Wednesday, January 10, 2018

January 8, 2018

Dear family and friends,
My new area in Hollister is going well, there is a lot of work to do here and we’ve been super busy. In one day we found 5 new investigators and taught 9 lessons which is pretty crazy. We have a couple of people close to baptism so we will be working with them a lot too. The branch here is pretty small and we just got a new branch president, this area has a lot of potential and hopefully we have a lot of success in the coming weeks. 

We had a baptism in our district last week. The English Elders taught him and when he was ready to be baptized he asked my companion to baptize him because he has taught him a few times and he’s the one who found him. I interviewed him since I’m the district leader and it was a great baptismal service. Baptismal interviews are always a unique experience, it’s a special step in the progress of a convert to be a part of. 

2017 was a great year, it’s crazy that I spent an entire year as a missionary. I’ve had some amazing experiences and it’s probably been the best year of my life. I’ve learned a ton about myself and a lot about God and I’ve come a lot closer to Christ as I’ve helped others do the same. It’s funny how turning outward and serving others can end up being the best thing that you can do for yourself. One of my favorite scriptures says “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” I’ve found that as I’ve devoted my life to the service of others, I’ve been incredibly blessed and it’s it’s been an awesome experience. I’m looking forward to what 2018 has in store and I’m glad that I get to make the most of the time that I have left.

-Elder Godwin

Monday, December 4, 2017

December 4, 2017

Dear Friends and Family,
Over the week of thanksgiving I made a list of things I’m grateful for. I tried to think of 3 things for each letter of the alphabet which made me have to think a lot harder about things which was fun. I don’t have a ton to say this week, I’ve been doing good and I like the area I’m serving in. I hope that everything is going well back home for everyone, I miss you guys a lot. Here is that list of things that I thought of:

Things that I am thankful for:

A: Alex, Adidas, Agency
B: Book of Mormon, Basketball, Beats
C: Christ, Companions, Communication
D: Dad, Dr. Pepper, Dollar store
E: Exercise, Energy, Eminem
F: Family, Freedom, Food
G: God, Grandparents, Golf
H: Hyrum, Health, Home
I: Intelligence, internet, iPad
J: Joseph Smith, Jobs, Jordans
K: Kenzie, Kit Kats, Kid Cudi
L: Love, Language, Leaders
M: Mom, Music, Mtn Dew
N: Nature, Naps, Nos
O: Opportunity, Oklahoma, Ocean
P: Prophet, Physics, People
Q: Quiet, Questions, Quality time
R: Repentance, Rest, Rap
S: Sammy, Science, Spanish
T: Testimonies, Technology, Trials 
U: Ukulele, Understanding, USA
V: Views, Vader, Vines
W: Work, Writing, Water
X: Xbox, experience, examples
Y: Yard, YouTube, Yeezy
Z: Zucchini bread, Zone Conference, Zippers

Monday, October 9, 2017

October 9, 2017

Dear Family and Friends, 

This past week has been eventful, I got transferred up to Fremont which was surprising because I hadn't been in Salinas for that long. There are always mixed emotions about transfers, it is sad to leave the wards and investigators that I've been working with but it's also exciting to have a new area with new people. I'll definitely miss serving so close to Monterey, it's one of the most beautiful places in the world. General Conference was awesome as usual and I also got to go up to the Oakland Temple last weekend. That was a great experience and I love that we get the opportunity to go occasionally.

I'm training a new missionary this transfer and so far he's really awesome. I look forward to our time together and being with somebody new will be a new experience for me. I don't have a ton to say, I've just been busy with coming up to a new area and going to a couple of meetings. But I'm excited for this upcoming transfer and have heard a lot of good things about this area. I have 2 past companions that have served here and they have told me about it. So anyways, we'll see how it goes! I miss you all and hope everything is going well back home. 

-Elder Godwin

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

August 7, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

So far my area is pretty good, it's a lot different than San Jose but that isn't like that's a bad thing. It's so pretty here and I'm like 15 minutes from the coast and 25ish from Monterey. I also was able to go up to Santa Cruz last week with a group of missionaries which was nice. Salinas is surrounded by farmland and I guess that they grow tons of strawberries here. We had Zone Conference with President Hunt and that went really well, I like him a lot so far. It's also cool to have new perspectives on things with a new mission president. I look forward to serving another year with him, it'll be almost split half and half with President Mella and Hunt as I go throughout my mission. 

