Monday, August 25, 2014

So I guess I'm still a refugee!

P-day in Ghana. Look how nice this place is. It has a field with grass. We played football (soccer)!

So I guess I am still a refugee! At least I still feel like one. After two weeks of being in Kwabenya I was transfered to Adweso in Koforidua. So I am still being moved around and settling in but all is well in Adweso. I have had a good time this week, instructing elders on things they can do in missionary work that they have never tried before, that I have learned from my last mission. President Heid put me as a District Leader here which is funny because I dont really know how Ghana works yet, but I like to instruct, it keeps me going. I love to see people progress and be better missionaries.

Ghana is nice, there are lots of resources here, lots of things you can do here than I couldn't  in Sierra Leone because of how Ghana is advanced past Sierra Leone. I am in an internet cafe right now that looks like I am at home, its even quiet in here like a library. The people are different though. I dont know how to connect with them like I could in Salone, but I will get used to that.

On Saturday when I was on mission for a year, it felt like I had started over. It was a long day. We contacted for like 4 hours because our appointments bounced us, I didnt know how to contact people here, and I wanted to sleep. Not a bad way to celebrate I guess.. we bike alot here, and my legs are feeling it, but not bad I need to work out anyways. This mission is a little more ralaxed about missionary work, but that can change.

Two days before we were locked down in Salone, Elder Vincent from the seventies came and spake to us and now I get to hear from Elder Dube on Wednesday. So that is pretty cool!

Well I wrote a few letters home so I hope you can get it.

Also there are ATM's here, so if I get my card I can get personal money that way. 

Ghana has a lot of culture, so there is actually cool stuff to buy here. Hopefully I can get things before I am transfered again ..hahaha!

Well love Eder Beckett

Monday, August 18, 2014

"Ghana" be a change to be in Ghana!

 This week has been okay. "Ghana" be a change to be in Ghana. I am trying to understand the mission and how it works. I had never realized how different missions could be, just how the mission goes about administering the work at the direction of the mission president.

I really miss my last branch and all of Sierra Leone! I don't like hearing bad news about Sierra Leone because I personally know the people there..small small.

I dont really know the area yet, but it is pretty big. Its called Kwabenya. Its in Accra, but I dont really know where. I am not used to such a big area, but its a nice change.

We actually get to ride bikes here! and its awesome because alot of the roads are dirt so I am having a sweet time riding on the dirt and jumping here and there. 

We actually get to ride bikes here! and its awesome because alot of the roads are dirt so I am having a sweet time riding on the dirt and jumping here and there. Here I'm coming our of a village. 

Riding in the bush

I have a sweet companion. His name is Elder Van Wagoner. He's from Utah. He reminds me of Connor Robertson. He is really making me feel welcome. Its nice to learn from him on how to teach people here. Its so weird to me to speak english to people here. I am in such a habbit of speaking krio to black people. iIam picking up the language "kakra kakra" (small small) and almost everyone is educated! So teaching is so much different here. People have a better understanding of how the world works here. 

I have a sweet companion. His name is Elder Van Wagoner. He's from Utah. He reminds me of Connor Robertson. He is really making me feel welcome. On the railroad lines. They actually have trains here!

Our ward is awesome! It works like a real ward here. Our branch mission leader works at the area office, so he said that I can send letters with him that will go to Sierra Leone. So that will be really nice to be able to mail letters to some of the people there.

Some cool new stuff that is here- I can send packages home now. So I will try to send some Sierra Leone stuff to you. 

Also there are ATM's here, so if you send me a card I can get money that way.

There is alot of stuff here .

"Ghana" be a great time!
Boku love!

Monday, August 11, 2014

I miss Sierra Leone and everything about the culture!

So first to answer your questions:

1) I think there was only two chartered flights. Half went to portugal, half straight to Ghana.  After Portugal, there weren't  any more chartered flights so regular airline to England.
2) President Ostler will be released
3) No you don't have to send me a suit or shoes I should be able to find everything here.
4) No one  from the mission will be in Sierra Leone
5) I can buy new books here. The area office is here, so they have everything
6) I will try to get that elders address
7) The flights were sweet, they fed us super awesome sandwiches.

