Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Elder Winters - October 29, 2012 East Side

[Editor's note: Daniel's birthday is November 15th!]

Hey everyone!  Welcome back, and Happy Halloween.  I get my new companion from Kaysville, Utah tomorrow, which should be exciting.  I've been told that I act more like a kid from Utah than a kid from Georgia, so maybe that means we'll get along really well.  

Some of this week has been spent preparing for this week.  We'll be splitting the mission in half to accommodate two Chinese companionships, and as luck would have it my companionship will be the one with zero investigators.  So next week hopefully I'll have some exciting finding stories for all of you.  I especially want to go tracting on Halloween night, but I'm not sure how successful that will be.  I've heard stories of missionaries not being taken seriously several times on Halloween night, but maybe it will be different with the Chinese, who don't really celebrate it.  It translates into "Ten Thousand Spirits Holiday," so maybe in the spirit of the holiday we'll go to the temple for baptisms for the dead instead.

Another part of preparing to split has involved cleaning out our previous apartment.  The majority of the furniture was termed "not good enough for DI [Deseret Industries]," so it was literally destroyed by our zone.  That was pretty fun.  I've never tossed a chest of drawers off a two-story balcony before.  That might've been the last time, too.  

Anyway, we've had some solid lessons this past week.  It's a privilege to bear testimony of eternal truths and feel the Spirit bear testimony of them as well.  It's a wonderful we get to do, and I know it's true.  Have a wonderful week!

- E. DBW

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Elder Winters - October 24, 2012 Temple!

[Editor's note: Daniel's birthday is November 15th.  I know that he would be delighted to hear from as many of you as possible!  His address is 
CA Anaheim Mission
2500 N. Bristol St.
Santa Ana, CA  92706
Just one stamp and you'll make his day!

Also, sorry for the delay, Daniel emailed Wednesday and I was out of town and didn't have access to the email list.]

你好 everyone, and welcome to Wednesday's super short version.  We're going to the temple today, so time is short.  

This week we've been knocking a little more than usual.  That's fine; as my good friend Jacob Guest put it, it builds character.  I am actually enjoying it a lot, because in case you didn't know, there are a ton of interesting people in this world.  In just ten doors we found an ex-Mormon whose grandfather was a polygamist - who would've thought?  Also, on another of our escapades, we knocked into about twenty non-Chinese people in a row, and it wasn't until the very last door that we found a Chinese woman and her daughter.  That was a good thing, too, mainly because we got kicked out of the complex right afterwards.  I try to get my lawyer skills on (I mean, after all, I did empty the garbage and shred documents for a law firm for three months) and said that we weren't soliciting because we weren't selling anything.  The proper term for what we are doing is canvassing, which is sharing ideas for free.  Come partake of the feast of milk and honey without money and without price.  Anyway, for more information on this case, Google "Winters v. U.S. Supreme Court."  

This mission is changing me constantly.  It has been an enormous blessing in my life, and I am so grateful for what God has done for me ever since this started.  This work is true, and those wonderful prepared people are out there, searching for the truth.  Heavenly Father is directing this work, even if He has to use instruments like me to do it.

Have a great week, everyone.

- E. DBW

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Elder Winters - October 15, 2012

Hello everybody, welcome to another week in the life.  I had one of my bigger realizations of just how weird I am this past week - I was speaking Chinese in a public place and there were a couple of non-Asian people staring at me looking ready to go and call the police.  I'm afraid I may be a contributing factor to the misinformation going around that our church is a cult....

Other than that, things are rolling here in SoCal.  It actually rained for about the fifth time of me being here this past week, but we are now moving into another heat wave, so my hopes of having a real autumn here are being dashed by the scorching sun.   But you know, that's fine.  

Anyway, on to missionary stories.  Cool stuff happening!  One night this past week we were in an area that we rarely go to because of the dearth of Chinese people there, but we were there for a different reason as we later found out.  There was this guy that stopped us and asked us about the purpose of life.  We ended up having about a 45 minute conversation with him about the gospel.  This guy is ready!  It was amazing, and such a blessing to be able to run into him.  I for one am SUPER glad that the parking spot we wanted to park in was full.  As for the ending of the story, we're not sure.  We referred him to the English elders, so we'll see how it works out.  

