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

Monday, October 7, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - October 7, 2013

[Editor's note: Daniel has been working his entire mission with a man whose daughter is in the Mandarin branch.  This brother is finally getting baptized this Saturday after 20 years of many prayers and many missionaries!  The sister who lives in the branch emailed me about Daniel.  Here are a few of the things she wrote about him: 
He present himself as royal family so you will be proud  of him. And you should. I love the spirit of his prayer and calmness. He is a special to us. 
In one point I almost want to tell him that you don't need to waste your time on my dad because he is only using your kindness for his need.he will not join the church this life.but for sure the next life.
I express to him that I don't think my dad will join the church.All he said is you never know, he might join the church one day.
One day he told me if ok he help my dad do the garden work every week.I almost start to cry.....
And He was so happy he can do that.
He taught me about being obedience and rely on the spirit.
He taught me that we do not need to say many words but service will speak itself.
I will miss having him around. I know The Lord has great plan for him in the future and in His kingdom.
Thank you for sharing him with us the pass two years. 
He will bring you good report.]

Hey everybody, I hope it's been a great week.  I hope you all loved General Conference like I did.  I was so pumped to hear all the speakers speak and now I can't wait to read all the talks over and over again and then go out and do.  I felt sorry for poor Elder Vinson, though, who had a fly attack him during his very first general conference address.  The talk was powerful, nonetheless, and pretty entertaining to watch.  

The Santa Ana winds have started blowing in, so much that a tree in our apartment complex got blown over.  I guess I wished this to happen in a previous email when I said I wanted the weather to be something other than sunny.  So now it's windy and sunny.

The work here is moving.  I had the opportunity to interview a couple of people for baptism this past week, which is probably my favorite responsibility.  Preach My Gospel encourages interviewers to invite the baptism candidate to bear his or her testimony, and I like to do that by asking the candidate what changes have taken place in his or her life since meeting with the missionaries.  The responses I got were incredible.  My favorite was one that said he was now aware that Heavenly Father was watching him.  He said he didn't believe in God before but after meeting with the missionaries a few times there was no way to disregard or deny how he felt.  That was so special.  I know, with more certainty than ever after this past conference, that this work is true, that we have a prophet who leads and guides us by inspiration and revelation, that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are real and love us, and that this Church is true.

I love you all, have a great week.

- Elder Winters

In the brother's backyard where he has been working each week:

Monday, September 30, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - September 30, 2013 Hey family!

[Editor's note: Again this week the section to the family was too good not to be included!  Sounds like he is doing so well.]

Hello family!  It's been another great week! We are really being blessed and this is one of the busiest times on my mission - just how I want it to be.  We are seeing miracles and we are being led to all sorts of people.  I also think we're working in greater unity with the members.  Just something simple as calling a member and seeing if we can have a lesson at their house brings great dividends.  It's also wonderful that so many members are willing to help out and give of their time freely to progress the work of salvation.  Thank you!  And we have found that having investigators over at members' houses for dinner is really amazing.  So next time you have the missionaries over for dinner, ask if they have any investigators they can invite!  They'll be so happy.  

Here's the update on the investigators!

The work in our area is going really well. The most exciting thing to report is that Ying Kuan's wife has consented to let him be baptized on October 12th!! It really is a miracle! Heavenly Father has heard our prayers to soften her heart. Emily is doing really well - she is progressing so quickly! The members are all embracing her and helping her out in understanding the gospel. We had a lesson with her at our branch president's house on Saturday and she basically taught us afterwards when she summarized what she had learned. She actually moved her date up to the 12th! She has attended two baptisms already and she talks about how she is excited for her own. She is truly elect! Other than that, there have been a few more people we have set up with so we'll see how things turn out after we teach them for the first time this week. 

The work is really cruising.  And I finally acquired my glasses on Friday, so I've had the following conversation many times in the past few days:
"I didn't know you wore glasses!"
"I didn't."
Okay, so many not that abrupt, but it's pretty amazing to see the world in sharper focus.  It's pretty cool also how looking at the world through the lens of the gospel allows us to see things with greater clarity and view them as they really are.  

We had an experience this last week wherein we taught a guy named Brother Thunder.  Well, at least that's what the translation is of his last name - pretty cool if you ask me.  Anyway, this guy wasn't interested in our message, but he was interested in us missionaries.  He kept talking about how great we were and how much effort and sacrifice we put into our work and how China doesn't have missionaries like us, etc.  It was a little disappointing for us, because missionaries don't want the attention focused on them.  We tried explaining to Brother Thunder that it was the message we share that has made us into the people we are and it is worth the sacrifice to share it, but with no avail.  I just want everyone to know that I know Jesus Christ and His gospel and Atonement have the power to transform hearts and people.  We see it on a daily basis and I have felt it in my own life as well.

Have a great week, don't do anything I wouldn't do unless it's P-day.

