Monday, 28 December 2015

Christmas in paradise

My Christmas package was awesome. I love it. 

I already have my bike…  I just need to pay back the mission so it’s all good. I’m taking out about 10,000 South Pacific Francs a week until its payed off. It is, in fact, the nicest bike I've ever used. I’ll send pics some week soon. I don’t use it a lot right now, but when I do splits, I use it. (splits=switching with another companionship or member).

Families here aren’t like only a parent and child thing here. Families normally include grandparent, parent, child, and other cousins. Everyone one in Tahiti is related in some way... so you hear people say, "oh yeah that guy is my cousin" all the time.

The work this week was pretty lame. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we had very little planned, so the other Elders in our house all put Santa hats on and went carolling. We ended up singing in a store full of people. Overall ten-outa-ten experience. 

A huge transfer happened in the mission. The other secteur in our house got white washed (whitewashed=completely new missionaries) not because they suck, but because it ended up being a weird transfer. So we will see how the new Elders are. Elder Ruff and I are one of the only companioships that aren’t being changed in our zone. Fun times ahead. Party times are over so now enough for us to go and do contacting. But New Years is just around the corner, so it might not last. Overall good week. 

It was so nice to see you guys. You guys are looking great. And I will have you know that after we hung up, I totally lost it for a minute. Life goes on, and thanks for being such an awesome family.
Elder Goodwin

Monday, 21 December 2015

Super quick update

In answer to Mom’s questions… yes they decorate trees here. There aren’t many lights and the local customs for Christmas are pretty much the same as in Canada. 

I’m sorry for the rushed email post this week. I’m saving content for my Skype call home Christmas morning. Actually today we had some Sister missionaries take absolutely forever at shopping. So now we have no time to do emails…  

Good to hear life is sweet at home. Can’t wait for Friday. Everything should work smoothly. Remember 8 o’clock in the morning, my time!

Love you guys. I have no photos of me this week... so just imagine me walking on water and drinking coconuts.
Elder Goodwin

Monday, 14 December 2015

Mataiea sector continues - no transfer!

I have come to the stark realization that I will never wear any of my long sleave shirts. I only need one for going to the temple and for baptizing. It just gets too hot and rains too much here. So maybe is a couple months. a package of 3 to 5 short sleeve shirts would be a dream. But for now I’m doing dandy. (this is in answer to a question from Mom and Dad).

It is weird spending Christmas here... because it doesnt feel like Christmas to me. I look out the window and see green grass and palm trees and no snow.

We have been teaching some Christmas themed lessons lately and it feels strange. Our secter has been pretty quiet lately. but we are slowly bringing our secter back to life. But it is a lot of work. This week Elder Ruff and I did this cool service project for one of our investigators. We cut down this tree and cleaned it all up. And after we were done, we cracked open a couple coconuts and drank up. Pretty sweet. I will send pictures. Real coconut water tastes miles different from the stuff you buy at the store. Real coconut water has a little tingle to it. It is miles better than coke. 

I am not being transferred this week, nor is my companion, which is awesome. But Elder Mclelland in our home is being transfered to one of the Tuamotu's on the 28th. That is awesome! the Tuamotu's are my dream place to serve. When you think of untouched paradise. you are thinking of the Tuamotu's. 

The Tahitian word of the day is “puaahorofenua” which means "horse"... but the direct translation is "pig run land." AND THE BONUS WORD IS "MANUREVA TUTUHA AUAHI," which means "jet"… but the direct translation is "bird spit fire.”  So basically Tahitian is the coolest language ever.

It has been a busy/hot couple weeks. 
All's well in paradise.
Elder Goodwin

Service project with Lee

Service project sunburn!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Working hard... oh and bugs!

Yes. There is in fact a heat wave here caused by El Nino.  We do have fans but they don’t help that much. They really just keep the mosquitos off during the night. 

I don’t have many photos and I don’t have tons of time today to do emails this week (sorry). Long story short, Mataiea area is struggling right now so we have been doing a lot of contacting. There are transfers next week, and I am not sure if my companion is going to stay, but I am pretty comfortable showing the sector.

The story behind the picture with the spider. I lifted up a spoon one morning and there was a massive spider on the dang spoon. I have never run faster in my life. We hunted the beast for a three days as it was roaming in our home, and when I found it I let out a screach comparable to 20 rubber chickens being squeezed at the same time. I am pretty sure the only goal it had in the life that spider was to scare the living crap out of people. It isnt even poisonous. Just so scary. 

This is how I broke the sound barrier!

