Monday, May 25, 2009

2009_05_25 Week 8 Valencia Mom

Hey how are things going? Saturday we had a baptism, Oscar Ante Rodrigo Guanotuña. I baptised him and then the same day we confirmed him a member. Elder Bartolomei interviewed him to see if he was ready to be baptised. It was his first interview. Oscar was definitely ready to be baptised. After his baptism I felt so excited to be there for that special moment in his life, that I could help him come to know his Heavenly Father and his Savior Jesus Christ. It was amazing. The spirit was there so strong and so powerful. These moments are what the mission is all about; helping the people that you know and care about; the people that you meet and love; to know that God has prepared a plan for us; that he loves us and wants us to be happy. I am so glad that I could help Oscar and I look forward to helping more people come to know the plan that God has prepared for us. This is what it is all about. We are starting out right now with just about a whole new program teaching people, so it will be a little bit of time before we will be able to see the fruits of our labors.

Hey Curtis,

That is cool. I am glad your baptism finally worked out. I have prayed all week that it would go well for you. Is Elder Bartolomei now your District Leader? That is cool, but a lot of responsibility for him if he is a new District Leader and training a new missionary. How are things going with your new companion? Tell us about him please. Send some photos if you can.

Elder Bartolomei is not my district leader. Elder Martinez is my district leader, but Elder Martinez couldn´t arrange to be here for the interview, so they asked Elder Bartolomei if he would do it.

So my companion is from Otavalo. He is from a big family. There are 15 in his family including his mom and dad. Most of his family is living in other parts of the world. He has family in New York and in Miami and many other places. I think in Colombia and a few other countries. He lived for a year in Miami selling clothes, but then his Visa ended so he came back to Ecuador.

Yeah that is about it, but yeah I gotta go. I love you very much.


Elder Goode

I love you, too. Work really hard this week. I hope to get much more information from you next week.

Love always,


2009_05_25 Week 8 Valencia Braxton

Dear Elder Goode,

Hi Curtis. It’s Braxton. How are you doing? Did you have any more baptisms?

I’m doing great. Last week, I decided to buy a couple of games that I wanted. They are Pokemon Ranger, because it is possible to get a Manaphy egg which can be sent over to Pokemon Pearl, Diamond, or Platinum. I got the game Friday night and I’ve already beaten the main story line and the ranger net missions and entered the code for a special mission to rescue the precious egg and then after I completed it, it gave me the option of sending it to the Sinnoh region. I need to have two DS’ to send it though, so I need to have McKay come over and play so I can send it to Pearl.

P.S. I beat the game on Sunday during the afternoon.

The other game was Pokemon XD Gale of Darkness and it came on Thursday and I’ve already captured three Shadow Pokemon on it and purified them and they are: Teddiursa, Poocheyna, and Leydba. The starter of the game is an Eevee and it gives you an option a little way into the game to pick which evolution of Eevee you want it to evolve into and the choices were: Vaporeon, Jolteon, Flareon, Umbreon, and Espeon. I chose Espeon because on Pokemon Colosseum, Espeon was my favorite out of all of them. It will be nice to have when you start the game. Your Eevee is only a level ten and I trained it to level twelve when I had the sun shard and it evolved and it knows bite as an Espeon which is awesome. I am really enjoying the game and there is a Lugia that can be gotten on this game, but it is a Shadow Pokemon and to purify it you have to purify all of the other Shadow Pokemon before it will be able to be purified. There are also Shadow Zapdos, Moltres, and Articuno. They will be a lot of fun to catch. I can’t wait to play it more. It has been great so far, but I need to get a guide book to help me. Without it I’m lost.

The games didn’t cost me very much. Dad bought them on ebay for $23.56. It was really nice of him to do that for me. The games have been a lot of fun, so far. I can’t wait to play more.

So how have you been doing? I heard that you are the Senior Companion now. I hope you are making good choices with what you are doing and that you are doing what you need to. I can’t believe that it’s only been nine months. It seems like it’s been fifteen. I miss having you around to beat me up occasionally. Clain has gotten pretty boring. He never even fights back. I’m waiting for the day that he will. I’m thinking that it will be a long time, though.

I hope you are doing your very best work that is possible. Make your tithing for your first twenty years of your life the best ones that you have. I miss you a lot and hope that you aren’t home sick and that you will be back as soon as you fulfill the work that you were sent there to do. I can’t wait until I see you again.


Your little buddy (Braxton)

Hey buddy how are you doing? Sounds like you are having a lot of fun with the Pokemon games. Did you know that they have Pokemon here in Ecuador too? The Pokemon are all named the same, but they are just about all said differently here. It is kinda cool to see something so familiar here. Keep up the good work and I´ll be home before you know it. Bye buddy.

I write a whole page and all I get back is one paragraph! What's up with that?

2009_05_25 Week 8 Valencia Clain

Dear Curtis,

How is having a new companion?

My new companion is really good. He has had some problems in the mission, but he is doing really good. We are being obedient now and I am doing my best to be a leader.

What does he like to do for fun?

My companion likes to watch TV. Before his mission, he wasn´t working or studying, so he was just at home all day, but we are working hard now here in Valencia.

Have you eaten all your jerky?

Yeah all of the jerky is gone.

Do you need more jerky?

I could use some more if you would send it to me. My companion really likes jerky too.

