Category Archives: Monteria

Today Monteria, Tomorrow Cartagena

Hi, people at home,
I thought for sure I would stay in Montería, but I thought wrong. I´m going by plane tomorrow to Cartagena in a zone called Alpes, working in an area called Nuevo Bosque, with another gringo (Elder Jenson). Most of the others from my group in the MTC (CCM) are working with Latinos, though.
Elder Ward left early, Domingo (Sunday), for an activity the president wanted to do with all the missionaries who are leaving the country, so I´ve been working with the ZLs. They´re going to take over my old area and still work theirs, and one of them is leaving to be a ZL in my new zone (and he´ll be senior companion), so they have it tough. I wonder if it´s appropriate to pray to never be a ZL?
We had four baptisms scheduled for the past weekend, but our best investigator almost died on Sunday. (He has some type of leak in his brain and two of his heart valves were clogged. He almost died because a third valve clogged on Sunday after church.) He and his girlfriend weren´t able to get married or baptized and it´s not clear if he´s going to survive. He hasn´t been able to work in a long time and doesn´t have anything. Poor here means poor.
I´m having to drop all my investigators and trust in the other missionaries to take care of them. Fortunately, Elder Vargas, who is staying, is a very good missionary. He joined the church two years ago and is 27 now. He has one year in the field and has been a ZL since December or January (I don´t remember which). He´ll be an assistant to the president and likely a general authority, later on.
I don´t have much time to write today, with three people needing time, but this is what´s going on. By and take care.
Belder Elyeu
P.S. Somebody needs to search for a tall skinny blond Idahoan named Derek Ward on Facebook, but he may not be there yet. Be ready.

My White Clothes Got Wet

Hi, people,

I thought about just saying that my white clothes got wet, but I guess this is better. Nicer, anyway. We´ve been teaching this family since my first week and now one of them is a member. His name is Adriano Antonio Acosta Martinez (had to memorize it for the ordinance) and he is 82 years old.

At the baptism

Everything went fine for the baptism until we got to the church, where we found that a helpful brother in the ward had let the water out of the font. Fortunately, we had planned some extra time and were able to refill the font in time for the service. All went well for our baptism, but the others had baptisms as well (several people) and Elder Velez had some trouble baptizing the sister. Her dress kept floating up and the baptism had to be redone. Five times. However, they got it done and she´s a member, too, now. To see people who before had no idea receiving the ordinances of the gospel is a very great experience.
I´m more excited than I can say to hear that the Smothers family is planning for missionaries, too. This isn´t an easy experience, but it´s worth everything. Kurtis can be a very well prepared missionary if he spends time on it now. The scriptures are a great resource and help every missionary, whether he speaks English or something outlandish like Russian. Or Costeñol.
I actually haven´t seen TV screens talking about the problems in Japan, but the people are all talking about it. I think I mentioned that we felt an earth tremor during a lesson last week, but nothing big.
We have four more baptisms scheduled for next Saturday. I´ll let you know if they go through on Tuesday. Our next Preparation Day is Tuesday (Martes, dadgummit! I keep writing it wrong!) because we have transfers next week. My companion leaves for the States on Miercoles (Wednesday), but I don´t know if I´ll stay here with a new Elder or leave. I think I´m ready for a Latino comp, but I thought that before, too, and was dead wrong. I couldn´t have managed very well before. We have interviews with the President today and I´m not sure that´ll go well in Spanish.
Other notes. I broke my record of contacts in a bus (21, now) and bought weird fruits at the Colombian version of a Walmart (which I have visited twice, now. We shop at roadside tiendas).
I can´t think of anything else important, so bye now.
Belder Elyeu

PS. The Pics: Me and another new elder (Elder Velez). Adriano es mi primer bautismo de la misión. I performed the ordinance. Also, us with other people from another área (combined baptism).

