Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I Did All That For This.

Hello family and friends!

It has been a wonderful week. I have a few stories like the usual...

The chapel in Kuwadzana has clean water for everyone who comes. Whether you are a member or not, hundreds of people come and get buckets and buckets of water and carry them home. One woman in particular was all alone with a baby and had BUCKETS of water. We asked her, "how are you going to get these home?" Turns out she takes several trips back and forth just for water. My companion and I offered to help. The woman probably gave me the smallest bucket to carry (smart choice) and I lifted it onto my head just to see what it was like... I laughed so hard because I made a fool out of myself and couldn't balance it on my head and ended up spilling some of the water on me hahaha. So I decided to carry it like a normal person and wow that woman lived far. Even though my companion and I hardly made it to her house without dying, it made us SO grateful. We take so many of our basic necessities for granted.

Alan's occupation is letting people weigh themselves on a scale for ten cents. I pass by where he works frequently and one day he stopped me and said, "Aren't you from America? So why out of all of the beautiful countries you could have chosen did you choose a country full of poverty...and corruption. Why?" Gives the perfect opportunity to share the gospel and is our newest investigator!

All of those fall-throughs, long days in the heat and sore feet are worth it. I sat at the beautiful baptisms on Saturday and thought, "I did all that for this." (September 2016 Ensign) But in reality, He, Our Savior Jesus Christ did all of that for us. He is the one that spent His life in the service of others and then to take on all of the sins and afflictions of the world and be crucified. Jesus did this so we could be with our families for forever, repent of our sins and keep trying. "Our present circumstances may not change, but through God's compassion, kindness and love, we will all receive more than we deserve, more than we could ever earn, and more than we could ever hope for. We are promised that, "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:4) How thankful I am for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is there to strengthen us and remind us that He understands our present circumstances, He is there to lift, help, and guide us. I know that He is always there for us and He is happy with our efforts as long as we are doing the best we can. 

P.s... I am really, really excited for General Conference. I get to watch all of the sessions live except Sunday afternoon (I don't know why) .... so don't spoil it! I hope that everyone has a wonderful conference weekend listening to uplifting messages to guide us!

Pic 1: The spiders we find in our house.... oh my
Pic 2: Baptisms on Saturday!! Sekuru, Natasha, Nomatter, and Shantel.
Pic 3: Natureee
Pic 4: I finally found good ice cream in Zimmmm

Sister Beckstead

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Gospel Lifts Us!

This week my companion and I focused on having more family home evening's with members and investigators. On Sunday night we went to the Makondora's to celebrate Kuda's birthday as an FHE. Sister Ziqubu and I bought a cake and we played some really fun games! They loved it. We have an FHE this Tuesday with Brother Gavaza, one of our investigators. Brother Gavaza's wife died a few months ago and he is recently unemployed with many kids to care for. He cannot pay for their schooling at the moment and their spirits are low. Brother Gavaza's testimony is shaken because he doesn't see where God is amongst his trialsI know this gospel can lift us and it is the only thing that can! Being at these FHE's of course made me think of my own family a lot. I am thankful 
to have the knowledge that as long as we keep our sacred temple covenants, we can be with our families for eternity. That knowledge makes me burst with joy.

We recently have a new investigator named Paul. Paul is powerful! The way he found out about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was through social media and he contacted the church to ask them how he could know more. The lady he contacted (all the way in the states) gave him my companion and I's phone number and he called us saying he wanted to read The Book of Mormon. This is just a prime example on how much the church is growing in Zimbabwe and how God is preparing His children to hear the gospel.

Funny Story:
We finally got one of our investigators Brother Gavaza to come to church on Sunday. I could tell he was a little nervous so I told him what exactly we do in our service to calm him down a bit. Sacrament meeting starts and our bishop starts calling members up to the front to receive certificates. He calls, "Brother Gavaza." Our investigator looks at me with big eyes and says, "me??" Turns out there is a member named Brother Gavaza hahaha. We laughed for awhile.

When I first got here in Zimbabwe I went through a bit of a culture shock. Yeah, I have been to Zambia before but this was different because now I wasn't just visiting, I am serving God in Zimbabwe for the next 18 months... I loved the people and everything but the culture, food, language... it was all too different. I felt discouraged and wondered if I would ever feel at home, comfortable or safe. Seven weeks later and I am happier than ever. Zimbabwe is starting to feel more like a home to me. This is definitely the best but hardest decision I have ever made. I teach many people who are prepared by God and I am only a helping hand in His work. I feel blessed every day to be here! I can testify that our Heavenly Father knows us one by one. He knows our sufferings and is waiting for us to come unto Him so He can heal us and bless us. He watches over us, protecting us so we need not fear. Faith is always pointed towards the future. 

P.S. my address for letters & packages:
65 Enterprise Rd.

Monday, September 12, 2016

I don't have a ton of time today but here is a quick email with some highlights from my week:

1. Gift and Prince got baptized!
2. Gave Sekuru a Shona Book of Mormon and he can understand it now! He said, "When I read my heart goes up and down so I know it must be true." So sweet. :)
3. Found out I am the only blonde girl on this mission hahaha

I hope that everyone has a great week this week. I love you all! :)

Sister Beckstead

Friday, September 9, 2016

Always in the Middle

This week was interesting. By that I mean I got proposed to twice and the electricity went out while I was grocery shopping at nighttime. Haha. Serving a mission in Zimbabwe is always an adventure and I love it so much.

A few highlights from this week:
1. The other sisters I live with had a wedding, wedding reception, and baptism for a couple of their investigators, it was really fun!
2. This little girl in my ward calls me Elsa every time I see her- she even wore an Elsa dress on Sunday AWW.
3. Brother Sekuru told us that ever since he started meeting with sister Ziqubu and I his bad dreams stopped!

Spiritual thought of the week:
While I am still at the beginning of my mission and I have family and friends starting at the beginning of another school year, I read this talk that I feel like can help us all. In the July 2012 Liahona, there is an article by Dieter F. Uchtdorf called, "Always in the Middle." Uchtdorf mentions how considering ourselves in the middle of things can help us to understand life a little better, and also to live it more meaningfully.

 Psalm 118:24 reads, "This is the day the Lord hath made; we should rejoice and be glad in it." 

Of course there are beginnings and endings in our lives but they are only markers throughout our eternal lives. "Whether we are at the beginning or the end, whether we are young or old, the Lord can use us for His purposes if we simply set aside whatever thoughts limit our ability to serve and allow His will to shape our lives." ... "Being in the middle means that the game is never over, hope is never lost, defeat is never final. For no matter where we are or what our circumstances, an eternity of beginnings and an eternity of endings stretch out before us."

I hope you all have a great week! This gospel is amazing and sure does give me a lot of happiness. I love you all.

Sister Beckstead

Picture 1: Megan and I.
Picture 2: The area.
Picture 3: We found a fancy restaurant.
Picture 4: The wedding!
Picture 5: The baptisms of Melissa and Takudzua.
Picture 6: The area.
Picture 7: Selfieee.