Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 9: "He Really Does Listen" (:

Hello everyone!(: I hope you all had the most wonderful week and Thanksgiving! It really is amazing to have a day full of reflecting on all that we have to be thankful for (and the food is good too).

- Things here in Longmont are wonderful. The weather here was so nice this week, which was awesome because we don't get a car here for another three weeks! Even though walking gets tiring, I LOVE it because we get to talk to everyone that we see on the street. Sis. DeFord and I have a rule that we won't let anyone pass us by without talking to them about the gospel. Plus, we literally sleep so good at night because we are so tired by the end of the day and it's great. The family that we are living with is the Seyfi's. They are seriously so amazing. Some of the most Christ-like and enthusiastic people I have ever met. They have a daughter named Sydney who is serving a mission, and a daughter named Suzanne who is getting married on the 20th. They have some more children too but I can't remember their names right now. They really have made Longmont feel like home and are so involved with us and it's just awesome. I'm so thankful we get to live with them.

- When we came into the area, there wasn't much going on. We were "swept in", but this is actually Sis. DeFord's greeny area! So she knows so much about the people here, which has been really helpful in getting started here. We have spent a lot of time tracting and delivering invitations to people for the Ward Christmas Party. Sis. DeFord is really awesome. She is from Kennewick! Which is so crazy because I never meet people that even know where that is. She was an STL before this and is such a hard worker, so we get along great(: I'm super excited to be serving here with her. The ward here is such a blessing too. We are serving in the Ute Creek Ward, and the people here are just wonderful. They are so inviting and genuinely loving. We spent our Thanksgiving with the Prestwich family. It was so much fun! They had 30+ people (family, friends, missionaries) over for dinner and we all got to talk and laugh and really just have a great time together. Later that night, we went back to the Seyfi's and we had the opportunity to teach three of their non-member friends the Plan of Salvation. They asked lots of questions and seemed really interested. It was so good to meet them and get to share a message of the gospel with them on Thanksgiving(:
*And then that's me and Sister DeFord with Sister Seyfi!(: (who is like my second mom).*

- On Saturday, we had two really awesome experiences! We were walking from appointment to appointment and we had a man drive up to us in his car with the window rolled down. I was kind of nervous at first (we were in a sketchier part of town), but then he asked what we were selling. I love when people ask that because then I can tell them that the gospel is free for anybody haha(: We got talking and ended up giving him a Book of Mormon and our phone number. We also gave him the address of the church building because he said he wanted to start attending church. It was super exciting and crazy that he just randomly drove up, it was a tender mercy for sure. Then, five minutes later, we ran into this couple on the street. We stopped and talked with them and the man, whose nickname was S______, told us that he believes in God but not in organized religion. We asked him if he'd heard of the Book of Mormon and if he'd ever read it. He said he hadn't and never planned to. Just then, I got the overwhelming feeling that I should share my testimony of the Book of Mormon with him. As I did, something in his face changed. It was so amazing to see the hardness in his eyes gradually fade as I testified of it's truthfulness. I then invited him to read it and pray to know for himself if it's true. He accepted it and said he would definitely read it with his wife.

- So I'm not going to lie, this week was rough. I was so homesick, because holiday's are just hard out here. Even though you have amazing families, it's not your family. Even though this sounds so silly, I felt like I had so many other things to pray about (investigators, ward members, less actives) that praying about missing my family would be kind of selfish. I kept putting it off and just sucking it up and dealing with it. And then yesterday, at church, I was very very humbled. The topic in Sacrament meeting was the power of prayer. During one of the talks, it was said that "There is never a time where not praying is the answer. Whenever you feel negativity, about anything at all, even the silliest little thing, get on your knees and pray. We need to cry out for help, to think that our prayers will annoy God or wear Him out is prideful, because that is assuming that we know God's limitations. God has no limitations. Therefore, prayer has no limitations,". I was crying. A lot. It was literally exactly what I needed to here. God wants to hear everything that we have to say. He doesn't care if we've said it before, He doesn't care if it's silly, or selfish, or frustrated. We need to pray to him. Even if we don't have a desire to pray that day for whatever reason, we need to get on our knees and pray to have a desire to pray. When our lives are in disarray, and even when we feel like we have used up all of the grace that God has to offer, we need to pray. Even if we don't feel like it. So I bet you can guess what I did right? As soon as church was over and I had a second to myself, I prayed my heart out. I prayed for the peace and the comfort that I have needed all week long, and guess what? It washed over me like a giant hug. The rest of the day I just couldn't stop smiling, because I knew that my God was right there with me, watching out for me and helping me deal with being away from my family that I love so much. He wants to help us. When we don't pray, we are withholding ourselves from so much happiness and comfort and blessings. Prayer is the key that can open the door to the powers of Heaven. My testimony of that has been continuously strengthened and I know now that no prayer is "not good enough" for our Heavenly Father.

- We had dinner with an amazing family named the G______'s last night. They have three children. A______ is 7, and then they have two boys who are 5 and 3. Sister G______ is a convert to the church and Brother G______ was once inactive. We got to hear both of their stories, and they were truly amazing. Brother G_______ gave the gospel a second chance because of a conversation that he had with his mom, who unconditionally loved him. Sound familiar?(: We were able to share a message with them, and then they asked us if we would be willing to teach the missionary discussions to A_______ before she made the decision to be baptized. I LOVED that. I know that it's something I definitely want to do for my children. They truly want her to know the reasons why baptism is important and have her make the decision based on her knowledge rather than on expectations. I thought it was super neat that they asked us to do that and I'm really excited to teach A_______ the lessons.

- Later last night, we were out delivering the last Christmas Party invitation. We were looking for a man named J______. We knocked on the door and found out that he had moved. The man who answered the door (Z_____) then spoke with us for a bit. We were able to bear testimony of God's love and His restored gospel on the earth. We were also able to talk about modern day prophets. He said he had done a research paper on the LDS religion in high school, but besides that he didn't know much. He said that we could come back and teach him more. He was so kind and genuine, we have our appointment with him tonight(: I think it's amazing that God finds a way for us to meet people like Z_____. When we are being obedient and doing our best, He recognizes that and helps us reach the people who really need this gospel in their lives.
*This is me at a cute little book exchange box that is here in Longmont(: people can come and take a book and then they are supposed to leave one for someone else to take. It's so cute.*

Long story short, my first week here was full of highs and lows, but ultimately I came to realize things that I really need in order to be a happier and better person and follower of Christ(: I'm so so so thankful that I have come to the knowledge that God really does want to hear everything that is in our hearts. I know that He cares about us so much individually, so if you ever feel like praying just isn't the answer, then you're wrong. Just like I was wrong. Prayer is the answer, it is always the answer. He is reaching out for us, we need to remember to reach back. Gordon B. Hinckley said, "Pray as if everything depends on God, work as if everything depends on you,". We have to put in the effort, we have to open the door and let Him in. I promise when we do, we will be blessed so immensely. I love you all! I'm so thankful for each of you and hope your week is spectacular!

Love, Sister Allen