Month: August 2015

Weekly Mission Report – Aug. 31st

Hello Everyone,

This week has been good. We have improved from last week as far as the work we were able to do. It is going to take some time in this area to flip it around, but it will be happening for sure. We got to meet some more of our investigators this week and unfortunately none of them show a real interest in the church. They like the idea, but that’s about it. On the other hand the Branch President has asked that we focus a lot on strengthening the small amount of members here and reactivating members. We have done that a lot this week.

Yesterday we had church down here for the first time. It was so weird. First we have to go early and set up everything. We have a regular meeting like any other ward would but their were only 12 people there including us and a member of the branch presidency. That’s all!  What’s worse is that nobody knows how to lead music or sing. So they call me to lead. I cant lead any music and I definitely cant sing. So here I am trying to lead music and stay on beat while singing at the same time. I don’t sing and I sound terrible. There was only myself and one other person actually singing. Everyone else just sat their or hummed.  I felt so uncomfortable.  Anyway, other then that church was actually really good. The speaker spoke on keeping the Sabbath day holy and she was very blunt on things you can and can not do. It was awesome!  I wanted to clap for her. We had a great sunday school and being the fifth sunday we were combined. We spent all three hours in the same room and seats. That was a little long but it was great. They asked us to give a lesson for the last hour because they forgot. So my comp talked about missionary work. My favorite part about this whole deal was to see the strength and faithfulness of these members. I couldn’t believe they came to church with that few of numbers for three hours. It was so awesome! They have such strong testimonies of the gospel and they know without a doubt that it is true. For example, we had stake conference in Columbus the week before. They still held a little meeting of their own at someones house because they couldn’t make it to stake conference. These people don’t have the money or cars to drive that far.  Anyway, that’s how awesome and strong they are and it is so cool. I miss the ward but there is something here that you cant find in a big group.

We also had the privilege of eating at one of our investigators house who made amazing Mexican food. Way better then any restaurant. It was so good. I also got a picture with her dog. He is a pit bull and a big boy. His head is as big as mine. He could eat me for sure. Still a puppy though……I think.

The mission is going great and I’m glad to be out here. Thanks for all the support y’all give me. It means a lot!

Elder Goodsell

Austin with Pit Bull

Weekly Mission Report – Aug. 24th

Hello Everyone,

I am now serving in Cordele, Georgia. Still in the ghetto but loving it. My new companion is awesome. He is Polynesian and is going home after this next transfer. This area is new for both of us.  I’ve had to white wash twice now in a row.  White wash means that both missionaries are placed into a new area at the same time and have no experience with that area.  It’s all good though and we have plans to change this area around.  This has been a dead area for awhile and we want to change that.  There are roughly 20-25ish members in Cordele. Only 10-15 are active and they meet as a group. There is not even a branch here, just a group.  I didn’t even know that was a thing.  This coming Sunday we basically will run church.  We have two boxes at our apartment with all the church supplies.  We meet in a building that we rent once a week.  We would have ran the show this past Sunday but we had stake conference in Columbus, Georgia.  It’s pretty crazy here and really sketchy.  At night people give you the look like, what the heck are you doing here and if you don’t get out of here in the next two seconds I’ll put a bullet in you.  That’s the kind of vibe that comes from here.  It’s just fantastic and I love it!!
After being here a week, it is very true that it is hard to teach here.  People just aren’t with the program here if you know what I mean.  Having a spiritual lesson is hard.  On the other hand, I met two amazing people this week who have helped me change my perspective on how the gospel can help us.  First one is Terrence. This guy is jacked (having well developed muscles) and could break me.  When he was 17 or 18 he was charged with 16 felonies along with 3 other guys he committed them with.  Some of those were aggravated assault, armed robbery, and many others.  He showed us the court papers and they were crazy.  The people he did all this to were illegally here from South America.  They got deported and never could testify against him which he believes helped his case.  He was sent to prison and was supposed to be in for life.  He got out a year and 4 months later.  He said while he was prison, he completely turned around and realized he needed to get his life in check.  He prayed to God everyday asking for help.  After he was out, the missionaries knocked on his sisters door and she rejected them.  He ran out and gave them his information asking if they would come talk to him.  He knew it was an answer from God and that the gospel was true.  He was baptized and now has one of the strongest testimonies I know.  He still struggles with things but he says he has been trying hard to turn things around and that he has left his old “hood” life.  It was amazing to hear his story in person.
The other guy is Brother Alexander.  He had been praying to God for help and right after he got up he saw the missionaries outside about to get on their bikes and ride away. He felt he needed to go talk to them. He did so and took the discussions. He read the whole Doctrine and Covenants in a week and said he cried every time.  He could not deny his feelings.  He said the missionaries would literally glow when they came over and that it sometimes made it hard to focus.  He was baptized and has a strong testimony.
These were amazing examples to me of how the Lord loves everybody and will help anyone.  No matter how low you go in life.  Terrence almost committed murder while holding people at gun point.  He was a felon in prison but the Lord still out stretched his hand for him.  All Terrence had to do was act.  And that’s what he did.
I’ve noticed that I am finding more and more of these kinds of stories down here.  These people who go through so much but still come to know Christ and his gospel.  These people have strong testimonies.  You can feel it when they tell you their stories.  It’s truly amazing.
Switching gears here.  Before I left Thomson, I got to go talk to Becky whose husband passed away recently.  She was sad I was leaving already but we were able to have a really good talk about the recent events.  I was able to bear my testimony of the plan of salvation and the spirit was strong.  I was able to tell her that JD’s death and funeral service greatly strengthen my testimony of the plan of salvation.  It was the first time I had lost someone I had become close with.  It was very comforting to know that he is happy and that it will not be long before I shake his hand and thank him for the support he gave me.
I love these experiences and I’m glad I get to share them. I love how merciful God
​is and how he will help us no matter what we have done. Thank y’all for the support!
Elder Goodsell

