Saturday, December 27, 2008

Celebrating Mom's Birthday

Mom got to celebrate her birthday several times. The first with the Pitts family and the other when Travis and Jordan came. It was nice to have a touch of home in Phoenix to celebrate.
During the Pitts stay we took a trip to see the lights at the Mesa Temple. We also went to visit our good friends the Brems who were visiting their daughter Emily in Mesa. That night we also went to see Kim Rhoten. Uncle Reed was staying with her. It was good to see and visit with him after all these years.

An Early Birthday Celebration

We celebrated my birthday a week early with the Pitts and then again with Travis & Jordan when they came on January 3rd.

We all took a trip to the Mesa Temple to see the beautiful lights, and also to visit our good friends the Brems who were visiting their daughter Emily who lived in Mesa. We also made a stop at Paul's cousin, Kim Rhoten. Paul's Uncle Reed was there visiting with the Rhoten's and it was so good to see and visit with him after so many years.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Traditions - Ringing the Chimes, Christmas Bingo, Nativity

Good thing we weren't playing for anyone but ourselves...but it was fun playing the chimes to Christmas songs.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Call From Santa

Just before our nativity, we were interrupted with a call from Santa to Gavin. He just wanted to make sure he still believed before he made his stop

Nativity Reading

Each year it is tradition to read the Christmas Story and use the children to act it out. This year our actors were small in number. Lars & Linda Andersen came up for Christmas Eve with Sara & Erik. Before they moved here to Tempe they were a part of our annual Christmas Eve activities.
We always finished the Evening with Christmas Bingo. Using M&M candies to place the mark, each time a person got Bingo they were able to open their present.

Enjoying having Tyler Home with Us

We especially enjoyed having Tyler home with us for 2 weeks. We thought he might get ansy staying with us that long, but he seemed to enjoy just being with everyone. We even put him to work teaching the missionaries during our interview training. His love and ability to teach and connect with the missionaries was fun to watch. Since he entered the school or business at BYU this fall,, he has worked especially hard this semester and was rewarded with all A-s.

Papa & Gavin Reading the Scriptures

It was fun to have Gavin reading the scriptures and seeing how his love for reading had blossomed.

Trish & Brandon rolling out Chrismas Cookies!

Christmas with the Pitts Family

Nana and Abigail resuming their favorite past time of making rolls for Christmas Eve Dinner

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A New Sherrif & His Assistant in Town

You can only imagine the mail that comes into the mission office during holidays as our missionaries receive gifts from family and friends. Just do the math, 180 missionaries, and times that by all their family and friends. Poor Sister Terry as she tries to forward everything before Christmas to our missionaries.

The Assistants gave President Beck & Elder Matsen Sheriff badges for Christmas! How appropriate!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Zone Conferences

For our Christmas Zone Conference we chose to split up the mission into 3 days of attending the temple and having a Christmas meal and sharing of a Christmas devotional and songs by selected missionaries. It was a very special experience to be able to first go to Snowflake, Arizona to the temple, with all of our reservation missionaries and then drive back to Polacca for a special meal prepared by our senior couples. It was a great trip up their because we were able to experience some of that white stuff that we don't see down in Phoenix. We arrived back home about 11:30 p.m. and then started the proceedure the following two days for our missionaries in Flagstaff and then in the valley. It was a spiritual and rewardng outing for everyone as we all got to see the temple lights after attending the temple. I must admit, I was ready for a long winters nap after it was over. It was quite an interesting experience as we tried to move about 230 missionaries during those three days. The Lord blessed us though and all went well.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Stake President's Christmas Dinner at the Mission Home

It was a busy week for us as we had transfers and then also prepared a meal for all of our Stake President's and ther wives. Elder & Sister Pickard, our area seventy, also shared the evening with us. We currently have 17 stakes presidents in our mission, unfortunately not all could come. We had a special treat as our Traveling Elder Angels came to sing to us. They all have beautiful voices and do an amazing job singing a Capella It was a wonderful evening of sharing.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Departing Missionaries- December Transfers

Sisters Conference at I-Hop

We didn't have time to have a full blown Sisters Conference, so we had a mini one and all went to breakfast at I-Hop. This was just before 3 of our wonderful sisters left to go home. We are down to 18 sister missionaries now. They are precious.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mesa Temple Lights

