Love Always, Sister Welling

Love Always, Sister Welling
"I promise that because of your faithful response to the call to spread the gospel, He will bind up your broken hearts, dry your tears, & set you & your families free. That is my missionary promise to you & your missionary message to the world" — Jeffrey R. Holland

Monday, December 30, 2013



                                         American World War II Memorial in Metro Manila
 Hello my sweet pamilia!

I sure loved seeing all of your beautiful faces the other day! I'm still dying over the fact that you've all gotten better looking- I didn't even know it was possible! I was a little worried that in hanging up the homesickness would set in, but I know I was so blessed because afterwords I felt rejuvenated and even happier. It’s amazing to me all the ways the Lord is blessing my life right now.  I love you family and loved every second of our Christmas together.

I love the Philippines a little more every single day.  I can't put into words the happiness I feel to be here among the Filipino people.  The only way things would be better is if you were all here with me sharing the experiences I'm having. Think there's a way we could make that happen..?

So many times a day I find myself wishing Manda was here to capture all the incredible, breathtaking, heartbreaking, amazing images I encounter.  I would want her to capture my very favorite tree with the vibrant pink blossoms that I pass every morning when leaving our apartment. I would want her to capture the Taytay's that sit on every corner with their legs crossed, looking so full of wisdom.  I would want her to capture all the beautiful children who are playing barefoot in the streets no matter the hour of the day- the way they grab my hands and follow wherever we go.  I'd want her to capture the humble homes with the clothes hung out on the line in front.  I would want her to capture all the fruit stands full of bright ridiculously delicious fruit.  But most of all I'd want her to capture the lessons.  The way our investigators, or less actives look at us while we teach and testify.  When you see in their eyes that they're truly listening and being taught by the spirit.  I would want her to capture their eyes.  
Oh family, I feel so blessed that I get to play a role in bringing others closer to Christ, there truly is no happier work.

Mom, I don't have Sister Tingey's address or email or anything but will you please tell her thank you.  She sent me a stocking, a card, and money and it was soooo thoughtful! I got it the day I arrived and it completely lifted my spirits- she was so sweet to think of me. Tell her thank you thank you thank you?!                                        
 (Jenna's Balcony off of her apartment in TayTay)

Alright so the Jeepney's honestly feel like the Indiana Jones ride.  The abrupt stops, all the obstacles, the way it will ride up on the side walk, the sound it makes.  So pretty much its like I'm going on rides in Disneyland every day.

All the children when we sing will put their ear next to my mouth to listen to my voice.. I feel so sad to disappoint them with the sound they hear.:))

I'm getting really good at pretending that I know what's going on.  Smiling when the people smile, laughing when they laugh, looking concerned when they look concerned.. its become a game to me to see how long I can go before they realize I don't speak Tagalog :)

Luckily the people understand English and so I'm able to teach in Taglish, and then I can usually follow what they say or else my companion will interpret for me.

Jenna was able to attend a session in the Manila Temple on P-Day
To answer your question the church here is a nicer building than most. I loved it.. just hard when people would speak to me in Tagalog.. but I was able to introduce myself and bear testimony.  We have a pretty good size ward, great great members that are so kind! 
 We had relief society.. combined with priesthood where we discussed how to be better ward missionaries.. (From what I understood)

Then we had gospel doctrine..  A very small class.. that was all in Tagalog so I didn't understand a ton.  but it was about obedience.

 Then Sacrament... I feel like a lot of the same people are called on. Like the Relief Society president does soo much she spoke in sacrament and  gave the lesson.  So i think the strong members,few as there are,  do pretty much everything.. just what I'm kind of picking up on. These people are amazing.

Then we had a meeting with the ward missionaries, they're very involved, all preparing to go on missions- they came and taught with us after church .  I really like them

 I thought about Dad all day yesterday because I was at church and around the bishop.  I realize more and more just how much you have to do.  Wish you could know how much I admire you. Hope you and the ward are doing good!

 Jenna and Sister Sabiano her wonderful trainer

 The children think my hair is Barbie hair, so often they think it is necessary to pull it.. just to check if it's real. yep, it's real, and attached to my head.

