Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 10: "It's A Wonderful Life" (:

Hey Everyone!(: I hope that you all had an amazing week this week and that you are all getting into the spirit of Christmas. I know that I definitely am (and have been since like, October haha). This week has seriously been SO amazing. One of the best weeks I've had on my mission so far.

- So on Monday night, we had dinner with this really great couple named the G______'s. They are so sweet and they have a daughter who is my age. We got to talking about why I was on a mission and I was able to bear my testimony and tell a little bit about my story. As I was doing so, they got teary eyed and told me that their daughter is in that place that I was in a year and a half ago.  We were able to share a comforting message with them and on Christmas they are inviting us over so that we can meet their daughter. I am praying for her every night because I know the joy and the happiness that the gospel can bring into her life. I'm excited to meet her! After that, we had a lesson with Z_____ (the guy who we met while delivering Christmas invitations). It went so wonderfully. He is such an outstanding person, and he said, word for word, "I just don't want to follow something blindly. I want to know for myself that something is true before I do it, you know?". It was such a great moment, and we were able to share with him how Joseph Smith was feeling the exact same way when he went to pray. We were able to give him a Book of Mormon and invited him to read and pray. We have another lesson with him on Tuesday and I can't wait(:

- On Tuesday, we got to go on exchanges. I was able to go on an exchange in Boulder with Hermana Mangum. Meeting her and getting to spend that day with her was honestly such a tender mercy from the Lord. She is so amazing and such a good example to me. We had so much fun together and the lessons that we had were wonderful. We met with a recent convert named B_____ who is preparing to go to the temple. She is so sweet and excited about going to do baptisms, being around her just made me so happy too! I am so thankful that I got to have an opportunity to spend a day with Hermana Mangum before she leaves (she only has a week or so left on her mission), and I know that we'll be friends long after our missions.
This is me and Hermana Mangum on the left and then Hermana Maynard and Sis. DeFord on the right.

- Wednesday was a really great day. We were able to talk with people on the street about the gospel and we had a great district meeting. We ended the day meeting with a sweet older lady named P___. She was inactive for 50 years and just recently came back to church in June. The light and love that I felt in her home as we got to talk with her was so amazing. She is just so happy, and is sharing the gospel with so many of her family members. She has a son who passed away, and she said that she has felt him pushing her to go the temple and do his work for him. That gave me chills. We are so excited to work with her and get her ready to go to the temple. She has such a sweet spirit and is so full of the light of Christ, she reminds me a lot of my Nana(:

- Thursday was truly the greatest day ever. During the day, we went out to finish delivering Christmas invitations. We ran into a couple of guys on the street. We were able to share a little bit about the He Is The Gift message with them and then invited them to the Christmas party. One of them told us that he was really going through a hard time and that our kindness was exactly what he needed(: We then asked if we could come back and share a message with them some time, and they said yes! So we will hopefully be visiting them tomorrow. Then, we ran into this girl named B_______ who we had met before when we'd been walking around. We had gotten her number last time but hadn't gotten a hold of her (it's her mom's cell phone). We couldn't believe that we were seeing her again! We got her address and set up an appointment to meet with her this week. It was so awesome! Then, we saw a guy outside his apartment smoking. So we went up and talked to him of course(: His name is S____ and he is from Illinois. He actually knew quite a bit about the church. We were able to share the message of the Restoration with him, and then asked if we could come back and see him sometime. He works two jobs and attends a different church, but he said that we are always free to stop by if we are in the area because he'd love to learn more. Before we left, I was prompted to give him a Book of Mormon and bear my testimony. I did and he agreed to read and pray about it(: I'm hoping we'll be able to see him again, but I'm glad that we left him with a Book of Mormon, just in case we don't get to. Our last appointment of the night was with a man named F_____. He was a potential that we visited and set up an appointment with. He has an 18 month old little boy named A_____. F_____ is so willing and excited to learn more about the church, he already has his own Book of Mormon that he's been reading! It was so funny, before we began the lesson, A______ was standing by me and he just grabbed my face and kissed me! I didn't know what to do. And then, while Sister DeFord was praying, I felt these little lips kiss me again and I was like "Oh my goodness what do I do what is happening!?" Hahaha. I never thought that I would be able to say that I've been kissed twice on my mission, but it happened. We invited F______ to the Christmas party and were really hoping he'd come.

- Friday was mostly spent weekly planning. We finally got our Area Book updated and all of our Teaching Records made. It feels so nice to have an extremely busy week to look forward to this week and to have everything in order. After we got that done, we went and helped set up for the Ward Christmas Party for a few hours. I found out that the Bailey's have a son who is serving with a guy that I went to high school with! It's crazy how there are all these connections!

