Friday, October 31, 2014


Happy Halloween!  (Nothing happens for halloween in the CCM anyway haha)
Mucho has happened this week!  I'll start with 23.  We got all new elders, and theres a ton of Latinos and only 5 gringos!  I absolutely love Elder Toman from Canada the new missionary, and in my room we got Elder Perez from Ecuador.  He's hilarious, and super cool.  It's been absolutely POURING lately.  The roof in the cancha (gym) keeps leaking!  We've gotten our 2 new fake investigators and they're both super solid to teach.  They keep all the commitments we challenge them and are really growing.  If only I could actually baptize them haha,  I was made the new district leader!  (half of the elders in his District are going to Cali and the other half to Santa Cruz, Bolivia-including his companion) All I do is assign the class and make sure my district is doing what they're suppose to but it feels really rewarding.  I had a district testimony meeting with all the elders and it was really touching,  We were crying like babies haha but I love them all so much.  Every 2 Saturdays we fast and usually the Saturday after lunch when we stop eating moves incredibly slow but this last Saturday was actually amazing.  All of our lessons and teaching practices were full of the Spirit.  So since I've been deemed CCM Pianist, I'm now playing the piano for 2 musical numbers.  and since my district loves to sing, 5 of us are doing a quartet acapella of "I need thee every hour" in Spanish!  I'm so excited.  So all the Latinos here call me Elder Cullen because I look like Edward.  They always say AY ELDER CULLEN DONDE ESTA BELLA? haha Its fun to joke with them though.  I love those kids.  They love when I play "A River Flows Through You" on the piano because Edward plays it in Twilight. We got to go to the temple again!  I'm understanding the ceremonies more and more in Spanish, so thats awesome!  While I was there, I bought an El Libro De Mormon and wrote my testimony in it to give it to someone.  The highlight of this whole week though has been yesterday!  At the CCM every 2 weeks we get to go out and practice proselyting!  They drove for a good 35 to 40 min, and dropped us off and said "Meet here in 3 hours, and go get references and hand out copies of El Libro De Mormon!" To be honest, It was pretty scary at first.  To be honest it took about half an hour of saying Buenos Dias to everyone until we decided to stop someone and talk to them.  Many were uninterested, devout Catholics or already taught haha!  One homeless man with a twinkle in his eye told us he met the missionaries and loves the Book of Mormon!  Funny story: McCain and I walked up to some older ladies and talked with them, but we didnt realize they were Jehovahs Witnesses hahaha!  After being preached to in really fast Spanish, we just had to say chao and leave.  Another sweet old lady said she was Catholic and loved her religion but she thanked us for spreading the word of Christ and making the world better.  I wish everyone had that attitude!  It took a while, but the first man we talked to actually came up from behind saying Senors Senors I have a question!  He was a security guard working at the little store and asked why there were so many groups of boys in white shirts today!  We explained that we were missionaries of La Iglesia De Jesucristo De Los Santos De Los Ultimos Dias (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).  He showed that he wanted to learn more from us and he loved Christ!  I told him about the Book of Mormon and asked if he wanted the one I wrote my testimony in!  He asked for how much and we told him it was free if he read the introduction then read it!  He gratefully accepted.  He tried to get his info for missionaries to teach him but he said he doesnt have a phone or email at the moment but he wanted to know where out church was.  So we thanked him, told it was on Calle Ochenta and we were on our way!  The next man we met was only about 100 feet away at the bus stop!  To our surprise he spoke English!  He said he lived in California for a while, and that he was a Catholic.  He profusely thanked us for coming to his country and for making a difference in the lives of people, especially the young people.  He told us to be careful in some places but assured us people wouldnt mess with us too bad because we're Christians.  We asked if he wanted to know more about the church and he said Sure why not!  He gave us his address and took a book of Mormon and told us he wanted to read it!  Believe it or not, my district gathered over 20 references in those 3 hours between 11 of us!  It's amazing how humble and open the people are here in South America.  I can hardly wait for 2 weeks when I can go out and preach more!  I've gotten 2 letters, and each one came after about 11 days.  Its like Christmas every time I get one so you know.  hint hint.   It's crazy for me to think I only have about 2 weeks left.  The time is flying!  My Spanish gets better poco y poco (bit by bit) and sometimes in my prayers I catch my self saying Padre instead of Father haha.  Thanks for the prayers everyone and I pray for all of you several times a day!  One last sad announcement.  They got rid of Jet Bars because we kind of went nuts with the Sticker trading.  But they cant stop me out in the field hahaha.  Love all of you.  Nos Vemos!

