Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Last Week in SLC

Hello Everyone!

This week has been insane!  It started off really slow, but we continued to work and work and things started happening towards the end.  It has been really cool to be able to tell people where I am going, but pretty sad to know that I may not see them again for a while.  I'm just trying to do my best to forget that last part and help as many people as possible in the last few days I am here.

So, we get to go to FHE's all across the stake on Monday night, and I am s

tarting to see that as we do so, the members are seeing us and starting to get excited.  I don't know how it is going to be elsewhere in the state, but here in our mission, we are working towards being able to have at least one set of missionaries per stake.  This last week we got to see some of the reward of letting people see us as we hit three different FHE's and every single one of have people they wanted us to meet.  It is fantastic!

Wednesday was interesting because we got to go to the Salt Lake City days of 47 Parade for a few hours in the morning.  There was only one stipulation: we had to contact and look for referrals while we were there.  That was sure interesting.  Our entire district got one street on both sides between 300 and 400.  That meant there were eight of us crawling up and down that section of road for a few hours, plus the fact that other companionships would walk past us to their assigned areas.  Elder Cooper and I did our best to talk to everyone, but people either got annoyed because they were trying to watch the parade, or they had already talked to at least one other set of missionaries. We didn't have very much success, especially compared to the sisters (who got like 30 referrals).
We also got to have an authentic southern meal cooked by an investigator.  That was great!  SOme of the best fried chicken I have ever eaten.  His beans were also great, second only to Grandpa B's famous baked beans.  I loved it, and Anthony (the investigator) committed to coming to church.

Friday was cool because Elder Cooper had to do a couple of interviews for the Spanish Elders, and I got to practice my Spanish while they waited.  It was pretty funny for me to talk to the visa waiting Elder, because his Spanish was still awful. Then again, the Elder from Argentina completely blew me out of the water.  It was a lot of fun either way.

One of the new investigators we picked up this week, Dyllan, was great.  He moved here from California about a month ago, and the very first thing he did--before he even unpacked his stuff--was to go to his 9 year old cousin's baptism.  What a way to be introduced to the Gospel!  He came to church this Sunday and loved it, and we have a couple more lessons with him set up for this next week.  He is such a great man, and I expect that he will join the church very soon, and fit in very nicely.

Sunday was the most crazy one I have ever had in the area.  We were able to stop in to 6 of our nine wards (remember that 7 of the nine sacrament meetings are a 1:00), we spoke in two of them, and we went to a couple of ward mission meetings on top of that.  We blew through so many miles it wasn't even funny, but it was necessary.  We are sure glad that everything was able to work out the way it was because we were able to pick up another new investigator with an amazing story.  She lives in Washington and got a scholarship to play softball for some school up there.  A few weeks ago she came down to live with her cousin's family for a few weeks.  She somehow got a hold of the singles ward, came and already has something like 1500 friends in this area (only a slight exaggeration). Anyway, she felt the Spirit so much she wants to stay, so she is working on transferring to Weber State!  She is actually going beack to Washington this week for a short time, but she wants to get baptized as soon as she can, so when we have her schedule figured out we are going to plan to get her wet.  It is amazing!

Thanks for all your prayers!  We see so many miracles every day, and they are in part because of your thoughtfulness.  Keep up the good work, and remember that miracles can happen wherever you are!  you just have to look for them.

Love you all!

Elder Beckstead

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Here We Go!

Hello Everyone!

By now you have probably already heard the news, but I will tell you again anyways.  I am going to be serving in the Kansas Wichita Mission! It is definitely bitter sweet, because I am extremely excited to meet new people over in Kansas, but I am so sad that I have to leave all of the great people I have met here.  It is going to be hard for sure.

This last week has been a crazy one filled with lots of exchanges.  I basically had to run my area for the entire week while Elder Cooper got to go see the rest of our district and how it was running.  It was pretty fun.  I learned a lot from the other Elders, and I picked up a few great skills.  There is one huge miracle that happened on Friday, while I was with an interesting missionary named Elder Studer.  First of all, I loved the day I spent with him because we were obedient to a T in every aspect that we knew how to be obedient.  I LOVED it and felt so happy the entire time. When we were out contacting a list of people the Layton YSA Ward didn't know, we got the feeling to knock on the door on either side of the one we were actually there to contact. On one side, we met the YSA ward clerk's wife.  On the other was an interested non-member named Mike.  What a huge testimony to listen to the Spirit!

