Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Week 12 in Piamonte

Week #53
I get to stay another transfer in Piamonte! There were no transfers in our district, but the zone leaders told me I had to look for a new apartment again, so let the search begin! We have already seen a few that are nice, just a little small.
This week was crazy for us. We didn't manage to have many lessons before Friday, because we couldn't find anybody at home. It was madness. Here they celebrate Christmas eve more than Christmas, or at least the celebration takes place more on the 24th and not the 25th. On the 24th at midnight, ´el niño dios´ comes and gives the kids presents, not Santa. So that's different. On the 24th we visited members, and we ate way too much food. I got home absolutely stuffed. I'm surprised I didn't throw up. wow. it was so much food. 
On the 25th we went to a stake center to meet up with all the missionaries in Bogotá, and we had breakfast. Then President talked to us about our attitude and how we can make things happen if we have a positive, determined attitude. Then we came home, and I got to Skype home, which rocked. I think that was the fastest hour of my mission. 
On Friday we were able to visit a member family, and gave them a copy of the ´my family´ pamphlet the church made to start family history. They were super excited, and it really got the dad excited to do his family history. Its always been kind of hard to get the dad excited and involved in church thing, I suppose the spirit of Elias is real. On Friday we also had a lesson with Lourdes and her husband. We found Lourdes about 2 weeks ago, and we finally had a lesson with her and her husband. They are married, and he was actually super cool. They both told us theyd come to church this Sunday. Its great teaching families.
On Saturday we had a district activity in the morning. We all had breakfast together, and then went to public places that are more or less shared between our 3 areas, and contacted the people who passed by- except when we contacted, we did it one by one, not with our companions. Don't worry- we were never alone, always close to our companions, but we were talking to other people. It was cool, because I always had to be talking to someone. I couldn't just stand around, or id look like a fool. Well, maybe I looked like a fool anyways, talking to every stranger that passed by. I felt really good with the activity, and working hard felt good. We had a bunch of lessons with less active families on Saturday as well, including one we found on Tuesday. Only the dad is a member, and his wife and kids are really open and friendly. So we found 2 new families this week. 
On Sunday we had 3 investigators in the chapel. William, Lourdes. and Ximena (whose sister is a recent convert). The 3 really liked church, and our gospel principles class was really great. The teacher showed the ´he is the gift´ video, and everyone we talked to after said they really liked it. 
So this week went quite well. I cant complain. My companion and I have decided that every day we will start visiting members of the church to give a 5 minute message, and ask for references. We aren't expecting much for this first week, but we hope that as we pass by weekly with people, they will realize that we need their help, and they will begin to trust in us more. 
I know that Christ lives. I know he loves me, and each one of you. I know that through he Atonement of Jesus Christ we can change and be free. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, as Abraham, Moses and Noah were. 
Thanks so much for reading!
Elder Beck

Christmas Skype

Week 11 in Piamonte

Week #52
Merry Christmas everyone!
Well, this week was pretty normal as far as the work went, but we had some special events to start out the week. 
On Monday we went to the central stake center here, and we had a Christmas devotional with President and a dinner as well. The food was really good. All of the Elders in Bogotá went, so I got to see a lot of old companions and friends. 
On Tuesday there were transfers in the mission, but our district stayed the same. I suppose President decided to do them before Christmas. Elder Bittner, my companion from the MTC went to Leticia! Its the city in the jungle, that borders Brazil and Peru. You can only get there by plane. So that was fun news! On Tuesday we went back to the stake center for a training with President. I liked his focus, on our progression, and helping us know how we can work more effectively. 
On Wednesday we had 4 lessons, which was great. We got to see all of our investigators, and everyone is doing well. 
On Thursday I hit the year mark! That was strange. To think that half of the time I have here is gone, it freaks me out. 
This week William came to church, and in priesthood at the end of the class, the teacher thanked him for coming, and he said he was really grateful to be there, and that he was decided to be firm in coming throughout the new year. 
On Sunday morning we were really only expecting William to come to church, but I prayed that somebody we weren't expecting would come. And when we got to the second hour, I realized a member had brought her sister, who lives in our area, so I was pleasantly surprised, and my prayer was answered. So that was a really cool experience. 
This week I spent a lot of time in my studies focused on learning more about the Holy Ghost, and how he works with me. I read a great talk by David A Bednar, which said that in the confirmation, the words ´receive the Holy Ghost` commands the person to do all things possible in their lives to receive the Holy Ghost, not just passive allow him to enter our lives, but to work to invite him. I really liked that talk. 
So that was pretty much our week. Im really happy here with my area and my companion. I have hope, and know that things will go well. In know that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. He is why we have Christmas, to celebrate that God sent us Salvation, the greatest gift that has been given to mankind. 
Thanks so much for reading
Elder Beck
Pictures: us with William, William and his son, and the district
Helaman 10:17, 1 Nephi 16:28

