Monday, March 28, 2016

Life off the Res - Week 28

Hello all!
     It seems like every time I take over an area we clean the
apartment and we find old teaching records that haven't been out into
our digital area books! It takes a long time to put in each record,
but it helps to find some old contacts and hopefully new people to
teach! We spent a lot of time doing that this week but we found some
pretty cool potential people to teach!
     We want to the Easter pageant on Wednesday with our investigator
family, the Scotts. It was so good! They have been going to the
pageant for the past like three years so it was funny to have them
teach us where the best place is to sit and you have to get there
early and bring dinner and stuff. The show was amazing! I hope I can
come back next year and watch it too!
     We taught most of our investigators this week and we are
hopefully going to have some baptisms soon! Norma is really prepared
and knows a lot about the gospel, it is amazing to be part of her
    Women's conference was so amazing! We went with our recent convert,
Chloe and it was so fantastic! I love how much the topic of service
was emphasized and really how we can become Christ's hands.
     Easter Sunday was fantastic. In the YSA ward they had a musical
sacrament meeting and it was so nice! I love our wards :) and then we
were invited to Easter dinner with a family from our other ward. They
really made us feel like part of their family :)
    We are working pretty hard out here and really appreciate all the
support and prayers!


Sister Welch

Life off the Res - I Don't Know if I Have Laughed This Much in Months - Week 27

SURPRISE!!!! Transfers were this week and I got a new companion! Sister Smith is from Chattanooga, Tennessee and I absolutely love her! She has been out for a little over 6 months and she is a rocking missionary! We have some great times together and it has only been three days!   we had a baptism on Saturday! CJ finally got dunked!!! It was so good! The spirit was so strong. We got to teach a lot of lessons this week and we get to go to the Easter pageant on Wednesday with our investigator family! So I was studying this talk earlier this week by Elder Maxwell about the man of Christ and he said a ton of great things! This was my favorite: "He remembers Gethsemane and senses that, sometimes, when a righteous individual is in agony, seemingly alone, he, too, is companied by celestial friends who are nearby, but not so near as to interfere. For the surrender which is underway is also a victory! He knows that having put his hand to the plow he must not look back, because when we are looking back, we are also holding back. He learns, too, in a listening Church, that there are nevertheless those occasions when it is more important for us to say a certain thing than it is for others to hear us. He knows that God loves us, not the gifts he has given us. And yet even one’s gifts must be used within the order and orchestration of the kingdom, lest such gifts be used to harm the very work of the Giver of these gifts." I LOVE this talk. If you want to read it it is from the April 1975 general conference :) love y'all! Also I made these flyers for the new Easter initiative :)

Life off the Res - March Madness - Week 26

        This week went by so fast! We stayed pretty busy the whole time with
meetings and we got to go to the temple twice this week! One of our
recent converts in the YSA ward got to go through the temple for the
first time and we went to the Gilbert temple! It was beautiful :) We
also got to do a pretty cool service project called Food for Kidz
where we packaged food for children in distress.
        We picked up a new investigator, Andy, this week who seems super
solid! He met some missionaries when he was n vacation in Colorado and
then came down here and found us and told us he wants to be baptized!
He is such a sweetie and we love teaching him. We also got a member
referral for a YSA girl who has come to a few activities before but
was never really interested but she came to us this week and said she
wants to start taking the discussions! Talk about some miracles! So
all is well here! I love you guys!
        Also, we got to go to the zoo today! A member gave us some free VIP
tickets and we got to feed giraffes! MY LIFE IS COMPLETE! And go on a
"safari" it was way fun!