PS- the photo that says Dios Bendice in graffiti means God Bless You:) I loved that.

(The PS is about one of the pictures he sent last week. I'll attach it below. He also said the stolen money he talked about last week "turned up". Yay! -Wendy)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week 2 (with pictures!)

(I caught him in the middle of emailing again! I promise, I don't sit by the computer waiting all day, haha! My notes are in italics-Wendy)

Hey all!  So this last week has been pretty much the same. (especially considering i emailed 5 days ago haha) Since then i've had my first p day, and it turns out it's only 5 hours and they schedule what you do and when.  But what ever, fine by me.  We've had a thief going about stealing money but the money was only stolen from 1 room so we're suspicious it was someone in that room.  Hundreds of dollars went missing though and poor President Dyer was distraught.  He gave an entire talk in sacrament meeting on it.

We have a challenge here to find all 6 times in the Book of Mormon it uses the phrase *one by one* and I found then all!  The reward was 9 jet bars, so i'm rolling in the stickers!!  Like I said, other than that, it's been the same.  Study study study.  Last night my good friends/roomies left for their missions.  Elder Allen and Elder Fuentes.  I'll miss those 2, but they'll be amazing.  If the internet can keep up I have a TON of photos. Chao!

I told him I'd mailed a couple of letters this week and he answered: Some kids have been gettin letters so we figure it takes about 2 weeks to get them so im pretty excited!  

I told him his letter was too short :) and I asked him some questions:

haha sorry... everyday is seriously pretty much exactly the same so not much has happened new. 

-Is the food getting old? I've heard it's bland. Should I send some spices?  
         It's fine, I actually really like the food minus the rice for 2 meals a day every day
-Are you taking your vitamins?
         I CAN'T REMEMBER TO FOR THE LIFE OF ME SORRY MUM (Some things never change)
-Do you get to play the piano more than just meetings?
         Only after meals if my companion feels like it haha I played for an Elder who loves pianos and made his day

I'll give some more details about our teaching practices,  So I told you we have an "Investigator" named Renzo and we have to teach in 100 percent spanish.  So the other day he dropped the bomb that he got his girlfriend pregnant so we had to hurry and teach the Law of Chastity off the top of our heads!  Good thing we both (Jake and his companion) have 4 years of spanish so it went alright.  But yesterday was the last day with him and he was kind of a lost cause but it was nice to get some feedback on how we did.  He said we teach well together and our spanish is Muy Bien.  It was a cool experience but only the beginning.  Now we're gonna get TWO INVESTIGATORS.  We'll kill it though. 

PS- the hair cutter here hunts down kids with long hair so I got it chopped the 2nd day haha

I gotta go!  Love ya mom!  send my love to the rest of the fam too!  

I think this is all of the missionaries at the CCM.

His District
(His companion, Elder McCain, is 3rd from the left)

Elder McCain and Elder Welch

Made me happy to see his poncho laid out on his top bunk :)

I'm guessing this is the view from either class or his room

Thursday, October 16, 2014

First Email!!!

Surprise!!! One day early!!! I just happened to see Elder Welch's email come in so I was able to email back and forth with him for a few minutes (not gonna lie, I cried the whole time). Sis. Dyer had told me that the missionaries might get to email a day early so they can spread out the computer time as they have so many missionaries right now. OK with me!

