A missionary leaves her family for a short time, so that those she teaches may be with their families forever!”

Monday, May 29, 2017

What a week

Wow. This week was so good! And not the best. What a missionary life we live 😍

Last week after we emailed we went to see what the elders were doing (they had walked through with a heavy looking cooler, a couple bags of potatoes, and lava lavas on. We were curious. Apparently President Wakolo wanted to put on a Fijian type luau for the local bishop and stake president of the ward he's been in for the last three years. So they were preparing for that. And President was there. So we said hi, then went off to get our grocery shopping done, then we had to come back for the wifi to finish stuff before we went home. They were still getting the luau set up. And then President asked if we were still working. We said, "No? We just emailed." (In my head I'm thinking, it's p-day right? We just emailed, I hope it really is Monday.) Then he asked why we were still dressed up. We just never thought to change, then he asked us to come over and get a piece of pizza. It was weird, but we had fun. 

Then President called us on Wednesday and invited us to attend the Missionary Leadership Council (MLC) because he was impressed that we were able to take this hard area and be so successful here. So that was cool, thanks President. Then we spent the next day trying to figure out what we did. 

MLC was amazing. I learned so much. I'm so glad I got to go. And Sister Brumett is so lucky to have that experience so early in her mission. Sister Wakolo talked about success and shared a cool scripture we keep thinking about, Alma 26:27, "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."

That wasn't the only good thing there, but that was just the beginning. It was so sad though when President was instructing and someone asked a question about how to prepare for the changes that will be coming with the new mission president, he said that the moment President Hansen steps into the airport, President Wakolo's keys are gone. He said "We become Old Testament" and he had tears in his eyes as he said that. We will be so sad to see him go, he and Sister Wakolo are amazing And wonderful, but we must let them go and embrace President and Sister Hansen, and they will be amazing. Anyway, President's new assignment puts him over the mission again, but in Salt Lake instead, and then other missions are added. 

I am so grateful for the opportunity to have starved ("started" or"served" can't tell which she meant) with President Wakolo. He is an amazing spiritual man, and I will always be grateful for his leadership here. We will miss him. And I am so excited to see what comes with President and Sister Hansen. 

Mother's Day meatballs, 😭 I'm so sad, I'll probably miss them, but they are so good, maybe I'll ask him to reschedule?? Who knows. 😄

Friday was really hard at first, we were getting turned down hard by everyone we talked to, and we were feeling kinda down. When we were driving to our next appointment Sister Brumett saw a lady on working in her yard, and the Spirit told her to stop. So we pulled over and went to talk to her. The first thing we see is her really inappropriate t-shirt, and we knew that she was ready for the gospel (mostly Sister Brumett knew, she's amazing). We had a beautiful lesson with her, and she is so ready for the gospel. We were even able to go into her home and bless it, and we are going to go back soon. She is an amazing lady!

We had a million dinners with the members this week this week. Ok, not a million, but pretty much every night this week. We had dinner twice at the ward mission leader's house two days in a row, the first day was not planned, and he had his youngest son talk to us on the phone and invite us. It was so cute!!! Also, we were able to tell him what the white handbook says about his job and he loved it, he's making a few changes because of that. I love the white handbook! It is so inspired!

There is this amazing deaf guy that the sisters in Searcy found, and we had our first Skype lesson with him on Saturday! He is amazing! So prepared for the gospel!!! He has beautiful questions! He asked why Jesus was so important. We said that he made it possible for us to go back to heaven to be with Heavenly Father again. And at the end of the lesson he opened his Book of Mormon and asked us that "HATH" meant, so we told him. He has many such random and perfect questions. This man is amazing!! We are so excited to continue working with him!

