Monday, February 23, 2015

02-16-15 to 02-23-15

This week has  been super slow, but this weekend has been awesome!  So Tuesday we searched all day and NO one was home.  We used our plan As, Bs, and Cs.  At 7:30 we finally had our set appointment with H and Mag.  We brought a member, which was a mistake because she likes to talk a lot.  And as a result taught them some false doctrines.  But we cleared it up and also, luckily for us, H and Mag are super faithful and are gonna baptize no matter what.  They're literally SO prepared by the Lord, we don't hardly have to do anything!  Wednesday, we only found 1 lesson with a new investigator, as well around 7 O Clock.  He's super catholic and has lots of doubts but he agreed to read the Book of Mormon so i'm not worried.  Thursday, for whatever reason, was WAY good!  We met with some of our investigators, Yor and Mil, whom we haven't visited for almost a month due to their work schedule, and it was way cool!  We taught the Plan of Salvation, and they had a billion super good questions!  Afterwards, we met with Viviana, the less active who wants to serve a mission.  We taught the 10 commandments and actually helped her understand some things she didnt know which was cool!  Friday was interesting.  So that morning, the zone leaders showed up and said we were doing a "division sandwich".  In other words, Me with Bello, Killpack with Inman, and Rojas with Solorio.  So all day i was with Bello!  It was an alright day but the highlight was when we had branch counsel that night.  Rojas was there with us and he's famous in the mission for completely changing his old area.  He doubled the attendance in his ward and got it running smooth.  So we were super excited for him to "pass the saw" (a saying we use here that means he's calling them out hardcore).  It was awesome, he spoke so much and got the branch to make assignments and to make a plan to change the branch.  MUCHO ROJAS.  Friday was very very interesting and a bit sad.  So we contacted a lot which was cool, but didnt get an appointment until 5.  We were with Ros, and one of the first things she said was that she saw my recent convert, drinking beer with buddies.  Noooooo.  So that was a bummer to hear.  So we started to teach Ros the law of chastity, but due to the Spirit we changed to the Atonement, and why we have afflictions.  It was super spiritual.  Afterwards, i felt the need to pass by my recent converts house.  We also had a package of stuff for him from the branch so we stopped by and he answered the door drunk with a cigarette in his hand.  That was hard to see.  He just kept saying " oh hermanos, estoy mal estoy mal" which just means " oh brothers, im bad.  im bad."  i just said that we'd pass by during the week and we left.  I couldnt help by cry on our way to the next appointment.  It was hard to see.  Something interesting was our next appointment were some new investigators, a young couple and their kids, that Rojas and Solorio taught Thursday.  But when we got there, there was a notice on their door.  THE HUSBAND DIED THAT NIGHT.  I heard he was only like 24 but had some sort of accident, but Solorio didnt think he looked close to death or anything!  So yeah, one of my investigators died. It's sad but slightly crazy ironic at the same time.  But wow weird... our last appointment was with family Chilunguai.  We talked a bit about faith and asked about baptism again.  But they just arent reading and wont except the date not even as a goal.  Its honestly super annoying.  They refuse to progress.  So we might have to drop them for a while and write them down in our "future investigators" form for future missionaries.  Sunday was incredible.  I had the craziest experience thus far in my mission.  So church was good and H and Mag came of course.  After church we got 4 new investigators named family Morales.  It was cool, and we set them all baptismal dates!  But the real experience was with a woman we met named Mir.  So before lunch at our pensionista, a woman across called to us and said she wanted to talk to us about the Gospel and learn about the Church.  So we passed by last night to meet her.  It's just she and her son Wil.  She told us about how she has lots of health issues and how it's been a huge challenge in her life.  She has seizures, leg muscle growth issues, and something in her brain that gives her a hard time with reading, stress, the cold and lots of that.  She told us how she even used to have MLS and was in the hospital super sick a couple years ago.  Her experience is.. amazing honestly. So she died in the hospital and the only thing keeping her even somewhat there with a heart beat was the oxygen she was on.  But she said when she died, she had 3 angels come down and start to take her up.  She explained how they were normal looking, in shirts and ties.  Nothing like what other churches have explained.  She asked if she was going to heaven and they said "no, you're going to Paradise."  Woah.  She explained how Paradise is a place incredibly beautiful with butterflies, joy, rest, and peace and she said she didnt feel any hunger, pain, or exhaustion.  She told us how the angels taught her very clearly about paradise and spirit prison.  She also said that Christ spoke with her, and said that he'd give her a second opportunity to life, but she'd have to share her testimony of these things with all the world.  Then she woke up.  She had been near dead for 15 days.  She explained how she doesnt understand what Christ told her, but she's had him tell her that in dreams since then and what really gets me, is that she said 2 of the 3 angels that lifted her up and taught her are Solorio and I.  That's why she called to us when she saw us.  I felt the spirit SO strong when she told us all this.  I know she's telling the truth.  We taught a bit about Paradise and showed how her experience is exactly what we teach.  It was amazing and a true miracle.  So we're gonna go talk again tonight with her!  Due to her disease, she's almost always home.  But we're gonna teach her, and try and help her understand her experience.  But that is definitely the highlight experience of my mish thus far.  Today the only real cool thing that happened is i bought a cool indigenous flute for about 9 bucks.  Haha so im gonna learn the flute.  So yeah, theres my week.  Love you all!

