Favorite Scripture

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." (3 Nephi 5:13)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Week of Parties

Well it’s crazy to think that Christmas came and is now gone, only one more to go! haha Anyway well this past week wasn't really very exciting.

Tuesday we had our Missionary Christmas party which was pretty great. It’s so awesome getting together with all the other missionaries in our mission.  We also had our Branch Christmas party which was pretty interesting. The youth did an interesting dance thing and then everyone danced together. At the end we got fed so much food it was awesome!

Christmas was really weird here. It just didn't feel the same without the cold and family, but it was still good getting to talk to everyone.

The rest of this week went by pretty slow because we are still having problems filling up our days because people are still working like crazy so that they can have great parties for New Year’s!

On Saturday we went to an activity at the beach and that was awesome. I took some sweet pictures of me haha!

Sunday I taught the lesson for the young women and it went pretty well. That was a nice change because the same people teach the each lesson each week so it was nice.

All and all it was a pretty easy week not much new. I hope you have a great week I love you!

Avec amour,

Elder Joseph D. Allred II

Monday, December 23, 2013

Busy Time of Year

Wow another week has come and gone can you believe it!  Well this week really wasn't super exciting!

So this week I learned something new about Africa and that is: when Christmas time/New Years comes people become really busy working so that they can have a really nice party for their friends and family, so therefore they become very busy and don't want to talk to the missionaries.  So that sentence basically describes my past week.  Everyday our appointments didn't go through because people were working and didn't have time to talk with us.

To top it off I got a little sick this week so we hardly did anything this week.

Things in my area are interesting right now, we don't have a lot of investigators but we are starting to meet new people so I hope they will come through.

Well there is some interesting news for this week and that's Elder Gnenenon is being transferred!  He is becoming a zone leader and I will be working with someone from Madagascar....I don't know how to spell his name but I'll let you know next week!

Other than that things are pretty normal. I'm excited about Christmas and getting to talk to you!  Ok well have a great week!  I love you!

All my love,

Elder Joseph D. Allred II
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Friday, December 20, 2013

I Know This is the Work of God on the Earth!

Well another week has come and gone and here we are again!  This week went by super fast which is always a good thing!

This week we had 2 baptisms!  Salomé and Rebecca!  Salomé is a mother of 4 kids and is divorced so she has seen her fair share of difficulties in her life. Since the first time I taught her I could always feel something special about her.  The best thing about Salomé is here love for Jesus Christ.  She loves him so much and she wants to do all she can to follow his commandments!  Every time we taught her the spirit was so strong.  Rebecca likes primary a lot but I think that's because her cousins are there but she wanted to be baptized too.  All and all it was a pretty special day for her and her daughter it was great.

Also on Saturday I got to say goodbye to two of my good friends Elder Poll and Layton they finished there missions and went home! I can't believe how fast the time is going!  I'm thankful for the people that Heavenly Father has prepared. I know this is the work of God on the earth!

I love you and miss you!  Have a great week!

All my love,

Elder Joseph D. Allred II

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Finding People to Teach

Well another week has come and gone.  This past week went by pretty fast but not really much happened.

So life in the new area has been pretty good for the most part but now we are starting to have a little problem.  As the time goes on myself and Gnenenon have noticed that we don't have a whole lot of people to teach, so now the oh so familiar feeling of needing to find new people is back.  The problem with our
area is there are a lot of Muslims on one half of it so we stay away from that area but we are going to start so pray for us. We need as much help as we can to find the people who Heavenly Father has prepared for us. I have faith that we will but it will take a little bit of work.

Myself and Gnenenon have a good teaching style. I really can feel the spirit when we teach. It's pretty awesome.  We have a baptism this week so I'm excited about that. It should be a good week.

Today we went to a party and it was awesome.  The missionaries who are going home bought a pig and we cooked it up. It was awesome and I got to see a lot of friends so it was pretty awesome!

Well I hope you have a good week. I love you and miss you!

All my love,

Elder Joseph D. Allred II

Sunday, December 1, 2013

New Area

Well another week has come and gone.  This past week went by super fast. It was a pretty busy one.  All week I was preparing for my transfer.  One member that I only knew for a little over a month made me a huge dinner for leaving. It was awesome!  One of my investigators bought me a six pack of coke so that was nice.  Thursday I said goodbye to my second area without much difficultly.

I arrived in my new area and I was pretty tired but we went straight to work.  I found out that most of the converts live in my area and they are all active. On my second day in the sector we had a meeting at the church and I found out that the church is an hour away from our apartment so that was a nice walk.

Saturday we had a baptism. When we arrived there was a funeral going on and it turned out that it was somebody who I knew from my first area.  It was pretty sad. He had gotten sick with an infection but they couldn't help him because of the health care here. He had been suffering for a while.  I don’t know what it is about funerals but I always seem to feel the spirit a little better than usual.  I felt that he was a lot happier and in a way better place.

Our baptism went well but he didn't come to church on Sunday so I'm not really sure about that.  All and all the first week was good.  I love you and miss you!

All my love,

Elder Joseph D. Allred II

From Sister Semken:
"Elder Allred was in the bureau renewing his Visa today.  Since it is Thanksgiving I thought it would be fun to take these Elders picture and send it to all the Mothers.  We really enjoy Elder Allred he is the best missionary."
Elders: Gray, Allred, Montross, Hawkins, Mary, Sister Semken,
Kimzey, Ravelojoana, Ouonnebo and in the back Elder Ta

Transferred...Again

Hellllloooo!

