Monday, June 12, 2017

2 John 1:12

Hi Family!

Well, this is it. I was really tempted to just write 2 John 1:12 as my final email. But that seems like it wouldn't be the best idea...

This week was pretty great!

Elder Renlund (the apostle) came on Tuesday. We had a multi-mission. That was pretty awesome! I shook his hand!

It's been raining a lot. My shoes aren't waterproof anymore so lots of wet socks..

A dog was following us home saturday night, we crossed the street and he crossed after us. We made it. He didn't. He got hit by a car and died. I watched it. It was really sad.

Wednesday was my final interview with President Vasquez. It was really nice.

I think that's about all. Can't wait to see you on Thursday!

Have a great couple of days!

-Elder Goodman

Monday, June 5, 2017

Crazy Sonia

Hi Family!

So, first things first, my dog bite is fine. The dog was vaccinated against rabies, it's all good!

To be honest, this week was pretty slow. I'm not really sure what to write about.

I can't remember if I have written about Sonia. She's a half-crazy 45ish year old lady that sells stuff in the street. And she's in love with me. She hugged me once when I had my back to her. She loves talking to us and telling us about how she used to be white like me, but she got cursed by her daughter in law, who's a witch. She also has a son who looks exactly like me (apparently). She calls me her ´´regazo´´ which means lap. I think she means something else. But she's always telling me how perfect I am. (I always knew that I was perfect, but its nice to her people tell me:)

The funny thing is that she doesn't like my companion. She won't shake his hand. Or accept anything he gives her (like folletos). And when she gives me things (like cookies or stuff like that) she always tells me not to share with him. She is always really polite, and tells him it's not his fault. It's just that he has la otra sangre. He has another blood. I don't know what that means, but it's pretty funny.

Cool story, this week a member brought a friend to church. This is really big! Especially because a month ago he didn't want to help us at all. But ever since we asked him to baptize for us he's been all in! He is always asking to go on visits with us. And now he's bringing friends to church! That's really cool!

I think that's about all for this week.

Love you all!

-Elder Goodman

Monday, May 29, 2017

Last minute talk in church

Hi everyone!

This was a pretty good week Ericka and Narda got baptized! It was great!

On Sunday not very many people came to church, and we didn't have hardly any priesthood holders. My companion got to bless the sacrament. I was conducting the hymns, so I was sitting on the stand. And during the Sacrament the Branch President leaned over and asked me if I could speak. So I got to speak in church this week! It was cool!

On Thursday I got bit by a dog! It was a french poodle. I've been keeping close attention to my leg where he bit me (right hamstring). The wound looks like a mosquito bite. Since he bit me from behind I didn't see it- and no one else did either. I just felt a sharp pain in my leg and assumed it was the dog. But we're starting to think that it was actually some sort of bug that got me....

My companion sprained his ankle this week (like Jenny!) And we lost some working time, that was kind of hard. He got better though

On Sunday we lost our phone. We called it and it's with some members out in Cuyultitan that we were visiting. That's pretty far away, so we won't be able to get it until Tuesday. On the plus side we got to go to bed early last night :)

Well, that looks like it's about all!

Have a great week!

-Elder Goodman

Matching ties

Ericka and Narda got baptized

Monday, May 22, 2017

Teaching Isabel

Hi Family!

This was a pretty great week.

My companion got really, really sick on Sunday. Diarrhea and fever. I feel bad, but I feel like he had it coming after giving me diarrhea last week. I stayed in and watched the Joseph Smith movie. 

The water hasn't been running for about a week, turns out they cut the water. I called the company and the bill hadn't been paid for 3 months. I paid it about 2 weeks ago- but it was too late apparently. And when they cut the water here, they cut it. I'll send pictures. 

My backpack broke- a hole opened up in the bottom. I didn't realize until stuff started falling out... Good thing I still have my Timbuk2 bag.

We got locked out of the house. We borrowed a ladder and used a mop stick to open the latch. That was kind of fun!

There is a crazy lady that we see all the time. She's in love with me- she hugged me last week before I was able to stop her. But she won't talk to my companion because he's black. It was kind of funny. It's a long story, but I don't have enough time.

We are teaching a lady named Isabel. She's having a hard time keeping the law of chastity. To help her understand the importance of that we read Alma 39. Where Alma talks to his son Coriantun and tells him that he shouldn't have run off with the harlot Isabel. I had forgotten that the harlot's name was Isabel, the same as my investigator. When we read that I started laughing really hard.  Everyone did. Except for Isabel. She just looked kind of uncomfortable.... It was pretty funny though.

On Saturday we left with the elders quorum to visit some less actives. I left with the Brother Antonio. We visited two families. The first one had some money, they had a really nice house. I liked it a lot. The second family was pretty poor. They had a big mango tree, and they gave us a ton of mangos. Hermano Antonio tried to pay them, but they wouldn't accept it. Finally he got the son to accept it. (fun fact, the son has the same birthday as me!) The family sent us off with even more mangos!

We left the house feeling so happy, I am still surprised how generous the people here are. Especially the Brother Antonio- He's a huge example to me. He just tries as hard as he can to make other people happy, and to serve. I'm really grateful to be able to serve in this area.

Looks like that's about it!

Love you all!

-Elder Goodman

The famous church in Panchimalco

San Salvador

They cut our water. They legit cut the line. jeez...

Monday, May 15, 2017

Happy Mothers Day!

Hi Family!

It was great to see you all yesterday! Happy Mothers day!

