Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2008_11_18 Quevedo Sur Zone Photos

These photos were taken at the Zone Conference held on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 in Quevedo at a Stake Center. This is the Quevedo Sur Zone.
On the front row are Elder Willams (He was a room mate with Curtis at the MTC), Hermana Gamboa, Presidente Gamboa and Elder Sanchez ( Elder William's Companion).
On the second row, the third elder from the left is Elder Bejar (Curtis's companion).
On the third row is Elder Goode (Our Wonderful Missionary Son) , to the left of Elder Bejar.
I believe all the Gringos are in Curtis's District. He mentioned in an earlier letter that there were five Gringos in his District. Notice how large those gringos are. We grow them big here in the USA, don't we. Notice how small President and Hermana Gamboa are next to Elder Williams and Elder Sanchez.
I think there must be two districts in the Quevedo Sur Zone. Each district must have eight elders in it.

2008_11_24 Week 5 Braxton & Dad

To: Curtis Goode
From: Braxton Goode
11/24/08 02:30 pm

Hi Curt I am doing great. You won't believe what happened last Wednesday. Dad, Todd, and Me went hunting to try and get my swan and dad checked me out of school after third period because I had a presentation to do. We sat for almost the whole time without anything flying but about fifteen minutes before the end of the hunt a single swan came in from the north really high it saw our decoys and it turned west and then turned to the east and it turned back headed west over the boat. It was dropping height very quick and it came over me and I knocked it down with one three inch shell. Mom sent you some pictures of it. It wasn't very old but it was still a good bird. I hope you are having a good time and teaching the people what they need. I can't believe how quickly it is going. I am happy that I got it though.

From: Craig Goode
To: Curtis Goode
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2008 09:00:43 -0700
Dear, Curtis
How has your week been? I have the house done the rain gutter back on and all together. Well We, Todd and me took Braxton out Wednesday duck hunting at Ogden bay unit 1 north pond and set up. We got there at about 12:00 noon. We wanted all day and no ducks we sat there all day. Then about 15 minutes before closing time we heard a swan so we got ready after a few minutes a single swan came so we stared calling when it saw the swan decoys goose with white bags over them it wanted in bad it circled and started doping and came right over us. I had Braxton get ready when it was just right I had him shoot and we got it. Mom sent some pictures Let me know if you were able to open them. How has the teaching been going? I think mom had Braxton email you before he went to school. Let me know if he did? I Love You.

Love Dad

hey I got the pictures they are awesome I am so happy that he got his swan it looks like a good bird. he sounded so excited in his email make sure that you get it measured so there aren´t any problems the work is going good we have a baptism this Saturday the mother of Antonia that was baptized a few weeks ago

Monday, November 24, 2008

2008_11_24 Week 5 Balzar Mom

Mom wrote to Curtis Mon, 24 Nov 2008 07:12:51 -0700
Curtis replied on Monday, November 24, 2008 at 11:40 am MST

Hi again Curtis,
Tell us about your week. What exciting things happened this week? Do you have new investigators?

yes we have many new investigators in palestina we have gladys and odalis in relicario we have jesus and a young woman named allison in balzar we have the family santillon they are the ones we taught the lesson on chastity to the family of ricardo and mariah. Mariah is the neice of a member and they are really interested in the gospel and they have four kids

How are your old investigators doing?

Most of them we have given up on and moved on to other people now

Did any of them come to church?

We had six investigators at church yesterday julio Espana, Hna. Beatrice and her son Julio part of the Fam. Santillon, Carlos de Barco, the father of a member came too. and in Relicario allison came

How is your smaller branch doing?

They are doing good I gave another talk this week on the importance of the book of mormon. there was 11 people there not counting me or my companion

On your letters to the mission president each week, you put down a list of numbers. Can you tell us what those stand for? Some of them we think we have figured out, but not all of them.

in order the numbers are baptisms, confirmations, investigators with a baptismal date, investigators that attended church, lesons taught with a member present, other lessons, investigators progressing, references recieved, references contacted, new investagators, lessons taught to recent converts or less active members

What is the most exciting thing you did this week?

probably the zone conference

Tell us about your very best lesson?

I taught obedience to the family santillon and I told the story of nephi getting the brass plates and shared the scripture 1nephi 3 7

Do you have any more baptisms lined up?

one this saturday with jesus the mother of antonia and then the 6 of december we have allison two members kids and carlos de barco so quite a few actually

How are the bugs and mosquitos down there?

they really aren´t a problem in balzar but my companion assured me that there are other areas that the bugs are really bad

Did you treat your sheets?

no I haven´t treated my sheets yet

Does the spray work well to keep them off you? Are you happy and healthy? I will continue to ask every week, so don't roll your eyes at me. ;D

yes I am happy and healthy

Tell us about your Zone Conference. Where was it held? Who spoke to you? What else did you do?

it was held in quevedo in a stake center elder bryan, elder ramirez, hna gamboa and presidente gamboa

Did you see any more of the elders you know at the Zone Conference?

no all of the other elders are serving in different areas elder bartolomei is in manta and elder felt is in peninsulare and elder fewkes is either in peninsulare or duran i´m not for sure which I don´t know where elder Smith is serving

Do you talk to many people while you are riding on the crowded bus with your knees squished?

I haven´t because MY spanish isn´t very good but my companion will sometimes talk to people and teach while on the bus

Do they have any kind of celebration at this time of year, like a harvest festival or Thanksgiving?

No just Navidad that is all

What is the most interesting thing you have seen?

I have seen motorcycles the size of mine with 6 people on it. it is quite funny actually

If I send Christmas Cards for President Ruiz and his family, and Sister Valdez, will they be able to read them in English? Should I translate the words first and write it in Spanish or let you translate it for them when you deliver the cards?

Translate them first it will be easier

We got your letter that you wrote on November 3rd with the scriptures in it. Thank you. It arrived on November 19th. It is postmarked on November 18th in Salt Lake City. That is kind of slow mail. Is there a return pouch that you are sending your mail through? Who paid the postage?

I take my letters to the district meetings and give them to my district leader he gives them to the zone leader and the zone leader puts them in a box and sends them on a bus to guayaquil where the elders in the office pick them up and sort through them and send the ones that need to go to the states and the ones that are in the mission they put into other boxes along with the other letters and things and send them the next week to the leaders of zones and they distribute them in the district meetings

I look forward to getting the one with your testimony in. The scriptures were awesome. I am glad you sent so many. We read them for Scripture Study the other night. Is the local mail unreliable in getting mail back to us?

