Monday, March 28, 2016

A bag of water in 8.54 seconds

So, this week was a little different than normal. On Thursday we did the semiannual temple trip.  This time rather than being an hour drive from Ilopango it was a 3.5 hour drive from San Miguel. We spent 7 hours on a bus that day. Needless to say, the investigators that we were able to bring are pretty dedicated! The temple trip was pretty awesome though. I saw a ton of people that I know, and I was able to say hi to them. It was really cool!

This week was the "Semana Santa." Easter Week. I thought it would be a really big deal down here, but really the only difference is that they get the week off. I think our family has better Easter traditions, than the majority of the people here.

The city just shuts down. No one on the roads, no one in their houses. Supposedly everyone basically just goes to the beach this week. Friday we had plans to go to Hato Nuevo, a Colonia in our area. It's about 15 minutes away in bus. The problem is that on Friday there were no buses. We ended up walking. Starting at about one thirty, when it is the hottest. It took about an hour and a half. It was horrible. Another problem is that all the stores are closed that day. So we couldn't buy water.  (We drink about 3 liters of water a day. For us it makes more sense to just buy water.  We buy a 500 ml bag of water whenever we get thirsty.  The bags are 2 for a quarter, and cold. )

Fun side note. This week I set my record for the amount of time it takes to drink one bag. 8.54 seconds. My district leader's is 5.2ish seconds. But he's a lot bigger than I am. On Friday I got pretty burned. But we had some good lessons that day, so it was worth it. I was also wearing my boots that day, which I'm starting to realize aren't the best for walking a lot. They look really cool, but they aren't the most comfortable. Friday night my legs and feet were really hurting.
On Friday night the USA soccer team played Guatemala, and lost. 2-0. I am the only American in my Ward (of the missionaries) and there are 4 Guatemalans, including my companion. I got a lot of flack about that.

I have a heat rash on my back that is really itchy.

I found out that if you coat the nerf bullets in talcum powder before shooting them it makes a cool little explosion out of the gun when you shoot. And it makes a nice little white mark when it hits stuff.

That's about all that I can think to write about. Thanks for everything! I love you!

-Elder Goodman

Responses to questions from Kanani
1.  What ward are you in?
2.  Do they have Dollar Stores and WalMarts in San Miguel?
Yeah... But the problem is that I'm in the zone La UniĆ³n. Which means that I can't go to the stores in San Miguel.
3.  Do you eat at member's houses or just hire someone?
We pay a member for lunch. And we have a dinner calender for dinner.
4.  How often do you have zone conferences?
Once a change. (every 6 weeks) But we have district meetings every week.
5.  What is your apartment like here?  Microwave?  Oven?  Stove?
Microwave, Hot plate, fridge.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Starting from the ground up

This week was a pretty hard week. We had a lot of fechas fall (for baptism) and we didn't teach very many lessons. The problem is that when I came to the area it wasn't doing very well, so we are starting from the ground up. It'll take at least a couple weeks before we start baptizing.

We have a couple neighborhoods in our area where we don't have anything going on. No investigators, no nothing. This week we spent 3 days in this part of the area looking for people to teach. But we kind of just ended up wasting our time though. It's an awful feeling coming home dead tired from walking in the sun all day, and talking to everyone, and having nothing to show for it. We had three of those days this week. Which, needless to say, is pretty discouraging. Elder Hernandez and I did a lot of thinking and praying this week, trying to figure out how to work smarter.

This week the mission has been telling us to start doing family home evenings with the members inviting friends. It really seemed like an answer to prayers. The Lord humbled us this week, so that we'll accept the counsel of our leaders. It's pretty cool actually. We were probably as low as we could get, praying for anything that could help us. When we realized maybe we should put in practice what we learned from the last zone conference last week.

Anyway... we are now looking for family home evening ideas. If you could send us all the ideas that you have for family home evening games, that would be much appreciated! Right now I've got Balloon Volleyball and Don't eat pete.I read the article the Dara wrote about Integrity. That was really awesome! Thanks for sending that!

I love you!
-Elder Goodman

Me and my comp Elder Hernandez

Cool view of the volcano

Monday, March 14, 2016

Bienvenidos a infierno!

Hi everyone! Wow! Thanks for all the letters! That was awesome! I would love to reply to all of them, but it took a while to read them all- and I don't have much time. But I was really really glad to read them! It was perfect!

So I celebrated my birthday this week by having changes!  I am now in a beautiful city named San Miguel. It's on the other side of the country. And it's pretty hot here. (remember the guy at the pupuseria?) When we got of the bus the attendant told us "bienvenidos a infierno!"

To be honest it reminds me a lot of St. George. When you go outside your skin just starts to hurt from the sun. Sweating is just a way of life. The only time you don't sweat is when you're in the shower. But the thing is that it's so hot the water comes out lukewarm, so even taking showers isn't as refreshing as it could be. My companion and I are contemplating puting a fan in the bathroom while we shower.

Speaking of my companion, he's a stud. His name is Elder Hernandez, he's from the city of Guatemala. He's only got about a month on the mission. I'm actually finishing his training. But I don't need to do much. He is super motivated, and very prepared. He's also a convert, telling his conversion story to investigators is really one of his strengths. He's also learning English. The rule we put for ourselves is to speak English in the house, and Spanish in the street.

I am part of the Zone La Union. So every pday and district meeting we have to take an hour and a half bus ride to the city of La Union.  We are going to be doing a lot of traveling here. For district meetings we spend more time on the bus than in the meetings.

Yesterday we had a pretty cool spiritual experience:

We needed 6 new investigators for the week to achieve the standards of excellence.  Me and Elder Hernandez put the goal to talk to 25 people in the street on Sunday. To find 6 new investigators. We weren't able to get out to work until 5:30, and we had dinner with a member family at 8:00. So we only had 2 and a half hours to work.