I think I will continue hand washing my clothes for the rest of my life.  Or at least until I become as skilled at it as Sister Sabiano.  I love sitting next to her washing clothes as she tells me stories of home and how she would wash her clothes in the river.  She makes it look like a sport.
I think its relaxing and I'm starting to enjoy having raw knuckles.:)

As I was preparing for a lesson the other day I read- Heaven is a continuation of the ideal home.
I loved reading those words.  Mom and Dad you truly have made our home an ideal home.  Founded on the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  All my life I have known that our family would overcome any challenge, heartbreak, or trial because we have the security of the gospel teachings and because we have one another.  Our home has always been, to me, a piece of heaven on earth and I just want to thank all of you for the spirit you allow to reside within the walls of our home. We are so blessed to have this gospel family.  We are so blessed to have each other.  I realize these things a little more every day and I imagine heaven truly being a continuation of our home.  

Have a wonderful week and know that you're always in my prayers. 
I'm learning how important ward missionary work is, so family make sure you're looking for opportunities to help and teach- and I'll do the same :)

I miss you all.  Happy New Year!

Love always, 
Sister Welling

Monday, December 23, 2013

I Adore My Companion


 Hello my beautiful family!!

Okay, so today isn't supposed to be my'll be Thrusday this week because that's when temple day is.  But they gave us permission to email our parents to tell you when we'll skype!

I will skype 9AM on the 26th here.. which will be Christmas evening for you, 6:00.. 7:00? I wish I had more information to make it completely clear... but I don't!  But I have complete faith in my papa to figure everything out :) just know I'm skyping from the Philippines at 9AM on the 26th :) so hopefully you don't have plans Christmas night and can talk to me!!(We laughed at this comment...we would move heaven and earth to talk to this missionary:)))

Oh my heavens I have so much to tell you all.  Its hard to even know where to begin. 
I have experienced just about everything, every emotion, every joy, every sickness, every excitement, everything! in these few short days.  

There was a talk given by (I think) Elder Nelson where he speaks of his first days as a missionary. He had just gotten to France and was sent on a train by himself to his area, he thought he had learned French in the MTC but learned quickly he couldn't understand nor speak a word.  He said he remembered sitting on that train and thinking to himself "what have I gotten myself into" 
..My thoughts were very similar to  Elder Nelsons my first night here. :) It might have been the jetlag talking, the three days of no sleep, the fact I was starving at as grocery store but I had no idea what was even food or what wasn't, the fact that the three sisters I was with weren't speaking a word of English, I was confused.. exhausted.. soo tired.. and just wanted to cry.

Before you start worrying mom! the next day was so so much better.  I can't even put into words how  big I was smiling inside as I sat on a dirt mound and bore my testimony to a woman whose house wasn't any bigger than our bathroom.. or as I was being whipped around dirt roads in a little side cart pulled by a man on a motorcyle type vehicle.. or as I ate the best apple I had ever tasted in my life (if I wasn't already an apple snob.. I'm doomed now) yum! I just keep asking myself how in the world is this my life?  

I adore my companion.  I spend so long in my prayers thanking my Heavenly Father that he put us together.  Its so cool she told me she kept having dreams about her anak- the sister she would train first in September- but I didn't show up.. then in October... still nothing but now here we are :) She is FIlipino and so kind and honestly I could not sing her praises enough

I wish I could tell you everything but I have to go!! I'll tell you about my glorious last few days hahahaha on Christmas.

I love you!!!!!!!!!!!! Talk to you soon!!!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

I'm Going To Miss This Place


Hello my dear family!
I'm sorry I'm going to be short today- there is just so much to do! and I figured I'll be talking to you shortly and give you the rundown :) 
But this week was so amazing, I just can't believe- honestly, can't believe that I'm leaving the MTC on Monday.

I'm going to miss this place.
I'm going to miss all four of the Sisters in my room rolling out of bed and onto our knees simultaneously at the first beep of the alarm- knowing very well if we didn't respond quickly we'd never get out of bed.
I'm going to miss sitting at the very furthest table away with my zone every breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Playing "what are the odds" (everyone adds there leftover food into a drink, or soup, anything to mix it all up and then we challenge one another to eat it-- I have eaten some really impressively disgusting things- preparing my stomach for the Philippines :))
I'm going to miss walking into our either freezing cold or burning hot classroom every single morning and beginning with a, half asleep,Tagalog hymn completely off key.  We never finished the songs because we would begin laughing too hard.
I'm going to miss choir, the instructor was incredible and made every song we sang a spiritual experience.

