Sunday, December 18, 2011

Well my week went pretty good but it was a bit long. We’ve been able to have a couple of great new investigators. One of them is named Misgana (it means praise in Ahmaric) and he comes from our investigator, Mulu. Mulu is ready to be baptized but she wants to wait for her friend Genet who she runs a shop with to be baptized with her. Anyways, Mulu saw this guy, Misgana, preaching across the street and she told her about the church and bore testimony to him about the restored gospel. He’s very interested and said he was looking for the church of the New Testament but hadn’t found it so he was just teaching from the Bible on the street. We hope to continue teaching him.

We also started teaching a guy named J. He’s the neighbor of Bereket who we’ve been teaching and hopefully will be baptized this week. J is actually a Rastafarian and moved to Ethiopia from Jamaica when he was 5 with his family. He is a DJ and father of three children. He’s about 35 and said he wants to stop smoking weed and stuff but has been struggling to find the strength. I told him with the Book of Mormon he would find the additional strength, with the Bible, to be able to kick the habit and live the commandments. He was also worried about his occupation as a DJ and being able to live clean. I told him about this DJ in the United States named Kaskade who is Mormon and keeps the commandments and is also the father of three kids. He was pretty happy to hear that it was possible to be a DJ and stay clean at the same time. We hope he keeps loving the Book of Mormon like he has been so far.

We’ve also not been attending the P.E.C. or any other meetings for the church down here since the Branch President didn’t want us there. The sad thing is that now those meetings don’t take place at all. It is a bit frustrating having to be told to just sit by and watch this train wreck and told we can’t do anything. I really hope when President visits this Branch this week that he can do something that will bring immediate results.

Saturday and Sunday were good as well. J, a guy the other missionaries in our district, was baptized. He’s a great guy and I had to get a picture with the guy. Sunday only 32 people were at sacrament and I think 10 of them were investigators and the 4 missionaries. The old members are slowly falling away and won’t come anymore. It’s starting to become a huge problem. I have faith things can change, but faith without action by others will be in vain.

And now I’m emailing. That’s the week. Hope all continues to go well in your neck of the woods. . Keep it real and keep the faith!

Your servant in Christ our Lord and Savior,

Elder Welch

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Yes the Christmas season is different here, I know at the very least that it is different because of the day but I don’t know too much about any other traditions they have here.
it is very hard to get people enduring to the end when they have a philosophy like ‘no worries’. People seem to endure for a time , and than simply forget why they are doing it and kind of backslide. They need to be constantly reminded.

I simply cannot tell you how annoying flies are here. They are the worst thing about Ethiopia. The flies in Uganda are nothing like here. The flies here seem to have a different mindset and have absolutely no caution when flying around. In the U.S. the flies will hover kind of before landing on you but here they just fly right into your nose or ear or whatever else. It frustrates the crap out of me. I think people must think I’m mad when they see me flinging my arms all around my head trying to keep them off sometimes.

I miss snow so much! Here the wind isn’t bad but I do like sitting behind our house and having the wind just blow nicely on me. It has this suction behind there between buildings that just allows the wind to flow through there like a wind tunnel and it feels amazing. I really can’t wait to be cold again. The power even went out the other night and my fan didn’t work so I went outside and sat in the back for like 10 minutes to try and cool off.

The week has been good but another quick one. We have been spending quite a bit of time working with the same people we’ve had baptismal dates with. They keep wanting to wait on baptism but I’m not going to push them faster than they are ready. I just don’t know what the exact reason is but we will keep working with them. Most of them are coming to church every week but I guess I too want to make sure they are ready to make such a decision.

We went to Chooko (sp?) this last week and we have been seeing some two older gentlemen there who are friends of a recent convert. They have big families and we are planning them to be baptized this month. We did find out that the one has 2 wives right now though so we instructed him on what he should do at this time and we hope he can find the strength to do it. We just told him he should legally divorce one if he’s married legally and to not live with or have any relations with that one. We told him he should still provide for her and any other kids though.

We had a lot of investigators at church too. It was awesome seeing our recent convert, Genet, with 5 other women whom she has been able to start bringing to church and to be baptized. The whole relief society is being built on that woman. She is seriously one of the greatest recent converts I have been blessed to have.

It’s pretty much the same old same old here but the experiences are great and I love the people I’m able to teach. It is a little hard for me to say I love everyone in this country, but I can say I love the members and investigators very much! It’s a little hard to love those that yell at me all day. Sorry for that weakness haha.

