Monday, November 25, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - November 25, 2013 Final Email

Hello, everyone.  It's my last email to you all, at least on my mission.  I have loved my mission experience.  It has changed my life.  I wouldn't trade these past two years for anything in the world.  
I have two years worth of experiences and advice I could share, but I think what would be most valuable to everyone would be to leave you with the truths that have been confirmed in my heart by the Holy Ghost repeatedly over the course of these two years.

I know we have a Heavenly Father who loves us.  I know He wants us to succeed and that He has made a perfect plan for us.  I know that He hears and answers our prayers.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior.  I know that through His Atonement we have the opportunity of receiving eternal life through our faithfulness.  I know that we can receive strength, grace, and mercy from the Savior's infinite sacrifice.  I know that the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored by a prophet, Joseph Smith.  I know that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are the word of God.  I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's kingdom on the earth.  I know that we are led today by a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, who receives revelation from God.  I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us with an eternal, perfect love.

I want to close with the words of Paul and John, as found in 2 Timothy 4:6-8 and 2 John 1:12, respectively:

"For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day."

"Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full."

- Elder Daniel B. Winters

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - November 18, 2013 Short on time...

Hey everyone, it's been a good week, even with everyone reminding me of how much I have left.  I think missionaries should have a surprise departure, so no one really knows when they're going home.  That would solve a lot of problems.  And probably create a lot more.

I had a really cool experience contacting people this week.  In our prayer beforehand, we asked for confidence and boldness while talking with people.  Then we committed to talk with everyone.  Afterwards we felt an undeniable strength and energy as we talked to people and invited them to learn more about our message.  I see it as an answer to a prayer because of the faith we not only expressed but also performed.  Faith is not only belief but also a principle of action and power.  When we acted with real intent we felt the Lord's power work within us.  God truly does work with us according to our faith!  

The time's winding down, so I'm picking up the pace now.  Have a great week!

- Elder Daniel Winters

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - November 11, 2013

Hey everybody, I realize I don't have too many more of these emails to write, and unfortunately this will be somewhat short.  I think I'll compensate by just talking to anyone on the phone in a few weeks about what has transpired in these last weeks of my mission.  I'd list my cell phone number, but I forgot it, so that doesn't work.  My mom might know, though.  

I had a pretty humbling experience this week in terms of Chinese eloquence.  No, make that two.  the first one was when a bunch of Chinese people were all talking about a ton of political stuff and other jargon that I just didn't have the vocabulary for.  I just had to smile and nod when it seemed appropriate.  The second experience came when I was called upon in Gospel Principles class to summarize the parable of the ten virgins.  Yeah, don't expect me to sound like a native when I am back.

It was a great week - we had a bunch of experiences testifying to us that God truly is aware of us and is striving His best to help us in His own way.  All I can say is that when we're living right, God prospers us and we can see that in our lives.  He makes it visible so that we'll have greater motivation to live according to His plan to make it back to Him some day.  It's a wonderful thing to teach and invite others to live the same so they can have the same blessings.

Have a great week, everyone.

Elder Daniel B. Winters

Of the California Irvine Mission

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - November 4, 2013 EMAIL!!

[Editor's note:
Daniel's birthday is November 15th and I know he would appreciate a birthday card!
His mail goes to the mission home so it takes a little longer to get to him.
Elder Daniel Winters
CA Irvine Mission
23 Lake Rd.
Irvine, CA  92604

Yes, he does get home on November 27th!!]

Hey everybody, I hope you had an excellent Halloween.  The JWs were kind enough to give us a pamphlet on why we should not celebrate such a pagan holiday, so I took their and the mission president's advice and didn't.  But I still carved a Harry Potter jack-o-lantern.  

The work is going so well - I think this is one of the very best times of my mission!  We had a great day at church yesterday.  A recent convert threw down a great testimony on the law of chastity.  His first words as he bore the testimony: "I hope my wife will still let me live after I share this story."  Classic.  Another great testimony came from Gabriel Chen, who just turned 8 and will be getting baptized later this month.  He said, "Brothers and Sisters, the day I've been waiting for for eight years finally came.  I turned eight and now I can be baptized and get the Holy Ghost."  Wow.  I almost cried.  If we were all as a little child...

We had another great line from our investigator.  We were talking about repentance, and he said, "Well, my girlfriend always saves a little bit of her meals for later but then never eats the part she saved!  She wastes food practically every meal!  So what am I going to do if she gets stuck in the Telestial Kingdom when I go to the Celestial Kingdom?"  We'll teach that more in-depth next time.

Man, I love this work.  It is so amazing to see prayers answered and miracles wrought by faith every day.  This work is true!  Heavenly Father is looking out for us.  He loves us all!

