Tuesday, March 29, 2016

03/22/16 to 03/28/16 Devils and Transfers!‏

Hey all!  Sorry i didnt write yesterday.  As the subject line states, I already got transfered.  Not gonna lie, I'm really really sad I had to leave Pasto already, after only 5 weeks.  We were finally getting some super solid investigators!  But what can you do?  In the mission, the leaders command and us missionaries obey.  I've been lowered from zone leader to district leader and sent to the city of Palmira to train!  I'm gonna have another son!  Today i'm in trio in Cali with Elder Cortes and Elder Hutchison, but tomororw I go to get my boy.  His name is Elder Ramirez and the assistents say he's from Argentina.  Che!  More mate! 
So this week was a really interesting one.  It was actually the most successful of all the weeks in Pasto (of course they have to take me out now) and I had another crazy experience! 

Wednesday I was in divisions with Elder Soares from Brazil, and we went to talk to a less active in a poorer neighborhood of my area called Pandiaco.  When we got there, he told us that a devil entered into his neighbor the night before and that they needed our help.  Oh hey!  Not again! 
So we went and holy cow it was a bit crazier than the last time.  We walked into this super poor house made of sheet metal and cardboard and in a room in the back we heard a lady screaming "LEAVE!  LEAVE!  GET OUT!" (but you know in Spanish).  So we went back and a lady was squirming on her bed screaming as loud as she could.  I was kind of shocked not gonna lie.  So we asked if we could move her into a sitting position to be able to put our hands on her, and the less active member and a relative moved the lady to the edge of the bed.  But as soon as they did, she started hitting the relative!  Then she crawled across the bed, grabbed a cross off the wall and threw it at me!  It hit me in the leg, (didnt hurt too bad but still!) and then she layed down and cried.  All this happened in 5 min and I already knew we'd have to come back in fast.  Soooo

(I think he means they would have to come back while fasting from food and water. His sentence structure is suffering from speaking Spanish, haha.)

Friday we went back and the demoniac lady answered the door!  And she was normal!  She explained that her family took her to a Catholic Priest and that he cured her!  NO!  They beat us to the punch!  But we know that he doesnt have the correct authority so its as good as shoveling dirt on top of dirt.  We asked if we could come back Sunday and she said yes.

Sunday we went back, but this time in fast and with the son of the Pensionista and the son of the Bishop (both Elders).  We got there and the lady told us that since that Catholic Father helped her, she's slept well and hasnt seen anything.  But she said she has been getting the cold chills all the time and that it is really unsettling.  So she invited us in to give her a blessing.  We went into a different room this time, sat her down and some of her family came in (all old folks).  I offered to give the annointing, and placed my hands on her head.  As soon as i had said her name, and stated that the blessing was in the name of Jesus Christ i could feel her moving.  When i stated the authority of the Priesthood, she hit my hands off her head, threw back in her chair and starting screaming!  I was stunned as well as the others, and then she starting pointing in the corner of the room yelling "THERE IT IS!  THERE IT IS!"  Shoot, none of us wanted to turn and look hahaha.  She cried and starting saying the Lord's Prayer while we waited for her to calm down.  When she came back to her senses, my comp said "It's okay, it's okay.  Elder Welch is going to annoint you again."  I was like "HUH".  haha so that time i did it a lot faster and a lot more powerful.  I finished and we all put our hands on her head and Elder Roman gave the blessing.  Nothing happened but the pensionista's son said he could feel her hair standing up and touching his hand.  We all felt a bad spirit there.  We finished and she said she felt like her head was burning, but she felt more calm.  So we gave her water, blessed the house and left.  WOW!  What a rush!
So that was a really interesting experience.  Also really cool to see the Priesthood at work.  We were gonna go back during the week to see how she's going, but I guess Elder Roman and his new comp will have to go! 

So yeah!  That was the most exciting thing about last week.  This week should be an interesting one.  My 4th time opening area!  I sure hope the Elders left an area book this time! 
Love you all!
Elder Welch

He promised me in my personal letter that he has 3 weeks of pictures to upload next week so I'm looking forward to that :)

Monday, March 21, 2016

03-15-16 to 03-21-16 Lots of Divisions!‏

alright, i'm short on time because all day we've been running errands to get ready for the zone conference we have tomorrow, and a zone FHE we have tonight!  But all is well! 

This week we've been doing lots of divisions with the missionaries (haha we put it off until the end of the transfer).  But it's been good!  Honestly, things are still kind of tough here in Pasto, we've been running about contacting all day every day haha but its finally paying off! We're starting to teach lots of families like we like! 

This Sunday the attendance went up 30 which was actually really surprising!  I think the ward should (hopefully) be alright.  Anywho, tomorrow we have the zone conference, and transfers are this weekend!  This transfer was weird and was only 5 weeks.  But i should be staying. 
Love you all! 
Elder Welch

Monday, March 14, 2016

03-08-16 to 03-14-16 The fall of Mariluz

This week was super SUPER frustrating.  But I'M NOT DISCOURAGED!

