Friday, August 11, 2017

When Life Doesn't Go According to Plan (August 6, 2017)


 Wow. Starting this transfer, my 9th transfer in the field (what?) I have now been out on my mission as long as Allie had been when I arrived in Korea. Allie has now been home for 6 months. Her 동기(Dong-gi), or the group of people she came to Korea with, are now going home-- tomorrow. I loved that group of people! Elder R, Elder P, Elder L, and Elder S, and many more. One of the ones I was closest to in Allie's 동기 was Elder L, from Hurricane Utah. He gave me a call last night to say goodbye, before he gave home. Elder L was an amazing role model for me on my mission-- he was stellar and excellent in every way-- Christlike attributes, Spirituality, physical and athletic ability-- I really looked up for Elder L, and I am going to miss him.

Before he hung up, I just asked him the quick question, "Is there anything you have learned recently or tried that you wish you would have done more during your mission?"

Elder L replied," You know,  I guess the biggest thing I would say is just to not sweat the small stuff. As missionaries we can get really down and be really hard on ourselves-- my Korean isn't good enough, I can't find investigators, or the members are hard to work with. But these moments pass. We are serving God, who is in charge of everything. He has all power. We just need to keep our heads up and keep going."

That advice is pretty simple, but really profound. And I want to share a couple of my thoughts on it.

This morning in personal study I was reading in 2nd Nephi 2, one of Lehi's great teachings about the Plan of Salvation. Recently I decided to strengthen my testimony of the Book of Mormon, so I started from the beginning, and started often to have my testimony of it reconfirmed. It has been, but not while on my knees-- it came as a gradual increase of feeling, while I was reading. I could feel the light and goodness of the book, and it was the gentle feelings that the Spirit gave me to testify of its truthfulness to me. I hope you all continue to strengthen your own testimonies of the Book of Mormon.

Anyway, as Lehi teaches about the Fall of Adam and Eve, he lists how many things could have gone wrong, but then sums things up, saying, "24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things."

Beautiful Youngdo
There are times in this life where our careers, our family, our goals, schooling, or any other number of things do not end up in the perfect way we planned them. Sometimes, we didn't have much of a plan anyway, but our circumstances turned out worse than we had expected. Whatever the situation, we can be left feeling discouraged, frustrated, sad, angry, even resentful, at others, ourselves, or even God. It is at times like these that we must take a step back in perspective. Perhaps God has a greater plan for greater results than we had imagined! But, to be a part of that plan, we must forego some wanted or desired blessings for now. Yet, "all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things". All of them. 

In Proverbs we are counseled to "trust in the Lord with all [our] heart; and lean not unto [our] own understanding.  In all [our] ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct [our] paths."

King Benjamin encourages us to "believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend."

I know that God's plan is perfect. It can be really hard for us, cause we can't always see where we are in that plan-- we can't see the way it will become resolves, perhaps because much of the plan will be accomplished not in this life but in the next, in the world of spirits. But I know that God does have a wonderful, perfect plan, for the greatest happiness of the greatest number of his children. He isn't foolish. He knows what he is doing. In God's own words, we are counseled, 

"Be still and know that I am God."

I know as we put unwavering faith in God, we will be comforted in our trials, find peace in affliction, and someday, as Paul taught in Corinthians, receive blessings that "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man." 

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Love,

Elder Beckett

PS:

Transfer calls came! Me and Elder A are both staying in Youngdo! Wahoo! And I will be our district leader this transfer.

Pictures! So you know the sister who sent you a picture of me eating dog a couple weeks ago? Her and her mom were converts years ago, and she served a mission, and attends BYU Hawaii. Well her dad is one of our investigators-- we teach him free English. He is the one who bought us Boshintang, or Dog soup. This week he took us to get Dwayji Kuk Bap, which is a pork soup. But he ordered something a little different-- one with blood sausage, different organs, and skins in it. Attached are delicious pictures.



Here we are with Sister C, who is the fiance of a different investigator. She is an amazing lady! We help clean her little snack shop sometimes.

