Monday, May 27, 2013

Weekly Email - May 27th

Firstly, Happy Anniversary! Wszystkiego Najlepszego z Tej Okazji!!! Have fun at camp, I forgot that was this week.
(Note from Mom: today is Alan's and mine 24th wedding anniversary... and he remembered. I'm impressed. It is also the first day of girls camp and I'm going since I'm the camp director. Happy Anniversary to us!)
On Monday, the district had a good time, we were all out of money so we just decided to stay in and play music. Elder Mikolyski taught me how to play a few chord sets on the piano. We had a good time. We have been able to teach a few cool people this week. We got a referral from the office, some guy named M. I called M and he was a young guy who had just gotten a flyer from one of us on the street one day and wanted to know what we were all about. I asked if we could meet in the following week and he said he did not have much time, but that he could meet that afternoon. I told him that would be great and we set up. That afternoon we were at the chapel for our 18:30 meeting and sure enough, at 18:31 he called and said he was on the street looking for our chapel entrance. We found him and brought him up and sat down for a talk. He was a way cool lad of about 20-25 years. He was raised Catholic but did not really agree with a lot of their beliefs like written prayers and paying priests for repentance and the such. He was really open with us too. He said it was the first time he had ever heard of Mormons and he was curious as to what differences there were. We told him of the restoration of the gospel. We told him that in 1820 Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet and restored the priesthood which was lost after Christ and his original apostles were killed. We talked about how the Book of Mormon was found and translated and that it is proof that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, how he could read and pray and find out that what we were saying was true through the Holy Ghost. He was very open and willing to try. We even asked him to pray at the end of the lesson, he had never just prayed without reciting a written prayer so it was a little different, but he did it. We also set up to talk with him again this week. 
Our recently baptized S is doing great, she just takes everything this gospel has to offer and roles with it. She has been called to be the branch pianist and is just doing generally amazing. We told her that it would be a good experience for her to get a nice notebook and write a journal of things she learned and felt before and after baptism. Two days later she came in with a new journal and showed us all she had written, of course it was in Chinese.
The other highlight of the week was just yesterday. We were out tracting for the last 3.5 hours of the day. It was cold and a little gloomy, it has been a cold rainy week all week so we were acclimated to this already. We tracted out 10 buildings, that is around 100 or so doors. Then we got to the 11th building. The first call let us in. There was an older man named L. L had all of his family there because to our surprise it was mother's day in Poland. He did have a spare minute to talk with us though. He began by telling us just how Catholic he is. He said he is friends with many high bishops in the Catholic church and that he has been a strong, practicing Catholic his whole life. Then we shared that all we wanted to share was about the importance of eternal families, that we have the information about God's plan for us and how we can live with our families forever. He immediately opened up and began relating us a story of when his father died and his son was very close to his grandpa. He took it very hard. Then his mother (the son's grandma) became ill shortly after. They all were hoping that she would pull through, but she went to join his father a short time later. He took his son to see some very good priests who tried to help him with the grieving. He told us this story with tears in his eyes. We were able to teach him a little bit about our message and how it could help him and his son, how they could find peace and knowledge about God's plan. He was very kind and said he would have invited us in if it wasn't mother's day. 
There were a couple more nice people on our way through the building and then we hit door number 3. A younger (mid-late 20's) man opened. He immediately recognized that we were from another church and he let us right in. He was very curious about what we had to say. He was very Catholic and had just come from church and he told us from the start that he would not change, but he wanted to learn more about us. His wife and baby girl were there so we got to speak with the whole family present. At first his wife was very stand-offish telling us that her husband was the only one who was interested and she didn't want to hear it really. Within minutes we were having a great discussion with both of them about our beliefs. They asked a lot of great questions which gave us a chance to testify. They gave us some fruit tea and cake that they had and said if we were there 20 minutes earlier they would have fed us dinner. They were extremely hospitable and we had a great discussion. At the end we prayed with them, they told us they would pray on one condition. They would pray the way Catholics pray and then we could pray the way Mormons pray. We agreed and we had a few words of prayer. It was a nice meeting with a wonderful family. As we left, they told us that they did not want us to leave them with anything like flyers or brochures or a Book of Mormon. They said they would never change, but they would gladly have us back again. They were some of the nicest people. I hope that someday their hearts can be softened and that they will be more receptive to the gospel.
All else is going well, I have come up with new methods of spreading the gospel using snail power (see the pictures). I am going to get MSF soon so we will once again be able to eat all of the delicious food which has been tempting me so. I hope all is well with everyone at home. I have a few more people to write, but I love you all and can't wait to hear from you again next week.

