Monthly Archives: October 2012

We Learned a Ton

Well, another week has passed. We have had a great week. We learned a ton.

This is because the week started out bad. We had two rough days, Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday night was the change. My companion said he was going to have faith that the investigators would be in the appointments and that they would keep the commitments and dared me to do the same. From that point on, everything went a lot better. It wasn´t perfect, but we were able to have success that we haven´t had in the month we´ve been here.
The guidance from the Spirit got stronger with our faith and several times this week I´ve felt it. I´ll just share one example. We were in Stake conference, hoping that our best new investigator, a college student named José, would finally arrive after missing church the first two Sundays. We waited and waited and he didn´t show, but I felt like it would be all right, and that he´s show up. Elder Herrick said the same thing, that he felt like it would be okay. Later, halfway through the conference, I felt a small impression that I needed to get up and look outside to see if he was there. I shrugged it off, thinking that as missionaries, we need to be good examples of reverence and that if he was there, he would come in. I really didn´t think it was the Spirit.
When the conference ended, we both felt that he was there, somewhere, and that we just hadn´t seen him yet. we went outside to wait for him in the crowd. As soon as we stepped outside, we saw him seated on a garden bench in front of the chapel. He had arrived in the middle of the conference and didn´t have the courage to enter. He basically arrived in the moment when I felt that I should look.
He didn´t enter and I didn´t follow the guidance, but we learned a whole lot more and our confidence in the Lord grew as well. Next time, we won´t blow it.
Also, an interesting note: There aren´t many Indians here in the coast outside a few small towns, so I´ve never had contact with them, but now we´re teaching an Indian woman. She speaks Spanish pretty well and can even read (a little), but it´s a little tough to understand her culture and vice versa. She attended church yesterday, but it looks like she´s going back to her people for a visit this week (probably for a while, to pick coffee). She wears a long white robe all the time, but I don´t know what her tribe is called. I can´t understand when she tells us what her language is called.
Well, that´s my report. Now to answer Mom’s questions:  the name Valledupar has Dupar in it, which I think is French, but Valle is valley. We are in a valley in the mountains (and that´s why it´s a little cooler than Barranquilla. But just a little). We´re still close to the ocean and there´s a river nearby, so there´s still a lot of fish to eat, but I think it is a little more costly.
I guess that´s all, then, and I´m hungry.
hasty lumbego, entonces,

Elder Belú

 

 

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Valledupar

Hi, fambly,

Habiéndo sido reprendido, haré en esfuerzo por escribir mas.
Let´s start with the questions Mom asked. Valledupar hasn´t been a stake for very long (the old district president is currently in charge of our ward as first counselor in the bishopric) and has only five wards. The mission is growing, though, and is trying to really strengthen the wards that will soon be supporting a temple, so there are four missionaries in every ward. There are sisters in one ward and they are all Latins (there are no sisters from the States in Colombia). Missionaries from Colombia go to Bolivia, Argentina, or Chile, almost always, but a fair number go to Cali or Bogotá (Sur o Norte). Very few go to other places. I have met one who served in Texas and the family of another who was in Utah. There are also a few who go to other countries in South America, but not many leave.
We wash our own clothes and clean our own house. The mission president´s wife threatened calling a cleaning service a while back (and charging us) but it never happened. Sometimes sisters wash the clothes.
Congratulations to Jason and Catherine. I approve of their baby’s name, as well, although I think it´s more or less obvious that they are Mormons. I´m good with that. All of my nieces and nephews have to be Mormons.
The MTC program is better than ever, but they´re going to lose a lot of the progress that they gained when they cut the time. We´ve been receiving better prepared missionaries every time, but they can´t do the same thing in just a couple of weeks. We´ll just have to train better.
Weekly report, entonces,
This week we baptized a sister who the other missionaries left us. We had to work with her a little bit, but really, they did the hard part. Now we have to find more people.
I don´t remember if I told you that the bishop of this ward was released a few days ago. The first counselor has taken over until the new bishop is called, which may take several months (depends on the first presidency, here) and is really motivating the ward. He called a ward counsel and gave a lot of assignments. They planned weekly ward councils until the system gets going again.
Well, I guess that´s all. I hope you´re well and I´ll write again in a week. Maybe.
Elder Belú

This Week in Brief

For those who don’t know, our congregation is part of a “stake,” or a group of congregations based in Montgomery, Alabama. For the last nine years, the lay pastor over all the congregations in our stake was Eric Boswell. On Sunday Pres. Boswell was released and an old family friend, Quinn Millington, accepted the position for the next nine or ten years.

