Monday, February 22, 2010

18 months!!!

Zone Photo taken on Tuesday, July 16, 2010 in Manta, Ecuador.
Front Row: Elder Eduardo Gavarret, First Counselor in the South America Northwest Area Presidency, Sister Gavarret, Hermana Gamboa, President J. Wilson Gamboa

Missionaries from Left to Right: 1- Elder Cruz , 2- Elder Garcia (Companions with Elder Goode), 3-Elder Ramirez, 4-Elder Parkinson (Lives in the same apartment with Elder Goode), 5- Elder Baez, 6- Elder Merrill, 7- Elder Fonseca, 8- Elder Piedra, 9- Elder Goode, 10- Elder Lopez, 11- Elder Avila (Lives in the same apartment with Elder Goode), 12-Elder Romero , 13- Elder Mitchell, 14- Elder Guix, 15-Elder Perez, 16- Elder Walke

Week 17 Portoviejo

Did you have any baptisms this week?

Hey, we didn´t have a baptism this week, but we are really confident that this Saturday we might be able to baptize Luis and then we can work on his two friends for the next week.

Tell us about Luis and his two friends. Any progress towards baptism?

With Luis, we are working and trying really hard and we have lots of hope. Last week, we had problems finding his dad with Carnival and it being a holiday, so he spent the majority of the time drunk. But now that Carnival is over, things are back to normal. We have lots of hope and we are going to try even harder this week, so that we can have a baptism for the Branch Conference which is next Sunday.

Tell us about each of your other investigators.

We have Nely. She is the one that got mad at the neighbor. We finally found her again and we are planning on taking her to church for the conference so that she can see what the church is like. She has never been before so we are going to work extra hard to get her there.

Tell us more about the ward you cover in Portoviejo.

My ward is actually a branch, but it should be a ward here soon. We are having a Branch Conference to see how the ward is doing and if everything is going good then we will become a ward. So we are all really, really excited for this. It will be a big step forward for us. The ward is pretty big in size or the amount of land that we have, but it is really pretty small in people. There are lots of families that are inactive, but that is the majority of Ecuador right now. But we are trying to help more people become active because that is what President Monson wants us to do. Usually, there are about one hundred or a hundred and twenty that assist the church every week, but the goal for the conference is to have two hundred there. That would be really cool! I have to admit.

Tell us about the seafood you bought and ate. How was it?

The seafood was really, really good!!! We had shrimp a few times and I got to tell you, I love shrimp! I could eat hundreds of the little guys! The thing that sucks is that you have to clean the little guys and that is the hard part. You have to peel the shell off and then you have to cut the vein out and that takes time. The octopus was really good. We are actually going to eat some more today. When we bought the seafood, we cleaned it and then put it in plastic bags and put it in the freezer and then we could eat it when we wanted to. So today we are going to eat the last of the seafood. We took it to a sister today and she is going to prepare it for us for lunch. We are going to eat shrimp and octopus and fish. It is going to be so good! Don´t worry. I will take pictures, so that you can see it. I will have to prepare all of these delicious meals that I am learning when I get home. But I want to tell you about another drink that I found a long time ago, but I forgot to tell you about. You boil cinnamon sticks in water and then put sugar to taste and drink it. I was really surprised when I first tried it, but I have to say it is really good. Have you tried the cerviche again?

Tell us more about your companion.

My companion, Elder Garcia, will turn 21 in April. In June, he will have a year in the mission. I am his second companion. He has a girl waiting for him. She is from Italy. His mom is from Colombia. She is black (don´t worry that isn´t an offense in Spanish.) His real dad is from Spain and he hasn´t had much contact with him. His step-dad is also from Spain. His step-dad married his mom when she was a month pregnant with him, so his step-dad raised him as his own son. His step-dad served his mission in the Central America Mission a long time ago when the mission was five different countries. His real dad is not a member of the church. His step-dad taught and baptized his mom, while he was in the mission.

Tell us about your zone and district.

