Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Life on the Rez - Week 7

     Well folks, I was extremely lame and did not send a big email out last week... sorry about that, but that just means this one has to extra good right? So last week we did a TON of service, like every day. Ranging from plowing gardens to cleaning abandoned houses. Needless to say we saw some gross stuff... haha! Other than that it was pretty much a week like any other. We taught some lessons and helped out in our ward. And then a pretty cool thing happened on Sunday. One of the less actives that we have been visiting walked right up to me and said,"Sister Welch, I want to go to the temple. What do I have to do to get there?" I was a little taken aback at first. My initial thought was, where is Sister Havea?! But I was able to explain that she would have to take the discussions again and be interviewed by the bishop to get a recommend to go to the temple. She said "okay I can meet Monday, Wednesday, and  Friday, do all those days work for you?" So we visited her everyday this week except for Tuesday! She is so on fire! She really has such a desire to obtain the blessings that the temple has to offer. She is so cute and sits at all out lessons with a little notepad and pen taking notes and asking tons of questions! Her name is Nicole and we are pretty much falling in love with her sweet spirit and honest desires. Another cool thing about that Sunday, as we were walking in to Sacrament meeting and older man of the ward called to us and we waited for him to catch up. This gentleman is not a member of the Church but has been meeting with the Papago congregation for some years now. He told us he is ready to be baptized and wants to do it as soon as it is allowed. We set up an appointment with him for the next day and we were so excited to have someone new to teach! But even though we are working our hardest, it seems as though Satan is worker as hard if not harder. The next morning before we were supposed to visit Charles (the older man) he had a heart attack and was admitted into the hospital. He called us so upset that he had to put off our lesson but we reassured him that he needs to be healthy so we are taking things really slow with him.
           So that was last week. This week was an adventure as well! We worked extra hard all week so that when Friday came we could go on a special activity with the youth. WE GOT TO GO CAMPING!!! We asked special permission from the President Sweeney because we had some of our less actives that we are teaching going. We went up in the mountains, near Payson, to a place called Clear Creek, where it was absolutely beautiful. Not only was the day not too hot, but I was actually cold at night! You know how long it has been since that happened? Like Forever! Sister Havea and I slept in the bed of one of the leader's trucks under the stars. I don't know if I have ever seen that many starts all at once in real life before! And no airplanes to trip you up thinking you see a shooting star! The next morning we hiked down to the bottom of the valley which was almost half a mile and practically straight up and down. But oh the views were so worth it! The hike back up was a little bit of a struggle for all of us but it really helped me to think about a few things. It was so hard to climb that mountain, and that is just like how the journey back to Heavenly Father, it is hard but it is possible. At one part of the trail I went up a different way than the others and Sister Havea said "sister you are going the wrong way!" and that made me think that we all have agency. We all make different choices in our lives that can either help or hinder our progression, and those choices set us on our own paths. Even though the main path may work for some of us, sometimes there are things we must learn and we can only learn when we make our own decisions. Later on on the trail two of the young men went up a way that was far off the trail and disregarded the warnings of those around them. At first they did fine but then they came to a point in their path where they could not do it on their own. Elder Shortland and Elder Finlayson had to go back and lift them up, just like Christ does for us when we make poor decisions and can no longer journey on our own. And the last thing I was thinking about while struggling up this mountain was that we look to those ahead of us for the safest way to travel, watching their footing to make sure we can make it to the top, just as we look to those older or more experienced than us in life to give us direction and to learn from their mistakes. But just as we are looking forward we must be heedful that someone is looking to us as well. That we are forever examples to those that come after us. And then we experienced the joy and relief and exhaustion of reaching the top. The struggle was worth the journey just as our reward in heaven will be worth our trials here on earth. 
         To end I will leave with you all something that I learned in studies this week. 1 Nephi 17:45 when Nephi is chastising Laman and Lemuel for their unbelief and lack of faith in their father and Christ, he says something profound about the Holy Ghost. He says "Ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words". This part of the verse really jumped out at me because  I have often found myself expecting to hear and actual voice telling me what I should do, but more often the Spirit speaks through our feelings and not through words. That is something that I have really tried to pay attention to this week, the feelings from the Holy Ghost instead of expecting a voice. 
         I love you all and pray for you guys everyday!


Sister Welch

(If any of you reading Rebecca's letters don't have access to a copy of the Book of Mormon, it is available online at:  www.lds.org/scriptures.  At this site, you can look up any scripture in its entirety, so you can see for yourself the whole picture of the scripture she is talking about.  If you want a printed copy for yourself, let us know.  We would be glad to share one with you.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A few new details about Sister Welch

I got a chance to ask Rebecca a few more questions last night, so here are a few more details about where she is.  She actually lives in Mesa, AZ, and travels to the Reservation every day.  Also, I assumed that she was teaching the Navaho.  Last night she told me that she is working with the Pima and Maricopa tribes.  Pima translates to "River People", while Maricopa means "People who live towards the water."

Life on the Rez - Week 5

Sorry about the lack of detail in my emails, the whole lack of a keyboard thing made a difference... haha but the baptism was amazing! His name is Victor YellowHawk Loring.

He is a nine year old of a less active family we have been teaching since I got here. The family is so cute! The grandparents have custody of most of their grandkids so there is always anywhere from three to nine kids at their house at a time! They are the sweetest kids though! His grandpa was able to perform the baptism, which was a big thing for them. We are trying to get them ready for the temple to all be sealed together! We have three other people on date for baptism. A couple, Victor and Rosaline, who have a young son and have struggled with things like the word of wisdom in the past, but they are doing awesome now! They have personal and family scripture study every night now. Victor said the last time we were over there that he is noticing the difference that prayer and reading the scriptures makes in their daily lives. They are really cool too :) Our last investigator on date is Judy. Holy cow I love her. She already has a really strong testimony of the gospel and is so willing to keep learning. SHE ACTUALLY DOES HER READINGS AND ASKS QUESTIONS!!!! That's new... haha Other than that we teach mostly less active families which is awesome.   We are  preparing quite a few to go through the temple! 

This week it actually rained here. Like three times! Sister Havea and I were so happy, we spent the night singing and dancing in the rain! Also the sunsets here in Arizona are beautiful. Every night. It's ridiculous. But awesome at the same time! Our ward mission leader is really awesome too. He is from Tonga just like Sister Havea! We spend P-Day mostly at their house, emailing and what not. Plus they feed us, which is nice :) We found the BEST thrift shop today. It was great! I hope you all are doing as great as great as I am! I am learning so much every single day. And being humbled every day as well.

The people here are so cool! I love  you all!

Quote of the week: "Salvation cannot be purchased with the currency of obedience, it is bought with the blood of the Son of God."

All my love and prayers,
Sister Welch