Sunday, November 9, 2014

One Year Later...

Oh hey!

What’s up everyone?

I forgot to tell you guys like a year ago that, yeah, I’m home! SO CUE THE MUSIC!!! ( So there you go. My Mom kept pushing me to write like a final big thank you note/What-I-learn-from-my-mission note to put on my blog when I got home. But I was to busy doing much more important things like sleeping, learning about what twerking and Instagram were, and eating crown burger for the first time in two years. So you will all just have to understand. But I think I’m now I can put off procrastinating and finally write something to you all.

It’s been a year since I’ve been back from my mission. That’s nuts dude! I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember my dad telling me in a letter I received near the middle of my mission that sooner or later your mission will become like your own “Vietnam” in the sense that you are always talking about it, thinking about it, and bugging everyone to death about it (See video for reference and I can absolutely agree with that. I loved my mission. It was the craziest, scariest, most stressful, and overall most amazing experience of my life. I can’t even begin to tell you much I miss it. I miss everything about it. The wonderful people, the culture, even the thousand of mean dogs chasing us through the 100-degree weather while drunken bums cheered them on. As you look through this blog you’ll see hundreds of stories about how ridiculous and fun the mission really was. There’s literally thousands of aspects of the mission that I miss so much and I could on and on about them. But I felt like I should focus on one very important lesson I learned on the mission.

I think one of the things I miss most of all was close I felt with my Heavenly Father. By trying to do his will 24/7 for 2 years I felt His spirit and influence much more stronger and powerful than I have ever felt before in my entire life. When I came home I really missed that really powerful constant feeling of the spirit. I thought something was wrong with me. And I was kind of trippin’ out about it. It wasn’t until a little while later that an important lesson I must have taught hundreds of times on my mission really sank into my heart. That as long as you are doing what you are supposed to do then God sees your efforts and he will bless you with his spirit when you need it. God knows what’s best for us and will help and bless us in his time and in his own way. Its no wonder we have many hymns like “I Need Thee Every Hour” because feeling the spirit is the greatest of all feelings and who wouldn’t want to feel like that al the time?

It’s important to remember what the Savoir said in John “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” We are never alone. No matter what our situation is in life. We need to always remember that no matter what we do, or who we are that God love us more than we can ever imagine and that love cannot be changed or be taken away.
I strive the best I can to feel his love but I’m not perfect; I’m billions of light-years away from being anywhere near perfect. I still succumb to temptations, and have many imperfections just like everyone else. I’m still uber shy; I still have struggles with depression and inadequacy.  I even had all those things happening to me during my mission, some of them at their maximum. God knows we aren’t perfect, he knows that were not going to be perfect in our prayers, or scripture study, etc. But it is critically important that we know he still loves us and he is always rooting for us and always wants us to feel his love more and more as we do what is right.

I’m so thankful for all he has given me. For a wonderful caring supportive and amazing family, for the outstanding friends he’s put in my life that help me to be the best I can be, and for all the blessings he has given me in this life and will continue to give for the rest of my life. I love him, I love His son. Our Savior Jesus Christ, for his sacrifice and his gospel. The comfort and knowledge I have that he is my dearest friend, that he gave his life for me, and knows exactly what I go through is incompressible and yet so beautiful to me. Throughout my whole mission I hoped with all my heart that all the people I had the privilege to teach would feel that same love that our Heavenly Father and His Son have for them.

I miss Argentina, but I am so very glad to be home and continuing on with life. Do I recommend a mission to those that are able and willing to go? Hecks yes! How do I know that they could do it? Well, if a big stupid kid like me can make it, than anyone can! It’s the Lords work, it’s true, and I know it. Thank you to all who supported me while I was gone. I felt your prayers and love everyday I was out.

To end this entry I would like to cite one of my favorite quotes to sum up the basics of this very important lesson I learned. It is a quote that is very near and dear to me. The quote is from none other than Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh. Christopher is explaining to Pooh how there will come a day when he’s not going to be around all the time. Pooh can’t seem to understand that concept and he is very worried. But Christopher gives him some sound advice when he tells Pooh…

If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together…there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe,
stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart…I’ll always be with you.”

Though this isn’t scripture I take it like it is scripture because I believe that this is what our Heavenly Father wants us to know and to never forget. We are his children, he loves us so much and he wants us to make it back home. He’s given us a way to do so through the Gospel. He will always be there no matter what (John 14:26-27).

