Monday, February 27, 2017

Baptism! (February 26, 2017)

Hi Family! So we had a baptism this week, it was super great! It was Brother J. On my first night in Sangin, he called us and said he wanted to try attending a church and, that our church was close. He found our number outside the church door, and was standing outside the door when he called us.  We were inside having family night, so we went and grabbed him and came back up and finished family night together. The rest is history! I have learned so much throughout this experience teaching Brother J. He is awesome--so prepared. He is faithful, willing to act and use his agency, and do what is right! I learned a lot about repentance, becoming better, trying again, and improving.

Brother J was so receptive and awesome to it all. He was always willing to show faith. As we taught the difficult commandments, even though changes were required in his lifestyle, he did it! He tried and did his best! He made a mistake, and we would meet and talk about it, about repentance, how the atonement doesn't only clean us, but enables us to overcome sin, to empower us through difficulties, replace impure desires with purity and holiness. He was so faithful, and recommitted, and overcame. And he was baptized, and yesterday received the gift of the Holy Ghost! How wonderful and beautiful of a thing. And right before the baptismal service started, he grabbed a tithing slip, and on Sunday paid tithing after he was confirmed. He is so good! I have learned so much about teaching, overcoming difficulties, and conversion through this experience. With Brother J, it would have been easy to blaze through the lessons and baptize him! But the spirit prompted us to really try to focus on the little things--prayer, scripture study, and repentance, which lead to great changes and lasting conversion--and I am amazed at Brother J. But make no mistake about it--Brother J was the one who acted, who chose to use his agency and ability to follow God, consistently and carefully, and the Spirit was the teacher! I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father to have been a part of this wonderful experience!
P-day Adventure

(P-day activity; credit to Nate's companion, Elder M for these last 2 photos!)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Hello, I love you, and I already miss Allie! (February 19, 2017)

Here's my week:

Monday was family night like normal. Super fun--members came, including the bishop's son, who is really excited to go on a mission next year! It is cool to see the different young men in the ward and in Korea doing missionary work and making a powerful difference as member missionaries. They just invite and bring their friends to church--super awesome! A simple invite really can change someone's life. Our job isn't to change people. Our job isn't to force people. Our job is to invite. Be bold! Member missionaries are more important than proselyting missionaries.
Here is a picture of my hanbok--Korean traditional wear. These are worn at weddings and other special occasions. We were going to wear it for a proselyting activity on Solnar, but we didn't get permission. But I'm glad I got a hanbok!!
Tuesday we had our fun service activity with the horses, and there was this darling little girl that I got to help. She was so cute and just a chatter box. She told the people helping that she loved them, and asked me if I loved her. Then when she was done she held my hand as I walked her back to her mom. So cute!

That night we also met with Brother J, to kind of see how he was doing, if he was ready for the baptismal interview. We taught him with our ward mission leader, and it was great. Brother J was struggling a bit with some different things, and we talked about his concerns, testified of blessings, of God's great plan, and he recommitted. We all felt it would be good to give him a little more time to prepare for baptism, so we rescheduled to this Saturday. Since then we have met a few times, and he is doing great! He continues to amaze me with his faith, goodness, and dedication to follow the Savior.
With Elder M, both in our hanboks
Wednesday we met with the Bishop. He took us out to eat to this place where you get soup that has an entire chicken in it! Haha in Korea the meat all has more bones in it--a bit of an adjustment. The part that is funny to me is that they like the boned meat much better! It isn't a matter of saving money as much as when it has the bones, they can tell it is good chicken meat. The de-boned meat is mysterious, so they like the bony meat, even if it means spitting out miniscule bones every bite! Anyway, the baby chicken soup was quite delicious!  :)  (I have overcome all fear of food. I realize that in America, we overthink food far too much. Here you just eat it, haha!)

Thursday we did our weekly planning and visited a member of the mission presidency who is in our ward. He is awesome! We had dinner with their family and went with Brother J, our investigator. It was a great night and they were very kind to us, and we were all strengthened in the gospel together.

Friday we proselyted! And met another member, and called through some old investigators, one of which we were able to meet.

