Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving in Anchorage

OH man Mom you have to get and send me Jordan C's address and Email address! I miss that guy! I can't believe he is already home.

Well I am glad to hear that everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I think I would have been way more bummed if I hadn't had to stay home last Christmas. It took a lot of the sting out of it. Haha. But seriously, this week has been wonderful. We have a bunch of new people to teach next week that we found through our tenacious hunting and great clerical work. Area Books can and will be your greatest ally on your mission if you maintain them properly or they can really make it difficult to transition.

Thanksgiving was Nuts. Like so stinking crazy. We had 5 dinners. And tons of dessert. All the food was soo good though. I honestly though I was going to die. I ate way too much. And I was way tired that day. But we were able to visit a lot of families and enjoy thanksgiving with them.

AND M. was confirmed this Sunday. IT was crazy too. We weren't able to meet with him like all week and then we spoke briefly with him on Sat. and he didn't know who he wanted to confirm him. So we just figured that one of the older boys who are good friends with him would do it. So I was sitting in church and had the thought, "Dang, even if M. put me on the spot and asked me to confirm I wouldn't know what to say." So I flipped open my missionary handbook and read over what I would have to say. So we are going through sacrament meeting not understanding anything and then when we finally walk up to confirm him I just stood in the circle. Well Bishop and Bro. F. talk to each other really quickly and then they look at me and motion to me to voice the confirmation. I WAS SO SCARED. I was so nervous. And M's full name is long. It's ******'****** ***** ****. I pretty much butchered his name the way temple sealers usually do, but I tried. I think I said it all right because no one stopped me or made me do it over hahah! All in all it was a wonderful day. I am so happy for him. Missionary work is the greatest. I love these boys (M. and his friends) like my little brothers. I think its because they are all so close to my brothers' ages.

If I stay here another transfer (transfers are next week) then I will want you to send me the Uke.... actually, let me ponder on that another week.

Oh and before I forget. I'll be sending the snow pants home along with my nice gloves. You can let the bros use them as needed. Use them up, wear them out. I'll just have to buy new ones when I get home anyways. But I'll probably just take all the nice new stuff that they buy right before their missions! Hahah. Then it all works out! Same with the snowboard and laptop. Use them because they will become obsolete before I get home anyways.

I liked the first gloves you showed me in the email the other week. The pipe ones, just order and send me those ones. I don't have enough time to go and search through different stores to find them and so far all the ones I've seen have been too brightly colored. I'll send home this memory card as soon as I am able to get the pictures off of it printed.

Well transfers are next Tuesday. I really want to stay. But I know the Lord will always send me where I am needed or where I need to be. I trust him and I know that whatever happens is what should happen.

Well I love you,

Love Elder Winterrose

Monday, November 22, 2010

Well, it's Monday again. Sweet, sweet Monday. It's been a pretty good week, actually the week was pretty lame. No, Just kidding. It wasn't lame. I just remembered all the great things I learned this week. We had zone conference on Wed. and it was nice. The best part was that at the end I received this big envelope full of letters from people I love! It almost made my week! But the peak of my week was stolen by M's baptism last night. We ended up doing it on Sunday because people were busy all day Saturday fixing food for the wedding that was going on, like seriously the most food I've ever seen in my entire life. It's insane. I wish now that I had taken pictures of it. So yeah... We ended up doing it on Sunday. But M's dad had to work Sun. and we really wanted his whole family to be able to come, so we asked the Bishop and Mission Pres. if we could do it at 9 and we were able to do it at 8:30 PM!! It was weird because it was so late. But the turnout was still really good. I hate the lay out of our building though, they have the font open up in a hallway... and we held the services in the Chapel out of necessity because we had so many people. So when it actually came time to watch the baptism people were packed in the 8 foot wide hallway like sardines. It was nuts. Hahahah. But it will be a great memory.

Yesterday was just a crazy day. Our dinner wasn't able to have us over so they made us dinner and dropped it off to us, and it was like 5 lbs. of king crab legs. IT WAS SO GOOD. Anyways back to the baptism, M's friend, J., Baptized him. It was so cool to see them. Like every time I saw them I nearly burst into tears. Now I would love to baptize every person I teach because I love sharing that experience with them; there is nothing else like it.  I know I will have many opportunities to baptize people, but I think it benefits the investigator and the member more, especially if it's a young adult. I have been able to share this time with M. and J., yet someday I will be gone, and I won't see them often. Because of this experience, they have a friendship now that could last through ages. I think any missionary who takes away the opportunity from someone who could be forging a bond of eternal friendship out of their own desires to perform the baptism is committing a terrible sin of pride and selfishness. That being said, it's ultimately the decision of the investigator; I would always encourage young men to share that experience between each other because it would be their first missionary baptism. Last night, seeing M. and J. dressed in their white jumpsuits; it was awesome. I am truly thankful that the Lord has brought me to this place and allowed me to partake in this wondrous work.