Yeah I have a lot of emails this week asking how I am and stuff about Ebola.  Haha... thats really funny that all of that stuff  happened this week (he is commenting regarding my Facebook post this week - What are the chances that two of your sons happen to be living where the top two news stories are being covered. Ebola in Sierra Leone and Hurricane in Hawaii).

What a week! One son in the middle of the hurricane in Hawaii, one son being evacuated from Sierra Leone because of the Ebola virus, one son gets 25 stitches. Hopefully, the other two children will stay quietly in their rooms where they have been locked up until next week

 Brad and I are living in awesome places!! Do you have any pictures of Jeff's actual cut?  Thats a funny facebook post.
That is so sweet that Elder Losee is in the singles ward back home (one of the Elders evacuated with Cody)! if you talk to him, he will give you a lot of information about what happened. He is a sweet guy and give him lots of cookies, its not easy to adjust.

Yeah, I thought that they might know president Heid (Cody's new mission president is from Fallbrook and some of our family that live there know him). Thats really funny, next time I see him I will ask him if he remembers them.

Its pretty hard adjusting. I just want to talk to everyone in krio and its hard here because everyone speaks english and its hard to connect with people because I dont know how to speak their language. I miss Sierra Leone and everything about the culture. People here are not as welcoming. I am looking forward to meeting some of the Sierra Leone missionaries that are serving here.. the mission is run completely different, so I am tryig to get used to that. It doesnt seem like there is too big of a focus on Preach My Gospel, which is all we focused on in Serra Leone but I realize that I am now in a new mission with different goals. Because there is 24 hour light here, we work until 9 which makes me really tired but it's nice to have electricity all the time.

Ghana, from what I have seen is sooo nice. There is so much stuff here and the buildings are nice....Although yeah, we are still in West Africa, its so sweet. I'll send you some pics sometime soon.

small small 
elder beckett

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Letter From Marva Pothier - "Having them for dinner blessed all."

Cody's first Sunday in Ghana a wonderful couple from Arizona who were there on a 10 week charity group assignment had these elders over for dinner. She was so kind to take these pictures and also send us a wonderful letter (posted below). Thank you are an angel! Small world (and a tender mercy) ....those of you who know Joey and Katie Anderson, this couple are Joey's great aunt and uncle :-)

"It meant a lot to us to have these four Elders eat with us as we are missing our own grandson's homecoming today. 
 We were not there for his return from Chili and now have missed his homecoming." ~Marva


We just had your missionary son, Elder Beckett, in our home for dinner and enjoyed such a nice time with him.  He is doing very well, finding Ghana more advanced than Sierra Leon and settling into the work.  He truly is a fine young man and we loved having him.

We served a mission at BYU Idaho which extended to 5 1/2 years and although we were released, we still serve the school. That's why we are in Africa, trying to facilitate some programs, working with PEF and the Self Reliance Center, Engage Now Africa and the Golden Sunbeam International School.  We've been here 8 week and have two weeks left before we return to Mesa, Arizona.

It meant a lot to us to have these four Elders eat with us as we are missing our own grandson's homecoming today. We were not there for his return from Chili and now have missed his homecoming.  We have another grandson in Brazil and two more planning to go next summer.  It's a great work to be a part of.

Elder Beckett will be a great blessing  to the people of Ghana.  Those who discover the church move forward in so many positive ways.  It is the  catalyst for change that is so needed.

Elder Beckett is partnered with Elder Van Wagoner who has served in this area for the past  month  They will get along well, I'm sure.  He and Elder Henrie both came from Sierra Leon.  There were only about 15 of the 274 evacuated missionaries who came here and they were grateful to be able to stay in Africa.

The epidemic of Ebola is very serious but not a problem here.  Apparently the missionaries were confined to a few apartments, crowded, not enough beds and little food to share but it was just for a short time and they got out safely.  I am writing a blog about our African adventures, two blogs in fact…one for the business part and one for personal.
You are free to look at them to learn more about Ghana and possibly what your son is experiencing.  I doubt you get a lot of detail. and

Your son was thanking us for the dinner and evening and said, ,"I just feel so comfortable here.  I feel like home."  That was the sweetest complement he could have given us. Having them for dinner blessed all.

Bob and Marva Pothier

Friday, August 8, 2014

One year mark! Travels from Sierra Leone to Portugal to London then to Ghana!

