11.24.2008

Happy Sunday Morning


sounds like all is good and such and youre enjoying your vacation in az.sounds like all is going good with the extended family. mom lezlie wrote me last week and i wrote back, she seems good. anyways, nothing exciting happened this week. went to the temple on wednesday. transfer day is next wednesday, so dont freak out mom. we can always hope that the long winded one will be released...i am so bad. let me know what happens.anyways to answer mom. i dont know whats wrong with me. i just go through ups and a lot of downs. i just guess thats how missions go. i really don't know what to tell you. like president has told us, he's very satisfied with my work and progress. i just get easily frustrated and impatient...thats kinda the way ive been my whole life. like youve mentioned to me many times, ive never worked this hard in my life. im incredibly tired. so i dont know what else to tell you or what you would like to hear. like i said last week and several times before ether12:27.
mahal ko kayo
elder b

11.22.2008

The "F" word game

This was a pretty boring week, but had a few highlights. so we went on exchanges with the zone leaders and i got to work with elder willis in his area. it was so freaking fun! i forgot how much fun it is to have a companion that you share a culture with. anyways it was way fun. we got punted royally, but amazingly fun. we went to this lesson and waited for seriously like 45 minutes for this family to finally get done eating and what not...it was ridiculous for a 2 minute, non spirit filled lesson. but afterwards. wilis and i are walking out and he say, i want to say an f word... thus the beginning of our game. he says a word that starts with f(not the= bad one, something like freak or something) and i respond in turn. we went about this for like 20 minutes as we walked. one of my favorites e. willis said to this punk kid bothering us...i will fart in your face! so awesome. i think that the best one was friday night feature films, by e.w. but i had some good ones in there too. but anyways that was cool and what not.
we baptized 4 people, that was cool.i dont really feel that attached to them, they kinda just fell into my lap as i arrived. we had interviews with president on monday. i walk into see sister howard with no tie on. she's like where is your tie?! i just say i didnt want another one cut off. she repeats the question and i say its in my bag. i go into the car and put the one that she cut off on. she wasnt too pleased. she was like elder beckstead where is your real tie?!?!? it was in my pocket and she approved. interviews were just kinda business like to me. i really didnt have that much i needed to say. anywho thats about it. hope all is well.

mahal ko kayo
elder b

11.10.2008

half a tie


Greetings from the isles of the Philippines. Its been quite an interesting week. First of all I had to pick myself up off the floor and get my head back in the game. But, don't worry, I'm doing fine. I found my greatest cure for depression is just working hard. So that's what I've been doing. Let's start with zone conference it's so inspirational as always, but Sister Howard had a very interesting object lesson. So she starts off looking around the room at all the elder's ties holding a pair of scissors. She has been saying that they just aren't conservative enough. She sees mine and let me tell you, this is a gorgeous tie! Its light green and yellow stripped just look at the picture. Anyways its between mine and a purple tie for which gets cut and its mine. I so try to protect my tie, but no use; cut in half. I was so mad!!!! I just bought that tie last transfer. I wouldn't even talk to her afterwards. She did give me another, more expensive tie, but I was still mad. Whatever it's just an awesome story to tell. I really want the picture that elder Petersen took of us; he sent it to Tatay Sorensen. But anyways, had an awesome talk with Prez as always and then we were about to leave. But I just had to talk to Sister Howard and say we were cool. Sister Howard and I are tight. Anyways Friday we had the zl's come out for a baptismal interview and afterwards we were eating lunch. Elder Willis and I get to talking, which we usually do. And I mentioned that I was having some problems and that President says that he prays for me more than any other missionary in the mission and he said that president said that to him too. Then he said something that almost made me fall off my chair laughing. He said, if we were catholic, there'd be a statue of Elder Beckstead in President's office and he would pray to it everyday. It was so freaking funny. Oh, so we were walking to the palangke to text the zl's. As we walked we saw a woman angrily walking and shouting at somebody with no shirt on or even a bra. Right in the middle of the street! How wild! So that's kinda the fun and interesting stuff that's been going on. Have a good week!

Mahal Ko Kayo
Elder b



10.27.2008

High on the Mountain Top

I have seen the top of the mountain and it is good...sort of. my area is beautiful! its sooooo quiet to cause there are no people. im definitely out in the province. but there are some serious hills all over this area. once youve summited or descended from one, there seems to be a more gigantic one waiting for me next. my legs were so sore this morning i could hardly move...not fun. and to top it all off ive been sick pretty much since ive got here. also not fun. i swear my body loves to run a fever...i guess it enjoys it or something. cause i dont. its really not fun not having the desire to eat and stuff. or feeling like youre going to throw up a lot of the time. oh man its been good times. i think ive been worrying my companion to death. we took friday off cause i was still running a fever, but that fever seems just to come and go as it pleases so thats pretty fun. i think he's worried when he walks with me cause if i fall or get really sick, there is no way he can support me. gotta love having filippino companions; big hearts, small bodies. and way thats about all for my usual sickness every transfer, i guess we're getting it over early this transfer...hopefully. but yeah so we've got like 12 baptisms that are lined up for november, so thats pretty exciting. other than that not much is going on. just kinda working everyday..as much as possible. so yeah have fun doing what you all are doing and ill talk to you next week.

mahal ko kayo
elder b

ps. if you send a dear elder please put a date in there somewhere. most of the time i have no idea how long ago it was sent to me.