Weekly Mission Report – Aug 17th

Hey Y’all,

This has been another interesting week.  I don’t have any really solid lesson experiences to share this week.  Earlier this week we had some really sad news come to us.  JD and Becky are an older couple who have been investigators for awhile. JD has been struggling a lot with his health and it has been hard to watch.  Earlier this week he passed away.  His wife has been heartbroken and is missing him very much.  We were able to attend the funeral and see her on Saturday.  The funeral itself was a very spiritual experience.  I saw Becky crying as they talked about JD in heaven and I couldn’t help but think of the plan of salvation.  It strengthen my testimony of how real the plan of salvation is and how much we need it.  Being able to bare my testimony to her that JD is in a good place and that she will be able to see him again was amazing.  It was a hard time but at the same time it wasn’t the end.  That was really cool.  I also found out this week that I will be transferred tomorrow.  I no longer will be in Thomson, Georgia.  Saturday night as we went tracting, a dog ran at us out of the woods. This is really normal.  We get chased on a daily basis.  But this dog would not stop following us.  He came up to all the doors with us as we knocked on them and he followed us a mile back to the car.  So we took him home.  I have been taking care of him for two days and this morning we took him back and left him where we found him.  However, during church though that joker got in my bed and covered it in hair.  Anyway that’s about all for this week.  I cant wait to tell y’all about my next area.  Thanks for the support and comments in the blog.
Elder Goodsell
Mission Picture 5

