Monday, April 28, 2014

HEY people of America!

Hey everyone! How was your week? Hope you guys are doing well and I can't believe its already finals week. Dreading the fact that this time next year I will be sitting at a desk taking a final...ugh...

The last couple weeks here in Chico have been tough. I am still  trying to figure out why I am supposed to be here...but have come to the realization that I may not know now. I may find out after I leave the area or even after my mission. I just have to trust that the Lord knows what's going on. Words of Mormon 1:7, "...And now I do not know all things which are to come; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will." 

Sherry is still slowly progressing forward. She has got a lot on her plate dealing with Michael's behavior and things have been extra hard since the kid's dad got out of rehab. He feeds their minds with Anti Mormon stuff and now Michael won't even wear his CTR ring...ugh...keep her in your prayers. Even though things have been tough, I know that the Lord is on our side. He will buoy us up. I did have a lot of good studies this week though, which is positive. 

1 Nephi 16: 1-5 reads, "And now it came to pass after I, Nephi, had made an end of speaking to my brethren, behold they said unto me: Thou hast declared unto us hard things, more than we are able to bear. And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center. And now my brethren, if ye were righteous and were willing to hearken to the truth, and give heed unto it, that ye might walk uprightly before God, then ye would not murmur because of the truth, and say: Thou speakest hard things against us. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did exhort my brethren, with all diligence, to keep the commandments of the Lord. And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord; insomuch that I had joy and great hopes of them, that they would walk in the paths of righteousness."

These scriptures really stuck out to me this week. Sister Housley and I talked a lot this week about how we all know that God is going to win in the end, yet we still choose not to be on his side. We all know that if we want to be happy that we need to stick it out with God. With God, we can win. Its one side or the other. We can't tiptoe between right and wrong. In these scriptures, Nephi is talking with Laman and Lemuel. They think that the commandments are hard and are hindering their ability to be happy. Yet we all know that commandments do just the opposite. They enable us. They allow us to receive endless, eternal blessings from our Father in Heaven. The choice is ours. We can choose to follow the commandments and "walk in the paths of righteousness" OR we can sit there and complain that the commandments are too hard to follow. I promise that if you look forward in to the eternities, you will be grateful you made the decision to "walk in the paths of righteousness."

Saturday morning, the Chico Stake got together and did a Mormon Helping Hands service project down in Chapmantown. We were assigned to work over at the Chico Children Community Center clearing out a garden. After 45 minutes of running up and down Elm Street, we finally found where we were supposed to  be working...It was a lot of work. There was a giant area that had been grown over with bermuda grass and we had to clear it all out for their preschools garden. There was a good group of us over there and it looked 10x better than before. After everyone had left, it was just us and Jen, the preschool supervisor. She is super nice. We started talking and answered her questions that she had about missionaries from our church. She was very open with us and told us how she had come back to church only a couple years prior, when her husband had his first heart attack at age young! She is catholic, but attends different churches. Her husband is constantly in and out of the hospital and has been there for the past two months with pneumonia. Her daughter is 14 and is in and out of the psych ward. She is struggling with some bullies at school and is really depressed to the point of attempted suicide. Jen is so sweet and has all this on her plate. I felt very strongly that we should show her a Mormon message and so as she went to lock up the preschool, I ran to the car and grabbed my iPad. I showed her the Mormon Message "Mountains to Climb" and she was completely in tears the whole time. She loved it and was super grateful afterwards. She even said that it was another little miracle that was an answer to her prayers that she was not alone through all this. We exchanged phone numbers and are hoping to go back to the school this weekend to help plant the garden. I really hope something will come of this.

This morning during studies, Sister Housley found this really awesome passage from Jesus the Christ that I loved. We are both reading it and loving it. I was actually thinking about the following concept earlier this morning and it was perfect that she came across it this morning. I was thinking a lot about what people think makes them happy. A lot of things in the world just make us temporarily happy. The true lasting happiness is what comes from keeping the commandments, but the world would tell us otherwise. Pleasure is temporary and comes with guilt, repentance, etc.  The following is an excerpt from Jesus the Christ Chapter 17- The Sermon on the Mount. You can find the full explanation in the footnotes, but I just included a part that I really loved. 