Elder Godwin

Here is a picture of an angel holding a wreath and standing in a boat that you can't see in the picture. It has the date of December 1970 on it. I don't know what it represents but I thought it was cool.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

More Pictures from Sister Nielson's Blog

President & Sister Nielson spent the week-end in Szczecin. I love when that happens because that means more pictures of my missionary. We are really going to miss Sister Nielson when she leaves. I just hope and pray that Sister Edgren will take as many pictures as Sister Nielson.

On Saturday afternoon the missionaries and some of the members gathered to have pizza with President & Sister Nielson. That's one big pizza!

 Here they are at the missionary correlation meeting.

Here is the whole group posing together. It's good to see Elder K and Elder Godwin are getting along really well.

 Here is the Naval Academy in Szczecin. Isn't it beautiful!

 That bread looks so delicious. I wish it was gluten free and that I could have one.

Here is S playing the piano for the other members. She is in Poland to get her Masters in Music. I guess she is amazing on the Piano.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekly Email - May 20th

Hi Family,

This week was pretty neat. President Nielson came to Szczecin for some special missionary training. He even sat in on a lesson with us and our recently baptized member S. That was way fun. I went on exchange with Elder Mikolyski and he taught me a bunch and one of the things I have learned most over the week was just being casual with people, just calming down and having fun conversations with people. That was a lesson that I wish I would have had a long time ago.

One of the highlights of the week was when we stopped a girl named S on the street. She is not from Szczecin , but she was willing to talk with us as she waited for her bus. She said that she believed in God and that he created us and the world and everything in it, but that he stopped caring about us and that we are just on our own now. She said there is too much evil in the world for God to care. We told her about God's plan, the Plan of Salvation, and that he does care, and he gave everyone free-will to make choices. We told her that He has given us his plan through prophets and scripture and we introduced her to the Book of Mormon. We bore testimony and had a good chat. Then she said that as we talked she felt like everything we were saying just made sense. She felt like we were just telling her a truth that she already knew deep down, but that we were just helping her remember. That is the first time on my mission so far that I have ever heard anyone say anything like that. We invited her to read and pray and then she would know that what we were saying was true. That was a really powerful experience. We had some good conversations with other people over the week too. Sister Nielson even dropped us off with that man in the picture that we are talking to.

Everything else is going well. I am eating a lot of healthy food and trying to keep up on my yoga routine with Elder K, I feel better than ever. We are having a lot of fun and we just got clearance to visit a cool war museum during our lunch hour on Saturday so we will probably stop by this week. We have an awesome cemetery to visit, we have neat buildings and scenery. The food is as good as ever. We are just having a good time here. Hope all is going equally well for everyone back home.

Love you all,
Elder Godwin

Here is a picture of Polish Graffiti. Pretty fancy, huh!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Repost from Sister Nielson's Blog

Yesterday I spent the day stalking Sister Nielson's blog. I knew they had gone to Szczecin for a special training and if there is one thing we can always count on is Sister Nielson and her wonderful blogging skills.

As I was going to bed I checked the blog one more time and YES, she had posted a post from Szczecin. Yay!

Here are some pictures from her blog.

 Here are all the missionaries in the district. Elder Godwin is sitting right next to his companion Elder K on the front row over to the right.

 Here are the missionaries representing the Valley of the Sun. Elder W. from Queen Creek, Elder Caskey from Glendale, Elder Godwin from Phoenix, and President Nielson from Mesa. The President is from Mesa, but has been living in Nevada for many years.

 Here is the zone celebrating Elder K's birthday with a Magnum Ice Cream Bar.

