Wednesday, March 30, 2011

7 semana mark! 0‏3/30/11 Week 8

Hello once again!
How's everyone doing?!  Thanks again for all your letters!  They mean a ton out here, and I love hearing about life back home.  Anyway, I'm going to start out by asking for a couple things before I forget...I need maybe one more pack of the Zebra F-301 pens.  I'm terrible at keeping track of stuff, so I lose it pretty quick.  Also, maybe a pack of Crystal Light packs to go! I've been craving it haha, and they don't sell it here.  Oh, and I'm sending the scentsy order probably tomorrow.  Everyone just wants maybe a couple of sprays or so, so we will just send the order and then pay for whatever you're not able to provide us with mom.  Thanks!  Also, I should be sending a box of stuff home soon....i just need to find a box first and figure out what stuff I want to send ha, but I'll get on it.  In other news, everything is going great!  I can't believe I'm leaving in 12's a rollercoaster of emotions haha.  I'm super stoked, but I know it's going to be a crazy experience and adventure.  Bring it on!  I've learned so much here and my testimony continues to grow everyday.   So, I'm supposed to go to the hospital on Monday to get my plantar wart scraped off, so that'll be fun.  It'll be my first time having left here in a long time haha.  Other things this week:  On Monday, my district was chosen to have an Authority from the Area of the 70 come visit our class.  His name was Elder Patania, and he was just recently put in as the area 70 over Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.  It was an awesome experience and he just had a very special spirit about him.  He only spoke Spanish, so it was fun to be able to talk with him and try to somewhat distinguish what he was saying haha.  I'll send a picture home soon of it.  I'm super excited for General Conference this weekend!  It'll be a great way to finish up my experience here at the MTC, receiving advice from the Prophets and Apostles before heading into the field.  As far as the language's coming along haha, but I know most of the learning is going to come when I'm immersed in it and am FORCED to speak it ;).  I love you all so much and I pray for you many times each day.  This is definitely going to be the best two years of my life, and I'm so grateful that you raised me in this Gospel and have given me this opportunity to serve the Lord.  My scripture for you this week is Matthew 26-28, chapters about the events of the great Atonement of our Savior Jesucristo.  The Atonement is central to this Gospel and everything we do.  The more I have learned about it, the more I've recognized it's significance.  My quote of the week comes from David A. Bednar:  "When it's time to be released, return to your home, but don't leave the mission field."  I know I'm out here to not only preach the gospel and serve, but to become the person that God wants me to become.  We are all missionaries as members of this church and it's our duty to livee each day as examples of Christ.  I love it out here and am having a marvellous experience!  Keep me posted on all that's happening, and I'll talk to you again soon!!
~Elder Winger 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

