Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Good morning Friends and Family!!! Greetings from rainy, wet, soaking, humid, did I mention WET UGANDA!!!! Yes, it has come. The season missionaries here dread the most. It rains almost every day, some days more than others but always you can count on muddy roads and wet pass-along cards :D

This week has been quite an eventful one. To start off with the highlight of the week, Elder Goodner and I had a double baptism. Two friends, Susan and Vivian. We met Susan about the 2nd week of July but actually dropped her as an investigator because she wasn't coming to church, then randomly about the 1st week of August she showed up at church. The rest is really history, we spent about 4 weeks teaching her the Doctrine of Christ and commandments and she was baptized yesterday. The interesting thing about teaching Susan is that she has very little formal education and her English is not very good. We ended up teaching her about the Book of Mormon by using the Book of Mormon Scripture reader. This is a wonderful publication for young children but as I have found it is also very good for adults to learn the stories of the scriptures.

We also received the transfer news on Thursday. I won't display all the drama that I did 6 weeks ago, it was kind of tacky and I'm sorry. ;) Elder Goodner and I will be staying together here in Ntinda for another 6 weeks. It is going to be great because we have some great investigators we wanted to "finish" up with.

So I want to thank everyone for sending the letters: Jessica Clonts, Stephanie Weber, Sis. Fridley, Grandma MacPhee, Grandma Vance, Aunt Jeanna!!! I guess I should explain that letters cost 3,500UGX each to send to the United States and there is no guarantee that they will actually make their way there so I have not been able to send any physical letters. I just want you all to know that I really appreciate the letters, and please keep them coming. If it helps you can use your imagination and pretend that each time an email gets forwarded to you from my Mom it is directly from me. :D (Well it actually really is...;D)

The rainy season has officially started here in Uganda. It will last until about February or March and start back up around next August. Yes it rains a lot in Uganda, but it is nice because it keeps the dust down. Sometimes we go maybe 3-4 days without rain and the dust gets so bad it actually gets deep if you can imagine dust being measured by depth :D Sometimes I will get home and my shoes (which are black) will be a reddish brown, so colored that you can't even tell they are black. Thank goodness for water and black shoe polish. Even when I polish my shoes they get dirty within 5 minutes of walking out the door but it's the thought that counts right? ;)

So the highlight of the week happened funny enough when I was peeing. Okay, so here in Uganda people (mostly men) just pee anywhere they want or can. It was pretty strange to me at first but after suffering through a couple days of having to hold it till I could get back to the apartment I gave in and followed the crowd. I am drinking about 2-3 liters of water each day and my body can't hold it all...so there is my explanation for peeing in public. So...anyways, back to the story. I was peeing behind a building when I saw what I thought was a rock sliding across the ground. It turns out that it was a giant snail. I think I remember reading about giant African snails somewhere but had forgotten till I saw this one. It is pretty sweet and I took some great pictures. So...my plate of the week is a French delicacy, also known as Snail!!! haha

All right ya' all, Love ya bunches!!!!
Elder Winters

Gloria, our recent convert cutting up Sugar cane for desert

One of our investigators breeds rabbits. These babies are only 1 week old, they have to be hand nursed.

Giant African snail next to cell phone (This picture is not edited in any way to enhance effect)

Plate of the Week - Escargot?

Baptism yesterday!!! Susan (on left) and Vivian (on right)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

August 22 2011

August 22nd 2011
For starters...HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACOB!!!! Everybody, it's my brother's birthday today. If you see make sure you tell him happy birthday. He is no 12 years old and will be receiving the Aaronic Priesthood on Sunday!!!! All right, got that out of my system.

So I made it a point to take more pictures this week which is good because I spent quite a bit of time emailing my family members so I don't have too much time to write much here.
This week was great!!! It really seemed to fly (I like it when time does that ;D) Wednesday (17th) marked my 3 month point which I guess means I'm 1/8 finished my mission, but who's counting anyway right? haha It has officially been 3 months since I have been cold. It has been 3 months since I ate the wonderful Roast Beef and Mashed potatoes at the Lion House. It has been 3 months since I have flown in an airplane (some sort of record for me or something...) It has been 3 months since I held my little sister Sophie who is now so grown up I can't even believe it. It has been 3 months since I drove a car (that has been interesting, I miss it a lot) It has been 3 months since I have been to the temple. It has been 3 months since I have eaten a chocolate Frostee from Wendy's (Another record for me ;D) It has been 3 months since I have done a lot of things but it has been a 3 months full of wonderful spiritual experiences and meeting amazing people.

