Monday, December 28, 2015

12-21-15 to 12-28-15 FELIZ NAVIDAD!‏

Alright, since ive talked to the fam on Friday, i'm feeling a bit lazy to write a huge weekly letter haha.  sorry mom.  This week has been pretty good, just a tad bit slow with the Christmas season.  But we tried to take advantage of it to find some rad families! 

This week lots of investigators are asking about exaltation.  People obviously get defensive when they hear "The Mormons believe in becoming Gods".  So it's been really interesting to learn how to teach that profound of doctrine so that anyone understands.  and these 2 points have helped me a lot. 
1. God is our loving heavenly father, and as ANY parent feels, he wants us to become the best we can.  Even better than him if possible.
2. Us becoming Gods doesnt dethrone God.  Actually it gives him more glory.  Same way my mom and dad look like great parents because me or Tayler are successful in something.
All things on Earth were first created spiritually.  Yes, even the nature of families and parenthood.  OF COURSE we'll become Gods.  as CHILDREN of God.  It is our birthright!  Cool huh?

Christmas was actually really great!  We made a rad tree out of some paint, cardboard, Christmas lights and a tree branch and opened all our presents!  im super happy with my new ties, tie pins and pants.  thanks mom!
That night we tried to sing Christmas carols.  it was rather hard with all the people blasting drinking music every other house but we did it and felt a bit of Christmas spirit while we were at it. 

So that was basically my week!  Life is good, and i'm super excited to start working on a normal schedule after the holidays haha.  I hope everyone has a great New Years day!  Make some REALISTIC goals!  to end here are the 4 things ive learned to do it.
1. A vision
2. A goal
3. Plans
4. Accountability.
-Elder Welch

  With Elder Solorio and Elder Paskett

 Cute little Charlie Brown tree :)

Monday, December 21, 2015

12-15-15 to 12-21-15 Many blessings!‏

This week was great!  The 2 highlights had to be a family we found this week and the zone conference we had Friday. 

Tuesday was pretty average, we just practiced our Christmas song for the zone conference and taught some families that we had contacted. 

Wednesday we spent most the day contacting families in the street and we got a TON lined up for Thursday!

Thursday we taught 3 new familes and got 9 new investigators!  As a result we had 2 great miracles.  First we went to the house of a lady we contacted but her mom answered the door instead.  Turns out she listened to the missionaries 2 years ago and lost contact with them when the missionaries left and she changed houses.  We asked her why she thinks God lead us to her house again and she said "maybe to finish what i didnt do in the first place."  Amazing how God guides our path!  The other miracle was that we went to the address of a lady we contacted and I guess she gave us the wrong address!  But the gentleman who answered the door was very polite so we told him how we wanted to share a message about Christmas sometime and he was like "alright, come on in".  Haha we were like "OKAY!".  Again, oh how amazing is it how the Lord places people in our path.  It is a family of 4, both pàrents married, 2 sons ages 13 and 21 and theyre like 1/2 Catholic because they don't really know any other way to worship God.  For us that's like striking Gold hahah. 

Friday was the zone conference!  Every year President does a "fun" zone conference, and he likes to do it around Christmas.  We watched a movie, had a Book of Mormon Trivia and did skits/Christmas Carols.  it was a great time!  The zones present were Palmira, Tulua and Zarzal.  I got to see Lots of my mission buddies including Elders Muñoz, Solorio, Ludwig, Paskett and Inman!  It was a great time!  Tulua and Zarzal has a super Rivalry right now because the zone leader right now, Elder Rojas (my ZL from Ipiales and the old assistant) was Elder Gomez's comp so it was super tense!  But we beat them in the BoM trivia!  WOOHOO!  For our skit-carol-thing we sang With Wondering Awe, then changed into the classic Colombia "Cumbia" outfits and played a Christmas Version of "La Bamba" by Los Lobos.  It turned out great!  I played guitar, Gomez bongos, Elder Giles the cowbell, Elder Palma the Giro, Sister Panduro on the piano and Sister Magaña on the maracas.  We had fun but a district from Palmira won (i'm guessing because it was just too tense between us and Tulua haha).  But we had a great time.

Saturday we had a good zone meeting and talked about asking questions which actually helped me a lot (i was the one teaching haha) its what i needed to better myself.  Lately ive just felt blank in the lessons and having talked much but asking questions is getting me back to my old self!  This transfer has been strange haha but im good now.  That night we taught the Arias family (the golden family we found Thursday) the restoration and it went really well!  The spirit was super strong. 

Sunday we had 7 investigators come to church. Nabor and Mery with his family and The Arias family!  Wow we were happy that new family came it just proves theyre ready. Nabor and Mery couldnt get baptized because he worked, but im not worried because they're 100% converted.  The rest of the day was slow because Elder Gomez got super sick. 

So today we just cleaned and organized the house because all the houses we were gonna rent wont rent to us for a billion different problems, so looks like we're passing Christmas 4 in a house.  Bummer. But everything happens for a reason!  

Have an Excellent Christmas this week and remember
Elder Welch

District Zarzal in traditional Cumbia outfits :)

Monday, December 14, 2015

12-08-15 to 12-14-15 Return to Andalucia

This week was pretty good!  We´re having a lot of sucess and a lot of great things are happening!

The highlight of Tuesday is that our district made a band!  We have to do a Christmas carol for the next zone meeting so we organized a band with me On guitar, Gomez on the bongos, the sisters on piano and maracas, and the other Elders on Giro and Clave.  its super rad! We have to do the presentation in English, and we have a "spice" on it that is gonna be fun! More news to come!

Wednesday, i went to Andalucia in Divisions with Elder Suyon!  It was fun to see my old investigators, and I had the privilege to interview Ana Maria and Vic for their baptisms!  Ana Maria needs a bit more time to pass but Vic passed!  He surprised me!  He has changed so much and is 100% ready to be baptized.  I was really pleased to see the affects of my work there.  That day in Zarzal, Gomez told me that our convert Cleyder is going crazy with the missionary work!  She lent out her Book of Mormon, is giving out pamphlets, and is presenting us to all her friends!  It is super rad!  She is an excellent convert! 

Thursday we ended divisions early to go to Tulua and have a meeting with the district president.  We made serious plans on how us as missionaries can help this district become a stake.  we have high hopes and want to do it FAST.  So we are gonna buckle down and get to some hard hard work.  But we are working with pure families here in Zarzal so the branch is growing faster and faster.  That night we also found a family where the wife is less active and her husband and son aren't.  It was a miracle find because they came from Chile and want to reactive/get baptized.  We are so grateful to the Lord for helping us find them! 

Friday we had a really busy day! We had a small competition with the other Elders in our apartment where each companionship had to contact at least 5 families in the street that day.  Who lost would buy pizza.  As a result, we contacted 11 families amongst us 4.  It was a great day and what we needed. 

Saturday was fairly normal.  We just did some service putting up Christmas lights and had a few lessons with investigators.  Nothing too huge.

Sunday was great because Nabor and Mery came to church and got their last attendance to get baptized!  It was a miracle because Nabor was working but came to church until he got on call, and they didnt call him until we were halfway through the 3rd hour.  So this Saturday we are gonna baptize a family! Woohoo! 

