Monday, July 25, 2011

Familia! ‏ 07/25/11 Week 25

¡Buen Dia mi familia eterna! y....amigos :)

Another week has flown by here among the vast plains of Argentina.  A lot of exciting news to report this week.  So my trip to Rosario last week was a great time!  I basically sat on a bus for a couple hours reading Jesus the Christ and playing the "box game" and hangman with my good ol pal Elder Stromberg.  Once we got to the casa de misión I basically went straight to bed, but it was fun meeting a bunch of other missionaries!  There was a group of about 25 of us or so that did something called Tramites.  Still don´t know what it was haha.  But on the morning after I arrived in Rosario, we went to a government building....which they made us stand outside for like half an hour...and i had forgotten a jacket in the freezing cold. bleh.  The weather is super weird here, super cold in the morning, super warm in the afternoon, cold again at night. repeat. But anyways, we were doing something with our passports, so I had to take another picture, then get my fingers fingerprinted, which I totally made more fun than it should've been haha.  Anyways, that was pretty much the whole reason for my trip, 10 seconds to take a picture, 10 seconds to do fingerprints (because the guy was fast at doing it, it was sureal).  Anyway, once we returned to the mission home i basically just played basketball with my latin friends for like half an hour. yeah, it was weird playing basketball after so long.....or doing any kind of physical activity besides walking for that matter.  Anyway, made it back to Santa Fe safely following all of that and continued on in the work with Elder Bryce.  Anyway, Zulema is still going strong, except she missed church yesterday :(  They had elections yesterday in the country (on a Sunday.....wicked wicked), and i think she just didn´t get around to coming to church.  It kind of scares me though, because I´ve seen people stop progressing in the gospel as soon as one commitment is missed, so I´m hoping that we can continue to help her fortify her faith today.  As far as yesterday at church. pretty stressful ha.  We had two investigatores show up (Guadalupe and her friend Rosa) who came on their own!  Usually we have to drag people to church. literally.  haha just kidding, but it is a huge step for investigatores when they come completely on their own at 9 in the morning walking 15-20 blocks.  Anyway, church went great for them, and we have a bautismal date set for Guadalupe in August.  Anyway, one of the crazy things that happened this week was that....I probably shouldn´t be telling you stuff like this....but I got robbed!  Haha, it was so dumb.  There was a drunk 21 year old guy that wanted to talk to us, and he seemed super harmless so we decided to stop for a second....suddenly a pack of 6 or 7 12 year old kids came around the corner and just started yelling "this is a robbery!"  and they robbed all of our stuff. my wallet, watch, copy of my passport....oh, and me and my comp had to get money out of the ATM that day, so they took my personal and mission credit cards!  It was terrible.  But, in the end we got the drunk kid to fetch a bunch of our stuff for us after the other kids ran away...and he pretty much brought it all back haha!  We only ended up losing a few pesos and my 8 dollar MTC watch, so don´t my credit cards and everything back :)  It was pretty intense, but the kids were ridiculous.  It was weird though because their was a group of mothers just watching the whole event take place and did absolutely nothing.  Pretty interesting.  As we walked away and passed by them (there were just staring at us with their mouths open, wondering if we were ok)  we had beaming faces and simply said "We got it all back!"  hahaha, anyway, that was my event of the week.  Elder Bryce had gone 21 months without being robbed....and I managed to make 5.5. failure.  Anyway,  I know the Lord really protects and blesses us so much out here.  I´ve been having a little bit of a hard time this week, one of the usual "I´m getting stressed out of my mind" times, but i´m pressing forward and doing my absolute best to serve the Lord everyday.  One scripture that I read this week that I absolutely loved was John 8:32.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ makes us all so free.  sometimes people think that Commandments, attending church, reading scriptures, praying, and all of these things "restricting", but its the Truth, the Light, and the Way that leads us to true happiness in this life.  I know my Savior Jesus Christ lives.  I know that he understands how we feel during every test and trial in our lives.  Hes there to help us and to lift us higher than we could ever imagine.  Another scripture is Alma 26:12.  In the last five months I have learned many things, one of them being just how weak and nothing I am haha.  But I know this is the Lords work and I´m simply an instrument in his hands.  I know that it is by our personal faith that determines the amount of growth and change that God can give us.  I´m just blabbering on now about nothing...but well, whats new? haha.  Oh, i forgot to mention that I was listening to my ipod the other day and suddenly the song Dream Big by Ryan Shupe came on.  I LOVE THAT SONG, and it totally made a great day even greater ha.  Anyway, I´m so so happy to hear that everyone there is doing so well.  It's so nice to be able to hear from you all every week and take a breather from the work.  I'm so grateful for all that you do for me and for the powerful testimonies of our savior that you have.  Oh, and I´m so glad to hear that Nate and Shantras' baby is absolutely adorable!  It feels weird to be an uncle now...I feel old ha.  Can´t even imagine being called "grandma" and "grandpa" ( directed to mom and dad) ;)  haha just messing padres.  anyways, the work continues on here in Parque del Sur.  Have an amazing week everyone!

