Monday, May 30, 2016

05-24-16 to 05-30-16‏

This week has been alright, just a bit slow. 

Tuesday we had our district meeting and talked about how obedience and having the Spirit with us are related.  It was an alright district meeting, nothing too crazy.  We also signed up Julieth for institutes which she's pretty excited about.  Something cool is i guess Jhon Largacha, our pensionista's son is our new branch mission leader!  Woohoo! 

Wednesday we talked a lot about family history.  The branch is planning a temple trip for this year so we're helping everyone get names ready.

Thursday was super rad because we found quite a few new investigators!  The day actually started out slow and it was HOT so we were pretty stressed.  But at 5, a member named Melissa took us to one of her mom's friends.  She's a pretty normal lady, but she's worried about her son JP.  She's afraid he doesnt have much direction in his life. (he's 20 years old). The other was a new family from Medellin.  They were a reference from the church offices and I guess the mom had attended the Church like 21 years ago.  She is SUPER interested in listening to us.  So we ended the day pretty happy!

Friday we spent most the day doing baptismal interviews for the missionaries in a nearby village called Cerrito.  It's like a half an hour bus ride from Palmira, so just the trip was an hour and it took a couple more hours to get all the investigators interviewed.  Good news is they all passed!

Saturday we had the baptism of the other Elders.  It was POURING rain all day, and we were worried about people being able to come.  our fears were realized when 6 o'clock rolled around, the hour of the service, and only us missionaries were there.  Something cool is the missionaries in Bizerta (where we had the baptismal service) is Elder Skinner, my buddy from Cali and his comp!  It was cool to catch up with him.  But the rain wasnt stopping.  until 7 o'clock came and Arley, the guy getting baptized finally showed up.  Then the 1st counselor, his wife and his son.  So we had enough to make the service work. It turned out really nicely. Even though we were few in number, it was very spiritual.  The Lord will always make due with what we have! 

Sunday was a really good day.  I felt the Spirit extra strong in church.  Ive just been reflecting on what the mission has done for me.  Ive changed in all the good ways haha.  Im just really grateful.  After church, we found Li, the lady who came to church a couple weeks ago with all her kids.  She moved to another neighborhood closer to our house.  But she's not doing so well.  Her kids are going off the deep end.  It's sad to see how it's killing Li  and she cant do much because she's divorced and the kids live with the dad who doesnt supervise them.  A parent's nightmare.  But we're trying to help. 

Today i went to the town square with Jhon Jairo, our pensionista's son, and his cousin Mayra. 

So yeah, that was my week haha nothing too crazy but we're fighting to stay busy.  Love you all!
It looks like he finally was able to have a little fun on P-day in Palmira. He gave descriptions for a few pictures. The rest are pretty self explanatory :)

 "What I do every Sunday :)"

"Drinking Mate in the street, haha"

" The cathedral of Palmira from far away"

"Pigeons" :)

 "Me at the Cathedral de Nuestra SeƱora de Palmar"

No description with this one but I'm guessing he 
wanted birds to land on his head...haha! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

05-17-16 to 05-23-16 Sick... AGAIN‏

This week has been slow.  Not much happened, and as the title states, my comp got sick AGAIN!  I think it's his noobie defenses that are still weak or something haha. 

Tuesday I gave my first distri-zone meeting, and it went alright.  It's a lot more active obviously because we're 8 now instead of 4.  So we didn't end up casting out devils Tuesday because we got there, and Nu had left at like 3 (we went at 5 o'clock) so we continued on our way.  Some sad news is that Gui, our investigator with cancer isn't doing so well, and they've decided to stop trying.  He's currently quarantined in his house, and no one can visit.  Waiting for him to pass away.  I wish we had time to help him get baptized, but i'm sure he'll accept it in the spirit world.  He was a great investigator. 

Wednesday my comp started getting sick with bad joint pains which made us think that maybe he got a typical mosquito transmitted disease called Chikungunya.  So we took it pretty slow that day. 

Thursday was MOM'S BIRTHDAY!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMY!  I spent it resting all day because Elder Ramirez got worse.  But i took advantage of the down time to clean the house  pretty good.  That night i gave a baptismal interview for the zone leaders of a guy named Ar.  I've gotten to teach him a few times and he's gonna be a GREAT leader in the church.  An excellent guy. 

Friday was better because my comp felt better and we started to work!  We had a few appointments , mostly with less actives and recent converts.  Nothing too exciting. 

Saturday we were pretty busy because all day we were confirming church attendance.  We actually had a pretty good lesson with Nu about the restoration and receiving spiritual answers.  She's been a bit rough because when her mom died, it destroyed her.  We've tried teaching her that she'll be able to see her again, but her frustration with God makes it hard for her to accept.  But we were talking with her and she said the other night her friend was counseling her, and invited her to her Christian church.  But Nu replied, "i'm attending the Mormon church..." and her friend started to say that we dont believe in the bible nor in Jesus and she said she defended the church and explained the Book of Mormon!  So that pumped us up haha.  I see a lot of improvement in her.  We Explained that the Book of Mormon is gonna be CRITICAL in her conversion and in helping her know she'll be with her mom again. 

