Monday, February 29, 2016

A dog took my shoe & No Bake Cookies!

Hello Family!
This has been another very full week, and of course being a missionary is still wonderful. I am just starting my last week of training, so transfers this upcoming week, well see what happens. 
This week there were quite a few times I started to really miss my family, or feel overwhelmed with my responsibilities, but I know it is Satan wanting me to feel defeated. Knowing this, I was able to pray and serve others more and then feel the peace of the spirit and love for every part of being a missionary. This week we had exchanges, and I was with another Americana our STL. She testified so simply but powerfully. After exchanges, I really felt a difference in our teaching and testifying. I really feel like something clicked for me this week (not sure what) and our companionship is on FIRE! I love being an instrument to bring others to Christ!
Everything here last week was SO wet, it never stopped pouring rain, and all the streets and forests were flooded. It was really fun/funny, it was a mud obstacle course all week. But now it is back to 115 today, and very sunny, so thats good and very hot. When we left one teaching appointment one of my shoes was missing? We couldnt find it, and a dog had taken it. We were farther up on that same forest mud path , not close to our house. So after our 3 family investigators searching for it in the dark, I walked bare foot down to the bottom, and there was the dog with my shoe! It was so funny, and odd. If you ever wonder what my life is like, that pretty much sums it up...really funny, random, and awesome. We have MANY people we are teaching and many families that are so prepared. I love these people and seeing them change. One miracle this week was with Brother Ridento Bayoca. His wife is less active and one of his 6 children is member and is so strong (Christine). His other daughter Claire is so close to baptism, but was nervous to change churches because she is very involved in her Catholic church and her dad is too. We started teaching Brother Ridento, but he wasn't super interested. Slowly he has changed SO much. He accepted baptism for March 19 and has come to church for the last 3 weeks with Claire and Christine. It has really helped Sister Claires progression, and his other daughter Kristeen is now interested and we started teaching her this week. This is just one example of the many blessings I am able to witness.
This week at exchanges my STL asked what I had learned or felt. There wasnt anything super specific, but I felt an overwhelming love from Heavenly Father and Him telling me through the spirit that I am where I am supposed to be, and He is happy with me and I just need to continue. What a blessing! 
I love you all and hope you have a great week! 
Love, Sister Goodwin
(This was my, Nicole's, letter from Ash...)
I love hearing about all the things you guys are doing. Wow, the hawk houses went, that sounds like a big step, and less white trash lol. Sounds like a good family day though. I think I am the missionary that talks about her family ALL the time the most, but I love you and all the little things. They really are my favorite. But I like that because it makes my comp and other sisters in my house tell me things about their families and I know it makes me love them more and be more close.
Sorry for the last shorter less detailed message. It can be hard becasue it is all so wonderful and its not everything so new anymore, but I will remember to look for all the little things!
Love you momma! I always have experiences where I think specifically of you and dad and am so thankful for the way you raised me. We had a lesson on sunday in RS about becoming goodly parents and I can honestly say no one can have more goodly parents than I have. I love you, and hope you have a great week!
This is what happens when we clean and find things in our apartment we didnt know were there. We then used all of this for our performance at Zone Activity today!

sometimes my hair wont dry because of the this is what happened.

We were the only ones on the Jeepney in the moring of exchanges, so here is what the inside looks like, buut usually crammed with people
Family Home Evening with the Almonte family

I made no bake cookies! We took them to the Almonte family FHE, and they were so excited to eat something American.

2/22 (Mom forgot to post this one as well : )!

Hello po! This week went by so fast, I dont even know what happened, I had to look in my journal for things to write to you this morning. I am still very happy and the work is still going great, and we are always progressing in our teaching and I love to see the progression of our investigators and less active members as well. I really love these people, and truly ave a relationship I cherish with each of the families.
Some things from my week...
-We were tracting and little boy (about 2 or 3 and naked of course) just started following us. As we would say "Tao po" at the houses he would wander in and tell us if there were people or not. We dont know where his house was, but it was so funny. Another time we had a band of children following us and also showing us their houses..referrals for days!
-I started reading my scriptures in Tagalog. I was struggling focusing because the English was a little harder for me to understand. I love Tagalog because it often gives a new way of looking at the meaning because of the translation. It really has given me such a great understanding of the scriptures.
-We have had a lot of opportunities to serve this week. We helped with laundry or other things before teaching a lesson. This really opened up doors for us, or helped our investigators open up to us and changed the lessons. I love serving these amazing people spiritually and temporally.
I love you all and hope you have a great week. Remember OUR Heavenly Father loves each of us. I know you can feel it more for you if you pray to Him. I know this gospel blesses each of our lives, no matter what sircumstances we are in. It has blessed mine, and the people here in their many different situations and problems. Lets use the tools our Heavenly Father has given us on the earth:)

