Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fogo!!! (8/25/14)

Wow, last night I had probably the greatest conversation with one of my companions on the mission. This guy seriously was a blood thirsty Lamanite a year ago. It was the most incredible conversation I have ever heard in my life. I made a joke to him that I did Tae Kwon Do and could beat him up if he tried any of his tricks on me and he stopped me in the road and said, ´´Elder, the gospel didn't change my life. The gospel changed my heart. I don't have any more desires to do nothing bad. Just to do good everyday.``
And so it is, as the scripture says in Mosiah - ´´ more desire to do evil, but to do good continually.´´

I seriously love this man. I was so full of hope that every person in the world can become a member of the Christ´s church, last night as he told me some of the things he and his friends used to do. He´s really careful to not say anything he will regret, and I could tell there's a lot more, and a lot worse things he has done in his life, but I got the gist of it. Seriously, my companion is going to be the next prophet!
The Lord is blessing our desires to ´´open up our vision´´ and see things as Christ sees them. To say the truth, Ive been pretty arrogant (inwardly) about my area here in Socorro. It´s been more than 3 months when our key indicators are the highest in the mission. We have missionaries and leaders in different areas of the mission calling us to see what we are doing. The area of Socorro has a lot of fame now in the mission. But with that, I learned to be humble. I was frustrated last week because I wasn´t ´´progressing.´´ The numbers were there, and the highest in the mission, but I didn't feel like the Lord was accepting our work here. It was because I fell complacent and wasn't trying to improve. I was measuring my success after the success of others.
Well, with these prayers to open up our eyes and see what's possible, we taught a English class of 70 the first lesson. Haha 70 people at one time! WHoooooo! And we got invited to come back tonight. It wouldn't be legal in the United States, but here they are totally fine with it.
With the incredible change in my companions life and his faith to pave the way, I really feel like we will see miracles in the mission field aqui logo logo...

Elder Welch

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Number 10 (8/18/2014)

Man, I feel like I´m in a time tunnel. I feel like I wrote this yesterday, but the end of august and the start of September gets me PUMPED UP! Haha it´s football season! WHooooooooo! Haha Matt sent me a picture of the beloved number 10 he´s going to wear this year. I was so happy to see that, haha. Dad told me that 2adays ended and school started, so the season must start here next weekend? Fill me in on the details, I´ll be cheering all the way down here in Brasil.

I hear the coaches are pretty rough on Matt. I thought about the challenges I had with coaches in High School, and also about Dustin, Ashley, and Brittany. It's unfortunates, but it seems to always be like this. If I could give any advice it would just to do things the right way. To use the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith, in whom Matt was named after, ´´We teach them correct principals to govern themselves.´´ Apply the principals of hard work and teamwork and let the coaches govern themselves. Haha I hope that makes sense. The memories come from the way you feel in respect to what you did, not how much playing time. Its something I'm starting to learn on the mission. My success isn't how many people I baptize, but the work I put in and the feelings I have after is always the things I remember - about the areas Ive served in, the members Ive served with, and the people Ive helped. Doing things right will never be in vain. Your chances of playing time, or baptizing, are a lot higher when you do things the way He asks them to be done.

I was also really impressed to hear that Matt is going to the temple on a monthly basis. I loved hearing that he has a recommended usage temple recommend. Its a sign of worthiness, or manliness. I read a scripture this morning in D&C about how learning our duty and doing our duty allows us to be worthy to stand at the last day.
Dad! Holy cow, I think your last letter to me was the greatest letter you have written while being on the mission. Its because you talked about YOUR mission! About Auroa Diana and the decision she made the day of her baptism. I think your situation would've been harder because the baptismal font was already filled! There´s something special I learned from reading your letter. I felt connected in some way to her because you taught her. I think that's part of why we should keep a journal. I'm so engaged to your stories when you were younger, I think because you're my parents. I hope you and mom have started and are still writing in your journals at least once each week. Two scriptures to motivate is 2 Nephi 25:26 and the last verse in Jacob.
I don't have any advice with zone conference. The few things that are on my mind are about 1. vision (vision to baptize and strengthen units) and 2. accomplishing goals. I think Chapter 1 or 8 of PMG would give you some inspiration.

