Sunday, April 24, 2011

He got some letters!!

video
This is such a cute video. He was so excited about getting letters finally. He would love it if you had the time to write him a letter. You can either send him one through dearelder.com or message me for his address. Thank you for all your support, love and prayers on his behalf.

Ben's first area Medellin Colombia


Looking over the city of medellin... His first area.

Having a little lunch with some of the Elders


This is Ben's first area. Medellin Colombia! His trainer and Companion (first comepanion) Elder Miranda. He is a Colombia native. Ben is no longer in Medellin. He is in Chinchina now.


video
This is a very sweet video. This is the Primary children singing. ( We are not sure of the song)








He was so EXCITED to get some letters from home!


His Kitchen


The closet/storage space for him and his companion


april 18, 2011


(These are the answers to my questions)
Yes mother I was transferred... The Address is calle 10 Carerra 7 #63 apartemnto 303. Chichina Manizales. I haven’t got a new photo card yet but I will buy one. The best thing that she could do and the most secure way is to give the package to the missionaries in Belen and they will give it to the zone leaders. The zone leaders will give it to the office and the office will give it to the zone leaders of Manizales. That is what you need to tell her to do. Give it to elder Miranda in Belen. (He is talking about a Colombian woman who came to visit us this past week.  She will take him back a package. )Some candy would be cool and some razors. I don’t think I need anything else. Still no mail. Hopefully on Tuesday we will get mail because the zone leaders are coming here. Oh not this Tuesday in one week.

So yes I was transferred. It was really sad to leave Medellin. My investigators cried and I cried with my converts. You are really attached to them at a spiritual level.
I hope you liked the pictures and videos ha-ha I am sure they are just really weird but it’s all chill. I will buy a card and we can keep sending it back and forth. So my new area, I am in Chichina it is about an hour away from the city of Manizales. It is beautiful like indescribable. I am up in the Amazon and it is a small, small Puebla. It is a branch of about 90 members attending. Which is pretty big. I love it here. I think I might like it here more than Medellin. Today we hung out with members in the president of the branches house it was awesome and before we played with all the primary and young men young women it was the so awesome. It is a bit colder here cause we are in the mountains. I hope I answered all your questions. I am out of time but I am happy with my new companion elder Mamani from Bolivia. Keep praying for baptisms. I love the mission and it will be such an adventure working here in Chichina! I am happy to hear Spence spoke in the good old seventh ward. Hit a home run from the sounds of it. He is a good man and I think he is heading out here in a couple weeks ha-ha I think he is probably nervous ha-ha. Don’t worry bro the mission is hakuna matata. ha-ha

Love you all,
Elder Belnap

April 11 2011

Hello Mother.

Transfers are tomorrow I am very excited to see what will happen. I dunno I sent my memory card with her and she is going to give it to you. (A lady from Medellin is coming to our home on Friday night) I haven´t gotten the package yet. I am really hoping this week. Could you send beef jerky haha I know that´s a weird request but, I would love some. Tell dad to buy the good stuff haha.
Language stories, here is one. We knocked doors and find some people to teach. The lady was nice and offered me some water and said would you like some ¨tinto¨ also. I had no idea what it was but I said yes being nice. My companion was laughing but didn´t say anything. He said after a while...  you now that tinto is coffee right hahahahaha I hope the lord can forgive my ignorance.
This week has been good. I can´t explain how fast time goes it is almost unreal. I am sure there is something that is making the earth spin super fast and we don´t know about it. I am going on to my sixth month in the mission it has flown by. I thought a lot about the Savior and the commencement of the church this Wednesday (also I think it was Peteys birthday happy birthday Petey) The Savior truly is leading and guiding this week. We are promised that he will send his angels to go before us. I know that it is true. I feel it as they speak through the power of the Holy Ghost. I love Medellin, I told my companion this week that this is the most beautiful city I have ever seen. I think it might be the most beautiful in the world. I love being a missionary. I was able to bear testimony a lot this week that Jesus Is the Christ the son of our Father in Heaven. I love you all, Elder Ben Belnap.
Mom maybe an electric shaver would be nice. But I want one like James Collier.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Letter 04-04-11

Okay mother,

My companion has two more transfers then he is going home. I couldn´t watch the MTC special they played something else I think. No news on the package but I do get mail about once a month (a truly glorious day). The food was great this week we ate in the street with our buddies from our zone. It was so fun. We laughed and it was a good time. Spanish is coming. I would say the hardest is the phone. People talk faster and slur on the phone and it is hard for me. My companion yells at me when I can´t understand the people on the phone and he has to talk hahaha but it will all come.
I don´t know if I answered all your questions but I want to use my time to share my experience from this weekend.