Other than just trying to find new people, this week has been pretty slow.  We did not have very many lessons, and we haven't been getting very many referrals, that is until Sunday.  We had the opportunity to have our Stake President speak in the Northridge Ward, and at the end of his talk, we passed out 3"x5" cards to all the members and asked them to write their name and contact info non it.  Then, we had them turn it over and write down the name of someone they committed to invite to/back to church.  We ended up with 53 cards with 1-5 names on them!  It is so exciting!  We hope that will help us stay busy as well as finding us people who already have fellowship to go and teach.  And, it also started the members to get excited.  Even if we only have a few of those names actually do something, the members will have already caught the missionary spirit, and we can have everyone not waiting by looking for experiences to share the gospel.  It is going to be so great!

Hope you all are also catching the fire!  Remember it is a commandment for us to share the word once we have received it!  Think of a friend, and make plans as soon as you are done reading this to invite them.  If you are scared, find a returned missionary and role play (practice) inviting them a few times to help it seem less awkward. I promise you will feel amazing as you take action.  It really is the best feeling in the world to know that you are saving your friends and family.

Thanks for letting jump on my soap box there for a second! Love you all!

Elder Beckstead

I expect a report on how it goes next week in an email. :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Miracle Week

Hello everyone!

This week has been an incredible one. Truly the Lord's hand has been present in the work. There have been so many miracles that have happened, as always seems to be the case, but this week has had some very big ones that were very easy to see

First of all, Caitlyn was baptized! We were first able to make contact with her this at a Family Home Evening activity. While Elder Cooper went and talked with another investigator, I sat and talked with Caitlyn and just tried to continue to gain her trust. It must have worked because she set up another appointment to meet with us just two days later on Wednesday. That day happened to be exchanges day, and I was with a nice Elder named Elder Baier. We went over to our lesson after much prayer and discussion about what we could do to help Caitlyn feel the Spirit and have a desire to be baptized again. In the lesson, we began by talking about how the Spirit is the greatest gift that our Heavenly Father can give us in this life. We then started to discuss what had kept her from keeping her commitment to be baptized so that we could find and help her concern. She just said that a few personal things had happened in her life and that she had come under a ton of stress. She then said she still wanted to get baptized and felt like this was the month! We immediately asked her to kneel with us and pray for a date. After a wonderful prayer we just sat there and listened. We waited for almost ten minutes in silence on our knees before Caitlyn commented, "I feel the wind of flags; I think I need to be baptized this weekend!" AWESOME! We proceeded to figure it all out and prepare, as well as telling her that the last time she had her date set, the adversary threw everything he had at her. Now, he would do the same, but she was strong enough to overcome and obey God's command. It was super, super neat. She was baptized Saturday at a very nice service and confirmed just yesterday. We are so happy for her!

Next, the stake also held a special fast for missionary work and to end the drought here in the region. It truly worked, as about halfway through the fast we got a call from one of our ward mission leaders.  He informed us that Jordan had borne her testimony in Sacrament meeting and said she was getting baptized! He then set up a date with her to be baptized on the 10 August, and that is what we are planning for now.  It will be so much fun to go over to see her tomorrow and see how the lesson goes now that she has truly accepted it. Man, I love preaching the Gospel!

Finally, Tobi asked ME to confirm him a member of the church. That was something I had never done before, and it was an incredible experience. As we laid our hands upon his head, I totally forgot that I was speaking into a microphone in front of 150 people and just said what came to me.  There is a definite power that comes from the Holy Ghost. I testify that I felt it. It was so cool. It was also pretty funny because Tobi was a little intimidated by everyone in the circle giving him hugs. He didn't quite know what to do, so he just stood there. We helped him figure it out, and it was nice. He is going to be a great support to his ward. Hopefully they can keep up the good work and continue to do missionary work.

I hope all of you are taking advantage of missionary opportunities the Lord is giving you! There is no greater feeling (at least, that I have felt) than the feeling that comes from making another person's life better and happier. Not by chance, the Gospel is the best way to do that. Keep up the good work.

Love you all!

Elder Beckstead

Monday, July 1, 2013

Baptism Every Week

Hello all!  I have lots to tell you about my time out here, and I will probably forget lots of it. I hope you enjoy the details I remember to provide!
Xane being introduced to horses. Such a city boy!

First I must say that being in this area with a different companion has been interesting.  There are many things that Elder Cooper and I don't see eye to eye, and there have been a few times that have gotten me a little frustrated.  Thankfully, I am learning a ton from the experience, and growing a lot as it happens.  I love how the Lord can help strengthen us and help us become better if we let Him.

Elder Cooper, Tobi and Elder Beckstead
Yesterday we had a baptism for Tobi!  His name is actually Jose Carlos Parra Zamudio.  He goes by a name that isn't even found in his real name (I get along with him really well!). Anyway, it was a fantastic service, and both Sarah (who we met this week) and Jordan were able to attend.  The Spirit is so strong and undeniable when you see someone make the big step of baptism to come closer to Christ. I think Jordan even had some tears. YES! We are excited to see how our next meeting goes with her.

