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