This week was a pretty great week. I'm not really sure what to write about, because we talked yesterday. But I always feel bad when I don't write very much. 

Today we planned a special zone pday to go to Panchimalco. It was really fun! We played softball. I didn't break the ball this time. But I did get a home run! The ball we played with was really, really hard, and heavy. We didn't have very many mitts to play with. So I played barehanded. They're still a little sore... I was playing outfield and got a really cool one handed snag. It hurt quite a bit though:)

We played from 11-1, which is pretty hot. By the end most of the missionaries decided to stop playing. So the teams got down to about 4 or 5 players each. And the only ones still playing were the ones who were fairly good. It turned into a home run derby. The last inning I got on base 4 times. In one inning. It was pretty fun!  Elder Rios (that you recognized from the call yesterday) is from Puerto Rico. I've heard they play a lot of baseball in the Caribbean. He proved it today. He can hit hard. He can't run very fast, but he would hit it so hard that he didn't need to:)
I didn't see the Familia Garcia- which was a pretty big bummer. But at least I got to talk to them on the phone last week.

Well, my time is pretty much up. And I don't have much more to write about.

I love you lots! 

Have a great week!

-Elder Goodman

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Dead Cat, a Crazy Drunk, and Lightning Bugs

Hi all!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TYLER! 15! You can start driving! That's sweet!

This was a pretty great week. I have a new companion. His name is Elder Perez from the Dominican Republic. He's pretty cool. He's also really distracting, I'm having a hard time keeping all my thoughts together. 

Yesterday we went to a part of our area called Cuyultitan. It's pretty far away. I forgot that on Sunday the buses stop early. we got stranded. We called the Elders Quorum president, and he came and gave us a ride. But it took him about half an hour to get all the way out to where we were. So we walked. There was a guy that also was stuck out there. He walked with us. We made it all the way to Olocuilta almost. It was pretty far! On the way we found a dead cat, a crazy drunk guy that tried to warn us about a police check point up ahead, and a cloud of lightning bugs. The cloud of lightning bugs was pretty cool!

Narda got baptized on Saturday!

About 6 months ago I made a rule that I wouldn't do any more baptisms. Ever since then I've asked members to do them. I'd like for all the priesthood holders in the ward to baptize. I've actually gotten thanked a lot. Most of them haven't baptized anyone since their missions. A long time ago. 

We got a ward mission leader last week! We're trying to train him right! He directed the baptismal service on Saturday. It was pretty good. He skipped the talks, but it all turned out all right!

Sorry I don't have more to write about. Can't wait to see you on Sunday! I still don't know what time I'll be calling. But I'll try to send you a heads-up email.

Well, looks like my time is up!

Love you all!

Have a great week!

.Elder Goodman

New companion Elder Perez

Monday, May 1, 2017


HI everyone!
This was a pretty good week!
I don't have much time to write, I'll try to be fast.

Well, Erika didn't get baptized this week:( She struggles with migraines. This week she was at the office and she got a really bad one, she drank coffee to help her feel better. We need to get her some medicine. She'll be getting baptized on the 13th.

We still did have a baptism though! Alisson got baptized! It was a really nice service. My companion conducted, which is huge for him. He did a great job!

News: Looks like President doesn't want me to get baggy for my last change, I'm going to be training again. It´ll be good. But whenever I think about it I just feel really tired. 

Sorry, looks like my time is up. Sorry that I couldn't write very much.

I love you all! Have a great week!

-Elder Goodman

Alisson's baptism.

Erika was at the baptism!
She is wearing black sitting in the second row on the left. Her daughter is sitting next to her in a striped shirt.

Monday, April 24, 2017


Hi Family!

This was a pretty normal week. Nothing much going on. We got a new branch president. I think he'll do a good job. Oh, we also got to go to the temple. That was nice!

This week we're going to baptize Erika. She's really great.

It all started a couple months ago, it was nighttime and we saw our friend Axel walking in the street. We asked him where he was going. And he said he was going to his aunt's house. We went with him and met his aunt, Erika- and her daughter, Josselyn. We got to know them, and they invited us to share a message. I tried to show the Easter Mormon message, but it didn't work. The only video that worked was a video called 'El otro Hijo Prodigo´- the other prodigal son. It's great! By the end of the video they were both crying. Apparently the same situation had passed in the family. The daughter ran away a month ago- and just that week that we found them she came back home. There was an older brother, Oscar, that was mad that his sister had come home, he didn't trust her. So he went to live somewhere else.

A week later we went back- and Josselyn had disappeared. Erika was really upset. We sat and talked to her, and gave her a blessing. Oscar, the son, came back home to live- and we kept teaching them. Erika progressed and went to church. Everyone thought she was a member- everyone loves her there! Oscar is really cool- he's about 20 years old. He got a scholarship offer to study aeronautical engineering. He's really smart. He wasn't sure if he was going to accept it- but we convinced him to do it! He will start studying in June- he will also have to learn English, so we're helping him with that. He has a girlfriend, Jasmine, who lives in another city. Santiago Texacuangos. His girlfriend just had a baby- last week. Her name is Ashly. She's really cute:) Oscar is pretty worried about studying full time, and supporting his little family as well.

Erika is kind of fragile, she has a really bad job, her boss is really mean, verbally abusive I think is more correct. So we've been helping her out a lot- giving lots of support. She's been worried sick about her daughter as well.