So we've started praying for the Lord to send us a particular elect person everyday, and as we pray about it we ask for them to have something to identify them, remember the person with yellow shoes? That kind of thing. And we promise the Lord we will talk to them and not leave until we give them something. Yesterday's identifying feature was: Leopard print pants. Well, that turned out to be an adventure. Again as we were driving to an appointment we saw this group of people out in their yard, they were a bunch of young people partying, a worldly kind of party 😕. We looked as we drove by and just as we knew but feared, the person with the leopard print pants was at the party. So we pulled over and got out to talk to her. It was a crazy experience and if I didn't have Sister Brumett walking right beside me I never would have gotten out of the car. We went and talked to the lady, and got hit on by a drunk man, and yelled at by another two drunk guys, then we felt like we needed to go, so we got the name of the lady with the leopard print pants and left her with a card and walked away. The Lord sometimes gives us hard things to do, but it always works out when we try our best. And we are perfectly safe. That was fun. I can do hard things. 

I love it here, I love the reality of the gospel and how I've come to know it better  is than ever before, and I am so gregarious for all I've learned. I love Arkansas! This place is wonderful. The people are the best. 

Also, the Watermelon here is amazing. 

Love y'all! 
Sister Beckstrand

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The most glorious of all subjects belonging to the everlasting gospel

This was an interesting walk week. We had so many people coming out with us. We had a lot of really good lessons. And the wife of the man who got baptized this week is super excited for her baptism on the third. Since Sister Brumett sang at his baptism they said that they were talking and they wanted me to sing with Sister Brumett at hers. So now we have to prepare a song for that. Lots of fun. Also this week we were walking down a road and Sister Brumett saw these two guys (Sis Brummett discribed them as big, a little scary looking, and a little drunk) and said that we should talk about family history with them. So we went up and started talking to them about coming to do family history and finding out who their family is. We pretty much never feel prompted to start with family history, but it totally got them excited to do it, and the are planning to come to the family history center this week. It's so exciting!

Not much happened this week. We were really busy, but there are no big exciting stories.

But, this week I was reading scriptures about family history, and I fount this really cool scripture: D&C 128:17-18 (16-18), "... This most glorious of all subjects belonging to the everlasting gospel, namely, the baptism for the dead... It is sufficient to know, in this case, that the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other--and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead. ...for it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fullness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time." (emphasis added) This is so beautiful because out of this whole glorious and beautiful plan that the Father showed us, this (the underlined portions) is His favorite part, because it is the most merciful part! And this makes the loss of plain and precious truths from the gospel (1 Nephi 13:24-29) even more sad because Satan took Heavenly Father's favorite part and threw it away. It is so sad, but how happy He must have been for that to be restored to the earth! I love that, "the most glorious of all subjects belonging to the everlasting gospel, namely, the baptism for the dead" and to think that children as young as 12 get to help out with His favorite part. I can just see it: the pre-earth life, all of Heavenly Father's spirit children standing all around Him as He introduces this wonderful plan that He is so proud and excited to share with us, and after He explains it all to us He says, "But this is my favorite part, this plan is amazing, but that right there is my favorite part of it all."

I think that is beautiful, and it gives another special meaning to the opportunity to be able to go to the temple and participate in Heavenly Father's favorite part of His plan.

There were many beautiful moments this week, and I have had such a fun time living it. I am so blessed to see the incredible power of the gospel completely change the life of not only an individual, but of an entire family. The gospel has the amazing power to take a family that has been torn and shattered by the world and heal it completely. All the pain and anger and frustration gone. The power of the gospel is real. And I love it!

Love y'all!

Sister Beckstrand
This is a beautiful flower we found this week, it's amazing!

And some beautiful fluffy Arkansas clouds

Mom post addition:
I got the most beautiful letter from Sister Brummett in the mailbox last week - talking about how wonderful my daughter was, how similar they are, including similar family situations, etc. Even down to the family jokes, "You're my favorite Kimberly" and - Kimberly's dad's favorite - "Dads that tell good Dad jokes, not dumb ones!" She even honored me by comparing me to the mothers of the armies of Helaman  - wow, that's a tribute! I asked Kimberly to pass on a message of thanks to her for me, and she even sent me her email home as well, thus filling me in on another viewpoint of their week. Back and forth, we agreed that "we're going to keep you forever" too. We like that plan a lot. :)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Final Skype as a Missionary - Mothers' Day 2017

We got our 45 minute Mothers' Day Skype session with our missionary yesterday - it was AWESOME! She has matured so very much, and is so very happy. It was beautiful to see, and lovely to talk together. And to think, we'll be together in 2 1/2 months!

