Monday, December 1, 2014

perfect, peaceful moments

Monday, October 27, 2014

good friends help you keep your covenants

Hey, hey! 

I was out of my area two days this past week for exchanges. Tuesday in Red Bluff with sweet Sister Trease and Thursday in Corning with Sister VanDuren. I don't know if you all remember me talking about David Castleton. Sister MacDonald and I met him in Yuba City, he had been inactive in the church for about 20 years and he waved us down Sister MacD's first week in the field. Well David has been active in the church ever since that day. I found out that he was living back in Los Molinos with his new wife, Reba. Los Molinos is Corning ward boundaries and on Thursday I got to go over to David's and meet his family! Sadly David wasn't there, but everyone else was and it was so cool to see how much David's life had changed since he decided to come back to church. He has been sober for a long time now and bringing the gospel back into his life happened at the perfect time. God's timing is always so perfect! 

The Redding Sisters called us and referred us to one of their recent converts who just moved into our ward. Their records had no trailer number, so we drove through this huge trailer park looking for a red headed, 10 year old boy named Collin. We drove all around the park looking for him and the last street we turned down, there was a little boy with a baseball cap on. We couldn't see the color of his hair, but he seemed around 10 years old, so I rolled down the window and asked if he knew where Collin lived. He told us that was his name and sure enough, there was a little red hair sticking out from underneath his baseball cap. We introduced ourselves as the sister missionaries in the Anderson Ward and sadly his mom was sick and we couldn't meet her. His aunt and her boyfriend were there and they are both non members. They asked which church we belonged to and told her that Collin and his sister Mary Jane had been baptized in March. She told us that she was visiting from Ohio and was trying to find a church to attend here in Anderson. Her and her boyfriend had googled "churches in Anderson" the night before and chose a random one to attend. She said that she wanted to try our church and that she would see us at church next Sunday! I really hope that her and her boyfriend come next week! It was a miracle Heavenly Father even allowed us to find them. 

Saturday night was the Chili Cook Off. After a major down pour and 50 mph winds, we weren't sure how many people were going to show up. An hour later, the whole cultural hall was full with 200 people, 25 different kinds of chili, and at least 15 different corn breads. It was such a good turnout! At the end of the night, Brother Walton, the MC, gets on the mic and starts yelling out for Sister Comstock and I to come up to the front of the room. He then goes on to announce that I have a rap prepared for them and I will be performing it right then and there....uhhh...i never agreed to that, haha. So all these people are staring at me and waiting for me to rap, so i just did it! My face was on fire for about 20 minutes afterwards, but I got up there and rapped the restoration for everyone. I guess that's one way to get people to remember me in Anderson! 

Last Monday I got a random email from a missionary serving in Peru from the Anderson ward. He referred us over to his nonmember parents saying that he was really sick of being the only member in his family and going to church by himself. We contacted them on Saturday during the giant rain storm and they fed us some homemade chili to warm up. They really know nothing about the church or what their son is doing in Peru, so we offered to teach them the same lessons that their son is teaching in Peru. We didn't get a yes or a no, but they said we could definitely come back anytime we were in the area! We are really hoping to teach them.

I am almost through the Book of Mormon for the fourth time! I wanted to finish one last time before I was done with my mission and I think I am going to be able to do it! This time through has been so different and I really have taken in so much more. I feel like I can actually picture the stories in my mind and everything is so real to me. I absolutely love the Book of Mormon! 

This week I read in Alma 53 and received some awesome revelation. Alma 53 is when Helamen pulls together the 2000 young stripling warriors to help him in the war against the Lamanites. The 2000 stripling warriors are the sons of the Ammonites, or the Lamanites who were so converted that they buried all their weapons of war and made a covenant with God to never raise up their weapons against another person again. In Alma 53, these men who have made this covenant see the sufferings of their brethren and truly desire to help them fight. They are "moved with compassion and were desirous to take up arms in the defence of their country." But then Helamen steps in. Helamen realizes how incredibly important and vital keeping your covenants is and does everything to help them keep their covenants. Their sons, who haven't made this covenant, step up and fight in place of their fathers. Good friends help you keep your covenants. Surround yourself with friends and family who will help you be the best person you can be and make sure that you become someone who allows other people to keep their covenants when they are with you. 

Alma 53: 10-18, "10 And now behold, I have somewhat to say concerning the people of Ammon, who, in the beginning, were Lamanites; but by Ammon and his brethren, or rather by the power and word of God, they had been converted unto the Lord; and they had been brought down into the land of Zarahemla, and had ever since been protected by the Nephites. 11 And because of their oath they had been kept from taking up arms against their brethren; for they had taken an oath that theynever would shed blood more; and according to their oath they would have perished; yea, they would have suffered themselves to have fallen into the hands of their brethren, had it not been for the pity and the exceeding love which Ammon and his brethren had had for them. 13 But it came to pass that when they saw the danger, and the many afflictions and tribulations which the Nephites bore for them, they were moved with compassion and were desirous to take up arms in the defence of their country. 14 But behold, as they were about to take their weapons of war, they were overpowered by the persuasions of Helaman and his brethren, for they were about to break the oath which they had made. 15 And Helaman feared lest by so doing they should lose their souls; therefore all those who had entered into this covenant were compelled to behold their brethren wade through their afflictions, in their dangerous circumstances at this time. 16 But behold, it came to pass they had many sons, who had not entered into a covenant that they would not take their weapons of war to defend themselves against their enemies; therefore they did assemble themselves together at this time, as many as were able to take up arms, and they called themselves Nephites. 17 And they entered into a covenant to fight for the liberty of the Nephites, yea, to protect the land unto the laying down of their lives; yea, even they covenanted that they never would give up their liberty, but they would fight in all cases to protect the Nephites and themselves from bondage. 18 Now behold, there were two thousand of those young men, who entered into this covenant and took their weapons of war to defend their country."

