"Remember, Rock Creek"
Elder Searle and Elder Goff
So to start off I would like you all to know how extremely happy I am. We got our Dodge Caliber out of the shop this morning. It has truly been a pain not having a car. So we have been switching with elders Ika and Catron riding the bikes. Everything in our mission is so spread it makes it hard to be everywhere we need to be without a car. We have relied on members a ton this last week and a half and they have provided. We have great members here. Anytime we need a ride we can almost always get a hold of someone to help us out, and if we cant we just pick up the pace by a lot.
Last Sunday we knew we needed to find a ride to Cody, Wyoming for a 2 day training. So during P.E.C. We asked around to see if we could have anyone take us up there on Wednesday and someone to pick us up Friday afternoon. Brother Cole drove us 3 hours to Cody on Wednesday night. We stayed at a member's home in Cody. Then Thursday morning we got to the church at 8 and the meeting started at 9AM. It was incredible. We have what are called the Preach my Gospel videos, "The District". And during this meeting we watched videos from "The District 2". We have been focusing my entire mission on what to teach, and how to teach for needs of those we teach. And this training focused more fully on How to teach the things we know we need to. It was INCREDIBLE!!! I have learned so much. On Thursday we got done at 9PM. We only had an hour for lunch and an hour for dinner like we do any other day, but for training we mostly SAT, and SAT and SAT some more. We did tons of role plays though and were able to practice all the things we were learning. Friday Morning the training started at 8:30AM and went until 4PM. Which was another great day. Brother Anderson picked us up in Cody this time to bring us back. He took all 4 of us to a buffet in Cody which was really nice of him to do. (Not as good as buffets back home though) Brother Anderson has eaten at the Virgin River Buffet a few times and agreed with me. On the way home we drove through Thermopolis, Wyoming. There is a place where bison roam and you can go see them. He asked if we had and we said no so he stopped over to see them. They were a ways off when we saw them, but we sat there for a few minutes and they came right over to us. We were standing in the back of his truck so we wouldn't die. haha It has pretty neat. I got some good pictures and videos. Then we came home. It was long training meetings and full of sitting, but I'm glad I got to learn all that we did. Now we get to put it to the test. :) And you can see what good members we have. Driving 6 hours round trip just to make sure we were where we needed to be. Elder Searle and I had a discussion together during the training we had to do. It was on "How to begin teaching". It went really well. Elder Searle did not want to plan for it at all though. I had to have a heart to heart with him to help him understand why it was important we know what we are both doing so we could teach as a team. It took a while to get him to plan for it, but he finally decided it was a good idea. He is an interesting fella sometimes. At the end of our discussion I shared Mosiah 2:9 where King Benjamin started teaching his people and applied it to how we should begin teaching. Then Elder Searle shared the Title of Liberty. haha. He is a character. :D Gotta love the fiery Red-Head.
During the training after lunch and dinner when we had a few minutes we played Wall Ball. I don't know if any of you have played or remember how to play, but it was pretty fun. President Gardner even came in the Gym and threw the ball once. He got a good laugh out of 20 Elders playing wall ball. It was a blast. Us Lander Elders are going to play it today for P-Day.
On Saturday the stake had a Pioneer Day celebration at Rock Creek Hollow. President Gardner gave us permission to go and I'm so glad he did. I have been here 5 months now and have heard so many stories about the Pioneer sites south of us. If you look up the sites you will find all kinds of neat stuff about it. Anyways, There Pioneers gave everything they owned to do what God wanted them to. Many lost their lives because of it. Many are buried at Rock Creek. Many didn't have their Temple work done either. Inspired leaders in this stake in the early 90's had a feeling they needed to do a "Second Rescue". So, Many of those who died finally had temple work done.
Brother Alexander was telling us about the second rescue and how his Brother in law was in the Stake Presidency at the time. When President Hinckley came once he visited a couple of sites in the area. one he called it sacred ground and When he went to Rock Creek he said it was hallowed ground. Not knowing the difference, when President Faust came. Brother Alexander's brother in law asked if there was a difference between sacred and hallowed. He said yes there is. Sacred is just how it sounds, something we need to know and respect. He said Hallowed ground is literally where the Savior himself has walked.
He told us this before we got to Rock Creek. When I got out of the car and started walking. There were people all over, but I heard nothing. It was silent. Well to me it was. And I felt an overwhelming peace like the temple. It truly is Hallowed ground. The Spirit is so strong there. The whole time I thought of the sacrifices of the early pioneers and of Christ walking where I was walking. All of which was very humbling. I'll be coming back next year and spending more time at these sites. Most of which are out of our mission. It seems as though my understanding is ever increasing. In more ways than I thought it would on a mission. I won’t complain though. I love this feeling.
Yesterday Elder Searle and I went to Fort Washakie for church. We helped bless the sacrament. As I sat there I noticed no one was on the stand to speak so I figured they were probably in the congregation until it was their turn. After the sacrament was over we sat down where our scriptures were and Brother Johnstone who was conducting stood and said that they were in a difficult situation with those who were asked to speak. So they were asking 4 people to speak who didn't know they were going to. They asked Elder Searle and I to speak and a couple who had been serving in the branch for 4 years and was released. So as we were sitting there with nothing prepared. I knew I was going to have to go first. So I pulled out my scriptures while saying a silent prayer and I got up and spoke about Christ-like attributes. It went pretty well. Heavenly Father hooked me up with the words I needed to speak and it worked out. Elder Searle spoke on Education. He did good as well.
Other than those things not much else has happened. I'm glad JoliAnn had a good time at girl's camp. Glad she bore her testimony too. I'm curious if she has fulfilled the assignment I gave here a while back. To read “For the Strength of Youth". haha All I want is for her to read it. Not Write a talk on every subject. :D
Thanks for your letter Tiff. I love the Tie. It goes great with my gray suit. I'm not partial to any specific color. I love them all. If you send me one I have already I'll just have a back up in case I get something on it. :D
Thanks for the e-mail Mom. It's always good to hear from all of you. Tiff has told me she is going to have you teach her all of your talents. :) not a bad Idea. I wish I had some talents like you.
Brother Wadsworth called Saturday to tell me they had dropped off the stuff I sent with them. They said they visited with Mom for a few minutes and Dad was working so he couldn't go visit. He also said Dad and I sound almost exactly alike. Our laugh is a lot alike too he said. I laughed when I was talking to him and he said It made him laugh because I sound so much like Pops. I just want to make sure you guys put it with my other things. I don't want it to get misplaced. That stuff is worth a lot. Well to me it is priceless. Lots of letters. And they are personal as well so please just put them away. Thank you :D
I Love you all mucho. I hope you are all doing well. You are in my prayers always.
Love, Elder Austin Gene Goff
"Grave of 13 pioneers"
"On the way back from Cody. with Bro. Anderson"
"Goff with Buffalo"
"South Pass City"
"We were joking that this cattle guard was our mission boundry, but in reality we have no idea."
Current Area: Lander, Wyoming
Current Companion: Elder Searle