Monday, October 24, 2016

As most of you know, Sister Welker is quite the photographer extraordinaire!  She has been sending dozens of photos our way each week.  Unfortunately, she is finding that when she sends too many photos, she locks up her email account.  She wishes to express her apologies for not emailing more this week, due to getting locked out of her email again. She didn't even get around to reading our emails this week.

So, I'm posting an excerpt from her companion's (Sister Johnson's) email from last week:

"It has been, as usual, a really, really crazy week!  But first things first, my companion (Sister Welker) just got on her email and found out . . . she got into BYU!!!!  Hooray for that blessed place.  We are so excited and all the missionaries had a mini party in this internet cafe when we found out!"

We received the email from CES Admissions on October 14th.  We attached the acceptance letter to Sister Welker's email on October 16th. This is a picture of her finding it in the email!  And one of the mini-party to follow!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

This email was sent by Sister Welker on October 24th.  We received it on October 23rd.

Week 11: 6 out of 6, and Trust in God

It's been a good week!!

Tuesday nights we have rescue visits, which is where members meet us at the chapel to come out and do missionary work.  If enough members show up, then we can split up and do twice as much missionary work.  This last Tuesday, we had 6 missionaries and 6 members show up.  So we were able to do 6 visits instead of just 3.  Our visit was exactly what that individual needed.  She just needed someone she could relate to and the member I brought was the perfect person.  When we all meet back at the chapel, we discovered all 6 of the visits were a HUGE success!!  So hopefully we can have another successful rescue visit this next week.

Wednesday night we had an exchange with the Te Puke sisters, where I went to Te Puke for a day while Sister Reynolds went with my companion to my area.  That night, we had a family home evening with a family of three boys about faith.  We were lucky that they were able to sit still for that long. ;)  Sister Lewis had a great acronym for the word faith to go along with the lesson.  F - firm believe, A - accept and act, I - increase knowledge, T - trust (I think), and H - heal.  We even got to play soccer with them for a few minuets before it was time for dinner. 

The next morning (Thursday) we actually went to one of my less active members.  The funny thing is that the Te Puke sisters called my less active thinking it was one of their less active members, and set an appointment with her.  Not sure how they got her number, but it was all meant to be.  It turned out to be my favorite lesson on my mission so far!!  We taught her about trusting God and how we can't survive without God.  The lesson was so good we left her in tears. 

That's about it for this week.  Thanks again for all your e-mails, prayers and love.  I look forward to Mondays, when I get to read your e-mails.  Once again, I apologize if I don't respond to all your emails.  I read every single one of them, but I don't always have time to respond.  I miss you all so much.  I hope you all have a good week. 

Until next week,

Sister Welker

This email was sent by Sister Welker on October 17th.  We received it on October 16th.

Week 10: Power Outage, Singing for the Elderly, Miracle Moment, and Cool Enough to Be Pranked

This week wasn't as cool as last week but it was still fun!!

Thursday, we were coming home after a long missionary day.  We walked into the flat (apartment) and turned the light on to go up the stairs (since we live on the top floor) and then we walked into our flat and tried turning on the lights.  The light didn't turn on so we thought that the light bulb burned out, but then we tried another light, and another light, and they were all out.  We had a POWER OUTAGE!!!  Which is actually quite funny, since the light in our stair way worked.  We made a 1000 phone calls trying to figure it out and ended up staying the night in the Te Puke sisters flat instead.  The next day, we found out that there was a switch that we just needed to flick and everything went back to normal. 

Either Friday or Saturday, we went to sing for the elderly in Te Puke with the other sister and the Elders.  It was so much fun.  It's so cute to see the elderly light up as we sang and played instruments.  They started bouncing to the music and tapping their feet.  My companion sang some of her opera (she's a really good singer), and we sang some hymns and some more familiar songs like "You are My Sunshine" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."  I had a blast, and can't wait to go back and do it again.