I'm going to miss gym time, always competing with the Elders of who could do the most sit-ups, or hold a plank the longest, push-ups etc.. (I want you all to know I really held my own)
I'm going to miss my long hot showers at night singing Christmas songs, really, I'm just going to miss showers in general :)
I'm going to miss lying out all of our blankets and all of the treats and food we received in the middle of the floor and telling our favorite stories until lights out.
I'm going to miss sitting in the laundry room, being serenaded  by all the islander Elders, I imagine heaven sounding similar.
I'm going to miss our Sunday and Tuesday devotionals, it was amazing how every talk seemed to be exactly what I needed.  I always learned so much.
I'm going to miss being in an environment where I could feel the spirit at every moment.

...I have to go but I'll be back. Love you

(She never came back to finish her letter:) Just a quick note answering a few questions  and saying she loved the YUMMY treats sent by the Beyers and Aunt Lisa:)...I am sure she is busy preparing to leave early Monday morning for the Philippines!!)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

I'm Going To The Philippines!!

To: those I love most
Wow, I must say your thoughtful letters from this week truly made my week so much better- a few of the best ones yet.  It was just another reminder that I've been blessed with the most incredible family.

I experienced yet another incredible week.  Last Saturday my companion and I had the opportunity to teach two Filipino women.  I'm unable to express how much this experience touched me.  I was so nervous about my Tagalog but surprisingly I understood almost everything that was said.  We shared a spiritual thought, our favorite scriptures, and our testimonies.  The woman said it was a little too incredible to believe that our Heavenly Father knows each of us personally.. I agreed that its something I can't even begin to understand.. yet, every time I've been on my knees and asked if He was listening, asked if He knew me,.. the spirit has surrounded me and His love has absolutely filled me.  I loved bearing testimony to this woman in my broken Tagalog.. the spirit was so powerful in that room.  It definitely made me excited to have those kind of teaching opportunities in the Philippines..  I can't say enough how much I love the Filipino people.  The women we taught were so sweet and kind.  The first woman, kept telling me that I looked and acted like a general authorities wife.. she told me that I would be one some day (husband wherever you are- hope you're ready) :/ ha She kept asking if I always smile so much.. (I think she was making fun of me) ha but she was so cute and repeated over and over that I'm going to fit right in in the Philippines- like I said, she was very kind.

As mom and dad know my companion and I have been called as Sister Training leaders.  Its been an awesome opportunity to get to know the other districts better.  Its also been a great opportunity of being put on the spot alll the time.  Its definitely preparing me for the field.  Just the other day my branch president pulled me out of my classroom to go in and teach about a two hour lesson to a group of new missionaries (one of the teachers couldn't make it).  I had to come up with things right then and there.  I hope the missionaries couldn't see my name-tag shaking because of how hard my heart was pounding.  However, everything ended up working out, the spirit did all the teaching, and in the end I felt good about it.  I've been asked to speak in two sacrament meeting tomorrow,  so once again, please pray for me. :)

We got our travel plans yesterday.. I leave next Monday.  I can hardly believe how quickly the time has gone by! wow.  I'm sure going to miss this place.  Who thought this day would ever actually come, I'm going to the Philippines!

I got to host on Wednesday- it tore at my heart a little to watch the missionaries say goodbye to their families.   But I loved speaking with the new missionaries!  I got asked to host the international missionaries-  such sweet Sisters.. I loved every minute of getting to know them.

People in the MTC still always tell me I look like that girl off of Vampire Diaries.. A sister asked if she could take a picture with me to show her sister.. I still don't see the resemblance but hey, it was cool to feel famous for 42 seconds.

