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, February 24, 2014

New Zones!!!

CRAZY transfer doctrines are in as usual!  I'm sad but excited to say that I'll be leaving Santa Maria and Elder Archibald for Ventura itself!  I'll be serving in the San BuenaVentura ward, and the craziest part of it all is that we'll be starting up a brand new Zone!  They've divided Zones 4 and 5 (Ventura and Camarillo) to form Zones 4s and 5s, Ventura Spanish and Camarillo Spanish.  I'll be serving with Elder Lee, a new zone leader, and I'm excited because he follow up trained Elder Law!!!  Elder Law is going to serve in Simi Valley with Elder Nalder, also as a zone leader.  I can't believe it!  He's only in his fifth transfer!  He'll do super well though.
This last week was interesting.  We didn't get very far with our investigators, sadly enough, but we did hunt down a lot of key less active members!  It turns out that there's a whole circle of 4-5 friends who joined the church together last year, and most are less active now.  But one of them, Ian, we were super close to finding.  We'd chased clues on his location ALL OVER Santa Maria, but since he was homeless at the time we had little luck.  We did our best though, and finally found out where he worked through several miracles.  But just before we went to stake out his job, he called up Jakob on his own and showed up at Family Home Evening!!  It was true evidence that while the Lord expects us to work super hard and do our part, the work or 'Increase' really is from God.  We gave Ian a journal that had been left for him by Elder Buckmiller, and he was super grateful for it!  He's been writing in it a lot.  He and several other less actives came to church this last week, and Ian even got up and bore his testimony.  He's coming back strong.
I've grown a lot this week in my willingness to be bold.  Several times this week I found myself in situations where I had to just tell people how things really are without sugarcoating it.  It felt so good to feel the Spirit that much stronger, because the plainer we teach the plainer the Spirit can come through.  One of the biggest moments was when we were in a meeting with a group of missionaries, and one of them who's notorious for being a little bit of a rebel (he's not that bad, it's just a reputation)  started talking about how missionaries are prone to ignore instruction that comes from a "Leader."  I told everyone rather bluntly that it's my intent to stamp out all such "politics" in missionary work.  Quite honestly, there's not much that gets me worked up like aspiring missionaries, unrighteous dominion, mocking or scoffing at leaders, and distrust in the mission, because none of that has a place here.  Of all places such things should not be found in Christ's representatives.
I got the new glasses this week too, and they've been driving me a bit crazy.  It's not that the prescription is wrong; honestly I see so much better than I could before: I can see so clear it makes me feel almost nauseous! :P  I'm not sure why it's bugging me but I think it's because my prescription has been changed for so long that my eyes got lazy.  They've actually improved: Instead of being -1.75 in both eyes, my right is -1.00 and my left is -.75.  I also have an Astigmatism now though, but I have no clue what that means. :/  I think I got it all done for a decent deal though: they're pretty good glasses and including the exam the price was just under $200.  Some of the frames in that store cost that much!
Definitely wish Grandma Griffith a happy birthday for me!  I hope she has a safe and enjoyable trip.  I'll write a quick note to Brittney too.  Love everyone; keep up the good works!  Work most on our hearts and keep loving everyone!
Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, February 17, 2014

I almost completely forgot about valentines day!

