Wednesday, September 24, 2014


I´m a happy man. ´´Happy happy happy.´´ Seriously, in my new ward last night we had a fireside where the Ward Mission Leader invited President and Sister Perrotti. They rocked the talks out of the park talking about happiness. President Perrotti asked two questions at the pulpit:
-What do you do when you are happy?
-And when you are happy, what do you do?
I began to think about the times in my life when I was the happiest. I thought about the Dublin Coffman basketball game my senior year when we pulled out the win by 3 to win the conference. I thought about my first home run in baseball. I thought about going to Cedar Point with my friends and family traditions, especially Christmas times... 

I just returned home the day before from Socorro. I was transferred last week, but received permission to return Friday night to perform the baptism and participate in the wedding of Delson and Cris, some of my favorite investigators of all time.
Saturday, while I was returning back to my new area, I pulled out my journal to write down some of my feelings. Man, I felt like Mormon at the end of his life writing in my journal because there´s a chance that I won´t ever see this place again (however, in the future Ill save up some money to return). Anyway, I realized how much I loved Socorro.

In the bible dictionary in Portuguese under ´´Joy´´ it talks about being free. Free from sin and guilt, which only is possible through Jesus Christ. Last night I started to think about my ´´freedom´´ and realized how flat out happy I am now in my life. Haha I wanted to stand up and start doing the ´´eagle.´´ Yes, I'm having challenges with a lot of things, some of the hardest things in my life to be frank, but I'm free. I'm free from all of my sins, I'm free from all of my guilt, and I'm even free from allembarrassment. (The only thing that seems to still haunt me is the dropped interception I had against Coffman Junior year... Yes, I still have dreams about that). 
I'm so grateful for the Restoration of the Priesthood. I recognized recently that no one on the earth can fully repent without the help of the Priesthood. Nonmembers NEED this freedom that can only come through the gate of baptism. Members need this freedom that only comes through the Sacrament - both administered by the Aaronic Priesthood.

-I've talked a little bit about the opposition that's happening in this work right now. This week, my toe nails took a wrong turn... I have the WORST ingrown toenail that I tried to take care of at a doctor, but it got worse this week. I had a mini surgery this morning at a salão of a member to get everything to normal. Talk about pain... HOLY SMOKES! The toenails are SO SENSITIVE! Haha I about cried from pain. And to keep it from hurting so bad, I about bit my finger off - you know, to put the pain somewhere else to not think about the actual pain. Haha I'm wearing sandals now this week - I´ll be a true servant of Jesus Christ this week. Ill send some pictures next week. Also, a monkey either pooped on me this week or threw a tiny fruit on my shoulder as I walked under "his" tree. (See picture)

-REESE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I love you so much! Haha send me pictures if you can next week of her with her birthday cake.

I gave one last push for Alfonso, inviting him to be baptized on Friday night but he didn't show up... I felt terrible and apologized to his wife. I don't feel like I did everything I could've. Ill be fasting every fast Sunday until his baptism with her. Ill always write them letters every week to try to baptize at the end of my mission before returning home... Feel free to participate!

Even with the sadness of some of the wrong decisions people make with their agency, I'm still happy to be a missionary. As dad said today in his letter to me, I also say, ´´The gospel is true and I love it.´´ I´m a happy, happy man. (you can argue about the man part of the sentence, but have certainty that I'm a happy missionary)

Elder Welch

Sunburnt Neck

Monkey poop or fruit that dropped on my shirt!

Baptism for Delson and Cris

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fire in the Bones!

I was with my Mission President yesterday where we read some scriptures in Jeremiah together. We started in the first chapter, verse 10, where the Lord tells Jeremiah that his job is the "hunk out, take down, and destroy" kingdoms and governments, and then to "build up and plant" the Kingdom of God. We later finished in Jer. 20:9 where he writes that he´s got ´´FIRE IN THE BONES!´´ I feel the same way. Here´s why.
It´s quite intense to say the least, but opposition is happening just about everyday. After the incident happened with the car trying to spray us while it was raining, we had a member of another church write us a letter returning a Book of Mormon. It was shoved in the front door of the house where we have church and started with, "Do you want to know the TRUTH?!" followed by a boat load of scriptures. Man, this church is so arrogant here in Socorro. It´s hard to love them, but it´s what Christ would do.

I learned an interesting lesson this week about a birds. We were traveling for a meeting in Campinas where one of the missionaries I was sitting by noticed 10-15 birds flying around in a circle in the distance. He joked that someone died out there (it was in the middle of nowhere) and that was because the birds were flying above him. Nature not being my strong subject, I asked him really what was going on (he´s going to work for a zoo when he grows up I think). He told me that out in the ´´desert´´ when the sun hits the rocks, it causes a heat wave to rise (it´s hotter closer to rocks than the ground for example). And when the birds are going to travel to hunt for food, they find a big rock and fly in circles around it in order to elevate themselves higher in the air. This is because the hot air rises, making it easier for the birds too, to rise.

