Monday, December 30, 2013

Being in Africa is great and all but the gospel is much better!

Hello! Christmas was really good, mostly because I got to talk to you. I wish it could have been longer, it seemed like it was 20 minutes. After I hung up I kept wanting to call you back! I know I sound different, I can't really speak like I used too and it has gotten worse since I have been with Elder Flament, because he speaks with an English accent. Wow, how was your Christmas breakfast, and what did you eat? Wow, your Christmas seems so exciting, we did not do much, we just sat around all day and called our parents and stuff.  Although we did have a sweet dinner with some nice chicken. All the stuff you sent was great!  The Nerf guns never get old. At night and in the mornings before we go out we have intense Nerf. 

Did grandpa get the letter that I sent him? I hope so. Maybe you can give me his email address! Wow, you guys really had a good time going to Mexico. I could use a taco right about now!

I haven't been too home sick this Christmas season because we have been working really hard through it. Although, I miss all the lights and tree business, but I had one of the most enjoyable Christmas' in a while so it was nice. Our area is booming right now, we have found really prepared people in this transfer.  This week 3 people will be baptized. One is Musa, he is really sweet and we are trying to teach everyone that lives in his house. There is even a less active in that house  that wants to come back but we just need to help convert her husband so she can be allowed to come. The other two candidates are Mariatu and Abraham. They are married and have a 1 year old daughter. They have really seen how the gospel blesses families. They used to fight all the time and they couldn't seem to get along but since he stopped smoking and drinking and us helping them to have a christelike home they have become so happy. They have even overcome trials with members and they are making a covenent strictly because their faith in Christ.  

I have truly seen how the gospel has blessed my family. When I first got here I found it hard to teach that families are blessed by the gospel, but now I have a very strong testimony about it. Thanks mom and dad for raising me in the gospel. I really have not found a work so satisfying as this one and my life so happy. Thanks for everyone who encouraged me, you have helped me do something great! I can't decide if my investigators are more happy or I am, I love it. It really doesn't matter where you serve, even if its Provo Utah, you will have the time of your life. Being in Africa is great and all but the gospel is much better. 

Time is flying,
Elder Beckett

PS - can you give me that lemonade recipe? I have an oven so can you send me a Bell family cook book? and the German Apple Pancake recipe? Also, can you send me hand sanitizer? Oh and Elder Flament says Hi!

Monday, December 23, 2013

This Christmas feels more like Christmas than any in the past!

Zone Christmas Conference
Cody is top row right, fifth Elder in, holding a green sign  

I'm late emailing today because the district president treated us to lunchI can't wait to talk on Christmas!  Wow 80 degrees on Christmas, that will make the beach super nice for you guys! The weather is cold here in the mornings. Its called the "hamatan" it lasts for about a month in December.  Its the dry season, and I don't like it as much. I had to buy a hat because the sun was hurting my eyes so much. We are allowed to wear full brim hats, so I  bought a Billabong full brim hat for a dollar. 

That's okay that Trey lost his bowel (friend of our family who just had surgery this week to fix his sunken chest. Everyone loved the entertainment he gave using his chest as a cereal bowl), I still have Landon's! (another friend of ours who also has a sunken chest who eats cereal from his "chest bowl")  

I got Jake's email too. I wish I went to that MTC, my MTC in Ghana seems like a joke compared to Provo. At ours we would have times when we would just sit in a classroom for 2 hours with no teacher (Cody had a great experience in the Ghana MTC but hears about some of his friends experiences in the Provo MTC and gets a little jealous being that his MTC was not the traditional style. Here is a really nice article about the latest happenings in hastening the work in the Ghana MTC).

We have really sweet investigators right now. Freetown investigators are much more sweet. In Bo we were able to help convert 1 person in three months. Here we will have maybe 4  in 1 and a half months, depending if one lady keeps her commitments. The people here really
have been waiting for this to come to them. Although everyone is willing to listen to us, too many people are distracted with the things of the world to see how important this is for them. 

 I got the chance to go back to that members house and climb the palm tree. I spent an hour 20 feet up with a machete cutting down branches. The people here are not actually prejudice, they just have stereotypes. If people see a white man, they will simply say, "white
man" when they want to get your attention ... haha ... can you imagine calling out to get a black mans attention in America by yelling, "black man"! You would most likely get sucker punched! 

Yeah all is good. Its crazy how much I have learned about using the branch council. We have really put our effort in like Preach My Gospel prescribes, and it's paying off for our investigators. I got to go on an exchange with Elder Outubu, my zone leader, and I learned so much from him. He will go home next transfer but I wish I could have served with him. We have been struggling to have people at our appointments because Elder Flament lost the phone, but I think we will get one in week or two. So when I call Wednesday I will use another missionaries phone.

 We had our Christmas zone conference party this week and it really made it  feel like Christmas. We had a devotional about christ and we all ate lots of food and there was a
gift exchange and many people donated gifts for the Africans so that they could have a sweet Christmas. For some reason this Christmas feels more like Christmas than any Christmas in the past few years.  I think that is because I have grown so much closer to the one we celebrate that day for ...  I have just learned so much about christ. All of the African elders loved all the stuff that was donated for them. I got your gifts but I am waiting to open them on Wednesday. Here is a link to a video taken at his zone Christmas party. You can see Cody right in the middle waving.
Today marks 4 months of  eating rice. I haven't gone one day without eating rice. Wow 4 months has gone by fast! I'll be home soon! 

Christmas in Salone,
Elder Beckett

PS - Wow, thank you mom for helping me become Christ's missionary (referring to the poem below that mom sent him). I love you!

