To use Elder Pugsley, Bishop Bickmore, and President Whitworths' word, this week has been simply marvelous. What a fantastic work to be a part of. I have found great meaning in both trial and triumph this week.

I never cease marveling at the growth that I continue to undergo even in the final moments of missionary service. As a friend of mine recently put it, "I know that my [growth] has been a result of the Lord’s mercy on me and His granting me the experiences I’ve had." I feel like Ammon who said, "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things" (Alma 26:12). I could not have made myself into a fraction of the man I am today, but in His mercy, The Savior has truly made me into a new man. A man more like He is. I am still far from perfect, but I have found unmatched joy as I have begun fulfilling my purpose as a son of God by becoming more like my Redeemer, Jesus Christ and loving others in His way. Oh how I love Him. 

There are two mortal instances in which the veil between this world and our heavenly home is particularly thin. These universal experiences are birth and death. I was blessed to have beautiful experiences with both this past week. 

I virtually attended a funeral service for one of the most noble, compassionate, and Christlike men I have ever had the privilege of knowing. In one letter I received from him, he signed his name as, "The Mike Whipple," an apt description for my well-known Uncle. His passing has left a painful hole in the lives of all who knew him, but his legacy and impact will follow him through the eternities. We miss you Mike. We love you.

It was very painful to suffer the loss of such a good man. But equally painful, was to be apart from those I love in such a trying time. To see their sorrow and be kept by circumstance from providing love and consolation. And yet in spite of the many tears I've shed, I have faith that the Savior indeed mourns with we who are mourning and will comfort those of us who stand in need of comfort. 

Precisely in this hour of grief, my companion and I were called upon to administer the Priesthood. Over the phone, a single mother informed us that her brand new baby boy was in need of a blessing. Following the service we hurried to the hospital and found a healthy, but tiny, 4 pound baby awaiting us. 
After spending some time with the mother, we laid hands—or rather fingers—upon the head of this beautiful newborn child. 

In two short hours, I had commemorated the life of a man who had now returned to the presence of The Creator and given a priesthood blessing to one who had just descended from His presence to experience life for the first time. 

When my companion and I exited the hospital following these two experiences, the veil was so thin we felt as though the Savior was walking with us. We felt the spirits of the righteous round about us, crowding the halls as we departed. Their presence is a feeling I will not soon forget.

I testify that, like birth, death is just another step in our journey home and in our quest to become eternal beings. What an amazing plan God has given us to come and enjoy the vibrancy of mortality. To learn and grow. And then take the joy we've discovered and live with it forever.

The final experience I will share is about my new friend Zack. He recently met a member of our ward on the street (a miracle in and of itself) who invited him to worship with us on Sunday. Zack, who had been looking for a church, gladly accepted the invitation to attend a sacrament meeting, where we met him for the first time. As we got to know him, his burning desire to have a relationship with God and become a better man were striking. We began to explain that we were called as missionaries to help him find the very things he was searching for. Before we could even finish he told us he would love to hear what we had to say. We asked him when he would like to meet up and he asked if we could meet at the conclusion of the service. Delighted, we agreed.

By the end of our first meeting with Zack, we had discovered that his commitment was so sincere, he would be willing to do anything to change his life. And so, we invited him to prepare to make covenants with God at baptism and he wholeheartedly accepted. Since then, we have continued to meet with him, and while he still has questions, his commitment is unwavering. My admiration and love for him is immense already and continues to grow with each interaction I have with him. 

I have learned through the love I've developed for Zack, and the love I've developed for hundreds of others as a missionary, that to love another person creates the truest and deepest joy that we can experience in this life. 

King Benjamin admonished, "that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For…if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness" (Mosiah 2:41). Consider these promises in the context of the Saviors' two great commandments, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:30-31; Matthew 22:37-40).

Furthermore we're taught, "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God" (Mosiah 2:17). Thus we see that by loving our neighbor, we fulfill both great commandments and qualify ourselves to inherit that blessed and happy state described by the prophets. Because all commandments can be circumscribed into these two greatest, it becomes necessary that all joy is somehow generated by love. What a powerful truth! By loving others, we create and fill our cosmos with more joy!

As we understand this great truth, we also come to understand our highest purpose in life, which is this: to become like God by learning to love others in His way, the perfect way. What does this entail? John said, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10). God our Eternal Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to show us what pure love, celestial love, really looks like.

