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



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!


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.


If you want to do additional study, I love the conference talk by Elder Holland:

New Year--New Perspective, New Creature, New Me (Dec. 31, 2017)

Hey family!
Weekly update:

It was so fun to skype with with you all last week! I love you all so much! You all look happy and great :) I know life isn't perfect, but you all seem to deal with various challenges with a smile on your face :)
Here is me on Christmas Eve and a hilariously awkward picture of me being the star of the Nativity...literally.
This week was good! We taught two lessons with the T_ family, the family that you met over skype. They are such a good, good family. I love them!! They invited us and the S_ family over for dinner on Friday night, and we had a great dinner, then taught the plan of salvation. Brother and Sister T_ both added wonderful comments-- Brother T_ shared about his mission in Thailand, where there are many Buddhists-- how our beliefs have similar points, but there is great comfort in the belief that family is forever. We can continue to progress, with our family, rather than being born into unknown circumstances. I think it really helped Brother S_, who is conflicted with both beliefs of Christianity and Buddhism. Sister T_ did a great job of helping the kids understand and enjoy the lesson. 
At the end of the lesson we invited them to be baptized! They said they would like to think about it more. We told them that that was great-- to think about it, talk about it as a family, and pray about it. Then in the closing prayer, their second son, N_, prayed to know if they should be baptized. It was such a cool experience! Before we invited them to be baptized, my companion Elder K_, shared his baptism experience and showed his pictures of his baptism. All the S_ family loved seeing it! It was spiritual and fun!

Then on Sunday, A_ came to church! He is our investigator from Australia. His wife and baby didn't come, but he came. J_, an American-Korean in our ward, translated for him. If you want to know how hard Korean is, I have been out for about 1 yr and 1/2, and I still cannot fully understand sacrament talks... I get 60 percent, or so. Haha.
After sacrament they did a combined lesson, so we went into a different room with A_ and Brother T_, and taught the full Restoration. It went really well, and Brother T_ shared such cool things about the Bible and Book of Mormon! It was awesome-- I think A_ really enjoyed it. He is great! So curious, and super smart.
Elder K was so cute and excited about his stocking and the American stuff! The coolest thing to him was the floss! Ha ha

My thoughts on the New Year
So! Happy New Year! I love New Years-- a time of both reflection, as well as looking to the future. It is a time where we think about those things we have done right, as well as things that we want to do better.

At this time of the New Year, I want to shout out a wonderful truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: CHANGE!! We can change! How beautiful a blessing, how profound of a principle! There are sometimes voices in our heads, or from others around us, or on media, that tell you that you cannot change, people are people, stuck the way they are... But as followers of Christ, we believe in our ability to change, to improve, to become something more than we are, to let go of weaknesses and faults and continually strive to be a little better than we were yesterday... How wonderful a message.

On my mission I have learned so much about setting goals. And I realized what I love about goals, about the new year, about change.. to sum it up in one word, I would say...: 

H O P E.

As a prophet in the Book of Mormon so eloquently shared that "whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world". Our believe leads us to have hope. What kind of hope? For a better world. A better me. A better you. For me personally, that is an Elder Beckett who loves a little more, judges a little less... not as critical, and more forgiving. It also includes improving my Korean, and my exercise plan. We should strive for improvement, spiritually, mentally, and physically. This hope and change is made possible by our Savior Jesus Christ. I love him and am grateful for Him. The hope we have is a result of our faith in him, and gives us "an anchor to [our] souls...which would make [us] sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." (Ether 12:4)

I know that we can change. I know that we can improve our bad habits. We can do things we have never done before, things we have failed over and over again. I hope you all, and I, take some time to reflect on what we want to change this year. Set goals, make plans... be accountable to your spouse, or friend, or God... when we do these things we can, slowly but surely, create a new self, with new goodness. 
Here's to a new year, a new me, new goals, new improvement... As Paul the apostle said, 

"17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
Thank you for the Christmas packages!

It finally came!

Love you! 

Elder Beckett

Skype! (December 24, 2017)

Hey family! It was so great to Skype with you all!! You all look so good. Merry Christmas! Thank you for your love and interest in my life and the lives of those I am here with!! 
From our Skype

Screenshot from our skype time
Things went well this week! We had a good Christmas meeting yesterday-- Y_, a 21 year old college student we meet with and teach, came to church and really enjoyed the Christmas program-- there was a nativity and some other activities he liked. He is considering baptism right now, and was asking questions to us and other members about it yesterday! He is so fun and cool, and loves basketball.