Elder L is going home. Great missionaries!


Hey, Anyone Awake? (July 31, 2017)

Funny story...

So here in Youngdo, our house is about 15 minutes away from the church. We ride a bus (it can get pricey when you have to make a few trips a day). But i don't know if you looked at what this place looks like on google maps, but there is a bunch of stores and things everywhere. The store right next to the church usually has a few old people in it, and the owner is a nice but kind of crazy lady who is maybe 65 or so. Well we usually say hi to her when we walk past.

One day we locked up the church and were on our way to home when we saw, right outside the church, a cat that had just been hit by a car. It was dead and it was kind of gory, with guts and things... I could go into detail but I know some people won't appreciate that. Well it was kind of sad, and I was like wondering if we should try to take care of it or something, but it isn't like Utah, where you could just throw it in a field... there are no fields. just buildings. So I figured I would ask a Korean-- so I asked that lady who owned the restaurant next door what she thought we should do. She was like, "nah, don't worry about it!" And then I said something like, should we just throw it away?" and she looks around, grabs a little grocery back, and hands it to me, and gestures to the cat... I was thinking about like grabbing a shovel or something. Mind you, it was sunday so we were wearing suit jackets and all. Anyway, I wasn't sure exactly what she expected me to do, with her speaking in grandma Korean and things, so I hesitated. You never know what diseases or whatever are on this roadkill! She laughed, and then grabbed the bag from me, walks over to the cat grabs it from inside the bag so it doesn't touch her hand, and then flips the bag inside out around the smooshed cat like it was just some little piece of garbage or something, no hesitation. she then looks up at me, pauses... grins... and quickly gestures like she is going to hit me with the bag of dead cat! But she just faked it, saw me jump a bit, cackled, and then tied the bag and threw it on the side of the road. "They'll pick it up later" she said, and then she was gone. We were slightly confused and a little horrified, and glanced back at the bag with the cat in it as we walked away. Sure enough, when we came back the next morning, the cat was gone! Guess she knew what she was talking about...!

Week of Miracles!!

Ok! 

At the beginning of this transfer, we met with our Branch President. We wanted to have some kind of special event, (if you look in the Ensign a few months ago it talks about a branch that did a 'spiritual feast' and invited tons of less actives and investigators) to help boost missionary work in the branch! So we decided that at the end of July, July 30th, we would have a special sacrament meeting. We would have a special speaker and musical number and things, with a big meal afterward. We were excited! As missionaries, we planned to visit lots of members with the goal of inviting them to do missionary work, and make sure that they themselves are there for the special sacrament meeting.

Well the date kept coming closer and closer, and we were trying to think of people who could come to speak... our branch president hadn't come up with anyone yet. I said as a joke to Elder A, "let's have our mission president!" But then Elder A really liked the idea and started pushing for it. So we called our district leader, and they asked all the way up to President. He called us, told us that he might be able to make it, unless there is a baptism that day in a different area, then he will go there. He told us he would let us know for sure 1 week in advance. We told the branch president.

Well one week before, he told us he would definitely be able to come. We were excited! so we told our branch president that our mission president and wife would be able to come fore sure, but then branch president said he had thought our mission president COULDN'T COME so he had asked a stake leader to come. He asked us to call back our mission president and cancel. We were a bit bummed. So we called President Jung, and apologetically explained to him that we didn't need him after all. THEN the next day our branch president told us that the stake leader had cancelled, and he wondered if President Jung could come after all! So we were (respectfully) like, "yeah, go ahead and ask him! Do you need his number?" cause we didn't want to call again. So it ended up that president Jung, our mission president WAS coming after all! Pause this story.

So this week, we were able to meet with G, a young 18yr old kid who came to church once! He brought his girlfriend too, they are both investigators! They are both so sweet and good. We taught them the restoration, and they understood really well! and... they both agreed to come to the special sacrament meeting! We were super excited, for both them and because we wanted to make sure we had investigators there when president comes, you know. BUT THEN on Saturday night I called G and he said that his mom said he couldn't go to church... she is Buddhist and is against church. We were heartbroken, not sure if we'd even be able to meet anymore. That is the last we have heart from them 2 days ago, but we will try to keep in contact.

