Monday, December 29, 2014

12-23-14 to 12-29-14

Awesome week!  So Tuesday morning I finally bought my guitar!  It was finally great to have a guitar again let me tell you.  I played every song I know.  That day we were walking through the streets and my comps were looking at watches.  One street vendor lady said I had pretty eyes and asked me questions about my fam, but before we left she asked for a hug!  I said we couldn't as missionaries and shook her hand, and when we turned around she hugged me from behind!  crazy woman.  That day we went to visit our less active Viviana, and Mejia asked if she had family members that were members of the church,  she said no and that her dad doesn't listen, but Mejia doesn't take no for an answer.  So he went and got her dad and we taught a POWERFUL lesson,  So now Luis is listening to us! haha woo!  Christmas Eve, was mostly spent at a members house so my comps could talk to their fams for Christmas.  And since I have awesome zone leaders, I got permission to call my family that night and Skype them Christmas too!  That night we came home and it turns out our power box on the front of the building above the door burnt so we didn't have power.  But that couldn't dim our spirits!  So we went and bought a butt ton of fireworks and lit them off the roof of our building haha!  Christmas day I SKYPED THE FAM.  I cant think of a better present.  But other than that, it didn't really feel like Christmas here.  Everyone was still working, no one was really excited and it was just normal.  So that's a bummer.  But I cant complain.  I got to talk to my family :) The next day I started with watching The District, and it was all on planning.  Doing so made me realize I'm not doing anything I should and I felt a bit discouraged.  But that didn't matter so I decided to plan better and the whole day I just felt the spirit so strong!  We had so many good lessons, and that night a woman passed us and "hi Elders" so we asked how she knew the Elders and she said she was investigating but the Elders stopped coming!  So we set up more appointments!  Its awesome how God prepares his Children.  The next day was slow thanks to the holidays and the weekend.  We basically just hung out with members.  Since we were STILL out of power, we took our ironing board to the roof that night and ironed for Sunday haha.  It was actually kind of cool.  Sunday was pretty cool!  Antonio is doing so great.  I'm pretty sure he's the next patriarch haha.  After church we had a really, really profound lesson on the plan of Salvation with one of our progressing investigators.  They have REALLY good questions.  So this morning we went to the hospital for Mejias physical therapy again, and got breakfast.  The hospital has the best food.  And we also saw the branch president there because he's a doctor!  Which reminds me, we're getting a new branch president.  Which is sad because I think it's because he wasn't paying his tithes or something.  But we love him none the less!  After we went and played soccer, ate lunch then went to this forest in the country side!  It was great!  I was just so happy to get out and get some fresh air.  So after that my comps and zone leaders wanted to go through a different way and as a result we kinda got lost in the rolling farm lands.  But it was a super fun experience and we got to hike a few miles back to Ipiales as a result!  It was awesome!  So yeah!  There's my week!  OH and also we didn't get our power until this morning.  5 days!  And the land lord is being a jerk and said it's only for 2 days because they want us to pay for it!  So they're being obnoxious but we'll sort it out.  Living the vida loca!  Tomorrow I get my new comp!  His name is Elder Solorio from Mexico!  I'm just praying he's cool haha.  I'm super excited to focus on my area again.  Tonight we have a family home evening with Juan , our richest less active, and they're feeding us and I'm playing guitar for them!  SO yay!  Life's good here.

Elder Welch

 Service project pouring a cement foundation

 "Lost" in the woods :)

On the edge of Ipiales (always cloudy!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

A Christmas Eve email from Jake: "you should share this vid on my blog.  its one of my favorites, and i always feel the spirit watching it!"

So, here you go friends. I can see why it's a favorite. Merry Christmas!