I love you all! Thank you for all your prayers and love. 


sister allen

Monday, October 20, 2014

busy busy

Monday, October 13, 2014

just what I needed...

Dad, I can't believe that you counted and I only have 66 days left...ahh! 

We had interviews with President Marston this week and my love for him just grows stronger the more time I get to know him. I was so grateful to have that time to talk with him and to listen to his council. He stopped in the middle of our conversation and told me that he felt like he needed to tell me the following: "I just want to thank you for being an attractive sister missionary. Don't take this the wrong way. I just thank you for being someone the Lord and this church would be proud to send out and have represent them." It made my week! I am so grateful for inspired leaders who lead and guide this church. 

So I am sure that you saw me talking about Jesse Lewis' baptism on Facebook. I totally forgot to tell you about her last week! Jesse lives in Bella Vista, near Redding, and was being taught by the Palo Cedro Ward Sisters. Two weeks ago the Palo Cedro Sisters were transferred out of that ward, so they now just have one set of Elders. The sisters called us on transfer day and told us about Jesse and that they wanted us to take over teaching her. What a blessing it has been to teach Jesse! She is incredible! Her testimony is immovable and so strong in this gospel. Her husband is agnostic and neither of her two children are baptized, so she is now the first member in her family. Every single person around her has been asking what is so different about Jesse lately and she knows that this gospel has not just changed her on the inside, but also changed her countenance.   Jesse was a testimony to me that the Lord is preparing His children. He knows what they need and when they need it. Jesse met with missionaries in Oregon 12 years ago and then two months ago, the sisters knocked on her door and everything just clicked this time around. I feel so blessed to have been able to help Jesse on her journey and know she is going to do amazing things in this church.

Sister Ward called us this week and told us that her foster daughter, Chris, was coming to stay with her and might be interested in taking the lessons. We went over three times this week to teach her. Chris has been abused emotionally, verbally, physically, and sexually almost all her life. She is still struggling with abuse and addictions. As Chris sat there and cried to us about the things that she has to deal with, I felt so guided by the spirit as I told her about the Atonement. I asked her what she wanted for her life and testified that the only way that she can be truly happy forever is by embracing this gospel. I was able to share some of the experiences I have had in my life and how I never thought that I would make it through, but because of my Savior, I was able to overcome the heartbreak, pain, guilt and anger that I felt. My words were so guided as I expressed to her this importance. There is nothing that I love more to teach than about the Atonement. This is why I came out here, to be a witness for people that they can change their lives. It doesn't have to be how it currently is and anyone can become changed. Chris is leaving to go back home on Tuesday, but we are hoping that she takes the things that we were able to teach her and applies them into her life. Whether it be now or down the road, at least she knows that there is a way to get out of this cycle and there is a way to be made free through the Atonement. 

President Marston has asked us to focus more on having dinners with nonmembers and less actives. It is amazing to see that as we have been praying to have these opportunities, the ward is stepping up and allowing us to have them. We didn't have dinner on last Friday and so we decided to call a Less Active part member family who we always try to meet with, yet it never seems to work out. The mom immediately said that she would love to have us over and while we were there, we were able to really build a relationship we have been trying to for a while. We shared the new Mormon Message called "You Never Know" and the mom loved it! She asked us to share it on her Facebook wall and then she shared it on her page with all her nonmember "mom friends". So cool! Yesterday night we had dinner with the Sargaent's and they invited Sister Zitar, a less active woman we have been trying to get a hold of for weeks, over for dinner. We were able to discuss the sacrament and be very straight forward with her that we needed her at church. She needed to be there to take the sacrament. With her insomnia it is hard because her sleep schedule is reversed, but she committed to try and make it there this week. Every single night this week we are having dinner with a less active, part member family, or non member. It's going to be so awesome! We are praying that we will be able to find something for each of these individuals that will touch their heart and increase their faith in the Savior. 

I am so grateful for my time out here on my mission! There is literally nowhere else I would rather be. I know that I say that a lot, but I really mean it. As I have been reading through Alma the last few weeks, I am so grateful for the example that Ammon and Alma give us to follow as strong disciples of Christ. Alma 26 was such a strength to me this week. "...I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land [of the California Roseville Mission], for which I will praise his name forever." Everything I have been blessed to experience on my mission has been through the strength and power of God. Every miracle wrought has been because of Him. I am so grateful for a loving God who has allowed me to see His hand in my life. "Now when [my heart was] depressed, and [I was] about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted [me], and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the [people of California], and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." There have been times when I have wanted to just give up and go home, but the Lord has comforted me and been there for me through it all. I have been able to have success because the Lord was always there for me. I just wish I could express in words how much the Lord means to me and how much love I have for everyone that has supported me on this journey. I love this gospel! I love knowing the truth and sharing it.

I love and miss every single one of you! 


Sister Allen

Monday, October 6, 2014

spiritual questions receive spiritual answers.

