Monday, February 19, 2018

Lunar New Year (Feb 19, 2018)

Hello Family and friends!



This week was good, and fairly normal. We were able to get out more this week and proselyte (called jundo in Korean). We met some really neat people. I will write a bit more on that later.

This week was also 설날, the Lunar New Year! I have Hanbok that I bought last year that I wore in our missionary activity we did on Friday... we took pictures with people and gave them free Book of Mormons! Afterwards our district missionaries had dinner at President's house! Sister Kim, his wife, made delicious boolkogi. After dinner we played a Korean traditional  game called yutnori! And took pictures in our hanbok. One of my favorite parts was what is called saebae... it means new year's bow. Allie will know how to do it. The tradition in Korea is that kids do the bow to the elderly on Solnar and get money! So after dinner President Jeong told me to do the saebae... so i did it and he pulled out 3 crisp new korean 1000 won bills and gave them to me! It was so fun and I felt like i was their Korean child. Other missionaries did it too. 

 One neat experience was as we set up a board with some questions about God with the other Elders and Sisters who serve here in Oncheon, then talked with people as they walked by, asking them to pick which question is most important to them. While doing the activity, two of the 6 of us were singing hymns in harmony there on the street... at first we had a mic and an amp but then it died so we just sang really loud. 

While we were doing it, I could see the people around us, so many people going back and forth, each with individual stories, desires, fears hopes, dreams, struggles, successes and failures... There were definitely happy people, who love their families and do good. There were also people who were unhappy in daily life, living for the next party, drink, cigarette, or other momentary relief from the stresses and pains of life. One girl I talked to stands out in my mind. She had a cigarrette in her mouth. She was 16, standing there with some older boys and when I asked her what she thought her life's purpose was, she immediately answered "drinking"... I asked if she had any other dreams or desires. She couldn't think of any.

That broke my heart. She is younger than Seth, and she is smoking and drinking and has no dream... . I wanted to teach her the plan of Salvation! After talking with her, I could recognize a difference in the atmosphere of the area that we were working in and the rest of the road. People would walked past, looking with a curious expression. Some would stop and talk with us. I met some kind people who may be wililng to meet again. As we continued to proselyte, I could almost see in my mind, the light that comes from the Gospel, radiating out in the area we were in... Not due to our skill or some kind of superiority to anyone, of which we have none, but because of the Gospel of Christ is light. I think that people could feel the Spirit as they walked past, and for some, it was one of the few times they have felt it. 

 The Power of the Holy Ghost is real. I have felt it in my life, and you all have, too. There have been times in my life where I wanted to feel the Holy Ghost, but couldn't. I have recognized on my mission two things that prevent me from feeling the Spirit:

One is our own fear, doubt, or distraction. Sometimes we fear that we are not good enough to receive guidance. Sometimes we fear that God isn't there. Sometimes we doubt that we, with all our mistakes, will be able to receive guidance at all. We put a wall up between us and the messages that God is sending us, blocking from us His words of guidance and encouragement, and His invitations for us to repent and become more like him. 

However, the counsel in the scriptures is clear:"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:" (Matthew 7) We need to trust in the Savior and the sacrifice he made to enable us to feel the Holy Ghost despite our weakness and sin, on the condition that we repent. Don't block what God wants to tell you because you fear you don't deserve to hear it. He knows was He's doing. Ask Him, and then act in faith.

The second thing that prevents us from feeling the Spirit is sin, or unworthiness. Sinning pulls us spiritually farther from God, the source of all light. As the distance that separates us grows greater, we feel His loving presence less and less. We know when we need to change. And the sooner we start heading the right direction again, and seek first the kingdom of God, we will come to feel the Holy Ghost more. The Holy Ghost is a wonderful feeling. It reassures you. It redirects you. It comforts you and motivates you to act and serve and love. 

