Monday, September 29, 2014

Message of Miracles

Hello everyone!

Wow. Well, I don't think it is possible to describe the feelings of gratitude I feel for being able to experience this last week. It has been one of the most uplifting and inspiring experiences of my mission.  And it all began with John.
John Hutchen's Baptism

John Hutchens is a gentle giant that was found by my companion and a very green missionary (2 days out) while tracting on September 5. He opened the door, hear Elder Cowden stammer out "We're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ," and he let them in. After sitting through almost daily lessons, while taking care of his wife on hospice the entire time, he felt the Spirit, and was baptized on Sunday. He is 75 years old, and is already sharing the gospel with his family, so that now his daughter and granddaughter are investigating, and he is the most humble, quiet, powerful man I have ever met. The change that has happened in him has been incredible, going from being so scared to pray with us he would shake, to offering incredible prayers where you can feel he is talking to a close friend and Father. He didn't have a bad life before, but the increase of joy in his life is so evident. It is so sweet I start to choke up as I think of it.
Missionaries on a fun rope swing

I promise that each one of us can feel that change, just as John did. He has changed his heart, and thus he is happy. We can repent, change our hearts and desires to align them with God's, and be happy. I know this is true. I cannot say that strongly enough.

I love you all so very, very much.

Elder Beckstead

Challenge and testify

This week my mission has been changed.  It came from an incredible series of events. Our mission President came to our Zone this last week and called us to repentance. This zone has been doubting miracles, not united at all, and most of all, we have not been challenging and testifying. President Bell asked us to stop teaching and to start testifying. So, that is what my companion and I did.  And in the short space of one day, I watched and felt the change. As I stood there and pleaded with people to listen because this is so true, as I testified of light, and expressed every ounce of love I had, my testimony exploded, and the Spirit came with such incredible power, each time increasing, so that by the end of that day I could barely speak without reeling at what was said.  I was incredibly blessed to have a taste of the way God feels for his children, true charity beyond anything I have ever before imagined, and it drove deep into my heart a desire to bring everyone around my to the Celestial Kingdom.

As if that weren't enough, one of the Assistants to the President, Elder Moyle, came and stayed with my companion and I for a few days. That was incredible. He stayed and talked to us more about love. And as he did so, I realized that we as missionaries often need help too. We are out here trying to help people come unto Christ, when we are still working on it ourselves. The love he expressed for us and for each of the missionaries in the mission was incredible, and I was impressed by the way he could name off every missionary in the mission, as well as how long they had been out, where they were serving, and how much he loved them each.

All in all, it truly is all about love, and I needed these great reminders this week. If you want to have a mighty experience, do two things. First, pray for charity and love for everyone, those you do love, and those you may not like. Then, follow that up by praying with charity for someone, or many people, by name. I promise that if you do so, the Spirit will testify that what you do is right, and you will feel the love that God has for you to a much greater degree.

I truly do love you all very, very much!

Elder Beckstead

Friday, August 8, 2014

Watch the Miracles Come

Well,  another day is here and another week has passed. They are sure passing quickly!

We have had an incredible week with a family that we are teaching.  It is a family of five, with one five year old girl, a 9 year old boy, and a 10 year old girl.  They have been taught by missionaries for a long time, but past missionaries tried too hard to push them to be baptized so they are very hesitant to do anything.  However, Elder Eyre and I have spent most of our time their just listening to what is happening in their lives, and then testifying of the principles of the Gospel that will help them. The two children have decided that they want to be baptize, and the entire family has felt the Spirit so many times. The mother has cried in two of our lessons and every time we go over now, she tells us what she needs to do next, and commits to do it!  She too wants to be baptized, and only needs to be overcome her tobacco addiction to do so. 

We have also found a lot more success teaching families than I have had for most of my mission. It is incredible how much having a focus of finding families and trying to help those who will go to the temple to be sealed for eternity helps. There are several that we are teaching, and it has really helped me gain a testimony of how much living the gospel in a family truly does make a difference. One of the hardest things I have to do on a nearly daily basis is walking down the street and talking to broken families because of the poor choices made without the light and guidance of the Spirit. It definitely makes me grateful that I was raised as I was...taught the gospel from the youngest age.

