Saturday, June 30, 2018

2 Timothy 4:6-7

What’s up to all my fam, friends, and coaches back home, at school, serving around the world, and also here in Minnesota! This week has been really great and was a fun way to cap off the last two years in the Lord's service. I’d like to just share a few quick highlights and then my testimony with you all!

On Sunday, Elder A and I were able to pass the sacrament with Thome for the first time. He was baptized here like a month ago and this was his first time being able to exercise his Priesthood authority in a Priesthood ordinance. It was an awesome experience for me to be able to participate in that with him. I’ve come to gain such an appreciation for the sacrament on my mission. I believe it is truly one of the “saving ordinances” of the Priesthood because it allows us the ability to renew the covenants we’ve made with God each week and in turn, have the spirit with us to cleanse us and offer an opportunity for spiritual rebirth each week. It’s  such an amazing thing!🙏 

Coolest thing of my life was being able to see my parents for the first time in 2 years yesterday! They met us at Mission President's fireside last night, and I ran through the church with Elder A and met them on the other side of the church. I of course hugged my mom first, and she shed a few tears haha. 😂 Dad was next, and I don’t think he cried much, if at all, which was good because I’m not much of a crier haha.😉😂 It was amazing to see them and talk to them and hug them and introduce them to everyone I’ve grown to love on my mission thus far! Such a sweet experience to have with my parents! Thome spoke at the fireside and he did an excellent job. He bore a great testimony and shared such good stories of his conversion process. It was a night to remember for sure! I don’t think I’ve smiled that much in a single day for a long time haha.😊

Basically all we’ve done this week is normal proselyting stuff and visiting members to say good-bye to them. So nothing like super crazy happened this week as far as missionary work goes, but it was fun to share my testimony with them and continue to strengthen them a lot! I love the members here in Minnesota and I’m really going to miss them. 😢 They’re awesome! 

Well, it’s been a ride here in Minnesota. I’ve grown to love the Lord and the people here more than I ever thought possible. I’m so grateful that I’ve been able be a missionary and represent the Lord, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and my family. I’ve grown so much in my knowledge of the gospel and of my understanding and ability to apply the atonement of Jesus Christ in my life. I know the Book of Mormon is true without a doubt. Each time I read it I learn more, and I completely know it was written for our day by inspired prophets of God. Our current prophet, Russell M. Nelson, has asked us to read to read it each day and I know that as we follow his council, we will be kept safe from the fiery darts of the adversary. I’m grateful for my family and for the blessing they are to me. The family unit is one of God’s greatest gifts to us, and I know as we follow His commandments and the council of the prophets and apostles, our family will be strengthened and blessed. 

I look forward to seeing you all soon! Much love to you all. Thanks for the prayers and support throughout my mission. Couldn’t have done it without you all! God bless you all until we meet again!

Much love,

Elder Beach

Still working hard!

The taco truck!

Dinner appointment.

P-day with the district.

Basketball with Ke and De.

Final good-byes with those I have come to love.

Service at Feed My Starving Children.

Reppin' the Mesa Pride!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

One more week!

What’s up to all my fam, friends, and coaches back home, at school, and serving around the world! Hope you’re having a great week! Happy Father’s Day to all the dads in my life, and most importantly, my own Dad! Love you and hope you had a great day. Can’t wait to see you and Mom next week! 🙌💯 This week's been pretty good and was basically my last full week of proselyting on my mission because we have a lot of departing missionary interviews, packing, etc. this week. I’m going to do my best to keep it all to a minimum so I can spend as much time as possible this week doing the work I will continue the trend of sharing lessons learned and some funny and cool stories!

