Monday, February 29, 2016

02-22-16 to 02-29-16 First week in Pasto!‏

This has been a LONG and tiring week!  So me and Elder Román finally got all settled in.  It's always interesting opening areas because we have to do just about everything to try and find people to teach.  Unfortunately, the past missionaries for about a year haven't put ANYTHING in our area book so we have just about nothing to work with.  

I'd go day by day, but everyday was about the same haha.  Walking and walking and climbing hills (there's a TON in Pasto) and walking a bit more haha.  But we found some people this week!  One is a family of 2.  We contacted them in the street and visited them a couple days later.  The wife (Nora) said that people are always trying to preach to her and she has always said no.  But she said when we talked, she felt a peace which motivated her to say yes.  So her and her husband (Al) are listening!  Theyre not married but theyre not opposed to the idea either which is a good thing!  haha. 

Another family we found searching for a name on the list of members.  The member no longer lives there, but we found some kids that were excited to meet my comp.  Theyre saving money to go to Switzerland to meet the Pope haha.  They like Elder Roman because he's Argentine and so is the Pope hahaha.  Turns out, theyre part of a family of 11!  9 kids and the parents! That's super rare in Colombia haha.  Theyre a really humble family. Just SUPER DUPER Catholic. 

That's about it!  We're tired but happy as well.  There's a few challenges here, such as that the Ward here is the "worst" number-wise in Pasto, and the missionaries here havent baptized since August, but we're not worried.  We're working extra hard and are being SUPER obedient.  We feel determined to change Pasto Mariluz around!  Love you all!

Elder Welch

 Elder Gomez

Not sure what these two are up to 
but I love those smiles :) 

 Gerardo's Baptism! 

 (Look how slim and trim Jake is
after being with Elder Gomez. He said 
they've been eating better and exercising more.)

Maybe the new couple they are teaching?... 

 The new apartment
(Jake's desk on the left)

 He said that it is just him and 
Elder Roman in this apartment
(looks like Jake is top bunk)

 A couple of views from the new apartment

He mentioned to me that it rains a lot in
Pasto and he's loving the cool weather.

 This one made me laugh out loud! 
Oh, how I miss this weird (in a good way) kid!

I think this translates roughly to, 
"we are poor but we are awesome!"

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


A couple of pictures and a description of Pasto from the internet. I'm not sure how close he is to the lake or volcano but they sure are pretty!

Pasto is in South Colombian West, with a population over 400,000. It is the capital of the department of Nariño. Pasto is one of the oldest cities of Colombia, located in the Atriz Valley, in the middle of the Mountain range of the Andes. Pasto sits at the foot of Galeras volcano. The region is mountainous and surrounded by several indigenous towns.

  La Cocha Lake

The volcano, Galeras, is in the background. 
It's the most active volcano in Colombia.

02-15-16 to 02-22-16 Gerardo's baptism and Pasto!‏

I honestly dont remember this last week too well, and i'm down to 30 min writing time without my journal.

Sorry if you didnt get last weeks mail!  I sent one, but the church mailing system was down and didnt send it to some people.  Also sorry i didnt write yesterday because I GOT TRANSFERED TO PASTO CARAJO!  

Alright, first I'll tell you about Ger.  So as you all know, we put him on date for Saturday out of the nothing and he actually accepted.  Well, turns out that was just the step of faith he needed to be converted.  He told us Thursday that Wednesday night he told his family that he was thinking about getting baptized, but apparently they werent okay with it and his older sister said "if you get baptized, you're not my brother anymore."  He said that when he saw their opposition, he felt strongly that he was doing the right thing, and that in that moment he felt his faith so strong that he wanted to move his whole house off the ground haha.  He also said he learned the true meaning of "Love God over everything else."  The baptism came saturday and he didnt want hardly anyone there.  He invited us missionaries, the branch president and 3 girls from the branch.  It was an incredibly spiritual meeting.  the reason he wanted so little people there was to keep it more personal.  And it did just that.  To see his countenance when he came up out of the water just filled me up with the spirit.  It was one of the best baptisms of my mission.  He said that now he's giving his life to God and that he wants to serve a mission (he's 21 years old.) It was just an amazing experience. 