We taught her about the word of wisdom, and she decided to start eating more plants. She really is golden. She wondered if I had ever tried lentils- she heard they're healthy and she wants to try them. That why I asked for the recipe:)

Two weeks ago we were on a bus. And Josselyn, the lost daughter, got on. She had cut her hair- and dyed it. But I recognized her. She recognized me as well.
I told Oscar that I had seen her, but I didn't tell Erika- I don't like seeing people cry.

We taught her about fasting. This month she fasted for her daughter.
Last week, out of the blue Josselyn showed up. She told Erika that seeing us in the bus made her feel guilty. She decided to come home. God answers prayers!

Last week Erika decided she was going to get baptized, her granddaughter was born, her daughter came home, it was a good week for her! Once she finds a new job things will be great!

She's going to get baptized on Saturday!

Well, times pretty much up. I love you all!
Have a great week!

Happy Birthday to Todd and Bryan!
Now you guys can buy knives, and spray paint, and dry ice! And Vote!
Have a great week!

-Elder Goodman

Monday, April 17, 2017

Semana Santa

Hola Familia!
Feliz Lunes de Pascua!

This week was the Semana Santa here in El Salvador. (that translates to Holy Week)
There was an earthquake on Monday. It was fairly big. 5.1. Not big enough to knock down a house- but still...  My companion and I were about to leave the house when everything started shaking back and forth. It was pretty scary. Right after that ended there was a big thunderclap and it started raining really, really hard. Our house has a metal roof- so it was pretty loud. Then the power went out. It was pretty scary! We thought it was the end!  That was pretty exciting!
Thursday was Jueves Santo. We had a mission activity - we brought people to the temple. From our ward no one went- it was pretty disappointing. But it worked out- they had me working as a photographer. So we just ran around the entire time taking pictures. That would have hard to do if I was trying to keep track of investigators at the same time. I saw some people that I knew from Cojutepeque and from San Miguel too! It was sweet!

Friday is the biggest day of the Semana Santa. They do these things called Alfombras. Giant colored salt drawings in the middle of the street. It's pretty cool! But, they close the streets off- so it's kind of hard to get around. We were in another city, Santiago Texacuango, and no buses were passing, we weren't sure how we were going to get home, but finally a bus passed. He took the Autopista Comalapa, the freeway, which runs parallel to the city. The freeway is divided into two parts, for the two directions of traffic. And every couple of miles there was a little road that connects them. Our bus made a u turn on one of those little roads, and then went in reverse for about a kilometer before we could get back into the city. It was pretty crazy- I hope I explained it well enough!

We live in front of one of the big Catholic cathedrals. And on Friday and Saturday night (Viernes Santo y Sábado de Gloria) they have this big, loud, all night vigilias. We didn't sleep. 

Funny, but Sunday here isn't really big. Everyone goes back to work- and it's not really anything special. Sad, because Sunday is the most important part- The resurrection! I played a special musical number.  On Wednesday night we went to the meetings, and I practiced the piano a little bit to prepare for the musical number. I left the music up by the piano on the stand. Sunday morning the sheet music wasn't there. Someone from the ward before us had taken it. We planned on not having the musical number. But I talked to one of the bishopric from the other ward, and while our Sacrament meeting was going he ran around trying to find it. He found it and gave it to me right before I was supposed to play. It was really lucky!

Sunday we went around contacting- and we came up with a new way to contact! We introduced ourselves as missionaries- and said that we had a special Easter message. Most let us in! We introduced the Book of Mormon and explained that it was the story of the people on this continent that also believed in Christ! We explained that after Jesus resurected he appeared to the people here. Then we read together a couple of verses from 3nefi 11. We explained that just like to the people back then, Jesus invites us to come to him, and be healed and forgiven of our sins. It was really powerful! 

This is my favorite part of the mission- having permission to go out and talk to everyone I can- and share with them this beautiful message! I love this!

Have a great week!
I love you!

-Elder Goodman

The flag at the temple

Cruz Family!

Garcia Family

That's a big ant!


Service Project

Thanks for the birthday cake!

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Grand Weight Lifted

We had multizones this Wednesday, they were great! President Vasquez shared a really powerful testimony. I got to see a lot of old friends from cojutepeque. I also had a really cool experience.

I had an old companion from a while back that I didn't get along with. Right before changes we had a pretty big fight. I always felt a little bit of resentment towards him, and I know that he always did towards me, because we always kind of avoided each other. He's pretty much the only person that I would consider an enemy, for lack of a better word. 

This week I was studying the Teachings of George Albert Smith, and I found a story from his life. He was in an election, and the other candidate was his friend. The other candidate started spreading lies about him, and because of this George Albert Smith lost. After a long time of hating him, GAS went up to the other guy, and asked for forgiveness. And they became friends again.

I decided I needed to do the same thing. At the multizone I went up to my old companion. I thanked him for everything he had taught me, and for being a good missionary. I had asked forgiveness a long time ago, but I always felt that he didn't accept it. To be honest I can't even remember if I asked for for forgiveness on Wednesday.  But after we talked he hugged me. And told me that everything was alright. 

It felt so good! I am so glad I talked to him! I felt as if a grand weight was lifted off my shoulders! It was awesome! I don't know why I waited so long!

That was the highlight of my week! 
I love you!

-Elder Goodman

Monday, April 3, 2017

General Conference

Hi Family!
Happy Birthday Mom!

This was a pretty good week!

Saturday Morning Elder Loveless called me and told me that I had emergency changes, I was a little bummed until I realized that it was April Fools day... Jeez... can't escape it....

Definitely the highlight was General Conference. We got to watch it in English, which was pretty sweet. I really, really liked it. To be honest, I'm a little bummed that it's my last General Conference in the mission. I always get so much more out of it on the mission.

