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


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