Monday, October 25, 2010

Farewell to Elder L.! Hello Anchorage!

Just a quick note since today isn't my p-day, but I will be traveling all day tomorrow...

I got my transfer calls this morning! I am getting transferred to the Samoan Northern Lights Ward in Anchorage. I'm super psyched - learning Tongan AND Samoan on my mission. It's amazing to see how the Lord has shaped my life through attending BYU-Hawaii in so many different ways. I miss you guys, tell the brothers and mom that I miss them. And thank you so much for sending me this email! Love ya!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Random Stuff

Well well well....... where should I start.

I guess it has been a good week. I mean it's not like it was a bad week. It just felt like it went by a little slow, hence the work must have been slow. Because the week only feels like it's dragging on when the work is slow.

We struggled to see any one this last week. It was seriously like every single person we had a lesson with canceled... I understand how it goes though. I can still remember what it's like to live in the real world. I think the other thing that made it feel so long is that we didn't have very many dinners with members... like just no one signed up. That just makes the day feel so much longer when you aren't getting to teach anyone. It all went on though the week. We did have some good lessons. Dropped another investigator. Weren't able to pick up another one. So right now were basically down to one investigator. He is solid, but he is in high school so he can get busy sometimes. He's a good kid though.

I read a funny story in the back of a special edition of the new era. It can be found here - New Era Article - Tattoos and Your Mission. It says near the bottom that having a tattoo may limit the options of where they send you to either somewhere that tattoos are culturally acceptable or somewhere cold where you have to wear long sleeves most of the year.

So boys and girls if you want to go on your mission to Alaska Anchorage, get a tattoo. Just kidding, don't do that! Really don't. Show the Lord how much you respect your body by keeping it clean, and taking care of it.

There are a lot of missionaries up here that have tattoos though. Like 40 - 50% of them.

What else about this week... OH! I got the basketball shoes and they work wonderfully. They help me run faster, jump higher, and dunk like a pro.... but seriously they are great! Thanks so much.

My snow pants should be in my closet. If they're not there they may be packed up. I brought my coat, but I didn't bring the pants. I don't need them immediately but soon would be good cause I am sure eventually we will be covered with tons of snow.

Well, next p-day is transfers. Who knows what will happen, but my p-day will be Tuesday next week. Just so you don't forget and freak out when I don't email you on Monday!

I am pretty jealous that Cameron got to see Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. That is awesome.

When I was in Valdez they were filming a commercial for the 2011 Chevy Silverado. If you type in Valdez and Silverado I'm sure it will pop up. They like hijacked the city dock and put all this stuff on it to try to make it look hardcore. LAME-O.

If I buy a truck I will probably buy a Ford.

Well sometimes my letters are filled with inspiration, other times they are filled with crap. In both cases they are pretty random and rough around the edges.......

I guess my spiritual peak this week had to have been during interviews with President Dance. He is wonderful! I think he and Sister Dance have to be the most jet setting Mission Pres.& spouse in the world. They are constantly flying all around the mission. They work so hard to help us and to build up this mission. It's going to be weird to see them leave half way through my mission and then have a different President the second half of my mission. They will leave almost exactly when I've been out one year.

I love Alaska. I really do. I could use those pants for sure mom, and probably another pair or 2 of thermal bottoms. It's starting to get nippy up here. Oh and the other thing I could use would be like a pair of gloves like a pair of pipe gloves.... C. will know what I'm talking about. Like a pair of conservatively colored ones. They just need to be grippy, low profile, and probably black or brown. I'm gonna be on the look-out for a fur hat, but if I can't find one competitively priced then I will send you my measurements. I would like pictures too! If you would! And stamps? 'Cause I'm too lazy to buy them.

Well, I guess that is it for this week. If you guys find any inspirational cd's that you think will uplift and inspire, send me a copy. Keep the original though 'cause I don't want to worry about the real one getting scratched or lost.

I love you guys! Take care, and always remember that it's not about how much confidence you have in yourself, but how much confidence you have in Christ - With Him we can do all things.



Monday, October 11, 2010

It's Christ's Church - Have Faith in Him

Well this last week has been a grand time of ups and downs. C's Baptism, tracting when it is freezing, teaching wonderful lessons on people's doorsteps when its freezing, getting mad food poisoning on Thursday, and a nice fast Sunday and powerful confirmation. It was a pretty good week.

