Sunday, August 25, 2013

Another great week in Centerville! :)

Hello family!  My my my... I seriously can't believe how fast time has flown by this week!  Seriously, I've been in Ohio nearly a month already now!  Crazy!
This week was WONDERFUL!  The weather has been cool and mostly dry like a lovely Virginia autumn. 
Here are some of the highlights of this week:
-I went on my first exchanges!  With the Zone Leaders, too, so I was a little nervous, but it was a GREAT experience.  I went to their area, Englewood, and slept there/worked the next day with them.  Englewood is a much, much poorer area with a high crime rate, and we kept hearing sirens go off every so often!  The Zone Leaders had great pointers for me and helped me get over my fear of talking with everyone I saw about the Gospel.  It was dinner time, and as we turned to meet up with the other Elders, a car zoomed by, screeched to a halt, and three teenage boys called us over.  I thought I was going to get mugged!  Turns out they were SUPER nice and cool, and we talked to them for about 20 minutes about prophets and the Restoration.  It was really neat!
-Two nights ago, when we were about to go to sleep, and my companion told me that I was his favorite companion.  I was really shocked and really humbled that he could look over my faults and see the good in me. :)

     This past week, I had some time to sit and read the September Ensign, and was touched by the article, "Opening Our Hearts to Revelation".  I've always had a hard time figuring out what personal revelation is and how I can receive it, but I've learned now for myself that it is real and ever important to the well-being and productivity of our souls.  Just as letters  of love, support, advice, and encouragement from home buoy you up while you're away or struggling, personal revelation is the same!  Personal revelation is a message of peace, guidance, and support from a loving parent, our Heavenly Father.  If we could just set aside a few minutes each day from our hectic schedules to be still and quiet, seeking guidance from above, we will be able to refocus on our purpose and priorities, and put ourselves in a position to better receive and feel the messages our Heavenly Father would have us receive.
     After an amazing Zone Conference this past week full of learning and the Spirit, I felt dark and irritable for no earthly reason!  I was distracted, unfocused, and unhappy, and we were just about to teach one of our investigators.  The counsel from this article popped into my head, so I excused myself from the earshot of my companion for a few minutes and offered a prayer to Heavenly Father, asking for His help to overcome these feelings.  Just like that, those feelings left me, and my companion and I were able to teach in unity and with the Spirit, AND.... *drum roll please*.... GOT HER COMMITTED TO BAPTISM FOR SEPTEMBER 21st!!
I KNOW that Heavenly Father is a God of love, and miracles.  He truly is our tender parent who is aware of His children's trials and struggles, no matter how small they may seem.  Sometimes all we have to do to be more in tune with His messages of love, support, and direction is ASK for His help, and then LISTEN to what He has to say.
I love you all SO much!  Thanks for the love, prayers, and support you offer me.  This Gospel is TRUE!  Heavenly Father loves YOU!  I love you!
Love, Elder Jason Allred
Picture:  Me working on both my spiritual and physical physique  ;)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Which week is this...?

Hello family!  My my my this past week has FLOWN by!  Elder Christensen and I have been kept super busy!  I can't believe it's already been a whole week since I was last able to mail you!
This week has been GREAT!  We were able to do a lot of service for non-members, and we able to go back and meet with some potential investigators!  On Tuesday, we were helping an investigator with their yard. This family is really nice.  They have 4 children, two with special needs, and both parents work really hard to provide a good life for their children.  The mom is SO kind and said we could come back and share our message.  We're eating dinner with them on Wednesday and will be teaching them the Restoration and more about our role as missionaries!  We're so excited!  We made some homemade cookies today to take with us, too :)
Can I say once again how awesome the Centerville ward is?  They ROCK!  Members are ALWAYS feeding us, offering us rides, going on splits with us, and offering their homes for teaching our investigators.  They are a model for member missionary work!  It is so exciting to see members get involved, and it is wonderful to see the progresss that happens because of them!  Most of our investigators were found by them, and when they come with us to teach, they are a powerful addition to the lesson.  Our Ward Mission Leader, Bro. Arner, is SUCH a great example to me.  He is a doctor, has 6 young children, and very enthusiastically makes time for us and goes out with us to contact less-actives and investigators.  Members really are the key to missionary work!
We were able to teach a young part-member/investigator family this past week.  I was SO nervous because I had never talked to them or really taught a formal lesson in the real world, but it was wonderful!  The wife, who is investigating the church, told us how she just "feels" like the Book of Mormon and Church are true.  She's been reading the Book of Mormon and trying to do family home evening and things, and is really progressing!  We're hoping to get her on date and have her less-active, super cool husband baptize her! Yay! 
This past week was full of training for new missionaries.  It was great!  President and Sister Porter taught us (the newest misisonaries) how to deal with doubt and the negative/scary feelings that come with missionary work.  It was EXACTLY what I needed.  I felt like the whole training was just for me, and my soul really ate it up.  It was perfect.  I know Heavenly Father is keenly aware of all of His children.  Being out in the mission field has really helped me see how insignificant my worries of being "a perfect missionary" are and helped me realize how I can use whatever skills/knowledge I have to bless others who are experiencing REAL problems wtih their lives.  It's funny how trials really make you learn, and after you choose to help and focus on others instead of yourself, they become less and less important.  I love that!  As part of Language Study, the Assistants to the President have me call Elder Tolman (the other Visa waiter in the mission) each day so we can talk for 30 minutes over the phone in Portuguese!  It's been really fun, and verrrrry helpful!
Today and tomorrow, we are snagging a ride up to a place called Englewood to go on exchanges for the day with our Zone Leaders.  It will be a great experience!  It has been so wonderful learning so much so quickly.
Fun story - Today right before coming to the library to email, we met a really nice lady at the hair cuttery who talked to us for about 20 minutes while we were waiting to get our haircuts.  Turns out her Sister is LDS and served a misison about 25 years ago, and so she has a soft spot for the missionaries of the church because even though she's not a member, she knows that it is hard work and a good work.  We said goodbye and when it came time to pay for our haircuts, we were told that the lady had paid for us.  What a sweetie!  She is a Walmart employee, and didn't have much, but she wanted to contribute to a good cause secondarily.  What a kind soul. :)
We're hoping to find more people to teach this week and get one of our Investigators and her son, on date for baptism!  Wish us luck!
I KNOW that Christ lives. I  KNOW that this Gospel is true!  Heavenly Father is so good to His children.  He answers prayers.  I know He hears them.  I love Him!
I love you all, and am SO grateful that I was blessed to be a part of your family!
Love, Elder Allred

