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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

I think that I could easily say that this week was the best week of my mission!!!  We had so many miracles and great spiritual experiences, and I learned a lot.

So my district started out at 12 missionaries, or 6 companionships. That was the whole zone!!! so the whole week we had to make 5 phone calls every night to give good follow up to the missionaries.  Then we came up with a cool plan so that they could give follow up one to another. The companionship of sisters called the other sisters. and the two companionships of Elders talked, and then one of both the sisters and the elders would call us to give us the information from both companionships. It did make it a lot easier. And then they finally (on Saturday) decided to cut the district in half.  So now we are just 6 Missionaries.

Us, the sisters from Valle Verde 1 (that´s the other side of our ward), they are Sister Quispe (from Peru) and Sister Velez (from Michoacan, Mexico). They are both relatively new, but are helping us out quite a bit with the meals with the members, and in helping us know about all of the meetings in the church.  We also have the Elders from Miramar 1 (that's part of Del Valle  where I was mixed with a little bit more of Miramar). They are Elder Weintz (from Copper Hills, he is Nathan and Jarom's friend that was going to come to Tampico) and Elder McLean (a greenie from Canada, he is in for some heat).

We are excited to work with each of them and get to know them better.

We had a baptism in the ward on SaturdayWednesday in the morning I did the baptismal interview and then they asked me to baptize Carmen Angelica.  It was a great experience.  It was a unique moment. I had a remarkable spiritual experience while baptizing her. honestly when she was in the water I did feel the Power of the Atonement flow through me into her and I felt it fill her until she was clean. It was a remarkable experience, and I know that it was the Power of Godliness in action (D&C 84:19-20)

We honestly have no active members on our side of the ward.  We asked for the member lists and the bishopric gave them to us on WednesdayThursday we were working and we decided to pull out the lists and see if there was anybody nearby. We found two families on the list and went to look for the one.  They are the only family of active members on our side of the ward!!!  You can call it luck, but it was God inspiring us and directing us without us realizing it. We are going to be working with that family quite a bit and we hope to live in the same neighborhood as they do.

We still don't have a house, but like I said we are looking at that neighborhood. It's a ton of buildings that are very new and the rent is very cheap. It's convenient and there are about 1300 departments there and a ton of families to contact. We hope that somebody will answer their phone soon so that we can look at and rent soon!

Our area book (all of the records in the area, ex-investigators, members, recent converts, and all that jazz)  is 5 pages, and then the member list.  2 recent converts (3 pages) and 1 investigator (Susan the daughter of a less active...she's 9) and half a page of future potential investigators.  Usually its about two-two inch binders of area book!! so we are starting off from scratch. hahaha.

That means that nobody in our area has ever really been taught by, and most of them have rarely seen missionaries in the area. It's a completely new area!!! We are just contacting a ton right now. 

It has been remarkable to see the spirit guiding us to talk to people. I have felt so many impressions this week to talk to certain people, and those people have almost always accepted.  We have gotten to the corner and turned around and gone back to talk to people that we felt impressed to contact and they accept us.  I felt like this week I was finally able to submit myself more to the Lord's will and just let him drive. On Saturday we found 6 people in less than half an hour. In 4 contacts!!  Friday we found 7 new investigators and I thought that was a record, then Saturday we found 9!!

Susan (the 9 year old daughter of the less active sister)  is very serious. In that it is impossible to get her to smile, and very difficult to help her want to talk.  We are going to be trying very dynamic lessons cuz the sisters said that it was the only way that they could get her to start opening up. We'll see what we can do.

