Tuesday, November 25, 2014

He is the Gift – Christmas Video – #ShareTheGift

Jake asked me to share this on his blog.

First week in the field!

This time, I actually WAS waiting by the computer, haha!  It's been a long week for me not knowing where my boy is. Anyway, all week I kept thinking about him and the only place that kept popping into my mind was "Ipiales". This is what I wrote to him today and this was his response.

Mom: I have been a little stressed this week wondering where you are (I know you're fine, just a mom thing) but the only thing that kept popping in my head was "Ipiales". He's still letting me know you're fine :) God is good :)

Jake: Thats so cool :) its crazy how I have learned to love these people i teach and see.   I wish everyone could experience it!  6 days and my mission is already worth everything! 

Answering questions from Mom's emails (Mom is in italics)

Q: Tell me about your living conditions
A: Covered it in the big email :) we have no oven but we have a camp stove, a microwave and a waffle iron!  Which doesnt matter because members cook for our every meal but breakfast! 

Q: Do you share an apartment with another companionship?
A: Yes!  Elder Mejia from Honduras and Herrera from Bolivia!  I love them so much!

Q: Tell me about your companion.
A: Covered it!  He likes a lot of the same music and movies as me!  he's the best teacher I've seen too haha

Q: How are you adjusting to the food and water? 
A: food is just fine haha lots of potatoes in Ipiales and the water is fine because the CCM gave us filtered water bottles with 4 filters to last us 4 years! 

Q: Weather?
A: Cold, rainy and just how i like it :)

Q: Were your Christmas packages (3 of them) at the mission office when you got there? 
A: Yes i got them ! I already know whats in them because of the listing you wrote on the front. 

Q: Did you ever get Grandma Sue's letter she sent to the CCM? 
A: no :(

Q: Are you teaching anyone?!?! 
A: SO MANY PEOPLE!  we actually hopefully have a baptism this weekend!  It's an investigator named Antonio that literally lives in a shed that Lopez has been teaching.  but he has a smoking problem.  we're fasting for him to quit so he can be baptized!

Q: Details from every day :) 
A: You got it :)

