Friday, June 16, 2017

New Companion! (June 11, 2017)

Hey y'all! We got a call from President this week that said that there was a missionary who's hometown is Busan, waiting for a Visa to America, but they felt it would be best for him to start his mission while he waited! So he had gone to the Seoul South mission, gotten pneumonia, and went home for a couple weeks. After getting better, they decided to keep him close to home, cause he only has two weeks to wait, so they sent him here to the Busan Mission. President prayed about it and felt like he should come to be with me and Elder S in Daegu for the last two weeks of the transfer! His name is Elder J K. Super great new missionary, and a ton of fun!

Here's an excerpt of my letter to President:

We saw miracles come again through priesthood keys. 

We told you about the bodybuilder who we met through a member of our bishopric's referral a few weeks ago! Well we met again this week! And he brought a classmate (both are 42 though, and one is the mother of 3 children!). The bodybuilder, Brother Y, is a student of Brother K, who is a professor at a nearby college. Anyway, because of that Brother K, who referred him wants to stay out of it until Brother Y wants to decided to learn for himself and not be influenced by school matters. So we called Brother Y independently of Brother K this week, and then met without Brother K. It was a great meeting!We ate together, and were able to talk about our church, about God, and Jesus Christ, and peace, and the Book of Mormon. Afterward, we gave them a church tour. When we arrived at the church, the bishopric, including Brother K, were all there! It was great, because Brother Y and his friend he brought both LOVE "Professor" K, so they were so honored and happy to say hello to him AT THE CHURCH before we gave a tour! I have never seen the Bishopric at the church before, so it was so inspired that Bishop called a bishopric meeting at the time. I know he received revelation to do it! Brother Y and his friend were both very impressed by the beautiful simplicity of our church. We testified of the Saviour and told them they were always welcome at our church.

Things are going great in the trio! We love love love Elder 김. He is a very hardworking, obedient missionary, willing to jump in and go for it! Also very positive and down to earth. We were able to do a split yesterday and jundo for 1 1/2 hours with an elder in our ward, 김동훈, who is preparing for his mission! I think it was good preparation for him, and we knocked twice as many doors! Elder S and Elder 김재민 went together, and I went with the brother in our ward. Elder S and Elder K were able to go sit inside and talk with somebody! Me and Brother K got a lot of rejection, but it turned out alright cause we were able to talk with each other more about missions and things. He is working on his papers now!
P-day fun!

I love you all! Got to go, but I want to just share one story I love with you.

21 And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.

22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,

23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.

24 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.

35 While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?...

...36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.

37 And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.

38 And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.

39 And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.

40 And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.

41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.

42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment."

I love this story-- even when all seemed lost to Jairus, that people told him his daughter was dead, when people "laughed [Jesus's promise] to scorn" he believe. He still had faith in the Maker of the World, the Lord, God! I know that we can too be like Jairus, even when other things seem uncertain, that God is always certain; His promises are sure.

Love you!

June 4, 2017

Aloha! Hello from Hawaii! I mean Korea!  We just ate some great pizza for lunch from E-Mart. Yeah, it is like an expensive small Costco. But the pizza is a decent deal compared to other Korean pizzas.

I ate stingray this week! I don't recommend it.  Ok the first picture: I will tell you the story in a sec but basically we were taken by a member who brought his awesome nonmember associate to the top of a mountain to eat this food including stingray. The stingray is on the left side of the white plate, it is red. It is so rough, and rubbery. And it kind of caves in when you eat it. On the right side of the plate is some pork pieces, there is also some acorn paste (top left) kimchi (top) and other veggies. You take a leaf and put the different stuff in it then eat it all together!

Then Me and Elder S! It was his birthday this week! I love Elder S! We ate pineapple and ordered chicken for his birthday. Here in Korea the favorite food among missionaries is fried chicken. In Korea they just have these good little sauces with it. Allie did you have fried chicken much?

Last- we went to a sushi buffet with a sweet member and her son who is a recently returned missionary this week. 