Enjoy the following comparison by Talmage of Pleasure and Happiness...I absolutely loved the part that I underlined and bolded! "Pleasure Versus Happiness.--"The present is an age of pleasure-seeking, and men are losing their sanity in the mad rush for sensations that do but excite and disappoint. In this day of counterfeits, adulteration's, and base imitations, the devil is busier than he has ever been in the course of human history, in the manufacture of pleasures, both old and new; and these he offers for sale in most attractive fashion, falsely labeled, Happiness. In this soul-destroying craft he is without a peer; he has had centuries of experience and practice, and by his skill he controls the market. He has learned the tricks of the trade, and knows well how to catch the eye and arouse the desire of his customers. He puts up the stuff in bright-colored packages, tied with tinsel string and tassel; and crowds flock to his bargain counters, hustling and crushing one another in their frenzy to buy. 

"Follow one of the purchasers as he goes off gloatingly with his gaudy packet, and watch him as he opens it. What finds he inside the gilded wrapping? He has expected fragrant happiness, but uncovers only an inferior brand of pleasure, the stench of which is nauseating. 

"Happiness includes all that is really desirable and of true worth in pleasure, and much besides. Happiness is genuine gold, pleasure but gilded brass, which corrodes in the hand, and is soon converted into poisonous verdigris. Happiness is as the genuine diamond, which, rough or polished, shines with its own inimitable luster; pleasure is as the paste imitation that glows only when artificially embellished. Happiness is as the ruby, red as the heart's blood, hard and enduring; pleasure, as stained glass, soft, brittle, and of but transitory beauty. 

"Happiness is true food, wholesome, nutritious and sweet; it builds up the body and generates energy for action, physical, mental and spiritual; pleasure is but a deceiving stimulant which, like spiritous drink, makes one think he is strong when in reality enfeebled; makes him fancy he is well when in fact stricken with deadly malady. 

"Happiness leaves no bad after-taste, it is followed by no depressing reaction; it calls for no repentance, brings no regret, entails no remorse; pleasure too often makes necessary repentance, contrition, and suffering; and, if indulged to the extreme, it brings degradation and destruction

"True happiness is lived over and over again in memory, always with a renewal of the original good; a moment of unholy pleasure may leave a barbed sting, which, like a thorn in the flesh, is an ever-present source of anguish."

My mission has taught me a lot about how important it is to follow the promptings of the Spirit. As a missionary, we are set apart to have the Spirit with us always. I think it won't be until after I am released as a missionary that I will realize how strong the Spirit is with me as a missionary. It is an amazing blessing and a witness to me that God wants us to succeed. Through the Holy Ghost, we can know God's will. We can know what he needs us to do. He keeps us safe, testifies of truth, and helps us know what to say to pierce the hearts of "those who know not God." I am grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost and I hope you all really work on following the spirit this week. "He knows the way!" (oh, so does the prophet...ha)

Decisions Determine Destiny. Remember that fo life.

Love you all so much!


Sister Allen

Monday, April 21, 2014


Hello everyone!

Happy Easter yesterday! Shout out to the Easter Bunny for the package. 

I hope each of you took the time to really think about what you have because of Him. We got to watch the #BecauseofHim video about fifty times this week and I could watch it fifty more. Every time I realize one more thing that Christ has done for me. I realized how important and vital his sacrifice was for us. None of us would be able to progress or make it back to Heavenly Father without Him. Not a single one of us. He has made everything possible. Everything is possible because of Him. #BecauseofHim I am on a mission. I can forgive myself and other people. I can live with my family for eternity. There is life after death. I can be happy. I can progress and reach my full potential. I can overcome temptation, adversity, and disappointment. I can enjoy the blessings of the temple. Sins can be erased. One day I will be perfected. We have the gospel and restored church. I am a member of His true church. #BecauseofHim we have a perfect example to follow. 

Yesterday one of the Elders investigators sat down in front of us in church. Last week he was a little disruptive and was wearing a t shirt and jeans. This week he walked in reverently with a white shirt and tie. I started pondering and realized how much I love watching the transition of people as they commit themselves to the gospel. First visit they usually are nervous, don't know what to wear (anything is fine, of course), adn are somewhat confused. A few visits later we see them come in wearing a dress or white shirt and tie. They sit reverently. Their composure has changed. This is such a strong witness to me that the gospel of Jesus Christ is truly the gospel of CHANGE. All we do as missionaries is invite them to act and they feel the spirit testify to them and WANT to change. It is one of the most beautiful things to witness. There is a scripture I found in Helaman 15 that I love. It describes this change of heart that takes place in someone as they feel the spirit testify. Verses 7 and 8 read, "And behold, ye do know of yourselves, for ye have witnessed it, that as many of them as are brought to the knowledge of the truth...and are led to believe the holy scriptures, yea, the prophecies of the holy prophets, which are written, which leadeth them to faith on the Lord, and unto repentance, which faith and repentance bringeth a achange of heart unto them—Therefore, as many as have come to this, ye know of yourselves are afirm and steadfast in the faith, and in the thing wherewith they have been made free." I love the last part of this scripture, "they have been made free". Too may people see the church as a place of restrictions, but we know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is freeing. It allows us to be the happiest we can and helps us reach our full potential. 