Well today I have something interesting to say..."Elder Allred thank you for your service given in Menontin.  You are transferred to Avitro and will be working with Elder Gnenenon."

Well there’s the big news from this week, I’m getting transferred!  Avitro is a sector still in Benin but it’s on the other side of Cotonou.  Elder Gnenenon is from the Ivory Coast, so he is my first companion from there and he is also my first only French speaking companion since I was with Elder Boto.

Elder Ne-Kindinga asked me if I was sad to be leaving Menontin and I am a little bit but I was only here for 6 weeks so I’m sad to be leaving but at the same time no.  I feel like I left this area better than I came to it in.  I learned so much about myself while I was here and what kind of missionary I want to be for the rest of my mission.

The other exciting thing from this week was Elder Méjean got transferred to Menontin also but I’ll only get to live with him for 1 week.

Other than that there hasn’t been much of anything else that was to exciting.  We had a good week.  Things are good. I miss you and love you!

Avec amour,

Elder Joseph D. Allred II

PS:  I forgot to write this last week but my apartment won the cleanest apartment again so I got a free lunch. It was awesome!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Happy Birthday

Well my crazy week has come to an end and I'm glad its over!  I'm very glad about receiving the news that the Red Sox are World Series Champions and I'm not there to see it...and it happened very close to my birthday, so I'm just going to guess that was my gift from Heavenly Father :)

Ok, so where to begin from the last week... on Tuesday we had our zone meeting, which is the meeting with everyone from our zone. We learned about how to make sure an investigator is ready for baptism. It was a really great lesson. Thursday we had a zone conference, it was pretty great. We talked about a lot of different things but I enjoyed how Sister Weed talked about honesty in all things.

Filling the font for their baptism
Saturday we had a baptism.  So in Benin, Cotonou the church has a few different church buildings, but only 2 have baptismal fonts. One is located very close to my area the other is about 30 - 45 minutes away, so to our luck the one that is closest had no baptisms, so we took a taxi out to the other building and they had no water there so we had to fill the baptismal font with well water.  After 2 hours we got the font full enough to baptize the people. we baptized them and then returned to our area.

Sunday we had a party at Mémés house for me, that was really sweet.  All and all crazy week but it was a good week.

So back to the baptism for a little bit, we baptized a girl named Gaelle. She had been struggling to figure out what she should do because her dad is a pastor for another church that she was baptized into as a baby, and her mother also attends another church, but finally she decided to make her own decision in life and do what she thought was best and she was baptized.  It was amazing. I was so happy for her.  I'll try to send pictures but I'm having difficulties with that.


Well that's pretty much it for this week. I hope all is well. I love and miss you so much!

Avec amour,

Elder Joseph D. Allred II

Wren - a member of the Cocodji branch
"She had the cutest little smile"

Birthday party at Mémé's
Ganvié

Monday, October 28, 2013

Life in the New Area

Well two weeks has come and gone and here we are again.  Well a lot has happened these past few weeks so I guess I’ll start from the beginning.  There wasn't really anything exciting that happened the
first few days.

On Sunday we had the District conference of Benin Cotonou.  It was pretty awesome seeing all the members from around Benin and a lot of old friends from my first area.  We also had a member of the seventy there, Elder Vincent.  It was awesome.  I couldn't hear much of his talk because I sat in the very back but what I did hear was good.  Sunday afternoon we had an appointment with a new investigator. We got to his house and it turned out that it was a church... the appointment started out really well and then the guy’s pastor came and got in and after that it ended with a lot of yelling; them praying that Satan would leave us and they tried to "save" us. Lol… probably my most interesting appointment since I've been on the mission.

Last Monday we had a zone activity and we went to Ganvié.  Ganvié is a city that is built on top of the lake that is on the outside of Cotonou. It was pretty awesome. The city is pretty huge, something I thought was cool was they have people that sit on their boats and go around the city selling things. It’s awesome, and there were some kids on a boat that were on their way to school, I think the kids were maybe 8 years old and they were in a boat just chugging along. They also have a mosque built on the water that was pretty cool. All in all fun trip but I left my Oakleys at the city on the lake so ya oh well!

Finally the work in our area is really starting to improve, and it’s all because of an amazing member in our area.  She translates for all the people who can’t speak French. She is introducing us to her friends. Anything that you can do to help the missionaries she does. It is truly a blessing having her in our area to help us.  Most of our progressing investigators live on her street! We found a lot of new people this last week that seem like they will progress.  This new area is hard but I’m thankful for the opportunity.

I’m thankful for the help of your prayers. I love you and miss you. Have an amazing week!

All my love,

Elder Joseph D. Allred II

"Ganvié is a lake village in Benin, lying in Lake Nokoué, near Cotonou. With a population of around 20,000 people, it is probably the largest lake village in Africa and as such is very popular with tourists." (from Wikipedia)

Pictures from Google images:



Monday, October 14, 2013

1st Transfer

Hello from Menontin!! Well I'm sure you can imagine the craziness of my life the past few days.

After getting off the plane Monday of last week and getting my stuff I was met by President Weed. After that President and Sister Weed took me to my old apartment and President Weed told me that I was being transferred to Menontin. He said they would come and get me on Wednesday, so I went back to my old area to sleep there until Wednesday.

