Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Weekly Email - February 24th


I’m speaking from a train heading out of Krakow heading to Szczecin. It is a long train ride. I have 9 ½ hours on the train. At which point Elders C, K & S, should greet me. That should be fun!

This has been a crazy week. We planned S’ baptism. I’m so glad I got to help plan his baptism. When I told S that I was leaving for Szczecin, he told me I will love it there. His mom lives there and he used to live there too. He says it’s beautiful and it’s a port city. Well anyways, he wanted one of us to give a talk, so Elder S is going to talk at the baptism. Brother D. is supposed to perform the baptism.

This past week we also had a lady contact the branch asking for more information. She was especially interested in reading materials and also had some questions. So we called her and made an appointment to go and visit her. So we went to visit her and she was the nicest woman. She invited us in, offered us some fruit tea because she knew we couldn’t have regular tea. She also offered us some cookies. She grabbed a notepad and sat down and started to ask us a lot of questions. She was very interested in what we believe in. She is pretty much home bound, and has a lot of time to read and loves to read. We taught her a lesson and she asked some great questions. Then we set up another appointment to come back for another lesson. So we went back and taught her about the plan of salvation. She listened to what we had to say and it was all clicking in her head. She said that makes sense. That is why you are baptized, that is why you are sealed in the temple and do baptisms for the dead. This is why you do these things for people in the spirit world. That makes so much sense. She also took notes the whole time. It was a really cool lesson. We also set up another appointment for the Elders to go back and teach her. I told her I wouldn’t be there that it would be a new Elder joining Elder S.

We met with S on Wednesday for his last meeting with us before the baptism. We talked for a while and got him ready for his baptism. He was being his baptismal interview with the Zone leaders the next day. He shared with us that he has had many opportunities to read in the Book of Mormon and he prayed about it and he could feel that it was right and true. He felt the Spirit. So we made all the arrangements and we reserved the pool so he is ready for baptism. I’m very excited about his baptism.

I love Elder S. He has been one of the nicest companions I could have had. He is just super kind. I have a lot of respect for him. He reminds me of Karl but taller. He has a lot of talents, but is very humble. He has a lot of faith and is so spiritual.

I got to talk to Elder Caskey briefly yesterday. He was excited to be in Poland. It really wasn’t a reality that he was going to be here until I heard his voice. He is going to be in my Zone, serving with Elder T, my companion from the MTC and they will be in Poznan. It was nice to talk to him. We will see each other at Zone Conferences.

I left a lot of things behind here. I needed to shed some weight because I didn’t want to travel heavy. I still have the same amount of bags, just lighter. I’m alone in my train compartment right now. I’m sure that will change as we pick up more people on the way.

I have heard so many nice things about Szczecin. Everyone I talked to after I got my new assignment say I will love it there. There are boats there too.

We found out that our new mission president is President Steven C. Edgren from Danville, California. He will come in on July 1st. That will be exciting.

Well, I can’t keep recording for the next 8 hours, so I guess I will let you go. I will record more once I get there.  This is going to be a crazy transfer since we will both be new to the area.

I love you all. Everything is going good over here. I’m excited! I hope everything is well in Phoenix and with the ward. There is a sister missionary from Poznan here in Poland. She has been called to serve Chicago Illinois. She will be serving in the same mission as Connor. That is pretty cool! Talk to you later, bye.

Hello, it’s Monday morning in Szczecin. I got in at 7:15 on Friday. There was a lady that was maybe 5’ 3” that offered to help me get my bags off the train. She was really nice. The other Elders were right there when I got off the train. We went to the apartment and dropped off my things and then went and got something to eat. I didn’t get any food on the train so I hadn’t eaten since lunchtime the day before. On Saturday we got up and tried to figure out where things were at in our area. We then went out and started contacting. On Sunday we went to church. We had 4 missionaries there, the branch president, a YSA member who speaks good English, but refuses to speak anything but Polish to the missionaries. She gave us all an English lesson after church. It was awesome. There was also another member there. There are more members but they were just not there this Sunday. Elder S. is awesome. He just served with Elder V. His Polish is really good.

Szczecin is a great city. It is built on a river and everything is on the west side of the river. Except for some industry. It is built the same way as Paris France, but much smaller though. We live in the old part of town. Our apartment is beautiful and we have a great view out of our window. We are looking right out on the river with lots of fancy eating places right here. We have a lot of work to do here.

I love you all! I will talk to you later.

 Elder Godwin at Hard Rock Cafe in Krakow.

 That looks yummy!