#BecauseofHim      #ShareTheGift

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

12-16-14 to 12-22-14

Alright so I don't have my journal so I'll try to remember this week! This week has been pretty good!  So Tuesday morning at around 7 Lopez left.  It was pretty sad to say bye to my first comp in the field aka my padre as they say in the mission, but something the mission has taught me is to buck up and not get hung up on goodbyes.  Because the mission has a ton of those haha.  So the whole day I was with the zone leader Elder Rodriguez and we had some really cool lessons including committing 2 people to baptism!  His area is a lot more humble than mine.  We taught people with dirt floors that literally lived in lean to's with card board walls.  It was crazy but cool to see their strength.  The next day we went early to my apartment and waited for the new comp of Rodriguez.  His name is Elder Inman from California so I'm pretty happy to have another gringo to talk to haha.  So pretty much a lot of this week has been meeting new people and helping a lot of less actives.  Turns out I teach really well with my 2 comps!  Sometimes I want to kill Mejia but when it comes to it I love the kid haha.  Thursday morning, Mejia came in and said to hurry and get ready because we were going to Pasto!  haha to be honest I didn't even ask questions why and just got ready and left. But I eventually found out we were going to a clinic in Pasto because he's been having bad back problems.  So we traveled to Pasto and it was pretty cool to travel during the day because I could actually see how beautiful this part of Colombia is!  The canyons are HUGE and there's waterfalls and rivers everywhere!  In Pasto he found out he just has muscle problems and needs therapy.  After that we went to the huge mall and had some lunch, bought some Jet Bars and went back to Ipiales.  So this weekend we had a conference with 3 zones in Popayan aka the White City.  We left Friday night at 9pm after we had a cool family home evening about Christmas with a member and his Catholic fam.  The bus ride was about 9 hours so we arrived at 6 am.  In the conference we sang a song in English, watched 17 miracles, received the packages we got for Christmas, heard some words from Pres. Pricoli and left.  It was honestly pretty pointless but whatever I figure it was just for Christmas.  The ride back that night was a LOT longer, 12 hours.  The traffic was pretty bad and theres been lots of fog lately.  Yesterday Antonio was ordained with the Aaronic priesthood!  It was way cool, and its so great to see him progress.  We're planning on helping him prepare to pass the sacrament this Sunday!  He's pretty nervous haha.  All of yesterday, Bello and I went splits with a member while Mejia went with the Mission leader.  It was pretty cool!  Bello and I worked with the less actives in my area and we progressed a lot!  Today for P day we just played soccer and yeah.  Nothing too exciting.  But we're going to Las Lajas again next week!  So yeah. There's my week.  Christmas is in 3 days which means I GET TO TALK WITH THE FAM.  I'm so excited :D So Feliz Navidad to everyone! 

Elder Welch

I asked Jake to give me "a little spiritual something you've learned or been thinking about to add to the blog." and after he responded with "yeah yeah!  ummm to be honest i cant think of one off the top of my head..." (hahah!) He finally came up with this. I was impressed!:

"k something spiritual I taught yesterday to less actives.  In 1 Nephi 17 how he's commanded to build a ship.  That's a SUPER crazy thing for the Lord to require but the first thing Nephi says is "where can I find materials to make the tools?"  He doesn't even hesitate!  Then in verse 13 it says, 

"And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led."

We can compare the wilderness to our lives and the promised land to the presence of God.  We are never alone and if we're faithful and obedient like Nephi, the Lord will ALWAYS provide a way for us.  We just need to trust in God.  That is a ton of help in my mission considering I'm 18 in another country speaking a new language. 

My favorite scripture right now is probably
1 Nephi 4:6
 "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do."

Trust in God and all will be okay.

"never worry whether or not everything will be alright.  Everything already is."              

Monday, December 15, 2014

First Baptism! 12-9-14 to 12-15-14

In his email to me, Jake mentioned that he's feeling homesick and struggling a little with being the minority in his apartment on top of language barriers and getting the flu. Phew! Awesome and worst week is right! Extra prayers would be appreciated!  
Thanks everyone!