- Alright, so Saturday morning at 3 a.m., I rolled over in bed and got hit with the most nauseous and painful feeling in my stomach. I sprinted to the bathroom (after tripping over so many things in the dark, which in hindsight was really hilarious and I can't help but laugh at myself) and was puking until about 5 a.m.. I seriously have never had stomach pains so intense. It was crazy. I was so sad, because the Christmas Party was that day and I was so looking forward to being there. I prayed and prayed that I would feel good enough to go. I laid in bed for a couple hours after that, trying to sleep but not very successfully. By the time 9 a.m. rolled around, I decided that I was going to go still. The pain wasn't as bad as before (which was such a tender mercy) and I didn't feel feverish. I am so glad I got to go. I still felt pretty awful while I was there, and I definitely didn't eat anything or get too close to people, but I got to spend time getting to know a less-active named S_____. She is so amazing and kind, and her non-member husband D_____ was there as well. We really hit it off and we were able to get to know one another better. I'm really excited to start meeting with them(: Also, F_____ came to the party! And he brought A_____. They had such a good time and got to know so many people in the ward. I am so happy he was able to make it. Once we got home, I laid down and couldn't get up because my stomach was in so much pain. I couldn't drink water or eat because the pressure was so intense. It was awful. I was stressed and in tears and asked Brother Seyfi for a Priesthood blessing. He called another member of the ward to come over (Brother Madsen) and they gave me one. Even though the physical pain didn't go away, the emotional stress and worry that I was feeling was immediately calmed as they laid their hands on my head. I knew everything would be fine. Sister DeFord was so sweet, she sat by my bed and read me Christmas stories. After a few hours, I was able to drink water finally. And then eventually apple juice. I was so thankful for that. As I laid in bed ALL day, I was beginning to feel bad because we had such a productive day planned, and now because of me neither of us could do anything. I felt like our good week was ending on a bad note. Then, as I read my scriptures, I was in Mosiah Chapter 9 and it said, "Laman began to grow uneasy, lest by any means my people should wax strong in the land, that they could not overpower them and bring them into bondage,". And that's when I had a realization. We had such an amazing week, and even Saturday was full of so many blessings. The work really is moving forward at a brilliant pace here, so of course Satan is trying to make me feel like my efforts this week weren't enough. Of course he is trying to put a damper on the joy I have been feeling. He knows our weaknesses, and he knows that self-doubt and disappointment is a way to bring those who are waxing strong into bondage. Instead of allowing that to happen, I decided to make a list of all the things that I have to be thankful for. From this week and just from life in general. By the time I was done, my mood had improved and I was feeling so much better(: Suzanne (the Seyfi's daughter who has honestly become like my older sister) told me, "You have to take care of yourself if you want to be able to take care of others,". We need to remember not to spread ourselves too thin or get down on ourselves when we can't accomplish everything we planned. As long as we are trying, and our hearts are in the right place, the Lord sees our efforts and appreciates them.

This is us and the Hermana's that serve in the ward with us(: 

                       I love Hermana Ferrell so much. We really are kindred spirits and she is so funny haha.

- Yesterday was great. I woke up feeling a lot better. Still not 100%, but so much better. We were able to listen to the beautiful Christmas Devotional last night. I loved that the focus of President Eyering's talk at the end was all about loving others not only at Christmas time, but all the time. And loving them enough to share the happiness of the gospel with them. I love that the Spirit of Christmas is something that we can feel all year round as we are charitable and loving towards one another. My heart was touched as we sat in the Seyfi's living room and sang the closing hymn together. I am so incredibly thankful that we are living with the Seyfi family. They truly have become my home away from home, and they treat us like their own daughters. I feel extremely blessed to be loved here in almost the same way that I am being loved by those back home(: It is so comforting.
                                      This is a picture that Sis. DeFord took on her super cool camera haha(:

So, this week was awesome. It really was. And today, I am feeling so great. I am so happy that my relationship with my Savior is the main focus of my life. I'm so thankful that I can wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and tell myself that I am beautiful, because I am the daughter of a King, a loving Heavenly Father who cherishes me and cares about me. I am thankful for the Christmas season and the fact that it brings about this wonderful message of the Savior's birth, and His life, and the fact that He still lives. I hope and pray that we can always remember that He is with us, in all that we go through, and that we can continue to grow our faith in His great sacrifice and Atonement. I know that as we do this, we will become stronger in so many ways, and we will be able to uplift one another. I loved the way D. Todd Christofferson put it last night, "Our experiences, especially the difficult ones, help us learn how to lift and redeem one another,". I pray that we can remember that, not only at this time of year but throughout our entire lives. I love you all so much(: Have a blessed week!

Love, Sister Allen