Saturday, April 29, 2017

Remembering (April 23, 2017)

Beautiful spring flowers!
Well hello family!  Let me tell you about this week.  After 4 miracle weeks of finding 2 investigators per week the last few weeks, last week we weren't able to find any!  It's alright, though, this week is ours!  Those brothers we met last week couldn't meet this week, and we had a lot of other people cancel, but our 30/30 program all kept their appointments, and one of them is progressing! So that is great. Yesterday we also had the opportunity to take the sacrament to Brother S_, the amazing blind man in our area.  Visits with him are always wonderful experiences. We started teaching him the missionary lessons again because he doesn't come to church very much, so Bishop asked us to do that. I love Brother S_! The sacrament means so much to him. He really respects it and appreciates it. And on the way back, we walked past these apartments that didn't have a code on them--most places here are coded to prevent non-residents from entering. Anyway, we decided to knock through the apartments. We decided to start on the top floor and work down, and we knocked a couple buildings with nothing too special happening. I wondered why we felt like we should do that, but then on the bus ride home, we met an awesome kid who is my same age, who has met missionaries before! He has a Book of Mormon and stuff, and wants to become friends with us which is cool!! We will just be friends with him and share the Gospel with him at the same time. :)
I went on exchanges this week with Elder S. He is a trainee, and such a great kid. I really love him!
Also this week we had a zone meeting! And I gave a talk at it, in all Korean! Yikes. It was about what I learned in General Conference. I talked about some patterns I noticed--the Spirit, love and charity, and the Savior. I loved general conference, and I'll share more about it.

Overall, another fun week in Sangin! This area is pretty amazing. Also today I am going to get my eyes checked and maybe get glasses.

Here I am with our zone leader, Elder H. We met one of the missionaries who trained him at a climbing gym a while ago!
Here is something special I learned this week. It is a principle that is so simple, yet profound and powerful. This principle is something that can bring us joy, give us strength in hard times, help us look to the future with hope and reassurance. It is a tool to protect us when we are buffeted with fears, concerns, and even doubts. This principle is the principle of remembering.

In his general conference talk, President Eyring shared:

My message tonight is a simple one. We have all felt peace tonight. All of us would like to feel such peace often within ourselves, in our families, and with the people around us. The Lord promised peace to His disciples as He was about to leave them. He has made the same promise to us. But He said that He would give peace in His way, not in the world's way. He described His way of sending peace:

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:26-27)

He added, "You will at times have your faith challenged by Satan; it happens to all disciples of Jesus Christ. Your defense against these attacks is to keep the Holy Ghost as your companion. The Spirit will speak peace to your soul. He will urge you forward in faith. And He will bring back the memory of those times when you felt the light and the love of Jesus Christ.

Remembering may be one of the most precious gifts the Spirit can give you. He will "bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever [the Lord has] said unto you." (John 14:26)  The memory may be of an answered prayer, of a priesthood ordinance received, of a confirmation of your testimony, or of a moment when you saw God's guiding hand in your life."
Elder S and I at the service project.
I have found this principle so true in my life. Our loving Father in Heaven understands that we need spiritual experiences to keep us on the path. We can seek these experiences through heartfelt prayer, through pondering a question we need answered, through serving and loving others. However, one very common method that God seems to answer our prayers is through remembering a spiritual experience that we have already had. In fact, in one of the foundational scriptures of the Book of Mormon, in which we learn how to gain a witness of its truthfulness, one of the first and often overlooked things that we must do is to remember.  Moroni 10:3 says, "Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God tat ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts."

There is great power in remembering God's hand in our lives. I can remember spiritual experiences that have meant a lot to me: my baptism, receiving the priesthood, receiving a priesthood blessing, various experiences where God spoke to me through the scriptures, and one of the greatest, my Patriarchal Blessing.

