Monday, December 28, 2009

Future Hunting Trips

Hey Curtis

It was good to talk to you. I need to know if you want me to put us in for the hunts this fall like deer and pronghorn. I will need to buy you a combination to be able to put in. Do you know where one of your old licenses are so I can take it with me to get it? I still have till February
to put in, but I don’t want to miss putting in. You are on now so I need to send it now. I Love You!

Hey, I gave all of my important papers to mom when I left. She will have them filed somewhere so ask her. She should have my license, too. I do want you to put me in for all of the hunts that you are going to put in for.

Merry Christmas!

Week 9 Portoviejo

Hey, how is it going? It was great to talk to you on Friday. I really enjoyed the conversation. I hope that all is well with you there in the United States. I am doing good here in Ecuador. Let me know what’s going on.

Elder Goode

Hey! Guess what? Everybody loves the ring that you sent me they all want me to give it to them. I don´t know why the members are like this with the missionaries. They think that we will just give them whatever they ask us for, but there is a family that wants a set of rings like mine. They even took their sizes down, too. They want four, one size 11, one size 8, one size 7 and one size 6, oh and Elder Garcia wants one size 9.5. I don´t know if you can do it, but they want them. If you can´t, don´t worry about it. You could use the money that Skyler gave you towards the rings if you want. The family did talk about paying for the rings so they would give me the money, but it all depends if you can do it or not. Don´t feel pressured at all. If you want to do it, send me how much it would cost, so that I can tell them. Oh, and Elder Garcia also wants you to look and see if you can find him a catalog where they sell lots of church affiliated stuff like the rings, ties, pants, suits, that sort of stuff. He says he is thinking about starting a company in Panama that sells church stuff when he gets back and he wants a catalog to help him get an idea of what stuff is available. Thanks so much! I love you lots!

Elder Goode

Yeah, I am still on, but I am going to be getting off soon because we are going to go to Crucita and we are trying to get everything done early, so that we have time to go and have fun. If you want, I will try to get back on a little later so that I can read the long letter that you usually send. You can tell me how weird that I sound and what everyone said about the phone call and everything. Well, I gotta go. I love you lots!


Elder Goode

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission Christmas Temple Visit

For Christmas, President and Hermana Gamboa gave the missionaries the gift of being able to go to the Ecuador Guayaquil Temple for a session. Elder Goode's Zone, the Portoviejo Zone went on Thursday, December 17, 2009 along with the Los Rios Zone, the Babahoyo Zone and the Orchideas Zone. Elder Goode is on the top row on the left side. His companion, Elder Carlos Garcia is the shorter, dark-skinned missionary just left of him.

Hunting Excitement!

Week 8 Portoviejo

Hey! It is good to hear from you. 10:00 will be good on Friday. We are out of school for Christmas. We might go duck hunting tomorrow. Skyler might take us hunting in Randolph after Christmas. Email us back.


That will be cool. Randolf is way exciting. Just think about that day you had at Ogden Bay with Todd with all of the ducks coming in. It will be like that. It is really cool up there. Well have lots of fun and I will call you on Friday. I love you lots!
Elder Goode

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sweet Visit to the Temple & Forgiveness

What time will you call, our time, which is two hours later than your time?

I can call whenever you want me to, except from eleven to twelve because that is lunch here. What time can Skyler be there? I think it would be better to call in the morning so that everybody is still there in the house before Michelle and Jeff leave to go home, if they come down. Talk to Skyler quickly and tell me what time. I could call at ten. I don´t know if that would be good with you, but ten would work out for me.

Which packages have you received?

I got three packages in our zone conference when we went to the temple. They had the zone stockings and the two big stockings in them. Elder Garcia fixed the name tag so it now says Elder Garcia and the card. He just put his last name after Carlos since that is his first name, so now it says, Dear Elder Carlos Garcia. So that worked out ok.

Have you given the small Christmas stockings to the missionaries in your Zone yet?

No, I will do that Wednesday in the District Meeting.

Have you received any cards or postcards?

I received five post cards now, one from Clain, one from Braxton, one from Dad, one from Shara and one from Grandma Parkinson.

Is Elder Felt still living in the same house as you? That wasn’t clear from your last email.

Yes, he is still here.

Tell us more about your new companion, Elder Carlos Garcia.

He is from Panama. He has one brother and six sisters. His mom is from Colombia and his dad from Spain. He likes to fish. We have been talking a lot about hunting and fishing, so that is kinda cool. We get along good, so things are going great.

What does he like to do?

Fishing. He lives by the ocean, so he goes spear hunting and collects sea food by hand and stuff like that. I thought that it is pretty cool.

Tell us about his family and how long he has been a member.

He was born in the church. His dad served his mission in the Central America Mission, like almost thirty years ago and he baptised his wife on his mission.

Where did Elder Carlos get transferred to?

Elder Carlos is now in Perdro Carbo. It is between here and Guayaquil.

How was your trip to the temple?

It was so good! I have forgotten so much. I can´t believe how much I had forgotten in a year. I can see now why it is so important that you go to the temple regularly, so that you can remember everything and learn more.

Where and what did you eat?

We ate in the temple in the cafeteria. It was rice with shrimp in a corn sauce thing and with a beet salad it wasn´t the best food I have ever eaten, but oh well. That is ok.

What special things happened that day?

We got presents from some of the temple workers. There was a pair of North American temple workers and a few here from Ecuador that went in together and bought all of the missionaries presents. They gave the gringos a pair of socks and a tie and a cool cover for a little hymn book. They gave the latins a shirt and a pair of socks and a tie. I thought that it was really awesome, so this Wednesday I am going to do an activity with the zone. We are all going to write as a zone, thank you notes and we are going to send them to the office to give to the temple workers. I thought that it was the least that we could do for them after the gifts that they gave us.

Did you have any baptisms this week?

No, we didn´t have any baptisms this week, but for next week we have a few planned.

How are your investigators progressing?

They are coming along. I hope we can get the permission of Luis´s parents, so that he can get baptised.

Who came to church?

We only had three investigators in the church. There is a pair of women that come just about every week, but they don´t want to get baptised yet. And we had a husband that came with his wife to church, the first time that they have come to church while I have been here. We are teaching him. She is a member, but they aren´t married and she was married before so we have a sister from Elder Felt’s ward that is a lawyer that is helping us with the divorce, so they can get married and then he can get baptised. So that is pretty cool. He is a police officer so we have a buddy in high places if we ever have problems.

Did you have a special Christmas program in church?

We had our program of carols in the church, last Saturday. That was pretty cool. We came up with a three scene play that we incorporated the carols into. The basic plot was that there was a single father that is a thief that wants to give his three sons a good Christmas, so he robs a pair of North American missionaries to sell their stuff to get money to buy his kids a good Christmas. So that is the first scene, that he robs the missionaries. (I was one of his accomplices that helped him rob the missionaries.) It starts out that a group of missionaries are singing in a park and that they sing a song and then they all start to leave and two missionaries stay to clean up. They had a little display with pamphlets and there is a pause and an old guy starts talking. The people keep moving, but without talking. He says that the guy sitting on the bench over there is him sixty years ago and that he didn´t have anything to give to his kids for Christmas and that he only wanted to give his kids a good Christmas. And that is where the action starts again and he robs the missionaries. He tries, but he was a lot smaller than the two missionaries, so he calls for help and that is where we, (me and another missionary), run out and help him to rob the missionaries. And then we run off stage and the missionaries are all sad and depressed and that ends the first scene.

The second scene is that he goes to a friend to sell the stuff and that is when he finds out that there is just books and pamphlets and nothing of "real value" so he says that he is going to burn the books and that is when the spirit or the audience prompted by script cards says Nooooooo and he pauses and says that he better find out what the book says. And that is when he opens the book and reads that Jesus will be born of Mary in Bethlehem and then all of the missionaries come out on the stage singing “The First Noel.” And then when we finish, he reads that angels speak to men and then we sang “Angels We Have Heard on High.” And then the choir left and he said that he was going to go show his kids the books, that they could change their lives. that is the end of the second act.

