Tag Archives: Investigator

We Learned a Ton

Well, another week has passed. We have had a great week. We learned a ton.

This is because the week started out bad. We had two rough days, Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday night was the change. My companion said he was going to have faith that the investigators would be in the appointments and that they would keep the commitments and dared me to do the same. From that point on, everything went a lot better. It wasn´t perfect, but we were able to have success that we haven´t had in the month we´ve been here.
The guidance from the Spirit got stronger with our faith and several times this week I´ve felt it. I´ll just share one example. We were in Stake conference, hoping that our best new investigator, a college student named José, would finally arrive after missing church the first two Sundays. We waited and waited and he didn´t show, but I felt like it would be all right, and that he´s show up. Elder Herrick said the same thing, that he felt like it would be okay. Later, halfway through the conference, I felt a small impression that I needed to get up and look outside to see if he was there. I shrugged it off, thinking that as missionaries, we need to be good examples of reverence and that if he was there, he would come in. I really didn´t think it was the Spirit.
When the conference ended, we both felt that he was there, somewhere, and that we just hadn´t seen him yet. we went outside to wait for him in the crowd. As soon as we stepped outside, we saw him seated on a garden bench in front of the chapel. He had arrived in the middle of the conference and didn´t have the courage to enter. He basically arrived in the moment when I felt that I should look.
He didn´t enter and I didn´t follow the guidance, but we learned a whole lot more and our confidence in the Lord grew as well. Next time, we won´t blow it.
Also, an interesting note: There aren´t many Indians here in the coast outside a few small towns, so I´ve never had contact with them, but now we´re teaching an Indian woman. She speaks Spanish pretty well and can even read (a little), but it´s a little tough to understand her culture and vice versa. She attended church yesterday, but it looks like she´s going back to her people for a visit this week (probably for a while, to pick coffee). She wears a long white robe all the time, but I don´t know what her tribe is called. I can´t understand when she tells us what her language is called.
Well, that´s my report. Now to answer Mom’s questions:  the name Valledupar has Dupar in it, which I think is French, but Valle is valley. We are in a valley in the mountains (and that´s why it´s a little cooler than Barranquilla. But just a little). We´re still close to the ocean and there´s a river nearby, so there´s still a lot of fish to eat, but I think it is a little more costly.
I guess that´s all, then, and I´m hungry.
hasty lumbego, entonces,

Elder Belú

 

 

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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

Training in Valledupar

Well, I´m now a trainer in Valledupar. My new companion is Elder Herrick, from Wyoming. The Spanish program has improved since I was in the MTC, so his Spanish is pretty good. He´s been in Colombia for five weeks, in the MTC in Bogotá, too, which helps. He´s still learning obviously, but he already understands pretty well.

I haven´t taken any pictures of Valledupar still, but it´s pretty. It´s like the hot version of Provo, with mountains all the way around. The water in the shower every morning comes out cold because it´s melt off from the mountains. That´s great when I´m hot, not as good when I´m not.
We found a person here that the other missionaries left completely ready for baptism. She´s a fifteen year old girl from a part-member inactive family that the other missionaries activated. BTW, one of the missionaries who was here is E. Reyes, who I trained in Cartagena. They left us with a couple of people, although we´re going to have to find a lot more.
I hope you´re all well, then and I´ll be writing in a week.
Chao,
E. Belú

My Week

Well, I survived another week. We had zone leader council this week and a few mid-month transfers, but it was really a tranquil week. We had one full day without going to the office, which we´ve tried to do for a while, but it´s been tough to avoid. The office sucks up time. It´s comfortable (air conditioning, good chairs, church music, etc.) but it doesn´t help the area grow at all.
I bought a small USB memory to back up my camera. It was pretty cheap, twenty-two thousand pesos ($11) and has an 8 gig capacity. Right now it doesn´t seem to work, though. I´ll have to talk to my companion to see if there´s a trick.
Last week was the conference with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland here in Barranquilla. I was right in front of him when he destroyed the erasable marker with the whiteboard in the missionary training meeting. And although it´s been tough to get investigatores to church in this area, one of them arrived and was so impressed by the stake conference that he accepted a baptismal goal for later this month afterward. Elder Holland doésn´t say things that are so different, but the way he says them is pretty impressively different.
I have so little to say. The week seems to have gone really fast. I don´t have my camera with me to send photos. I forgot it in the house.
I think my life has turned boring. I guess we should work harder to have more interesting experiences.
I tried some Brazilian chocolate, bought some oatmeal, and have a papaya waiting for me in the fridge. That is the sum total of the week.
Elder Belú

¡Cambios!