- Elder Winters

Photos taken by one of the members in the branch:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - September 23, 2013 Awesome week

[Editor's note: Daniel's first few paragraphs to the family were too good to not be included!  I am sure he would be mortified that his name was associated with such a lengthy email.]
Hello family!  It has been an amazing week, probably one of the most productive ones on my mission.  It's been one of those times when you just move from appointment to appointment, totally focused on the people you're going to teach.  It's awesome!  There are a lot of people coming out of the woodwork.  We're seeing so many blessings and we hope to see sustained and steady progress.  Here is an update on the investigators:

Niko is doing really well - we talked about his experience reading Alma 32 this week, and he really enjoyed it. He could sense Alma talking to him and he told us he believes the Book of Mormon is true! He came to church yesterday and enjoyed that as well. We were going to meet him tonight and confirm a baptismal date but it turns out he is in LA, and he might be there permanently because of work. So that is a bummer for us but we want to ensure he gets the best care from the Chinese missionaries in LA. Cindy is also doing well - we challenged her to read the Plan of Salvation pamphlet and to use both the Bible and Book of Mormon to find the answers to questions at the back. She is not sure about baptism yet - we will make sure to make that a main focus of our next lesson this week. Emily is making the most progress - we just taught her this past week and she has accepted every invitation including the invitation to be baptized on the 19th of October! She went to church yesterday and is quickly becoming acquainted with many members. We will have a lesson with her tonight at a member's house and will perhaps even move up her baptismal date to the 12th! That is so very exciting for both of us - it truly is a miracle. There is also progress with Ying Kuan! We reset a baptismal date for this Saturday - and it seems like his wife's heart is being softened! We're praying that we can make that date and that his wife will allow it.

The work is great, and I'm just trying to make the most out of my time left here.  You will continue to be in my prayers every day.



Hey everybody, I hope all's well in whatever part of the world you're at.  Things are going super well out in the field here in SoCal.  There are actually clouds in the sky now, which is an indicator for autumn here, I believe.  So the season should be called "Cloudy" instead of "Fall."  Anyhow, it's still a perfect 75 degrees here, with still no signs of rain.  It's interesting because a year ago I said to my companion that I really missed the clouds and that I just wanted a storm once in a while.  He, being pretty new, said I was crazy and that this was perfect weather and how could I want anything other than this, etc.  Now, he being older and wiser, said the same thing I did a year ago, though he denies that I said any such thing.  That's my rant about the weather - I hope that's not a sign of sheer ingratitude for a blessing of two years' good weather.  

My mission is changing me in more ways than I thought.  I received a diagnosis from the optometrist this past week that I am becoming more Asian than I thought I ever would - that's right, I am getting glasses.  It turns out that reading all the squiggles that are Chinese in the Book of Mormon has accelerated the degeneration of my eyes' refractional abilities, something that I think was bound to happen because of my genes.  So I am now nearsighted and will be collecting my new, Clark Kent-type glasses this week.  Hopefully that will be more endearing to the Asian community here.  

The people we're working with are doing so well.  These are some of the most humble people I've taught in all of my mission.  They are willing to act in accordance with truth and the testimony they receive from the Holy Ghost.  I know we all can actively maintain that humility in our own lives to the blessing of others as we pray with real intent and look for opportunities to serve.

The work is true!  I love it so much.

Have a great week.

- Elder Daniel Winters

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - September 18, 2013 Happy birthday, Sarah!

Hey everyone, how's it going? The work here is cruising.  We had our annual Moon Festival this past week, which includes eating a bunch of moon cakes with preserved egg yolks as the secret ingredient.  What will these Chinese think of next?  But it was great, there were about 140 people there total.  

We had the chance to meet this guy named Niko on Monday.  He has so much faith.  He is also incredibly humble.  He simply wants to follow Jesus Christ.  He also expressed to us how grateful he is to be here with full religious freedom.  I was reminded of 2 Nephi 1:6 and Father Lehi's prophecy:

Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.

I know that's true.  I know so many people have been led to this land to receive the fulness of the Savior's gospel.  This work is so true!

Have a great week, everyone.

- Elder Daniel Winters

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - September 9, 2013 Hey fan! Quick one today

Hey everyone, get ready for a super short one.  It was a good week.  We've been seeing some awesome things happening.

One cool thing was that when we were contacting people, I felt like I was falling into more of a routine, so for the next person I decided to really strive to say what I was prompted to say.  When I talked to this lady, I started by talking about the plan of salvation and how we know where we go when we die.  It might have sounded weird (it did to me when I said it), but it turned out that this woman was the only living member of her family.  So that was amazing. 

I know this work is true, and God will get it done if we step out of the way and let Him.  That takes trust, but miracles will happen when we exercise faith in Him.  Moroni 7:33 - "And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me."

- Elder Daniel Winters

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - September 2, 2013 Transfer day… All my troubles seem so far away

Hey everybody.  I'll keep it short.  Because it's Labor Day.  So I don't want to labor so hard on this email today.  

It's been a rougher week as far as weeks go.  But it's still great, because I'm a missionary.  And what is even greater, I've received guidance from Heavenly Father through the Holy Ghost and the scriptures.  Sometimes I'll be prompted to look up a certain scripture, and wonderfully enough it will give me the strength I need to face particular challenges.  As Mormon said, "For thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will."

I know Heavenly Father is there, He loves us and will guide us if we ask Him to.  