I love you all, and hope that life is treating you well!

Elder Beckstead

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Always Improving

Hello Everyone!

It is always amazing to me to see the Lord's hand working all around me, even when it means that I don't get what I think I want.  Being on a mission has really helped me learn to get out of the way and trust that the Lord knows what he is doing.  Honestly, I really did not want to get transferred.  I loved Emporia as a place and especially all of the people I met there, and leaving was painfully hard. But, when I came to Lawrence, I was shocked!  I LOVE it here and there are a ton of people I am so excited to get to know.  It is crazy because to this point on my mission, one of our biggest struggles is to find people who will listen to us long enough to fell the Spirit and have an opportunity to choose to let us back or to not change.  In the ward where I am now serving, we have so many people that are willing that we are struggling to plan them all in!  That stems from the fact that the Elder who I replaced put in an amazing effort as he was on his last transfers, coupled with the fact that the Sisters who were previously serving here were removed for some unknown reason. As it stands now, there are many, many people that expect us to come and teach and help them prepare for baptism!
This is Sister Powell, and I (A truly amazing lady whose goal is to help this elder gain weight)

Along with that, my companion (Elder Cook) and I have found that as we completely trust in the Lord, we look for strengths in one another, and find many!  He is very intelligent, extremely diligent, and willing to go out and talk to everyone no matter how awkward or embarrassing it may seem.  This transfer is sure going to be an amazing one.

Isaac and Becky ( He is the investigator from England, the one with whose Aunt I lived)
Keep your eye on the Lord and trust in Him.  As you do so, you will get out of the way, and have the wonderful chance to see and be a part of the great hastening of this the Lord's work.

I love you all dearly!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Miracles

Hello everyone!

Easter is such an incredible season to participate in and share! This week has been fantastic in spreading the news of the Saviors resurrection. If you have not had the chance, I suggest you go online somewhere and look at the "Because of Him" video that the church made for Easter. Our mission made a HUGE push to get it spread as far as we possibly could, and it was a ton of fun! They even painted the windows of our car and gave us about 350 fliers to hand out in two days.  It was pretty sweet!
Happy Elder Beckstead!

Companion Elder Byrd's "favorite" bike helmet
This week was also amazing because there was a very sweet sister that the Sister missionaries in our ward have been teaching that got baptized on Sunday. It was a crazy event with planning changes and all sorts of fun stuff that happened. At first it got cancelled because of the holiday, then it was re-established for directly following church and our mission President came and participated and in the end it all worked out. Also totally crazy was they asked me to play the piano for the baptism about 10 minutes before (those poor singers!) and I was also asked to confirm her a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was such a nice Spirit and a wonderful way to celebrate Easter with her and all 40 of the ward members that stayed for the event.
Easter Bunny? No, but rabbit seen on Easter!
I hope that all of you have been able to strengthen your testimonies this season and allow the Savior to stay a major part of your lives. I love you all. 

Elder Beckstead

Monday, April 14, 2014

Different Perspective

Hello Everyone!

It has been so good to hear from you and be able to respond week by week with all the miracles and blessings we get to see! Thank you, thank you for all the emails and letters I have received.  They really do lift me up and always make me smile!
This week I had a very neat exchange experience. I had the chance to spend basically two full days with this young Elder named Elder Pututau who is only in his second month as a missionary. It was a ton of fun because he, first of all, is extremely fit, so he really pushed me physically (we were able to find out that despite the wind and hills, we still can make it across town three times for our appointments, and still have time to contact others along the way!) and on top of that, he is super excited about the work and smiles absolutely non-stop. It was so great! Thanks to the renewal I received from his faith and love toward everyone, we were able to see some pretty incredible miracles this week. I was truly able to raise my expectations for this area and for myself based off of what we were able to accomplish.  it made me think a little bit about our lives, how sometimes we get into a little bit of a rut, still working hard, but putting limitations on ourselves based off of what we have seen happen in the past. Another missionary explains it better than me, so I will paraphrase what she (Sister Porter) said.

