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

Week of Miracles! (Dec 3, 2017)

Hey family! 
Wow! I don't know how, but we are seeing some great things happen! God is continuing to bless us here in the Haeundae area so much.

There is an awesome American family in our ward here in Haeundae called the T__. What an amazing family. They participate so much in the ward here, even though they don't speak much Korean, by blessing the sacrament, helping in the primary and with family history, etc. They have two little children who are adorable. Well, they referred some friends they know from the military here a while back to the missionaries. The parents were both baptized in America, and grew up in Utah, but have moved around a lot due to military service, and church activity has been difficult. None of their 4 children are baptized.

This family came to church one time, a while back (long before I came to the area), but they fell ill during the next couple weeks and weren't able to come again after that, and lost contact with the missionaries.
We decided to pay them a visit, drop off a Thanksgiving treat and surprise them... that day happened to be Krispy Kream's special day, so we took them a dozen donuts. The hard thing is all the apartments are locked, but someday happened to come out right as we entered, so we were able to get in!

We just briefly talked with Brother S__ at the door, gave him the donuts, then left. Then this week we made them a little Christmas message card for their fridge, and dropped it by with a Light the World calendar. They were super nice, and we made an appointment for Saturday!

Then Saturday we met-- their kids were so polite, smart, and sweet! We had a little family home evening with them, taught about prayer, and sang "Families can be together Forever". It was a very spiritual meeting, and I think we will be able to continue teaching them! We all had a fun time playing ping pong and piano together after, too. So we will be able to teach their family the Gospel! And Sister T_ texted us saying that Sister S_ really likes us and wanted to do a Christmas gathering together.
Here's a selfie with our mission president!
Then our Australian friend, A_, was able to meet again on Saturday-- we ate this Korean kind of soup together. But his wife and friend came, too! So we were able to introduce that we were missionaries and give one of them a Book of Mormon! I love families :) Please pray for these families we are teaching to feel God's hand in their life, as well as for us to be guided to teach according to their needs.

My last companion came back and visited our area with his girlfriend a few weeks ago!
I want to share a quick testimony with you all-- I know that as we put our focus on serving other people, even when we feel like we may not be able to deal with our own challenges, that a special power, spirit, and authority will come into our life that does not come any other way. 

As Andy told me in his email today, "I always am reminded again that I need to turn outward more, to ask that same question. Whenever I get in trouble, or down, or feel lonely it is typically because I am turned too far inward instead of focusing on loving and serving God’s children in need."

I have noticed a special mantle, difficult to see in an ordinary situation, that comes upon young missionaries as they teach about Christ, upon mom and dad as they counsel and bless their children, upon a young bishop trying to help a struggling member, and even upon children as they reach out to comfort a lonely friend.  I believe that God doubles the measure of His spirit that he allows us to feel when we are helping more of his children than just ourselves. And so I invite you all to participte in Light the World-- look at Mormon.Org, and try to complete at least one activity each day. But not only that, speak real with those you love-- be honest how you feel, and work through problems, concerns, and fears together. Encourage and compliment each other. Express to those around you the reasons you love them. Light the world! 

Love you all! I love this missionary work. I love God, and our Savior Jesus Christ. 


Elder Beckett

Feeling the Blessings and Guidance of God! (Nov 26, 2017)

Hey family! We have new mission rules. One of them is that I will only be able to skype for 40 minutes, and another one is that I can only send one personal email per person per week. Just wanted to let you know! So if you have anything you need answered please make sure you include it in the first email you send to me so I can respond better.

This week, and today alone, we have really seen God's help and hand in our lives!

During the last few months, we have been blessed with investigators little by little, but this week we had a few more people who are willing to meet with us and hear our message who kind of all seemed to appear at once! Also, 2 investigators came to church yesterday! Here are some cool things that have happened:

When I went to Youngdo on an exchange a week or two ago, Elder S__ replaced me here in Haeundae for the day. Well while he and my companion were on the way to visit a family, he said hello to a man sitting next to him on the bus, who was from Australia. They had a great conversation about God, and the Book of Mormon. When the Australian man, A__, stood up to get off the bus, Elder S__ said, "Hey, can we get your number to contact you later?" "A__ looked at him and said, "If you can remember it!" And then A__ told Elder S__ his number, and got off the bus. Well Elder S__, as soon as he heard the number, kept repeating it to himself over and over, trying frantically to remember it (in Korea the numbers are 010-####-####, so kind of long) but, much to his dismay, when he called, it was the wrong number. Well my companion Elder K__ had heard A__ say it, too, so they worked together to try to figure it out. They called so many people, wrong number after wrong number after wrong number. Then Elder S__ decided to give it one last effort. He called 5 more numbers, then heard, "Hello?" instead of "yoboseyo"-- he had found A's number!

