Sunday, May 29, 2011

I’m doing great! I’m enjoying all things right now and the missionary
work is going awesome.

We did get the meeting groups started in Shashemene and in Wendo
Genet. We had the one in Shashemene at 9 in the morning and had 28
people show up for that one. It is hard to explain where that church
is but it was a good start for the first meeting held here.

The meeting group in Wendo Genet was at 12:30 and was good as well.
It’s easy to tell people where that church is. We just simply say
“it’s at Morke’s house” and everyone there knows where that is. We had
32 people come there, but word is that next week it will be much
fuller because the time wasn’t very convenient for many. Elder
Macmillan and I both led a meeting and next week we will be going on
splits so that both meetings can start at 9 and we really hope to
break 100 with the two groups combined. Starting those groups was very
stressful though because virtualy every position in the church is
being done by my companion and I at this time.

So this week was another good one but it ended before I realized it
began. We basically taught, and had interviews. We had another 5
people baptized from Shashamene this week and the other guys in Awasa
had 3 baptisms as well. So far our District has had 28 baptisms for
this transfer with a couple weeks left in it.

I have forgotten to mention a few things. One is that we have bikes,
except mine kind of sucks, but it still gets my legs quite the work
out going up and down the slight hills of Shashamene. We also just got
a new fridge at our place which was way too nice and too much money if
you ask me. I got stuck riding bikes in the rain which sucks. I really
hope I never ride a bike again after my mission.

We now have the local missionary working with us and it really helps
with contacting and teaching people .

We also started the meeting groups on Sunday like I said. I don’t know
what else happened. Oh Brother M agreed to rent to us his church
building in Wendo Genet after asking for 4 times the amount we settled
on. After he asked for a certain amount and we said we’d think about
it, we came back to teach the next day and had a few lessons he was at
about sacrifice, and forsaking all for Christ’s sake. As we were about
to leave Wendo Genet he called us to his house and we sat there as the
Branch President of Awasa talked with him and his wife for a while.
What he basically said was that he would rent the church to us for the
littlest price possible. He had tears in his eyes and it was honestly
like he was repenting so that the work could move more quickly in the
Wendo Genet area. That one instance of sacrifice is going to bring
huge blessings in the near future to that little vally of Wendo Genet.
The part I liked most was that he was consulting with his wife about
the situation, that is a very unique thing to the church of consulting
wives before action is taken. The whole thing really makes me want to
make more sacrifices and to be more repentent.

I also finished The Miracle of Forgiveness. A very great book. It
seemed to center on sexual sins and as a missionary, I didn’t have to
feel bad like I’m sure most people who read that book feel as they
read it.

Well that was the highlights of the week. I will be going to Adis
Ababa again tomorrow with President Parrish to get my work permit or
something and this next week we will hopefully teach more people. I
just want you all to know the church is true, and I love you all so
much and I’m so blessed to have parent’s who have persuaded me to
believe, but never denied me of my free agency.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The week’s been good. I for sure won’t take anything for granted
anymore. Power, water, food. Those are all luxuries it seems.
We’ve been living in the house we
have now for the past couple of weeks, it’s just been under
construction while we’ve been there. The pictures of the building with
all the bright colors is our house, and the church meeting group room
for Sheshamene.
I even saw Memphis on Al Jazeera when I was at a restaurant. It’s
crazy to see how high the Mississippi has gotten.
So my week was pretty good. Not so much teaching. We only taught on
Tuesday because than on Wednesday we had all the interviews for the
baptisms as we went up to Adis Ababa on Thursday morning and arrived
there in the late afternoon.
Friday we had the leadership training with Elder Watson again. He came
to Ethiopia to do the same training which was great but I had heard it
already. I guess it just got it in my head better. The training was on
the need for councils and how they help keep the membership in the
church active, and safe.
Even after the trainings I was able to be interviewed by Elder Watson.
What a great experience to get interviewed by a General Authority. He
mostly just asked me questions about what I wanted to do with life and
everything. It was still great.
We got back late Saturday afternoon and rushed over to the church for
a baptism. Brother Bayena of our area was baptized and it was great.
He was confirmed Sunday and even given the priesthood immediately.
On Sunday we also had 7 more baptisms from our side which was great.
Five of them came from one family and they were the five more kids to
one of the Preachers baptized. His seven kids have now all been
baptized so it’s great.
Next week Elder Macmillan and myself are hoping to open up the meeting
group in Sheshamene and having sacrament in Wendo Genet. It shall be
great! We are getting chairs, and a bunch of things from President
Parrish tomorrow. I’m excited because we had just filled the chapel in
Awasa past capacity and people were sitting outside of the building.
That was 90 people we had there and we hope to make Awasa into it’s
own District apart from Adis soon.
Well that has been my week. I hope you are all doing well and safe and
that you know I love you all so much. Stay healthy and awesome.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Greetings from a whole new world. Ethiopia is great! It is completely
> different than Uganda and I feel like I’ve started a whole new
> mission. This roads are nice, there’s no garbage, the food is amazing,
> the weather is cooler, people don’t just tell you what you want to
> hear, and they also don’t really know English so I’m having to learn
> Ahmaric. Look up the symbols for that language by the way, it’s a
> completely different alphabet. It sounds similar to Arabic as well.
Ethiopia is a great country. It’s much more modern than Uganda and the
> people here are beautiful. That has actually been a problem with
> missionaries in the past here but don’t worry about me. You know I’m
> strong. Especially down here in Awasa, the people aren’t as good
> looking. It’s got a bit of Italian culture mixed in and the people
> here have style, show public affection, and are more Europeanish.
> The flight here was amazing! I think the best food I’ve eaten the 10
> months before that was the airplane food. We flew on Emirates airlines
> and that is a very nice, Arabic, airline service that is centered in
> Dubai. That flight was so nice! Air conditioning, nice seats, nice
> service. That was a mini trip.
> Awasa is a 4 hour drive south of Adis Abbaba so we made that trip on
> Wednesday morning with President Parrish and his wife. Reminded me of
> the old trips we used to take as kids besides the fact that we saw
> hyenas, camels, huts, and all kinds of things that you see in the Lion
> King on the way down.
> Awasa has a branch with a great President of the Branch who found the
> Book of Mormon and was taking trips from Awasa to Beklobet which is
> like a 3 hour trip a few times a month until he could get missionaries
> sent here. We are opening up an area close to Awasa called Sheshemene,
> the Rastafarian Holy Land. Rastas there walk barefoot and it’s said to
> be a bless land.
My new companion is from South Africa. He’s a white African and he’s a
> very straight guy. He worries quite a bit about little things and I’m
> trying to help him with that and he’s helping me to be a better
> missionary overall.
> The language will be hard to learn but us as missionaries as for now
> are just learning the basics of it. They will at some point teach it
> at MTC’s and stuff and missionaries won’t be using translators, but as
> of now we usually use translators

