Tuesday, August 13, 2013


All right, so Mom told me last week's letter was lame and I need to devote all of this time to writing home instead of friends. So, once I get out in the field, I'll write all you guys. My Pday is always cut short bc every Tuesday night we have a devotional and choir has practice at 5:00 pm. So, I eat dinner at 4:00 pm only giving me about an hour to handwrite letters after doing laundry, going to the temple, and writing home. I'll have more time out in the field, so please be patient for TWO MORE WEEKS!!! WHOOOOO!

So first, I was able to go to the temple this morning and let me tell you- wow. Last week they asked my district if we could help them clean the temple one day (bc its been closed for the 6 weeks) and that was an incredible experience. I wrote it all down in my journal, so I'll be able to share that with you all in two years. Haha sorry, I want to talk abt missionary work right now. But last thing, if you haven't been to the temple in the past two/three weeks fam, go. Every time I've gone since June I've learned something, but today, I learned abt 10 different things. What a blessing it is to have temples on the Earth. They put things in perspective and motivate you to do better.

Okay, so let me start by saying how grateful I am for all of you. Your prayers and letters are incredible. I wish I could respond to you all, especially the family individually, but there's not enough time in the MTC. I think it will change a bit in the field but just know that I love you all and your consistent support is very appreciated.
It's weird thinking school is starting up! Haha what?? Matt's talking abt two a days ending and friends are telling me how everyone's starting to part ways- it still feels like its July 17th! Haha I've already been in this place for a month. Time has definitely flown by. Anyway, piece of advice to all the high schoolers, GO TO SEMINARY. Sister Nelson has prepared me so well its unbelievable. Let her know how much I appreciated her lessons. I still remember some of them very specifically. And scripture masteries... whooo baby! those come in handy. It seems like whatever the topic is, I can relate it to some scripture mastery I memorized. So, you want missionary advice? Memorize, memorize, memorize. It's such a blessing - especially with studying things. I've memorized a scripture everyday so far since I've been here. Well, I missed two days but I'm not going to count those bc I've memorized a couple of scriptures on other days, so I've made up for them. I memorize it first in English so I can make sense of it in Portuguese. It's helped a lot with learning vocab and making sense of sentence structure/ grammer. Holy cow is my pronunciation bad tho.... Yikes. No. BIG TIME YIKES. Here's a story you'll all hopefully enjoy:
So we were teaching an "investigator" the Restoration and everything was great. We were understanding him well and we were communicating almost everything we wanted to say. Right before we quoted Joseph Smith's First Vision, I was telling the background to the story. (One interesting thing I've learned btw, is he started his studying when he was 12. He didn't just "open" to James 1:5 one day and had that thought. He definitely paid the correct price to receive his answer. Anyway, something to think about as you continue your own studies and search for questions you need answered. Don't get discouraged, it will sometimes take time.) So I was feeling the Spirit strong and I was just PUMPED to share the First Vision exactly the way Joseph Smith recorded it and our investigator totally ruined it. Well, I did actually bc I didn't prepare well enough. I first made the mistake of not bringing my Portuguese scriptures in to the meeting with me... not smart. Second, I couldn't remember how to say the Book of "James" in Portuguese. Anyway, so I said something like, "He continued to diligently read and discover for himself, which of all the churches were right. He then read a scripture in the bible that challenged him to 'ask God, with real intent, having faith that you will receive an answer.'" I tried to fast forward through that but it was no use... Hahaha oh man I want to slap myself just for telling you all this. Soooo, he asked me RIGHT BEFORE The Spirit was about to bring the house down with those powerful words, "What scripture was it?"
(Gulp...) "Uhhhhh..." My heart started racing. I said, "I'm not sure exactly what it is in portuguese but in English it's called "James." Hahaha lamest response ever. He just stared at me. I then said a whole bunch of NOTHING for the next 45 seconds in some pretty bad Portuguese. Haha but then... It came! I had memorized it and could see it in my head! Haha I got so excited. It's in the book of (spelled the way I said it) "Chawn-choo. Yeah... It's in the book of Chawn-choo." Hahahaha oh man I don't know how he didn't just stand up and leave after that. Whooo was that bad. He looked at me with another blank stare. "Oh man..." I thought. I noticed he had a Portuguese bible in his hand and I asked it I could see it. Whoo! Save the day, right?! Nope! Haha I opened to the end of the New Testament but couldn't find it bc James is such a short book to begin with. I then went to the Table of Contents and saw what I thought it was, turned to it (chapter 1 verse 5). Phew! Finally this is over. I can finally share the best part of the Restoration lesson.
I opened to it and handed it to him. He looked at it and then I leaned over and looked at it... "Oh C'mon!" Haha this isn't even important! I thought. Just let me share with you something that will change your life, and your family's life forever. Just let me share with you my testimony about what Joseph Smith saw and the fruit that testifies of his call as a prophet. I seriously wanted to stand up, walk out the door, and then re-knock. I needed to start over desperately bc abt 10 minutes had passed and my companion was lost too. Turns out, we were in John, the verse didn't make any sense. After this ten minutes of doom, I finally recognized James (Tiago in Portuguese), opened to it, and then he understood. Haha it was bad. Real, real bad. But other than that, everything has been going great. I made sure just to laugh at myself with this story instead of getting discouraged. Especially bc my teacher was playing the investigator one time and started laughing at me.... Hahaha it's pretty funny. I should probably record myself now so I can laugh at myself in two years pronounce things like "Tiago", "Chawn-choo". (Haha, in Portuguese it's pronounced "Che-a-goo"... ay yi yihhh)

