Monday, June 15, 2015

The Last Week - Leaving the Superman Life

Tyler will be leaving to come home from Brazil next Monday, June 22 and will be back in the states on June 23rd! We are so excited to see him!!

Wow. Can you believe it? The end is near - next week and I´ll already be with you guys! I´m filled with emotions - happy and sad ones - that make me anxious for what lies ahead. It really is strange to think about who I was before the mission and now, who I am today.

Well, I had always looked forward to this moment (the last letter on the mission) with the thought in mind that I would ´´woo´´ you all out with my impressive writing ability. I thought that I would become like the Brother of Jared by the end - powerful in writing. Unfortunately, that didn´t happen. I feel like Moroni, who wrote, ´´When [I] write, [I] observe [my] weakness and stumble because of the placement of [my] words...´´

With that established, with this weakness of mine in writing (with many others), I am happy to address you all one last time in my lovely Brasil. I hope you can feel what I feel as a full-time missionary, for the last time, of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

I can start off saying that I have ´´LIVED THE DREAM!´´ It was my dream, and I lived it the best I could. Everyday these past two years I have lived and worked with this precious name tag that I had always dreamed of as a boy. The very name tag that when put on for the first time made me beat my chest, touch the floor of the MTC, and shout, ´´Now we´re talking!´´ I really started on fire, strived to keep that fire, and am finishing with that same ´´greenie fire.´´

Dustin once told me that he got to a moment on the mission when his life before the mission just seemed like a dream - that he was born in the mission field and had been a missionary his whole life. That feeling as well, has now hit me. I try to think back on what I did before the mission - what I liked to do, where I like to go, who I wanted to be... All I did was play sports! Haha what type of life was that?! I had no idea of how to set goals. And I certainly didn´t know how to use my time wisely in order to achieve those goals. I didn´t know how to study the scriptures, how to teach people according to their needs, how to plan a week out, a party, or even a day! ... Man! Haha I didn´t even know how to take a bus! How to use a budget well, how to cook, how to train others (missionaries, members, and investigators) - how to be obedient, how to recognize the Spirit, how to talk in Portuguese. I didn´t know how to pray, how to approach with and get out of problems, or how to be happy. Haha it doesn´t seem like I knew anything.

So what happened: ´´And if you have a desire to serve God, you are called to the work.´´ I had and still have a desire to serve God, and I ´´let that desire work within me.´´ I hope I can illustrate a little bit of what I want to say without going too far off track.

Yesterday we had an interesting experience with Americans - they just showed up at our family night with the bishop and his family! (Later found out that they were family friends...). Only one of the five spake Portuguese, causing us to have to speak in English. Wow, let´s just start off with how bad and how slow I speak English - they could barely understand me! Many made fun of me, which made me a little happy because I felt more brasilian than ever.
 Anyway, towards the end I was asked by Elder Amâncio, ´´Are they normal Americans or weird ones?´´
 I quickly responded, ´´They´re weird ones...´´

Recognizing that I had judged them I thought back to how weird to me Dustin was when he returned home from the mission. I quickly corrected myself and said, ´´In reality, I think I´m the weird one that you´ve just gotten used to.´´ Haha.

Anyway, we began to talk about ´´being weird´´ and how the culture of a country makes people a little different. For some odd reason, I didn´t feel very comfortable - I didn´t feel comfortable in the American environment; I preferred the Brazilian. I´ve worked my tail off here , laboring all of these days to this loving people. I´ve preached and teached and warned them in just about every imaginable place ~ at the stop signs through their car windows, at their door steps, at their traffic lights, in their newspapers, at their bus stops, in their schools,in the train stations, in their homes, on their roads, on the bus yelling to all within the sound of my voice. I tried to reach more souls going after the highly influential people, inviting the government, many Christian church congregations, pastors, and drug dealers to be baptized in the name of the Christ, Jesus. I invited and baptized those lowly and meekly of heart,the thirsty ones for the truth, those on their pursuit for happiness.
 I´ve ate their food, worn their clothes, lived their culture. I´ve slept on their ground, on their couches, and even on some of their shoulders. I´ve breathed their air, spoke their language, drank their water ~ I desired to become one of them.

 And I saw, and heard, and changed, and become all of this with this one purpose - to bring ALL unto The Christ.

 What an incredible journey it has been. I have enjoyed every bit of it.
 I´m anxious to see you all again. It´s really been a long time if you think about it. But I think what I´ll miss the most was the ´´Superman effect´´ this calling brings. I feel like a hero in the lives of these people.

 As you know, I visited Socorro last week. What a thrill it was to see them all again. They invited me to arrive at the house where the branch meets every week to begin the ´´returning-home visit.´´ (I really feel like I can call this city my home.)
As I arrived, the branch was united together on the top floor. I walked up the stairs when they all surprised me! There were many anxiously waiting for me to talk with them, huge them, pray with them. There were those that asked me to lay my hands on their heads and give priesthood blessings, to eat their best foods (family recipes), to sign my name in their scriptures, to take pictures with them. They asked me to visit them in their homes one last time, to keep little souvenirs in remembrance of them. Man! A few of them even asked me to date their daughter, cousin or sister after the mission! Haha it was incredible. Absolutely incredible.