Saturday we met with Brother J again and finished teaching the laws and ordinances of the church, teaching with our ward mission leader again. It was a good lesson, and we are excited for his baptism this week! And it was transfer call night, so to deal with stress, we ordered fried chicken, which is super popular in Korea.  Delicious!  Allie--do you like the snow cheese from Mexicana?  Super good!  :)  And no transfer all came! I'm so grateful to serve another transfer with Elder M. I really love him and am learning so much from him. We get the opportunity to serve another 6 weeks together in this awesome Sangin ward, and are looking forward to it.

Sunday--church--none of our investigators were able to make it to church, which was too bad. We need to work to find some new people to teach. Nevertheless, it is wonderful to see all the wonderful members in the ward and feel their love!

I love this great area. The work is difficult--Satan tries to stop it in all ways--working on investigators, missionaries, members--because it is the most important work in the world. Sometimes it can be so tough! But seeing people like Brother J, who has made such great changes, really converting and coming to Christ--that is what it is about. It isn't only now, either. We can be eternal friends! And eternal families. That is the greatest thing I am learning--all the commandments, all the ordinances, baptism, temple work, the Word of Wisdom, the law of chastity, scripture reading, prayer, loving others--there is no other purpose than to enable a family to live together forever, joyfully, in God's presence, and be happy. That is what it all comes down to. And the reason we have it all? Because God loves us!

"For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

It is God's hope, His joy, His greatest desire. I am honored to be a part of this great work!  I want to leave you all an invitation.  Think about the joy you have in this gospel. Think about the wonderful knowledge of your eternal potential! Of all the possibility of overcoming weakness, pain, suffering, infirmity--all because of the Savior! What wondrous knowledge. Now think about your lives--your work, your school, your recreation. There are so many people you associate with every day! There are those you associate with who are blessed with this same knowledge, and there are some without it. So I want to invite you tonight, before you go to bed, to offer a simple prayer to our loving Heavenly Father, whose work this is, and ask Him who he would have you share this great joy, the gospel, with.  And ask Him how to do it! You may be surprised by the answer--perhaps it comes in the form of serving someone. Perhaps in the form of inviting them to an activity; perhaps just expressing love to them. But God will guide you! And you will find great joy in serving Him, and in sharing this wondrous message with others. That is my testimony!

I love you all so much and need to go. But keep going! Give Allie a big squeeze for me this week. Allie, Korea already misses you! I miss you! Keep going strong everyone, and remember that we can do it, together and through Christ.

(Nate's companion had this picture on his blog, and I'm not sure where they are, but I'm glad Nate is getting to play the piano!)
Elder Beckett

Friday, February 17, 2017

Hello Family! I love you All!! (Feb. 12, 2017)

(Disclaimer from Mom:  All the pictures in this week's email are from his companion's blog; Nate has not been able to send pictures, so Elder M gets all the credit for pictures!)
Our District
Hello! Let me tell you about my week.  First of all, I'm sad now that I am on email a different day than Allie for her last two p-days. It was fun emailing back and forth. It has been so wonderful serving in the same country, at the same time as my sister! What a sweet and tender privilege that my Heavenly Father gave to me. He knew that at times when I perhaps couldn't go on in my own strength, that I could look to my sister who had gone before me, who had experienced all the new things that individually may not be big deals, but can add up to a lot of stress! Whether it is suddenly being in a huge city (compared to cute little Grantsville), all the food being totally different, trying to make friends with people but struggling because of language barriers, wanting to share your testimony but struggling, sleeping in a new way, doing laundry in a new way, showering in a new way, people ignoring you on the street, people telling you that you are a sinner, and people you love and want to serve and help blocking you, cutting off all contact--Allie has known exactly how I have felt as I have faced all of this. Not only could I know that she knew that, but she also has sent me frequent letters, emails, and cute packages, encouraging me to keep going!  Telling me that I can do it! She knows how I feel, and she made it through, so so could I.  Heavenly Father knew I would need that--and He lovingly planned for my needs.  Our loving Father in Heaven always will take care of us, even when we can't see how we will make it through. He had a plan for me and my mission!

