Thursday, December 14, 2017

It's been real. It's been great

I have basically been sitting at the computer procrastinating to write out this last group email because it is so bittersweet. 

Just a couple cute things I remember from this week:
- This little girl poked me at church yesterday and goes, "In 12 years, I can also go on a mission like you." So tender.. :)
- We met this sweet grandma on the street (she was selling things in a little shop) and she invited us in to come and speak with her. She was so excited and talking about her family so we shared a little bit about the Plan of Salvation with her. When I mentioned that there is life after death, this life is not all that there is she gasped and said, "Oh, is it? That gives me hope that one day I will see my own parents one day and that my grand kids will be able to see their granny again when I die." I am grateful for this wonderful message of hope and peace that we have as members of this church.

This last week I am going to eat all of the sadza and beef stew that I can and enjoy the culture. I love Zimbabwe and Africa in general. I am incredibly grateful to have been able to serve here in Zimbabwe for the last 18 months. It has been a very humbling experience as I have been entrusted as one worthy to share this restored gospel with these saints. They are the kindest, most genuine people I have ever met and it has been my dream to be here. Grateful for a kind Father & Savior who love all of us, black and white, bond and free, male and female. I am grateful for The Book of Mormon which has cheered my soul on hard days and also the soothing, healing power that it has as I have been able to share it with my investigators. It is hard to see this glorious time end, but I know that my service and love towards God's children will continue. 

I love you all. See you very soon! Merry Christmas!
Baptisms, sadza .... it has been fun

Sister Beckstead


picture 1- this picture is for you dad! cool tree
2 & 3- baptisms of Kuda & Blessing. <3
4- some members, there was a big graduation for college students, plus milton is in the middle
5- Majanja. An interesting fruit I just discovered. It is very nice.

Sister Beckstead

Repentance is Postive


Hello everyone! Zimbabwe is good. I like rainy season because the landscaping changes from brown to green and the flowers bloom but the rain also means lots of nasty bugs, frogs and snakes. It's OK, it is fun to dance in the rain anyway.

Here is a little bit about a few of the amazing people we are teaching right now:

Blessing is a sweet 14 year old girl. She is a relative to members and she moved from her home to stay with them for school. She has come to church every Sunday since she has been here in Gweru (about 6 weeks.) She is getting baptized this Saturday.

Max is a relative to the stake patriarch! He has been coming to church since August (I can't believe it) but we have been teaching him although he is busy with work and we can't see him a lot. Max understands everything we teach perfectly. He understood that Joseph Smith is not the founder of our church but "rebuilt Jesus Christ's original church." A lot of people don't get that at first.... We are going to teach him about The Book of Mormon this week and hopefully he can be baptized soon although he does not have a date yet.

Br. Milton:
The Lord is preparing the hearts of these people. Milton, one of our dear investigators first contacted the elders at the chapel. He came inside the gate and said, "Can anyone come to this church?" And they said, "it says visitors welcome!" So he came to church that Sunday and he was so excited. He even bought himself a set of scriptures. We finally were able to meet with him this past week and he told us how he felt like the truth was missing from all of these other churches. He said that these churches just accept sin and don't tell members they need to improve anything. Milton said he felt peaceful the second after we said the prayer and started a lesson with him. He knows that he needs to take this life seriously and be baptized is what he said. His baptism is on the 10th of December. Another cool thing about Milton is that he was in the military for 22 years so all the time we listen to his crazy war stories. 

Touching Moment:
We were getting to know this new investigator and we told him that our purpose as missionaries is "to invite others unto Christ by helping them to have Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repenting, Being Baptized, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End." He then asked, "How do I repent?" This young man could not even look us into the eyes but only looked down at the ground almost the entire lesson. Feeling much compassion and empathy for him, I also felt so much love for our Savior, Jesus Christ as we told him the steps of repentance and that if he does these things, his sins would be wiped away and they would be remembered no more-even the serious ones. There is hope and peace in repentance. It is always positive.

I love you all! #Stayblessed

1) The Book of Mormon
2) I am going to miss them fighting over who gets to plait my hair.
3) @ the hair salon- the aftermath
4) Kudakwashe- getting baptized this Saturday
5) Baby Helaman.

Sister Beckstead

Happy Thanksgiving from Zimbabwe

Count all of your many blessings this week! Love you all.

Sister Beckstead

Members & Missionaries


Hey everyone! This week was pretty great! I just love our ward soooo much. They really fulfill their callings and help missionary work to move along! Our ward mission leader introduced us to a ton of people this week who have been coming to church for quite some time but now need to be taught by the missionaries. This area hasn't had set assigned missionaries in their ward for quite awhile so now they are ready to help us. We are going to be busy, busy preparing these people for baptism.

Milton: Milton showed up at our chapel one day this past week and luckily the elders were there and he was like, "can anyone come to this church?" and they were like, "look at the sign, visitors welcome." He promised to come on Sunday and he did. He was so excited to be at church and he even bought himself a set of scriptures. We have our first appointment with him this week.

