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,

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