It was a memorable way to celebrate my one year on my mission traveling to all these places and the huge hotel and nice food. One year has gone by quick. On the plane they were wearing white gloves. I can't tell if they were trying to be fancy or they were scared of the ebola thing.   It will be interesting to serve my last year in Ghana. It's quiet different but not bad. Lodon is exactly like you think it would look.

From Sierra Leone to Portugal, over North Africa, the winds blow the dusts up into the clouds and you can see it. I thought it was pretty cool.

The mission in Portugal gave us super nice food and a nice hotel.

Look how nice the bathroom is! I felt like we were on the best vacation ever.

London airport with Elder Maughan and Elder Barlow. The last time we saw each other. 

Just thought I would take a quick break from missionary work and go to London for the weekend and get some Starbucks... nice to taste some food!

First time to have cheese in a year!

My first companion in Ghana, Elder Van Wagoner.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Evacuation from Sierra Leone and reassigned to Ghana, Accra mission: "I want to go back to Seirra Leone, but I will serve here the best that I can"

Hello family, friends and everyone else who wants to know about Ebola stuff.

So, I will try to tell you everything that has happened regarding Ebola and our steps of action and movements. I have been too busy and exhausted to be able to write this stuff in my journal, so I guess this is my journal for the week.The first news of Ebola came when I was with Elder Bogh about 4 1/2 months ago, whatever month that was. It was first reported in Guinea. Even though it was very far away the mission made big changes to how we work. A few changes included: no shaking hands, no eating street food (anything that was not packaged), no touching animals, couldn't go into a house where a sick person was, no attending funerals, no giving blessing to anyone but sick missionaries, we had to clean our counters and bathrooms with bleach water everyday. We also had to buy food storage. Our food storage consisted of baked beans, mixed vegetables, a bag of rice, tomato tins, oil, salt, and a few other spices. There was food to make stew for a bout a 3 weeks. Water was no problem because we had a well. Most of the members laughed at us or wouldn't take us serious when we would only bind them (fist bump). Investigators and members would be offended when we would turn down meals they had prepared for us.
Little did Cody know that his recent zone conference would be his last in Sierra Leone. You can find him pictured right in the middle.

In the back ground you can see the missionaries bind (fist pump) rather than shake hands because of ebola.

Cody enjoying his last zone conference in Sierra Leone.

So that lasted about 6 weeks or so, then the mission realized that Ebola was far away and few of the restrctions were taken away: we could shake peoples hands, we could eat from the street again and from members, but all the other rules stayed the same.

Over the weeks, rumors would come up, some that I believe and some that are false. The ones that I believed is that there were cases of Ebola that were not being reported, they were handled under the table, and hospitals would keep it all a secret. Cases all over the country being hid because of fear of the country reacting in chaos. Those cases progressed with time thats why now a big out break, because everyone was denying that it was actually in the country and nothing was being reported, and no action to stop it either. Most people believed that the government was lying about Ebola so that they could make money. Most Sierra Leonians don't like the government because it is so currupt. So no one trusted what the government was saying. There are some really whaky rumors that I wont share, but just know that most did not believe it was there and thats why it got so bad.

So all of that went on while I was with Elder Latu.

While I was with Elder Zenovieff, at the beginning of the transfer, there was reported cases of Ebola in a place called Kailoun district in Sierra Leone, its right next to Guinea. So that is where it had entered into the country. Kenema is the next big city  from Kailou and that is the farthest away that we have missionaries, was in Kenema. Around week four of last 6 week transfer, we got news that all the missionaries in Kenema were being taken out, and moved to all different parts of the mission. After talking with some missionaries who were in Kenema, they also know that Ebola had reached Kenema before the government had reported, once again it was kept a secret. The main reason that we were taken out of Kenema, was not because Kenema was swarming with Ebola, the mission was afraid of what the people would do. A senior couple stayed in Kenema for about another week and a half but the people in Kenema started to clash with the government a little because they were not doing anything to stop Ebola. Tear gas was flying a little.

