Saturday, September 28, 2013

Monday Already?

Hey everyone!

This week really flew by.  It does not seem fair that it is already time for me to be emailing again...It surely hasn't been a week yet! I guess maybe it has, but boy it doesn't seem like it has been.

This week involved biking a TON, finding  some amazing new people to teach, and having people come to church!  Hooray!  First of all, we are about three to four miles away from our area, which is not that bad, except there is a nice hill in the way.  I actually found out from one of the members that in our area is the highest point in Kansas.  Go figure.  Plus there always seems to be a headwind, no matter which direction we are riding.  Thankfully, the Lord is sure helping me get back into shape after my nice stay in the cozy Salt Lake area!

One of the new investigators we are now teaching is a football player at Kansas State.  We have been teaching his fiance for a few weeks, but with the football season currently ongoing, we never caught him, until Thursday night.  His name is Torell Miller, number 88.  He was very interested in what we had to say, and when we started talking about the Book of Mormon, he asked if he could buy a copy!  He then committed to read it on the plane rides to his football games.  How cool is that!  We are super excited because Jackie and he are both super prepared to hear the gospel.  They are just so awesome!

Another highlight this week was the good amount of prosball we were able to play (prosball is playing sports of some sort in our proselyting clothes).  First, we got invited to play basketball by this gentlemen over near one of our recent converts.  We talked as we played, and found out he was an infantryman in the army with a member in his group.  The member told him that missionaries played ball a lot, so to find us, he should start playing more often.  Guess it works!  He is super nice and really interested in family history, which is an aspect of teaching and finding that we are trying to use more.  We also ended up playing football with a recent convert family here who is already starting to go less active.  It is so much easier for us to get into their home after bonding with the children and helping them see that we are just real people.  The Lord has certainly blessed us with all these situations.

I can't believe it, but transfers are now only a week away.  Have I really been in Kansas that long?  What do you think?

Thanks again for all your prayers.  We really have been feeling them.  Here is another list of those that could really use them:  Torell, Jackie, Nicole, Sehna Family, Miner Family, Marcell, Linda, Jeanette, Vu family, Macneil Family, Bro. Griffee, Lizz, Koirala Family, David, and Sarah.

Thank you all!  You are the best!

Elder Beckstead

Friday, September 20, 2013

Wild Weather and Jeffrey's Testimony

Hello Everyone!

I want to start by telling you I love you all and I hope that you are all doing great! I really appreciate all the emails I have been receiving as of late. It has been amazing!

Alright, so this week has been just down straight awesome. I can't even explain how amazing it is to be a missionary. Every time I try to put it into words, I just can't find words great enough to show the joy and, well, incredible feelings that come. It is the most fantastic part of my life thus far, and I am so glad to be here. For all of you who have already had the chance to serve the Lord as I am, whether through a mission, marriage, or church service, fully applying yourself to be the Lord's hands, remember the feelings that you have about it and praise God for it.  For all of you who are yet preparing to serve, look forward with excitement for it, and expect it to be beyond description. It is hard, harder than anything I have ever done. But every second is absolutely worth it.

The weather here has been pretty neat for me. I got to experience a few new things here, such as an electrical storm that seemed like a strobe light outside the window, as well as seeing a ton of lightening but hearing almost no thunder. Also, we had a pretty torrential (by normal Utah standards) downpour followed by a light misting type rain that is just annoying. Thankfully, things have cooled off a lot. I am so very grateful for that!

I must end this email with an incredible story that has cemented itself in my heart. On Wednesday, we had a zone training thing, and other meetings that took up most of the day, frustrating my companion and me as it overruled our plans. It was awesome to learn how we could be better missionaries and receive the revelation and guidance from the Lord through our Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders, but we had only the evening to try and put them into practice. The Lord blessed us for our desires to work with a young boy named Jeffrey. He is 6 years old and is  a part of an active family we had dinner with. Our mission is teaching the lessons to our members to build their confidence in us, as well as help them know what a lesson will look like with their friends, and also help them know how they too can do missionary work.  As we were over teaching Jeffrey's family, he was all over the place, as a six year old is prone to do. We tried to involve him, but we only had limited success. Sudden;y at the end of our lesson, Jeffrey got into a chair, listened to our testimonies of the Book of Mormon and Restoration of the Gospel attentively, and then bore a powerful testimony of his own.  For part of his testimony he shared his favorite story from the Book of Mormon: The Brother of Jared seeing the Lord.  He went into great detail, telling us how many stones there were, as well as exactly how many days it took the Jaradites to cross the ocean, then he finished with the words, "I know it is true, and I want to help others know it is true too, as a missionary like you."  Wow!  I had watery eyes, as did everyone else in the room. It was definitely one of the strongest witnesses I have have heard and felt of the Book of Mormon, ranking right up there with Elder Holland in General Conference. And to know that he looked up to Elder Eyre and me as the missionaries he wanted to be gave me the determination to never ever let him down, and be the very best example possible for this future powerful missionary.