Anyway, usually in Youngdo we have about 20-25 people at church. Yesterday, for the special sacrament meeting, 45 people attended! We were so excited. there were 3 families who came who I haven't seen before, our investigator Brother J K, who is a man who has a baptismal date, and another man who comes to our English class, some members brought less active friends, and a couple brought non member friends or family members! It was super good, and President Jung and his wife Sister Kim gave such amazing talks. Also we performed a song with a recent convert, he played guitar and we sang-- it was really spiritual!

So it was a miracle church meeting! But then after church, Brother J K's fiance, who is a member of our ward, was like, "go do a lesson!" cause we had tried but he had cancelled twice that week. So then President Jong, his wife, me, Elder A, and our investigator brother K J ended up in a room doing a lesson together! It was awesome. AND it ended up being so so so inspired of God that president and his wife came. Because our investigator just opened up to them and told them all about how he feels, his trials and challenges in life. He is the one who is attending another church now, he is such such such a good man and just radiates light. He just wants to do good and be good, and I am so honored to work with him! Anyway, he is still planning on being baptized! So that is great.

Also, I LOVE our new mission president and his wife! In Korea, people don't usually hug, mind you. But President Jung ALWAYS GIVES US SO MANY HUGS haha! Him and his wife, in one word, are just love. Really. They just love the missionaries and the gospel and I didn't know I could love them so much. I thought I wouldn't be able to love the new president and his wife like president and sister Barrow, but I love them BOTH SO MUCH!! Wow. He loves singing, guitar, sports, and is super good at English. But I have been able to get to know him a lot because he worked with us on the new sacrament meeting. And his wife, Sister Kim, is so cute to always give us banana bread, and just practices English with us. I love them!

Anyway, we have been finding lots of new investigators lately! I really want to stay in Youngdo again, and I probably will, but you never know! It is the last week of the transfer, so next time I email you I will let you know. LOVE YOU ALL! And God is in the planning-- there was so many obstacles of president coming to Youngdo on Sunday (if there had been a baptism in another area, or the other speaker who canceled, or the meeting he had to leave for quickly after church) but he came, and it meant so much to our investigator! I know that God helps and guides us. Also, it was so cool to see so many people come out to the special sacrament meeting! Awesome week here in Youngdo. LOVE YOU ALL!

Friday, July 28, 2017

July 23, 2017

(Nate's mom, here.  I got an email from a member in Youngdo, and she sent the pictures and the note below:)

Hello this is sister P who belongs to Youngdo branch! Elder Beckett and Elder A are awesome missionaries and they are doing great in our small branch. 

They wanted to experience something special and so they just had 'Dog meat' with my family. 
We hope it would be a good experience for them! :)

Ps. Elder Beckett said: I don't want to go back to America so if you want to see me, you have to come to Korea :) :) 

Ps. Elder Avila said
I LOVE U FAMILY!


Dog meat..

The missionaries trying dog...
Now here is Nate's email for this week:

I have some cool news! About baptisms! But not in Youngdo...So, do you remember when I was in Kyungju, my training area? FYI that was last December. Wow. Anyway, one day me and my trainer, (Elder J L) were walking down the street behind the church to head to the church for something. I was kind of tired and didn't really want to talk to people, but I saw this man with his wife and daughter. I said, "Oh, your baby is cute, how old is she?" in Korean. He looked a little confused, and I realized he may be from a different country-- there are lots of people with Korean heritage who grew up in other countries and immigrate to Korea for work. It turned out that he was from Uzbekistan and spoke Russian and English. His name was S__! Sound familiar?  I have sent you a picture with him and me and his baby before. He became an investigator. But after we continued to meet and testify to him, he refused to make any commitments and didn't seem interested in learning. While we did love him and would continue to be his friend, we stopped seeking to visit his family to teach them the gospel in hopes that later he would be again open to missionary lessons. But we would still see them from time to time at church or other activities.


