Monthly Archives: August 2011

Busting Our Tails Over The Details

Hi, familia,

Chris, I´m glad to hear that you´re thinking about BYU admission. I don´t remember how long the application took, but you ought to start right away. If there´s a problem, you need to know right away.
This week has been interesting. Well, mainly yesterday. The asistentes called us yesterday in church to tell us that we needed to attend the coordination with the stake, with the information from the zone. The problem is that almost no one in the zone sent us that info and we didn´t have with us what they had sent. We received permission to go to an Internet cafe and print that info, but there aren´t any open on Sunday, so we had to ask for permission again to use the computer of a member. We wasted almost all of our working time on that and the meeting, and arrived sure that the president was going  be mad at us for not having the info. He just said there was need to repent, though, and we´re diligently repenting and ¨helping¨ others repent of not sending us the info.
The zone is a little bit unanimated, because it´s famous for being a difficult zone for baptisms (the president said in the meeting that contacting in our area, specifically, doesn´t work), but our zone leads the mission this week, mainly because of the secretaries who work in the other area in the ward where I am. They had five baptisms this week.
We´re badly behind today because we cleaned the house really well to send pictures to the president. We are trying to get permission to have a zone p-day and busting our tails over the details.
I don´t have much time to write, but I´ll trying to send pictures of my trip from Cartagena to Barranquilla and a few other things I´ve been meaning to send.
Anyway, that´s my story for the week,
Elder Belú

5000 Peso Meal

Hi, fambly,

Looks like your week has been exciting. I guess mine has, too, but not so much. The van looks pretty bad after Mom’s fender-bender. What are you driving now? What happened with the little truck you mentioned a few months ago, and with the Camaro?

I`m glad to hear that Dad is enjoying his classes. He`s been talking about this for a long time, and now it`s happening.

As for what I was doing on Saturday, I was setting the baptismal date for a new investigator. This area is a lot tougher than where I was before, because it`s rich (we contacted fifty-two people Friday and got two appointments).

Before, it was often annoying that so many people wanted to talk to us because we didn`t have time (and a lot of the people who wanted to talk to us wanted to just listen without changing anything in their lives, but that happens everywhere). Now the appointments are a little more valuable and a lot harder to get. We`re learning how to work with members, planning activities and family home evenings with friends, and finding people, though.

It`s funny, even though I`m a ZL, the hard part is still my own area. Knowing where to go and what to teach is the main thing we do and the hardest. I`m lost in my area still and we have to do exchanges.

Anyway, what kind of work is Chris hunting? What are his plans for study? Has he applied at BYU yet? Communicate, darn it. If you don`t tell me, I reflexively assume the worst about everything. What happened with the Nolens? Misty told me that they`ve moved. How many classes are you each taking and where? Does Dad have to go to Childersburg?

I`m attaching pictures of my lunch. He`s called Mojarra and tastes like tilapia (which is also from here). He is in company of a fried plátano and some rice. There were beans and fruit juice (real juice, made in the restaurant), but they already went the way of all the earth. In total, this was a five thousand peso meal (1800 pesos = $1).

Oh, and I said that this week was exciting. An example. We came home Thursday after a day of proselyting and found out that the toilet in one of the bathrooms had broken, dumping water (clean water, it was the reservoir) in the floor. There was about two inches of water in every room of the house. The damage was minimal, but still, there was damage.

Anyway, that`s what happens when you`re having fun.

Bye, now,

The one and only,

Elder Belù

One more thing.

A gringo who served here in Barranqilla came back to visit and spoke to the ward in Sacrament meeting. He talked about the things he learned and how he learned to focus on the things that are most important, like the mission, instead of on his beat up car. I think of Chris, and what love my dear parents have for him. Unlike this poor unfortunate soul, they didn`t sell the car for scrap while he was gone.

At least, not that I know of.

Training and Burger King

This week has been interesting, with mission council (like branch council, but with a bunch of zone leaders) and training. I learned quite a bit and feel more prepared for some of my responsibilities. Also less prepared for others that I understand better now, but oh, well. That`s life.

I`m glad to hear that Dad`s studying. He`s been talking about training up a little for a long time, and I think it`s a great idea. Good luck with the schedule. How many vehicles are you using for all of the people who have to be in different places?

