Monday, September 26, 2011
Hiya mates! Wow, that sounded dumb. But that's what they say here. Anyway, this was a pretty exciting week.
First off, the Scottish man we're working with got baptized! That was just amazing. I asked him for permission to use his name and he declined, but the picture will be up in the next couple weeks because I'm sending pictures home next week. Pictures should've been sent home this week, but all the pictures I took over the last 3 weeks were accidentally deleted by another Elder using my camera. That was pretty disappointing until I found out I can take the SD card to a computer shop and they should be able to restore those back, so I'll get that taken care of ASAP. Anyway, the baptism was definitely the highlight of the week. He basically prepared himself for baptism, but hey, that's our job, to "find them that will receive [us]" (D&C section 40-something). He was confirmed a member of the Church yesterday and is excited to actually go out on splits with us on Thursday. That probably breaks the world record for least amount of time spent between becoming a member of the Church and going out with the missionaries. Well, probably not, but in my mind, it does. Problem is, now that he's baptized, we kind of have no one to teach! We have dropped several people the last week becasue they showed a general interest in the gospel but wouldn't keep commitments and were dropping appointments as well. They were wasting the time we could've been using to find new investigators, and thus they are called in-waste-igators. So our teaching pool has dropped significantly. This week we will be focusing on finding new, excited investigators and guess how much time we're going to waste? If you guessed anything above 0.4784 seconds, you are wrong! This is going to be a massively productive week and what else, oh, it's the last week of my first transfer period! Where has the time gone? Next Wendesday I'll have been in the wonderful country of England for 2 MONTHS. Who knew? Not me. That means I am very nearly 1/12 of the way into my mission. Thank you for your continued support, love, prayers, letters, and everything you all do to uplift missionaries around the world. Hey! Pray for China to open up, because my brother Tyler is putting in his mission papers in less than a year and I'm thinking he's going to China. It could happen.
I've got to be off now! I love you all!
Monday, September 19, 2011
I am coming to you from Week 4 (and a half) in the field! That means I am more than halfway through my first transfer. I'm not counting down days, but time is moving so quickly. I feel like I just sent the last post home yesterday. I don't have much time to write today, but what I am going to do is sit down and write some letters because I got some from a lot of you this last week! I will try and write them all today but please don't forget I exist if I am compelled to wait until next week. You all are huge motivations in my life as a missionary and I can't express how excited I was to read letters from some of you. This was a relatively uneventful week, so along with having little time, I don't have much to say, but I will be sending pictures home very soon! Some really exciting things are coming up, like our golden Scottish investigator's baptism this weekend PLUS Saff's pizza and the Joseph Smith movie at his place. Exciting stuff. Saff's, by the way, is the best place in the world to get pizza for £2 (about $3.20). District leader exchanges are tonight and tomorrow, so I'm going to see some college investigators. That'll be grand. Well, unfortunately I have to catch a bus now, so I apoliogize for the short post but I'll write you all soon!
Love, Elder Winder
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I got a few letters from some of you this week! I will express my excitement in the form of exlamation points. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's how much I love hearing from you so many thousand miles away. And a huge congratulations to Kellie Hoskins if you're reading this! Baptism is on my mind all the time, so you can imagine how excited I was to get the picture from the Hjelmstad's from your baptism.
Speaking of baptism, my first is next Saturday! I can't give the name, but he is a really funny guy in his 40s from Scotland. Things he loves: Pokemon, making fun of Jehovah's Witnesses, Lord of the Rings, and the gospel. So Elder Bentley and I got along with him pretty well. Haha. He pretty much does all the research on the church on his own, and reads the Book of Mormon several times a day. That is GOLDEN investigator status. We really struggle to get all the other people we work with to read the Book of Mormon, even those who are progressing, so it's really exciting to work with him because he loves it so much.
I have learned some really important things this past week. I was stuggling motivation-wise all week and even questioned at one point if I was really fit to serve a mission because of those struggles. I needed a break, and actually prayed for a break. Guess what? Sunday: church, two meal appointments. Monday: 7 hour-long mission conference plus a dinner appointment. Today: P-day. I feel so much more energized today than I did Saturday. So, prayer answered? You bet.