Life off the Res - Another Month Down! - Week 25

The time is absolutely flying by here! It has already been 7 months
since I left home! Like, what?! This week we went on exchanges twice
so I think that made it go by even faster! Tuesday I was with Sister
Peterson who is the sister that took my place on the Papago Rez. She
and I are a lot alike so it was funny to be together for a day :) In
the morning we went and helped the zone pick fruit at a part member
family's house. I think we must have picked hundreds of oranges and
grapefruits. I had no idea that Arizona was such a hotspot for citrus!
They even have just decorative fruit trees, like the fruit is so hard
and gross that you can't eat it, but it looks nice so they keep
them... So weird! It was good to spend some time with the missionaries
in our zone, we have some really great ones! After service we didn't
have any set appointments so we used the lists that the bishops gave
us to contact less active people and potential investigators.
Unfortunately no one was really interested or the people we were
looking for had moved, but that didn't stop us from trying! Finally at
the end of the night we were able to see a less active family that the
missionaries and the chaparral ward have been trying to contact for a
long time. The Mowatt family moved here from England a few years ago
and haven't really been to church since, they were actually kind of
against coming when they got here. But slowly their hearts have been
softening and we were able to schedule an appointment to come teach
them this week! As we were leaving their apartment and walking back to
our car a girl on a skateboard rode past us and said, "SISTER
MISSIONARIES!!!!", skidded to a stop and chased us down. She had just
moved from Utah and didn't know where her ward would be so we gave her
our number and told her about the singles ward. She was so sweet! That
contact made up for the slower day that we had for sure :)
        Wednesday we got to see Danielle Scott and her daughter Allison. I
always really like teaching them because even though they have been
learning about the church for a long time, their desire has really
just began to grow. We went through the baptismal interview questions
and Allie, who just turned 8, was answering so enthusiastically to all
of the questions. When they finally get baptized they will probably
know more than some life long members! Haha We also go to to teach a
young woman named Amaica that night. She is from Ecuador and is living
with an LDS family while she goes to school for business. She is so
sweet! She told us about how she is having a hard time being away from
her family and really feels alone. We talked with her for a long time
about the Atonement and how because Christ suffered for us we never
have to truly be alone. By the end of the lesson almost everyone was
crying. Well except for our YSA elders quorum president who came with
us... But he claims that he doesn't have feelings...
        And then that night we began another exchange, this time with sisters
in Phoenix. Sister Ferre is going home in two weeks and Sister Doxie
came out on the mission with me! She stayed in Scottsdale with me so
Sister Colina could go do Spanish work in Phoenix. We had such a good
day! Sister Doxie was so willing to just jump in with anything and
everything. First off, we were supposed to see a former investigator
Debbie who was interested in having us come back but we called and
texted and knocked on her door but she didn't answer anything!
Sometimes it feels like people set up appointments with us just so
they know what time to not be home... Haha BUT it worked out because
as we were driving back to North Scottsdale I thought of a less ate
that we hadn't been able to see for a couple weeks. We decided to stop
by and not only was he home, but his other less active roommate and
his nonmember roommate and his girlfriend were all there too! We had a
really nice lesson on Christ and the atonement, the real reason we
celebrate this time of year and invited them to come to the Easter
pageant. Anthony, which is the one that we usually visit, is so sweet!
He really is trying to make some big changes in his life and Satan
sees that and is doing everything he can to stop him. But he has a
really good attitude about everything and is still trying his best to
do what is right. And the miracles continued after that! We got a call
from our investigator Theresa and she had a small window where she
could meet with us. We have not been able to see her the week before
because she works three jobs and has two young boys, so we were so
excited she wanted  to see us! We got to teach her the plan of
salvation and she loved it. She said of all the things she has ever
learned this makes the most sense and feels the most correct. She is
slowly making some progress.
Another cool event of Thursday was that we got to teach a YSA young
man named Will. He was kind of taking a break from the church for a
while and called us last week to come back. The whole day we were
trying to find a girl to come with us to the lesson so we wouldn't
have to sit outside (missionary rules) but no one was free to com with
us! Finally we had the idea to bring the mission secretary Sister Bass
( she is and older lady from TN) and she was so excited to get our of
the office! It ended up being perfect because Will is such a momma'
boy and having Sister Bass there was perfect for him because she
really turned in to that mother figure for him and was really
respectful of everything she had to say. He is really changing too. He
had a few questions about faith and repentance and told us that he
knows that baptism is his next step but he wants to make sure he is
doing those two things right before he makes the commitment. It really
did make a difference in him to go over these things and just reminded
me that sometimes it is good to just go back to the basics. Really
faith and repentance are the foundation for progression in the gospel
as long as we are building our faith and continually repenting or
changing then we are on the right track.
        Friday we had Mission Leadership council and even though those
meetings are really long they are always really good. We got to see
some missionary friends that we usually don't get to and learn a lot
too. We had an extremely good lesson on family history work and we
now, as a mission, have permission to go on for two hours a week and
do family history work! We got to do some the other night and it was
so cool to actually find new names in my family tree! And what is
extra cool is that now that family search is linked to
you can access all of those documents and stuff for free now too! It
was amazing to see the actual records that had my family's names on
them. Friday evening we had a wonderful lesson with CJ, our
investigator that is being baptized in two weeks. Ever since he has
made the decision to be baptized it is like he is a whole new person!
His countenance is truly glowing. He really has become more humble and
used the atonement. It was amazing to see that difference in him.
        Sunday evening we were able to attend a YSA devotional with Elder
Durrant speaking. He is the member of the 70 that gave the talk about
ponderizing. It was so cool! Mostly it was him asking some of the
people in the congregation what are some of the scriptures they have
ponderized and the difference it has made in their lives. I'm glad we
serve in the YSA ward so we can go to stuff like this :)

