Monday, July 27, 2015

07-21-15 to 07-27-15 VALLE GRANDE 2!‏

So this week has been pretty good! 
Tuesday all our appointments fell which was a bummer.  But we started contacting way more!  We just talked with people all over the place, and knocked doors!  At the end of the day, though the appointments fell, I felt pretty good because we contacted lots of people!  That night we got back to the house and we had no power because we forgot to pay haha woops!  nothing wrong with a little cold shower and candle light planning, right? 

Wednesday was what you call a bad/rad day.  Bad because for a 2nd day in a row, we found ZERO lessons.  Rad because we discovered a new area in my area!  It's a little neighborhood of a couple hundred people.  It has dirt roads and it's super poor.  Houses of sheet metal and bamboo.  To the people that live there, its called "La Playita" (The little beach) to people that dont live there it's called "La Invasión" (the invasion).  But man, the people are SO humble and kind there!  We contacted 3 full families in an hour without a problem!  While we were there, about 10 motorcycle cops (2 police for every 10 motorcycles) came with machine guns and staked out the road.  I guess La Playita is an escape route to the river for criminals.  It was exciting haha.  After about 10 min they all left. 

Thursday morning our mission leader had us over to his house to watch a talk by Elder Holland.  It talked about how salvation leads through Gethsemane and how as disciples of Christ, we may be required to suffer.  So when the work is hard, we must lean on Christ.  To be discouraged in the mission is real and normal honestly.  We just need to rely on Him.  It also talked about teaching people to help them with their lives, not just for the cookie cutter mission lessons.  We put it into practice visiting a new investigator in La Playita!  She told us she was feeling sad because her mom was in the hospital and she was worried because shes getting old.  To give her peace we taught the Plan of Salvation.  It was a good moment.  Also, Fern has a 9 year old daughter and she is amazing! Every time ive seen her, she has a bible in hand reading it!  We hope we can baptize them and get her to be a misisonary one day haha.  It was fun to be a Preach My Gospel missionary. 

Friday was a good day.  As of new i starting studying Preach My Gospel as part of my personal study.  Im not sure why i havent always done it!  I felt way more excited to work that day!  That night we had the activity (same one we had the last wednesday) and it went really well.  We did a treasure hunt with simple gospel doctrines, then shared a lesson on the Book of Mormon and how its the keystone of our religion. The activity was named "In Search of the Treasure: The Book of Mormon".  Only problems we had were that we hardly had time and almost nobody came. 

Saturday we had a good day!  In La Playita we talked with a family name the Solartes.  I love the little 4 year old girl, she is so direct and always yells "Mis Amigos!!" when she sees  us in the streets, and when we're leaving says " are you going to school?" hahah.  We shared a bit about how the Book of Mormon can help answer their lifes biggest questions.  I honestly just love teaching big happy families that live in humble situations.  During the lesson, the little girl was showing me her Princess notebook and she said i could have it if i wanted haha.  So adorable. 

Sunday was very eventful!  We went again to La Playita to search out a member, and while searching we ran into one of our contacts named Hernan from the church of the Israelites.  He was with another older gentleman from his congregation and they were teaching a guy named Fran.  They invited us in to discuss something from the Bible.  The Israelites believe in the Bible SO literally that they believe a large part of the law of Moses and also in the law of Christ.  They have big beards, have the Sabbath on Saturday etc etc.  It was an interesting lesson that ended up taking a LOT of time!  They kept going off on how Sunday being the Sabbath was created by man because the Bible doesnt clearly state it.  Pffft.  it was interesting.  But they were also kind and funny.  Just a little contentious.  I enjoyed myself haha, 

Last night we also had TRANSFERS!  I got transferred to the zone Villa Colombia in the area Valle Grande 2!  I'm gonna train a new Elder named Elder Chaeña, i'm District leader and i'm opening area!  Lot's of responsibility!!  But i'm honestly super excited!  Only problem is that today I had to be at the terminal at 8am.  I didnt get to say bye to anyone not even Abner.  i'm super sad about that honestly. But here i am in Cali!  Im with Elder Ludwig and his comp in trio (we live in the same house) until my comp comes Wednesday!  It should be fun!  I know the Lord has prepared me with hard times and experiences so i can help raise a good missionary.  I'M A DAD!  hahaha!  love you all!

Elder Welch

"My new house!  less sucky than the last but still sucky haha"

Monday, July 20, 2015

07-14-15 to 07-20-15

This week has been mostly good!  Pretty quiet as well which is nice. 

Tuesday was great!  We got 3 new investigators from a master plan.  So we were in my area in a neighborhood called La Pradera, and we passed a house that was up for rent.  Since the new elders are leaving we decided we'd ask about it.  Its rather far from the store and church but we figured why not!  we can just contact!  So we asked about it, and it worked better than we thought!  We explained how mission housing works, and they asked about our church!  Yeah!  So we ended up bringing up the gospel, and even had a lesson with them! 

