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 dearelder.com 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 ..you 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 http://www.dearelder.com/ 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