• I am serving in the Georgia Atlanta Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from January 26, 2016 to August 1, 2017. This blog contains weekly letters and pictures about my experience.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

What Child Is This

Hey Y'all!

"What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?"

So sorry I haven't updated y'all for a while now. It's been a little crazy at home. :) However, I have some great news! My doctors are optimistic for my return to my mission at the beginning of January. We are shooting to get me back out on January 3rd. I have two more checkup's this week and if they are all clear then I can start the process of returning. :D This is truly a miracle, and I am so very excited to be finally returning to my wonderful mission!

"Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading."

The last few weeks have been lots of fun, but also very crazy. getting ready for Christmas was very fun. One of the funniest things I did was with my mom for my dad. You see, a few years ago he brought a rubber chicken to his family's white elephant party, but my brother took it home and gave it away at another party. My dad was sad because he wanted it to return again. Every year he has complained about it. So finally, my mom and I did something about it. We bought a dozen little 8 inch rubber chickens and started to play a little bit of elf on the shelf chicken style. They did all sorts of things starting the week before. We hung them by nooses, gave them a snowball fight, stuck them in the shower to cause mayhem, and lots of other things. To top it off, on Christmas day we wrapped a big squawking rubber chicken exactly like the one he lost and gave it to him. He hat lots of fun! And so did we! :D

"Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary."

To be a little more serious, I also did some other great things this christmas season. I made more cookies for the missionaries here. They were having another zone conference and payed me to make sugar cookies and cowboy cookies. I had lots of fun doing it!

"So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him."

I also went on an adventure too. :) My best friend Sister Palmer - who will be continuing her mission as a service missionary. We took the long, three hour drive to Vernal Utah to visit the temple. It was a beautiful temple and the most amazing experience. I have never seen a celestial room that surprised me quite the way that one did. It was simply amazing! Something funny happened too when we were together. After the session we were talking to a temple worker who asked us if we were missionaries! Haha! :D We laughed and explained to her that we were sick missionaries hoping to continue our missions soon. Later, when we went to lunch, the men making our food asked us that same question. One seemed really nice and interested in our predicament. Afterwords me and my friend laughed. I guess we still look a lot like missionaries! :D

"Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary."

The rest of my time leading up to christmas was fun. My parents took me to a Kurt Bestor concert. If you don't know who he is, look him up on youtube. He plays beautiful music. :) I also got to visit my cousin that returned from his mission in the Alpine German speaking mission a couple of weeks ago. This next Sunday I'll get to hear him speak. I never thought I'd be able to see that. Haha! In fact I shouldn't be able to see it because I should be out in the field. But this is definitely a tender mercy to see my cousin. We also had a christmas party for my dad's family and for our family, which was chaotic as usual. :) And christmas was amazing as usual, with lots of food and the best opportunity to go to Church. :D

"This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary."

This season has definitely been crazy, but it has also been filled with many miracles. I love the Christmas season because of all it encompasses. On this day a child was born. Not just any child, but our Lord and savior. The only begotten of the Father that can atone for us. That set an example of who we needed to be. Through him we learned the meaning of Christmas. To be Christlike. This song I have had stuck in my head. It's beautiful. Bring him incense, gold, and myrrh. This is Christ the King! Haste to bring him here! The babe, the son of Mary.

Y'all's Southern Bell,

Sister Welch

A coconut cream pie I made for the youth to take to families as they caroled around the ward.

 The sugar cookies I made for a missionary zone conference.

Me at the Vernal temple.

Vernal Temple

Pepper stole my dad's reading glasses. ;D

One of the many nativities we have in our house.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Oh Come All Ye Failful

Hey Y'all!

Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem."

These last couple of weeks have been filled with service, gratitude, and miracles. :D First, I'll give y'all a health update. Last Tuesday I had an MRI of my jaw, the results came back the next day showing no sign of current infections. This seems to be a good sign! If the infection does not come back by January I can head back out on my mission. :D

"Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;"

My Thanksgiving was amazing! Not only was all my family able to come, but we also got to have my grandparents over from their nursing home. They are both suffering from dementia and other issues, however it was lovely to have them with us. My dad brought out their old camera and screen to show pictures of back when they were all younger. It was a great Thanksgiving. One that I am particularly grateful to be here for. :) And of course, I got to help my mom by making pies and rolls by scratch. Yum yum!

