Mission Scripture

Mission Scripture

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hello Brothers

Hello everyone! 
I can't believe it's already Wednesday again! This week seriously went so fast. I told you last week about how I talked to President Morgan in my interview. I talked to him about how much time I have left. I can seriously feel it just slipping away so fast. It's good, because I know that it won't feel like too long before I get to see all of you. It has its bad side though, because I love being a missionary, and I never want my time to end. This is honestly the best thing I've ever done in my life. The person I am today wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the challenges and triumphs that the mission has brought into my life. It's a difficult thing, but I also have so much fun all the time! I've just learned so much, and I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world. I had a big wake up call this week when I got an email from Jackson Jones and one from Spencer McPherson. They've both completed their missions and are now returning home with honor. I can't believe they're already at the end. Pretty soon the rest of my friends will start going home, too, and then it will be me. It's all going to go way too fast now! Anyway, I just have to keep the mindset that I need to enjoy the mission while I'm still here and not worry too much about what or when the end is, which actually isn't too much of a difficult thing to do because the mission is offering a lot of things right now to enjoy. On Saturday, Rafael and Noel both got baptized!! It was incredible. I don't think there are words to describe the way I felt, but I'll give it a shot. There were a few moments over the course of the baptism on Saturday and the confirmation on Sunday that really stuck out to me. I'll share some of them. Rafael and I have a really good relationship, and he actually asked me to perform the ordinance for his baptism. I always like it better when they ask a member of the ward to do the baptism. There aren't many better ways to start a solid relationship of trust. I felt honored and lucky that Rafael asked me though. Right before he went in to the font, I just gave Rafael a big hug and told him that I love him. He replied that he loves me too, and we walked in. It was a really powerful moment. That confirmed to me that Rafael is my brother, and that we will be close to each other for the rest of our lives and into the next. Another powerful moment this weekend was when Noel got baptized. He went right after Rafael and asked Bishop Kelly to perform the ordinance. I just stayed there in the back of the font area in my wet clothes and watched from the side. It was really cool, though, because I was the only one with the perspective looking at Noel head on. When he came up out of the water, he just took in a deep breath and smiled. His facial expression said everything it needed to assure me that he felt good. The last moment I would like to share was on Sunday at the confirmation. Rafael went first. I, along with Elder Raine, Bishop Kelly, and three other guys from the ward stood in the circle. After Rafael was done, Noel walked up to sit in the circle. Right before he entered into this circle of Priesthood holders and sat down, he said very quietly, "Hello brothers." That was a tender mercy from the Lord for me! I could feel how much Noel trusted us and acknowledged that we really were his brothers. So awesome. I'm so excited for both of these guys. They are already wonderful members of the church. Not to forget Kristina either. She is incredible! She's always super excited about paying her tithing every week and is looking forward to going to the temple. I love these people so much. All three of them have had a special place in my heart, and I'm incredibly grateful that I've been here to help them come unto Christ. I love this work so much. There's no way I can deny that this is the work of the Lord and that His all powerful hand touches it every single day. Anyway, it goes without saying that things are going well for me here. Some days are rough, but it's that way with any phase of our life. All in all, I just love everything about what I'm doing here in New York. I hope you're all doing well. I miss you, and I love you!!!
~Elder Allred

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Saturday Is A Special Day:)

