Friday, October 28, 2011

Oct 24th 2011

Hey Guys!!!
Haha, I should really think of a more original way to start my emails, it's probably starting to get boring. :D

This week has been one of the most powerful on my entire mission to this point. Elder Stewart and I are really starting to click. The first week with a new companion is always a little tough but this week we started to move together as one. We are starting to follow each others train of thought and it really makes lessons flow nicely. We have been blessed this week with 7 new investigators. A few of them are very powerful, one in particular. His name is …. and we actually met him as a street contact. Surprisingly he showed up at church for General Conference on the 16th of October and stayed for both sessions. That is the first thing that told us he was Golden, the second thing is that he practically begged to be baptized during our first lesson. We kindly explained to him that to be baptized we must first complete several requirements such as coming to church at least 2 weeks in a row, gain a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and pass a worthiness interview. He asked us how he could make all these things happened and we were more than happy to explain to him :D He is scheduled to be baptized this Saturday (29th) which we are very excited for. I'll be sure to send pictures and my own reflections on the service.

I don't have a lot to say this week, maybe I'm just all tuckered out, maybe nothing needs to be said. I simply want to let each and every one of you know that Heavenly Father loves you. He loves us so much that he sent His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ to Atone for us. The Atonement has often been classified as Christ's suffering for our sins so that we may return to live with God again. One thing which is often overlooked is that the Atonement is not purely to overcome sin. Jesus Christ suffered for all people and all things. He suffered for our pains, He suffered for our sorrows, He suffered for our doubts and fears. We have a resource available to us which we don't think about in these times of trial. I want to testify to you that whenever we are going through something we think we cannot handle we CAN turn to our Heavenly Father. He WILL bless us with strength as he did the people of King Limhi in the Book of Mormon. I am so grateful for my Savior, Your Savior, All of ours Savior. Please, if you need help in your lives, turn to your Heavenly Father. He IS there, and he DOES listen. I leave my words with you today, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

All my love from Uganda,
Elder Winters

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oct 17th 2011

Family, Friends and anyone else who doesn't fit into either of the aforementioned categories WELCOME!!! I am told that this blog is viewed all over the world. I am grateful that I have been able to play a part in fulfilling the prophesy that this gospel (The Gospel of Jesus Christ) will spread throughout the whole earth until it has visited every nation and sounded in every ear. My hope and prayer is that the words I have written in the past 5 months as well as the words I will continue to write will touch many lives. I testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christ's true and living church upon the earth today and that there is no other way or name given by which we can be saved in the kingdom of God.

Great General Conference huh??? Haha, I'll bet you are all wondering why I am 2 weeks late in offering any comments on the Conference. Well, the reason is that during General Conference (which broadcasts live from Salt Lake City, Utah from 10-4 MDT) I was effectually sleeping in my bed!!! Yep, I slept through the entire conference. Haha, that doesn't mean however that I haven't viewed it. This past weekend (15-16th) the Ntinda branch had the opportunity to view General Conference on DVDs sent from church headquarters. I wanted to offer a few comments on what I think is my favorite talk from this conference. It was given by Elder Tad R. Callister and entitled "The Book of Mormon"

This talk was very powerful in illustrating why and how the Book of Mormon acts as Another Testament of Jesus Christ. The diagram which was shown on the screen was very interesting and true. I want to quote from Elder Callister's words because I could not do the concept justice.

"How many straight lines can you draw through a single point on a piece of paper? The answer is infinite. For a moment, suppose that single point represents the Bible and that hundreds of those straight lines drawn through that point represent different interpretations of the Bible and that each of those interpretations represents a different church.
What happens, however, if on that piece of paper there is a second point representing the Book of Mormon? How many straight lines could you draw between these two reference points: the Bible and the Book of Mormon? Only one. Only one interpretation of Christ’s doctrines survives the testimony of these two witnesses."
The Book of Mormon gives us a sure way to understand the Bible and the doctrines and principles contained therin. If we will diligently study both the Bible and The Book of Mormon we will come to an understanding of the Fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have included the URL for the streaming video of the talk and I would like to invite you to view it again, even if you viewed it for conference.

The past week has been a rewarding one for me as well as a great learning experience. I have gotten settled in with Elder Stewart my new companion and we are beginning to merge our teaching styles to become effective missionaries. The attendance at General Conference was a little lower than regular church, but we had 15 investigators, recent converts, and less-actives from our area come which was a great sight to see.

