These past 8 months (can you believe it's already been 8 months?!) have been full of the very best of times and some very trying times. I have cried, I have laughed, and I have been carried by my Savior through it all. I am SO thankful to my Heavenly Father for sending me here to the Ohio Cincinnati Mission before heading south. My testimony has been tried and tested, but strengthened. I have learned how to be more patient, more loving, and more Christlike. I have had to learn how to lead, and learn how to follow the will of Heavenly Father. More than anything though, I've come to know that the Lord's timing is PERFECT. I haven't always been able to see how or why I've been "waiting", but I KNOW that it has been, and will be, for my good! It feels so surreal that my "American Mission" is barreling to a finish.
Thanks for the countless letters, packages, and prayers that have been coming my way! THAT will be sad to see those stop... haha (I heard it's $50+ to send packages, so... don't worry about sending any!)
This week I've really been able to reflect on my own life, and on our purpose as missionaries and as children of God here on Earth. I have been so let down by the vices our investigators face and succumb to, but I'm filled with hope and happiness knowing that EACH OF US here on Earth at one time decided to follow Christ. EVERYONE here exercised their agency to follow His plan, whether they know that or not. I can have the faith to know that as long as we do our part to share, uplift, encourage, and love our brothers and sisters, we can (with confidence) hand it to the Lord and trust in His saving grace. "Are we not all beggars..?" Do we not ALL sin? Do we not ALL fall short of the glory of God? We can rejoice to know that we know the end from the beginning; that goodness and righteousness ALWAYS triumphs over wickedness and evil. There is HOPE for us all, through our Master and Redeemer Jesus Christ. I love that. I love Him. I am so grateful that because He came, we can ALL return to live with our Father in Heaven; sealed together as eternal families. I can't think of anything better, than to be with the ones I love and my God forever! This Gospel is so wonderful!
Things are going pretty swell, here in Angola! We started teaching a sweet 10 year girl named I___ who for some reason hasn't been baptized. She has fetal alcohol syndrome, but is VERY high functioning and very bright. She is so sweet! We're still working closely with D____ (the 16 year old boy) and K____, and things are moving right along! :)
I will miss this branch so much! The people here are so genuine and loving. They feed us, they pray for us, they LOVE us, and I will miss them so much! It hit me as I was singing a musical number yesterday in sacrament that I might not ever see these wonderful people again. Then I remembered, "HELLOOOOOO! They're your brothers and sisters, too!" Hahaha thank goodness for Heavenly Father's plan!
I love this Gospel so much. There is hope for all through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. His grace truly is sufficient for us. I love you all, and will repent and send PICTURES next week. :)
Com MUITO amor,
Elder Jason Allred