Monday, November 30, 2015

The Law of Conservation of Mass; and how it applies to Missionary Work.


I hope you all gained at least five pounds this 26th!!!

Turkey's a little bit of a rarity here, so I'll have you know I thoroughly enjoyed my Thanksgiving dinner composed of bagged *Chaufa and soup (they were both bagged).   If you order soup or a drink to go here, they just put it into a thin plastic bag that you can eat later at your leisure.

So.....although the feast may have been a little disappointing, it was pretty good overall!!! We found a great investigator that day!!!

His name is Carlos. He's received all the missionary lessons, and came to church this week. We talked to him for about 20 minutes in the church, he said he was super excited to be baptized, and he had been preparing himself for about 6 months now. We asked where he lived so we could visit him and he said he lived in "El Olivar" which I don't know if I've told you guys before, but that was right next to my sector in Jorge Chavez.......we ask him why he came to church here. He says he'll be moving soon. We get excited again. He says He'll be moving here in January, one week after his baptism (not going to lie, I was a little disappointed we weren't going to be able to teach and baptize him).

So, we told him we'd be in contact when he came here, and would be happy to teach him. Eh, it's ok, we say. We'll have another convert to teach, it'll still be cool.

Then Monday, we find and teach a lovely family from Huancayo!

-They're married

-They're Christians

-They have 3 kids ages 11, 9, and 3.

-They reminded US about the meeting 10 minutes before the scheduled time.

-They attentively listened and asked questions throughout the lesson

-They accepted baptismal dates.

And just when it looked like it couldn't get any better. They said

"Well it sure has been a pleasure....too bad we'll be moving back to Huancayo next week".

We thanked them for their time, set a meeting for this Tuesday (they day before they leave), and left.

I felt a bit sad as we left. After all, we had found a great family this week, and a promising investigator at church......and we wouldn't even be able to baptize them.....Other than that we had had a pretty lousy week too....not many people were home, and our pool of investigators has been steadily drying up.

And then I thought for a minute.......It really wouldn't make a difference if they were baptized here or in Huancayo.....would it?.....Yeah, I wouldn't have as many pictures.....and maybe I wouldn't get to know them as well.....but I still got to play a small part in their conversion. In fact, we were the means by which an entire family learned about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. That's still pretty neat!

Then I got to thinking......there's an awful lot of things I've done that (as far as I know) have gone unnoticed.......I think the same principle applies.

All of us at some point have become acquainted with the law of conservation of Mass:

"Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only changed from one form to another".

I think this law ties in quite nicely to missionary work.

Our efforts as missionaries do not "create" baptisms. They all just form a part of the wonderful work of spreading the gospel. A missionary who introduces 50 people to the gospel has played just a big a role as one who has found 50 prepared people and baptized them.

Unfortunately as humans, we tend to only view the outside results as successes, therefore the energy and efforts given by others; that do not have visible fruits, we often see as failures.

I want to testify to each of you, that that is not true.

I know this principle extends far beyond missionary work, and I hope you can all begin to realize it.

Entirely too often we let opportunities to help, serve, share the gospel, brighten a day, forgive, and love, pass by simply because we think "It won't make a difference".   According to both spiritual and physical laws that simply isn't true.

I want to invite each one of you to do 7 things this week to help someone else that you wouldn't normally do simply because "It wouldn't make a difference". You'll see that it makes a difference in their lives as well as yours.

Well that's it for this week!!!!! I'm sorry I don't have pictures!!! It's the computers fault!!!!

I love you all!!

Elder Winn

*Chaufa is a Peruvian fried rice dish consisting of rice, vegetables, eggs, meat  and seasoned with soy sauce.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

