Monday, April 7, 2014

Weekly Email - April 7th

This week was good here I think the highlight possibly was the train ride back from zone training. We ended up in a compartment with a man and three women that were returning to Białystok from a work seminar in Warsaw. We got to small talking with them and it was not long before they started asking about out religion. We were able to explain a lot of what we believe (it was a nearly 4-hour train ride). The questions kept coming and we were able to clarify them and to testify of the gospel and all of us in that compartment became what I would consider "friends". What was interesting to me was that after a wonderful discussion, they were not willing to do so much as to take an ulotka from us. They said that they would not use it. I was slightly thrown back, why would they not just take a simple pass-along card from their new acquaintances? Then I realized, we did everything we were expected to do. We gave them the key information, we showed love, kindness, consideration, we also left them with a choice to accept or decline. As we so often find, in this mission, and across the world, agency is key in the gospel plan.

It was nice to know that we had done all we could and should have done.
It is crazy how fast time has flown and now I am 2 months and some change from home. I am stoked for that, but sad that I will be finishing my work as a full-time missionary.
I hope everyone is doing well, I know that there are some health problems, an unsold house, and such, but I am prying for you all and I love you. Remember, that all trials are for our profit and learning.

Hope you have a great week. Love you, bye!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Weekly Email - March 31st

We found out that in Białystok there is the same naleśnikarnia (Polish Pancake house) that existed in Szczecin. I love that place, it has great Swedish pancakes. There is also a burger place here called quicker burger with the best burgers in all of Europe, I kid you not. They have absolutely massive burgers cooked to perfection and piled with toppings for under 20zł The bacon burger (about twice as big as any I had in the states is amazing. So that is what it is like on the food front.

We were also able to go to the free zoo here and feed the piggies. I will have to get you some pictures and videos of that sometime. They are so funny. I think the Poles get a bigger kick out of the Americans messing with animals than from the animals themselves.

On the missionary front, we have been able to drop off a Book of Mormon in English to an awesome man named P who speaks flawless English. Our other investigator, T, was unable to make it to church which was a real bummer, but I still have high hope for him. I am excited to see what the week brings.

Did I mention Elder Godwin loves animals. He gets that from both of his grandpas!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Weekly Email - March 24th

Here are some pictures Elder Godwin sent home from an exchange with Elder K, his former trainee.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Weekly Email - March 17th

 Some wild cats Elder Godwin ran in to.

 Broken umbrellas are in most trash cans this time of year.

 In Bialystok with 2 of the members.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Weekly Email - February 24th

Mom, don't freak out, but I am going to Białystok as the branch president up there. Transfers are on Wednesday, but I may not be leaving Warsaw until Thursday. I will be with Elder S who is already there.

(Note from Mom: I might just have mentioned that I wasn't keen on Bialystok before he left for his mission. It has to do with history. My bad!)


This week was a complete blur to me. I know that on Tuesday we took a culture night at the Polish National Soccer Stadium where they have set up an ice skating rink in the middle for the winter... Yes, we ice skated in the national stadium. That was a treat getting to be in the center of Polish soccer and pride and doing something fun. I only fell once ha, ha, but I did develop a mean blister on my right food... Dang flat feet. We also went out and got "Mexican food" at burrito boys... One word 'DON'T'
On the missionary work front, things were slow. We had some potential investigators set up appointments and then fall through. We have been on a constant hunt for 2 months with no real footing.

I am excited to go serve in Białystok as branch president, it is a little nerve-racking, but I think I will pull through. I am currently the living mission record holder for most cities served in at 7. I am the nomad of the mission and have seen every corner of the blessed country that is Poland and so it shall be until I leave. I have tracted many a building in this land and talked to many a Pole from Szczecin to Katowice to Białystock to Wrocław. Let it be known that I have hugged the gnomes of Wrocław, sailed the boat of Łódź, and skated the ice of Warsaw in just 2 short years and now I will get to see the largest Russian Orthodox church in Poland in just a few days. My shoes have stepped on many a Krakowian cobblestone and many a Będzinian street graffiti.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Weekly Email - February 17th

This week was good. We were able to teach some really good street lessons, and get some new investigators as well. These people were really cool, and we had lesson at one man's house whom I met on the street on Wednesday. When I got to his apartment, he had invited some friends over that were part of a Christian alliance group (non-denominational Christians). They got a little bible bashy, but nothing I couldn't handle. I ended up just telling them that the only way they were ever going to find the answers they were seeking was by reading the Book of Mormon and asking God if it was true. He was just so sure that it could not be  true because the bible is complete, but he had never given it a chance. It is too hard to leave your comfort zone for the next step.
Other than that, I also had a great exchange with Elder W in Bemowo. We even made it to Adam's ties for lunch! We got some free matching "exchange ties" out of the defect box and so all is well that ends well. We tried to get some pictures for the parents as well ;)
I got to see some friends from Wrocław yesterday after church who were in town for a mini MTC and got stuck here for the day after missing a train. It was overall a good time and a good week.

