Category Archives: Barranquilla II

Ahora si

Now I´m writing late again. But at least I let you know that I´m alive.
We´ve had a busy week again, with more midmonth transfers, two trips to Cartagena, and the plans for the transfer next week.
This morning a man jogging by saw us leaving the apartment and started yelling ¨¡misioneros!¨. He is extremely blond and talked with a funny accent, but not like a gringo. I think he is German or Swedish. He asked for the church´s address and the Book of Mormon, and then headed off running. These little experiences make life more interesting.
You asked about discouragement in the letter last week. It´s pretty normal for a missionary to feel pretty down sometimes. I think more tears are shed in the mission than in any other time. Part of the answer comes from a talk by Elder Bednar about doctrine that you can search for. I don´t know what it´s called, but it might be ¨the answer´s in the doctrine¨.
Congrats to Joseph. I think I got the genealogy merit badge. I know I did part of it. It´s easy. I never got an eagle palm, though.
Bye, then. I might send pictures of Valledupar soon. Or maybe not (BTW, I backed up all of my pictures in a USB memory today).
Wuv,
Elder Belú

My Week

Well, I survived another week. We had zone leader council this week and a few mid-month transfers, but it was really a tranquil week. We had one full day without going to the office, which we´ve tried to do for a while, but it´s been tough to avoid. The office sucks up time. It´s comfortable (air conditioning, good chairs, church music, etc.) but it doesn´t help the area grow at all.
I bought a small USB memory to back up my camera. It was pretty cheap, twenty-two thousand pesos ($11) and has an 8 gig capacity. Right now it doesn´t seem to work, though. I´ll have to talk to my companion to see if there´s a trick.
Last week was the conference with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland here in Barranquilla. I was right in front of him when he destroyed the erasable marker with the whiteboard in the missionary training meeting. And although it´s been tough to get investigatores to church in this area, one of them arrived and was so impressed by the stake conference that he accepted a baptismal goal for later this month afterward. Elder Holland doésn´t say things that are so different, but the way he says them is pretty impressively different.
I have so little to say. The week seems to have gone really fast. I don´t have my camera with me to send photos. I forgot it in the house.
I think my life has turned boring. I guess we should work harder to have more interesting experiences.
I tried some Brazilian chocolate, bought some oatmeal, and have a papaya waiting for me in the fridge. That is the sum total of the week.
Elder Belú

No Samba Dancing

Hi, peoples,
Today I almost forgot to write home. I printed up what I had in my inbox and read it, then ate lunch, did a few tasks I had waiting, and fell asleep here in the office.  I remembered, though, so all is well.
I´ll just write a little, for the small amount of time I have. My companion has been traveling a lot this week, including right now,  and I have stayed in the area, working with borrowed companions. The secretaries who lived with us moved out to another house yesterday and we stayed. The house is very large and weird without anyone else. I´ve never lived without more missionaries in the house and it´s strange.
I´d rather not receive all the notes from BYU here, so if you can just send the most important ones, I think it´ll work out better. I see that you were able to change my entry date in BYU, so that can just wait, I guess. If there´s anything else that needs doing, we can take care of it later.
Thanks for everything and we´ll be in contact next week.
Elder Belú
PS. My companion did not teach me samba. It takes a great deal more effort than he had time to expend to force me to dance. He did fix the camera, though.

Pirates of the Caribbean–Tayrona, Colombia

Well, I had to go to Tayrona this week to supervise a group of missionaries in a zone p-day. Elder Ribeiro found the problem with my camera, too, so it works now to send photos home. Tayrona is where they filmed Pirates of the Caribbean, so it´s a pretty nice location. I have a lot of pictures from the outing, but I´ll just send a teaser right now.
I had to talk to another missionary from my group in the other mission to ask for some info they´ve got and he told me that they´re going home the nineteenth of December. I don´t know if that´s true for me, too, but it´s likely to be close. I´ll have very little time, but I think I´ll use that time to chose classes at BYU. I´m still a freshman, so I basically can´t sign up for classes before time, anyway. I´ll just postpone that headache for when I can take painkiller without asking permission. I would like it if you can look at the list of required classes to see if there´s anything I absolutely have to take right away, and if you want to put together a rough draft schedule, that´ll be great. If you sign me up for something I don´t want, I can drop it. I guess that after the work Chris put into it, it´ll be easy to show me how to klep Spanish. I expect I´ll be able to pass at least the most basic levels with just a test. I think I can remember how to say perro.
We started an English/Portuguese class and it generated a lot of interest. I don´t remember how much of my interest in Portuguese I´ve communicated, but now the missionary who motivated my interest in the language is my companion. I´m even thinking about taking a class in Portuguese.  It´s really easy, just like the German version of Spanish.
As for housing, I´m sure that a few people will get married in in Chris’s apartment complex and if not, there´s always other options.
You asked about blood pudding. The things that I don´t want to eat are the same things that the majority of the Colombians don´t eat either. I´ve learned to like cow stomach soup and tongue wasn´t too bad, but they´ve never given me blood pudding.
I´d like to take time to work and rest after the mission, but I can´t find anything about that in the Plan of Salvation. I´m sure that everything will work out, like last time. I feel happier when I have a purpose, and when I´m following the guidance of the prophet. I have officially decided, entonces, that I´ll start school again in January. I just have to learn English again.
That´s the plan, then. Let me know if you need me to do anything, but I guess you´ve already done the hard part.
Anyway, until next time,
Amo voces,
Elder Belyeu