The cockroaches here really like to die in really weird places. This is on my bag during my personal study. I feel like the cockroach knew he was going to die, so he thought it would be really funny to die on my bag. Oh and on the bug theme, I just want to put it out there that centipedes here can jump really high, and they are super poisonous and scary… 

A little more tanned and working hard. Oh and Tahitian pineapples are pretty much a drug. All's well in paradise. Tahitian word of the day is "uri taata"  which means monkey but translated directly it means "dog man."

Elder Goodwin

Monday, 30 November 2015

Fafaru fear factor!

Hey guys,

The guy we baptized this week was the first of a familly of 11 with tons of potential. I performed my first confirmation. It went way better than expected.. I had to spend a couple days memorizing his name, because names here are practically full sentances in Tahitian. 

The mosquitoes aren’t too bad here. I use the repellant at night usually. I’ve only received one or two bites my whole time here so far, so we are doing great on that front. 

On P-days we usually do activities like play soccer as a district, or go to this cool place by the water and eat. We wanted to go on a hike today, but a set of the Sisters in our district lost their phone, then got Elder Ruff and I to pick them up at a store. Turns out they werent at the store, and were at the Stake Center right beside the place we wanted to hike. Long story short we used a allotment of kilometres  and we didn’t get to do the hike today. Another day.

And yes... I have been working on Tahitian. Right now I can speak Frahitian! Most Tahitians on the main island speak French with Tahitian words and phrases thrown in, but i am working on trying to speak it. So I’ve been using Ruffs books to try and learn. In answer to Mom, I haven’t really spoken in Church yet. The speakers in Church either speak Frahitian or Tahitian, but mostly Tahitian. I can understand the slightest sliver of pure Tahitian, but Frahitian I’ve gotten down pretty much. 

Yes... my clothes still fit and I haven’t had to use any of my drugs really. Seems that letters usually take a month to get here and packages take longer.  Oh and whoever in our zone is heading into town that week usually picks up the packages or letters. 

Soooo yesterday Ruff and I got invited to one of our investigator families ma'a Tahiti night. It is all the really traditional Tahitian food (ma'a). One of the items I ate was called fafaru. Fafaru is made when you take ocean water and put it in a clear jar, then let the jar sit anywhere from 2 days to 5 years, to let it ferment nice and good. then you put raw fish in the water for about 4-5 hours. It smells like something I’ve never experienced in my life. The taste wasn’t unbearable but if you breath in as you eat it, say good-bye to that dinner. Oh and you usually dip it in fermented coconut milk. GREAT STUFF. The rest of the ma'a was fantastic. 

Your Tahitian phrase of the week is "ua hina'aro vau ya omaha" which means I have to go pee. 

Overall… all is well in paradise.

Elder Goodwin

Mini coconut I husked and drank and ate

Homes in Tahiti 

What you do if you get caught in the rain in Tahiti.

Tahiti missionary life

My favourite dog on the Island of Tahiti

Baptism this week

Monday, 23 November 2015

Mataiea - fa’ata mahara’a oh my!

It's good to hear everything is going well! 

Sorry I didnt take a lot of pictures this week. Elder Ruff and I worked super hard this week. This mission has really high standards to keep up with which is good and, well, the big news is that we participate in another baptism for the 28th of November. Elder Ruff is doing the baptism and I am confirming and giving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Super pumped. It is amazing to help people find the gospel. It is a happiness that I haven't experienced before. 

This week I may have eaten twice my body weight in raw fish, which is a good thing. Every evening we have a fa’ata mahara’a — literal translation is to 'make eat’ -- with members, but sometimes we have two a night. So it is needless to say that we eat a lot. About weather. Stupid hot! I did splits (swapped companions) the other day with Elder Lee Chip Sao, and we were on bikes. I honestly thought I was going to shrivel up into nothing. Oh, and a fisherman gave me the most beautiful shell thingy. I dont have a picture of it, but I will send it once the living creature inside it dies. Oh and during contacting one day we came upon a strange sight. There was this weird ring thing in the yard. Turns out he was training his chickens for a cock fight. It was really weird but long story short I won 200 dollars (totally kidding)… but we do have a lesson scheduled for Thursday.

There is this weird pandemic going around that gives you one or two boils on your legs, they swell up really big, and have weird foreign matter inside of them that you have to pull out one by one, for it to heal. Elder Mclelland got one, and we all performed a minor surgical procedure on his leg. oh and it is chikungunya season. I think that last time it was that season, 90 percent of Elders got it, so good times! 

In answer to Mom’s questions… no crazy spiders, the centipedes are super huge and dangerous, needless to say we check our shoes every morning. We live in a house owned by the Mission. It is really nice by Tahitian standards. We have a big front yard that has a community of chickens living there. Every day is a war against ants, but on the bright side, the Raid smells really good.

I’ve seen some little miracles this week, too many to tell. All you have to know is that.. all's well in paradise.