Yesterday was a crazy and incredible experience. It was one of the weirdest but most incredible moments of God taking control of the situation.  We have church at 12 so we left the house at 11 (it took over 40 minutes to get there)  while in the bus I contacted the guy next to me and when I went to write down his address I realized that I didn't have my agenda.  That stunk.  So I did get the address written down on a little piece of paper that I had.  When we got off the bus I told my companion that I had forgotten my agenda. Guess what!  He did too. So we started thinking about what appointments we had and we remembered all 4, but we didn't remember the address of the 4th, Guillermo and Yamilet (one of the miraculous couples from Saturday, because we had contacted them in the street and they gave us their address to look for).  So church got out and we went to eat. We had to fix lunch with the sister before we could eat it. So at 6pm we set out to hit all of the appointments (5:005:306:00, and 6:30)  We found the first three houses very quickly and we changed one of the appointments because they were busy, the other one wasn't home and the third one wanted to give us the pamphlet back, but we persuaded her to keep it because she hadn't prayed to know if it was true. And we went looking for the 4th one.  We stopped to prayed after a small attempt to remember which street it was,and told God that if He wanted us to find them then He would have to show us a miracle. If not then we were there to do what He needed us to do. So we went wandering and we never found the house. We decided to talk to a less active sister that we had talked to the other day.  Well, we got there right after they got home and we met her husband. We decided to teach the restoration to him (he is catholic)  it was a very spiritual lesson and we did our best to help him see how the restoration helps him. We felt the spirit very strongly, but at the end he decided not to follow our message.  What I do know is that we were supposed to go with HIM!!  Maybe in a few years he will accept, or who knows, but we HAD to go there yesterday at that very hour, minutes after they had gotten home.

When we got home we had several messages, one of them was from Guillermo. He asked to move the appointment for another day, way before the time that we had had the appointment.  What I decided is that if we had had the agendas or the phone we never would have gone looking for the less active sister and we never would have taught Raul (her husband). Who knows why God wanted us to go there so bad, but I know that we did the right thing.

It has been a great week. I have been living the country song "Live Like you are Dying".  Really I am giving it my all every day for just in case I can´t keep going the next day.  I think I am going to stay for a while right now, at least the rest of this transfer I hope, and very likely the rest of the 11 weeks. But I will always have to do what God wants.  I will keep taking care of myself. Pray for my shoulders too.  I love you all and thank you all for your support. I am not suffering. I am really enjoying myself right now. This is the true joy that God had promised me in the blessings that I have received.  I will go and do the things which the Lord is commanding me for He will not give any commandments unto us His children unless it is for our good and He will always prepare the way.

I love you
Elder Brady Allred
Sorry but I don't have a ton of time today so it's going to be a short letter.

We had changes and I got changed to Valle Verde, Bosque (that's Green Valley Ward, in Forest Stake).  I am here with Elder Franc, (pronounced France...? who know's why.  I'll let you know next week) He has a little less than a year in the mission and I am excited to work with him, learn from him and teach him.  I am also District Leader now which is honestly a great relief from the fast paced and heavy work of zone leader. I have some sisters and some elders in my district but I have heard so many different names and areas about who they are that I will find out tomorrow.

We also had a "surprise" stake conference this week in Ampliacion (I say surprise cuz the cat got out of the bag a few months ago and everybody already knew).  They dissolved the stake.  And they also dissolved another stake in Altamira (that's just a little north of Tampico). So from 5 stakes they made 3. And from 32 wards and branches they made 17. So that´s why the changes were today and yesterday we were all figuring out what is going on with our areas, it's all just mixed up and it's a little rough.

Our area does not have a house yet and we have to find one, so pray and everything so that we can find a good house that is within the right limits for renting in our area. We have a house right now but it is way too far away from our area for convenience, so we are going to be looking hard (that reminds me we still don't even know how to get to our area from here, but we'll figure that out right now)

My back is doing just a little bit better. We started looking at my shoulder a little bit too because it turns out that I have tendinitis there. We are working on getting all of that better so that I will be able to keep going.  We'll see how I feel in a week or two. I feel confident that God will guide me to make the right decision.  I believe that I will feel better for next week and I will be taking good care of myself.  I also bought new shoes and a better implant for my shoe (professional and official grade and height) so that should help my back out a bit more.  I have been praying a lot and I am very thankful for your prayers. I know that God will put the right path before me and that I will make the right decision in the right moment so that God can do with me as He seeth fit. This is His work and He guides it, we are just instruments in His hands.

I love you and hope you can feel the peace and confidence I do feel in these moments (there are moments of discouragement, but I do overcome them). I love you and thank you all for your expressions of faith and love, and your counsels.