We are instruments in the Lord's hands, not just tools. Sometimes we see ourselves as tools, like a hammer, that the Lord just uses to pound and pound, but we have much more potential than that. Like a musical instrument, we can produce many different sounds. As a violin, the Lord may use another person as an instrument to make beautiful music with us, or He may just pluck our strings to play a different sound. He can use us to make different tones, rhythms, volumes and melodies. Our potential is much beyond that of a tool, if we just allow Him to take us and believe in ourselves. The way I see it, it is often just our doubts that keep us from allowing ourselves to be an instrument rather than a tool. 

So, on Saturday, Elder Bird and I got a call from a sweet member of our ward who needed some help digging holes to put her swing set in (so it doesn't tip over or something). We hurried over and had the chance to dig five or so holes (which was actually pretty amazing because there were almost no rocks, just a bunch of roots) and the miracle came after our labor. It turns out, she also invited Becky and Isaac a young, very recently married couple, to come too. Becky is the niece of the members who provided her home for us to stay in while I was in Wichita, and Isaac is not a member. Apparently, The member I stayed with told them I was a fantastic missionary, and to watch out for me, so that I could teach Isaac the lessons. Previous to this time, he was fine to come to church, but not to hear anything, until Becky said I was the supposed fantastic missionary. Anyway, he listen to a lesson, accepted a Book of Mormon, came to church, said he wants to be married for eternity, and said he will get baptized. WOW! I think the Lord definitely knows what He is doing. 

Also, we have an investigator going to school as ESU, originally from Finland, who said he is going to get baptized too. He is going to wait until he gets back to Finland so that he can have his family come and feel the Spirit, and hopefully have their interest sparked. We are so excited for him!

Love you all!

Elder Beckstead

General Conference is Awesome!

Hellooooo Everyone! 

I hope you all had as wonderful an experience as I did at conference this last week! There were some amazing talks that I needed to hear, some fantastic ones for those we are teachings, and as always, the Spirit taught each person with direct guidance even when the speakers were on a different topic. Boy I sure loved it. The only regret I have is that more people didn't get the chance to see it!  We will be doing our best to remedy that.

Boy, people sure can be funny sometimes. It can be so frustrating to see someone's potential and watch them miss out on a great blessing. This week was great for meeting and teaching people, but every single one of them missed out because they didn't come to conference, didn't read their scriptures, and or didn't pray. Sometimes I just want to grab people by their shirt pockets and bring them within an inch of my face to tell them that I just want them to be happy, and learn how to live happier, and help their family friends neighbors and everyone else they meet be happy! They just don't seem to get it otherwise. It is such an amazing feeling to be able to go into a home, bless it with the Spirit, see a visible relaxing and calming presence come over people and know they are feeling joy in their lives for the first time in who knows how long. At the same time, it is so hard to come back three days later and find the same people not progressing because they don't understand how important being a vessel for the Spirit is. How I wish people could just see the changes I see and feel it so that they no longer slump back into bad habits and old laziness. This Gospel can truly change people, but only if they let it.
This is a outdoor picture of a deer - for my dad
It reminds me of a story I love from Preach My Gospel somewhere. It says that missionaries can only bring information to peoples' minds, but the Spirit can bring it to peoples' hearts. What they learn from us can, and likely will, be forgotten. However, if they allow the Spirit into their hearts, exercising their agency to actually open the doors to their hearts and invite in the Spirit waiting just outside, they can never forget. I have not yet met a member, no matter how less active, who joined the church for the right reasons, not for a girl or other reason, but truly because they learned it was true, who had forgotten the feelings in their hearts. Do each of us have such a feeling? I know I certainly do. I am a convert to the church, though I was born into family active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I have begun my conversion through the Spirit and the witness it has born, of the feelings it has allowed me to experience as I have invited it into my heart, and I hope to continue to build my conversion throughout my life. If any of you have experienced the same, I invite you to recall those feelings and allow them to fill you with warmth and joy. If you have not as of yet experienced the beginnings of conversion, I invite you to act. The Lord loves each of us and wants us to feel joy. If you do not know this, read the scriptures, listen to conference, and most of all pray. You will feel it.  I promise.

I love you all very much!

Elder Beckstead

Loving Little Emporia!

Hello everyone!