I thought a lot about that this week as I thought it was pretty cool. I saw the difference it makes with my new companion, Elder Nascimento. We came from an area that was just about dead. He was working hard but didn't see the results he would've liked to have see. He was finally transferred here in Socorro where he seriously is so happy. Haha its funny to hear him talk to other missionaries about the area of Socorro. ´´Im in Zion now baby!`` he always says. I realized how the attitudes of missionaries help elevate others to a higher level. To have a higher vision and more excitement to reach newer heights. Socorro for Elder Nascimento is like a big rock in the desert for the birds. He´s a missionary with a vision reaching heights he´s never thought were before possible.

With these thoughts, Ive spent a lot of time on my knees trying to catch the vision our Savior has. It's a great life being a missionary. I love studying and applying the life of Jesus Christ in my life. What a privilege it is to help others come unto Him. It's difficult, really tiring, but I'm excited. I'm livin´the dream with FIRE IN MY BONES!

Here comes another miracle week!

Elder Welch

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Transfer Call

Nooooooooooo!! Last night we were at an investigator´s house who was making us dinner when our phone started to ring. I looked at who was calling and it read, ´´Presidente Perrotti.´´ dum dum dummmmmm
He thanked me for the work thats happening in Socorro and the progress of the area, and then took a deep breath. Haha oh man! I knew it was coming. And then he said it. Ill be getting transferred. Haha ahhhh man it killed me. He said it like this, ´´Look Elder Welch... I'm going to have to transfer you.``
Followed by a deep exhale by me. Haha man. Allow me to explain.

Three weeks ago the Branch here celebrated it´s 6th year since becoming a branch from a group (they were a group for four years). They invited the old Branch President, Stake President and Mission President to give talks three weeks ago, but President Perrotti wasn´t able to make it. They marked with him and Sister Perrotti to give talks two weeks ago instead (where they invited me to give the first talk... That's a whole different story. Haha talk about being nervous). I sent the picture home last week (I forgot an explanation) in my email of us at lunch with some of the members and President and Sister Perrotti after church. They were treated like all-stars, as they rightly should be. They are so awesome. Anyway, two weeks ago everyone jumped all over President and Sister Perrotti saying that it was absolutely necessary that I stayed in Socorro for at least one more transfer. It was a little over the top which made me feel bad because I felt that President and Sister Perrotti would think that I set them up to do that. I talked to them afterwards, which they understood I wouldn't do that. Anyway, I felt a little bitembarrassed but super loved at the same time.
This week the houses we visited, the members we left to teach with and the meals we ate said that they had a certainty that Elder Jara and I would stay here together for at least 6 more weeks - leaving us comfortable. One member tried to have the President promise her that I would stay... haha
But, on the phone call last night he explained something a little bit different that will happen. We´re going to pick up one more missionary  tomorrow in Campinas and work in a trio here in Socorro for three weeks. And then after the three weeks, Ill leave to go to another area. President Perrotti told me to start telling the members now so they wont have a heart attack if I were to be transferred tomorrow. It´s going to be weird these three weeks, but definitely a lot of fun. We have a few weddings to accomplish and I have some mighty praying and fasting to do for Afonso... Here I come baby!

This week we taught one more english class of 40 students. It´s incredible to see the opportunities that are opening up. I went by the mission office this past week to get a box of 50 Books of Mormon in english so I could start teaching them. We finished the week with 58 referrals not contacted at the end of yesterday. FIFTY-EIGHT! Haha Preach My Gospel tells you to try to finish the week with 0. There's so much planning to be done its not even funny. I'm not going to lie, it´s SUPER overwhelming. Haha sometimes when we´re not careful, we get super stressed out here.

To give you the news on one of our investigators that I love is named Riessa. She´s seriously a warrior. She has 16 years with a kid who´s almost 2. Yes, there's no error there. Shes 16 with a two year old baby boy. Yesterday was her second time at church, where shes soaking it all in. It has to be so hard for her, even in church attending Relief Society instead of Young Womens. After she had her kid (and her boyfriend abandoned her, of course) her mom kicked her out of the house with her kid, where she lived on the street! She dropped out of school because of the challenges with her kid and eventually moved in with her aunt. Her story is like one Broadway would make a movie out of in New York. Its such a blessing to be a part of her life, especially at this time. Only the Savior can help, and we´re so happy to share His message and His gospel with her.
She got a job this week, where the boss said, ´´you get one day off, what day do you want?´´ The day before we taught her about the Sabbath Day where she told her boss, ´´I want Sunday off so I can go to church.´´ OOHHHHH YEAHHHH! THAT´S MY INVESTIGATOR BABY!!

To end with, I was walking on the side walk today with Elder Jara with umbrellas. It rained all last night and this morning as were were walking. We looked in front of us where a car sped up to pass another car and hit a puddle next to us in order to spray water all over our white shirts... Haha it was so obvious what he tried to do - luckily, we passed the puddle a couple of seconds before and we only got a little wet.
I walked away on FIRE! I was so pumped! haha not mad, but pumped up. I looked at Elder Jara and said, ´´Ohhhh yeah.. I love me some opposition!´´
This is the Lord´s work and I testify that it´s accelerating. But the enemy too, is accelerating his... Time to choose what side we´re on and play for His team! Vamos
´´Who´s on the Lord´s side, who?´´

Elder Welch