You are invited to my Eagle Scout Court of Honor on Friday May 29th 2009. I am working a lot. Everyone at work says hi. I have been paint balling with Skyler a lot. We go to the foothills of Farmington canyon every time. I am trying to get Braxton and Tyson to go with us but they won’t. I am doing well in school I have good grades. I am going to try to get my scooter fixed we have to take it to a mechanic in Roy who deals with scooters. The guy we talked to in Roy thinks that they can fix my scooter for me. I put it back together yesterday. It took me a while to figure out where the parts go. I took the dogs to Ogden Bay a few times so far. They liked it both times. They like to swim. They won’t come to the truck when I am ready to go home.

What do you want me to do with your motorcycle? It is in the same condition as you left it in. Do you want me to fix it and try to sell it or sell it as a parts bike or leave it so you can fix it when you get home?

I still go to Mission Prep every week. We talk about the same topic for a month then we move on to another topic the next. The elders come every week and they tell us things that relate to the topic we are studying that month that would help us on a mission.

Love always,


About my motorcycle put it on KSL to sell, but don´t take less than $500 for it. Just say that it is having problems with the engine and that we haven’t had time to look through it to find out what the problem is. So yea, sell it as is. Put it on KSL for $650, but accept the highest over $500.

Thanks buddy

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2009_05_10 Mother's Day Call - Part Two

We lost the connection with Curtis, then he called right back. This is selected parts of our conversation.

Mom: I was asking you if Elder Bartolomei’s sector is close to yours?

Curtis: Um, yeah. It is the closest one to ours in Quevedo.

Mom: Okay. Did you finish passing off all of your stuff?

Curtis: All of my scriptures? No.

Braxton: How close are you?

Curtis: I’ve got a few more to learn.

Mom: How many is a few?

Curtis: About thirty.

Mom: How many?

Curtis: Thirty and how many have I learned?

Mom: Yeah.

Curtis: If you take 120 and subtract 30, that’s how many I have learned.

Dad: Ninety.

Braxton: That’s three fourths.

Curtis: Yeah. I have passed them all off. We have to pass off from memory 120 scriptures.

Dad: I didn’t have to do that many.

Mom: That’s a lot.

Curtis: Yeah, that’s a lot!

Mom: Well, keep working on it. Have you done the Proclamation to the Family?

Curtis: I’ve got part of it memorized, but not all of it. Before the elders who passed this off, had to memorize 21 scriptures, but now it is 120.

Mom: Wow, that’s a big difference. Well, just keep working at it.
Braxton: Have fun with that!

Mom: What’s the best thing that has happened to you down there?

Curtis: I don’t know, there’s a lot. The people that let us in to teach and accept our lessons and want to be baptized, that’s great. There’s other stuff that has happened that is not so good. I don’t know if you have heard anything about in Ecuador that they caught two thieves and the people killed the thieves and burned them. Did you hear about that?

Mom: No!

Curtis: Yeah, if you look it up on the internet, you might find something about it. But, that happened here in Valencia. There were two thieves that were robbing, the other week. They were robbing here in Valencia, three or four times every day. And one morning they went to rob a sixteen year old kid of his motorcycle. He wouldn’t let them take it, so they killed him.

Mom: So they killed him?

Curtis: They killed him, shot him with a pistol.

Mom: Did that just recently happen?

Curtis: Yeah, like a week ago.

Mom: Hmmm.

Curtis: So, they continued to rob people with his motorcycle. Riding on his motorcycle robbing people.

Dad: Grabbing stuff from them and take off.

Curtis: Yeah. The police finally caught them and had them in the police station. The people came, the family of the boy that they killed came and they were talking to one of the thieves. And they asked the thief if he killed him and he said, “Yeah, I killed him.” So, he was proud of it and the people they got mad and they entered, they all entered into the police station and drug the thieves out and basically stoned one of them to death and stoned the other one close to death and they burned the bodies.

Mom: Wow!

Curtis: Yeah!

Mom: Where were you when all this happened?

Curtis: We were in Valencia, about three blocks from the police station when we first heard that they had caught the thieves. We were in a store drinking a cola. And we heard that they caught the thieves and the people wanted to kill them. So we went to our house which is about six or seven blocks from where we were at.

Mom: Okay.

Curtis: in the other direction which is about nine or ten blocks from the police station and we stayed in the house. But this was in the night. It was about 8:30 when we were in the store drinking our cola. We went to the house, went in and went to bed. In the morning, it was pretty normal, then we heard everything. They had killed them and burned them.

Mom: Well, thank you for being smart.

Curtis: The family of Elder Neyra had heard about it in Peru. I think the news in most of South America have heard. The people they basically burned down the police station, too. The police didn’t want to give the thieves to the people.

Mom: Hmm. They aren’t going to do anything against the family will they?

Curtis: Que? What?

Mom: They won’t prosecute the family that burned it down will they?

Curtis: It wasn’t just the family, it was the family and tons of people. They wanted the thieves. They went in after them and they burned the police station down, they burned the motorcycle, _____ police. Yeah. It wasn’t very good.

Mom: Well I am glad you are safe?

Curtis: Yeah. Me, too.

As I listened to this part of the conversation over and over last night, I realized just how sad Curtis sounded as he told us this sad story. It is such a tragedy that people would become so angry that they would stone and burn young men, no matter what crime they had committed.

I started to think about the time when Jesus Christ was living on the earth. The people then stoned people to death for their crimes. It is such a brutal way to die. The mother of Jesus could have been put to death this way for the crime the people believed she had committed. Our society here in the United States is not much better. We have killings all around us all the time, but with guns which kill more quickly.

I hope that something good will come of it. Maybe some of the people will look back on this tradgedy and wonder if there is a better way. Maybe they will come to Christ to find peace. I hope so. I keep thinking of the talk given by Elder Robert D. Hales in the October 2008 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His talk was titled, Christian Courage: The Price of Discipleship. Much of what he said in that talk could apply to this situation in Valencia. Our church is not being attacked, but it seems Christianity is. Maybe these events will bring more people back to Christ.

