Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 8 Lake Placid

I survived yet again another tornado Warning! Apparently the only warning in the whole country from the storm happened to land right on lake placid and Sebring. It made me a little nervous but The Lord always provides. People say that the tornados here don't even get that bad anyways. It did rain a lot this week and cooled off to about 65. It feels like paradise here. So this week was a pretty slow week compared to the past weeks. I guess if you are going to really enjoy the good weeks then you have to have a few bad weeks also... I wish it didn't work that way though. We did however get a lot of people to church again. The family that we have been working (Waltons) with came for the 3rd week in a row. We also had a few less actives come who usually don't attend. That was a definite plus of the week!

Yesterday I had a really unique and awkward opportunity. We had a nonmember lady invite us over for dinner. She is Iranian but has lived in the US for a really long time. She's also been several other places throughout the world. Anyways, they are of the Bahi faith and I guess it's a holiday for them she had a lot of friends from her religion over to celebrate it. They were all trying to convert us to their religion and it was just super awkward. I guess they don't know the purpose of missionaries. The unique part of it was that I got to eat Persian/Arabic food. It was really, really weird! Some of the stuff was okay but the rest was... Well you get the point. There was this one thing that was a stuffed cabbage leaf with this yellow and white puss looking stuff mixed with rice rolled up inside of it. When I poked it with a fork it popped like a nasty zit! (It probably tasted like one too) uhh I ate it anyways though and somehow managed to keep a straight face! Miracles are real!!! She was a super nice lady though with a kind heart.

This week was Brother Shorts birthday who we are really close too. It was also the week of his wife's funeral so we did something really special for him. He is a huge BYU fan so my hero (my mom) sent me out a BYU hat that we signed and gave to him. We also took our pictures of us wearing it and signed it then gave that to him too. The funniest part about the whole thing is that elder Rowley hates BYU because he's a Boise state fan but he put on a BYU shirt and hat for the picture and then signed it. I guess that goes to show how good of a friend brother short is haha.

On Friday we went to a funeral for brother shorts wife and we got to ride in a sock car. It's an 88 cougar. Everytime we would pass by someone on the road, they would turn their heads and stare at it. The cool part about being in lake placid is that it's a retirement town and everyone has a lot of money. We see brand new corvettes on a daily basis. Yesterday we passed by a Ferrari sitting at a stop light. We also see a lot of Porsches all over. There is a race track here also so all of the cars that go to race in the Daytona 500 come over here for a race also. The race is suppose to be held the 2nd week of March so we plan to go over and watch some practice races on a pday sometime. People also race Porsches, Corvettes, Ferraris, and even bugattis I hear. I haven't seen any bugattis yet though haha. We have a member who owns a brand new corvette that he uses to race. It's pretty sweet.

Yesterday in church one of the speakers talked about how we are all on a hike back to our father in heaven. The top of the mountain is the place we want to end up. Before we hike we plan out a route just as God has given us a set plan on how we can make it back to live with him. We pick which mountain we want to climbs then start our journey. It's not always easy but when you get to the top of the highest mountain, it is all worth it. God wants us to pick the highest mountain and shoot for the top. As we continue to progress through his plan of happiness especially in this life, we will receive the blessings that come as we reach our destination. I can't wait for that day when I get to the top of the mountain and get to have that feeling of accomplishment. I will be with my Heavenly Father in his kingdom with my family. That's going to be a great day. The best part about my job is that I get to share this plan with others. I get to help guide them up the mountain so they can receive those blessings for themselves.

Keep working hard and keep on climbing up that mountain! Love you all

Elder Goff

Brother Short
Lunch with some members


Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 7 Lake Placid

The weeks just keep getting better and better here in the promised land. It is so amazing to see the progression of both this area and also the people in it. I love being a part of a change. This week we were able to see a lot of miracles.