Today was just a nice lazy Pday, just what we needed because phew.  I was tired haha.  So yeah! love you all!
Elder Welch
From my personal email:
I asked if he knows where he'll go to Skype us on Christmas Day.
Jake: this week we're gonna skope out skyping areas haha its strange, the more time i get in the mission, the less i think about home!  I almost forgot i got to talk to you all soon haha.  SUPER FOCUSED.

I told him I'm hoping to hear more about where's he living and maybe see some pictures.
Jake: Im with 4 other missionaries but its because they opened another area in Zarzal with 2 new missionaries, so me and my comp are kinda homeless until we find a house.  we¨re living in our suitcases which is a bummer but it's whatever.  I havent taken pics yet because i dont wanna get too attached to this house haha. 

Leadership Meeting with
Pres. and Sis. Pricoli

Monday, December 7, 2015

12-01-15 to 12-07-15 Cleyder's baptism!‏

This week i was quickly ushered in to a new world as zone leader haha but it was great. i had a baptism (and actually feel like i helped her get to baptism) so life is good!  What else could i ask for?

Tuesday we ran all over the place looking for the new elder coming from Pasto and i guess instead of going to Zarzal he went to another city called Roldanillo.  it was pretty funny haha.  I also met my next baptism, Cleyder!  She's 19, super strong in the gospel and her personality actually reminds me a lot of Tayler haha. 

Wednesday we had an interview with an investigator and sadly she didnt pass for something that happened a while ago, and she was super sad about it.  We were running around panicking because we had to go to Cali for leadership training but we couldnt just leave her all discouraged so we went with her to the church and i shared with her Alma 36.  After reading it, she said "this is the Book of Mormon?  Ive never read a scripture from the Book of Mormon that fills me up inside like this one." so she had a spiritual experience and i was happy to help give her a better testimony of the Book of Mormon. 

Thursday we were in Cali all day at my first Leadership conference.  it was long and kind of boring but im glad i got to learn more about my responsibilities.  Honestly i just make sure missionaries are working and do dumb errands, but i like it haha its fun.  That night we stopped by Andalucia to get the matt's Elder Muñoz and i left in the house but then we realized there werent any more buses going to Zarzal so we stayed the night with the New elders.  But it was a good opportunity to help them plan.  Of the 10 missionaries in this zone (including me and my comp) 6 have 4 months or less.  Theyre all super excited to work but theyre all noobs haha.  Its fun to help them though, they learn fast. 

Friday we finished the plans for Cleyder's baptism and she passed her interview!  It was a good day!  We also have a lot of other solid investigators.  We're gonna baptize a ton!

Saturday was Cleyder's baptism!  It went really well.  I played hymns on the guitar, we sang, and the whole service was really organized.  She was beaming in her eyes, it was a great experience. 

Sunday was Fast Sunday, and all the testimonies were great.  Cleyder even got up there and talked how she wants to be a missionary.  We had 10 investigators come to church and 2 are familes!  Couldnt be happier.  That afternoon we had a meeting with the district president and the ZLs from Tulua to talk about our plans to turn this district into a stake.  We have our fair share of work ahead of us.  But it feels good to have so many good responsibilities.  I hope we can fulfill our callings as zone leaders.  So life is good, i'm keeping an eye on Andalucia (since its my zone) and we have lots of baptisms coming up!  Success!

love you all, Elder Welch

He also reports that he got all three Christmas packages I sent! Happy mom :D

Last picture with Elder Muñoz 

 Cleyder's Baptism

With his new companion, 
Elder Gomez from Oklahoma 
(His first American comp since the MTC.)

Monday, November 30, 2015

11-14-15 to 11-30-15 Transfers!‏

This week was a good one, lots of our investigators were progressing.  Hoover (I spelled it Hubert last week, but i was wrong haha) went 4 days without drugs, and it getting stronger at avoiding temptation!  Also, Vic is doing super good coming to church and lots of activities.  The truth is, I'm super short on time because transfers came so this is gonna be short.  I got transfered to Zarzal and am the new zone leader with Elder Gomez.  Elder Muñoz got transfered to spend his last transfer in Buga.  Truth is we're both super upset and I honestly am not sure how i feel about being zone leader, but the good news is Andalucia is in my zone so we're gonna do divisions and I'm gonna being calling a lot to check in on my investigators haha.  But dang, I wanted to pass Christmas in Andalucia with Muñoz.  I'll still send him the gifts.  But as i always say, I'll do as the Lord asks me. 

Elder Welch

Monday, November 23, 2015

11-17-15 to 11-23-15 Saving druggies‏

This week has been pretty good.  And as the subject line depicts, ive had to break out the Word of Wisdom pamphlets!  We've found quite a few drug addicts as of late!

Tuesday was another weird day where we had no appointments, and just wore down the soles of our shoes.  Something funny is there is this pitbull dog that really loves us and follows us around everywhere haha.  He waits for us outside appointments and goes with us everywhere!  He call him "woody" because of the song in Toy Story "You've got a friend in me".  haha!

Wednesday me and my comp decided to take out the lists of "Old Investigators" and "future investigators".  We found a WHOLE lot of people that weren't very happy to see us again, but we did have some good lessons.  We taught Cal a really good lesson, he's super excited to learn how to pray and everything.  We set him for a baptismal date for the 12th of December (we'll have to move it back because he had to go to the hospital for an appointment during church Sunday). 

Thursday was a pretty good day! I went in divisions with Elder Gomez (zone leader/ex assistant) and Elder Winchester (Current Assistant).  It was a great spiritual, busy day.  We had a great lesson with Seg that morning, and something i learned from Elder Gomez was to ask lots of good questions.  It makes it way more affective to teach to their needs.  Ive always kind of done it but he helped me do it better.  Later that day we found a new investigator named Hub.  He's a great guy but has an addiction to drugs.  He really wants to change.  We're working hard with him.  On our way over we ran into the 14 year old druggy kid and he was with another girl and they were huffing their shoe glue!  They started following us asking for pesos but we didnt give any.  Then the girl asked Rodrigo for a kiss and he said no and she started crying!  it was a circus.  But wow we're finding so many druggies. Later that day we visited the Marias (M and AM), and they're super excited to be baptized again!  I dont know what happened but i thank you all for the prayers!  They both came to church too, and didnt seem bugged this time! 

Friday was calm and uneventful compared to Thursday.  We taught Maria (M) the Word of Wisdom because she has a smoking issue.  We also had a really nice visit with Cal and we brought the 1st counselor of the branch and the elders quorum pres.  He's such a great guy, we're excited for him. He's changed a lot! 

Saturday we had  a pretty good zone meeting on working with members and using the book of mormon to invite the spirit.  Later that day we met a new guy named John whos also a druggy.  He's pretty good, but kinda nuts.  The drugs he told us he uses are kind of sketchy... but he wants to change so we're gonna help.

Sunday was Excellent!  on our way to get some investigators for church we ran into a guy named Vic, whos also a drug addict!  He told us he wanted to change and come with us to church! (he always said he'd come but never did).  But he really liked it and is starting to take some steps!  He surprised us!  We're getting excited because it looks like we're gonna have lots of baptisms in December!  Merry Christmas!  that night Vic also went to a meeting with the men.  We didnt even stay, but he liked it.  

