Monday, November 18, 2013

Hold on. These people might not be speaking Gibberish after all!


Guesswhatguesswhatguesswhat!!! I think I understand people! Last week I talked about the gift of tounges working miraculously as the Lord speaks through me. That still happens alot. Usually I have no idea what to say, so just go for it and watch the Spirit take over. But there were quite a few times this week when they would say something back, and it actually made sense! While sitting in Sacrament Meeting, I almost jumped when I realized that the speaker wasn't mumbling gibberish for 15 minutes then sitting down. I was so excited, that I didn't even fall asleep in Gospel Principles or Preisthood Meeting! (I can't tell you how hard it is to stay awake in a hot, humid room for two hours when you have no idea what's going on.) I keep learning more about the gifts of the Spirit the more I seek them.

So let's talk about the obvious high of the week. The multi-mission conference with Elder Holland. It ended up being a meeting with the West and South missions as well, and also the Argentine CCM. Elder Christofferson wasn't in attendance, but instead Elder Suavez, one of the Seven Presidents of the Seventy, Elder Gonzolez of the Seventy, and each of their wives. They all were incredible. The first five speakers kept telling us to take special heed to the words of Elder Holland. I've always had so much respect for the Apostles, and I don't think there was a single missionary that came that wasn't expecting to be inspired. But one of them told us that we had the opportunity to hear from one of the "fifteen living prophets on the world earth today." We know that the Apostles and the First Presidency are indeed set apart special witnesses of Christ, but I think that we sometimes forget that they are all prophets of God as well. Called to speak His word just as Thomas S. Monson is. They hold special authority and power to help guide us and continually recieve revelation to do so. Although Thomas S. Monson is the only prophet who holds all of the Priesthood keys for the Church, it was a good clarifier to all of us that we were indeed about to hear from a prophet of God.

And then we did. It was incredible, every minute of it. I wish I could just get his talk and send it to you. Every sentence was inspired. He expressed his love for us, and also conveyed the urgency of this work at the same time. One thing in specific that he said was comparing the work that we do to his. He said that the Greek definition of an apostle is "one sent by God, with a message", then assured us that atleast for the two years that we are set-apart, we are engaged in the same apostolic work that he is. Stressing that he wasn't calling us to be a part of the Quorum of the Twelve, he told us that "from the minute I get up in the morning, until the minute I go to bed, I try to figure out how to save a human soul." We're doing the same. He spent the next part of the talk speaking of the way we do this. He told that the only way that this is possible is by God's way, and by strict obedience to it. He also stressed the importance of true, deep, profound conversion in every member. They must understand and live all the principles of the Gospel, because "nothing short of it will bring them salvation."

Finally, he shared some thoughts on Doctrine and Covenants section 50. In there, the Lord is essencially telling us of our grand potential to recieve all that He has. Elder Holland told us that everyone on the Earth is living below our potential, because we all have need to repent. I think it was verse 35 that the Lord assures us that we are still loved and cherished by God. Because of the Atonement, we are still capable of achieving this glorious potential, that is still now infinately beyond our comprehension.

I don't know if my summary made any sense, but I want to add my simple testimony to that of Elder Holland's by saying that it is true. Every single person still has the opportunity to recieve this Celestial Inheritance. Some are more elect than others, and it's evident that not every one will accept it, but it's important to know that everyone of them is capable. Never let the thought that they will probably reject it, or that letting them know about it is the job of someone else, like a missionary, or someone with a higher calling keep you from trying. Every single member of Christ's Church is one of His disciples, and His call to bring His Gospel to all the world is directed at all of His diciples. As far as I'm concerned, my official ministerial calling is only a formality. The setting apart as a member missionary occurs for everyone under the laying on of hands during their confirmation as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ.

His Gospel is transcendant above anything else that we can obtain. It's our responsibility to declare it to every soul for one last dispensation. This is it. We're preparing the world for when He reigns upon it in all of His glory. Not just the missionaries. All of us.

God bless us in our efforts.

Hasta la próxima semana,

-Élder Goff


First one, some weird Aaladin's palace rip off that I'm sure is violating all kinds of copy right laws, but is still kinda cool.

The second: Elder Hicks from Arizona and Elder Parichaua from Peru. They're re-capos. I'm not kidding, I love these two.