Tuesday I woke up, studied and packed almost all morning, I wasn't quiet finished but I had been packing for a little while so I decided to rest and then Elder Kent came running into our room and said the office missionaries are coming in 30 minutes to get you!  They got there in 10.  So after rushing to get everything else packed and ready to go I got in the truck and said goodbye to my first area after staying there for 6 1/2 months!

I arrived in my new sector and put my stuff down and went straight to work!  This area is one of the oldest in Benin. My MTC teacher taught people from this area but it’s good.  We don’t have a lot of progressing investigators so we are working on that. There are also a lot of inactive so we work a lot with them.

Things here are good. I’m adjusted back to Africa, feels like I never left!  It’s nice to be back in the swing of things.  I hope all is well!  I love and miss you so much!

Avec amour,

Elder Joseph D. Allred II

Monday, October 7, 2013

Home...

This week was an interesting one as Elder Allred came home for a few days. He had to testify in a trial and so the court ordered him home. We picked him up at the airport around 10:45 p.m. on Oct. 1 and the first thing I noticed is how skinny he was. He's lost 40 lbs. since he left but it looks good on him. We went and got something to eat because of course he was hungry. Afterwards we talked until around 3:30 a.m. The next afternoon we went through the temple with his sister as she got her endowments. She is getting married later this month. It was really good to have him here for that.  He brought home all of the souvenirs that he has bought so far so it was like Christmas. He grandpa came and stayed with us so Elder Allred would have a companion with him at all times. He testified on Oct. 4 and then left to spend a day with his dad. He flew back to Africa on Oct. 6 - his eighth month mark. He his supposed to be transferred as soon as he returns so we will know more next week. It was great to have him home but bittersweet at the same time knowing that we had to say goodbye again.



This represents the family unit



Nativity - my favorite


See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Where Did a Year Go?


Well I have no idea where the heck last week went but here we are again!  I'm sad to say that there wasn't really anything exciting this week.

So basically there was a major decision that Elder Kent and I made. No one in our sector is really progressing; more of people that just want to talk with us but not move forward, so slowly we are going to start letting them go and start finding new people.  So anyway wish us luck. Letting people go has always been the hardest thing for me to do on my mission, but its ok that is the mission.

Other than that things are pretty much the same. Things in the apartment are good, French is good, and things are good.

So just something interesting that I thought everyone should know is that one year ago yesterday (Sept. 22, 2012) was the day I went through the temple and opened my call that said I was coming to Benin.  CRAZY...lol. Where did one year go?  Anyway I hope all is well I love and miss you so much! Have a great week!

Avec amour,
Elder Joseph D. Allred II

Flashback to opening the call and going through the temple:




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Working Hard, Praying Hard

Well another week has come and gone and here we are again!  This week was pretty interesting but it was good.

Like I said last week I got a new companion!  Things with that are awesome!  It’s great living with another American but to be companions with one is even better!  It makes me happy.  It’s really weird walking around with another white guy for my companion. The kids surprisingly don’t yell at us as much as I thought they would. They still do, but that’s Benin for you.  That was one reason the week went by fast. It was just busy saying goodbye with the old companion and introducing the new one to everyone.  Things are good though, we only speak French when we are in the area but at the apartment we speak English and French kind of mixed. It’s going good.

The other news I know is that it’s for sure that in October that I’m being transferred so I’m working extra hard to show Elder Kent the sector.  So anyway Togo here I come...maybe. I think there is a good chance I’m staying in Benin so we will see!

The new task at hand is to find new people to teach, so I think we are going to be starting that this week. Other than that, things are pretty much the same, working hard, praying hard, all the same stuff.

I hope all is well!  I hope you have an awesome week!  I love and miss you!

Oh I've been forgetting to say the past couple weeks that I got that package from the young women and it was awesome! Our ward back home is the best! I love you!

Avec amour,
Elder Joseph D. Allred II

Ya, it's possible

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New Companion

Well another week has come and gone and the time continues to fly!  I have to be honest this week was actually pretty boring lol. There isn't much to report on! 

We were pretty busy this week with my visa work here in Benin so two days this week I was in a immigration place where they took my fingerprints. I had to sign some stuff and get my picture taken for the visa so that's one exciting thing I guess. I'm legal in Benin for another 3 months! woo! 

Ok so for the more exciting news there was a transfer this week, and.......ELDER BOTO is transferred!  I'm staying in Jericho for a little longer haha!  Elder Boto is being transferred to another area in Benin. Another missionary is finishing this week and Elder Boto is taking his place as a zone leader!  And I'm getting a new companion, his name is Elder Kent!  And he is from the United States! lol This was very surprising to me because, one he is white, two he is an American. It's a little crazy but I'm ok with it!  I'm pretty sure I'll be transferred in like two weeks but we will see. I think it's cool so I hope it stays the same for a little while.  

Well other than that things are the same lol. I'm loving life. I hope all is well. I love and miss you!  

Avec amour,

Elder Joseph D. Allred II 

Monday, September 2, 2013

This Has Changed Me...

Well another week has come and gone and the time continues to fly. This was a pretty quick week and a good one!

