Monday, January 26, 2015

01-20-15 to 01-26-15

Interesting week.  So Tuesday we talked to an other catholic woman named Lucia.  She was willing to listen but said she doesn't want any "commitments" so we'll see how she goes hahaha.  We did some contacting, then we went to the house of Nel, our golden investigator we're excited about and she expressed her sadness over her aunt who  just died which is too bad.  After talking for a while she said "I'm sorry, I can't listen to you guys anymore."  My heart dropped.  So we spent sometime talking, asking, bearing testimony and she decided to continue with us.  She wants to listen but has a lot going on in her life so its just hard on her.  So we're gonna try and help out.  Wednesday, we had service again, on the same house where we laid the foundation the first time, but this time the 2nd floor!  everything is concrete here haha.  Thursday was great!  We had a lesson with some new investigators, and they're awesome!  Only thing is, the husband is really into his local church called "Minuto de Dios" (minute of god) and he really, really believes in it so he doesn't wanna read the Book of Mormon,  pfff.  Later that day, we had a great lesson on the Gospel of Christ with Luis and Viviana, then we taught the Sabbath Day to the fam of Gyovani.  It was great!  Buuut they weren't at church so they just don't get it!  They need faith or something!  Friday was a LOT slower.  Solorio had baptismal interviews and since it was Friday, no one was home.  So Saturday we had a great lesson with a new family we contacted!  The 13 boy is SUPER interested, the mom loves it and how its helping her son, and the mom even called her friend over to listen!   It was awesome!  Something we like to do that's awesome, is we have them ask ANY question they've had about life, the gospel, etc and we answer it the next lesson with the Book of Mormon.  Its so cool that I know I have EVERY answer.  And that I can trust in the Book of Mormon like that!  Sunday was honestly pretty crappy.  Once again, 0 of our 23 investigators came to church.  Its really hard because everyone works Sundays here, and a lot are really poor and need the work.  And no one has enough faith to sacrifice that.  Ugh.  And something else hard is after church, we called Nel to set an appointment, and she said again, she cant listen.  So we said "ok.  We encourage you to still read the BoM and pray and search for yourself," and she said alright.  So yeah, my first investigator to leave us and she was the one with most potential.  Good news is I must really be learning to love my investigators because I wanted to cry haha.  But later that night we talked with Raul, the member who is the security in the neighborhood of Nel, and he said she's actually REALLY interested but her husband won't allow it.  So I felt a bit better knowing its not her haha but DANG HER HUSBAND.  So what can we do?  Just wait, pray, and maybe get Mejia to talk some sense into her husband haha.  Today we went to Las Lajas again, but with the whole zone!  It was super fun, and this time we went to the museum.  The father was in the chapel for confessions and I was super tempted to confess  my sins but I didn't haha.  I also drank from the "holy river" that can "forgive you of your sins" just to say I did.   Hahaha so much apostasy.  We had fun.  SO YEAH.   cool  week!  I said it before, and I say it again.  I love letters, so if you're reading this, its a personal call to shoot a letter my way!  Love you all!  The mission is cool! Remember God loves you!  The Church is true!

Elder Welch
If you're heeding the call ;) here's a reminder of his address (so far he's received everything we've sent...eventually):

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 January 2015, to mail a letter of normal size and weight, it costs $1.15.  It doesn't hurt to put some Catholic looking Mary and/or Jesus stickers on the back of the envelope.

 I sure hope that's clean...

 Living on the edge...literally 
(My first thought was, "get down from there!", haha)

