Monday, December 28, 2015

Los Chorros (the gushes)

Hi all! Merry Christmas!

Calling home was definitely the highlight of this week! It's kind of interesting, I've heard from a lot of missionaries that calling home is kind of a bitter sweet. That it's great to call home, but for the next couple of days afterward they have a really hard time working because they just want to go home. But for me it wasn't like that at all!  For me, afterward, I felt really energized and ready to work. Elder Bucknum told me that it depends a lot on the family- some families are really good and positive (like mine!). But other families talk about how much they miss their missionaries, and how hard it is at home without them. Which is obviously really hard for the missionaries.  Thanks for being the good kind!

After calling we stayed the night in the other missionaries' house, because the buses to Panchimalco don't run on Christmas in the afternoon.

Saturday was a crazy day. Saturday we did interviews for the people we were going to baptize this week.  While Elder Alvarez (the Zone Leader) did the interviews, I had to talk to the families and fill out the Baptismal Register. One of the people we are baptizing is named Alicia. She is about 27 years old, but all her family lives together in the same compound. (This is pretty common, a space with a bunch of different buildings, the kitchen, a family room, different bedrooms). Obviously she is old enough that she doesn't need her family's permission, but she was expecting them to support her.  During the interview I talked with the family trying to get them to help me fill out the register, and I found out that the mom does not support the baptism. At all. I got yelled at for about 10 minutes. The mom is probably only about 65-70 years old, but people age faster here, and she looks like she's 80-85 ish. But she is very strong in her opinions. That was a really interesting experience. You'll be proud to know that I kept my cool, and was very pleasant the whole time. The interview went long, and it was kind of awkward sitting there for another hour afterward.

I finished Saturday completely exhausted, I almost fell asleep on the bus back home. (we finished the interchanges in San Salvador and had to take the bus all the way back). We  also had to buy presents for the white elephant exchange that we are doing as a zone. There is a tourist section of the ride back home that is notorious for having bad traffic, and Elder Torres and I had a great idea. When the bus got stopped in traffic we jumped off and ran ahead about 1 km to one of the little souvineer huts to buy the presents. By the time we finished the bus had caught back up to us and we jumped back on for the ride home. It was pretty risky, because it was the last bus home, but it worked out really well!

Sunday I woke up super super sick. I had what they call Los Chorros. Which translates to 'the gushes', more or less. I don't think I need to explain more, but it was the worst diarrhea I have ever had in my life. I felt completely drained. (heh). But we had two families that we needed to take to church. So I took the maximum dosage of the diarrhea medicine I brought and packed my bag with a roll of toilet paper and an extra pair of garments.. We have to climb a pretty steep hill to get to these families, and the whole time I kept telling myself the story of Brigham Young and the other missionaries standing up in the back of the wagon yelling 'Hurrah for Israel'! It worked! I survived all the way through sacrament meeting. Then I went to the house of the Planes missionaries with Elder Garcia who has chikunguyna pretty bad. And we just fell asleep. They had ran out of toilet paper the day before, so I was really glad I had brought my own. After church Elder Torres and Elder Bucknum came home, and they thought it would be a good idea if they went out to work and left me in the house with Elder Garcia. I had a feeling that it was going to get worse, and I didn't want to be sick in someone else's house, so we decided to get me home. By that time I was starting to feel pretty achy too, I think I had two different sicknesses. The travel home almost killed me. When we got home I just collapsed and fell asleep. Elder Torres gave all of our lessons that day over the phone. He woke me up at about 7:30 ish to try to give one lesson. But I couldn't do it, I felt too weak. I didn't eat or drink all that day, and I'd been having diarrhea (the worst I'd ever had), and I was really achy all over.  I could stand up, but the walk too the bathroom was too far. (sorry if I'm going into too much detail :)  By this time I was also getting the chills, and I was getting pretty scared, because I had no idea what was going on. But I realized that I was probably really dehydrated. So I started drinking as much water as I could. In sips. I called the nurse and she told me I probably had parasites. ( I'm taking a test for that today). I asked Elder Torres for a blessing, and went back to sleep.

Monday, This morning I woke up feeling great. I feel perfectly fine! I'm not sure exactly what happened yesterday, I never want to go through that again. Today I will take a test for parasites, but as of right now I feel fine! Dont worry!

Sorry for going into so much detail, but I had the time so I thought I'd make the most of it!

Have a great week!

-Elder Goodman














Monday, December 21, 2015

I sat on the dashboard


This week was a pretty good week. Last week was pretty frustrating, I felt like I was swimming, I didn't know who we were teaching, what they needed, where we were, etc...  But Thursday we finally had weekly planning.  I found out that the missionaries before hadn't filled out the area book in 2 changes. And Elder Torres told me that they also hadn't planned in two changes, daily and weekly. Everything was a mess. We did weekly planning for 4 hours..... But I did it! We are finally updated! It's interesting, I know that the missionaries before worked really hard, because we have a lot of good investigators that they found and taught. They just didn't record any of it. So I came in blind. Kind of frustrating.

Things with Guillermo are going really well, (he's 18 by the way). In our visits he's teaching us sign language.I finally memorized the alphabet!  I also found out down here they speak (or sign I guess) LESSA, not ASL. Interesting.

This week we had our ward Christmas party. It was awesome, if anything the people down here know how to throw a party! There was tons and tons of food, also tons and tons of people. We played games and sang songs. The 4 missionaries from the ward did a skit. We basically just acted out Pres Hinkley's story about the two boys who left the dollars in the old man's shoes while he was out working. Then we shared a couple scriptures afterward. It was really simple, but I think it touched a lot of people.

There aren't many buses here, so they're always really crowded, especially late at night. So to ge everyone home to Panchimalco a member used his truck (one of those big, flatbed produce trucks) to get that half of the ward home. And they packed it. I think they had close to 60 people all in the back of this truck. Missionaries can't ride in the back so we rode in the front, which was also packed. I sat on the dashboard. That ride home was crazy. It's a pretty lonely, windy road, so the driver flew. His wife kept telling him to slow down, but he didn't want to burn his brakes up on the downhill, so he didn't listen to her. The whole time I was thinking about what would happen if we crashed. We'd probably have to go back to being a branch.....

Last pday we played American Football, and for the first time the Gringos dominated. It was a ton of fun! I got a sweet over the shoulder Hail Mary for a touchdown!

I hope you haven't noticed, but I lately I have been having a hard time writing. I think part of it is that I don't have much time, so I just write as fast as possible. But I am having a hard time structuring my sentences.

Last night we stayed the night at the other missionaries house in our ward. (It's a long story that I'll tell you on Christmas) and I forgot to bring my camera. I have a ton of pictures to send too. Sorry!

Love you!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Panchimalco

This week was a pretty crazy week.

I had changes! I am now in Zona San Salvador. The name of my area is Los Planes, but we are in a pueblo called Panchimalco. Panchimalco is exactly how I imagined El Salvador to be. I love it!  To get there we have to take a 40 minute bus ride up into the mountains above the capital. I haven't seen a map, but It feels like we are in the middle of nowhere.

I also really like our house, even though it's pretty small, and it also gets pretty hot. It's on the top of a hill overlooking the pueblo. We have an amazing view. I sent a picture. The only downside is that we have to climb the hill to get home every night.

The view from my house in my new area.

