Monday, March 31, 2014

An email from Sister Allen

Hello Everyone! Hope you all had a great week! Here we go into April. Only one month and 11 days until we Skype again. How is it already time for that?! Craziness.

First off, we had tornado warnings galore the last couple of days! Luckily, Sister Housley being from Kansas knew that it wasn't that big of a deal. I guess they go through these kinds of warnings all the time in Kansas...everyone here was making it a big deal though. We are safe and the actual tornado was north of us and never touched the we are all safe and sound! 

Sherry has progressed LEAPS and BOUNDS this week. On Tuesday we taught her the word of wisdom. She was a little hesitant at first when she found out that she was going to have to give up not only smoking, but her coffee as well. But as we went on through the lesson, it made more and more sense to her. She was really okay about getting rid of the coffee. She even had Brother Lugo take her coffee machine and coffee grinds with him, so that she couldn't even have access to it. Her cigarettes were what she wanted to keep. She only had 7 left at the time and said that she would just smoke the last 7 and be done. But then suddenly she hopped up from the table during the middle of our lesson, walked in to her room, grabbed the pack of cigarettes and threw them at Brother Lugo. She was ALL in! Woot Woot! We offered her the option of a priesthood blessing and she told us that she wanted to test out her self control for a couple days and then would get back to us. Wednesday she had no coffee and snuck one cigarette from her neighbor. Pretty good. Thursday was a little bit harder for her and she called us that morning saying that she had texted Brother Lugo and had asked for a priesthood blessing. How cool that she took the initiative and asked for one by herself. The blessing went really well and she is still going strong! Her, Michael, Emily, and Jesus were all able to make it to church yesterday. I was a little nervous at first because the meeting had started and there was no sign of them. I sat there pleading with the Lord that they would show up. I turned around one last time before the opening song and they were walking in the door. Luckily I brought a bunch of books for Emily to play with or we would have had a disaster. She's a little crazy for a four year old, but we love them. We also discussed the law of chastity with Sherry. The elders came over and talked about it with Jesus...and they have both committed to living it. 

The General Women's Meeting was wonderful! Conference and meetings like these are so much more special as a missionary and I take advantage of this sacred time to listen to our leaders speak! If you haven't watched it yet, you can find it online here:

The following are a couple of my favorite points from Women's Conference:
  • Covenant keeping protects, blesses, and empowers
  • Feelings of inadequacy fade when we keep our covenants
  • FIRMLY PLANT your feet on the path to eternal life.
  • Together with God, we are unstoppable
  • "Be one. And if ye are not one, ye are not mine"
  • Stop pointing out differences and focus on our strengths, so we can all reach our potential
  • Love each other BETTER
  • The best way to have a successful home is to keep covenants with others and the Lord
  • Heavenly Father SMILES when we help someone to or through the covenant keeping path. 
  • He will provide the help we need to move others and ourselves back to live with Him.
My own thoughts from the conference: I will not let my posterity lose what I have come so far to gain. I am one of the favored few who knows the covenants we need to make in this life in order to qualify for the highest degree of the celestial kingdom. That is why it is our responsibility to share that with other sons and daughters of God, who dont know. 

I hope all of you are doing some preparation for General Conference this weekend. I love general conference so much! It is always such an uplifting experience. How lucky we are to have a living prophet on the earth today to lead and guide our church. I am grateful that through him we can know God's purpose and will. He knows whats best and through revelation, the prophet can relay that message to us. What an amazing blessing that is! I hope you all prepare by thinking of a few questions that you desire answers to. Prayerfully ask Heavenly Father to prepare you to be uplifted for general conference and He will make sure it is a good experience. One suggestion I have is to read over the following talk by Elder Hales from last conference. He talks all about the blessings that we can receive by preparing ourselves to be spiritually fed at conference. I hope you all take the time to read it. I know that it will change this weekend for you. Here is a link to that talk:

Can't wait to hear all about your conference experiences/favorite talks! 