Monday, February 16, 2015

02-9-15 to 02-16-15

It's been kind of an up and down type of week!  Monday night, Elder Rodriguez, my zone leader for my whole mish was transferred to Cali, so now the only people with me that have been with me since day 1 are Elder Paskett and Hermana Limachi.  Tuesday was super slow.  Now that all the kids are in school again, NO one is ever home!  So whatever.  During an appointment we had with a member who i teach English sometimes, she told me the super market here called Éxito probably has peanut butter, so after we went and looked and WOOAOH there's peanut butter!! its super expensive but i don't care!  so i bought it and woww is that a tasty treat.  Other than that we met with H and Mag and taught them the word of wisdom.  As usual, he had no problems with it.  2 more weeks and we can baptize him and his wife!  woo!  Wednesday was awesome.  we only got 2 appointments, but they were both pretty solid.  Our first one was with a lady named Eva, a less active we found.  She's been inactive so long she's basically a new investigator haha  but it was way good, and we got her a Book of Mormon again!  So hopefully we can build her up again.  The other lesson we had was with Ros and her neighbor whom we met named Janet, and her 2 boys Jesid and Fernando.  It was a great lesson, and we set baptismal dates for all 4 of them!!!  Ros said she's received her answer and wants to baptize!!!  7th of March, day after my birthday!!  WOOO!  we better baptize them, its all i want for my birthday haha.  Thursday we searched ALLL day long for appointments, and nothing.  Also the family of a girl we contacted told us to not come back so that was a bummer.  But whatevs, their salvation.  That night we talked with our 1st counselor in the branch.  Solorio had the feeling to visit him to help gain confidence with us.  It was a way good thing, and we all felt super excited to work after!  Friday, was pretty good!  We met with a less active recent convert named Jon, and i found out he doesn't have a testimony of the BoM and doesn't know what the Spirit feels like!  So the missionaries who baptized him in September weren't doing their job very well.  A lot of our work here is fixing what missionaries did in the past.  A lot of Elders only care about baptisms here and not about how good of members they'll be in the long run.  Its a bit frustrating, but i know Me and my comp aren't like that, and we're here to build up the Church!  That night we met with Ros again, and she was having really bad pains in her stomach and was worried.  So we taught her about Priesthood Blessings and administered to her.  It was a cool experience.  She has SO much faith.  That night, we taught the daughter Johanna in the house of familia Leon for the first time.  At first she was showing a TON of doubt, but she was pretty intrigued by the end.  Thank you holy Spirit haha.  Saturday was another LONG day where we searched and searched and found nothing.   We have plan A's, plan B's, and a list of less actives to search out for every hour of the day.  So though we couldn't find anything, we knew we worked hard.  So what evs, you win some you lose some haha.  Sunday was way good!  So in the morning on the way to church we went to pick up Al, an investigator we have.  (he didn't come with us...) on the way there a drunk guy yelled at me "AY MONO LUCHAREMOS" which means "HEY MONKEY LET'S FIGHT." I just said "nah man" and he walked away hahaha.  Strange times in Colombia.  At church H and Mag came which is awesome! they love it, and are making tons of friends in the church!  I gave a talk on Missionary Work and the Atonement.  It went really well and Solorio told me i was pretty fluent haha.  After church we had lunch with Ros, and then taught her the Sabbath day.  She was really receptive and of course is willing to close her restaurant now on Sunday.  She has sooo much faith.  More good news is that she's feeling better!  Yay Priesthood!  That night we met with Karen and Diego to visit.  I sure do love them!  And of course, they had a billion references for us!  Such great members!  Today, we went to Las Lajas AAAgain.  I sure love it but I've already seen it 3 times now haha.  Nothing really interesting happened.  SO yeah there's my week!  Ive been enjoying the Mac and Cheese I've had sent to me from home.  That's cool.  Hope you all have a great week!  Remember, God loves you, answers your prayers, and stuff like that! 
haha love you all

