Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13th 2012

Good to be back in contact with you after a week of hard work and stress!!!! It really is a relief to sit down to the computer and read about what is going on at home. First things first I guess...CONGRATULATIONS TO THE U.S.A. OLYMPIC TEAM!!! It has been fun watching things (as much as I can "legally" as a missionary of course...haha) The newspapers here always have something on the Olympics so I have been able to keep pretty up to date. The athletes were incredible this year. I'm so proud to be an American!!!

But, enough of the worldly world...haha. Mbale has treated me great this first full week here. We are really working hard with the members to become more involved with missionary work. Since Mbale is still a relatively new branch we are still getting the different church programs implemented so that the church can function smoothly. Right now I am working with the Young Men's organization getting the teaching schedule set up and also working on getting people excited for a mutual night each week. If things move smoothly with the young men, we will work to get the young women involved as well. A focus we have here is to prepare young men to serve missions. We have several really great young men and if pushed they will make it!!! The first ever missionary will be leaving Mbale in 3-4 weeks. The Elders here have done a great job at preparing him and we look forward to carrying on the legacy!!!

This week we had the opportunity to travel to Busia (one of my previous areas) for a Zone Development Meeting. It was fun to be back in an old area and see a few of the people I love and care for. This coming Friday we will be having a combined Zone Conference with the Mbale and Iganga zones, we will be traveling to Bugembe (another of my previous areas) for that meeting. It is weird that I'm getting to go to all my old areas this transfer. Hopefully things will work out in the future so that I will be able to see Kajjansi and Ntinda again. We'll see. As a mission progresses, things just work out to be able to see recent converts, members and old areas. I LOVE IT!!!

MISSION IS INCREDIBLE!!! If you are of mission age (whether male or female) please make the decision now to GO!!!

I'll do my best to keep you up to date with things here, it is very difficult though to say the things you want to hear. If you really want to know something, please let my parents or one of my siblings know. Another great way to communicate with me is through it is free, easy and really makes an Elder's day!!!!

You guys are the best!!! Have a great last week of Summer then get to work with school and all that stuff!!!

Elder Winters

New Missionary house: almost finished.

Me and my Comp

Monday, August 6, 2012

Aug 6th 2012

Hey guys!!! It feels like at least 2 weeks since I last emailed even though it really has only been a shorter time cuz I was able to email on Tuesday last week....:P\

Just some quick updates on things here in my new area of Mbale, with my new companion from Kenya. We really had to work hard this week because we didn't get back to Mbale till Wednesday night late so we only worked Thursday-Sunday. We were able to pack in some great work though and found many people to prepare for baptism. All in all, we are hoping for a great transfer!!!

So my new area actually has a truck which we are able to use sometimes, this is a great blessing but also a fun opportunity to have. In Uganda they drive like the UK, on the left side of the road, from the right seat of the car. It has been a pretty interesting becoming accustomed to this new setup, but I've adapted pretty well and it feels very natural now. :)

Mbale is a great area and I think I'm really going to enjoy myself here. I have met most of the members now and am praying that I will remember all their names. :) We had 131 at church yesterday and our goal is to have 200 by the time we end the transfer. We are moving to a new building sometime near the end of the month

Kind of a shorter email today, I'm getting used to the new internet cafe and stuff. They have a big screen tv with the Summer Olympics playing!!! Right now, the rowing is on, and I just watched a Canadian take the 1000M kyack race by a great distance!!! I've still got my maternal Canadian blood in me!!! :P

Today I just wanted to share something spiritual with you, cuz I am a missionary and that is what I do...haha

I have been looking at several of the "tender mercies" which our Heavenly Father has shown to his children, the examples in the Book of Mormon are especially telling. Mosiah 27:16 "...remember the captivity of they fathers in the land of Helam, and in the land of Nephi; and rembember how great things he has done for them; for they were in bondage and he has delivered them." Alma 9:22 "Yea and after having been delivered of God out of the land of Jerusalem, by the hand of the Lord; having been saved from famine, and from sickness, and all manner of diseases of every kind; and they having waxed strong in battle, that they might not be destroyed; having been brought out of bondage time after time, and having been kept and preserved until now." Mosiah 25:10 "...when they thought of the immediate goodness of God, and his power in delivering Alma and his brethren out of the hands of the Lamanites and of bondage they did raise their voices and give thanks to God." Alma 5:6 "...have you sufficiently retained in remembrance [God's] mercy and longsuffering towards [His people] and moreover, have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance that he has delivered their souls from hell?"

These are just a few of the examples of God's mercy and love towards his children, and give us an assurance that he will continue to love and bless US today. Our Heavenly Father has always been fully committed to helping his children both temporally and spiritually. A scripture in 2 Nephi 4:26-28 is excellent in helping us to see the importance of understanding and remembering this in our own lives.

"O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorry, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions? And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy. Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul."

This is a great truth that is so vital to understand. True, we experience quite a bit of difficulty throughout our lives, but we must think about how much God HAS blessed us. During my mission I have experienced quite a few trials whether that is areas, companions, or investigator problems, I have seen the mercy of God through all those trials. Just yesterday a man that I was working with very hard back in Kajjansi was baptized. That gave me so much hope, especially since I also received news that another family I was working with have received permission to be baptized (previously they were having marriage problems...). Life is very good and I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve my Heavenly Father as an Elder in his church.

I want you all to know how much I love and care about you!!! Congratulations to all the people who have recently returned home from their missions and found eternal companions. Thanks for all the wonderful letters keeping me up to date on those important matters...;P

Have a great week and enjoy the Olympics!!!

Elder Winters