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 10 in Piamonte

Week #51
Well, this week was a lot of fun, it went well, and the work here is progressing. 
So I forgot to say last time that after church last Sunday, William said he wanted more time to be baptized, and didn't feel good with a baptismal date for the 28th. So I suppose Ill start off with what has happened with William. We were only able to visit him once this week, and we taught him about the Word of Wisdom. It went well, he understood the commandment, and was completely willing to make changes in his life. So Sunday morning we swung by his house and took him to church. I was surprised at how mobile he is, although he is in a wheelchair. So when we got to church, we arrived a little early. I was sitting next to William, and he asked me if he could go work a bit after church. I told him he could, it was his choice, but I explained that the Bible explains very clearly that on the Sabbath Day we shouldn't work. He just said okay, we have to obey. He hadn't worked all week, and his work is selling trash bags and candies outside a supermarket. So we passed by where he normally sets up Sunday afternoon, and wasn't there. Its great to find people that are willing to obey Gods commandments. 
So things with Liliana this week were pretty much the same as last week. We watched the Joseph Smith movie with her. She said she liked it, but it was really sad all the sacrifices the early saints made. So since she didn't come to church last week, she needs to attend once more to be baptized, but she leaves on Thursday for a far-away town, where the church doesn't exist. So, I called the mission president to get his permission that we could baptize and confirm her after church. He said yes, that our bishop would just have to approve it. The sad part is that she didn't come to church. she got stuck at home with her 2 year old son, and her sister´s 2 kids as well, and didn't have a way to transport them to the chapel. We passed by her house on Sunday night to see what had happened, and she said there is a possibility she wont even leave on Thursday because she might not get the money she needs. So who knows what will happen. 
On Friday we were walking through a park in between appointments, and I saw a man sitting on a bench. Something told me to talk to him, but I couldn't. I don't know what happened. So as we passed by, I just said hi to him. When he responded my companion stopped to contact him, and I felt so relieved. We talked to him for about 5 minuted, ans set an appointment for Sunday. On Sunday when we got to his house, his 8 year old son answered the door and told us he wasn't home. He told us he didn't know where he was, what he was doing, or when he would get back. That kind of thing happened A LOT. Little kids answer the door and tell us their parents aren't home, or cant let us in. And most of the time were pretty sure we aren't being told the truth, so its fun. Sometimes I even tell the kids to go ask their mom or dad when we can come back, and they go to ask, even though they're ´not home´. So that's always fun.
People are getting into the Christmas season here. Christmas lights, and decorations are everywhere. Most people have big nativity scenes in their houses, that can be very intricate. Its a lot of fun. 
We had a lot of appointments fall through this week, and we have seen lots of opposition, but im happy. Our key indicators are really low, but I know we are doing all we can. We are coming to the conclusion that we need to find and reactivate the less active members, because why would the Lord give us new people, if we cant keep the ones in who we already have been given. So it'll be off to the rescue.
Not much else has happened this week. If anyone hasn't seen the ´He is the Gift´ video from the church, you need to go watch it now. It is really special. 
I know that God lives, and that Christ is his Son. I know that we can improve, that Christ´s atonement makes all things for us possible. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, just like the bible. 
Thanks so much for reading, merry Christmas. 
Elder Beck

scriptures I liked this week:
Alma 31:31
Ephesians 2:12
Mosiah 27:25

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Week 9 in Piamonte

Week #50
Well, this week went alright. It began with high hopes, and ended a little lower, but things are improving a lot here!
Last Monday we had a lesson with a newer investigator, William. He is great, and wants to be baptized. At the end of the lesson he accepted a baptismal date for the 27th of December. Were pretty excited, its just tough teaching him, because he doesn't really understand everything we teach him, but that's alright. 
On Tuesday we had exchanges with our district leader, and I was with Elder Bailon from Ecuador. He only has 4 months in the mission, but he is really on it. We went looking for less active members, and we actually had a lot of success. We probably found 5 houses that actually exist, and that are the correct addresses. We also had a lesson with Liliana, where she told us she would be staying for about 2 weeks more, and accepted a baptismal date for the 13th! I was so excited. So all she had to do was come to church and she was good to go!
On Wednesday we had a lot of plans, and they mostly all fell thru. We only had lessons with less actives, and recent converts. Its kind of a bummer when you dont see any investigators in a day. We saw a lot of opposition Wednesday 
So Thursday in the morning I got sick, and spent the day in bed, so we can fast-forward to Friday
So on Friday we had our zone conference and they explained to us how we are going to use a video from the church, called, HE is the Gift. I highly suggest it, its a really powerful video about Christmas. So we have used that in almost every lesson, and its great. We had a few lessons, but the best was when a lesson fell through, and we went to look for a contact in his house. When we were walking to his house, we found him in the street, which was a miracle! We got to talk to him, and when we showed him the book of Mormon, he told us ´it'd be really cool to have that book´ So we promptly gave it to him, which surprised him. That lesson was a lot of fun, and I'm really hopeful he can progress. 
On Saturday we finished the lessons with Liliana, and she is all ready to go. On Saturday i didn't feel much better, and took some pills for the cold. 
On Sunday we had a good day, although it felt short. Only William came to church. Liliana didn't come, so she cant get baptized next week. We called her but her phone was off. I got stressed in church, but listening to the testimonies helped me relax and feel the spirit. For lunch they gave us macaroni and cheese, apparently the brother is a chef. So that rocked. Then we took off to a lesson with Lilianas sister, and she told us that she (Liliana) went to help her brother in the hospital, who had emergency surgery on his appendix, so that's why she couldn't come. 
I feel good this week, I know the work is progressing here. I know the Lord is hastening his work, and we can all take part. I know the Holy Spirit testifies of truth. 
Thanks for reading!
 Elder Beck

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 8 in Piamonte

Week #49
Hey everyone!
This week has gone pretty good. Its had its normal ups and downs, but we have been able to find new people to teach, and analyze how we work and how we can improve. Ive also eaten a lot of good food this week, a lot of good food not typical of Colombia.
So last Monday night we went to make a visit to a contact we had made. We knocked on her door, and she came out. She greeted us, and told us that it wasnt a great time, that her husband* wasnt in a good mood, but we insisted, so she went and asked. They let us in, and he promptly asked us, ¨Whatll it be?¨ So we told him we had met his wife and wanted to share a message. It seemed like things would be tough right off the bat, but as we went teaching, he softened up a lot and told us that he wanted to find peace in his life. It was really cool to meet the family. Unfortunately we couldnt find them most of last week, but Sunday night we were able to arrange an appointment for wednesday. Oh, and theyre a family of 8. S its kind of a big family.
We also found a less active member looking for adresses we have on the ward directory. We werent even looking for him, but we found him and he let us in, which was really great because we had been on our feet all day. He lives with his girlfriend, and they have a son. They have heard all the missionary lessons, and are really great. I think we just need to encourage them so they can start doing what they need to to have their eternal family.
We have also received some GREAT references from the members this week. We found William and then Claudia. They are both really great, sincere people who want to get closer to Christ. We have a lot of new investigators, so we have been really focused on having people read the Book of Mormon, and ask God if it is true. I know miracles will occur, and am excited to see how things go.
This Thursday we went to the mission offices for an appointment Elder Rodriguez had, but it fell through, and we ended up going back Friday. So that meant we doubled the 1.5 hour bus ride on 3 buses there and back. But the good thing was when we went Thursday we got Papa Johns pizza, and on Friday we ate McDonald's, because American restaurants exist in that part of Bogota. So that was a fun way to spend Thanksgiving. When we got home Thursday night, we also found a giant pizza on our table. Elder Wright had bought pizza for us all. It was Colombian pizza, but it still rocked.
This Sunday nobody came to church. It was tough, and rather discouraging, because we had invited a lot of people to go, and most of them said they would. Then when we called to confirm our appointments, they all fell through, so Sunday was a hard day, but I felt a lot better after we found the aforementioned family of 8 in their house, and we placed a date to return.
I'm happy with this week, and Elder Rodriguez and I are ready to go super hard next week to bring the miracles to our area.
I know that the Lord is hastening his work, and that He will come again. I know that the Atonement of Christ can change us, and that through him we can have absolute joy. I know that God has restored his church through modern prophets, and that he does speak to men.
Thanks so much for reading!
Elder Beck
Pictures: pizaza, me with da pizza, and the weights we've made