Wednesday was decent.  We stopped by a lot of members houses to check up on people and offer service.  Also our less active S said he wants to serve a mission!  He told us with tears in his eyes.  But i guess the problem is he had a problem and has his priesthood rights/sacrament rights suspended for HALF A YEAR.  Noooo!  So we're helping him strengthen himself.  That night was also our first night of an activity we're starting!  It'll be every week, and the idea is that people come, invite members and investigators so we can find more people to teach and give them a friend in the church at the same time.  It went really well!  We taught a lesson and played games!  The hope is that more and more people can come and we can strengthen the ward. 

Thursday was rough.  All but one of our appointments fell through.  But at least it was a good lesson!  It was with a woman named Bet, and she was really great!  She said she felt peaceful and wonderful when we taught her the restoration.  We have high hopes for her!  Besides that, it was hitting the pavement all day. 

Friday we had interviews with the President!  This time around, i had NOTHING to say!  So it only lasted about 5 min!  I love asking questions but for now, ive got nothin.  I also memorized the 13 articles of faith to recite to Sister Pricoli!  Its actually pretty cool to have memorized as a missionary, i can answer questions really affectively.  The rest of the day after was kinda hard honestly.  First problem is we found Abner's dog Mandy wandering in the street and i guess she is in LOVE with us because she started following us everywhere!  We tried ditching her at Abners house, but no one was home!  So she followed us.  ALL. OVER. MY AREA!  She ran into peoples houses, and was a burden all day haha but i must admit it was really funny.  We kept joking how Mandy is better and coming with us then the members hahaha. 

Saturday was pretty good.  Our best lesson was with Bet. We didnt have time for a really long lesson but we read from the Book of Mormon.  She had a really good question.  Her parents both died and she wants to know where they are!  We've got the answers!  She is just really good at listening.  Something frustrating is another one of our good investigators had her birthday and said she was going to a farm to get drunk to celebrate.  And for that reason she didnt come to church the next day.  Im so frustrated!  None of the investigators we've found in Jamundi progress!  I dont know why!  Just keep working I guess. 

Sunday was kinda rough.  Almost none of our investigators came to church which is frustrating.  So many said they would come!  A mans word just doesnt mean much anymore.  That night we met with our investigator from the church of the prophet William Branham, and he had his buddy from the church there.  They invited us in, and we shared the message of the restoration.  But man, they are HARD people!  They believe in a lot of weird things, like that God created the "pillar of fire" as a way to know prophets, that Heavenly Father and Christ are one person, that you should only baptize in the name of Christ and not in the name of the Father and the Spirit etc.  We avoided contention but it felt kind of contentious.  Im SO grateful to have the true church in my life honestly.  Just seeing the confusion makes me sad!  We just have it all so right!  That's my motive I guess.

Today we played soccer at the church with all the young men which was fun.  I still suck but i had a good time.  Love you all! 

Elder Welch

Monday, July 13, 2015

07-07-15 to 07-13-15

So this week has been way better! 
Tuesday was interesting because we taught a guy from some church with a prophet.  The church here is called the Tabernacle of Jamundi but i guess its in the whole world!  He told us his prophet is like a "john the baptist" to prepare the way for the savior in the 2nd coming.  but the prophet died like 40 years ago so bummer!  but the investigator is willing to read the Book of Mormon with a willing heart so cool! 

Wednesday was pretty good.  At the beginning of the day we talked to one of the wards new converts whos like 15 years old, and he told us he's atheist now!  Nice!  I think if someone believed In God but now doesnt, it's probably because they don't understand him.  Later that day we ran into a contact and i think she's kinda crazy because she told us how her neighborhood is full of "Satanic Homosexuals and Pentecostals."  haha!  So we just said okay and went our way.  That night we had a good lesson with some of our investigators.  The 1st counselor from the bishopric came named Paul, and he bore a very good testimony about how he came to know the church is true.  (he's a member of 5 years).  It was a super nice lesson. 

Thursday was pretty normal. Something funny is that morning Dalton found a phone number in the phone of 1234567895 so he called and someone answered!  He hurry and hung up, and Bello got curious and called again asking for "bed repairs" or a welder.  I guess because it started with 123 it was the CALI POLICE!  haha!  woops!  They were nice though and said they could help him find a number for that.  We also talked with a lady she tried to tell us the spirit is the father of Jesus.  weird.  That night we met a guy named Juan G. He's really rad, and studied with the missionaries in Argentina for a while.  I think he can be good!  He was also raised Jewish so i learned about the Jewish beliefs which is interesting. 

Friday was pretty slow until around 5 when we met up with S, the recent convert we're reactivating.  The good news is he said he wants to serve a mission and get his Patriarchal blessing!  We read Nephi 17 with him and his grandparents and talked about Faith and Obedience.  2 VERY important things for our progression and salvation. 

