Sunday, August 28, 2016

This letter was written by Mandy on August 14th.  We received it on August 20th.

I want to start off this letter by apologizing for having you guys under the impression that I haven’t emailed you yet. One of the first things they had us do once we walked into the MTC, was email our family to let them know we arrived safely.  This last Friday we had the opportunity to email our family once again for our p-day.  We’re only allowed 60 minutes to email our families (which is not long enough) but with the new email software, I don’t think I attached your email addresses correctly.  Usually after you type an email into the address box, you can add another email by hitting the Enter or semi-colon key, but the emailing software thinks that the 5 emails I put into the address bar is one giant email address!!!  So I think that’s why you haven’t received any of my emails. :(  I’ve gotten all of the emails you’ve sent me, but I don’t think you’ve been getting mine. :(

I want you to know that I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!  You’ve been in my thoughts and prayers.  I hope you had a fun time in Las Vegas.  I was told you all got Dairy Queen after dropping me off–I hope it was yummy.  I haven’t had ice cream since idk when.  They don’t serve ice cream here at the MTC (Mom dramatically gasps in the background); but don’t worry, we get cheesecake instead.

Almost everyday we have time set for exercise/sport, and since Tongans and Samoans LOVE volleyball they actually have an outdoor volleyball net for us to play on!!! It’s the BEST!  Though sometimes the problem is, that everyone wants to play volleyball, so it gets crowded really fast and you’re lucky if you get to hit the volleyball at all.

We got to go to the temple on Thursday.  It was nice to have a field trip and kind of get out of the MTC for a couple of hours.  Fun fact: the MTC is actually on the border of the Auckland and Hamilton missions, so if you crossed the street from the MTC, you’d be in my mission.  On our way there, I got to see a glimpse of my mission, and what it’s like to drive on the left side of the road.  President Arens was right! Everything here is so green and the little homes are usually bright colors like red, yellow, blue, and even lime/neon green, which looks perfect with the gray and pastel blue sky.  We did see a couple of sheep and cows, but I’ve yet to see an army of a fluffy white field (I’ll be sure to take a picture and sent it to you).  Like most temples, you could spot it a couple miles away.  You can’t miss it, they have it placed on top of a hill. It looks very similar to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple, except much smaller and a lot simpler in design.  Oh, and Brandon, the Hamilton Temple is one of the temples that doesn’t have an angel Moroni on top.  We only had enough time for an endowment session, 2 seconds of shopping, and barely any time for pictures. :( Afterward, I was able to meet my mission president.  President and Sister Cummings joined us for lunch before we had to make the trip back to the MTC (which is about 60 minutes away).

Today marks the halfway point in the MTC.  Crazy, right?!?! I only have 10 more days until I leave for the mission field. I have mixed emotions.  I can’t wait to be in the field, but I don’t think that I’m ready yet.

Again, sorry about the whole picture thing.  They won’t allow me to upload or attach an photos while I’m in the MTC (it’s kind of driving me looney tooney, but that’s okay).

I’m out of time :( but I’ll write you again next week.  Love you and miss you lots.

Sister Welker
Found this picture of Sister Welker with Elder Grow at the SLC airport in the TSA line!  We met Elder Grow and his family, as well as several other missionaries and their families on August 2nd.  It was fun to meet other missionaries going to New Zealand!  Helped us feel a little better knowing that she was going with some new found friends!
This email was originally sent by Mandy on August 4th, 2016.  Due to email issues that you may have seen in other posts, she resent it to us.  We received it on August 28th.

Week 1: 1st class and Tim Tam's

I finally made it to NEW ZEALAND!!!  After 20 hours of traveling, sitting and attempting to sleep I finally made it. :)  (sorry the enter key isn't working this will be a large paragraph).  There was a large group of missionaries traveling to LAX.  We had maybe a total of 12 of us all assigned to the same flight.  Half of them had already spent time in the Provo MTC and were traveling to LA to make another connecting flight to their missions.  When it was time for us to board I actually bumped into Kapali!!  He happened to be working that day and was the one to check my ticket.  Small world right?!?!  For some reason, I was asked to move from the seat I was originally assigned to first class!!  However it was only a single seat, and I was kind of lonely being separated from my new friends.  I'm not sure I've ever been to an international airport before, because when I saw the airport in LA I was amazed.  It was HUGE!!  The five of us called to serve in New Zealand plus an elder called to serve in the Philippines all became really close.  Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to the elder called to serve in the Philippines at the LAX airport.  The airplane to New Zealand was HUMONGOUS!!  There were three columns of seating with three seats in each column.  The real challenge on this flight was to pick between the airplane meals, and attempting to sleep. ;) We were lucky enough to see the sunrise as we approached New Zealand, but once we dove under the clouds you could now longer see the sun.  Instead, there was a gray sky and light showers!!  It's about 60 F at the moment with a slight breeze, so just a little chilly but not enough to wear my coat.  One of the elders bought a Tim Tam while at the airport, which is a candy bar that tastes similar to a Kit Kat.  I only have a minute left to write, but I want to let you guys know that I'm safe and that I love you!!  I have pictures, but I'll have to send them later.  Until next time.