(author unknown)
I skipped the sales after Thanksgiving. The thrill just wasn't there.
No pictures taken with Santa Claus, my decorating has no flair.
His presents are shoes, shirts, and ties, two suits and fun. I've
bought him all white clothes because...
This year I'm giving Christ my son.

I've spent more time in the temple, my testimony stirred.
I've reread November's Ensign, Felt strength come from His words.
Our family prays more frequently. My tears are quick to run.
Abraham seems closer because,
This year I'm giving Christ my son.

I wonder how those Lamanite mothers, gave their sons to war?
Or how the pioneers chose Zion, their sacrifice was so much more.
My loss will be his presence, I'll miss his smile a ton for two years we
will pray for him,
I'm giving Christ my son.

I stare at his face when he's not looking. I memorize his eyes, their
He's always hungered for the part of him, that makes his soul divine.
The stories and lessons he always heard, His choice and mine are one. I'll
put my faith in God's hand, This year,
I'm giving Him my son.

Past gifts have lost their glitter; I think I finally understand Christ's
birth should be celebrated by giving Him a hand.
It's because I know Christ lives and reigns that all his packing's done. My
gift has taken years to make, This year...
I'm giving Christ my son.

I know there's One who understands, the sacrifice I'm making.
Who knows the gift I willingly give, The toll it will be taking.
For He has done it all before Greater love - there could be none. For years
ago God gave to me, His only begotten son.

The hands I washed, the hands I held, The hands I taught to pray; Now knock
on doors to find the ones Who will listen to what he'll say. Because I know
Christ needs him, Until all the gathering's done, My gift has taken years to
make. This year...
I'm giving Christ my son. —

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas in Salone is not really the same as at home

Wow Christmas is here!  Christmas in Salone is not really the same as at home. Its really hot during this time of the year. The people don't put up lights because there usually isn't power to light them, although I did see one house that hung shiny stuff around their house. From what Elders say,  on Christmas people just eat a lot of food, oh and the people party a lot. This week we saw a bunch of cars parading down the street with people hanging out the windows listening to loud music, not Christmas music but rap. There was a flat bed truck that only had speakers on it, playing so loud that Liberia could hear it! We asked someone what was going on and they said they were celebrating Christmas... so I guess that's how they do it. 

So the Christmas phone call.... They told us we only get money to call if we need it.... for those who can't afford it but otherwise I will give you my phone number, and the night before I'll text you so you can see the number. Then I will call you when I can talk, when you answer I will just hang up and you can call me back.  What phone do you want me to call?

My new area is sweet now, I didn't like it when I first came because it was very flat and full of houses, there was no food and no investigators but we have many investigators now and the branch is really sweet. The people here are much easier to teach than my last area. 
Although there isn't very many things to buy here we do have sweet missionary resources because we are so close to the mission office. The food is the same, but we don't get as much. Bo is in Mende land.  The Mende tribe is very giving and will always have you eat but I am now in Timinee territory, so I don't get as much but the food tastes the same. I like Elder Flament alot, we get along well. We enjoy ourselves. I just get small irritated when the room is messy but hey it's always a good time.

 I loved Elder Ogden and Hoffman. Elder Morgan is serving where Elder Hoffman lives .. haha... and Tyler Schoesow in Ghana has met him because Hoffman lived in Ghana right before he came on his mission so it's a weird circle of friends.

 Was fun for our family to get this post card in the mail this past week from Elders Hoffman and Ogden, two Elders that Cody served with in his last area.

So Patrick is back from Germany? Does he look the same? I know I wont. I can see my face getting fatter here. I am gaining fat, and I am stuggling to fight it off. I wish I was there for Jake's talk (Cody's cousin who is leaving this Wednesday to serve his mission in Calgary, Canada and spoke in church Sunday)

So we have appointments every hour of our day, there isn't a time on this mission when you wont find someone to teach.  We have to limit our teaching because of appointments and mission buisiness.

 To your question about getting money. For us to get money from the mission we have to travel 30 minutes to a bank and take money out of our accounts. I found a way to get money to me a safe way. There is something called moneygram...look it up online. Basicly, you transfer money to my bank (Rokel Bank) and we collect it. When I collect it I just have to give them a password that you will email me but it is nice to recieve money in letters or packages. I got 50 dollars from grandma and that was really sweet! I got 212,000 leone out of it. So that will be nice to buy some extras here. 

Yeah Dad, we will have to go to Buher beach surfing here in Africa  ...your the sweetest dad ever, thanks for the example and your inspiring letters. 

I have been reading the book of James and it's my favorite book in the bible. The messages are just so plain and if people were just to listen to James the world would be a better place. My favorite scripture in James is chapter 1 verse 8 - "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways"

 Anyway... I am doing good and we have sweet new investigators. I'm really trying to work with members and trying to gain their trust. So this week we taught this member and at the end we asked if he had anything for us to do so he told us he needs his palm tree cut down. So we started by cutting the palm frons off with a machete, while balancing on a rickidy ladder, we ran out of time so we will go back tomorrow to chop it down. The member, brother Williams wanted me to get the coconuts out of the tree, but if I were to climb up into the tree I would have gotten my shirt more dirty. I swear there is reverse racism here, his daughter said I couldn't climb the tree because I was white, so I will show her tomorrow! 

Life's good when you are busy!
Elder Beckett

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

They said that we were going to the beach!