I don´t know I just send them where I am told to send them

Do your district leaders go to the Mission Home every week to get your mail?

No it is through the pouch that they send on the buses my zone leader just goes to the bus terminal and picks the box up

How are the beds down there? Is your bed long enough for your big body or are your feet hanging off the end of the bed two feet? Is it too hard, just right or too soft?

the bed is good it is long enough but just barely

Where do you go to take out your trash? How often do you do that?

we put the trash in the gutter in bags and the garbage truck comes and picks it up about every other day

Do you clean your apartment every Pday?

yep we do

I wish you could send us some photos so we could visualize where you are and what you are doing. You said you would try to send them today. Is that going to work?

I don´t know I will try and see if I can send the cd through the pouch this wednesday I am working on the cd right now

Tell us anything else you think we would like to know.
I love you so much and I am so very proud of you.
Love always and forever,

Hi Curtis. Thanks for the answers. Have you heard from Michelle. She had good news to tell you. I know Braxton wrote about hunting and dad probably did, too. It sounds like you have been very busy. I am glad you had a good turnout at church. Do you teach a class for the investigators during Sunday School?

yeah we taught about the restoration of the church and yes I have heard from michelle

Do you have a large group in the Sunday School class, investigators and new members who attend? Besides listening to talks, what else did you do at the Zone Conference?

no there was four people in our class this week so it is small in zone conference I also had an interview with president gamboa ate a cookie an apple a package of 3 grahmcrackers and drank a bottle of cifruit

How long do the zone conferences last? What did all the elders do while President Gamboad did interviews?

all the other elders had their interviews the day before but since we are a hour and a half away from where zone conference is held they didn´t make us go the day before for our interview zone conference started at 9 and got done at about 1

That makes good sense. It sounds like they try not to waste any time. So you had four hours of talks. What did they teach you about?

how to effectivly use members and ward mission leaders to help our work. hna gamboa talked about eating breakfast and eating healthy and talking with our mamita about what foods are healthy and not to just serve us rice. oh Presidente and sister (Hermana in spanish or Hna. for short) send their love and told me to thank you for allowing me to serve a mission

That is cool. I will send a Christmas Card to them as well thanking them for taking good care of you. Are you eating a balanced diet? Do you eat pretty much the same things every day or is there more variety in your meals?

I am eating a pretty balanced diet rice with beans and meat or instead of beans something else like vegetables well I gotta Go I love you lots

I love you, too. Have a terrific week!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

2008_11_22 First Paper Letter from Ecuador

On Wednesday, November 12, 2008 we received an envelope. It was mailed on November 7, 2008 from Salt Lake City for 35 cents postage. I believe it must have gone from the Mission home in Ecuador through the return pouch to Salt Lake City where it was then mailed to us.

The envelope contained two letters, one from Curtis written on October 22, 2008, the second day he was in Ecuador and one from President J. Wilson Gamboa G., his mission president. Curtis's letter is on a piece of very light weight yellow paper that has a watermark on it. The watermark has a border around the edge, lines for writing and a picture of the Guayaquil Ecuador Temple near the bottom. He probably got it at the temple hotel where he stayed his first night in Ecuador. President Gamboa's letter is on a white piece of paper with the Mission address in the top left corner, the name of the church in the midddle at the top and a photo of the temple in the top right corner. It is type written, but signed in ink by President Gamboa.

Curtis's Letter

Dear Mom & Dad

I made it to Ecuador! It is so cool here. I have already been through the temple today. The session was good. I didn't understand much though. It was all in Spanish. The traffic here is crazy people honking horns and changing lanes like crazy. It was cool to see.

There are lots of American thing here. They fed us pizza when we got here. It was different, but delicious, too. I will eat lunch at the President's house and then come back to the temple hotel where I spent the night and meet my trainer and go to my area and start working.

I'm sorry I didn't get to talk to you more yesterday. Tell the boys I love them. Tell dad I love him lots too. Put this paper on a white piece of paper. It is way cool! I gotta go.

Elder Curtis Goode

P.S. I met Elder Bryan. We are going hunting after the mission.

Note from Mom - I corresponded with Elder Bryan's mother in Winnemuca, Nevada before Curtis left trying to find out about baggage weight limits. Elder Bryan is serving as an Assistant to the President. He will finish his mission in January 2009.

President Gamboa's Letter
October 28, 2008

Dear Goode Family,

This letter is to let you know that we are very pleased to have Elder Goode with us as a missionary. He arrived to the country safely and has demonstrated an excellent attitude and desire to serve the Lord in His work.

Elder Goode is currently working in Balzar in Quevedo Sur. With this letter we are sending you a photo that we took with your son the day he arrived in Ecuador.

It is our aspiration and desire to help these young missionaries with the guidance of the Spirit. We hope to inspire and instruct them so they will have success. They are welcome here as though they were our own children, and we will care for them as such.

We would also like to ask for your help in supporting your son. We will tell him to write you every week, but we also ask that you might remember to write him every week. Your letters to your son are precious. Thank you again for all that you ahve done to prepare and support this fine missionary.

With love,
President J. Wilson Gamboa G.
Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission

Elder Curtis Goode with President and Sister Gamboa outside the
Guayaquil Ecuador LDS Temple on October 22, 2008.

Elder Curtis Goode with his companion, Elder Bejar.

2008_11_17 Week 4 Balzar Shara

Curtis emailed Shara Gibbons on Monday, November 17, 2008 9:36 AM
Shara emailed back that same day.

hey how are things going? sorry I haven´t written in so long I have been really busy in Ecuador. Everything is good in Ecuador except the milk they sell it in liter bags so it takes about 4 bags to make a gallon and they cost about the same as a gallon of milk too so it sucks I can´t drink milk like I could in the MTC. How are things in lewiston? Well I gotta go bye

Things are going good. Taylor's birthday is tomorrow she will be one year old already. I can't believe that she is a year old already time really goes by quickly.

yeah I know the time goes quickly Today I have two more weeks and then we have transfers and I will have a month and a half in the mission already it is pretty crazy

Yep it is. How is the food? Are you able to speak with the natives in Spanish alright?