In my zone, we have a few new missionaries that weren´t here last change, like Elder Aracayo. He was the companion of Elder Carlos last change and Elder Frye is the companion of Elder Carlos this change. Elder Perez, he is from the same group as Elder Machuca and is senior comp (Elder Machuca is senior comp, too. He had a change and is now in the Orquidias Zone.) Elder Cruz, I knew him from Quevedo North and he is in Chone now and is district leader. Elder Walke, he is a zone leader. Elder Parkinson, but I have told you about him. In my district there are four companionships, mine, Elder Avila and Elder Parkinson, Elder Perez and Elder Mitchell, and Elder Baez and Elder Merrill. So looking at things time wise, I am the only elder in my district that has more than a year in the mission, so my district is really young in the mission.

Which elders are you supervising in your district?

In my district, there is Elder Garcia and I and Elder Avila and Elder Parkinson and Elder Baez and Elder Merrill and Elder Mitchell and Elder Perez.

What have you been teaching in your district meetings?

We have been working on chapter six of Preach My Gospel which is Christ like attributes, so that is what I have been teaching. This next week, I have to teach how the missionaries can help their investigators come to church.

Where do you get your hair cut?

I go to a member that has a barber shop and he cuts our hair at a discounted price, a dollar fifty.

How often?

I usually cut my hair every three or four weeks.

Have you sent me some more photos yet?


Have you received your Valentine Package yet? I am trying to get another one in the mail this week.


Do you need anything?

More deer jerky would be nice. Send me some post cards of Utah, different places in Utah. Elder Garcia wants to know Utah a little better. He also wants candy canes. I told him they don´t sell them this time of the year, but he told me to ask anyways.

How are your contacts and contact solution doing?

I am not using them, so they are doing just fine. But I figured something out talking to Elder Piedra. He said that the problem I am having with my contacts is because my eye isn´t breathing like it should, so I need a contact that has hydro clear or something like that. I don´t remember for sure, but he said he was having the same problem and that changing to a contact with hydra clear solved his problem.

How is your clothing doing?

My clothes are doing ok. They will make it another six months easily, don´t worry.

Are you getting lots of rain down there? Do you ever wear the boots you bought?

We were getting lots of rain, but it has calmed down now and it isn´t raining much anymore. I left my boots in Valencia because they were a little small, but I don´t think I will need to buy another pair because it isn´t raining much here.

Have you spent any time at the Ocean? Did you take any photos at the ocean?

We went to Crucita once and I did take some cool pics, so I will try to get them in the mail soon ok? Sorry.

Are you healthy and happy?

Yes. I think I am now losing a little weight. We decided to cut down on our expenses, to walk more and take less taxis and busses, so I am walking the long distances now instead of using taxis : )

Carnival and Zone Conference

Week 16 Portoviejo

This letter was written on February 17, 2010.

So, it is Wednesday today and I finally found a cyber open so that we can write you guys. It has been Carnival the last few days, so there was practically nothing open here in Portoviejo. Well everything is going good here. We had Zone Conference yesterday. We had to go to Manta for the conference so that was cool. We had Elder Gavarette from the seventy come and talk to us, so that was really a cool experience. He talked about a lot of things, but one thing that I really liked was about the brother of Jared. He said that God gave the brother of Jared the designs for the boats that he had to build and he built them. And after they realized that there was going to be problems, that they would need air and they would need light, but they didn´t just cut a window in the boat or try to come up with their own plan of action. They went right to God again and asked him what to do and He gave the answer to the air problem and told the brother of Jared to come up with a solution to the light problem. I thought that it was cool that the Lord wanted to test their humility and see if they would be humble enough to ask or if they would just do what they wanted to do. So I liked that part of the talk. His wife talked about how we should look at life in a different point of view, that we shouldn´t just look at all of the negative things, that we should be happy. I really liked her. She was really positive and it was contagious. I felt a lot happier and ready to go out and face the world after the conference, but couldn´t because it is Carnival. So after the conference, we went back to the house and stayed inside until six when we could leave. We have had this time schedule since last Saturday, but today is the last day of this. We leave the house at ten and after lunch or about two, we have to go back to the house and stay in the house until six and then we can leave again to go out and visit again. So it kinda sucks, but that is how it goes. Just so that you know, Carnival is a holiday where everybody goes to the beach and plays with water, so there are water fights in the streets and when you go walking, they throw water at you. So we couldn´t go out during the worst of it or from two till six. So it was to protect us, but it was hard to be cooped up in the house for four hours at a time. We weren´t able to visit as many people this last week because it is Carnival and that we were in the house, but we tried our best and we are sure that the rest of this week will be better and that we will have more success. Well I am going to send this off and I hope you are on so that we can talk a little bit.

