Tuesday, July 30, 2013

On Fire!

Week 2 down... WHAT?! One of the elders this week said we only had 100 more weeks left on our mission. I was like, "Don't say that! And by the way, it's 102..." Little did I know, I'm assigned to come home June 30th, 2015. What's up with that?! President Perrutti will be hearing from me when I get down to Campinas. "Hey President, there's a typo we need to fix..." Haha but seriously, I can't believe I'm writing about this right now but I was joking with some of the Elders in my district this week that I was assigned to serve for a period of 24 months, not 23.5 months. Anyway,here's another brief, very brief, "journal entry" of my second week as a MISSIONARY! Whoop!
So I was conducting a District Meeting and I listening and suggesting ideas we could do better as a district this coming week with our "investigators", learning doctrine, and learning the language. At the end of the meeting I expressed how most, if not all of the elders in the district, are much more qualified to be in my position to interviewing and leading meetings and discussions. I thanked them for helping me out however and then asked them for some constructive feedback. "What can I do to better serve and help you?" No one said anything. I could tell one of the missionaries wanted to say something so I pleading with him to just "Lay it on me!" Haha, he wouldn't so I shared the story of Joey D slamming his face in to my facemask at halftime of the Delaware game my Junior year and how terrified I was. I related that to having "my feelings hurt" and told them that it wasn't possible. I'm not sure if the way I just wrote that makes a whole lot of sense but I think it did in the meeting. Anyway, everyone started laughing and then my companion gladly raised his hand to let me know what I need to stop doing or start doing to help them out. "Yes, finally! Elder Lundquist... Let me hear it."
"You need to stop talking so much in your sleep. You keep waking us all up..." Hahaha WHAT! Everyone started laughing and I told him that "I will really try harder at not doing that..." Haha I knew he was just messing around but I guess I've developed a little bit of "Matthew syndrom." The other Elders jumped in right after that and told me some of the things they've woken up to from me. The loudest I guess I was must've been the first week and I guess I screamed, "That's awesome!" loud enough to wake everyone up... Haha they also said I'm laughing a lot at myself. Yikes. Haha I told them I couldn't help it. "Sorry Elders, I can't help being happy. I'm finally a missionary now."
One of the coolest experiences this week happened on Sunday. A sister in my district came up to me in private and asked if she could have a preisthood blessing. She's really having a tough time and stressing out about a couple of things. I sat up in my seat and just smiled back of my ear to back of the other ear (yep, that's bigger than the Grinch's smile...) and said, "Of course." Another missionary and I found a quite, empty room and took her and her companion inside. We sat down and I asked her for her full name. After saying a silent prayer for the spirit and reviewing the order of blessings for comfort I layed my hands on her head along with another Elder. As soon as I began with her name my entire legs went numb. As I proceeded with the blessing the feeling went up through my body and out to my arms. I was completely just "numb." I dont' know how to explain it. I said things I tried writing down in my journal a couple hours later as I recapped the experience but I literally could not think of anything outside of three words. It was unbeliveable. I closed in the name of Jesus Christ and I looked up. I went to go shake her companion's hand and then her hand to thank them for the opportunity I had to exercise the Priesthood we hold and then to tell them how grateful I was that they asked, because the blessing is ultimately predicated on the faith of that person. But I reserved those comments for a little bit later in the night because I walked over to her and she was crying. It was nothing the Elder and I did, but the Spirit was so powerful. Sister Barr, the companion of the Sister who was struggling, hit her chest with her fist and said, "Thank-you. That was the Spirit." I smiled and shook her hand and then turned to Sister Harrast who I thought maybe was praying because her head was down. She looked up with tears rolling down her cheek and just muttered a simple, "Thank-you." Sister Barr kept apologizing for crying but expressed how greatful she was for the Priesthood.
