Monday, September 4, 2017

Week 55 Sumoto: Baptism!

i Learned so much this week from the Incredible blessing that we had to baptize and confirm shimizu masayuki a member of the church. we didn't know what to expect going into the baptism and we made a lot of little sloppy mistakes setting up the baptismal serVice, but in theEend it turned out to be such A spiritual experience. it was way awesome to see some of the members brought their Friends to the service. me and my companion sang a musical number during the service which was 'i know that my redeemer lives' we sorT of messed up several times but in the End it was really poweRful and a fun and terrifying experience (i'm not a huge fan of singing in front of people, especially in japanese). we went to THE beach to perform the baptisM because there is no font in our little church building. Aftwerwards as we were walking aloNg the beach to get to the bathrooms i was talking with shimizu kyoudai. as i started to explaiN the covenant that he just made and the blessings of the spirit that he will now havE in his life i suddenly felt a huge explosion of the spirit within me. i felt a portion of god's love foR shimizu kyoudai and almost like a message of gratitude from Our heavenly father for bringing one of his beloved lost sheep back to the Fold. it was overpowering and caused tears to flow down my cheeks. he must have had a similar message of love fill his Heart as well because Almost simultaneously he too was overcome with tears and started to exclaim how haPpy he was. i truly know that god loves each and every one of his children so infinitely much and it is my utmost desire to be the means by which he can oPperate through me to bless and rescue the lives of many of his lost sheep. I love being a missionary so very much, and I am so grateful for a loving father in heaveN who granted unto us the miracle of being able to servE as representatives of jesus christ in leading his precious children back to hiS love. love you all So much and hope you have a fantastic week!

elder allred

The newest member of the Sumoto Branch

Week 54 Sumoto: Forever a Missionary

why are weeks so short in sumoto?
it has been another super awesome weeK here on our little island. we have bEen so busy lately days have just been flying by! wE received a challenge from our mission President this week to find 100 new investigators as a mission, and we saw so many miracles in doing it. also we have been teaching our Investigator shimizu kyOudai a bunch lately in preparation for his baptism that, if all goes well, is this saturday. i am way excited for him and this branch experience it this weekeNd. this branch hasn't seen a baptism in about 3 years, so i Really hope that as they see the one this saturday that it boosts their spirits and gets them all excited about missionary work. it really is so amazing to be serving here and working with shimizu. he is so prepared. just last wEek we taught him About tithing for the first time and he was committing to do it before we even got to the promises associated with it. he is just ready to follow christ is what he keeps saying.

also this week we haD zone conference and man It was good. we talked about really seeking to get to know our investigators and Not seeing them as statistics but as people and the children of God they truly are with dreams and hopes And weaknesses aNd hard days anD stresses and things that bring them joy. i really feLt the spirit so strong as the president and zone leaders gave their training. i have been trying extra hard to discover who Our investigators truly are lately and i have had some incredible experiences with the spirit giVing discernment and the scriptures i need to share and the words and questions that i need to say. i have felt a noticeable Increase in love and joy towards them as they come to know how the gospel is really the thing they are missing in their lives. i can really tell that our father iN heaven has a profound love for these his precious children.

it has been inspirinG me to be a better missionary and not just for The time of my mission but forever. i had maybe the greatest personal study of my mission a couple mornings ago where i studied from the story of peter, the apostle of christ, at the time when his “mission" had ended and christ had been resurrected and he and the other apostles didn't know what to do. peter decided to do the tHings that he was comfortable with, the things he did beforE his mission. he went fishing. but the story goes on and is well known that the savior comes and tells them where to cast their nets and they catch many fish. peter then recognizeS that it is Christ and goes out to meet him. christ then asks him gesturing to the fish, "lovest thou me more than these?" peter is asked the question three times to which he responds that of course he loves him. and each time jesus Responds, "feed my sheep" (john 21) peter then realizes that his missIon is not over and he goes on to feed his sheeP, and performs more miracles and Teaches more people than ever. like peter i testify to each of you that i love my savior jesus christ, and i love him more than anything that i have
done or could ever do for myself. and i promise that when i go home i  will not go back to who i Used to be, i will not fall back into my old habits. i am going to change the way that i live and go forward so that i never stop feeding his sheep, never stop inviting people to church and never stop strengthening those who need our savior's love. i promise that i will be a missionary forever. and of course the way i shaRe the gospel may be completely different and there are going to be other things that i will need to focus on and work towards but i will never leave the truth, and i will put the lord first above all Else. there are not words to describe the love i have for this gospel, my heavenly father and my savior. let us all share this love and seek to strengthen it continually, for as people who know of this love we carry the hope that this world so desperately needs. we are the hope of this world, the hope of israel. let's bring the world his truth. Sorry for the long email this week, i got a little carried away. know that i love each of you and hope that you have an incredible week.

