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!