Monday, February 24, 2014

One of the big reasons I came on a mission was because I knew that my life would be greatly affected by it!

Well Hello,

I have a lot of experiences here in Salone. I don't really tell you all of them because they aren't that great to dwell on. Its actually not an easy mission to be in because you see so much suffering. It's a good thing we have companions to talk with and laugh with otherwise you would just be sucked into sadness. So, I don't tell you most things for your sakes :) and you will never truly understand what its like here until you come. 

Hot yoga? I have heard of that. If you came here and did yoga it would be the same thing! Elder Bogh and I are trying to get in shape. Rice is basically like a poison, and I am tired of eating it, so we are going to try to eat other stuff, I don't know what really. We are running every morning which is really great. We decided to stop running on the median of the road and found a road to run on that is a little more safe. It's pretty hard to stay healthy here. Most people here are not healthy. You find lots of over weight people who have high blood pressure and other random problems. They essentially eat oil and carbs.

Wow, Landon is home (a friend who just returned from his mission in South Africa)! hahah I can imagine how he talks. Wow, to surf and to eat Pedro's - 
 I bet it was great (Randy and Landon went surfing and to Pedro's day after he was home)!  All I ask is that you send me a Pedro's sticker. I can't even imagine going home, that would be so strange. So sweet to hear about Connor Lee (another friend who just sent in his mission papers and waiting to find out where he will be going)!! Elder Bogh has 6 months till he will go home so I might send my SD card with pictures home soon with the Ostler's daughter.  

Wow, that is really sweet, yeah there are a few things that you could send to me that would be great!  Pres. Ostler, Cody's mission presidents daughter is a friend to one of our friends and his daughter is going to Sierra Leone this week and offered to take items to Cody so this is what he has requested:

1. Pictures of whatever is going on at home recently and a memory card for my camera because I will be sending mine home.
2. Letters
3.  Chocolate 
4.  Another journal
5. Music
6. Vitamins
7. Gillet Fusion razor blades
8. Anything else you want me to enjoy :)

I received a letter from Sister T. It was one she sent me 3 months ago, I finally got it. I loved all the pictures inside. I got the package from Aunt Pam. The chocolate is what kept me alive this week. The seasonings will really come in handy, I will definitely use them. The Nuetella is glorious, I put it on all of my pancakes every morning. The hot chocolate is also great, I have enjoyed this week! Thank you!

So this week was like waking up from a 5 hour nap, all sweaty and glorious. Elder Bogh and I have been on fire. We have found the coolest poeple and have taught the coolest lessons. I am loving Elder Bogh.

If you read Doctrine & Covenants 4:4  "For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul" ... you see that he that thrusts in his sickle with his might gains his own salvation. I have seen that on my mission, even just on the 6 months that I have been here. I couldn't even imagine what my life would be like if I didn't come. I have been listening to a talk by Gordon B Hinckley about "Switch Points" in our lives (you can click here to read or listen to), and how the choices we make lead our lives down certain paths. The small and big choices that we make in our lives have a great affect on who we become. One of the big reasons I came on a mission was because I knew that my life would be greatly affected by it, and it was the best thing for me.. now that I'm here I have learned so much and really have come to love the gospel of Jesus Christ. A mission is so great!

That's all folks!
Elder Beckett

Monday, February 17, 2014

The work is what makes me happy!

Picture from his "super p-day at Bureh Beach two weeks ago. It's blurry but we'll take it!! Cody is back row, right, fourth person in. His companion Elder Bogh is top row left, fifth Elder in. 

Hello, how is everyone? I'm guessing that eveything is still the same. Not to many exciting things happened this week. We have been working with a lot of members to help fellowship the investigators that we have and it is really working. I received Elder Bogh today. Elder Appiah has been transfered. Elder Bogh is from Redlands California, so not too far away from home. I am glad to have Elder Bogh although missionary work is a little bit harder with two white poeple, but not bad. I still have the district leader as a companion which is still sweet because I like going on exchanges.

To answer your questions, I got the hymn book and I really love it, I wrote grandma a letter to thank her. Haha... when you send a package, all the food is gone within a week, except for the Famous Amos, I have kept those because they are really good. Yeah, I will get those sandals made for you and Jana. I can't send anything home unless I send it with a missionary who is going home. There is no mail system here, well... there is only one post office in the whole country, but its in the West of Freetown.

So the best part of my week was working with this man named Lance. Lance got baptized the first week that I came into this area. He is really strong. He gets a lot of opposition from his family. His family only feeds him once a week, they no longer pay for his schooling or his transportation and sometimes they wont open the door to the house at night to let him in but he still comes. Even on Sunday the family took his white shirt so he couldn't come to church, but he came anyway dressed in casual clothes. He is always ready to go with us to teach and is already preparing to go on a mission. He is reading Preach My Gospel already. I was talking with Lance last night and I was listening to some music with him. I remembered that I had the music from that movie Blood Diamond, so I played it to him. There are three songs on that track that have Sierra Leone indigenous languages in them. He translated them for me and it was really sweet. All the music that you hear around here is fast and really loud pop but I guess that the people in the countryside make more "cultural" music. Lance has taught me a lot about the history of this place and I have really enjoyed it.