My new companion is Elder Torres. And he's awesome. He's probably my favorite companion so far. He's also my first Latino companion, which is nice because now I have to speak Spanish all day. He's got a lot of time on the mission, about 20 months I think. He goes home in March. He's the district leader too. Our district is huge, 6 companionships. He spends about an hour on the phone each night.

I got the packages! Thanks! Next week I'll send pictures of all the decorations I set up in the house. I really like the fireplace and the lights! That was a nice touch! Today I opened the first day of Christmas. That nativity is awesome! Thanks! I'm really excited for the 12 days of Christmas, that was a really cool idea. We have already eaten the pumpkin spice kisses in the first package, I think they got left in the sun or something, because they were pretty melty, but we put them in the fridge for a day and didn't have too much trouble eating them.

We have an investigator named Guillermo, and we have an adventure teaching him, because he's deaf. His family is teaching us some signs we can use, which helps. I thought I knew a little little bit, from ´Signing time with Alex and Lea¨ but I've learned that not all of the signs are the same. The letters are the same, but certain other signs,( for example mom and dad) are completely different.

The family learned sign language from a class put on by the Jehovah's Wittnesses. The JW actually have missionaries here who know sign language and taught the family. The family still attends classes to learn sign language from the JW, but they stopped taking the religious lessons from their missionaries.  Kind of an interesting situation

Have a great week! Thanks for the packages and prayers! I love you!

-Elder Goodman


We found this spider.  That is a quarter next to it.

Elder Beecher and me.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

The best 24 hours of my mission ... so far

Hi all!

This week was a pretty average week.

We did interchanges this week. I went to the area Alta Vista 2, with Elder Vallecillos, and I think it was probably the best individual 24 hours of my mission. Elder Vallecillos has about 20 months, he's very experienced. He has a really deep voice, and I love listening to him talk, he just draws you in. He's also a flechon, which means that he follows all of the rules. His companion doesn't like that, but I really did! That whole day we had the Spirit with us so strongly and I know that was in part because of how we were living. The other reason why we had the Spirit was because we where both working really really hard. Con todo!

There was one family that we found, and I don't know why exactly, but I was really really determined to get into their house. The first time I asked to enter the man said no. But I kept talking to him, we started joking around and I ended up talking to him for around 5 minutes. When I could tell he was comfortable with me I asked again. And he said no again. We started to leave, but I turned around and asked him if there was anything we could do to serve him before we left. He looked at me for a second, then said "va entren" which means "alright come in".  It worked!  We got in the house and had a really spiritual lesson. It also turns out that they live in a haunted house of sorts. Supposedly their neighbor is a bruja: a witch. (apparently those exist down here) and had cursed their house. They were really scared.

A couple months ago we had a multi zone conference, and our president had told us that as priesthood holders we could call down blessings from heaven. he gave us examples of the types of blessings we wanted us to promise to the people we teach; and one of those is to bless the houses of our investigators.

So we knelt down in a circle, and me and Elder Vallecillos gave a prayer asking for spiritual protection for the house. It was interesting, I have never done anything like that before. But after the prayers the Spirit was so so strong. None of us moved, we just stayed there for a minute or so just feeling the Spirit. It was awesome! It was a really really cool experience.

Have a great week! Tell Josh good luck for me tomorrow!

I love you!
-Elder Goodman

Monday, November 30, 2015

Earthquake!

Hiya! This week was a pretty good week. Pretty average week actually. There was an earthquake at around 5am on Wednesday (I think, I don't remember the exact day.) I was woken up by my bed shaking back and forth. That was pretty cool!

This Saturday was the national day of service. Our stake went to a Special Education center in San Martin. It is basically just a big compound for adults with mental disabilities. We painted the houses. And we played with the people that lived there. I had a ball! There are a couple of them that love soccer, and we had a pretty wild game of soccer going with them! It was really fun! We also had a couple piñatas. That was crazy! I had a really, really, great time!

The weather here is starting to get colder. This morning it was 67 degrees when we woke up. Cold! We don't have any other clothes than shirts and t-shirts, and we only have sheets for our beds. But during the day it is 70s, which is perfect! We can work all day! When it's hotter we have to take breaks every once in a while. But right now we just go, go, go, all day! I love it!

We have an eternal investigator named Sandra. The missionaries have been visiting her for over a year, she knows everything. She even pays tithing! Her whole family are members, she has a grandson named José Smith! She never got baptized because she wasn't married to her husband (or boyfriend I guess). They have been together for 16 years, but the whole time he has been married to a woman in Nicaragua. She really wanted him to get the divorce so they could get married, but he never did.

Last Sunday she came up to us and told us she wants to get baptized! We visited her later in the week, and it turns out that her husband left her, for another woman. She was understandably pretty upset. He was the one in the family who worked too, so now she has to find a job.

It's interesting. This is a really big trial that she has to go through, but there is also a blessing that came along with it. (she can get baptized now!)

If you could pray for her that would be really nice. She needs it.

Have a great week!
-E. Goodman

Monday, November 23, 2015

Shocking

Elder Beecher is a pretty good teacher. And now that he knows our investigators he helps with the planning and stuff too. That's nice. His strength is getting people to like him. Right now we are finding tons of new people to teach. Something that we always struggled with, with E. Wallace. And it's because we like to talk to people. We both do. And we walk slower, and we are actually looking for people to talk to.

This week we had ward council for the first time in 10 weeks. I set it up! In the meeting we talked a lot about missionary work. And what the members can do to help. We set goals together. It was awesome! Our ward is great, they really want to help, they just don't know how. I remember my old companion would always complain about the ward, the bishop, the fact that we never have ward council...etc. But, I realized that actually doing something always works better than complaining. 

I had an interesting experience this week. We have what's called a pila. A big tank of water. We don't get water  every day so we have to store it there. We also have a pila heater. It's a big twirly piece of metal with a cord. You plug it in and it gets really hot. You can use it to heat up the pila if you want to take warm showers. I use it to heat up 5 gallon buckets of water. One day I was heating up water, and I stuck my finger in to test how hot it was. I felt pain and pulled my finger out real quick. I just thought the water was really hot. But then I saw a cut on my finger and I thought that maybe that cut made my finger more sensitive or something. I then stuck my whole hand in, to see if it was really that hot. (looking back that seems like kind of a dumb thing to do.) And I just felt pain. And then the muscles in my arm started clenching. And hurting. And I realized that I was getting electrocuted. It hurt! 

We are out of time, sorry I didn't write more. Have a great week!

-Elder Goodman

Questions from Kanani:
1.  What is the colonia?  You mentioned you can go there now if you want.
It's not a specific Colonia. But before we would plan to work in specific colonias. And we couldn't deviate from the plan. But now if I get the idea (or prompting I guess) to go somewhere else we do. The idea I guess is that I'm in charge now!
5.  Do they have fast food places like Carl's Jr. or McDonalds?  is it expensive?
Yup, we have a pizza hut, burger king, and subway. They are the same price as in the U.S. But that's really expensive for a meal. We eat at those places only on p.day, for lunch. 
6.  What color is the outside of your apartment, or is it a house?  
Green. Dark Green. It's a house, but it's the size of an apartment.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Stake Conference

Hi everyone!

This was a pretty good week!

We had changes. Elder Wallace is now a zone leader in San Vicente. My new companion´s name is Elder Beecher. He´s got about 18 months on the mission. He´s from Logan. I really like him! He´s pretty laid back, which is nice. I feel like I have a lot more freedom now. If I want to contact someone, or go into a colonia. I can now! He´s really easy to get along with as well. I feel like we´re already good friends.

