Monday, November 28, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

This was a pretty interesting week for us. It was pretty hard.  This week we had some interesting experiences. I got pretty down just looking around and seeing all the problems. I kept feeling that no matter what I did it wouldn't make a difference. I was feeling pretty discouraged.

President Vasquez came to our ward yesterday to re-arrange the branch presidency. He also did all of the interviews for the missionaries. It was really cool! Really good. My interview was pretty informal- normally President Vasquez has it very structured, he knows what he wants to do and talk about. But this time it felt like we were just hanging out. It was actually pretty cool. He is a really cool guy- I love him so much. He did a pretty good job of pumping me up! We left to work that afternoon really excited to talk to everyone!

Sorry, I can't really think of anything else to write about. I'm good! Love you! Happy thanksgiving!

-Elder Goodman

Questions from Kanani:

1.  We got a Facebook message Monday from Oswaldo Pena saying he'd had you over that night (is he the branch presidency member?) and then that led to Cejas Arevalo friending us and we saw a lot of the basketball pictures he took with you all.  We were wondering who they are?  Are they in your branch? Did we guess right that Oswaldo is in the branch presidency?
Zach: Yup! Pres Peña is the member!  Cejas is an investigator.

2.  We got an email about the earthquake that hit off the coast of El Salvador and that all the missionaries are fine!  Did you even feel it?  Are you too far in land?  Then they were a little worried about tsunamis, but you're a little higher up, right?  So, we were guessing you didn't have to worry about that true?
Zach: 3. I was on a bus when it hit- and I was asleep. We didn't feel it. But other missionaries in our zone did. In San Salvador they felt it too. It didn't really do much damage.

3.  So, how long does it take you to get to Cedros?  Will you take the bus to get there?  Can you go there as often as you want, or just once a week?
Zach: 15-20 minutes in bus.  5 in a car.

4.  Has the Trump furor died down? Or are you still from Canada?
Zach: It's died down, it really depends on who is asking!

Monday, November 21, 2016

San Rafael Cedros

Hi everyone!

This week we baptized Mercy's son. Jhonson Estiveen  (That's Salvadoreñan for Johnson Stephen). He was pretty positive a while ago. But his aunt is super catholic. She started working on him super hard. Telling him stuff like his family would reject him, that no one would love him, if he got baptized. When I started teaching the family he wasn't positive at all. But his mom got baptized. She told him that if he didn't get baptized too he wouldn't be able to get into heaven to be with her. He changed his mind this week, and we scrambled to be able to get him baptized the same week. It was pretty fun. The baptismal pila was taking a long time to fill up. We had the service planned for the morning, before church- so we didn't have much time to wait for it to fill up. In the time before the service started I practiced with Jhonson over and over to get his form down so we could baptize him in the little water we had. (really lucky that he's a pretty skinny 9 year old kid).  It was a really cold morning (below 70 is freezing here) and the water was cold cold cold, but we did it! It was awesome! He was so happy!

My new companion is Elder Crespo. He's from puerto rico. He's really really cool, he was my friend before we were companions and I was pretty excited when I found out he'd be my new companion. He comes from Alta Vista in Ilopango. (I was in that ward a year ago). His last companion was Elder Hernandez (my son!)  He and Elder Palmer switched places. So now Elder Palmer is in Alta Vista with Elder Hernandez.  (Hope that all makes sense)

We had a really cool experience yesterday:
There is a part of our area named San Rafael Cedros. It's a completely different city kind of far away. I've never really been there- just passed through in bus. We found a family in a canton close to Cedros. (canton is village) (contact at the cemetery activity) that we've been teaching. There is one member that lives in Cedros and he's part of the branch presidency.

 Last week I called him and set it up so that he could pass by and take this family to church on Sunday.  Sunday came around, and not even the member came to church. I was ticked. In ward council we were talking about it, and it came up that the member has been struggling with depression.  I felt like such a jerk. I totally judged him without understanding the details. I don't know why (well, it was the Spirit) but I felt like I should visit him. All week I thought about him every day, and the desire to visit him just kept getting stronger and stronger.

 I don't know where he lives, so I made arreglos (I can't remember how to say that in English) with the EQ president to visit this guy (the member that lives in Cedros) on Sunday. This Sunday, yesterday, the member came to church. And because of that the EQ pres decided that we didn't need to visit him anymore. I was a little annoyed, but then I realized I could just talk to the member himself, he was the one we were going to visit anyway. (I hope this is all making sense). 

I talked to him and said we wanted to do a family home evening, I showed him my agenda so he could see what time he wanted us to come. Long story short he wanted to visit our investigators with us before we visited him in his house. He went out with us to visit the 2 families we are teaching in the village kind of close to Cedros. It was an amazing lesson. This member is a returned missionary- and he knew exactly what to say. I didn't have to worry about him going off and saying random things (like every other member I ever try to visit with).
Long story short- amazing lesson.