We picked up 5 investigators last week and we have dropped 4 of them. Hahha. I guess that's just how it goes sometimes. One of the guys we started teaching, (the one we talked about in the ambush in last weeks letter) was telling us this week how he was a prophet. We tried to avoid contention, and tried to explain that we just wanted to invite the spirit and let the spirit testify of truth, but he told us he didn't need the spirit because he's a prophet and he speaks directly to God. I may have started laughing when he was telling us this..... anyways. We tried to talk about priesthood authority, and then tried to bear testimony but it was just not going to happen. BUT he did tell us why he was having us and our member-fellowshipper come over. HE said that he wanted to SAVE our member-fellowshipper from our religion. Our member was awesome though. And he did save him, saved him from dating and marrying a non-member! He was like, "Can you imagine if that was the spirit that existed in your home every time you ever brought up religion?" Awesome.  It's frustrating and sad to see people like D. the prophet who are completely wracked up in delusion and in the pride of taking honor upon themselves and who are just too hardhearted to look at the truth when it is standing right in front of them.  You just have to let it go. We invite, they commit, then we follow up. That is the elect.

D&C 29: 7 And ye are called to bring to pass the agathering of mine belect; for mine elect chear my voice and dharden not their ehearts;

We can only search for those who are ready, who have been prepared for us. Everyone should help find the elect. You can do it the same way you receive spiritual revelation for any thing else.  You can also pray to receive a spiritual witness that someone you know or will meet will be one of these who are "white all ready to harvest." Once you have received this witness then you can pray to know who they are. Ask Heavenly Father the questions you need to. Ask and ye shall receive! Have faith that he will answer. Ask who you know that knows them, or what they look like, where they live, how you know them - try to get to know them as best as possible. Then pray and find out how to bring up the gospel with them, pray for opportunities, pray for inspiration, pray that your paths will cross that you will be prepared when you see them. Pray that you can overcome any inhibitions that will prevent you from opening your mouth and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

These are just some of the things that Elder Paul B. Piper of the Seventy shared with us at our zone conference on how to find people by faith.  But I guess the critical thing is faith. Not just faith in your own abilities, or in missionary work, but faith in Christ. Faith that he will support you in supporting his work.

Yesterday our lesson in elders quorum was on faith. I would refer all to the Gospel Principles manual, its like chapter 18 or 17, and to Preach my Gospel.

There is really too much to talk about on faith in Christ so right now I just want to focus on one part of it that kind of struck me yesterday.

I remember when the beloved Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, passed away. I was a little shaken and at first I had trouble accepting that Thomas S. Monson as the new prophet. I didn't know why at the time, but looking back I've realized that my faith at that time was focused on the prophet. I looked to him. There wasn't a major disconnect there, I still knew Christ lived but I guess my faith in Him had never really been challenged. I knew the principles of the gospel, and I knew that each of its teachings were right because the spirit had witnessed it to me and the people around me had born witness to me of that as well. But my faith wasn't focused on the Savior. He was part of my belief but he wasn't the center. The center was the people that were alive, that I had heard speak many times before.  The spirit testified that the things that they said were true, but I didn't have a perfect knowledge of it for myself, and my faith in those people was what was holding my testimony together. Now this is not a bad thing. A testimony grows this way, but eventually we must all transition to faith in Christ, as a person who loves us and cares for us just as much as our Heavenly Father, and be fully converted. 

I remember being young when people that I looked up to did bad things, like when an older boy in our ward got his Mormon girlfriend pregnant, it shook me. It shook me because I saw him as a role model in the gospel.  It was just hard for me I guess, I kept going. I knew at times that Christ was my Savior and at times he was the center of my religion, but sometimes I focused too much on the ideas that stemmed from the doctrine of his Atonement and even accidentally placed more focus on those ideas than on the living person who made it possible.

D&C 1:38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my aword shall not pass away, but shall all be bfulfilled, whether by mine own cvoice or by the dvoiceeservants, it is the fsame.

*This includes missionaries ;). J. Golden Kimball said, "If the church wasn't true, ignoramus missionaries would have destroyed it long ago!" *

If you feel like missionaries aren't doing their best, find that faith in Christ, get some charity and talk to them out of love. I'm not saying be a white handbook Nazi. Just help them along.

AND If they are working hard!! HELP THEM WITH THEIR WORK!!! Haha.

We all need to look to Him. He is the only one who can provide us with a remission of our sins. Through faith, God can work miracles in our lives and we can righteously expect them.

My thoughts are scattered but I feel that this is what I needed to share.

I love you all! I am enjoying Fairbanks! C's baptism was wonderful! I miss you and I hope to hear from you all soon!