Monday, January 19, 2015

01-13-15 to 01-19-15

This week has been really productive!  So Monday night we set a date to baptize the father of our less active, Viviana!  It's for the 31st of this month but it honestly won't happen because he works every Sunday.  It sucks because they're family is really poor so he can't really afford to try and change jobs.  So keep him in your prayers!  Tuesday was incredibly slow which is strange.  Tuesdays aren't usually slow.  We had 2 appointments, one with Gyovani and his fam, and the other with some members.  Something huge with the family of Gyovani is they're actually reading the Book of Mormon finally!  But they didn't come to church.  Again.  It's so frustrating, they have almost half a year with missionaries, and can't come to church?  Sadly if they don't progress we're advised to take a break from teaching them for a while because sometimes they just aren't ready.  So I'm praying they'll be willing to make some changes here soon.  With the members we just chatted and I played guitar for them!  It was fun, it's always cool to show my talents and make people happy!  Wednesday was really interesting.  So at lunch we were talking to Karen, and she said at 5 in the morning she was up to shower then she went back to bed.  And she had a dream where a little girl told her to wake up because there was gas in the house.  So she woke up really fast and heard something, and in the kitchen, the gas stove was turned all the way on.  And everyone in the house was sleeping.  So she was pretty shooken up.  Either someone was in the house, or who knows.  Spirits or what.  So interesting!  Later that day we went to a barrio further away in our area that we've never contacted and we met lots of cool people., including a reference giving to us by the sister missionaries!  The sister of our reference was feeling lots of pain so she asked us to give her a blessing!  Interesting for a first contact where they don't even have any lessons!  Lots of faith!  Later that day we were talking with some other less actives, and they said the aunt was sleeping and felt something pressing on her chest and she couldn't move.  What's worse is she's the 3rd person in that room that's had that experience.  Crazy to hear 2 of these types of things in one day!  But none asked us to bless their house.  Interesting.  Thursday Elder Solorio had to do baptismal interviews with the investigators of Mejia and Bello because he's the district leader so I went on divisions with Mejia.  We just changed pensionists and she's awesome!  Soooo yummy!  It was hard to find appointments but we contacted and got some really awesome references.  But since it was so slow, we decided to go check out the city Pupiales about 15 min away that's in my area.  It's a really cool quiet place, but it was a bit hard to contact so we just returned after about an hour.  Friday was awesome.  In the morning I went with Solorio and the sister missionaries to interview one of the sister's converts.  She passed haha and after that we went to a home of an older woman named El.  They are so so poor.  Their home is all dirt floors, and falling apart.  El is very very sick right now so we gave her a blessing.  It was really sad when the sisters would say "you should go to the hospital" and she would say "no hay plata no hay plata" which means "there's no money."  She couldn't even pay for the taxi to the hospital which is only 2 dollars.  So we helped her pay the taxi and she went to the hospital.  After El, we went to visit Nel, one of our contacts from Thursday.  Holy cow is she prepared by the Lord.  We literally talked for 2 hours.  About life, the restoration, jokes, stories. etc.  She's SO golden.  Exactly what I need honestly.  SO awesome!  Saturday since we had so many Baptisms for Mejia and Bello, Solorio and I only got to have one appointment.  She's another new investigator that we contacted and she's pretty awesome too!  She said she's always wanted to know which church is true so this is cool that she can search and find out whether we are the true church or not!  I think our invitation is so unique to others.  Read ponder and pray about the Book of Mormon. We don't try to convince, we only invite.  Awesome.  The plan was to have 3 baptisms.  But 2 didn't show up and Bryan the younger boy being baptized was an hour late.  But he was baptized none the less!  Always cool to attend baptisms.  Yesterday was alright.  The attendance is a lot better in our branch but once again: 0 attending were our investigators.  It's pretty frustrating honestly, when we work so hard and they cant give up 3 hours of their Sunday for God.  I'm just praying to know what im doing wrong so I can help them.  Yesterday night we met with some of our less actives, one of which who has a boyfriend who's an investigator.  I love them haha and Daniel the boyfriend always has such interesting questions.  Last night being about whether or not the Divinci Code is true, and whether or not Judas Iscariot received forgiveness.  Interesting topics, right?  Today we just went to the border of Ecuador.  You don't need anything to pass so yeah, I was in Ecuador today hahah. After we bought watermelon and here we are.  So yeah, great week!  We're working hard to find new people and it's great!  Love you all!

