Monday, July 25, 2016

07-18-16 to 07-25-16 Reunion in Ipiales!

This week has been a good one!  Not as rad as the last, but at the same time great haha.

Monday we had a great lesson with the Muñoz family!  They're just SO excited to be baptized and the mom said that when we knocked on her door, she was passing through some REALLY hard trials and strong feelings of loneliness.  so she KNOWS it was from God.  We're so grateful!

Tuesday was good.  Full of lessons.  Sadly that same day i got a weird zit inside my nose wayyy back that decided to get infected so my nose was BRIGHT red hahaha I felt like rudolph.  How embarrassing.  Elder Reeve, an Elder in my zone called it "Snake Repellent" haha! 

Wednesday we had divisions with Elder Reeve and Elder Mayorga from the Fronterra area.  It was Colombia's independence day, so there were a TON of soldiers in the main plaza with tanks.  Pretty cool, wish i brought my camera with me!  One of the tank drivers is a member!  We also had a branch activity that day.  It was a "field day" type event but indoors because of the rain and cold.  That night Elder Reeve and I went to the Gua family and tried to get them on a date for baptism, but they still don't feel ready.  That night we chilled out in the apartment and played guitar.  it was cool because Elder Reeve and I like the EXACT same music.  He's even heard of the Moth & the Flame! 

Thursday a good part of the day we went with President Pico, from Bogotá visiting the youth of Ipiales.  He's in charge of Seminaries and Institutes in Colombia and travels ALL over trying to get the youth to go to their classes!  That night we visited with Cris and she's doing really well.  She accepted to be baptized, but she's not married to her husband so we're gonna have to work on that first. 

Friday I woke up and my eye was completely swollen shut!  The day before I had a zit thing (now i think it might've been a bite) below my eyebrow, and it HURT! So i called sister Pricoli and went to the hospital.  It was rad because I ran into Brother Diaz, my first branch president in the mission (he's a doctor) so he took me to a doctor, got me a diagnostic and some prescriptions all free!  What a score!  So the rest of the day i felt kind of goofy, haha.  Worst yet, I ran into a LOT of people that i havent seen since i started the mish. 

Saturday my eye was a lot better, and I could finally teach without people bothering me haha.  All day we commited people to coming to church and had some family home evenings.

Sunday was the type of Sunday missionaries dream of haha.  The Muñoz family came to church and this time stayed the 3 hours.  They all loved it, especially the 16 year old.  She said "I LOVED THE CLASSES I WANT TO GET BAPTIZED NOW!!!" music to a missionaries ears!  That night we taught them and they're progressing so much.  as soon as they heard about the Word of Wisdom, coffee is PROHIBITED in their house!  oh yeah!  In the afternoon, we ate dinner with Elsa Montenegro, my old pensionista!  It was fun to talk with everyone again.  Also, we had to do a baptismal interview in the church and i ran into almost everyone from Galan!  sadly, none of my 3 converts in Ipiales are active, so i couldnt say hi to them. 

Today we had lunch with Albert and his family!  My comp made a Bolivian dish.  Man, this is the last week of the transfer, and the last week with Herrera.  He's kind of nervous.  But all is well, we're still working our butts off! 
Love you all!

Elder Welch

 "Albert, my first Mission Leader"

"The Montenegro family! 
(Sister Elsa was my pensionista when i started the mission)" 

"Playing "parqués""

Monday, July 18, 2016

07-11-16 to 07-18-16 Gold mines and civil unrest

This week has been super good!  We're finding a TON of people that have been super prepared by the Lord.   

Monday we had 2 crazy lessons. 
The first was with Li the girl from Cali.  Well she's not doing so good.  It was the first time we talked after the week at MLC.  She started telling us about her "visions" she's been having and how she thinks she's a prophet.  She kept telling us that we need to forget about Joseph Smith and only talk about Jesus.  But we almost never talk about Joseph but we ALWAYS talk about Jesus.  Kind of frustrating and weird...
The other lesson was with a new family from Bogotá.  WOW.  We taught them and they were all SO attentive.  At the end, we threw out the baptismal invitation and they all accepted full heartedly. 