The third scene is in the house. The three kids are sitting on a couch in the house and the dad enters and the kids all have a negative attitude, that he just remembers that he has kids, that they don´t want to listen to him. He says that he has something that will change their lives and one says that they are thieves, that there isn´t change and that Christmas is just a material thing. The father then leaves and the kids go back to sitting and playing and then there is a knock on the door and one of the kids goes and answers the door and the missionaries enter without being asked and shake hands with the two other kids and sit down and start to teach the kids. The kids in shocked silence listen and then after about a minute of teaching, the father enters again and sees the missionaries and they all get quiet. And the father says that he wants to buy the book, because it is so good. They tell him that he can keep the book. He says thanks, but then asks them to explain more and he sits down and tells his kids that he told them that it could change their lives. That is where the play ends and the old version of the father stands up and says that that is how it all started, that he changed his life through The Book of Mormon and that everybody there could change their lives, too.

When and where did you sing the song you have been practicing? What song? Who else sang with you?

We practiced in District Meetings before and after, for three weeks and then a little bit before the activity on Saturday.

What plans do you have for Christmas day?

There is an activity in the church on Christmas, so we will go to the activity and hopefully someone will invite us to eat a Christmas dinner. If not, we will keep visiting people on Christmas.

Do you have any District or Zone activities planned this week?

No, we don´t.

Who is your new Zone Leader or Zone Leaders?

Elder Rojas and Elder Fonseca. He is from Bolivia and has a little more time in the mission than I do.

Tell us a spiritual experience you have had recently.

We are teaching a lady that is a widow. Her husband died four or five months ago. She is doing really good right now. She said at first she was depressed, but the missionaries helped her out a lot. Well the other day, one of the neighbors did something that she didn´t like, to her kid. I won´t go into details about what, it isn´t that important, but she was really mad and angry for what had happened and she doesn´t want to forgive her neighbor. Well I told her about what happened between you and (your friend) and that she still doesn´t want to accept all of the apologies and treats and things that you have tried to do to reestablish the friendship that had existed for so long. I started to cry telling her all of this. I told her how you were my hero, that all of the things that you did to repair what had happened and how even though you may have felt like you were right, you put that aside and tried to make things better. I cried. I could feel the spirit really strongly. I challenged her to try to forgive her neighbor for what had happened, that it really didn´t matter. A little incident like that shouldn´t be more important than the friendship that they had had before. She said that she would try, but she seemed to really accept what I had explained to her. I hope you aren´t mad that I used you as an example.

Has the fungus and athlete’s foot cleared up?

Yeah, it is clearing up and I am doing a lot better.

Are you healthy and happy?

Yep, I am doing great.

Do you need anything?

More jerky!

Hey Curtis. Great to hear from you. We are all home now. I will have dad get on and talk to you, too, while I am typing a reply to your email. It was great. Thanks. I am crying right now. It is fine that you used me for an example.

Will ten be ok to call on Friday?

Skyler said he could be here at 10:00, so that will work for us. We will anxiously await your call.

I am glad the name thing worked out with the Christmas stocking. I thought it was neat that your new companion's name was Elder Carlos Garcia. Is your old companion expecting to get the Christmas stocking? Hopefully he will not be too disappointed. He will be getting the set of scriptures when they arrive. You didn't open all the gifts yet, did you?

I think you are going to be short two of the little stockings for the Zone, so you and Elder Garcia will just have to go without. Sorry. It is a pain to keep the packages under four pounds.

If I planned things right, you should get a whole bunch more postcards this week in the pouch. Then a bunch more will probably trickle in over the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy them.

In the photo that Hermana Gamboa sent, where is Elder Felt's companion? Is he right below him or below him to the left?

I am glad you and your companion are getting along great.

It is really cool that your companion likes hunting and fishing like you do. I am sure that makes it more interesting. You have something fun to talk about occasionally. I know Elder Carlos liked Chemistry, like you do, but that is not as exciting of a subject to talk about like hunting and fishing. Spear hunting sounds like something you would absolutely love. Maybe someday you can go visit him and get a chance to try it.

That is neat that Elder Garcia's dad met and baptized his mom while on his mission. It is interesting that he found someone in the Central America area that was from Colombia. How strange is that? It has been almost 30 years since dad was on his mission. Wow!!!

It is really cool that you got to go to the temple on Thursday. I thought about you being there, all day long. It is important to go often. We have got to do better this year. I am setting a goal to go at least once a month. I am finally past the point of remembering what I have to say at the veil, but occasionally I still mess up. I am now learning new things almost every time I go, so it is very important to us. I hope you will always have a desire to go to the temple. I have only eaten in the temple cafeteria a few times. The food has always been great. Yours sounds interesting.

That is really cool that the temple workers did something so very special for the missionaries. What a really neat service. I think it is awesome that you are going to write thank you letters to them. I think you should all write thank you cards to President and Hermana Gamboa also and maybe some to the office elders who do so much for the missionaries. Gratitude is something that everyone can work on more in their lives.

I hope your baptisms work out for this week. It would be really cool to be baptized on December 26th, a really cool Christmas gift. I am glad you are finding some new investigators. I hope you can get the divorce worked out while you are there, but those seem to take months from what I have read in other missionaries’ letters.

Your Christmas program sounds wonderful. I am glad you were able to do that. It is a fun story. I bet you will remember it all of your life. Hopefully it had an effect on someone that was there to see it.

I hope you will get a dinner invitation for Christmas. If not, find some way to serve others that day to make it special.

Thanks for sharing this very special experience with me. That is a wonderful gift to me. I hope it will help this sister to forgive her neighbor.

I am glad you are doing great. There should be a bit of jerky in your Christmas packages. Hopefully that will keep you happy for a little while.

We love you so much! Take care and talk to you soon. I love you.

P.S. When did you mail my photos?

That will work out then. Well, I love you all very much and I hope all is going well. I will talk to you all this Friday. I love you lots bye. Elder Goode

Elder Felt’s companion is the one right below him in the picture that is titled Portoviejo, Rios, Orquidias, Bobahoyo.

The elder that is all the way right and above a sister missionary from the states, is my step- brother in the mission or Elder Alcocers kid, Elder Ruiz from Costa Rica. If you look, Elder Carlos is below me in the picture. Not the one right below me, but the one below him.

Awesome Curtis. Thanks so much. I love you! Have a terrific week. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Short, but Sweet!

Week 7 Portoviejo

Did your Zone have any transfers?

Yes, I had a transfer Thursday. They called Wednesday night and told Elder Carlos that he was going, so Thursday we had to go to Guayaquil and I got a new companion, Elder Garcia. He was in Quevedo South in Primavera. His trainer is Elder Walker and now I am his second companion. Elder Felt got a transfer, too. He is now with Elder Avila from Guatamala. Elder Turley is going home, so we will have a new Zone Leader and Elder Romero left and Elder Xec is here now.

Tell us about your baptism.

We baptised Juan Pablo. It was kind of sad that Elder Carlos couldn´t be there, but I had my first baptism with Elder Garcia.

Tell us about your investigators.

We are visiting the same people still and trying to help them progress.

Have you made any progress in getting permission for Luis?

We are trying, but it just isn´t working out too well. His dad is always drunk when we go to visit.

Well let me know what else you want to know. I think I will call on the 25th because President hasn´t told us what days we can call yet, so I think he will tell us on Thursday when we can call.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Lots of Great Information!

Week 6 Portoviejo with Mom

I got two packages this last week, the two Thanksgiving packages. They arrived all right, but the pie crust didn´t hold up too well. It was falling apart and the package was pretty hammered. I still managed to save enough to make the pie and it turned out all right. I did manage to get your disks in the mail, but like you, I forgot to put in the letter before I sealed it, so I will have to send it separate.

Phone Call
I haven´t thought much about the phone call, but I have been thinking a little bit about it. But this year they are having a special, I guess you could say. It is only going to cost ten cents a minute, so I will be able to call for forty minutes and it will cost me four dollars. That is pretty cheap, right? I thought that that would be the best option, so I think I will just go to a Cabina and call and pay the four dollars and talk to you guys again.

Your Apartment or House
We live in a four story building. We live on the top floor. We have a balcony with a hammock. There is the kitchen and with the kitchen is our desks to study, on the other side of the room. We have three bathrooms between four missionaries, so I have my own shower and Elder Felt uses my toilet, too, but he showers in the other bathroom, so it works out ok. We sleep in two rooms, me and my companion in one room, and Elder Felt and his companion in the other. And Elder Felt and Elder Merchan have their own room for their desks to study and plan.

More about your Companion
He is from Peru. He has been a member for his entire life. He likes to be annoying and a tease. Sometimes I really wonder if he really is 21 years old. This is his fourth change and I am his second companion, so that makes me his step-dad in the mission. So now, my kid, Elder Machuca, has a step-brother. He is really organized and he hates disorder. We are really complete opposites. Most of the elders tell me that I must have a lot of patience. Imagine, I have patience. I am surprised too! Don´t worry!

