Sunday, October 22, 2017

This email was sent by Sister Welker on October 16th.  We received it on October 15th.

Week 62?  Cold Water, and Bike Beside the Sea

Sorry if my last weekly email didn't send.  I do remember writing one, and I thought I sent it, but I can't find it anywhere in my email.  Must have disappeared in space :(

Regardless life is great!! We had another baptism this week!! I'll call her Macy for now.  Macy was close friends with the YSA here in the New Plymouth Branch.  She had attended a number of YSA activities.  At one point she went to the temple with the rest of the YSA and felt the spirit there.  The spirit was so strong that she turned to her friends and asked how she could join the church.  Sixish weeks later, we've taught her all the lessons and she was baptized earlier this week!!  The only sad part is that the heater to our font is broken, so my companion and I attempted to heat up the font by hooking a hose up to a sink and turning the hot water on and then boiling water and dumping it into the font.  We didn't test the water before she went into the font but she came up shivering.  So she got baptized in cold water. :(  At least we tried to warm it up for her.

My companion can now start driving!!?!?  Scary!!  I'm the one that needs to coach her how to drive on the other side of the road.  Luckily, she's a natural and there's not much I have to worry about.  I've teased her that the only way I'll let her pass, is if she can drive to the chapel by herself, and if she remembers to lock the car haha.  She'll be taking her test this week.

For PDAY today we decided to bike to emailing.  There's a walkway here in town that's called the coastal walkway, and it's basically this long sidewalk that is right along the beach side so you get to bike or walk and watch the waves at the same time.  It's amazing!!  I'll probably be super sore tomorrow though.  I hardly ever bike as a missionary.  I'm lazy and just use the car, haha. 

We'll that's about if for this week.  And sorry again that my last email disappeared somewhere. :(

Thanks again for all your love and support!! You all mean the world to me.

Sister Mandy Welker

"One small act from the heart really is better than a thousand grand intentions." ~ Anonymous, "Family First," 1992, 21. 
Biking along the Coastal Walkway.

We finally saw Mount Taranaki!! Haven't seen it in like over a week

White Bridge!! Don't judge our hair--it was super windy!!

Another Baptism!! :D

Our heater for the baptismal font is broken so we boiled pitchers of water and dumped them in all morning!!
This email was supposedly sent by Sister Welker on October 9th.  We never received it!

Week 61:  Lost in Space

For an explanation on this email, see next week's!

Found a recipe for Pani Popo (Samoan Coconut Rolls).  Sister Welker's Week 60 post talks about her having these and how much she loves Samoan food.  Enjoy!

Pani Popo (Samoan Coconut Rolls)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
Pani Popo is a Samoan sweet roll baked in a delicious coconut sauce. One of my favorite Pacific-Island dishes from my bakery days in Hawaii.

Ingredients (with Amazon Links)
  • 12-20 frozen dinner rolls depending on size (see note above for homemade rolls)
  • 1 10 oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 c. sugar

  1. Coat a 9x13 glass baking dish with cooking spray and arrange rolls evenly to thaw (if doing homemade rolls, roll dough into golf-ball size balls and arrange the same way).
  2. Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray (to keep dough from sticking to the plastic wrap).
  3. Allow to rise until doubled in size.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees.
  5. In a bowl, combine coconut milk and sugar and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
  6. Pour about 2/3 of the coconut mixture over the rolls and bake for 20-30 minutes (or according to package/dough recipe instructions) or until golden brown and dough is baked through.
  7. Remove from oven and pour remaining coconut mixture evenly over the top of the rolls.
  8. The rolls should be sticky and gooey on the bottom (read notes above). Can be served upside down or right-side up.

This email was sent by Sister Welker on October 2nd.  We received it on October 1st.

Week 60: Locked Out, Zone Conference, and Woman Conference

So much to write and not enough time!!