I received a lot of inspiration at that conference. An area authority, Elder Donaldson of the Seventy (not sure which quorum), spoke with us along with President Lindley and their wives. They gave some powerful words of advice, but I received a very important revelation that none of them spoke of during the conference. It was regarding the feeling I had that I may have been "unfit" to serve a mission. This is not true. For those of you who may be reading this and preparing for a mission and you feel it is not right for you to serve, put in your papers anyway, because this is not our work. If you are called by a prophet of God to serve a mission, and I am, it is by ALL means in the Lord's plan for you to go and do. If for some odd reason you are not meant to serve a mission, if you truly are "unfit", you will be informed by the Church as such. But this is rarely the case. The Lord takes inadequate boys with a desire to serve and turns them into might brethren in the Lord (Alma 17, v.2 I think). I don't have much time to say anything else, but I know that this is truly my duty to serve. I have been placed in the area I am in now because the people here need Elder Winder, and wherever you are sent to serve, it will be because the people there need Elder or Sister Soandso (you) and no one else. This is not our work, but the Lord's work. If we trust in him and do not complain, he will make sure it goes along smoothly. There is nothing that can prevent the work from happening but ourselves. And if we serve with all our heart, might, mind, and strength, the work will go on, and nothing will stop it. Be yourselves.
I'm so excited to come back in what is really not that long from now and see you all again bigger and better people. I have to go now but just know I love you all and I am keeping you in my prayers every single night. Till next week,
Monday, September 5, 2011
Hey! This post might be a little short because I'm low on time. This week has been extremely busy! Surprisingly, our numbers were lower than last week, despite having 3 more days than my first week. It seemed like appointments we had scheduled were dropping left and right. We did a lot of unnecessary walking. People here have struggles keeping commitments, but like I said last week, we do have some really good people who are progressing. We had 3 new investigators this week, but we already knew them from before, this was just the first time we got appointments in with them. Still waiting for my first baptism, but the 12-year old boy I mentioned last week will probably be the first. He is very excited about being baptized and is willing to keep all the commitments we leave him. We have another man from Scotland who is a lot of fun to teach because he does a ton of research on the church all on his own. He doesn't know how he feels about baptism yet, which is funny because he said he pretty much knows the Book of Mormon is true now and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. He has the seed of faith planted in his heart and he is nourishing it well.
The members in this branch are wonderful. They love to feed us. We love to eat. It's a win-win situation. I am starting to feel more British. I've come to the conclusion that if I keep missing America, I'm just going to struggle the whole way through my mission. Don't get me wrong, it will be a joyous day when am home, but I'm really starting to like things here. Even though they don't know what American biscuits are.
It's still great to hear from all of you though! There will never come a point in my mission where I won't appreciate a letter.
For those of you reading this who are preparing for a mission: be prepared to work, work, work. There is no time to sit and rest except when we sleep. Even eating is usually on the go, unless we're eating at a member's home. You are a missionary 24/7 when you come on a mission. It sounds obvious, but you really have to leave behind everything that would hold you back as a missionary, including distracting thoughts and desires. Laziness is one of the worst things to bring on a mission. I heard a good quote in the MTC that has stuck with me: "If you ever have doubts, get to work". It's funny, but completely true. Everytime I start getting a little homesick or tired of getting rejected, I just get back to work and the thought eventually goes away. Negative thoughts can't dwell in your mind when you're being a dilligent missionary. Or working at anything, really. Hard workers get places in this life, whether you're a missionary or a student or whatever. If you have a good idea, don't just sit on it. No one who ever did anything great did it just because they hoped it would happen. They just went and did it. So if you want to be a really good missionary, getting excited about your mission is great, but more important than that is preparing yourself to work. I didn't do that and I'm regretting it. I'm pulling through though and I have faith that the Spirit can work through me. I've heard that if you can serve a mission you can succeed in any career whatsoever. We're just worked on every possible end you could think of. But you know what? My life is good. Real good. I love missionary work.
You know what else I love? All of you! And if you love me, you should, uh, write me letters. For real. If you write me, I'll send you something good. Real good. Deal? Deal.
That was longer than I thought it would be. Well, pictures will be up soon if they are not already up. If you ask me to take pictures of specific things in England, that would make my life pretty fun. Just one extra challenge to add to the day. In fact, yes, I'd love that. But in order to do that, you have to write me. Remember to send letters to the mission office and not the MTC! I'm pretty sure DearElder works here too. Somebody try that so I can get a sure answer. Or if you want, you could even give messages to my family (2269 Ripresa Place, Henderson, NV) and they could relay it to me since they have my email and flat addresses. So there are a variety of ways to keep in contact with me. I am a missionary of many flavors. Anyway, yeah.
That's uh, all for this week pretty much. Stay sweet.