Friday, September 30, 2016

Hello Fam! (Sept 25, 2016)

Ok! This week went well. I only have a couple of minutes. But my companion is awesome! His name is Elder L. He is from the Daejeon area. KyungJu is a big city (to me at least!) We don't have really any consistent progressing investigators, which is tough. I love our Korean and English classes; I speak English and the Koreans who attend are pretty good, so I can help a lot, and I know more Korean than the foreigners who attend the Korean class, so I can help both ways. :)
My companion and I with the sisters in our area

We did splits this week with Elder L(he was with Allie in the MTC!) and Elder W. It was really cool!
This week we had a district conference in Ulsan. Because it is not a stake, our Mission President, President Barrow, is over the District. He is a great guy. He is super smart and loving and encouraging.

Korean is super difficult! I catch some words here and there, but overall understanding is really hard--I wish I could talk to Allie in person! I bet she can speak super super well.

Here are some cool things:  Sleeping on the ground! We sleep on "yos" on the ground each night. They are surprisingly comfortable.

The other day we were walking down the street to the appointment (we walk everywhere in Kyung Ju pretty much) and something small flew past my chest into an open door next to me. There was a dude on a motorcycle throwing business cards into open doors as he drove--impressive!

This is the outside of the box Allie sent for my birthday!
Allie was so generous!

Here are the multitudinous gifts from Allie
Sorry I am out of time. But I love you all. Remember Ether 12:4--about hope. Sometimes we feel so lost, forgotten, or hopeless. But hope is so important. Faith, hope, and charity are connected, so if you need more hope, increase faith and charity to increase hope!  I love the phrase, "which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men."  When we have hope for the future, we might be a little pushed around, bob a bit, but it will anchor us where we are. This week seek HOPE! Hope for a better future! Hope for second chances! Hope that God, as our Father, knows us. He has an individual plan for each of our lives, and if we are obedient, he will take care of us. I know that is true!

Love you all so much.

Elder Nathan Beckett

 Here are some more pictures from that bird park we visited:

Friday, September 23, 2016

Week 2 in Korea/Earthquakes! (September 19, 2016)

Aloha family! Wow, things are good here, and super hard! But I like it. These are the times that build character. I love to hear from you all and sure love you!! And happy birthday Ryan, you champ!

Sorry, next week I will try to email earlier. Today all the people in my district wanted to go to a bird park, kind of like Tracy Aviary, so we didn't finish until late.

Today we visited that bird park...this happened!
Some things:

1.  This week we went to the mission home with half of the mission to do a Chusoak 5k/10k! Chusoak is a Korean holiday that is big; it lasts for 3 days! So we celebrated as a mission by doing a fun run. It was so cool, and I got to meet a lot of missionaries. Sadly, most of my MTC group came on the other day they did it, so I only saw two of them. But almost everyone there knew Allie, and so they were super friendly to me! Allie is a hero. Everyone just loves her!
Some candid pictures sent by my Mission President's wife, haha, at the 5k!

More pictures of me running with Elder O., the AP. He is super nice!

Because we went to the 5k, I got my mail! And I got a package from my sweet sister Allie! It was awesome.. She was SO THOUGHTFUL and GENEROUS! All kinds of delicious treats and cute pictures. She also decorated a planner for me. It was awesome!! She got me a cute desk garbage with googly eyes! She sent some delicious ramen, and we had just run out. She sent cereal since she never got some when she arrived in Korea. It made me sososo happy, and I had been having a rough couple of days. She sent me a copy of her name tag, etc. THANK YOU ALLIE!! I NEEDED IT!  I was going to attach some pictures but can't make them work.

Also, earthquakes...whoa!! We definitely felt them (They had two earthquakes, a 5.1 and a 5.8, centered right in Nate's first area). We were having family home evening at the time. Two hit; nobody was hurt, and it wasn't super big, but it was a little scary!

