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, August 26, 2013

One out of three isn't bad. Granted, that's only 33%, but hey, whose counting?

This last week has been really good. We've been working really hard and learning a lot.  We finally got to go on exchanges with the Zone Leaders, and that was a huge help.  I was starting to get a bit overwhelmed by everything, but Elder Bernards (who is a total boss) really helped me relax a bit and re-focus.  As usual, the main idea of the week has been: Elder Clough; you need to do better.  I'm pretty sure that's the general theme of life, but there you go!

This week we started teaching a woman named Coralia, and she's ridiculously cool.  She's a hilarious old lady from El Salvador. (Salvadorenos have the all-time best sense of humor by the way.)  She is the aunt of a family that has been meeting with the English Elders, and she's listened in every time but didn't get a thing out of it!  She's even been to the english ward.  So, we finally showed up and she talked about how she's never belonged to any church because as she went around she always found something wrong with them.  When we taught the Joseph Smith story, she instantly connected with it, she said "Yeah, that's exactly what I've been doing my whole life!"  She's got cancer so it will be hard to meet with her a lot, but she's super excited to read and find her answer.  Her Grandson/son is the member that introduced everyone, and one thing that's pretty cool is that she's been forcing him to go to church when he slacks off, "because you said you'd do that when you got baptized!!!"  We love her to pieces!!!

Church was interesting.  We'd been offered a ride to church by Jose, one of our golden new investigators, but had to turn it down at the last second because we had to walk Rogelia to church. (She's in a motor-chair so she can't go alone.)  So, he couldn't find the church and wound up chilling the whole time in the park right next to it!   So close!!!  He is planning on coming next week though.  Then, we'd set up a ride for Raquel AGAIN, and this time the ride actually showed up, but Raquel's baby had hit his head so she had to take him to the hospital.   poor guy!!  So we'll be dropping by to check up on them tonight.  Oh well; next week!

Another cool event; we dropped by Saul again, and although we didn't have time to watch "Finding Faith in Christ" like we planned, we had a really good short demonstration/lesson on faith.  He is really getting it, and has been reading.  I don't know if I've seen many people with as much raw thirst for the gospel!  At the end of the lesson, I showed him a copy of "The Testaments" and explained how later on he'd want to watch this one to understand the Book of Mormon better, and he got very excited.  He asked if we could get him one, and when I said of course, he asked us how much it costs.  We assured him it'd be free, and he said, "Thank you!  I really want one of those, Please get me one!"  He's super cool.

I'm not gonna lie and say I'm not going to worry or stress a bit, but I know I can't do much about the situation from here.  It's probably a good thing this happened while I'm out here instead of over there; I'd probably be way more upset.  All in all, just stay safe and do what you have to, and all will turn out good.  I love you all, and hope you have a better week.  Especially keep Danielle safe.  


Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, August 19, 2013

Get ready for a massive letter...

What a crazy week it has been!  Things are really starting to pick up around here, which is great.  I'm under the impression that the work has been this ripe all along, but since we were both new here none of us knew how to go about it.  (I think I still don't, but at least stuff is happening!

We've taught a BUNCH of super cool people this week.  Saul is still awesome.  We had a great lesson on Jesus Christ with him, reading from Nephi's vision of Christ's life, and he really understood it well.  He was loving the stuff we were sharing, and is really excited to watch "Finding Faith in Christ" this next week.  When we testified that the Book of Mormon would help him learn more of Christ, he said, "Yeah, that's true!  I haven't read much, but everything I did was about that!"  We also finally got to meet with the Zarco Family this week.  They've been through a LOT.  Hermano Zarco's parents died last year, and right after that, their son got hit by a car and has been in a "coma" ever since.  They loved the things they've been learning from the missionaries, and they have bucket-loads of raw faith.  As a test, Hermano Zarco asked us, "How can I know what church is true?" he said we gave him the same answer the last two did, and that was "Ask God!"  He loves that answer, because he said when he asked other religions, they just started pointing fingers at other churches, and talking bad about them.  He loves the respect we show for the others, and because of things like that, I think he's already got his answer, he just needs more knowledge and a spiritual confirmation.  His son's already finished the Book of Mormon!  We've also got a bunch of really solid referrals the past few nights.