This week was really good. I feel like I am really progressing as a missionary. I have to lead the area now so a lot more depends on me. And I feel like that´s really helping me grow! Spiritually, mentally, emotionally. Not physically unfortunately.

We had Stake Conference this week. President Vasquez and his wife spoke, and the temple president and his wife spoke. Nusly came to church! Stake conference! This week has been hard inviting people to church, because they have to go to Santa Lucia. But we told Nusly we´d pass by to take her and her kids to church. And she was ready! We had to take two buses, and with 2 children under 4 years old that was kind of hard, but we made it! And the ward was really really nice and supportive! The bishop gave her a ride home! (well, his wife. He doesn´t drive.) He actually stayed behind so there would be enough room for her to go first. I was really impressed by that!  Nusly is Benjamin´s wife, and she has never come to church. Benjamin had to work that day, so he couldn´t go. But his wife just moved up to progressing!

This week we visited a family that lives in Apulo. The familia Galan. Her husband died recently ( turns out he was the body I almost had to help dress). They have a big field, that has just been left unkept. The weeds were 6 feet tall. They gave me a machete. And I cut it down. I wish I had pictures, I´m sure I looked really cool! It was pretty hard, but it was also my first time using a machete!

I feel like this has been a really long week, but I can´t think of anything more to write about. I really like being a missionary! Every day I wake up excited to go to work! I am contacting a lot more now. And my Spanish is getting good enough that I can start conversations with people. I used to just walk up and start talking about the church. But now I walk up and start talking about their dog, their family, that picture on the wall. I feel that it is helping my Spanish. But I am also having a harder time directing the conversation to the church. Maybe I need to go back to what I did before!

Have a great week! I forgot to take a picture with my new comp. Next week

-Elder Goodman

Monday, November 9, 2015

Survivor El Salvador

This week was a pretty standard week.  Every morning for breakfast I make myself a huge bowl of oatmeal. (cheap and filling) and then I add sugar and powdered milk and cinnamon. I´ve found that the more sugar and milk and cinnamon I add the better it tastes! This week I decided to spice it up a bit and I bought some nutmeg. It tastes kind of Christmasy now.

Yesterday I locked the keys in the house.  Benjamin Zipeda helped us break back in. Using 2 brooms, 2 shoelaces, and a piece of telephone line he cut from the house. (it was from an extra coil just hanging outside). He took out the window from the outside and was able to open the door. It was pretty cool actually! He said it was Survivor El Salvador. Fun fact, every door here locks automatically. The people here are really worried about security, (justly so). We live in a gated community. And we have a gate in front of our house, and then the front door that locks automatically. Our roof has razor wire AND barbed wire. Our side walls have broken bottles cemented on top to keep people from climbing over. And every window has a cage over it. And our front yard is all thorny plants. But even all that wasn´t enough to keep us out!

The picture is of Benjamin.  We ate dinner at his house on Saturday. It has been really cool seeing his family change. And being a part of it. Probably the coolest part of my mission so far has been his family. They were telling us how grateful they are for what we´ve done for them. I have such a strong testimony of the Atonement, and what it can do for us.

Have a great week!
-Elder Goodman

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

El Dia de los Muertos

This week was awesome!

The Day of the Dead activity was really really fun. Cemeteries here are nothing like those at home. Here all the tombstones are big crosses- some of them are actually pretty ornate- but they are all painted crazy colors. Blue, Green, Pink, etc. And they are all on top of each other. There is no grass, to get around you have to walk on other people´s graves. Every year the people come to clean up the graves, re-paint, etc... And it's a huge deal. A huge party! There are vendors everywhere selling food, flowers, headstones, paint, toys. The people come in work clothes with big jugs of water and shovels and paint and stuff. I was pretty surprised when I saw whole families walking into a cemetery armed with shovels and buckets!

Our shift was from 1.30 - 4.30. We had a table set up with Plan of Salvation pamphlets and Family Search stuff. It was a straight 3 hours of just talking to people! I had a blast!

Halloween here is not very big at all. I saw two kids dressed up and 1 house decorated. But on Fast Sunday, the day after, an old lady got up and spoke for 10 minutes about how evil Halloween was. And how it made her feel sick seeing all the little kids worshiping the devil. That was pretty entertaining!

That Sunday the Gospel Essentials teacher didn't show up-  so Elder Wallace gave the lesson. He wasn't paying attention last week, and he thought that this week´s lesson was the Chastity lesson. I didn't realize  until too late, so he ended up teaching without any preparation. He had a hard time getting the class to participate.

I have a cool story from last week.
We have an investigator named Guadalupe who was introduced to the church by her friend Alex. It started with her wondering what Mormons think about God. Alex has a son named Axel (don´t get them mixed up) who is around 4 or 5 years old. Axel memorized the First Article of Faith for the primary program a couple weeks ago. When Guadalupe asked what Mormons believe Alex had Axel recite the first Article of Faith to her. Guadalupe was pretty impressed! Now she´s investigating the church!

Thanks for the dream team answers! Have a great week!

-Élder Goodman

I have all the pictures that you wanted, but I forgot to bring my cord to connect it to the computer. I can usually get around it by borrowing someone else´s or putting my card in their camera to connect it. But no one has their cameras with them today. I guess I'll have to wait until next week.  Sorry.

Questions from Kanani
1. Do you go on exchanges very often?  It sounds like Eliza goes on them all the time.
Every once in a while. Maybe twice a transfer
2. Do you have a day where you volunteer or give service?  If so, what types of things do you do?
No. On Saturday we helped a lady clean out her house, that was a first for me though.
3. How do transfers work...is it every 6 weeks or different?
every 6 weeks

Monday, October 26, 2015

We had 23 investigators promise to come to church

This week was awesome! This week was the most successful week so far. We taught a ton of lessons, and we found some pretty positive people as well. E. Wallace and I have been working really well together, and I can feel the difference when we teach. He´s been helping me a lot in our morning practices, and I´m starting to get the feel for how I want to teach certain topics. This week our zone also started doing weekly practices, and that has really helped as well.

We made a goal to testify of the Atonement in every visit - every lesson. And I can feel the difference. I`ve heard it said that the Atonement is the center of the gospel, and the goal has been to make it the center of our message as well. There are tons of churches down here, literally on every street, every corner, all types. And none of them teach the Atonement. Everyone believes in Christ here, every knows he is "El Salvador del Mundo", but no one knows what that means. Our goal has been to help them understand that. Understand that through the Atonement we can be made clean. Understand that they can repent. That they can be baptized. That they can take the sacrament.  We taught the sacrament a lot this week. And with it we were able to commit a lot of people to come to church. We had 23 investigators promise to come to church.

And on Sunday we had 3 show up. That was really depressing. Obviously 3 is better than none, but it wasn´t quite what we were expecting. Sunday was really hard. Our ward is not very strong, we have a pretty building, but we can´t fill it. (I took a picture, but the computer I'm using this week won't accept my camera). There is a lot of bad feelings in the ward too. A recent convert family that we visit has become inactive. This week we found out why. They wouldn`t tell us exactly what´s going on, but they are having problems with another family. Yeesh. Everyone has an excuse why they can´t come to church, but it´s interesting that the most common one is that they have problems with someone else. The second most common excuse is that they can´t wake up on time. Our church meets at 10:30.  Needless to say, Sunday was a hard day (that rhymed!)

