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