Mom: Do they celebrate Mother’s Day down there?

Curtis: Yeah, they celebrate Mother’s Day here.

Mom: Same day?

Curtis: Yeah. Yesterday and today, there were tons of people in the streets with their stands with flowers, cards, and all sorts of stuff for the moms.

Mom: Well that’s neat. I thought they probably would, but I didn’t think it would be the same date.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

2009_05_18 Valencia Week 7 Changes

During our Mother’s Day phone call, Curtis told us about an experience that was happening in Valencia, the city he is living in now. I haven’t had time to type out the transcript for all of the phone call yet. I will try to get it done this week. This webpage has the story that was posted in the news. I could only find this same story posted over and over on different web pages. I have been unable to find any other stories or details. Read this story first, then today’s letter.

Some of the details are not right. Valencia is not a southern, coastal city. It is in the center of the country at the base of the Andes Mountains, but anyway, now you have the basic story.

Hey how is it going? I don’t have a lot of time right now because we had some problems, but I will be writing later today with all of the details.

Thanks, Curtis. I will wait to hear from you more this afternoon. I pray that the problems are little things, easily solved. I love you.

Ok, to tell you what has happened this weekend. First you remember that I told you that they burnt two robbers here. Well they are from Quevedo. The family of the two kids that were burnt were saying that they were going to come to Valencia Sunday in the morning and cause problems, going to kill people and more problems. When we heard this, we called President Gamboa and told him what was going on. Well he told us to pack our bags with the nececary and go to Quevedo. So Saturday in the afternoon, we went to Quevedo and spent the night there.

Sunday we went on splits. I went with Elder Martinez and Elder Neyra with Elder Bartolomei and we went to church. After, we spent the day visiting in their sectors. We got to the house about seven and then we received a call from the Assistants with the transfers. They told Elder Janampa that he was leaving. Then they asked to talk to Elder Bartolomei and told him that he was going to train this change. Then they asked to talk to me and they told me that I am now Companero Mayor or Senior Companion, but I am not going to train this change. Then the Assistants said that they would call later and tell us the transfers.

So we had to wait for about an hour to get the changes and I found out that my companion is now Elder Castañeda he is from Otavalo. I have my first companion that isn’t from Peru. He is Otavalanio. He has what they call a cola here or a pony tail. So Elder Neyra is going to Manta to the sector called Monte Cristi, but his things were still in Valencia and we were in Quevedo. So we called the Assistants and asked them what to do and they said that he would leave later not with the changes today.

Well in the morning, we came to Valencia and got all of Elder Neyras stuff and then went back to Quevedo and my companion was in Quevedo, so I came with my companion back to Valencia and here we are now in Valencia. Elder Neyra is going with Elder Martinez and Elder Verastagui (he is now our Zone Leader) to Guayaquil tomorrow. So ya, that is the problems that we have had this weekend, a little bit sad, but ya, it is ok. It all worked out.

I am glad to know you are safe and well. Congratulations on becoming a Senior Companion. I am sure you will be a great one. Did your baptism work out? Tell us more about your companion.

Have you heard if there was trouble in Valencia on Sunday? Were the two kids that were burnt brothers? How old were they? That is very sad. I will have to search the internet for more details. I haven't been able to find much on the story.

There was a few people that marched in protest, but nothing violent, so we were able to come back. The two were not brothers. One was nineteen and the other twenty-one, I think, but I am not for sure.

As far as my baptism, it didn’t work out because we had to leave Saturday, so we are planning on the baptism this week. We are going to visit Oscar today to make sure that everything is going good and that there won’t be any problems. Give me a week or two to find out more about my companion and then I will tell you about him.

Sorry about the baptism. How long has your new companion been out? Is he from Ecuador? I will search on the internet for more on the place you said he was from. Send photos of him next week please. I love you so much.

Ya, he is from the Sierras of Ecuador or the mountains that border Colombia. He has been out a little bit more than a year. Well, I love you very much. Thank you for the package and the photos.

Hey, I got some good news! Elder Bejar is now the Zone Leader in Manta. All of his mission he wanted to go there to eat sea food and now he is there. Bye.

Elder Bejar is from Lima, Peru, a coastal city, so he has probably been missing all the great seafood that is there to eat.

2009_05_10 Mother's Day Call - Part One

Mother’s Day Phone Call Transcript – Part One
A few of the best parts!!!

Mom: Have you had a good day?

Curtis: Yeah. It’s been good. We went to church. We had four, no five or six investigators to church today.

Mom: Did your baptism work out yesterday?

Curtis: No. The mom, she is a member and she was talking to her son, his name is Oscar, and she said that she wants him to wait until he is seventeen . . . to be baptized.

Dad: She wants him to wait till he is seventeen.

Curtis: We need to meet with her and teach her that, her son needs to be baptized right now and not when he is seventeen because if he they wait till seventeen, then will wait till eighteen and never get baptized. We put a goal for this Saturday. So . . . we think that this week we can get him baptized, but we will see what happens.

Mom: Have you got lots of investigators you are teaching right now?

Curtis: Right now we have got tons. We had an activity in the area called, “The Day of the Missionaries” where we took a bunch of the ward members out to knock doors. Then we had a page of ten questions that had teachings of the church like, “Do you know that Jesus Christ visited the Americas?” and questions like this. When you knock the doors, you ask the people these questions, they answer yes and no, then we ask their name, their telephone number and their address.
We had quarters that we were knocking doors. I went with one group. Elder Neyra went with one group and Elder Stew and Romero and we knocked a bunch of doors and now we are contacting all the people that we knocked doors that day.