 President Nielson sat in on a new member lesson with Elder Godwin and Elder K. Elder Godwin feels so blessed to have been able to be part of S' conversion and is really enjoying getting to know her better and being able to share the gospel with her. I understand she is an amazing young lady.

Elders K and Godwin were busy doing contacts before their meetings started. They are hardworking Elders and are enjoying working together.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Laser Tagging in Szczecin

Elder Godwin and the other Elders had a chance to go Laser Tagging. He has been watching them build this place and they finally opened it up and off they went on P-Day to check it out. As it turned out the Laser Tag place was taking pictures of all the groups that came through and are having a competition to get free tickets to go back. These Elders are really hoping to win the tickets.

Fingers crossed! They need a fun and free activity for P-Day. Good Luck Elders

Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekly Email - May 13th

Hey all,

This was an amazing week in Poland. We have been finding all sorts of cool people to talk to on the streets, and that has been nice. The branch is running very smoothly out here. Elder M. is doing a great job as branch president. We also had a baptism on Saturday. One of our investigators, S was baptized and confirmed a member of the church of Jesus Christ, it was amazing to see that. She is great and super spiritual and she has taught us how to be better missionaries as we have taught her the gospel. Elder K (my companion) and I are rocking it up here. We just smile at all of the Poles and they don't know what to do with themselves. The food here is amazing as always. I LOVE kebabs and naleĊ›niki so much. Elder K has been teaching me some yoga and we have been stretching daily and getting some good chi flowing, that has been nice and relaxing. I got to talk to my family on Sunday night and wish my dear mother a happy mothers day (love you mom, thanks for raising me to be who I am). Everyone was there, my sister Hannah even got "conferenced" into the phone call from Utah (isn't technology amazing?). It was a great experience and now I just have to wait until Christmas for my next phone call. Until then, I hope that I have many more amazing experiences to share, many more people to teach and talk to, and much more good food. I am loving my time here, and I think this will be another great week. I have an exchange today with Elder M. then President Nielson is coming to Szczecin for a branch conference, that should be amazing. I gave a talk in church on Sunday about baptism and enduring to the end in the gospel, and so I no longer have to stress about writing that talk. Polish is still crazy and I am learning a ton every day, but the language just has so many aspects and is so unpredictable, we will see how it goes from here.

Love you,
Elder Godwin

 Elder Godwin and his buddy from home Elder Caskey.

 Elder Godwin's and Elder K at the Baptism of S. Happy Day!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Weekly Email - May 6th

Hey all,

Things in Szczecin have been great. I have been called to stay here for the next 2 months, and Elder K moved from the other side of town to be my companion. We are having a great time so far. Elders M and W are the two new Elders in Szczecin. Elder M is our District Leader and just got called to be Branch President as well, so he has a lot on his plate. There is a whole new spirit here in Szczecin, and overall we are doing amazing. In the last couple of days I have seen a new spirit and as much success as two weeks would have brought just a little bit ago. It is amazing to be able to teach S. She is our investigator. She is so amazing, just 2 months ago she had never even heard of God, and she is going to be baptized next week. She is such a spiritual person and it has been a blessing to be able to teach her for even just a few days. She is also our new branch pianist because no one here knows how to play piano. So that has been a miracle. The rest of the work has picked up as well. We were able to teach a lot of lessons to people on the street, we were able to share the Book of Mormon with a lot of people as well. We even talked to a man from Canada, he teaches English here and he was very interesting and had never heard our message before. He said he was interested in us because he had never thought of the concept of a modern prophet before. We told him that just like in the times of Moses, Abraham and Noah, God called men to be prophets and prophets revealed what men had to do to be saved. We need prophets in our day to do the same, nothing has changed. If you believe in the Prophecies and writings of the Bible, then you should see why a prophet would be so important. He was fun to talk to and we are hoping to see him again. All else is well, I hope all is going well for people back home and around the world. This is an amazing work that we are able to participate in and I am glad I get to work here in Szczecin and learn this crazy hard language and work work work...

Love you all,
Elder Godwin

 Here are some of the members in Szczecin.