Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Guardian Angel and Zone Conference

Kia Ora Mum and whanau(family),

Before I begin, I want you to go over to grandma great and tell here how much I love her and am grateful for those cheese and crackers those many years ago. So goodbye for me before it is too late.

Ok, so this week we had zone conference which went pretty well. We talked about heaps of things which were all pretty good. President did call that morning last monday but we had already left. Then he called me again that night down in Whangarei. He spoke to me again at zone conference but not much was said. Then we came back up to Kaitaia and this week hasn't been to productive until yesterday. We were able to go on splits. My comp went to Matauri Bay and I stayed here. Then we met up again and went to Ahipara to teach a 15 year old girl named Temz. She has been taught for ages and has been to church for ages as well. We had a prayer and a song and then she told us that her dad finally gave permission for here to be baptized. We set a date and made sure she new everything, which she does. It was a miracle.

Not much else to tell other than I am healthy and well. Trying to work as hard as I can. This week is full of interesting trade-offs and such so we will see how that goes.

I love you more that I can say and I hope that everyone is coping alright. Tell Xane congrats again for making it into BYU and I will tell you as well to not set me up with any of his friends. I will get into the swing of things when I get home.

Elder Beckstead

On Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 4:11 AM, <> wrote:
Dearest Wonderful Trev,

I certainly hope you had a fantastic week!  The email we sent you last time was pretty brutal and I am terribly sorry about that.  We tried calling the Mission President from Boston and only had the phone number from the mission website.  It was busy for the first several tries and then when we finally got through I just had to leave a message ($32.83 for a 15 second voicemail from the hotel phone - youch! :)  We spent the next day finishing up convention and then traveling home.  I worried that you may not have found out about it yet and so dad and I sat down to email you before church.  In the afternoon, Dad tried calling the Mission President again and this time was able to talk with him.  He said we would not be able to speak with you directly - mission rules say that missionaries can only speak with family if a parent or sibling dies.  That was a bummer but we understood.  Then he said he did get our message but hadn't had a chance to reach you yet.  I panicked and raced to the computer to see if you'd responded.  You had, in a state of shock.  We honestly didn't plan for that email to be your first communication about your Grandma.  Aunt Randi and Uncle Jeff spent all Saturday trying to find a translator to call Tara's Mission President - native Portuguese who doesn't speak any English - and were able to talk with him and let Tara know. (He actually called a conference call and let them talk to Tara for 29 minutes :)  So, when we didn't get to talk with you, I justified it by thinking for some darn reason you had to have this experience and I really, really hoped you would have something wonderful happen this week because of it. The something wonderful could be peace and comfort in your heart, or it could be teaching the Plan of Salvation with deeper meaning, or it could be some investigator or member or your companion was able to offer you some support and love.  In the end, I hope the Mission President eventually contacted you!  And if not, oh well.

We actually did have a great time in New York City and Boston.  We were gone for a full week.  I hired referees (a new couple in our ward for the first Sunday), Grandma and Grandpa B and Nana switched off during the weekdays/nights, and then Taylor and Brooke came in for the second weekend.  I think the kids had a great time and we certainly did.  Bowler and his wife, Donna and her husband, Kelli and her husband, Dad and I were able to go together.  Heather and Burton had another commitment with the Ice Breaker Tournament down in St. George for President's Day weekend and couldn't go with us this year.  Hopefully next year will be better.  We did get you a spinner key chain in New York and ended up without one in Boston.  Dad says we'll just have to go back again (or get one online:)  We also got one plastic one from the 9/11 memorial.  In New York City we visited the Empire State Building, took a Staten Island Ferry to go past the Statue of Liberty, visited Times Square, Sacrament Meeting in a Spanish Ward, saw the Ground Zero visitor's center, drove down 5th avenue, drove past the Manhattan Temple and ate lots of great food.  I tried to order dessert first and drink milk, but some restaurants didn't either one or both!  How crazy is that!  One waiter that did accommodate me was so surprised; he said he'd worked there 5 years and no one had ever requested milk "to drink" and eaten their dessert at the beginning of the meal.  Well!  That made it all the funnier.  In another restaurant I ordered milk and the waiter said they didn't have any.  Strike One.  Then I requested a dessert menu and he said they didn't have any desserts.  Strike Two.  There were several other strikes during the meal but some good things happened too so by the time we left, he was back to only strike one and did get a tip :)