And I got the most beautiful Mothers' Day card from her in the mail the day before, and it includes a "bouquet of Arkansas flowers" - real dried flowers attached artistically to the lovely card! That took some planning too!

Man, those shoes were yellow

He was so excited!
(Ok, so that was Sister Brumett's title, but it fits.) This week was crazy! A lot happened.
  • We helped our investigators move into their new house with a general authority
President Wakolo, who is now a general seventy, showed up for a baptismal interview with them and they drove up with a truck load of stuff, (it was the first time we'd been to their new house) and we started helping them move things inside. The mom is super proud of that house too. She was showing us some of the perks of this new one. It was so fun. And we had a lesson planned, and it was going to be beautiful, but then she had to leave to continue bringing more things from their other house, so we ran outside. And started working on his baptismal record through the door. Then after another truckload appeared without her after we brought the stuff inside, we started kind of teaching one of their sons with President. That was fun. But then he had to go back and get more stuff, so President decided to just do the interview and then we'd give the lesson later. So we went knocking, and found two amazing people, and one of them really needed the message of the gospel rig

ht then, he needs to feel God's love now more than ever, Heavenly Father put us where He needed us. It was so good. 
Book of Mormon class!!!
  • We prayed for an elect (investigator?) one day and asked that they be wearing yellow shoes, and the lady we met had on bright yellow tennis shoes. She's really cool, we're excited to start working with her. 
  • We baptized our investigator!!! It was beautiful, and he loved it. Also his confirmation was amazing. It was beautiful. 
  • Sister Brumett sang at his baptism and he totally cried! It was gorgeous. And he called her an angel! She is so talented!
  • Skype home, (love y'all) that was so fun, I love my family.
  • Survey for finding!!! It works and its beautiful! We found some really nice people with it, it still needs tweaking, but it's amazing.
Mostly that's what happened. It was such a good week. And super busy too. I love it here! 
Love y'all! 
Sister Beckstrand
Also, an amazing scripture I found this week: 

Psalms 42:11 (43:5)  "?..I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God." 

I love it because it is so true, and super beautiful to think about. The closer I am to my God, the healthier and brighter and beautiful my countenance is. ❤️ 

Most everyday we sent out a mass text to the people we are working with, and this was the one yesterday. (Mothers' Day)

So you get this one too...

Sister Beckstrand

Monday, May 8, 2017

Then will I make weak things become strong

Ok, wow! This week went by so fast! I can't believe it's over already. And that's the end of this last transfer. And I survived! This will be my third transfer here in the Otter Creek area, which is good because I just love the people here! We have made so much progress this week with our investigators. We did drop many, but Sister Brumett figured out a good analogy about raspberries that made it a good thing to drop people. We simply cannot focus on those who aren't ready yet, and just like with unripe raspberries, if you pull too hard you break them off and they can no longer grow. It is such a relief to not be spread so thin with all the people we are trying to teach. But we worked hard this week, and we made a lot of progress in ourselves, and our investigators made a lot of progress. It was great! And we have a man who is so prepared for his baptism this week. We are so happy we got to stay for that! It's funny because the weeks like we feel like we did the worst we actually did the best. This is such a thing that Heavenly Father does, the closer you get to Him the weaker and more sinful you feel,  up then it is a beautiful thing to feel that, Ether 12:27 talks about how the Lord gives men weakness so we can be humble, and then with Him weak things can be made strong. We just have to let him. Seriously this week is a perfect example of that. I am so imperfect, and I have a lot to work on, but I am happier than ever! There was one lesson we had this week with a wonderful woman who I love so much, but we could see no progress in her, so we planned a final lesson, one to find out what her iceberg is and planned to drop her if she didn't make the commitment to come to church. It was a beautiful lesson, completely lead by the Spirit. We both shared personal weaknesses that are similar to hers that we have that make our lives challenging, but we push through because we know that God wants it of us. Some of the things we shared were a shock to her and her member friend who was there (apparently 'shy quiet me' is not someone they know, I guess Ether 12:37 could apply here a little). And in one case we increased the member's testimony of coming to church, and she has committed to be better at that, but in the end, she did not make the commitment we needed to be able to continue teaching her. We said we'd continue stopping by now and then, but we could promise regular visits anymore.