Elder Winger

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

hey! 07/18/11 Week 24

Hello once again!

Alright, so I don´t have tons of time to write this week, because it´s a little hectic today.  I will be going to Rosario later on this afternoon because I have to go do something with my Visa......I´m not really sure what it is, but I think there are 20 of us or so that are going, so there shouldn't be a problem with it or anything.  Oh,  and I'M AN UNCLE!  Dang that's awesome.  ha ha Alena Rose Winger. that just flows.  Congratulations Nate and Shantra!!  Make sure you show her a picture of me and whisper Tanner in her ear at least for 3 hours a day so I can become her favorite Uncle ;).  Anyway, that's so awesome!  Also mom, I will be going to the mission home today so I will be able to find out if my contacts have come or not.  Also, thanks for sending part 1 of your childhood!  I was very very entertained haha and its so nice to know about your life growing up.  Also sounds like everyone is doing well at home, except the whole freaky cat experience sounds...messed up.  Also, tell Nic Winn congratulations and also Jamison as well!  Also, tell Nate Hanks that I wish I could come to his farewell but....yeah, ya know.  Anyway, this week we worked super hard here in Parque del Sur.  Me and Elder Bryce found 18 new investigators to teach, so hopefully at least some if not all will begin progressing towards baptism.  Also, here´s my experience for the week:  We were walking down a road last week and I saw a little pasillo, or alleyway?, that I felt we needed to walk down.  We began contacting, and unfortunately got rejected four times out of the 5 on the street.  Anyway, at the last house, it was already open, so as we began presenting ourselves "We are missionaries..." and before I could continue the lady just invited us in. She believed in God, but had never attended a church before.  To make a long story short, she loved the message of the restoration, she has begun reading the book of Mormon and she feels that it is true, and attended church this past Sunday!  and usually to get people to church we have to walk to their house and try to drag them out of bed ha, but she came completely on her own....oh, and she´s like 65 years old and walked probably 15 blocks.  She said she usually would ride her bike, but it had busted that morning or something......anyway,  it was such an amazing experience and another testimony builder that God has prepared many of his children here to receive the Gospel.  At church, we introduced Zulema (is her name) to one of the sisters in the ward named Hermana Bustos.  They seemed to really become great friends super quick...awkwardly quick actually ha.  we came to find out that these two older ladies had been very very good friends as children but have not kept in contact or seen each other for many years!!!  So now, they are going to read the book of Mormon at each others houses at drink mate together haha. All this happened within about 4 days haha.  Anyway, we are going to continue Zulema towards baptism!  I´m so grateful for this work and for the opportunity I have to share the gospel.  as far as my teaching skills and Spanish go........still terrible, but the Lord has manifested to me that by the power of the spirit all weaknesses can be overcome.  I truly testify that this is the Lords work and especially that the Gift of Tongues is SO REAL.  Anyway, not much time to talk, but I love you all and I pray for you many times each day ha.  I´ll let you know how the trip to Rosario goes and all.  Look out adventure, here I come.

Love you all,

Elder Winger

Oh p.s.   we had the COPA AMERICA again in town this week, and Argentina played Uruguay....unfortunately they lost.  not. a. happy. people. when. Argentina. loses.  Anyway, it was cool to be in the same town as Messi (greatest player in the world) and I actually had one of the biggest temptations of my life last week that I forgot to tell you about.  We were walking by the stadium one evening and we saw just tons of people running down the streets to get into the stadium....yet we knew that there wasn´t a game until the next game.  Turned out the Argentina national team was practicing inside and people (for free) were running inside to watch.  It was so hard not to join them haha, talk about a dream that would come true....but, we continued on as Missionaries should.  But i´ll tell you what, it wasn´t easy hahaha.  Anyway, ciao.