One of those, a man named Jose we found by a miracle; we'd dropped by the address we had for him, only to find it didn't exist!  This was exceptionally disappointing because he's already got a date for baptism.  He'd walked into a lesson that the Sisters were having in a member's house, left after about ten minutes, and came back in with a Book of Mormon!  So, later on, as Elder Thornell and I (We were on exchanges) were riding around lost, (I'd forgotten my map.) we drove past a park and saw Hermano Silvestre, one of the best ward missionaries ever, at a party.  We dropped by to talk a bit, and he introduced us to a guy named Jose who wanted to be baptized.  He was awesome to talk to, and when I asked where he lived, the address was almost the same as the Jose we were looking for, just add a zero to the house number!  It was crazy!

As far as Rojelia goes, she's still coming along, but she wasn't able to come to church, and we're still waiting on Salt Lake to see if she's a member or not.  So we'll see what happens there.

I also went to a District Leader training this past week which was great.  I got to see Elder Jenkins there and congratulate him on a year well served!  It's awesome to see, he has grown ENORMOUSLY in the past year.  He's a spiritual BOSS!!  I also got to see Elder Johnson, he's been doing awesome as usual.  I don't think there's a spiritually tougher missionary out there.  The remarks President Castro gave at the training were really powerful. I really needed that!

I can't believe Brittney's in College!!!!  That's almost as weird as being a year out.  I have no comments on that subject; it's too weird of a notion to contemplate.  I try not to think about it!!  I do know that Brittney will do well.  She's a boss, she can't help but succeed!  I'm super excited and proud of her.  I hope Danielle does okay being on her own for a while though.

I love you all, but I gotta run!  I close mine epistle with oodles of Love!


Elder Matthew David Clough 

P.S. no I didn't forget Dad's birthday; HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! (The mail will probably be super late.)
I forgot to mention, Elder Johnson saw Leticia, AND her two kids, Samantha and Caesar baptized yesterday!!! YAYY!!!!!!!  I'm so excited for them!  I'll forward pictures as soon as I get them.

Can I get Brittney's E-mail address?  I forget it. :P  In the meantime, please forward this one on.

Brittney!  I'm super proud of your awesomeness!  I hope you have a boss, great roommate you get along with.  Follow the council given to missionaries in getting along with their companions.  Be patient, love and serve her, and ya'll will be great friends.  I'm super excited for you, keep me posted on everything!!!  Love ya!

E. Matthew D. Clough

Monday, August 12, 2013

Did you know that if you place your finger on the table, and smash a sideways can of vegetables on your finger, the can will deform and not your finger?

Make sure you do it super hard though, otherwise it hurts a bit.  It's a really cool object lesson for Helaman 5:12!

This week has been pretty good as usual!  We've been biking hard (I'm a bit more used to it now)  and it's weird: I can actually "steer" the bike!  I'm still no expert, but I can get around without dying most of the time.  It's also interesting on a bike, because you can talk to a LOT more people this way. In the car you just kinda sit there bored out of your skull until you finally park and talk to someone.  They would be super wierded-out if we pulled the car over to jump out and started walking over to them.  People confuse us with law-enforcement often enough as it is.

We've had a rather busy week as well.  Rojelia is doing well, although she got sick and we had to give her a blessing.  Elder Lewis got to perform it, which was great because it's the first he'd ever done.  It worked, because a couple hours later her son Ricky was inspired to go check her medicine, and discovered that she'd been out of one of them for four days!  She didn't understand that if she stops taking even one of her pills, bad stuff goes down.  So she's doing a lot better now, although she didn't make it to church.  

We also finally got the records in our area books all sorted out, which is going to help a LOT.  We actually have people to go see now, yay!  This week has been a lot of "they don't live here anymore" "we're not interested" and empty doors, but as we worked through it we saw miracles. We dropped by to visit a less active lady named Claudia, and when we did, she had a friend named Saul there.  He was pretty cool to talk to, and although he looked a tiny bit rough, we started talking about the gospel.  I've NEVER taught anyone like Saul; he's truly a unique mexican.  The cool thing about him, is that he knows almost literally nothing about religion.  About the only thing he knew about Jesus Christ is the name, and that he's important.  That's it!  That seems like it'd be a bad thing, but in reality it was perfect, because he has no bias whatsoever, so the restoration made perfect sense to him.  When I asked him what he thought about God; on pure intuition, he said "well, I think He's a Man.  Only, perfect you know?"  It was cool to hear him speak eternal truths, just based on feeling, and not on what others had told him.  He's excited to learn more, and we left him with a Book of Mormon to read.  Next time we're going to teach who Jesus Christ was in great detail, and I'm excited to do that, because we'll be doing it straight out of the Book of Mormon.  It'll be a really solid way for him to gain a testimony of the restoration!  He recognized a difference in the way we try to help him understand things and the way others have just thrown pamphlets and things at him.

