 3-4 years that she's met with the missionaries that she's even cracked the book open. Then, in the middle of a GREAT restoration lesson, Cami bore her testimony to Josh's mom about how much the gospel has blessed her family's lives since they've started, how much better it's gotten since her parents were sealed in the temple, and the peace and love she feels at Church. Everyone in the room was absolutely floored. She's never told anyone, even her parents about this. For the second time, yesterday, we were astounded.

So, we've got our transfer orders. Elder Johnson is going to Oxnard tomorrow, to be a Zone Leader with Elder Ipsin! This transfer has gone by way too fast! I can't hardly believe it's been six weeks again ALREADY. I'm going to remain here in good old Taft (thank goodness, I've got some unfinished business here) and Elder Buckmiller is going to be my new companion, though I'm not sure if he's going to be the District Leader or not (no-one knows who it is for some reason.) Everyone else in the District (Elder Foote and Mancuso and Elder Shurtz and Marquez) are staying. It'll be exciting to see where we go from here!

I love you guys; keep your heads up and your hearts strong!


Elder Matthew David Clough