The spanish is coming along good. I can talk with the people ok but I still am having trouble understanding them but it is getting easier. the food is good. for breakfast and dinner I have cereal or bread and milk or eggs nothing really hard or complicated. for lunch monday and tuesday we eat in our house so we usually have rice and some other thing like mashed potatoes or vegetables or something. wednesdays we eat in the house of one of the members here in our branch it is good. then thursday through sunday we eat with a differnt member she is our mamita de comida or food. she cooks really good usually soup to start with and then a plate of rice with beans and some sort of meat and usually with fried bananas or platanos they are so good.

Sounds like you are eating really well. So I saw a picture of you with your companion and mission president and wife. You are so much bigger than they are. Are you bigger than about everyone down there?

pretty much I am taller than just about everybody the only people that are taller than me are other gringo missionaries everybody else is shorter than me

Is it easy to get people’s attention because you are so much taller? Do they come up to talk to you or do you have to approach them?

I have to go talk to them still but it is ok we don´t knock on doors here we just walk down the street and talk to the people that are sitting looking out their windows and teach them through the window then when we return we get invited into the house to teach them more

That is cool, do you have any baptisms lined up?

I baptised a 54 year old lady last saturday and we are baptising her mom on the 29th of this month and then the first saturday in december we are baptising a young man named carlos de barco

That is neat. I hope that you are enjoying teaching the gospel.

I am don´t worry well I have to go I am out of time sorry Bye I love you all a lot Elder Goode

We love you too!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

2008_11_17 Week 4 Balzar Clain

Curtis emailed Clain on Monday, November 17, 2008
Clain replied back the same day.

Hey buddy how are things going? how is school? how is the hunting? have you killed many ducks? how many? are you preparing for your mission? you realise that you only have a year and a half now before you go right? Start preparing now so you will be ready. Study Preach my gospel as much as you can to get ready. I love you buddy Elder Goode

Things are going good. I havent been hunting for a while. I have been helping dad with things at home. We got the gabble finished on saturday. I started putting up christmas lights on saturday. The guys at work say hi.

Note from Mom- Don’t you just love it! Curtis has been gone on his mission just three months and he is already giving his little brother missionary advice; the same advice I tried to give him a year ago. I guess he realizes now how important preparation is. We are very proud of Clain. He has been attending Missionary Prep every Sunday for about nine months now. He is learning a lot!

2008_11_17 Week 4 Balzar Dad

Dad wrote on Monday, November 17, 2008
Curtis replied back on that day.


It’s been a busy weekend. I did the siding on the gable over the front porch. It took all day, but we got it done. Clain and Braxton helped me. Where I have to climb the ladder, measure and get down and go cut, it took a long time. After finishing, I was very tired and yesterday I was very sore and stiff. My back and knee were hurting. I feel a lot better today.

How has your week been? Did the lady get baptized on Saturday? I really enjoyed when we had baptisms it was always a special day. Have you found any new people to teach? We pray every day that you will find someone to teach and baptize.

My class is watching a cooling system video so I thought I would write. I think I will take Braxton duck hunting Wednesday with Todd to try to get his swan. They are in now. Skyler calls when he see swans when he is out hunting. We have always been busy doing something so we are not able to go. Maybe this week.

Is it getting easier to understand the people when they talk? I have got to go for a few minutes. I will check back. Love Dad

That is good make sure that braxton gets out there to try for his swan a few times make sure that he has fun too. Yeah we had the baptism this saturday and the confirmation sunday too it went well I was the one that baptised her so it was really neat

That’s neat you were able to baptize her and it went well. I still have to do the rain gutter then it will be all done. Keep working hard it will be worth it. Are you going to send us some pictures of the people and the area?

I have been trying to figure out how to send them to you what I will probably do is burn them to a cd and then mail you the cd I will see if I can´t get them ready to send for next week.

Ok that will be good. The weather has been great the past 3 days I hope it storms Wednesday when we go Duck Hunting. I have been selling a few birds which has been nice. Taylor’s birthday party was fun. She is crawling everywhere now and will be walking soon. What do you have planned for work tonight?

We are planning on visiting some of our investigators the ones that are close to the house of the mamita de ropa because we are dropping off our clothes before six to be washed

How does she wash them? Washing machine or by hand?

my clothes get hand washed and then hung on a line to dry

Thats a lot of work. Does she get paid?

yeah we pay her 2.50 each time we have laundry that needs done

You would pay more than that here at the laundry mat. I’m sure that helps her out to.

yeah we also buy the soap too which is about 1.50 per time so yeah it is pretty good well I gotta go I love you Bye Elder Goode

2008_11_17 Week 4 Balzar Mom

Mom Emailed Curtis on Sunday night.
Curtis emailed Monday, 11/17/2008 9:30 AM
Subject: Week 4 in Balzar

Hi Curtis,
I hope you have had a great week. Tell us all about it. I will ask less questions this time. Answer them and then tell us more about what you have been doing, please.
Did your baptism go okay on Saturday? Tell us about it.

The baptism went well I was the one who performed the baptism and then yesterday we had the confirmation in relicario. it was good antonia is her name she is 54 years old I think. On the 29th of this month we are having another baptism for antonias mom her name is Jesus she is 82 years old.

How are Sonia, Fernando and Cattie coming along?

Sonia has stopped progressing we are having a hard time catching her at home now. Fernando we are having a hard time catching at home as well. Cattie is still progressing but it is hard to teach her for very long because she has a baby girl about 6 months old that needs attention.

Do you have new investigators?

We have many new investigators but it is the investigators that are progressing that are the ones you are wondering about. we have a few but they aren´t really progressing all that well right now

Did anyone come to church this week?

One of our investigators his name is carlos de barco he has been investigating for a while and he wants to be baptised but he doesn´t have a lot of time because he studies during the week in guayaquil so he is only here in balzar some weekends but we set a date for the first saturday in december for the baptism so we will see what happens

What do you do on your Pdays?

study in the mornings email about 11 buy stuff for lunch after and cook lunch in our house then we write letters and do other things that we need to around the house or go to any stores that we need to and then about 5 we take our laundry to the momita to be washed and at six we start prosolyting

Have you done any service? Tell us about it.

yeah this friday we had to have the district leader interview antonia for the baptism during the interview the other 3 elders me my companion and the companion of the district leader helped Fernando the son of antonia to move dirt into the foundation of the house he is building it took about a half hour to move all of the dirt

How is your small branch doing this week?

