Monday, June 26, 2017

Week 45 Sumoto: Rainy Season!

rainy season has started and it is intense. it is a constant battle of whether i want to wear a raincoat so i don't get wet buT cook alive due to the heat, or keep my raincoat off so my body is successfully able to maintain the correct homeostatic temperature but get drencHed head to toE. the struggle is reaL. but rain nor snow nor swarms Of fiery flying serpents can withhold the gospel from going foRth and sounding in every ear and penetrating every buddhist home from one siDe of this iSland to the other.

me and satou chōrō have been working reaLly hard and have seen sOme great miracles these last couple days, things like inVestigators from long ago approaching us and tElling us that they want to start taking the lessons agaIn, and feelings that we Should follow a group of college students until they stop in front of their apartment so that we can teach them and ending up giving all of them a book of mormon and agreeing to meet again, and random phone calls to People who haven't been contacted in 4 years inviting them to church and they End up showing up with two other friends as ReFerrals who have a really good experience during sacramEnt meeting and deCide that they want to come some more. iT has been so amazing to see how the lord is truly in charge of this work and how as we learn how to better trust and rely on him and give him as much as we can that he will make up the difference. i know that he is personally aware of each and every one of us, and wants to help us. i know that as we reach out in prayer to him and allow him to take control and turn us into the people who he knows that we have the potential to become by following his son, and keeping his commandments, and seeking spiritual guidance that we will be blessed above what we can comprehend and that he will perform miracles in our life. i love the Joy. it doesn't even make sense why i am this happy. it is awesome! well i love yOu all and hope that Yourweek rocks.

elder allred

The three college kids we followed and gave Book of Mormons to

This is a picture of our apartment

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Week 44 Sumoto: 父の日

happy father's day,
or in japan, 父の日 (chichi no hi) this Week was crazy! osaka chōrō got transfered which was way sad! we had gotten so close and were teaching way well together, evEn though we were only together for one transfer,
and we talked in practically all japanese! but He is such a great missionary and is now serving in a place near kyoto called nara. i ended up staying in sumoto And got a new japanese companion named sato chōrō! i am literally way lucky to have this many japanese companions because there aren't too many in the mission. it isn't uncommon for a missionary to go there whole mission without haVing one and i've alrEady had two.

my japanese is getting way better and i can tell because people on the street keep asking me how many years i have been in Japan 😎 they are pretty blown away when i tell them that i have been here only Since last october. but i am still far from fluent. my new companion speaks sO fast and it is sometimes really hard to understand him. i will need to get better at understanding faster speakers this transfer and also speaking faster Myself. but me and him have been working with everything that is in us to strengthen this branch. we have had a weekend full of success And miracles. it is so crazy, we spend the whole day opening out mouth to everyone we see aNd nobodY listens and then out of nowhere someone will come to us or call us and want to start taking the lessons again or come back to church. it is amazing. i am truly coming to understand how the lord works. when we put in as much effort as we possibly can and give it all to him and be as exactly obedient as we can, then he will make up the rest. i have seen that time and time again in my mission and i know that he is aware Of our effort. i have come to realize that it is far less important about what you say or how you say it in talking to people about the gospel and much more importaNt about how you have prepared yourself beforehand to be worthy so that the spirit can teach them through you, and then you just have to take that leap of faith and open your mouth and do it. if we have the spirit because we are worthly livIng our lives in accordance with the gospel and the missionary rules, then we can stop someone on the street and tell them that god is our loving heavenly father in the worst japanese in the wOrld, and they, if they choose to open their heart, will feel that it is true. i know this to be true, and i love this work. aNd this father's day i am so grateful for my father on earth and also our eternal father in heaven who watches over me and comforts me and directs me daily and fills my soul with joy and love. i hope that you all have a great week. i love you So much!

elder allred

Me and Osaka Choro harvesting some onions for a member

Me and Osaka Choro’s last picture together
Me and Sato Choro!
Saving a turtle who was in imminent danger