He took us back to the city and started to show us around town. He was so excited to work with us. And so excited to show us Cedros. He told us that we are the first missionaries to ever visit that city. He was so excited to show us all the landmarks so we can get around, and making sure we could find our way back to his house. He even stopped a woman in the street, a friend, and introduced us to her. He told her about a family home evening we were going to do and invited her. It was awesome! Perfect member to work with. 

We went to the house and had a great family home evening with them. His wife was so excited to see us. She told us we were the first members of the church to ever visit her in her house in the 8 years they've been together. She is from San Vicente, and He's from Santa Anna- so I'm starting to think that no missionary had ever set foot in San Rafael Cedros to proselyte. They were so so happy and excited for us to be there. We have a noche de hogar planned with them for tonight as well. They gave us a ride home and the atmosphere in the car was kind of hard to describe. Kind of like the night before Christmas and everyone is just giddy, and randomly bursts out singing songs. it was like that.  The family was excited because someone remembered them, and that the missionaries are going to be working in the city where they live. And we happy for the same reason, and for the discovery that we had found a city that had never been touched by missionaries, and a family who were super eager to help.

It all started because I've been trying to be more loving and understanding. I was just looking to help that man, because it seemed like he could use a pick me up. And it looks like the Lord was just waiting to bless us. It's all about helping the people and following the spirit.

Great end for the week.

Love you all!
Have a great week!

-Elder Goodman

Monday, November 14, 2016

I'm from Canada

This was a big week for me. On Wednesday morning we got a call saying that Trump had won the election. The people down here hate him. And missionaries have been having problems because we are white. On Wednesday they called us saying that from now on we couldn't say that we were from the U.S. We can say we are from Canada, or England, or anywhere else, except the States. So this week I've been telling everyone I'm from Canada. I also realized that I don't know anything about Canada... Luckily no one down here knows anything about Canada either.  Maybe in next weeks email if you could send me a fact sheet or something, I want some information that I can have on hand to tell people. How much snow, how many Mormons, how many provinces, etc.. Thanks!

For the month of October our zone was the highest baptizing zone of the mission! We bought the missionaries pizza to celebrate at our zone conference this week!

This week we baptized Mercy. The missionaries have been working on her for 4 years. I visited her, and got a little frustrated. I told her that she already knew everything- it all depended on her now. But that we as missionaries wouldn't be able to visit her if she didn't want to be baptized. We have too many people to visit who want to get baptized, and we can't waste our time on the people who don't.

Pretty harsh, I know. But in her Interview with President Vasquez she told him that that was the tipping point for her.  I feel like I was sent here for her, maybe that's why I'm here in Cojute.  Pretty awesome!

Love you lots! Thanks for everything!
-Elder Goodman

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Book of Mormon

This was kind of a hard week. I would describe myself this week as a less active missionary. I didn't have the normal pep in my step. I was having a hard time staying motivated. It was a hard week. On Saturday I was looking back trying to figure out what happened. And I realized it was my studies. On Wednesday we had the day of the dead activity in the cemetery. We got up early to get to the cemetery the earliest we could- so we didn't have time to study. On Friday we had consejo (advice) in President's house. We had to get up early to get down there in time.  I looked at what I had been studying. It was all good stuff. Preach my gospel- the pamphlets, Liahonas, Mormon messages, etc. I felt the spirit. But I realized that not once had I studied the Book of Mormon. I hadn't even opened it during my study time. That was the difference. (I remember this same thing happened to me a couple months ago- guess I didn't learn my lesson). On Sunday I started my studies at 7.30 instead of 8 and I hit the Book of Mormon hard. That was the secret. I'm back!
There is a part member family that we have been visiting. The dad is a member. Mother and kids aren't. Everyone hates the dad. We had the chance to visit them earlier when the dad wasn't home. And we finally got to hear the Mom's side of the story. Way, way sad.  Wednesday was the mom's birthday. They had told me a while ago. Wednesday I wanted to pass by and say hi to the mom on her birthday- maybe buy her a soda or something. They live pretty far away from where we were at, and my comp didn't want to- but we went down there anyway. We stopped at the closest store and I asked the man if he knew the mom. He did. I asked him what is her favorite pan dulce and drink. We bought it and went to the house. You should have seen the look on her face when we brought her our little gift. She looked like she wanted to cry. Obviously her husband had forgotten about her on her birthday. But the missionaries hadn't!  It was a really cool experience for us. The family has gotten a lot kinder with us as well! Sorry if that story didn't make much sense, I'm out of time so I couldn't proofread it.
I love you all!
 -Elder Goodman
Questions from Kanani
1. Did you have any Dia De Los Muertes activities this year?
Yeah, we went to the cemetery and contacted. It was pretty good!

2. Last year you told us that they don’t celebrate Halloween much there….in this area is it any different?
No- they don't celebrate Halloween at all here.

3. Fireworks sound exciting and dangerous!  Can they light them whenever they want?  I guess they don’t have to worry too much about starting fires in dry areas? But, I didn’t realize the houses had an open roof area….that’s probably not good with fireworks!
Yeah, fireworks are a year-round activity!