Sunday, December 14, 2014

"Tudo na BÊNÇÃO!" [12/3/14]

Haha I can´t believe Mom mentioned about my ´´Homecoming Talk´´ already in a letter. I still have 1/3 left on the mission! But it´s crazy that it´s already December... Where is the time going?
So, everyone wrote me about Thanksgiving and Dad wished me a ´´Happy Thanksgiving´´ after doing a search on the Internet that Brazilians celebrate Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, that source was wrong - at least in the state of São Paulo. The natural man in me wanted to go crazy last Thursday night because of the Holiday, but I wasn´t able to justify it. I tried marking a dinner with a recent convert in the ward where I am now and bringing an investigator, but it didn't work out... Soooo, I bought ice-cream and the closest thing Brasil has to peanut butter, and had a ´´Thanksgiving dessert´´ on Friday morning with the four Elders in our house - two Brasilians and one Argentinian. I explained to them as we ate ice cream that each of them had to talk about what they are most grateful for... Haha I took some pictures of how lame it was - but that´s just how the mission is. Definitely a Thanksgiving I won´t forget. Haha
So, I seriously got the greatest news last Tuesday morning with Transfers. Not only did I return back to living with one of my favorite companions, but I returned back to THE SAME STAKE AS SOCORRO!!! Whooohooooooooo!! Seriously, I about dropped to the ground and past out like Ammon did when he got the news. Ohhhh, this past week has been good. I´m excited for the work here in my area (called Nova Vinhedo), the Stake President who I love, and to keep a good eye on Socorro so they can become a ward. Yesterday we had a Zone Meeting and invited the Stake President to participate. Before the meeting, we met with him to talk about what the zone is needing and what he wants from us. He left the meeting with us and spit out fire in the zone meeting when we called on him to bare his testimony. ´´This Sunday I´m taking a picture of all of you in this zone (its Stake Conference). We´re finally going to make history here! ... Your leaders are INSPIRED!!´´ He bore testimony of us! Haha it was pretty awesome. Everyone left the meeting pumped up. His wife also attended and made a bunch of brazilian sweets for the zone. It got me thinking about you, mom and dad. I'm sure dad meets with the Zone Leaders. It would be pretty cool if you could have a connection with all of the missionaries in the Columbus Ohio North Stake. I know mom is always helping out the Mission President with big projects, but it would be cool if it were on a smaller level. All of the missionaries here now love ´´Presidente e Irmã Kawai.´´
In the words of so many Pastors here, ´´Fica na bênção!´´ or, ´´Stay in the blessing!´´ Haha it makes me laugh every time.
I love you.
Elder Welch

Pregnant Again [11/24/14]

Well, the transfer call came last night... Looks like I´ll be giving birth tomorrow for the 100th time. Haha I got a little break this past transfer from training, but I´m excited to go back to it. There´s nothing that gets me more pumped up then receiving some GREENIE BLOOD! In reality, it was what I was needing because this past transfer was brutal. I feel almost unaccomplished because I´ll be leaving this city again, empty handed. Man, I feel like Alma passing through this city of Jundiaí without baptizing someone. I´m going to return with Amaleck however, and tear this city to shreds. At least I hope I can return before the end of this mission. But for now, Eduardo stands as the only convert in this area.

Interviews with our Mission President were this week. To tell you the truth, I prepared almost an entire month for this conversation with him. I´ve been trying to understand the Atonement better because of the phrase Ch. 1 of PMG that says your desire to Preach will increase as your understanding of the Atonement increases. I´ll try to put some of my thoughts down in this email.
-Because of the many blessings I've had in my life, I have been feeling recently how I could look an investigator in the eye and bear testimony of the atonement when they are past addiction in hard-drugs, separated from a spouse for 1 week, or a death that happened yesterday because of the neighborhood gang. Yes, these all happened this past month. I thought to myself, how I could console a companion fighting to stay alive because of parents anti-mormon? A recent-convert of the ward struggling with a testimony? Or a young sister who wants to return to church but can´t seem to enter because of the memories her and her husband had in the chapel, before he just recently died?
-After a good conversation with President Perrotti, he looked at me and said, ´´It´s incredible, isn´t it?´´
Haha I was so confused. I was looking for a big, life-changing, miraculous answer to many prayers, type of response. Instead of this, he talked about blessings. He simply said, ´´Feel what they feel and then bear testimony of you feel... You´ve been incredibly blessed because of the Restored Gospel.´´

