Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Week 5- Mexico City CCM

hi guys. so another week down in the CCM of Mexico City and it was another great one. I´d just like to start off by telling everyone that your prayers for me have been answered and i stumbled upon a quarter of a 3 liter coca cola that was stranded and with no home in the cafeteria behind closed doors. so i took it asked one of the lunch ladies and she was like yeah you better hurry and take it before somebody else does! haha so i snatched real quick and me and my district had a photo shoot with it before i decided to drink it all. it was the best flat coke ive ever had. haha im just kidding prayers have been answered in a million ways and im going to get all the coke i want in a week anyway.
my flight is at 11:55 pm next monday night and i arrive in santiago chile at 10:25 am and then i assume i will take a bus to viña del mar from there. im getting extremely pumped for it! but first ive got 2 days straight hearing our prophet and his apostles talk! ive never been so excited in my life to listen to general conference. if a 1 hour devotional twice a week is great i cant even imagine how nice it will be for 8 hours of conf. and another 1 and a half for priesthood. yeah i cant wait. 

the best pre cursor i could have had for it was 2 days ago. last sunday was either one of, if not the most spiritual days of my entire life. i so wish that mtc devotionals could be heard by everyone because elder bednar gave a talk at the provo mtc a couple years back on christmas day that is the best and most overwhelming thing i have ever heard in my life. it seriously blew my mind after it was over i just wanted to sit there for an hour or so and think about life. that day i had been fasting and sacrament meeting/priesthood were phenomenal, and the joseph smith movie later that night after bednars talk was almost too much for me to handle. it was amazing. bednar helped me to see that as you search through the scriptures, more particularly the new testament, look for characters of christ and try to understand why the atonement was only possible through him. when we turn inwards during our pain, christ turned outward. while on the cross our savior was comforting the murderer and thief on his left and right. at his weakest point, after being beaten, mocked, and tortured he asked heavenly father to forgive those who had done these things to him. this is just one example of so many in his life. i know that christ lived, these are not just made up stories. these are records of disciples of the lord to remind us that he is always there with an outstretched hand waiting for us to come back even if we have turned our backs on him. ive really come to realize recently that the general authorities are called of god and what they speak is pure doctrine. remember to go into general conference this weekend with questions in mind and then take notes and i know that those questions will be answered. 
i forgot to mention that ballard spoke at the provo mtc last tuesday and we watched it live here too. it was so awesome it was just like a grandpa speaking to his grandkids. thats how he talked to us and pretty much just gave really good advice for 45 min. i loved it.
i figured i should stop putting my subject as not knowing anything but every week i realize that i still dont know anything. my testimony grows every single day and im constantly reminded of the love that our father in heaven has for every one of his children. i am more pumped than ever to try my best to convey that love the best i can for the people of chile starting next week! my testimony has never been stronger, and i see the lords hand helping me every day as i slowlly learn spanish as well. thank you all for your prayers, emails, and love. i love you all and i miss my home but i think im gonna go out on a limb here and say that the lord knows how to make my future better than my past if i move forward with faith. in fact i know that is the case for everyone. trust the lord, choose the right, and try to feel the spirit every day. i know this gospel is true. 

-Elder Allred: Chilean Street Raptor 
yeah i like that one better.