I think I will start off with a funny story this week! So we went to see R “Bee Sting” V this Sunday because it was Father’s Day and he’s a pretty lonely guy. So we get there and he’s got his music going full blast, so we had a little dance party with him. 😂 He likes to dance.  R isn’t all the way there mentally, so towards the end of the lesson he just goes, “I’m the Holy Spirit!” Then he gets out of his chair and goes and stands facing the window with his back to us. He says, “Guess who’s coming tonight?” Peterson says, “Santa Claus?” R goes, “No! Jesus is coming tonight! Look at those storm clouds brewing in the east. He’s coming tonight!” We were like. “Ok, we gotta go!” He’s like, “Let’s say a prayer first. I’ll say it!” So he goes and lays on his bed and starts his prayer. 😂 I don’t want to make fun of his prayer or anything, but it was the most hilarious prayer I’ve ever heard. 😂 He started out with, “Blessed be the meat!” And ended with some rhyme about different colors of people being all right in God's sight. It was very heartfelt but just really interesting haha. He is a funny guy! After he got done praying he says, “Man, that dancing really tuckered me out!” So that was a pretty funny visit with RV.👌😂

Sunday was a really cool day for me. The proselyting was a little rough and it was like 95 degrees and super muggy. Jackson, (my brother that is serving in Alabama) I somewhat can sympathize with you. You’re a man for being in that every day. We are on bikes every day though haha. 😅😅 It’s so hot!🔥 So Elder Peterson and I spoke in church on “Our relationship with Heavenly Father.” I felt prompted to fast on Sunday because I was giving a talk and also doing three baptism interviews for a family in the Eden Prairie ward after church. I had an awesome experience fasting. It really strengthened my testimony of it. I can see why when there are big decisions to be made or inspiration to be had, the apostles gather in a spirit of “fasting and prayer.” I fasted to have the spirit with me and magnify the words I said in my talk and also to help M, A, and S have good interview experiences. My talk went great! I was happy with how it turned out. Elder Stacey of the 70 who’s in our ward was there as well, so it was a little intimidating to speak in front of a General Authority.😅 After Sacrament Meeting, Brother and Sister Schreiner grabbed me and said that my talk had been an answer to some prayers in their family. I was really surprised by that because I wasn’t expecting that to happen. I’m grateful as I prepared that I had the spirit to help me know what to say and include in my talk. 🙏After the meeting was over, Elder Stacey grabbed me and Elder Peterson and took us in a classroom and had a little interview thing with us. He gave us some advice and gave us an apostolic blessing. It was a great spiritual experience, and I know that he was truly called of God! After church the baptismal interviews with M and her family were awesome! They are all super prepared and ready for baptism. Her daughter is so excited to get baptized. It just made my day to see how excited she was when we finished the interview and I told her she was good to go!😁 It just made my whole day to see how happy they were. 😊 It was pretty sweet! 

One thing I’ve become so much better at on my mission is not getting angry with stupid people haha. 😂 This time last year I would get fired up about people telling us we were wrong or going to hell or whatever. This week we met a few of those people and it was cool to be able to just keep a level head and not get all riled up by those people. We met this one lady on Saturday and it was like 100 degrees and super hot. She opens the door and just lays into us about how she believes in Nordic mythology and how Christianity is corrupt and we are completely misled. She went on for a solid 15 minutes so we just got to stand there listen to her rave at us. I amazingly was able to keep my cool and not get super fired up. We just tried to share our testimonies, and unfortunately she didn’t want to hear them, so I was just like, “All right, have a nice day!” Then she seemed mad that we didn’t want to hear her anymore. 😂😂 Oh well! I have learned that people are much more likely to listen and be able to hear the spirit when you just share your testimony and invite them to act instead of arguing or Bible bashing. The spirit is the real teacher in the work and is much more powerful than any sort of debate or proving people wrong! 