Sunday was pretty good at church. Elis came to church, the mom of that big family.  She seems to have desire to continue learning of the church even though her family doesn't show much interest.  That night we helped a member pull some weeds too.

Today we relaxed, drank mate and sang karaoke with some YSA members.  It was a good time! 

So lately i've been studying the Bible because i realized that i've never really read the Bible all the way.  I started from Genesis in Zarzal and right now i'm in Deuteronomy.  the Israelites drive me NUTS!  We have to be careful in the Church that we don't end up like them.  They've learned so many things, seen miracles, been instructed, felt the Spirit and yet they turned away from God and fell into their old Egyptian traditions of worshiping idols etc.  We need to remember that we've seen many miracles, felt many impressions, but the devil never sleeps.  Let's follow the prophet, and be strong!  Like Joshua and Caleb! 
love you all, have an excellent week!

Elder Welch

Monday, May 16, 2016

05-09-16 to 05-16-16 Julieth's Baptism!‏

This week was a pretty good one!
Monday was awesome because  DOMINOS OPENED IN PALMIRA!  close to our house!  We're gonna have to make some budget plans to not go broke haha.  The new Zone Leader in Samanes is named Elder Weight, and he's actually from Alpine, and went to Lone Peak!  We're neighbors and high school rivals!  haha nah but we're good buddies.  It's cool to have someone that lives so close to me in Utah here. 

Tuesday we had a lesson with our investigator Nu that we haven't talked to in a while.  She's kind of hard because her mom died a few months ago and she's all depressed from it.  But after some talking, turns out she's down on the fact that her husband is an alcoholic as well.  So we made a plan of fasting, prayer and some remedies to help her husband get off alcohol. 

Wednesday was frustrating because it was the first day the sun has been out for a while, since it's been really rainy lately, and the heat hit us HARD.  I was on the point of passing out so we had to take it a bit slower that day.  We went to Cali that day for my companions toe and he's all healed thank GOODNESS so we don't have to go back to the doctors now!  Also that night, we taught Julieth her last lessons to get her ready for baptism! 

Thursday we went to Julieth's house to take her to her interview, but we were sad to find out she had left to a doctors check up and we didnt have her number to reschedule!  Thank goodness she got back, talked to Luis Carlos our pensionistas husband, and he called the zone leaders.  So they went and did it without us there. what luck!  Also that day we were walking through a neighborhood called "La Esperanza" (the hope) and we ran into some kid that knew the missionaries.  He took us to his house, and I guess his family had recently come from another part of town.  So we taught them and the mom said "the missionaries had stopped visiting, just as some problems came up in my life.  So I searched God out somewhere else, and a month ago got baptized in another church.  But it's interesting that you guys found me here!  it's like God wants me to listen!" So I automatically passed over the Book of Mormon and it's importance in our conversion and she committed to read and pray.  It was really spiritual. 

Friday we talked with Nu, and she's going well!  (the fast we are having her do isnt a fast of food because she has a blood problem.  It's a coffee fast because she said she's addicted.  muahaha sneaky Elders) She's gone 3 days without coffee!  We had a good lesson on faith and how her fast is an example of faith.  At the end of the lesson though she brought up something that surprised me. I guess she has a friend that's possessed with a devil.  I don't know why God is putting these people in my path, because that type of stuff doesnt happen every day.  But it's like those types of things are searching for me because most Elders don't even hear about this stuff and this is my 3rd time!  So Tuesday (tomorrow) she's bringing her friend to her house so we can help her.  So let's see how that goes down. 

Saturday was Julieth's baptism!  everything was going excellent!  I had the clothes, the Agenda, people invited, font full, musical number ready, baptismal record filled out etc etc, all was going GREAT!  But when 4 o'clock rolled around, Julieth wasnt showing up.  then 4:10.  4:20.  4:30.  When her aunt (member) shows up and said "Julieth is waiting for you guys to pick her up!" NOOO.  WE FORGOT TO ORGANIZE A WAY FOR HER TO GET TO THE CHAPEL!  (side note: we have to go to another chapel kinda far because there's no font in our house chapel.)  So we frantically called our Pensionista (who happens to be Julieth's cousin) and she thankfully was running late and was still in her house! So we sent her to go pick her up, and finally at 5 they all showed up.  I guess poor Julieth was sitting on her couch ALL READY dressed in white waiting for us since 3 o'clock.  I felt sooo bad!  Poor girl haha!  But they got there, and the service was really really nice.  Smooth, spiritual, and she told me she was really happy.  So I consider it a success.  No such thing as an easy baptism! 