Your Investigators
We are teaching Juan Pablo. He is going to be baptised this Saturday. We need to set up the interview and then he will be set. We have a few others that are on their way, but we hit a few snags with them. Luis Vivas, he is sixteen, but his parents won´t give him permission to be baptised. We are working really hard with his parents right now, but it is hard, because his dad drinks. So he isn´t home much and when he is, he is drunk and he doesn´t listen too good when he is drunk. We tried to talk to him the other day, but he just kept talking and wouldn´t let us talk, but we are going to get this permission. I won´t give up. Saturday we were supposed to visit with Luis´s dad, but he wasn´t in his house. Luis said that he was at a friend’s house drinking, so we went with a member that was there with us and I tried to get him to leave and come visit with us, but his drunk friends wouldn´t let him and he didn´t want to anyways. So it is hard! I have never had to deal much with drunks, but now I am and it is really hard. I never thought that I would have the courage to go pull a drunk man out of a bar and take him to his house, but I tried. He just didn´t want to come. We are also teaching two of Luis´s friends. The problem with them is they didn´t come to church this Sunday because it was Stake Conference and they didn´t want to go to the Stake Center. So they can´t get baptised for this Saturday because they didn´t come, but they will get baptised next change for sure. We don´t have to worry about the permission of their parents either. I already have the papers signed by their parents. Then there is Ibet. She is the one that Brother Arana took us to. She has a baptism date for the 26th of December, but she hasn´t come to church yet, so I don´t know if she is going to progress. So we will see what happens, because she can´t get baptised if she doesn´t come to church.

Your Teaching Pool
We are meeting a lot of new people because we are knocking a lot of doors so we are seeing a lot of people come and go and come and go but we are meeting and teaching a lot of people and they are exercising their agency, so I am content with my work even though it is hard and there is a lot of rejection. But like you wrote in that book so long ago it is just like my pre-mission dating career, right? I am used to it.

Juan Pablo this Saturday.

Spiritual Experiences
I had a very spiritual experience this week. We were teaching Juan Pablo about tithing and he understood it, but not all of it. He kept asking what if he wanted to give more if he could. We told him that tithing is only ten percent and that he could give more in his fast offering if he wanted to. I kept talking and then I felt a quiet, but strong feeling to stop talking and when I stopped talking, Elder Carlos started talking and he bore a really powerful testimony about the blessing that he has received in his life just completing with this commandment, just paying ten percent and then giving a very generous fast offering and Juan Pablo understood and was very willing to pay his fast offering. The really cool thing is that yesterday in the conference, the sister of Juan Pablo, that is a member, came up to us and thanked us for teaching her brother the gospel. I felt like all of my hard work this change was worth it, just for the thanks that she expressed to us, how grateful she was that her brother was receiving the gospel. It was really, really cool!

Your Thanksgiving Day – What did you do and eat?
We worked hard and I didn´t even remember that it was Thanksgiving until a few days later, so it wasn´t anything special for me this year, but I can assure you that next year it will be really great! I am sure I will go huntin in the mornin and eat lots of turkey with the family and we will be missin the next missionary in line.

Your Health
I am doing good. I haven´t been having the headaches, because I have been drinking a ton of water. I found a new drink that I like a lot. I take three limes, the limes here are little about the size of a golf ball and I squeeze them into a liter sized cup and I put in about a quarter cup of sugar and then fill the cup with water and stir it up and drink it. I love this! Last week, I bought forty limes and they didn´t last the week. This time, I bought sixty limes and I hope that they last the week. I was thinking about your experience with cerviche and I was wondering what size of limes you used, because the limes in the states are a lot bigger than the ones here, so this could have been your problem in the cerviche is that one lime here is like two tablespoons of juice where there a lime could give you a quarter of a cup. I don´t know if that was the problem, but it could be some of it.

Your Branch
The branch is going good. It should soon be a ward. They said that they have to wait until the middle of January and then they can propose it as a ward and it should be accepted, so I could be the first missionary in the 12th of March, as a ward instead of a branch. I was the third missionary in Valencia as a ward and I was with the second, fourth, fifth and sixth missionaries of the ward. Just so you know.

More about your Sector
My sector is actually quite big and to answer your question about where my money has been going it has been going into a lot of taxis and buses. We are always taking taxis on almost a daily basis, like yesterday, we had the Stake Conference, so I had to take a taxi to get one of our invesitgators and then to the stake center ($2.50). Then we took one after the Stake Conference to our house ($1.00). Then we took another taxi to our lunch, which just happened to be by the Stake Center. A family invited us ($1.00). A taxi back to our house ($1.00). Then we took a taxi back to the Stake Center to practice the choir that we are going to be performing later in the month ($1.00). Then we took another taxi to go pick up investigators for the Christmas Devotional ($1.00) and back to the stake center ($1.00) and then a taxi to go home after the devotional ($1.00). So we are using a lot public transport so it is kinda hard with the money that they give us and they are telling us that we need to buy better food, so we are buying more and better products to eat. I now spend thirty to forty a week on food and when they only give us eighty every two weeks, it just isn´t enough with the food and the taxis and with the interchanges that is another story in itself.

How long did it take you to go to Chone?
It was two hours to go to Chone. It really kind of sucked. It reminded me a lot of my trips to Balzar after District Meetings. Chone is cool, but the house is horrendous. They are looking for a new one, because it is so bad.

Why is Elder Arana in your area teaching? Where is he from? Why is he back in the mission?
Brother Arana is from Guayaquil. He was here in my sector when he was here in the mission and he came back to visit his converts for a few days. He trained Elder Verastagui here in this sector, like two years ago.

I am thinking that I am going to do an interchange this week with Elder Baez from Argentina and with Elder Merrill. So I will go with Elder Merrill and Elder Baez will come here to my sector and I want to see how the things are going out there in their sector and how the missionaries in their house are getting along. From what we understand, they aren´t getting along very well, so I am going to see if I can figure out the problem and try to help them fix it.

Are you going to the temple for Christmas this year?
Yes, the letter from President said that we are going to go and that he wants us to pay our own passage and buy our own food so I am going to have to start setting aside money now so that I have if for later.

Hey Curtis. Thanks for the great letter and all the good information. I am glad all is well. I will put a bit more money in your account just in case you need it this month with the temple visit. Probably only $50 more. What do the elders who don't have any extra money do when they have to travel so much?

You are probably right about the Cerviche and the lime juice. I might try it again with just a little bit of juice.

That sounds okay on the phone call. What day will work for you? Think about it and let us know. We are having our party with Shara and Michelle on the 18th. Michelle and Jeff will be there on the 24th in the evening and on the 25th, hopefully all day, but at least in the morning. Are the Cabinas open on Christmas day?

Sorry about the pie crust. I squished it a bit to get it in the package. I need to find a square one that would fit easier. I hope you
liked it anyways.

Thanks for sending the photos. I will anxiously await their arrival.

Congratulations on the baptism coming up. I hope it all works out for you this time. Keep working on the rest of them. I knew the mission would change you in many ways. I hoped patience would be one blessing for you. I am glad to see you are developing some.

I love you lots,

The Cabinas are open on Christmas and just about any other day except New Year’s Day, so I will be able to call on the 25th or 24th, but I will see what day will be best. But it will also depend what President says. Last year, he said that we could call whatever day in December that would work best, but I don´t know for sure yet. I could ask about the 18th, but would everybody be there? I want to call when everybody is there if I can. Can Skyler be there? Can you see what day he could be there too? If he could be there the 24th or 25th? See what you can do I don´t think there will be many changes from what president said in his letter this week. Just the Zone Leader changes and those that will be training, so I don´t know. Let’s see what happens. I love you lots! Bye!

Elder Goode

I am glad you are able to love your companion. It is great preparation for marriage. There are times when you won't really like something your wife will do, but you will still love her and because you do, you will ignore the things that bug you and cherish the things you do love about her.

Thanks for sharing the spiritual experience. I am sure that was very special. I am happy to know you are listening to the spirit's promptings and allowing him to work through you. There is nothing that makes you feel better than true gratitude when you have helped someone. I know in my job there are many days that the thanks I get from others makes it worth continuing. Otherwise, I don't think I would still be doing this job. The gratitude makes all the pain and struggle worth going through.

That is cool that Elder Arana lives so close and is able to come and visit those he taught. It seems strange that they would send him to the same mission where he lives, but maybe he lives in the Guayaquil South boundaries. Was he disappointed to serve so close to home?