E. Wallace and I started a new game. We are building our ward leadership dream team. This is what we´ve got so far

Pres Monson: Bishop
Helaman: YM pres
Noah: Ward Emergency Preparedness specialist
Herod: Nursery teacher
Amulek: Ward Mission leader

If anyone has suggestions send them to me!

This week we met two people who live in Provo and are here visiting family. That's pretty cool!
One man has a niece going to Mountain View right now.

Also, next week our pday will be on Tuesday. Next Sunday and Monday we will be working in the cemetary doing a Dia de los Muertos activity.
Don´t freak out when I don´t write.

-Elder Goodman

Kanani's questions:

1. Can you listen to music, do you have a cd player?
Yep! We can listen to MoTab and instrumental hymns. We have a cd player too.

2. Have you and your companion been able to stay pretty healthy stomach wise?
For the most part. There is a family that we eat with every Sunday and Friday. Their food isn't very clean. We usually have diarrhea and stomach pains for the rest of the day and the next when we eat there. However, we get as much food as we want when we eat there. And it´s free!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Senior Companion for the Day!


This was a pretty cool week.  The missionary in the picture is named Elder Togicala. He's a Samoan from Ogden. And he's brand new. He's got about two weeks on the mission. He and his companion had a baptism this week, and because my companion is the district leader he had to do the interview. This means that Elder Togicala and I did an interchange for all day on Thursday. That was a good experience for me! I was the Senior Companion for the day! We had a ton of fun! It was amazing how we could feel the Spirit in our lessons even though my Spanish is barely sufficient and his was awful. It was a great testimony to me of the power of the Holy Ghost, it made me realize how much we depend on the Spirit in our lessons. And in our lives.

I got your package! The one with the CTR rings! I gave one to a girl we were teaching named Meybeline. She got baptized on Saturday, and she asked me to do it! I like to think that my little bribe helped! Everyone in our district except one companionship baptized that day. President Vasquez knew one of the people getting baptized so he came too! That was a little stressful! I really wanted a picture with everyone baptizing, and getting baptized, and him. But we didn't end up doing it. He took this picture for us though! He also spoke- he has a really cool conversion story.

Benjamin and Noosly are getting married this week! I'm really excited - they have two little girls and it's really cool to think that the two girls will get to grow up in the church! Last night during our prayer I asked for Benjamin and Noosly to get  married, and E. Wallace started laughing. Apparently I said Castigados instead of Casados. I actually asked for them to get punished. Whoop! Family Viscarra and Johnny are doing good too. Thought you'd like to know, but there's not really anything new to report.

-Elder Goodman
 
 
 

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Bunch of Guys Who Were Crazy

This was a pretty standard week,

I got your package! Thanks! We got it in an unusual way.  We got a call from the AP's during lunch on Friday, telling us to go to our bus stop and wait. The Hna's in our district are the Hna Leaders, and they had just gotten out of a meeting with the AP's. On the way home their bus passes through our area. They tossed us the package when the bus made the stop!  That was an awesome package! Thanks so much!

It sounds like you guys had a more exciting week than me! We played basketball as a district today. I was the star of my team! Also the tallest! Perks of serving in Central America!

We are in the rainy season so it rains pretty much every night. Super super hard. I've been carrying my umbrella around, but that got annoying. But the day I didn't bring it we got caught in the rain. Go figure. It's always a gamble to see if we'll make it home in time!

We had a pretty interesting lesson this week. A bunch of guys who were crazy. They had tons of crazy questions about the church. They also tried to get us to play some card game with them. They got me to touch a card, and they were really excited about it. Apparently it's a sin to touch face cards. Because the soldiers cast lots for Jesus' clothes.

They also had some great ideas on how we could help them get to the United States. The first idea was to marry their girlfriends, and take them back with us. Wait until the wife gets residence. Then get divorced. The girls then go back and marry their original boyfriends and bring them to the U.S. The second idea was for them to join the church. Get called to serve missions in the U.S. Then just wander off one day and live there. The lesson ended with my companion pulling out all the pamphlets and slapping them down one by one while explaining them. It was actually pretty funny.

I'll try to think of more stuff to write next week

-Elder Goodman

Monday, October 5, 2015

Grandma took his Book of Mormon

General Conference was awesome! We got to watch it in English! Except the Sunday Morning Session. We watched that one in Spanish- and I got a lot less out of it. However, when President Monson and the three new apostles spoke I felt the spirit very very strongly. I didn't know what they talked about- But I still received promptings that they are called of God!

I had my own little pie night on Saturday. They have things called Pan Dulce here. Sweet bread. But it applies to pretty much every kind of dessert. Brownies, cookies, pastries. And literal bread that's sweet. I found a pan dulce that was coated in sugar, and had a fruit filling. It had the taste and texture of pie! It was really good!

On the bus to General Conference on Saturday a man got up and started preaching. Usually I just zone those people out- but this guy said something that caught my attention. He said the word Nephi. Turns out he was preaching from the Book of Mormon! He was quoting the Book of Mormon as he spoke about the last days and stuff. Interesting.

General Conference was definetely the highlight of the week. I remember at home I was usually done by the last session. And I had a hard time paying attention usually. This time was such a spiritual experience! Missionaries enjoy conference much more than everyone else!  I could go for 2 more days!

The Familia Viscarra that we are teaching is golden! They are the ones that I found by knocking doors. Everytime we go into the house we find more people to teach! We started teaching the mom  yesterday!  This family is different than the others. You can tell that they take education seriously. It's really fun to teach them though, they actually read- and they have questions. And they think about what we teach, and apply it to their lives. Last night one of the sons couldn't find his Book of Mormon for the lesson. Halfway through the lesson the grandma walked into the house and handed him his Book of Mormon. She had taken it to read without him knowing! We gave her a copy as well! I'm really excited about this family. Pray for them!

Pray for Benjamin and Noosly as well. Benjamin is the man we are teaching who is ready. Con Todo! He came to priesthood session and loved it! All he needs is to get married. Pray for his wife! She's fine with getting married, but doesn't want to join the church.  Benjamin is really worried about her. He wants to go to the highest part of the Celestial Kingdom, but he knows that he needs her. What's amazing is that he understands that. We bought him a triple and he's been reading D&C like crazy.

On an unrelated note I spoke again last week. Turns out the missionaries speak every fourth Sunday in our ward. I spoke about the Army of Helaman, and the importance of obedience and mothers. I also played the Army of Helaman song you sent! The chapel doesn't have air conditioning. It has fans- and everyone opens the windows as well. I didn't realize it before, but there is a fan right above the piano, and a window right behind it. My sheet music was all over the place! Elder Wallace and Hno Castañelo (the first counselor) came through in the clutch! Elder Wallace was all over trying to keep the music in place- and Hno Castañelo ran around to close the window and turn of the fan. But the song turned out really well. Everyone loved it!

Have a great week!

-Elder Goodman

Monday, September 28, 2015

Be "The Fourth Missionary"

Hi everyone!

This has been an awesome week!

This week I read the talk 'The Fourth Missionary'.  It's a great read- changed my life. The main idea is to consecrate yourself to the Lord. To follow the commandments and do everything you're supposed to- because you want to. Not because you have to. Once you learn to take joy in the work you'll be able to let the Lord work through you, and change you.

I took that to heart this week, and had some cool experiences. I started speaking Spanish as much as I could, I started interrupting my companion during the lessons, and I started talking to people on my own. Coincidentally this is also the first week that I've been able to a) understand almost everything being said, b) carry a conversation on my own. And c) get exactly what I ordered for lunch!

