Monday, May 31, 2010

!!!!! Baptism !!!!!

Dear Mom, Dad, Family, Extended Family, and Good Friends,

Well I guess I should start with the good news first! C'S BAPTISM went down smoothly! Our only hang-up was on the day of the baptism - we realized that we had forgotten to ask anyone to make the programs! SO we tried calling a bunch of people but no one was home or able to do it on such short notice. SO we ran down the street to the P's, the greatest fellowshippers ever ( ill speak more on fellowshipping later), and then decided the only thing I could do was to GET ER DONE. So I jumped on their computer (a little apostate, but desperate times call for desperate measures and I already knew how to make it so that made me the man for the job) and the computer even had Microsoft PUBLISHER!!! (For those of you who aren't familiar with publisher, it is amazing!! It has so many different pre-made layouts, but the best part is the way they are formatted, like you choose to make a half page program and it will split one piece of paper and print the front, back, and two middle pages all on the one page.)

Needless to say the programs turned out beautifully. We couldn't find a good quality picture of Christ though, so we just chopped one of our pass along cards and glued it to the master copy! Presto! It looked good! AND Sister P. was touched because I spelled her name right. Her name is D** ***, so I thought of how no one ever spells Mom's name right, De Anna, and I heard mom's voice in my head saying "It's the little things of service that you do that really show people that you love them" (from one of the many times she lectured me on my cleaning!). BUT IT'S SO TRUE. It's the attention to details that shows people how important they are to you and it really means a lot! End of the story, we spelled everyone's name right, did some cutting and pasting, got the line up mostly right (mixed up the order of the speakers) and got enough copies printed out! And we did it just in the nick of time! The Lord was definitely watching over his missionaries!

The baptismal service was pretty awesome too though! The spirit was so strong! There were tons of little kids struggling to be reverent, but they did a pretty good job, and they were all so excited for C.! It's awesome because the little children are the ones who usually have A.) Been recently baptized and remember it vividly. Or B.) Are getting ready to be baptized and are quick to share their personal excitement and translate that into excitement for C.! Sister L., my companion, and I were the ones who were asked to speak at the baptism and I felt like everyone did an amazing job. The spirit was so strong. It reminded me of how strong the spirit was at Casey G's Baptism. I thought his was awesome, so that made me feel really good about the one we put together for C. She also got up after she was dunked and got changed and bore her testimony, which was awesome! Then the Branch President got up and did a welcome to the branch talk that was basically a really good talk on baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end! Then we had a bunch of refreshments after the baptism and they were really good!

Sunday was the confirmation and it went down smoothly. Everyone who C. asked to be present was there and the spirit was strong! Brother P. did a great job voicing the blessing. It was fantastic.

The whole process as my first baptism couldn't have been more amazing! From the start we were blessed with bundles of amazing fellowshippers! The lessons were taught, and when they were taught the Spirit was very strong! C was so diligent in applying the lessons and commandments that we and her fellowshippers taught her! She didn't even hesitate to move out on her own when her parents told her to "Stop going to that church or get out of my house". She is amazing, and the Lord is so proud of her!

She talked about how the reason she started looking into the church is because her mentor and friend, Brother L, would always tell her how the church helped him! He would testify of how it helped him! It's so important that anytime someone else is facing trials in their life and they turn to us, we share stores of how we overcame trials with the help of the Savior and the church! The other thing that he did is that he was diligent about inviting C. to church! And all of this is what C. said was important when she bore her testimony of how she found the church.

Fellowshipping is so important! Many times people just try to invite people to church, but it is also important to invite people to learn about the church. Invite the people you know to learn more about the church from the missionaries. Don't just give the missionaries a name and address, talk to both your friends and the missionaries and do whatever you need to do to get them all in the same room!
Also, make it very clear to the missionaries that you want to help them fellowship people. Tell them in very plain English "I want to help you by fellow-shipping investigators, introducing you to my friends, and giving you opportunities to meet people." If you give a good missionary the opportunity to meet one of your friends, then a GOOD missionary will do what needs to be done to move the discussion towards one on the gospel. If you know anyone who needs service done or is doing work, give them the missionaries number! Service is awesome because 1.) Missionaries love getting into work clothes! 2.) It softens the hearts of people that they serve and opens doors that would otherwise be closed by misunderstanding, ignorance, or intolerance. 3.) It gives the missionaries the opportunity to prove to the people that they are serving that they are good, hardworking young men and women who would be worth listening to for at least a few minutes! Some of the most amazing conversions have happened because of the service provided for nonmembers by missionaries. I guess the bottom line is HELP MAKE ALL OF OUR MISSIONARIES MORE EFFECTIVE BY PROVIDING THEM WITH INVESTIGATORS TO TEACH! Missionaries are ministers, called to teach the gospel.

