Ya'aah'tee'! Elder Beck is having a great mission! I'm thinking that maybe some of the Navajo spirit is rubbing off on his mom, who has been taking her sweet time on the blog posts! (I can just hear Brae calling me to repentance and telling me to get with it!)
The week of April 29, Elder Beck called training a "CRAZY" experience and said that he had to trust in the Lord to make up for his shortcomings. He admitted to realizing that he didn't know as much as he thought about certain details in missionary work, but had help from his district leader and definitely from Heavenly Father. Funny story...As he was driving back to Cameron from Farmington after picking up Elder Booth, he said, "I didn't have GPS, so I was just trying to remember how to get back. Well, we were about an hour out when we passed a sign that said 'Welcome to Colorado'.
So we turned around, said a prayer, and then we made it back to Cameron." (Obviously, he is still somewhat directionally-challenged, but Heavenly Father proved to be better than GPS anyway!)
They had to move back all of their scheduled baptismal dates because the investigators didn't show up at church on Sunday. Brae hated being the "bad-guy" and having to break the news, but said that he gained strength from the words of Paul in the New Testament, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ." It helped him to be more bold and as he put it, "do less sugar-coating with people". He cracked me up when he said that he hoped things were going well for all of us back in the United States, in civilization. (It really is a different world there!)
The week of May 5, things started to get HOT! Brae said that it was 90 by 10:00 a.m. every day and it just got worse from there. He said that the 100-plus-degree heat would turn him into a dried-up piece of jerky by the time he got home! It was also the beginning of snake and lizard season. He enjoyed watching lizards from his study room window, but was freaked out by the fact that the Navajo people regard snakes as sacred and do not kill them. (Brae was taught from an early age to kill snakes before Mom sees them!) He said that if the Navajos find a rattlesnake, they catch it and drop it off somewhere else.
He had more experiences of having to be the "bad guy" when they had to drop some investigators who were not progressing and keeping their commitments. On a lighter note, he said, "I'm supposedly turning into a real Navajo now, because I point with my head and lips. It's a funny Navajo thing that when they are talking about a place or saying something like 'over there', they point with their lips while they are talking. I am starting to do that without even thinking, so now I just have to master speaking Navajo and get a good tan and I'll be set!"
Mother's Day was the most fabulous day ever because we got to Facetime with Elder Beck for an hour and nineteen minutes! (Thanks to Paul and Becky Robertson for letting the elders use their iPads!) He looked and sounded great! He was trying to teach Briana and me how to say some Navajo words. Let me just say that it was the hardest thing I have ever tried to do! Rather than sounding like words, they were just guttural sounds. I really could not relate phonetically to any of the sounds. Kudos to the elders who master it. I would just have to smile and point with my lips, I guess!
They taught 24 lessons and found three new investigators. They were really excited about the five baptisms that they had scheduled for the following Saturday, especially considering that there had not been a baptism in the area for eight months. Although they had to move the baptismal dates back, they were grateful that their faith and perseverance was going to finally bear fruit.
On May 20, Elder Beck reported that the baptisms and confirmations all worked out! He said that he was tearing his hair out because the branch president didn't show up and two of the children being baptized came twenty minutes late. It was somewhat stressful for him being the senior companion and it being his first time planning a baptism. Besides that it was great! He was also excited that a former investigator who had left his family and been negatively influenced by a medicine man came to the baptism and to church meetings on Sunday. He said to keep our prayers coming, because the Lord's hand is definitely guiding this work.
This next quote is just the stuff a mom loves to hear! Brae said, "I'm definitely growing a lot more as a missionary now. I've learned a lot in the past few weeks. I'm to the point that I can honestly say the I love the work and this is my life now. My dreams at night are about missionary work, so that must mean I'm more focused or something. Bahaha!" Oh, Brae. :)
Another quote from Brae: "Funny story--So, we are teaching this lady who is doing awesome. She always prays and reads her scriptures, but she just won't come to church no matter what. And we figured out that it is because she won't forgive someone who offended her at church. So being the psychology-major that I am, I committed her this week to write down on paper exactly what happened that offended her, how she felt about it, etc., and then I told her that next week we are going to BURN IT. Then she can let it go! I laughed at myself, because it was a little bit of Brae coming out of Elder Beck. Haha. I'm still me!"
On May 27, Elder Beck wrote, "Happy Memorial Day! I'm not dead, but I hope you remembered me! Haha! Just look at my attempt at a joke!" He was happy to have had a zone meeting with his mission president and stake president. The main thing he learned was to find joy in the journey. Brae is really good at looking for the good in every person and every situation. He said, "I think everything on a mission is magnified: the good times are amazing, and the hard times are really hard. Luckily I am enjoying all of it." Then he went on to tell me that although they were disappointed at not having very many people at church that week, a sister who had not come in years was there. He said, "There's always the glimmer of a miracle, even in a tough situation."
They had a "pick-up fast" on Saturday, where their whole zone didn't use vehicles for a day. He and Elder Booth started out by hitching rides with the senior missionaries (Paul and Becky Robertson), and then after a while, just started walking. Here are the words every mom does not want to hear, "Drumroll please...we hitch-hiked! I never thought I would be saying those words! Five people honked at us, and one lady actually stopped, but in the end the senior missionaries just picked us up again. It was an adventure though! It was 90+ degrees and we walked about five miles." All I have to say about that is that I am grateful he has Heavenly Father's protection, and I am thankful for the senior missionaries!