Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Week 8 in La Candelaria

Week #31
This week was great. 
On Monday night last week, our appointments fell through, and we ended up looking for some old investigators from our area. Around 8pm we found Elisabet, who was visited by the missionaries years ago. Her 5 children are all members, and now less active. They are all adults, and super friendly. We were able to visit them Wednesday night, and it was really neat visiting them. They are such a great family, you can really feel the love in their home. Wow that sounds cheesy. Elisabet wasn't baptized earlier because she had problems with her spouse, but now seems very prepared, and we are very excited to be reactivating their family. 
On Thursday we had a specialized training with President Lozano. He taught about finding new investigators, they key indicators, and contacting. It was really interesting, and I have a lot of ideas on how I can improve. The best part was seeing Elder Hurtado. Apparently he left Neiva, and is now here in Bogota again! It was really great catching up with him. He told me that one of our investigators, Carolina Herrera was baptized shortly after I left! Also that one of the contacts we made was progressing and going to church. It was great to hear that things are going well in my old area, and I was really happy to hear some good news. 
On Friday night we had a Family Home Evening with the Morillos, a family in our ward that is reactivating. They invited 3 friends, who are not members. We started out by playing a few games, and had a lot of fun, and then shared a message about the Atonement. Yesterday in church, the Morillos told us that tonight their friends want to hear our message, so we are going to visit them later! Its great to find people that want to listen to us and are interested in our church. 
On Saturday we had an appointment with Wilson and Brandon, two old investigators in our area. They are 15 and 16, and are really great. We shared with them the message of the restoration, and I felt really good teaching, and felt I was able to break out of the routine of teaching the first lesson. The best part was that we invited them to Fernanda´s baptism the same night, and they went!
Oh, also we had a baptism Saturday night! It was a bit of a fiasco, but everything ended well. The baptism was planned for 5pm, so we got to the chapel at 2pm to start filling the baptismal font. When we got there, the baptismal font was already full, and smelt really bad. So we had to drain the font, which took about 90 minutes, and then clean it. We started filling it up at 3:30, and we didn't have time to fill with warm water, which was a bit inconvenient. At about 4 Andres Torres called us (Fernanda´s brother) and told us they wouldn't be able to make it at 5, but more about 630, BUT Elder Martinez didn't recognize his voice, and thought he was an investigator, so we went along getting everything ready. People started to show up around 5, and just after 5 we called Fernanda to see what happened. Then we found out that she wouldn't be coming for about an hour more. It was very uncomfortable, but we were able to get a few members to stay, and we put on the movie of Joseph Smith, which lasted about an hour. So at about 630 everyone started to get restless. At 7pm when the member of the bishopric was about to leave, Fernanda and Andres showed up. We promptly got the baptismal service started, and got everything done. Although it was VERY stressful, I was able to feel a peace as I stated the words of the baptismal prayer, and baptized Fernanda. 
Yesterday (Sunday) went well. We were able to make a visit to Zully, who is a reference from another ward nearby. She is a single mother, and has 2 smaller sons. I'm not sure if Ive mentioned her before, but she had her baptismal date for this Saturday. In our visit last night, we were able to be direct with her, and she told us she felt better to be baptized next week. I felt a lot better knowing it was her goal, and not only ours. So the cool thing is we have baptisms in 2 weeks that are pretty secure. 
Thats pretty much all the news for this week. It was a great week, and I am very happy. I am so glad to be able to see the miracles of the Lord in the people here and be one of His servants. I know that through the Atonement of Christ, we can live free. 
Thanks so much for reading!
Pictures: Fernanda´s baptism, me drinking giant bottle of Colombiana, and pictures of Bogota from my area

Monday, July 21, 2014

Week 7 in La Candelaria!