So how did Christ love? We learn from the scriptures that, "Charity is the pure love of Christ," and that, "charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things" (Moroni 7:45-47). As we strive in our own imperfect way to emulate the attributes of Jesus Christ, we will be begin to find ourselves possed of Charity. Then, and only then, will we be capable of loving in God's way. 

It is my fervent prayer that each of us will earnestly seek Charity. I pray that we would follow Christ's example by choosing to forgive. By choosing to withhold judgement. By choosing to be kind. By choosing to be merciful. And by always choosing love. It is my promise that as we do so, the joy we feel from day to day will grow deeper than it ever has before.

Sending my love to you,

Elder Winegar


Good Riddance—Greenday
Big Life—Bleachers
I Miss Those Days—Bleachers

Where Love Is, There God Is Also- Elder Winegar

Sunday, July 9, 2023

 Hello my friends! 

Much has transpired since I last wrote…not all of it good news. My friend Julissa's Father-in-Law passed away in a tragic motorcycle crash. My friend Oscar was apprehended by the police after he was engaged in a domestic dispute with an officer. And my friend Young was not being entirely truthful about her identity. It turns out she was concealing that she had been asked to withdraw her records from the Church in Korea, meaning that she would not be permitted to be baptized again without special preparation. 

It is in times like these that I feel the apostle Peter was speaking just to me when he said, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you" (1 Peter 4:13). Peter was teaching us, just as Lehi was, that experiencing hardship is a fact of life because, "it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things" (2 Nephi 2:11). 

Fortunately, another fact of life is that because of Jesus Christ, "there is hope smiling brightly before us" (Hymn 19). Lehi taught us that, "The Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men…and because that they are redeemed…they have become free forever…to act for themselves and not to be acted upon'' (2 Nephi 2:26). Because of Jesus Christ, our suffering does not have to define us, but instead it can refine us! Through the power of Jesus Christ's Atonement, we can be redeemed, or lifted above our sorrow. Instead of being acted upon and held down by the world, we can take action, press forward, and move on from our challenges with the Savior's help. 

And so it was with me. Instead of wallowing in the impediments my friends and I were facing, I instead chose to be proactive by ministering to the needs of my friends and continually seeking those that I knew were searching for the peace that only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bring. As I did so I saw miracles as power from heaven was manifested in response to my companion and I's faith. 

One miracle we saw was meeting our new friend Moritz. He is a Stanford student from Germany and is here in America doing some pretty amazing medical research. His roommate, Quinn, who is also an intern at Stanford medical school, just so happens to be a returned missionary. As one might expect, Quinn was eager to have us over to meet his new roommate. After enjoying dinner with the two of them, my companion and I had the opportunity of giving Moritz a copy of the Book of Mormon and answering some questions about the church. It was a riveting conversation that really piqued Moritz' curiosity and they invited us back to talk more soon!

We were also able to spend some quality time serving Joseph and Julissa, following Joseph's Father's accident. One day after not hearing from the family for some time, Joseph called us out of the blue and asked if we would be willing to help him pick up his dad's bike from the tow yard. We told him we would love nothing more than to come with and help where we could. My time in the tow yard with Joseph was surprisingly spiritual and very eventful. 

From an onlooker's perspective, lifting a 1,200 pound Harley Davidson into the back of a pickup truck would've looked like the biggest miracle, and undoubtedly it certainly was. But from my closeup and personal perspective, I was able to see how the hand of the Lord is truly in the details. As Joseph was paying the tow fee, the woman working the register unexpectedly gave a powerful and reassuring testimony. She told him that because of his faith in Christ, he would see his father again. She urged him to pray and told him God would be there to support him. 

As we retrieved the bike from the tow yard, a man named Paul, who worked as a tow truck driver, likewise offered wise counsel. He asked Joseph if he would keep riding motorcycles even though the potential consequences had become especially real. Joseph explained that he planned to keep riding. Paul then offered this wise advice, "If you are willing to give your life for your love of motorcycles, you should be willing to live your life for Jesus Christ." 

Neither of these individuals were members of the restored church of Jesus Christ. And neither of them knew Joseph Alexander prior to that moment. But as good Christian's, they were willing to submit to God's will and be instruments in his hands. To us, they seemed as angels sent to minister to a mourning soul.

