Monday, May 26, 2014

Birthday Week. The Big 2-1!

hello everybody. hope you had a good week and that you are enjoying your day off from school. thank goodness for Memorial Day weekend, right? Schools almost out. hold in there. 

Its my 21st Birthday Week! The party starts now. Whoop whoop. Welp, that's about as crazy as this missionary is gonna get. Haha, cause "All I want for my birtday, is to be a missionary!"

transfer calls came in last night and Sister Housley is moving up to Redding 1st ward. She will be companions with Sister Macdonald who I trained in Yuba City. I also found out that Sister Byrne, who i trained in Loomis, is going to be with my MTC companion Sister Giani. My little trainee daughters are going to be serving with some of my companions. Its awesome, but a little strange at the same time that we have all served together! They are all so great. Some of the very best, thats for sure!

Sister Curtis from Springville, Utah will be coming up here to serve with me. She is super sweet. We were in the MTC at the same time and came out to the mission field together. I even sat by her on the plane ride here. I am very excited to work with her and I think I will really enjoy her positive attitude and love for everyone. She is a really awesome missionary and exactly what this area needs. 

Sherry and Michael's baptism is scheduled for this Saturday and I am hoping and praying that they will be ready. There is one hurdle that Sherry has to get over before we can know for sure that she can get baptized, so until then we are just having faith that it will happen. And if it doesn't, its not in the Lords time. Sherry is so committed to be bapitzed so we know that if it doesnt happen now, it will happen in a few weeks when all of the kinks get worked out. She already had her baptism interview, so its really just a waiting game. 

I have been thinking a lot this week about how my mission has been unique. One of the reasons that I made the final decision to serve a mission was my patriarchal blessing. It tells me very specifically that I would recieve a "unique missionary call". I read through that part of my blessing again this week and so it has been on my mind. Friday night, we were in a lesson with Linda, (Sis Housley and I agree that the spirit is so strong during Linda's lesson, so its hard not to receive revelation) we had decided to read the most recent talk by Elder Bednar "Bear Up Your Burdens with Ease". Linda loved it and I also loved it because Sister Housley said something that really helped me understand my "unique mission". She referenced a part in the talk that said, "The unique burdens in each of our lives help us to rely upon the merits, mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah." I thought back over the last (almost) 12 months of my mission and was reminded of all of the amazing, unique experiences I have been able to have. I have been put into circumstances that are unique to me. The things I have been able to accomplish and go through have allowed me to rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Atonement is not just to be used when we need to repent, but it is also there to strengthen us through the good days and hard days. I know that because of the unique circumstances I have been put in, I have had to more fully use the Atonement. I have had to really come to understand who my Savior is and what He did for me, so that I could understand what He can truly do for me.
About a month ago we were walking through our favorite trailer park (the one where Sherry lives) and there was a woman outside washing out carpets with a hose. We walked up to her house and started talking with her. Her name is Angela, she is catholic, and not super interested in the church, but agreed to a return appointment. We kept putting her on our calendar to stop by and see her, but never really found the time or when we actually went over there she was either asleep or not home. Last week we decided to head over to their house. We had made the decision before hand that we were going to drop her off our teaching list if she wasn't there the next time we saw her, but last minute we decided to drop by. Angela answered the door, we were able to talk to her and showed her the Mormon Message "Because of Him", which she loved. We asked for a return appointment and then started telling us how she was extremely busy because her four granddaughters had just moved in with her suddenly. Their mom was in a bad place, their home in Live Oak just got robbed, and so they had been moved up to Chico to stay with their grandma for the summer. (Angela already has her son, his wife, and their three young kids living with her in this small trailer) Angela decided to introduce us to her grand daughters and they were the sweetest things. Lacy is almost 12, Nevaeh is 10, Moriah turned 8 yesterday, and Autumn is 6. They came out the door and we invited them to church! They really wanted to come and immediately loved us. They were so sweet. Telling us that they wished we were their home school teachers and how pretty we are. Haha. Their grandma was hesitant about saying yes about church, so they didnt end up coming that next week. Angela agreed to having us come over the next week to teach them, so we went over on Wednesday and had an awesome lesson out in their front yard about the Godhead. 6 out of 7 of Angela's grandkids sat out there with us as we taught them about God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Saturday night we called Angela to see if the girls could come to church and she said YES! All four of them showed up right on time. They loved it and I seriously LOVE them. I know that there is a reason that we were supposed to talk to Angela four weeks ago as she was hanging out in her front yard. There was a reason we kept going back and there was a reason we kept her on our plans. These four girls NEED the gospel. They need to know they have a Father in Heaven who loves them and that their family can be together forever and be happy. 

