Sunday, December 27, 2009

Twas the week before Christmas...

Bonjour! Je viens de prendre cette photo avec l'appareil photo webcam machin ici.. J'espère que vous allez l'aimer. Salut!

Elder Winget
Collin was at an internet cafe that had a computer with a webcam last week, so we were lucky enough to get a picture! If you know french, then you can read the message he sent along with it. :) Here's an excerpt from last week's letter:
My companion's name is Elder Ulivaka- he's from Ducos. He's 18 and he's been a member since 2000. His dad is branch president in Ducos. I can definitely tell a difference in maturity level compared to ordained set apart missionaries who have been through the MTC and have been on a mission for a few months, and a convert member who has been teaching with the missionaries a few times and will be hanging out with me for 3 months. But for an 18 year old-- I couldn't have asked for better. He's a good kid and we have lots of fun and try to work hard. My sector is getting progressively more difficult- I've already knocked almost every single door personally--- but I've talked to as many people in my whole 7ish weeks here than like 1 week in VDC or Ducos. It's hard but it's good. Elder Ulivaka is the first Wallisian to go on a mission- even if it's just a mini mission. Wallisians are very catholic- and as such are hard to convert. They're basically like Mexicans that speak French. They even look alike. They are also similar in that once they're converted- they're very strong. So the few Wallisians that are in the church are very good church members. There currently are not any members in Wallis but I guess they're working on it.

Well as well as what happened this week, we sang in a choir in Paita- the Parau family invited us to sing with them. We sang Abide with Me in English, Tahitian and French. It was really cool. We sang in front of everyone in Paita- about 200ish people. It was mostly just me who sang in English, then I sort of hummed in Tahitian and we finished off with a bang in French. Abide with me fast falls the eventide the darkness deepens; Lord with me abide. I like that song.

Also this week a group of 17 youth and young adults came from Vanuatu to play Futsal- and they were all members. The branch did an activity thing for them at the chapel- we ate and there was much dancing and singing and partying. It was cool-- then they all came to the chapel on sunday and they pretty much did the Sacrament meeting. They blessed the sacrament and did all the talks- in Bislama, English, and French. It was cool. What was even cooler was that I understood a lot in Bislama-- it's just like English in a blender. It was cool beans.

Then after church we went and sang Christmas carols for some of the Parau's friends in Tontouta, Tamoa and Paita. It was cool to go to Paita-- blast from the past. It went really well, and we heard from quite a few people in Paita that we had sang really well. I think it was partially because French people can't sing so some of the other choirs weren't so good- and at least one was aaaawful. But we didn't stay long enough to hear the others-- just in practice. Anyway, it was a decent week.

It's humbling to serve with Elder Ulivaka- I realize that I'm not the missionary I need to be. I realize with my other companions, they already know how to be a missionary so we sort of push each other when the other doesn't feel like going on any more-- but with him, he doesn't really know what we're supposed to do, he doesn't really know the rules, and I want to show a good example for him.. I don't want to ruin his image of what a missionary is. I know that members sometimes think that missionaries are these amazing perfect spiritual giants-- and it's only true a very small amount of the time.. We're all just the same as everyone else. I don't want him to go home thinking that missionaries are just fakers during when they visit with members and then completely different when they're alone. So I've got 2 more weeks to convince him otherwise. Theeeen the plan is that I train another new missionary-- if he ever shows up. He's from Vanuatu and may or may not speak French or english......... So that will be a kick in the face. But it'll work. And either way plans change every time so I have no idea.

Friday (Christmas) I'll be going down to Noumea to hang out with the other missionaries and stuff so maybe you could call me Thursday at about noon (my time) and I'll tell you exactly the best time to call me. I think that 2:30 christmas day will work but I'm not 100% positive.. So yeah.

Anyway, don't worry about me, everything is going well. Elder Ulivaka is a good missionary and isn't even difficult-- the only difficulty is being a little bit more serious than I want to be.

I'll talk to you Christmas. I love you. Have a great week. Merry Christmas.

Elder Winget

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Program and a surprise Baby Blessing

Here is a picture from last Christmas. I don't have a current one yet - Elder Winget is very busy these days, which is good :) He hasn't had time to send pictures for a while, but that's okay.
this week was interesting- the "missionary committee" at church, which ended up being "Elder Winget" organized a Christmas fireside which took place at our church this Saturday evening. We wanted it to be sort of like music and the spoken word, so we kind of got a general idea put on paper and then Elder Winget put it all together. The point I tried to get across was that there are too many things that distract us from the real reason why we celebrate Christmas and so we wanted to do a night of songs about our Savior instead of about santa and stuff. Anyway, we had choirs from each auxiliary (elders quorum, relief society, ym, yw, primary, and returned missionaries) sing a Christmas song, and at the end we had a choir from each foreign language represented in our branch. We had a choir from Vanuatu sing in their island language and then Bislama, Tahitian, Drehu (the language of Lifou) and English (me, Elder Wilcox and Sister Cummins). It was supposed to start at 6:00 pm. We invited people and had it announced at church… So we showed up at 5:30 and there were 3 people there- of course Marcelline was there- she’s awesome. Then Sister Temake and her daughter were there. Then the sister missionaries showed up- Sr. Seiko and Sr. Cummins. And then… We waited around until 6:35 when the branch president showed up and opened up the chapel. (we were sitting out on the grass at this point) Then we hung out until 6:45 waiting for a few people to show up… and we decided to start. There were only 11 people there at the start including 4 missionaries. Eventually more people showed up and it went pretty well. We sang some cantiques and I read scriptures from Isaiah 7 and 9, Luke 2, Matthew 2, and Helaman 15. The Young Women ended up being a solo- and everyone else’s parts were slim- but by the end it worked out. It actually went really well, in spite of all the problems. The Vanuatu group really pulled through for me- they dressed up, they brought candles and a baby Jesus and did a whole little.. Show. I’m really sad it was in the chapel- not allowed to take pictures!! But they did really well and I was really surprised and really happy that they put so much thought into it.
Bislama is a really funny language- maybe you can look it up to find more or something, but it basically started because Vanuatu is a group of islands that had more than 1200 languages or something.. English and French traders came through and sort of established a language.. And it eventually evolved into Bislama. I gud and I stret are from Bislama- meaning are things good? Are things straight? Ha ha. It’s funny. Anyway, they sang Silent Night in their island’s language and they sang a song in Bislama called “Jesus was born in a Manger” and something about how it makes us happy. It was really awesome and I was so happy to them that they actually worked on their part for the program. It went really well and everyone thanked me and said that I sing really well-- which is dangerous- that’s when people start asking me to sing crap. Dang it. What the gladsome tidings?! We actually sang Angels we have heard on High for our English part. Cool beans.

Afterwards I found out that the reason nobody came was because there wasn’t food. -_- island people……….

Other than that, the news is that President Callister came and did a zone conference on Tuesday and it was awesome.

Also, I blessed a baby on Sunday. Not really sure why or how or who still… The 1st councilor in the Branch Presidency is Tahitian and seems to hate Americans for some reason. He comes up to me and says GET your companion. And he starts just talking really fast and as if we were in huge trouble. He was like I’m going to smack you two- I don’t know how I’m going to do it but I’m going to do it. Then he just starts writing on our program for Sacrament meeting- “Baby blessing” and then the name of a child. Then he circles the place on the program where we’d do it and then said Okay baby blessing and then he left. And I’m like um… No “S’il te plait”? no “Hey there is a family who needs their baby blessed- do you think you could do it?” Nothing of the sort, just I’m going to hit you and then baby. Bam.. Anyway, I blessed the baby and I still don’t know why or whose baby it was. That’s life in the Tontouta branch. I almost lost my cool actually because of all the ridiculousness that happened that day- but I decided it wasn’t worth it and I just vented to my companion later. Weird.