They are doing good much of the people were there this week and it was good I gave two talks this week one in Balzar and then the same talk again in Relicario on Prayer it was good.

Can you get microwave popcorn, fruit loops, peanut butter, Oreo Cookies, and jerkey at the store?

I haven´t looked for microwave popcorn but probably not but we can get dried corn and pop it on our stove though. No peanut butter we can get much of the same cereal as in the states or cereal similar to it. they do have oreos here but no jerky that I have seen.

Are you healthy, strong and happy?

Yes mom I am healthy strong and happy.

How is your Spanish coming?

it is coming as the people say here poco a poco or a little at a time

I love you lots.
Love, Mom

Hi Curtis,
Thanks for answering my questions again. Tell me more about what you have been doing. How come you quit emailing so abruptly last week? You didn't even say good bye.

I ran out of time and was being obedient that is all. It is going good here what exactly do you want to know about what I have been doing?

I thought you didn't want me to ask so many questions! Congratulations on your baptism. That is neat and really cool that you will have another one. I knew you would be successful with the elderly people. You have always had such a great love for them. Tell me about your very best experiences this week teaching people.

this experience was kinda awkward but it was good. we have been teaching a man that is living with a woman they aren´t married but the man is married to another woman he would get baptised but he needs to get a divorce first from his wife they have been separated for ten years I think once the divorce is final then he should be able to be baptised. the other day we taught them the ten commandments the lady is a catholic but she has been listening to our lessons and seems really interested well we taught the ten commandments and then when we got to the commandment to not commit adultery we changed and taught the law of chastitiy and then went back and finished the ten commandments the law of chastity was hard to teach not only because it was awkward but also because I haven´t studied the words for that lesson very well but I was surprised that I was able to explain what the law of chastity was in my own words without help from my companion of course after I explained it my companion went back through it to make sure that they understood it but still I am coming along in the language

That is awesome. I am sure Heavenly Father was blessing you with the gift of tongues to be able to communicate with the people so they would understand the message. That would be a hard lesson to teach even in English. Have you learned many of the other lessons yet? Is that what you are working on in your daily study sessions?

Yeah we have six pamphlets that we use during teaching I´m sure you can find them in english fairly easy they are the restoration the plan of salvation the gospel of jesus christ the law of chastity the law of tithing and the word of wisdom in preach my gospel in chapter three there are all of the lessons that we have to teach and I have pretty much taught them all now.

Good. I am sure you will get better and better at teaching them as you study and get more practice at it. What seems to be the hardest part of the gospel for the people to accept?

I don´t know for most people they are catholic and they have already been baptised probably for them to accept that their baptism isn´t valid that it is incorrect

That would be hard to change what you had believed all your life. Do many of the people drink alcohol and smoke?

a lot of people drink but not a lot of people smoke which is good

Yeah. Good for you, too, that you don't have to breathe it in as you teach and leave smelling like smoke. Have you done any activities with your district, gone site seeing, or had any district or zone conferences?

we have district meeting every week in quevedo on wednesdays tomorrow we have a zone conference in quevedo so we will be in quevedo twice this week well my time is up I gotta go I love you all a lot and miss you too Elder Goode

We love you, too. Have a really great week!

Monday, November 10, 2008

2008_11_10 Week 3 Balzar Dad

Dad emailed on Mon, 10 Nov 2008 08:06:38 -0700
Curtis replied on 11/10/08 10:12 AM

Curtis How has your week been? My week was ok. I went hunting with Todd on Wednesday we only got 4. We were at Ogden bay. I need to get Braxton out to get his swan. We talked to Skyler and the Insurance will not cover his surgery. Mom was the one that talked to him. Ask her she can tell you more. We are having a birth day party Wednesday for Taylor. Shara and Rob are coming down on Wednesday and spending the night. Saturday Braxton had a birthday party with 4 of his school friends. He also had two soccer games that day so the party was from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM. I am in my 5th period class they are watching a video on Lubrication System. A lot of the ward has been asking how you are doing. I have finished the new pen for the old birds and they are going in that pen pretty good. I have been selling a few birds on Ipigeon I need to sell a bunch more. I am not going to buy any this year. Mom won't let me. I will keep watching my email to see when you are on. Talk to you later. I love you, Love Dad

hey I just finished mom´s huge email so there will be lots to read tonight I have been really busy this week this city is big and there is a lot of walking to be done I can walk pretty much all day now and I don´t feel tired much anymore so it is good. I can´t believe that I am already half way through this transfer already time is flying by

They do transfers every 6 weeks? Are you learning a lot from your companion? How long has he been out on his mission?

yeah I am learning a lot my companion has been out for a year now and yes they have transfers every six weeks

I have got to go do Lunch duty now so have a good week I love you and keep working hard. Love Dad

2008_11_10 Week 3 Balzar Mom

Mom wrote on Sun, 09 Nov 2008 23:56:11 -0700Subject: Week 3 in Balzar
Curtis replied on Monday, 11/10/2008 10:08 AM

Hi Curtis,

It is Sunday evening. It has been a good day. Church was good. It was the Primary program for Sacrament Meeting. This afternoon, Dad and I went up to the church to hear a piano recital by Martha Aston. She is almost done with her master's program. Next week she will do her final performance for her Master's program. Tonight's performance was like a dress rehearsal for that. She played for almost two hours and all of it was memorized. I cannot believe how much music she has memorized. It was amazing and very beautiful. This music was all classical stuff from other composers. I know she has written many of her own pieces, too. I would have liked to have heard more of her own compositions and more church music, but it was really good.

Braxton had two indoor soccer games yesterday. They lost the first one and won the second one. On the way back we stopped and got pizza and crazy bread for his birthday party. He had four friends over to play games. They had fun. I did pears while they played. Many of them had started to spoil, so I didn't get as many jars as I should have. I got six quarts. I still need to do some apples. I think I will try to do some applesauce and jam this week. Hopefully I can fit something in. There is a lot going on again this week. On Wednesday, we are having a birthday party for Taylor here. Shara and Rob are going to come down and spend a couple of days and do some shopping. They are going to sleep here Wednesday night. We have Relief Society, Pack Meeting, and a program at the school on Tuesday night. We have Soccer Practice Friday night and another game Saturday afternoon. I have a wedding shower for Sam Hummell's fiance Saturday and dad and I have a ward adult party on Saturday night. Not much time left to do apples with all that.