This week has sure been a great one!  We were on bikes all week, but Emporia is small enough, that we can travel from one end of town to the other in about half an hour, if we want to.  It has been a lot of fun for me to get back on a bike, and thankfully, the weather has been cooperating enough to let us travel safely.  

So this week, we found this amazing new investigator named Kenny. Actually, the Sisters ran into him first, and in the lesson they had with him, he told them he has been wanting to get baptized like Jesus Christ for a while, but he doesn't know where or how to do it. Thankfully, missionaries know these things! He ended up coming to church and really loving it, as well as building a ton of friendships with other people in the ward. He is super excited to continue learning too. It really is a testimony to me that the Lord is preparing people, and as we keep our eyes open, we might be able to help them.

This week, one of our member's homes almost burned down; some neighbor kids lit a fire in her yard and it got a little bit out of control, and on top of that the fire department was out taking car of some brush fires out of town. Thankfully her other neighbor got a hose and they were barely able to put it out before it reached the home. Nonetheless, she still couldn't sleep because he back yard had a ton of dried up leaves and branches and so forth, bad enough that it would have been far out of control had the neighbor boys started it in the back yard rather than the front. So, she requested our help to clean it up. It was an incredible experience to see and feel her stress melt as we took out almost 25 bags of leaves, and a giant pile of branches. That is one of the best parts about serving a mission: seeing people become happier as you serve teach and otherwise help them.  

On that note, we were teaching this part member family and offered to help the nonmember husband with the siding on his house. He asked us what the catch was. If we helped him, what did we want in return? We told him all we wanted was a smile, and that would be reward enough for us, and he was a little bit incredulous. He actually asked us, "No, really, will you make me come to church, or read, or pray?" We told him we would love for him to do those too, because they would help him, but they weren't necessary for our service. He agreed to let us help. Love it!

I know that as you forget yourself and help others in any way, even just smiling at people during the day, your worries will become less, and your stress will decrease, and you will be happier. I know that the Savior set the example for is in living a life full of service. I know we can feel of His love as we accept what He has done for us and not only let it change us, but help other to access it as well.

I love you all very, very much!
Elder Beckstead

Transfer to Emporia

Hello Everyone!  

So, my new area here in Emporia is amazing. It has such a neat history and feel here and I absolutely love it. Emporia is a little town of about 11,000 people. It has a university, Emporia State and a little tech college as well, and it is so cool. Some interesting facts about it include the fact that it is the city that founded Veterans Day, it houses the teacher's hall of fame, and it has been voted the best tasting water in the country (though I can't really tell that big a difference). It is still a small enough town that almost everyone will talk to us and smile back to us and wave as they drive by, yet it is big enough to keep us busy for a while. I love it!

My new companion Elder Bird is quite a neat little fellow. He is super excited to work really hard with me and be exactly obedient. He is from Arizona and is way fun. We have already had the chance to see that we work very well together; we teach well, contact well, and just have a good old time together. This transfer is really going to be a blast. 

We are working with a few great people in this area, although our major goal is now to find. The ward is very excited to have both Elders and Sisters here and we are completely ready to work with them to invite a ton of new people to learn how happy this gospel can help them be.

I love you all so much! I want you to know our Savior has His hands in all things. There is nothing that happens that he doesn't know about and there is nothing that happens that He can't use to help you learn and grow. If we are able to learn and then accept His will completely in our lives, we will be so much better off. I am working on that and it will take me a lifetime, but with His help, it is possible. I so testify in His sacred name, even Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Beckstead

Monday, March 17, 2014

Speaking Spanish and An Apostle's Witness

Well hello everyone!

Wichita has sure had a power packed time this weekend. We seemed to have a ton of stuff going on, highlighted by a visit from Elder Bednar. Maybe it is just this area here, but things have kicked into high gear and miracles are abounding. Every day is sure a great day to be a member of this, the Lord's church, and even better being a missionary!

