Elder Beck and Elder Tolman have had a great week! They have three brand-new families they are teaching, and they were ecstatic to have eight investigators at church last Sunday! They are teaching a family with three children who are planning to be baptized soon, which is a rare phenomenon in this mission. Much of the work involves working with inactive members, and it takes a long time, if ever, for the missionaries to see the fruits of their labors. Brae has always been one who has had big things to show for his accomplishments--awards, scholarships, accolades, etc. The challenge on the reservation is that there really aren't any physical signs of success. He says that in a lot of places, baptisms would be a sign of success, but here it is just not like that! He says, "That's why we have to just plant the seed. And in the next life, we'll see how each lesson, spiritual experience, or smile we shared affected someone. Missionary work is hard! But it's also the most important thing in the world. Again, that's why I have to trust in the Lord in everything I do."
Elder Beck has been experiencing a little bit of homesickness recently, and so all of your letters are very much appreciated, as well as packages and treats! He says he misses his music, friends, and just lifestyle in general, in that order. I am sure he meant to say that he misses his mom first, but somehow he didn't mention that! He is really excited for his best friend, Aaron Price, to get his mission call. (Argentina, apparently, but Briana called dibs on telling him in tomorrow's email!) He did say that he is trusting in the Lord, and that he knows that this experience is going to help him for the rest of his life.
They had Zone Training last week, which was very uplifting and inspiring for Brae and his companion. They were excited because the zone leaders took them aside and praised them for being the best examples in their zone, despite being the youngest companionship. (Both of them graduated from high school in 2012, and Elder Tolman has only been out a few months longer than Brae.) The zone leaders pointed out that many good leaders lead from behind, and they recognized that Elders Beck and Tolman are attentive and diligent in striving to become better missionaries. Brae said, "It was just nice to have them notice and appreciate our efforts."
I was really dreading having to break the news to him about Melody's death because she has been such a HUGE part of our family. This was his comment:
"I'm sad to hear that the Big White Beast has departed this life, but I know that now she is eating endless amounts of butter, pizzas, tractor seats, and more. It makes me think of how things really are going to be different when I get back. But I know that I am where I am supposed to be, and now I have a guardian watchdog angel."
I went on a vacation to the Cayman Islands a couple of weeks ago with my brother, Shane, and his family. We visited the town "Hell" while we were there, because seriously...how often does one literally get to go to "Hell"? We sent Brae a postcard from there, and he said, "You should have seen Elder Tolman's face when I got your postcard....Haha! Priceless!" He also said that the missionaries in his district were going to visit Monument Valley on p-day last week, and they were all excited about that. He said that he is getting to the point that he needs a haircut, and is dreading that day. Why? In his own words, "Cutting my own hair will be an interesting experience!" Oh dear! I will add that to the list of things I should have taught him before he left! At least I know that he will really appreciate my great haircuts when he gets home! :)