Well, I got news a few weeks ago that he decided to get baptized! So he made the necessary changes in his life, and was baptized! I think this week or next week, they said, he will receive the priesthood and baptize his wife. That is so cool to me! I was so grateful for the missionaries in Kyungju who helped him again, as well as, perhaps even more, brother 이주형 (J L ) and the other Kyungju members who continued to be his friend, eat out with him, encouraged him, and spend time with him when we could not. Members are so valuable-- while missionaries want to spend all the time they can with people, we can't just "hang-out" really. So members who can spend that time that we can't with investigators who aren't quite ready for the Gospel are absolutely invaluable.
So that family accepted the Gospel, and now their little girl will grow up in the Gospel. So great!

Ok! Some things about Youngdo:

We are a small branch, yesterday there were 23 people at church. Of them, there are 2 men who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, our recent convert, another man who we don't really know how comes in after sacrament starts and leaves before we can talk to him, a few young men and women (some whose parents come and some whose parents don't), and a few middle-aged unmarried women. The members are so faithful and good; as I come to know them and their conversion stories, I am amazed at their goodness. There are some who have had experiences that no one should go through, but have stayed so faithful throughout. 

One of the women in the ward (similar age but a little younger than mom), Sister C_, introduced us to her boyfriend and his son to teach a few weeks ago. They want to get married, but she wants to be sealed in the temple, so her boyfriend agreed to meet us! So we started meeting with them. He is very faithfully attending a different church, the Presbyterian church(장로교, 누나!), and is such a faithful and good man. In his lifetime he has had many spiritual experiences, prayed and received answers, and sought to do what's right, so I think it will be really easy for him to accept this message. He has a few beliefs that are different from the LDS church, such as God, Jesus Christ, and Heavenly Father being one being (the trinity), and a few other things, but as we have talked and studied the scriptures together he is accepting things really well. However, another branch member who originally introduced our investigator, Brother J K, to his girlfriend, attends the lessons as well, and while this member is an outstanding person and everything, they would absolutely take over the lesson and we would only get a few sentences in during the entire hour or so that we would meet. This made it hard to create a very spiritual environment to teach simple and testify personally.

Well, we had planned to meet again on Thursday. I was excited because we were going to be able to meet Brother J K with only his son and Sister C, and not the other member, which meant we could try to understand him a little better, and build that relationship with him. I was on exchanges with our DL's companion at the time. We prepared and came to the church. While there, his girlfriend in our branch called and said that she hadn't sold enough from her little food stand that day so she had to stay open and wouldn't be able to attend the lesson. When she told her boyfriend that by phone, he had gotten a little mad and didn't want to meet, as he didn't know the missionaries very well and thought we wouldn't be able to communicate with him very much. She said to give her boyfriend a call and ask if he would still come.
We said a quick prayer there in the parking lot. Then we called her boyfriend 3 times. It went straight to voicemail each time. We decided to send him a quick text that just said, "안녕하세요 형제님! 오늘 최 자매님이 올 수 없어도 여전히 만날 수 있을까요? 저희가 형제님과 형제님의 아들 보고 싶고 오늘 특별한 메시지를 준비했어요." Hello Brother K! Even though Sister C can't meet today, can we still meet? We want to see you and your son, and prepared a special message today!"

We sent the message, and then prepared the room we wanted to teach in.

Well, about 5 minutes later in walks Brother J K and his little 8 year old son! We had some time all to ourselves with him, just talking and getting to know him. He seemed to really enjoy talking with us, and we had fun drawing pictures with his son. He kept his commitment to read the Book of Mormon, and seemed to understand it really well! He even read it with his son. He likened it to the Bible a lot, which was great.