Thursday we decided to ride bikes. All of our planned lessons fell 
through for the day and so we were on the hunt for miracles. As we were riding down East Lassen, I saw this man standing on the corner of the road pacing back and forth. I kept having this thought that we should stop, but then got this feeling of nervousness as I didn't know what the heck I was going to say if I stopped. As we got closer and closer, I just made the decision that I was going to stop and told Heavenly Father that I was about to stop and I needed help knowing what to say. We got closer to the corner and I felt my hand pushing on the brake slowly and all i thought to say was, "hey sir, how's it going?" He turns around startled and says "wait, are you from the church?" We told him that we were indeed missionaries. He looked relieved and started telling us that this guy had just put a bad "curse" on him and he was feeling so bad and could not find relief. He asked if we would say a prayer with him and of course did so. So there on the corner of the road, I said a prayer to help Craig feel more at peace. He told us he felt a little better and was grateful. We showed him the "Because of Him" video and he loved it. We asked of he attended a church and he said that he used to go to the Catholic Church, but thought it might be a good idea to try out the Mormon church...(just what we like to hear) Of course at the end of our conversation, we asked if he would be interested in talking to some missionaries. The Elders went over a few days later and had an awesome follow up lesson and are starting to teach him. Imagine what might have never happened if we weren't at the right place at the right time.

The church put out this awesome post on Facebook called the 40 Days challenge that I have been using every morning in my personal study. Each day they give you a different talk to read from the most recent conference and even though conference was just a couple weeks ago, it has been a wonderful reminder of how amazing the talks at conference were. I have loved the constant message of standing up for our beliefs. I read President Monson's talk from priesthood session and absolutely loved it. I would invite you all to read it, if you haven't yet. There were two things that really stood out to me. One, "Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God's approval." Two, he quoted Jabari Parker's dad's advice "Just be the same person you are in the dark that you are in the light." Such powerful statements. We need to have the courage to stand up for our faith. We will be greatly blessed as we strive to be faithful to the gospel.

I also had the opportunity to read "The Prophet Joseph Smith" conference talk by Elder Lawrence Corbridge. I loved the way that he simply outlines the need and blessings that came from the revelation that Joseph Smith received through those few short years he was alive. I loved this quote, "There is no dispute about what Joseph Smith accomplished, only how he did what he did and why. And there are not many options. He was either pretender or prophet. Either he did what he did alone, or he had the help of heaven. Look at the evidence, but look at all of the evidence, the entire mosaic of his life, not any single piece. Most importantly, do as young Joseph and “ask … God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given [you].” This is not only how you may learn the truth about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, it is also the pattern to know the truth of all things." Its simple. Its either true or its not. There is no inbetween. God has made it that simple. He doesn't make it hard for us to know the truth. If you haven't received an answer for yourself yet if the Book of Mormon is true, if Joseph Smith was a prophet, or if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true, ASK! Take time this week and ask Heavenly Father. I promise that He will answer you.

Sherry is doing better this week. We were able to go over and visit her a couple times and she came to church with the kids yesterday. She feels super overwhelmed because her relationship with Jesus is in the pits and Michael's behavior is really hard to deal with. The stress has caused her to break the commandments and her commitments that she has made with us, such as she is smoking, thats too bad, because now she will have to wait to be baptized. Anyways, we are slowly getting back on track with her and had a really awesome lesson this week that helped her realize that her life has drastically gone down hill ever since she stopped meeting with us. Keeping the commandments and the gospel truly blesses lives. When we stop doing what we are asked, God holds back on the blessings. I know that when we are obedient, we are blessed more than we could ever imagine. 

I am grateful for this past week I have had to reflect on all that my Savior has done for me. I know He lives. I know He loved me enough to die for me. I am grateful to be a missionary. Things get really hard sometimes, but I know it will all be worth it. "Thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment..."