Tuesday we were supposed to go to Pasto for out interviews with President, but all those truckers that are protesting the new toll booths on the Panamericana Highway set up a HUGE and dangerous blockade.  So we couldn't leave the city.  A member who's a trucker was stuck in it so we called to see how the situation was going and we could hear a ton of yelling.  He said they're all fighting there and someone even died. WOAH.  So no interviews haha. But we had a really, really good lesson Tuesday with a reference of our pensionista.  Our pensionista said she was at the store in front when her neighbor came and she felt impressed to talk to her.  She shared the gospel and BAM a super solid reference.  It's another family, so we talked about temples and eternal families.  They're SUPER excited to listen to us. 

Wednesday we had a solid lesson with our investigator San.  He's the nonmember son of one of our recent convert families.  We're trying REALLY hard to get him to baptism because he's more interested lately than he's ever been and is beginning to progress.  Hopefully he'll get there soon.  He says he's not feeling worthy yet for baptism. 

Thursday we had divisions with the Elders in Galan 1 (the area where i started the mission). It was a pretty alright day.  In the morning Elder Herrera and I had to go with a member from Cali to all the houses in the zone to fumigate.  But it was actually kind of intense because we couldn't get to 2 houses, because the trucker riot decided to walk through Ipiales to block the border with Ecuador.  There were HUNDREDS all walking on the main road.  The farmers are fighting them because the blockade doesn't allow them to sell their produce, so we saw a couple of pretty badly beaten farmers. All day in divisions nothing really crazy happened.  it was cold and that night we did a baptismal interview for the other area in my branch. 

Friday was good and bad.  We had to drop Li.  She's just too crazy and won't listen.  She decided that God sent us to her so SHE could change US.  Nope.  But that night we visited Cris, the reference of our pensionista, and we got to teach their family.  We're really excited about them!

Saturday we had a lot of spiritual lessons.  The best one was probably with Cris and her mom.  We taught the Restoration and they understood it REALLY well, and committed to read and pray. 

Sunday was great because we had 8 people come to church!  Including Cris and her sister, the Muñoz family that we taught Monday and E.  It was just a really solid day and everyone was so happy!!  I know that here soon we're gonna have a LOT of baptisms, and I just feel so happy that everyone is progressing so much!  But dang it sure is making the time fly.  I can't believe i only have 8 weeks left.  But trust me.  I'm gonna make it count. 
Love you all, have a SUPER week! 

Elder Welch

Monday, July 11, 2016

07-05-16 to 07-11-16 Leadership Council

This has been a pretty rad week.  But also very unproductive as far as the work goes. But it's mostly Zone Leader Probs so whatever haha.

Tuesday we left Ipiales bright and early to head to Cali for leadership council.  As always, the bus ride took 13 hours.  PHEW.  But I always love MLC (Mission Leadership Council) because i get to check on my converts!  E Weight who's currently in Zarzal brought GREAT news!  Nabor is a counselor  in the branch presidency, and already has the Melchizedek Priesthood!  Also, Gerardo is a counselor in the Young Men's presidency and his preparing for his mission!  I guess Zarzal is about to become a ward.  It just needs higher attendance.  I'm so grateful to see the fruits of my labors.

Wednesday was MLC. Phew.  Long day, lot's of instruction.  But i did learn a lot about faith.  Sometimes the hardest part of being a missionary is just opening my mouth haha.  It was also cool that i got to get to know some of the missionaries better.  I made pretty good friends with E Rodriguez from Texas and E McDermott from Draper.  rad guys!

Thursday we got some Pony Malta and Pandebono for breakfast and head off for Ipiales.  The bus ride took a bit longer because some truckers have been protesting the raise on gas prices and have been blocking the highways and burning buses.  But don't worry, a ton of police and soldiers were escorting us :) I felt cool haha.

Friday we were all excited to work, but we ended up having to do house revisions.  It's always a good time, i feel like a cop searching the missionaries stuff for prohibited items!  haha! 