Before conference I had a feeling that it was going to be difficult watching conference without you all and without going to priesthood with dad. It was true it was difficult but it was the best weekend spiritually of my life. When we stood to sing Redeemer of Israel as a Priesthood, I couldn´t help but recognize the overpowering presence of the Holy Ghost. It was six months ago to the night that Grandma Elen passed away. Singing that song, standing with the priesthood, I felt her. I felt my brother Bubba on the other side of the veil and my brother Og on this side of the veil. I thought about dad standing and singing that and the spirit was felt in great abundance. We are sealed together as an eternal family, bound through the priesthood never to be separated. I serve, dad serves, mom serves, Bubba serves. We are an Eternal Family. That is why I am here to bring the way that families can be eternal.
We  had investigators in the Sunday morning session and it was such a different experience, watching in Spanish in the church. But, it was magnificent to see the spirit testify to our investigators of the truthfulness. They loved the feelings they had at church and want to come again so they can have that with them all the time. I would say D Todd Christofferson and David Burtons talks will stick with me the most. Oh and Deiter F. Uchtdorf in priesthood was incredible.
It was hard to be away from you this weekend but I was with you and you were with me.

I love you all so much.
Love Elder Belnap
P.s. I ate McDonald’s this week. Wasn´t the same but the fries were pretty close hahaha

Friday, April 1, 2011

A few pictures from Colombia

Ben's companion and trainer!

Beatrice's baptism



Where Ben lives

Ben and His companion (their house)

Ben's whole zone

Letter 3-28-11

Well mother,
Things are great here in Medellin. My companion is from Barranquilla. His family is not too involved in his mission process. His sister is the only active member. There are 3 Americans here. 40 natives in Medellin and 3 gringos haha. I got the letters this week it was so fun mom!!! I loved opening them and reading about all my friends. I got a letter from grandma and from Og and Jackee. Tell James that I got his letter too. I love James Taylor. I will let you know when I get the package I am so excited for it.
So this week was really good and so so fast. The best experience was a lesson with Olga and Isabel. They say they are my mom’s haha. They are about 70 and they are best friends. Isabel is really Catholic but said she would pray to know if she should be baptized. She believes in the Book of Mormon but like I said she has a lot of tradition in the Catholic church. She prayed and had a dream, In her dream she saw herself and elder Miranda and I in a pool of water. She saw me baptizing her and the water turned to dirty mud. She was crying when she told us this story. She accepted a baptismal date for the 16th of April and she understands the importance of being washed clean through baptism. AWESOME!!!!! So so sweet.
The worst Experience... We were eating lunch with a member in the street because he doesn’t like to feed us in his house. And we saw an accident, 2 motorcycles and a truck. One guy was fine and the guy in the truck was fine. But, this is a very busy road and they were going fast one of the other guys tried to avoid the truck and went over the curb. He went over the bars and his body and head smashed into a cement block holding a light post. It was a very dramatic experience and it took me a couple hours to recover mentally from it. I don’t know if he lived or died. I don´t really want to know.
So on a different note. I am excited for conference haha I hope that it´s good on the mission. Unfortunately it will all be in Spanish. haha. Mom I talked to Kathy Erickson’s friend. It was awesome. I will be sending a little box with her cause she is coming to Utah next month!!!
I love you all very much hope all is well. Someone told me this week that Pablo Escobar was the richest man in the world in his day. Can you let me know if that is true.
Again I can´t send photos but I am sending my memory card with Kathy’s friend.
Love, Elder Benjamin Belnap

Letter 3-21-11

I got dear elders from Og and letter from grandma which was great. I should get mail tomorrow from the zone leaders. The food is excellent. It really is like gourmet every lunch. It’s huge too. Lots of bananas rice chicken beef, sausage and soup every day. Yuka papa. Love it! Driving is a little crazy. You have to be 16 to drive but none of them have cars so it´s just the crazy busses and taxis.