Elder Welch

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happy post-Thanksgiving! I’m glad you guys had a great Thanksgiving. Ours was great too and yes I had the basic Thanksgiving dinner that I always dreamed about. The only problem is that the food was too rich (and clean) for me so I had a little tummy ache for the two days following. All is well now. I think they imported the Turkey from the U.S. or something because that’s not an animal they have here. There were like 35 people there probably? I didn’t get any pumpkin pie but I had a slice of banana pie.
The families here do pretty well. The members are taught a lot about self reliance and stuff and to have a bit of self respect so they can depend on themselves and not need others to provide for them. It reminds me of the scripture from Paul where he said if a man can’t provide for himself or his own house, he’s worse than an infidel. A little harsh but it’s true.

Well my week was good. Pretty basic with the trip to Addis for the Thanksgiving dinner aside. The dinner was awesome and the people who had us come, the Leischman’s, have one of the biggest houses I’ve ever been in. It was like 5 floors and more of an American home than anything I’ve been in here before. There were quite a few people there and it was great to meet some of the Americans who were there. There were probably about 24 missionaries and another 20 Americans.

Other than that we’ve just been teaching and trying to get people prepared to make sacred covenants. The only problem is people these days are wanting to wait for their wives or to learn more or whatever other excuse they can think of. Hopefully the one’s we’ve been preparing will be ready by the end of this year.

The pictures I sent are of me, and my hair haha. I also sent some pictures of camels on the way to Addis Ababa and some pictures of the flies I was killing while I was in Wendo Genet waiting for interviews. The flies there seem like more than the sands of the freaking sea.

Keep it realsies and stay faithful! I love you all!

Elder Welch

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The week on my part went pretty well. We’ve been focusing on the referrals we’ve been given and most of them have been progressing very well. The work is going well for the zone but the only little downfall for the other companionship in Awassa had their bikes stolen. Whoops! It’s kind of slowing the work down for them but they should be getting some new ones this week.

On Saturday we had 3 baptisms in Awassa, one from us and two from the other companionship. On our side Brother I( was baptized. That man is powerful! He knows great English and like I said is a bit of a traveler. He’s been all over Africa and even knows Portugese. I remember like 5 months ago when he knocked on our door in Shashemene looking for somewhere to rent to stay and he told us yesterday at his baptism that when he saw us he just felt something very powerful. Well apparently the Lord wanted him to join his church because we than again contacted him several more times and even his best friend Grume was baptized in Shashemene about 4 months ago. Sadly I had gone to Kenya for a couple months but when he moved back to Ethiopia to Awassa instead but guess what, the Lord really wanted him to join the church at our hands no matter where he was. It’s weird how certain people get seen by the missionaries in so many occasions that it goes beyond coincidence into being Divine. G was able to baptize him on Saturday (kind of awkwardly but the things that mattered were there) and he was so happy. He was confirmed on Sunday and looked very sharp. There are only a few of my recent converts who are extremely powerful and this man is one of them. G happens to be one of the other ones as well.

Well that was a highlight as well as that Sunday was orderly and there weren’t awkward mistakes or disorganization at church. It was great. Yes, the Branch President was away on some business haha. His counselors organized the meeting great and the 1st counselor conducted the meeting very well. The 1st counselor is actually a young man of maybe 19 or 20 but he’s been a member for a few years and knows how things need to be done.

We also had a meeting with a few Jehovah’s witnesses on Sunday and that was interesting. Their Bible is very different I noticed and I was asking them if it bothered them that their Bible had things removed from their scriptures that weren’t in harmony with their doctrine. They believe every one else’s Bibles are wrong actually. To each is own I suppose.

Well the week has gone quickly and another quick one ahead I’m sure. On Thursday we will be heading up to Addis Ababa for a Thanksgiving dinner with all the other missionaries at a member’s home who works for the American Embassy. All the members from the Embassy will be there. There are quite a few members who work for the embassy so it will be cool to be with a bunch of other Americans again.

So that’s the past week as well as some future plans. I hope your thanksgiving will be awesome and you can all appreciate the blessings in your life as well as one another. I’ll be thinking of you all and will be missing you. Keep the faith and know I love you!!!

Elder Welch

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Well my week was another busy and quick one. We’ve still been teaching the referrals we’ve been given. The referrals given from the strong members are of course great referrals. We’ve been blessed to receive them. T is still doing well, we just need to see his wife and family but only on weekends is she free and we haven’t been able to get a good time.

G’s friends came again on Sunday and are awesome. This week when we were teaching them they said they knew the church was true but needed time to separate from their old church. The one said she was only going to be able to come every other week and said she wasn’t coming to church but going to hers this week. Well, great thing was that she came to ours again anyways! That’s a good feeling when someone tells you they won’t come, and you don’t expect them, but they come! Better than when everyone else says they are coming and none of them show… Haha.