So Im in the field!  The day we left was crazy, we had to catch a plane to Cali at 3:15 in the morning and I woke up 15 before we left because my alarm didnt go off!  It was a panic but I got everything just fine!  We landed in Cali around 7am and met with Elders Lyle and Jones who work in the Mission office.  They took us straight to the notary so we could fill out the paperwork for our proselyting licenses.  Appartently without that here, they send you to prison or the military.  But it's all good I got that figured out haha.  After I was through in line, Elder Lyle gave me a reference card and said "go find a reference"!  It was nuts but I actually got one first shot haha!  down here is already a billion times prettier than Bogota.  I hate bogota to be honest hahaha!  So back at the office building we sat around watching mormon messages all day and I GOT MY ASSIGNMENT!  I'm in Ipiales!   I'll tell you more about it here in a bit, but first the rest of our first day we went to the huge Cristus statue in Cali and lunch at the presidents home!  It was so amazing!  That night we got to attend a baptism and I played the piano for it!  Pretty good first day right?  The next day was a huge day with not much to say.  We spent the night in a cool little hostel in Cali and woke up the next morning thinking we had until 8.  Turns out I had until 7:15 so no shaving, teeth brushing or anything good for me.  We hurry and packed up our things and left.  At the presidents building, they briefed us on mission info and we MET OUR NEW COMPS!  my companion is Elder Lopez from Cancun Mexico, and no lies, at first he came off as a little TOO excited!  He's actually really awesome dont worry.  We headed to the bus station at around 6 and we went and gathered some references in our extra time.  EVERY person we talked to gave us a reference.  I could see right away Lopez is guided 100 percent by the Spirit.  He's awesome!  He's been out 23 months so I only get him until Dec 18.  Which sucks because he's already become my favorite companion and easily one of my favorite people!  But the bus sucked.  probably because 13-14 hours on a bus isnt the funnest hahaha.  Our first day we arrived at our appartment and it's actually pretty nice!  It's large and (kind of) has hot water!  I say kind of because it has this ghetto heater on the nosel that heats it as it comes out so if the waters up too high its cold.  But hey I'm not complaining.  Ipiales is so cool!  Old men in their fedoras and ponchos everywhere, and rolling green hills in the country side.  Yes, it's cold.  But it's not as cold as some elders have complained!  IT's just sweater weather!  SInce Elder Lopez has already been in ipiales for a month, we got right to the visting and I started meeting amazing new people!  We visit every day with less actives and we have a few investigators.  My personal favorites are Tatiana and her family. (her sister Karen, brother in law Diego, and their son Josue Matias.) and the other is Giovanni and his family.  First Tantiana and her family are so so friendly.  I feel at home at their house AND they have a GUITAR!  They have me play for them every time and I obviously gladly ablidge!  Tatiana is the investigator and Karen and Diego are members.  We had a super super spiritual lesson the other night on the doctorine of Christ and I made them all cry with my testimony of the atonement.  At the end of the lesson I invited Tatiana to be baptized.  though nervous she agreed to make the goal of the 13th of December!  We're so so excited!  With Giovanni and his fam, we had an awesome lesson on the same thing, the gospel of Christ!  It was really spiritual as well.  Every time I bare my testimony during a lesson, I definately feel the spirit talking through me.  The gift of tongues is so real.  It's not instantly having the language click but rather the spirit helping me remember the things I've learned.  Every day has been the same but awesome.  Checking up, teaching, and laughing at the weird things we see.  There's a billion dogs here as you can imagine, and I actually feel pretty bad sometimes when I see them scrounging for food.  The pigs in the country side are HUGE and the sizes of horses!  THe moths here are literally the size of birds sometimes.  We call them sparrow moths.  Sunday I got asked to give a talk and play the piano!  I was slightly nervous but the spirit helped me feel calm.  At the end of my talk, my mind blanked.  So I just spoke.  and the words came.  THank you heavenly father haha!  We were informed saturday night that Sunday at 7pm we needed to go to Cali AGAIN for a conference.  sooo we made the 13 hour trip down and yesterday had a conference with the whole cali mission!  The conference was to announce the churches new christmas initiative!  IT's called He is the Gift.  This christmas the church has loaded tons of money to spreading the word about christ and our church.  IT's so so cool!  our job as missionaries is to talk to 10 people a day about it and get them to share it.  SO please share it!  Look it up at christmas.mormon.org and share with the hashtag #sharethegift.  I'm pretty dang excited about it.  so another 13 hours and we got home this morning to start my first P day!  we just went down to the chapel and played volleyball as a zone in the rain.  it was super fun!  We changed in the bathroom at the chapel and left our clothes in the bathroom then changed back into our clothes at our apartment.  I was pleased to find 2 huge beetles bigger than a quarter chillin out in my sock and in my pants pocket.  last time I leave clothes on the ground level.  THank goodness we're in a 4 story apartment haha.  Anyway thats the field and i already LOVE it!  The feeling i have all the time is amazing. 

Chao, Elder Welch

I'm guessing what some of these pictures are, haha. I don't get any details, just the pictures.

City of Cali?

Christus-König-Statue in Cali

Oh, so Jake :)

I think this is his companion, Elder Lopez

View of the city

 I'm guessing this is in his Ipiales apartment

 His desk in his apartment 

The shower with the "hot" water nozzle

 I think this is the kitchen in the apartment (pretty tile!)

 The beautiful countryside of Ipiales (I think...)

 I think this is my favorite picture of him so far :)


Tuesday, November 18, 2014


I'm here mom!  They're giving me 5 minutes to tell you that I made it and alive too!  We woke up at 3 and the flight was actually really short.  The first thing we did was get on a van with the office missionaries and headed over to the notary to get licensed to proselyte!  Apparently if you dont have a license you go to jail or get put in the military.  But I love it already!  While waiting Elder Lyle the office missionary gave us reference cards and I got a reference from an older gentleman who was really interested!  I'm slightly nervous and have no clue what i'm doing but i'll just do what Nephi said, "and I followed the spirit not knowing beforehand the things which I should do."
Love you all! 


