Week, Elder Winegar

Tuesday, February 28, 2023


Elder Winegar can be reached directly at
It's his birthday on 3/3 if you want to give him a shout out. 

Hi my friends.

I'm sorry I missed you again last week. My phone was having some difficulties so she was in the shop getting tuned up.

What a week it was. Quite chilly mind you. And the rains have come again, but I'm not particularly bothered. Mother Nature's morose days proffer calm to the weary heart. 

I've been able to spend some quality time with some pretty amazing individuals. I've learned once again that the deepest joy one can experience in this life is feeling love for others. It is when we are loving others that we learn and understand the way God feels about us. As a missionary I have grown to love some people I wouldn't have expected to. From this love I have felt towards such individuals, I know that there is no one that is unlovable, especially not to God, Our Father.

One such individual I will call Joseph. An appointment to sit down and chat with Joseph and his wife had been a long time in the making. We kept catching each other at inopportune times but never had a moment lengthy enough to really chat (though we did sit down and play some of his guitar collection for about 5 minutes on one occasion). 

This week we had scheduled something in advance and upon our arrival, to our delight, he was home and waiting for us! He invited us to his backyard patio where the weather would be nice. On our way out we watched him pick up an ominous looking folder. To our dismay, he then opened his folder and, using prepared evidence, attempted to disprove the veracity of Joseph Smith's prophetic mission.
After about 30 minutes without us speaking a word, he concluded and smugly advised us to talk with our leaders. We simply smiled, thanked him and his wife very much for their time and went on our way. 

One would expect Elder Barrus and I to have left rather shaken or downtrodden, when in fact, we agreed we felt quite the opposite way. We both felt a deep love for this couple. The couple who had just spent their time and effort trying to deconstruct the very truths we held dearest. We marveled that with the assistance of the Spirit it really was possible to love those who, "despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matt. 5:44).

Another individual I met, I will call McKay, also began our conversation rather briskly. He spoke blatant slander of the Savior, but stopped mid-sentence to ask his neighbor for assistance moving a large box that was too heavy for him to carry in his old age. Despite his obviously contentious view of who we represented, we offered to move his box. Rather befuddled, he accepted our offer. When we had finished assisting him, though his views hadn't changed, his heart was softened to us and we felt as though we were friends. He invited us back to talk about "Buddhism and Mormonism" another day :)

In spite of these gems of experience, I had some of the roughest days of my mission this week. As to why I am still uncertain, but I was exhausted in every way possible and the work felt almost painful. I found myself in some rather dark places. 

We all will find ourselves, at one time or another, in dark places. The effects such darkness can have on our lives are very real. They are described vividly in the experience of the Nephites prior to Christ's coming, "And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could feel the vapor of darkness…and there was great mourning and howling and weeping among all the people continually; yea, great were the groanings of the people, because of the darkness" (3 Nephi 8). 

We too may feel the burden of darkness pressing upon us and causing us to despair. But just as in nature, the remedy to darkness is light. It has been said of Jesus Christ, "For behold, and lo, he shall come, as it is written in the book of the prophets…to be a light unto all who sit in darkness, unto the uttermost parts of the earth" (JST, Luke 3).

Sometimes our dark places are the result of our own mistakes and sometimes they come as a result of living in a fallen world with mortal bodies. Whatever the cause of our darkness, the solution is the same. We must come unto Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, the Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2). Christ said to the Nephites in their hour of darkness. "Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?" (3 Nephi 9:13).

We come unto Christ by repenting, or by striving to be better each day. Instead of focusing on the darkness of our circumstance, which is often out of our control, we can instead focus on what we can do to better follow the example of Christ. Instead of focusing on what we can't change we should focus on what we can: ourselves! As we do so, assuredly we will "be of good cheer" (Matt 9:2) knowing that we are living a life acceptable before God, even if our situation may be less than ideal.

Let us give our heartfelt all to the Savior each day by choosing to repent through His grace. Whether we are able to give a rich man's tithe or a widow's mite matters not, only that it is our very best. 

I testify that Jesus Christ's light extinguishes all darkness and will one day dispel all sorrow. From that day forth, we will live in radiant light and untarnished joy for eternity. Until then, may His perfect hope sustain us to make it out of the shadow of the valley of death, even our mortal experience.

Steady on. 

Elder Winegar

Songs 🧛‍♂️ 

If We Were Vampires—Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Day by Day (B-sides)—John Mark Pantana

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