Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"You Just Got Book of Mormon Slapped"

Let me send some shout outs to where it´s needed.
Ashley and Adam have jumped on the ´´write Elder Welch every week´´ and let me tell you, its one good ride... Thanks for the letters. Also, congrats for you Ash! I loved hearing about the prompting you received to share the gospel with your doterra friend. Fill me in on the deets! You can expect that I'll be following up with you. I was so happy to read that.
Brittany send me pics of her awesome family and I just about showed everyone here in this computer house. I was so happy. I tried printing them but it wouldn't work last week. Cant wait to receive those puppies in the mail sometime soon!
Mom started her journal. What whattttt?!?? Yeah! Thanks for accepting the invitation to write scripture for me. Haha seriously,I'm ´´future happy.´´ I know the Lord will bless you as you keep a record of your awesome life.
Dustin wrote me about his job and how hes getting thick in the gym everyday. Parabems!
And dad and his talks at conference. I loved the one about the momentum shifting in a basketball game. Mom and Ashley said it was really well written and the Spirit was dynamite. Ashley told me about promptings she received during the talk. The Stake President visited us yesterday in our Branch. Its funny because all of the missionaries always get super nervous around the mission and stake presidents... As for me (with President Perrotti - a little) with Stake Presidents... Pshhh, I tell them they´re no big deal. Haha I'm proud of you dad. I also used the thought you gave me with Ammon´s sheep with a recent convert and taught him how he needs to heed Ammon and recognize when he´s scattered. I really like that twist
If you notice, everyone in the family wrote me except for Matt... Joe didn't either but he wrote me some solid ones last month. But MATT! What´s going on brotha?! Haha

Well, this week our shower head broke, meaning the hot water. I know how Sister Holly Welch felt with no hot water... Holy cow its seriously TERRIBLE! Haha my companion screams in pain every morning. Haha he has this scream he does before running under the cold water. Haha but I love the suffering. I just tell myself - Ill laugh about this terrible event at some point later in my life.
We saw a lot of miracles this week, including a pastor of a church. Ohhh yeahh. The Spirit was WITH us. We scheduled an appt with him the day before. On Thursday, we entered to him with a video of his religion, a page full of scriptures and notes, and a Book of Mormon with a bunch of markings.
Long story short, we settled all of his doubts about the Book of Mormon, how the Bible doesn't say the word´´Book of Mormon´´ but how it also doesn't say the word ´´Bible´´ just profecias, and then sealed it with our testimonies. We returned back and he was studying about temples. He accepted baptism on the fact that if he can't find one error in the Book of Mormon. MAN! I love that book.

Happy birthday to mom! Yeeeeeeeeee! Also Elder Persinger and Cody. This week would have a lot of cake in Deseret. But mom, I wrote in my planner that it was your birthday and was thinking about you. How grateful I am for your example. One thing I studied this week was the impact the Savior had on the life of women and how he took care of his mother. I loved thinking about this as I studied because I felt a little bit of what he probably felt like. It was interesting that the first recorded miracle He performed was something to help His mom with.

Unfortunately, gotta go, but I love you mom! Love you fam! The church is true!

Preach My Gospel chapter 10 - use the scriptures section
Through my example of using the Book of Mormon and applying it to them will help them live the commandment to study the scriptures every day. Like the Pastor, I get Book of Mormon slapped every morning. I LOVE The Book of Mormon. I love the Savior. He lives!

Elder Welch

ps. I don't know how, but if you can try to hunt down the email of Brother Prince. I need to write him an email. Please ask members in the ward that were close with him or his family.

pss. I need a picture of my baptism for an investigator. They don't think they're 9 year old daughter has accountability yet. I want to show them the influence baptism had on me as an 8 year old.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Water Grave

Wow, what is happening in Socorro!? I seriously love it here. Zion all day long. The members are giving us referrals, The Lord is placing prepared people in our path (referrals from Heaven), and miracles are happening every day. Before I started the mission, I made a two goals that I would like to complete while serving. With these two goals, I made another when I arrived in Socorro. Before I leave Brasil, I have to see Socorro open a ward. It´s more of a hope than a goal for me because I know I wont be serving here for the next year, but the Lord is accepting this desire of mine and just showering us with blessings.

