Monday, December 26, 2011

Hey Mom,

Well the college that we usually email at is closed for break right now so my time to email is very limited.

I got your email! Hope it all works out. It would be a huge bummer to be there and not have any snow!!

It was really good to talk to you all and I cant believe that I will get to see you soon. Its crazy!!!

Christmas was good! Had dinner with a really nice young family.  Elder Drake and I both got to talk to our families, so that was way nice.

I love you guys! I hope everything is going well for you!

Love Elder Britton Winterrose

Monday, December 19, 2011

Well I have news!! I'm getting transferred to Juneau 1st / 2ndYSA. It will be pretty awesome. I am a little nervous about transferring this close to Christmas remembering Curtis Bullock's story of his transfer near Christmas. It really throws my plans to call home into the air.  I have no clue when I will be able to because I don't know when we have our sacrament meetings or who's computer I could use to skype. Nevertheless I am way stoked and I know it will all work out.

I have had like ZERO time to respond or write thank-you notes as personal as I would like to because of how busy I have been with packing and such. I sent home a box the other day... a friend at FedEx shipped it for me so it went out super cheap! Don't hurt your back trying to lift it though!  The suits I got earlier would need a little bit of extreme tailoring at this point to make them fit really nice because of how much weight I've lost. I think the blue one might fit Dad though. They are very pretty suits. There are also are a bunch of institute manuals. I remembered that you, mom, asked if I would get the ones when I was back home... well Brother Bacon, the institute teacher here, hooked me up with the manuals, so merry Christmas. I kept one of them and I will bring it home with me when I return. I didn't have time to write about everything I put in the box or even time to go Christmas shopping because of how busy we have been.

Oh so back to the transfers. I am bummed to be leaving the Anchorage YSA ward because I really love that ward. It will be nice to have a change of scenery though and I am always up for a new adventure. I am excited to get to go back to the south east. I may even be rooming up with Elder Kyle T. Williams.  He is going down to serve with Elder Holland in the other ward in Juneau, and I will be serving with Elder Drake, who was trained by Elder Nate Coleman. He is a way nice guy and I am pretty stoked to serve with him. He came out in the same group as Elders Tyler Williams, Poole, Grate, and Johansen. I am way excited.

I sent Chan his Xmas gift. Sorry I couldn't write a letter Chan.. just didn`t have time!!!! AHHHGH!!!

I got the packages from home, both of them! 

THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU!! I love the cologne and the Tie is awesome! and the card made me laugh.

I did get the package from Bonnie. THANK YOU!!! Again... awesome tie!  It's just nice to be remembered.

I got grandma carolyn's card, Thanks Grandma!

I got grandma billie's letter but I just haven't gotten back to her yet... so bogged down.

I feel really grateful to have been called to serve. I was asking the assistants when I fly out (to Juneau) for transfers... so they told me that I fly out on the 12th... and I thought about it for a bit and then was like 'Oh they mean 12th of March... :( ' Haha.

I guess it is the final countdown. Oh did I mention President let us go to the Dimond ward Christmas Party? EVERYONE was there, it was a wonderful treat. Definitely a tender mercy from the Lord. 

I will really miss this ward, but the only thing I can ever hope for is for a ward to be as sad when I leave about me leaving as I am about having to leave the ward.
Juneau is gonna be awesome. ADVENTURES WILL OCCUR!!!! I will miss Anchorage and all my friends here. But a new land awaits me and I cannot bind my heart to the land of my exodus.

Hopefully I will hear back from BYU & BYUH this week.


Elder Britton Winterrose

Monday, December 12, 2011

Well this week was very interesting. We had a lot of crazy stuff happen. Satan is most definitely real!  If we do not remove ourselves from the things and people that promote wicked living and the breaking of commandments, we will always falter and struggle. We need to seek the Holy Ghost.

All of the crazy stuff... begins with people permitting wickedness to dwell within their midst. Sometimes it comes disguised as a friend, a worldly possession, or even some "harmless" idea.  At times it is forced upon us; perhaps they have come upon hard times, or it surrounds us at work, or we were convinced that it was harmless, and unassumingly received it with open arms. Whatever the reason or means, Christ makes it clear that action is necessary.

Matt 5:29-30

29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

In this parable Christ refers to the Eye (our desires, those things we look towards, goals, aspirations - even ones that began with righteous intentions) and the Hand (our works, talents, abilities) and instructs us that if it is corrupted, if it is leading us into temptation, causing us to stumble, etc... that we should pluck it out; cut it off. He even instructs us to cast it from thee.