Before this week my companion would give the lessons, and I would bear my testimony. This week I started teaching and trying to converse with the investigators.

My companion hates contacting. Before this week if he didn't want to contact, we didn't contact. This week I started going up to people and just talking- I came up with a short elevator speech about the church. And I would just give it to everyone!  I also started knocking doors. They don't do that down here. My companion had never heard of people doing it down here. The rule is that we can't enter a house if there isn't a man at home. This week I realized that we can still talk to people on their doorstep though! I just started knocking doors and talking to people. We found a really positive family this week from door knocking!

I also remembered Dad's story about knocking on doors and looking for 'Maria del Carmen'.  I started doing that! I would knock on a door- or stop  someone in the street asking them if they knew Johanna.(Johanna is a contact I was looking for who lived close) none of them did. But that gave me a chance to say something about the gospel as well! I actually found a women named Maria del Carmen doing that!

In short:
This was the week that I decided I wanted to BE a missionary.
This was the week that I decided to take responsibility for my learning and teaching.
This was the week when I started to enjoy being a missionary.
This was the week that made all the difference.

I'm excited for the next two years!

I love you!
-Elder Goodman

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Week of Miracles


This week has truly been a week of miracles.
 
I´m teaching now. My companion will literally just stop talking. And look at me. And then it´s my turn to go and pick up where he left off. The first time was pretty scary, but I´m used to it now. And everyone we teach is really patient.  I have a strong testimony of the Gift of Tongues!

We are teaching a man named Benjamin. And this week everything just came crashing down- in the best way possible.  He got a new job that gives him Sunday´s off. We were really praying for that. He came to church and he loved it! (they don´t usually love church here). The lesson in Gospel Doctrine class was on tithing. He asked where the slips were, and how to pay tithing. He really wants to live the commandments!  He quit smoking, and he also is working on quiting coffee!

We are also teaching a man named Johnny. I really like him. He lived in the U.S. for a long time. He speaks English very well. His daughter is already a member, and she´s really pushing him to join. I really like teaching him because the lessons end up being 50-50 English and Spanish. I teach him in Spanish- but´s it´s really nice to be able to answer his questions in English. We taught him the Plan of Salvation last night, and he loved it! The Plan of Salvation is easily my favorite lesson. It´s always brand new to the investigator- but they always accept it.  We shared 2 Nefi chapter two with him and he was just blown away! He literally just sat there awestruck after we finished reading it, then he started talking really fast about how awesome/life-changing it was!  He also told us: ¨I don´t know what it is, but my life has gotten so much better after you´ve started teaching me. It´s like God is just pouring the blessings down right now.¨  That was pretty cool!

Have a great week!
-Elder Goodman

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Zona Ilopango


We discovered a blog of a missionary (Elder West) who is in the same zone as Zach.  I borrowed this photo from his blog.  http://eldercoltonwest.blogspot.com/


Monday, September 14, 2015

Pollo Campero!

Hi everyone!

This week was really really hard. Probably the hardest week so far- but I had a lot of cool experiences as well! We are really working to strengthen the ward- last week we had a ward activity where we visited a ton of less actives.

Last week attendance - 84
This week attendance - 122

It was really cool walking into the chapel and seeing it full! We also brought a family to church for the first time- and they enjoyed it! That´s pretty uncommon down here. This family I really, really want to baptize. The family Rivas. Father and 8 year old son are named Hector. The mom´s name is Rosemary. The dad is very cool. He used to be in the Navy, so he values punctuality and cleanliness- also uncommon. They are accepting pretty much everything. They ask a lot of questions (uncommon) which makes it really fun to teach them. We taught them the Plan of Salvation, the Word of Wisdom and Sabbath Day all in one visit- because of all the questions they kept asking. And they accepted all of it! It was all brand new to them- but after every concept they´d nod and say "ah! that makes sense!"

Elders quorum this week was pretty awesome! After the lesson they told everyone to stay in the room, then they brought out tables to sit around. They started passing out plates of Pollo Campero (Latin KFC). We got chicken, French fries, coleslaw. It was awesome! Then they brought out cake and wrote out all the birthdays in June, July, and August on the board. Apparently they needed to use their budget for the quarter. So they blew it all on food for the Elders Quorum. I enjoyed it!

I think I said something about the average temperature here, but since then I´ve been actually keeping track. This is what I´ve found. The coldest it´s ever been was 74 degrees. That was at 2 in the morning when I woke up because it was too cold. In the mornings before study it´s about 80. Which is perfect. Very comfortable. By the time we finish studying it´s usually in the 90s. I don´t know how hot it gets in the afternoon, but when we get home at 9 it´s usually right around 98 degrees.

I really wanted to write more about what it´s like living in El Salvador. But I ran out of time. 1 hour isn´t enough. Maybe next week!

-Elder Goodman

p.s. Adriana didn´t get baptized. We´re hoping her grandma dies, then we´ll be able to baptize her. Don´t pray for that though!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Happy Labor Day!

Hi everyone!

This was a pretty good week! Looking back it went by fast, but the days take forever. It was cloudy and rainy all week which was really nice! This week we focused a lot on less actives. We did splits with ward members to try and visit as many as possible. It was pretty crazy!

This week I´m starting to practice street contacting. That is really hard. I always thought it was easy to talk to people- but down here the culture is so different, and I can´t understand them anyway. It´s really stressful!

Funny story, we´re teaching a man named Mauricio. He loves his Bible- so we gave him a Book of Mormon! We came back and asked if he had read it and if he had any questions. He hadn´t read it. Because of the pictures in the front. They were ´graven images´. Which is against the 2nd commandment. It didn´t take very long to clear that up! It helped that he had pictures hanging on his wall.  First visit he told us about a dream he had where he saw a beautiful building. Big and white. But he couldn´t go in because his name wasn´t on the book they had at the front. We showed him a picture of the San Salvador temple and he said that was it! That´s why he originally started talking to us, so he could enter the temple.  It´s pretty cool how many people have similar dreams down here!

We´re teaching a girl named Adriana. All we need for her to be baptized is her Grandma´s permission. Problem is that her grandma is pretty crazy. She´ll give permission, then change her mind. We´re trying to have Adriana´s baptism planned for Saturday- but we still need the permission.

If you´re going to pray for investigators pray for her! Thanks!

I´m trying to send pictures- but it´s pretty hard here. Spanish computer + different setup + really slow internet. 

[Kanani asked Zach some questions.  These are his answers]

1.  Do they give you a card and add money to it each month to cover your expenses?  How much do you get? 
Yup I get card and we take out $200 each month. $80 goes to our cocinera.(our cook) $20 to the ward member that does our laundry. And the last 100 we use to pay for breakfasts and pday food. And buses and soap, water, etc.

2.  Do you have toilets?  Anna-Maria didn't in the part of Guatemala that she served in :(
We have toilets, that don´t flush. You just dump water in them and somehow that flushes it. First time I was really worried that my companion was pranking me and I´d make a really gross mess.

3.  What is your schedule for a typical day?
6.30 wake up. exercise, eat get dressed. 8-9 personal study. 9-11. Companionship study. 11-12 language study. 12.30 go to lunch. 1-8 proselyte. 8.30 come home go to dinner. 9 plan, take a shower, write in journal. Read.  10.30 bed

4.  What are fast Sundays like for you?
Fast Sundays are not that bad! We start our fast at lunch on Saturday.  Skip Saturday dinner and Sunday breakfast. Church starts at 9.30 so after church we go straight to lunch. On Saturday we had a baptism and ward council meeting. It was set up so that we didn´t really have time to go far. Not very much walking!