It was nice this week because I was able to do two interviews for the wives of men I baptized a while ago. The women would have been baptized with them but the one had doubts and the other didn’t have money for the travel. Well they were both baptized on Saturday which was awesome. When I interviewed the one I asked her who she wanted to baptize her and she said me. I suggested her husband but she said that since I was the one who was teaching her in the first place, I should baptize her. So I did! It was cool. The other guy baptized his wife even though when I was in the font he tried getting me to baptize his wife too but I refused and made him do it haha.

Sunday was a little bit better of a service. The Branch President is learning. I think I’m going to tell him this week though that he should have his counselors conduct the meetings instead of him doing it every single week…. I don’t know why he likes to do it since it’s always kind of a mess haha. He really is getting better though and we had a lot of people finally set apart to their specific assignments.

Today we had a good activity and we hiked a mountain. Pretty tiring, and a little painful with all the little pokey things that were everywhere but the end is always worth it, just like life! I took some pretty sweet pictures as well.

Peace and love!

Elder Welch

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Well the week has been good. We’ve been focusing a lot on all of the referrals we received last week. They are all pretty awesome and we’ve been teaching them with the members who gave them to us. We’ve also been doing contacting but that really almost never proves to be fruitful. The president has a goal for us to contact 24 people everyday so we do it to be obedient to that request. At least it’s getting the church word out there, but I would say the protestants who are now attacking our church are making people more aware of the church.

We also had the Parrish’s down here this week which was cool. They also took us out to Haile resort again and I had a nice yummy steak. Not as good as last time but still better than anything I ever eat these days.

Sunday was more organized and we actually had enough women to have a small relief society. Our recent convert G gave us two older women referrals and they came to church and really enjoyed it. They were one of the few people who came to church with their actual scriptures. They are pretty awesome ladies. G is an awesome missionary and she is so converted!

We are still teaching T, President A’s friend (the 3rd Counselor), and he’s very committed to everything we teach. He has a motorcycle which is cool but he’s only got one eye since a student stabbed him in the eye a while I guess. Pretty morbid. I also don’t know if that’s good on his depth perception while riding his motorcycle or not?

Well that’s about what’s going on here. Nothing too eventful again this week. Just doing the work and praying for more good people to teach. I love you all so much and pray for you daily. I will keep those specific needs of yours in my prayers and hopefully things will start working out well in all things. Love you all! Keep the faith and keep being awesome!

Elder Welch
P.S. The pictures are of our guard. The church is going to stay safe!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

This missionary is doing well. The week has been great. A lot more teaching this week and we were blessed to have a lot of great referrals from some great members. Sister Genet, our recent convert, gave us a couple of women who seemed pretty interested so we taught them and gave them some Book of Mormons.

President A, the 3rd Counselor in the District Presidency (I know, that’s a weird position) gave us a few of his friends who are teachers like him and fathers of some families. One of them actually was attending the church before they had a building. He was attending with President Ammanuel and his family in their home before they ever sent missionaries here. He’s back to investigating and we gave him a baptismal date for next month.

We also went out to Chucko, which is like an hour and a half taxi ride, to see a member and his family as well as two fathers of some big families who were interested. We also gave them baptismal dates for this next month. They seemed very interested and are pretty old. I think they are the fathers of families of 8 and 7 kids. I tried explaining how the Book of Mormon is the scoring goal in a tie soccer game and how it helps us know the one true church, and makes it so we don’t have to bash with people. I hope the analogy landed.

On Sunday we didn’t have many people at church, nothing was organized, but it wasn’t as chaotic because the Branch President was in Addis Ababa. Nothing was planned but the 1st counselor did a good job of kind of improving the meeting. We did have a great referral after the meeting from a guy who is investigating in Addis but was passing through as he was going to his village in Southern Ethiopia. The guy is very interested but he brought his friend to church who lives here. We gave him a baptismal date.

Another great thing on Sunday was one of my recent converts from Shashemene who moved to Awassa came and brought his friend who I had given a baptismal date to months ago when I was in Shashemene. The guy now lives in Awassa as well. He missed the baptism before because he went to Kenya for two months but he was excited to be back and to be retaught. We gave him another baptismal date as well so this next month will hopefully be a good one.

The work is going well. I miss you all so much and you are always in my thoughts and prayers. I hope all is well and all of you are being examples and faithful to what you know to be true. Keep being awesome. I love you all so much. See you soon!

Elder Welch

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The week was another short one because of our distance from Addis Ababa and the meetings we needed to attend. The meetings were good. The best part was a district leaders council on Saturday for the District leaders who are pretty young. It really helped them understand their duties and their responsibilities. I think being a District leader is the hardest job on a mission. They have to do a lot of stuff. It was a lot of work being a district leader for a think 9 transfers for me?