Another thing I keep learning on the mission is how far the world is moving from the standards of the church and how confused people are. We talked to a guy this week who was an “earthist”. So he basically believes that he came from the dust, and when his life is over, he will return to the dust, and that’s the end of it for him. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation and how we are all spirit children of God and we will one day return and live with God again. He was just like, “Eh, that’s not that appealing to me.” I was baffled! How would your life have any purpose whatsoever?? It was crazyWe also went to read the Book of Mormon with Brother G and his cousins were there. They were being super rude to us and telling us we were Edomites and that we were going to hell because we were white. Brother G kind of laid into them and told them to get out. I’m grateful to him for sticking up for us and our beliefs. We ended up having a really good Book of Mormon read with him. Reading the Book of Mormon is the number one way to stay converted to the gospel and stay active in the church. There is no way you can read the Book of Mormon every day and go less active or lose your testimony of Christ and the restored gospel. It’s just not possible! Brother G is a homie, and I’m grateful to have gotten to know him. I am also grateful for the restored gospel and the answers it has to life’s greatest questions. God doesn’t want us to be confused. He is a God of order and He has all the answers and will reveal them to us if we but ask, seek, and knock. In D&C 76:5-10 it says: 
       5 For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am ​​​merciful​ and gracious unto those who ​​​fear​ me, and delight to honor those who ​​​serve​ me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.
​​​       6 ​Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their ​​​glory​.
​​​       7 ​And to them will I ​​​reveal​ all ​​​mysteries​, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.
​​​       8 ​Yea, even the wonders of ​​​eternity​ shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.
​​​       9 ​And their ​​​wisdom​ shall be great, and their ​​​understanding​ reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall ​​​perish​, and the understanding of the ​​​prudent​ shall come to naught.
       ​​​10 ​For by my ​​​Spirit​ will I ​​​enlighten​ them, and by my ​​​power​ will I make known unto them the ​​​secrets​ of my ​​​will​—yea, even those things which ​​​eye​ has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.

What a great promise to us as mortals on earth that God will reveal to us such great mysteries if we serve Him in righteousness and humbly seek after truth. 🙌 Pretty sweet!💯

We had a great lesson with Thome on Tuesday and we ended up talking about patriarchal blessings. Thome was talking a lot about making decisions about who he is going to marry and where he wants to move. I felt impressed to talk about my patriarchal blessing and how it has helped me a lot with decisions I’ve made in my life. He seemed really excited to prepare to get his and see what advice God had for him to help him in his future. I’m so grateful for my patriarchal blessing and the guidance, direction, and warnings it gives. As I’ve been able to read it many many times on my mission, I’ve seen how much God knows me and the person I need to become. It’s so cool to see my progress from a year ago, but then also see how much more I need to work on as a person.👌 It’s awesome! In Russell M. Nelson’s talk, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for our Lives”, he says, “One of the things the Spirit has repeatedly impressed upon my mind since my new calling as President of the Church is how willing the Lord is to reveal His mind and will. The privilege of receiving revelation is one of the greatest gifts of God to His children.” God is willing to reveal his mind to us! We just have to do the things he asks us and be worthy to receive his revelation.🙏

Well, I’m excited for my last week here in Minneapolis. It’s really bittersweet to leave behind the people I’ve grown to love so much. It’s interesting to me that it’s harder to go home than leave home. I remember when I left I was just like, “I’m just gonna go for it and not look back.” As I go home I’ve been counseled to do the same thing. Take what you’ve learned from your mission, remember the miracles you’ve seen, things you’ve learned from the Spirit, keep progressing in the gospel, and then just move forward with faith and know that things will work out as you are faithful and worthy. I’m so grateful for the experiences I’ve had here and the lessons I’ve learned. I’m thankful for the man I’ve become, and am thankful for the blessings of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know God lives, and I know his Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior and Redeemer, and through Him we can be born again and changed and cleansed from sin. We can also be strengthened and enabled to do the Lord's work and be His hands and voice in the work here on earth. I love you all! Can’t wait to see you this Sunday, Mom and Dad! Love you guys so much! 💙

Have a great week fam!

Much love,
Elder Beach

Working hard with Elder Akins!  Did I tell you that we discovered that my dad and his mom both served together in the same mission?  And now we're companions!  Awesome, huh?

District p-day!

The "Three Amigos" at Kevin's baptism.  

One of my favorite ward members in the Lake Nakomis Ward.  He helps us out so much!

Happy Father's Day to my Dad and all the Dads out there!!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Sunday night miracles are the best! - and Kevin's baptism!