Friday we had a really good lesson with our investigator in the YSA ward, Tara. She had a baptismal date and everything for December and then the day of her baptism, her mom freaked out and wouldn't let her get baptized. Tara hasn't been to church since then, but finally came yesterday. She went home for spring break and said that her mom would mention things like "you better not join that church!", but then a couple hours later would say things like "maybe it would be good for you to join a church". She is getting all sorts of mixed signals from her mom. Tara still has the desire to be baptized though and we will keep working with her until that point. We invited her to challenge her mom to get online and just chat with missionaries. It would be a very non threatening way for her mom to learn about the church and that we aren't a "cult" like she thinks we are. (I do not understand why people think that about us, honestly. Satan!) She is going to invite her mom to do that this week and we think that it could really be a turning point in this whole situation with Tara. 

I had a really good experience on Thursday night at an activity we did with the YSA called "Splits Night". A bunch of the YSA meet up at the institute and get a list of less-active YSA to go visit. We go out in groups of 3 or 4 and spend the next hour and a half visiting the people on our list. I went out with the relief society president, Melody, and we visited this boy named Josue. Sister Housley and I tried to contact Josue the first day that I got to Chico and he wasn't home. He was actually home thursday night and we were able to get in his house and have a really good conversation. He had been doing really well with coming to church before Christmas break and then since then hasn't really been coming at all. We began talking with him and asked why he hadn't been coming to church. He said things like "i've been busy" or "i dont have a ride", etc. Excuses that we hear from most of the YSA's. I could tell there was something more and started telling him that there was a time when I was up at school that I didn't attend church regularly. I wasn't making the best decisions and wasn't making church a priority at all. I made everything else first priority and soon realized that I wasn't happy that way. I told him that by the point I realized that I didn't feel very  comfortable going back. Long story short, Josue has some issues that are making him feel unworthy and unable to attend church. I was able to really connect with him and be a first hand witness that the Atonement is for everyone. That no matter how far gone you think you are, He will always be there reaching out. Josue and I really connected and hopefully we will start seeing some progress with his attendance. I challenged him to start the repentance process now. Do it now and do not wait. It doesn't get any easier, the longer you wait. So just face it and get it over with. I am grateful for the experiences I had in my life that allowed me to connect with Josue. I feel like most of the less-active YSA's feel the same way Josue does. Unworthy or undeserving of the love God has for them because of some mistakes they have made. There are a lot of YSA who desire to come back, but just don't know how or think they can because of their situation. But I promise that there is a way back and that the Atonement is real. It can mend and heal any mistake we have made. I know that to be true with all my heart.
A couple weeks ago we contacted a woman named Melinda. She is super awesome and could actually be a very cointributing member. She is normal, super sweet, has a lot of faith and is pretty dang normal.I think I may have told you all a little about her in one of my last emails. Anyways, she is a former investigator that we picked up as a new investigator again. Sister Housley went over there on exchanges and had a really good lesson with her about the Book of Mormon. They left her with a copy and an invitation to read. We have invited the ward to pray for Melinda specifically and to pray that she will have a desire to read the Book of Mormon. AND our prayers have been answered!! We went over on Saturday to set up an appointment to see her and when we asked if she had read she told us "I read it every night before I go to bed. I am only about 20 or 30 pages in!" WHAT?! We were so pumped that she had actually read. Prayers are answered. God loves all his children. We are going back this week to read with her and I can hardly wait! 

We received a new bishopric yesterday and we are soooo happy! The Lord knew what he was doing when he chose these men. We know the work is reallllllly going to start to move forward. The bishop is a convert of about 30+ years. He knows exactly how important it is that we are hastening the work. Thank goodness. This is exactly what we need! Prepare for salvation, Chico! 

I love you all! I hope you enjoy your week,enjoy conference, and that life treats you well. 

Stay Sweet. Pray Always. Give God Gratitude. Love you long time. Miss you like crazy!

love always,

Sister Allen

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24th.

Things are starting to really change here in Chico. Change is what
this place needs and change is what we've been praying for! This area
has so much potential to be one of the most thriving areas in the
mission and we are ready to get that started.

The wards we have here in Chico are a lot different than the ones that
I have had in the past. In my previous wards we have had no problem in
getting them involved with missionary work. When we bring
investigators, they were making sure they were taken care of, really
reaching out, and so eager to help. The family ward here is struggling
in that aspect and so we have been diligently praying for ways to best
work with the Elders to help our ward.