I have seen the destructive truth of this parable many times, ESPECIALLY IN MY OWN LIFE, where people will strive to help friends by cleaving to them.  As they associate with these people whom they love, they are tempted by the lifestyle, actions, etc... and end up falling back into old temptations or even new ones, because they couldn't "pluck out" or "cut off" a "friend" even when that influence would mean their destruction.

Others I have seen were stuck in a bind. They were in a situation that was initially great, no bad influences, nothing that would beset them. However, something or someone entered into the environment. Sometimes its when a group of friends begins using foul language, living promiscuously, or even using drugs. Other times it could be where someone joins your work group and they are constantly inviting or encouraging you to become involved with their iniquity. Perhaps sometimes they are not doing it consciously... but instead the weak, carnally-natured side of you begins to long and lust after what they have.

Regardless of the situation - whether it means quitting your job, moving, changing schools, breaking up, severing communication entirely with an individual or group, finding new friends, going without friends, excluding yourself from specific activities or hobbies (video games), cutting the cable, changing your cell #, having to kick someone out, etc... (I have had to do most of these) - the counsel is clear; remove these stumbling blocks from your life at ALL COSTS.

In 1 Corinthians 10 God promises to always prepare a way for us to escape temptation because often escaping it is the only manner in which we can withstand or bear it.  "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (v13)

But often it is our love towards man, things, or ideas, and not towards God, that dictates whether or not we actively flee from these temptations.  IS IT NOT CLEAR WHY Paul expressly instructs us to FLEE!!! in verse 14, Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry (essentially loving things or ideas more than God) but the command is clear.

In verses 7-10, Paul speaks concerning the people of Israel. He talks of how their wickedness and subsequent chastisement was an example for us to LEARN from. He expressly admonishes us NOT to, "Lust after evil things"(v6), "Neither be ye idolaters" (v7),  "Neither let us commit fornication" (premarital sexual relations) (v8), nor "Tempt Christ"(as did those who refused to look upon the bronze serpent to be healed) (v9), or finally, "Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer." (v10)

There it is - lusting after evil things, laziness, premarital sex, doubting Christ's power, and murmuring. We are told in verse 11 that the literal destruction these sins brought upon the people of Israel, "Happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." CRAZY!!! They are written for us in these latter-days!

Finally Paul warns us, (especially those who think they can "handle the temptations") that we must live righteously, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." (v12) We must keep the commandments of God while living in a way that continues to build and promote our faith in Jesus Christ, avoid temptation, and flee from temptation when it rears its ugly head.

Joseph who was sold as a slave into Egypt faced unrighteous judgment and the death penalty when he chose to flee from, rather than commit adultery with, Potiphar's seductive wife. We must follow his bold and brave example of literally running away from temptation, before Satan binds us down with his strong chains of guilt, addiction, and torment; when we give into temptation we give into his will.

We are counseled to "Watch and pray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive by him." (3Nephi 18:15,18) We need to continuously watch where we are standing, and pray that we may continue to be led from holy place to holy place, that we may always have a holy place to stand and dwell safe from temptation. "Stand ye in holy places, and be not moved,"   (D&C 45:32) and if the place becomes unholy we must MOVE!!!  Through the Gospel and the teachings of the living prophets we can make our homes one such place. As we stand in holy places constantly, we will be filled with the light of the Gospel and we will be able to let our light shine unto all men.

Brothers, Mom, Dad, Friends, Strangers. Believe in Christ. Believe that He was and now is living. He has the power to change your life through His Grace, but only if you exercise your agency by choosing to follow Him and witnessing it through sincere repentance unto baptism by immersion by those who are authorized by Christ through His priesthood to perform this ordinance. It cannot be complete or binding in any other way. His promise to you is that by being baptized you qualify to be confirmed and receive the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost to further help you live righteously and improve while upon this earth.

As Paul said, I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. (Cor. 10:15)

And as James said, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)

Judge ye my words according to the wisdom that will be granted to you by the Father, if you pray unto Him in the name of Christ.

Judge righteously lest ye be deceived.

I love ya family!!

THREE MONTHS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love ya!

Elder Britton Winterrose

PS Transfers calls are on Saturday.
PPS How much does Chan get for his allotment each month?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hello Everyone!

Well this week was an interesting one. We had high hopes for the work this week but it seems mother nature had other plans. We had some oddly warm weather/ freezing rain, so the roads became especially hazardous. We had to work restricted proselyting hours this week. Couldn't leave till like 1 pm or so and then had to be back in the apartment by 5 or 6. It makes it turn into a very long week.

