September 8, 2013
(Elder Allred says he only had one hour to prepare this talk, but it went pretty well:)
Good morning brothers and sisters. It's good to be here this morning, and I'm grateful to have this opportunity to speak today. I"m very new to being a missionary. In fact, this is my first area. You all know my companion, Elder Kroff, and so you probably all know why I am loving the mission life. He is a great example to me, and I've already learned so much from the two weeks that I've been able to serve with him. Just to introduce myself a little bit; I grew up in Nephi Utah. I'm the youngest of three, with an older brother and an older sister. After I graduated from Juab High School, I went to Snow College in Utah for a year, where I made the decision to come on a mission and now I'm here.
Well, of course I was asked to speak on missionary work this morning. I still have a lot to learn about being a missionary, but one thing I do know is what kinds of things prepared me to serve a mission. One of those things is the youth programs that the church has to offer. I was raised in an active family, so I had the privilege of growing up participating in those youth programs. So, I want to talk a little bit about how I think that opportunity had prepared me to be a missionary. One way that it has done that is through the leadership of these programs. Bishoprics, Scout leaders, Young Men and Young Women leaders, primary teachers and Sunday School teachers. These are the people that lead the organization of our youth programs. Without them planning activities and sacrificing their time and efforts, youth programs would consist of a bunch of kids running around and not learning anything. I recall one young mens trip that I went on when I was fourteen. One of our leaders had had experience with white water river rafting. So he planned a trip one summer to take our group down to southern Utah and raft the rapids of the Colorado River. Because he had experience he was able to lead us and teach us how to work together to steer the raft and handle the rapids. Today, that is one of my fondest memories I have of growing up. I didn't know it at the time, but Brother Woodland was teaching all of us how to work together and rely on your companions, and in a more exciting way than other activities. From the things I learned on that trip, I became better prepared for the mission field, when I would have to work well with my companion and other missionaries and rely on them to help me become a better servant unto the Lord. This is just one example of a time that I learned something valuable from a church leader growing up. There are several others that I'm grateful for. Another way that church youth groups helped me be prepared to serve a mission is through the examples around me of other kids my age. In Alma Chapter 53, verses 20 through 22, we read
"And they were all young men,and they were exceedingly valiant for courage; and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all-they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted. Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him. And now it came to pass that Helaman did march at the head of his two thousand stripling soldiers, to the support of the people in the borders of the land on the south by the west sea. "
I can relate very well to this story. Most of my friends growing up were active members of the Church. We did everything together. We went to school together, we hung out together, we played high school football together. Most importantly, we went to church together. We went on scout trips and youth conferences together. We helped each other learn and grow through the programs of the church. I was blessed to never be put in situations that would contradict what I learned at church and knew to be right. Instead, I was uplifted by the righteous examples of friends that encouraged me to stay strong in the gospel. Today, many of my best friends are serving missions. From Oregon to Jamaica to Denmark and all over the world. What a blessing it is that I have those good examples in my life, that helped me know what righteous paths to choose and helped me make the decision to serve a mission.
I'm grateful for the programs that this church has to offer. Which programs helped raise me to be prepared when my call came to serve a full time mission. I have a testimony of the youth programs of the church.