"Sing, Choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation;
Sing all ye citizens of heav'n above!
Glory to God, Glory in the highest;"

The Saturday after Thanksgiving my parents took the family to dinner and to see the Temple Square lights! :D I was particularly excited since last year I missed it and I thought I was going to miss it this year because of my mission. The night wasn't too cold, so instead of turning into walking popsicles we actually enjoyed the lights. One of my favorite things was how they had different nativities from different countries. They were all different and unique, but having all those nativities really brought a unity. No matter where you are, we can all celebrate the birth of our savior who was born for us all.

"Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
Born this happy morning;
Jesus to thee be all glory giv'n.
Son of the Father, Now in flesh appearing;"

On Monday last week, I got to help my mom again with the festival of trees. :D This time it involved standing in a freezing conference center, in front of a giant semi-truck sized door which opened and closed frequently, selling tree stands and other last-minute items for people setting up their trees to be auctioned off. Even though it was ridiculously cold at times, it was very fun. Apparently it's a requirement for all tree builders to buy a festival of trees stand to use. That would make sense since these stands are made pretty sturdy to withstand the weight of the trees they have to hold up. "Tree Doctors" walked around inspecting trees and helping especially the new people. It was lots of fun! I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to help out for this event. :D

"Oh, come, let us adore him;
Oh, Come, let us adore him;
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Christ, the Lord!"

The rest of the week went a little less eventfully. Lots of shopping and spending time with my family, which is what the holiday season is really all about. :D

As this Christmas season flows into full swing, I am increasingly reminded of how much we have to be thankful for our savior. Born this Christmas to save us, and to set an example to us. He served his whole life. In fact, service was his whole reason for being born! How grateful I am for our selfless savior, Jesus Christ. The reason I chose this song was to also to remind us to gather together, in memory of that wonderful night over 2000 years ago. Come all ye faithful. The joyful, and the triumphant. Come, let us adore him, Christ our Lord! This season, as we try to perform acts of service inspired by #Lighttheworld, lets all remember that the more we show christ-like charity and love to our fellow man that we ourselves are drawing closer to the savior. His whole life was service, and the best way we can show our gratitude, and our willingness to draw closer to Him is to also serve. :) What a wonderful season it is!

Y'all's Southern Bell,

Sister Welch

 Thanksgiving Pies and Table!

Festival of Trees being set up!

Me with a few people who I sold tree stands with! It was a fun, but very cold day.

 My family and I at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

 Temple Square pictures and nativities.

My dog's new Christmas outfit! :D

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I Stand All Amazed

Hey Y'all!
"I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.
I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,
That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died."

It's been a little while since a medical update. All is well, though. :) I had my sinus surgery and it has so far been a great success! Besides a stuffy nose that will last a few weeks, everything is clearing up. The doctor promises no more problems for a long time. :) As for my jaw: I will be seeing an infectious disease doctor today for his input and to develop a plan of action for my treatment. It's amazing to me how medical science has advanced so far as to help someone like me be cured in such a short amount of time!

These past couple weeks have been a little crazy. :) On top of my sinus surgery I was also asked to speak again in another ward and invited some youth practice missionaries over for dinner and a beautiful lesson. 
"I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify."

On Monday, I got to help out with my mom for the festival of trees. She was part of a committee that made treats for the event to sell for Primary Children's fundraiser. We made a bunch of short bread triangles and chocolate dipped spoons. The whole day was filled with baking, dipping, and wrapping. A week from tomorrow we will be heading out to help set up stands for the various trees that will be auctioned off for the hospital. I'm excited to do this and will tell y'all all about it next week. :)

"I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet."

To top off the week, I was asked to bake cookies and help prepare a lunch for the missionaries in the zone that covers my stake. It was a wonderful opportunity that I wouldn't trade for the world. It was great to see full-time missionaries filled with the spirit and ready to go out and preach the gospel. While there, my mom and I met the mission president and a senior missionary couple who both happened to be related to us, which was way crazy! :D The Lord really puts many miracles into our paths. After the conference, I was asked to make more cookies for the next conference in salt lake city. It was so much fun! I'm excited to do it again!

"Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!"

These past couple of weeks have been amazing and encouraging. :) As Thanksgiving draws closer, it really draws into perspective all that we have to be thankful for. I chose this song as my theme because we have so much to be amazed about. All the tender mercies and all the gifts our heavenly Father gave each and every one of us is truly wonderful. He cares for us so much, that to top it all off, he sent His Son. Jesus Christ loves us so much to suffer and die for us. That is the greatest gift that I can be thankful for. All though I am not in the most ideal circumstances, and sometimes it's easy for me to think about how awful it is to have had to go home early for a short time. But it's easier for us to look at the negative and not remember the gifts. I am grateful for my Lord. I am grateful for His gospel. And I am grateful for all that he has done for me in my life. I challenge y'all to think of what amazing gifts of God you are grateful for this week. :)

Y'all's Southern Bell,

Sister Rebecca Welch

Some more baking fun for the festival of trees!

