Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 6: "His Arm Is Outstretched."

Hi everyone!(: I hope you had a great week. It just started snowing here in Fort Collins and it is freezing! It's supposed to get below 0 this week....can't wait haha. Something I am realizing is that it's hard to be a missionary during the holidays. Especially in YSA. Everyone is making plans to go home and see their family for Thanksgiving and Christmas and you can't help but feel a little homesick. Thankfully, I have a wonderful family here in my mission and in the ward, and an amazing family supporting me from back home! I know that even on the hard days, God is watching out for me and giving me little miracles and blessings to sustain my positive attitude while I'm away(:
- This week has been awesome in every single way. On Tuesday, our investigator K_____ said that she got an answer about her baptismal date. We're looking at December 6th (the week after Thanksgiving) and we couldn't be more excited for her. She has the happiest and brightest Spirit and I'm just so thrilled that she feels the desire to come closer to Heavenly Father. Then, that night, we had a lesson with one of our members named Nory. She is so nice and is preparing to serve a mission. She has a friend named J_____ (who HATED the church) who has been coming to church/activities with her. She is really sweet and has said that people are so nice in our church. She finally agreed to do a lesson with us and Nory, and it went so amazing! She and Nory are now reading the Book of Mormon together every day and we are so excited for that progress that she is making.

- On Wednesday we went tabling on campus again. We had some really amazing conversations with a few different people, and we talked with one guy for two hours about the gospel. It was a really great experience and we are hoping to hear from some of them soon. God has a specific time for everyone, and we are just praying that now is the time for at least one of them to open their hearts to Him. Also, we saw a squirrel eating a Poptart. It was possibly the cutest/funniest thing ever and yes, I got pictures.

- On Thursday, we had dinner with the Briscoe's. Their daughter Diana is so awesome and such a good member missionary. She just got home a few months ago from her mission to Denmark and her family is so cool. They have such a love of God and each other and it's so awesome to see. Diana's sister, E____, is inactive. I have a really soft spot in my heart for her. She is so talented and has such divine potential, I have this feeling that she will come back, and I'm just praying that it will happen soon. I feel like she is in a similar place with her faith that I was in a year and a half ago, and I know the happiness that the light of the gospel can bring to her.
- Friday was a harder day. We had a lot of appointments cancel and neither of us felt very good. We kept working though and eventually, we got an appointment with a former investigator named C________. She has committed to baptism before in the past but something always gets in the way. We are meeting with her on Wednesday and hoping to help her open up about what it is that's bothering her. Later that night, we spent time with our friend Frances from the ward. She is so awesome and totally brightened our spirits. I'm thankful that we have people like her here. We went to a little coffee place to get hot cocoa with her and I saw this quote that said, "Find something you are passionate about and stay tremendously interested in it,". I really loved that. This gospel is meant to be something that we feel happy and interested about. We need to immerse ourselves in learning and growing and it can help us find things in this life (talents, blessings, interests, etc.) that we didn't even know we had!(: 
- Saturday was by far one of the best days I have had so far. We woke up and Sister Metzger really was not feeling good. We studied and prayed and went to do service at the Food Bank (we go there every Saturday from 12 to 2:30). When we got there, we said a prayer in the car before going in. I prayed for someone to notice the Light of Christ in us that day (we aren't allowed to talk about the gospel during service). When we were there, one of the workers named R____ came up and said, "There is something so happy and joyful about you. You just have this light and this countenance that makes other people happy too. I think it's something with your faith. We are really thankful that you volunteer here,". It was such an answer to prayers. Then, we had this huge bag of candy. J___ said that she thought we should save it, but I had this feeling I should give it to a family. Lots of families came through, and then I saw this dad with his son and daughter and got a huge prompting to give it to them. When I did, he looked so happy and said "Thank you so much! My kids were sick on Halloween and didn't get to go trick or treating!". It was so cool and I am so thankful the Lord prompts us with little things to help our fellow brothers and sisters(: Later, we went to a member named Bryan Burke's house for dinner with our friend Loryn from the ward. She's like the older sister I've never had. Bryan let us go see all his animals (he has miniature donkeys you guys.....I have pictures). He's a vegetarian and he prepared an amazing vegan salad and dressing, made this fresh squeezed juice, lentil soup, and then...he made BANANA ICE CREAM. Mom, you know why this is such a big deal haha. It was like being home and it was so delicious. Then, on the way back to the institute, Loryn, Sis. Metzger, and I all sang Frozen and Tangled and it was wonderful. It was a much needed day of happiness and blessings and I'm so thankful for God and his hand in my life.

- Today in my studies, I was reading in 2nd Nephi Chapter 28 and I had some really powerful revelation. Satan is so clever in the way that he pulls our Spirits away from God. It is a gradual descent, he makes things seem fun and exciting and empowering. As we fall with him as our guide, our sensitivity to God's light is dulled. We fall into an apathetic or prideful mindset. Once Satan gets us to the point where we are so far away from the light that our Spirits are deadened, he slams the cell door shut using the guilt that we feel from our iniquities and he binds us with the chains of temptation and addiction. He can do this all without us even realizing it's happening, and then he wants to keep us there, making it seem like there is no escape. But I know with a surety in my heart, that even those who are bound by him, those who have denied God and pulled away voluntarily from His light and His truth, still have an opportunity to come out of that horrible place. In verse 32 it says, "Nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long,". He never, ever, gives up on us. Not even if we have denied His outstretched arm a thousand times before. Our Heavenly Father loves us and will be there for us throughout all eternity, to help pick us up and get us back to where we can see the light and move towards it.

I am so thankful for God, so thankful for eternal progression, and so thankful for this work. I love you all and hope you can recognize God's helping hand in your lives this week!
Love, Sister Allen