Elder Brady Allred

Thursday, June 7, 2018

This week was a very interesting week this week. We worked a ton and found several people that seemed to be very interested.  We have tried a ton to put baptismal dates and to invite people to church. For one reason or another we have'´t been able to put baptismal dates with anybody, and nobody went to church yesterday!  We went running around for over an hour yesterday in the morning to find the people that said they were going to go to church, but they didn't want to, they stayed asleep, or who knows where they were.

I'm watching the devotional right now, and it is really great!!! I cant believe how great the idea of gathering Israel is.  It's very inspiring.

On Monday we were working until 8:50 and we were on our way home, and my companion stopped at a house to contact. I didn't even think that anybody lived there. It was the second floor of a business, and so I had never thought to talk there. But out came a young man of 23.  He said his name was Brandon, and since it was so loud on the main street he invited us in.  We met his wife, Yesenia, shared a small message and got to know them a bit and then put another appointment and finished with a prayer, and we got home right on time.  That was a sign to me that it was meant to be.  We talked to them the other day in the appointment and it was good. They actually had a lot of questions about the churches today and how to know which one is right.  We answered those questions and we gave them a Book of Mormon.  They have been reading a bit and it looks like they are enjoying it,  They couldn't go to church for Brandon's work and we hope that the next week they can.

My companion also found a new investigator called Karen the other day in divisions.  She needs a lot of help and we gave blessings to her children and we hope that they can get better from the illnesses so that they can lighten her burden a bit.  She has been really stressed and is just separating from her last couple.  She was going to go to church too but she disappeared yesterday.

Gonzalo and I found a new investigator, and old friend of Gonzalo, called Daniel (we were in splits)  He is very catholic but we talked well about why Joseph Smith and tried to take away his misconception of Polygamy (it's the hardest rumor to get rid of)  He like the message and he really doesn't like the Catholic church all that much, and less the other churches, but our message seemed to call his attention. We'll see how it goes on Friday when we go back with him.

Sandra and Ivan are doing alright. They have a lot of problems with money and we are trying to get them to go to the Self Reliance groups but they have been really busy. They are way too busy with work and trying to reconnect the electricity in their home. It's rough to be able to help them. They want to do the right things but they are struggling for the money. They could use some prayers.

This is His work and He directs it personally.  President Nelson is a Prophet (the devotional was incredible!  I just finished listening to it).  Follow all of His counsels and the Lord will bless you more than you can imagine.  This is the true church and God is working out His will for each of us.  I love you.

Elder Allred

Saturday, June 2, 2018

First the travel plans that you are all waiting to get.  I turned in a paper this week that tells the mission where I am going to return to and all that jazz.September 3rd is official now.

So this week we had splits with the President's assistants, guess who I went with.  Elder Tyler Crum.  I must say that he has matured a ton in the mission. Still the same personality but a much different person than he was for all of those years that we have known him.  It was great to see and work with him for a day.  I'll send you the picture some other day when the computer wants to work with me.

Well this week we tried to find a ton of new people to teach.  It is sometimes very frustrating to talk to new people, cuz I just feel like they don't understand me. I don't get how they can understand all of the cliche christian empty wordiness, but then when we explain the stuff so simply and with the spirit, they just say "It's all the same." or "They teach that in my church too." or "I already accepted Christ in my heart."  We explain the Godhead and then they say, yep it's all the same person.  So we explain it again, and they still don't get us.  It is a very big test of patience, and diligence.

