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, May 27, 2013

27 May 2013 - Simi Valley

This week has been crazy, but super good too!  It was definitely a different week for the work, but it was good.  We had a bunch of "out of the norm" things to do, like Wednesday we had exchanges with Elder Crapo and Elder Shields, which went really good, Friday we had a "District Leader Training" and Saturday we had exchanges with Elder Johnston and Elder Mgaughy.  So, as usual it flew past at the speed of light, but it was super good too!  The work has been slowly picking up pace and we actually were able to sit down and teach some people. (Although most of them were while Elder Nalder was working with Elder Shields.)  All in all, it's been a good week.

Another cool event was that Elder Nalder and I got asked to speak in sacrament meeting.  It was hilarious, because Elder Johnston and I got the call in the middle of our exchange Saturday, so at the end of the exchange, Elder Johnston offered the closing prayer and said "And please bless Elder Nalder and Elder Clough as they speak in sacrament meeting tomorrow that etc."  and as soon as it was done, Elder Nalder said "We're speaking tomorrow in church!?"  We were a bit nervous, especially since it was the first talk either of us had given in Sacrament meeting in Spanish.  He gave a fantastic talk on the Atonement, and I followed up with Repentance.  Although no investigators were there to hear it, I think it helped build the ward's confidence in us and excitement to do the work.  In priesthood meeting, Elder Garcia talked about how they've got to open their mouths and find people for us to teach.  

The exchanges were really cool.  On Wednesday, Elder Crapo and I were in his area, which covers two wards on bike.  He's a really rock solid missionary from Canada.  Right after two transfers with his trainer, he started training Elder Shields, which is just about as fast as you can possibly gain responsibility in the mission!  They're on fire, though, and they have a really ready area.  During the day he ran me through just about every obstacle course in Simi Valley; it's a miracle I didn't kill myself.  We had lots of opportunities to talk and teach people too.  On Saturday, I stayed in this area with Elder Johnston, who is a hilariously awesome Australian missionary.  It was cool to learn a bit how to work better in our area; it has a lot to do with talking to everyone we run into.  Elder Johnston and I had a number of neat experiences; when we dropped by the apartment for lunch, we heard a woman talking to somebody in a van.  As we went over and called her attention, she was obviously in a lot of mental distress, and she told us she didn't want anything to do with the Mormon church and all about how they cast her out, and how it made her mad to always be running into us.  We continued talking a bit though, and even though we didn't say much, she stopped mid-sentence while rejecting what we were saying and said "Wait... I'm hearing a voice that says that maybe there's a reason why I always see you guys around." and by the end of our conversation, she asked for a prayer.  It was crazy!  Another sadder experience happened while we were walking down the road; we stopped to talk to some rough looking guys, and while they were perfectly kind and willing to hear us out, a woman stopped by in a van and started shouting at us to "Walk away from those men" and started talking about how they were drug users and dealers and how God can't save them.    I said something back that I don't remember, but whatever it was ended the conversation and she drove off angry at us for it all.  It was super sad to see how much the world really has no idea what Christ did here.

All in all, you can see we've been busy.  We have a new investigator; Laticia, who's really cool.  Hopefully I'll have more to tell you about next time, but I'm out of time!  I love you all and I hope Utah is treating you well.  Tell Bishop Anderson that he's the man and I hope the family's doing well too!

Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, May 20, 2013

I done got a mensaje por all ya'll que no hablan Spanish!

Hello family!  It's good to sit down and write a bit again. This past week has been pretty interesting, so I've got quite a bit to write ya about!  

First off; I'm suffering some of the side-effects of being an English Spanish missionary in Taft. The other day, as we left a Mexican family, I shouted "Ya'll que tengan bien dia!"   Elder Nalder was laughing his head off for the next ten minutes!  It's hilarious when we wind up mixing the languages.  

The work this week has been great, but still a bit tough to actually find people at home.  I guess that's how it's going to go for a while.  The sacrament meeting talk yesterday was on patience; and both Elder Nalder and I recognized our need for it.  As long as we keep doing our part, the Lord will provide guidance to people who are ready.  It can be a bit hard to accept that and feel successful at the same time, but we'll do it!  D&C 31 helped me know that if I work my hardest, "the laborer is worthy of his hire."

We've found a lot of really super cool places lately though!  We've seen apartments that probably cost more to rent than a bad house payment, houses that make the apartment complexes look small, and a part of town called "The Knolls"  I really think I want to retire there.  I'll have to take some pictures.  The houses in that section of town are super weird; none of them are a standard house.  The roads are tiny, winding mountain roads that barely let our little car by.  It's super forest-y and downright beautiful, and there's a bunch of Peacocks wandering around.  We got lost up there looking for a referral from the media missionaries at the MTC, who apparently asked for the lessons and wants to be baptized!  The only problem is the missionaries haven't been able to find her for a while; the message we got was way confusing.  We think we know where she's at now though; the only problem is it's in a gated-community.  Wish us luck!

It sounds like this week's been pretty nuts for you all.  I hope it's all going well and that the work isn't killing you guys to badly.  Hopefully the van get's worked out.  I hope Dad travels safe, that Brittney and Danielle rock the school as usual, and that Mom has a little more peace and calm.

Elder Matthew David Clough

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Meanwhile, in Simi Valley...

