First off, Happy Thanksgiving everybody! I really can't believe its already that time of the year. Sister Laws and I have been invited to TWO Thanksgiving dinners on Thursday and are already mentally preparing ourselves for two giant meals. The LaPlante's called dibs on us first, but Bishop had invited the sisters a while back and Sis Laws had forgotten about it. So now we are just going to both and everyone will be happy, except our full stomachs.
We had a pretty awesome week! The baptism went wonderfully. Wendy is officially a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She felt so peaceful and just watching her face as they did the confirmation was amazing. I've never seen anyone so peaceful. After she was all dried off from her baptism, Wendy got up in front of everyone and bore her testimony. It was the most beautiful, heartfelt testimony I have ever heard. Sister Laws and I are so lucky to know her and have been apart of her beautiful day. We seriously LOVE Wendy.
Wednesday we had the opportunity to spend the day with Elder Stanley G. Ellis of the first quorom of the seventy. He is really an amazing person and it was a privelage to have a zone conference with him. A couple of really amazing things happened this day. The week before in district meeting, they told us that we each needed to prepare a 5 minute talk on "How my faith is strengthened as I follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost" for this zone conference. There were 5 zones there, which means there was about 100 missionaries there and they don't tell you before hand who will be giving the talks. The AP's announced that only 2 missionaries would be giving talks today. They called out Elder Reynolds name and then the AP's said, "Sister Allen". My heart started beating a million miles a minute, I knew it was going to be me...I said a quick prayer and went up there to speak. Not only to these other missionaries, but to President Weston and a GENERAL AUTHORITY. My talk actually went really well and I told the story of the hospital and how we found Margaret. (even shared the scripture dad sent me about how we should all be as "bold as a lion") After my talk, I felt a little unsure if I should've shared my Margaret experience with everyone, but after lunch President Weston came up to me and told me I did a wonderful job and was so grateful that I shared my experience. He said that if I hadn't he would have asked me to come back up and share the story. So that definitely reassured me that it was indeed the Spirit constantly prompting me to share my Margaret miracle story.
After we had our lunch, all the missionaries were to return to their areas except for the district leaders, sister training leaders, trainers, and zone leaders. All of the leaders of the mission, were having a Leadership conference from Elder Ellis for the next hour. Since Sis Laws and I do not qualify as any of those things, we started back to the chapel to get our things to leave. On our way out, Sister Weston stopped me and asked why I wasn't in the ladership meeting yet because they were ready to start. I told her that I wasn't any of those leadership positions anymore (i just finished being a trainer for Sister MacDonald, but that was in Yuba City). She said that President Weston had specifically requested that I be there in this leadership conference, even though I did not hold a leadership position. I was the only one in there who didn't have a leadership calling. At the beginning, we went around and introduced ourselves and our leadership title...I just said, "um, hi, i'm sister allen and I am a senior companion?" I was the only one there not called to an actual leadership position. Haha. I still have no idea why I was asked to be in there, but rumors around the mission are: 1. I am being made Sister Training Leader next transfer in the Granite Bay ward (because Sister Tittle, the sister training leader there is finishing her mission). OR 2. I am being switched to a spanish speaking mission and will be Sister Training Leader companions with a spanish Sister Training Leader. President Weston has asked me before if I would be able to speak/learn spanish, so you never know. Guess we will find out on December 8th, when transfer calls come.
Wednesday night, Elder Ellis held a fireside for nonmembers and less-actives only. Two of our investigators, Gerald and Tony, came to the fireside. Elder Ellis talked all about the Book of Mormon and it was a very amazing talk on what's in the BofM, what should and shouldn't be in the BofM, and what we learn from the BofM. Tony and Gerald both really enjoyed it. On our way out the doors, Elder Ellis stopped me and said shaking my hand, "I would love a copy of your story. The experience you shared today at zone conference about meeting the woman from the hospital. Will you email it over to me?" I was in shock...haha. A general authority just asked ME for my experience?! I couldn't believe it and still can't. Wednesday was just one of those unbelieveable days that I think I really needed, to see my potential as a missionary. From speaking in front of Elder Ellis, to being requested to come to a leadership meeting, and being asked for a copy of my experience from a Seventy...you have got to be joking, right? Heavenly Father has a lot in store for me. I know it. Its just like President Weston told me, "Prepare for lots of responsibility, Sister Allen."