Next, here's a picture of a funny huge caveman figure on top of a sign advertising a prehistoric park nearby. The funny thing is that the park only has a few kind of normal looking rocks. It is by our house and sometimes we go do our studies there. President Barrow asked us to try and get out more to see the people by doing studies and things outside! We have met some great people that way!

Me and Elder S with Brother S! He is a new AWESOME investigator. I don't know if I told you about him? I met him about 3 months ago on the subway. He was studying English, so I struck up a conversation with him and invited him to our free English class. He said he had attended in Seoul but wasn't sure if he would come. So I gave him a card. Fast forward 2 months and he walks into church during Sunday school!
He is super nice. And really good at English. And he loves swimming! He came to church again yesterday, and we are so grateful to have the opportunity to meet him and share the gospel with him.

This is the stuff we ate with Brother S. It is called nangmyun. It is like cold noodles with vinegar and beef! It is not bad!
Ok! This week was awesome. Elder Oaks came to Korea a couple weeks ago, and visited our mission! He is so funny, just a loveable, good man. So wise and knowledgeable. Anyway, in the broadcast to all of Korea, he taught, "Korea is in condition that is ready for missionary work to be done. Pray to God and ask him what YOU can do, in your individual circumstances, to share the gospel. If you promise to God to act on any promptings that you receive, he will speak to you."

Last Sunday night a man in our ward, named Brother S K needed to get into the church to get his bag he had left. So we opened it up. On his way out, he invited us to go to his college to have lunch with them the next friday. He said he wanted to talk about missionary work! Brother S K is a member of our Bishopric, and he went to college in Ohio. He is a college professor. His college isn't in our area, so I was a little concerned about travel times and things, but we got permission from our Zone Leaders and things.

On Friday morning we took the subway for 35 minutes and then he picked us up at the subway station. He took us on a brief drive through of the college campus, called 경북 대학교 I think, and then parked his car. He told us that he had invited a friend of his to eat with us. The friend arrived, he was a very kind man. His name is Mr. Y. We got to know him a little bit, he like sports, in his 40s. We started going to this Korean Grill, but they saw that it was super busy so they decided to go to this other restaurant that Brother K's friend liked. It ended up being on top of a nearby mountain... I was stressed some more because of time! I felt like we weren't using the Lord's time effectively, and got a little pit in my stomach... But we were able to get to know the friend really well on the way up. 

Then we ate! The food was really good-- super cultural experience. Very traditional. Pork, sam (leaf wrappings), kimchi, special rice with pine nuts and other vegetables, etc.

On the way back, Mr. Y asked us about missionary work. How we fund it, etc. We used it as an opportunity to testify of the truth of our message, why we were on missions. He seemed to listen really intently. We asked brother K how he had been converted, and he shared about how he had wondered in Junior High about death a lot, about his life's purpose. He loved Alma 34:32. At that point, the Book of Mormon had been brought up, and Mr. Y was glancing through it, and it had some passalong cards that I had stuck in it to give out to people. One of them happened to be in Alma, so Mr. Y flipped and read about this life being the time to prepare to meet God. He really liked it, and so he asked me what my favorite scripture was. I shared Moroni 7:45-47. We then told him we wanted to give him the Book as a gift! He accepted gratefully, and asked me and Elder S to write him a short note in it. Nice! I wrote my testimony. 

After we parted, he texted us later that day telling us thank you-- that he had really enjoyed meeting with us, saying (in Korean) "Seely, Beckett, it was a pleasure to meet you. It was a time to feel your good hearts, your warm humanity (i think?) and your bright and clear power. I hope we can meet again. Have a happy day!" Sorry if the translation is a little off-- he used some big words. Anyway, SUPER AWESOME!

Yesterday at church brother S K shared his testimony about how he had been wanted to do missionary work. He had heard Elder Oaks' advice, and wanted to follow it. He said that he had the feeling to invite Mr Y to eat with us, but was nervous to do it, but did it anyway, and in turned out to be a great experience. He said that after we left, Mr Y kept saying "in the world of people it is hard to find just good people like the missionaries" and "how pure they are, how good, how smart, how good looking" Hahaha. In Korea that is not weird. He also said he had other friends he wanted to introduce to us. But I was so grateful for this good man Mr Y. He felt like a very pure soul who could recognize the spirit. Last night we called him to ask if he would like to meet again this week. He said he would love to! And he has another friend who he would like to bring to eat with us! Miracles! 