Have a great week!

-Elder Goodman

At the temple.

At the air force museum.



 Where we play soccer.

My house.




Monday, August 31, 2015

Zach's Mission President

Bruno Emilio Vásquez Robles, 50, and Brenda Elizabeth López de Vásquez, four children, Sonora Ward, Amatitlán Guatemala Stake: El Salvador San Salvador East Mission, succeeding President David L. Glazier and Sister Beverly B. Glazier. Brother Vásquez serves as a branch president and is a former stake president, counselor in a stake presidency, bishop and branch president. Employment resource center manager, Corporation of the Presiding Bishop. Born in Guatemala to Bruno Vásquez de Leon and Maria del Rosario Robles de Vásquez.

Sister Vásquez is a former ward Young Women president, ward Primary president, seminary and institute teacher and temple ordinance worker. Born in Guatemala to Francisco Roberto López Rubio and Rosalia Manzanero Castillo de López.

Zach's Mission President has an "I'm a Mormon video.  See it here.

A Day of Firsts

Hi everyone! Wow! This has been quite a week!

Tuesday was a pretty normal day. A member of the ward died- he was old and sick- they had a viewing that night. Elder Wallace and I stopped by, we were talking to the family and got asked to help dress the body for burial. We were both a little taken aback, but said yes. I think they could tell that we didn't want to because we didn't end up helping.

Wednesday. Our zone went to the temple in San Salvador that day. E. Wallace and I got a little lost. missed some bus stops etc. And missed the session. We waited in the waiting room for an hour or so. It was still a spiritual experience. We were a little bummed though.

Thursday. Thursday we went into San Salvador again. Immigration for me. We also had interviews with the president and his wife. I really like them! (I found out he was not a pro soccer player.) ( I did talk to a drunk guy who said he was! He also said his name was James Bond ....)

Friday. Friday was a day. We woke up at 4.00. We packed our entire zone of 25 people into a microbus to go to a fireside in San Salvador. A microbus has seats for 14 people (15 with a driver). It's smaller than a 15 passenger van, imagine an extended minivan. It was a wild ride! The fireside was at the chapel by the temple and all 3 El Salvador zones were there. The Guatemala missions also tuned in by internet. President Alonso and Ochoa spoke. And Russell M Nelson! I got to shake his hand! His talk was amazing! Of the 500,000 members in Central America 1/4 are inactive men who could hold the priesthood. He said half of our time should be spent with them. He also gave us 10 doctrinal topics. 'core curriculum' to study. It was a great day!

Saturday was a day of firsts. I had my first baptism! A girl named Lilliana, we reactivated her family and baptised her. The service was nice. I conducted the music. It was a little shakey for a bit while I tried to find hymns to sing while she was changing. I don't know Spanish hymns! I also saw my first street body! There's a street we walk on usually twice a day. One day it was roped of with police tape and a bunch of police guys were walking around. That was a little scary.

I got the pony express letters from the family reunion! Thanks everyone! They were awesome!
Have a great week!

[Kanani asked Zach some questions.  These are his answers]

1, Do you do your own cooking?
I make Cereal for breakfast. We eat lunch and dinner at a member's house. We also pay them.

2.  Which ward/s do you serve in?
Las Cañas ward.

3.  Where is the best place to send packages?
Mission Office. We don't have addresses.

4.  What kind of stores do they have there?  How close are they?
We have a supermarket just down the street. Pretty much the same as the U.S. The American brands are the same price. Central American brands are cheaper.

5.  Where do you go to get internet access?
The mall.

6. Do you boil your water or just use the water bottle filters?
We buy the blue 5 gallon jugs. AguaPura

7. Do you have people you are teaching?
Tons!

-Elder Goodman

Monday, August 24, 2015

Ilopongo, El Salvador

Hi everyone! It´s been a crazy two weeks!  It flew by and lots happened! I´ll try to give some good details!

Last week at the CCM was awesome! We had some awesome speakers! It was hard saying goodbye to all my friends at the CCM. I knew pretty much everyone there- all the Nortes on my transfer at least. My companion left at 3 in the morning, he had a flight to Honduras. I had a six hour bus ride. The bus itself was very nice. But the road was awful. I got really carsick. 

President Vasquez and his wife are really nice! I really like them! President Vasquez´s house is really nice. Nicer than most American houses! Unfortunately I´m never seeing another house like that again. Houses here are not the same.

I am in the city of  Ilopongo. Pretty close to the capital. My house has running water. Kind of. We can´t drink it. And it only works about half the time. Other half is bucket showers. Nice thing  is that it´s so hot here that the cold water feels pretty good. It´s usually about 100  degrees until we turn on the fans. We can keep it at around 75-80. Which is really nice!

I take a shower at night after we get home, and I usually feel pretty good until around 12 when when leave. Then I just start sweating buckets. And stay soaked throughout the day. Nice thing is that everyone down here is also super hot. I just am wearing a tie.

I spoke yesterday during church! Kind of! The bishop asked my companion and the ward mission leader to speak. And I told him that I wanted to do something too. I bore my testimony. I thought my Spanish was good when I left the CCM. It ´s not. I´m learning though! My companion is a big help. His name is Elder Wallace. He´s from Boise. And he played lacrosse before the mission at BYU.  I really like him. Even if he walks really fast.

Hope you have a good week! Have fun at school!

-Elder Goodman

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

CCM Numero 6

Hola! I haven't gotten the letters yet- that makes me feel good that they got sent though! Tell Grace and Jacob congrats for me! That's exciting! Tell Jenny I'm sorry about her game. that stinks! Thanks so much for your testimony at the end- that was really powerful!

Pretty much just another average week here in Guatemala. I really like it here - but I'm excited to leave. The food here is amazing! Definitely going to be the part I miss most! I like to talk to the cooks and get the name of the meal, unfortunately I usually forget the name. My district switched Ramas this week, so my last p-day is on Wednesday. In church last Sunday my district did a musical number, I played the piano. The song was Mas Cerca Dios de Ti. I'll let you figure out what that means in English! It was very good.

Last night President Duncan, the area president over Central America, came and spoke to us. It was very very good! The Tuesday before we watched a live MTC broadcast from Provo. Elder Nelson and his wife spoke. President Cox told us to watch for people we knew on the screen, and I saw Jordan Mugerian. That was cool! We got another batch of missionaries on Wednesday. There's an Elder Nawahine from Oahu. He went to Kahuku! I really like him. This morning we went to the temple. The worker checking our recommends at the desk recognized my name. He was baptized by Elder Nicholas Goodman. From Arizona. I'll bet we're related somehow. My teacher also served with an Elder Goodman. Also from Arizona. Cool though!

My time is up, and it's time for lunch. Adios! Have a great week!
-Elder Goodman

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

CCM Numero 5


That's so cool about Rachel and Phil! Their nephew is Elder McGuire, and he's awesome! He's in my district and he got a similar letter about me. I think that's pretty cool!

This was a really fast week. Elder Falabella of the Seventy spoke to us- in Spanish- that was really cool. There's some weird sickness going around this week, stomach. 16 people were out of commission on Wednesday. The record for one day is 20. It was pretty gross in the bathroom. Elder Garry, my companion, got it really bad. He was out for 2 days, poor guy. I was the awkward floater companion that hung out with different companionships in my district all day. It was actually a pretty cool experience because I got to teach with two other companionships, I feel that I learned a lot from them.