Sister Welker

Friday, August 26, 2016

This letter was written by Mandy on August 7th.  We received it August 13th, but were out of town.


I’m excited that they’ve allowed for us to write a letter home!!! There’s been so much going on I’m lucky if I have time for a bathroom break, but you all know what being busy is like. ;)

New Zealand is beautiful (from what I’ve seen so far).  The trip from the airport to the MTC was only about 15 minutes, so I didn’t get to see much, but it’s all so green and is surrounded by water.  These last couple days have actually been a bit chilly (then again, I’m ALWAYS cold), but luckily we spend all of our time indoors and the floors in my room are heated. ☺

The food is great!  There’s always plenty to go around and there’s usually some variety to choose from.  It may not be as yummy as the food provided at the Provo MTC, but I’ve never been there, so I wouldn’t know.;)

It’s actually pretty easy for me to wake up in the morning (since my inner clock is still kind of on Utah time) but when it gets to about 7 pm, I’m done and want to crawl in bed.

My companion, Sister Petty (pet-ee), is amazing!  She’s from Australia and is the 5th of 6 children.  She was born and raised in the church.  She’s going to serve in the Auckland New Zealand mission, and we’ve both been called to be Sister Training Leaders.  Two seconds after I walk into the MTC and I’m asked to be a leader (let’s just pray and hope I don’t lead anyone astray).  Sister Petty and I get along very well.  I loved her from the 1st time I met her, but now we can’t go even a couple of minutes without smiling or laughing.  She has a HUGE heart, she’s got her own kind of quirk, and loves to get to know as many people as she can.  She also loves BB/basketball, and jelly (but we call it jello).

The hardest thing for me to adjust to is referring to myself as Sister Welker, not Mandy.  I’ve made the habit of stretching the elastic on my wrist every time I call myself Mandy.  The other hard thing is not being able to take pictures.  There’s a rule at the MTC that you can’t take pictures unless it’s one of the 5 times they’ve allowed for pictures to be taken.  Don’t worry though, when they way you can take a photo I might have 10 photos instead.

It’s been fun to compare cultures and languages.  We have lots of Elders and sisters from Tonga and Samoa here as well.  Instead of garbage, we call it rubbish; instead of bathroom, we say toilet; instead of 70º F, it’s like 45º C; instead of August 5, 2016, we write 5 August 2016; instead of fries, we say chips; instead of sweatshirt, we say jumper.  You’ll all be proud to know that I’m already picking up an accent!  It helps when your companion is from Australia.:)

I miss you all SO MUCH! I hope everything is going well.  I know life is busy, but just know I’ve been thinking about you.  I’m jealous that you all get to spend some time in Vegas with Mimi soon.  Be sure to have tons of FUN!!!  I love you and I’ll write to you again soon.

Sister Welker

Monday, August 15, 2016

Found these pictures of Sister Welker at the MTC on her mission's facebook page!  Her companion, Sister Petty (turquoise shirt), is on her left in the first picture.

We received this e-mail from Mandy on 8/11/2016.

A week ago today I stepped foot into the MTC. It's crazy how much information they can cramp into 7 days!! (sorry the enter key doesn't work) Yesterday I had the chance to go the New Zealand temple! It's not very large, but then again I'm use to Utah temples. It looks similar to the Oquirrh temple, except it doesn't have an angel Moroni on top, and it has a simple design decorated along the edge and steeple of the temple.

The weather here is kinda chilly. Most days it's very overcast, and will occasionally sprinkle with a light shower. It's not nearly as cold as a winter in Utah, it's more like our average spring or fall.

It's been fun to compare cultures. We have a lot of Samoans and Tongans here at the New Zealand MTC, so for once I'm the minority haha. ;) I'm used to telling the weather by Farenheit and here they use Celsius. They also use different words then we're use to like they say "rubbish" for trash/garbage, or they say "chips" instead of fries.

My companion is Sister Petty. She's from Melbourne, Australia and is the 5th of 6 children. She loves basketball and wants to get to know everyone. We've truly bonded over the last week. I'm really gonna miss her when she leaves to serve in Auckland, New Zealand.

Well that's all the time I have. I'd add pictures, but I'm not allowed to until I'm in the field, so you're gonna have to wait for two more weeks. I'd love to hear from you and know how life is going. I hope to hear from you soon, and hope you have a good week.

Sister Welker