What’s up to all my fam, friends and coaches back home! Hope you’re all doing well and enjoying the start of summer break! I can’t believe how fast time is flying by. 😱 I've only got two more weeks of work until my parents get here! Pretty crazy! This week was awesome. I feel like I’ve grown a lot this last transfer of my mission and also that Heavenly Father is helping me to see miracles more and more each day in the course of the work. I’m grateful for His ever present hand in this great work! We had a lot of cool stories from this week so I’d just like to share all of those.👌

First off, Kevin C that I was able to teach in the Minnetonka ward with Elders Gooch and Nielson got baptized on Saturday. His parents both came to the baptism and sat on either side of him during the service. I was able to be a witness for the baptism and also be in the circle to confirm Kevin. This was honestly one of the most powerful spiritual experiences I’ve had on my mission. I remember the first time we taught Kevin. He was very skeptical and didn’t seem like he really wanted anything to do with the church. As we kept teaching him, as he kept reading the Book of Mormon, his heart changed. He changed. You could see that he wanted the restored gospel in his life. I was so grateful to see that be able to come full circle on Saturday. 😁 When we confirmed him a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and conferred upon him the gift of the Holy Ghost, I cried tears of joy and happiness for Kevin. This is only the second time I think I’ve cried on my mission (the first day in the MTC was the first time haha😂) It was awesome to see Kevin, lots of members of the Minnetonka ward, and lots of missionaries I’ve served there with. 💯

One of the really cool things we’ve had happen this week was seeing the power of our testimonies combined with the influence of the spirit change people's hearts as we talk to them! On Saturday, we were stopping by a less active member and she didn’t live there so we were walking back to our car and saw a guy next door to her house out front checking his mailbox. We stopped to talk to him and found out he was atheist and wasn’t super interested in any sort of religion. He was slightly rude to us and just seemed like every other atheist I’ve talked to on my mission. However, he asked us the question, “How do you know there is a God?” It was interesting because I had just read a scripture in Alma that day answering this question! So Alma is preaching to an anti-Christ named Korihor. Korihor basically says I’m not gonna believe in God unless you show me a sign that there is a God. Alma answers with the following response in verse 44: But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator. 

So we shared that verse with him and then we each bore testimony of how we knew that there was a God and also about the true nature of God. Elder Akins is so good at sharing his testimony and inviting the spirit to bear witness to others that what we are sharing is true. I’ve really loved that aspect of working with him. He is so good at just sharing his testimony and inviting others to gain a testimony the same way he did.👌It is awesome. Anyway, we continued to teach him about the Plan of Salvation and testify to him. By the end of talking to him he said to us that he actually felt he was more agnostic and not atheist. 😂 It is amazing to see the spirit work in people’s hearts. Literally all we did was teach truth and bear testimony. He accepted a Book of Mormon and an invitation to read Alma 32 and pray about it. He said he would check it out but probably wasn’t interested in meeting again unless he had some questions. It was just really amazing to see the spirit work in him in like 25 minutes. It was sweet!🙌 

On Sunday we tracted into this lady named C. She opened the door and was like, “In this house we are 7th Day Adventists.”  I was like, “Oh man, here we go haha 😂.” I haven’t had the best experiences with them on my mission. So we asked her what exactly she believed and she told us she only believed in the Bible and some other stuff that seemed a little interesting to me. 😂 She said she didn’t believe the Book of Mormon was scripture and I started to ask her why she believed that if she’d never read it. Elder Akins jumped in and asked, “So how did you gain a testimony of the Bible?” She told us how she had read it after going though a period of time in her life where she didn’t believe in God or anything like that. She came to know it was true through reading it and praying to know if it was true. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? 😉 Elder Akins shared his testimony of the Book of Mormon and how he came to know it was true through following the promise in Moroni 10. I was then able to share my testimony of the Book of Mormon as well and how we can enhance our testimony of Christ through reading it and asking God if it is true, much in the same way she did with the Bible. At this point she was like,“I guess that makes sense. I will take a Book of Mormon and read some of it.” She had told us that she had skimmed through it before and found a lot of things she didn’t agree with in it. I bore testimony to her that if I just skimmed through it, I would also find a lot of stuff that I didn’t agree with either. It was through diligent study of it and sincere prayers that I came to know it was true for myself. She accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon. 😁 The power of bearing pure testimony is real!