Mom: That is neat.

Curtis: Yeah, so we are teaching a lot of people right now.

Dad: That is good.

Curtis: Our activity was in the Mana. We are working a lot in the Mana and a little bit here in Valencia. They want us to baptize enough members in the Mana to create a branch so we are working in the Mana.

Mom: Are you walking to get to the Mana or taking a bus?

Curtis: We take a bus, a half an hour to the Mana. We take a bus a half an hour to get to Quevedo.

Mom: How much does it cost you to ride the bus?

Curtis: It is 40 cents to the Mana and it is 40 cents to Quevedo.

Mom: Are you eating with the members there when you get there?

Curtis: What we have been trying to do is, we try to schedule the appointments so that we are in the Mana in the morning or in the evening. The other time we are here in Valencia or in a place called Esperansa, or the Hope, in English. It is between Valencia and Quevedo. We are working a little bit here and plan to be here in the morning or do the Mana in the morning and come here to Valencia and eat and work here or eat and then go to the Mana.

We have a few members in the Mana. On Fridays in the morning, we go the Mana and work in the morning and we eat in the house of the members. The husband, is our mission leader, ward mission leader. After we eat, we _____________ more people.

Mom: Okay.

Curtis: Don’t worry about me. I am eating good!

Mom: Yeah, it has never been a problem, has it?

Curtis: No, but I am losing weight.

Mom: Yeah, you look like you are losing weight.

Curtis: I think I have lost 35 or 40 pounds.

Mom: Are you still walking as much?

Curtis: Yeah, I’m walking a lot. If I lose much more, I am going to have to take my pants and have them tailored.

Mom: That picture I got of you and the elders from the MTC,

Curtis: Yeah.

Mom: Your suit looks like it is hanging a little bit.

Curtis: Yeah.

Mom: Do you use that Ecua Bag all the time?

Curtis: Ecua Bag? The (something in Spanish). The bag I had in the picture?


Curtis: I bought it two or three weeks ago in the Mana. I use it for special occasions like Zone Conference, a little bit on pdays. It is pretty cool, huh?
Mom: Yeah, it is!

Curtis: Everybody that sees it says it is beautiful, because there is not a lot that are blue.

Mom: Yeah. It’s neat.

Curtis: It cost five dollars and fifty cents.

Mom: That’s not bad at all.

Curtis: No.

Mom: Did you find a belt?

Curtis: The belt? The day I went to buy it, it wasn’t there. Somebody had bought it, but I am still looking, but I haven’t found one yet.

Mom: You had a hat on that you were wearing in one of the photos. Where’d you get that?

Curtis: The hat was a gift from Elder Neyra. From the states. It’s a Carhart.

Dad: Yeah, that’s what I thought. I thought it was a Carhart.

Curtis: Much of the family of Elder Neyra, they live in New York. Every once in a while they send him stuff from the states, hat, clothes. That’s how I have this hat.

Mom: You asked about Grandma and Grandpa Goode?

Curtis: Yeah, how are they doing?

Mom: They seem to be doing okay.

Curtis: Is Michelle still living with them right now?

Mom: She is right now, but they are going to look for an apartment and try to get moved out soon.

Curtis: Tell Michelle that there is an apartment here in Valencia that is a dollar a day.

Dad, Mom, Clain and Braxton: Laugh

Curtis: But, it only has room for a bed.

Clain: We’ll tell her.

Mom: How much does your apartment cost?

Curtis: I don’t know. This apartment is a little bit small for us. It’s got enough room for our beds and nothing more.

Mom: Oh, you haven’t showed us any pictures of it, except the beds.

Curtis: Yeah.

Mom: I don’t suppose you have an oven then, huh?

Curtis: No, we don’t have an oven, we only have a stove.

Dad: They have a stove?

Mom: Is it like your last stove?

Curtis: A gas stove.

Clain: Do they have bathrooms?

Curtis: We have air conditioning.

Mom: I guess that’s a plus.

Curtis: Yeah, but it’s only in our bedroom, but it’s better than nothing.

Dad: Yeah. Is it getting warmer now?

Curtis: Everyone wants to come here to Valencia because we have air conditioning and we have waterfalls in our sector.

Mom: So the other missionaries in your district come visit?

Curtis: Yeah, we’ve had two interchanges this change. One with Elder Hernanda. He was my first district leader. He is my district leader again.

Mom: Okay.

Curtis: And I had an interchange with him and then last Wednesday, I had an interchange with the Zone Leader, Elder Contreras. I think he came on this interchange to see if I __________ and if I had the right attitude to be Companero Mayora,

Dad: Companion what? He’s having a hard time with this.

Mom: A Senior Companion?

Curtis: Senior Companion, that’s it. Right now I am still a Junior Companion, so I think he came to see if I can be a Senior Companion. So we are going to see.

Mom: Oh.

Curtis: I think, leaving this change, there are 25 companions that are leaving this change.

Dad: Wow!

Mom: Wow!

Curtis: There are going to be 20 some new elders this change.

Dad: 20 some new ones huh?

Curtis: There are a bunch that are going to be training.

Dad: He might be training!

Mom: That would be neat if you could train!

Curtis: That’s cool. I could train this next exchange.

Mom: That would be neat!

Curtis: Yeah! Elder Bartolomei, also his companion is leaving with this change, so he could train, too.

Mom: Huh! Is his sector close to yours? Hello?

Dad: Lost him!

Mom: Curtis?