10.23.2008

Transferred

so sorry i havent been sending a whole ton of pictures home, it just takes forever and a day just to try and attach them..we have a photo shop here in my new area, maybe ill just send a disk home for christmas. oh btw for christmas i would like more socks, black and brown; more ties are always nice cause i like to have a variety; and what i would really like is a waterproof camera to carry around with me cause it tends to rain expectantly here and i dont want to get my camera ruined. kay so thats my requests for christmas. i probably need to send a pair of orthadics home to be refurbished cause ive been doing some heavy duty walking. oh btw i was transfered to my new area!  in the san gabriel zone in the cavite province. im with my 4th companion in my 4th transfer and it should be good times. elder talal was my first district leader when i got to signal 2. so yeah thats kind of the exciting stuff for now. i really dont know what i do in my day to day here so thatll have to wait for another day. hope all is well.

mahal ko kayo
elder b

10.15.2008

happy friday

the work is still the work, i get up every morning and continue. i still try my best. my language skills are ok...the zone leaders and president both said i worry too much about the language, but im pretty sure that its a pretty important thing to worry about. it was way sweet to watch all of conference! there was an awesome spirit there, even though i froze my butt off! it was so cold! anyway remind mom that transfers are next wed so dont freakout. we transfer by bus or taxi, no one in the philippines has a car.

well cya later
mahal kita
elder b

10.06.2008

Finally! some time to write!

well it sounds like all fun and games at home. i did get you package on 9/23 during zone conference, sorry i forgot to write. thanks! thanks for sending me shades i cant wear..ever while im here, its bawal. anywho things are fine. raining a ton..go figure, rainy season. its great fun to walk down flooded streets every once in a while. we get to see conference next week so thats pretty sweet. christmas has already started here...they believe in celebrating christmas starting september 1. its pretty sickening. i hate christmas music. i dont know what i want for christmas. maybe some more socks, i keep finding i have less and less. some snacks would be nice. i did thank g and g, give me some credit. we had a baptism yesterday, bringing my total up to 9 in this area. i baptized, just like all but one of the others. its either ive just been here forever or they just like me, i dont know. but im looking forward to transfers cause president said i am going to transferred out to the province. im pretty excited to get out of the city and new scenery. so yeah, that's about all the exciting stuff. are you happy now that i sent a letter?

mahal kita
elder b

9.17.2008

pictures






Here are some pictures of Kendall, Enjoy!

9.16.2008

hi

im not sure i want the Michigan sports updates....it just makes me depressed, especially losing to ND.........where was the game? good to hear about BYU smoking UCLA and UW remaining crappy. well all is fine here. elder nacionales and i are having loads of "fun" cause we dont have any investigators! now im kinda wishing i got transferred...but oh well, the Lord needs me to learn something here so im going to try and learn it. i will try to remember to take pictures of the area. i just dont have my camera right now, i loaned it to some of the elders in my district cause they had a baptism of 9/wedding. way to go them! anywho, not much going on...got sun burnt for the first time since being here, so thats exciting i guess. well love you.

mahal kita
elder b

8.27.2008

all is well‏


so all is well after pneumonia. we returned back to work on wednesday and have been working hard since. we have EXCELLENT news!!!!!!!! on sunday we will, scratch that, I WILL be baptizing 6 of our investigators!!! how awesome is that?!?!? so that brings the total up to8 baptisms in this area since i got here. we have been truly blessed.this is a good area and i really hope that i wont be transferred on the10th. by the way, transfers are on wednesday sep. 10, so ill be emailing that day. but im having a really good week. ive been having a lot more confidence in my language and teaching skills. ive been able to just talk to people and invite them to learn more about the gospel. i think ive finally come out of my shell and am just not worried about making a fool of myself. so thats pretty great. its truly an answer to prayer, i asked for the ability to speak and heavenly father has answered my prayer. i just had to open my mouth and try. my companion and i are getting along better, we're not best friends, but we work well together.im finding a lot more joy and satisfaction in our work. we're really hoping to fill our teaching pool cause after these baptisms, there's notta whole lot else for us to teach. so thats been our focus this week.we've been teaching a lot of first lessons, but in my opinion, not too many high prospects, but im not the final judge on that. maybe they will feel the spirit when they read and pray, im not sure. but we keep working and doing our best. i think i already talked about language, but im coming back to it. people arent giving me to much credit in my ability to speak and understand, but that makes it even more fun totally shock them! i dont understand everything, but i do understand.well...i dont have any funny stories this week, its just been a boring week. it poured down rain yesterday afternoon, totally flooded the streets. good thing we were on the second floor of one of our members houses, so we stayed there until the went down. well hope all is well and that everyone has a good week. just another gentle reminder that mail is nice, christie i got yours; thanks!

