Monday, March 30, 2015

03-24-15 to 03-30-15 Jamundi!

As i told all of you on Monday, Tuesday i shipped out of Ipiales for good, and bused to Cali!  So i found out though my zone is called San Fernando, my area is Jamundi!  Jamundi is a smaller town outside of Cali about 15 min, and theres only 4 missionaries here.  But We left that morning on Tuesday and bused 12 hours to the terminal in Cali.  From there we took another taxi for an hour to Jamundi.  Wowww what a long day. 

I was bummed to say bye to Solorio, he was the best comp in the world, but its cool.  OH, i also found out my comp is Elder Ortiz from PERU not from Bogotá!  So he's a different Elder than the zone leaders told me!  What luck haha!  Elder Ortiz is even in my group! (that means they left the MTC at the same time).  He was in Pasto, so that means we're opening this area.  shoooot! 

That night we rolled into the apartment at about 9 oclock and wow is it hot!  82 degrees at night!  we have to sleep with mosquito nets over our beds haha.  Just part of the experience i guess!  Wednesday was our first day and we just went with the other Elders. Elder Bautizta from Peru and Elder Neilson from Price Utah (we live in the same house). They took us around to meet some of the people and the most interesting man we met is Ar.  He lives about half an our into the country side by bus and he bought tons of land and built his own shack by hand.  Its a wayyy cool place.  He is an investigator and will baptize as soon as he can marry his wife.  He's super golden.  He also plays guitar way well and we listened for a while while he played songs like Stairway to heaven and Pink Floyd and stuff hahaha.  It was a good time. 

That night we called a member whos a taxi driver because he takes us places for free.  He was wayy funny and nice!  He kept yelling out the window at people he didnt even know and was way fun!  The culture here is SOOO much more open and friendly. 

That night we went and met an investigator.  He was kinda strange and when he said the opening prayer, and said "Dear loving Joseph Smith" i knew he was a member pranking us haha.  His name is Abner and I guess he does that to every new missionaries!  I knew better though, past missionaries fell for it hahahah. 

Thursday we had to travel to Cali for a zone conference which is about an hour by bus because buses stop so much, and it was pretty good.  Other than that we just visited members all day to try and make some friends to aid in opening the area.  It was a good day. 

Friday was great!  That morning we had to travel to Cali AGAIN for the new initiative of the Church called GraciasAQueElVive, or "BecauseHeLives!"  Its kinda like the "He is the Gift" campaign but this time focuses on the Resurrection.  I like that because we can use it all year round!  Its a way beautiful video, check it out if you havent yet!  Friday Elder Ortiz and I also went out and worked on our own for the first time! (well, we brought a member haha), but it was cool!  We got to know an investigator named Luz and her daughter.  Theyre a great  family but also have been investigating for a while.  We just need to take away their doubts and BAM baptisms.  That night we went to another members house for Elder Neilson's birthday, had a barbeque and nailed him with eggs and had a water balloon fight haha it was a good time. 

Saturday was pretty slow.  Elder Ortiz and I searched out people on a list we had all day so we walked a TON.  But its good to learn the area.  Just kinda hard, but part of opening the area. 

Yesterday was Sunday, and it was the first day we got to know the ward.  Today for Pday we went to Cali and played volleyball and soccer as a zone, and after, me and my 3 other comps went to McDONALDS!  No lies, it was the best McDonalds Ive ever eaten, i was sooo happy.  I got a double angus cheese burger.  Oh the Joy.  First time in 6 months haha.  So ive enjoying it here!  Its a lot hotter than Ipiales, but the culture is funner, the people are nicer, and im really enjoying it!  Theres lots of pretty mountains and birds here!  So Ill keep you all posted as we progress with the area but yeah, theres my week!  
Love you all!

Elder Welch

 The sweet pensionista that fed him lunch everyday 
while he served in Ipiales.

View from the new apartment in Jamundi

 View from the new apartment in Jamundi

This was his caption for this picture. All in caps:

Monday, March 23, 2015

03-16-15 to 03-23-15 Last Week in Ipiales!