Today we didnt do anything!  We're just so tired that we slept haha.  But tonight we have 2 family home evenings so all is well! 

Just so you all know and can pray, the Mina family from Cali is passing through some false legal charges and as a result, the kids are with members and the baby was sent to a shelter.  I realize we cant help much but pray for them.  They're wonderful people and were ready for baptism when it happened. 
Thanks!  Love you all! 
Elder Welch

In honor of Thanksgiving, I challenged Jake to be grateful in any circumstance and to find 5 things he's grateful for in any challenge or trial. This was his reply:

I WANNA EAT I wish there was thanksgiving here.  but its chill, your challenge is super easy.  because im super grateful :)  being in Colombia and seeing the people im around makes me grateful for 1a decent home 2a stable family 3plenty of food 4health 5the true church in my life. i could go on and on.  but being in a poorish area brings those things to mind haha. love you mom!  have a great week!

Monday, November 16, 2015

11-10-15 to 11-16-15 Friday the 13th

This week was great!  A bit harder but what's the mission without trials, am i right?

Tuesday we had a zone meeting and i got my "hump day" package!  thanks mom!  we also got some crazy new rules, the biggest being no more soccer nor basketball in the mission, and we can no longer reactivate single women less actives.  only men and familes.  That night we went with some members of the ward to bless the house of an investigator because i guess a witch is cursing her house (don't ask me) and we had a really nice family home evening with her.

Wednesday was good, Elder Muñoz and I felt like knocking some doors, so we did and met some cool people!  It was pretty funny, one guy said "i have something of yours" i brought sister Alzamora's name tag! haha i guess he is a car driver and her nametag fell off and he found it cleaning the car.  What luck!  But it was nice meeting some new people. 

Thursday we had to go to Zarzal to do some baptismal interviews for the zone leaders.  it went well, but we barely got back to the car in time to go home! 

Friday the 13th was classic!  We had the worst of luck!  No one was home, the city cut the water without saying anything, and me and my comp started getting sick!  But the one good appointment we had was super rad.  It was a new kid we met named Seg.  He's a super analytic person and accepted a baptismal date for December.  We're getting excited!

Saturday Elder Muñoz and i got SUPER sick with colds!  Both of us!  It was rough, we wanted to work but we just had no energy to do it haha.  But we still ended up having a really good lesson in the park with a guy we met named Cal.  He's a super rad dude, he used to be a bum we saw passed out at the bakery, but i guess a month ago he had a nasty fall when he was drunk and he broke his arm pretty bad.  He said after that moment he swore to change. So he rented a house, hasnt drunk in a month, shaves, wears clean clothes and sells candy to get by.  He's super humble and was so excited to come with us to church Sunday that he was waiting in the park since 7 in the morning haha.  We're excited about him.

Sunday was kind of a bummer because none of our investigators with baptismal dates came to church and we had a hard time finding people to teach that night.  But we did have some interesting experiences.  First one was when were walking in a dirt road neighborhood, a businessman type man came and asked for help.  He explained how a robber stabbed him the head, how the doctors surgery couldnt do anything and how he had no money to get home.  His head is part shaved where the doctors worked, he had a huge lump with the KNIFE STILL IN HIS HEAD!  It was cut from the doctors but still there.  Gives me chills thinking about it.  So we gave him 6000 pesos (like 2 bucks) to get home.  Crazy! the other was while were walking through a ghetto part and some drugged up 14 year old came out wanting to improvise with Rodrigo.  (Rodrigo improvises rap super good) so Rodrigo schooled him, the kid asked for my ring, I told him no and he ran off sprinting. never a dull moment. 

Today we had a branch activity with Zarzal in a rad farm up above in Andalucia.  It was fun but most of it was swimming so me and my comp felt kind of left out. But it was cool. 
Love you all, hoping this week will be more active appointments-wise.  See ya!

Elder Welch
Wendy: Was Vanessa's baptism in the river?
Jake: you betcha

Wendy: Are you good? Like really good? Can I pray about anything YOU need just for you? 
Jake: im super good!  just a bit tired.  whipped all the time!  But thats normal for a missionary haha love you mom!

Monday, November 9, 2015

11-03-15 to 11-09-15

This week has been pretty quiet, besides our fighting to maintain M and AM on date for their baptisms. 

Tuesday we went up into the mountain to contact the old man who gave us Mangas 2 weeks ago.  His farm is pretty humble but really cool. We chatted a bit and i guess hes a member of the Pentecostal church of Colombia.  He talked a LOT but seems pretty with it considering how old he is.  He told us all sorts of stories about how Andalucia was 50 years ago.  That night we had a FHE in the chapel just for M and AM.  We had about 10 members come and played games, and watched the video on John Tanner.  It went SUPER well!  The sisters loved it and left with some more friends! 

Wednesday was interesting.  We did a "desembarco" in Bugalagrande, or basically, we did divisions with members and contacted, taught and vistited less actives all day.  I went with a super tall guy named Diego.  He's probably about 6 foot 7 ish.  But wow i felt super weird all day.  probably because i wasnt with my comp!  But we kept busy, 6 lessons that day.

Thursday was nice and calm.  I did a cool art project haha i made a mini bicycle out of some wire i found in the street, and i painted it red yellow and blue for Colombia.  It turned out great!  That day we visited AM and she was SUPER excited for her baptism!  It was rad to see her excitment!  She is super full of charity, love and selflessness.  We also passed by Jha, and i guess she's moving to the area of the sisters!  NO!  but she'll still get baptized so it's alright.  that night we went and talked with a contact we had and i guess they have a nephew who is super into drugs and wants help so they took us to his house and we talked for a while.  It was a good little lesson.  He's a rad guy about 21 years old, but wow was he shifty.  the drugs dont let him stay still.  We're gonna work with him and be his friend because he really wants to change. 

Friday i spent a good amount of time organizing a list of members in our area in order by their addresses, and we went out searching them out all day.  Amongst them, we found the Leal family, a family Chris Ruiz asked us to search out.  the Grandma seems pretty bitter towards the church though she remembers nearly nothing about it.  The grandpa couldnt talk to us because he's mute from a sickness he had.  It was sad to see how theyve completely fallen away, but she willingly gave us a reference. 

Saturday was strange!  All our appointments fell through and we dont know why!  Honestly, nothing really happened.  We ate pizza that night and i found a HUGE beetle on my desk but thats about it.

Sunday was frusterating.  It started out great because 6 of our investigators came to church including AM and M.  It seemed to all go well but when we went to visit after church, they said they didnt like it.  They were bothered by the irreverence and lack of organization.  Nooo.  M said she'll keep going because she still liked a lot of things but AM said she's not going back.  We're praying hard for them.  We're gonna focus a lot on helping them get testimonies of the Book of Mormon so they can have a testimony to motivate them to keep coming.  Pray for them! 

Today was a great day of nothing.  We went to Tulua so Muñoz could buy some souvenirs, we ate, slept, got icecream, guarapo (a lemonade made with sugar cane water) and did nothing!  It was actually really refreshing for once.  But im still happy here!  I love the people, my comp is probably one of my favorites up there with Solorio haha and we're having a lot of success.  I love you all and have a delicious week! 