We didn't have time to teach lessons, so we just carried a Book of Mormon in hand and offered to share it with people. The scripture talked about baptism, and afterward we invited them to baptism on the street.

Not surprisingly we got turned down a lot. But of the 26 people we talked to, 6 accepted the date to be baptized.  Yesterday was a pretty sweet day, numbers wise, but it also helped my testimony grow a lot. All day we had been praying, asking that Heavenly Father would put chosen people in our path. And I really believe that we found some chosen people yesterday.

Sorry, out of time

Love you!

-Elder Goodman

Cake from a family in Alta Vista.

Me cleaning our bathroom

Monday, March 7, 2016

Electrical work

This week we did service for an investigator family. They are moving houses, so we cleaned out the new house and painted it before moving the furniture in. It took a long time. We weren't able to get permission to bring other missionaries in to help, because it is too dangerous where they live. two companionships were able to come for a little bit, but Elder Vallecillo and I did the majority ourselves. It took the entire day. We also weren't able to change out of our shirt and ties (the danger thing again) so that kind of stunk. I got my clothes a little dirty....

I also learned a thing or two about how they do the electricity here in El Salvador. The new house only had one electrical outlet. To create another one my companion and Diego, the investigator, tore out a light switch and taped an extension chord to the wires inside. (I decided I didn't want to involve myself with that). We didn't have anything to test the electricity, so we just had to plug stuff in to see if it would turn on. It didn't work.

They decided that the outlet/switch must be bad. So they started to try to undo the extension chord. But they did such a good job taping it up that they decided it would just be easier to cut the wires out. Diego tried to cut the wire with a pair of metal pliers, and as you can probably guess, he got a pretty good shock.

At this point we decided it would be easier and safer to go get a professional electrician who lived close. I fully expected him to tell us to use a splitter or something on the one outlet. But he did almost exactly the same thing that we did. Using a light socket instead of a switch. The nice thing is that the houses here are all concrete and cinderblock. So it's pretty hard to burn down a house...

A spiritual experience...
Getting investigators to church can be pretty frustrating. We tell them to meet us at 9.00 at a corner outside their colonia so we can get them a ride to church from a member. Finally at 9.30 they leave the house after we knock for awhile. And the member has to wait outside a colonia that is too dangerous for him to enter. I get pretty angry sometimes. But whenever my companion can tell that I'm angry he'll sit down, and he won't move until I calm down. The first time he did it, it made me even more angry. But now I'm grateful. If we are angry, we don't have the spirit. And if we don't have the spirit, well....

Have a great week! I love you!

-Elder Goodman

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Hi everyone! This was a pretty good week. Today for our pday activity we watched the Minions movie as a zone. It was pretty funny. I missed a couple of jokes (it was in Spanish) but it was still pretty good! My favorite part was probably Stuart's guitar solo at the end.

This week I had a pretty cool experience. On Saturday we had a baptism, and we also had to do a baptismal interview. We had so much to do that we didn't have time to do our studies in the morning. Around 12.00ish I started feeling kind of down in the dumps. It was kind of weird actually. I had every reason to be happy, but I just felt kind of off. Down depressed or sad... just .... different. Around 12.30 ish we stopped by the church to finish filling up the font. And I took advantage of the moment to read the Book of Mormon. I was able to read a couple chapters. And I immediately started feeling better. By the time we left I felt really good, and ready to take on the day. Interesting experience. I have a testimony of Scripture study, especially that of the book of Mormon. Now I know why missionaries are supposed to study in the morning. And why we should pay special attention to the Book of Mormon. When President Duncan visited he told us that if someone reads the Book of Mormon every day they will never go inactive.

My companion is convinced that I have insomnia. Lately I've been trying to drink more water. It's hard to do that during the day, so I always end up drinking a ton at night. And consequently going to the bathroom during the night. Saturday night one of the nearby churches had a midnight service, and kept the entire street awake all night. ('church' here means listening to a pastor yell about Jesus using giant concert speakers) I had a hard time sleeping.  Yesterday morning my companion took me aside and started talking to me about my problem  He's noticed that I 1. Get up during the night (the water thing) 2. Take sleeping pills every night ( my allergy and vitamin- not exactly what he thinks) 3. And that I'm tired during the day. (I'm not sure why, but I always yawn when we sing hymns).  And then Saturday night he realized that I had a hard time sleeping. He put 2 and 2 together and found out about my 'insomnia'. He told me that I don't need to suffer with this alone. That he's here to help me, and that if I ever feel lonely or scared during the night I shouldn't hesitate to wake him up. He even read me a couple of scriptures. I tried to explain to him that, as grateful as I was for his support, I didn't have insomnia. But he wouldn't have any of that. He is convinced.  We'll see how this goes...

I was looking at pictures of the new temple in Provo today.  Wow... that is really pretty.

We dropped one of our cocineras today. Looking at it logically it makes perfect sense. We have to travel quite a ways to her house, to pay for food that is too expensive, and, honestly, isn't very good. We told her that she was too expensive, and too far away. But all she heard was that we didn't like her food, and that she is the reason I got sick. Although those reasons are both true, we never told her that. Needless to say we didn't part ways on the best of terms.....

Last week a missionary came home from Brasil. He gave his homecoming talk in Portuguese, because he 'forgot Spanish'. None of the members believed that, and they were all pretty mad that they weren't able to understand his talk. Everyone wanted to talk to us about that during the week. It was quite the controversy! The funny thing is that I have talked to the RM, and his Spanish is pretty hard to understand. He is mixing up a lot of words with Portuguese. When my companion and I talked to him we only understood about 60-70% of what he was trying to say. It was pretty funny!

Have a great week! I love you!

-Elder Goodman