 This is at the Rynek in Krakow.

 Elder Godwin and Slawek

Baptism in Krakow

This past weekend Slawek was baptized in Krakow by President Dziubla. This is a wonderful baptism that is very close to Elder Godwin's heart. Elder Godwin has a lot of love and respect for both Slawek and President Dziubla. Slawek has had the opportunity to be taught by the missionaries several times but has never been ready to enter the waters of baptism. Elder Godwin feels so blessed to have been part of Slawek's conversion and to have seen the change in his life. He was sad to leave Krakow the day before the baptism, he wanted so badly to be there for Slawek. He was thankful to know that Slawek was ready to make the commitment to be baptized and welcome the gospel in to his life. We have never met Slawek, but we are so thankful for the opportunity our son has had to teach him and to get to know him. It has changed our son too. The gospel of Jesus Christ is wonderful!

This next weekend there is another baptism in Krakow. We are so excited for Oskar to be baptized.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekly Email - February 18th

Hello to all of you at home,

I will start from the beginning.

On Monday, we were going to go to the museum under the Rynek in Krakow. We had heard that it was free on Mondays, except for it was not free on Monday it was free on Tuesday. So we figured we will come back on culture night. So instead we went to the mall and had a goody from the bakery. It was a raspberry pie thing with sour cream. It was delicious.

Tuesday we wanted to meet with O because his baptism is coming up. He was sick so we weren’t able to go and teach him. We did get a call from Sister Nielson that there was a package for us to pick up at a hotel. So we headed there to pick it up. Elder S was sick with a cold so we had to cancel our appointment with T. He was sad, but we really didn’t want to get a 96-year old man sick.

Wednesday we had English class. We had 3 new students. Well, one of them had been there once before. He brought a friend and then there was a lady there that we had met once before. They are all beginner English. So that is cool. We had dinner at the chapel afterwards. S came afterwards and we taught him a lesson. We talked about the word of wisdom and the law of chastity. We had a good lesson and he is feeling really good about his baptism.

Thursday we did contacting and institute. There was no one that showed up to institute. It was sad that no one came because he does a really good job and I really enjoy his lessons. So we ended up leaving. We also got 2 referrals one from B and one from the office. She lives in a satellite city of Krakow. We have been trying to reach her but haven’t had any luck yet. We will keep calling her though and see if we can set up an appointment to go and see her. We actually did try finding her house on Friday and that’s when we found out that she doesn’t live in Krakow but in a suburb. After that it was culture night, so we went to dinner at u Babcia Malina (grandma raspberry), it’s an old style polish restaurant. I ordered a Golabki and potatoes. It was really good. It’s a cabbage roll swimming in gravy and stuffed with hamburger meat mixed with all kinds other stuff. Then we went to the Rynek museum. It is kind of hi-tech because they have computers where you can read all the information. It was neat with really cool exhibits. They had pieces of the original roads when they first built Krakow in the 12th century; they had wooden beams and cement. They also had artifacts like measuring devices and tools. They even had 2 real skulls there. One was from someone that had early medical procedures back in the 11th century. The other one came from someone that was tortured to death. It was interesting and informative. They had videos to watch at the end of the reenactment of the Tatar invasion. The Tatars came in and there was a guy with a trumpet or a horn and he ran up to the tower to alert the citizens of Krakow. He was shot to death. So in his memory they play the trumpet every hour on the hour at the church on the Rynek in Krakow. This is not where this man played the trumpet but it’s in his memory.
After that we went to the grocery store to see if we could buy some chocolate candy on sales after Valentine’s Day. They didn’t have any on sale though so we didn’t buy any.

Saturday we had to open the chapel in the morning for the District President. T showed up to clean the chapel too. We did some contacting around the chapel and then we had an appointment to teach a lesson to M at the chapel. He had a lot of very honest questions. He is very nice and we will meet with him again. After that we contacted some more. Then President K called and asked us to come with him to visit P. It takes about 45 minutes each way and then an hour visiting so it took the rest of the day. We gave a lesson regarding the Unspeakable Gift from God from last conference by Elder Craig C. Christensen. We had a good visit.

Sunday we had a visitor at church from the US. He was there for business. I translated during Sunday school; President K translated Sacrament meeting. I got to bless the sacrament again. O came to church too, he was feeling better today, so that was good. We visited with Brother U for a while and then we went home ate and then finally we got to see T, the 96-year old. He was happy to see us. He is such a nice man and is so trusting. He is a lot of fun to teach. He is very devoted and wants to do what is right.