Our investigators are doing great...well for the most part. We had to drop a few people this week and unfortunately, one of them was Nate who was scheduled for baptism next month. He moved back in with his wife and kids which is great, but he said that he doesn't feel like he should meet with us anymore. It's really, really tough because I know that he felt the spirit so strong. He knew how great this gospel is but the adversary influenced him  in the wrong direction. This is probably the hardest part about missionary work. :/ On the bright side, we committed 2 more people to a baptism date! - Troy and Sadasia. They are our investigator Tasha's nieces. That whole family is on fire! We now have Tasha (mom), her 3 kids (Quay, Ashanti, and TJ), and her 2 nieces (Troy and Sadasia) committed to be baptized April 9th! I love those guys. They are such a tight family. Quay has improved the most. She is marking up her scriptures, studying everything we ask her to and even more, and she loves church.  Yesterday we had Quay, Ashanti, and TJ come to church. They all loved it again.

So I had a pretty funny experience this week. We were stopping by Tasha and the family when we saw a bunch of little kids out playing some ball on a small basket. I talked Elder Rowley into playing with me so we played for a few minutes. Not sure how but I got the nickname of "Slim Jesus" haha. Probably because every time these little kids would go up for a shot, I would swat them!…and my name tag says Jesus Christ on it. We played a little 3 on 4 with elder Rowley, me, and one of the kids against 4 other little kids. I showed no mercy on them because they kept trash talking so I had to show them how it was done. 

After the game they wouldn't let us leave because they loved us so much. Little kids like that are the best.

Something they talked about in church this week was how we are building our mansions above.  Every time we make an eternal step, we add a room into our house. When we were baptized, we added a room on. When we received the Holy Ghost we added a room on. Every time we receive a calling we add a room on. This helped me see the perspective that it really isn't about this life. Too often are we focused on what task lies in front of us rather than on how great the journey along the way is. If I have learned one thing in my mission, it is to not take for granted all the privileges we have of serving our God in this church. D&C 98:18 - "Let not your hearts be troubled; for in my Father’s house are many mansions, and I have prepared a place for you; and where my Father and I am, there ye shall be also."

That's about it for this week. Love you all

Elder Goff

Golden Corral - Yum!

Member's are the best in Florida!!!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 6 Lake Placid

What a week! It was so fun that I blinked and now it's gone! It's amazing how fast time goes by when you having fun. So along the weather being sunny and 75 all week we taught 24 lessons which is a high for here in a long time. Most of them were with less actives but we still met with a lot of investigators. We also set 4 more baptism dates with the family we have been teaching. They are super cool people. The only hard part is that Tasha's job requires that she works every Sunday for this month and most of next. We set the date for April. I have faith that it will work. 2 of the 3 kids came to church yesterday also. The time that you feel the spirit the most on your mission is when you are in lessons. So at least we got to feel the spirit a lot this week.

Our investigators are Nate - baptism March 26 -- Family (Tasha, Uquoysia (U-quay-z-a) "Coy", Trevian, and Ashantay - Baptism April 9 -- Troy and Sadasia (Tasha's nieces who we hope to set a date with for baptism tonight -- Ann investigator who says she wants to come to church next week before we talk about baptism -- Carl.

This week the youth had a service project where they cut down a couple trees then had a Bon fire with them. We had the privilege to help out with this. It was so much fun! All the youth here had the opportunity to learn how to use a chainsaw (not sure if that was a good idea or not because they were all in shorts and didn't have gloves) but luckily nobody got hurt. The trees were in the neighbors to a members yard. The nonmember neighbor came out and loved us! We had a great gospel discussion with him and hopefully we get to meet with him sometime. There was also a less active youth and a nonmember youth that came to it. The fire was right on the lake with the sunset in the background. It really doesn't get too much better than that. It reminds me of all the great youth activities we had back home. Anyways so that's the fun highlight of the week.

