Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The gospel is so sweet, only if people would try it out, they would know how great their lives could be!

Wow all the pictures are really great. I love seeing what is going on at home and I'm glad that you are getting some pictures of me.

 (Pictures below are from a lady in Cody's Branch who sent them to us through Facebook - we get very few pictures of him so we are so grateful for these pictures)

Elder Latu trying to sleep but someone is bugging him!

Cody and his companion Elder Latu
So, Independence Day was on Monday so there was going to be some crazy stuff going on in the streets, so we just used Monday as a regular proselytizing day rather than a P-day.

So we are making great progress in Wellington. This week has been productive and we have seen many touched by the Holy Ghost and are really excited to find more direction in their lives.

Before I get into that ... here are a few things that have been going on with me and Elder Latu. So we have had a mouse in our apartment and I have just been waiting to get a hold of the thing. The mouse traps don't work so you just have to smash them. So Elder Latu and I were studying and we heard the mouse chewing on my suitcase, so we tear our room apart and gaurd the door. Finally the mouse makes a dash for the door and we smashed it with a heavy towel. So, if someone can tell Connor that Squeekers is in Africa and I finally killed him that would be great!

Elder Latu and I joined the Branch choir to help them sing at the branch conference. So we performed this past Sunday and we sounded pretty good (for Salone standards) keep in mind that Elder Latu and I were the best at singing...

I recieved two letters this week. One from Hannah Smith and one from Rebecca Laughlin. I will write back to you guys just give the mail system one month. I was quite excited when I recieved mail!!!

Oh and Happy Birthday Jeff! I hope you eat a lot of food! I wrote you a letter, but it should be coming late.

President Ostler has instructed us on how we can help Sierra Leone get a good foundation in the gospel, and he has helped us understand how finding the elect will help Sierra Leone grow. So we have been finding older men who are educated, and these people take much longer to accept the gospel, but once they do they are powerful members. So about 1 month ago Elder Latu and I came across a very educated man named Brother Sankoh. When we asked him if we could visit him he said yes, like most would, but he didnt sound all that interested. When we met with him, we introduced the Book of Mormon and really talked a lot about Christ. He was very surprised to find that we worshipped Christ, but still didn't seem all that interested. We have visited with him about 4 times (once a week) and the last time that we went to him he had read the Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet and the Book of Mormon and the best part is that he asked us if he could be baptized.  He went from doubtful of Joseph Smith and  the Book of Mormon to having a desire to follow Christ by reading, pondering and praying about the Book of Mormon.  There are miracles happening all over the place and so many prayers are being answered. This area has so many people who will be the foundation of the church here in Sierra Leone.

Today something really great happened. As Elder Latu and I were walking down the street to get a taxi we walked past a car garage (machanic shop) where a few people were arguing about something in the bible. As we walked by they asked us to come over tro clarify something for them, seeing it as a great opportunity to find and teach we stopped. They had a question about drinking alcohol and whether the bible says it is good or bad. So I pull out a word of wisdom pamphlet and bore testimony of the restoration and how we have a prophet who can guide us and help us know what is right and wrong. Halfway through testifying of Joseph Smith I realized that I was preaching to about 15 grown men who were all gathered around. All of them were quietly and humbly listening to a 19 year old testify of Christ and his restoration. I realized how lost people are, I am so glad that I have the gospel and that I am led by a prophet who recieves revelation from the most high. The gospel is so sweet, only if people would try it out, they would know how great their lives could be.

Welp see ya soon,
Elder Beckett

Monday, April 21, 2014

I was really surprised to see how calm the Easter morning was!

Hello and Happy Easter Monday!

The pictures are great, looks like you guys had a good time. I am trying to remember why there is a bunny involved with Easter and colored eggs ...hahaha. The house looks good and big, its good to see Zac wearing my clothes too.