 Afonso was there as well to greet me. He expressed to me a dream he had indicating the need to become a member of the church. He expre3ssed his appreciation for my letters this past year. He even invited me to a Brazilian BBQ with him next time I visit. I gave it all I had. The Lord gave it all He had. But with all of his answers and conscious, he declined my last invitation for him to come unto Christ and be baptized.
 My heart was torn to pieces. His wife came up to me with tears in her eyes and her hope vanished - I no longer saw the hope that she had when I had arrived. She weeped. She stood in front of me and just weeped because of the hardness of her husband´s heart. I can´t adequately express what happened with tears filling my eyes. It gives me a feeling that I ´´fell short´´ of what was possible. I feel that the Lord can´t be anymore clear to him without sending his soul to an everlasting condemnation. Wow, it was tough to see. I held Ariana´s hand (Afonso´s wife) and assured her that there´s still hope, and that I wouldn´t ever, ever give up.

 I visited many homes the next day where I was asked to do more of the same. To do what the Savior did in His mortal ministry. I saw many that had weakened in the gospel and with all of the love I had, invited them to repent (Moroni 8:16). Their tears fell and left marks on my shoulder and my arms as my hands left wet. What an experience that last trip was.

 I received a letter two weeks ago that Eduardo in Jundiaí is coming this next week to visit me in Campinas. With him, many others will I see this last week that have changed my life. Thinking back on it, and with time, I´ll write a little bit about some of them.
-The Santamore family was converted by the spirit that accompanied the prayer of their youngest child.
-Jessica was converted by The Book of Mormon.
-Vanderlei searched his whole life to follow exactly the example of Jesus Christ, and saw the answer as we explained what happened in the year of 1820.
-Leslie hit rock bottom and finally was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
-Catarin simply was wanting to be baptized before she died.
-Samira was Egyptian and had lost her first and second family due to wars in the Middle-East.
-Cida was just waiting for somebody to tell her that she was wrong and needed to repent.
-Delson and Cris wanted to better their home and family life.
-Carol battled with her whole family addicted to hard drugs - and her mom and sister living with the dealers...
-Osvaldo never was able to overcome his addiction to cigarettes, but finally achieved his desire.
-Kevin grew up living alone and sleeping in the roads of São Paulo. Now he´s preparing to serve a mission.
-Karina and Gustavo... We can just say that they were God´s Elect. Prontissimo para o batismo!
-The family of Gilson was lost in the things of this world, looked for help, and soon found it.

 These precious souls with many, many more I had the privilege to teach and baptize. What an eternal impact they have left on me.

 Mom and Dad - thank you for your example. Thank you for your invitations to do what was right. And thank you for raising me in this gospel.

 As His witness and representative, I want to share one last time in letter my testimony of He who is mighty to save.

 He lives! He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He is the creator of this earth and all things that live in it. He is the author and the finisher of my faith, the rock of my salvation, and my hope for a better and brighter future. I know that He indeed appeared and called Joseph Smith to this sacred work to bring to pass the fullness of this gospel. I know Presidente Monson is His mouthpiece today. As his dedicated and loyal servant, I know that I was called by Him because I feel it!

 God be thanked for these incredible two years!

As the Georgians would say it - ´´See y´all next week!´´

For the last time,


Monday, June 8, 2015

Immersed in the Work [6/8/15]

Well, I´m with strange feelings right now. Haha I don´t know what to think or write or do with this email to tell the truth. Just know that I´m happy!
Last night we were walking home through a ´´favela´´ (which would be a ghetto neighborhood) and I wanted to just sit down and cry. Haha it was weird, but I just wanted to cry. I was overcome with emotions. We had just finished teaching two families that I love to death and I didn't have a desire to return home and plan. I just wanted to teach and invite more and more and more families to come unto Christ.

It´s strange. I feel like I still have an eternity to be a full-time missionary, but at the same time I feel like I´ll be home tomorrow. It´s like time doesn't exist anymore - it´s so close yet so far from the end. Definitely the strangest feelings I´ve ever had in my life.

Anyway, on to the week. My companion had misplaced the keys to the church in the parking lot this past week. We were without the keys for more than 3 days. Saturday came and we had marked a lesson earlier in the week to be taught in the church. We got there 25 minutes early in order to look for the keys for the 50th time, haha. After 5 minutes had passed I had the thought just to pray. I looked at my companion and perceived that he was hating life - haha he was so frustrated with his error. I went over to him, put my arm around him, and said, ´´Let´s say a prayer. I know God will show us where these keys are.´´ Not kidding, 45 seconds later IN FRONT OF THE DOOR next to a plant, lied the beloved keys. Haha I was so happy. Before opening the church door, we said a prayer of gratitude. I know that He hears our prayers.

Yesterday we got to church and saw that one of fathers of a recent convert (our investigator) wasn´t at church. We waited the first hour (here, sacrament meeting is the 3rd hour) for him to show up. Nope. ´´Let´s get him Elder!´´ I told my companion. We left church to hunt him down. We finally got to the house when he opened the door. He then started with all of the excuses that I´ve heard a million times on the mission:
´´Ohh but I need to make lunch for my daughter... And I went to bed late last night... And I´m not feeling too great today... Let´s mark it for next Sunday... And.... etc´´
I cut him off on the fifth excuse and said, ´´Oziel, here´s your ride. Let´s go!´´
I put my head down and made my way to the car without his response... I heard the door shut. ´´Oh no,´´ I thought. ´´That wasn´t the best idea I´ve ever had...´´
I looked behind me and he was buttoning up his shirt! Haha he came! And not only did he go to church, but he cried furiously in the Sacrament Meeting. I looked at him towards the end of the meeting and thought, ´´Yes! The Spirit got him.´´

Haha I feel like I´ve developed various techniques on the mission of ´´How to Avoid the Hated Excuses Missionaries Always Get.´´

Well, sorry for the letter. I don´t know what to write. I´m completely immersed in this work. I´m giving everything I got to Him that I love. I´m exhausted, unlike any time every before, but happy, unlike any moment in my life before.