So to finish the letter I'd like to mention the miracles that we saw in Fernanda's and Vanessa's baptism.  It was Saturday and let me just say that there was no water in the whole city (Madero), nor in Tampico. So we were a little bit nervous about filling the baptismal font.  We went at about 4:45, and the baptism was at 6.  Well the water came out (the first miracle), but slow. So we started moving buckets from 2 other faucets.  So the font got just full enough so that the two little girls could squat down and be baptized and then the city ran out of water. It was about 2 and a half feet of water, maybe a little more.  So that is the first part.  During all of that we called the bishop to get a ride for Vanesa and Fernanda and their Grandma.  His car broke down. So we called Venancio a recent convert who has a car to go for them. He wasn't sure exactly how to get there but he was going to try.  Then Carlos (The girls´ brother) called to tell us that they had a ride with an aunt. so we cancelled with Venancio. Then the brother called again cuz the aunt's car broke down. And now we called Venancio again. And so he went to pick them up.  All of that happened in about 20 minutes. At the same time we were checking for white clothes that supposedly were the right size for Carlos, cuz he was going to baptize them.  What they hadn't told us was that the pants that we had gotten for Carlos were too small. And we didn't find that out until about 6:20 when he got there.  (the girls got there at about 6:10) so Elder Barragan and Elder Hoffman, the other Elders from the ward went and got Elder Barragan's pants cuz they should have been the right size.  (the closet in the church was closed that had clothes and only the Bishop who happened to be on the youth stake camp had the keys) so they got back and guess what.  The pants were still to small. So elder Barragan got to baptize the little girls.  And just so you know when I went to get a mop after the baptism to dry up the floor, that was when the water turned itself back on!!!  30 seconds after the baptism, while they were changing clothes. so the whole thing finally got going about 6:50 and it was over at 7:15 or 7:30. It was crazy but we pulled it off by the skin or our teeth. Thank you for all of your prayers, cuz without those we never would have been able to do it.

God loves to teach us lessons, but sometimes it hurts a lot to learn them.  Whether it is patience, diligence, charity, faith, humility (that is one of the most painful), or even virtue they are not easy lessons to learn. I've also come to realize that the more that I understand my agency the more I want to be better. sometimes when I study agency I finish feeling like everything is my fault, but when I study and learn about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that is when I see that I have, can and will progress beyond what I can now see.  He opens the window to a greater today, and a brilliant tomorrow.  When we look unto him in every thought, then we can have peace.  We have to realize that alone we can do nothing, but with Christ and His loving, patient help, we can become more.  Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him, is one of my favorite invitations.  This life is not so much about just making choices, and then taking a tally of the good and bad things that we do. It's more of a measure of what we become.  Every choice makes us more like Christ, or less like Him, but through faith in Him and true, sincere repentance we can overcome our mistakes to become like Him.  He came down to be among us and be like us, so that we can go back to Him and our Father and live among them and be like them!  That is the good news of the gospel. 

Thank you for all of your help and support, it's great to have you all there helping me.  I'm trying not to count down too much.  I'm finally starting to figure out how to do missionary work, and it's still full of ups and downs.  Have a great week. I love you all

Elder Brady Allred

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Well we went to the temple again. It was a great experience and really I found a lot of answers this time.  Last time I went without questions in mind and came out with nothing specific. This time I went with some questions and the Lord taught me in His house. It was a very incredible experience. I definitely don't know everything but I sure do learn a lot every time.  And it's great to know that the Lord does want to answer our questions when we go looking.

Really my experience in the temple helped me to understand the Atonement better.  I had some question about Nephi's vision and why they used some of the weird wording phrases there.  I have read it about 6 or 7 times in the last 2 weeks trying to understand it and then today I asked the Lord to explain it to me...and now I understand it.  Like Elder Holland said there are some of those marvelous moments when you feel the rush of revelation.  It all makes sense now.  I know that Christ came to help us go back. He came down to be like us so that we can return and be like Him.  It is such a beautiful doctrine and like Joseph Smith said it is the simplest doctrine that we have as a church.  Wouldn't that be the doctrine that we should all learn in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants?  Always focus on the doctrine of Christ, with the center in the Atonement!!!  I learned that today, and I will make sure to apply it.

We have decided to give everybody that we were teaching some time to decide. Nobody wants to get baptized very much, so we are going to take a step back and work with some other people a bit more, and we are only going to go with Blanca and Florencio every once in a while so that they can progress at their pace. It's kinda sad but in a few months they should be all ready to get baptized.  It's incredible that we fight so much for people to go to church and then some of the people that go to church don't want to get baptized.  There are a lot of steps on the path and we have to augment our faith to overcome the big steps on the path.  I guess that if it were easy everybody would do it.

