Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Elder Winters - January 29, 2013 大家好 [Hello, everybody]

[Daniel started his email to the family with this: 家庭好,很高興可以發郵件給你們。我特別很開心雅各快要受到他的傳教召喚信封.  We got a good laugh from Google Translate: Good family, very pleased to be able to send e-mail to you. I am particularly glad Jacob is about to suffer his missionary call of the envelope.]

Hey everyone, and a big 你好 to all of my Chinese readers (do I have any of those?).  Chinese New Year is coming up, so that's kind of the big event that we're all looking forward to over here.  Before that, though, is the mad handing out invitations to everyone to actually come.  Whatever the outcome is, there will dumplings, therefore I will be happy.  

As far as news goes, things are picking up quite a bit as far as the work goes - we received two referrals from one of our recent converts.  If you want to make the missionaries of your respective wards happy, give them someone to teach.  And the thing is, all this member did was invite her friends to church.  Pretty simple, and yet the outcome could be incredible.  As Church members, we come to grow to love the gospel and the happiness it brings us, it's just a matter of learning how to share it with others.  I definitely encourage everyone who's out there to think and pray about someone they could share the gospel with, and then plan how to invite him or her to do something, whether it be inviting them to a church meeting or activity, inviting them to dinner, or even meeting with missionaries.  It is so wonderful to have members' cooperation in every aspect of this great work.

Okay, putting the soapbox aside, I had a cool experience with a guy the other day.  We were out contacting and we met a guy that wasn't exactly the most clean-cut person in the world.  He was smoking and coughing pretty severely.  And then I thought of the missionary that President Monson mentioned in his last General Conference address, who saw people as they could become. Then I pictured the guy in front of me dressed in white, neat, clean-shaven, cigarette gone, addiction gone, completely clean.  I felt compassion for him and felt a desire to help him change, and felt confidence in the gospel message that we share and the ability that message has to change people.  I thought about how Heavenly Father felt about him and how He wanted him back with Him.  And then we bore testimony to him and set up a time to share more.  

This work is true, it is powerful, and it is His work.  It's a joyful service and there is no place I'd rather be.

Have a good week, everyone.

- Elder Daniel Winters

Last week's baptism & Christmas

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Elder Winters - January 22, 2013

Hey everyone, I hope all is well wherever you are.  Things are rolling over here, and I am loving it.  It's a little harder to love it when things aren't quite rolling, but it always feels good after a nice, long day of working.

So jumping right to the spiritual news, yes, there was a good ol' baptism this past week.  Sister Hong was baptized and confirmed on the nineteenth and twentieth, I think a month after we met her on the street.  She was definitely prepared by the Lord to meet us and receive the gospel.  I think my favorite part was seeing her come up out of the water with the biggest smile ever.  Missionary work is the best.

In other news, I had another exchange in the Korean program.  At the start of the exchange, I mixed up my words and prayed that our appointments would fall through.  I was trying to ask that they wouldn't fall through, but I guess I was prompted otherwise, because four of them actually did fall through the next day...whoops.  My temporary companion joked that I was so spiritual that even the prayers that we didn't want got answered.  

In exercise news, my companion and I have been playing tennis in the mornings at the court near our apartment.  Actually it usually turns out to be a game of me-trying-to-serve-eight-times while my companion stands there yawning....I'll let you all know if I can ever get the ball over the net.  Tips are welcomed.

Finally, we've been trying to find quite a bit now as our teaching pool has been rapidly diminishing, but we've seen a lot of miracles.  Just yesterday we were knocking in a neighborhood that I don't particularly like knocking in, mostly because the people there either already have a church or they've heard the Christianity story so often that they're fine with keeping Buddhism or Atheism.  But, we got into one of the first houses!  This cool guy from Beijing that was super welcoming.  Yeah.  It was legit, we'll be following up more with him.  Updates to come.  We've got a record number of lessons set up for this week, so it should be a good one.  This work is true, it's amazing to be able to invite others to come unto Jesus Christ.  The gospel's true, so have a great week.

- Elder Winters

Monday, January 14, 2013

Elder Winters - January 14, 2013 Dajia hao! Wo shi Tom!