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Week 43 Sumoto: That'll Do Bike, That'll Do

hey y'all,
this last week i learned a lot of things. it was so good! one of the things that i learned is that i strongly dislike my bike, but i love my bike... it's complicated. it's like a pet dog. you love it so much and it's your best friend in the whole world... then it pees all over your room and tears up all of your favorite things and there is hair everywhere and it just drives you crazy. as a missionary my bike has become my best frieNd but this last p-day i finally got it looked at for a problem that started back in tottori. i gave it to the shop and the first thing the mAn said when i showed him what was wrong was, "whoa, that's a big problem, it will probably take me about 6 hours to fix it." (well there goes our p-day) i then proceeded to walk back to the church with osaka chōrō, speaking all manner of murmurings againsT my bike and fortune. he then said his favorite words, "it's like the gospel..." (every time he wants me to do something he relates the situation tO the gospel and makes his way salvation). he explained how my bike problem was like sin and since i didn't want to go throUgh the repentance process back when it was a little problem (back in tottori) it has become a lot bigger and harder to resolve and will probably cost me a stinking ton of money. so basically he called me a sinner and that it was my fault that my bike was falling apart. i continued murmurIng and murmuring as we walked from place to place until i finally started to let my heart soften and admit that i should have been smarter. then the phone rang and it was the bike shop. he called and told us that my bike was done 5 hours early and we could come pick it up. when we got there the man had completely fixed my bike, cleaned it, and put air in all of the tires and then charged me practically nothing. he even changed out the brakes because he noticed that they had gone soft. i love him! at that point i realized how silly all of my murmuring was and decided to change my attitude. i love my bike. it's awesome. i learned a very valuable lesson about firstly, taking care of problems while they are small and not letting them get out of hand, and second, i should admit when i have made a mistake and not be a murmuring lemuel and face the consequences and then commit to be better rather than just feel Sorry for myself and my unfortunate bike circumstances.

also this week i had zone conference and it was so great. many tears were shed as we talked about how to better apply the Gospel of christ into our lives. welch kaicho gave us training and i swear every single word that comes out of that man's mouth is just a river of heavenly wisdom and it is just so fantastic. i learned so much about what the gospel of christ is, it was amazing! then after a delicious egg salad sandwich for lunch we received training from the zone leaders and such and trinca chōrō's training (one of our zone leaders) was a question teaching Role play and he was acting as the investigator. he is from washington dc and was just converted about 2 years ago so it was cool to have him acting as the investigator. then at the end of the role play someOne jokingly committed him to prepare to serve a mission and everyone laughed. trinca chōrō laughed along and then said, "you joke but you know that is actually just what my missionaries did." he then got very serious and said that because of those missionaries' boldness in his lessons he was baptized and is now here serving a full time mission. he then started to choke up as he began to say how much he loves his missionaries. he named each one and then testified of how much he loves being a missionary So that he can bring people the joy and happiness that his missionaries brought him. i felt it pretty hard as he spoke. that is truly what this is all about. bringing joy and love to those of heavenly father's children who have no clue what they are missing. i want to be bolder in proclaiming his love aS i go forward from this point. i love this work and am excited to continue it on! i love you all have a great week.

elder allred

Man, this picture doesn't do it justice but this is what Japanese
sunsets look like every single night.

Here is our last Zone Conference with President Welch

Week 42 Sumoto: Onward Ever Onward

beloved Family members and cherished loved ones,
i hope that you have all a great week. my week was way good. this week we had a great lesson with one of our investigators named Emi san. she is a single mother of two who has us teach her kids english and then afterwards listens to a lesson. lately she hasn't been really keeping commitments and no matter how much we try she would never say the prAyer after the lesson. well this time we were on a companion
exchange and i was with zenebrie chōrō who is a slightly younger missionaRy than me (in a how long he has been in the mission sense) and we were determined to get her to pray at the eNd of this lesson. we taught about faith and how that ties to praying Often, studying the scriptures daily, and going to church each week. the spirit was in rich abundance and in The end we asked Her to pray and she declined saying that she wasn't ready. she said that she would pray the next time and we brought up Aow she said that last time. she kept saying
that she couldn't and then i pulled out one of the pamphlets to the prayer page and said it was alright even if she read it as she prayed. she still was saying no but we handed her the pamphlet anyways. she looked at the pamphlet and said, "is it this part that says dear heaVenly father?" and as soon as she said 'dear heavenly father' everyone bowEd their heads and closed their eyes including her kids. we enCouraged her to continue. she looked around for a second with a look on her face like that's not what she meant but eventually gave in and just cOntinued to read off the pattern of prayer. her prayer was simple but really good. when she finished we praised her for her great job and she promised uU that she would get betteR in proceeding weeks. it was a little sloppy but in the end she prayed And it only Gets better from herE.

