May 8, 2014 Letter

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Hi everyone!! Sorry this email is coming out later in the week. Normally our P day is on Mondays, but we got to go the temple this week, so they bumped our P day back to Thursday. The temple was great! This is the first time I’ve ever been to the Oakland temple, and it’s awesome!! It’s super huge, and it’s so pretty. 

This week was great! My companion and i saw many miracles. We have this guy named Charley who is investigating the church. Charley - is awesome. He is so spiritually sensitive and outgoing. He is soaking up the doctrine of Christ like a fat kid eating cake. He even helped us teach the restoration of the gospel to his girlfriend the other day. Some of you might remember Charley from one of my previous emails a few weeks ago. Since then, we've been meeting with him and his girlfriend - Alana - on a pretty consistent basis. Yesterday my companion and i had the opportunity to share with Charley and Alana the plan of salvation - god’s plan of happiness for us. The spirit of the lord was pumping - as we answered some of the soul searching questions like - where did we come from, where are we going, and what is the purpose of life here on earth. 

As we were talking about the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, i felt inspired to go off on a little tangent - and share an experience i had recently about faith in Jesus Christ and the reason god lets us have trials. In essence - we attempted to answer the question - why does god let bad things happen to good people? I’m going to be honest. We get this question, from different people, at least once a week - and i still don't know how to answer it. 

In Preach My Gospel - "a guide to missionary service" - basically the - how to preach, teach, love, and live the gospel for dummies manual - there is a line in chapter 3 that says "all that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." I’ve honestly never put much thought into this line, or brought it up in a lesson, or even really had that strong of a testimony in this particular principal. 

I had the opportunity the other day to be in an interview with the mission president. (Don’t worry, i wasn't in trouble - he interviews all the missionaries a couple times a year) and we got to talking about agency; i don't remember why. The way he explained agency and the atonement to me was so clear and simple and beautiful - i don’t know why I’ve never thought of it that way before. What he told me was that the war in heaven, before we all came to earth, was about agency. To each of us is given the light of Christ, and we have the spirit to guide us - but the almighty God, even if he could, would never take away our ability to choose right from wrong. President Meredith asked me to apply this principal into my life. It is difficult to watch people make poor decisions. We can’t force the gospel onto anyone. We can’t make anyone choose the right. We can influence their decision, but the choice is still theirs. 

As i was pondering on this principal - something i already know; but thinking about it; trying to gain some new perspective - President Meredith pulled out that quote from Preach My Gospel. "All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." When it says in the scriptures that Christ descended below all things - he really did. So that he could rise above it all, and know how to help us. All pain, from every human being, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual - was felt during his atoning sacrifice. We don’t know how, but all of the pain that occurs - all of the bad things that happen to the good people, can be made up for through the atonement of Jesus Christ. One of my favorite quotes is from the serenity prayer. "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change" and "The courage to change the things I can" - because the atonement covers those things that are out of our control. 

Sorry. I digress.

Going back to teaching Charley and Alana - as my companion and i bore our testimonies about trials and the atonement, the Holy Ghost entered Charley's heart, and his eyes began to redden and swell with tears as he put his head down on the table. It was a little quiet and awkward for a second, but he sat back up and looked at us and said I don’t know how to explain this, but you guys just answered one of my prayers."

We don't know what Charley and Alana are going through right now - but God knows. We don't even know how to help them - but god knows. 

It is my testimony, that everything that is unfair in this life, can be made right through the atonement of Jesus Christ. - So stop worrying about it.

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Write to Joey:

Elder Joseph Patrick Allison
4945 Lincoln Way
Oakland, CA 94602

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