We had three investigators this week, Marta who always comes but doesn´t want to be baptized Kayla she is 17 and pregnant. Oh think about this, Kayla’s grandpa is 53. And he is already a great grandpa. That´s how young people are having children. It is really sad. They really don´t have to travel too far the church it is in the middle of most things. No scary situations mom don´t worry. I haven´t been robbed. I don’t know what else I want in a package. I always think of stuff but I forget. Maybe Nyquil.

This week was awesome. We had training for all the missionaries in Medellin. I learned a lot and I am excited for the future month. The goal for the Colombia Cali mission next month is 397 baptisms. It would be the most in history of this mission but I am going to work really hard. I don´t really like thinking in goals though to be honest. I just think about the people. If we don´t make our goals, it´s okay cause I know what I am doing and I am giving these people my all. My companion is tired he is finishing his mission so he is really sick and his body hurts but he keeps on moving and we keep working. I would love to hear more news of what is going on in the world mom.
We are in a different cafe this week and I can´t figure out the pictures but next week I will send you some more. I have a picture of Daniel and Beatriz together. It is the best picture I have ever seen. A convert baptizing another convert. Oh ya!!!
I love you all so much. Have an excellent week. I know I have more to say but time is up.
Love, Elder Benjamin Belnap

Letter 3-14-11

 These are the answers to my weekly questions:
The food was all really good. No issues there. We have to walk of course but
our area is massive so we go in bus. There are areas we go in taxi so they
can take us right to the house cause some areas we can't walk in the
streets. peligroso!!! haha We are having a training this week which should
be pretty much just like zone conference. It´s on Tuesday and Wednesday all
day long. So maybe I will get mail then. I hope you can find that choir
music. I kind of want Vitamin string quartet but I don´t know if that is
considered classical. Consult with Og on that one. We can listen to anything
by Motab hymns in any form and classical style music. So we listen to some
Enya and Josh Groban but some Josh Groban is a little romantic so we don't
listen to all his stuff. Washing clothes Sucks!!!! I have a brush and a bar
of soap and that is all. I use my debit card sometimes to buy stuff if I
need it. I hardly ever see the president once every three months or two
months haha.

This week was awesome. I included photos from the baptism of Beatriz. it was
such a special day. Daniel baptized her! That was one of the best parts. We
baptized Daniel about a month ago and he baptized Beatriz on Saturday. It
was a powerful experience. She bore her testimony after and said when she
woke up she didn´t want to be baptized and she was really scared. ( This is
normal. The Devil wants to make people scared and afraid. Before baptism he
tries to make people doubt.) She said she just trusted in the truth and came
to the baptism. When She got in the font she was crying. She said that she
felt so much peace and all the fear was taken away. She said she is so
grateful she found the true church of Jesus Christ. What a great day. I love
being a missionary. I know that in reality this is the true church of
Christ. I am so grateful for the experience Ï am having here. I hope
everyone can see the pictures from the baptism.
Love you all Elder Belnap.

Mom maybe send some vitamins to have more strength and energy. love you mom.

Letter 3-7-11

The soccer team is Naccional. They beat Barranquilla this weekend so everyone has been so so drunk haha they love Naccional it is crazy. They are really good too. I can hear the stadium sometimes so sick. haha I am still taking cold showers, and I still absolutely despise it. I know some houses have warm water but not here. Oh ya I am staying here and so is my companion another six weeks in Medellin. Food is excellent however, on Sunday I did not enjoy cow stomach.... It was not horrible but I just hated the texture. But worse than that some sister put ketchup all over my noodles because I am American and they love ketchup. It was horrible. I was able to sneak most of it off my plate. haha I can eat cows stomach and pigs feet but can´t bear the thought of eating ketchup haha. I am missing Carl’s Junior, Taco Bell and KFC the most from home. I want a cheeseburger, I real cheeseburger. haha But I get to make my own food for dinner and breakfast so it´s all good.
We can play basketball but no one really likes to so it never happens. I played a little bit. I enjoyed myself.
P day is a normal morning we study and after clean the house and then whatever we want but we hardly do anything so we sleep and eat and listen to music. Speaking of music haha... oh you are going to be mad at me mom. But could you find my choir CD’s and send them to me you might have to buy new ones from Larry or ask Preston cause I think I put them on his computer. sorrrry..... luff you. (Interesting, I just purchased these CD’s on Friday..Thanks, Lizz)
It has been a good week! Before I start how sick is that Spence Is going to Russia. They always send the geniuses to Russia. I am so stoked for him. Tell Erin to hit me up with an email on her thoughts. Also Curt dogger Bulgaria, I have no idea where that is but I am  happy he is going to Europe.
Beatriz is ready to go for her baptism on Saturday. It has been a great journey teaching her and watching her learn and grow and find a testimony of Jesus Christ. It is so amazing to be a missionary and help people make the changes that will bless them now in their lives and for eternity. I am so happy to be in Belen and Medellin. I know the work will continue to grow for us here. I love you all so much and Elder Belnap is happy and doing well. I don´t have any more time mama. I love you so much lady!! Love Elder Belnap I miss writing you too mommy!