mahal ko kayo

elder b

8.19.2008

come to find out i have pneumonia‏


so just as my title states, i have pneumonia. i dont know how, or why, but ive got it. so for the past 5 days ive been at the apartment, mostly sleeping and reading. IT IS SOOOOOOOO BORING!!!!!!!!!!! i dont think ive ever been this bored. but anyways i finally get to go out and work on wednesday, so im excited about that. lets see...last tuesday we had mission conference with elder edwards, he's the area president here in the philippines. it was way good and i got a chance to visit with president. he's been reading my weekly letters and can tell that im frustrated and getting discouraged, so we had a little chat and he gave me a blessing. i love president! he is such a great man and i love being around him. so the day after that i went to st lukes hospital and the doctor said pneumonia after i went to the PBO(the presiding bishopric's office) and got a chest xray. we had a baptism yesterday, so that was pretty sweet. so on friday i went to the drugstore to get more drugs. to get more drugs i needed much needed funds. so i went to the atm to take out support money from the mission and im waiting and waiting for my balance and it kinda restarts itself and ate my card. i was just a little bit upset. it was a good thing that i thought to bring some personal money just in case. the meds were way expensive. the drugs cost almost 3000 pesos. so thats the interesting stuff until today. so today we missionaries had a little devotional with ELDER BEDNAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it was so amazing! i dont think i have ever felt the spirit that strong. he truly is an apostle of the Lord. but it was amazing! we had a q&a session with him and he taught us. we were truly edified. afterwards we all shook his hand. so thats my excitement. hope all is well. oh btw im down to 200 lbs, im pretty exited about that. well have a good week.
mahal ko kayo
elder b

8.10.2008

i think my body HATES the 2nd week of the transfer

but before i get to that, funny story. so we went to teach this couple the first lesson. the man pushes me a plastic stool and i sit down. not soon after i sat down, i found myself sitting on the floor as id broken the stool in half. so yeah, im pretty sure that this country isnt made for me, or maybe just a crappy stool. anyway so the reason why the second week of the transfer is so bad is, both transfer ive been here, ive been sick in the 2nd week. last time it was vomit and what not, this time it is crazy fever. for the last 4, going on 5, days ive had a wild temperature. im not sure if im sick, dehydrated or what but it hasn't been too enjoyable. it ranges between 97 and i think the highest ive seen it this week is 103.5. oh it has been good times. it didn't help my mood this week. this week was not a good week for me. some of the investigators we are teaching are so rude! i will be teaching and either they wont listen or interrupt me constantly. also a lot of them wont even look at me when i teach. if i ask them a question they answer it to elder monilla. and i sit there and just want to say, I AM THE ONE TEACHING, not him. I asked the question, please give ME your answer. i dont know its just frustrating, but i was talking to elder pardus on sunday and he's had only phillipino companions and apparently you get used to it. it even happens to missionaries that are about to go home. they are fluent in the language, but the people just dont want to listen. one will say something, the people wont understand what he said, and the phillipino companion will say the exact same thing in the exact same way and theyll understand. ok thats my rant about some of our investigators. other than that theres not to much exciting going on. we have a baptism on sunday morning and i will be preforming it. its for kim, he's 9 and is the nephew of my favorite member, JoJo. so thats something. but other than that not much to tell. investigators come up with new challenges and problems daily, so thats always fun.
well hope everything is well.
mahal ko kayo,
elder b

8.04.2008

Greetings from soggy Manilla

Well its been another fun and interesting week here in manilla, and incredibly challenging. its still being quite an adjustment to elder monilla's style. maybe this is why president told me to study and practice patience....but anyways its been a real adjustment for me. but im working on it, i really feel that my language skills have and will continue to improve while im with him. he's just not scott sorensen and im trying to remember that and focus on his good qualities, cause he is an excellent missionary.
well let's see...its been raining here a lot lately and my shoes have spent a lot of time behind the refrigerator drying out, yeah wet socks!!! but we have worked incredibly hard nonetheless, we taught 38 lessons last week! but the greatness of all that hard work was we had 13 at sacrament meeting! yeah fasting! we are projecting 12 baptisms this month!!!!!!!!! so im pretty excited about that.
well what else is new...not really a whole lot; just have been struggling to adjust, but he's very understanding and willing to adjust whenever i bring up a concern. i dont know, its just hard sometimes. other than that, i really dont have much to tell you. keep praying for me and i think about you often, mail is always nice even though it takes 3 weeks or so to get here. dearelder.com sends for free and if so inclined to hand write, send it to the mission office so you can use an envelope. well thats about it for this week, hope all is well.
mahal ko kayo
elder b

7.30.2008

greetings from the best mission on earth!


Hello everyone! Well its another hot and humid filled day in the mission field, in the greatest mission on this fine planet! I don’t care what anyone else says. Anywho its good times here in the pasig zone. It was very sad saying goodbye to elder Sorensen, but as we were at the mission office at the butt crack of dawn yesterday, elder s saw the transfer board and said I’ve got a good companion, elder monilla. It should be fun times with my first pinoy companion. We are staying here in the signal II area and for right now im senior companion cause I know the area and investigators.
But lets see, the last week with elder Sorensen was great! We really worked hard to finish his mission off right. It finally hit elder Sorensen on Monday night when he was teaching the Moriles family and testifying about the atonement and the greatness of this our message of the restoration of the gospel that it was finally over. That was the last time he was going to testify to investigators sa tagalog as a missionary. It finally became real. It was really hard to say goodbye to my tatay, he is a great missionary and person. He will be greatly missed in this mission.
One of the great things we did to end his mission was to have his last and my first BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!! It was amazing to finally to see the fruits of our efforts. We baptized Noemi on Sunday morning before church, it was great! It was a small baptism cause it was at 7am, but we didn’t even start till almost 8; pinoy time is great. Anywho that was such a great experience and im really excited for our next baptism on 8/16! Really that’s all my excitement for now, im just in the grind of missionary work. We really need to find more people to teach cause our investigator pool is really going to dry up quickly. Oh, one that is really good. Elder Sorensen and I have been teaching a dalaga (single young woman) almost everyday and at first she was really scared about being the only member in her family, even when she lives with members right now; they're all related somehow, even though I have no idea how. But last week we came to teach and she had this big smile on her face and elder s and I were like she’s going to be baptized! Which she is, we gave her 8/30, but we are going to wait till the time is right. The work moves on. This transfer should be interesting, good thing elder monilla speaks good English. Should be an excellent chance to grow!
Mahal ko kayo
Elder b