Elder Welch

(This is in response to my telling him "Happy Valentine's Day" and that it was the first Valentine's where I didn't get him something)
Jake: fun fact:  I got your package valentines day haha so mac and cheese and jerky made me feel super loved hahahah.  I'm sooo happy with the mac and cheese honestly.  I wish we had that in stores here haha but GOOD news is I found small expensive peanut butters at the éxito here! But its so worth it, even if it is 8000 pesos for a tiny jar!
Mom: So how much is 8000 pesos? I used an online converter that says it's about 3.35 US. That's not terrible.
Jake: its about that right now but that's super expensive for Colombia haha especially because its tiny.  And our money assignment is 170,000 pesos for 2 weeks. (That's about $71.00US for 2 weeks)

(I also sent him a really short video clip of his cat and of his dad and I saying, "Hi". From his response, I'd say he's appreciating how blessed we are.)
Jake: Haha I couldn't hear anything but I sure loved it.  MOM WE'RE SO RICH WE HAVE SO MUCH STUFF

 With his companion, Elder Solorio

 With Elder Solorio and Angelica 
(She is the little girl of some members. The elders 
do their emailing at her family's home.)

Getting in some extra prayers at Las Lajas

Monday, February 9, 2015

02-03-15 to 02-09-15

This week was a bit slow but had many good moments as well!  So Tuesday we met with some new investigators named San and Milt, and the mom of San named Ros.  They were super cool, and had a TON of good questions!  It was cool how every question they asked during the lesson we could answer super clear in the next section of the lesson!  So wooo 3 new investigators!  We're up to 38!  Granted only about 10 are progressing right now, but that's why we find new investigators so much!  To have more progressing.  The sucky thing is Milt is going to the military soon for 6 months so we won't get to teach him. But he's been reading the Book of Mormon on his own so if he keeps that up and prays with faith to know if its true or not, his time away shouldn't be a problem!  That night we met with H. and his wife M. to teach them lesson L3.  (we skipped lesson L2 because they had lots of questions about baptism.  This was our 2nd lesson with them.)  He understood everything perfectly, including the importance of baptism.  He's gonna baptize sooo fast.  I feel really bad though, because all his sons are heavy are drugs.  When we got there, his son was laying on the bed, and got up punching the air and groaning with super red eyes.  And during the end of our lesson, I could smell marijuana.  I can tell its super hard on the parents because they know how awful those things are.  I hope H. and M. following this path can lead them to help their boys.  Wednesday Solorio and I went in divisions with the zone leaders, him with Rodriguez (who happens to be his old comp) and me with Inman.  2 gringos!  That morning we made french toast, but the eggs must've been bad because I puked 3 times and had bad diarrhea.  Strangely it only lasted about 15 min.  But I prayed super hard that I could feel better to go work, so ONCE AGAIN faith has saved me from illness!  haha so cool!  Sadly enough, that day we had a hard time finding appointments.  We met with Viviana, and she asked us to reteach repentance, because she has some things to make right.  Its super cool to see her trying to better herself to serve a mission.  Now if she'd only come to church dang it!  The other was with Antonio.  Thursday was alright.  We passed by San and Milt, and they couldn't visit but they're reading the Book of Mormon which is great news!  The only other really notable lesson was with Ros, and we taught her the Plan of Salvation.  