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