I would like to draw a parallel for One Other who knows exactly how we feel--the Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ. I would like to share one of my favorite verses of scripture about our Savior's Atonement--which made possible our "At One"-ment with God. This is found in the Book of Mormon. I love this great book. I love the Bible, too. The Bible is very valuable in providing insight to our Savior's life and ministry, His teachings, His miracles, His example. However, the Book of Mormon has special power. The Book of Mormon provides particular insight about our Savior's sacrifice for us--the Atonement. In a very clear way we learn what Christ really did in Gethsemane, and on the Cross at Calvary:

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and sicknesses of his people.

12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

Our God knew we would struggle during this life. He knew we would need guidance, we would need someone to go before us, to feel what we would feel and to perfectly understand us. He made that plan and provided for our needs. He knew we would be imperfect and sent us a Savior. And the Savior didn't only pay the price for our sins and transgressions--but he also felt physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually--everything we are capable of experiencing, and more. Pains, afflictions, temptations, death, infirmities. I am so grateful that My Father, My God, sent someone before me who I could look to, in whom I can find solace, my Savior and Hero Jesus Christ. And we are meant to do that! Without suffering all those pains physically, the Savior already understood how we could feel--"Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh." Why do you think He did that? Why did He feel it all physically, according to the flesh?  It was for us! For us to be able to know that He knows us! I know that's true. May we continually treasure that Atonement and use it in our lives--not only for overcoming sin, but also for overcoming weakness, for becoming better, for starting anew and recommitting and trying again! That is the Atonement's purpose! And I know that is true, and share that in the name of He who suffered all for us, even Jesus Christ, Amen.

OK! So Brother J--he is the one we went hiking with a few weeks ago. We met him on the first day of the transfer, my first night in Sangin. Well, it is our last week of the transfer! And he is set to be baptized Saturday, and confirmed on Sunday. Pray for him! Pray for things to go smoothly, pray for him to be able to be baptized this Saturday. He is so good--He has so much faith. We met him a few times this week. It was super good each time. Even though my Korean is so inadequate, through me, my companion, the spirit, and members we taught with, things turned out pretty well. I am grateful for the Spirit who is the real teacher! And wonderful members to teach with. We are so excited for this miracle, and especially to see how Brother J is changing his life.  What a good man!


We also found another new investigator through morning proselyting! Every morning from 7:30 to 9:00 we get out and talk to people on the streets, and then come back and do personal study, and then fit in other things as needed. I LOVE the new schedule--except we are getting less sleep now because it is still hard to get to bed before 10:30, and we have to get up a little earlier. But yeah, it is super good! I love it! And Allie, I received one letter recently from you, but we haven't gone to the mission office in a while, so I probably have one waiting. Did you get my letter? I will miss you being in Korea so much, Allie!

Take care, all.  I'll talk to you next week! And I love my sweet sister Allie.  Go get them this last week, girl! I'm praying for you. You have done so much good among the people of Korea here. Give it all this last week, and you will see miracles! You are so inspiring to me, and I'm sure proud of you and excited some day to talk with you face to face about Korea and our missions.

Sorry no pictures today, I will send you pictures next week.  PS--this is the last week of the transfer. I so hope I can stay in Sangin again with Elder M.  I love love love love it here!


Elder B

Friday, February 10, 2017

February 5, 2017

There was a Korean holiday a few weeks ago that is pretty big that celebrates the Lunar New Year, called Solar. Anyway, one of our English students invited us to eat with his family, which would be like inviting someone to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner! It was awesome!

This is Elder S from Burley, Idaho! He knows the Popes and Kaycee! It is his first transfer, and I saw him at Mission Tour, where a member of the Seventy came and spoke to us.
P-day hiking
My week:

Last Monday: We went hiking with our investigator and ward mission leader. We also had family night, which was super good, but we didn't have very many people because of the Lunar New Year.

My companion and I on a hike!
Tuesday:  We did the service project with the horses. We have found an awesome new investigator through it who serves a lot. We plan to meet him for lunch tomorrow! We also did jundo--street proselyting. That is the most common way to proselyte in Korea. Just stopping people on the street, talking with them, and inviting them to learn more! Kind of a crazy experience; we do it every day!

