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