I hope we can all choose repentance. I hope we can choose to ask of God, so we can receive the answers and comfort that he is ready to give. I know we can, if we trust Him, and trust in His Spirit. Remember that God doesn't require perfection. He said, "I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

I know thats true!
Love
Elder Beckett

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Pictures! (February 11, 2018)

Dear family,

This week we did zone conferences! It was really neat to get to see so many of my missionary friends. Tuesday was Daegu and Ulsan, Wednesday was Changwon, Thursday was Busan and South Busan, and Friday was Jeju. It was really cool to go to Jeju. It was interesting how there was a different feel to each zone conference-- the Changwon zone conference was extra spiritual-- there were some testimonies given by missionaries who are returning home that were so sincere and loving and the spirit was really strong-- you could clearly tell that these missionaries knew what they were talking about. It made me want to be a better, more loving missionary, more focused on my purpose, more worthy.

The subject of zone conference was repentance! That is why I kind of was thinking about repentance last week when I emailed. Repentance is such a wonderful blessing, and I know that when we are repent we find joy. It's true! 

One thought for the day-- I was reading the Book of Mormon this morning, in Alma 42. Alma teaches his son about justice and mercy and repentance! The part I love begins in verse 29. Alma has just corrected and chastised his son. He also taught him about God's plan for us to get back to him again someday. Corianton, at this point, was in the repentance process. His loving father, Alma, who simply wants to see his son 1) clean and on the right path, and 2) happy, gives him some advice. Alma is definitely qualified to give this sort of repenting-advice, for he himself came from a difficult background and was considered one of "the very vilest of sinners". But he repented. He changed his thoughts and actions and perspective of life and found joy and peace in the Gospel. 

He told his son, "29 And now, my son, I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance."

I hope we can have the right kind of attitude-- that which leads to change and improvement and hope. Not self loathing or anger or discouragement or hopelessness. Because God never wants us to feel bad about ourselves, as that will make us more likely to give into temptation. He just wants us to feel remorse for our mistakes, and then repent--change-- and find joy.

Love you all!

Elder Beckett
We played basketball last P-day with a lot of other missionaries. This was my time.

My comp and I with the Sogwipo elders. We got chicken!

We found gummy eggs! Remember sending them to me, Allie?

Grabbing a smoothie before our plane ride!
This good brother, aka "James Bond," is super famous among missionaries. He is really sweet, like a child in his mind, and just waits for the missionaries in Jeju to be with them and hang out with them.


Elder B and I in Sogwipo, part of Jeju. The snow and rocks looked like the oreo land Seth and I would see on the bus growing up. Remember, Seth? The snow and dirt fields?

At a dinner while we were in Jeju Island.

Normal-ish Week! (February 5, 2018)

Dear Family:

This week was good! It was nice to not have anything too crazy, and be in somewhat of a normal schedule! We did some good proselyting on the streets-- it is fun with Elder Y. We like to run around when it is cold, it helps us stay warm and especially to meet our goal. President Jeong made a mission goal for each missionary to give out 2 Book of Mormons per day, and to meet 3 people who are willing to meet again and exchange contact information with them... It isn't easy, and sometimes we don't have much time, but I love having goals to work towards! Simple goals give you direction and motivation to go farther than you ordinarily would!

Well sadly I told you all about the police station people, but they were unable to meet due to a sudden training they had to attend, so we are going to try to re-schedule a time... this week might be hard. We have all the zone conferences this week, so it will be fun to see friends in the mission! And Thursday-Saturday we will be in Jeju Island-- I have always wanted to go there, so that will be a cool experience! Ironically, I hear it is pretty cold there...
As for winter Olympics... we see advertisements and things, but that is about it! It is kind of far from us. I wish we were close by!

This week the topic of Zone Conference is "Repentance and a New Beginning"... As a missionary I have come to think about repentance a little differently. In PMG, it teaches, "as we repent daily, we will find that our lives will change and improve. Our hearts and our behavior will become more Christlike. " I love that quote-- and one more that I will share with it: "When a person has gone through the repentance process, the Savior does more than cleanse that person from sin—He also gives him or her new strength. That strengthening is essential for us to realize the purpose of the cleansing, which is to return to our Heavenly Father. To be admitted to His presence, we must be more than clean."

(Picture from the mission president of them on Jeju Island)
Repentance is tied to daily improvement and becoming happier and more successful in life-- to overcoming not only sin, but also weakness, poor habits, lack of self-discipline or laziness, or any area in our lives in which we fall short.