I'm also excited to hear about your PMG family nights. Dustin's FHE when he returned home from his mission about ´´diligence´´ I can still remember. Keep it up! I would like to hear about the things you are learning.

Sorry this is the second week without me talking much about the week. I'm currently working on helping some of these men with the Aaronic priesthood receive the higher so that he can open up a ward here in January! Our goal is set. The stake president visited us yesterday and talked to me for 50 minutes on how to save Socorro. I'm pumped up for the season not only because Football is starting, but also because these are the Last Days baby! Whoooooo!

I'm so grateful to represent my Savior. I love Him

Elder Welch

Oh yeah (8/11/2014)

This week was crazy. I told Grandma McFerson in a letter I just wrote, "sorry this email is so short. Life would be a lot easier as a missionary if His work wasn´t hastening." But on that note, it also wouldn´t be as exciting.

Man, it´s incredible to see the forces of good and evil as a missionary. Something incredibly miraculous happens, and then something devastating accompanies it. It´s a bipolar life - 2 Nephi 2:11

After last week´s crazy finish, The Lord opened up some big time communication for us. Julia, the older sister in the picture of the baptism, is seriously the shyest person I´ve ever met in my entire life! She´s also one of the sweetest, nicest sisters in the world.
Anyway, get this. The shyest person I think on this planet opened her mouth at school to her English teacher about us! She said something like an American missionary is visiting her house who talks English. The teacher flipped out with excitement and invited us to come to the school and talk with him. Well, wasn´t just with him, but his entire class of 15 students. But it wasn´t just the students... the principal of the school also sat in WITH THE SUPERINTENDENT! Haha they asked us what we do. I obviously had to talk about baptism. Haha I talked about just about everything without inviting them to be baptized because the Spirit restrained me, saying I couldn't do that in a school. But, I said we would like to help you guys be baptized in Christ's Church. We received all of their contact information and will pass by this week!
Buuuuuttttt the superintendent took a picture with us and is putting it in the newspaper with a date for us to come back and talk to the ENTIRE school! 900 students with their families... Uhmmm... 
Vamos lá então!

Love ya all,

Elder Welch

Preach My Gospel learning this week: The first sentence of chapter one of PMG under the section of ´´Baptism and Confirmation´´ really hit home with me this week. I´ve read a bunch of scriptures lately on how to magnify your calling (and received awesome letters from mom and how she´s reeeallllly going above and beyond with this) and realized how simple my purpose is as a missionary. To baptize and confirm people members of His church! Elder Bednar said also regarding your purpose, ´´if you don´t invite, you don´t understand.´´ This is one of the three goals I made for year number two on the mission. My head doesn´t hit the pillow at night until I invited at least one person to be baptized and confirmed. I´ve gotta turn in to a machine full of dishing out invitations.

Prestação de Contas (8/4/2014)

First things first, happy birthday to Elder McNamara. The big 2-1 this week! Man, its crazy to think that he only has a few more months AND that Elder Persinger is coming home THIS MONTH! I can´t believe it.
Well, this week was CRAZY! The craziest week on the mission happened to me this week on Friday night. But before I get in to this madness, let´s start with something a little bit lighter.
Socorro has a lot of farms. There's only 35,000 people in the city and I always joke that I think there´s more cows and chickens than humans. I also told my mission president that if he keeps me here until the end of the mission, I´ll baptize the 34,900 that aren´t members... Haha man this area has so much potential. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago we got a phone call from the Elders Quorum President with a referral. It was a family that he works nearby in a farm. We visited them one night and really got along well. The family is incredibly shy, but at the same time, incredibly awesome. We sat in their humble home, away from all human and growth civilization, with cows, chickens, birds, pigs, dogs, cats, and just about every other type of animal. At the end of the lesson, I explained that I always had a desire to catch a chicken by the leg and milk a cow... Well, last pday we got invited.
Haha it was so much fun, and yes, I succeeded. It was so weird at first, and I was completely clueless as to what I was doing, but it was a lot of fun. They were laughing at us the entire time too because they could see the confusion on our faces. Anyway, here's some pictures. (I didn't catch a pig (they're SO FAST) but one of the members of the family caught one and let me hold it. Everything else however, I managed to do. I felt like a true farmer's boy. (with an incredible farmer's tan)).