I had a good experience Friday. I had to teach a presentation to my faculty at West Point Junior High on the PRS clickers. I think I told you about them in another letter. I didn't get a lot of time to prepare for it so I was pretty nervous about doing it. I prayed really hard for the few days before and Friday morning. Just before going in to teach the class, I prayed in my office that it would go okay. I went to the room and got all set up. I thought everything was fine, but I couldn't get the projector to work. One of the teachers noticed that I had missed plugging in one cable. Once that was plugged in, it worked fine. I started my lesson and it went really well. I was calm and the words flowed out smoothly and everything worked so well. The teachers and staff were having a great time and learning what I wanted them to. I was so pleased with the way it went. It was probably the most fun training I have ever been to at the school. I was so grateful for the Lord's help. I know I could not have done it without Heavenly Father's help. I went back to my office after and offered a prayer of gratitude. I hope you are using prayer every day in your life. I know it works. Heavenly Father will always bless us when we ask for His help.

How has your week been?

It has been really good this week I have been so busy it is crazy

What was your best experience this week?

This week on thursday we went to the cities of culimnes and relicario because we have investigators in these cities. The ones in culimnes are a reference we recieved from salt lake from a child of the parents of this family that are members and the people are way excited about the gospel so we will probably have some baptisms in culimnes in a few weeks.

What was another great experience?

The person we are teaching in relicario is the mother of a young man that was baptised before I got here she is getting baptised this saturday for sure.

How many lessons did you teach?

13 lessons with members present and 25 without members present a lot of lessons

Has anything bad happened?

No not really

Has anything funny or interesting happened?

I am still having a hard time understanding the people it is hard because they talk so differently but it is getting better. a lot of people will see me in the street and they will say Hi or hey you or some other random phrase of english but what is really funny is I will act like I don´t understand and respond with spanish hola como esta and the like it is funny to see their reactions. also the people here have a hard time believing that I am only 19 and no older

How are you feeling? Are your knees still hurting? I hope not. I hope you will get used to all the walking.

my knees are getting better they only hurt now when I have to sit in cramped spaces for long periods of time such as the hour and a half bus ride to quevedo each week

Are you losing weight?

I don´t know I don´t have a scale to weight myself but probably not because our momita feeds us really well lots of rice which I found out is very fattening

How are your feet doing? Are they cracked and sore?

no they are fine and I haven´t been using anything on them either

Tell us more about your apartment. What appliances do you have in your kitchen?

we have a small fridge about 5 feet tall maybe a microwave and a gas stove with four burners and a sink with running water which is really quite good for this area

What are you eating for breakfast and dinner when you get home in the evening?

cereal and milk or fried eggs or bread and milk or toast

Are you doing okay with only one big meal a day? Are you hungry at night when you get home?

yeah I am hungry but that is ok don´t worry I am fine

Have you learned to cook anything different or interesting?

I now know how to cook fresh rice very well it is really quite easy. it tastes so good when it is fresh the rice we buy is maybe been out of the rice patty a month at most so it is really fresh

What is the most interesting thing you have eaten?

probably boiled potatoes cut into small pieces with tunafish mayonaise and fresh chopped onions mixed in I have to say that this one is not my favorite dish here

When you have gone to your district meetings, have any of the elders received packages that you have seen?

yeah there are a few that have recieved packages usually they look like they have been through a war or that someone played soccer with the box for a while.

I have been checking on shipping packages to you. It looks like the cheapest way to send them to you is by using the Priority Mail boxes that the Post Office sells. They have flat rate boxes. You can put as much as you can fit into the box, up to 20 pounds for one price. You can send them with the green Customs label. I just don't know if they have to go through customs or not. The mission president made it sound like anything over four pounds had to go through customs. What do you know about the packages?

All I know is you need to use the green label not the white one that is all

Has your companion received any packages while he has been there?

no he hasn´t

Do the packages arrive unopened?

the ones I have seen arrive unopened

If I put only four pounds in one of those boxes, I will have to send you three or four packages and that will cost a lot more. If I can put more than four pounds in a box, I can probably send you just two for less money. What do you think?

I dunno Try one and see what happens just don´t put anything of really great value in them and it should be fine even if they open the box

I would like to try and send you one package this week if I can and another one next week. I want to make sure they get there before Christmas. You will have to open the boxes when you get them to make sure the stuff arrived then let me know. Then you will have to put some of it away till Christmas so you will have something to enjoy Christmas day. Is there anything else you would like or need?

I honestly can´t think of anything that I might need except a knife I can´t find anywhere that sells a pocket knife they only have kitchen knives and macheties here I just want one that I can put in my pocket and use for opening things and the like.

Are you still taking the Allegra? Do you want me to send more? Can you get allergy medicine in Balzar with the same medicine in it? Allegra is available over the counter now.

I will have to look but I haven´t been taking it so I should be fine right now

What kind of stores do they have in Balzar? Are there any big stores like a Walmart?

No there is one store that is a grocery store it is fairly large about five aisles and each one is fifty feet long and we walked past a fairly large hardware store the other day and that is honestly all of the big shops there are lots of little ones that sell different things the ones on the corner that sell most of the stuff you would need like food drinks and other small things but the big things you have to go to the main market for.

How far away is the store where you shop for groceries? Do you only shop on your Pday?

no we shop 3 or 4 times a week as we need the store is three blocks north and three blocks east of our house so not far

When you go to Quevedo do you do any shopping? Do they have bigger stores there?

yeah they have much bigger stores but we don´t shop there only have our meeting and then leave we don´t even go into the main part of town just a church on the outskirts of town

Have you checked on contact solution and vitamins yet?

no I have not yet sorry

How are your investigators coming? How are Sonia and Fernando doing? Did they both come to church yesterday?

no neither of them did we didn´t have many investigators at all at church we need to work on that for next week

Do you have any new investigators? Did any come to church?

we usually have lots of new investigators but not many that progress after becoming investigators but we are working on it

Can we pray for anyone?

sonia and fernando and Cattie Espinosa she has been investigating the church for a while now she stopped progressing a while ago but she has sharted to progress again so pray for her too.

What is the name of the smaller branch where you are the Branch President? Is it Cerritos or Don Boreo or something like that? I found a map that showed some of the smaller cities in your area. Both of those are to the south of you. There is a spot on top of the second name so I can't read it for sure.

the other branch is Relicario

How is your smaller branch doing? About how many members are in the branch? How many come out to meetings?

it is fairly small about 15 people were there for the first meeting but we haven´t been back since so I´m not for sure what is going on there right now this is one of the areas that the language barrier makes really hard for me

What are the names of the Branch President in Balzar and his wife? Do they have children?

