Tag Archives: Argentina

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

Elder “Obama” in Cartagena, Colombia

Hi, peoples,

This week was the transfer. My trainee is now in Puerto Colombia, Barranquilla, training. There is a new program, in which the new missionary has a special study hour almost every day for two transfers. Elder Rodriguez is training a new missionary in the second half of the program, He`s going to be in leadership real soon, going like that. Of the last two trainers in that area, one finished the mission there and went home, the other is Assistant now.
I`m training again, too. My companion is from Argentina. He was inactive for years, returned to the church a year ago, baptized his dad a month ago, and is excited to be here, even though he`s from Nuequen, in La Patagonia, and the climate is way different.

The visit of the Presidente of the US is one of the most important things that have ever happened in Cartagena. Several people have called me Obama in the street and one of the members who is returning to the church tells me every time he sees me that Obama is the best president in the world because he`s black. The idea that there`s more to it than skin color hasn`t occurred to him yet. I hadn`t heard about any kind of problem with the summit, but I`m not sure if what you explained about a scandal would be newsworthy, here.

 With Joseph`s ACT, remember that I was sure I had failed horribly both times. Maybe after seeing the results he’ll feel better. Speaking of results, did you say that Chris is already a sophomore? He hasn`t even finished the first semester yet, has he? If he has, how did it go?
Anyway, that`s that. I`m in Cartagena, but far from international summit meetings, and everything continues almost like normal.
Os amo a vosotros,
 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

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

Same Zone, New Companion

Hi, famibly,

Please pass on congratulations to Cliff. I didn´t see anything that refers to the language, but I´m assuming that he´ll speak Ukrainian. After the mission, he´ll be able to do anything he wants to with languages. After learning that one, I’m sure others are easy. Chris knows, I guess.

I´m with a new companion, Elder Zurita from Argentina. It´s the first time I´ve repeated a Latin country, my other Latin companions have all been from different countries. He`s a zone leader from the most successful zone in the mission, maybe here to improve our work a little. A lot of the missionaries in this zone are a little depressed because the zone is rich and famous for not baptizing, although in my experience it´s just another kind of work that we need to do here with members instead of just knocking doors. A few companionships are showing that there is success to be had here, we just need to convince the rest of them.

Elder Zurita is from a branch like ours, and like ours it´s becoming very successful during his mission. His is a little more advanced, with baptisms every week now, but we´re just starting. Help the missionaries. They need it.

With the question from the blog, firstly, I think I know the son who just got here. It might very well be Elder Davidson, who is here my zone. His companion is an incredible missionary and they´re in a great ward. They don´t have air-conditioning and never will in the mission. The assistants don´t have it, except when they´re actually in the office. We adjust fast, though. I´m really cold when the temperature drops into what I think are the seventies.

There aren´t many gringos in the mission, but there are a few. In the zone, there are twenty-one missionaries and six are from the states. That´s pretty weird, here, with so many. I´ve been one of two in almost every zone where I´ve worked.

Anyway, I´m okay and things are going smooth. Y ya.

Elder Belú

Transfers

Hi, people,

My mini-missionary is gone. The zone leaders received word of more mid-month transfers last night and he left this morning. I`m now with one of the missionaries who was in the office in Barranquilla. He`s Argentino, so he`s a little hard to understand, but he was in the office seven months and really wants to work.

I`ve had three companions now this transfer, and have had more companions in the mission than transfers. They`ve all been good comps, though, so no complaints.

This week one of our investigators disappeared for a few days. He didn`t show up for an appointment and didn`t answer his phone. I almost let him go, since he lives kind of far away, but last night I felt like we needed to find him. We walked out to where he lives (not too far, about 25 minutes walking fast) and found him in the house. His phone quit and he had to change numbers, but he`s okay and excited again.

It seems like things keep going like they`re going. Mid-month transfers are normal for me now. It`s a little hard to say that I`m twenty, when I introduce myself in lessons, but that`ll get old.

I`m junior companion again. I never really changed, on paper, but I was basically senior comp for a while. I didn`t like the pressure, but I think my self-confidence improved. I know now that I can be a missionary without adult supervision, although maybe not a terribly effective one (I just haven`t been able to find a lot of new investigators, a common problem, but I don`t like it). I just keep thinking about what Elder Jenson did and how successful he was. I think he`s still the best missionary I`ve met, and I learned a ton from him.

I think I`ll be leaving the area in two weeks (the transfer when Chris finishes, que trunki), and getting another new comp. That means 6 companions in just over 4 transfers (right now I`m with 5 comps in almost 4 transfers, not much different). On the other hand, I`m never with a companion for so long that his habits annoy me. Pluses.

Anyway, that`s what`s happening with me.

Much love, and stuff like that,

Elder Belù

Here are pictures of Ruben Garcìa and a quick picture of Elder Pastràn, taken here in the internet site. I want to send the pictures of Ruben to Ruben, but I forgot his email address in the house, so it`ll have to wait until next week.

Elder Pastràn

Ruben Garcìa

I Like to Eat Eat Eat Apples and Bananas. . .

Hi, people,
This week has actually been different. We went to Barranquilla on Wednesday and had a multi-zone conference with the Area President, Elder Nash (a gringo from Ohio). He talked about a lot of things, for example the need to commit investigators. It was powerful.

We had plans to have a baptism this week, but he wasn´t ready. I feel kind of bad, because we didn´t prepare him very well, but we couldn’t have known about some of his problems (and he´s tough to find). Those are great excuses, I think.

Following the advice we received from Elder Nash, we committed a sister who´s been attending church for a couple of months to be baptized. It´s tough to change people when they haven´t accepted a date for a long time, but she listened.

It´s been a good week in setting dates for baptisms, but pretty bad in all the numbers we report.

Sounds like Mom’s school is going well.  I read some stuff about bugs you wrote, but it doesn´t make sense. How fun. I´ll share the data about people-eating parasites with my comp, he´ll love it.

Grandpa sent me a letter about a trip to Argentina. I look forward to traveling a little after the mission, too. The world opens up when you leave the States and learn a language. I´d feel comfortable in a lot of countries, now.

We had a successful English class this week for the first time, with about forty people, including several investigators and a few new people. We taught the bishop to sing ¨I like to eat eat eat apples and bananas¨ to practice the sounds and now he´s doing it so much that his wife´s going nuts. That´s success.

In church yesterday we had twelve investigators and a few nonmembers who don´t count because they´re not progressing or haven´t talked to us. We usually have six or eight.

One of the people who was supposed to give a talk didn´t show, so during one talk the bishop had a gopher fetch me from my seat, assigned me a topic, we sang a rest hymn, and I talked. That´s never happened to me before, but it was really easy. I went over time, about ten minutes. We study the gospel with the goal of teaching so much that when the chance comes to teach, we can teach. It works.

A counselor in the bishopric referred to my talk afterward, as the talk of Elder Behú, my companion being Elder Jen.

Anyhow, that´s my week. It´s always good to read about what´s going on at home, so keep writing.

Elder Behú