Monday, September 12, 2011

Sept 12th 2011

         Good morning family and friends!!! I am actually writing this email as you are probably waking up in time for school. Many of you are probably on your way to work. :D
I don't think I can really say "Happy 9/11 anniversary yesterday" I feel I can say "GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!" Ten years ago yesterday the United States (and the rest of the world) was impacted by a terrible act of terrorism. While the intent was to incite terror and weaken the bonds between Americans, the opposite effect happened. Today we have risen to be a more united country, neighbors look out for neighbors. We have begun to assume the responsibility which we should have been shouldering all of our lives. America is OUR country, not the politician's country. The preamble to the U.S. Constitution states "We the PEOPLE of the United States of America..." We the people have the responsibility to maintain peace and elect righteous leaders. God has promised us blessings when we do our part in our lives, this includes our responsibilities as citizens of whatever country we are citizens of. Let us ALL do our part to take care of our native lands, to keep them beautiful and safe. Our Heavenly Father has created this incredible earth for us to enjoy and dwell on. What are we doing to show the appreciation to him for what he has given us? As a missionary I'm not really supposed to send political opinions home but this is more than just a political opinion. Our countries (wherever we are) have been instituted by God to give us a place to dwell and a place to take care of. The scriptures talk over and over again of stewardships. One of the greatest stewardships we have been given is our respective countries. It is our responsibility to take care of them, to beautify them and make them a pleasant place to live. This is not the government's responsibility, it is each and every one of OUR'S!!! I pray that we as members of the Church will recognize this our responsibility and take it seriously. "Armies may assemble, mobs may combine, but the work of God will go forth boldy, nobly, until it has penetrated every continent, sounded in every ear, and visited every country." It is our responsibility to create a society in our various places of residence that is conducive to the spreading of the gospel. There is no greater work and full time missionary, member of the church and even non-members all the the same god-given responsibility to preach the gospel and keep peace over the earth.
I love the earth Heavenly Father has given us. I wouldn't trade my life on it for anything.

This week, Elder Goodner and I had a wonderful time meeting many people and teaching them how to come to Jesus Christ. One of the things we have been concentrating on right now is finding families. I have mentioned before that Uganda is still a developing area as far as the church is concerned and all the branches around need priesthood brethren to lead the church. So far we have been pretty successful in finding families but the same problem exists which is getting people to commit to come to church, read the Book of Mormon, and pray about the message that we have to share. There is only so much that we as missionaries can do in telling the people what God's will is in their lives but the rest is left up to them. We can't make anyone come to church, we can't make anyone read the Book of Mormon. It is sad sometimes that people feel the desire to be baptized and understand it is important for them but don't want to make the commitment. We have someone we are teaching right now who enjoys having us come and talk with her but rarely reads the assignments we give her from the Book of Mormon, has only come to church once, and isn't willing to make any commitments. These are the kind of people who are only about 60% prepared to become full, active members of the church. One thing I have had to deal with as a missionary is the fact that some people just aren't ready to be baptized. I have planted the seed and sometimes must leave it to germinate and let the next missionary reap the harvest. Each investigator I have I grow to love and care for and sometimes I shout to myself in my mind "WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!! THE GOSPEL IS RIGHT HERE IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE AND YOU DENY IT!!!!???" I think that same thing was echoed in a talk by Elder Mervyn B. Arnold in either last conference or the one before that. The gospel is our guide rail, sometimes we think we know better and jump the guide rail and sink into darkness. If we remain within the bounds Heavenly Father has set for us we cannot fail.

So, you remember the snail I found a few weeks back??? Well...I found another one and took it home with me to keep in an ice cream container. I have been feeding it grass and keeping the humidity high in his "habitat." I want to see how big he can get. Right now he is about the same size as the one I found first, but in about 2 weeks time I hope he will be quite a bit bigger. Elder Goodner and I have named him Gary in honor of the great television show only viewed by intellectuals known as SpongeBob Square Pants!!! ;D If you don't know what I am talking about, ask one of your "more" intellectual friends :D Missionaries are constantly attempting to find ways to make life interesting and enjoyable in the mission field. This is just one of the ways we have brought some fun into our apartment. The other is we are trying to find a strong rope and climbing figure 8 caribeener so that we can repel off the side of our 3rd floor apartment. That is still in progress and I'll be sure to keep you updated on the results ;)

So I guess the news of the month, or mission so far is something my Grandma Vance asked me about. I was debating long and hard how I should break/leak the news and even contemplating keeping it a secret till I get back but since she asked here it goes...;D So my Grandma asked me if I have filled out since I left, she was looking at some of the pictures and trying to decide so I guess I'll help her and all of you out. The short answer is yes. The real question is HOW MUCH??? Okay, with this answer I don't want you to pass out (although my Mom probably will :D) I don't want you to think I am becoming obese or anything ;) Okay here goes...Since I arrived here in Uganda I have gained a total of 25 Pounds in 4 months. Most of this is in my legs but I have been working out every night and eating really healthy and I'm pleased to announce that the results have been miraculous. This morning when I weighed myself after waking up I tipped the scale at just over 150 pounds. I am really happy with how healthy I am and I hope that I will be able to maintain the muscle I have gained and even bulk up a little more before I come home. I was too small to play football in high school and college was even out of the question, but if I keep working out and eating a great diet I will be in pretty good shape to maybe play some football during college!!! I have been doing some plyometrics (jump training) which has been really helping me strengthen my legs and increasing my recovery time during sprints and throughout the day walking everywhere. YAY!!!! Okay, consider my personal bragging moment over :D

My prayers are with all of you as you go throughout your lives and deal with trials and afflictions. God is our loving Heavenly Father. He knows perfectly what is best for us in our lives and he blesses us accordingly. As we obey the counsel of the prophets we will be blessed and will have the strength to overcome any adversity that comes our way.

President Thomas S. Monson is God's prophet on the earth today. He talks with God daily and we will have the wonderful opportunity to listen to him coming in October. Please ALL OF YOU!!! Make it a priority to listen, watch or read the proceedings of the October General Conference. Our Prophets and Apostles will speak to us, they will let us know God's will in our lives. There is nothing more important we can be doing on the 1st and 2nd of October than sitting with our families to hear the word of God.

May God bless you in all your labors.

Elder Winters

Outside an investigators house during a rain storm

After a long, hard, muddy day!!!

Our egg carton. Things have a habit of dissapearing from the fridge :D

In the taxi on the way to Zone Conference

An abandoned car during a rain storm

Eating sugar cane with a member

Baptisms of Mirium (Left) and Rose (Right) Brother Oakley (Center) baptizing

"Divine" The daughter of an investigator

November 2010 Conference Issue (Pg. 4) "Elder" Kyle Winters in Stockholm, Sweden :D

No comments:

Post a Comment