Last Saturday night is when I found out that Jessica was going to the temple. P. Marston called me back late Tuesday night to let me know that I could go as long as I found someone to take me there and back. I prayed and prayed Tuesday and Wednesday that Heavenly Father would allow me to be there in the temple with Jessica, if it be his will. I messaged person after person on Wednesday and no one seemed to be free. That night I finally got desperate enough to post a fb status about it, as I'm sure you all saw. Literally ten minutes after posting the status, my prayers were answered and the Weavers, a recent convert family from my Chico Ward offered to drive me all the way back up to Anderson on their anniversary and the day they would be sealed! Talk about gracious. The temple was an amazing experience. As I sat there in the session waiting for it start, I just sat there thinking about how blessed I am to be where I am. I don't want to be anywhere but here. As I watched Jessica, I kept thinking to myself, "this is what it is all about. this is why you are doing what you are doing." It was a beautiful experience to see Jessica in her temple white and just a little over a year ago, she was sitting in baptism white. I love this work! There is nothing more fulfilling or worth our time than the work of The Lord. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father allowed me to be there for Jessica's special day! 

Friday morning we got to watch a special pre screening of "Meet the Mormons". The Missionary Department in Salt Lake sent us a DVD copy of the full length movie to the mission and the councilors in the mission presidency traveled around to each zone to show the film. I have got to tell you that it is AMAZING! I was so impressed with the movie! Go see it! It so worth it and don't forget to take your nonmember friends with you. :)

Was conference awesome or what? Honestly I can't believe that this will be the last conference I watch as a missionary. I got so emotional every time they prayed for the missionaries and our family and friends. Not much longer will that apply to me... Enough of that though, seriously one thing after another was testifying to my heart. We watched every single session with either a less active, recent convert, or investigator. Friday night we got a call from the Gifford family telling us that their daughter Jenalee (the same one who is best friends with taylor who just got baptized) had a non member friend staying the night and would be watching all four sessions of conference with them. We went over there Saturday morning, then watched the afternoon session with a returning less active Rochelle at Sister McArron's home. Rochelle has been a member for around 20 years, but hasn't come to church in a loooong time. She comes almost every week now and is working REALLY hard to try and quit smoking. Rochelle is hard of hearing, but thankfully we found a way to put captions on the TV and she was able to understand the whole afternoon session of conference. Her pen was to her notebook that entire time. She received so much inspiration which was a real  lessing, because she has a very hard time understanding things that go on in church and in our lessons because we just can't seem to talk loud enough. This was her first time ever watching conference and I think she's hooked. After conference on Saturday we went over to contact a less active that one of the members in our ward referred us to. Sister Taylor has been being visited by the  lders, but she has a house full of girls, so they have never been able to go in. Sister Taylor let us in immediately. She has three foster kids and a bunch of grandkids that she takes care of, so it was hard for her to get to church or even pay attention to general conference. I felt like I should offer to have us come over the next morning and said we would bring some conference bingo to help occupy the kids. The next morning the kids loved it and Sister Taylor was actually able to get something out of conference! The kids all kept asking why they hadn't gone to church in such a long time and I think the pressures on for Sister Taylor to get them to church! Sunday afternoon session was at the Whitmores. They fed us a huge lunch and we were able to help them realize how important the temple was. Ed admitted that he was nervous because he thinks he doesn't know enough yet, but we reassured him that the best place to go to learn is the temple! Anwyays, conference was seriously amazing! My favorite talks were by Elder Holland (of course), Tad R. Callister, and Elder Klebingat of the Seventy. Go watch them if you haven't already! Also, the talk by Elder Ballard about the "ship of Zion"....wasn't that one good? There were too many good talks! 

"Acknowledge and face your weaknesses, but don't be immobilized by them." -Klebingat
"I may not be my brothers keeper, but I am my brothers brother." -Holland 

This conference has helped me rededicate myself to be a little better and to stand strong in my beliefs. Reaffirm for yourselves that the gospel is true. Gain a testimony of Joseph Smith. You need a strong testimony of this gospel now more than ever. Remember that following the prophet will always be the right choice.

Here's a challenge for all of you. Do me a favor this week. Get on Facebook and share at least one thing you learned at General Conference. Every single one of you. Please. That's my only request!
I love you all! Don't forget to say your prayers. Especially morning prayers. Each of us needs that added spiritual protection before we step out into the world. I loved that suggestion from the apostles.

Have a good week! 


Sister Allen

Monday, September 1, 2014

An email from Sister Allen

continue in patience.

Happy Monday! 