Hi, family,
This week we had transfers. The mission transfer is next week, but for assistants it comes early. Elder Candia is zone leader until the transfer, covering for my new companion. My new companion is an elder who started the mission in my zone when I was ZL. He´s the first Brazilian I really got to know in the mission, and I had always wanted to be his companion, so I´m happy. He´s pretty new in the mission to be assistant, but he´s really smart and ready to do it all.
In preparation for the transfers, we´ve been working pretty late in the office. As part of the effort to improve our area, we´re heading out to visit and then coming back to the office at night to keep working, but it´s going good.
My companion is teaching the district leader how to dance Samba.
Every week we receive a list of the people with a baptismal date scheduled for the next three weeks. Every time, a few people fall through and especially for the first day on the list (this week, for example, that day is today) a lot of people always fall through. This week, 25 people were passed for today and a few fell though, so as a district in the office, we held a group fast for the ones who were still there. Then, after starting the fast, the zone leaders started calling to tell us that more people, who hadn´t been progressing towards baptism, made up their minds, were interviewed, and are going to be baptized today. Normally, about ten to twenty percent of the people fall through in the week, but right now it looks like more people will be baptized than we´d planned (26).
I´m glad to know that the branch is doing well in the missionary effort. Are the missionaries still baptizing like they were last year?
I´m also glad for Chris and his new job. I always thought he´d do well in something like that. He´s always been interested in computer science.
Speaking of school, if you can make the preparations for me, so that I can start BYU in January, it looks like the best option. On the other hand, if that would require a lot of my time here, it would be better if I wait. I´d like it if you can look into it, at least. It´ll be a little more complicated if I enter right away, but if not, I´ll have to wait a long time.
 Anyway, that´s my weekly report. Os amo a todos vosotros,
Chao,
Elder Belú

Plans??

Querida familia,
We had another week, like last week. We are focusing on our area right now, until the transfer, at least, so that it can be a model for the mission next transfer. We still had to do a few things, like send the suggestions so the president can make the transfer plans, but we aren’t having any exchanges until the transfer, the fifteenth.
I don´t really have much to write (again). We have found a few new investigatores, but we haven´t had many who progressed recently. We have been able to motivate one investigator a lot this week and he´ll be in church this Sunday, along with one or two other people (I hope). We´re working with members to try to improve the effectiveness in the lessons, because a lot of people have listened to us recently without going to church. It´s a normal phase in the work, and we hope to have people progressing next week.
As for my post-mission plans, don´t ruin my focus. I dón´t know exactly what I´ll do when I get back, but I guess there´s a need for plans. I need to know how much money there will be in my account when I get back. If you can answer today and early, I can check my mail and it´ll be easier for me to decide.
I will think about it and let you know next week. It would also be nice to know about the spring and summer terms (prices and when they start).
BTW, the others here in the office want a campground like that one Cassie went to for girls’ camp.
Chao,
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

New Responsibilities, New Schedule, New Shoes

Hewo,
I think every week will be more interesting from now on. This week we had zone leader council, and I had to give a message and note the commitments of all the zones. We stayed in the office until twelve-thirty the night before revising the mission rulebook, but we also ate pizza with the president as part of the process, so it worked out.
We went to the wedding of a member who is returning to the church and his girlfriend, who is an investigator. Their son was baptized last week and she will be baptized today. Even though we´re assistants, the work is going well in the area. We plan to go to Cartagena and work with the zone leaders in the two zones there next week, so that should provide more fun and excitement.
The schedule of the missionaries in the office is different from the schedule in the rest of the mission. We work in the office until three in the afternoon and then leave to work in our area, unless we have extra work to do in the office. Monday is a regular work day, and Saturday is p-day, because the office has to work with a lot of things that run a regular schedule, so Monday doesn´t work.
If I send my card from the camera, I can´t take more pictures. I plan on baptizing a lot more after Elder Espinosa leaves as well, so I´m reluctant to do that.
I bought my new shoes. They were fifty-five thousand pesos, or about thirty bucks. The quality isn´t great, but it´s not bad either, and they look good. In the office I´min a lot more contact with Hermana Gaviria and she focuses a lot on the missionary image, which is frequently bad in the mission. If you sweat all day every day, your shirt doesn´t stay very white, and your shoes don´t look very pretty if you walk all day every day. I´m trying to be a good example of how things ought to be.
We plan on sleeping today in p-day. I´m exhausted after transfers and the leadership meeting, but for this wise purpose exists p-day.
Congrats to Chris for (apparently) having done a good job.
Love you all and que estén bién,
Elder Belú
I.D.
Elder Alvarado, who trained me as Zone Leader last year, wrote me from home in Ecuador. He is doing quite well and is planning his marriage for next year with a returned sister missionary. They´re planning on being mission presidents together.

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