Monday, March 28, 2016

Week 12 Lake Placid

This week was once again the most productive weeks of my mission but it was also one of the hardest. It's like I was faced with several trials and set backs but then God through in a whole bunch of miracles to replace them. It's cool how he works like that. The weather was great this week. It's starting to feel like summer again here...well Florida summer because it always feels like summer here. The humidity was pretty bad this week. I hunk I'm actually starting to like I though. Well I've got a lot of good news for this week and bad news. But before I get into that, I'll tell a funny story.

So yesterday after church we went to this investigators house and he fed us some good southern hospitality bbq and smoked ribs and pulled pork. Of course I stuffed myself there because southern bbq is a delicacy. Then about 30 minutes later we had another dinner with a Mexican member in our ward. Once again I'm practicing my food eating skills. Not sure how I manage to eat so much haha. Anyways we get there and she has a big smile on her face and you can just tell that something is up. When we sit down for dinner it looked like soup. I made the horrible mistake of asking what it was. It was Menuda. It's a mean dish they make out of cow stomach. It still had the little hairy things on the inside of the stomach. In all honest the taste was bearable but e texture was horrible!! I am already stuffed and now I am faced with the challenge of eating this cow stomach! Bleh... I took a few bites and then I thought I might try to just swallow it without chewing to get it over with. Well that made me gag and about throw up! Thankfully someone was watching out for me and I didn't. Fortunately she knew that we wouldn't like it and brought out some bread to eat instead. I tried but I just couldn't finish it.

Alright so I have some good news and some bad news:

Good news: Quay, TJ, and Ashanti get there baptism interview tomorrow night and will be baptized on the 9th still. They are super excited about it and are way ready!

Bad News: We found out this week that Tasha is not married to her 'husband' so that means she can't get baptized. We talked to her about it and she said that she isn't sure if she wants to get married to him or not yet because she can see herself changing a lot and she doesn't see him doing the same. We'll see what we can do to fix that and get him involved.

Good News: This week was the most productive week of my mission. We taught 32 lessons and got 5 people to church today (Tasha and Tanya, and their family besides Sadasia and Ashanti). We also had a cool experience with our investigator Dreama. She used to be Jehovah witness and we were over there teaching her Saturday morning which is when the Jehovah witnesses go out proselyting. So we were talking with her on her front porch and I looked around and saw 3 separate Jehovah witnesses just standing there staring at us. It was super awkward so we decided to go sit down inside. When we got inside she said that she had to do something before we got any further. She walked into her kitchen and grabbed her tea and gave it to us because she said that she was done not living the word of wisdom!! She also said that she believes the Book of Mormon 100% and that she doesn't believe the Jehovah witnesses anymore. It was a really neat experience.

Bad/Good News: I'm being transferred.........   That means that I'm going to miss the 6 baptisms we have planned for April. I'm going to Clermont to be with Elder Breeden and I leave tomorrow morning. Saturday we got a call and Elder Rowley and I were told that we were both staying. We were way pumped because we would both be here for the baptism. We texted everyone the good news. Well later that night at about 10 we get a call from the assistants saying that they made some changes and that I am actually being transferred. They said that Clermont has a lot of potential but that it's not living up to that potential right now and they need me to go and help them out up there. I guess I'm up for the challenge. I'm excited to be transferred but I don't want to leave because the people here are some of the best in the world! There's a scripture in Mosiah 23:21 that says,
"Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith." Sometimes things are meant to be challenging but there is always a purpose for that. I'll admit, I'm having a hard time being transferred out of this area because it's grown so much. When I first got here, they had about 25 people attending church on a regular basis and no baptisms in over a year. Now we have averaged in the past few weeks about 50 people at sacrament and hit our highest yesterday with about 65 people! We also have 7 people on date for baptism. There was a purpose for me coming here and there's a purpose for me leaving. But hey, like I said, I'm up for the challenge.

