Tag Archives: Transfers

Y otra semana

Hello, people,

You asked about my classes for next semester. I have no idea what to take. I´m interested in a Portuguese course, so you can research that if you want. Other than that, I have no idea. I had hoped that during the mission I would find something that would click as a major, and it hasn´t happened.

You asked about strays. There are more strays in one Colombian city than in all of Alabama. The dog packs don´t threaten people, but they´re always around. The pictures you sent of the strays at home didn´t get here, though. Maybe there were too many?

This week was the transfer and we weren´t touched. I´ll be staying here in Valledupar until the end, barring some mid-month surprise. Speaking of which, I doubt the itinerary you received is correct. I´ve seen a lot of travel plans and the flights are always on Thursdays. It also seems highly unlikely that I´ll be passing by Dallas between Colombia and Alabama, since I´d have to basically fly over Alabama to get there. You never know though, and it´d be great.
Has Rachel still not received her call? A sister in our ward here sent in her papers the week after Rachel and got her call last week, for Ecuador. Don´t forget to tell me when it comes.
I got the letter from Jason, (once) and I´m glad his career is going well. It´s a shame he has to move, especially to a Yankee place, but I know he can handle it.
I also am thinking about buying a new suit, but I haven´t decided. Mine has little holes worn in the belt loops, but aside from that it´s still in good shape. I might be able to get it repaired in the states. Here I can get a name-brand suit for about one-twenty, but I really don´t know how good the quality is. Suggestions?

Ok, ya, chao,

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.
E. Belú

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).
Elder Belú


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,
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.


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

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.

New Responsibilities

Hi, peoples,
I´m sorry I didn´t write on Monday. My p-day was changed without warning to Friday, and then yesterday it was changed again to today. I finally caught up to it, though, so here I am, communicating again.
Last week we had the zone conference in Cartagena, with the two Cartagena zones. President Gaviria and the assistant, Elder Candia, were there. Elder Maughan, from my group in the MTC, was assistant up til last week, but the transfer was close and he left the office after six months assisting. He´s in the area where I started the mission now, zone leader in the zone where I started, and when the other mission (Medellin) opens in a month, he´ll be transferred to the other mission. President Gaviria has recommended him as AP in the new mission.
After the conference in Cartagena, my companion asked the president a question (about a pink tie he wasn´t sure if he could wear) and then we started to leave. The president told me to wait and finished what he was doing, then pulled me off alone to a part of the chapel where there wasn´t anybody and called Elder Candia, too. In moments like this in the mission, one will always think first in the condition of your conscience and then of your family. When he said that Elder Candia had something to tell me, I thought you were all dead.
Turns out that you´re not dead and I´m Elder Candia´s new companion. He went to the house where I was living in Cartagena for the night and we headed out Saturday morning for Barranquilla. We arrived and immediately had to make a lot of last-minute changes in the organization of the mission for the transfer and then the actual transfer. I didn´t sleep much or teach much for the first couple of days, but the rush is over and was pretty fun for a couple of days. I dídn´t think I´d be able to help much for the first few day, but I know the majority of the missionaries and the mission, so I could help a little.
Anyway, that´s my weird week. If I stop writing for a week here or there, don´t worry. The assistants have to travel fairly often on p-day, so that doesn´t mean that something has gone wrong. Elder Candia is a great teacher and will help me to learn a lot, so I´m pretty excited. I have learned the difference between humility and fear of leadership, so this assignment will be a great learning experience.
Love you all and that you may be well.
Elder Belú
One last thing. I´m pretty sure I´m gonna be here for a while, so you can send things if you want. I also have to buy a few things because the norms for APs are a little higher. My old shoes don´t work for conferences.
OK, chao,

Elder Belú

Semana nueva, vida nueva

This week we baptized again. Things are going extremely well in La Victoria. El Presidente Gaviria has started to send out a list of the companionships with the most baptisms every month and my companion and I made the first list of nine companionships, with four baptisms in February. The ward has been great here with referrals and the people are fulfilling commitments. It`s not easy, but things are going great. We are hoping to have at least one baptism every week this month, although we might put one off so a whole family can be baptized at once.

It`s great that you`re “enjoying” the weather and tornadoes at home, but I think it`d be better if it was a little calmer. You might try hurricanes for a few months for variety. It also might be a good a idea to finish up the storm cellar.

This past week we had the transfer, but I`m still in the same area with the same companion. I`ll probably be here for a lot longer, since I`ve always stayed in every area for a long time. I hope so, anyway. Elder Maclelland finished the mission and Elder Brown arrived in his place. It`s a little strange here, but there`s almost always a gringo around me. It`s okay by me, since his falls well with me.

I don`t know what else to say. We went to the touristy part of Cartagena last week with Elder Maclelland. He bought touristy crud and then we found out that it`s not worth what he paid. I think I`ll want to buy a few things when I leave, too, but not for a while. They have cool hammocks here.

Anyway, that`s my story and I`m sticking to it.

Nos escribiremos lueguito, pues,

chao, E

Elder Belù

Not Much Basketball in Colombia

Dear Family,

I don´t have time to write much  today. We had an zone activity and used all the time taking pictures in the temple lot and playing basketball (more or less. Latins don´t play much basketball). I´ll send those pictures when I have time, but no idea when.

Things to know: this week is the transfer and I´m pretty sure my comp´s leaving. I´m staying here and training a new Zone Leader, I think.
I´m excited for the growth in the branch and look forward to the news that Dad´s the new bishop in the Alexander City Ward.
It´s possible that Jordan Walser is still in Arcadia apartments. He was finishing up his master´s and I completely lost track of time. Or Mark McKnight´s brother might be there, but I really have no idea. It´s a pretty weak connection, too.
I can´t say it´s a surprise that Chris was accepted by BYU, alhough congratulations. Hope he ends up in the MTC, so he can get me a job.
Anyway, more photos when I can,
Elder Belú

The Streets of Colombia

Hi, peoples,
I have another new cousin? Que chevere! Gracias por comunicarmelo!
To answer Mom’s questions about Colombia, the streets aren´t very clean. There are places where the people have serious money and things are almost the same as the states, but the normal is dirty (the grey water dumps directly in the street). There were always hundreds of pigs in the mud in my first area, but where I am now is the richest part of the richest city in the coast. Not so many pigs.
There is a lot of pop culture. The signs in the stores have Pitúfos (I hear that there are Pitúfos in the states, but I never saw one) and Shrek. Shakira is obviously big news, too. There´s also a lot of stuff from the rap culture and the Colombian version of rap is pretty close to rap. Vallenato, Salsa, Regatón, and Champeta are bigger, though.
My week has been normal. Í´m really learning my area, now, and we´re having comp. exchanges more than before). Elder Palma is still with us, probably until tomorrow (there are midmonth transfers scheduled for tomorrow. I think it´s pretty likely that my companion Elder Alvarado is getting transferred this time, too). It´ll be nice to get out of the trio. I really don´t like working like this, because only two missionaries can teach in one lesson without ignoring the investigator.
One the other hand, new investigators attended church and enjoyed it. The work is going well in our area, just not in the zone. We´ve got three families that we´ve teaching, plus a few other people here and there.
Anyway, that´s the weekly report from Colombia. Love you all and I´m thinking of you, at least once every day.
Elder Belú