As hard as that was, it is also a testimony building moment of what is described in 2 Nephi 3:21, "Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and the weakness of their words will I make strong in their faith, unto the remembering of my covenant which I made unto thy fathers." I kinda really like how that connects to my personal fear of talking to people, and then how I've gotten over a lot of it. It's not completely gone yet, but my words are made strong in my faith in Jesus Christ. And that weakness was made strong when we talked to that member at church and she told us that she almost said yes, and we had gotten closer to getting that answer from her than anyone else. And then she had gone out and bought herself a dress, maybe not completely dropped yet. But is is so true how the Lord puts you with the person you need to be and in the people's lives He wants you in to be able to help them in their personal journey back to Him. And apparently we are not done yet because we are both still here! And I get to finish training Sister Brumett, who I just love so much! We have so much fun together, and we are always on the same page when we are thinking of things. We literally have the exact same thoughts all the time.

Some wonderful things that happened this week was when we had an amazing zone meeting, so much revelation there. We went to Hot Springs with a deaf member to try to contact some deaf people there. It was about an hour and a half drive there and back. And it was pouring rain like I haven't seen in a year. It was hard to see the road all the time, but we made it there and back safely, (Thank you Heavenly Father!) we also had several good lessons with a lot of wonderful people. It was so good this week! And we had many people come to church, many miracles as we just followed the Spirit. I love how amazing these people are. They all love Christ and they all want to come closer to Him, and they don't mind talking about Him!

Also, a really cool scripture I found his week is in D&C 38:3 "[Jesus Christ is] the same which spake, and the world was made, and all things came by [Him]." I especially loved it because it reminded me of a song that I've recently acquired where it says "To the One who spoke and set the sun ablaze, to the One who stopped the storm and walked the waves, to the One who died so He could say, You Matter! Don't you know you Matter? You Matter! I hope you know you Matter!" It's a song called Matter, and I really enjoy it.

Ooo, and another cool thing I though about this week comes from 1 Nephi 5:8, "And she spake, saying: Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them. And after this manner of language did she speak." Ok, first of all, this is an ending of a story about this family who leaves Jerusalem and walks for three days into the wilderness. And then they get told that they have to go all they way back for a very important book. Now one could wonder why didn't they just bring it with them the first time? That would have been a lot easier. And surely the Lord could have told them about it before, He knew they would need it. And maybe He did, and maybe He didn't. All we know is that it happened, and so there must be a lesson to learn here. And there are a lot, but one I thought of this week was really cool. I thought of this as I was reminded of an experience that happened to a family in a tv show that I'd seen (it's BBC's North and South) where the father uprooted the whole family and they went clear to the other side of the country. And his family followed him, because he is the Father and Husband. But they do not know why. Eventually they confront him, needing answers for this struggle they are in, coming to a completely new area with no friends. And he explains it to them. Similarly, Lehi drags his whole family away from all they know, and they follow because he is the Father and Husband, but maybe Sariah did not like being there, maybe she would much rather be at home and not traveling through the wilderness, and now possibly having her children killed for more of these crazy ideas of her husband. And her position as the Mother of these sons would greatly influence them in their lives, and her personal testimony would be important for them to become the righteous sons they needed to be, and until this experience happened, her faith was lacking. And the Lord knew that, and he provided a way for her to gain that testimony so she could be that example the sons would follow (all but the eldest two).

