Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Rain, Rain, please DON´T go away. Please come back another day.


It´s raining! YEAH! Rain and wind are blessings from heaven as they cool down the weather, and move the humidity out. The past few days have been so nice. It´s hilarious to watch the latinos bundled up in winter coats because it´s only 70 degrees with ¨windchill¨.

So, transfers came. And nothing changed. Haha, the Zone Leaders asked us if the speaker phone was on, and after all this build up, said ¨se quedan juntos¨ and hung up. Haha, I´m still in Matheu with the same companion. But that´s okay, because I love this area, and I´m grateful for the extra time that I have to improve the Christlike attributes that I haven´t learned well enough yet.

I need to tell you about an amazing person. Her name is Belatriz, and she is incredible. Her family has been talking to the missionaries for a long time, but with no progress. We decided to start focusing on the Grandma, Belatriz, and she began to progress despite her crazy family situation (too much drama and a little personal to get into detail). Finally, she was ready to be baptized. In her baptismal interview, she was so excited to ¨teach¨ the District Leader what a prophet was with the example we used with a pen. He was impressed, and she was anxiously looking forward for the rest of the week for Sunday.

Then Sunday came, we took her to the Chapel, and after the church services, she was baptized. She asked me to baptize her, and I humbly accepted. Only one of her granddaughters came to watch, but the branch showed a lot of love for her, which I´m so grateful for.

When we brought her back home, she told us the craziness that happened that morning. She was getting ready for us to pick her up, and she couldn´t find the keys to the front door, and no one would wake up to help her find them. She knew that Satan was trying to dissuade her from baptism, but she refused to listen to his lies. So she broke down the door. Yes, a 76 year-old, half blind, humble, and timid elderly woman broke down the front door to be baptized! My companion and I were laughing so hard, and we took pictures with her standing on the wood and hinges in triumph.

I´m so glad that I get to stay here in Matheu. I went through a little weird experience where I struggled to accept the Lord´s will with this transfer, but He reassured me that I have more to learn from this area and from my companion. I´m praying everyday for an increase in my charity, and I´m watching as the Lord helps me improve my love for everyone. So I´m going to continue working in the quiet, sleepy town, striving to share with anyone who will listen the greatest news the world has ever recieved. That God is doing all that He can for us to be Eternally, and profoundly happy, including providing us with Christ´s Atonement, Eternal Families, and personal revelation that all of it is because He loves each one of us.

Love you all! Keep up your awesome work, and don´t freeze to death! ¡Hurrah para Isreal!

-Élder Goff

Monday, January 20, 2014

One of those ¨Tender Mercies¨: They´re playing Imagine Dragons on the Radio!


I´m incredibly happy right now. All of your letters were awesome this week, and I´m so glad that you´re so positive. Even though so much seems to be working against you, I´m eternally grateful that the Holy Ghost is helping you recognize the blessings that you have to help you through it all. I´m praying my heart out for you all.

While I´m trying to sort out my jumbled Spanglish vocabulary into two distinct languages, there are some things that I think I´m going to change in the English category. For example: Fire Extinguisher in Spanish is ¨Matafuego¨. Literally that means Fire killer. That is so much cooler, and I´m never going to call it the same thing again.

Ryan, you´re a stud. I can´t wait for you to get out in the mission field. I´m sorry Mom, but it´s just so incredible, and I´m getting so anxious for the celebrity that I´ve been reading about in all of your emails to get out here and bless everyone right into the arms of their Savior.

This week was absolutely incredible. Our mission has been really focusing hard on working with members, and making sure that lessons with investigators includes the presence of non-missionary members. We set a higher goal for the week, but on Monday night, my companion looked at me and told me that he recieved revelation to triple what we had last week. When I prayed for confirmation, Heavenly Father told me ¨Hey, just trust your companion.¨ I said okay, and we decided to just act as though everything was already planned for our success. Good thing to, because it was. Heavenly Father provided us with miracle after miracle the whole week long, and we broke our goal. The struggling branch had more people in the chapel on Sunday than has been the whole transfer, and we´re seeing more sincere progress in our investigators than ever before. Matheu is even more the bomb than it was last week.