It's funny, because as much as I sometimes complained about not being
as busy as I would have liked in Loomis, all the work we did with the
Loomis 3rd ward has really prepared me to know how to help this ward.
All of the time we spent in the members homes, playing the referral
game, practice teaching the doctrine, etc. has really helped me have
some good ideas of how to really help this ward here. Someone told me
in my first area that I should be very grateful to serve in good wards
because sometime along the length of my mission I would probably be in
a ward that needed my knowledge of a well run ward council and good
missionary support. Now my time is here. Don't get me wrong the Chico
2nd ward is super awesome, but there are just some things they need to
work on to get the missionary work rolling. The Lord needs to really
be able to trust our members with retention...and as missionaries
that's what we are here to help them learn how to do!

Yesterday in sacrament meeting they announced that we will be
receiving a new bishopric this next week! Although the current Bishop
is great, he has been in for about six years now and so it is time for
a fresh face. The ward needs someone who can really be a good example
of reaching out to less actives, investigators, and doing member
missionary work. Sister Housley and I both feel like this change is
going to be for the good. We are working hard to know what we should
do to help the word get most involved in the work of salvation.

Monday afternoon we went on a hike with all the sisters in the Chico Zone. We went to the infamous Monkey Face in upper Bidwell Park. Bidwell Park is one of the largest city parks in the world, just FYI. That morning in studies, Sister Housley said a prayer asking Heavenly Father for an unplanned opportunity to share the gospel. As we were walking over to the Monkey Face, there was a woman sitting on the bench. She asked us if we were all on a cross country team and I told her that we were all missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She was astounded and started crying. She went around to each of us twice giving us big hugs and said that we were an answer from God. We said a prayer with her and she asked us to come and visit her. The sisters whose area she lives in, were able to get her information and hopefully something will come of it. Always keep your eyes out for opportunities that come your way to share the gospel! You never know who the Lord needs you to bless.

I went on my first set of exchanges with Sisters this week and they
were not as bad as I thought they would be. Tuesday I went with Sister
Vakapuna in the Chico 3rd and 4th wards. Sister Vakapuna and Sister
Phelps actually live with us, so it was really easy to exchange with
them. These sisters are in a bike area, so i was cruising around on my
bike all day. (Sister Housley and I are spoiled with a brand new 2014
Toyota Corolla. Its ridiculous.) I learned some devastating news about
myself on Tuesday, I am more out of shape then I thought it was. Its
official. My body can barely take a day of biking. Ugh, working out
for 30 minutes in the morning is definitely not enough to keep you in
shape. Thats for sure. We exchanged with the Paradise Sisters on
Thursday. I was up in Paradise, this tiny forest town, with Sister
Matchett. We spent the day doing lots of service for the members and
trying to find our way around the tiny, bumpy roads. Its weird to me
that only 30 minutes up the road from Chico, it can look so different.
They even get snow up there! We have another set of exchanges tomorrow
with the Durham Sisters and then one more for next week with the
Willows Sisters...then we will be finished, unless any of the
companionships start having issues. They seem pretty good for now! I
like exchanges a lot because I can learn from different teaching
styles, learn new ways of doing things, and hopefully be an example to the sisters i'm with. I am grateful for the opportunity.

Wednesday we had three member present lessons in a row! Which is
pretty awesome! One right after the other. We were in our "golden"
mobile home park from 2:30-6:30pm. First we had an hour and a half
lesson with Tracy, Tammy, and Nancy talking about the will of God. We
walked right across the street and popped in for a quick lesson with
Sherry. As i have said before, Sherry is a firecracker and lives life
at a fast pace, yet we LOVE her so much. After she stopped talking a
mile a minute, we got to read 2 Nephi 31 with her. Then we walked down
the street to Ken and Bobby's for our first lesson with them. (Ken is
the new investigator and Bobby is a less active member that we found
last week.) We started teaching the plan of salvation, but slowly
moved in to teaching the Restoration. Ken's wife Jan, who supposedly
was against the church after attending for one year when she was 13,
walked up and we were able to solve her concerns and invite her to
church too! They have a houseful of people who are ready and willing
to hear the gospel. Miracle time: Bobby came to church yesterday! He
said that he was feeling pretty nervous, but stayed all three hours. I
hope he continues to come. The gospel is what he needs and it will
change his life. He is a very shy person and i think we will slowly
see him come out of his shell as he finds good friends in the ward.
Things are starting to move along!