Elder Welch

-Thank you for your prayers and faith. I´ll report back on next Monday about Afonso. The baptism should happen Saturdaymorning. IT WILL BE MY LAST LETTER HOME AS A MISSIONARY...

Fighting the Good Fight [6/2/15]

Whoooohooooooo!! We've got big things popping here. It was a roller coaster of emotions this past week - full of ups and downs. Nevertheless, I'm excited to share my week with you all and bear my testimony of this incredible work!
-First, I couldn't believe that Elder L. Tom Perry passed away this past weekend! What?! He was my apostle! My connection with the Quorum of the Twelve! The man that ate my peanut butter and honey sandwich! No but seriously, I felt a pit in my stomach when his passing away was announced over the pulpit on Sunday. I was without words. I will always remember that weekend we passed with him. That single visit marked me a lot while in the mission field.
-One of the families we baptized in Socorro traveled 3 hours Sunday morning to surprise me at church here in Campinas! Man, if I could adequately express how happy I was to see them... It was one of the best moments receiving letters in person from them. Seriously, I felt really loved - appreciated to say it better for the work that was done in Socorro. In reality, I will visit them one last time next Saturday. Please pray this week that AFONSO gets baptized. I've been praying and fasting for more than ONE YEAR to complete this family. I know it's possible, we just need the faith. Let's put our Welch faith to the test these next 11 days so that his wife, Ariana, can have what she has always prayed for. Seriously, I KNOW this is going to happen.
-We had the incredible opportunity to get to know and help guide the family Santos to baptism this past month. The last three members of their family were baptized on Sunday together with a mom of our Ward Mission Leader! It was a good Sunday last week. A lot of joy.
-We performed one of the greatest parties that I have been apart of this past week as a missionary team. WOW! Did it cause a lot of work. Haha seriously, I never knew what I was getting myself in to. I never have received so many phone calls from members calling me to ask permission and to report what was done. I felt like a CEO of a business - sending out orders and receiving reports. Did it cause stress? Lets just say a little bit of a LOT of it. Haha on the day of the party, the president of the relief society even had me ''proof taste''all of the food so that I could give the 'ók.''Haha but the turnout was incredible. The members loved it and more than 20 investigators were present. In all, our ''Mexican Night'' was a success! Mom, I think you would be proud of our creativity!
-This past week I had my last interview with President Perrotti. Wow, does anyone want to get married?? Haha I've never seen myself more than just a missionary... Now with a wife? Strange to think that just in a few weeks, things will change.
-It rained hard on us this past week. And the best part was that one of the cars sprayed us pretty good while we were walking on the side of the road. My companion, because he is new, wanted to get really frustrated - but before he said anything, I looked at him and gave him a ''WHOOOOOOOO!! That's what I[m talking about!'' Haha he started to laugh because of how excited I am about this great work. It's opposition. It means we're on the right track!
-I also got expelled from a house this week just because I'm American. I was rejected hard in MANY ways this week, received few times, but had a happy happy happy week. I love this work.

A strong abraço for you all! Let's work this miracle for Afonso and his family. I don't know if I will be able to send an email to you next week but Ill write at least one more email before seeing you all in person!

Elder Welch

Here we go, baby! [5/25/15]

´´Well, that makes one more that  I don´t know,´´ were the words that came out of my mouth as I opened up my email today. Whhhooooo for Brittany and Adam! It´s so exciting yet so strange, knowing that there´s people of my immediate Family that I don´t know. Congrats to Ashley and Brittany with their two newborn daughters, Blaire and Kenzie!

Well my dreams came tumbling down yesterday after church. The baptismal font was filled, my companion dressed in White to baptize, the members sitting down waiting for Ronaldo to enter the room, when all of the sudden he decided to wait until next week. WHAT?! Next week? But, everything is ready! Lets go and do this thing! Haha but apparently he fought with his wife on Saturday and he didn't feel good being baptized without her present. I understand and even agree with his decision, but meu! What is this? The work of the enemy really is a tripping block in this work.

With Ronaldo, we´ve got 4 lined up for this next week. Should be an exciting one. My companion is a lot like, and I mean almost identical, as my first companion in Georgia, Elder Peery. I´m learning a lot with him, and about myself. This week I asked him if he thought I was funny... ´´Only sometimes,´´ he replied. Hahah, I can´´t please everyone I guess.

But with the baptisms lined up and ready to go, Ive got the members counting on me this Friday. I´m the leader of a ´´Mexican Night´´ that is going to happen this Friday. All of the sisters in the Ward were talking me down yesterday that I wouldn't be able to pull it off (the Ward mission leader throwing the responsibility on me). It´s either time to gain a lot of confidence here or lose it all. Well, in reality I don´t have THAT much confidence because I just got here. But its better that way. I´ve got nothing to lose and everything (referrals) to gain!

