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)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How to use time wisely...

Is the scariest principle I've ever learned in my mission.  Elder James and I have been preparing to teach this to our zone this last week, and it's ridiculous.  We found out that out of the entire two years, if you take out sleep, eating, and other non-work hours, you only actually have SIX MONTHS of proselyting time.  And do you know what happens if you waste just ONE HOUR a day?  You lose a months worth of proselyting time.  That's a whole sixth of your mission down the drain!  So, we've had a lot of good discussion lately about how to use our time wiser, and we've come to a lot of great conclusions. 
This transfer is going to be too much fun though.  Elder James and I get along just a LITTLE too well!  He's a genius future astrophysicist (sweet!) which is how we calculated all that ridiculous math.  We have such a similar personality and opinion of things that it's almost silly.  First off; his ENTIRE FAMILY are massive Legend of Zelda fans (Whoo-hoo! That means he thought my conversion story was boss); the way they usually had fun together was gathering in the living room and watching their mom play a new one.  They also love board games and books almost as much as we do, so it's a pity they live all the way out in Washington; I think they'd be awesome friends for yall to have a game night with.  (Actually, when he played the farming game at BYU he realized that he lives where the game takes place!  His stake is actually called the Rattlesnake Mountain Stake, instead of rattlesnake ridge!  We even found out that on the phone, our voice is scarily similar, we couldn't tell ourselves apart!  Also, on his mom's side he's related to some Cloughs (Nancy Clough I think) from (Yorkshire?) where my great grandpa is from, so it looks like we're about 6th cousins.  (Mom; could you figure out the tree over there so we could see how we're related?  That'd be awesome.)
Samuel didn't get baptized this Saturday; he got sick at camp. Poor kid!  He also didn't make it to church, but he sure wanted to come!  It was funny; when we went to visit him, his whole family was trying to avoid being the one to say the prayer, but as soon as heard us ask who would do it, he started jumping up and down with his hand in the air.  He's a boy FILLED with real intent and charity.  We're planning on the baptism being this Saturday, so we'll see what happens.
Our other investigators are doing super well.  Alicia is slowly progressing towards her baptism on June 10th.  Her son's graduation has been keeping her busy lately though.  Mariela has started meeting with us again, and she's finally started being open with her concerns: she's really afraid of how her family is going to react to her conversion, but she knows that her small family needs to draw closer to God.  Maria, another lady we teach who forgot she'd been baptized but not confirmed in Mexico, is also coming along super well; she didn't even flinch when Elder James said "So I hear you want to be baptized again!"  He's been taking full advantage of being new in the area, and he's being super bold with people.

Keep up the good work everyone, I love you all and know you're doing so great!  I'm proud of all of you.  Tell the Halladays I wish them well, and I'm very grateful for the example they set for me and my sisters.  There's actually a Hermana Halladay in our Zone right now (Wonder if they're related?)  I'm praying for you all!
Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, May 19, 2014


I should be used to the way transfers always blows my mind, but I'm not.  It's crazy what's going on right now!!! 
I'll be staying here in Ventura, but Elder Lee is going to serve with Elder Kleinman as an assistant to the president!  He's completely shocked and a bit nervous, but he'll do so great.  He is super humble, obedient, diligent, and good at this, so he'll be exactly what is needed.  Elder Jenkins is being given another assignment, but I haven't heard what exactly he'll be doing. 
My new companion is going to be Elder James, our district leader in Fillmore!  He's been with Elder Bautista these past two transfers, and I'm super excited: he's an amazing missionary!  Elder Bautista's also staying in Fillmore, and Elder Passey, one of my good friends here is moving to Carpinteria. Best of luck to everyone all around!
This week has been crazy.  For comparison, when Elder Lee and I came in, the members of the zone all taught an average of 7-8 lessons per week.  But this last week, we set the goal, and every single companionship taught over 40 lessons!  I've never worked this hard in my whole mission!  It was amazing to see how the Lord prepared the way for us and prepared so many people.
In other news, Samuel passed his baptismal interview!  He's well on track to be baptized next week.  While we were waiting for church to start, we got talking about what tv shows he likes and then we talked about Naruto for quite a bit!  It reminded me a lot about Danielle.
We taught an awesome lesson to Felipe and Carmen.  We decided to teach about keeping the sabbath day holy, and while at first he felt really attacked (he said "You got me!  You're hitting me left and right: I'm crucified!!!") he finally recognized that the commandment "Isn't you guys' rules; it's God's rules!"  He plans on changing, but won't commit to it yet.
We also had a crazy cool activity; we went to the "swap meet;"  which is a massive market they do in the Ventura College parking lot.  We set up a table, got 6 missionaries together, and started teaching everyone who would listen to us for more than 5 seconds.  It was awesome! 