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Week 7 in Piamonte

Week #48
So, since the last time I wrote, many things have occurred and come to pass. 
On Monday night we had an appointment with Liliana, in which she told us she was moving to a pueblo near Cartagena this week. So that was crazy. Just the only investigator we have that is really progressing is moving away. Wow. Shes going away because her grandmother is sick, and her mom cant take care of her (Liliana´s) 2 daughters, so she is going back. So that was tough. 
Then, our zone leader called me on monday night, and told me that Elder Gumiel would no longer be my companion, but Elder Rodriguez. I didnt know Elder Rodriguez, so it was weird. Oh, I also bought a rolex on Monday. for $15,000. Pesos. Colombian pesos. Its fake, dont worry. 
So, on Tuesday we went to the transfer meeting and I met my new companion. Elder Rodriguez has 13 months in the mission and is from Honduras. He began his mission in Peru, and after 8 months came here with many missionaries who couldnt get their papers cleared to stay in Peru. This is his first time in Bogotá, and he is a great worker. On our first day together he surprised me with how good he is at connecting with people, and how well he contacts. So were going to work well together. 
On Thursday we had a really tough day. we taught no lessons, and it was pouring. I had no idea what to do, and my companion couldnt really help out with ideas. So we ended up walking around, trying to visit members. It was a really discouraging day. 
Then on Friday morning we had our interviews with Presidente Lozano. He talked to me about having a better relationship with our bishop, and working more with less active members. Later on friday in our lessons we ended up talking about the Sabbath day a lot. Its tough when people dont really have a strong committment to come to church, and they only go when nothing else stops them. Trying to change that attitude in the members is even harder. 
On Saturday I realized things are going really well with Elder Rodriguez, I think its because I have been serving him since the first day. It helps me love and accept him more.
On Sunday morning I made French Toast for everyone, like I have the past few weeks. Then when we got to our ward council, the bishop started bugging me about a reference that he gave to the Elder who was here before me who hadnt been contacted. I told him that I had never gotten the reference, but he didnt understand. That was frustrating, but by the end of the meeting I was feeling better. The best part was that Liliana came to church. She is in love with the church, and it makes me really sad she is moving away. 
This week was really hard. The opposition is strong, but that only means a great work is waiting to be done on the other side. We are going to look for more less active members this week, and hopefully find new investigators through them.
I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and I know that hard work can make the worst of days get better. I know that the atonement of Christ is real, and we have power to change through it. 
Thanks for reading!
Elder Beck
me with rafael(our golden less active member)
me with a parrot.
French toast
Me eating french toast
my rolex
Elder rodriguez and me

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 6 in Piamonte

Week #47
This transfer flew by. I cant believe how fast it feels, but then I think how long ago it was when Elder Johnson was in the house, and that seems like forever ago. I think time works different here in the mission. 
Well not too much happened this week. We have found a few investigators, and have taught the restoration(lesson 1) a lot. A lot of the lessons have been tough, really being able to communicate with people and help them understand the doctrine, but im happy. I think difficult lessons make us question how we teach, and get better. 
So things this week have gone much better with Elder Soto. I made goals to serve him more, and not lose my patience; and it was pretty successful. And we got the call last night, and Elder Soto goes to Soacha tomorrow with the transfers. Soacha is technically a different city, but there's no real difference between it and Bogotá, except its a little more dangerous and poor. So i´ll miss Elder Soto, and leading in the area wont be super easy. My new companion is Elder Buniel. Nobody in the house knows who he is, but ill meet him tomorrow morning. 
So on Saturday we found a great apartment! Hopefully well be able to rent it quick, before anyone else can get it. 
Things have gone well this week with Liliana. We were able to visit 2 times, and she really loves the doctrine of the church. When we invited her to live the word of wisdom, she said, ´Id love to.´ That rocked. She still hasn't accepted a baptismal date, but I know she will get there. She said she would actually pray to know if she should be baptized, so I trust she will do it, and receive an answer. The only bummer was that she didn't come to church. We had planned for a member to pick her up, but neither of them came to church, and we haven't been able to contact either. Hopefully all is well with them. 
We had a lesson with Rafael again. Hes the less active we found knocking doors. Every time we get to meet with him, its just so spiritual. He is so ready to come back to church, and loves the Book of Mormon. 
Not much else has happened this week. Oh yeah- I had an exchange with my district leader, Elder Brown, so naturally I slept in his companion´s bed. That was Tuesday. On Wednesday around noon, i started getting itchy. It turns out he has bed bugs, or fleas. So I have a bunch of bug bites again, and it seems they are in my bed now too. I washed my sheets today, so well see if the bites go away this week.
I am so happy and grateful for this time I have to serve others and the Lord. I know that as we make a real effort to make our prayers sincere and meaningful, we will feel peace and they will be answered. I love the gospel of Christ.
Thanks for reading!
Elder Beck