PS - Here's a picture of me and Elder Christensen tracting!  I'll try to take more creative pictures this week :)  LOVE YOU!

  PPS-I forgot to say in my email, that Centerville (my area) is getting ANOTHER set of missionaries!  So exciting!  We're such a small area, but the Lord is truly hastening His work!

Monday, August 5, 2013


Hello Family and Friends!
What a wonderful week.  The public library is PACKED, so I might only have 30 minutes this week to email, but I'll try to get it all in  :)
Heavenly Father has REALLY helped me this week!  Last week, during my first few days, I was so unsure about everything it seemed.  I felt like I didn't belong here, like this was just 'temporary' and was feeling a little down.  Thankfully, He's really helped me out this week!  I'm so much happier, and EXCITED to do the Lord's work!  Sure, most people poo-poo us, but when you can feel you've touched someone, it makes it all worth it.  Here are some of the adventures from this week:
-We bike A TON!  I love it!  I'm always hungry, but the ward members always feed us.  They're so great!  I'm pretty sure I'm losing weight.... Guess I should up my daily calories to 4000 or something!
- We did a LOT of service for this lady we found named Molly.  It was hot, and we were at her house for about 4 hours trimming high hedges, trees, and bushes on her very slanted backyard with a wobbly ladder.  Elder Christensen accidentally sawed through her extension cord (oops!) so we had to work EXTRA hard and do the job with hand saws and hand clippers.  Ouch!  She was super thankful and invited us back to her home for a "presentation" she was doing.  We were delighted at the opportunity to get some potential teaching time in, so we committed to be there and invited her to our church.  Turns out her "wellness" meeting was actually a multi-level marketing ploy....  BUMMER!  She's not interested anymore.
- While out and about, we called to invite a part-member/investigator family to church.  They don't have a car, so they couldn't make it, but reached out to US and offered a time for US to come by and teach them!  They've been really hard to contact, so this was such a blessing!
- Just yesterday after church, we were going door-to-door, and a man with the biggest, meanest dog I've EVER seen brought him to the door and threatened to let him loose on us... Yikes!  I almost laughed at him... Good thing I didn't because I don't think he was kidding.  The next house after him, though, was an 84 year old man who could be a golden investigator.  He welcomed us in and we talked for over 90 minutes about the Gospel, Church History, and his life.  His wife passed away at 55, and he had a miracle heart transplant just two weeks after being put on the list for one, so he's wondering if there's some reason why God spared him and gave him this second chance. And, he's SUPER interested in family history (spirit of Elijah! Yay!)  We bore testimony of the Gospel, and left him with the Book of Mormon which he said he'd read.  We hope and pray this will end well.
-We helped a new family in the ward move a 100 year old piano out of someones basement.  Even with 6 adult men, that HUGE, old piano must have weighed at least 500lbs.... It was a DOOZY.
These were just some of the highlights of the week, but man, Centerville really is so gorgeous.  It's SO green, and just about every neighborhood, though older, is lovely!  Lots of big yards, and TONS of old people :)  Most of the residents are either Air Force families, or born and raised in Dayton.  I'd say about 1 in 3 homes have a Buick in the driveway.... or two.  Haha
God is good!  He WANTS to bless His children!  The Gospel is TRUE! 
I've attached some silly pictures of me that I took throughout the week.
 (Like that bike/helmet combo?  Can't argue with free! - they're both about as old as I am  :)

 -Picture of my apartment

 -Picture of Elder Christensen and I eating Graeter's Ice Cream.  So good!
Sure love you all!

From the Mission President!

We are so excited to have your son in the new Ohio Cincinnati Mission!!