Yesterday was one of the most uplifting sacrament meetings I have had on my mission. The talks were wonderful and the third hour lesson was amazing. As I was sitting thinking while the sacrament was being passed, I had many thoughts come into my head that reminded me how important and sacred that ordinance really is. My attention kept getting drawn away other places and I would say to myself "Im sorry Heavenly Father, I am trying to focus." and then my attention would be pulled somewhere else. I kept wondering to myself why it was so hard for me to pay attention to this sacred ordinance and praying to myself to know how I could be more attentive during it, and my answer came during the first speaker. Sister Schaefer got up and begins with "I would like to talk today about the importance of partaking of the sacrament..." I got the chills. It was an amazing talk! I'll share a few of the stories and things that she said. She said that she was in an institute class one time where they talked about the sacrament and it has stuck with her her whole life. Her institute teacher asked them to each sit quietly for 10 minutes and pray for the entire time, focusing on the Savior. She said that during the first 4 minutes it was pretty easy to stay focused, but then her mind started to wander on "did i lock my front door?", "did i remember to turn off the stove?", etc. She would find herself trying to refocus, but then someone would cough or a phone would go off and it became extremely hard to focus and then the time was quickly up. The teacher then asked them about their experience. Only a few of the students were able to stay focused the entire time. He related this to the sacrament. The sacrament takes about 10 minutes and we should be completely focused on the Savior. Nothing should draw our attention away from Him. He invited the students to try sitting with their eyes closed and relaxed the entire time, praying and remembering the reason they took the Sacrament. Can you be silent, stay focused, and remember Him for just 10 minutes? He remembers us always. 10 minutes is nothing compared to that. The sacrament is a time when we should have a personal interview with our father in heaven. If you dont have anything to say to him, bow your head and close your eyes anyway because other people may be having their personal interview with Him. Sister Schaefer also mentioned that it is important to stay focused on yourself and not other people and whether or not they take the sacrament. That choice is between them and the Savior. They can make it for themselves and they shouldn't be afraid to not take the sacrament. I wish I could share her whole talk with you. It was truly uplifting and exactly what I needed to hear.

We talked a lot about the Atonement in our third hour combined lesson yesterday and it was amazing! Sister Hoag, who I really look up to, gave an amazing lesson using Elder Bednar's talk "Bear Up Your Burdens With Ease". It was too good not to share. She started out by asking us what some of the burdens, trials, or hardships we face now a days in our families. People gave answers such as addictions, drugs, pornography, financial troubles, divorce, etc. Mosiah 24: 13-14 reads, "And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God; do visit my people in their afflictions." 

Sister Hoag shared this incredibly powerful and profound quote about the Atonement that had me in tears. It is a little intense, but it is made me so incredibly real for me. “Well, my dear [brothers and] sisters, the gospel is the good news that can free us from guilt. We know that Jesus experienced the totality of mortal existence in Gethsemane. It’s our faith that he experienced everything- absolutely everything. Sometimes we don’t think through the implications of that belief. We talk in great generalities about the sins of all humankind, about the suffering of the entire human family. But we don’t experience pain in generalities. We experience it individually. That means he knows what it felt like when your mother died of cancer- how it was for your mother, how it still is for you. He knows what it felt like to lose the student body election. He knows that moment when the brakes locked and the car started to skid. He experienced the slave ship sailing from Ghana toward Virginia. He experienced the gas chambers at Dachau. He experienced Napalm in Vietnam. He knows about drug addiction and alcoholism.
Let me go further. There is nothing you have experienced as a woman that he does not also know and recognize. On a profound level, he understands the hunger to hold your baby that sustains you through pregnancy. He understands both the physical pain of giving birth and the immense joy. He knows about PMS and cramps and menopause. He understands about rape and infertility and abortion. His last recorded words to his disciples were, “And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20) He understands your mother-pain when your five-year-old leaves for kindergarten, when a bully picks on your fifth-grader, when your daughter calls to say that the new baby has Down syndrome. He knows your mother-rage when a trusted babysitter sexually abuses your two-year-old, when someone gives your thirteen-year-old drugs, when someone seduces your seventeen-year-old. He knows the pain you live with when you come home to a quiet apartment where the only children are visitors, when you hear that your former husband and his new wife were sealed in the temple last week, when your fiftieth wedding anniversary rolls around and your husband has been dead for two years. He knows all that. He’s been there. He’s been lower than all that. He’s not waiting for us to be perfect. Perfect people don’t need a Savior. He came to save his people in their imperfections. He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes. He’s not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief."  (Chieko Okazaki, Lighten Up) 

Alma 7:11-12 then tells us all of the many things that Christ suffered for us. So we know that the Atonement is so great and most of us cant ever express in words how much it means to what prevents us from using the Atonement? Ego, pride, fear, anger, inadequacy, shame, judgement. Shame and guilt are two very different things. Guilt can be a tremendous motivator. With guilt you can hold up who we are against who we want to become and turn to the Savior. Most of us feel shame though. Shame is feeling "I am bad and will always be bad. There is nothing I can do about it." For women, shame usually stems from a web of un-achievable dreams. For men, shame usually comes from being weak. No change comes from shame. Guilt creates lasting change.  The antidote of shame is empathy. Empathy is what fuels connection. Rarely does an unmeaningful response make something better. A connection is what makes things better during a struggle. For example, instead of saying, "well thats too bad, that sounds hard." We say, "I don't know what you are going through, but you are not alone." The Savior is the one who can empathize completely and perfectly. He says, "me too. you are never alone." I was so grateful for this profound explanation about the Atonement. My testimony of the Atonement was strengthened immensely this week. I know my Savior suffered for all of my individual burdens, trials, and I know He suffered for all of yours. 

I read a talk this morning titled "Continue in Patience" by Elder Uchtdorf. There is a Mormon Message from this talk that I have watched more than a dozen times, yet I had never read the actual talk until today. I think we all understand patience differently, but most of us just think that it means to wait around for something or someone without complaining. This talk gave me a whole new perspective on patience that I love. So here are some of my notes from this morning of things that I loved. Patience is the ability to put our desires on hold for a time. Patience is a purifying process that refines understanding, deepens happiness, focuses action, and offers hope for peace. Patience is not something you can just obtain by asking for it, you have to work for it. It is an action word. It takes steady and consistent work-patient persistence-helps you learn. Patience is far more than just waiting. Patience requires actively working toward worthy goals and not getting discouraged when results dont appear instantly. Be patient with those you serve, they are imperfect, and like us, make mistakes. They, like us, want others to give them the benefit of the doubt. Never give up on anyone and never give up on yourself. Sometimes it is in the waiting rather than in the receiving when we grow the most. The promises of the Lord are not always swift, but they are always certain. So 1. courageously trust the Lords promises and His timing, 2. Act towares each other with the same paitence and compassion we seek for ourselves, and 3. continue in patience until we are perfected. Patience is something we can all obtain as we actively wait and endure well. 