Sunday they watched conference at the church. Man things are pretty embarrassing when the Branch President continues to do some things. In our Branch there are 4 other groups branching off of it so for some reason he gave out all the conference DVD’s and we had only 1 disc in Amharic to watch. Well we watched that in the morning and so for the afternoon I just took the Sunday evening conference from last year and had that play. I don’t think anyone knew but I really wish the Branch President would prepare and think more about what is going on. The end of both discs were messed up also so no one even got to see the Prophet speak. I was pretty devastated and embarrassed. There is only so much we missionaries can do to help this branch but I feel like we have more on our plate than 4 missionaries can do to help here. Even when we help it’s pretty frustrating when it’s not listened to. Sorry for venting a little bit but just so you can all appreciate the order and things that are there in the United States.

Well a short week, nothing too exciting. Just know I love you all and I will keep praying for you guys. I’m so glad to hear about the great things that are happening .

Elder Welch

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My new companion is Elder O from Kenya. He’s a good guy and he’s my second Kenyan companion. He will have to get used to the language since he’s just coming from Uganda but I know Africans are always able to pick up on the language a lot easier than Americans since they are used to speaking more languages than one. He’s been out about 8 months.

The zone is well and we now have everyone in their areas. I was kind of switching around helping where we were needed since we had only 3 missionaries here but now were all back to normal. We hope to finish up this month well and to have a good transfer. The unity our zone always has is what I think allows the missionaries to perform their best. I notice that when missionaries feel their zone leader is like a ‘boss’ they don’t really perform as well. When we have fun, we enjoy the work, and we are more productive. People will want to join the church because we’re happy, not because we’re miserable.

This week should be short since we are going up to Addis again for trainings. Hopefully we will get a car down here soon to make the work easier and traveling to and from Addis Ababa much easier. It will be nice to drive for the first time in my mission. I’m kind of tired of walking and riding bike ALL day every day. Let’s hope things fall through.

Well not much else here, it’s been a short week. Just know I love you and I’ll be listening to conference! I did get to hear Elder Cook’s talk today since the Branch President let us borrow the conference DVD’s. It was very nice. That guy is a humble guy! Love you all so much!

Elder Welch

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The week goes well in Africa. Right now I’m in Uganda, sorry for not letting you know, and I’m emailing a day late because yesterday was full of zone leaders council meetings. I’ll be back in Ethiopia by the end of the day and things will be back to normal.
This week was transfers and for me I’ll still be in Awassa as the Lone Zone Leader. We are getting three missionaries but losing three as well so it’s still stay at six. I’m getting a new companion from Africa somewhere but I don’t know his name that well and I don’t want to butcher it on here so I will tell you his name next week.

The week has been full of basic missionary work and preparing for the end of the transfer. I did have to come to Uganda (which I’m here emailing right now from) for a Zone Leaders Council. I headed up to Addis Ababa on Saturday to spend the night there because our flight was the next day at about 1 in the afternoon. I attended the church there. It was kind of sad to see this giant chapel they have there, only about half full. I guess the work hasn’t been going so well there and when the church stopped the church leaders from giving out money to the members (which they weren’t supposed to be doing) many people left the church when that stopped.

The flight to Uganda was amazing of course. Like I said before, Emirates is THE nicest airline I have ever flown on. They give you a meal no matter how short the flight is and it’s just comfortable. If you haven’t flown Emirates before, I would suggest it (am I an advertiser for them now or what?).

Yesterday was full of the Zone Leaders Council meetings and it was pretty spiritual. We had the Zone reports and I was happy to see that our zone was the most efficient zone per missionary for the last two months. It was nice because after that the Assistants than kind of blasted everyone for not doing so well. I’m so proud of the missionaries we have in the zone and the work they do. It’s a small zone but it’s the one I hope people wish to be in. Even for August we had a 2.46 baptisms per week per companionship average. That was nice. Especially since the next highest zone was about 1.19.

After that we just crashed and now it’s Tuesday and I’m just emailing before we have to head to the airport in a couple hours to fly back to Ethiopia.

The week has been good and I really do feel more recharged from these meetings. I also feel a lot more accountable for my zone which was kind of the theme of the assistants trainings. The whole zone is basically our area and we are accountable for making sure our zones are running and being efficient. I hope the missionaries in our zone keep being awesome. I’m so proud of those guys.
I’m safe and only a little sick from allergies right now but thanks to Mom I have medication to help with that. I’m getting old aren’t I. Now I have allergies and all these things I used to think you guys were old about. Stay awesome and eat a steak for me! I love you!

Elder Welch

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ugandan Ettiquette

This was a section of the newsletter sent out from Trey's mission. I found it pretty interesting!


