Monthly Archives: December 2010

Christmas at the MTC

Dear Family,

Time is incredibly short for emailing. I’m trying to find a way to email pictures, but no success so far. I got the Christmas box, with good things to eat, and the mp3 player. I don’t have the charger for the mp3 player, though.

Elder Bean and I took part in the first ever companion exchange in the MTC (for missionaries in training, that is). I spent all day on the day before Christmas Eve with Elder Glad, who is in our zone but not in our district. He is three weeks ahead of me in Spanish, so I had no idea what was going on during the lessons we taught together. Elder Bean spent the day with Elder Juhaz in their district/classroom. It was stressful, but we learned a little.

We had a half day of classes on Christmas Eve and a fireside, then no classes Christmas Day with a talent show (everything from an elder/magician turning five dollars into five twenties with the camera right on him, to a group of Ukrainian and Russian elders singing “You Missionedy Now,” to a Lady Gaga song, as well as regular singing, music, Mongolian dancers, and much more). After the talent show, we took a break for lunch and then heard from Elder Russell M. Nelson, who spoke three times over Christmas and yesterday. On Christmas Day itself, we exchanged cheap gifts between district members and then played with Elder Smith’s new tape recorder, which his girlfriend sent him. We recorded messages to send her and mine was voted second best (long story involving an armadillo and a southern accent).

Last night we heard from the managing director of the mission department, who used to work for the Church’s ad program. He showed us clips of old LDS adds and let us take off our jackets in the meeting, winning our eternal affection. He announced that President Smith, the current MTC president, will be gone in two weeks. I hate to lose President Clegg, one of his counselors, who last week at a devotional showed us a video of his assistance at the conversion of a major basketball player. He an amusing and powerful man, both at once.

A BYU student ward bishop performed over an hour of memorized acting for the story of Willard Richards, who witnessed the murder of Joseph Smith, and a couple of older MTC workers (one of whom is now the MTC president in the Phillippines) performed “A Christmas Carol”.

Kent Coble, one of the people I met in Brazilian Jui-Jitzu class at BYU, left today to go to the Phillippines. I have a picture of him I would like to send if I can figure out how.

I wish you could have seen my reaction when I heard the news about Bro. Foshee’s decision to be baptized. I don’t have enough time to communicate my excitement, but there’s lots of it.

Love to everyone, and hope you are well (I have a cold, but I can’t share it with you). And goodbye,
Elder Belyeu

Alex City Outlook: Two brothers, two countries, one mission

Two brothers, two countries, one mission

Published 2:38pm Friday, December 24, 2010

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Brothers Chris and Jon Belyeu are thousands of miles away from their home and family in Kellyton this holiday season, with each on spiritual journeys that have landed them on opposite ends of the globe.

Both brothers are serving as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Chris, 21, is currently serving in Donetsk, Ukraine, while Jon, 19, is at a missionary training center in Utah preparing for his upcoming mission to Barranquilla, Colombia this February.

“The boys are following their dreams,” their mother, Sheralyn Belyeu, said. “It’s what they’ve always wanted to do, and we’re so proud of them.”

Sheralyn said Chris, who left on his mission trip July 2009, will return home this upcoming summer.

“He is doing great,” she said. “He’s cold though, and he said last week that a lot of people have colds there. He’s excited though because he’s meeting a lot of people and he’s able to speak more in Russian now.”

Sheralyn said the growth of the LDS church in Ukraine is “astonishing,” stating that there have only been missionaries in the country in about 20 years. She said that for Christmas, Chris had one simple request.

“For Christmas, he asked me to send him some taco season-ing mix … and things he can’t get there,” Sheralyn said. “We’re going to talk on the phone this weekend and he e-mails every week, very faithfully.”

Sheralyn said that Jon’s mission will also last two years and that he is very excited about the journey.

“He’s absolutely thrilled,” Sheralyn said.

Sheralyn said Chris and Jon have been corresponding through e-mail about each of their trips, and that Chris has been offering advice to his brother.

“He told him to read the Book of Mormon in Spanish and to not worry about his English grammar over the next two years,” she said. “When Chris went into training, he could not believe how hard the Russian language was. I home-school the kids, and we did do a little bit of Spanish … but of course, no Russian.”