Elder Lewis is doing super good.  If he's homesick, he doesn't focus too much on it; he's one of the most focused missionaries I've ever seen, he's probably better at it than I am!  He's definately the most focused NEW missionary ever.  An interesting challenge we're dealing with is the language; because I never really had to work hard to get my spanish and neither did Elder Mortimer.  I'm not really sure how to help, but I'm doing what I can.  

I'm excited to hear all about Brittney's adventures in College! (Shoot down those young men for about one more year, alright!?!  I'm gonna be there!)  She'll do super good.  I can't believe Danielle is almost as tall as me!   That's not the way it's supposed to work!   I love you all; and hope Dad has a happy birthday! 

ps: I did recieve the package, but we haven't fixed the bikes yet; we're going to a bike shop this afternoon. Also; the faster you can send the memory card the better; I accidentally left the backup somewhere in Simi Valley.  Sorry!


Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, August 5, 2013

Written while standing up to conserve behind structural integrity

Hello everybody!

So, this week has been absolutely nuts.  White-washing is very interesting; especially when you come into an area where the records could have been better... but at the same time I've never seen so many crazy miracles.  I couldn't even begin to list all of them; but we've done things like finding a family whose record has no address, running into people the others could never find, and helping a super interested family move into the apartment across from ours.  One thing that was super cool was while we were moving them, we were trying to install a wall-mounted TV but couldn't find the wooden beams inside the wall to fix it to.  We just kept getting air.  So, I prayed mentally for a second, ran and got a hanger, and invented a way to locate the supports. 

Transfer meeting was rediculous.  Pretty much EVERYBODY'S training; Elder Carter, Elder Nalder (who is also going to be a district leader now!), Elder Jenkins AGAIN (YEAH BUDDY!), and Elder Mortimer!!!! (Even though we don't "say" this anymore; I'm a grandfather!!!(because my trainee is training)) 

My companion is Elder Lewis, 18, from Draper Utah.  He's a super clever, a bit serious, but very efficient Elder.  It's kind of interesting; he looks a lot like and acts a lot like Brother Snyder.  He's a real hard worker and a pretty good sport for doing the work, so that's great.  He occasionally says and does stuff that remind me a LOT of  Harrison, or his father.  

So this week has been one of the most different weeks of my mission.  We are in a four man apartment, but there's only the two of us, because the other two that were there got replaced with sisters.  So, it's a lot roomier than before!  We also had another "small" miracle; I was praying that the previous elders would have SOMETHING in the fridge, because I had only one dollar left on my support funds!  So we showed up and I instantly ran to the fridge, and there was about ten frozen pizzas!  There was also a bunch of different things we had that we could through together to make a "dinner" which was good, because there was no dinner calendar in the apt.  So long story short, we're really sick of pizza, but we were provided for.  We also came in to one of the most confusing areas ever.  Our area wasn't one connected mass; it looked something like a chess board with us covering some random areas and the sisters covering others.  It was a mess!  So, figuring that since, the Lord being a God of order, He certainly had a better plan, and we got together and re-divided the areas. Now they cover the north part and we the south, which makes a lot more sense all around.  In doing that, we lost a bunch of investigators, but we picked up an awesome one that's going to be baptized in two-ish weeks!  Yay!  Her name is Rojelia, and she's got an interesting situation.  She claims to have been baptized, but there is literally no record of it.  The missionaries, the ward, the mission office, even the church headquarters have lost it.  So, being as it appears that she's been "loosed" on earth, we're gonna get her "bound" again!  Either way, she is a super sweet old Mexican lady.

Riding a bike is fun, but painful.  On a positive note, I've only wrecked once so far! (destroyed my nice army-blue slacks. )  I've got a SICK bike though.  It was in the apartment when we got here, so I didn't have to buy one.  It's actually a Jeep bike, and it handles EVERYTHING.  Apparently there's something wrong with it, which is why the other Elder left it behind, but it's been doing good for me.  It's got really weird brakes though (it's got something similar to a brake disc on a car) which squeal like mad, but that's actually been pretty helpful in getting people's attention.  

All in all, things are good here.  I love you all, and hope you're having a blast!  Keep up the good work and keep doing what we have to.  I hope Brittney had a good time at camp!


Elder Matthew David Clough