I don't know if I shared this story already, but there is a convert in East San Jose named Cesar that I was able to help a lot. Before I left that area, I went over to say goodbye and right before I left he said something to me that I'm never going to forget. In reference to his conversion, he said that "Before, even when I was around a lot of people, I felt alone. But now, even when I really am all by myself, I don't feel like I am." I thought that was an amazing testimony. As we were able to help him develop a personal relationship with Christ, he completely turned his life around. He's been able to experience having the gift of the Holy Ghost that God promises us as we fulfill our baptismal covenant. It is truly a miracle to see that type of change take place in somebody's life. Hearing statements like that from people that you help are what makes a mission truly worth it. I will never forget his story and testimony and it motivates me to continue sharing the message of the gospel with others. There are so many people out there "who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it" and it's our job to boldly declare the plain and precious truths of the restored gospel to the world. 

I don't have anything else on my mind at the moment, things are going well though. I love this mission and the experiences that I've been able to have and look forward to what else is in store. I love you all and miss you guys! Hope everything is going well back home. 

-Elder Godwin 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

July 18, 2017

Dear family and friends,
The past 2 weeks have been eventful. I got transferred down to Salinas from San Jose which is pretty far, it's down by Monterey though which is super pretty. It's been kind of nice to be out of the city actually but I'm still adjusting a little bit. My new companion has been good so far but I'll definitely miss my last one. 

So my last week in San Jose we went downtown for fireworks on the 4th of July which feels like it was forever ago but it wasn't. They do a show down there which was pretty good but there are so many firework restrictions here that just a few places do shows and that's about all. It was a good show, but being in Edmond and having everyone do fireworks everywhere you look is better. It made me miss home a little bit because the 4th of July was always one of my favorite days. And people in the Bay Area just aren't as patriotic in general which is kind of sad. But then again when you have so many immigrants from different places here they don't really understand our patriotism that well. 

It's always weird to change areas, I wasn't expecting to get transferred but then again I knew that it was a possibility. It's weird to leave people that you've been working with and helping too. I've always wanted to serve in Salinas though or somewhere in the southern part of the mission just to get a taste of it and get out of the city for a bit. So I'm glad that my little wish came true and I get to be down here for a while. 

So yesterday we went down to Carmel Beach for P day and it was awesome. It's so pretty down there and the weather was amazing. It was perfectly clear and like 70 degrees. It kind of stinks that we can't swim as missionaries when the water is right there but it's still really fun to just hang out on the beach. Like playing volleyball, throwing a football, digging in the sand, or just relaxing. I made a little chair spot out of sand to sit in with a little hole to keep my Mountain Dew in next to me and just watched the waves for a while which was really relaxing. 

But anyways, I think that's all for now. I miss you guys a lot but things out here are going well. My new mission President is great and things are all good overall. I'm still new to this area but this upcoming week should definitely help me get a better idea of it. It's crazy for me to think that I'm approaching my year mark, so far I've absolutely loved my mission and I know that there is a lot more in store. 

Elder Godwin 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

July 3, 2017

Dear family and friends, 

The past few weeks have gone well. President and Sister Mella went home and I got to meet President and Sister Hunt earlier today. I'll really miss them, but I look forward to getting to know the Hunts. They seem really awesome so far. We had a goodbye devotional for the Mellas this past week and it was really good. They both have really strong testimonies and have had a big impact on me throughout my time here so far.

One of the Elders in my zone got a new bike and so he didn't need his old crappy one so he gave it to me for free since im one of the only people that doesn't have one. Which, I never really will because in the Spanish program our areas are a lot bigger so we always have cars. But, I took it because my companion has a bike and there is a bike trail behind our apartments that goes over to this park 2.5 miles away. So, in the mornings we have started riding there and back for our morning exercise which works out really well because its 5 miles and takes about 30 mins. And like it because its a lot more refreshing to go and be outside in the morning instead of the gym.  

There have been like 3 pretty big fires in the city this past week which was really random. All of the grass here is super dry and its been decently windy so I guess that makes it fire season here. 