Elder Belyeu and Elder Velez

Monkeys and Ice Cream in Monteria

Hello, familyar people,

I don´t have much time to write today, but we´ll see what we can do. Thanks for the input on the old pictures of car engines I had in my camera. I really don´t think they´re much use here. I would appreciate if you could send me a picture of the whole family together, though, if you have one in digital form. I thought I had one, but I don´t.

Today we visited a park, ate ice cream, watched the monkeys, fed the monkeys, and watched the iguanas (iguanas are boring). Chances are good (bad, from my perspective) that my comp and I will both be transferred this week, so I won´t get to see this park again (and I forgot to bring my camera to the park this time) but there are others. I don´t want to leave the area I just got and the investigators, and my trainer (one month to get trained isn´t enough), but we´ll see. Maybe they´ll leave us here. If not, I´ll get to meet new people, see new things, and all that stuff.

My comp prayed in English last night to practice. It was a struggle. It turned out mostly okay, except for giving thanks for the opportunity to ¨assist the church¨  (the Spanish word for attend is asistir). Muy chistoso. (Very funny.)

We have started contacting every bus with enough people. I contacted one with nineteen people and Elder Ward did one with 31. The mission has already changed me a lot. I never thought I could stand up in a bus and declare the Gospel at the top of my voice in Spanish.

We got to attend a baptism on Saturday with some of our investigators (not being baptized, that was someone from another area). It went really well and the Spirit was really strong. We did a musical number (¨Oh, Mi Padre¨. I tried to get hem to do the music from ¨Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing¨, but they wouldn´t.) and one of our ‘gators cried.

Más o menos, this was my week. I wish I had more time to write, but I don´t. I’m really excited for Jason and look forward to having him in the branch. I´m not allowed to write anyone outside of he family directly, but I know he´ll read this. Baby John looks great and healthy. Whoo!
I´m also really glad Misty got to go to the temple and that Dad got to go. I hear that Dad doesn´t travel well. That´s a matter of opinion, depending on whether you want to be bored.

Anyway, os amo mucho. I´ll let´cha know if they put me somewhere else. Probably.

Belder Elyeu

Three Months’ Worth of Pictures!

Hi, Family,

I went on splits with the district leader in my area this past Tuesday, which meant that I had to basically be the senior comp for a day. We spent a fair bit of time wandering around looking for the houses where we were supposed to teach.
I had the opportunity to invite a girl we´re teaching to be baptized during the day, however. It was only the second lesson, but the timing felt right. She accepted the invitation and a date, but is waffling a little, now. I think she´ll be okay, but we have to encourage.
We also had a zone conference, on Thursday, and I got to see how a couple of the others from my group are doing. They´re still alive, anyway. We´ve all had problems with power and water (today, yesterday, day before yesterday…). Annoying, but we live on. It´s not fun to sleep in sweat, though.
Still, I would hate to be in another mission. We have more success here even than other Colombia missions. We have seven people scheduled to be baptized before Elder Ward leaves on the 24th of March, with others who might make it. We had sixteen investigators at church yesterday, between us and the zone leaders.
There´s a lot I´d like to say, but I used a lot of time sending pictures. I´m not actually sure exactly what I sent, but there should be one or two of me and Elder Ward, among other things.

Elder Ward and Elder Belyeu

Elder Belyeu and Elder Ward

I´m sorry I´m can´t respond to each letter I got. I´m excited for Misty and will think about her on the fifth. I got to read Joseph´s email about basketball, and so on.
I pray for you all and will be back pretty soon (well, more or less). First I have to convince someone that I´m from Argentina (Elder Ward does that all the time).
Pues, chow y nos vemos,

Elder Belyeu

PS This is a picture of the elder I went on splits with in the MTC.

Splits companion at the MTC

The pictures with lots of elders and a civilian are of my district and a teacher, Hermano Burnham.

MTC District with Hermano Burnham.

MTC District II

Elder Smith

There´s one of Elder Smith with a picture he drew,

Elder Bean

one of Elder Bean with tie problems,

Winter 2011 View from the Provo MTC

the view from our MTC classroom, and me with Christmas decorations outside the MTC.