An embarrassing highlight of the week happened yesterday after church. Elder Rowley and I we driving to check up on some people and decided to try a shortcut. Well this shortcut is not a paved road...and we have a little Ford Fusion car. If you don't know, Florida is all sand. Any rocks you see here are hauled in from somewhere else. Driving in the sand is a lot like driving in the snow, and cars and snow don't get along well. Anyways so we were going down this Sandy road and we came to this point in the road where you could tell is was SUPER soft sand. I had a split second to make a decision. I either had to stop and risk losing my momentum which would make me get stuck, or try to get off to the side of the road in the grass. I went with the second option and tried to make it to the edge of the sandy road. I got to the side but couldn't quite make it onto the grass. I hurried and tried to go back and rock the car a bit to get it moving but it was no use. I was stuck! The front bumper was high centered and if we tried to drive out anymore we would just dig the wheels deeper. We got out of the car just as these 2 girls pulled up on a 4 wheeler. They laughed at us because they saw a shiny car and 2 kids in nice shirt and ties. They called us "Yankee's" because we don't know what country life is like. I wanted to try to explain my background but I figured that I got myself into this mess so I would just take the consequences. Long story short, it took a jeep and a 4 wheeler to pull us out. I guess that whats you get when you put a couple of country boys in a car with a dirt road haha.

In church they have been focusing a lot on the Plan of Salvation. It's amazing how such a simple plan can bring us such great happiness. The funny part is that people simple just don't want to do the simple things because they think it's too hard. It reminds me of something President Harris said from one of our youth stake activities. He asked us if it is hard to live the gospel. Most of us nodded our heads yes. He answered and said that its not because if you look at those who don't live the gospel they have such a harder life than us. Sometimes it may seem that we have trials that we don't understand, but they are for our benefit. Mosiah 23:21 says, "21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith." One thing that I have been doing this week is thanking God for the trials I have been given. Once we take a step back and see the full picture, everything makes so much more sense. Well I love y'all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Goff

Notice the Street Name?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Week 5 Lake Placid

Well another week come and gone already. So we got some news on transfers and both Elder Rowley and I are both staying which I kind of figured because we are both new to the area. So something  different about this coming transfer is that it will be 6 weeks instead of 7. They are now having missionaries stay an extra week in the MTC so it effects us a bit. I'm excited about it because I love this area. The weather has been way nice too. It's been cold....well cold for here. I must be adapting to Florida because I think it's freezing here and it's only 45 degrees! There's the humidity too but still. It's still not as cold as Utah but it feels cold to me.

So we really got things moving this week. Probably the highlight of the week was with our investigator Nate. We have been working with him for a couple of weeks. We saw him Friday and asked him how he has been. He said that ever since we have been visiting him, things just fall into place. (Go figure) something cool that we promised him on his first visit was that his family situation, which has been a struggle, would get worked out. Now 2 weeks later, everything is going great! He got a raise in his job and his family is doing awesome. Anyways, so we were in a lesson with him and started talking about the Plan of Salvation. The spirit was so strong! We all had teary eyes throughout the whole lesson. At the end we invited him to be baptized on March 26 and without hesitation he said yes. We asked if he would like to pray about it with us right now and he said no because he already knows that he needs to. He has changed so much! About 2 years ago he wasn't doing things he should and was in a bad position in his life. Now he has turned it completely around and has a wife and kids and now wants to get baptized. This is the great part of a mission: because of a decision I made several years ago to serve a mission, people's lives and eternal salvation are changed. Such a great feeling!

Some other things that happened this week. Wednesday we went to a steak house called the watering hole. I had an amazing steak and finally got to eat some gator! It's really good. It actually does taste a lot like chicken too. Anyways so I stuffed myself there for lunch, then about 2 hours later we went with another member to a Mexican restaurant where I stuffed myself again! To top the lunch off I had some fried ice cream. After those 2 huge meals we went to a less actives house. When we sat down he placed a huge piece of pie in front of me and said, "you better eat that Goff!" So i did. I'm not sure how, but I did. I literally thought I was going to die! When I got home I weighed myself and I gained 5 lbs that day! Something else crazy that happened this week was when Elder Rowley and I were in our apartment planning. We were in our living room when all of a sudden we heard this crash then it sounded like a bomb went off! It lit up all of our windows with a big flash! My first reaction was to dive on the floor!  After some investigation we think it was a big firework that went off just outside our apartment. It scared the crap out of me but luckily nobody was trying to kill us haha and we are alive.