I am grateful for this time I have to serve. I am grateful for the people that have been prepared for me to meet at this time. I am so eternally thankful for the experiences that I have had. 

do it to it. work hard, play hard. give it all you got. pray. love the people. etc. etc.

love you all mucho, 

Sister Allen

Monday, May 5, 2014

Why I Believe!!

Hey everybody! Monday, again?! How does that happen?

A quick quote that I love, "Progression through the gospel is unlimited, because the atonement is unlimited."

With it being Mothers Day this weekend, here's a little shout out to my number one Momma! and two amazing Grandmas! And the other lovely women in my life. First off, I love you! Second, I am so grateful for your example, support, and love. As I was thinking this week about Mothers, I was reminded of the story of the stripling warriors in Alma. These stripling warriors are young people who are leaving the house for the first time, they are going off to do something they have never done before (fighting in this big war, which sounds pretty scary), yet they have so much faith. They fight with miraculous power and courage, all because their moms taught them to have strong faith. Their mothers brought them up in the way of the Lord and they trusted that they would not need to fear if they just had faith. My favorite verses are in Alma 56:47-48 which reads, "Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it." They trusted the things that their mothers said and did not doubt anything their mothers had taught them. I have definitely had times in my life where I needed the advice of my Mom. I have realized even more since coming out on my mission, how right parents are. They always have the best advice. Even though it may not be exactly what we want to hear, they know what is best and always have our best interest in mind. I am grateful for my mom and her insight. I feel so blessed to have such an amazing mom. I am grateful to have a mom with such great faith and testimony. You're dedication to the gospel is such a blessing to my life and those that we teach! Thank you for everything! I know that a lot of things in life would have been much harder if it wasn't for you. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY! see you sunday. :)

Friday we had MLC (missionary leadership council) and there were so many things said that were exactly what I needed to hear. President Weston invited us to develop more of a celestial culture. D&C 88:22 reads, "For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory." If we develop a celestial nature about us, we will be more prepared for what's in store in the eternities. "Celestial is going to require the best we have. Let us lift, build, and strengthen our desire to be celestial in all things.", wise words from P. Weston

Sherry is back on date! She has committed to be baptized on May 31st! We are really hoping that she goes through with it this time and if not, its not her time still. Sherry came to all of stake conference yesterday, which was perfect because it was basically all returning members or recent converts giving their testimonies. She is starting to get back on track with no smoking and coming to church this week. The ward is starting to step up a little more and that support will definitely make a difference in her progression.

This past weekend we had Stake Conference in Chico. The topic for the Sunday session was "Why I Believe". All of the speakers were amazing and each had a unique story of how they came to believe what they do. It was a real witness to me that the Lord is so personal. He communicates to each person differently and gives them the witness that will be most beneficial and perfect for them to experience. I was really thinking yesterday during stake conference about why I believe. Why do I believe that this is actually Christs church? How did I come to know that I believe the things I do? This morning during personal study I really thought about it and I came up with my "Why I Believe" story. So, here it goes:

I don't think i ever thought that in the year 2014, I would be in 
California serving a full time mission for the church. When the age change was announced, I was in no position to go out and serve. I was nowhere near being ready, but I knew right when I heard, it was where I needed and wanted to be. I kept pushing away those feelings and just wanted to carry on with life and school. But that thought of going on a mission kept coming into my mind. So I decided to at least ask if going on a mission was something I should do. It was hard, because at that time I was just going back to church every week, finally praying again, and this was a big answer I needed. A friend urged me to get my patriarchal blessing. Knowing that would give me some direction, I worked with my Bishop to get that going. Heavenly Father answered my prayer in the most perfect way possible. He answered me through specific words and as the patriarch told me that The Lord was pleased with my desire to serve a mission, I knew that's where I was going. I also believe, because Heavenly Father has loved me enough to answer my prayers. Whether it comes to finding our lost phone, knowing if the Book of Mormon is true, etc. he has answered. 

