All Over the Place September 17, 2012

Hey Mom and Dad,

 

There is far too much that has happened this week to remember it all, but I will try to do my best. We were blessed this week with lots and lots of new investigators and people to teach. Our faith has grown as we have been able to see some of the people we talk to progress. We also had a special day of finding in the mission where we fasted that we would find the people who were searching for the truth. We saw a wonderful miracle as God prepared somebody a week ago to talk to us this week.

 

Last week on Tuesday, we had a Zone Meeting where it was explained that Friday would be a day of fast, and then on Saturday we would go out during specific times and do finding (tracting, street contacting, etc.). We were promised that if we did that, we would see many new investigators on that day. Fasting as a missionary is very difficult. It’s even more difficult when you are teaching and finding all day. Friday was a struggle because we were teaching in the local university’s multi-faith center where they had free food all day. As if the Adversary was mocking us, we had to decline the multiple offers to eat free cake and ice cream.

 

The blessings came very quickly, though, on Saturday. As we went out to find people, we stumbled upon an African man who had just arrived, he was looking for a place to worship and we offered taught him on the spot. Then, immediately following that conversation, we struck up another conversation with a nice woman. She was very interested and said that she wanted to know more about the Book of Mormon right then and there. As we sat down, we learned that she had been in London a few days ago staying in a hostel. During that time, she had met two young women from Canada, and they had given her a Book of Mormon. She had been thinking about it all week, and wondered more about it. The young woman from Canada said to look for Missionaries, but she had no idea where they were. She is looking for something, but at the moment, she is afraid that if she found out there was more to life, then she would have to face her family about that decision. We invited her to read and pray about the message of the Book of Mormon, and to find the peace in its pages. I am excited to find out where that goes. God prepared somebody a week before to hear our message on those hours we had been fasting for.

 

Yesterday, we had a great lesson with a person that I would say is progressing the most. Her name is Faith. She has desires to become more like Jesus Christ, but has had a hard time progressing because she would never read. Last Sunday, our ward mission leader gave her a Chinese Gospel Principles manual and she began to read it. By the time that Thursday came around, she had already read half of it. She then proceeded to tell us about the Plan of Salvation in detail. She really understands the role of the Savior and the Atonement. The Spirit has testified that it is true to her, and I am sure that she will be prepared.

 

Last, and for sure not least, I am leaving the great land of Preston this week. On Thursday, we got a call from the assistants saying that I would be leaving and going to Macclesfield (the mission office) and that Elder C. would be getting 2 Chinese speaking companions. One of them is brand new and the other is 2 transfers old. Going to Macclesfield means that it will be the fourth area in the last transfer (6 weeks) that I have been to. It has been tiring to pack my suitcase a lot. I thought that would be all, but then on Saturday I got a call from President Preston telling me that he would be in Lancashire on Sunday and that I should set some time aside to meet with him. On Sunday, he came over to our flat and he sat down and told me that I wasn’t forgotten. I was put in the areas that I was for a purpose and that he had a lot of trust in me. He then told me that the office elders have had a really big problem doing their tasks as well as proselyting. He wants me to go to that area and help it grow and baptize. I am very excited to have this assignment. One of my duties is to be the technical person when computer things go wrong. So, essentially, I am going to be helping the people there troubleshoot things. I think that my years of helping dad have prepared me for that. It also gives a unique opportunity to go all over the mission and get to see it. I am excited to see more of England than I ever thought possible. Being in Macclesfield also means that places like Hayfield and Whaley Bridge are in my area. I am so excited to do missionary work in the place where the Beards were initially converted. What an amazing opportunity!

 

Thanks for the gifts as well, I love them all, and I am glad to see that both Nate and I aren’t too old to get Nerf guns! Also, we have DVD players in all of the missionary flats to watch training DVDs, and they also play CDs, so I can listen to Handle’s Messiah. I have already been listening, I must be my father’s child!

 

Love you so much,

 

Justin

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One Year September 10 2012

Hey Mom and Dad,

 

I am doing so great this week, words cannot even express. Through trials and tribulations, I know that God has blessed Elder C. and I with much success. I have seen the growth of our area be apparent as we find and teach people here in Preston.

 

First of all, thank you so much for your birthday presents. I had to open the big box because… Well I could only imagine what was inside. I had to find out and it was a hard day. It was nice to blow off a little steam. I think that I listened to “Worthy is the Lamb” about 20 times. I love that song. I cannot help but think of President Wright emotionally directing the amens at the end. Thank you so much for the presents! I love them so much!