Wow... this week has been full of so much excitement! On monday we had a super P-day. We are about 45 minutes away from the beach. So the zone leaders planned for the whole zone to go to the beach. So we met up and all 20 of shoved into a poda (an old old mini van modified to carry uncomfortable amounts of people) they are used as taxis. After getting lost small (a little), we found the beach! Wholly, the smell of the ocean, the sand, the warm water! the sun! So the beach is called Bureh beach, I can't send pictures yet, but look up the place on the internet. It's the most tropical beach. When they said that we were going to the beach I thought that it would be all trashy, but I guess not. We got to wade in the water and it was warm! Past Hawaii (more than)! You wouldn't believe it ... there were waves! and it gets even better, there is a surf organization there. This surf organization is just a bunch of African beach bums that play soccer when the tide is down and surf when the tide is up. I got to hold a surfboard and stand in water, you have no idea how tempting that was to jump in. I got some sweet pictures with the surfboard and with the surf guys. There was one guy there from Austria teaching kids how to surf. Thats good, because there is nothing else for them to for fun here besides soccer. They get surfboards from visitors, they just leave a board when they come. These guys could actually surf too. That was the best p-day so far. So when we come back here, we will have a place to go and surf, there is even a small hotel on the beach. 

Bureh Beach 

So on Tuesday it gets even better. You know Elder Flament and I are doing missionary stuff and minding our own business, actually we were waiting for a guy to meet us at a small junction. A man in a poda waves to me(to see if I want a ride somewhere) and I shake my head and look away. We are sitting there for about 3 minutes and this Poda has pulled over and this man keeps calling us so finally Elder Flament goes over to check it out and I follow. Ends up the guy that was waving to me was from America (he's black) and all the other people in the poda were from America too. The rest were white with Salone drivers. So I thought these Americans wanted to say hello to white men because they hadn't seen any in a while, so we greet them. We talk small and we find out that all of them are return missionaries from our church! It gets even better.... they are from California! Even two of them were from San Clemente! It was so sweet to talk to them, and talk about home and the people we know. I forgot the guys name, but he will email you a picture of all of us. They are here for a month, they are helping at some orphanage, and they were just on their way back from Bureh beach that I had been at the day before.!!! They surfed! Anyways, they are really cool guys. 

Found this in our yard and killed it

Missionary work is good and growing in our area. We have had some seriously sweet lessons. I am glad I went to brother Andre's mission prep classes, I can now apply what he was telling us all along. Its really fun sharing with people and even the occasional conversation with pastors. So last night we were opening our door ...we got through the first door, made of metal, then we had a problem with the second. Our key snapped off  inside the lock. The other elders in our apartment were not going to be home for another two hours and their phone was off, so we called a member, brother Obi, he owns a welding shop, and has built a few things in his life. Anyways, we called him and asked him to bring a simple screw driver, and he said he was on his way. After pacing back and forth, being bored for 10 minutes, 2 cars show up. Ends up he decided to go get all his workers. He came, used the screw driver to get that case off the door handle, examined it, then sent one of his men to get a hammer. He stripped the wood panel in the middle of the double doors. At this time were thinking ' the mission is going to kill us for breaking the door' but hey we are in Salone, let them work. Then we get more tense, because he calls his guys to get a generator and a grinder out. They fire up the gen., plug in the grinder, and grind into the thick deadbolt lock. after 20 seconds of a waterfall of sparks the door is kicked open and we were in. He packed up and was out. He said he would bring a new lock to pday! ahah so I guess thats one way to solve the problem of breaking a key. They put the door back together and the mission has no idea... its okay, we were going to need a new one anyways.

Till next week,
Elder Beckett  

PS - so I took the key board from the church so I could practice and eventually play in the church. It's going well!
Thank you Steven for showing me where middle C is!

Monday, December 2, 2013

It's flipping hotter than satan's steak house!

Hello Family!

I can't sleep right now so I thought that I would write a letter to you. I can't sleep because it's flipping hotter than satan's steak house in here! Also, it sounds like someone is firing a cannon outside my window. The rain and the thunder is crazy! I have never seen so much water being poured out of heaven. The thunder makes you jump and shake. It's so loud it shakes you and you can feel it in your heart. It's okay though. People here will wake up at 1or 2 am just to pray and read their bible. Sometimes I get up and do the same, you should try it, it's really nice and quiet well except when there is a cannon outside your compound!  My English is is degrading since I've starting speaking Krio and find it hard to say things properly though. People here sell fish and crab, they carry it around on a plate balanced on their heads. There is no such thing as refrigeration here so the crab and fish smell really nasty! Smells like nasty fish guts! I think the people here buy it and deep fry it and feed it to us. I'm doing well and I'm having such a good time out here sharing the best message ever! I'm glad I came out on a mission and I think everyone should go! There is nothing more satisfying or more fun than missionary work and the things you learn are incredible(this was a note he sent before he was moved out of Bo last week).

Skies of Bo

This week has been a lot different than the weeks past. On Tuesday I just sat around and prepared to leave to Freetown. The drive to Freetown from Bo was about a 4 hour drive. On the drive you pass a bunch of villages, that you would imagine in Africa. The road was really fun, dad would love to drive his car on this road, besides the occasional pothole. As soon as I was dropped off I could tell things were going to be a bit different. The streets are really busy here, there are more cars than in Bo so we aren't allowed to ride the motor bikes (taxi's) here.

