Monday, March 28, 2011

Baptism, Baptism, Baptism, Baptism, Baptism (Yes, five times!)

My heart is full.

Blessings are definitely pouring out all around me right now. L., S., R., B., and B. were all baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. It was a beautiful baptism. The Stake President and our Mission President were both there and both took a small time to share their testimonies and welcome the new members to the ward. The first convert baptisms in the newly formed Dimond Samoan ward! It's amazing. I still can't believe that it all worked out.

It was all hanging by a thread for each investigator a couple times this last week but I know that all of the prayers are helping.

I know God answers prayers. I have literally had all of my righteous prayers answered on my mission so far, or they are in the process of being answered; C. is preparing to a mission, but most importantly has experienced the power of the atonement. My friend A. is choosing for himself to seek the path that will lead to happiness. I've prayed for both of them daily every day of my mission.  I pray for many people back home and abroad, and I know God has answered my prayers. Many, many people have humbled themselves, prayed, and received an answer from God.

Yesterday at church S. showed up. We had taught her the first 3 lessons previously, but then she just fell off the face of the earth.  Well, apparently she had still remembered to pray and read, and had been doing so! So when she came to church this week, I asked her if she believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and if the church is true, and she said YES!! So we taught a lesson on baptism from Matthew 3:14-17. These verses are marvelous because they show how much of an effort that Christ had to make, by walking the distance from Galilee to Jordan, to be baptized by John the Baptist, because he was the one who held the Aaronic priesthood - giving him the permission and power from Heavenly Father to perform this essential ordinance. These verses also highlight the example of Christ going down into the water, (verse 16 says, "Went up straightway out of the water," implying that he must have been in the water) and being baptized in the water.

This clearly shows that one must be baptized by immersion by someone holding the priesthood authority of God. And finally, we read that Christ is in the water being baptized, the Holy Ghost is descending in the form of a dove, and The Father is speaking from Heaven, saying that this, (Christ) is his beloved Son, and that he is well pleased with his actions. Father, Son, Spirit - three separate individuals fulfilling three parts of the one plan; the wisdom, the embodiment, the testimony.

They are one in Purpose, not in being. And knowing that God is pleased by Christ's baptism - we can know that when we want to please Heavenly Father, we should follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized.

When we were done talking about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost we invited her to be baptized. She set a date for April 9th! I have faith that it will work out.

The most important thing for me to do is to have unshakable faith that it will all work out; that Heavenly Father will prepare this person for baptism by that date because He loves them just as much as He loves me.  He wants them to make that commitment and the change in their lives that the ordinance of baptism represents. My epiphany this week as I was stressing and worrying about the baptisms was this: Christ created the world in 6 of his days. I'm sure His Father could prepare someone for baptism in six of ours!

If I don't share the truth with these people then who else will?

If we don't give them the truth then all they will ever be able to accept is lies.

If I don't have faith in the conversion process, then who will?

Every member has the power to change. To change anything. Heavenly Father can change anything.

Ask and ye shall be given, knock and it shall be opened unto you.

Ask for referrals, and you will receive prepared people; Go tracting, and you will find.

Just put out an honest effort. When you honestly do your best, Heavenly Father will make up that which you lack.

Pray always. And read your stinking scriptures. GO to Church, and stay for all your meetings. It's pretty simple.



Change for the better.

Love Elder Winterrose

P.S. here is the lineup for the big group photo, Left to right.
 Elder Justin W., R. H., Elder Britton Winterrose, B. P., L. H., Sister S. T., S. H., Elder Tyler W., B. P., Brother J. S., Brother B. P.

I baptized L., Elder W. baptized R., Elder W. baptized S., J. baptized L., and B. baptized B.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Do Your Best, Then Trust in the Lord

Wow your week has been pretty crazy! I'M SO EXCITED THAT C. GETS TO PUT HIS PAPERS IN. HOLY COW!!!! SO EXCITED!

None of the miracles that I have experienced in my life or witnessed in the lives of others would have been possible without the atonement. IT is amazing that the spirit of the Lord working within someone can truly help them do their best. That is what being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is all about. Doing what is best. Karl G. Maeser said, "Always be yourself, but always be your better self!" Christ was always doing what was best. That's why he wasn't just good, but perfect.