Taylor was baptized on Saturday and it was a great day! Her dad was able to come and support her, which was truly a miracle. We had an incredibly spiritual lesson on Friday night as we talked to her about baptism and confirmation. She told us that she was very nervous and I had felt strongly all week that we needed to discuss why she was being baptized. Taylor had mentioned that her parents had asked her why and she couldn't give them a straight answer, so we wanted her to realize why it was so important. The spirit was so strong the entire time and by the end of the lesson, her nervousness was gone and she knew exactly why she wanted to be baptized. It felt like the right thing and there was nothing but good feelings that came to her when she really thought about it. It was an amazing day and I am so grateful for sweet sweet Taylor and the example she is. 

I can't remember if I told you all or not, but Sister Byrne finally got her visa to Brazil and left two weeks ago! I got an email from her this week and she is doing great! She had to go to the MTC in Brazil for two weeks before being sent out to the field again. She met Elder Holland and gets fed fresh mango juice, so sounds like she's going to be alright...

I am so grateful for my mission. This morning as I was thinking of the faith-building experiences I have had so far on my mission, I couldn't help but think that the Lord's timing was so perfect. I left on my mission at just the right time. If I would've left later or earlier, I could have missed out on so many experiences that I had and my mission would be completely different from what it is. I would not have had the companions I have had or served in the areas I have. It would a completely different experience, yet because I came when the Lord needed me to, I have had the most unique and uplifting experience I could have hoped for. I am so grateful that we have a loving Heavenly Father who guides our lives. He knows whats best. Patiently, actively wait and he will take care of everything.

I love this gospel. I am so grateful for all of you. Thank you for your love, support, encouragement, prayers, and kind words. You all mean so much to me! I can never ever express how incredibly grateful I am for this gospel and a loving God who has restored this gospel to the earth to be shared. 

Love you all with all my heart,


Sister Allen 

Monday, August 11, 2014

An email from Sister Allen


Its been a great week here in Anderson, California. Very hot. We have still been so busy and it has been such a blessing. We are racing around Anderson like chickens with our heads cut off. Its been a whirlwind.

Ashlee, our recent convert who was baptized back in April, turned 21 this week. Someone in the ward kindly suggested that we should throw a party for her at the church and she was set. Ashlee is super sweet.She is 21, but is at the mentality level of a 11-13 year old and has a rough family life. She is the only member in her family and has been passed around to different foster homes her whole life. Ashlee lives with her mom and step dad right now, but they dont really support her like she should. She hadnt had a birthday party in 5 years, so we were more than happy to put one together. It started out as just a small get together at the church, but ended up becoming a ward get together. We had karaoke (that ashlee was literally glued to the entire time...haha), a cotton candy machine, fun games, all sorts of super cute decorations, and a photo booth. A lot of the ward showed up to support her and it was "the best night of her life" she said. It felt really good to serve her in that way. The day of her birthday she ended up taking her parents out to Sonic to get an ice cream because they didnt have money, but she wanted a treat on her birthday. She is so sweet and deserved the party that we were able to pull together. It felt so good to do something good for her. She told us at the end of the night that she was so glad she could to spend this night with her "best friends", sister lyman and I. It was so sweet! 

Shay had a scary incident this week. We got a call on wednesday afternoon from Shay's daughter, Anna, telling us that Shay had been admitted into the hospital for a possible stroke. We called the Assistants to the President to get permission to go out of our zone to see Shay, but they didn't think it was a good idea. Sister Lyman and I both felt strongly that we needed to go, so we decided to call President Marston one more time to see if he would answer. He answered within a few rings and before we even had finished telling him the whole situation he said "Go, go. She needs you and that is most important." Sister Walker drove us up there and within fifteen minutes the relief society president and two other members of the ward were there in her hospital room. Shay ended up staying in the hospital until Friday night and they diagnosed her with Sarcadoisis (sp?). Her doctor told her that beginning from this time forward, she would have to quit smoking cigarettes, marijuana, no caffeine, etc. Basically the doctors order was to keep the Word of Wisdom. Shay has been cigarette and marijuana free for 6 days now. As I was thinking about this whole situation, I just kept thinking to myself that God did this to her for a reason. It made me think of the story of Alma the Younger's conversion in Alma 36. At the beginning of the story, Alma is going around doing things that are against the commandments. Denying the church, denying Christ and then the angel appears to him and he is struck dumb. This is the major turning point. He is out cold for a few days and is brought to the knowledge of Christ and is redeemed of his sins. After his conversion, Alma is so converted that he ends up bringing thousands of people to the church. He becomes a powerful missionary and passes on the gospel to generations of posterity. This story compares to Shay 100%. Pre-hospitalization, Shay was not making the best choices and breaking the word of wisdom, she was trying to do it all on her own. Hospitalization was a major eye opener for her. She realized that she needed to take care of herself more and needed to become fully committed to the gospel because she knows how true it is. Now, post-hospitalization, she is being the person that God needs her to be. Her will is more in line with His and she is willing to do anything to receive the blessings of the temple. She is the one who will help her grandkids gain a relationship with God and can pass on the gospel to the next generations of her family. Keep Shay in your prayers! She needs all the strength she can get. Smoking causes major withdrawals, but we are hoping that it will all pass through her system quickly. 