On Saturday (20th) we participated in an All Africa Helping Hands Day. You know the yellow Helping Hands t-shirts you see at every major disaster? Yah, we got to wear those. The Ntinda branch traveled to Entebbe (by the Airport!!!!!!!) to do some service. We had about between 300-400 people show up which was awesome!!! We swept Entebbe with crews of 8-10 people and cleaned garbage out of the ditches and roads. All in all we ended up filling a huge dump truck with "rubbish" as they call it here :D

Sister Ritah was baptized on Sunday. It was actually a funny experience because she told us before she got in that she is deathly afraid of water so we had to calm her down as she was getting in. We were able to baptize her and she bore a wonderful testimony after she was dressed. The scriptures are true, How great is my joy!!!! I have  baptized 4 people in 3 months. I know that I have made a difference in their lives.

Sorry for the short email, I hope the pictures make up for it!!!

Have a great week everyone!!!

Elder Winters

Sister Ritah's Baptism Day

Monday, August 15, 2011

Aug, 15th 2011

Hello all you night owls!!! You are all probably fast asleep in your beds right now with dreams of sugar plums all in your heads!!! phew!!! I don't know where the Christmas poetry came from, that's the last thing it feels like today here in Uganda. It is pretty hot and humid today and it doesn't look like we'll have a white Christmas this year...:/

Okay, back to reality :D News of the week is that Gloria was baptized yesterday!!! Luck would have it that she asked me to baptize her, now all 3 of "my" converts have asked me to baptize them. One thing that is really nice for her is that there is a boy in the branch who she went to Senior 1 with at Kololo SS (Like 7th grade in the U.S.). It will be nice for her to have a good fellowshipper that she already knows and feels comfortable with. Gloria said to me right before she stepped into the font "Elder Winters, I'm terrified of water, what should I do?" I gave her the good old line from Aladdin and held out my hand to help her down "Gloria, do you trust me?" haha, it works every time, young or old, male or female...one of the things I work hard to do is gain the trust of my investigators. I want them to know that I am their friend and not just some white guy trying to get people to come to his church...:D

Yesterday we had a pretty cool talk with an old guy sitting outside a bar. Typically we don't proselyte around bars but he called us over so we went to talk with him. It turns out that he used to be a flight engineer for Pan American Airlines. Needless to say that caught my attention since aviation is one of my greatest addictions ;) We talked for probably an hour about aviation and its progression over the last 40 years. He told me a story of his first time to fly on the Concorde from New York to Paris. I can almost see myself flying in that magnificent airplane flying at supersonic speeds at altitudes above 60,000 MSL!!! AAAGGGHHH sorry, that's the pilot peeking out from inside me, sorry for the jargon, just pretend I said "I think it would be cool to fly really high and really fast." haha!!! We also talked a lot about the new 787 Dreamliner, I guess within like the last month a Japanese airline took delivery of 2-3 "Dreamliners" and has really made bank on them. They are made of composite (carbon fiber) material which makes them extremely light and durable and also very economical.

Ah well...I've had my talk about airplanes for the week. It was really fun and even though I don't think he will ever join the church in this life he knows that the "Mormon" missionaries care enough about him to take time to talk. That is what people need most in this world. Not enough people show caring and love for each other. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone truly felt loved? That leads me to a spiritual thought which I would like to share with you today.

In the book of Mosiah chapter 2 King Benjamin is talking about his life and what he spent it doing. Verses 17-18 are very important. King Benjamin talks about how he has spent his life in the service of his people, and how if he their king served them, how much more important it is that the people serve each other. I love all the wonderful examples in the scriptures of ways that we should live life. If we could all have an attitude of service the world would be a much better place. Every day I see people in poverty here in Uganda that people in America and Canada cannot even imagine. God's children are in need and it is up to us to help them. Every time we contribute our fast offering one of God's children is blessed. We are counseled to give a generous fast offering, not an offering to just say we did it, but something that is truly a sacrifice. I want to share with you my testimony of the Book of Mormon. This book of scripture is not easily accepted here in Uganda and I am sure in many other places in the world. As we read many times, people say: "We already have a bible and we need no more bible." If people could only understand that the Book of Mormon is not a replacement to the Bible but a complement to the Bible the gospel would be spread much more rapidly. I like a quote from Jeffery R. Holland. Paraphrased it goes something like this: The importance of the Old Testament is not diminished by the coming of the New Testament, likewise, the value of the New Testament (and the Old Testament) are not diminished by the coming of the Book of Mormon. (end paraphrase...I think you can say that...) The Book of Mormon does not make the Bible obselete, rather it adds to our understanding of this wonderful book of scripture. As we come to acknowledge the Book of Mormon and the Bible as BOTH the word of God we will be able to have the mysteries of God unfolded unto us.

My prayers are with each and every one of you. Every time a missionary prays, blessings go out to the families and friends.