Dinner After Seeing the Mesa Temple Lights

After enjoying a wonderful evening enjoying the beautiful Christmas lights at the Mesa Temple, we all went to dinner at a nearby restaurant. Our Assistants, Mom & Dad, Tyler & his friend Sara spent the evening with us.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Holiday

Mom & Dad spent the Thanksgiving holiday with us. It was definitely a different experience only cooking for 6 of us but we were able to enjoy a few quiet days together. It was nice having someone around to help trim the tree afterward also. There is not much time for doing things like that in the mission. I was grateful for their help getting the house ready for the next week of transfers and also the Stake President's Christmas dinner.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Our Good Friends the Bramwells

Dick & Jennifer Bramwell stopped through Phoenix and had lunch with us. It was good to catch up on their lives and remember the good times we had as we served with them in the Cinti Ohio Mission. The Lord allowed us to serve with them to prepare us well for our mission here. They are precious friends.

Please remember me Issy....

The Return of Issy...

Tiffany & Michael returned the next week, after Paul's surgery, for a scheduled visit. It was so fun to have her around for another week. We took a trip to Sedona through the beautiful mountains and colorful rock formations. We celebrated often eating ice cream because Michael was allowed to partake of it when he was on vacation and we all took advantage (He gave up ice cream for 2008). Monday after I gave a Gratitude talk to the missionaries at Interviews, I left President interviewing. It was a 6 hour interview day for him, and I just snuck out and went to the Wildlife Zoo with Tiff, Michael, and Issy. We had so much fun as it was a hands on experience with the animals. When we entered the petting zoo, I decided it was a little too much hands on as the animals attacked me. The llama wanted the food I had in my hand, along with all the other animals and the goat was eating my skirt. It didn't seem to bother Issy, until the goat took a little too much of her hand in his mouth. The hardest part was the next morning when we took them to the airport. I knew it would be a while before I saw her and as I rolled down my window to wave. Her outstretched arms and cries of "Nana" was just about as much as I could stand. With tears running down my cheeks, we returned home and saw the little hand marks on my bedroom floor mirror. I decided I would just leave it until her next visit. Next time she will be able to come with her new little brother or sister.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Miracles do Happen......

President had some surgery the 5th of November and the girls and Issy were able to come down to be with their dad. What a wonderful sight to have them here after not seeing them for 5 months. Issy took little time to warm up and kept us entertained with her tricks. We didn't do a whole lot but it was wonderful to have them there. We are so grateful for the Lord's hand in our lives. He truly guides and directs his work and also our lives. Together we witnessed a miracle and are so grateful for his tender mercies and President's quick recovery,

A Visit from the Girls

Monday, November 10, 2008

Arizona landscape-Saquaros

The Saguaro grows very slowly -- perhaps an inch a year -- but to a great height, 15 to 50 feet. The largest plants, with more than 5 arms, are estimated to be 200 years old. An average old Saguaro would have 5 arms and be about 30 feet tall.

To Bring the World his truth.....

Elders tracting to share the gospel of Jesus Christ

The Book of Mormon another Testament of Christ

The Book of Mormon is being taught by the missionaries to the people of Arizona. It is another testament of Jesus Christ and a companion to the Bible. By reading this book you can come closer to Christ than by reading any other book.

"And in the barren desserts there will come forth pools of living water and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land" D&C 133:23

October Update

First of all I have been told my heading should be “A day in the life of a Mission President’s life”, so I’m changing it. Now, where to begin, We are reaping the benefits of living in Arizona right now as most of you are going into the winter months. We have blue skies and 70-80 degree temperatures. I’m quite enjoying that part of the change. President has planted 6 tomato plants and hopes that they amount to the ones he left in Cincinnati. It is the planting season here and it is a little weird watching people planting their gardens in October.

We are putting the miles on the Ford Explorer as we travel from the Valley, to Flagstaff, and to the Reservation every 3 weeks. We are close to 11,000 miles since we arrived in the mission. While Paul is driving, I just set up my desk on my lap and do my missionary medical For those of you I have just added, the missionaries call me when they are sick, injured, or just need sympathy. Their calls come in daily and some are just too funny to share) I have quite the system while we drive. I keep telling the President that I need a car with a desk in it so I have room to really spread out. One of the problems I have faced in our frequent traveling is when we stay at hotels. I go to bed at night and when it comes time to get up and find the bathroom, I have had my difficulties. We usually stay at the Hampton Inn in Flagstaff as our base each time we travel and I feel it is my home away from home. Well, depending on which room they give us, the layout is sometimes different, meaning the toilet in one room could be on one side of the bathroom and in another room on the other side. Well one night, when I was still half asleep, I wandered into the bathroom and went to sit down and fell into the tub. I’ve tried to pay a little more attention since that time.