Linda, one of our investigators in the family ward, has been making
some real progress this past week. She had polio as a child and still
suffers from some of the effects from it. This causes her to have a
more difficult time getting to church every week. Yesterday after
church, we were able to have a lesson with her. It went well and at
the end we invited her to come to the musical fireside. She was a
little unsure at first and didn't know if she was actually going to be
able to make it. After the lesson, we were sitting in the car and said
a quick prayer that Heavenly Father would give Linda the desire to
come to the fireside. That night we were driving over to the fireside
and still hadn't heard from Linda of whether or not she was coming.
(She told us she would text us once she left her house) Ten minutes
before the fireside started, we got a text from Linda that she was on
her way over! She sat with us and enjoyed the whole thing. It was an
amazing miracle that Heavenly Father provided us to be apart of. I
think that is one of my favorite parts of my mission. Seeing God work
directly in people's lives and allowing us to witness miracles happen
right in front of us. You can't deny He is there!

Yesterday afternoon we were able to go over to the Salvation Army with
the YSA. We spent an hour preparing and serving food to the homeless
people of Chico. My mission has really made me think about how much
each of our decisions determine our future. Most of those people could
be in such a different situation if they had just made better decisions. If they just never smoked that first cigarette, or never drank their first beer, never went to that one party, they would have never spiraled down to the point where they are now. Completely homeless and living on the streets. It also made me think about how truly grateful I am for the word of wisdom. What a blessing it is that our loving Heavenly Father would give Joseph Smith this revelation. God knew how much of a temptation these certain things would be to us. He knows how much they can destroy our lives, our relationships, and our eternal standing with him. They are not put there to restrict us. They are in place to keep us healthy. To keep us independent and not dependent on other substances to keep us awake, to "rid our problems", etc. In reality, alcohol, substance abuse, tobacco all cause us more problems than we originally had. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone obeyed the word of wisdom. The world would be unrecognizable. God gives every commandment for a reason. I know that to be true. Even though we may not know the full reasoning behind each specific commandment, I know God does. He knows what's best and we should trust in Him always.

We didn't do much work in the YSA ward this week. Everyone was out of town on Spring Break and so there wasn't much to do. This made Facebook and texting, our best friend because we needed to keep in contact with them. Hopefully things will be back to normal this week!
Breaking news: I have a wisdom tooth. Just one. After 20 years of dentist appointments, I am now officially too wise for my own good. This is what my mission has done to me. Heavenly Father has made me so wise that I now have to have a wisdom tooth to prove it. No impact or anything, so it will probably not be a problem or have to be taken care of until after the mission. I just never thought this day would have to come. I thought I was off the hook.
Because I finished the Book of Mormon challenge last week, I have been looking for a new way to study. Sister Housley gave me an awesome idea and it has been extremely effective. Each day I write down in my study journal a question that I am desiring an answer to. It can be anything from "How can I be a more effective missionary?" to "What should we do today?". I start reading in the Book of Mormon exactly where I left off and each time without fail, I have found an answer to my question. I will have to send you a picture of my study notes, because it has been the most effective way for me to learn how much the Book of Mormon can bless our lives. No matter what our concerns or questions are, the Book of Mormon can answer them all. As I read over my patriarchal blessing, I realize that my blessing tells me to use the scriptures as my guide in life. I am grateful that Sister Housley was able to teach me an extremely effective way to use the scriptures in my life. I know that I will use this way of studying throughout my whole life when things get rough and I need answers from God.
I love this gospel. I am grateful every day for the opportunity to be out here. I know that this is exactly where I am supposed to be and wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Chico is great. I love it here. I am excited for everything that is happening. I am grateful for this gospel. I know it is all true. I am grateful for all the growth that has taken place in my life over the past nine months. I love who I am now and who I am becoming. I can not express my gratitude enough.
I love you all. Miss you all like crazy! Pray, Read, Obey, Receive Blessings. It's that simple.
Sister Allen