¡Cambios!

Hi, family,
This week we had transfers. The mission transfer is next week, but for assistants it comes early. Elder Candia is zone leader until the transfer, covering for my new companion. My new companion is an elder who started the mission in my zone when I was ZL. He´s the first Brazilian I really got to know in the mission, and I had always wanted to be his companion, so I´m happy. He´s pretty new in the mission to be assistant, but he´s really smart and ready to do it all.
In preparation for the transfers, we´ve been working pretty late in the office. As part of the effort to improve our area, we´re heading out to visit and then coming back to the office at night to keep working, but it´s going good.
My companion is teaching the district leader how to dance Samba.
Every week we receive a list of the people with a baptismal date scheduled for the next three weeks. Every time, a few people fall through and especially for the first day on the list (this week, for example, that day is today) a lot of people always fall through. This week, 25 people were passed for today and a few fell though, so as a district in the office, we held a group fast for the ones who were still there. Then, after starting the fast, the zone leaders started calling to tell us that more people, who hadn´t been progressing towards baptism, made up their minds, were interviewed, and are going to be baptized today. Normally, about ten to twenty percent of the people fall through in the week, but right now it looks like more people will be baptized than we´d planned (26).
I´m glad to know that the branch is doing well in the missionary effort. Are the missionaries still baptizing like they were last year?
I´m also glad for Chris and his new job. I always thought he´d do well in something like that. He´s always been interested in computer science.
Speaking of school, if you can make the preparations for me, so that I can start BYU in January, it looks like the best option. On the other hand, if that would require a lot of my time here, it would be better if I wait. I´d like it if you can look into it, at least. It´ll be a little more complicated if I enter right away, but if not, I´ll have to wait a long time.
 Anyway, that´s my weekly report. Os amo a todos vosotros,
Chao,
Elder Belú

Plans??

Querida familia,
We had another week, like last week. We are focusing on our area right now, until the transfer, at least, so that it can be a model for the mission next transfer. We still had to do a few things, like send the suggestions so the president can make the transfer plans, but we aren’t having any exchanges until the transfer, the fifteenth.
I don´t really have much to write (again). We have found a few new investigatores, but we haven´t had many who progressed recently. We have been able to motivate one investigator a lot this week and he´ll be in church this Sunday, along with one or two other people (I hope). We´re working with members to try to improve the effectiveness in the lessons, because a lot of people have listened to us recently without going to church. It´s a normal phase in the work, and we hope to have people progressing next week.
As for my post-mission plans, don´t ruin my focus. I dón´t know exactly what I´ll do when I get back, but I guess there´s a need for plans. I need to know how much money there will be in my account when I get back. If you can answer today and early, I can check my mail and it´ll be easier for me to decide.
I will think about it and let you know next week. It would also be nice to know about the spring and summer terms (prices and when they start).
BTW, the others here in the office want a campground like that one Cassie went to for girls’ camp.
Chao,
Elder Belyeu

Great Contact!!

We contacted in a part of the area where we haven´t worked much and were able to fix some good appointments to return. I have been traveling and don´t know how all of those appointments turned out, but at least the one I went to was great. I went contacting with a new missionary who is here in Barranquilla for a minor surgery and we talked with an off-duty soldier who told us that he doesn´t trust any church in the world, but he does believe in God. We talked for about half an hour in the contact, which is extremely rare, and then fixed an appointment to return.

In the second appointment, we talked with him and his wife and were able to answer a lot of their questions. They accepted the commitment to read the Book of Mormon and pray and said they´ll think about going to church, although it´s tough for them because of all the bad experiences they´ve had. At the end of the lesson, we asked if they´ll be baptized if they receive an answer from God, and the soldier said that of course he will.

Those are the experiences that really make the mission worthwhile, when I can talk to someone who is hunting answers, and give them to him. Although we taught them outside in front of the house (it´s pretty hot, so everybody drags the chairs outside to talk at night) and there were cars passing and noise, the Spirit was present in the lesson and they could both feel it.
I´m glad to read your letters, too, and to see that everything´s going well. I hope everything continues thus and will be writing again in about a week.
¡Chao, pues!