I love you all!  keep your spirits high as you are always trusting in the Lord!

Elder Beckstead

3 Weeks in Kansas - Tasting Prison Food :)

Hi Everyone!

Boy, oh boy! I can't believe I have already been here in Kansas for Three weeks!  Time is flying by; it is so unfair!  At least I am doing what I can to enjoy it while I am here.

This week has been incredible, and we had a ton of miracles surface.  This week Elder Eyre and I were on bikes or on foot all week, and we had a ton of success while doing it.  It was great.  Some of the highlights include having a member go out with us, chalking up a sidewalk, and finding some new investigators.  Plus, I found out the prison food here tastes great!

We didn't have a lot of dinners planned this week. The ward is just having a little bit of trouble adjusting to the fact that they now have four young hungry teenagers to feed instead of two.  However, as we have done our best to work anyway, the Lord has provided.  On both Wednesday and Thursday, we didn't have dinners planned, but we worked to contact less active members and active members along with potentials and referrals in the areas we were working.  On Wednesday, an active family ended up inviting us in and telling us they had made way too much food, and gave the rest to us!  Thursday, a potential investigator just miraculously started making us sandwiches as we were talking to him.  The Lord sure does have his hand in everything!

Thursday night we also had an amazing member, Brother Vu, go out and teach with us.  We had a lesson planned, but it fell through, so we fell back onto "inspired tracting" which is basically knock on every door that you, or the member with you, gets prompted to knock.  We ended up having more success that way than with any other tracting I have done.  We also got to visit a recent convert here named Nicole who has been struggling.  It was really neat to see the Spirit fill her home when we were there, and see how happy she was to see us and tell us her favorite scripture (Alma 41:10, followed by Alma 32, and Moroni 9).

Friday night, we ate with a soon to be member who was in prison for five years.  He made us fried burritos (basically chimichungas) and prison cake (only two ingredients: oreos and carbonated soda).  It was really fattening, but at least I know what they eat in prison here. We did have a great time hearing his conversion story and how he has really had a mighty change of heart.  He is probably one of our favorite members here.
Elder Pack's birthday
Elder Pack's birthday decorations
Saturday was Elder Pack's birthday (he is one of my Zone Leaders, and also is one of my roommates).  He had about three cakes delivered, and about three dozen cupcakes given him by various sources.  It was so funny because he is a bit of a health guru and was trying to re-gift them all to me!  It didn't entirely work.  We did celebrate his birthday by trying a new finding activity: chalking up the institute sidewalk.  It was a ton of fun to put down references, golden questions, and so forth.  There wasn't as much traffic as we were hoping for that evening, but we know the chalk will stay there a while and get people thinking for days to come.

Chalking the sidewalk at the Institute
Sunday was awesome!  Mukund and his daughter Mitrie (spelling that one how it sounds to me) came to church, and loved it!  We didn't have any plans for lessons, be the night before we put down a list of people to try and contact.  One of them was a non-member referral, and we were told she was super busy and might only be available on Mondays; the Spirit prompted us to put her down anyway.  We then followed our plans and were able to talk to almost everyone of them, and set up return appointments with all but one that we talked to!  And, this lady who was supposedly only available on Mondays had received a schedule change for Sundays off, and that was the only time we would have caught her.  Wow!  She also knows a recent convert that lives in her same building complex!  The Lord sure knows what is going on with his children, and is preparing them to be taught the gospel.

I realized I have been neglecting a list of those who could use prayers, so here is a pretty nice list for you.  The Miners (especially Landon), Sister Mallett, Linda, Jackie and Trinity, Germaine Miller, the Mainvilles, Marcell, the Griffees, the Koiralas, Mike and Brandy, Amber and Bryant, Sister Rodriguez, Jesse and Jessica, the Siegs, the Mondays, and the Killens.

I love you all tons! Keep being amazing!

Elder Beckstead

Friday, September 6, 2013

Birthday, Housing Challenges & Blessings for Working Hard

Hello Everyone!

So, where to start!  This week has been one of the most interesting that I have had in the mission field, for sure.  First of all, this week looks horrible number wise, but it has been pretty amazing and filled with the Spirit otherwise.  Although we drew blanks in a bunch of our key indicator categories, we set up this next week to be super good and make up for a little bit.  It is so great!