Let me tell you a little about the miracle investigator named Sarah.  We found her as we went from one family home evening activity to another.  Elder Cooper "just chose" a ward and when we arrived, Alisha (her fellowshipper) knocked on our window asking why we were there.  We responded that we were just going from ward to ward.  She told us to come meet her nonmember friend!  Alisha has been off her mission for two years, and together we have met with Sarah 3 times this week.  She is reading, praying and progressing pretty well.  Also, she is praying to know if she should be baptized on the 13!  All in all, she's great!
Elder Beckstead taking a rest on a cool chair!

This week has been really slow for finding.  We have pretty much contacted everyone on the lists of less-active members that the wards have given us so far, so we are running out of things to do.  Tracting would be interesting because every other house would be a member, and of those nonmember homes, less than half would be young single adults.  We also don't have any unbaptized lists for our wards because you have to request your records to be sent to the YSA ward for them to transfer. Pray for us to find useful stuff to do this next week.

Along with those prayers, here is a list of investigators and nonmembers that could use a prayer or ten: Caitlyn Moran, Jordan Little, Sarah Finch, Morgan Espinoza, Mina Went, Tobi Zamudio, Brooke, Jeff, James Hoang, Sarah Gouldby, Taylor Olsen, Igore Gorgeveski, Trista Riley, Thea Iverson, Emily Randquist, Troy Miller, Aubree Leyvas, Anthony, Karen Koy, and Alejandro.

Thanks all! Love you tons.

Elder Beckstead

What a Week of Tranfers :)

Hello everyone!

Holy smokes this has been a crazy week.  So many things have happened.  I guess I will just start at the beginning and try and get through it all.

Monday we had a fantastic lesson with Caitlyn.  We got everything squared away, and even had her practice with the person baptizing her and everything, we left super excited.  Then, throughout the week, things fell apart.  We got a call from her step-dad telling us she wasn't ready. Then, she didn't come to the baptismal interview on Wednesday and brought up a couple concerns.  We set up an appointment for Friday to resolve them, and she didn't come to that either.  As we called her we never got in contact with her either, and she is still off the grid as of now.  To make things eve worse, her ward and fellowshippers all went on the super activity and left her behind.  She didn't end up getting baptized, and she really needs some prayers.  She knows it is true, and wants to get baptized eventually.  We just need to meet her and help her realize you don't have to be perfect to be baptized.

Wednesday was transfer day, and it was interesting.  We packed up all our stuff and headed down to the mission home to see who our new companions would be.  Elder Steiner ended up getting transferred out to be my zone leader here in Layton.  His prayers were totally answered.  I got a new companion named Elder Cooper.  He is also the district leader for this district.  He is a very different missionary from Elder Steiner, but we get along very well together.  One interesting aspect about him that I am still getting used to is the fact he talks very little in lessons.  He just came from the Swahili branch here in Salt Lake where he used translators to teach, and had to keep things extra, super simple.  He was there for a while and is now trying to relearn how to teach "white people."  We also moved apartments to this great place the sisters used to live in.  It is way big and clean, and has everything we need, so i like it a lot.  Another set of Elders is also living with us for the time being.  Elder Bickley and Elder Rackliff.  Elder Rackliff came out the same time as me.  The address is 665N 400W #1Kaysville, UT 84037.

This week we had a ton of people cancel lessons with us (such as Caitlyn twice, Sean rescheduled twice, etc.)  so we just did a lot of contacting.  That was fun because we don't have any good maps (we even when to a map store and they didn't have one useful for us) and Elder Steiner took the GPS.  We got lost often.  Thankfully, dinner appointments were very helpful over the phone to help guide us, as were our bishops.

We did have the weirdest lesson I have had with this young lady named Jordan.  She was super nervous, and had apparently taken some red bull before hand.  That made her super off the wall, and we decided she had the attention span of a goldfish. She also giggled a lot every time it got a little quiet. We tried to teach the restoration, but also covered about half of the gospel of Christ, as well as the spirit world and resurrection of the plan of salvation.  It was weird.

Tobi is still on date for next week, although there are a few bumps to overcome.  We are praying hard to see what to do, and we could use your prayers as well.  Oh, and if you didn't get to see the broadcast Sunday, go online, watch it, then help the missionaries in your area.  We love it when the members help us, because we are able to use our time to actually help a lot.

Love you all.  Thank you for your prayers!

Elder Beckstead