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Normally when we visit with missionaries we hear their stories from an adult’s point of view. Nonetheless, a missionary calling involves the entire family, not just the adults. With that thought in mind, we interviewed the Welch children so we could engage a child’s point of view. Ian, age twelve; Kayla, age eleven; and Kirsten, age nine, are the children of Drew and Jessica Welch, serving in Liberia, West Africa. It might surprise you to learn that these kids have no doubts about their own calling!

Message:

You guys are leaving in the fall for Liberia. Are you excited about going to Liberia?

Kayla laughs at her marshmallow-roasting skills. The Welches had the opportunity to visit with family at this beautiful ranch near Flathead Lake, Montana, on the way back from the Pacific region.

Kayla laughs at her marshmallow-roasting skills. The Welches had the opportunity to visit with family at this beautiful ranch near Flathead Lake, Montana, on the way back from the Pacific region.

Ian:

I am very excited because I don’t want to be telling my mom and dad’s stories anymore. I want to have my own adventures so I can tell my own stories.

Kirsten:

I’m excited to see all the kids.

Kayla:

I’m excited for the group activities with the kids. We ordered a felt board set to tell felt board stories. We cut out the story characters, which have felt on the back, and then use a felt board to attach the characters and tell the stories.

Ian:

It was a lot of cutting and sore hands!

Message:

I bet it was! Is there anything that makes you nervous about going to Liberia?

Kirsten:

Poisonous snakes.

Kayla:

I’m a little nervous about the critters. There are a lot of spiders and snakes over there.

Ian:

They have a lot of dogs, so I guess they use them for protection.

Message:

You are traveling now as a family, visiting churches and raising money for Liberia. What’s your favorite part of traveling?

Ian:

My favorite was Yellowstone. We got to see herds of bison roaming around and geysers.

Kayla:

My great uncle Ken Smith has a horse ranch in Montana and I’m a horse lover. We got to ride horses, so that was my favorite place.

Kirsten:

I liked Mesa Verde [National Park in Colorado] because they have carvings and houses [of the Ancestral Pueblo people] in the mountains, and I thought that was pretty cool.

Message:

You were able to vacation a little along the way then! Do you stay in people’s houses or hotels?

The Welch kids on a visit to Yosemite National Park in Colorado.

The Welch kids on a visit to Yosemite National Park in California.

Ian:

We stay in houses or campsites. One night we slept in the van. That was horrible! On our way to Yellowstone National Park while traveling back from the Pacific region, we stopped for the night at a campsite we had reserved weeks earlier. While we were setting up the tents, it started to rain. Dad was busy cooking while we were busy deciding what to do about the rain and cold weather. It was forecast to get down around 34 degrees. It was my sister’s crazy idea to sleep in the bus! Then we would be somewhat warm and dry. Dad finished up dinner as we took down the tents. I myself wasn’t feeling good that night. So we slept in a dry but cramped van. Dad started the van multiple times in the night to keep us warm. That was the second worst night I had had in my entire life. No one in our family slept well. I kept Mom and Dad up most of the night. If that situation comes up again, I would rather sleep in the rain. [The family later learned the camp was nicknamed “Grizzly Park” because of the number of Grizzly bears there!]

Message:

Do you get nervous staying in other people’s houses?

The family visits Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Ian is wearing the Generations Church hat given him from Pastor George Willis.

The family visits Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Ian is wearing the Generations Church hat given him from Pastor George Willis.

All the kids at once: Not really. We’re used to it.

Kayla:

We have a 15-passenger van to travel in so that is nice.

Message:

Have you had any close calls in your vehicle?

Kayla:

Once we were coming down a mountain and there were landslides and rocks were tumbling everywhere.

Ian:

One time there was a blizzard and we couldn’t see a thing.

Message:

You guys seem to get along really well. Do you ever get on each other’s nerves and wish you could get out of the van for awhile?

Kayla:

There are some moments like that.

Message:

When you go to people’s homes they feed you, right?

Kayla:

People love to feed missionaries!

Message:

What’s the best meal you have ever gotten?

Ian:

The fish tacos we had in Mexico when we were with the Hunsakers and Henamans [Open Bible missionaries there].

Kayla:

A lady named Mrs. Cox made cinnamon rolls, and they were really good.

Message:

What’s the worst thing you had to eat?

Ian, Kayla, and Kirsten sing at First Church of the Open Bible in Mansfield, Ohio, at Pastor Dink Porter’s request.

Ian, Kayla, and Kirsten sing at First Church of the Open Bible in Mansfield, Ohio, at Pastor Dink Porter’s request.

Kayla:

On the road some of the Mexican restaurants have refried beans that I don’t like if they are the wrong texture.

Ian:

For me it’s not that I don’t like something; I’m not too picky. It’s just the portion of food when you can’t choose. They just dump it on your plate and you’re like, “Oh no!”

Message:

What is the one thing people need to know about you?

Ian:

That we are missionaries to Liberia, and we want to help the people there.

Message:

I hear “we” are missionaries, not “our parents” are missionaries. What do you mean by that?

Ian:

When Mom and Dad are ministering to the adults, we’ll be with the kids doing felt board stories and other ministry with the kids.

Kayla:

We are all missionaries and God is able to make a difference, and we need to work our way to what God wants.

Kirsten:

We’re going to help the Liberians learn more about God and draw closer to Him.

At a Liberian reunion in Philadelphia. Gloria Butler (shown here), an American Liberian, helped the girls tie their Liberian head wraps.

At a Liberian reunion in Philadelphia. Gloria Butler (shown here), an American Liberian, helped the girls tie their Liberian head wraps.

Message:

Why is that so important to you?

Ian:

I think God wants us to help them rebuild their country after the devastation of the war. We had to do a report on Liberia. I saw a picture of Liberia before the war and it was pretty nice. Now it’s all run-down shacks and it’s sad.

Kayla:

From seeing the pictures you can tell they need help. They want missionaries.

Message:

I appreciate that you guys are willing to give up the comforts of your own home and go help. How can we help you guys?

Ian:

The best way is prayer for Liberia. We just need God to show up; we can’t do it on our own. It’s like a big house project. If you try to do it on your own it can take forever, but if you have others to help you, it’s a lot easier.

To see a video of Ian preaching his first sermon at New Life Church of the Open Bible in Petersburg, Michigan, (recorded by his sisters) go to this link!

To donate to the Welch family, use this link!

About The Author

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Since 1920, Message of the Open Bible has been a medium to celebrate all the wonderful things God is doing through His people in Open Bible Churches – from personal testimonies, to news-related stories, to inspirational articles by quality authors.