It has been SO COLD here in Angola! We had our first snow already, and some kind branch members have lent me an overcoat to use while I'm here, since I was expecting to be in Brazil by now :)
We really did our best to teach as much as possible! There is something worldwide for missionaries called "The Standard of Excellence" which sets goals for how much we should be teaching/how many investigators come to church etc. Angola in the past has been open, then closed, then re-opened because of it's minimal growth, but Elder Phillips and I are really trying to teach teach teach! One of our Mission President's favorite quotes is, "There is no such thing as a dry area. Just dry missionaries", so we're taking that to heart and doing our best to fill our time meaningfully!
We had A BUNCH of appointments set up this week including a chapel tour! We were so excited to teach these people that Heavenly Father has prepared. BUT, SIX of them flaked! Last-minute literally 6 appointments cancelled on us! There are few things more frustrating than planning for hours for specific people with specific needs, then having them flake out last minute... We even made breakfast and took it over to an investigator to get them to church on time. Didn't work out haha... Satan is really trying to slow down progression here... We are NOT getting discouraged though! We were able to stay busy, and make some more solid return appointments, and most importantly, TEACH people! We're trying to do some more less-active work and a lot of finding.
On a brighter note, we got C___ on date for baptism for November 23rd! He's shown a higher commitment level and desire to make appropriate changes in his life, so we're meeting with him twice/week and helping him overcome a few things. Twink wanted us to come by, so we did, but she was sick, so we left her with a Book of Mormon, and a Finding Faith in Christ DVD. We'll be going back later to check in.
We had the car this week (we share with another set of Elders) so we got out to the outskirts of our area some! It was really fun! There's a lot of "Hoosier" pride in Indiana, but no one can really tell us what a "hoosier" is.... They all say the word "wash" pronounced like "worsh" which always makes me laugh. I FINALLY FOUND A COMPUTER THAT WILL UPLOAD PICTURES, so I'll send some pictures of Angola and the country. It's really pretty!
When you're not out trying to contact and teach people as a missionary, you're either asleep or you're studying. We get the privilege of studying a lot which has proved to be a precious gift. What really stuck out to me in my personal studies was Alma 37:45-46:
45 And now I say, is there not a type in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.
46 O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.
The way to eternal life is PREPARED for us. It is so simple. All we have to do is keep the commandments, and listen to our Heavenly Father's loving guidance. The scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, are for us in our day. Just as the Liahona guided Lehi and his family through the wilderness, the scriptures are our guide and compass in our time. They lay out so clearly for us the way to return to our Father in Heaven. Time and time again we are presented with examples of faithful obedience that lead to prosperous times and joy, juxtaposed with examples of pride and turmoil and despair. The difference? Keeping the simple commandments that Heavenly Father has given us for our HAPPINESS. It's all there for us to see. It is laid out and prepared. Just as it says in Alma, the way is "easy".
I have such testimony that the way truly is prepared for all of God's children. It is simple. Heavenly Father designed His plan for us to succeed. I'm so grateful that I have the opportunity to share with others my testimony of the Gospel and show them how the way has been "...prepared for them".
There is so much joy and happiness in following the commandments and emulating Christ. I love you all so very, very much! Let us all press on, and remember that the way is indeed prepared for us, and that we have been given the tools we need to succeed!
Elder Jason Allred
Elder Jason Allred
1. The back of our apartment... Looks a little sketch, right? I love it!
2. The heart of Angola (right outside our apartment)
4. A view of city center at night (you can kind of see our apartment's front)
5. More corn! The trees are pretty, too. This is where we are most of the time!