7.21.2008

Greetings from Dasma


so let's see...what's been going on. well on thursday i went on exchanges with elder pardus in the taguig area. that was an interesting experience, but good times. it was fun being with him and trying to find appointments, he doesnt know the area very well even though he's been there for over a month. anyway we had some good times, but also some frustrating ones. we went and OYM-ed this house and they let us in. we taught began teaching and the one nanny was like english na lang, which means just do it in english. i've heard that before, but that day i just wasnt having it. i looked at elder pardus and said if she isnt willing to try to understand, im not willing to teach so i didnt. so that was something intesting. we didnt even try to set up a return appointment.

anyway the next morning we got up and elder sorensen and elder talal came and met us at the apartment and we went off to interviews with president. that was way fun. president is awesome! you can totally tell that he loves and cares about you. as we interviewed he told me to be patient and to keep trying. he also counseled me to treat myself to wendy's or MacDo(that's McDonalds pinoy style) cause the food is still an adjustment. on the bright side i've lost about 15 lbs and should be under 200 for the first time in years by zone conference in three weeks, im quite pleased about that :) so thats good times.

on sunday morning we're having a baptism! its of course my first and elder sorensen's last. its way early in the morning, should be interesting who all shows up. let's see..what else is new..oh the ward wants to have a "ward family home evening" or what the really want is a farewell party for elder sorensen, but farewells are bawal (forbidden) although FHE arent. elder sorensen isnt to hot on the idea and neither am i for that matter. but anyways, today we are on memory lane for elder sorensen. we got up early this morning and with president's permission we are in his first area, visiting converts and the like. im just kinda along for the ride this morning. we're in dasmarines and i have no idea what we are doing today, should be interesting nonetheless. well thats all my news and excitement for last week. next week, transfers are on wednesday so thats when i'll be writing next.

hope everyone has a good week.
talk to you later.
mahal ko kayo
elder b

7.16.2008

temple+p-day=AMAZING!!!!!!!





So hello to you all. This week has been a pretty dull week, just working and working and working. i'll try to hit all the highlights of the last week and a half. Oh and bytheway, not next week, but the week after is transfer day so pday is on wednesday. sorry mom for not telling you that this weeks pday was on wednesday, hope you werent to worried. But anywho...last tuesday was amazing! we had zone conference with pres howard. he is pretty freaking sweet! im excited for our interviews with him on friday. zone conference was amazing! totally spiritual and all that jazz. one funny thing that happened...pres howard knows each and every missionary in the mission by name and where they're from. except me, he was like elder beckstead you're from cedar hills right? and im like, no pres im from seattle. oh whoops. not that big of a deal, but then he was like where's elder sorensen? im point over at him and he leaves. im like nice talking to you too president. but it was funny, the first thing he says to elder sorensen is you're going home soon! and elder s is like thanks for reminding me president. elder s is really trying not to be trunkie and he's doing a really good job. im going to seriously miss my walking dictionary. at zone conference they said they were raising our support money to 8100 pesos a month because they want us to eat better food. so elder s and i went nuts at the store and bought a whole ton of junk food. it was so great! anywho that was about it for last week. nothing too exciting. the work moves on. we're going on exchanges tommorow, that should be exciting. i wont be with elder s for thursday or friday. it should be interesting none the less. so what else happened in the last few days...well our members are amazing! we taught close to 30 lessons last week and all but 4 or so of them were with a member present, it was awesome. and not only are they willing to help us, but its not just the same person everythime. we've got five or 6 that go with us frequently and it really helps(thats my plug for helping the missionaries, help them! it really does lead to lasting conversion and helping the investigators come to church, which makes our job a whole lot easier.) anyway back to the members..they love us! they feed us so much! i think last week we had 5 or 6 dinner appointments (some for 2 in the same night :) anyway that was most of the normal grind. so today we got up at 4 to go to the temple! i am so glad that im in this mission, it had felt like so long since ive been to the temple and its only been a month. it was so amazing. i felt so at peace. it was really nice. im pretty sure that once every transfer isnt enough! well thats all the excitement i can think of. so ill write again on monday with some more interesting news. hope everyone has a great week!
mahal ko kayo
elder b

7.07.2008

the theme for the week....sakit!