Well this week we contacted A__, as he was found in our area, and he agreed to meet! We were super excited to share the Book of Mormon with him.

We were in the 달맞이 part of our area, where he had said to meet him. But we weren't exactly sure where to go-- he told us the name of a cafe, and after walking almost everywhere we could think we still couldn't find it. To make things worse, A__ wasn't responding to texts or calls. So we were not only worried about not finding the place to meet, but now we were also worried that he might not show up.

We met some nice people who showed us where the place is on Google maps, and then we headed out. We found a similarly named place, but weren't sure if it was the right cafe... and A__ didn't respond still to our calls. After the time we had agreed to meet passed we decided to see if there was a different location he could have been talking about--we were close to giving up on the appointment, but we decided to push forward. So we kept walking up this long road that was slightly uphill, a scenic road kind of by the ocean. We were sweating in the cold weather, a little worried about the appointment. And then we found the place he had mentioned, just a little ways farther than expected! We called A__, he answered, we met, and had a great talk about his life, his family, and God. We plan to meet him again this week. Cool miracles!

So things are going well here! If you could please pray for A_, and Y_, that would be great! Pray for their hearts to be open to the Gospel, and especially for them to feel the spirit to know that power of our message.

Lastly, I want to share something interesting I noticed-- we are reading the whole Book of Mormon by Christmas, and I am learning so much... Nephi quoted Isaiah like this,

"And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon [Jesus Christ], the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth;"
I am so grateful for a God who doesn not judge unfairly, based on appearance, on rumor, but who looks upon the heart. I know his plan for our happiness is perfect. I know he knows all things. I know he wants to save all of His children, and he made a plan the will save the most of us possible. I hope we can trust in that plan and share it with others this Christmas season!


Elder Beckett

P.S. I am trying to upload pictures but it isn't working. So I will send some later. Love you all! Have a great week :)

Phone Lessons & Church Attendance (Nov 19, 2017)

Hey Family!

Me and my buddy and companion, Elder K! He is a super good good guy. It was his birthday last Sunday, so we had a cake!
We are seeing some good progress here! We haven't had many investigators to work with so far... it has been a little tough. But 2 weeks ago we were able to meet with a man named C__ who met our missionaries at the temple in Utah. We received his contact information last transfer, then finally met. He is a very sincere, kind, and good man, with a family. He is really interested in learning about the gospel, and always seeks ways for self improvement. But because of his busy business schedule he travels around a lot and so we have actually only been able to meet him one time. But he called us and said, "Hey, so I can't actually meet with you much, but I really want to hear your message and learn about the gospel. So even though we can't meet, I want to talk to you over phone to be able to hear your message." We were thinking, "of course, great!" So we have taught him a bit over the phone.
I went back to Youngdo this week on exchanges with a new trainee there. While there, I got to see a recent convert and several members! It was awesome.

We also have a great investigator named S__ who is my same age. We originally met due to his English interest, but we have become close friends. We have only been able to teach the Plan of Salvation, but he came to church yesterday and had a good experience! So things are going well here. We are working hard and praying hard each day to find, to work as tools in the Lord's hand, to better love and serve those around us, and to speak the things God would have us speak. I know he is with us and that we are on his errand--I can feel his influence each day, though sometimes it isn't in the moment, but it is after it happens, when I reflect on my day and see God's guidance.

I finally got to get this special nutella fish shaped pastry that I've wanted to try for a very long time...Sister C in Youngdo only sells them in the winter, so when I was there before I couldn't eat them. But I got one!
I love you all, but I've got to go. Have a great week!

Elder B

Christmas Message (Nov 13, 2017)

I know it isn't Christmas yet. But I have to prepare a Christmas message for the ward, so I am sending it to Brother Baker and you all for my message this week.

It is interesting to me that the shepherds in Luke, Chapter 2, were described by the writer as being "sore afraid."
There are periods in our lives when we too are confused by things in our lives-- confused because we don't know exactly what is happening to us, or confused because we don't understand how somethings could happen to us-- but the message of God to us all is the same:

As the angel told the shepherds that night long ago, he also boldly resounds to each one of us,
"Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord...on earth peace, good will toward men."