So this week has been awesome and the worst all in one!  So first off, last Monday night Lopez and I found out we were the best missionaries in the entire mission stats wise so WOO! Tuesday, Mejia and Herrera had 2 investigators getting married so they could be baptized this weekend, so the first part of the day we were running around helping them find rides and to get ready.  What made that difficult was it was POURING rain.  Seriously the hardest I have EVER seen in my life.  I had a rain coat and umbrella and was soaked, and the roads were rivers.  So when we got to the judicial building to marry them, me and the other elders were soggy hahaha.  Their wedding was incredibly humble.  they were dressed for the occasion, but they were married in an official office and their "reception" was in their shack of a home.  But they were super happy so I was too!  What was frustrating was the family of 4 of our 5 baptisms decided they want to wait to be baptized until the 10th of January.  So only Antonio was gonna be baptized.  But hey 1 is better than nothing that's for sure! 1 soul is great in the eyes of God!  And that night, when visiting with Antonio, Lopez said he wanted ME to baptize Antonio!  WOO!  The next day, Wednesday, I woke up with awful diarrhea, so I spent a lot of the day in a members house while the others went proselyting.  Something else sad is because of the disobedience in the zone Palmyra, Herrera was emergency transferred and changed with Elder Bello from Peru.  Thursday started out slow because lots of our appointments fell through for some reason.  But we had a really spiritual lesson with the Branch presidents inactive daughter.  Shes coming a long really well!  That night we watched The Testaments church movie with Diego and Karen's family and it was amazing.  I admit it was pretty cheesy but the Spirit was there.  Friday sucked.  I slept a lot of the day because my body started aching really really bad, and that night we were suppose to have a movie night at the chapel while we gave baptismal interviews but only Rosa, a lady being baptized of Mejia and Bello showed up.  After that, my body got worse, I got the chills and a super high fever of 102.  SO yeah... night before baptisms I got the flu.  So I asked Lopez to give me a blessing of healing, because there was NO way I wasn't going to baptize Antonio.  So I rested and guess what?  The next day I woke up and felt fine!  THE POWER OF THE PRIESTHOOD!  So we went to the other lower chapel to practice chorus with our district, because next week is a zone conference in Popayan, and theres a contest to learn songs in English!  I dont know if I've mentioned it, but Latinos are the most tone deaf people in the entire world.  It makes me cringe hahaha.  So that day was spend preparing for the baptisms that night.  The problem was... the font was full of dead bugs and the cleaning closet was locked.... so while Bello and I went to get the baptism clothes, we left that to be Lopez and Mejia's problem haha.  So ALL WORKED OUT!  I baptized Antonio!  It was way cool too see the joy in his face afterwards.  And I totally forgot I had ibuprofen in my pocket so after, it looked like I had blood all over my shirt hahahaha!  It was a fun cool experience.  and I've already baptized someone within a month of being in the field.  NO BIG DEAL :) That night Lopez kept going off about a mission tradition called "airre" which means air.  Turns out it was a sick hazing act where they pin you down and jab you in the stomach really fast.  That kind of made me angry.  But whatever haha I got over it.  Sunday, Antonio was suppose to give a talk because he volunteered but for some stupid reason they wouldn't let him!  But we confirmed him, Rosa, and the couple that was married earlier this week with the Holy Ghost.  It was cool to stand in on the circle, and even cooler to see the light in their eyes.  Those kind of things are priceless.  The rest of the day we were with Members so Lopez could say good bye.  Today we went to LAS LAJAS!  We had so much fun haha.   It's an AMAZING place.  But I repeat myself as I have before.  I don't feel peace in catholic chapels, they're so focused on the riches of things.  The walls on the path leading to the chapel are COVERED in plaques thanking the Virgin Mary for their lives.  It actually really bothers me how much they worship Mary and not as much Christ here.  I literally only saw like 3 images of Christ there but thousands of Mary.  Doesn't make sense.  But it was amazing none the less!  SO yea!  There's my week!  Tomorrow Lopez leaves, and since no new elders are coming, I'll be in a trio with Mejia and Bello until JANUARY.  NO!  I'm about to learn patience.  hahaha! 
love you all! 
Elder Welch

ps Karen says she loves you all a lot.  haha!  (This mom is glad for kind people like Karen!)

The cute newlyweds.  (They look so young!) 

 Antonio and Elder Welch

 Diego's and Karen's adorable son

 Little tree in his apartment (LOOK! 2 of the 3 packages I sent made it, haha)

 With Elder Lopez

 Goofing off at the Las Lajas Sanctuary overlook

 Las Lajas Sanctuary

The plaques at the sanctuary thanking the Virgin Mary

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

12-2-14 to 12-8-14‏

Some more Q&A

Q: How/where do you do laundry?
A: a lady in our ward, the same one I send my emails does our laundry for a month for 20,000 (about 10 bucks)

Q: How's the language? Are you speaking and understanding pretty well?
A: mejor y mejor cada día!  a veces es difícil pero yo puedo hablar mejor que yo pienso.  pero que yo escucho es en tres meses yo hablare con fluencia! (Translation from Google: "better and better every day! sometimes it's difficult but I can speak better I think. but I hear it in three months I speak fluently!")