I testify that in the same way that God sent angels to minister to this man in his hour of need, God will send angels to minister to us. Sometimes these heavenly helpers may come in the form of glorious messengers from celestial worlds on high (3 Nephi 17:24). Other times those that we know and love, who have passed on from this mortal sphere, will be called to minister to us through the veil (D&C 129). But perhaps most often our angels are simply those around us who live righteously enough to be prompted by the Holy Ghost to answer our prayers. (JST, Genesis 19:15).

I testify that the Lord's promises are sure. And he has promised each one of us, "I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up" (D&C 84:88). With our own ministering angels assisting us, I testify that we will be able to bear burdens far heavier than a Harley Davidson. Through their consolation we can bear heartbreak. Through their encouragement we can bear oppression. And through the wisdom they impart we can navigate sensitive situations. As we humbly accept their help, we are following the example of the Savior, who in the darkest hour was strengthened by his own angel (Luke 22:43).

I bear you my solemn witness that above all each messenger sent from God to help us on our way is an expression of His divine love for us. Please do not reject it! Let him help you. I testify that through His love, we truly can bear all things (Moroni 7:45-47).

I love you my friends.

Elder Winegar



Hark! Elder Winegar

Sunday, July 2, 2023

 My friends, 

I would like to quickly share just a few of the experiences that I have had of late and what they have taught me about the nature of God.

Two of the people in Palo Alto dearest to my heart are Joseph and Julisa Alexander. They are a young couple in our ward with a most darling little girl. Joseph was baptized as an 8 year-old and received the Aaronic Priesthood, but by the time he was 14 his activity in the church was dwindling. He lived almost entirely without Jesus Christ until he had a child with his wife and realized that there was a hole in his life. After searching his soul, he realized that what they were missing was a relationship with God! He and his wife have since been attending church and we have been teaching his wife the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As it turns out, Julisa has been blessed with the gift of spirituality. She has a deep desire to learn and is willing to take the necessary steps to come unto Christ. She has been reading the Book of Mormon each day, but we felt impressed to ask what she was hoping to learn from her studies. Suddenly, she became emotional and said that she really just wanted to learn those truths that would help her have a strong family. She was never planning to be a mother until she met Joseph and never experienced the blessings of a stable family during her upbringing. She felt overwhelmed, inexperienced, and under qualified to perform what she thought was a mother's role in a family. 

We opened the scriptures and read John 14:26 with her which says, "The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name…shall…bring all things to your remembrance." We testified that before this life she was in the presence of not only a perfect Heavenly Father, but an equally perfect Heavenly Mother who taught her all that she would need to know in order to be an excellent mother here on earth. We promised her that the Holy Ghost could bring these things to her remembrance. We testified too that through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, she could be spiritually transformed (Mosiah 5:2) into a stronger woman capable of loving her family in the ways that they needed. We promised that both of these blessings, the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and a mighty change of heart, were received through the ordinances and covenants of baptism. With tears in our eyes and hers, she accepted an invitation to be baptized and receive the blessings she needs.

Oscar met the Sister missionaries about 3 months ago and was so enraptured by the first principles of the gospel that he accepted a date for baptism in the street. Unfortun- -ately, the brilliance of his first interaction with the gospel was swallowed up in the

dreariness of the world and he essentially vanished without a trace. Yet, the Lord has promised that he, "will judge all men according to the desire of their hearts" (D&C 137:9). Because of Oscar's righteous desires, the Savior would not let him be lost so easily. This last week Oscar was found once again by a set of missionaries assigned to labor in the Spanish language.

As they began to explain that they were the local missionaries and that they shared a special message about finding peace in Christ, he stopped them in their tracks by saying, "Guys, I know who you are. I wasn't baptized in the church and it was the worst decision I've ever made in my entire life." Needless to say the missionaries were astonished. We went with them to see him the next day and as he again expressed a desire to become a clean vessel of the Lord, we helped him recommit himself to being baptized (3 Nephi 20:41; 3 Nephi 27:19-20).

가영길, or Young, is a strong-willed young adult from Korea, who's journey to Christ has been nothing short of miraculous. She initially moved to Ohio, where she met an American young man named Timothy, who just so happened to speak Korean. As she got to know him, she learned that he was a returned missionary who had recently spent two years teaching others about Jesus Christ in her homeland. Intrigued and wanting to know more, Timothy introduced her to two Sister missionaries who taught her who God is, shared with her the importance of the Book of Mormon, and took her to the Holy Temple. 

