Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 3 in Porvenir

Week #65
This week there isn't as much news as last week. Overall, the week was pretty normal. One cool thing we began was taking the ward directory (all the members of our branch) and looking for the people we don't know. The ward directory has about 400 people, and our attendance at sacrament meeting is around 100 each week, so we have a lot of people to rescue, so that gives us work. 

It has been really hard to work out this week, and do anything in the morning. I don't know if its because Ive been a little sick, or if its just because we spend so much energy riding around all day, but I spent a good part of this week really tired. Nevertheless, I'm really happy.  Normally for my exercise time I do push ups and some variation of a push up, crunches or another abdominal exercise, and jump rope. I switch up reps and series to not get bored. Here we eat the same as always for lunch with the members, rice with beans, or lentils and rice, or rice and noodles; always with some type of meat or a fried egg, and usually with fried plantain. We drink juice they make at home, blending and straining a fruit with water. 

I feel I learned a lot this week about how the Spirit works and guides me, and that by small, miniscule disobedience's, he will lose trust with me and distance himself until I repent. It has really motivated me to become more obedient and pure to have His guidance, because I know I am nothing alone. I learned that this Sunday. While my companion and I were greeting people just before sacrament meeting, our branch president told me I would be speaking. What? He told me he had forgotten. I just smiled and said okay. I was a little nervous, but I knew I would get through it. I felt okay in the talk, but I felt a lot like Enoch of Moses when God called them, I just saw that I alone am really weak, and that I need the Lords help. I guess that's what I get for praying for help to be more humble. 

So we had a great lesson with Javier, one of our investigators. His wife is a less active member, and we were reading from 2 Nephi 2 with them. He stopped in the middle of the reading and said, so the fall of Adam and eve is like the beginning of the plan, and the atonement is like the resolution. Like through Christ those consequences of the fall are settled. I was a little stunned how well he had understood the plan of salvation, such understanding I didn't find until a couple months ago. The Spirit really works with people who want to know, and seek the truth. I know the Spirit can guide each one of us, because God loves us. 

So this week we got our door fixed, and our house is taking baby steps to getting back to normal. We cleaned up today again, so the house smells good. We have to rent a washing machine now, because the owner took away the washing machine. We rent it for about 4 dollars for 24 hours, which isn't too bad. The only thing that isn't too great about the house is that there isn't much ventilation, and in this hot and humid climate, its tough. 

Oh, so on Thursday before lunch I got a small hole in my tire fixed, and then in the night we were sitting at a stoplight, and my tire exploded. It sounded kind of like a bullet and everyone around us got scared. I felt myself depress a little bit, and knew. The nice thing was that we were with a member, and there was a bike shop across the street. I didn't have any money, so the member kind of saved me there. It was funny, and although I didn't notice, my companion says a guy on the street let out a shriek when it exploded. But, my bike is all better now. 

This week was tough, we didn't get to have the lessons we wanted, and only one person came to church. When we went back to visit Norberto he told us he didn't want to listen anymore. He mentioned that he had talked to a friend about our visit, so we think that's why he didn't want to keep going. But, I guess its like in Matthew 11 when Christ returned to the cities where he had performed many miracles, but the people still hadn't repented. I feel good though, because I know we are doing a good work, and that I am doing my best, and improving. I'm working right now on my Christlike attributes, and the mission has really helped us to make, direct and effective plans to achieve our goals. 

I know the Book of Mormon is true, and that God provides for us when we seek him out. I know the sacrifice of Christ is infinite, and that through it we can change our lives, that weak things can become strong. I know that the temple is the house of God, and that he wants to make covenants with each one of us.

Elder Beck

Just one foto this week, me and a choco-cono. When the guys on their bikes pass by selling them, their recording says they're nutritive, so I thought I would buy one.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 2 in Villavicencio

Week #64
Well, the transfer is over, and our district is staying the same. So I will get to be with Elder Carrera for another 6 weeks, at least. So I´m pretty content. Our area is huge, and President told me that when things get better with the ward here, he will put two more missionaries in the ward. 

Well, we found a bunch of new investigators this week. One cool story is how we met Norberto. We were riding to our first appointment last Monday night, and just before we got to the house, I noticed a sign for a shop that shanged tires for motorcycles. Then, a moment later the pedal of my bike fell off. I had felt it begin to wobble for a minute, and then it fell off. We couldn't find the bolt in the street, so we went to the shop I had notices to see if he could help me out. We met Norberto, who put on a bolt so my bike could work until we went to the bike shop. So we contacted him, and we returned on Thursday for the first lesson. We taught him the restoration, and it was a really special lesson. He told us he had gone to a christian church before, but had fallen away. He showed us real desires to find God again in his life, and committed to read the Book of Mormon, and pray about it. It seems God directed us to him, well at least to me it does. So I left that lesson pretty excited. 

