Need a 'scorecard' to help keep tabs on missionaries in family

You practically need a scorecard to keep track of the missionaries coming and going in the family of Charles W. H. and Helen Goo. Their "roster" of full-time ambassadors for the Church seems to change weekly.

And they wouldn't want it any other way.Missionary work has been a way of life in the Goo household and among their extended family for many years. Sister Goo, who serves as first counselor in the Laie 4th Ward Relief Society presidency, has an unusual conversion story. (See separate story below.) Brother Goo, president of the BYU-Hawaii 1st (singles) Stake, also was the beneficiary of missionary efforts at the tender age of 3 when his family joined the Church in Honolulu.

Since those early years, Pres. Goo has served a mission in Hong Kong, then returned there from 1986-89 with his wife and five children to preside over the Hong Kong Mission. Subsequently, two daughters, Charlene and Cheryl, have also served in Hong Kong. Cheryl returned home in mid-February and had four days with another sister, Cherisse, before Cherisse departed Feb. 18 for the Missionary Training Center en route to the Japan Kobe Mission.

During those four days together, the two went to the Hawaii Temple and witnessed their first sealing, of a former Young Women leader to her husband. "It was terrific," they both said, "a good experience." Cherisse said Cheryl spent lots of time "telling me all her experiences, giving me advice and giving me all her clothes."

"I told her to enjoy her mission, to work hard but have fun," said Cheryl.

Cherrise noted that her sister's influence was significant on her own decision to serve.

"She didn't have one baptism, but reading her letters and her testimony helped me understand that going on a mission is not all about baptisms, but about learning to get along with companions, loving the people, planting seeds and learning things you can use the rest of your life," Cherrise said.

The night she was to leave for the Missionary Training Center, Cherrise was set apart by stake Pres. Les Steward of the Laie Hawaii North Stake, who lives next door to the Goos.

"You couldn't find two brighter, more lovely young women than Cheryl and Cherrise," he said. "They have been like our own daughters, having them next door for the 18 years we've lived here. It's been wonderful seeing them grow up, go out and serve the Lord."

Not long after Cherrise departed, the Goos' 19-year-old son, Spencer, received his call to serve in the Texas Dallas Mission. He leaves in May and will speak Mandarin. That will leave only 12-year-old LeGrand at home with his parents after Cheryl departs for BYU in the fall, and he also has his mind firmly fixed on a mission down the road.

Besides missionary service rendered by the immediate Goo family, Pres. Goo's extended family has an impressive track record of service. His parents - Charles K. C. and Mildred Y. K. Goo - served as missionaries in Australia before being transferred to the Taipei Taiwan Temple. The couple, ages 80 and 78, respectively, will leave Laie in May for the Hong Kong Temple and another mission.

Three of Pres. Goo's four sisters have served missions, two of them in Hong Kong. And eight children of those four sisters have served, with others planning to go.

Pres. and Sister Goo credit their own children's desires to serve with their exposure to missionaries in the immediate and extended family and in Hong Kong.

"The children saw new missionaries coming in somewhat green and immature, then would see and feel their strong, mature testimonies when they departed, and that really impressed them," said Sister Goo.

She said that one-half the missionaries under her husband's leadership were from Hong Kong, and that 95 percent of those were the only members in their families. One local elder worked hard before he left to earn enough money for his family to live on while he was away, then returned from his mission and began again supporting them financially. He met a returned sister missionary there, married and went to school at BYU-Hawaii. They have two children and returned to Hong Kong, where they work and help strengthen the Church.

Pres. and Sister Goo have served as surrogate parents and grandparents for many such former missionaries who have attended school at BYU-Hawaii, been sealed in the Hawaii Temple and have had their first children while in school. They are looking forward to a sweet reunion with many of them and other friends when they return to Hong Kong in May for the temple dedication.

"I do know that this is the Lord's true Church, and that missionary work is so important," said Pres. Goo. "It has played an important role in our family's life, and I feel great gratitude to my parents for instilling within us as children these gospel principles."

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