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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

More Photos!

This week was really good.  On Tuesday night we had a huge thunder storm that would have even made Dad wet his pants.  But we had no idea until our District Leader called at 3 am.  We were sound asleep and the phone barely even woke us up. I banged around getting to the phone and then Elder Sanchez asked if everything was alright.  I played head shoulders knees and toes to verify that I was still alive and my companion moaned so I said that we were just fine.  That's when he said that it was raining really hard in Panuco and that they were concerned for us.  That was when I realized that there really was a lot of lightning.  I had to move the curtain to see and so I hadn't realized until that moment.  Then the realization of how much rain was falling down.  And then I realized that the AC was off and all of the fans.  I have never seen so many lightning bolts at the same time.  It was about 3 or 4 per second but without mountains to echo all of the sound we almost didn't hear anything.  I should have taken a video but I was really tired and didn't think of that until I laid back down.  Then the next thought was that I should have brought my towel and socks in.  But I didn't want to get wet so I left them outside and took care of that in the morning.  Needless to say they were soaked.  Thank goodness that we only had a little bit of water come in the house.  Maybe a pint of water that leaked under the door.  Panuco didn't fare so well. There were trees tipped over and all of the power lines down until Thursday. Some of the Elders there had a good 5 or 6 inches of water in their house at 3 o´clock. So I guess that everything was good for us.

This week we also had a lot more success in finding new investigators.  We have been looking for inactive members and we have found people by contacting looking for those members.  The sad part is that when we do find the members they usually don't want anything to do with the church. The majority have gotten baptized in other churches and are some of the most loyal members of those churches.  I wish they would have stayed Mormons but they didn't.

We are staying here in Ebano 6 weeks more.  Hopefully we can keep having success in these days and weeks that come.  The mission (due to some extra hard work by some really handsome missionaries) doubled the number of baptisms in May and we are going up.  Hopefully we can double it again in June and we should have more than 100.  That is the goal for every Mexican mission nowadays.  And we are looking to be able to achieve it.  We are excited and we hope to contribute our 2 baptisms in these next few weeks. 

We have found a few families to teach this week.  Perla is back on the list and she came to church yesterday with her two children.  We are excited and we hope to be able to help her get married one of these weeks and then help her arrive to the baptismal font with her oldest son Paco.  Gabriela is also starting to learn and we had one of my best Restoration lessons with her due to a difficult but creative puzzle of a picture of Christ that we made that ended up relating to the Restoration even better than we thought.

The electricity keeps coming and going so it's kinda hard to write. In a few hours or minutes we probably wont have more electricity due to the storm that is coming so my letter is a little bit short.  We are enjoying what comes including the heat.  Hopefully we can keep up the good work and have another great transfer.

Thank you for all that you do. I'm glad to hear that you all finished another great school year and I'm happy to already have 9 months and to feel that I am finally starting to get the hang of things.

I love you.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Happy Birthday Mom, from me and about 10 others Mexicans.  They and I all hope that you had a very happy day and that as you start the 5th decade of life that you keep enjoying it.

This week was pretty good.  We worked a lot and still did not have many fruits to show.  Finally the members are starting to work since we told them about the baptismal goal that the mission president has set for 2 baptisms per area per month.  They are pretty excited and they are finally starting to work and to find references.  Hopefully in these weeks and months we will have a lot more success in finding people that want to learn more about the Gospel.

We do have two sisters in teaching right now.  Esmeralda and Perla.  They are both about 30 to 35 years old and they both have a family.  We are excited because they both are willing to learn more and are willing to read.

Perla just had a problem with her baby that didn't form right and now she's not pregnant any more :(  She had told us that she was going to stay catholic but when we told her about the plan of Salvation and shared some great scriptures from the Book of Mormon she said that we could come back.  Hopefully we can have some success in teaching her today and be able to help her come to church.  Her mom has a very catholic influence over her and her husband just wants her to stop stressing.

