Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Still Livin' the Dream!

Wow, the sun down here is killer. Haha my farmer´s tan is worse than it´s ever been in my life - even after baseball season. Haha but I´m loving it. Because of the sun for the past two weeks, we´ve been leaving our house in the morning and then studying in the afternoon. Maybe this sounds like weak sauce, but let me tell ya, it´s HOT!

Another week past without anyone in our teaching pool being baptized. Aghhhh, I don´t like not reaching goals. For example, we´re teaching a 33 year old man named Reginaldo who has already been interviewed twice. But the thing is... HE PASSED THE INTERVIEW BOTH TIMES! He just doesn't want to sign the baptismal paper (I forget what you call that in English!). He reads The Book of Mormon, goes to church on Sunday by himself, has a testimony, he even wants to be baptized... TUDO! He just doesn't want to be baptized ´´yet.´´
We also have a couple of others investigating that should be baptized in February. We even marked a wedding for a couple yesterday - Feb. 28! Whoop! They´re hands down the best looking couple I´ve taught. Its pretty funny because the members in the ward call them the ´´Beautiful Couple.´´
-´´And how was your week ´´beautiful couple?´´
-´´Can you read for us ___ passage, ´´beautiful couple?´´
Their story is pretty sweet. Their names are Ricardo and Maria. They moved from Belo Horizonte, Minis Girias in the month of December in hope for a better life. Maria found a job quickly as Ricardo didn't. Because they´re young, and without money or a job good enough to sustain the family, they cant bring their 3 year old son to São Paulo to live with them here. We found them looking for a different contact we made and began to teach them.
I felt the Spirit prompt me to promise Ricardo a job, if he were to go to church with us. I was in a split with two young men in the Priest´s Quroum, and to tell the truth, didn't want to make the promise - almost as if I was scared of my calling. But, I followed it anyway and promised the job.
Before Ricardo responded, Maria (his girlfriend) said, ´´If he doesn´t go, it doesn't matter... I´ll be there!´´
Haha agh the faith that she had in that promise. Two weeks ago, Maria and Ricardo went to church for the first time. In attempt to fulfill the promise, and going beyond praying and fasting, I talked to everyone and anyone about a job.
Last week, Ricardo followed up with us.
´´I'm extremely happy now. I was without a job, and now I have two...´´ WHOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!! 
But that's not even the best part. He found out that one of the jobs would begin to require him to work on Sunday... Knowing in mind that the money was needed to bring his son to live with him, he put his faith first in Sabbath Day and turned down the offer.

This is the Lord´s work. I see His hand daily as I strive to serve with all of my heart, all of my might, all of my mind, and with certainty, all of my strength. These are the greatest years in my life. I´m livin´the DREAM!

Elder Welch

-The picture was taken in a members farm. Just to show that monkeys are common for this part of Brasil. It was on the porch of their house!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fiel [1/19/15]

I´ve been thinking recently about the word, ´´Loyalty´´ and how it applies to me. I absolutely loved the second talk in General Conference by the seventy who phrased the question, ´´What Side Do You Face?´´ Its made me think a lot about myself, being a conduit to Christ, for others. I feel like I could be a much more successful missionary if my side was always facing the Lord´s. Exist thousands of examples to illustrate this better, but I think its better just to study the talk for yourself.

This week was a grind. I have some investigators coming out of the wood work, progressing really well, but aren´t taking that step of faith and being baptized. It kills me when they are scared of the consequences. Its almost as if they think baptism will condemn them for the eternities, instead of blessing them not just forever, but individually and immediately. Six months ago, with certainty, they would all be baptized by now. I was a missionary that forced the correct decision for everyone. I bore my testimony and had absolute certainty that it was the only true way to happiness. However, as of recent, I´ve been changing as a teacher. It kills me because the natural man wants results. The results of this change in me are coming along slower than molasses! I feel the Spirit however, and in the end, I expect a lot more converts - not just in numbers, but in conversion. The type of converts that are like the Anti-Nephi-Lehites. Can you imagine the type of joy Ammon had in the people he baptized? No wonder he collapsed in joy when he saw his other missionary friends.