While falling in love with the restored gospel, she simultaneously moved to Stanford for a summer internship. Awaiting her arrival was another set of Sisters—one of whom was also from South Korea. Are not experiences such as these divinely orchestrated? After meeting with the Sisters a few times, we met her for the first time this week and taught her of the universal need for a Savior. After our discussion she casually mentioned, "I've been thinking a lot about this baptism thing, but I'm probably not ready right?" 

"Well," we asked, "Do you believe that God is your Heavenly Father?" She responded with an enthusiastic explanation in the affirmative. "And do you believe in Jesus Christ?" Another strong yes. We proceeded to ask her whether or not she believed in the restoration of the Church and the Book of Mormon, and whether or not she was willing to keep the commandments. Yes, yes, and yes. "Well then Young," we said,  "you're ready to be baptized!" Her eyes widened, she asked what days people usually get baptized, and if we had a calendar with us. We gave her a calendar and explained that Saturday's were usually good. She then asked us if she could be baptized on the 8th of July. Grinning, we assured her that we would be more than happy to accommodate her request. 

All three of these experiences have caused me to reflect on the nature of God and our relationship to Him. He will be as involved in our lives as He was in Young's. His gospel will satisfy our needs, just as it did Julisa's. And He will always find us, just as He found Oscar. 

God has, "a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s" and is "the Father of [our] Spirits" (D&C 130:22; Heb. 12:9). Or in other words, God is a person just like you and me. And just as any two people could, we can cultivate a human relationship with Him that is personal and individual. In order to help us understand His character and feel His love He shares His exalted station with two other beings: His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. 

During His mortal ministry, Jesus Christ taught His disciples, "If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him" (John14:7). By studying who Christ is, we come to understand who God our Father is and how He feels about us. We will begin to see that He knows us intimately and has a deep desire to be a part of our lives (John 1:47-49; John 4:5-29; Luke 19:1-10; Heleman 10:1-6). We will realize that He understands our struggles and wants to help us because of His great compassion towards us (Alma 7:11-12; 3 Nephi 17:7-9, 17-21). We will know that He loves us, so much so that He was willing to send His Firstborn Son to die for us, so that we could return to His presence again and enjoy the life that He enjoys (John 3:16-17).

Christ also taught, "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever" (John 14:16). God our Father also uses the Holy Ghost as a messenger of His love and a testator of His reality. It is through a witness of the Holy Ghost that we come to know that Jesus is the Savior of the world and that God is the very Eternal Father. 

I have not experienced any joy so sweet or any peace so deep as the joy and peace that I experience when I feel God's love for me. 

I testify that as we make and, "keep our covenants, we can feel the love of the Father and the Son for each other and for us. We can feel Their closeness in our mortal lives, just as we will when we are blessed to be with Them forever" (Eyring, April 2023). 

Though many, "may struggle to believe these eternal truths apply specifically in their lives and to their circumstances…I promise that by the power of the Holy Ghost, you can know and feel the gospel truths I have attempted to describe are for you—for you individually and personally" (Bednar, April 2023). 

God lives. He knows You and He lovesYou

Choose to believe it.

Elder Winegar


Sinkin' In—Farwell Milwaukee

O My Father, Elder Winegar

Sunday, June 18, 2023

 How're you, my friends?

I often feel as if I am a broken record. There is not much I can say that would be new or exciting or that I haven't said before. I've been here for such a long time that things that used to seem thrilling or unusual have almost become expected and natural. New companions and new areas seem to blend together into one sprawling tapestry of experience. And I can feel the yarn growing sparse as the story nears completion. As my two years are almost up, grief fills my heart and I wish I could serve two more! But, I am calm knowing I will look upon the beauty of these two years with joy and gratitude for all eternity. 

So, yes, I do have a new companion. He is, to use Nephi's words, "a man large in stature" (1 Nephi 4:31). But such great size comes with a price; our diet consists of an endless stream of protein amounting to a caloric nightmare. All in the name of gains I suppose…

As usual I am meeting droves of incredible people. Two of my friends, both recovering addicts who want to wash away their pasts' and start afresh, are preparing themselves to be baptized. They have both tread long and thorny paths, but it has allowed their hearts to be humbled or softened sufficiently to heed the counsel of their creator. It is one of the greatest joys of my life to meet individuals such as these, who are so thoroughly dedicated to changing their lives and modeling them after their Exemplar, Jesus Christ.