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 5 in Piamonte

Week #46
This week was great. So many things happened, and we saw a lot of fruits of the work weve done.
Ill start with Liliana. She´s our best investigator right now. We visited her a lot, and she really is happy. On Saturday night we took her to a baptismal service, and when the girl who got baptized bore her testimony, Liliana cried. It was really cool to see how the sisters made friends with her too! She came to church on Sunday, and stayed all 3 hours. She liked church, and we visited her Sunday night. We went with the bishop and his wife, and when she saw them on her doorstep, she was shocked. I kind of saw in her face that she thought ´oh no! the bishop is at my house!´ We had a great lesson with her. She really liked the idea of having an eternal marriage, and the bishops wife bore a strong testimony. Liliana also told us again that she believed the Book of Mormon was true, and that she felt peace and joy when she read. We tried extending a baptismal date again, but she still doesnt feel ready to comitt. 
 This week we actually found new investigators! We had talked to a single mom about a week ago, and had passed by 2 times, but hadnt foud her. So we went back when an appointment fell through on Thursday, and found her! She let us in and we taught her the restoration. She was receptive, and we have an appointment tonight with her! We also went to the house of a reference from the offices, and the man was home. He quickly let us in, and we started to get to know him. One of his neoghbors was also present. He quicklyy showed us that he didnt want to listen, but his neighbor told us she did want to hear our message, so we have an appointment to go back tomorrow! We also received some references from the members, and will bgin teaching them this week. 
On Friday we had our zone conference. We all got there early for breakfast. The zone leaders made us eggs, pancakes, and toast. It wasnt a ton, but enough. In the zone conference, we just practiced teaching, and making lesson plans. 
This week Ive learned more about focusing on peoples needs, and teaching what they need. Ive also realized I need to have more faith, because all the hard work in the world isnt worht much without faith. 
This week we visited a less active family who is passing through hard times. I was able to give the dad a priesthood blessing, and I felt the Spirit dictate that blessing through me. At one point, I only had 3 words in my head, but when I said them, the rest of the sentence came to me. I know that God loves us, and can speak to each of us individually. 
On Saturday night, I got home with an ugly feeling, like the feeling you get when you do something bad, although I hadnt done anything. I was pindering why I was feeling like that, and after daily planning I went to my bed to pray. As I prayed, I thanked God for what I have, and told him about what I was feeling. Then I asked that the Holy Ghost would give me peace. Instantly, I felt the ugly feeling start to go away, and as I sat in silence, listening and focusing on what I felt, I found peace, and felt relief. I know prayer is real, and that we have a Heavenly Father who is aware and ready to respond to our needs. 
Today we went to teach a lesson at 9am, to a family we had contacted knocking on doors Sunday. We got to the house, and they let us in. Theyre a couple with 4 kids, its a yours-mine-and ours situation. Theyre not married, and had some toruble accepting the Book of Mormon, but they told us they would ask God if it were true. 
Im so happy to be a missionary, and so grateful for the blessings I have experienced this week. I know God lives, and that although we can have hard times, better times come.
Thanks for reading,
Elder Beck

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 4 in Piamonte

Week #45
So week 4 just ended. This transfer is flying by. This week we had some amazing experiences, coupled with a lot of challenges. I begin with the challenges to end on a positive note. 
So this week we had a lot of plans and appointments to find new people to teach. It has been a big focus for us in these last few weeks, because our district and zone leaders are putting on a lot of pressure for the noche blanca. We didnt find anyone this week. Well, we did find one person. We met Luis when we knocked on the wrong door, and he came out. We had a quick lesson with him, and taught about the Book of Mormon. When we came back for the second visit, he told us he couldnt accept our doctrine, because his pastor had told him no. So that was tough. In the rest of the week we had more than 10 appointments in which we had hoped to find new investigators, but they ALL fell through, so that has been hard, but we realized as a companionship that we havent really given everything we have this week, so we have plans to work harder. 
The second fun challenge was getting sick.I got a fun headcold on Thursday, and spent the day kind of off. On Friday I called president´s wife, and she told me to stay inside, so on halloween I didnt get to do anything. Saturday went a lot better, and now im back to normal. 
Now to the good stuff-
If I wrote about it last week, we found a less active member knocking on doors. So this week we had our first lesson with him. We read 2 scriptures from Alma 5, and talked about him coming back to church. He said he wanted too, and it was a nice lesson. Before the lesson, he had told me that when he had gotten divorced over 10 years ago, his wife kept all of the books from the church. At the end of the lesson, I gave him a copy of the book of mormon. He was surprised, and asked ´really?´ I told him, yeah, of course and he kept silent. He began to cry, and my eyes watered up too. It was a really special moment to see how much he valued the Book of Mormon, and it was a big lesson for me. It was one of the high points of my mission. 
We have also been visiting Liliana a lot. Cesar has dropped off the face of the earth, we cant find him. But Liliana is doing great! She is reading the Book of Mormon and told us she felt she had gotten an answer that its right for her! She also says that whenever we visit her she feels peace. Its amazing to see how the spirit works in her. THe only difficulty is that she has toruble accepting a baptismal date. She wants to get baptized, she just doesnt want to decide when. Se we´re focusing on that she can understand the importance of baptism, and ask God if the 29th is the right day for her. We have another lesson with her tonight, and im excited. 
I had an exchange this week with Elder Jensen, our zone leader. It was nice getting out of my area, and not worrying about anything for a day, and to spend time with one of my good friends. 
The work is hard here, but its worth it. I know that we are going to find great success. I know God loves us, and wants the best for us. He is always willing to forgive us (Isaiah 55:7, Mosiah 26:30). Im so happy to do the Lord´s work, and be his servant. 
Thanks for reading!
Elder Beck
for halloween, i was Doctor Elder Beck. Just kidding, I was sick

Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 3 in Piamonte!

