Saturday, June 25, 2011

The guy who works for LDS charities should be baptized this week along
with his family. We had 13 investigators at church and we’re teaching
quite a few people. They mostly speak English because we haven’t had a
local missionary but we can start dipping into those that don’t know
English as well once we get a translator.
The Humanitarian missionaries are helping with building water wells,
teaching people correct ways of getting water, and placing things that
have been donated from the church.
This week was good. I was in Addis Ababa again. This time we were up
there for a leadership training with President Jackson and the 5
greenies that are starting their missions in Ethiopia. The trainings
were great but took up a couple of our days.

The rest of the week was spent teaching and other things. We are still
preparing about 4 or 5 people to be baptized this coming Saturday. One
is the man who works for the LDS charities and his wife
and son . The other two are the daughter of the 2nd counselor in
Awassa and referred us to his
daughter. T is her neighbor and friend. Those two women are the
most humble and submissive girls I have ever met though! They usually
just sit there for the lessons and accept every thing we teach them. I
don’t think there could be greater people to teach.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention, the drive down from Addis to
Shashemene was quite the adventure. After the meetings on Saturday
afternoon we needed to go back for church the next day so they hired a
taxi and the District President of Addis had his brother drive it for
us (the brother isn’t a member). We drive for about five minutes and
were still on one of the main roads when this guy starts trying to go
around a parked taxi. We’re only going about 10-15 miles per hour but
I see this taxi and I’m just thinking, we’re way too close to this
thing when BAM. We smash right in the back of it and gave us all quite
a shock. Luckily we were going slow but it was actually quite
humorous. We all joked it was because this guy had taken off so
quickly that we didn’t have time to pray for a safe travel, so we made
sure to pray for that as he got out and was arguing with the other
We finally get a different driver and get on the way. It was
seriously the longest trip though. The guy was driving so slow! We
didn’t get home until past 10:30 in the evening and we were all pretty
Sunday was great. Elder O and I held the service in Shashemene
and we had 27 people there this week. 13 actual investigators this
time and not so many children. We are hoping to get 22 more chairs
this week so we can get the attendance up to 50. We started the
primary this week too and it went great. The kids that were there were
very interested in the lesson about Adam and Eve.
Well that’s the highlights of my week, I want you all to know how much
I love you all and that the church is true,

Saturday, June 18, 2011

This week I didn’t get to go to Wendo Genet, and actually that isn’t my area anymore.
I will miss it. My new companion, Elder Ogollah, and I will be full time in Shashemene
now. Elder O is only 4 months on mission and he’s from Kenya. He’s a great guy.
I’m happy you guys were able to see a little bit of what I get to see when
you went to the zoo.

So the week was pretty basic. I was in Addis Ababa again all week. I was up there
waiting for my companion to fly in from Uganda. He was supposed to fly in
Wednesday, but even worse than your flight experience, they got to the airport
on Wednesday and the mission had not bought the tickets yet… So they had
to drive back to Kampala and fly in Thursday evening instead. On Thursday
night we got to eat with President and Sister Parrish at a nice restaurant and
I too had Mexican food! It was pretty good.

Friday morning President Parrish drove Elder O and myself down to Shashemene
with a few supplies and got settled in. Than we just taught lessons on
Friday and Saturday.

Sunday Elder O and myself were in Shashemene and we had a nice meeting.
It started only 15 minutes late this time but we had a decent attendence of
24 people. It was a little bit better because there were more adults there
than usual. Usually a lot of our attendence was coming from little kids
from around the house but this time they didn’t show haha.

We’re working on the few good people we have in Shashemene right now
and we’re hoping to baptize this one man who works for LDS Charities
on the 25th. I think he will become the group leader. The funny thing is
that his first time going to church, he called the humanitarian missionaries
in Adis right after and said ‘I went to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saint Charities today!’ Haha it was pretty funny I guess.

See you in a year.

Elder Welch

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I have been coming to Adis a lot huh? I’m actually here again haha

We were teaching the kids the song in English. We are working on getting people to do things. This week in Wendo Genet actually, the District President was there from Adis to conduct the meeting, and we had 2 men from the group bless the sacrament (one prayer in English and the other in Ahmaric) and we had two guys pass the sacrament. They did a pretty good job for their first time. All I had to do was conduct the meeting that day. I did kind of instruct the guys with the sacrament while I was conducting with eyes and hands though. The gospel principles class was led by someone and we had the primary taught by another. I didn’t have to do anything, well mostly since I don’t know the language and the District President was interviewing some people at the time.
The weeks been good. Elder M has been in Uganda most of the week so I was with the two local missionaries in Shashemene. Those two were a little like tweetle dee and tweetle dum at times but they’re good guys. We spent the week teaching and preparing the people we had for baptism. Nothing too eventful.

On Saturday the District President came down from Adis Ababa to do some business and did the interviews for us in Wendo Genet since there was no one else around to interview the people. We also settled a few things in preparation for the meeting groups like chairs and cleaning supplies.

On Sunday I went to Wendo Genet while Elder B (local from Awassa) and a counselor from the Awassa branch handled things in Shashamene. It was amazing in Wendo Genet on Sunday! We had 86 people at sacrament meeting and so many people went up to bear testimony. President H, the District President, was very impressed with the people there. We had 5 baptisms following the church service. The funny thing was that the water pump was broken so they had no running water… Well we weren’t going to let satan get his way so they payed some guys to collect water from the river and dump it into the Baptismal tank there. Oh we also delivered a baptismal font there to Wendo Genet for convenience. The water was very brown, so I can say I baptized in a river that was in a baptismal font. I baptized 4 of the people there. We took a picture of all the faithful members!