One cool quick experience. Our Grantsville Ward young women gave me a Book of Mormon in English to give away. But I am in Korea, and it is in English. So I knelt down and prayed that I would find someone to give the book to who was from America, and brought the book with me proselyting. Well, I didn't find an American, but I saw someone who was American looking, and approached them. I said, "Hi there! Where are you from?"  "Armenia."  "Why are you in Korea?"  "Just trying to find my purpose."  No joke, that is what he said! And he was super good at English. He has researched every religion, and doesn't believe, I don't think, but I gave him the BOM, showed him H.B.'s testimony in the front of it, and he softened and committed to read the whole thing! Whoa! I told him I had prayed to find someone who could speak English well enough to read it, and I gave him the book. We didn't get his contact info--he is kind of a wanderer, but it was a cool experience.
A picture of the new missionaries arriving at the airport, sent to us by the Mission Home.

Nate and his companion with the Mission President & wife.

I love you all so much! I pray for you and love love you!  Have a great week.

Elder Beckett

Friday, September 16, 2016

Howdy! (September 12, 2016)

Wow, I realize it is 12:40 a.m. in America. It's been a crazy p-day! I am serving in Kyong Ju. My trainer's name is Elder L. He is awesome! And Allie, I can't believe you met so many of my friends from the MTC and are training Sister P! That is so awesome.  I'm writing so late because we had to go register for a foreigner card today, so we rode a bus a little over an hour away to Ulsan, then just got back, went shopping, and now we are sitting in the church emailing. Wow, this place is crazyyyy.

Happy birthday to Allie tomorrow!! What a CHAMPION! AHHH, I'm so happy to be closer to you than I have been in a year, Allie! You are the coolest. I bet your Korean is sooo good. You are right, I pretty much have no idea what is going on. People speak super fast, using lots of weird forms of vocab I don't know. But it's alright! I am improving and enjoying! :)
Grantsville Power Picture! Except we were missing Sister Mandy Wilson & Elder Nick Beazer :(.
OK, so...

It was sad to leave the MTC and say goodbye to my awesome MTC friends and teachers! Monday morning we didn't have to go to the airport until 7:30, so that was nice. The flight from Salt Lake to Portland was nice and short. I sat by a man who was from the Phillipines; he was going to be on both flights with me. He had been an Area Seventy, and had recently been released. Super nice, neat guy!
Our awesome teacher at the MTC. I love our district!
My other Main Teacher at the MTC. Awesome guy!
Me on the airplane!
The flight from Portland to Tokyo was sooooo long. Wow. International airplanes are big! They give you a blanket, and eye covers, etc. It was cool. But there was free movies, and so everyone around me was watching movies. The plane was dark, so I couldn't really read, and so I just tried to sleep...haha it was long. But the airplane food was pretty good! We got to Tokyo and had a 4 hour layover. We kind of got situated, and then found an airport sushi place and got some Japanese sushi! It was super good! Haha and we all kind of hung out in Tokyo for a while.

Tokyo Airport, with Japanese Sushi!

I love this elder! and I love Sushi!

Another sushi picture!
Finally we had a 2 hour flight to Korea. I was out the whole flight. We were all super tired. I remember getting off the plane and just being hit by the wet air! I don't know if it was because we were by the sea or what, because now I don't really feel it! That first night was kind of a blur; we came out of the airport and President and Sister Barrow and the APs and office missionaries were waiting there. President Barrow is a super smiley, nice, fun guy! Haha he is great. And Sister Barrow is super nice.

My first morning in Korea!

That night our whole Dongey, or travel group, slept in a room above the church that had a bunch of bunks and mattresses. I could not fall asleep for the longest time. I was feeling super nauseous and things. But I eventually fell asleep for a few hours and felt much better when I woke up. We all got ready and went downstairs to a room to meet and do introductory things. Eventually we were introduced to our trainers...They have this awesome ritual where they read about the area, bang a gong, and then the trainer runs in! It was pretty fun. They announced all the trainers first, and then we went and did a proselyting activity. We each worked with 4 trainers, "jungdoing" for about 30 minutes with each one. I really had no idea what anyone was saying, but I would testify here and there, and I gave away a Book of Mormon! Already I am understanding a lot more than the first day, but I still only understand very little of what anyone says. I am learning, though!
The local young women and their leader made me a cake for my birthday and did a little surprise birthday party! They are the best! They brought us in a room, suddenly held out a lit cake, and started singing!!
My trainer is J. L! He is from the Daejeon Mission area, from Seychong. He is super hard working and pretty good at English! He is 20 years old in Korea, and the first missionary from his family. We are serving in KyongJu, and I love it here! That first night we played some basketball with an investigator, which was super nice just to unwind and relax a bit. We played in this little park outside, which was cool. I don't remember everything we have done exactly, so I will focus on some highlights!