So for the big news of the week, we had two baptisms, Romi and Peligie!  I had the opportunity to baptize both people.  It was amazing.  At the service after they had been baptized they both decided to bear testimony on why they knew the church was true. It was amazing.  Je sais avec tout mon cœur que, L'Eglise De Jésus-Christ Des Saints Des Derniers Jours est vrai!  (I know with all my heart that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true!)

I have seen such an amazing change in these people. It strengthens my testimony of the church.  I'm so blessed for this opportunity to help people, the people of Africa are amazing.  This place has truly changed me for the better.  I would never choose to serve somewhere else!

Anyway that was the highlight of the week, I hope you like the prison photos on a happy day lol.

Today we had a soccer activity today because we have a lot of missionaries leaving in a week so it was kind of a goodbye activity!  I didn’t play to protect my knee.  I hung out with all the missionaries and talked. I like doing that more anyway haha.

So honestly that is really it for this week, things are good, oh there is a transfer this week so maybe big news next week!  Anyway have a great week, I love you and miss you so much!

Avec amour,
Elder Joseph D. Allred II

The famous Mémé!! My mother in Africa!

Pictures from this week's baptism: "I don't know about you but I think everyone except for me looks like they are in a prison photo!  No one in Africa likes to smile."
Peligie

Romi

Monday, August 26, 2013

Teaching and Finding...All That Good Stuff

Well another week as come and gone and here we are again!  It sounds like things are going pretty good there. Well things here are good!  The week went by really fast. We were busy with all sorts of things and teaching and finding, all that good stuff.

So the news for the week is Romi was not baptized on Friday. There were some things that he didn't understand completely but things are well again and we believe that his baptism will be soon.  In other news our other progressing investigator Peligie is supposed to be baptized this Saturday. I think she is truly ready. She was prepared by the Lord before we started teaching her so it’s been truly amazing working with her. She is a different person now, the members love her and things are good.

Saturday we had an activity for the young single adults here in Cotonou and it was really awesome. It was at a place called OBAMA BEACH lol! It was a really successful activity. They had a huge number of single adults come out. We had our inactive young single adult there so that was good. He was playing the games with the other people and participating in the activities.  It was a great activity.

This week we are pretty busy as well again haha so I think it’s going to be a quick week!  I hope all is well I love and miss you so much!

Avec amour,
Elder Joseph D. Allred II


Elder Allred and Elder Méjean (from France)
at Obama Beach

Pictures from Ouidah trip last week

Monday, August 19, 2013

AFRICA IS AWESOME!

Well like you said another week has come and here we are again!  So this week was good. It went by super fast.  I don’t know why haha!  So things are good.

Boto and I are still working to find new people to teach, that is going well.  We found a family but they didn't come to church yesterday so I don’t know about them!  As for our other investigators things are good.  This Saturday is the Saturday Romi chose for his baptism date. We need to work with him on some things but I think it will still go through.  Our other major investigator is doing good, progression is great!

Things are good.  I love this place so much, AFRICA IS AWESOME!  haha So today I went to Ouidah....again! haha It was cool this time because I understood a lot more than the first time and my hair looks awesome, not stupid from a bad haircut! :) Anyway so that is awesome.

Last Saturday we did the service project and it was great! We cleaned a huge field. Lots of news people from Benin were there. I took lots of pictures but I’m only gonna send a few!

So, to explain the scary ride from the zoo, it’s a manual ride that some random guy pushes and it’s really scary. haha If the weight limit isn't right it’s kind of dangerous but it was awesome haha!
Well I hope you have a great week. I love you and miss you!

Avec amour,
Elder Joseph D. Allred II

Elder Boto - his new companion

Another visit to Ouidah - he must really like the snakes!

The leaf in the pocket is voodoo for bring me money
and take away bad spirits. If you take it without asking
bad things will happen to you......I took it without asking.... :)


Service Project - August 17, 2013



At the zoo

Thursday, August 15, 2013

j'aime beaucoup français!!!

Well another week as come and gone and here we are again haha.  This week was a pretty normal week. There isn't really much to report on to be honest haha.  We were very busy with teaching people.

Last week I told you about the woman we found; she is progressing great!  She came to church yesterday and loved it!  She is starting to make friends at church.  She got invited to eat dinner with a member yesterday.  All and all things are going great with her.

I don’t know if I have talked about Romi before but he is one of our investigators who is progressing really well.  He read the whole Book of Mormon already and he’s starting it again so that he can understand it better. That’s really all the big news for the week.

Yesterday in church I gave a talk in French without any help...I’m really starting to speak French!  I think it’s really helping that I live in an all French apartment.  I speak French all day everyday now; I speak more, it’s awesome, j'aime beaucoup français!!!  (I love French)

For the other news for this week, I went to a zoo today and it was awesome!!!  I got to pet a monkey and I saw a lion. Here they hit the animals with sticks to make them mad. It’s awesome. I went on a ride and almost died!  All and all the zoo was pretty exciting. I’ll send pictures next week.  They are awesome.

Well I hope you have a great week!  I love you and miss you!

Avec amour,

Elder Joseph D. Allred II

Zone Conference

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Six Months

Wow that week went by really fast haha crazy!

This was a really busy week. We had lots to do over the past couple days. Last Tuesday we had a zone meeting with all the missionaries in our zone, which was good. We talked about helping people progress when they are a little slow to progress. Then on Friday we had our zone conference with all the missionaries in our zone and another zone with President Weed.  Plus all the lessons we had with all the new people we are teaching.  Oh, and Sunday was the first day of the branch to Jericho.