Weekly Mission Report – Aug 10th

Hello Y’all,
This week has been interesting. It started out with a fun P-day playing volleyball for five hours. That was a good time. Then we went on exchanges right after and I forgot all of my stuff.  All my clothes, my bedding, everything! So I had to borrow the other guys clothes and they were huge on me. The pants would not stay up and the shirt was huge. I had to where my black tennis shoes with it to. I just looked like a fool. It was really funny. I also forgot my name tag so I had to wear his.  So we were both Elder Casper for the night.  Luckily the next day was district meeting and my comp brought me my own clothes.  That was a huge relief.  Elder Casper and I had a great lesson later that day on the word of wisdom.  The lady we taught was prepared with tons of questions for us.  She had read the pamphlet we gave her and as soon as we started the lesson she drilled us with questions. Mostly about coffee, tea, caffeine, unhealthy food, and all sorts of stuff.  The crazy part was at first I had no idea how to answer her.  I knew none of the answers to the questions she was asking, but then I just started getting impressions by the spirit what to say and how to guide the conversation.  I was able to interpret things she was wondering and help answer many of her questions.  I didn’t answer all of them, but when we left, there was a peace about her and she was more open to the word of wisdom.  It was really cool.  I also was able to fry up a fish when I was with Elder Casper.  They just had it in the fridge and he said to go ahead and cook it.  It was so good.
On Wednesday we had to drive to Macon again to go on exchanges with the APs.  On the way our GPS freaked out and took us on some dirt roads through the jungle.  It was awesome and somehow we didn’t get lost and we popped out in Macon.  We taught another great lesson there to a guy who is just beginning to investigate the church.  What was funny was when we walked in he had his bong, grinder, and a bunch of weed sitting on the table.  He was pretty embarrassed about that.  I couldn’t help but laugh.  We still had a great lesson though about the restoration.
While we were in Macon one of our investigators called us.  Their names are Keith and Billy.  They called and asked if we could come over and comfort them with the scriptures and the gospel.  They are going through some legal issues with Keith’s son and its really taking a toll on them.  Also in the middle of this they are also trying to stop smoking.  So Thursday when we got back from Macon we went straight over to talk to them.  We read some scriptures with them and the spirit was so strong.  It helped them so much and we were able to relate the scriptures to them that really gave them the comfort they were looking for.  It was a neat experience and they were so grateful for it.  Billy was in tears by the end of the lesson.  She was really touched by the spirit.  Its really these experiences that keep you going on your mission.  They make you feel so good because of the service you have provided and the spirit that was felt.
That same day my comp had to get a procedure done on his foot for an ingrown toenail.  All Friday he had to keep it elevated so we stayed inside.  Luckily the other Elders came to visit and play games.  I would have gone crazy if they hadn’t.  The good thing about his toe being all done up is that he can’t drive, so I get to and its helped us get a lot more work done.
That’s about all for this week.  Its been a cool week and this week should be even better.  We do get transfer calls this Saturday, so there is a small chance I could be moving somewhere else, but I doubt it.  I guess we will see.  Thank you all so much for your support.  I pray for y’all everyday.  Every time it gets hard out here I think of y’all and it makes things get better.  Thank you!
Elder Goodsell

Weekly Mission Report – Aug 3rd

Hey everyone,

This week has not been to exciting and it’s been rather dull but I still have a good story to share later. We have just been busy this week with meetings and interviews with the president. We had to go to Macon all Friday for a meeting and we had to take one of the missionaries we car pooled with to the hospital because he got hit by a car on his bike the night before. Turned out he had a broken wrist. Last Pday we went fishing and that was a ton of fun. One guy caught a pretty big catfish. Later that day we cooked up a bass that he had caught a few weeks earlier. It was so good. Another elder and I bought Bob Marley shirts a few weeks back and we both wore them for that Pday. Usually I am not a fan of matching but these shirts were pretty awesome. Everyone we saw commented on them. This week my companion and I went tracting in Warrenton. We taught 3 lessons and one guy we talked to wants us to come back. He has talked to sister missionaries before and liked it a lot. For some reason he hasn’t seen missionaries in a while. He is lonely and depressed because of the deaths of his parents and his paper business is about to shut down. I cant wait to talk to him again and share with him the plan of salvation. He will love it and it will be awesome teaching it. I know the spirit will be strong in that lesson just because he was crying when we talked to him at the door about his parents. Unfortunately though this week is going to be another slow week. My companion has an ingrown toenail. He has to go get it cut off on Thursday and then Friday he has to elevate his leg all day. We also have to go to Macon again on Wednesday to go on exchanges with the AP’s. I forgot to mention my story while we were tracting. After the last house we visited, we walked outside and it was pouring rain. We were a quarter mile from our car and had to run back to it. I included a picture to my letter because we were soaked. It ruined my planner and the book of Mormon and bible I had in my hands. I was able to save all of them but they look really bad. I guess it just adds character to them and its a good conversation starting because people always ask what happened to my Book of Mormon and Bible. (I teach with hand out copies not my good ones). The rain also ruined one of my silk ties. It got all shriveled up. I’m trying to save it but theirs just not much hope for it.
Even in these slow weeks their always seems to be an adventure or two. Its been a lot of fun. Thank y’all for your support. I really appreciate it. The mission is awesome. I am growing so much because of it. Its weird just looking back on this past month and seeing how far I have come. The gospel is a real thing. It really does change peoples lives. You can totally see the happiness it brings in the lives of those we teach. Even if they don’t accept our message it still brings them joy and one day they will figure out where that joy came from. It may not be in this life but they will for sure figure it out in the next life.
Elder Goodsell