I wanted to tell that story only because of how grateful I am for the Priesthood in my life. I'm absolutely dumbfounded when I think about why I was chosen to be born in to this church and why Heavenly Father trusted me enough to hold this sacred authority. It was definitely something I won't forget.
So I clearly love it here. This place is amazing. Elder Holland I guess made a comment that, "the spirit is so strong at the MTC, you would be able to pick up the phone book and read it and still feel the spirit." That's definitely true. Everyone's always smiling and helping people out. Everyone holds doors open for eachother and picks up trash. I actually really like holding doors open for a significant period of time because everyone will say "thank-you" in their mission language. Some of them are FUNKY! The only thing that isn't so awesome here is having to be here another 4 weeks. Sure, I love it here and am so happy I'm finally a missionary but it's like sitting in the locker room right before the biggest game of your life. It's like getting the most inspirational/motivational/ go out and just dominate someone's face off with the gospel of Jesus Christ type speech, and then you have to sit in the locker room for a couple more hours before going out to play. Haha, I'm really looking forward toAugust 30th. I understand that this program is inspired though and that I really would be in for a mess if I had to talk to a native Brazilian in Portuguese. I've only been here for 13 days... But on the flip side of that, in just two weeks I've learned more about how to speak and become better at speaking then I did in all of Spanish I and Spanish II of High School. Some of the missionaries get discouraged during lessons with our investigators that they can't speak the way they want to but I try to highlight the perspective of things. It's really amazing seeing how quickly you learn with the Spirit. 7th Article of Faith speaks the Troof! We begin and end all of our studies with a prayer and pray for the gift of tongues. I wish I could spend more time talking about this, but I want to talk about a couple other things before my time is up!
My district this whole past week at meals kept making comments like, "Man Elder Welch, I've never seen someone eat so healthy in my entire life!" Haha I was like ooooohhhh baby, you've clearly never met the Bosler's... But what was funny was Sunday came around, haha, and the sisters in my district were almost appalled by my "cheat day." Hahaha, after lunch I went and got chocolate milk and ice cream and poured the ice cream in to the milk. I might have thrown some cookies in to that puppy as well. After I was done making my concockshin (yikes on spelling there but I have five minutes left so dont judge...) I looked up and started rubbing my hands together to get all of the cookies crumbs off. Haha I don't know why I'm going in to so much detail about this but while I was doing that, four of the sisters were looking at my plate in front of me with their mouths open. "Elder Welch!"
"Sorry sisters... Today's my cheat day." Haha I felt like I was sinning or something for eating a "make-shift milkshake." Haha I gues they thought I was healthy all seven days of the week...
Anyway, I have one minute. Friends, I PROMISE I'll respond next week to you all. I love this gospel and I know it to be true with all of my heart. I have some AWESOME insight I've learned this week from reading the bible that I'll share hopefully next week with you all. Dustin, please send me both the Bednar and Maxwell talks. Really want to read them.
Mom & Dad. I'm so grateful for you all. 
I love you all!
Elder Welch

