Monday, February 17, 2014

"Men of Understanding"

Mosiah 1:2 - gotta love it. I think that´s one of my favorite lines in The Book of Mormon. I read that this week as I was studying more about the importance of investigators attending church and wrote it all over our house. If we all were ´´Men/Women of Understanding´´ (heart and mind), what would change about our behavior. Ughhhh, I love it.

So this week was great. We found a lot of people, and got to teach about 4 different families! Whoop! The sad thing is, one person came to church. We confirmed with so many people and nobody showed. Daghh!! Missionary work is a bunch of mountains and valleys. I haven´t figured out the Brazilian mind yet! Haha there´s so much work to be done. Which is both overwhelming and exciting at the same time. That one person though... aghhh I love her. She´s like 75 years old and four feet tall. You seriously have to press your ear up to her face in order to hear her. She´s so sweet and so humble. You sometimes just want to hug the old, poor women here. She showed up to church yesterday with sandals on.
First bite mark...
This week we met this man who came outside of his gate to talk to us. His wife got home a little bit later and opened up their gate. A 10 inch dog sprinted out of the house and out of the gate at me. Haha It was so tiny I kind of started laughing. It was angry at me for something... Anyway, it like jumped six feet in front of me and latched on to my ankle. Hahah it hurt so bad! I seriously could´ve punted that dog 100 yards it was so tiny. The wife was hilarious too. She was making all of these noises trying to catch it as the dog kept getting a hold of the bottom of my pants. I was dancing around the dog like I was on hot coals. Haha anyway, nothing bad came of it. No rabies...

I love the scriptures. Absolutely LOVE The Book of Mormon. and of course, I love Preach My Gospel. I love the Lord and am so grateful for this opportunity to work in His vineyard in my life right now. I know we will see some miracles in this coming transfer.

Elder Welch

Monday, February 10, 2014

Nephi Style

There´s no growth in the comfort zone, I think that´s one of the many things I learned this transfer. As the transfer comes to a close today, I spent most of this morning thinking about the past 6 weeks. Man it´s gone fast! I wish I could write more but we only have about 15 minutes to email today. I was able to print off your letters this morning and read them however. Thank you for your continual support. And mom in California?? Opa! That´s awesome. Trying to get away from the cold winter... I laughed when I heard the Bosler´s ward had been praying for rain and that´s about all you got to see. Another piece of evidence that He hears our prayers! Isn´t He awesome?

So this week I did something I don´t think any missionary has ever done. I recited the first vision while sleeping... Yep. I fell asleep during a lesson this week (I know, not good). We found this lady and her family named Fatima and we were teaching the Restoration. I was trying to hang on (I even stood up in the middle of the lesson and acted like I was ´´stretching´´ so I wouldn´t fall asleep), but I lost it when we were talking about the apostasy. My companion touched me on my leg, indicating ´´it´s time´´ (for the first vision, haha). I lifted my head up, haha, and with my eyes closed I recited the entire first vision. After asking a follow up question to try to help her recognize the Spirit, I gently put my head back down and fell back asleep. I lost all awareness of what was going on around me. I wish I didn't do that but luckily my companion said she didn't think I was asleep. Haha, she probably thinks I close my eyes when I feel the Spirit now...]

Anyway, this transfer´s has been the biggest challenge for me. Not the language, but just the complete change in way of how missionary work is done. It´s been a huge blessing to be apart of two different missions. I know I will look back and be able to benefit from both.

Anyway, I´ve been studying Nephi this transfer and how he accomplished the Lord´s command. Like I said last week, I feel like we´re in the stage right now of failing. Not failing in terms of trying to do what´s right, but getting the `job done´. I´ve tried and tried and tried, and everything keeps coming up a little bit short.
The biggest lesson for me was that I´ve been focusing too much on teaching the gospel. As missionaries, I think everyone focuses too much on teaching the gospel. It finally hit me this week that although I am a missionary right now, my identity as a child of God hasn´t changed. Living the gospel is the only way in this life to lay hold on every good gift. I would get so frustrated because Nephi accomplished the Lord´s command just by ´´following the Spirit.´´ I knew I had to make plans and couldn't just walk to street aimlessly looking for Laban´s body. However, the Spirit hit me to just live the gospel. I´ve been looking too long for the ´´secret recipe´´ of missionary work, when in reality, it´s just following the spirit. And how to we get the spirit? Faith unto repentance, baptism, and then we receive the Spirit. Since I´m baptized, it´s having faith everyday to repent during the day, and then taking the sacrament on Sunday. Ohhhh how much I love the sacrament.