Yeah yeah yeah, here we go baby!

Love you all.
Elder Welch

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Big things keep on rollin here in the work of the Lord. Seriously, I´ve got fire in. the. BONES! One of the reasons is because one of the goals that I set, and never achieved, was to baptize 6 weeks in a row. I only have 5 more weeks, and because we baptized Lucas yesterday, this is the last opportunity to achieve this goal. This past week was crazy, a lot of work and a lot of fun. All I can really say is the field is WHITE.

Sorry for the short letter, and that I didn't email last week, but all is well. Also, on pday we got an invitation to play golf with the stake president last week... He won because of a missed putt I had for par on the 17th (see foto). It brought back good memories with Dad on the golf course again - as well as ideas for parables to use in the lessons with investigators! Haha
Love you all!
I´m Livin´ It!

Elder Welch

There are monkeys here in my new area

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cinderella Upset - "This is Madness Babyyyyy!" [5/4/15]

Well, I woke up this morning at 3:30 and wasn´t able to go back to sleep... I decided to use the time of lying down in bed with my eyes open, to write down some of my feelings. Here´s what I wrote as the moon was still out this morning.

´´I can´t sleep... I toss and turn, kneel and pray, use the bathroom and drink water - just about everything but sleep. It´s because of the News I received today. The transfer call came. ´´Elder Welch... Saiu Nova Vinhedo!´´

I couldn't believe it. An hour after the baptism of Gustavo, the baptismal record of Ester in hand, the baptismal date finally set for Sérgio... Alexandre saying his first prayer OUT LOUD! Too many exciting things coming to an end.

But in all, I know better. Was I sad? Without a doubt. But as I told Sister Reginna yesterday after church as she asked me if I think I will stay in Nova Vinhedo for my last transfer on the mission, ´´ My desire is to stay in this city,´´ I said. ´´But I´ve learned on the mission that what I want usually isn´t what happens - so I will be prepared for anything.´´

Tomorrow begins with a new end that I didn´t see coming. 6 months of work and fasting for members and non-members in order to better understand personal needs and thoughts, will need to be re gained as I will go to a new area, in a new zone, and with a new companion. My heart swells in gratitude to God for these incredible experiences and the work that has been done.

It´s strange to see it coming to an end. After all, it´s all I really ever wanted in my life. The only thing I thought about, dreamed about, talked about in relation to my future was wearing this name tag and crying repentance to a people that need what I have. It´s what I love to do. It´s become who I am. And now what? I don´t know. It´s just hard to see myself doing something else.

On the mission, a lot of changes have been made in my life. I believe in God and know that good things will come. Unfortunately, the day will soon come when I´m back in the same office with my dad again, but this time being released from the only calling I ever wanted. But I know these changes are permanent. I have found and experienced a higher life of living - a happier life that brings more satisfaction. A life that has everything - all of my heart, all of my might, all of my mind. and all of my strength - centered on the King, Jesus Christ.

Sure, I might be ´´strange´´ upon arrival to my Family and friends (I sure remember how awkward Dustin was to me, haha) but tudo bem. I can see how my mom will worry if I will ever adjust back to normal, member life, or maybe even American life, but tudo bem. What the Lord has done to me in my service to Him, what I have been apart of these past two years, enables me to simply adapt and repent instead of fall in to old, bad habits.

The future is bright! I´m excited for this next transfer (not because it´s the last one, but because it´s at least ´´one more.´´) I am grateful to a loving Heavenly Father for this area. I have labored all of my days with the elect of God. It´s been a dream come true.

Well, here it goes - one last time as a (single) full-time missionary.
Mom. Dad. I´m going to ´´Live the Dream´´ one last time.

Love you all!
Elder Welch

May Already?! [4/27/15]

[Tyler's brother, Matt, got his mission call to the Ecuador, Quito mission - reporting to the Mexico MTC on July 29]

Wow, this past week may have been the greatest weeks for me on the mission. Seriously, the mission just keeps getting better and better. Let me give a day-by-day replay of what happened.
-Last week, for the first time on the mission I played American football. Wow, it brought back such good memories as we played with some other elders and ym from nearby wards. It was a lot of fun too because no one here knows how to play so I had to explain a lot of rules. The American missionaries definitely dominated as the Brasilians just wanted to kick field goals... haha
-On Tuesday, I had the HUGE and amazing opportunity to travel back to my favorite city, Socorro. On average, every 3 months I will travel there to see how the branch is progressing and see what I can do with missionary work. Anticipating my visit, they planned a surprise Brasilian bbq with a bunch of desserts that I love (with peanuts! haha). I saw a lot of members and converts that I baptized with my companions. We shared a lot of great memories. At night, they surprised me again with a HUGE family night with even more members and converts... Many cried as they just saw me walk in the door. They asked me to say every prayer, to give every message, and to do just about everything else -I don´t know if I´ve ever been so happy in my entire life. They all looked at me as if I was a superhero. The little kids remembered my name and asked to take pictures with me. I knelt down that night as Enos and just poured out my whole soul in thanksgiving.
-Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday were spent traveling to different cities - Bragança Paulista, Atibaia, Amparo, Imperial, Perdões - training and teaching members and missionaries. It was absolutely exhausting, but an incredible experience. 

