Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Week 65: "Happiness" (:

"My cute stocking from Sister Tilley" (:

Hi everyone!(: I hope you have all had an amazing week and a wonderful
Christmas. I can honestly say that this has been the most meaningful
Christmas of my entire life, and I am so thankful.

We had some really amazing lessons with the Lien family this week.
Sister Tahere was able to share her conversion story during dinner
with them one night and talked a lot about her father coming into the
gospel, and it was powerful, especially for Brother Lien. We went back
on Saturday to have FHE with them, and we taught the Restoration. As
we did, Brother Lien was so focused. Especially when we shared the
First Vision. He didn't break eye contact with me the whole time I
relayed Joseph Smith's experience. It was an amazing first lesson, and
I know that it's because of the Spirit. The Restoration is the
foundation of every good thing, every truth and happiness that lies in
the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lien's children participated so much
in the lesson, I really admire how spiritually attuned they all are.
That family is amazing and I love them so much(: Sister Lien came up
to us at church yesterday and was like, "I don't know what you've
done, but my husband's heart is softening, so keep it up!". 

 We knocked a lot of doors this week and it was so much fun(: one door
we knocked on, the man yelled, "come in!". We opened the door and
stood in the doorway. Bob is an older man, and he has a broken hip. He
can't really move and you can see that he is very lonely. He agreed to
let us come back(: as we left I said, "We love you!" And he started
crying. "I love you too," he yelled. It made my heart happy to know
that he felt loved that day. I've decided that people need to hear
that they are loved more often. And that is something that is
wonderful about the gospel, it helps us to feel that love not only
from others, but from Savior and from our Heavenly Father.

"Me with the cute Tilley kids!" (:
We got to go caroling with Abby, this amazing young woman in 6th Ward,
and her friend. A family that has been struggling with their
testimonies let us sing to them and give them cookies, and they were
actually really happy to see us(: it was really fun.

We met with the Peterson's, a part member family in 6th Ward. They are
so awesome. They have a newborn and a cute little 2 year old. While we
were teaching, the two year old boy kept wrapping me up in his blanket
hahah. It was cute(: his mom was like, "He never shares his blanket
with people, so this is a big deal,". Brother Peterson is so great,
and he really has a desire to know if the gospel is true. We were able
to testify of the power of real and intentional prayer, and how God
answers you when you are asking for the right reasons. He agreed to
pray, and we are so excited for him! 

Christmas Eve was amazing. We had dinner with Marla, this awesome lady
in 6th Ward who we love so much. She reminds me a lot of my Nana(: she
had her friend Gavin come over and we all had such a fun time eating
curry and laughing and talking about the gospel. I love how easy it is
to talk about God at the dinner table(: after that, we went to a
Christmas Eve service at Bev and Errol's church. We got to meet their
granddaughter and we sat in the very front row. We sang hymns and
listened to their pastor. At the end, we all lit candles and sang
"Silent Night". When we walked into the building, we were met with
lots of stares and confused faces. By the end of the service, lots of
people came up and talked to us, hugged us, and treated us like
friends. We were able to express our love to them and we even got invited to come put bags together for the homeless people with their
congregation. So awesome! As we were leaving, we gave the pastor a hug
and we passed a man by the stairs. He told us that he used to be LDS
and that he served a mission. As he began to say some interesting
things about the church, I simply said, "Sir, we love you. God loves
you. Merry Christmas,". He smiled and shook our hands. It was so nice
to help people see that we are loving, we follow Christ, and we know
who it is that we serve.

"Me with Brother and Sister Tilley, such an awesome family!" (:

Christmas Day. So awesome. The Tilley's are so wonderful. They had us
over for Christmas morning and Sister Tilley made us adorable
stockings! They even had presents under the tree for us. It was so
sweet(: they are such a Christ-like family. We went and saw Kris after
that. She shared a story with us called "The Innkeeper's Wife,". It
was one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. The Spirit was
almost tangible as we listened, and as we all shared our gratitude for
the Savior, for Mary, for Joseph, and for Heavenly Father. It was
beautiful. 

I got to Skype with my family after that, and it was the
best thing ever. I love them so much. They have all grown and changed
so much since I've been gone, and I'm so proud of each one of them. We
ended the night with dinner at the Tilley's and then an awesome visit
to Robert and Kendra. They had Santa presents for us and it was so
cute, I love those humans(: 

 Out of all the amazing things that happened this week, the experience
of meeting Hailey was one of the most sacred things that has happened
on my mission. We knocked on a door of a former investigator named
George, and a man answered. He told us he was George's brother, and
that they were just in town for the day and they'd be leaving the next
morning. He was very guarded at first, and it didn't look like he was
going to let us in. Then he said, "Do you want to say hi to Hailey?".
He stepped out of the way and on the chair by the door sat a beautiful
girl. She was curled up in a ball and you could tell that she couldn't
move very well. We said hi and waved and smiled and after that he let
us inside. Hailey is 25 years old. 2 years ago, she was in a really
bad accident that damaged her brain. She is still so smart and can
understand things, but she can't speak, she can only move her right
hand and her mouth, and she is partially blind. And she is lovely. As
we sat there speaking with her uncle, we found out that he and Hailey
are both members, but that they haven't been to church since her
accident. As we were talking with him, Hailey just kept smiling and
signing things at me. Finally I said, "Okay I really want to give her
a hug,". He looked at me with a surprised look on his face and said,
"She loves hugs!". So I jumped up and he helped her stand and I gave
her a hug, and she wrapped her little arms around me and squeezed me
as tight as she could and didn't let go. She was making the most
excited noises and was so happy, tears filled my eyes. The most
overwhelming feeling of pure love for her filled my heart. I know that
God put me there that day so that I could hug Hailey. I will never
ever forget the way I felt in that moment. Sister T jumped up and it
was a group hug for a little bit, and then as we left, Hailey signed
"I love you". We signed it back and I started crying. I can't wait for
her to be able to run and sing and dance and do all of the things that
I know she wants to do. I also know that God loves her so much, and
that He knows her pain, her struggles, and her heart. I love Hailey so
much.