So I will try and lay it out to you in fairly chronological order. The first major miracle happened on Wednesday. We had the chance to go and serve at Deseret rehab center, which is based out of Utah. It is basically a place where nice old folks go to recover from nasty stuff that happens to them, such as surgery or other things. Anyway, there was this very nice old man whose name was Ramon Julio Paz, who speak nothing in English other than "me no speaky ingles." All the other (5) missionaries tried to go and talk to him, but spoke no Spanish, so after finishing my conversation with another old lady, I got to try!  The Lord truly blesses those of us who go and act trusting in him. It was so cool because I was able to learn a ton about him, as well as really help him be a little happier. Sadly, he told me that no one else in the complex spoke Spanish, so he was very happy to be able to communicate with someone again. It was truly a testimony of the Lord's work as I only barely understood maybe a fourth of what he said, yet he was able to feel the Spirit with me and smile.

Friday was amazing. Elder Bednar came and gave a training to our mission. It was amazing to see a very different side of the Apostle I have grown to love. He was so personable and happy with us, helping us laugh and telling us some personal stories he asked us not to pass on. It was truly amazing to hear him expound on doctrine and give wonderful answers to our questions. The major concepts that he drove home to me were: 1. We are agents, sent here to act, not to be acted upon; therefore we should act as agents in all we do, in prayers, studies, thoughts, and deeds, and, we should treat all other people as agents as well, in our teaching questions and other interactions with them. 2. I learned that faith is action. We already know 99% of what we need to do, and now it is up to us to act and exhibit our faith. It is not faith if we believe in something but to not act (as agents!). And, only after the action of faith on our belief will the power and miracles come into our lives. I must also say that after his testimony, the Spirit of the Lord was there in an incredible way. I truly do love this work and the feelings happiness and joy it brings to everyone!

Sunday was also pretty awesome because a part-member family came to church for the first time since they have been in this ward. Even better was that our ward rushed over to meet them and become their friends. Boy, I wish you all could have seen the smiles on their faces! 

I know that this is the Lord's work! I know thanks to a personal witness from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. I witness that He loves all of us, and commands us to do what is right for our benefit. I know, without a doubt, that happiness comes as we live the Gospel. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ.

I love you all very much!

Elder Beckstead

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Miracles Exist, I Promise!

Hello Everyone!

Miracles do happen on a daily basis, and sometimes, we are blessed to see some pretty big ones all occur at the same time. That is what happened this week for me. It has been great!

First of all, my District Leader took me out in my area on exchanges, and we were able to talk to a ton of people! He loves to talk, a lot, so we were able to find more potentials tracting than we have in a while, despite the fact that it was a lot colder than either of us was expecting and it was pretty miserable. It was great! And truly, there is nothing that keeps you warmer than feeling and sharing the Spirit with others.

Then, we had interviews this week! That was a blast. President Bell is a miracle worker, and through his inspired training and advice, both Elder Lott and I are so pumped to go out and try some new things to catch this area on fire!

We were able to try one of those new things by going to downtown Wichita and chalking up the main town square with all sorts of Mormon art. We had probably 8 missionaries, and another 20 members all drawing things form scriptures to the plan of salvation to the first vision, to baptism. It was sweet! And, we were able to do it during the monthly art program, so there were lots of people there looking to see new types of art going. It was pretty awesome. Plus the Lord guiding my hand to do the best chalk art I've ever done (see the attached pictures).

We followed that up by having a general authority come and train us. Elder Martino from the second quorum of the seventy made it to our mission and he gave some great training on finding new investigators and working with the members to invite people to com unto Christ. He was so great, that I got about ten pages of notes (and if you remember my notes, I can fit quite a bit to a page)!

Finally, yesterday was probably one of the best days for having fun on my mission. It snowed a little bit down on us, and the temperature plummeted, so much so that we only had sacrament meeting at church. With an inch or two of snow that collected into drifts on people's driveways, sometimes getting two feet deep, and wind that was gusting about and blowing loose ice crystals into our face, we went to work. We were able to take out a young man whose family was out of town and go clean off 6 driveways for members who couldn't do it themselves, and less-active members. At 7:00 or so, in the dark, we were home but decided to go and do at least one more walk before turning in for dinner. After shoveling his walks, Jose ended up letting us into meet his family and letting us teach him the first lesson. We found out later that it was seven degrees outside as we were doing this, -18 degrees with the wind chill, and we totally thought it was worth it 100%. 