I love you lots,
Elder Goode

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shrimp, Fish and Octopus, but no Iguana

This is last week's letter that I didn't get posted until today. We did not hear from Curtis today. I know they were having Zone Conferences this week with Elder Eduardo Gavarret, the first counselor in the Presidency of the South American Northwest Area Presidency. I don't know which day the Portoviejo Zone will have their conference. I also know that this week is Carnival a big celebration in Ecuador where they throw lots of water balloons and get everyone wet. President Gamboa has asked that the missionaries stay in their apartments during the afternoon hours for a few days till Carnival is over.

Week 15 Portoviejo

So, how is it going today? I am on a little later than usual. We went to Manta and bought fish, well fish and shrimp and some octopus, too. We bought four pounds of shrimp which is about one hundred and twenty or one hundred and fifty somewhere in there shrimp that are about three to four inches in length. They cost almost fifteen dollars for the shrimp. We bought four pounds of octopus for four dollars and paid a guy a dollar to clean it all up good. In four pounds, comes five arms that are about a foot and a half long and start about two or three inches in diameter. And lastly, the fish, we bought about twenty five fish for five dollars. They are about eight or nine inches long and about six inches tall and they are really thin like a half an inch or three quarters maybe an inch thick at the widest point. We also paid another guy a dollar to clean the fish, so we spent somewhere between twenty and twenty five dollars and bought a lot of seafood for the rest of this change. I think that later we are going to clean the shrimp. We have to peel them and cut the veins out of them and then I think we are going to bread them and fry them. I am excited it should be good with some rice and beans.

Well, we didn´t have our baptism. We couldn´t find Luis´s dad when he was sober so we didn´t get permission for the baptism, but we have hope for this week.

President is in a really good mood lately. I like him like this a whole lot better. When I called him yesterday to ask for permission to go to Manta to buy the fish, he was in good humor and actually joked a little bit. I had asked to go last Monday, but we couldn´t go, so we decided to go this Monday. So I called and asked for permission again and he said that he had given me permission for last week because last week’s fish were good and that this week’s fish weren´t any good so he said no. And I was like no, President and he started laughing and told me to go and buy all of the fish I wanted. But he also said jokingly that I was forbidden to buy Iguana, so I playing along with the joke said, but President they sell really good iguana there
and he just laughed and told me to have fun, but no Iguanas. So ya it was kinda interesting. He seems to be happier and I think it is because we are going to have an area seventy come for our zone conference this change so that will be really cool.

Oh yeah, last night Hermana Gamboa called me and asked me about something that I had bought a few weeks ago. We have to send our receipts to the office so that Hermana Gamboa can see what we are buying. So she called and asked me why I had bought a seat. That is what the receipt had said. She asked me if I had bought a chair or something for the house, which I hadn´t and she asked me what the seat was, so I had to explain that the seat was a toilet seat and that I was fixing the broken one that was in the house. And then she was really happy with me and told me thank you for fixing the things that were broken in the house and that all missionaries should be like me and take care of their houses and not just live with their stuff broken. So that was kinda cool, too. I was kinda surprised when she called, but it turned out ok.

So everything is going good here. I am doing good and we are hoping to have a baptism this weekend. We have hope, but let’s hope that we can have permission, too. Well, I am going to send this letter off and then write president and then see if there is a reply.

I love you lots!
Elder Goode

The lady that we were teaching hasn´t been home much lately she still lives here, but she is having some construction done on her house and it is hard to find her there at all, so we are going to keep trying, but I don´t know if we are going to have much luck. The two friends of Luis have kinda gotten lost. We aren´t having much luck finding them either. One of them moved and we don´t know where his new house is. It is in our sector, but I don´t know where and the other one works all day and when he is home he is tired and doesn´t want to listen to us, but we are trying as hard as we can. I just hope we can find the one and that we can get through to the other one, too. I will have to talk to Elder Parkinson and ask him what happened if his mom said anything about a letter from you or maybe the email is wrong I will get it again and send
it to you in this email. Let me go ask him.......................ok I am back. He said that his mom didn´t say anything about getting a letter from you. Here is her email again. I am pretty sure that it is the same one that I gave you last time, but check anyways.