elder allred

Zone Conference
There are always strange bugs in our apartment

Monday, August 21, 2017

Week 53 Sumoto: Progressing Investigators, Unprogressing English Students

my family, my friends
what a week iT was this last week. we are still working with our investigator shimizu kyoudai, And he is still on track to be baptized september 2nd. i have Learned a whole lot teaching him. i have truly learned what it means to be a progressing investigator. he has been so willing to change his life so that he can bring himself in harmony with the gospel of christ. he brings it up in every lesson that he is seeing the blessings that have come into his life since meeting with us. i can't wait to see him taKe the step of baptism and to begin to prepare for receiving the priesthood and entering the temple. we have also been seeing many miracles here in sumoto as we try to figure out how We can strengthen this branch. there Is no doubt in my mind that the lord is anxious to bring us to prepared people who are ready to receive The gospel. i Have been filled with so much charitY towards the members of this branch and i desire with everything inside me to see growth here. i have never wanted to work so hard in my life. my heart is cOmpletely engaged in this work. sometimes that makes the dissapointments truly heartbreaking, but in retUrn, seeing the successes of investigators and membeRs fills my heart with such unspeakable joy.

also tHis last week our english class was a huge struggle. i spEnt a solid 30 minutes helping each student leArn the difference between the 'r' sound and the 'l' sound. belieVe it or not that is the same sound in the japanese alphabet and so them hearing the difference between pray and play is pretty much impossible for them. it is crazy, but i really wanted to help them understand the difference that is so clEar to me. i worked really hard and in the end everyoNe could pronounce the words "gross" and "gloss" (which is the same exact word to them) pretty well. well as i was teaching and marveling at how it is so hard for them to make the difference in sounds in 'r' and 'L' they helped me understand that foreigners like me make the same mistake with their ら and だ and other tones that theY have to make different words. so i learned a valuable lesson in judging not the mote that is in my brothers eye and considering not the beam that is in my own. after class i was Feeling pretty good about myself After having helped them all understand 'r' and 'l' and improving their pronunciation when one of The students came up to me and said, "i am not progressing my english. my progress depends on you." ouch. i get it. i am a lousy english teacher. i guess spending a Half hour on pronunciation was not what they wantEd to do that day. man, teaching english is so hard. well i love you guys, hope you have a gReat week!

elder allred

My new bike. It's all red. Just like me.

My companion cut this out of black sticker paper for me this week!

Week 52 Sumoto: Many Miracles

this week we were blessed with being able to find several new strong potential investigators who we are looking forward to teachinG again in coming weeks. we even had a man that we hadn't ever met walk in and listen to sacrament meeting and stay aftwerwards to hear a lesson. we talked about what it means tO take the sacrament each week and the importance of baptism. he seemed really interested and told us that he will come again. also we housed an apartment that we have been housing around many many times and we always feel like it's not time to house that particular one, but we finally did it this last week and we met a man from vietnam who had just moved there two weeks ago. he opened the door and invited us in to come teach us in his livingroom (that's the first time that that has happened on my mission). we taught him about god and he said that he waS interested in having us come over again. we also had a new person show up to our English class who found us online. we talked to him after class and set up a private lesson with him the next day where we would do 30 minutes pRivate english and 30 minutes talking about the gospel of christ. we met and after english he started the lesson telling us that he believed god was just something made up with the imaginations of man, he finished the lesson praying to god and thanking him for his influence which he recognised in his life. he also asked god to help him as he comes to know whether he exists or not. it was a great lesson filled with the spirit. he told us how he felt really happy after our lesson and was excited to meet next week. i haVe been just so humbled lately at how merciful and kind the lord is as we labor together Establishing his kingdom. i can't wait to see where this all goes. i love my mission so much!

this week was a week of miracles. over and over i saw the hand of the lord touching this work. So many prayers were answered and i have just been so inspired by the love that i have felt from Our heavenly father this week. i desire to serve him so much more diligently to show my appreciation and dedication to him and to show hiM that i will not grow idlE because of the great blessings of the lord but will instead work twice as hard knowing that only through obedience to him will we qualify to have his spirit so that it may touch the hearts and inspire the minds of the peOple that we meet and have beeN blessed to be able to teach. i love my Savior with all of my heart and will follow him forever. i love you all and hopE you have a fantastic week.

elder allred

I got surprised by the zone leaders and my companion with a cake on
exchanges this week. Man, they are so awesome!