That title is from this Chinese-learning program from my companion's dictionary.  It's this Chinese guy pretending like his Chinese is that of an English person's, which is why it's funny...if you've heard it.

Hello everyone, welcome to another week in the life.  Quite a few things went down this past week, one of which was going into the Korean program on exchange.  The highlight might've been when my temporary companion told me right before a dinner appointment, "Each as much as you can, even if you feel like throwing up.  It's rude not to."  No problem there.  I think I may have swallowed a few bones in my gusto, though.

Another exciting thing might have been in our English class.  We have Mainland China students and Taiwan students, and because those wo nations aren't exactly the best of friends right now, things can get a little heated.  I think the argument was whether English or Chinese was harder to learn.  As the teacher I was just looking at them in amusement, but it soon became time for me to break them up.  It was all right, though, don't worry - they're all about 80 years old, so they couldn't hurt each other even if they wanted to.  

In big news, our investigator passed her baptismal interview this past week.  I translated for our zone leader who did the actual interview.  I was pretty nervous when she said that the Word of Wisdom entails not eating birds, but I think she must have been just trying to quote from D&C 89.  Anyway, she's been awesome, and I mean giving up green tea in one second and praying about the Plan of Salvation right in the middle of the lesson, so we're super excited for her baptism this Saturday.  

On last thing.  Our recent convert gave a talk yesterday about her relationship with God.  I think that the things we teach our people can have such a great effect that is immeasurable by us missionaries.  But the things we teach are true principles, and they have the potential to change lives.

This work is true.  It's an amazing feeling to have the Holy Ghost with you, bearing you up, letting you know what to say when you have no idea.  The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in its fullness through a modern prophet.  God loves us and watches over us.

Have an incredible week, everyone.

- Elder Daniel Winters

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Elder Winters - January 7, 2012

Hello everyone.  Really short email coming.  Let me sum up the week:

1) Exchange with the zone leaders.  In the English program.  I think this was my third time being in English.  My temporary companion was Elder Wadsworth, the missionary that came into the field with me and who was until three weeks ago in the Vietnamese program.  That got me thinking if I was ever switched out of the Chinese program for more than a transfer (6 weeks), I would cry.  Plus, the English speaking world has much more crazy people than the Chinese world.  Like we met a guy that has played chess for over 40 years and looks like that Pixar short guy...Gerry?  I don't know, but it was kind of intimidating when he asked me how many years I had been playing chess.  If he was at all interested in our message, I might have let him destroy me, but he wasn't.  Or maybe I should have let him destroy me and then he would have been interested in what we had to say.  And!  Second crazy person.  I saw this woman and I felt, "Yeah, go talk to her.  She's solid.  Trust your feelings, Luke.  I mean, Elder Winters."  So I was all like, let's do this.  So we start out and go talk to her and it turns out she was a witch!  She's like, "It's okay, I'm a practicing Wiccan.  Or, as you might know us, I'm a witch."  Several minutes and three heart attacks later, we came to ourselves and then the jokes started.  It turns out Elder Wadsworth also loves quoting movies, so the resulting dialogue was all out of Harry Potter and Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
"Good thing she didn't cast a spell on us! 'Wingardium Leviosa!'" "It's 'Levioooosa', not 'Leviosaaa', honestly." "She's a witch!  She turned me into a newt!" et cetera, et cetera.  
Sorry, long tangent.  That was fun.
'nother thing - 
2)Tracting into a legit family.  There is still more follow up to be done, but these people are legit.  I will definitely keep you all updated.  The funny thing was that our companionship was discussing earlier that day with another companionship about how caffeine can be against the Word of Wisdom because it prohibits any addicting substances, and then when the family invited us in they gave us a Coke each.  Not wanting to be rude I drained it in front of them.  Instantly my spiritual power reading dropped a notch.  Not really, but I thought it was funny.

So, that's it for this week, I really have to go, but all of you, wherever you are, keep it classy.  I have a number of friends preparing for missions right now, and I would love to say to you get ready for the most life-changing experience ever.  The work is true, I'm loving it, and anyone that has desires to serve will love it just the same.

Have a great week, everyone.

- Elder Winters