Then all of the Elders on the bus to see Elder Holland.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Happiness Guarenteed (Sent: November 11, 2013)

Querido Familia,

I almost don´t even know what to write. I´m still happy, still working hard and still seeing miracles. I don´t know if my letters are sounding repetitive or not, but my journal entries sure seem to. One thing that have seen constant is how happy I am. I get frustrated and a little discouraged from time to time, but whenever I pray it seems to leave immediately.

So two more Élderes moved into our pension, which is such a relief because I was wondering what we were going to do with our whole square foot of extra room with only two of us in there. But seriously, I´ve really liked it a lot more. I love being around other missionaries, and being reminded that I´m a part of something bigger than myselft- part of real army of the Lord. Élder Reyna is from Mexico, but speaks only a little slower than my last companion. Élder Mason is from California, and was so glad when he realized that I was yanqui too. It´s nice to have someone to speak English to every now and then so that we don´t go too crazy always hearing so many different dialects of Spanish.

Élder Fernandez and I have been having just a little bit of trouble with our investigators. Horacio and Juana who had been progressing so well have been showing some signs of doubt. They are really set on worshipping the Virgen Mary, and shared that they wanted every one of their children to support them in their baptism. We passed by their house several times, three days in a row, including the day of their scheduled baptism, and they weren´t home. We´ve yet to hear from them, and we´re a little worried about where to go next. Other previous investigators are either in another area now, or have stopped coming to Church, so we kind of have to start from scratch.

But we´ve seen some miracles too. One mother of a girl we were teaching came out to tell us that we couldn´t teach her daughter anymore, because they have the Bible and that´s all that they needed. We expressed how much we loved the Bible as well, and started talking about our favorite passages. She eventually let us in, and I shared how I loved that the Bible had two testaments to show God´s constant presence among His children. Then I showed her the scripture in Ezekial 37 in her copy, bearing testimony that all the testaments of Jesus Christ would come together as one. We shared that the Bible bears testimony of the Book of Mormon, as well as the other way around, because they are different testaments of the same Gospel. My companion showed her the footnotes with references to the Bible in the Book of Mormon, and left her with a challenge to read Alma 5, and pray to know if it is the Word of God. She was really excited about it and invited us back this Tuesday.

I´ve also decided to stop praying to ¨know what to say in the lessons¨ and take Gordon B. Hinckley´s advice to pray that the Lord will ¨loose (my) tounge and speak His words through (me).¨ Completely submitting myself to Him in lessons has made an enormous impact. I´ve seen the gift of tounges and all the other skills that I need to teach successfully just fall into place by doing this. For example, while talking to a less active family, the father shared that he has not seen a single blessing since his baptism. My companion and I seemed to know exactly what scriptures to use, and what to testify about to help them realize how faith, diligent perserverance, and prayer all work together to bring the blessings. He softened his heart, and agreed to future visits with us and to even come to Church this Sunday. Sometimes, I even tell a joke and they laugh! If that´s not clear evidence of the gift of tounges, I don´t know what is.

In summary, I struggled, submitted, and saw miracles. At the end of it all, I learned something huge this last week. Whether you witness miraculous transformations in your investigators, or struggle to even find one that won´t reject you, if you submit yourself comepletely to the Lord, happiness is guarenteed.

God bless you all. I love you more than ever, and I continue to offer my testimony that Christ lives, our Father loves us, and that Their kingdom is restored on the Earth.

-Élder Goff

Also, I guess it´s somewhat big news to tell you that Elder Holland and Elder Christofferson are coming to talk to our mission this Saturday. !!!! I´ll let you know how that goes!


Sorry about no pictures last week. There was a bit of a problem with the cheap computer eating my SD card. But I got it back, and I´m sending some now.

Elder Reyna got a hold of my camera, and took a ton of random pictures of his stuff, but I decided to keep some just for the heck of it. That snack is an Alfajor. The weird thing is, the cheapest ones taste the best.
Pretty nice how that works out.

Then there´s some pictures of my new companion and I, and the other Elders.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Argentines ¨celebrate¨ Halloween (Sent: November 5, 2013)

¿Todo bien? Porque todo esta bien conmigo.

To be honest I don´t really remember a whole lot about this week. I remember that for some reason I was kinda down, and I was a little ungrateful. But anteayer, (the day before yesterday) I repented and refocused, and ended the week really well. I truely can´t even remember why I was disheartened. But I guess you´re just gonna get a whole bunch of happy stories. :)

First of all, Argentines claim that they celebrate Halloween. But they don´t. The most festive I´ve seen anyone was on October 2nd, when a member family was throwing a small Halloween party. I saw three kids wearing eye-patches on Halloween, and one girl knocked on our door and just stood there in silence with no costume on. (We gave her 2 pesos to use at a Kiosco because we didn´t have any candy.) They truely don´t understand this American holiday. They need lessons from you Mom and Ryan. :) You´re masters.