I don´t write this to ´´brag´´ about how awesome my life has been, but rather just to say how grateful I am. I have a testimony of hope for the future that others don't have. I´ve never understood why The Lord allowed the most important book of these Latter-Days begin with the words, ´´...having been born of Goodly Parents´´ but I´m starting to feel what Nephi felt. Being so far away from my family causes me to reflect often on these words written in The Book of Mormon.
With Nephi, I too was ´´born of goodly parents.´´ And because of these two parents, we have been protected and blessed, happy and healthy, united and strong as a family in these Last Days. How grateful I am to be your son. My life has been a 20 year testimony of the blessings of a loving Savior. How grateful I am to represent  Him for the second time around this holiday season.

I bear testimony as well that we are all ´´born of goodly (Heavenly) parents.´´ That the blessings of heaven are accessible to all those who love and choose to obey. I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Only Begotten. He is the Chosen One. And is the One I choose to follow.
Thank you mom and dad for your faithfulness. I hope the family has a great Thanksgiving dinner together. I wish I could be with you, but don´t want to just quite yet, haha. As Brigham Young told the saints in the late 1800´s, ´´Now is the time to Labor! Let the fire of your covenant which you made in the House of The Lord BURN in your hearts like fire unquenchable.´´ That fire is green, baby. And it´s in me. Haha

Elder Welch

Fogo nos Ossos (Fire in the Bones) [11/17/14]

Man, this week I had the taste of real joy. To start, who remembers Eduardo from Jundiaí?? The one that prayed with us for about 20 minutes and then received an answer that The Church was true. Well, I went on an exchange with the Elders in the center of the city last week and they told me they had a service project planned with him Wednesday morning. AGGHGHHHHHHHHH!!! haha I was so pumped. I was a little bit nervous to see him. haha
The visit was incredible. We sat down near his house when we showed because he was running some quick errands in the morning. He showed up on his moto and stopped in front of us. As he was taking off his helmet, he said,
´´Sorry to run behind, I was running a couple of.... OHHHHHHH!!! ELDER ELCCKKKKKKEERRRR!!! OOOOOHHHHHH!!!!´´
Haha oh man, I didnt know if I should laugh bc he still cant pronounce my name or cry because I was so happy. Haha he jumped off his bike and gave me a big hug for about 10 seconds. ´´Im strong! Im still strong in the church!´´ he exclaimed. Aghh man, haha, it was such a good feeling.
He immediately cancelled the service project and asked if we could sit down and talk. My companion agreed.
He told me that he has received the Aaronic Priesthood, that he blesses the Sacrament almost every week, that he gave the closing prayer in Sacrament mtg last month, and has already baptized his mom and dad in the temple. Haha he still has that ´´recent convert fire.´´ I was proud to call him, ´´My convert´´ (in reality, he´s the Lord´s...)
I could write forever about the conversation we had, but Ill end with this.
As we were leaving the house, we planned on going to the temple together in March when he will receive his endowment. I had to explain to him that I wouldn't be able to visit him but that I would continue to write him. As I was leaving the door, he gave a hug. In this hug, he started to cry.
After, I looked at him. With tears still in his eyes, he barely got out, ´´Thank you. Thank you so much. I'm finally happy.´´

Ive never felt so much joy in my life. This work is incredible.
One more of my investigators was baptized this week in my old area. I love this work!!

Yesterday was the Primary Program in our ward here. I started laughing to myself when it started because I remembered how I would lean over and tell Matt to go and participate every, single year. Haha for some reason, even when Matt has 18 years, I still think its funny....

Hope you all have a good week! Love,
Elder ´´Fogo nos Ossos´´ Welch