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