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

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Week Two

My dear sweet wonderful family,

Oh your letters are so encouraging and uplifting.  Have I told you how much I love you people lately? Thank you for the sweet emails.

And as for everything else.. lets go with a big fat I LOVE YOU.  All of your love and support is unreal.  Seriously, all the letters this week?! It feels like Christmas every time my District Leader puts the mail on my desk!  I love having a piece of you with me and feeling apart of your lives even when I'm in this other world :)  And mom dad, your package!! It was amazing! (and yes it all arrived in one piece) I can't even express my gratitude enough.. me and the sisters in my room were seriously sprinting back to the room after class for our chips and salsa.  So fun to have something to look forward to.  Everything was PERFECT, like I said- Christmas!  You read my mind, everything I needed I received! Thank you

The more time I spend in this place the more I love it.  However, every time I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of things they switch it up.  I'm constantly being pushed outside my comfort zone, but I wouldn't want it any other way.  

I love that I'm learning so much.  I am constantly.  learning.  Whether it be how to be a better student, or how to be a better teacher, principles of the gospel, new grammar concepts in the language,  that life is so much better when you're not thinking about yourself, or that singing all the time has the ability to get on peoples nerves :) oops haha! (where's all my backup singers when I need them-- ladies?)

Speaking of singing, big shout out to Dad and Maddie- we LOVE the music! We listen to it every morning when we're getting ready and every evening when we arrive back to our room.  Its the perfect way to start and end our day.  Brings a really cool peaceful feeling to our room.  We All love it and have been singing your praises! :)

Now back to the learning, there's never a moment that I'm not pushing myself in someway.  In the cafeteria we bear our testimony in Tagalog to any stranger before we can eat.  We pray in Tagalog before we eat.  During our gym time while I'm pounding out miles on the bike;) I'm flipping through my flash cards of words (yes, I'm that person who keeps flashcards on my lanyard- a little funny looking I know- but hey what isn't funny looking when it comes to being a missionary :), or for every sit up repeating references for scriptures.  Honestly, the pushing.. and the learning.. and the trying to figure everything out and be the best you can be never stops :)  Its so cool.  It makes you realize just how much potential everyone has, you can always be doing something more.

Elder Perry spoke to us on Sunday, all about the Philippines.. all the many miracles that happened pertaining to the missionaries.  It was amazing.

My heart is literally breaking for my people.  All I can think about is getting to the Philippines to help.  I get to help and serve these people in the best way.  I get to teach them about a loving Heavenly Father, and His son, our loving Redeemer.  I think without such a knowledge this kind of heartbreak and challenge would truly be unbearable.  This tragedy is so real and personal to me and I can't believe the timing of it all.  That I'll actually be able to help and serve rather than watch from a TV screen at home.  I already love the Filipinos and I just want to be there helping, serving, and giving them a message of hope.

Tell my friends I saw Melanie from the cruise here- she's going to Arizona.  She's just as adorable as ever.

Yes, the language is hard.  I'm pretty good at memorizing words its just all the grammar.. making it make sense stuff that I'm trying to figure out.  However, I'd like to let you all know how amazing I'm getting at charades and you best believe I will be challenging you when I get home.

I had a cool experience the other day when we were teaching our investigator.  I had gotten up early to study what I was going to say.  I read and I memorized and I prayed, for quite sometime.  I was feeling a lot better about things.  When the time came, we began teaching, and of course, I couldn't speak any of the things I had worked on :) ha.  We tumbled our way through the lesson and I was closing with my testimony.  I started testifying in a Taglish kind of way.. and I have to tell you I felt the spirit so so powerfully.  I cried. (surprised?) Everything I had been studying and reading was confirmed at that moment to be so true.  The Tagalog has so little to do with the teaching.  Its the spirit, not me, that teaches.  I was so grateful my Heavenly Father stepped in.

I love this work.  I love how challenging and long my days are.  I love that I'm being pushed because that means I get to be a little better.  I hope it continues.  I love you more than words can say and I realize it more every day.  Wow, we're blessed.  I'm blessed. 

Missing you, and praying for you always

Sister Welling
I saw Lexie for the last time yesterday and I wanted to sob as we said goodbye- but I didn't :) heavens I love that best friend of mine. 
I saw Jenessa last sunday on our temple walk!! She brought me a letter! and we both cried when we hugged.  So So Soooo good to see her!