Also, as we were driving back from Hot Springs, we had already dropped off the deaf member and I was just thinking about how when people pray to Jesus instead of Heavenly Father, they don't get the answers they need because they are not praying to the right person. I told Sister Brumett about it and then we moved on. But then the next day during our 12 week study we read John 16:23-24, "And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." And it was exactly what the Spirit taught me the day before! It was so amazing! I love studies!!

It has been a fun week with lots of improvement, and lots of stretching. I love it!

Love y'all!
Sister Beckstrand
We went to the Big Dam Bridge last week with the STLs.
It's the longest pedestrian bridge I think in America, it was so fun!

My last full month with a Fijian Mission President, look what Sister Hirschi sent me!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Walk Week

This was a beautiful week. The weather was great. Super hot, pretty cool, tons of rain, light drizzle. It was great. We met a lot of great people, and had some really good Spirit led lessons. We have this one man we are teaching who wants to get baptized sooooo bad, but he kept missing appointments so we had a talk with him about that, and it really helped. I love how the Spirit is able to guide us to say exactly what people need to hear to help them come closer to Christ through the restored gospel. It is beautiful. Also, we keep finding more amazing people at his house. I love it! And I had exchanges this week. I went with Sister Zollinger again. And we had fun. The most crazy part was when we came home for dinner, I slipped off the curb and scraped my ankle. But that wasn't the worst part, my sticks (The Holy Bible that I've been marking for the last nine months, and the Book of Mormon) and my iPad fell out of my hands. Now the reason I slipped was because I was standing over a different section of curb than normal. This one had a big hole right where I tried to put my foot. His big hole went into a storm drain sewer thing. My heart stopped as I saw the blue books sliding under the curb. Luckily Heavenly Father is in charge and my iPad landed on its corner against the ground and the tops of the curb, it stayed where it landed, but my poor Bible and Book of Mormon kept going. Then I heard something hit the bottom of the tinned underneath. I quickly squared down to look under the curb, my heart leaped when I saw the Book, but then I realized it was just my Book of Mormon. My bible was the one that fell. It had my beautiful plan of Salvation card in it. My commandments cards. Some things I've been working on memorizing. And all my marked scriptures. We moved the car, and Sister Zollinger pulled out the Book of Mormon (her arms are longer). And Sister Wakolo was on the phone parked in front of us. (Ok, so the STLs live with members, and they are in the Wakolos Ward, and the Sister they live with teaches Jasmine Wakolo piano). We looked around for an idea, and saw a manhole in the ground right over where it fell. Idea!! Let's open it and get my bible back. We couldn't lift it. So we went and asked the Brother they live with for a tool to lift it up. So we got it up and looked down. There was my Bible. In a small stream of water because it had rained in the last two days, oh well, but my plan of Salvation cards were ok, they were in ziplock bags and we could see them on the rock. Then Sister Wakolo came out to see what was happening, and she joined in on figuring out how to get it out. Then the Brother climbed into the hole and got the Bible and passed it up to us. Then we had to figure out how to get him out. He couldn't get back up the ladder on the wall, so we went and grabbed a ladder from his garage, it didn't work, so we grabbed a step ladder and he got out! Then we had to get a hoe to get out the step ladder. It was so fun, and Sister Wakolo was there to join in. And I scared the members' dog because my ankle started to bleed a little from my fall. It was fun, my Bible was completely soaked, but the papers were ok. There was no way to save the Book so I made an art project out of it. I'll just have to start over my marking.

But also this week, the power went out. Some of the traffic lights are still out. Saturday night there was a huge storm and it knocked out our power, and the power at the church. So we had to change where we were meeting, but at least we still got to go take the sacrament. Is was sad though because the man who is super excited about being baptized didn't come because we were in a different building. That was hard, it then we had an amazing lesson last night, so we're not worried.
It was a fun week. We learned a lot. And I want to say that I just adore Sister Brumett. She is amazing and we have so much fun teaching together. I love it!

Love y'all!
Sister Beckstrand

My art project!