Monday, December 23, 2013

White Christmas

I cannot tell you how good it feels to be a servant of The Lord. I feel awesome!
Two different families were baptized this week which was incredible. It was the best attended baptism since I've been here, even with all of the ward members being out of town. The ward is starting to catch this fire behind them. It's exciting to see. We had a lot of ward members talk to us after the confirmationson Sunday saying how excited they are. It's very fulfilling to see the fruits of so much labor in the past few months. When I got here with Elder Peery, we started a new area book with nothing inside of it. Most members hadn't been out with the missionaries and the Bishop didn't really trust us. Now everyone is just pumped. I've been reminding and reminding and reminding (I've learned on my mission how many times you need to follow up with people) our ward mission leader and bishop about calling more ward missionaries and these new members to callings. I think they appreciate all the reminders though. I just want to make sure these awesome people stay active and are "converted unto The Lord," not to my companions or me.

So Myisha is the one on the left in the dress and then Michele, Courtney, Jalen are the ones in the center/right. I realized I hadn't really talked much about Michele's family in my emails but we've been working with them for about six weeks. They've been incredible to work with and so much fun. It was a wrestle at some points but with help from Heavenly Father, the Spirit worked all of their concerns out.
The greatest feeling I think I've had on my mission was yesterday when someone asked Michele and Myisha's mom about Christmas and when/what was the most memorable Christmas for them. They had different responses but with tears in their eyes they both said, "This Christmas. It's going to be this Christmas because of the changes I've seen in my children. I'm so grateful for the Elders." I can't take any of the credit but it was awesome hearing that. It's incredible to see family's lives being touched and changed. There's no place I'd rather be than on a mission this Christmas.

With the unbelievable feelings I had this week came the opposite. I saw this quote in the MTC from President Brigham Young and it definitely rang true this week. "In everything the Saints may rejoice - I rejoice because I am afflicted. I rejoice because I am poor. I rejoice because I am cast down. Why? Because I shall be lifted up again. I rejoice that I am poor because I shall be made rich, that I am afflicted because I shall be comforted, and prepared to enjoy the felicity of perfect happiness,... it is impossible to properly appreciate happiness except by enduring the opposite."

I'm sure you heard on Wednesday night that I was taken to the ER. I lost at least 10 pounds in the first 20 hours of this sickness and continued to lose weight the following days. I became so dehydrated that I would wake up in the middle of the night because of cramps throughout my body, legs and feet causing me to pry my toes back to get the cramp out, my tongue turned WHITE, and I couldn't stand up straight - grandpa style (doubled over). I was in so much pain, it was unbelievable.
The funny thing throughout this is that I've been studying the Christlike attribute of "Patience" the past two weeks. I quickly learned that patience is much more than just not getting frustrated because of someone taking a long time to do something but enduring opposition without COMPLAINT or growing ANXIOUS. Man was this hard during this sickness. In order to grow in this attribute I had been setting daily goals every morning. At night I would follow-up in my journal and through prayer with how I did. After about 10 days I saw TREMENDOUS growth in myself and felt the assurance that Heavenly Father was pleased with my progress... Then came the ultimate trial. We left the house at about 8pm and didn't get home until 4 in the morning. The entire time I kept quoting scriptures on patience or saying prayers to not "complain" in my head or grow anxious every time the nurse would come in to the hall to call some one's name. It was SO hard, but I think I made some progress. As I'm at the end of the sickness now today, I am ultimately grateful for the sickness. I learned a lot about the enabling power of the atonement. It also highlighted some areas I still need to work on.

This work is INCREDIBLE!! I look forward to talking with y'all on Wednesday! (I only have 40 mins on the phone unfortunately)

Elder Welch


Pictures from Zone Conference this past week:

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