Easter fun at home 2014

There are not much of traditions here besides going to church and making a lot of noise. The funny part of the holidays here is that they give us electricity on holidays, so we enjoyed the evening.. I was really suprised to see how calm the Easter morning was. There was no loud music playing, there were no children screaming from being beat, I think that everyone was affected by the Easter season here.

I have been doing quite a bit of research on the Atonement of Christ, and I have been trying to understand why and how it affects and how we can apply it to our lives. Through diligent study I have been able to find the relationship between the preisthood and the Atonement and I really see the amazing affect it has on our lives if we choose to let it. That is the great part of the plan, is that you get what you look for.

Our area is doing well. The people we are teaching will take a while to convert, but they will most definitely help this place grow. We have been able to serve our branch president and I think this branch will really be able to grow and become a ward.

I got a letter from dad this week and I really enjoyed it. I really enjoy letters, and I like sending them too.

We are teaching a part member family and helping them into the gospel. One of the daughters took a picture of me and Elder Latu  to send to you through my facebook account. So if you accept "Adama S Kamara" you can get that picture

It rained for the first time this week. The air here has lots of dust in it, so when the rain came it collected all the dust and turned it to mud rain, so our shirts got really dirty but it was a nice cool down.

Something that strikes me deep in the heart every so often is that I have been selected to come here and represent Jesus Christ. When I am down or tired I think of the statement, "What would Christ do". I have one of the greatest opportunities that anyone could have not because I'm in Africa, but that I get to meet people and see them change.

Thanks for the update on what is going on at home. 

I'lll see you soon.
Elder Beckett

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sometimes it takes patience and a love for others, because everyone comes from a different background

This week has gone by quick, actually all the weeks go by quick. Its amazing how short my time is here. I only have two more transfers left until I will have been here for 1 year and then I will be on the down hill. I try to savor the great moments here, but everything seems to go too fast. 

Not much is happening here, but it is the end of dry season, there wont be to many more nights where you come to lay in your bed and you find that your bed is still wet with sweat from the night before... haha. We just got our rain boots ready for the rainy season.

Elder Latu is great, training is a great learning experience, for me sometimes it takes patience and a love for others, because everyone comes from a different background, as Elder Latu and I get to know each other more we are greater and greater friends. The area that we are in is getting a strong foundation, we are focusing on the "elect" and on families. So its great to learn more and more about helping others come unto Christ. 

Wow you guys are enjoying the river! That's good! Enjoy the AC and the cool river and the dirt bikes and nice food. Can you go in the water yet? We need to plan a river trip when I
get home. On the way to the internet cafe I was day dreaming about bare foot water skiing. So don't think I have forgotten the river!

Every week my testimony of Christ is strengthened. It usually comes through reading and applying what is in the Book of Mormon. So during the Easter season my testimony of Christ is full and raising.

The technology here is distracting to those who have it, but most people are able to communicate well through calling and talking face to face. Most people don't have computers or ipods, but the few that do have to go to a charging station that runs off a generator to charge up or occasionally you will see with a solar chargers.  So as far as the gospel, most people don't go on the internet, so they don't hear all he crazy things said about our church and the gospel that aren't true, so its nice for the missionaries.

In the middle of unorganized, dirty, unsanitary, insensible, loud and impoverished living I can find my peace with just two books, The Book of Mormon and the Bible. I love reading them both!

I love you, I will see you soon!

Elder Beckett

Monday, April 7, 2014

My testimony has sky rocketed! I love everything about the gospel!

This week has been really great for me, well besides I lost Elder Bogh. Elder Bogh went to a place called Goderich, its in the west. He was there 1 year ago so he gets to go back and see some of his recent converts. Elder Bogh left on Monday and I received Elder Latu on Wednesday. So I got to proselyte with Elder Onwukaeze for a few days until I had my companion delivered to me. I was a little nervous about receiving a very new missionary, but it is very exciting. I had no idea who my companion was going to be until he showed up to the apartment. So my new companion is Elder Latu. He is from texas, and both of his parents are Tongan. He is about 3 times my size, he is 19 and he is really sweet. He has a lot of Tongan culture in him, so I have enjoyed learning about his background.

