Giving our Best, “It isn’t a good time…”, and Mission Swimming…

Hey ya’ll!  Merry Christmas!  Hope everything is going well!  I love hearing from each of you!

Betty Glenn was baptized and confirmed a member this past Saturday and Sunday!  Baptisms are crazy and stressful. hahaha  But we have an amazing ward that really helps out right when you need them.  Sister Kasteler and I got to sing, “Lord I Would Follow Thee.”  hahaha Singing is not my forte but it’s what we did!  It was a crazy day, the font takes a long time to fill and we wanted it to be hot because Betty is “fragile” but it just didn’t work out so the water was pretty cold.  Sister Kasteler and I got the closest we will to swimming these 18 months filling the font up.  We both had to wade through the water at one point after finding out the door on the ladies side of the font was locked.

On top of the craziness of Christmas and organizing a baptism we had trade offs this week.  I went to Lake Butler (tiny town 20 minutes away from Lake City) and Sister K. stayed here.  Everyone in Lake Butler is related at church so they call each other Sister *first name* or Brother *first name*.  Sister Call who I was on the trade off with told me a story about how she had gone to a members house in Lake Butler and when they opened the door he was skinning a deer on the dining room table.  The next day she went to another persons house and they were doing that too!   hahaha So yep.  That is what happens here.

We have been teaching a black family the lessons.  The mother has 8 children and came to church this Sunday.  She is used to “shouting out” during church so during Sacrament and Relief Society she keeps saying, “Amen” “mhmmm” “I agree with that!” hahaha  It’s great that she loves church so much, but it was definately different than what I am used to. hahaha  It was great!  We saw so many miracles this past week tracting and just being in the right place at the right time.  God really directs each of us, we just need to recognize it and acknowledge Him in all things.  I love the people of the South!  They all have such a strong belief in Christ and God.  Many people are so prepared and I am so happy to be out here to share His word with His people.

We have been trying to meet with this family when we are in their neighbourhood, but each time, “it isn’t a good time.”  We stopped by yesterday and the wife told us that they were going through a lot, that her husband’s father had just passed away and that he also had the same disease that his father had and that things were just looking bleak for them.  She had never really liked us before (that is the impression that we got, her husband was the one that was interested).  But when we offered to pray with her she just started crying and said she would love that.  So that is what we did!  After she hugged and thanked us.  God does soften peoples hearts to ear the gospel and leads us along. (Doctrine and Covenants 78:17-18(I love this scripture)).

It’s hard to feel like it is Christmas when it is so hot each day and with no thought of snow at all.  But peoples hearts are more than ever centered on Jesus Christ and I love that.  There is a story in the 2010…I think Ensign that talks anout a family who is told at church to bring a toy to give to someone else who might need it a Christmas time.  The family isn’t very wealthy and decides to wrap up one of their own toys and give it to others.  The mother while helping her son wrap up his toy truck goes to check on her daughter.  She finds her wrapping her favorite doll up in her blanket and putting her in a box.  The mother has the urge to tell her daughter that she doesn’t have to give her favorite doll, but that she could give any toy.  She resists telling her daughter because she knows that she is giving  her best.  She then goes on to relate this to to our Father in Heaven, how He sent His Son.  He sent Him here to earth.  He gave us His best. 

I love that comparison.  These are the stories of my week!  I am excited for Christmas and I hope you all are too!  I hope you find joy in service (Mosiah 2:17).

Love Ya’ll,  Merry Christmas!  Sister Winkler

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Florida Snow Day, Jogging, Chocolate, and Trust God has in Us His Servants!

Merry Christmas to you all.  The Christmas package you sent arrived! All the little bitty presents look so cute sitting under our two foot tall Christmas tree in our apartment. hahaha The Christmas Cards were great too!  Thank you!

We had our wonderful Mission Christmas Party this past week!  It was great!  I got to see all the other missionaries that I came out with again!  I hadn’t seen them since we first came out!  Sister Hawkins is on the opposite side of the mission.  I am close to the Gulf of Mexico, and she is right by the Atlantic Ocean.  But as our mission President says, “Our mission ends where the sands begin.”  There are a lot of wealthy people where she is serving.  It was wonderful to meet each other again.  It was an hour and a half drive to get there and it ate up a good portion of our miles for the month, but I know we will get by.  Somehow each month we just meet our miles cap!

We go running most every morning!  I look forward to the exercise time of the day cause people feed us SO MUCH Southern food (aka fattening food) here.   It is still very warm here.  It rained a little bit, but that is about it.  In Lake City they  have a “Snow Day” where they basically import snow and have a snowball fight in the middle of downtown!  It was cool, but the snow was pathetic! hahaha.   It was slush in a few minutes!

 It is hard to believe it is almost Christmas!  I am excited to Skype (thanks to Bernie) and see ya’ll!  Sister, you see miracles every day on your mission!  I have come to a great realization of all that God has done for me, and all the ways He has directed me out here.  I sadly did not notice His hand in my life as much as I should have up till now.  I hope I never forget.

 In studies this morning I read in Alma 34:27-28.  It really spoke to me about the power of prayer and that when we pray, we are literally talking to our Father in Heaven and He wants to hear from us.  He wants to know about our day.

He wants to hear the names of those that need Him specifically.  God answers the prayers of others through each of us.  We are His “angels” on earth!  So it is up to us to do His work and share the love He has for us, His children.

I love Him so much and cannot even try to compare the amount of love that He has back for me.  I love you my sister.  You are amazing and have so much to offer the world with your incredible uniqueness.  Take good care of Mom and Dad, I know they are taking good care of you!  ALSO eat lots of chocolate!