Week One

Kumasta po kayo!?

How are you doing my dear family? I want to start by saying all your letters and packages have meant the world to me.  Seriously, I have the best family and friends in the world- what did I do to deserve such incredible people in my life? Thank you for taking the time and for all the support!  IT MEANS SO MUCH TO ME

I made sure to write my first night, and so you could know I was alive and well, did it make it to you?

This place is incredible.  Its true what they say about being on the Lords' time because honestly you don't have time to think about yourself- or anything else for that matter.  Your time is scheduled down to the very second.  I had no idea it was even possible to fit so much into a day. But to be honest, I love it. I love that my planner is completely packed every single moment of every single day :)  The other thing they say about days feeling like weeks is definitely true as well.  Time is the strangest thing around here, I already feel like I've been gone for at least two months.  My days are so long but so fulfilling.  I love getting back to my room after a long day and lying in my bed knowing that I worked my heart out.  Hard work brings happiness (this work brings just about every other emotion as well) :) but I couldn't ask for more.

I have the most amazing district. We balance each other out perfectly.  
I already wrote about my companion, but I truly adore her.  Like I said, we couldn't be more different- but I think we're good for each other.  I like having a best friend that isn't allowed to get sick of me ;) She really likes to talk, and I really like to it is perfect.  The better I get to know her the more I appreciate and love her-- so like I said, I'm constantly asking questions.

The teachers here bring the most amazing spirit.  My teacher Brother Poole is the best teacher I've ever had.  I really appreciate all he teaches and the spirit he brings to every single lesson.
I already want to teach here when I get back.... :) ha I'm SUCH a missionary cliche.
But all the staff is amazing.  The whole system of teaching here leaves me in awe.  

The first day you walk into your classroom and all you hear is Tagalog, and the teacher only speaks and responds in Tagalog.  My language is the most beautiful language I'm telling you.  

We taught our first investigator last night, I managed to say hello- how are you doing.. MAYBE two other sentences.. and then I just sat and smiled the rest of the time.  It was cool.  I figured I can only improve right?  That's the nice thing about starting at the bottom.

I live in the LeGrand Richards building :) how perfect? yes.  I smile every time we go inside and I see his picture.  And every day we leave I tell him I'm going to make him proud :)  

It was the best thing in the entire world to see Lexie the other day, she is such a good friend- always taking care of me.  She had already bought me a clip for my name-tag that makes things so convenient.  Honestly, what would I do without her? I also saw Michaela Jensen- she is a doll.  She is doing so well, it was nice to see her so happy! She leaves this week for New York.

I've never prayed so much in my entire life.  I feel my thoughts are just one continual prayer.  
I already have bruises on my knees :/ but then again, I bruise very easily...

I adore my Branch Presidency.  The Branch President's wife reminds me so much of Grandma Brown, even the way she looks.  I almost lost it when she was hugging me and saying all these sweet things to me.  

I feel like I'm in a different world,  I don't think I could ever properly explain this place- you could only understand it by experiencing it.  Today we walked up to the temple.. leaving the gates was the strangest feeling- safe to say we took the long way there.. and the long way home :)  I wanted to spend the rest of the day in the temple.  Its amazing how you can receive every answer in that white perfect building, even answers to questions you didn't even know you had.  No place compares.

On Thursday my companion had to use the restroom and so I sat outside the doors and waited.  As I sat there I heard a class being held on each side of me.  Both in two completely different languages-- and then I heard down the hall, a group of Elders singing "Until we Meet Again" in yet another language.  
I feel that my thoughts at that particular moment sums up my missionary experience fairly well up to this point.
I didn't understand a single word being said.  
Everything here is going through my mind in a different language (even the things being spoken in English) yet, the spirit that fills my heart is completely clear and overwhelming.  All I can think is how incredible this work is.  I'm apart of a movement.  This army of missionaries all bottled up in Provo, Utah- waiting to strike. :) I feel like just a number- I can't help but wonder what the Lord's purpose is for me.  I am blessed and absolutely happy and honored to be on His errand.  I know I can't do this without Him.  I pray for the strength to become the missionary He wants me to be :)

I love you guys more than anything.  Honestly.  I wouldn't be out here if it weren't for you incredible people, I want people to have what we do.

I'm praying for you always.

I love you!!!

Sister Welling