Friday, November 14, 2014


I loved his response to a question in my email to him about the Jet Bars so I'll post it here:

Mom: I read on another missionary's blog that the tie trading isn't a thing anymore but I wondered if that will come back now that the Jet Bars are banned :) Speaking of which, did you eat all 17 that you bought? If you did, you may need to be spanked ;)

Jake: Hahaha okay so I may or may not have eaten half of the jet bars that night.  Okay all of them. DON'T SPANK ME! hahaha!

Thanks to everyone who's been writing! I know it means a lot to him.
I LEAVE FOR THE FIELD IN 3 DAYS!  Our flight out is at 3 in the morning, and I honestly couldnt be more ready to get out of this place.  Okay I'll start with Nov 5.  My latino comp came!  His name was Elder F--- from Colombia!  He started out shy, but eventually I broke him in.  I don't have any pictures with us because they never give us our cameras, but just picture a kid with buzzed head and huge hipster glasses.  We got our new districts and to be honest I hated it.  I didn't really know the kids and class in Spanish 24'7 is pretty difficult.  I miss Hermano Polo and Barragan but it's chill because I love my new teachers and district now haha!  In my district (District Moroni) there's me and F---, Elder V. from Venezuela and Elder L. from Utah, Elder G. from Venezuela and Elder H. from Utah, Elder S. from Pueblo Mexico and Elder C. from Wyoming, Hermana G. from mexico and Hermana M. from Peru, and Hermanas V. from Venezuela and Z. from Peru!  I love everyone of them!  The next day, the 6th was honestly probably the worst day of my mission so far.  I was NOT used to Spanish 24'7 and it lasted forrrever.  The day was filled with classes and orientation for the Latinos.  They were the exact lessons I got day 2!  7th was a TON better.  I can definitely attribute that to the temple.  But what was sad is Elder F--- couldnt go through the temple (he hasnt recieved his endowments yet)  I wondered why but obviously didnt find it in my place to interview or speculate.  That night, Elder S. asked if I could give him a blessing because he was having such an awful time at the CCM he wanted to go home.  It was really cool and I could definitely feel the spirit talking through me.  The next day was just classes and literally nothing different happened from normal.  But no fear, the 9th was Sunday aka the best day of the week!  The first half was a literal different because I got all Spanish but my Spanish is already SO MUCH better because of having a Latino comp.  I also realized something that day for all my buddies in North American missions (Brayden Lake and Mike) It would be SO EASY to teach in English!  Holy Cow!  But I also realized I'll have the last laugh in 2 years when I roll in the Job offers!  the 10th was AWESOME!  We had another member of the 70 talk to us and the whole CCM was put in the act that it was a paradise there.  NO SINGING BEFORE LUNCH!  DON'T DRINK FROM WATER BOTTLES DURING HIS TALK!  but it was totally worth it because we picked apart D&C 4 and it was way cool.  Also we decided to do 2 musical numbers this Sunday!  I'm playing piano for all 21 missionaries in my group singing Joseph Smiths first prayer but to the tune of Come Thou Fount!  And me and the 4 elders that sang are doing Nearer My God To Thee in Spanish!  It's gonna be a spiritual power house this sunday!  11th was really interesting.  The day started out normal, Elder F--- and I taught our investigator for the first time and it went way well!  We teach well together!  also, the manager here that takes away all the fun decided to be our "member missionary"for our investigator but it actually went really well.  but around 4:30 F--- said "yo necesito organizar mi moleta" which means he needs to organize his suit case.  I thought it was interesting but I didn't think much about it until i noticed his closet was empty.  I asked why and his chin hit his chest.  30 minutes later Elder F--- went home.  I had no clue it was a huge shock!  I felt so bad because he had tears in his eyes and said he was nervous.  But i also knew why he didnt go through the temple.  It was hard to see him go but I was also proud of him for wanting to be worthy first. He said he'd come back and I told him Id pray for him.  That night i was in a trio until I was assigned to Elder R---!  Elder R--- is from Venezuela and he was wayyy shy at first.  But the next day, the 12th he loosened up!  The day was spent practicing for yesterday the 13th which was PROSELYTING AGAIN!  Turns out he's a way good teacher!  We got 4 references, gave out 2 book of mormons, and one lady even said she'd be baptized if she learned it was true!  That's right.  We invited someone to baptism first contact no big deal.  So they drove us out to a small ghetto village outside of Bogota, and this time it felt like the real South American experience.  Our first contacts were an older couple.  They did NOT seem interested but when Elder R--- mentioned eternal families, we got their attention.  They gave us their reference and we headed down the street!  Next Elder R--- wanted me to practice commensing the convo so we talked to a man in a green Motorcycle jump suit leaning against a wall next to his moto.  I just started talking, and I can testify that the spirit helped me talk to him clearly and correctly because I talked for the first bit for a long time!  He said he's Catholic but interested in our church so we gave him a Book of Mormon and he accepted the invitation to read it and pray about it and gave us his reference!  After that point we got shot down again and again for the next 3 hours.  On our way back we had our meeting place in sight, but Elder R--- said "Uno Más?" (Translation=One More?)  so I said sure and we just started walking and talking to a young mom with her 2 kids.  She did NOT seem interested but Elder R--- just kept going!  After he taught a bit about eternal families, she gave us her reference!  Families down here are so so important! so with our last 3 references and out of time we took them to our district leader, Elder G---.  While waiting, Elder R--- said, Uno mas? again and I said yeah sure!  So we talked with the next lady walking by and she said she had to keep walking to work so we walked with her!  out of time, and after walking with her for a couple blocks, she gave us a reference, we gave her a BofM and she accepted our invitation to read it, pray about it and BE BAPTIZED IF IT;S TRUE!  Feeling on top of the world we sprinted back to the bus!  I cannot wait to do that for 2 years.  The feeling is undescribable.  Today was my last trip to the temple for 2 years.  Definitely bittersweet.  It's also our last pday in the CCM!  Next time I write I'll be in the field!  Let everyone know I love them and pray for them every day! 
Chao!  Elder Welch