The first day at the new branch was pretty interesting, and here is an interesting story to go with it.  So in our new branch we have no young men so I had to help with the sacrament. Our church building is an old school and the chapel has a lot of windows that look out into the hallways and stuff.  So there was this kid that is a new member who was sitting on a bench outside in the hallway and I was looking at him and all the sudden in the middle of the sacrament he passed out on that bench!!!  All of these people left the chapel to go help the kid. What spirit was there left instantly! haha It turns out he was really sick but he came to church because he had to be confirmed !  The branch had little attendance but that’s ok. People are pretty confused about which branch they are supposed to attend.

Anyway things are good with the people we are teaching. We found a woman who was really prepared for the gospel. She is progressing well, hopefully we will set a baptismal date this week.  Do you remember the family of 8? Well we are only teaching 3 of them now but they are doing great haha. They have come to church for the past 2 weeks. It’s awesome!

Well time for the big news for this week.  So in Benin there are 4-6 missionaries in each apartment, and I've been living with another American for the past 4 months. Well to his great surprise he was transferred today and another Elder came to our apartment. His name is Elder Méjean, and he is from Lyon, France.  So that means I’m in an all French apartment!  No one speaks English except for me haha. I love it though; this is going to make my French explode! haha

Things here are really good right now. This place is really starting to feel like home. I love these people, I love the culture....I don’t know how to describe it.  I hope you have an amazing week! I love you and miss you tons!

Avec amour,

Elder Joseph D. Allred II

Monday, July 29, 2013

New Jericho Branch

Well another week has come and gone and here we are again!  This week went by really fast. You know what they say; time flies when you are working hard.  And that is exactly what we have been doing!

Like I said in the letter from last week Elder Boto and I have been working on finding new people to teach.  So we are now teaching a lot of new people. We have been really blessed in the people that we have found right now.  All week we were walking far and wide to teach our new people. They all live pretty far away from each other so we are working all around our area.

Yesterday at church some really amazing news was announced!  Right now I’m working in the sector of Jericho but all of our investigators [go to the] Gbedjromede Branch.  Yesterday the announcement was made that on the first Sunday in August the new Jericho Branch will start!  The people in Jericho will go to the same building but have their own branch. They are working on finding a building right now!  It’s so amazing to be here for this big change. I’m so excited for this!  This change is also very nice because there were so many people attending the old branch that I didn’t get to sit down at church for the past 4 months!

And for the other good news we had 6 investigators at church yesterday!  Ahh, what a great day! haha.  This is a really nice change, because the area has been struggling but I knew things would start to light up!

The package is amazing by the way haha. I haven’t eaten it all yet!  It’s so nice to see my beautiful tie again! haha (His favorite tie was stolen in the MTC so I sent him a new one.) The 4 x 4 Rubik’s cube is ridiculously hard lol but it’s all good!

Thank you for all that you do for me mom, I love and miss you! Have a great week!
Avec amour,
Elder Joseph D. Allred II

This is a van from another church! I think its awesome! haha The picture says it all!


Mom I'm here if you want to talk to me!

I have a couple minutes before my training starts

How are you today? Je suis tres bon! (I am very good)

I'm good. Not looking forward to another day of training. How's your day been? Any luck on the package yet?

I bet!  My day has been good. I cleaned all day!  Myself and Boto did laundry for one of our converts, and yes, the package is amazing!  What did you think of my Toms story? :)

I loved your Toms story. So glad you finally got the package. I can't believe that you are cleaning. Lol just kidding. Are you still in the same apartment that you were in with Rago?

I wasn't sure if it was appropriate or not to tell it. I didn't want people to think that my head was somewhere else and not on the work.  The package is amazing!  I love it!!!!  4 x 4 Rubik’s cube is freakin hard! lol 

I don't think there's anything wrong with the story. You're there for the culture also.

haha what a relief!  I was thinking about that all week!  Haha

I like the picture of you and the van. Did you ever decide about clippers for your hair?

I thought it would a waste of money. I’ll keep getting bad haircuts lol 


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

2 pour 1/2

Well another week has come and gone; can’t believe how fast it went!  This past week went by fast for us because we were so busy all the time!

As I said before and as you know Elder Rago was transferred about a week ago and I have to show the new missionary the area.  Well we got straight to work on that!  So this whole week we went around and I introduced him to the members in our area and our investigators!  And we started to work towards finding new people to teach, so that means asking people for contacts or going door to door!  Well we asked all the members in our area for contacts and that didn't go very well, so that means we were forced to go door to door!  We found a few new people who we are going to start teaching. I don’t know if those people will progress.  So as I said with Boto I’m forced to speak French and I think it’s really helping me!  I’m starting to speak really well so that’s pretty awesome!

And other than that it was a pretty normal week. So now I’m going to explain the 2 pour 1/2!  So in Benin Cotonou you can buy just about anything you want for pretty cheap and it’s either real stuff or fake crap!  So today another missionary and I went to an area of Benin with some really great stuff!  And we found a guy selling Toms, you know the shoes Toms!  So you know that whole thing about how you buy a pair of Toms and another pair is donated to a kid in Africa, well that’s kind of true....lol but not true at the same time.  It turns out when they get donated here people either sell them or steal them and resell them.  So I found a guy and we start taking, he says I want 12,000 cfa for 1 pair and I negotiate with him and we end up agreeing on 7,000 cfa. I couldn't decide which pair I wanted so I say I will give you 15,000 cfa for 2 pairs and he said yes! So I bought 2 pairs of Toms for 30 dollars American money which is half the price of one pair in the United States! Go me!! haha

Anyway this was a good week, things are good, I love you and miss you tons! Je vous aime beaucoup!