In Boston, we visited the USS Constitution - a warship built in 1774 and used in the revolutionary war and the war of 1812 - also known as Old Ironsides, and the Monument at Bunker's Hill and walked the Historic Freedom Trail.  We also got to go inside the Boston Temple (100th temple dedicated) and participate in a session there.  It was wonderful!  Convention was Thursday, Friday and Saturday and on Friday night after we got the dreadful news about Grandma both Dad and I received Priesthood Blessings of comfort from the Bowler, Jorge and Jim.  Kelli later said it was the most spiritual soccer convention trip she had ever been on.  It was a very nice trip and we did have a wonderful time!  I have to say one of my favorite meals there was an italian one.  I had butternut squash ravioli.  My goodness!  It was delicious!

Once we arrived home, plans were in full swing for funeral preparations and Dad just joined right in.  It took me a couple of days, but I realized my primary job of supporting was to keep everyone fed.  Meals were coming in like crazy, but I had to make sure they were on the table ready to eat so that the family just sat down, ate, and then got back up to finish what they were doing.  I then cleared and cleaned up.  We have such a loving and supportive neighborhood/ward.  They kept us going throughout the week!

The viewing was very nice.  There were people who waited in line for an hour just to speak to Grandpa.  One man said he met Grandma in the 4th grade and knew her in school.  Another said they knew Grandpa before he was born.  All of Aunt Rae's coworkers came and many of Aunt Randi's came too.  There was a beautiful spirit there.  One lady came up and tapped me on the shoulder and said "could you tell them to talk less; the line goes down the hall and around the corner."  I actually did try to mention it to dad and finally said "forget it."  So I went back over to the long line - I was the first to greet people - and started thanking them for waiting in the very long line, and apologizing for the wait, and then saying Grandma and Grandpa are amazing and they have tons of people who love them and so how do you tell friends and family they can't chat and offer their condolences?  I could almost feel the whoosh of aggravation leave them and the smile of love and support replace it.  They all agreed that Grandma and Grandpa are amazing and that they didn't want their few minutes of tender support to be cut short either.

The viewing in the morning was also very nice but I didn't hang around that one at all.  I was busy in the church doing "busy beaver" activities.  The funeral was beautiful.  Aunt Rae gave the life sketch, Aunt Randi, Dad and Bishop Fehlberg all gave talks and did a marvelous job.  I learned later that Aunt Randi hadn't spoken in a chapel from the pulpit since Taylor was 4 years old.  That was 2 years before I joined the family.  She did a very nice job!  Xane and Korin sang "I Believe in Christ" and were amazing.  It wasn't an amazing singing rendition so much as it was an amazingly courageous effort and The Spirit was incredibly thick!  The Bishop asked some people later how it was.  "It was Perfect."  Could you hear? "No, but it was perfect."  Please explain... "We could hear just enough as the music faded in and out that we sang in our mind the lyrics we knew and we saw Korin and Xane standing there as a tribute to their Grandma because they loved her so much and it was absolutely perfect."  The crazy thing about that for me was that they were already on the program before I ever got home.  All I could think was "are you kidding??? Just the two of them??? No other voices to help when they get emotional???  They are great singers but definitely not professional. Why on earth would someone ask a youth to do that?"  Let's just say I was a wreck before they even started.  They didn't know the song well, and they refused to practice much.  We did run through it once from the hymnbook and Xane asked me to find an arrangement.  I called Sister Raynes daughter and asked if her mother had any arrangements which she did and Danielle brought them right over.  We practiced once more to see which arrangement we liked best and then Korin practiced once more with me at home while Xane was gone, and then Xane practiced once more with me 30 minutes before the funeral.  Brother Williams accompanied them (it was way too hard for me, and we decided Aunt Rae didn't really have time to practice it either) and they never practiced together, ever.  Phew!  Made it through - the married grandkids also sang "Families Can Be Together Forever"  Brynne and Bambi had a difficult time with that one.  All in all, it was a beautiful funeral and I'm glad it's over.

That afternoon we all met back at our home.  The salt and pepper shakers grandma wanted Taci to have, but she loved the CD party with Uncle Dee's music and wanted us to do something again for Grandma.  So she and Jake took down families together to the cabinet and each member of the family got to choose a set of their very own to remember Grandma with.  You and Tara will get to choose yours when you get home.  It was very sweet and a nice ending to a very Spirit filled day.