On my mission I have seen the people who claim to be trying so hard, and I have seen the people who are trying so hard. Sometimes when we feel like we are trying so hard and not making any headway it is made known to us by Heavenly Father. He reveals our weakness that we can be humble and remember to rely on him (Ether 12:27). Some people make relying on Christ and Heavenly Father a passive thing -  they just let God do all the work. They don't need to study, don't need to keep the commandments, don't need to go to church... But I don't think that it is supposed to be that way. I firmly believe that we should be working hard to come closer to God. How can you rely upon that which you don't have? I've met hundreds of people and I believe that there are millions out there who believe in Christ, but do not know Christ. They have not experienced the sweet peace that His atonement and Gospel can bring into there lives... There are countless more who have become content with that portion that they have had in their lives and they just hold to that small portion, relying upon it, instead of relying upon the endless and eternal portion that comes through a living, growing faith in our Savior. This being said, there are some who seek and crave a greater portion "but know not where to find it." The beauty of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ as it exists on this earth, within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is that we can live our lives, however busy they may be, and still come closer to Christ as we live His teachings and serve one another. I pray that any sincere seeker of truth will ask God in a heartfelt prayer, in the name of Christ, if the LDS church is his one true church upon the face of the earth. I know that anyone who really tries, and relies on God for their answer and not on their own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6) will receive an answer. I've experienced it, and so have millions of others. It's a bold question. And you will receive a direct answer by the power of the Holy Ghost.

.... Stepping off the soap box.

Ok. Well My week has been pretty wonderful. We were able to teach quite a few lessons and our investigators are all still on date.

THIS IS THE MOST FRIGHTENING PART OF MISSIONARY WORK... The week before the baptism. Satan is working harder than ever in each of these investigators' lives to try to stop them before they can make this critical commitment with Heavenly Father. I've never had more than one person getting baptized at once before, so this is like stress times five. I have faith though. I know that this is Heavenly Father's work and that He won't let Satan jack it up. I know that he will provide the investigators, members, and missionaries involved with all the strength that they need. It is His work.

Sorry I don't write too much about my investigators or about their progress. I guess sometimes I just feel like it's counting my chickens before they hatch??? Idk, I guess I just don't like to build peoples hopes up, my own included, only to have them falter.

But I am so excited. Do you remember that one young man, W. N. - M.'s older brother - who I invited to be baptized at his little sister's baptism? WELL HE IS GETTING BAPTIZED TOO!!! THIS SATURDAY!!! I'm so psyched for him.

I know what you mean mom when you were talking about how Satan really tries to wail on us the harder we try. He isn't just trying to make us sin, that's not enough to keep us from receiving eternal life, we can bounce back from sin. He is trying to take our legs out. He is trying to break us down so that we can't continue. He is trying to get us to stop trying. This whole agency is really a battle of the wills. Will you choose God or Satan?

It has been amazing serving in the Samoan wards. My Samoan might not be the greatest but I have picked up a little and I understand more and more each week. I love the work here. My biggest fears right now, wait, no. MY BIGGEST HOPES RIGHT NOW ARE: All of the people on date; L., S., R., B., B. and W. will get baptized. And that we will be able to start teaching a few of the hundreds of people that are going to be at this baptism. Seriously it is going to be standing room only in the Relief Society room, and we will have to hold the meeting in the chapel! Then there is gonna be a shindig after.

I will take my camera, and take lots of photos. Like WAY too many photos.

I feel bad because I haven't written the people I've been meaning to write for weeks now... But I've been busy busy....

I am trying my best to be a good trainer. And I don't think I'm doing too bad. I love my companion! So that is wonderful! And I am trying to keep the rules! And I let him teach every time I can remind myself to shut up. :) But really. I think it's going good. Satan will always work hardest on the Trainer though... because he knows what happens if he can break the trainer... But I have seen amazing missionaries come from Terrible trainers. It really is all in your own will. If your trainer is TERRIBLE, like breaking commandments, then make sure you let your mission president know. Because if you don't, it will drag you down. At the same time just remember that your companion is hopefully doing his best, so love him and encourage him, and work together to be your better-selves. I am amazed at what people can accomplish when they have the Lord helping them as they are truly doing their best. A mission is all about doing your best, and trusting in the Lord to make up the rest. I do know that my trainer did his best and that is why I love him so much! Deep inside every missionary, hopefully not too deep, is a part that sincerely, truly, just wants to serve his Savior and Father.

Well I'm out of time. I love you all. Take Care. Excuse my Typo's.


Elder Britton Winterrose.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Well it sounds like the trip to Vegas was a blast. The part about M. and M. made me laugh. And the part about Hoover Dam. I'm jealous that you got to go see Ka' because that is the one Cirque show that I've really wanted to see because it sounds awesome.

This week has been a good long one. We had specialized training all week, meaning that I had to sit in training from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. everyday, and then we went out and worked after, but it was wonderful. My companion, Elder W., went with me on Tuesday and Friday. We had some great spiritual teaching experiences this week as we really focused on meeting the needs of our investigators.

I think that the one thing that I can do that will improve my teaching the most is to listen. Listen closely and sincerely. And just sit and listen. It amazing how clear someones desires and fears can be when you just listen intently on what they have to say.

Well I think the most exciting news is that we have 5 people who are on date to be baptized on March 26th! We also have a pretty large teaching pool right now. The biggest effort is just in making the arrangements to finish teaching them the lessons and in finalizing the arrangements for the baptism. It sounds right now like it's gonna be huge. There were like 120 people at M.'s baptism and he was the only person being baptized there.  Now there are 5 people being baptized... and they are friends with lots of Samoans and they have huge families. We are already planning on holding the service in the chapel, and then we will have to move all the chairs out of the relief society room so we will have enough standing room for the baptism.  The ward is taking control of planning the refreshments/ entertainment for the mini shindig after the baptism.  I'M SO EXCITED!

