Elder Allred is currently serving with Elder Coburn from Manti:)
Apparently this coco helado is a pretty awesome treat:)
This was a pretty good week. I still can't believe I live in lower Manhattan. Last week a member took us out to dinner. The restaurant was down in the financial district, right next to Freedom Tower. It made me realize again how good I have it to be in this mission. I'm eating brisket next to Freedom Tower while there are missionaries in South America eating rice for every meal. I"m very blessed to be here. I also had the opportunity to speak in sacrament meeting on Sunday. It was really good, because I didn't get to meet many of the ward members on my first Sunday here due to general conference. So it was a good way to introduce myself to the ward and get a good start serving with them here. It was also really cool how the sacrament meeting turned out. The bishopric of the ward has decided not to assign topics to any of the speakers. They encourage you to seek for guidance from the Spirit in selecting your topic. Well the member that spoke before me decided to speak about the Godhead. She spoke about how we relate to each of them (the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost). And I just so happened to speak on the Spirit. Then the intermediate hymn was number 127, "Testimony" which speaks a lot about the Spirit. It was really cool that although none of that was coordinated by the speakers or those who chose the hymns, it all went together. Super powerful meeting. I'll send a copy of my talk. Another highlight this week was that I saw all sorts of people wearing clothing with red "B"s on them. I quickly gathered that the Red Sox were in the neighborhood. So I stayed up to date on how the games were going. Sadly I was mostly disappointed. Hopefully the pinstripes will pick up their game soon. One more cool thing is that I saw Elder Monson!! He was visiting the city with his mom and took Elder Coburn and me out to lunch. I took a picture on my camera, but I'm not near a computer today. I'll try to send it next week. Other than that everything is great! The teaching pool is doing well, and the area is awesome! Loving it!
Guided by the Spirit
Good morning brothers and sisters. Just as a brief introduction, my name is Elder Allred. I'm here from the very small town of Nephi Utah to serve my mission in the great city of New York. I've been on my mission for just over a year and a half, and I will be returning to my studies in Ephraim, Utah this fall. I am the youngest of three, with an older brother and an older sister, along with eight step siblings. I'm excited to be here and look forward to serving in this ward with all of you.
A few days ago, Brother Weinburg extended the invitation to me to speak in sacrament meeting today, and I'm excited to have this opportunity. As I began to ponder and pray about what I should speak about today, I found myself reflecting on a conversation I had over dinner just about an hour before I received Brother Weinburg's text. Part of our dinner conversation was pointed toward the Spirit. I and the person I was talking with agreed that so many of the decisions that we make in life don't come with an instruction manual. As we utilize our God-given gift of agency, there are often no particular guidelines. What it typically comes down to is prayer, study, fasting, seeking for the Lord's guidance. It's really the Spirit, or the Holy Ghost, that leads us down the correct paths. I began thinking about how much my life has been directed by the Spirit. I wouldn't even be standing here in front of you today if the influence of the Holy Ghost hadn't guided me here. So I would like to spend a few minutes today talking about how important it is that our lives are guided by the Spirit.
I would like to begin today by reading two or three scriptures that highlight some of the roles that the Spirit has. John 14: 26-27 teaches us about a couple of those roles.
It reads, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
The Holy Ghost is sent from the Father to be our Comforter. When we are in times of worry or distress, the Holy Ghost is there to calm us. The Holy Ghost can dwell within us, fill us with warmth and love, and ease our troubled minds. I like to think of the Holy Ghost as a warm blanket or hug from your mom. It just makes you feel good, and it makes you feel safe.
Another important point from this scripture is that the Holy Ghost is our teacher. All wisdom and knowledge that we obtain in this life is most effectively obtained with the companionship of the Spirit. This role is especially helpful to a young missionary who is teaching the gospel to people or to a college student who is pursuing his or her education. I have found in my studies, wether they be secular or spiritual, if I will begin with a sincere prayer I am much more likely to retain and apply the information. Everyone, no matter what stage of life they may be in, needs to be taught by the Spirit.
3 Nephi Chapter 27, verse 20 teaches us about another important role of the Spirit. It reads, "Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day."