Yup!  Transfers came!  I've been assigned to the San Fernando zone in Cali. I've been assigned to be district leader, and senior companion to Elder Ortiz from Bogotà who has 9 months.  So needless to say, I'm a bit stressed haha.  But It's cool!  I leave tomorrow, Tuesday at 8am.  Nice thing is Solorio and I are leaving together because he's going to Cali to pick up his companion who he's training! 

I'll start with This last monday.  After writing home, we went with family Cordova for our FHE and taught a message on eternal families.  I could see they were really deep in thought during that lesson which is cool. 

Tuesday was quite interesting!  We went in divisions with the whole zone.  Me with Elder T. on the frontera, his companion Elder Green with Elder Bello, Elder Killpack with Elder Inman, and Elder Rojas with Elder Solorio.  I was super nervous because before Elder Green, Elder T. was SUPER disobedient.  He had a cellphone and never worked. But Green whipped him into shape, and we had a really good spiritual day!  I was pleasantly surprised!  

Wednesday morning T. and I went to one appointment then we went to end divisions.  That morning it rained pretty hard, and it hasnt stopped since haha but we went to the very edge of the border with Ecuador in a really pretty place.  It was way cool.  But yeah that day we tried something Solorio learned from Rojas where we just teach fast half an hour or less simple lessons instead of teaching long ones and its been way effective!  We've had wayy more lessons each day, people invite us back sooner, and its easier for them to understand.  It's been way cool! 

Thursday was pretty normal.  One of the recent convert less actives we found asked us how to know the Book of Mormon was true was I was pretty bugged with the missionaries that baptized her that day. 

Friday it POURED.  I was absolutely soaked most the day haha.  That day we had mission coordination and the new branch pres came and we had an almost 2 hour meeting putting together a branch mission plan!  it was wayy awesome, and im super excited to see where the branch goes this year!  Even though i wont see it haha.  That night i saw a drunk guy in street get attacked by 3 dogs and he fought them off with his belt so that was fun haha. 

Saturday we had 6 lessons which was nuts!   That morning after lunch, we went to the house of H and Mag to start a fast with them for their wayward sons.  It was way awesome, i sure love them!  Besides that it was a pretty normal day.  That day a group of girls walked by making smooching noises, hissing and saying "mono mono!" I took that as a sign that Im going to Cali and here i go hahaha. (I don't know what "mono mono"means but I'm is guessing some sort of compliment, haha-Wendy

Sunday was way good!  Ros came to church!  The day ive been waiting for!  She's so great, shes just like an aunt to me.  Also we helped Mag pay her first fast offering for the fast we did.  I was so proud!  Besides that Sunday was also pretty average.  Transfers came that night, and I stayed up packing because i was too nervous to sleep haha. 

SO there's my letter!  Next one you all get will be sent from Cali!  WOOP!  Pray for me and wish me luck!  Love you all! 
Con Amor, Elder Welch

In my personal letter, he told me that San Fernando is one of the safer parts of Cali so that makes this mom happy :) He's also really nervous about this new companionship and being a District Leader so keep him in your prayers.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