Dad: Lost him! How many minutes was it? Thirty minutes? Maybe that’s all the minutes his phone card had.

Monday, May 11, 2009

2009_05_11 Week 6 Valencia Mom


It was so good to hear your voice today. You sound great. You have an interesting accent now. I recorded the conversation with a digital voice recorder that I purchased. It is not great sound quality though. The recorder picked up a lot of noise from my cell phone. I think I had them too close together. I should have tested that out before the call. There are lots of hums and cracks and pops throughout the whole conversation. Oh well. It was really cool to play it back and hear your voice again after the call. I will try to take time to type out the conversation later. There was another way to do it, but it wouldn't have worked on speaker phone, so I thought this way would be better. I think the other way would have been a much clearer recording. Did you have an echo during the whole conversation? I could hear everything we said echoing after we said it.

After your call we drove to Smithfield and had a barbecue with Shara, Rob and Taylor. Grandma and Grandpa had gone to Georgiann's home in Ogden. They got back about 6:30 or 7:00. They got to see Taylor for a few minutes. She is such a funny kid. She reminds me a lot of Shara at this age. She is busy and just wants to be big and do everything by herself. Shara gave me the cutest photo of her. She has the messiest hair and she is trying to brush it herself with the back of the brush. And best of all is that she has the cutest fish face. I will try to get Shara to send me the photo by email so I can send it to you. If not, I will scan it and print one out. I will try to send it to you in the next package. I stopped by the Distribution Center last week. They had the Ensign in English, but the Spanish Liahona was not out yet. I will check this week and see if it has come out yet. I got my Ensign in the mail on Friday. Hopefully the others will be soon.

Taylor has had an ear infaction, runny nose and cough. The runny nose and cough could be just allergies. Mine are really bad right now. All the grass and cottonwood pollens are bad. I have had a runny nose all week and a dry hacking cough with post-nasal drip. I wake up with a sore throat every morning, but it goes away pretty quickly. I am just a bit hoarse and raspy sounding. I hope it settles down soon. A good rainstorm would help.

This will be a really busy week. Braxton has three soccer games, all away. Two are in Salt Lake and one in Provo. They are on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning. He will probably play a fourth game on Saturday afternoon. He is thinking of quitting his LaRoca competition team and just playing AYSO soccer next year.

Yesterday, Dallas Carter called him to see if he could go and sub for his team. They have been short players for a couple of weeks. He was excited to go because it got him out of working in the garden. He left and went with the Carters to the game. I drove there a few minutes later to watch. I wanted to see how he did with the AYSO team. He had a blast. The other team was short players this week. He and B.J. Bouwhuis were there as subs. B.J. played for the other team the first half and then Braxton played for them the second half. Braxton had a beautiful assist early in the game to help them score the first goal. He played well and had a huge smile on his face the whole game. He sent three or four more assists in to the front line, but they didn't score them all.
During the second half, when he was playing for the other team, he took the ball from midfield all the way to the goal and scored. He went through about eight players to get there. It was fun to watch. He has not gotten to play offense like this for so long. Felipe, his LaRoca coach will only play him on defense. He is very good at that, but he is tired of it. Anyway, after he scored that goal, the kids he knew on Dallas's team, started giving him a bad time for hurting their team. So, he started playing sloppy and losing the ball on purpose. He even passed the ball back to a player on Dallas's team and let him go forward and score a goal. That put Dallas's team ahead, so they were all happy again. The coach wants him to come to the game next Saturday again. I think I will take him and then get him signed up for AYSO with this team if possible.
Braxton also has a track meet on Wednesday. He ran really good. He ran a 1600 meter race in 6:00.1 minutes and improved his time by 12.59 seconds. He was 14 out of 36 runners. Not bad for a 7th grader. He ran an 800 meter race in 2:56.6 minutes and improved his time there by 1 second. He also ran a 4 X 400 meter relay. He was the last guy, or the anchor leg. His team came in near the bottom with a total time of 5:12.6 minutes. They were the C team and they beat the time of the B team. His coach said he ran a really good leg of the race. The first guy on his team got off to a slow start, so his team was half a lap behind for the whole race. Braxton made up some distance and they were only 1/3 of a lap behind. They ran two heats of the race. His team was in the second heat which was slower, but they beat the time of the B team that had ran in the first heat. I won't make it to Water Aerobics at all this week, but next week I should get back to a more normal schedule, I hope. Braxton will still have a couple of make up games to play, I think.
Note: Everyone is invited to the Court of Honor. I will try to get invitations sent this week by email and by snail mail.

It seems like life is always really busy around here. I have got to find time to get invitations made for Clain's Eagle Scout Court of Honor. We are doing it on Friday, May 29th at 5:30 in the evening at Bingham Park. We have asked Kevin Fielding to speak and the lady from the stake will present the award to him. I am going to call Ron Dawson and see if he will come and give him the Eagle Feather. Kevin said he would come over this week and show us some of the possible things we can do. I hope he remembers to come.

