Monday, February 24, 2014

Email from Sister Allen

what an uplifting week.

Hello everybody. Still no word on Sister Byrnes visa and the six week
transfer ends this week, so she might be here for another six weeks.

Gerald made it! He made it in to the water this week. It was really a
great /unique experience. I guess it had been a while since brother
Stoddard had baptized  someone and so he kinda did it
backwards...after two attempts and five priesthood brethren trying to
turn him around the right way, they just let him baptize the way he
was doing it. It was a bit hilarious and every time I think about it,
I cry from laughing so hard. But what matters is that Gerald was
baptized by a worthy priesthood holder. It doesn't matter which way
you stand, as long as that right hand is up, and those sacred words
are said correctly, you're good. I'll have to give you all the whole
story in about 10 months. It definitely was one to remember. Gerald is
so happy though. He came back to his seat beaming with a huge smile on
his face after receiving the Holy Ghost and feels great!

Sister Byrne and I attended the temple this week. What an awesome
experience that was! I feel so blessed to even have the opportunity to
go to the temple while on my mission. I realized Thursday how special
it is to be a missionary, set apart, and able to go to the temple. The
spirit is just so strong. I went to the temple with two questions this
week and received answers to both. The first being "what I could do to
help hasten the work more in our area?" As I prayed, I heard a clear
voice in my mind saying "keep doing what you are doing". Definitely
wasn't the answer I was looking for, haha. But I have listened and
decided to just keep going out there, working hard, knocking doors,
and something will happen in His time.

After the baptism on Saturday we went tracting around the trailer
park. We didn't get to finish it the last time, so we went back to
knock the rest of the trailers. The first door we knocked, we met a
man named Adam. He is training to be a firefighter and has a wife and
5year old daughter. He said he had talked to other missionaries before
and invited us to come back next Wednesday to discuss the Book of
Mormon. We gave him a copy and invited him to read from it before we
come back. New investigator number one! The second trailer we knocked
on, this super nice man named Tom answered. He said that he didn't
have time to talk with us right now, but that Tuesday we could come
back and talk with him and his wife. As we left he told us that him
and his wife have been "looking for a new church to attend". What!? We
just might know where a church is....hah. New investigator number two.
After the trailer park, we didn't have much time before our dinner
appointment, so we decided to quickly try and contact Sunny who is one
of our referrals. She wasn't home sadly, but we looked down the road
and there was one of the former investigators we have been trying to
contact. Nancy is this sweet older woman who just loves the
missionaries. She was outside with a woman (who we later found out was
Sunny) and we were able to talk with both of them about what we do as
missionaries and our daily schedule. They thought it was pretty
interesting and Nancy invited us back on Wednesday night for a lesson.
New investigator number three!! We are so excited to go back and feel
really good about this opportunity. Just like Heavenly Father told me
"keep doing what you're doing", we have seen miracles! Hard work,
diligence, and persistence pay off.

We had an amazing zone conference up in Auburn on Wednesday with
President Weston and 60 of the other local missionaries. The
conference really helped me get a spiritual reboot and I feel even
more desire to do my part in this part of the Lords vineyard to share
the gospel. We talked a lot about recommitting ourselves and that it's
not bad to be a "cookie cutter" missionary. Heavenly Father wants us
to succeed and be exactly obedient. I left that meeting with the
desire to recommit myself to my mission. To recommit myself to let His
will be done. I trust that Heavenly Father knows what he's doing and
that he will help me have the best, most effective mission possible.
"Thy will be done"

The meeting on Wednesday also helped me realize how important it is
for me to seriously take on the challenge of talking to 20 people a
day about the gospel. This has been one of the things I have struggled
with most on my mission. Just stopping random people on the street and
having a gospel discussion, but I know that it must be done in order
to double our baptisms. I have been praying and praying that Heavenly
Father will help me open my mouth and that I will just be confident.
We were walking down Sunknoll Dr. and we had reached the end of the
street. There was a man in his garage running on the treadmill with
his music blasting. The first time we walked by, he waved and said
something like, "not interested. running." So we walked on. Then I
just told myself, "you know what sister allen, you just gotta do it.
who cares if he's running? That is not a good enough excuse to not
have an eternal family or happiness from the gospel." So I turned
right back around, walked right up that mans driveway with a pass
along card in my hand, and yelling over the loud music said, "hi, I
know you're running. But we're the sister missionaries from the church
of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Here's our number. We love to
serve and share messages about Christ that could really strengthen
you." He took the card, kept on running, and I walked away. Seed
planted. Mission accomplished. Well sorta, I could have been more
persistent, but I was just proud of myself for getting up there and
talking to him. Haha. It'll get better with more practice. The secret
to talking to people....there is none. You JUST DO IT. After that
experience I feel even more pumped up and courageous to stop anyone
and share the gospel. It's been a great feeling.