Tuesday i gave my first zone meeting with Elder Roman in Pasto!  It is way interesting with 18 other missionaries to teach when before there were 8 haha.  But it went really well.  We're talking a lot about verification and focusing on the teachings from the world mission broadcast we had a few weeks ago.  Later that day, Elder Roman started having some really bad knee pains (he damaged them playing soccer awhile back) so we took it easy.  That night we met the N. familie's inactive son.  He's super rad, he's kind of a rocker haha he has long hair and listens to rock.  We kinda talked about class rock music to get his trust and we're gonna start working to help him come back to the church.  The family is really sad about it (him being inactive).

Wednesday was one of those days where we walked and walked and walked and walked like pioneer children haha. We helped bless a member's house in the morning, and talked a bit.  He served his mission in Boise Idaho so we spoke quite a bit of english haha.  He's a great guy.  That night we helped do role play in the mission prep class which was fun with all the young men preparing for their missions!  They're already a lot more prepared than i was!

Thursday We met a kind of crazy less active sister in the morning that is nearly atheist from some bad experiences.  Then in the afternoon we met an active family that lives kinda far and set up a FHE (for tonight!)

Friday we had a really good weekly planning where i set a goal to contact more.  Since that day, ive been going crazy talking to everyone!  haha it feels really good.  Something that was a bummer is that ALL of our appointments fell through. 

Saturday was ANOTHER day where we walked with nearly no appointments.  We're getting really frustrated because we're trying EVERYTHING to try and find and work and lift up this ward, but something always happens to cancel the appointments.  We feel like we're doing something wrong.  But we're being SUPER DUPER obedient, we're contacting, we're searching the member list for less actives, and walking A LOT.  I just hope something works so we can finally get some investigators. 

Sunday was kind of crazy.  We got some bad news.  If the Mariluz Ward doesn't get 150 attending the next 2 weeks (Sunday we had 75) theyre gonna close the ward.  We could even lose the chapel.  The area is really cracking down and theyve already closed a branch in Cali, and have sold several chapels in Bogota.  It's really sad that it's come to this, but it needs to happen.  The members need to step up or we'll lose blessings!  So now everyone is going crazy to bring less actives to church this week.  Super scary! 
Something good is that we got assigned a ward mission leader!  My first one in 5 months, since Valle Grande!  He's a returned missionary as of a year so he knows what's up.  We're happy about that.  So it's NOW OR NEVER FOR MARILUZ! 

In other news, the church came out with a new video for Easter! 
and share with the hashtag #hallelujah

Today we walked around downtown Pasto, and then hung out with Elder Zubiria and Elder Chaiña drinking mate and playing guitar!  It was a good time.

Love you all!  Have a rad week!  HALLELUJAH!

(He actually sent descriptions with the pictures this week, 
which was nice. I'll put them under each picture.)

The Galeras volcano from our apartment window

The clouds in Pasto (we're pretty high up)

Romàn and I chilling out 


Monday, March 7, 2016

03-01-16 to 03-07-16 Transferred to Cali! Nah just kidding.‏

As the title states, this week sure felt like i was transferred to Cali haha.  We had Missionary Leadership Council (MLC), but since Cali is more or less 10 hours away in bus, we lose 3 days.  On top of that, the assistents took advantage to do divisions Thursday! 

So Tuesday I was on a bus from 9am to 8pm.

Wednesday was MLC.  It was a really good council, different from normal.  Usually they teach us how to teach the missionaries, but this time they were training us zone leaders.  We learned a TON about verification and why it's so important.  Also, they unbanned soccer!  woohoo! you should have heard the cheers from all the missionaries (i honestly dont really care but hey something to do Pday)

Thursday Elder Roman and I went in divisions with the assistant Elder Mejia.  He's super rad.  He's a latino american, which means his dad is Mexican but hes from the states haha.  He's SUPER cool.  we had a really successful day.  I learned a lot from him about testifying and asking inspired questions.  We found a few families, and invited LOTS of people to baptism,   Always a good experience learning from my leaders. 

Friday was another 9am-8pm bus ride.  PHEW!  those are rough.

Saturday we finally got home to work in our area.  It was a long day of looking around for people but we didnt really find many people home.  We had a really spiritual lesson with the Delgado sisters on temples which was good.  It started out kind of contentious but we're handling it.

Sunday was my birthday!  It was an alright day.  At church the Delgado sisters came but only the first hour which sucked.  Later that day we found 2 new investigators, which are 2 penacost ladies.  Theyre super humble and full of faith which made it a nice conversation.  That night some other investigators bought me pizza for my birthday but i felt really bad because it was the Sabbath!  My idea of a "perfect birthday" would be finding like 3 families or something haha.  But what can you do?

Today we played soccer (obviously) and just relaxed. 
So yeah what do i tell ya?  a kind of boring week.  the work is going slowly but surely.  We feel REALLY determined to baptize.  This week should be good though because we finally have the full 7 days! 
Here's some pics i took from my apartment window of Pasto.
Love you all! 

Elder Welch
I told him that a couple of sisters in our ward had just returned home from their missions and this was his reply, 

"NOOO CLAIRE IS ALREADY HOME?  that scares me haha!  Nooo!" 

That's the first I've heard him express that he's not ready for his mission to be over. It does a mom's heart good to know he's happy and loving it :)

He thanked everyone for the birthday wishes
 and sent a picture of him with the brownie
and candles that I sent :) 

20 years old! How did that happen?