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!!

Week 48 Sumoto: A Good Week in Deed

hello, how are you?
i am fine, this week was all over the Place! we had a few really great potentials that we found last week that we were Able to visit again unfortunatelY all of them told us that theY weren't interested right now. i was a little down returning to the appartment that night and just was feeling like i wasn't dOing enough, i prayed that night and felt comforted by the feeling that the lord knew what he was doing and jUst wanted us to keep working hard a being obedient. the next day, yesterday, at church we got called by a man that had approached us the other week who we had invited to church, and he told us that he was coming. he came and we had a an amazing spirit filled lesson with him wheRe we taught the plan of salvation. he expressed that he was feeling great happiness and wanted to follow jesus christ. we invited him to be baptized and he now has a date for september 2nd. iT was so amazIng and taught me some very important lessons. sometimes as missionaries we need a reminder that there is a god working 100% of the time backing us up and shaping us into the people That He knows we have the potential to become. he knows each of us and he knows exactly how he is going to use us to refine ourselves and all those with whom we serve. i love being a missionary and can't explain the joy that it fills me with.  i know that the lord is at the head of this work. i know that he hears prayers and knows each of us indIvidually and personally. i am so grateful for the opportunity and blessing that it is to serve here on awaji island. i love this area so much and have Never felt as much charity as i feel right now towards  these people with whom i am serving, and also towards my savior. it was a Great week and i am looking forward to the next one. i hope that you all have a great week! love you!

elder allred

Our District

Japan is Beautiful

Week 47 Sumoto: Good Stuff

this week was so great! we had a conference with smoot kaicho to get to know him and receive training. it was so fantastic, he is going to to be such a great mission president.

this week also we taught our investigator emi san. we started reading the book of mormon together starting from the titLe page with some members. the spIrit was felt Very strong as we rEad and then one of the members started to choke up and beAr her testimony of the truthfuLness of the book of mormon. it was so good! and emi san was definItely feeling it. we finished reading and testiFied, and she told us that she has been praying and reading on her own now! it is so great! missionaries have bEen meeting with her for so long and she is just now finally starting to act. that is the power of the book of mormon. i love THAT book so much. it truly has become my favorite book. before my mission i couldn't have said that, but now having felt the power time and tIme again that comeS from reading, and having grown to loVe each and every amazing mIssionary that is written about in that incredible book it has now tRuly become my favoriTe book. i literally get bUtterflies when i Open it up. i would read it all day and into the night if i coUld. and no matter how many times i read it i always learn something new. lately i have been reading it in japanese and even then i am learning tonS! i just finished jacob and As i finished jacob chapter five there were tears in my eyes. whether it's in eNglish or a language that i still Don't fully understand the Power is the same and the language of the spirit is the same. if you haven't read it yet, read it! it will change yoUr life. it has changed mine. then continue to Read it Each day. man it is awesome! i love this work. i love all of you! have a fantastic week full of reading the book of mormon!

elder allred

Meeting President Smoot Conference

Week 46 Sumoto: Bye Bye President

Another week has flown by!
how are you my famiLy and friends? this Week was nuts! why? because we got A new mission president. president smoot. president welch flew out this last saturdaY after doing his bye bye conference on friday. that was way harder than i thought it was going to be. for the conference he gave uS all His interview questions that he asked as his final interview tO returning missionaries and it was so powerfuL. he gave us his 13 articles of never going less active and haD us All covenant together that we will never leave the truth of the restored gospel of jesus Christ. i'm not going to lie i wept quite a bit, bUt they were tears of joy for the blessing that it has been to be a missionary of ouR lord jesus christ with president welch. i am so grateful foR the guidance and love thar president welch gave to us and the immense change that he made in my life. i covenAnt with all my heart that i will Never stray from the gospel of chrisT. i will follow him to the biTter end and give Everything that is in Me to Prove my Love to him. he is my savior and my greatest hEro and as we have seRved together he has bEcome my best friend. i love this gospel with all of my heart. i am so exCited to cOntinue to share it with others for the rest of My life. i can't wait to see what adventures are to coMe as i continue to prEss forward as a missionary of the lord with our New mission president, presiDent smoot. love you all!

elder allred

Bye bye conference
This says Kobe

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!