I have to do 2 exchanges this week too, so I’ll be on the run all week. I have been living out of my suitcase all this week anyway- since we have 1 bigger apartment and 1 apartment about the size of a small hot prison cell, we leave the majority of our stuff up in Boulouparis and pack a few days’ worth of stuff and go down to Tontouta- but then I have to go up to Borail on exchange- and then down to Kutio the very next day. Oh dear.. I might run out of clothes.

There are 3 French Christmas songs that I know of that don’t exist in English- “Il est né le divin enfant” and “Noël nouvelet” which is actually rad I think. And “Un flambeau jeanette Isabella” Which I guess exists in English- bring a torch Jeanette Isabella. The first two are in the French hymnbook.

Thanks for all the birthday stuff—I’m still working on the scripture challenge. I haven’t found myself with oodles of time to do it but I’m about 1/3 of the way through and I think they’re all right. :D

Well that’s all- merry Christmas and happy new year.

Elder Winget

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Elder Winget!

Here's an excerpt from Collin's latest email. I'm glad he had cake and birthday presents for his birthday, since his birthday package didn't arrive until 2 days later!

Good Morning! That's how you say Hello or hi in silly english. And hellohowareyouwatsurname is SillyEnglish for "this is the only thing I know how to say in English after taking english classes daily for 7 years isn't French school great?" I am doing well. Sorry I'm emailing you late- you're prolly all in bed and stuff. We're in Noumea because of Zone Conference tomorrow and we were doing random things all morning and we just got here to internet.. I guess we'll just do nothing for the rest of the day.. Darn. Well tomorrow will be fun because Elder Callister- our area president will address us at Zone conference tomorrow and he has scheduled a personal interview with each and every missionary in NewCal.. how scary! I don't think I'm bad so I'm hoping I'll pass. He's a great guy and he gave a great talk. I did actually get your package this morning and I've been slowly looking at it throughout the day. I actually was needing to buy deodorant and pens- and I was happy I looked in the package before I did shopping. Now all I'll have to buy is razor blades. Oh how I hate shaving.

Weeeeeell I'll tell you about my birthday.. It started out with Elder Wilcox made me pancakes in bed and it was good. We went out and tried to talk to some people about the Gospel but people don't live in our sector. I think we may have the least populated missionary sector in the world. It has about 3000 people.. And none of them are ever around. I miss being rejected when I knock on doors back in Ducos-- or being rejected in street contacting in VDC. In Boulouparis and Tontouta every house has a gate and a fence around the yard so we just have to yell at the house. I stopped saying "porte-à-porte" and started saying "yelling at houses". So we end up seeeeeeeing about 3-5 people in a day and 4 of them flat out say no and some times 1 of them will at least accept a brocure to be nice. I figure maybe I just have something to learn in this sector.. We'll see if I learn it. At least my companion is awesome because if he weren't my life would be hard and ridiculous. Anyway, so we did that all day and then that night we were invited by Marcelline to eat and have cake. She is awesome. She's very hard to read and at first she scared me- she looks angry all the time but she's really really nice and actually happy most of the time. She's a funny lady and actually one of my favorite people on this rock. So she invited us over and we shared a short "lesson" which was sort of just a mess-- we did "the turtle lesson"- had them draw turtles and then we shared 3 Ne 27:21 and 27 I think it was about examples and patterning our lives after the Savior. I think I got the reference wrong-- sorry. The kids didn't pay much attention but whatever. Anyway, this is a sort of poor family who lives in a Tribe- so they're not so fancy but they're uber nice. So we're sitting outside under this.. shelter? thing? They have a normal house but we always do lessons outside under this... well picture those table things that they have at Westmore park- covered by those.. deal thingers. And that's basically what we were under- except it's constructed out of like wood and trees and stuff. Cool. Anyway, so they start blowing up balloons and hanging them up around the awning thing and it was cute.. then we ate dinner and then they brought out the cake. Which was actually really good. They made a 21 out of candles and I blew them out and they sang happy birthday. So we ate cake and then Marcelline bought a present for me!! I was so excited. I had no idea what it was going to be and so I was preparing myself to be "pity excited" and thank her kindly- but it is actually really cool. She bought me a Kanaky t-shirt which is rad- I wanted to buy one exactly like it and almost did. And she bought me a towel that has a map of New Caledonia on it. Another thing which I wanted to buy myself before I leave! I was so excited and I was super happy that she cared about me and thought about me. She's great and her family is rad. Her 11 year old son is also baptized and they're trying really hard to become an eternal family. I admire them a lot.

Thanksgiving- me and Elder Wilcox went to Super U- the local grocery store in Tontouta- and we bought stuff.. I made Cheesecake from scratch and Elder Wilcox made this cool apple steak stew thing. He cut up apples and tomatoes and peppers and steak type meat and a bunch of apple juice and put it in a big pot and then we cooked it for 45 min ish and then we ate it and it was good. I was happy. Definitely no thanksgiving in america but I was satisfied.. kind of. I actually sort of caught myself staring off into the hot night sky being eaten alive by mosquitoes in our doorway wishing I was with you guys. Oh well, in a couple months. We get to have 4 july together as our next holiday. w00t.

District leading is going well.. I did a training on the Christlike Attributes- as explained in PMG chapter 6- and asked everyone to be more Christlike this week and remember that we're called to Serve and not called to preach. I talked to Sister Cummins a few nights ago and she said it was a great training and that she and her companion Sister Seiko have been trying their hardest to be as Christlike as possible this week and have lots of experiences to share next week. I'm excited. I have to keep my own commitment and I'm going to try my best do to the same this week. I've thought a lot about what it says in the missionary handbook that leaders are called not just to direct but to edify and uplift and inspire the missionaries in their district and I'm going to try to do my very best. I'm hoping to do even better this time around than last time I was DL. :)

Anyway, thanks a billion for the package.. I'm still going through it and I'm happy as a clam to have recieved it. I haven't checked out the scripture deal yet but I'll look at it later and i'll tell you how well I did. that's really clever and I appreicate all the work you guys put into it... Thanks for thinking about me- sometimes it seems like nobody cares... but I'm glad that someone remembers me back home and I love you a lot. I think about you guys probably more than you think about me and you're all in my prayers. I'm glad thanksgiving went decently well in the end and I hope you have a great week. Merry Christmas and Happy thanksgiving. Bears. I love you.
say hi to luke and jake and aaron and everyone else in the world.
Elder Winget
- Show quoted text -

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What Thanksgiving means to Collin

Yesterday we went to church and found out that one of our families dropped us- I sort of said a little about them, the parents who want their daughters to sin and the daughters who would rather just be good and get baptized. Apparently the mom "took the truth to be hard" and said that she doesn't mind if we came over and ate with them, but they don't ever want us to teach them again. Then we found out that our lunch appointment for after church was canceled.... And I realized we had absolutely NOTHING to eat chez nous. I was really worried about that. Then the branch president brought out a buttload of cantaloupes and watermelons and we all ate until we were stuffed. I must have eaten 10 cantaloupe pieces and 3 huge watermelon pieces. Which was good since our lunch was canceled. We tried to go around and see some people and no one was around so we just went home to do studies.. I was all sad because of the Nothing to eat thing- we just ate this tuna stuff.. Then later for dinner.. We found out we didn't even have butter, so we couldn't make Macaroni and Cheese--- we were basically just out of luck. So the day wasn't going so good.. But then we found some Rice-a-roni! And life was saved. It called for BUTTER ... which we didn't have. But we tried it with vegetable oil and it worked fine! We mixed it with some canned peas we found lying around and it turned out to be the best meal I'd ever eaten. The day was saved and life was good again. I'd still love some In-n-out though--- I heard rumors that the owners said they would never open one in Utah-- but I guess the rumors were FALSE because there it goes. Apparently Lucky Buns was supposed to be an in-and-out copy but they went out of business. Hopefully in-and-out will do better.

Other than that our ami Yvan came to church, so that was good. He didn't feel like wearing a tie- but whatev, still good. :) Not a lotta happened this week besides that. I found out that President Callister is coming in 2 weeks- and that he wants to do an interview with every missionary. Kind of intimidating. He gave an awesome talk in General Conference- if you didn't get the chance to hear it, I recommend it.