I believe there is great power in speaking openly to Heavenly Father, in sharing our goals and plans with Him, and telling Him how we plan to achieve them, and then asking for His strength and guidance as we fulfill those plans.
I know we can repent of sin, and I know that through repentance we can find more joy. We can improve daily, we can change. One great time to pick something to improve on is the time leading up to the sacrament, where we can bring our own weakness as an offering to give up, to be more like Christ.


(Picture/oil painting app? from the mission president)

Lastly, I will share one more quote from Elder Holland: "When you have sinned and recognized the seriousness of your mistakes, your most crucial challenge will be to believe that you can change, that there can be a different you. To disbelieve that is clearly a Satanic device designed to discourage and defeat you. Repentance is not a foreboding word. It is, following faith, the most encouraging word in the Christian vocabulary. You can change! You can be anything you want to be in righteousness."

I know that that is true! Love you! 

Elder Beckett

Sunday, February 4, 2018

We made bacon and french toast! (January 28, 2018)

Last week was great! And so tiring! We had a lot of training meetings and things. It was sad to say goodbye to my former companion Elder S_ who finished his mission! But it was fun to see the new missionaries, full of fire. They seem awesome.

Nate and his companion, Elder Y

Elder Beckett and Elder Y with their Mission President

We met last week with a few investigators! One man is named Brother M_, and he really really likes Americans. Haha. Right now he just meets us cause he likes us, but little by little he seems to be more willing to talk about the Gospel.

We also were able to go to an indoor basketball court (hard to find in Korea!) and play basketball with our investigator, brother CJ.  My last area's members, the Haeundae members, were there too, as well as Elder K, my last companion, and Elder S, and their investigator! Super fun night. After basketball, we came back to the church and were able to share a few our beliefs with CJ, who is from China! He is so awesome! Really humble, kind guy.

(This is Allie's former companion from the Daejeon Mission, who met Nate on her way home from her mission and sent this picture, along with the video below, to Allie)


Well that is about all for this week. Ah! Also I need your prayers, big time. We got a call from a man this week who said he wanted to hear more about our religion. So we met him at a Starbucks. When we met, he said that he didn't have much time, but he wanted to meet in his office this week, and wanted to hear more about our religion. Apparently he works as a reporter and told us that they learn about different religions, and this week they would give us an hour to give a presentation to him and several co-workers, about 20 people in total. Wow! So we are going to prepare our best to help them learn well about our Gospel and have a spiritual experience. Also, our Mission President, President Jeong, will come with us and help answer questions. Pretty cool!

For this spiritual message... i hope it is ok but I would just like to quote what Seth said to me.

"Today I taught the lesson in priests quorum, "Who am I, and who can I become?". It was awesome through the week to read through the scriptures and talks it suggested. My favorite talk I read was probably Elder Renlund's, "Latter-day Saints Keep on Trying". My favorite part is probably where it talks about a Shakespeare play, where a brother has been plotting to kill his younger brother, but later on the younger brother saves his life, even though he knows of his brother's intentions. This unconditional love changes the older brother, and when he's asked if it was him who used to plan to kill his brother he says, "Twas I; but 'tis not I: I do not shame to tell you what I was, since my conversion so sweetly tastes, being the thing that I am." That is so awesome to me. I think the younger brother is symbolic of the Savior, who owed us absolutely nothing, yet he suffered an unimaginable physical, emotional, and spiritual anguish for each of us. Because of his suffering, we can experience that sweetly tasting conversion, and look back on our sins, acknowledging that we have become someone entirely different. "

Have a great week!

Love
Elder Beckett

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Transfer Calls! (January 21, 2018)

Hey family! 

I was transferred out of Haeundae. I will miss that ward! It was a really great area-- the members were so kind, we had great investigators, and I will miss my companion, Elder K_! But he will do a great job taking care of S_, the S_ family, and the other investigators. I will send some pictures in a bit!
The T_ family, and also a wonderful recent convert couple. I will miss them all so much!
The good news is, I just moved somewhere else in Busan! So I will probably be able to see them again from time to time, call them, see them at stake activities. And my new companion is... Elder Y_!! One of my best friends in the mission!! I couldn't  believe it! So I am really excited to work with him. We will have fun and work hard. We are in the Oncheon Ward, in Korean 온천동 if you want to find it :) 

Well last week we visited the S_ family a couple times... one time was Monday night. They were sick and so we just said a prayer for them with the dad and daughter at the door. Then after I got transfer calls, we went to say goodbye, but they weren't there, so I stuck a letter on their door. I love those kids!

