Thursday, December 12, 2013

5 MONTHS! -- November 11, 2013

Family!  What a crazy week!  But a good one :)  CAN YOU BELIEVE IT'S BEEN 5 MONTHS ALREADY? Goodness, It's gone by pretty dang fast!  It seems like just yesterday I was entering the MTC as a sweaty, nervous mess.
Angola is great!  We have some great news!  Angola is getting a set of Senior missionaries in two weeks!!  We are SO excited and grateful.  This is a REAL answer to prayers, because even though Elder Phillips and I LOVE it hear, Angola has had the reputation as "outer darkness" or "the Abyss"... Work is pretty slow at the moment, but we're capitalizing on the potential here.  It will be SO wonderful seeing Angola go from "Outer Darkness" to the "Promised Land" with the arrival of the Senior couple.  The Dayton branch received a senior couple 20 months ago, and while the couple was there, the branch more than doubled!  We look forward to working hand-in-hand with another set of missionaries here in the coming weeks!  Woo!
Because the senior couple is coming pretty soon, we received the assignment to find and secure a place for them to stay, which has been our main focus this week.  There is NOTHING for rent in Angola, but we know that the Lord will provide a way to find something for them in time!  We have few leads, and one of the perks of living in a small town is that everyone knows everyone, so the branch members are calling in favors with people to help us out.  It has been pretty stressful and time consuming, but we know this miracle will really help Angola!
We taught a few really great lessons this week!  B______, our most progressing investigator, will be getting baptized on Dec. 9th!  She has been so fun to work with, and we've had a lot of fun teaching her, because teaching children is VERY different from teaching adults.  We really had to think outside of the box for lessons, and did a lot of fun object lessons to help her grasp gospel principles.  This past week, we taught her about the importance of following the prophet.  Aunt Linda sent me some glow sticks, so we set up an obstacle course in the church gym and had them go through the maze in the dark with only their glow stick (or "conscience") to lead the way.  It was a little hard for them, but they made it through.  Then, we had them do it again with a larger glow stick (or "prayer") it still took them a while, but they made it through.  Finally, we had her do it again, but with a flashlight (the "prophet").  She was able to quickly and easily navigate through the darkness and into the light on the other side, exclaiming, "it's so much easier with the prophet!!".  It has been so fun and rewarding teaching her, and this time, her two non-baptized siblings, and non-member mother came to the lesson and participated and LOVED IT!  We hope that Brianna's example and faith will continue to be a light to her family, and a gateway to get them taught, too!
We've really been trying to find more people to teach... the pictures this week are some pretty sites in the towns and parks in our area.  We got to take some pretty pictures as we were out finding (sorry they're a little blurry... my camera is pretty old!).  Similar to Ohio, there are TONS of churches, and most of the "hoosiers" here are pretty dead-set in their ways, so it's difficult to find new investigators.  We have tried to fast more frequently to find new people to teach, which hasn't borne fruit yet, but I know that often times, "[We] receive no witness until after the trial of [our] faith."  We've been able to get back into contact with some formers/potential investigators though, and continue to really reach out to less-actives and serve members.  I just made Heather's banana bread (SO GOOD!) so we'll be taking that with us to some less-actives after dinner tonight.
Haha, so... I've been able to successfully dodge the bullet of giving a talk in church somehow, but I'll be singing next Sunday during sacrament meeting!  Yikes!  Hope that goes well... I'd almost rather give a talk haha
This work is God's work!  It is hard work, and there are certainly times of doubt and hardship, but Heavenly Father always buoys you up and encourages you to keep going. I love the Gospel!  I love the peace and hope and JOY that comes with it. 
Heavenly Father knows you and loves you!  The Gospel is for everyone, so DON'T HOG IT!  GO SHARE!!
Love forever,
Elder Jason Allred


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