Q: Have you been sick from the food or water at all?
A: Nope!  only sickness is I'm sick and tired of plantains chicken and rice haha

Q: Did you go on some of those ridiculously narrow, scary mountain roads on your bus trips?
A: yeah we go through that crazy canyon and the drivers are scary fast so i just have to pray angels with keep us on the road haha.

Q: Do you take a bus or walk out to the countryside?
A: though my area is in the country side we don't go really because we have so many appointments in the suburbs area.  but we walk everywhere unless we´re in a hurry, then we take taxi.

so yeah!  if you have more preguntas (questions), shoot them my way!
love ya mom! 
So this has been a pretty big week!  Lopez Tuesday woke up with a stomach infection so I spent most of the day studying my scripture in our apartment.  Around 3 Elder Mejia and Elder Herrera came and said to get dressed because a member was gonna stay with Lopez while I went out in a trio with them!  We did a lot of contacting and I met their mission stray dog named Yankee (Pronounced Jankee in Colombian Spanish) and he tagged along as we contacted!  Then we went to the house of a less active and I felt really impressed to share my testimony on the Atonement.  It was super spiritual and I felt the spirit help me speak Spanish.  And guess what?  They were at church Sunday!  Wednesday Lopez was still feeling sick but since he leaves on the 16th he cant make himself stay inside another day so we went out anyway.  He made me lead a lesson with a less active on faith and since he told me right before I was too worried about what to say so it was pretty rough.  But what ever I don't worry about that kind of stuff haha.  The rest of the day we helped Karen (the member sister of one of their investigators) run some errands to buy stuff for the big game of Nacional v River Plate!  It was pretty fun and we watched a bit that night with our ward mission leader.  It ended in a tie but no one cared haha.  Thursday Lopez felt good enough to teach again and we handed out 16 "He is the Gift" cards!  That night the branch president came with us to our appointments with Gyovani and his family, Antonio and Tatiana.  The plan was to talk again about baptism with all of them and we´re hoping for 5 baptisms THIS SATURDAY!  Haha when Antonio greeted us he said NEW YORK!  My amigo NEW YORK!  haha must be the new English he learned or something.  Friday we did some service painting a home with Mejia and Herrera.  It was way fun and it´s always cool to do something a bit different.  Later I saw 2 guys fist fighting on the sidewalk so that was fun.  Besides that, all our appointments but 2 with less actives fell through.  Thats Fridays in Colombia for ya, everyone is out partying on the weekends.  That night we went home early because Lopez´s stomach started hurting again.  Pobrecito (poor) haha.  Saturday was a zone meeting AKA talking to Elder Paskett in English which is always super nice haha.  That day we had a plan to do service at Las Lajas (a Roman Catholic sanctuary he's been looking forward to visiting) but it fell through so we watched The District and got some sweet new teaching ideas.  We talked more about Baptism with Gyovani and his family of 4 and we had an awesome lesson planned with Tatiana but Karen and Diego left last second for Cali so we had nowhere to teacher her ugh.  (we cant at her house because her dad hates the church).  Yesterday was awesome because it was Fast suNDAY!  I bore my testimony and one thing I'm trying to do better is not thinking about how or what I'm gonna say before but just trusting the spirit and it totally worked!  And another thing is all 4 members of Gyovanis fam attended church and so did Antonio!  But Tatiana didn't so she cant be baptized this weekend.  Which sucks.  But We´re HOPING FOR 5 BAPTISMS!  Which is awesome because that´s only in my 1st transfer!  The rest of the day we helped the zone leader with finances because Lopez used to work in the office, and he knows whats up and then we taught the daughter of our branch president.  It was really spiritual. When we were about to offer the closing prayer, Lopez asked if we could on our knees and she said she was thinking the same thing.  She offered the prayer and it was so touching.  We were all in tears.  I see great things in her future.  Last night was also the Christmas Devotional and here they show it the chapel.  The truth is I didn't understand much in Spanish so Paskett and I just shared our mission experiences.  It was pretty awesome.  Also yesterday was a Colombian Holiday called day of candles.  There were fires in the streets and candles everywhere with the Virgin Mary, and TONS of fireworks.  It's kinda sketchy being the the 4th floor when people are lighting off aerials in the street.  Today was PDAY obviously haha and we went with the branch to an activity at a place about half an hour way called Montes Aldinos.  It was actually all swimming so we just played soccer and rested.  It was fun though to just enjoy the day and the members!  So there was my week!  Next time I write, hopefully we´ll have 5 baptisms! 
Love you all!

