Monday, January 27, 2014

The rice really plumps you up!


So to answer some questions, I don't really know why I was moved, but I guess I was needed to move to this apartment. I really didn't want to leave  Kossoh Town, because I felt like I was making a difference there. I loved the members, I loved my investigators and I loved my recent converts, so it was hard to go to a new area where I know nothing about. Over the past week things have gotten much better. My companion is elder Gyewu-Appiah (G-U-Appiah), from Ghana, we are serving in the Wellington area, it is about 10 minutes closer to Freetown. Elder Appiah and I have decided to really focus on the branch and less-active people, while teaching some investigators. President Hinckley said something like, "You can baptize the whole world, but what good is it if the members don't stay active."

Wellington is an area located in the far east of the capital city of Sierra LeoneFreetown. The area is actually seen as an industrial estate. It is home to several minor industries found in the country. These include the Sierra Leone Brewery Ltd, Marika Palm Kernel Enterprises, etc.

Elder Appiah and I are getting along great. Our area is full of hills, we have been tired of going up the mountain, so we have been taking motorcycles taxis. I will try to send you a video, but if not you will see it when I come home. My clothes get really dirty now because of the dry season, there is a lot of dust in the dry season. In the wet season I could wear a shirt for 3 days, but now I have to change my shirt everyday. Our apartment is really nice.. we have light almost all the time and we have running water. I'm still is so hot at night, two nights
ago I couldn't get to sleep, I just laid in bed and sweat a lot.

Click here to watch a short video to get more insight of Cody's new are in Wellington 

I have gained a lot of fat since I have come, the rice really plumps you up. I have been working out with an elder in my apartment who is ripped just like Jacob Warner. He is like my trainer, I have started to gain some muscle and put off some fat. In fact my companion and I went running this morning. We went down to the highway to run. We went running on the
median (about 3 feet wide) in the middle of a 4 lane highway. That is the only flat place to run, and we have seen people do it, so we started, it felt really good to run. I have been eating a lot in this new area, the other day we got 4 free meals after we ate lunch. So basically we ate rice for 5 hours, I am not really sure how we put it down. People never tell you when they will feed you and if you ask you will get.

So that highway that we were running a long is very interesting. It is the road we take to come email every Monday. It is basically a garage sale for 10 miles along the freeway. You can find anything you want there, clothes, workout equipment, shoes, electronics, cars, tires, toys, and other half half things. Sierra Leone is very funny, I enjoy the people and the culture.

I am good and my testimony is really strong. I wish when I was at home I shared the message of this church with more people. It's very unreal how my personal belief and knowledge of Jesus Christ has grown since I have been here.

I serve Jesus Christ and represent Him and I also represent my family. .. So I have given 2 years for my love of Jesus Christ and for the love of my family. 
Love, Elder Beckett

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I forgot it was my birthday!

Thanks for the Birthday wishes, I woke up and forgot that it was my birthday, but luckily you sent that calendar, so that is how I remembered. Usually people here celebrate birthdays by eating lots of food. That is really how they celebrate everything. Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes, I may not be able to respond to all of you but I have enjoyed your messages!

Yes I'm feeling better ... last week I was only sick for a few days. The weather is humid beyond belief here and hot like at the river house is in the summer. (I checked the weather there for the week and it looks like the high in the daytime will be 92* and the low in the evening will be 76* and the humidity will vary from about 60-86% - well at least his bucket showers are cold!!)

It's good to hear that those guys finally emailed you. The picture is sweet!! (Below is a picture of some guys from San Clemente, CA that Cody and his companion met a month or so ago. They are return missionaries and were there in Sierra Leone on a humanitarian trip. There is an inspiring story if you are interested in reading about their organization just click here , but in a nut shell the African looking guy on the far right is Fas Lebbie. He was raised in Sierra Leone for part of his life then his family had a unique opportunity to move to the US. He and his family ended up joining our church when he was 16, served a mission and has started his own business and an organization to try and help the people of his native country. Below is a wonderful note and picture that we are so grateful for that was emailed to us from the photographer who is part of the group.


"I was recently in Sierra Leone on a humanitarian project as the photographer. One day after documenting FAS movement teaching some orphans how to surf, making our way back through the dirty claustrophobic streets, we passed the missionaries. It was a dramatic contrast to see two young men in white shirts and ties contacting in the streets. It made me think and appreciate the goodness of God.  I just returned from my mission in Southern Africa. I served in the Johannesburg South Africa mission and the Botswana Namibia mission as well. 2011-2013 It was interesting to experience a different part of Africa. My hat is off to your son, there is plenty of work to do in Sierra Leone. The weather is humid and the country is super undeveloped and there is a lot of poverty and pollution. But many many opportunities to serve. "

"Anyways don't want to take to much time. Your son is healthy and strong. He has a very optimist attitude about the work and seems to be very happy. It was nice to say hi, hope you have a nice day! "

- Brother Fackrell 

Cody, Elder Flament and the Fas Movement group

This week has been very different. Late Tuesday night I got a call from the zone leaders telling me I was going to be transferred the next day. This was strange because transfers happen in 6 week cycles, and it was week 2. So, basically they pulled me out of an area that I loved, where I really felt I was making a change with the branch and  the investigators and put me into an area where I don't know anything about and I felt like I couldn't help. My new apartment is full of all Africans... I am the only white guy, so its a little different. The cultures are very different, but I am becoming friends with them small small (oh the Krio). I have been looking for the blessings of being in this area, and one that I found was that I was able to contact some women that were from  Brooklyn, New York visiting some family here. I got their information to send to the missionaries in the US. They said they wanted to meet with missionaries after I told them about the church and the mission I am on. So that was really cool! If I was not here, I don't think they would have been contacted. So dad I got to do some missionary work in your mission! Anyway, I am adjusting to the new area (which he forgot to mention where that is..haha)and I am getting along pretty good with my new companion.