Br. David: He is scheduled to be baptized at the end of this month and we were teaching him about The Book of Mormon this week and he was like, "I came across this book before but never read it. I heard weird things about it. But you see, it's like a bad man. Everyone says that this man is bad but once you overcome what everyone else says and get to know the man, you realize that he isn't as bad as everyone says. He is actually a good person, just misunderstood. This is like The Book of Mormon and once I know this book is true I will invite all of my friends to read it." POWERFUL.

Typical Tessa moment:
On Sunday I was bearing my testimony introducing myself into the ward and as a missionary I am used to looking down at my name tag and pointing when introducing myself and so I did that and the members were cracking up after sacrament meeting like, "you just had to verify it was you, right?" It was pretty funny and we laughed about that for some time.

Making the most out of my last 5 weeks! Love you all. 

1) Meet the Gweru Ward pianist, Beana.
2) Sandra's baptism. Cool story, a couple months ago we actually contacted her and gave her information to the elders as a referral. She progressed and now is baptized! We got to finish teaching her this past week before her interview. Missionary work is so cool. It really is a team effort of everyone including members and missionaries.
3) Gweru is so beautiful to meee, can't you seee.
4) Love these sistas.

Miracle Week


This week was a MIRACLE week! 13 of our dearest investigators came to church yesterday!

Transfer news came and I am staying here in Gweru but will be serving in a different ward - The Gweru Ward. My new companion is Sister Kayembe (DRC Congo.) I am excited to be serving in a new ward again and hope that by the time I leave this area, it can be fruitful and productive!

Just a couple highlights from my week:

-We shared the Restoration with the Chizaza Family. He asked if we do deliverance in our church and we got to share with him about the power of the priesthood. When we told him that one day he could also hold the priesthood, he seemed surprised.
-We met this sister on the street and she invited us to come and share the gospel with her. When we got inside we started to get to know her and she opened up to us and told us that last year her 22 year old daughter died in a car accident and how she felt so lonely and heartbroken often. We left her with some comforting verses in The Book of Mormon. The knowledge we have of the Plan of Salvation is the source to all hope.

I hope everyone has a joyful week. I love you all. Tonana (see you!)

1) Kevin and I. 
2) Elijah and Andrew, two of our sweet investigators. Their dad is a member.
3) Tafadzwa's family.
4) Our District.
5)Sister Maielsy and her family.

Sister Beckstead


Hello family and friends,

This week was so great. It has been raining a lot which has been kind of a fun change than the usual hot sun. 

The missionary work itself has been pushing along.. We have some cute investigators who I want to share a little bit about.

Tadiwa: Super sweet 14 year old girl we met while contacting. We invited her to church and now she has come the past two sundays, she brings all of her friends too. What a great missionary. 
Fadzai: Met the missionaries some few months back and they left her a pamphlet with their phone number on the back. Her little sister burnt the pamphlet (not really sure why??) but she had been praying for a long time to be able to meet the missionaries again. Her prayer was answered when we met her last week and she told us that cool story. She also came to church on Sunday and we are excited to begin teaching her.

I have been pondering the conference talk from Russell M. Nelson. I loved it so much for two reasons 1) The African king story. 2) the power of The Book of Mormon. I could relate to the story in a few different ways. Sometimes when we go into lessons, there is no need for a translator even when they say they need one because they speak perfect English. Another because if you convert the father of the home, they want the entire family to be joined without a testimony and then we have to explain about how the gospel works one by one.

Here is my favourite quote from the talk:
"Whenever I hear anyone, including myself, say, “I know the Book of Mormon is true,” I want to exclaim, “That’s nice, but it is not enough!” We need to feel, deep in “the inmost part” of our hearts,12 that the Book of Mormon is unequivocally the word of God. We must feel it so deeply that we would never want to live even one day without it." 
I love the Book of Mormon and that gives us the further truths about the plan of salvation, teaches the truth that wickedness never was happiness and fulfils the promise of our Savior visiting His other sheep in the ancient Americas. I could go on and on but I am grateful for this book and that it is the anchor of my testimony.

I love you all!

1) The real Mufasa
2) whassup
3) African sunsets
4)woohoo for rainy season and walking in gigantic puddles

Sister Beckstead



Families and Temples


Hello family and friends,
This week we talked a lot about families and temples in zone conference. I remembered one of the most beautiful times in the Las Vegas temple at home. It was my first time just a few months before my mission and I came out into the celestial room and saw my family waiting in there. My father gave me a big hug and whispered in my ear, "We have to get your brothers here." Families are forever and I am thankful we have "heaven on earth," a place that we can go and make sacred covenants to be bound to our families forever and also to prepare us to be in the presence of our Father in Heaven.
This week we met with the most beautiful family. They did not have much, and I wondered what made them to be so happy. They had the biggest smiles and I could tell that they really loved each other, you could feel that love and peace in their home. We are currently teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ and as we talked about temples, I imagined them in the temple. I am so grateful for temples and I know that they are the house of the Lord. I am excited to go back after 18 months to the holy place.

I love you all! Have a very wonderful week.