I am glad Matthew is still working on his mission papers.  A mission is a great place to be.  We have had so many miracles this week!  I am so appreciative of all the trust God has in us, His Servants.  I love being out here!  I love talking with you by email each week!  I love, love, love, you all!   Thank you to everyone for their support!  Your Sister Winkler

Car Problems, Amazingly Happy, Ninja Turtles and Christmas Devotional

Hey ya’ll a lot happened this week so I’ll start from the beginning…Our car was having problems so we drove it back to the dealership to get it looked at first thing in the morning.  From there, we took a shuttle back home to do our studies.  After that we ended up being on foot until six pm.  We have all the “far out” stuff in our ward because we normally have a car so we had to walk quite a bit to get to our areas.  We met some crazy people along the way.  

We even had one of our investigators come to us!  She just happened to be walking down the road the opposite way than we were and we were able to share a message with her.  We also set TWO baptismal dates this week!  We are really working on getting people to church.  That is REALLY hard!  Our ward start time will change to 11:00am in the New Year though, so that may help some.

We see this old man each day at the library and talk to him most days.  We will call him Bernard.  We talked with Bernard about God and how we can trust Him, and that He won’t try us above what we can handle.  This conversation went really well.  BUT, at some point he started talking about something else and Sister Kasteler and I took a little while to catch on to his sudden topic change to…something that was not appropriate.  We just smiled and then ended the conversation.

Paul W Craig: Family Man, Paul Craig, Skier, Mormon.

You can read about my Mission President at this link:

http://mormon.org/me/bjzb

The reason I send you this is because this week we had interviews with the President.  In the interview we were asked to give a three minute lesson on a principle.  Before going in we practiced all the principles, we left Chastity til the end and ran out of time, so I didn’t practice it.  I was fine with that because I was confident he wouldn’t ask me to do that one…Guess which one I had to present?  Yep!  That was the one! hahaha  Anyways I must have been guided by the Spirit cause it went pretty well.  President Craig is way cool!

We went out tracting this week, walking around this neighborhood and we decided to simply talk to everyone we saw.  We walked past this house and there was this older lady outside, so we walk up and she is smiling really big back at us and chuckles, so we smile and chuckle back too.  We talk to her for a bit.  

Her sentences did not make any sense but she had this HUGE smile the whole time.  We decided to just give her our card and tell her if she needed anything to just call us.  She took our card, spelled out everything on it, “s-i-s-t-e-r-m-i-s-s-i-o-n-a-r-one of these-one of those-this and that-and all the way to the end, then each one of the numbers in our phone number.  Holding up the card she said, “Isn’t this beautiful?”  To which we nodded and said, “Yes, it is.”  Then she offered it back to us saying, “Which is why I want you to have this card.”  At this point we just walked away.  She was a VERY happy lady though.  I cannot do this story justice.  It was SO incredibly funny.

We got to go to one of our investigator’s sons Birthday Party which had a ninja turtle theme.  It was pretty cool, he and her family are great and we had many missionary opportunities there.  One of them basically asked us to share the restoration with him and so we did right there!  The South is way cool!

Despite all the craziness, we had an amazing week.  We had some great experiences sharing the Gospel.  Missionary work blesses us all.  I am so happy to be out here doing this great work and grateful for the companionship of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I hope ya’ll got the chance to watch the Christmas Devotional!

I didn’t even know they existed, but they are amazing!  This is the link:

http://www.lds.org/broadcasts/watch/christmas-devotional/2013/12?lang=eng&vid=2912344387001

Lots of love and thanks to all back home-Sister Winkler

P.S.  It is 70-80 Fahrenheit here.  Doesn’t feel like Christmas!

Cracker Barrel Birthday, sicker than a dog and “We Believe…”

Hi Ya’ll!  So…my Birthday was great!  A good member took us out to dinner which was sweet.  We went to Cracker Barrel.  The brother in the ward who took us is

hilarious.  He  has the most Southern drawl that I have ever heard and is always making jokes.   It was the most interesting meal! hahaha

This week we got invited to another investigators church.  It is called Christ Central and is popular down here.  It is basically a “party” Church.  He agreed to listen to what we had to say if we came to his Church so that is the plan!  I will let you know how it goes.  There are so many different churches here it is hard to keep track of them.  It was actually really funny how he invited us.  As we walked up to the door one of their little children came out a side door so we waved at her.  She went right back inside and told her parents she saw us (I guess).   SO we knock at the door and we hear someone someone lock the door immediately after we knock.  We found this really funny and we just laughed for a bit kinda thinking well…do we walk away?  So we are standing there for about 3-4 minutes and he just unlocks the door, opens it up and he invites us to church.  We asked him, “What do you believe?”  He said, “We believe in the Bible.”  We said, “So do we.”  Then he says, “The Whole Bible.”  And we say, “So do we.”  And he says, “The Old Testament and the New Testament.” And we say, “So do we.” hahaha

Next visit there might be some things that we can clear up for him about what we actually believe.   Looking forward to it…

My companion got sicker than a dog and I think I caught it from her.

 

I hope to be better soon too.  Because we have been sick we haven’t been able to visit some of our sick sisters.  I miss seeing them!   You know it is probably because we had FIVE Thanksgiving Dinners!  Holy Man!  We had three on American Thanksgiving Day and on the day before and one on Sunday.  They were delicious.  Really, I kinda never want to eat mac and cheese, mashed potatoes or stuffing ever again…well, maybe not till Christmas…

 

That sounds like good old Chinook country weather you are having in Calgary.  Enjoy the blizzard!  Here I have been lulled into a sense of false security.  I have been seeing less roaches.  They must still be there.   Anyway, I will continue to kill them!  Thank you all for your words of wisdom and spiritual thoughts.  I will use them if I get a chance.  I love you all lots.  You are amazing!  Remember that.

Your Daughter, (Sister Winkler)