hello everyone! so the theme for this past week, sakit or sickness! oh it was oodles of good times. so monday afternoon we come back and im not feeling to hot. i started to have some LBM's and that wasnt fun. elder sorensen was making dinner and i just laid there on the couch. as he ate i took a little nap and woke of shivering. thats a bit unusual since that day was probably 85 or 90, just like everyday. i was like uh oh, this does not seem good. i thought to myself youre probably running a fever, which i was, of almost 103. oh was it good times. elder sorensen asked me if i wanted to go out and work and i did. so we went to our first appointment at 6 and began to teach. we were teaching Kim, he's 9 and lives with his uncle while his parents are in austrailia working. his uncle's a member and he has two different colored eyes, but that's beside the point. anyway we taught the lesson and i was having a hard time. we finished teaching and were just sitting there talking and here came trouble. whatever little was in me was coming back out. i made it about 2 steps when the first batch came out on the floor. i made it outside and got some on my shoes. the third time was just on the ground along with the 4th, 5th, and 6th times. man was i feeling good. the member went and grabbed a tricycle for us and we rode home. we got home and it was almost 7 and i just went straight to bed. i was one hurting unit. that night was just LBM all night long, it was bad. the next morning i woke up at around 7 and continued with more LBM's. oh i was in pain. i slept most of the day though, which was nice. the other elder's came back from district meeting and brought me a 1.5L bottle of gatorade and i was happy. i would just wake up to LBM, but most of the day i just slept and slept and slept, it was kind of nice. i woke up at around 9pm to go to bed at 10:30. so that was tuesday. wednesday, thursday, and friday were just normal working days. we've had kind of a disappointing week. we are now in the process of cleansing our teaching pool cause our investigators will just not keep commitments. we've still got a couple that we have high hopes for, but i dont think we're going to have a baptism before elder sorensen leaves. but thats not our fault, we can only bring the gospel unto the people, not make them accept it. on saturday we stayed in cause elder soresen was sick. so this week we did not work for the glory of our stats, cause theyre horrible. it was not that great of a week. but we keep pressing on. the work is hard. i knew that coming out, but i didnt realize just how hard it was till i got here. its incredibly hard when you cant understand people and they cant understand the things im trying to say. its incredibly hard walking around in the heat and trying to find those willing to hear our message after getting next time na lang-ed all the way up the street. its just hard and trying to have a good attitude, but its just plain hard. im just waiting for the day when it becomes easier, when i finally can understand people and they can understand me. but thats a ways off so im just working hard and doing what i can with what ive got. hope all is well and would really like to hear from all of you more often.
mahal ko kayo
elder b
herews 6:1

6.30.2008

well its yet another day in sunny manila

well hello there! all is well here in Manila. elder sorensen and i continue to experience things in this area that he hasn't experienced in his whole mission! ok, lets get to the interesting stuff first. so exceptional news, we have an investigator with a baptismal date!!!!!!!! he's pretty much perfect. he accepts everything we teach him and ask questions that indicate to us that he truly wants to know the truth! its way exciting. his name is Dondon and he's 19. we hope to baptize him on 7/26 before elder sorensen heads home.
ok, so some of the other interesting stuff. so on thursday night we were doing planning and i look behind me and there's a rat about the size of a big potato in our apartment. i turn to e sorensen and it has already gotten into our room and onto my bed and pillow. we tried to catch it with two halves of a fan but it evaded us and made it outside.
on friday night we were heading into part of our area to go see some investigators and tract, when this big korean looking dude stops us in the middle of the street and asks us what we are doing there. we tell him, well actually elder sorensen tells him, that we're missionaries and long story short this guy is a pastor for some born again church and he bawaled(forbid) us to go in there. we kinda told him we're not out to change peoples beliefs, we just want to share a message. we asked if that was alright and he didn't answer so we just walked away, it was pretty funny. latter that night we were planning again and i feel something run across my toes. so i freak out and that freaks sorensen out, turns out to be a cockroach. so we sprayed some alak(alcohol) on it and it died. so those are kind of the fun things that happen here in the philippines! don't you wish you were here?
anyway for my general well being im doing well. im still not a big fan of rice, so i don't eat to much. its ridiculously hot here all the time and sweating is a constant activity. one night this week we didn't have a fan in our room because we gave it to the teaching assistants that stayed at our apartment that night. so that was one of the worst nights ever. i wake up at like 3am and look at my clock that has the temperature its like 97* in our apartment!
anyway, enough of my complaining. it was a pretty good week none the less. we taught 33 lessons this week and had 1 person at sacrament meeting. we're having real trouble having investigators keep commitments and come to church. but that should improve this week because the ward is going to really step it up and help us! what a difference going to church makes! we didn't go last week because of the typhoon. but we've got excellent members that are really willing and ready to help. they've already talked to us about teaching their friends. so hopefully that'll increase baptisms. but nevertheless we continue to work hard. we keep trying to find and teach; we've got high hopes for some. but even we've got those high hopes, we sometimes are disappointed. what we've been hoping to do is make daily contact with our investigators and by doing so they drop themselves rather than us having to do it. its kinda disheartening when that happens, but the work moves on.
i gave a talk yesterday in sacrament meeting. if you've been complaining about giving a talk, try giving one in another language thats all kinds of awesome. anyway i gave the joseph smith story and told them that we need to know that joseph smith is a prophet of god and once we know that we should share that knowledge with others. hopefully they understood, elder sorensen said it was good, but he understands what im getting at so im not sure how it was. so thats all the excitement for now. talk to you next week!
mahal ko kayo
elder b

6.23.2008

Its really HOT here!