Letter 2-28-11


Hello,
Yes, mom I got my blessing I have an hour to email and I print off a bunch of emails. It’s expensive. We didn’t have zone conference they zone leaders had a conference in Cali so they brought mail. Transfers are tomorrow!! I don’t know what will happen. To be honest I am a little nervous I love Belen and I want one more transfer with my trainer because we are doing work!!! So we will see what happens this week. I got about 20 emails saying how awesome Daniel was (which is to be expected) but that is good stuff. How is Joust doing no one has told me anything about him so I don´t know anything....
This week was excellent, I feel so good to be a missionary. Ser mormon es ser feliz. My companion always tells me that. It’s true. He is so happy and loved his mission so much. We are teaching some people that are really powerful. Beatriz she is 19 and has no family but just moved in with the members. ( BOOO YAAAAA!!!) Members are the only way to do missionary work. We never knock doors I mean we do but not too much haha. So Beatriz loved the plan of salvaccion. The spirit was so strong with her. I didn´t know why she didn´t have a family but I testified that I knew she could live with her family I talked about Bubba and Sarah which I don´t really do too often and I was crying and she was crying and the spirit of the truth was poured out on us. She is getting baptized on March 12 hopefully I don´t get transferred so I can be there. I love being with her she is so powerful. We have two families that are progressing but the thing is they are never married. So we are working on that. But it is a little expensive to get them married. Mom I hope you spell check this cause I write so fast I don’t really look at what I  am saying. How is everyone at home? I would love a note about the NBA. That is something I would like to know haha LeBron specifically. The language is coming along. I am pleased about that.
I know that Jesus is the Christ and the Savior of the world. Missionary work is incredible. I love to be a missionary. I am going to go sleep now cause p day is sleepy time daddyyy.. Love you all so much.  I miss Sawyer!!! I hope I didn’t forget to tell you anything... oh ya mom I got all the post cards and letters !!!! So fun to open them. Tell Mons I got his note. Is he playing basketball or no? Ser mormon es ser  feliz. Don’t  forget it everyone!!!
Love, Elder Belnap

Letter 2-28-11

Hello hello! I didn´t eat any strange food this week. Just absolutely
delicious food. I love the avocado here, there are tons of trees and I eat
them all the time. There are a lot of areas we have to stay away from. a lot
a lot. And some we can go to during the day and not at night. We are pretty
careful. I thought I was going to have to fight the other night walking back
to the house. There were about six of them but nothing really happened. So
no worries there mamma!!! I am safe. We have to be in by 9 just like other
missions.
Companion study...... Well in my opinion it´s super boring hahaha That might
sound messed up but practicing lessons and stuff I just don´t like it that
much but we do it every day. My companion is the bomb. Did I tell you he
speaks English?? Yes he failed to mention this to me for my first two weeks
when I couldn´t talk to him hahahaha. He has lots of other sons in the
mission. Oh and he isn´t 25 he is 27. wow really old. He is the same age as
our bishop hahaha. It´s pretty sick.
Tomorrow We´ll be getting mail because the zone leaders went to Cali this
week so I am happy about that. pretty excited. Over all I like mail hahaha.
I am excited to get a new mission president. it should be cool. Yes meet him
mom. And make sure you tell him that we want to play soccer on p day not go
to museums!!!!!!!!! haha So this week was great. Andrea (I think I mentioned
her is awesome) She has almost read the whole book of Mormon and is getting
baptized the 5th of march. but she is trying to find another house to live
so we don´t know for sure if we´ll baptize her or what. We can´t teach her
in her old house anymore. The guy that lives there is a Nazi Skin Head.
Scared me the first time I saw him. Big old Swastika tattoo. I do not know
how to spell either of those words. haha but he told us to never go back
there.
Our ward is really excited with new members. They are giving us more
references and bringing more inv. to church. Daniel, I found out was the
first Man to be baptized in this ward in years. so they are really happy! I
love you all. All is well. Oh and this city loves soccer it´s crazy. When
Medellin is playing no one does anything, just drink and watch the game.
Church is just unimportant at that point. haha Oh Daniel Hunter Lalli had a
birthday. He´s getting close to leaving. that is so sick. North Carolina!!!.

