Tag Archives: Barranquilla Colombia

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
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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

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.

Can you buy sunscreen in Barranquilla?

Jon,
I’m getting questions from moms about what new elders should pack for Barranquilla.
Can you buy sunscreen in your mission?
Do you have mosquito netting?
Is Dengue fever (the mosquito borne illness) a danger in Colombia?
How often do you wear your suits?
Also, some elders have lost quite a bit of weight in the mission field. Have you noticed that in Barranquilla?
Some missionaries take mink oil to protect the leather in their shoes from all the water. I bet it would have helped yours last longer!
Mom
I don´t have much time to write today. I arrived this morning in Barranquilla after working with the zone in Santa Marta the last two days and they informed me that today was the going away party for the missionaries who are going to the new mission (Medellin, Colombia). Two of them are secretaries in the office, so we played soccer with the president and ate lunch with his family. We finished late, so there´s not much time.
Answers: you can buy sunscreen without any problem in Barranquilla or any other city in the mission. They give us mosquito netting but everyone hates it. I´ve never had dengue fever, but theýre always warning us about it. Thee´s nothing we can do, the mosquitoes bite us every day; there´s just never a problem. As ZL, I wore my suit about once a month. Before that, even less. Finally, the majority of the missionaries put on weight. A few gain drastically. The diet here includes a lot of rice and grease.
I help that hopes!
Elder Belyeu
PS
Ánd I´ll write more next time. Sorry, I´m just late!

Feeling Lazy

I feel way too lazy to write home today. I was in Cartagena almost all week, working with three companionships there (the LZs, and two companionships).  It felt weird. I was in the other zone, the one where I´ve never worked, but it´s a lot like where I have always been in Los Alpes, Cartagena.
I´m in Barranquilla again today, though and things are more normal. I saw the pictures you sent and showed everybody the blueberries mom picked. I hadn´t seen blueberries in a long time. They look good, but the flavor isn´t the same electronically. I guess I´ll wait a while.

There´s a new rule that only members of the immediate family can write to this email. Even grandparents and cousins have to write with dearelder. That would be annoying if I was anywhere else in the mission, but here it´ll arrive without problems  (dearelder is slow for everybody else). I can´t answer directly anymore, though. Tell Misty thanks, BTW.

All of these rules come from the problems that the mission has had with disobedience. I used to think they were excessive, but now I know about some of the problems and it makes more sense. It really doesn´t matter.
Anyway, I´m alive and will be writing again next week. If I feel like it.
Os amo a todos,

Elder Belyeu

Socks, Shoes, and Shirts

Hi, people,
This week we started the real work of an assistant. We started arriving, by surprise, in missionaries´ houses and working with them. I worked with two companionships and my companion with two others. It´s a good way to motivate the missionaries and train them, although in a Zone Leader companionship I felt a little out of my league, or at least not sufficiently prepared to be able to train them. I did anyway, but it felt strange training zone leaders.
Next week we´re going to travel to other cities to do the same. The whole mission was going well until the week I arrived in the office, and then suddenly backslid. There were less baptisms in the mission last week than any week this year, but with a lot of follow up and work, things look better already.
This morning my package arrived from home, with nine pairs of beautiful socks and some Skittles. I never thought that new socks would make me so happy. I´m returning to decency again, with new shoes and new socks. I´m thinking about buying a couple of shirts, too, because the ones I have are all a little yellow. I know where to buy quality shirts, but they´re a little pricey (about twenty bucks). I´m thinking still. I also want a miniature copy of Preach My Gospel, which I can buy here but it´s about twenty five bucks. It would help a lot now, because when I have to travel to have splits with missionaries outside of Barranquilla, the copy I have is pretty inconveniente.
I´ll keep thinking about it. I still a about $90,000 in money from home, so there isn´t any great need right now. I´m pretty sure I´m going to buy the PME next week, which will also make me very happy.
I have pictures of the last two baptisms to send, but they´re in the other computer (I´m writing from the office), so I´m send them later.  I´m doing good, though, and will be writing in a week.
Elder Belú