We brought a couple of investigators for the Sunday session! Wow! It was so great! We are teaching a lady that for some reason she doesn't want to commit to get baptized. But after General Conference we visited her, and she had made her decision. She's getting baptized the 22! Everyone loved it and had a great experience!

I was sitting next to Elder Loveless when they announced the new temple in Saratoga Springs. That was pretty exciting!

Sunday night we had dinner with the branch president (bp). My companion (a huge computer nerd) noticed that the bp had a pretty nice computer, so he asked about it. And the bp just lit up! He had built the computer, and he knows a lot about stuff like that. We had a pretty interesting conversation, I was able to participate because I had been with Elder Ledesma for 2 months. My comp couldn't keep up with the conversation all the way, for his Spanish, but he was trying harder to participate than ever!  It was really cool!

Man, I feel like I should be writing more, but I honestly don't know what to write about- everything is great! I'm really happy! Life's good!

I love you!
-Elder Goodman

Priesthood session
A parade passed by our house

Monday, March 27, 2017


This was a great week, I love it here! This was a changes week, Elder Ledesma and I stayed together. Wednesday was a big day though- on Wednesday I had exactly as much time on the mission that he lacked. And he had exactly as much time on the mission that I lack. 3 months and 21 months. That was cool.

Right now there is a non-stop buzzing noise in the air. It is made by these bugs called cigarras- I think. They are these giant tennis ball sized cockoaches- that fly. It's awful. They are as long as a tennis ball, but not as wide. Picture a cockroach on steroids. uughghh.  This week we were in a lesson- and there was a 4yo kid that was really annoying. during the lesson one of these bugs flew in the room, it was flying all over the place. It dive bombed the kid, and flew into it's ear! It couldn't enter the ear canal because it was so big- but it was inside the actual ear part trying to get into the kids head. It was pretty crazy! After the bug dive-bombed the kid no one knew where it went- we lost sight of it. But the kid started screaming and screaming- that's how we realized. It was awful. My companion and I are being a lot more careful now whenever we see those bugs. 

We spoke in Sacrament meeting this week. They gave us 10 minutes a piece. I went over, halfway through my talk the counselor came up behind me and passed me a note that said my time was up. Everyone in the congregation noticed and started laughing. It was kind of funny...

Not really a whole lot more to report. I am happy, happy, happy! I love life! I love being a missionary!

-Elder Goodman

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Millennium Falcon

This was a pretty great week. Everything is going great!

I'm not really sure what to write about- so I'll try to tell a cool story.

My companion and I have a favorite bus, we call it the millennium falcon. It's a super, super old school bus. And the driver is crazy. They always push the bus to the limits- it gets going pretty fast! But when it goes fast it's so loud inside, because the motor is so old, and windows shake like crazy- there are holes in the floor covered with pieces of plywood and rubber. The metal bars that they put up to hold onto aren't screwed in very good, so you can't put weight on them. And a lot of the seats are loose, so you have to be careful, it's kind of dangerous- but it's the fastest bus! It's awesome!

Last Sunday we were trying to get back to our area, it was late at night and none of the buses were stopping. Until the Millennium Falcon! We were so excited that the Millennium Falcon saved us! We were flying down the road towards home until we started hearing  weird grinding noises, and the bus broke down. We were a little bummed, but we thought it was funny. 

The driver told me that there was one more bus behind him from the same company that would stop to pick us up. It did, and we got home safely. He told us that all of the buses from his company have a blue stripe- there's 9 buses from that same owner. And they are all really old broken down school buses, with a blue stripe. we started calling buses with the blue stripe the Rebel Alliance. And then we realized that everything could have Star Wars names! The other kind of buses, Coasters, we call them Imperial transport. San Miguel became Tatooine, and San Salvador is Corasant (I think you spell it like that) . Fast food delivery motorcycles are tie fighters, and gas delivery motorcycles are x wings. Super Especiales (think greyhound bus) are Star Destroyers. 

My companion is my padawan, and the army guys everywhere are storm troopers. President Vasquez's Silver Odyssey is the sleek silver star ship that Queen Amidala uses in Episode 1...
We kind of got really excited. Plus, the secretaries are in my district, they helped out a bit!

Everything is going really good, I was counting the attendance during Sacrament meeting yesterday, and I was trying to remember all the names of the ward members. (There's only 60, so it's not that hard..) I realized that in the month I've been here I have visited every member in their homes. Except one family. That was pretty cool!

That's all the time I have. I love you!

My votes for Todd and Bryan. 

Bryan- Bolivia, or California
Todd- Russia, or New York

I Love You!

-Elder Goodman

Monday, March 13, 2017

I'm really, really happy

This was a great week! I love that picture of the Birthday cake! That's awesome!

I don't really know what to write about. I'm really, really happy. The branch I'm in right now is hands down my favorite area.  The members here are so awesome, the branch president is really good as well. Great investigators just keep popping up. Life is good. I don't think I've ever been happier in my life. I don't want to come home!

This week I was on interchanges with Elder Orozco- we were on the bus at about 4  o clock when a bunch of men got on the bus. Usually we don't see a lot of men in the afternoon- so I noticed. I looked to see where they were all coming from, and a saw a road leading to a colony that I have never been to. I realized that there are probably a lot of families with men at home until 4ish. The next day we went down there to contact. And we found a great lady named Narda. She was really excited to talk to us because 8 years ago a missionary gave her a Book of Mormon- and she loves it! She came to church this week as well! We are pretty excited to be teaching her- I hope all goes well!