Saturday we had a zone meeting, my first one in Ipiales (and my 3rd to last one in the mission).  It went well, the missionaries in my zone are good at participating which makes it easy and makes the time fly.  But Saturday we also had our HUGE MISSION ACTIVITY in the branch!  We called it MASTER CHEF EXTREMO 2!  hahah it was basically like the one we did in Palmira but 100x cooler.  We had a lot more plates, 4 judges with their "judging number sticks" from 1-5, an announcer, a "camera man" and music!  It was way organized and we had a turn out of almost 30 investigators!  Pretty good for a tiny branch :)

Sunday was cool because even though we had almost no proselyting time during the week, we had 4 investigators come to church thanks to the members!  In gospel principles, we talked about "work and family responsibilities" and i felt pretty grateful that my parents had given me work to do like mow the lawn, (even though i whined about it haha).  also i felt grateful that i have a hard working dad and a mom that could stay at home with me.  That's SO important for kids to have the 2. 

Saturday night we finally got a chance to teach E.  He's SO happy with the church, and it's basically 100% sure he'll need to be baptized again.  But it'll be for the better because he's been inactive all his life and his papers are LONG gone.

So i'm not sure if it made the news but last night in Esmeraldas Ecuador there was an Earthquake, and we felt it in Ipiales!  (we're like 4 hours away).  While taking the weekly numbers from the missionaries, the chandeliers in our living room starting moving!  I couldn't feel it but I could see it!  Kinda cool!  We're so high up here in Ipiales that there's no real danger of a super strong earthquake so don't worry! 

Well that's been my week!  Different, but busy!  Which is all I can ask for.  Love you all, and I hope all is well! 

Elder Welch

"My soup"

 "Ipiales (my area)"


"The Pasto/Ipiales ZL Crew" 

 "Our 'Master Chef' branch mission activity"

"Chillin out at home"

Monday, July 4, 2016

06-28-16 to 07-04-16 HAPPY FOURTH!

When I told him our plans for the 4th of July, this was his response:
"today we made hot dogs and listened to the national anthem on repeat" :)
Wow so this week was kind of a fight against the immune system, and the area!  Not gonna lie, I do NOT remember day by day like I usually do haha so I'll just try my best to remember. 

This week I've STILL been sick, and my body has been all over the place haha some days i've had a wicked cough, other days a super runny nose and the sneezes, others i've felt really weak etc etc.  But i've kept going!  For the work of the Lord! Thank goodness I'm to an occasional unimportant cough so I'm good! 
This week we've been struggling to get lessons and new investigators.  We've walked a LOT and Ipiales has some gnarly hills haha.  It's good exercise haha.  But we have some really good investigators. 

One that's close to baptism is named San.  He's the 12 year old son of a less active family but he's really smart and responsible.  The problem there is that his dad isn't member and likes to take him to mass in the cathedral, so he has to have a talk about baptism so his dad can support him.  But his mom is a member and of course is on board.

Another investigator we have is named Li, and she's from Cali.  We found her accidentally last week knocking doors but she turned out to be REALLY good.  She used to be Evangelist, but fell away and is now looking for a church.  She has a really strong faith in Christ and always asks that we talk a lot about Jesus.  We had a really good lesson this week where she was kind of pouring out her heart to us about how she's frustrated with her weaknesses.  I shared the most heartfelt testimony that I could quoting scriptures from Ether 12 and Alma 36.  The Spirit was really strong and she admitted to feeling it.  We're trying to help her accept the Book of Mormon, because we know that'll help her find answers to all her problems. 

The last investigator I'll mention is named E.  He's our next door neighbor, and he says he was baptized 25 years ago as a child but we can't find his papers in the system, so i think he was lost a way back.  He's a funny dude, and really likes the fact that we come from other countries just to share the Gospel.  He's been inactive for YEARS but is starting to come to church again and LOVES it.  Sunday he got up in testimony meeting and said crying "I know this is the true church.  And i want to stay."  So we're gonna see if we can't find his papers, and if not, baptize him again!

All in all I'm happy here in Ipiales!  The weather is cold, the people are humble and the culture is rich.  Much work to be done :)

Elder Welch

I have some good pics but next week you'll have to see because the computer won't let me upload.. bleh