• 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.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I Belong to the Church!

Hey Y'all!

"I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

Some big news this transfer! :D My dear sweet companion Sister Davies will be transferred to another area and we are no longer STL's. I will miss her dearly, but she has lives to touch in another area and I'm sure my next companion will add greatly to the work here. :) It's going to be strange not being an STL since that is all I have known since I've been back, but I'm also a little excited to just be a normal missionary.

"I know who I am.
I know God's plan.
I'll follow him in faith."

So we had a pretty amazing week. :) Jessica came to church! Yes, this is the Jessica with 5 children all 6 and under. She and her kids got picked up by a member and they went to all 3 hours. It was perhaps the craziest church service of my life! We were helping her with her wild kids, and so were several members. The oldest child, Christian, was super good. He LOVED every second of church! We were told after church that he even offered to say the closing prayer in his primary class! This was especially amazing because he didn't even know what a prayer was a week ago! Even though it was crazy, Jessica was so happy and excited. At the end she kept saying that she would come back every single week! :)

"I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ.
I'll honor his name."

We have another investigator on date! :D Her name is Harriet Starks. The sisters had met her in December after she asked for a Book of Mormon. Shortly after that they got her on date for February. She was drinking it all in! But then her mother got really sick with cancer, requiring her to come and help her for a few months. On top of that she herself ended up in the hospital for a short time because she had some terrible kidney stones! Finally, after all that, we had a lesson with her last week where she told us that she wanted to get baptized, just tell her the date! :D She has been reading her Book of Mormon everyday and is just so ready! She came to church yesterday and loved it! I know that Harriett is ready and I can't wait to see her get baptized. :D

"I'll do what is right;
I'll follow his light."

One more cool thing that happened actually worked in a sequence. At the beginning of last week we met a woman heading up the stairs in our apartment building. We talked to her a little and discovered that she was the daughter of a woman who lives her and that the daughters father had just died. We expressed our condolences and then offered to come and teach the family more about heavenly fathers plan for us. She said maybe some time and we continued on with our day. several days later we met the sister of the woman who's husband died! And we did the same thing with the same response. All this happened and we never met the woman, Vigivie, herself. Then yesterday, we saw a woman walking a big load of trash to the dumpster. We stopped by and took it for her. On our way back she thanked us and introduced herself as Vigivie! Yes, the woman we were wanting to see! :D We sat down and talked to her for a while. Then we gave her a Book of Mormon and Plan of Salvation pamphlet, then set an appointment for this Sunday to come and teach her more. This was so cool, but the coolest part was that we only went home because we were waiting for a member to text us back and let us know if we could come over. As soon as we were done with Vigivie, we got a text from that member saying we could come. This was a real show and testimony to me that God cares about ALL of his children and will make time for EVERY one of them to hear the gospel. :)

"His truth I will proclaim."

A lot has happened this week. And it has been quite crazy. :) But I'm glad to be out here. I'm glad to be serving in Dunwoody and North Point YSA now, and I'm glad that I have so many amazing investigators to work with. Ones that are honest seekers of truth and that want to progress in the gospel. Being a missionary has taught me a lot, but most of all, it has taught me to trust in God. It has taught me that He is working in the details to give us every opportunity to hear his word. But it has also taught me that God can't do it without me. Without every one of his children there to be his instruments and to teach others the way. For the path is straight and the gate narrow. I know that this Gospel is true. I know that this church is the one that was called of God to be re-established upon the earth. And I know that I am a representative of Christ himself. There is a lot of power in that statement alone. It makes me grateful to be a missionary, even after all the trials I have been through to get me here. :)

Y'all's Southern Bell,

Sister Welch

Monday, April 24, 2017

Onward, Christian soldiers

Hey y'all!

Onward, Christian soldiers!
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before.
Christ, the royal Master,
Leads against the foe;
Forward into battle,
See his banners go!

This week has flown by! I can't believe it's already Monday again! :D There was lots done and we had tons of fun, as we always do on the mission. :) First off, I wanted to update y'all on Eddie. He fasted for 24 hours! He still hasn't received a full answer yet, but boy is he trying! Please keep Eddie in your prayers. He is really wanted to know if the church is true. :)
In other big news, if y'all remember I have been serving in three wards, and attending three wards for church. THAT'S A LOT. -.- So finally our mission president made the decision to take us out of Sandy Springs Ward. It's sad to say goodbye to these lovely people, but it's also a relief to only have to worry about Dunwoody and the YSA ward. :)

At the sign of triumph
Satan's host doth flee;
On, then, Christian soldiers,
On to victory.
Hell's foundations quiver
At the shout of praise;
Brothers, lift your voices,
Loud your anthems raise.

