Monday, July 25, 2011

Question from mother

Today's post is a mix of Kristin's email to Trevor and his reply:


Hello Trevor,

I was telling Brother Denning that last week I wrote you that your emails were getting vague, and you wrote back they weren't vague, they were just short.  He said "Everything is normal to Elders in the mission field and there wasn't news to write home about."  He defended you quite nicely :)  However, Mothers need lots of details, so this week I'm asking a bunch of questions for you to easily answer:

Food is a great topic -
How many times did you fix a meal with your companion this week?  And name items of one meal please.
How many times did you have a dinner appointment this week? And name some items they either served you at their home or took you to a restaurant for.
What is your favorite food that you have eaten on your mission?   (You may want to get the recipe if needed)
Do you typically eat three meals a day? Or is it more like two with a snack? Or are you eating four and five times a day?
How often are you fasting? (Hopefully only once a month, but sometimes missionaries get carried away and think it is needed once a week for investigators or personal concerns)
Do you drink mostly water? Or mostly other liquids like juice and/or soda and or milk?
Are you hooked on the ice cream yet?
Name 3 "specific to New Zealand and your mission" food items.
Anything else you want to share -


Kia Ora Mother and Wow.

this will be interesting and I hope my answers are satifactory although some might not me.

Anyways, here goes.

I don't know how many meals we cooked. not many i assure you. The one thing we cook is grilled cheese sandwiches.
We eat 4 times a week and this week was mostly KFC. Last night was fish, chicken, rice, salad, and potatoes with pumpkin. So yep.
My favorite is either the kumara or the bacon and egg pie. I tried to get the recipe but the person forgot. Maybe when I write to him later.
I eat usually 2 1/2 times. Just a smoothie for breakfast and then lunch and dinner. sometimes less and sometimes more.
I fast once a month. I really haven't fasted much for special occasions. Once or twice since i've been here.
Usually water, fizzy or juice. It just depends where we are. (Fizzy is soda)
Ice cream is very good but I haven't had any in ages.
Three items specific, Kumara, Pies, and seafood. First two are good, last one is yuck.


Teaching the gospel is the best topic ever -
Please give me your weekly report that you turn in to your district leader (last week's numbers are great)
Are you doing any tracting?
What is your favorite way of doing "first contacting" (street or bus contacts, sidewalk chalk art, member firesides, etc)
Which is your favorite discussion to teach?
How has your testimony strengthened? (I know it strengthens every day, but was there one instance in particular where as you were teaching, the Holy Ghost bore powerful witness to your soul of the truthfulness)
What would you counsel us to do here back home?


We had no baptisms, 2 set, 0 at church, 16 total lessons, and 122 preach by the way, There is more but those are the basics. No we don't tract to often mostly by choice than by being told not to. I do not like first contacting although member referrals are the best by far.
my favorite discussion depends on the person but usually lesson 3, the gospel or lesson 2, the plan of salvation.
Something that has changed my testimony was the first time I baptized someone. The spirit just touched my heart and told me again of the truth. it was a special experience.
Just keep reading the scriptures, praying, and going to church. Those three things are the basis to achieving great things and being led by the spirit.


P-Day activities -
Do you do service on a pday or any other day?
What kinds of service to you do?
How do you clean your apartment and what time of pday do you do it?
Is your bed made every morning?
How much time do you spend reading emails? Is it enough, or not enough?
Where is the last "tourist" place you visited on a pday?
Do you hang out as a district/zone on pdays?


We do service every once in awhile. last week we cleaned out gutters and chopped down some berries from a palm, but we usually don't do much service.
We don't clean much of our flat on p-days, it is mostly clean up if something is dirty. if we do clean up though, it is first thing in the morning before we leave on pday.
My bed is never made. Pretty much. I guess half made.
It is usually not enough time to email but I work with what i got.
We hang out as a district, but the banned combined district activities which is a very pointless rule in my opinion. About as good as no hunting whales in Utah.