The other good news is that some of the people I helped teach in the Northern Lights Ward are going to be getting baptized too! And that is always a good feeling.

OH and I have to leave in a few minutes to go to lunch with C. F. He and J. came down from Fairbanks for the weekend. I'm way excited to see them.

All in all it has been a terrific week!

All my love to my family and friends.

Love Elder Britton Winterrose

PS. C. I got your letter. Did you get either of the ones I sent to MOSCOW!? If not then that was a waste of a dollar!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Great Week With Elder W

Well Hello Family and Friends!

This week has been pretty exciting! we were able to go and do service for the Iditarod ceremonial start in downtown on Saturday. We worked as fence security along the starting area and it was a blast. We got to walk around and mingle with the mushers for a while and we got the behind-the-scenes seats that afforded us an awesome vantage point.

The first week of training went well. I love Elder W. We get along fantastic. He is hilarious and easy to talk to. I think one of the greatest blessings is a companion that you can be yourself around. At least be your better self around. He likes Star Wars. I really don't think you can go wrong if you like Star Wars!

I'm going to call that Ortho Dr and make an appointment for this week sometime. Hopefully we can get this crud worked out so I can go back to normal. I just want to be able to walk all day and not have my ankle bug me the next morning. It will all work out though.

We were able to teach this week. It was only one lesson, but this Fast Sunday was great because we had 7 of our investigators come to church so Elder W. was able to meet all of them.  We were able to set up appointments with them for later this week. It is framing its self out to be a good week.

Anyways! Life is good. This week we have leadership training during the day and many lessons planned for the evening. So it should be a nice time! Well, I love you all. I hope you have a great week!

Love, Elder Britton Winterrose

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Brand New Elder for the Dimond Ward!

OK, so today was wonderful!!

My new companion is Elder T W. (grew up from Pismo Beach California, moved to Rexburg 3 years ago)! I only have like 30 seconds to write because our day has been packed with errands and we have to run Elder S. P. (another new arrival) to the airport and dinner and he has to be at the airport by 6:15... It's 5:45 right now, and the airport travel + dinner will take anywhere between 28-37 minutes...

Just wanted to get on and let you all know that I love you, my new companion is way awesome, and I love the Samoan Dimond Ward. OH MY HEAVENS!! I Got a letter from SAM and he is SOOOO SKINNY! AND TAN! It is NUTS!! I'm jealous of him! Haha!

The commando-Furby or Borgby, as we called him, was the crazy-inventor part of me coming out while me and Elder L. were together in Fairbanks. We were helping C. and J. clean out some storage, and J. found it and wanted us to dispose of it before the kids found it.... So we ended up with a Furby, and I had found a laser pointer all mangled in a parking lot a while back, so I took it apart and hollowed out the eye of the Furby, and installed a laser that would target for the Furby..... :) ADHD!

The truck, sticks in the grill, and tire marks were from when we were driving down from Fairbanks to transfers and we spun out. Elder L--- was driving with me riding shotgun, Elder L. and Sister C. were in the back. Luckily my experience in spinning out on the road, (I'm sure mom will never forget when that happened to us!!) and Elder L---'s calm focus, helped Heavenly Father to save us from physical danger. We ended up spinning all the way around twice, L--- over corrected, I told him to let go of the steering wheel.  We finally regained traction which ran us off the side of the road, down a shallow ditch, and up a slight hill. It was an exciting adventure. 

Last week a guy wanted to bible bash with me, but I told him I wouldn't and bore my testimony. He was silent for about a minute, till his anger from being confounded built within him. He asked me if I'd ever been hit in the face before... (threateningly) and I said, YEP! So then he asked me if I wanted to be punched in the face. I said no... But I considered saying yes for a moment in my mind because it would make a much better story of how this guy punched me in the face and then proceeded to get beat up by a pack of missionaries at the public library. BUT then I realized that it was Satan trying to get me to do that, and that it would hurt because he was a rather sizable homeless gentleman. Anyways, I told him that it wouldn't be wise and then we got up and walked away, but before we could leave he told Elder W. that he should bend him over his knee and spank him.

Silly Alaskan crazies.

My birthday was awesome. I have no time to elaborate. It was good.

I am so excited to train. And very very nervous.

Still haven't seen the doc about my ankle, I don't know what I need to do to go? Do I just call and schedule an appointment? Are our insurance benefits still the same for me or do I need to change anything? Please let me know!

I love you all!

Elder Britton Winterrose

PS  The word for dance in Samoan is Siva (SEE Va).  The word for hit, like I'm gonna hit you, is sasa (SAw SAw).