Yeah, I know Hermana Cannon, Elder Bate and Elder Egan.  They're super awesome: actually, Elder Egan graduated from Syracuse High School.  Also, the reason why Elder Jenkins won't be coming home with me, is because he's from Alaska, so he'll be going over there.

I'm super excited for this transfer; it's going to be stellar!  Short: it's only going to be five weeks: but we'll make President Castro's last his best ever.

Love, Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day Phone Call

We had a great phone call with Matthew yesterday.  He is very excited and working hard.  He said the most interesting thing he has eaten lately was a dish similar to shrimp cocktail but it was made with octopus.  He said it was very good.  Transfers come again next Monday.  He said that transfer will be a 5 week transfer followed by a 7 week transfer.  We were able to inform Matthew of his return date since we had an email from his Mission office last week.  He will be coming home on Wednesday August 13th.  We will inform you later of the time since we don't have that information yet.  He was very excited about it because at the last transfer they had been told that everyone had lost a week or two, so he was expecting to come home earlier.  He will be coming home exactly the same week that he left two years ago so he didn't loose any time.  He said they are teaching a lot and have a lot of investigators but nobody that is ready to commit to baptism yet.  David said that his Spanish sounds good and his accent is good too.  Matthew said he plans on attending the Spanish branch when he returns because they always need help. 


That's what happened last week. And that's a pretty good sum up of what is going to happen this week.  The whole mission is on fire because of Elder James and Elder Bautista's example in teaching 40+ lessons a couple weeks ago, and now that's the standard; that's the goal!
We had mission leader council this week again, and it was amazing!  For the first half, president Castro focused on teaching us about how to achieve God's unity.  He taught us so much about how to become one and how we're going to have to establish our eternal companionship some day.  It was pretty cool, because the night before, Elder Lee and I had been talking about all the things we learned in our missions that will help our marriages!  He showed us a cool diagram: and I'm going to try to represent it here with my limited resources.  Hopefully this works!

The World's Way of Finding Unity:


|                       \                      |
|                        /                     |
|      Party         /      Party         |

|         A          /           B           |
|                    |                         |
|                     \                        |   
God's Way of Finding Unity:

                           /   \
                         /       \
                       /           \
                     /               \
                   /                   \
                 /                       \
               /                           \ 
             /                               \
           /                                   \
         /                                       \
       /                                           \
     /                                               \
A /_____________________________\B