Some of the highlights that have been a part of this crazy week were the fact that we have been having a bit of a housing crisis, we started teaching this incredible family from Nepal, and when we were completely out of things to do and people to see, the Lord provided miracles.  A birthday was in there somewhere too.
Happy 19th Birthday!
Regarding housing: the Sisters got kicked out of the place they were living because the family had a bit of a crisis. This resulted in Elder Eyre and I getting booted out of our apartment and going to live with the Zone Leaders, who happen to also be covering our ward with us.  This happened on Wednesday; we got mattresses on Thursday, and by Sunday we had full beds. On top of that, every Wednesday another set of Elders came to sleep over for a meeting, so we had a crammed home with everyone on the floor our first night.

Makund and Devi are the Nepali couple we are teaching.  We picked them up on Wednesday and talked to them Saturday too.  They have been taught by other Elders for months, and really are amazing.  They have already come to church for about 4 months, although they didn't come much during the summer. They already have testimonies, and know it is true, and the only thing keeping them from being baptized is that they plan on going back to Nepal, and they don't want to have to be made fun of because they aren't Hindu (it would be hard for them, like their families disowning them and their friends shunning them).  We are working on figuring out how we can help them have courage to trust in the Lord and keep all of his commandments.
Kansas State Fans? Maybe this will help so no more sandwiches are thrown :)
Several times this week we really ran out of stuff to do, and the Lord provided for us because we were trying.  Once. we were completely stumped on what to do next, so we said a prayer and Elder Eyre had the idea for us to go and visit all the hispanic potentials the other Elders gave us.  None of them were home, but outside of the door of one of their homes we ran into Brother Miller, a man who had been investigating in a different city and had moved here, losing contact with the church.  We were able to refer him to some missionaries covering his ward.  It was so cool!
See the bunnies?
I must also give a huge thanks for all the letters, gifts, and emails given to me for my birthday.  You guys are all great!  I love you so much!  

Keep up the good work and watch miracles flow according to your faith,

Elder Beckstead

Made It to Kansas - Mayonnaise Miracle

Hello Everyone!

WOW! I have finally made it out here and it is INCREDIBLE!  Since the last time I had the chance to email (which was almost two weeks ago, I think) so much has happened, and so many memories have been made.  I just don't even know where to start, and I guarantee I will miss many of the miracles due to a complete lack of time I have to email.
MTC District - Elder Beckstead District Leader

I guess I should finish off my MTC experience first.  It was great to be able to be there and see a new district come and, and have all of my district be the experienced ones.  We were able to learn even more as we ushered in the new ones and I think it really helped solidify what we were learning. One of the Elders going to India didn't get his visa, and was reassigned to the Idaho Twin Falls Mission.  It was really cool to be able to testify to him that it really didn't matter where he served because if you are doing it right, you will fall in love with the people and never want to leave.  That really helped our district rally together even more to support him.  Then we left!  Early (like 2:30) Tuesday morning we were shipped up to the airport and flew in to Minnesota (someone tell Joe!) then down to Wichita.  Our second plane was probably 60% missionaries because there were so many of us and it was so small.
Wonderful members welcomed us to Kansas

Largest "mountain" in Kansas :)
Kansas., wonderful Kansas!  My first impression has been that it is a bit more humid than I am used to, and a lot more hilly than I was expecting.  After the interviews meetings and stuff, they shipped me up to Manhattan with Elder Eyre (pronounced air) to work.  That is where K-State is located, just so you know.  Anyway, there is one of the biggest hills in all of Kansas right between me and my area.   Also, we live in an apartment right across the street from campus, right next to a fraternity house, for now at least.  That is irrelevant but interesting fact of the day that will become important later.  My area is amazing though, and Elder Eyre is a complete Boss.  We are going to get along amazing and really tear it up as best we can out here.
Kansas State University
Now to the miracles out in the field.  First, on Saturday we were riding our bikes to our area to go and contact some former investigators.  Our route takes us down a road with campus on one side and aggieville (all the bars and such) on the other side. As we were riding down the street, someone threw a turkey sandwich at us, and nailed me in the face.  The miracle is that the Lord made sure I was out of contact solution so I was wearing glasses.  This means that all the mayonnaise from the sandwich splattered over my face and glasses, but didn't get into my eye.  It is a good thing I am working for the One who knows everything and will protect me.
Elder Beckstead & Elder Eyre
Second, we had an appointment set up with this super sweet young potential investigator yesterday, but when we knocked on her door, there was no answer.  On our route on the way over, we had seen the other person we had planned for our backup loading his car with his laundry, so we didn't know where to go.  We counseled on the doorstep for about five minutes before starting to walk away.  Just then, Jackie answered the door!  We ended up having an amazing lesson with her and  she is now planning on being baptized!  It is amazing to see how the Lord's hand is guiding each and every minute.

Love you all!  Keep working hard and trusting in the Lord!

Elder  Beckstead