Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Nicole/Mom: On Christmas Eve we were able to talk at Ashlyn on Skype.  The first thing Jacob said was, "You come to my house?" inviting her over.  She could hear and see us, but we couldn't hear or see her very well, so we moved to e-mail for about 20 minutes and then said "goodbye" quickly on Skype again.  In her e-mails she shared that Geckos cover her walls and scatter if she gets up in the night.  She also said, "Everytime I say my name they say ohhhh Mabuti-manalo! which is Good-win in tagalog."  She concluded her e-mail to us with, "I love you guys!!! Have the best Christmas EVER!!! and if possible send pictures! We decorated our room with lights, my stocking and paper snowflakes! MERRY CHRISTMAS! This christmas I am excited to serve Heavenly Father, and mae the most of the true meaning of Christmas! i LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU! It was really nice to get to talk to you, it definitely lifted me and I know it will continue to lift me for a long time!"  She did not receive our package for Christmas (she said 4 months is typical).  I was happy to hear/recall that the Azevedos had given her a "Sister Missionary" stocking, so she had that with her.

This is the e-mail we received on 12/27 (p-day is late Sunday night our time)...

Kumsta mga pamilya ko!! I have to start out that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!! This week has been so great, and no matter what the missionary task that we are doing is, I love it. When we are studying, I never want to stop, when we are proselyting or teaching lessons I never want to stop, and when we are serving I never want it to end. Sister Matulac and I have the best conversations about gospel topics and how to improve as missionaries and our area. I absolutely love her, and our studies together. At first it was hard becasue I didnt know Tagalog and she didnt know english, but now they are mostly in Tagalog, and she adds some english where she knows it. We are growing so much together, and there are so many miracles in our area. I know that hard work, and faith are paying off. 

On Christmas we went and shared a really short lesson about how Christ is always with us and that the gospel and things we teach are the way to follow Him. We sang a Hymn and then had a 5 min lesson, so we could get to as many of our investigators and less active families as possible. This is when I really felt a change in my work. I felt the eternal importance of our message. I KNOW that it is the way that leads to eternal happiness and living with God as families. I had such a desire to share and for all people to accept it here. Now I feel that all the time, and its why I love being a missionary.

We have had so many families start to progress more this week. The Centes family, mother Olivia, was doing everyting by herself and the father wasnt joining in with their 6 kids. This week asfter we halped them do their laundry the father joined and started directing the family in the lesson, it was amazing! 
Tatay Herebete wasnt able to be taught becasue he was alone at home, his daughter and her family came to live with him this week. They joined our lessons and said we believe most of the same things they already do and so they love our message and accepted a baptismal date...I could go on and on about miracles that are happening with all of our families and investigators. 

We had our zone Christmas party on the 24th which was really fun, I felt like I was part of something more and had more friends here. I always have a need to feel adjusted, and this really helped.

We have been really focusing on using members and working with them this week, as well as helping investigators progress towards baptism. Not that this matters, but we have the most lessons this week and # of investigators with baptismal dates, but we are the youngest comp in the mission. This really shows me what hard work and desire, with the spirit can do.

This week there was a HUGE spider in our apt. I asked what we should do with it, and my comp laughed and said it wasnt big and we didnt need to do anything. I dont know if the pic will attach, but it was bigger than my whole hand...gross!

The people are amazing, this work is amaizng, and i honestly LOVE everything about being a missionary. It was so nice to talk to you on CHristmas and see your faces. My Christmas was great, other than being with our family, this is the best thing in the world to be doing! My Christmas was 115 degrees and super sunny\hot, a little different from yours haha!


Monday, December 21, 2015

"I almost clothesline myself with literal clothes lines every day" OR "Coagulated blood and chicken intestines shishkabob"