Elder Welch

Last weeks baptism.
This one made his mom cry. 
Doesn't he look great in white? :)

Elder Munoz's longish hair throws me off.
(Jake mentioned it's a cultural thing where he's from
and the Church allows him to keep it a little long.)

 That looks an awful lot like a mattress that
thing is crawling on...eww...

This is the cave pool he mentioned 2 weeks ago.

Doesn't he look great?!? 
(With Elder Munoz)

Monday, November 2, 2015

10-26-15 to 11-02-15 Rocky roads in Andalucia

first off apologize for any time i miss a space.  The keybboard im using is a stupid rubber one that youu have to press really hard for it to type. 

This week hasbeen good but with some obnoxious experiences.  But in advance,  this time NONE of it was our fault haha.

Monday night i had to go to Zarzal todo a baptismal interview for the zone leaders, but due to the investigators family, we couldnt do it.  wasted hour busride.  Then we had another problem.  No more buses were leaving to Andalucia, and we only had 13,000 pesos, and the zoneleaders left!  So we  prayed, ended up finding a lady who was going to Andalucia too, took a bus to La Paila, then to outside of Andalucia, thena car home.  phew!  we were so scared haha but God definately answered our prayers. 

Tuesday was great!  We were teachinig Jha and she said "when can I get baptized?" we're super excited for  her.  Her cousin also excepted a baptismal date. 

Wednesday we visted Jha and she lead our session readingfrom the BoM haha it was so great.  that night i got to interview the sisters investigators that me and my compvisited!  and they passed!  im not sure what changed themom's mind but shes okay with itnow. 

Thursday I went to Zarzal in divsions with elder lyon.  the goal was for me to interview their investigator but it was sadbecause he's so scaredto tell hisfamily.  We never ended up being able to do the interview. 

Friday was the baptism of the sisters 2 investigators, and Vanessa askedme tobaptize her!  So we got 3 of our investigators with baptismal dates and took them to the service.  But wow.  How unprepared.  it was gonna start at 3:30 but somehow no onethought to find baptismal clothing for the 2 girls.  on top of that, people were coming late, there were no chairs, no music, and little reverence.  It was embarrassing that we brought investigators.  We may have lost them because of it.  at 6 we ended up getting the clothes and doing the ordinance but the spirit wasnt there.  Thatnight we had a talent show inthe church which wentwell.  It was better organized and Jha came.  It was a geat time and Muñoz and I sangwhile i played guitar.  We ended up leaving Jha with membersand runningto make ithome ontime but I guess Jha leftalone and got home with a friend (a boy) which REALLYmadeher mom mad.  So now we have to regain the mom's confidence.  Nooo.  so in 1 day we almost lost 3 baptisms.  It was frustrating. 

Saturday was HALLOWEEN!  Andnothing went on until the night time.  We had a super average day.  Taught some sisters, met a crazy dude etc.  But wow that night was SUPER busy and loud inthe park haha.  lots of partying. 

Sunday was somewhat frustrating.  It was a transmission of the District Conference from Tulua and too be honest, after the baptismal service experience, we were reluctant to invite investigators to church.  but we did it anyway.  Only M came, (one of the sisters that had the bad experience atthe baptism. ) but how boring was the conference!  and almost no one greeted her! she leftwith a face that read "im not coming back".  So we werebummed.  Afterlunch,  we had a 3 hour branch counsel where we talked about a lot of the things thatneed to change so i felt a bit better.  But man. 

Today we ate mangos andhung out with Rodrigo and Lizeth.  nothing too crazy.  Sorry i have no photos againbecause were out of time!

i love you all!  have a geat week!

Monday, October 26, 2015

10-20-15 to10-26-15 First week in Andalucia!‏

WOW! i'm as happy as I could be as a missionary here in Andalucia! 

Tuesday I had one of the best district meeting I think I've ever had in the mission.  My district is only 4 missionaries.  Muñoz and I, and 2 sister missionaries.  It was just great because the sisters are super active and everyone participated to make it go smoothely and effectively.  We also did a really great role play that helped us all out a lot!  WoW!  Lunch was great, my new pensionista is super solid!  I also met some cool kids that day, 2 19 year old members named Lizeth and Rodrigo.  They come with us almost everyday, and for the entire day!  Rodrigo is blind and Lizeth is kind of his guide.  They're so rad haha. 

Wednesday started out as a bummer because it was a "dry day" which means they cut the water of the whole town so i couldnt shower, but it was alright.  haha worse for those around me.  It was a great day of contacting EVERYONE and having lots of lessons.  Elder Muñoz is great for talking to people, and teaching with me.  We're really focusing on peoples needs and seeking the Spìrit.  It's so much more effective!  We have to baptize because these are his last 3 months and we baptize in a river here! Haha!  That day we met an interesting old fella named Octavio, and he's a Jehovah's Witness so he was interesting to talk to!  But he played some nice JW hymns on the guitar haha which was actually pretty hilarious!  What a champ.  That night when we were passing through the park we saw some members.  When the sister saw me, she got SUPER excited!  I didnt realize who she was until she said "Chris!" They're Chris Ruiz's converts that came with him when he visited me in April!  They're in my area!  Sweet!  We've gone to their house a few times and they love me now haha they give us dinner everytime we come!  Small world! 

Thursday was a fairly normal day.  That night we had a lesson with a kid named Lu and it was kind of interesting!  When we came in, they offered us alcohol so we knew what we were teaching that night!  We taught the Word of Wisdom, but man it was kind of a mess because he told us that basically tomorrow he can die so he's gonna live life the way he wants.  So we're gonna teach the Plan of Salvation next time so he understands the importance of living a good life.  I also met a guy with a pet monkey that day named Timoteo haha.

Friday was a good day but a bit slow because it POURED rain.  Super hard!  We got absolutely soaked and the roads were all rivers haha.  Rodrigo was kicking water at me while we ran haha.  That night we visited a family of the sister missionaries because the daughters wanna get baptized but the mom doesnt agree with it.  The sisters wanted us to go and see if we couldnt work some miracles haha.  It went well but the mom kept leaving the room and the dad talked wayyy too much.  But at the end we discovered that almost no one was reading the Book of Mormon nor praying about it.  So obviously no one was gonna get converted.  Something sad was that night one of the sisters, Sister Hernandez had to get extra offically transfered for some health problems, which was a bummer because she was a super rad missionary. 

Saturday we said bye to Sister Hernandez in the morning and went throughout our day.  That night we had a great lesson on prayer with Lu and his HUGE family of like 10 people haha.  We gave it on prayer, putting God first and church attendance.  It went really well!

Sunday was super good!  It was my first time attending church in a house-chapel.  It is sooo small!  It was a bummer because almost no one came to church because Valle de Cauca had it's elections that day.  After church we ate and went up the mountain with some ward members to do a service project.  A poor brother has tarp of a roof and it was ripping through so we donated sheet metal to help him replace it.  We also gave him a mattress we had.  It was nice to help out.  Something cool is there are these fruits with hard shells that fall from trees and you can take them once theyre dry, empty them out and use them as water canteens!  So Muñoz and I took some and are working on etching cool stuff on them! 