So we continue with our work, kind of numbed to the thought of Ebola. Last week Monday, the night of the Muslim holiday, I got a call from the zone leaders that we were not to shake anyones hands and we were not to eat any food from the street. We didn't think much of it really, it had happened before. The next day was our zone conference, with Elder Viinson from the Seventy. Its was interesting to bind a seventy... haha! So, that day we were able to teach one lesson because of travel and Elder Vinson wanted to interview Elder Zenovieff. We got to see Osman Sankoh, luckily light (electricity) was there and we watched  a movie about the Saints after the Restoration of the church, and I gave him a hymn book and a triple combo (book of mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price.) It was a sweet lesson because his family was there watching too. When light is on, everyone is inside watching films.

The next day was p-day (wednesday) because of the hiliday on Monday. So we had our p-day like normal. Thurday we do our weekly planning, that will usually take from 10:30am until 1:00pm to complete and after we had lunch until 2:0pm. After lunch we scrambled to get to lessons, because of how few lessons we had that week. As we reached our first appointment I got a call from the zone leaders to get back to our apartments immediately, and to tell all the other people in the district. We walked casually like nothing was wrong and called all the people in the apartment and everyone was back to the apartment in a half hour(walking takes some time.) So I pulled out my Uno cards to get everyones minds off of Ebola and being in the apartment. Uno worked pretty good. About an hour later Elder Bough (one of my zoneleaders) called me, and asked if we still had food storage to last us 4 or five days. He said that we could go out one last time to buy anything we need. So Elder Zenovieff and I went and bought things like milk powder, corn flakes, onions, eggs and toilet paper, and other stuff we thought that we would like while we stayed in the apartment for 4 days.

We returned to the apartment and settled in, got everything organized and ready for the next few days. We had heard that the government said for everyone to stay in their homes, so the mission told us to do it also. By this time its now dark, and we just go on with our evening as usual.. the only problem we had was that our generator was broken and light doesn't come very often. So we couldn't charge our phones, and that would mean that we would lose contact with the mission. So we called to have it fixed and luckily we did get it fixed the next day.

Friday was really interesting, it was the first full day in the apartment. We continued with the schedule, we studied in the mornings and dressed up. After studies, we didnt really know what to do. Some worked out, some slept. The apartment was so clean, because everyone became bored and started cleaning. We cooked, we ate... we played uno for hours, but staying inside was really hard. The hardest part is that we were not allowed to communicate to anyone except for mission leaders. Couldn't accept calls from investigators, couldn't talk to members or other missionaries. The day was long, but we managed.

Saturday was about the same, we started playing football in the house, I had eaten,I wrote a letter to Jeff and then laid down to take a nap. I kept the phone next to me just in case the zone leaders called to update us. Before I could fall asleep, I got a call, but it wasn't from the zone leaders, it was from President Ostler. He said to gather all the missionaries together in the apartment and put him on speaker phone. He told us that we would all be reassigned and talked to us about how it would happen and then told us individually where we were going. I was told Ghana, Accra. All the African elders returned to their countries to finish their missions there. Almost all the Americans  were shifted to different missions in Ghana. We were told that we would be leaving the next day (Sunday). So we started packing. We were allowed 2 bags. One could be 40 pounds and the other 20. So we had to leave behind a lot of stuff. I left a lot of shirts and books that I could get again. Saturday night I was to find transportation for 3 apartments, so I managed to get three podas. Sunday morning came and we left to the mission home. No one knew, we jsut disappeared all 170 missionaries came to the mission home to prepare for our flight to Ghana. 

                     Pres Ostler posted on Facebook a few pics of the guys leaving and packing …his comment : "Getting ready to leave means sorting through what you can get on the plane. Lots of packing  and repacking and lots of things having to be left behind.

"We were allowed 2 bags. One could be 40 pounds and the other 20. So we had to leave behind a lot of stuff. I left a lot of shirts and books that I could get again."