Now a quick note on the morale of missionaries. Missionaries are always happier when they are finding, teaching, and baptizing. When any of those steps are frustrated then often missionaries become frustrated. Missionaries are excellent at the second two steps but the first step, finding investigators, is a step that has always been pressed upon members. Going out and tracting is a terrible way for missionaries to spend their time. It's fruitful sometimes but missionaries should be teaching. So brothers and sisters - put your shoulder to the wheel, help the good work move along, and find people for the missionaries to teach. It really is as simple as opening your mouth. Have faith, and then exercise that faith by opening your mouth and talking to your friends, coworkers and everyone else!! If you don't know where to start, invite the missionaries over and ask them to review upcoming opportunities to share the gospel.

M. and J. invited so many people to the baptism last night. We were able to meet most of them and even taught the first lesson to two people while involving as many of the people's friends and any other members who were willing to participate. Now this included 6 YOUTH BETWEEN THE AGES OF 15 - 18. I handed out two Books of Mormon and we were able to set up a lesson for Tuesday. It should never be that there is a baptism and then the work stops. One Baptism should always blossom to more baptisms.

Dang, they're going to close the computer lab in 10 minutes because of the weather... Stink. Well on the subject of Thanksgiving, I will probably die of a hemorrhaged stomach. I will spend a lot of time with the ward.

I love you all. And I miss you. Sorry for the short email. I am so grateful for all of the kind words of encouragement that you shared with me in your letters.  I doubt that I will find time to write most of you back individually but I am so grateful for all of your letters!

OH and things I want for Christmas:
1. A Helicopter.
2. A Digital Voice recorder. (So I can record talks, blessings, lessons, silly conversations, door approaches, and funny instances and transcribe them with detailed accuracy).
3. The Gift of Tongues.
4. Perhaps a new Camera, I am not really that impressed with the ability of my current one to point and shoot. And since it is most often used to take pictures of me by inexperienced people it must be user friendly.

This list is not complete, but I must go.

Love ya,

Elder Winterrose.

Monday, November 15, 2010

...Well, this is weird. Last week I remember having the distinct impression of how it was probably time for mom and dad to get rid of the minivan and buy a small pickup with a full size cab! Like a Toyota Tacoma. :)  Haha.  I know it will all work out though with the car. It always does! Other things I was thinking about... I think it's wonderful that D. is on the B-team. It's going to give him the opportunity to shine! A lot of the time the people who make the A team or the Varsity team are people who do just that; shine on B-team.  They keep at it and show their skill, regardless of where they're placed.

Well, this week has been a fun one. It started out with M. saying that he wanted to be baptized on Sunday the 14th. He told us this Thursday. So we began to work to move heaven and earth to make it work out. There ended up being a lot of logistical issues so we postponed it to next Saturday. Part of the problem was that yesterday we had stake conference. It was awesome. Do you remember how before I left Elder Perkins, the Area Seventy, came and spoke in conference? I remember going up and speaking with him after the meeting because he said he was from Alaska, so I asked him what part he was from and he said Juneau. So I was at the adult session of conference on Saturday and listening to the new temple president and his wife tell their story of how they met and I was having a serious case of deja vu. Long story short, he is the new temple president. It was a pretty neat stake conference. They reorganized the stake, so it was pretty crazy.

Sunday was the actual conference.  We were supposed to meet M. and his friends, J. and H., there because they were going to be saving us a spot. Well we ended up running a little late, so we got there like 5 minutes before they started and we weren't able to find them. The stake center was packed. We wandered around the building trying to find a place to sit and were walking past a door when these people waved to us and gave us these two seats that they were saving for their family that didn't come. We sat down and just started watching. It was pretty neat.

L. Whitney Clayton was the Seventy present and, when he was speaking, he invited these two young men up to come up and speak. He said that he would like to invite M. to come up and another guy to come up and speak. I was like nahhh it's not him, couldn't be. Then he asked them to raise their hands and as soon as I saw M. put his hand up, I jumped up and punched the air (think, "YES!"). Then I looked around and realized that I was standing in the middle of conference... All the people standing around me were like, "Why is that missionary so excited about that boy going up there?" AND I just wanted to turn around and tell everyone how he wasn't even a member yet!!! SO M. walked up in front of all those people and then Elder Clayton asked him and the other boy to introduce themselves, and then he asked them each what they planned to do when they turned 19, and they both said serve a mission. Then he asked them each who told them to go, the first boy said his parents. But then Elder Clayton asked M. and he didn't say anything, he just stood there thinking for a second. Then he asked M. if it was his parents, then he shook his head saying no, so Elder Clayton asked if it was his bishop, and he shook his head again and said no, then he asked who told him to serve and M. said, "The Lord," and then had this huge smile on his face. It was like the most awesome thing ever! So afterwords we went up to speak to Elder Clayton to ask if he knew that M. wasn't even a member yet and he was like, What?!! and we told him that we had only been teaching M. for like one week.

