Monday, 6 November 2017

The end is nigh!!

Hey Guys. 

My stuff is ready, and I've already finished all my interview stuff with President Fox. I'm currently in the mission office weighing my stuff. We will see each other very soon. 

This is sooooo weird.

Elder Goodwin

Monday, 30 October 2017

Adventures, surprises and my testimony

Alrighty Everybody!

In answer to your question I am down for a little open house thingy, but I don't want It to be too over whelming. 

The work this week is going really well, we in fact had the best week of my entire mission. We managed to get what we call “Standards of Excellence," which is when we have a particular amount of success during the week, we worked really hard. I am super pumped for this Saturday because we get to baptize the three kids of the parents we taught and baptized. It'll be a really great way to finish.

I have most of my shopping done, there a couple things that I kinda want to pick up, but It should be no problem. I just need to get a couple local shirts for Dad and I. 

Soooooo, I have some interesting news, don’t be alarmed because normally I think this kind of thing can get worked out. But apparently the mission didn’t realize that my visa In fact expires on the first of November. This being a small country they have a custom of meeting up and arresting people who haven't left the country yet... We discovered this completely by accident when a member asked me if my visa has expired because iI’e been in Polynesia since the 3rd] of November 2015. So I looked into It... thankfully I had to go to the Mission Office to get fumigation worked out for my stuff that got here from Raiatea. 

SO long story short, If they can’t manage to work something out, I may get deported in a couple days. Granted I really don’t know how the system works, and I already have a return ticket booked for 5 days after my visa expires. I'm not entirely sure how far they can pull strings, but knowing the French I may have to get interrogated or something. This is totally not adding to the stress level... haha. 

In looking back, I’ve Had so many experiences on my mission and have grown so much emotionally and spiritually that I think in order to save myself the mental strain of writing it all down in email form, I have been very light in sharing the amazing experiences that I’ve had as a missionary for over 107 weeks as a missionary. 

As a missionary We are constantly talking/teaching and working with people. We run into close to 80 or 90 people a day sometimes. I feel as though I haven’t stopped moving in 2 years. I am not going to lie the mental stress of it all has been overwhelming at times, Yet the knowledge I’ve gained from these experiences has shaped me into (at least in my eyes) a far better man than I could have ever became If I had stayed home. I am still the same me, but the experiences I’ve had will have a lasting effect on the choices I will make. 

Other than that, I have had the wonderful opportunity and to be honest for the first time in my life. I have really applied myself to deep scripture study. Before My mission I would tell myself that I'll read my scriptures everyday but after two days I would just get distracted by something else. But for the last two years I have come to love the scriptures. I can say that for the last two years I have read the word of God every single day and have learned so much about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His plan for His children. 

Maybe one of the principles I’ve learned the most about on my mission is about the principles of Revelation. Whether it be through a Prophet of God or simply everyday personal revelation. I have seen with my very own eyes ehe power of revelation. I have also come to realize that revelation is very simple. The more we seek to do the will of the Lord, the more He makes His will known unto us. 

It is impossible for me to truly describe how I feel right know, knowing that my service as a full-time missionary is coming to an end. Being a missionary we live by high principles of obedience that protect us from temptation and physical dangers---yet they also teach us the extreme importance of obedience. this heightened obedience has let me live my life for the last two years with a very close connection to the Holy Spirit. I have lived a life set apart from the world. 

The thought of entering back into to the world, being exposed to social media, and popular culture is something that worries me a lot, because I have seen from a very exterior perspective how much the world standards have decreased over the last two years. The world is becoming so much more lustful and dark. So far from the principles that Jesus Christ taught us. 

My testimony of the Gospel I teach and have defend, has grown every day since the beginning. I’ve seen it change the lives of those so far from the standards the Lord has set. I have walked side by side with these people for the last two years. I have come to love them, and see them through the eyes of God. I know that the work I’ve been doing is the work of the Lord. I know that the Gospel was truly restored to the earth after years of apostasy from the truth. 

I know that God answers prayers and that He still talks to his children. That revelation from God is what started this Church, and what drives it forward even during the most difficult of times. I know that God answered the prayer of a young Joseph Smith nearly 200 years ago. and that since then the Lord hasn’t stopped speaking with his children. I know that Jesus Christ is our Saviour and that He showed us the perfect example in all things. That Is my testimony that I leave you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Elder Goodwin

Monday, 23 October 2017

Past the 24-month mark and going strong!

Hey Guys!