I am glad to hear your health is good. Has the fungus on your hand gotten any better? What about the Athlete's foot. I think those packages had the medicine in, didn't they?

Pray for help before you go on your exchange and I am sure the spirit will help you discern what the problems are and help you suggest ways to fix them.

Love you so much,

Okay. I will try to find out about Skyler this week so I can tell you next Monday. On the 18th everyone should be there after 6:00, but Skyler probably won't be. Shara won't be there on the 24th and 25th, but Skyler might be. Hard choice, I know!

Have a really great week son! Know that we love you very much and we are so very proud of you.
Love always and forever,

Monday, November 30, 2009

Elder Arana Returns

Portoviejo Week 5

So guess what? I wrote you a really nice long letter and then the system went down and I lost it all, so I am sorry that this letter is going to be kind of short.

So this week I ran into Elder Arana or now Brother Arana. He was in this sector and in Valencia, too. I don´t know if I told you, but I ran into him in Valencia, too, when I was with Elder Castañeda. He trained Elder Verastagui here in this sector. He also trained Elder Elwood in Monte Cristi. We went out two different days with Elder Arana to visit a few of the people that he was teaching, to visit them again, and he took us to an 18 year old girl that wanted to get baptized, but her parents wouldn´t let her two years ago. But now she can sign for herself, so we can baptise her. So that is really cool.

Things are going good. I went out to Chone to do two interviews and stayed the night with Elder Piedra. That was cool. Let’s hope I didn´t pick up the same bug that Elder Smith had, that had babies in his foot. Well, I love you lots. I hope you can write me back fast.

Elder Goode

Monday, November 23, 2009

Portoviejo Zone on 20 November 2009

1. Elder Salvador Rojas, Mexico City, Mexico, ZL
2. Elder Romero
3. Elder Pablo Baez, Argentina
4. Elder M. Merrill, Washington
5. President J. Wilson Gamboa
6. Elder Marco Enciso
7. Elder A. Piedra, Washington
8. Elder Moises Carlos, Peru
9. Elder Henry Guix
10. Elder Curtis Goode, West Point, Utah, DL
11. Elder David Minga, Quito, Ecuador, DL
12. Elder M. Turley, ZL
13. Elder Brian Mitchell, Ogden, Utah
14. Elder Jose Ramirez
15. Elder Wyatt Felt, Mapelton, Utah
16. Elder Edwin Merchan, Colombia
17. Elder Brian Lopez, Costa Rica

Elder Goode’s District – Do the districts have names? No
10 & 8 - Elder Goode and Elder Carlos
6 & 7 - Elder Enciso and Elder Piedra (It means rock in English. He is from the states, but his parents are from here in Ecuador. His dad is from Guayaquil and his mom from Quito.) (new gringo)
3 & 4 - Elder Pablo Baez and Elder M. Merrill (new gringo)
12 & 1 - Elder Turley and Elder Rojas, Zone Leaders

Elder Minga’s District
11 & 13 - Elder Minga and Elder Mitchell (new gringo)
15 & 16 - Elder Felt and Elder Merchan
2 & 17 - Elder Romero and Elder Lopez
9 & 14 - Elder Guix and Elder Ramirez

Inspiration and a Little Bit of Luck!

Week 4 Portoviejo

How close are you to getting the Maestro all passed off? You haven’t told us in a while.

I still have a little work to do, but I am getting there.

What area of Portoviejo is your Sector in? Can you give me your street address so I can find it on Google Earth?

I am in 12 de Marzo. If you look at the university that is in Portoviejo, my sector is on the side of the university that goes out toward the ocean. That is my sector. Elder Felt and Elder Merchan have the other side of the university. But if you are looking at the university, follow the main street that the university is on for my sector and after the university in my sector there is a road that goes up on a hill. That is where there is a school that is called 12 de Marzo. I live on that street, but not up on the hill. I live just across the main road, not on the corner, but the second house on the side of the road that is closer to the university. I hope that makes sense. I don´t know how much clearer I can try to make it, because I don´t know how much Google Earth shows.

Have you received any packages yet? Your Thanksgiving packages will probably arrive after Thanksgiving. Sorry, it was poor planning on my part.

No I haven´t received any packages yet.

How is your athlete’s foot and fungus problem? Where on your hand is the fungus? Do you have any idea what is causing it?

The fungus is on my finger. It is my middle finger on my right hand. If you look at your hand with the nails up, it is on the right side of my middle finger and it goes from the tip of my finger to the middle of my finger, the knuckle. The humidity is the cause of it, but just about all of the elders get fungus sometime in the mission.

Did Elder Carlos get better from his throat infection?

Yep, he is a whole lot better.

Are you healthy and happy?


What happened with the Bishop on your last six baptisms in Valencia. Why weren’t you able to have those baptisms?

He told us we couldn´t baptise the San Martin family if the mom didn´t get baptised with her kids. The assistants told me that Elder Machuca and Elder Thomas had a goal of six the last week, but that they all drank coffee, so they couldn´t get baptised. That Elder Mitton had to interview all six and they all said that they drank coffee. That is like four hours of interviews. That is really long.

Do the Peruvians eat a lot of hot foods? What kinds of things do they cook that you like to eat?

The Peruvians are a lot like the Mexicans. They like things spicy, but they cook a lot like the Ecuadorians, just with peppers and chiles to make it hot.

Did you get a family heirloom from Elder Bejar?

No, I didn´t, but I decided to start one so that we can have one in the family. Elder Williams told me that he received a shirt that has been passed from missionary to missionary since 1996. So it has had a while here in the mission. So I think unless one of my grand kids is a thief and keeps the family heirloom for themselves, it should be around a long time.

Did you write your names on the back of your heirloom for future posterity?

Yes, that is the idea, that the elders can say that my great great great....... great grandad is Elder Goode from Utah.

What day did you mail my photos? I am expecting to get them as my Christmas and Birthday present. Don’t disappoint me!

I mailed the disks this Wednesday, that is coming, in the District Meeting.

He Better!!!

Are you walking a lot in Portoviejo? Or do you use the buses and taxis to get around?

I am walking a lot here in Portoviejo, but we have to take buses sometimes to get from one part of the sector to others and then we walk. My sector goes from the university here in Portoviejo to another city called Cruzcita, that is out there on the ocean. So my sector like all of my others is a big one.

How big is your sector?

From the university to Cruzcita, is about an hour in bus, but at low speeds, like thirty-five to forty miles an hour.

Does your sector cover just one ward or one branch?

Yep, my sector is just one branch. It is part of the stake, but it isn´t big enough yet to be a ward, but they said that they were close.

How big is your ward or branch?

It is about the same size as Valencia.

How many people attend each week?

About 100 to 120.

Do you teach any lessons or have you talked in church?

I gave a talk on missionary work my first Sunday here and then we give a class every week. We teach the Gospel Principles class.

Are the members helping you a lot with the work? Are you able to take them with you to your lessons?

We are working on getting the youth involved so we are taking a youth with us just about every day when we visit.

Have you ever met President Gamboa’s Counselors in the mission? You have never mentioned them. Who are they and where are they from? What do they do to help the work?

No, I don´t know anything about his Counselors.

Do President and Hermana Gamboa have two sons with them on the mission? Elder Abriel mentioned a 14 year old son. I have found a lady on Facebook that I think is Hermana Gamboa. She is friends with some of the returned missionaries. Her name is Doris Pulido Barrerra. Is that Sister Gamboa? The photo is of her with President Gamboa and two sons. One looks like he is about fourteen and the other about eighteen. He could be on a mission, I guess.

That would be Hermana Gamboa and they have two sons. One is in the mission, in Argentina and the other is here. He comes sometimes to the Conferences with his parents.

Tell us about your investigators. Do you have any with baptismal dates set?

We have four with baptism dates. One is the brother of a member. He is 26 and his sister is about thirty and she is a member that lives in another ward. But he accepted a baptismal date for the 12th of December without problem. He has accepted everything that we have taught him without problems. His name is Juan Pablo or John Pedro in English.

We have three others that we are teaching that are all 16 years old. They have a lot of friends in the church and they like to go to the church to play soccer. We just need them to come to church so they can get baptized. I think we are going to have the four baptisms on the 12th, but let’s see what happens.

Do you have any that are progressing?

We have a lot that we have found that are progressing, so that is cool. I am pretty sure that all of the finding that we have been doing has paid off.

You said your sector is called the 12th of March. Did you know that the city of Portoviejo was founded on March 12, 1535?