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Livin' the Dream!

Aghhh! Is this real?!? I'm lovin' it here. Soaking everything in, well, trying to at least... I look at my nametag all the time. Haha I sometimes take it off during class and just look at it. I almost feel like I'm looking at Dustin's or Dad's, but now I'm starting to be like, "Yeah baby, that's me!"
Okay, so I love it here. I don't know where to start and I only have 50 minutes left! Agh! Haha okay that might seem like a lot of time but it takes me about 45 minutes every night to write in my journal. So these letters home are a very small portion of what life is like for "Elder Welch". 
All right, so Dustin dropped me off last Wednesday afternoon and I walked in to the MTC. (I'm not going to lie, that was pretty tough saying bye to Dustin. I've always looked up to him.) Memories came flooding back of when we dropped Dustin off at the MTC as a family. I thought of the Joseph Smith statue we took the family picture by and the videos we kept watching - "Family... Isn't it about... time?" Haha Matt and I used to always joke about that. Anyway, so then I went to a couple rooms to pick up everything I needed for the next six weeks, for teaching the Gospel and learning the language. The last thing I got was my nametag tho.... Oooooohhhhh baby was that awesome. It didn't seem real. This lady approached me with it about to put it on and I was like, "ohhh, I wish Mom could put this on me like she did for Dustin." I almost asked if I could put it on myself but I decided not to. Haha so I walked to class touching it every few steps being like, "Yeah baby. Who's a missionary? I'm a missionary." Haha it probably looked like I was way in to myself because I was smiling huge walking down the hall looking at myself, beating my chest every few steps. I just couldn't believe I was actually wearing one now... I finally found my room where I'll be learning Portuguese for the next six weeks and it turns out I was a little late. Almost everyone in my district was there when I opened the door to the teacher talking. "Tudo bem Elder! forignognwerqifhq[0fgh[g" Haha I stood in front of the class for like a full minute trying to understand him. I should of just sat down right away, instead I tried talking back to him. Hahaha, it was so bad. I finally in my head was like, "Yo teach! I clearly don't know Portuguese yet. Stop that right now before I mess you up." Haha I finally just sat down in my seat and took out a notebook. He didn't speak in English that entire lesson but he's way cool. He served his mission in southern Sao Paulo. 
We then went to a big meeting with a group of probably about 500ish new missionaries where they talked to us about everything we needed to know. A lot of good stuff was said and they taught some awesome lessons. The coolest thing was singing "Army of Helaman" with all of the new missionaries at the end of the meeting. They changed the last line of that song from "And we will be..." to "And we are now the Lord's Missionaries, to bring the World His truth." Ugh! I felt like standing up on top of my chair and shouting my testimony. It was awesome. One thing they stress here though, which I think is awesome, is the way you speak to each other. Since we're missionaries now, they want everyone to elevate everything they do- including speech. So they told us to call each other "Sisters and Elders" instead of using, "guys, man, dude, etc." That means no more calling people I like "broseph or bro-dawg-millionarie..." Haha but seriously, I never realized how much I use the words, "dude or man!" Agh! They told us to do ten pushups for everytime we accidently say "What's up dude" or "it's okay man." I'm seriously JACKED now! You wouldn't even recognize me. I have muscles, on muscles, on my mahhhhsclleesss now. I'm not kidding, I've easily done a couple hundred pushups in just one week. (oh and Dustin told me to say out loud, "And then it begins..." as I entered the MTC. Haha I felt so lame saying it but I did anyway just because I told him I would... Probably won't be funny to anyone but Dustin, but I'm just returning and reporting what you asked me to do. Haha I said it so soft I felt like a creep)
I really wish I could tell you everything that happened this week, I'm having the time of my life. Above is just the first few hours of the first day! So I'll try to highlight a few things some of you have wrote me asking. 
So my district is the BOMB-dig! I love them all. We have 14 people crammed in this tiny little room with these tiny desks. I'm not kidding, I have to take turns with my companion on sitting down in our seats for language study. Haha I always make a big scene before sitting down and suck in as much air as I can before shimming in to my seat (there's a desk attached to it so you have to make your body in to an "L" shape to get in.) I honestly feel like "Buddy the Elf" when I'm in class. Haha but I love it. 
We have six sisters and eight elders in our class, a little over half of them going to Campinas which is pretty cool. There's over a hundred missionaries here waiting on Visa's many of them getting reassigned as there six week MTC journey ends. I never knew how they did reassignments though. I'll tell you all more about it when I have more time in the future weeks. It's pretty cool.
My compainon's name is Elder Lundquist. Haha he cracks me up. He doesn't ever say much, especially in our lessons with our "investigator". Oh btw, we had to teach a lesson in Portuguese on Friday... That was the most awkward 20 minutes of my life. Haha he didn't understand anything from us. I love Elder Lundquist though. I pray for him every night. I think he's having a tough time with the language because he always just smiles at me when I look at him for help during our lessons. He's a good Elder and I'm excited for the next five weeks I have with him. He's from Pennsylvania, so not too far away from home, sweet home. 
Last comment, I hate to say this but I know Mom well enough that she would get mad at me if I didn't say anything about it. If they didn't tell the parents I probably wouldn't say anything because there's more qualified Elders in my district to be District Leader. Anyway, so my Branch President called me to be District Leaderon Thursday night and I was taken back a little bit. I didn't expect it especially since I'm the second youngest in my entire district. Everyone here has done a year of college except for one other elder in my district. But I'm definitely humbled by it and have learned so much- more than any leadership position I've ever had in school, clubs, or sports. I think the hardest thing is interviewing the Elders about how their companionships are going, homesickness, etc. because I'm younger than all of them. I constantly think of D&C 121 though.
Anyway, my time is up. I'm going to attach some pics below. Sure I've had some discouraging moments here this week but I'm not going to ever talk about that stuff. I'm on a MISSION BABY! (op! ten pushups...) I'm so happy. I'm finally livin' the dream. All day everyday. 
Btw, I LOVE your letters, keep them coming. Dustin wasn't kidding, letters are like gold here. I love you all!