So we have had to find some new people to teach.  We found Sandra and Ivan.  They are a very great couple and they have 3 kids.  Axel, Lia and Jesus.  One of their kids is old enough to get baptized as well.  They accepted an appointment the other day when we contacted them in their house. They are Catholic but inactive, and they say that they are always willing to listen to the other churches but yesterday when we went again they said that it is the first time that they've let someone in. They had some great questions about the plan of salvation and we are trying to answer all of their questions.  They are very sincere and we hope that they are going to progress quickly. Just another couple that has to get married :) but they seem to be willing to do it! We will see very soon.

We also have been talking to Rene. He is a man of about 35 years of age, but he is about 3.5 feet tall. He has a lot of problems with his mom and a lot of weird experiences in his past, we'll see how much we can help him, it's rough when they can't read. But he is definitely willing, so we are too!!!

Fernanda and Vanessa are ready for their baptism on Saturday. They already passed the interview and they are excited for the baptism.  It was really easy to help them get ready and they were definitely a gift from heaven. I am so grateful that we found them when we did.  It has been great to watch them progress.

We went to seminary again with Ivon!! Another great experience in Ether 12!!  I love the book of Ether.

We'll keep going. I'm excited to continue in this great work. It is without a doubt the work of the Lord. I love you all and hope you have a great week this week. Good luck on the last week of school. I love you all!!!
Elder Brady Allred

Saturday, May 12, 2018

So I have to admit that missionary work is very hard, and very taxing.  But that is how we learn.  It has taught me how to trust more in the Savior and just let Him take away my pain and struggles. Hopefully I can learn to depend on Him even more.  He is always there to help me out.

So this week we decided to go looking for Carlos Samael, the now Ex young men's president. We wanted to talk to him. It was the first time in over 3 months that we had decided to visit him. I had never been to his house before. So we got there and his grandma invited us in. She is missing a leg due to an accident that she had 2 years ago, she is almost ready for the prosthetic.  And her husband also had an accident, first he lost a lot of his hand to an accident and then when they were going to put in the antibiotic they hit his nerve in his backside and so he lost all of his feeling in his left leg.  so they are recovering and then they will be back to church. But what to our wondering minds did appear a few no members living there. They have just over a week living here, they are Carlos´ little sisters. Their mom left them here now for over a year while she is in the USA. They already went to church 2 weeks ago, even though I didn't see them, and now they are listening to us.  We are going to put a baptismal date for May 26th.  They have now gone twice to church and their brother is almost the most active member there so he will always take them to church. It is great. I don't believe that it was a coincidence that we went to visit that family that day (Carlos wasn't even there)

And the other great experience this week was on Thursday. We were out of things to do at 8:20, and so we decided to go visit another active member. He is the 1st counselor in the bishopric.  I had only gone to visit him once and they were busy. so it was just a stab in the dark that we could visit them. So we got there (they live a block away from the house) and guess what, the brother Bonifacio was sick and he wanted a blessing. So we gave it to him.  In the morning (Sunday he told us this) he felt better and was ready to work.  He told us Thursday night that it seemed as if we had known that he was sick when we went there.

So I learned once again that we don't have to recognize the impressions for them to be spiritual impressions. I love being in areas for a long time because some how, when I have been there for a while, we always seem to go to the right house at the right time.  I heard comments from the Bishop in Lomas that less active, or active members had told him that we had gotten to their houses in the exact moment that they asked God for help, and it seems that the same is happening here in Del Valle.  I am starting to really love the ward, and if everything turns out as planned then the youth and YSA in the ward should accompany us to appointments everyday this week. We'll see if we can get a strong missionary focus going in the ward. I'm excited for what's to come!!

I hope you all have a great week. I love you

Elder Brady Allred

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

We are teaching some great people, and we are finding a lot of  problems with most of them.  The first one I will talk about it Blanca.  She got sick yesterday and didn't come to church for the same.  She still hasn't found the moment to pray to ask God if it is all true.  We may just have to do it outside and pray that the spirit answers and that the dogs don't bark. She has to ask because if not then she will go away from the church fast after her baptism.  We are going to postpone her baptism for a few weeks, we still don't know for when. But she knows everything, she just doesn't ask!! we are getting there.