My mental and Physical Health is doing pretty well. Knowing how close the end is, is a very weird sensation. Because you feel as if you could just keep going---that it couldn't possible end. As you guys may have noticed, yesterday was, in fact, my two-year mark! so as you guys could probably guess, every time someone asks me about how long I've been on my mission I have to reply "about 24 months," and they all have about the same reaction.  

I can't help but understand what other missionaries have told me about the fact that it is way easier to leave your family than to finish your mission. You become so used to living your life completely focused on helping people follow Christ. As a missionary you have the objective of helping others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel, so at all times you can think, "is this helping me bring someone to Christ?" Then you alter your efforts as to be in alignment with that objective. 

But after the mission it seems as though there are so many different objectives, and yet so many distractions that I see how some missionaries have trouble staying focused after their missions. 

This weekend we had a weekend-long Stake activity focused on missionary work. We had a large number of investigators attend these fire sides and other activities, It helped our investigators get to know the Bishop and their counsellors families. We had some investigators who wouldn't stop talking about how much they loved one of the activities when the temple president came and did a question and answer thingy and taught a bunch about the restoration. Then afterward, we all ate together and did sketches. All the bishoprics and the stake leaders did sketches with the investigators in their ward boundaries, they all said it was super funny. 

We were able to fix another baptism for December with one of our investigators. He has taken the lessons for many years and has been living in co-habitation with a member. Thanks to the help of the ward, the Spirit and our crazy dope bishop, they will be getting married and he will be baptized In December. I promised him that I will attend over Skype or something. 

We also have three kids who are preparing for baptism the Saturday before I leave. That'll be a great way to finish. Our zone is doing super well right now. This stake was pretty far behind the other stakes in the mission in finding and teaching those interested in the Gospel, but in the last two weeks we have had six baptisms and we consistently will be having baptisms until December. We should end the year by doubling the total baptisms from the first nine months in the last three months of the year. All Victory and Glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, Faithfulness, and prayers of Faith. (Doctrine and Covenants 103:36).

I realize that I didn't talk a lot about how our reunions went with Elder Ardern of the Quorum of the 70. (He is from New Zealand). Our reunion with him Sunday afternoon with all the zone leaders and STL's in the mission was really great. We talked a lot about our responsibility in the mission. We talked a lot about the teaching in Preach my Gospel and we had a great discussion about being a true disciple of Christ and how that can affect our ability to teach is Gospel effectively.

On Tuesday we had a multi-zone conference with him as well, It was very long, and we talked about so many things it was very hard to focus on one teaching as to apply it. It all seemed a little bit over whelming because it all seemed so important yet there isn't enough mental space to apply all at once. But I did manage to pick out a few key point to try and apply in my life and in our zone. 

In other news Being inspired by the story of Ricky (our last chicken), we may or may not have adopted a little chick (baby chicken). His name is Liquintavius. They are actually super easy to take care of. Especially when we have four Elders in the house to take care of him. He has totally gotten used to us now and follows us around the house. He walks around and eats the bugs and other things so it has actually helped us to keep the house clean. When we are not home we just put him in his cardboard box home that is literally a mansion for him. and he chills and eats the massive amounts of food we give him. When we got him, he had just hatched not many days before so he's just a little guy. But he is starting to grow feathers now. I know understand at least to the slightest degree a little bit of the joy of parenthood. 

That's pretty much it. We had a very good week this week; we taught a lot of really great lessons and have been working a lot with the members. Heavenly Father isn't really giving an opportunity to be "trunky" with how busy we have been. But he did give us just enough time to adopt a chick. đŸ€
Love you guys!

Elder Goodwin

Liquintavius the chicken

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Conference, great member missionary work and a hike too!

Helllo! Family! 

First thing is first. Sorry for not emailing on Monday. We had a General Authority who came down and made us displace our P-day so that we could do some zone confĂ©rences. We had a bunch of trainings all week with him, so we didn’t have a whole lot of time in our area. But we still managed to get a lot of work done this week. 

This week I witnessed the best member missionary work I’ve ever seen. Our Bishop has been motivating the members a lot and they are for sure doing their darndest to help our investigators feel integrated. We honestly don’t even have to engage our investigators anymore because the members are inviting them and helping them 24/7. Thanks to their efforts we scheduled three baptisms this week. And there are about four more that could be fixed by next Sunday. The difference a supportive member can make in the life of an investigator is infinitely important. 

I was able this morning to go to the market en ville and pic up a few things that I’ve been meaning to buy for a while. 

Oh and I will likely get my wooden sculpture stuff fumigated and shipped. I will get the rest of the stuff from Raiatea this week normally. So I'll start shipping it all as soon as possible. It doesn’t seem to be soooo expensive, the Mission office seems to know how the system works. 

