Sorry this letter comes late! We've had a CRAZY week this past couple of days! It's been pretty weird getting used to the new assignment as a zone leader. It's kinda blowing my mind; there was SO MUCH administrative work to get done! It took us straight from Transfer tuesday 'till sunday to get it all figured out; we had Zone Goals to create and report, Evaluation forms to fill out, Exchanges and district meetings, and all other kinds of stuff. It was really weird sitting in the church all week instead of proselyting! We did manage to get a little bit of work done, but largely we've had to rely on the Lord working in our area instead of us. I have met one investigator; his name is Eric and the lesson we had with him was amazing! It was incredible teaching with Elder Jenkins; he's super developed as a missionary! Eric's story is something else;
Eric met with Elder Buckmiller and Elder Haws originally, which was RIGHT after Elder Buckmiller left Taft. He was atheist, but he really caught the spirit of the message and was progressing way fast. At some point though, he slipped up, felt unworthy, and dropped them! After a long while, he texted Elder Bernards and Elder Jenkins (Who had no idea who he was) and said "I want to be baptized. Can you give me the lessons so I can do that?" They thought it was a joke for a while! But after they realized what was going on, they started teaching him, and now he is set to be baptized on the 25th of December. White Christmas!
The reason I got this letter off late to everyone is because we didn't have P-day till today! On Monday, Elder Jenkins and I went down to Ventura for a "Zone Leader training" meeting. It was a super spiritual meeting and really helped me catch the spirit of sacrifice that this assignment requires. It's a very curious point of the mission, because of the 14 Zone Leaders, 7 were new. The coolest part of the day was President Castro took us on a hike up into the mountains, and as we went up, we broke into different groups and discussed different parts of the 5 areas of focus: we are Preach My Gospel Missionaries, We Baptize, We Obey with Exactness, We Seek to Be Trusted More Than Loved, and We Teach With Power and Authority. As our group went up, we discussed "we seek to be Trusted more than Loved. It was SUPER helpful to analyze leaders I trusted and ones I struggled to trust. When we came back down, we had a short soccer match. It was great fun, and I actually scored a goal! President Castro was the Goalie on our team, and it was really wierd to see him out of his suit and running around like that but it was awesome! To his credit, we won 5-0, so they never actually managed to score on him although really talented players tried!
Tuesday we had our Mission Leader Councle meeting. It was super insightful to see all that goes into those. We learned a lot about SO MUCH it would be impossible for me to recount it all to you now. But it was really great.
I love you all, and I'm very excited for this transfer and this Christmas season. I don't anticipate to have e-mail problems like this for the next little while, but we'll see what happens. Take care and be awesome!
Elder Matthew David Clough