ps sorry no photos today, next time for sure :)


Monday, November 10, 2014

Send Your Christmas Letters Soon!

Jake would love to receive some Christmas letters! It will take a good 10-12 days to get letters/packages there and then they have to be picked up from the mission home by the zone leaders going to conference or delivered by the mission president if he visits them in the field. If you want to send something for Christmas, plan accordingly for the time it might take and mark the package or envelope FOR CHRISTMAS.

Mission Home Address for letters and packages:
Elder Jake Terry Welch
Colombia Cali Mission
Avenida 2 Oeste #10-130 Oficina 201
Edificio Tempo-Barrio Santa Rita
Cali Valle del Cauca

*Get an International Stamp from the post office.  As of October 2014, to mail a letter of normal size and weight, it costs $1.15


Package Mailing Details:
Through the US post office (best option), it is better to send things in padded envelopes rather than boxes (the post office has the Padded Priority Envelopes and labels behind the counter if you ask for them and they are free) . You can cram in up to 4 lbs. If the package weighs more than 4 lbs. he may have to pay an additional fee to get it out of customs.

*As of October 2014, it costs $24.75 to send a Padded Priority Envelope (up to 4 lbs). If it's a smaller package (under 2 lbs.) the post office can recommend a cheaper mailing option instead of Priority.

On the customs form (there are two to choose from at the post office-use the small one) You should declare ANY package at a value LESS than about $20 to also avoid him having to pay a customs fee.  
*Missionaries have to PAY ON TOP of what you have paid to ship just to receive the package if it is too heavy or worth a lot.  It is better to send 2 envelopes than to pay a lot and send a big box.

Please remember that many of his companions will be Latins who may never hear from home or receive packages. If you want to include a little something for the companion it is always a kind

It's a good idea to put religious stickers on the packages to avoid them being tampered with.

