Category Archives: Missionary Training Center (MTC)

Hasta Ver

Jon saw several people at the MTC who he already knew. Here he’s with Elder NeSmith and Elder Schuerman from the Montgomery, AL Stake, who have also been called on Spanish-speaking missions.

Elder NeSmith, Elder Schuerman, and Elder Belyeu at the Provo, UT MTC. January 2011.

This is an extract from Elder NeSmith’s journal:

We just finished “Hasta Ver” as a zone. It’s where we sing “God Be with You Til We Meet again” in Spanish to the district that is leaving (today, it was Elder Belyeu’s district). It really was awesome. After singing, someone tells the story of Brigham young and Heber C. Kimball leaving on their mission to Great Britian. Then, accordingly, we shout “Hurrah FOR ISRAEL!” 3 times (loud, louder and make-the-windows-bust loud). It was really cool. A great bonding experience. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Who’d have thought you could cram 28 guys in a bedroom meant for 4, shout Hasta Ver and Hurrah for Israel and STILL be able to feel the spirit. Only in the TRUE church.

Last Email from the United States

This past week was pretty normal, until Thursday. We knew we would get our travel plans on Thursday if we had our visas, so we made our district leader check the mail every couple of hours until dinner. At dinner, Elder Bean and I were a couple minutes later than everyone else, but when we joined everyone else at the table, they told us that instead of travel plans, we had a note that our visas were delayed at least a week. This was not, by the way, good news. Fortunately, after dinner, the lie broke down and they confessed to misleading us. I didn’t even kill anyone. Yet.

We’ll be flying out of Salt Lake on Monday the 7th at 8:30AM, to Atlanta, GA, and then to Bogotá, Colombia. We´ll get there about ten o´clock at night (their time), so we´ll probably just sleep in the airport for a few hours until our flight leaves from Bogotá to Barranquilla. That flight is supposed to be from 6:15 to 7:50AM, just a little hop.
In other news/thoughts: a few days ago I met a Sister Hudson who is going to Donetsk, Ukraine; I have officially studied all of the Spanish grammar principles (not that I understand them all. Reflexive verbs are especially hard); I have been asked by a temple worker to find out who the first Belyeu in America was, and when, and where exactly he was from (I remember something about two brothers, but I don’t remember details).
I can’t find a copy of my patriarchal blessing. Could Mom mail me one? Dad might still have a copy of the scanned copy in the computer.
Is the balance on my ATM card supposed to be $30? I thought you said it would be more, but whatever you think is best, I guess.
Are the pictures of the insides of the car necessary? I still have them on my camera, and I’m not sure if I should be keeping them or not.
I’m a little scattered today, but this past week has not been much to write home about, just lots of grammar and many role plays. I got a haircut, and did some other pretty “exciting” stuff like that, which I will not share now.
I think I’ll stop including a Spanish section of each letter for a while. I feel like I’m leaving people out when I do that and I don’t know enough Spanish to have a very different message anyway.
This is my last day to email from the US for twenty-two months.
Elder Belyeu

My Week and News

Hola, all,

I got to host for new missionaries entering the MTC this past Wednesday, which consists of waiting at the curb, watching families cry, and rushing the new missionaries all over the MTC campus to pick up their new materials and find their classrooms and stuff. I look forward to doing it all again this Wednesday, since I’m now an old hand in the MTC.
Elder NeSmith is in my zone, in our newest district, and Elder Shuermann (whose name I can’t spell) is in the same schedule as us, so I see him at gym and mealtimes. I’m pretty surprised that Elder NeSmith is in our zone, since there are a lot of MTC districts speaking Spanish, but several people in our zone had met before the MTC. I haven’t seen Elder Pinter yet, but I’m looking for him.
Today was our seventh trip outside the MTC, this time for Elder Bean’s replacement shoes, for gym shoes that he outgrew after getting here. His feet started growing again after he got here. This was probably the last time we’ll leave for our last two weeks, which is a relief. It would be nice to stay inside for a whole P-day.
We went to the temple again today (I did sealings for the first time) and in the parking lot we met Elder Smith’s sister. It was very awkward and quite amusing for those of us who insist that she was really his girlfriend (she broke the rules and gave him a hug). It wasn’t his girlfriend, by the way, we’ve seen the pictures Elder Smith has and the family resemblance was very close.
I don’t remember if I mentioned it before, but we are asked to be prepared to speak in Sacrament Meeting every Sunday and yesterday Elder Bean and I were called on to speak with no notice (They do that with somebody every week, but our district is in the cross-hairs now ’cause there’s nobody senior to us anymore). It went really well, to my surprise, and I was asked afterward if I had memorized my talk, since I didn’t just read off a sheet of paper like some do. It was only a 3-5 minutes talk, but it really helped my self confidence, even though probably only about half of our district and President Watkins, out of the whole congregation, were able to understand us. All the new missionaries are really impressed with us now.
Otherwise, things are just keeping on going. We’re winding down to the last little part of our time here, and we’re getting pretty excited. We might get our flight plans this week, probably Thursday.
I´ll read your letters and then send a little more, if I have time. 