Orometua Goodwin

The girls are enjoying my jump rope technique!

Elder Ruff has real style with the jump rope.

Me... right now while I write this email.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Mataiea - Ok big info of the week

This week it has been super stupid Satan-breath hot here!  We haven’t gotten any rain this week so we are just cookin!

I got to go to the Tahiti temple this week. It is absolutely beautiful inside... the interior reminds me a lot of the Calgary Temple.

The house we are in has four Elders in it. Elder Ruff and I, then Elder Lee Chip Soa, a Tahitian dude who looks like a Polynesian version of Mark Walburg, and his companion Elder McClelland, who is an American dude who is in his second transfer. Elder Lee Chip Soa is a level 9000 Bible Basher and knows the scriptures inside and out. One day I said something about how I didn’t like the fake maple syrup here and he gave me a scripture reference to put me in my place. 

Yoooooo, Ruff and I had our first baptism this week!!!!! His name is K-dog, awesome dude, super converted. Our Ward Mission Leader is the coolest man I’ve ever met, his name is Savas Maitai, which in itself is a short conversation. Savas? Maitai! (Ca va? Bien! How's it going? Good!). He doesn’t have a traditional job, so he just goes out and picks fruit and fishes sometimes, and occasionally he cuts down a tree for some extra money. He basically lives my dream life.  He also has tons of free time, so he comes with us a lot, to go see people.

This week I ate cocoa, two types of pineapple and coconut. Tahitian pineapple is far better than anything I have ever before consumed. My poo may have been solid for the first time in a while.. must be getting used to things. 

I have come to see spiders as my friends, because they eat the other bugs, which plague our life. Every time I buy cereal, it is a gamble. There has been an occasion or two where there was life present in our freshly purchased Special K. 

Missionary work is hard, but actually so rewarding, it’s so awesome to watch people find truth for themselves, knowing you had something to do with guiding them. I’ve never had the chance to dive into the scriptures as I have now. We have two hours a day to study--it is actually really awesome. It is also really weird to read with Missionary eyes, I find I study for my investigators now, not myself. 

Iaorana means, "may you live.”  We use it for hello, and “nana" is goodbye. Spelling in Tahiti is really open, as long as it is pronounced correctly, the spelling doesn't seem to matter. You have no idea how many times I've asked a Tahitian how to spell something and they say that they don’t know... 

All is well in Paradise.

Elder Goodwin
My trainer and companion Elder Ruff and I.

Trip to the Pape'ete, Tahiti Temple

We share the house with Elder Lee Chip Soa and Elder McClelland

Baptism of K-Dog

A new roommate!

Two kinds of fresh pineapple!

Road to one of our investigators

Mataiea toward the "fish tail" of the island of Tahiti.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Mataiea, Tahiti


I’m in tahiti with my companion Elder Ruff! He’s pretty sweet. He comes from Colorado, so he speaks English. My French is doing fine and dandy and teaching lessons are actually pretty fun. 

I am in the Mataiea area on the opposite site of the main island of Tahiti from Pate’ete, and we have a car. We are one of three companionships in our zone that have a car all to themselves. Mataiea is a very poor area. There are alot of dirt roads and a lot of houses that can be compared to a shack for shelter from the rain. It has been raining a lot here, so when we go out we usually wear sandals or something. I'll try and send pictures of what life looks like here. There are a lot of chickens just living in peoples front yard, and a lot of stray dogs… like a lot of stray dogs. They are for the most part pretty nice, but you don’t want to touch them, because they are covered in who knows what. 

Everything basically runs off of the main highway, so it's pretty simple to get around. I ate "poisson cru” my first day in the field and it is sooooooo good. Every evening we have a faataamaraa (dinner) at some of the members place, sometimes two a night. I'm probably going to gain a bunch of weight...  I Love you guys!!! All's well in paradise.
Elder Goodwin

p.s.   I have to use the French keyboard, so sqrry if so,e of ,y e,qils qre hqrd to understqnd:

Elder Ruff

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Day-One at the Mission Home

New Missionaries with President and Sister Bize
Les tout nouveaux missionnaires: Sr Jaquet de Suisse, Sr Domenech-Trevisan de France, Elder Dieutre (France), Elder Goodwin (Canada), Elder Tekurio (Tahiti) et Elder Langomazino (Tahiti) et Elder Gilstrap (Luxembourg) et le couple Perrut.

Lunch - Déjeuner
Russell's new companion? - Nouveau compagnon?

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Arriving in Tahiti

French, Tahitian and one Canadian missionary arrive in Papeete.

Hey! I have arrived in tahiti safely, i just have a short time to email you so you know im alive. I'm currently staying in Mission President Bize’s house. Yes it is so hot here--the humidity hit me like a brick wall stepping out of the plane.
Ia orana
Elder Goodwin

Classic missionary photo bomb!