I love you lots!
Happy St. Patricks day!

-Elder Goodman

Guillermo! I baptized him a year ago!

Maria! My birthday buddy!

Bautism of Luis

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Lady Preacher

Hi Everyone!

Thanks for the Birthday wishes!
Sorry, I don't have much time again this week.
Everthing is going great!

This week we did 2 interchanges, I did interchanges with Elder Beck, from California, and Elder Williams, from Hawaii. It was pretty cool talking to him- he's from oahu as well, he went to kamehameha high school. (I'm pretty sure that's how you spell it)  We had a pupusa eating contest. I ate 8, and he ate 9. I'm really proud of myself though, because he outweighs me by about 100 pounds.

With Elder Beck we got roped into a 'cedula' which is when a visiting evangelico preacher come to a house and they have a meeting. My companion and I thought that we would be teaching- but we got taught. We finally got out by having him call my phone and I faked that we got a call that we needed to go. But not after the lady preaching chewed us out for having our eyes open during the prayer. (In our defense it was a 10 minute singing/shouting prayer).

''If Jesus were to come down in this moment, and take only those who had their eyes CLOSED during the prayer, how many of us would be saved?''  - she legit said that.

Erica came to church! She didn't have a skirt, but she did have fabric. And our cook is a professional seamstress. We made her a custom skirt! She loved church! Everyone thought she was a member, she has that look to her.

Well, that's about it- it was a great week, but I'm kind of out of time. Sorry for not writing very much!

I love you!

-Elder Goodman

Monday, February 27, 2017

A Little Kid Named Axel

Hi! I don't have ton of time today. The basics:

We baptized! A huge miracle that we could baptize this month. Azucena got baptized in 3 weeks! The secret was the ward support. A family in the ward found and helped her the whole way through. The branch planned the baptism. I had a couple of ideas that we put in practice that made it really, really nice. Before the baptism I put some soft instrumental hymns on, so even before the service started the Spirit was there. While she was changing we passed around a bunch of little note cards I made, and everyone wrote a little note for her. It was really nice!

We went out contacting this week, and found a little kid named Axel. He is awesome! He spent the whole day introducing us to every house in his neighborhood- we found 13 new investigators because of him! It was awesome! He wants to get baptized, but his mom won't let him. But it's still really cool that he helped us so much.

He showed us is aunt and cousin. I tried to show them a mormon message about Jesus, but it didn't work. We ended up watching one called the Prodigal son, by Elder Holland. Before it ended they were both crying so hard. Apparently that week the exact same thing had happened to them. It was crazy how perfectly it applied. We had a great lesson!

I love you!

-Elder Goodman

Monday, February 20, 2017

People are Nice

Hi Family!

This was a pretty good week! We've really been trying a lot harder to work with the members- we've been having a lot of success. It's amazing how helpful people are when you are nice and polite to them. I feel that lots of times people- and members- want to do the right thing, but they just aren't sure how. I've realized that instead of telling people that they need to help us, we can explain to them what we want them to do. For example- there are some members that really like to give us food- others that have cars and are willing to give us rides, others that like to have family home evenings and invite friends, and others that like to sit with new people at church and help them feel comfortable. My whole mission I've tried to tell people what they need to do- and we all end up getting kind of frustrated. In this area we've been trying to get to know the members and we've kind of been able to tell what they feel most comfortable doing. It's been great! I guess that's a plus side to opening up the area- we don't really know where to go- so we rely a lot on the members. Plus side to being in a branch- there are only about 60-70 members- so it hasn't taken that long to get to know the members. Other plus is that we are the only missionaries in the branch- so all the members live in our area!

I started playing the piano in sacrament meeting last week. I tracked down the home teachers of some less active families we are teaching- and we brought them along for a couple lessons. Home teaching is such a big problem here- no one does it- but I believe that part of it is that they don't know how to do it. They've never seen a good home teacher. I believe that we'll be able to help the branch out by showing the men how to do the home teaching. There are only 8 active Melchizedek priesthood holders- so it shouldn't take that long!

We got a reference from President Vasquez this week for a man named Luis. He lives pretty far away- but we were able to get a hold of him. He really, really wants to be baptized. His girlfriend has been a member for 7 years- and she has really been helping him out. It's amazing to see the difference it makes when an investigator has solid member support.

If you want to look it up on the map he lives in a city called Olocuilta- we live in Santo Tomas.
Coming home from that first lesson with him we got a little lost- and ended up in the other mission in San Jacinto. The bus is a highway bus- so we needed to get off at an overpass where the highway passes close to our city. The driver forgot to stop. This was probably 7.00 or so- dark outside- so we missed it. Once I realized we had missed it I went up and talked to the bus driver, he was really nice, with his help and another passenger we figured out where we could stop that would be close to a bus that could take us back to our area. That's how we ended up in San Jacinto... The driver felt really bad, he even gave us some money to pay for the bus to get back to our area. It's so interesting how nice people actually are- sometimes we assume the worst of people, but everyone makes mistakes. We actually ended up having a fun conversation before we got off. He was really impressed how much we knew about the bus system in San Salvador (perks from being a missionary I guess!) I feel like there are more things I want to say- but I don't have enough time.

It suffices me to say that I am really happy. Really, really happy. More than I've ever been. To be honest I'm pretty sure I could be a missionary forever, shame we can't do that.

Love you lots!

- Elder Goodman

Monday, February 13, 2017

Rumor Killer

Hi Everyone!

This was a pretty cool week!

