Well shucks,

We meet again. How're you my friend? All is well I hope? As for myself, you could say life is but a dream, 'cause we are just rowing gently and merrily down the heavenly stream of the Lord's work. 

I love my companion Elder Yonk. We teach with power and we laugh A LOT. Whoever said that you can't work hard and have fun at the same time just didn't have a very good companion. As human beings, it is essential for each of us to have associations with others in our lives. Some of the greatest that I've had in my life, are those I've had on my mission! I know now that this is because there is no cause more joyful to be united in than the cause of Christ! (Alma 46:14-16)

I had some pretty amazing experiences serving others this week. I know now more firmly than ever that, "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God" (Mosiah 2:17). We experience the deepest joys of this life when we serve our fellow beings and our creator. This is because it is in these moments that we come closest to following the example of our Redeemer, thus fulfilling our purpose as Sons and Daughters of God (Abraham 3:25; Matthew 22:36-40; Galatians 5:13).

I will relay one such experience that impressed deeply upon my soul this week. A man in the mental health unit of the local VA, who I will call Dan, reached out to us this week via his mother, and requested that we give him a Priesthood blessing. After a rigorous and fairly complex process strictly regulated by his physicians and the department, we finally managed to schedule a time to meet with him. Upon arrival at the facility, Elder Yonk and I could feel the despair of that place fall and rest upon us, almost as if a physical weight (3 Nephi 8:20).

As we met Dan, we took some time to get to know him. He recounted his experience serving in the military, which was very positive, until a close friend tragically chose to take their life. Devastated by the grief of loss, he turned to alcohol to numb his pain and quickly became addicted. This in turn caused him to be discharged from the military. Now stripped of productivity, his addictions multiplied and worsened to include hard drugs. Fortunately, he eventually found his way into a program at the VA to help him overcome his dependencies and depression.

He then explained that throughout his life, in his darkest moments, he would always turn to prayer and without fail, feel the calming presence of the Lord nearby. Lately however, even in his most fervent times of prayer he could not feel the presence of the Lord. So, with faith in the consoling power of the Priesthood, he reached out to us. As he finished his story, we opened the scriptures with him and taught of the great price paid by Jesus Christ to ensure that we would never be alone, especially in our challenges (1 Peter 1:18-19; Alma 7:11-12; John 14:18).

We then, as requested, administered our Priesthood on his behalf. At the conclusion of the blessings, after a moment of silence, I asked, "Dan, how do you feel?" He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and replied, "I feel Him." He told us through teary eyes that his sorrow had immediately diminished from a crippling 8/10 to a virtually unnoticeable 1/10. Together we glorified God for His power and mercy. 

Then, after retrieving some copies of the scriptures for him to read, we departed. As we walked away the words of James echoed through my mind, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction…" (James 1:27). This was pure religion.

True religion, true Christianity, as taught by Jesus Christ, is about bearing one another's burdens, mourning with those who mourn, and comforting those who stand in need of comfort (Mosiah 18:8-10). It is about serving our God, by serving our fellow beings. Sometimes we may feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of that charge, but let us take courage in knowing that to show compassion in the Savior's way, we need only serve one by one (3 Nephi 11:15, 17:21). Let us rise up knowing that the Lord has called, "the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thresh the nations by the power of [His] Spirit" (D&C 35:13) and that we, "can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth [us]" (Philippians 4:13). As our beloved prophet, Russell M. Nelson has recently taught, "we can literally change the world—one person and one interaction at a time" (Peacemakers Needed, Apr. 2023). 

Let us fulfill the measure of our creation by being quick to observe the needs of others around us and by ministering to them with tenderness, love, and compassion—in the Savior's way. As we do so, I promise that He will help us! He will qualify the unqualified, give strength to the weary, and make powerful the weak in order to accomplish His great and merciful purposes through us, His disciples.

I have faith in you! I love you!

Elder Winegar


Cannibal Queen—Miniature Tigers

Uptown Girl—Scary Pockets

Friends Kiss Too—Danny and Alex

Dang!—Mac Miller

Have I Done Any Good?

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

 With his permission, I added a couple of photos from flood clean up in Pajaro, CA

My friends, oh my friends,

I am back! I'm sorry for my leave of absence, much has transpired. I departed from Los Gatos, the jewel of Saratoga, and ventured back up to the promised land of Menlo Park, more specifically Palo Alto. Within my new area is Stanford University. I look forward to associating with the sharp, young minds of the rising generation. I've united with an old friend Elder Yonk to serve as companions. He works like an ox and we have great fun together. 

I've already had many unique experiences thus far in Palo Alto. Fortunately, it seems the diversity in these parts is on par with Los Gatos so I still get to meet a unique variety of individuals. Many people I've met this week have been fasting for Ramadan! I greatly respect the deep faith of the people of Islam. There is also a strong Jewish presence here and I've enjoyed speaking of the Lord's promise to gather Judah with them.

I had some comical moments with a few individuals this week. A man called Jacky Dunsmore, who was utterly sloshed, tried to explain to us the importance of knowing our cardinal directions with frequent interjections to give us hugs and tell us he loved us or let us know how good he thought juniper smelled. Another young woman who answered the door, after a brief explanation that we would share a message about Christ to help her find peace and rest, mentioned that she did not share our beliefs. In order to understand what she meant, I asked whether or not she believed in Jesus Christ and she replied with a firm no. I then asked if she believed in God at all. Still no. Finally I asked what she did believe in, or what brought her hope. "Nothing" she replied dryly. "Well then!" I exclaimed, "It sure is good that we found you!" She then threw her head back, groaned loudly in exasperation, and slammed the door shut. Life without hope sounds dismal to me but, to each their own I guess…

The highlight of the week was a visit to our mission by Elder Brent H. Nielson, one of the seven Presidents of the Seventy. He was a man that somehow radiated with authority despite his gentle and soft-spoken demeanor. Assuredly, he was called of God. He gave marvelous instruction that invigorated our spirits and enlightened our minds as to what is happening and what is possible. Of the many things he shared, one that was particularly impressive was about the growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since its humble beginnings in 1830. 

The introduction of The Book of Mormon teaches us that, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah." Of this Latter-day kingdom of the Lord the prophet Daniel prophesied, "In [those] days…shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all…kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever" (Dan. 2:44). Thus we see that the building up of His earthly kingdom in our day is an integral part of His work.

Within each of us there is the primordial and supernal call to be a part of something greater than ourselves. I testify that there is no work greater than God's! And I testify that He desires each of His children to take part in it with Him. The prophet Joseph Smith said of Zion, whatever place the people of God stand, "We may soon expect to see flocking to this place, people from every land and from every nation, persons of all languages and of every tongue and of every color, who shall with us worship the Lord of Hosts in His holy temple.” 

There is no work as encompassing as the building up of God's kingdom. It is about bringing every soul, both the living and the dead, to the knowledge of the truth, that Jesus is the Christ and that only through Him can we find enduring peace in this life and everlasting joy in the life to come!

So please, come and see the marvelous work and wonder that is being wrought in this choice era of the earth's history! And once you behold its majesty, answer the call within yourself and join us in the greatest work of the eternities! I promise that when you do, you will be truly fulfilled and divine love will swell within you evermore.

Farewell for now, 

All my love, 
Elder Winegar


The Spirit of God—The Tabernacle Choir
High On the Mountain Top—The Tabernacle Choir

Weeks Worth of Email, Elder Winegar

Wednesday, April 19, 2023