Week 51 Sumoto: Awaji Beef (even better than Kobe Beef)

it was a good week. i learned a lot of really good things. i was able to go on a koukan (companion exchange) with Hoopes choro in kakogawa. he is A way good missionary. he really had a lot of faith and desire to work hard and share his testimony. we set goals to give out a book of mormon and find a new inVestigator and worked hard all day, but still hadn't had any luck. we housed and housed come night time and it seemed like Everyone was rejecting us. but then the very last house the very last door we housed before going back to the apartment at 9:00 a college Aged man opened the door. we testified as best as we could of the power and truthfulness of the book of mormon and he accepted the Copy and was interested in meeting again. we set up the return appointment for a couple days later and he seemed like he had great potential to become a new investigator. it was such a miracle that was so great to experience with hoopes choro who had only been out in japAn for about a week and a half at that point. i love the lord so much!

as for investigators this week our investigator shimizu kyoudai is progressing great still. he came to church again this Last week and was able to meet the branch president. he is really starting to deveLop great friendships with the members of the branch and even asked if i would baptize him when he reaches his date. it fills me wIth joy to see his desire to learn and change his life to follow christ. great thiNgs are happening in sumoto. man i love this area! love you guys! have a Great week!

elder allred

we went with a member and shimizu san (far right) 
to a yakiniku restaurant and ate some way expensive beef. 
it was the most delicious meat that has ever registered my taste buds.

A member had us put on her Japanese Kimonos at a district meeting

Also this... 

Week 50 Sumoto: I Survived Transfers

this week was a Super great week. it was transfers and i am staying in sUmoto! i am so grateful that i get to Stay here for another Transfer! i love it here so much and i just really want to see the brAnch get stronger. my companion is stIll satou choro too! so we actually were’t affected too bad by this last transfer which is way good because this last transfer 26 missionaries went home so there was a ton of moving around. i can't wait to work hard for another transfer with satou choro and really strengthen this braNch.

this week we did a ton of housing, it was great! we found a great little potential family as we were housing one night. we knocked on their door and a mother and her 5 year old son answered the door. we started introducing ourselves and teaching and the kid was so funny. he talked so much and asked a whole bunch of questions. he was such a cute kid that i was determined to get a return appointment. we taught about how god is our loving heavenly father and we asked the mother if she believes in god and she said that she wasn't sure. so i turned and asked the 5 year old if he believes in god and he said, "Yeah! i actually saw him once!" it was way funny and we were able talk to them both about how much of a blessing it is to fOllow god and his son jesus christ. they said that we coUld come back and teach again, and the little kid was way excited about having back. he then ran back into the house and came back out will a maRble and told us that he wanted to give it to us. he was probabLy one of the coolest 5 year olds i've ever met. wE are definitely going to go visit them Again and i am praying for the best.

also our investigator shimizu san is Doing great. he has come to church 3 weeks in a row now and is taking in Every lesson so well. he also is bringing his friend to church next week so we can't wait to see what happens. gReat things are happening in sumoto. i love it So much! have a great week! love you.

elder allred

also i am terribly sorry, we were super busy and i totally forgot to take pictures this week. i will repent and be better next week.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Week 49 Sumoto: Just Dendoing

whoa, it's p-day!
man, the weeks have been flying By. it was another great week of dendo. we were able to go visit that person that we committed to baptism during the week and teach him again. shimizu san is progressing so fast. we went over planning on talking about the gospel of christ, but changed it to word of wisdom because he kept telling us how much he loves coffee. he seemed a little sad about the commandment at first but then was like, well I guess I'm going to have to switch my favorite drink to something else. it was awesome! he also spoke to his friend about us and about his no drinking coffee and his friend now wants to switch from coffEe too! it is so crazy! also shimizu san came to church again this week and met a lot of the members. they got to know each other really fast and it was great. he said that next week he is going to invite his friend to church. man, meeting him has just been such a miracle.

also this week we were able to go on an exchange with the zone leaders. it was way good. i learned a ton about finding effectively and making my contacts more interesting. we also tried a bunch of different new ways of dendo. my favorite is when we go to the mall and find the bencH that is right outside of all of the clothing stores and there are just a bunch of super bored middle aged men waiting for their wives as they are shopping. it is way easy to get a conversation going because all i have tO do is say "man, japan is hot!" and then everyone is asking me where i am from and what i am doing in japan. it's super fun to meet so many different people, but my heart is constantly aching for them to accept the gospel. if they could only uNderstand how much of a difference it would make in their life, and if they could only taste of the joy and peace that is just right in front of them. man, somEtimes it just drives me nuts, but i guesS that we just need to keep Trying our best and be worthy so that when we do meet a prepared person, they will recognize the voice of the good shepherd and will follow him. 

elder allred

We asked this guy to take a picture of us, and then we taught him the gospel.
It's getting really hot!!