Monday, February 11, 2013

February 11th 2013

We got a whole bunch of pictures this week...

The iron decided to heat up to about 10,000 degrees and it went straight through everything. ;)

Practicing for upcoming college basketball tryouts!!!

A couple of girls in the branch.

Just strikin' a pose for the camera. ;)

Last week's baptism.  (Part member family, getting them all in the watter!!!)

TRACTING!!!  This is life in Uganda.

Stacking bricks for service.  They make them out of mud, then build them into a kiln shape and fire them.

Standing in front of the Bardege Chapel (Last day in Gulu)

Hanging out with all the kids, they love white people!!! haha

Exhausted after a long day, not the sweat dripping at 9:30pm... haha

Missionary from Durbain, South Africa

9:23pm and still 87 degrees Farenheit.  WELCOME TO LIRA!!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

February 4th 2013

Hey guys!!! Another week down (and I actually wrote again!!! I'm ON A ROLL!!!)

My companion and I had a great week and we've worked hard, so hard in fact that we both fell into bed last night EXHAUSTED!!! It's a great feeling let me tell you!!! :P We had a baptism this week, but I can't send a photo, sorry...darn computers.haha Yesterday marked the end of a weird 3 week transfer, and today is the start of a new one, with our new companions and areas scheduled to be revealed on Wednesday. I'll be sure to let you know if we will be together another transfer or if we will be splitting.

Just a short spiritual thought for you this week, I know that I went a little overboard the past few weeks so I thought I'd give you a break...haha

The book of 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon describes the Savior's visit to the Americas following his resurrection. During one of his discourses to the people he said: "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you. Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed." (3 Nephi 18:20-21)

I want to encourage everyone to make it a common practice in the home to pray together as a family. I know that strength will come as a result and only good will be brought out in all the family members.

All my love to you this week!!!

-Elder Winters

Monday, January 28, 2013

January 28th 2013

Hey everybody!!! Greetings from Gulu (GOO-LOO in case any of you were wondering...haha)

This week has been great!!! Last Sunday I traveled to Kampala for a meeting with our mission president and didn't get back until Wednesday which really pushed us to work hard the duration of the week. The highlight of our week was finding an awesome family!!! We contacted a 20 year old guy during our day and set an appointment to come back and meet him and the family later that evening. We taught them all the Doctrine of Christ and set baptism dates with 7 of the family members. My companion is STOKED about these guys as am I and we have great hopes for them. In fact, the hopes and faith and prayers have paid off, all of the children ranging in ages from 10-22 (6 of them) came to church and enjoyed their time. I love teaching people who are potential missionaries. The fact is, that as we are pioneering things in Uganda here, the best way to do it is to find and teach those who will go on mission, learn and grow there, then come back and strengthen the church in their respective branches. I have loved helping young men (and a few young women) prepare to serve full time missions and I know that the good they will do the rest of their lives will be incredible!!!

Okay, spiritual thought for the week, I hope everyone was able to finish reading last weeks, I realize that I can sometimes be a little long winded and I'm sorry...haha

In the book of Genesis in the Old Testament we read the story of Jacob and Esau. This story takes a very short 6 verses, but there are many valuable lessons to be learned. In this narrative, Esau comes home after a long day's work to find Jacob his brother cooking a "mess of pottage" (or porridge). Esau is exhausted after his busy day and begs some of the pottage from Jacob. Jacob offers to sell the bowl of pottage for Esau's birthright which Esau readily accepts saying: "Behold, I am at the point of death; and what shall this birthright profit me?" Thus, Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.

The two things I would like to talk about from this story apply to our own lives very well. First!!! I want all of you to know that we each have that "mess of pottage" in our lives. There are "...sins which so easily beset [us]." (2 Nephi 4:18) These sins cause us to forfeit our birthright, or in other words, give away the great reward which is promised us. As we are on this mortal journey, we may "think" that we are "at the point of death" as Esau thought. How many times have we heard the young teenage girls complain that if they are not allowed to attend the Senior Prom at age 15 they will "DIE!!!" About a million times...and of course the cemeteries all over the U.S. and other countries are filled with graves of those unfortunate souls whose parents loved them enough to say "NO!!!!!" :D My testimony is that there is NOTHING more important than the spiritual salvation of each every one of us. No amount of money, or pleasure, or fame can make up for a lost soul. Jesus Christ put it well: "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26) I personally wouldn't give ANYTHING in exchange for my soul, what about you???

There is one thing which if Esau had understood, would have changed his whole life and probably much of the Bible. That is understanding what your birthright really is. For us, we are literal sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father who wants the best for us. He has provided a plan which we must follow to be worthy to live with him again someday. If we follow this plan and hold tight to our birthrights, we are promised eternal life, which is to live with God, and become like him someday. YOU ARE A SON OR DAUGHTER OF GOD, ACT LIKE IT!!!

Please take a moment to examine your life and ask yourself. "Is there a bowl of pottage which has become more important to me than my eternal salvation???" If so, please do all you can to repent and remove it from your life. Speak to your parents, bishop or close friends and ask for their support, that's what they are there for!!!

For some of you who know me you know what a great poet I am...hmmm haha there is not one word of truth in that entire sentence...haha Anyways, I tried to provide a few of the common "bowls of pottage" which affect us, maybe yours is there, maybe not. Either way, we need to remove anything which distracts us from God's great plan for us.


Obscenities (haha, had to force that one a little...)




Gold (or money or anything else of cash value)


Let's act like who we really are, rid our lives of distractions and enjoy the blessings of living the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you want to learn more about how to do this: "Ask the Missionaries" (or parents, or church leaders...haha)

Love you guys!!!! Have a great week. I promise I will!!!!