Well, I hope that this letter will answer your questions. If not, send me another letter quickly I don´t have a lot of time left.

Elder Goode

You never seem to have a lot of time. What happened to the 45 minutes you were supposed to have for emailing home? I think that is the address I sent it to. I will double check and maybe try another short one this week.

Are you finding any other investigators to teach. You don't seem to be having much success in this area, yet other missionaries who have served in Portoviejo say it is a great area with lots of baptisms. What can we do to help you more?

Well I should have an hour to write to you guys, but I always spend the first half an hour reading all of the emails and then I write the letter to you and then to President and then I write back to you guys. Well, I gotta go. I am hungry and there are shrimp to peel, so I love you lots.

Elder Goode

Just pray for me a lot and it should be enough. Make sure that dad sees the letter I wrote to Skyler. It is pretty funny.

Elder Goode

Maybe I should start writing much shorter letters so you will have time to write longer letters!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Letter to Braxton, Neat!

My Eagle Scouts! My Three Sons!

It sure makes a mother proud!

Curtis became an Eagle Scout on August 26, 2004 at the age of 15.
He had earned 67 merit badges.

Clain became an Eagle Scout on August 12, 2008 at the age of 17.
He had earned 46 merit badges.

Braxton became an Eagle Scout on September 2, 2009 at the age of 13.
He had earned 45 merit badges.

Hey Braxton!

How is it going? I am doing really good. So mom told me that now she has three sons that are Eagles. I am proud of you. That is really cool. I hope that you are doing well. Mom tells me that you are doing well in school and singing really well. She also tells me that you think that I don´t love you because I don´t write you very often, but I do love you. I want you to know that I love you lots and I want you to go on a mission and I want you to love your mission. I love you lots buddy. Keep doing what you are doing and before you know it, I will be home to give you one of those bear hugs that you said that you missed. I love you lots buddy!


Elder Goode

Elder Parkinson from Arizona

Week 14 Portoviejo

Have you been losing or gaining weight since you moved to Portoviejo? I am guessing you are gaining now that you are riding the buses and using taxis more and walking less. Am I right?

I do think that I have been putting on a little bit of weight but not a whole lot like five maybe ten pounds but I am trying to stay the same I really don´t want to gain weight again so another thing that I am doing right now is I eat what they give me but if they ask if I want more I tell them no so I am eating less than I used to so I feel a whole lot better if i eat just a little then I don´t have the same problems that I did before remember when my stomach would hurt after I would eat it was because I would eat too much and then it would hurt but now that I am eating less I don´t feel like that I feel satisfied and I don´t hurt.

Have you taken the Bomb since you have been there? How many times?

I have taken the bomb once so far in my mission when I was with Elder Machuca and it really didn´t have any effect on me. I will take it again when I go home, so I got lucky I will only have to take it twice while others had to take it up to four times in their missions.

Do the missionaries get to go to the temple before they go home?

I am not for sure if the missionaries get to go to the temple or not but if I need to renew my recommend President Gamboa can do it.

I asked about the photo CD and no one knew anything about it, so I am assuming you were unable to get it to Elder Ogden or Elder Mitton in time to get it home. What happened? Are you going to send it another way?

I was unable to get it ready in time to send through pouch, but it will be ready here soon and I will try to send one disk through pouch to see if they will send it. I hope that they will. If it is a problem then I can send it another way. I might be able to send it through the Ecuadorian postal service, but that could be a problem in itself so I will try the pouch first and see if it works.

Things are going really good here. We got a new missionary in the house and guess what? He is from Arizona! But do you want to know the really cool thing? His name is Elder Parkinson! Do we have family in Arizona? Well, it is really cool. He has lots of questions and I have lots of answers, so this week I have been helping him get used to Ecuador and everything here.

This is the email address of his mom. Drop her a line and you can help her out like I am helping her son out. I am sure that you are going to have lots to talk about. Well I am going to send this one off and hopefully you can reply to me quickly with a really astonished email telling me how cool it is that the new elder is from Arizona and has your maiden name. Well I love you lots!

Elder Goode

We didn´t have any baptisms this last week, but we have a goal of one for next week. We are really confident that we can get permission for Luis this week. His parents have been really positive the last couple of times we went, so there is hope.