I think Heavenly Father made this weeks theme service. I learned a lot about service this week
and we were given so many opportunities to serve. I think that we sometimes only think of service as doing something for others. Usually someone in the community or the community as a whole. I was thinking about when I get home. I probably wont have the same constant opportunities to serve random strangers, less actives, or investigators all the time, but I realized that one of the most important places we can do service is in our homes. We learn in Mosiah 2:41 that when we are servings others, we are serving god. That being said, if we serve our families, we will make a more god like environment and our homes can become the next most sacred thing to the temple. We are told in the Bible Dictionary under temples that "only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness." Elder Rasband said in the most recent conference that "focusing on serving our brothers and sisters can guide us to make divine decisions in our daily lives and prepares us to value and love what the Lord loves."  Making divine decisions and becoming Godlike through service will create a celestial and sacred environment for our family relationships to be cultivated in. Remember, we are all going to be stuck together for eternity. :) Thats a long time, so you better learn to love these people! So next time mom or dad asks you to wash the dishes or clean your room, remember that life is so much better when we just serve one another. Just do it.

I love you all. I hit my 14 month mark tomorrow. Its really not cool how fast this is going by!

Dont forget to Pray and read your scriptures this week.


Sister Allen

Monday, July 28, 2014

glorious miracles

Happy Monday! 

This week was another full of tender mercies from The Lord. It's been so wonderful really. I love The Lord and what he is allowing me to experience out here. I feel so blessed to be in this area at this time.

Let me just tell you about the Whitmores. They are the part member family we picked up as investigators last week. Bro Whitmore nonmember. Sis Whitmore's semi active. Hey had us over on Wednesday afternoon and we were able to teach them the restoration. Sister Lyman and I taught so well together and the lesson just flowed. Brother Whitmore just sat there nodding his head, agreeing with everything we said. He testified himself of the truthfulness of Joseph Smith and
when we asked him to be baptized, he said "Yes, I'm going to get dunked by my grandson!" At the end of the lesson we asked him to say a prayer out loud and he told us that it was the first time he had ever prayed out loud in his life. Can you imagine living over half a century and never ever speaking to your Heavenly Father out loud? It was such a beautiful prayer and I was beaming the entire time. We also showed him how to get online to listen to the Book of Mormon and by the time we had gone over again on Friday, he had all sorts of questions about what he had read. Friday we taught them the Plan of Salvation. He loved every part of it and told us that he had never heard the story of Adam and Eve make so much sense. He knew there had to be a reason for their transgression. The Elders in the Redding 3rd ward, where there daughters attend, texted us over the weekend and told us that the family is so excited and looking forward to their dad's baptism! Brother and Sister Whitmore ended our lesson on Friday on the topic of being sealed in the temple. Sis Whitmore has been asking him for years to get baptized, so that they could be sealed and they made the decision together that they will be sealed in the temple together within the next year or so! How amazing is that? This whole situation seems too good to be true, but I just love it. Bro Whitmore is eager to have us over again. His heart has been so prepared to accept the gospel! 

Wednesday a member took us over to Burrito Bandito for dinner. After dinner Sister Lyman had a sudden craving for some frozen yogurt, so we went next door. We were the only ones in the store and when we got closer to the cash register, the girl at the front asked us if we were missionaries. We told her we were and then started asking her about her experience with missionaries. A bunch of her friends are in our ward and she met with the Elders about three years ago. She is 17 years old and attends a christian university in Redding. She told us that she is searching for truth. We were able to give her a Book of Mormon and after we explained to her what the Book of Mormon is, she told us to contact her anytime to meet! She told us that she thought the Book of Mormon had a totally different purpose, but after we told her what it really was, her interest was sparked. I know that we were supposed to be there to meet her and God doesn't produce accidents...or accidental froyo cravings. 

Saturday afternoon we went over to read with our investigator Laura and her less active, recent convert neighbor Sister Ward. After we read with them, we were driving back to the freeway when Sister Lyman had a feeling that we should go check on this less active woman named Sister Shepherd. We drove over to her house and before we were even to her driveway, we could see her outside in the 105 degree blazing sun trying to sweep up debris in front of her house. Sister Shepherd had literally just gotten out of the hospital the night before for some brain tests and was not supposed to be out there alone in the heat. We sent her inside for some water and to cool down and finished up sweeping in the front. I am so grateful that Sister Lyman listened to the spirit and followed that prompting because Sister Shepherd wouldv'e been in worse shape if we would have never gone over there. It was such a sweet miracle. God is looking out for his children! 

I am so grateful to have such a wonderful companion who is so in tune with the spirit. I learn so much from her example and I know that we were meant to serve here together. We are doing so much good work! And did I tell you about our lessons? Talk about some of the most spiritual and flowing ones I have had on my mission yet. The Lord is on our side!

