Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"Goldfish (crackers) are...too wonderful to look at!"

Hi family! Sorry this week we had pday on Tuesday because it was transfers. We weren't transferred because I am only halfway through training, but every 6 weeks Ill have pday on Tuesday wether I am transfered or not. Its good though becasue there was no power anyways yesterday in this area. Today is the 1st day weve had water and power this week, and so we stocked up, and now the waster and power are on and off, but its really cool becasue of the storm, it feels nice. It sounds so weird to write about these things, but its just a part of my life now. 

This week was really crazy, we had a crazy schedule on a lot of days. We had exchanges with our STLs. They were amazing and I learned SO much from Sister Pascua. She reminded me a lot of Anna, and was a fantastic missionary. Exchages were an answered prayer for our companionship becasue we came back with a few really helpful things for our teaching, and teaching more simple docrine. After applying them this week, we have had really powerful short lessons. I love discerning peoples needs through the spirit, I know the gospel applies to everyone, and helping them feel that is amazing! I also had my 1st interview with Pres. Guanzon. It was great of course, he is really just very spiritual and it was like an interview with a father.

I got your package and got to open it...YESSS!!! Goldfish are precious, I havent opened them yet because they are too wonderful to look at. We had a brown out (no water or electricity) for a lot of this week which means we cant go out after 6pm. The day I opened your package we had this, and so we opened it and had a lot of fun reading laughy taffy jokes and trying to explain them in Tagalog, and looking through the package. It was so fun to open, and it felt like Christas! Thank you!

We had one really crazy, and hard day this week. We had an investigator who had a really big problem happen in her life, and she had to leave her house in a hurry. The problem with the family broke my heart and she had to leave. We were able to read a scripture with her befre she left about our burdens being lightenend through Christ. It was SIster Carol, the picture with all her kids. It was also a really bad day becasue it was Bagio type rain and wind, no power or water, and everything seemed to be going wrong. After being really sad, we of course had to go nd teach other lessons. I leanred that nothing is about me, that other people needed the gospel and a happy and ready missionary, and so there was no time to cntinue to be sad or to overreact to all the many things that were going wrong. I have never been good at this, but I really learned how to be strong this day. I can do hard things with God! 

I can officially say I speak Tagalog!!! I speak it all the time now, and its not as hard, it might not always be fully correct, but hey I SPEAK TAGALOG!!! I love it, and I love babling to and conversing in Tagalog with our investigators, members and kids here. Also I really feel at home here now, this is my home and I love it. THe work here is going so well, and the people are really progressing. 

I love you all and hope you have a great week. I know I am doing the right thing in my life right now. I have never done anything so fulfilling, and I love it here. Be happy! I love you all!

Sister Goodwin

On exchanges with STL Sis Pascua, who is one of my favorite people and I really look up to her!
Rice fields are my favorite! This amazing view is the field of a part member family we are teaching.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

1/11 Interpretive Dance & 1/18 There was a goat

(Mom/Nicole: I forgot to post last week, this includes 1/11 & 1/18)...

January 18:

Hello family!

Wow, this week was great! So many amazing things, but also very hard for me.

This week I really gained more of an appreciation for the people here. They have no electricity, often little or no food, and their houses are very small and often not much of a shelter for them. Yet, they are so wiling to give of everything. They are so humble and very nice. I am truly friends with so many of them, and really love them.

This week I really felt discouraged by the language, by the time it was dinner, my brain was telling me to stop and I was just truly exhausted (spiritually, mentally, physically). I felt like I didnt have any more to give, but needed to continue. After a day of really struggling and praying, I decided to tell my companion. After we talked about it, I felt so much better. She is amazing and so patient. She really felt like a mom for a few minutes. Since then, we have used only Tagalog, this letter is my 1st English! I have really seen progression, and even though its hard I know it will come if I keep working. I spoke is sacrament meeting this week, and it was FULL Tagalog, sometimes I surprise myself haha. It was good, simple, but I felt the spirit.

This week we had a day when no one was ho,=me and we didnt know what to do. We had been tracting, but everything didnt feel right. We stopped and prayed and then continued to a different street that was farther away. We walked, when we usually take a tricee. On the way there were some little kids, so like always I talked to them (they are my favorite thing ever!). I didnt think much about it, but my companion asked where they lived. We then asked if the parents were home. Little Nicole told us they were. We went to the Refotula home, and they have 7 kids, and are taking care of the fathers 2 down syndrome brothers. They are such a willing family to hear the gospel. They were so excited to act and the next day Sister Nicole right when she saw us reminded us of church. This family is truly so prepared. I know that He prepared them and guided us to them. I talked to the kids, and my comp decided to ask where they lived. Without both of us  listening to the spirit, we wouldnt have found them.