Elder Welch


The whole Cali Mission-October 2014

Monday, January 12, 2015

01-07-15 to 01-12-15

So this week has been much less interesting but really good at the same time!  Wednesday was really spiritual.  We were in divisions a lot of this week, so I went out with Mejia Wednesday.  We had a lesson with the family of our less active Viviana and it was awesome because they NEVER listen.  But we taught the Plan of Salvation and they were really interested.  And at the end the mom said she'd come to church!  (and she actually did!) The other was with the daughter of our branch president Daniela.  The plan was to teach The Restoration but before we arrived at their house, I felt prompted to teach the Sabbath Day.  The lesson was so powerful, that me and Daniela cried.  But she still didn't come to church Sunday.  CURSE AGENCY.  Hahaha just kidding.  But no, it's frustrating.  I've also been really stressed about our investigators.  Which I guess is good because it means I actually love them haha but it sucks too.  I just want them to be HAPPY.  GRR.  Something interesting was a drunk came up to me asking me if I was God and could save him.  I just said I'm a missionary and he stumbled away.  Friday was interesting.  So that morning I had AWESOME study.  Lots of personal revelation and stuff.  So we've started talking to a lady, Gloria, who's investigating and she has WEIRD ideas.  She's a perfect example of Apostasy, because she doesn't believe in 1 church, she just worships God and Christ.  She told us she thinks we can all be prophets if we want.  So we have some work to do.  Our lesson was 2 hours long.  WOW.  Saturday was decent.  We met with Gloria again and answered a lot of her questions, and used the Book of Mormon to do so.  It was way cool honestly.  We're trying to get her to pray about the Book of Mormon to know it's true, because she's reading it, but she's literally so crazy she can't receive an answer.  She said she had a dream where a voice told her "deja religiĆ³n, y siga su propia vida" which translates to "Leave religion and follow your own life."  It was honestly a "Wow Satan" moment.  So we're trying to get her to recognize the Spirit for real.  That night Viviana had cousins over and they're investigating!  New investigators are always good!  Yesterday was pretty normal.  Attendance was much better at sacrament meeting, and Viviana's mom came!  Gloria's interesting thought yesterday is she doesn't believe in Satan.  She thinks the devil and God are 1.  So yeah she's nuts.  But we're learning a lot teaching her so we'll keep coming back until she says something really REALLY weird haha.  So in our ward we have over 200 inactives on a list they gave us.  Yeah.  Freaking TON of inactives.  So we met with one yesterday who's been baptized for only like 3 months and they're super nice!  Their names are Ana and Johana.  Also I have a second favorite dog after Yankee. He's this big old dog named Ruffles and he just strolls into the house of our Branch president uninvited and refused to leave without food.  He's my hero.  It's happened 4 or 5 times while I've been in their house and that's just while I'm there.  So its pretty common haha.  Anyway yeah, that's my week.  Not much going on right now.  Just working hard to find nuevo investigadores! 
Les amo! 

Elder Welch

From Jake: "I uploaded my photos today and also a sound file of me singing Nearer My God to Thee in Spanish this morning!  Thought you might enjoy it :)"

 This is one of the paper mache people they burn on New Years

 I asked if that shirt came clean and he said he 
hasn't even tried to clean it and
"I'm gonna wash this shirt myself just so they don't waste their time" 
(meaning the sister who does their wash, haha)

 After Carnaval

Funny thing: I noticed they have no furniture.
I know. Shouldn't I be distracted enough by the chalk covered boy to not 
notice things like that?...He said, "Yeah I wish we had a couch but the empty space makes for some rad guitar acoustics ;)"