Avec amour,

Elder Joseph D. Allred II

Last week's baptism and new companion Elder Boto


Pictures from Family Home Evening






Saturday, July 20, 2013

Big News for the week: My New Companion and a Baptism!

Well it sounds like you have been pretty busy the last couple days but busy is always good huh? haha ya I'm not really sure what happened I was here for a good amount of time and no response but that’s ok it’s all good! haha (We tried to chat last week but couldn't make a connection. I got his message at 8:30 p.m. our time which is 4:30 a.m. his time so it must have been lost in cyber space for some time.)

Anyway to answer your question about the Spanish stuff for Shelby, if she goes to the Provo MTC she will receive all of that plus more! haha At the Provo MTC they gave me 3 books to study French.  For Spanish I think it’s 4 and they give you the scriptures in your language. Plus other things so don’t worry about that stuff for her.  (His step-sister is going to Mexico on her mission so I asked about giving her some Spanish stuff that he had sent home from the MTC.)

Anyway so to talk about the big news for the week!  My new companion and a baptism!

Our investigator finally got baptized!  It was such a relief on me haha. We had been working with him for a pretty long time. The problem was he wasn't telling us everything. He hadn't received a response to his prayers but wanted to be baptized.  He ended up not showing up to his baptism interview twice.  But when all seemed lost he finally received his answer and he found it in a verse from Mormon Chapter 7 verse 10. (See below) I found it during my personal study!  So it was really great.  Anyway he was baptized on Saturday!  I’ll be sending pictures today. (No pictures made it.) 

Anyway so the other news...my new companion.  His name is Elder Boto and he is also from Madagascar! It’s been really great the past couple days.  The other good thing is he speaks really great French...and not really any English!  So he has been forcing me to speak only French and it’s been helping me quite a bit.  He thinks that I speak French really well but I still have a lot to work on before it’s really good.  I miss Rago but this is good for me.

Anyway other than that things are pretty normal.  I finally received the letter you sent with the Church News in it. I love the bookmarks inside. (I sent this around the 2nd week in April.)  And I received dad’s package but not yours.  I’ll let you know when it comes.  Anyway I hope you have a great day and week!  I miss you and love you sooooo much haha. Je vous aime beaucoup!

Avec amour,

Elder Joseph D. Allred II

Mormon 7:10: "And ye will also know that ye are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; therefore ye are numbered among the people of the first covenant; and if it so be that ye believe in Christ, and are baptized, first with water, then with fire and with the Holy Ghost, following the example of our Savior, according to that which he hath commanded us, it shall be well with you in the day of judgment."

Elder Allred and Elder Rago

Monday, July 8, 2013

Five Months

Hey mom well this week was pretty boring as well but I have some interesting news to report.  This week was a transfer week because a few missionaries are going home, so as always I was worried about the transfer.  Well here is the news.....Elder Rago has been transferred to another sector in Benin and I have been left to show another missionary the area.  My new companion is from Madagascar also so that's pretty cool but that is all that I really know about him. I hear he is a really good guy so that’s pretty awesome too. 

That’s really awesome about Shelby (his step sister) being called to Mexico. I’m almost a little jealous but Africa is the Celestial Kingdom so she can be jealous of me haha!  

On the good news I have a baptism this week. It’s the guy that I was talking about last week. If everything goes through I will tell you a cool story about him.  

Other than that things are pretty much the same.  Just getting ready for the changes that are getting ready to happen.  I love you and miss you like crazy!

Avec amour, 

Elder Joseph D. Allred II

Friday, July 5, 2013

Struggling


Well the first day of July is here, and it is pretty hard to believe how fast June went.  Sorry about last week. We went over to another area in the mission and didn’t get home in time to go email.  We went straight to our lesson instead.  It was a family home evening lesson.  Right now they are really starting to encourage family home evening. They have it at a different members house every week or so.  
 
So I’m pretty sad that I missed the family reunion. It sounded like it was fun. I always looked forward to that when I was at home.  HOPEFULLY there will be one when I get home! lol 

Things here are as usual busy.  Right now in my area things are struggling.  We only have 1 progressing investigator and he has been fading away so I’m getting worried about it.  Elder Rago and I are going to have a fast for our area on Sunday.  We were supposed to have a baptism on Saturday but our guy didn’t show up to his interview and we haven’t heard from him since.  

Things are hard for us right now but I know things will get better.  I miss you like crazy.  Oh, and I haven’t received my package yet, hopefully soon!  I hope you have a good week.  I love you and miss you!

Avec Amour, (With Love)
Elder Joseph D. Allred II

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

No Letter

For those of you following Elder Allred's blog, I did not receive a letter from him this week. They often lose power and Internet connection and therefore their ability to communicate. Keep him in your prayers and have a great week.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Four Months and Counting

Hey mom, wow P-day again - another quick week.  This week went by pretty fast for me because there was something we had to do each day so it was a quick week.  This week I had to go to the mission office twice to update my visa. We have to do that every 3 months.  