Point of the story-- God is preparing people around every one of you! Pray to know how to do missionary work in your sphere, and He will guide you. commit to Him that you will follow your promptings, and pray for courage to act. Then do it! Miracles happen when members and missionaries work together and follow the spirit!

Also-- when we were sharing our testimonies on the drive home after eating together with Brother K and Mr. Y, I had a thought come to me. It was "Don't worry. I know what I am doing. I know the end from the beginning." It turned out to be a great day, but I had been really stressing about time and things. I am grateful that God took care of it!

Ok! I have had a couple thoughts about a little message this week. As missionaries we are always supposed to use our time effectively. I am starting to realize how quick the time is going... tomorrow is 11 months. And soon I will be halfway :'(. 

One thing that stuck out in general conference to me was Elder M Russell Ballard's talk: Return and Receive. I encourage you all to listen to it, perhaps during family night, and then discuss what you learned and felt.

He started off with something that was an obvious but much needed reminder: "Over the years, I have observed that those who accomplish the most in this world are those with a vision for their lives, with goals to keep them focused on their vision and tactical plans for how to achieve them. Knowing where you are going and how you expect to get there can bring meaning, purpose, and accomplishment to life."

I have been thinking-- how am I doing on my mission? Am I doing everything that God wants me to do?

And as I thought, I thought about three principles, two of which Elder Ballard emphasized, and all three of which are in Preach My Gospel:   Setting Goals, Planning, and Accountability.

Each week we do a weekly planning session that takes around 3 hours. Preach My Gospel outlines what you need to do in a 13 step guide to weekly planning. In every single step it says, "set goals and make plans to..." etc. I am pretty good at making goals. I think everyone likes goals. We learn a lot about goals in school. People set goals like "I want to become a doctor." "I want to learn to play the piano" "I want to learn a language". All great, and difficult goals. Goals give us vision. They help us see somewhere we could be, and help us to be motivated to act. But without plans, goals have little effectiveness.

Elder Ballard said, "Some have difficulty differentiating between a goal and a plan until they learn that a goal is a destination or an end, while a plan is the route by which you get there."

I think that is perfect! A plan is absolutely necessary. A goal is like a picture of a destination you'd like to visit. But without making travel plans, all it will EVER be is a nice picture of a faraway place.

So you want to learn a language? How are you going to do it? What are you going to do every day to work towards it? "Ok, each day I will learn 10 vocabulary words. I will review them for 30 minutes each morning, and if I don't have time then then I will do it before bed." "I will study from my grammar materials each Wednesday." "I will practice listening by watching the news in Korean".

Without plans, goals don't go very far. 

What do you want to do? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Where do you WANT to see yourself in 10 years? 5 Years? 6 months? What are you going to do TODAY to work towards it?

Lastly, I think accountability is absolutely essential when making goals and setting plans. As missionaries, we are accountable to God and priesthood leaders. I also encourage you to talk about your goals with God. He knows far better than me, or you, or any worldly expert or scientist how to achieve your goals. Tell Him your plans. Then report back to Him on how you are doing. He will guide you.

I also encourage you to tell someone else: a friend, spouse, or family member. Being accountable brings motivation and desire to do better. President Monson said, "When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates."

I know that is true! I invite you all to set goals, to make plans, and to account to someone! How are we using this precious time God has given us? I know we can live our lives to the fullest as we use these principles that an apostle of the Lord taught.