Training is pretty interesting. You don't really realize how much you know about missionary work until you train someone. I have enjoyed it so far, although we aren't to far into it yet, I love studying the fundamentals and applying them. I feel like I have grown a lot as a servant of the Lord this week. Every transfer you can learn something from your companion and I have learned a lot already. Elder Latu is really ready to make a difference in the lives of the people here and he makes sure I am eating lots of fruit. :) Oh and its really strange, I am the second oldest missionary in my apartment. We have a really young apartment.

Most missionaries were freaking out about the virus also, but the hype has gone down. We follow the rules and everything is okay. (The deadly virus Ebola is a threat to Sierra Leone right now so you can imagine how uptight everyone has been this past week. If interested you can read more about the virus here . We are comforted and reassured after hearing from his mission president that they are taking every measure of caution and are ready to remove the missionaries if necessary. His note is at the end of this letter if your interested in reading that).

Sorry to hear about your back. I use the medicine that you sent with me all the time, mostly cold and pain relievers. My athletes foot has gone down, I have been using your oils.

All of the weekend I have been thinking about General Conference (General Conference is a televised broadcast from Salt Lake City, Utah that takes every six months where the Prophet and Apostles from our church speak. You can click here to listen to their recent messages. Cody wont have this for about month as they don't have the technology there like we do.) and what was being said, I really wish I could hear it right now, but it will come in about a month. We didn't get to see all the talks from the last general conference, but we got half.  I love to read the Liahona magazines, they have talks by the apostles but conference is the best. Wow do I miss going to conference. Going up there with my friends is really fun, I wish I was with them but on the other hand I am having the time of my life here in Wellington. I am really loving this place and the people here. I feel we have really strengthened this place. We have about 4 part member families that we are working with to complete. We are seeing a little more help from the branch in terms of retaining people. This mission is really becoming strong.

My testimony has sky rocketed! I love everything about the gospel. I love to find answers to investigators questions and strengthening my own knowledge. My life has so much purpose and happiness. I feel as though nothing can take this away for me. My mission is going too quickly, I wish I could make more of a difference. I am trying my best and loving every minute.

So everyone here loves Elder Latu. People here have a different view about appearance. The bigger someone is the better they are. If someone is big here that means that they eat well and they are healthy. So everyone just loves to meet Elder Latu. Almost everyone at church greeted him and people in our area have already memorized his name. Its great how things work here .. haha.. Elder Latu just goes right along with it.

Okay I'll see you soon!
Elder Beckett

**Note from Pres. Ostler regarding the Ebola virus threat dated April 2nd:

At this point, we know of no known cases in that area of Sierra Leone and only one likely although still unconfirmed case in all of Sierra Leone. There are rumors of it in Sierra Leone, but anyone who has traveled to Guinea and has diarrhea, the flu or malaria is likely to be concerned that they have something worse, so these reports are usually unreliable. I am aware that some of these rumor are in Kenema (as throughout Sierra Leone).

We monitor US embassy information, public health and national and international publications.

We have consulted our area medical advisor and together have implemented a set of health safety policies. For example, no attending funerals, no teaching those who are sick, no handshaking, only eating food that is missionary prepared or packaged store food. These were announced to the missionaries on Tuesday and today each district will be trained on them.

We have been advised that almost all cases of Ebola are transmitted through close contact (medical care, funeral preparation) and not through airborne transmission like sneezing. Since we don't have any confirmed cases, and with these measures we feel comfortable with these measure. However, we review these daily with the area medical advisor and are prepared to make any changes, even move missionaries if warranted. And we are being prayerful.

In addition, we are sending additional funds to each missionary apartment so that they can purchase some additional food and cleaning supplies for the apartment and to top up their fuel, water and telephones.

We have tried to reassure the missionaries that the prepared shall not fear. Likewise, we are trying to reassure as they have concerns with any natural and minor symptom.