Elder Winters

Plate of the Week - Ugandan "Subway"

Rainy Day in Uganda

Gloria's  Baptism Day

Getting his nails clipped

Aug, 8th 2011

Good morning, good morning, good morning!!! The sun is shining!!! The kitchen is clean!!! WAIT A MINUTE!!! How can that be. I think I mentioned I am living in an apartment with 5 other missionaries (3 companionships) I had the best present this morning. I woke up and went to the kitchen and all the dishes were done!!!  Needless to say, I think today is going to be a good day :D

So...about my week. It has been a good week but had some very sad, frustrating moments. Out with the bad first so I can talk about happy things to end. Throughout this week we have been really working hard on our progressing investigators (those who are keeping commitments, and coming to church). We had 3 of them (that were going to be baptised on Aug. 14th) suddenly tell us that they are moving or leaving for a while. One is going to Kenya for 2 months, another is going back to school in Entebbe, the last will be in "village" until late December. This place seems to call our investigators away at the most inopportune times. The village is the place where each person was born. It is where their tribe mates and them have their farms and such. They all take turns tending the crops and harvesting. So...we were going to have 4 baptisms this coming Sunday (14th) but now we are down to one. I am really happy for her. Her name is Gloria. She is 18 and we met her while tracting. The cool thing about meeting her is we passed her house and waved but continued to walk. Then after about two minutes the spirit told me/us to turn back and talk to her. We taught her the first lesson and set a return appointment thinking nothing of it, just another routine investigator. THINK AGAIN!!! During our 3rd lesson Gloria came out and asked us and I quote: "In church they were referring to the Book of Mormon saying that we could read more in it, what would someone have to do if they wanted to get a copy?" This is the phrase every missionary wants to hear. Gloria is someone who loves the gospel, and seeks greater learning, learning that can only be found when reading in the Book of Mormon. We gave her a copy then and there and gave a short introduction about it's origin and bore testimony that the Bible hand in hand with the Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the gospel. She has come to church faithfully for two weeks and we hope to have her be baptized on Sunday!!!! I'll be sure to include pictures!!!

Okay, so we have one new missionary in our zone from this last intake. Let's just say it is a really small world. His name is Elder Facer and he just happens to be the cousin of our great friends the Roberts who live in Stansbury Park. If any of you see Sabrina or Alyssa please make sure you tell them that I have seen their cousin and he is safe here in Uganda!!! I am just blown away at the people I have met, the connections I have made and I can't wait to continue to see who I come in contact with during my mission.

I guess I will tell you about my latest addiction. I visited a bookstore near my apartment the other day and found a Sudoku book. I learned the rules and have already done 40 puzzles in my spare time when I wake up and before I go to bed. Being a missionary is fairly easy mentally. There is not a lot of strain on the brain and it doesn't take a lot of mental power. I have enjoyed making my brain work a little harder by doing Sudoku. I have actually gotten pretty fast and I think it is helping to clear my mind and makes me a better missionary once I'm "On Duty." :D

One thing I have done this week (well actually started last week) is to create what I call a "Trunky" photo album. To be "Trunky" in missionary lingo is to be homesick, so I have created a photo album to aid in combating that very common and regularly recurring disease. This photo album has pictures of my family, some friends and things I miss about home such as: Airplanes (like 90% of the pictures are airplanes :D), a Tangled movie poster, BYU basketball photo with Jimmer Fredette, a great photo of a Great White Shark, and many other things that remind me of home. Inside the front cover is found this inscription :D

"This is my 'Trunky' photo album. It is to be viewed every time mission seems too hard to bear. It has been compiled and is dedicated to the remembrance of all the people, places, and things I have left behind in order to serve the Lord. This album is not to be a hinderance to the great work I am presently engaged in. If it does, at any time, prove to be a distraction it shall be promptly packed away to be viewed at a later date once focus has been regained."
Signed Elder Brandon Winters

HAHA!!!!! I LOVE IT!!! I'm not going to lie. Having photos of home and things back home has been great. After a long day, I can just plop down on my bed and look at the pictures and let my mind drift.

So...I have fallen in love with the wonderful spice known as curry powder. I have started putting curry powder on everything, potatoes, rice, noodles, you name it. It is a great variety to the plain salt and garlic I have been using. Variety is the key to maintaining a missionaries sanity on mission. Since everything we do is so standard and nothing changes having variety in food is pretty much the only way to keep things interesting. I have enjoyed being in a larger place that has a large super market (something like a mini WalMart, if you can imagine that :D) While the food is more expensive there is more to choose from so it is nice. Today for lunch Elder Goodner and I plan on making "Subway." Tuskies, the big supermarket has a deli that you can get "fresh" cold cuts, I say "fresh" because nothing here in Uganda is ever fresh, we have to be very careful about what we eat :) We are going to get some tomatoes and hopefully some greens of some sort (lettuce is like nonexistent here, I can't wait to get home and have a huge plate of salad!!!!) We are also going to get a small bottle of mustard (which is like the most expensive thing other than pancake syrup :D) to try and immitate Subway to the best of our ability. I know I haven't sent a "Plate of the Week" lately, that is because I have run out of new things. I'll be sure to take a picture of this scrumptious dish and send it next week.