Week #44
Wow, so this week flew by. Someone tell me how to make the days seem longer!
So this week has been a struggle. We began the week with a mini zone meeting, where the zone leaders, told us we would be having a ´noche blanca´ which is a huge baptismal service, with the whole stake, the last saturday of november. The total goal is to have 73 baptisms, 10 from our ward between the 4 missionaries. They told us they want all of the people in the service to be references from the members. Thats why this week has been tough, we haven´t gotten any references. So were looking for families to teach. 
Also, in our weekly planning this week we decided to stop visiting the people who arent progressing, and have been listening to us for too long without doing anything. So we are going to have a grand total of about 2-3 investigators, so we are going to have to find some families fast. So if anyone has any good ideas, Id love to hear them!
This week we did find 2 new investigators contacting in the street. One is Cesar, and he is great. He is very receptive to the message, and told us he would come to church, but come Sunday morning he wasnt feeling well, and didnt come. Our other new investigator is Liliana, she, like Cesar has listened to the Jehovas Witnesses, and knows a bit about the bible. She was also receptive, but seems like she has some doubts, which I like because it means she will really investigate. 
Tuesday night we went to the airport again to drop off Elder Nielson, who ended his mission. He was my first zone leader, later in my last district in Candelaria, and was also trained by Elder Macias. It was strange watching him walk into security. Going to the airport twice in a week´s time is tough hahaha. 
So we had another really cool experience. We had placed as a backup plan to go to the house of a reference we have in our area book. Nobody answered the door, so we decided to knock on the 2 houses on the sides, and the 3 houses in front. When we knocked on the house directly in front, a man came out, and we began to talk to him. He told us he had a strong testimony of the church, and is a member! His name is Rafael, and we set up an appointment to go visit him. He has been less active for over 10 years, but I could see he wants to come back. It reminded me of when we found Manuel in Neiva, through whom we found Hugo, my first convert. So Im excited to see where he leads us!
Thanks so much for reading. Life isnt easy sometimes, but thats only because the Lord wants us to learn something new. He wants us to grow, and become something better. I know that the Christ lives, and that through him, we have redemption.
Thanks !
Elder Beck
Elder Neilson and I, and a view from the top of our house

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week #2 in Piamonte

Week #43
Hey everyone!
This week went well! although our numbers for the week werent the best, I feel good with the work we did. We set a goal as a companionship to have 5 baptisms in November. I have meditated a lot on that, and that I am really comitting myself to work hard and find those people. We have been working hard, talking to a lot of people in the street, but the appointments we have had with them have fallen through, so that has been a bummer. 
So we were having a lesson with a less active member who wanted to keep giving us excuses for why she cant come to church. She doesnt work in the week, and was trying to tell us that she can ONLY work on sundays. We tried explaining to her that if she put God first, meeting her financial needs would be a lot easier, but she just didnt get it. Its tough when people dont understand. 
We also have been looking for an apartment this week like mad men. We have looked at a lot of apartments, but almost none have been appropriate to house missionaries. A lot of them are shared with other rooms and families, are in sketchy neighborhoods, or simply lack space. Our zone leaders told us we needed to look for a new place to live, because we arent supposed to live 4 Elders in a house. 
We had a specialized training with President Lozano on Wednesday, where he taught us about following up on comittments, and how to teach the plan of salvaiton better. I really have liked the last training meetings we have had, they have been really focused and I feel like I am learning a lot. 
So on Thursday morning we got up early(4am) to drop Elder Johnson off at the airport. And we went later to pick up Elder Neilson, who is now living with us. He goes home tomorrow at midnight, so we probably will go to the airport again to drop him off. Well see if we go, or someone else will take them, but weve spent quite a bit of time in taxis. The airport isnt exactly close. 
Thats just about all that has happened this week. Just a normal working week, but Im very happy. 
I know that the gospel blesses our lives. I know that when we decide to follow Christ and keep his commandments, things get easier. I love being a missionary. Its the best thing I could be doing. Sé que vive Jesucrosto, y que por medio de El he podido volver a ser limpio y disfrutar mi vida aún más.
Thanks for reading!
Elder Beck

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 1 in Piamonte

Week #42
Wow! What a crazy week. 
So after I emailed last week we went to visit Zully, our convert. Elder Martinez and I has arranged to have a member come with us and everything, but we couldn't find her. She wasn't at home, and didn't get there later in the night either. Its sad for me that we haven't been able to find her for a couple weeks, and that I didn't get to say goodbye. 
On Tuesday morning we took off for our stake center for the exchange meeting. My bags weigh a lot. I don't know how that happened, but my bags weighed a ton. Not literally 2000 pounds, but you get what I mean. So we got to the meeting and after the assistants talked for a little bit we met our new companions. I met Elder Soto, and we shortly took off for the area. 
Elder Soto is new in the mission. He is from Peru, east of Lima. He has great desires to work hard, he just doesn't know quite how. He didn't really get the training he deserved. He just finished his training, and has 3 months in the mission. We are going over the training again. He asks a lot of questions, and a lot of funny words in English, like ´overlord´. Hes really great. Things weren't so easy at first, but were getting used to each other, and had a lot of fun today. Teaching with him wasn't so easy at first, but things are getting better. He has just learned a lot of bad habits from his last companion, so were working to be exactly obedient and work more efficiently. 
Elder Jensen is my zone leader again, not sure if Ive written about him before, but hes one of my good friends here in the mission. We live with 2 other missionaries in the house, and its fun living in 4 again, even though we have to look for an apartment. We have found a few, but were still looking. 
I´ve realized I learned a lot in La Candelaria, like the importance of teaching families, improving my Spanish, the importance of visiting recent converts, and I understand better the plan of salvation. I feel ready to work harder, and do things right from the start. 
Our new area isn't the easiest. We don't have many people to teach, and we haven't had baptisms in 3 months, but that's all going to change. Its all flat, and close to La Candelaria. From some spots I can still see the mountain I climbed every day. 
The cool thing is we have members to come out with us a lot here, so we take advantage of that. Our bishop is great, and the ward council is ready to work. A tough part is that for the month, our cell phone is out of minutes, so its like working without a phone, again. But we get recharged the 17th, so we just have to wait a little longer. 
I feel great here. Very comfortable and happy. 
On Sunday, I was filling the sacrament cups at 9:55, and the bishops counselor asked me to speak, so completely winging it, I spoke about the Atonement. It didn't go that bad, and I felt good afterward. 
I'm really happy to be serving a mission. I know that it is when we work hard we are happy. I am so grateful for the new experiences I have had and will have. Thanks so much for reading!
Elder Beck
Sorry, no pictures. I left my memory card at home. oops