I was reading in the end of Helamen this morning and thought of the
following three points:

1. If the nephites and Lamanites were never warned or prophecies to
about the coming of Christ, then they would all have no hope. They
would have had no real purpose to life or anything to look forward to.
God loved them and wanted them to know they could be with him again
too. It just makes sense that Christ would also come to the Americas.

2. Helamen 15 v. 15-17---The Nephites have been warned, they know how
to repent and what they need to prosper, yet they don't do it. Remind
me of less actives...They know the truth and still have their
testimonies, but don't allow themselves to progress. What a sad day
that will be when they stand in front of God and he says "I gave you
everything to succeed and you did nothing with it. I gave you so many
chances. I sent the missionaries to your house this many times. I gave
you all these reasons to come back and you didn't. Because of your
choices and your decisions, I'm sorry but, you don't get to be with
me. " Talk about eternity filled with regret! Why do people do that to
themselves? Pride!!

3. Helamen 16:23 --No matter how many times/chances God gives them to
believe, they still don't but he never stops giving them the chance.
They could believe all that you tell them, but Satan will get them
hung up on one little thing that doesn't matter. He is so deceiving
and cunning. People don't realize how much is at stake with the
decisions we make. An eternity is a long time.

I hope that everyone is doing well this week!! I love you all.

Thanks always for the continuous love and support. I have grown so
much this week!!

Love you long time,

Sister allen

Sent from my iPad

Monday, February 10, 2014

Love Week!

We had a great week and it seems like last monday was 10 years ago. It's amazing at all you can accomplish in one week. Crazy. 

Happy Valentines everybody! Valentines day is one of my most favorite holidays and it's all about LOVE. I decided to focus my studies this morning on love and found some really great things that I wanted to share with everyone. 

Love is deep devotion, concern, and affection.
We read in Matthew 22:35-40 that the "first and great commandment" is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. The second commandment is to "love thy neighbor as thyself". This becomes easier as we remember that EVERY person is a child of god. 
John 15:9-15 reads, "...continue ye in my love." 
                                 "If ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love..." 
                                 v.13 shows us that Christ has the greatest love for us because he payed           
                                 down his life for us. Because of this, he knows each of us perfectly and               
                                 loves us all. We are never alone. 
                                 V. 14-15 tells us that we are Christ's friends 
THE greatest chapter of LOVE. 1John 4:7-21
   " is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of god, and knoweth God."
   "If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another..." 
   "If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us."
   "...he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."
                        "WE LOVE HIM, BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US."
    Verse 20 is one of my favorites. We must love our brother so that we can love God. 
John 13:34-35 ----> People will recognize us as disciples of Christ if we love one another. 
                         "LOVE ONE ANOTHER; AS I HAVE LOVED YOU."
I hope that each of us can develop more love for our Savior, God, and fellow men this week. Valentines day is a day to be filled with Love and what a better reminder to show more love to all those around us. I know that as we love one another, we will grow closer to God. Because God IS Love! 

This week we tracted around the sketchy trailer park in Loomis. It's really not that sketchy, compared to what I saw in yuba city. Haha. We feel like we could have a lot of success there because those people are in more humbling situations, and it's always the more humble people that will listen to us. We met a lot of interesting people, found a less active member who we don't have membership records for, and met the hummingbird whisperer, Madeleine.

We had two amazing lessons with Gerald this week. About 6 weeks ago, when sister Byrne first got here, we taught Gerald about the law of tithing. He had a hard time with that concept and didn't feel like he could pay because his money was so tight. Because he didn't fully commit to paying tithing, we decided to give it another go with him this week. Our lesson on Friday focused on the talk 'The Windows of Heaven' by Elder Bednar from last conference. We were expecting another rejection from Gerald, but at the end of the lesson when I asked him if he would keep the law of tithing, he said Yes! He then went on to explain that he understands why tithing is important and shows our obedience, but he also thought it involved much more of a commitment to God. Uhh...what? Talk about a change of heart. He is all willing and it's awesome. At the end of the lesson, we asked Gerald to say the closing prayer. Gerald compares his conversion to "falling off the edge". When he "falls off the edge", he will be all in and converted. In his prayer, he told Heavenly Father that he had "one foot off the edge" and that he believes in the Book of Mormon and the prophet Joseph smith. That was the first time he has ever said that he believes. It was amazing! He is so there and so excited for the 22nd.