Zone/District/Mission -
Who is your current companion and where is he from?
How many in your current district? In your current zone?  Currently in the New Zealand Auckland Mission?
When is your next interview with the Mission President? Probably at next zone conference - when is that?
Does your Mission President have to "clean house" or are the missionaries obedient and doing what is right?
Who is your favorite missionary so far and why?
What do other missionaries say about you?
Who are you teaching this week that needs extra prayers?
Have the majority of investigators that we have prayed for in the past accepted the gospel?
How many families are you teaching this week?


Companion still Elder Allred from preston Idaho. 4 comps in district and 11 in zone. No idea how many in the NZAM. about 200 i think.
Interviews was last week and they went well. Next zone conference probably beginning of September.
The rest I will answer next week.

Love you heaps and know I am doing well. Have a great week.
Elder Beckstead

<<Kristin - just to see what she wrote - no reply from Trevor>>

Okay - that is all for this week!!!  We love you tons and hope you don't mind my asking questions.  I just love telling stories about your mission when people ask.

Last week I had a fantastic visit with Sister Smith's sister and her husband who just finished their 3 years as Mission President of the San Jose Mission.  They told some great things.  One is that in their mission, the missionaries were counseled by "the brethren" to no longer tract at all.  They will still "first contact' but it can't be by tracting.  So I asked what they were doing?  Using the members like crazy!!!  So, I'm a member - how are they using the members?  Of course they said in all different ways, but I kept pressing for specifics. They said they are training the missionaries to go to the members homes and create a list of specific non-members they have interaction with (the kids school activities, work, social events, neighbors, etc).  Then they list the church events coming up that they could invite them to.  Then they identify which activity would delight which non-member and the members invite them.  Some love reading, so they invite them to read a book that they give them as a gift.  The missionaries find out who is participating in the Sunday Meetings a week or two weeks ahead of time and go to that member (giving a talk, sharing the musical number, giving the scripture/talk in primary) and ask them to invite a friend or neighbor to support them in the meeting.  President and Sister Jackson said that is one of the most effective ways of getting non-members to church.  For myself, I never invite anyone and I'm in charge of all the RS week-day activities.  I figured that little visit was for me to start being more proactive!!!

We've had a great week - but next week is going to be WAY weird.  You, of course are gone.  Xane leaves this afternoon for All-stars week long camp, and then Korin leaves on Tuesday for Girls Camp and they won't be back until Saturday.  That leaves Sam and me at home while Dad goes to work. I have a ton of soccer stuff to get done and I'm worried I'll let Sam play the wii and watch tv a lot this week.  He does have swimming lessons this week which will help a little.  We've been riding our bikes and trying to enjoying being outside even when it is hot.

Gotta go - love you more than I can say and hope you have a fantastic week!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Birthday Gift - No Longer a Teenager

Kia Ora Mother,

My emails are not vague they are just short. Anyways, now that I am twenty and feel exactly the same, i will try to change and send some longer emails. If time permits that is.

Thanks for the birthday gift. There was a lot of crazy stuff in there that I will probably not use in a while. We made the cake and a recent convert/ investigators house. It was great fun and I will send you some pictures if they ever give me any. Of course I didn't have my camera on me.
I will need to go get new shoes. I was playing a few weeks ago and stuck my big toe through the end of my other ones. Go figure. The rip is now getting bigger so definitely time to get new ones so I don't ruin these other ones completely.

I didn't get transfered and no new companion either so it is just the same as before. It was by far the weirdest birthday I have had so far because it was so close to a normal day. Not much was different, hence I feel the same as before.

We have two people set for baptism for August but one needs parent permission and the other we have a hard time seeing. We did have a new person come to church though that might go somewhere. We will have to see about that one.

Studies are going along well and I found a quote that was pretty good. "It is not by marvelous manifestations unto us that we shall be established in the truth, but it is by humility and faithful obedience to the commandments and laws of God." President Joseph F. Smith.