 Ugandans tend to communicate more indirectly than directly.
 Stories, proverbs, and the like are common means of expressing a point indirectly and require the implicit knowledge of the lis-tener.
 Greetings and a good amount of small talk almost always occur before talking about business.
 Humor plays a big role in communicating and most Ugandans enjoy a good joke. However, it is best to avoid sarcasm as it may not translate well, if at all.
 Generally, people prefer indirect eye contact. This does not mean you can’t look at somebody directly, but continuous eye con-tact during conversations is not a must. Overly direct eye contact can be considered aggressive by some. Women and children often will look down or away when conversing with men or with elders.
 In most situations, Ugandans are not overly concerned with being punctual. People are expected to arrive within the first hour or two after the appointed time.
 The higher the status of the person, the more they are excused of lateness. Also, it tends to be that the more prestigious the event the later guests will arriving. This usually applies to both social and business meetings. Punctuality tends to be more valued in business situations.
 When gesturing or beckoning for someone to come, you should face your palm downwards and make a scratching motion with the fingers.
 It is rude to point at people as pointing is reserved for dogs, so usually the whole hand/arm is used.
 Holding the palm upwards and then motioning in a small flick downwards (like throwing a yo-yo) has a variety of vague mean-ings. It could be questioning "what's up?" " What?"; apologizing "Sorry, what can I do?"; filler "You know."
 Pointing fingers upwards and rubbing the thumb along the fingertips is the sign for money.
 Special traffic gestures when trying to hail a taxi: Pointing straight upwards (repeatedly for emphasis): I'm going far. Pointing down: I just want to go a little ways (rarely used, because then they don't pick you up. Hand flat, open towards the ground about waist-height: I'm going a medium distance.
 Walking over versus around any bowls or pots (especially those containing food) is considered rude.
 Spending time in silence versus conversation is often times also interpreted as rude.
 Men almost always wear long pants, even in the hottest weather; shorts are a sign of being a child.
 Dress is highly valued in and people who dress well are respected.
 Make sure shoes are cleaned and polished. People will look down on you if you have worn looking shoes.
 Speak slowly and enunciate -- most Ugandans have difficulty understanding fast, strung-together English.
 Local greetings are a bit difficult to learn but many people in rural areas will greatly appreciate this small effort.
 If you look like a foreigner you are likely to be overcharged for most things. If you can afford this, it doesn't really matter, just pay. If you can't or would like the right price, try bargaining by at least halving the price they gave you.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I hope General Conference was great. I really felt chills down my whole body when I heard they were building two new temples in Africa. That was such a great feeling knowing that.

Well the week was short but good. We didn’t have a lot of time to teach this week since on Friday we had to head up to Addis Ababa for trainings and for the District Conference on Saturday and Sunday. We didn’t have any baptisms or church down here because of that so it’s kind of stalled the work for a week.

On Thursday I did get the chance to meet with a couple of Mennonite preachers from the United States. I realized that our church truly knows so many mysteries. I do appreciate their pretty simple look on the gospel and on life but they need to know more. These guys don’t watch tv or listen to the radio or anything like that. We talked about heaven and they thought it was heaven or hell. I had them read a couple of scriptures from the Bible about that and how we believe there are many degrees of glory and they simply just answered “well I don’t really know much about this or haven’t studied it… um Jeff? Nope me neither.” Haha It was pretty funny especially because they ended up saying the Bible was enough and they knew enough. I just thought “wouldn’t you like to know more about all of this, especially the passages in the Bible you didn’t know or understand.” I’m glad for all the mysteries of God we know from the prophets and from personal revelation.

Other than that stuff, it’s all pretty basic. Just don’t the work and trying to build the kingdom (the correct way). . I love you all so much! Keep the faith and hope for that which is to come which is greater!

Elder Welch

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Where we are there is aids and stuff like that of course but I don’t really see it too much. Malaria is not common here at all. In fact none of the missionaries here use nets or take the pills because no one has ever gotten malaria. It’s Uganda that is bad on that and the two countries are pretty far apart.
Well the week has been great. We finally moved into our new place this week. It’s nice but it has some things wrong with it. It’s like a lemon home haha. The plumbing is a little bit annoying and things don’t drain to well. We did also get some curtains up in the place so that people would stop watching us as we’re in our house. I feel like it was like the show “Big Brother” for them. Kind of creepy….

We also have a new local missionary working with us. His name is Elder D and he is a hilarious little guy. He’s maybe like 5’2 and he looks, acts, and sounds just like Borat. Haha it really makes things pretty fun with that kind of a guy around.

We had the baptisms of G and her two daughters, F and S, on Saturday. They are awesome and the mother is so converted. She is a future Relief Society President for reals. She was a referral from Elder B and they were so prepared. All we did was just teach them the stuff, they were already ready.