Today was probably one of the best P Days ive ever had! We started out playing Soccer with 2 kids named Camilo and Alex, 2 16 year old members, and they lost so they had to buy us soda haha.  After they took us up by their house where you follow a river through the jungle to a cool cave area.  It was beautiful, and we ate off mango trees, and the boys swam in the cave pool.  I saw a tarántula, a cool snake, a bat and lots of weird bugs.  Finally getting a jungle experience haha.  Just need to spot a panther and a monkey and i'm set.  After that, we ate more mangos, then went to the house of Rodrigo and Lizeth to get more mangos!  We're so happy haha.  It was just a good day in the nature eating fruits and messing around.  Andalucia is super rad.  I'm super excited to see what the next week brings!  Love you all!
Elder Welch

Monday, October 19, 2015

10-13-15 to 10-19-15 Andalucia!

This week has been mostly preparing for transfers. 

Tuesday I had my last district meeting in Valle grande!  It was bittersweet, ill definitely miss a lot of the Elders from my district. That day we went and visited Rob again!  We read 2 Nephi 31 and talked baptism.  He said He'll baptize one day and really wants to make it to church!  He's a stud. 

Wednesday we had a pretty busy day.  That night we visited the Mina family, and Jo had a lot of questions about whether or not Jesus had brothers, about the Brother of Jared, and about her family history haha.  But it all tied into family and genealogy so we taught her how to start her tree on so she can go do that in the stake center!  I'm excited!  We want to prepare them to bring names to the temple when the ward goes in January!  (if they can make it).  Also, Dayana wrote me the cutest note thanking me for teaching her and how she is SO excited to be a missionary.  I love children.  Our last lesson that night was super important.  We visited G and (her son) and watched a video on temples. afterwards, they expressed a great desire to go as a family to the temple and do the temple work for their ancestors.  G said she talked with her husband and he agreed to attend a day with her (he's a non-member) and her son is itching to go.  I'm so happy to see so much progress in that family.  It was a day where I felt like I've done wonderful things in my area though i don't get to see the immediate results.  In their own time, they'll be back. 

Thursday we watched that temple video with Rob.  He loved it, and was sharing his thoughts with some other guys in the barbershop.  Then we had to go really far in the MIO to find an ATM that was working because the money arrived and i was BROKE!  haha.  What a pain.  That night we talked about temples with Nai and she had some doubts about "vicarious proxy"  or being able to baptize for someone else.  So we tried helping her out. 

Friday we had interviews with President!  It went well, and though we had to wait a while, it went fairly quickly.  I nailed reciting D&C 84:33-44 memorized and Pres. Pricoli revised our area book. He said it was pretty good just kind of chewed me out a bit with love on a form i didnt know existed for less actives and recent converts haha.  It's okay, i'm still learning. 

Saturday was a pretty good day too!  The Mina family finally got their tamales ready to sell for their wedding. Us missionaries bought 20 between the 4 of us so right there they got 120,000 pesos hahah!  That's the majority of what they need for their papers!  SO THEY CAN BAPTIZE SOON!  The rest of the day I went and said bye to people because I was almost positive I was getting transfered.  Now they dont give us time to say bye so we just have to do it beforehand to be safe.  It sucks! 

Sunday we got TRANSFERS!  I'm in the zone Zarzal (pronounced sar saul) and my area is a little village called Andalucia!  My new comp is Elder Muñoz from Otavalo Ecuador.  The culture in his pueblo allows the missionaries from there to have really long hair.  it's super rad  haha.  He's a really good missionary and I'll most likely be his last comp for the next 3 months. 

Today I left at 8:00am and took a car for about 2 hours to Tulua.  Then another 15 ride to Andalucia.  It's a pleasant little town and It's super quiet which I'm loving.  I'm still district leader, and my district is just me and Elder Muñoz with 2 sister missionaries.  I'm content as of now!   Nice to be out of the dangerous city. 
love you all!  Next week I'll sent photos of me and my comp.  But his parents are considered Pioneers in Ecuador and are in the July Ensign so if you wanna read about them, look it up there under the article "Pioneers: An Anchor For Today".  Rad! 
Love you all and have an excellent week! 
Elder Welch

 The Catholic Church in his new neighborhood

 Moving in!

New bedroom

View from the new apartment


Monday, October 12, 2015

10-06-25 to 10-12-15 Apostasy, motorcycles, and Guns‏

This has been a kind of bummer/crazy week. 
Tuesday was a nice day because we were busy!  Al is doing good but he drank beer again so we're working on that.  Rob had us write down the church's website so he could check out conference, and G (our less active) is getting super hyped to do family history! 

Wednesday was the year mark of me leaving home!  Crazy how fast the time flies!  But man.  It was a hard day.  We went to visit our recent convert Lil, the ones who son was convulsing that one day that we helped.  We played a bit with her son but then he told us something.  I guess Lil's uncle is a pastor for a Christian church called the Bethesda.  And theyre not too fond of our church... so he gave her anti-mormon material and now she's packed all her things from the church in a giant bag swearing to never go back to that "church of the devil".  I was heart broken.  She was saying all sorts of lies her uncle said about us.  Before we left, I bore the most sincere testimony I could but was just crying when i said it.  I left sobbing for her.  Hardest part of the mission is definitely when sweet souls fall into apostasy. 

Thursday I completed ONE YEAR!  Trunky!  It was actually rather a slow day due to the soccer match Colombia v Peru.  But hey, Colombia won 2-0 so i could rub it in my comps face!  I also burnt a tie of course in a classic missionary ritual.  Time to make this year the best part of my mission.  First year was learning.  Second is killing it. 

Friday was pretty average.  Besides getting hit by a motorcycle... and almost seeing someone die from gunshot... and witnessing armed robbery.  HA! Let me explain.  So after lunch, I was crossing the street to get on a jeep to go to a far away part of my area, when a motorcyle came from no where and hit me!  I jumped fast enough for it to only nail my arm.  OUCH!  (Sister Janeth saw from her balcony and said he shot out of an alley without looking so I wasnt just being careless haha).  But im okay.  Just kind of hurt the muscle.  We went and taught Al about tithing, then went to talk with Rob.  He was busy so we had to leave to go get on another Jeep for Morichal to do a baptismal interview.  As we were walking by the bakery, we starting hearing loud popping noises!  At first i thought it was a motorcycle tail-pipe or a firework (which are super common here) but after several shots i knew it was a gun!  People were running on the street next to us about half a football field away.  My comp even saw the guy with the gun!  I didnt because i was running haha.  So we got out of there.  Holy cow!  Intense!  The interview in Morichal went well and on the way back, some guy got off the jeep without paying.  The driver stopped to yell, and as we looked back he pulled out a knife and was trying to steal some guy's bike!  At that point me and my companion were thinking "WHAT IS UP WITH TODAY?" So we took it easy the rest of the night sticking to safer areas and safer people haha.  Sad thing of all these events is we can't go back to the neighborhood where the shooting was and that's where Rob, the bishop and the Mena family live.  We'll have to get members to take us there in the day time.  Crazy!

Saturday was super slow, especially compared to Friday.  We had a mega long zone meeting, mission coordination and shopped/prepared for Sunday dinner. 

