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, March 31, 2014

It's not over yet! Transfers is next week. (Don't scare me like that!) Mom thought transfers were this week!

This week has been awesome!
We had a lot of interesting stuff go down this week.  It's been a little bit of a tougher week; I'm afraid we had a lot of investigators struggling to meet with us let alone progress.  But we saw some miracles as usual, especially in the weekend. 
One neat event was that I got to go out and work in Fillmore on an exchange, and while I was there we met a man named Berry.  He's from the dutch colonies in Indonesia, and he's an incredible man!  He's seen a lot of experiences that have taught him to trust God and seek his council, and the way he goes about it is perfect!  Especially in reference to the Book of Mormon, he says he reads it, studying out what is REALLY there, and then he "metaphorically lays it on the Altar of God" to see what God says about it, and if he feels good then he knows it's right!  It was amazing how close to the Lord's council to Oliver Cowdery in the Doctrine and Covenants it was. 
We had three baptisms in the Zone this transfer; and two of them yesterday!  I got to do the baptismal interview for one; and it was a very powerful experience.  I really enjoy doing the interviews; President Castro has really emphasized the importance of doing these in the correct, spiritual manner lately.  It's a somewhat awful responsibility to stand in the Lord's place and give the permission for someone to be baptized into the Lord's kingdom.  Fortunately, I've never felt like I was the one doing the job in these interviews; the Spirit is always very clear and gives me what to say, what to ask, and if they are sufficiently prepared.
We're super excited for General Conference!  I'm kind of intimidated by the fact that some of the revelation I'll receive this time will be directly connected to returning home and what I'll need to do when I do get back; since it's the last conference of my mission. :(  But I'm also excited to find out what the Lord wants me to do to finish strong here and start off sprinting there.  On that note, it's interesting for me to look back and see how my mission has mirrored the way I used to run the mile.  Sprint at the start, stride the middle, struggle through the third, but I intend to give it my all at the end.
I love you all so much and hope you're doing well!  I loved hearing about Danielle's mishaps with pictures;  it's incredibly endearing!  Tell her I'm preparing a special letter for her, but I'm not sure how long it'll take me to finish: it's a complicated thing.  I'll send pictures too, as soon as I find my other memory card. ^-^;  In the meantime, I'll be working and sending prayers!
Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, March 24, 2014

Prepare for the coming!

We're going to be having Mission conference this next month: On April 19th, we're going to be visited by Elder Russel M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve, as well as Elder Bowen and Elder Garns of the Seventy.  It's super exciting, and we're going to start preparing right away!  I can't wait to see what guidance and direction we receive from an Apostle of the Lord.
In the meantime, the work has been awesome.  Elder Lee and I had some amazing miracles, and we've been working with some really awesome people.  The Lord is truly working hard out here for us!
First off, we got back in contact with one of our main investigators, Mariela!  Last Sunday, we'd gone to invite her to church, but after we knocked on her door, we saw her silhouette come up to it and then *Click!*  It seemed like she'd locked us out!  It was super sad and a little weird.  So, we decided to give them a break, thinking that maybe they were annoyed at us coming by a lot.  Eventually, when we talked to her mother in law (Who is a member) we found out that in reality, when she tried to open and talk to us, the door had broken!  She'd been stuck in the RV they live in for hours while someone came to get them out!  So, we went back, and on exchanges Elder James and I had an amazing lesson with them about Agency, Obedience, and the Word of Wisdom.  This was once something they struggled with but now they are determined to live it.  She's been reading the Book of Mormon too, which is progress!
We also got to teach a young father of 3 named Reuben. He's also been reading, and loves meeting with us.  He told us at first that he didn't understand much of what he'd read, but then was able to tell us back Nefi's whole story!  We read Chapter four with him, which was very timely because he kinda struggled with Nefi killing Laban.  He got through it though, and even though he was a bit sick, he was sad we stopped reading and said "I could've read the whole book with yall right now!"  It was great!
We also found out that Hermano Torres, an Eternal investigator we visit every Wednesday, had cracked open the Book of Mormon last week, and just read one verse.  He later told his wife though, that what he'd read was true, and that it felt really good.  Slowly but surely!!!  He's progressed a lot since he first came in contact with the church.
We also had a somewhat sad lesson with a woman who'd joined the church a long time ago, but married a catholic man and so decided to go back in order to avoid contention.  We talked a lot about what her plans are for her family, but while she plans on coming back eventually and hopes to bring him along, she isn't doing anything about it.  She decided to raise her children catholic, and teach them good values and then hope that they can make that decision and join the church for themselves later.  I was saddened because it was very clear to me that she is witholding something very precious from them.  It's an eternal principle that the Lord will work no miracle if we don't do our part first.  I learned a lot from that lesson; I determine to be the kind of parent that I had; that left me my agency but made it very clear what was true and what was false.  We will do our best to help her start doing that as well.
I hope everyone has a great week and sees lots of blessings!  Look for the feelings of the Spirit in your life; if it's not there, do something that puts it there.  And if it's there; rejoice and keep on keepin' on!  The Spirit is a sure sign of God's approval. 
Love everyone!
Elder Matthew David Clough