 Elders S & B the Zone leaders.

 Elder W. getting his proof that he does use his camera to take picture to send home. Way to go Elder W.

 2 Arizona boys in Poland with their new ties from Adam's Ties.

Brian found his favorite treat. He owes his height to PB & J Sandwiches. That's what he got to eat if he refused the family meals.

 Here are the ties he picked up this week at Adam's Ties in Warsaw. Pretty nice. I see a paisley in there!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Weekly Email - February 10th

There was no e-mail message today, just pictures. We spend the entire time figuring out what classes he wants to take in the fall at the University.

Enjoy the pictures!

This is the metro station by his apartment. Pretty cool!

He was amused by the CTR (Choose The Right) video surveillance company.

This building that they tracted has been blessed by the local priest yearly. Someone is even keeping track.

 Melting snow! A welcomed site! Even the ducks seem to enjoy it.

This is a 57 cm (22.44") Pizza. This goes to show that not everything is bigger in the USA.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Weekly Email - February 3rd

Hi all,
This week was good. I made it up to Białystok on exchange with Elder S. It was definitely a city with a more "Eastern block influence". We had a good time though and got to teach one of their three members with another of the three present. Elder S had the best idea ever, after his camera broke, he just went and bought a new ipod touch and has a Polish dictionary, the gospel library, and a camera at his instant disposal. He was using it up a storm and it made me think "why don't they issue these to all missionaries?" Then I thought "oh, they do... in the states." But I thought it was genius. I saw D and K in the Warsaw train station on my way to Białystok.
The rest of the week was a blur.  I got back with Elder W and we did our normal work. I am really still missing Elder K and Wrocław. I feel a little resentment that I was ripped out of such a good thing in only 2 months. I felt as though I had no chance of leaving since there was a new area opening in Wrocław and I was coming into the final leg. I know the Lord has his own plans that I need to trust, but dang!
Hey, I know I said my release date is the 17th of June, but it may be changed to the 19th in light of some recent events (Uchtdorf is doing a mission conference here and will be in the mission home from the 16-19th I think). President does our exit events in the mission home so his current idea is to postpone us 2 days and then do it and just put us in 3-somes. Elder Baranowski's dad is still coming the 17th and President plans on releasing Baranowski to the stake president (under the care of his dad) on the 17th and he will just stick around Warsaw with his dad or something... So, that is that.
I have really been trying to get more pictures (especially after seeing how much use Elder S' ipod got) so I hope to get a lot more.
Love you all, I am going to send my recording and pictures.

He is back taking pictures with Agnieska! I was wondering what happened to her.

This is a frozen river near their apartment.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Weekly Email - January 27th

So things went well this week I am low on time so this will be quick. We haven't had anything crazy happen, I think the culminating highligh of the week was my interview with President Edgren, he really helped put things into perspective for me. He asked me a lot of questions that made me realize just how much he cares about and worries about the missionaries here. I realized that I have been trying to improve my mission and myself from the inside out, focusing on myself too much. I realized after talking with President that we develop the most when we reach out to help others. It was just something I picked up from some of his questions that he had about the missionaries in my district. We haven't had any crazy new experiences, no new investigators to report, but we search everyday. We generally tract when it gets down to -15 celsius, so that isn't really a problem. I don't think they make "gear" that is meant to survive that temperature for very long, but there are always places to go to warm up, so we are surviving. I have discovered the magic of mittens. Best purchase I ever made on my mission... Why would anyone ever wear gloves is the true question.
I am having a good time. My companion is doing good, we are doing good on hand warmers (we found a stash from a previous missionary and we have re-usable boil ones). All is well in the hood. We are having a good time and I am learning a lot from being a leader here in Warsaw. I realize it still is not my favorite scenario, but I am learning from being here, so I can't complain too much. I wouldn't mind a nice last transfer away from here though. I am tied for the most cities served in in the mission right now (six) my running mate is Elder S. I am hoping for a 7th, Gdańsk here I come! President let it slip that he may be transfering Elder K out of Wrocław soon and he also asked me what a good situation for Elder W next transfer would be, so I think I may be doomed to stay as W heads out.
Well, time is about up. I love you all. I will talk at you again in a week. Żyjcie długo, i rozwijajcie się.

Out tracting. It looks way too cold for me. 