When we receive the Holy Ghost, we are sanctified. We are cleansed from our sins. As we live worthily of the Spirit, the Spirit acts as the cleansing tool to wipe away the stains that sin leaves on our souls. The damaging affects that sin can have on us are taken away through the reception of the Holy Ghost. We are purified as the Spirit prepares us to stand spotless before God at the last day.
We read of an account toward the end of the Savior's life when He was teaching His apostles. As He was preparing them for His death, He promised them that they would receive the Holy Ghost to be their companion in His absence. Part of this account is found in John Chapter 15, verse 26. It says, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the
Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:"
The Spirit testifies of the Savior. I know by personal experience that this is true. I have never been closer to Jesus Christ than I am today. I know that my Redeemer lives. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Jesus Christ is the son of God. He came to earth. He atoned for us, and He was resurrected, and the Holy Ghost has born witness to my spirit of these divine truths.
There are several other roles that the Holy Ghost has. In the interest of time, I won't go into detail on all of them. But the Holy Ghost is the comforter. The Holy Ghost is our teacher. The Holy Ghost is the sanctifier. The Holy Ghost is our guide. The Holy Ghost is the messenger. The Holy Ghost bears witness of the God the Father and His son Jesus Christ. And among so many other amazing things, the Holy Ghost is our friend.
I would like to conclude with an experience that I had not too long before I left on my mission. I was in my second semester at Snow College in Utah. Prior to attending Snow College I hadn't been very active in the church. I stopped going to church at the beginning of my senior year in high school. I continued to attend my seminary class, but I was not attending church on Sundays. Most of the friends that I remained close with were active members of the church and were great influences on me. One of those friends was actually my roommate in college. It was his great example and an invitation from him to attend the October 2012 priesthood session that motivated me to return to activity in the church. So by the time I was into my second semester I was returning to activity and preparing to serve a mission. My roommate had signed up for a mission prep class at the institute, and I really wanted to be in that same class. When I originally signed up for the class it was full, and I had been put on a waiting list. A few days into the semester, some people dropped the class, which made enough seats available for me to join the class. My first day in the class was about a week after it had begun. I remember walking into class that day feeling very awkward. I felt like everyone else was a step ahead of me, because I was showing up late. I also remember sitting in the very back row and just doubting myself. Remember that I hadn't been active for about a year and a half. I started thinking in class that day about wether or not I was really capable of serving a mission. Did I know enough? Could I really teach people about the gospel, even with my limited knowledge of it? Was I close enough to God? Did I even have a
real testimony? These questions and others weighed heavily on my mind as I sat in the back of that classroom that day. I have no idea what the instructor, Brother Scott, was teaching about that day, because my mind was too occupied with these other thoughts for me to be fully engaged in the class. At the conclusion of the class I began to walk out feeling very down on myself. I was almost positive that I would not be serving a mission. I was one of the last people to leave the classroom. Before I could walk through the door, Brother Scott stopped me to give me a handshake. He told me that as he was leading the class discussion that day he was scanning the classroom and noticed me. Something prompted him to talk to me after class that day. He asked me if I was in a hurry to get to my next class, and I told him no. He invited me to come into his office to talk. We sat down, and he offered a prayer. He told me that he had no idea why he had me in his office. He knew that he needed to talk to me, but he didn't know why. After a few long seconds of silence, I started to pour out my heart to Brother Scott. I told him about the doubts that I was having. I told him that I didn't think I knew
enough about the gospel to be capable of serving a mission. All of the thoughts I was having during the class were laid out before him on he table. He talked with me for about thirty minutes in his office that day. The things that he shared with me were very comforting and gave me the confidence that I needed. He assured me that I was capable of serving a mission and promised me that he would be there for me to help me prepare. Brother Scott had never met me before in his life. He didn't even know my name, but somehow he knew that I needed his help that day. How else could he have known unless he had the companionship of the Holy Ghost? I have absolutely no doubt that it was the Spirit that lead Brother Scott that day. It was the Spirit that helped him recognize me in the back of that classroom, and it was the Spirit that prompted him to invite me into his office. That was a monumental day for me. The events that followed over the next several months lead me to my mission, which has been the greatest thing I've ever done in my life. I think this was the first time in my life that I realized just how important the Spirit is. I could see in this man how powerful it can be to have the Spirit with you, and it gave me the desire to have the same companionship of the Holy Ghost.