I think I said something last week about all the ambulances around here, turns out there's a hospital down the street. I'm going to assume that's the reason there's so many sirens.

The highlight of the CCM experience is always the city tour. 4-5 hour bus ride all over, and then a stop at the Central market. Everyone get's really excited about it. It turns out that the presidential election here is next month- and the current president is really unpopular. Apparently there's been lots of protests and the tour got cancelled. We're having a volleyball tournament and pizza instead.
Sorry if this letter seems like a bunch of random thoughts and stories, but this week has gone by so fast that I'm having a hard time thinking of things to write about. I bore my testimony on Sunday, about families. Our Branch President brought his son to priesthood meeting. As I was watching them I had the thought ''This is what I'm here to do, I'm here to find families, and baptize them, and take them to the temple, so they can be together forever.'' That's what it's all about. I love you!





Tuesday, July 28, 2015

CCM Numero 4


Amanda! That's awesome! I'm so excited for you!!!!! There are Sister Missionaries here- not very many, maybe 30 or so. Congratulations Piero! That's awesome! I'm so excited for you! Send the pony express to the Mission- we know we are supposed to be getting letters, but no one has any yet. One Sister in my district got one- but she sent it before she left. If you could send me updates on Clarke that would be awesome! You don't have to combine letters, I get an hour for computers.

Way to go sixth ward! Way to represent! I knew we're the best at dodgeball!

    
This week was pretty average. I like it here! I got sick for a couple days, that's nice. Sore throat's been going around. I had to speak on Sunday when I was sick, that was kind of hard. We teach a ton here! Tons! We have two progressive investigators, our teachers. We teach each every other day. So we teach one every day. And in two days we'll have taught them both. Hopefully that makes sense. We also teach another Norte district every day. And we teach a Latino district every day.

This week we taught a district that had one more companionship than we did. My teacher split up me and my companion, so I had to teach alone! It was pretty scary, but also a little flattering! Teaching the Latinos is my favorite! They talk fast- but I'm at the point where I understand 80-90 percent, which is Awesome! Apparently I've been sleep talking in Spanish as well. That really made my day when they told me!

We sent off all the Latinos and some Nortes last Tuesday and got many more on Wednesday. Apparently someone had a health emergency, not one of the missionaries, and they had to stop in Mexico. They got here 5 hrs late. Bailey Maxwell and Zack Palmer are here now! Pretty Cool!  We have Latinos on our floor now. There's a set of twins here! One is going to Honduras and the other to El Salvador. Pretty cool! It took me almost a week to realize that there's two of them.
There are so many new missionaries here- we have to eat in shifts, and we had to move to a smaller classroom. It's pretty crazy! It's fun though. An elder in my district going to my mission, Elder Lowe, is from Henifor. Uncle Kurt was his woodshop teacher. Cool!  I've been trying to get the guys to start singing in the shower. First time consisted of: "Do you want to build a snowman?... 10 seconds... Okay bye..." But! Monday night we all started singing- and showers got a lot funner! We had Elder Ochoa of the Seventy speak to us on Tuesday! That was sweet! Presidente Cox came up to me at dinner 30 minutes before it started and told me he wanted me to play the piano- he showed me the hymns he wanted, and I didn't recognize them. But I told him I would play. I didn't end up playing though because apparently Hermana Cox had already asked one of the Sisters to play. Whew! My reign of terror is over- in the new wave there is a missionary who was the ward organist at home. He is much better than I am, so I got replaced. We have another member of the Seventy speaking to us tonight- I'm pretty excited!

The road in front of the CCM is crazy- seriously- it's like they don't have any traffic laws here. We hear ambulances go by literally every hour (Most of the ambulances here are just pickup trucks with the bed covered, or what looks like an old UPS truck.) and we're certain it's because of traffic accidents. But we've never seen a crash. Until last night! Last night there was a pretty big crash in front of the CCM! We watched them clean it up from our windows. That was probably the highlight of yesterday. I'm running out of things to say- and I'm running out of time. Have a great week!
-Elder Goodman

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

CCM Numero 3

Hi!

That's awesome about the family reunion! Sounds like so much fun! Nathan sounds like a stud! I wish I could have seen him speak! Happy Birthday Jenny! I was going to send you a letter, but I got the schedule wrong. We can only mail out on certain days. It'll get there! Someday! I did make sure to tell everyone that it was my sister's birthday though! I also forgot to tell you that I saw Brother Holbrook on the plane to LA, that was pretty sweet! He's such a good guy. I also wanted to say that everyone loves Brother Holmes tie, and everyone wants to trade for it, but I won't trade it- sentimental reasons and all. I got offered 4 ties for it once! I'm not sure what to write about this week. We've been doing a lot- every day. My companion's name is Elder Garry. He's a stud, reminds me of myself actually! He's the typical All-American LDS kid. He's about 6'3 and super blonde. He had great hair and was pretty bummed when it got cut last week. He's from St. Louis and he's really good friends with Joe Bingham! Small world! He's very good at Spanish, we're having a ball teaching. We still teach several times a day, all in Spanish. I'm starting to get the hang of it. It's really fun. We've gotten to the point where we know what the other is thinking- which makes teaching really fun. He's going to the Honduras Tegulcigalpa mission. Most of the people here are going to Guatemala. About a third are going to Honduras, and 10 are going to El Salvador. 3 to my mission.  

I love Sundays here, it's all in English except Sacrament meeting. It's really nice. We have two branches here. The first Councilor in mine, Presidente Wood, is the Chief Legal Adviser for the Church in Central America. He teaches my priesthood and district class. I really like him. The second councilor, Presidente Lynn, is the Chief Medical Advisor for all of Central America except Guatemala. (The Guatemala medical guy is in the MTC presidency). Presidente Lynn gave us the health lecture on Sunday and scared us all out of our socks- by the end we were all wishing we'd gotten called to somewhere like Utah where they have all the weird diseases under control. I was really envying Clarke that day.  President Lynn had just gotten back from a trip to my mission, the stuff he was telling us was pretty frightening. All of my friends were making fun of me afterward. Apparently 1\3 of all companionships in Central America are out commission each day because of parasites. Nice. Thought I'd share that with you. They gave us all water filters, so... that's comforting I guess.

For the past 10 years I've really really really been hoping I wouldn't have to say this, but:  Mom and Dad, you were right. I've played the piano on my mission. I started playing on the second day. So, there you have it kids. Practice the piano, because in the Guatemala CCM there's not many people who can. Ugh.

The weather here is nuts, absolutely crazy. It is raining really hard outside right now, the lights flickered and we were all afraid that the power would go out and that we wouldn't be able to send letters, but it seems to be doing fine. Last pday right after I wrote my letter we played volleyball outside. It started raining ridiculously hard, we stayed outside, it's the first time we'd been in Central American rain! Our room smelled awful though afterword. This week we took a break and we were playing pacman tag on the sports court. We felt a couple drops, but the sky was clear and sunny and we wanted to keep playing. The teacher made us go in immediately though, we were all a little bummed. By the time we made it to the door it was raining pretty hard and by the time we made it to our classroom it was dark and cloudy and a full blown storm. Crazy. I don't know if you remember the storm when BYU played Texas- but it's like that every other day here. We never go outside though. The running joke here: "What's the difference between the CCM and prison? Prisons get visitors!" As true as that is, I still love it here. I usually have a hard time in the mornings, but I'm always in a great mood by breakfast time. This Sunday we watched the Joseph Smith movie- and we were all crying. All the little kids running around made us homesick! I absolutely love love love love love it here though. I'm having the time of my life!