Elder Bednar explains the type of teaching, ´´Learning by Faith.´´ As always, he cites the scripture in 2 Nephi 2 that says we are agents to act, and not to be acted upon. My investigators in the past were definitely agents who were being acted upon (by me). Teaching the process, inviting them to participate, and then helping them take the right decision incovenant making and keeping is the Lord´s way. He established the plan, taught us, and then let us to rule ourselves. Like Joseph Smith said to teach correct principals and let men govern themselves. Because of the time, the best explanation is that of dad helping Matt with his math homework.

I always remember Matt getting super frustrated at Dad because Matt recognized that Dad knew the answers to the questions. But instead of simply giving Matt the answers to the math homework, we would guide him to the answer. The same principal of giving a man a fish, or teaching him how to fish.

In all, the work is going well. I'm extremely frustrated inside because no one wants to take the step of baptism, but here logo logo, I expect some white photos...

As of recent, my 2 favorite families (one being the family of ´´Say amen you daughter of God!´´ story) dropped us this week. Well, not exactly, but they aren't progressing anymore. One of the greatest lessons I've learned is that of love. If you really love a person, you´ll let them fall for a bit. Does God not do the same with us? I´ll definitely return back to their houses  before I'm transferred. Ive gotta baptize them! I feel that in this way, I can be loyal to the Lord, teaching and inviting people to come unto Him, the way He would do it. What side do you face??

Love you all. I heard the ´´BUCKSHHHHHHHSSS´´ won the big game. Super excited (feel free to send a championship shirt to me! haha). I also heard that Ashley gave a dynamite lesson on prayer yesterday. Here's some names you can pray for next week. Who knows if they´ll be baptized come Saturday?

-Reginaldo e Vitor
-Flávia e Sara
-Marcos Vinícios
-Marissa e Alana
-Ricardo e Maria
-Carlos e Sandra

Um grande e forte abraço para todos vós!
Te amo!
Elder Welch 

Pede, e Recebereis [1/12/15]

Ask and you shall receive. I'm so grateful that God hears and answers our prayers, especially when they are righteous desires. Ive been wanting to baptize a family for a while now. Granted, the only family that went to church yesterday was a couple that isn't married, but I hope to be baptizing families her in Feb!
The Ward here also was super excited with all of the people The Lord helped us bring to church today. Theres nothing like the trust the Bishop puts in you when he asks you to talk 5 minutes before Sacrament Meeting. Our ward here means business too - Its super organized. The 1st counselor of the Brasil Area Seventy is a member here... Haha his son is the Bishop.
The work is true. I absolutely love The Lord. And yes, I'm livin the dream.

Elder Welch

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Fala amém Filha de Deus! [1/5/15]

We were walking to an appt with one of my favorite families last Friday night and ran in to 8 kids playing a volleyball game in the road. We played with them for 2 minutes and then invited them all in to the house of this family for our lesson on, ´´For the Strength of Youth.´´ Slowly to accept, but insistent in the invitation, they followed behind us and participated in the lesson. It was a great lesson where we talked a lot about, showing pictures of, President Monson. We then invited one of the 10 year olds to pray, which she did. I think it was her first non-memorized prayer that she has ever said. With help, she closed like this: ´´In the name of Jesus Christ, ...´´ There was a 5 second pause before anyone said amen. I peeked an eye open to see if she knew what to say next... After the long pause, a 6 year old girl opened up her eyes, unfolded her arms and screamed, ´´Say AMEN you daughter of God!´´

Haha everyone said amen and congratulated the 10 year old girl on her prayer. As I walked away from the appt, I felt really happy that we were able to teach a lesson to adults in a family, in a simple way so that a six year old that doesn't attend church with her family, was able to understand and feel that she was a daughter of God. I feel like this truth is the most important truth for somebody to understand, and later, believe.

I was studying Alma this week, specifically Captain Moroni. To sum a lot of my thoughts up, I realized that the Lamanites were able to gain control over various cities because the people forgot their ´´purpose.´´ (Cap 1 of Preach My Gospel). Mormon explains in a couple of verses the frustration Captain Moroni went through because of all of the hard work he was putting in, and the result of the people not wanting to understand.

