Monthly Archives: January 2012

Papaya and Excuses

This week first. We had interviews with the president yesterday and he congratulated us on the work. I have wondered a few times if he was really happy with my efforts or not, while I was ZL in Paraiso, but I think it`s okay. I explained my plan for the ward where we are now and he said it sounds good. My comp`s interview lasted about ten minutes, which shows a huge lack of sins to confess. He`s awesome. I keep thinking ¨this time I`m gonna have a bad comp,¨ but it still hasn`t happened. In the whole mission.

This week was a little hard, because a lot of the best people we find aren`t married when they should be and everybody works on Sunday, but we`re pretty pleased with how it turned out. The zone leader who verified the district talked to me a while about being a good example in my own area. He`s got great standards, so we`re gonna raise the bar. We won the competition of referrals contacted during the week, though. Hah.

I ate a whole papaya last week, telling the other missionaries that a papaya doesn`t do me any harm anymore after eating a lot in Barranquilla. Just so`s you know, a whole papaya is like eating, for example, a whole lot of blueberries. If you`re prepared, nothing happens. If not, it`s a good idea to have lot`s of tissue paper in the house. I was about halfway prepared and learned a little humility. Today I bought two more papayas. I`m more prepared now, right?

My companion tried a dish from the cost that doesn`t exist in Bogotà, called Mondongo. From the name, I imagine that you know it`s not normal Alabama food. It`s boiled cow stomach and the first time I ate it, it was weird. Now I like it, though, and he doesn`t. He almost couldn`t finish his bowl of soup, pobrecito.

Nobody here talks much about the US election. I heard that a Mormon was running for president from Grandpa first, and then from somebody we taught. Somebody else asked my what I think of Obama, but it`s not a big deal, here. The immigration issue only came up once, with a drunk who lived in the States for a while. He knows words in English I had`nt heard in a long time and isn`t too fond of Alabama, but he was drunk, so we left.

Anyway, that`s the week. Now, an excuse. I haven`t sent the photos of the washer because the computer I always used to sent pictures wouldn`t recognize my camera in Barranquilla. I haven`t tried here, but I forgot my camera, so I still can`t today.Maybe next week.

Sent wishes of good luck to Cliff, and I love everybody,

Chao,

Elder Belù

Sleeping on the floor in Cartagena, Colombia

This week something happened here, so I`ve got stuff to say. I`m not in Paraiso anymore. I got transferred out to La Victoria, Cartagena, estaca Los Alpes. I was in Los Alpes before, in Nuevo Bosque, which actually touches my new area, so I know the area. It was the area with sister missionaries, but they were pulled out when I left Cartagena the first time, six months ago. The area`s been closed since then and the ward is really excited to have missionaries again. The mission leader is great and all of the members are supporting us. We`ve already been able to find a few new investigatores and we have a few baptisms on date for next month. I feel re-energized and ready to work again, after six months in the richest area in the mission.

Obviously, I`ve changed assignments as well. I`m not a zone leader now. I`m district leader, of a six-elder district, and I`ll finally be able to test the stuff I told the DLs in Barranquilla. I also have a new companion, Elder Rodriguez, from Bogotà. He´s fairly new in the mission (he has almost a week in the mission). And yes, I am training.
Three things I`ve never done before at once, be DL, open an area, and train. I was really nervous at first, but Elder Rodriguez is great. His dad is a bishop in Bogotà and it seems to me that he not only understands the missionary purpose but also the doctrine and he`s ready to work hard. He´s also really smart and has already learned the area pretty well. I learn slow and it´s tough to find anything, He is directing the work in the area already. It´s gonna look good because everybody will think that I trained really well, even though it`s just ´cause he`s a power.
The new house is pretty good. It was the house the sisters used before, so it`s well looked-after, although they left a bunch of stuff for cooking that I threw away (weird spices from six months ago). It`s pretty small and we´re sleeping on mattresses on the floor (there are two other elders here who work another area and live in the house, so there ain`t much space), but I`ve done that before and it`s pretty comfortable. The only problem is that we haven`t been able to find a guy with a washing machine to rent us, so we`re washing by hand. It works, though.
I hope you all survive the “drought.” It looks pretty rough, out there. Take care of yourselves and I`ll write in a week,
Chao,
Elder Belù

Thinking of Home

Well, another week has come and gone. We decided this week that if the main investigator we`ve got didn`t come to church this week, we`d stop visiting. However, he made the commitment and showed up, early, without problems. He`s progressing.

We had the missionary correlation meeting for the first time in more than a month. With the holidays, it´s been tough to do much with the members, especially since the bishop was visiting family in Medellin and wasn`t here to organize things, but now the ball`s rolling again.

I remember one Sunday with more than fifty people in church in Alabama in my life, and that time was branch conference with about twelve people from the stake. People have been saying for years that there would be a ward there and I never believed it. Now I`m starting to believe it.

I don`t remember if I told you that one of my companions had the same experience. He`s from a little branch like ours and when I was with him, about eighty people were attending every week and the missionaries were baptizing every weekend. Para que sepan, he`s about six months older than me in the mission.