Vanderlei, the man I wrote about a couple of weeks ago who was a few days away from divorcing his wife, decided to be baptized this week. He told me, ´´Your message is different than all of the others. You guys really focus everything on Christ.´´ He later said, ``If I´m going to follow the example of Jesus Christ, I'm going to do it right. I want to get baptized in the river.´´
WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, I have had so many dreams about this. Standing in the water like John the Baptist with a wave of people coming towards you, clapping their hands and shouting, ´´This is the desire of our hearts!´´ (Mosiah 18). Haha but when Vanderlei said this, I about died. This past Saturday was the happiest, most memorable moments of my life. It was better than winning the league Senior Year against Coffman at the end of the game or winning the tournament in Italy. Saturday, as Oliver Cowdery put it, was ´´a day never to be forgotten.´´

Saturday morning, we went searching for a good spot along the ´´Rio do Peixe´´ in order to have a spiritual baptismal service. After scoping out a spot, we went and contacted a few referrals near the church and then returned for the baptism. Vanderlei just about started crying because he spent a lot of his youth fishing in the exact spot that we chose. He went on and on about how special this place is to him, and how he dreamed the night before how awesome it would be if that was the place we chose... ´´Hey, this is the Lord´s work baby!´´ I told him.
However, it seriously felt like Alaska. The water had to be negative 10 degrees. I seriously don't know how it was still liquid - the coldest water Ive felt in my life. Haha we entered holding hands because it was so cold. He turned to me with doubt on his eyes, wanting a little to return back to the chapel and be baptized in the pool there, but I recognized it and said, ´´Hey, we´re going to follow Christ exatamente hoje!´´ With his chin quivering up and down, teeth chattering, he said, ´´Okay. Let´s do this!´´ Agh! Haha I wish you all could´ve been there.

As I raised my hand to the square, the coldness went away and time seriously froze. I helped him come back out of the water, seeing a smile on his face. He looked at me, not saying a word, and then looked at his wife. He was so happy. He gave me kiss on the neck followed by a hug. ´´You´re like a son to me. Thank you.´´
His wife after told me that she wants me to baptize her in two weeks. They are so happy. The gospel of Jesus Christ has changed their lives. It saved their marriage. They call me their Brasilian parents now. I wish I could describe the feelings of gratitude I have for Heavenly Father.

The Lord blesses me with these snippets of time when I feel like I´m on the top of the world. But soon after, my heart groans for those that are rejecting the truth. I see the miracle of the atonement and restoration only blessing the smallest number of families here in Socorro. Oh that I wish I could have a voice of a trumpet.

I love you all. I pray for you by name and by face everyday. This is the Lord´s work. I love it!
Elder Welch

I hope dads talk went awesome on chapter 13 of Preach My Gospel. I was praying for him this week that he would be able to speak by the spirit. We have stake conference here in two weeks. I'm not going to lie, I'm a little sad that I wont be hearing dad speak at the end.

Preach My Gospel thought:
I studied this week what it means to "Find those that receive you". I never understood what that meant until this week. I realized it's to recognize those that recognize you as a representative of the Savior. This week we received free food in a bakery, a person in line looked at my name plaque three times, or receiving some free fruit in the road... Here's just of few examples of those that recognized that Ive been called to represent Jesus Christ. Its such a blessing serving a mission.

I wish I could explain more about this thought but here's a picture to illustrate a point - 

I'm here in Brasil "pulling" people to baptism. I'm never "pushing". This is a false doctrine. Only teaching those with the converting power or "pulling power" of the Spirit. In order to do this, my testimony needs to be there in the baptismal font before I even arrive at their door step (or in Brasil, in front of their fence...)

Love you family!
Elder Welch

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Becoming Brasilian

Wow, it was so good to talk to you all yesterday. I was talking with my companion yesterday after we hung up and mentioned how its always motivating as a missionary after talking with your family because you know they´re praying for you. Thanks for the support, the prayers, and the fun time yesterday. Our Branch President´s family really enjoyed watching theconversation. They later hammered me with questions about the American culture and about our family - haha it was fun.

This week we went all out. Sun´s out, gun´s out - in a modest missionary way. As I went to bed the other night I was thinking about all of the things we had done. This past week was crazy.

As I mentioned last week with my companion and his greenie fire, we set a goal this week to baptize four people. I hate not reaching goals, and I especially don't like it when it´s evident when someone has more faith than me (my companion). It was a good push though, not competitive, but inviting. I agreed to the goal later making plan A's, plan B's and plan C's to reach it.
Trying to push away all doubt and fear, we set out to work with cram-packed plans. We had members lined up to go on divisions with us almost every night, to take us to the far away cities (Lindoia, Pinalhzinho, and Salto), over 30 minutes away by car. We focused on less active families who have family members who aren't members, but have already been to church multiple times. We found Rodrigo and Manoel, both husbands of less active members, Cris, the grandma of two recent converts, and José Lucas, the son of a less active single mom.
The miracle of the week came on Friday when we showed up the house of Cris. We confirmed, because of the tender mercies of the Lord, three of the four on Thursday night, but Cris was still missing. We went in to our lunch appointment fasting that the Lord would touch her heart. She had already had spiritual experiences at church before, but she didn't understand why she needed to be baptized again. With studies focused on the apostasy, we went in super focused.  Because she lives so far away, we had a member come look for us. He was running behind for a different appointment and came rushing in to the appointment really behind schedule. ´´Sorry Elderes, I don't mean to come rushing in like this but Ive got to go now. I have an appointment at 3:00.´´
Knowing it was the will of the Lord for Cida to be baptized on Saturday, I stood up with all the guts I had and reached my hand out while she was talking.