Sunday was good. We had President and Sister Parrish down here for sacrament in Awasa. It was kind of embarrassing because the Branch President honestly is having some problems. He really doesn’t know what he’s doing and sacrament meeting was a mess. First of all the sacrament wasn’t out and ready, the meeting started late, there were not speakers, and than he just invited people randomly to speak in the meeting. After that there were no people to teach any of the classes. It was so disorderly. The only problem is that the former Branch President wants to help him but the new one refuses to listen. It’s kind of frustrating but I’ve set up a meeting with him on Tuesday with all of the other leaders to kind of organize something better. He’s doing his best but we just need to help him a little more.

President and Sister Parrish also took us out to eat at Haile resort, which is the resort for the runner Haile Gabriel Sallase. It was awesome. I had this beef tenderloin and it was the best thing I’ve eaten on my mission. It was a legit steak and was so good. Pretty cheap too. I think it was about 4 dollars to get it. Ethiopia would be a great place to go on vacation to because all the good food is really cheap.

Well those were the highlights for the week. Sorry if I haven’t been giving long emails but I feel like the res t of the things I would share are repetitive so I just focus on the highlights. Just know that I love you all and that is what is most important. Keep being awesome and I will see you sooner rather than later now. Keep it real.

Elder Welch

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Meeting with Elder Cook was awesome. He’s such a great and humble guy. We didn’t get to be with him too long but his training and instruction was much needed and cherished. He is one of the 70 and was sustained last conference. He’s actually giving a talk at conference this next session so look out for that. So this week for us was a little shorter on teaching because of the trainings up in Addis but it was an overall good week. We’re teaching a few really good people and the best thing is that G and her two daughters should be baptized this Saturday.

We had a better Sunday too. We had 51 people there which was a lot better than it has been and after each sacrament meeting I make sure to just have a short meeting with the Branch Presidency to discuss things we can improve on. I appreciated that they fixed a lot of the things I talked to them about last week. The only things this week were that the Aaronic Priesthood should be seated before the meeting starts, they shouldn’t be wearing sandals…. (I switched and passed instead for the young man who was wearing sandals), and that the talks need to be less loud and Protestant-like. It was a way better Sunday overall though.

Today we should be moving into our new house which will be great because traveling to and from Awasa to Shashemene is really a pain. I also realized I have way too much stuff I realized to fly back to Uganda with today. I could only come here with one of my suitcases and it was really quite full.

Well sorry this week has been a little uneventful but the work is rolling forth and I love you all still the same! Keep being awesome and I really appreciate all of the support that you all are always giving me. Can’t wait till we meet again!

Elder Welch

P.S. Sorry to hear about BYU’s embarrassing loss…

Sunday, September 18, 2011

We haven't moved into our house yet but we should this week. The
church there is established in Awasa so they have a church. They are
still looking for a another church in Wendo Genet however.
I'm going to be short this week because of circumstances but I promise
to send more next week with pictures too.
The week has been good. We did have a little problem in Wendo Genet
dealing with one man's pride but the situation is being solved and
it's not really my worries since that's not my area. The Elders there
are doing a great job with the little problem.
Awasa is a bit harder of an area than Shashemene especially with who
the missionaries have been teaching before. They haven't really had a
big teaching pool and they haven't been seeing the recent converts so
attendance is down and they aren't getting new people into the church.
We're trying to turn things around.
We had a couple of baptisms this week. On Saturday N was
baptized. On Sunday M, the father of the 7 kids and his wife who
were baptized from Arsi Negele, was finally baptized as well. Their
family is so powerful. I was so happy to see him finally baptized
because of delays from work and school. It wasn't for our area that it
counts but I was happy to at least see M getting baptized.
Monday we couldn't do much because it was the Ethiopian new year and
everything was closed. It was a little frustrating. The guard of the
church invited us over for lunch and to see his family. He says he
will learn more about the church when he's done with his Lutheran
gospel training. I think he fears that they will kick him out for
meeting with us.
Today we are headed to Addis Ababa again for a meeting with Elder Cook
tomorrow morning. We should also move into our new home tomorrow once
we come back.
Well that's it for me. I love you all and can't wait to see you again
someday soon. Keep the faith.
Elder Welch

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The week has been good. It’s been weird trying to settle into a new area and especially since we don’t have a translator which makes things very hard because the words I can say in Amharic don’t lead to any personal connection. I hope we get some members or a local to start working with us soon. We’ve also been traveling daily from Shashemene to Awasa as they are getting a new house to move into. They found a new house, which is the picture I’m sending you and it’s very nice! It’s about two floors with a balcony on the third floor with an amazing view. It’s very large and will be a nice place to crash in the evenings.