Hi everyone!
This has been a crazy week since I talked to you! I went to the Manila temple and it was amazing. It was so pretty. Then we packed and had to leave early for Legazpi because there was a typhoon that would have trapped us in Manila for a while. My first day in Legazpi there was the typhoon and it has still been raining like crazy. There are palm trees scattered all over the place now. Lots of peoples houses were broken (mainly roofs) but everyone was ok. It is so beautiful here!!! Think of the thickest forest you've ever seen in Utah and times it by 100, and then make the trees huge palm trees. Its pretty cool. All of the houses in my new area are literally in the middle of the forest, so we are always walking on little paths in a tropical forest. My trainer is Filipina and just finished her training. She is Sister Matulac. She is SO hardworking, perfectly obedient, and very patient and willing to learn from me. We don't have a lot in common, but we don't need to because we are willing to work super hard together. I really love her. Our area is Sorsogon (you can look it up). This is only the 2nd transfer with it as an open area, so we have a lot of work. I already love the families and people we are teaching.  We have a lot of families which is great because the gospel is all about families. My favorite is the Fernandez family, I just super love them.
This week has honestly been the hardest thing I've ever done. I am in a completely new area, and I don't understand almost anything anyone says. A lot of people speak Bicol, and those that speak Tagalog are still hard to understand. I found myself wanting to come home and just be on the couch watching Jimmy Falon with dad, playing with Jake, talking to one of the girls or mom. I was really struggling when we weren't out doing anything. I struggled wanting to be here for most of the week, even though there were times that were amazing. This morning I prayed that through the enabling power of the atonement, that I could want to be here and lose myself in the work. Nephi asks in 1 Nephi 7:17 for the lord to give him the power to do it. I love that he didn't ask that his trial be taken away. Today has been much better!
I wash clothes by hand (best workout EVER), ride on trikes, and walk in pouring rain and super heat and humidity. I've been in a typhoon...I've experienced it all. There are frogs everywhere, and it rains so hard we can't really hear while we are teaching. Its crazy, so different, and awesome.
This week one super cool experience I had was while teaching the Fernandez family. They were struggling to know why there was only one church, even though they were really progressing. After our lesson and scriptures, I felt like all they needed was to hear again about Joseph Smith. They believe in the Book of Mormon. I prayed in the lesson that the rain would stop enough so they could hear me, that I would be calm, and be given the words they would understand when I spoke. I have the 1st vision memorized and so I repeated it so easily and calmly. The rain quieted, and then I invited them to pray to know if this was true. I told them that if the BOM is true then Joseph Smith is a prophet, and then the church is true. The spirit was so strong and they accepted. After my companion told me (which I knew) that she knew that was not me speaking. Heavenly Father used all the vocabulary words I already knew, no new ones, but made my sentences flow. I know this was from Him.
I love you, and I am loving the work, people and the Philippines. I am learning to enjoy it here even if I don't fully understand. I am learning to forget myself. I am learning how to cook weird foods (coagulated blood and chicken intestines on a shishkabob stick, yes that happened). I am learning how to rely fully upon my Heavenly Father.
Sorry I don't have a lot of time, only 1 hr to email you and my mission pres so I'm not responding to your individual emails, but I did read them and love hearing from you!
other random things to write while my pictures load...
I am too tall for everything here!!! I almost clothesline myself with literal clothes lines every day. I have to duck in everyone's houses. 
Every time I meet someone new and speak Tagalog they love it and think its pretty funny that I can. When we ask them who they would like to pray they, without fail, always pick me. My trainer says this will happen even if I have perfect Tagalog because I'm white. 
I have seen a lot of improvement in my language as I have been here. I have spoke in every lesson as much as I can since the 1st lesson here. I know that through this He will help me get better.
This week I was thinking, "I am teaching people that the gospel blesses their lives even if it is hard to do." Then I though, "Sister Goodwin, why aren't you happy right now?" I then was reminded that I needed to remember what I teach. A mission has taught me more in a week then I think I've learned my whole life. I have so many little experiences like this. I have a little notebook and everyday I write in it when I get promptings. Some of them are little things like, if your flashlight is on you will always be safe at night, or sing with the Fernandez family it will bring a different spirit. Others are longer or more like this. Most of them come when I am reading my scriptures! 
And mom, I think I would love it if you were able to come here. It would be very cool for you to see it here. I think you would both absolutely love it, and I am always thinking of things you would like here. Also sometimes things dad would freak out about haha, no need to mention those;) It is so cool here!!!
Love, Sister Ashlyn Goodwin

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Final week in the MTC!

This week was really great, but I dont have a ton to write about. This week I feel most prepared to leave to the field this week (the 10th at 2:30 am). The language felt like it solidified more and we did some activities that helped me know I was ready. We went to in field orientation on Friday, and that was probably my favorite thing in the MTC so far. We focused on goals and planning with the key indicators, contacting and finding, and most importantly using members. It was 10 hrs long, but was all very spiritual and effective. I know I really need to talk to everyone, and not be afraid to go and do, right from the beginning. I was so exhausted by the end of Friday though, because when you are so spiritually filled and stretched, it is draining to your mind and body too. I am really excited, but still also very nervous to leave this week.
We are singing a song in sacrament tomorrow, because Elder Nelson from the Quorum of the Twelve will be in all of our meetings tomorrow. We got to go to the temple today for the last time, possibly for the next 18 months, because there isn't one in my mission. Today is our last p-day in the MTC, so we are getting ready to leave today, and will finish up packing the final things on Wednesday night before we leave really early Thursday morning. Its been a very good week. I have been able to learn a lot and feel peace in knowing I am prepared enough to go. I am really excited, but very nervous as well. 
Talk to you soon! Next email I'll be in the Philippines!!!!!
Love you!
Sister Goodwin