Later on we were introducing H., M., and J. to Sister Dance because I had told her all about them the day before. Elder Clayton came up and said "M. you know you have to be baptized before you can serve a mission right?":)  It was so cool. The fireside last night was pretty neat too. Sorry I forgot to record the singing, but next time I get to sing I will try my hardest to record it.

Well, I love you guys and I miss you lots. I'll let you know how everything went in the next email home. I love you! Take care!

Elder Winterrose

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Talofa! From Elder Rosamalulu

Malo Soifua,

So week two of the transfer came to an end this week. What a week! We are getting fed so much. Like really. Imagine the most full you have ever felt in your life, like you went to both grandparents for Thanksgiving full, then multiply that times the dinner appointment we have each evening + the meal that people feel compelled to offer us each time we visit someone before dinner, but close to 5 or 6, + the meal we are given if we visit someone after dinner or go to a ward activity, which ='s something that usually feels like the fullness level of eating a meal, then a feast, and a snack. The best part is that all the food is awesome. I love Samoan food. It tastes so good.

Let's see..... OH I also ordered/received my Samoan name tags. I finally decided on Elder Rosamalulu literally Rose-Winter. MANNNNN! Sunday was awesome. Holy Cow. So my companion and I decided that we were gonna bare our testimonies in Samoan on fast Sunday. I translated mine the week before last and he had another Samoan Elder translate his for him. I haven't been that nervous about bearing my testimony since...... ever. My heart was pounding out my chest. It was great though. I even wore my glasses so I could see the expressions on the people’s faces when the white boy got up and bore his testimony fa'a Samoan. Yeah... it was awesome. The Lord was definitely helping me on that one. It wasn't like the gift of tongues, but there was definitely someone helping me.

Then we had a lesson with this young guy named M. He is  awesome. He had been coming to church for like a few weeks before we were transferred here. But yeah, we were able to teach him the about the Restoration, and then we read Moroni 10:3-5 and I asked him if he had felt these things enter his heart over the last few weeks. He said yeah, so then we challenged him to test them, right there, to kneel down and ask Heavenly Father if they were true. AND HE SAID SURE!!! So then we all knelt down and I realized we hadn't even taught him about prayer, and he was like, "What do I say?" So I just told him to tell Heavenly Father that he needs to know if these things are true; if the Book of Mormon is true, if the Church is true, and if Joseph Smith was really a prophet. So he said a prayer, and asked; showed his desire, then asked for an answer. He paused for a second, and you could feel the spirit but it was kind of faint, and then I whispered, "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." Then he closed the prayer with those words and, the second he did, it was like we were all hit with a wave of the spirit. Baptized together by fire. M. received his testimony! We then talked about the spirit that was present and talked to him about how it is that Heavenly Father invites us to follow Christ's example and be baptized. Then we said those magic words."Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the Priesthood authority of God?" And he said YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then we asked him when he would like to be baptized and he said, "As soon as possible!" with a huge smile on his face! Hahaha. It was amazing. I felt so blessed to have been able to participate in this great work. I'll keep you all posted next week.

Now as you may have noticed my letter is coming a little late. This is because today, Wednesday, was the first time I've been able to go to the temple in 9 months. I was way excited. So my companion and I were driving what is normally a 10-minute drive and we literally hit every single red light. We were even stuck at a couple for two cycles. So we ended up missing our endowment session, and my companion was being a little ticked about it cause he thought he was going to not be able to go to the temple before he gets to go home (in 5 months). But we did get in and we were able to go and do sealing sessions. It was awesome. Normally they aren't able to seal an entire family all at once, but because we showed up we were able to participate in two entire families being sealed. It was amazing because the spirit was so strong there. It was one of the coolest temple experiences of my life. And the sealer just kept saying, "Good thing you Elders were late! Good thing!" The Lord works through His servants in His infinite wisdom. I feel so grateful that He let me be there and be present.

Serving the Lord will bring any man or woman more blessings than they can ever imagine. Period.

Your Samoan words for the week.