Is your sector near the university? If so, you might have lots of success working with the students there. I suspect they are a lot more receptive to change than their parents who are set in their ways of religion.

Have you been having power blackouts in your area? Some of the other missionaries are talking about how they turn off the power for an hour each morning and an hour each afternoon to conserve power. They say that Ecuador is experiencing a drought and because most of their power is created by water, they are having shortages of power due to the drought. Elder Daniel Mitton said they have been teaching about the light of Christ when they have to teach in the dark. He said this has been very beneficial to them and the people are listening because it is a real lesson they can see, how Christ represents light in their lives. It might be something you could use in your sector.

Yes we have been having black outs here. Ours are a three hour block in the mornings, from 9 to 12, so it doesn´t affect our area too much.

Hi Curtis,

I just got back on my computer. I had to go to WPJH for a bit and just got back to WPEL. I hope you are still on the computer. Thanks for the answers to the questions. Tell us more about what you have been doing this week. What happened that was exciting? You must have had a Zone
Conference. I believe that photo was taken on November 20th. Is that right?

Love you lots,

Yep, you are right the picture was taken on the 20th and we did have Zone Conference. We learned a lot about the obedience in the conference. There seems to be a huge problem with the disobedience right now here in the mission, so we talked about why it is so important that we are obedient. It was cool. I learned a lot and I got lucky with a lot of my comments or I was inspired, but I am sure that there was a little luck. Elder Aguirre passed out a letter to all of the elders, a different letter of the alfabet. I got the letter J and then Elder Aguirre asked Presidente to pick a letter and he picked one and Elder Piedra got picked and he was the example and then Presedent picked the J and I got picked and the thing was that we had to remember a scripture with a certain word that began with me letter. My word was juventud or youth in english and I had studied a long, long time ago in my second or third change the scripture so I had to give the reference and say the scripture from memory and then tell what principle I would apply it to and then what commitment I would give the people. So that was cool I got lucky with a scripture that I knew. Many didn´t know the scriptures. I was one of just two that were able to do it without any help.

Well I gotta go, but I love you lots and I hope that all is going well for you.


Elder Goode

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Knocking Doors in Portoviejo

Curtis is now serving in a city called Portoviejo. It has a population of 250,000 people. That is a little larger than Salt Lake City without all of it's suburbs. It is about 30 kilometers from the Ocean. Raising coffee and cattle and fishing are important industries. It was founded on March 12, 1535 and is one of the oldest cities in Ecuador and the sixth largest city in the country.

Week 3 Portoviejo

Hey! So how are things going? I am doing good. So tell Clain congratulations on his first date. I am proud of him. That is a big accomplishment. But make sure that he understands that she went to all of the trouble to ask him so now he owes her the favor to ask her to the next dance.

Things are going good here. I have done two baptism interviews already for Elder Rojas and Elder Turley, the Zone Leaders. Elder Rojas came with me from Quevedo out here to Portoviejo. I didn´t get to go to the Leadership Conference. It was just the Zone Leaders. A while back the district leaders got to go, too, but that didn´t happen this time, just the Zone Leaders. But you know what everybody is saying, that the next change I am going to be a Zone Leader. All of the elders are saying this. I don´t know, but I have seen a trend recently with a lot of elders that end up Zone Leaders. They get sent to a sector for one change to be District Leader and then the next change they get changed to another sector to be Zone Leader. This happened with Elder Bartolomei and with Elder Rojas, so maybe it will happen with me, too. I don´t know. Everybody says that it is going to happen, but I don´t know. They also say that if I end up staying here in this sector, that I will train the next change. So let’s see what happens in the next month.

With Elder Carlos, we have been knocking a lot of doors and finding lots of new people to teach. When I got here, there wasn´t a whole lot of people that they were teaching. They had baptised a lot of people here. In his three changes here, Elder Carlos has had 15 baptisms. So right now we are working really hard to find more people and help the ones that we are teaching to commit to be baptised and then to follow through with it.

I had an interchange with Elder Rojas here in my sector and we had an awesome day finding new people and teaching the ones that we already had. I am very proud of myself in less than two weeks I am able to go anywhere in the sector that I want without getting lost. I am still having problems remembering where all of the houses are, but I know the majority of them. Elder Rojas is really cool. He is from Mexico City, Mexico. He has 18 months in the mission and he only had one change as a district leader before he subed to Zone Leader. So this is his second change as a Lider in the mission.

Hey Elder Carlos just asked me if you could send him a triple combination in Spanish with his name on the front, one of the nice ones with the index on the sides and everything. He wants you to put Élder Moises Carlos on the front of it with the little accent mark on the E of Elder if they can. I told him you are sending the bible but he really wants the triple. I don´t know if you can do that or not. If he isn´t here when it gets here, I can send it to him through the pouch and he will get it.

So you wanted to know what new foods we have been eating here. I have eaten now a lot of breaded and fried fish. I love it so much! They give it to you filet and without the bones and it is so good. I have eaten a ton of cerviche. It is a little like a soup, but it isn´t. It has fish or shrimp or just about whatever type of seafood that you want in it and then they boil it in water. And after that, they put in lime juice and a little oil and onions and then you put in ketchup and mustard to your liking and you eat it with platano frito, not patacones. It is like potato chips from platano and with rice. It is so good! You can also put in a little hot sauce if you like. I usually put a little in, but my Mexican and Peruvian compatriots put in a ton of hot sauce.

I am still waiting for the day when I will get to eat octopus and we are planning, me and Elder Rojas to go and hunt an iguana and eat it, too. So I should have a story about an iguana hunt one of these weeks for you. Other than that, the food is about the same. Like yesterday, I had rice and beans with the breaded and fried fish with patacones, so it is a lot like Quevedo. There just isn´t as much platano out here.

Well, I really hope that things are going well for you guys out there in the states. Things are going good here in Portoviejo and I am having lots of fun living four in the house. That is really cool. We all cook separate in the night and in the mornings, so ya, it all works out. Well, I gotta go. I love you lots! Bye.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cerviche is really delicious!!!

Dear Curtis

How is everything going? We had a problem with the white truck, it blew out a spark plug Friday going to Cache Valley. It happened in Sardine Canyon at Mantua. We had to trailer it home Saturday I have got to take it to Sandy to Ford to get it worked on. I am going to have them fix the gas leak at the same time.

How do you like your new area? Have you been able to eat some different foods? If so what have you ate? Let us know if there is anything you need for Christmas. Sorry it is so short it will give you some time to write. Talk to you later.

I Love You,
Love Dad

Hey, I am doing pretty good here in my new sector. I have eaten some new foods. I have eaten some fish in a dish that is really cool. It is called Cerviche and it is really delicious. I am going to learn how to make it so that you guys can try it at home. I am hoping to eat some octupus and squid here soon, but some members promised me a dish with clams and that sounds good. So I am excited to try all of the new foods here.

If you could would you send me a new plan of salvation puzzle? I gave mine to Elder Machuca before I left Valencia and now that is our heirloom in the family. When Elder Machuca trains, he is going to give it to his kid and so on and so forth for the rest of eternity. I could also use some more of the flosser thingies. The Plackers brand works the best, so if you could send me some I would really appreciate it.

How many ducks have you guys killed this year?

Elder Goode

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fungus and Fish

Week 2 Portoviejo

From the left:
Elder Aldo Bejar, from Lima, Peru, Elder Goode's Trainer
Elder R. Machuca from Lima, Peru, Elder Goode was his trainer
Elder Curtis Goode
President J. Wilson Gamboa from Colombia

A Three Generation Photo
Grandpa - Elder Bejar, Dad - Elder Goode, Son - Elder Machuca

So, how are things going out there in Utah? I am doing good out here in Portoviejo, but I feel like I am back in Utah, but in southern Utah. Out here in Portoviejo it is really, really hot and dry and there aren´t a whole lot of green trees like there were in Quevedo. Things are going good. We are working hard and having fun. Elder Carlos is a lot of fun, but he doesn´t talk a whole lot, but I am working on that problem. Everybody here says that I speak really, really good Spanish. I am actually surprised that I have received so many compliments on my Spanish here.

Just so that you know, Elder Nordgran was here in my sector before me, but just for a week and then there was an emergency change and he had to leave. Elder Neyra was here in this sector, too. I know so many missionaries that have been here. Elder Verastagui started his mission here with Elder Arana. Elder Cruz was here. There are a ton of missionaries that have been here that I know.

