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