We will also have one woman baptized this week and she will also be really strong.

The work is what makes me happy and we are working pretty good. If I wasn't on a mission here, I dont really know what I would do here.

All in all I'm good!
Elder Beckett

Monday, February 10, 2014

I have just been realizing some sweet things!

Hello Mother,

I don't have much to say about this week other than it went really fast. Mostly because we have been working hard. I'm realizing how short my mission is. I will be out 6 months this transfer. Transfer news is coming soon and I'm most positive that I will be staying and my companion will be leaving.The area is growing and we are working hard. We have some good investigators who are very serious about the gospel. One investigator named Aminata is really liking it even though all her fellow work mates give her a hard time about it, she still comes and knows she is going to something that will help her. This area has a lot of people that are against the church. 

So once every three months or so you just get so tired of eating rice that when you force it down your throat it makes you feel sick, and that usually lasts for about a week. This rice sickness hit me this week so instead of eating full plates of rice I have only been eating half or quarter plates. So it was a really a great thing to get two packages, one from you and one from grandma grandpa and uncle Brent. Your package was really awesome! The elders in the apartment and I really enjoyed the talks that you sent and  I'm really enjoying the Famous Amos cookies, the Bell family cook book and the Richins family cook book. Because of the area that I'm in I can really only cook a few desserts, but when I get in an area with a super market it will be better. Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Brent... thank you for the oatmeal, the letters, treats and the shirt! You really saved me this week. Jana the sweets and the letter were awesome. I loved the Chicklets! I got letters from dad, Rushton Hiltbrand and the priest quorum. Thank you... you guys are really supporting me. Oh and I don't need AA batteries but AAA. Thank you for all the notes and the family card, ... that made the package!

That's sweet, I can't wait to see the river house. (The following comment  from him is a response he had after I shared the following in my email to him this week. " So this week was filled with lots of shopping, shopping and shopping for the river house. We have been doing a big make over and it's looking super great. Sister Gardner and I have been doing most of the decorating and several times we got laughing at ourselves when we were shopping b/c we would be trying to find matching decorations or bed pillows and paint, etc and think about you in Africa dealing with 3rd world problems and we would say geez ... the people in Africa would laugh at our 1st world problems!! Helps me put things in perspective...We are a blessed nation for sure!" )The people here are always looking for money, that is the first thing on there minds really so if they had money they would be doing the same, but yeah, it's not that easy to live here.

What? ..the Sequoia is going??  What are you going to drive the whole family in? Is the Lexus fast? Send me pictures of Zac pole vaulting.

We have been studying the Atonement this week and have just been realizing some sweet things. Without the Atonement what is baptism? The sacrament? The temple? This life? The priesthood? I have come to see that the Atonement is necessary in the gospel. Once people here better understand the Atonement they will better under stand the gospel.

Welp that's all folks!
Elder Beckett

Monday, February 3, 2014

I learn everyday!

This week has been really great, we have been really working hard, although on Thursday I did get the flu, I am better now. I borrowed some John Bytheway talks that got me through the day. My companion is still a district leader and because of that I go on many exchanges. Friday I went on an exchange with Elder Mongalo from South Africa, that was a good time. 

Today our zone went to Bureh Beach again and enjoyed ourselves. We played futbal and frisbee and ate. Of course people were surfing again. I talked with some of the guys I met last time and met someone from San Jose, California. This guy is traveling from London to Cape town on a motorcycle, all the way down Africa. He is surfing all the way down. He's a really sweet guy! He has enjoyed Bureh Beach so much that he has stayed there for 3 weeks.

Bureh Beach, Sierra Leone

Some members of the Bureh Beach Surf club

When we are working hard I am feeling good and this week we really have been working hard. We have really been sticking to the basics and it is paying off. We have particularly been focusing on God and who he is and what he does. Everyone here thinks God is a spirit, even some of the church members. The longer I'm here the better I'm understanding the people here. Back home I know the missionaries get rejected and get told crappy things. I have found out that people say those same things here, but not to our face. Except for one investigator we have, she is giving us a hard time. She has decided that all churches are Christ church and you can worship anyway. She is convinced that this is Joseph Smith's church or something. So really this mission is a lot like every other mission, once you get past the language and the culture.

Mom can you send some AAA batteries and a nice frisbee. Does anyone want a shirt made for them? I can have them made, you just wont get them for a long while. Mom and Jana if you take a pair of sandals and measure the bottom of them and send me the measurements, I can get some sweet sandals for you.

I am getting pretty tired of eating rice but hey, almost a quarter of the way till I can have some In- n -Out! 

Wow, Zac is taking finals. I'm glad I'm not in high school anymore! Send my greetings to grandpa, Uncle Verlin and Joel for their birthday's this week. 

Oh water problems ... we have water problems here also, only on certain days can people get water from the faucets. 

I learn everyday and have found that there is no perfect missionary and that we can all work on something. God really does love us, I try to look for the blessings everyday, I always try to imagine what prayers are answered throughout my day.  The plan of salvation is my favorite gospel topic, because you can always learn more and its the most amazing thing I have ever really knew to be true.  I have realized that there is so  much we need to do in this life to go back to God but that is why we have missionary work.

Alright talk to you next week ....
love , me