-Elder Winters

P.S. Congrats to all the mission calls, engagements, weddings, and anything else of interest which has happened over the past week. Keep the news coming, I LOVE IT!!
Zone leader counsel with President

See if you recognize any of these people

Me and my brother training two other brothers

A bag of Utah air I got in a Christmas package.  Yep, I breathed it all in to get a little Utah in me ;)

Nile river in Northern Uganda

Monday, January 21, 2013

Jan 21th 2013

Hey everyone!!! I must say this is a record for me this year. I don't think I have written twice in two weeks in a VERY LONG TIME!!! I might give you every excuse in the world, but nothing will work, so I won't even try. Let's just say that I got a little chastening from Jesus Christ as I was reading the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. Verse 14 He says: "Let your light so shine before men that they may glorify your father who is in heaven." I thought back on some of the past emails I sent earlier in my mission and remembered how spiritually uplifting they were. I'm sorry that I got too "busy" to let my light shine, but I promise that every week for the next 14 weeks I will write something good to put up on the blog and go out to friends and family. :P

First things first about how my life is going, then something to share with you...We are now in a new transfer and I have been assigned a new missionary to train during his first transfer in the mission field. As I hope you can see by the picture he is TALL!!! I have not doctored that picture in any way. He measures in at 6' 6'' and compared to my puny 5' 7 1/2'' we make quite a pair. Haha ;P He is awesome though and I wouldn't trade him for the world. We've had a great time talking about home, and also how to adapt to the rigor of mission life!!! We had an incredible Sunday yesterday with 15 investigators at church, now to just help them KEEP COMING so that they can prepare themselves for baptism!!!!

Okay...on to the spiritual moment of the week. 1 of 14 to come...;D

I've been reading in the book of Alma and came to a really inspirational story of an incredible man. Chapter 48 speaks of a man named Moroni and says this:

"If all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men"
(vs. 17)

The first thing that popped into my mind when I read that verse was "What makes Moroni such a great guy?" I decided to read all the verses that spoke of Moroni and find the different qualities he had which made him so highly spoken of. The following verses will be taken from Alma chapter 48.

1. He was Strong and Mighty (vs. 11):

Moroni was physically and emotionally healthy and powerful. If we want to have more power over ourselves and Satan, we must also become stronger physically and emotionally. To help us achieve this, our Heavenly Father has given us commandments. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we have a health code called the Word of Wisdom. It counsels us to abstain from taking: Alcohol, Tobacco, Coffee, Tea, and other harmful or addictive substances. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 89) We are promised by God that if we follow this counsel we will have "Health in our navel, and marrow in our bones" We are also promised the ability to "Run and not be weary, walk and not faint." As we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ and even human beings all around the world follow and obey these words, we will be able to become as Moroni was, Strong and Mighty!!!

2. He was a man of Perfect Understanding (vs. 11)

I imagine that Moroni was a man who had a love to learn. In today's society we see that a majority of young people feel like school is a task to be "finished" someday. If we want to increase in our understanding of all things, we must develop in ourselves a "LOVE TO LEARN!!!" This will create in us a desire to continue to learn throughout our lives even after the days of formal education have closed. Spiritual learning is just as important as temporal education. For those who have it available, we should attend the church's Seminary and Institute programs, as we do that we prepare ourselves for mission and life. If we do these things, we will develop as Moroni did, a perfect understanding of the purpose of life and what we can do to make our lives a success.

3. He did not delight in bloodshed (vs. 11)

We live in a world where wars and rumors of war abound every way we look. The violence of words and action are reported in the news and we even get updates on our nearest mobile device. Moroni, though a hardened general for his nation's military DID NOT delight in bloodshed. He looked upon the responsibility to fight and protect not as entertainment but something which unfortunately needed to be done. In the world today however, we have glamorized war and violence to the point that even children of age 10 and younger feel nothing to see human beings fighting and killing each other. We have contributed to this by the movies and video games we have created. In a handbook of standards given to the youth we read: "Satan uses media to deceive you by making what is wrong and evil look normal, humorous, or exciting. He tries to mislead you into thinking that breaking God's commandments is acceptable and has no negative consequences for you or others. Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable." (Strength of Youth, 11 [2011]) If we want to become more like Moroni and have more power against the temptations of Satan, we would do well to remove the overly violent media whether movies, books or video games, from our homes. There is no reason to bring violence into the home, inviting ourselves and our children to partake in such spiritually destructive material. As we remove these negative influences from our lives, we will have a greater capacity to recognize the Spirit and we will have a greater love for our families, friends and neighbors.

4. He did Joy in Liberty and Freedom (vs. 11)

Each of us is born with certain unalienable (God-Given) rights. Such rights as cited in the Untied States Declaration of Independence are, but not limited to: "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." Moroni was dedicated to maintaining these freedoms and liberties for his people. As we become more devoted to our civic duties and take the time to research the various candidates and issues voted upon each elections we will be better able to preserve the freedoms which by right should be ours. One way we limit our freedom is by supporting ideas, groups and leaders who desire to remove these rights from our lives. We can't do this, when we do we will lose everything we know is good. Another way we can promote freedom and liberty is by sustaining the law and obeying it. Laws as small as a highway speed limits are important. Let us obey the law, sustain our leaders and promote freedom more in our lives!!!

I think that will have to be all for now, I wasn't planning on writing a novel, maybe we'll have to make a part two to come out next week with the last 3 items...haha I just want you to know that the scriptures are full of powerful role models for us to FOLLOW!!! As we do, our lives will be improved and we will be blessed.

Love you guys ALL OF YOU!!!! Have a great week!!!!

-Elder Winters
Crushing G-Nuts to make Peanut Butter

Me and my new Comp

Roast pork, and fried casava

Service Project- Harvesting Casava:  See it on the end.

Signata Water Pumping