Monday, April 25, 2016

I am getting really tired of buses

Hi Everyone!

This was a pretty good week!  We had changes this week. Elder Hernandez left.  My new companion is Elder Gonzalez. He's from Guatemala. He's brand new on the mission. I'm training him. He's pretty awesome. He's a pretty funny guy- I think we'll get along pretty well. I'm teaching him English, which is really fun too.  To receive the new missionaries we had to go down to San Salvador. So on Tuesday we woke up at 4- so we could make the bus by 5- so we could be there by 9. Let me tell you- I am really getting tired of buses.  This change we got 16 new missionaries. only 2 were from the United States. We are progressively getting less and less Americans. Right now about 1/4 of the missionaries in this mission are American. When I got here it was about 50-50. Interesting. I met the sister missionary that was roomates with Tiffany at Utah State. She's in San Miguel too. That was pretty cool! Small world.

In the meeting down there President Vasquez told us we should ask for a blessing from our bishop. This Sunday we did that. And it was a really spiritual experience. I've been feeling a bit more stress lately, and getting a little discouraged. Lately I've been feeling like I've been working really hard, and not getting the help/support that I need. When I was in San Salvador I found out about some of my converts that are having some problems, and that got me a little down as well.  But when the bishop put his hands on my head, and started to speak. Everything just washed away. He specifically addressed every problem that I was having, and he said exactly what I needed to hear. It was amazing. One of the most inspired blessings I have received. I remember yesterday during Sacrament meeting I had my head down for a lot of the time. I just spent a lot of time thinking, and being discouraged. But when we left the bishops office after church I felt so good. As missionaries we give a lot of blessings (we gave two that Sunday). This experience was a big motivator for me to be more spiritually in tune. So I can be able to say what the Lord needs me to say.

Have a great week!
I love you!

-Elder Goodman

Elder Gonzalez

Monday, April 18, 2016

Cottage cheese covered toad

Hiya Everyone!

This was a great week! We went to the Temple this week, just as a mission. Man that was awesome! I love the temple. The one here is so pretty.

Yesterday I had a kind of funny experience.

We found a toad in our house Saturday night. Then on Sunday morning he came back, and he brought a friend. Every house has tubes coming out of it that go into the gutter, the water that falls in the house goes out there. We saw a toad in that tube. But then he hopped out and starting hopping around in our house. Frogs are super dirty here, we didn't want it in the house. So I started chasing it with a dustpan and I was able to swat it out of the house. Then we decided to dump water down the drain to make the other toad come out. A bunch of young people from the neighborhood were watching us in our fight against the toads. One of us told us that a gross milk comes out of the frogs, so to be careful. But I thought he said that we need to pour milk on the frog to make it leave. I bought some milk about 6 weeks ago that is still in the fridge. I couldn't drink it (milk here gives everyone diarrhea). So I got that and poured it on the frog. But it wasn't milk anymore. More like cottage cheese. I covered the frog. And it went nuts. Jumping all over in the garage. I started screaming No NO NO! I sprinted after it and nailed it with the dust pan. But I got the angle wrong. It hit the metal ceiling with a pretty satisfying thump. But then it got tangled up in my Christmas lights before coming back down. I got it good the second time though. And sent the cottage cheese covered toad flying out of the house about 6 feet in the air right into the middle of the crowd of jovenes in the street. It was pretty wild!

I don't know if you could tell, but I didn't have much time to write this week.

Sorry for the not very well organized / not very spiritual letter.

Love you!
Have a great week!

-Elder Goodman

Monday, April 11, 2016

Cloud Nine

Hi everyone!

This week was a really really good week. This week Elder Hernandez and I decided we were going to buckle down and work really really hard to get good numbers. (number of lessons, fechas, new investigators, etc..)  Historically this area is a very weak area. It used to be two areas, but they closed the other one last year. Last year they didn't have hardly any baptisms, and every person that was baptised is now inactive. I came in with really high expectations. But they didn't have very many good investigators- and the good ones all have problems so they can't get baptized. Basically we've had to start from scratch. So our numbers have been really low.

But last week we had our interviews with president Vasquez. And he taught us a little bit about the minimum of faith. He showed us what our numbers would look like if we had the minimum of faith- and the majority were higher than ours currently were!

I am really blessed with my companion. He is the perfect companion for me, Elder Hernandez has a ton of desire to be a good missionary, and to have success- and he is already very good at teaching as well (he took the mission prep class from institute 4 times) He's also a convert, so he's good at connecting with the people, and he has a strong testimony. He had to fight against his dad, who is not a member, to even be on the mission. (His parents are very supportive now though.)   Basically what I am trying to say is that he is on the mission for all the right reasons, and he's willing to work!