December 2010 Nativity at the Provo MTC

Still Alive and Working


At the same time, nothing has changed and a lot has happened. We have been working in the same area and finding new people/working with old investigators. Attendance at church was poor this week and we don’t know why. Something with the bus we sent to pick people up in Villa Cielo, we’ve heard. We’ll find out tomorrow for sure. On the other hand, bad attendance for us meant that we had six investigators at church from our area, plus those from the other area in the ward. We had nineteen investigators last week, including thirteen from our area, so this is a definite drop. We’ll beat ém up this week.

Two of the people who should have come are kids almost ready for baptism, but who haven’t attended church enough times to meet the basic requirement. Their baptism has to be rescheduled, which means that Elder Ward won’t have a baptism every Saturday for the last three weeks of his mission.

We’ve had many interesting experiences this week. One I’d like to share was a contact with a woman learning English and her brother. They asked us to talk for a little while, we taught a brief lesson about the restoration, and then had a prayer before we left. They asked for the prayer to be in English and Elder Ward asked me to give it. I almost couldn’t do it. I haven’t prayed in English since about the first week in the MTC and I couldn’t remember things like ¨We thank thee.¨

By the time I get home, I won’t remember anything.

Anyway, I’m still alive and working. Two little things of some annoyance have occurred.  I dropped my watch the other day in the calle and had to replace it ($9000, convert to dollars at a rate of about 1,800 pesos to the dollar), and my shoes are already showing wear because of the rough roads we walk. I’ll have to replace the shoes eventually, not sure when and it won’t be a surprise (I have another pair, but I will need more than thirty bucks on the card for that. Shoe prices for quality aren’t that much different.

I guess that’s about it. Don’t move or anything without mentioning it.

Amor, Belder Elyeu

The Journey to Monteria, Colombia

Hello, people,
I did get the brownies from Grandma and Grandpa Schofield and if I’d had time I would have said so. I´m sorry. They came the same day as my travel plans, so we had a travel plans and brownies party.
I’m in Monteria, Colombia, working mainly in a village on the edge of town called Villa Cielo. It’s pretty humble, but there’s plenty of interest. Between my companionship and the other Elders in the ward, we had nineteen people at church yesterday.
We flew into Bogotá and had to wait for a while, since the people who picked us up (the mission president for that mission and his wife) didn’t know we were coming. They were there to pick up a district of elders for their mission and we showed up, too. They eventually carted us off to a pretty nice hotel for two and a quarter hours of sleep and then had us picked up at four for our next flight to Barranquilla. We had an orientation in the mission home with President Gaviria and then stayed the night with missionaries assigned to Barranquilla before being shipped off again. I took a plane to my area and had to leave again really early, so I went for several nights in a row without enough sleep. I set a new record for myself on sleep deprivation, but I´m almost recovered now.
We started working right away and that’s about all we’ve done, until today. I was sick for a couple of days from the food, but not too bad and that’s pretty much over, now.
I still have my ATM card, so if you want to add money, you can. I don’t know if it matters, since I don’t see needing that much here. Prices are pretty low, generally.
Today I got to do paperwork for a Colombian ID, including answering questions in Spanish to an official who looked like a college girl whose mother needed to train her better (the modesty issue is fairly serious here), and having a blood sample taken in a remarkably clean and professional manner. All is well, generally speaking.
The address to send me packages is:
Jonathan R Belyeu
Calle 82 # 55-20 apto 201
edificio mattisse
Barranquilla, Atlantico
I happen to have an AP with me right now telling me these things. He´s here for a zone conference and was sent to watch the greenie write home.
That´s pretty much what I have to say. I will probably forget English here like everyone else did (They talk slow and with accents in English). The packages take about a month.
Love you all,
Elder Belyeu
PS I forgot two points. One is that Elder Bean is in Barranquilla safely, and the other is my trainer. His name is Elder Ward, also from Idaho, and was a zone leader until I came. There are four other elders in our apartment: two zone leaders, one district leader, and another greenie (but a native speaker). I don´t hear much English.
Anyway, bye.