I wish this letter makes more sense but gotta go search and rescue now!
Elder Welch

Monday, February 3, 2014

Bearing Testimony of Jesus Christ

This is a little late, but we had the opportunity to Skype with Tyler on Christmas Day.  Here is a video that we recorded from our conversation with him where he is bearing testimony of Jesus Christ.  We are grateful for the opportunity we had to speak with him and see his face!  We miss him a lot, but know the importance of the work that he is doing in bringing others to Christ.  


Some quick notes:
-Thank you for the credit card. I´m not able to confirm I have received it because its in international call. So maybe if you could call for me, that would help. If you need me to send you the number to activate it, I will next week. I left it at home. Thank you! I can also buy you a Brazilian world cup jersey or something to if Matt or Dustin wants one.
-Dad, Ricardo is in my ward! I ate at his house the first full day here. His wife is the one I sent a picture home holding the plate of food. We invited him to read the Book of Mormon everyday to help him prepare more to be sealed in the temple with his family. I follow up with him every sunday at church. That first day I was there, he made me eat about 10 plates. The members sometimes get crazy here. I tried denying a third plate of food one time, and the sister got offended thinking I didn't like the food. I'm learning subtle tricks though like not putting so much food on the plate, eating SUPER slow, or not eating everything on your plate so they cant tell you to take another plate. Haha
-Its good to hear about Marshall. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help out. I´m so happy he made the decision to be baptized still. Matt rocks!
So this week, and this transfer has been the greatest blessing on my mission. The language barrier hasn´t really been apart of the difficult times, but my mind I think. I got pretty confident in my ability to find new investigators, teaching by the spirit, and helping others progress, but Brasil is a whole new world. Haha what worked really well there, hasn´t done anything for us here. We´re still enduring to the end! But not really seeing any tangible results. I feel like we´re Nephi trying and trying and trying again to obtain the plates. We try something new, it seems like it will work out, and then we fail. I know the Lord provides a way, I´m just in the process of trying to figure that way out. It´s been a very humbling experience as I try and try and try again.Dustin reminded me this week though that I can´t fail when I have the Lord on my side - love it! I´ve been commanded to teach and baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and that´s what we´re going to do here! I´ve spent more time on my knees this transfer trying to figure out how I can "slay Laban" and just get the plates already! 
Rafiel, one of our few investigators had an incredible miracle happen to him. We´ve had some awesome conversations with him and about whats important in his life. He plays on an amature soccer team here in Jundiaí (he´s sweet at soccer) but hasn't been able to get a job to provide for his family. Through the Spirit, we promised him if we wouldn´t drink last weekend and attend church, he would receive a job... Well, the Lord provided and got him a job! Incredible. He hasn´t drank since and is very happy. The only problem is he works from 730 in the morning to 830 at night... This week were trying to get a member to drive us there because he lives so far away, but he is so tired from work, he doesn't want to meet with us right now. He didn't come to church unfortunately yesterday, but we´re trying to focus with him the importance of remembering what the Lord has done for us in our lives. 
It reached an all time high this week with the heat. We had a lady in the train station faint on us which was really scary. Everyone left her there in the sun, so Elder Lee and I took care of her. I sprinted to get some water and started pouring it in my hand and rubbing it on her face and cheeks. Haha I was like slapping her cheeks. She later woke up and I slowly gave her small sips of water (thank you boy scouts! haha). Anyway, the ambulance came and I´m sure she´s okay (we've been praying for her). I'm grateful the Lord put her in our path. 
Though the times are tough, I love it here! Prayer and my journal have been the best sources for me this transfer. As I continue to reflect and remember where I see the hand of the Lord in my life everyday, I´m happy. Its a good life. It´s a good, good life. 
Elder Welch