Hey family! 
I hope you all had a wonderful week! Everything is good here. I don't think I fully realized it until this week, but I have seen some incredible miracles since I've been in Harlem. On Saturday, Rafael and Noel are getting baptized. They both had their interviews in the past few days and both passed! Both of their conversion stories are incredible in unique ways. Noel has been awesome. Elder Raine and I were just out knocking on doors his first day here. The very first door that Elder Raine ever knocked on on his mission was Noel's. Whenever I used to hear people tell stories like that I thought it would never happen in my mission.  But here we are. We've been meeting with him two or three times a week for the past three months, and he's getting baptized! He's just such an honest and humble man. He will be an awesome addition to the Harlem 1st Ward. Rafael is one of the best friends I've ever had in my life. He and I have a really good relationship, and we've both grown together in the Gospel over the last four and a half months that I've been here. I remember the very first time that I went over to teach him and Kristina. I could just tell that there was something special about them. I remember feeling the Spirit so strongly and I could just feel the strength of their faith. I knew they would both eventually be baptized. I'm excited to continue to watch them grow in the rest of my time here, and I'm excited to keep that relationship with them for the rest of my life. I hope you all get to meet these people one day. They are incredible. I've learned so much about charity in the time that I've served here in  Harlem. I love these people so much. I've expressed that love to them time and time again, and I've shed a few tears over the intense emotion of love that I have for them. There aren't words to express how grateful I am to have them in my life. Saturday will be such a special day! Everything else is going really well too. I had the opportunity to have another interview with President Morgan on Monday. He is such a good man and has done more for me that I could ever repay him for. He leads the mission with love and care. He has developed a relationship with me on a personal level that means a lot, and I'm so grateful for him. They say behind every good man is a good woman. Such is the case with President Morgan's wife. Sister Morgan has honestly been like a mother to me here. She provides the kind of care that only a mom can give. I'm so grateful for both of their dedicated service to this mission. In my interview with President Morgan I told him that I can feel my time slipping through my fingers and that it kind of scares me. So, I asked him what I needed to focus on to make the most out of the rest of my mission. It couldn't have been a better time to ask. This weekend he was in Palmyra at a special conference with Elder Holland! (Crazy right?) I can't imagine how awesome that would have been. He said that he got to spend a little one on one time with Elder Holland, and when I asked President Morgan that question, he relayed a message that Elder Holland had given him this weekend. That was pretty powerful and the advice he gave me will give me a lot of direction for the next ten months. One last thing from this week was that we had stake conference, and it was really good! Saturday afternoon we found out that all of the missionaries in the stake were going to be singing a musical number for the Sunday session. So we showed up at the temple early so we could rehearse. Luckily the song was Called to Serve, so it wasn't hard for anyone to sing. It was really cool! Oh yeah, and my highlight from the 120 day challenge this week was Alma 14:26. Alma understood that strength from the Lord was totally dependent upon his and Amulek's faith. Such is the case for us. The divine help that we receive is only as strong as our faith in the Savior is, and the way we gain more faith is by fully living the doctrine of Christ! Anyway, life is just so good. I love it here more and more every day! Thank you all for everything you do, and don't forget that Jesus loves you! !
~Elder Allred 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Well hello family!
I hope you're all doing well. I sure am! I'm still in Harlem, so I can't really complain. Things are going really well here. Rafael is still doing really well. His baptismal date is the 25th of October, and he's right on track. I love that guy so much. Honestly one of the best friends I've ever had in my life. We're going over tonight to share some scriptures with him and Kristina about baptism and the Holy Ghost  and to start making some plans for his baptismal service! We also have Noel on date for the 25th. He's been doing awesome too. His main struggle has been that he has a smoking habit, but he hasn't smoked a cigarette for almost two weeks now! Both of these guys are awesome, and I'm so excited for them to become members of the Church. I feel so lucky that I've been trusted to teach these people. Not too much else going on except that the work is really good, and we're always really busy. Oh, we did watch Meet the Mormons on Friday, and it was so good! Those of you who have seen it know what I'm talking about. Those of you who haven't seen it need to. It's incredible. It did make me a little homesick during certain parts. haha. Especially watching highlights of the Navy football games. Football has been a huge part of my life, and that made me want to come home pretty bad. It's all good though. Football can wait! I have to tell myself that all the time. Often we'll be walking down the street, and I will see a football game or a baseball game on inside a restaurant or something. Usually what happens is I will just grunt and start walking faster. Then Elder Raine will ask me what's wrong, and I don't even have to say anything for him to figure out that I saw a game on a TV haha. It's really not that bad though. I usually have so many things to think about  with our investigators and with taking care of the district that I don't really have time to think about how much I would love to relax and watch a game. Anyway, things are great. I absolutely love it here. I've learned so much from serving in Harlem, and I'm grateful to be here! Still miss you all like crazy, but I know this is where I need to be right now. I love you all so much. Have a great week!
~Elder Allred

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

One More Cycle in Harlem :)