I love you guys and I know you will do it, not because I said to, but because the Prophet and countless other Apostles and Prophets have constantly admonished us to do it! I know many of you are busy, but do what you can! If it's one referral per day or one per year, every little bit helps! OH AND ALWAYS FEED THE MISSIONARIES! If the calender comes around and it's full, don't be afraid to put your name down on a day and write (Lunch) on the side of it! Hahah IT'S AWESOME when you get to join members for lunch!

Well that's the end of that rant for now! Hahah. SO this week we have started working the big city dock and started walking down by the harbor. It's so great to get to meet all the tourists and all of the fishermen who are all over this place right now! We contact so many people just by being down on the docks and opening our mouths. Especially when we're fishing! Cause people always wanna know "How goes the fishing!!" or "You caught anything?" Talk about taking the pressure off of us! They EVEN START THE CONVERSATION!!! Then they always wanna know if were from around here, then they want to know what brought us up here! AND BOOM! That's when we drop the hammer, "Oh. Well, we're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" and then we ask them "Do you know any one who is Mormon?" and they go blah blah blah, and then we start talking about our mission and then we just start looking for ways to kick our religion into the conversation. It's hit or miss. Sometimes the people actually are interested and want to hear our message, so we just start teaching right there. Other times it's just a nice conversation with a couple of really nice boys who are serving the Lord. Sometimes we sew, other times we reap. But we are always friendly and I try to help everyone down on the city dock who comes down and fishes with us to catch a fish while I share the gospel! I love it! It's so perfect for me! Hahah. And the people usually don't even know what they are getting themselves into!

So last week I got C's graduation announcement in the mail and I started to cry! IT WAS TEARS OF JOY FOR MY BABY BROTHER!!! HAHA I still can't look at the pictures on it with out getting teary eyed. :) I'm so stinking excited for you C!!

AND D! DUDE! I AM SO BUMMED THAT I WASN'T THERE TO SEE YOUR SWEET VICTORY IN THE TOURNEY!!! That's just too cool that you guys finally held it together to take the cake! I think it was probably because your team is a little older and the guys are more mature (like you) when it comes to keeping it together and not falling apart into a pile of emotions! Not to mention you didn't have the pressure of me being there and yelling at your ump!

Speaking of yelling at umps! Way to put a grown man in his place M! That's so stinking funny. I would pay money just to watch you ump 'cause I know you wouldn't take no Jibber Jabber from no angry old man! Hahah, that's just too cool

Buster, this week I have seen like 15 pugs out walking with people and I always run up and ask if I can pet their pug. It's a great ice breaker!

By the way does anyone know how much a polar bear weighs? Enough to Break the ICE!!! :)

Well Family I miss you! I love you! I hope you find the inspiration in your lives to become great member missionaries! And just remember that if you are ever struggling to remember that the Church is true, make sure you are doing everything that you are supposed to be doing - keeping the commandments, repenting, praying and reading your scriptures daily. And then if you still don't know - Pray. Pray to your Heavenly Father in the name of our Savior, and ask him to make it known to you that you are doing the right thing, and he WILL!!!

I love you all! Take care! Keep me posted! And do more fishing!

Love, Elder Britton Winterrose

PS So last week we had a bunch of water spill in the back seat of the car, like a few gallons... so it turned the little spot in on the floor behind my seat into a small pond and we didn't realize it until we heard the sloshing. So I looked back to see what was making the noise and I saw my scriptures, sitting half way in the puddle..... My heart sunk... I nearly cried. I had those scriptures so marked up already! Hundreds and hundreds of Inspired notes, scripture chains, highlighted and cross referenced. I was finally starting to know where every thing was. Well when I pulled the scriptures out of my case they were double their original size... totally saturated with water. I went to a members house and put them in a vice and squeezed them.... literally rung them out. Then the members helped me blow dry the pages, but the binding is ruined, the pages are now warped, and it looks like they were tie-dyed because all my notes, and highlighter marks bled through the pages. They are completely decimated. And they smell dank and moldy now. My heart was crushed, but there is no use crying over spilled milk... I was going to see if I could pay it using my monthly allotment but my 130 dollars just won't cover the 70 bucks for the scriptures and allow me to buy the food I need to get through the month... I really need new scriptures, these ones just wont hold up to the hundreds of hours of scripture study and teaching that are going to be required of them over the rest of my mission. I love you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Note from De Anna; we already took care of this.)