I was also able to say goodbye to S_ yesterday! He has been super busy lately so it was good to see him one last time, and encourage him!

Our English Flier Announcement.
We were able to find an investigator last week from calling through the area book, as well as Brother Y_ in our ward, introduced his friend's son to us, who was super nice! I think they both have good potential, so look forward to hearing about how things go!
 
We also had the opportunity last week to help with a baptism in our zone! One of the districts in our zone did so well last transfer-- They had 4 teams in their district and 6 baptisms! It was seriously awesome. I learned a lot from Elder S_, who was the district leader over in that district. He really helped the missionaries there to work effectively and happily. The baptism was so great-- even though there were problems with the water and the font and other things, the Spirit was there and it was wonderful! 

Elder K and I eating chicken and potatoes mixed with the taco seasoning you sent!
Today I want to share some thought from the talk, "Three Sisters" By President Uchtdorf. It is such an accurate and beautiful talk! He uses a small parable--

President Uchtdorf briefly relates a story about three sisters. Sad, Mad, and Glad, who all reacted to their various circumstances and life experiences in different ways. They all die, with the same feelings with which they lived-- One sad, one mad, and one glad. He then gives an analysis of why each sister felt the way they did. 

The first sister, Sad, "saw herself as a victim—as someone who was acted upon. It seemed like one thing after another kept happening to her that made her miserable. With this approach to life, she was giving others control over how she felt and behaved. When we do this, we are driven about by every wind of opinion—and in this day of ever-present social media, those winds blow at hurricane intensity." 

The 2nd sister, Mad, "was angry at the world. Like her sad sister, she felt that the problems in her life were all caused by someone else. She blamed her family, her friends, her boss and co-workers, the police, the neighbors, church leaders, current fashion trends, even the intensity of solar flares, and plain bad luck. And she lashed out at all of them. She didn’t think of herself as a mean person. To the contrary, she felt that she was only sticking up for herself. Everyone else, she believed, was motivated by selfishness, pettiness, and hate. She, on the other hand, was motivated by good intentions—justice, integrity, and love."

And the last sister, who was able to have joy and live Glad, "represent[ed] the authentic disciple of Jesus Christ. She did something that can be extremely hard to do: she trusted God even in the face of ridicule and hardship. Somehow she maintained her faith and hope, despite the scorn and cynicism around her. She lived joyfully not because her circumstances were joyful but because she was joyful."

How are you like Sad? How are you like Mad? How can we be more Glad?

I think in the end, one of the biggest answers lies in choosing humility over pride. Humble enough to seek God before the opinions of society. Humble enough to not always have to have the last word. Humble enough to respect others' agency and choices, and love them without condition or reserve. Humble enough to accept advice and correction, even seek it.

I love you all! I hope we can choose humility and gladness rather than pride and sadness or madness! I think as we sincerely pray for it, God will inspire us to recognize circumstances in which we can improve and change

Love

Nate

Tough Week! (January 15, 2018)

Well this week was kind of crazy and tough! It started off on Monday with my companion getting surgery, then we stayed together in the hospital until Wednesday... Thursday I went to the mission headquarters on exchange with my trainer, Elder L_ who is awesome! We had a ton of fun together, I will have to send you all some pictures later. We did a nerf gun battle with the youth and invites them to being their friends and do it again this next week... it was really fun!

As for investigators, we weren't able to meet with many this week... the S_ family were too busy, so we heart attacked their door :)  We were able to meet with A_ and his wife which was fun, but it didn't quite go the way we wanted. Their darling little new born baby was having a tough time, so we weren't able to talk much... we ate together, A_ played some cool classic piano music, then talked a little bit about the BOM and invited them to church again. But it is hard for A_ since it is Korean, and he said having someone translate is a little uncomfortable. So that made us a bit sad! But that's ok. He is sincerely reading the Book of Mormon which is awesome! Please pray that as he reads and prays and lives according to the Book that he can know that it's true! 