Because of the Savior, we too are able to seek, and find, peace in our lives. In the scriptures the Savior is called "a light", "the Prince of Peace" and "the Son of God". 

This Christmas season is a time for joy, gratitude, forgiveness, and peace-- and while many can feel the Christmas Spirit, there are some who, due to life's concerns-- unemployment, family difficulties, loss of a loved one, and the list goes on-- feel heartache, anxiety, and even fear.

To those who feel this way I would remind you of Isaiah's description of our Savior as one who was " despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief". As the Savior prepared to atone for the sins and pain and sickness and sadness of all mankind, he was described by Matthew as "sorrowful, and very heavy". 

And yet despite that, he succeeded. He, as Isaiah said, bore "our griefs, and carried our sorrows". He overcame! He had all the salvation of the world on his shoulders, and he rose to the occasion. It is with his understanding, the understand of how each one of us feel, and think, and hope, and fear, that he gains the authority to command us, as he did the waves of a stormy sea long ago, "peace, be still."

I hope we seek to echo the angels call this Christmas season, to rejoice! To spread peace on Earth, because of Him who has descended below all, and then risen again. To love, to serve, and to remember our Savior of the World, He who knows us, he who succors us, He who loves us.

I know that that is true. And I share that in His name, even Jesus Christ, amen.

LOVE YOU ALL! Have a great week!

Transfer 11, Week 2 (November 5, 2017)

Hello everyone, I'm doing good! Things are getting a little chilly here, I will have to start wearing my coat soon. But the smell smells so much like fall! I love it! I'm doing good! We did our weekly cleaning this morning (the other elders may think I am a cleaning maniac because I kind of whipped everyone into shape BUT the house looks better now), I hung up my laundry to dry, now we are emailing, I will get a haircut, then we are heading to meet my trainer Elder L, and also Elder Y for lunch. We went to their area yesterday for a meeting with the stake leaders, and met a man who is the boss of a samgyupsar restaurant, and he sounded interested in the gospel. We we are going to eat together. That'll be fun!

It is pretty fun to have a B-Team (another set of elders living in our apartment). They are super funny and everything is lively at the house!

My new companion is such a good, good missionary. Wow. He has such a pure desire to be obedient and do the work, and is super positive, and talented in everything, too. We are having a lot of fun together. And he loves ice cream! So we are eating lots of ice cream. 😁😁

Time is short, but before I go I want to share one quick thought:

I think it is so important that in life we remember who the real enemy is. Sometimes we can get so competitive with each other, comparing and hating or bashing... there is a definite spirit that we feel sometimes that is just... negativity. Everyone has felt it before. But we are all in this life together-- and we can all be most successful and happy when we work together and just try to love each other, purely. The pure love of Christ.

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul says,"  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

I know that as we center our lives on Jesus Christ we will live the most fulfilling lives we can. Because we will live for so much more than ourselves.

Love you all! Find a way to serve those closest to you. Be generous with compliments. Be frugal with criticism. Try to understand others, to ask questions, before assuming we know others intentions. These are things I am learning time and time again.

Love you.

Elder Beckett

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Transfers! October 29, 2017

Hey family! I am staying in Haeundae! We are getting a B-Team, and my new companion is Elder K T H. So it will be fun!   So our house is really a 4 man house... Now a 2nd team is going to come here with us. So it will be good!

Our nerf war last week. Fun times!
And it was my companion's last transfer, so Elder P is going home now. We had a good transfer together. Over the transfer we became good friends and learned a lot from each other. So as we were together I was able to share things I learned from mom and dad with him... he really appreciated the things I shared and in turn shared them with other missionaries. He told me he went out of his mission on a high note, so I am really glad about that! Thanks mom and dad for being so good and teaching and helping us kids since we were little. I am trying to share the things you taught me, and it really seems to help other people.

I would love to share some stuff, I was just thinking about sharing that actually. Here are some things we talked about:

One big thing we talked about was positivity. Some people feel that people who are positive ignore problems, or don't look at them in the right light. But I shared how, especially when I was a little kid, I had a problem with overreacting to problems. Whether it was getting really mad during sports, or getting really sulky because things didn't go the way I wanted to, I let my outward circumstances control my agency... But what I shared was something dad shared with me. Our life is composed of 1% of our circumstances, what happens to us, and 99% of how we act, what we choose to do it our circumstances (my companion is literally saying this to another missionary who he is talking with on the phone right now). Of course, our circumstances can influence our lives greatly-- but we have power to choose those things which are most important to us. That is why there are people who are miserable and rich, and those who are poor and joyful.