We have like 9 or so investigators! I haven't met most of them yet. Most of our investigators are met from jundoing, or proselyting. We just walk around and meet people, explain who we are and why we are here, and testify! It is difficult, but good.

Saturday night we did a special jundoing activity with the awesome sisters in the area. Sister L. and Sister A, from Idaho. They are awesome! We went to a popular area in the mall and had a sign with a few soul questions on it (Does God know me? What happens after this life? etc.) and asked people to put stickers on the question they wondered about. Since I couldn't say much, I mostly just held the sign while everybody else would show people verses in the BOM that answer their questions. It was cool! And I testified a bit.

Yesterday, Sunday, I got to give a talk in sacrament meeting. Wow--church is very different  here! The church is the 2nd floor of a building, and it isn't very big! There were probably 40 or 50 members here on Sunday! They were all super nice. And after church we all ate together! The day before, Saturday, Elder L and I had been proselyting, and we met a young man, probably 25 or so, and invited him to church. He came! During Priesthood, we, and the ward mission leader, taught him the 1st lesson. It was really cool. He was super nice. I would kind of know what topic they were talking about, so sometimes I would add a little testimony, or explain something. I also know the First Vision in Korean, so my companion explained that "this is what Joseph Smith wrote about the experience" and I said the First Vision! It was pretty cool. We also watched the 20 minute restoration video. Afterward, we gave the young man the Book of Mormon. He was super grateful, but said he doesn't believe in religion, sadly. We will see what comes of it!

Here are some cool cultural differences:  We eat on the floor! There is a little table that we pull out, sit Indian style, and eat. We ate like that at a member's house, too! And at a restaurant. It killlllls my knees, so I am working on my flexibility.

I LOVE KOREAN FOOD.  I know this sounds funny, but especially ramen, haha! Showering is interesting! The bathroom just has a shower head connected to the sink, and it is all tile. There is a drain in the corner, so you just shower in the middle of the bathroom, haha!  We go running almost every day around the block. This week is a super big Korean holiday for fall, so as a mission we have a 5k/10k run on Friday! Wahoo!

Also we teach English and Korean classes to Koreans/foreigners. The Koreans are super good at English, so the whole class is in English, so I could really help with that! Then at the end, the Sisters share a special thought in Korean. Then yesterday, we taught a Korean class to 4 men from Pakistan and Egypt. They were all super nice guys. At the end, me and my companion were in charge of the spiritual thought. I taught most of it; it was pretty cool. They are all Muslim, so it was a 19-year-old kid teaching a bunch of probably 30+year old Muslim men about Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. The subject was the Spirit, but based on their backgrounds, I testified more about Jesus Christ, and how God loves us and wants us to be successful. One of them abruptly asked, "What is your God's name?" And was sort of intense about it. I explained that we normally call him Heavenly Father because his name is very sacred. Anyway, I explained what the Spirit does (helps us learn, protects us, guides us, helps us to feel God's love) then testified that, if they would open their hearts and minds, they would feel the Spirit at that moment. I felt the Spirit pretty strongly. I shared 2nd Timothy 1:7, and closed. At the end, they left the room, then one of them came back and told me, "that was a very good presentation." Haha, they were so nice.

Well, I love you all, but I better go. :)  Take care! Remember how much God has a hand in our lives. We often don't even realize it. But He is truly our Father and wants us to be happy.

Elder Beckett

I'm in Korea! (September 6, 2016)

Hey Parents! We have made it safely to Busan. It is pretty crazy here! Last night we were so tired after the 14 hours on planes, plus layovers. It was pretty good travel! We are all meeting right now for some orientation stuff, but I am doing well :)  Last night I was feeling pretty nauseous and tired, but I am doing well now. The air here is just...different! And it was pretty hard to fall asleep because of jet lag, but we woke up at like 5:30 and weren't even tired! So hopefully we adjust soon. It is 7:17 a.m. here right now.

I sure love you all!  My p-day will be on Monday. Today we find out who our trainers are, and I think we are going to do a little proselyting. I love you! Give the family my love, remember you are in my prayers.