PSS OH AND THE OTHER DAY I stopped by a yard sale and bought over 300 dollars worth of fishing gear, tackle, weights, and hooks and a vintage tackle box and a pair of rubber boots... haggled the lady down to 7 bucks!!! Talk a bout a score!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Fishers of Souls, Sole, Halibut and Crab

Well this last week, between Thursday and Monday, has been pretty laid back. We did service all day Friday and Saturday and then we went to a surprise party for a member in our branch and they had TONS of shrimp there! We're also just working with our investigator, C., and getting everything planned for her baptism. She had her interview yesterday and she passed, so we have the green light for Saturday! It's so exciting. So this week our focus is going to be on contacting our former investigators and less active members, especially those with part member families. Then we are going to really strive to do more tracting! I'm pretty psyched for this week; I know it's going to be a good week! We really need to expand our teaching pools if we are going to baptize more... IT'S GONNA BE GOOD THOUGH!!!

I really wish I could go out on a boat. That would be so freaking awesome, cause then I could go halibut fishing *legit* and even shark fishing! There's tons of members with boats that would be more than happy to take us out... Honestly, it's the biggest temptation in my life right now. I'll just have to come back some day I guess! Hahahaha.

I won't have to leave Alaska without having caught a Halibut though!!! Two weeks back, when I was fishing on my p-day, I CAUGHT ONE OFF the city dock. I think I am one of like 2 people who have ever caught a halibut off that dock!!!! It's pretty awesome! It was tiny for a Halibut, but it was a Halibut none the less and I caught one!

So that was two weeks ago, and my comp caught nothing when we went out that time, so I fixed his set-up then we went back out last Thursday after I emailed you guys and I was just destroying the fish! I caught one Sole every cast for my first 5 casts, only 2 of them were big enough to be great eating, and I caught a crab. MY COMP didn't catch anything. He was so ticked off. Hahah, and then I was like "Ok if I can use your pole and I catch a fish then it means it's you not the pole." So we swapped poles and within 6 minutes of my first cast I caught a little cod! HE WAS SO BUGGED! It was hilarious. He just couldn't believe that I was catching em and he hadn't caught one! And that's how the day ended! Elder Winterrose - 7 critters Elder C - 0!

Well that's about it for this week in Valdez! I cant wait to hear from you guys again! I love and miss you guys! Talk to you later!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Serve to Love; Love to Serve

Well, everything seems to be getting much busier here in Valdez. Transfers were two weeks ago and my trainer got transferred, so it's kinda weird cause all of a sudden I'm the Jr. Companion and I'm the only one who is familiar with the area! Not to mention my comp came in and had that "I've been out a year so I'm gonna call all the shots" mindset. So here he comes like a speeding car and I was here with the mindset that "This is my house! Not in my house!" It was like slamming a car into a brick wall. :) To say that we butted heads would kinda be an understatement. But I know that my Mission President would only ever do the will of the Lord, and that this companionship was God's will. That gave me the faith to do whatever I needed to do. So I went about searching how to change it. Now I've been blessed with just enough wisdom to know that the only thing I can really change in a relationship is my attitude and my actions. So that's what I did. I felt that I needed to act the way I would want my senior companion to act. So I started serving him.

I woke up the next morning right at 6:30 and got us both up. I got down and said my prayers. When I went back in to the room I noticed our beds were messy, so I made them both! Then later on, after I showered, I went and started making breakfast. I'd just started thinking, Man... how would I feel if I was in someone else's apartment and away from my area for the first time in months.. So I made him and I breakfast! I just kept it up! All day, as much as I could think of, I did. AND IT WORKED!! Pretty soon he started doing the same thing. Finally we came to our weekly planning session and I explained to him my feelings on how our relationship should work and he did the same. There was a lot of give and take but we really got past a lot of junk and got over ourselves. We agreed to support each other in all our righteous endeavors. I just showed my love for him and I showed my respect for him. It all came together when we were teaching our investigator, C.