Motor Taxi's
 There is no more supermarkets here to buy Oreos, or snacks anymore. So I will be eating a lot less and really only eating rice. The apartment I stay in now is nicer than the one in Bo, but it is super small. We only have 4 elders in this apartment, which makes the apartment very quiet. This new apartment may have nice tiles on the floor and nice painted walls, with no spiders or cockroaches and a real a toilet, but it is missing some things. We don't have a tank of water at this apartment. So we have to go to the well to get water for anything we do, including, showers, flushing the toilet and water to wash dishes and drink.  There is no light here for some reason, yet there are power lines everywhere and we have lightbulbs but we get at least 2 hours of light every night because we have a generator. Well with this new apartment I will get jacked from pulling water from a 30 foot well but will get sweet night vision and I will feel the spirit more. 

So my new companion is Elder Flament. He is from England, and he sure does sound like it. He doesn't even have to speak Krio because the people can understand the British accent here. He has been on his mission for 16 months and he is a really caring guy. We get along fine. At first it was hard to relate to him, I just didn't really know what to talk about with him, but I started asking questions and he is a cool guy. The only difference we really have is organization. I don't know if you will believe me but I am really organized here (YES! finally!! ....amazing what 3 months will do to an 18 year old boy in Africa!). I like to keep my things in their place and keep my area clean. Its not quite the same with Elder Flament, but we are getting the room cleaner, so there is progress made.  Anyway, we are good together, we really have the same teaching style, and we really yield to one another. 
Kossoh Town. Its much different than Bo. Everyone here has big compound walls, everyone has big houses  and there is no food. I was pretty disappointed at the beginning of the week because we only had about 10 progressing investigators and 3 of them were baptized on Saturday but we have really done a lot of contacting and it has payed off. We have found some sweet families in some weird ways. So our area is pretty big, and we were on the far end of Ourarea, by the mountains, and we were late for a lesson. The roads here are pretty rough so cars go pretty slow. A 4 runner comes cruising along, blasting some sweet beats, and as he passed I asked for a ride, hoping he would let us hang on the side but he said we would have to come inside, and I am glad we did. We got talking with him and he has lived in England, so Elder Flament and him went off on England, so we were really able to relate to this guy. Anyway, he has a sweet family so we will be teaching them.

 The branch here is so sweet. We have church service inside a remodeled house here, and we fill the chapel with people, I even had to stand outside it was so packed. Anyway, this branch actually works with the missionaries, we had a PEC meeting and we were able to talk about how the missionaries and the branch auxiliary leaders could work together, and how we can retain the recent converts. So that was really cool. The people here seem to grab onto the gospel more than in Bo. The people are really excited about the work! 
Today has been sweet and will get sweeter. I got a package from Grandma Neecie and I got sweet candies, Uno cards (we have already played it ..we were so stoked) and some Christmas presents that I am very tempted to open.

This week I have seen some pretty funny stuff. The people here wear really tight clothes and beanies. All the ocara drivers (motorcycle men) wear snow clothes as their bike gear, even though it is 1000 degrees here. I have seen a woman open a Coke bottle for me with her teeth. That was really cool and I am very tempted to try it.
Welp that's all folks!

I love my family, I love my God and I love my mission!

Love the African man,
Elder Beckett

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I've been out 3 months!


Today we decided to wake up at 6:00am so we could get all of our cleaning assignments done so that we could leave after companion studies at 10:00. So we went shopping and now we are at the internet cafe at 12 writing and must be about 4:00 am for you. 

Anyways, Elder Manzini and I have been killing it with these families this week. President Ostler says that we should be focusing on families. Families progress slower but it is way more sweet when they do progress. We are teaching some very educated people in our area, so it has been fun, especially because I have to study a lot about some of the questions people give to us. My favorite people to teach are school teachers and old people. The teachers are very knowledgeable of the bible and the old people are just sweet and will actually give us the time. For some reason the old people and the very young people are educated, and the middle aged people are not. I think it might be because of the war, but who knows. (Sierra Leone had a civil war lasting 11 years from 1991-2002)
So this was week 12 and that means that I finished my second transfer. I have been out 3 months and I no longer have a trainer. We no longer have extra hour studies, so we get to go out and teach more! It also means that transfer news came. I am being move out of the area. This is kind of a bummer but it was expected because 20 more missionaries are coming in this week so a lot of people are being moved around. I will be going to the east side of Freetown to a place called Kosso Town. It's near Grafton or Waterloo if you want to see it on a map.

Kosso Town where Cody is being transferred to is a costal town about 10 miles from Freetown. It is set around a forrest reserve and the major industry is farming and coal mining. It also is the home of a large police academy training center of the Sierra Leone Police force.

 It's a bummer because I love the people I am teaching and I love the apartment I am in and the nengo (sweet) elders in the apartment. Elder Manzini will be training again. He has been training his whole mission (9months).

Sweet family that Elder Hales and I taught

At our apartment desk with Elder Manzini and Elders Hales

Elder Manzini - I'm going to miss him

My secret beer company ... haha!!

My bed ... notice the fan at the end of the mattress...haha nice luxury! 
I'm  going be with a Elder Flement now and from what I hear he is a sweet guy and he is from London or something. So maybe I will pick up an accent! That was about the biggest thing that happened this week.

At the beginning of the transfer all the elders in my apartment went and enjoyed sweet food and good things from the super market, so they blew through all their money quick. So for the past 2 week we have been eating one meal every night we call it stew. It's s rice with a tomato sauce on top of it. The tomato sauce is made by  frying some onions in oil. When they are fried you add tomato paste and stir it in. Then if there is too much oil we add an egg and it thickens up. Then we thin it out with some water. Then add pepay (peppers... spices) doli and magi. Throw in some sliced hot dogs and enjoy. I don't have exact measurements because I make it by eye and not with a recipe. Tomorrow I am going to make some sweet slop because I have extra money and could afford the stuff for it. When I was at the super market today (best-in) I saw a Monopoly board. I was seriously looking to buy it, but it cost 420,000 leons. That is about 100 dollars for a board game. I told a guy in the store that no one would buy it, but he said that people would... he wouldn't lower the price so that was no fun. I miss the good old days of Monopoly or even Risk till 2 in the morning! 