Miracles do happen. Look for them. Watch the Lord guide your life and use you to touch other people. You will be able to find so much joy as you do so, and it will allow the Savior to use you even more than He could otherwise. I know Jesus Christ lives, and I know that He loves each one of you no matter what. I know that He will help you if you just let Him. 

I love you all!

Elder Beckstead

Monday, February 24, 2014

Rely on the Atonement

Hello Everyone!
Well, another great week has passed here in the great city of Wichita. We have seen some pretty amazing things happen, and we have been really blessed though it has been pretty tough.
This week, we had a great meeting with Maxine to transition to the Sisters in our ward doing the primary teaching. It was really cool because she just accepted them right in starting talking to them forever. She is such a grandmother, and totally will take care of any of us missionaries who go over to visit her.
One other thing we were able to do this week was find out how quickly we can walk through slush, while wearing boots. The weather totally warmed up and all the snow that we got last week melted into slush and water everywhere. On Thursday, we were out walking and realized we only had an hour to make it 4 or five miles back to the apartment for our ride. So, we started back, and thanks to my parents, my long strides got us back (Elder Lott jogged a little too) Plus, we even had a little bit of extra time to talk to some people we met on the way! The Lord provides constant miracles!
Love you all!  If you can find the time, about an hour os so, I would like you all to watch two vidoes (found wither on BYUTV, or Youtube or something; I'm not sure exactly where)  hey are: "His grace is Suficient" by Brad Wilcox (45 min.), and Missionary work and the atonement (15 min.)  The second one is amazing, and has made me cry both times our misison President has shown it to us.  I really recommend it.  I know that our Savior lives, and that He helps us every day, if we let Him.  I know that true, lasting hapiness comes from becoming more like Him by living His gospel.  I love Him, I love His gospel, and I love this work.  And, I love you all, very, very much!
Elder Beckstead

Monday, February 17, 2014

Let it Snow, New Companion and Weekly Miracle

Hello everyone! 
This week has been an adventure! We were transferred midst receiving a good nine inches of snow, followed up by another few inches later this week. The snow sure made it fin to get around! Thankfully, I have some Utah experience under my belt, and that helped us arrive safely at our destination at all times. On that we, we were always blessed with drivers around us who knew what they were doing enough to not get in an accident with us too.
My new companion Elder Lott, is pretty funny. He just came in from Guyman, Oklahoma where he was covering the whole panhandle, and loving it. It was sure funny to see his eyes get all big when we went to church and there was a full chapel and overflow (normal for our ward) as opposed to the branch of 30 he was used to. We are still trying to figure one another out for sure, but we know that this next transfer is going to be great!
We had a major miracle this weekend in that Sister Scott, one of the less-active ladies we are working with, signed up to feed us dinner. She has told us that we are literally and answer to prayers in our timing of knocking on her door and in helping her find fellowship and come back to church. Anyway, her son who has been disinterested thus far sat in on the entire lesson, and asked questions and totally got involved. He didn't make it to church this week, but he is really coming out of his shell. Not only did we get a meal, but we were working to save some souls. It was great!
It has been a while since I have sent a list of people to pray for, so here is a new updated list:
Lt. Parson, Sister Scott, Brother Hull, Maxene, Stacie, Heather, the Larson family, Treeva, Katie, Mike and Christy, Sis Koppa, Bro Van Dusen, the Sheppards, and Deanna and Jeff. Thanks a ton!
Love you all so much! I know that our Savior lives and that He can and will give us the energy, knowledge and power to do whatever we need to. I know that if we focus not on what we want, but rather on what He wants, we will be so much happier. 
You are all amazing!
Elder Beckstead

Monday, February 10, 2014

Heartland Facts, Frozen Feet & Reactivation!

So this week has been one with lots of learning experiences filled with new facts and all sorts of stuff that has been just fun. First of all, Kansas turned 183 this week, as the 34th state in the United States. I also learned that the geographical center of the United States is in Kansas...but about 2 miles outside of my mission boundary. Guess I'll have to hit that attraction in a few years or so. We learned that biking after a major freezing rain storm is nie unto impossible, but if you do it right, you can freeze your shoes to certain porches while tracting. That will sure give you the motivation to have a good conversation, or wait for them to shut the door on you so you don't have to look like a fool chiseling your feet off the ground!

