Monday, October 14, 2013

An email from Sister Allen

Hello Everybody! Yet another amazing, exhausting, fun filled week in the mission field.
Denise, Romeo, Katie, Kendra, and Clayton were all baptized on Saturday! What an amazing and beautiful day that was. Katie, Kendra, and Clayton's great grandpa was able to come in to town from Salt Lake in order to baptize all three of them. It was a special thing for their family and definitely good for them to do that together. Romeo is a changed kid. We were really worried at the beginning of last week that he really wouldn't be ready for baptism in only one week, but seeing him now, he is so loving and such a good example to everyone around him. We went over to their house on Saturday night for Denise's daughters 3rd birthday. A lot of Denise's family was there and they are all non members. Denise started talking about her baptism and how good she felt and told her Aunt that she should think about being baptized. Denise started talking about how much it has helped their family and Romeo raced over to the living room saying, "I'll say a prayer for an example!!!" It was the most beautiful and heartfelt prayer I had ever heard a 9 year old say. "Thank you for letting me and my mom get baptized today. It is an honor that the sisters are here in our home. I am grateful to be a member of the church..." I could not believe it. This weekend really made me think about how baptisms are so much more than just baptisms. I think about the future and how many more opportunities await these people because they were baptized. I think about the missions these kids could go on, the temple marriages that will come from it, eternal covenants that will bring them so much happiness for the rest of their life, and it is so amazing! It is amazing seeing these people make changes in their lives, just so they can receive all of these blessings. That is why I love being out here. There is no way someone would stop smoking, give up everything, just to be apart of some church if it wasn't the true church of Jesus Christ restored back on the earth today. Denise and her husband (who is a member) are looking forward to next October when they can be sealed as an eternal family in the temple. We gave her a picture of the Sacramento temple on Friday and she just says, "Sisters, this is my goal." The baptisms were great, but the confirmations were even BETTER!! Brother Myers did all five of them. He was nervous at first, but WOWZA, they were the most beautiful and unique blessings for each of them. I was crying through each and every one of them. The spirit was so strong and they were given so much council and guidance for their lives. Katie's blessing was the most amazing blessing in the world and she WILL be a missionary one day, i just know it. So much happiness in one weekend!! I love it!
Sister MacDonald and I were asked to speak in Zone Meeting this past Thursday. We were asked to share our thoughts on 'How to Be a Successful Missionary'. We came up with three things that we have seen help us, Faith, Desire, and Action. You have to have the desire to do great things, develop your faith, and act on the promptings you receive. Desire, Faith, and Action lead to miracles and developing 'spiritual eyes', so that you can see any opportunity that may come your way. It was awesome to be able to prepare and teach in zone meeting. I love getting up there in front of people to speak because I always learn so much by preparing and studying to do so. (if that makes sense) They always say the teacher learns more than the students.
We have a new investigator named Margarito. He is sure a crack up and keeps life interesting. Saturday we had a lesson with him on the Plan of Salvation. We had just finished talking about pre-earth life and were starting the next part, which is about our life here on earth. Before we started, I asked him, "Who were the first people on earth?" He sat there thinking about it for a minute and finally said, "hmm...well there was George Washington...and then before George Washington, wasn't it Hitler? Was Hitler the first person on earth?" UHHHHH....Sister Mac and I just looked at each other and tried to keep a straight face. "Um, no Margerito, the first people on earth were Adam and Eve!" "OHHH! I have Eve right here on my arm!" The single tattoo he has is an immodest Eve holding the forbidden fruit...glad he thought about that one before he had it permanently inked on his skin. Haha. Margerito is hoping to get baptized on November 9th. He really wants to be baptized so that he can see his Aunts and Uncles in heaven. We just have to make sure he makes it to church on Sunday.
We have been unable to get a hold of Margaret (the woman who lost her husband when I was in the hospital) this week, but her daughter Hannah has been all for the gospel this week! Hannah started reading the Book of Mormon about a week and a half ago and is already in 3 Nephi Chapter 3. CRAZINESS! She is a speed reader and is really enjoying the Book of Mormon so far. We even went over yesterday morning and picked her up for church! She loved church and everyone was so friendly to her. I think that's what she really needs because of her step dad just passing away. She needs a good support system with good structure and that is what this gospel can bring her. Hannah even came to the YSA fireside last night at the Martin's. Kaitlyn, the YSA rep in our ward, has already invited her to institute on Tuesday and the YSA corn maze activity next Saturday. Feather River ward seriously ROCKS! Hannah is working towards November 2nd for baptism and she is definitely ready and excited. Hopefully Margaret will come around. She has been struggling with a lot of things lately and hasn't been up to meeting with us, but I know that as she hears Hannah's positive experiences, Margaret will want to meet with us too. On Tuesday, Sister Kim came with us to the lesson with Hannah, we were able to watch President Monson's talk from the Relief Society broadcast. It was such a strength for her and the best part of the whole lesson was her prayer at the end. She was so sweet and says, "Heavenly Father, thank you so much for the speech that President Monsoon gave...." We just thought it was so sweet because she said Monsoon instead of Monson. It's those small and simple things that make our day so much better. :)
Saturday morning, before the baptism, Sister MacDonald and I were able to volunteer for Yuba City Helping Hands. Each year Yuba City puts on this community service project where they pick one street in the community and fix up every single house on the street. It is an amazing project and so cool to see the whole community come out and work together. We wore our name tags on the outside of our bright blue Yuba City Helping Hands t-shirts for a little bit of 'advertising', i guess you could call it. Sister MacDonald and I got put in charge of a whole house project with just the two of us. We planted this giant tree together and dug a giant hole in the dry, rocky ground. Just the two of us. We were so proud! The staff kept calling us "Power Houses" and kept putting us to work! It was super awesome and a really good service opportunity for us. Missionaries love those types of things.
After the baptisms on Saturday we were invited over to the Shore's/Durfey's (Katie, Kendra, and Clayton) home to hang out with everybody. Grandma Durfey, who is less active, has a son named Lawrence who is also less active. Lawrence is married to a non member and they have three girls who are also not members of the church. We have tried getting in touch with Lawrence and his family before, but they are either never home or (more likely) avoid answering the door. He has three daughters, one who is 15 and the twins that are 13. The twins came up to Sister MacDonald and were talking about how cool it was that they got to see their cousins get baptized today. They started talking about how bad they wanted to be baptized and asking what they would have to do to be baptized. They had even talked to their mom and dad who told them that it would be okay for them to be baptized!! GOLDEN! I came over and we explained to them that they would need to take the lessons from us, come to church 3 times before their baptism and then they could be baptized. They are so excited!! And not only do the twins want to be baptized, but their older sister does too. It was such a miracle. We baptized 3 and gained 3 new investigators all in the same day. The Lord is blessing us and we are SO grateful for the amazing opportunity this is.
Mosiah 28:3, "Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble."
Love you all! Thank you for your prayers, emails, letters, packages, and LOVE!! You all are amazing and I am blessed to have such wonderful people in my life!
Sister Allen

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