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Power of Prayer

I had an awesome week and learned so much about the power of prayer and following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

Tuesday we were in the "Golden" mobile home park. (Literally 13 of our investigators live in this one mobile home park) We were walking down the streets looking for the home of Sarai and Natalie, two of our investigators. Sis Housley didn't really remember where they lived and so we just kept walking down. We realized that we had gone too far and started to turn around the other way. As we turned around, I had this feeling that we should walk down this side street that we were on. There was a man sitting outside on his front porch smoking a cig and drinking, we started talking to him and he was totally interested in finding a church. We gave him a book of mormon and got a return appointment for next week! His roommate Bobby walked out while we were chatting and started acting really interested as well. He found out that we were mormon missionaries and said, "oh, i was baptized." I was like wait what? "yeah, i was baptized in Willows when I was 10. I haven't been back for a long time though." I absolutely love it when we find long lost members of the church. We were able to get his information and the ward clerk is working on tracking down his records! He will also be meeting with us this next week and expressed a great desire to start coming back to church. He told us "its time". I am just grateful that I listened to the promptings of the spirit and walked down the road...take the time to listen to the Spirit and He will direct us in the ways we should go.

We invited Sherry, Jesus, and her son Michael to come see a baptism on Saturday afternoon and when we called them on Saturday morning Sherry said that she wasn't feeling up to it and Michael didn't want to go either. I knew how good seeing a baptism would be for Michael especially and said a quick prayer to myself that Heavenly Father would help him find the desire to come. After our Missionary Correlation Meeting with Bro. Lugo (our amazing ward mission leader), it was time for the baptism. Bro Lugo, who has been an amazing fellowshipper for their family, said that he would go and try to pick Michael up and convince him to go. He called Sherry and she was convinced that Michael really wouldn't want to go. Bro Lugo decided to drive over there 5 minutes before the baptism started and try to pick up Michael. We texted Bro Lugo at 4pm asking him if he had Michael with him. He said YES! and that they were on their way over to the church, but had to pick another member up first. We were sitting there at the baptism and the talk was almost over and the Lugo's were still not there with Michael. I said another prayer to myself and asked Heavenly Father to just let them make it so Michael could see the baptism. I said "Amen", opened my eyes, looked to my left and there was the Lugo's and Michael sliding in to sit next to me. He was able to see the baptism and loved it! He feels a lot more comfortable about it now because he was originally scared that he would have to hold his breath in a long time. He wishes he had his own baptismal font in his house! hahah. It might be beneficial actually, since literally all of our investigators are in the mobile home park where they live. They could just walk on over to Sherry's house and get baptized. Easy! haha.

This experience with prayer definitely helped me realize that Heavenly Father doesn't have to wait to answer our prayers. He can answer them as soon and as late as He wants to. I was grateful to see that power prayer can have in our lives. I would invite you all to pray always to your heavenly father. He cares about the small and the large issues in life. I promise He always is listening.

My favorite definition of prayer is from the Bible Dictionary. "As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings." Prayer can help us form that relationship with our Heavenly Father and will strengthen us.

Thursday from 10-2pm we were out on Chico State campus. The weather was perfect and it was super successful! My watch tan is officially coming back. Thats how warm its been here. We set up a table on the walkway towards the library/cafe and stopped so many people on their way to class. There were times that people wouldn't stop walking and we would just have to walk and talk with them. Some sorority girls were out raising money for their philanthropy event and I was able to talk with them pretty easy because of that connection I have with them. Made it easier to talk about things. We found three new investigators and a handful of new Facebook friends who are all potential investigators. I am really excited to follow up and see what will come of it. We are going to start making it a monthly thing to go out and table on campus! YSA age is such a good time when people really are looking for something to help them in life.