That's about all that happened this week.. We're trying to plan something for Thanksgiving- no one knows it exists in this country, so it's just a normal Thursday. However I was thinking about how thankful I am for everything.. I've learned so much on my mission- I wouldn't trade the experiences I have daily for anything. I'm so thankful for all that I've learned and all the ways in which I've grown. I actually have a reason for all the crappy things that happen, because I have so many opportunities to grow. I remember the times I just responded negatively when bad things happened and I found myself even more miserable. But when I am just optimistic and happy things work out. I think about something I heard in a Zone Conference- I can't remember if it was from a conference talk or what, but there was a guy who lived in a German concentration camp for years and obviously suffered much. He figured, however, that the German soldiers could take away almost everything from them.. They could take away all of their freedoms, their clothes, their belongings, they could withhold food and water and try their best to make their lives miserable- but the only thing that they couldn't take away is one's attitude. They can't control it, and no one can. I am happy when I choose to be happy. Stuff sucks sometimes, that's life, but we always are able to choose the way in which we'll react.
I'm thankful for my family and for your letters and encouragement every week- I always look forward to it. Sorry my letter was super lame last week.. I felt like I was going to die. ( he was SO sick last week!)But I'm okay now. I hope you guys get something out of my letters each week.. Sorry they're not horribly interesting every time.. Sometimes nothing happens really in the whole week. But I'll try my best, eh? I'm so thankful for everything that you guys do for me and all your prayers.. Thanks for all the letters and packages and everything.
I'm thankful for the Gospel in my life- what would I do without it? I'm so happy for what I've learned on my mission.. I've learned how important the Church is and how less important some of the "really important" things are in life. I read in Alma 32 and 33 this morning and me and Elder Wilcox were discussing how Mormon left this section in, not because there are necessarily apostate churches all over the place in our day, but because we, as members of the church, sometimes risk becoming like the apostate Zoramites. How? Well, the Zoramites had the gospel, and decided to say the same prayers over and over, go to church once a week, and forget about God for the rest of the week. I'm happy for all that I've learned and all the good examples of the members here.. May we not forget how important God is in our lives-- all 7 days of the week.
I'm mostly thankful for everything, but those are just a couple things. Don't forget that Thanksgiving isn't just to eat, but to be thankful too. Remember how merciful God has been in our lives.. I'm trying to remember how unimportant I am- how little I am. In Mosiah 2 it talks about how even if we were to serve all our lives we would still be unprofitable servants.. God gives us EVERYTHING- right down to our breath. And all he asks us to do is keep his commandments.

20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the athanks and bpraise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and cpreserved you, and has caused that ye should drejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—
21 I say unto you that if ye should aserve him who has created you from the beginning, and is bpreserving you from day to day, by lending you cbreath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own dwill, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your ewhole souls yet ye would be funprofitable servants.
22 And behold, all that he arequires of you is to bkeep his commandments; and he has cpromised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth dvaryfrom that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do ekeep his fcommandments he doth bless you and prosper you.

I love thanksgiving-- mostly cuz of the food. But I'm going to try to be as thankful as I can, and not forgetting from what source everything comes from. We don't prosper because we're just awesome and amazing and strong people, but we owe everything to God. Any blessings we have in our lives, we owe to Him and we should thank Him as much as possible.. especially during this thanksgiving time. Cool.

Thanks for everything, I don't have a whole lot else to say, but I hope you all have a wonderful week and a wonderful thanksgiving. Be good and be happy.

Elder Winget

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lots of news from Elder Winget!

I have been SO busy for the past month, but I finally had time to update Elder Winget's blog. He has some interesting stories to tell about people he has been teaching, and people he taught last year when he was a new missionary. He and Elder Wilcox are splitting their time between 2 apartments - one in Tontouta, and one in Boulouparis. But the branch they attend is the same one he and Elder Tekurio attended last year when they were in Paita. So he has the wonderful opportunity of seeing people he helped teach last year and find out how they have progressed in the gospel. I'll post several excerpts from emails from the past month - I hope I can put them together in some kind of order that will make sense to you ...

I have always heard the quote that a testimony is gained on your Feet not on your Knees and I never really understood-- I came to the realization that that is really true this week. I thought about everything that has gone into finding and teaching these people.. I'm just a 20 year old American punk who doesn't speak that good of french, and isn't that good of a speaker in English either way. I don't know a huge amount about anything. I'm immature and silly and I don't take things seriously enough. I know that if I was inviting people to join something of my own will and power, not one person would listen on this island. I KNOW that the experiences and countless others that I've shared and not shared with you are guided by the Spirit-- If it wasn't so, I know the results would be very different. My testimony has grown so much, not just on my knees, but in living and teaching the Gospel- or in other words, on my feet. I've grown so much- all these experiences have changed who I really am. I'm so thankful to be on a mission and to have the opportunity to help the Lord change these peoples' lives. I know that not much is happening of my own doing--- I'm just an instrument in the Lord's hands. I'm so excited about it too. I love my mission!

It's interesting getting to know my new sector. It's more of what I expected when I got my mission call to Fiji.. Missionaries in Noumea don't know what real life is. Even Paita seems like the big city and there's only like 10,000 people who live there. Boulouparis is a city that was originally built around a police station. The population is less than 2,000 and it has 1 gas station and 2 chinois stores- or convenience type stores. Tontouta is where the international airport is, and our chapel is. The whole town is pretty much just airport workers and "gendarmeries" - that's what the police is called. Elder Wilcox bought bikes for the sector, because our kilometers are severely limited for the size of the sector- so every Wednesday we bike to save kilometers. Malheureusement, my bike broke already and we're going to have to figure out somehow to fix it. We're working on it.
I don't know if I told you, but we have 2 apartments in this sector- one in Boulouparis and one in Tontouta- that way we don't have to keep going up to Boulou every single night.. That would waste lots of time and kilometers. So a little more than half of the week we stay in Tontouta and the rest we stay in Boulouparis. Boulouparis doesn't have much in it.. Just a couple people. Every door has been knocked and everyone in the whole town knows us- so missionary work doesn't move too quickly. So that's why we stay in Tontouta more often- there's lots more people and actually stuff to do. The bad part is.. The tontouta apartment is about the size of my room back home.. The Mautz's call it the "country house".. It's right in the middle of the country.. far from civilization. It's basically a little cabin. Whatev. We cleaned it this morning and rearranged it and I organized everything much better so it's a much better place to live these days. I guess that's just my thing- I hate cleaning but when I start doing it I HAVE to get it right or I'll go nuts. The good thing about both our apartments is that it's very quiet- a huge change from VDC. AND I can see STARS!!! Millions of them! it's really weird, one can see much different stars in the southern hemisphere. Last night I went outside and stared at them for like 30 minutes.. Then our neighbor's dogs scared me so I went back inside. Our neighbors have these evil dogs and we're sort of scared of them.

The sector in general- the branch is really difficult and verging on ridiculous- They're small and far from Noumea. But we're working hard with them and things have improved even since a year ago when I was here last. So things are inching along.

from Nov. 1:
As for our Amis in this sector, we're working with a guy named Yvon- an old Caldoche (white guy born in Caledonia) guy. Apparently originally all he was looking forward to was death- he doesn't take care of himself anymore and kind of gave up on life. He was smoking a huge box of 144 mini cigars per 2 days and spending all his retirement on cigars and cigarettes. Since the missionaries (Elder Wilcox and Aiho) found him, he read the BOM in 6 days, and has a better outlook on life. He's slowly but surely improving. He's down to about 15-20 cigarettes a day and reads a lot in the BOM. He's got a raging beard/mane and only has one eye-- (an accident with a shotgun and alcohol..) He doesn't change his clothes and doesn't shower. We're trying to get him to clean up a little bit. We kind of tricked him into coming to church for the first time yesterday. We lent him Elder Wilcox's hair clippers and he said he was going to get all clean and stuff for church the next day- but we showed up and he was still just dirty old Yvon. He said he wasn't pure enough to come to church- but we said well, how about we just go do a tour of the chapel before the members show up. And he's like well, alright. So we went and got him to sit down in the chapel and then we're like well look, it's Fast and Testimony meeting and you won't want to miss it- what do you say we just stay? And he stayed the whole time. He liked it and we'll be seeing him tonight, and hopefully we can engage him to continue going to church every week.
from Nov. 8:
our friend Yvon came to church again! He cut his hair and trimmed his beard and I gave him a shirt and tie to put on and he looked great! He loves church and as soon as we can get him to quit smoking and drinking, I think we can baptize him. Apparently I'm taking it all for granted since I just got here, but this is something elder Wilcox and Aiho were trying to get him to do for MONTHS. They even lent him the clippers and he never got around to clipping his hair. But this time it worked out. I'm really excited about it.