Week #30

This week was very interesting, and pretty crazy. It had its ups and downs, from 6 lesson days to 1 lesson days, we had a whole variety of experiences. I completed 7 months in the mission, and we are getting ready for a baptism this Saturday.
So last Sunday we had a fun experience. We left the chapel a little angry, because the bishop talked to us and told us we were going to have problems with our lunches. We were taking the bus up to our area, and when we got off, I noticed a man with a heavy box and we decided to help him. We helped him and his wife carry their boxes about 3 blocks, and when we were walking, he asked us who we were. I told him we were missionaries from the church, but I didn't say Mormons. He started telling us about his son who belongs to some church, and his view on religions. He told me there was only 1 church he couldn't stand, and interested, I asked which one. He told me he didn't like the Mormons, because we believed bunch of illogical things, and that we could have several wives. I laughed a little, and told him we were Mormons. He didn't really say much more, and he thanked us for our help. I felt a lot better after helping, and didn't really feel angry anymore. 
On Sunday we had also fasted, part of which was to find David Murcia, and investigator we had lost contact with. When we were in a lesson with Fernanda Torres, he showed up, and it was so cool to see! it was definitely a miracle, because he had been avoiding us. We are going to keep calling him and try to have more lessons with him. 
Another cool experience was that we had a FHE with Idalia,(recent convert) where she invited some friends over. Her 15 year old daughter invited 3 of her friends, and they were, well say very worldly girls, and it was kind of uncomfortable. Other than the teenagers, the neighbor family was over as well, and we hope to begin teaching them. Elder Martinez and I shared a message about the Atonement, and it was really spiritual. We watched the video "to this end was I born", and I really felt a deep appreciation for my Savior. It was really fun, and we are going to keep trying to have FHE`s with members to find new people to teach. 
We also visited Johan, an 18 year old who has a lot of family members who are members of the church. We had a lesson with him, and I could feel the Spirit a lot as we shared with him. We prayed with him at the end of the lesson to decide his baptismal date, and he picked the 9 of August. We are excited for him, and he really wants to make a change in his life. 
On Wednesday this week we also saw a lot of miracles. They were simple, but they really gave me a lot of encouragement. They came in the form of running into investigators and recent converts who we have not been able to contact, as well as being able to find someone to accompany us to lessons. I guess they were simple things, but its the little things that help us get through each day.
Yesterday I got a migraine, which was really not fun. I spent the morning and afternoon in bed, and it was very strange not going to church. I feel a lot better today, and hope to be back at 100% tomorrow. 
Not much else is new. I am very happy to be with Elder Martinez, and we are working hard. There is a lot of progress in our area, and we are trying to get the ward more involved, which is always a challenge. 
I know that God hears our prayers, and is always aware of our needs. I know he has watched over me this week, and that He loves us. I know our Savior can help us overcome any consequence of our errors and mistakes. 
Thanks for reading!
Elder Beck
A picture of Bogotà


Monday, July 14, 2014

Week 6 in La Candelaria!

Week #29
This week was really good. Working with Elder Martinez is a breeze, and I feel really good working with him. I felt really happy this week, and the high point was having 7 investigators in the chapel, with a lot more less active members and recent converts. I felt really happy to see so many people come, feeling like our work is paying off. The sad part is that Johan wasn't one of the 7 investigators, so were unsure if we will be able to have his baptism this week.
This week we received 2 references, and they are really good. One is a single mom, whose family are members of the church. She came to a baptismal service on Saturday, and then to church on Sunday. We are going to start teaching her this week, and i am excited. We also started teaching the boyfriend of a member, and he also came to the baptism and to church. It is really cool to find the people who want the gospel in their lives and are willing to act. 
We also started teaching a couple this week, who are actually married. Their children are all on their own, and they have a shoe shop in our area. The sister came to church as well, and it is really fun teaching them because they have a lot of interest. The best part is that when the sister came to church, she knew Idalia (who was baptized about 4 weeks ago), so that was super awesome. At the end of sacrament meeting, I went to say hi to the sister and Idalia greeted her like a close friend, and it was really gratifying to see.
Other news, we had lunch with the mission president on Wednesday, and we had REALLY good hamburgers. During lunch, our zone leaders told us we could play soccer again! So playing today was super fun. We all went to the stake center and played there, because they have a little field in the parking lot. 
Elder Martinez and I have the goal to read all of the Book of Mormon in this transfer, and I am excited to pick up my pace a little and learn more. I fell really happy we can set goals together and work hard. I think we are going to see a lot of success. Oh yeah, neither of us is getting transferred this week, and im really glad I get another 6 weeks in this area with Elder Martinez. 
Something that really touched me this week was when we were in a lesson with a member and Idalia. They both commented about how when we come and visit them, the ambiance in the house changes. They said they wished we could visit daily. It was great for me to hear, because sometimes I doubt myself, but it was so comforting to hear that we can make a difference for people.
I know that through Jesus Christ we can all be cleansed from sin, and I know that our Father in heaven always wants to communicate with us.
Thanks so much for reading!
Elder Beck
Pictures: my area, some friends from the mission, the weights Ive made(pvc pipe, concrete, and soda bottles). oh and my companions hair.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Week 5 in La Candelaria!

