Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 9 in manzanares at least I think it's week 9

Week #15 3-31-14
This week was really tough. I spent a good part of the week in bed. I had stomach pains, and after felt really weak and had no appetite. I think its from the water here. But all is well now. 
We had a multi zone conference Tuesday directed by President Lozano. It was a really awesome meeting. It gave us time to think about how we do things and how we can work more intelligently. Sister Lozano told us that the mission is going to study and develop more faith, so its really cool for me, because I have been thinking about the concept of faith a lot. 
I had my first English class in the chapel this Saturday! Nobody came. We are going to do a better job this week of advertising it, we are hoping to find a lot of new investigators thru it. We are also working differently, trying to focus solely on those who are really accepting the gospel, not wasting our time on the people who don't read or come to church. Its tough to leave investigators, but I can see its a better way to work. 
We fasted this Sunday, and it was really hard this month. Here we start our fasts after lunch on Saturday and break them with lunch on Sunday. SoSaturday afternoon was tough. It was really hot, and all our appointments fell thru, so we ended up walking around a lot. So I was totally drained sunday morning. It was the hardest fast I´ve ever done, but we had the Spirit a LOT Sunday afternoon and a lot of success. 
So I tried goats milk today in the morning, and it was amazing. It tastes like the milk back home. The normal milk here is kinda tangy, and it inst very good, but goats milk. Wow. They put honey and some minerals in it to sweeten it. 
Thats about all I have for this week since I spent the first half of it in bed, sorry. But I feel great now. Its still hot. 
I want to just share now that I know that following the commandments of God is the only way to really be happy. Teaching this message of Jesus Christ is such an amazing experience. I am so grateful for my mission. 
Thanks for reading.
Elder Beck

 The Elders in the house (Me, Hurtado, Caballero and Amaguaña, in order)
and my new watch.

Monday, March 24, 2014

We are being more obedient

Week #14 3-24-14
This week went well, but was also challenging. Elder Hurtado and I are developing a new way to be more focused on the investigators that actually want to progress, and were doing better. Things are well here. Its been hot lately, so things are back to normal again.
We are definitely seeing the adversary push against our work. I think I am seeing that we have to teach the importance of keeping commitments to read and pray more. We invite, but it seems like the people dont completely get it.
We are being more obedient to the missionary handbook in our zone and in our companionship. Wearing missionary clothes on PDay when we leave the house, and not having lessons with just women outside. Our new zone leader is really good, I can definitely see why he is a zone leader. He is Elder Gavancho from Peru.
So I had ingrown toenails, so I went to a sister in the ward who has a salon and she pulled them. It only hurt a lot. So Im wearing sandals now for the next few days to let my feet air out and heal. So thats fun. Walking so much in sandals is not so great, but feeling the breeze in my toes rocks. I am also kind of sick, or was. I have been having stomach pains the last two days, and last night it was pretty bad. I think its the water here. I purify the water in the house, but when people offer us water or juice, I dont really know if the water is clean or not.
We are definitely working hard. The days dont seem long, just kinda normal. The weeks go by quickly tho. Not a lot new has happened.
I feel like the same 10 songs are playing here all the time. People usually play music in their houses, sometimes SUPER LOUD, which is annoying because it interferes with lessons.
All is well here! I love being a missionary. Spanish is coming along. People dont seem to understand me much, maybe they tune me out because im a gringo, i dont know. But i can understand better. I know how great the blessings are from the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thanks for reading.
Elder Beck
 I found Oreos and Trix in a supermarket last week, so that rocked.
  I made some weights by filling plastic bottles with concrete.
  Me with Elder Hurtado.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Brandon in White!

Week # 13 3-17-14

So a lot happened this week.
On Tuesday we went to the bus station and said goodbye to everyone that is leaving. We took some pictures and then they left. Elder Amaguaña and I were alone and we went back to the house to clean a little, and the house felt really empty. We picked up his new companion later that day, and is Elder Caballero from Honduras. He is pretty chill and easy to live with. I missed Elder Macias quite a bit, I was realizing how much he did. But it got better once Elder  Hurtado got here.
He arrived in the afternoon Wednesday. Elder Hurtado is from Santander, which is in Colombia, but is up North. He was a secretary in the mission offices before coming here. He works hard, and is really obedient. I really like working with him, we don't waste a minute. He makes eggs a lot, like every morning and most nights. Its funny. 
We had a really great lesson with David, he is in his mid 20´s and is really interested in finding the truth. It was really great answering his questions and inviting him to pray. We have another lesson with him tonight. 
This week I felt the Spirit a lot, we have had a lot of great lessons. 
So Elder Hurtado stopped a lady who was selling ´gelatina´. He didn't tell me what it was until after I ate it. It was brown, in the shape of a candy bar but kind of rubbery and chewy. It tasted fine, but really dry. Apparently it is made of cows hooves. So that was interesting.  
We had 2 baptisms this week! They are the children of a lady Elder Macias and I gave a blessing to over a month ago. The sister missionaries taught them. They were Juliana and Jonathan. Elder Amaguaña baptized Juliana, who is 12 and I baptized Jonathan who is 8. It was really cool. When Jonathan bore his testimony after, it was really touching. Its great to know how the Lord can work through me. 
That's about all that happened this week. Not much else.
The food we normally eat here is rice with chicken, or an egg. Sometimes sausage or steak. Sometimes soup that is really good, mostly broth with a chicken flavor. But every day is rice. Sometimes beans, but always rice. The food is really good though, so I don't really mind. The coca cola is really good here, i think its different than in the states. We drink a lot of soda. 
People here are really frank, but people don't take offense. Referring to people as fat or dumb is common, like right in front of them. It threw me off at first, but now it is just kind of funny. 
That's all for this week. Sorry there inst much more. 
I love being a missionary. I know the Book of Mormon is true and that God will reveal the truth of it to anyone who seeks it.
Thanks for reading,
Elder Beck

 Elder prince and me
 Elder Macias and the zone leaders and me
 pictures of some of the Elders from the zone.
 baptism pictures

A lady we always buy arepas from
 The rios family, one of the only members in our area

Us and Maria, oh yeah She is getting Baptized on Saturday!