[Editor's note: Here is another part of his email that I wanted to share that reflects the growth he has experienced as a missionary.  It's been tough finding people (hard enough to find people who speak Chinese, then to find those who are interested in the gospel).
This week has been similar to a roller coaster, with both ups and downs. Our investigators are doing well enough, it's just that we've had a hard time finding this week. It was pretty interesting - I had what seemed like a trial of my faith when during an exchange in which I was in Elder Hui's area we found an elect man who came to church this past Sunday and really enjoyed it. So apparently, I can find people in other people's areas just fine. I think Heavenly Father is really trying to teach me patience and love. He also seems to be trying to teach me how to take joy not only in my own success, but also in the successes of others. I want to be like Alma someday, who said, "But I do not joy in my own success alone, but my joy is more full because of the success of my brethren, who have been up to the land of Nephi. Behold, they have labored exceedingly, and have brought forth much fruit; and how great shall be their reward! Now, when I think of the success of these my brethren my soul is carried away, even to the separation of it from the body, as it were, so great is my joy." I am thankful that Heavenly Father thinks me worthy of giving me these experiences to help me grow and develop.]

Have a wonderful week!

- Elder Daniel Winters

Monday, August 26, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - August 26, 2013 Hi

Hello all,

It's been another good week in the life.  I've realized that I'm at a point in my mission that when anyone asks me how long I've been out, everyone tells me that I'm at the point of getting ready to go home and that everyone will be telling me that I'm getting to the point of getting ready to go home.  So, if you find yourself telling that to a missionary, know that he's silently telling you, "Cut it out!!"  But it's okay, because I am loving me some good missionary work.  

We had a good lesson with this agnostic guy who has a lot of questions.  He feels he is fine with just living a good life and not doing bad things.   It made me really think about things, because sure, that kind of lifestyle is not bad.  But in the end, it is only through adhering to Heavenly Father's plan for us that we will achieve and become all that we were meant to.  Relying on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and living true gospel principles is the ultimate way of attaining true, lasting happiness and eternal life.  It's all part of the plan.  And it's my hope that people will listen to the message we have to share!!  As Alma said, "I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness."

Have an awesome week.

- Elder Winters

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - August 19, 2013 I have a brother-in-law now…

Hey everyone, how's it going?  I'm kind of bursting to say this, so I'll just go ahead and say it: my sister got married on Saturday! Man, it seems like it was yesterday that I wrote my letter of how proud I was of her for her serving a valiant mission, and now I have a new brother-in-law....all I can say is, I am brilliantly happy for the two of them.  I like the way President Packer summarized it, when it's all said and done: "The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is to see a husband and his wife and their children happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood."  I love it!  I'm grateful for my parents and for other families that have exemplified that in their lives.  
The work is cruising over here.  We were pretty surprised to receive a phone call at about 10:45 Friday night from our branch president, telling us that Kelly wanted to get baptized the next day, but on the condition that she get baptized in the swimming pool by her uncle's apartment.  Well, that got the check of disapproval, so for Kelly, the deal was off.  It was strange, I've never seen someone negotiate about their baptism before.  Kelly leaves for Taiwan tomorrow.  She said she will meet with missionaries in Taiwan, so I'm happy.
We helped this one guy get some furniture out of his house this past week.  You should have seen his house.  It was incredible.  The guy is a packrat, to say the least.  He's basically never thrown anything away for thirty years.  You know those comics, when the mom shouts at the kid to clean his room, and then she yells that she can't even see the floor, or that it looks like a hurricane blew through there?  Yeah, it was like that.  Piles upon piles of stuff.  Swimming through stuff.  I wanted to take pictures to show everyone how crazy and messed up his house was, but that seemed a little rude, so I didn't.  
In spiritual news, we had a miracle in finding this past week!  On Saturday night, we didn't have too much proselyting time left, but we opened a time for tracting for after dinner. Elder Dahl received a strong impression of where we needed to go the night before. He was definitely listening to the Spirit, because the first door we knocked on let us in! Our new investigator, Brother Liu, spoke about how he was reminded of his childhood in China (he's 75) of when he went to church with his dad but then when more anti-religious feelings spread throughout the country he had to stop. He was truly prepared to receive us! We had a brief 20 minute lesson with him and he accepted the baptismal invitation! The only problem is he's going to China on the 26th of this month and won't be back until December. He came to church yesterday and loved it and said he wants to bring a friend this Sunday, so we will give him the best impression we can before he leaves and then Elder Dahl or whomever is in the area in December can help him receive the fulness of the gospel. It was a miracle if I've ever seen one! 
The Church is so true, the gift of the Holy Ghost is real, God really is directing His work as long as we let Him, and I'm loving being an instrument in His hands.  

Have a great week, everybody.

- Elder DW

Daniel's Yale Mandarin Branch district:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - August 12, 2013 They're finally getting married!

Hey everyone, I hope your week went well.  Mine sure did, because as a missionary, all my weeks are good.  
One cool thing that happened this week was that this lady who we met at sample table at an Asian market took us out to dinner after talking to us for about 15 minutes.  She said she would love to come to church, though she works Sundays.  Bummer!  At least the dinner was good.  Funnily enough, we met her because I had to use the bathroom. The Lord works in mysterious ways.
I dunno, but I just had the best time ever contacting people this past week.  Even with all the rejection I was still super happy and confident that we would be blessed with someone that would accept our amazingly perfect message.  It was a special spirit that I felt and I know that I was blessed with the forms of strength that I listed in my email last week.  I know that that feeling I had is hope.

Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God. (Ether 12:4)

I know that's true, and I know that hope comes to us because of Jesus Christ's Atonement on our behalf.  