Escritura:  John chapter 14

Saturday, July 16, 2011

EY! 0‏ 7/11/11Week 23

Hello familia!!  Here I am again, writing from Parque del Sur.  First things first, I absolutely love my companion Elder Bryce!!!  He is an absolute stud and he has already taught me so much in the 4 days that we´ve been together.  He is from Arizona and is an amazing Spanish speaker and missionary.  From the first day of this transfer we got right to work.  We are currently teaching a lady named Laura that we haven´t been able to teach for 6 weeks or so.....cuz she´s always gone!  That's one of the worst things haha, when you walk for a long time to go to an appointment and it ends up that the person is not even there, so we turn around and head to the next one...which is muy lejos haha.  but I absolutely LOVE the people and the work that I´ve been having the privilege of doing in this area.  We have a good pool of investigators that we are teaching right now, and its amazing to watch peoples lives literally change for the better as they begin to live the principles of the Gospel.  So yesterday I had quite the experience....gave my first actual talk while here in Argentina!  One of the Bishopric counselors called me on Saturday night and asked if I would give a 10 minute talk the following morning. And of course I accepted haha.  But, I didn´t have time to prepare a talk except for a couple scriptures that I looked up while sitting in my chair during the meeting....and then I just relied completely on the Spirit and faith haha.  I got up there and it definitely wasn´t a great talk, but it was a huge growing point in my mission.  The language is coming along even better now, and I´ve learned something so valuable with Elder Bryce that is going to change my mission.  Teach the people, not lessons.  I´ve always heard this phrase, but it hasn´t actually hit me until this transfer.  I´ve had experiences that have absolutely floored me when I´ve sincerely sincerely cared about the person we teach.  The moment that I rely on the spirit, sincerely listening to the investigator so that I can help them, that is when something called the Gift of Tongues has kicked in.  I know that the Lord is guiding this work and I know that as I do my best, keep the commandments, and allow myself to be changed into a better missionary day after day, the Lord will continue to perform miracles in my life and will perform miracles in the lives of the people that we have the humbling opportunity to help.  When you love the people, confide in the Lord and his work, the words of what the Lord wants to tell his children become manifest.  I´ve grown so much in the last 4 days, and I hope I can continue to become a better missionary than i was the day before.  This week we got our new mission president as well!  Presidente Giuliani!!!!!  He is an absolutely amazing man and I had the opportunity to meet him briefly at the conference that we had last week for his arrival.  He did change a couple of rules that I kind of enjoy.....we can listen to a wider variety of church music, which is awesome since I have songs on my ipod that I haven´t been able to listen to, and he is also allowing us to drink something called mate cocido.....which is a form of the infamous herbal drink of Argentina... :).  Anyway,  the work is absolutely amazing here, and I testify that this is the Lords work.  As far as the spiritual thought for the week goes, I would like you to read if you have time "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ" by Gene R. Cook.  WOW!  i could quote parts of it, but I think you just have to read it to get the full effect haha.  Quick scripture is Enos verse 15.  Ive realized how important it is to sincerely pray in faith to our father in Heaven and ask him for guidance and direction.  Prayer is an act of faith, and the Lord always requires that we work for the many blessings that he is willing to grant us.  I know that our Father in Heaven answers every prayer according to his will of what is going to make us the most happy, for that is his purpose.  I love the scripture in 3 Nefi 19:24.  I know the Lord knows my needs better than even I know my needs haha.  So, one thing that I incorporate more in my prayers is to ask my Father in Heaven to help me know what to say in my prayer.  He knows us better than we know ourselves, and he will help us with any and all righteous desires that we have.  I'm also super happy to hear that Jamison will be going to the Argentina Mission!!!!!!!!!  HE IS GOING TO LOVE IT!!!!!  Well, I´m all out of time for this week, but I´ll talk to you the next.  I love you all so much and I´m so grateful family that I am going to live with you all forever!!

