Tag Archives: Training

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

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.

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

Sleeping on the floor in Cartagena, Colombia

This week something happened here, so I`ve got stuff to say. I`m not in Paraiso anymore. I got transferred out to La Victoria, Cartagena, estaca Los Alpes. I was in Los Alpes before, in Nuevo Bosque, which actually touches my new area, so I know the area. It was the area with sister missionaries, but they were pulled out when I left Cartagena the first time, six months ago. The area`s been closed since then and the ward is really excited to have missionaries again. The mission leader is great and all of the members are supporting us. We`ve already been able to find a few new investigatores and we have a few baptisms on date for next month. I feel re-energized and ready to work again, after six months in the richest area in the mission.

Obviously, I`ve changed assignments as well. I`m not a zone leader now. I`m district leader, of a six-elder district, and I`ll finally be able to test the stuff I told the DLs in Barranquilla. I also have a new companion, Elder Rodriguez, from Bogotà. He´s fairly new in the mission (he has almost a week in the mission). And yes, I am training.
Three things I`ve never done before at once, be DL, open an area, and train. I was really nervous at first, but Elder Rodriguez is great. His dad is a bishop in Bogotà and it seems to me that he not only understands the missionary purpose but also the doctrine and he`s ready to work hard. He´s also really smart and has already learned the area pretty well. I learn slow and it´s tough to find anything, He is directing the work in the area already. It´s gonna look good because everybody will think that I trained really well, even though it`s just ´cause he`s a power.
The new house is pretty good. It was the house the sisters used before, so it`s well looked-after, although they left a bunch of stuff for cooking that I threw away (weird spices from six months ago). It`s pretty small and we´re sleeping on mattresses on the floor (there are two other elders here who work another area and live in the house, so there ain`t much space), but I`ve done that before and it`s pretty comfortable. The only problem is that we haven`t been able to find a guy with a washing machine to rent us, so we`re washing by hand. It works, though.
I hope you all survive the “drought.” It looks pretty rough, out there. Take care of yourselves and I`ll write in a week,
Chao,
Elder Belù

Rubber Band Guns for Christmas

Another week has come and gone. We had zone leader council this week and leadership training. The president and the assistants were apparently working with the goal of motivating us, and I feel a little more motivated, although not as much as my companion. He`s great and really dedicated. Three of my ex-companions were there as leaders, although one of them finishes the mission in two weeks. If a little Ecuadorian called Alvarado tries to add me on Facebook in a couple of weeks, let him.

We`ve finally found some things that work in the zone. We went from three investigators progressing towards their baptism (that`s an official term, Investigadores Progresando) in the whole zone to 14 in just a week, and from 11 whole attended church to 40. If we keep going like that, we`ll baptize all month in February.
In other news, a member who was baptized while I was with Elder Alvarado attended church for the first time in a month and seems dedicated to the goal of coming back for good.My companion also finally received his Christmas box from his dad, who said during the call that he had tested the product before shipping it. That reminded me of Dad, who always tests toys before giving them to us, but I expected some kind of food, anyway. Turns out that he`s more like Dad than I`d thought. He sent rubber band guns and the zone leaders who stayed in our house fought with them at night after the training with the president. It`s nice to know that the mission is in mature hands. I had to threaten to call the assistants to get them to stop. Then when they all left, we cleaned the house and fought with rubber band guns without them. Hypocrisy is fun.

Thanks for the song lyrics. If you can find them in Spanish, too, it`d be great, but if not, it`s okay. I can at least sing it in English.
Today we lost a lot of time because we had to open the chapel for a kid`s baptism (a member kid) for a branch that`s pretty far out.  We had to stick around because the member who lent us the keys doesn`t trust anybody else with them but us. We did some light shopping while we waited, though.
It`s a shame that Jason and Catherine are moving, but Auburn`s better for a family. They’ll have a little more support. I take it that this means the job didn`t pan out too well, though. Que triste.
Anyway, that`s the weekly report. Escribiremos lueguito.
Chao,
Elder Belù