"Talofa"!" --------------- Tahh - Lo-fah
"O 'a mai o'e? ------- OH ah my oy?
How are you?
"Manuia fa'afetai!" ------ Mahn-we-uh fah'ah-fay-tah-ee
Fine thanks!
"Fa Soifua!"----------- Fah Soy-fuah! (He didn't give a translation for this one... we think it's like farewell)

And now for the question answer time! I have no clue what you are talking about with the Thanksgiving Celebration? If it is the reason that they are hiding all the mail being brought into the office then that makes sense, but I don't have Zone Conference for another week or two! I'm 15 minutes from the office. My neighborhood is humble. That's why I don't trust a package sitting on my front deck for half the day till I get back to the apartment. By humble I mean like downtown Pasco humble. We will be safe. Mom, come on... When have I been known to act recklessly? :) I'm Street Smart. Probably much more street-smart than most missionaries. Haven't been fishing yet. In a month or so it will be good for ice fishing though. I'm kind of excited for that. Family brings the Samoans to Anchorage. And the cold. They dream of getting out of the heat - till they get out of the heat! But the number one thing is that their culture is strong here and there is lots of family here. The neighborhood we live in is mostly Samoan. It's awesome.

Haven't got the retainer fixed yet, haven't bought my gloves yet. The pants still fit. If I end up not using them I’ll send them back. :) My area covers the north west quarter of Anchorage and then all the way up to Eagle River, Palmer, and Wasilla if necessary. But the Samoans really only live in Anchorage for the most part. The western boundary of our mission is the new Seward Highway and the southern is Tudor Street. You can mapquest it. :) Language study is going, but slowly. Speaking what we know is helping tons though. And we are visiting members and we ask for help when we visit, so it's starting to come along. I understand a lot more than I can speak though, and I almost always know when people are talking about me. :) We are currently driving an 09 Chevy Malibu like the one I was driving in Valdez. I really have no clue what I want for Christmas. OH I Know! Just be awake when I call, okay?!? But if you really want to get me something I guess the best thing would just be.... Idk. I don't need anything, really. Hats would be nice? Tell me how to measure again! Hahaha. I just don't know about the fur hats because never know if I will have the opportunity to get like a seal and bear one or like a more legitimate animal one.... I think I will hold off on the hat for now, I'll just swallow my hat envy when I see other people with their hats.

Answering Q's eats up time.

Hahha. Well I've got to bounce now, but I love you guys and I will talk to you later. Bye!

Elder Rosamalulu (Elder Winterrose)

Monday, November 1, 2010

I Love This Ward!

Hello everyone!

Well to get to the gist of it, the Samoan Ward is awesome! I had dinner twice a night 3 times this week! We passed around our dinner calender and it was filled before it got past the first 2 rows of chairs in the combined meeting. Our ward is pretty big. Like 400 active members. We didn't understand anything in sacrament. Like at all.. Hahah, it was so funny. As far as the language goes, I know how to pronounce all of the letters and vowels, and I am slowly getting better at pronouncing most words. The trickiest part is knowing where to put the emphasis. But it's slowly, slowly, coming along. It's good to sit through church and only understand one or two words. It's cool though because I could still feel the spirit when people would like be testifying and stuff. We have had a wonderful week though.

We've been playing basketball almost every day this week. And I am beginning to get a little bit better. It's awesome.  There are so many young men in situations not too much unlike my own before serving a mission, young men who are just struggling to get out!  And they are all way cool. We play ball with them all the time.

This ward is amazing with how many activities they have. We went to a Court of Honor after dinner on Wednesday and then they fed us and we played volleyball after. Then Friday there was a  ward dance, and the whole ward was there. It was awesome; we met lots of potential investigators.  They fed us and made us get up in front of everyone and dance with the bishop and his second councilor. IT WAS A BLAST. The members are so eager to help us and they are always trying to feed us. I seriously love this place.  We will see how it all goes. Just keep my language learning in your prayers.

I love this ward. Its like being back in Hawaii! Awesome.

I don't have a whole lot of time today because we have a mission choir practice at 1:00, so we got to bounce here soon. There is a general authority coming up but I don't know who yet. It's pretty exciting. I guess that's the benefits of being in Anchorage. Hahah. Oh and I get to go to the temple next week, I'm super excited for that because it will be the first time in like 8 months....   I love this ward though, seriously. It is awesome. Like the greatest thing ever.

I love you all, and I miss you. Continue to search (actively seeking) for people to share the gospel with.  Take care, I miss you all.

Love, Elder Winterrose.

Oh and my new companion's name is Elder O. and he's a good guy.  In order to make sure that packages don't get jacked, either write on the box HOLD IN OFFICE or make them signature-only pickup, I can swing down to the office to pick up a package if I need to.