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, April 29, 2013

29 Apr 2013 Letter from Taft

This week has ALSO disappeared into the gaping jaws of the past...  I could have sworn I was writing my last e-mail just yesterday.

We're coming up on week six now, so transfers are coming up.  YIKES!  I can't believe this transfer's already on the way out.  It seems like good old Elder Mortimer just barely showed up!  I guess that's what happens when you're having fun.  

This week has been really really good.  Elder Mortimer and I have finally fallen into the right rhythm, and we've been feeling fantastic!  It's been a great week too in terms of the work.  Probably the neatest thing is we finally went back to see Jose, an investigator we haven't seen since earlier this month.  We finally did find him though, and when we started talking he said, "I'm sorry, I haven't read much."  We were both like, Cool!  It's just great that you've read!  So then we got ready to start the lesson, so I asked him to bring his book of Mormon, and when he did, I saw he'd read to page nine!  We were shocked!  Some people think they've read a ton when they've read a single page!  What's more is that the way I knew that he'd read that far, was that he'd been using a pencil to underline and circle phrases he felt were important or stuck out!  We were both like  again.  It was crazy!  It also turns out that he's taking Dr. Pease's class at the college, which is awesome because he's only the greatest member missionary on the planet. (Just out of the people I've taught, Dr. Pease played a huge role in bringing Jose, Cami, and Josh into the church!)  So we're excited for that.  He's doing a great job at understanding the Book of Mormon too; he can recite everything that's happening in the story to you.  The only problem is that he's having a harder time relating it to his personal life.  So we had an awesome lesson on how to use the Book of Mormon to answer personal questions, the example we used was his question, "What should I do?"  It was really cool!

In other news, we had a BOSS lesson with the Recent Convert Jose, where we sat down and watched the District 2 episode one.  He'd been "complaining" that we never show him the rough parts of missionary work, only the best. (which is NOT true, we're always throwing him in the worst lessons on accident, It's more like the spirit is telling him he needs to go!)  The first episode of the District 2 is perfect for that, because it shows a lot of excitement and joy, as well as some of the hardest things to face in a mission, such as tough companion relationships, a lack of obvious success, and even tragedy at home.  After we watched it, he said, "Yeah, I know I'm going to go.  I've just got some mixed feelings about it."  He's such a total boss! we're taking him to a dinner lesson tonight with an investigator who knows his family. It's gonna be good!

Other than that, the work here in Taft has been pretty much the same!  I'm kinda starting to figure out some of how this missionary business works, so hopefully we'll start having some success.  I'm super stoked about Kali's baptism.  I'm super proud of you, Kali!  As well as Grandpa, for the chance he has to baptize her!  I'm so glad everyone's doing well.  Keep up the good work.  I'm glad Dad made it home safe.  I love you all!

Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mormon Messages for the Win!!!

Finally, a relaxed P-day!  Between getting the car fixed, and doing e-mails in Bakersfield and stuff, we've not had a good Monday to really sit down and let off some steam.  It was a really good day so far; we had to get a lot done really early because of Apartment Inspections, but that just means that we have more time to chill in the afternoon!  Phew!

This week has been a really interesting one.  Honestly, not a bunch of things have happened.  We did get to teach a bunch of lessons, but unfortunately, actual progress has been slow.  We did get to do quite a bit of Less active work this past week, which is always important.  

One cool thing is that Elder Mortimer got the "Mormon Messages" DVDs over this week, and we've been using them like crazy!  The messages there are super good and powerful.  They were so good that they even got Josh (Who's been a bit of a stick in the mud lately) to think about it and tell his roommate that they were pretty good.  They've definitely been useful in inviting the spirit and providing a good atmosphere to start a lesson in.  I highly recommend them; you can find them on Youtube and  They make great, short faith boosters.  Another good one; Joseph Smith the prophet of the Restoration.  You can actually download the entire movie for free on Mormonchannel.  (Do it! It's really REALLY good!)

We did a bunch of service this week too; we OWNED a yard-full of weeds at the Hannon's house and at Mellissa's (Good thing I got good practice cutting bushes via "Zelda,") and we washed Sherry's dog Rascal, and dug a big trench at the Estill's home.  It's always nice to get working hard and break a bit of a sweat.  It helped provide a chance to think out how I can be better and more effective in the work.  

It was crazy to find out about the Boston Marathon.  We'd overheard stuff about it, and before long people eventually let us know what had happened.  It was pretty scary for a second, because Brother Bryan, who owns our apartment and runs with us too, usually runs that marathon, and when the bomb went off was just about where he'd likely have been.  Fortunately, he'd decided not to go this year, and he's absolutely fine!  Thank heavens for spiritual warnings!

