Category Archives: Barranquilla

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

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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

Christmas Call

Hey, Everybody,

Jon skyped us yesterday from Colombia. Just like his Mother’s Day call, the call was more challenging than we expected. The first internet shop he tried didn’t have skype, so he had to search for another one. It took about two hours and several missed tries for us to finally get a connection–just as the second (or third?) internet cafe was shutting down for lunch!!

We ate a rushed meal with Dwight’s brother’s family (who invited us to their home for the day and the call), then gathered back around the computer. That’s when we found out that the computer Jon was at only had video, not sound!! He used Colombian sign language to communicate that he was changing computers and within a couple of minutes, we were (finally) able to talk.

The call was completely worth the wait. Jon was very happy, laughing and joking the whole time we talked.

He’s in good health and looks wonderful. He thinks he’s gained a little weight from all the great Colombian food. As a teenager, Jon had some problems with his knee, but he says the arch supports he’s using work beautifully. Though he’s on his feet all day long, his feet, knees, and hips are all strong and completely pain-free. Miraculously for a red-head, he hasn’t even had a sunburn in eight months! (He has some amazing freckles, though! He said he’s been expecting them to grow together to give him a tan, but the freckles just get darker and darker, not bigger across 🙂

Jon’s Spanish is so good, he had real trouble trying to remember English while we talked. He says he works hard to think in Spanish all the time. He’s also learning Portuguese from a Brazilian missionary and some Colombian sign language. He’s worked with people from every country in Latin America and absolutely loves the people and the culture. When he comes home, he wants to study more Portuguese, Italian, and Russian (to talk to his brother, Chris, just home from a Russian-language mission in Ukraine).

We asked about the Colombian washing machines that he rents to do his laundry. He says the delivery man brings them over on his bicycle and picks them back up at the end of the day. Jon promised to send pictures–can’t wait to see what this looks like!

He received his Christmas package the week before Christmas, and everything we sent was still inside. (Some other missionaries in Colombia still haven’t seen packages that were mailed in October or found that some things their families had packed weren’t in the boxes when they arrived–we were very fortunate that we didn’t have any trouble with his presents and candy!)

Jon was especially glad to see all the photos from friends and had it with him when he called. Many of you contributed pictures for his album–thanks so much for helping us send him a bit of home he can carry with him everywhere he goes!!

Love,

The Belyeus

 

Christmas Package!

Well, another week has gone by. It´s not much different. We´re mainly working on finding investigators right now, contacting a lot, setting up activities in church, inviting people to invite other people to listen. We´re progressing.

I received the Christmas package from home this week. One of the secretaries is now pestering me for skittles. I think I´ll tell him that it´s a box of arch supports and marbles.

The photos, by the way, are great. I don´t know how long you were putting that together, but I´ll fairly sure some of them were from August. Que poder. ¿Me amas más que esto? Ya sé que si.

I guess I don´t have much to say today. We´ll talk soon. I think Monday is perfect, at about eleven, Colombia time. You people with internet have to decide what time that means in Alabama. I think there´s an hour difference.

Anyway, enjoy Christmas and don´t worry about me. All of the members want to wine (o sea, jugo de Maracuyá), and dine us the whole week. I think we´re gonna buy pizza and a huge box of ice cream for Christmas dinner, since there are four of us in the apartment.

I´ll talk with you all soon, then,

Elder Belú

Still in Barranquilla

Well, I stayed in my area. My comp is training in Cartagena and I´m with Elder Cregor, the beloved son of the elder who trained me as a zone leader. He´s one transfer behind me in the mission and is from just outside Fresno. He´s my fourth companion from the states.

This transfer, my last two companions who had never been zone leaders received their assignments and now I´m at 100%. Every companion I´ve ever had has been a zone leader at one time or another.

I´ve been in this zone for longer than anybody else and I´ll be here another transfer.

Wow. I´m running out of time, but this month is December. We´ll be able to use Skye to talk to you again, so we need to plan. He said it doesn´t have to be on Christmas Day, just the most convenient day in the time frame.