So through this, I learned a lot about continual faith. It was so interesting how sudden that change in numbers was. We just asked Heavenly Father what he thought, and worked until it was done. Neither of us even doubted that we could hit that goal. It was incredible! I also learned in the middle of a lesson with a member family something about faith and hope. When used in the scriptures, hope is very similar to sure, faithful, knowledge. There´s no doubting in this context. It´s having faith that Heavenly Father will keep His promises, and accepting them as a fact waiting to be put into action. They´re going to happen ¨sí o sí¨, as they say here. Whether we notice His promises, and whether they bless us, depends upon our faithful actions.

I don´t have a lot of specific stories to tell today, but I´m a bit overwhelmed by the love that Heavenly Father has poured out upon me. I pray sincerely that He does the same to all of my other missionary friends all over the world, and all of you at home. Not only does He live and love us, but He lives to love us. I´ve really felt that this week.

Thanks to all of you for being in my life. Hasta la próxima semana.

¡Hurrah para Israel!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Matheu is the bomb

¡Hola familia!

I´m so glad that Ryan is better. I think we prayed the roof off for him. I think you all talked about him in Texas and what a stud he is. I´m so glad he´s keeping up the family name. :) This week was insane. I have so many little stories I want to tell, but I´ll have to choose the best ones.

Here´s one story just for the heck of it, because it made me laugh: We were walking down the street, when an elderly woman saw us and turned back to shout into a house ¨The Mormons are coming! Careful! They might try to talk to you!¨ She thought she was being so sneaky, and when she turned around she quitely returned our ¨Buenas tardes¨ and continued walking in the other direction. We heared her loudly ¨whisper¨ to someone ¨¡Qué suerte no te hablaron, los chabones! (How lucky those punks didn´t talk to you!)¨ I was dying. It shouldn´t make me laugh, but it did for the rest of the afternoon. No matter how ridiculous the ridicule, I´m forever proud to be a representative of Jesus Christ.

We converted an atheist! Haha, we were talking to one of the young men in the Branch, and his friend, Ignacio, came up shyly waiting to talk to him. We started to talk to him, and he told us that he didn´t believe in God, because he believed in the sciences. We asked him ¨Who do you think created the world?¨ He looked at us sincerely and said, ¨huh, you´re right.¨ Haha, all of that in about 2 minutes. But then we talked with him a bit more about how God created all things in order, and about the Plan of Salvation. He became sincerely excited about it all, accepted baptism, and a time to keep talking. We invited him to share the Gospel with his family, to which he was extremely nervous. He says that his parents are extremely anti-religion because of a series of bad experiences. We encouraged him, saying that it may be hard, but that God will always be with him if he is trying to do what´s right. He doesn´t live in our proselyting area, but we gave his name and address to the missionaries over there, and we´re praying like crazy.

Also, we´ve had quite a few misfire lessons. One man excitedly invited us to his house with questions about Joseph Smith. We invited his whole family to listen, most of them declining, but his wife sitting down hesitantly. We had a good discussion about what a prophet is, and why we don´t worship Joseph Smith, but appreciate all He did for the Gospel of Christ. But they really couldn´t get around the Book of Mormon being additional scripture. They accept the idea that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that his method of direction during the Bible was through prophets with Priesthood authority, revelation, and scripture, but they insisted that it was only for ¨aquel día¨ and that in our day, we only need the Bible. I don´t understand how they can accept such a contradiction, but we tried without much success to politely explain and testify in the name of Jesus Christ.

These two experiences reinforced something that I already knew. People are converted by the Holy Ghost. You can teach with all of the logic available, through the Bibles of the investigators, or by the theories and philosophies of men. But it´s never going to work unless the Spirit is there and they accept its testimony. Satan has done a frighteningly fantastic job at stirring up the world into misunderstanding of the true and simple Gospel of Christ, thinking that it contradicts the natural laws of the universe or the nature of God. The only thing that can fix this mess is patience, an inexhaustable supply of charity, and the divine help of the Holy Ghost. Thanks for your stories about sharing the Gospel, and may our loving God bless you all in continuing this great work.

Hurrah for Isreal!

Hasta el lunes que viene.

¡Por fin! ¡Está computadora no está racista no más!