Today I got mail..... all of the Dear Elders you send me and one package. The package was from Grandpa and Grandma Richins. They sent me some sweet oatmeal which will be handy in my new area because there is no supermarket there. They sent me some sweet candies (Hershey's, Kit Kats) which are like getting back on dry land after you have been on a boat, barfing because you are sea sick. They were glorious! I could just feel grandma's love inside each candy bar. I love you grandma! The best part of the package was something that I know is really precious to grandpa. He sent me his US Navy issued Book of Mormon and Principles of the Gospel that he received in 1949. They are in pristine condition and have been really cared for. I feel really honored to receive such a thing. I wont take them out with me proselyting or crease the books because I don't want to wear them out but I will read from them when times are tough and to really study the 'Principles of the Gospel' book. I will take really good care of them. I actually got to use it today. The 'Principles of the Gospel' book is like a church library condensed into a small book and it even has hymns in it. Basically everything a US Serviceman would need while he is away from home. Because I got my small hymn book stolen earlier this transfer I was able to use the hymns in the small book today. Its nice to have that hymn book for companion study. This morning when I opened that package I could feel grandpas love, like I had my hand in his or even as if he was hugging me. On the inside of the book grandpa wrote the years he served and I hope to be able to honor him, my family, my priesthood, and the lord and add two years to that service. I love my grandpa and my family that has allowed me to be the person I am today.

My Granda and Grandpa Richins

On my missionary tag there are two distinct names. The more significant name is Jesus Christ, and the other is Beckett. Everyday I honor and serve these two. My Savior and my family on both sides.

Welp I'll be home soon!
Love Elder Beckett

Monday, November 18, 2013

Doing things Salone style for a little

Hello family! 

Brima Town
Man this week was so fun and it went by so fast! On Tuesday we had a Zone Conference. Zone Conferences are awesome because we get to hear from President and Sister Ostler. We also get to see all of the other elders in our zone plus there is way sweet food that is given to us! An even a bigger bonus is when the Ostler's come to town so does the mail! I got so many sweet letters ... from Abi Galland, Tyler Schoessow, Jordy Zimmerman, I got a package from Sister T, and from you mom! and don't forget Sarah Kraus. The package was way sweet mom! Snickers and M&M's are my favorite. I got the milk powder too. Its real nice. I can get it here though but this one was good quality. I can actually get milk here! Well it is sort of milk, its half cream... I don't really care, I mix it with my Nesquick and I am happy! Thanks for all the letters everyone! (Translation for "sweet " really  means = wonderful, great, awesome, cool, amazing!)

Elder Beckett, 2nd on the left looking a little sleepy at the zone meeting!

Bo Zone Conference
Cody's companion, Elder Manzini standing to the right, is from South Africa.
Anyway, when we were at the Zone Conference, Elder Manzini had a great idea... to take President and Sister Ostler teaching with us. So I went and asked them if they could come and they said yes! So they met us later that day on the street. We got to ride in their sweet brand new Toyota Highlander or something like it, it's a diesel. They took us in the ice cold cabin of the car to the Luseni family. The Luseni family is the one with the Philly boy. We taught a sweet lesson. We had President and Sister Ostler talk about the temple and testify about sealing families for eternity. Then we even had president extend a baptismal date! Hahah... it was so fun to see him teach in such good English (Cody starting to loose his to the Krio language). I think with so many American there in one place, Hindulo (the Philly boy) just opened up. He started talking about where he was from and even that he was baptized back in America (still trying to verify that!) but it was really fun to teach with the Ostler's .. they helped a lot. 

Luseni Family - Notice the boy in the back with the Orem Jazz jersey!
One of Cody's favorite things is seeing American clothing land there in Salone with logos from schools and teams back home. He's waiting to find one of his high school T-shirts there!

So at the apartment, we ran out of propane, and we don't have the district funds to buy more for about a week (so doing things salone style for a little.. so we (meaning I) cooked on coals all this week. It has been pretty  fun using my Eagle Scout powers to start fires and cook! Its really not that bad cooking rice and stew, but it gets old when no one helps. Its okay though, only 4 more days of coals, then I can bake more. I'm getting really good at cooking rice ....I think I finally got it down. 

Eating with Elder Hales and the guys

We have a well inside our compound. We are lucky to have a pump that fills a big tank that sits on our roof. It's like at our river house with the water you put into the tank to drink but our water is not clean here. If our pump breaks then we have to fetch water by hand. I have gotten pretty good at it, while helping people fetch water in their yards. There is no running water in this country like at home.

Shower and toilet all in one - No running water so we use buckets of water from the well

So this week our district was going to hold a baptism, but when we showed up at the district center there was no water in the font. In Salone there is no running water. So our district spent about 2 hours using a hand pump on a well to fill buckets and then fill the font. You would be surprised how many buckets it takes to fill a font. Once we filled it, Elder Manzini had to split, we had people to teach.

This transfer has gone by way fast! In December I will have been 4 months out... wholly rap! Time flies! Next week I will get another companion.... so that is always exciting.

