Friday, August 30, 2013

The MTC is so awesome!

I have only been to the airport and the MTC so I haven't seen much of Africa! But the people here are awesome! I have an awesome companion, his name is Elder Buah (Boo-ah). He is from Ghana but has been living in Nigeria for the past 3 years because his dad was a mission president there. The MTC is so awesome, the spirit is so strong here! I can see chickens running around outside here. 
Well, here is a run down of our schedule. 6:30am we wake up (but the Africans like to rise with the sun, so its more like 5am) some days we have physical activity. The Africans are really good at soccer! But only so many can play because the field at the MTC is small. So my district played some volley ball, which they are not too good at, or frisbee, but we played frisbee for a while, and some ping pong. We get ready around 7:30am and eat at 8. Breakfast is usually 2 hard boiled eggs, two peices of toast and some oatmeal, maybe hot chocolate. This is good for a few days, then it starts to taste bland. We have lots of classes until 12 noon, then eat lunch which is usually a plate of rice, a side of fish or some kind of sauce with meat in it and a little salad. The food is really good and filling and seems to go through you at a decent rate. We need to drink about four bottles of water a day, but Elder Buah insists we drink more, so I always have to pee! Luckily we get 5 min breaks every 45 min so you can use the wash room (bathroom). Then more classes, maybe a meeting with all 50 missionaries in the chapel, then dinner ....Which has (you probs guessed it) more rice! and CHICKEN! The chicken tastes so nice! Luckily I brought a ton of candy and snacks! If you tell one African that you have candy they all come looking for it! So I hide the good stuff and give them the rest! Most of the Africans haven't had the candies I brought, but they insist that they are there favorite candies! Elder Buah over did the Skittles (seems to be the popular choice with the Africans) and had a stomach ache yesterday! All of the Americans love the snacks that I brought and can really appreciate them!  We have more classes, then a snack at 9:15pm which is usually a fruit! The fruit here is sooooo good! 

It's really funny, I am not short here! You would think going to Africa you would be surrounded by a bunch of big tall black men ... But guess not! There are only 8 black guys who are taller than me but the 18 or so white guys are taller than me. The Nigerians make up a good portion of the MTC and they are quite short. The Ghanians are the taller ones and the Nigerians are hit and miss! I used to think that all of the Africans looked and talked the same. I couldn't understand anyone when I got here but now I can tell where most people are from, by looking at them and talking to them. I have made lots of friends here! The Africans are so nice and so funny, and are always making jokes... but they know when to be serious! They have the strongest testimonies and have really helped me to fit in! The Ghanians have a secret hand shake ... its awesome ... I am good at it finally! Anyway I love the MTC and I know this church is true, the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored by the prophet Joseph Smith  and can bless your life if you have faith! I have to go, I don't have a p-day in the MTC, but a P-time, and I only get one, so the next time I email you I will be in the field! Sorry friends if I didn't email you back, I dont have very much time here! I love you all!

                                               Ghana MTC (Mission Training Center) 

Friday, August 23, 2013

I Made it to Ghana!

Hey! The flights were not bad at all, on every flight I slept the whole time! I think that is because I didn't sleep the night before I left. The airplane we took from New York to Ghana was huge, and was filled with people from Ghana, so the 18 white elders stood out quite a bit! We got lots of questions from lots of people about what we were doing. All of the elders that we flew with were awesome! In the New York airport we had a 5 hour layover so all of the elders went and ate at Buffallo Wild Wings! It was a great last meal in the US and reminded me of all the times me and the guys would go there! Airplane food was terrible, I only really ate the fruit. Thank goodness I had all of those snacks we packed! When we flew over Africa it was covered by clouds so I couldn't really tell what it looked like. But Ghana is awesome! The immigration stations were so crazy and I could hardley understand anyone! We met a woman who was a Latter-Day Saint and she welcomed us to Ghana. When we finally made it through the airport we were greeted by 4 MTC workers who took us across the street to get in two vans. All of our luggage went into one van and all of the elders went into another! There were local people trying to help us with our luggage which we were told to avoid. Anyways I have to go and I'll write more later, I dont have much time though! I love you!

Waiting at the Salt Lake City airport before flying to New York then on to the Ghana MTC (Missionary Training Center).
The no suit elders final destination is Sierra Leone - The suited elders will stay in Ghana - Cody loving his suit free mission already! 


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Airport Goodbyes!