I received my new companion. Elder Ledesma! He's way cool- we're gonna do a lot of good together. It's really cool have a brand new american as a companion- kind of fun to watch him go through the culture shock.

We were on a bus I didn't know- and I thought that the bus was slowing down to make the stop- so I jumped. But the bus was only passing over a speed bump. It slowed to almost a complete stop. Just as my companion was about to jump off the bus started accelerating -  he jumped off facing the back of the bus- and the bus was already going about 7 or 8 mph- so it had some momentum. (you always have to jump off in same direction that the bus is going- otherwise the momentum will make you fall) he took a pretty sweet backward tumble in the gutter. Luckily he wasn't hurt, just a couple bruises and scratches, but he did bleed a little bit. We were on our way to a zone conference. Kind of embarrassing to have your brand-new companion show up all bloodied to his first meeting.... It wasn't my fault!

He ate his first pupusa on Friday. We went to a member who has a pupuseria- and she let me make a couple. I made the first pupusa that he ate! Bragging rights.

We've been working really hard to visit all the members, and to gain their trust. But it's pretty cool to see how friendly and helpful all of the ward members are here!  It's pretty common to get to a new area and hear all about how the members here don't want to help- they did this thing one time to this missionary- they will never help- they are too prideful- etc. etc.  If a member ever does something mean, or bad, the story gets passed around for a while.

About a year ago I was studying mercy, and forgiveness. And I realized that a great way to be merciful is to not spread rumors. And to forgive. I've really tried to be the rumor killer. I really try to not pass on negative stories. And to ignore them when I do hear them. When I got to this area I started to hear the stories about this member, and that member. This member hates missionaries- that one is all talk- etc. But I'm trying to work with all the members right now. And we're having some success. It's really interesting how giving people the benefit of the doubt, and treating them as your best friend- before you even know them- really opens doors.

We have to depend on the members a lot- because we're basically opening the area- and they've really responded well. One guy even took us out in his car to show us all the less-actives and old investigators that lived in his area- and we're planning to do a family home evening in his house this week- and invite all of them. It's really cool- I'm very grateful.

Well, that's about it. Love you lots!

-Elder Goodman

My new comp! Elder Ledesma of Kearns Utah!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Teach Repentance

Hey everyone!

This was as great week!
Me and Elder Wikan are having a blast down here! Turns out that he's from Hurricane- I asked if he knew the Holmes, but he didn't.

This Friday we watched the worldwide broadcast. It was really good. I'm not sure what changes we're gonna see here, but it seems pretty cool. Elder Anderson made a really good comment that I have been pondering a lot lately. He said that in countries where the people already have a lot of faith in Christ (like El Salvador) we make a common mistake of teaching baptism right after faith- taking advantage that they already have a lot of faith- and we skip repentance. If they don't repent thay can't become converted. And I believe that if they are more likely to go inactive as well. I'm pretty sure that is why people here get baptized so fast- and go inactive so fast as well.
That little revelation that we received changed my entire mission. I am going to focus much more on repentance- than getting baptized really fast.

Yesterday we had a lesson with a girl named Asusena- I was thinking about teaching repentance, and helping her feel the need to repent. I remembered something I read in my studies this week. The story of Alma the younger.( I read those exact verses to her that you wrote about! It was really cool!)  We really felt the Spirit. She commited to be repent- and then to be baptized. I'm really excited!

Well, that's about all! Sorry for the short letters

Love you!
Elder Goodman
My new comp. Elder Wikan! He's from Hurricane, Utah

The view from the office, I'm writing from here today.

Elder Goodman and Elder Neifert eating lunch in the mission office

Monday, January 30, 2017

Transfer to Santo Tomas

Kanani: Cejas sent us a Facebook message saying you were transferred to Santo Tomas.  We looked it up on the map and it looks like it is in between Ilopango and Panchimalco.  A little higher and smaller than that right?  So does that mean it is colder?  What is it like?  How do you like it?
Zach: They didn't take me out until this morning. I've only been here for about an hour- so I don't really know yet :)

Kanani: How is Patricia?  Did she decide to stop selling on Sunday and come back to church? I hope so.
Zach: Patricia has been having a really hard time. Every week they commit to come to church- but they always have an excuse. Really sad. All the problems that suddenly fell on them are all direct results of not following the commandments.

Man, this was kind of a crazy week. Elder Zelaya and I were working so hard. And so well together. I'm gonna miss him a lot. It was a really cool week.

Sorry, time's up. I spent a lot of time sending pictures- hope it makes up for it!

-Elder Goodman
Love you!
Familia Portillo. We found them last week, and they all want to get baptized.
They will get baptized in February. That kind of hurts a little.

Mercy, Johnson and Karla. I got to say goodby to them in church! I baptized them!

Elder Zelaya
Branch Presidency
Fam Cruz

Hna Claritaa- our laundy lady
Conejo! (Rabbit)
Family Moran- we were going to baptize Rosa this week- and have a wedding.
Carlos- he is going to get baptized in February
The zone in cojute
One last goodbye

My house in Cojute

Monday, January 23, 2017

Following the Spirit

Hi everyone! This was a really, really good week. After the multi-zone last week my companion and I have been really trying to put in practice a couple of the things that President said.

1. Minister instead of administer.
Sometimes it's difficult for me to follow every prompting from the Spirit that I receive (I think it's like that for everyone:) But my companion has been helping me with that. If I feel like I should stop and talk to someone, or call someone, or offer help- he always tells me to do it- because it might be the Spirit. This week in our zone conference I noticed that one of the missionaries seemed to be a little down and disanimated. I kept feeling like we should talk to him. Finally, after we had finished and everyone was leaving we pulled him into a classroom and talked to him. We were able to help him with a few things he was going through, and it was a really beautiful experience.