What's happening in America? Government shutdown ... What? Send me the latest and biggest news! Philippians? That's crazy! They had to move the missionaries out? Where did they move them to? I saw the article about Chase Robertson and Aaron Procuiner in the OC news paper, Tyler Schoessow sent it to me.

On P-Day (prep day) we usually go shop, email and sometimes play soccer or basketball and relax.

P-day haircuts!

P-day laundry day

P-day soccer fun!

P-day trash burn - no trash system here

Hi Zachary ... How are you? Keep taking sweet photos, even print them out at Target or Walmart and send them to me. How is high school? What are you learning about in seminary? Haha.. that's weird that you drop him off mom, everyone walks here.... haha start walking Zac!! 

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed the pictures, I'll send more soon and with the year almost over can you send me a calendar? I can't find one here.

The infamous "Goat" mystery meal

Welp, I'm having fun and I am sweating a lot!

                                                             Love Elder Beckett

Monday, November 11, 2013

If I couldn't see my skin color I would just feel like I am black!

Ahoy Sailors and Stow-aways!

It's so sweet to get these sweet pics of friends and family in emails and to be updated on stuff going on at home! Chai... friends are still coming to our house? That is so sweet! Connor Jordan, Jeff, Ashley, Riley! Thanks for stopping by and saying hello! Looks like good old jrex... and Connor your teeth are still so bright! Man, Jeff your hair is getting so long, I think it is time to take the razor blade to it! (That's how they cut hair in Salone - with a razor blade)

 They are saying, "Way to go Cody .... Thumbs up! Keep up the great work!!"

Some of Elder Beckett's friends stopped by this weekend and we emailed him these pictures. Connor Lee, Jordan Rex, Ashley Elliot, Riley Jones

Kushe!  Elder Mitch Adams on getting your call to Chile! Ding Dang, Elder Barton and Elder Whitaker in the big MTC together! Looks like its way cold! 

Elder Barton and Elder Whitaker, close friends of Cody's, now in the MTC together - both going to Argentina!

 Haha... those Elders look like they are having a party in California! 

Elders serving in our stake in CA came over for haircuts from Geralene. This pic for Cody from them.Three of these Elders sang at Cody's mission sacrament meeting and he also became good friends with them before he left. They are now all transferred ... We will miss Elders McGary, Rivera and Risk!!  
Wholly pumpkins! That is so sweet... the only thing that we do with the pumpkins here is eat them, we make a stew out of them!

Halloween pumpkin carving at home 2013 - We missed you Cody!

So I got some sweet letters this week!  I got Aunt Pam's, Sister Ferrell's, Grant, Sam, Kolton's and I  got your letters and the missionary letters! Thanks for all the letters! I will definitely write you back! I love the missionary emails you send through the so much, and so do my district members! The district members love hearing about the places all the missionaries are from! So all that is sweet! I can only write letters to elders in the US, unless the elders outside the US have pouch mail. So if any elders outside the US have pouch mail available, let me know about it!

CONFERENCE finally came to Sierra Leone! (General Conference in our church comes 2 times a year and is the meetings that members of our church look forward to with much anticipation to hear the prophet and apostles speak... you can check that out here . Cody's mission being so far away and not having the proper technology in Salone is just now getting to hear the conference that took place in October). So on Tuesday we found out that we were having conference on Sunday. Elder Manzini and I couldn't wait to see conference, so we went to the branch presidents house and asked him for the dvd's. We got the Saturday afternoon session and the Sunday morning session! I watched only the Saturday session before conference on Sunday. I would watch a talk every night on my 6 inch portable DVD player! I don't think I have ever looked forward to a conference so much in my life! A few of the nights that I was watching conference I went outside, still inside the compound. That was so sweet to be under the star filled sky with a small breeze, laying on a mattress with Elder Hoffman(Idahoan) and Elder Ogden(Idahoan) chilling and watching conference! All week we invited people to come and see the prophet of the world speak. We had all of our dedicated strong investigators there! I was afraid that the people here wouldn't be able to understand the thick english of the inspired speakers, but  the people would laugh when things were funny, so I knew they could understand. I know that the spirit was there to help these people understand, because if I were to speak like that here, no one could understand me! I was really worried for the investigators. We had 10 come, even Fatu's (recent convert) small brother came (Cody's Krio ... haha.. saying small rather than little). Man was this so good for our investigators. The Lucinee family loved it the most! The mother in the family is super hyped about the gospel and loved conference! She said that after she heard Elder Holland's talk that she was never leaving this church! So basically, conference was the bomb!! It was so weird to see so many white people in one place. If I couldn't see my skin color I would just feel like I am black and that I am apart of the culture here! I loved the theme of repentance and missionary work with a few sides of eternal marriage thrown in. It's really weird, now that I am out here and really can see how the gospel blesses families and that the gospel has really blessed mine, I have been thinking of my future family and how I will raise my children in righteousness. It's weird to say ..... but it is true! I love how every member should be a missionary, even if it is in small ways, I felt that the speakers really made it easy for the members to do so!  Its so easy to share the gospel, and everyone should, there is no reason to not share, by not sharing you are keeping people from the truth, and they are looking for it, but they know not where to find it! I also loved how they talked about God's love for us, through the atonement. God's love is always there, whether you are well or not. They really made a push for repentance. I love how they made it known that it is not a punishment but a way to salvation! Take the guilt off of you and repent, don't procrastinate it, always be looking to get back on the path (read Alma chapter 5 in the Book of Mormon). Man this General Conference was the best, I wish that I got to see the  other sessions and the priesthood session!