Have a great week!

- Elder Winters

Monday, August 5, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - August 5, 2013

Dear all,
Things continue to go well here in SoCal.  Our investigator who set a baptismal date actually has some family problems so it turns out that we'll have to postpone the baptism for a little bit.  But he bore his testimony in church yesterday, which was cool.  He also bore testimony against several other religions, which was not as cool, but at least he's confident in his beliefs.  
Because of time, I just want to bear testimony of a scripture really quick.  I know that through the Atonement of Christ, we can be strengthened, and that strength can come in many forms, as is seen in Alma 58:10-11:
10 Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people.

 11 Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.

 12 And we did take courage with our small force which we had received, and were fixed with a determination to conquer our enemies, and to maintain our lands, and our possessions, and our wives, and our children, and the cause of our liberty.

Determination, courage, peace, and hope are all forms of strength that can keep us going in times of need.  The work is true, have an awesome week.

- Elder Daniel Winters

Monday, July 29, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - July 29, 2013 Miracle.

Hey everybody, I hope everything goes well.  Things in the life of Elder D.B. Winters are going just swimmingly, even though I'm not allowed to swim right now.  We've been blessed to teach a lot this week, which is what missionaries simply live for.  We love to teach, and we love to see people accept the gospel.  
Funny story of the week.  Our investigator called our branch president a monk during our lesson.  Interestingly enough, before he thought that in order to get baptized you have to shave your head.  Thankfully that tradition of the elders is done away with in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  Though our branch president continues to be bald.  
Miracle of the week.  That same investigator that said that has determined that he wants to be baptized as soon as humanly possible.  I've been working with this guy since the beginning of my mission, so I am, in a word, stoked.  I firmly believe the Spirit has been working with him and enlightening his mind.  I know the Spirit can do that because it did the same thing with me.  It prompted me to make some big decisions that led to me coming out on my mission.  I attribute that to the goodness and mercy and the grace of God, that He would see fit to do that for me and for the people I teach.  It's a wonderful thing to be out here, I appreciate your prayers so much, it's all working, all because this is the Lord's work.

Have an awesome week.

- Elder Daniel Winters

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - July 23, 2013 New Transfer

[He is still a man of few words...]
Hey everybody.  I've got very limited time so I'll make this a very limited email.  It's been a great week, our investigator is receiving answers to her prayers and she is recognizing them, something we've been praying for.  This last week she texted us asking if we can pray more than once a day.  When we told her that Heavenly Father is always there for us and that He listens to every single one of our prayers and that there is no limit, she texted "Wa!!!  So cool!!!!"  That brightened up our day.  I just want to testify that it is so cool.  Heavenly Father listens to and answers our prayers.

Have a great week.

- Elder Winters

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - July 16, 2013 Great week!

Hey everyone, hope this last week treated you well.  This last week has been a good one for us down here in SoCal.  

Some exciting news.  Now, I don't want to brag here, but we saw a live, feral barn owl on Sunday evening.  We were turning into the church parking lot when I saw it flying in the fruit field next to the church.  I of course freaked out more than a little bit so we parked the car and went to go look for it.  We think it was somewhat injured because it couldn't fly very high.  We chased it across the church parking lot and over a wall into a neighboring home.  That was the last we saw of it.  I dunno, as a huge Hedwig fan, I thought it was a big deal.  

During a lesson I made the mistake of making quotation marks with my fingers, usually suggesting that sarcasm is being used.  When we asked our investigator if she had any questions, she asked what the thing I did with my fingers meant.  I tried to explain it quickly but she was so interested in the fact that Americans do that and don't do it for any other punctuation marks that she kept mentioning it all throughout the rest of the lesson.  Oh well.  It was still spiritual, anyway.

The same girl is actually progressing really well.  It's been remarkable to see her growth.  She has started with literally no understanding of God, but her faith has grown a ton.  I know that is from hearing the good word of God and listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  God truly does lead this work and influence and invite His children to do good and to follow Jesus Christ.  This work is awesome, there's no other place I'd rather be.

Have a good one, everybody.

- Elder Winters

Pictures from Facebook yesterday:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Elder Winters - past several weeks

[Dear All,

Sorry for the delay, we have been out of town and I have not had access to the email list.

Daniel is in a new mission with the following address:
Elder Daniel Winters
CA- Irvine Mission
23 Lake Rd.
Irvine, CA  92604

I am certain he would love receiving a letter!

Many thanks,
the Editor]

June 17 -
Hey everybody, it's been a good week.  The branch had a baptism this past weekend, which was great.  We met a nonmember there who also just set a date for baptism yesterday.  When I discovered where she was from (Qingdao, Shandong, China), I could only remember from my China book that Qingdao is famous for its beer.  And usually, as a white guy, I feel like I have to pull things out of the air to maintain a long conversation with a Chinese person, mostly because I've never been to China nor do I look remotely like a Chinaman.  So I mentioned the famous Qingdao beer, and then she went on about how great it was.  She also asked me if I had tried it before.  So, the moral of the story is don't mention alcohol at baptisms.  