I don´t believe it but the time already ran out! I need to figure out a way to send you all some pictures from this incredible week. This work is His work. I love my Savior and just want to serve, serve, and serve Him some more for the rest of my life.
Yes, I´m still livin´ it! The dream all day, everyday.
Elder Welch

-Thank you Mom and Dad for your ´´Top Ten´´ lists of what you are grateful for. They made me tear-up. Haha I don´t know why but they made me really happy. Matt, Dustin, Brittany, Adam, Ashley, and Joe (oh, and Boston, Reese, and Chase - and Nixon if he can talk... can he talk yet?) I still would like to receive your lists.
-CONGRATULATIONS MATTHEW!!! WHOOOHOOOOO! WOW, I´m seriously PUMPED up for you. Equador! ´´Eiii Siiiiiiii!!´´ (as the brasilians would say)

Monday, April 20, 2015


I began reflecting today about all of the incredible miracles that have happened on the mission. We concluded this week my last ´´multi´zone conferences´´ as I was asked to bear my testimony (being the last one for me). Knowing that I would be called on, I read the day before the last few days before I entered the MTC, the first couple of days in the mission field, and the first couple in the mission field of Georgia and Brasil. What incredible experiences the Lord has blessed me with. Many miracles happened this week - let´s just say the mission is full of them. But what I would like to share today is how grateful I truly am for all that Heavenly Father has given me.

-Mom and Dad. Wow, I would´ve never thought how my feelings about you two would change drastically on the mission. You both don´t know how truly grateful I am. The firmness of a Christ centered testimony is blessing my life and the life of thousands down here in Brasil.

-Matt and Dustin. You guys are the best. I thought a lot this week about joking around in the basement, going golfing, and playing sports this past week as I prayed and thanked Heavenly Father for our Family.

-Ashely and Brittany, yeeeee!!!! Haha I´m so excited for you two and the babies that are coming logo logo. I admire your examples of mothers who pride themselves on taking care of the needs of the Family and home before anything else. I really, really admire this in you two.

Be grateful this week. Sorry the letter is short, but I hope you all reflect more this week on how much the Lord really has blessed our incredible Family.

Invitation to you all - email me your top ten things next week that you are most grateful for in your life. I promise that it will bring happiness to your life.

Matt´s mission call - Chile!!!!

Elder Welch

Tenacidade [4/13/15]

This week was a battle to say the least. Man, I traveled more than 17 times going from city to city in order to find, teach, train and interview investigators for baptism. This might of been one of the most tiring weeks on the mission to tell the least. I got physically sick of waking up so early and sleeping in so many places that I almost threw up on the buses at the end of the week. With this, we had 5 people on date for baptism as Thursday hit. I had to really put my trust in Elder Bartolomeu this week as I traveled. It was a hard pill to swallow as I was so caught up in trying to help others that my own area suffered a loss - On Friday night I got home to the area and realized that all five of them had fallen. Because I´m training a new missionary, it was hard to know how to handle the situation. I knelt in prayer that night just to ask for help. I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed with all of these callings that the lives of these investigators weren't getting what they deserved. After a fast for them, ´´Karina´´ resolved her concerns and was baptized miraculously on Sunday. The first time my companion baptized on the mission! Aghh, I love that feeling of being with a missionary the first time he gets a taste of the joy of this work. It was really a miracle.

Last night I went over to the house of our old Ward Mission Leader (he was called as an area 70 during conference! haha pretty crazy, huh? Makes two in our ward now) to thank him for the lessons and example he gave me. He gave me some really cool insights. One of the things I thought that was interesting was that he said every general conference, the quorum of the twelve hold leadership training on Thursday and Friday for the seventy about what they need to do with the missions and stakes. He said the focus this time around will be the Sabbath Day. How to keep it holy at church and in the home. Get ready Dad!

I love you all. I'm living the dream! I´m incredible tired but pumped up with fire in the bones! Whoooo! Here comes another week full of miracles.

Elder Welch

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sing With Me My Darling [3/23/15]

As I was working this week in the great city of Vinhedo, I stopped to think about this scripture in the end of The Book of Mormon. Oh if I could just make the hard hearts be softened...
´´...notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor  diligently ; for if we should cease to  labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God´´ (Moroni 9:6). 
So, the solution is just to keep on keeping on.
This past week was a straight up war. Haha after months and months of the church praying and fasting for rain, The Lord blessed us with rain that just didn´t stop. It made me feel tenacious as I showed up in every house this week with rain dripping from every part of my body. On Saturday we got so soaked that I gave in to my companion and ran home for 10 minutes to switch clothes and shoes (bc they have holes in them). The rain had stopped so we felt good about the change... 20 minutes later after we had left the house after the change, the heavens were reopened...  Haha at this point, our bodies just wanted to lay down in the road and cry. It was really hard to remain excited... I noticed my new companion getting discouraged so I started to sing as loud as I could - ´´Called to Serve Him.´´ After a good time, I still noticed the discouragement and yelled (for it was raining so hard) and said, ´´Sing with me my darling!´´ (Phantom of the Opera). Without any protection or umbrella, he started to laugh and began to sing with me. That night after 6:00, we didn't find anyone new to teach but I felt so happy. I really felt like I was apart of something incredible. I felt truly called of God as a missionary.