All my love to everyone. Thank you for the prayers, I have been able to feel the spirit's influence so strong in my life as I have been in Uganda and I know it is in part because of all the prayers offered in my behalf and in the behalf of all Heavenly Father's missionaries.

Young men, if you are not currently planning to serve a mission, make up your mind today and start to prepare. There is no greater work that you can do as a 19 year old young man and the blessings will continue throughout your entire life. Read your scriptures, in them you can have ALL the mysteries of God unfolded to you. They truly will tell you "...All things what ye should do." I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church of Jesus Christ on the earth today. As we follow the counsel of the prophets and are obedient we will be blessed in all things both spiritual and temporal.

Until next week. Stay strong. Keep the faith. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, might, mind and strenth.

Elder Winters

Where he lives?

Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1st 2011

August 1st 2011
Well friends and family, I hope you know how much I love you. I have spent the last hour trying to get the internet to work long enough to get this email through. It's probably going to be short but I'll make sure to include the essentials :D

It is the first day of the 3rd week for me here in Ntinda. This morning we had a Zone activity at the Kololo chapel so we had to get up early to catch a taxi to get there by 9am. It was a lot of fun, I was able to see my MTC brothers as well as play a great game of ultimate frisbee. One thing I have missed about home is playing frisbee with my brothers and friends. I haven't lost my "touch" though, I'm still able to throw and catch as well as the next guy!!! :)

This past week has gone pretty well. One thing about Ntinda that tends to be a problem is that everyone has jobs...I'm happy that they are able to support their families but they have no time for the missionaries or God in their lives :/ It is very hard to get people to come to church and even harder to get them to come to church the required 3 times for baptism. It is really sad that we are right here offering these people the chance of their lifetime, their eternal salvation and they don't have time for it because the world is getting in the way. Please!!! Everyone who reads this email, please don't let the world, jobs, sports or anything get in the way of your salvation. "No man can serve two masters..." and "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Please make this gospel a priority not only "A" priority but "THE" priority. When we make Jesus Christ the center of our life no matter what happens we will be able to get through it. If we lose our job, family member, or are afflicted ourselves we will be able to manage because Christ is at the center holding everything together.

I hope and pray that everything is going well in Utah and whatever location you may be at in the world today. I am one week closer to being reunited with you my friends and family. I know that I have been called by the prophet of God to serve here in Uganda to bring these wonderful people to a knowledge of the gospel. We as members of the church have been blessed so much in our lives and it is our duty, our responsibility to share the joy and blessings the gospel can bring with ALL our friends and family. (See Mosiah 2:41) This counsel from King Benjamin to observe the happiness in our own lives and know that it is attributable to the gospel, and then to share it with our friends is wonderful. This is my favorite scripture for this reason.

I have enjoyed having all the shopping available with several big super markets within 15 minutes from the apartment. One of them has a bakery and they make some really good muffins. Elder Goodner and I have made a goal to only eat deep-fried food on P-day (Monday). I am currently sitting in the internet cafe with a cream filled donut sitting in front of me, every once in a while I take a bite of deliciousness!!! So the goal is so that we stay healthy. I think I have told you how EVERYTHING here is deep-fried. It takes a little more planning but we have been able to buy things at the store to maintain variety in our diet. One thing that I love is to get a whole cabbage, cut it into strips about a 1/4 inch wide and boil them. I can eat a whole cabbage that way and I'm sure it is way healthy. It is approaching the end of pineapple season (I know, I thought Uganda didn't have seasons...) which is sad. The last pineapple I bought was pretty nasty and I don't know if I will be able to buy any more till next season (Feb.-March) I'll have to find something to replace it with so I have something to eat when I need to eat but want it to be healthy.

One interesting thing that happened this week is a building under construction collapsed. I have included a picture. While the casulties are not yet known (probably 3-5 trapped on the second floor) most of the 40 or so people in and near the building were unhurt. It was pretty crazy because Elder Goodner and I had walked past the building probably 20 minutes before and there were workers doing their thing and all. I hope that this doesn't happen often because it has really caused an impact on the people here as well as the building, like no one is doing any work on the other buildings until an investigation is done or something like that...

Okay, I can't think of anything else this week. No baptisms yet...still trying to get investigators to come to church. I'll be sure to take some pictures of my current investigators, we have some great ones!!!

All my love from Uganda!!!
Elder Winters

Pretty Sweet Sunset with towering Cumulus Clouds!!! LOVE IT!!!

View from Back Porch

Building Fell