Sunday was a bummer.  We woke up and the city shut off our water AGAIN because of a tiny sprinkle we had the night before.  As a result, almost NO BODY came to church because they all went out to search for water.  We were suppose to have 7 attending but only 2 came.  The best part of the day was our lunch.  The Soto family (members who live on our street) lent us their grill so we grilled up steaks, made mashed potatoes and gravy, and steamed some broccoli.  Let it never be said that gringos dont cook or dont have traditional plates in their country!  It was delish and nostalgic of home. 

Today we just chilled and relaxed.
This weekend we're gonna have interviews with president which should be good and important.  We're memorizing D&C 84:33-44 so I guess we can call that my ponderizing scripture this week!  Also, Sunday are transfers! Its likely I could be going, knowing the pattern of transfers that are normal.  So let's see next week!
Love you all!  Remember in who you're entrusted!

Elder Welch

Monday, October 5, 2015

09-29-15 to 10-05-15 General Conference October 2015 MODERN REVELATION

This week had been a good one, crowned by General Conference!  Nothing like listening to our beloved leaders that bring us God given counsel specific for our days!  I apologize in advance, I forgot my journal in the house so the email may be a bit less specific.  Going off my Planning agenda and memories haha. 

Tuesday was a VERY busy day.  The best lesson has to be with that cool black guy named Rob from the barber that called us over!  We explained the Restoration and he just thinks it is SO cool that we have the same organization as Christ's church as explained in the Bible.  We left him chapter 40 in Alma in the Book of Mormon to help him with his doubts on where we go after death.  Later that day I was having a MAJOR tough time hearing.  My ear hurt and it felt like i had cotton stuffed inside.  So I called Sister Pricoli and lo and behold...

Wednesday I got to go to the hospital!  DON'T WORRY I'M NOT GONNA DIE.  I got an ear infection from my cold last week haha (I know, I'm a mess.)  But the doctor just hooked me up with some drugs and sent me on my way!  That night we passed by the Mena family and explained more articles of faith.  There's still quite a bit theyre learning, but theyre still easily one of our best families. 

Thursday we went back to Rob's barber and talked about what he read.  He read ALL of it and marked it with pencils.  He just loves it and loves listening!  While we were there, some people came in for haircuts, but he just said "I'm busy listening to the word of God!  Sit down and join us!" So we got like 3 new investigators thanks to him haha. 

Friday was a rather slow day.  We talked with Cam about getting back on track with the lessons and he expressed his desires.  He's a great kid.  Just getting back on his feet. 

Saturday was THE FIRST DAY OF GENERAL CONFERENCE!  and in English!  Perks of having 7 gringos in your zone!  I loved all the talks.  Pres. Holland's talk made every one of us miss our moms and want to hug them!  But it's chill :) I also loved the thought of looking at others through a "mothers eyes".  When you look at each person as a child of God that has their own Joys and sorrows it really changes your perspective on everything. I loved the music too, especially The Spirit of God.  So beautiful.  Of course Priesthood session and

Sunday was just as perfect.  My favorite talks had to be by the prophet on Keeping the Commandments, Elder Eyring's talk on the spirit, Elder Nelson's talk on the women of the church and Elder Allen Haynie's talk on the Atonement.  I loved it!  I just feel a need to repent fully of all the sins I commit so I can feel that Spirit.  I hope all can do the same.  As Pres Monson said "the sooner we repent, the sooner we can feel that peace and quietness".  Don't wait 1 second longer.  I hope we can all remember what was said!  Pass our notes, download talks so we can relisten!  re-read!  Ive just got a kind of kickstart kinda feeling haha.

Today we went to the downtown so Elder Ludwig and Elder Chaiña could buy guitars haha.  They both wanna learn really bad.  Im proud :)  Love you all!  Have an excellent week!  OH!  and let's ponderize like Devin Durrant's talk invited us!  Im gonna memorize 2 Nephi 2:6-8!  How about all of you?

Elder Welch

A Little Q&A:
Mom: Are you guys having to ration water? (Cali is in a severe drought)
Jake: yeah they turn off our water but they did it BECAUSE it rained.  2 days it rained hard, and i guess it was making something contaminate the water supply so they shut it off, but it was very little time so im okay,

Mom: Did you get to watch Conference in English?
Jake: you bet your buttons i did!  and it was glorious!

Monday, September 28, 2015

09-21-15 to 09-28-15 Sick in Valle Grande THE SEQUEL

This week has been kind of a bummer because i got SICK again! but it's okay, what can you do? 

Monday night, we contacted a cool young couple that works in their own pizzeria. It was a nice way to start the week, finding some new people to teach.

Tuesday we went to an appointment that we set Monday night when we called our bishop.  He gave us a super important reference to teach the husband of a member who theyve been trying to teach and convince for 30 years, because the day before, he walked up to his wife and said "i want to listen to the missionaries."  We taught him the Restoration and I see a real change of heart.  He wants to become more close with God.  Miracles are happening!  The bishop is also SUPER happy we're acting on our word.  He said "I love Americans because they always complete their responsibilities!"  Proud to be an American :¨) hahah. 

Wednesday we thought would be rough because we had almost no set appointments but it turned out to be great!  We went and contacted the cool guy at his barber, and talked about the church.  The more we said, the more he liked it!  He kept saying "Esa religion es bacana!" which is like "That religion is awesome!" haha.   That night we taught a reference from a less active that is going through chemotherapy.  Poor lady.  But she is incredibly strong and positive.  You have to be, right? 

Thursday, I got sick,  BLECK.  We tried to go out and work but kind of just bounced from member's house to member's house because the sun was killing me.  That night i got worse with a fever of 100.6 and lots of body aches. 

Friday i was still sick but different symptons.  I got a sore throat and a bad headache!  We went to lunch normal, but i almost passed out so we went home and i rested a bit.  I was so bored but so miserable that day haha. 

Saturday i was feeling mostly better, so we ended up working normally!  But we only found 1 person home alllll day.  which is the worst.  We read a quick scripture with Nai and had to go to a FHE that fell through.  Nai is excited for general conference though!  im excited to see what she feels!

Sunday was exciting, we had a huge meeting after church talking about the direction of the ward.  the bishop is willing to do anything to help us grow.  I love that about him.  So we're making a new mission plan.  Besides that, it was a slower Sunday as well.

So that was basically this week!  SLow slow slow but this week will be better!  And GENERAL CONFERENCE!  We can listen to the latter day seers and revelators!  So get PUMPED!

Love Elder Welch
I told him that I'd read about Colombia being in a drought but that my weather app shows clouds and lightning EVERYDAY in Cali. His response: 
"HA!  that app is lying!  try hot sunny days at 95 degrees every single day.  it is sooo hot lately.  i want rain!" 

I also asked if he saw the eclipse Sunday night. His response: 
"there was an eclipse?"  
Haha! I guess missionaries are too busy to look at the moon :)

Monday, September 21, 2015

09-15-15 to 09-21-15 Elder Uceda!