We then taught the plan of salvation. While we did it, we would ask his little son to draw pictures of things like the earth, or a sun, moon, and stars. About halfway through the lesson, Sister C, his girlfriend came in! The lesson went really well, they accepted everything really well. And... they accepted a baptismal date for August 19th! So we are so happy and excited for them. It was amazing how God turned a potentially negative experience for our investigator to a great and happy one when we prayed and did our best! 

I better go now, I love you all so much! 

Elder Nate Chad

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Hello! (July 16, 2017)

I have pictures today!


Living the Beckett ice cream tradition with Elder A!
Hey fam, I have to leave, I was working on something else, sorry! But here is a quick update.

We found an awesome new investigator this week after we invited a high school student who helped us find these apartments we were looking for to play ping pong at the church. Then he came to church yesterday for the sacrament, too! And brought his girlfriend.

We weren't able to meet the art teacher this week. But we played soccer with Brother K_. He is awesome! We also went and taught our awesome recent convert, brother P_, one of the recent convert lessons, and then his non-member wife came in. We taught the restoration, and she took a Book of Mormon! Super cool. Brother P_ is hilarious; he was in a rock band when he was younger and looks like he walked straight out of the 80s-- mullet and all. Sometimes I play guitar with him.

Also yesterday I woke up at 4:30 due to excruciating stomach pain. We had eaten way too much grease the day before. I thought I was going to die. We missed all of church except for sacrament meeting. Yikes. I had a few bouts where my stomach just suddenly hurt sooo bad-- like I was getting shot or something. I made myself throw up (learned how to do that yesterday) and that helped. Anyway-- the member we ate with got sick too, so I think the restaurant gave us something bad. Still tired and getting better. 

LOVE YOU ALL!!

Also our new mission president is SO AWESOME! I LOVE President Barrow and I LOVE President Joung, too! Both are so great! I will tell you more next week! 


I love this thought from 2nd Timothy 2:

3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

Keep fighting the good fight! 

Love,

Elder Beckett

These are some of the missionaries that left the last 2 transfers.




A MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION!!  Yeah.

Egg and Spam Sandwiches!

Our Independence Day meal

This is the sea pirate drill I told you about last week.

Cool hats with our investigator

Nathan Power! Three Nathan's in my district!!

Amazing what a little shoe polish can do.
There is a hilarious video behind this picture...You'll just have to imagine the sound because Mom can't get the video to post...




July 9, 2017

Hello hello my family! How was the 4th of july? We went to an American style buffet last week for the 4th :) Yum.  I LOVE the 4th of July actually... maybe more than Christmas??  I forgot my camera cord in my last area, so I need to get it from the other missionaries... sad. That is why I haven't sent pictures in a while.


So! Youngdo!

This week we visited a few different investigators! One is named G_ K_. We visited his office; he is a border patrol guy and seems pretty high up in the work. His family all moved to Provo Utah a while ago and got baptized! I gave him Allie's contact info, cause his daughter might need help applying to BYU and she is Korean!  While we were visiting, we could see in the bay right outside his office, the coast guard was doing a pirate drill. So there were 2 huge boats, one destroying the other's visibility with water, and a bunch of little ones circling the big one with sirens, as well as helicopters with swat teams. It was pretty sweet. 

The sad part is that Brother K_ said he is not ready for the Gospel. He is uncomfortable/ pressured by it and doesn't want to do it now. We really want to help make this family eternal, so we are going to visit him again next week. And he lets us play soccer with all the other coast guard people, so it is a great way to meet new people and build relationships with them! They are all what are called Guneens, which just means they are in the middle of their obligatory military service. Please pray for his heart to soften!

We also visited this art teacher we met one morning, and taught him a little about the restoration. He wasn't very receptive to a lot of it, because he is just too busy to go to church, but when we taught him how to pray and prayed with him, it was really spiritual! We are going to visit him again this week.