There were some changes at Church today. They released the Elder's Quorum Presidency. Myron Bouwhuis was released as President. Duane Thomas was released as 1st Counselor. Chris Burrell was released as 2nd Counselor. Layne Wayment was called as Elder's Quorum President. Chris Burrell was called as 1st Counselor in the Elder's Quorum. Robert Greenwell was called as 2nd Counselor in the Elder's Quorum. Kelly Bingham was left in to serve as Secretary in the Elder's Quorum. Brent Rose was released as Young Men's President. Richard Oliver was released as 1st Counselor in the YM Presidency. Larry Garrett was released as 2nd Counselor in the YM Presidency. Layne Wayment was released as Secretary in the YM Presidency. Myron Bouwhuis was called as Young Men's President. Clair Hamblin was called as 1st Counselor in the Young Men's Presidency. Duane Thomas was called as 2nd Counselor in the Young Men's Presidency. I don't think they called a secretary yet. Clain gave a really nice talk on Gospel Principles taught to me by my mother. He did great. The Priesthood, Aaronic and Melchizedek sang a song for Mothers. It was really nice and fun to see Clain, Braxton and Dad all up there singing.
Well it is really late again. 12:30 in the morning. I am really tired. I will end. Maybe I will have time to write more tomorrow. I love you lots and I am really proud of you. Take Care.
Love always and forever,
Hey! How are things going today? Well things are going good. I have to get a DVD made and send you a bunch of pictures and videos that I have taken. That is really cool that you were able to record the conversation. So Braxton is going to quit soccer? That is ok because when I get back I will get him into hunting like I was before my mission or more. Who knows? I hope everything is going good.
Hi Curtis,
I don't want Braxton to totally quit soccer. He would spend too much time just playing video games. I want him to still have some exercise of some kind. They play AYSO soccer in the fall and in the spring. They just don't have as many practices or games each week and it won't cost nearly as much.
Have you taken lots more photos and videos since you sent the last ones?

I have taken about four or five gigs of photos here in Valencia.
Here is a picture of a bottle of Inca Cola and a picture of me and Elder Neyra with the kids of one of the members here in Valencia eating zapote.

Thanks. My computer just froze up. I had too much stuff open I guess. I am restarting it. How fast are the computers you are using to email? What kind of computers are they? How many? Cost to use? Keyboards different or the same?

Are you resizing the photos from larger files? They are really fuzzy and pixelated. Can you resize them with a little higher quality and send them again?

Resize them to 800 X 600 with a 300 pixel resolution. Some of those you sent me are only 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch in size. Too small and too pixelated. I want to see your handsome face, not blotches. Please.

That one that Elder Bartolomei sent his mom is 1600 X 1200 pixels and 300 dpi. It is a great photo. It is 354 kb in size. The ones you sent last time were not as clear. They were 588 X 441 pixels and 300 dpi. They are 86 kb in size. Bigger is much better if you can do it.

Hi Curtis,

Who knows how many people out there in the world are reading your blog. I published it to be an example to the world of missionary work and service. I hoped it would inspire others to want to serve a mission. I hope it will fulfill that purpose. I hope you will want to say and do things that would help others want to serve missions. When you write your letters remember that you are writing to a world wide audience, not just your family. Include more of your special teaching moments, how you feel when the spirit is touching an investigator, how it feels to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord. Bear your testimony about what you are doing and its importance. It doesn't have to be a long, full testimony, just mention how a principle of the gospel has helped you as you have worked. Most of all, I want you to convince your brothers that they should go and serve the Lord. Tell them how important the work is and why you are glad you are out there doing it. Make them excited to go and serve.

Clain is still preparing, but I don't see a lot of enthusiasm. It seems more of a duty to him. He is going because that is what we expect him to do. I want to see him excited to go because he knows how great your mission was. Share the kinds of things that will help him prepare and get really excited to be a missionary.

I signed Clain up to go to EFY (Especially For Youth), the week of June 15th to 20th. He will go to USU and stay five nights in the dorms. I think he will have a great time. It was $425 for the week, but if it helps him to become more excited about the gospel it will be worth it. He never shows much emotion of any kind. He is getting to be more and more like you all the time. The only difference is that I knew you had a lot more self confidence and courage than I think he has. I am pretty sure he will go on a mission and he will endure it and stay, but I want him to go and love it, not just endure it. I want him to be on fire and know that he can make a difference. Share that kind of enthusiasm with him, please. Let him know how much you are enjoying your mission. Tell him of the great experience it is to help convert someone to the true gospel. Tell us more experiences of what it was like when you were teaching an investigator. Tell him what it was like to baptize someone. Tell him how you felt when you were giving a blessing to someone. Were they healed? Did the blessing help? What little miracles have you seen? How has the Lord blessed you personally? How have you been lifted up by the angels who are round about to help you?

It was interesting to listen to you talk yesterday. It is clear you are thinking in Spanish now and having to convert back to English. That is good. I am sure it makes communication easier than switching back and forth all the time. Are you understanding everything you hear now?

2009_05_04 Week 5 Valencia Dad

Dear Curtis,

How is everything going? It has been raining here all weekend so they canceled the pigeon race. Have you been getting a lot of rain? Are you going to be able to call on Mother’s Day? Let us know when.

School is starting to wind down for the year. It sounds like you were having a good time on your p-day seeing the different sites.

Clain has got to speak in church Sunday on Mother’s Day. His topic is Gospel principles that my mother has taught me. My back is getting stronger with all the work I have been giving it. I can tell a difference. It still hurts at times. Have a good day and let us know what you are doing this week. I will check back later. I Love You, Love Dad

Hey! How are things going? When are you going to go with Mike Kinghorn to band the geese? Ya, here in Valencia I am getting to see more of the sites. It is really cool. What are your plans for this summer?

We will be going in June. He will let us know when. In July, we have the week with the Parkinson’s in Island Park. Grandma and Grandpa Goode are also going. It’s grandma’s birthday today.

That is cool. Make sure that you take pictures so that I can see what happened, too. Tell Mike in 2011 I want to help, too.

I will let Mike know. Mom just called and asked about when you to have you call. We will be waiting to hear from you then.