*Just a couple of things from our other back and forth emails:
-His companion, Elder McCain, is from Missouri
-I asked how he was liking the CCM in an earlier letter: "It's actually really good!  theres only like 100 people here and i know most everyone.  i'm friends with all 21 kids i flew up with and pretty good with the 4 and 6 weekers!  we get chocolate here called jet bars and they have cool stickers in them so we trade them like pokemon cards"
-He requested some handwritten letters from everyone. I put the mailing details in another post. It only costs about $1.00 to mail a letter from the US so everyone get busy :)

Hey!  The CCM is actually really really great!  (disclaimer: ignore bad grammar and spelling, the keyboards here are weird and the spanish is ruining my grammer in english) The water is cold in the showers but only in the morning, so me and my companion Elder McCain shower after gym or at night haha.  Elder McCain is awesome, i definitely lucked out.  I havent been mad at him once and it's day 8!  He´s also a Volleyball champ.  Theyre pretty serious about their volley ball here.  I spend my gym time playing ping pong, trying to become forest gump.  It took 3 days to get my tag but getting it was the best feeling ever.  Kinda made it feel... official.  We had to go do immigration on the first day which was a lot of sitting around people watching at the office in down town bogota.  The people are really friendly here but insane drivers!  No signaling or stopping and motorcycles squeeze between cars.  It´s been a cool experience so far.  My room, habitacion 8 is one of the biggest rooms in the ccm and there´s 2 empty beds!  The companionships in there are me and Elder McCain, Elder Allen from Arizona and Elder Fuentes from Argentina (funniest kid ever) Elder Christensen from Wyoming and Elder Carver from Utah.  Every day is pretty much the same.  Grammar, lessons, study, lessons, grammar, gym, grammar, devotionals etc.  My 2 teachers are Hermano Freddy Barrogan and hermano Miguel Polo!  I love both of them so much, theyre the nicest guys out there.  They always throw their arms around ya in the halls and give us tons of Chocolate haha.  I didn´t meet Presidente Dyer for a few days because he was sick!  A sickness has been going around and i´ve been lucky to dodge it thusfar.  The chocolate they give us here called jet bars are a colombia only candy and they come with cool nature stickers inside.  it´s a thing here to trade them and to put your favorite on the back of your tag.  I have been wanting the Himilayas sticker for a week and GOT IT YESTERDAY.  It´s so cool, it went straight to my tag haha.  The Spanish was overwhelming at first but slowly got better.  By day 3 they had us attempting to teach an "investigator" named Renzo, a 17 year old kid who goes with his parents to church because he´s into the bishops daughter, (really a 30 year old teacher here haha) in full Spanish and each day we go back and continue the discussions.  Its getting better and better, and now I can bare my testimony, pray, and kind of teach in Spanish!  One of my favorite things about being in the CCM is all the praying.  It´s cool to pray over every meal, every morning and night, before every lesson and devotional and other times in between.  I really feel closer to god. sadly i haven´t felt the spirit too much only because i can´t understand all the spanish, but every lesson I´ve gotten in English, usually from Presidente Dyer, I can´t stop crying!  I dont know why God decided to make crying a thing now haha.  maybe my investigators with be moved by the physical reaction of me feeling the spirit who knows.  Days go up and down here but it´s all good.  I´m yet to feel too sad yet though!  I actually felt my first real feeling of homesick yesterday.  just a little missing friends and family.  also, not playing my guitar is KILLING ME.  Today i sat around and sang song lyrics so i wouldn´t forget them!  My district sings and whistles constantly so that´s wayyy fun.  We had the opportunity to here from a member of the 70 and he was the nicest man!  His whole talk was in spanish, but we have translators that talk into headphones and he included us to keep us focused.  After I played the hymn (Im basically CCM official pianist) he gave me a huge hug and said "good job Elder".  Every week we get to go to the temple and we get to do service around the CCM!  I got to rake leaves, because Bogota is the only colombian city with fall.  It's surprisingly cold here!  It stays around 60 degrees here constantly and rains a lot but never too hard.  The temple was an interesting experience!  It´s tiny and saying ordinances in spanish was hard!  But the spirit was there none the less and I got to see a different movie than I did my first time!  Sunday was by far the best day so far.  The spirit was so strong all day and at the end of the day, all the english speaking missionaries had a discussion with the president that turned into a huge discussion on deep deep doctorine.  we all went to bed with aching heads haha.  The time is flying by and I love it here but I´m not gonna lie, I relish the days we get to get out of here.  It´begins to feel like a sort of prison being in a gated area all day everyday.  On my 4th week we get to go out and proselite and on the 6th weekend before i leave, we have a tour day where we just go out and tour colombia going to cool places and museums!  I´m so excited to get to that point.  The food here is way good.  not gonna lie, im getting sick of ripe plantains and rice but the meat is delicious.  I´m still getting used to lunch being the biggest meal of the day.  Anywho, I love you all!  I´ll end with my testimony en espanol.  
Tengo un testimonio acerca esta evangelio.  Yo se Jesucristo es el salvador del mundo, y el muerto para nos pesados.  Yo se dios nos ama y espiritu santo guidemos por esta vida.  Yo se el mision es donde necesita ser.  Le amo esta iglesia, y testifico este cosas en el nombre de jesucristo, amen.