We asked to to be baptized but she wouldn't commit until she understands it better.  Friday, we only got 2 lessons in. One was with a woman named Carmen and her daughter.  They live in a tiny shack with dirt floors and tarp insulation up on a hill.  Their home is very very humble.  Only 1 room with 2 beds, and a camp stove.  We didn't teach a full lesson because we're gonna wait for her Boyfriend I, the father of the little girl.  They've lived together for 10 years but haven't married.  So we'll work on that haha.  We just taught them how our messages can bless her family.  (don't worry, since no man was present we taught outside.)  She is super interested because she wants to better the life of her little girl.  The other lesson we had was with H. and M. on the Plan of Salvation.  They understand so dang good.  He nearly had 0 questions. But we're working to teach really clear with lots of questions so I guess we're doing a good job as teachers haha.  Saturday was super hard.  Just because we couldn't find ANY one to teach.   But at 6, the other missionaries, Paskett and Ore had a baptism, so we went and brought our investigator Ros with us.  She's such a sweet older woman of about 60ish.  She said it was really beautiful yet simple.  I hope it made an impact on her.  We're hoping it will help her wanna be baptized.  Sunday was incredibly frustrating.  So first off, when sacrament started, we had about 50 people in the congregation.  Then after the sacrament, about another 50 came in.  The people here in Ipiales do NOT understand punctuality.  Also, out of 5 investigators we were SURE would come to church, only H. came.  It's okay his wife didn't because she has the flu, but the other investigators don't have much of an excuse.  H. loved it though, it was cool to see how receptive he was.  GOLD.  Saturday night we paid Ros for lunch on Sunday.  She has a restaurant and is struggling financially so we wanted to support her.  So after sacrament, we ate with Ros as a district.  As a result of eating right after church, we had to miss ward counsel.  But in Preach my Gospel it says its okay to skip ward counsel if we have an appointment with an investigator.  But apparently the leaders of our branch don't understand that because our ward mission leader who was there said the other leaders were talking bad about us because of it.  Ipiales has a HUGE problem with gossip within the church.   So yeah we're a bit frustrated with our branch right now.  The church is honestly so weak here.  And we're trying to help, but apparently it's not appreciated.  But what ever, we'll still work hard, try and keep a Christlike attitude, and try and move the great work forward.  Pray that we can get stuff figured out here because it's honestly a joke here.  But yeah, there's my week.  A bit slow, but hey, that's the mission.  You win some you lose some.  Today we found out transfers and I'M STILL IN IPIALES!  WOo!  so our goal this transfer is to baptize who we found this last transfer.  Super excited!!  Love you all!  Hope this week is great!
He didn't mention that he has a new American Roommate:
Mom: You haven't mentioned your new roomie! Elder Killpack is one of the blogs I follow so that's how I knew...are you liking him? How's it having a gringo?!?
Jake: hahaha yeah kill pack is great!  we were in the CCM together, so we already knew one another!  I forgot to mention him!  Its nice to speak English in the house now because my comp always asked me to so he could learn but it was hard to remember!!

 That's one way to secure your livestock, haha :)

 Saying goodbye to Elder Mejia

(Moms new favorite picture)