Have a good one!

- Elder Daniel Winters

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - October 28, 2013 The week

Hey everybody, and a Happy Halloween to you all.  Needless to say, we're supposed to be indoors after 7 PM on Thursday.  The plan is that we're going to hand out candy with pass-along cards stapled to them, so the kids won't know what hit them.  I'm planning on dressing up as a missionary this year, though I'm wondering how my mission president would react to me painting on a Harry Potter™ lightning bolt scar on my forehead.  

Anyway, in other news, there was a real, live, legit, bona fide Shaolin kung fu monk at church yesterday.  He's a card-carrying kung fu master, too.  He gave us his business card.  We're hoping he converts so he can give us free instructions.  He may or may not be the coolest Chinese person to come to our branch in the four years of its existence.

We also had the stake trunk-or-treat activity this past week.  The missionaries duties included 1) making sure no little kids got run over by silent hybrid cars and 2) grilling and passing out hot dogs.  It was pretty special.  Especially the part when the missionaries got all the extra hot dogs and candy at the end.

As far as spiritual news goes, we've had a lot of good lessons.  I also am more aware that Heavenly Father guides us through very subtle promptings.  We plan our days the night beforehand, and we had several experiences when what we felt like we should plan for turned out exactly where God wanted us to be.  I know that the Lord is directing us in this work, and that He is at the head of it.  It's so nice to participate in some way.

Have a good and spooky week.

- Elder Daniel Winters

Monday, October 21, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - October 21, 2013 Hey everyone!

First off, new companion.  His name is Elder Lu, from Hsinchiu, Taiwan, about two hours away from Taipei.  He's way legit, the missionaries knocked on his door twelve years ago and the whole fam got baptized.  He is a little shy and his English is not really all that hot, but he's still willing to work and be obedient.  Which is all I need, because I am entering sprint mode!! Seriously, it's dawning on me more and more that time is limited, so I'm really freaking out a bit, but things are still going really well.

Emily did get baptized on Saturday, and it was amazing.  She is so elect!  That was so spiritual.  I was freaking out a little bit because not too many members were showing up but then I relaxed when I remembered that Emily was making a covenant with the Lord, and He was watching for sure.  I once again felt a burning in my heart, witnessing to me that the ordinance performed was true. Sometimes I wonder if my investigators/converts have already achieved a higher level of faith than I have.  She passed her interview no sweat, no review at all, and then I was privileged to baptize her and then our branch mission leader who contacted her for the first time at her apartment complex did the confirmation yesterday.  The work is hastening!!  We attribute so much of her baptism to the members - it was way cool, whenever we had a dinner appointment we just asked the members if our investigator could come, they said yes, then it turned out that Emily went to like three dinner appointments every week.  She got to know the members and felt of their love, felt her Heavenly Father's love, then decided to act on the message we shared.  It's a miracle!!

Things are great here.  Now that I've attended four out of four general conferences on my mission, had all four phone calls to home on my mission, and am now approaching the second birthday on my mission, I realize my time is limited.  So I am entering sprint mode.  

Elder So and self got a new companion from Taiwan last week.  Elder Lu is cool, he's been in the military for a year (though does not look like it), and hardly speaks English.  It's his first time in the States, so it's a bit of an adjustment for him.  It's pretty funny because he has the exact accent that I made fun of Taiwanese people for having, so that's an adjustment for me.  But things are great, we'll do work this last transfer.

I love this work!  It is so true!

Have a great week!

- Elder Winters

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - October 14, 2013 Amazing week!!

[Editor's note: Daniel's birthday is one month from today.  He does not get much mail anymore, now that his mission will be over in six weeks.  I know he would appreciate a card or a note!  If you have a few minutes please write to him:
Elder Daniel Winters
CA-Irvine Mission
23 Lake Rd.
Irvine, CA  92604

Hey everybody, how's it going?  This week has been as superb as they come.  Yes, there was a baptism this weekend, and it was, in a word, spiritual.  It was awesome.  As it says in D&C 84:20, "Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest."  That is so true!  Brother He is 82 years old and has been investigating for a while now.  In fact, I've been working with him on and off for my entire mission.  A lot of people never thought it would happen in this life, but Heavenly Father gave him a change of heart.  Literally and spiritually, because he got a pacemaker put in a few years ago.  I will never forget the feeling I had in my heart as I saw him come out of the water, completely clean.  

God is good.  He gives us these sacred ordinances and covenants that we might get closer to Him and feel of His Spirit more strongly.  I'm grateful for these ordinances and I know that the priesthood authority required to perform them has been restored by a prophet of God.  In other words, this work is true, and it is all for the salvation of God's precious children.  

I love you all!  Have a wonderful week.

- Elder Daniel Winters