Love, Elder Belyeu

PS Tengo un poco mas tiempo, pues quierdo escribir en español para practicar. Por favor transcribir esto para mi hermano que esta en Ukraine.
En Español, no puedo hablar sobre mucho que no es el evangelio, porque mis clases solamente enseñar Español para enseñar investigadores. Intonces, voy a compartir mi testimonio otravez. Yo sé que el evangelio de Jesucristo fue restaurado por el prefeta Jose Smith y atraves del evangelio y la expiación de Jesucristo, podemos volver con nuestras familias a el reino celestial de Dios. Yo sé que nosotros misioneros tener le pretección de Dios.

Three Weeks to Colombia

Hola, todo,

We studied preterit, imperfect, and progressive this past week and many things we’ve been saying started making sense for the first time. We’ve started spending part of each day only speaking Spanish, unless we really can’t say what we’re trying to say (which is less often than I expected it to be).

We got to hear from someone you may have heard of at the devotional this past Tuesday. He’s named Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. Familiar? He’s been my favorite speaker since October 2009, when He talked about the Book of Mormon and his testimony. Plus, I had the best seat I’ve had at a devotional since I got here.

We found out this week that our branch president here (a retired stockbroker) is pretty well off. He apparently owns a TV channel and once gave a million wheelchairs to the president of Peru. I hope to be great friends with him.

We had an interesting experience with obedience this week, as well. There has been a club in our zone, started by the district that we replaced when we came here, of gathering pretty much everyone together a couple of nights a week to read original poetry together. I never went, both because I didn’t have time to do that and get to bed on time (and neither did they) and because the instructions we were given when we came here said not to have group gatherings like that without approval from the branch presidency. I wasn’t sure if the presidency had been told or not, and I was afraid to ask. This weekend, however, they found out (they had not been asked, despite rumors that they had; I asked President Watkins to make sure) and forbade the club from meeting or writing poetry except on Preparation Day. There have been unkind feelings toward the presidency because of this, including in my district. Some people don’t respond the same way to authority, I guess.

On a more positive note, I am now in the oldest district in the zone, since the last older one left today. In three weeks, I’ll be going to Colombia.

I just want you to all know that I am already finding joy in the work and looking forward to the time that’s coming up, when I can do some real good. Yo se que in este obra, podemos ayudar otros a venir a Cristo, y encontrar gozo eterna. Yo estudiaba y oraba y yo se que este es la iglesia de Jesucristo, y digo estas cosas en Su nombre, el nombre de Jesucristo, amen.

Les amo mucho, y voy a verles en dos años,

Elder Belyeu

MTC Half-Way Point

Family mine,
Half an hour is such a short amount of time.
On Tuesday Elder Bean and I went to the health clinic here to get his eyes checked again and they sent us directly off to an ophthalmologist, so our district didn’t know where we were all morning. There wasn’t anything really wrong with his eyes, just a mild infection and some dryness, but we lost half the day.
Our zone lost a district this past week, another leaves today and tomorrow, and the last one older than us leaves next Monday, so we’re old now. We have a new district leader (Elder Ridley, the old DL’s companion), since we reached our halfway mark yesterday, and since the zone leaders are leaving tomorrow new ones were called from the district younger than us that came a week and a half ago.
Yesterday we had a fireside with President Heaten, who was in my Stake presidency at BYU last year. He’s the Administrative Director of the Provo MTC and helped develop Preach My Gospel. He’s very involved in the pilot program I’m in, or at least that’s the impression I got.
We’re doing laundry early again today (earlier than we’re really supposed to) because Elder Bean has yet another eye appointment; hopefully he’ll get his prescription today.
This week we are starting the Spanish-heavy portion of our MTC time, finally learning the grammar principles behind some of the stuff we have been doing all along.
Other stuff, I don’t really remember what days I’m getting dearelder letters, but I haven’t gotten any so far today. I think that if you send one on a week day, I get it the next day, but I’m not sure.
No hay tiempo a escribir in Español hoy, pero yo sé que soy in el trabajo de Dios. La iglesia es verdadera, prometo.
Amo,
Elder Belyeu

Christmas at the MTC

Dear Family,

Time is incredibly short for emailing. I’m trying to find a way to email pictures, but no success so far. I got the Christmas box, with good things to eat, and the mp3 player. I don’t have the charger for the mp3 player, though.

Elder Bean and I took part in the first ever companion exchange in the MTC (for missionaries in training, that is). I spent all day on the day before Christmas Eve with Elder Glad, who is in our zone but not in our district. He is three weeks ahead of me in Spanish, so I had no idea what was going on during the lessons we taught together. Elder Bean spent the day with Elder Juhaz in their district/classroom. It was stressful, but we learned a little.