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 18 (and the last) in La Candelaria

Week #41

Well, I found out last night that I´m getting transferred tomorrow. Our zone leaders called us and told us that Elder Martinez will be the new district leader here, and is going to train a new missionary! I am so excited for him! I am going to Piamonte, here in Bogotá, and my new companion just finished his training, according to my sources. 
I spent the weekend really anxious. I don't really know why these transfers got me so worked up, but I was pretty nervous. The fact that we didn't do much work this weekend didn't help much. But I feel super calm and happy now. My bags are mostly packed, and Ill meet my new companion tomorrow.
I'm really excited to go to a new area, find new challenges, and meet new people. I'm ready for some new experiences. I know Ive learned a lot here, and I am definitely going to take advantage of the lessons I have received here in this area. 
This week went well. It was tough, because a lot of lessons and plans to meet people fell through, but Elder Martinez should have quite a few new investigators next week. Spending the week without a phone didn't help much either, and made it tough to confirm plans. But we managed to make quite a few visits, and help people out. 
General conference was great. We watched it all via internet in our chapel, so I watched it all in Spanish. My favorite talk was from Elder Jorg Klebignat. I felt like that talk was written for me, and how I can improve as a missionary right now. I also really liked how they had the authorities speak in their native languages! All of the talks were translated, but the 2 in Spanish were really fun to listen to. I liked the talks, and it seemed there were a lot of messages and ideas repeated. Interesting how the Lord inspires his servants. I really thought it was different how EVERY speaker who got up there supported clearly the prophet.I thought that was really neat. 
Today was fun. We went to a mall close by, and I had Papa Johns. I had real pizza! So that was different, and awesome! We played a little soccer with the zone, and didnt do much else. 
I am so  grateful to be here in the mission. I am grateful the Lord sent me to Colombia. I love being here, and there is nowhere else Id rather be. I know that I was meant to be called to give up 2 years of my life. What I am learning and becoming here is worth all the sacrifice. I love my saviour, and know that through him we can do all things. 
Thanks so much for reading,
Elder Beck

Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 17 in La Candelaria

Week #40
So I have a ton to write this week. Ive been writing more in my journal each week, so I not have a lot more i remember. 
Last Monday after we went out to work, we were waiting outside Zully´s house for a member to show up, and two cops drove by on their motorcycle, they looked at us funny and drove on. A minute later they were pulling up to us and asked us what we did for work. We told them we were missionaries, and that we were waiting for someone, so they decided to pat us down. So that was fun. 
This week went well generally. It had its challenges, but we've also found new people to teach, less actives and new investigators. 
The high point for me was when I called Hugo Torres, and he told me his wife and daughters were getting baptized on Saturday! It was so great to hear, and I cant wait for them to send me the photos. 
On Thursday we had a baptismal interview in Colinas, which is far away, so we took a taxi. When I was getting out of the taxi, I realized our phone fell out of my pocket. I was bothered, but we went to the interview and everything went well. We then called the sister in the offices to report we had lost our phone. Just after, the guy who found our phone picked up, and we planned to meet him. We got permission to leave our zone, and took off to Molinos. We spent an hour and a half getting there, and we had planned to call our phone when we got to a general location. When we got to the bus stop, we tried calling our phone, but the sister had already cut the service. I felt totally defeated. All I wanted to do was just go home. We ended up going back to our area and had a lesson, which cheered me up. Working feels good. 
Friday we had a training with President Lozano. He talked to us about charity and love, teaching the restoration, and how we study, plan, and teach. I really enjoyed the training, and feel motivated to get better. 
On Saturday we had 7 lesson, which was the most I´ve had in 1 day! That ws really cool, and we got home beat that night. That day we visited Damaris and Pedro for the first time, who we contacted last Sunday in the street. They are married, and Damaris was telling us about how she wanted to learn about what happens to us after we die. We began explaining, but she didn't want to listen. She kept asking us for bible references, which I didn't have on hand. I did a good study this morning and have a lot of scriptures for her, but don't really know if we should try to convince her. I know we could, but I don't think that will really help her to be converted. So well see what happens. We also met Maria, a reference from a member, and she told us about how she has been going through a lot of hard situations, and I could see she really needs the gospel in her life. It was a great experience sharing with her. 
On Sunday after church, we had a meeting in the stake center with an area 70, and he talked to us about retention and our ward councils. He told us of the 1,300,000 members in the area, only 220,000 are active. We have a lot of work to do. I saw Elder Macias and Elder Bittner there, which rocked! We took a photo with Elder Macias and the 5 missionaries hes trained. (photo attached below). Elder Russel, his current companion told me he read my blog before he came out on the mission, which was super weird, but cool as well. 
In my studies of the plan of salvation this week, I think I have really come to realize the nothingness of man, that we are totally lost without Christ, and it gives me a new reason to teach. I know that God´s plan is perfect, and is we live the gospel, we can find happiness in our lives. 
I haven't been able to write half of what I wanted to. Time is short, but thanks for reading!
Elder Beck