Yesterday, all the endowed members of the immediate family went to the temple together.  There were 15 of us in the Celestial Room - what a legacy!  We figured out that of 11 grandchildren, 8 have been sealed in the temple and 10 have temple recommends.  The only one that doesn't is Sam cuz he's too short at the moment.  Bryan then reminded us there is a great granddaughter with a temple recommend as well.  Isn't that amazing?!  You are part of an incredible family!  I'm sure we could have gone on and figured out returned missionaries too.  We topped the day off with lunch at Mama Chu's.  Dad and I grabbed Korin and Sam and joined them.  Korin scored 3 goals and 1 assist in her futsal game.  Last night BYU won their game too.

There you have in a tiny nutshell, our week.  Again, I hope yours is worth telling about too, even if it is in a tiny nutshell :)

We love you and have prayed extra hard for you and Tara every prayer this week!  I hope you were consoled and comforted and in answer to your question, I don't know "why" she went home to heaven before you got home from serving the Lord.  I just know the Plan of Salvation is real and you will see her again.  She doesn't have to fight the frailties of her mortal body any longer.  She was getting pretty miserable.  Prepare yourself for an email regarding Grandma Great.  She had another mini stroke yesterday and Nana says she has given up.  It shouldn't be too much longer before she gets to shed her mortal frail body as well.  She isn't strong enough to walk any more and she can't see anything at all.  Her speech is slurred and she is miserable. She just wants to "go home."

And on that happy note - We love you!!!!!!!!!
hugs and tons of kisses,

Monday, February 20, 2012

Grandma B. Funeral & Crazy Week


Kia Ora Mum and Dad and Whanau,

I can't believe this. It is a good thing I teach the plan of salvation on a regular basis and i know that it is true. When I read the email, my mind just froze. I don't know how to react.

Well, to try and get over it, I will tell you of my crazy week. I don't know if I told yous but last week we went to the cape. It was really fun and only the back of my neck and my feet got really burned. Oh, yeah the back of my knees as well. It was a very fun trip although it kinda made me and my companion a bit trunky hanging with a dead missionary all day.

On tuesday we had district meeting and it was a bit unusual with this new district leader but it went alright. We then went on a split in our area with some members which worked out pretty well.

Wednesday was a normal day. We taught a dutch lady and she is pretty interested in learning. Her problem is that she works on sundays so we will see what will happen.

Thursday was a very busy day in which we visited a lot of less-active and former investigators. It was a good day but still we haven't found much good potential here in this area. It seems like everyone is too dead or lazy up here. We also found out that one of the members here past away. We had talked to him the previous saturday so he could bring someone to church. That night he had a stroke and so he wasn't at church. Then we found out that he died on thursday or Wednesday or something like that. Too many deaths happening around the world.

Friday was a pretty boring day. We have this crazy maori investigator that we spent some time with and then we were trying to figure out how to burn a dvd. It worked and Saturday and sunday we have been exchanging discs about every 4 hours or when we can. It takes ages to burn a DVD. Oh well, we will continue to do what we can.

Saturday wasn't too exciting and sunday we were able to have 3 at church. All 3 can't get baptized for awhile so it is still really hard to get going. We will still strive to continue however.

This week we are going to the glow worm caves in Kawakawa. It should be pretty fun but we will see if it is worth it.

I hope that everything goes well this week and I will definitely be there in spirit for the funeral. I still can't believe that grandma is gone. Why? I guess another one of lifes challenges that I haven't had to deal with much until now. Uncle Dee and now Grandma. Tell Grandpa he can't leave for awhile. At least until I see him again.

I love you all heaps,
Elder Beckstead

Dearest Trevor - Elder Beckstead,

We hope this email is not the first time you get this news, but if it is please grab a tissue before you continue reading.

Your sweet wonderful Grandma B went "home" last Friday evening.  She wasn't feeling too well on Thursday night and then Friday, all day she was just a little off balance.  Grandpa kept checking her blood sugar and it seemed within the good range but she fell down several times during the day. The first time all the kids were at school and Grandpa was here with Grandma alone (we were in Boston!).  Grandpa couldn't get her up and then after a few phone calls John DePalma came over and helped.  They struggled getting her down the hall into the living room from the kitchen and were really having a very difficult time getting her through that last corner.  Grandpa called the Bishop and not long after some of the Denning boys and Lynette along with Mary Fehlberg came and helped get her onto the couch.  How grateful we are for loving neighbors who come immediately.  Remember you never know when you get that "inconvenient phone call requesting aid" who you will be helping.  We weren't here but others were!