*If you ship a package with a private courier (UPS, DHL, FEDEX), you will need this phone number with the above address: 

I know this is pretty confusing so contact me if you have any questions.  -Wendy

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Week 4!

Elder Welch only has two weeks left in the CCM! He is being assigned a new Spanish speaking companion for his last two weeks. I love that he gets to sing and play the piano so much. He sounds so happy!  Here are a couple of responses to some email question I sent:

Q. Are you ready to leave the CCM or will you be sad to go?!? It's coming up quick! Next time I hear from you (in 10 days) you'll have been out 5 1/2 weeks!!
A. Get me out of here!  I can't believe I'm almost out of here haha but I'm so excited to teach real investigators
Q. How's the ping pong coming?
A. Pretty good.  Slowly but surely.  I haven't had the time to practice much lately though!

These past 4 days have actually been pretty eventful!  Our awesome teacher Hermano Polo announced he's going to be a dad!  He's the most kind hearted man ever and I know he'll be a fantastic dad.  Sunday was a huge day!  I played piano for a musical number, God Be With You Til We Meet Again.  One of the Elders Grandpa died and he was crying all meeting so I feel like it was perfect for him.  Also, me, McCain, Paskett, Quesada and Ryan sang I Need Thee Every hour acapella in spanish and it was so beautiful we were asked to sing it 4 more times that day haha.  There wasn't a dry eye in the chapel.  On the lower end of Sunday, we're getting so desperate for fun here we started something called air freshener roullette where we stand with our faces in front of the timed airfreshers and take turns counting to 10 until someone takes it in the eyes.  It's INCREDIBLY stupid but it's also pretty hilarious (when you're not the one getting sprayed).  Yesterday we had our tour day!  For the 4 weekers, we get to go the top of the Andes to a tiny village called Monserre. (photos to come)  There's a beautiful Catholic chapel at the top that we got to see.  It was amazing but I also feel like the Catholic church are missing the point of Christ by a long shot.  There were so many disturbing depictions of Christ suffering and bleeding and nothing about his smiling face and love for us.  Also there were very very ornate chairs for the priest and everything was so focused on the wealth and power.  I love that about our church.  Even the prophet wears the same thing as everyone else and sits in the same seat as everyone on the stand.  We're all equal and humble in the eyes of God.  After we saw the village we went down to Bogota to the jersey stores to load up!  Jerseys here are incredibly cheap! Some elders bought 5!  I got a Blue Colombian National with James on it for 35 dollars.  It was interesting because the store was the size of a shed so 21 missionaries was gonna take a while to sort through.  Since I was one of the first done, I headed back to the bus with some other Elders.  While I waited I shamelessly bought 17 Jet bars (for the record it was only about 4 USD) an Empanada, a delicious colombian food, and a Coca Cola.  And Ill tell ya what, a Coca Cola has never brought me close to tears but wow.  While I waited for 2 hours by the bus, Elder Stratton and I talked to the shop owner and Security guard.  They were super awesome guys and fun to talk to!  One man was outside smoking so Elder S. and I talked to him, and it turns out he spoke English because he went to college in Boston!  We eventually brought up the gospel and had the opportunity to talk to him about The Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith's first vison.  I quoted the first vison in spanish because i have it memorized and I felt the spirit!  I don't know if he even cares but we gave him a pass a long card and I felt so happy!  After that we headed back to the CCM, watched 17 Miracles and waited for the new Elders!  There's about 20 gringos, 20 latinos and 20 hermanas in the group so it should be pretty cool!  I got a new room last night and I like it better than my old one.  Elder K. from my district is in there with me, 2 new North Americans and our 2 LATINO COMPANIONS!  I haven't met my Latino yet but his name is Elder F--- and he's from Colombia thank goodness!  I'm so grateful to have a companion that will speak the same dialect as me.  I'm looking forward to it, and hopefully these next 2 weeks won't kill me haha. 

 Oh, so Jake :)

 He loves graffiti

 Beautiful Colombia

 I think this is the city of Bogota

 The Catholic Church they went to

 In the market

New CCM photo