Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 13 in Manzanares

Week# 19
This week went well. It was normal. It rained again, which was amazing! Its super hot again, but a day of rain was really nice. Elder Hurtado and I are working hard. Most every day we come home tired. Its good to know that we are working hard.
This week we discovered that another family we are teaching is married. I guess people think they're not married unless  a priest does a ceremony, but we are teaching 3 married families, which is a miracle because nobody is married here. So that's super cool.
We are working really hard. This week we did pretty much everything to get our investigators to church, but only one came. It was a little disappointing and sad. I got a little frustrated because of that yesterday because of it, but realized that it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if I don't have baptisms and converts, or people at church or good numbers. I cant control that. All that matters is that I put in my best work. I'm going to let my happiness depend on how tired I am at the end of the day. 
This week in the missionary manual (rulebook) we read the beginning where it says that this time I have is extremely short, and that it is a privilege to serve with all my time and efforts. That was really cool to read, and it made me think that my mission is going to end one day, and I am going to look back on these 2 years forever. I guess I have really developed a better desire to work hard and obey more. I love to see how I am being changed out here. 
I have realized as well that speaking Spanish in lessons really makes me rely on the spirit for guidance and inspiration. It is cool to know that in lessons words just come to my mind to say, and I know after is was inspired.
The English class is going well, I am learning to prepare the classes better. Its really hard to teach English, especially in Spanish. I realized that I'm not too bad at teaching the gospel, but wow English is hard to teach. Attendance is improving, so that's awesome. 
Sorry there are no pictures, my SD card still has a bug, but I hope to fix that soon. I feel I am really becoming focused on the work here, and it is amazing. Like Gordon B. Hinckley said, its easier to live the law 100% than it is to live it 98%. I think he said that. 
I know the work of salvation is pressing forward. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can have the burden and sorrow of sin taken away, and what a great blessing that is! I hope that we can all read the Book of Mormon daily. The Book has power, and I know it blesses lives.
Thanks so much for reading!
Elder Beck

Monday, April 21, 2014

Another transfer in Neiva!

Week #18 4-21-14
It was hard to sleep last night, normally the zone leaders call Sunday night, but they waited until this morning to let us know about exchanges. I get to stay here in Manzanares another 6 weeks. I am so happy that I get another 6 weeks to see how our investigators do. We are teaching a few families right now, and it is really great. 2 are even married! which is great, because nobody is married here, so it impedes people´s progression to baptism a lot. 
On Thursday we had a specialized training with President Lozano, and he talked about having a good attitude. I think what he meant a lot was having an attitude of faith and working hard. The assistants also showed us a review of a talk by one of the 70 called the 4th missionary. It was really cool. It talked about that the only missionaries that benefit from their missions are the ones who give themselves up 100%. They give up their will and their dreams and hopes. I really want to become like that. 
This week was pretty normal other than that. We only had 1 investigator come to church, which was sad because almost all the people we are visiting said they would. But im not letting my hopes down. 
Here they dont celebrate easter, but have Holy Week. Its a Christian holiday, but im not sure what it symbolizes. Everyone has a 4-5 day weekend. The tradition is to eat fish. So on friday I was served a whole fish on my plate. It was an experience, and actually tasted pretty good, for fish. 
Not much else is new. We are working hard, and the work is very fulfilling. I hope you all at home are doing well. Happy Easter! 
I know that the Book of Mormon is of God, and can help any person find God in their lives. 
Thanks for reading!
Elder Beck
Sorry there are no pictures, my card has a virus again, but I should be able to fix it. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 11 in Neiva!

Week #17 4-14-14
This week went well. The high point was having 3 investigators and a less active member come to church. That really made me happier than anything, to see that some people are responding to our invitations. It was so great!
Not too much happened this week. I went on exchanges with Elder AmaguaƱa and Elder Gavancho. With Elder Gavancho, I was blown away. He is an exemplary missionary. He is from Cusco, Peru and really works. He talks to everyone, and it was really cool to see his example. Another thing he does that I want to emulate is that he communicates his love to everyone when he talks with them, and it really helps people understand our role better. 
With Elder AmaguaƱa it was really interesting to see how he can connect with people and make them laugh. That is something I want to develop better. I guess a lot of it is the language barrier still. I can say and understand most everything now, which is a huge blessing. Actually being able to understand what people say. Its so great. 
So I tried something new this week, and its very colombian. Its called morcilla. Its a sausage, but instead of meat inside it has rice. and pigs blood. It didnt taste bad, but it wasnt good either. It was fun to try something new. Elder Hurtado walked over to the lady at her grill and asked for it, I couldnt hear, but I already knew he had ordered it. I was a little nervous.
Yesterday we helped a lady set up for her baby shower. We were blowing up balloons and talking to her. She asked if I was italian because of my accent. It was pretty funny. People have asked before if I am british too. Nope, Im just a gringo. But its great. We had 4 and then 5 people in the English classes this week. Its cool to see people turn up who we didnt talk to. Hopefully we will get a chance to share the gospel with them.
One thing that kinda bugs me here is that when I talk about 'the church' people always have to interject and say that the church is within us, or something like that. I know that bible reference, but when I am trying to talk about the authoritative structure of the church, or the location of our chapel, it kind of impedes with getting my idea across. I guess it would be kind of funny from an outsiders perspective.
I love my mission. Its been hard a lot of the times when appointments have fallen through and things dont go well, but as Peter said, the test of our faith is worth more than Gold (1 Peter 1:7). I love being here in Manzanares, I really dont want to leave. We have exchanges next week, so who knows? I know the Book of Mormon is true, and it is such a blessing. Knowing that it is true has made all the difference in my life.
Thanks for reading
Elder Beck
Sorry there are no pictures, this computer wont read my card.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

General Conference was amazing.

Week #16 4-7-14
 our construction work with the zone leaders

 and a picture of the zone

This week was hard, but General Conference was a great rest. We are teaching a lot of new families, and they are interested in our message. Its really great to teach people that actually have interest. In this area, we can talk to pretty much everyone, they're all really friendly, but deciding who actually wants to come to church and learn about the gospel is a bit more difficult. 
This week was hard, a lot of appointments fell through and we didn't do a ton of teaching, but we have a few really good investigators. I had another English class, and 4 people showed up. We are continuing to advertise it, and hopefully we can find some investigators through it. 
On Tuesday we got up early to help a sister in the ward. We helped do some construction on her house. We mixed and layed the concrete for her second floor. I basically lifted buckets of liquid concrete from my feet to my shoulders for 2 hours, it was hard. I was super sore.
I have definitely seen a difference in the work when we focus on teaching families, everything is easier. And I feel like families receive the gospel better. Our biggest challenge right now is getting people to church, hopefully as we work with the members better, we can help investigators to know the chapel and the members here. 
General Conference was amazing. We had a little room for the 6 gringos in the zone, and we got to watch in English. It was so nice hearing all the apostles and President Monson speak in English, and understanding everything. I know that their messages were inspired and I know they receive revelation from God for all of us. 
Today we met as the zone at the stake center and we made a giant fruit salad. It wasn't very good. But it was fun making it and hanging out with other missionaries here. Then we played some games the sisters organized. It was a lot of fun. I forgot to put on sunblock, and I got burned on my neck. 
Other than that things are pretty normal. 
I love the work I am doing and I know that keeping Gods commandments always blesses our lives, and when we do not we are denying Gods blessings for us. I hope we can all make the important choices to keep the commandments of God. I know He loves us. 
Thanks for reading,
Elder Beck
Fruit Salad