So we've had quite a few good experiences this week, but I'll only share a couple. :) We met a new investigator who is on date! :D Her name is Vicki, and he had gone online and ordered what we thought was a Book of Mormon. Come to find out, she actually ordered a Bible but the missionary at headquarters miss-heard her. Good thing for that too! Because of that, we were able to share with her the Book of Mormon. She is a very spiritual person, and readily accepted that there could be another book of scripture. What is even cooler though, is her story. This woman is such a trooper and a soldier. She has stayed true to the faith she has, even through all the trials she went through, both physical, financial, and emotional. And then the Lord put missionaries in her path 20 years ago! :D She told us she felt the spirit from the Book of Mormon when she read and studied with the missionaries, but for some reason, they didn't say much about Joseph Smith or tell her that Christ came to the Americas. Over time, the missionaries eventually dropped her, and now, 20 years later we are back! And she understands so much! She still has a lot of hurdles to climb over. She believes she has been saved, but understands a little more about authority and the apostasy. She also smokes, so this will be a bumpy road for her, but I know she can make it. Keep Vicki in your prayers! :D

Like a mighty army
Moves the Church of God;
Brothers, we are treading
Where the Saints have trod.
We are not divided;
All one body we:
One in hope and doctrine,
One in charity.

Another short miracle came when we were in Atlanta. We were suppose to go table at Georgia Tech, but things weren't working out with the procedures we had to follow and the Elders coming. Somehow we ended up at a park a little farther down, waiting to hear from the elders if we could go tabling. There, we met a man named Jake who was waking the softest pug I have ever felt! He was super nice, and as we shared our message, he was interested. He took a book of Mormon and told us to call him next week to see if we could meet with him. :) It was a pretty cool little tender mercy!

Onward, then, ye people;
Join our happy throng.
Blend with ours your voices
In the triumph song:
Glory, laud, and honor
Unto Christ, the King.
This through countless ages
Men and angels sing.

My last miracle was over getting one of our new investigators Jessica and her 5 children 6 and under to church! You see, she doesn't have a car. . . Or car seats. . . and to put the cherry on top, she doesn't know how to use MARTA. We spent two hours on Saturday after our first meeting with her trying to find some form of transportation. We said a prayer, asking pretty much for a miracle. I mean, 5 car seats and a car big enough for her and her children?! The Lord heard our prayers, though. :) And he made it possible for a member and her daughter to take the whole family, and had 5 car seats because the daughter's kids were staying with their dad that weekend. It was truly amazing how the Lord provided for this warrior mom and her army of 5 small children! Unfortunately, Jessica had to cancel the next morning as her mother recently was taken to the hospital. But the miracle was still there, and I am grateful that God heard and answered us. :)

Onward, Christian soldiers!
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before.

This week has truly been amazing. :) And I have loved every moment. As I reflect on this past week as even my time as a missionary this song comes to mind. Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war. Which Jesus Christ going on before us. We are his army, as missionaries we fight many times on the front lines. But as members we are thrown into battle at any time. Whether it be a battle of moral, of doctrine, of belief in god, of families. It does not matter. We must continue on strong in the faith. We must fight. But sometimes that can be hard. For me, it's been hard to continue fighting, through the toughest of trials. But one scripture comes to mind when I am about ready to give up and I feel I cannot do it alone.
Deuteronomy 31:6  "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."
The part I want to point out is the last line. "he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." The Lord will NEVER leave us. Throughout my mission I have found over and over again that I am being helped with the hosts of heaven. The name "Jesus Christ" that is written on my name tag is not only a sign to others that I represent Him, but that He is with me. That he is helping me. That I can do anything, and as long as I trust in him, he will never forsake me. He will never let me down. That is an amazing promise as a soldier, that when I wear the armor of God and fight, Christ is right next to me, fighting and helping. :)

Y'all's Southern Bell,

Sister Welch

Not a lot of pictures this week.  This just seemed like a very farmer house. That dog is real, by the way. Haha! :D