We have a recent convert that was baptized in July that has been struggling.  She went back to drinking alcohol and feels embarrassed to come back to church.  We've been working with her a lot this week, and she's been really making progress.   One night, she texted us saying, I really want to drink, what do I do?  So we raced over to her house and talked with her.  Then Sister Johnson felt prompted to text a member to come over.  Without hesitation, he came over and he discussed with her that she needs to stop being so hard on herself, and believe she can stop drinking.  The next morning, we got a text from her saying that she was coming to church, and my companion and I got up from studies and started doing a happy dance!!

The Greeton Sisters had a baptism this weekend and we were able to help out with that.  I actually had a chance to be in a lesson with him the week before, and it was really exciting to see them get baptized. 

Last, but not least, I was cool enough to be pranked!!!!  Sister Johnson thought it was so funny that I was so excited that someone pranked us.  I don't think I've ever been cool enough to be pranked, but of course you realize this means war. ;)  We came out after meeting yesterday to find a family in our ward had wrapped toilet paper around our car.  I don't know why it was a highlight of my week, I must be a weird child hahah.

Well, that's it for this week.  I'm sorry, I hardly responded to any emails.  I promise I read them all, but I don't have enough time to respond.  Next week, I'll be sure to respond.

Have a good week.

Sister Welker
1 Nephi 3:7

Sunday, October 16, 2016

This email was sent by Sister Welker on October 17th.  We received it on October 16th.

Week 9: Transfers, McDonalds, Luau, and General Conference

Sorry for not sending a weekly update last week.  I had some technical issues and I got locked out of my email account for 24 hours.  So this week, there will be two weekly updates.

Monday, one of the sisters in my area completed/finished her mission, so we woke up extra early to get her to the bus stop on time.  After saying good-bye we all went to McDonald's for breakfast and it reminded me of my JATC days when we had McDonald's in LA for breakfast.  Anyways, with Sister Aloka gone, Sister Fina'i didn't have a companion so she stayed with Sister Johnson and I for a couple of days 'till the new missionaries came.  That night we had a bonfire on the beach.  It was SO MUCH fun and it was a great way for our investigators to socialize with the ward.  Bishop Author's family has this yummy campfire snack where they roast banana, chocolate, and marshmallows.  It was super yummy!!! :)

Later that week, we had a ward Luau.  I thought it was funny how many people didn't know what a Luau was.  Guess any American would think that is obvious.  It was so much fun!! My companion wore her pulu tasi and I wore a lava lava that a member gave me.  More people showed up than we expected.  Some of them had to save their dinner plates for pudding (New Zealand word for dessert)!!  There was heaps of yummy food and a lot of cool musical and dance numbers that the members performed.  Now I really want to go to Hawaii, haha.

And we finally were able to watch General Conference!! Here in New Zealand instead of watching it live, the stake broadcasts conference the following week at the stake center.  If we were to watch General Conference live, it would be at 4 or 5 in the morning (some members do watch it live, but I can wait, haha).  I loved Conference!!  For missionaries, Conference is like Christmas.  I especially loved Elder J. Devn Cornish's talk "Am I good enough? Will I make it' and I also loved Pres Nelson's talk on "Joy and Spiritual Survival."  I thought it was also cool how missionaries from the Provo MTC got to sing for one of the sessions. 

Sorry, if I don't get to responding to all your emails.  I'll try my best to respond to them all, but I don't have a lot of time. 

Hope you all had a good week and I'll talk to you again next week.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

This email was sent by Sister Welker on October 10th.  We received it on October 9th.  So because we don't get an account of what happened this week, we decided to share some of the amazing pictures we have been receiving!

Dear Welker Family,

I'm emailing you off of Sister Johnson's account, because my email account locked me out.  It freaked out when I tried to send too many pictures.  I won't be able to email you this week or be able to send any more pictures.  I'm sorry.  I hope you can all forgive me.  We still have a couple more minutes on the computers, so if you need to tell me anything you can respond back to the email, but if not I'll just email you next week.