Last week the General Authority 70 over our area, Elder Choi Yoon Hwan, visited our little Youngdo church randomly one day to inspect the building with a few other people. We were nervous, and just had 3 or 4 hours notice, just a normal weekday, so we had no idea why he was coming, just that he was coming. We hurry and vacuumed and cleaned the church, got there like an hour or so early. Haha but Elder Choi and his group came, looked at a few things, and left within about 5-10 minutes of coming. The cool part is, although they were very busy visiting a lot of churches, Elder Choi took the time to ask us about our investigators. He encouraged us to "Look Up and set high expectations!" Which is what he talked about last general conference. I love Elder Choi!

The weather here is pretty wet-- lots and lots of fog and rain! But it is kind of fun! I love love love the ocean and water in general, so it is a great place to be. Plus it is totally a mountain that we live on, so it is like we are hiking around all day. I am getting thighs of steel, haha!

Yesterday we saw a couple miracles-- a girl in our ward who became less active (she is about 20) came to church yesterday, with her boyfriend. I spoke yesterday on the sacrament, and her boyfriend seemed to listen pretty intently. Anyway, after the meeting I ran to say hello to him and we talked a bit. Super nice kid. I asked where he was from, and he said Daegu. I was excited, and I told him I had lived in Daegu too! Well, I asked him where he lived in Daegu (it is a pretty huge city, hours across by driving) and he told me Hwawon. I was mind blown! I lived in Jincheon, and if you take the subway like 2 stops away (each stop is only a 10 minute walk apart) you get to Hwawon! So he was living in my last area! For reference, it would be like attending church in Idaho, having a less active woman come with her non-member boyfriend, talking to him, and finding out he lives in Erda! Haha. Also the kid loves basketball-- not too common in Korea. So I told him about my last companion, Elder Seely, who is still in that area! He was super excited when I told him they should play together sometime.

I know that God guided us and this transfer! Other missionaries probably wouldn't have known where that kid was from and maybe not have been able to get his contact to refer to the other missionaries, but because I served there my last area I was able to. I know that was God guiding and helping us!

I love my great family! I better go, but before I do, I want to share something.

I have been thinking about patience lately. I am working on patience as a Christlike attribute right now. In Mosiah 23-24, which I think I shared a few weeks ago, it says:

21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.

22 Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.

I think it is interesting that patience and faith are grouped together. How do you think they are connected? Here are some of my thoughts: 

When we have faith, we trust the lord. We believe in Him, and we believe Him. When our lives get hard, our faith can waver. We can wonder if the Lord really will fulfill all that is promised. We get impatient. But when we trust in the Lord and His timing, when our faith is strong, our patience increases! We are able to endure due to the stamina that comes from faith that the Lord will fulfill all that He has promised.

In the case of the people of Alma, this is what happened: 

15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.

16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.

I know there are great blessings from patience.  How can we be more patient with ourselves and those around us? 

Love you all!

Elder Beckett

Friday, July 7, 2017

One Year Mark! (July 2, 2017)

Wow-- my year mark hits this week! I can't believe it. I just wanted to let you all know I love you and say hello before you go to bed-- but we are going somewhere else and so I will have to email in 3 or 4 hours probably. Anyway, feel free to go to sleep!  I just wanted to say hello. I will be on for about 10 minutes.  My new area is by far the most beautiful area geographically! The ocean is right there! It is super cool.  Ugh, I can't get pictures to work today, though, sorry.

This week in 영도 was great. We found two new investigators, one of whom is a young father with a wife and child. Elder A, my companion, and Elder M, the previous missionary serving in this area, had met the man a few times and had built good trust with him. This week one day in morning 전도 we were kind of drawn to his area, and we payed him a quick visit. He ended up sharing with us that he had felt like there were so many churches and he didn't know which one was right. We taught the restoration, gave him a Book of Mormon, and he agreed to take the lessons! A great miracle.

Also, yesterday we had a big schedule of street proselyting while we were fasting. Not easy, but at least the weather was fairly cool, as it often is here in 영도. Nobody really wanted to talk to us. We ate dinner, and then went back out, staying this time on our side of the island. We went down by a college, and then we felt like we should go by the coast of the island, but there were only a few fisherman and no one really to talk to. I was a little discouraged because I felt like I had just followed my thoughts and not the spirit, and there were some spiritually dangerous places down there. We left that little area with a rather heavy feeling. I was feeling discouraged and a little frustrated, opposite of the motivation and hope I had when I first arrived in this area.