In my district, there are four companionships, me and my companion, Elder Enciso and his companion, Elder Piedra (He is one of the new gringos.), Elder Baez and Elder Merrill, (He is a new gringo, too.) and Elder Turley and Elder Rojas (He was district leader with me out there in Quevedo North and now he is Zone Leader here). There is one more new gringo in our zone. He is the companion of Elder Minga, Elder Mitchell, so there are three new gringos here in our zone. That is cool, so later I will be able to do some interchanges with them to help them out. That is really going to be a cool oportunidad for me.

I finally got to eat some fish. We had cerviche two times and it is so, so good! It is no wonder that all of the missionaries want to come to Manta or Portoviejo or to the peninsula to eat fish and other sea food.

Well I am going to send this one off and hopefully you can send me another one before I sign off. I love you lots!

Have you sent my photos yet?

No, but I am planning on doing it really soon. Maybe before Christmas I will get them sent.

Are you able to read and study the Ensign and Liahona?

Yep, we have free time in the night after we plan that I like to read the Liahona or the Ensign.

If so, which is most helpful to you?

Which ever one you want. I understand them both.

Did it help to send copies for your companion also?

Yep, because they could read, too.
Is there anything else you would like for Christmas?

Well right now I can´t think of anything more that I really want that can´t wait for a year.

Do you need anything?

Yep, send me some anti-fungus cream. I have athlete’s foot and I also have some fungus growing on my finger.

Does your new companion need anything?

I don´t think so.

What is your new companion’s full name? I have Moises J. Carlos from his email address.

I think that is him.

What does your new companion like to do for hobbies?

He liked to play sports. He studied, too, and he finished three semesters studying Chemistry.

Are you healthy and happy?

Yep, I am doing good actually. I had some killer headaches, but that was because of the climate change so I wasn´t used to drinking huge amounts of water, but I fixed that. So, it is all good now.

I am attaching a photo of the Portoviejo Zone on August 25, 2009. It is one of the ones that Elder Gittins sent to you. Is your new companion in this photo? Which elder is he? If you can, tell me the names of the elders who are the second one, the seventh one and the ninth one from the left. I think I know all of the other elders in the photo.

1-Elder M. Turley, Zone Leader
3-Elder Salvador Rojas, Mexico City, Mexico
4-Elder Manuel Aguirre (Confirmed! He is The new Assistant to the President.)
5-Elder Milton Camacho
6-Elder Patricio Faundez, District Leader
8-Elder Edwin Merchan, Colombia
9-Elder Moises Carlos, Peru (My companion)
10-Elder Christopher Hynes, Ontario, Canada
11-Elder J. Vincent Erickson
12-Elder C. Campo, Zone Leader, (went home this change)
13-Elder Marco Enciso
14-Elder Shain Smith, Reno, Nevada, District Leader

Hey, this is Elder Frye with his kid, Elder Flores (or Flowers in English).

From the left:
Elder Ronald Flores
President J. Wilson Gamboa from Colombia
Elder Mark Frye from Napa, California

I just thought of something else that I want for Christmas. Can you get me a new CTR ring, but the one that has like a bunch of languages on it, but a spinner in a size 11. If you could, I would really appreciate it.

Hey a few more questions for you. What happened with Clain and the dance? Did he get asked? Has he answered back yet? How is Braxton doing? I know he turned fourteen, so one of the terrible teens down, right? Well I hope it is all going good. Here is a picture and I will send more, ok?

Well you didn´t manage to send me a reply before I had to get off, but I love you lots and I hope everything is going well! Be Goode!!!


Elder Goode

Awesome photo. You look really good!

Clain did get asked to the dance by Denise Greenwell. That was last Monday evening. He went and answered her the same night. We bought a stuffed dog about a foot and a half high and a Happy Birthday balloon because the day she asked him was her 18th birthday. He then took it and a card up to the door to her. They invited him in and he stayed for an hour to visit while I sat in the car in the dark. I was really proud of him. The dance is this coming Saturday night.

Braxton had a nice birthday. He was ordained to the office of Teacher that day. Clain got to stand in the circle and help. I bore my testimony in church that day and told him how grateful I am that he came to join our family. I told a little about the night that he was born. I don't know how much of that story you know. I will try to type it up and send it to you next week. I want to type it up for Braxton. But the night he was born, I was left alone at the hospital in terrible pain. I prayed for help and the Savior came and put his arms around me and comforted me through that difficult time. I know without any doubt that Jesus Christ lives and He knows and loves me. I know he loves you, too.

Since that day, Braxton has been trying a lot harder to be nice and thoughtful and not so much of a pain in the butt. He is a good kid, but he is a teenager and I guess they are all entitled to act like teenagers once in a while. Ha! Ha! You sure did!

All is well. I was hoping for a bit longer letter today, but thanks for the information. I am probably too late with these emails. I was stuck in a meeting in the office and couldn't get back to email quickly enough.

I love you so much. Have a great day son!

Love always and forever,


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Transferred to Portoviejo

Portoviejo Week 1

Well I am just getting around to writing today. You know what happened? Yesterday, was the Day of the Dead and the whole world was very busy and there wasn´t a cyber open in any part of Portoviejo. That’s right! I said Portoviejo. I got changed. I am now in a sector called the 12th of March or 12 de Marzo in Spanish, but that is pretty cool. I am still District Leader and I am not training, but I am the second companion of a fairly new elder. This is his third change. His name is Elder Carlos and do you have any idea where he is from?????? I don´t even have to tell you! You already know he is from Peru, but not from Lima. He lives about an hour and a half outside of Lima. So now I am a step-dad and a dad here in the mission. I am living in a four missionary house now and I came here with Elder Felt, so I am living with Elder Felt and his companion a Colombiano. His name is Elder Merchan. Elder Carlos is a little bit sick. I think he has like a throat infection or something, but it is starting to go away, so that is a good thing.

I didn´t have my baptisms. We had some problems with the Bishop, but Oh well, that happens. But I am pretty sure that they will be baptised later, with Elder Machuca. Well everything is good here in Portoviejo. I feel like I am back in the states a little bit. There are a lot more white people here. They are Ecuadorian, but they are whiter and have blue or green eyes. Oh and there is a mall here, so we go to the mall every week to go shopping in a store a little smaller than Walmart. So that is really nice. It is a great change to Valencia where there wasn´t much there. Well I don´t have a lot of time right now. I had to ask permission so that we could write today for a little bit, so I will write next week with more information. I love you lots! Bye. Tell Braxton Happy Birthday and sorry that I couldn´t write yesterday.


Elder Goode

Monday, October 26, 2009

Deer in Need of Help!


How is it in Ecuador? We went deer hunting on Saturday, the 18th. Dad shot a two point. We were on the pull trail. Braxton and I drug him to the truck. Dad and Kavin walked back as we drug. We have been tending Taylor while Shara and Rob are in Florida. Have you mowed any lawns with your machete lately? We are going to get ten pounds of deer jerky from the deer and some roasts and steaks.



Hey, Clain how is it going? I am doing pretty good here in Ecuador. I am working hard this week. I have the goal to baptize 6 this week, so that I can leave Valencia baptizing a few more people. I am pretty sure that this will be my last week here in Valencia because next Monday is changes.

I hope you had fun hunting and I am glad that you were able to get at least one. Send me pictures if you took them I would like to see the buck. Don’t worry Clain there will be other deer in other years and maybe another year you will be able to shoot a deer bigger than the one that I shot that is hanging in my room. Just go out there and shoot some ducks that always made me feel better. I hope all is going well. Oh ya, I love the new email address. Well I love you lots! Bye.

Kavin had this sign he thought it would be funny to put it on the deer because it was in need of help.

Forgotten in Valencia?

Valencia Week 30

Hey! How are things going? Well, first of all, last week we got back here to Valencia late, like four and then we had to go open the church so that a few of our investigators and some members could play basketball and soccer. So, we didn´t have time to get back to the computers.

The party was good. We ate hamburgers and chips. We got to the party a little early so we helped set up. The Latins, my companion and the companion of Elder Esselman, his name is Elder Rojas, said that we couldn´t start the charcoal briquettes on fire to start the grill. Ha! Ha! They didn´t know that I am an Eagle Scout and I could start a fire with wet wood in a rain storm! Ha! Ha! I proved to them that we gringos know what we are doing! I started the charcoal briquettes on fire, but they weren´t burning very good. They weren´t burning all over like they should have been, so we went and got a fan and with the fan we soon had a whole grill full of briquettes ready to cook. So, we cooked the hamburgers and everything and it was cool. On the way out, is when they told us that it was going to cost us $4.50 a person, but oh well. It was definitely worth it!

