Phew. This week was a rough one on the mental side of things. But we persevere. Our Heavenly Father will always provide for his children. I have felt his help this week and oh how grateful I am for it. His hand is in the details. And you will notice it if you look for it. I promise you. 


We just so happened to run into one of our married friend's boyfriend at the gas station. She told us he's crazy and won't leave her alone but he claims that they are dating. They are both pretty questionable on occasion so we really don't know who to believe and it's just crazy. The stuff I see out here. 


We taught a friend of ours who is around 13 years old who is trying to decide if she wants to be baptized. She is really cool and so is her family. They live on what is basically a ranch in Carmel with all these animals and a huge property. She is adopted from India and so are most of her siblings. There are about 8 kids total including her. The Spirit was very strong at our lesson and we had some good laughs. I also showed them a few card tricks that they thought were cool. All in a day's work. 


We met some really kind people who were willing to talk to us on the street this week. They weren't interested in learning more but they were cool people and appreciated the light and hope of Christ's gospel. 


I thrifted a Trench Coat for $10. It seems silly to you all but it was a highlight of my week so gimme a break. Some people look at me funny when I wear it but it's very warm and comfortable, and honestly I think it's drippy. I'll include pictures. Who wore it better, me or my grandpa…


Transfer week. I will be staying in Monterey and keeping all three of my wards! However I will be getting a new companion who is brand new to the mission field. I will be training him out of training…*gulp* I guess someone, somewhere has some trust in me. I'm gonna need a couple more angels to keep me from ruining my new friend. 


His name is Elder Romney. He is reassigned to San Jose from his original assignment in Vietnam. He is learning Vietnamese so I'm gonna have some extra time on my hands during language study. And he may or may not be related to some well known political leaders…


I'm excited to meet him tomorrow morning. I pray for extra support and have hope that it will be a good transfer.


Gratitude. You knew it was coming. Too easy an opportunity to pass up. In the Bible, an oft repeated story is that of the Ten Lepers. To summarize Jesus meets ten men suffering from an awful ailment that renders them isolated from society. Having heard of the miracles Christ was working among the people of Jerusalem they sought out healing from Him. After Christ cleansed and healed them of their sickness nine of them went along rejoicing in their miracle. But only one stayed behind and thanked his Savior for the miracle that he had been given. 


I see this all too often in myself. Perhaps you might too. When good things come our way we take them and run, rejoicing in the pleasure they might bring us. But how often do we take the time to stop and really appreciate them? At least in my case, not nearly enough.


Often it is difficult to be grateful when we find ourselves in miserable circumstances where it seems like there is no reason to be. In reality, gratitude becomes more crucial within such circumstances. 


No matter what circumstance you are in right now I think there is something you could be grateful for. Look around. Try to see with new eyes the beauty of surroundings that may have become familiar. Take a moment to be present within the wonder that is your body. Close your eyes and enjoy the gift of life through a few deep breaths. 


And if nothing else, remember Jesus Christ. He literally took upon himself the weight of the world. The weight of your world. His love for you is boundless and constant. He loves you in this very moment and all moments to come. He is there for you even when nobody else is. 


When we are grateful for the bounties of life it is nearly impossible to simultaneously be bitter or unhappy. Try a little harder this next week. And then the next week after that. And so on. 


I love you. I pray for your welfare and happiness daily. 


Catch you next week,


Elder Winegar

Elder Winegar, transfer time

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Hey guys. The season of Gratitude is upon us. What are you grateful for? It's important to remember. Gratitude will make you so much happier wherever you're at in life. Anyways. This week was good. I still miss everything a lot but I am starting to love what I'm doing here. There's ups and downs like everything but I feel happy. 

News? News.


We went on two exchanges this week. On the first one Elder Moulton swapped with Elder Andersen and came here. We ended up being super overscheduled so I kind of felt like a failure leading the area but it's alright. We brought an investigator some flowers and I think it made her night. She's a very sweet lady.


We dropped off some Book of Mormons to the Chaplin at the Monterey County Jail so that one of our friends could have one.


We set up a little whiteboard activity down at fisherman's wharf. We wrote "what brings you joy?" on a whiteboard and had passerbys write their answers down. We met many wonderful  people, had some fascinating discussions, and overall it was a great success. 


We met with good ol' Nova Celeste again. She and her Van happened to be in town and she wanted to meet up with us. So we met up in the forest, her chapel as she says, and she informed us that she was certain that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon was true. However she was not planning on "converting," as she put it. We were a little disappointed but to each their own. 


We talked with Victor again this week. I just thought I'd let you know I still really love him and find his life experience so interesting.


On my second exchange I went to Seaside to stay with Elder Mouser. He and his companion informed me they had a lesson with Diana, who they had been teaching for months and who fully accepted Jesus Christ's restored gospel. But she was hesitant to be baptized because of some struggles she had been having in her attempt to perfectly commit to some of the changes she had to make in her life. They asked me to see what I could do to help her see that she was more ready than she thought. I told them I'd see what I can do. After a little encouragement and positive reinforcement from a new face, she has decided to be baptized. We are so excited to take this next big step. I know the increase of joy it will bring into her life and it warms my soul. 