Sounds lame but I really wish I could sleep in my clothes. I'm giving it everything I have and feel like I have no time to change... I would be lying to you though if I said I haven't slept with my nametag at night in bball shorts and a tshirt (yep, Dustin and Matt will make fun of me for that)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Elder Welch enters the MTC!

On Tuesday, July 16 Tyler was set apart as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He left later that day for the airport where he would be flying to Utah to go to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.

All his bags are packed, he's ready to go...

It was a hard good-bye for the whole family, but we are all very excited and proud of Tyler and his decision to serve the Lord for the next 2 years.

Tyler with his niece and nephews

Last family picture before saying good-bye!

Tyler arrived in Salt Lake City and was met by his brother-in-law, Adam (Brittany's husband) who lives out in Salt Lake.  Tyler's brother Dustin is also living in Utah right now while attending school at BYU.  So he was able to spend one more day with the remaining family members who are not in Ohio.  

On Wednesday morning, Dustin and Tyler drove down to the Timpanogos Temple to do a temple session with Porter and Hunter Jenkins.  Hunter is one of Tyler's friends from HS and just so happens to be entering the MTC the same day!  He is serving a mission in Argentina.  

Following the temple session, Tyler and Dustin met up with Adam at Cafe Rio for one last lunch together.  

Then Dustin drove Tyler down to Provo, they said their final good-byes, and Tyler walked off into the MTC to begin his missionary training.

Tyler is going to be an amazing missionary, and we are anxiously awaiting his first letter to see how everything is going!

If you are interested in writing Tyler there are a few different ways you can do so:

  • DearElder.com is a free website that allows to type out a letter and it will print it out and mail it to them the same day.  You can also send care packages to him at the MTC if you feel so inclined! :) Fill out the information for Elder Tyler Welch at the Provo MTC.  He is unit #22, mission code is BRA-CAM (for Brazil Campinas), estimated departure date is 8/27/13. 
  • You can write him a good ol' fashioned letter by hand and mail it to:
Elder Tyler Richard Welch
2007 N 900 E Unit 22
Provo, UT 84602
  • Or you can email him at tyler.welch@myldsmail.net
Please feel free to comment with any thoughts or questions you may have.  I know Tyler would love to hear from as many of you as would like to write him.  Letters are like gold to missionaries and I know it would brighten his day to hear from you!!

We love you Elder Welch!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mission Call

Tyler received his mission call on February 22, 2013.  He called up everyone he knew and invited over 1,000 people on facebook (just a little overboard..) to come to his house to see him open up his call!  Everyone took bets on where they thought he would be serving for the next 2 years.

With much anticipation, he began reading "Dear Elder Tyler Richard Welch..."

"you are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  You are assigned to labor in the Brazil Campinas mission."

Tyler will be serving for a period of 24 months and reports to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah on July 17, 2013 because he does not have his visa yet to go to the Brazil MTC.  He will learn how to speak Portuguese as well as how to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ for 6 weeks until he is sent out in the field in Brazil!  Tyler has prepared to serve a mission his whole life, and cannot wait to get started.

If you are interested in hearing about Tyler's experiences on his mission, feel free to follow this blog as his family will post updates from him as they receive them!