We kept walking and talking to people. We met this amazing couple from china, very kind, who agreed to meet again, but seemed more interested in friendship than the church. As we continued on, a young man, 25 years old, stopped us, and asked us to take a picture with him. Of course we agreed, and then he asked us why we were in Korea. We sat down there at the little convenience story and taught him about the plan of Salvation (using the pamphlet :) ). He told us how happy he felt as we talked. He said he wanted to think over the message and then call us to meet again the next meet. He was so genuine and kind. I know that, although Satan tried to discourage us, tempt us, and get us down, as we continued forward, God prepared the miracle there at the end of the night for us. God loves us and wants to help us, but we need to work to get a reward, and that is something I saw yesterday. 

I love this new area! And our new mission president came-- what a kind man. Love you all!

Elder Beckett

Here's my spiritual thought for the week.

In the book of Mosiah, we read the story of Alma, a once-wicked priest of King Noah who converted to Jesus Christ. This changed his life completely. He went from being rich in the wealth of the world, with a perfect job, servants to attend him, and, I am sure, any worldly pleasure he desired, to hiding in the forest from others seeking to kill him. Yet now he had the Gospel, and he had happiness- real joy, the kind that lasts longer than the fun of a video game, tennis match, or a dinner with friends.

 While Alma was in the wilderness, he shared that Gospel that had brought him so much joy. Although it is true that his repentance was, I am sure, painful and difficult, (he said that ""I myself was caught in a snare, and did many things which were abominable in the sight of the Lord, which caused me sore repentance; Nevertheless, after much tribulation, the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers, and has made me an instrument in his hands in bringing so many of you to a knowledge of his truth." It was worth it, and he risked his very life to share that same Gospel which had strengthened him. It is this time period that is depicted in the painting in the front of the Book of Mormon, Alma baptizing at the waters of Mormon. We still believe today that baptism by water, as Christ received, is essential to be truly happy now, and until eternity.

Many people converted and followed Alma. In fact, these people wanted him to be their king, but he refused. He simple served as their religious leader, literally serving and teaching them. These people were such a joyous people, and began to "prosper exceedingly."

However, "the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith."

It is that this time that the Nephites' feared enemies, the Lamanites, come into the land. The Lamanites loathe the Nephites, a grudge passed down from their fathers, and their father's fathers. They delight in stealing from, plundering, and killing the Nephites. The people of Alma are devastated. They had worked so hard-- they had repented of their sins, been baptized, kept the commandments, and sought to follow their leader-- and now it would all go to waste. There was no way they could fight the Lamanites. But why? Had they done something wrong? Was it their fault? Did they deserve it?

Honestly, I don't have the answer to that. I don't know why God didn't just let them live there happily. I have some speculations-- but I don't think they are important or 100% correct.

We all have these times in our lives-- why did this go wrong? Why did this hardship come upon me? Whether it is the death of a loved one, a lost job, problems with your spouse, or your testimony, or your schooling, or whatever it is-- life is hard. And sometimes we don't know why.

I have met some wonderful people on my mission. I have met some people whose testimonies were far stronger than mine, people who were purer than me, people who were more Christlike, selfless, patient, understanding than me-- yet whose circumstances were far harder than mine. I love Brother S, who was a blind man in Sangin who sang praises to God at the top of his lungs. I love brother J, who is faithful in the church when all of his family is against him. I love Sister C, whose husband left her and who has a walking disability, but is faithful and kind to the missionaries, and trusts that God has a better plan. 

Why do they have to suffer?

I don't know. But I do know that God knows. And I do know that God is far more knowledgeable than me. "Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend." Mos. 4:9

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Prov. 3:5-6

I am grateful for the hardships in my life. I am grateful for what they teach me. I know that I am so blessed and my "challenges" do not compare to what many other people, better people, are going through. However, through my troubles I have learned the wisdom of a God who I believe in, who I have faith in. I don't understand everything, nor do I pretend to. Wouldn't it be strange if we did understand everything? Wouldn't it be strange if we knew why everything was the way it was, or if we perfectly understood God? There wouldn't be much point of a God if we knew as much as Him right now.