We had a large transfer this last time. We got 17 new missionaries in from the MTC. Every group we get is better than the last. These are the Lord’s Saturday Warriors, who are prepared and ready to serve. We have some of them already serving in leadership positions they are so good. There is so much work for us to do and we are working on training these young men and women to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. It isn’t easy for them to leave their comfort zones of being a teenager and having an exact schedule to work by every day. The hardest for most of them is arising at 6:30 a.m. It isn’t easy for them to knock on doors or approach someone on the street and boldly share the gospel with them. But they have a testimony of what they are sharing and are committed to be the Lord’s servant's to bring the world His truth.

I think all our missionaries know now that their President means business and expects obedience in all things. Does this surprise some of you? Some have tested the water and have found that there is no selective obedience in this mission. The church has recently provided cell phones for the missionaries, which is a big blessing for them in their proselyting. They obviously had been told of how to use them and were authorized 400 minutes, but some went by their own rules. We had one elder that used 4,000 minutes in one month (sounds like a teenager) That is more than President, myself, and my son Tyler use in a month and we talk to all the missionaries constantly. Well, guess what, he had his phone privileges taken away along with several others who thought they could get away with calling from valley to reservation. It didn’t take long for the President to find out with the tom toms beating. It is amazing how fast word travels between missionaries, no matter where they are. You would think that they would learn a little quicker than they do. Now obviously, these are a minority that choose to be disobedient, the rest of them are great missionaries. Our compliment has been increased and we are up to 215 missionaries right now. Yep, that is right, President gets to answer all of their weekly emails and I get to pretend to know how to advise them medically.

We had a fun time with our senior couples as we got together to say good-bye to a few of them this past month. Our senior couples are wonderful. They make a big sacrifice at this stage in their life to leave their home and family for one to two years and come and serve on the reservation. Their accommodations are not more than a small trailer, they don’t live close to anyone per say, no entertainment, shopping or wonderful things to do. Just serving our Lamanite brothers and sisters and watching over our missionaries that serve on the reservation. We currently have about 24 of them. They are wonderful and we love them so much. We recently gathered together to say good bye to a few of them. We had a day of going to Eggshell Arch and the Antelope Slot Canyon up by Page, Az. It was an exciting adventure of enjoying a few of God’s beautiful creations.

Well, that is it in a nutshell. We continue to keep busy. It is hard to believe that we have been here for about 4 1/2 months. A good friend, and previous mission president once told us after a month in the mission, “Does it seems like you never even had a life before this?” In some ways it does. Our testimony grows daily as we witness miracle after miracle, both in the lives of our missionaries and in those who accept the gospel into their lives. The work is true and we are so blessed to be a part of it.

We love and miss you all
President & Sister Beck

A Little P-Day Fun....

The Elders having a little fun on their Preparation Day! Hopefully, they have cleaned their apartment, done their washing, cleaned their car, emailed their parents, and done their companionship study. (I doubt it!)

Nothing can stop the Work....

Bart Weisman broke his arm the night before his baptism. That didn't stop him though. The Elders wrapped in up good and he went through with it. This is a true story of a person who found joy in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It truly has changed his life.

In the Right place at the Wrong time....but they are well

Sister's Walker and Matthews had an experience they will probably never forget on their mission. They were teaching a discussion to a lady in her home where there was a domestic violence accident and someone was killed. It was a long day for them as they were questioned by police, since they were in the house when it happened. We brought them to the mission home where they got a late meal and a place to stay for the night. They were pretty shaken from the incident. We never found out what happened but we emergency transferred them the next day. These are the bears that they were given by the police that they clung to for comfort.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Navajo Nation Accepting the Gospel

This is a Hopi family being taught by the Elders

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A beautiful Navajo Rug...

A lady on the Navajo Reservation made this rug for us

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Looks Like the President is in charge......

Zone Leader Counsel

This is at our Zone Leader Counsel. We have 20
Zone Leaders who come together every 6 weeks to counsel with the President on how to lead the mission. These young men are the President's eyes and ears with the missionaries throughout the mission. The are all looking up to Elder McWhorter who towers above them. He is a great missionary and leader.