Sunday Elder C and I stayed in Shashemene for the service there since we needed someone to run it. There were only 13 people there, all members, because there were no missionaries there at all to invite people or do any teaching which is kind of a bummer. There were only 20 in Awasa though which has 4 missionaries teaching all the time… I don’t know why it’s struggling so much but we hope to see that number at least double by the end of the next couple of weeks.

Today we were able to play some rugby again but the Ethiopians still didn’t understand the rules. I was surprised to see that they were doing worse on the rules than they were last week haha. It was fun and is giving me a good exercise on top of the 30 minutes I’m doing in the mornings.

The work is going well and I hope to be able to do my best to get things better than when I found them. I just want you all to know I love you and that I can’t wait to see you all soon. Keep the faith. Be awesome. And make good decisions. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do (and don’t do some things I probably would do). Haha playing.

Elder Welch

Sunday, September 4, 2011

We were able to play rugby today actually. It was a lot of fun but I’m
a bit out of shape and now my feet and body hurt from actually
running. No worries it was just touch rugby by the way.

Transfers were this week and for me I did get transferred to Awassa
which is where we go every P-day anyways. It’s pretty familiar
territory but I won’t be able to see those plants sprout. Hopefully
they keep growing and the other missionaries take care of them. I’ll
also be the Zone Leader down here with Elder M, we won’t be
companions though. My companion is Elder W and he’s from
Idaho. A pretty cool guy and I’ve been able to see him a couple times
a week for the last three months anyways.

We were blessed this week. More people prepared themselves for baptism
than we expected. We really didn’t do much as missionaries, all of
these people were prepared already it seems and we just so happened to
pass by and show them the little bit that was needed to do. So we had
fifteen people baptized from Arsi Negele and one brother from
Shashemene. Overall we had sixteen baptisms this last week and it was
pretty cool. We would have had brother Mesa baptized and another woman
as well but Mesa had exams to do and the other woman who’s a husband
of one of the men was having some lady problems so they will be
baptized this next week too. It was amazing to see these people travel
hours both days for their baptisms and confirmations all at their own
expense. It is definitely one of the moments I will never forget.

I’ve mentioned a bit of the week already but like I said, it was a
great one! It really was a great way to end the transfer. The work is
going great. The only other highlights I can think of besides that is
that we had 40 people in Shashemene on Sunday. That was the highest
we’ve had it and it was nice to see it at such a level as it was my
last Sunday there. We also visited Arsi Negele that evening with
President Amannual from the District Presidency who lives down here
and he taught them a bit about the temple and answered all their
questions. He’s a good guy.

I am doing great, healthy, and I’m loving
the work. Take care and know how much I love you all and I can’t wait
to see you soon! 9 months! That means if anyone else wants to have a
baby too while I’m out the should get started in the next 15 days
otherwise I’m going to spoil the day. Take
care and keep the faith.


Elder Welch

Monday, August 29, 2011

The week was well. We had a meeting with President Jackson up in Addis Ababa so we were there from Thursday to Saturday. We didn’t get much time to teach during the week so attendance on Sunday wasn’t that great. The meetings in Addis were great. The Spirit was so strong. There was one training by one of the Assisstants to the President who is from Chicago and a convert to the church of only about 2 and a half years (including his mission time). He asked us to come up and bear testimony to him about families and how he can help the rest of his family join the church. Everyone was crying including me and the Spirit was strong. It was amazing too because he recently found out that his Grandfather was also a member of the church and it was just a great training. President also took us to the Hilton for dinner was was pretty good.

We came down on Saturday but the bus ride took FOREVER! We had a baptism planned for Saturday but had to postpone it until Sunday. The bus driver seriously looked like a pirate and kept stopping every 5 miles. He even ran out of gas at one point and we waited for like 30 minutes for them to get gas. I think he kept stopping because there were no winds behind the sails. Arrr matey.

Sunday was good. We only had about 25 people at church but that was expected. A lot of our recent converts are getting very busy with school and other things so we missed a lot of them. After church we went to Awassa and G was able to be baptized. He’s a great guy but was a little scared people would see him there because he used to be an evangilist preacher there. I hope when he gets strong he’ll be more open with people about him being a member of the true church. We also went to Arsi Negele and saw M and his family and friends. Like I said 13 people had saved up the money and were ready for baptism. The rest of them are still working on saving up money and others who came late still want to be taught more but things there look awesome.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The week has been good. Another week with only small differences and occasional things out of the ordinary. We did finally have B interviewed by President Parrish and he should be baptized this next week. President was really impressed with him. His friend though is wanting to wait a little longer on baptism now though.

We’ve been teaching a lot in three areas now. We teach in Wendo Genet, Shashemene, and Arsi Negele. Things are going well and we have people with baptismal dates in all three areas. We’re trying to throw our resources around all over to help get the name of the church out there and to build it up as best as we can here.