This week was also special in that I got to attend a convert's first endowment session at the temple.  It was a heavenly occasion.  Seeing her growth in the past year has been remarable.  She has been faithful in doing the little things that builds one's testimony, such as praying and reading the Book of Mormon every day.  In the temple, we were blessed to gain greater perspective of the things of eternity.  The imprtance of temporal things seemed to fade away in the face of the things that are sealed both on earth and in heaven.  Our families, our testimonies, our conversions, and our spiritual strength will be those things taht we take with us if we are faithful and obedient.

Have a wonderful week.

- Elder Winters

Hey everyone.  I hope you all liked that great "Hastening the Work of Salvation" meeting, because I sure did.  It was awesome!  My desire to be a permanent missionary has increased.  I loved it when the prophet invited us all to exercise faith and invite others to meet with missionaries in our homes.

As a missionary, funny things happen to you.  It is simply inevitable.  One funny thing that happened this past week was when we saw a man who had been jogging approaching a mailbox.  We tried to talk to him but then he said, "I don't live here, I'm just grabbing the mail," after which he took the mail out of his mailbox and then promptly ran away.  I thought that was pretty funny.  

There have been some awesome things happening this past week.  The work is moving!  A girl that has never been to church before in her life came with a member to help her with babysitting her daughter.  She is incredibly interested in learning more about Jesus Christ.  I believe that it has come from praying for miracles.  I know that if we exercise faith and expect God to fulfill His promises, He certainly will in His time.  It's happening here.  

I know this work is true.  It is so much fun.  I love it that when we bear testimony of what we know to be true, angels in heaven record it:

"Nevertheless, ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you."

Have a great week.

- Elder Winters

Hey everybody, what's been going on?  It's been pretty historic lately - there are now two Elder Winters with Chinese nametags on, something I'm pretty sure has never happened before, so that is pretty cool.  I love my brother, Jacob, and he is an amazing addition to the missionary field.  He'll be heading out to Richmond, Virginia, in a couple of months.  

I just want to make it know really quick that there is a newer elder in our zone from Savannah, Georgia.  His accent is incredible.  And although we're from the same state, it's sometimes hard to imagine that we're even from the same country.  I love it.  And I love imitating his accent, claiming that I've been hiding it all along to sound more like them city folk.  

This week has been stellar. We had a wonderful teaching appointment with one of our new investigators, Mandy.  She has always wanted to study Christianity, but she never had the chance to.  She was so excited and had so many questions for us.  She listened to the message, accepted the feelings she received from the Spirit, and decided to act on them.  She has set a date for baptism on the 20th!  We are so excited for her.  I thought this experience increased my testimony of the following scripture from the Book of Mormon:

16 And there was ano inequality among them; the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their bhearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming—

 17 That they might not be hardened against the word, that they might not be unbelieving, and go on to destruction, but that they might receive the word with joy, and as a abranch be grafted into the true vine, that they might enter into the brest of the Lord their God.

This work is true!  God is leading it.   It is so awesome to participate in.

Have a good one, everybody.

- E. DBW

Hey everyone, hope you all had a nice Independence Day.  We had a pretty good one - a member invited some investigators to a BBQ at her house.  I was the piano guy for entertainment and all seven Chinese missionaries sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."  I'll never figure out why the national anthem has to be in E flat, though.  And despite the influence of the Chinese all around me, I still love me the good ol' United States.  Freedom is a wonderful thing.  

We are a new mission now.  We had a big meeting to get everyone oriented and to meet the mission president.  He is amazing.  I love the spirit and the energy that emanate from him.  He wants to be here to do good - I can tell that that is his motivation.  He loves God and Jesus and his missionaries and wants to bring the good news of the gospel to as many people as we possibly can as a mission.  I want to be able to achieve the kind of character that he has obtained through consistent diligence, selfless service, and prayer.

The work is moving here.  The kids we're teaching are just loving church.  It is wonderful to see how spiritually sensitive kids are.  I think that's why the Savior made them a part of His teachings.  I know if we can be as humble and as loving as they are, we will go far.  

I am loving the work.  I know it is true.  I know God is directing us by His Spirit to help the work move on.  And as we all pitch in and reach out to our neighbors and friends, the work will move on like it never has before.

Have an awesome week, everyone.

- Elder Winters

Monday, June 17, 2013

Elder Daniel Winters - June 10, 2013 Whoa!

Hello everybody, and Happy Belated Dragon Boat Festival Day.  It's another one of those traditional Chinese holidays, and apparently its origins are as strange as other traditional holidays like St. Patrick's Day and Halloween.  Apparently, there was a famous Chinese poet who got depressed and threw himself into a river and drowned himself.  And then, in order to placate any fishes with the desire to nibble on his body, the village people threw elaborately-made rice cakes into the river.  And that's why we race dragon boats on Dragon Boat Festival Day.

Despite its strangeness, the festival was a lot of fun, and it was a great missionary opportunity as well.  There were a ton of nonmembers there that all seven of the Chinese missionaries just blitzed and talked to to help them feel the love, as our branch president always says.  The "dragon boat racing game" turned out to be four people, all lined up, each sat on a skateboard and used two toilet plungers to propel him or herself across the gym floor.  I don't want to brag here, but I won the race between the missionaries.  My secret: grab the only board that doesn't wobble.  

