Wednesday, May 7, 2014

April 28 Letter

There are some weeks where I am stoked to write an email because of
all the super exciting things going on out here. Buuuut, this week was
slow. So hopefully I don't bore you out of your mind with this
email.hopefully I can also find something to write about haha.

I guess I'll start with a story that is legitimately cool, even though
it is from a full week ago. But I don't know if you all remember
Michael. He is the guy the Sisters in Buffalo were teaching and who
was doing really well until he came across some anti Mormon stuff
online. Since then I've been working with him via text and email, and
it's definitely had it's ups and downs. But about two months ago, he
wrote Elder Bednar (yes, THE Elder Bednar) asking for advice on how to
deal with doubts and how to strengthen faith. Well, he wasn't sure
what to expect, but after waiting quite some time, he got a response
last week! And it was a legitimate response, not just some random form
letter from a secretary! Haha the letter was cool enough, but then at
the end, it essentially said, "Please keep in contact and let me know
how your progress is coming and if I can help with anything. Also, if
you are ever in Salt Lake City again, please call my secretary at
XXX-XXX-XXXX and set up a visit with me." Soooo cool!

It was also particularly interesting, because he had previously
written Sandra Tanner of the Utah Lighthouse Ministry (a professional
anti-Mormon organization) asking a question. Her response was a list
of edits in different editions of the Book of Mormon that "prove" it
false. In comparison, Elder Bednar's advice was the normal read the
Book of Mormon and pray about it, plus he added in some topics like
the Atonement, the Fall, agency, and a few others to study.
Essentially, our dear Sister Tanner said, "Here's a list of things
that prove the Book of Mormon false. Trust me." Elder Bednar, though,
said, "You can know for yourself that the Book of Mormon is true.
Trust God." Which is more enticing??

Buuuut, now for the rest of the week... Most everyone didn't meet with
us this week. In our weekly planning, we set new limits of where each
person has to be by the end of the transfer if we are to keep
dedicating time to them for now. We just structure our whole days
around people who then bail or just don't reply or something. So we
end up meeting with them once every four or five weeks, by which time
they have forgotten what we talked about, what they committed to do,
and most importantly, how they felt when we taught them last. We'll
see if that leaves us with hardly any investigators by the end of
three weeks haha.

We were able to meet with Vinnie and actually had a decent chat with
him. We talked all about obedience and how we often have to go against
our better judgements, trusting the Holy Ghost and acting in faith in
order to really receive all that Heavenly Father has in store for us.
He's been reading and enjoying the Book of Mormon, and is doing quite
well. Unfortunately, where we might be dropping everyone in three
weeks, he is moving in four weeks... Hopefully we'll get him nice and
primed for the missionaries down in Pennsylvania.

The other highlight only kinda applies to me. Well, it applies to me
for this week, but nor much past that. Anyways, a few weeks ago, our
stake president called us to let us know there was a guy named Brendan
who was going to be getting out of jail soon. So, this guy has been in
jail for 14 years... and is 28 years old. But early on, he started
meeting with missionaries and got a full testimony. For a while he was
allowed to leave jail on Sunday and go to church, and did so weekly.
Even though that privilege was eventually taken away, he has read the
Book of Mormon more times than he can count, has The Testaments as his
favorite movie, and used to hand out Book of Mormons to any inmate who
looked like they were going through a rough time. Starting ten years
ago or so, he and our stake president have really buddied up. Well, he
finally got out last Friday! Since then, I've been to his place twice
and he came to church on Sunday. He lives in the other elders' area,
so we won't work directly with him too much, unfortunately, but we've
been helping him get on his feet a bit. We bought him some clothes,
helped arrange regular rides to church, and so on. He's doing
remarkably well for a guy who has spent half of his life in jail! We
gave him a suit that had been left in the apartment by another elder
and he looked sharp on Sunday! Haha and he has a baptismal date!
August 30, 2015! Haha dang parole... Oh well. He's still awesome.

Buuuut, that's probably about it of good stories to tell!

I love you, but I don't miss you!
Elder Allen

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