Monday, May 4, 2009

2009_05_04 Week 5 Valencia

May 3, 2009

Dear Curtis,

Hi! I hope you have had a really great week. Mine has been pretty good.

First off, we need to figure out how we are going to do your phone call home on Mother’s Day which is next Sunday, May 10th. Do you have a phone that you can call from?

Can you call me and then I can call you back on that phone?

I need to know the whole phone number with the country code. I have a calling card that I can use from this end. I could just call you if I knew the number and what time to call you.

We have church from 11:00 till 2:00. Clain is giving a talk in Sacrament Meeting, so we have to go. His topic is gospel principles taught to you by your mother. He is supposed to speak for five to seven minutes.

We would like to go to Cache Valley to visit Grandma Goode and Grandma Parkinson after church. I don’t think Michelle and Shara are coming down here. I have been trying to talk to Michelle all day to find out what she is planning, but she won’t answer my calls or texts. I am not sure what is up with her. I haven’t talked to her much this week. It was her last week of school, so she should be all done for a while.

Shara was called to be the Second Counselor in the Primary Presidency. She has to sing with the Primary Kids in her ward on Mother’s Day. Her church is at 9:00, but I still doubt she will come down after because she will have two mothers and four grandmothers to go visit that day and all but me are up there in Cache Valley.

Email back and let me know what will work best for you as far as time and how you are going to call. Do you have a calling card you can use?

Can you buy one if you don’t have one?

It might be good to get one with enough minutes in case I can’t call you back for some reason like last time. How long can you talk this time?

I put your tax refund in your bank account. I transferred $500 of it to your savings account because you get a little bit better interest rate on that account than on the checking account, but not by much. The rest is in your checking account. You have been using a lot of money again. Are you having to travel a lot in your new area? Did it cost you money to go to the Volcano and the Waterfalls?

Answer these questions first and hopefully we can email back and forth a couple of times today.

I love you so much and I am very proud of you.

Love always, Mom

Hey how are things? As far as the phone call we have a cellular in the house that we are going to use to call. What we are planning to do is buy a card that will put money in our account in the cell phone and then we can call. I am going to buy thirty minutes of time I think that will be enough, but I will check and find out more before I buy, so I buy enough. I think that this will be better and more sure than you trying to call me. I can only call on Sunday, but just about whenever you want me to during the day. What time will be best for you and what phone do you want me to call?

Okay. That will be great. I think it is probably best to call my cell phone then you will get me no matter where I am at. The number is 801-725-****. You could call at 3:00 or anytime after that. What time do you have church and what else do you have planned for that day?

We have church from 9 to 12, lunch at one and a meeting at two, so three thirty should work fine. Do you think it is possible that you could be with Skyler so I could talk to him, too? If not, that is ok. Tell him I am still waiting for a picture of him and his fiance. Do you want me to call three thirty my time or your time? There is an hour difference right now.

We can try to get Skyler to come down, but with Mother's day he may be busy. 2:30 or 3:00 our time would be better so we could go up to Cache Valley after, but will that give you enough time to finish your meeting? If not, what time works for you?

I will talk to Skyler about the picture. He was supposed to email it to me so I could email it to you. I guess he forgot. Being in love can make you do things like that.

How has your week been? Tell us about your area, your companion, your investigators and your site seeing trips please.

Three or three thirty my time which is two or two thirty your time will work for me.

Okay. Make it 2:30 my time so we will have time to get home from church. Clain might be really long-winded and make the meeting go over. Ha Ha!

Ok that will work. I will call two thirty your time. I will get back on later today to answer your questions.

Okay. I love you lots. Take care.

Later . . .

I got a really cool photo of you today from Elder Bartolomei's mom. It has Elder Felt, Elder Williams, Elder Bartolomei and you just outside a chapel door. It is an awesome photo. Where was it taken? When?

She sent me another one last week that had Elder Neyra, you, Elder Bartolomei and another guy all hanging on to trees and branches as you climbed down a muddy hill. I am guessing it was when you went to see the waterfalls. I don't think the other guy in the yellow shirt is Elder Bartolomei's companion because she sent another photo of Elder Bartolomei with his companion in front of the same waterfall you sent me. In that photo, his companion is wearing a different shirt. Who is the other guy in the yellow shirt? Who went with you to the waterfalls? Tell us more about it.
Do you have more photos? Tell us about it.

Tell us about the baptisms you have had in Valencia. Names? Dates?

Tell us about the investigators you are teaching now.

Tell us more about your companion. What is he like? Do you get along? What are his favorite things to do? What do you really like about him? Did he know any of your other companions? How long has he been a member? Tell us about his family.

Tell us about your apartment.

I mailed two packages to you on Tuesday, April 28th. They have paper copies of the Conference Talks in English. The Spanish versions weren't out yet. I will send you an Ensign and Liahona as soon as they release them in a couple more weeks, I think. The package has a USB jump drive. On the drive there are a bunch of photos that we have taken since you have been gone. I thought you might want to look at them. I will try to print a few of them and mail to you with the next package. You can delete the photos to make room to store backups of the photos you take. There are also mp3 and mp4 files of the conference. I hope you are able to load them onto your ipod so you can listen to them and watch the videos if that is allowed. If not, just delete the video ones. I also put the music on there. You may have to dump some of the music that is on there or the old conference talks to make room for the new ones. Some may be the same. I think there are talks from three conferences there.

I told you earlier that I would put in an 8 GB SD card. I didn't put it in. It was acting weird and I was afraid you would use it and then not be able to pull up the photos after you took them. I put in 4 new 1 GB SD cards for you.

Let me know if there is anything else you need. I will be sending another package in a couple of weeks with the Ensign and Liahona.