I really don`t have a whole lot to say today, or much time. We lost a good bit of time sending data from the zone this morning and we`re running a little behind. We did find time to go to Burger King, though (the first time in a long, long time). It`s really not much more expensive here than there, it`s just that all of the other things in the country cost less (a whopper jr. with fries and a soft drink was about five bucks).

That`s the adventure for the week. I want to hear about what happens with Dad, with Mom`s new classes, and with the Ukrainian bum in the house.

Nos vemos,

Elder Belù

P.S. The foto is of my companion, Elder Alvarado.

Elder Alvarado

New Zone

Well, it really is crazy to be a zone leader. I don`t have time to write much, but I want to let you all know that I`m still alive and well. I`m in a part of Barranquilla that`s really rich (ridiculously, for Colombia). The people have cars, frequently, and air-conditioning in their houses.

Regarding what you said, Mom, I`m really frustrated at how little we`re working right now. I got used to a tough work load in Cartagena, working with Elder Jenson (a really good missionary) and afterward, directing my area, I got to choose the pace. Now my comp is directing everything.

We are in a tough area, and everyone tells me that contacting doesn`t work, but we had a baptism this week and the ward is helping a lot. We have more success with references, here. It`s still a baptizing mission, even in the richer parts.

I see from his pictures that Chris has lost weight. I think I`m holding steady, but all of the Latins call me fat.

Anyway, the situation should improve here with more time. We`re really busy right now because of three training meetings this week that we have to help with (mission-wide activities affect us because the office is in my zone; the assistants are in one of my districts).

Mom, you said your other concern is with disobedience among the misionaries. The DLs here are good, and I really don`t foresee problems. This is a safe zone.

We do have three of the new missionaries-in-training here, who arrived this past transfer, so we have to keep on our toes to make sure they get the training they need. We really don`t have any problems right now, more than just arranging things for meetings and working around the office.

We had a very fun experience this week, entering the chapel a little tardy to prepare for a baptism and finding the mission president with a group of leaders, but he didn`t kill anyone.

Anyway, no more time.  I`m alive,

Elder Belù

Leaving Nuevo Bosque ward in Cartagena

This week has been normal, working hard to find new investigators (there´s a shortage of cheap ones right now). Some of the people who help us the most from this ward have been gone on vacation, but with classes starting they´re back.

We got the word on transfers a little early, because Elder Pastrán has a lot of friends in the office. He told me (nobody else, just me) that a lot of the zone leaders are not going to be zone leaders anymore, with a lot of them training new missionaries and a lot of them finishing the mission. The zone leaders who were zone leaders when I got here are basically gone now, and the newer ones, who used to be my companions, are taking over. This means there are a lot of new ZLs, obviously. One missionary who was a junior companion is now a zone leader.

I´m leaving Nuevo Bosque, in Cartagena. I´ve been here for almost five months, so it´s time to go. It´s a great ward and I´ll miss the people, especially the Yepes family and my other converts, but it´s time to go. I´m going to be in Porvenir (means oncoming), in Barranquilla, the same zone that has the main office and the areas of secretaries in it. It´s rumored to be a rich and difficult area, but Elder Pastrán just came from that zone and he says that with faith, you can have a lot of success.

I was afraid I was going to be a district leader this transfer, but it didn´t happen. Instead I´m a Zone Leader. I guess I never officially became senior companion, but with the temporary missionary for two weeks, I wasn´t junior companion either.

I´m a little overwhelmed. Elder Pastrán told me this was coming yesterday and I didn´t believe him. I believe him now.

Anyway, I guess I´ll go work a little. We have to keep searching for ´gators for the gringo who´s coming to replace me. He sounds a little overwhelmed, too (he´s newer than I am).

I´ll try to write more next week, I just don´t have much time today.

Love you all,

Elder Belú

Explanatory Note: LDS Missionaries work as companions in an “area.” The senior companion is responsible for planning the work in his area. A district leader is responsible for several other sets of companions, perhaps 4 to 10 missionaries in all. A Zone Leader is over two or more districts. Usually a missionary is a senior companion and a district leader before he’s expected to run a zone.