Elder Bejar is going today to Peru. He might be there already. I don´t know for sure, but yesterday he went to Guayaquil and today to Peru. Elder Neyra is also in or on his way to Peru today. So now, my first three companions have finished the mission. Elder Castañeda will finish his mission in May and then I will finish and then Elder Hernandez finishes in January of 2011 and Elder Machuca in September of 2011. So ya, they are starting to go home little by little.

I still can´t believe that I have 14 months in the mission. I am over the hill and I am picking up speed really fast. I can´t believe it, but everybody keeps saying that if they change me this change that I am going back to Quevedo South. I hope not, but let’s see what happens! If that happens, I am going to change the name of my mission from Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission to Ecuador Quevedo Mission! Everybody thinks it is so funny that I now have 14 months and I am still in my second sector! I sure don´t think it is all that funny! President in my interview asked me about my sectors and when I told him that my sectors are Valencia and Balzar, he asked me how much time I had in the mission and when I told him I was going to complete 14 months, he said “Wow” and got really quiet like, “Wow, I really forgot about Elder Goode out there,” but who knows. I am pretty sure that the Lord has something in mind for me and I think it is that I have the six baptisms that I am planning for this weekend!!! I hope it works out and we can have the baptisms!

About all of your questions that you asked me in the other emails I can´t remember what they were, but I will pull up the other emails and try to answer some of them, if not all of them. Ok? Well, I hope you get this and you can respond.

I love you lots!!!

Elder Goode

Hey Buddy!

It is great to hear from you. I am sure glad you are an Eagle Scout! It really pays off at times and proves that moms do know what they are doing occasionally! Ha! Ha! Dad needs to remember some of his scout training. He wanted to burn a big pile of garden debris on Saturday. He piled it all up on the garden and then poured some gas on it because it was pretty much all wet stuff. He said he moved the gas can way back out of the way and stood way back. He threw the first three matches with no luck, but the fourth one caught and he had a huge explosion. No one was hurt, but it sounded like a sonic boom in the house and shook all the windows. Kathy and Chrissy were out working in the field across the street. They both looked up to see what had happened. Dumb!

I am sure you were meant to stay in Valencia and take care of these baptisms. Is there any chance Shirley is going to get baptized there before you leave?

I don´t think that Shirley will get baptised before I leave here. She doesn´t turn 18 until after the change and she hasn´t come to church lately and I don´t think that she really wants to anymore, so I will try, but I don´t know. I doubt it.

That is too bad. Maybe she was more interested in you than in the church. Darn!

Which six people do you have lined up for baptism this week? Did you baptize anyone this past week?

We have six lined up this week. Five are the San Martin family and one is a daughter of a member that is really inactive, but the daughter has been coming to church a few times lately. Yesterday, we went and put the date with her for this Saturday and taught her everything that she needs to know to pass the baptism interview. Last week, we were planning on baptising the San Martin family, but most of the kids were sick this week, so we taught them about blessings and then we gave them blessings and they all got better! So now they have faith that we have power to heal and to help people, so now they are a little more excited for their baptisms!

I do have a copy of the new Spanish Bible, but if you want, you could send me another copy. I have the paperback version, but I would really like the really fancy one with the side that has the little cuts in it so that you can find the books easier, so if you can, would you send me for Christmas the new bible, but the fancy one in black not in the red. I would also like the Money Maker goose call, but I think I can wait another year to get it. I think by the time I get back there will be another newer better one! So the bible yes, but the goose call no! I still have my stocking and my Christmas tree. I haven´t done the barbeque yet, but I will see what happens if we could do one, maybe this week. Oh well, let’s see. Write me back. Ok?

It is pretty amazing when I think about it that you have been gone that long. In some ways it seems really long and in other ways fairly quick. These past two months have really flown by for me. Did they for you, too?

The Lord knows what He is doing and I am sure the people you have met and taught will be touched by the seeds you have planted. It may not be right away, but someday, those seeds will take hold and grow. Everyone there will always remember a big, tall, handsome and kind gringo missionary who was always very Goode! They will remember you fondly and with great love!!! I bet you will end up somewhere entirely different in two weeks, maybe near the ocean or in the big city. Be prepared for a BIG change!

Chris Jenkins gave the Relief Society lesson on Sunday. She talked a little bit about Clayton. He has been in the same sector for seven months now. He has been living with an older couple in their home. He thought he would for sure get transferred six weeks ago, but he didn't. He was made a District Leader. He was kind of frustrated by it. Then last week, the man he lives with called Chris Jenkins. He said that he had called Clayton's Mission President and requested that Clayton stay there one more change. His mother was ill and they moved her to their home to take care of her. This man said he had met many missionaries in his lifetime and he knew if any missionary could convert his mother, Clayton was the one who could. So the Mission President had left Clayton there another change and he did convert the mother. She got baptized on Saturday. Clayton is getting transferred this week and he will be a Zone Leader. It was a very touching story. I am sure Chris told it much better than I just did, but you get the idea. The Lord is in charge and He knows where your special talents, abilities and personality are needed. Hang in there!!!

I love you so much!


Cool. I will check into the Bible. I have not been to the Distribution center since they released it. I will go this week and see what they have. Maybe I will get one for your companion as well. You will probably have a different companion by then, but I am sure whatever Elder I send it to will love it.

Are you able to study the Ensigns and Liahonas that I send you?

Which version is best for you for the Conference Issue?

Good luck on the baptisms. I am sure you will be successful this week. That is really neat about the blessings. What kind of sickness did they all have? Tell me more about the blessings please.

Are you still there? I love you. I wish you would say goodbye before you sign off.

Love always and forever,


Monday, October 19, 2009

Shopping in the Fenix

Week 29 Valencia

Hey! Today we are in Quevedo. We are going to a party for Elder Bejar, because he is going to be going home next week. So we are having his farewell party. We had to go take out the censo of Elder Machuca today and in three weeks I have to take mine out again, because it expires. Now we are in a cyber doing internet before we have to go to the party. I think that we are going to buy in the Fenix before we go to the party, too, but we will see what happens. The Fenix is the biggest and the best super market here in Quevedo. It has a lot of things that you can´t find in other parts of Quevedo.

We are working hard. We have a goal of four baptisms this weekend, but the mom is a little bit on the fence right now, so we are hoping that she will let us baptise her daughters. But the bishop also said that we can´t baptise her daughters if she doesn´t get baptized, so we have a bit of a problem there. So we have some work to do this week, but I think we can pull it off. We are really hopeful, so let’s see what happens. Other than that, everything is going good. We are working hard and having fun, the best way to work. Well, I hope you get this soon, so we can chat a little bit, but let’s see what happens.

Hi Curtis,
I am on the computer right now. I can chat in between taking care of Taylor. She is watching Curious George intently at the moment, but I am sure it won't last very long.

It sounds like you are having a really great day today. What exciting things will you buy in the Fenix?

I hope your baptisms work out. We will pray harder for you and this family.

I am thinking that I want to make lazania again. Elder Hernandez made it once while we were together and I want to make it again, so I will buy the stuff to make lazania. The other day I bought a can of Pringles. That was pretty cool. In the Fenix they sell a lot of things that isn´t normal, like you can buy tortillas to make tacos and American and cheddar cheese and we can buy fish that comes frozen or the shrimp that I used to make the cerviche a while back. Just about all of the missionaries here in Quevedo buy in the Fenix, so when we go, we usually run into a lot of other missionaries.

Sounds good. I made lasagna for Braxton last week, I think. I might make that again this week since I am home and twice baked potatoes that Clain keeps asking for.

What kind of a party is planned for Elder Bejar?

Where do you have to go to do the censo?

What concerns does the mom have about getting baptized?

Is Elder Machuca getting the hang of things now?

Hey we are going to go buy right now and then we are going to go to the party and then we are going back to Valencia and in Valencia we will get back on the internet for a little bit about three or three thrity. Ok? I love you lots! Bye!

I waited all afternoon for another email from Curtis, but none came. They must have decided to do something else, their plans changed or it was such an exciting party that they didn't get home as early as they anticipated.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Only Good Cat is a Dead Cat!

Week 28 Valencia

Have you gotten your packages yet? I sent them on September 15th, so it has been 27 days.

I got the packages. Thankyou so much! They were great!!! Elder Machuca ate just about all of my jerky, so I think he liked it.

If so, how are the insoles working?