This is at our weekly service project. We go to a place where disabled children ride horses, and we walk next to them and lead the horses and keep them safe.
Wednesday:  We visited the Bishop at his restaurant, riding a city bus there and then talking about the ward and investigators. We also met with the investigator, Brother J.  Here is what I wrote about him to my mission president:  "Our investigator is doing great. He is reading the scriptures almost daily, praying, attending church. He is struggling right now with the word of wisdom, but we talked about faith, repentance, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and talked about hope through the Gospel. He is so great! His baptismal date is set for the 18th, so we prayed and fasted for him. We still have more lessons to teach, so I pray that things will go smoothly. He is such a good guy, very reliable. He came to our young single adult meeting, and there were some great things shared there. We will continue to contact him frequently, encourage and teach him."

Thursday:  We had Mission Tour, where Elder Choi Yoon Hwan came with his wife and spoke. They were super funny and nice! I learned a lot about how to be a better missionary--I want to be more faithful, hoping for miracles. They talked about singing while we work, and being joyful, which I really want to work on! They also talked about Preach My Gospel (PMG) being Perfect Marriage Guidance (PMG), haha! Starting after your mission with Chapter 9--Finding.  I then went on exchange with a Korean my age, who has been out a year and a half, that Allie knew in the MTC! He is an AWESOME missionary, and I learned a lot from him about being bold and confident when teaching.

Friday: We did planning and visited Brother P, a less active member. Such a good kind man! It turned out that he also loved swimming, so we talked a lot about swimming!

Saturday was English class, which is always fun. English class is good, but we prefer 30 30 because then they get more gospel learning, as well as more bold invitations--there is this one great, positive English student who I think would love the gospel, but I invited him to do 30 30 a few weeks ago and he pretty much said that he would call if he wanted to. Anyway, Saturday before English class we shared a message about prophets, and gave them a pass along card with a link to church websites, inviting them to learn about the living prophet. After English class was over, the man called and said he wants to start 30 30! So he is going to be an awesome new investigator.

Finally yesterday we went to normal Sacrament Meeting as well as a special young single adult meeting. We went with our investigator who is planning to be baptized in two weeks, so that was good for him to hear other young people's testimonies! Especially someone talked about how they were a recent convert--they talked about keeping commandments, including the word of wisdom--just what our investigator needed to hear.

Anyway, I love you all so much! I hope you are doing well. I pray for you and love you. I am so grateful to live with you all for eternity--that is the great gift of this Gospel and the reason I am here doing missionary work--to help others find that great joy.

Have a great week! Love you, bye!

Trust in the Lord... January 30, 2017

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

That is the message I would like to share this week.

Yesterday, Sunday, we met with Brother S. He is a church member that is 52 years old and lives alone. He is kind and caring. He is a hard worker and has a job where he works as a kind of journalist for a company in Seoul. Brother S is happy; he smiles a lot and likes to laugh. He is learning English, and enjoys asking us questions about English and practicing phrases and pronunciation. He is giving. He loves to feed us and generously gives what he has.

Brother S is also blind.

About 10 years ago, Brother S lost his vision because of diabetes. He was unmarried. After 40 years of being able to see, he lost that ability. Think of it--can you imagine? The simplest things become so difficult without the miraculous gift of sight. I watched as Brother Sun tried to replace a full trash bag in a can to throw it away, but what he didn't see is that it was sideways and too wide for the can. He pressed harder, unable to see why it didn't quite fit. I reached and gently guided the bag into the can. I watched as Brother S carried a tray of food through the door. Unable to see the width of the tray, Brother S accidentally bumped the tray into the door frame before backing out and trying again to walk through. Readjusting, he was able to make it through. All these things that we do without a second thought become so much harder.

An interesting thing about Brother S is that he is still very independent. He told us that he cleaned up his house before we came, and true to his word, it was quite spotless, although he couldn't have seen which parts needed cleaning. Yet he managed to do it!