This week was a good one! 
So Tuesday was pretty good!  I was confused in the morning when we went to the chapel in Morichal for the district meeting, and it was full of young students dancing "salsa choke" in the chapel part!  im pretty sure that is super unallowed.  i guess the bishop "lent out" the chapel to a school for 3 days to help them out and to do some missionary work.  But dancing in the chapel?  I felt uncomfortable about it.  A good lesson we had was with Nai.  We explained the importance of tithing and fast offerings.  After explaining it, she seemed to think it was really beautiful and nice how we use the money to help others.  She also gave us some yummy arroz con leche (rice pudding)!  The other good lesson that day was with a less active named G.  We read the 1st presidency message from the 2015 September Ensign on prayer, and she cried sharing how she never forgets to pray.  She said when she does, she feels the need to return to the church, but sometime stops her.  It was spiritual, and we explained the difference of promptings from God and from the devil, and how she can tell.  I think in time she'll come back.  The bishop is gonna work to help her. 

Wednesday was kinda sub par.  To prepare for the conference with Elder Uceda, I went to the stake center to practice piano.  I got Juventud de Israel down but was iffy on Estandartes al Señor.  All day we found no one home but That night we got some lasagna from a less active so i couldnt complain really. 

Thursday was the day!  Elder Uceda!  It was a wonderful conference and from 12 to 9, the time had never gone more quickly!  I really want to be a better "Preach My Gospel" missionary.  We learned about speaking with the heart, true love for those we teach, being humble, patient, persistent, having true intent etc.  We also studied some ways to read the scriptures more effectively.  He talked about how if you look at a chess board and ask "how many squares are there?" youll say "64".  But really, there's more!  if you look closely, there are actually 204.  So when we read the scriputures, and look at the meanings of words, or the words chosen, we can find "hidden squares".  I loved it.  He also talked a lot about how the Latino missionaries should learn English because the English version of the scriptures is the most accurate.  So feel grateful for your English sciptures! 
(He also said that Elder Uceda gave him a "thumbs up" after he played the piano so it must have went well.)

Friday was a hard day.  We had a hard time finding people home again.    That night we had a lesson with Nai, and we shared an article on the Book of Mormon from the July 2015 Ensign.  To be honest, im not sure what she was thinking.  I just want her glasses to get here so she can read it! 

Saturday was the Colombian version of Valentines day!  the day is called "Day of Love and Friendship" or "Día de Amor y Amistad".  We had a hard time finding people home but we had a GREAT talk with the bishop!  We talked about how we can better work together to move the work forward.  He wants us to call him daily to coordinate and to work together.  We're so lucky to have him as our bishop!  He also wants to help us find investigators through the ward counsel which will be SUPER nice! 

Sunday was great!  Thanks to the bishop, we had 6 investigators attend church, one being Nai!  It was her first time, and everyone was being great to make her feel welcome!  That night we had a FHE with some kids from YSA and our investigators Liz and Caro. It was alright, we played games, heard a message on "spreading light" and ate arepas with eggs! 

Today was just your average Pday.  Soccer and relaxing.  I love you all, and hope you all have a great week!
Elder Welch

Monday, September 14, 2015

09-08-15 to 09-14-15 Cam

Wow happy 11 months Elder Welch!  I don't say that to be trunky, i just think it's insane how fast the time goes haha. 

This was a pretty alright week!
Tuesday Was a day of lots of walking without appointments which sucked!  That night we visited Dayana and the fam, and she's already reading the Book of Mormon on her own!  It was a fun little mini FHE we had.  We talked about prayer in the family.  We used the talk from the September 2015 Ensign by Henry B Eyring.  I recommend it! 

Wednesday was an interesting day.  we passed by the Vic family, the ones that had bad spirits in their home.  We talked about the priesthood power and how we could offer blessings to homes.  of course they wanted one, so we blessed their home.  Im not sure how it's been since because we havent been able to find them home since.  Poor family was scared to death!  Also, the little boy that lives in front that was convulsing last week is still in the hospital up to this day.  But they should come home tomorrow according to the 13 year old son. 

Thursday was a fairly busy day of 3 lessons!  Best one was with the son of our pensionista, Cam.  It was a change from the past because he actually asked us to talk.  He told us a story how we was into drugs and gangs and how on one occasion he was running from some people that wanted to kill him.  They shot at him but he by some miracle survived and escaped.  He said a man that saw told him that he needed to search for God because he shouldn't have lived through the attack.  Now he's cleaned up and becoming a disciple of Christ.  I gave him Alma 36 to read and reflect over because i think he can relate. 
The other lesson was with Nai (the yoyo lady).  We taught the Law of Chastity which is easy for her being a married woman.  She's super rad.  This weekend she's gonna come with us to church! 

Friday was 9/11.  Though not really recognized here, i remembered.  Hard to believe that 14 years ago has passed since that terrifying day.  We've come a long way!  We had a really good day.  Cam wanted to talk again.  We read Alma 36 together and he was in awe at the similarities in his life.  He told us he just wants to change already.  So we invited him to take the ultimate step and be baptized the 26th of this month.  He happily accepted.  Such a solid kid.  He also helped me reflect on my own purpose as Elder Welch in the mission.  Alma 36:24.  I need to help rescue all i can from the sorrow and guilt ive already passed through and been rescued from.  The Atonement has no respector of persons.  It is infinite and free as long as we accept it and use it. 

Saturday we had a good zone meeting about our loyalty in the mission is first to God, 2nd to the mission president, and 3rd to our companion.  It was a rough day though appointments-wise.  A less active bought us hamburgers which was cool. 

Sunday was stake conference!  All the talks were on the Sabbath Day.  The members here are REALLY good at keeping the sabbath day holy.  A cool talk i liked was on how we take upon ourselves the name of Christ.  as missionaries this is more literal with our name tags.  She talked of a missionary that when he was struggling he just looked at his name tag and thought "my first name is nowhere to be found here.  Just the name of my family, the church and Jesus Christ.  Because we're not in the mission to represent ourselves, but our families, the church and most importantly, Jesus Christ."  It was cool. 

Today We just relaxed.  This thursday Elder Uceda from the 70 is coming to speak to us all day, and i get to play piano!  WOO!  It'll be an exciting week.  Love you all!  have a good one!
Elder Welch

A new friend :)
 (I'll bet this makes him miss his own black cat)

We asked for pictures of cool bugs.

Monday, September 7, 2015

09-01-15 to 09-07-15 Dayana's Baptism!‏

This week has been a good one! 
So tuesday morning we had to go to the internet to take a Preach My Gospel survey that questions our skills in Preach My gospel.  No lies, it made me feel guilty because i lack in SO many things.  I have a LOT to work on.  We had 4 lessons that day which was cool.  One that was pretty interesting was with the Vic family.  So we were explaining the importance of having the priesthood authority to baptize and how kids dont need to be baptized, and somehow they got to asking us about spirits.  I guess the same day the girl in the family had a scary experience where she saw a dark shadow in her room.  I don't want to explain too much because talking about those kind of things isn't good, but we explained how Christ and the gospel can bless them and protect them and their home.  So we're gonna offer to bless their home soon.

Wednesday we had 3 lessons.  The first lesson was with The Mina Mena family, and we ran over a pre-interview so Dayana can get baptized that weekend!  She's so cute, she knows it all and says it with confidence!  That night I went to Morichal (another area in the mission) so i could go with Elder Skinner and Elder Yanzapanta and talk with the lady i interviewed last week and see if i couldnt help.  We made a plan to fast for her this weekend to see if she can't get an answer to her prayers.  Something that was a bummer was when that morning the zone leaders took our phones!  But the offices said to take the phones of the whole mission so it wasnt anything bad.  But it was a bad time!  We couldnt call anyone! 