Elder Beckett

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Last MTC P-Day! (August 31, 2016)

Hey Fam!

Wow, it is crazy that it is my last p-day in the MTC--I have lived here for the last 2 months and have loved it. I have met the most wonderful people, my testimony has been strengthened so much, and I have learned so many amazing things that I never would have learned otherwise. It has been bittersweet getting ready to leave. I am so excited to go to Korea! But I am really going to miss the MTC too. I have learned a lot here. Today we went to the temple for the last time in about 2 years. It was beautiful! Elder W and I did an endowment session. As I sat in the Celestial room, I had a few different thoughts about some things. Here is my journal entry:

"Wow--it was sad to go to the temple for the last time for a long time. It was a beautiful experience, and I felt the Spirit, and as I sat in the Celestial room, God taught me that perhaps that is what it was like in the premortal life--gazing at the glory around me, of being in God's house, His presence, and Holy temple--being excited to go forward, knowing it would be difficult, and being grateful for the opportunity to have been in that holy place, but knowing it was necessary to move forward. At the same time, a kind of sadness, of heaviness, at knowing how long of a time I would be away from that hallowed ground.

That thought motivates and inspires me to move forward--it gives me a determination to serve God, to do all I can to return again to the place I love, into the arms of the Father I love. I'm grateful for learning that today.

I also learned, as I pondered, that many times, God's test and Satan's trial is not about which course to choose, but whether or not we will even choose a course. It is a great and devilish tactic of Satan to bombard us with concerns, doubts, hesitations, and fear, so as to stop us from "acting for ourselves and not being acted upon." (2 Nephi 2:26)  God is so loving! If we choose a path to take, and start on that path, He will always warn us before we got too far along if it be wrong. But sometimes He wants us to take those steps, to choose, to act, so we aren't told everything we must do, but so we can learn to "choose liberty and eternal life" (2 Nephi 2:27) and learn for ourselves of the blessings of "coming unto Christ...being perfected in Him, and cleansing ourselves of all ungodliness." (Moroni 10)

He will lead us! He is our Father. He won't leave us alone. But He wants us to choose--parents cannot tell their children everything, or they will never learn for themselves. I'm grateful for the wonderful house of learning, the house of God. His Holy Temple."

I hope it is all right that I share that entry with you! I felt like I learned so much this week. Those thoughts came from both the temple, as well as a talk by Elder Bednar that we watched recently. He mentioned how he sees a lot of young people who want so much to know if the thought they are having is a spiritual prompting, and they wait to try and figure it out and end up not acting. I can be a lot like that sometimes, so I really needed to hear that. He promised that if we be good boys and good girls, if we keep our covenants, if we keep the commandments, then God will not allow us to fail; as it says in D&C 80 "ye cannot go amiss."

I testify that that is true! So I am resolving to act, to trust that God guides me. Elder Bednar also testified in this talk that God is so much more involved in our lives than we can comprehend.
The package was soooo sweet! You all are the best.
And now here's a funny story...a few weeks ago, we had just arrived back at the residence, and there were a few elders gathered around, one of them holding a circular chip with like 5 drops of "hot sauce" on it. One of the elders in my zone, Elder G, said, "oh yeah, I tried is pretty hot."  They asked if I would try it. I like hot stuff, and I like challenges, so I ate it.  Big Mistake.

Imagine if you were in Mexico, growing a ghost pepper crop, and you took all of your ghost pepper, and burned them in the fire, and then took a live coal from that fire, stirred in some lava, and put it on a chip. My hot sauce was about a third of that.  It felt like my mouth went into shock. It was seriously like ridiculous--I had never experienced something that hot. My face turned red, my eyes started crying--I looked like I had been sobbing!  My face went numb or something, because it felt like it was vibrating. I ran with the other elder in my zone (who had apparently only had like 2 drops--deceptive person!) and we started eating some cinnamon rolls he had. But apparently (I learned this talking to some elders from Mexico about a week later, aka a week too late), sweet makes spicy worse. It seemed to help, though, and provided some momentary relief. I had to stay by the drinking fountain and keep drinking water until it went away. Even after that, my stomach felt hot.  Yikes. Lesson learned.

Well, time is short; I've got to go, so I'll talk to you next from Korea!

Love you