Friday, August 11, 2017

When Life Doesn't Go According to Plan (August 6, 2017)


 Wow. Starting this transfer, my 9th transfer in the field (what?) I have now been out on my mission as long as Allie had been when I arrived in Korea. Allie has now been home for 6 months. Her 동기(Dong-gi), or the group of people she came to Korea with, are now going home-- tomorrow. I loved that group of people! Elder R, Elder P, Elder L, and Elder S, and many more. One of the ones I was closest to in Allie's 동기 was Elder L, from Hurricane Utah. He gave me a call last night to say goodbye, before he gave home. Elder L was an amazing role model for me on my mission-- he was stellar and excellent in every way-- Christlike attributes, Spirituality, physical and athletic ability-- I really looked up for Elder L, and I am going to miss him.

Before he hung up, I just asked him the quick question, "Is there anything you have learned recently or tried that you wish you would have done more during your mission?"

Elder L replied," You know,  I guess the biggest thing I would say is just to not sweat the small stuff. As missionaries we can get really down and be really hard on ourselves-- my Korean isn't good enough, I can't find investigators, or the members are hard to work with. But these moments pass. We are serving God, who is in charge of everything. He has all power. We just need to keep our heads up and keep going."

That advice is pretty simple, but really profound. And I want to share a couple of my thoughts on it.

This morning in personal study I was reading in 2nd Nephi 2, one of Lehi's great teachings about the Plan of Salvation. Recently I decided to strengthen my testimony of the Book of Mormon, so I started from the beginning, and started often to have my testimony of it reconfirmed. It has been, but not while on my knees-- it came as a gradual increase of feeling, while I was reading. I could feel the light and goodness of the book, and it was the gentle feelings that the Spirit gave me to testify of its truthfulness to me. I hope you all continue to strengthen your own testimonies of the Book of Mormon.

Anyway, as Lehi teaches about the Fall of Adam and Eve, he lists how many things could have gone wrong, but then sums things up, saying, "24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things."

Beautiful Youngdo
There are times in this life where our careers, our family, our goals, schooling, or any other number of things do not end up in the perfect way we planned them. Sometimes, we didn't have much of a plan anyway, but our circumstances turned out worse than we had expected. Whatever the situation, we can be left feeling discouraged, frustrated, sad, angry, even resentful, at others, ourselves, or even God. It is at times like these that we must take a step back in perspective. Perhaps God has a greater plan for greater results than we had imagined! But, to be a part of that plan, we must forego some wanted or desired blessings for now. Yet, "all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things". All of them. 

In Proverbs we are counseled to "trust in the Lord with all [our] heart; and lean not unto [our] own understanding.  In all [our] ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct [our] paths."

King Benjamin encourages us to "believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend."

I know that God's plan is perfect. It can be really hard for us, cause we can't always see where we are in that plan-- we can't see the way it will become resolves, perhaps because much of the plan will be accomplished not in this life but in the next, in the world of spirits. But I know that God does have a wonderful, perfect plan, for the greatest happiness of the greatest number of his children. He isn't foolish. He knows what he is doing. In God's own words, we are counseled, 

"Be still and know that I am God."

I know as we put unwavering faith in God, we will be comforted in our trials, find peace in affliction, and someday, as Paul taught in Corinthians, receive blessings that "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man." 

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Love,

Elder Beckett

PS:

Transfer calls came! Me and Elder A are both staying in Youngdo! Wahoo! And I will be our district leader this transfer.

Pictures! So you know the sister who sent you a picture of me eating dog a couple weeks ago? Her and her mom were converts years ago, and she served a mission, and attends BYU Hawaii. Well her dad is one of our investigators-- we teach him free English. He is the one who bought us Boshintang, or Dog soup. This week he took us to get Dwayji Kuk Bap, which is a pork soup. But he ordered something a little different-- one with blood sausage, different organs, and skins in it. Attached are delicious pictures.



Here we are with Sister C, who is the fiance of a different investigator. She is an amazing lady! We help clean her little snack shop sometimes.

Elder L is going home. Great missionaries!


Hey, Anyone Awake? (July 31, 2017)

Funny story...

So here in Youngdo, our house is about 15 minutes away from the church. We ride a bus (it can get pricey when you have to make a few trips a day). But i don't know if you looked at what this place looks like on google maps, but there is a bunch of stores and things everywhere. The store right next to the church usually has a few old people in it, and the owner is a nice but kind of crazy lady who is maybe 65 or so. Well we usually say hi to her when we walk past.