We are waiting for our transfer calls. I really would love to stay in Krakow, but we will have to see.

We heard from President K about the meteor in Russia. That was really exciting. Then Brother U told us more about that. If you haven’t heard of it you need to look up current events. Maybe you have already written me about it, or maybe you are not going to write about it.

We are still waiting for transfer calls from President. I’m getting pretty stressed here. My theory is that we are both staying in Krakow and the Elder S will be training hopefully Elder C and I will be here to with someone that has already been here for one transfer. Maybe he won’t call at all and in that case that means we are staying here just like we are and that wouldn’t be bad at all.

Did you hear that the Pope resigned? I’m sure you heard already. So I guess they are looking for a new Pope. I also heard that his house got struck by lightning. Is that true?

Well, I guess I will let you go and I will make another recording when I hear from the President.

Hello again,

So we just got our transfer call from the President. Elder is S is staying here and he will be getting a new companion. And I will be moving to Szczecin. Elder C will be my District Leader. I will be serving with Elder S who has been here 2 months less than I have. I will be the senior companion. Szczecin is on the border to Germany in northern Poland. There are 4 missionaries there. They are doing really good in Szczecin. It’s a small place though. There isn’t a whole lot around there. I’m really sad to be leaving the branch here. I’m also sad because I would love to see Krakow in spring. I will also miss our 2 baptisms O and S and I will miss M. I will also President K and The U’s. Elder N is staying in Kielce and is getting a greenie. Maybe even Elder C. Elder L is also staying in Kielce and Elder B is joining him.

So I guess I’ll talk to you from Szczecin next week. I will have met the branch members already when I talk to you. I’m so sad to be leaving. I bid my farewell to you all.

Love you all,

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Weekly Email - February 12th


Today is Sunday February 10th. So let me tell you about our week. We just finished our weekly report calls.

Monday we didn’t do anything big. We went shopping and that was it. On Tuesday we went to zone training at Katowice. We met up with the Kielce Elders and took a bus together to Katowice. It was fun to visit with them on the way over. The zone training went really good. The APs were there and they presented and so did our zone leader. They all did a really good job and we talked about contacting and using a different way for the initial approach. It will be fun! Then after that we returned back to Krakow. As soon as we got back we went to the Chapel to help one of the sisters in the branch. It was fun, and only took us about 20 minutes. After that we went to Ws house for an appointment. His grandpa was there too. We had a nice visit.

On Wednesday we went to help W. In the afternoon we had English class. J was there and we had a good English class. I was so sad because J has been going to school here in Krakow and he has decided to return back to his home. I was able to give him 2 Books of Mormon’s one in English and one in Polish so that he can translate back and forth. We invited him to institute for the next evening and he came. M was out of town so we missed him. We also met with S and taught him about tithing and fast offering. I struggled with the language through our lesson with him.

Thursday was awesome because it was fat Thursday. So on fat Thursday you buy donuts and eat as many as you can because it is the day before lent starts. So you just pack on the pounds. Elder S ate 15 donuts on fat Thursday; we figured that we could meet that record. So in the morning we bout 15 fruit filled donuts each. We ate a few in the morning went contacting had a few more for lunch, did some more contacting and then ate some more and then we finished them after institute. We had a great lesson and J was there. Brother U was really impressed with J. I’m sad that J is leaving. Institute is New Testament this year.

We had weekly planning and then we went to a place and had New Zealand style burgers. It was the best burger I’ve had. They put beets and stuff in their burgers. After that we did contacting for 3 hours. Elder S stopped a man who said he would be happy to listen to us. He was catholic, but has an open mind. We set up an appointment with him for next Saturday. He was really cool. After that we started walking and someone behinds starts speaking English to us saying “you are Mormon’s aren’t you”. This woman was in awe that she found some Mormon missionaries. She was just amazed. She said that her mother-in-law is Mormon. It was out funny experience of the day.

Another cool thing that happened is we watched this couple starting to build a snowman, we were actually planning on helping them, but we didn’t have time. We thought they would just build a regular snowman. When we got back there what they made was a gummy bear looking snowman. I’m sending along a picture. It is way cool.

Today is also the day after fat Thursday. I didn’t gain too much weight and nothing bad happened to me.

Saturday we had to be at the chapel to let T in to the chapel. We had brought a sack lunch to eat at the chapel. We spent some time talking to him and he was really nice. He was there to clean the chapel. He also told us some places we should go and visit. Then we walked him to his tram. We then went contacting.

