Monday, October 27, 2014

good friends help you keep your covenants

Hey, hey! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


sister allen

Monday, October 20, 2014

busy busy

Monday, October 13, 2014

just what I needed...

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love and miss every single one of you! 


Sister Allen

Monday, October 6, 2014

spiritual questions receive spiritual answers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good week! 


Sister Allen