She took a really great 2 hour nap and appeared to be better.  By then, Xane, Korin and Sam were home.  She collapsed again on her way to the bathroom and Grandpa came and got Xane.  He went right down and they helped her up and got her slightly but not quite situated on the toilet.  Turned out to be an outfit changing experience and Grandpa took care of that. She tried to get up and get back to the couch on her own and collapsed again in the doorway of the bathroom and hallway.  Again Xane went down to help but this time she was unconscious.  He was on the floor with her and cradled her head in his lap.  He said to Grandpa "she isn't breathing."  Grandpa said she was because he could see her chest rise and fall, but he decided this was different than a regular sugar low and called 911.  Xane again said to Grandpa that Grandma wasn't breathing.  The paramedics arrived quickly and went right to work. They said they had to take her to the hospital right away and Grandpa requested they give him enough time to give her a blessing first.  They said no time, could do it at the hospital and they were off.  Gordon Smith drove Grandpa behind the ambulance.  Meanwhile, Xane called us in Boston and told us of what was happening.

Here is where the tender mercies and outpouring of love for our family continue on... Suzette and Lexie Stewart were hugging Korin and Sam while the paramedics were here.  Brent Campbell was right with Xane and there were neighbors everywhere.  Gordon and June were with Grandpa.  And Hoa LeBras was here too. After the ambulance left, the Stewarts piled the three kids into the car to see a puppy in Spanish Fork and try to distract them.  Gordon drove Grandpa to the hospital and Sister LeBras started the food coming in.  Dad was on the phone in Boston calling Aunt Rae and Aunt Randi and letting them know.  Taylor and Brooke were on their way down to stay with the kids for the weekend. The Bishop was on his way home from Salt Lake and stopped at the hospital where he called your Dad to tell her she was gone.  Grandma had no pulse on the way or in the hospital.  The very kind doctor came out and told Grandpa there was really nothing they could do for her and if he wished he could go in, be by her side, and hold her hand.  When Grandpa held her hand, her pulse rate immediately shot up to normal and she squeezed it (I think).  After very few seconds it slowly decreased again and she passed away.  It was like she came back just to say goodbye.

We know you love her very much and will miss her too.  We received the miracle of getting on an overbooked plane and sitting in an emergency exit row and being home early from our soccer convention trip.  She passed away on Friday evening about 6:10 pm, and we arrived home Saturday night about 11:00 pm.  We finally got to bed about 3:00 am (Boston time).

We still hope to be able to talk with you about this if your mission president allows it.  We only had the office phone number from with us and tried several times but the line was busy.  Once we finally got through I had to leave a message and don't know if anyone has even listened to it yet.  Now it is 4:00 am your time and so we will try the President's cell phone this afternoon after church. I bet you already know simply through the Holy Ghost.  We are so sorry if your only info is this email.

We love you and pray for you and Tara.  We know you are being comforted as are we.  The Plan of Salvation is real!  The Atonement and Resurrection are real!  The resurrection is real! We know Grandma was greeted by her parents and Uncle Dee and her brothers and tons of other family.  

Sending tons of love, hugs and kisses your way!
Mother and Dad

Monday, February 6, 2012

Couple a weeks of craziness :)

Kia Ora Mother,

I will tell you of the craziness that accompanied my couple weeks but first I want to tell you that I am now at full health and and waiting to see who my new companion is. Transfers this week. Ok also, to answer your two questions. I think the first one had to do with being the right person or something. Anyways, yes I am trying to be what God wants me to be not just do what I am comfortable doing. It has been extremely tricky this transfer with all of the no's for permission and trying to work with the ward here in Kaitaia and with the branch in Matauri Bay. Anyways, your second question, I am pretty sure that there has been righteous indignation a lot in the mission at the moment by most people. Either in presidents case about disobedience, or in the missionary's case for the recent converts or investigators disobedience. I'm sure every mission goes through that.We will push on no matter what.

Ok, back to the start of 2 weeks ago.
Monday the 23. We had a good fhe with bishop and his wife with some investigators in Ahipara. It went really good and we did the egg into the bottle trick. I might have to show yous if yous don't know what it is when I return. You basically put thing in a bottle and the put a match in it. Then you put a preshelled hard boiled egg on top and it gets sucked in. It is pretty good. It says to use rubbing alcohol but that doesn't exist in this country so we used methylated spirits instead. It still worked good but would've worked better in a glass bottle.