(Rough translation: "I have a testimony about this gospel. I know Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, and died for us. I know God loves us and guides us through the Holy Spirit through life . He is the mission where you need to be . I love this church, and I testify these things in the name of Jesus Christ , amen")


Wednesday, October 8, 2014


I was lucky enough to speak with the MTC President's wife, Sis. Dyer, on Sunday before Jake left (I'll tell ya, that was comfort to a mom!). They needed Jake to bring a couple of things in his suitcase as the mail takes forever. Anyway, she told me Jake would get to send a quick email today letting us know he's arrived safely.  Knowing that, I made sure he had an email waiting for him from me :) I asked 12 questions and he answered MOST of them, haha! His answers are in italics. (sorry, some of the questions are inside jokes.) He'll email more on his regular P-Day which will alternate Fridays and Tuesdays. 

1. Did the flight go ok? I saw your flight to Atlanta was delayed! We actually arrived 20 min early so all is well!

2. Did you visit with Parker? That was cool/weird to see the whole Bullock clan there! i never saw him!

3. Did your luggage make it all right? I can't believe I didn't have you tag it. Your suitcases came with leather tags...they're probably in the zipper pocket inside, haha :) Yes I got both of them!

4. Did you get shepherd's pie? haha no but i got chicken with chili for FREEE

5. Did you get a whole can of Coke? heck yeah

6. Are you proud of me for only crying a little? ;) I was sad I couldn't say more but I couldn't get it out, haha :) I know you know how much I love you though so it's all good. haha yeah i am! I was surprised how confident i felt and it was all okay once i got with the other elders!

7. How's the weather?!? Cloudy most of the time but it has been raining.

8. Did you make any friends?

9. Do you have a companion yet? Name? From...?

10. Are you feeling ok? Physically, emotionally?...

11. Did everyone like your Jesus stickers?

12. Is it beautiful? haha all i've seen is dirty buildings out of my window.

So everyone is a crazy driver here haha in class i enjoyed just watching them out of the window. on the plane me and an elder from Bountiful tried talking to a woman from Colombia and i was surprised that we got our conversation across haha! she gratefully accepted our pass along card haha. also the keyboard here is really really weird. gratefully theres 20 greenies so i dont feel stressed at all! im getting really excited and sister dyer is a peach. more detes to come, but not until tuesdsay!
con amor, Elder Welch

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


We love you Elder Welch! See you in two.

Love you and miss you already!