All in all, it's been a good, but not outlandish week.  Sorry I don't have more to write about, but I'll try and have more adventures next week!  Maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention this time around. Either way, I'm glad to hear all is going well with the family, and tell Lauren congratulations on the upcoming wedding!  That's SUPER exciting stuff right there.  Keep up the good work and do what you can to help out others!  I love you all, and hope everything goes good next week too.  

Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, April 15, 2013

That was a week? I thought....

This week has been a bit crazy!  Actually, it's been extremely awesome.  We've seen a lot of really cool things this past week, and we're seeing a bunch of success out here!

We've been able to talk to a bunch of people this past week, and while we don't actually have any "progressing" investigators; many are close, and some miracles are definitely in the works.  

First off, one of the highlights of the week has definitely been the discussion at the college.  We showed up Wednesday at noon at the school and found where we were supposed to meet; which was a small open amphitheater in the middle of the campus.  We were a bit nervous about it, because when we showed up there was nobody there.    fortunately, the person who arranged for us to come and speak found us and took us to the room where we were supposed to meet.  We waited for a little bit, and before long we had a decently sized audience of 20-30 people.  So, since none of the other religions showed up to speak, we had the floor for all of the 30-ish minutes.  So, we figured we'd just declare the Restoration as usual, since it explains everything we believe.  Elder Mortimer did a fantastic job, and we both felt the spirit super strong while we taught.  The students were surprisingly attentive, a few were even taking notes.  At the end, we passed out a bunch of cards and "business cards" to get a hold of us if they had any more questions.  A couple students asked some good questions. Hopefully some excellent seeds were thrown out there.  On the way out of the college, a teacher called us over, introduced himself as a member from Delano, and gave us a referral for the man sitting directly in front of him!  It was a tiny bit awkward but the man took it well.  We had to run to make it to President's interviews on time, but he invited us to come back and talk at the same time another day.  Miracle!

My interview with President Castro was superb.  It truly goes to show how inspired he really is.  I was a bit worried about going in, because of my inadequacies as a missionary (let alone a trainer!) but he helped me feel comfortable and excited as always.  We talked about a lot of things that really helped me overcome some problems, and I've been feeling pretty fantastic ever since!  In kind of a strange way, I feel more "like a missionary" now.  He also mentioned how he's seen artistic talents bless his own life and the lives of others, and encouraged me to continue using them to lift others, but be sure that's what's happening.  As we talked on that, I felt a spiritual confirmation of what I hope to do someday.  I'm really grateful too for the way I've had the opportunity to do exactly that out here as a missionary.

After that, we had the Traveling Trainers come out to help me and Elder Mortimer improve.  Elder Gigena served with Elder Mortimer out here, which I was super excited about; Elder Gigena is a BOSS!  They worked hard and he learned a ton!  I got to work with Elder Aguirre, who follow-up trained my follow-up trainer; Elder Johnson!  He's a really spiritual, awesome guy.  That came in a lot of handy when we went to teach Jasmin; as we taught the Plan of Salvation, she expressed a lot of the trials and heartaches that cause her to disbelieve what we were teaching.  Elder Aguirre handled it wonderfully, testifying and teaching in such a powerful way that they both shed tears.  It was really hard to see her struggle so much due to the intense trials she has faced.  I can't even imagine!  At any rate, Elder Aguirre and I learned a lot from each other, it's a pity he and Elder Gigena are finished with their missions this transfer!  AHHH!!!

Sunday was one of those crazy roller-coaster days!  We didn't have any "investigators" come to church, but if you remember how we'd run into Layla, she did!  She came with the Morrows, and although the testimonies were super weird (we were dying over there worrying about how she was taking it!) she enjoyed it pretty well, and even came to the YSA break the fast dinner at the Pease's home.  She's accepted a book of Mormon from Sam, and she seems super ready for the message!  As soon as she is ready to meet with us, things will roll just fine!  At the Pease home, I'd been talking with Brother Pease about his "born in the church conversion story", and mentioned how hilariously ridiculous my own is.  He invited me to share it as the spiritual message, so I did.  I've told it so often by now that I've got it down to a pretty funny, but for me and for some, a pretty powerful account.  I felt the spirit super strong, and when I testified of how grateful i am to be a missionary and see people grow and change, it was really hard to keep my cool.   Cami and I both broke down.  I really do love this work so much now!!!  

At any rate, I've got to get moving, we've run out of time, and we've got to get the car's brakes changed so it's another P-day in Bakersfield!  I love you all, and I hope all is well!  Thank you for the card; the message has been repeated to me over and over this week.  Gotta Love those trials!

Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, April 8, 2013

Roller-coaster ride of my life!