President Ruiz his wife is Elana and then they have four kids the first is Evan he is about 16 or 17 then mary elana she is 13 then amy she is 6 and then moroni he is 2 or 3 and full of energy

What is the name of the other sister who does your laundry? Is she a member? Do you have to carry your laundry all the way out there and back? How far is it?

Sister Valdez it is was acrost town probably a mile or more. yeah when we have laundry to do we have to take it all the way over there to her house

Do many people there have vehicles?

yeah lots of people have vehicles most have motorcycles little suzuki 100 or 150´s there are tons of these and a few have cars and trucks as well

The ward is doing a Christmas party on December 2nd. They are putting together a video of photos of families in the ward and their Christmas memories. They asked me to find out if they sent you a copy of the video on a DVD could you watch it? Is that against mission rules or would it be okay to watch at a member's home?

It would be ok for me to watch there is a tv and dvd player in the church that we have acess to

Does your Branch President have a DVD player or a member that you know? Do they have VHS? What about the church?

a lot have tv´s and dvd players I haven´t seen any vhs players here

Do you use any videos to teach the people?

yeah we use the video of the restoration all the time with people

Have you taken any photos down there?

yeah I have but I haven´t been carying my camera every day because I don´t want it to be stolen I haven´t been robbed don´t worry I just don´t want to take the chance

Are you understanding the Spanish any better?

it is better certain people are much easier than others to understand but it is coming along for sure

Please tell us anything else you want to share about this week.

Skyler called me yesterday. He said the insurance company denied his surgery. They are going to appeal it, but for now, he can't have it done. Without insurance the cost is $60,000. The church said that he can't even go to a state side mission as long as he is having kidney problems. He isn't going to go to SUU until next fall. They don't want him to start in the middle of the program. He needs to start in the fall at the beginning. He is getting laid off from his construction job this week. He said he had a couple of job interviews lined up for this week. He is just going to work for now. He sounded really sad about it all. I feel badly for him.

It is raining here tonight and getting colder. We may have a bit of snow by morning. How is your weather?

The weather here is partly cloudy at the moment with lots of heat and humidity and there is always the chance of rain in ecuador

I miss you a lot and think of you often every day. We pray for you morning and night and at every meal. I hope you feel our love and prayers. I hope they help you. We have prayed for Sonia and Fernando this week. Many at church ask about you each week and the family members all ask about you when we talk to them. We are all thinking of you and loving you. We are all very proud of you and excited to hear more about your adventures.

Love always and forever,


Good morning Curtis. Thanks for the answers. I am glad to hear all is well down there. Why haven’t you been back to the branch in Relicario? Who takes charge when you don't go there?

I am not really for sure like I said the language is a barrier two sundays ago they came to balzar because it was fast and testimony meeting but I don´t understand why we didn´t go to relicario yesterday

Okay. I am sure you will overcome the language barrier soon. Do you feel like you are understanding more of what the people say each day? Are the children easier to understand or the adults? I am sure they are very surprised when they find out you can speak Spanish.

yeah I feel like I am understanding more each day the kids and older people are hard to understand and some of the adults but most of the adults are getting easier for me to understand

That is good. What things do you do on Pday? Have you done any kind of service there yet?

Are you still there? How much time do you have left? Are you emailing other people?

Monday, November 3, 2008

2008_11_03 Week 2 Balzar

Carol wrote to Curtis on Monday, November 03, 2008 at 1:25:27 am
Curtis replied on Monday 11/3/2008 10:14 AM
Subject: 2008_11_02 Week Two in Ecuador

Hi Curtis,

Reply and answer my questions again please.

I hope all is going well for you. I have had a fun week searching for everything I can find on Balzar. I have a much better idea where you are now and what the country around you is like. It appears you are in a valley between two mountain ranges, a small one on the west of you, only about 1500 feet above sea level at the highest point and a part of the Andes Mountain range to the east with really big mountains. Mount Chimborazo, one of the highest mountain peaks in the world, is about 70 miles to the east of you and just a bit to the south. I wonder if you can see the peak from where you are. Dad doesn't think you would be able to see it that far away. It was probably too dark to see it when you flew into Ecuador. Mount Chimborazo rises to 20,565 feet above sea level. It is ranked as the 17th highest mountain in the world and is the highest mountain in Ecuador. It is an inactive stratovolcano. Can you see it? Do the mountains help it to feel like home?

I can´t see the mountains from where I am at. I am having a hard time keeping my bearings of where the directions are but I am getting the hang of it now it is so much easier in utah mountains=east and lake=west much easier

What city in Utah would you compare Balzar to in size? It has about the same amount of people as Clearfield has.

I don´t know it is hard to decide the city part is probably smaller than west point and then we have the stuff outside of the city that is a whole lot bigger

Northwest of you there are some small lakes up by Hacha and Boca Chica. The river appears to flow through some of them and just near others. They remind me of lakes like in the Uintah Mountains on the map. There are a number of roads coming into Balzar. There is the main highway route 21 that goes from Guayaquil up through Porotillo, then west through Daule then north through Santa Lucia and Hacienda Javiera and on to Balzar. I would guess this is the road you traveled to get to your area on the bus. Is that correct?

I think so but i´m not sure I know we went through several cities to get here that is about all though

There is another road that goes south east out of Balzar through Pauji and on to Vinces. There must be a university in Pauji as there are a bunch of Utube Videos from a University that show on Google Earth. I found some maps on a church site that show that Vinces is the district that your branch is in. They are from 2001, so they are probably way outdated. They show one branch in Balzar and two branches in Vinces to make up the Vinces District. I would hope that the church has grown some since 2001 and that there are more branches in this area now. To the east of you and a little south is a city called Palenque, but there is not a road that goes straight from Balzar to Palenque. You have to go to Vinces and then up to get to Palenque. Have you been to any meetings in Vince yet? Do you know how many branches there are now in the district?

I am not sure I know there is the one in Balzar and the one that is about a half hour south of us but I don´t know of any others

There is an interesting road that loops around to the north of Balzar. Meza is along the road on the far side of the loop. There is also a smaller loop on the upper part of the circle. I wonder if you have been out walking in that area. It would be the country area to the east that you talked about. It looks like farm land on the map, but we can't zoom in to tell for sure.