I BELIEVE, because I went from being full of guilt and regret to being filled with love and happiness. Two years ago, I remember thinking to myself that I was so deep down in the pit of guilt, that there would be no way to rid those feelings of guilt and shame that I experienced daily for a long time. But here I am serving as a full time missionary for the church of Jesus Christ. I represent my Savior. I am the Lords servant. I am worthy to do His work. The spirit can work through me to testify and I stand clean from my past mistakes. There is no other explanation to the change that has taken place in my life over the past two years, except that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. I never thought i would ever have this experience, but because of Christs atonement, I am here. I believe, because I have used the atonement of Jesus Christ. I have witnessed its miraculous healing power and can say with all surety that my Savior Jesus Christ lived and died for me.  One person did everything for me, even gave his life, and all he asks me to do is follow Him and believe.

I BELIEVE, because I have witnessed so many of Gods tender mercies. So many of us could just push those things away and say they were just coincidence, but my mission has taught me that there are truly no such things as coincidences. I only believe in miracles. From the experience with Margaret in the Yuba City hospital, knocking on the street of red doors to find Kendra, Katie, and Clayton, the priesthood blessing that helped Denise quit smoking, Gerald getting baptized after two and a half years of visits with the missionaries, guessing the right gate code and finding Dacoda at home, Brads testimony and strong recognition of the spirit, reactivating David Castleton, being at the right place to meet Christopher and setting up our skype calls
to England, finding one long lost less active every week since being in Chico, every last door we knocked on that was interested in the gospel, etc. Honestly, the list could go on and on. There is no way I couldn't believe after witnessing the many change of hearts/habits, the spirit filled lessons, and the countless unplanned, but perfect situations I have been in. The many times he has filled my mind with words to say. There is no way I can deny my belief when you have seen what I have. There is no other explanation for this, besides the fact that God loves all of His children and prepares them for the gospel.

I BELIEVE, because the need for the Restoration makes sense. God has called prophets from the beginning of time because he loves us and wants us to know his will. Prophets receive revelation to guide us and hold the priesthood in order to bless our lives through ordinances of the gospel. This has always been one pattern of God's love since the beginning of time. After Jesus Christ and His apostles were killed, people were searching for answers and truth. Over time a lot of the doctrine and ordinances Christ had established were lost or changed. This period of time called the Apostasy was so vital to allowing the Restoration to come to pass. At a time of religious freedom, God reached out in love and just as He had done in the past, called a prophet of God to restore (not reform) the gospel/doctrine of Jesus Christ. This is why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is Christ's true church on the earth today. This is why we boldly declare what we do. I know without a doubt that these things are true. I BELIEVE it with all my heart. I have prayed and through the Holy Ghost have felt multiple times that this is Christ's church restored to the earth in its fullest form.

Because of the Lords help in my life, I want to give him everything in return. I believe, because He has worked through my life and been there for me even when I wasn't there for him. 

I would invite all of you to think about why you believe? Take the time to think about why it is that you know and believe what you do. I promise your testimony will grow and it will become solidified. Knowing these things firmly, will help us develop Savior-like obedience. As Robert D. Hales talked about in his most recent conference address, "At times members may participate in “selective obedience,” claiming to love God and honor God while picking and choosing which of His commandments and teachings—and the teachings and counsel of His prophets—they will fully follow. Some obey selectively because they cannot perceive all the reasons for a commandment, just as children do not always understand the reasons for their parents’ counsel and rules. But we always know the reason we follow the prophets, for this is the Church of Jesus Christ, and it is the Savior who directs His prophets in all dispensations." If we can develop a strong testimony and figure out why we believe, obedience to the Lord will come to us so much more naturally. 

Love you all so much! I'll see some of you on Sunday for my call home. :) Can't wait! 

Read. Pray. Study. Ask. Love. Serve. Learn. 


Sister Allen