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

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

June 7, 2017

Dear family and friends,

The past few weeks has been good. I didn't have any time to email last week because we went down to Monterey to the aquarium. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't the best so we didn't go down onto the beach but we spent a lot of time at the Aquarium, which was really nice. A lot of members around the mission have season passes to it with free guest passes that they let the missionaries use, which is a nice hook up. When we went down there, we had to go pick up the passes from this members house that lives on pebble beach so that was super sweet. It's probably the most beautiful place that I've ever been. I was wondering how expensive some of those houses were that we were driving by because I'm sure it's insanely expensive. But it was a really cool experience to go down there and it would be a really great vacation spot for the future. 

Today for P day we hiked up Mission Peak which is a mountain in the southeast Bay Area close to where I am serving. I'm not a huge fan of hiking, but my companion and some other people wanted to go so we went. The view at the top was really awesome which I guess makes it worth it. We got up super early to go so it wouldn't be too hot and we wouldn't take up the whole day, so it wasn't too bad. 

So since we went to the aquarium, Elder Mosher and I were inspired to obtain a pet goldfish for our apartment. So we had interviews last week and asked president about it and he said that we could get one lol. So we went and got a little Goldfish and put it on the table between our desks which was a fun addition to the apartment. 

Overall, the work in this area has been moving along.  Unfortunately,

we had to push back the baptismal dates that we had because the family that we've been teaching isn't quite ready yet. They are an amazing family though and still really want to join the church and it's honestly been a miracle to work with them thus far. The people here in the Spanish community are awesome. Elder Mosher and I get along super well and have really enjoyed serving together in this area too. We are starting our 2nd transfer here and hopefully it goes well. Since we had to whitewash the area and start from scratch, it seems like the first transfer here we were setting up a bunch of dominos but now as this next transfer is starting a lot of things are falling into place and the ball is really getting rolling. So I'm excited and am looking forward to how things go, missionary work is a really cool experience and I love it.

Other than that I'm not sure what else to say, the Warriors are killing it though and it's really cool to be right here where all the madness is happening during the finals. Hopefully they win it all, I miss watching NBA playoffs a lot lol. But anyways, I love you guys and hope everyone is doing well. Thanks for the emails and letters, miss you guys.

Elder Godwin 

Monday, May 22, 2017

May 22, 2017

Dear family and friends, 
It was a really good week and it went pretty fast. We've been teaching this family of 4 that we found and they committed to baptism just recently which is really exciting. They have 2 sons but one isn't old enough to get baptized yet, but we will still have 3 baptisms next month. Right now their dates are for the 4th and 11th of June because the father wants to get baptized and then get the priesthood so he can baptize his wife and oldest son the next week. So I'm really looking forward to that and they are an awesome family. It's been cool to work with them over the past month or so that I've been here in this area. We've been finding a lot of new people too and it seems to be a lot easier to find people on this side of San Jose than the other side. 

Yesterday night I actually went over to Los Altos in my old area for a fireside which was fun but it also felt kind of weird to go back to my old area. Every month in the mission there is a "Why I Believe" fireside in a different stake where they have a few people that were recently baptized speak and share their stories about their conversion. There are usually a few musical numbers too and President Mella speaks. So I went over there because my recent convert was speaking and I wanted to go hear her bear her testimony and tell her short story of finding the church. There were some other speakers with some really powerful testimonies and cool stories too so it was good experience. 

Earlier today we decided to drive up to this observatory up on Mount Hamilton and that was an interesting drive. The road winds a lot and you basically drive right on the edge of cliffs to get up so it's kind of trippy in a couple of places while you are driving. It's really pretty back in the mountains though and it was a fun to go up there because you can see it from almost any point in the city. I didn't realize how high above the city it was until we drove up the whole mountain, it's at 4,265 feet. And astronomy is one of my favorite things so it was cool to see a legit observatory for the first time. So it was a fun P-Day activity to go up there. Other than that, nothing else too noteworthy happened. We've just been working hard day to day. I've been pretty tired lately, but it's a good kind of tired. It's the kind of tired where you come home and feel satisfied with the day from finding and teaching people so it's been good. I hope everyone is doing well back home though, I miss you guys and hope to hear from you all soon!

