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

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