This week we set our goals at the standards of excellence. And we were blessed, we pretty much doubled every number that we recorded last week. We overpassed the standards of excellence. By Friday. Saturday we just focused on getting everybody to church. And Sunday, Sunday was awesome. Normally we run around all Sunday trying to find more people, or trying to get more lessons so we can get our goals.  But this Sunday we didn't need to do any of that. It was a little weird actually! So we decided to call the bishop, and we asked him if there was anyone in the ward who could use a visit from the missionaries. And we spent the whole day looking up less active members who haven't been in church for a while. It was a really rewarding experience.

I heard a phrase once that I feel applies really well for working with church leaders and mission leaders. It goes like this. ´Never go to your leaders with problems, if you want to be succesful go to your leaders with solutions.´ Obviously that doesn't work in all situations, but I am really trying to make that my motto for working with ward leaders.  Most missionaries don't really like their Bishops, they only go to their bishop when they need help with something, or when something wrong happens. But when President Nelson came and visited, in September, he told us our best friends should be the bishop. I realized that you never go to your friends just to ask favors, you should also try to serve them. So in my mission I've really tried to make a point to be the missionary that the bishop can call when he needs help. Not just the missionary who calls for help. (hopefully that made sense). Anyway, that's why it felt so good on Sunday to be able to dedicate the whole day to making the ward stronger.

Spiritual experience:
This week we visited the family where the sister was really impressed with tithing. This week we taught baptisms for the dead, and they loved it! Except for the brother. He kept telling us how illogical this whole plan was. That God would just create us, just for the fun of it, put us through life. In live we have to somehow do enough to be saved. But if we don't have the chance we can still get baptized after this life. To go to Heaven. And what's so great about heaven anyway? Just sit around all day being happy.  I was a little shocked, I love the plan of salvation. And God. And I always trusted in the plan. But I felt like that wouldn't cut it with him. Suddenly I felt the Spirit telling me what to say (isn't it the best when that happens?) I flipped open to the Scripture Guide (doesn't exist in English scriptures) and read the entry to Exaltation. Focusing on one part in particular. Become as Heavenly Father.

 In probably one of the most spiritual moments on my mission I explained to him that God is our Father. Literally. And as every good father, he wants us to be successful, and gain what he has gained. So really Heaven, as believed earlier, isn't how it works. The goal is literally to become Gods, with numberless Children and worlds, just like our Father.

As I explained this I felt the spirit so strongly. I had the triplet clenched in my hand, and I was shaking it as I spoke to him. I usually have a pretty soft voice when I teach, but I was almost shouting, just talking very strongly. I finished and he just kind of sat there. And then he completely changed. 'you´re right, he said. That makes so much sense.'

Best. Lesson. Ever.

I was on cloud nine for the rest of the day. So grateful, and full of love for Heavenly Father and his plan. And the Holy Ghost.

Love You!
-Elder Goodman

At the beach today

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Food poisoning ... again


Sorry I'm writing on Wednesday. That's a little different!

On Sunday I'm pretty sure I got food poisoning. A member gave us some chicken sandwiches she had made for lunch. And right after that I started having the chorros. That lasted all Sunday night (a very long night) and Monday as well. I tried to go to a store Monday morning to buy some powerade (about half a block) and about killed myself. I spent about 5 minutes dry heaving in the street half way home. And it took another 5 minutes to whimper/shuffle my way home, leaning against the walls of houses the whole way. It would have been kind of embarrassing if I wasn't, you know, dying. Needless to say we didn't go anywhere on Monday.

The Salvadoranean squirts really suck the life out of you. (I put some thought into that little phrase!) Sorry to go into detail, but I feel like it's kind of a funny story, hope you appreciate it.

Other that that it was a pretty awesome week! Some quick highlights.

1.General Conference was AWESOME! We watched it in English. In a room with air conditioning! At one point we were all shivering and freezing, we went to see what the thermostat was set to 73 degrees. We all felt a little wimpy after that.

2. My companion and I put together a pretty sweet ward mission plan to split the ward we are in. The bishop invited us to present it during the Bishopric meeting. It felt a lot like being in DECA to be honest. Giving the pros and cons, and getting ideas. It was a really really neat experience.

3. Yesterday we had an interesting lesson about tithing. Normally when teaching tithing (and everything else for that matter) we try to get the investigators to feel something. The spirit, a need, a blessing, love, etc.  But yesterday, even though they felt the spirit, we explained tithing in a very logical way (pathos vs logos for the English students).  The lady we were teaching is studying business management. And she really liked the way the church handles tithing. At one point she said ¨man! This is awesome! The only way it could be better is if the church gave a receipt!¨ She was kind of joking, and pretty surprised when we told her that we do that as well!

She told us that our church was perfect. And it was pretty satisfying to say that it's not our church, it's actually the Lord's. And He is perfect, so His church should be too!

It's a fact that not very many people appreciate down here.

Have a great week!
-Elder Goodman