After church we made the trip back up to Adis and went to one of the couples home for a zone activity. We had tacos and played games. We showed up quite late for it but everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Today we also had another activity of hiking up some mountain. It kind of sucked.. haha but it’s all good. Afterwards we got pizza and now we’re emailing. So that has been the week! Things are great though and I can’t wait to start being on the downhill side of my mission. I love you all and I am so glad to be lucky to be serving in the great areas I’ve had. The church is true and the blessings are great.
Elder Welch

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I am very fine, this fine ending day of May. It’s a good day to
remember those who have fought and died for our freedom. Joseph Smith
even seems like someone who fought and died for our freedom as well
now that I think of it. My week has been a great one though.

I did have to do special things for my visa and that is why I went up
to Adis this last week. I went up to get a working visa for here in
Ethiopia for the next year so.. .I might be here that long. I also got
my finger prints done and everything. We will be going up to Adis
again next week I believe for an activity amongst missionaries and I
might be getting my drivers license for here in Ethiopia because we
should get a car at some point.
We had 28 and 32
people at the meeting groups, not 9 and 28. This week we also had 29
and 72 people at the two groups. Overall that was over 100 people in
the two groups we just started. I included pictures of me with the
group of 72 people in Wendo Genet. I also told the members in Wendo
Genet that we missionaries are just there to teach the doctrine and
make sure things are run properly. I told them it’s my dream to just
sit in the congregation and do nothing for all the meetings. We teach
correct principles and the people govern themselves.

I like being on a bike more than walking, but driving still takes
precedence in my book. I don’t know what is wrong with my bike but it
does ok for now. At least it’s making me stronger by being more

So my week was good but for me, I was pretty busy. On Tuesday
President Parrish came down to bring some things for the two new
meeting groups we have and him and I drove back up to Adis (after
grabbing some tasty lunch of course). It was a good drive and I was
able to spend time alone with President Parrish for the 4 hour drive.
I think I’ll be somewhat like him when I’m older because he’s pretty
blunt and doesn’t change for anyone (also he’s bald haha). We saw some
camels and almost got hit with a stick from the herder who didn’t want
us taking pictures of his camels also.
In Adis I spent my time with the Zone Leaders up there doing some
administrative stuff and going with them while I did the visa stuff.
On Thursday we were able to go to a place about an hour from Debre
Zeit and do 19 interviews of people from a small village out there. It
was crazy to see so many faithful members who have taught their family
and friends even though they are so far from any church. I did 7 of
the interviews sitting on the ground, under a tree, in a scenery
similar to something you would see in the Lion King. What an
experience! They also fed us some very, very spice spaghetti
afterwards (we didn’t want to drink the water).

Friday I got my finger prints taken, which I felt bad about because
for both the visa and finger prints we budged in front of like 500
people both times. Apparently with the District President of Ethiopia
you “don’t stand in lines”. I just kept thinking “none of these people
we are budging are going to want to join the church after this” haha.

Even weirder was after that I had to take the 5 hour bus ride back
down to Shashemene by myself. Weird. I tried getting into a different
taxi also at one point in the beginning and as I was going to the
other taxi about 8 people all grabbed my bag and starting trying to
pull it in different directions to different taxis. It was pretty
ridiculous and all I could say was “no” in Amharic over and over.
Luckily I still have a little strength left and was able to pull the
bag into the taxi I originally was intending. Man it was crazy.

I got to Shasemene safely though and we finished off the week with a
great Sunday. We didn’t have any baptisms this week but we’ve been
having to do a lot of administrative things with these two new meeting
groups. We went on a split so Elder Macmillan and myself could be at
the two meeting groups which were both at the same time. I went with
one of the counselors in the Branch Presidency from Awasa to Wendo
Genet and it was great. We had to start late but we had 72 people
there at sacrament. I’m doing my best to correct every little thing
that could arise in order to give everyone the same church there that
is everywhere else in the world. Even the counselor from Awasa at one
point said “well we do this, this way in Awasa, and it’s easier this
way”. I just said “if this is what you’re doing in Awasa than it’s
wrong, and we don’t do things the easy way, but the right way.” I
think it’s good for those counselors to be in these meetings so they
can also start correcting some of the things which aren’t exactly
right in Awasa. We also had a gospel principles class and a primary.
For primary I basically tried teaching the many kids there to sing I
am a Child of God, as well as showing them a couple pictures of Thomas
S. Monson and the temple. Afterwards we had a short ‘Priesthood’
meeting and I met with the 8 Aaronic Priesthood members that are there
and explained particular things about the sacrament meeting, preparing
the sacrament, and just the church organization. They all are so
humble and really want to do everything that we ask them. I love that
Shashemene’s group was also pretty good I hear. They had 29 people at
the meeting and a gospel principles class afterwards. We are looking
to find more stable people there to hopefully be able to help take
over a few things and build the church.
I’m so glad I get to be apart of so many experiences that are going to
build me into a better person. I know I have so many weaknesses but
maybe by the time I’m 80, I’ll have corrected a few of them. I love
you all so much and just know I’m doing great! Don’t worry about me. I
love you all.

Elder Welch