This week we had a lot of issues with people not going through with lessons.  That is one thing I don't like here, people will say they will do something so that they won’t offend you but then they won’t be home or won’t read and we tell them to do it again.  It’s kind of a stressful cycle lol.  

We had a baptism this week.  We baptized a man from the Congo but he is in Benin for his work.  He was really solid from the beginning. He had a good knowledge of God already and he progressed really well.  So that was good.  

Today is an interesting day for us.  We have a lesson with a family who is really great they just need help to feel the spirit.  There are 8 people in the family!  I will let you know how that goes. 

I can’t wait for my packages they will make me happy! haha Well not much else has happened this week!  I hope that you have a good week!  Je vous aime beaucoup!

Avec amour,

Elder Joseph D. Allred II

Elder Dickson with the Benin Elders and Sisters
Elder Dickson with the Togo Elders

Monday, June 10, 2013

Forgetful Mom!

I can’t believe you almost forgot to write me a letter! I see how it is! haha jk. (I almost forgot to write him yesterday - won't let that happen again) Anyway it sounds like you have been doing lots of exciting things and having a lot of fun.

This week went by really fast because a lot of things were going on.  We had a lot of appointments with our investigators, a few went well and others were just bad.  One of our investigators is just being crazy; he won’t make appointments anymore.  Makes me mad, oh well.  So we are now in the process of trying to find new people, I hope we do.

Other than that this week has been pretty normal, we had a transfer this week and Elder Rago and myself are staying together for another transfer so I'm pretty happy about that.  Today we had a mission activity.  We played soccer and football and Frisbee.  I played football with some of the other Elders and it was really awesome. I ran a kick return for almost a touchdown. Just proves that even though I have a bad knee, I STILL got it haha!  Afterwards we ate hamburgers, fries and Pepsi!  It was an amazing meal lol.  Other than that it was a pretty normal week.

Je vous aime beaucoup! (I love you very much!)  Talk to you next week!

Avec amour, (With love)

Elder Joseph D. Allred II

I've been waiting for pictures of Elder Allred with African babies!

At a member's house

Elder Allred and the elders in his apartment
eating at a friend's house for African Mother's Day

Monday, June 3, 2013

Elder Dickson Was Awesome!

Hey it’s Monday again and here we are again haha!  This week has been really good but some things about it were hard also.  Things were good but the people we are teaching and some of our old investigators ditched us and just made it hard to keep our numbers good but that’s alright they will be better next week.

This week was really good for a lot of reasons.  We have a progressing investigator. He is a really great guy. He is committed to baptism right now but we had some problems with him attending other churches so there is a chance he is going to be delayed a bit.  But he has a friend who comes to each lesson and the other day we committed him to baptism also!  It was really amazing. The spirit in that lesson was really awesome I felt like he would accept and he did!  Really great!

Our devotional with Elder Dickson was really awesome!  You could feel how different everything was when he was there.  He began the devotional by shaking all the missionaries’ hands. Did you know that he only has one arm?  He was so nice. He said that I was the first Allred he has ever met!  He was a great speaker. Our mission was his last one that he will ever speak to as a member of the 70.  He talked a lot about respecting our future wives. I thought that was interesting but it was good.  He also talked about how through our work the church is growing so much in West Africa.  He compared it to Jacob 5.  It was a really great experience to be with him! I’m very lucky haha!  Well other than that it was a pretty normal week!  I hope that you had a great week!  Talk to you next week!  All my love!

Elder Joseph D. Allred II

PS  Forgot my camera again....I hope to send pictures next week!  Love you!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Another Baptism


Well another week has come and gone and we are here again.  It sounds like you had a pretty crazy week.  We did as well. This week has been busy because we have received a lot of contacts from members and other missionaries.

So the best news of the week is that Salomé was baptized, yay!!! Her being baptized was really great. From the beginning with her I thought she wouldn't be baptized just because she wasn't progressing very well, but like many other people she just exploded and so she got baptized!  Her cousin Christian was the member who introduced us to her so we decided to ask him to perform the baptism; it was a really cool moment.

I wasn't planning on it but I ended up baptizing somebody for another set of missionaries because they didn't have clothes. So that was cool, his name was Dieu-Donne, which in English translates to god give, or god gave something along those lines lol.

This week the teaching with the family hasn't gone well.  They seemed like they would progress really well but we haven't had a lesson with them in over a week, so we will see what this week brings.

So the big news for this week is we have a member of the Seventy coming to Cotonou and on Saturday morning we have a meeting with him, and you’ll never guess who it is!  Elder John B. Dickson!  So this should be a good week!

I’m finding myself understanding more French now. I feel like the language is starting come. Each week I write President Weed in French so I think that is helping me quite a bit! Like I said on the phone reading and hearing I understand pretty well but speaking is the problem, lol. Things are good though!  I actually left my camera at the apartment so I will send pictures next week!  I hope you had a great week! Love and miss you tons!

All my love,

Elder Joseph D. Allred II

Now that I’m out of school for the summer, I got to chat with JD for a little while this morning. Here’s a summary of our conversation.
Are you still at the computer? 
Yes hi mom!

I finally caught you! We are getting ready to watch a D-backs double header. What did you do today?
haha good job, today I went and played basketball and tore it up like usual! lol because I'm awesome! And we chilled with the other Elders in the other zone, and I did my white laundry, and now I'm here :) good day and you?