Our only real progressing investigator this week is Michael, Sherry's son who is 11 years old. We had an awesome lesson with him this week about baptism. We planned to try our best to pick him up as a new investigator this week and we did! He has some behavioral issues that he struggles with, but I think the church could be of real benefit to him. I think it could really help him to be in a structured environment surrounded by good people. Michael and Sherry have decided that they really want to be baptized and Sherry says that she would love it if they could get baptized on the same day. It is something special that they want to share. We just have to get them to pick a date. Sherry has a couple word of wisdom issues and then there is the whole "we don't know what her relationship status with Jesus" situation. But I know that the Lord will help us to know what we should do and how we can best help them.

On Monday night, I had dinner with the Larsens. Come to find out Brother Larsen is from Kennewick and was Mom's family's home teacher right before Grandpa Thurston passed away. Small world! It was so crazy to have that kind of close connection with someone. Wowza. He had only wonderful things to say about Grandpa and said that he really looked up to him.

We had a really awesome lesson with Emily from the Singles ward. She is from Hollister, CA and attends Chico State. All of her friends from home are LDS and attend BYU. She grew up going to church and activities with them. She started taking the discussions when she came up to college and has had a baptismal date before, but is nervous to tell her parents about her desire to be baptized. Emily is so ready. We taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and as soon as we brought up baptism she teared up and got emotional. She really wants to get baptized, but told us that she is scared that her parents will look at her differently. This week is Spring Break and we challenged Emily to pray for help to talk to her parents about being baptized. I think she will be surprised with how supportive they are. By the way she talks about them, I think they will be very supportive. I think she's just worried about being the only one in her family who is LDS. She is definitely in our prayers this week and hopefully her talk with her parents will go well!

I finished the 85 day Book of Mormon challenge this week and it was amazing! I got so much out of it this time through. I have officially completed the Book of Mormon twice now. Woohoo! I love it.

I survived Hump Day! We celebrated my nine month mark with a trip to "Gordo Burrito" Taco Truck. The only taco truck in town that puts avocado on their tacos and burritos. I ate a whole gordo burrito (it was the most delicious thing in the world) in celebration of making it half way! Nine months down, nine months to go. They better go slow...

Ps. I forgot to mention last week that there is a bit of a height difference between Sister Housley and I. A couple 11 inches. No big deal. I'm just literally a giant. We love each other anyways.

Love you all! Wish I had more time to tell you about my whole week. We do so much every single day and it is too much to have the time to write it all out. But hey, more stories to share for when I get home. :)

Keep it real. Love the Lord. Pray Always. Read your Scriptures.


Sister Allen

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10. Nine months down, yo!

im halfway on wednesday! what?! how did this happen? i can not even believe how fast time is going by and they say the rest only goes faster...oh no...

well, i am literally loving chico. i love everything about it. i love serving in a family ward and a YSA ward. it is seriously the bomb. whats better than being able to take the sacrament on Sunday? being able to take it twice. The Zone Leaders also serve in both wards with us, so we divide the work between the two of us. I was feeling pretty overwhelmed when I first got here. So many names to remember, the streets dont line up, our area is HUGE because it covers the entire stake...etc. There is so much going on in this area. We are constantly busy, which is so awesome! But I am feeling a lot better. I know without a doubt that this is where I am supposed to be. Chico is my place!

I seriously LOVE my new companion Sister Housley. She is so awesome and an amazing missionary. Sis Housley is from Kansas, recently turned 21, and attended BYU before her mission. I already know we are going to do work in this area. I feel like we aren't going to have any problems (not that I've had any with any of my companions) and work really well together. She is already teaching me so much and I know that this is going to be such a growing experience for me. She freakin' rocks!

A couple things about Chico. There are taco trucks everywhere, mobile home parks galore! Organic cafes, because people are all in to that natural stuff here in California. And Chico State University is bomb.

let me tell you a little about some of our investigators:

Sherry and Jesus: Sherry is a fireball. Seriously so much personality. She has two kids, Emily (4) and Michael (11). Jesus is her boyfriend who lives with her on and off. I have to admit I laugh a little every time I have to write about Jesus in my journal. Being a missionary and writing, "we taught Jesus today", is just hilarious! Sherry and Jesus have been meeting with the missionaries for a couple weeks now and we were an answer to Sherry's prayers. Sherry has been going through a lot the last couple of years. She was praying a couple weeks ago for some guidance from God. Then the sisters showed up at her door. Her daughter Emily literally loves church and basically wants to live there. Its so awesome! We are hoping to commit them to baptism this week, we just need to figure out the love situation between Jesus and Sherry.