In spiritual news, there is a woman that we're teaching that sincerely wants to know that what we are teaching her is true.  We missionaries always go to the Book of Mormon to answer this question.  It truly is the keystone of our religion - it holds it up, and it is the evidence of the restoration of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith.  I know for myself that the Book of Mormon is true - I came to that knowledge by reading it and asking God Himself about its truthfulness.  I also do know that every sincere person with a desire to know if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's kingdom on the earth can know by reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.  So that's my invitation to every one - read in the Book of Mormon, and pray.  Regardless of whether or not you have received an answer in the past, you can and will receive another one.

This work is true, it's amazing, and I'm glad I can be a part of it.

Have a good week.

- Elder Winters

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Elder Winters - June 3, 2013 Back in the Chinese program

Hello all, and welcome back to the Chinese version 2.0 of the weekly
email.   That's right, I'm back in the Chinese progrum.  Program.
It's been stellar in the English program, I've really loved it, but my
time is up now.  I've learned a ton, and I am grateful for the
experiences I've been blessed with.

Not a ton to report -  I actually have to go in about one minute, so
I'll keep it brief.  This past Saturday Brtoher Zhou, the man Elder
Walker and I ran into a few weeks ago, got baptized.  He was
absolutely ready for the gospel.  I just want to testify, as I have
done in the past, that if we are living right the Lord will put us on
the path that He needs us to be on.  He will lead us by the Holy
Spirit, and a lot of the times we will not even notice.  I am so
grateful that the Lord is willing to let me be an instrument in His
hands to do this great work.  I love this work so much; I know it is

Have an awesome week, you guys rock.

- Elder Winters

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Elder Winters - May 21st and May 28th 我超喜歡宣講這個福音!

Hello all, and happy late Memorial Day.  It's wonderful to live in a country that enjoys all the freedoms that we do.  It's been a great week, including a zone conference.  I'd have to say that the highlight of that was either our mission president's talk or the mission president's wife teaching us all how to sing Peter Pan's "Never Smile At a Crocodile" as a reminder to get away from temptation.  

So, we went on an exchange with an assistant to the president this week, and that was super cool.  We knocked on one door and this family of four opened and received our message (the mom said the First Vision was "awesome") as well as dates to be baptized on the 23rd of June.  Naturally, we were super pumped to drop by their house at 10:30 AM to remind them about church, except we found a note that said "Not interested. We like our Lutheran religion.  Take back your books please.  Enjoy today."  I'm not sure how we were supposed to enjoy Sunday after receiving that note, but it's all good.  Things like that happen, but all we can do is press on with faith.  

As for a success story this week, if you remember that Chinese guy that we invited to church, it turns out he's getting baptized this Saturday. Man!  That made us incredibly excited.  I guess despite how hard I work in the English program, I'll always be drawn back to the Chinese program.   

Simply put, I know this work is directed by God.  The Holy Ghost will continue to bear witness of the divinity of our message as long as we strive our best to live according to it.

Have an awesome week.

- Elder Daniel B. Winters

From last week:

Hey everyone, how's it going?  Welcome to another week in the life of an English missionary.  The work has been going really well over here, everything is rolling along and picking up speed.  It's still something of an adjustment contacting English-speaking people, but thankfully my companion is patient with me, whether it be coping with my ineptitude or waiting for me while I go out of the way to contact a Chinese person instead.  I still got to see the Yale Branch when they got let out of their meetings on Sunday, and everyone appears to be doing really well.  As an added bonus, there were a ton of nonmembers there as well - a lot has happened in the four short weeks that I've been gone.  

As far as spiritual things go, we had a zone conference this week in which our mission president talked about repentance.  I guess he was calling the entire mission to repentance, but when the principle is understood correctly, that is a wonderful thing.  Repentance, at its core, is simply change.  A change from an action or belief or behavior of our own will to what God would have us do or think or believe.  And the more we make that change with the Savior's help, the happier we will be, because we will have greater access to the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the merciful forgiveness only He can extend.  So, I'd invite you all to think of something to repent of, and then do it.  I've been trying to do so with greater zeal since I heard that talk, and I have felt the results - they are real.

The work is true, have an awesome week.

- E. Winters

Monday, May 13, 2013

Elder Winters - May 13, 2013 It was awesome seeing you!

Hey everyone, welcome and happy belated Mother's Day.  I just want to make it known that I have the best mother of them all, and she has made me who I am today.  

So, this week I had my first experience as a real missionary, AKA a missionary that has to ride a bike.  It was, in a word, fun.  Though I would suggest to the missionary from whom I borrowed the bike to get a more comfortable seat, because spending two years on that things seems intolerable to me.  Anyway, the experience did make me appreciate biking missionaries and our car a lot more.  So I will not come home being a brat, I hope.

We had a fun experience contacting this past week.  We started talking to this girl and she seemed somewhat startled because of us.  We attempted to talk to her in a very non-menacing manner about the restored gospel, and then invited her to learn more, which she responded, "I don't know."  We then asked what her name was and she gave the same answer: "I don't know."  And then my companion said, "It's OK, if you don't want to tell us, that's cool --" and then she interrupted him, saying, "I don't remember...." with a look of seriousness as sincere as any as I have ever seen.  I guess my companion just has that kind of effect on people.  

As far as spiritual news goes, I'm not trunky or anything, but it was great talking to my family yesterday.  That was my fourth and last time doing that, so here comes the final stretch.  As a spiritual aspect, I know that families can be eternal through the ordinances of the temple.  That is the final goal of our work here - helping people making and keeping covenants to bring them and their families together to live in Heavenly Father's presence forever.  Isn't that wonderful?