 With Elder Lopez doing a service project

 Just some random cat :)

 Jake and Elder Lopez

 Hanging out with some young members

With the branch president, ward mission leader and wife and Elders Lopez, Herrera and Mejia

Gyovani and family 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 2 in the field!

A little Q&A with Elder Welch

Q: Is the picture of you with the short little missionary you and Elder Lopez?
A: Yup!  dont let his height fool you, he's 22 hahaha!  Latino probs.  I'm pretty much a giant here.  people are baffled when they find out I'm 18.  "QUE JOVEN" (how young!)

Q: Where do you go to do your emailing?
A: last week was at a members home but right now I'm emailing at an internet cafe. 

Q: Are the 4 of you in your apartment the only missionaries in Ipiales?
A: No, there's 12 missionaries in Ipiales.  There's me and lopez, mejia and herrerra, penafiel and rodriguez, monteiro and paskett, and 2 sisters that i cant remember their names and 2 other elders! 

Alright so this week was pretty average and great all at the same time!  So i don't have my journal with me so I won't be as thorough with each day (sorry mum) but it was awesome!  so we've been making progress with our investigators and less actives.  our biggest ones are Antonio, Tatiana, and Gyovanni and his family.  Because they all have baptism dates for the 11th of December!  that makes 6 for us and if the baptisms work out for the other elders in our branch, we'll have 11 baptisms that day!  Antonio had his baptism interview friday but sadly enough he didnt pass because his smoking addiction is proving difficult.  but he's the nicest man.  he's 60 years old and lives in a shack the size of a trailer but a lot more humble.  Saturday all day we helped do service by replacing the cardboard under his tarp roof with sheet metal, and replacing his tarp insulation with a thicker rubber coated fabric.  He was so grateful, it was awesome to see the happiness in his eyes.  Nothing much has happened, it's just been raining a lot here. here's some fun cultural differences here!  So everything at the store is in bags.  milk, ketchup, yogurt etc. it's honestly obnoxious so i find the boxed milk, but still, i have to buy lactose free.  dont worry its surprisingly cheap here!  another thing is it's completely normal for women to breast feed their babies in public here so it's surprising when a woman in the middle of sacrament meeting or family home evening just whips it out in front of everyone.  I've gotten pretty good at quickly adverting my eyes haha.  Also men just pee where ever they dang well please here.  No matter who's around.   I laugh at how many things are legal here.  Oh the joys of another country... so Friday I got to go teach english at an institute!  A member named Franklin is a teacher there and he asked me to come help his students practice!  they range from 14 to about 30 years old.  It was funny how many times i got asked in broken english what my favorite movie was but it was way fun.  But were the snakes slithering!  I got asked by around 6 girls to take a photo with them!  but hey, that was also 6 references hahahaha!  It was way fun.  Last night we were at Karen and Diegos house with Tatiana, and they had friends over that were'nt members!  it was a couple and their son.  They had a billion questions but mostly about our missions.  when they found out our ages, what we're doing and everything like that, that thought we were crazy!  But they also listened to our message on temples and i could tell the mom felt the spirit!  so we got 3 new investigators!  Wooop!  Anyways I'm out of time.  and no photos today.  doesn't matter because we didn't get to go to las lajas.  hopefully next week! 
love you all!
Hasta luego!

Elder Welch
In his letter to Tayler he said that Ipiales is one of the safest places in his mission so that's good news :)