Tatay in Tagalog means old man as well as Father.. and so Daddy you'll never know just which one I'm calling you when I get home :)

I love our new district! We have an Elder from New Zealand, Australia, Kirabus (sp?).. Sisters from Kirabus, Micronesia, and the Marshal Islands.. and then plenty from the states.  Its amazing how quickly you get to know and love people around here.  I'm so happy to have them with us.

I saw Christian Taylor-- so good to see a familiar face :)

There was a promise given in a talk this week that if we serve faithful, obedient missions that our families, and friends- the people we love most- their lives will be richly blessed.  I can't think of anything I want more that the greatest blessings and happiness for all of you.  It was the most beautiful promise and I want you to know I will strive to be that kind of missionary every day, not only for my Savior, but for all of you.

I love this gospel, with everything I am.  I promise you that this gospel is a gospel of happiness.  We have a loving Heavenly Father who knows us personally, and is waiting to bless us if only we ask.  He cares about the details of our lives and is always waiting to reach out His hand to provide comfort, love, and direction.  This church is true.
 I know it, I live it, I love it.
I sure love all of you, never forget it.  You're in my prayers always.

Love always,
Sister Welling

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Week Four

Week Four

To: my very best friends

I hope you had the happiest of all Thanksgivings! I'll have to admit mine wasn't quite the same without Uncle Rich and Dad working on the turkey.. or Mom, Lisa, Aimee, and Mandy in the kitchen preparing the twelve different pies :)  I'll be honest I wasn't sure how my day was going to go- my favorite holiday away from home without the people I love most laughing around the table with me.  But I have to tell you, as much as I did miss my best friends, I had one of the best Thanksgivings to date. 

                                                 Thanksgiving Day Service Project

Family,  I can not even begin to express the gratitude that I feel within my heart.  Words will never do it justice.  I mean, I've always thought I was a grateful person.. but this gratitude is one I've never experienced before.
I try, but I can never express my gratitude to my Father in Heaven enough for all He has done for me.  I read a letter from a missionary saying that she thought that by going on a mission she would be showing her appreciation and giving back to Heavenly Father for all He's blessed her with.  I had a similar idea.. However, I've only come to find the same results as that missionary.  The more I work and the more I serve, the more He blesses.  The longer I'm here the greater understanding and more aware I become for all I have and all He's given me.  It looks like I'm going to be forever indebted to Him.  I never want to take for granted all my many blessings.  Ah aren't we so blessed?

I had such a wonderful week, I prayed all of you would have the same.
My companion and I gave the lesson on Sunday, let me tell you, it was so nice to be able to teach in English! It went really well, and I learned so much through preparing.  My class loved the story about the letter from Brother Tanner- I have to admit it is one of my favorite stories as well :)

We lose four districts, the rest of our zone tomorrow! It will only be our district left.  You get so close to the other missionaries, it'll be very difficult to say goodbye, hard to believe we're next.

Oh yes, before I forget I have a few announcements: especially for my two eldest brothers- listen up.
first, I want you to know that I'm always ready on time.  As a matter of fact I'm usually the first one ready in our room and I always end up waiting for the others (I guess that's only fair seeing all the waiting I've made you do):). second, I really have a good feeling that I'm going to be hilarious in Tagalog.  I already make the teachers and investigators laugh all the time (its probably at how poor my Tagalog is.. but hey they're laughing regardless).. Steve, Drew, watch out I'm coming from the bottom but I'm going to knock you out of "the funniest Welling" position.  

In Tagalog Alaala is to remember- and its pronounced similarly to Ellaella.  And so every time I'm using the word remember I get to smile and think about my cute little Ella and how she says her name :)

Thursday Elder Nelson spoke to us.  The moment he entered the room the spirit bore witness to me that he has been called of God.  Its such an amazing thing that we get to be taught by those leading our church.  The spirit he brought.. wow.
We also get to hear from another Apostle Tuesday! Can you believe that? Elder Perry, Elder Nelson, and mystery Apostle this week. and they're saying there will be a fourth, maybe a fifth- is that amazing or what!?  Its quite an event when an Apostle comes- similar to a big concert .. missionaries line up so early to wait to get a good seat, there is pushing and there is shoving.. ha. its so great.

