I wish...

...that I could just copy my journal and send it home.  This past week has been MIRACULOUS and I want you all to hear every detail!
So I'll try to type fast.

Thursday, August 23

Trying is all it takes.  This week I've been trying to be better and really to be a "Preach My Gospel" missionary.  I'm really trying to refocus on what's really important.  And it works.  Heavenly Father has been putting people in our path.  We found a new investigator, I was able to talk to 10 non-members at the VC today, people want to know about the gospel, and it's so exciting!

Tonight we checked on a less active who didn't answer, but we saw two men standing outside next door, so we went to talk to them.  One was holding a beer can and the other was missing part of one of his teeth. I knew I'd already talked to the one with the beer can before, but the other "Chip" was new.  We started talking and the questions to ask just flowed into my mind.  It was one of those precious moments on the mission where the spirit takes over and I knew Chip would say yes.  I asked him what he does to find happiness.  He said that he "works hard and plays hard."  I asked him what he does to find happiness that will last forever and he didn't really have an answer.  Then I asked him if he ever has those days where he feels like there is more to life. He said that that was every day.  The interesting thing is that his friend was completely closed, and answered these questions as if life was rainbows and butterflies.  It seemed to intimidate Chip a little because he wanted to answer that way, but he was still honest with is.  And he said yes to meeting with the missionaries is his area.  He's seeking, and he'll find the truth.

Saturday, August 25

Heavenly Father is so good to us!  We had a difficult morning, but kept going and the rest of the day was incredible.  It started after lunch.  We went to the Fennell's and we were able to help her clean, and do Kiara's hair.  Which, by the way, that child is an angel.  She is wise and mature beyond her years.  Today she was pushing a hand mower to mow the lawn, then she got out the leaf blower and was blowing all of the cut grass into a pile to throw away.  She's only 7, but takes the initiative to do work like that.  She's also the one making sure they read scriptures and pray as a family.  She is incredible.  Sister Fennell asked us to teach her the missionary lessons before she's baptized in October, and I wish that I was staying so that I could be there for that experience.  I'm sure I'd learn more than teach.  {By the way, transfers were today! The 29th.  Now I'm in Kentlands with Sister Morotti from Italy.  Oh, and this also happens to be the ward that the Matsumori's and Assistants are in. :] }

Shortly after that we went to see Silvia. She's been struggling with her testimony and feels lost.  She feels like the last 7 years of her life have been confusing and like she's in a dark tunnel.  It was amazing to feel Heavenly Father's love for her as we listened, and asked questions.  AT one point I was going to share a scripture, but couldn't find it, and then Silvia didn't wait for me and she just kept talking, so I put my scriptures down and knew that I was supposed to listen.  Later, I felt the need to share that scripture again, and I opened up my Book of Mormon to try and find it, and it amazingly opened right to the page where the scripture was.  Incredible how that works.  This really was one of the most spiritual lessons we've taught, because as we testified the Spirit came, and Silvia needed it.  She's incredible and really is trying.  I just pray that Heavenly Father gives her her answer tonight.

After our visit with her we raced over to our appointment with Herbert, who ended up not being interested, but on our way out, we met a woman named Vertese on the steps.  She was watching her niece learn to ride a bike, so we chatted for a while.  We learned that Vertese had just moved here, but hadn't found a church yet.  She was interested in what we had to say, and agreed to start meeting with us.  It was one of those moments where I was amazed at how Heavenly Father knows exactly where each of his children are.  We didn't need to be there for Herbert, but Vertese was ready.  It was beautiful.  And the little four year old was just a doll. As we were leaving I saw here run up to Vertese and say, "They are beautiful!" I just had to smile as I thought, "She recognized the light of Christ."  And so did Vertese.

Then we went home for a 15 minute dinner, then to our appointment with Ike.  He is unbelievable.  He taught us the commandments tonight. We started with prayer and were planning on using Alma 37:36-37 to talk about daily morning and evening prayers, but no need.  Ike just started talking about how God is our father and we need to talk to Him.  He said, "It's the first thing I do when I wake up, and the last thing I do before going to sleep."  Bah!  He's amazing.  Sister Lin was ecstatic and I just laughed.  Typical Ike.  It was the same with Sabbath day, the 10 commandments, and scripture study.  He taught us.  It was the strangest thing, really.  We didn't have to say much because he already knew everything we tried to tell him!  And the Word of Wisdom!  This was the weirdest.  Last weeks Sister Lin had given him the pamphlet, and when we said tonight that we were going to talk about the Word of Wisdom he interrupted and said, "Good this is very important.  There are spiritual and temporal benefits of living the Word of Wisdom and there are 5 things we need to abstain from..." then he went on to list them.  He told us"I just have a problem with alcohol because I'm a social drinker, but the drunkard can't pray to God so I want to give that up too.  No more alcohol."  I think I sat there with my mouth open while he taught us the Word of Wisdom better than we could have ever taught him.  He even committed himself to stop drinking for heaven's sake!  It really was the weirdest but most rewarding thing to see.  His only concern was that he'd read about church attendance in the back of the pamphlet and saw the picture with men in ties and told us that he refused to wear a tie.  He's in luck.  He lives in mini-Africa where everyone wears their tribal clothes to church anyway, so we told him he was off the hook.  He's precious.  I love that man and feel so blessed to be able to teach him.

Sunday, August 26

Baptism day!  It was incredible.  Kadie and Yvonne were glowing.  It was such a sweet experience to watch them both support each other and get baptized on the same day!  Half of the ward came to the baptism, and there was such a spirit of love and welcoming in that room.  I can't even put it into words how amazing today was.  I am so so so happy for them and to know this gospel is true!

[Running out of time...sorry, the next few days will be condensed.]

Monday August 27

We went to see Ike today and he taught us again.  Today it was about tithing and the Law of Chastity.  He said that back in his country, if you break the law of chastity, you're stoned.  So no problems with that one.  And about tithing he said, "If you can pay the government 30% for taxes, you can pay 10% back to God because He's the one that gave it to you in the first place."  Amen, brother.  He's so ready.  On Sunday at Kadie's baptism he was actually a little mad at us because he wanted to be baptized too, but we wouldn't let him.  Haha.  But now he's ready.  He'll be such a strong member.  I can't wait to see where he goes in the church.

Tuesday August 28

Elwood's funeral/memorial service was tonight.  Claire was heart-broken, but being strong.  Her sister was there and being such a great support.  There were only 7 of us, and we met at Claire's home because Elwood was cremated, and it was interesting to walk into that home and feel a spirit of sadness, and then to go through the service and feel the spirit of peace at the end.  Claire took some time to remember the positive she had with Elwood, and her sister shared some as well.  Then we shared some of the plan of salvation with her, Sister Lin and I sang "Nearer my God, to Thee" and Elder Noel gave her a blessing.  There was such a feeling of serenity in that room by the time we left.  Claire will be all right.

Also today, Vertese wants to be baptized!  Her date is for September 30th.  Perfect way to end the transfer.

I love you all!  Stay true to what's eternal.

Love, Sister Welch

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