Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 7 Letter


Well, looks like I've got another six weeks in Geneseo! Which really
probably translates to another twelve weeks in Geneseo. Elder Holt is
staying here, too, so nothing too exciting to report as far as
transfers go.

Anyways, how about General Conference, eh!? I'm gonna miss watching it
as a missionary, that's for sure. Haha I'll give my mini analysis of
it all, I suppose, since that was probably the most eventful part of
our week.

In all honesty, the first few sessions almost seemed based around
answering questions from random infighting within the church. I was
reminded of a quote from Brigham Young where he said that if the
saints would ever stop living beneath their privileges, we'd be blown
away by what the Lord is willing to reveal to us. I felt like
Saturday, instead of having things revealed to us, we more or less
were chastened for not living up to our privileges.

But then came priesthood session! That was fun. Haha I was highly
confused for a second because President Uchtdorf, when going through
the program, said the second counselor in the Young WOMEN's presidency
was going to speak. I wondered if the Church was kind of giving a nod
to Ordain Women or something. And then Elder Oaks came up! Haha it
made much more sense when a counselor in the Young Men's came to
speak. But still. Elder Oaks talk was great, President Uchtdorf's was
great (of course), and I loved President Eyring's. Eyring's talk sent
me to all sorts of Young Men's leader flashbacks.

Really, though, my favorite session has got to be Sunday Afternoon. To
make it all the better, that was the only one we had an investigator
at! Well really, he had us. We went to Dan's to watch it with him, and
I couldn't have asked for a better session for him, first we have
President Packer basically just testify of what the gospel has meant
to him, personally. I was reminded of a few quotes from the Middle
Aged Mormon Man blog: "If Samuel the Lamanite were still alive today,
he'd want to be like a President Packer when he grew up." And "I bet
Satan has a dartboard in his game room with President Packer's face on
it." And his testimony at the end! Ooof! "I know the Lord. I am His
witness." Then later, "I bear my certain witness... with absolute
certainty." Elder Holt and I decided that President Monson might be
the most Christlike individual on Earth, but President Packer is the
biggest warrior for Christ.

Anyways, then in that session, we got the greatest lesson of all time
from Elder Corbridge. It's been hard with Dan, since he is a pastor,
to REALLY teach what makes us different. We can talk about doctrines
and principles, but it's not like we've had full-on lessons. Luckily
Elder Corbridge took care of that for us! Really though, that was a
sweet talk.

And, almost definitely my favorite talk of all, Elder Christofferson
sealed the deal! Just straight up Jesus to reassure Dan that we don't
just talk about obedience and Joseph. It was perfect! I need to go
back and really study Elder Christofferson's talk, though. There
weren't enough easy one liners for me to just have a refined copy of
it now in my notes like I can do for Uchtdorf. But it was sooooo good.

I realized afterwards, though, that I need to do some repenting! I
have the worst tendency to watch Conference and say in my head, "Oh
man!! I hope such-and-such person heard that!" or "Whoa, I wonder how
this group felt about THAT ONE!" "Yeah, Elder ______!! That's just how
I always explain it!" It's like I used conference for confirmation
instead of exhortation. Maybe exhortation for others, but certainly
not for me! I just got done reading the Samuel the Lamanite chapters
of Helaman as well as a really in depth analysis of it. Samuel really
emphasizes in it that sin is when we don't recognize that our actions
today are largely a result of our choices in the past, and therefore
are going to affect our future. But then he goes on to condemn the
Nephites for only accepting as true prophets those who are saying
things that are comfortable to them, and rejecting all others as false
prophets. As I was thinking about all of this, I decided that I really
need to work on my one-on-one relationship with God. A mission has
done wonders for me in seeing the gospel work in the lives of all
those who will just try it out, and I've seen it. I've spent a lot of
time trying to solidify my testimony of the Restoration, and that is
definitely coming along. But this conference, I realized that in the
process of all this, I've slacked in the real relationship that gives
any of this stuff meaning to me personally. The Restoration is just
hollow history without a familiar relationship of Him whose gospel was
restored. As such, here are some of my goals based and the talk that
prompted them:

-More personal of prayers. (President Eyring, Priesthood Session)
-More openly expressed gratitude to the Lord. (President Uchtdorf,
Sunday morning)
-More faithful reliance on God in my trials. (Elder Bednar, Sunday morning)
-Apply the gospel to my life more directly and personally. (President
Packer, Sunday afternoon)
-A more comprehensive understanding of the Savior's life and the
implications of it. (Elder Christofferson, Sunday afternoon)

All in all, good stuff!! Dan seemed to enjoy it, too, which was great!

Well... I guess most of you probably watched General Conference
anyways, so this might just be really boring. I guess I should talk a
little about New York since most of you AREN'T here.

Wednesday we were able to see Jenn again! Unfortunately, she didn't
read every day like she'd planned on, but was able to read twice that
week. It's definitely progress... but I'd really like to see her just
get a big adrenaline rush one of these days! I think it was Joseph
Smith who said it would be impossible for us to develop enough faith
to be saved if we weren't keeping commandments. Well, I have seen that
as a missionary, big time! If people won't read the Book of Mormon or
go to church, nothing you say is going to sink deep enough into their
heart to really push them to change. This week Jenn committed to
reading at least four times AND watching President Monson's Sunday
morning talk. Hopefully she follows through on that. She has sooooo
much potential and is in the perfect spot to really seize onto the
gospel, she just needs to act!

Really, doors might be opening for Dan, too! A week and a half ago, he
mentioned that he would like to come to one of our services sometime.
Well, now it looks like he's going to be resigning from his ministry
position, and is leaning towards not even attending the church he is
currently pastoring at. Maybe he'll feel at home at our church :)

We also had a remarkably successful thirty minutes of tracting on
Wednesday. Literally thirty minutes and we wound up with two follow up
appointments! Haha it was pretty cool. Unfortunately, then we tracted
Saturday on a street that had probably forty doors and fifty cars
parked outside. People HAD to be home. But, after all those doors, we
only even had human interaction five times. It was rough haha. But oh
well, at least we had Wednesday success!

Well, next time you hear from me, I'll be a changed man! We already
have the bar lined up for me to get wasted on Tuesday! Kidding of
course... but if anyone wanted to mail me my White Owl burger.... I
wouldn't complain.

I love you! But I don't miss you!
Elder Allen

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