So the last day of the my first transfer, we went on divisions. I don´t know why, but the zone leader, Élder Carvajal, really wanted to work with Élder Pirez. So I worked with Élder Sorenson from Sugarhouse Park, Utah. He´s an incredible missionary. He served in Florida for 6 months, and has been in Argentina for 5 days, but his Spanish blows me away. He seems to understand the people really well, which I´m admittedly a little jealous of. But he´s always careful to invite absolutely everyone to a lesson that we are having, whether it´s in the middle, end, or we´re setting up a date for a future lesson. That´s something that I´ve really learned. Even though almost everyone declined, he remembers to invite all people unto Christ literally at all times, even while he´s already inviting people to come unto Christ.

We had some miracles happen that day too. One investigator wasn´t home, so while walking to another appointment, a man shouted to us and asked us to come in. This never happens. We went in, and found out that they were a less active family, and we shared a quick message with them, and asked if they had anyone that they knew we could share the Gospel with. They couldn´t think of anyone, but as we were about to leave, they saw their niece off in the distance, and realized that she could hear our message when she was coming back on Saturday. So we thanked them for their time, and continued walking. A few minutes later, another lady called to us, and asked us to come talk to her friend. Remember when I said that this never happens? What is going on? The lady is a sweet old lady that´s active in the church and cries when we read practically every scripture. Her friend is ¨catolica hasta morir¨ but was glad to hear the message, and invited us back. I´m going to pray so hard for the Spirit. I know that´s the only thing that can pierce this ¨Catholic until death¨ mentality.

We finally got to our appointment with Horacio y Juana, who are those vejitos I talked about in the last letter. Ellos son recapos, and I´m so happy for them. They´re still excited about their baptism next Sunday, and continue to love Church. We had a really good clarifying lesson about why a modern prophet was so important, and what made the Church of Jesus Christ different from other Christian churches. They seem to understand and act sincerely. I love these two so much.

One more story from this day. There was one contact that we were going to make that I wasn´t sure was in our area. It was right on the border, but Elder Pirez told me to go visit it anyway, assuring me it was within the limits. We went rather hesitantly, but we found a young man named Marcello out in the streets excitedly waiting for us. I don´t know if he´s mentally handicapped, but I do know that he is genuinely excited about sharing the Gospel with his family. His mom´s name is Catolina, who has no religious experience. She accepted and participated in the whole first lesson about the Restoration. She accepted to read, ponder, and pray about the Book of Mormon, to attend Church this Sunday, and yep, the big one: baptism. She is incredible. We testified so much during that lesson, and the Spirit was so powerful. Their phone rang about 7 times, and I got like 10 missed calls and 15 text messages in the middle of it, but the Spirit was not going anywhere. When the scriptures talk about seeking the elect, it´s talking about people like Catolina. I´m so excited to visit her again, and pray that we can teach and testify that powerfully in every lesson.

So today was the first day of my second transfer. Now I´m with Élder Fernandez who I can already tell is a fantastic missionary. He´s from Nicaragua and has 11 months in Argentina. He´s incredibly patient with me, hard working, and best of all, I can understand him. I respect Elder Pirez so much, but I could never understand him completely.

I´m incredibly grateful for this week. I know that it wasn´t a perfect week by any means. But I learned that when I´m humble, and most of all grateful for everything, the Lord will provide miracles, and help me to focus on them. When I remember to thank Him for EVERY blessing (including trials) He helps me keep a positive attitude, and in the end, I only remember the good things about the work. I have a solid testimony that this is the most noble work on earth. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior for every person, and that His Atonement and Gospel are applicable to absolutely every child of God, personally as well as universally. I´m eternally grateful to be a representative of Him, and this I share en el nombre de Jesucristo, Amén.

P.S. Sorry this letter is so late. Transfers bump P-day to Tuesday, and made it so I had to write later in the day.

¡Hasta el lunes que viene!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

These are the worst computers in the world :P (Sent Oct. 28, 2013)

Sorry that this letter is being sent later in the day. The computer that I was using this morning to read all the emails on would absolutely refuse to let me type in English, and kept freezing every 10 minutes. Also the internet was double the price there. What a ripoff. Haha, first world problems.