Alright, besides that the week was normal. But I GOT TRANSFERRED!  I'm here in Pasto, 2 hours north of Ipiales where i started the mission!  Pasto is a SUPER beautiful city (LOOK UP PICS. "PASTO COLOMBIA") and really cold haha.  I'm so happy.  My new companion is Elder Roman from Argentina, and we're opening area.  He's super rad, we get along really well, and he is an expert in yerba mate haha.  So we're REALLY excited to work super hard in Nariño again!  Love you all!  Have an excellent week!  Sorry i didnt write yesterday. I left Zarzal at 5am and got in Pasto at 8pm.  It's kinda far.  
PHEW! That was a LONG 2 weeks for me to not hear from him. I tried to call the mission office last night but they are 2 hours ahead so there was no answer. Probably a good thing since he emailed first thing this morning :) 

I'm excited for him to be in Pasto. He loves sweater weather and that's pretty much all Pasto has.  They are at over 8,000 feet elevation. -Wendy

02-08-16 to 02-15-16 Kenya's baptism!‏

02-23-16 Wow, i didnt know my letter didnt get to you! the mission had us go in to send the letters again the next day for the problem, but i saw that Lauren replied to my letter so i assumed that everyone got it!  Sorry to worry you like that!  But i'm okay!  and im in Pasto!  I love Pásto! haha love you mom
This was a soft week.  The sickness is really bad right now.  everyone is getting sick, including us!  It seems it's everywhere we go!  So we're just trying to be clean, wash our hands and drink lots of fresh orange juice haha.

Monday night we went to the house but the couple having the spirit problems wasnt there so we ended up leaving.

Tuesday morning, Elder Gomez and I went to Tulua to have a meeting with the new District President.  He's really good and has his mind in the right place with where he wants to go.  We're excited!  That day we did some baptismal interviews and Elder Gomez's interview took a LONG time.  That night we went to the couple's house that is having the spirit problems and talked a bit with them.  After a hymn he showed us his back and sure enough there was a scratch.  But strangly enough we didnt feel a negative feeling or anything.  So we gave him a blessing and he said he felt a hot stinging feeling leave him.  After we had him pray (which he hadnt done in a long time) and all was well!  Pretty calm haha not as crazy as we thought.

Wednesday i got sick again so we worked all day and came in a bit early because i was just doing really poorly.  But something cool happened that day.  Nabor got the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained a priest!  It is so awesome to see our converts progressing so fastly!

Thursday i went in divisions with Elder Giles because Elder Tumbaco and Elder Gomez had to go to Tulua with an investigator to get her interview with the district president.  it was a slower day.

Friday was looong haha.  We spent the whole day just contacting because we're getting low on investigators.  We were BEAT at the end of the day! 

Saturday was Kenya's baptism!  (Nabor and Mery's daughter).  It was nice because Nabor baptized her!  She's the last person in the family (besides the 6 year old daughter) that we needed to baptize!  So now, 1 year from Valentines day, they can go be sealed in the temple!  We're excited! Makes the whole mission worth it. 

Sunday was a really good day.  We had a really REALLY good lesson with Ger.  The branch president's step daughter that just got home from her mission Thursday came with us and it was cool to have another missionary in the lesson.  She's SUPER spiritual which made it have a really good vibe in the lesson.  She was just being super forward and was like "Oh! youre attending church for 2 months?  when are you getting baptized?" haha and after talking about baptism, he said he felt really happy and excited when we talked about it so we put him on date for THIS SATURDAY!  We're gonna work really hard to make sure it happens.  Also, in church, Cleyder and Mery got callings as 1st and 2nd counselors to the primary!  We're super happy our converts got callings! 

Today we just slept, watched church movies and played guitar haha.  We're kinda getting bored of P Day because there's nothing really to do!  But it's nice to rest a bit (especially because we're sick.) but all is well!  That's about it for this week!

Love you all!

Elder Welch

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

No Email This Week...

We didn't receive an email this week. I have no idea why but I'm hoping he's just been too busy with the work...
It's going to feel like a LONG week until next Monday!

Monday, February 8, 2016

02-02-2016 to 02-08-16 Lots of miracles!‏

This week was a bit slow in the work but we had a few miracles that happened. 

Tuesday we had a pretty intense lesson with Ger on the organization of Christs church.  We watched the talk "What is the blueprint of Christ's Church?" by Tadd R Callister of the 70.  Ger is SO CLOSE to baptism!  He only has a few doubts on the word of wisdom, tithing and women/the priesthood.  He's been a rough investigator but we've all learned a TON teaching him.  Ive come to learn that the gospel answers EVERY question. 

Wednesday we had leadership council in Cali so we had to leave at 4am to get there.  It was honestly a more boring council.  Sister Pricoli is going crazy about the Zika virus.  Its a pretty serious mosquito transmitted disease and there's missionaries here in the missionary that have it.  That night we had to stay the night in Andalucia because i got to do something really cool. I GOT TO INTERVIEW HOOVER!  i dont know if any of you remember, but he was a drug addict investigator that I had when i was there and he's finally getting baptized!  He is so different now.  He's a month clean of drugs, he got a job, got a white shirt and tie and is 100% repentant.  It was a miracle to see where he's come from.  I am so grateful that i could interview him!  D&C 15:6

Thursday my comp got sick!  So all day while he rested I cleaned the house, and studied hard Doctrine and Covenants while drinking mate haha.

