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