Teachers are awesome! Missionaries are awesome! The food is awesome! The gospel is awesome! The gift of tongues is so real, I've only been here 2 weeks and I already know it. Elder Garry and I are pretty good at Spanish, but we get frustrated sometimes because we know what we want to say, but we can't say it. We were teaching a menos activo the other day, and she talked so fast. She had a little 3 year old kid who was crazy. Elder Garry and I were having a really hard time hearing her and understanding her. I told her that I knew that the church brought happiness, and she replied with a tricky question. She asked if we had been members our whole lives. We both said yes. Then she asked how we knew it was the church that brought happiness, if we'd never not had the church. It was a tricky question, and we didn't really know how to respond, especially in Spanish. Elder Garry and I both just bore our testimonies, and we were finally able to get the Spirit into the room. Our Spanish when we bear our testimonies is so much better than it should be, and I know that it's Heavenly Father blessing us with the gift of tongues and with the Holy Ghost.

Love you! -Elder Goodman

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

CCM Numero 2


Hi everyone!

Hola from Guatemala! Today is Martes our first pday!  So far I've gone to the temple today, the session was in English but it was awesome! It's a really small temple, on the outside it's about as big as our church building, and all the workers speak Spanish, it was really cool! We went and took pictures with our district in front of the temple earlier this week- hopefully I'll be able to send those pictures. The view from our dormitorio is breathtaking, we are on the third floor overlooking the temple- every night I just stand there looking at the view.  First day they took away all of our electronics, so I won't be able to send any of my own pictures for six weeks.       


Our plane landed at about 6am on Wednesday- we were all exhausted, we took a bus ride to the MTC (in español it's CCM) and the ride was pretty much exactly as I imagined it would be. The traffic here is crazy- the ride was pretty scary. We passed pickup trucks full of guys with guns, BMW dealerships, a Walmart, a Burger King and a bunch of random shops all over. When we got to the MTC they took us to our bedrooms (dormitorios) and told us to sleep. By that time it was about 10 in the morning and all of us were too pumped to sleep.


After we got our pictures taken and had our interviews with the presidency and were sent straight to class.  While we were memorizing our purpose in Spanish they would be sending a couple elders at a time out to the gym. We didn't know it, but it turned out that they were cutting our hair. We now all have the same haircut- buzz. It's pretty cool though because you can tell how long a missionary has been here just by looking at their hair. If it's actually styled you know they've been here longer than two weeks. The food here is awesome, absolutely amazing. The first day we all thought it was gross- but then we realized that it had been over 24 hours since we'd last slept and we all felt sick. Pretty much everything in the letter about the MTC on lds.org is true (https://www.lds.org/locations/missionary-training-centers/guatemala?lang=eng). The food is amazing, the teachers are amazing, everything is amazing. It's a definite culture shock though. All the bathroom stalls have signs in them reminding us to flush the toilet paper. All the brands of food and water are Latin countries. We are not allowed to use the sink water to brush our teeth, and there are no drinking fountains. There are water coolers - like the one's you'd see in an office building- all over. And that's the only water we're allowed to drink or use to brush our teeth. We are also not allowed to touch hands – no handshakes or high fives, or touch our faces. We have guards walking around everywhere outside- and they have guns. Even when we walk to the temple which is three minutes away we are escorted by guards. The gas station across the street also has guards with bigger guns, they're really nice though.  We love talking to them and waving to them.


Only about 2/3's of the missionaries here are Nortes (Americans). The rest are Latinos. The Latinos love the fist-bump explosion, and the joke where they tell you that you have something on your tie, and when you look down they swipe your face. I didn't explain that very well but I hope you know what I'm talking about.    


We are only allowed to speak Spanish here. All of our classes are in Spanish - we sing in Spanish, pray in Spanish, Sacrament meeting is in Spanish. It's a little overwhelming at first, but we're getting used to it. Our district still speaks in English during district meeting and when we're in our dormitorios.  At the mealtimes we can only speak to Latinos- which is actually really really fun. My companion and I have made pretty good friends with the Elderes Garcia. They are the first to missionaries ever to learn Che'zchi (that's how it's pronounced, not spelled). They're going to be here for nine weeks. The Book of Mormon in that language is 736 pages, huge. Every night we have an hour for deportes (sports). It's a concrete pad that has two basketball courts- church building size. And a gym. One is rigged for basketball, the other for volleyball. They also have goals and lines for futsol- but that's been banned recently. Too many missionaries got sent home with injuries. The gym has a couple weights and some ellipticals and cycles. Not a whole lot.


I know all of you are just dying to know about the Narnia holes here. And... we don't have any. I looked. Sorry.


My advice so far for future missionaries going to the Guatemala CCM is to buy lots of ties.  The tie trade is ridiculous here- we call it the real religion. Last night we trooped down to the second floor to the Latinos rooms to trade ties- and it was one of the scariest experiences of my life.  They just mob you to look at your ties and it's really loud and crazy. I made the mistake of bringing some nice ties and they wouldn't let me go. Literally held me in place by my tie. Looking back it was pretty fun- but in the moment it's terrifying.


On Sunday we get to speak English for church and devotionals (except Sacrament meeting) and it's really refreshing. Presidente Cox speaks-and it's amazing. Afterword we all wanted to just get out to the field and start baptizing people.  We teach a lot here, we teach our progressive investigator Alejandro every night, we teach the other districts that have been here longer, we teach the Latino districts-only in Spanish. It's really hard, but it's amazing because we can still feel the spirit even when the language is an obstacle.  Since the third day we've been praying in Spanish and we always pray for eldon de lenguas. The gift of tongues. 


I feel like I have so much more to say, but I'm out of time- it's killing me that I wasn't able to organize this email better but I'm sure you care about the content much more than the organization.   We are supposed to bear our testimonies in Spanish for this email so, Yo se que JesuCristoes el Salvador del mundo. Yo se que nuestra Padre Celestial es amabley bendicenos. Soy muy agradecido para el evangelio resaurado y elexpiación, y para mi familia. En el nombre de JesuCristo amen.


I love you all!


-Elder Goodman

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

CCM Numero 1

Hi! I made it! They are only giving us 5 minutes to write home and we need to tell you that

1. I'm alive
2. Write me on Sundays. The day that we check emails changes every week and they want us to have an email every time we check, so write Sundays.

I sat next to Elder Speth on the plane to Guatemala, I practiced my Spanish with the guy sitting next to me, he was Guatemalan, it was pretty cool!

You might have noticed that my punctuation is a little off, I'm still getting used to the Spanish keyboard, also the internet is in Spanish so every word has the red spellcheck line.

I'm scheduled to meet with the president pretty soon, gotta go! Love ya!

Elder Goodman

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

And he is off!



Zach's contact information

Zach's email address is zach.goodman@myldsmail.net.

He will be at the Guatemala MTC for 6 weeks.  You can send him letters at:

Elder Zach Goodman
Guatemala Missionary Training Center
Bulevar Vista Hermosa 23-71
Vista Hermosa I, Zona 15
01015 Guatemala City
Guatemala, C.A.