Today we went to church and I talked at church. I gave the talk in both Polish and English at the same time. We had 2 investigators at church today. After church we had a lesson with S. President K sat in on the lesson. President K answered a lot of questions S had and they moved the baptismal date to February 23rd. It will be after transfers so we don’t know if we will be here. That is kind of sad because I would love to be here for the baptisms. After that we had dinner with the Us. Their little boy is hilarious. He is just learning to talk, but he was talking up a storm. We shared a spiritual thought

3 Nephi 12:15-16

 15 Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house;
 16 Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

We thanked the U’s for being such great examples to those around them. They really are great examples in the branch and to us.

My talk to day was about free agency. It’s hard because I have to dumb it down because of my language skills. It is not very common that they have the missionaries’ talk, so Krakow may be my only opportunity to speak at church. We don’t have a lot of resources other than the scriptures and the Liahona.

It’s been a pretty good week. It was really good to have some time with J this week. S is doing really good. I’m excited for his baptism. I’m taking my vitamins everyday, except I stopped taking garlic, vitamin B and vitamin C because one of them was making me sick. So I left those behind in Lodz. I take the other ones though because they don’t make me sick. I try to drink enough water; I always have chapped lips, thanks for getting me so much Chap Stick. If I forget one day my lips are all chapped the next day. It’s been snowing every day this week.

I hope you had great birthdays. Oh, I forgot to tell you, they are filming a movie rights outside our apartment. We can see it from our window. They have replaced the signs in front of a store across the street. They stopped us the other day as we were on our way back to the apartment. They said we couldn’t be there and we told them we live right here. So we had to wait 15 minutes before they would let us enter our apartment. They left all kinds of stuff there so I’m sure they will be back.

Next Sunday is transfer calls. So I may or may not be leaving Krakow next week.

I love you all. Have a great week. Have a great Valentines Day. Give heart, and candy. On Tuesday is Ostatki “pancake Tuesday” and then on Thursday is Valentine’s day!

Love you all and I will talk to you later,


 Here is our weekly picture of Elder Godwin with Anja.

This makes me sick, but he actually ate 15 of these in 1 day. He claims he didn't get sick. I'll have to believe him.

 He looks happy and proud of himself for embarking on this Polish tradition.

 Here is the snowcat that a couple made right by their apartment.

 Here they are ready to enjoy their New Zealand burger. I will have to read up on these. They look delicious.

 Here is a picture from the apartment of the film crew. I wonder what movie they are filming.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Weekly Email - February 4th

Hi family,

Getting right to it this week. This has been a good week. We went to Schindler’s Factory again. So many of these WWII places have been converted as museums by the City of Krakow.  The museums go through the history of Krakow since WWII. There was a pretty big section of the museum that was dedicated to the Jews.

I had an exchange with Elder L this week. We taught a little boy who is about to turn 8. He is the neatest little boy. We taught him a lesson about how baptism is necessary to be able to return to live with our Heavenly Father. We had a really good lesson with him and we had a lot of fun. He has all these little toy soldiers that he plays with and it’s fun to watch him play because Polish kids make different sounds than we Americans do. Elder L is really an awesome missionary. He is a little older than the rest of us and he has such focus. He has a lot of energy and is really personable. So he left this morning and Elder S is back. We both had good exchanges this week.

It has been snowing and sleeting for the past 2 weeks. Yesterday it was above freezing so everything is melting. So they have put up safety lines because there is ice melting ice and falling everywhere.

We had a really good English lesson this week too. Our 2 English students are doing really well with their English and we had some pretty good discussion going on. It is really fun to teach the English lessons.

We did a lot of contacting this week and we had several lessons. So I would say we had a good week. We had the opportunity to teach a 96-year old man. He was the cutest old man. I really liked him and he reminded me of grandpa. I just had to take a picture of us together, couldn’t help myself.

On Sunday, President and Sister Nielson came to church in Krakow. It was nice to see them again. We had 3 investigators at church today, which was cool. Elder S and I had to translate this week into both English and Polish depending on the speaker. It is really hard to translate and I didn’t do a great job at it so other people that were attending the meetings helped me out from their seats. That was nice of them. A cool thing is that I got to bless the water in Polish. I really enjoy blessing the sacrament in Polish, it’s not everyone that gets to go to Poland and do that so I try to take the opportunity whenever I can. After church we went over the T’s house and O was there. They fixed a nice meal for us and we are learning Polish etiquette, which is interesting. And by the way mom, they served us Polish pancakes, which are just like Swedish pancakes. Every country in Europe seems to have their own version of Swedish pancakes. So I guess what I’m saying is that they are not Swedish pancakes at all. O was so cute when we were there. His mom had bought him some candy and he was determined to share it with us. We tried to talk him out of it because we didn’t want to take his candy, but he wasn’t about to hear of that. He is just the cutest little boy. I love teaching him the lessons.
After we left T’s we went over to the U’s home. It was very nice as usual. We had Mexican Enchiladas, which was good.