Saturday was kind of a bummer day.  After lunch we had a lesson with Car, but at the end she said she doesn't want to listen to us for a while because she has some problems in the family.  I can see Satan has probably been working on her.  And i guess he had his little victory on us that day.  But Satan never wins, and i know she'll come back.  Later we went and talked with the black Baptist ladies we met but at the end of our lesson, they said they wouldnt read the Book of Mormon because they think it would just "confuse" them.  I said that that was a false assumption because the Book of Mormon CLARIFIES everything, and that they need to at least try it, but they said no.  I was frustrated for their ignorance, but we left heavy hearted.  It's hard sometimes to see people who love God have the truth in their hands and deny it. 

Sunday we had the 2nd activity of the 40 years of our mission!  It was super rad, we heard 4 or 5 talks from old mission presidents and also we listened to a member of the 70!  I got to sing in the choir which was super fun as well!  My favorite was when we sang Battle Hymn of the Republic at the end SUPER powerful!  I felt he spirit while we sang which is rare for me!  (i always feel it listening but rarely while singing).  I think I'll join ward choir when i get home!  and of course, taking pictures and talking with people was wonderful.  After the activity, we went to Abner's house, and they gave us all dinner. 

Today has been normal, just resting.  Besides that... ELDER DALTON LEFT IN EXTRA OFFICIAL TRANSFERS! NO!  he left for Popayan as district leader.  He'll be great, he's honestly and excellent missionary.  But I'll sure miss him.  anyways, this week was good!  I'm feeling way better about my companion, and we're staying busy!  Love you all!  remember God loves you and the Book of Mormon is true!
Elder Welch
 Our family was able to watch the 40 Year Mission Celebration on Sunday afternoon via webcast! It was so fun to see Jake's cute face for 2 hours and to hear him sing with the choir. He sat right behind and to the left of the pulpit so I just stared at him the whole time, haha :)  He said when he sat behind the speaker, he hoped we were watching :)
 Jake's Great-Grandpa Petersen passed away Thursday and I had to send him the sad news. I sure hope this is the last death I have to email him about. As per usual, Jake takes everything in stride. His response was one of gratitude for the Plan of Salvation. Love this kid!

PS-Thank you for your prayers! You can see from his letter that our prayers were answered and things have improved :)

Monday, July 6, 2015

06-30-15 to 07-06-15

Alright, so i forgot to bring my journal with me today to remember my week so this week will be a bit shorter.  Sorry! It's the first time i've forgotten in months! I honestly dont remember anything until saturday!  But that is pretty much the biggest day.  So saturday was THE 4TH OF JULY!  happy birthday America!  It was a rad day.  We went in divisions for the first time!  Me and Dalton killed it!  The first lesson we had was with Car.  She is doing pretty good, she actually read what we left for her and her kids said they loved church and wanna come again!  Cool!  After we talked to Jose and Luz, some investigators we talked to when i first got to Jamundi!  Jose was the one who had weird questions like "where did black people come from?"  it was rough because i guess hes super Atheist, and we basically had to tell him we have our beliefs and he has his.  But luz wants to keep listening and is super interested! 

For lunch, we cooked chili dogs in the house and listened to MoTab American hymns haha it was beautiful.  After that the day was pretty normal with a few lessons.  At the end of the day, we had some time before our last appointment because an appointment fell, so we knocked doors.  One family we knocked on their door, and offered a blessing with a little message and without hesitating the wife said "yeah!  I'll throw down the keys!"  woah!  Rad!  so we talked a bit and she said she wants her kids to have God more in their lives and stuff!  We have another appointment tonight!  So all in all, we had 5 lessons and 4 new investigators Saturday!  Talk about good day! 

The downside was the other two companions fought.  Bad.  They stopped working around 4 and searched for us the rest of the day.  I was so mad honestly.  They kept arguing like little girls so i sat them down at the house and we had a bit of a counsel.  I listened to both sides of their stories and counseled them with love, and made goals.  I honestly learned a lot how to be a leader from that.  I prayed and followed the spirit.  It was super frusterating, but cool what i learned.  Concerning my comp, this week has been better.  After I wrote "CONTENCIÓN ES EL ESPÍRITU DEL DIABLO. NO MAS BROMAS QUE ENOJAN A OTROS" on our whiteboard, hes calmed down.  I feel like everything ive learned from the hardships in this area will really help me later on.  So All is well!  I'm grateful for my hardships!  Besides that, nothing much happened.  Love you all!
He's putting on a brave face and trying to have a good attitude but I know this area has been hard on him so any extra prayers in his behalf would be appreciated. Thank you! ~Wendy

Happy 4th of July America!

Elder Welch and Elder Dalton pay tribute to
all things American (haha!) It made me laugh
and cry at the same time. I sure miss this goofy kid.