And positivity doesn't mean ignoring problems. It means focusing on what you can do, and not on the things you can't control.

I have to leave right about now... I might be able to finish my email time later. We are going to meet my new companion!

Kenz-- that is a really interesting thing you said. I think that is a good point. There is a difference between putting on a face and focusing on the positive! I have done both, too... Putting on a face is no fun!

Other things I was able to share with Elder 박:

There is value in calling out Satan for who he is. Sometimes, as dad also told me, I have just said, "Satan, go to hell." Which in Korea, hell is not a swear word. 

Honestly, though... it is interesting to recognize in my life two things: 

1: Satan is a very real force in our lives. He will constantly whisper at us to:
 criticize others
 to be angry with them
 to believe that we understand everything better than others (whether companions or leaders or whoever)
 to compare ourselves to others (seeing them as unattainable perfect, or hopelessly lost case)
 to criticize and hate ourselves
 to believe that we have problems and circumstances that no one else has experienced, meaning WE are the exception to the rule-- we can't be forgiven, or understood, or loved. WE can't have hope.
To believe that we are the exact same as everyone else
 we have no power to change, to grow, or improve-- man is man and doesn't change.
and many more.

These things are not true.

But one thing that I have learned in the Gospel, is that those who are happiest in the Gospel, living the most realistic Gospel, do not generalize or deal in absolutes quite as much as others. For example, one thing that has been difficult for me, is trying to discern every thought that comes-- is it a prompting??

No. Every thought will not be a prompting. We are expected to use our heads and hearts, and God will lead us when it counts most!

I better go. But I love you all!

October 22, 2017

Hello Family!

Hey! I will only be on for like 30 minutes right now... We are doing a zone p-day and so we have to get some other stuff done, so I might end up emailing once you are asleep... How are you?? How was state XC?? It is my companion's last week and he wanted to do a nerf gun war at a church so we are meeting with a bunch of missionaries to do that! Should be pretty fun!

Also, sorry about last week, the internet gave out so I couldn't finish emailing... 아쉽네요...I'll email more after our p -day activity.

Hey fam! I'm back, not much time left... things didn't go as hoped with time, but the nerf gun war was super fun!

We found a cool new investigator this week. I talked to him as we were riding the subway back home from an appointment. He is a pretty big-wig doctor who has his own hospital kind of thing. Well he invited me and Elder P to a lunch at the biggest nicest hotel on the Haeundae beach... it is called the Westin Chosun if you want to find it.

Well we ate lunch together. He was a really nice guy, he is Catholic and has great faith. He shared with us some of his feelings about the Gospel, about Christ. I would like to share one thought he shared with us.
He talked about how Christ would often say "진실로 진실로" when he taught-- that means, in English, "verily verily". The root of verily is the same as verity, which is truth. So he shared that Christ always- always-- taught truth. Not fact, truth. 

I thought that was interesting... is there a difference between fact, and truth?

I asked him the same question: what is the difference between fact and truth?

He said this: Truth is fact--with love. I still didn't quite get what he was saying, so he shared an example with me-- the woman taken in adultery. The fact was that, she was an adulterer. She had committed that sin. But Jesus loved her-- and so he said that whosoever is without sin may cast the first stone. And she was saved.

I continued to think about that-- how the Savior had loved her. He knew, obviously, the fact that she was an adulterer, a sinner. But he loved her enough to see her potential. He didn't condemn her. He knew the truth, and regarded the more complete truth as more important than individual facts. 

We too need to view the things in our lives, the people around us, and ourselves, in a truthful perspective. Satan loves to distract us with individual facts-- using them without love to cause us to condemn others and ourselves. As we take the facts, and view them with Christlike love, we will have not only the capacity, but the desire to to serve, to forgive, and love not only others, but ourselves. When we view things with love and recognize our potential we can receive great hope, and share that same hope with others.

Love you all! View everything the same way that Christ did-- truthfully!

Anyway, I hope you all know how much I love you and look up to you! Keep living each day to be a little better! Far more than big decisions in our lives, I think the little things we do each day, consistently, add up to a greater total effect on our lives... So make the little decisions good ones :)


October 15, 2017

Hello Fam!

So this week! We did exchanges with the district leaders in our zone, it was super fun! I stayed with Elder 송(S) in 해운대 the first one, then went to 광안(Gwangan) the second one, and was with Elder M, who was in the MTC with me! 