I love you all!
Sister Welch

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Is Your Joy Full? - Week 24

 The weeks really are flying by out here! Plenty of good things
happened this week, I'm so excited to tell ya'll about it! Ok, so
Tuesday was pretty boring; we spent almost FOUR HOURS at Pepboys
getting our tires replaced. Neither of us have ever had to get tires
changed before but we didn't think it would take that long! They had
our car, so we were stranded. We did get some good planning in for our
lessons that week and practically told our lie stories but we got new
tires! Yay!
       Wednesday, we spent most of the day going through our area book and
finding people who haven't been contacted for a long time, or ever,
and seeing if they were interested in meeting with us again. We still
haven't seen too much success with that yet, but some other really
great things happened this week! We had exchanges again, this time
with the sisters that serve in the Larkspur and McDowell Mountain
wards. I was with Sister Fisher in her area this time around, and I
must say, she is hilarious! She is so outgoing and really loves the
people that she is serving. We got to meet with a less active member
named Constance that the sisters tracked into on the street. She has
been through a lot the past few years and really didn't know where
else to go. For the longest time when the sisters would teach her she
would say she kinda just wants to have her records removed from the
church because she doesn't know if she trusts God anymore. Well last
week they had the bishop of their ward go over and talk to her and she
told him about wanting to get her records removed as well and he
suggested she waits just a little longer and see in a few weeks. When
we went to see her she asked for the address of the church! She wanted
to go to Church! Constance hasn't been to church in like 15 years, at
least. Such a big step! I am going to have to follow up with Sister
Fisher to see if she did end up going, I hope so. The church can help
anyone, whatever their situation.
        Thursday, we had district meeting and I was in charge of giving a 

lesson on how we can use time more wisely. This is something that we
have been talking A LOT about lately so I felt really unsure about
what I would say that would be different or that anyone could learn
from. I did lots of studying and in Preach My Gospel it refers to the
parable in Jacob 5 about the Lord's vineyard. Versus 74 and 75 say,
"And thus they (us) labored, with all diligence, according to the
commandments of the Lord of the vineyard... And when the Lord of the
vineyard saw that it was good... He called up his servants (us) and
said unto them: Behold for this last time have we nourished my
vineyard... And blessed art thou for because ye have been diligent in
laboring with me in my vineyard and have kept my commandments ....
Behold ye shall have joy with me because of the fruit of my vineyard."

So we talked about being diligent workers and how we can best use our
time so that when the end of our missions come we can have a fullness
of joy with Christ. It went pretty well, there was a lot of group
discussion and that is when you know you have done good cause people
feel comfortable enough  to share experiences and ways that we can all
be better. I even made these cute little hand outs to remind them to
stay focused on receiving that joy, I'll attach a picture :)  