This last Monday we hung out with the Harawa and the Waitera sisters.  We drove to Harawa and had bonnie-po-po (I think that's what it's called but I don't think I spelled it right).  I just looked it up.  It is called Pani Popo.  It's basically home made rolls bathed in coconut cream!! It's AMAZING!! Got to love Samoan food!!

Then later that day we get a phone call from the Harawa sisters saying how they couldn't find their house keys.  When they called us it was 9:30PM, and they live an hour away!!  So by the time they got to our flat and we went to bed it was close to 11:45PM!!  It's probably the one and only time a missionary would ever go to bed that late.

The following morning after we had a big breakfast, the Harawa sisters returned back to their flat.  They walked straight into their house and found the keys on the kitchen table.  So they had left the flat unlocked all night.  Luckily, nothing was damaged or stolen but we couldn't help but laugh and think that would totally be something Sister Welker would end up doing, haha.

We also had Zone Conference this week.  So we got to drive up to Hamilton.  For once the weather was actually sunny and we had an amazing view the whole way up!!

The trainings at Zone Conference were amazing!!  President Cummings trained on Agency, the AP's trained on the Book of Mormon, and Sister Cummings prepared a white handbook training on obedience with an intense game to go with it.  It was so much fun and very uplifting!!

The day after we came home from Hamilton, we drove to Stratford to watch the General Women's session of conference.  It was amazing!!  All four speakers were really inspired.  And I, like my mom, loved the speaker who talked about the 80 human chain that helped to save some people lost in a current off the shore.  I'm sad to hear of the lose of Elder Hales.  I know that he was a man of God and that his influence will be missed, but I'm excited to see who will take his place.

Thanks again for all your love and support!! Hope you have a great week!!

Sister Mandy Welker
This email was sent by Sister Welker on September 25th.  We received it on September 24th.

Week 59: Burning Love, Exchanges, and District Conference

We didn't receive a weekly email on September 17th from Sister Welker.  So I thought I would attach a couple of pictures to fill in the gap.

Week 58:
The area Sister Welker is in on the North Island

Mount Taranaki
(looks like some of the pictures Sister Welker has taken!)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

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

Week 57: Putty in God's Hands, Miracle Weekend, and Vegemite

What a week!!! So much has happened in the last 7 days.

I got to spend the first half of the week with Sister Jabeque and Sister Mavea in a trio and then Thursday, I got my new companion!!

Her name is Sister Bashaw! :D She's 19 years old and has three other sibilings that are all older than her and married.  She spent this last year at BYU Provo and wants to study chemical engineering.  She's been born and raised in the gospel and is focused and ready to do the work!!! She's has a funny/sarcastic humor and is quick to love people.  She has an awesome laugh and is totally inspired.

When I asked my companion what you want to be by the end of your mission, she responded with "I want to be putty in God's hands."  I thought it was absolutely funny, and then I took time to think about it and thought it was such a cool answer.  To desire to have God be able to shape you however he likes, is evidence of complete trust and love for the Lord.  I hope one day I can be putty in God's hands too. :D

Day one together was rough.  No one was home or willing to let us in.  We both got kinda down thinking that it would be a long transfer, but then the next two days had miles of miracles!!

My favorite miracle had to be when we visited Asia and Miley.  We found Asia (name changed) a funny, happy, 70 year-old sister when knocking doors.  It had been a pretty sad day and we had little to no faith left.  As we knocked on her screen door, she jumped and said "You gave me a fright."  We apologized and for the next 30 minutes, we were laughing and talking as if we had known each other for years.  Her neighbor, Miley, then came over and talked with us as well.  Before we left, we sang "Battle Hymn of the Republic," and were given soup and some cookies to take home.  We've seen her two or three times since, and we never leave empty handed!  

When we were invited to come over yesterday, she had two other visitors at her place.  They were a cute senior couple from Hamilton, and are members of the Salvation Army faith.  We were able to casually talk.  One of the visitors continued to ask questions of what we do as missionaries.  We were allowed to share a spiritual thought.  We opened to Luke 22:43, which describes when Christ was suffering, and how God sent and angel down to comfort Christ.  We explained how we were all watching Christ when he was suffering in the garden--that we all must have been there watching.  And while it only makes reference to one angel, who knows if you were the angel to comfort Christ.