Braxton has been running track. He ran the 1600 meter (mile) race the first week in 6:19:8 He was 34th out of 54 runners. The second week he ran the 1600 in 6:12:60, so he got faster. He was 15th out of 38 runners. He has another track meet this week on Friday. He is going to get even faster. I think he is doing great for a 7th grader running against 8th and 9th graders.

I love you so much and I am so proud of you. You look really great in that photo. You look so happy and healthy. The fruit and rice must be agreeing with you.


Hey how are things going? I’m back on to answer your questions. First about my sight-seeing trips. We went first with Elder Bartolomei and his companion Elder Gabino to the waterfalls. We also brought along our ward mission leader Claudio. He is the one in some of the photos you have seen. Claudio had been to the waterfalls before so he knew the way, so it was much easier for us.

Elder Goode at the Waterfalls near La Mana

My sector is big. Here in Valencia it starts at a place called the Esperansa or the Hope in English and ends in the Mana. We also have a place called the Berhel and a place called 6 de Agosto or the 6th of August. We are working mainly in the Mana to help start the church there. We had one baptism. His name is Hector. He just turned 18 and he is doing great. We are planning another baptism for this Saturday. His name is Oscar. He is 16 years old. His mom and dad are members, but his dad died about two and a half months ago.

That is great! If you have more time, tell us more. Has it been raining a lot on you the last two weeks? I have a weather site on the internet I have found and it says you should have had 6 inches of rain two weeks ago and about 4 inches last week. Is that right or is this site giving me the wrong information?

No, the sight is correct. We are getting rain here mostly in the night, but it is raining a lot when it does here. We are getting lightning and thunder, too.

The picture that Elder Bartolomei’s mom sent you was taken last Tuesday in the Zone Conference. We are only missing Elder Smith to have all of our district together in the same place, but Elder Smith is in Duran still, in his first sector. I talked to him during the transfers in Guayaquil. He’s doing good and loving the mission.

Here in Valencia we are working with a lot of references. We are contacting about ten to fifteen a week and right now we have more than twenty that we have received that we need to contact. For the most part, the references are in the Mana that is where we are working the most, because the Bishop wants to form a branch there to make it easier for the members, so they don’t have to travel a half an hour to church every Sunday. So this is what we have been doing, contacting lots of people to find five families in the Mana that are members and are paying their tithing. That is the most important, that they have priesthood in the families and that they are paying tithing.

That is awesome. I am glad you are making a difference. Five families doesn't seem like a lot, but it will be enough to give them a good start. Keep working hard at it. I am sure you will find them or help them to get the priesthood and start paying their tithing.

How is your memorizing coming along? Your deadline is coming soon.

When you can, send more photos.

Have you heard any more about Elder Fewkes? Whenever you can, take photos with all the other missionaries you know. Try to do a photo with all of your companions so far if you are ever all together in one place.

Elder Fewkes had some health problems here in the mission, so he went home, got it all figured out and right now he is serving in Idaho Spanish speaking. But when our transfer comes, he might get the chance to come back to Ecuador to serve. That is what we are hoping, but let’s see what happens.

I think that it will be a little hard to get all of my companions together because Elder Alcocer is going to leave here for his house on the 8th of this month, so I think that is Friday, so he doesn’t have a whole lot of time left in the mission. I did get a photo with him the other day in the Zone Conference though. I talked to Elder Bejar in the terminal in Quayaquil for a little bit. He is now district leader in Pasquales doing good. He has six months left before he goes back to Peru, too. Elder Neyra is in the same group of missionaries as Elder Bejar. He came to Ecuador with Elder Bejar and he will leave with him in October.

I was afraid you wouldn't be able to get them all together before he left. I guess that is okay. You will always remember them anyway. Gather the ones you can whenever you get a chance.

I do hope Elder Fewkes gets to come back to Ecuador, but I guess it won't matter as long as he is serving the Lord. I am glad Elder Bejar is doing great. That is neat that he is a District Leader now.

Tell me more about Elder Neyra and about your scripture memorization. And make sure to say goodbye before you get off today.

Elder Neyra is from the center of Lima, Peru. His family consists of his mom and dad and eleven kids. He has 8 brothers and 2 sisters. He is the youngest of all of them. Elder Neyra likes to play guitar and sing. He loves my Ipod and he is trying really hard to take advantage of the fact that he has a gringo for a companion to learn English, so I am talking a lot of English with him in the house, so he can learn it. Elder Neyra likes to be in style and in fashion. Some of his brothers live in the states in New York, so he has a bit of an American style, but he still has his Latin style, too. Elder Neyra likes to joke around. All of his brothers are bigger than him, so he has a little bit of the attitude like I do that we are big and bad and that no one can hurt us. You know what I mean.

He sounds like fun. I am glad you are enjoying your time together. Just be really careful, even though you are big and bad. There are still things like guns and knives that can hurt you. Always be obedient so you will be protected. Maybe you will get to see Elder Neyra after your mission. He may decide to come to the states, too.

Send us more photos when you can. I love to see you. Send us a good photo of Elder Neyra. I have the one you did with the multiple exposures and the one on the muddy trail, but I want a good close up shot of him.

How is your memorizing coming?

What did you learn at your Zone Conference?

Ya! I know that there are still things that can hurt us. My memorization is coming along slow, but sure. The Zone Conference was about obedience to the rules of the mission. It was good.

Well I gotta go. I love you lots. I’ll talk to you Sunday at two thirty your time, three thirty my time. Bye.

I love you, too. I am so excited to hear your voice on Sunday. Be careful and remember who you are.

Love always and forever,