First a personal note from Syd: #1... I  want each of you to know that I have been a "shining example" of a missionary mom.  I am not one of the parents who called or emailed the mission office to find out where my e-mail was, nor have I emailed when he was having companion problems or when there was a tsunami warning off the coast of Peru.  I have given the boy to the Lord for two years and I've been stellar.
#2  I like Sister Larson she sounds a little feisty....No wonder Dave loves her!!!!
Now enjoy Dave's letter!!!
First off, I suppose I owe an explanation as to why I'm writing today.
You see we had a multi-zone conference yesterday, and in the words of Sister Larson:
"Apparently some parents have the idea that every Monday they will always get a letter from their missionary. That is simply not true. In some missions the missionaries don't communicate with their families for a week or two, because they don't have electricity."
"We do not want your parents e-mailing us and calling us if they do not receive a letter every Monday. Sometimes p-days change and they need to deal with it"
If you couldn't tell.....she was not very happy......So from here on out sometimes I will be writing on a day other that Monday and you all (mostly Mom) will have to deal with it.....Hahahaha
Speaking of the Multizona, it was incredible!!!
We had some great practices shown to us by the president and the assistants. They showed us effective ways to contact, as well as to involve members in the missionary work.
A major theme of the conference was obedience. Not only to the commandments, but the plethora of Mission rules that exist. It was really cool to hear of the experiences of other Elders, and their testimonies about obedience. I also had the pleasure of sharing a few of the experiences I have had.
Although much apart from all of that, it was my favorite zone conference for the following two reasons
1) The spirit that was felt
2) The laughs that were had
It was by far the funniest Multi-zone conference I have ever had. Thanks in no small part to a rather rotund Peruvian we have in our zone, here's what I can recall:
President: "So if a thief robs you, just give them all your stuff, don't resist. We don't want you dead"
Missionary in the back: "But what if they want to rob our family scriptures or something really important"?
Or this gem:
In our mission we have to note down every expenditure on a sheet every day, to keep track of what we spend, here's Navarro’s reaction:
Assistants: "So make sure you're all writing all your expenditures down somewhere you'll see them"
Elder Navarro: "Like my agenda"?
Assistants: "Yes! Can we use your agenda as an example"?
Elder Navarro: "I didn't bring my agenda"
Assistants: "Then where are you writing it all down"?
Elder Navarro: "When did I say I was writing it all down"?
The president, the assistants, and most of the elders made a normally boring meeting, reflect the true spirit of missionary work.
I learned a lot about the role of laughter in our lives.
It's truly a wonderful thing, and brought much joy to a otherwise dull day. Instead of a lack of focus, I found that all were attentively listening, happy to be among beloved friends, in a work we all loved so dearly.
Annnnnnnd in other news. Here's what a normal day is like in my life now:
6:30- Get up, brush teeth, exercise, shower. There's usually not breakfast here, and if there is, it's usually with the family across the street from 7:30 to 8:00
8:00- Personal study. Normally this means the BOM or Jesus The Christ, or Preach My Gospel......although if I'm bored of one of those three I usually read Liahona's (we've got like 100ish).
9:00- Companionship study- We read from the missionary handbook, then share what we learned during personal study.....then study for our investigators together.
10:00-12:00 We either leave and preach, have a district meeting(Wednesday), plan for the coming week(Thursday) or have some other conference (not very often)
12:00 is language study which means I read the BOM in Spanish or help Ramirez with his English.
At 1:00 or 1:15 we leave to go eat lunch with the pensionist. She lives about 5 blocks away so we play our harmonicas and contact en route.
2:30- we have finished lunch, went back to the room to brush/floss (yes Mom I floss daily). and are ready to leave
And then usually we eat dinner at like 8 and go home at 9. Although sometimes we're home at 9:30.....
And that's it!!!!
I know this Thursday is thanksgiving.....but I figured you'd get messages on being thankful from everywhere else. I figured I'd do something different!!!
Love you all!!!
-Elder Winn

Monday, November 16, 2015

This week wasn't too bad....Although we had a grand total of like 10 lessons....

Although it's not really the numbers that count......which brings me to this week's awesome story.

So....this week was the primary program in our ward (which believe like 10 times louder in Spanish)......(not better.....just louder). And as a result, they had a ton of practices. Most days this week, the primary president has called us at various hours of the day and asked us if we could pass around the ward, and pick up the kids for the rehearsal.....the first time, we had no problem (thinking it was a one time thing, and that it would only take about 45 minutes)......then came the second, third, fourth, fifth, and eventually sixth calls.

I distinctly remember walking to a sister's house, while my companion and I mutually complained, both of us incredulous at how the primary president could take away so much time from our busy schedule as missionaries (keep in mind, up until this point we had probably put about 10 hours of our proselyting time into helping her out this week), and ask us to do something as menial as take the kids from one place to another.

We got to the house of one of the families, and a sick mother answered the door. She thanked us profusely, and we left with her three heart had been pricked a little as I reflected on her attitude of thanksgiving, and how we had helped her.....but it paled in comparison to what happened next......

The little 5 year-old boy, grabbed my hand as we prepared to cross the street, and said "Thanks for helping us"........I wanted to cry.

I knew in that moment there there wasn't a soul I could teach, that would have been more meaningful to God in that moment, than it was to help that family.

Sometimes we're more focused on our goals (wholesome as they may be) that we don't see the ones God has placed for us.

I'll always be grateful for that family, and for that (needy) primary president. Because I learned a lesson I'll never forget.