1. The 8 New Years Eve balloons

2. Slenderman drawings outside my apartment. Luckily if we arrive before curfew they´re not so creepy.

3. We all ate these icecream alfajores for Christmas. If you can ever find one in your life, buy as many as you can.

Ryan, how dare you be knocked out Snowboarding without me! (Sent January 6, 2014)


Is Ryan okay!? I saw the picture of on the Ski Patrol sled before I even read that there was an accident. Has he had any after effects? Are you ever going to let us Snowboard again? Pobrecito. I´m praying my heart out for him.

I´m so glad that you finished our crazy New Year´s tradition so faithfully. That´s one of my favorite childhood memories, and something I love trying to explain to people here. They laugh about it, or maybe at me, or maybe my Spanish. I´m not sure. But it makes me so happy. Thanks for the 8 balloons with confetti too. My companion was so confused, but we blew them up and popped them at 10 on New Year´s Eve! (We can´t be up at midnight, but it was midnight somewhere in the world. :P)

Here´s a quick story. One lady came up to us on the street, excitedly telling us about this ¨beautiful movie¨ that she saw about our Church, about the struggles of the 19th wife of ¨the prophet¨ as her husband was murdered, and the other wives cut her hair, and a bunch of other obviously un-LDS related things. My companion and I couldn´t help but start to laugh, which offended her, and she assured us that it wasn´t mocking ¨our religion¨ and that it was beautiful. We tried a more humble way to teach her that it was a fictional story made by someone who mistakenly called the characters ¨Mormons¨ though they were infact a breakoff, and now unrelated group, but she wouldn´t listen, insisting that it was about us. Finally, we just smiled, and thanked her for her misdirected compliment- though I wanted to say ¨oh, I´m sorry, I forgot that you´re an expert about the religion that I´ve actively practiced for 19 years because you watched I pirated version of a 90 minute fictional film made by someone who knows nothing about the subject.¨ But I still don´t know how to say that in Spanish. Also, latinos don´t understand direct sarcasm. And finally, Christ wouldn´t have done so, so as His representative I should never do so either. So I didn´t, and now I only have to repent of the desire to do so. :)

This poor little branch is struggling a lot. Each week, attendance drops by 10, and it started this transfer with 56. This last Sunday was 36. The Branch President says that it´s at risk of closure because this has been going for a while. Everyone has their reasons for inactivation, and every single one makes absolutely no sense to me. I don´t understand how someone feels justified saying that they don´t want to dedicate a little bit of time to remember their Savior because it´s too early, or a member 30 years ago did something rude, or whatever the case may be. Even the passing of a family member doesn´t make a whole lot of sense when I remember that Christ is the one who made the entire plan of our Salvation possible.

Despite all this, I´ve tried to keep see things through their eyes, trying to figure out how to touch their needs in a language that I´ve only recently begun to understand. Sometimes I just get so overwhelmed by the love I have for them that I can´t adequately describe what I feel for them through my shaking voice. Don´t think I´m a big whimp. The Spirit´s powerful, okay? :) One of the greatest feelings is hearing a once hard-hearted person sincerely say ¨I think I´m going to go to the Church this Sunday.¨ I want to tackle them when I see them in the Chapel. Compared to all the Argentine pride and arrogance that I associate with so often, a humble person willing to change for the Lord is the strongest, and most admirable thing that I´ve seen.

One of these occasions was when we were teaching about 5 rowdy and inactive brothers and sisters. I was feeling kind of frustrated by their smoking, drinking, swearing, hitting, ignoring, and mocking while we were trying to teach them about the Gospel of Christ. I was looking forward to the end of the lesson when we could go find someone who would appreciate it, and so we half-heartedly asked if they had any questions. The oldest suddenly looked at us in the eyes and asked a few sincere questions, expressing that he really wanted to change. My companion tells me that he´s the heaviest smoker and drinker of all of them, and when he and other Elders tried to talk to them in the past, he was interested the least of all. I was really humbled by this, and many other experiences like it, learning, and relearning that no one is excluded to the message of the Atonement. Never. I love my God, and I´m so grateful for the honor to be one of His missionaries.

Hurrah for Isreal!

See you next week!

P.S. The gas stove doesn´t work, so we cook everything in the microwave: eggs, hotdogs, pancakes, etc. My companion is convinced that it works like a charm. But it doesn´t. It´s kinda gross. Haha it´s an adventure, but atleast I´m not eating chicken feet like other South American missionaries! :)