So this week was pretty crazy. First of all, the amazingly great news: We had investigators come to church! Oracio, (82), Juana, (84) Milagros and her aunt Sofia (both 12) came to church and said that they really enjoyed it. All of them have dates for baptism as well, so we finally have some progressing investigators! With the end of this transfer coming up quickly, I have no idea if I´ll get to see them make that commitment or not. But I´m glad to see their faith growing and so happy to be a part of the work beyond just lessons yielding unkept commitments.

So the weekly cultural note: everything is pirated here. Everything. People don´t even think to purchase the music they download, and all of the movies that are rented out are pirated versions. I saw a DVD cover for Monsters University that that was rated R, had copyright information for The Dark Knight, the language was ´´Espanish´´ and best of all, had the saying ´´With God all things are possible´´ on the bottom. The piraters just slap what ever they want on there, thinking that no one will notice. It´s clear that they don´t know what they´re doing though, especially when you see that in bold letters in the information it says ´´not to be sold or rented outside the USA or Canda´´. Haha, like I´ve said many times before, Argentines do what they want.

On another note, I have a question. How does food that tastes this good make me so sick? It´s not that bad, I´ve got what every South American missionary has; my buddy Elder Bradshaw in Peru calls the ¨siempres¨. (By the way, the reason missionaries don´t gain weight down here isn´t because their walking missions...) okay enough about my overly active digestive system.

Really quick story. There was a wedding for some investigators of the other Elders, and the song ¨Good Feeling¨ came on. Being so excited to finally hear a decent song, I jumped up to dance. They were so facinated by my mediocre shuffling that they were taking videos, and they continue to ask me to do it for them. They think it´s so funny that the skinny white kid that speaks Spanish like a four year old and doesn´t understand anything can actually dance!

So ¨La Iglesia Christiana Evangelica¨ is huge down here. And these guys don´t like us for some reason. When we introduce ourselves as ¨missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints¨ they are really genuinely interested, and want to hear what we have to say. Then as soon as they figure out that we´re ¨Mormons¨ they are suddenly firmly Evangelic, and nothing can change their mind. They go from openess to hostility in an instant. It´s a really delicate situation talking to them, so we´re polite and even try to teach from their Bible. But when answering one woman about her questions about the three kingdoms of glory, we went to 1 Corinthians 15, and she was missing the last 6 chapters. Sometimes there will just be a line in place of a verse in their Bibles. When Nefi said ¨that plain and precious parts of the Bible were taken away or lost¨ I didn´t expect it to litterally say ¨11. *text* 12. --- 13. *text*¨ but that´s exactly what I saw in another Bible.

Oh man, these people seem so sincere in their beliefs, and really want to demonstrate their faith to Christ. It pains me to see them so obviously be lacking the full gospel of Jesus Christ, and when we try to offer it to them, they so quickly decline, and even denounce it. I guess that´s why the Savior said to seek the elect. Those who are ready to accept the gospel will accept it. Those who reject it, at least had the offer. I still know without a doubt that this Gospel is true.

Speaking of which, last P-day, I had the most spiritual experience I´ve had yet while serving a mission. While my companion was observing siesta in our appartment, I knelt down with the intent to pray for my investigators who at the time were not progressing in the slightest. Instead, I suddenly became overwhelmed by all the things that my Heavenly Father has done for me. It seemed to hit me all at once that everything in existence, including me, is because of Him. Everything I have is from Him. There is absolutely no possible way that I can repay Him. But He doesn´t want me to repay Him. All that He asks is that I be willing and humble enough to allow Him to bring me to Eternal Life and Exaltation so that He can give me everything. I seemed to have one of those experiences that they talk about in the scriptures where they cry out and glorify God. I don´t want to sound overly-dramatic, but I could not help but cry as I felt enveloped in His love for me. It was one of the greatest personal experiences I´ve had with my Father in Heaven on this earth. How could I not give everything I have? It´s incredibly hard to keep my mind focused, to learn to understand another language and culture, but I know that it´s worth trying. I also know that after my 100% comes the grace of Christ, which is sufficient to fullfill any task.-no matter how small my 100% does to fullfill it. I know I´m going to get the hang of all this. I´m so grateful to be involved in the most noble work on Earth.

This is share in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

P.S. Here´s some pictures of Capital. They have the thinnest skyscrapers ever. Sometimes I look at them, and go ¨Really? What is keeping that up?¨