Sister Beckstead

Hope for a Better World


Hello family and friends,
Weather here has been rainy mostly and it has been a nice change from the hot African sun. Just a few things from this week:
1) Tawanda is a man who literally thinks he is an angel and he told me that when I get back to America, I need to tell Usher that God still loves Him. 
2) Our car tire got flat by some wire so we went to get it changed and this sweet sekuru (grandpa) reacted in such a heart warming way as we handed him a Restoration pamphlet. He gasped as he looked at the front cover and said, "Oh, the lamb. Jesus left the 99 to go and find the one. He was very happy and held it close to Him and He kisses it." 

I have heard the terrible news of what has happened in Las Vegas and my heart led me to this conference talk from April 2017 by Jeffrey R. Holland, "Songs Sung and Unsung." 

"Someday I hope a great global chorus will harmonize across all racial and ethnic lines, declaring that guns, slurs, and vitriol are not the way to deal with human conflict. The declarations of heaven cry out to us that the only way complex societal issues can ever be satisfactorily resolved is by loving God and keeping His commandments, thus opening the door to the one lasting, salvific way to love each other as neighbors. The prophet Ether taught that we should “hope for a better world.” Reading that thought a thousand years later, war- and violence-weary Moroni declared that the “more excellent way” to that world will always be the gospel of Jesus Christ.8"
Know that I am thinking of you all, and praying as well. I am thankful for the gospel and for the light and hope that it does bring. When you are tired, do something for someone more tired. And when you are sad, do something for someone who may have it a bit worse than you. The way we can truly find our own lives is by losing ours in the service of others.
Have a great week everyone.


Sister Beckstead

Kuwadzana & The Black Mamba


Hello family and friends!
Things here have been rough for the past couple weeks. My companion went home due to sickness (love her) and so now I am in a trio with two other sisters.(Sister Diing (New Zealand) and Sister Nelson (Wyoming)) We are covering two areas: Mkoba 5th branch and Gweru Ward. We have been working super hard to get things done. 
Despite the difficulties, a lot of really great/cool things have also happened! 
1) I got to go to Kuwadzana, the area I was trained in!!! Since I happened to be in Harare at the time, they thought it would be a good idea to show the new sisters around! I got to see some converts which was literally so touching. Bright is now the ward mission leader and is preparing to serve a mission. Natasha told me she is going to the Johannesburg temple soon. 
2) Cliff got baptized... I wasn't there but the elders took care of it.... He is so powerful. This week we went to teach him and I asked him how the Holy Ghost was working in his life and he was like, "My studies! I am understanding everything much better." 
3) Lately I have been practicing my sadza making skills because yes, I am bringing some home to make for my family and I made the most perfect sadza on Saturday night.
4) There was a Black Mamba outside of our house.... luckily it was killed by the elders. And no, I am not lying! The inside of its mouth was black!
5) This morning we went to Creamy Inn and got ice cream. The lady was so sweet to me and she put a heart with red syrup on my cone. <3 
I am so excited to watch general conference this weekend. Conference is the best as a missionary. I love you all. God is good, all the time.

1) The purple trees make me so happy.
2) Fortunate and I, recent convert from July. She is getting married to her member boyfriend this month!
3) Natasha from Kuwadzana
4) Sister Namugenyi (Uganda) and Sister Wamaitha (Kenya)
5) The Matanda family. <3

Sister Beckstead



Hello family and friends!!
Things are going well in Zimbabwe, what can I say? :) Enjoying every moment even in this very hot sun. 
Just a few highlights from this week:
1) Violet was baptized and confirmed. Our mission president interviewed her and was touched by her conversion. She is now a powerful member of the Mkoba 3rd branch.
2) We got like 20 fresh oranges right off the tree from one of our sweet investigators. They are delicious.
3) Zone Conference was on Thursday, it was about how to be a successful missionary and how teaching the Plan of Salvation is the most important lesson. Why? Because everyone who was ever born on earth knew of this plan before coming here so it is familiar to them.
I just want to share one of my favorite scriptures about the Plan of Salvation because I am forever grateful for the knowledge of this plan which brings hope and peace to our lives. The Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ makes all possible. We can overcome sin and death knowing one day we will resurrect as He did. 
These verses are coming from Alma chapter 24, when the Anti-Nephi- Lehies choose to suffer death rather than defend themselves. They are grateful for the knowledge they obtained and made use of the Atonement in their daily lives. We can become a saint through the Atonement. (Mosiah 3:19)
14 And the great God has had mercy on us, and made these things known unto us that we might not perish; yea, and he has made these things known unto us beforehand, because he loveth our souls as well as he loveth our children; therefore, in his mercy he doth visit us by his angels, that the plan of salvation might be made known unto us as well as unto future generations.
15 Oh, how merciful is our God! And now behold, since it has been as much as we could do to get our stains taken away from us, and our swords are made bright, let us hide them away that they may be kept bright, as a testimony to our God at the last day, or at the day that we shall be brought to stand before him to be judged, that we have not stained our swords in the blood of our brethren since he imparted his word unto us and has made us clean thereby.

I love you all. Have a wonderful week my friends.

1) Our friend, Melly.
2) African attire because why not?
3 & 4) Baptismal Photos <3
5) Zimbazwe can be very beautiful
6) Hangin' around


Sister Beckstead