Monday, April 29, 2013

THE REAL Missionary Monday WITH PICTURES - MICHIGAN - Week 1

(Sorry, I posted this last night and then when I checked it this morning it was missing all but one picture.  User error on my part I am sure!)

Hey! So much to say, so I'll just lay it on you. I spent Wednesday night at the mission home in Lansing. Then Thursday morning they gave us some training and we got our new companion(s). All of the visa-waiters got put in trios. Which is awesome. It makes things so much easier. I think Pres. Hess sent you guys a few pictures of them. We have a good time. Plus, they don't have a problem working and being obedient. And they are freaking scripture geniuses, so I learn quite a bit. Most of the humor through out the day is scripture/doctrine related, but it cracks me up.

I am in the Ithaca area, which is about an hour north of Lansing. Pretty much in the exact center of the state. It consists of like four super small towns and frankly, its a dump. The city our apartment is in is called "Alma" ironically.

My new address is
148 Allen Avenue
Alma, MI 48801

I took some pictures, but I'm not sure they capture the vastness of the farmlands, the endless amount of giant wind mills, and the dumpiness of the cities. Oh, and the squirrels! They are enormous. And they are everywhere. I watched these two chase each other all around this tree out my window the other day during study. Warmed my heart. I hear there are tons of deer, but I haven't seen any. Like this one guy said he shot 11 last year and that was a slower year.

I'd say the average person here lives in a trailer or one room shack, smokes, and has 5 dogs. The people here are in a real bad way. Almost all of them have an apparent disdain for life.

We spend a TON of time knocking doors, which I am not a fan of and I'm pretty sure isn't that effective, but the missionaries here have been brainwashed into "loving" it. I'd say most every one falls into about three different categories. The first, and most common, say that they are Christian and when we explain that God has called a prophet to restore His church and then when we ask, "If this were true would that be important?". They say yeah, if he is really a prophet. So we say, alright well we have a way for you to know, can we stop by again to tell you more? They say no, I'm happy in my church. The second, and my personal favorite, say Yeah, I don't think I'll get into religion until something really bad happens in my life. And the third just say get the bleep off my bleepin bleep.

Like I can't even get the "devout" Christians to have a discussion with me about it. My companions kind of beat around the bush at the door and basically just say that we are here to help people build their faith, which bothers me a little. People here really don't care about "building their faith".

The members here are awesome though, I do love them. Except they all really hate "Utah Mormons", which I have to diffuse quickly by showing them I'm a cool, humble guy. The first day I was here we went to see a less active Sister Muncaster who is super old and mean as spit (has a great testimony though). And when I said I was from Salt Lake she chewed me out for being a Utah Mormon. (Oh, and about half of the convert members still curse quite a bit. Especially sister Muncaster. I figure converts can get a pass though.) Anyways, I agreed with her and told her that my dad says that the church is more true outside of Utah and she warmed up to me pretty quick after that.

Then there is this 6'3" 300 lb black guy named Darnel and he is so cool. He's a convert and has had a tough life, but is super strong and is trying to save up enough money to move to Utah to find a wife. We have dinner at his house and take him to lessons a lot.

I guess I can't explain everyone I've met, but our best investigator is named Cecilia. She might be baptized before I leave. We have like 7 other investigators, but we have a hard time keeping appointments from falling through. I'm sure they are great people though. I'll try and write in my future letters about the members and people we teach, because those experiences are the best. I guess I can't complain too much about the people we meet knocking because it is definitely an experience. It makes the good people that much better.

I hope all of that made sense. I am definitely having experiences that will stick with me. I'm just trying to let you in on as much of it as possible.

I'll send more pictures in a separate email, but I think that's all I have to say for now! Hope you are all doing well. Thanks for everything!

Elder Beck

GRANDMA LINDA - Hebrews 11:34
(Grandma and Jackson share a common interest.  It starts with an A- and ends with a -lien)

Pic #1 - We live on the ground floor of this house. It looks nicer than it is, but compared to all the other places I've been in, I guess it is pretty nice.

Pic #2 - Our sweet car. Just as nice as it looks. Elder Baird (the shorter one) is a district leader so we always have a car. Others are on a weekly rotation. I really enjoy when we drive through the farmlands to go from town to town, because really I can't say it enough how run down towns are here. Like everything is a million years old so I can't even think of a place in Utah to compare it to. I guess it kinda reminds me of New York City in I Am Legend or a town from the Walking Dead. If no one is outside it definitely has a zombie apocalypse feel to it.

Pic #3 - This is the church. Its the smallest one I've ever seen. You could fit like four of them into ours. We only have a branch too. There is like 30 members for the whole county.

Pic #4 - Elder Sandberg at the airport.  Crazy.
(Elder Sandberg is in our ward and went into the MTC a couple of weeks ago.  Jackson never saw him at the MTC but they ran into each other at the airport.  Elder Sandberg was headed to Los Angeles to do some things for his visa.  He will serve in Finland.)

Pic #5 - District with Irmao Taylor (teacher in the suit and blue tie to the left)

Pics #6 & 7 - Apartment

Pic #8 - Everything is either farm, super dense grove of trees or windmills.  I just want to take a walk through the trees.  Seems like there could be another world in there.  I definitely prefer the countryside though.  I love it when we go see people out there.