We don’t really have plans for p-day this week. I’m sure we will come up with something and I’ll let you know what we did.

Oh, that is so cool that Preston got called to the Czech/Slovak mission. I have never seen Slovak what only Czech, but I just found a Slovak Book of Mormon here. I’m really excited for Preston.

OK, so here is my spiritual message for this week.
Jacob 4:9-10
  For behold, by the power of his word man came upon the face of the earth, which earth was created by the power of his word. Wherefore, if God being able to speak and the world was, and to speak and man was created, O then, why not able to command the earth, or the workmanship of his hands upon the face of it, according to his will and pleasure?
  10 Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.

I connected this with the D&C 50 where it mentions that when we pray with the spirit, praying for the things the spirit tells us to pray for. Then God will never withhold his power from us. He will answer those prayers if they are aligned with his will. I connect that with this scripture in verse 10. If we take that counsel in his hands than he can give us power and we just have to submit our will to his.

This is also what was taught in Sunday School today, when you pray, do so with the intent to listen and to act on the things that you feel or were told. Pray for the things for the things the spirit will have you pray for. Pray knowing that you can have answers and pray that you will act on the answers.

Here is your hymn for the week too.

Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?
Then wake up and do something more.
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.

Well, I’m going to end this epistle to my family by saying I love you all. Have a good week. And I say to you good bye, and if I don’t see you good afternoon, good evening and good night.

 Elder Godwin finally got to make a snowman. Good for him. First one and he looks really good!

 Looks like a nice sunny day in Poland.

Here is O, he is 8 years old and will be baptized in a week. Elder Godwin is really enjoying teaching him the lessons. He is a great kid!

 This man made Elder Godwin's week. He is a very interesting man apparently and he reminds Brian of Grandpa Lee. 

 He also sent us a recording of him and his companion singing Happy Birthday in Polish to Erik and Hailey. I can't seem to figure out how to add audio to the blog. Here are the words though, it is kind of interesting.
Sto lat, sto lat,
Niech żyje, żyje nam.
Sto lat, sto lat,
Niech żyje, żyje nam,
Jeszcze raz, jeszcze raz, niech żyje, żyje nam,
Niech żyje nam!
This translates roughly into English as:
A hundred years, a hundred years,
Let him (her) live, live with us.
A hundred years, a hundred years,
Let him (her) live, live with us.
Once again, once again, let him (her)live, live with us,
Let him (her) live with us!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Repost from President & Sister Nielson's Blog

A great Sunday in Krakow....February 3, 2013

Saturday morning President had the thought that we needed to attend the Krakow branch tomorrow.  It was raining, and I was not looking forward to the long four hour drive.  I called and checked out the trains and found the perfect schedule.  So off we went on the train. We were sure glad we did... 
Meeting with the wonderful Saints of the Krakow Branch!  Sunday morning we had 24 in attendance.  The Branch President was ill this morning, but everything went just fine.
We got there bright and early Sunday morning and found Zbigniew, the Branch clerk, working diligently at his church calling.
 Brother Dziubla, a member of the Branch Presidency, was carefully preparing the Sacrament....
 ...and our great Elders, Szymanski and Godwin, were preparing for their investigators that were coming to Church today.  They had three investigators attend this morning, and that is always a great day for our missionaries.
Today in church, we had several branch families in attendance....
 Pawel and Hania were there with their cute little boy...
 As was President Gaskill, a member of the Katowice District Presidency, with his children.
 Mitch and Sarah brought their two children bright and early as Mitch is our organist and does a great job sharing his talent.
Some of the Sisters in the Branch...Johanna and Teresa. These women are very faithful and have a great spirit about them.
Hania and Sarah put their heads together today and taught Primary....bilingual style! 
The Primary in Krakow is growing! We have made plans to 'spruce' up the Primary room and make some major improvements  to accommodate all these bright, young minds who are eagar to learn. We'll keep you posted.
What a delight it was to be in the Krakow Branch today. Great things are happening in this little Branch....changes are coming to help accommodate the growth there!
It was a great visit to this great branch.