We were teaching the third lesson (The Gospel of Jesus Christ) and I was testifying of my favorite part, Repentance; the Spirit was just so strong! It was like we both realized at exactly the same moment that we were both there for the right reasons, and we all of a sudden trusted each other. It was fantastic. Since then everything has been great. We've had a few rough patches, but we are both so quick to be supportive of each others' righteous desires and are great at *humbly* encouraging each other to be more obedient and effective missionaries! I feel so glad that the Lord has given me the opportunity to serve with Elder C. He is a great missionary! Our biggest problem, like most people, is our pride. As long as we keep that in check, we can do great! Serving one another is a great way to build and show each other love. Love is really the only thing that can overcome pride and love cannot coexist in your own heart with pride. What a first 2 weeks huh!! Haha!

Well, other than the rough patch everything else has been going great! We are about to have my first baptism on my mission and it will be Valdez's first in a year and a half-ish. It's so exciting! I just hope that, as we continue to do our best to work with the leadership and membership of the Branch, they will get as excited about missionary work as I am now getting! Because if they do, then the number of referrals, like C, will increase and the number of baptisms will explode! I just know that it is my duty to be as obedient as possible so that, when I have the opportunity to teach, I may bring the Spirit and that it will touch their hearts and convert them.

Speaking of C, she is doing so great! One of her friends invited her to church, and her fellowshipper is a recently returned missionary! (One who truly understands the importance of sharing the gospel with his friends.) She read and prayed about the Book of Mormon and gained a testimony of it! SO when we taught her the first lesson she was ready to be baptized! That is really all it takes! A TESTIMONY!!! I love the story you told me last week, Mom, so I'm gonna share it!

**** "A few weeks ago the kids in my Primary class made a rule that anyone who answered questions with references to Veggie Tales would have to bare their testimony. (No, Lot’s wife didn’t look back because there was a pizza…) Anyway, one of the boys answered from Veggie Tales and the other kids started saying he had to bare his testimony. It was really sweet. He stood up, then said, “I don’t even know what a testimony is.” The other kids got so quiet and the Spirit was so strong. It was an amazing teaching-moment as I was able to tell them the four elements of a testimony – then I asked the boy if he thought he believed in those things - and he said yes. And I said, “Look, you DO have a testimony!” It was sweet. I was so proud of him for being honest!*****

I really love this story so much, because that is how I remind myself of my testimony when I get discouraged or confused.


I love Valdez and I really miss you family. I hope everything is going well. And one last thing - I challenge every Church Member who reads this blog post to invite one person who you care for - as a friend or more - to Church, AND to meet the missionaries and have a lesson with them. The most difficult part for people joining the Church is that they 1. Don't know where the truth is, or that it is even out there, and 2. They feel awkward searching it out or attending the Mormon Church because they don't have anyone they know that goes there!!

JUST IMAGINE!!! What better way to show your friend that you love them than sharing with them the thing that you hold more important than any other knowledge in the world? You could change their lives and the lives of their families for the better! You could make it so that they could be together forever. I'm not saying you need to force it on your friends - just offer it. What do you have to lose? Worst case - a buddy. But what do they have to gain?!! ETERNAL SALVATION!! I don't want to look around and see any empty chairs where my family members should be sitting, when we get to the Celestial Kingdom, and I want to do my best to make sure that doesn't happen to anyone else within my circle of influence.

Well family, I LOVE YOU!!! It's time to go now though! I love you!

Love Elder Winterrose!

P.S. My new companion and I have been doing the singing and last night we even got bold and stood up on this platform-thingy at a member's house and sang hymn #86, How Great Thou Art! It was beautiful! And this week we are going to climb up where we can see the whole town and dedicate it and ourselves to missionary work. (Like Dad suggested!)

P.S.S I hope you guys gave Poot a blessing for the sick and the afflicted! I'll pray for his pretty little tooth!

And mom, as for ****, just love him and serve him the best you can. And pray, pray pray.