I have spent much of my time as of late attempting to look unto Jesus Christ in every thought, to always remember Him (D&C 6:36; 20:77-79). This has caused me to reflect more often and more deeply, "upon the great atoning sacrifice that was made by the Son of God, for the redemption of the world" (D&C 138:2). 

I testify that the Atonement of Jesus Christ was the single most important event in the history of mankind, for without it the progression of mankind would be eternally thwarted and our state ever miserable. Conversely, because of it our growth becomes possible and our potential infinite.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ comprised His suffering in Gethsemane, His death on the cross, and concluded with His triumphal Resurrection from the tomb. Nothing else has greater consequence for and effect upon every single human life.

Beginning in the garden, a stone's cast from His disciples, the Redeemer began His atoning work. Through the supreme power of His Eternal Father, Jesus Christ was permitted to suffer, "the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam," including, "temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people" (2 Ne. 9:21; Msh. 3:7). 

Thus, we see that the Savior not only endured all of the individual physical, emotional, and mental pains that each of us would suffer, but He also endured the crushing burden of guilt that we feel when we make mistakes. Christ took the agony of those mistakes upon Himself so that we wouldn't have to endure it ourselves. He has said, "For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent" (D&C 19:16). As we repent, we allow Christ to satisfy the demands of justice on our behalf and suffer the spiritual consequences of our mistakes for us. (Alma 34:15-16). In doing so, He turns our guilt to peace and our sorrow to joy!

In perfect contrast to the paramount darkness of Gethsemane is the ultimate glory of His Resurrection, or His victory over the grave! Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead with a glorified and perfected body, we too have the blessed assurance that even though, "our flesh must waste away and die…in our bodies we shall see God" (2 Ne. 9:4). We see that through His suffering Christ, "descended below all things" and through His Resurrection He once again, "ascended up on high…that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth" (D&C 88:6). Through His Atonement, Jesus Christ endured all things and thus became in and through all things. So when He invites us to, "know the truth, and the truth shall make you free," He's really inviting us to know Him so He can set us free.

When you consider that Jesus Christ literally freed us from the bands of death, His ability and power to help us overcome the multitude of mortal challenges becomes very realistic. Through His Atonement, Jesus Christ has subdued every enemy that we as God's children could ever face in our lives. Whether we face the enemies of temptation and addiction, or depression, despair, and discouragement, or anxiety, or fear, or oppression, or sickness, or suffering of any kind, it would do us well to remember that those enemies have already been defeated once and with Christ's help they can be defeated again (1 Cor. 15:20-28).

I bear you my heartfelt testimony that Jesus Christ drank the bitter cup, or completed His Atonement, because He loves us. He wants us to be "more than conquerors" (Romans 8:37). He wants us to grow and to have peace and joy, even in our heartaches. He wants us to overcome all things so that one day, "when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure'' (Moroni 7:48).

His love is real. His Atonement is real. His power is real. And He wants you to use it. So please, don't delay. Come unto Christ.

All my love,

Elder Winegar


Payphone—Maroon 5

Broken Halos—Chris Stapleton

Elder Winegar, The Bitter Cup

Thursday, June 1, 2023


It felt like I spent a lot of time working in people's yards this week. Something about the scent of dirt under my fingernails and the slight burns on the back of my neck remind me that summer is around the corner. The sun is coming out again and bringing with it the warmth and joy of the season. I testify that in contrast to the earth's fickle seasons, those who reverence God can always have confidence that, "the Sun of righteousness [will] arise with healing in his wings" (Mal. 4:2). Regardless of the temporal climate, we can always be filled with light, comfort, and joy as our broken hearts are repaired through the healing power of Jesus Christ, who is both the Sun of Righteousness and the Son of God.

I felt what it means to be a "[fisher] of men" this week (Matt. 4:19). In just one day of 7, we found 18 people who were ready to "let God prevail" in their lives. Needless to say, the Lord astonished me. Whether or not we choose to believe it, some interactions are orchestrated, or perhaps just nudged to happen just right. God wants us to meet the people who need our help and He wants us to meet the people who will help us.