Mahal kita,
Sister Goodwin

2/16 (Mom forgot to post this one)

This week has been amazing and full of miracles. I am always more happy than I ever imagined I could be, but this week it was even more rewarding seeing some truely miracles. Last Sunday we fasted with SIster Joy Felipe, she is 18 and very active at church for the last year. Her parents wont let her get baptized and are very against the church becasue her older Sister joined and went on a mission instead of finishing school and they are very strong Catholic. We had a great lesson on fasting and asked her to join us and her friends at church in a special fast. We asked her to ask specifically what she could to to get closer to baptism. She called us on Tuesday and said her parents signed her baptismal concent! It was such a miracle! She was baptized this Saturday. I love her and she truly shines. I am so glad that she was able to enter into this covenant and continue to grow. The parents if Sister Sheena are also allowing her baptism, she is so cute and started a study journal from the scriptures and loves teaching us what she learns. I love seeing progression of investigators, it is amazing what the spirit and simple doctrine can do for our lives.

We got to go to Legazpi yesterday and have a devotional with President Russel M Nelson. It was very spiritual and I got a lot of things from it. He said to thank our families who are praying for us at home and that they will be blessed because of our missions (D&C 58? to Thomas Marsh). I know this promise is true and that I am being blessed more than ever by this mission. I cant imagine life without the things I am learning here. He also talked about how we are here on the earth to prepare for the second coming of Christ. I am very thankful to be part of this work here. 
Oh today is Pday and we played with our district Lalaro Pinoy. SOOOO FUn! Little kids are always playing it in the streets, and it was great. I LOVE the children here, they are so cute and just know how to be happy and play together. 
You have a bottle and throw your flip flops at it. One person guards it and when you knock it over and have to get your flip flops they have to touch you to make you be the person guarding it. I now know what my childhood wasnt complete haha

There was an earthquake here on Thursday, so that was interesting. We were teaching a lesson to a less active member. It was a different experience for sure. I also had McDonalds here while we were in Legazpi, its nothing alike and the had rice. People are always making kites at this time here and they are really good at it. All the missionaries besides those from the US are preparing for a English test that can get them scholarships to BYU-H. So I have been helping Sister Matulac with English and we had our District Meeting in English (I am the only American in our Zone), it was soooo funny and fun, I cant describe it. The Elders were so funny imitating our accents and basta, hilarious!

I know that miracles happen, and Heavenly Father is waiting to hear from each of His children. My challenge to you this week is to think of specific things you need or are thankful for, or whatever it might be, and truly have a conversation with God. There are times when I have nothing else, but I always have prayer and it is truly so powerful. This is my challenge to you no matter what religion, or stange of life you are in. I know God answers our prayers and love each of us!

Mahal Kita! 
Sister Goodwin


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Kong Hei Fat CHoi, Happy Chinese New Years!!!

Hello people of America! (and other places)

Haha I am SO very happy, I love being a missionary. This week was very busy, and great, and so fast.

I ate pig this week, like in the movies, a full pig on the table that you pick at with your fingers. The weather is so weird right now. People always say, "Utah  weather", but Id like to say "Philippines weather", sobrang magulo. It rains like crazy, is very hot, and then beautifully clear at night all in the same day. Everything is getting so much more green now. I eat a lot of fruit here, and make fresh smoothies from them as well, its amazing. 

We taught a new family and the kids are my favorite. They have told my companion to stop talking before becasue they want to hear me haha. They ask me nonstop questions after the lessons about where I live and the animals there, so if you have any animals that you can think of that we have, send them to me. There are no sheep here, and they told me their new favorite animals are sheep. They are the Calollot family and have come to church for both of the 2 weeks that we have been teaching their family, and are very open.

This week I have been praying very specifically for specific things and I know that Heavenly Father answers more specifically answers. We didnt know how to help a couple of our families progress, and we focused on making things less new for them. When we did this we had 3 new families come to church that have been investigating for awhile but wouldnt come. It was so rewarding to see them there and another step in their progression.