Well hello everyone from sunny Manila! All is well here. I arrived after a very nice 13 hour flight to Taepai, which wasn't too bad because I slept for 8-10 hours; probably closer to 10. I was surprised at the leg room, way to go EVA. Anyway we landed and had to say our goodbyes to the other members of our district; it was sad, but they re off to be excellent missionaries. The AP's picked us up and we headed to the mission home. You would not believe the traffic and driving here! Take Boston, New York, Utah, and any other bad metropolitan area in the US and you'll not even get close to Manila. Its pretty intense. Anyway Vaka, Adamson, and I arrived at the mission home and President Lesuer met us with a hug and a smile and fed us lunch. We talked and he and his wife are very nice. After lunch we took quick showers and got ready cause we were going out on splits. I went to Makati with the elders that were working there. Btw I'm in the signal village 2 area, same ward in the pasig stake. Anyway...being here has changed my perspective, I've seen things here in the last 5 days that I haven't seen in my whole life! We went out to teach and it was pouring down rain...Manila knows how to rain, Washington has nothing on Manila. We talked to people and went to an appointment, which I helped with my broken Tagalog. I just asked questions and the people here are very nice. This family we visited had 7 or 8 kids and lived in a shack that's about 10X10...maybe. There is some intense poverty here, but the people are amazing. We got back to the mission home and collapsed into bed. We got up the next morning at 5 so we could be ready at 6 when the Filipino missionaries arrived. We ate breakfast and had a little devotional with president. Then we were assigned our companions and areas. My companion is Elder Sorensen and he is pretty much all that I wanted in a trainer. He lived in Canada and has been out for 23 months now, so I'm his last companion. Hes amazing and we work well and hard together. Its way fun. We're shot gunning this area which means that we are both new to the area. I think it had been closed for a while so we reopened it. Its been pretty good we have been able to teach 12 lessons so far and have many more that we hope we can teach. We spend a lot of our time finding more people to teach. Its kinda hard cause a lot of the time i don't know what people are saying and wouldn't know what to say to them anyway, but I'm working on it. We've had some really good lessons thus far. Last night we were out finding and we stopped by a house and the man immediately let us in and we taught him the first lesson. It was really good. We left him the BoM and he said he will read it and is really excited to come to church. The night before we found this older couple that let us in right away and we again taught the first lesson, also really good. The Nanny was so excited and wanted to know when we were coming back to teach more. We have high hopes for both these families, our goal is to have a least one baptism before Elder Sorensen leaves. Yesterday there was a signal 3 typhoon, I'm not quite sure what that means but it was raining really really hard. The streets turned to rivers that were over ankle deep. Taxis that drove by had water up to mid hub cap, we didn't go out and work till after 5 when the water had drained mostly. A lot of houses were really flooded. The older couple had about 2 feet of standing water in there house, but our apartment is fine. We just had a little water come in, but nothing to bad. Elder Sorensen and I live with Elder Tupil and Elder Ramirez, both pinoy. We have a pretty big apartment. Elder Sorensen and I share a bunk bed, I make him get on top. We currently have to buy filter water just down the street cause our water filter is broken. We go through 6 liters a day at our apartment. We keep all food in the fridge because of all the other friends that live in the apartment with us (ants, mosquito's, cockroaches) its good times. Its weird to eat rice every meal, but I'm adjusting. I think my body has accepted it and is moving on. Every night I don't sleep with a blanket or sheet or anything cause it is waaaaaaay too hot. Its in the 80's at night and as you can guess we don't have air con, or a dishwasher or a washing machine. I have gained a great appreciation for washing machines, this morning as I washed my clothes by hand. Luckily theres a laundry place nearby and I can have my pants and Polo's washes for cheap. I just have to hand wash my garments, which let me tell you, goood times. Anyway lets see...oh transportation, its fun. The main ways of transport are jeepneys, tricycles, buses, taxis and of course walking. Riding in a tricycle is especially fun for me especially as I'm so tall. Sitting on the back of the motorcycle, I can't sit up straight cause the cover is not tall enough. My head and neck are usually at some weird angle and its fun as people stare and point. Its quite an interesting experience to be the tallest person around. Everyone stares at me, I stand out a bit in the sea of brown. Well I think that's all for now, hopefully next week I'll have more exciting news like people with a baptismal date or something. But who knows, were just working hard and trying to be as obedient as possible and leaving the rest up to the lord.
Hope all is well.
mahal ko kayo,
elder b

6.09.2008

I'VE BEEN CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i finally got my flight plans on friday!!!!!! alright here's the plan i leave next monday at 9:30pm on delta flight 9735, but before that we leave the mtc around 5:30 or 6. so i'll be calling home before we leave for LA. we get to LA around 10:30 and are chillin till 1:30am when our flight leaves for Taipei (EVA Airways flight 15), for that 14 or 15 hour flight! we arrive in Taipei at 6:30 ish on the 18th. We leave Taipei for manilla (EVA flight 271) at 9:30 am and get there at around noon. so thats our grand adventure to the feild, im freaking stoaked!!!!!!!!! so that's the main excitement for the week. only 7 more days!

6.03.2008

two more to go!!!!

yeah so this week was pretty quiet, not too much going on. were pretty well into the grind. they did throw a fork into our happiness and made us move buildings, we are now on the 5th floor of a different building; it sucks...sooooooooo many stairs and kasama ko wont let me take the elevator. anywho i wont have a problem seeing the back of him when we leave for the phillipines in two weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!! so im pretty excited about that! we get our travel plans on friday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! im pretty excited. so on next monday ill let know when and where im flying to, most likely slc-lax-taipai-manila like everyone else; but we'll see. so other than that, thats my excitement. im ready to get out of here. i am so sick of the food (eating has become a chore), being inside all day (i'm sure thatll change when i get to manilla), and my kasama. im really not having christ-like feelings for him. mainly my feelings are to strangle him or push him down the stairs or chuck him out the window, im not picky. anyway just two more weeks. so basically the language is progressing, slowly but surely. its just hard. so thats about all ive got to say. hope everything is well.
mahal ko kayo
elder b