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

12-30-14 to 01-06-15

WOO!  Crazy yet kinda slow work-wise.  So this week was new years AND Las Carnavales. 
Tuesday We ran around trying to figure out with the power company how we could repair our light, and after a ton of searching they said to buy a new power box and they'd fix it the 6th of January.  So this whole week we've had free light haha.  The only other highlight of Tuesday was a heart warmer.  So I don't know if I've mentioned it in another letter or not, but Yankee the dog broke his leg about 3 weeks ago and we haven't seen him since.  But Tuesday Mejia promised that through his faith we'd find Yankee and when we did we'd buy him bread.  And LO AND BEHOLD that night we found him by a convenient store!  So we bought him bread, and he joyfully followed us around that night leg healing and all!  What a good time haha.  Wednesday was REALLY interesting.  So in Colombia for new years there's a few interesting cultural traditions.  One being they make giant paper mache figures of things and burn them at midnight.  I actually think it's way fun and want to start it in the US haha.  The other I think should stay here.  There's these men called beautas on new years eve.  AKA men that cross dress and kiss random men in the street unless you give them coins.  I was lucky enough to not be targeted but my new comp Elder Solorio who arrived the night before got one on him!  Luckily Mejia had coins to give him.  Ewww.  My zone leader actually got kissed that day!  TWICE!  haha!!  So Elder Solorio is way cool.  He's super motivated and really nice and calm and patient.  Definitely a breath of fresh air after my other comps haha.  (I love my other comps don't worry).  That night, Me and Solorio, Bello and Mejia, and our zone leaders Inman and Rodriguez all went to the house of Juan, a progressing less active until Midnight and we burned a paper mache figure and watched the fireworks haha.  It was crazy to see HUGE bon fires in the middle of the road at night.  It's like a war zone on new years!  SO YEAH HAPPY NEW YEARS FAMILY:  my goal this year is to become the type of missionary God needs me to be.  Pretty good goal for a missionary haha.  First of January was surprisingly easy to find appointments because everyone was resting the day before Las Carnavales!  It was honestly kind of eerie.  Everything was closed, and there wasn't a soul in the streets.  We had a cool lesson with a less active who is preparing to serve a mission.  We taught obedience and all her questions pointed to the repentance process.  So I followed the Spirit into that and she said she felt excited and confidence to change!  It was a cool moment.  Oh how different was Friday the 2nd.  First day of carnivals meant NO ONE was home.  So us 4 in the apartment and the zone leaders decided "if you cant beat them join them!"  So I bought myself a cheap poncho, typical to what people use during the carnivals and we bought our cariocas, a foamy silly string people war with in the street, and we went nuts!  Something else interesting was I caught a pick pocket with his fingers in my pocket.  All I had in there was my planning agenda, but it was kinda hilarious because he didn't even run I just yelled at him in Spanish.  I saw him again later with a black eye so someone did what I couldn't as a missionary hahaha!  Saturday was actually the same except with members.  I'd love to return to Ipiales with friends and family for the carnivals.  The parades and concerts in the park and everything are super fun!  Sunday the attendance was AWFUL.  People were either not at church because they were at the carnivals, or because its literally impossible for some people to get to church because the parade.  But a cool experience was during Gospel Doctrine, a member asked me to go out with him and give him a blessing because his stomach was hurting really really bad.  He didn't mind it was in English so I gave him a blessing of health.  After he said "chevere (which means cool)" and "thank you" in English.  It was a cool moment.  Besides that, we only found 2 appointments that day because of all the carnivals.  bleh.  Yesterday the zone leaders told us P DAY was changed to Tuesday (today) because today is the coolest day of the festivals aka the hardest to work as well.  So we got to work and it was actually an AMAZING day.  Our first lesson was with Viviana's family.  She wasn't home but her family actually listened to us which is rare because they're all catholic and don't listen to missionaries.  So we taught them the Plan of Salvation, and the Spirit was so strong.  Their questions were good and we helped their knowledge a lot.  Afterwards the mom and the brother said they'd attend church with Viviana this Sunday!!!! Luis the dad can't because he works but one day we'll get him haha.  But now we're meeting with them so I'm hoping to baptize the whole fam!  The second awesome lesson was with Gyovani and his fam.  They haven't been progressing and we've been really worried, but Mejia said if they aren't progressing, they don't understand the restoration.  So we taught that again and BOOM,  Mejia was right.  They didn't remember a thing or have a testimony of the BoM.  Kinda missing a key point there right?  So we taught a really awesome spiritual lesson on that, and at the end, I asked each member of the family to pray right there out loud on their knees to know if the BoM and our lesson was true, starting youngest and working to Gyovani.  Wow was the spirit strong.  I hope that moment helped them I really do.  But I really think it did.  The other one that night was with Juan, and his mom who is an investigator.  After an awesome lesson on the Restoration we invited her to be baptized.  She said she'd pray about it, and if she feels God wants it she will.  And she's SUPER in tune with the Spirit so I know she'll be baptized.  Today was half cool and half crappy.  So this morning all the Elders wanted to play soccer but Bello and I wanted to go to the parade instead so the leaders of the zone said that's alright.  The parade was awesome!  I love the culture here.  The plan after that was to go eat lunch then meet our comps at the park of 20 de Julio at 3pm, and play all day.  But guess what!  They didn't show up!  So we literally searched until 5:30 and we found them at the internet cafe.  They didn't even try to find us.  What can we do.  So yeah, last day of carnivals!  I'm honestly glad its over.  It'll be nice to wear clean clothes again without fear of getting my face painted and chalk thrown all over me.  CRAZY IPIALES.  I'm super excited to actually work with Solorio too!  The Mission is great!  Love you all!

Elder Welch
One other good note is that he received his 3rd and final Christmas package! My faith in the Colombian Mail System has been restored!...Somewhat :) -Wendy