Love Elder Belnap.

Letter 2-14-11

Hello,
I haven´t gotten anything letters or any postcards. We are ten hours away from Cali so we don´t really get mail that often. I ate a pigs foot a couple of days ago that was kind of nasty It was just fat and bone and we were supposed to eat. I didn´t enjoy that really... haha I sent 4 pictures One of me at a less active members house looking over Belen at night. Pretty sick, the others are from Magerli´s baptism. Also Daniels Baptism. Magerli asked me to do her baptism. I was so happy. She is my first investigator I have seen from start to finish. It was incredible, the water was freezing But just like the day of Kelon’s Baptism I could feel the spirit in my toes. My legs were on fire and she was crying. She told me she never thought that this would happen and she is so happy. That is her sister in the pictures she has helped her a lot she is a member. Daniel wants to serve a mission!! He is the first boy to be baptized in Belen Medellin for over two years.!! The bishop is so happy. I feel great when we are obedient and working hard. We can really see the success also! I thought about sawyer this week and how cool it will be for Erica and B when he is 8 and gets baptized!!! Hopefully B will be done with school by then haha.
So that is the happy story for the week.
The other is We did an exorcism on a house in a area called Rincon. They were seeing a man and a young boy in the house. The little boy was telling the little girl (she is like 2 or 3) to do stuff. I was scared.... We went upstairs where they said they were seeing it and I really didn´t feel good... I was like oh no here comes some paranormal activity, the ring, grudge kind of stuff. We knelt down and said a prayer that whatever was there would leave and the house would have the spirit. It was powerful.. My hands were shaking and I was sweating. The little girl was doing some very weird things during the prayer. But, we feel like whatever was there has now left!! Satan tried to attack me with fear. But, I am still happy and I am not scared I love this work everyone. It is really hard but I am happy!!! I met a lady who reminded me of Pat Oberg she was super nice and had so much faith! I miss the Oberg’s. I love you all so much. I know this is true. I wouldn´t come half way around the world to preach a lie to the people here. I hope Stephen is happy heading out this week. I will be praying for him.
Love Elder Belnap