We had interviews with President Marston this week and as much as I love the Marston's, I miss President and Sister Weston. He talked to me about the scripture in Ether 12:30 that talked about moving mountains with our faith. It reads, "For the brother of Jared said unto the mountain Zerin, Remove---and it was removed. And if he had not faith it would not have moved; wherefore thou workest after men have faith." P. Marston invited us to share this with those we teach and to have them pick one "mountain" in their life that was preventing them from reaching their full potential. Then we invite them to combine their faith with ours to move that mountain. Let us remember it only took a mustard seed of faith to move the mountain. Matthew 17:20 reads, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." Let us all identify a "mountain" in our path that may be in our way of reaching our fullest potential. I know that God will allow us to move the mountains in our lives if we just have faith and trust in Him. Even if it is just small faith, mustard seed faith. 

love you all! 

sister allen

Monday, July 14, 2014

An email from Sister Allen

i'm melttiinnnnnnnnng. p.s. sorry this is so short.
Hello everyone, I am loving Anderson! It has been so great already. We are so busy and there is so much work to be done! I love it and it is exactly what I have been hoping for. 

Holy moly, it is hot as heck out here! Its literally 106 degrees outside right now and going to be in the hundreds all week. Plus its more humid here than Utah, so its really just so incredibly hot. Im basically melting.

My new companion is Sister Lyman and she is seriously wonderful! We get along so well. She is from Payson, Utah and 22 years old. You can tell a difference between companions who are older and companions who are coming out with the age change at 19. We have a very similar background. Both less active for a while, parents divorced, and we enjoy a lot of the same things. It has been so awesome! She just gets me. We are able to relate so well with one another and our lessons have been BOMB.

A lot of the work here in Anderson is being done with Less Active's. Our ward list is decades long, but only a handful of them are active. It is so different than Chico wards which are huge. The ward barely fills up the chapel without the overflow. It was a bit shocking really. But there is a lot of promising work with the Less Actives. A lot of them will commit and come to church, our ward is just not that great at fellow-shipping, so its hard to keep them coming. Time for another ward makeover.

Anderson is a lot more humble. It reminds me of Yuba City, just more ghetto. Tuesday we were walking down Silver Street trying to contact a less active and there were these two thug boys in their 20s walking down the street. They saw us and one of them yelled out to me, "Hey, can I get your number?" And I yelled back, "Only if you want to talk about Jesus." He looked down with an "oh shoot." and we walked over to talk to them. One of the kids was hyped up on something and told us he wanted to be a famous rapper. He asked us if we could say a prayer with them and of course said yes. We stood there on the side of the road, holding hands, in a circle, and had Jojo pray for us. "Dear God, please help me be a famous rapper. I know I can be a famous rapper some day. And please bless my homie with a fat bag of week in his pocket by the end of the day. Amen." Yep, that happened. I thought I was going to bust up in the middle of his prayer. Welcome to Anderson, Sister Allen. Welcome to Anderson...

Shay is one of the less actives that we work with and I am determined to get Shay to the temple. Shay is gorgeous and is all tatted up. A lot of the older ladies at church have been pretty judgmental of her because of it, but Shay just keeps coming to church because she knows how important it is to be an example. She is raising her three grand kids right now because her daughter is on the streets and she is such an amazing person. Shay is our main focus right now and I can not even tell you how much I love her. She WILL go to the temple and both sister lyman and I will be there. 

We had four less actives this week tell us that they wanted to quit smoking. 2 of them showed up at the Addiction Recovery Program last night and it was so good for them. All of them have goals to get to the temple within the next year.
I love you all! I am so grateful for this opportunity I have to serve the Lord. I have felt very overwhelmed with gratitude to be out here learning and experiencing the things that I am. 

ps. im praying that sarah's mission call gets here this week!! woohoo!


Sister Allen

Monday, July 7, 2014

goodbye chico... hello anderson.

Whats up? I'm getting transfered.
We got transfer calls last night and I am being transfered to Anderson! I for sure thought that I was getting transfered down south to Antelope, but looks like Heavenly Father had somewhere else in mind. Anderson is up north and I live on a street called "Shady Lane", so that gives you a quick idea of what its going to be like. hah. I am really not ready to leave Chico. I guess I really haven't been ready for any of the transfers I've had, but I always feel like I am going to leave. I am excited for another new area and all that I am going to learn here. Who knows? this might be my last area. I only have 4-6 week transfers left on my mission and so it is more than likely that I could end my mission in Anderson!
This week I had an overwhelming desire to share the gospel with everyone that we passed. I just really felt strongly that I needed to give everyone an invitation to hear the gospel. Tuesday morning we were out visiting some less active members. We were getting back in to the car, but I felt really uneasy and knew that is not where we needed to be going. I told Sister Curtis that we should go and knock a couple of doors. We ended up having two awesome conversations with two different people. One YSA who was super interested in coming to activities and a woman named Dorhonda. We have a return appointment with her tomorrow (that im missing) and I can't wait to hear how it goes. Everything that she was saying was exactly what we believe. She is so great! I just think to myself, what if we wouldn't have knocked on those doors? those two people would have never had the invitation to hear the gospel. Invite, invite, invite!
A couple of weeks ago I told a story about meeting the Watson family. They are a part member family. The wife is a less active member and the husband and 21 year old son are not members. We have had a really hard time finding a time to meet with them, as they kept canceling our appointments. We finally were able to get ahold of them on Thursday night and had a really awesome conversation with both the dad and son. The dad told us that his son had been asking and asking if he could go to church. We invited them to come to church on Sunday and they said that they might be able to make it. We reminded them again on Saturday night and they both showed up to church. Brother Watson literally LOVED church. He was so impressed by everything. It was his first time at church and he called us afterwards. He left us a voicemail saying how grateful he was that we invited him to church and how amazing it was. We recieved another call this morning from Sister Watson, she wants us to come over tomorrow to start doing "home studies" (as she calls them) with her family! How much of a miracle could we ask for! I'm sad this is happening as I am leaving, but so excited to see what will come of it! This family is so ready to be members of this church.
Monday afternoon, President and Sister Marston arrived to our mission. We were able to meet them Friday at our Missionary Leadership Council and I already love them. They talked about "Begin with the End in Mind." We are focusing on the end goal, which is to get people to the temple to take out thier endowments. President Marston really stressed the principle of Enduring to the End. We all need to understand that when we are baptized, we are commiting to serve the Lord all of our days. Baptism is the entrance on to the path, but enduring is how we stay on the path back to God. Just as D&C 20:37 says, we must have a "determination to serve him to the end." Are you determined to serve God to the very end? Are you doing all you can to be committed to your covenants? If not, change. Do what you need to do to live up to your covenants you have made.
I am so grateful for the time I have had to serve in Chico. I know that this is exactly where the Lord needed me at this time. I have learned so much about myself. I have an even stronger testimony and know what kind of person I want to be. I have loved every second here in Chico. It wasn't easy here, but I wouldn't change anything about my time spent here.
I love you all! Sorry this is short. I have so much to get done before tomorrow morning.
Sister Allen 