Also from Nov. 1:
The amazing news though--- Me and elder Wilcox were building a house/thing for this dude and I got a phone call from Elder Green- he said that Soane and Vaea have started their marriage papers!!!! They're definitely some of the best Amis I've ever had, and I had no doubt they'd get baptized someday.. They always talked about when they are baptized and how they want to so bad, but didn't always DO something about it. But they've gotten their papers started and have asked me to be a witness at their wedding! The Zone Leaders said no (it's their job), but President Ostler said yes! I don't know the date yet, but their kids are going to Tahiti on Dec 14th and they want them to be their for the Wedding- so it's going to be before that. I'm inexplicably ecstatic. Of all the people I've taught I feel like I have the strongest bond with them and their family, and I am so happy for them. I knew they could do it!! They're amazing people- they're at every church function and are applying gospel principles better than most members- they still do family scriptures and prayer every night and talk about temple marriage.. They just get it and I know they're going to be an amazing addition to the Church.

and a continuation, from Nov. 8:
We saw Soane and Vaea and the kids- they stopped in Tontouta to see me and so I could sign their marriage papers, since I'm going to be a witness. I'm so excited--- I honestly consider them my friends- people I would keep hanging out with even if I wasn't on a mission. And So I'm really really extatic about their marriage and baptism. Elder Green told me they won't stop talking about me and asking about me and he's like hey, I'm still here! Let's talk about me! Soane said well you're here and Winget isn't so let's talk about him. :P I guess the kids ask about me and my news and such. The kids have memorized up to 8 in the articles of faith, and they have speaking parts in the primary program- even though they're not members yet. I'm so so so so So happy about their progress-- it makes all the hard work worth it!! The Sékémé family is the last actual FAMILY to get baptized on this island for a LONG time.. It's really hard to get entire families to except the gospel.. ironically. But Soane and Vaea's little family is going to be the next one in. I'm so excited. I've seen the slow but steady progress in them.. They're genuinely so much happier.. I remember when we first went to their house months ago.. There was no spirit in their home and I thought they didn't even like each other.. They NEVER went ANYWHERE as a family-- it was work, school, fight, sleep. But now they actually love each other.. The gospel really does strengthen families.. Something I don't think I could have learned without going on a mission. I really took our family unity for granted-- but I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the reason why we're so close.

And here's some more interesting news:
I saw Atiu Atiu (my buddy that got baptized back in the Vallee du Tir days) this week and he's doing amazing!!! He's the life blood of the Ducos branch these days. They were really struggling before he came along- and he's doing wonders for them. He's 1st councilor in the Elders Q Presidency and he is pulling the whole branch along with him. He's doing absolutely amazing.

Since I'm back in the Tontouta branch, I'm in contact again with Soane and Valerie who I taught and who got baptized back when I was in Paita. They're both still active and very very strong. Soane is sort of like Atiu- he's put so much strength into this branch that wasn't there before. He's completely changed since I first met him. You wouldn't even think he's the same guy.. He's so great. Valerie is in the Young Womens presidency and is doing wonderfully. She's also like Soane in that she brings so much to the branch and won't back down.

In New Caledonia, activity rate is 30 something percent and about 80 percent of Recent Converts go inactive in their first year. We're working ridiculously hard with our recent converts to try and change that- but the fact still remains.. It's getting lots better, and this year is better than the last. But The 3 people that got baptized under my watch are still active--- and not only active, but REALLY REALLY active. It's absolutely amazing!!! I know Soane and Vaea are going to be the same for the Magenta branch-- and their kids will be an amazing addition to the Primary there. Did I tell you how Tiro stood up and said the 1st 4 articles of faith in front of the primary and no one else could do it? Amazing, eh? Well, that's awesome.

We taught this kid and his mom this week, Marcelline and Claude- they're both recent converts. Marcelline is doing really really well-- she is amazing. Claude is only 11 years old, and doesn't 100% get it that he has to come to church every week.. Sad, albeit understandable. He hadn't been in 3 months when I first got here. Me and Elder Wilcox were doing planning and we planned to teach them about the Plan of Salvation, focusing on Eternal Families. I thought almost it was too cheezy-- we talk about eternal families all the time and I always think that Okay, we all got it, we can be together forever.. Blah blah blah. But we taught it anyway. It seemed like just any other lesson, we taught it, they listened, we left. But that sunday, Claude went to church again.. And was happy to be there. We came over during the week and his mom said that he's been talking ALL week about how he needs to be GOOD and keep the COMMANDMENTS so he can have an Eternal Family!!!!! I was blown away--- 75% of the time I wonder if anyone even listens to our lessons-- he took it to the next level. He has commited himself to be at church EVERY sunday and he has started praying and reading his scriptures- and praying so that his dad will get baptized and they can be an eternal family. I was so so touched- I didn't realize it but we really followed the spirit, and not our own silly thoughts. Elder Wilcox said the same thing, that he didn't know if that was too cheesy to teach, but we did it. And it worked!

One more thing...(this is from Nov. 8th)
Well more about my week in general- Monday we went to the beach after I emailed y'all and we took some silly jumping pictures-- the only problem is that I didn't take my knee into account and so I completely killed my knee when I landed. It made a huge cracking sound and I was dead. Well, close. It hurt and I couldn't bend it or straighten it or put ANY weight on it. This has happened already way too many times on my mission so I sort of figured if I just toughed it out for a few days, it would get better. And a family gave me these crutches to use for the week. So I was fine, but we called the mission nurse anyway and she was all scared and said I had to go down to Noumea to get it X-rayed tout de suite! So we dropped everything and went to the hospital in Noumea and they X-Rayed it and there's nothing broken.. They just gave me anti-inflammatory pills and pain pills and said to take it easy. Which is what I knew they would say-- So I just wasted time and lots of the mission's money to have them say that. but whatever, I did what the nurse said. By now my knee is fine-- the medicine actually helps quite a bit! I can walk almost normal, although I have a very noticeable limp. I am still taking it easy- which is easy since we have a car.

I think that should get everybody up to speed who have asked about Collin lately... Later today we should be hearing from him again, and I'll update the blog again hopefully tomorrow.
Thanks to everyone who sent a birthday email - it's not too late if you missed his birthday... We are sending a Christmas package right after Thanksgiving, and if you email me (or bring me a card or something), I'll make sure it gets in the Christmas package.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Good Report from A New Caledonian Member

We just got a very special email from Brother Harold Li-Khau who is in Collin's new branch. It looks like he has been transferred to Tontouta and he gets to be companions with Elder Wilcox again! We didn't hear from Collin about this yet, but I'm sure we will later today. I thought it was so sweet to hear from someone in Collin's mission and to read what they think of him. It was very nice of him to take the time to email us and send pictures too. He looks good and happy, and it looks like he gets delicious food to eat :)

The Li-Khau family I remember hearing about when Collin was in his first area, Paita. They used to go over there for dinner every week. It's wonderful to hear from Brother Li-Khau how much Collin has improved with his french since the last time he used to go visit them, which was a year ago. Wow, time really flies! He will be coming home in about 6 months. Amazing!