I know we have that tradition each year at Thanksgiving dinner, where we go around and say one thing that we are grateful for, so I thought I would include my list of what I'm grateful for and when it's my turn around the dinner table, you could just read this email. It will be like I'm really there. Haha. :)
I am GRATEFUL for the opportunity I have to serve a mission. I am grateful for the people that I have met on my mission. The wards I have served in. The people we have found. Those who have been baptized and confirmed. Those I have been able to teach and plant seeds for their prepared time. I am grateful for all of the wonderful companions I have served with. Companions who love the lord, push me to do my best, allow my testomony to grow, and love and support me. I am grateful for those people who don't let us in or listen, so that when we get to the ones that do, its that much more worth it. I am grateful for Joseph Smith and his first vision that started it all. I am grateful for the rush of goosebumps up and down my spine as I reaccount Joseph Smith's first vision to those who don't know it. I am grateful for the Word of Wisdom, a law of health that keeps our temples pure and wholesome. I am grateful for the blessings of tithing that is paid. Without tithing, we would not have church buildings, temples, gospel resources, the Missionary Training Center, etc. I am grateful for temple ordinances and the joy they bring to those who didn't have an opportunity to receive those blessings while they were here on earth. I am grateful for a living prophet and apostles who guide us and share with us God's will. I am grateful for my freedom to choose and use my agency. I am grateful for patriarchal blessings and the chance to recieve direction and knowledge of where He needs me to be. I am grateful for baptism and comfirmation. I am grateful for the testifying voice of the Spirit and the ability to discern promptings. I am grateful for Christ's atoning sacrifice and the ability to be forgiven, without the atonement I would not be where I am today. I am grateful for the experiences that have humbled me. I am grateful to have been brought up in the gospel. I am grateful for care packages and sweet letters of support. I am grateful for my family and that we are all so close with one another. I am grateful for a mom and dad who love and care about me enough to help me achieve my goals. I am grateful for a driven, kind, and intelligent little brother. I am grateful for my spunky, hilarious, confident, little sister who is my mini-me. I am grateful for my baby brother who teaches me to enjoy the simple gifts of life and to always laugh. I am grateful for trials in my life that help me connect with so many different people. I am grateful for a loving mission president who sees my potential. I am grateful for the scriptures and everything that we can learn from the words of God. Especially the Book of Mormon and the guidance and uplifting it gives me in my life. I am grateful fo the general conference ensigns. I am grateful for the ability to walk, see, hear, move, exercise, smile, and dance. I am grateful for my sensitive sense of smell. I am grateful for the support I recieve from my ward here and the ward, friends, strangers, and family back home. I am grateful for an education, especially a college education. I am grateful for good health, clean clothes, heating blankets, running water, electricity, food to eat, heat, A/C, pants (not skirts), etc. I am grateful for lice killing shampoo, vacuums, benadryl, and washers/dryers. I could go on and on. I am grateful for every single thing I have been blessed with and I know that without the love of my Heavenly Father, I would not have any of these things I just said. He blesses us beyond our comprehension and will bless us even more as we are obedient to those simple things he has asked us to do.
And to get you in that thankful mood just in time for Wednesday, here are some of my favorite scriptures that talk about giving thanks.
Alma 34:38 "That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you."
D&C 136:28 "If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving."
Psalms 100:4 "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name."
D&C 59:7 "Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things."
Psalms 92:1 "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:"
Colossians 3:15 "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful."
Danel 2:23 "I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee..."
One of the lady's in Relief Society said this yesterday and I loved it,
"Our combined light will brighten the darkness of the world." Join with all those around you and make this world a better place. Make a difference. Leave everywhere you go, a little better than you found it.
I love you all and will miss spending Thanksgiving with everyone, but give everyone lots of HUGS from me! I AM GRATEFUL FOR EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU!