Sunday, January 7, 2018

This email was sent by Sister Welker on December 11th.  We received it on December 10th.

Week 70: Unexpected Surprise

Well, we had a baptism this week.  Whahoo!! I can't really take any credit though, because I've only been here a week and so I didn't really help teach this investigator, but she's super, super cute.  I don't think I've ever meet someone who cares so much about their relationship with God.  Kirsty (name changed) has been brought up in another faith and has even served missions for that faith in some part of Europe.  Though the religion she was brought up with was all she ever knew, she had a couple friends from the Mormon faith that introduced her to missionaries.  She started taking the discussions and was hesitant at first.  All she knew was the Bible to be the word of God, so when the missionaries showed her the Book of Mormon, she wasn't very keen.  But after time, prayers, and studying, she came to notice a difference in her life.  She felt more at peace than she ever had before.  More peace than what she felt when she was serving her own mission.  So she looked at her situation and tried to decide what matters most in her life.  And in the end, she felt that her relationship with God was what mattered most.  So despite her fears of loosing life long friends from her childhood faith, she listened to her heart and got baptized this last weekend.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

This email was sent by Sister Welker on December 4th.  We received it on December 3rd.

Week 69: Good-bye Taranaki

Yep, I got transferred.  Sadly, my companion and I realized that would happen Monday night, and so this whole week has been really long.  Saying good-bye is honestly the worst part of a mission.  And it feels as though you have to say good-bye just when you get to know people.

Tuesday at 5pm is when we got the news.  I was told I was going to Hamilton East.  This whole time I've always joked that President has wanted me as far away from the temple as possible, and now it's less than 30 minutes away.  So there goes that joke.  I can't use that one anymore.  Hamilton East is right next to a university, so we have heaps of YSA (young single adults) in my area.  The area is also much smaller than Taranaki.  I went from only have 80 people coming to church in the  branch to almost 200 people coming to church and it's a ward.  The church is a big deal here.  Everyone knows who Mormons are and has seen the temple before.  It's funny, I imagine that serving in Hamilton would be what it feels like to serve in Utah.  So it almost feels like home.

My new companion is Sister Schwendinger (sh-when-ding-er).  It's taken me the past four days to pronounce her name right.  So most times I just call her companion or sister haha.  But I'm getting better at using her name more often.  She's from San Diego, California.  She has 6 other sibilings.  She has two younger sibilings so that means she's a middle child.  But she also has a twin sister serving in Flordia at the moment.  She loves reading books and was in student government in high school.  She graduated in 2016 and has been on her mission for a little under a year (Gisbone was her other area).

I'm currently emailing at an internet cafe, so I won't be sending any pictures this week but hopefully I can send some soon.

Thanks for all your love and support!!

Sister Mandy Welker

This email was sent by Sister Welker on November 27th.  We received it on November 26th.

Week 68: Testimony challenge, Gave a talk in church, Thanksgiving, and Transfers

Kia Ora eveyone!! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and a safe Black Friday.  Our branch had a cute little Thanksgiving feed of our own, but no one does Thanksgiving as well as the US.  It was still yum and my companion and I had a blast!!

We also had exchanges with the Hawera Sisters. I went to Hawera with Sister Leota and Sister Scherer went to New Plymouth with Sister Bashaw. The theme was all focused on testimonies.  I had each sister commit to share heartfelt testimonies whenever they have the opportunity to share their testimony.  I noticed a difference when I gave my testimony.  I think sometimes I go robotic and just share my testimony as if it's a chore or something expected.  But I could really notice the difference this last time, and was more careful with what words I shared in my testimony.

I gave a talk in church yesterday.  I talked about being a daughter of God from the 5th chapter in the Gorden B. Hinkley Teachings of the President of the Church book.  I won't attach the whole talk but here's one of my favorite paragraphs.

During the time when Christ was on the earth, there was another woman.  One who was physically dragged to His feet, and accused of committing adultery.  The scribes and Pharisees wanted so badly to prove Christ wrong, that they literally placed this woman's life in his hands.  She too could have been killed for her actions.  As the crowd stood and watched the scene unfold, I can only imagine this woman was bracing herself for the worst.  Never before had she been so scared, so embarrassed, and so disappointed in herself.  And now that it was time to suffer the consequences, she didn't run, or give any excuses.  Rather, she painfully waited for her fate to be decided.  Once the crowd dispersed and she was left alone with Christ, it was then that Christ asked her, "Where are those thine accusers?"  As the woman searched the room and realized that the ones who dragged her to the feet of Christ were no longer near, she responded with "No man, Lord."  Then Christ lovingly said "Go, and sin no more."  For me, this woman helps the Atonement come to life.  Rather than being stoned to death, Christ spiritually was stoned for her.  Only Christ could forgive her so freely, for the price would be paid by Him when he would suffer in the Garden of Gethsemane.  And because Christ loves her and loves us all, she was forgiven and we can be, as well.

And this week is Transfer week.  I have NO IDEA what's gonna happen.  It could easily go either way.  I've been in Taranaki now for 4ish months and I might stay a little longer or I could be going to a new area.  I honestly have never been so uncertain of what would happen for transfers before.  Usually I have a little idea of what might happen, but this time I'm clueless.  We find out tomorrow, so I'll be sure to let you guys know next week what happened.  Whatever happens, it was meant to be.

December 1st is this week!?!? Crazy right!?!? But that also means that light the world starts!!! :D It's a video advent calendar on 25 ways you can be more like Christ.  Each day there's a little challenge of what you can do and it's super fun and super cool!!  I'll be doing as much as I can as a missionary, but I recommend you all do it too :D This Christmas season let's all try and be little more like Christ. (

I love and miss you all thanks again for all your thoughts and prayers.  Know that I'm grateful to have all of you in my life.  Have a great week!!

Sister Mandy Welker
This email was sent by Sister Welker on November 20th.  We received it on November 19th.

Week 67: Zone Conference and Cards in our Hands

So there were two highlights this week.  One of them was Zone Conference.

We got to do another road trip!! One of these days I could probably drive there with my eyes closed, but that would be a bad idea haha.  I've just drove to Hamilton heaps and know how to get there.

We usually get to stay the night with Visitor Center Sisters, but because we had even more missionaries at this Zone Conference, I got to stay the night with Sister Garbutt, my Tahitian companion that I served with in South Auckland!! It was amazing to see how far she had come and to be able to remember the good times we've had together.

President Cummings talked all about Repentance being a joyful thing and referenced a talk by Steven W. Owens ( It's a good talk.  I recommend it.  Then Sister Cummings talked about how we all carry luggage around, and we don't know what's in other people's luggage.  But no matter how hard life gets, we need to keep carrying that luggage, cause when this life is over, God will ask us to show Him what we've carried in our luggage during this life, both the good and the bad.

Then the best miracle was Saturday night.  We went to go visit one of our less-active sisters who I'll call Maggie.  She's absolutely adorable and is always saying "Food is bae!!" ;) I love it, and I think it's awesome!! Maggie and her family all came to church a couple weeks ago, but we hadn't seen her since then.  We were wondering why we hadn't seen her and every time we went to go visit, we were always given another excuse.  We were about to give up on her, but I'm glad we didn't.  When we went to go visit Saturday night, we were invited in.  We played a fun game that my companion and I improvised.  It was kinda like the game called Head Bands/heads up if any of you know how to play that game.  Basically, you put a piece of paper on your forehead and try and guess what's on it.  1st one to guess it right, wins!!  So we played our fun game and at the end we shared a quote.  I found the quote clear back when I was in South Auckland for an exchange.  It was an Ensign article that compares life to a card game and the quote goes like this:

"So many times, we as young adults find ourselves lamenting the hand we have been dealt with in life.  We wish we had received the marriage cards, the children cards, the good-health cards, or the successful cards in the first round.  It can be so easy to compare our cards with those of our friends and acquaintances -- especially when it seems that they always hold the winning cards and we can't seem to get out of the negative!  And yet, so often we fail to see the good in the cards we are already holding in our hands.  And we forget that no matter what our cards are -- the experiences and opportunities we are given in life -- we can still have a good attitude about them.

"So what then, do you do with the not-so-great hand at hand? The first step is to take a good hard look at what you have in your hands.  Take a stock of all the good in your life and all the positive cards you (metaphorically) hold.  Being grateful for what we do have will help us overcome the pain and bitterness we are prone to feel for what we don't have.  President Uchtdorf also said, "Those who set aside the bottle of bitterness and lift instead the goblet of gratitude can find a purifying drink of healing, peace, and understanding." ~ Mindy Anne Selu, "Making the Most of What We Have," Ensign, Feb 2017, 22. (

So in the end we found her concern and she told us she wants to come back to church!!

Since Thanksgiving is this week, take some time to find things your grateful for.  Look at the cards you have in your hand, and don't dream of the cards you don't have.  I'm grateful for my family and the love and support they give me.  I'm grateful for my Savior.  And I'm grateful I can spend 18 months telling others about Christ.  

Thanks again for all your love and support and have a Happy Thanksgiving!! :D

Sister Mandy Welker
This email was sent by Sister Welker on November 13th.  We received it on November 12th.

Week 66: Rescued and the Happiness Challenge

So much happened!!

We finally got a branch mission leader called!! It's gonna help to lighten the work so much and I'm really excited!!

We had a new branch president called since our current branch president is moving to Palmerston North, but will be taking a detour of Texas, Hawaii, and Utah 1st. We're going to miss them heaps!!

We had a lot of members show up to Rescue visits on Wednesday night!! We were able to visit with every one we had planned and even arranged for them to have rides to church!! :D

We had an awesome visit with a member family and we were able to teach them about Agency.  It was a good lesson and we tied it in with how Happiness is a choice.  Which reminds me, I'm doing a 100 days of Happiness Challenge and recommend you do it too.  What you do, is you post/text/write down one thing each day that makes you happy for 100 days!! So far I'm on day 4!  It's been really fun to keep track of things that make me happy and 100 reasons to be happy!! :D

We have Zone Conference coming up this week so we get to do another road trip!! And that's probably the highlight for this up coming week.

Thanks again for all your love and support.  Hope you find 100 reasons to be happy in 100 days and celebrate the little things in life.

And I just wanted to tell my mom Happy Birthday!! Thanks Mom for being such a support in my life and loving me for the way I am.  Know that you mean the world to me and I hope you have a very happy birthday!!

Sister Mandy Welker

We woke up early this morning to go for a hike in time to watch the sunrise!! It was beautiful!!

Pic with Sister Bashaw and Mount Taranaki

Last weeks PDAY when we hiked Dawson Falls.
It's a waterfall right by the Mountain.

Picture with all the Sisters

And I found a Palm Tree that is as tall as me!! :D
This email was sent by Sister Welker on November 13th.  We received it on November 12th.  It is an account from one week ago (November 6th).

Week 65: Closed & Fireside 

My deepest apologies for not emailing last week. :(  I was in the middle of writing my weekly email when we were kicked off our computer.  The library closed and the computers were programmed to shut down when the library closed.  The email I prepared wasn't even saved as a draft, so I'll have to do my best to summarize as best as I can.

The highlight of last week was definitely our video fireside.  We came up with our fireside originally about a month ago, but it was placed on the back burner since we were focused on our baptism instead.  We had spent most of that week preparing for the fireside.  The theme of the fireside was, He Lives.  We had three speakers and asked each speaker to share their testimony on HOW they know their Redeemer lives.  I think all of us know that our Redeemer lives, but we wanted to know HOW they know that he lives.  In between each speaker we watched videos all focused on the Savior.  We made hand-made invitations and spent a good time coloring them. :D And we also designed a beautiful program to go with it as well.  We had an amazing turn out and even had 4 visitors attend.  So in our eyes in was definitely a success!!

Video 3-  (sorry can't find the link right now)

I loved the fireside so much I'm tempted to suggest the idea to my home ward.

Sister Mandy Welker
This email was sent by Sister Welker on October 30th.  We received it on October 29th.

Week 64: Soap, Service, and Hamilton

This week for PDAY my companion and I carved soap!! :D Yes, I know that I'm a child but it was soo much fun!! The last time I carved soap was with my brother Brandon back home.  It was pretty awesome!! This time I carved a flip flop and my companion carved a T-rex. :D

The following day, we also got to do a service project.  It's been forever since we've done service and I've forgotten how fun it can be.  It's not every day when missionaries can wear jeans and play in the dirt, haha.  Hopefully, their garden looks better than how it started. 

Then, we also had another road trip to Hamilton!!! And this time I didn't have to drive.  I forget how pretty the drive is since I'm usually focused on the road in front of me, but when you take the time to slow down and enjoy the view, it can be an amazing experience!!  Plus it was almost sunny the whole drive up.  It wasn't until we switched drivers after our dinner stop that it started to rain, so of course it starts raining when I'm driving, haha ;).  Just my luck.

We got to stay the night with Elder and Sister Pierce.  They're a senior couple responsible for the cars and bikes in our mission.  Just as a side note, staying with senior couples is way more fun than staying with other sisters!!  It was the 1st time I had the chance to actually get to know the Pierces.  As missionaries, you don't really have the opportunity to socialize/visit with senior couples very often, unless you help work in the office.

By the time we got to their flat it was around 8:30 pm.  I imagined that they would be tired and want to get to bed as soon as possible, but instead they had prepared a dinner for us and talked with us for about an hour longer!!  They are just the cutest!!  And they've had amazing life experiences.  I didn't realize what amazing senior couples we were working with until that point.

The meeting was great!!  And the drive home was pretty great as well. :D

We have a fireside coming up this Sunday.  It's one the missionaries put together and I'm SO EXCITED FOR IT!!!  Like I was really disappointed when I realized we still had a week until Sunday again.  So I'll be sure to tell you all about the fireside next week.

Thanks again for all your love and prayers hope you all have a good week.

Sister Mandy Welker

Crazy Sister Welker and her companion!