My name is brother LI-KHAU Harold you can see my family picture, I just wanted to let you know that Elder WINGET is doing very well here with us in our branch, I remember for the time he came on his mission, his first area was our branch and his French was not really that but you know it is normal for a new missionary , every Thursday they always come home have dinner with our family, we really help him to learn our language, our father in heaven and with your prayer really bless him, I believe in the 7th article of faith, myself too I was like him wen I was on my mission in Fiji, I did not how to speak in English and through that experience, I know that Elder WINGET can do it, like I did it, today he can speak really good French, 2 years far away from his family it is sounds that it is longer but for me no!!! compare to the eternal life , Elder WINGET is a good example to us , today he is back to our branch with a really good French, every week we always have dinner with the missionaries at home, my wife and I know what is mission life ,we are both return missionaries, I serve my mission in Fiji and my wife in Tahiti, we understand the missionaries that why every week they use to come and have dinner and sharing the gospel together, we like to thank you and your family the big sacrifice to let him come on his mission to serve the lord ,we know that it was one of his goal to come on the mission, we know also that you had, and you will receive more blessing from the lord, may god bless you more in everything that you need, do not worry for your son, he is in the good hand, the gospel of Jesus-Christ is true, my wife and I have 4 children’s, Rebecca 16 years old, Dan 15 years old, Nathanaelle 11 years old and Catherine 7 years old, you can see in our pictures you can see also some others picture of Elder Winget during our branch conference with his companion Elder Wilcox, dear family we hope this news will make you happy, the church is true, I am sorry for the mistake, may god bless you all. One of the members on the other side of the world.

From the LI-KHAU family……

Sunday, October 11, 2009

TSUNAMI ! ... well, not really

(Here's Elder Winget on a recent windy day)
Well, speaking of TSUNAMI-- that's about all the excitement from this week... Or rather, not exciting at all. We were chilling in our apartment on thursday morning when we got a call from the Zone leaders and they're like Hey there was a Tsunami in Vanuatu this morning and New Caledonia has a Tsunami warning so don't go close to the beach. And we were like so if we were planning on doing "service" at the beach, we shouldn't do it? They said yeah don't do that. Thursdays we're supposed to do service for people and no one ever wants us to do service for them so we have to make something up. Sometimes we pick up garbage and a few times we helped someone move or paint or whatever.. This time we just thought about going to pick up garbage on the beach. So we're like well, what now? Then about 10 minutes later the Zone Leaders called and said that president said to evacuate everyone to higher grounds as a precaution and that they were picking us up in 5 minutes. So we were like hmm, maybe there is something? So we went up on this big hill to this property the church owns- for when there is finally a stake here they'll build a stake center.. And at 11:15 there was supposed to be an earthquake again. Since Vanuatu is really close and there was actually an 8 magnitude smoething there i was thinking, well, maybe something will actually happen for once. Whenever pres and the ZLS freak out it always means nothing at all will happen. So we waited.. and waited... and nothing ahppened. it didn't even rain. I was like come on, just a Little wave even... There are no waves here since the entire island is a lagoon- so the water is always really calm. No waves, no earthquake, no nothing. so we went back home. And then it turns out Vanuatu didn't even get hit by a tsunami, they were just on tsunami warning... there was a 8 mag tremblement de terre ( earthquake) in the ocean though. Hmm, watev.

Conference was great! For once there were no problems with the transmission thing so we got to watch all the sessions. We had some amis there and they liked it. I was happy. The most intense talk would have to be Elder Holland's talk about the Book of Mormon. I really enjoyed it. We all said they should have just ended the conference right there- it's anticlimactic to do anything else.. :) Anyway, it was great. I also liked when President Uchdorf talked about mormons being known for streams that talk, and trees that produce popcorn. We had a huge laugh about that.

Other than that, not much happened. We did a small family home evening thing and invited Soane and Vaea who weren't able to come- but we did a small lesson and ate anyway at a family's house in our branch. The wife is from Vanuatu and speaks english and the husband is from here, and did his mission in Vanuatu. They have unidentical twin boy and girl that are absolutely adorable. In Vanuatu they have a ridiculous language called Bislama. Look it up- it's really interesting. It's basically like putting English in a blender.. We meet lots of people from Vanuatu here- it's close and they speak french over there.. kind of. Anyway, so the little kids think that missionaries are all named "shakehands" because their mom always says shake hands to them when they see the Elders. So they called me Hey! Shakehands! And I'm like what!? What's my name? Shakehands! Ha ha!!! It was adorable and hillarious. I'll have to get a video of them.. I'll try anyway.

Well other than that nothing much happened. That's the scoop. Hey I might ask you next week to make me some CDS from conference- so you could send me them in the next package. But I want them in a special way so I'll show you with the computer controller thing next week or something. I wanted something else in a package.. But I don't remember now. Blah. Don't worry too much about me getting a package by halloween-- I'm not super concerned about it.

Good luck with the primary program-- as long as the kids are singing I dont' think anyone can complain about it. And if they do you can tell them to take their kids to the other primary in the ward... ;)

Thanks a million! I love you!

elder winget

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Music, and beautiful beaches

Hi, it's me. Yes, it is September 28th.. Weird! I am bien surprised... Time flies, eh? Today me and Elder Green decided to watch the sunrise.. So we woke up at 4:30 AM and walked out to a nice little spot under a coconut tree and at about 5:45 it rose. It was marvellous. Then we decided, why not continue our tour? So we walked basically all around the bottom of the peninsula of Noumea and saw all the beaches. Well, we walked along Anse Vata and Baie des Citrons.. Which are amazingly beautiful beaches. We stopped by a little bakery and bought some french pastries (which are amazing, by the way..) and stopped by our dear Zone Leaders' appartment and shared them with them, along with some fish and more bread that they had. (they're tahitian.. I guess they eat fish and mashed potatoes for breakfast) Then we trekked out and did more beach tours and moseyed our way home by 11. It wasn't a super long walk, but we stopped to rest and take pictures every 20 min or so. We have some cool pictures of us under coconut trees and such. ( BTW, I looked these places up on Google Earth, and wow, they are beautiful beaches! )

Other than that, this week we saw Soane and Vaea a few times, and Elder Mautz asked Soane when he's getting baptized and he said "bientot"- soon. They know what they have to do, and they're hopefully going to get married and then baptized. I think they're completely ready to get baptized-- besides that they live together unmarried. But I have noticed a huge change in them. Soane was a huge drinker and has stopped completely. Vaea used to be really meloncoly and sad all the time and actually cried during one of our lessons-- and now she seems happy all the time. The kids seem so much happier. We printed out a copy of that little picture we took of them (I think I sent it to you) and us and they put it in a little frame next to their TV. :)( That picture is the one above) They love us a lot and we love them back. I'm happy to be the instrument by which the Lord could bring them His Gospel. They'll make a wonderful addition to the Magenta branch.... Sooner than later I hope. Marriages are tricky in anywhere french... Especially since neither of them are from NC- but they're both French citizens so I hope it will go smoothly.

We had a fireside in which we sang and spoke about Jesus Christ. The spirit was strong and Soane and Vaea were there- it doesn't seem like soemething they'd be amazingly impressed by... i kept looking at them and they didn't seem to be paying attention-- but afterwards they were both really really happy and said they loved it. Sister Swapp sang and she has an amazing voice. It really made the program.

We had a practice for a fireside that we'll be singing in in October and for the Christmas program with the district .. sometime in Christmas time. And everyone keeps telling me that I sing really well.. I hate drawing attention to myself cuz then people will ask me to sing solos and stuff- but they keep asking me to sing louder. Blah. Elder Mautz keeps telling me every time he hears me that I sing amazingly and that I need to take voice lessons and stuff when I get home. i'll think about it. I wouldn't mind singing in church every once in a while. Maybe I can sing something in French. :D

We went to this concert thing at the Catholic Cathedral in Centre Ville on Saturday. These kids of 7-14 in age sang gregorian and latin and stuff.. And it was AMAZING! I was so impressed and entertained. It was really calm and cool music. I hope they come back again some time. They're all New Caledonian kids too.