There is this super sweet less-active lady that we have been meeting with that came to church with us this week. Her story is truly amazing! She first joined the church after going on a tour to Salt Lake City and temple square. While there, she felt the Spirit, so when she got home, she bought herself a Book of Mormon, and read all the way through it. She read the promise in Moroni, applied it and prayed, and found it to be true, before trying to figure out what church used the book. Eventually, after some searching she was able to meet with the missionaries. Over time, she moved several times, and her records did not always move with her. When she came into our area, she had been less-active for years. She was praying one day that she should be told what church to go to, and a few minutes later we knocked on her door! She has accepted everything again, and is forming friendships with the members, and now she wants to go through the temple and receive of the blessings that are given there. It is AMAZING! She is sooo cool.

I know that just like Sister Scott (the wonderful lady mentioned above)  people are being prepared for each of us. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of faith and action. The Lord has commanded that we share the Gospel and help others be happy, and so we need to believe he can and will use us to do so. It is amazing to see the difference out knocking doors when I am just doing it because I am in an area with nothing else to do, or if I really want to help someone and have the faith that by tracting, I will be able to find them. The latter is immensely more successful! Have faith in any and every aspect of your lives, and miracles really will come. I promise you that.

Love you all!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Week in Wichita

Hello everyone!

It can be truly crazy how much work we can do here in Kansas. We have been able to talk to a TON of people, and sadly, so many of them reject the truth that can help them so much! I have sure learned that keeping a positive attitude is definitely key in any work, but especially missionary work.  I know that if you let yourself get discouraged and down, you will not be as successful because you will not give as much as you could have.

To me, being successful does not mean you have ton of numbers or that you have outward results, but that you can talk to the Lord and tell him that you have tried. The more honestly you can say you have given your all, the more successful you have been. The Lord uses these times to help us to grow to, and as we stretch ourselves to try and reach goals and work as hard as we can, He will be able to lift us and make it so that next time we can do even better. It is like working out. If at first, you can only lift a 20lb weight six times, but you do all you can, and get that weight up six times, several days in a row, you will soon be able to lift it 8, then 10 times, or you will be able to lift a 25lb weight six times.  The same is true for other kinds of work. If you feel super nervous to talk to someone in the grocery story next to you, but you still do it every time you can, it will soon become much more natural and easy for you.

I think that all of us should take the advice of President Uchtdorf and choose now to plant our trees. The month of January is almost over, so evaluate your new years resolutions, see what you can do to be a little more successful, and get going again. If you aren't yet perfect, don't worry about it. Worry about one thing you can do better, one thing you can change, and start there.

I love you all!
Elder Beckstead

Spirit is Guiding

Hello Everyone!

I want to take this email to testify that the Lord is truly guiding this work. Really. I promise. We have had more experiences this week that have shown that we need to rely on the Spirit than I can remember, including failures and successes.

One such experience occured last Tuesday. We attmepted to go to a lesson with this sweet lady, who just happened not to be home that morning. Elder Schaffer and I had obtained a ride from a young man who is preparing to serve his mission, and we knew we needed to help him have a wonderful opportunity to keep him exctied. That was in the Lord's plan as well, and we all felt inspired to go knocking on a door two homes down. We ended up running into a fellow named Lt. Parson. He let us in, heard out the first lesson, and committed to baptism. It was not the first time we had knocked on his door, but it was the right time. Although we went out planning to teach someone specific, and had a lesson prepared just for her, the Lord used the opportunity to bring us into the life of someone who needed to hear what we have.

Another experience we had this week was very humbling. We have been asked by our ward to teach a Sunday School class on how to do member missionary work. We have been planning our lesson for a while, but we didn't role play very much, and we went in with false confidence. This time, the Lord allowed us to flop. It wasn't awful, but both of us felt terrible after the lesson, and very discouraged. We had to go home after church and plead for forgiveness for teaching what we wanted to teach, not what the Lord needed us to teach and what our friends in the ward needed to hear. We then proceeded to be taught exactly what it was we are supposed to do next time, guided by the Spirit in an incredible planning experience.