Another thing.  We were tracting one afternoon without too much success.  Then we tract into this 80 year old Chinese man, no interest whatsoever, but he was just so darn nice.  He was like, "Mission work, that ain't easy.  I respect you guys a ton."  Or something to that effect (old people are harder to understand).  But anyway, sometimes I think that Heavenly Father not only puts prepared people in our path, but people that are supposed to cheer us up, because this guy did just that.  I couldn't stop smiling for a while after knocking into him.  

Last thing.  A movie star from Shanghai came to our church on Sunday!  Super cool.  Of course, I had absolutely no clue who the heck she was, but lots of the sisters did.  They were all flocking her after Sunday School, making it difficult for us to talk to some of the potentials/recent converts that we wanted to set up lessons with.  Sheesh.  Oh well.  I guess that will make them want to come more often, knowing that movie stars come to our branch now.  Unfortunately, she's just on vacation right now, but hopefully they'll be back.  

On a spiritual note, I know that the work we do is true.  The Church is true, Jesus is the Christ, and God loves us all.  

Have a wonderful week!

- E. DBW

Monday, October 8, 2012

Elder Winters - October 8, 2012 Crazy...

Hello and ni hao to all of you in reader world.  It's been a crazy week, culminating in a mind-blowing announcement by our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, concerning a policy change expanding the options of at which age missionaries can serve.  Young men can now go at the age of 18, and young women at 19.  Despite the overwhelming/exciting feeling I got from this when I heard the announcement, I also felt strong impressions from the Spirit, indicating that this is an inspired change, a revelation from God.  I witness the reality of a living prophet leading and guiding this Church of Jesus Christ by revelation.  This change is huge and has many, many implications for both my family and my future family.  My brother, Jacob, has also made the decision to serve right after high school.  This is taking some time for me to digest, but I really couldn't be happier for him and for this new option available.  

Allow me to talk about general conference for a second.  General conference to missionaries is like what the Twilight series is to teenage girls.  If there was a midnight viewing of general conference and my bedtime was not at 10:30, you could bet that I'd be first in line.  To sum up my experience in a word, it was awesome.  The talks were all inspiring and gave me desires to repent and keep going.  I know that these, our Church leaders, are called of God and were foreordained to their callings.  I know Jesus Christ still leads His church today.  It's an incredible privilege to be His representative right now.  

Have a great week!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Elder Winters - October 1, 2012 Happy birthday, Becca!

Hey everyone, and happy Mid-Autumn Day yesterday.  It certainly doesn't feel like the middle of autumn here, but I suppose I'll take what I can get.  I also don't know about the historical significance of this holiday, but I do know the significance of it for me: that's right, free food.  Okay, just kidding, it means there was an awesome festival party hosted by our branch in which tons of potential people to teach showed up.  That was an amazing blessing - we were expecting maybe 15 nonmembers to show up, and at the actual thing there were maybe 40, all with at least one member friend!  Awesome stuff.  One member family that we ate dinner with this past week brought two friends, which I'm thinking has a direct relationship to eating their food for them.  That night, the dad piled at least 7 decently large chicken drumsticks on my plate and basically force-fed all three of us.  It was a challenge, but the rewards are worth it.  

If you can believe it, I went on another exchange in the Korean program.  At this rate, I'll probably be fluent in Korean by the time I get back.  I give myself credit for sitting in on an hour and a half lesson with one of their investigators, not understanding a word of it.  I felt like I was back in Chem 107.  

In spiritual news, we've had some wonderful lessons this past week.  As Elder Bednar put it, the lessons went well in spite of me.  I've found that when the necessary things are done, such as preparation and the simple things that bring spiritual power (like prayer and scripture reading), coupled with a sincere desire to help others progress in learning about the gospel, the Spirit takes over in a way that is incredible to observe.  As we listen with love, things come out of our mouths that help investigators light up like nothing that we alone could ever provide.  I know the Spirit is present in our lessons, testifying to the listeners the truthfulness of what we teach.  I know our message is true and can bless every single one of us.  It's an incredible pleasure to bring it to others that are willing to listen and act on it.

Have a great week.

[Editor's note: Wow, what a handsome missionary!!]