Esmeralda is an old investigator from about 4 years ago.  Her kids love listening to us and they loved learning about the plan of Salvation the other day when their mom was cleaning the house.  Hopefully they can convince her to come to church too.  She is really great.  She said that we would not be able to convince her to get baptized (sorry I use the word convince, that is not my goal) we said that that is alright but we just wanted to share the Restoration.  And then the spirit went to work and I think that she is softening up a little bit.  Hopefully she can find out that the Restoration is true and convince herself (with a lot of help from the spirit) that the church is true and that she should get baptized.

It's so weird that I can feel that something is so right and then sharing it with the people they can be so convinced of some thing that I know is not true at all.  Sometimes (almost always actually) they don't even let us give our testimony very well.  We try to teach a little bit and then we hope that they listen to the spirit and accept an appointment.

What we are trying to do right now is visit the members a whole lot more.  We are searching for inactives and visiting active members too. Trying to help them and hoping that someday they will give a reference to some lucky missionaries.

We are also trying to get permission to go to an Ejido called Ponciano Arriaga.  There are about 13 members there that are a part of Ebano.  They have references and hopefully we do get permission to go there one day this week and see how many new investigators we can find.

I can't really think of anything else that happened this week.  We are looking and looking for people and we don't find them.  We did get to go to Tampico again for that training and it was really good and inspired us to work harder and more with the members.  Supposedly if what President Ramirez said is true the next transfer my companion and I will stay here one transfer more to try to have the 2 baptisms in June and be able to accomplish the goal but I'll let you know next week.

Elder Brady Allred

Thursday, May 18, 2017

We did not get a letter this week because of the Mother's Day phone call that we had on Sunday.  We thought we would share a clip from our conversation where Brady started to bear his testimony.  He is doing fantastic and is loving his mission.  Sorry that the video and audio are a little out of sync, but here is a chance to see and hear Brady.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Hey, I hope that you all had a great week this week.

We had a very normal week.  We walked a lot and didn't find many people to teach.  We are now officially in the finding stage of the work, with very few people that we are teaching consistently.

Lolis did get baptized on Friday.  Third time is the charm again (that is the third baptism that had waited until the third try to go under, but it's better than the first baptism that we had to try about 15 times).  She was scared to start but the third time she said that she felt a calm and all of her fear went away and that that time was easier.  And then my companion confessed that he had to push really hard the last 3 or 4 inches to get her under the water.  But it all turned out well.  And yesterday she got confirmed.  So we are excited and hope that she can keep going on this path.

Sandra already gave birth to her baby the last Saturday.  The Mexican Hospitals are not very good for giving birth but now they are both healthy and recovering.  Something about only two meals in 2 and a half days for the mom and baby did cause some problems but they are doing alright now.

Abraham is really starting to change a lot and is starting to learn how to read.  He wants to change and his desire is overcoming all of the obstacles.  Besides convincing him to come to church.  We are working on that (see the next paragraph).  He has had to tell his siblings to leave him alone about the church, he is not going to the catholic church any more and he prays daily and is asking his neighbors to help him read (even though they always say no).

His problem with coming to church is that his neighbor Rosario is hurt.  She and her sister Susana fell into a burning field a few weeks ago. They are both members but both are less active.  Rosario burned 40% of her skin in second and third degree burns and her sister Susana pulled her out of the fire and put her out.  Susana only had a few first degree burns from ashes that fell on her. Rosario is now home from the hospital but is not 100% better.  She still bleeds in a few spots and everything is a mix of Purple, red, yellow and white. It's pretty ugly but her shoulders and head and hair didn't get burned at all. The problem for us is that Abraham always wants to be there helping her and doesn't want to leave her.  We are going to try hard this week so that he can come to church next week.

The only other person that we are really teaching and that want's to keep learning and changing is Saida.  She is really great and she accepts us really well.  She doesn't know much about religion but read the pamphlet we left and accepted to get baptized.  And ready for another Surprise. She is also pregnant.  2 weeks left.  We honestly thought that she was just kinda tall and fat (due to her very obese 10 year old son ) but no she's 9 months pregnant.  They are going to do a C-section so we are looking at a baptism in July.