Good News:  It's Easter! Happy Easter yesterday everybody. It's been awesome to be able to look at Easter from a different perspective while on a mission. The true meaning of Easter is not to just celebrate the sacrifice of Christ, it is to celebrate how Christ rose again. Because he lives again, we will all live again! What a gift!

Love y'all!

Elder Goff

Sister Roscheck gave us these hats (that's sister Roscheck in he middle)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Week 11 Lake Placid

Another week has yet again flown by! The time change made this one seem a little bit slower. It was still probably one of the most productive weeks of my mission. We taught 30 lessons this week which is quite a bit for this area. It's cool to see the progress of the area and the people here. The weather has finally cooled down a bit too. At the 1st of the week is was about 92 everyday, but the past 3 days it's cooled down to the 70's which makes this place feel like paradise.

This week we were able to set 2 more baptism dates. One with Tanya who is Troy and Sadasia's mom (a couple of the kids who are getting baptized on April 9th). Tanya is super prepared! She understands everything and has been reading every day. We had to set hers for April 16 because we wouldn't be able to teach all of the lessons in time for April 9th with the rest of the family. But she said she is fine with that. The other baptism date is with someone we found named Teilia. It's funny how it works because we were looking for a guy named Charlie. Turns out he doesn't live there anymore so we started talking to this guy named CJ. He is really interested too but unfortunately he is moving. Anyways, we came back to teach CJ and his sister Teilia. We taught her and now she wants to be baptized! We set her date for May 14 because she has a few things to take care of before the baptism. It was awesome because we had a member with us when we set the date, and she was in tears because the spirit was so strong! It was what we call a spiritual slam dunk. We also committed one other person to be baptized but haven't set a date yet. Her name is Dreama. We have seen her several times because she lives with her brother who is a less active we work with, but we haven't ever talked with her. She is Jehovah Witness so she seemed a little hesitant at first until we started to talk about the Book of Mormon. That's about the time that she said she was going to do whatever possible to get baptized. She said she wants to change her life completely. So to say the least, this week had a lot of miracles. Right now we have 8 people on date for baptism:  Tasha, Quay, TJ, Ashanti, Troy and Sadasia on April 9th, then on April 16th we have Tanya, then on May 14th is Teilia. We hope to set a date with Dreama soon too.

I also had a couple of funny experiences this week. On Friday I was on exchanges in Sebring and we had a dinner appointment with this old couple who are in their 90's. Earlier that day we had some super hot pizza and I burnt my mouth. When we went ton the dinner, the lady had us sit down and eat some chips and salsa. My mouth was already sore and the chips we probably 10 years old and stale so they hurt to eat. She would go prepare something for dinner then come in. If we didn't eat any chips she would get mad so finally when she turned her back I grabbed most of the chips and shoved them into my bag! She didn't even notice but it made her happy to see that we ate the chips! The next day in lake placid, Elder Rowley and I had 2 dinners. We ate with a member which stuffed me. Then from there we went straight to a less actives house. They said that we were going to eat a grilled cheese sandwich so I wasn't too worried. When we got there and looked at the
table it was a HUGE philly cheese steak sandwich! Like a 5 lbs sandwich and not even joking! About that time I said a prayer asking for help. In D&C 84:88 it says that God will be on our right and on our left and that his angels will be round about us. Well I can testify that that is true because somehow I finished that beast of a sandwich!!! I thought I was going to die! When I got home I weighed myself and I had gained about 6-7 lbs that day! The best part is that we were fasting he next day so it was a good meal to start my fast on :)

So today for p-day we went to a place called Gatorama. It's a tourist attraction loaded with alligators and crocodiles. It was pretty sweet because we got to hold a couple gators. They had hundreds of them all over. The biggest was a 14½ foot alligator named Goliath. We also got to watch them feed the alligators and crocodiles. I'll attach some pictures so y'all can see them.