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The week when it rained miracles

As opposed to previous weeks, I don't mean to say that there was rain which was the miracle, but rather that it's been down-pouring blessings!  The area has been positively exploding: we had more lessons than I think I've ever seen in a week.  But not only have we gotten lots of work done, the people we've taught and the things that have happened have been incredible.
I'm not a hundred percent positive where to start, but I'll give it a go.  First off, last Monday we were walking to a lesson when we met a woman buying corn from a paletero.  We tried talking to the paletero, but he just wasn't having us.  The woman, however, wound up being very interested in what we were up to, and as we got talking, a member walked up too and started helping us out!  She helped us out so much!  The woman was so engaged in the conversation she completely forgot about the corn she'd bought.  It was cool to talk to her, because she kept bringing up views she has about society that are practically the Church's standards about things that most people have a very different perspective on.
I also had a fun moment to teach a less-active young man named Carlos using a guitar!  I played a famous song and asked him how he recognized it.  (Because he'd listened to it a million times!)  We talked about how it's the same way with the Lord's voice.  We must get so accustomed to "hearing His voice" that we instantly recognize Him.  He liked it a lot, but work keeps him from coming.
I think one of the craziest miracles we had this week, though, was while we taught Gilbert; an investigator who's been a bit off and on.  He's had some tough things going on lately, and when we got talking, he REALLY started getting it.  He has some member family, and he's noticed how much he wants the gospel now.  But right in the middle of the lesson, as he was explaining all this to us, his 7 year old son opened the door and ran across the room, and Gilbert said: "Hey guys, I'm having some pretty crazy Dejah-Vu right now!  Ten years ago, when I was in prison, I had a dream about this moment!!!  I was sitting here, and a kid -My SON! walked across the room, and I was talking about something to two guys sitting right there but I couldn't see their faces!!"  It was a very spiritual moment!
This week we also took some time to work in the areas of other members of the zone to find people to teach.  We had them pray about where we could go, and every time we've done this we've had amazing experiences!
I'm sorry to hear about President Reed's wife.  I love that man!  If you see him please let him know I'm praying for his family and their loss.  I'm also certain I'll see his son out here at some point; the mission isn't completely segregated yet!  It's an exciting thing to have him coming out here to the Great California Ventura Mission!  If he want's, I can send him some notes about this particular mission.
I'm praying for you all, and I'm working hard!  I know God answers our prayers and knows our necessities.  I love you all, and can't wait to hear from ya in a week!
Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, March 10, 2014


Another week has come and gone!  It was a really busy week; we had a bunch of administrative stuff to be done.  We met for mission leader council again, and it was incredibly uplifting!  It was awesome to meet up with the other zone leaders, the assistants and President Castro.  I noticed how a LOT of the people there were my old companions; Elder Archibald, Elder Jenkins, Elder Carter, Elder Nalder, and Elder Law!  Out of all the Spanish Zone leaders, I've only not served with 2!  I guess that may or may not reveal my future companions!  Just kidding, you can't ever really tell. During the meeting, Elder Lee and I were asked to go up and teach the Restoration in under five minutes.  It was amazing!  I felt the spirit so strong in those five minutes, and while I've had a testimony for a while now, the conviction I felt in that moment was far greater than I've ever felt before.  
This week was also a bit slower for the work itself.  Because we spent two days in the leadership meetings and a lot of time trying to get the Stake President's report for February completed, we didn't have a whole lot of proselyting time.  But as always, I'm amazed by how much the Lord can get done with limited time!  We still were able to teach a lot of people, even if they weren't who we expected to teach.  

We did get to watch Joseph Smith: the Prophet of the Restoration with Mariela.  It's such a spiritual movie!  It always winds up leaving me on the brink of tears. >_<  Mariela loved it; she said "He was definitely a prophet: I think God chose him because of all the things he suffered.  Not everyone can go through all that: I couldn't!"  She didn't make it to church this week, but hopefully she keeps moving on forward!

The Stake President's report was awesome.  President Jones is really on top of things.  He already knew a lot about the investigators the missionaries have been teaching, and he was quick to suggest things they can do to help them progress.  President Castro also attended, and was very excited to see all the work being done and how the split of the two Zones was inspired.  By way of showing that: Compared to the last stake report, our Zone had more people progressing and with a date than the old combined Zone, and so did the English Zone!  The work has doubled in a single month!  