I have been out there a little bit but not very far maybe a half mile out there to some homes but that is about it

To the south a little ways there is a neat loop in the river. It almost comes back around to form a complete circle. There is lots of green around the river. We think these must be rice paddies that are growing along the river banks. There is another place just below the circle that forms a small rectangle loop and below that another smaller rectangle loop. I have never seen a river that has such interesting bends and curves in it. Did you get to see them on your way there?

I did see some rivers on the way here and they did have rice paddies that were flooded around them too

It looks like one road crosses the river to the west of town. There must be a big bridge there to go over the water. I found 16 photos of Vince on the Internet. One shows a bridge over a river. I would guess it is typical of what the bridge crossing the Daule River would look like. I also found a photo of people working in rice paddies in Daule. I am sure that is what they look like all along the river banks. If you continue east on the road after crossing the river, you would travel to Guarumito, which looks like it is about five miles away. About a mile after crossing the bridge, the road intersects with another road that goes north and south to other cities, Hacienda Primavera about five miles to the south and Boca Chica about five miles to the north. How far does your area cover? Have you crossed the bridge over the river?

no I haven´t crossed the river yet but our area is about 45 minutes in a bus north of Balzar and 45 minutes south of our city but we do most of our proselyting in balzar

You said you had been walking in this area. Are there any other forms of transportation to help you get around?

nope not unless we want to pay for a taxi the busses only come through on the main road that is all

Do you have maps showing you all of this area?

I only have a map of the city of balzar that is it

Have you been to any of these other cities, or just in Balzar?

Just Balzar except for on wednesdays we have district meeting every wednesday and we have to travel an hour and a half to Quevedo for these it only cost a dollar fifty to go to Quevedo

Where are your branch meetings held? Are they in a city to the south or just along the road somewhere?

We have a chapel in Balzar and the one that we have to travel for that we are the branch presidents over is held in the home of a member

One map I found of Ecuador says that they raise bananas and coffee in your area. Is that what the people in Balzar do for employment? Do they raise other crops? Are there any industries there?

there is a lot of farmland here for sure lots of the people in Balzar are vendors they have their product and they sell in the streets or on the busses or both and they make a decent living a lot of the people from the surrounding area come to balzar to shop for things

Another map shows that you live in a deciduous forest area. To me it looks more like open farm land, but I can't really tell from the maps. It is kind of a patchwork of fields in different colors, lots of browns and greens. Some of the dark spots could be water. Is it fields that I am seeing on the map or forested areas?

a lot of the area is farm land banana trees and other crops away from the road further there looks like there could be trees and forests but it is hard to tell in a bus

Tell us more about your Branch. How did church go this week? What is a typical Sunday like? How many members are there in the branch? How many come out to church? Are there Priesthood holders there? Besides Presiding, what other tasks do you do to make the branch function? Do you have only Sacrament Meeting or do you have the other meetings as well?

In Balzar we have a branch with a branch president his wife is our mamita de comida he leads the branch in Balzar there are about 30 to 35 that come to church lots of children and then a few families and about 8 are priesthood holders we have sacrament meeting first and then sunday school and then priesthood and then a meeting with the president and the elders quorum president and the ward mission leader and discuss the missionary work and then we have lunch with the president and his family and then we prosolyte for an hour and then we catch a bus to the other branch to the south and then we conduct and preside at another sacrament meeting. Only sacrament meeting though

How did your baptism go on Saturday? Where was it held? Who performed the ordinances? Did many people attend her baptism? Do you have any other baptisms scheduled?

Our baptism actually fell through the girl she is 16 her name is sonia she couldn´t get her parents permission and her family is catholic so they have been trying to talk her out of getting baptised so it is hard

Tell us about the lessons you have taught this week. Tell us about your investigators. Did you find any promising new investigators? Are you able to speak to the people well enough to be understood? Can you understand them?

I am having trouble understanding the people in the mtc the people all pronounced their words well here the people are lazy and slur words together and don´t speak the whole word so it is hard. They understand me just fine. This week we taught a lot of lessons 8 with members present and 22 without a member present we have been teaching a young man 17 i think his name is Fernando he acepted to be baptised the end of november we would do it sooner but we have to have them attend church 3 times prior to being baptised

Tell us about some of the people you have met. Can we pray for anyone?

pray for Sonia that she will be able to get the permission of her parents for baptism and that she will not be dissuaded from the idea of baptism. pray for Fernando that he will continue to progress and gain a testimony.

What was the best thing that happened to you this week?

I got to go to Quevedo twice on wednesday for the district meeting and then thursday
to get my senso it is my ID card that I have to have to be legal in ecuador Elder williams was there too to get his senso. He is in my district so I see him weekly

What was the worst thing that happened to you this week?

I don´t know there really hasn´t been much probably that my knees hurt from walking so much

Did anything funny or strange or interesting happen?

I ate at a KFC in Quevedo and instead of sides of mashed potatoes and gravy they have rice and beans who would have guessed?

Did you go to the cemetery for the Day of the Dead? Do they celebrate Halloween? How?

No they don´t celebrate haloween but the day of the dead wow think of the whole city in one city block the cemetery honoring the dead and there were vendors everywhere and music blaring and it was crazy so we avoided it as much as we could because we are supposed to avoid large crowds of people if we can

What color of Space Pen do you want? shiny silver, brushed silver, camo green, black. Do you want a clip on it?

Probably a shiny silver with a clip on it preferably if there is the choice in a size 0.5 if not that is ok

Is there anything else you need or want? I need to send your Christmas package fairly soon, so let me know if there is something you want in that package.

I can´t think of anything you could send me some reces peanut butter cups if you wanted to

Have you received any mail since you have been there? Have you gotten any DearElders?

i got one dear elder from aunt sheralyn I get them through the pouch on wednesdays in Quevedo and then I have to wait untill monday pday to open them it is hard to not open them

Are you well? Have you been sick at all? Is the food and water agreeing with you?

the food and water is fine I haven´t had diareah or anything the food is good soup first and then a large plate of rice with beans and meat and fried bananas it is good

Do you drink other things besides water? How is your filtering cup working out?