So on saturdays they are doing this rock concert thing in Centre Ville that local bands can come and play for everyone.. Kind of like a battle of the bands. Sometimes we're in the area to contact people.. And sometimes take a short peek at the music. :) While they were setting up we were taking a lunch break and sitting on this bench and this guy pulls up who was part of the set up crew..... His windows were down and he was playing loud music. There was this rad music playing with a cool bass sound and I was like woah, what's that? That's cool sounding.. Then the words came in and I realized it was MUSE!!! He was playing the new MUSE CD!!! . I heard about 10 seconds of a song I don't know.. But those 10 seconds were some of the best of my life. That little clip keeps playing over and over in my head. We went over and talked to the dude and asked him if that was the new muse cd. he said yes and he loves muse. He said they come to play in Australia sometimes and he always goes. He said that there are lots of people who like muse in NC. Go figure. I was happy though.

Well that's about all that happened this week. Cool beaches, and muse.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Family ties and the Gospel

this is Collin's hat that I knitted for him... here's his latest email:
Not a lot has happened since the last time I talked to you-- 3 days ago. We did service for a less active member- she moved and so we moved all her stuff. Their family is sad- and it made me so very thankful for mine. We talked to the mom lady the other day- she owns a tahitian pearl shop, so she's decently loaded. She has nice cars, nice apartment, etc.. And the money really got to her head. We were talking to her the other day and she said she's currently going through a divorce and it's hard.. She said the reason she's getting divorced is cuz her husband wasn't a worthy priesthood holder and that the reason she doesn't go to church was because she didn't want the members to call her by her husband's last name. Well, turns out she's really more of the reason for the divorce- because she's having an affair.. She has 3 little daughters- 16 yrs old, 14ish and 3. And it's really really tearing apart the family. The 16 year old is amazingly strong, and has a ridiculously amazing testimony. Even though no one else in her family is really active and stuff, she really does her best. I really admire her- especially since she's only 16 years old. You can tell that the divorce and the affair is really affecting her though. All this garbage made me realize two things- number 1. i'm really blessed. She was talking to us the other day and said me and Elder Green are really blessed. And we're like yeah yeah.. And she's like no, are your parents sealed in the temple? How far away do you live from a temple? Do you get to go to conference in the conference center? How far do you live from the prophet? She said she's going through a lot of trials in her life.. And we could do nothing but say we're sorry and to keep doing the best she can. But it really made me think.... I am blessed!! My family is together and we love each other.. We are practicing members of the true church- and we are enormously blessed because of it. How great is that? I love you guys. But then the other thing I learned-- number 2: Her family situation sucks- her parents don't care, and actually complain about taking her to church and seminary. But she is there every week without fail. Her family doesn't pray or read scriptures together- and yet she does. We can be strong wherever we are- and we should never make excuses about our situation... We always have the choice ourselves to be good and to keep the commandments, or not. Let us not make excuses for our situations- but let us be strong and create zion in the midst of babylon.

Other than that, we had a lesson with Soane and Vaea and a member named Frere Tuahiva (kind of-- his name is actually like 20 syllables, so he goes by a nick-last name.) He's great, and he helped us a lot. One really cool thing about being a missionary-- is that I know I'm not like amazing necessarily-- I don't have any magical powers and I don't know anything about anyone's problems or their lives.. Sometimes I have to pretend to know stuff about how to solve problems- but really all I can do is rely on the Lord. I don't know anything about how to fix Soane or Vaea's problems- but we do the best we can to teach them how to fix their own problems.. And it works! The last lesson I told you about- Vaea was having a really crappy time and we tried to help her the best we could.. she was looking for us to help her fix her problems. But the best answers we had were prayer, scriptures, and repentence. She didn't seem to like that answer because it sounded to vague- or so I gathered. But then the next time we came over with Frere Tuahiva- they were both doing SO much better. That was the first time I've seen her smile in a long time. She was happy- and participated in the lesson. Soane was doing good too. They said that they talked out their problems with each other and with the Lord. And even though I couldn't solve their problems- He can. And will. And did. They're doing better and going great. The kids are still awesome.
Frere Tuahiva helped a lot- he shared his experiences about how the gospel ahs really helped his family and that he is happy. I saw a huge contrast- you could tell that the rich lady isn't super happy, and nor are her kids. But then Frere Tuahiva just has an average manual labor job, a smallish dumpy house, and a so so car. But he's so happy- all the time. His family is happy. They love each other. Money really doesn't buy happiness--- we really need to realize that happiness comes from the Lord and His gospel. Reminds me of that quote from CS Lewis from general conference- can't remember who said it- but CSL said that life is a neverending struggle of man trying to find something other than God to make him happy.
Also during the lesson, Tiro, the little kid, drew us a picture.. it was so cute. he drew me and elder Green and the church- and he wrote (in funny kid-bad spelling) You are the best missionaries in the world and you teach us! I'll have to make a copy of it and send it to you.. It's hanging up on our fridge at home.

So that's about all that's happened since we last met.

I'm glad this primary thing is getting off the ground.. I'm glad Sister Gaya was so gung ho to do it.. I haven't had to do anything.. ha ha. If there's anything I can do though, I'd be happy to do it.

I'm excited for the package. Thanks a million!

Well, thanks for everything, I love you a lot. I'll see you later!
elder winget

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Obama made this sandwich" - and other adventures

A few nights ago we were hungry and tired and every single dish in our house was dirty- literally.. We just stopped washing dishes and dug all the random little ones out of the cracks to put our food in - instead of washing them. So we had a giant pile of dishes in the sink.. And didn't feel like washing them to make dinner. So we broke down and paid 40 bucks for a pizza. On our way home we met this crazy homeless drunk man that we call "Indian people" - he likes to speak in extremely broken french and a few months ago told us a story about indian people--- ?? pointing to the sky and stomping on the ground and saying how bush, kennedy and clinton were bad but obama is good--- and saying indian people over and over and over. I think. We didn't understand very much- but for that we call him indian people. Anyway, this night we were carrying home a pizza-- and we ran into HIM. Right outside our house. He starts saying things in extremely broken english/french and we eventually hear (over and over and over and over) that is name is Jake. Then he asks us to wash his clothes- and talks about obama and how bush is bad- and that his sister is a member and lives at our church. Then he tells us about random crap and then asks us for the PIZZA. I was like ah.... uh... Hold on. So we ran up to the house, and instead of giving him our 40 dollar pizza, we made him and his friend a sandwich, some crackers, and an apple. So we brought it down to him and he's like HEY did this sandwich come from AMERICA!? And we're like no, we made it.. And he's like OH this apple is AMERICAN! And we're like, no, we actually just bought it down the street at Geant. And he's like WOAH this comes from AMERICA!? And he wouldn't accept it because he was so confused... and I was like YES. OBAMA MADE THIS SANDWICH. And he was SO grateful to Obama. HE ate the sandwich and kept saying BUSH NO GOOD OBAMA GOOD. And I'm like well, good luck. So we went back in our house. Bad news- A bunch of hostile bums know where we live and want to use our washing machine- Jake is fine, but the other bums are scary. We're slightly scared. Oh well.

So, this internet place we're at was CLOSED on Monday, so we had to wait until we had a spare minute and so that's why we're writing you on THURSDAy. Sorry it's so late.. But it's worth it, right?

So lately the word has got out that I know a thing or two about computers- and everyone has been asking me for help. It's pretty sweet- I typed up a business paper and made some graphs for someone today while the other elders and sisters in my district painted her house. That's what we did for service today.. That was fun. I love messing around on the computer. It was interesting- I was typing all this junk in french and had no idea what it all meant. I tihnk they're designing a car.

