So Much Joy

June 21, 2011

Dear Family:

So much joy this week!  I don’t even know where to start.  First of all, I don’t think I’ve ever cried so many happy tears in so few days.  It’s cleansing, in a way and refreshing.  I think Sister Lewis and I keep the tissue companies in business just between the two of us.  And it’s great.

Most of those tears, well, many of those tears, were during out devotional last Tuesday.  Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary General President, came to speak to us and we had pretty good seats, but right before it started, an usher asked us if we’d like to sit in the front.  We said yes of course, and he moved us to the two seats directly in front of the pulpit.  It was amazing to be so close and see the tears well up in her eyes, and feel her spirit.  And her talk was wonderful and just what I needed to feel.  While introducing her, the mentioned that she served with her husband while he was the Mission President of the Washington, D.C. South Mission.  Sister Lewis and I were able to speak with them briefly afterwards and they know the Matsumori’s and asked us to give them a hug.  When I say speak, it was really the Wixom’s who were speaking as we were trying to gain our composure.  President Wixom said, “You know, the elders are great, but you sisters are SHAZAM!”  Even though it was meant to be funny, it made me cry all the more.  They are incredible people and even from talking to them for a brief moment, I was inspired by their goodness.

Later in the week Sister Lewis and I received the news that we were asked to give tours of the MTC to the new Mission presidents and their wives!  This is really the best time of year that I could be here because so many General Authorities and many if not all of the Apostles are going to be at the MTC to train the New mission president.  And I get to give them tours.  Wow.  What a tender mercy.  And I just realized that will be happening tomorrow, which would have already passed when you get this.  Crazy!

Another tender mercy is that no one in my zone plays the piano, so I am the pianist on Sunday.  That is such a blessing.  I was having serious withdrawals when I came here, and Sister Lewis was good to let me find a piano once when we had time after lunch so that I could play.  It really is therapy for me and I wish I had the time to put in a couple of hours into a session.  :)

It’s interesting to see the other ways I’ve had to adjust as well.  Usually, I’m pretty adaptable, but in the past I’ve always had the piano, or family and friends that I could talk to in order to work things out.  Sometimes I just need to talk to someone who knows me in order to process what I’m feeling or experiencing.  I couldn’t do that here, except with my Heavenly Father.  All I had was prayer, and after having a pretty difficult, humbling and confusing couple of days, that is what I turned to in a way that I haven’t before.  And it is so exciting because this is the type of growth that I was hoping for!  It’s been such a blessing.  I’ve always known that blessings follow obedience but I realized that deeper blessings follow deeper obedience.

The days following this prayer were the best yet at the MTC.  My mind was clear and I had the perspective back, and my relationship with Sister Lewis has become even stronger.  My testimony: Prayer is real and such a blessing.

On a completely different note, this is the end of week two without sugar.  I’m debating between stuffing myself with ice cream from the ice cream bar my last Sunday here or going my whole mission without sugar.  It would be so neat to say that I didn’t eat sugar for a year and a half.  But then again, ice cream is one of the better things in life . . . so, we’ll see.

Speaking of sugar, Sister Lewis and I made a candy card for the elders in our district this past weekend.  Some of them have really been struggling and all of them could use the love so we went to the bookstore, bought a bunch of candy bars, and I went to work putting my poetry skills and creativity to good use.  Here’s what we came up with:  (the words in quotes are the candy bars.) (Oh and we’re really working on calling them elders, not guys)  OK Here it is:

Dear Guys . . . Elders . . . “whatchamacallits”
Here’s a little “symphony” that we made up today
Hope it’s not a “shocker”, what we have to say.
Elder Parry’s hiding some sweet “twix” up his sleeve
Elder Zajac (“Mike and Ike”) we’ll be sad to see him leave
Elder Pickup – “York”indness is something we admire
Elder Firth has “mounds” of jokes of which we’ll never tire.
Elder Ch’ng’s “snickers” make us “Laffy taffy” and that’s ‘good as’
And Elder Collett is always a “almond joy” it’s a gift that he has
So remember…
If you’re a “Mr. Goodbar” and gospel “nerd” on your mission
You’ll come home a “Big Hunk” and “Skor” women who like kissin’.
So don’t forget the gospel’s true.”U-no” it with all your “sweethearts”
And that’s worth more than “100 grand” so let it be who you are.
You’re an in”spree”ation to us.
Sister Welch + Sister Lewis
(a.k.a. “Hot Tamales”)

So there it is full of inside jokes and everything.  As a side note, ‘good as” isn’t a candy bar; it’s just a phrase that Elder Ch’ng uses.  Apparently, in Australia, it means “cool” but he found out that in America it doesn’t sound quite the same.  I’m glad everyone appreciated the humor though . . . and the candy.

Oh, funny story.  This one’s for Madison mostly, but I think everyone will enjoy it There’s and Elder here from DC and he is about as black as it gets and I love it.  He’s so funny and I’m positive he has a crush on Sister Lewis because he’s shameless about it.  Anyway, one day he found out my first name and the next thing I know, he starts calling me K-dub!   We’re not supposed to give nicknames but I couldn’t help my shocked, excited face, and so now, that’s always what he calls me.  He came up to me today and is like. “K-dub, Wazzup doggy?”  It made me laugh, then he talked to us for a minute and before he left, he held out his fist for me to pound and said “Stay black.  Peace.”  Oh Elder Finnell.  What a crack-up.

One of our teachers, Brother Curtis, is also a crack-up.  He got home from his mission in October, but he’s one of those people who would be a missionary for life if he could.  His roommate works at the MTC too, and the other day, he was telling us about a conversation they were having over breakfast about haow they were going to meet the needs of the eggs.”  Oh wow, considering the place I am right now, I did laugh but oh wow.  What a character.

Well now for my favorite quotes.  Learning experiences of the week:

Rosemary Wixom-
You stand as a witness when you wear his name on your chest.  You are a witness when you wear his name in your heart.

Celestial living comes through the atonement of Jesus Christ.

Exaltation: being filled with light and truth.

Doctrine applied to people is what converts people.

We need to look with spiritual eyes and listen with spiritual ears. –Elder Holland

Do not rob God from making you what you were designed to be. – Mary Cook

Elder Scott: If you feel distance from the Lord, it’s because of something you’ve done.

Enduring to the end is the principle that comes after every ordinance.  It’s continuing to strive to be like Jesus Christ in a world that is not Christ-like.

Symbolism to think about.  Jesus Christ is the Word. People need communication to exist.  We need the Savior to live as well.

Symbolism: Brother of Jared brought rocks to the Lord (Rock of our Redeemer, the Rock) to light the way (Lord is my light).  I wish I had more time to go into detail because I love symbolism, but you can ponder on that.

I love you all!!!
-Sister Welch

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