Monday, October 28, 2013

Who needs Brazil when you have Georgia?! (10/21/2013)

Whooooo baby. What a week. I think I'm starting to live the dream within' the dream. Like Inception... I've decided that I could do this for the rest of my life if I could be here with my family. It's really the only thing I miss that I care about.

So Elder David F. Evans came to our mission this week. Yep, that's right! He's head of the missionary department next to Elder Nelson and Elder Bednar (I think it used to be Elder Holland). Since he does this full-time and doesn't have really any other responsibilities like Elder Nelson and Bednar do, you could compare him to Captain Moroni. He's the leader of this incredible army. Man, and it felt so good to get slapped in the face by him this week. He said some awesome things.
To start, everyone was super pumped for him to come. Three zones met in a chapel next to the Atlanta Temple as we waited for President and Sister Harding and Elder and Sister Evans to show up. We were there for about an hour before they were to come, so we just sat in the pews studying. He was supposed to be coming in like 5-10 more minutes so I thought I should go to the bathroom before he came so I wouldn't have to get up while he talked to us. I pulled my companions outside and we started walking fast to the bathroom. One of my companions said we had to hurry up so I sped walked with my head down as I buttoned-up my suit jacket. Right after I finally got the button, buttoned, I looked up to open find the door.
"Hey how's it going Elder!"
"Ughhhhhhhh............." Haha first off, President Harding told us not to approach and talk to Elder Evans the night before because everyone would swarm him. I pretty much ran right in to his chest with my head down! They came early! Haha I was sooooo awkward. He asked again how I was and then we talked for a little bit while we entered the bathroom. Yep... I was the first one to talk to him. We had a nice bathroom talk... (Haha it was like 10 words said, but still... Pretty awesome.)
Anyway, I'll give you some highlights that he talked about and then a wrap-up of the week.
-Begin reading at the beginning of The Book of Mormon with investigators. Beginning as in the Title Page, then the Intro, then witnesses and Testimony... Holy smokes I've read those a couple times on my mission but he stood up there and just blew my mind away with things I've always just skipped over. He then read parts of the first few chapters with us and pointed out key doctrines to talk to investigators with- the first being the Family. He talked a lot about the first verse of "being born of goodly parents" (plural) and then why Heavenly Father chose Lehi's family to keep the record. Why keep a record of adysfunctional family? It was awesome. He then just went doctrine after doctrine taught in the first chapter (prophets, apostles, Jesus Christ, you can find the others...)
-He taught straight from Preach My Gospel, expounding on chapter nine and said how we should rarely ever go tracting. He then left an awesome promise with us if we would commit to becoming a Preach My Gospel missionary.
-He also told some cool stories about different apostles that they have told him (sorry, it would take a few hours to tell you all of them. In total, he talked for about 6 hours to us. It sure didn't feel like that though.
-The biggest point he made though was "Following-Up." He said that's the biggest key to missionary work. It was interesting to here how he explained it to us, especially asking everyone we talked to (no matter who it was, "Who do you know?")

All right, so this week was awesome. I know how much I loved reading Dustin's letters when someone would visit and I would wish he would write home more about it, so I tried to recap as much as I could with the time I have.
This week was full of miracles yet again. I wish I could just tell you a fourth of this week but it's impossible. There's nothing like a mission and seeing lives changing.

Probably the most important thing I learned this week however was myself. Being on a mission is hard. I would say (and I don't think anyone would argue) that I've had a pretty easy life. Regardless, I think it would be hard for anyone. I've been having a really hard time. I hope you haven't been able to notice but it's hard. I don't know how else to put it. I've had so many awesome lessons and experiences so far but it just hurts to see people's agency I guess. I've never cared about someone so much in my life. You constantly are thinking about how you can help someone nonstop. All day, every day, in the morning, during studies, riding your bike/car (we got a car this week), in lessons, in prayers, during meals, and dreams... And then you come up short. Always. Every time. (Thank goodness for the atonement, right?!) I got really down on myself this past week because I've been working so hard with Elder Peery. Trying everything I could. And then he got sent home. He'd been out on his mission for almost a year and then his mental health kind of failed him while he was training me and he had to get sent home. I had about a million things go through my head as I kept thinking what I could've done more of, better, shouldn't have done. Man, and I was really starting to love him, whether he did or not.
I guess what I'm trying to say is being on a mission is awesome. It's like the parable of the pickle that Elder Bednar (I think) talked about in a P. Conference a few years ago. Being "soaked" in this pickle juice of a mission is really starting to sink in to me and change me. I'm constantly uplifted by prayer and labor with power as give everything I can. I wish I could explain my thoughts better. I'm weak-sauce when it comes to writing but just know, that I'm so happy.
I guess the harder it is, the more happier I get.
I love you
Elder Welch

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