Whiteboard... that looks too cold too. This Arizona boy needs some sun!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Weekly Email - January 20th

So, I have sent a pretty detailed recording this week. I have made a few speech goals recently that I am working on. I am trying to develope more "fluency and character" in my speech. I am also trying to eliminate the word "like" from innappropriate uses, which has unfortunately led to the development of an "um" from time to time, so that has to go as well. I think that the recording process really helps with that though. I want to have a more professional and interesting speech pattern, so wish me luck on that one.
This week went really well all things considered. The temperature here in Warsaw dropped to -5 celcius and snowed, and rained, and partly melted into mud, and snowed again, and froze, and snowed again and then smacked us in the face with a nice bitter wind... I hear in Wrocław it is still +5. but I am not there anymore... I got the pleasure of talking with President Edgren this week over the phone after we called a really interesting former investigator named P. P is British and a PhD and did extensive 4 year studies on the ethographics of Mormons in Poland. He had a lot of very interesting insights. We got into a good discussion so we talked for a while. He began talking about how much of a change the change in mission presidents made in the church in Poland, he compared the different mission presidents and their affect on the church. He was interested to hear that there was a new boss in town and he asked me how he was and if he would like him. I told him that I think he would like him a lot and he would have to come by and meet him. He said he would love to, so I then had to call president and ask when he would be in Warsaw for sacrament meeting. He said in 2 weeks, and I was happy with that. Long story short, P is coming to church on February 2nd and he is a really cool guy (I enjoy the intellectual conversations). There was also a lesson with J, from Africa. We invited Brother G to be on the lesson.

Well, it is an interesting time to be a Poland Warsaw missionary. Things in this mission have changed, there is a new attitude across the mission, and I think it is really good. As president Edgren says "obedience is to be expected as a minimum, we are beyond that, we are a mission of faith and purification." He is a great guy and I really enjoy his presence and Christ-like leadership. He is really personable as well and understands human weaknesses but expects improvement.
I am planning a district meeting for tomorrow that I hope will be good and well received by the district. I have been really focusing on chapter 6 of PMG (Christlike attributes) and I have a personal one I am working on extensively, Elder W and I have a companionship attribute, and I want to set a district attribute, but it is going to take everyone's participation, so we will see how it goes over. I have come to realize with the type of mission we have here, that helping other missionaries can be just as rewarding and effective as helping any other person we come in contact with. Missionaries really need a lot of support (especially here) and in the field, all we really have is each other, so it is a fun time.
I hope all is going well at home and that you get the house sold off soon, I am praying for you all.
Starszy Godwin

Monday, January 13, 2014

Weekly Email - January 13th

Hello all, 
I am safe and sound in the beautiful little village of Warsaw. The trees are green and the pigeons are singing. The bus fumes are absolutely invigorating and the emailing is only a dollar an hour. All in all, it is pretty nice. Well, the district is indeed comprised of just about all of my former companions and friends. Elder W is pretty great.
MOM: His full name is ..... W. He is from Idaho Falls and does indeed like potatoes. He is very book smart, he studies hard and it shows in his Polish. He is pretty cool and already able to handle himself. This is my second comp from Idaho (J and W).
I have already made it to Adam's ties, it was pretty great. They are really nice ties, not "the only" good ties in the world, but they are nice. I bought 5 today and got 6 "skazy" ties for free (ties with small deffects). I am planning on buying about 5 more for me and you should place any orders if you want any, we probably won't be back there for another 5 weeks or so.
We are teaching two investigators, both over the age of 65. Warsawians are pretty kind. The weather is getting cold and rainy (soon to be snowy) so I am not thrilled about that. I am already layering a lot. Hopefully it won't go too far past February and we can get some spring action going on in March and all will be well in our neck of the woods. As for now, the sun is still out most of the time, so it is not the dark grey gloom of years passed.
Our area is nice with many nice parks. Shopping for groceries is our only real inconvenience, our grocery stores are about the most expensive ones in Poland. Our apartment is fairly small but really nice. It is very clean and new compared to my last place. We even have an induction stovetop that boils water in like 1 and a half minutes.
Well, I have to send my recording that has an actuall account of my life. I think this has a pretty accurate account of my current real-time circumstances.
P.S. I can't believe Spencer is back already, he looks exactly the same.

Elder Godwin at Adam's Ties. It's a tie factory in Warsaw.

Could he possibly be sending a letter home? :)

 Elder K. helping Elder Godwin on to the train. Elder Godwin really enjoyed training and serving with Elder K.

 Here is what is left of the Wroclaw district. New beginnings for them as they welcome in 3 new elders and 2 more sisters.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Weekly Email - January 6th


So first thing is first. I am getting transferred. I am going to Warsaw and will be companions with Elder W (Elder K's MTC companion). I am District Leader over Warsaw I. I was really hoping to stay in Wroclaw for at least the next 4 months, and I never had a desire to make it to Warsaw, I prefer the smaller towns.
The rest of the week was prettty normal. We got to teach this really cool guy named M, whom the sisters found for us. He is really philosophical. He speaks English very well, and he is really nice and very well read in a lot of philosophy. I think he would really like hanging out with Ramsey at the University. T joined us on the lesson and she did amazing sharing personal experiences and such, she is a great recent convert and we are glad to have her. We also tracted into a woman by the name of E who could not let us inside because she had guests who were sleeping, but she listened to a really quick message outside her door and then promised to read the Book of Mormon. She seemed really cool and really sincere. That was one of the tender mercies of the week.

Well, I will leave off here and try to get my recording to you (it is very short this week, sorry), I love you all though and hope you have a great week