Elder Winegar, 1 year of Weekly Emails...Haven't missed baby

Tuesday, August 9, 2022


Hey there,

Well. What a week getting all settled in. Something of a whirlwind by my estimation. Quite a lot I want to talk about and not many pictures this week, so if you don't make it through, I'm not offended ;)

San Jose is way different than anywhere else I've served. We only cover one ward and our area feels tiny in comparison to others I've served in. We mostly just work in a bunch of little neighborhoods that all look pretty much the same. But so far the people have been fairly nice…stay tuned I suppose.

My new companion and I taught these little kids (not pictured) who were literally so cute and so nice. I understand Christ's admonition to become as a child in a much more real way. Children are exemplary disciples. Their inclination towards others, the world, and God is not one of doubt and skepticism, but of faith and optimism! They believe so easily! They always find the best in any circumstance. They are humble and are always accepting of knowledge and learning. And most importantly they love without hesitation. Regardless of who or what the world thinks of us or even what we may think of ourselves, a child sees through judgements and limiting labels in an instant, choosing to see, appreciate, and love who we really are. Sounds like an awful lot like what a follower of Christ should be.

Had a nice little companion swap with the assistants to the President. I was with Elder Schill (pictured). He is quite the tank. The boost of momentum was just what I needed. I had a pretty profound little moment but more on that later.

Tomorrow, August 9, marks one year as a missionary. It's staggering to me. It feels as if I just began but also like I've been here a lifetime. It has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life thus far. 

The past month or so has been very difficult for me. I found myself facing very real emotional and spiritual apathy. There were times I didn't even see the point in trying. But I remembered that, "Waiting upon the Lord can be a sacred place—a place of polishing and refining where we can come to know the Savior in a deeply personal way. Waiting upon the Lord may also be a place where we find ourselves asking, 'O God, where art thou?'—a place where spiritual perseverance requires us to exercise faith in Christ by intentionally choosing Him again and again and again." And so I made the choice to trust in God's vision for me rather than in my own myopia. I, often painstakingly, stoked my hope in the Lord's promise; "the day cometh that you shall hear my voice and see me, and know that I am."

Then, just this last week, came a sacred moment while on my exchange with Elder Schill. We had seen some miracles, but we were mostly just plugging along, working hard. We were walking to our next contact and while we walked, in a seemingly insignificant moment, my heart swelled with joy. I had found again my love for this work. As if dawn broke, every shadow of doubt fled from before me and I was finally at peace.

Missions are a lot like life. We will have our struggles. They are unavoidable. But when we wait on the Lord through them, we are polished and eventually perfected,if we choose to be. I am infinitely grateful to my Heavenly Father and His Son for letting me suffer the things that I have, especially on my mission. It is because of my hardship that my faith has grown so explosively.

And so, having been out for a year, and having polished my own faith for that time, I'd like to bear my simple testimony on a few truths I've learned and hold deep in my heart. 

I testify that our Heavenly Father loves His children, or in other words, all of us. He hears and answers every single prayer. Sometimes He answers immediately just how we want and sometimes He answers over the course of a long, long time in almost unrecognizable ways. I testify that obedience to God's commandments, gratitude, serving and uplifting others, humility, and love fill our lives with tangible light, joy, and peace, even if our outward circumstances remain the same. I testify that the Book of Mormon is a true witness of Jesus Christ and helps us more fully understand "what manner of [people we] ought to be." I testify that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He was a man, he made many mistakes, but he was a prophet and a sincere follower of Christ.

Most importantly I know with a surety and testify with all my soul that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of us all! I joyfully proclaim that He lives! He took upon himself all the pain of the world, including death, so that He could help us reach our potential. I testify that through His matchless power, His mercy, and His grace, we too will live again! Through Him our guilt and shame can be washed away. Through Him our weaknesses can become our strengths. Through Him we can find peace in this life and dwell in never-ending happiness in the life to come.

These truths I know. I do what I do because I know they are the truth. Not just for me but for everyone! I invite all to come and partake of the hope, peace, joy, of Jesus Christ's gospel. The Plan works for you! You can be forgiven! Youcan be whole!Youcan be happy! 

And now, your songs.

Half of the Way–Vulfpeck

August (Acoustic)–Flipturn

Amsterdam–Gregory Alan Isakov and the Colorado Symphony

Be Still–Luke Spenhar (one of my favorite songs as a missionary, I think that you'll love it!)

I love you. Thank you for supporting me in the greatest of all works. It means the world.

See you in 1.

Elder Winegar

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