Yesterday we were in a lesson with a part member family. The mom is an investigator and the dad is less-active. I won't share details, but he's in some pretty deep doo-doo. As soon as we entered the house I felt a difference- he usually is pretty happy and talkative- but not at all during the lesson. That day he watched some Mormon messages, and kind of had a realization of how bad off he was- salvation wise. He had a lot of weight on his shoulders that day.  I felt like I should offer to give him a blessing, and put the feeling off for about half an hour. Finally, as we were leaving I asked him if he would like a blessing. He said yes, and asked me to give it. It was one of the most beautiful blessings I had ever heard- it definitely was not me speaking. I realized that Heavenly Father had probably been trying to speak to him all day. And I was able to be the messenger. It was amazing.

My companion is also trying to do the same thing that I am- follow the Spirit to be able to minister- and is also having spiritual experiences. It's amazing. I remember I saw a diagram once. In the shape of a triangle with God on top, and a man in one corner at the bottom and a woman in the other corner. As the man and the woman move closer to God they also move closer together. I feel like the same thing is happening in our companionship. (In a NOT gay way). The closer we try to get to God, the closer we are getting to each other as well. It's pretty cool. We're getting along really well. I call him my Latino twin.

2. Analyze everything.
We've been focusing on the small things- and the bigger things are coming together. This week we had been praying for something to elevate the zone (we are way down). On Wednesday we received an inspiration (or maybe revelation) about something we were doing wrong. We realized what it was, lack of clarity and directness in baptismal invitations, and all invitations in general-we repented- and put it in practice. This week we put more baptismal dates than the rest of the zone combined. And of all the investigators brought to church we brought half of them.  We realized that the rest of the zone is also doing the same thing wrong that we have been doing. This week we're gonna have to teach a lot. But I believe that when we sincerely ask the Lord for guidance, he will reveal to us what we lack. Amazing how merciful is our God.  It's interesting though that we never had words pop into our head, or anything like that. It went kind of like this:

Elder Goodman: Man, what's wrong- why can´t anyone put fechas?
Elder Zelaya: I don't know- why can't we?
EG: Let's do a practice and analyze what we are doing.


EZ: I kind of felt like it was an option- that wasn't a very good commitment- or even invitation. It was just a suggestion.
EG: That's a good point- does Preach my Gospel say anything about that?
EZ: Here we go- it says we need to be direct
EG: What do they do on the district? (the training dvds)

Watch it

EG- man, that was sweet, she totally accepted.
EZ - let's do a practice, but like how they did it

Practice again

Go out to work super excited.

That wasn't exactly how it went- but the point is that the Lord let us figure out our problem for ourselves- and he just helped us use the tools we already had to come up with a solution. Interesting!

Well, that's about it for the week. Love you lots!

-Elder Goodman

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Street Spanish

Hi team!

Well, this was a pretty average week.  We had to go to San Salvador a couple times this week, my comp had a couple of appointments with a doctor. I had a pretty interesting experience. We were in the doctor's office and the doctor starting talking to me, and I felt like I couldn't respond. Like I didn't know how. I realized that I learned Spanish in the streets, and very literally we could say that I speak 'street Spanish'. Which is good- because that's how the people talk. But when I was talking to the doctor I felt very uneducated, and I felt that I couldn't express myself very well. I've decided to make a more concentrated effort of studying Spanish. Learn new words, and learn the proper way to say things.

This week has actually been pretty hard, we are working harder than ever- and I feel like we just can't get things moving. We are teaching soo many people, and talking to soo soo many. But we just aren't finding the escogidos. (I believe that translates to ''the chosen''). It's been tough- but my companion has been really good at helping me remember that our efforts are the only things we can control. So we must give our best.

Big news! showering has been so uncomfortable lately, that finally one morning I had had enough. We woke up- and I went  to a hardware store and bought some water heaters.  (remember the little twirly metal thing that shocked me about a year ago).  I now shower with hot water, I have no idea why I waited so long! The only downside is that the duration of my showers has really gotten longer... go figure...

Sorry- I don't have as much time this week. But I really don't have much to report.

Thanks for letting me know about Grandma Bird- she really was a great woman. She definitely endured to the end.

Have a great week! Love you all!

-Elder Goodman

Monday, January 9, 2017

A hot dog from a gas station

Hi everyone!

This was a crazy week! I made a list of things in my agenda to write about, so I'll just run through the points.

1. Super, super, cold and windy here. It got down to 61 degrees! I know for everyone at home that probably doesn't seem very cold for January- but we're dying.

2. Our house has rain gutters out back, but the rain gutters here are much different from at home. It's literally just a piece of sheet metal that they hammer into a square shape and nail to the house. Ours came loose recently, and with all the wind it has been banging around out there constantly. It's pretty annoying. Kind of hard to sleep.

3. Thursday night I bought a hot dog from a gas station (looking back that probably wasn't the smartest).  Friday morning starting at 8.30 we had a meeting at President's house. I got super sick. Diarrhea like nothin' you ain't never seen before. I'm pretty sure I used a roll of toilet paper just by myself.