Sorry, I cant send pictures, but you will have them when I come home. 

Mom I have some things I would like to have, could you send them to me?
-hand sanitizer 
-church stickers for primary
- fun stickers to put on letters like scrap booking stickers

Thanks mom ... I love you goodbye! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

I have only been rejected twice on this mission

I am okay but I'm kind of sick. I had a cold last night and today I have a stomach ache and diarrhea but besides that we have had a good week.

 I have been proselyting with my military issued standard work (thank you Sean Ryan). I made a small case with  thin cardboard and duct tape, leaving just the spine of the small books out in the open. I use the boot strap to hold them in. Anyway, as we have been going about our missionary business many people have asked me if what I was holding (the mini scriptures) was a bible. I would go on to explain about how I have the New Testament andThe Book of Mormon, a nice way to bring up a discussion. We have found a few people because of it. While leaving a lesson a man at this investigator asked, "Is that a bible?" I gave this man a 1 minute explanation about how God has given us the Old Testament, the New Testament, and now another Testament, The Book of Mormon. After a few minutes of him asking some questions and us clearing up some confusion, he compared the Book of Mormon to the Quran (The Quran - English pronunciation Koran is the central religious text of Islam). He seemed pretty opposed to the idea of the Book of Mormon. We asked if we could come to his house another time and explain. He straight up told us he doesn't want to know about what we teach or The Book of Mormon. I have only been rejected twice on this mission. It really sinks into you, that the person who rejected The Book of Mormon wont be able to get the blessings that it brings. Startled and confused a little Elder Flament and I respected this mans agency and moved on. The whole day I couldn't get it off my mind. I have been thinking about the missionaries at home and how often they get rejected because of The Book of Mormon or the name "mormon" or Joseph Smith'. It's to bad that people can't see that this is Jesus Christ's church and that there are boku boku blessings if the gospel of Jesus Christ is lived. We don't worship anyone but God. So, that was a fun experience....

 Mom would you mind sending me some pudding, the kind you have to cook? Some Nutella?

On that thumb drive with music, if the songs are not converted to MP3,
they wont play on my speaker and can you throw on some Johnny Cash
gospel and some Phantom of The Opera!  Thanks, mom!

Love Elder Beckett

Monday, January 6, 2014

We had a service project at a local polio clinic

My week was really good. We had a service project at a local polio clinic. Our zone painted the whole building, and it took the whole day. That project made us miss a few lessons, but its okay, the polio people needed it. I don't really understand what the polio clinic does except house people with polio, mostly children. Its pretty unreal how they are taken care of. I would rather sleep outside than in there. 

Cody and others painting at the Polio Clinic

As we were painting the president of Sierra Leone stopped by in his car and gave someone 500 dollars. Its funny, I have seen this president
more than my own.  He drives in a big convoy, but there is no need, no one would hurt that man here, they love him too much, most likely because he gives money and stuff but that was good.

Ernest Bai Koroma
Sierra Leone, President
Here is a New Year letter for 2014 written by the president of Sierra Leone to the country 
if you are interested in reading click here 

We have been preparing one family of 3 and another for baptism, and they were baptized on WednesdayNew Years day. The baptism was really good. We had some problems with some branch members not fulfilling their responsibilities but we covered them. We had the most people I've ever seen show up to this baptism, I think because we had a party right after the baptism. The family we brought to the church is really happy and strong. Their names are Mariatu and Abraham. They were so excited to pay their tithing this week, even the day after they were baptized, so we helped them do that. The other one that we baptized was Musa. He has friended me on Facebook, so if you accept it and message him you can to talk to him and even give him messages for me.  

This week we had interviews with president Ostler, and it was fun to talk to him. We also got transfer news and I will remain with Elder Flament. I am glad because we have a lot of people lined up for baptism this transfer. Elder Flament and I have been studying in the
"first 12 weeks" program. It's for training but we are freshening up on our teaching skills and the basics of missionary work.

Cody is the one with the hat and his companion, Elder Flament is the tall one on the left, second elder in. He is from England.

I got your package and it was suuuuper sweet! The best parts were the calendar with the family pictures, the picture book and the quote book and of course the candies are fantastic and I loves the cake. I couldn't wait until my birthday to open it. Thank you brother and sister Larsen for the Oreos and your Christmas card. I am limiting myself to 1 Oreo a day so they will last long. The Rushton's even sent me a small package full of snacks and a letter and some "future missionary" stickers to give to some people. I think I'll give them to the primary, because they don't have stuff like that. Thank you Rushton's I loved it! The Bartons sent me a
letter, that was really sweet to hear from them also. The most surprising letter I got was from Hannah McGuire (a friend from school). I will write them all back on that card stock paper you sent. I think the paper I was using before was not working  all the time for the pouch system and maybe that's why people were not getting letters. Thank you for the card stock. How is Zac, Jeff, Jana and Brad? I love looking at them in the calendar.

Wow Chase is home from China, and planning to go to BYU! I miss that guy, does he have a beard?

You can still send the music on the thumb drive thanks.

Jeff,  for New Years eve the people here just stay up late and go to church. Every church
has a service, even our own but people bang pots and dance. The churches here just dance and sing at there services. The music is Salone gospel, basically techno.

Mom, those are sweet goals you have this year, I will come help with them when I get home. We set goals every month, week and day. I have learned how to make reasonable goals that will 
make me stretch.

Dad, thanks for all the advice, and its all true.  Wow, super cross has already started! I thought it was later in January. Haha.. the people here would love to know that Bubba Stewart is racing. If a black man is good at anything the people here claim him as their own, for example Obama. Alright .. thank you dad, I love you, I will see you soon!


Elder Beckett