-Elder Belú

Valledupar

Elder Belyeu’s birthday card included a monkey cartoon. Also, I suggested that he consider buying a new SD card for his camera so he could send his current card and pictures home.
Hi, fambly,
I´m sorry I didn´t write last week. I was sent to Valledupar, a city (and zone) that I hadn´t visited before. I had to fly there with the president. We had a fireside there with the stake (a great stake), one of the strongest I´ve seen in the mission. Then, Monday, one of the missionaries in the house where I was staying got sick and I had to help out a little in the morning with him. in the afternoon, we got together with Presidente Gaviria and played soccer wit the zone (we ate a cake, too, there were two birthdays, mine and another gringo).
I returned to the office with the president the next day and worked with a mini missionary. Yesterday I worked with the missionaries in my old area, Porvenir (the zone leaders) and talked with a brother we found contacting thee last time I worked with them, more than a month ago. He´ll be baptized today. We found a new family yesterday, too, so maybe in another month we´ll have the same experience again.
I haven´t really looked for a new card for my camera. It seems like an awfully complicated and expensive way of solving the problem. I just don´t plan on losing my camera.

Thanks for the card. The secretaries gave it to me today, although I don´t know how long they had it. I don´t know if I´ve told you, but they call people with any hair color except black ¨mono¨ (monkey). The card is very fitting.

Elder Pino´s visit was interesting. We were in the conferences in Cartagena and Barranquilla (I directed the meeting in Barranquilla), although we couldn´t make it to the one in Valledupar. I´ll probably send photos some day, although right now I don´t have any. There is an official picture that I can probably ask for, one of these days.
Anyway, just so´s you know that I´m alive and well, and I´ll be writing soon.
Elder Belú

Recovering from transfers

Hi fambly people,
This week was the week of transfers, so we have been pretty busy. The transfer itself, the travel plans for all of the missionaries, finding space for the new missionaries, training the trainers, sending out all the ancient and dead (o sea, the missionaries who finished the mission) from the airport early in the morning, and all the other little things we had to do. It´s fun sometimes, although we get a little worn out. The other weeks are a little better.
This coming week will be fun, too, though. Elder Pino, the area president, is coming to visit the mission. We have to coordinate a lot of stuff for the conferences (he will visit three of the cities in the mission and all of the missionaries will be present in at least one of the conferences).
I will be buying shirts today. I pulled out about a hundred thousand pesos last week, so I´ll look into it today. They´re not too cheap, here, about twenty bucks a shirt. I might buy a tie as well, although they cost about fifteen. I don´t really know about the shoe sizes here because they aren´t the same. Size thirteen is for a tiny child and I´m sure you can buy it here, but size forty-seven, which they tell me is about the equivalent, is tough to find. I have no idea about larger sized shirts. On the one hand, it would make sense that it would be hard to find, but there are some really fat Colombians, so I don´t know.
Thanks for the birthday money. I doubt I´ll use it all. Now that I have socks,  with a couple of shirts,  I´ll be good to go. Maybe more shoes in a couple of weeks. I´m getting by as is right now.
Next week maybe I´ll have more to write. We´ll be having couple of meeting with Elder Pino, including one with just my companion (possibly even a direct interview).
I don´t really have more to say. You know I´m alive and well and I´ll be communicating soon.
Elder Belú

PS. Dengue fever’s not a big deal here. I´ve never had it or seen someone with it. I asked around and it´s fairly common, but not very serious. I don´t even know what a mosquito patch is. The bug spray works about as well here as in the States, not too well. I never use it. Mosquito netting does´t allow air to move, so it´s hot. It´s better to just remove the sources (rotten water) from the house. We don´t have any problems right now in our house because there isn´t any standing water.

Photos!!!

I just arrived in the office again today. I was in Cartagena again working with some more zone leaders. It´s good to see them go.
To answer your questions, the missionaries here almost always live in cities, although there are a few in little towns. we never ride bikes. We walk a lot, we don´t live with members, and the mission sends us the Liahona in Spanish.
Last week we worked really well in the area. We found new people to teach and were able to work with the mission a little, too. This week we didn´t focus well enough and it didn´t go as well. The mission is improving, though. Next week is the transfer and we´ve got a lot to do.
I´m looking at my clothes situation and thinking that I need to buy a few more things. I bought an expensive toy last week, for twenty bucks (a reduced size copy of Preach my Gospel, which is great when I have to travel light), but Í need a couple of shirts and possibly another pair of shoes. I might look today at the prices.
Anyway, that´s my week. Escribiré lueguito.
Elder Belú
PS.

My companion left his photos in the computer when he finished. This is the office staff and the despedida de los que se fueron a la otra mission.
I don´t remember English and I don´t care.