The world's way doesn't work.  It's all a bunch of compromises, and "if you scratch my back I'll scratch yours"  But how united does it really look?  It looks more like a war between Party A and Party B.  If that's the way relationships usually work; no WONDER divorce is so rampant.
But the Lord's way is perfect.  If both Party A and Party B work TOWARDS God, they can't help but grow closer together, and eventually be completely united. It's awesome.
The work this week was amazing. The second part of MLC was geared towards raising our vision and helping us work harder and more effectively.  Last week, our goal as a mission was to teach over 25 lessons in each companionship, which is over the standard of excellence!  But this week, the entire mission will be pushing for teaching 40 lessons!  It's going to be awesome!
I also did some scary math this week; during an exchange with Elder Trujillo. I calculated that if you waste just one minute every day of your mission: you wind up wasting an entire day.  BUT if you waste just one hour every day of your mission: you waste an entire month!  It was a good wake-up call to the both of us to work more effectively.  I also (out of dread curiosity) calculated that if you waste just one hour every day of a 90 year life, you wind up wasting 3 and a half years.  It really makes you think about how precious time really is, and how important it is to use it wisely.  Also, though, it means a lot of good too.  One hour a day, every day, of reading the Book of Mormon means three and a half years of no sleep, no break, study of it!
I love you all, hope you all keep having a good week!  We'll do our best out here, and let you know where the Lord calls us to work next!
Elder Matthew David Clough

Monday, May 5, 2014

Sick of shaving troubles; Elder Clough resolves to test out a cream which shaves for you...

Wish me luck; I hope it doesn't eat my face.

Another week has come and gone, and with it, much success and many miracles!  One thing I love about the work is that we get to see the hand of the Lord in so many peoples lives all the time!  I don't know if missionaries actually get more miracles and help than others, I think most of it just comes down to us being more aware of it since we're looking for it.
Tuesday we had interviews with President Castro again.  This time was very different, but very good at the same time.  We didn't go one on one into these interviews; they were companionship interviews.  This time we were accounting for our obedience, just as a family would in a tithing settlement.  It felt great to respond positively for the things we've been doing right!  I need to do a bit better at starting my studies at 8:00 prompt (Shaving's a killer!) but President was very happy with our efforts and the things we've been getting done.  We also did our stake report, and that was a great chance to report on the progress to him and the stake president.  In our zone, the numbers this last transfer have almost doubled since we started!  Everyone is excited for the miracles we've accomplished so far, and the chance to do more in the next two weeks.
Some of the highlights of the week are as follows.  As Elder Lee and I were walking along, we saw a guy we'd seen before and went up to talk with him.  His name is Efrain, from El Salvador, and he's awesome!  He's had a trial come up in his life recently; his brother was hit by a car and is in a coma, but that's awakened in him a desire to get closer to God and he was very excited to learn more.  He wants to come to church, when we find a ride for him.
Then, as Elder Passey and I were on an Exchange, we met a guy walking past us who, when we said hello, said, "hey Elders!"  When we asked him about it, he said his name is Sergio, and he used to meet with the missionaries all the time.  After a few transfers, they lost track of him and he moved to the avenue.  He didn't want to talk much then, but later on, Elder Lee and I saw him sitting outside a restaurant, and he invited us over to teach him!  He didn't remember everything, but teaching him felt more like a role-play practice: everything he said was perfect!  When we asked him if he believed Joseph Smith was a prophet, he said "He could have been..." and when we asked what it would mean to him if he knew that he was, he said "It would change everything!  I'd be going to the Mormon church!"  Then, when we invited him to be baptized he said yes before we even finished the question.  We're seeing him again today so we'll see how it goes!
Finally, one of my favorite people I've ever met tracting was a man named Hong (pronounced Hwong with a super soft g) from Vietnam!  He was super excited to see us and very friendly; he spent about 30 minutes telling us all about what his people believe.  (It's very weird, he basically told us "We're all going to hell; but don't worry!  It's happy there.  Then, if you don't do anything bad there, you get to go to heaven.  But you also got to buy 'hell money' so that you have money when you're in hell, otherwise you can't get anything like clothes or food or stuff."  It was cool!)  He really connected with what we taught him about finding peace, and when we asked if we could pray with him, he was super confused for a bit, but when we explained how it worked really carefully, he invited us into his house and we got to pray for him and his family!  He also wants a Book of Mormon in Vietnamese!
We'll be calling around 4-5 our time, so I'm not sure when that is for you.  I hope you all have a wonderful week, WELL DONE DAD ON THE TRIATHLON!!
Elder Matthew David Clough