Another interesting thing about Brother S is his testimony. He loves God and Jesus Christ so much. He told us that he knows that God and Jesus Christ have helped him make it through. Without them, he couldn't have lived, he said. He loves them with all his heart. He can't travel to church because of his blindness and the distance, but we had the opportunity to bless the sacrament in his home yesterday. I could see how much it meant to him as he paused a moment before partaking, bowing his head in prayer to God. He knows what the sacrament truly means.

Brother S also told us that, although God didn't heal his sight, he is certain that He is there. It doesn't matter to Brother S that he can't see now what lies ahead of him. Things are so difficult for him, but he recognizes God's hand through it all. I was humbled and taken aback as I heard this faithful man's story and tried to contemplate the difficult life he lives.  Although he cannot see, and perhaps doesn't understand many things because of that, he does his best to continue.

I know that God can see perfectly. He knows all that is around us. All circumstances, all needs. He knows why things are the way they are, and He also knows how things are going to turn out. He loves us. He is perfect. He guides our hands. He is there. God has a perfect plan. For you, for me, for all of his children. Because He loves them, He wants us to be happy, and although it can be really hard to recognize that sometimes, I often look back and see great growth and change in my life. My heart is filled with gratitude for my Father, my God, and His willingness to send my Brother, my Savior, to experience all things, so that I could have the knowledge that I am not alone, and that He knows and loves me. Nate. Elder Beckett! In Songin! He knows it all.

Although we all feel blind, uncertain of the future, of what will happen, I pray that we, as sweet Brother S, can learn to rely more fully upon He who sees all. May we pray to Him. May we read His word, and look for His hand in our lives. As we do, I know we will see it. I know he lives and loves us, more certain than ever before in my life.

Love you all,

Elder Beckett

Week 2 in Sangin--Another Awesome Week! January 22, 2017

Hello everyone! Week 2 in Sangin is complete! Another awesome week.  Our new investigator, Brother J, came to all of the church meetings, and to family night again! We were able to meet him again on Thursday with a member--we taught the first half of the restoration. The member is an 18 year old kid; he is super awesome and preparing for a mission.  He lived in America for 10 years but is native Korean, so he speaks both languages completely and helps us a lot. He shared such a powerful testimony and awesome thoughts during the lesson. Then yesterday we went to his family's house for dinner with Brother J (he is 28). It was super good--We taught the importance of scriptures, and I am so grateful that we were guided to do that.  The family has 3 sons who are 18, 15, and 12. Each one of them, as well as the parents, shared how the scriptures have blessed their lives. Since the whole family was there, we taught the message to everyone, not just the investigator, so he wouldn't feel weird. Overall the lesson went super well, and we were all strengthened by it.

Brother J is keeping commitments well; he is so faithful and good.  The thing I am learning so much is that  we did nothing to find him; God sent him to us. It is pretty humbling, because he is so good and willing to do what is right and learn things. God is so amazing! Each Tuesday we have a fun service activity we do--we ride the subway a little ways away to this place where special needs children learn to ride horses. It is indoors, and they just go around in circles. For safety, we walk around with them next to the horses--it reminds me of Grantsville, haha! And the children--what sweet, pure, children. I love them! And also we meet great people who also go there to serve, so that is great. Some of the horses can be a little feisty sometimes; one of them kind of stepped on the side of my boot, but it is much less of a big deal than it sounds. Fun service!

We also visited Brother P, a less active member. He is a great guy! His cute little boy came to church and we sat together again. When we visited Brother P, Elder M asked a great inspired question about the first time Brother P prayed. Brother P shared an experience about when he went to the military, and it was super hard. He prayed for real, and received an answer to his prayer. It was a cool lesson. We invited him to start praying each day, albeit simply.

Then Saturday we went out to dinner with a guy we met at the service activity. It was so cool to talk with him and help him. He has no experience with God--and he met with us to practice English, but it turned into a neat lesson about God. He prayed and asked God if he exists. It was really neat to hear that!

Anyway, it was an awesome week! I am also able to keep in touch with my beloved Kyung Ju members, which is great. Our old ward mission leader has an older brother who lives in Daejeon--and Allie just moved into his brother's ward!  Ha ha, so cool!

Love you all. Great week!  Sorry no pictures, I forgot my camera cord.  Love you!

Elder Beckett