I thought about things I could write this week; and I want to share a bit about the Culture of the Great California Ventura Mission.  In this mission, we focus on the scripture Alma 53:20: "And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valient for courage and also for strength and activity.  But behold this was not all, they were young men who were true at all times, in whatsoever thing they were entrusted."  We liken ourselves to them, and seek to follow that example.  To do that, we recite and seek to live five "areas of focus" that President Castro has identified : 1) We are Preach My Gospel Missionaries 2) We Baptize 3) We obey with Exactness 4) We seek to be Trusted more than Loved and 5) We teach with Power and Authority.  I love these five things: they truly highlight how to be an effective missionary, and by changing the wording just a little, you can highlight how to live the Gospel no matter our calling or assignment.  1) We follow Preach My Gospel because it's the Lord's way; why bother with anything else?  2) We know and fulfill our purpose 3) Anything less than exact obedience is disobedience; and if that choice is a conscious one, it's rebellion.  God's word should be our LAW  4) God loves all his children, but he cannot trust all of them.  It is easy to seek love for we already have that.  It is a hard thing to gain trust, but that is the entire point of our lives. 5) We recognize the authority we have been given, and we demonstrate the power of God by living what we teach.

Just some cool stuff. ;)  Also, I met a family from Arriega Chiapas.  Did Dad ever serve there?

I'm glad you got the package.  Some fun stuff is in there!  I know I didn't get the camera card off, but I will soon:  I've got to write up the explanations.

I love you all, and hope everything is going well.  I'm super happy that Mom's procedure went well, although I hope they find a treatable answer soon.  Keep up the good work!


Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, March 3, 2014

In the footsteps of the amazing Elder Vaca Guzman...

Ventura is AWESOME!!!  It definitely deserves to carry the name of our mission!  This past week has been one of the busiest of my mission.  And yeah, it turns out that Elder Vaca Guzman served here a long time ago; but EVERYONE remembers him!  He actually came by to visit a couple months ago, but I still haven't been able to actually hear back from him yet.  I'm hoping I can get his address from one of the members here.
This week has been so incredibly busy because of two great reasons.  First off we had to get the Zone Goals rolling and all the other things necessary to get off to a good start here. But the good news is that this area is absolutely BUSTLING with work to do.  We have 20 or so investigators, and six of them are progressing!  I haven't been in an area like that since Taft!  So, all in all, it's going to be a SUPER busy transfer!
As far as individuals go, I haven't even met all our investigators, and I don't have time to tell you about all of them, but I'll catch some of the highlights.  We taught a young new mother named Mariella this week.  She investigated the church a little while back, but wasn't really ready to let go of the world yet.  But now that she and her husband Bryan (who is a member) have a little one, she's feeling a lot of drive to set a strong example and raise her child in the Gospel.  She accepted a baptismal date for March 29, and she came to church, where they blessed her son and named him Issac.  Hooray!!!
We also taught an intense lesson to a man named Hermano Torres.  He's also in a member family though he hasn't done much to accept the gospel himself.  He's come a long way though!  He used to be Anti, but after being around the church for so long, he is now thinking that the church is true, but he thinks that all of them are.  We talked about how we have to follow truth until we get to the straight and NARROW path, and then when we testified about the Book of Mormon, he brought up what seemed like a totally off topic concern. He talked about how he struggles to forgive someone he sees often, and though this person truly changed, and he has prayed and prayed for the ability to let it go, he just can't and is filled with anger when he sees her.  We read Nephi's psalm in 2 Nephi chapter 4, and it was PERFECT for his situation.  He really connected with it and the spirit was very strong.  We invited him to read the Book of Mormon whenever he feels this anger and promised him it would go away if he did, and that it'd serve for a witness to him that this church is the Lord's church.  So far he hasn't done that, but we're keeping up hope for him!
We've seen many miracles here and we're expecting to see many more.  I love working in Ventura; it's kinda crazy to go to the Ventura Chapel every time.  Elder Lee is awesome; a lot of his companions have been my old companions.  He was trained by Elder Nalder, and follow up trained Elder Law!  He's a quiet but strong character.  He doesn't say much, but he'll be the first to walk up to someone and talk to them about the gospel.  It's neat to see how he's overcome his shyness to do that.  He's been pretty antsy to work too; he's not used to taking a lot of time to do administrative work, but that's a super cool strength!  To me it shows that he has a great love for the Lord and a desire to serve His children. 
I'll be praying for you all and doing my best out here.  I love you all to pieces, and wish you the best of luck with everything.  Good luck with the housing stuff and all the other trials.  I'll be praying for Mom and Brittney especially, too.  Be Awesome, and have a great week!
Elder Matthew David Clough