5.26.2008

so yet another exciting week here at the mtc...not really

about the only exciting thing was we started teaching lesson 1 sa tagalog. that was an interesting experience to say the least. its very frustrating not being able to say what you really want to say when you want to say it. the trc this last week....my mind has never been so blank. but enough about that, so ive been here for 6 weeks and would really like to get either myself or my companion transfered, but thats not going to happen so thats my bit on complaining about my companion. so ive been asked what my weekly schedule is so since this week is a light week i'll tell you about it. so monday is p-day and we go to the temple in the morning, except this morning cause its closed. after that i usually print off emails so i can read them and not waste email writing time. we head back to the room and change and start writing letters and whatnot. sorry i didnt write anyone last week, i was not feeling good. but anyway we then go get a sack lunch cause we cant go into 1m in pday clothes. then we come back and we write some more and then go do laundry around one. there i write my email normally and more letters. after laundry there usually isnt to much time but it gets filled with letters and whatever else needs doing. we get dressed and go to dinner. after dinner we have class which includes the teach-o-rama where we teach other memebers of the zone. btw people that have sent me packages my roommates and rest of the zone love you. anyway thats pretty much monday. tuesday we have bfast, gym, personal study, comp study, and some missionary determined time before lunch. after lunch we go to the refferal center and make outbound calls and participate with people in online chats about the gospel, pretty good times. we come back from the rc and actually have class then dinner. after dinner we have some mdt and missionary directed language study, and then devo. after devo we have devo review, thats pretty much tuesday. wednesday we have service after bfast. then class. then lunch, gym, ps, cs, mdt, dinner, class, bed. thursday has the same basic schedule as every other day some variance of class or gym, mdt, ps, and cs and of course the trc. friday everyone is dead. we have weekly planning, a large group meeting, lunch class, ps, cs, mdt, dinner, more class. thats pretty much friday. saturady we have the marathon class from bfast to lunch, its a killer. then ps, cs, gym, dinner, more class, mdls, mdt and a lot of other brain frying activities. sunday is amazing cause its the only day when i can take a nap and i take full advantage of it. thats pretty much my week, its crammed full. any questions? well hope everyone is having a good week.
Love,
elder b

5.20.2008

Yeah... the flu...good times

this week has been an enjoyable on account of me getting the flu on thursday. so heres the story....i went to class after lunch and it just wasnt happening for me that day. i was really hot and sweaty and tired. about two three hours into it my teacher apears infront of my face and askes me what she could help with and i said i dont know but i think im running a fever. she felt my forehead compared it with my companions and back again. one of the teachers in the tag department was in the room and he felt my temp too. sis olsen was like elder i think you should go to the health clinic. so i did. come to find out i had a fever of 101.7. it was good times. so the doctor tells me i have to go to bed, which i was kind of upset about cause we were going to teach that night; but he put the hammer down. so he sent me off with some gatorade and i went off to sleep....for the next 12 hours ish. so friday was ok, i drank three big glasses of gatorade and was fine. saturday was a different story. so saturday afternoon gillett and sister smyth and i went to teach at which point i started some pretty good chills. some of the other elders could see i was shaking and kept encouraging me to go back to the room and sleeep , but i kept fighting it. so we went to dinner and came back to class and were reading ang aklat ni mormon sa tagalog and i swear i was going through menopause. i liked to jump between fever and chills, oh it was good times. so i finally decided after reading that i couldnt take it anymore. so i had my district give me a blessing and i went off to bed, but i didnt sleep. i tried for several hours but it just didnt happen so it was just me at kasama ko chillin in the residense hall by ourselves. never more in my life have i wanted sportcenter or any type of tv. but we surrvived, everyone else came back around 930 so it was ok. sunday i was just cold all day even in my suit jacket. i went to the front desk to talk to the dr on call but he was in sacrament meeting so he couldnt be desturbed. so i went and took a nap and took and even longer one after sacrament meeting. when i woke up from that one i threw up in the drinking fountain while takeing ibprofen like 6 times. but anyway thats the interesting stuff. were teaching sa tagalog this week so pray for me.
love always,
Elder b
Thanks everyone for the packages, but i think im all cookied out so please send goldfish instead of cookies, i cant eat anymore cookies.

5.13.2008

another week at the mtc

so first of all thanks for all the notes of encouragement, that really helped a lot. also thanks for the increase of mail this week, its a real boost in moral so keep sending more. not a whole lot to report this week, the language is still a struggle and probably will be for quite some time, but i keep trying. i continue to progress in my teaching sa ingles, but am not looking forward to next week cause we're teaching sa tagalog. its going to be an interesting experience nonetheless. about the only interesting thing that happened this week was gillett and i got our solo sister from our district to teach with us. im really excitied aout it, its going to be good for both her and us. she's very organized and likes to compartmentalize the lesson, which gillett and i don't do. we just kinda go with what the spirit tells us to do and what the investigator wants to know. we dont have the lesson divided up at all, we just double testify and teach the principles. but sister smyth is freaking amazing! she bore her testimony while we were teaching and it just about knocked me off my chair it was so powerful. but other than that i really dont have much to report. the language keeps coming, teaching happens and thats about it. its pretty boring doing the same thing everyday. hope all is well.
love always,
elder b