The hike today was really a hike because two out of the three waterfalls were closed off because of flood damage. But it was fun anyways. 

Do you guys want anything that I can get a hold of here. I bought some more pareos made with a different material. 

Sorry for not emailing on Monday. I still love you guys! See you guys in 19 days!

Elder Goodwin

A random picture of the water fall. 

A picture of a duckling that the Elders in our zone saved from some bully chickens. 
His name is Ricky.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Message from President Fox Facebook blog

For any parents who read this...our mission has multi-zone conferences today and tomorrow due to a visit by Elder Ardern of the Seventy. Our P-day is this Wednesday so your missionaries will be writing then. Merci!

Monday, 9 October 2017

Serving a big, big area

My people,

We now live at the far end of our area in the community of Hitia. Our area is really big. If you were to look on Google maps or Google Earth, when you see a little atol called Variararu, there is a little lighter looking blotch in the water in between the atol and the island of Tahiti. The best way of explaining it, is that we live just on the sea side of the highway not far from that little blotch. Good luck finding the appartement. (editor’s note: Elder Goodwin’s spelling is getting very French) Our area keeps going a couple kilometres farther after that. 

I bet it was nice to see tha fam jam a little bit this week. Hannah sent me a picture of Caleb, he's huge now. 

Our ward is really great. We have a Young bishop who is very motivated and very consecrated to his calling. I got to do a couple visits with him on split this week. Super great guys. He has three Young kids, so his house is always hectic, yet you can see that having a family is his greatest source of joy. 

I haven’t been able to see any of my previous investigators or new converts. We just live on a really far part of the island and we have to have special authorization to leave our zone. We are trying to work out occasions to meet up. I know my last week on my mission, another elder who is finishing is going to come with me and we are going to do a tour of the island visiting people. I'll keep you guys posted.

We are going to be doing the little three waterfall hike thingy this afternoon with most of the zone. 

I feel bad, i really don’t have a lot to report this week. We just worked a lot and taught a bunch of lessons. If you have more questions feel free to ask.

Love you guys!

Elder Goodwin

My companion,  Elder Hollowel, from North Carolina, and I

Monday, 2 October 2017

Great area... the apartment AC is killing me

To my people,

Fun times here in Tiarei (on Tahiti). Our area is pretty big. It covers from the tunnel all the way until Hitia. So we take care of the third largest area in the mission (Tevaitoa/Vaiaau). Anyways, this area is really great. It is the lesser populated side of Tahiti and we have some super great ocean views with waves crashing into rocks right beside your car as you drive. We drive a pick-up truck, kinda like the old white one we had on Raiatea before we got “Kelly" (our new truck). Normally, we are going try and do the Faarumai waterfall hike in the coming P-days. It is right in the middle of our area.

We have AC in our room in our house. That being the first house on my mission that has had AC in it. I got pretty unlucky when it comes to missionary homes. We set the thing to 23°C and I swear I almost died from the cold. My extremities were starting to go numb. I have absolutely no Idea how I am going to survive in Canada.

My companion is Elder Hollowell from North Carolina. I didn’t know him too well before this but I knew a lot of Elders that served with him, and he knew a bunch of my old companions. So we got along really well right away. Honestly... he's a golden companion to finish with. He finishes his mission on the transfer after me, so we are literally the two “oldest" Elders in the mission right now. And, in our house we have the Elders of Hitia who are not technically part of our zone. But Elder Koyle (Idaho) and Elder Hone (Utah) are in the house with us. Koyle has been out one transfer and Hone Got Here last Monday! So we are the two oldest and they are the two youngest. Fun times.

We have been sooooo busy this week. We have a bunch of really great investigators here. This area won’t give me any time to be trunky. But I'm really starting to realize that I’m going to miss this place a lot. French Polynesia has become my home. I have come to know the people, the culture, the language, and the area in general---that I no longer feel like I’m serving far from home. It feels like I am home. 

Well, life is sweet, I hope my Facebook will stop being messed up. Faaitoito (good luck). Satan’s trying to get one last stab in right before I come home. (Editor’s note: Elder Goodwin’s Facebook was hacked today and Michele spent the day trying to get it suspended and investigated).

Love you guys!

Elder Goodwin

Farewell pictures from Raiatea

My Ward Mission leader on Raiatea... one of my best friends while on my mission

Our guide for all the great hikes!

On splits in Tiarei, going proselyting in the jungle.

There is a good lagoon in Tiarei, so we have a pretty rocky and wavy sea side. Super cool.

Random picture in our area.