Tuesday we had a trade-off after district meeting. I went with Elder Lamb who is a canadian who is pretty funny. It is pretty weird how much alike we are though. Personality-wise anyways. We had a pretty good day and the trampoline picture was with him.

Wednesday we traded back and we were supposed to stay the night out at our ward mission leader. Then from there we would stay in Matauri Bay at our Branch Presidents house. But we got permission denied. We still made it out to the ward mission leaders house and another member for dinner out there about 40 K's from Kaitaia but we had to come home. We still tried to get permission for later but it never worked out.

Thursday, we didn't have anything exciting happen because we hadn't planned anything because we were supposed to be headed to Matauri Bay. We did stay about Kaitaia though and had a good day.

Friday was the same as thursday except we did heaps of service. We had mowed this lady's lawn on thursday and on friday we helped her move. We also moved some rocks for a rock garden for a member just down the road. I got a few blisters which was no good. Oh well.

Saturday, we got permission to stay in Kaikohe so we went on the route we were going to take to Matauri Bay and visited all of those people who we were supposed to on thursday. Not too many people were home because of the long weekend but it was still a good day. That night we stayed in Kaikohe at the elders flat there.

Sunday, we spent the whole day out in Matauri Bay. It was good to see the members there and get to know them. The only down part of the day was almost ripping our front bumper off because of a metal post sticking out of the ground. It was ridiculus. A cool story from the day was that we went out a ways not knowing where these people stayed other than a road. We went on a road and asked a few people. We finally found the right house and as we walked up he said we were welcome to come inside. He said it was kindof a rude awakening to see us because he knows where he should be on sunday but other things take him away. It was pretty funny to hear him talk the way he was. He was happy to see us but I know the spirit was eating him up on the inside. We stayed in Kaikohe again that night.

Last Monday we went to email at the chapel because all the shops were closed for a public holiday. But the internet wasn't working. So we went on with the plans and went to the cape instead. It was good to go see the ocean and the very top of New Zealand. There are some pictures but the best ones are on the elders camera in Kaikohe. I hopefully will get them later. It was a good day doing that and we stayed again in Kaikohe and that is when the trouble started. That night I was up all night throwing up and having diarrhea. It was not a fun experience.

Tueday I made it to district meeting but after that it was just a long day of sleeping, eating nothing, and trying not to be sick. There was another missionary named Elder Ngalu that was also sick. We boiled it down to some fish we ate the previous day on the way back from the cape. It was no good. So we had to stay an extra day in Kaikohe because I couldn't drive home or Sister Lekias wouldn't let me anyways.

Wednesday, we made it back finally and had a pretty good day taking it easy. Then that night my companion got a call from President telling him he was training down in the city and that he would be in the tongan program. He was excited about the tongan program but he does not want to train at all. He wasn't happy about that at all. Anyways, the ap's then called and told us they would pick him up in Kaikohe the next day at about 2 pm. Because of that our thursday was shot.

Thursday we drove down at 12 pm and got to kaikohe. We went with the other elders to a few appointments and the ap's finally got elder Pohahau at about 4 pm. Then I stayed with Elder Ngalu while Elder Lamb went on a trade off to another part of their area with a member. So I was in Kaikohe that night and Elder Pohahau was in Auckland.

Friday was weekly planning. I did that by myself and then when Elder Pohahau came back he went with Elder Lamb to see some tongans at the edge of our area closest to Kaikohe. I stayed again with Elder Ngalu. That night we again stayed in Kaikohe to prepare for a baptism for those elders.

Saturday, the baptism was very nice. We got back to Kaitaia about midday and worked over here. We had a few good lessons which went well.

Yesterday we went to church and only one of our investigators showed up when we were supposed to have about 5 or 6. Ridiculus but that is life. Then we went to ward council in which I was finally able to introduce a 21 day program. We will see how it works out. Then we went to a members to break our fast and were there the rest of the evening because my companion crashed on the couch. I just talked with the bishopric member about things that could help the ward. There is some serious issues with this ward but nothing that can't be fixed if we rely on the lord and actually get to work. We will see how it goes.

Well, today is a lazy day again and another public holiday so everything is closed. We are at a members house which is good and I am getting all of Elder Pohahau's pictures before he goes.

I love you heaps and I hope not to miss another p-day because the email gets to long to write.

Elder Beckstead