Monday, September 27, 2010

Finding the Elect

So Mom, I just want to start off by telling you that as soon as I read that someones birthday happened (in last weeks email) I knew it was yours! I forgot to write it down in my planner. I loose track of everything if I don't put it in my planner; my mind is always focused elsewhere. Like when I hit my sixth month mark, I didn't realize it till like a few days later... so much for celebrating it, haha. I would forget my own birthday if I forget to write it down. It's crazy how dependent I am upon my planner though. I guess it's because my life is a series of appointments with different people on different dates and times. There's just no way I could remember it all.

Well this week was a pretty good one. Yesterday my companion and I went to pickup our dinner and the lady who made it for us offered the prayer. She'd also said the prayer in sacrament, but she said one thing twice - please protect the missionaries. Then she commented and told us to be careful. I thought nothing of it - hahaha. (I don't worry because I know the Lord is on our side.) Anyways, a member in our ward needed us to go and install a lock on her son-in-law's house because the door got kicked in a while ago and the son-in-law got arrested Saturday. She and her grandchildren were concerned about stuff getting stolen by their neighbors. So we were happy to oblige, knowing it would just take a minute....

We went over and started working on the door and all of a sudden one of the less active Members that we had just started visiting came in and was like, "What are you guys doing here?" And I was like "We're changing the lock on this door. Why what's up?" Then she proceeded to tell us how her daughter (who apparently lives on the upper-floor of the home) thought that someone was breaking in, so she called the landlord and the landlord was on their way over to investigate what was going on! I hurried and put the doorknob back in and took the new one and put it in the car. (Apparently the in-law who'd asked us to change it hadn't spoken with the landlord!!!!! And changing the lock, without the express written permission of the landlord, and without the renter present is considered breaking and entering!) I then hastily wiped our prints off everything and closed the door back up.... (No way I'm going to jail for a B&E if I'm not the one who got to kick down the door!) Well eventually the landlord showed up and we just talked it over, got the landlord in contact with the member who asked us to change the lock, and even left our number with the landlord. It all worked out. I'm even kinda thinking that we need to contact that landlord again.... I think she may be one of the elect. Time will tell!!! Long story short - we didn't get arrested, but my poor little companion (who I am pretty sure has never been that close to talking to an officer of the law), was kinda scared.. Hahaha! I guess all those talking-to's that I frequently received in the delinquency of my youth prepared me! Hahaha.

We also were blessed to have an awesome Zone Conference. We had a lesson by Sister Dance in which she asked us to shorten our missionary purpose to one word. (Our purpose is found on page 1 of Preach My Gospel) I was thinking and I though of repentance, Christ, Salvation, and peace, but then the word 'Atonement' popped into my mind. So I said atonement, as we went around the room each spouting off our word... I was the only one who said that. After we'd all said our word, Sister Dance said something profound "I would suggest that the word each of you just said is the purpose that Heavenly Father has defined for your life" or something along those lines. I was floored because then I remembered that is what my patriarchal blessing says................. Sister Dance is Awesome.

Then we had our Zone Conference with Elder Paul B. Piper of the Seventy. It's awesome being around him because even though he is one of the Lord's anointed, he is so easy to talk to. He doesn't have this aura of approachability that seems to surround the apostles and other general authorities. He is just a humble, kind, genuine, meek person.

He went through and had us ask questions at the beginning that we wanted answered. Then he taught us how to answer them and how to teach our investigators to answer them. He taught us how Christ's doctrine is the root of our desire. It answers the questions of 'why'. Why did God send us here? (Because He loves us and he wanted to provide us with bodies like his.) We worked on identifying the many questions that concern everyone, including ourselves. The question that I was struggling with on that particular day was if it was okay to expect miracles and I learned, OF COURSE IT IS! I am a child of God. And the same way that my parents would do anything to help me or my brothers, Heavenly Father would too - in His way. We seek knowledge, a testimony of all things, not just to understand, but to know. (To see the difference, think, I understand how to ride a bike vs. I know how to ride a bike. Get it?)

So my companion and I are cleaning house... It takes a lot of faith to focus our efforts on finding the elect, especially when the consequences of having absolutely nothing at all to do are dire... (TRACTING in the freezing cold!) Hahaha.

Well it was a good week and this week will be even better! I love you guys and miss you. I know the Lord is watching over you.

Much Love!

Britton Winterrose!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Watching for Northern Lights

Hello everyone!

This week went pretty well. We were contacting less active members like mad...... but it seems to be paying off! I love doing missionary work! It's very exciting! I guess it was just another regular week. Hahaha. Nothing too special! It has been a fun week though. We were just busy all week.

I think today we will just end up playing basketball over at the stake center. That's what we usually do on p-days and we play every other morning during the week, and guess what? I'm starting to get a little bit better... Like I don't suck any more! I guess it's because of all that practice. We have a good group to play with though so it's way fun! And it's a good work out.

My companion and I have been dying to see the Northern Lights but we've missed them twice. Talk about a bummer! It's cool though because I know we will have lots of other opportunities to see them. The forecasts for today and tomorrow evening look pretty promising.

I can't remember what I was doing this week, but I overheard someone on the phone talking to their family, and all of a sudden I was like hit with a wall of wanting to call my family. It was weird. I don't usually get trunky like most other missionaries. No worries though! I know I'll get to see you all soon enough.

I really do miss you guys, but I know that the Lord needs me here. Any good that I could do at home is insignificant when compared to the blessings the family will receive for the service I'm doing here in the mission field. Like a thousand times more blessings, at least! I guess that is the greatest comfort in missionary work.

