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, February 25, 2013


This week was insane, especially Friday. That's when we discovered that the California Bakersfield Mission will be created. They're going to split the mission!!! Elder Buckmiller and I panicked sufficiently about it, and then we went back to weekly planning.

I definately have mixed feelings about the split. First off, Taft for sure is going to be in the Bakersfield Mission (It's too far away from everything else.) , and I love Taft and Bakersfield to pieces. They're some of the most wonderful pieces of dirt on the planet. However, I really love President Castro, and I want to work with him more, and besides, "California Ventura Mission" sounds WAY cooler than "California Bakersfield Mission"

Either way, we'll find out during the June 17'th transfer. At that point, all the missionaries in Ventura bounds will be Ventura, and all missionaries in Bakersfield bounds will be Bakersfield. I don't know which I want to be!

So in the meantime, we'll just keep up workin' like madmen. This week we did a lot of LaRc work (Less-active and Recent-convert), and we Tracted like bosses. Mostly we got turned down but there is a HUGE miracle in progress right now.

Meet: Mike. We'd been tracting that morning, to little avail. However, we knocked ONE door on the other side of the street. This door had a sign on the post saying; "Little baby Lily is home now, so PLEASE knock SOFTLY!" So we tried, but before we could, Mike opened the door himself. He looked a little bleary eyed, largly due to the fact that his brand new baby has been keeping them up ALL NIGHT. However, as we talked about his baby, he opened up a lot, and we proceeded to have one of the BEST restoration lessons I've ever seen in the mission. To understand why, let me explain a bit about Mike.

First off, he was raised Catholic, though he never liked it. He saw too many conflicting stuff in the church. So, he went around to every one of Tafts 30-something churches. He'd been looking for the truth since he was 15-ish, but when he ran into some apostate doctrines, he'd stand up and show the Preacher/Minister that what he was teaching was not true doctrine! But as we've been teaching him, it's all clicking into place, and he's loving it. He believes the Joseph Smith story, because he's practically lived it, he had been wondering why none of the other churches had a prophet instead of "some guy" as he worded it, and our explination of the priesthood totally made sense to him. He's very excited to learn more. We've been going back to his house practically every day. He's that cool!

Also, Jose's been praying for an answer to "Should I go on a mission," and last Sunday, he told us "I got the answer I didn't want." Jose's gonna go on a mission!!! I'm so excited for him! He's going to absolutely rock the mission he's going to!

Other than that, it's been life as usual. We're doing our best out here, and I really, really love this work although I usually don't feel up to the job. Last Sunday was ward conference and it was AWESOME. The Stake Presidency told us about how they'd met with some of the Apostles in preparation, and the stuff they talked about really opened up our eyes about what's really going on here. They said, "The Lord is hastening his work. The Lord is IN A HURRY. " and also "The Lord is somewhat disappointed with us." It was a really strong wake-up call. I've realized a bit that ever since last General Conference, the focus has shifted from "Don't worry about the end, just prepare for your end because you don't know when yours will come" to "THIS IS IT! Prepare every needfull thing and get ready." It may be another 50 years, but the end-game is coming up fast.

So, I gotta run, but I love you all! Stay strong, get stronger! Tom, I'm so excited and proud of you bro! Keep up the good work and follow the Frontline.


Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, February 18, 2013

So transfer calls are in and I'm going...

To stay in Taft! Whoo! Matter of fact, for the first time so far, my companion is staying with me, and we're both hyper pumped about it. It's gonna be another fantabulastic transfer here in Taft!

However, it's going to be a weird, short one. Because of the change in the MTC schedule, they've shortened this transfer to five weeks instead of six. Which also means our missions have been cut down by seven days. Hopefully I can get an extension or something... it's going too fast as is.

Because Friday blew my mind. It shouldn't exist! FRIDAY WAS MY 6 MONTH MARK!!! NO!!! I'm not quite ready to accept the speed at which it's passing; if it gets any faster than this, I'll wake up to find myself 80 years old by the end of the month.

At any rate this week had it's ups and downs, but it was overall excellent. We met a lot with Cami and Josh to keep them excited and ready for the Gift of the Holy Ghost. They're both doing a lot better. The confirmations were excellent and the blessings were very very good. It was really cool to help them progress, and Josh is really turning into a champion.

In other news, we met with Jose this week, and talked a lot about Missionary work. Unfortunately, he doesn't want to go; and he's not sure if he'd be able to money-wise. So, I talked about how I got together the funds to go; in spite of a number of expenses (and unnecessary spending as well.) and we left him to read the story of Ammon in the Book of Mormon, and asked him to then pray to find out if he should go. We're still waiting to see what happens, but Elder Buckmiller and I both know; he's gonna be a GREAT missionary, pretty soon.