03-09-15 to 03-15-15

Pretty decent week.  Monday night we went and taught a new investigator named N.  We contacted her and her husband a while ago but it was pretty awkward because they were in a fight, and on the brink of divorce.  WOOPS.  But all is good now so we can work with them together now and strengthen their marriage.  Yay for the Gospel!  Tuesday one of the traveling missionaries, Elder Walker came!  It was way cool!  The traveling missionaries are something Pres. Pricoli is trying this transfer, where he gets a companionship of 2 amazing missionaries, and has them travel to all the zones in the mission to go in divisions with the missionaries.  Elder Walker was the last AP so it was a way cool learning experience!  The highlights of that day besides TONS of appointments were when we taught the 2 kids we teach in the minutes store.  The girl said she felt the Spirit while reading the Book of Mormon.  It was as cool day though, I learned lots from Elder Walker, like its really powerful to quote memorized scriptures in lessons, and to speak with a lot of faith when setting appointments and talking about baptism.  Wednesday returned to a normal day, and because we exhausted all our best appointments Tuesday to have a productive day with Elder Walker, it was pretty slow.  We dropped him off at the terminal early that morning and that day we only found 2 appointments, 1 with Ros and 1 with our new investigator, N.  Ros told us she hasn't been working Sundays and she wants to come to church with us, and she said to prove that she'd go, she'd meet us there but she didn't come.  UGH.  With N. we tried teaching the Restoration, but we got up to the part with Joseph Smith, and her husband came with divorce papers.  Woooah.  So we left.  Thankfully they must've talked it over because they're good now.  Thursday was slow but felt productive because of that night.  We met with a new family that we met because one of the girls is the sister of N's husband.  It was a family of 6, and they have a family member that's a member in the church.  It was a way spiritual lesson and we set them all to be baptized.  But none came to church which blows.  But it was a way good night with them.  Friday was pretty cool.  That morning we went to the house of the zone leaders to have some baptismal forms signed, then we left together and contacted in the street on the way to lunch.  Elder Rojas and Inman are nuts haha they have a technique where they walk up to people and ask "when is your date?  Your baptismal date?  We're preparing a service to baptize you, can we visit with you?"  Its pretty fun to see their faces.  It actually worked which is also hilarious!  Saturday was great, and we didn't even have that many appointments!  We focused all day on finding inactive recent converts and actually had some really spiritual lessons.  We like to ask less actives what feelings they remember of their baptism, and tell them that if they can keep the commandments they can keep that feeling with them.  We find that reminding people of the good feelings they have from the Church rather then just telling them how awful they are is more affective haha.  Sunday was slow and kind of a bummer.  None of our investigators came to church and we walked for 4 hours after church and couldn't find anyone to teach.  But I got to take the Sacrament which was way nice.  I've come to appreciate the Sacrament so much more on my mission.  But yeah, that's my week.  This next Monday might be my last Monday in Ipiales because transfers come the 22!  If i go, that means I'll go somewhere more dangerous because I'm in the safest place in the mission right now hahaha.  But no where ever I go is where the Lord wants me.  "I'll go where you want me to go dear Lord"

Elder Welch

These are some answers he wrote to my letter:
About the soldiers:  yes we see a TON.  Mostly because Ipíales has a huge military base haha but they walk around in the streets with machine guns.  I don't know why, there's not one red zone in Ipiales haha but around Ipiales there's lots of guerilla in the towns.  Some of the most dangerous parts in Colombia.  A town  nearby called Cumbal had missionaries, but they took them out when a missionary disappeared there.  Now its full of guerilla.  Sketchy!  I hear other places are worse though.  Killpack was in a town called Palmyra and he saw armored cars  going into red zones and heard lots of gun fire.  Yay!

Answering the question about Mir (she's the one that saw Elder Welch and his companion in a dream and has a lot of health issues):

Elder Welch: She's been fine.  We haven't visited her that much lately though.  Its a hard situation because we lose so much time going there because she is a TALKER let me tell you what.  We can't get lessons in because she talks and talks and talks.  I also get the gist she doesn't wanna progress in the Church very much... so idk what to do.   