I found out from a member that there are supposed to be some Silver Salmon running this next week so I think I will have to get out there and catch something before winter hits. Good news is that once winter hits we can go ice fishing and what not! That should be a fun little experience! Haha.

It's weird that some of the guys I grew up with are already getting home from their missions. I can't even imagine what it would feel like... Some of the Elders that I've grown closest to in the field are already home and like dating and stuff... WEIRD!

I'm stoked for this week because we have Zone Conference with Paul P. Piper of the Seventy. It's gonna be good. It will be the first time that I will be in a situation that I can actually interact with a General Authority!! I'M SO EXCITED!!! Then he is having a fireside that evening just for members and investigators! It's like playing a little league game with a MLB player pitching for you. He will surely bring the spirit!

It's starting to cool down here but it's not cold all day yet. It's still pretty warm during the day. It will be below zero by the end of this transfer though, I am sure!

C., I hope things are going good at amazon and with your mission papers!

M! Don't spend too much time on Halo Hahaha! I didn't even know it was coming out until we were over at these people's house and the kid started talking about the new halo! Don't have too much fun! Haha.

D! I heard that you are making scootering videos! That's awesome! You have to have mom include the link in the next email! Haha! But really, make one set to Primary music and send it to me on a sim card. :)

I love you guys! Take care! I'll talk to you next week!

Love, Elder Winterrose

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More of Elder L!

Well HELLO!!!!!!!!!!

I'm staying in Fairbanks! Whoot! Six more weeks with Elder L.! He reminds me of SamSamBean. Like a lot. I'm way excited that we are both staying though because I would have been way bummed if I stayed and he left because we get along splendidly.

I realized this past week that I have really failed to take pictures. I haven't taken any since I got here. Oh well, I guess that means that I just have to resolve to take more this transfer!

We have zone conference coming up soon and it's going to be with a General Authority - Elder Paul P. Piper of the Seventy! Whoot! I get to spend time with a Seventy! I'm way excited! And that means that I get to see President and Sister Dance again! That is also very exciting! I guess that's just one of the many benefits of being a missionary.

Our investigator is still working towards his baptismal date but there is a bunch of weird logistical issues that we are still having to work through. It's gonna happen soon though. It's just a question of when... We also have a few other good investigators and one of them is really solid. Our ward council meeting Sunday was awesome though, because we got to discuss the missionary work and what was helping and what was hindering the progression of the work in our ward. First off, it's really easy to tell when a ward doesn't trust the missionaries, because the support and confidence just isn't there. But we have been working hard to just be good missionaries and it is paying off. The Lord is changing their hearts and views.

This area is kind of interesting because our ward is very transient. We cover most of the apartments in Fairbanks and there are people moving in and out all the time. The majority of the ward is less active. In fact roughly 80% of the 450+ members in the ward are less active. The ward is surviving because they have been blessed with some really strong leaders and strong faithful members who push it along. So we are going to really try our best to reactivate as many members as possible to make the ward stronger! Last year this ward had 11 baptisms in it. It was one of the highest baptizing areas! But out of those 11 baptisms, only one or two are still active. So we are really trying to focus on bringing the ward strong, active, members both through baptisms and reactivation.

Our purpose as missionaries is to bring souls unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. I know that the way that we can do that best, and ensure that any new souls that we find will stay, is to help our ward and make it stronger.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to be serving in Fairbanks! It's beautiful. My area is kinda a box though, because it is bordered on all 4 sides by other areas! So I don't get to see a whole lot of wild life. The northern lights were out last night! I missed them though! I'll be keeping my eye out for them from now on! Hahah!

Thank you all for the love and support that you give! I miss you and love you!

Love Elder Winterrose!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Well Mom, No novel this week...

Sadly enough every freaking public place that we can use computers in close on Labor Day and on various other holidays that fall on a Monday. Well, since I didn't want to get a phone call from a concerned mission president who heard from my momma I decided to find a way and with the help of some loving investigators, I was able to get on for just a few minutes. Transfer calls come next Monday, so that's when I'll be able to let you know whats happening. C. hasn't gotten baptized yet... we actually found out that he doesn't live in our area so we weren't gonna be the ones to count his baptism, but his lease is up come the end of the month and he is gonna try to find a house in our area... also there's a few other things, nothing big, just a lot of random logistical issues that have presented themselves but I am confident that given a week or two they will sort themselves out.

As for living with members... it's always nice to have your own place. It's just kinda hard sharing living space with a family especially when you never know who's gonna be dropping by. Our members were very nice but they had a family member who needed to move in because of some extenuating circumstances but its all good! We lived with some other missionaries for a week and then we just moved into our own apartment on Saturday. It's nice.

I've really started kicking it into high gear. We were fortunate enough to have an entire 4 days of specialized training last week, it was awesome. Like a week-long zone conference, like being in the MTC but being able to leave at the end of the training and go and apply it immediately. It was a spiritual kick in the pants. I've woken up on-time almost every day this last week and worked out every day except Sunday.  And I feel great! I have so much more energy. It's weird to think that it has already been more than 6 months... Weird.

Now about this awesome investigator, C. Well C. used to be in the Marines - Recon Sniper. He is a way awesome guy. He was taught by another set of Elders before us, but it didn't "Click" with them. (His own words!) I love the Lord and the way he works to match missionaries to people that need to be taught. He is a really great man. I love him!

Well Friends and Family I love and miss you all! Take care!


Elder Winterrose!!