Emily and Chelsea (YSA): Sister Smith, Emilys aunt, referred her to us. She said that she wasn't really sure if Emily would be interested, but to try it anyways. Emily is a student at Chico State, she plays lacrosse, and is super awesome. Sister Housley and Sister Lyman went over two weeks ago and they had so many awesome questions for them about the church. We went over this week with the YSA Relief Society president and Emily and Chelsea were all prepared for us with 20+ questions. Questions about women and the priesthood, how we know there's a god, why we have temples, what we can/cant do on Sunday, word of wisdom, etc. We sat there for an hour and a half answering questions for them. They were dissapointed that we didn't leave them with a specific reading assignment in the Book of Mormon, so we gave Emily Alma 26 about forgiveness and Chelsea 2 Nephi 31 about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

There are three or four girls in the YSA ward who could literally be baptized this Saturday, but are having problems with their parents being okay with it. Jamie, Jane, Tara, and Emily have been taking the lessons for a while, know its all true, come to church almost every week, and just wont commit to be baptized because their parents are totally against it. Its so sad! I wish we could just meet with their parents and be like, "yo, you have the wrong idea about us. we are not crazy or weird like you might think. we are totally normal people with totally normal doctrine of Christ." Sadly, I don't think that will happen anytime soon. So we are just patiently waiting and constantly praying for their parents hearts to be softened.

The YSA is a lot smaller than I thought it would be. Yesterday at church there was probably a total of 45 people there...when coming from Utah that is a huge difference. haha. But there is so much potential in this ward. We have a lot of great people. YSA age is hard because people get so busy with work, school, etc. and church becomes less of a priority. I just wish I could emphasize so much with these young single adult's that it is so worth it to stay strong in the gospel. Not only for themselves, but for their future families. They need this testimony and they need to progress in the gospel. Its hard though with so much going on in their lives, but what an amazing group of YSA we have here in Chico.

Every first friday of the month, the leaders in the mission (Assistants to the President, Zone leaders, and Sister Training Leaders) get together for a Missionary Leadership Council. I was able to attend my first one on Friday. It was super awesome to be given direction from President Weston as always. We learned how to use our iPads more effectively and Sister Housley and I are pumped because we feel like this could be a HUGE success here at Chico State. We are planning on going over to Chico State to "table" on Thursday afternoon. Tabling is where we set up a booth in the common area at Chico State and stop people and ask them if they are interested in learning more about the church. Hopefully a bunch of the YSA will be there and can help us. I think it will be super successful and we can use our iPads to share electronic pamphlets, mormon messages, etc. The ability to use our iPads more effectively is going to strengthen this area.

I also learned that our role as Sister Training Leaders is to basically be the eyes and ears for President Weston. I already had my first "mission" as STL. One of the companionship's in our zone was having some major issues getting along, so Sis Housley and I had to go up and talk with each of them and then establish what they were going to do to make it better. I think it went really well and it felt good to help these Sisters work through their problems. Thats basically our job, since P. Weston can't be everywhere at once.

I am loving it here. I love these people. I love this area. I am so excited to see whats going to happen while Im here. Sis Housley and I have a really good feeling about working together. The work is going to light on fiyahhh.

I hope that everyone is doing well! I love all of you and miss you all like crazy.

love you long time.

happy 9 months to me!

love, Sister Allen

Monday, March 3, 2014

March 3rd. Dreams DO come true!

From the time I opened my mission call to now, I have been hoping and
wishing to serve in Chico. I don't know why, but I have always felt a
draw to it. Last night we received transfer calls and My dream has
finally come true!!! I am being transferred up to Chico and have been
assigned to be a Sister Training Leader. I will serve in two wards.
Chico 2nd and the YSA ward for Chico State. Sister Housley will be my
new companion and she is also a Sister Training Leader. I feel like we
will get along really well. I am so excited for this leadership
opportunity and grateful that my Heavenly Father knows me personally.
He chose the perfect place for me and I could not be more excited.