Okay, the time ran out,

Bye,

Elder Belú

I have even less time to write than normal. My companion believed the rumors that say that he´s going to train this transfer and wanted to buy Yerba Mate, which is Argentinian and tough to find outside of Barranquilla in Colombia. I may stay in my area six months, which is rare in this mission.

We had another baptism this weekend. The investigator, Jesus, asked me to perform the ordinance. It´s only the second time I´ve done that in the mission, and I almost fell over in the font, but I felt better when he shared his testimony in Sacrament meeting yesterday. I think he´s going to be firm.

Two members of a family I was teaching a month or so ago walked into the Sacrament meeting without warning. I had been thinking how much I missed having them there when they walked in, and thought, ¨They´re the kind of people who will just walk in someday and surprise some poor missionary.¨ It wasn´t a bad surprise, though. We have an appointment with that family tonight.

Elder Maughan, who was my district leader in the MTC and was in the district here in Barranquilla training for two transfers, is now one of the assistants. He has never been a DL in the field, or a ZL, but I guess he can manage it.

I´ll try to send pictures of the baptism next week. Right now I have to go save some souls.

Bye,

Elder Belú

Washing clothes in Barranquilla

Hi, peoples,

Well, things keep going. The baptism for this week went through almost without problems and we received an incredible referral who´s going to be baptized this Saturday. We´ve had a dry spell, but now we´re dealing with a lot more water. We´re planning a ¨White Night¨ for this Saturday, with baptisms from a few companionships that don´t have baptismal fonts. We´re hoping for either seven or ten baptisms this Saturday, all from companionships in the district.
Today was great. We found a new guy to bring washing machines, and the washing machines he brought were a whole lot better. We didn´t have a single errand to run, so we had time to wash the clothes, defrost the fridge, and cut hair (which I did for me and Elder Zurita with the little clipper I brought from the states), and the eat Chinese food (which here is just rice with chicken, but it´s pretty good).

Is Chris watching movies in Russian? It´s one of my favorite ideas for keeping my language after the mission.

Anyway, I find that there´s really now much to say. Entonces, Chau.
Elder Belú

P-day at the ER

Well, today my companion was rude enough to smash his finger in the door, so we went to the ER to get a tetanus shot. After a quick look, the nurses put him on standby and we were there until after four in the afternoon. Add another hour of travel time and remember that p-day ends at six, an there goes the day. I guess everything´s okay, though, as long as you don´t want me to write much.

The week´s been good. We had the baptismal interview for an investigator who is ready to be baptized, this coming Saturday. A friend of a member who just arrived at church without help twice (we tried to find him and set an appointment, but he got away) came up to us and asked what he needed to do to be baptized. I´m good with that.

What´s Chris doing to keep up with his Russian? If I get back and he can´t speak it, I´m gonna be ticked.

With Sis. Foshee passing on, I guess it´s better for her and the family. At least now she can be with Rich and not have to worry.

If you received a Facebook request from a kid called Alfonzo, accept it. He´s an investigator. And I guess that´s that. I´ll try to write more soon.

I think my time as ZL is ending, but we´ll see.

Anyway, bye.  I´ll go preach a little.

Chau,

Elder Belú

Colombia/Argentina Game

Hi, peoples of the earth,
Well, another week has passed. Nothing much happened, at least on a big-picture scale. I worked with one of the assistants for the first time in my life, but now it just isn´t that big a deal. It was a little funny, though, because it rained all day that day. Assistants get wet just like any other missionary.
My companion is from Argentina and this week is the Colombia/Argentina football game. I hope that doesn´t cause bloodshed. There are two Argentinos in the apartment and they support each other mutually in their madness.
I guess that´s really it. I´m glad to hear that good things are happening at home. Chris will be living in a good location in BYU. Not always so great for finding a wife, maybe, but Jason did pretty good there and so did a few others I know.
It might be good to send another set of these arch supports that I´m using in my shoes. The ones I have are going good, but they´re starting to show wear, and we´ve got more than another year to go. I don´t know how you are on space to send, though. Peanut butter´s a little pricey here, but not that bad, about four dollars a jar. A lot better than sending it for $45.
Anyway, love you all and stuff,
Elder Belú