here´s some pics yo

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week Four- Mexico City CCM

why did it take me 18 years to figure out how blessed i was to grow up with what i had? that question has gone through my head a lot of times this week. im going to be short in describing my week and then i want to relay a story that has changed my life and hopefully changes somebody else´s too. i really just cant believe that i grew up in the home that i did, not only with the family that i was blessed with, cause you guys are great, but with a book that contains more truth than any other book in the history of mankind. i mean i though i knew stuff about the book of mormon before i left, and i didnt. ive have taken that book for granted for eighteen years and im just beginning to scratch the surface on the power that it contains! 
this week was awesome. it went by faster than any other week because i felt the spirit more than any other week. just when i thought the devotionals couldnt get any better they keep getting better!! elder scott (who i usually struggle to stay awake listening to) gave a talk on prayer at the provo mtc last week that was unbelievable. getting home and having the chance to communicate with my father in heaven every night really is something ive treasured these four weeks. its amazing the blessing he is waiting to grant us. 
my spanish is improving, my testimony is growing exponentially, and today when we got to go to the visitors center of the mexico city temple i wanted to scream because of the knowledge our church has of eternal families.
so my story is about this elder. his name is elder osborn and last saturday night elder frampton set up a private devotional for a few of our favorite districts to attend to hear this kids story. for the first few weeks here and had been asking him about some gnarly scars he has on his neck above his collar and he just kept telling me hed tell me soon enough. so here it is i probably missed a ton of details but here it goes. during easter break a couple years back when he was a soph. him and two of his buddies decided to go camping in cedar city where they lived. friday and saturday they hunted and had campfires and just enjoyed their time. saturday night his friends mom arrived at their little ranch. the next morning they had an easter egg hunt and then after his buddies wanted to go look for some more elk sheds. he was too tired so he took a nap while his friends headed out on dirtbikes. after a couple hours he couldnt sleep anymore and tried to call his friends to see where they were. no answer. so instead of waiting he hopped on a dirtbike and went up one of the two roads from the ranch house up into the mtns. he looked for 30 min couldnt find them so he went back and sat for a little, called them some more, still nothin. so he got bored again and this time hopped on a ranger (razr) and went down the other path which is more flat and full of sage. he took his gun and knife just in case he wanted to shoot some stuff.
after about 10 miles he decides he wants to see how fast the ranger can go. so he starts hauling and drifting around corners and then on one turn he drifts, looks back to see the cloud of dust, and when he turns back around hes not on the trail he had gone a little to far. so he tries to overcorrect his mistake... however there is a ditch and the ranger hits the ditch, he flies out of the ranger, and in turn the ranger starts following his course and ends up rolling until it lands on top of his pelvis completely covering the lower half of his body including his cell phone in his pocket. 1900 pounds of force pretty much crushed every bone he had in his legs. for about 3 minutes all he did was scream until he realized that he was so far out and nobody was going to hear him. he tried everything he could think of to get the ranger off of him, lifting it, putting rocks underneath, sliding out but nothing would work. then he started praying.. he begged and cried and suddenly realizes all the bad things he has done in his life and that he was not hanging out with the right crowds, or doing what he was supposed to be doing. he tells heavenly father that he will turn his life around and serve a mission if he would save him. he says hes never felt so disappointed and devastated in his life! his phone is vibrating but he cant reach it. he looks into the ranger and all hes got is a knife, gun, gatorade, and fluid to fix a flat tire. he cant reach the gun, but the pain is so great that suddenly his prayers turn to asking heavenly father to take him home.
so out of desperation and no other options, not suicidal reasons, he takes the knife and tells his father in heaven hes coming home. after carving notes to his family in the side of the ranger he slits his hand to see how sharp the knife is and then proceeds to stab the left side of his chest 15 times. then he reaches up and slits his throat. as he is bleeding he puts his hood on and lays down and tries to go unconscious, but he cant. then he hears a dirtbike pulling up and looks up to see his friends having a panic attack over his condition. after unsuccessfully trying to lift the beast off of him his friend, who is a non member, kneels down and begins to cry out to god. then he stands up, and proceeds to lift the ranger off of elder osborn and onto all four wheels. hops back on the dirtbike and rushes back to get his other friends and a truck. they load him into the back because they were in place that an ambulance would not be able to get to and start back on the road. they call his mom who calls the ambulance and they meet the ambulance halfway to the cedar city. once he is in the ambulance they call life flight. they insert a bag into his neck so that blood does not drain into his lungs. then the life flight takes him and they arrive at utah valley hospital. before he went in to surgery his friends two uncles gave him a priesthood blessing. after that they put him on morphine and the rest of the story is from his family. his family arrived and could not watch the procedure that lasted two and a half hours. doctors were breathing for him and he had a cpk blood count of 310 k. the highest cpk count the hospital had ever worked on AND saved the person was under 200. over 700 stitches and numerous procedures later the doctor came out and told his dad that the wounds had been self inflicted. as his dad began to yell at the doctor and tell him that he was a liar the doctor had to calm him down and tell him that if he had not cut his neck open the way that he had he wouldve have suffocated. however the cut should have also killed him. the incision nonetheless was guided and there is no way his son could have done it on his own. the cut missed his voice box by 3 cm and was undoubtedly guided. he shouldve died 12 different times that night, but he didnt.
overnight his legs swelled up so much that he gained over 100 pounds and the doctors told him he would be paralyzed. 1 month later he left the hospital in a wheelchair. 2 months after that he started walking. 2 months after that he played for his high schools football team, and the next spring he was an allstate goalie for cedar high (i had to squeeze that information from him). ive never felt the spirit so strong in my entire life than when he testified that during the toughest moments of our lives we arent walking ourselves through, christ is there every step of the way to help us along. this elder is a walking miracle. 
i hope i did this story justice because it is something that ill never forget in my entire life. sometimes we dont see miracles because we dont go where miracles happen!! i realized this week that i have got a lot of work to do before my faith is where it needs to be. ive never loved this gospel so much or appreciated it so much in my entire life than at this moment. i cant believe i have taken it for granted the way that i have. it ashames me that im just now figuring that out and probably wont even understand the power of it over the next 23 months. i love you guys i hope youre doing well, i try my best to pray for each of you individually. have a good week.