A downer is that my companion, who was with a local, crashed his bicycle on Friday and got a little scraped up and sore but he’s doing well. Things haven’t been so easy on him. I haven’t mentioned but his father also passed a couple of weeks ago too which was one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever had to deal with. Don’t worry though, I tell you now because this actually happened 2 or 3 weeks ago. He’s doing well now though. He’s such a great guy.

On Sunday we had President and Sister Parrish at church on Sunday which was great. We had 30 people at church, and like I said, mostly men. President and Sister Parrish are so great and I can see you guys being a couple missionary someday.

Also last night we went to Arsi Negele to see Brother M and his family. They are doing so great! We had 21 people alone in that lesson and it’s the start of great things to come in Arsi Negele. We had 13 men there who are all very interested in the gospel and are already doing missionary work on their own out there trying to invite people to come visit with us. His wife also came to church which is about a 2 hour round trip. I also committed all the men there to baptism on the 27 of August and we asked them to save up 50 birr for each person by then to make the travel for the Saturday and Sunday, so they could make their own sacrifice for a great thing. 50 birr is a lot for people here and it was a great thing because 6 of the men committed to saving up the money for that purpose. It was great and I feel as though the gospel will spread much more quickly there than it will in Shashemene.

I love you all, keep the faith, stay strong, and remember these things we’re all facing are making us all stronger people! Keep it real.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

(Trying to catch up emails!)

My week was good. On Tuesday we got to help build a house in Wendo Genet. I guess all the people there just help build other peoples’ homes and all they do is just have the person whose house their building cook lunch. It was fun to be able to help build that house. It was kind of like Zion where everyone just teamed up and helped each other build. There was no poor among them.

We also had water heaters put into our house so no more cold showers! It was so nice to have a nice warm shower again.

On Saturday we did some yard work and had some guy cut the grass. I was able to design the garden and plan lettuce, tomatoes, swiss chard, and carrots. I hope they grow since it was my first time ever doing it. We did have one of our investigators who works for Morrell Agro help show us how to plant the seeds.

We also had the baptism of our dear brother, H. He’s a funny guy. We got to the church and showed him the bathroom and told him he could change in there so he could shower after the baptism. Well we were all sitting there waiting for him and then the Counselor in the District Presidency was just like “he didn’t listen to me, he’s showering now”. Haha it was pretty funny that he was showering before the baptism. He came out wet and people who showed up late thought he had been baptized already.

We got to visit Arse Negele too on Saturday and Sunday. The people there are great and the one man wishes to have church services in his home once they become members.

On Sunday we had church, of course. We had 33 people at church even though it was pretty cold. We had the confirmation of H which was good. Other than all of that, we did the other basic missionary work. Just teaching and such.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The week has been good. Another week with only small differences and occasional things out of the ordinary. We did finally have B interviewed by President Parrish and he should be baptized this next week. President was really impressed with him. His friend though is wanting to wait a little longer on baptism now though.

We’ve been teaching a lot in three areas now. We teach in Wendo Genet, Shashemene, and Arsi Negele. Things are going well and we have people with baptismal dates in all three areas. We’re trying to throw our resources around all over to help get the name of the church out there and to build it up as best as we can here.

A downer is that my companion, who was with a local, crashed his bicycle on Friday and got a little scraped up and sore but he’s doing well. Things haven’t been so easy on him. I haven’t mentioned but his father also passed a couple of weeks ago too which was one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever had to deal with. Don’t worry though, I tell you now because this actually happened 2 or 3 weeks ago. He’s doing well now though. He’s such a great guy.

On Sunday we had President and Sister Parrish at church on Sunday which was great. We had 30 people at church, and like I said, mostly men. President and Sister Parrish are so great and I can see you guys being a couple missionary someday.

Also last night we went to Arsi Negele to see Brother M and his family. They are doing so great! We had 21 people alone in that lesson and it’s the start of great things to come in Arsi Negele. We had 13 men there who are all very interested in the gospel and are already doing missionary work on their own out there trying to invite people to come visit with us. His wife also came to church which is about a 2 hour round trip. I also committed all the men there to baptism on the 27 of August and we asked them to save up 50 birr for each person by then to make the travel for the Saturday and Sunday, so they could make their own sacrifice for a great thing. 50 birr is a lot for people here and it was a great thing because 6 of the men committed to saving up the money for that purpose. It was great and I feel as though the gospel will spread much more quickly there than it will in Shashemene.

Friday, August 12, 2011

True Size of Africa

I thought this was pretty fascinating! It gives us an idea as to how big Africa really is! And Elder Tex is covering 4 African countries within his mission! (click on the image to enlarge!) Awesome!