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