The work is true; have a great week.

- Elder Daniel Winters

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Elder Winters - May 6, 2013 阿得可厲害咖更換新版

Hey everyone, I have to be quick.  Happy Early Mother's Day, because next email won't make it in time and early is always better than belated. Unless it's something like a birthday party six months in advance.

Well, it's been pretty awesome here in the English program.  It's quite something getting used to talking to white people all the time.  Although one would think that it would be comfortable and familiar, after over a year in the Chinese it's been a pretty strange transition.  Weird, right?  Well, I'm making the most of it, so it's all good.  

Let me see, something spiritual for this week....let me share a scripture.  Matthew 10:39!
 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

I just want to testify of the truthfulness of this teaching of the Savior. It's a sheer joy to throw yourself in the work of the Savior.  Whenever I feel crummy, it's probably due to me feeling selfish. Of course other people may use their agency in negative ways, but there's always room for improvement, there's always room to grow.  And that's not something to be disappointed about, but we should be happy for the opportunities given to us by our Savior Jesus Christ.  As Elder David A. Bednar put it, "In the strength of the Lord, we can do and endure and overcome all things."

Have a great week, everyone.

- E. DBW

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Elder Winters - April 29, 2013 English!

Hey everyone, welcome to the English version of the weekly reader.  It's been amazingly awesome, no lie.  It's been non-Chinese, but I feel home here as well.  We are just so pumped to preach the good news in English!  It's quite the relief being able to understand everything I'm saying.  I miss the Chinese branch, but I am committed to making the most of my time here in the English program.  

Sorry for the shortness of this email - my sister Rebecca got home this past Saturday so I've spent a good chunk of my time on talking about family stuff.  It is so nice to have her back after she successfully filled her mission.  

Well, cool thing - we tracted into a Muslim woman the other day.  It was incredible to see the effect the Holy Ghost had on her as we testified of the truthfulness of a modern-day prophet and of the restoration of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith.  So cool!  We're teaching her this week.  I love being a missionary! 

The work is true, don't ever forget it!  Have a good one!

- Elder Winters

Friday, April 26, 2013

Elder Winters - April 22, 2013 Happy Anniversary/Becca coming home!!

[Editor's note: Dear all, sorry for the delay.  David was very excited yesterday because he was able to visit Daniel's branch president in Irvine.  He was even able to meet Elder Hui, an elder Daniel trained several months ago.  Daniel made it very clear that David was NOT to visit him; in fact, he told us to not tell him when David would be in California.  

This is such a lovely tribute to his sister, Rebecca.  Enjoy!]

Hey all, super short today.  I'm getting transferred into the English program, so that was kind of a bummer for me.  Well, I knew it would happen, but when it actually did, I was a lot sadder than I thought I would be.  Like, a lot sadder.  But after prayer and listening to church leaders and my mission president today, I feel an assurance that this is the Lord's will for me at this time.  I know that the Lord's servants can and do receive revelation for us in their callings, and I also know that we are blessed when we accept their counsel.

Last thing.  My sister Rebecca returns home from her mission this Saturday.  I would like to make a shout out to her for being the best example of a missionary as anyone could ever be.  She has influenced my mission in such a way that I cannot fully describe it.  I have felt her testimony, boldness, compassion, charity, and love for the Lord an ocean away, and I know that her mission has been a successful one, one that I hope to emulate in the months I have remaining.  I love this work, I love my family, and I love the Lord.  

Have a good one, everyone.

- Elder Daniel Winters

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Elder Winters - April 15, 2013 大家好!

Hello all, I hope it's been a good week for you.  Things down in SoCal are cruising as usual.  It looked like it was going to storm today, but after the lightest five-minute shower ever, the clouds withdrew and the weather went back to its usual blue.  

Work among the Chinese continues to be fun. The people are as great as ever.  A benefit of the States is that there are people from all over Taiwan and China that live here.  We actually had the privilege of meeting a couple from northeast China who have no religious background whatsoever.  The reason they let us teach them was because they were curious about God and what He was like.  It was incredible to feel God witness of the truths we taught them, truths about Him and His plan for all of us, His children.  I know our Heavenly Father has prepared a way for us to have happiness in this life as well as in the life to come.  It is awesome to be able to teach others about it and share the joy that this knowledge brings.  

Have a super week, everyone.

- Elder Winters

Monday, April 8, 2013

Elder Winters - April 8, 2013 總會大會!!

Hello all, I hope you had a great General Conference weekend like I did.  Weren't those talks amazing?  They are all truly God's authorized servants.

One tender mercy I had in one of the sessions during a musical number was being able to be conducted by Sister Hall, my director at BYU.  Plus, I got to see a few familiar faces in the choir, which is always fun. 

I would say one of my favorite talks was that of Elder Kopischke, a member of the Seventy that actually visited our mission a few months ago.  He talked about being accepted of God and how we can know it.  That topic has been weighing on my mind recently, especially in relation to missionary work - particularly, how can I know if the work I done is acceptable to the Lord?  I know that I've definitely made my share of mistakes, even as a missionary (one might say especially as a missionary), but I know that because of Jesus Christ and His Atonement, every one of those mistakes can be overcome by exercising faith unto repentance.  In reading the Book of Mormon, I've been touched by how often the invitation to change and receive mercy has been extended, and I know that it is no accident.  Along with Elder Cardon, I affirm that the Savior wants to forgive, as well as help us in every step of the way of getting better.  I've seen it in my own life and I've seen it in the life of those I've been privileged to teach.