-chilean coast cruiser (what hyrum has one why cant i?)

here´s some pics at the temple, a pic with elder osborn, and a modeling shot of me and my comp in the forbidden forest. ill have to do two emails with all the pics.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Week Three- Mexico CCM

so i want to tell a funny story that happened the third day that i was in the mtc. me and my companions were walking back from class to our house and these two elders stop us and theyre like how long have you guys been here? so we told them and they were like here´s how it goes- the first few days you´re scared and dont know whats happening then week by week you gain confidence until you think you know what youre doing then you hit week 3 and BOOM (he throws his pen on the ground) YOU DONT KNOW ANYTHING! and they just walked off haha and we kept walking while laughing and i just fell on the ground because i was laughing so hard. tears were streaming down my face!

some of you are thinking that im going to be like well i elder allred am living proof that this is false! however its the opposite! I DONT KNOW ANYTHING! haha i started asking some more questions to my teachers this week thinking that i was ready to sort of move past the point im at in spanish and we got into some tough difficult topics and i realized that im not even close to where i need to be! its not that its even that sad or depressing it just goes to show that learning a language is not easy and is going to take time and work and prayer and lots of other stuff. like i said before patience and diligence with the language is key, but is not what im focused on in the ccm. 

yesterday was mexican indepence day and they know how to party. the fireworks and music quite literally did not stop all night. it was a legendary day though because we watched latinos dance in the auditorium for like 2 hours and then something happened that i never believed would.... the entire ccm sang the national hymn of mexico beautifully AND in unison which makes me take back my words from last week! singing the national hymn every day did help us get better and there was hope all along. but the great part is that all day me and elder frampton were planning to get on top of the roof when we got back that night and watch the fireworks for a little with our comps. little did we know that 45 people from casas all over the ccm would see us and want to join haha!! there was honestly at least forty people on top of the roof of the house and we had a roof off it was crazy. get it? roof off? its from pitch perfect when they have a riff off. gosh you guys never get any of my jokes. one kid jumped up with a bottle of martinellis and shook it up and then popped the cap off haha it was classic! funny guys here in the ccm.

in other news just when i thought that the devotionals could not get any better or spiritual i had three this week that blew me away!!! like seriously every single one of them life changing. ill never forget some of the things that were said!! last tuesday after i emailed we watched a video of elder holland in january of 2013 addressing the provo mtc and man the guy is just a spiritual stallion. ive heard quotes from it but never heard the full thing... his main message was that if i only convert one person on my mission it better be myself!! im hoping that comes along with these next 24 months.. actually i know it will! then on sunday afternoon the first counselor in the MTC presidency and former general authority Octaviano tenorio spoke about eternal families, marriage, and salvation. which youd think would be an awkward topic to address to 1000 elders and sisters who are not even supposed to think about that for two years, yet he was so masterful in putting an eternal perspective into everybody´s minds and explaining the importance of temple marriage it was incredible!!! i would recommend everybody to watch his 8 min and 16 second talk in general conference of 2007!! it is wonderful. such a good guy! then sunday night we heard from elder cates who is about 34 years old, went to timpanogos and orem high, and is now the director of the mexico ccm!! he talked about forgetting our homes, friends, and everything we´ve left and trusting that the lord will make our future better than what we had! i 100% believe this and have already seen small signs of it in the short amount of time that i have been here! remember lot´s wife. second shortest scripture in the bible yet it contains lots of meaning Luke 17:32

im super excited for the devotional tonight! tuesdays are just so great. i get to email, play cage soccer for 2 hours, take a power nap, eat costco pizza for dinner, and listen to a devotional in the night. my time here is going by so fast and hearing from everybody and their experiences out in the field is getting me really excited to get out and start teaching real people! i love teaching my teachers everyday as fake investigators and all, and im learn something new in every single one, but needless to say im getting anxious to get out of this place and head to the vineyard of the sea (viña del mar). 