Sunday was great at first because we had 6 people come to church, including that family we found Thursday!  But i guess there was an emergency at home and they had to leave the 3rd hour which sucks.  But i was glad to see them there.  Julieth was comfirmed but Luis Carlos, and all in all, church went really well. 

Today is my comps 20th birthday!  WOOHOO!  So we played soccer and did karaoke to celebrate. 

All is well here in Palmira!  Now the question is: what next?  Now that Julieth is baptized, we need to find someone new to work really hard with haha.  So let's see who we'll be able to find!  Love you all!

Elder Welch
I asked if transfers had happened and this was his reply:
"yeah here i am in Palmira.  A lot of the areas in the zone got shut down so now im District Leader over the 8 missionaries in the entire zone.  Distri-Zone!"

"A yummy Colombia fruit called a "Pithaya". I think it might be the 
"forbidden fruit" that Adam and Eve ate."

"My shoes are finally breaking! Woohoo!  I feel like a real missionary now!"

 Julieth's Baptism

Monday, May 9, 2016

05-02-16 to 05-09-16

Alright, well this week was pretty normal and better than the last week haha.  I actually was able to work and we had a lot more lessons.  The highlight was obviously SKYPING HOME.  It was my 4th and last time in the mission,  so it was kind of trunky not gonna lie.  But it was also the easiest to hang up on because the next time i see the fam will be in person.  CRAP! (I'm sure he means that in the nicest way...haha)

The best news i got for everyone is that Jul came to church her 3rd time and is all set to get baptized this week!  She's surprised us with her conversion, she really REALLY wants to get baptized.  So we're excited for her!

Love you all, and I'm glad all is well!  Sorry this letter isn't so interesting.  But hey, I skyped home yesterday. haha

Elder Welch

I wish I could remember more to tell you all from our Skype since he left you all out of the loop, haha! He did say his companion had to have another toe procedure that put them out of commission for a day last week but he's doing better. He also mentioned something about a roof caving in on them while they were visiting a members house, haha! His companion got hit on the head by a brick and was dizzy for a bit (poor kid!) but is fine. Mostly, he's just working hard and excited (and not excited) about being home in 4 1/2 months. He still has work to do but is looking forward to spending time with his family. Oh, and one thing his mom wasn't pleased to hear :/ he has been drinking the tap water almost his WHOLE MISSION! We'll see how that went for him when he gets home, haha!

Monday, May 2, 2016

04-25-16 to 05-02-16 Quarantined!‏

This week has been SUPER BORING.  We've been locked up in the house all week because
1. my comp got a super bad ingrown toenail and had to get it operated
2. I got the flu
3. My COMP got the flu.
So this is gonna be a quick letter.  Because nothing happened!  hahaha

Monday night we had a few lessons with Jul and with Ya and An.  Jul is super excited for her baptism on the 14th.  She continues to surprise us with her testimony every time we come.  Ya and An are really good, but they always go off talking and we lose control.  Its frustrating.

Tuesday is when my comps ingrown toenail started in.  It got infected and he couldnt walk without extreme pain.  So we were closed in all day. 
Wednesday we went to Cali to go to the doctors and they cut my comps toe and stuff.  He was screaming like a mad man even with anesthetics haha but he got it all fixed.  The bad news is they told us he couldnt do much walking NOR put closed toe shoes for 4 days.  So that day i left Elder Ramirez with a member and went in divisions with the zone leaders.
Thursday i did the same thing.  Bad news is I got sick.  My body was killing me and i had a 101 fever.  but i kept working! 

Friday we were closed in again because i was still sick and i couldnt take much walking anymore.
Saturday was the last day being closed up, and i was feeling antsy haha. i felt better but i didnt want any more resting! I even started drawing out of my boredom haha. 

Sunday we had a pretty good day.  the testimony meeting really lifted me up.  one sister from Buenaventura, convert of about a year bore a testimony that really helped me out.  She said "I am so so grateful for the missionaries that found me.  They changed my life forever."  To be honest, sometimes in my mission ive felt frustrated that ive only baptized 8 people.  But i realized, ive played part in changed those 8 lives forever.  2 families, 2 future missionaries, (maybe more) and not even counting the people ive found and that got baptized later on.  I feel so grateful for being able to do that.  even if other missionaries "baptize more".  Sunday we also left to have appointments.  So i felt GREAT! 
Today we went to downtown Palmira, visited the Cathedral of Palmira and took a little nap :) 
Love you all so much!  SEE YOU SUNDAY FAMILY!
Elder Welch

 Sporting his new poncho :)

 Looks like he found another cool, old camera

Not sure which elder this is... 

I'm guessing this is the ingrown toenail treatment...poor guy!

This is pretty good!
A few more sick days and he'll be a pro ;)