Thursday I had divisions with Elder Ludwig, and NO one was home that day.  Our only lesson that day was with the son of our pensionista.  We only got up until the apostasy and he wanted to stop.  So it wasnt that great of a lesson.  We were stressing out to figure out how to organize the interviews, and clothing for the baptisms Saturday.  (Elder Ludwig was gonna baptize 2 other little girls too). 

Friday was a LONG day!  Interviews interviews interviews!  First thing that morning, the zone leaders stopped by and gave us our phones back!  We were hoping for an upgrade to iPhones haha but nah, we just got our Nokias again and a lot more rules.  After lunch they came back to give Dayana her interview and she of course passed with flying colors.  She was jumping up and down with excitement haha (she's eight). After that, we were in an appointment with a reference that lives in front of sister Liliana's house, and while we were teaching the restoration, and i just finished testifying of first vision, Liliana came running in frantically with her 2 year old boy in her arms yelling "He's convulsing!  What do i do? I don't have money to go to the hospital!"  Poor boy had his eyes rolling back and his lips were going blue.  So we hurry and gave her all the money from our pockets which wasnt much and she ran to get a taxi.  Sunday the Bishop said he's in the intensive care unit still.  Holy cow!  We didnt really know what to do, so we walked the half an hour home to get money and went to Morichal so i could give 3 baptismal interviews.  We were late due to the ordeal but I gave the interviews.  The mom didnt pass because she has a smoking problem which was sad, and though the 2 kids passed, they dont wanna baptize without their mom. 

Saturday was the baptismal day!  The day started off crazy when Elder Ludwig and I were scrambling to find keys to the chapel so we could start the font filling up before the zone meeting.  The zone meeting was cool, it was on receiving revelation and setting goals.  Then we had another set back!  the zone leaders only brought 1 pair of baptismal clothes for children so we had to run home and eat lunch, then run to the chapel in Cuidad Modelo to get the rest of the baptismal clothing.  At that time it was about 4:30 and i still needed to interview Elder Ludwig's 2 investigators before their baptism!  So we ran to the chapel, interviewed them, and they passed with flying colors!  (children are brilliant).  Dayana, Luz Angela and Michelle were all beaming with joy!  Johanna, Dayana's mom, said she was counting the hours to her baptism she was so excited haha.  It was a fun nice service.  Only let down is that no one came besides the bishop (who baptized Dayana and Luz), the 1 counselor of the bishopric, the ward mission leader, the primary president, and Dayana's parents.  But they didnt care, they were so happy!  Also, Elder Chaiña got to baptize Michelle!  it was a good night, and everything fell into place. 

Sunday was a normal day.  The 3 girls were all confirmed, and we visited some investigators and recent converts that night.  Transfers came, but only one person from my district left. Elder Yanzapanta.  So yeah, there was my week!  Love you all!

Elder Welch

Gettin' his crafty on :) 

With Elder Chaiña and Elder Ludwig

 That must be a missionary hug ;)

 Adorable little new member and her family

Ha! Not sure...

Monday, August 31, 2015

08-25-15 to 08-31-15 Meet the Mormons!

This week has been super rad!  A lot better than the last which is good news!
Monday night i had a really good lesson with our investigator named El and I bore my testimony on the Book of Mormon.  He got pretty excited to read after, now we just got a way to get him a job that doesnt work on Sundays, because as a taxi driver, it's gonna be rough getting him to church!  But i see BAPTISM! 

Tuesday we had a "we sucked last week time to change" type of district meeting.  And i guess it worked because we all had better numbers this week!  I had a really good lesson that day with Nai.  We shared a lesson with her on the Plan of Salvation, and she was super receptive!  When I explained the spirit world to her, it looked like a light turned on in her eyes and she said "oh!  That makes sense!"  The spirit was truly there. 

Wednesday was rough at start because we wandered most the day, but that night was great.  We had to go to our investigator who's husband is the Catholic dude that wont let us talk .  We decided that we'd try and put a baptismal date on her, and if she didnt accept, we'd drop her.  But Lo and behold, she accepted!  19 of September!  Let's see how that goes.  The other lesson that night was with a reference from our Bishop.  We taught the Restoration, and he seemed to like it!  And he lives RIGHT in front of the church, so let's hope we can get him there haha. 

Thursday was alright.  I had divisions with Morichal 2, me with Elder Skinner, and Elder Chaiña with Elder Yanzapanta.  It was actually a really awful day work wise because they had almost NOBODY to teach.  So most the day was walking, and knocking on doors with LOTS of rejections.  It was cool though to talk with Elder Skinner because we have identical tastes in music.  That night I got to give a baptismal interview to one of their investigators whos been investigating more than 2 years.  She didnt end up passing but only for some doubts she has.  Elder Skinner was bummed about the day, he said "I feel like this is how my mom feels when people come over and the house is dirty" (referring to his area) hahaha.  But it was okay, he learned some valuable things. 

Friday we had 4 lessons which was AWESOME!   Our first lesson was a reference from the offices.  He actually recieved lessons in a town on the coast of Colombia up north, and said he'd like to get baptized!  Only problem is he is moving to a red zone in our area and that he's homosexual... but he's super great!  I hope we can get him to make some good choices!  Another cool lesson was with Nai.  Something funny is she said "FULL HD" as a way to say cool! for example: "Your shirt is full HD!" hahaha i was laughing pretty hard.  We ended up talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and how she needs to search the Book of Mormon to know if we have the authority to baptize.  She eventually got on the topic of Temples too, and said she wants to go with her family.  I wanna baptize her so bad! 

Saturday was rad, but different!  We had a HUGE stake mission activity called "Meet the Mormons" where we basically had free popcorn, soda and invited the entire world to watch the movie Meet the Mormons.  We started at 6:30 with about 150 people is all, so the entire zone hit the streets and started talking with EVERYONE!  By the end of the night we had 370 people!  It was super rad!  the assistents were stopping cars to invite them, it was hilarious hahaha.   Only thing is that out of ALL those people, i bet very few will be for Valle Grande because we live further away, but baptisms are baptisms, no matter who teaches them! 

Sunday was excellent.  We had a great ward council, because the bishop asked us what they could do to help?  We suggested daily organized divisions with priesthood holders and assignments for members to pass by for investigators to take them to church.  The bishop is happy to do it!  I'm hyped!  And we had 7 people come to church!  One of the highest in the mish!  I love it!  That night we had a FHE with the YSA kids again, and they brought a new investigator named Juan.  I shared an article on the Savior from Milton Ballard out of the December 2014 Liahona, and we all shared our testimonies of Christ.  It was great.  At the end, all the YSA kids were like " hey Juan!  You should get baptized!  How's the 12 of september?"!  hahaha!  So great.  It was a great time.  I love this ward.

Today we went to downtown Cali to see if Elder Guillen could find a speaker, but he didnt find one he wanted.  But it was a nice day to chill,  Anywho, love you all!  It's been a great week!  Also, ive been eating more fruits!  You're welcome mom ;)

Elder Welch

 It looks like the puzzle is coming along nicely :)

 We asked him for more pictures of the interesting 
bugs, food, etc.

Not sure who the friends are but Elder Welch sure is cute :)