Dad asked about our church buildings here .. so the church building that I go to is the district center for Bo. It is a pretty standard chapel, with some Salone adjustments but all the other churches in Bo are just houses or apartments. We are lucky to have a sweet chapel that has a baptismal font because some areas just baptize in the rivers or lakes.

The chapel Cody attends in Bo

The work is going well! Thank you for all the prayers, I can see them working over here! We have so many sweet families that are progressing. On December 14th we have 2 families that will be baptized! Only two weeks and this transfer is over, what? ... thats crazy! I will most likely get a new companion because 23 more missionaries are coming in and there is a need for trainers.

Today we had a super P-day, we watched "How to Train a Dragon" with the zone, and we compared it to how to train your missionary. Then we played some futbal. I can't wait to come back and play some futbal against my friends who are in Spanish countries. I have to say that I am becoming okay at it! It was a sweet day! We even ate burgers!

Welp I love you, and I'll see you soon!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I wouldn't want to be anywhere else!

President Ostler, Cody's mission president posted this on the mission Facebook page : "As we were leaving Bo, we came across this great looking group - headed to their proselyting areas after church, with Elder Ogden, Beckett, Ameworlor and Manzini".

Ahoy Mates! Howdibodi? (how is the body? or how are you?)

Dang I got boku (alot) of mail this week! I got two pakages, the one from mom full of cake batter and cookie dough mixes and a sweet letter and the other from Jana....the one with the Nuetella, the Snickers, Air Heard and the Sour Heads. Thank you so much for the packages!! I love all the stuff inside ... especially the Snickers and the Payday. I am saving them for a day when I don't feel good! So with packages, don't be afraid to send letters in them or even pictures of what you are doing with your lives. The 5 elders in our apartment had a contest to see who could spray the most Sour Head spray stuff in our mouths! Elder Tucker won!!

 Dang I love our ward!  The Activity Day girls sent me some letters... I was so stoked to see those! I will have to write back to them. I got your question and answer letters, those are really cool, keep them coming! I also got some letters from friends, thank you Spencer Ford, Connor Lee, and Jordan Rex for the letters and the post cards. I got some sweet Dear elders from grandma Neecie and from grandma and grandpa Richins and the ones you sent on Dear elder from all the missionary friends out ... so sweet! Its crazy, Elder Carlile, Carter and Gold are old missionaries and are going home soon! I will write all of you back, just give the mail system a month and you will have your letter. I get some emails from people asking for my address. So here it is:

Elder Cody Beckett
Sierra Leone Freetown Mission
P.O. Box 263
Freetown Sierra Leone
West Wfrica
 I love letters! Keep sending them whether through or by hand.

Dad, thanks for the advice and stuff! Its sweet to hear about your mission. Dang, the surfing sounds so sweet! Can you send me some pictures of the ocean? Do you ever go with Caleb? Is Zac going with you or is he to busy with skateboarding?
 Who would have thought that I would be a marriage councelor..jk(I can't spell anymore, this Krio messes me up). For a little while I thought that Abdule was serious about the gospel, he even took down some pictures of Mecca.... but he put them back up. I think he just enjoys talking to some well dressed servants of the Lord or he wants money or something.  That was a dissapointing part of the week. His wife Conte wants to join but he doesn't and she can't unless he does (tradition for the Muslim - wife has to take on the husbands religion) so I guess her sins will be on him... stinks!

We have some sweet families we are teaching. We had 10 investigators at church on Sunday, which is average-ish.. we met this sweet family, their name is the Luciney family. Its really funny how we met them. We were just walking to an appointment in Brima town when this 15 year old guy comes up to us. He starts speaking in a crazy deap Philly accent. He saw a white guy and figured I was from the US so he came and talked to me. Ends up he lived in the US for 8 years and he was getting into trouble so his mom brought him back. I love talking to him because I can use all of my English slang with him, its almost weird to do now. So we started teaching his family, and they all grabbed onto it really well. They came to church and they even bore their testimonies!! They will be baptized! They are one of my favorite families to teach. When I teach people I like to think about what it will be like to baptize them. For the mother in this family it will be a struggle ... she has a big body (the people here are proud of that. It means that they eat well!) I don't think I could lift her back out of the water. Maybe we will need two people to do it.  The lord works in strange ways. .. he brought Hindulo (the Philly boy) back here so we could meet their family. We are also teaching the Blango family, the Caulker family, the James, Samuel, and Comander families. Tons of families to do work on! 

So church was really interesting, or really apostate this past week! This member who doesn't really know the doctrine came to church. He decided to bare his testimony, which really means he is going to brag about his life. He starts to talk about his Jeep Liberty and how God has blessed him with it. After he is done boasting he says to the congregation, "can we get a round of applause for that?" and the whole congregation starts clapping! I think there was a lot of non members there, but even the members were doing it. Another testimony goes, more clapping. ... the branch presidency doesn't do anything so a powerful member of the church goes up and chastizes them and tells them how we worship .... then the sacrament meeting was way good after that! 

There are times that I think out here that I wouldn't want to be anywhere else! All of the sweet people that I have met, all the crazy spiritual experiences, all the companions and elders I've made friends with, all the crazy weird stuff that I eat, all the things I learn in the scriptures are so awesome! All these things beat being at BYU Hawaii, where I would be right now if I didn't come here. Everyone needs this experience! 

As I have been out I have grown to love and appreciate my family more .... even though I am really far from you guys! I can see how you have raised me and the things that you had me do to help me. I miss family home evening, I wish I had come home for more of them. Even on my tag I represent my family and Jesus Christ! That makes me work hard!
"Welp that's all folks"
Elder Beckett

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sowing and Reaping!