Elder Godwin

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May 2, 2017

Dear family and friends, 
This week was great, we've been finding a lot of new people and we also have an awesome family that we have been teaching that want to be baptized. The only thing is that they need to come to church but there are conflicts with work, people have to work a lot in order to get by in the Bay Area. But other than that I'm really excited because of how much potential they have. Elder Mosher and I are getting along really well so far and I'm glad that we have an opportunity to serve together. We've also been experiencing a lot of small miracles day to day. I think that we were both a little overwhelmed to some degree to whitewash and start from scratch in an area, but it's been amazing to see how involved the Lords hand has been in the work. 

I also got to go to the temple on Saturday which was great. The peace that you feel in the house of the Lord is really something that you can't find anywhere else. It was a good opportunity to go to a session and feel the spirit there. It was also a unique experience to go to a sealing of one of the families that Elder Mosher taught, it was a beautiful thing to see just how special it is to have an eternal family. It made me look forward to the day when I get to be sealed to my future wife and have my own eternal family. We went on a really clear day and the view was amazing too, you could see all of Oakland and the Bay Bridge to San Francisco and the Golden Gate. I made sure to get a couple of good pictures too. So that was a good experience to go up to the temple this week. 

Things are all going well out here though, I'm glad to hear that things are all fine back home. As of this week I'm at my 8 month mark, or 1/3 of the way done. It's weird to think about it that way and time is a strange thing. Happy birthday to Sammy too! I hope it will be a good week. But I miss you all and I'll keep you updated on how things are going out here. 

Elder Godwin 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April 24, 2017

This week felt really long but not a ton happened. My new companion is Elder Mosher and we've been doing great thus far. But since we are white washing the area, we are just trying to get to know the area better. We've been getting to know a lot of the members this past week and visiting and getting familiar with our investigators too in order to find what their needs are. So we have been doing a lot of drop-bys and calling a lot of people to kind of figure things out. Saturday we did a lot of service and we helped set up and take down for the Lamb of God performance in downtown San Jose and got to sit and listen to it. They did it in this Cathedral which was really cool too. Other than that, nothing too exciting happened, we've just been running around trying to take care of the area the best we can so we can keep moving forward. This area is a lot different than my other one, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Just trying to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the ward and zone so we can adjust to what the needs are.

One thing that is a staple of missionary work is the invitations that we leave with people. It's the same basic things that even the primary kids learn and know, which is go to church, pray, and read the scriptures. We call it "CPR" for Church, Pray, and Read. So the idea is that just as CPR helps somebody stay physically alive, the "CPR" of Church, Prayer, and Reading is what keeps us spiritually alive. It seems so simple, but it's true. Those are the 3 most basic ways that we exercise our faith in Jesus Christ. And if we stop doing those things, our spiritual health slowly diminishes. But as we continue to do those things, our faith continues to grow and be strengthened. It's such a basic formula, but people see and experience miracles in their lives through those simple acts of faith as we invite them to follow the savior. But anyways, missionary work is awesome and things have been going pretty smoothly so far, hopefully we can have a lot of success here in the area as we keep working. 

Elder Godwin 

Monday, April 17, 2017

April 17, 2017

Hello everyone, 
This week went really well. It was my first week in my new area, so mostly we just went around so I could meet members and our investigators before my current companion leaves. I've been with Elder Maldonado this week which has been awesome and we get along really well. We actually came into the mission at the same time and he was my companion for the very first day of the mission. But he is leaving to a different area tomorrow and I'll be getting a new companion named Elder Mosher. So I'm "white washing" this area which means that both me and my companion are new to the area and have to kind of figure it out together because we have no experience here. So it's been nice to be here a week earlier and learn a little bit about the area before Elder Mosher gets here. Usually that doesn't happen and when they white wash an area they just put two new companions in the area together on the same day. I also got called as a district leader so that will be a new experience too. I look forward to it though and it will be good serving here in East San Jose for a while.

So yesterday I got to go back to the El Camino ward for my baptism and it was really awesome. Her name is Elva and she is from Peru, she got baptized by a friend of hers who came up from Texas. It was really cool to have a baptism on Easter Sunday and see somebody born again on the day that we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The spirit was so strong and a lot of the members of our ward attended to support her. I can't really find the words to express how it felt to be a part of that. Just seeing how happy she was and feeling the spirit there was an amazing experience. A scripture that I thought of was D&C 18:10-16, it just about sums it up. But I hope that things in this new area will go well and I'll be able to see more baptisms throughout my mission. So far everything has been great! 