I invite you to take a second tonight, or tomorrow morning, sometime when you have a little bit of quiet time. And take some time to remember. Try to think of specific experiences where your prayers were specifically answered. Maybe it was through a feeling. Maybe it was the Lord helped you in your own small way. You may need to review your personal journal to remember some, but that is okay! Try to think of experiences where you served and loved others in a Christlike way, and the Spirit testified to you that it is what the Savior would do had he been in your situation.
Elder S at McDonalds
I have found great help and strength during those times that I seem to be unable to feel the spirit, or when I wonder where God is in my life, by simply remembering a time when I knew He was there. The Lord says to us, as he did to Oliver Cowdery, "Behold, thou art Oliver (or Nate, Andy, etc...) I am Jesus Christ...Verily verily, I way unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things. Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?" (D&C 6)
(Here is a video Nate sent today of him while he was emailing us. I love to see him and hear his voice!!)

I know that God speaks to us. He loves us! He will talk to us, through our spiritual experiences, both present and past. I love you all! Have a great week. And hold on to the spiritual experiences you have had :)
All I can say is--wow! What a package, thanks!

Elder Beckett

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy Easter! (April 16, 2017)

Hello everyone! Happy Easter--I hope you all had a great day!  This has been a cool week. Here are some cool things we did this week:  I think you have all seen the Prince of Peace video, right? The church produced some cool pass along cards that go with it, as well as church invitations. So we have been working with those a lot, sharing the video with different people. One of my favorite activities was visiting a great family in our ward, sharing the video with them, and giving each member of the family an invitation card to use to invite a friend to church.  They have 3 sons and 2 daughters, the oldest is my age, so it was pretty fun!  We also did practices/role plays with them for how to invite friends. They are a super cool family.

We also met with a few new investigators this week. These last few weeks we have just been meeting people like crazy!  We ate at a burger place called Lotteria, I think, in English, with one of our investigators. Koreans kind of don't like that restaurant, but to me it doth not stink, I like it! Haha...

Also, our bishop has a restaurant that we travel to every other week, and we share a spiritual message with him and talk about missionary work, and he feeds us delicious food! He and his wife are just so...just so good. They just emanate love and really take care of us, like parents! And what humble good people. Most people in Korea are converts if they are over the age of maybe 30, so it is neat to ask people about their conversion stories. Anyway, after Bishop fed us pork ribs (they cook them right at the table!) and soup and lots of delicious stuff, they gave us a bag of cereal, milk, chocolate, etc. We shared the Easter video with them, too, and gave them invitations to give out.  As we left, they told us that they were so grateful for us, that they loved us, and were always so glad when we come. It is so humbling to meet these kind of wonderful people, who just give and give and love and serve. I want to be that way!

Last week we also had an interesting experience with these two potential investigator brothers, 19 and 20 in Korean age. Elder M and I had met them on the street a long time ago; we had invited them to come play basketball with us and the young men, but they cancelled last minute, and then we didn't contact them again because of how many different people we are trying to contact and meet with. Sangin used to be a two team area, but now we are the only ones. Anyway, earlier this week, these brothers called us. The little brother said he wanted to meet this weekend, so I asked if wanted to play ball with us, and he said, "Let's go to a meat buffet together!" So we thought that would be fun, but a little expensive. We made an appointment for Saturday. Then Saturday morning he texted us and said he and his bro didn't have money, and they asked us to pay. Elder S and I were a little frustrated and sad, because sometimes people meet with missionaries, because they see them as rich--someone who will buy them food--and we thought these boys didn't really want to meet with us, but just wanted free food. We suggested just eating fast food so we could pay our own, and they said they really had no money, and asked us again to pay. Although I want to help, it is probably best to not just buy food for people.  Even though we were frustrated and things with their forwardness, a part of me was sympathetic, and wondered what kid of background they were from. A member had given us a bunch of ramen, so we invited the boys to come to the church and eat ramen with us. They gratefully accepted.

Although a little unkempt, they were such smiley boys. Just happy, and had a very innocent feeling to them. I asked about their family, and it turned out that they had no father, just a mother. The older boy was attending college, and the younger one is a senior in high school. They were very grateful for the ramen, and we shared the Prince of Peace video and taught a little bit about what we do as missionaries. They were willing to pray with us at the end, and want to learn more about the gospel. They were very excited to meet again, and said, "Next time we will bring the ramen!"