Cody's last words were, "It will go by fast ... I said, "It better"!! We are going to miss you so much Cody but we love you and are so proud of you! Giving two years of your life to serve others is one of the greatest gifts you can give! 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mission Farewell Talk


 Mission Farewell Talk                                                  August 11, 2013
Cody Beckett

I have been called by Thomas S. Monson, the current prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve as a full time missionary in the Sierra Leone, Freetown mission. Sierra Leone is located in West Africa along the Ivory Coast. It is a small Country about the size of South Carolina with a population of about 5 million people and my mission covers the entire country. The average temperature in Sierra Leone is 85 degrees with 90% humidity. It can rain up to 190 inches in one year, which is quite different from the 10 inches we get on average in California. Sierra Leone is known for their mining of titanium, gold and diamonds. Despite this natural mining wealth found in this country, 70% of its people live in poverty. Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is predominantly a Muslim

and Christian country and is ranked as one of the most religiously tolerant nations in the world.

On my mission will be wearing short sleeve shirts and sandals and it is officially a “suit free” mission. Although this is an English speaking mission I will be learning to speak English their style, which is influenced by many different languages. I will be taking a shower and washing my clothes in a bucket as well as sleeping with a mosquito net and taking ant-malaria medication each day.

I can tell that my mission is going to be an adventure by some of the things listed on my packing list. These includes: moles skin, pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medication, antibiotic ointment, anti-itch cream, anti-fungal, mosquito repellant. I will not be forgetting the mosquito repellant. I learned my lesson after our scout troops high adventure last year in Yosemite when most everyone came out with at least 200 mosquito bites.  All of these things are important, but the most important thing I will be taking with me is the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost is the third member of the godhead. The other two members of the godhead are our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost works in perfect unity with our Heavenly father and Jesus Christ fulfilling roles to help us live righteously and receive blessings of the gospel.
We receive the gift of the Holy Ghost after we are baptized and is necessary to complete the baptism and enable us to receive a remission of our sins. Only when we are worthy if his presence can we enjoy his companionship throughout our lives. Through the Holy Ghost we can feel Gods love and direction for us.

A person is capable of receiving spiritual guidance before they are baptized and confirmed. In Moroni 7:16 it talks of this influence as the light of Christ.
 16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

In fact in 1853 the first Latter-day Saint missionaries were sent to Cape Town South Africa. For 125 years the only official presence of the church was in Africa was in South Africa, but in the 1950’s and 60’s church leaders received letters from black African nations asking for Mormon literature and baptism. These who wrote these letters gained testimony of the church from reading the Book of Mormon, which found their way into these African nations. By the end of the decade letters flooded into the church from many African nations. The church sent Mormon literature and encouragement but no missionaries. They were told to wait and that it wasn’t time. While they waited many gathered together to share testimony of the church, they called themselves to missions; opened LDS looks sores and organized congregations.  In 1960 it was reported that there were more than 60 congregations in Ghana and Nigeria, with 16 thousand participants, none of which had been baptized. Many would walk more than 25 miles to participate in these meetings. It is amazing how much faith these African pioneers had, and through the Holy Ghost were able to gain testimony of the church. It is because of the Holy Ghost that the Africans were able to gain a witness of the true church, were inspired to be baptized, and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the convincing power of god unto man of the truthfulness of the gospel. The gift of the Holy Ghost is the right to have, whenever someone is worthy, the Holy Ghost as a companion.
 I am so grateful to have the gift of the Holy Ghost especially as I travel to Africa. The lord will be able to bless me and through me the spirit will be able to bring many souls unto Christ. Gifts of the Holy Ghost come by prayer, faith and works as long as it is gods will.
Joseph smith said, “salvation can not come without revelation, it is in vain for anyone to minister without it.” As I go to Africa I will rely on the spirit to direct me where to go and what to say. In Doctrine and Covenants 43: 15-16 it says
 15 Again I say, hearken ye elders of my church, whom I have appointed: Ye are not sent forth to be taught, but to teach the children of men the things which I have put into your hands by the power of my spirit;
 16 And ye are to be taught from on high. Sanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power, that ye may give even as I have spoken.”
         I will be given the power to teach the message of the restored gospel and testify of Christ and his gospel.
         It is through personal revelation that I have a firm testimony of this gospel and that I have been called of god to serve in a place that I had no idea existed until 3 months ago, and that I will be able to learn many languages.  Through prayer, scripture study and faith I have had the spirit testify to me personally that this is the one and only true church on this earth, that Joseph Smith was able to translate the book of Mormon. I have a strong testimony of the book of Moron and the truthfulness of it. I can testify that this church is lead by a prophet that receives revelation from god so we can be blessed with the gospel of Jesus Christ. God is a loving Heavenly Father and wants us to be eternally happy and it is through the gospel of Jesus Christ that we can be eternally happy. I am so thankful for our Savior Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice, which made if possible for us to be forgiven of our sins. I would like to invite those who do not have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ should read the Book of Mormon and pray with a sincere heart and do as Moroni said ask if these things are not true, and if you are serious about knowing and will humble yourself the holy ghost will testify to you the truthfulness of this gospel. I cannot describe how much I love this church and I cannot wait to see the love that the people of Sierra Leone have for this gospel
In the name of Jesus Christ Amen