We come to find out god's hand in our lives not by seeing him but by feeling his influence and seeing the change that he does to us and those around us. We don't know it is windy until we feel it and see the change it makes around us. God influences our lives a lot more than we now realize and as we pay more attention to the little things, we piece together all of the pieces into one big puzzle of testimony.

I just love the gospel and how it makes people feel. It just makes sense every turn you make. I might not understand everything and that is where faith comes in. We don't know but our heavenly father does.

I hope you all are having a great week and I love you more than I can possible say through and email.

Elder Beckstead

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Birthday & Aunt Katie's Wedding

Kia Ora Mother,

First of all, you would be proud of me because I got my birthday package but I still haven't opened it. I will wait until my birthday like a good little missionary. I am so glad for auntie Katie. Tell her to invite the missionaries over for dinner. It will be so nice to see everyone again in awhile.

But before that, I have an important work to do on this end of the world. We finally met our new mission president and he is really good. President Porter is back in Utah. They had their homecoming yesterday and apparently there were heaps of missionaries there to support them.

Lets see, we had a few investigators at church yesterday which was good and I hope they start to progress. This area has been really hard lately. I just think I need to pray more and try to get more inspiration. Something else that I need to get better at.

Well, Transfers are back again and I will let you know if anything changes. Probably a lot and nothing at the same time as usual.

Have a great week and I am glad you had a great time in Texas.
Love you heaps,
Elder Beckstead

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Kia Ora Mother,

First of all Happy 4th of July. Second of all, No I am not counting and I do not care if you do either. I'm with you. I ain't coming home anytime soon so why waste brain cells on it :)

Yes, I did know sis Engebretzen from provo. We were in the same district for awhile.

No I haven't seen or heard about any packages yet. It should be here but I bet because of the new mission president, the office is a little on the chaotic side of things. We get to meet the new president on Wednesday I believe. It will be pretty crazy all of the changes that are happening.

Tell Auntie Katie congrats for me as well. Tell her to invite the missionaries over for dinner as well and I hope something sparks in him that will lead to his conversion. I know she will be happy that you are going. Family always brings happiness it just might be delayed.

My week was good but cold. There hasn't been hardly any rain this week at all but it has been really cold all week. I have had to wear a sweater and a coat. I didn't think it was supposed to get this cold in New Zealand but sure enough it does. We had a baptism this week as well for Aleli which went well. There is a picture attached which I hope gets through. He is the older one. The younger one is Limani which was a few weeks ago. you might already have it. I can't remember. Not much else happened this week except for what I told dad about crashing my bike. Dumb brakes.

<<from dad's letter>>
The work is moving forward slowly. We did have Aleli Nonoa baptized this past week which was a pretty cool experience. We have a couple more lined up, but we are having a hard time with them. Their names are wilson, Jalisha, and George. I just wish people understood what we do and how important this really is.

One last thing to complain about. I had no brakes this week and when I went to get them fixed the member wasn't home. So we left and I was riding along, looked up, saw a car in front of me, and ran right into the back taillight breaking the plastic. I just have a few bruises and a cut on my finger from the brake and the rest of the bike was mostly alright. I tried to find the owner but finally just left a note. The guy called me a few days later and I have to pay $130 dollars to fix the back door because it wont open and the light. I am glad that I have some money put away for emergencies. I just wish I didn't have to use it for this.
<<back to mom's letter>>

Anyways, one way the lord helped me this week is by answering prayers. We have had an incredibly hard time lately with new investigators and getting people to church. In my prayers, I have been asking specifically for someone prepared to come to church not by our doing. When we got to church we saw someone that I had taught before but we though had moved away. We were able to teach him again and get him back on track for baptism. When we pray for specific things, God is able to answer with specific answers and in this case was able to provide both a new investigator and someone else at church that has potential. God is a god of miracles but it takes our constant diligence and prayer in order to qualify and acheive those miracles.

I love you heaps mother and tell the rest of the family hi for me. Have a great week.
Elder Beckstead