Have an awesome week, the Church is true, on, on to the victory!

- Elder Winters

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Elder Winters - April 1, 2013 Hi! Happy Easter!

Hello everyone, and happy Easter slash April Fool's Day slash my sister's slash my father's slash my cousin's birthday.  Goodness, a lot happened this past weekend.  

This was a great week, culminating in a great Easter Sunday.  One day during this past week we did some super fun service, involving us taking out a bunch of roots, some of which were a foot in diameter.  As I hacked away with fury at the roots with my pickax, I was reminded of how bad shape I am, a point that was strongly reinforced when we recently took turns stepping onto a scale at a member's house and everyone, excluding myself, burst out into laughter when I stepped on.  Anyway, to those interested, I am newly committed to run every day and to not throw out my back at the ripe old age of 20.  

In spiritual news, this Easter season allowed me to reflect much on the Savior's resurrection.  "Easter" in Chinese is "復活節(Fuhuojie)," or "Resurrection Celebration," which is a nice reminder of what the holiday is all about.  After personal contemplation and prayer and receiving a witness from the Holy Ghost, I know that we will all live again because of Jesus Christ.  I witness that our Savior rose from the dead three days after being crucified, and I know that He still lives and He still leads His Church.  Teaching and testifying of this wonderful message at this time is a wonderful blessing in my life.

Have a great week, everyone.

- Elder Winters

Monday, March 18, 2013

Elder Winters - March 18, 2013 Jackie Chan lives in Irvine

Hello all, welcome to another week in the life.  Good things are happening in Irvine, there's no doubt.  There are two baptisms lined up for this weekend in the Yale Branch, so we're all pumped for the events.  Our branch mission leader set a goal of 30 baptisms for the branch this year, so fortunately we've got six elders and the Lord all combined to get the work done.  Of course, I've also heard that two people can do anything, as long as one of those persons is God.  

Another thing I've learned this past week is that my learning Chinese is improving my Jackie Chan abilities.  I think I am safe to say that at least two things that happened this past week are able to prove that: 1) I caught a living fly with chopsticks and 2) I arm wrestled the endurance weight lifter champion of the world, Dragan.  I am not making this up.  Google Dragan if you want (it's pronounced Dragon. Like the mythical creature).  Okay, so the fly was placated by some strawberries on the table and Dragan almost tore my arm off, but still, I feel like those two things merit some kind of attention.  

A disadvantage that learning Chinese has brought is that I have no capabilities to speak any other language other than English.  We tracted into this Vietnamese lady that only spoke French and Vietnamese (Vietnam was occupied by the French), and so I was like, "parlez-vous francais" and she looked all excited and was like, "Oui, oui" and then I was like "太棒了!我也會講法文!" and then I had to pause, because everything French flooded out of my brain and was replaced with Chinese.  So I said "merci beaucoup" and then we got out of there.  So, that dashed any hopes of me becoming tri-lingual.

One super cool thing happened this week.  We were tracting/street contacting in an apartment complex that we've visited a few times before, and we finished visiting all the potentials we knew in the area.  So then, we were clueless as to what to do for about a second, and then the thought came to mind that number 73 in the complex had a Chinese thing on the door last time (why did my brain not have these capabilities when I took calculus??), so we headed in that direction.  And then we met two Chinese girls taking out the garbage, and after starting a conversation, one of them was super interested and they both agreed to come to church the next day!  Awesome, right?  I think I have said this before, but the Holy Ghost absolutely can bring all things to our remembrance.  

Well, the work is awesome, I love it, it's true.  I hope you all have a great week.

- Elder Winters

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Elder Winters - March 11, 2013 晚上好

Hello all, it's been an intense week this week.  Biggest news is my new companion, Elder Dahl from Taylorsville, Utah.  He's got awesome Chinese from being straight out of the MTC, so it'll be exciting to work with him.  

In terms of the work, it's going well.  We had an awesome member attend some of our lessons this week, and she just rocked house.  Literally, picture exactly what you think is perfect for a member to say to help someone who is striving to develop a relationship with God, and that is what she said.  Plus, having someone there who is actually fluent in Chinese is a real support.  

Some members invited us to attend their kids' piano recital this past week so we could talk to the Chinese families that would attend.  That wasn't a problem, mostly because outside of Church members and missionaries, everyone there was Asian.  Oh, the memories.  I talked to this thirteen-year old Chinese provincial gold medalist in piano who rocked a piece that I gave up on as a seventeen-year old because it was too hard (Chopin's "Polonaise," anyone?).  Yeah.

Another exciting change is that missionaries can now email non-family members.  I know that my reader base is less than the population of the Yukon in Canada, but if you'd like to shoot me an email I can now actually get back to you without procrastinating writing a letter for months.  So, my email is, for those that are interested.

Well, this week has been good.  I know that God has been in this work.  It is amazing to me that if we are praying for help and are living right, He will truly guide our paths, sometimes without us even knowing.  The work is true, I love this Church, and you all have a great week.

- Elder Daniel Winters