Monday, March 9, 2015

03-02-15 to 03-09-15

This week was pretty great!  Monday night we made some new investigators. They're honestly way rich, their house is even nice for the United States.  Not exactly large, but very clean, decorated modern and, well, rich.  The dad REALLY knows his bible.  Because of that, he prayed in the Name of Jesus Christ which is nice.  But i think they're a bit skeptical.  What ever, they have the invitation.  Read, meditate, and pray with faith.  It's simple, but it is the way.  Tuesday was pretty typical.  We went to one of the neighborhoods in my area that i didn't know existed called San Vicente and tried to find some old investigators we found in the area book.  It's a pretty cool area.  That night we went to the house of our recent convert and talked to him about the word of wisdom.  He told us he isn't addicted to drinking or smoking but claims its just peer pressure from his coworkers.  I think that's a lie though, because if it were just peer pressure i don't think he'd be walking around alone smoking.  He said he wants a priesthood blessing but he wants to prepare to receive it first.  What ever he wants, we explained how blessings are for everyone, not just the worthy but he insisted in preparation.  After we stopped by H and Mag to teach them their last lesson, tithing.  Of course, they automatically asked how they could pay tithing because they want to follow all the commandments.  They were sooo ready to baptize, i was so excited!  Wednesday was rough.  We had several set appointments in San Vicente, and when we arrived to their houses, not ONE was home.  That really bothers me about Ipiales honestly, commitments do NOT matter here, and people are rarely in their houses.  Elder Killpack who served in Palmyra before said people are always home there.  So the only thing we got Wednesday is we went with Wil to the English class at the church that night.  He wants to go back so that's cool.  Thursday was great!  We had lots of appointments!  We tried stopping by the house of the wife of our new investigator who died but she wasn't home.  So we went to lunch and after stopped by a "minutes" store that we contacted once.  They agreed to listen and shut the door for the lesson which was way nice honestly.  They seemed to be very interested and we set another appointment.  After we stopped by some less actives and then we visited lots of other people to set appointments.  It felt nice and productive.  Friday WAS MY BIRTHDAY.  It was honestly a pretty quiet normal day but it was nice.  For lunch we went to Mir's and she made me a burger (He said it was bunless though. I guess they don't have buns in Colombia) and a delicious fruit salad, and mashed potatoes.  She's a WIZARD at cooking, it was way good.  We hung out and chatted for a while, then went to a family's house and chatted with the Hermana M. for a long while.  After we went to the house of the lady who's husband died again and she was home this time.  It was pretty sad to hear her story.  She's only 22 years old and her husband as well was very young.  I think he died in a fire fighter related accident because he was a volunteer fire fighter.  We taught her the Plan of Salvation and explained how she has the chance to live with her husband again and forever.  It was a way nice lesson.  She told us she wants to listen to us more and become closer to God.  It was way nice.  That night, my comps bought me ice cream which was dope haha.  We pigged out.  Saturday was great as well!  We had a zone meeting and I got new Spanish scriptures that i bought that are leather.  Afterwards we stopped by the music store and i bought a nicer quena (the Indian flute I'm learning) and i haggled her down 2000 pesos.  She was difficult to haggle with, she didn't even care it was my birthday!  That day we searched all day and literally no one was home again so that's a bummer but it was MAG'S BAPTISM!!   It was a nice service, and Elder Paskett had 3 baptisms too.  Thank goodness because the ward is wayyyy good.  They had testimonies from the presidencies, cake, a musical number EVERYTHING.  The ward made it really special and were really good to Hermana Mag.  It was way good too for H to see because now he's super excited for his baptism and is doing all he can to baptize.  Another plus was their son came with his girlfriend!  He has a good new girlfriend who i think is good for him.  Mag was so happy it was wonderful!  Sunday I got to stand in to confirm her which was great.  Nothing compares to the look in a confirmed person's eyes.  The other good news is after 2 months, WE FINALLY GOT A NEW BRANCH PRESIDENT!  He's a 23 year old returned missionary named President Villota, but he's way good and he's gonna smack some things into shape around here.  We're stoked!  That night we stopped by and visited Ros. Apparently we haven't passed by in 11 days so we felt pretty bad.  Worrying about H and Mag has been occupying our days.  We apologized and of course Ros is great and was fine with it.  We asked her if she opened her store and she told us "no, I cant do it.  I didn't last week either.  Your words just won't leave my mind."  That was excellent news honestly.  She's coming to church with us this week!  TESTIMONY IS POWERFUL.  A bummer is that when she told us she couldn't come to church and prayed that night for a miracle to get her to church.  And she didn't work!  We just didn't call to invite again!  So i learned if I'm gonna pray for a miracle, i better do all I can to make it happen.  But she's keeping the Sabbath day holy now!  So much faith in Ros.  So that's about it.  Today we've just lounged around and relaxed.  Love you all! 