On Tuesday night we were filling out our teaching records for the lessons we had that day, and we got a call from ´Piamonte 2´, my old area. About 3 weeks ago we received the instruction that we can´t call missionaries in other zones, so I wondered why they would be calling us, from my last area. I picked up, and Elder Rodriguez, my last companion greeted me. He told me he was calling for a reason, he had news. María Eugenia had died that day. Everything kind of stopped. I didn't know what to think. She never got out of the hospital, and he didn't tell me why it had happened. I just didn't know what to think. I felt really amazed at the sequence of events. She was baptized, and confirmed. Just after her conversion she left church because she felt intense stomach pain. She went to the hospital a day or two later, and didn't get better, and passed away about 3 weeks later. I feel so privileged I could have baptized her. And saddened that a dear friend was gone. But, I do know God´s plan is perfect.

This week I have learned the importance reading the Book of Mormon has. Ive seen that if investigators are reading the Book each day, they'll go to church. So I want to focus a lot more on helping people find the way to read every day. I know it was because I began to read daily when I was 13 that I gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and I love reading. I know it is truth, and convincing evidence of the restoration of the gospel. I want to invite everyone that reads this letter to make a greater effort to read the book of Mormon daily. 

Not much else super significant has happened this week. Ive had a bunch of great spiritual experiences that I cant write out, but I know God lives. Riding a bike is fun, and I like being able to zip around faster. I love this work, and I love this city. Its cool seeing lots of palm trees again, reminds me of home. 

Thanks so much for reading!

Elder Beck
Some pics of what its like here, my district, and me with my bike. we got really wet one day. It began pouring RIGHT when we left an appointment, so that's one picture, and our area map, to show that I have half the city, well basically.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 1 in Porvenir, Villavicencio

Week #63
Alright, I'm back in the heat! And I love it! Well, I suppose ill begin with whats happened in the last week. 
So on Monday night I got to see William! He got out of the hospital, so we went to his house to stop by real quick. That was really cool for me, the Lord is so generous. At around 1015 our new companions got to our house that night, because the taxi driver got lost. So we slept in the house in Bogotá one last night.

On Tuesday we got up early and went to a multi zone conference we had with President Lozano. He taught us about using the Book of Mormon in our teaching, and our personal conversion. He mostly is inviting us to personally study and learn about our personal conversion, which I really like because it will help each of us apply it more naturally. So from there we took off as a zone to Villavicencio. We got on the bus around 6pm, and rolled into the city around 930. The bus ride was normal, and I slept for a good bit of it. The funny thing is I fell asleep quickly, and woke up, and we were still in Bogotá. The rest of the way I spent awake. When we began to get close to the city it got hot, and I had to roll up my sleeves, I wasn't used to the heat. 

On Wednesday we had a good day. I met our branch president, who is amazing, and we made a couple visits. This week has been tough, generally because my companion doesn't know the area very well. He only has a month here, and our area is basically half the city. There used to be 4 missionaries in our area, so we have lots of ground to cover, and lots of work to do. The bikes help a lot. Also- we ride bikes here, which is a first for me. I really like it, because it helps us be a lot more efficient. My area is relatively safe, there are just a few neighborhoods we have to avoid at night time. 

My new companion is Elder Carrera, from Trujillo, Peru. He has almost 9 months in the mission, and is a great teacher, I love how much he bears his testimony in the lessons. He is a good worker, and definitely is dedicated to doing a good work here. I think it'll be easier when we get to know our area really well. 

So we had a cool experience on Friday. We were riding around, looking for a referrals house, but couldn't find it. While we passed a shop a lady hissed at me(which here is a normal way to call someones attention), its more of a tss sound than a hiss. So I called my companion and waited outside her store. She offered us soda, and we sat down to talk to her. She told us she had seen us pass by, and wanted to know who we were. We were able to talk to her for a couple of minutes, and share with her the Book of Mormon. She told us she just wanted to meet us, and she wasn't expecting such a surprise. It was a really cool visit, and we will be going back to visit her on Thursday. 

Well, this city is really cool! Today we went on a hike with the zone up a mountain to see all the city, which was really cool. Its hot here, but not like Neiva. I love it here, and I'm so happy to be a missionary. 

I know the gospel is true, and know that it can bless our lives in whatever circumstance or problem.
Thanks for reading!
Elder Beck

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Week 22 in Piamonte

Week #62
Well, this week was a tough one, but we had some great moments. We none of our investigators come to church, and María Eugenia and William are both in the hospital. So we didn't get to go to the temple as we had hoped this Saturday with them. Its really sad, but María Eugenia had her surgery, it was successful, and she will be back this week. William just went in this week, and before they took him to a hospital far away, we got to visit him, and that was really special. 