-Elder Godwin 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

April 11, 2017

Hello everyone, 
So I got transferred to a new area a week early, I'm now serving in Las Colinas which is in east San Jose. I figured that I was going to be transferred but it was a surprise that they needed me to go earlier. I'm really excited to be in a new area though and serving in El Camino was a great experience. I'll get to go back on Sunday to go to my baptism tho so I look forward to that. Looking back on my first 6 months in my first area, I've realized that I've learned a lot and grown since I arrived here. I'm much more comfortable in Spanish, I've learned about and become familiar with the culture, I've learned a lot about the gospel, I've developed a lot of good relationships with the people here, and I've been able to learn more about myself. It's interesting to see the way that the Lord blesses you as you go out to do his work and bless the lives of others. The first 6 months went quick, I knew that they would but it's different in hindsight. It hit me that I don't get any of that time back though so I'm determined to keep working hard in the new area. I'll keep you posted on how things go! 

Elder Godwin 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April 3, 2017

Hello everybody,

This week was pretty busy overall and kind of tiring. I went on 2 full
24 hour exchanges this week and since my companion is a zone leader,
there were a few meetings that came up as well. Not too many new
things happened, it just ended up being busy. The good thing though is
that we were able to go out and teach a lot. I actually went and
taught a new investigator about the restoration and it was super weird
once we started because I was on an exchange and it was in English.
When we started teaching I actually blanked for a minute because I've
never really taught it in English and didn't know what to say because
I'm so used to doing it in Spanish all the time. Which I suppose is
also a good thing that I'm kind of more comfortable teaching it in
Spanish at this point, but it was a weird feeling to teach in English
for once.

Since this week was pretty busy, it was really nice to have a nice
little break for General Conference over the weekend. It was really
good (as usual) and there were several talks that I really enjoyed
that I plan on revisiting throughout the upcoming weeks. I'll also
have to go back and watch the Sunday Afternoon session again because I
watched it in Spanish with our investigator. I was still able to
understand a lot of it and Elder Costa's talk was really perfect to
listen to with our investigator there, but it's still easier to
understand and study it in English. Each time I watch General
Conference I come to the realization of how amazing it is that we have
a living prophet and apostles to direct, lead, and guide us today.
There were definitely a lot of things throughout the sessions that I
needed to hear. But I hope everybody back home was able to enjoy
watching or listening to it too, I love you guys and love hearing from

-Elder Godwin

Monday, March 27, 2017

March 27, 2017

Hello everybody,
So I just got up from a much needed 2 hour nap, but this week was
awesome. Our new investigator who was going to be baptized in May
talked to us and wants to move her date up to April 16th on Easter
which is really cool! That's also during this transfer so I'll still
be here and it will be my first baptism. She decided that she doesn't
want to wait that long, she is really awesome and super open to
learning about the gospel. Her name is Elva and she moved here to
California from Peru a while ago and I can tell that she is definitely
ready to have the gospel in her life. I'm sure that the Lord has
prepared her to hear it and she absolutely loves the church. I
actually went and watched a little bit of the women's session of
General Conference Saturday at the church for the first time in my
life because we met her there so she could watch it with the other
ward members. So that's what's going on with one of our investigators.

We had Zone Conference in Menlo Park all day Wednesday and that was
good too. We go over numbers, have some training, and also get to hear
a lot from President and Sister Mella. They always provide lunch for
us too half way through which is always really good. Traffic also
wasn't as bad as it was coming back this time so that was nice.

I'm also really looking forward to general conference this weekend, it
will be great. It's always a really good time to feel the spirit and
get a lot of personal revelation and answers to prayers. We are so
blessed to have a living prophet today and it's a great testimony that
the Lord is truly at the head of this church. It's been awesome to be
a part of the work up to this point, I'm at about my 6 month mark now
and it's gone pretty fast. A lot has happened and I've learned a lot
so far. We also get to go up to the temple in Oakland the week after
General Conference so I'm also really excited to go up there. So
there's a lot to look forward to over the next few weeks.

Things are going really well though and these next couple of weeks
should be great. These will probably be my last weeks in this area so
it will be a good way to close out I suppose. But everything is good
out here in Cali, the weather has cleared up a lot and it stays
lighter out for much longer which has been nice. We are just running
around and finding and teaching people as usual. I hope everyone back
home is doing good, I love you guys.

- Elder Godwin