I didn't realize it was that day until 6:00 in the evening!
This week went WAY faster than the last one.  I really couldn't tell you what the difference was, we worked just as hard last week, but this one just disappeared underneath us.  There has been some awesome success and great work done though.
One of the coolest things that happened this week was an exchange I had with Elder Santos.  He's a super awesome Elder from Colombia, who just got his Citizenship this past week.  During our exchange, we decided to put to practice something Elder Buckmiller told me he always wanted to do:  Spend the entire day running!  So, whenever we were on foot, instead of taking our time, we literally ran just about as fast as we could from the car to house to house, etc.  It was amazing how much excitement and enthusiasm came into our work!  All day long we felt like we were accomplishing so much!  We also had some great miracles; especially teaching a guy named Chris who's been pretty lazy lately.  This last lesson we had with him was awesome though, and he told us he knows he'll get baptized someday, but he's not sure when.  
We also saw some pretty great miracles.  We went to go see Victor for his appointment but it fell through. :(  So, we walked around the complex, and when we did, a girl came out and as we started talking, she turned out to be super golden!  She mentioned she was Christian, and when we asked how that's helped in her life, she talked about how most Christians call God our Father because he created us, but she believes he's ACTUALLY our Father.  It was crazy; that's the VERY FIRST THING WE TEACH PEOPLE!!!  So, we'll be seeing her in March hopefully; her house is getting fumigated until then.  
While I was on exchange with Elder Dollar, I ran into a man named Joe I'd met before; we'd been looking for his daughter, but he was friendly, although he was uninterested then.  We did talk about Family History, and I gave him a card to the Family Search website.  This time we were able to ask him if he'd gone to the website, and though he hadn't; he said " Hey, but do you have another one of those 'Book of Mormons?'  I wanna check it out for myself."  My jaw pretty much hit the pavement!  We gladly handed one over; hopefully the Elders who work in his area can start teaching him soon, it's always amazing when someone practically asks US for the Gospel!
We had a fantastic lesson with Alejandro and Nancy this week; We brought the Branch President over, and they connected super well with him!  They asked a lot of questions about the organization of the church, and they loved the answers they got.  They really want to come to church, but were out of town this weekend.  Hopefully this week works out!  They've read all the way through to Nephi Chapter four of the Book of Mormon, and they like it a lot too!  We also got to read Chapter 5 with them for the lesson, which was perfect because it's a great chapter to show how to build a strong, happy family, which is what we've been telling them the Gospel will do for them for forever now!  It's super great teaching them!
I love you all and I'm very grateful for the sacrifices you make on my behalf.  I know it's not easy to keep doing the things we have to do and be away for a long time, but it's well worth it.  I know this gospel is true, and that it helps people so much.  Keep up the good work everyone, stay healthy happy and safe!  I pray for everyone I can think of often.  Don't worry about mailing stuff, we get by perfectly.
Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, February 10, 2014

Santa Maria has been officially washed off the map.

It rained like mad!!!
This week has been a REALLY LONG ONE, which is really weird; I don't think I've ever had a long week before in my mission.  I'm totally fine with that though, great experiences are so much better if they're longer lasting!
This week we had President's Interviews, which were super great.  It was cool to get to listen to the assistants (Elder Jenkins and Elder Reese) present the training that went on during the interviews twice: it was amazing how the subtle differences between each district's presentation was so in tune with what the missionaries needed.  President's remarks to the group in particular was incredibly powerful.  The interviews themselves took a super long time, and we had to wait till the next day to have our own interviews, but that was fine; the timing when I was able to have my interview was perfect.  We talked a lot about how I've grown as a missionary, and my potential in life.  I REALLY want to live up to what President Castro saw in me!!!  I've really resolved to do better and be that kind of man someday.  I was also amazed by all of the sacrifices, and the heart and soul President puts into taking care of us.
We also drove down to Oxnard again with Elder Eggleston and Elder Payne, our two district leaders, for a completely new meeting: Mission Leader Conference!  All the Zone and District leaders got together for a Panel-discussion with the Stake President about how we can do better work with the members.  It was super insightful; and the number one thing the discussion focused on was the power of prayer.  The stake presidents shared some missionary experiences they've had recently, and all of them started out with them praying for the opportunity to share the gospel with someone, and then acting on that.  I was also impressed by the fact that every one of these incredibly busy men had an experience in less than 2 days.  Many of them own their own businesses or do other highly taxing jobs, oftentimes in settings where they can't just "proselyte" to their co-workers; and not to mention all the time and attention their calling requires!!!  It was a huge testimony to me that ANYONE can share the gospel, we just have to have the charity to do it.
Nancy and Alejandro are doing great; we taught them the Plan of Salvation, and they really loved and believe it.  They've been reading the Book of Mormon, and just are happier and happier to see us each time we come!  I super love teaching them, and really hope we can help them accept this.  
On a more secular plane; I scheduled an appointment for NEXT Monday at a CostCo Optician; one of the members in the ward suggested it and offered to take us (since it's like Sam's Club, you have to be a member)  Sorry for putting that off!
I'm also going to be sending my Memory card back soon; It's getting pretty full and has some GREAT memories on it.  
I love you all, and hope mortality is treating you well!  Keep praying for missionary opportunities and taking them, and keep doing all the little things.  Keep those expectations high!
Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sometime's God takes his time, but occasionally...

This week has been pretty awesome!  We've had a lot of super great experiences, and most of all, the Lord has been REALLY going out of his way to keep us from dropping the ball on our assignments.  
That's happened twice this week: Elder Beus and I went on an exchange, and that night the Assistants called us to find out if we'd set up the church for the Sister's interviews the next morning.  We'd completely forgotten to do that!!!  So we high tailed it out to get it all set up, and things ran smooth as butter.  Then, a couple days ago, we were getting the Apartments inventory done, and Brother Redding called us to inform us that the Stake Missionary Coordination Meeting was taking place in two days.  I'd forgotten that it was a MONTHLY thing, not an end of the transfer thing, and we hadn't done the Stake report yet!!!  Thank heavens the Lord is patient with my weaknesses, but we'll definitely be more aware of what's going on from here on out.