.Letter 2-7-11





Hello everyone!
Yes mom I know Elder Peek he is in my zone. I like him a lot. He is a good man and really has been looking after me. haha  (Elder Peek’s mother is on the missionary moms email list with me) Didn´t meet any of Kathy’s friends. I get like 180 dollars a month so they say I usually always have enough. I don´t get hungry really during the day. The lunch is so so huge that I´m not hungry until about six so all is well on the food front. I don´t need more pictures of Christ, and right now I don´t know if I need more CTR rings. I will be giving the hymn books a way this week to Magerli and Daniel cause they are being baptized on Saturday.!!! I gave the present to the president they seemed pleased. Unfortunately I have to do my own laundry bucket and soap and a little scrubber I honestly hate it. haha I am taking pictures and will send them but, I forget my camera this week and will send more next week. We don’t ever carry our cameras cause if we got robbed it would be bad. The landscape is mountains and hills and also part in the valley. It´s beautiful here. Especially in the mornings. I love it But walking in the hills when it´s the hot part of the day is not fun haha.
So it´s been a good week!! We have two baptisms and they both are really powerful, Daniel bore his testimony this week in church. He is 19 and wants to serve a mission! Magerli is doing well but, her family is having a really hard time. They are really poor and her mom Claudia lost her job cause she´s been at the hospital for almost 3 weeks with Maria Kamila. That isn´t all... Kayla her 17 year old daughter(not a member but we are teaching her) she is pregnant and this week she drank a container of medicine to try to kill herself... so she is in the hospital also, same hospital as Maria Kamila. So sad for me, I feel so bad for Claudia the mother. We fasted for them, for dad, and for our investigators to come to church and progress. It is kind of hard to fast as a missionary, so thirsty!! haha. one thing that I miss about home so much, I absolutely hate showering here. The water is ice cold!!! you know I hate cold water!!! Every morning I wake up and I dread it, I dread having to take a shower. It is horrible. I am assuming it´s the same in Paraguay Kayo is going to hate it. hahahaha. Oh and happy birthday to Jacqueline. Happy birthday Jack!!! We taught a lesson with Andréa last night and it was my most powerful yet. She says she is feeling something she has never felt before as we talk and as she reads the book of Mormon. it is the spirit, the spirit speaks through feelings of peace and love. The book of Mormon has the power to change people’s lives. It changed my dad’s life. It changed mine. I love you all. Have an excellent week.
Elder Benjamin Belnap
Freaking packers... I´ll take them seriously when Aaron Rogers stops wearing a kickers helmet.

Arrival in Colombia 1-14-11

Hello family and friends! I am in Colombia haha pretty wild stuff!! I´m so excited about the mission calls this week Preston and my boy mikey T so sick!!! Paraguay is dope I have friends from the MTC there. Mikey T  wow I never would have guessed bro. You are the man I love you.
So my first week was way sick! We had a baptism Maria Camilla she is 9 years old!!! but she is powerful. Very powerful, the baptism was great! we also have a baptism this Saturday with my home boy Jamie let me give you some background on Jamie. He is 80 years old like super old, he works out in the streets all day (doing who knows what haha) but he is so excited to be baptized. He wants me to do it! So next Saturday I’ll be baptizing jamie. So excited!!! oh oh and he has a hernia... not funny at all but kind of he likes to show people and it is the size of a soft ball it is so nasty haha. We taught a lot of lessons and I feel the hard work in the MTC paying off. I can understand almost everything, which is such a blessing from the lord. I can´t say everything I want to but I’ll get better. My companion is elder Miranda from Barranquilla??? He is so sick. He´s a convert of three years and he is 25. He is a powerful missionary and we are learning a lot from each other. I am in Medellin, Belen. Oh my goodness it is the best. 70-80 degrees a little bit of wind. Best weather in the mission, the people aren´t as poor as other areas. But, it is huge like our area is so big we have to take bus all the time so it´s a little expensive. Tons of people and the driving here is the scariest experience. They do about 60 passing people in the bus while texting and changing money. Seriously it is wild. One thing is there are so many women..... the city of Medellin is 70% women  and 30% men... and they are beautiful. We avoid them like the plague, we call them snakes haha the 14 year olds look like they´re 20 it´s a scary scary place with the women haha. Our house is nice it´s small but pretty nice. Did I tell you they lost my bag in Bogotá???? ya no bueno but maybe it´ll turn up? best way to send letters is dear elder and to the mission home. Pouch is not the way to go here. Put stickers of mother mary and photos on packages and I should get them. I´m surprised no one asked me about the food haha. It is so different then what I thought.
It´s not Mexican food at all I don´t even really no how to describe it. And they eat so much I cant´handle it haha and juice. Every house we go in, member, investigator, Mormon hater, it doesn´t matter they give us juice. haha Oh and they said don´t drink the water here just like other south American countries... but, there isn´t really anything you can do so I just drink it. haha funny funny stuff. make sure Preston looks up elder Thomson in Paraguay he´s tight. Man the weather is nice the people are accepting and we are going to baptize like crazy ( I hope) Oh and church here was wild... I have to give a talk next week I am kind of nervous. Love you all. Learn Spanish Preston Kelon Tyler. you will be so happy you did. Mom Maria loves her ring and she wears it every day, I made her promise to read and pray every day if she wanted to wear it. If I remember anything I will write it next week.