Another awesome story is about CJ; sister Beare's sister. We've been unable to meet with her for a while now, because she's been ill; but we finally were able to make it over. And she's been busy. She read all the way through the Book of Mormon, and through the Doctrine and Covenants up until section 36! <-- We could hardly believe our eyes! She didn't understand a whole lot; it was mostly just burning through it all, but the fact that she's been reading this much is mind-boggling. We're still working on a way for her to efficiently attend church; she's rather frail so we'll probably need a wheel-chair, and she's also mostly deaf, so we must find a way for her to understand the speakers. But, the Lord will help her find a way anyhow. She's more than ready to be baptized, she just needs a bit more help getting there.

We ended last week on a truly awesome-possum lesson; we went by to teach Miguel and Jessica, two contact's we'd only spoken to once. Miguel wasn't there, but Jessica and her daughter and son were; Anna and Jose. So, we taught the Plan of Salvation to them, and it was one of the most intense times I've taught it yet. The spirit was really strong, the mom was even getting a bit emotional, and her daughter recognized it (which was really really cool!) They accepted a "soft set" which in missionary speak essentially means "IF you knew this was true, will you be baptized?" and they committed to read and pray to find that answer. A cool side note; when we invited them to read, we asked Jose and Anna if they wanted a copy of the BoM for themselves, and Jose didn't really say anything but Anna asked if it was in Spanish, because, if it's in Spanish she can't read it. (So we gave her an English one, which made her happy.) We're very excited to see where they're going with this!

So, this week is gonna be cool. It'll be sad that Elder Foote is going to Oxnard and Elder Shurtz is going to Camarillo, but things'll be great! Gotta go!


Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, February 11, 2013

Holy Hannah banana it's been crazy!

This week has been simultaneously exceedingly stressful and incredibly awesome! We've been working our tail ends off trying to get the baptism of Jose, and then Cami and Josh to go through.

And they were GREAT! Jose is such a cool guy that he was hyper antsy all night waiting for his baptism. The service was HUGE! There had to be about a million people there between the ward and the YSA ward he'd been attending in Bakersfield! (Not really, but we got close to matching the sacrament meeting in attendance!) Then, yesterday I had the opportunity to give him the Holy Ghost, and it was really awesome to be there and watch him grow. He was so much more solid in his testimony afterwards. We talked a lot with him after church about how his family is HYPER anti, and Brother Estill came over and shared his testimony. Brother Estill was on track to be a Catholic priest and everything; but when he moved to Alaska and then Washington, he converted, and his family dis-owned him. It was really hard on him for a long time, but just recently he said he'd been feeling super unsettled. That's when he decided to go and do the temple work for his father and brothers and when he did, he felt remarkable peace, and knew they'd accepted it. Sometimes we're in a position in this life where we can't really see the truth, and so we cannot truly choose. So he told Jose to hang in there and be happy; even if he goes through some really rough stuff, Heavenly Father has a plan and guess what? We're gonna be happy at the end of it.

Then, we were really worried about Cami and Josh. They've been going through some REALLY rough stuff lately, and both of them have been acting strange. (It's totally this guy's fault => ) So we spent the week comforting and strengthening Cami, and trying to raise Josh's hopes and spirit. Yesterday, Cami came into the church about an hour before she was to be baptized and was crying her poor little eyes out. So, as we asked her how she was and all, Mynor nudges me and says "Tell her we need to pray" (in Spanish) which just goes to show how in tune with the spirit and how awesome Mynor is, even if he doesn't speak hardly any English. That helped a ton, and a meeting with the bishop helped even more. Then, Josh showed up, and he seemed still a little down in the dumps and all, but we got them all in white and got the thing going.

What happened may be one of the strongest testimony builders in my mission so far. The baptism was great, and after her father baptized her, Cami was just glowing, she was so happy! But even better than that for me, was Josh. The whole time Elder Buckmiller and I were a bit concerned about whether he was truly ready or not. He was very down the whole time, and didn't seem to be paying any attention, but after he was baptized he COMPLETELY changed. I don't really know how to describe it other than his countenance lifted. He had a new light in his eyes, and whereas he'd been a bit sullen and depressed before, he was smiling and cracking jokes and laughing before we'd left the building. I could hardly believe it! Later that night, we met with him and talked with him and his mother about the priesthood, and how in not too many weeks, Josh will baptize her. He was on fire too! This guy, who said literally NOTHING for the first five times we had a lesson with him, was engaged, answering his mother's questions, very excited to work in the gospel, and asked for (as he worded it) "All the literature." Meaning, the scriptures, the Gospel Principles book, the prophet books, Preach My Gospel, etc. I'm so happy for him, I can't hardly wait to watch him grow now. Next Sunday, he and Cami will be recieving the Holy Ghost, which will be fantastic. This week has been a week of true miracles here.