Have a great week! Try a little harder to be a little better this week. It's never too late to come back. One of my favorite pictures is the one of Christ standing at the door knocking, yet there is no door knob on his side. The door knob is on our side of the door. He will always be there knocking. Come back and let Him in. You are never too far gone.


sister Allen

Monday, April 14, 2014

Roller Coaster Investigators

Have you all heard about the Easter blast the church is doing? It's going to be super awesome and WE (the missionaries) need your help. All of you go on to! There are videos, banners, pictures, etc. that you can all share on your Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc. The church has put a lot of money and time into this Easter campaign. They have even bought a banner on the front page of YouTube where they will advertise the video and website all day Easter Sunday. so cool. I hope we will see a lot of success and interest. So share the videos. Change your Facebook banners and use this tool as a great way to share the gospel. Pay attention to who "likes" your posts and pictures this week and I would challenge you to message one of the nonmembers who like your post and invite them to learn more about the gospel. Let's hasten the work! 

Sherry took us on a straight roller coaster ride this week. We went over and had two really good lessons this week. Then on Thursday night we received the text that no missionary wants to receive. "Hey girls, I think I just need time to do this on my own. Thanks for all your support, but I am going to take a break for a while." Oh man, was I sad or what? It was pretty devastating. We didn't end up seeing her the rest of the week and only texted her on Saturday only to get a few texts back...We told our ward mission leader, Brother Lugo, what had happened and he decided that he would go over and see what was going on. Him and Bro Sorenson both went over last night and had a really good meeting with her. Sherry didn't say much about how she had texted us and was actually happy to see them. When they walked in, they saw an Anti mormon DVD on her table. She said that Jesus was bringing over all of these videos and things to read about mormons. (ughh...jesus...:/) Bro Sorenson took the DVD with him, so he could watch it and help her answer any of her questions. Danget satan...people are so uneducated about Mormonism. It is so annoying. Anyways, Brother Lugo asked her if we could go over and see her that week and she was not hesitant at all. We just want to be able to answer any questions that she might have. We'll find out if she will still get baptized on the 26th. Pray she does!! It really is annoying that all this Anti stuff gets around and is out there. Made me think this week....Why would people work SO hard to disprove the LDS church, if it wasn't true? You don't hear anything really about the Methodist church or Buddhism. Its always Anti Mormonism. Makes me realize that this church has to be true. Satan wouldn't work so hard to prove it wrong, if it wasn't. There would be no point for him to do that. I know this church is true with all my heart. No matter what people say or try to prove, I will never deny that. 

Thursday morning we tabled over at Butte College. It was semi-successful. We met a lot of long lost less actives...they just kept showing up. We would stop people and start telling them about the church and they would be like "uhh, yeah...I was already baptized..." So now we have all these new less actives. Two of them actually showed up at church yesterday. Pretty cool, huh? 

More change is coming this next week in the YSA ward. The stake announced yesterday at church that we are going to have a new bishopric starting next week. We also got a new relief society presidency in the YSA ward. Something great is beginning! 

We received a referral from the Sisters in Chico 5th ward this week for a YSA age girl named Tarah. She is super cute and from Sac. Her best friend just got baptized last month down at Sac State and told Tarah that she needed to at least give it a try. The other sisters taught her the restoration and we taught her the plan of salvation. She said that she believes in reincarnation, but was really accepting of what we believe. She is a little confused as to exactly what she believes in...but definitely agrees with things that we taught. Tarah said that she might not ever join the church because she likes to "drink and party", but she really likes learning more. We are going to continue to meet with her and hopefully she will feel the spirit testify to her that what we say is true. 

There is a family in our ward who I love so much! The Midlings are super awesome. Brother Midling is a convert of 4 years and Sister Midling returned to the church a couple years before that. Brother Midling's mom, Shirley, lives with them and is not a member. Last week we had dinner with them and Sister Midling invited us over to "practice teach" a lesson to her. So basically Shirley is hearing all the lessons without knowing they are actually aimed at her. We taught them the Restoration last night and the spirit was so strong. We gave Shirley a copy of the Book of Mormon nonchalantly and are praying that she reads. She is catholic, but never attends church. All her friends are members of the ward, she watched all of general conference, loves President Monson, but is just too stubborn to actually admit the catholic church is wrong. But its a great opportunity for us to "teach" her and who knows, she could actually get baptized from this. 

I am grateful for this Easter season that we have to remember what our Savior did for us. Because of him we can be made clean. We can overcome death. We can live with God again. Through Jesus Christ we can become who God needs us to become. I know He Lives. I know He loves us. I can not express in words how grateful I am for Him. I hope everyone enjoys their Easter and takes the time to remember what He has done for us. 

Love you all. Keep it real.

Love you long time,

Sister Allen