Sister Welker

Sunday, October 9, 2016

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

Week 8: Double Exchange, Transfers, Three Amigos, Lip Sync, and Guacamole

It's been a crazy busy week!!

So my companion Sister Johnson is the STL (Sister Training Leader), which means she's in charge of all the sister missionaries in the Tauranga area.  She's the one who organizes exchanges, and being the STL's companion means you go on heaps of exchanges.  This week I went on an exchange with the sisters in Greeton.  The plan was going to be for me to go and stay the night at Greeton with one of the sisters and have Sister Johnson with the other sister in my area (Welcome Bay and Mount).  But about an hour after we switched, I got a call from Sister Johnson saying we should switch again.  That I should go in my area, with the other sister, and that Sister Johnson would go to Greeton with the sister I had been originally assigned with.  I'll admit I thought it was weird to switch again after, but it ended up being one of the best exchanges I had ever been on.

I ended up leading my area and we had a great lesson with a less active family.  The next morning we visited one of our recent converts who had just got baptized in July, but has been really struggling lately.  We invited her to say the prayer, and she told us she didn't want to say the prayer.  That God hasn't been listening, so what's the point.  My companion and I just sat there, listening, and kept asking her if she wanted to pray.  It was a little awkward just waiting on our knees, but we weren't going to leave till she said the prayer.  When she finally got on her knees, we said a prayer together.  It was one of the most powerful prayers I've ever heard.  She told us afterwards that she felt a little lighter after finishing the prayer, that God must really be listening.  It was so cool!!

Later this week, I went on two other mini exchanges (an exchange where you don't spend the night).  Being the STL's companion is the best!!  You get to go on tons of exchanges, but you don't have the responsibilities of an STL, so it's like getting the best of both worlds.

I'm currently in a trio.  We dropped off a sister at the bus stop this morning, so she could go to Hamilton and then catch a flight home.  It's so weird to be surrounded by such "old" missionaries that talk about going home while I just got here.  We have the extra sister until Thursday, when she will either transfer or get a new companion.

This week is transfers which means some missionaries will leave to another area and some will stay.  We don't find out till tomorrow night whether or not we get transferred.  I'm most likely staying since I've only been in the area for 6 weeks (one transfer), but Sister Johnson might be transferring since she's been here for 6 MONTHS (4 transfers).  If we both don't transfer to a different area, we'll still be companions, but if she's transferred, then I'll get a new companion. 

The highlight was definitely the Mount Ward LiP Sync.  The LiP Sync was suppose to be weeks ago but it got postponed till this week.  The missionaries had a musical number already picked out even before I came to the area.  It's the missionary parody to the Adele song Hello.  There's a video of the song on YouTube.  I'm not sure what it would be called, but I bet you could easily find it.  Anyway, we had it all planned out.  We found a way to install a door we could knock on, our mission leader dressed up as an older lady that answered the door, and the Elders pretended to eat pie and mow the lawn.  We thought we were so funny.  Not very many people showed up to the Lip Sync and only one other group prepared for a musical number, so we had to improvise with stand up comedy, and a musical parody Sister Johnson and I made up.  Even though nobody found our song very funny it was still way fun, and the young men did a funny Lip Sync to an Elvis Presley song called Look Like an Angel (or at least that's what I think it's called).

Then right after the Lip Sync, we had refreshments.  I wanted to help by opening the Guacamole jar.  One of the Elders and my Mission Leader both joked that it was "child proof" and that I wouldn't be able to open it.  So, of course, I had to prove them wrong and spent the next 5 mins trying to open it.  Sadly, I gave up and they opened it within 10 seconds of holding it. haha

Sorry it was such a long email this week, and the SD card reader isn't working either, so there's no photos for this week.  I'll be sure to send them next week.

I hope you all have a good week. 

Sister Welker