Monday, June 16, 2014

An email from Sister Allen

Heyooo. Happy 12 months to me! 

I hit my year mark this week! 6 months from today I will be home! December 16th. Time is unreal. It is flying by. Thursday we went with Daydre, our favorite person in the YSA ward, and got some frozen yogurt at Jon and Bons, a local favorite. 

I know I've said this before, but Sherry and Michael are looking good for this Saturday! All of the kinks have been worked out and if everything goes as planned, Saturday will be the big day. PRAY for them. Saturday night we got a text from Sherry telling us that not only would her, Michael, and Emily be joining us at church, but also her ex husband Troy. It went about as well as we could have hoped. I ended up teaching him the whole restoration on my own after sacrament meeting in the pews. I saw Sister Curtis look over and there I was just rolling out the first vision. I wanted him to know what this church is really about and that it is a good thing for Michael. He seemed to like it, but still has some misconceptions. He'll just have to get over it, because Michael is getting baptiiizzeddd! 

Last night we were over at Margo's house. She is our new investigator that has a baptism date for July 19th. Her fiancé is named Sunny and is a total gangster/skater guy...but he's 50. Ex tattoo artist, soul patch on his bottom lip, shaved head, walks like a thug, yet skinny as a twig. I love it. They're all talking about their wedding and hanging out at the local park with their homeless friends who they pray with. We are going to the park Thursday to meet up with them and their
"crew". That's literally what she calls it...."my crew". You would think Margo is a little under the influence because she has a slur/southern accent. Plus her eyes are half closed a bunch of the
time due to a seizure problem. But I am literally obsessed with her. She just loves Jesus. She
loves mormons and has wanted to be one for years. She came to church today and thinks this is the best ward she has been to. Oh, and I can't forget that they have a hawk living in the spare bedroom. Yes, a hawk.

Sister Curtis and I are pleading with the Lord to find new people to teach. Every time we get out of the car, we have made a goal to not get back into the car until we find one person to talk to. Friday night we went to contact a referral. Sadly the referral wasn't home. Sister Curtis started walking back towards the car and just as she was hitting the unlock button on the keys, I remembered that we needed to find someone to talk to before we even thought about getting back in that car. We walked down one of the driveways and knocked on the first door we saw. The screen was open and a man named Chris came to the door. He was shirtless and across his chest was a big tattoo that said, "Disciple". We talked to him for a while and taught him a snippit of the Restoration as his dog was peeing on Sister Curtis' foot...haha. He is super awesome and has three kids. We asked him if we could come back and he was totally open to us coming around again. I know that because we have committed to Heavenly Father that we are going to talk to someone every time we get out of the car, that he will bless us with someone to find. I am so grateful that we followed the spirit and were able to talk with Chris.

Every second week of the month we have zone meeting. The Zone Leaders and us prepare topics on a certain subject from Missionary Leadership Council. This week we had the topic of Faith Filled Finding. We found this awesome story in Alma 31 that was a great story of faith! This is when Alma and his brethren are going to convert the Apostate Zoramites. The Zoramites are really wicked, prideful people.They deny Christ and only pray to God when they are up on their Rameumptom. Alma is so distraught because of the wickedness of these people and PLEADS with God for strength to convert them. Alma 31:34-38 reads"O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ. Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee. Now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words, that he clapped his hands upon all them who were with him. And behold, as he clapped his hands upon them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. And after that they did separate themselves one from another, taking no thought for themselves what they should eat, or what they should drink, or what they should put on. And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith." I feel like Alma. I recognize the worldly ways of the people here in Chico and know that if I plead enough with the Lord that anything is possible. 

"Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some dont come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come." -Elder Holland

"Miracles are to build your faith, not for your faith to be built upon." -Sister Curtis

Love you all! Have a great week. :)


Sister Allen

ps. shout out to Ciera who is hopefully getting her mission call this week!! Woohooo!! ill keep my eyes peeled on Facebook for the big announcement. :)