Monday, February 2, 2015

01-27-15 to 02-02-15

Amazing week!  Wow, January sure flew by!  Let's start with Tuesday.  Tuesday we had lunch with our new investigators, Family León, and they're super cool!  After lunch, we taught the daughter Sugeydee the restoration, and she was really receptive!  This family will baptize really fast I feel.  After that, we talked with these women in their store named Yorl and Mil.  We taught them the restoration and they really got it!  Since we have so many new investigators, we're getting really good at teaching lesson 1 hahaha.  Wednesday was a good day but also had a let down or 2.  So we taught a lady named Ros, and she's AWESOME.  She completely believes all we teach and is really interested and is willing to change anything for God.  But she also works in a restaurant so every once in a while someone would interrupt the lesson because they wanted a coffee haha.  But she's so great, she's Golden!  Thursday was awesome too!  First lesson we had was a contact we got, and after talking for a bit, turns out she's a member!  She baptized when she was 10, had a bad experience with some unfaithful members in the church and decided to never go back.  But she's super nice and we explained the importance of the sacrament to her.  After that we visited Cristian, the son in family Leon, and we repassed Joseph Smith.  He's sooo interested!  We met again with Ros to finish the Restoration and the Spirit was sooo strong.  Her store was closed this time so it was really peaceful.  She can recognize the Spirit so well.  Before we went home that night, we gave a short lesson to The Chilunguai family, and committed them to come to church Sunday, which they DID!  WOO!  Finally we can say they're progressing!  Friday we got up at 4:30am to go to the terminal, because we had interviews with President Pricoli in Pasto!  We got in Pasto at about 8:30 and interviewed with Sister Pricoli (who is so sweet.  like a mother) the assistants, Elder Lyle and Elder Walker about planning, and the President!  What we like to do before our interviews with president is think of a really good question, because he's super wise.  I learned a lot from him that day!  Love that man.  I also personally asked him about having a guitar just to settle any questions and his response was "the mission handbook says you can't bring a guitar but it doesn't say you can't buy one".  haha!  Love the president.  That night we had a little FHE with Karen and Diego.  Sure love them.  Favorite mission fam haha.  That night, us 4 Elders gathered in my room and we talked about Patriarchal Blessings.  They're so special, I encourage all of you that have one to pass over it again.  I feel the Spirit so strong every time, and every time something new stands out!  Saturday morning we got a call from Elder Lyle.  We had an emergency transfer, and Elder Mejia had 2 hours to pack and be at the terminal.  So that sucks.  Never thought I'd say it, but I was sad to say bye to Mejia.  I've come to love the sucker, and he was kinda like my trainer. Weird.  The rest of the day was pretty slow,  Sunday morning we went to the houses of investigators to try and get more people to church and no one was home.  DANG IT.  But Family Chilunguai came which is huge!  This Sunday was stake conference, but after about 10 min. a member asked us to give him a blessing because he didn't feel good.  So we blessed him, and when we walked out, we met some investigators who came to attend church and wanted to know more because they wanted to change their lives.  The man Y. had a really really life of drugs, gangs and he even served 6 years for a murder and the wife had been in gangs too and had a TON of hardships, and they both showed extreme desire to change, make things right with God, and make a better life for their 2 little boys.  So we talked for a really long time in the room with the Baptismal font, and shared a message of the atonement from Alma 36. They both said that was written for them and they were crying.  I have never seen more faith and humility in all my mission, it was a very very spiritual experience.  One of the sons was crying and I asked why.  He said he was hungry and the parents said they didn't have money to buy food.  So us missionaries went and bought them bread and brought it back to them.  When we got back, they interviewed with the Bishop who agreed to help them with the finances and to learn the Gospel.  It was so beautiful to see the hope in their eyes.  And I'll never forget the smiles of those little boys when they pulled the big pieces of bread out of the bag.  Charity is the pure love of Christ.  I know because of their humility and desire to change, God with bless them SO much.  Later that day we met with a man named H. and his wife, and they're so golden as well!  His kids are all drug addicts and he just wants to help his family and he also said our teachings all make a ton of sense.  It was awesome.  On our way home, we saw Yankee digging in some garbage so we called him, and when he was about to leave, another dog attacked him!  So we grabbed rocks and threw them at the other dog and Yankee got away!  So we had him follow us to our apartment, and I ran up and got him some bread!  Good ol' Yankee.  He wanted to come in to our apartment but we can't let him so I felt a bit bad.  But we helped out our buddy so all is good!  So yeah, great week!  Tonight we meet with Ros and we're gonna invite her to be baptized!  WOO!  The mission is so great!  I have so much satisfaction right now because I'm working so hard.  This Sunday we find out the transfers, and I hope I don't go to be honest.  So we'll see next Monday where I'll be going!  Love you all! 

Elder Welch