Week #28
Colombia got eliminated from the World Cup!!! Im not saying Im happy about it, but Im not complaining about it either. We actually can work now, and im a little happy about it. This week has been crazy.
The craziest thing that happened, was on Friday in the afternoon our zone leaders called and told Elder Fernandes that he was getting transferred. There were emergency transfers Saturday for a lot of people in the mission, because our mission received about 10 new missionaries who were serving in Peru or Venezuela. So Elder Fernandes on Saturday morning got on a bus for Espinal, which is apparently really hot. Saturday was really confusing, and I ended up going all over Bogota. First we went to the terminal at 8 AM to drop off Elder Fernandes. Then with the zone leaders, I went to the temple, which is way far north in the city. This Saturday there was an activity at the temple for missionaries and investigators to get to know the temple grounds, but my investigator didn't come, and neither did those of the zone leaders, so we took off from the temple to got the the south terminal again to pick up another missionary, but not my new companion. Then we went to the Northern terminal waiting for my companion, and it turned out he stopped off at the south terminal, so we had to go back to the south terminal, but before we did we had subway again! It was so good! Then we got into the taxi driver, and the driver was nuts. We almost got in an accident at least 3 times. I was feeling really sick. Finally we got to the south terminal and picked up my new companion, Elder Martinez!
Elder Martinez is from Ecuador, and is from my group from the MTC, so he has about a month less than me in the mission, but the same amount of time in the field. He is really great, and I am super happy to work with someone who is easy to work with. He is really focused on the progress of the people here, and I am excited to work with him. He has long hair, and keeps it in a pony tail. He is from a tribe in Ecuador that has permission to have long hair on the mission. Its really cool.
This week we saw a miracle in our area. We started teaching Stiwar, who is 18 years old and is a semi-pro skateboarder. Apparently he is really good, and a lot of his family are members here. We have had 2 lessons with him, and in the second lesson my companion had invited him to be baptized on the 19th of July. He was hesitant to accept, but when he gave the closing prayer, he said ´I testify to thee God, that I will make a change in my life on July 19th.´ It was so cool to hear, and to see a change happening in him. I am excited, and we are going to be busy with him this week, teaching just about everything. 
The down side this week is that David and Fernanda (friend and sister of Andres) didn't come to church this week, so they aren't going to be able to be baptized on the 12th. Im not too worried, because I know they both will be baptized within the next few weeks. 
I am doing really well, enjoying my time here in Bogotá. I feel like time is flying by, and I can now handle a lot more than I could before. I am getting really used to missionary life, and am ready to work harder. I love my area, and hope I get to stay here a little longer. 
This past Monday, I bought pancake mix, and syrup, and made pancakes! It was SO good to have pancakes, just anything that is from home. 
Sorry there's not too much for this week. 
I know this church is The Church of Jesus Christ, and that our Savior, the Christ suffered all for us. That through his atoning sacrifice, he can fix any situation and overcome the consequences of our errors and mistakes. I have seen it in my life.
Thanks for reading!
Elder Beck
 Pictures: me soaked from rain , it rains a lot here
Andres and his family,
pictures of andres´ baptism
my new companion,