This P day and last P day we went to the driving range in the morning which was pretty fun. Elder Mosher likes to try hitting the ball really far and I like to practice my swing. I haven't hit a ball since I've been back home though so it was weird to do it again haha. We can get a little over 100 balls for 10 bucks so split between the two of us its not a bad little p day activity to start the day off. It's not very far away either so I'm glad we discovered it.

We found an investigator on Friday and he came to church Sunday and accepted a baptismal date right away. He's super excited and we feel like he's really been prepared to join the church. It's crazy to see the ways that the Lord prepares people to receive the gospel. Also, we've been helping this member that we found who was completely inactive for 20 plus years come back and its been really cool to see him progress. He's an absolutely awesome guy and its just as exciting to bring him back and help him prepare to go to the temple for the first time as it is to find somebody to baptize. Things have been going well lately, we have really been trying to help strengthen the ward members too. 

I've been doing well lately though, and anytime things get hard I've found that the Lord is always there to help. I found a scripture the other day, Jacob 2:8, that uses a phrase that really stood out to me. It says "the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which healeth the wounded soul." Which I thought was really powerful. Because the word of God and the scriptures to me are what can truly give you strength throughout trials. We have so many incredible books of scripture that are meant and were written to help and guide us in this day. They are inspired writings which bring us closer to our savior Jesus Christ. So anyways, I've been really grateful for the scriptures lately as I've read and studied them. I hope everyone back home is doing well, I love you all and hope to hear from you soon. 

-Elder Godwin

Sunday, June 25, 2017

June 19, 2017

Dear family and friends,
The past 2 weeks have been interesting, President Mella will be going home soon and we'll be getting a new president next month. So we had our last interviews with President Mella last week and Zone Conference also. Zone Conference was really good and was probably one of my favorite ones since I've been on my mission. They are always really uplifting and a good spiritual recharge. We get a lot of training and talk about what we can improve too so they are pretty productive. The only downside is that they go from like 10 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon. 

Last P day we went and got some Stance socks at the outlet for pretty cheap. They are super nice and comfy socks with some pretty unique designs on them and they are really cool. I got some Warriors ones, a pair with Biggie Smalls on them, and a some that are based on the '92 dream team. So that was a fun little thing to buy. It's a long story, but we also found a foosball table that we put in our apartment to play at night before we go to sleep. So that has been an interesting addition. We have to set an alarm though to make sure we go still to bed on time. This P day we didn't really do much, just the usual grocery shopping. It's been nice to relax though because our past few P days have been pretty busy. This past week went really fast because of meetings and everything, we are just continuing to work with people. We have been able to find a lot of new people interested in listening to us, the biggest problem that we've had is that everyone is too busy to catch at a good time. People have to work a lot to get by in the Bay Area and especially in lower income areas. The Spanish community is really awesome though and they are all such friendly people. Our members always make sure that we are fed and make some pretty dang good food too. 

I feel like my testimony has grown a lot lately and I've also felt like my Spanish has really been coming along too. So things are going well personally and my companion is absolutely great. As missionaries, every Friday we do weekly planning where we plan out our entire upcoming week and it takes about 2 hours and sometimes 3. So, instead of just sitting in the apartment, we go to 7/11 to get drinks and then go drive up to the top of the mountain and do weekly planning up there to turn it into a fun part of the week instead of something long and boring sitting in the apartment. It's a great view from up there and its pretty relaxing. 

But anyways, things are going normally you could say. It hit 100 degrees this week though which I guess is record heat for the bay. We have a mission wide training meeting tomorrow morning for all the missionaries Spanish program tomorrow so that should be really good. The work is moving along and we have been working a lot on the ward members and in ward council. I've been able to learn a lot about how a ward functions as I've served which I'm sure will be of benefit in the future. There are so many things that you learn as a missionary that simply can't be learned from any college, school, institution, or company. My mission so far has taught me a lot about myself, others, the world, and the gospel. I'm really glad to be serving and there is nothing that I would rather be doing. There are things I miss of course, but I wouldn't trade any of it for serving a full time mission. I love the Lord and His hand becomes more evident every day. I hope everyone back home is doing well. Keep sending me emails, I love hearing from everyone. 

Elder Godwin