This past week we have been focusing a lot on he atonement. I've never paid too much attention to Easter before because I mostly thought it was just all about Easter eggs and candy. Really it's about that great and last sacrifice that made it possible for us to return to heaven. How grateful should we be!? Those few days were the most important days in all of our eternities. Without it we would all be lose. There's a new video that the church just came out with that y'all can watch at called hallelujah. It talks about how we will see our family again because of Christ. Really that's why I'm on a mission. To share that message to the world. To show how grateful we should be because of our savior. To show how true the Book of Mormon 
is and how true this church is. People out here have a hard time recognizing the truth of this church. It helps me to be humble and recognize how much I took for granted.

Love you all! Happy Easter!

Elder Goff
A member took is on a ride in his fancy old car

Monday, March 14, 2016

Week 10 Lake Placid

This week was pretty normal. Nothing too crazy happened. It flew by just like normal too. The end of the transfer is already coming up in a couple weeks and it seems like it just started. It's starting to heat up here. It was in the low 90's this week. I'm really dreading summer though. It gets way hot here.

So we had a cool experience this week. We were heading to an appointment going down the highway when we looked over and saw a dead bobcat on the side of the road! After the lesson we stopped by to see how old it was and unfortunately it had been dead for a while so it didn't smell good. We just left it there. About 5 minutes after that on our way to our next appointment we were going through a neighborhood and out of the corner of my eye I saw something running towards the front of our car so I hit the brakes thinking that it was somebody's dog. It was another bobcat! If I knew it was a bobcat I might have been tempted to actually hit it. They must have a lot of them around here or maybe we are just lucky. They also really do have panthers around her too. At least that’s what everybody says. I haven't seen one of those yet. They have a lot of hogs and also black bears that get into everyone's garbage so nobody likes them.

On Thursday we had zone conference which was a 2 hour drive away and we had to be there at 7 am. We ended up getting up around 4 to get there. And then yesterday we had daylight savings so right now I'm feeling like I'm sleep walking or something. Anyways, zone conference was really good. A lot of it was focused on how we can better study. We study in the mornings until 10 am. Elder Holland said that between 6:30 and 10:00 am, we are God's investigators. That is the time that we have to improve our knowledge and testimony. I value scripture study so much more now that I am on a mission. The scriptures are so valuable and I see way too many people taking them for granted. There were hundreds of lives devoted to this single book. How lucky are we? At zone conference they also talked about the importance of setting goals. Goals help us reach our full potential. In the life before this who were we? Were we captains, leaders, or rulers? Why does that change? I always love zone conferences. I especially loved this one because we got to swap out our old run down car for a new one! They gave us a 2016 Ford Fusion that only had a few hundred miles on it
so it's super nice.

Yesterday was a great day. We had 5 people come with us to church. Tasha was able to come too! She is suppose to get baptized on the 9th of April but work has been getting in the way so she hasn't been able to come. And now she finally was able to! Her sister Tanya (she is also going to get baptized in April sometime. We just haven't set a date for that yet. We plan to do that tonight.) also came! They brought a few of their kids. They all loved it, especially Tanya and Tasha. I love being able to see people change their lives and come closer to Christ. It's such a great blessing that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. Elder Rowley and I taught the Sunday school class with all of the investigators. We taught the Plan of Salvation and one of them asked, "what happens to all of the people who die without knowing Christ and weren't baptized?" It lead perfectly into talking about the temple with them. They want to go to the temple really bad now. Both Tasha's and Tanya's families are on fire! It's great.

Later yesterday we went to a members home where I cooked him some pork chops. They were so good! I mixed up some BBQ sauce with home grown honey, and a few seasonings and spread it all over them. I don't mean to brag but it tasted like heaven! Also yesterday as you guys might know, the church came out with their new Easter initiative which is a video about the atonement. It's such a great video and I hope you all share it with your friends. It's at also you can use #hallelujah for the social media sights.

Something that's been on my mind this week is how we are faced with opposition a lot. There must be opposition in all things as it says in
2 Nephi 2:11. Without the bad, how would we know what good is? That's why Adam and Eve had to partake of the fruit. And that's why Christ had to come to earth. Christ is here for when the opposition seems to be too tough. That's when he picks us up. Opposition is just an opportunity to grow.

