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, April 21, 2014

And the Great California Ventura Mission promptly caught on fire.

That's pretty much what happened this week.  We had our Mission Leader Council meeting in preparation for the Mission Conference itself, and then we had the number one most spiritual meeting I've ever been part of.  The Mission Conference with Elder Nelson, Elder Bowen, and Elder Garnes was incredible.  It's changed this mission, I can already feel it, and it's changing me too.
I'll talk about Mission conference first: it's the most important part after all!
We had a very strict set of instructions to follow, and I'm proud to say that all our 300+ missionaries performed every word of command with exactness!  We were ready and reverently seated long before the guests of honor arrived.  When they did, the room was already full of the spirit, but we could still feel their presence.  Elder Nelson is certainly an Apostle of the Lord!
The talks were fantastic.  Elder Bowen really put us in our place and raised our vision of what is possible!  He started out asking if we are obedient missionaries and we immediately answered "Yes!"  While he was surprised by our answer (Most people say "I try to be" or something similar) he was pleased and told us it was the right one.  After all, the purpose of this life isn't to see if we will "try" to be obedient, but "(to) prove (us) herewith if (we) will obey every command which the Lord (our) God shall give them."  (Abraham something verse something)  He told us though, that we have to do more.  We have to do ALL the "small" rules; if we can't sacrifice those things, how can we ask a man to forsake his life, at the potential risk of being disowned by his own family?  He said if he was our investigator and we asked him to quit coffee or smoking, etc, he'd ask us "Do you get up EVERY MORNING at 6:30?"  (I was very relieved THAT is something I've kept up on!)  He then talked about how we have to step up our game and do more.  We get excited over 6-7 lessons a week: we SHOULD be teaching 40.  He used the example of how the medical community believed it was impossible for the human body to run a mile in under 4 minutes, else the heart would rupture.  But then, Roger Bannister DID it, and a year later 6 others did.  It reminded me of getting past my own mental barriers in Track to beat the 5 minute mile.  I'm super excited to be doing that the next few months: but I wish I'd felt this way earlier!!!  I almost feel like I've "wasted" a year and a half to actually get the answers on how to do this!
Elder Nelson's talk was interesting.  It was largely composed of a question and answer period, and I learned a LOT!  Out of the list of questions I'd written down all of the important ones were answered fully, even though I never had a chance to raise my own hand (I was too busy writing!)  His testimony was powerful, and his final message was to obey those who are placed as watchmen over our souls (ie, President Castro and his Wife)  Elder Nelson was pretty hilarious too; a joke he mentioned as he invited a stake president and his wife to come up and bear testimony was "Ladies first of course! They always have to break the ice for the men..." So true! 
This week was amazing for the work too: After the conference our desire and ability was magnified tenfold!  The district we were in almost tripled our usual numbers.  We also had 4 investigators at church: Samuel, Alicia and her daughter Esme, and Allison!  They loved it, and we're excited to keep pressing forward!  I've run out of time I'm afraid, but I love you all and hope you feel the blessing Elder Nelson pronounced on you in our presence.
Elder Matthew David Clough
ps: The Balboa family (from Arriagas Chiapas) says Hermana Balboa would have been 5-6 when dad was there: does he remember the Nataren/Orozco family? Or Obispo Jaime Castillejo?