One day we locked up the church and were on our way to home when we saw, right outside the church, a cat that had just been hit by a car. It was dead and it was kind of gory, with guts and things... I could go into detail but I know some people won't appreciate that. Well it was kind of sad, and I was like wondering if we should try to take care of it or something, but it isn't like Utah, where you could just throw it in a field... there are no fields. just buildings. So I figured I would ask a Korean-- so I asked that lady who owned the restaurant next door what she thought we should do. She was like, "nah, don't worry about it!" And then I said something like, should we just throw it away?" and she looks around, grabs a little grocery back, and hands it to me, and gestures to the cat... I was thinking about like grabbing a shovel or something. Mind you, it was sunday so we were wearing suit jackets and all. Anyway, I wasn't sure exactly what she expected me to do, with her speaking in grandma Korean and things, so I hesitated. You never know what diseases or whatever are on this roadkill! She laughed, and then grabbed the bag from me, walks over to the cat grabs it from inside the bag so it doesn't touch her hand, and then flips the bag inside out around the smooshed cat like it was just some little piece of garbage or something, no hesitation. she then looks up at me, pauses... grins... and quickly gestures like she is going to hit me with the bag of dead cat! But she just faked it, saw me jump a bit, cackled, and then tied the bag and threw it on the side of the road. "They'll pick it up later" she said, and then she was gone. We were slightly confused and a little horrified, and glanced back at the bag with the cat in it as we walked away. Sure enough, when we came back the next morning, the cat was gone! Guess she knew what she was talking about...!

Week of Miracles!!

Ok! 

At the beginning of this transfer, we met with our Branch President. We wanted to have some kind of special event, (if you look in the Ensign a few months ago it talks about a branch that did a 'spiritual feast' and invited tons of less actives and investigators) to help boost missionary work in the branch! So we decided that at the end of July, July 30th, we would have a special sacrament meeting. We would have a special speaker and musical number and things, with a big meal afterward. We were excited! As missionaries, we planned to visit lots of members with the goal of inviting them to do missionary work, and make sure that they themselves are there for the special sacrament meeting.

Well the date kept coming closer and closer, and we were trying to think of people who could come to speak... our branch president hadn't come up with anyone yet. I said as a joke to Elder A, "let's have our mission president!" But then Elder A really liked the idea and started pushing for it. So we called our district leader, and they asked all the way up to President. He called us, told us that he might be able to make it, unless there is a baptism that day in a different area, then he will go there. He told us he would let us know for sure 1 week in advance. We told the branch president.

Well one week before, he told us he would definitely be able to come. We were excited! so we told our branch president that our mission president and wife would be able to come fore sure, but then branch president said he had thought our mission president COULDN'T COME so he had asked a stake leader to come. He asked us to call back our mission president and cancel. We were a bit bummed. So we called President Jung, and apologetically explained to him that we didn't need him after all. THEN the next day our branch president told us that the stake leader had cancelled, and he wondered if President Jung could come after all! So we were (respectfully) like, "yeah, go ahead and ask him! Do you need his number?" cause we didn't want to call again. So it ended up that president Jung, our mission president WAS coming after all! Pause this story.

So this week, we were able to meet with G, a young 18yr old kid who came to church once! He brought his girlfriend too, they are both investigators! They are both so sweet and good. We taught them the restoration, and they understood really well! and... they both agreed to come to the special sacrament meeting! We were super excited, for both them and because we wanted to make sure we had investigators there when president comes, you know. BUT THEN on Saturday night I called G and he said that his mom said he couldn't go to church... she is Buddhist and is against church. We were heartbroken, not sure if we'd even be able to meet anymore. That is the last we have heart from them 2 days ago, but we will try to keep in contact.

Anyway, usually in Youngdo we have about 20-25 people at church. Yesterday, for the special sacrament meeting, 45 people attended! We were so excited. there were 3 families who came who I haven't seen before, our investigator Brother J K, who is a man who has a baptismal date, and another man who comes to our English class, some members brought less active friends, and a couple brought non member friends or family members! It was super good, and President Jung and his wife Sister Kim gave such amazing talks. Also we performed a song with a recent convert, he played guitar and we sang-- it was really spiritual!

So it was a miracle church meeting! But then after church, Brother J K's fiance, who is a member of our ward, was like, "go do a lesson!" cause we had tried but he had cancelled twice that week. So then President Jong, his wife, me, Elder A, and our investigator brother K J ended up in a room doing a lesson together! It was awesome. AND it ended up being so so so inspired of God that president and his wife came. Because our investigator just opened up to them and told them all about how he feels, his trials and challenges in life. He is the one who is attending another church now, he is such such such a good man and just radiates light. He just wants to do good and be good, and I am so honored to work with him! Anyway, he is still planning on being baptized! So that is great.

Also, I LOVE our new mission president and his wife! In Korea, people don't usually hug, mind you. But President Jung ALWAYS GIVES US SO MANY HUGS haha! Him and his wife, in one word, are just love. Really. They just love the missionaries and the gospel and I didn't know I could love them so much. I thought I wouldn't be able to love the new president and his wife like president and sister Barrow, but I love them BOTH SO MUCH!! Wow. He loves singing, guitar, sports, and is super good at English. But I have been able to get to know him a lot because he worked with us on the new sacrament meeting. And his wife, Sister Kim, is so cute to always give us banana bread, and just practices English with us. I love them!

Anyway, we have been finding lots of new investigators lately! I really want to stay in Youngdo again, and I probably will, but you never know! It is the last week of the transfer, so next time I email you I will let you know. LOVE YOU ALL! And God is in the planning-- there was so many obstacles of president coming to Youngdo on Sunday (if there had been a baptism in another area, or the other speaker who canceled, or the meeting he had to leave for quickly after church) but he came, and it meant so much to our investigator! I know that God helps and guides us. Also, it was so cool to see so many people come out to the special sacrament meeting! Awesome week here in Youngdo. LOVE YOU ALL!