In my chat with Diana, I shared with her a sentiment from Bradley Wilcox's talk (which I've been thinking about a lot if you couldn't tell) and I think it is applicable to many of us. The exact quote I shared was this:


"Some mistakenly receive the message that they are not worthy to participate fully in the gospel because they are not completely free of bad habits. God's message is that worthiness is not flawlessness. Worthiness is being honest and trying. We must be honest with God, priesthood leaders, and others who love us, and we must strive to keep God's commandments and never give up just because we slip up. Elder Bruce C. Hafen said that developing a Christlike character 'requires patience and persistence more than it requires flawlessness.' The Lord has said the gifts of the Spirit are 'given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do.'"


Often in our lives we hold ourselves to an unrealistic standard. We expect that we need to be perfect before we are good enough or before we can be happy. As Elder Wilcox beautifully expounds, this is not God's message. He does not expect us to be perfect. In fact quite the opposite. He knows we cannot be. And so he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to ensure that our best is enough.


Friends, please believe me when I say, your best is enough. If you are trying, that is all our Heavenly Father expects of us. Give everything you can and Christ will do the rest. I promise you. 


The converse of this perfectionism is also true but remind me to talk about that next week I'm feeling long winded…


I have a sobering announcement to make. I have been pondering upon my weekly songs and I have come to a sad conclusion. I simply cannot retain the pace at which I am sending songs to you all for two years straight. So I have decided to cut it down to 1 or 2 songs each week. 


The songs on my mind this week are some favorites that remind me of a very important person in my life. Enjoy. 


In Too Deep--Jacob Collier

Unsquare Dance--Dave Brubeck


Catch you all next week. 


Elder Winegar


Elder Winegar, In a Van down by the River, or Ocean actually

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Goodness Gracious, it's been a while.

How do you do?

It's been a little rough this week for me. I'm just a little bit homesick and just kinda tired all the time. It's a struggle. HOWEVER, the work of the Lord rolls forward with great success. Our week was very very spectacular and we did some solid things. 

We taught this little eight year old whose parents want him to be baptized. We don't want him to feel forced to do it, because obviously that isn't right, but we were able to teach him a little more about who Jesus Christ really is and why it is that he is important. It was very spiritual to teach something of unmeasurable importance simply enough for a child to understand. It was fantastic.

We had a street lesson with our homie Xavier. He's the gentleman who told us to peep his tracks on YouTube. I know I sent a picture but many expressed difficulty finding the exact song. The title of the track is just his name. Good luck. Anyways, by the end of our lesson he told us excitedly that he wanted to be baptized. We were overjoyed. We told him that we'd help him get ready and teach him what he needs to know. His smile was unforgettable.His exuberance makes me very very happy.

We also made this really cool YSA (Young Single Adult) aged kid named Gabriel. He's from Puerto Rico so he speaks Spanish and English, and he's also going to school at The Defense Language Institute to learn Arabic. He's really cool and I love his passion for foreign culture. We spoke with him, answered his questions, and taught him powerfully about Joseph Smith and he accepted an invitation to be baptised as well! I'm excited to get to know him better. He's a really cool kid.

We met Debbie and her wife Dee this week. Debbie is the sweetest Elderly African American woman whose love for Jesus is very contagious. She read some scriptures with us and said a prayer. When we were finished she asked if we would come back. Her wife was less friendly but didn't object to another visit. I'm excited to see them again.

We talked to our friend Victor from North Korea again. His stories are crazy and his outlook on existence is very bleak. As we've talked with him, we mostly just chat about everyday things to help him with English but we've also been able to discuss some very deep and meaningful questions with him. Very incredible human. 

I've been thinking a lot about unconditional love. Specifically the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father. 

Lots of people have told me during my experience here that if our Heavenly Father really loved us he wouldn't ask us to do all these extra things that can be really difficult and that we may not understand. 

As I pondered on these thoughts I was reminded of a very important and influential mentor in my life. I'd like to imagine that from the very beginnings of our journey together he saw great potential in me. Throughout our time together he asked me to do lots of hard things, many of which I didn't fully understand at the time. But I trusted him. And I trusted that he loved me, knew my potential, and would never ask me to do anything that wouldn't make me better. 

Bradley Wilcox said in our last General Conference, 

"God loves us as we are, but He also loves us too much to leave us this way."

Just like my mentor, our Heavenly Father sees such grand potential for us. He loves us more deeply and completely than is comprehensible to us in our current state. He rejoices in who we are, but he also sees what we can become. He gives us instructions and asks us to do hard things that we might not understand. But as we trust Him we will begin to see he will never make us do or experience anything that will not eventually help us achieve our potential. 

I encourage you to Trust Him. I promise you he will never lead you astray. You will see his love in your life even more abundantly than you do now. 

Here are some songs for you amigos:

Sour Candy--Melt

Young Adult--Ritt Mommney 

Black Sheep--Martin Sexton

Up and Up--Coldplay

Things Happen--Dawes

Darling--Christian Leave

Tamji Hal--Grape Choice

Hey Hi Hello--Danny and Alex

A couple songs that are very dear to me in there. 

I love you all so so so much. I can't express. 

I wish you a fantastic week. 


Elder Winegar

It’s good in the mission hood

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Dear Friends,

Extremely busy day today.

Stay tuned for a real email next week.

I love you. I pray for you.

Keep on keeping on.

Elder Winegar

P.S. Elder Winegar did not ask me to include this picture of the bear mask we sent him for Halloween but I'm sure he will be delighted. His real costume at the ward trunk-or-treat was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 


Quick Shout Out!

Monday, November 1, 2021