Con amor,

Russell Allphin

Monday, November 18, 2013

¡Hasta La Vista!

Russ comes home Wednesday!  This is a picture of him with his group at the mission home.  He'll hang out here for the night then it's off to Buenos Aires and a flight to the States.
Last photo with Pres. and Sis. Levrino

Monday, November 11, 2013

Vaya Con Dios


Sup? sorry I ditched you guys last week. We had a monster storm a couple of weeks ago and the lighting messed up the internet here but now, I'm here! Glad to hear all is good in Utahville. Its been pretty chill here this week. Well, actually more hectic then chill. I’ve haven’t been able to work in my area all week!

So Monday was my kid's birthday. Elder Allan turned a healthy 20 years old. It was a fun-filled day. We had nepolitana for lunch and in the night we had his birthday party. There was cake and everything. Here it's the custom to shove one's face in the cake so Allan got crubstomped in his cake by Presidente Angel which escalated into a full-fledged cake war and well, the picture explains it. Other than that, my comp was gone almost the whole week in Salta to do his papers. He went with another elder from San Pedro that had to do his papers so I stayed and worked in San Pedro with the other elder's comp. His name is Elder Membreño from Honduras, he's a cool kid. I think he knows Tanner Colledge.

The pench of the San Pedro elders is in a members house. It's like a super exception because they live with the district secretary (who is 40+ and unmarried) and his mom who is this little old lady. I woke up in the morning to find the Hermano (the 40 year old guy) in his undies looking for his gaucho boots and his mom yelling up from down stairs, "Little Miguel! Have you found your boots yet?" and him saying, "No mom! Gosh! I'm looking for them! Gosh! I can find them on my own!"   That’s all I have to say about that.

We got back to the area and worked for just like a couple of days. It was district conference yesterday and guess who got sustained/received the Melchizedek priesthood? Hermano Alderete! Yes sir. I gave him the Aaronic priesthood last week and yesterday I gave him the Melchizedek. It was such a cool moment. They were so happy the Alderetes. Oscar is the new branch mission leader and Hermana Alderete will be in the relief society presidency. President Levrino and the Hermana Levrino met them yesterday and Presidente Levrino told their story in his conference talk about of how the Alderetes met us. What a cool moment, I was thinking about that yesterday and how grateful I am for that experience. To see them just bask in the blessings of the gospel. What a great day it was.

Well, yes, it is my last week. It doesn’t seem real it is all coming to a close but it is. This is the last week to really just work hard and do great things in Yuto. Pray for me that I can do that, teach up a storm and what not. But yes, that’s about all for this week. ?´s

  • Do you have anything planned for your last week?
I have a leadership conference in Oran this Wednesday so I'll be gone for all of Wednesday But I think Saturday we´ll do something cool in the capilla.
  • I saw a photo of your shoes. What did you do about that?

  • What's the first American food you want?
First thing we do when we leave the airport we are heading to Crown Burger. I WANT A BURGER SO BAD!!!! NO JOKE!!!! That and some legit chocolate milk. We´ll start with that for now.

  • Am I right that this will be the last letter? You won’t have computer time next Monday will you?
No I wouldn’t imagine. I'll be traveling to Salta that day so yeah, I don’t think so. Maybe I could drop something short but I would imagine this is the last letter.

That is pretty weird saying that. Man, oh, man. I never thought this email would come. I really don’t know what to say. I guess the only thing to say is what we've been saying all my mission: "It´s all good." Its always been good, even when it wasn’t looking good it was all good. It has always been good. What an experience. What a trip. Going home seems like a dream and I'm sure when I am home the mission will feel like its been a dream but what a good dream it is. I'll write a bigger sum total of my mission when I'm home, for the blog and such but till then, I'll see you in a week. The church is true. I love you guys so much. It´s all good. #seeyousoon

Con mucho amor,

I'll do anything for tasty cake!

See you in about a week!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Skunked Again

A few weeks ago there were fires in the jungle around Yuto (the town Russ lives in) and since then they have had sporadic internet connectivity.  Today there was no internet available.  We received a message from someone in his branch telling us we would not be able to hear from him today.
We did get a photo earlier in the week from another member showing the sad condition of Russell's shoes.  This is his last pair and he was hoping they would last him until the end of his mission.  I am not sure what he is going to do between now and then but luckily he only has to make them work for 16 more days.  Maybe he will come home in flip flops.

Viva Zapatos!