Tag Archives: Call Home

La semana mia

It`s another holiday in Colombia and the internet site where we`re at closes even earlier than the last time, but I`ve got a few things to say.

First, we found an inactive member last Monday who has been lost for about twenty years. We found her in a slightly miraculous way, which I`ll explain someday, and taught her with her nephew, who went with her to church yesterday. After a week of reading the Book of Mormon, she has already regained her testimony, which she shared with the whole ward in sacrament meeting.
This mission doesn`t send letters to the family because it`s terribly expensive. You`ve receive an email and maybe a call in about a month to let you know about my travel plans to come home. I don`t know much more than you do right now, but I expect to be released around the twentieth of December.
I´d like to know how many people are attending in the branch at home these days. Here, we`re getting better. We had eighty people in the sacrament meeting.
Okay, gotta go,
Chao,
Elder Belú
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Shoes, Socks, and a New Mission

Hi, peoples,

I think you damaged my self-confidence speaking English on Saturday. English isn’t easy today either. I will not write much, entonces.

First, send me a picture of the bathroom after Dad finishes remodeling. It looks pretty bad still in the ones you sent. Second, I haven`t tried my bank card yet, but I can wait a while to buy shoes. I didn`t think to mention it to Dad,but I already changed the sole on one pair of shoes (the leather pair that got wet) and it still serves now and then when I need something dry. I wore them yesterday. It rained again yesterday and we got wet again, but we`re still good. Third, as far as I know, acrylic is for painting and nylon for clothing, but I like good padding for my feet, so whatever you think’s best, Ned. (that part`s for Dad). Maybe half and half socks, if you want. I have used a few thin socks and I like them. ¿How much is it going to cost to send me socks?
Another thought is that the transfer is close and another mission is opening this transfer. Maybe you ought to wait until next month to send, just in case. I don`t think I`m gonna change missions, but you never know.
One spiritual thought: we have had a huge challenge getting the investigators to attend church, because we have church at eight in the morning and Sunday is a business day for a lot of people, but we fasted so four people would attend. We had lost contact with three of them and the fourth had to travel for work, but the fast worked. Two of the three who we had lost arrived without us doing anything, and the one who had to work changed her schedule to attend. In the end, three of the four arrived.
We won, in other words. Now we are going to climb a hill in the sun and take pictures.
Elder Belù

 

Mother’s Day Call Home

Hey, Everybody,
Jon called home this afternoon. We used Skype again, and, just like his calls for Christmas and last Mother’s Day, it was hard. This time the first internet cafe he and his companion visited had a power outage as they tried to start their calls. It took them over an hour to find a shopping mall with functioning internet. By then, his companion’s family had given up on their call. (The companion plans to try again tomorrow.)
Jon struggled to speak to us in English, reverting to Spanish often during the call. Recently a Colombian asked Jon for help with English grammar homework, and it took Jon several readings to understand the question. He doesn’t even have an English-language Bible anymore–he got rid of his English scriptures months ago after they got wet and grew mold. He studies in Spanish and in Portuguese. (He can’t pronounce the Portuguese, but finds that looking at it helps him understand Spanish better.)
The Colombian climate is hot and wet. He says the weather is simple–some days are rainy, some days are sunny, and some days it rains while the sun shines. He walks all day long in water, then comes home and soaks his feet in a bleach solution to prevent fungus infections. He also bathes daily, usually in a proper shower, though he has washed with five liter bags of drinking water at times when the city water was turned off. He says with proper hygiene it’s easy to prevent infections–he hasn’t had any kind of problem with fungus, and his overall health is good. His shoes, on the other hand, are full of holes, and his socks wore out. He asked us to send him American socks for his birthday, and he’s going to buy new shoes there in Colombia.
Jon’s camera still takes pictures, but he can’t send the pictures to us. Hopefully when he gets home we’ll find a way to get them off the camera.
He doesn’t have a cell phone, in fact, very few of the missionaries do. This is a security measure to keep the missionaries from being targeted by robbers. (One set of elders in Barranquilla had their cell phone stolen at gunpoint three weeks in a row.) It’s inconvenient that we didn’t have a way to call him to set up the Skype, but the policy seems to be working–Jon hasn’t been robbed.

He looks fine. We’ve very glad that he kept trying to call us until he got through!

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

Two Transfers

Hi, Family and People,

I´m sorry I forgot to tell ya’ll about the change in p-day. We have p-day in Tuesday when there are transfers and this week was a transfer week. Prayers were answered, by the way; me and my companion are going to stay here. I don´t have much time to write. We`re later starting and I have to set up my skype account. The things that need to be said can be said later.

I did try my card and was able to do a balance check. If you look in the internet account you should be able to see that someone checked the account in Colombia. I think there was a small charge, as well. I want to know how much the charge was, if you can find out.

In related news, there´s been a change in the assignment of money in this mission. We have about fifty bucks a week now, which is a huge amount of money. I don`t foresee problems in living day to day, although if I want to buy big things I`ll need money from home. I don`t want to pull out just a little, though, because they charge the same to pull out five dollars as a hundred. I`d like to pull about a hundred when I remember to, to have on hand.

I`ll be calling home at night, Saturday, I think. We still don`t know exactly. I think I`ll have to call home briefly to organize things and then call with skype the next day.

Reading the letter from Mom made me think of Mark Twain`s ¨Guying the Guides¨. Do a few mean things to them for me, please.

And I rides in taxis frequently. So there.

Other thing, for Dad. I was in the double digit fidgets until just lately. Now I´m old. I`ve got two transfers, now.

Elder Belù