As we were leaving Hna Vasquez made me take some doterra essential oil - Digest Zen.  How they got essential oils to El Salvador I have no idea. President told me that the medicine would either clean out my stomach, or make me throw up, but that either way it would make me feel better. About 20 minutes after we left the house I started throwing up. It was awful. It's a 2 hour trip back to Cojute. I wanted to die. The ladies sitting next to me on the bus were really nice though! They kept giving me hard candies to suck on. And they made sure I always had a plastic bag to throw up in.

I don't know what it is - but diarrhea plus vomiting really sucks my energy away. When we finally got to Cojute 2 hours later I couldn't even walk home on my own. My companion stopped to buy some Gatorade and I literally laid down in the street. He was pretty embarrassed about that! We got home and I collapsed in bed, but I couldn't really rest because I was still vomiting. My companion gave me a blessing at about 6 that night, I couldn't even sit up, but immediately afterward I fell asleep. I woke up at about 8 and felt pretty good, but my comp didn't let me go out and work. The next day I rested all morning, but we were able to work on Saturday. So I only missed one day of work, which I consider a miracle.

4. We saw Victor again! Saturday night we were walking to the tienda and we heard a voice from the sky ''Hermanos!'' we looked up to see our former 70 year old, 200 pound investigator keeping watch from the balcony above, wearing nothing but his Depends. We almost died laughing when we got home.

5. We have a family that is having a really hard time remembering to pray as a couple at night. I remembered from Primary that we once made prayer rocks, little painted rocks with the word prayer on it. To leave in the bed and remind us to pray. Elder Zelaya and I came up with our own variation. The prayer brick! We found a brick, cleaned it up really good, and wrote Oracion a bunch of times all over it with a marker. We also wrote their names /Pedro y Alba/ our names, and a bunch of scriptures about prayer. They were super excited! Who knew a primary activity 10 years ago would help with the mission? We took some pictures, but they won't load. Maybe next week!

6. The roof in the primary room fell on Sunday. That was pretty cray. No one was hurt, luckily. I took some pictures, maybe you'll see them next week!

7. Last night we visited the Melendez family, the ones I baptized but have since gone inactive. In Spanish we have a verb: machete (like the small sword, long knife). When you machete someone it means that you chew them out. At their house last night I told the mom that I had brought my machete, but that I had sharpened it with love (cute huh?).  I didn't give it to her that hard, but she did feel the desires to repent. It turns out that she's started to sell on Sundays again (they are in the situation that if they don't sell on Sunday they won't eat on Monday).  I told her that she was selling on Sunday because she want's what's best for her children. But I showed her that breaking that commandment, and not going to church, is actually hurting her children in the long run. She understood. It was a very powerful, and love and Spirit filled lesson. At the end I asked her if she was praying as a family, they weren't. I had them all kneel down in a circle and we re-taught them how to do family prayer. Patricia (the mom) gave the prayer.  She started to pray with such sincerity that it kind of surprised me. Normally when people pray here they pray like how I imagined the Pharisees did. With lots of words and lots of emotion, but not much feeling or heart.
It took me a second to realize that I was the one who taught her how to pray, that thought made me feel really good!  She told God how sorry she was that she had broken the covenant she had made with him. How sorry she was that she hadn't trusted in him. She asked for forgiveness and promised to go to church next week. Tears filled my eyes as I listened to her pray. It was so powerful. As we were leaving I told her ' I'm going to be here until at least February, and when I leave you are going to be fully active in the church again. I worked too hard to find and baptize you, and I'm not going to lose you!''.

 What a great way to complete 18 months.

That's what the mission is all about!

Don't be selfish! Go on a mission!

-Elder Goodman

Monday, January 2, 2017

Photos from the Mission President

Happy new year!

Happy new year!

This was a pretty crazy week. I got a new companion! Elder Zelaya from Honduras. He's way cool. He's actually a little crazy, and pretty nerdy- but he's really fun to be around. And he´s really dedicated to the work, which is a nice plus.

This week they closed an area in the zone, Ilobasco. On friday, the 30th the secretaries called us. And told us that they would need our help to clear up everything with the area. We were already in Ilobasco for a reunion so we went and tracked down the owner of the house to tell him that we wouldn't be needing the house anymore.. (which was pretty tricky). He told us that if we didn't want to pay the rent for the month of January we needed to have everything out of the house and have the contract finished before the end of the month. We had to run home to Cojutepeque (about 45 min away) to go get the keys so we could get into the house start working. That afternoon we found a member with a truck who could help us take care of all of the furniture. We moved all the furniture to the sister missionaries who live nearby. But we took too long and missed the last bus home. Luckily Pres Peña (that you know) works in Ilobasco. He gave us a ride home.

On Saturday the 31st we had a big district service project to clean out the house. The house was a mess- it took a while. We made a big bonfire out back to burn all the trash (it's not illegal in central america :) but it kind of backfired on us- because it filled the house with smoke. We had to wait for that to air out.

Since the house is just tile and concrete we all got brushes and brooms and buckets and soup to clean it all up. It was actually pretty fun- we got into a giant waterfight that lasted for about an hour and left everyone soaked. But it left the house pretty clean!

After we cleaned out the house we went to find the owner again so he could inspect it- he found some damage so we went to a hardware store to figure out how much it would cost to repair. (we personally went, I didn't want him trying to rip us off).

Then we had to figure out how we were going to pay for the bills that were going to be coming in (water and light).

The whole process was pretty exhausting- especially because we only had two days, and we lived so far away, but in the end we did it! We got the deposit on Saturday afternoon and we were still able to get a couple lessons in that night! And the owner gave us lunch!

Sorry, I have more to write, but our time is up.

Have a great new year! Love you all!

-Elder Goodman