The transfer will come to an end this week. We´ve gotta finish the week with my favorite family baptized... There´s no other option. Hope to send a picture of them in white, home next week! Pray for them.

Notwithstanding the natural man inside of us that tells us to quit, let us labor  diligently - for we are participating in a marvelous work and wonder. In the words of my Mission President in Georgia, ´´If you don´t wake up excited about this work, you need to think again...´´ 

Elder Welch
Livin´ the Dream.

March MADNESS! [3/9/15]

Woooohoooooooo!! Dustin filled me in on the sports world that the good ´ol Bracketology should be happening next week... As everyone in the states gets pumped for the madness, I challenge you to get more fired up about missionary work. Man, it´s INCREDIBLE!
Unfortunately, we decided to use a different computer today so I won´t send any pictures home - but let it be known that families are being found! It´s an incredible feeling as a missionary to sit in a chair and look at 2 sofas fill of parents and children. It´s been my dream for a long time to be teaching these type of families, and an answer to many, many prayers.

The youth of our Ward returned home from ´´EFY´´ (which is now called FSY??) two weeks ago, which sent all of them to the pulpit to bear their testimonies. It brought back a lot of good memories that I had while I was at EFY and the dream I Always had to be a counselor. Anyway, the entire Ward got super pumped up as they saw and heard so many spiritual experiences... which got me thinking. The mission is 1000 times better than EFY, I´m gonna throw in the thunder to this Ward. And that´s what we did this week.
It was pretty awesome this week. We started to call members and report how their referrals are progressing. To one of the sister´s I said, ´´NOSSA!! Irmã, your referral was amazing! SHE SAID THIS...., AND THEN DID THAT...., THEN CRIED AND DECIDED TO DO THIS ....!!!´´ Haha it was awesome because of the responses on the other end of the phone.
´´Elder Welch!! Send them over to my house. Let´s do a Family night! Can it be this week?! AGHHH!! I´m so happy!´´ Haha I love inspiration.

To end, I went on a division far away to a city called ´´Protection.´´ A tiny branch of 25 members, more or less. I´ve been visiting cities to individually train the branch/Ward mission leaders with the branch presidents and bishops about chapter 13 of PMG.

Its a great dream that I´m living. I hope it never ends!
Elder Welch

An Elevated Vision [3/4/15]

First things first - shout out to Ashley and her birthday tomorrow!! Whoohooooo! I hope you win a Reese´s ice cream cake with Reese´s on top. Hope you have a great birthday with the family!
It´s been pretty tough lately, but it sure doesn't get me unanimated. Instead of 0 in church on Sunday we had a whopping ONE! Haha but I´m actually pretty pumped because I´m confident she´ll be baptized. It´s been a drastic change recently because in December and January we were finding families and bringing them to church every Sunday. One of our investigators one time brought all of her kids, and all of her three sister´s kids... That week doubled the primary. However, I´m still PUMPED UP! It´s one of the toughest times in the mission for me, but it motivates me in the morning. I'm not going to lie, a couple of times this past month I looked in the mirror, gritted my teeth, and pointed at myself in the mirror saying, ´´I FEAR NO MAN!´´

So the people in Vinhedo (for now) aren´t hearing my cry for repentance. In fact as of recently it seems like everyone has studied anti-literature on the internet and is prepared to respond to any testimony that I offer of Joseph Smith or The Book of Mormon. I feel a little bit like Nephi in 3 Nephi, getting slapped in the face on the right side and then the left- no one believes anything I have to say. The only thing that seems to be missing is an expulsion from the city...
I figured out this week that a couple of years ago, the city of Vinhedo was the #1 richest city in the entire country of Brazil... How about that to put my area in perspective. More than 3/4 of the people live in gigantic condominiums that are gated off by a bunch of security and enormous walls that are barbed wire TWICE! haha I know, doesn't make any sense to me. Anyway, I was reflecting this past week about Samuel the Lamanite in the book of Helaman and how he was thrown out of the city. The Lord commanded him to return, which he did without hesitation. Upon his return, they didn´t let him in - so he climbed up the city walls and preached on the city walls as they shot arrows at him. What boldness! I woke up this past Saturday with this same dream, climbing up these massive walls that enclose the richest of the rich, and crying all unto repentance. Haha man, I´ve got so much energy in my body and excitement to share the gospel it just kills me to see rejection. Lucky for Samuel the Lamanite, I don´t think barbed wire existed in his day... It´s not going to work for me here, in my area. Haha

But to end this week´s letter, I´ve been working tirelessly with the Stake President here, Presidente Kawai. For years the church here has been baptizing but sadly not retaining these members. I felt an incredible desire to train all of the Branch and Ward Mission Leaders on our duties together as a missionary team.
The meeting happened last Sunday as we traveled to the Stake building pretty far away and entered the room. The Stake Presidency, Bishops, Branch Presidents, and the Mission Leaders... ´´What have I gotten myself into??´´ I thought. The Stake President called me by name to sit by his side as we begin the meeting.
To make a long story short, President Kawai emotionally gave me a hug and said, ´´We should've done this meeting years ago!...´´  Many leaders came up afterwards to clear up doubts and questions. 
My vision as a missionary has been elevated. I never knew how much of a difference a missionary could have not just in the life of an investigator, but an entire stake that has put in plans to divide! It´s an exciting time to be a missionary. It truly is a marvelous work and wonder.