The missionaries sang "Called to Serve" to thank us! :D

Friday, November 18, 2016

Let Us All Press On

Hey Y'all!

If we do what's right we have no need to fear,
For the Lord, our helper, will ever be near;

So sorry for not emailing last week, there wasn't much to talk about. :P However, this past week has been pretty crazy! First off, I'll give y'all a quick medical update. I did have my oral surgery as planned, it went very well and they sent a bone biopsy off to be tested for infection. It came back last week as positive. But fear not! My oral surgeon is sending me to go see an infectious disease specialist who will put me on a course of hard core antibiotics. You know, the kind that work out in the gym every day and are all buff. ;D Hahaha! Hopefully after the antibiotic corse, the infection will be gone and I will have no other surgeries. 

This week I will be having a sinus surgery. My doctor will be straightening my deviated septum and opening up my sinuses so that I will have a lower chance of sinus infections. It's gonna be pretty awesome to finally breath again! I went in last week for my first CT scan too before the surgery, which was WEIRD. O.o 

In the days of trial his Saints he will cheer,
And prosper the cause of truth.

In other news, We had a pretty interesting past couple of weeks, but most of the stuff happened last week. We celebrated Halloween in the ward a couple days before the holiday. I decided to be fun and help out at the trunk or treat by decorating my trunk with spooky ghosts, lights and spider webs. It was a lot of fun! Even though my cheek looked like a chipmunk because of my surgery. :P 

Fear not, though the enemy deride;
Courage, for the Lord is on our side.

On Wednesday I had the great opportunity to be a missionary again with my best friend sister Palmer who has also returned early for medical reasons. My ward mission leader asked me to help with this youth missionary program that will teach the youth what it's like to be missionaries. Last week we even had a little MTC training where Sister Palmer and I taught the youth how to teach in unity then demonstrated teaching the restoration. It was lots of fun and so amazing to be able to teach that wonderful lesson again. I loved it. :) And it was even better that I got to do it with my best friend. The experience didn't end there, however, this week the youth get to put this plan into action at members homes who will host them. My mom and I signed up to be one of those families so I'll tell all y'all about it next week. :D
The rest of the weekend was more uneventful. I was able to see one of my best friends for the first time in 9 months, as well as my third oldest brother who I also haven't seen in 9 months. It was great to have this opportunity to see them and spend some time with them while I heal. :) 

We will heed not what the wicked may say,
But the Lord alone we will obey.

As I prepared to teach the youth how to be a missionary last week, lots of thoughts popped into my head. First off, I was excited about being able to teach again. I was also sad because I won't be a full-time missionary again for a while. But I was also in awe at how wonderful it was that we have missionaries. Our Lord sends them out, 2 by 2 to testify and proclaim that the way back to Him is once again on the Earth. That's a powerful message, one that any good missionary knows. It's so powerful in fact, that it encourages us to go out and devote 18 months to 2 years of our lives to tell people about it. Being home, it's been hard to not go out all day every day and do that. The song I picked for this email I think fits perfectly with missionary work and with regular saints. Let us all press on! Do the work of the Lord, because one day we will find that one person who is ready to be baptized. Don't fear what lies ahead. Take courage for the Lord is on our side. Heed not the wicked, for satan's only goal is to lead you away from the truth and nothing more. obey the Lord and trust in Him and He will never lead you astray. I love that message, because sometimes it's hard. It's hard to take a leap of faith in any circumstance we may be in. Whether that's being a missionary, or a regular saint. 

During my time at home, I've had to rely on and trust in the Lord in different ways than ever on my mission. I don't know what will happen next, and being a person who likes to know what's next, that's really scary. However, I know the Lord will lead me to where I need to be and what I need to be doing. I know that He cares for each and every one of us that much. He will lead and guide you. He has promised that. And He has promised all the faithful eternal life when we trust in Him. So don't stop believing. Don't stop praying. Don't stop trusting, even when you feel like He isn't listening, He is. I know that is true. So don't give up. :)

Y'all's Southern Bell,

Sister Welch

More of the youth missionaries pointing out their areas.

 Pepper got a new bed! And a new outfit! ;D

Trunk or Treat excitement!