I'm staying in Harlem!! I was gonna save that bit of news for the end, but I'm too excited and too impatient to type it out haha. I don't know how to explain how much I love it here. I love the area. I love the ward. Mostly, I just love the people we are teaching. We got the transfer call on Saturday morning just before we headed out for General Conference. The other exciting part about it is that Elder Raine is staying as well. I've never had a companion for three cycles, and I'm excited that I get to do that with him. He's a great kid and has nothing but good desires. Training a new missionary is always accompanied by a headache or two, but for the most part we've gotten along really well and have done some really good work here. We never really argue about anything or get contentious at all, which is saying a lot since we have spent twenty four hours a day within sight and hearing of each other for three months now. He has learned so much and changed a lot since he first came out. I was also really excited to find out that our roommates are both staying for another cycle as well. Elder Smith and I came into the area at the same time in June, and we have become really good friends since then. By the end of this cycle we will have lived and worked together for almost six months. He's a great example to me and has taught me a lot about being a good missionary. General Conference was amazing!! As I have watched it as a missionary it has been so much different than ever before. Growing up I didn't really pay that much attention to it, but now I just eat it up. I'm sad I only get to watch one more time as a full time missionary. I loved President Monson's talk about following in the path of Jesus Christ and walking as He would walk. A simple testimony of the Savior provided powerfully from our beloved prophet. There is no doubt in my mind that he and the other leaders of this church have been called of God to teach us and be examples to us. So many of the talks this weekend were just so good, and I loved every minute of it. I also liked how a few people spoke in their native tongue. And the choirs from Tooele, G-ville, and Stansbury were incredible! I'm sure some of you knew some of the people who got the opportunity to sing. So cool!! The thing that hit me hardest this conference wasn't in the talks or the music. It was in the closing prayer of the Saturday morning session. The person who was praying mentioned the missionaries. What was cool is that he didn't pray for the missionaries. Everyone does that. He prayed for our "parents, grandparents and families". I thought of all of you and the sacrifices you have made having a son, brother, a cousin, a nephew, an uncle, and a friend serving in New York. I know this isn't easy on you guys. So I was so full of gratitude for that prayer in your behalf. The last highlight of the week is this new movie called Meet the Mormons. I'm sure you've all heard of it. It seems like it's been somewhat big in the media. Well, the mission is going to be watching it! So I get to see it on Friday morning at the temple with all of the other missionaries in the city. I'm excited to see it and see what kind of a positive image it will put into the eyes of the world of our faith. Well that's about it for now. I love the mission. I see miracles every single day, and I've never been closer to the Savior in my entire life. I have a little joke with the missionaries in my zone. Half of us are Spanish speaking and half are English. I've picked up a few Spanish words but definitely not enough to hold a conversation. I like to throw in some Spanglish sometimes, and so I often say to everyone "Dios is real". It usually gets a little chuckle. It's a true statement though. God is real. He's there. I know it. He knows each of us personally, and He loves us. I love you all so much. Thanks for everything you do. Have a great week! 
~Elder Allred

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Directions for the Volleyball Court in Central Park

 Hello friends and family! Life in Harlem is as great as ever! Transfers are next Wednesday, and I can't believe it's already that time again. I'm so incredibly nervous about what is going to happen. I'm not ready to leave Harlem yet. I love it here so much. I love the people. If I could stay for just one more cycle, I would be a happy man. Sadly, I think there is a good chance I will be leaving. Elder Raine only has one more week of training left to do, and I've already been here for three cycles. We'll see what the Lord has in store for me. I guess all I can really do is just enjoy this week and go out and work. 
 On that note, I'll update you on how our investigators are doing. So Kristina has been doing really well since her baptism. She just had her interview with Bishop Kelly for a temple recommend, so hopefully we can go to the temple with her soon. Rafael is doing really well too.
 The last couple of time that we've seen him he's been super happy, and he told us that he's ready to be baptized as well! He actually lives on the lower east side downtown, and he's been coming to Kristina's apartment to take the lessons with us. So he doesn't actually live in the ward boundaries. What we're trying to do is get permission from our Bishop and the Union Square Ward Bishop (that's the ward he lives in) for him to get baptized in Harlem. It would be good if he could be here. He has a lot of support from the members in this ward and from Kristina. We'll see what happens. Once we get it all figured out, he could get baptized anytime. I'm super excited for him! I love those two so much. They will be two of my best friends for the rest of my life and onto the next. I'll be sad when I have to leave them. Our other main investigator is Noel. I don't know if I've ever told you much about him. The way we found him was picture perfect. Good ol' fashioned door knocking! On Elder Raine's very first full day in Harlem I took him out tracting. Noel's door was the first one we knocked that night. Which means that it was also the first door that Elder Raine knocked on as a missionary. Doesn't get much better than that. Anyway, Noel is from Jamaica, so I automatically got excited about him. Jamaicans are my favorite people to teach. I don't know what it is. I just really like them. He's a really quiet guy. Super humble and has a huge heart. He's on date for the 18th to be baptized! That will probably change because that is stake conference weekend, but it will be soon anyway. I just love these people so much, and I'm so grateful to be helping them improve their lives. 
 The Book of Mormon is always incredible. I really liked King Benjamin's words in the first few chapters of Mosiah. What stuck out to me most is what he chose to talk about right before he died. His last words to all of the people who were intently listening to him. Of course he chose to talk about.... the doctrine of Christ! Loved it! Well sorry I'm emailing so late today. We went to Central Park and played sand volleyball this morning, and I'm just now getting back to Harlem. It was so much fun! The volleyball pit we found was in a perfect place. On the West Side of the park around 67th, and really close to the temple (I write that so that if we ever want to go one day, I'll remember where it was). We all brought some stuff for lunch in the park, and I worked hard last night and this morning to bake some peanut butter cookies for everyone in the zone! They were a huge hit and everyone loved them. Props to Mom for teaching me the easiest recipe for peanut butter cookies ever. I  used just about all the peanut butter, sugar and eggs we had in our apartment haha. 
Well, that's about it for this week. Everything is awesome, and I am just loving the mission more and more every day. I miss you all like crazy and can't wait to see you again. I love you all. Thanks for everything you do for me! 
~Elder Allred