que tal familia? 0‏ 3/23/11 Week 7

Hey fam!
Well, another week down!  It's crazy, how fast time is flying and how things are blending together.  By the time I get to my journal at night, I forgot most of the stuff that I did that day haha....i'm getting Alzheimer's :( .  Anyway, I'm continuing to learn a lot here!  We are starting to speak the language a lot more, even though I can't say a ton, it's fun to use....I'll definitely sound like a super gringo down in Argentina haha, can't wait.  So at the Devotional yesterday, we heard from Elder Costa from the presidency of the 70.  If you remember, he gave an amazing talk in the last General Conference, so I was stoked to hear from him.  And yes, he delivered.  He told us about his conversion story, i'll just give you a summary because it was legit.  He was 28 years old and both of his parents were members.  He overheard the missionaries talking about Joseph Smith in the other room, and he decided to search and ponder about Joseph Smith the Prophet.  He read JSH that night, and after each verse, he would ponder and pray about that specific verse and whether it was true.  After 14 hours of doing this, he received the answer that Joseph Smith was a prophet.  He then wanted to be baptized immediately!  Unfortunately, when he saw the Sister missionaries again the next day, they said he had to take 7 lessons and then he could be baptized.  He responded with: "Ok, well hurry and teach me, then I'll be baptized today."  Haha, the missionaries taught him 7 lessons in 2 days.  It was such a testimony to me that there are so many people that are ready to hear this gospel.  "the field is white already to harvest."  I'm so grateful to have had this gospel in my life and it has blessed me so much.  Anyway,  as far as biggest gainer goes....i've hit a wall at gaining weight :( still stuck at 9lbs thus far, but looking to overcome that this week.  And mom, I will get that scentsy order to you soon!  i just need to know what the limit for each missionary is for the first free order haha.  You're amazing, and we all diggin the scentsy out 'ere.  Anyway, I wish you could come visit for a day and feel of the spirit that all of my fellow missionaries have.  They have such strong testimonies and they help me grow each and everyday.  I try my best to serve those around me, but it feels like i'm just receiving all the service haha.  Anyway, another cool story, I found out a couple of days ago that the abnormal growth on the bottom of my foot that I haven't told anyone about is a plantar wart.  I saw the pediatrist today and we are in the process of wiping out the little treachery.  I had to get a couple shots in my foot for numbing.....then he put myocine...or something, they use it for cancer treatment or something haha.  He put that under the wart and it should kill all the skin above, which will turn the skin black, and then we will scrape it off in a couple of weeks.  I'm making this sound a lot more intense than it actually is, but i thought it was an adventure.  So I've been reading the book "Our Heritage lately" and I just want to share with you a quote from that.  It's from Brigham Young, towards the end of his life. "My whole life is devoted to the Almighty's Service."  I've realized that I'm called as a missionary, wearing this badge for 2 years.  But I have the rest of my life to be a return missionary.  The mission doesn't end after 2 years, it is a lifelong commitment. That has helped me change my perspective of becoming the person that the Lord wants me to become, because I know this experience is preparing my for the rest of my life.  I love my God with all my heart.  This is his church!  Scripture for you: Alma 7:11-13 I believe.  The Atonement is central in the Gospel, and it's so amazing to feel the Savior's love more and more as I study his sacrifice for all mankind.  Another quote from the week was from my Branch President, President Stephens.  He said "Attitude determines Altitude."  How true it is!  I'm trying my best to always be in a good, happy mood out here 24/7.  What better place to be than on the Lord's errand?  I'm simply an imperfect person sharing a perfect message, which makes me definitely unqualified, but through the Spirit, people can come to know of God's love for them, simply being reminded of who they are.  I love it here and am so grateful for all of your support and love.  And dad, get home already will ya? ;)  Thanks for the email you sent, I really enjoyed it.  Unfortunately I'm not to the stage of dreaming in Spanish.  Not even close.  But I'm working hard at it everyday, and it'll come in the Lord's due time.  I pray for you all everyday, family and friends.  You mean the world to me.  And mom, I'll start gathering stuff together to send home because I probably will send quite a bit ha.  And I found out the mail system for packages is terrible!  When I find out more info, I'll let you know, but don't plan on sending me any packages while i'm in Argentina.  That's advice from my teacher Hermano Weist who was on his mission a few months ago.  but, we'll just play it by ear.  Anyway, love you all!  Keep holdin down the fort back home :)  Oh, last thing, I heard about USU losing :( and BYU in the sweet 16! Sick!  and I heard Scott Watts got his call to Madagascar and Riley to Dominican Republic!  Way to Be!! ADIOS!
~Elder Winger

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Marzo 16! Another week down! 03/16/11 Week 6

