"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; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." -Alma 26:12

Monday, July 24, 2017

7/23/2017 Two years, 730 days!

To Whom it May Concern: (AKA, those who still read this thing! 😁)

It has been an amazing two years spent in the service of my Heavenly Father, and while it isn't over yet, this will be the last time I will be able to write to everyone as a missionary. I just wanted to thank all of you for your many prayers, your awesome examples, and for the super great people you all are. I can't imagine not having met any of you, and I especially wouldn't be the same without the wonderful family that I have been lucky enough to be born into!

So many amazing miracles have happened this week, and I have seen so many changes in both the area we are working in, and in myself while serving others. I guess not everything has changed though, because we still don't have much time today and I will have to be brief! As far as new developments, we were able to meet and get in contact with some really cool people last week. A man that we met two weeks ago, Miyoshi san, was able to come to church with us yesterday and he loved it! He developed some strong friendships with the other members, and he told us he would like to come back next week! He even called us later in the day and told us that he wants to take things step by step, but that he wants to learn more about the church. We also met a young family as well as a young guy our age that agreed to meet and hear kore of our message. Things are looking great in Uwajima, and we can tell that the Lord has awesome things in store for this place!

Since time is running short, I would just like to let you all know of the truths that I have learned these last two years. While we as missionaries have virtually no access to news or current events, we hear often from people about the evils in the world. There are more and more crimes committed, more people hurt and killed, and a constant decline of morals and standards. Music, movies and other entertainment portray increasingly inappropriate material as the normal, and even the ideal way of life. A spirit of service and selflessness have been replaced by selfishness and desires to put ourselves ahead of others.

As work, sports, entertainment etc. begin to take precedence in our lives, family relationships continue to weaken and decline. While this is becoming more common than rare, it does not mean that it has to be this way, nor does it mean that many are not still fighting for values that we have held for so long. Despite negative influences, I have been greatly encouraged and strengthened both by the examples of those great people, and by the promise and help that we receive from God that if we turn to Him, all other parts of our lives will fall into place. More than anything else, I am grateful that there is someone who understands each of us, our trials and pains, happiness and joys better than we can even understand them ourselves. That person is our Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that the way to learn of Him and bring His peace into our lives is through diligent service to help others in difficult situations, constant prayer and supplication for His divine help, and a devoted study of the scriptures, including the Bible and the Book of Mormon, that have been given to us by prophets called of God. If you desire to feel more of this heavenly help, if you wonder if God really is there, I invite you all to think and reflect upon the truths found in the Book of Mormon, and ask God in sincere prayer. Just as it is written within it's pages, I can promise that a man can come closer to God through the Book of Mormon than through any other book on Earth. I testify that Jospeh Smith was a prophet of God, and we are blessed to be guided by a modern prophet in President Monson. I love you all so much, and wish you the best week ever!

See you soon!
Elder Winegar

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