 

This week’s big miracle starts from the beginning of last week. Last Monday evening we were having a rough time finding people and it seemed like nobody was going to talk to us in the area that we were in. We decided to move on to another area to see if we would have success there. As we were leaving, we saw a young mother walking her daughter and stopped them. They were uninterested, but we asked them if they knew if any Chinese people lived in the area. They pointed across the street and told us that at 64 there were students. We knocked on the door and had a great QGC with a Chinese person named Ken. He is a Christian and has a great belief in God. After we set an appointment to see him, we asked him if he knew of any other Chinese houses. He pointed us to a street and told us where one was. We knocked on the first one and they were uninterested. We knocked on the second one and a man, Grimm, was somewhat interested, so he made a return appointment.

 

I think that we would have been blessed if that was it. However, when we went and taught them, more miracles happened. When we went to Ken’s house, his roommates seemed very interested in the Gospel and joined in the discussion. Then, when we went over to Grimm’s his roommates were way more interested than him. We ended up teaching all of them at least the Chinese first lesson. On Saturday, we taught Ken and his roommates Kelvin and JC, all of whom accepted baptism that night. Kelvin and JC came to church the next day, and we are going to go see them tomorrow. What a blessing! All from asking for one referral!

 
We also got to go to the baptism of Timmy, who I told you about a few weeks ago. I have included a picture of him and I at his baptism.

This morning during personal study, I began to look at my journal from one year ago. What a year it has been! On this day last year I went out into the back field with my friends and made a flamethrower… And subsequently lit myself on fire. At the time, I knew I was going to get my mission call soon, and thought that all was lost. I feel like while I had great faith in God, I had nothing like I have now. I have learned much about things. It is hard to believe that I am the same person that lit myself on fire one short year ago, but my past makes me who I am. The scars on my arm testify that I was stupid, but good things come out of that. I have a great story to introduce myself with now, I have lessons, and most of all I grew in my reliance on God.

 

Thank you so much for going on. Keep running the race! While we might be tired now, we can do so much more. Love you so much,

 

Justin

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The Office

Dear Mom and Dad,

 

What a week it has been! I have literally been running around so much that I have no idea what I did yesterday. It is good to hear that things are going on back home. We are having miracles here in Macclesfield and the ward is amazing! Also, being in the Mission Office is pretty much one of the hardest, craziest things that you can do in the mission. It is kind of like being in stage crew; you get to see all of the behind-the-scenes things that make the work what it is.

 

Starting with last Monday, though, we had a great P-day. We ate out at an amazing Chinese buffet and then played basketball. After that, though, we went to an investigator’s house and they made us amazing Chinese food. I learned a lot about good Chinese food there. Tuesday and Wednesday we had lots of teaching appointments and they were quite uplifting. Wednesday night we took a train down to Manchester and stayed at the Chinese Elder’s flat. It was quite a different day on Thursday. We ate really spicy food for breakfast because the Chinese Elders had nothing left to eat in their flat. We then went to zone conference.

 

It was there that I met up with Elders B. and F. Both of them are in the group that came in with me into the MTC. Actually, Elder F. is the one that arrived at around the same time as us with his parents. He is one of the funniest and most spiritually strong missionaries that I know. Elder B. is from Idaho and is a small town boy. He comes from Rigby. He, as well, is a spiritual giant. We went to tea that night at a great member’s home. After that, we went to coordination meeting. The ward mission leader is quite great. He wants me to have you find somebody for him. His name is James Jardine. He just randomly asked me if I could ask you to find the person. He is supposed to be around 57 years old and he served in Manchester in 1978. I dunno.

 

We then went home that night. The flat that the Office Elders stay in is so nice. It is way spacious and quite good. It has all of the best amenities. Indeed, I feel like it is a blessing after coming from Preston, where there was mold growing on the walls. Gross. I also found out on this night that I am going to be driving later this week. It is strange to think that I will be able to do that very soon. I thought that Friday would be a downer (office work) but we ended up going out to proselyte all day. We taught three great lessons in the day.