Hello again my dear family,
How's everyone been doing!? It's pretty crazy I've been gone for 5 weeks! Pretty nuts...anyway,  this week went pretty well, it's hard to remember what happened because the days and weeks blend together.  So, I had to wake up at 4:30 this morning to walk some Elders in our zone to the bus because they were leaving to San Jose.  It was pretty rough seeing them go, and we'd had grown really close in the last 5 weeks.  But, it made me so excited to get down to Argentina!  I'm still enjoying it here tho, and I know I'm going to miss it/the people once i leave.  Thanks again for keeping in touch and Tiffani, I'm going to email you after I write this email instead of writing a letter back, for convenience....sorry!  haha, but hopefully your email is because thats where I'm sending it.  Anyway,  another cool thing that I failed to mention about the MTC is that they give us $6 a week to use in the bookstore, plus we get 40% off so that has really been nice for keeping me stocked up on little conveniency purchases :)  Oh and mom, I'll be sending back that list of the scentsy purchases that some of the elders want shortly. Yesterday, we heard from Elder Maynes from the first quorum of the seventy!  He gave an amazing talk on the 3 greatest gifts from God:  1. Jesucristo 2. the Holy Ghost 3. Eternal Life. He focused mostly on the power of the Holy Ghost and the role that He plays in the Godhead.  The Holy Ghost is everything in this work.  I am simply a messenger of the Spirit, helping people come to the remembrance of who they are.  The Holy Ghost has been such an amazing gift in my life and I know that it's only through baptism and the laying on of hands that we can receive him as our constant companion, as well as living worthily.  Anyway, great talk.  Also, the spanish is coming along, slowly but surely haha.  It's starting to pick up again from last week, where I felt like I was in a little bit of a slump, but I know it will come in the due time of the Lord, and I'm just doing my best everyday out here, trying to become the best missionary i'm capable of becoming.  One thing that Sister Maynes mentioned in her talk yesterday was "become the missionary your mother thinks you are."  That struck me pretty hard, because I would never want to let you down in anything mom.  You've given me everything, including the wonderful gift of the Gospel, and it's my duty and privilege to share it with the rest of the world.  Thank you for everything you've given me, and thank you all for your love and what you've given me in my life!  Anyway, a couple of things i want you to maybe send if you have time......a harmonica?  I need some type of music doohikie to keep me sane from withdrawals of any instruments ha, and maybe that book I have called "common missionary questions" or something...then maybe a yo-yo :)  Sometimes just little entertainment things like that help relieve any stress and help me stay motivated on the work.  I love you all so much, miss you, and am looking forward to continuing to hear about how life's going.  and maybe even some pictures :)  Love you all, the Church is true.
            Keep it real,
                             Elder Winger

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hola otra vez! 03/09/11 Week 5

Hola otra vez!
     Well, today officially marks one month out.  Pretty crazy!  It's gone way fast, already 1/24 of the way finished.......anyway,  things are still going really good here, but today was quite the eventful week for a couple things.  First, my companion and I have been called to be zone leaders.  We are currently be trained this week and will start next week.  I definitely didn't see it comin, but I'm going to do my absolute best and trust in the Lord to watch over the Elders and Hermanas of this branch.  It's been a tough week for Elder Smart, and I'm having sort of a hard time helping him cope and to stay 100 percent focused on the work.  His girlfriend's mom has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer within the last week, and supposedly doesn't have too long of a time, maybe months, since they didn't catch it til the later stages.  On top of that, his really good friend who is here, Elder Mendel, had a cousin who got ran over by a car and killed this week. She's leaving behind 5 kids under the age of 11.  So, I'm so grateful for the opportunity to share such a marvelous message that strengthens us and helps us significantely to cope with tragedies like these.  I'm so grateful for the safety of our family and i say prayers continually for you.  Thank you so much for keeping in touch and sending me surprise packages of goodies haha, looks like I'm all lined up for St. Patty's day!  As far as the language and teaching goes, its coming along ha.  I don't feel like I'm progressing as quickly as I was at the beginning, and that I've sort of hit a wall..but I'm continuing to push forward ha.  I've truly come to realize just how important the spirit is in this whole work, it's unbelievable.  Teaching with the spirit is everything out here.  A quote I heard from Elder Richards yesterday, a member of the second quorum of the seventy, said that "If you teach the truth without the spirit, you aren't teaching the truth."  That hit me quite hard, and I've really put more emphasis and motivation on teaching with the spirit rather than my own intellect or things I know.  It's not about what I want to say, but what the Lord wants me to say to people, cuz he knows them.
   I can't wait to hear all about Spring Break!  I bet the BYU art museum is way cool, so you'll have to let me know how that is.  Also mom, thanks for sending the scentsy catalog, the Elderes are stoked about it haha, so I'll be sending you orders of things they want soon.  They wanted me to ask you if they get a "missionary discount" or if everything is full price ;)  Also, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, so I'll mention it again.  I'm currently in a competition with Elder Hudgens called "The Biggest Gainer."  We are four weeks in, both beginning at 130 pounds.  Whoever weighs the most by the time we leave claims victory.  As of yesterday, the official weigh-ins are:  Elder Hudgens: 139.4  Elder Winger: 138.6.  So the race is pretty close, and we've gained quite a bit of weight so far haha, i'm comin home a tank fyi.  Well, not much else to say, things are continuing on.  Can't wait to get pictures soon from you though!  Also, if any of my friends read this, i want pictures from you too (hint hint).  Thank you all for the letters, I love hearing about how you are all doing, so keep me posted.   Me encanta el Evangelio de Jesucristo.  Estoy agradecido por todos los bendiciones en mi vida.  Yo se que este es el trabajo de Dios.  I love you so much everyone and miss you.  The church is true!!  I can't wait to get to Argentina and teach the gospel! Oh, and eat and play me some futbol :)  Les Amo Para Siempre.
~Elder Winger
p.s.  Happy Birthday Jake!  Sorry i missed it :(  oh and mom, i actually leave on April 11th i think, but that's absolutely amazing that your baptism anniversary is on the 12th!  GNARLY!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