SIster Lolita had her baptismal interview with Pres Guanzon and is ready to be baptized, it felt so amazing to know her and her family are entering into such an important covenant.

We also found a Sister who is 17, Sister Sheena. SHe is living with a less active family while she goes to school. We taught her and she has come to church since. She wants to be baptized, but was nervous to change religions. Some other Elders had a baptism and so we decided to invite her. She came and after that asked when her baptismal date was and has been so excited, she texts us everyday about her reading.

We have some other families who arent progressing and that is always hard to see. This week we are really focusing on how we can help them progress towards Heavenly Father.
Sister Carol and Brother Bong finished the BOM, and started again!

We had zone activity today (Monday)! IT WAS FABULOUS!!! We went to Sawanga beach. The ride there was beautiful, many palm trees and rice feilds. And we were able to walk out to an island at low tide in the morning and there were tons of star fish in the pools, we hiked around and played with the star fish! After we went back to the beach, and played some games and volleyball on the beach. It was absolutely beautiful, like nothing Ive ever seen! I took a lot of pictures! We also took a jeepney there, which was crazy as always. Ill send as many pictures as I can.

Also random things...
There is a goat in my area. We took a picture, but the next day it wasnt there. The family ate it, so I guess there was a goat in my area.

Love you and hope you have a great week!
Sister Goodwin


January 11:

Hello Everyone!!!

This week has been fantastic, as always! We had a trainer/trainees training in Legazpi City on Wednesday, so we had to travel there by jeepney (which was crazy), and then spent the day learning from Pres. Guanzon. He is such a spiritual man, I wanted to write everything that came out of his mouth. I really felt the workshop gave me more tools to continue to improve as a missionary in order to help the people here better. We made some changes in our work and companionship, and they are hard, but this is the Lord's work, so if we want to do it, we have to do it His way. We have seen a lot of blessings as we strive to be exactly obedient.

To write about some of my investigators this week, because I love them, and I want you to get to know them too!

Carol and Bong- They are SO progressing!! He was a LA member and she hadnt heard of the church. We started teaching and she accepted so fast and is willing to act, and he has started to follow her example. She is almost done with the BOM, and they get so excited every time we come to tell us about what they read, and tell us how it applies to their lives. None of the "houses" here are tall enough for me to stand in, and they think its so funny/cute. Every time I walk in theirs they say, "watch your head" and laugh. They love giving me new food to try, and they give me a list of vocab words every week. They are always at church, and are just the happiest, nicest people. They have a band, and he has sung for us, its pretty great, indescribable really;) We committed Brother Bong to live the WOW this week because he is a chain smoker, and he was struggling to know how. In the lesson the scripture 1 Nephi 3:7 came into my head, and I shared how God wont give a commandment we cant follow and without helping us. He committed to live it, and the next day at church, he was so excited to tell us he hadnt smoked, what a miracle! Sister Carol sewed a skirt for church, and came in a skirt for the first time. She doesnt get to see her kids often, but when they came to see her on New Years, she wanted us to go meet them. Thats the pic from last week. She can be baptized in July, when they have been together for 5 yrs, since there is no divorce here.

Sentes Family- The Sentes family is LA. They have 8 kids all under 8, and are very poor. He is mostly blind, but still works as a trycicle driver. Sister Olivia started to come back every week and has started reading the BOM every day!! The kids are cute and love seeing us, but area little crazy. They didnt seem that interested, and so I honed in my mom skills this week haha. We made a reading chart, and family reading box. The box has pieces of paper with a verse of 2 on it, and then has questions on it. For exqample...what was Nephi commanded to build (ship), How was Nephi able to do this hard thing?, What hard thing can you do in your life to be like Nephi?...They have been reading as a family now! Brother Rodel didnt join us at 1st, but now comes in for every lesson and will pray now. He wont come to church becasue they are afraid the house wont be safe if they leave. I know this family can continue to improve and go to the temple to be a forever family!

I dont have enough time to write about every investigator, so there are two amazing families for this week. I really love them, and in sacrament this week I just felt an overwhelming love for the Philippines, all the people, culture, and specifically our investigators. We have been extremely busy this week. We also got to watch the Philippines are broadcast this week, it was very great to see the improvement in the church here, and the goals for continuing improvement. The church is so growing here. There are so many very strong young people here, almost all the leaders are newly returned missionaries, or 16-25 very strong young leaders.

There was a father and daughter who came to our house a couple weeks ago. They were begging, but we said a prayer with them instead. The father is blind and the Bagiou ruined their home. This week they showed up at church and said they knew our prayer was to God and they wanted to be part of a church that helped them feel the way they did after. WOW, can you say miracle. I know Heavenly Father is preparing His children for this gospel!