Another really cool thing that happened this week was we were able to do a new member lesson with T in the S’s home on Thursday night. It was awesome!🔥 T just got back from Utah because he went out to visit and go to the 40th anniversary celebration of “Be One” this past weekend. He loved it and said he felt such a great spirit in Salt Lake City and at the conference center. We had planned to read some the talk “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for our Lives” by Russell M. Nelson. T expressed some of his questions he had had about whether or not to move to Utah, stay here in Minnesota, or maybe even move to Denver. He really wants to find a Mormon wife, raise a family in the church, one day serve a mission, and also continue to work for U.S. Bank. All of these are playing a part in his decision. The Ss were amazing in sharing experiences they have had in their lives with personal revelation and we talked a lot about how to receive it for ourselves. I would strongly recommend reading that talk and applying the things President Nelson teaches us about personal revelation into your own lives. I’m still working on them, and try to fully incorporate each aspect of it, but I’ve already seen great strides in my ability to hear the spirit and receive guidance and answers in my life. This quote from his talk stood out to me more than any other thing I heard in conference this April: “Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will perform some of His mightiest works between now and when He comes again. We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, preside over this Church in majesty and glory. But in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.” President Nelson is without any shadow of doubt the prophet of God. I know he knows things are coming in this world that we must be prepared for. I do not know what those things are. But I do know that having the spirit with us is essential. Being able to know truth and find answers and receive personal revelation in the coming days is necessary for our spiritual survival. Anyway, it was a sweet lesson. 🙌

Ok 2 more things and then I’ll be done for the week! So the biggest miracle we had this week was Sunday night at 8:30 pm. So we stopped by this less active part member family and they weren’t home, go figure haha. 😂 So next door there was this family out playing with their dog. So we stopped and talked to them! We ended up teaching the whole family the restoration on the front porch!🙌🔥So there was a Mom named Q and her 3 kids and then her brother D. D said he grew up religious but didn’t really go to a church or feel like he had a lot of faith. He was such a nice, genuine guy and we answered all his questions. Q had some really good questions as well and I felt like we just clicked really well with them. They were super nice and we set up a return appointment for next Sunday, and they also said they would like to do a church tour on Saturday, so we need to get that set up with them! It was such a great way to cap off the week.  Elder Akins and I were on cloud 9! Such a cool miracle!🙏

Lastly, I read this amazing talk by Elder Uchtdorf this week called, “The Adventure of Mortality.” It talks a lot about enjoying our life journey and how we can find joy in the journey. He talked about counseling with the Lord in our decisions and had this couple of paragraphs that really stuck out to me: "Now, when we speak of letting God guide our lives, I would like to clarify one thing. You might not like what I’m about to tell you. When you ask God what to do about decisions in your life--including some important decisions--He may not give you a clear answer. The truth is that sometimes it just doesn’t matter to the Lord what you decide, as long as you stay within the fundamental covenants and principles of the gospel.

In many cases, the decisions you make may not be as important as what you do after making the decision.
For example, a couple may choose to get married even though some in their own families do not consider them a perfect match. However, I have a great deal of hope for such a couple if, after the decision is made, they stay totally committed to each other and to the Lord with all their heart and mind. By treating each other with love and kindness and focusing on one another’s emotional, spiritual, and temporal needs--by doing the “little” things consistently--they become the perfect match.

In contrast is the couple who thinks they picked the “perfect” person and then assumes that all the heavy lifting is over. If they quit courting each other, stop communicating one-on-one, and slide back into egotism and a self-centered life--this couple is on a path that leads to sorrow and regret.

The same principle applies to vocational choices. I have great hope for those who pick a less prestigious occupation but who do the best they can and find ways to make their work interesting and challenging.“

I felt like that stuck out to me a lot as I’ve been thinking about my future job, spouse, life etc. Those were some great words for me to read and know that whatever I decide to do, as long as it is within the fundamental covenants and principles of the gospel, it will all work out! I know this is true for everyone. God loves us and wants us to make our own choices. He will help guide us in our choices but also wants us to make our own decisions. Whatever we decide, God will help us and it’ll work out as long as we go for it with faith and trust in God!

Well it’s been a great week. Looking forward to 2 more good ones. Thanks for all the prayers and support and I can’t wait to see you all soon! Love you all!

Much love,
Elder Beach

My former companions, Elders Gooch and Nielson, with whom I helped teach Kevin.  This is at Kevin's baptism.  One of the highlights of my mission!

Having some fun with some of the other missionaries.

The cool hats I bought at Mall of America.