the spirit is awesome, the scriptures are filled with truth, and prayer has and always will be the simplest, yet most underutilized tool to communicate with our father in heaven for guidance in our lives. i have a testimony that God wants to hear from us and is waiting to grant us blessings, and as is the case with a lot of things in life ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS ASK. my grandpa that i never knew once said you can accomplish anything if you have a phone and know the right people to call. well the first person you should call should be your heavenly father. 
i love the gospel and every single one of you my friends, family, and whoever else receives these emails. i believe ive thought about every single person that has come into my life at least once in these three weeks. sometimes youre mind wanders, its hard to control, but im working on it :)

write me if you get a second of time to spare. anything is very much appreciated.

-Elder Allred

here´s some pics including the rooftop party, cage soccer court, and the boys from our district!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Week 2- Mexico CCM

well what a great week it was here in bomb shelter of Mexico City. they keep trying to teach us the mexican national anthem every morning and its just not working haha. its like 7 minutes long too! we have fun with it though.

ive been emailing elder frost and hunsaker trying to find out if smuggling coke into the mtc is posible and at this point im calling it quits. pray for me. im struggling. they said they tried everything.

what the heck is up with byu football these days am i right? usually thatd be a great first line for a stand up comedian yet somehow the second i leave on my mission theyve got a heisman candidate and are ranked? not cool. i hope they blow it versus houston this week. HAH im kidding gosh somebody tell ryan brooks and brett wimmer to calm down. if tom lee was listening to me right now hed be chastizing me for being a fair weather fan. lets all remember that that title belongs to the lone wolf and the lone wolf only. steve allred everyone. remember when he wore red when we played utah? that was great,keep up the hard work dad. 

Elder Warner left to chile yesterday. it was always really nice having one of my bestfriends literally across the hallway from me. he was in my zone so we got to be around each other quite a bit. im gonna miss him but im excited to hear how he does in Osorno. we did get a few pics including one with elder goodman when he arrived last week so ill attach those if ryan sends them to me!
on sunday night we had a devotional where elder lester johnson, an area seventy, gave a talk on repentance and wow id have to say that it is one of those life changing lessons. repentance is a life long process. and so easy. yet so many times our pride holds us back from becoming somebody much more effective in the work of the lord and pretty much every other aspect of our lives! we have devotionals every sunday and tuesday so im excited for tonight it should be good. 
man p days are good. haha everybody lives for them! my district and i have now made our own rap, remake to tik tok, and assigned names to each day in correlation to how far away it is from p day. and we also freestyle about it every night while walking home to our casa. walking home at nine thirty at the end of each day and seeing all the favelas lit up around the CCM is never going to get old it is so cool. 

we finished up with our investigator and he committed to baptism (woohoo) and then figured out he was our new afternoon teacher! i love him and our morning teacher theyre both such studs and not only are we learning spanish from them but theyre learning english from us. its a mutual relationship. haha but really our morning teacher hermano hurtado is from mexico city and just got back from serving in hermosillo which is where hyrum is and our afternoon is hermano perez and he just got back from panama.

ive realized something important this week i think as i was studying really hard on my spanish. i read chapter four in preach my gospel talking about feeling the holy ghost more often and what types of feelings we should consider to be the spirit and i decided that the mtc is a great time to learn to recognize the spirtit and grow my tesimony. just like our teachers in the CCM teach us. learning the language is not our goal here, our goal is to learn to help our investigators in our native language and study with all weve got during our own personal time to learn the language. for a large chunk of the day nobody is monitoring us or making sure were working hard. during those times it is so easy to strike up a meaningless conversation with somebody about girls or your family or whatever and get side tracked during the time that you should be working on your purpose. self motivation is KEY to learning the language and coming closer to christ in the MTC. i followed something alex told me before i left and i decided that before i ever got here i was going to try to develop the attribute of diligence in my studies. and the blessings that ive seen are blowing my mind. my companion is struggling to speak the language, and im trying to help him and he does his best in the lessons but lots of the time i pretty much just have to be the one to talk. i taught the entire first lesson without notes, shared scriptures from memory, and answered multiple questions in spanish yesterday in our first lesson with our new investigator. the gift of tongues and the power of fasting is real my friends. i never wouldve been able to do that on my own! it got me pumped. 

i love all of you guys write me if you get the time. dear elder is great. here´s some pics. somebody show eli and tate i found giant lego hands in mexico. also the pics with me and ryan were blurry for some reason. hopefully he sends me his and ill forward them next week. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Week One, Mexico CCM

whoooo where to begin wow ive been at the mexico ccm for 6 days and it feels like its been a month. but thats not entirely a bad thing. just sort of. the first 3 days were a lot worse than the last two so hopefully that trend keeps up.

WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH YOU GUYS GOING TO YELLOWSTONE RIGHT WHEN I LEAVE? haha ive never been in my life and now as soon as im gone you pull a fast one on me?! haha im just kidding. has colin put on a few pounds? haaaaa im kidding col you look nice and skinny just as always my little candy cane.

mexico city is crazy. i thought i was going to die on the bus ride from the airport to the ccm. it is so stinking big and so jam packed together and so loud all the time. yes even at 2 am in the morning. i would know. too bad the temple is closed. ill still be able to go to the visitors center for one p day.

i did not get elder frampton as a companion as i had hoped and prayed for as we talked a lot on our flights here, and hes not even in my district so i dont see him very much. but i do have a solid companion. his name is elder wilcox and he just graduated from lehi. we get along really well and were legends in cage soccer so thats good enough for me. we pretty much laugh 100 percent of the time that were not studying or feeling the spirit. okay maybe we laugh a little too much. but yes we do believe we´re going insane because i think most the time its about stuff that is not funny at all. but man there are a lot of funny people here in the CCM!

our second day here elder wilcox and i had to teach our investigator, carlos. and it actually went a lot better than we thought! using broken spanish and the spirit it was a lot of fun. for the second lesson the next day we were feeling pretty confident and in the lesson we got a little bit of topic. i misunderstood a question our investigator had and elder wilcox cant really speak but he can understand a lot so i tried to answer and our lesson ended up being a trainwreck from there. its kind of funny to look back on now because we started talking about the fall of adam and carlos asked why he cant partake of the fruit of god? other than that being a weird question in the first place i thought that he said why is it against the commandments to eat fruit? so suddenly without knowing what he was really saying i dove in and explained to him that eating fruit was not bad but that drinking alcohol was (he´s a fake alcoholic) which needless to say we had not brought up yet. yikes. its all good though because yesterday we had a really good lesson with him. and it was awesome because we didnt even really teach a lesson we just answered questions and almost got him to commit to baptism hes thinking about it. fake investigators are fun. 

its still hard for me to think how much spanish ive learned in really only 4 days of hard study. the gift of tongues is really neat. super neat. ive learned more since ive gotten here than i wouldve in a month of high school spanish! (nothing against hank the tank. youre a phenomenal teacher. i was the one that sucked.) but yes the spirit helps you to learn way faster than you could on your own. and it doesnt hurt that thats the only thing on our minds all day long.

so back to the fact that im a legend. our district has the dream team of cage soccer. we dont lose its so legendary. and its only our first week. we have great things in store for us in the coming days during workout time. we might make the playoffs if we can keep our streak alive.

everywhere within these walls the spirit is really strong. its awesome, and at the end of the day when im mentally exhausted and pretty physically tired as well its hard to remember everything that we did. its a cool feeling and i cant even imagine what its going to be like once im actually teaching real investigators.

i really think the days are going to start to go by faster. i havent even looked at any of my pics because im so homesick and i get stomach cramps every day because the food is the same every meal. we study for ten hours a day and sometimes i just get frustrated and want to be speaking better. despite how hard it is im having a great time and more importantly im coming a lot closer to christ. this is where im suppposed to be and nothing is going to get in my way. 

sorry this is really long theres just so much happened. i could go on forever about the different personalites of the two elders in my room, in my casa, and in my district but that would take forever and i dont want to say anything mean in my first week. theyre a bunch of hoots.  but im out of time and elder frampton and i are going to play some cage soccer for p day now. legendary. love you all, church is true. 

P.s.: please use dear elder. i heard you can even send galletas via it. wink wink mom. also contrary to what the packet said i can receive packages. those liars. letters and packages. fun stuff ill love you if you send me one

P.S.P.S: the dragon eye knot is legendary. i taught everybody in my casa how to do it last night. thank you cole.

P.S.P.S.P.S: : they did have a dentist but other elders told me it was sketchy. so sunday night i filed my tooth with a small file till you couldnt see the chip anymore. it hurt. kinda made me feel like a thug too though so it was worth it.

Elder Allred