It’s been raining every day here as well so I guess it’s similar.
By the way, we flew from Entebbe to Adis Abbaba, and than
drove down to Awasa.
some! I miss those little kids so much!
So you know pretty much my week but basically I arrived in Ethiopia on
Monday night. The flight was amazing and we grabbed some good food
with President and Sister Parrish. President Parrish is a counselor in
the mission presidency.
Tuesday we were just in Adis and we saw the nice chapel they have up
there as well as some missionaries and had a District Leaders meeting
and set some goals for all of our individual districts.

Wednesday we came down to Awasa and we’ve been staying here as we wait
> for our house to get signed over so we can move there. It’s a small
> apartment here but we all enjoy spending good time together. The
> shower here is so cold though because they have no water heater!
> That’s the only thing I can complain about right now.
> We’ve just been seeing some of the recent converts down here and we
> did a little finding in Awasa and found some good families for the
> Elders here to teach. We made a trip to Sheshemene on Saturday as well
> and went to a place called Wendo Genet, which I believe means ‘Place
> Paradise’, being named that by the former king of Ethiopia, Ras
> Tafari.
> Sunday was good but we didn’t see quite as many people at church as we
> would like, and that’s why we are opening up that meeting group in
> Sheshemene so it is closer to some of the recent converts. The most
> recent convers in Wendo Genet were a few preachers from a church and
> we are just trying to get them patient with us as we make it easier
> and the church closer to them. They are great guys though seriously.
> Well that’s been the week. Just know I’m safe and that Ethiopia is
> seriously amazing!
> Elder Welch

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I’m going to
Ethiopia! I will be there by the time you read this. I will be opening
up a new area and attempting to learn a new language. Unfortunately
the area doesn’t speak English or even Amaric so it’s going to be
hard. Also most of the people in this area, called Shashanana or
something, are Rastafarians.

Easter was good. We had the Stake Conference and it was great. We
heard from the Area Seventy, Elder Watson, who’s an awesome guy. He
was the former secretary to the 1st Presidency and worked under 6
Presidents of the church personally until President Monson decided he
needed to be an Area Seventy. He speaks like a member of the 1st

P , D , and U were all baptized on Friday to make sure it
didn’t conflict with conference. It was great and they should all be
confirmed this Sunday by the new missionaries in Mengo. My former
companion is also being transferred to another area in Kampala.

So the week has been good. Mostly preparing those people for baptism,
and preparing the area for the new Elder to come, not much that is new
though. Rwanda won’t be opening for some time now apparently. The
government there has kind of tabled signing the documents to allow the
church there because of their fear towards religion. The genocides
there were largely because of churches sadly. I do get to go to a new
country though, and Ethiopia will be awesome! I’m excited. The Stake
Conference on Sunday was great and we had a nice Easter dinner. Now
today I’m just waiting for the flight to take me and a couple of other
Elders to Ethiopia so we can start the work we need to do there. Not a
lot of time though and I think we will be leaving there soon. Sorry
this email is shorter than usual but you understand the circumstances.
Talk to you next week.