Monday, March 10, 2014


Week #12 3-10-14
So I didn´t expect Elder Macias to leave, but he is off to be a zone leader in Bogotá. So an Elder Hurtado will finish my training. He is from Northern Colombia and gets here tomorrow. So im bummed Im losing Elder Macias. I will be staying here in Manzanares, and it sounds like I´ll be staying here for a few more months.
This week was a little tough, but it was good. I find myself surprised how much people just accept to be true in our teaching. Its really cool to see. We were watching the restoration video with a family. One of the ministers was rebuking Joseph Smith, and the lady asked,´people didnt believe him?´ it was really cool. 
I has been raining a lot here. There was a huge storm friday night. The thunder was really loud and it woke us all up. One of the elders was scared, it was kind of funny. But because of the rain its been a lot cooler here. 
We went to Caguan this week, which is a part of our area, but we have to take a bus to get to it. Its the farthest south part of Neiva, and its really tranquil. It was really nice to see. We had a reference there from the Church offices. It was a lady who had watched a church movie and wanted to read the book of mormon. She was really cool to meet.
We had a great lesson with the Toro-Chaus family this week. We have been having some difficulties with them. Its tough to get through to the dad, he is very serious. We had a lesson with them last night, and our ward mission leader came with us. He is a convert of about a year, and he shared his conversion story, about how he got married and left behind his old lifestyle. He was really able to connect with the dad, unlike we can. It gave me a lot of hope for them. Melquisedek, the dad, said that he wanted to quit drinking and smoking, so we are going to make a plan with him in our next visit. I think if we can help him, they will get a new enthusiasm to progress. 
So the mission president banned soccer on pdays, so instead of going to play soccer today we played ultimate frisbee and touch rugby. It was super fun.
Its really weird that Elder Macias and Elder Prince are leaving. I am going to be the only gringo in the house, so I am only going to be speaking Spanish! I think that is what I need right now. 
Sorry this email is a bit shorter. Im ure Ill have a lot more news and pictures next week. I love being a missionary, and I love being here in Colombia. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord and I wouldn´t trade it for anything.
Thanks for reading!
Elder Beck
So we found donuts at the bakery across the street. So that was great. 
And me with Elder Prince, he is taking off to Bogotá tomorrow.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Baptism is how we accept God into our lives and start new!

Week #11 3-3-14
This week we have been totally focused on our goals. Sorry if this email is less entertaining, but we have been really focused on the people we are teaching, and im probably going to talk about investigators a lot. But dont stop reading now!
Well last week we had our first lesson with Maria on monday. She is 19, has two kids, the oldest is 6, so ill let you do the math. She is a perfect investigator. We first met her through a member and she went to church with them before our first lesson. When she gave the closing prayer that lesson, she cried at the end. She actually does the readings we leave with her in the book of mormon, and really loves the gospel. We have had 3 lessons with her this week, and she is planning to be baptized on the 15th. So she rocks.
On Tuesday we had a fun run in with a drug addict. We were on the porch of a members home, talking to them and he came up. He was really under the influence, and asked us what we wanted. We said nothing and left to avoid any conflict. Then we went back because we had left our phone with them and he was still there. We took off a little bit later and he was following us. The two boys from the family caught up and walked with us. they are 12 and 14. We turned around in the street, because my companion said he wanted some water. We stopped at a store, but they didn't have water. The drug addict asked for some bread and some popsicles, so we bought him some, it was less than 50 cents, so i didn't care. Then he was standing there eating it and asked for one of our watches. We just kind of stood there and gave reasons why we needed them. We said we were going to go look for a watch, so we went back to the members house. We just sat there until he got bored and left. So that was interesting. I was really sad for him, because the drugs had totally robbed him of his good sense and awareness. It was sad to see. 
Another cool experience- we saw some people moving bricks in the street so we stopped to help. There we met Humberto. We quickly learned he had 11 children, with 6 different women. So that was funny. He only lives with one, so we will see hpw it will all work out. He is super receptive. He invited us over and we had a powerful first lesson, despite him and his girlfriend/wife fighting in the middle of it. He is a christian and is open to ideas, and she is catholic and believes pretty strongly in it. He came to church sunday. At the end of Church he said that he needed to read the Book of Mormon more and bring his wife and daughter to church next week. It was so cool finding him. I really think we are finding the people who are ready to accept the gospel.
The Toro-Chaus family is doing well. In my last email I told how we gave a blessing to the daughter in the family who is recovering from cancer, well she has had a few exams this week and they all went well. She is getting a lot better! its so cool to see. 
Time is just about up. Sorry this email has been kind of short. Today we went to the river here and saw some of the sights. We went up in a big lookout tower and saw all of neiva. It was super cool. 
I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and baptism is how we accept God into our lives and start new. I love being a missionary. I know the Book of Mormon can help everyone grow closer to God. 
Thanks for reading!
Pictures: Sorry this wont be in order, but - pictures of Neiva, the scenery, The tower, my district, the new sisters in Manzanares, the prehistoric museum we visited and some weird statue. Some pictures of it raining here. It rained a lot.