It's strange how every time I arrive back to Monday the entire week prior seems like a blur. It just turned out to be a really strange week haha. OH like on Sunday church was canceled because of the ice... and only in our stake, not Anchorage North or Anchorage. When I heard I was like "What?!? This is ALASKA!!!"  My next thought was "I haven't missed church in like two years and I'm not about to start today." I called President and he gave us permission to go to church in Anchorage... so we went to the Dimond Samoan Ward. It was awesome to see so many old friends. Elder Tyler Williams is serving there right now too so it was cool to get to see him. I also got to see C. J., a man who was baptised shortly after I left. It was neat to get to see him. Tons of the members didn't recognize me because I'm not fat like I was.... funny thing is though - I didn't think I was that fat. :) I would like say Hi to someone and then they would be like Hi.... OH HI!!! ROSAMALULU!!!!  I love that ward.

We also got to teach a primary class of like 12 kids ages 8-7 and a few random youngins. It was funny, and totally random. We talked about doing unto others. I sang the song "Love one Another" and the kids went silent. And I used that one "My hands upon my head I place..." to get them to fold their arms and sit down. They were so excited to have the missionaries teaching their class. I love teaching little kids because if you can find the peace and serenity within your own heart and get them to quiet down a little... then when you bear testimony they feel it, and you feel it. It is wonderful. They are so willing to learn and be enthused. They didn't have sharing time so we had to teach them the whole hour. ONE hour without candy.... cause it was fast Sunday. We taught the lesson for as long as their little attention spans could handle it for and then we did a bunch of little magic tricks. TRICKS are awesome for children. Elder Williams even did the one where he licks his eye ball. The kids were so excited/grossed out! It was way funny. You literally have to have something planned for every minute of class though. One slip and you loose control of the group and have to reset, review and restart. It was a blast though. We didn't get to watch the fireside but I will probably download it or have a member do it for me and burn it to a cd for me.
I am genuinely impressed that Channing won a cleanliness award! That's awesome! Haha who of thunk.

Well you asked what I do as a district leader, why I didn't mention it, and if I am enjoying it. Well my main responsibility is to plan and conduct district meetings once weekly, oversee the coordination of Search training, and to ensure the physical and spiritual well being of the missionaries in my district, BASICALLY - I get to have fun with the people in my district and we (hopefully) learn and grow together.  I didn't mention it and never planned on mentioning it because I don't think it is a big deal. Too many missionaries focus so much on aspiring to positions of leadership and my feeling has always been "Be the best you can be, and when called, Serve!" I also didn't want my brothers to know and desire to serve or feel disappointed or inadequate if they never served in leadership. Focus on being a missionary. Being a true disciple of Christ. It is a wonderful opportunity, and I hope that I may magnify my calling according to the will of the Lord. I really enjoy being a district leader mostly because of the way my heart grows and how it reminds me that I am an example and need to constantly strive to serve with exact obedience. It is neat to get to know the missionaries too. Elder Lee and Elder Hansen - the ZL's are in my district along with Sister Chan and Sister Davis. They are an awesome bunch. It is different than when I served as a DL in the MTC though. We don't conduct interviews with missionaries like we did in the MTC and that was one of my favorite parts. It was always really humbling, and invoked charity for my fellow elders deep within my heart. The single most important thing is to put your whole heart into it. You cannot withhold your heart and expect others to open up, or feel your love for them. It is scary to put your heart out there, to let yourself show love and develop deep love, desire, and concern for others. Occasionally your heart will get broken its true, but Heavenly Father can and will always mend it. The best part - as your heart begins to include more people, it grows! It expands and brings joy and happiness. You can rejoice with those you love in their successes and you begin to feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to Heavenly Father for the blessing of being able to serve those you love, and love those you serve.

I love my mission. I love the opportunities I have had and the way that my heart has grown, been crushed, and been healed.... and every time become stronger and stronger. Tender Mercies abound on the mission. If you believe that God can do anything and then conduct yourself, relying on Him to make up the distance... He will deliver and miracles will abound. "I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say ye have no promise." I have found that the more willing I am to try anything the Lord will ask me to do, regardless if it seems possible or not, that He in turn blesses me with more opportunities to exercise faith and witness miracles. TRUE MIRACLES. Not some shabby coincidence; but the true, profound, spiritually witnessed miracles - same as occurred during the earthly ministry of the Savior, performed under the same power of the Priesthood faithfully wielded by those worthy bearers who press forward into the waters of the rivers of doubt, and then stand steadfast as the water divides, and then in the shadow of the growing fears and doubt, cross this Jordan on dry land.  See Joshua!

I love being a missionary. I love the opportunities I have had to witness the power of the Lord and press forward into the midst of the rushing waters and watch as even in the midst of so much opposition the work of the Lord moves forward unhindered.

...just love Proverbs 3:5-6

Joshua 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.

Faith, Hope, Charity and Love; with an Eye single to the glory of God.
I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Britton Winterrose