We had a half day of classes on Christmas Eve and a fireside, then no classes Christmas Day with a talent show (everything from an elder/magician turning five dollars into five twenties with the camera right on him, to a group of Ukrainian and Russian elders singing “You Missionedy Now,” to a Lady Gaga song, as well as regular singing, music, Mongolian dancers, and much more). After the talent show, we took a break for lunch and then heard from Elder Russell M. Nelson, who spoke three times over Christmas and yesterday. On Christmas Day itself, we exchanged cheap gifts between district members and then played with Elder Smith’s new tape recorder, which his girlfriend sent him. We recorded messages to send her and mine was voted second best (long story involving an armadillo and a southern accent).

Last night we heard from the managing director of the mission department, who used to work for the Church’s ad program. He showed us clips of old LDS adds and let us take off our jackets in the meeting, winning our eternal affection. He announced that President Smith, the current MTC president, will be gone in two weeks. I hate to lose President Clegg, one of his counselors, who last week at a devotional showed us a video of his assistance at the conversion of a major basketball player. He an amusing and powerful man, both at once.

A BYU student ward bishop performed over an hour of memorized acting for the story of Willard Richards, who witnessed the murder of Joseph Smith, and a couple of older MTC workers (one of whom is now the MTC president in the Phillippines) performed “A Christmas Carol”.

Kent Coble, one of the people I met in Brazilian Jui-Jitzu class at BYU, left today to go to the Phillippines. I have a picture of him I would like to send if I can figure out how.

I wish you could have seen my reaction when I heard the news about Bro. Foshee’s decision to be baptized. I don’t have enough time to communicate my excitement, but there’s lots of it.

Love to everyone, and hope you are well (I have a cold, but I can’t share it with you). And goodbye,
Elder Belyeu

Second Week in the MTC

Dear Family,

I still am not able to send pictures (forgot to bring my camera to the computer this time, so I can’t even try). You can use whatever pictures you have, I guess, and I’ll send more when I can. The inside of the MTC is boring, the outside is decorated, and I have pictures of both. I’ll make sure I have a picture of the nativity out front to send eventually.

I don’t remember if I said before, but we got to hear from the BYU Mens Chorus last week and we’ll probably have an apostle this week for Christmas.

I miss you all, but I’m doing well. My comp and I taught a lesson to a member of our branch presidency yesterday as a role play-test and he said we did very well. It’s much easier to teach in English than in Spanish. My branch presidency is great, my teachers are crazy, all is well. None of our teachers have been to Colombia, unfortunately, but oh, well. We’ll learn Colombia separately from Spanish.

The Colombian elder I knew from BYU classes is Gianluca Cuestas. I just got done talking to him here in the laundry room; he’s leaving for West Africa today. Add him for me on FB if you can, por favor.

I have a hymnbook in Spanish that another elder gave me, so don’t worry about sending another. I found everything I thought I had forgotten, tie, etc. I’m not allowed to use the MP3 player in the MTC, so there’s no rush to send it to me.

I haven’t read any of my mail and I’ve already used a third of my time.

I don’t have enough time to write here, but I know I’m in the right place. The Spirit is very strong here. I spend each week working up to a level of tension and tiredness that drives me nuts, and then on Sundays through Mondays, things improve again. There’s lots I want to say, but I don’t have time.

Love, Jon

Address at the MTC

Elder J. Belyeu will be at the Provo MTC (Missionary Training Center) until February 2011. While he’s there, the easiest way to write to him is to use the Dear Elder website.   http://www.dearelder.com/index/ This website provides free overnight mail to the Provo MTC from anywhere in the world.

To use this website, follow the link provided and click “Write a Letter.” Select “Provo MTC–Free” in the drop-down box. His address is: Elder Jonathan Belyeu, MTC Box # 237, Colombia, Barranquilla Mission, Estimated Departure Date: Feb. 7, 2011.

First Letter Home

I was able to get together with all but one of my erstwhile roommates on Tuesday, which I had really hoped to be able to do. Too bad Ryan wasn’t there, but he is still in Texas.

I went into the MTC Wednesday, almost on time, and started studying almost at once. I don’t seem to be able to send pictures from this computer. (It’s in the laundry room and may have more restricted access than others.) I also don’t think I have any pictures from inside the MTC yet. It’s as boring-looking as everyone said. I do have some from a walk around the temple yesterday. I’ve met a couple of friends from BYU already, one going to the Philippines, another to West Africa. The one going to West Africa is from Bogotá, Colombia, which I didn´t know before.

Spanish is coming well enough, I guess, although I´m impatient. Mainly, the MTC is spiritual. I have felt the Spirit many times already. I know I´m in the right place, doing the right thing.

The district: My comp is Elder Bean, from Idaho, my other roommates are the district leader, Elder Maughan (pronounced “mon”, he’s a little older) from Provo, and Elder Ridly, from Marrietta, California. There are also Elders Smith & Kimball, and Elders Palmer & Beck. I am the junior companion for half of our time here, then senior.

I’m about out of time.

I got several compliments on the brown tie Sister Jones made when I wore it on the plane, but I think I left it at Jason’s. I have also gotten compliments on the other one she made. I have a Spanish hymnbook (Elder Palmer had an extra), and I obtained some oil for blessings. All is well, I love you all, and the Church is true, I promise.

Love, Elder J. Belyeu