 

The first lesson was a man who is quite intellectual. He has been writing a book against Christianity and its doctrines. He was found by Elders B and F last week on the street. They walked up to him and he immediately told them that he was uninterested in religion. They talked about what our message was and by the end of their conversation he told them that he was quite excited that they were going to be meeting later in the week. When we arrived at his house, we found that his heart was quite prepared for the message of the Restoration. Of special interest to him was the fact that we claimed that there was an apostasy and then Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth. It was something that he said he would have to consider. We ended up saying a prayer to close and the Spirit was so strong, you could have cut it with a knife.

 

The next lesson we taught was to a woman who was raised in a Catholic Convent as a child in Italy. Later in life, she only saw heartache and pain, and that caused her to look away from God. More recently, she has been seeing the missionaries, and is accepting the Book of Mormon very well. In fact, she told us during the lesson that she had read it while she was sick, and felt that it was the word of God. A member came along who was baptized last week. He is a star at fellowshipping and helped her to overcome her fears about coming to church.

 

The third lesson was to an Indian man who has been investigating on and off for the last few months. He is afraid of the commitment that our church has in comparison to the Hindu belief that all religions are good. Thus, we had a lot of objections to overcome. The member, though, that we brought testified of the Atonement and told him about why it is important to understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. I was astounded at the strength that testimony brought. It made the investigator really think.

 

Saturday we went all over the mission. We had to deliver beds, take apart old beds, deliver a washer, and fix a fridge. It was quite an exhausting deal. We ended up in Chorley that night because we were delivering a vacuum to a companionship. They were stuck in a lesson until 8:30, and we got there at around 8, so we went over to the temple and stood outside for a few minutes. We then took the vacuum to them and went home.

 

Sunday I finally got to meet most of the ward. They had me come up and bare my testimony. I accidentally said “It’s really good to be here in Stockport” when I got up. The ward was great, though, it became the joke of the day. There are lots of good people.

 

Sorry about taking forever to email you today. I’ve had to do it while on and off doing some office work. There are lots of things to be done, so I must go now. I will probably email throughout the week to individual people. Love you so much!

Justin

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It’s PrestON

First of all, just to clarify, my mission call hasn’t changed. I am still speaking the English language. I have been temporarily put into a Chinese area, though. As I found out this week, I am only going to be here for about three weeks, and then I am going somewhere else. I thought I was just getting settled, but I will be heading out in a few weeks. I think I said it this last week, I am an Elder without an area! It is a bit fun to serve in these areas for a few weeks, but it isn’t too fulfilling because you don’t get to see anybody progress to baptism.

The first night that I was here we taught a man. He is already a Christian, but mostly because it is what all of his friends were doing at the time. He had a hard time understanding the reason that we had the Book of Mormon, even though Elder C. told him five different times. Last night, we went over to teach him again. He had the same objections and didn’t want us to come over until he finished the Book of Mormon. I had no idea that this was happening until Elder Chan told me. I decided to bear my testimony about the Book of Mormon. The Spirit filled the room and he invited us to come back again. I am sure that he felt the Spirit there. He accepted baptism and said that he had a lot of praying to do. I hope that all will go well with him.

That experience, coupled with a few others, has really helped me to see the hand of the Lord in this work. The Spirit is the integral part that makes it go forward. It transcends all languages, cultural barriers, and beliefs. It is the only way that I can go forward, teaching in a language that I don’t even understand.

We have taught lots of lessons in Chinese, about 17 in total. To give you a feeling for how many that is, you have to know that most areas get about 10-12 a week max. This area is exploding with people who are ready to be taught!

By the way, ourflat has been dubbed the “Pit of Despair” because of how bad it is. It is almost humorous just how bad it is. Nonetheless, we are moving out soon… Right after I am supposed to leave! Oh well…

We went to Liverpool on Saturday because Elder C. taught somebody who was being baptized there. The baptism was great and the Spirit was so strong. We also got to go out to the Albert Docks and take a picture in front of the Beatles Museum. That was fun. I also met a genuine drunk Skouse on the train going to Liverpool and had a great conversation with him. What a great place Liverpool is!

Well, that is about it for this week. So I must go find “Golden Chinese Investigator” as Elder C, calls them.

Love you tons,

Justin
PS. Elder Beard’s mother is really going to try to keep up with the blog!

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May 14, 2012

What a week! We had tons of new investigators and on top of it all, I was able to talk to you!  What a joy that was to see everybody and to hear from you, how you are doing.  I feel like the call home is a boost because it reminds you why you are doing what you are doing on a mission.  In the end, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is how families can be together forever, and I know that is reward enough for me to work.