Seibert wrote me this week abt how camp is going at Kent State and how he wakes up at 6 in the morning and gets back at 9 at night. Please, high school two a days were so much worse.... Haha that actually sounds horrible. I can just remember getting out of bed in the morning, not used to the "football soreness" at the beginning of the year and wanting to just slide down the steps head first in the morning. I seriously was so tired all the time and never wanted to move my body. And then walking out to practice with the dew on the grass making your socks socked before a three hour practice started... To think it's worse than that? I'll pray for you, how abt that. Haha no but reading Matt's letters abt how they went (first sorry to hear abt the concussion! Yikes! That's no fun. Speaking of Seibert, don't rush the recovery of those. You want to make sure you'll be able to play later in the year then rushing back in to things.) and how sore he always is kinda makes me miss it a little bit. Haha believe it or not, I miss those times. When things are as hard as those three weeks are, you'll look back and really appreciate the work you put in. Man, there's nothing like high school football. I'm anxious to hear abt how your season goes and Ryan's...
Anyway, the reason I brought that up is because Seib actually said "your days are probably similar." Thanks! Haha I was like, "Yeah, you know what! It is pretty hard here." Haha I said that jokingly but I think if you're not happy, and it's so easy to get discouraged, this place is rough. So here's what my day is like.
5:30- woken up by MoTab baby! Most missionaries wake up just before 6 or 6:15,  but I like to wake up earlier so I can study more in the morning. I sometimes have already showered, shaved and completely dressed before the 2nd person has gotten in the shower. Kinda like Joe's first companion... Haha but seriously, I wish there was more personal study time.
6:30- Breakfast
7:00-10:00 - Language class with a teacher
10:00-11:00 - Personal Study
11:00-11:45 - Lunch
11:45-4:00 - the schedule changes here everyday but it's usually a combination of companionship study, language study on the computer, and language study with your companion
4:00-4:45 - Dinner (hardly ever hungry. Haha I feel like I just ate breakfast and then it's dinner time already... Not complaining though! Haha I'm grateful for them feeding us three meals a day)
4:45-6:00 - Usually companionship study or language study depending on the day
6:00-9:00 - Language study with another teacher
9:00-9:30 - Plan for tomorrow and what you will study, etc
9:30-10:25 - Kind of free time but it always takes me this whole time to recap the day in my journal or finish up some thoughts I had during Personal Study.
10:30 - Lights out.

So there you go. You can think of me throughout the day for the next two weeks and know what I'm doing the exact time you're thinking abt me! Haha lame... But to wrap this up, it's not physically exhausting but mentally. It's impossible to not gain weight here bc you sit down the entire day here and eat every four hours... (minus 50 minutes to exercise. Which I usually play futebol to prepare myself for Brasil!) Yet, I love it here. I love being a missionary and I can't wait to share the things I know to be true with all my heart to the people of Campinas.

I've been lately going through the New Testament and 3 Nephi and studying Christlike Characteristics. I have probably read 15 pages of scripture in the past two weeks. There's so much to learn in His life. If aren't searching for a specific question right now, I would invite you all to do the same. I've been a lot more happier and grateful for the things I've been so blessed to have in my life.
I know this church to be true with all my heart. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and the most important thing it does is testify of Jesus Christ. I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Living Son of the Living God. He lives and loves us. I can't stress how much of His love I have felt in such a short amount of time. My testimony began with an answer to a prayer about the Book of Mormon but it is founded on the truth that through His sacrifice, I can live again with all of you again. I love you all. Thank you for being so supportive. Your letters mean the world to me.

I promised some pictures, causing me to end a little bit sooner than normal bc it takes some time to upload them.

With love,
Elder Welch

 Celebrating a package from Karli!

 "My district is always asking why I stay in my clothes so long... Haha"

"First ever professional haircut... SUPER weird!  Haha, truly a life changing experience.  I'll tell you more about it next week"

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