On a different note.....

Nothing else is that new in the ward!!!

4 missionaries just came home, which means the missionary work in the ward should pick up! And we'll be losing another 4 in the next few months to come!

This week will be a lot of work with the Bishop and the ward council.....should be fun....hahahaha

I'm doing great!!! Looking forward to another Peruvian thanksgiving!!!

I hope all of you have a great week, and I invite you all to look for a way that God may be blessing you without you knowing it!!!

Much love,
Elder Winn
Dave is still a health food nut!
Wall in their apartment.

Monday, November 9, 2015

This Week…….


This week was pretty average, with one slight change.

I'm now a district leader.....which really doesn't mean a whole lot, other than now my sector has to be an example for two other companionships.

....It's honestly surprising how little everything else changes!!!

Recently the zone leaders have put a lot of emphasis on contacting. So we'll see if we can't get some outrageously high numbers this week!!!....

Anyway....a bit about this week...

Last week, after writing, we went to an all you can eat pizza buffet, which would have been delicious, but someone forgot their wallet......and when I say someone, I mean me.......and when I say "forgot" I mean lost.

So I immediately start freaking out, because I know there were credit cards, and all of this months money in there.....and everyone else just kind of looks at each other like:

"ooh....what do we tell him to make him feel better? Because that thing's gone for good".

Ramirez and I debated on taking a 20 minute bus ride back to the internet cafe (despite the possibility it had been stolen directly out of my backpack).

And he says "We can go back if you want....but we both know it's probably gone".....

So we take a Taxi back.....and at this point about 1 hour has passed since I noticed it was missing.....we walk into the internet, look into the desk where I was sitting, and there it is, on the floor, completely untouched.

We were shocked (as was everyone else in the cafe, as well as the district).

While that may just sound like good luck, I know that something special had to have happed for that wallet not to be stolen in the 2 hours I left it unattended.

So that was pretty awesome.

Other than that, it's just been a long hard week with relatively low numbers ](and when I say low numbers I mean 5 new people, and an average of 3 lessons a not really that bad at all)......but, you win some, you lose some I guess! Hahaha, things should be great this next week though!!! I'm looking forward to leading a district; it should be a great learning experience!!!

We're working really hard with Daniel......he should get baptized this Saturday, but.....we'll see.....and we've also got two of those kids who follow Danny around that should be getting baptized that I think about it, we could have a really awesome December!!!

I love you all!!! I hope you know I'm doing great, and am really happy here!!!! Remember to Read the scriptures daily!

Much love, Elder Winn

Monday, November 2, 2015 would appear as if my last e-mail solicited some worried responses (looking at you Mom), 

so first off, I would like to assure all of you that I am doing great!!!

Callao is not what it's made out to be.....well, at least not the part I'm in. I'm in a fairly wealthy part of the district, which means a few gated communities, and not that many....uhh....ruffians.

So, everything's very peaceful and tranquil. inform you all a bit about the work.

Things are going great!!! We're finding new people left and right!!! The majority of names that we plan for daily are people that we have found while I was here!

Right now we're teaching Daniel, he's our investigator who's progressing the most. His girlfriend is a member, and he wants to learn more. He is 25 years old and pretty excited to learn, we should be planning his baptism for next week, or the week that follows.

In other news.......I can think about 3 other announcements.....

Number 1: We've got a great ward missionary here. His name is Nikola, his parents are Italian, and he's the best. He's pretty much a third companion. He's with us about 6 hours a day, most days a week, the only downside is he'll be leaving on his mission in a few months.....but until then, he's a big help.

Number 2: We've had some changes with the mission now we have to note every purchase we make on a sheet.....from a 3 cent gum, to lunch, dinner, toilet paper, soap......everything.....I'm assuming it stems from the fact the President Larson was an accountant......

Number 3: We'll be changing houses soon.....the President inspected our room and said that it would probably be better if we changed houses due to a club located directly beneath our house.....and he's probably right....

and......random tidbit:

Yesterday a 30 year old man named Danny said he was going to bring his friends to church......and when he showed up there was like a group of 10 kids, spanning from the ages of 8-12, following him.
Apparently when he gets home from work he plays soccer in the street with them, and they're best we'll see if we can't get some new families there!!!!!

Anyway!! That's about it!!! I love you all, and I'm doing great!!!!!

Much love,
Elder Winn

Here's me and Ramirez celebrating Halloween!!! This was right before an activity we had with investigators and less actives!!!

and here's all of our's really tiny......
The sacrament hall is to the right, and the classes are to the left.