        We did quite a bit of work in the YSA ward this week. We got three
referrals so three new investigators! The first is Joshua. He is a
really sweet guy! He grew up with 16 brothers and sisters! He works as
a manager of a continence store and he also does freelance animation
on the side. When we ask I'm questions he always says yes ma'am or no
ma'am :) We taught him the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ
this week and invited him to be baptized and he said yes! He knew some
people in school that were members of our church and really looked up
to them and decided to look into what we believe. He loves learning
and we love to teach him!
        We had dinner with our recent convert John and he told us that he
wants to go on a mission! We knew this was something he was thinking
about but we didn't know he was really serious about it! He is going
to be such a great missionary, he has really let the gospel change his
life and he loves who Christ has helped him to become the past month
or so.
        This letter just keeps getting better and better; WE FINALLY HAVE AN INVESTIGATOR ON DATE TO BE BAPTIZED!!!!!! CJ is someone that the sisters have been working with for a long time and he is finally ready to take this next step of faith! He was feeding us dinner this week
and we asked him to share a spiritual thought with us this time
instead of the other way around. He shared a scripture in Alma 34 that
talks about letting not our hearts be hardened. This scripture really
spoke to him because he has literally used that phrase to us before,
he tells us that he isn't ready, that his heart is too hard. Well when
he read that scripture he said, "well with that said, I'm ready to be
put on date now." How often do investigators put themselves on date?!
So CJ is going to be baptized on the 19th of March! WooHoo! It is
about time. Haha.
        This week we also go to meet with a former investigator, Will. He
told us about how he has been trying other churches but he just
doesn't learn as much at the other ones and he likes that he gets to
take the Sacrament here. He wants to start meeting with us again but
we are going to have to go at a slower pace than before because he
said he really wasn't understanding when the had been taught in the
past. But yay! He is willing to learn and he could notice or himself
the difference he feels in our church. Progress people, progress :)
        Sundays here always tucker me out! Granted I am tired like all the
time anyway, such is the life of a missionary, and an adult, but the
first of those is way more fun :) We are at church for seven hours
between out two wards and all the meetings we have to go to! Luckily
they can go by pretty quick. The ward council gave us some new names
of people to visit and potential investigators too! Our wards are
really amazing at getting involved with the missionary work! After
Sacrament meeting for Chaparral, Sister Colina and our mini missionary
left to go to the YSA meetings and I was with one of our ward
missionaries, Sister Gaisford. She is such a sweetie! Right before
Sunday school she leaned over to me and said, "I like to think of you
as my adopted daughter, but seeing as we have grandchildren older than
you maybe it's more like adopted granddaughter." AWWWWW! It has only been 4 weeks and I already have a new ward family! This is what they
don't prepare you for in the MTC! You go into a mission knowing you
are leaving your family behind and that is hard enough. But they don't
tell you about the family you gain while you are out and it becomes
just as hard to leave them too. (Not that you guys can be replaced,
but you grow a special love for the people you serve).
        So as you can read, all is well here in sunny Arizona! It is only the
end of February and it has been in the upper 90's! But at least I'm
not cold :) I love you guys!