Elder Beckett

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Tennis! (May 28, 2017)

Hey family, how are ya'all? Sorry for emailing so late! I just went and got whooped in tennis by a bunch of middle-aged Koreans! It was awesome!  A man in our ward took us to play tennis--he is just learning. Anyway, we played a bit, but only had two racquets. When it was my turn to switch out, I went to talk to the people on the court next to us, who were seriously SUPER GOOD. Like they would beat 95% of the high school players good. Me and Isaac...probably...okay, most likely would have beat them together. They were 50-ish, with one 70 year old-ish guy. When I first started, all were around 50. Anyway, I introduced myself and told them I played in high school. They liked practicing their English with me, and invited me to jump in to doubles. So I did! I couldn't keep the ball in at all. I was embarrassed! Anyway, I kept praying to play good so I could win their hearts like Ammon!  Haha...funny but true. The first set we got creamed. Second set it was so weird--first off, they changed who was in and out (the people who came in weren't as good as the others, but still pretty good! Still could beat most high schoolers--they just don't miss)--and then suddenly I warmed up or something, because I could keep it in and control the ball, and we came back from behind and won the set! At that point they all commented, "He really was a tennis player!" Haha. I had some pretty good shots at the end. One of the guys followed me wherever I went and took a bunch of cool pictures of me, haha! He said, "Your form....good!" And I exchanged numbers with him. I think he wants to learn English. Anyway, I was soooo exhausted after that set, because I haven't had intense exercise in a while. But it was so fun!!

One of my miracles I saw this week happened yesterday. We have been praying and working to find a family lately, but it is pretty hard! So far, we haven't found one yet. Last week we tried to seek the Bishop's guidance asking him which less actives we should visit, and then after he told us, we went to find their apartment yesterday. We almost ended up coming back right before because of something else we had to do, but we decided to find the apartment. We had a list of 3 of them we needed to visit, but this guy was the one with the address that happened to be the one the people who were pointing the directions to us seemed to know. While we were on the way, we talked to people on the street who were there, and I met one guy, explained who we were and what we were doing.  He literally said, "Gwanshim eesumneeda!" Which means "I have interest!" I was a little surprised. We kept talking to him, he told us he was walking to the park. We have him a Prince of Peace pass along card, and he gave us his phone number. And then he pointed out his family who he was going to meet--he has a wife and 3 little boys! He seems really interested in learning. I am so excited to meet him this week! I know that God helps us and magnifies our efforts. Please pray for this family to accept the Gospel and that we will be able to meet them alright.

Also, we met with Brother S__--he is a 30/30 program guy who we meet with pretty regularly. We had a great great meeting with him. He is curious about our church--he reads all the pamphlets he can get his hands on, and started the Book of Mormon! But it hasn't felt super sincere with him. But then this week he really opened up, and after the appointment we were kind of just in awe, grateful to have been a part of it. We started with the English. That was probably the best day of English we have had with him. We spoke almost all English, just really slowly because he is a beginner. But he really seemed to enjoy it and do well.

When we switched to the 30 minutes of Gospel, he immediately asked about baptism versus sprinkling water. Why do we do it by immersion? We taught that that is how Christ did it, we cited the Bible as well as living prophets, and taught the symbolism therin. He also wanted to know about commandments, so we briefly touched on it. Then we switched to what we felt was the missing link: prayer. Our mission president had mentioned this before in the transfer periodical newsletter. We followed our beloved President Barrow's advice on teaching prayer. Brother S__ had already been praying with us during lessons, very beautiful prayers. But he didn't pray at home, and we felt it would be a great benefit to him. Our ward mission leader felt the same.

We told him we wanted to talk about prayer. We asked the question, "If Heavenly Father stood in this room, what would you thank him for?" He responded a meaningful answer--his family, his health, his opportunity to meet with us. We then asked him, "If Heavenly Father were standing in this room, what would you ask him?" He thought for a second, and then spoke. "I would ask him to bless and unite my family. I would ask him for forgiveness; I haven't been keeping his commandments." And he continued a little more. We then asked him to pray in that kind of prayer, really speaking what is in his heart. We also asked him to pray to God to know if our message and the Book of Mormon were true.

And then he prayed. It was a beautiful prayer--it was a heartfelt prayer. It as talking with God. He asked God for forgiveness and resolved to do better and to pray every day. He asked God to help his family. He thanked God that he could meet with us missionaries. He asked God to help him know if what we were teaching were true. He really seemed to open up, to be sincere. It was wonderful. We meet with him again tomorrow!

Well, that's all for now. Have a great week!  Love,

Elder Beckett