Keep in mind it is 10:30 p.m. at the airport!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Last day in the New Zealand MTC

Hey!!!! All is well. the MTC is crazy strict and busy, and I also have the joy of being district leader, which makes my life a bit harder. But all is well. We’ve been struggling this week, with our ability to teach simply and clearly. Before my mission I wasnt sure what was worse--talking too much or not enough. I know for sure now that it is talking too much. Teaching as a companionship is a new challenge for me, but we work things out. The key is to keep things straight forward and keep the spirit with you.

My MTC teachers are super awesome. One is a Samoan dude who served in Tahiti. He speaks English so it's nice to have personal conversations with him in English. The other instructor is a tahitan girl who is about 22. She served her mission in Australia so she speaks English well and does a lot of the translating in big meetings. There is this cool room behind glass that the translator sits in with this big head set on and she translates to these headphone things. I’ve had the chance on a few occassions to go into that room to do translating. We--as the only French district, have been teaching some of the English Elders some French so they can say things like "good morning" and stuff. We told one of the Fijian District Leaders how to say "come play," so he could ask one of our sisters to join in on a game of volley ball. He ended up saying vien jouir  instead of vien jouer. I cried sweet tears of joy it was so funny. 

My French is doing awesome and it is getting better everyday. I’ve now gotten good at listening to English and translating into French while the English person continues to speak. It hurts physically to do that for long, but Ive gotten good at it. My Tahitian is coming along. We have been doing little words and short phrases. MaitaiRe stands for Goodwin in Tahitian. The Tahitian couple and I figured that one out.

The MTC is busy like nothing I’ve ever experienced. That stacked on top of taking care of the district that only speaks French, my two weeks have full of humbling experiences. There is so much to talk about I can’t keep track of it. Oh I’ve learned how to do push ups and clap behind my back (super relevant information). I’m so absolutely pumped to be heading off to the mission. The MTC President, President Gibson is so awesome, and a mega spiritual guy. 

I’ve been talking to the Tongan missionaries about grandpa and his mission. Now all of a sudden they think i’m a cool dude and every time I shake one of their hands, I say the only word in Tongan I can remember, which is "hua kao" or “milk." And yes.. I’ve played some rugby with the missionaries. You can tell that the people over here have a rugby culture. They play with a lot of creativity.

How is life in the frozen north? Have you gotten the first snow fall yet? Christmas is going to be so weird here... I'll send pictures of me throwing sand balls and making sand angels.
How's the blog coming? Am I world famous yet? I'm sorry, so much happens in a day, it is impossible to recount all the stuff that happens here--so I'll just say this, It is the single greatest learning experience I’ve had so far. I love you guys so much! I'll see you on the flip side!

I leave for Tahiti today at 4:00 p.m New Zealand time! Aaaaaaahhhh! All the Tahitian and French Elders and Sisters are on the same flight thankfully. Oh and don't Google Pacific Hurricane Warning anytime soon. I love you guys! I hope all continues to go well!

Ia ora na
Elder Goodwin
ou Elder MaitaiRe
ou Elder BonGagner
Classic Russell move.

Sister Domenech-Trevisan and Sister Jaquet in class.

Elder Langomazino, Elder Tarau and Elder Tekurio in class.

Trip to the New Zealand Temple at Hamilton

Long days require naps.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

New Zealand MTC


We don’t really have P-day's in the MTC so I dont really a lot of time to email. 

Yeah... so I’m the district leader of the French District. So I basically have to make sure a bunch of French and Tahitian Elders and Sisters don't break the rules. In our district we have Elder Langomazino, Elder Tarau and Elder Tekurio who are all Tahitan. Then there is Sister Domenech-Trevisan who is French, Sister Jaquet who is Swiss, then we have a Tahitian couple Elder and Sister Perrut. And my companion Elder Dieutre, who is a French dude. He is a nice guy... he really tries to learn and is very focused on the work. 

There is little to no free time while at the MTC, so emailing is going to be complicated. 

Below are photos of my district and the whole MTC. 

We have started learning a bit of Tahitian from the couple this week, and it is coming along. I’m hoping I can start praying in Tahitian this week. Every time we eat we all say tama'a maitai and goodnight is taoto maitai. There are a lot of other words I’ve been learning and compiling in a little note book. 

The Samoan and the Tongan Elders are crazy. We have been playing a lot of volleyball, because islanders love volleyball. They are always laughing and smilling. They are truely the friendliest people I’ve ever met. Sorry 
I couldn't write more, but I’m running out of time. My next email should be about next Wednesday.

Elder Goodwin
ou Elder MaitaiRe

The Tahitian District

My MTC companion Elder Dieutre from France