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


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 espaƱol 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 elexpiaciĆ³n, 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.