I am grateful for my time here in Uganda. Please continue to include me in your prayers as well as all the missionaries over the entire world. Know that you are in my prayers and with our faith combined anything is possible according to God's will. Please continue to read your scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, they will tell you all things what you should do. I offer my testimony along with that of the prophets that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He suffered for our sins, and through him and ONLY through him we can be saved.
I would like to offer a short discourse on the concept of "being Saved." I come across people every day who tell me that they are "Saved" or are a "Savedee." The question I ask each of them is "What does that mean?" It usually stumps them because most of the world does not know or want to believe what it takes to actually be saved. Being saved is actually a process not an event. We are taught that it is only through Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End" that we can be saved. We must receive several ordinances (or events) in our lives but we musts also endure to the end to complete our lives. I testify that this is true. I plead with any of you who may know of individuals or families who you believe are ready to receive the gospel to refer them to the missionaries in your area. The work of inviting people to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not just that of the missionaries. It is for all of us "...who have received the warning to warn his neighbor" Let us all unite in this great work and aid God in "...Bring[ing] to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

I love each and every one of you. May God bless you in your lives, your jobs, and families.
Until next week!!!

Elder Winters

Watching General Conference

Brandon's Wall

BYU Schedule

The Book of Mormon

Brandon's new companion:  Elder Stewart.

Oct 10th 2011

WOW!!!! Long time no see!!! I really have to apologize for the lack of communication from my end of things the past 2 weeks. As I explained earlier the power has been less than reliable to put it lightly. I guess the hydro-power stations are putting out like 37 LESS megawatts which is causing load shedding programs to be started all over the country. The power was even out during church yesterday so we had to sing acapella and all the speakers had to speak really loud. I was able to give a short talk on the importance of the sacrament and say some things to the members and investigators that needed to be said.

The most important thing and reason we go to church is to partake of the Sacrament. Partaking of the Sacrament not only renews our baptismal covenants but helps us to complete the repentance process. In the Sacrament prayers our Heavenly Father promises us that we will be able to have His spirit to always be with us. I have always just thought of that as a promise from our Heavenly Father and not really pondered why that promise is fulfilled. I found the answer in Helaman 6:24 where it says that "The spirit cannot dwell in unholy temples." The reason taking the Sacrament each week is so important is that as we renew our baptismal covenants and complete the repentance process we become clean and pure, a temple which the spirit can dwell in. Each time we sin we make ourselves unclean, forcing the spirit from our lives. This is why we cannot just take the Sacrament once a month or once a year. We MUST have that constant cleansing to make our lives such that the spirit can dwell within us. Here in Africa Sacrament meeting starts at 10am and is the first meeting of the day. This makes it really tough for people to be there for the Sacrament. I guess I kind of did "blast" (missionary jargon for chastise) the congregation for their tardiness each week to Sacrament meeting. I said point blank, "Only half of you seated here RIGHT NOW were here for the most important part of your Sabbath day." These people, for whatever reason are cheating themselves of the blessings promised by our Heavenly Father by coming late to church. Church is not only for singing, preaching, teaching, reading scriptures. While those things are good and wonderful the main reason we attend our church services is to partake of the Sacrament. I hope and pray that each and every one of you my loved ones understand the importance of the Sacrament. If you don't now, make it a priority in your lives. If you notice you are consistently ten minutes late to church, set your alarm 10 minutes earlier and make it to church on time. I have a motto which sits on my Facebook page and many other places I can see regularly. It goes: "If I am five minutes early to everything, I will NEVER be 5 minutes late." This is so true, if you are early, you will never be late. It has been proven by science!!!! :D Let us all adopt this motto for ourselves. It will make us not only better Latter-Day Saints, but for those who do not share our faith (Yet!!!) it will make you/us better human beings. No boss or employer is going to complain because you are five minutes early to work instead of five minutes late.

Baptism this week, power just went out, generator for 5 minutes then computers shut off.

I love you all. May God bless you in all your endeavors. I pray that the leaders of the various countries we reside in my be inspired and guided to make proper choices. Have a wonderful week. Keep the letters coming!!! I haven't received one in about 3 weeks. Maybe the system is a little clogged, but there is always the chance that they just aren't coming... :( I want you to know how much I appreciate every word, and even though I can't respond to you personally know that my thanks are here for you.

Elder Winters

Investigators Home

African "tea" party

Abby Baptism

First Rainbow in Uganda

Clouds over Church

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Oct 4th 2011

Hello Family and Friends...
I hope none of you had a heart attack when you didn't hear from me. On P-day we went to the Entebbe zoo and didn't get back till really late so I didn't get a chance to email. Thankfully the Branch President was at the church today while we were waiting for an investigator so I could get on an send some photos. I'll be sure to tell you more about the zoo and the events of the past two weeks on next Monday.

Love ya all!!!!

-Elder Winters

Mickey mouse sticker I found at Tusky's supermarket. Now on the bathroom wall to watch over all the wonderful goings on there...;)

''JAWS!!!'' Snail style ''dum, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum....''

Lion's pride @ the Entebbe Zoo

African White Rhino. They only had a horse corral fence between us and it was REALLY close!!!

The famous Shoe Bill. This thing is like 3 1/2 feet tall, and really neat to look at

There are LOT'S of little monkeys running wild around the zoo. This one just sat like 3 feet away from us. Cute little guy :)