Although I don't know exactly why we have trials, except that it is for our betterment, I do know two things: 1)God helps us through trials, and 2) The best is yet to come.

Back to the story of Alma: Alma's people were protected from the Lamanites; God didn't allow the Lamanites to kill them, but they did become their slaves. The Lamanites were ruthlessly cruel to the people of Alma, and it became so severe that Alma's people would be killed if they were seen doing so much as praying.

It was at this time that God came to them, and commandment "lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."

I know that God is with us in our trials. I also know that He understands exactly how we feel. He doesn't send us aimless or pointless hardships. He has a reason for everything. After all, anything we feel, God has already felt. " The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?"

As we seek to turn to the Lord, even when things don't make sense to us, even when we feel that we are abandoned or that there is no benefit in our trial, we will see God's hand in our lives. One day, though it may not be today, we will look back with gratitude and praise to God upon those challenges he lovingly allowed to come into our life.

This past year on my mission has been amazing. I have learned so much, and one of the greatest things I have learned is how little I know in this great big world full of knowledge. I am do know that I am in the hands of He who created it all.

As we continue forward day to day, I hope we remember that " Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

I love you all! I love the Lord. I love the Gospel. My heart is filled with love. I share that in the name of He whose love is perfect, even Jesus Christ, amen.

That was pretty long! But just some of my thoughts lately.

Love,

Elder Beckett


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Yeongdo Island! Transfer time! (June 26, 2017)

I got transferred to an island--- in Korean 영도. I think in English... Tahiti? Or maybe Yeongdo-gu ;)


(Photo by mom from Google Maps)
I am really going to miss Sangin! We were meeting some great people there-- I will miss especially brother S, but I feel like we will be friends forever! He is Andy's age, and is going to live in Philippines for a couple months, but I bet when he gets back to Sangin he will be baptized! He is a great guy. We were finally able to teach him the Plan of Salvation, and he had some good questions!  I love the Plan of Salvation. There is so much to learn from the wonderful Plan of Happiness! The Plan of Happiness is the "why" of the Gospel, and as we focus on that, we will find more desire, hope, and motivation in our lives. 

My new area is called Yeongdo-gu, it is an island not far from the coast of the mainland, and is connected by a couple bridges back over. We are surrounded by water, but aside from that the area looks normal! The branch here is very small, with only 2 Melchezidek priesthood holders besides me and my amazing new companion, Elder A. Elder A is from Australia, but his heritage is Chilean! He has been out 2 transfers less than me. Super fun-loving kid and I look forward to working with him here!

This area is kind of small-- whereas in Sangin we were super busy, meeting less actives, members, investigators, etc, here is quite small. We will probably be spending a lot of time finding in the hot sun. Pray for us! It is times like these that I really have to remind myself of my missionary purpose-- why am I sharing the Gospel? Why am I on a mission? 

We share the Gospel for a variety of reasons. First off-- living according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way that our brothers and sisters on this earth can return to live with their Heavenly Father and families forever in eternal happiness!

Why?

I don't think it is some mean God trying to set a high standard to prevent his children from reaching Him. Would any loving Father do that? No. But perhaps because, as it says in Doctrine and Covenants 121  "That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness." Perhaps the reason God instituted the Gospel is because we literally cannot fulfill our spiritual or physical potential any other way! Some way, beyond our understanding, like the rigorous training of a professional athlete, the Gospel prepares us for what lies ahead-- something far more important than an athletic competition.

Also-- I have seen the blessings of the Gospel. I have seen the strength, joy, real peace it brings into our lives.

I love you all! Thank you for your wonderful emails. We got back really late after transfers, so I only could email for a short time-- sorry about that! I love you all so much!

Elder Beckett