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