Wednesday, March 25, 2015

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

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