We have experienced a real miracle this weekend, as we received around 5 inches of rain in 24 hours, plus more when you total up the rain fall for the whole weekend. Our prayers and fasting have been answered. It was amazing to hear members tell us at the beginning of the week that the forecast was going to be in the 70s and as the days went on, the forecast changed to stormy all weekend. It's amazing to see The Lord answering so many prayers. Sister Byrne and I enjoyed the rain so much. We forgot to grab the mail on Saturday night and instead of driving the car back up to the top of the street, I suggested we spontaneously run all the way up there in the rain. So fun. We were DRENCHED by the time we got back to the house.

We were able to finally meet with Dacoda this week. We brought the Elders over the YSA ward along, so that he could feel more comfortable about going to the YSA ward. He is doing well and has committed to pray about March 1st for baptism. Praying and hoping that he will get an answer soon. Elder Austin and I agreed that we think Dacoda already has an answer that this is where he needs to be, he's just scared to act on it. He's scared that he won't be able to live up to the standards...he is so full of faith and real intent, that he has nothing to worry about. Hopefully he will start being serious about meeting with us because he is so much more ready than he knows. 

Thank you for the valentine package! I loved it! And thanks to Andrew for bringing it out to me. Gotta love packages. Ya'll are the best of the best!! 

I hope that everyone has an awesome week. Enjoy valentines day. Love everybody. Make sure those closest to you know you love them, don't just assume they know. Tell them! 

Sister Allen

Monday, February 3, 2014

February 3rd! Happy Birthday GracieLou!

 First off, HAPPY 14th BIRTHDAY to the spunkiest redhead around!! Love
you grace!

Good news, Gerald is still on date for February 22nd. He is feeling
good about it all and I think he is really going to follow through
with it. He came with us to a baptism on Saturday afternoon and seemed
to enjoy it. It's funny how much more happy and sarcastic he seems
now. It's like his happy switch turned itself on. You can really
notice a difference in his demeanor. The spirit is working with him.

We had a wonderful stake conference this weekend. President Perez is
one of the best stake presidents I have ever had the chance to be
around. Everything he says is so soft spoken, but filled with power
and the spirit. We were blessed to have Elder Acosta, from the
seventy, here as well and you can not deny the fact that he is truly a
man called of God. It was an interesting, uplifting, and spirit filled
conference. We also had all four of our progressing investigators
attend with us! Patsy, Gerald, tony, and Dacoda!! They all really
enjoyed stake conference and it was so awesome to see all of them take
the time to be there. Yesterday was also the state wide fast for rain.
Thousands and thousands of people yesterday joined together in
diligent fast and prayer for the precipitation we so desperately need.
We received little rain yesterday and know that as long as we keep the
faith, Heavenly Father will answer our prayers and bless us with what
we need.

We found one new investigator this week and were able to contact some
of the referrals that we have tried to get ahold of for weeks. They
were finally home and all said that we can come back anytime to see
them, which is a good step in the right direction.

Well, I did something this week that I never had before. I pierced my
companions ears. Yep. We brought the supplies from Walmart and she let
me pierce them for her. Right in our bathroom. Sister Thomson, who we
live with, was not too convinced that this was a good idea. But we did
it anyway...and they actually turned out really good. Everyone keeps
telling sister Byrne that they are impressed with how straight and
even they are. Yeah, that's right. So, I mean, holler at me if you
need your ears pierced.

This week I decided to complete the Christlike Attribute Activity in
preach my gospel. It was such a good reminder of where I need to focus
on improving and how I can become who God wants me to be. I would
invite you all to do the activity individually or as a family. I
promise that it will strengthen you and help you know where we can do
better. There is always room for us to improve. It is found on page
126 in preach my gospel. Let me know how you all like it and if it's
helpful to you. :)

I hope that everyone has a great week! I love my mission and love all of you.

Love always,

Sister Allen

Sent from my iPad