Hello from Simi Valley!  It's been a fantastic week out here.  Simi Valley is a really nice place.  The best way to describe it is it's basically like Taft, just bigger, richer, and more up to date.  It's a pretty good sized city, and we cover the whole thing, so it'll take me quite a while to learn the area.  But that's how it goes.  

The work here is about to explode!  We've got a number of super solid investigators, and we keep getting rock solid referrals.  It's been a bit tough to actually catch them at home and have a lesson, but hey, that's how it goes! We've got a ton of exciting appointments set up for this week, so we should get quite a bit done.  I'll let you know more about investigators, members and so forth as I go and get used to the area and the people.

One thing that's been really cool and a bit tough too is that here, we don't actually teach a lot of Mexicans.  We've been teaching everyone else!  People from Honduras, Peru, Uruguay, Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia, etc.  It's super neat to meet a bunch of different cultures and see them coming together in the branch, but it also makes it hard to understand what everyone's saying.  I'm okay listening to Peruvians, Mexicans, and Bolivians, but all the rest throw me for a loop!  It's also harder to distinguish their houses out of the English ones, because they all look the same out here!  So we also have been giving out a couple referrals.

Neat miracle of the week; While planning, I was staring at the map across the room, and we decided to go tract the road I'd been staring at.  When we went there, the first door we knocked on turned out to be a member of the English ward, who told us to go visit a less active member that he home-teaches, whose non-member wife speaks mostly Spanish.  So, we booked it on over there, and talked to him a bit.  We helped inspire him to start preparing to move forward in the gospel again, and he told us he'd give us a call if they needed anything.  It was pretty neat!

Yesterday, we had Elder Lynn G Robins of the Seventy visit our mission.  Literally all day long was spent listening to him and President Castro help us understand what the Lord is asking us to do right now.  There was so much fantastic revelation we recieved, and it really helped my perspective on how I can work better as both a missionary and a District Leader.  He talked a bunch about how Agency and Responsibility are completely connected; you cannot have choice without being responsible for that choice.  If you deny responsibility, you ALWAYS end up in bondage without agency.  It was all stuff you've taught me my whole life (Mom and Dad) but it was super profound this time to me.  It made so much sense!  (Hopefully I get the message this time)

Well, I definitely miss Taft and the friends I've made there, but I'm excited to work out here in Simi.  The district is FANTASTIC.  They're some of the hardest working missionaries I've ever seen in my mission.  They're almost foaming at the mouth, they're working so hard!  It's kinda wierd too, because they're all younger than me in the mission. (A First) and they're such great examples to ME!  Elder Nalder, My companion, is a total boss, who knows exactly why he's here and knows very personally the difference the Gospel makes in people's lives.  With friends like these, how can we fail?  This is the Lords work after all, and they are all super faithful.  Hopefully I can catch up!

At any rate, I'm grateful to be out here, and for the opportunity to grow in my love of the Lord and my understanding of His work. I love you all, and I hope all is well.  Tell Ron McEntire he's a boss, and I hope he's doing well too!

Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, May 6, 2013


My time in Taft has come to an end...

And so has Elder Mortimer's, oddly enough!  We're both getting transferred!  They're taking us out and replacing us with Sister missionaries! (Which is reffered to as a "pinkwash" instead of a whitewash)  It's gonna be a hectic day saying goodbye to everyone here and making sure the car and apartment are spotless enough to not gross out Sister (Spidler? something like that) and her companion.  There's not enough time in one day!!!

So Elder Mortimer is taking off for Santa Barbara!  I can't believe they're moving him from his first area already!  It's a very unusual turn of events.  He's going to be with Elder Cole (Whom I do not know).  I'll be going to Simi Valley, wherever that is.  (Somewhere near Thousand Oaks)  I've heard it's a lovely place, so I'm a bit excited.  It'll be great to be there for the summer though.  As it turns out, I'm apparently going to be the district leader too, so that'll be different.  I'm super nervous and quite excited about it at the same time.  At any rate it'll be a great time of growth for me.  Wish me luck!  I'll be serving with Elder Naldor, whom I also do not know.  Sounds like a blast!  Another thing that's interesting is that it appears that Elder Mortimer and I will be in the California Ventura Mission for good.  I think that this is the transfer that decides it.  (I've heard Elder Jenkins is moving too so I hope he's coming out to Ventura with me!!!)

This past week has been a madhouse for the work.  We taught 9 lessons with a member there and 6 others!  We've been truly blessed to have a bunch of lessons fall out of nowhere.  Also, Eliel came to church!  He's a way cool guy who called us over to his car while we were tracting.  He's kinda been bouncing around churches looking for one that teaches truth.  He'd left a few because they strayed from the teachings of the bible, and he's been leaning towards the Seventh Day Adventist church, because they do a pretty good job of following what's there.  We had a perfect Restoration lesson with him, and then, he's the first investigator we've had come to church in forever!  He loved it, and probably the coolest bit was when we were walking down the halls, he started asking about the paintings we have of Mormon, Moroni, and Joseph Smith getting the plates.  He thought they were really cool, but he LOVED the painting of Christ visiting America.  

At any rate, I'm so proud of Kali and Grandpa for taking such huge steps in the Gospel!  It's awesome that the Missionaries there got so close to them; that's really the best part.  I'm so glad they came by and blessed our family like that.  I hope everyone's doing well, and that Dad and Danielle get feeling better!

Elder Matthew David Clough