Overall it was a good week though. We found a family that we plan to set a baptism date with tonight so I will let you know how that goes next week. So something that's been on my mind a lot this week is to have hope. There is a scripture in Either 12:4 that talks about having hope and faith. When we have hope, we become optimistic and have an even greater desire to leave all we have an follow our savior. I hope you all strive to have a perfect brightness of hope!

Love you all, Elder Goff
Florida sunsets are the best. I took these this week

Never would have thought I would see fields like this in Florida.
I thought the whole state was just trees


Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 4 Lake Placid

Man time flies! It seems like I just got here. I'm pretty sure both Elder Rowley and I are going to stay here in Lake Placid this coming transfer. The weather here this week it been great. it rained a little bit but it was warm. It's been in the high 60's to low 70's.

So something funny that happened this week. We were checking up on an investigator and this guy came to the door with the pitbull between his legs. He went back inside to get his wife and accidentally left the door cracked open. The pitbull saw it and jumped out at me. My first reaction was to kick. So I kick our investigators dog in the face! Hahaha The only thing I could think to say was sorry to the family . Luckily the dog didn't try to do that anymore. Turns out he was just trying to run away and not attack me. They really didn't care much though so it's all good. So this family, the Walton's, is awesome though.

Things have been changing a lot here. The main people we are now working with is Nate, bubba, and the family whose pitbull I kicked in the face. (They are a really cool family and didn't really even care that I kicked their dog so it's all good). Unfortunately we didn't have the opportunity to meet with Nate this week who is a really awesome investigator who wants to get baptized. We plan to set a date with him this coming week. But we did find a new investigator named Bubba this week. He is the boyfriend to a less active daughter in our ward. So it's a win-win situation. Hopefully we can reactivate the daughter and baptize the boyfriend. We also found another family of investigators. Ironically enough it is the family with the pitbull that I kicked. We came back and were having our first lesson with them which at the time was the restoration. Halfway through the lesson they brought up baptism and ask how they can be baptized. The mom had been baptized but only by sprinkling water on her head. We covered that pretty well by explaining how Jesus Christ came straight way out of the water of the river Jordan. We are super excited about them and plan to talk more about baptism and maybe a date this coming week.

On Thursday I had the opportunity to do something that I haven't done my whole mission. Elder Rowley and I went on splits with the couple members in our branch. Because there's so many Spanish-speaking people here Elder Rowley went with a Spanish-speaking member to visit all the Spanish numbers and I went with member to visit all the English members. In 2 hours we taught 4 lessons! To say the least we've been seeing a lot of improvement in our area finally. We saw a lot of tender mercies this week also. On Saturday we were teaching one of our investigators and this random guy pulled up, stopped, got out of the car, walked over to us, and handed us $20. He said go get you guys some lunch. Turns out this guy is a fishing guide also. He gave us his card and said we could come back and visit next week. So hopefully we can teach them a little bit about the gospel.

So I was reading through a talk from last conference by
Elder Schwitzer. He talked about what it takes to be a true disciple of Christ. He said, "True disciples of Christ are not looking to make excuses for the doctrine when it doesn’t fit the world’s current concepts." A lot of times people just do things to fit in rather than do things because it's the right thing. I remember something that my dad would always tell me. He would say, "what is right will always be right no matter who isnt doing it and what is wrong will always be wrong no matter who is doing it."

Well I love you all! Hope you had a great week! (It sounds like it's been snowing pretty good there in Utah. I still can't decide if I'm jealous or not because the weather here is so nice yet I miss the snow.)

Elder Goff

We have a clown school in our town here in lake placid 

Happy Birthday Elder Rowley