and then this sunday we were sTarting sacrament meeting and a guy tHat i hadn't seen bEfore walked in. he was a large guy with a lot of scars on his face, he looked a little intimidating and was covered in dirt. when he walked in the whole church filled with the smell of cigarette smoke and it was pretty intense. i weLcomed him as he came in and introduced myself, we talked for a second and then i went and sat down at the sacrament alter. i asked osaka chōrō whO he was and he told me that he was a man that comes every so often for sacrament meeting. i turned to look back at where he was and saw the other ward members and even the childRen running up to welcome him to church and ask him how he was doing. i remembered the talk by president uchtDorf where he talks about how cigarette smoke is the best smell that you could smell in a church building because "we come to church not to hide our problems but to heal them." (april 2015 general conference) i saw how all of the members we not being irrItated by his prescience or making faces at the Smell but were instead being so loving and warm and welcoming, a lot like what i imagined the savior would be dOing if he were here. this touched me so much that i started to tear up. during the sacrament i looked up and saw this maN with tears in his eyes as he took the bread and the water. it reminded me why we go to church each week and how much we all truly rely on christ to save us from our mistakes. i then plead to the lord to help me Overcome my weaknesses and to forgive me for my mistakes. i am so grateful for my savior and his infinite love. i love him so mUch and i am so gRateful that we have the fullness of his goSpel and teachings restored to us In our Day through a living prophet. i love you all and hopE that your week is swell.

elder allred

I failed when it comes to taking pictures this week, sorry
This picture was on the homepage of the Church News, 
reporting that Elder Oaks had visited the missionaries in Japan!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Week 41 Sumoto: Thrust in the Sickle with your Might

あいする兄弟、姉妹、皆さん こんにちは、
this last week has been all over the place Just like usual. my beloved companion has unfortunately fallen ill and we have been spending a lot of time at the doctors and in the apartment, but nevertheless miracles were beheld. my fAvorite one this week however was when i was on a comPanion exchange with a younger missionary named elder bailey in my area of sumoto. we had set the goal to go out And give out at least 1 book of mormon before the day's end. and so we ventured out and were turNed down one after another until finally later in the evening a younger japanese grammar teacher answEred his door and gave ear to our message. it was a way fun experience. me and elder bailey's japanese are still a work in progress and several mistakes were made as we attempted to give the mesSage of the restoration of christ's gospel whilE making connections to his profession as a teacher. but though our words were simple and our ability to answer his questions was rough, our testimonies were pure and the spirit was felt very strong as we testified of the truth. he accepted our book of mormon and then since he was a japanese grammar teacher i asked him if he had any corrections to our message. he just started laughing. then he gave a few pointers on testifying in japanese. then seeing a great opportunity asked him to demonstrate as if i were him and he was us. he accepted and took the book of mormon and testified to us that he knew that it was true and that he wanted us to read it to so that we could feel of the joy that it has brought him in his life. it was the greatest first contact in the world. never before have i started a contact explaining to someone what the book of mormon is and ended with the contact testifying to me of his testimony of the restoration. it was incredible! afterwards we set up a time to meet again and he saId that we would definitely read and wanted to talk more. i love miracles!

so that was a really cool experience and i was feeling pretty good about my japanese for being able to carry that converSation in the way that it turned out. but then the humbling came coming. at church i had an opportunity to translate one of our members talks from english to japanese while up at the pulpit. it was way hard but i felt like i did a half decent job that is until maekawa shimai, an 96 year old member who comes to church every week, came up to me and said that she was sure that i gave a great talk, but that she was sorry because she didn't understand it because she doesn't speak english. then later i was asked to read a scripture in japanese. i read the scripture for the class and then after, that same member called out (in japanese), "is it alright if we have someone read the scripture again in japanese because i don't understand english!" so apparently my japanese is still unrecognizable as japanese to some people, so i guess that i Have a lot more work to do than i thought. i am so grateful for humbling experiences in the gospel. i truly have felt so much joy this last week and am so grateful for the tender mercies of the lord And his love and strength in working each day. i know that i cannot do this work on my own, i owe absolutely everything to him. i love my lord and savior jesus christ and my eternal father in heaven with all of my heart and am so grateful foR this opportunity to share that joy with as many people as i can each anD every day. i love you all and am so grateful for the prayers and support that you are all constantly give to me. i hope that you have an amazing week. go be a light!