In Haeundae our church is right by our apartment, on a walking road that gets a fair amount of people, as there are schools right by it too. So sometimes when we do language or companion study, we set up a table in front of the church, then study there so we are visible to people. We also set a desk with Book of Mormons, pamphlets, and a BOM question and answer sheet. 

Well with Elder S, we were studying like that, when a man had stopped and was looking at the BOM question and answer list. So we talked to him, shared a little bit about our beliefs. He said he didn't know anything about God, but wanted to learn. So we set up an appointment for the next morning, then met, and taught about God and Jesus Christ! He wasn't ready to make a 2nd appointment yet, but he always hangs out on the benches right by the church with other elderly people (He is like 78) so we have seen him again since then, and will try to set up another appointment! It was really cool to teach him; he has almost no concept of God, but was very willing to listen.
In Gwangan I helped teach the English class, then we had district meeting that morning. It was fun! I like Elder M and elder S; they are both really fun missionaries.

We also met with our recent convert couple and an American family in the ward twice this week! It was super fun-- the American family is here with the Navy. They are just a solid, diligent family, who works hard to live and serve in the Gospel. We ate Thai food together! And the curry tasted just like the curry you can get at Mai Thai in Tooele!
Ahh-- and also, we met our American investigator this week. The recent convert couple loves America and wants to learn English, so they asked if they could come. They are so sweet and awesome, but very beginner level in English, and when they met him right off, one of them said to our investigator (who was wearing a fedora hat and a Hawaiian shirt with polo shorts) "Hello! I am ____. Nice to meet you. You look funny!" And then busted up laughing... Haha it was kind of a facepalm moment. But our investigator seemed to shake it off pretty well. 

Gotta run, love you all!

Elder Beckett

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

General Conference! (October 8, 2017)

Wow, I can't believe this transfer is halfway over already. Time is flying!
General Conference was so so good. We watched them this last Saturday and Sunday, and I was so impressed. Saturday morning during my personal study I prayed, and thought, and wrote down some of my questions that I have, about how I can improve, about what I need to do in different situations, etc. 
Then while watching conference (I watched it with Elder S from Erda, who attended Stansbury High), I was stunned as almost all of my questions were answered on Saturday! There were very clear answers, and sometimes even whole talks based around my very specific and personal questions.

Not all of my questions were answered as fully as I wished, however. But, as Elder Anderson encouraged us at the end of conference, I look forward to studying them again, on paper this time, to find the rest of my answers. 
I have a testimony that the Lord is real; He has real and full power and, as taught in conference, he is in the milestones of our lives, as well as the daily stresses and minor details. He led me what questions I should ask, and he inspired men thousands of miles away to speak on topics that would most bless and help God's children today. 
I want to share a few more things that I learned in conference in a bit :)

One things I will tell you about our ward is how AWESOME the recent converts here are! So some history of this area: 3 years ago, my MTC teacher served in the same area as me! Then last transfer, Elder Y served here for 1 transfer, and was ZL while I was DL in Youngdo. At that time, he was companions with my current companion, Elder P, and they baptized a couple who met during English class previously, named Brother J and Sister H. They are such a faithful good couple. Anyway, so I came in this transfer to Haeundae and we are teaching the recent convert lessons to this awesome couple! J is super good at ping pong; we had a good showdown the other night, but I lost 6-11 11-4, 13-15. Too bad. I am getting decent at ping pong, and I like playing the Asian style better than American I think! Haha.  Asian style is less side spin, but more control I think, and consistency. They have totally different paddles for it-- the handle is different. But yeah, I will show you when I come home.

This morning I was a bit rushed and forgot my SD card reader, so no pictures, today, sorry.  I'm out of time, but my favorite talk in conference was probably Elder Holland-- he is so encouraging, to help us do better, and have hope, along with President Uchtdorf. I love them. 

Remember to always find hope, especially in little things! This life is about change-- the point of the Gospel is progress, and Satan's greatest lie is that we do not have the ability to change or improve. But we can. Remember, by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. What small change will you make today that can change your life forever?


Haeundae, Week 2 (October 1, 2017)

Hey Family! How are you?

My second week in Haeundae went all right! We met with an American investigator, he is a nice middle-aged man named D. We went to a cafe with him... He is really polite, and loves to talk with us. This week we showed him a bit of how the Book of Mormon and Bible work together.