Sister Training Leaders have a great responsibility and set the
example for a lot of the other sisters in our areas. We will be
responsible for the sisters needs who we serve with and will conduct
"exchanges" with different companionship each week to make sure their
needs are met. Here is a snippet from an article that explains what it
means to be a sister training leader: "The role of sister training
leader has been created as more female missionaries serve in missions
around the world. Sister training leaders will be responsible for the
training and welfare of female missionaries assigned to them and will
be members of and participate in, the new mission leadership council.
Sister training leaders will continue to proselytise and will also
spend time each week training and evaluating the needs of female
missionaries. They will report directly to the mission president on
the needs of sister missionaries. "It seemed appropriate, given the
large increase in the number of missionaries, including a large
increase in the number of sister missionaries, to look at the way
missions are managed," Elder Evans said. In April, the Church created
the mission leadership council and the role of sister training
leaders. Sister training leaders are responsible for the training and
welfare of female missionaries assigned to them, and they serve on the
new mission leadership council, along with zone (mission area)
leaders, the mission president, his wife and his assistants." How
humbling and blessed I feel right now to have been given this
opportunity to learn, serve, and grow.

My new address up in Chico is: 355 East Lassen Avenue Apt #4 Chico, CA 95973

We finished up all of Sister Byrnes training last week and she will
now be staying here In Loomis to train a brand new missionary. What a
great opportunity that will be for her as well! Still no sign of her
visa. So we'll keep her!

Here's a couple of things I will miss about Loomis: the LaPlante
family, Irish dancing, intellectual conversations with an 11 year old
hoping to be a pediatric neurologist. Steve, Terry, and Jerry--the
local homeless. Taylor's milkshakes. Gerald's sweet smile. The Loomis
Mobile Home park. Road kill. Dirt roads. Tiny libraries. An awesome
Bishop. Brother and Sister Stoddard. The Meteer family. Sister Byrne
and....Soooo much more!!!

On Saturday we had the opportunity to go with the LaPlantes to Tony's
fire station. He is the captain at Fire Station #6 in Roseville and it
was a good opportunity to see him in his environment. We were hoping
it would be a good opportunity for us to really ask him why he isn't
baptized yet and where he stands with this whole thing, but literally
six minutes after we got there, he was called out on a call. Ugh...we
practiced it and everything. I guess it just wasn't the right time. We
were able to hang out in the fire station for a little though. We had
the whole thing to ourselves while they were out on call and role
played firefighting scenarios with Garrett (their son who is 11). Such
a blast! Haha.

We worked with the members a lot this week. President Weston told us
that if we weren't teaching one of the lessons from preach my gospel
each day, that we need to teach them to members. So we picked a few
houses to go to this week and were able to role play with them. One of
the member families actually took the opportunity to invite their sons
good friend over to hear the plan of salvation lesson. It was an
unexpected but amazing opportunity to teach and maybe something will
come of it. It's great to see the members becoming more excited and
ready to share the gospel. The members finding us people to teach is
the most effective way to do missionary work.

Last Monday at Pday, I also had another unexpected opportunity to
share the gospel. We all got together as a zone to have a going away
BBQ for two elders that are headed home this week. We were at the
Lincoln park and the elders started talking to this group of people
and invited them to come over and have lunch with us. One of the
woman, Tylene, was really religious and going through a lot of hard
things. I was able to sit down and chat with her about the gospel
while the missionaries played some kickball. She was awesome, accepted
the Book of Mormon, and agreed to have missionaries in Lincoln go over
to visit. I have been praying to have my eyes opened for unplanned
opportunities to share the gospel and I am grateful that Heavenly
Father is opening my eyes to them.

This week comes with a lot of good change. Moroni 7:41 comes to mind
as I think of this week. It reads, "41 And what is it that ye shall
hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the
atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised
unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to
the promise." I know that this is gods plan. I know that everything
will work out the way He knows it can, because I have hope. I have
hope in Christ. I know He lives. I know He wants us to be successful
and he will provide us opportunities that will be the best for us

I love you all! Can't wait to see how my first week in Chico is going
to be. A. Lot of good things are coming, i can feel it. Chico better
be ready for me!!

Miss all of you like crazy!!

Love forever,

Sister Allen