We talked to some interesting people this week- We were knocking doors late at night (for New Caledonia- 6:30 pm) and we saw this lady getting into her car- she had a Vanuatu flag in her window- so we decided to talk to her (Vanuatu people are always nice.) Turns out she was jamming out in her car to some silly Pentocostal Christan Rock in English- and was really interested in talking to us. She actually suggested that we come talk to her.. So we were excited to take her number down and set a Rendezvous with her. So Elder Green says what's your number? And gets his planner and pen ready- and she says 80... And then.. closes her eyes.... and starts swaying back and forth. I thought maybe she couldn't remember her phone number.. Maybe it's a new phone? But then I looked closer.. She was ROCKING OUT to the music!!! Right in the middle of telling us her phone number!! We were dumbfounded.. And just kept staring at her. Remember that Seinfeld episode that Elaine's boyfriend has like "his song"- and won't talk while it's playing? It was exactly like that- so like 50-60 seconds later, my companion finally says, um.. good song! And she's like OH! It's so good! I'll make a rendezvous with you and I will make you a copy of the CDs! Oh it's amazing.. I love music in English! I hate music in French.. I don't speak english, but the miracle is when I'm listening to Worship music, I understand! And we're like um, okay. So, what's that phone number..?? So she gives it to us.. We've tried calling her since and haven't found her yet. We'll see.

Second interesting person- we were walking down the street, once again pretty late at night (about 7) and this woman passes by- we said bonsoir and almost kept walking- but then we felt like we needed to talk to her.. So we did. She said she has had a really hard life- her husband mistreats her, and she's looking for a church who really worships the Savior. She said she has gone to other churches, and they don't seem to be serious- they woship the Lord with their words- but don't do anything. She believes in God and prays every day that her life will get better- and she says she cries a lot. She lives in a squatt and doesn't have a very good job- her husband drinks a lot and it's getting hard. We started talking to her about the restoration- it sounded like Exactly what Jesus Christ said when he appeared to Joseph Smith (translating in my mind from french- won't be exact) They approach me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me--- We talked to her about the Gospel and how Jesus Christ has extended the invitation that he will lighten our burdens if we come unto Him.. She was really really touched and shed a few tears. We gave her a Restoration pamphlet and invited her to church.. She said she probably couldn't come to church because of her husband.. But was nevertheless very very happy to talk to us. We left her with a prayer and went on our way. We got her phone number-- and today tried to call her. Elder Green talked to.. her husband. Who was a complete jerk and wouldn't let us talk to her. He just insulted us over and over and yelled and wouldn't tell us anything..He left us with an ultimatum- if we ever want to talk to his wife again, why don't we just pray about it and that Holy Ghost of ours will lead us to her. We're going to take him up on the offer.

We taught Frere Katrawa again- his wife is studying to be a teacher- and was in Ouvea at the time on a student teaching thing. He had lots of questions- we didn't get to teach him what we had planned.. It was completely improv. But we came to the conclusion together that he needs to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true. He said his wife had prayed about it- and kept feeling this weird happy warm feeling.. But she wasn't sure if it was an answer. We're like AHH!! That's the answer! So we talked to her about it.. she said she's scared of change. I don't blame her. She's a member of a very strongly protestant family. I hope they realize the importance of all this.. I think they know it's true- but are scared to admit it.

We had Zone Conference this Tuesday. Me and elder green were asked to do a roleplay on street contacting- since we do it the most. We represented the people to be contacted- and some poor unsuspecting missionaries from Dumbea were our victim missionaries. We bascially just did what people do here- ask us about stupid things in america (DO YOU KNOW SNOOP DOG!? What does we will we will wattuu(rockyou) mean? How do you say smoke pot in english? Do you live in New york? Are you cowboys? Does your tie cost 300 dollars?) whistle and wave at every one of their friends at the most inconvienient part (everyone knows evvveryone - it's an island.. and when you see someone you know, you are partially obligated to whistle relaly loud and wave at them obnoxiously. even if it's in the middle of a missionary's testimony) and just basically were obnoxious. It was really fun and just about every single missionary came up to us after and were like HA HA HA that was so funny when you said.. whatever. But really we just acted out real life. Silly.

Also we had interviews with pres- once again he brought up that thing that I need to be a district leader or zone leader or something and I said aw that sounds hard. We'll see if I get called in the months that follow.

Soane and Vaea are doing.. good? bad? They want to get married and baptized at some point- we casually talked about it without sounding too pushing. They said they want to. Vaea is going through some hard times.. She says she's praying and praying and doesn't feel like God is forgiving her of her sins- we did an activity that we put all the books on Soane's outstretched arms and remove them with each step of the repentance process. She says she feels like the books are all on her right now.. and it's hard. We'll do the best we can to help them. They come to church most every week, they read the scriptures, and (this is a new update) drumroll... Started having family prayer and scripture study EVERY NIGHT!!!! I'm So happy that they finally took us up on that offer.. :) The kids are doing so well! They're about 8 and 7 and they LOVE primary SO much.. As soon as the prayer is over in sacrament meeting I turn my head and they disappear- ran off to primary! No one has to show them where to go. They love it so much. Tiro (the 8 year old little boy) has been praying and reading scriptures. They love it. Sometimes it feels like their family is progressing really well.. And sometimes digressing. The best part is though, they're seeing blessings and it's really cool to think that it's me and my companion who extended the invitation to accept the gospel into their lives-- I know it's not me that is blessing them, but it's cool to think that the Lord is working through me. I love it.

That's about all that happened with us this week.. We'll try to write on monday again-- we'll have to rework our pday norm- they've changed their operating hours. But whatever.

Thanks for the package, whenever you can send it. Don't stress, I'm fine.. but I'd love a package. That's funny you saw that faux de fafa movie-- I love love love those guys.. they're so stupidly funny. Ha ha! That's so cool you met Frere Luke-- he wasn't my teacher but he was elder green's teacher- and he subbed for us a bunch of times. I'm glad he remembered me- it's been more than a year since I seen him.

Ironically I just started getting a bunch of letters- I guess they were already in the mail. Hopefully I'll get more though.. I think I'm doing pretty good though, for being over the hump and still getting some. So I'm happy.

That's so RAD that you met sister Gaya! I'm glad this primary thing is working out for you-- Hopefully this can continue even after I get home-- then i can do some of the translating and stuff. That would be cool if this just keeps going and going for years and becomes a church legend. Ha ha.

Don't forget to send me a shirt or two if you send me a package.. :)
Thanks for everything! Thanks for the email. I love you a lot and I miss you tons. I'll see you soon.. Time goes by quick eh? I'll be home before we know it. Keep being good and keeping the commandments- I know you'll see miracles.
elder winget

Sunday, September 6, 2009

the Meeting of the Primary Presidents

Today was a very exciting day for me! This is Linda Gaya, who is the Primary president in the Noumea 2nd branch, in the ward where Collin is currently serving. And this is how we came to meet:

Back last fall when I was called to be Primary president, I had this ambitious idea to have our Primary be pen pals with the Primary children in the areas where our ward had missionaries serving. I quickly learned that this would be an almost impossible undertaking, since missionaries are very busy and generally don't have time to visit Primary and set up things like that. I nearly gave up on that idea, until a few weeks ago Collin was talking to Sister Gaya and he mentioned my pen pal idea and how cool it would be if something could work out. Well, she surprised us all by telling him she used to live in Orem and would be going there for a visit soon! We exchanged emails and and today she came to Primary and spoke to the children. She had the children in her branch write their testimonies on the backs of postcards. The writing is in french, but my secretary is french and can translate for us! Sister Gaya speaks perfect English and french, so it was no problem getting to know her and having her answer the kids questions about living in New Caledonia. Then in a few weeks she will be going back, and we will have our Primary kids write postcards for them. And you can be sure that I will have something special for her to hand deliver to my favorite missionary :D It is amazing how this all worked out!
This has really been a fun day!

By the way, thanks for reading this blog. When you get the time, please send a letter to Collin :) He would love it!
I'm trying to figure out how to put up his address in the sidebar of the blog. Be patient with me, I hope to get it solved soon!