5.12.2008

May 5, 2008

Hello so this past week was not the best week ever. it was a serious trail of my faith. so I attribute it to first being sick, second being incredibly frustrated, and third the lack of mail (my not so subtle hint that I didn't get any mail last week). Dearelder.com delivers same or next day. ok that's my bit about not getting mail. anyway so this week hindi mabuti (no good). so this week I was sick thus meaning that I was really tired and studying and staying awake and everything became that much harder. and it didn't help that I just couldn't do nothing cause they've got us scheduled from sun up to sun down. so this whole crappy week came to a culmination of crappiness on Thursday night. so we had been preparing for the trc all week, which was getting to know someone, sharing a short message, and setting up a return appointment all in tagalog. I could say what I had memorized and that's about it. if they asked me a question that I didn't know all I could do was stare at them like an idiot. 15 minutes has never felt like such an eternity and not only did I have to do that once, but twice. so me and my kasama (comp) came back into the central meeting room after we tried talking to them and one of the teachers that watched us started to talk to us and I just lost it. I have never been so frustrated. it was so hard and I just didn't know what to do. so I was crying, but still had to compose myself and go teach the first lesson, which went fine and I felt the spirit and taught well. but its just hard. hopefully it'll be better this week. its just hard cause they're cramming this all down my throught and I just cant swallow it. I don't know how im going to do it. I leave for the Philippines in 6 week! its just hard, but I just get up everyday and keep trying. I know that whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies so im trying to do everything that I can to do my best. so its just been a really hard week. I think that this week Heavenly Father decided to test my faith. I have never felt so much like giving up and going home, but im still here doing what I need to do. keep praying for me, I really need it. and write me some mail!!!!!!!!! its kind of a big deal. granted I can write back till Monday, but I still like getting mail.
love you all. Elder B

April 28, 2008

magandang hopon! from the MTC!!!
Good afternoon from the MTC. This week, like last, has been a blur. I'll try to get you caught up on the interesting stuff cause I dont have much time. Tuesday we got instruction for our white bag test which only philippines missionaries get to take. I'll tell you the full details about the test at the very bottom of this email if you would like, but be warned it is kinda disgusting. but anywho, this week has been kind of hard. I've really had a hard time being patient with elder gillett. sometimes im pretty sure he has diarrea of the mouth and says whatever pops into his head, its really annoying. but im working on it, although its not coming very quickly. but thats about it for the comp, he's just annoying a far share of the time so I have to adapt and overcome. Tagalog is hard. We had to speak to some volunteers in the TEC (teacher eval. center) and we'd ask questions and they'd respond and all I could do was stare at them slack jawed, its pretty hard. but its coming shortly but surely. not much else to report. I love to get mail so keep it coming :). I love you all. Elder B

(Scroll down for White Bag test details, be warned it is disgusting)


So the white bag test is required by the Philippino government for all missionaries coming into the country. basically this test is to test for parasites. they took some blood and a urine sample, but the real fun included a stool sample (not really). So we had to poop in a cup and scoop out a sample about the size of a big marble and mix it with a preservative to get it above the red line. thats pretty much it, but its still disgusting having to play with your own poo.

All he's wrote so far...

April 21st
Kamusta from the MTC!!!!!
Kumusta! thats hello for those of you that don't speak tagalog ;) Howare things? Things are progressing well here, Tagolog is hard, but I'mworking on it. I've almost got my testimony down and am working onpraying in tagalog. its kinda fun to hear all the different languagesspoken around campus and to speak to someone that has no idea whatyou've just said. but, before i forget im going to have to send home allmy silk ties cause in the phillipines theyll get ruined. which meansi'll have to send home all, and i mean all of my yies cause theyre all100% silk. so because of that im going to need more ties before i leavethe mtc. i'll wear the silk ones in the mtc, but i'll need more befor ihead to manilla. but anyway the last few days have kinda run together.wednesday was kind of an interesting experience cause it wasnt exactlywhat i expected. but i am ajusting. i love my companion even though heis a bit different. elder gillett is from leavenworth, kansas and issomewhat of a deep thinker and has no problem enlightening us to histhoughts. a lot of the time he just wont shut up! but he is teaching mepatience, unwillingly on my part, but he is making me be patient. he hasa tendency to take forever to do everything. he seems to believe thatholding the door for the collumn of people is necessary instead of thecustomary few people, but i love him. we work farely well together andare still learning to work together. there are 9 missionaries, soon tobe 8 missionaries in our district cause one of our elders is going hometoday to treat his depression. he's a great elder and we all home thathe will treat his illness and return to the mtc in the near future. wehave 8 soon to be 7 elders and 1 sisters. when you sit in class for 10hours a day, you get to know each other well. we all like to worktogether and are progressing. but other than that, theres not much toreport. im working hard to do my best, i've never worked this hard in mylife! but as hard as im working and as much as I want to sleep i knowthat this is what i want to do and where i want to be. yesterday wasprobably the best day of the week, not only because of taking thesacrament, but i also got to take a much needed 2 hour nap :D. Alam kona ang simbahan! (I know that the church is true!) Hope everything iswell. oh btw christie, i got your package today, thank you so much!!!!!!but you'll get a letter later this week with more details and thanks.take care of yourselves and if you dont have my address, email my dad at c.beckstead@comcast.net and he'll give it to you cause i love gettingmail....and packages too :D. take care. Love,Elder B