elder allred
I thrusted in the sickle with my might but I guess I am going to need
a stronger sickle…

Monday, May 15, 2017

Week 40 Sumoto: 母の日

happy mother's day everyone!
i was able to skype my family earlier Today and it was so great! man i miss them so much, but Each time that i have seen them out on my mission it has reminded me of how amazing it is that i get to be together with them forever. i truLy love them so much and knowing that no matter what happens if we hold out faithfuL to the end that then we will be able to be with each other eternallY in a state of never-ending happiness makes up for all Of the missed basketball games and delicioUs family dinners and nights where we are all laughing so hard together that ouR abbs are sore the next day, because the reason that i am out here is so that other people can have that same hope and joy in their own Families and homes. this gospel is incredible And it is true. I have never understood that more in My life than i do now as a missIonary. Love your families, forgive them, and do whatever it takes so that You can be together forever in the kingdom of god. this is real, and how great the importance to make it known to all the inhabitants of the earth. jesus christ is our savior and he is the waY to true and lasting happiness in this life and forever. i am sO grateful for this opportUnity to work and serve with the lord in sharing the good news of his gospel. i LOVE you all so much and hope That tHis wEek is Magical! yoshi! let's go be a light!

elder allred

Me and Elder Osaka found baby bunnies at a park!
Here's the view from our apartment in Sumoto!
Mother's Day FaceTime!

Week 39 Sumoto: Transfer Alert

my family, my friends,
this last week me and Elder anderson got our transfer calls and we were both transferring out of marugame. it was way sad and we had a way hard time saying goodbye to our investigators and members who we had gotten so close to and had so many spirituaL experiences with. and the hardest lesson of all was fujiwara shimai's lesson. when we told her she was so sad and surprised. she starteD telling us how grateful she was for us and started to cry which made us all cry and then she told us that she would never forget us because we had changEd her life and she begged us to never forget her and to come back and see her again. we told her that we would come back for her baptism and she
said that she would work harder than ever to make it to baptism foR us. it was one of the saddest things i have ever dOne in my life. we then gave her our little information cards which we wrote notes on and she took them and read them and started crying Again. it was way sad but i am so grateful for the blessing and privilege that it was to be able to be apart of her progression and change to realizing that she is a child of god. she is so amazing i am going to miss her.

well my new area is sumoto it is way awesome but completely different from marugame. it is on the island of awaji which is basically an island off the shore of shiKoku which is an iSland of the shore of the main land japan which IS an island in and of itself. so i just keep getting sent to smaller and smaller islands. our area covers the whole island and doesn't really have a whole lot of people. our branCh has about 8 active members and they are way awesOme! i feel like i am back in the early days of the church when they would gather their sMall band of followers of christ in the livIng room of someone's home. it is so awesome. my companioN's name is osaka chōrō, he is a japanese missionary so i have really been thrown into the fire of the language because we basically have to do everything in japanese unless we are doing english class, or english study for him. i am Getting way better at conversational japanese with him too, i'm so excited too see what we are able to accomplish together this transfer. the only problem is that my english is getting worse, writing emails is getting a lot harder, because i don't remember how to be funny or say things in an interesting way anymore (but then again i may have never been able to do that) another awesome thing about this neW area is that our apartment is at the top of this huge hill and we are On the fifth floor, so at the end of the day when we gO home we have to get a head start to build up speed and then power our way up this giant hill to get back to our apartment, it is a way intense Way to end the day when you are already exhausted from a hardworking day of dendou, but when we finally get to Our apartment the view is amazing! i am going to love this area so much! well like always thank you so much for all of your love emails and support to me as i dO my best to serve our heavenly father and bring souls unto christ. i love you all and hope you week is superb!

elder allred

My last pic with Anderson Chōrō 
My New Companion Osaka Chōrō 
Me and Osaka Choro ready to take on a King Size!
Definitley shouldn't have done that!