The Chavez Family went to church yesterday!! it was incredible. We were in the stake conference and they came in at the first hymn.  They didn't like it :( They said that it seemed to be directed at other people (the members) and that it was a little bit boring.  I almost have to agree.  They talked about a ton of things, and told a lot of alright stories.  So that was a little bit sad that they didn't like it.  We also had a very heated lesson last night with them.  They are not very accepting of the idea of the Book of Mormon still. They have only read one chapter, so when we talked about the Plan of Salvation it kinda blew up in our face. It's a hard lesson to teach with just the bible cuz every one else interprets the same scriptures in very different ways.  I guess we should take our time a little bit more and get them more fundamented in the Book of Mormon.  I think that we are just going to read with them for a few more weeks.

We are also teaching another elderly man called Pablo Bautista (Paul the Baptist, that's kinda funny). He has never been part of any church and he thinks that they are all pretty corrupt (I cant say that he is all that wrong)  He didn't like that we talk about prophets. So we showed him (in his own bible, cuz he said that our bible is different, even though it's not). We had to buy a big triple combination cuz he couldn't read the Book of Mormon. Hopefully he doesn't get into the D&C too soon.  So we are also going to have to take our time with him and get him converted to the Book of Mormon.

We are also trying to find more youth and YSA to teach. Elder Andersen told the country to look for them because they are the future of Mexico. So we are trying. It's a little bit frustrating because they will always tell us yes but then they are never there for the appointment.  So hopefully we can have a bit more luck with all of that. Obedience to the Lord's representatives always pays off, even if not at first.

I have been trying to follow President Nelson's council to receive revelation more.  

"In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost. urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation,
Oh, there is so much more that your Father in Heaven wants you to know. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, “To those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is clear that the Father and the Son are giving away the secrets of the universe!”
Nothing opens the heavens quite like the combination of increased purity, exact obedience, earnest seeking, daily feasting on the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon, and regular time committed to temple and family history work.
And I have found that it is very true when he said, "To be sure, there may be time when you feel as though the heavens are closed. But promise that as you continue to be obedient, expressing gratitude for every blessing the Lord gives you, and as you patiently honor the Lord’s timetable, you will be given the knowledge and understanding you seek. Every blessing the Lord has for you—even miracles—will followThat is what personal revelation will do for you. 

My beloved brothers and sisters, plead with you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation. Let this Eater Sunday be defining moment in your life. Choose to do the spiritual work required to enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost and hear the voice of the Spirit more frequently and morclearly."

There are without doubt those moments, even in the Lord's work.  It will always hurt to go beyond our capacities because that is when we will realize that we are missing so much of our own power.

I finish with one more thought.  Yesterday in the conference Elder Roman (70 area authority) quoted a conversation of Elder Andersen and Elder Oaks several years ago. He said that Elder Andersen was serving in the Area presidency of Brasil and Elder Oaks (member of the 12) came to visit. Elder Andersen commented that in Brasil there are the same number of members as in Mexico, but that Mexico had 15 temples and Brasil only had 2. And he didn't think that that was fair.  And Elder Oaks made a very interesting comment, that filled the room with the spirit when it was shared. He said, "Temples are not distributed based on the number of members, but on the number of spirits prepared to receive their ordinances"  You are blessed with a temple at 3 miles from home, there are prepared spirits in our family tree that need YOUR help.  That is why the temple is there.

  It is sufficient to know, in this case, that the earth will be smitten with curse unless there is welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the childrenupon some subject or other—and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead. For we without them cannot be madperfect; neither can they without us be made perfect. Neither can they nor we be made perfect without those who have died in the gospel also; for it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fullness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations [through baptisms for the dead] Doctrine and Covenants 128:18

Please fulfill that sacred duty.  And if you can send me a name or two then I will do them here.

I love you and hope you all have a great week.  Please fulfill your responsibilities.
Elder Brady Allred