Well I love you all. Remember to share that video.

Elder Goff

One of the cars that's headed to a race
that's in our area (Sebring Raceway)
The mascara are coming in a
few weeks to it.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Week 9 Lake Placid

Another Week come and gone. It's honestly getting a little out of hand with how fast time is flying by. I lose track of days so easy. Sometimes I will be talking to someone about something thinking that it happened yesterday when it was really over a week ago! I heard that about half way through your mission the months begin to feel like weeks, weeks feel like days, and days feel like hours. I'm not even half way through my mission and it already feels like that!! We had another good week this week. It was really eventful.

On Tuesday we took a quick break to spend some time with Brother Short who just had his wife pass away. We are probably the closest people in the branch to him so we have been trying to keep his spirit up. Anyways, he took us to a cool historical place where we found a trail that we explored. It kept going on forever but we stopped a little ways into it. It was a pretty cool hike. That same night we were visiting with a less active member who we had just met. He offered to take us deep sea fishing because he owns a boat and knows where all the fish are. I wish so bad that I could go with him. :/ I guess I'll have to when I come back after my mission.

Probably the highlight of the week started Thursday night. We traveled 2 ½ hours up to Orlando to stay the night because we had our semiannual temple session at 7 am on Friday. We stayed the night with a few of our other missionary friends, which was a blast. Going back into Orlando was almost like I was going back home haha. Not sure why because it's a big nasty city but I guess after 6 months I kind of got attached to it. Anyways, the temple was awesome! It was so great being able to forget about all of the stress that you have as a missionary and just relax. I love the temple. It was pretty cool because I went with a few questions that I wanted answers to but every time I asked, the answer I kept getting was not to worry about it and to relax because everything will work out if it is meant to be. (Which they did) I think it's too often that we get worried about not meeting the standards of others or not being good enough because we don't know everything. If we just relax and put our faith in the Lord, things will work out. The spirit was so strong in the temple as always. It was really refreshing.

That same day at the temple on Friday, we headed back to lake placid. We had been praying a lot on how we can best help 2 of our investigators (Troy and Sadasia) stay active. They are getting baptized on the same day as their cousins (Tasha and her family). So we have been praying a lot about them and we got to the lesson that night with them and Troy and Sadasia brought Tanya, their mom! We taught her about the Restoration and now she wants to get baptized! That just solved the problem of how we would keep them active. Like I said before, when we put our trust in the Lord, it all works out. I guess the answer I got while in the temple was right. At that lesson we had a total of 11 people! Elder Rowley and I, brother short, and the 8 investigators. This investigator family is on fire! So as of right now we have 7 baptisms on April 9th!! Tanya (the mom), Troy, and Sadasia, then their cousins TJ, Quay, Ashanti, and their mom Tasha! I'm so excited for them. The only sad part is that transfers are the last week in March so most likely either elder Rowley or I will not be here for their baptism.

Church was good today but a little awkward. One of our investigators brought her friend who was 12 years old. When we were teaching class with our investigators, this 12 year old friend kept flirting with me and throughout all of church she wanted to sit by me the whole time. It was suuupppperrr awkward haha. But hey, on the bright side at least she came to church... And I don't blame her for flirting with me either ;) just kidding.

Recently I have been reading about Ammon and how he converted King Lamoni. Ammon was a nephite who went to the wicked Lamanites and began to be the Kings servant. After a while King Lamoni was impressed with Ammon and his service because Ammon had defended King Lamoni's sheep and thought God. Ammon was then able to teach and convert King Lamoni which lead to thousands of other Lamanites being converted. The whole reason that he was converted was because Ammon was willing to be an example and serve his fellow men. People really do recognize the example we set especially when we are willing to give them service. The big guys at the head of our church have came out saying that they want us to be doing more service in our community. Hopefully it ends up the same as Ammon with thousands of baptisms.

Well I hope ya'll had as good of a week as I did. Love ya,

Elder Goff