Familia,

I knew Pte. Millington would be stake presidente someday. I just hoped Pte Boswell would last until I got home. Oh, well.
I don´t have any time to write. They just told us that, since today is a holiday, the internet café will close two minutes ago. I guess it´s as good an excuse as any for not writing much. Just so´s you know, this week was interesting. Our bishop is being released, and his first counselor moved.  This will be a great opportunity to reorganize the ward and we’re excited about it.
BTW, since when is there a ward in Millbrook, Alabama?
Other bullet points:
Elder Camargo from the seventy came to Valledupar and had a brief meeting with the missionaries. He knows me from other visits and picked on me.
How much does gas cost? My comp told me it´s at 6 bucks a gallon in California.
Okay, that´s all. I hope you´re all well, and I love you.
Elder Belú

Muchas Cosas

I think I´d better get used to surprises in General Conference. I can´t ever describe how it felt when the temple in Barranquilla was announced. I was in the ward where they bought the lot at the time and in the stake center of that ward, right there (I´m not going to get competitive with Grandpa, though. It´s not the area where I started, after all). The feeling when President Monson announced the temple in Barranquilla was like when he announced the change in age for missionaries. It´s directly personal, something that changes my life and my family.
First things first. I feel that what we´ve always lived, that a few sisters serve missions for some special desire or guidance, is over. Now I expect that the majority of the young women who really love the Lord will serve missions. They can now serve, return, and still be married by an early age. I expect Cassie and Beth will consider it, too, in a couple of years.
It´s not a big surprise that the young women are putting in mission papers already. The change in age limit for them is huge and really shows how important they are in this effort. I expect that the number of missionaries will increase dramatically over the next year.
I guess it´s possible that you can see what was the high point in my week. In the area, we´re a little bogged down in a Viper Cub, here, and just trying to find investigators. Might be a baptism this weekend, just depends on the interview, but it´s someone the last missionaries here left almost ready. We´re here to fill the font.
You commented that we´re close to Venezuela. It´s true: everybody sells contraband gas here that they bought over the line, cheap. There are also members of the Indian tribe Guayú, from La Guajira, who wear traditioinal clothes and worship little idols, but we really don´t see them much. We´re in the downtown and residential sections of the city, where there´s not much going on (other than buying and selling, obviously).
Anyway, that´s the smaller part of my record. The history of my people I will write on other plates and hide, so you can never see it until someone combine the two sets of plates in about four hundred years.
One last thing: how is Sister Ermer? I guess she´s in California. My regrets for her loss.
Y, pues, chao,
Elder Belú

Training in Valledupar

Well, I´m now a trainer in Valledupar. My new companion is Elder Herrick, from Wyoming. The Spanish program has improved since I was in the MTC, so his Spanish is pretty good. He´s been in Colombia for five weeks, in the MTC in Bogotá, too, which helps. He´s still learning obviously, but he already understands pretty well.

I haven´t taken any pictures of Valledupar still, but it´s pretty. It´s like the hot version of Provo, with mountains all the way around. The water in the shower every morning comes out cold because it´s melt off from the mountains. That´s great when I´m hot, not as good when I´m not.
We found a person here that the other missionaries left completely ready for baptism. She´s a fifteen year old girl from a part-member inactive family that the other missionaries activated. BTW, one of the missionaries who was here is E. Reyes, who I trained in Cartagena. They left us with a couple of people, although we´re going to have to find a lot more.
I hope you´re all well, then and I´ll be writing in a week.
Chao,
E. Belú