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