The insoles are amazing! I am using the work insoles, not the walking ones that you sent me. The walking ones made my feet really hot all day long, but the work ones have little air vents in them that keep my feet much cooler and a lot happier, too.

Is there anything you need or want in your next package?

Well let’s hope that the boys get some deer so they can send me some more deer jerky. Tell Clain to be careful with the duck that he grinds up for jerky. I found a BB in the jerky.

Did you ever get the post cards we sent?

Yep, I got a ton of post cards from lots of people. They were all from Island Park and Yellowstone.

Have you mailed my photo CDs yet?

No, I haven´t sorry. I need to call the pouch guy and ask him how I can do it.

Are you going to resend the package for Clain and Skyler?

I don´t think so. I think I will just bring the things home with me and give them the things when I get back.

How much of General Conference did you get to see this time?

I got to see all five sessions. That was really awesome!

What was your favorite talk? Why?

I liked in the Priesthood session I can´t remember who it was but they gave a talk to the sons and to the dads about how they can have better relationships.

Elder M. Russell Ballard's Talk
"Fathers and Sons: A Remarkable Relationship"

You said that the San Martin girls attended conference with you. Which session? Did any of your other investigators attend?

They came in the Sunday morning session. Yep, we had seven investigators that attended the conference, the five San Martin girls and a couple that are friends of Isabel.

About how many people were at each session? One of the other missionaries said that the Sunday morning session was well attended, but the other sessions had very few people. Was it the same in your area?

In the Sunday morning session there was a lot, like four or five hundred and in the rest it depended, but twenty to forty people, but in the priesthood session there was about 100 people there.

Where did you have to go to watch the conference?

We had to go to the stake center in Quevedo.

How is Mosche doing?

I haven´t been able to find him lately he started another job so he is just about never home.

What is happening with Esther and her two daughters?

We haven´t been visiting them recently. She doesn´t want to come to church anymore, so there isn´t anything else that we can do.

Have you heard from Shirley since she left for school?

Yep, she had two weeks of vacation, so she came back to Valencia. So we visited a few times this last week with her. She was in a six week course that was like my Connections class or something like that so they could get used to the university and now she is actually starting to study. But she said that now she has more time on the weekends. Before she would study in the university until five in the evening on Saturdays and now she gets done at one on Fridays, so she said that she is going to be coming back to Valencia just about every weekend, so we should be able to visit with her more often now, but let’s see what happens.

Tell us about Dexy?s friends that you are teaching.

There is Valeria. She has a baptism date for the 31st, but she hasn´t come to church for a couple of weeks, so let’s see what happens. She studies with Dexy. They are seniors in high school right now which is kind of funny because Dexy and I are the same age to the day. And she is a senior still, but ya things happen. She got sick when she was younger and had to drop out of school because of it, but now she is finishing up. There is also Mariana. She is 21. She isn´t studying, just helping out at home and working a little here and there when she can. She hasn´t come to church again either, so we need to visit the both of them, but last week we couldn´t go visit them because of the conference and other things that happened.

What is happening with Dexy’s siblings?

We are trying to get her to introduce us to them, but she still doesn’t want to, so we aren´t pushing things right now.

Do you have any new investigators?

We have found a lot of new investigators with Elder Machuca. We have been knocking a lot of doors so that he knows how to do it. We have also been working with some new inactive families that we have found and we found three girls. They are cousins and the three are granddaughters of a less active woman. So we have been visiting and one of the three came to church Sunday and the young men are doing a good job of being their friends. All of the young men that are fifteen to nineteen are their friends now, because the three are 16 and 17 years old and they are pretty, so we don´t have to worry about them not having friends in the church. Three young men went Sunday morning to pick them up and walked with the one that came to church, so that was pretty cool.

Tell us more about your companion. What is his full name? What does he like to do? Did he attend college before the mission? Is he funny like your other companions from Lima?

I will have to do some investigating to find out his whole name. I have seen it, but I forgot and he won´t tell me right now. He liked to dance and do the whole skatebord and BMX biking stuff, things I really don´t like to do all that much. He likes cats, you know how I feel about cats and when I told him that I don´t like cats he like got all offended, so we will have to work on that, but I still think that the only good cat is a dead cat. He didn´t attend college, but he wants to study Civil Engineering. He is pretty funny, but it bugs me sometimes, like when we are in the bus and the radio is playing, he likes to dance in his seat to the music and that bugs me, but I try to have patience. I haven´t said anything to him yet, but ya, it bugs me.

How did your District Meeting go this past week?

It went good. We talked about the numbers as a district and how we could improve them and then I gave every companionship a copy of their numbers and how they are doing compared to the Standard of Excellence that the mission has. And then we talked about what goals we could put so that we could reach the standard like we should.

How was your Zone Meeting?

Zone Conference was really great. We did a lot of activities and I learned a lot of new things that I need to apply in my teaching now.

Do you handle the mail that comes to the missionaries in your district now? How does that work?

All of the missionaries in my district give me their mail and I make sure that the mail isn´t going to any women inside of the mission, unless they have permission from President. And then I give it to Elder Bejar, the Zone Leader and he packs it up in a box and sends it to Guayaquil. What they do here is they go to the bus terminal and say that they want to send the package to Guayaquil. So they weigh it and pay for it and send it to Guayaquil. In Guayaquil, the pouch guy goes to the terminal and he has to go to the offices of the different lines that the different places send the pouch through and he picks up all of the pouch and takes it to the office. And there he sorts it and sends it where it needs to go, and then he puts our stuff in a box and sends it back the same way it came to us with the stuff that we have asked for.

Did your new glasses fit okay? Did you have to have them adjusted? Is there any place there where they sell glasses that can adjust them?

They fit pretty good I adjusted them a little bit so that they fit better but they fit ok.

Do very many people in Ecuador wear glasses?

There are a lot here that wear glasses. They buy the pre-made ones to read that come in the increments, the ones that you can find in the gas stations, you know.

Are sunglasses a big thing down there?

Yep, but we can´t wear them as missionaries.

Tell us something funny that has happened to you lately.

(no answer)

We would love to hear some of your spiritual experiences. Share some please.

(no answer)

Hi Curtis. It is good to hear from you. Thanks for the answers to my questions. How come you always leave those last two questions blank? We want to hear more of your experiences, funny, spiritual, weird, etc.

I am glad the insoles are working. Do you need more of them for the other pairs of shoes? I couldn't decide which ones would work better for you, so I got two different kinds.

I will tell Clain about the BB. I am sure he included it on purpose so you could have a wonderful reminder of home! Ha! Ha! :)

I am glad that Elder Machuca liked the jerky and I am glad you have learned to share and be nice. It is great training for when you will get married. Your wife will want to share everything with you, even your favorite snacks.

Please make sure you tell your future wife that you do not like to dance! Don't let her be disappointed like I was. I thought your dad sort of liked to dance because we had fun at a couple of dances before we got married. I found out after we were married that he does not like to dance or to hold hands. Be fair and let your future wife know up front that it bugs you. Ha! Ha! :)

I am happy that you are controlling your feelings and not saying anything about the things that bug you. That is also good practice for the future. There are many times when it is better to just keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself rather than risk offending someone. However, you can agree to disagree with your companion about the cats. He can have his opinion and you can have yours and it shouldn't matter since neither of you should be having anything to do with cats while you are on your missions. I guess maybe a few members might have cats in their homes, but you shouldn't be spending your time with the cats, just the people.

I am glad you liked General Conference and that you got to attend all of it this time. It is neat that you had investigators attend with you. I have attached that talk by Elder Ballard on Fathers and Sons. I can send you all of the talks again if you want. Did you use the ones from the last conference?

Did you like the printed ones I did or the Ensign or Liahona best?

Are you able to study them at all or use them in your lessons?

I am glad things are going well with your investigators, or at least some of them. We will continue to pray for them and for you. You need to pray lots, also, for the specific help you need to get them to commit and to feel the spirit. I know the Lord will help you with the work if you put your faith in him and trust that he will do his part if you do your part.

It sounds like you are working hard and being an effective missionary. Set high goals and then stretch yourself to reach them. I would love to see you have a bunch of baptisms during this change. We will keep praying that this will happen for you. Commit them to baptism early and then work hard to make sure they are ready.

We love you so much and we are so very proud of you. I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are pleased with you. That is a great place to be and a great feeling to know that you are doing what the Lord would have you do. You should have a very peaceful heart as you do their work here on earth knowing that you are worthy and actively engaged in the work.