This is a picture of typical scence traveling from Freetown to Bo
This has been the fastest two months ever! I feel like I just left last week! Sorry that the time has been going so slow for you, as long as we are working hard the time goes fast. Dang we are already half way through this transfer! I slacked on the letters a few weeks ago so you wont get some for a few weeks, sorry! ...I did send one last week, so you will get that eventually. I have only received the post cards you sent, those come fast. I hope the others have not gotten lost! Anything I say in my written letters that you want to send to people on the blog you are welcome to share. 

Sorry to say ... but I am not home sick at all, I love being here. Not that I don't think of home, I don't think about home until I get to the apartment, usually when I am cooking dinner or breakfast. 

All the pens that you can buy here suck, can you send me some sweet "Boss" pens? And if you have any sweet seminary cards or study things  and some "17 points" cards.

 Its a bummer really, this week we found out that brother Conte (Abdul) is a polygamist. He wasn't progressing at all, so finally Isha Conte (his wife) told us. Its sad, brother Conte doesn't even care for her. He is always at his other wives house... so he will go and give him a big fat Law of Chastity lesson. Isha Conte is so sweet! She has 3 kids and they are so cool. Pray for them!

So pretty much everyone here has a problem with the Law of Chastity. Polygamy is normal here, and fornication isn't out of the normal. I met a 15 year old who was pregnant the other day. Its no big deal here. The girls that get pregnant here are taken in by the fathers family (father of the child) so hopefully they will get married. That is the biggest issue here. The gospel would help everyone here!

I read all of the letters you send in the Dear Elders (, they are so sweet! (We send him copies of all his missionary friends letters through that mail system). Send me everyones! Anyone's you can get your hands on. I love reading about others missions. So in Landon's letter he mentioned a family named the Mthembu family. Their son is in my mission! I will talk to him as soon as I see him, he is in Freetown. My companion is from South Africa and he enjoyed the letter also .. reading about the cities and the things there that he knows. The word that Sister Gold couldn't figure out was "BBQ" so you can let her know.

You can tell Kyle that my PR was 17.13 and my Mt. Sac time was 17.31 (Kyle Hess is a 14 yr. old friend of the family and a cross country runner for THHS and was asking us about Cody's running times so this was his reply to that question). Tell him to just keep running! Tell him to ask Max about his times, he was fast!

I hope Halloween is good, I'll let you know if they do anything here like that. There is a lot of witch craft stuff here, so hopefully I don't get attacked by a demon.... jk! I don't think that will happen, but there is a lot of scary stuff here.

So when I came to Bo, Elder Hales and I were put into an area that was white washed(we were both new to the area), basically we opened a new area, because the sisters before us didn't use their area book so we started fresh. So finally we have seen the work pay off. All the people we taught I have been with since the beginning of their time with missionaries. I have seen their testimonies grow and even some stop progressing. It is sweet to see someone progress all the way to baptism. Yep baptism! On Saturday I baptized Fatmata ("fatu" for short) Kpandayenge. She would have been baptized a few weeks ago, but she traveled to a village, so she was delayed. Its so sweet to see people come in and gain a sweet testimony. Elder Hales is missing out on some sweet people that we started teaching together, even whole families that will be baptized in the next two months. We have 4 whole families that will be baptized by December. One of them we would be baptized if they were married, but they are waiting until December to be married.

After the baptism on Saturday the branch had a party. The branch told us that it was to introduce investigators to the members. Good thing only one investigating family showed up (the ones that need to get married - and they already consider themselves to be members). The activity introduced home teaching and visiting teaching to the branch, this is good, because we have a lot of less actives. They said the activity started at 12:00 noon just after the baptism, but in Salone that meant 2:30. Its funny, in church every one gives "5 min" talks. Five minutes in Salone is 20 min. The people have a weird sense about time. Anyway, the home teaching lesson lasted a literal ten minutes and the rest was 2 hours of dancing and eating. There is a member in our branch who caters, so we ate well. We even got vegetables. So at this party, before you can get your food you must dance in front of the whole branch. If you don't dance, you don't get any food. Luckily they let us elders dance together. The ward parties here are sweet, its just eating and dancing, its pretty much a rave...haha!  They play techno party music, and everyone dances, even the old people! They love it. So that was a flipping sweet day! We had a child of God baptized and a rave in the same day.

Elder Manzini and I get along really well. He teaches me a lot about South Africa and he even teaches me some Africons and some other native language there. He has some sweet gospel music from South Africa even some sweet hymns with an African twist on them. Look for some South African gospel music to listen to.. You will like it!

Last week my companion had pink eye (appolo here) so we had to stay in two days. It stinks staying home! I love going out and teaching.

At the ward party my small hymn book got stolen. I think one of the youth took it so I ordered a regular sized one because it is only 5,000 leones compared to the 130,000 leone to buy the small one. My scriptures came out of their binding .. I think it was because of the humidity so I super glued them back in. The scriptures I bought were really cheap but they will last as long as I am fixing them. Its so humid that I can smear the words in my scriptures.

Well thats all from me. I have a lot of stories to tell actually, I just find it hard to fit all of them in while I am writing. I usually only take an hour to write, but this week I am taking two hours, because Elder Manzini and I love emailing.

 I hope I hear from a lot of people. I like dear elders and written letters because I can sit down and read them and I can write back. I will respond to more so if people want to talk to me that is the best way.

Love Elder Beckett!