Other than that, not too much... Except yesterday we did a Sunday school lesson with all the adults and youth in the ward! It was about member missionary work.

So for our lesson, Elder P did the first part, about WHY we share the Gospel, to try to help people want to share. He showed the video about the family whose sons worked in a mine for like 3 years to save up money, then flew on a plane to get sealed in the temple as a family. He did really great discussing that with all of them.
Then I talked about how we share the Gospel. We did a little discussion on how they have already been doing it, then we did something that was kind of like a missionary district meeting. We watched part of the District 1, where two sister missionaries visit a member and help her practice sharing the gospel, then we had everyone in the room do that! We had each of them role play with each other and practice inviting someone to hear about the Gospel. Then we shared our testimonies of missionary work. And we invited them to each invite one friend during the month of October to learn about the Gospel.

There was this sweet grandma in the ward who came up after and said, "During that lesson I felt like I wanted to do missionary work so much! I don't have someone to share the gospel with yet. I am not sure where to start. But I will pray about it! And I will work on it this month of October!"

Haha. I love this ward! Also this week I had the opportunity to give 3 priesthood blessings. One of them was to the nice old man who was baptized by President Hinckley. We visited him again yesterday, too, and gave him the sacrament. I love visiting hospitals, and the elderly-- there is a special feeling there. And it reminds me of my grandparents, as well as taking the sacrament to the elderly as a priest.

Hey! I love you all so much, I will email some pictures and things a bit later, but I have to go for now! Sorry, my recent convert from Sangin came up to meet us today! So we are going to have lunch together.

(Here are the pictures he sent later:)

I went on exchanges with my trainer this week, Elder L!  I love that guy so much. He is AP right now.

Elder P and I with Brother Y, who was baptized by President Hinckley.

Me, Brother J (who was baptized while I served in Sangin), and Elder P. We are by Haeundae Beach, a popular tourist attraction in Korea. This was taken today!

Haeundae Week One! (Sept. 24, 2017)

Hello Family! Week one in my new area was pretty great! I am really excited to work here with the great members and my companion Elder P. Here are some pictures from my last area.

L and his family with Elder A and I. Love this family!
This man is our investigator, J, with his new bride, Sister C.

J's son, so cute!
Here in Haeundae we don't really have investigators right now.. like 2 people, but I am not sure how much will come out of it. So we have to find a lot of people! But last night we did some group proselyting with the sisters, and with an English sticker board. There was this big group of kids who came by who seemed like really nice good kids. We got a few of their numbers and plan on having some kind of fun activity with them and some of the young men. The miracle was, one of the kids in the group asked if I knew J__... Well earlier that day I had met a kid at our church named J__! And I found out that our church member was best friends with one of the kids in that group! So I am pretty confident we can meet with them all and have fun playing ping pong and teaching them the gospel.

The members of Haeundae are awesome-- I gave my greeting speech yesterday. I  told them how I came from a small town, feeding horses and cows for a job growing up. I told about how before my mission I realized that missionary work was important, but didn't really activitely seek opportunities to invite people to hear about the gospel. But now, I realize how important it is, now! So I shared a couple quotes that are in PMG about missionary work and how sometimes we can be worried about sharing the Gospel, cause it is scary! But, God doesn't want us to be scared. So I shared my testimony, finishing with my favorite scripture, in 2 Timothy 1:7 

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.

Well after the meeting I talked with the Bishop, and we also had Missionary Coordination Meeting with the Ward Mission Leader. Both went super well, and they both expressed their willingness to help, and advice and encouragement. The Bishop even told me that he or several others would be able to make time whenever to teach with us, and they gave us the Sunday school lesson this week to talk about member missionary work! I am super excited if you can't tell... Although I am nervous to teach about that in Korean, so pray for me please!

Also, one other miracle-- there is a man in our ward who is not a member, but the ward contains his wife, and 4 daughters, and their husbands and children, so he comes to church every week. But he looks like he just sleeps during the meeting and isn't really interested in being baptized. Anyway, after the meeting, one of his daughters came up to me and told me that he grew up in the country, too, and loves horses and cows and when I talked about that he was really happy, smiling big! That really made me happy! I hope to reach his heart.