Con amor,

Elder Winger

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

¿Qué pasa? 07/05/11 Week 22

Well it sounds like there's plenty of fun going on there at home!  maybe a little too much fun if you ask me huh? ;)  I´m so happy to hear that everyone is doing so well.  To Tiffani:  you have to grow up eventually, play time should be over by now haha.  And mom, i want to thank you first off for the wonderful testimony that you sent to me.  I know you have an amazingly strong testimony mom, i´ve always known that :)  Thank you so much for this opportunity you´ve given me to grow up in the Church of our God and the opportunity that I have now to share it with others.  And Dad, I hope all goes well with the trip to Florida!  By the way, who ended up winning the NBA finals?  haha anyway, how long are you planning to be over there and what are you going to be working on?  I hope you have a great trip and make it back soon to spend time with the fam and the new baby that's coming! WOO!!  I´m super excited for you Nate and Shantra!  I can´t wait to hear all about our new members of the family that are coming and to see pictures.  Uncle Tanner?  I'm old    :( haha.  Anyway, glad to hear that everyone is doing well, keep me posted as you have been.
So I found out this morning that I will be staying in Parque del Sur for another transfer :).  My companion Elder Pixton is heading off to another place, and I´ll be welcoming my new companion Elder Bryce.  I don´t know much about him, but I have heard really good things about him.  I am super excited to work with him and to continue on in this wonderful work of the Lord.  As far as Milagros bautismo went this week, it was great!!  There were probably 30 people or so at the baptism, including 10 or so nonmembers!!  So we were able to talk with a few of them and hopefully we will get a chance to teach some of them in the near future.  But, as always, something ALWAYS has to no go as planned when a baptism comes along.  The baptism was set to start at 5 o clock on Saturday, so we went to fill up the baptismal font at about 2 o'clock.  We just turned on the water, and then were just going to return about 430 to turn it off and we´d be all set :).  But, when we finally made it back around at around 4:45, with people beginning to show up, came to the pleasant surprise that the water had run out and there was only about 1.5 feet of water in the font.  Entonces, we needed lots more water in 15 minutes....AGH!  It was quite the experience haha, and after a lot of personal praying, we were able to figure out how the water system works and were able to fill up the font about 30 minutes later.  The water was freezing cold for poor Milagros, but it didn´t matter for her, so that was good ha.  Also yesterday, we passed by a man named Juan Carlos Vera that we´ve been teaching who's just awesome.  he has a little trouble remembering everything that he reads and understanding everything, but he loves the gospel and has the desire to be baptized.  We found his registry in the area book one day, and he hadn´t been visited by missionaries for 6 years, so i was super happy to find him and that we could teach him.  We set him a baptism date for July 23, but after we left the appointment with him....we forgot to ask if he was married.  He has kids and a wife, but we are not sure if he is married.  So we are praying that he is so that we don´t have to work with that obstacle haha.  Anyway, also another really cool thing has been happening this week.  There´s this huge soccer tournament that happens every couple of years or so called the Copa America for south America and central America.  Anyway, they are playing 4 games here in my area at the Futbol field of Colon!  So tomorrow night, Argentina will be facing off against Columbia here in Santa Fe.  Its going to get pretty wild here, I'm super excited.  The field can fit about 30 000 people in it, but everyone in Argentina will be watching the game and its going to be pretty hectic around here.  Ill keep you posted on how it goes.  What a dream........I´ll actually be in the same city as the great Messi.  Dream. come. True.  haha. 
Anyway, last Sunday we had an amazing testimony meeting in the ward.  Milagros bore a powerful testimony of how the gift of the Spirit has already touched her life, and then her uncle that she lives with got up and bore an amazing testimony as well.  He´s a seminary teacher that works in Cordoba too, so I love talking with him about the gospel ha.  Anyway, he said one simple statement that really struck me"What´s true is true, and I cannot deny that."  The gospel is such an amazing thing!  Its literally the TRUTH about everything.  A testimony is something that we have to harvest throughout our lives, but how much growth and happiness do we gain through it.  I´ve realized something since i´ve been here, why we are separated from the world:  We are a people that are constantly looking for ways to better ourselves.  Christ was our perfect example, and it´s in this life that we strive to follow his example and become more like him everyday.  How great it is that God has given us the chance to have eternal progression!  It´s sad to see here in Argentina that a lot of people get to a certain point in life when they decide that what they are is good enough, and there´s no reason to change or to strive for something greater.  I know that this Gospel gives hope, faith, and purpose in this life.  It gives us the desire to become better individuals today than the day before.  I´ve been so blessed to have this gospel in my life and ill always be in debt for what I've received.  I know every person is a child of our Father in Heaven and desire the happiness and growth/progression that can only come from the Truths of God that have been restored to the Earth.  I´m simply here to remind people of the reason they are here on the earth :)  It´s so so hard to watch people reject the gospel, but with the gift of free agency, everyone has the choice to accept or reject.  I'm definitely not a great teacher right now, and I'm still learning this language that has over a billion words i swear haha, but I'm striving to do my best to help my brothers and sisters here.  I read a talk this week in the Liahona that was by Barbara Thompson about Love and Service.  If you get a chance to read it, do it!  Its awesome, and is really centered around John 13 when Christ washes the feet of his disciples.  Anyway, that´s enough blabbering.  hope all is going amazing and I love you all! 
Scripture: Mosiah 24:14.
"And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions"
Random Facts of the week:
Ate at an Arabian Restaurant again today and ate something called Kebbe.  It was good
Elder Pixton and I danced around with 2 sparklers for July 4th!  HOORAY AMERICA
Got bit by a dog. almost.
One of my shoes has a hole in the bottom of it.  still think its drying out from the rain from 3 weeks ago. shoes don´t last long haha.
The walls of Babylon were 56 miles in circumference, 335 ft high, and 85 ft wide.
I began writing in a Dream Journal (yeah) this week for no apparent reason, but its definitely weird.
Also about the weather here, it hasn´t rained a lot lately, its just cold because of the humidity. BRR
Love ya fam and friends!!
Talk to you next week :)
Elder Winger