Hello all!
This week has been a bit crazy.  We've had a bunch of ups and a few downs, but largely the week has been pretty fantastic.  We've seen a number of miracles, and we've truly loved the work.
Conference was sweet!  Unfortunately we didn't have any investigators come, but I definately recieved a bunch of personal revelation.  I especially loved Elder Holland as usual, and all the rest were really good.  President Uchtdorf's last talk really gave me a huge boost.
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you all, because the computers in Taft were out; so we had to drive out to Bakersfield and use the computers in the Apple center. (that's pretty cool though!)
So, in terms of the work this week, it's largely been same old same old, but some cool things definately happened.  During a lesson with Jerry, Elder Mortimer felt like we should be somewhere, so after we wrapped up, we sat down to figure out where.  So, we decided to go on over to Jasmin's house and check on them.  Oddly enough they weren't home, but as we sat back down in the car to talk about it, I realized I was staring at the Savea's old house, and that someone was living there!  So we decided to go see who it was and as we did a young woman pulled up.  As we got talking to her, we found out her name was Layla, and she was pretty friendly and willing to hear us a bit.  We left her with a Plan of Salvation pamphlet, and next thing you know, we got a text later that night from Samantha Morrow who is apparently a friend of hers, saying "Layla is coming to church next week with me."  Whoa!!!  We were super stoked to hear that!  I still don't know the rest of the story on this, but we'll see what happens.
Another cool thing is that this Thursday we're going to be speaking at Taft College about the Mormon religion along with other people from other faiths "for educational purposes."  SWEET!!  I'm super stoked to get up there with Elder Mortimer and throw down the restoration up there!  I hope we'll be lead to share the message the right way, and that many people's hearts will be touched. We've been instructed to bring our contact info and some other materials, so hopefully we'll be effective!
I love you all, and hope all is well!  Sorry I'm not writing well on this one, but I'm not used to all the chaos while I'm writing.

Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, April 1, 2013

St.Elmo's Fire is burnin' Taft ALIVE!!!

This week has been pretty fantastic!  We've been working like crazy, and there's a lot of really neat things going down.

First off; by "we" I mean Elder Mortimer and I.  He's a really tall, cool Elder from the land of Sandy Utah.  He's been in the field for about a week now, but while he's new at the work, he's got a great attitude and desire to grow and accomplish it.  It's been really good to start working with him, we've seen a lot of miracles already.  I'm still not sure what to think about being the senior guy in Taft, about the only thing I know is I'm sure glad I stayed!  I don't know how I'd be doing this if I was in a new area.

The transfer meeting was HUGE!  Whereas we usually have something like 11-12 new missionaries, we had THIRTY!  Something really cool is that Elder Jenkins is training too!  I'm so excited for him, because they'll both do a boss-tastic job out there in East Bakes.  Also one of the cool things about Elder Mortimer, is that he's one of the group of the first 18 year olds in this mission, probably some of the first in the world!  WOW!  He does a really excellent job at the work too; We've seen some things that really confirm that he's supposed to be out here and now.

So time for some miracle reports; CJ CAME TO CHURCH!!!!!!!  The poor woman had some health problems a little bit ago, but she finally mustered up the willpower to come.  It was so good to see her there!  She didn't hear everything, but she heard enough to feel good, and she was super happy to be there.  The cool thing is that since she watches the BYU television all the time; she can watch conference from her home (2/3 times coming to church) and then she can have a good while to rest and prepare to come the third time!  She'll be on track to be baptized now, with just a few blessings from heaven.

Other than that, we've been working with Jerry, who's been doing rather well.  He's really starting to enjoy reading the Book of Mormon with us, and he's got a baptism date! Although, now that I think about it, he won't quite make it yet because he didn't come to church this week.  I guess we'll have to push it a little back.  We also taught an awesome Plan of salvation lesson to Irma.  She really loved the part about "where we came from"  since it answered a question she's had since childhood.  She's doing pretty good, so long as she continues to study a bit she'll progress pretty well.

Another sweet miracle was when we went to drop by Josh's house.  He's been having a tough time feeling motivated, so we've been trying to work it out of him.  Instead, we wound up talking to the friend whose house he lives in.  Ron's a really funky young baptist guy who has a hard time with the churches around here, because he 1: is freaked out by the speaking in tongues thing, and 2: doesn't want to be lead about by some guys philosophies, he just wants to find truth and build his relationship with God.   Sounds like a plan!

Other than that, I've been doing really well.  One thing that was cool to see, was that as soon as I became the senior companion(/trainer) My love for the work seemed to explode even more.  I wonder why?  Either way, I hope we can do a good job, and give Elder Mortimer a really good head start on his missions.  We will baptize all who will.  I hope everything's going good for you guys, It sounds like you've been having some fun! (dinosaur museum jealousy igniting!)  I love you all!

Elder Matthew David Clough