Haven't done much yet.  I slept in until about 8:00 and then went into town with Aaron. He had to do some stuff at the hospital. We went to store and saw Jennifer Griffith. She said to tell you hello. Now I'm doing laundry for the elders. 
You are so nice, lol who are the elders in the ward now, I’m sure Lowe is gone. Oh when you send the 4 by 4 Rubik’s cube could you leave the instruction booklet me and Rago want to experiment!

We have Elder Marcos and Elder Call. I think Elder Lowe went to Tucson. I was pretty sad when  Elder Lowe left because he was the last one here that knew you but I talk about you all the time so they know of you. I figure if I help take care of the missionaries here then someone will help take care of you. Lol  
Trust me I get taken care of lol but why wouldn’t anyone take care of me, I’m JD :) I still got it......lol :) Just because I’m a missionary doesn’t mean JD is dead lol! When you have time will you look at that scripture reference on that picture we bought from Deseret Book and send it to me!

You make me laugh. I'm glad to know that JD isn't dead. That scripture is Jude 1:21.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Monday Again!

Hey mom, hard to believe its Monday again but it is! haha This was a good week! Lots of things have happened.

We have committed a girl to baptism. Her name is Salomé and she speaks only a little bit of French but she is coming along well. She didn't come to church yesterday so we have had to push her baptism date back a week so we will see how that goes as well.

So some exciting news from this week is we are teaching new family!  It is a family of 4 people, dad, mom, brother, and sister. They seem really prepared to hear the gospel. We have our next appointment with them in a few days so I'm pretty excited about that!  We are also receiving a lot of contacts and stuff so that's really nice. We are teaching the children of our other investigators, so all and all things are really good with the people we teach. Hopefully they all start progressing well!

Other than that things are pretty much the same.

So my Sundays are pretty normal. (I asked what church was like) We get to church welcome people in and sit with our investigators and help with translations if anyone needs that.  I blessed the sacrament once in the MTC but I haven't done it here. We have a lot of priests so that's nice.  We do work with the members quite a bit to help them with figuring out the way things are supposed to be and what not so that's how we do that.

Well I'm off for the week i love you and miss you tons!  god be with you till we meet again....

Love,
Elder Joseph D. Allred II

Benin area missionaries - surprise birthday party for President Weed

Mother's Day 2013

Sorry for the delay... We got to call Elder Allred using Skype (no video) on Mother's Day and got to talk for about an hour and a half. It was wonderful to talk to him. Here are the highlights of his call:

Mother’s Day Phone Call 


Mimi – is kind of like a mom to the missionaries. She buys all of Elder Allred’s food because they try and cheat the white man so she gets better deals. He can get more food this way.

Investigators – They have a new investigator and he is progressing well.  They also committed another person to baptism so we will see if that continues.  All 3 of their progressing investigators were at church on Sunday so they are hoping that things will continue to be good with them.

Food – the food is all pretty weird but he likes it better than he thought he would. Something called enyams (not sure if it’s spelled right) is his favorite. From his description it sounds like sweet potatoes.

Language – he is starting to understand the French and what they say in church. He speaks more English than he should since his companion speaks English. His is also learning some Fon which is a native language. He read 2 Nephi 9:34 and 1 Nephi 5:14 in French. He wants to learn Spanish when he comes home.

Companion – his companion, Elder Ragondonandrasana, is from Madagascar and speaks three languages: his native language, French, and English. He says he got lucky with his first companion who is a District leader. The other elders in his apartment are zone leaders. Elder Rago goes home in September so it is kind of making JD homesick. There are 3 elders from Arizona in the mission.

Church – the building isn’t very big and there aren't classrooms like we are used to. There is a lot of crying. They start late and end late.  The members like to sing a lot so they have songs in every meeting.

Muslim Mosques – there are mosques everywhere with speakers on top of the buildings. They broadcast their moaning throughout the area, starting about 5:30 a.m. He says they moan morning, noon, and night. We could hear it in the background while we were talking to him. Favorite quote: “The Muslims are moaning again.”

Power – power comes and goes and they don’t have any hot water.

Laundry – he does his laundry by hand. Mimi offered to do his laundry but he decided that he needed to learn how to do it by hand himself since he wouldn't always be in the area (I’m proud of him for this decision). He says doing laundry is kind of fun because the elders in his apartment all sit around and do it together and talk.

Transfers – he says the elders usually stay in their area 5-6 months and that transfers mainly happen when they get new elders.

Area – there are 3 zones in Benin and they are averaging about 70 baptisms a month. He says they are hoping to open Porto-Novo soon. They are hoping for June or July.

Temple of the Pythons – pythons are very sacred to the Voodoo religion. He dropped one of the snakes while they were visiting but luckily no one saw him.

Time – feels like he has been gone forever but it has only been three months. He is missing his old life – hanging out with friends, sleeping in, watching movies late at night with his sister, and going to college.

We are getting ready to send his first package so he gave us a list of things he wants. I’m replacing a couple of his favorite ties that went missing in the MTC. He has asked for a Rubiks cube because his companion had taught him how to solve one. He didn’t ask for much food which surprised me but he did request candy and Takis (apparently they haven’t made their way across the Atlantic yet).

All in all, he is doing great. He would appreciate letters because he can keep them with him and read them over and over. He doesn’t have a way to print emails so he can only read them on P-days.