Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Elder Winters - May 21, 2012

Hello everyone.  It's been a marvelous week here in sunny California.  The English elders are complaining that it's starting to get hot, but I wouldn't know.  Sometimes I feel like I'm not a true missionary without a bike under me, but it's all good.  We'll see what the future holds.  

Talking with the fam last week there was again mentioned the subject of food.  I have come to the realization that I have neglected to mention food for a while now.  Sorry about that.  I will now disclose that I think my favorite food here is Vietnamese food.  Vietnam was occupied by the French for quite some time, so think of an Asian-French cuisine hybrid.  It's awesome stuff.  Except fish sauce.  I asked one of the Vietnamese elders here how they make it.  His answer: they put down a layer of fish, put a layer of salt on top of that, then put on another layer of fish, and so on...and then all the juices that leak out of that creation are bottled up and sold as fish sauce.  Good stuff.

Now, let's get down to the nitty gritty.  Remember that last week we had a surprise investigator?  Well, this week we had two surprise baptisms.  It was the weirdest thing ever.  One thing led to another and then our surprise investigator turned out to be amazing and got baptized on Tuesday.  After that, her friend who has been meeting with missionaries since before I got here decided that she wanted to get baptized as well so they could do it together.  She was baptized on Saturday.  The Lord works in funny ways.  No matter how we taught her, there was still that catalyst that she needed to actually make the baptismal covenant.  She gave up coffee as soon as she learned she was going to be baptized this week.  All of this because the Lord led us to her friend who was super prepared to receive the gospel.  Wow.  This is the Lord's work, which means He's in charge of it and He pretty much does it on His own.  We just kind of have to be here and be willing and worthy to do what He wants.  It's incredible.  I love it here.  I know what we teach is true.  I've had confirmations from the Holy Ghost time and time again.  It's true.  God is our loving Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ is His Son, and they both love us perfectly.  What a blessing.

Have a sweet week.
Elder DBW

This is from his baptism on Tuesday, May 15th:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Elder Winters - May 14, 2012

Hey everybody and happy Mother's Day.  I sure hope some of you at BYU aren't mothers just yet; I haven't been gone that long. 

So this week has been a good one.  First off, I got to talk to my family yesterday for a little while.  If anyone is curious, they are doing great, and I'm doing just swell as well.  Also, another good thing has been a surprise investigator that came to church last week and then called us Tuesday morning asking if she could meet with us to discuss Priesthood authority in our church.  She is on fire and is coming to know the truthfulness of the things we share with her.  

This morning I was able to do some Tai Qi with about thirty old Chinese people in a nearby park.  If anybody says that Tai Qi is not a workout, they are lying.  I got worked by the 60-80 demographic.  Though it was a lot of fun just mimicking what the group leader did and it was a good opportunity to find interested people to boot.  I had my workout clothes on today, but still I heard some whispers of "传教士" (missionary) among the old women a little bit.  They must know that no other nineteen year old would be crazy enough to be white and learn Chinese at the same time if he didn't have a true message to share.  

That brings me to the message we share.  I know it's true.  I know that our Church has the Priesthood authority restored through heavenly messengers to the Prophet Joseph Smith after it was lost after the Apostles were persecuted and killed.  We have the authority given from God to baptize in Jesus Christ's name, as did John the Baptist and Jesus' apostles in His time.  It is what distinguishes us from other churches.  I know it is a blessing and is only used to serve others.  It's the Lord's work I'm doing, and He's not letting me do it by myself.  

Have a great week.

Elder Winters

Daniel at the home of a member who wrote me an email, the subject of which was "We love Elder Winter."  So fun!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Elder Winters - May 7, 2012

各位弟兄姐妹們,大家好。It's been a great week full of unexpected happenings that have all been exciting and interesting.  One of these happenings was a surprise two-day exchange (48 hours) with my district leader, who speaks Korean and knows maybe four words in Chinese.  Needless to say, it was an exciting two days.  It made me realize how much I really love my companion, and maybe even more love his ability to speak Chinese fluently.  All in all, it was a much-needed experience that has increased my desire to become better in Chinese.

Another exciting experience may have been when we taught one of our older investigators this week (he's around 80 or so).  His hearing's not too great, so it was pretty hilarious to see my companion practically shouting at him about getting baptized and believing in Jesus Christ.  After that, he brought up his concern that if he got baptized, he would have to shave his head just like the Buddhist monks do.  Needless to say, we were a little surprised at this and I hope we resolved that concern in a diplomatic way (for any non-LDS readers out there, we don't require baptismal candidates to shave their heads).  After the lesson he took us to a Japanese restaurant where they served me what seemed like half a raw salmon.  I asked my companion why Asians eat fish raw.  He said that there a certain nutrients that are cooked away when you fry or boil them.  Those have better been some darn good nutrients, because I'm not sure it was worth eating it.  Anyway, during our lunch chat, our investigator told me that I was handsome, so that naturally made me feel willing to eat any number of raw fish for the guy.  What a nice man.

On a more spiritual note, I know that the things I teach are true.  I haven't had any huge manifestation that they are, but I feel the Holy Spirit testifying through me every time I teach those truths.  This work is true, and I wouldn't rather do anything else right now.

Have an awesome week.

Elder Daniel Winters

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Elder Winters - April 29, 2012

Hello everybody, I hope all is well wherever you are.  To my friends who just had exams, I hope you did well, or at least feel you did well.  If not, you may feel better by the thought that you will have most of them out of the way by the time I get back.  

California has been treating us well lately.  We moved over to Irvine, where most of our work at the moment is centered, so that means less driving and less ghettoness for us, because Irvine is the quintessential suburbia.  The weather continues to not do anything out of the ordinary, and the work continues to go on.

In somewhat exciting news, we went to the headquarters for Blizzard Entertainment today for our preparation day, taking a tour of the place with a member in our branch.  They are the makers of the big MMORPGs, FPSs, SATs, CVSs, IHOPs, and any other combination of capital letters you can imagine.  No, seriously speaking, they created the games like Starcraft, World of Warcraft, and Diablo that every middle schooler gets hooked on these days.  Personally I haven't played any of them, but seeing as my district is all Koreans except for me, I was mandated to go.  It turned out to be pretty cool.  Though it was almost entirely just buildings of offices and a small museum, it was fun to look at everything.  If you don't have several hundred orc action figures on your desk here, you are pretty much the odd one out.  All of the cubicles were completely decked out with video game paraphernalia.  My perspective changed actually changed from seeing it all as a bunch of highly addicting computer games to an intense medium of art.  I'm not sure if I'll ever play them, but the games have now earned my respect.

In more spiritually uplifting news, we've had the chance to teach many of our branch members the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ this week.  Even though some of these people have been hearing it their entire lives, it is always a spiritual experience to have a refresher course.  As we taught it many times, I felt my own testimony of it grow stronger.  It made me think about what blessings the Restoration has brought in my own life - the knowledge that we are led by a prophet, that we once again have priesthood authority, and we have precious and simple truths that were lost, such as the nature of the Godhead.  I know that the message we share is true, otherwise I wouldn't be putting in two years to share it.  I also know the prophet who called me is a true prophet, or else he wouldn't have called someone like me to try to teach people in Chinese by the power of the Holy Ghost.  It's all true, and it's blessed my life when I live according to what I know.

Have an awesome week.

Elder Daniel Winters