Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Elder Winters - February 25, 2013 元宵節快樂!

That's a happy lantern festival to you, family!  Well, it was yesterday, and it means that Chinese New Year is over.  But a big thank you for all of the emails and pictures and updates from this week.  Also, congrats to Brighton and his call! I can't believe it - now Brighton will replace me as Alison's favorite cousin.  

We did get some teaching in this week, thankfully.  And we set a baptismal date with someone!!!  So exciting.  Not quite like Becca's eight people, but when this guy (Vincent) accepted the baptismal invite, his mouth was slightly open, and then he started nodding really fast, so it looked hilarious, so we've got high hopes for him.  

Hello everyone, and Happy Lantern Festival Day.  It seems like the Chinese have more festivals than a Cafe Rio has Mormons on a Friday night.  Actually, I'm fudging it a bit, because the Lantern Festival was yesterday, but still.  

So exciting stuff from this week, one thing being there will be a new Irvine Mission starting in July.  I'm guessing that I'll be a part of it, mostly because I'm attached to the Chinese branch, located in the Irvine Stake.  We're still not sure about the boundaries, but I heard from a reliable source, AKA the elder quorum president's seven-year old son, that the Irvine Mission will have six stakes in it.  We'll see how it all turns out, but in the meantime we just want to concentrate on the work.  

Yesterday the other Chinese elders had a baptism, so that was super fun to attend.  It was pretty hilarious as the guy being baptized wasn't really instructed to plug his nose when he went under water, so he ended up putting it on the side of his face, resulting in a lot of water up his nose.  And then because it looked so funny, all the little kids that were invited up to watch the baptism were pointing and roaring in laughter, making it a pretty loud room.  But!  Despite all this, I still felt the Spirit, which I thought was cool, because "in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest" (D&C 84:20).

So I've got to head out, but this work is definitely, positively, 100% true.  How could it not be?  Anyway, have an awesome week, everyone.

- Elder Winters

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Elder Winters - February 18, 2013 Year of the Worm

Hey everyone, and Happy Chinese New Year still and Valentine's Day not anymore and Presidents' Day today.  I'm not sure that sentence made sense, but I'm still going with it.  The fact of the matter is Chinese New Year is still going on (it's traditionally 15 days long), but without the major partying.  

I'll share with you a bit of the week and then I'll let you enjoy the rest of your holiday.  It was a pretty major bummer as far as bummers go this week, as I was sick again (bronchitis) and it seemed that investigators had more important things going on than hearing a very hoarse missionary.  But I learned something. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself at one point and then I remembered the story of Ammon.  I have always thought it impressive how Ammon chopped off the Lamanites' arms, but this time something else from the story grabbed my attention.  When Ammon sees the Lamanites coming and the servants around him are all crying, he's over there rejoicing for an opportunity to see a miracle.  That's awesome faith, if you ask me.  So then I thought of things that I could do within my power instead of wallowing in self-pity.  I remembered Whose work it is, and I thought that I could please Him as long as I was doing the best I could.  I know that's the main point of pretty much every movie or book that has to do with missionary work, but I think I learned it, or at least got a better understanding of it for reals this time.  So that was cool.

One quick funny thing.  Near the end of the week members took us out to eat to a Chinese restaurant.  When I was eating my Chinese salad, I discovered a very petite worm on one of the leaves.  My natural reaction was, of course, "what the heck is this doing here."  i told the members, who said to tell the waiter, whom I did.  I was expecting him to at least be like, "I'm so terribly sorry, have all of these dishes for free."  But what he really did was inspect my salad, picked up the worm with my chopsticks, and then popped it in his mouth and ATE IT!  Okay, just kidding.  What he really did was say, "Oh.  We'll get you a clean one."  So they took away my plate and chopsticks and the rest of the salad, and then I got a fresh plate and chopsticks.  The moral of the story is, if you ever find a bug in your dish in an Asian restaurant, don't show it to the  waiter because he'll take away your food.  

Well, that's about it.  It's been a good week.  I know that this is the Lord's work, and He's directing it, even without us knowing sometimes.  It's so great being out here.

Have a sweet week everyone.



[He was digging in with gusto before he saw the worm!]

Monday, February 11, 2013

Elder Winters - February 11, 2013 As Becca put it, the Wei Dynasty continues

Hey everybody, and Happy Chinese New Year.  We ended this week with a bang plus a couple of feasts.  Actually, no literal bangs because I guess fireworks are illegal in California.  I did eat my fill of dumplings, duck, chicken, beef, pork, bean sprouts, and goodness knows what else.  All very delicious, though I hope I will still be recognizable when I get back despite the significant weight gain.  

As for the rest of the week, most of it was uneventful due to the fact that I got nailed by the flu.  Bedridden.  It was okay, though, because I got a lot done while I was in bed.  For example, I did quite a bit of science.  One thing I did was prove Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity - I proved that one hour in the middle of the night with the flu is roughly equivalent to one day in real time.  In addition to that, I proved the existence of molecules, mostly because I could feel millions and millions and millions of them smashing into my body whenever I moved or exposed myself from under the covers.  There's just no escaping those molecules.  

The miraculous thing was that I healed up pretty quick, because God still had some work for us to do this week.  Things having been rolling, and I think that this week is the start of the snowball effect.  It was awesome.  Appointments got set up, people got to church, and we were guided every step of the way - we could literally feel it.  It is always an amazing thing to feel that Heavenly Father is using you for His purposes.  I know this is His work, and it's a privilege to participate in it.

Last thing is that my brother got his mission call to Richmond, Virginia, speaking Mandarin as well.  This call makes me happier than I can say.  It turns out the 魏 dynasty must continue.  Best wishes for him.

Have a great week, everyone. 

- Elder Winters

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Elder Winters - February 4, 2013 新年快樂!!!

Hello everyone, I hope you all had an enjoyable Groundhog Day.  It was cloudy here, so I think that means winter will start again in December, or something.  I'm not sure what the exact rules are, and frankly, I'm even less sure about how a groundhog's appearance in Pennsylvania affects Mother Nature, but you know, whatever.  I digress.

It's been a pretty good week over here in Irvine, So Cal.  We're welcoming a new elder from Hong Kong tomorrow, plus we have our Chinese new Year Festival coming up this Saturday.  Should be fun.  I hear the missionaries will be performing a fan dance, but I'm sure that's just a rumor.  Anyway, I'll tell you next week whether or not it came true.  

Contacting this week has been more on the challenging side.  I think the most memorable experience for me was when we knocked on a door, a woman looked through the peephole on the door, and yelled, "Nobody's home!" in Chinese.  I admit, I was pretty obnoxious, because I was like, "Sorry for bothering Nobody, then."  Alright, I have repented, but the funniest thing was that she was serious.  

One more story that reminds me what a different culture I'm in.  We were meeting some members and I picked up some donuts on the way, as is my custom from time to time (only Asians seem to work in the donut stores, it's weird).  When we met the members, I offered a donut to their seven-year-old kid, Gabriel.  He then made a face and was like, "Ugghh....too sweet...."  I laughed inside, knowing that if anyone offered me a donut when I was seven, it would've been gone before you could say "Thomas Jefferson."  That's why I can't live in China for too long - no sweets.

Well, this week has been good.  I've felt Heavenly Father answer my prayers.  I know He's there.  He is involved in this work, it is His work.  We just have to remember that.  

Have a good one, everyone.

- Elder Winters

[Don't know why he is holding milk but all I can say is that our milk consumption is drastically reduced now that he is not here!]