As we walked to the car, I explained what a miracle that was to my companion.  I told her how the chances of that senior couple letting missionaries into their home if they knocked on their door would have been slim.  But because of this unique opportunity, this cute senior couple was able to both meet and talk with missionaries.  And they even had a chance to feel the spirit of the Lord!!

By far the best miracle this weekend!! And our less-active family came to church!! :D

Lastly, my companion is from Las Vegas, Nevada and is cold all the time, especially with the winter breezes.  I often tease her and have started calling her "Vegemite" every time she tells me she's cold.  It's like Vegas and mite haha.  So that's just a funny inside joke.

Hope you all have a good week!!

Sister Mandy Welker
My new companion, Sister Bashaw :D

The force is strong with this one ;D

Spiritual Thought :D

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

Week 56: Goodbye Sister Meas, Return of the Trio, and Bold

So last Monday was Sister Meas last PDay.  She had no idea but we had planned a massive surprise party for her (that's why I emailed earlier last week).  We picked up the other sisters and blindfolded her, so she had no idea where we were going.  It was about a 30 minute drive to the other sisters flat, so we partied to some music on the way there.  Good thing Sister Meas was blindfolded so that she couldn't see my crazy car dancing, haha.  All the sisters surprised her and we spent the next couple hours eating snacks and playing minute-to-win it games.  I'm usually not good at keeping secrets, and planning a party for someone you're with 24/7 is harder than you think.  But she had a blast, and was completely surprised!! :D

There's one really cool miracle I wanted to share from this week.  My commitment from President this transfer is to be humbly bold.  Not sure I'm humble yet, but I have been bold.  We went to go visit this less-active family earlier this week.  We watched a Mormon message called "You Never Know" ( ) with them and tried sharing our testimonies and promised blessings.  Unfortunately, all the kids were talking, the baby was crying, and no one was listening.  By this point, I was slightly annoyed and said a calm but bold "Hey!"  The whole family stopped and stared at me.  I continued by saying "What were the three promised blessings we just gave you?"  The family all had blank stares and just looked sheepishly at each other.  I repeated the promised blessings and asked them to repeat them back to me.  It took a couple more times before they were finally able to list all the blessings we had promised them.  We told them that if they said their family prayers once a day for seven days, that we could promise them 1) more peace in the home, 2) stronger family relationships, and 3) better communication. 

As I was walking out of that lesson, I told Sister Meas how "I couldn't believe I was that bold."  I thought that I had scared the family away, but this Sunday the whole family, except for the father came to church!!  I was completely surprised.  I couldn't believe that they had made the effort to come to church.

We said good-bye to Sister Meas this morning.  She left Tarankai at 7:15 am and will be arriving in Hamilton later today.  Tomorrow she takes a plane from Auckland to Cambodia, and will see her family again Wednesday morning.  It's always hard to say good-bye even if we were only together for 6 weeks.  We truly bonded, and I really enjoyed being her companion.  I hope one day we will meet again.

So for the next 4 days I'll be in a trio with Sister Mavea and Sister Jabeque.  I've served around both of them in Tauranga, and I've even been companions with Sister Jabeque.  Who knew I'd be companions with her twice, even if it's only for 4 days.  I won't find out who my new companion is till tomorrow night.  I'll be sure to let you know all about my new companion next week.

“It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. … If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith.”—President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Latter-day Counsel: Excerpts from Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley

Hope you all have a good week.

Sister Mandy Welker

Sister Meas' surprise party

Sister Meas' last Sunday

Saying good-bye this morning.  Mean old bus taking my companion away.  How rude ;)

A MASSIVE Bible that our less-active family owns

Can you imagine carrying those scriptures around?
I think I'd get some good arm muscles carrying that thing around!

My new trio until Thursday. And the emoji pillows.