Missionaries leaving lots of things behind. I love how there is a teddy bear.... lets just hope that was coming from one of the sister missionaries!! *wink

Pres. Ostler's Facebook post: "Moving out - Here is one wave of our reassigned missionaries leaving for a charter to Portugal. We hired a fleet of Poodas, stuffed missionaries and luggage in and hurried to take pictures and wish them good bye. Way to fast and early to say goodbye. Wonderful missionaries"

This is the first hotel we stayed at in Lungi

Ends up Ghana didn't want to accept a flight from Sierra Leone because of Ebola. So we were delayed. In the evening we were able to get a flight for all the people without an African passport to Portugal (Portugal was willing to take the missionaries in exchange for them to use there emgerency respond team to practice on the missionaries coming into their country). We ended up staying in a hotel that night because the flight hadn't come yet. 6 missionaries to a room, one bed, and 5 slices of bread and peanut butter to last two days. Luckily there was food at the restaraunt that I bought. Monday was declared by the government as a stay at home day, so we couldn't fly out. So we went from being stuck in our apartments to being stuck in a hotel.

5 of the 6 elders enjoying a very nice and comfy hotel bed (I'm kind of thinking 5 elders sleeping in one bed together might be breaking some rules - but I can't blame them for taking the opportunity to savor a moment on a really nice mattress that they haven't enjoyed in many months). I guess they thought it was funny that the hotel would provide champagne in their room with 6 mormon missionaries so they had to include it in their photo.

Tuesday morning we finally got out of the hotel and had a chartered flight come and pick us up, with a ton of doctors to test us for different symptoms of Ebola. If we were sick we wouldnt fly.

This is not Cody but Cody taking a picture of one of the other elders as they are leaving Sierra Leone and boarding a bus for the chartered flight to Portugal.

We went to Portugal and was escorted by the police to a hall where the top person in charge of health talked to us and welcomed us. The mission in Portugal helped us get a hotel and travel. Man Portugal is sooooo nice, but it was a culture shock.  First world countries are terrible. The way people dress is crazy. Everyone is looking for things that don't make them happy. I am glad that I am back in Africa. Portugal was weird. Only 2 missionaries stayed in each room and the mission got us something  like a Subway sandwich each. It was hard to adjust ... when we got to the hotel the mission president told us that many of us got another re-assignment. Everyone, except my MTC group went to the U.S. So about 10 of us stayed in Ghana.

There are 3 elders from my mission who are coming to the Irvine mission. Elder Losee, Elder Ray, and Elder Maxfield. So look for them...

We have been able to meet two of the 3 elders that were evacuated from Sierra Leone and are now serving here in the California Irvine mission. Elder Losee above and Elder Maxfield below. It was really fun to meet them and hear more about Sierra Leone and the evacuation story. They both have wonderful Krio accents...hope Cody doesn't loose his before he comes home. Hoping to meet Elder Ray soon. 

The next day after 3 hours of sleep we went to London and connected to Ghana. Met my new mission president  and relaxing and getting my clothes clean and buying some things and preparing to go to the field. Ghana is soooooo nice. Everything works, the roads, the light is here (electricity), its quiet, people speak English... no more Krio is weird. I just have an instinct to speak Krio to black people. Even in London hahah... so it will take some adjusting too.

I want to go back to Seirra Leone, but I will serve here the best that I can. At Christmas we can talk more about this or email me questions. I am okay I guess, just tired.

Love Elder Beckett...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Church Newsroom


Missionaries Serving in Two
African Nations are Reassigned

UPDATE (6 August 2014 at 3:00 p.m. MDT):
All missionaries have safely departed from Sierra Leone and Liberia, and have been reassigned to other locations. Missionaries will be traveling to their new assignments over the next few days. When they arrive they will call their families to update them. All missionaries are safe and in good health.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a strong presence in Liberia and Sierra Leone, where thousands of our members continue to live, worship and serve. The Church, through its humanitarian programs and partners, is in the process of assessing needs and considering how to best support relief efforts to its members and the people of these countries.

Missionaries Serving in Two African Nations are Reassigned (1 August 2014 at 4:00 p.m. MDT)
Due to the outbreak of illness related to the Ebola virus, as a precautionary measure, all missionaries serving in the African nations of Sierra Leone and Liberia are in the process of being transferred out of these countries and reassigned to other missions. Ensuring the health and safety of our missionaries is our top priority. In recent weeks measures have been taken to reduce risk to missionaries, including asking them to remain in their apartments. To date, there are no reports of illness among the missionaries. Families are being notified as the missionaries arrive in their new assignments. This is a very challenging situation for the missionaries, members and citizens of these countries, and like other organizations, we are taking every practical step to reduce risk.