Another cool piece of business:  Elder Beus went to Ogden High, and played football with the Berhgouts!!!  His mom was there at about the same time as Dad was, but I don't remember her name.

In other news, a family we met at the beginning of this transfer is doing super awesome!  We came back for a lesson on the Book of Mormon, and when we did, Nancy's (the wife) brother was there.  At first I was a little concerned, wondering if he'd be open or influence them for bad, but the moment he saw us he said, "Hey Elders!!!"  It turns out he's studied with missionaries in another city for quite some time, and loves us!  He testified over and over that we learn Spanish through the spirit, and that we carry the spirit with us, and how much he loves the Book of Mormon, and especially Nefi!  Nancy and Alejandro are really excited to learn more, they're a little hesitant because they've studied with other religions and always ran into something they didn't like (Like no Blood transfusions)  But they are excited to act and progress.  Whoo!!!

But the title of this e-mail is a reference to how fast the stake's fast for rain was answered.  They asked us to fast and pray for rain this past Sunday (There was no snowfall this winter, which is super bad news) and we've been praying with pretty much everyone we meet for rain.  The cool bit was that as soon as church was out, we walked past the doors and it was raining buckets!  (At least, itty bitty little California buckets; it wasn't anything like a good ol' Georgia storm!)  It was amazing to us; I know the storm had already been on it's way (there was like an 80% chance of rain that day)  but it was an answer nonetheless. "Just because you know how it works, doesn't mean it's not [a Miracle]"-Terry Pratchett

I haven't been able to get the eyes done, because Lenscrafters doesn't have any open times on Monday, and I don't know where to go. :/  Don't worry about the subway card, sorry it created a hassle!!  I love to cook anyways, time is usually the only problem, but I get by.

I don't know what to do about FAFSA or College or anything like that.  I know where I want to get to but I don't know where to start!!! X(  So I kinda haven't thought about it much.  I like the idea of picking up the french horn again to get me through; I figure I learned it for a reason!

I love you all, and hope everything is going well!  Keep up the good work and fight the good fight!


Elder Matthew David Clough

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Back to the Basics!!!

This past week has been a super good one!  We were able to get out and work a ton, and we saw a TON of miracles!  We also went down to Oxnard for the Mission Leader Council meeting, and it was awesome.  Unlike last month, this one was super short and simple, because we're going to go down for another one next week!  It's crazy... 

The message President Castro brought up to us was very interesting.  He told us some very weird news: The mission is having a problem due to the influx of new missionaries.  During the last transfer meeting, the enthusiasm of the missionaries is apparently a bit lower, and the missionaries are disconnected from the culture of the Great California Ventura Mission!  The reason for it is rather simple: it seems like all the older solid missionaries have all gone home without me noticing it!  President told us that between now and July, only five missionaries will be ending their missions.  You can count on two hands the missionaries that are older than a year and a half!!!  Meanwhile, we have around 250-300 missionaries here, and in the coming transfer we'll be getting huge numbers of missionaries again!  It's definitely weird, but it makes sense; for me the culture and enthusiasm was something that took time to build up in me, it didn't just show up at once.  But now, who leads them into it all?  So we were able to have some fantastic discussions with the districts about how to maintain/gain enthusiasm. Most of it just comes down to doing the basics and being obedient.  It was super good!

We also had a lot of opportunities to go out and work this week which was exceedingly nice!  We finally hunted down a man named Jaime, whom we've been looking for since I got here, had a nice little doorstep lesson, and invited him to church.  But the best part is, HE ACTUALLY CAME!!!  That makes 5 out of however many hundreds of people I've invited to come.  We also got a referral for a solid family; the father's name is Daniel, the son is Alex, and I haven't met the mother yet.  The son's already got a confirmation that the Book of Mormon is true, and the mom has been reading.  Daniel is super cool; the whole time we were teaching him the Restoration, he kept saying "Asi-mero! " and "Orale!"  which is basically "Yeah!" and "Speak it!"  He really connected with the concept of Priesthood authority, and the best part was that he actually understood the need for Eternal Sealing.  
So things are going awesome out here.  The work is good, my friends are all doing great, and I'll be doing my best.  I really know more than ever that this church is true.  I know this gospel blesses people and their families, and that it makes me happier than anything.  I love you all, and tell Michael well done for me!  I also met a man who served in Kenya with Jackson Tuckett.  Keep up the good works!


E. Matthew D. Clough