Monday, December 28, 2015

12-21-15 to 12-28-15 FELIZ NAVIDAD!‏

Alright, since ive talked to the fam on Friday, i'm feeling a bit lazy to write a huge weekly letter haha.  sorry mom.  This week has been pretty good, just a tad bit slow with the Christmas season.  But we tried to take advantage of it to find some rad families! 

This week lots of investigators are asking about exaltation.  People obviously get defensive when they hear "The Mormons believe in becoming Gods".  So it's been really interesting to learn how to teach that profound of doctrine so that anyone understands.  and these 2 points have helped me a lot. 
1. God is our loving heavenly father, and as ANY parent feels, he wants us to become the best we can.  Even better than him if possible.
2. Us becoming Gods doesnt dethrone God.  Actually it gives him more glory.  Same way my mom and dad look like great parents because me or Tayler are successful in something.
All things on Earth were first created spiritually.  Yes, even the nature of families and parenthood.  OF COURSE we'll become Gods.  as CHILDREN of God.  It is our birthright!  Cool huh?

Christmas was actually really great!  We made a rad tree out of some paint, cardboard, Christmas lights and a tree branch and opened all our presents!  im super happy with my new ties, tie pins and pants.  thanks mom!
That night we tried to sing Christmas carols.  it was rather hard with all the people blasting drinking music every other house but we did it and felt a bit of Christmas spirit while we were at it. 

So that was basically my week!  Life is good, and i'm super excited to start working on a normal schedule after the holidays haha.  I hope everyone has a great New Years day!  Make some REALISTIC goals!  to end here are the 4 things ive learned to do it.
1. A vision
2. A goal
3. Plans
4. Accountability.
-Elder Welch

  With Elder Solorio and Elder Paskett

 Cute little Charlie Brown tree :)

Monday, December 21, 2015

12-15-15 to 12-21-15 Many blessings!‏

This week was great!  The 2 highlights had to be a family we found this week and the zone conference we had Friday. 

Tuesday was pretty average, we just practiced our Christmas song for the zone conference and taught some families that we had contacted. 

Wednesday we spent most the day contacting families in the street and we got a TON lined up for Thursday!

Thursday we taught 3 new familes and got 9 new investigators!  As a result we had 2 great miracles.  First we went to the house of a lady we contacted but her mom answered the door instead.  Turns out she listened to the missionaries 2 years ago and lost contact with them when the missionaries left and she changed houses.  We asked her why she thinks God lead us to her house again and she said "maybe to finish what i didnt do in the first place."  Amazing how God guides our path!  The other miracle was that we went to the address of a lady we contacted and I guess she gave us the wrong address!  But the gentleman who answered the door was very polite so we told him how we wanted to share a message about Christmas sometime and he was like "alright, come on in".  Haha we were like "OKAY!".  Again, oh how amazing is it how the Lord places people in our path.  It is a family of 4, both pàrents married, 2 sons ages 13 and 21 and theyre like 1/2 Catholic because they don't really know any other way to worship God.  For us that's like striking Gold hahah. 

Friday was the zone conference!  Every year President does a "fun" zone conference, and he likes to do it around Christmas.  We watched a movie, had a Book of Mormon Trivia and did skits/Christmas Carols.  it was a great time!  The zones present were Palmira, Tulua and Zarzal.  I got to see Lots of my mission buddies including Elders Muñoz, Solorio, Ludwig, Paskett and Inman!  It was a great time!  Tulua and Zarzal has a super Rivalry right now because the zone leader right now, Elder Rojas (my ZL from Ipiales and the old assistant) was Elder Gomez's comp so it was super tense!  But we beat them in the BoM trivia!  WOOHOO!  For our skit-carol-thing we sang With Wondering Awe, then changed into the classic Colombia "Cumbia" outfits and played a Christmas Version of "La Bamba" by Los Lobos.  It turned out great!  I played guitar, Gomez bongos, Elder Giles the cowbell, Elder Palma the Giro, Sister Panduro on the piano and Sister Magaña on the maracas.  We had fun but a district from Palmira won (i'm guessing because it was just too tense between us and Tulua haha).  But we had a great time.

Saturday we had a good zone meeting and talked about asking questions which actually helped me a lot (i was the one teaching haha) its what i needed to better myself.  Lately ive just felt blank in the lessons and having talked much but asking questions is getting me back to my old self!  This transfer has been strange haha but im good now.  That night we taught the Arias family (the golden family we found Thursday) the restoration and it went really well!  The spirit was super strong. 

Sunday we had 7 investigators come to church. Nabor and Mery with his family and The Arias family!  Wow we were happy that new family came it just proves theyre ready. Nabor and Mery couldnt get baptized because he worked, but im not worried because they're 100% converted.  The rest of the day was slow because Elder Gomez got super sick. 

So today we just cleaned and organized the house because all the houses we were gonna rent wont rent to us for a billion different problems, so looks like we're passing Christmas 4 in a house.  Bummer. But everything happens for a reason!  

Have an Excellent Christmas this week and remember
Elder Welch

District Zarzal in traditional Cumbia outfits :)

Monday, December 14, 2015

12-08-15 to 12-14-15 Return to Andalucia

This week was pretty good!  We´re having a lot of sucess and a lot of great things are happening!