We have a great investigator right now who is progressing well.  His mind is sharp and he feels the Spirit testify as he reads the Book of Mormon.  It was amazing how much faith he was able to have.  We had given him a few small reading assignments (the Introduction, the Testimony of Joseph Smith) to read, but never an assignment of the Book of Mormon itself.  Then, we had him read Mosiah 18, the next lesson that we had, he told us that he knew the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith were true.  How amazing that is!  Another blessing of teaching him is that we have always been able to teach in a member’s home.  The Spirit has been strong as we teach in a place conducive to It’s presence.

I want to tell you about another miracle we had with our recent convert R. About a week ago, R’s friend D (a less active member baptized 2 years ago) was looking through the pictures on his phone.  D saw a picture of R’s baptism and recognized the font.  They had been friends for 15 years, and until last week they didn’t know that they were both members.  Now they are excited that they are able to live the Gospel and work on things that they struggle with together.  This is an answer to so many prayers, and an amazing experience.

On the subject of helping and looking for people to invite, know that it is always in the hands of the Lord what happens, but ask that you will see the opportunities to share.  It will often mean that you have to come out of your comfort zone in order to do so, but then again, you aren’t really taking advantage of the Atonement if you are staying within your comfort zone.  In Europe, they have designated the month of June as a month of invitation where people are to invite friends and friends of other faiths to come to church and to see what we are all about.  We are doing service for the Jubilee in Lancaster, and we will be helping plan activities that we can invite people to come to. It is exciting.

Another exciting (and somewhat nerve-racking) thing is that we will be teaching a class of 15-16 year olds in high school about our church.  In England, Religious Education (or RE) is compulsory, and we have been invited to teach a class.  I am pretty excited about that.  It’s next Friday, so I will tell you about it next week.

Love,

Your,

Elder Beard

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Hello everybody!

This week has been a blur. We ended up teaching 13 lessons in 3 days. The work has exploded. I have never seen such opposition, though. We have been yelled at a bunch, nearly been taken off of a bus, and taught/fought a lesson to a born-again couple. Teaching born-again people is quite like yelling at a brick wall- you get nowhere.

It was while we were teaching this born again couple that I had an enlightening epiphany. They were Bible bashing and trying to tell us that we were wrong, and finally I bore my testimony. I told them that either the Book of Mormon was true, or it wasn’t, but that I knew that it was. Then the woman asked me, “Have you ever thought if it might not be true? Because if it’s not, then you are going to Hell.” It was the way she said it. It was as if she was concerned that all Mormons were going to Hell. The member that was teaching with us said something profound, he said “Even if it’s not true, my life is so much better than it ever would have been without it.” Boom. Silence. The Spirit testified. They ended up all but throwing us out of their house, but I know that my testimony of the Gospel was strengthened by the thought. I know that it is true, and I know that.

One thing that you have to know is that as missionaries, we have a very limited selection of movies that we can watch. The one that is watched the most is one called “The Restoration” which is a 20 minute video about the first vision. It is a powerful way to show about what happened. It really strikes me each time we watch it (I’ve seen it 10 times) is the humble circumstances that led to the most powerful experience in Joseph’s life. The true way to gain answers to our questions. It has struck me as wonderful. I hope all is well. Be sure to write a letter when you can! I live for letters just as much as anybody!

Love ya all, Elder Beard

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Hello everybody!

This week has been amazing! (Do I say that every week?) But really, it has! I am no longer serving with Elder Stubbs, he has moved. My new companion is named Elder Rapata. He is from New Zealand. (I guess that they like to send me people from Pacific islands) Even in the last day, we have had great success in work.

Yesterday, we were able to teach somebody who the ward missionaries got in contact with. It was great to teach in a member’s home because the Spirit was so strong, and the testimonies they shared were a strength to the investigator. There is no secret to missionary work, if people could see the light that our members have and the happiness that they enjoy, the Gospel sells itself. We didn’t make it up to the Lake District last week, we ended up going down to Preston and looking at suits. Nevertheless, it was a great way to spend a preparation day.

I am not very sure what to put in these emails. I have so many things that I want to say, but I get in front of the computer and forget them. Fun stuff. If you have any questions or anything, feel free to write me at my mission address. I would be happy to answer any questions you have.

Love you all tons, Elder Beard

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