´´Irmã Cida, you have explained about your desire to serve the Lord until the end. Because of this, we have a great opportunity for you to be able to reach this... (long pause). we planned your baptism tomorrow night at 6:30. (Even longer pause- haha she was shocked!). Do you accept?´´

Time seriously froze. No one talked.

With my hand reached out to congratulate her, pushing away all doubts of her saying no, she humbly grabbed my hand and said, ´´I accept.´´

We shook hands and then ran to the members car - haha he was so rushed for time.
When we reached the car my companion and I screamed, jumped around like little girls and then said a prayer of gratitude. The Lord heard our prayers, accepted our fast, and blessed us with the desire of our hearts.

As I reflect back on the experience of the families that returned back to church yesterday because of the baptisms and confirmations that took place, it´s hard to fight back the tears. Families really can be together forever.

The Branch President, the first counselor, our ward mission leader, and a couple of other members gave us hugs yesterday as they have never seen so much excitement in this tiny little town.

I'm grateful for the greenie fire my companion has. The invitation he humbly gives me to elevate my faith, to understand that I really do represent the Savior,  and that I'm here not just to better myself, but to better the lives of all of the people that are around me - it´s interesting how that's the way the Lord decided Preach My Gospel should begin. With a scenario of people surrounding you everyday. Every person in my path is a referral directly from Heavenly Father.

I love you all. I'm striving to become more and more like the Savior everyday. Brasilians inherited the trait He had of happiness - and like the apostle Paul, I´m trying to become more like the people I'm teaching. Why? To win the people for the gospel (1Corinthians 9:20-23). I hope you could feel yesterday how happy I am as a missionary.

I'm livin´the dream!
Elder Welch

Monday, May 5, 2014

Greenie Fire!

No! We made plans with our Branch President to call around 1:30 but Ill change it this week. Ill call at 3:15ish if that´s okay (brasilian time). I hope that's okay because there's no way of checking if its not. We started our branch mission plan and go on divisions every sunday afternoon. Ill talk to the leadership this week to push back our visits a little mais tarde so I can call. Our mission president said 1 hour - OH YEAH! More 15 minutes that Georgia! Whoop!
First, Ill start with Dad. AMEN! To your idea of speaking on chapter 13. Holy cow, that´s the best idea ever. Two weeks ago my companion and I received some money from the Branch to go to the temple and buy a bunch of Preach My Gospel´s to bring back to Socorro. We had our first class last Sunday where we had a good turnout, and have begun using it in our leadership meetings now too. The leadership here is good and bad. They literally have 100 percent trust in us - so, we really can accomplish the things that WE want as missionaries, but bad because they have some branch stuff they need to do. It´s been a real learning process from me as I have had to take a good chunk of the load in teaching the leaders their duties. I'm grateful for the responsibility however.
We have a little bit of a problem here right now with the leaders on the stake level and the branch here. Theres two branches in our stake and the Stake Presidency (from what people say) doesn't pay much attention to us. No one from the stake level visits or does training. We´re in the process of trying to make the line of communication better between them. A lot of work that I didn't expect I would do as a missionary - anyway, dad, you're awesome. Haha I sometimes think what it would be like to rewind to when Dustin was a missionary, be his companion and you as our stake president. I don't know if that's a good thought or bad thought, but I'm grateful that you both are strong and active, with forte testimonies. Chapter 13 of Preach My Gospel... I'm excited to hear how it goes.
Dustin graduated?? Wow! Haha he made it. Its so weird thinking that he finished at BYU... So old!

My new companion is awesome. Straight up awesome. He´s the first companion I´ve had on the mission that pushes me. Ive always felt like Ive been the one pushing my companions, but Elder Amâncio (hallejujah he´s Brasilian!) is gun-ho on missionary work. Yesterday we set goals as a companionship for things we want to accomplish this transfer. He seriously has the most faith. I asked him how many people he wanted to baptize this transfer and he said ______ (number HUGE!!). I looked at him and just shook my head - ´´I was like you 10 months ago...´´ I thought
But I later thought more about it. Why not? Haha he´s got the fire, he´s got the faith, let´s do this baby! I always was kind of arrogant that I was the person most excited in the world about missionary work - but he beat me this week. Time to step it up on my part. I'm grateful for this inspired transfer. Unfortunately, I have lost a little bit of that ´´Greenie Fire´´ I came in to the mission field with.

Preach My Gospel thought - Chapter 6
Hope - it´s manifested in 1.confidence, 2.optimism, 3.enthusiasm, and 4.patience perseverance 
Your faith will increase as you elevate your hope. Hope for eternal life. Pray for eternal life. And manifest it by your GREENIE FIRE! 
Love you all. Can´t wait to talk to Mom THIS SUNDAY!!!
Elder Welch