Elder Britton Winterrose.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Just Can't Teach (or learn) Without the Spirit

Where to begin, where to begin....

Well I guess the highlight of this upcoming week is C's baptism! It's especially exciting because it is the first time I actually get to baptize someone. Like actually put my arm to the square and use the priesthood. I am way excited because I love C. and I've got to watch as he has changed and progressed, and tomorrow is his big day! I'm a little nervous. I'll probably forget everything that I am supposed to do and say, but that's all good! So yeah, I'm super stoked for his baptism.

This week was a series of serious ups and downs... We've really been working hard to find those elect! To find those families that our Heavenly Father has prepared to hear our voice! And we found a few! We found 5 investigators.... and had great lessons with all of them... but it's just not going to work out with them. One of our investigators is golden though! He just moved back to live with his dad and new step mom and has been coming to church for a few weeks now. He also attends seminary occasionally. He definitely responded to the spirit during the lessons. I know he will make it.

As for the others... it's all up in the air. We went and had a lesson with these two people, and it went well. But the next day we went over and their pastor was over. It was awesome... not. It basically ended up being terrible. It sucks when you waltz into a situation like that, because the people have already yielded over their agency to fear. All was not lost however, my companion and I were able to point out on multiple occasions that the spirit was missing from our meeting. It's so hard because the second you let something that they say anger you, you lose that charity. You lose the spirit. You lose the lesson. Pride takes over...

I'm sure I could be very convincing in a verbal bashing session (pride) - I know enough critical parts of the bible - but that doesn't bring conversion. I secretly wished that the Lord would just let me stand up and smite that pastor down (oops, pride again), but I knew that is not what Christ would have me do. The Lord watched over me, my companion, and the member we brought with us.  Even before we walked in the situation, he knew what we'd be facing and prepared us.

Just that morning in our companion study we were going over what we learned in our exchanges with the ZL's the day before. It just so happened that we were discussing what to do in a situation where people try to bash with us, and how it is detrimental to the missionary work that we seek to do. The bottom line is that, if we bash opposing interpretations of scripture vs one another, we are usually failing in a few critical places; letting pride catch our hearts and push us, and forsaking our agency while ceasing to rely upon the spirit to testify of the things that we are speaking. Without the spirit, no one can come to a knowledge of the truthfulness of our Saviors teachings.

We studied about how, if we're not relying upon the spirit, we may be tempted to use scripture to smite back, rather than follow the council in D&C 121:43 &44:

  43 aReproving betimes with bsharpness, when cmoved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of dlove toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

  44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of adeath.
And how sharpness, or exactness, may sound harsh but it's the key word. It denotes how the word of God should be used with precision to back up "thy faithfulness" aka our testimony.

Heb. 4: 12:

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 

Helaman 3:29: 

Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course ...

 From what we learned from our ZL's, our studies, and this experience, I know that truly the only thing we can do in such a situation is to testify with the spirit and if in doing so, a piece of the word of God comes into one's mind by the spirit then, by all means, share that scripture. If we're able to testify with the spirit in these situations, it means that we're continuing to live as Christ and acting as he would act.  Entering into a hostile teaching environment will never be fun, but with the Lord's promises, it's not something I fear.

Josh. 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. 

ENOUGH OF That Mess.......

General Conference was awesome! I loved it and I only have 2 more to go! Whoot. Haha Uchtdorf's talk in the priesthood session when he talked about his favorite pen, how it always worked and never complained, whether it was writing a note, an essay, or a letter of much renown. I also loved when he said, "Now I'm sure the question that you all have in your heads is, 'What in the world does all of this have to do with flying an airplane?' " I was laughing pretty hard. I am glad that the brothers liked the story about the cow. Stupid Cow. Hahaha.

Oh and one more cool thing. We were talking with C. on Friday about temples, his family, and how they grew up in Indianapolis, and I was like, "Is there a temple there?" and he said "No," so I asked him what the population is there, then I told him to listen in Conference to see if they announce one there... Totally called it!

So this week we're back to pounding the pavement, trying to cross our paths with those of the Lord's elect. We really need to fill our teaching pool up more before it hits -20 degrees and we are left with like 3 hours of daylight. Yeah.... can't say I'm ecstatic about this winter coming on so soon. No snow yet though. Also haven't seen the northern lights yet. I'll keep you posted!

I'll send the memory card soon. I just wanted to make sure that there was some good pictures for you on there! I can't believe Poot's turning 13. DANG. I miss you all!

I love you all! Please pray for me and my companion (Elder L.) by name!

Much Aloha,

Elder Britton Winterrose