3 Nephi 27:19, DC20:22, 2 Nephi 9:6-7, 3 Nephi 2:4-5, 3 Nephi 27:10, Mormon 9:13,21 , Ether 3:16

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week 16 in La Candelaria

Week #39
Wow, Im already writing again, I guess that means this week went by quick. Well, where to begin....
ill start from the best part- I heard from Elder Caballero today that Ana, Nandy and Dayana Torres are going to get or were baptized! Theyre the wife and 2 daughters of Hugo Torres, my first convert from Neiva! I was so happy to hear that, and i am so excited for them! So that probably made my whole week. I am going to call Hugo this week and see how he´s doing. 
This week went pretty well. We didnt talk to many people in the street, so we didnt have any new investigators this week, which was a bummer. We were able to have a lot of lessons, and I can see our area is improving. 
Something cool we´re doing right now is in our lessons, if we´re short on time, we´ll read a chapter of the book of mormon with our investigators or recent converts, and explain the commandments or other concepts that are in that chapter. I like doing it a lot, because the peole we teach get familiar with the book of mormon, and we teach principles from Preach My Gospel too. 
I really dont know what to write for this week, sorry. Its been pretty normal, and enjoyable. Things are going a lot better, and we have more people coming out with us to make visits. 
I want to share with you all why im out here, giving 2 years of my life up, without pay and without any physical benefits. 
Im here because I have found that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has changed my life. That through the process of repentance, I have been able to leave behind the bad in my life and be happier- a lot happier. I´m here because I love my saviour, and completely indebted to him, and this is what he has asked me to do. I am here because I want other people to feel the joy I have felt to follow Christ and His teachings. I know that through the Lord we can change, even when it seems impossible. I am here because the Book of Mormon has brought great blessings to my life, and because I have grown closer to God through it. I know that Christ lives. He literally lives, the same as our Father in heaven, and they are always ready and willing to help us. I love the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, just like Moses or Abraham. I know that I am doing the Lord´s work, and its the greatest thing I can think of doing. I know I can be a whole lot better, and I anxiously wait to get to be who the Lord needs me to be. 
Thanks so much for reading.
Elder Beck
3 Nephi 27:19, 3 Nephi 8:1, 1Nephi 10:6, Alma 37:44-46, 
Pictures from the temple with Elizabeth, The Martinez Family

 pictures of Bogotá and the aforementioned torres family.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 15 in La Candelaria

Week #38
Hey everyone! This week went a lot better. In our district meeting, my companion, Elder Martinez gave great training about faith, and how one of the biggest parts of our faith is diligence. So the commitment he extended was that we could talk to EVERY family we see in the street, to find new investigators and to help more familys know how to find eternal life together. So we talked to a lot more families this week. Not EVERY family we saw, because we saw a lot of families, especially sunday, but we talked to a lot more, and I felt a lot better with our work. 
I don´t know if I´ve said in earlier emails, but one of my zone leaders now is Elder Bannister, from Riverside! On Thursday we went on an exchange in my area, and we had an awesome experience. We were walking in the street, and I decided to talk to a couple. After talking to them for about 7 minutes, they invited us to their house, and we shared with them the restoration. Elcy, the wife was really interested, but her husband didnt pay much attention, which was sad. We have another appointment tomorrow, so we´ll see how that goes!
On Friday we were walking to an appointment and we talked to another family in the street, and they were super cool. It was the parents and 2 kids, and it seemes like they were actually married! The only problem was that we couldnt place an appiontment to visit them, but were going to be calling them this week. 
Yesterday our plans fell through around 7, so we went to our last appointment early, and had an awesome family home evening with some less actives and Duvernery. It was really fun to laugh a lot and relax, and then have a spiritual lesson after. 
I dont have too much more to say for this week. Were keeping up, working hard and having fun. I love being with Elder Martínez, and am really enjoying my time.
I know that Jesus Christ is our saviour, and that we can become completely clean through him. I love the Book of Mormon, and again suggest reading it daily. 
Thanks for reading!
Elder Beck
Pics: our district and zone members, our bishop, and his super cute daughter.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 14 in La Candelaria

Week #37
So this week went well, there wasnt much that happened. We had our zone meeting this Wednesday, and what hit me was that we have to plant our own feild in our areas. That we need to plant seeds for future Elders. I realized that here I have been reaping more than sowing, but thats going to change. 
This week I spent really tired. Every night I think I went to bed early, im not sure what happened. Ive also had stomach aches the past 2 mornings, but now im feeling better. 
We still havent found anyone new to teach. I realized that we need to go to work to find people, nothing is going to happen if we dont do it ourselves. We cant wait for references, so we have plans to work harder this week and talk with EVERY family that we see in the street. 
On Friday we went to eat and there were chicken feet in my soup. So that was cool. Before I started eating, it smelt good and I got excited. Then I stirred it around and saw the feet. 
On Saturday we went to the temple with Elisabet and her 2 granddaughters. The little girls were acutally pretty quiet, and it was a good activity. Just the bus ride was rough. Standing up in the bus for 1.5 hours both ways is not fun. Especially when youre fasting.
This Sunday Elisabet went up to the pulpit to bear her testimony with her son! It was so cool, and she said she knew she was goingot get baptized. She made it sound like she wanted some more time, but I was so glad to hear that she has the goal. I also bore my testimony in the meeting, but hers was way more special!
On Sunday in the afternoon we visited Yamile. We found her about 6 weeks ago, and she hasnt really progressed, but last week she told us she had some sort of revelation that told her to investigate our church. She just got out of surgery, and cant really move around right now, but has the determination to come to church, which gives us a lot of hope. 
Not much else happened this week. I know this week is going to go great, and that I am going to give the Lord everything I have.
Thanks so much for reading.
Elder Beck 
Alma 34:29, DC 53:2