Elder Welch


The little robot his sister sent him for his birthday :)

Looks like Elder Killpack is taking up the quena as well :)

Monday, March 2, 2015

02-23-15 to 03-02-15

This has been an incredibly slow week.  Monday night we went and visited Mir and just talked forever!  Before she was super sick, she was a chef and she studied with people from the states, so she said for my Birthday she wants to make me real American hamburgers and an American styled salad.  (we dont eat salad of lettuce here.  who knows why).  Tuesday was a zone conference in Pasto.  We woke up at 3:45am to be at the terminal by 4:30am to be ready to leave by 5:00am to be in Pasto by 8:00am.  So yeah, we were tired haha.  It was a cool conference, we all studied the 10 Commandments in detail with the president, watched Meet the Mormons in Spanish and practiced teaching the Preach My Gospel lessons more affectively!  I learned a ton, and got my birthday packages WEEE!  We got home by 5, and went and visited H and Mag.  We shared a cool article from the October 2014 Liahona about why we have afflictions and how the scriptures and patience can help.  They're doing so great, they have almost all the lessons, are studying the scriptures and Liahonas, and are being baptized the 7th, day after my birthday!  WOO happy birthday to me!!!!  Wednesday we met with Ros.  We taught the Gospel of Christ so we could talk about baptism with her, because if she wouldnt attend church that sunday, we can't baptize her this transfer due to our 3 attendances rule.  Well she told us that because of all her debts with the restaurant, she NEEDS to work Sundays until it's payed.  so that sucks.  I probably won't see her baptism.  That night we went with Mir and her son Wil, and she told us how us being with her gives her so much joy, and that we're her "medicina espiritual" or "spiritual medicine."  She also made us popcorn.  YA!  Thursday was a bummer.  The days earlier in the week i was getting a sort of runny nose, so i was afraid of getting sick.  Well Thursday i woke up sick.  GO figure!!!   So with a stuffy nose, painful throat, heavy cough and sneezes and a fuzzy head, i stayed in bed that day.  I did get to watch all my church movies which was cool.  I love the Restoration Joseph Smith movie.  Between the Doctrine and Covenants films, the teachings of Joseph Smith book and the book Our Heritage, I've been studying Joseph Smith a LOT lately.  He was definitely a man of God, and a true prophet.  They say that Joseph Smith has done more for our eternal salvation than any man save it be the Savior himself.  POWER.  Friday i decided i couldn't sit still any longer, and though i still felt sick, we went out and worked.  We were with our branch mission leader for a while marking members in the ward we can visit, actives and less actives, to strengthen.  Then that night we went and taught Ros tithing.  We explained how though tithing seems to hard to pay, especially in times of financial difficulty, it can actually bless us economically!  That night we went and helped Mir with some seamstress stuff (that's her job) and then we went with H and Mag to teach them the law of chastity.  As usual, they understood completely and loved the idea of the commandment.  They're super excited to baptize.  I obviously am too haha.  Saturday we helped Mir move her ENTIRE kitchen from upstairs to downstairs.  It was a pretty cool day for service.  That night we went to a baptism of some missionaries in the zone and I played the piano for the service.  Elder Green, the Elder with the baptism gave me an English hymn book to play If You Could High to Kolob.  While waiting for the girl who was baptized to change, i played some of the Patriotic hymns from the back. It was one of my prouder patriot moments hahaha.  Yesterday at church was REALLY interesting.  So Mir and Wil came with us and it went really well.  i was grateful it was fast sunday so they could hear the testimonies.  But during Sunday school, i looked over and Mir had her eyes closed, with tears running down her face, and Wil had her hand in his.  He said "we need to carry her outside for some air".  I guess she went paralyzed... so we carried her outside and she came back to her senses.  she told us "this is my disease.  Doctors can't explain it.  In moments of stress, hot temperatures, or strain, i go into a state of paralyses for about 10 minutes.  This is why i don't like to leave the house."  She said it doesn't hurt but it makes her really weak.  So we walked her to the apartment of her ex husband about a block from the house.  If she comes to church again, it'll have to only be for Sacrament Meeting.  But i don't know how we can baptize her.  But if the priesthood can heal people in times of old, or in times of the pioneers, why can't I heal her now?  We'll see what happens.  That was an interesting Sunday... haha.  Today as a zone we all had a cook out and had a field day.  It was super fun.  The mission is so great.  This week we're gonna work really hard with Mir, Wil, H and Mag.  Also my birthday is Friday!  Yayy!  Love you all! 
Elder Welch

*Jake also lost a dear friend this week and I had to tell him about it through an email. Along with love and concern for the family this was part of his response. I love his faith:

" I feel alright don't worry, I understand a LOT about where he is now and I honestly know that he's in a wonderful place of rest and joy."