These verses made me turn back to Preach My Gospel and re-study my purpose as a missionary. We are to invite all, and then help all, to come unto Christ. Some need help accepting our invitation, some need a good friend that follows-up with them, and maybe others simply just need a reminder of the invitation in the first place.

I hope that all of you at home continue becoming ´´Preach My Gospel Members,´´ so that the enemy doesn't take away that which is of most worth in our eternal lives. Study and live our purpose as Children of an Eternal God. One day we will have to say amen to this life and stand face to face with our Master.

Lets prepare for that great day together in 2015!

Elder Welch

Tenacity [12/18/14]

Well, well, well... I have to start out by apologizing to everyone, especially mom, for not writing for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, I still haven't had a p-day this month - I´m seriously dying, haha. Each time Pday comes around, some sort of meeting happens or a missionary in my house has to go to Campinas to talk with President resulting in a loss of Pday. I tried to get permission last week but I got shut down by the assistant (who by the way was one of my companions... haha). But, because its been so long, Sister Perrotti told me that ´´my mom should be worrying about me´´ and that I should write a letter home today. So, regardless of mom actually worrying or not, I at least have an hour today to write home and talk about some things that have happened this past month.

I wrote ´´Tenacity´´ as the title this week because of a talk Elder Evans of the Seventy gave last month (I think it was at BYU). One of the secretaries printed it out and gave it to me while I was in Campinas last week. But WOW, did that talk put some fire in the bones... I seriously am dead. I've been waking up between 3:50-4:50 the past three weeks to take bus rides to various cities, shutting my body down yesterday. I about threw up on a bus ride because of being tired. Haha I'm stupid! Not stupid, stupid, but seriously wiped out like I've never been before. I later found a seat on the bus yesterday and ran to get it. I sat next to a woman and started a conversation with her about her family, and before she responded, I was asleep on her shoulder.... No joke! Haha I woke up to her tapping me on my shoulder saying that ´´the bus arrived...´´
But, with this incredible exhaustion I've learned a lot about the enabling power of the atonement. I seriously have energy like I've never had before on the mission when I'm visiting our investigators. It makes me feel good. Haha I don't know how to explain it... But I look in the mirror, see the exhaustion in my body, and then scare it away... Haha that's so lame, but it's true. I've never needed the atonement so much and I've never recognized in this way. It's a huge testimony to me that I was called by Him.

As of recently, I've experienced a couple of trials. Some of them being with exercises in the morning. For example, Dustin and Matt should like these: I ripped the pull-up bar off the door and slammed my head on the ground 2 weeks ago and last weekend I was running down stairs and slipped and rolled down like a snowball until the end - feet in the air, head facing toward the bottom... Haha I just laid there for a while as my knees, legs, hands and elbows were scrapped and bleeding. Haha no one was there to rescue me because my companion was in the bathroom and all of our neighbors were sleeping.
Others have been with investigators. For example, last Sunday we finished teaching Maria and Mariana (mom and daughter) who were interviewed Saturday night for their baptism on Sunday. We showed up Sunday morning all excited and their old church spent the entire night in the house, telling them how we aren't Christians, how we are a cult, that we don't like people, etc... Man, I just wanted to sit down and cry. Not only physical exhaustion has reached it´s limit, but spiritually as well on Sunday. Thanks to the atonement however, the Sacrament breathed the needed fire in the body to leave Sunday and find some awesome new investigators.

To end, I've been studying about Moroni.Today I read a verse in 48:12 that talks about the way he worked... In short, Moroni was tenacious in the way he lead his people. He lost the drive at times but understood his purpose (ch 1 of PMG). At this point on the mission, I´m a happy man. I'm physically spent but I feel good. And through the atonement, I'm being buoyed up and strengthened. As the last 6 months of the mission have begun, I hope I can return home like Moroni - TENACIOUS.

This is His work. Jesus is the Christ. I'm happy to be one of His soldiers, in the Last Days. Until Christmas!

Elder Welch