It`s still a little branch at home, though. Normally, one family moving doesn`t mean that the whole unit get`s reorganized. Maybe that`s going to change, though. I still think of Cody being a recent convert, and it looks like he`s carrying the branch on his back right now. True converts are like that.

Don`t feel bad that you`ve caused problems for Jason and Catherine. Jason had already sparted to Stoonerize when I arrived in Provo, I just uplifted and supported him. Catherine should have killed me when she had the chance. Now it`s too late. I now have two languages to use, by the way. It`s way better now.

Thanks for telling me that I`m a mutant. I never knew that before. I just wanna know why it`s not like the mutants in X-Men. I can`t do anything cool, I just look funny and burn in direct sunlight (although not so much anymore).

Last night, during daily planning, three ex-investigators (who stopped attending church after a while teaching them) arrived at our door.

Send condolences to the Nunnellys about the fire. They`ve been through a lot and this is just another trial. I hope things improve soon. Are they thinking of rebuilding or moving?

Anyway, that`s my week and my take on things.

Amo a todos,

Elder Belù

Rubber Band Guns for Christmas

Another week has come and gone. We had zone leader council this week and leadership training. The president and the assistants were apparently working with the goal of motivating us, and I feel a little more motivated, although not as much as my companion. He`s great and really dedicated. Three of my ex-companions were there as leaders, although one of them finishes the mission in two weeks. If a little Ecuadorian called Alvarado tries to add me on Facebook in a couple of weeks, let him.

We`ve finally found some things that work in the zone. We went from three investigators progressing towards their baptism (that`s an official term, Investigadores Progresando) in the whole zone to 14 in just a week, and from 11 whole attended church to 40. If we keep going like that, we`ll baptize all month in February.
In other news, a member who was baptized while I was with Elder Alvarado attended church for the first time in a month and seems dedicated to the goal of coming back for good.My companion also finally received his Christmas box from his dad, who said during the call that he had tested the product before shipping it. That reminded me of Dad, who always tests toys before giving them to us, but I expected some kind of food, anyway. Turns out that he`s more like Dad than I`d thought. He sent rubber band guns and the zone leaders who stayed in our house fought with them at night after the training with the president. It`s nice to know that the mission is in mature hands. I had to threaten to call the assistants to get them to stop. Then when they all left, we cleaned the house and fought with rubber band guns without them. Hypocrisy is fun.

Thanks for the song lyrics. If you can find them in Spanish, too, it`d be great, but if not, it`s okay. I can at least sing it in English.
Today we lost a lot of time because we had to open the chapel for a kid`s baptism (a member kid) for a branch that`s pretty far out.  We had to stick around because the member who lent us the keys doesn`t trust anybody else with them but us. We did some light shopping while we waited, though.
It`s a shame that Jason and Catherine are moving, but Auburn`s better for a family. They’ll have a little more support. I take it that this means the job didn`t pan out too well, though. Que triste.
Anyway, that`s the weekly report. Escribiremos lueguito.
Chao,
Elder Belù

Redheaded kid from Alabama trying to pass as African-Colombian . . .

Hi, peoples,

More time passed and it`s p-day again. Not a lot has happened.We learned some new ways of finding people to teach, but we`re still mainly working on finding.

This week, one of the district leaders called and told us that an investigator had told one of the companionships in the district that he wanted to be baptized. He had basically fallen from the baptismal goal he had, which was this past Saturday, but we decided that if he passed the interview and was prepared, it was okay. We didn`t hear anything else, and I was quite surprised when we verified the zone`s weekly results last night (calling the DLs and passing info) and found out that he`d been baptized. This means that we reached the zone goal for December, 10, but it also means that the investigator was baptized without us knowing, which looks a little bad.

I didn`t know that Neal and Christine were getting sealed, although it seems like you told me something a while back. I`m glad to hear it.

What Mom said about colonial-era African slaves escaping into northern Colombia doesn`t surprise me. There is a region called Chocó close to Cartagena that you can look for, famous for sports and dark skin. I frequently introduce myself as a ¨Chocoano¨. Nobody has believed me still, but I`ll keep trying.

You said my Spanish is so good that I can`t speak English. I not sure it`s a direct correlation. The inability to speak does not imply intelligence, either.

Also, I´m still a few countries short of all Latin America. I have met, and more or less worked with, people from Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Honduras, Guatemala, Bolivia, Aruba, La Republica Dominicana, and I think one Costa Riqueño, although I`m not sure. Maybe a few more I`m forgetting.

I`ll try to send pictures of the washer today. I included my arm to see more or less how big it is. I don´t know if it`s an R2D2, but I think the droid was cooler if so.

One last thing. Can you send the words for a few songs? English and Spanish, if possible. ¨I Heard Him Come,¨ ¨Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,¨ and ¨With God, Nothing is Impossible.¨

Gracias y hablamos luego,

Os amo,

Elder Belú