The brothers are following the example set by many of their family members. Their father, Dwight, served as a missionary in Oakland, Calif., their maternal grandfather in Peru and their uncle in Chile.

Although Sheralyn and Dwight have four younger children – Joseph, 16; Cassie, 14; William, 11; and Bethany, 8 – she admitted that the holiday season won’t be the same without Chris and Jon at home.

“When my husband came home from (taking Jon to) the airport, he said he felt like we had an empty nest,” Sheralyn said. “Which is crazy, because we do still have four at home, but it is a very different feeling.”

AT&T International Calling Plan Rates

AT&T International Calling Plan Rates.

Second Week in the MTC

Dear Family,

I still am not able to send pictures (forgot to bring my camera to the computer this time, so I can’t even try). You can use whatever pictures you have, I guess, and I’ll send more when I can. The inside of the MTC is boring, the outside is decorated, and I have pictures of both. I’ll make sure I have a picture of the nativity out front to send eventually.

I don’t remember if I said before, but we got to hear from the BYU Mens Chorus last week and we’ll probably have an apostle this week for Christmas.

I miss you all, but I’m doing well. My comp and I taught a lesson to a member of our branch presidency yesterday as a role play-test and he said we did very well. It’s much easier to teach in English than in Spanish. My branch presidency is great, my teachers are crazy, all is well. None of our teachers have been to Colombia, unfortunately, but oh, well. We’ll learn Colombia separately from Spanish.

The Colombian elder I knew from BYU classes is Gianluca Cuestas. I just got done talking to him here in the laundry room; he’s leaving for West Africa today. Add him for me on FB if you can, por favor.

I have a hymnbook in Spanish that another elder gave me, so don’t worry about sending another. I found everything I thought I had forgotten, tie, etc. I’m not allowed to use the MP3 player in the MTC, so there’s no rush to send it to me.

I haven’t read any of my mail and I’ve already used a third of my time.

I don’t have enough time to write here, but I know I’m in the right place. The Spirit is very strong here. I spend each week working up to a level of tension and tiredness that drives me nuts, and then on Sundays through Mondays, things improve again. There’s lots I want to say, but I don’t have time.

Love, Jon

Address at the MTC

Elder J. Belyeu will be at the Provo MTC (Missionary Training Center) until February 2011. While he’s there, the easiest way to write to him is to use the Dear Elder website.   http://www.dearelder.com/index/ This website provides free overnight mail to the Provo MTC from anywhere in the world.

To use this website, follow the link provided and click “Write a Letter.” Select “Provo MTC–Free” in the drop-down box. His address is: Elder Jonathan Belyeu, MTC Box # 237, Colombia, Barranquilla Mission, Estimated Departure Date: Feb. 7, 2011.

First Letter Home

I was able to get together with all but one of my erstwhile roommates on Tuesday, which I had really hoped to be able to do. Too bad Ryan wasn’t there, but he is still in Texas.

I went into the MTC Wednesday, almost on time, and started studying almost at once. I don’t seem to be able to send pictures from this computer. (It’s in the laundry room and may have more restricted access than others.) I also don’t think I have any pictures from inside the MTC yet. It’s as boring-looking as everyone said. I do have some from a walk around the temple yesterday. I’ve met a couple of friends from BYU already, one going to the Philippines, another to West Africa. The one going to West Africa is from Bogotá, Colombia, which I didn´t know before.

Spanish is coming well enough, I guess, although I´m impatient. Mainly, the MTC is spiritual. I have felt the Spirit many times already. I know I´m in the right place, doing the right thing.

The district: My comp is Elder Bean, from Idaho, my other roommates are the district leader, Elder Maughan (pronounced “mon”, he’s a little older) from Provo, and Elder Ridly, from Marrietta, California. There are also Elders Smith & Kimball, and Elders Palmer & Beck. I am the junior companion for half of our time here, then senior.

I’m about out of time.

I got several compliments on the brown tie Sister Jones made when I wore it on the plane, but I think I left it at Jason’s. I have also gotten compliments on the other one she made. I have a Spanish hymnbook (Elder Palmer had an extra), and I obtained some oil for blessings. All is well, I love you all, and the Church is true, I promise.

Love, Elder J. Belyeu