Livin the Dream!
Elder Welch

I Live for 9:15 Every Sunday [2/23/15]

Well, I don´t have any baptismal pictures to send home this week. February has been brutal here - seriously a fight with the enemy. A mountain of highs and a couple of deep, deep valleys of lows. The mission has had both the happiest of times and saddest. Allow me to explain. 
I´ll send now together a picture of my new companion - Elder Bartolomeu. 
He´s from Recife as well, and grew up basically alone in the church. With his departure as a missionary, his mom and sister decided to return to activity. Some of the stories of my companions are pretty crazy. He´s amazing and practically has the bible memorized! Haha its funny because the missionaries always give me a hard time because I use 95% Book of Mormon in the lessons I teach - they think I'm against the bible or something. So he´s a good companion for me.

Quickly, sorry for the short letter, yesterday tore my heart to pieces. 0 investigators. ZERO. Let me say one more time. ZERO investigators were in church yesterday. Of all of the success of finding and teaching families by the Spirit the past couple of weeks no one was present. Thanks to the Sacrament meeting, I was inspired to sing a hymn at the beginning of each lesson this next week. My life is starting to revolve around this time. 9:15, when the sacrament is being passed, has been some of the greatest moments for me to turn a bad week into an incredible. Here comes a dynamite week!

Love you all! I´ve got fire in the bones!!
Elder Welch

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Let it Burn!

Yeeeeeeehaaaawwwwww! The transfer call came last night and guess who´s getting more ´´Greenie Fire´´ coming his way. Seriously, it´s the best calling as a missionary to train someone fresh out of the MTC. I can´t wait! My legs are shaking as I write this email home. There´s a lot of reasons why I like the calling so much but I especially like the first couple of days. They always think I´m the greatest missionary ever, giving me compliment after compliment, and then apologizing when they think they don´t live up to my expectations. For example, an invitation to be baptized... Haha maybe this doesn't make much sense so I´ll stop the comments here.
The first two transfers with Elder Machado came to a close. I´m not going to lie, he and Elder Amâncio I think were my two favorite companions. He was fighting back the tears last night as he was transferred and I stayed in the area. The past two weeks have been pretty awesome. As I may have mentioned in the past, this area I think is the richest city in the mission - absolutely FULL of gated communities where the bosses of the bosses live (their companies being in São Paulo and Campinas). With a lot of prayer and tiny changes, we have finally entered some of these gated communities to teach some families. The end of February and March are looking pretty white! No joke, some of the houses are so large it´s hard to see the ceiling when you enter the house... Okay, that´s a little bit of an exaggeration but some of these houses are incredible. I feel so tiny and get so scared that I will break something as I enter sometimes. These men are rich out of their minds. But the challenge here is of marriage. If I could have one wish, it would be a marriage wand. Seriously, who doesn't want to get married? The majority of these men and women want to live together their whole lives without getting married. And let me tell ya, it´s difficult to convince rich couples to get married legally.

On to other news, Carnaval started on Saturday. Like I said last year, I was disappointed in my efforts because I felt like it wasn´t possible to baptize that week. Elder Machado and I fasted together on Saturday with faith that some of these investigators take that last step. I hope to send pictures home next week of a family being baptized.

On Tuesday until Thursday of last week, I spent the days on a division with the Elder in SOCORRO! I was needing to see how some things were going in the branch there so we can help them become a ward. While I was there, I asked the elder not to schedule any visits to members because we´re good friends, and I knew he knew how much I love the members there. I felt a little bad because the members thought I didn't want to see them. But being in the small city of Socorro, I was able to see a couple. One of them yelled my name - ´´Elder WIIICCHHHHH!!´´ Hahah I looked at my companion and said, ´´They still don´t know how to pronounce my name...´´ We talked with the Stake Presidentyesterday. We have a meeting on March 1st with all of the ward/branch mission leaders to train them on Chapter 13 of Preach My Gospel. There´s some pretty exciting days and weeks that lie ahead.

I read section 15 of Doctrine and Covenants last week and thought a lot about it. Its short, read it.
I love the mission. I love being a missionary. I love everything about this work. It´s the greatest, happiest, most exciting, hard, challenging, depressing, incredible, stressful, painful, time of my life! I´m livin´the dream with more greenie fire coming tomorrow!

Elder Welch

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Impressed, to Say the Least [2/9/15]

Wow, this pday was awesome... and it just got started! Haha the only thing that was awesome in reality, was Matt´s talkon Sunday. He said two things that made me think. Here they are:

1. I don´t know how I was blessed for not watching the rated R movie, but I know the Lord blessed me.
2. I´m grateful for the standards the Lord has given us. Although they may seem restricting and I don't understand some of them, I know that we have them for a reason.

Seriously, those two lines are dynamite! It made me think a lot about one of my leaders in the beginning of my mission who invited me to change.
I'm not going to lie, when I arrived as a new missionary I was ARROGANT! Straight up, no no´s about it. I told my trainer and those around me that I was going to make history. I showed the caption one day of the picture of Dan Jones (first chapter of Preach My Gospel) in a companionship study. It reads something like, ´´Dan Jones - One of the greatest missionaries in the Latter-Days.´´ I told my trainer to think about that line and then look at me. Confused, without a reply I pointed my thumbs at me... "Elder - I´m going to be THE BEST missionary in these latter-days!"

