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