Friday we went to visit Ger to see how he's doing.  4 days prior to the visit we told him to start from 1 Nephi 1 and to start reading through the Book of Mormon.  Well Friday, he was already on Omni!  Sunday he was on Alma 13!  He's flying!  So we had a LONG lesson talking about his questions from the Book of Mormon and after explaining tithing.  It was super edifying.  That night we talked with Nabor and Mery's daughter Kenya, and she's finally gonna get baptized on the 13th!  So we'll finally have the family complete!  We're excited! 

Saturday was very uneventful.  We taught a man named Jo and his wife the restoration and they seemed really interested and excited to read the Book of Mormon.

Sunday was SUPER great!  We went to Tulua for a big district conference because they changed the District presidency.  It was fun to see Nabor and Mery come with their family because Nabor was all classy in a white shirt and slacks, and Mery in a classy dress and Nabor was going around shaking everyones hand.  He's totally gonna be the Branch President one day haha.  For lunch we made Quesadillas which was super rad because it was the first quesadilla ive eaten in 16 months haha.  That night we visited the family we taught Saturday and WOW a huge miracle.

We asked if they had read and they had.  When i asked if they prayed the wife said "No.  Because while i read it i was filled with an amazing feeling of joy and i knew it was true.  We already know." and when i asked what she was willing to do with what the Lord as showed her, she said "We want to get married and baptized.  I pictured the whole family getting baptized.  We're going to repent and follow Christ."  WE COULDNT BELIEVE IT.  She said she feels like us showing up at her door is an answer from God that she's found the truth.  We wanted to do cartwheels!  Today theyre going to the notary to take out what they need to get married!  The Lord truly prepared the way. 

Today we slept a whole ton.  Tonight may be kind of interesting though.  We were talking with the sister missionaries in Zarzal and they told us a story from the other day.  They were trying to get the father of a family they're teaching to pray and he didnt want to.  He refused, up until he was angry about it.  After they left the wife stopped them and said "I have a question.  Every time someone prays in our house, something scratches my husband's back.  why is that happening?" The husband showed them that he had scratches all down his back.  They say something puts evil thoughts into his head and he just wants to live in peace now.  So tonight we're gonna go see if we can bless their home or if necessary, cast out an unclean spirit.  Pray for us! 

So yeah, this week was a good one!  We're super grateful for the experiences we're having and my testimony is getting stronger and stronger everyday!  Love you all!  Have a good week!
Elder Welch

Last weeks big rain storm. Answered prayers!
He said it rained a little today but they still need more
so keep praying! :)

 Poor, sick Elder Gomez

With Hoover in Tulua

Monday, February 1, 2016

01-26-16 to 02-01-16 RAIN!‏

This week was a pretty calm and slow one

Tuesday we were working slower because Elder Gomez was super sick in the stomach so we were running to the house for him to use the bathroom every other appointment haha.  The Highlight of the day was we met an Atheist women and got her to pray and read the Book of Mormon haha.  We felt pretty good about it.

Wednesday was a SUPER busy!  We had 7 appointments and we got excited because 2 of our families are reading the Book of Mormon.  It crazy the difference in their progression in comparison with our other investigators.  It is so important. 

Thursday started about bad when we visited a recently returned missionary and she told us she isnt gonna go to church now.  It made us all sad, and her reasons are so dumb psychology theories on how you can make yourself happy doing whatever.  So we were bummed about but that night we had a really good lesson with the Sanchez family.  We taught the restoration and the mom cried.  It redeemed the day. 

Friday IT RAINED!  It was a miracle!  It rained so hard that the streets flooded and we got SOAKED!  We were super happy.  I took a pìcture but the computer wont upload it so next week i'll send it haha.  Thanks for the prayers!
But we still need a LOT more.

Saturday was a bummer because almost ALL of our appointments fell through!  Who knows why, but no one was home!  But we had a good lesson with a less active on 1 Nephi 13.  My history nerd came out of me and i was geeking out explaining him about American history and how it prepared for the restoration haha. 

Sunday was rad!  We finished our fast eating Mac and Cheese with hotdogs (woohoo!) and visited our investigator Ger.  He's been a tough investigator because he has a TON of doubts in logic.  He started from Atheist when we first found him, but he's coming super far!  He fasted to ask for help feeling spiritual impressions and not ruling it out with logic.  And he said he felt really close to God!  He also said he wants to get baptized but first needs to clear up a few more doubts to feel like he's really changing his life.  We're excited.

So yeah, this week wasnt too crazy but a lot of investigators are progressing, so what more could i ask for?  Love you all and have a great week!

Elder Welch