Yesterday I was sitting in the hallway reading my scriptures when an Elder came and sat next to me.  He was from Australia headed to the Philippines as well.  We began talking and he told me his conversion story and by the end we were both in tears.  I can't believe I'm in an environment where I get to have these experiences on a daily basis.  Thank you for letting my serve this mission.  It truly has already blessed my life in countless ways, and to think I'm only a few weeks in.. ha 

I love being a missionary, and I love this gospel with everything I am

Try praying out loud this week, a prayer of only thanks- all that you're thankful for.  I promise you won't regret it. (but make sure you give yourself a while-- because it takes quite sometime) :)  Expressed thanks is powerful.

I love you family! oh my heavens how I love you.  Thank you for being mine.  

ps. yes, I promise my knees feel amazing.  I've actually been running the track during gym this week.. I haven't ran since.. have I ever been able to run?
I'm being so blessed.  They're getting stronger everyday, so please don't worry!

pps. I din't get the package you talked about in your letter yesterday mom? Hopefully I get it today
But thank you for the package monday!!! AMAZING.  I love you.

ppps. mind sending me Jake's and Abbey's email?

pppps.  It was so funny dad and Stephen both gave me similar advice on the language about not being afraid of making mistakes and just speaking.  And that was the goal I had made the day before.. so maybe we were all inspired?  
It has made such a difference though.  My grammar is sometimes off but at least I'm able to contribute and get the message across.  I LOVE the language and its starting to click a little more every day. 

ps did Stephen ever get my letter? or Andrew? I was nervous sending it to their college places

Tell Stephen I met his friend Ali Anderson.. she said to say hi

Do you mind sending my farewell talk?

Sorry that was a lot... trying to remember everything! 

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!

Love always and forever,
Sister Welling

Week Three


Hello you wonderful people!
I honestly cannot believe another p day is here, didn't I just write yesterday?  Time is the strangest thing around here- there's no way to explain it.
Yes, your package arrived and I loved it-obviously:) once again, it arrived just when I needed it, please tell me how you do it?!
To answer the question about my knees- I had the aching, acute, throbbing, and sharp.. haha but honestly they're doing sooo much better.  I've been doing the bike at gym and then I do a few balancing and strengthening exercises, and I ice afterwards.  I'm not allowed to meet with the physical therapist without a doctors note but they help me with the ice and everything still. 
My knees were acting up last week but the elders gave me a blessing on Tuesday and since then I've barely noticed my knees at all :)
The air freshener is amazing!! Thank you thank you. 
Do you mind sending a few more clemintines, warm socks, and a zip up sweatshirt..? None of which are a priority- just if you have time :) everything you have sent has been absolutely perfect perfect perfect.  I really loved those caramel chocolate things.... :) heaven on earth.
This week really flew by and I hope that the next three weeks slow down a little because I have a whole lot to learn to still! 
I was thinking this week just how amazing it is that by 10:30 am (usually the time I was finishing breakfast at home) I have already showered, gotten ready for the day, eaten, had scripture study, had language study, and language coaching with our teacher- its amazing all we fit into a day- right?
The language is difficult for me and I just want to know it - but I'm working hard at it- that's for sure. Its such a beautiful language and its so simple, all the grammar principles just make sense, I love the language and I can't wait to be teaching in it :)

I started the Book of Mormon over and I want to finish it before I leave the MTC, I write down everything I read that I feel will help me with the language and help me be a better missionary and teacher- and all I can think is how did I not see these things before!?  Every day I read exactly what I need and it has become such a highlight.  I loved in 1 Nephi 8 where Lehi talks about walking around in the dreary darkness and then afterwards partaking of the sweet fruit.  I bet that fruit wouldn't have tasted as sweet if he hadn't been struggling and looking in the darkness beforehand.  I know that struggle leads to the sweetest of all fruit :) I love the way the Lord works. All we are asked to do is trust in Him and have pananampalataya (faith) :) 
I love it here, I love it I love it.  I can't even put into words how much I love putting on the black name tag every morning.  I am so blessed and I am reminded of that every single day.
I love you sweet family and am praying for you individually everyday.  Your letters mean so much to me and I read them over and over.  I AM SO BLESSED to call you mine. 
I hope all is well
Love you always,
Sister Jenna Elizabeth Welling