Love, Britt.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Staying in Valdez

Well everything is going great! I love you and miss you guys! My first baptism is coming up on the 29th and my investigator agreed to pay her tithing last week! Everything is starting to go better with my comp! We are both really striving to keep all the rules! I’ve just been incredibly busy this past week with this transfer, getting transitioned, and getting over our differences. Mom, I took your advice. My companion and I now sing together in our companion study and we sang our first spiritual message the other day! It was awesome!

It sucks that Pooter mashed his “twoof”! But AT LEAST they were able to put the WHOLE thing back in and you don’t have to have some goofy, chipped-filling like I do!! But D, I’ve been there man. Like when ya felt like you wanted to cry when they were gonna give you stitches! That’s how I felt when I was in the hospital for my appendix and they were approaching their 19th attempt to put in an IV! Poot, you should ask Dad and the home teachers for a priesthood blessing! It will help you get better way faster, and let Heavenly Father bless you!

Unfortunately my companion and I are gonna have to move our P-day to this Thursday because of some stuff that popped up, (lessons and such) but I needed to let you know! Last week my mission pres called me and asked me if I emailed you and I told him no… He said he’d heard from you and that you were worried! I PROMISE a big letter is coming on Thursday!! I love you guys but I have to jet! Tell C I wrote him a quick letter last night and that I’m way proud of him! See ya!!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Springtime in Valdez

Well, IDK how long this is gonna be cause I'm gonna be talking to you on Sunday anyways! BUT we are gonna need to recharge the calling card because its totally out of minutes!

I'm glad Pooter has been victorious. I could tell he was getting a little frustrated from the letter he sent me last week! Sometimes teams just take a little real practice to start working together! BUT STRIKING OUT 7 GUYS!!! Holy Cow!! That's pretty sweet. It's probably good I'm not there though; I don't think anyone gets as intense when D plays as I do! ;).

I’m glad to hear that C is holding it all together. And that’s pretty sweet that he was able to get the whole prom thing together. It sounds like a fun time! As for that speeding ticket, that blows! You guys should just buy a radar detector, it would have payed its self off already!!! I actually got pulled over this week too! We were driving back from the far edge of town and I was just crusin', didn’t realize how fast I was going, passed this cop, then looked down at my speedometer and realized that I was doing 70 in a 55. I saw the cop turn around in my rear view mirror so I just pulled over and waited for him. He pulled up and was like "Do you know how fast you were going?" and I was like "Nope, but when I looked down at my speedometer after I passed you it still said 65." He was like "Yeah, you were going bout 75" and I was like, “Whoa, crap.” So I gave him my license and registration and he was like "Have you ever had any speeding violations?" and I was like "Not since I’ve moved to Alaska officer." SO then he took my stuff and walked back to the car, checked my registration and insurance and said "Well, I don't remember ever pulling you over around here before, and your registration and insurance are good. Just don't go speeding round here. I’m gonna let you off with a warning. You saved yourself 130 bucks and 4 points off your license!" Of course I said thank you and went about my way but I was still thinking "Wow, speeding tickets are so much cheaper here than they are in Washington!" My heart was racing though, hahaha. Anyways that sucks for C., but that whole pull over before they even get their lights on thing has saved me sooo many times!!!!! That’s my best advice!! Except in Richland. I think the cops there just like to harass people. Bummer it wasn't like one of his wrestling coaches. As for M. skipping church and then getting BUSTED cause he didn’t realize you stayed home sick – that’s so funny! I miss my brothers tons!!!

Well the weather here in Valdez is warming up fast. It’s been in the high 50s the last few days. But it’s weird, like when it’s 60, but sunny, it feels like its 80 to 90 degrees. But when it’s 60 and cloudy it feels like it’s 60. I think its cause were closer to the sun? But it made me remember when we were up at Inconnu in the Yukon and how it was the same way. It would be 60 degrees but sunny and we would be outside sliding down the mud hill, or it would be 60 and cloudy and we just couldn’t warm up.

It’s been sunny the last few days and the snow is melting fast! For service, we've been helping people shovel their yards so that the snow can melt faster and just helping people we see working while we drive around. Saturday was so nice, and we did service most of the day, so I ended up getting a little sunburn on my face and forearms!

I know it’s a quick one, but I just wanted to say that I love you and I can’t wait to talk to all of you guys!!! Talk to you on Sunday!!!


Elder Britton Winterrose