Monday, September 1, 2014

Week 13 in La Candelaria

Week #36
This week was another tough one, but I have a lot of hope for improvement!
Elder Martinez and I set the goal to read the whole Book of Mormon this transfer, and Im really excited! Its so cool he wants to do it too!
Last Tuesday was a really hard day. At 5pm we were supposed to have a first lesson with a new family, and we went to the house they told us and nobody was home. We called the dad and he told us he would get there in about 30 minutes. When we called a little later his phone was off. It was really discouraging, and we werent able to make many visits. 
This week we had our first lesson with the guy from Mexico we talked to last sunday, and the lesson went really well. It seems his girlfriend is more interested than he is, but I have a lot of hope for them. 
On Saturday our whole zone went to the area of the sisters to contact fopr an hour. It was a really cool activity and the sisters now have their hands full with a bunch of references. I cant wait for everyone to come to my area. 
On Friday I went on an exchange with Elder Rojas from our district, and it was a great day. I think I learned a lot from him, that he has no fear and makes no excuses to talk to people in the street, and that really inspired me. 
In our area we have been having the problem of finding new people to teach, and not having much to do. This sunday we FINALLY got the less actives list, so we are going to be able to help people come back to church and get to know their friends. Yesterday we also fasted to know what we need to do to find new people to teach. So as a companionship we will be waiting to receive revelation. 
Sorry I dont have more time to write, our time is short today. I am so happy to have received the blessings of the atonement of Jesus Christ in my life, and I hope all of you can experience it as well!
Thanks so much for reading!
Mosiah 26:30, 2Nephi 26:31, Mosiah 23:11

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Week 12 in La Candelaria

Week #35
This week went well, it had its challenges, like these last few weeks have, but I am hopeful we are going to have success. 
So last Monday night we didn't really have any lessons planned, and our ideas fell thru. We ended up just walking around a lot, and I felt terrible I didn't do anything. I have decided I am going to work harder, because I know when I work hard I am happy. I also want to talk with more families in the street, we need to find families to teach, and its tough to get references from the members. 
This week went pretty normal, we visited the recent converts in our area a lot. One night we were going to visit Zully, who was baptized 2 weeks ago, and we saw a family go in the house where she lives. We asked her about them, and they live on the second floor, but she did NOT want to introduce us to them. I'm not sure how to explain it in English, but here we say "se dio pena" or it gave her embarrassment/shyness. Its hard to explain, but she didn't want to introduce us. After insisting for about 15 minutes, we got her to introduce us to the family, and it was pretty great teaching someone new. The dad had a lot of doubts about why there are so many churches and why they all want to confuse him. It was understandable, and we did our best to explain to him why that was. We still don't think he fully understands, but we have an appt tonight with them and we are going to review the restoration. 
Saturday the sisters had the baptisms of the Silva couple. The mom asked me to baptize her. Id rather a member do the ordinance, but she didn't really want any of the priests to baptize her. It was great to baptize, and I love the experience when I can. 
After the baptismal service, we went up to our area to meet a man we contacted to go meet his family. We waited at the bus stop for him, but he didn't show. It was kinda sad because we had a lot of hope with him. So then we decided to go contact some people, and went to a more commercial part of our area. I tried contacting a man that was with his family, but when I first said hello to him he showed no interest, and told me no at the first chance he got. I was a little sad, but decided not to get discouraged.
So then we were walking and I saw a family about 50 yards away. I crossed the street to talk to them. When I began talking to them, they seemed really receptive, but things turned bad, and the contact went even worse. In the end I asked if there was no time when we could come share a message, and the dad invited us to his church. 
I was feeling a little down, and we started to head home because it was getting late. We were walking down some stairs when a man stopped and asked us if we were from Colombia. We told him no, and he recognized us as missionaries from the church. He is from Mexico, and has been all around the country. He even said he knew San Juanico! So that was pretty cool to hear. After about 10 minutes of talking to him, he asked when we were going to take his name and number, which was pretty funny. We placed an appt for this Sunday, and I felt a lot better after that. I know the Lord was watching out for us, and it was great to find hope. 
Oh- there are exchanges tomorrow in the mission, and I'm staying here with Elder Martinez. I'm really glad I get to serve in this area another 6 weeks, and feel like we are going to be able to grow and learn a lot. Its great being with a good companion that has the same vision as you. 
I spoke in church this Sunday, and I shared a message about the duty every member had to share the gospel and the story of Hugo Torres(my first convert) and how the members helped us out. After the sacrament meeting ended, a member told me my Spanish has improved a lot, and it was really great to hear. 
I know this is where I'm supposed to be. I am so glad to be the Lord´s servant, and work for Him. I love what I get to do, and time is really starting to fly. 
Thanks so much for reading!
Elder Beck

we made burgers this week, and the Silva´s baptism

Scriptures I liked:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Week 11 in La Candelaria

Week #34
Hey everyone!
This week has been pretty normal. Like last week, a lot of appointments fell through. We had Interviews with President Lozano, and I felt really good. I feel like he was able to give me some pointers on how I can improve, and I feel very hopeful. 
This week we walked a lot. We haven't been able to find many people, and nobody came to the chapel this week. That was tough. It was a bummer because quite a few people said they would come for sure, but in the end nobody turned up. So we are gonna see this week who really wants to progress, and who we are going to stop teaching. Although we have very few investigators this week, I know we are going to find the people the Lord is preparing to hear the gospel and make changes in their lives. 
I have felt good with my Spanish lately. Having a companion that speaks Spanish a lot, and I feel like im beginning to lose my accent. I hit 8 months today, and can´t believe a third of the mission has already gone by. Its so crazy.
This Saturday we had 2 baptisms in the ward, and our whole district baptized, so that was pretty cool. For our part, Dahiana M. was baptized. She is the daughter of Idalia, who we baptized about 2 months ago. It was really cool to watch her finally progress and start to do things in the church for her own part. The sisters here in the ward baptized Gina, who had been investigating the church for over 4 years. She decided to be baptized, and said in the service when she was baptized, she felt a great peace. Oh, I baptized her, she asked that I did it, even though I don't know her. So that was cool. 
Today we went to the center of Bogotá to buy trinkets and stuff. It was cool being in the middle of the city. I found a sweet machete for about 11 bucks, and got a bunch of other fun stuff. Im really loving it here, and feel very comfortable.
I know this is the Lord´s work I´m doing, and I'm so grateful for this time I have to give everything I have to the Lord. 
Thanks so much for reading,
Elder Beck
When lunch falls thru, just make flame broiler.
 Baptism pictures.