We also had a good lesson with A_ and his wife D_. They read the pamphlet we gave them, and A_ is reading and enjoying the Book of Mormon. He has no religious background so it is all knew to him. A_ is so pure-- he loves his wife and daughter so.much and you can just feel how good of a person he is every time we are together.

Then we had an awesome Christmas party Saturday night with the S_ family and some other Americans from the military. It was super fun! There was a huge turkey and ham and everything. We did the Nativity and I was the star of the show! Literally I was the new star that appears as a sign of the Savior's birth. I just held it up high and proud, that star. I didn't even need to say anything as I held up that star.

Well I love you all! I don't have much time but try to choose the path of faith every day! Remember that if our heart is on God and Christ, and loving and serving others, we will be where we need to be, do what we need to do! Although, like I said, our faith isn't perfect, God will help our "unbelief".

You are the best family ever!! 

Love Elder Beckett 

December 17, 2017

Hello everyone!
A good first week of the transfer! We set goals, decided what we want to focus on, etc, and we are feeling good about the upcoming few weeks. 

Some orders of business-- Skype! One week from today! I can do it probably about 10 a.m. my time, which was two hours ago... Will that work for you?? What time is that for you?

Our area is going good! We were finally able to meet the S__ family again this week! They are so good and the kids are so cute. We taught the Restoration and gave them a family Book of Mormon reading and prayer calendar for the end of December. The kids are at a crucial time in their lives; their family is a little divided with Buddhism and Christianity-- although their dad was baptized years ago I think he wants the kids to be Buddhist, like their grandparents, while the mother is Christian. She shared wonderful stories of her life and testimony, and the kids are so humble and sweet and smart. We fasted for their family yesterday and today-- the missionary lesson material is all wonderful but can be hard for kids so we are trying to think of ways to teach them that will help them have fun and learn at the same time. I would love any advice you have! 

Sister S__  is so kind to the missionaries-- she thought it would be great to have a Christmas party for the missionaries who are away from home, so she contacted some other military families and planned a Christmas get together with a bunch of American Families this week. They are going to do a nativity with children, bring American food, etc. I am so excited! And We will be able to meet lots of new people, which will be awesome. And they are doing it at our church, which is good for us :)
Our Thanksgiving night! We got these good cookies and cream drinks, called Venties.

These venties are delicious!
We also were able to meet with a referral we received from a couple of my MTC friends who were serving in Daegu. His name is E_, and he is from Rwanda in Africa. Wow. What an amazing guy. We met him at a cafe and talked to him about the Plan of Salvation. E_ loves God, and has such a special spirit of love and joy about him. I think the reason he is so special is because of his humility. He obviously knows the Bible very well, he is 29 years old, his father is a pastor-- yet he willingly meets with us and expresses his desire to learn more about the Lord from us. He has started reading the Book of Mormon  and seems to love it so far. So we had a great lesson with him. We are excited to meet him again on Wednesday. Please pray for him to continue to accept the things we share about the Restored Gospel.

This is our district!
The thing I would like to highlight today is how I felt at the end of our meeting with E_. He said the closing prayer. In his prayer, he prayed for me and Elder K_ specifically, for our health and missions. His prayer was so sincere, so full of love. I felt it so strong right there in that cafe! I felt the spirit in such a special way. It made me want to me more loving, more sincere, more humble- like E_.

Humility is so important in our lives-- I think almost all sins can result as a lack of humility, or, as a surplus of the opposite of humility-- pride. I have noticed Satan tempt me with a lot of pride on my mission, as well as those around me. Fighting pride isn't an easy battle, but we can do it! First we have to recognize it. Here are some ways Satan has tempted me with pride:

  • Tempting me to gain satisfaction from comparing my language, work ethic, stats, etc  from comparing to other missionaries.
  • Tempting me to get angry at others when I am not as good at them in the language, work ethic, or stats, OR to not take responsibility where and when I should.
  • Tempting me to get into unnecessary arguments about who is right about various topics, especially on things that aren't important-- we all know there are things that are important to be right about, and make sure others know it-- but many things we argue about are just to gratify personal pride, an attempt to prove ourselves to others or lift ourselves up.
  • Tempting me to not help others or regret helping others who brought their troubles or difficult circumstances on themselves.