After church, we visited the hospital and took the sacrament to an elderly man there yesterday. What a neat man. I love taking the sacrament to the elderly. Well this man is really special. His name is Y_. He is 91 now. I asked him how he was baptized, because Elder P had told me a bit about him. This is what Y told me (in English, he was so sharp and smart):

"Do you know who this is?" He asked, as he pulled a picture of President Gordon B Hinckley from a notebook he had. "Yes, President Hinckley!". Well, when Y was 19, he saw President Hinckley on the street in Korea and said hello. President Hinckley said hello too, and then said to young Y, "Why don't you come to the church with me?" And then Y emphasized as he told us "President Hinckley said, 'Not tomorrow. Not this evening. Now." So Y went with him to the church, and President Hinckley explained a bit about baptism, and asked if he was Christian. Well his dad was Presbyterian, so he knew a bit. And President Hinckley baptized him right then. And then made him a branch president, and a building supervisor over a new church building. Y was 19! 
Well Y went on to be a district president, temple presidency, staying close with President Hinckley throughout his life. He said, "After I finished the temple presidency, he sent me and my wife to Japan for a couple's mission."

It was so neat to me to see this 91 year old man, whose body was failing, but whose spirit was as lively as ever. When he spoke in English, he even sounded a bit like President Hinckley. What a neat man! He also asked us to write the date, time, and our testimonies in a little book he had. I am so excited to continue visiting him each week! And it is amazing to me, both that he stepped up to the calling President Hinckley gave him, and that President Hinckley was inspired to have such a young man do it-- a young man who was obviously prepared and ready.

Anyway, I love my new area! I sure miss Youngdo, but I am excited to work here!

I've got to go, love you family!

Elder Beckett

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Transferred Again! (September 18, 2017)

Hey everyone! Sorry for being late! Anyone happen to be awake?  I transferred! Which means Elder A is staying for a 5th transfer in Youngdo...

I will be going to Haeundae, with Elder H_ S_ P_! He has been companions with Elder S_, and Elder Y_, too! I am really excited to serve with him. I am in the same zone as before, and we will be zone leaders, so it will be a fun new experience! 

I sure am going to miss Youngdo! L's family partially broke our hearts this week. We met, had a great lesson on the Plan of Salvation (reviewed) and then talked to them about a baptismal date. They said they weren't ready for that, or to come to church, but right now just meeting us is enough. They very understandably explained how they went from athiests to now believing in God, but that they aren't ready for those big steps. However, they said, they recognize that meeting with us is much more than friendship-- there is something special, and they want to keep praying, and reading the Book of Mormon, which is great. We met again on Friday, and they had kept their reading commitment! It was awesome! We talked about Nephi killing Laban, and then read 3 Nephi 11 together, about Christ coming. It was a great lesson.

Also, Brother J G, our investigator, married our church member, Sister C! They had such a cute and special wedding, I will send pictures later. He is probably for sure going to get baptized with his son, but now I am gone... I will probably be able to go, though!

This week, also Elder Yamashita came from the 70! He was great! I loved how he was so enthusiastic-- there is a special energy and enthusiasm to the general authorities, I can feel it.

Well, I got some AWESOME birthday packages and letters this week! Thank you all SO MUCH! You were so generous and kind, and gave my favorite things, and now I can use my camera again! Sorry kind of short today, but I better go.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Hello everyone! (September 11, 2017)

Ok! Mom and fam-- I haven't got any packages yet, but I probably will on Thursday. If we don't go to the Mission Headquarters we don't get mail, but Thursday we have a big meeting, so I will probably be able to get it then. I will let you know next week.

ALSO. 2 things. We had lots of birthdays recently! Grandpa Campbell, Jaden (Today! Tell him I love him and give him a big squeeze and arm wrestle him for me). Also ALLIE on the 13th, right??? Woohoo! And Ryan on the... 17th? Right?

 ALSO my birthday was great! L's family bought me a cake, and my trainer, Elder L did, too! Elder A gave me a cool Australian tie, I was spoiled.


Ok! My week.

We met with L and his family twice, on Tuesday and Friday! They are awesome, as ever, and had kept their commitment to read the BOM intro. But they said they didn't read any more than that. We read 1st Nephi 1 together, explained a bit of it, and they seemed to like it. We invited them to read chapters 2 and 3 before Friday, which they accepted. But when we got back, they hadn't read it. We were a little bummed, cause we know if they would put in the time, they would just SOAR. So we quickly read chapter 2 together, and then moved on with the lesson we had planned: The Sabbath day. We taught it, and they seemed to understand. But they were super hesitant when we invited them to church-- they said in Korea many churches are corrupted, and they didn't want to go. We testified of the power of the Sacrament, and they seemed like they would come. But only one of them ended up coming-- the cousin, named J! We love love love J, he has such a special pure heart. He is 25 and super fun. He fit in well, and had a great experience. We meet them again tomorrow, and we will talk about agency and our power to act-- if we want to really grow and improve we have to change.