So, on an exchange this week with our district leader and his companion, I had a cool experience. I was with Elder Bailón, from Ecuador, in my area. We didn't have solid plans, and everything in the afternoon had fallen through. We had walked around a lot, and I wasn't quite sure what to do. We went to a less active members house at 5, as planned, but he wasn't home. I saw one of his neighbors was there, and decided to talk to him. We asked him if he knew where the member was, and he told us he didn't know, but he was the owner of the building. After talking to him for a few minutes, we realized how much he needed the gospel. His wife had just left him, and he had been very sick in the hospital. He used to be a professional soccer player, but had a fall from glory. We were able to share a message with him, and during it, we told him about the Atonement of Christ, and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon. He told us he felt peace and tranquility, so we knew the Spirit had been there for him. We had a second lesson with him this week as well, and he described the same feelings. He told us he knew God had sent us to his path, and I feel like he is going to progress really well.
So other than that, this week was tough. Things with my companion haven't been so easy, and we didn't manage to have a lot of lessons. 

This morning while I was working out, the zone leaders called us. Since were not allowed to send text messages anymore, I just assumed they were going to tell us where the zone would play soccer today. They told me they had news, and that there were transfers. I'm leaving! I´m going to Villavicencio, to my companions old area. The city is about 3 hours from Bogota, and it is hot there, but not quite so hot as neiva. So Ill be sweating a lot, and using my short sleeved shirts. There are only Elders in that zone, and I have heard a lot about it from my companion. I was a little sad in the morning, leaving this area behind, not being able to say goodbye to many people. Oh, I leave tonight as well. So, I already have my big suitcase packed. So I wont be able to see William or María Eugenia, but Ill for sure be able to call them. Like I was saying, its bittersweet, but I am excited for new experiences and a new city. 

I know the Lord´s plan for each one of us is perfect, and He knows us. I know that the greatest joy we can feel is when we are doing His will, and completing the purpose we have. I know the Book of Mormon is true, and that Christ´s own church has been restored after a long apostasy. 

Thanks so much for reading!

Elder Beck 
Elder Brown, Elder Wright, and i (or me?)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Week 21 in Piamonte

Week #61
Well, a lot happened this week. We haven't been able to visit Maria Eugenia this week, because she has been in the hospital since Monday. She got kidney stones, and for a week they haven't been able to get her her surgery, so she is still waiting. Thats been tough. We have definitely seen the adversary attack our people here. William this week has been visited by a government organization that wants to take his son away. Apparently somebody called them up and told them that William wasn't taking care of his son, and that he should be taken away. He couldn't come to church on Sunday because a representative from the organization visited him in the morning to assess the situation. We couldn't believe that was happening. 

This week has not been the easiest. This week the member that came out with us most to make visits moved away, so now we cant visit a lot of people so easily, because theyre just women. We were able to get by quite well this week, and we are working more with the part member families in our ward, because there are men there, so we can enter the houses. My companion and I also had a few misunderstandings this week, which made a good few days rather uncomfortable, but we worked everything out, so everything is back to normal, and were best friends again. 

So this week we went to the offices, and we had another fun experience on the bus. I think I explained in an email a few months ago that people will get on buses and sing or rap to make money. So we were on the second of 3 buses we take to get up there, and a guy got on the bus. He was going to rap, and said something like, ´this one goes out to all my Colombians, unless there a gringo on the bus, yes or no?´ I was standing close to him, so I turned and looked at him, and without really thinking I just said yes. He was kind of surprised, and told me welcome to Colombia, and went on with his rap. It wasn't the best, but it was funny that he asked if there were gringos on the bus, because he hadn't noticed me there. When he finished and walked around to ask people for money, he asked me if I had any dollars tucked away, and I just laughed. That was a fun experience. 

In our district meeting, Elder Brown asked us all to share how we knew the book of mormon was true. I was second to last to share, and I felt kind of inadequate listening to everyone else share great experiences, but when I got up to share how I knew the Book of Mormon was true, i felt the Spirit softly confirm the testimony I had. I know the Book of Mormon is sent from God, and that it is the proof of the restoration. I know it helps us get closer to him, unlike any other book. 

This week we also had interviews with President Lozano, and I really loved the interview we had. I feel like he put a special emphasis to make each one of us feel important, and it worked. I left the interview really inspired to work, and serve the Lord. It was a short interview, and he mostly focused on my plans to develop Christlike attributes. I'm working on Love and charity, and humility right now. He also told me I had to help my companion more to learn English, so we have been working a little more on that, and he learns well!

I know that God is aware of each of us, and has sent leaders and angels to help each one of us. I know that if we are humble, we will receive His divine aid, and will be able to do His will.

Thanks for reading,
Elder Beck

me with names to take to the temple, and my new haircut, which is the same as always