One such individual who was so very ready to meet the representatives of Jesus Christ was our dear friend Thiago. He's a package delivery man who, unfortunately, drives a delivery truck with no air conditioning. As a result, he takes the occasional break to get out of his vehicle and cool off a bit. On one such break, by divine providence he was approached by two missionaries named Elder Petersen and Elder Winegar. 

At first I wasn't sure we should talk to him, seeing as he was in his work uniform, but as I described, when the nudge from the spirit comes you just put away whatever you're thinking and go. So, we did. Turns out he had been thinking a lot about the tumultuous condition of the world and was intrigued to hear that despite the ever shifting moral tectonics of our time, there was solid ground in Jesus Christ. We taught him of the unchangeableness of the Holy Ghost which delivers us from deception and grounds us in truth (2 Nephi 2:4; Jn 16:13). We further explained covenants, promises with God that allow His Spirit to abound in our lives. These promises also secure us steadfastly to, "the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God." Thus, through covenants we build ourselves upon a sure foundation insomuch that we will not falter under the pressures of a changing world. (Hel. 5:12).

With his interest piqued, we asked if he desired such blessings for himself and his family. He told us he did. We then invited him to enter into covenantal safety by being baptized in the name of Christ. He happily agreed and is preparing himself for baptism on the 8th of July.

Like Thiago, there will inevitably come a time in each of our lives when we will pine for rest in greener pastures and to walk by stiller waters (Hymn 108; Psalm 23). I testify that the Good Shepherd offers tranquility to all who will make covenants with Him. 

A covenant differs from a worldly promise in the fact that the terms of the agreement are set by God and are eternally binding, when officiated by those holding His authority. These covenants connect or seal us to God and those around us by divine power, ensuring that we will be together after this life. 

The scriptures teach that, "If a man marry a wife…by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise…it shall be done unto them…in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world" (D&C 132:19). By similar ordinances the, "sealing of the children to their parents" is also made possible (D&C 138:48). Thus, we see through this patriarchal order, the possible "welding together" of the entirety of the human family and the perpetuation of earthly relationships for eternity (D&C 128:18). Indeed, those loving relationships that are our deepest wells of joy in this life need not be divided in death! (D&C 135:3).

Not only is it God's will for us to remain with each other forever, but perhaps even more significantly for us to "be with [Him] where [He is]; that [we] may behold [His] glory" (John 17:24). Through our covenants we can receive the sublime promise of being sealed to God. That we will be with Him where He is, enjoying the life He enjoys. When we are reunited with our earthly kin, our Saviour, and our Heavenly Father, "God shall wipe away all tears from [our] eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Rev. 21:4).

I bear you my solemn and sure witness with the living prophets of these latter-days that, "The covenant connection we have with our Heavenly Father and His resurrected and living Son is the supernal source of perspective, hope, power, peace, and enduring joy" (David A. Bednar, April 2023). To those who have made covenants, I admonish you with all my love to keep them and qualify yourself for these magnificent blessings. To those who have not yet made covenants, the Lord is waiting with open arms to receive you.

My friends, stay strong.

Elder Winegar


Ease Up Kid—Hippo Campus

I See You—Phoebe Bridgers 

Elder Winegar, With Perfume and Oil

Friday, May 19, 2023

 As they say, it is always darkest before the dawn. I can testify that there is eternal truth within this temporal adage.  You may recall a somewhat challenging week endured by Elder Yonk and detailed in my last email. Well this week was nothing short of exceptional. Miracles simply rained down upon us. My faith in the divinity of a missionary's mantle continues to increase.

Where to begin? Towards the beginning of the week, as we were still coming out of the rut of the week prior, we found ourselves in a location that had been anything but friendly. In the very moment we began to complain, a man walked up the stairs and past us, then turned sharply back around noticing scriptures in my hands. As I introduced us as the missionaries, he rushed forward and essentially tore a copy of the Book of Mormon from my hands. After studying it for a moment, he looked up and asked simply, "Bible?" I held up a copy of the Bible in my hands and replied, "No, this is the Holy Bible. That is the Book of Mormon." Unsure what we meant, he asked, "Christian?" We affirmed that we believed in Christ. Then after a short, "follow me," he whisked us into his apartment.

He introduced himself as Washington and explained that he was from Beijing, where freedom of religion is mostly non-existent. He told us that he knew how important it was for everyone to know God and so he really, really wanted to become a Christian. So he had been reading the Bible every day. My jaw hit the floor. The Lord had sent one of His Father's most elect children directly to us, with no effort on our own part. We were astonished and humbled. We taught him very simply through the language barrier about the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. He promised he would read. As we left Washington said happily and with a big smile "We will be friends."