So that's what we've been up to. Time will tell, but we may very well have some more "Miracle baptisms" out of nowhere coming up in the next few weeks, I'll keep you posted on what happens.

As far as transfer goes, this is week six. So, by this time next week I'll know what'll become of us; whether we're lucky enough to hang together (we could totally pull off semi-eternal companions over here) or what. Also Mom; don't worry about how much the kids pick up. Keep up doing your best and the Lord will bless those small efforts that in the long run, "Tommy Monson" will share stories of his primary teacher over a pulpit someday. Dad, keep workin' hard, and find some time to play harder; rest and recreation when appropriate is an eternal principle (a principle I'm very excited to explore in a few eons from now. ) Brittney, don't forget you're a BOSS! I love you to pieces and am super proud of you. Keep up the good studies, and continue seeking the Lord's plan, cuz it's the best one. (By the way, I'll be sending a printed out picture you and Danielle's way soon that is too amazing to keep for myself. You'll love it!!!) Danielle; I love you to infinity beyondseyonds! Keep up the good work playing basketball like a pro and throwing down shots! Continue studying hard and behave. you're a crazy smart girl, and you'll do great things too. To all the rest of the family; play nice, have fun, love the gospel 'cuz it's true! As my old friends would say (cough COUGH! Kris! cough!) "Smile, Be happy, The church is true, and Satan hates your face!"

Until next week;


Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, February 4, 2013

Struggling to think! I need a title for this e-mail! gotta be creative! come ooooooooooon!!!!!!!!! ... Darn it.

Man, this past week has just blasted past as usual. It's been a weird one though.

First off, I've not been working in Taft for most of this week. I went on an exchange with the Zone Leader Elder Gigena on Tuesday, we spent most of Wednesday and Thursday in the apartment because Elder Buckmiller was sick, and then on Saturday with Elder Shurtz. It was cool though, because we were on bikes on Saturday! Whoo! That was really super fun, although I feared for my life almost the whole way. I'm not the best biker, and the drivers in Bakersfield are almost as bad as the ones in Georgia. Also, I'm definitely feeling it now; I hafta sit kinda funky on my seat. Some cool things happened out there though. The highlight was probably when we were riding down the road, a van drove by that was painted with a bunch of "religious excitement" graffiti, and there was a man in there shouting out to the people to come on down to some religious get together or something. As we rode past he shouted out; "And the boys in the white shirts! Come on out to blah blah blah..." MAN I wanted to go SO BAD! We were both excited for it but wound up on the other side of town at the time it was happening, so we didn't have the chance. It'd have been cool to get up and "soapbox it" though.

In other news; Elder Buckmiller and I are hyper excited for this week, because Jose's going to be baptized on the ninth, and Cami and Josh are both going to be baptized on the tenth! Whoo! Jose's been an absolute BOSS about this all. Last week he went out to the Temple with the youth, even though he couldn't enter, and he spent five hours in the visitors center, and said he loved it! He couldn't get over how good it felt and how awesome it was. He's gonna be an AWESOME missionary here soon. Cami and Josh are doing excellent as well. Josh has really opened up a lot, and is truly growing in his own personal testimony in a very cool way. Cami's been doing really well too. 

As far as Tana (Josh's mom) goes, she's kinda progressing off and on. She really struggles, and if she hears anything that doesn't fall right RIGHT AWAY, she takes it wrong and goes off about it. But after we explain what it was she's miss-understanding, she relaxes and gets it. We're... workin on it.

Another highlight of the week was when our whole district, (minus me, cause I didn't know.) came to district meeting with their hair all gelled up like Elder Buckmiller does! It was hilarious Then, about halfway through the meeting, (as they're all sitting there exactly like Elder Buckmiller would) they all whip out a pen and stick it behind their right ear, which is where Elder Buckmiller keeps his. It was really funny, but most of all, it was cool to see them having fun with and supporting Elder Buckmiller. Especially since being so far away; it's hard to tell if they feel his support and care, and vice versa.

So, I just want you all to know I love you. I know you're all doing awesome; make sure you let each other know that! Relax a bit when you don't feel like it, work a lot when you definitely don't, and make sure you're helping out those missionaries! (feed us, laugh at us, and most of all, teach strangers for us and then let us know!)


Elder Matthew David Clough