More run-ins with drunk guys, and a special message

this is a picture of Collin surfing on a trash can overlooking Noumea on a very windy day

Here's excerpts from last week's email - Collin has Zone Conference this week, so I will be surprised if he emails us today. Sometimes the elders can email their families on a different day of the week if they have Zone Conference or something, so if he sends us anything later I will post it.
Collin has a message for his friends and family at the end of his email, so be sure to read it!
Yeah so I do have Adobe Photoshop- because of the USB flash drive you sent me. I actually use it a lot- just for resizing pictures and stuff. It works great. I have missed messing around in photoshop for a while-- So I decided to do it this time. Anyway, I'm fine now - I did use the medecine you sent with me- I had one theraflu left from last time I was sick and I used it and I felt decently well.

this week was fine- I forgot to tell you about one thing we did last week for service. We do service every Thursday- and this week we couldn't find anything to do so we just found this empty lot where lots of homeless people sleep and picked up all the garbage. We got everything that was visible- there was still much much more hiding in the bushes. I wouldn't be surprised if we picked up 2000+ beer cans.. And lots of other junk. The pile we made after having cleaned up the whole thing was about 6 feet tall and 15 feet long and 5 feet wide. It was HUGE - and a very small lot. As we were dumping off the last load and about to go home this dude comes up to us and starts complaining about white people- What are you guys doing!? What, so America has to come over here and give KANAKYs a lesson about cleaning up!? More like WE'll teach YOU a lesson! We don't need your lessons.. And i'm like dude, this was dirty, we have to see it 3 times a week and it smells and looks horrible so we just wanted to serve you. Stop complaining and let us go home. And he starts going off on us- The color of the skin doesn't matter! Stop being racist! I'm black and you're white but we bleed the same blood! And i'm like well.. I never said otherwise! And he just keeps complaining. Then this other dude- stoned and drunk off his mind comes up to us and says HEY are you going to pull some weeds while you're at it?? And i'm like... no. We don't have time. We just wokred for about 4 hours just on the garbage. BUt you can do it!!! And he said well.. I dont' have any gloves like you have. And I'm like look, if I give you these gloves, will you clean up and pull weeds and keep this place clean? And his eyes get all big and he nods his head excitedly. So I hand him my nice leather gloves.. Thinking he wouldn't do a thing with them. But he ACTUALLY STARTS PULLING WEEDS!!!! LOL! So he makes a huge pile of weeds and actually starts cleaning and we went home. We came back about a week later and it's already as bad as before. Oh well, we tried.

Then this saturday we were involved in "Projet Mont Dore Propre" - project clean mont dore- a city next to Noumea. We woke up and went straight to the chapel.. They gave us a cool T-shirt and we picked up garbage all around Mont Dore. It was great publicity for the church- we had about 50ish members show up and almost no one else showed up. We did a great job too. They took our picture and it will be in the newspaper. Tragically, I missed the picture-- but they took another one and they're going to try to get it in the local news section of the Liahona. I picked up 6 or 7 bags of trash- and we separated it to be recycled. Cool! Lots of garbage pick up.

Later this week my companion and I were talking to people in the Place des Cocotiers- the little park in the middle of town- and this dude waves us over. Just a little black guy. We start talking to him and he's really nice... He said he has been to prison lots of times because of "aggressing people" -- and I said woah, are you going to aggress us?? Ha ha, no of course not! So we kept talking about the gospel and stuff and then we asked him what he does for a living. And he's like well, I just ask people for their spare change! And we're like well... Do you want to change that? And he's like no, it's fine.. It's a good job. Adn we're like well, maybe you should work? Wouldn't that be better? And we get into an argument about how US - the white people- stole his land and ruined everything and that blah blah blah.. and I'm like well.. you can still go back to the tribu and work your land if you want! (he kept complaining about how me- the white people - paved everything so he can't work the ground and plant plants) and he gets all mad and starts saying that we don't know anything and us the white people ruined the whole world and blah blah blah and that i don't even know how to work the earth! And i'm like well-- I have a garden chez moi- and he's like yeah well you stole that land from the indians! and you stole the land in Australia from the Aboriginal people! And you stole the land from the Tahitians! And he goes on and on about how we kill people and I'm like dude, I've never killed anyone in my life.. I didn't do any of that stuff.. I'm probably not even related to any of these people. We're just here to serve and teach the gospel and stuff. And he just gets way mad and punches elder green- And I'm like woah.. Let's just go. cuz elder green wanted to hit him back really bad- and I'm like its not worth it.. Peace dude. So this dude just starts YELLING in the middle of town over and over and over- silly guy.

Mostly these days what we need is more investigators- this week we're going to work hard to find some new ones. I hope it works!

Well that's about everything that happened in this past week.. I wrote a couple letters- I've officially replied to EVERY letter I've ever gotten- so could you put up a notice on my blog? Something like -
ATTENTION EVERYONE- I want some mail- send me some. This is a call to repentance. If you have been thinking about sending me a letter recently- do it! I have officially replied to every letter I have recieved as of September 1st. If you haven't gotten a letter from me in a while- that's cuz either
1. You haven't sent me one - I dont' have time to write people who don't write back!!!
2. It's in the mail and is coming to you soon.
3. I never got your letter in the mail- and so you'll have to send me a new one.
Do it!

Okay that's all. .i love you a lot and I hope you have a great week.

elder winget

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Elder Winget gets la Grippe

I woke up this morning to a special surprise - Collin had emailed us during the night, and he even sent us this picture! He made it out of pictures I had emailed him recently, but he didn't mention how he got access to Photoshop... but I laughed so hard my stomach hurt! I feel just like that baby sun in Teletubbies :D So, here is most of the email he sent me:

So sorry I didn't send a weekly email on time- the internet place was closed in the morning and we were too lazy to go back in the Afternoon- so we came today. This week was not super eventful-- I can't remember a lot that happened. But I do remember a couple things.. I got pretty sick the other day and got all feverish and dizzy and wanted to die. I was hot and then cold and then hot and then cold.. It started out during church.. It was a nice sunny warm day and I was freezing cold chattering my teeth and shivering all through church. Miserable. Then I started dying so eventually we went home. I slept for about 15 hours.. kind of. horrible night. but then in the morning I was.. decent. Throughout the day it got better.. And now i'm okay. It was a pretty short flu. Everyone's freaking out over the swine flu (or Grippe A as we call it in french I guess) so I was thinking it would be something serious but I tihnk i'm fine now. I've still got about a gallon of mucus inside of me, but other than that all is well. Today was Elder Green's birthday- we made lunch at the house and the zone leaders brought over a cake and it was fun. I drank about a gallon of vegetable oil-- or rather I ate a bunch of deep fried food- and so now I am all tired and fat. But we actually have to go teach a lesson soon so I don't have a lot of time. I did make a picture for you though..
( for this next part, I had asked him what people over there think of Americans)
People here.... have so many ideas of americans.. This one guy on the street told me to go home and told me in strong language that I should go back to america with my rich clothing and stop telling them how to live their lives. I said dude, do you know how much money is in my wallet? About 5 dollars. Do you know what I ate for breakfast? nothing. Dinner last night? nothing. Do you know what apartment I live in? No, not the most expensive hotel in noumea, a small crappy apartment in vallee des colons. My tie did not cost 300 euros (which he said) but about 9 dollars. My shirt was about 3 dollars. Calm down. Other people think that america is constant gang fights and that you're always running for your life. I do hear much talk about cowboys. Elder Livingston started telling these girls that the USA they see on tv doesn't really exist- it's all a hoax- people live in tin shacks and there's fires everywhere and you have to scrape for your food and that Socks in english is chaussets. He got sick of people telling/asking him what america is like.. So he made up a new america. So needless to say.. America is a hot topic. Some people are still grateful for America saving them in World War 2 (look it up- new cal was a huge military base aparently) and many people are flaberghasted and honored to meet americans.. so- it's interesting.
Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful week and I'll see you later!

elder winget