Monday, August 27, 2012

Elder Winters - August 27, 2012

Hey everybody, and welcome to P-day.  We've got a new elder in town, Elder Hui from Toronto, Canada.  You all know what this means - more discrimination against the white American elder.  No, seriously, he's a stud, his Mandarin is through the roof, and he can actually play basketball.  His parents both hail from Hong Kong, so he can speak Cantonese to boot.  I'll be with him and Elder Wang for 6 weeks, and then the real craziness begins when Elder Li from China/Japan comes.  

So, I've learned this week that at dinner when someone asks, "Would you like some of this?" the most expedient response should be a prompt, "What is that?" instead of "Sure!  Why not?"  This may come from the occasion when there was a big bowl of tripe in the middle of the table.  I unfortunately employed the latter response when asked the above question, so, yes, I got a big plateful of stomach for my stomach this past week.  And also, out of curiosity, does anyone know if the inside of cow stomachs have cilia?  I just want to make sure exactly what those things are and I'm afraid my limited knowledge of biology is going down the tubes.

Outside of culinary craziness, we have experienced some fun service activities this past week.  One of them included moving several large objects into someone's new house.  As many of you know, it is a custom among the Chinese to take one's shoes off every time you enter a house. This proved to be somewhat inconvenient, especially when Elder Wang and self were carrying the what seemed like 3,000 pound TV into the house.  Needles to say, we became pretty good at taking off our shoes while walking while carrying large, heavy objects.  

In awesome exciting spiritual news, Guo Jiemei got baptized and confirmed this week.  We didn't think she would make it this week because she's been quite busy lately, but on Wednesday she expressed that she wanted to make her goal for Staurday, so we were scrambling a little bit this week.  But, everything went well and decently smoothly.  Also, I have an experience uncannily similar to my sister Rebecca's.  Guo Jiemei was very nervous before her baptism, but when I talked to her afterward she said the feeling was completely gone.  She was so incredibly happy, and we were so incredibly happy for her.  I know she made a correct choice.  I also know she has full access to the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ as she continues to live the gospel.  The work is true, it's amazing, it's the best ever, have a great week everyone.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Elder Winters - August 12, 2012

Hey everyone, there's a short note coming up, sorry about that.  This is the last week in the transfer, and it turns out that Elder Hui from Canada will be coming a week from tomorrow eh.  I think he just aboot knows Chinese, so that'll be good eh.  And he will probably a source of constant lame jokes for me.  Eh.  But, alas, it will be short lived because six weeks later Elder Li from Japan will arrive and I will most likely become his companion, due to the fact that he probably can't drive and I'd prefer to not be on a bike.  And I will still remain the only white kid in my district.   

Some cool stuff has been going on this week.  One of our investigators is heading back to Taiwan, where I hope my sister will get to baptize her.  Or at least see her.  Either way, it will happen.  I don't have too much time so I'll just leave you with a cool experience.  Last night before planning we went out to put a somewhat nice note on a neighbor's door.  I just felt the need to do it, so off we went.  And then, who would we run into but some Chinese lady (that does not happen very often at all at 9 o'clock at night and at our apartment complex).  And she turned out to be pretty potential!  This time, no joke.  She has relatives in Utah who love it there.  I thought that was cool, and I know we were supposed to run into her.  

This is the Lord's work.  The scriptures are true. They are the Lord's word.  They are awesome.  You all are awesome.  Have an awesome week.

- Elder Winters

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Elder Winters - August 6, 2012 Beware of Dog

Hello everyone.  How's it going?  Rhetorical question, I know, but in my mind you're all doing great.  Except maybe those of you that are starting school soon.  Anyway, regardless of how you all are doing, I'm doing fantastic, thank you very much.  I'm in a new location today.  This email hails from Newport Beach, and I can see the beach through the library window.  Okay, I've got to stop now.  Things have been rolling here in the Anaheim mission.  The English elders are on fire, and we came across a entirely Asian neighborhood in the northernmost part of our mission a few days ago.  It was very strange to see only Asians on the street, because I've only seen that in restaurants before.  Well, as it turned out, quite a few of them were Cantonese, Japanese, and Korean, so it wasn't quite as golden as we thought it was.  And, in addition to that, it was a 40 minute drive away from our church, and there aren't too many people in Southern California that would brave that every week.  (Call us wimps, but it's true.) 
We've also seen some pretty great miracles this week.  One of them occurred when Elder Wang and self decided to abandon all reason and enter into a yard that had a huge sign that said "BEWARE OF DOG."  Being male, we thought we were up to the task.  Well, we knocked on the door and a few seconds later a huge pitbull comes sprinting like mad towards us.  I felt my life flash before my eyes (it didn't take long) as the pitbull jumped onto my knees and started to....lick my hands.  The owner came out and told us that the pitbull was very friendly and didn't bite at all.  The miracle is.....we talked to him about the gospel and he said he's been waiting for this all of his life and he's getting baptized this week.  Okay, that last part was a bit of a fabrication.  He wasn't too interested.  The real miracle is that I didn't wet my slacks.  A small miracle, but a miracle nonetheless for those that know me. 
Aside from all crazy stories, let's get to the part that really makes it all worth it: the spiritual experiences.  Guo Tongxue continues to be awesome despite having slept through church at 1:30 (let's face it, the life of a student can be hard).  She was the one that suggested we start our lesson with a prayer, she set up a ride to go to our branch campout without us knowing, and she set up our next appointment.  Really great.  Well, she's just now starting to believe in God via the Spirit's guidance, and it's an awesome thing to behold.  In our last lesson when we were talking about prayer she said, "I really hope God doesn't forget about me," to which Elder Wang said, "He has never forgotten about you."  I thought that was amazing once I started thinking about it a little more.  Even if we completely reject Him, God keeps track of every single one of His some-odd 6 billion living children.  He's sad when we make wrong choices and is absolutely ecstatic when we make right ones.  Just thinking about that a little more every day should keep us on the right path.  I know that this is His work, and I have felt His help throughout the day in every aspect of the work.
Have a sweet week, everyone.
- Elder Daniel Winters