A couple of months later, a tad bit more humble,  I was studying chapter 10 without rest. All day, everyday, I wanted to be the greatest teacher in the Last-days. Chapter 10 talks all about ´´teaching techniques.´´ I wanted investigators to sit down in the fields of my area and just hear my sermons...  I desired the conversions like Alma after Abinidi had put his life on the line with the king-

"And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts."

I imagined these fields being like a football crowd and everyone screaming (it being a white out of course (in baptismal clothing)) "BAPTIZE ME!!"

Haha thanks to the inspiration of this work, my leader humbled my prideful desires and made me think about how The Savior taught people. He made me think about what made Him so effective. He later arrived at his point being the way Christ was. Chapter 6 - attributes of Christ.
In all, I think what made Matt´s talk so great, at least in my opinion, was the humility with what he approached his talk. ´´I don´t know how He blessed me, but I know He did´´ or ´´Athough they seem restricting and I don´t understand some of them, I know that we have them for a reason.´´ I noticed in the last General Conference, Elder Holland talked similarly. He expressed how he doesn't know what it´s like to pass through depression, but he knows who does know how it feels.

Congrats on the talk Matt. You made me proud.

The work is going on. I´m grateful for a Loving Savior who makes up for so many of my weaknesses. For example, Reginaldo (one of our investigators who has been going to church for over two months now) still thought he wasn't ready for church. In attempt to force a baptism (which I recognize was very wrong of me), we told him that he was going to watch the meetings with the baptismal clothing. I think it freaked him out, and he turned out not going to church yesterday... We passed by after church and he said that his dad needed some help with something out of town, but the Spirit chastised me for the attempt... Oh the sacredness of our agency. What a frustrating lesson it sometimes can be as a missionary. However, I couldn't be anymore grateful for it.

As the mission seems to be running before my eyes, I can see the way the Lord is changing my heart. I really believe that I arrived on the mission with a Lamanite heart. Everything was about me, even the glory. I wanted to be the best - and I wanted everyone to know it.

"And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first." -Abraham 3:27

The changes the Lord has done with me, even the hard lessons, makes me think a lot about why Jesus and Lucifer were both called. And of course, why Jesus became the Christ, the chosen one.
How grateful I am for a patient and loving Heavenly Father, who respects and treasures our free agency. I know we are all called to this work (D&C 4:2), but we need to turn ourselves qualified for it (D&C 4:5-6).

Elder Welch

A Marvelous Work and a Wonder [2/4/15]

Wow. It´s February!? Elder Amâncio, one of my favorite companions (served with him in Socorro), asked me on Monday if I was ´´trunky.´´ I didn´t realize that I have 3 transfers left! Last week I laid down to go to sleep and thought to myself, ´´Wow, it´s going to be so weird living away from home at college...´´ I woke up the next morning thinking how ridiculous that thought was. ´´Agh.. It´s been a while since I haven´t lived in my parent´s house.´´ Hahah I still feel like I´m in High School, just on a summer break preaching the Gospel. His question really took me off guard.
This week has been full of ups and a couple of downs. Seriously, the words of King Benjamin are what I want to paste all over the newspapers and tv´s - 

" 41 And moreover, would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God."   

If I could just help 10% of this city understand this principal. If I could just help 10% of my investigators understand this principal! Maybe it makes me so sad because I love these people so much. If I could only convince these people of the happiness that's in store for those that love and obey God.

A good amount of our progressing pool of investigators reached a point last week where the necessary changes that baptism requires was too much to ask for.

I was on a split with a new Elder this week who´s passing through a couple of difficulties. I tried to prepare myself well for the day we would have. The Lord really blessed us. To sum up the division, we were on our way to a Family Night with two families that are less-active. 20 minutes from the house, I saw a lady with her car door open. I stopped and offered to help her in any way I could.
The conversation passed 20 minutes as I had to sit down on the curb (I was exhausted). I felt impressed to ask the most basic question I have ever asked on the mission - ´´Irmã, do you believe in God?´´
Her negative response caught me off guard. But everyone in Brazil believes in God! I thought to myself. I opened up Alma 18 with her and invited her to read. HOLY COW THE POWER OF THE BOOK OF MORMON! She began to cry as she read the king´s answers to Ammon´s questions. They were the same answers she gave to me, just moments before.
I felt prompted to invite her to the family night. ´´Irmã, do you accept our invitation to participate in a family night tonight? I will start here in... 2 minutes ago´´ She smiled and accepted.
The Less-Actives and this lady all participated in a well-executed family night. We watched the Church´s video of Christ for Easter in 2014. We then bore our testimonies of the atonement. As we finished, I recognized the tears in everyone´s eyes. One of the members less-active stood up and said, ´´I want to do something that Ive never done in my life. Bear my testimony of Jesus Christ.´´ His wife about passed out as she couldn´t believe her eyes... Haha

At the end of the family night, I wrote down her address in order to send it to the missionaries in the neighboring city. I asked her before she left, the same simple question.
´´Irmã, do you believe in God?´´
She replied, ´´I don´t know who He is, but I feel in my heart that He lives.´´

I too, ´´feel in my heart,´´ that He lives! I know it. This is His work. It´s marvelous and a wonder... and it´s coming forth!!
Elder Welch