Kong Hei Fat CHoi, Happy Chinese New Years!!! We are celebrating it today and ate Tikoy to celebrate. I get cold now if there is AC at all, I never thought Id say I was cold here, but I am now. 

This week I really was very thankful for mothers and being prepared for being a mother. WHen I was deciding to decide to go on a mission or not my Jr year in high school, I decided to think about where I wanted to go in life, and of course a many of you know my #1, if not only, goal is to be a mother and have a family. I wrote a list of how being a missinary would bless me as a mother and how going to school would help me become a mother, and came up with going on a mission. I later received many times confirmation that my choice was right for me. I didnt realize how true what I wrote was. I know and evrything here points to being a mother. I do things for other people all day, they often dont understand that I am trying to help and what I am sacrificing, but it doesnt feel like a sacrifice to me because I love them. I am very thankful for this opportunity to become a better person and serve the Lord. I also have an overwhelming testimony of Motherhood. Thank you to the mothers and parents, who raise their children in righteousness. I know parenthood is of God, and is truly sacred. I would invite mothers to read "Behold Thy Mother" by Holland.

Another thing I have been doing is reading a conference talk a day. It is amazing the revelation I get from this, as well as the scriptures. Please read a conference talk once a week. We know God gives us prophets, so we should use them!

  I know I say this evry week, but I love it here. In relief society this week, I was thinking about how I cant ever leave this place, its my home. I felt a sisterhood in relief society so strong here. I truly am starting to feel a part of these people. Also, speaking full english is getting harder and sometimes its hard to write in it as well. 

My challenges for you this week...
Book of Mormon reading everyday, even if its just a verse
Read a conference talk once
AND BE HAPPY! Even when things get hard, its makes everything easier if you find one tiny thing to be happy about. Most of the time for me this comes through serving someone else.

I love you and sorry for the random really letter haha!
Sister Ashlyn Goodwin
Sister Matulac made my favorite filipino food (filipino spaghetti) and she had us sing my favorite hymn in tagalog, she is very sweet and thoughtful. We are BFFs.
I made “micky mouse” pancakes for our house. They had never had pancakes.
Oh, nothing much, just the view at the end of one street!

Monday, February 1, 2016

I ate lots of tropical fruit, jealous?

Kumusta po kayo? Mahal Kita!
Image Image Image Image 

This week was really busy and Im not really sure where the time went, or what happened. We are so busy now, and have many appointments and basta, its just crazy and great. I know we have been blessed becasue we are striving to be more obedient. I know thats true becasue I dont know how we are teaching so much, and still tracting, and two new missionaries are doing this together, and I am also learning a new language. If we follow God's commandments for us, He blesses us in ways that we cant imagine!
I love the work!
This week it was really rewarding to see so many people really progressing. Sister Christine (18, less active, 2 yrs ago converted) read 6 chapters in the BOM and was so excited to share with us what she learned, she has started to go on splits with me, and there is a different light in her now, despite her hard family situation.
Brother Samson (Recent convert of ours) received the priesthood on Sunday and is preparing to baptize his family soon!
Sister Lolita and Cheriez decided to extend their baptism, it was hard becasue they are so ready, and I have seen on my life how hard everything gets when you are getting ready to make eternally important steps. I know that they will be able to be strong, please pray for them.

Also, this week I ate lots of tropical fruit, jealous? haha. I opened a cocunut for myself, that was a fun experience. And I am in love with fresh coconut! This week was really fun, but I dont have a lot to write about becasue it was honestly so full ad crazy.

I am very thankful that God loves us enough to give us commandments because they make us happy. I am thankful for family. I am thankful for being a missionary! Love you all and hope you have a great week!
Sister Ashlyn Goodwin
Today I was listening to an EFY song, I dont remember what its called. But it was talking about changing our lives and pushing ourselves and in the song she thanks someone for helping her do hard things. I really felt so thankful for you as my mom. If you hadnt forced me to be in a play in 7th grade, join volleyball, make new friends, change jobs, and many other things I wasnt comfortable with, I would have NEVER made it to the point I am now. Not just because I wouldnt have been able to come to another country and be comfortable, but because I would have never even been comfortable to go on a mission. I know your roll as a mother can be hard, but thank you, I know that you have a sacred calling. I know that you are helping Heavenly Fathers spirits in your home reach their full potential!