Anyway sorry we were kind of busy today so that's about all! I sure love you all and hope you had a great week! 
One cool quote I love that I got from Elder Wesley Allen, who quoted President Monson: 
"Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved."
Remember what's most important in life! ^^

Also I got all your personal emails, thanks a bunch! Sorry no time to respond... btw next week is transfer week so I may or may not be in 해운대 next week... Yikes! I love this place! But I will happily work hard wherever I go!

Love

Elder Beckett

Baptismal Dates and Weaknesses (January 7, 2018)

Hey fam!

Awesome week! We were able to meet with the S_ family again! We arrived at the T_ home, had a meal together, then started the lesson. When we asked if they had talked about baptism with each other, and what they thought, they said they still hadn't talked about it. So I almost just gave them the same invitation again... but as Elder K_ was talking I felt like I should give them a baptismal date as a goal. So I invited them to prepare to be baptized by February 4. And they accepted! To make it better, after that, we asked Sister T_ to share her memories of her baptism, and then their dad, Brother S_, who seems to be conflicted the most about religion, to share his memory of his baptism. He was 18 or 19 he said, when he was baptized. And when he was baptized, it was just like joining a big family, that the church was so good to him and helped him so much. It was neat that he could share that, and I think it helped his kids with their decision. Please pray for the S_ children to be able to prepare to be baptized by February 4th!

On new year's day, we went and saw the sunrise with this awesome couple. It's a new year's tradition here to see the sun rise. I love them--they are the best!
Here we are eating with them. Great new convert couple!
This week we also met with S_ and talked a lot about baptism with him, as well as E_, our awesome African friend. They are both so pure in heart and good, and enjoyed learning about Joseph Smith. As they pray about baptism, please pray that they will feel through the Holy Ghost that it is the right decision! 

One cool thing is that, on Saturday, we gave E_ a tour of our church before we met with him, and when he saw the picture of the Seoul temple he was really surprised-- "Wait! That's your church?? I didn't know that!" Then he told us a story of how he was in Seoul, and two American women asked him for directions. He helped them climb hills and wind through the city and found the temple! They asked him to take a picture for them, and he also took a picture of himself with it, because he thought it looked cool, even posted it on Facebook. Then a few weeks later he saw a picture of the temple at our church and connected the dots! Pretty cool.

Today I just wanted to share a little about weakness. Everyone has things they are good at, and everyone has things that are hard for them. Whether academically, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and any other way, each of us has times when we feel like we just don't measure up-- we are a couple marks too short, a few seconds too slow, a few points under our needed score. I know I have felt weak a lot in my lifetime. It is really easy to compare our abilities with others, which usually doesn't result in anything positive. So this morning I took a look at what the scriptures have to say about weakness. Here are some cool things I learned

1) Why do we have weaknesses? This is answered in Ether (12:27): " I give unto men weakness that they may be humble" Simple enough, if we are to have the Christlike qualities we need for exaltation, we need to learn humility! I also think that it would be detrimental and preventative to our ability to grow and progress in this life if we were perfect in everything. I am grateful for what I learn in my weakness, although most of the time it isn't easy to learn.

2) What should we do about our weakness? This is answered in the same verse: "and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

However, my favorite thing I found regards the question, (3) )"What can the Lord do, even though I am weak?"

I'm on exchanges in this picture, with our friend S_.
 The apostle Paul, when praying to have some kind of pain or weakness or something along those lines removed from him wrote the following as inspiration from God:
 "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2nd Cor. 12:9-10)
He also shares the following in his first letter to the Corinthians, found as chapter 1, verse 27, "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;"

Lastly, I would just like to share, as a comfort for the times when all we seem to see is our weakness-- when we forget our strengths, perhaps to the point where we may feel overwhelmed, burdened, weary, or even depressed-- the simple counsel that the Savior gives to us, as recorded in Matthew 11: 28-30 "

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Love you family! I know that we are meant to have weakness, but I also know that we can overcome them. God brings to pass great miracles through small things! Keep turning to the Savior, learning about his perfect life and example, and you will feel his power enter your life.

Love,
Nate

If you want to do additional study, I love the conference talk by Elder Holland: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/be-ye-therefore-perfect-eventually?lang=eng