I have been buying the water here in 5 gallon jugs and it is just fine or we can purchase it in bottles on most corners for a quarter we can drink colas as long as they are not black so I have been drinking a couple drinks inca kola and ponly malta they are good and there is a citrus drink call cifruit that is good too we can drink anything that has been sealed and that we open ourselves

Where do you go for district meetings? Who is your district leader? Do you know any of the other elders in your district?

Quevedo for the district meetings and yeah I know elder Williams there are five gringos in my district me elder williams elder sanches elder williams companion and then two others

Where do you go to send email? How long do you have? Last week seemed really short. Aren't you supposed to have an hour for emailing family?

yeah I had an hour but 40 of it was spent answering that one email with the questions just like this one we email at a cyber just down the street from our house

I have created a blog for you. It is a place where I can post your letters and emails and photos you send. I have emailed the link out to all of the family so they can check on you whenever they are thinking about you. You probably can't go to other Internet sites besides email, but if you can, the URL is: http://eldercurtisgoode.blogspot.com/
I setup a desktop shortcut to this site for Grandma and Grandpa Goode. Now they can just click on it and read what you are up to. I think they miss you a lot. They are helping to support you on your mission. It would be great if you could send them a thank you note.

OK I will make sure that I do send them a note this wednesday

It would be great to have some of your favorite scriptures to put on the blog and your testimony if you have time to write it.

I´ll put it in a letter for you and send it this wednesday too

Tell us more about your companion. Where in Peru is he from? Tell us about his family. How long has he been a member of the church? Did he go to college before a mission? work? What are his hobbies and interests? Are you getting along well?

We get along fine he is from lima peru. he is the oldest in his family he had a sister that is 16 and then a brohter younger probably 12 his family have been members their whole lives he didn´t go to shcool before the mission I don´t know if or where he worked but I will find out for later ok

Are you writing your great experiences in your journal?

Yeah I have been not everyday but most days I do

Are you happy?

Yeah I am happy

How do you feel about your mission now that you have been there for two weeks?

It is different it still feels weird to think that I am on my mission now.

How is your language training coming? About how many new word do you learn a week? Are you speaking only in Spanish all day? Does your companion speak any English?

My companion is learning english but he has a long way to come. For just about the entire time we speak spanish so I am learning a lot it is hard to put a number to the amount of words that I am learning a day

Tell us anything else you think we would like to know. We love you lots and miss you, but we are so excited for you to have this opportunity. We know you will be a great missionary. Bishop Hipwell and Bishop Eddy both asked about you today at church.

Take care. I love you so much,

Hi Curtis. Thanks for the answers. I am glad to hear that you are doing good. I sent you two Dear Elders last week, so you will probably get those next time in the pouch. Are you still on the computer? Are you emailing anyone else?

I just sent an email to dad I was going to send one to michelle and to shara next I have about a half hour left to email

Okay. Have you already written to your Mission President today?

Yes I have written my mission president today

You said you have a building to meet in for church. Is it like our buildings here or much smaller?

it is much smaller than our building but has the same things in it

When you meet in the small branch to the south, what duties do you take care of? Do you prepare, bless and pass the Sacrament or do they have enough Priesthood holders to do that?

they have enough priesthood holders to do that we just conduct the meeting that is all

I am glad to hear that you are well. I am glad you haven't had diarrhea. That would make it miserable. Where do you go to use the restroom during the day while you are out proselyting?

Has it been raining on you a lot down there? The weather reports have been partly cloudy almost every day while you have been there. How is the humidity?

We go back to the house if we have to use the bathroom it rains at night here not during the day the humidity is fine not a big deal for me anymore at first it was horible but now it is no big deal

Are you getting many referrals from members? Are they helpful in the missionary work? Do you spend a lot of time knocking on doors trying to find people to teach? What other things do you do to find people?

a few referrals from members but not much well It is time to go

Thanks Curtis. It is great to hear from you. Have a wonderfully, marvelous week. You are a terrific son and I am so very proud of you.
Love always,

Saturday, November 1, 2008

2008_11_01 MTC Photos

Curtis has sent us one bunch of photos from the MTC. I have included a few in this post. He is in very few of the photos. I suspect other missionary mothers are looking at pictures of my son on their computers, while I am looking at their sons. I asked Curtis to swap cameras for a day so I would get some photos of him, but he didn't heed my advice.

On Friday evenings, the missionaries get an extra half hour of free time which they call Fiesta Friday. On this Friday, several of the missionaries were celebrating birthdays with packages that had arrived. The missionary on the right in the Nor Cal t-shirt was Curtis's companion, Elder Blake Bartolomei. This is one of the few photos of him with his eyes open. The other two missionaries were in a different district that left the MTC a few weeks before Curtis did.

The next photo is Curtis's room at the MTC. Notice it is clean, an unusual feat for Curtis! We got him a flag for Ecuador to take with him. He hung it up in his window and said he could see it when they were outside going to other buildings. His bed is the one on the bottom. He got there first, so he staked his claim to the bottom bunk.
This photo shows Curtis's clothes closet. There is not a lot of space, but it is neat and tidy. He said they passed all of their room inspections.

This is Curtis's side of the desk, his own little corner for studying, writing in his journal, writing letters and whatever else he did in his limited time here. They follow a pretty tight schedule, so they don't spend a lot of time hanging out in their rooms.

This is Curtis pointing to Ecuador on the big world map at the MTC.

This next photo has Curtis with Elder Fewkes. They were room mates. As soon as I saw the name in one of his letters and saw that Elder Fewkes was from Idaho, I felt sure that they were related. It took nearly eight weeks to get the details, but it turns out they are third cousins once removed. Merla Fewkes is the mother of Donn Calvert Goode, Curtis's paternal grandfather. The common ancestor is Thomas Henry Fewkes, Jr., who is Curtis's 3rd Great Grandfather on that line. Thomas Henry Fewkes, Jr., is a 2nd Great Grandfather to Elder Fewkes. Curtis said Elder Fewkes was a great guy. In the photo, Elder Fewkes is standing on the curb to be as tall as Curtis is. I don't think Curtis's suit coat is dirty. It is just a glare from a sign that was near them.

This photo has Elder Fewkes and his companion Elder Williams in it. They shared a room with Curtis and Elder Barolomei at the MTC.

This is another photo of Curtis with his companion, Elder Bartolomei. It was taken at the Provo LDS Temple on one of their Pdays in September. Curtis said Elder Bartolomei was great. He loved him.

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