I learned so much from this experience about not pre-judging others, and giving people the benefit of the doubt. Because we have been given much, we too must give! I was grateful that God provided a way for us to "do what we can" without overstepping our boundaries as missionaries. I saw how much these brothers loved each other, and they were willing to jump in and help. Without being asked, they went to the kitchen sink and worked together to wash and dry the dishes. I couldn't help but see two brothers with a rough background, working together, and though they may miss a father's influence, they do their best to keep going in the way they think is best.

I am grateful for my missionary calling. I am grateful for the times when God gives me "eyes to see" others as, in some small degree, their loving Heavenly Father sees them.  I loved what Elder S. Mark Palmer taught about the scriptural phrase: "Then Jesus, beholding him, loved him." Somedays I feel an outpouring of love for those I don't even know. I look at them and think, "Isn't it amazing how much potential they have? How much their Father in Heaven wants them to be happy, to be successful and to return home to Him some day?" I know this love doesn't originate from me, but from a much more deep, eternal, and great source of love. Everything God gives to us, any trial or blessing, is given out of love. I know that He understands us perfectly!

One last thing I want to share in this message. Dad shared this with me, and I think originally it was from President May in a Stake Conference talk. When you substitute the word "infirmities" for the word "weaknesses," we gain a greater understanding of the Savior's sacrifice:

"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 the 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 weakness, 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 weakness."

We all have weakness. I know that I do! God knows it too. And because He perfectly understands my weakness, He also perfectly understands what kind of things I need in my life to help me overcome my weakness. And He who "makes weak things become strong" will give us those circumstances we need to best prepare us to live with Him again. I testify that is true!

Elder Beckett

Friday, April 14, 2017

Hello! Week 1 with Elder S! (April 9, 2017)

Hi ya'all!  First week with Elder S--he is awesome! Super faithful, good missionary. Fun to work with! We share a lot of things (same height, same training areas, similar concerns and hardships, and similar perspectives), and so it is really neat to work with him. He is super good at Korean, even though I am follow up training him, he knows more grammar than me it seems like! Great kid!

My new companion, Elder S, and Brother K and his wife. They fed us delicious food at their restaurant. Such a good and faithful family.

Elder S and I with K, a senior in high school. He loves America and will probably live there someday.
Okay, we have had a miracle few weeks! Finding lots of investigators! No one who is super progressing or anything yet, but a few different investigators who are doing 30/30 English program, but when we set it up, we gave them a church tour and a Book of Mormon. And they seem pretty curious about our church.  We have found 3 investigators that way (one was a member referral), one was an old investigator who we met on the street on exchanges, and then the others I told you about. It is great to have people to teach and work with.
Saying goodbye to Elder M

Bye Elder M!

I was on splits with Elder H until my new companion came. Elder H is a convert of a few years, a great missionary.

I found GRASS!!! So beautiful. I wanted to eat it or something...
An interesting/funny thing:  I think I am getting used to Korean. Or at least it is getting ingrained in my brain. Elder S said I was talking in Korean for a couple solid minutes in my sleep.  Also, we got a referral sent to us from....Mexico! A missionary in Mexico met a Korean business man, and we got the referral through the web! I couldn't help but think how cool it was that Parker is serving in Mexico! I don't know if he met any Koreans, but either way, we are all kind of working together out here! I think of Wesley, right next to me here in Korea, and Allie, who used to be. We are all one large work force!

Random thought--have you guys seen Elder Holland's Mormon message about two brother's climbing?  It's such a good mormon message. I was crying. (See the Mormon Message here) And are you all sharing "Prince of Peace?"