Some fun things this week...
We tried a lot of Filipino food! The bread here is so beautiful, cheap, and delicious from little homemade houses.

Our goal is to speak only Tagalog, and its been great so far. A lot of improvement!

I got called to speak in Sacrament this coming week. I realized that 2 months ago if you had asked me to do this I would have had a meltdown and no big deal! Ill let you know how a Tagalog sacrament talk goes haha.

We interpretive danced to EFY music for our morning workout one morning haha, it was beautiful!

I love this gospel, and that Heavenly Father helps us in all we do. I know I couldnt do this without Him. I absolutely still love it here and being a part of this culture. People always comment on how Filipino I am, well yes of course, I live here peeps! I would fit in all accept for the part that I am 6' tall haha and white and blonde, other than this, I got this. I know the way I grew up has helped me fit in here so well. Very family oriented, not afraid to work hard and get dirty.

I love you all very much. my challenge to you this week is to sit down as a family and find one thing that you can improve on. Families are forever, and we can take the families we BECOME with us, if we follow Jesus Christ. I love this work, and hope you all have a great week!!!

Sister Goodwin


Friday, January 8, 2016

2016! & my first Balut

MALIGANYANG BAGONG TAON!!!! This week I realized that I have all of 2016 just for missionary work. How cool is that?? I wont spend one minute this year that isnt doing His work!

This week has been really great, my weeks here are filled with SO much learning. This week we really focused on balancing out our work and setting way higher goals. I felt like last week our time was as full as it could get, but this week we accomplished SO much more. I know that praying for specific, realistic, but very stretching goals works. Obedience has also blessed us so much, I know that is also a huge part in our success. Can I just say our companionship and area are ON FIRE!!! This week I really had a desire to be a better person. I was looking at Sister Matlac and all the things she in wonderful at. She is very selfless, kind, and always thinking about others. I decided to start looking for things in my companion that I can personally improve on. Because of this this week I have grown a lot, but I have also grown to love and appreciate her so much more. As I improve as a person and as a missionary, I continually become happier, what an amazing plan our Father in Heaven has given us! This week I also really felt the protection from the spirit. It was night and we were walking to an investigators house, I got a really bad feeling/actual physical pain in my heart. We stopped and prayed together, and then Sis Matulac felt it as well. Im not sure why, but we went back to the area of our home. What a blessing the spirit is. It not only helps in our teaching, our investigators, personal revelation, but also in our safety. We have had SO many new investigators, and progressing investigators with baptismal dates. January is going to be a great month, and I cant wait to continue this work. As I continually work harder and harder, I love this place, the people, and the gospel so much more. By the end of every night my body hurts, and my brain hurts, but I am so completely happy and full of love for everything here. One of the most rewarding things as a missionary is hearing people pray for the first time. This week I felt the spirit so strongly as an investigator prayed, how amazing is it that I get to help people talk to their Heavenly Father and know that He exists? Pretty amazing

This week I ate balut...all I can say is it tastes as bad as it sounds...fermented, fertilized duck egg. It tastes like a rotten hard boiled egg with feathers, a beak, and some bones, so ya! The Bong family loves that I havent tried things, and they always have some sort of fruit or something that I havent tried. They are so cute and very progressing. I tried a lot of different fruits and some sea food stuff this week. It is not raining here anymore, which makes it about 100x more hot. It is so hot, I cant describe it. It was 120 this week, but it felt so much hotter because its also humid (my area is right by the sea). My Tagalog is improving, I can understand a lot more this week, but it tires me out. I am definitely seeing improvements though. I am able to teach more doctrine and talk more to the people. We have a really awesome area! We have been working to get the members involved, and with our effort, they are helping us and becoming on fire too. Its so exciting to see people change and come closer to their Savior. 

I love you all. I am doing so well, and loving it here. I think about you guys, and you are always in my prayers. Thank you for writing me, I love hearing from each of you. I always see thinks and think about how much you would love to see this, or how much you would love things and people here. The people are so humble and amazing...I could go on for days about everything here. Love you and hope you have a great week!
Love, Sister Goodwin
Challenge for the week:
I am always inviting, and pleading with investigators to read the BOM and pray as a family...woops, I realized I wasnt even doing that daily before my mission. PLEASE do this as a family, I know it can become something that you not only dont forget, but look forward too! Please try hard to remember it, and after awhile, if you apply and search for patters to live by, or ways it applies to you, you will love it!
Bong and Carol family. He is a less active, she is a nonmember who really wants to be baptized! and has almost finished the book of mormon. She has to wait until June because in the Philippines there is no divorce, they were both previously married. The church allows baptism after 5 yrs of living together.