hola! 0‏3/02/11 Week 4

Hey everyone! 
   Como esta?  I hope everything is going well
   Well, tres semanas down, and it feels pretty crazy. Time is really starting to fly by, and all of the days are blending together haha, so hopefully i don't repeat something that happened last week saying that it happened next week? did that make sense? k cool.  Well,  first of all, I want to thank you for the letters and packages that you've been sending!  It's so so nice to get mail here, i love hearing about how everyone is doing, and what life is like outside of the MTC ha.  Casey, happy birthday!!!  I'm sorry I couldn't make it, but it sounds like you had a good time playin up some farkle and partaying.  And mom, thanks for all the packages with stuff haha, i especially enjoyed the reload of scentsy heaven.  A bunch of the elders in here want those scentsy products, so how much are the little bag things?  I have a few elders that want to buy them from you haha.  Elder Drennan wants one that is a "clean" scent and a "mint" scent.  Maybe you should just send me a list of the scents and prices and I could tell how many of each thing to send.  And trust me, we need these things cuz the only scent i smell all day is men working hard.  no me gusta.  Anyway, Dad, thanks also for sending me a letter!  I'm sorry you have to be in New Jersey so much, so get home already k? haha, and I want to hear about how the whole New York trip went too.  Anyway, some things that happened this week:  We heard from Bishop Edgley of the Presiding Bishopric speak yesterday, and it was amazing.  His talk was about missionary work, and was very simple in what our purpose is here.  our purpose being invitar a las personas a venir a cristo al ayudarles a que reciben el restaurdo evangelio. Mediante la fe en Jesucristo y su expiacion, arrepentimiento, el bautismo, la recepcion del don del Espiritu Santo, y hasta el fin.  This is such a great and marvelous work, and I'm so grateful to be here and for all the support you, all of our family, and friends have given me.  I absolutely can't wait to get to Argentina and share this message, even though i'm not even close to ready, especially as far as espanol goes haha.  But keep pressing on at home, trusting in the Lord with all thy heart.  Yo se que Jesucristo vive, and he loves us.  One of my spiritual experiences of the week that I'd like to share with you happened a couple nights ago.  For class, my district and another district combined and taught each other a lesson.  Each Elder/Sister wrote down 3 needs on a piece of paper that they needed in their life right now.  Then, companionships switched papers and prepared lessons to help each other.  Elder Smart and I were taught by a couple Elders, Elder Gile and Elder Richins (going to california), and i can't describe the power of the spirit that was there.  They not only helped me with the 3 problems I wrote down, but with many more that I did not.  The spirit is the essential tool in this work, and that's the only way we are going to be able to help people.  I know I'm not going to know what exactly what someone needs in their life, but our Father in Heaven does. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all my heart.  I love you so much family, and I can't wait to hear from you again.  2 years is not that long, and I promise I'll do by best to serve my salvador at all times.  Elder Smart showed me a quote the other day when I was a little discouraged that really cheered me up, I'd like to share it with you:  "You can either complain that the roses have thorns, or thank God that the thorns have roses!"  haha i thought it was clever, and helped me to focus more optimistically.  Anyway, enough rambling and randomness, i'll write you again in a week.
          Love always,
           Elder Winger
p.s.  I saw an Elder that looked AND acted like Napoleon Dynamite yesterday.  Funniest thing ever.  Oh, and orange bowling down a carpeted hallway....not a good idea...especially when the orange explodes in someones room :) wasn't mine :)  CIAO!