We had the opportunity to visit one of Stanford Medical's beautiful facilities and give another new friend, Crystal, a priesthood blessing. Having been discharged after an operation on her brain, Crystal thought she was in good shape—that is, until she began leaking spinal fluid from her nose and ears. She was rushed in for a second emergency surgery and shortly thereafter requested we come visit her. During the blessing, the Lord promised her through us that His will would be done and that even if she wouldn't be completely healed physically, she could be healed spiritually and find peace in whatever circumstance she would end up in. Following the blessing, through teary eyes, she thanked us and told us that though her way was fraught with trail, she now felt content with whatever her lot would be. I testify that the power of God is real and that its greatest miracles are wrought in the chambers of the heart.

Another friend Jason did not realize that he had spent the last five years repenting as he overcame his addictions and enjoyed sobriety. We taught that repentance was all about changing our lives for the better, aligning ourselves with God, and of course, preparing to enter into covenants at baptism. He accepted an invitation to be baptized and we are excited to see his growth continue and his joy deepen.

To finish it all off we had a most holy Stake Conference joined by Elder Morrison, Elder Merril, and Elder Daines. Elder Morrison, from Ghana, presided over the meeting and reorganized our stake presidency. So much knowledge was imparted to us by him and by many other brothers and sisters serving faithfully in the church. A central focus of His teachings was reconciling having questions and having faith. He taught, "You can absolutely be an exemplary Latter-day Saint and still have questions!"

Because of the fallen world we live in, it is expected we will have questions. We have questions about the unfairness of suffering. We have questions about the truthfulness of a cacophony of different voices in the world. We have questions about God, His nature, plan, and disposition towards us. Questions are and always will be a part of our lives. Thus, it becomes important that we know how to respond to them.

Some questions we have can easily be answered by applied study. We usually know these types of questions. Some questions take more time and require us to experience more of life before they are answered. Some questions may not be answered to our satisfaction in this life. Fortunately, we know that, "faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true" (Alma 32:21). Instead of allowing our questions to damage our faith by obsessing over them, we choose to continually seek knowledge, focus on the wealth of knowledge we do have, living according to it, and trust that one day our knowledge will be perfect.

Of all things to focus on during our questioning I can think of no better singular truth than the unchanging, universal, and all encompassing love of God. I testify that God is our creator and that of all the works of His hands, we are His most beloved creation. We are His children. He loves us perfectly. Only in His perfect love can we find true peace, joy, and rest. But sometimes, even this love can seem distant. To me, these poignant lyrics are instructive:

"We cannot see the love of God

Which saves us from the Fall, 

Yet know that Christ from wood and nails

Built mansions for us all."

The most express manifestation of God's character and His infinite love, is His Firstborn and our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. If ever you doubt God's love, look to the Savior. Study His life, ministry, and especially His Atonement. Read the declarations of his love to us such as,

"I have loved you" (Mal. 1:2).

"As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you" (Jn. 15:9).

"The Father himself loveth you" (Jn. 16:27).

"[Father], the glory which thou gavest me I have given them…that [they] may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me" (Jn. 17:22-23).

I bear you my unshakeable testimony that I know, without a shadow of doubt, that you and I and every one of us are, "encircled about eternally in the arms of his love" (2 Ne. 1:15). I testify that eternally really does mean forever. "Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:38-39).

God loves you.

Elder Winegar


Low Rising—Swell Season

Time After Time—Iron and Wine

Saviour, Heal Me (see below)


Saviour heal me of transgression

Heal my wounded soul and heart

Leave on me a deep impression

Thy redeeming grace impart

That when again thou come to reign

I'll be purged of all my stain

O thou sweetest of forgiving

Fill my heart and give me rest

Worldly labours ne'er pursuing

So to pass this life's great test

Robes of purest charity

Let me clothe myself in thee

Though on earth we all shall want

Soon our God shall come to save

Do not heed the doubtful taunt

Christ shall raise us from the grave

So on Zion's mount we'll stand

With our Saviour hand in hand

Music: Rock of Ages, Hymn 111,

Thomas Hastings 1784-1872

Elder Winegar, D&C 58:4

Friday, May 12, 2023