So we started off the week thinking 5 people were going to be baptized on Saturday. Slowly but surely, Satan had his (fake) hand in the mix of everything and only one person stood standing by the end of Friday night.
Januária is the mom of a family of 5. She received an answer to her prayer about the church and desired to be baptized. She made us bread, bbq´d for us, and bought us a cake. She LOVED us!
Friday night we brought Elderes from a different city to do the interview, and then you wouldn't believe what happened.
She was SO PUMPED! But while she was being interviewed, THE PASTOR OF HER OLD CHURCH SHOWED UP!
This church has "Elders" that are like the bishops and the pastors are like the Stake Presidents. Imagine, the stake president of this church showing up at the door while she was being interviewed.
Januária passed the interview and left the room with a huge smile. "Elder Welch! Elder Welch!"
She was caught by surprise...
To make a long story short, and an incredibly spiritual experience sacred, the power of the Priesthood is real. He not only "dissed" us for 45 minutes, but straight up blasphemed before God. The Spirit gave us the approval and after a command to close his mouth and leave, he immediately obeyed. The Spirit testified of the reality of the Restoration of Christ´s authority. We felt like Nephi when he shocked his brothers when they murmured about building a ship and Joseph Smith in the chamber when everyone was speaking in fowl language.

We left the house a little bit later with the baptismal record in hand, everyone amazed and quiet. We returned Saturday morning just to tell her congrats and the details when she wasn´t in the house.
I´m still not sure exactly what happened, but I think some sort of deal was made. Something like, "We won´t bother you anymore, and will sustain your decision to be baptized, if you make just one more visit at our church."
Well, she went to that church (one of the biggest in Socorro) where the "Stake President" of a Pastor preached for two hours. I still don't know what he said at that podium, but I have a certainty that he shredded us in front of the hundreds of people in the congregation.
Januáira returned home and called us "Angels of light sent from the devil." She told us to never return, that we are wasting our lives away in Brasil, and to stop bringing other souls to an everlasting burning. It was incredibly sad. The immediate reaction I had was anger at that Pastor. I turned my thoughts to the Savior, repented for my feelings, and shook off the week with 5 precious souls falling through the week of their baptism.

I thought a lot about this experience and the type of report one day we will give to our Savior, Jesus Christ. I´ve been praying ever since that the Pastor one day will search for repentance, and that the Lord will freely give the forgiveness he desperately needs.
I love the Savior and know He lives. Like Dad wrote me a couple of months ago, "Surely the work of the Lord is hastening, but we can´t underestimate the hastening of the work of the enemy." I testify that this is true. That those who aren't among the Saints, "will kick against the pricks" and will one day stand accountable before God.

I love you all. Stand firm in the faith you have and the testimony you have received. It´s true. It's so true. And one day we will be rewarded for the blessings of enduring to the end.

Elder Welch

I finally got the package from Adam and Brittany - WHOOOO!!!! Thank you!! The shirt was awesome - I love it!  But the best thing, as always, is the pictures of the family!  I showed a bunch of people the pictures!

Gospel of Change! (7/28/2014)

Well the greenie fire just got hotter this week... Where in the world are these missionaries coming from? I thought I was the ´´chosen generation´´ President Hinckley referred to. Haha my new companion is from Argentina and a lot of fun. His always laughing and looking at me to know what he should do next - really humble. The thing I love the most about him is his past.

Anyway, my companion was baptized at age 8 and fell inactive at 12 because one Sunday he decided to play soccer instead of going to church. This decision led him to do the same thing the next Sunday... And so on and so forth until he had 19 years. Eight months ago the missionaries in his ward invited him to return to church. This hardcore punk returned after just one simple invitation, and eight months later is my companion. Talk about the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Whoooo! I love it. His got higher expectations than my other companion. I dont know how thats possible but instead of disagreeing with him, Im trying to match his faith. What a blessing it is!
Samira finally was baptized! After 5 years of being taught, she made the decision to stop smoking. Whoopp! But Afonso still is hard as a rock... Here we go one more week!

Love you all!
Elder Welch