My Weekly Novel - Week 23

Man, I think I have a lot to write about today! Ok, so first off two
weeks ago at church two people from Papago were there! They are YSA
age but they never felt comfortable going, the other sisters told them
it is where I got transferred to and they came! I was so surprised, it
was amazing, like seeing family :)
        A couple of weeks ago I had my first Missionary Leadership Council
meeting as an STL! Those are some really long meetings! So, in
meetings like this I usually, and by usually I mean like 99.999999% of
the time, don't talk unless I get called on (which would be the other
0.000001%). During the meeting President Sweeney was giving a training
on how we always need to be looking for ways to build people's faith,
even in street contacting situations. So, we were asked what we would
do in a certain situation that an elder had experienced a couple weeks
before. They met a lady on the street and she told them that she
doesn't believe in organized religion but in worshipping alone
outside. Many elders and sisters suggested ideas and then were asked
to role play exactly what they would say in front of everyone. As they
were talking I just kept thinking, the best way to help someone grow
their faith is to invite them to DO something. As soon as I thought it
I wished someone else would say it so I wouldn't have to go in front
of everyone. But no one did so I slowly raised my hand... I said what
I was thinking and immediately President was nodding enthusiastically
and before I even finished was asking me to come to the front of the
room...When I did, I'm not even sure what I said anymore, I just
remember inviting her (aka Sister Sweeney) to come to church with us
and she gladly accepted. I am glad that the Spirit gave me enough
courage to stand up and say what I was thinking. It was a good growing
experience, maybe I'll talk even more next time.... Haha probably
        I went on my first exchanges two weeks ago! I went up to Cave Creek
with Sister Oldham and we had a blast! We stayed pretty busy even
though we didn't have any set lessons. In the morning we went to do
service at this bird rehabilitation place, it was cool but kinda
smelled like decaying birds... Which I guess makes sense... Anywho,
the people were really glad that we were there and we were happy to
help out! After lunch we went out contacting until dinner! Whether it
was potential investigators or less active families, we did it all!
Sister Oldham is so sweet! She came out the transfer before me and
already knows so much! I really admire her!
        We had FHE at our bishop's house for Chaparral with our investigator
family the Scotts. The missionaries have been working with them for
some time and they are finally coming around! Danielle (the mom) told
us that she prayed a long time ago about the Book of Mormon and got
her answer that she knows it is true! She was trying to tell us but
didn't know how. She and her kids are just building up the courage to
tell her parents who are really strong in another faith. We also got
to see an investigator that we have been scheduling and rescheduling
to see since I have been here! His name is Danny and he is so cool! He
is working three jobs and taking 18 credits at school all right now so
he is really hard to get a hold of! But he is really open and
receptive to the message that we have. He had a lot of LDS friends
growing up and their examples mean a lot to him.
        This past week we were able to go to the temple with our recent
convert John for him to do baptisms! It was so cool to see him glow
just like the day he was baptized. He absolutely loved it at the
temple! He even brought 13 family file names to do! What a rockstar!
While we were in the baptistery there was this really old man and him
probably great grandson. With every name he spoke the gentleman geared
up. It was the sweetest thing to watch.
        We had some really awkward street contacts this week... I didn't
think I was a good enough or old enough missionary to be this awkward
with normal people yet! It hasn't been THAT long.... Haha
        We had a really good lesson with CJ this week. We had a few of his
friends from the ward there and it really helped. He gets in these
funks sometimes where he gets angry and doesn't want to pray or read
his scriptures, or do anything good really... And he was in one of
those moods before our lesson. But it was cool to watch his
countenance change as we talked about Christ and the gospel. We texted
him later in the week and asked him how things were going and he told
us that he was having such a great week! He committed to living all of
the commandments to see what a difference it would make and he was so
happy! He knows that baptism is his next step now we just have to put
a date on it!
        We saw our not really progressing investigator Edward. HE HAS CHANGED
SO MUCH! When I first got here he was kind of mean to us and just
wanted to teach us what he believes but in a mean way. We were just
getting ready to drop him but we invited him to read the Book of
Mormon and he has! He is already in 2 Nephi and it has been amazing to
watch his attitude change. He is so much nicer now and really listens
intently when we come over. He actually is starting to ask us to stay
longer! I don't know if he recognizes the change yet or even what that
change may bring but he is really enjoying reading and having us come
teach him now.
        We are now teaching a part member family, Alisha and Dax and their
little two year old, Mack. Dax is the nonmember and he has a lot of
questions! Her family are all members and actually has a little
brother on a mission right now! He has also begun to read the Book of
Mormon and really likes it when we come over.
        We had a mini missionary with us over the weekend and she was the
cutest thing! She is from Phoenix, she is 16 and she really wants to
go on a mission when she turns 19. She is so ready! She really amazed
us with the spirit she brought and her willingness to just jump in and
teach with us!
        One day this week we were baking cookies before we went out to give
to people. That's pretty normal for us. What wasn't normal was when we
came home that night it smelled like burnt cookies and Sister Colina
freaked out! She had left the oven on all day, the worst part, WITH
COOKIES IN IT!!!!! We were so lucky that our house didn't burn down!
Now it just smells slightly like burnt cookies and we are very aware
of when we leave to make sure the oven is off.
         We taught another new investigator this week, her name is Theresa.
She has 2 young boys who are very rambunctious! While we were there we
played a picture matching game with pictures from the Restoration
pamphlet. It was perfect to keep the boys entertained and teach at the
same time. They are so cute! The littlest boy, Andrew is three, every
time we would ask him is he knew what something meant he would say yes
and when we asked him what he would just sit there with a concerned
look on his face tapping his chin with his pointer finger. It was
        Lastly, yesterday I gave a talk in church, taught Sunday School and
we had the musical fireside! It went so well! I was in a special
ensemble with a few other missionaries. While we were singing I looked
out and people were crying. It was really sweet. I am so glad that I
got to participate in something where I could express my love for
Jesus Christ through song.
         Well that has been the last couple weeks! I gotta run, but I love y'all!

Friday, February 19, 2016

No Time - Week 22

I think that besides a week with no letter, this is the shortest one yet.  You're killin' me, Grace!!

So sorry that this is so short. I'm not dead. We just have been
practicing all day for a choir fireside and I have no time for emails
today! Talk to y'all next week!