Okay, I've got to run, but I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder B

Transfers! (April 2, 2017)

Transfer week!  So, I am staying in Sangin, but everyone else, sisters included, and my beloved brother/companion Elder M, is leaving! I'm going to miss him. My new companion was just trained in GyungJu, just like me, and Sangin is his 2nd area, just like me, and I will be follow up training him. His name is Elder S--remember the picture Karmen sent you, Mom? He is my new comp!  Here is my letter to President this week:
Me and a cute little boy in the ward
"How the time flies!  I can't believe I am starting my 6th transfer. I am so excited to be able to serve here in Sangin for another transfer. This area is so wonderful. The members work great with you, and even though it has slow times and busy times, it is a great area. I will miss Elder M so much! I learned a whole lot from him in these two transfers serving together; I'm so grateful we could have that second one together, because I felt like a lot of my progression and things I learned came during this last transfer, so thank you so much for listening to the Spirit about transfer calls.

Elder M and I learned a lot about developing faith and exercising faith, talking openly with one another, working together to be positive, and keeping going! Elder M is a great example of patience. He is so loving, quick to forgive, slow to remember things that I messed up with, and quick to compliment me. He built my confidence and desire to do missionary work, and inspired me to be a more dedicated and consecrated missionary. When I was a little nervous to talk to someone, whether on the street, the subway, or a bus, Elder Meyer would jump right in and do it without another thought, boldly testifying, never ashamed to be a disciple of Christ. He would always be willing to go off the planned path with me, or go back to talk to someone we missed, no matter how tired or inconvenient. I sure love Elder M, and I will treasure this time I spent with him.
Elder M and I meeting with one of our investigators before Elder M was transferred.
I know this new transfer call is inspired, too! I really look forward to working with Elder S. He is a great missionary, and we will "Keep Going!" here in Sangin.  He actually was friends with my cousin in Idaho before the mission, so he knew her when I asked!  Small world. This last week was great--we were able to find 2 new investigators through the 30/30 program. However, they both seem willing to learn about the gospel, too, as when we met them for our 1st appointment, we took them on a church tour first thing, including showing the baptismal font, and gave them a Book of Mormon.  The second time we met one of them, he had read the title page, introduction, testimonies of 3 witnesses, 8 witnesses, and the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, too! His wife is a strong member of another church, but he hasn't attended much recently. Needless to say, we are excited to work with them.

One of the investigators we met a couple weeks ago during morning proselyting. Elder M and I were almost done with morning jundo, but it was around 8:55, and we had already looped back by our villa, which is close to the church, as well as the citizen center. We didn't want to cut our jundo time short, but we didn't see anyone in the area around us, just empty streets, and we didn't have time to go out very far. So with faith that God would send someone, we waited! While standing on the street by the citizen center, with Book of Mormons in our hands, a 50-60 year old man rode up on his bike and hopped off.  We walked over to him, started talking, and found out that he lives close in the area, and works at the citizen center which is directly across from the church! So he has seen our church often, and wonders a little bit about it. We got his contact info, met with him later, and set up the 30/30 program. We have another appointment for this week! So we are super excited to work with him. I am so grateful we exercised our faith to stay out until the last minute, and we were definitely blessed because of it!"

The trees here are covered in huge, beautiful flowers!
Well family, we will be watching conference this weekend! I am super excited! I love conference :)  Thanks for telling me about it in your individual emails.  You guys asked me if I have met Elder Choi, the Seventy who spoke in General Conference. Yeah! Elder Choi came to our mission for mission tour, and I got to talk to him just a little bit as we all shook his hand. Super great man. Something even funnier was when Elder Holland visited Korea right after Allie left. Elder Choi and another Seventy attended the event, and Elder Holland did a little intro and said something like, "We absolutely love Elder Choi and Sister Choi. They are wonderful. They served as amazing mission presidents, and they are loved by all those around them. In fact, let me tell you a little secret. April General Conference. Sunday Morning Session.  Second Speaker, right after President Monson. And before President Uchdorf.  Who will speak?  *(points to Elder Choi)* That's right. Don't tell President Monson I told you."  Haha!  We were all dying laughing!
Our lunch one day--our bishop's family game us the bread and chopchae and bananas, and we bought the peppers and tomatoes. We are trying to eat healthy, I promise!  :)

Getting my haircut!
Anyway, I love you all and have to go! Have a stellar week, and remember to say your prayers and read your scriptures and sing hymns and serve others and seek the spirit :)


Elder Beckett