Also! Our investigator who was going to get baptized a couple weeks ago is back! He is a great guy and is the man who will marry someone in our branch. We realized he wasn't ready for baptism, so we pushed that back, but we are just strengthening his testimony of the restoration. He came to church on Sunday with his son and was just shining! I fasted that somehow we could get him back, and he came back. I am so grateful for the power of fasting.
That's about all the news for the week. We have been pretty crazy busy here lately, finding lots of cool investigators, including a dad and his son who we play tennis with sometimes! They took us out for dinner and we naturally got into a gospel conversation. We plan to meet again Wednesday.

I had a cool experience during personal study this week.

Those who are familiar with the Book of Mormon will remember the longest chapter-- Jacob 5, the parable of the Olive Tree. Well it is really long and can be confusing, but I studied it this week, and it was amazing to me. I have been reading the Book of Mormon a lot, and have prayed to have my testimony strengthened of it as I have read- -God has more than answered my prayers. As I read, I don't know how to explain it, but it is just like I can feel discernibly that the book is true. It wasn't a one-time powerful experience, but a gradual feeling of the truth of the book. I love the book!

So, the parable: Basically a gardener has an old olive tree that is dying. He prunes and fertilizes the tree in an effort to save it, to no avail, so he has an idea-- take the wild olive trees and graft their young branches into the old tame tree, counting on the power of the roots of the tame tree to produce the desired sweet fruit. He also grafts the old olive tree's young shoots into wild trees elsewhere in his garden. 

While at first the trees produce good fruit, eventually they produce undesired fruit-- the gardener and his helper had done all they could to take care of the sensitive trees, but the more easily flourishing wild branches and roots took over the delicate branches which produced the fruit he wanted.

In the end, the gardner's idea is to slowly cut off and burn the wild branches from the main tree, grafting back into the tree the branches he had grafted into the wild trees in the other part of his garden. He would also graft some of the mother trees branches to the outer wild trees once more.

Well, it works, and somehow all of the trees produce the desired fruit. This parable is originally to prophecy and remark on the scattering and gathering of the people of Israel, figuratively, and literally, but I saw it in a different light this time. 

The part I liked was the last part-- about the regrafting. The Lord of the Vineyard, the gardener, has worked with these trees for so long, and yet they do not produce the fruit He needs, the fruit he knows they are capable of producing. It breaks his heart to see them not reach their potential, and he, several times, weeps over them.
There is much to learn when we view the parable as God as the gardener, and us, as the tree.

1st-- when the tree becomes corrupted, the gardener mourns, "Who is it that has corrupted my vineyard?" (vs 47) and "What could I have done more for my vineyard?" (vs 49). The servant suggests "Is it not the loftiness of thy vineyard—have not the branches thereof overcome the roots which are good?" The branches of the tree did not realize their roots nor their nourisher, and grew up for themselves, symbolic of pride. How often do we forget that it is God that has provided everything for us, that any success we have is due to God either providing it or allowing it, and that He too, could change it all in one word? Gratitude for what we have is an antidote to pride.

2nd-- One looking at this parable might wonder- -why? Why keep changing the branches? What will that do? After all, when grafting or pruning trees, they can go through tremendous stress-- grafts can often fail, the leaves of the tree yellow, it can began to wilt.
Yet the gardener explains why he is grafting back into the tree whose lofty and bitter branches had overcome its pure roots: "And this I do that, perhaps, the roots thereof may take strength because of their goodness; and because of the change of the branches, that the good may overcome the evil." (vs 59)

I think there is a lot for us to learn here: God gives us change and trials because it brings us back to our roots, to remember who we are, who it is who feeds us and nourishes us and takes care of us. It points us back to him when we overgrow and become arrogant, prideful, or overly concerned with the world.

One last principle is learned as the gardener instructs his servant on how to take care of the grafts as he raises them:
And as they begin to grow ye shall clear away the branches which bring forth bitter fruit, according to the strength of the good and the size thereof; and ye shall not clear away the bad thereof all at once, lest the roots thereof should be too strong for the graft, and the graft thereof shall perish, and I lose the trees of my vineyard."

God is patient with us as we grow, inviting us to repent and improve at that pace which is possible to us, not overwhelming us. He is loving in all His corrections.