Perhaps some of you have had similar temptations in life! But as I recognize these things, I am working on, little by little, doing them, less and less. Hopefully someday I can be almost rid of them. Two things that helped we were the following quotes.
One is from a former President of the church and the Prophet:

"Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right."

as well as, King Benjamin's touching reminder of the mercy of God:

"For behold, are we not all beggarsDo we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have?" Mosiah 4:19
I love you all so much! Thanks for your examples and love and emails! :) 


Elder Beckett

Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 10, 2017

Hello Dear Family and Friends! Transfer calls were Saturday.

Our whole 4 man house is staying, which is awesome! We are having a fun time together-- usually at least one person transfers it seems, but all 4 of us will be here for at least 1 more! 

Good week this week--to go along with the "Light the World" activity we are doing additional missionary based challenges for the members. So we made little boxes that look like presents, and filled them up with papers that say things like "Invite a friend to the Christmas Sacrament meeting" or "Give out a Book of Mormon to a friend for Christmas" for adults and " Say prayers with your little brother/ sister before going to bed" or "visit a lonely or sad friend" for children. The challenge is to complete them by December 31st. As they complete these activities and the ones on the calendars, they put star stickers on this world map which the other elders and sisters in the area made. So little by little our world map gets full of stickers as we light the world!

To get the members involved, we went to almost all of their houses last week, and sang carols to them, then gave them the challenge. They were excited and enthusiastic to participate! It was really fun to visit them in their own homes-- and they were all so kind to always give us snacks and things. Especially fruit. It is a part of Korean culture to snack on fruit a lot, or eat it as dessert. So the members just keep cutting apples, persimmons, Korean pears, etc, and even when your full, there are five more in the bag and they show no signs of slowing down. I love fruit though, so it's great! :)

One highlight of the week was meeting A_. He said that his wife wouldn't be able to come to the meet us because of their newborn baby, but they showed up together! We taught about faith, and acting in order to strengthen and grow our faith. We invited them to pray together as a family, and they accepted! It is so neat to teach A_ and his wife-- A_ has no religious background but his wife grew up going to church. Both of them are just good through and through, very loving, and down to earth. Please pray for them this week that they will feel the Holy Ghost as they read the Book of Mormon, and feel the truth of the Restoration as they read the pamphlet we left with them. Thank you!

A quick little message-- as we have been doing our Book of Mormon mission challenge I again found, to me, the coolest person in the Book of Mormon-- Captain Moroni! I looked through the verses about him and found some of my favorite things. In Alma 48 it tells the story of how Amalickiah uses deceit, murder, and flattery to become king of the Lamanites. It then contrasts that with Moroni, who, at 25 years old, was commander of all the Nephite armies. He was a trusted and loved and powerful guy! Why?

1) He remembered God. It mentions time and again how he knew where his success came from, that men like Moroni shook the powers of hell, that the devil had no power over him. Before Moroni prepared his armies he "prepar[ed] the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord their God" (Alma 48:7)

2) Moroni didn't tear down. He strengthened. He didn't delight in bloodshed nor did he attack others if he could avoid it. (vs 10-13) He  built others faith, hope, and love, helping them remember who they were, the fight they were causing for, and inspiring them to fight out of love for God and family rather than hatred.

3)He was smart. In fact, the scriptures say "perfect understanding." (Alma 48:11) And it is shown in his actions as he is always one step ahead of the Lamanites. 

4)Physically fit and strong (vs. 11)

5)He loved his country and did all he could to help and serve it (vs11)

6)He was grateful for all he had been given. His heart did "swell with thanksgiving to his God" (vs 12)

I love Moroni! And I am so grateful for the men and women like you all  in my life who live these same attributes and inspire me to be better. I invite you all, and myself as well, to pick one of the characteristics of Moroni that you may lack in, and try for 1 day to improve at it! Just one day :)

Love you all so much! I have about 25 minutes left so I will try to quickly answer your personal emails. It is kind of slow sometimes because we only have one computer so I had to email on the phone. 

Elder Beckett