The highlight of Tuesday is that our district made a band!  We have to do a Christmas carol for the next zone meeting so we organized a band with me On guitar, Gomez on the bongos, the sisters on piano and maracas, and the other Elders on Giro and Clave.  its super rad! We have to do the presentation in English, and we have a "spice" on it that is gonna be fun! More news to come!

Wednesday, i went to Andalucia in Divisions with Elder Suyon!  It was fun to see my old investigators, and I had the privilege to interview Ana Maria and Vic for their baptisms!  Ana Maria needs a bit more time to pass but Vic passed!  He surprised me!  He has changed so much and is 100% ready to be baptized.  I was really pleased to see the affects of my work there.  That day in Zarzal, Gomez told me that our convert Cleyder is going crazy with the missionary work!  She lent out her Book of Mormon, is giving out pamphlets, and is presenting us to all her friends!  It is super rad!  She is an excellent convert! 

Thursday we ended divisions early to go to Tulua and have a meeting with the district president.  We made serious plans on how us as missionaries can help this district become a stake.  we have high hopes and want to do it FAST.  So we are gonna buckle down and get to some hard hard work.  But we are working with pure families here in Zarzal so the branch is growing faster and faster.  That night we also found a family where the wife is less active and her husband and son aren't.  It was a miracle find because they came from Chile and want to reactive/get baptized.  We are so grateful to the Lord for helping us find them! 

Friday we had a really busy day! We had a small competition with the other Elders in our apartment where each companionship had to contact at least 5 families in the street that day.  Who lost would buy pizza.  As a result, we contacted 11 families amongst us 4.  It was a great day and what we needed. 

Saturday was fairly normal.  We just did some service putting up Christmas lights and had a few lessons with investigators.  Nothing too huge.

Sunday was great because Nabor and Mery came to church and got their last attendance to get baptized!  It was a miracle because Nabor was working but came to church until he got on call, and they didnt call him until we were halfway through the 3rd hour.  So this Saturday we are gonna baptize a family! Woohoo! 

Today was just a nice lazy Pday, just what we needed because phew.  I was tired haha.  So yeah! love you all!
Elder Welch
From my personal email:
I asked if he knows where he'll go to Skype us on Christmas Day.
Jake: this week we're gonna skope out skyping areas haha its strange, the more time i get in the mission, the less i think about home!  I almost forgot i got to talk to you all soon haha.  SUPER FOCUSED.

I told him I'm hoping to hear more about where's he living and maybe see some pictures.
Jake: Im with 4 other missionaries but its because they opened another area in Zarzal with 2 new missionaries, so me and my comp are kinda homeless until we find a house.  we¨re living in our suitcases which is a bummer but it's whatever.  I havent taken pics yet because i dont wanna get too attached to this house haha. 

Leadership Meeting with
Pres. and Sis. Pricoli

Monday, December 7, 2015

12-01-15 to 12-07-15 Cleyder's baptism!‏

This week i was quickly ushered in to a new world as zone leader haha but it was great. i had a baptism (and actually feel like i helped her get to baptism) so life is good!  What else could i ask for?

Tuesday we ran all over the place looking for the new elder coming from Pasto and i guess instead of going to Zarzal he went to another city called Roldanillo.  it was pretty funny haha.  I also met my next baptism, Cleyder!  She's 19, super strong in the gospel and her personality actually reminds me a lot of Tayler haha. 

Wednesday we had an interview with an investigator and sadly she didnt pass for something that happened a while ago, and she was super sad about it.  We were running around panicking because we had to go to Cali for leadership training but we couldnt just leave her all discouraged so we went with her to the church and i shared with her Alma 36.  After reading it, she said "this is the Book of Mormon?  Ive never read a scripture from the Book of Mormon that fills me up inside like this one." so she had a spiritual experience and i was happy to help give her a better testimony of the Book of Mormon. 

Thursday we were in Cali all day at my first Leadership conference.  it was long and kind of boring but im glad i got to learn more about my responsibilities.  Honestly i just make sure missionaries are working and do dumb errands, but i like it haha its fun.  That night we stopped by Andalucia to get the matt's Elder Muñoz and i left in the house but then we realized there werent any more buses going to Zarzal so we stayed the night with the New elders.  But it was a good opportunity to help them plan.  Of the 10 missionaries in this zone (including me and my comp) 6 have 4 months or less.  Theyre all super excited to work but theyre all noobs haha.  Its fun to help them though, they learn fast. 

Friday we finished the plans for Cleyder's baptism and she passed her interview!  It was a good day!  We also have a lot of other solid investigators.  We're gonna baptize a ton!

Saturday was Cleyder's baptism!  It went really well.  I played hymns on the guitar, we sang, and the whole service was really organized.  She was beaming in her eyes, it was a great experience. 

Sunday was Fast Sunday, and all the testimonies were great.  Cleyder even got up there and talked how she wants to be a missionary.  We had 10 investigators come to church and 2 are familes!  Couldnt be happier.  That afternoon we had a meeting with the district president and the ZLs from Tulua to talk about our plans to turn this district into a stake.  We have our fair share of work ahead of us.  But it feels good to have so many good responsibilities.  I hope we can fulfill our callings as zone leaders.  So life is good, i'm keeping an eye on Andalucia (since its my zone) and we have lots of baptisms coming up!  Success!

love you all, Elder Welch

He also reports that he got all three Christmas packages I sent! Happy mom :D

Last picture with Elder Muñoz 

 Cleyder's Baptism

With his new companion, 
Elder Gomez from Oklahoma 
(His first American comp since the MTC.)