Other than that nobody else really accepts us.  We are trying hard to find people but we put appointments and they are never there, or they don't like to commit to an appointment.  and they all live so far away from our house so it is really hard to give follow up.  But we are trying and hopefully we can start to find some more people to teach.  We are going to put into action our plan with our AA program.

This week we are going to have a Mission conference.  Elder Pïno from the area presidency is going to come on Thursday (or Friday, nobody every likes to commit to a date) and we are going to Tampico.  We are excited and hope to learn a lot.

5 de Mayo is pretty relaxed here.  My companion is from Puebla so they do celebrate for about a week there.  But in this side of Mexico nobody celebrates really.  Just a normal day.

I hope you all have a great week and keep doing the things that you should (I recommend going to the temple, I wish I had time for that)

And hopefully I get the package on Thursday (or Friday) when we go to Tampico. If not then probably next Friday when me and my companion go for a new missionary training.

Elder Allred

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

More photos!

I have to agree with everyone the time is going really fast but I also agree with mom that it is moving slow.  I don´t get how it can be both but we never have much time and Sunday always gets here way too fast and then suddenly it's May, but it feels like the time is going a bit slower.  I don't get it but I guess that's how life works.

We had a baptismal interview Saturday for Lolis (I had no idea but her real name is Dolores, but they call her Lolis.  She passed and this Friday we are going to have another baptism.  We are pretty excited.  She is really excited too and I think that she is really ready to get baptized.

The good news is that I shared an experience that helped her decide to get baptized.  She and her husband fight a lot.  It doesn't help that her husband lives in the US and she lives here and then they aren't actually married.  So they fight a lot.  And we were talking about how to help them  We pulled out the Family Proclamation and read the 7th (I think, it's the big one) paragraph.  When I got to the list of 9 things to have a happy successful family I realized that we have used all of them to overcome problems that we have faced as a family.  Forgiveness, repentance, prayer, activities (opening presents is a good activity) love, faith... and the others that I don't remember right now.  So I was told by the spirit that I had to share a story.  I almost cried, Lolis did cry and it helped her a lot to realize that she can overcome all of her problems.  And I'll be honest, it has changed her a lot.  She has a very new attitude to her spouse now and it seems that he is treating her better too.  I guess that all things happen for a reason even if it's just to help someone else that is passing through a similar trial later.

It was kinda cool a few weeks ago to see a scorpion and I couldn't help but take a picture.  BTW that was right in front of our house, but the owner sprays poison to keep them out so don't worry.  And if it does grab me it won't kill me.  Supposedly they are just like a bee sting here in Ebano.  So don't worry.

Another fun note, my fear of dogs is growing.  They always want to bite me.  My companion says that I just have really bad luck or that the dogs don't like gringos but I always put my companion between me and the dogs now.  The good news is that I now know that an umbrella is a really good way to scare dogs away.

We are walking plenty, sweating more.  We only made it to 48 degrees Celsius on Saturday, but we made it through the day.  Or for those of you that don´t speak Celsius we made it to 119 degrees.  And the good news is that I wasn't in Zone Valles where it did make it to 61 degrees, or 142 degrees Fahrenheit.  And it is only going to get hotter.  And if you don't believe me then I invite you to come and try it out.  The wind is hot, the sun is hot, the camel pack is hot, the shade is hot.  But we are blessed by the AC in our house.  You have to see it to believe it.  (BTW the thermometer you sent me won't be able to tell me the temperature in a few weeks, all I'll know is that it is HOT HOT HOT).

And I do use sunscreen and an umbrella because I don't want to die at such a young age.

I invite you to listen to President Monson's conference talk from October 1987 called "Missionary Memories" it's pretty good and laughed a bit. President Nelsons talk called "Self Mastery" is pretty good too, but I didn't write down which year it's from.

I know that the church is true.  I am here to help people find the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ more than preach his church or another Religion.  I am loving learning more through the study of the scriptures and I love seeing the fulfillment of my Patriarchal blessing when it talks about my mission.  I know that God loves us and that he has a perfect plan and the center is His perfect son.  I love you.
Elder Brady Allred