I promise that each of you can be guided by the Spirit in all aspects of your life as well. Remember that every thing that persuades us to do good comes from Christ (see Ether 4:12 and Moroni 7:13). Use the Spirit of the Lord to guide your daily actions and you cannot fail. Trust in the workings of the Lord and you will always be able to fell joy.  Love the Lord thy god with all your heart and it will grow, so that you will be able to love all of thy neighbors, and so that you will have a desire to only do that which is the will of God.

I love you all!

Elder Beckstead

Love the Season

Hello Everyone!

This week has most definitely been one filled with thanks and with miracles. The wonderful season of Thanksgiving and remembrance of our Savior has shown as people are so kind. It is truly amazing to see how the Spirit is working its way to so many people through so many of us who are spreading the wonderful news of the Gospel.

We had a great experience on Tuesday when I was on exchanges with a great Elder named Elder Kartchner. We didn't have the car, so we were walking outside when it was about 30 degrees, with a good 15mph wind. Poor Elder Kartchner is from Arizona, so he was really feeling the cold, so, we stopped at a gas station so he could get some hot cocoa to help warm himself. We were the only ones there, except for a cashier who started to ask some questions. It was great, because we were able to talk and teach her right there in the station for a good half an hour, and get her information to send the Elders covering her area over. It was pretty awesome to see how the Lord guided us so that we could talk to her.

Another miracle was that on Friday, we were trying to contact this part-member family that has been nice, but pretty cold to missionaries in the past. They were home, and let us in, but were pretty quiet and it almost seemed like they didn't really want us there. As we tried to engage them in conversation, we got onto the topic of Christmas, and John, the father, joked that I could help them put lights on their tree because I was tall. We of course jumped on the opportunity to serve, and although they were surprised that we took it literally, they let us help! We were able to get it about half done (the bottom half of the tree) when they ran out of lights. While they were searching for more, Elder Chun and I played Christmas songs on their piano and sang to them. By singing and serving, they really opened up to us, and by the time we had to leave, we were joking and laughing and feeling the Spirit in an amazing way. They invited us to come back next week to see their finished tree and sing some more carols with them, followed by a lesson. It was amazing!

Well, even as we are using this wonderful season to spread the wonderful Gospel of Jesus Christ, you too can do the same. Remember our Savior in this wonderful time and strive to give him the best gift you can. And, where possible, do what you can to help one of our Brothers or Sisters to come into His fold and feel of his love!

We love you all so much!

Elder Beckstead

Dropping Temperatures and How Much Time?

Hello Everyone!

What do you do when the temperature drops and all your appointments cancel? You watch for the Lord to provide miracles! That is exactly what has happened this week, and the Lord sure knows exactly what we need, especially when we don't!

First of all, the temperature plummeted to single digits most of the week here. The little pond outside our home now has about four inches of ice, and of course, it was our turn to walk or to bike (no car!). So, trusting in the Lord to help us to work anyway, we watched the miracles come. Elder Chun found the clothing he used in idaho while he was at BYUI, and I got some perfectly times packages: a knitted wonderful scarf from Taylor and Brooke, and a package of warm sweaters to wear under my coats. I was comfy and cozy all week long! It was awesome!

With the drop in the temperature, we also watched our scheduled appointments drop off. Thankfully, we didn't give up on them and instead we were able to teach while serving, which is even better! Maxine let us rake her leaves and put up her Christmas tree (we started putting the lights on the top this time), and lots of people let us sing carols to them. It was awesome!

This week our President also sent out a very thought provoking message. He said, in a voice message sent out to the entire mission, "The length of service has been changed from 2 years to 18 months for Elders, and from 18 months to 1 year for Sisters. Hold on to your faith." It was not true, but he used it to make us think. We will still be serving for two years, but I think for us, those two years will be so much more precious.  If the Lord gave you a time and told you that you had to accomplish everything by then, what would you think?  What would you do? If the Lord told you you were going home to Him on January first, what would you accomplish between now and then? Would there be anything in your life you would change? Anyone you would want to help? That is the mentality our inspired President helped us gain. Every moment here on Earth is so precious, whether we are a full-time missionary, a loved father or mother, or a cherished friend.

I love you all so much! Take care of yourselves, and remember the Savior in this wonderful season!

Elder Beckstead