I love my Savior. I love this gospel. It makes me happy(: and I know
it can do that for anyone and I know that it brings us peace in this
life and joy in the life to come.

 I love you all. Have a happy new year!(:

Love, Sister Allen

Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 64: "Strep throat, stomach scope, and the best Christmas gift EVER(:‏"



Hello everyone!(: this week has been so crazy! Full of lots of
interesting and unexpected stuff and things.

So Monday, I went in for my stomach scope thing. They gave me these
drugs that were pretty intense and I talked to antelope on the way
home from the doctors office apparently haha. All is well and
everything with my health is slowly getting figured out, thanks to
everyone who has been praying for me(: they have definitely helped.
I'm grateful for the capable doctors and people God has placed in my
life at this time to help me have a healthier mindset towards my life.
I know that He loves me and is refining me in the best ways out here(:

I got strep throat and a sinus virus thingy on Thursday, which has
been lots of fun (jokes). But it's okay, I know that there's a reason.
Heavenly Father's plan is always so perfect, although I have to say,
being quarantined for 24 hours is a very difficult thing as a
missionary. I'm grateful for my companion for being so patient with
all of it. The huge miracle? She hasn't gotten sick(: blessings.

We had some great lessons with Bev and Errol this week(: they are the
most adorable humans. They wrote their yearly Christmas newsletter
that they send to all of their friends. They gave us a copy, and the
last paragraph is about Sister Tahere and I coming over and sharing
the gospel with them. So sweet! Bev had been trying to get Errol to
read the Bible for ages, and now hey are reading the Bible and the
Book of Mormon, together(: they are praying together too. It has been
so awesome to see their progression. They came to the Christmas
program at church yesterday and loved it. I know they are very special
to Heavenly Father, every time we are with them I just feel that so
strongly.



Robert and Kendra are doing amazing. Robert received the Priesthood
yesterday, and he and Kendra were absolutely glowing. These people are
two of the strongest souls I've ever met. They have come from 20 years
of heartache, and in a month, they have made the changes necessary to
faithfully follow in the footsteps of our Savior. They inspire me so
much, and their excitement for the gospel is contagious! I can't wait
for them to be sealed next year(:

We saw Bobbi Sue this week!!! It was such a happy day. I love that
woman with all of my heart. I would do anything for her. We had a
great discussion with her and Brother Hoflund on grace. It was
powerful. The next day, she texted us and said that she loved us, and
that they said family prayer and Cash said she was a good mom and it
was exactly what she needed to hear(:

Yesterday, we had a very spiritual experience with our Ward Mission
Leader, Brother Tilley. I love that man and his sweet wife so much.
And their kids. They are like family to me and I can trust them with
anything. Life can be really hard sometimes, because we can do a
million things right, and then when one wrong thing happens, we tend
to focus way more on that then on the good. Brother Tilley shared his
testimony and words of comfort with me. I know he spoke by the spirit,
and it brought tears to my eyes. I know the Lord is happy with my
service here, and He knows where my heart is. I make mistakes every
day, and I don't do everything perfectly right all the time, but I'm
striving. I'm so grateful that Brother Tilley shared what he did,
because it's changed my perspective in a very life changing way.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to celebrate the birth of my
Savior this week. I love the Lord Jesus Christ with my whole heart. He
has changed, healed, redeemed, and molded me in the best possible
ways. He forgives me every day, He lends me His strength every hour,
and I know that He is with me, and with each one of us, all the time.
Because of Him, we can receive the sweetest peace. We can feel joy, we
can overcome any sorrow. Because He chose to come to earth, to walk
the road of mortality and suffer every pain and temptation and
heartache, we can become more than what we are today. We can become
like Him(: we just have to live like He does, love like He does, and
trust in His ways(:

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, and that you all reflect on
the little baby in Bethlehem who made all of this possible(: I love
you!

Merry ChristmasChristmas tree

Sister Allen

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 63: "Love Like He Does" (:



Hello everyone!!(: I'm so exhausted right now, but so incredibly
happy. This week was packed full of wonderful things and I'm so
grateful to Heavenly Father for helping us stay busy and productive.

We had some amazing lessons with Robert and Kendra this week, as per
usual. They are just so awesome. I wish everyone in the world could
meet them, because they enrich and bless each life that they are a
part of. They have definitely done that for mine. We taught them about
family history, and it was a really sacred experience. Robert's dad
passed away, and he is so excited to help him receive the blessings of
the gospel(: I love that our Heavenly Father's plan is so merciful,
that we always have a chance to change. I love being a missionary
because I get to witness people change their lives through the
Atonement and the grace of our Savior. I am so grateful for the
changes Robert and Kendra have made(: we get to spend our P day with
Kendra today and it's going to be super fun! Also, Kendra and Robert
are already being missionaries. Kendra basically shared the message of
the Restoration with her parents, and Robert is handing out copies of
the Book of Mormon while he's gone on business trips during the week.
They are such cool humans(:

We got to do lots of finding this week! We were going to contact
someone and she wasn't home, so we went to get back in the car. Then I
just felt like we should go knock this door with pumpkins outside of
it. So we did, and we met Matt(: he has super cool hair and he is
awesome. He is searching for truth in his life. He hasn't practiced
any kind of religion for a long time because he felt forced into it
when he was young. We invited him to learn more about God's plan for
him and he agreed. I'm so stoked for him! I know that it's so
important to come to know the truth of things for yourself. The
choices I made in my life before I knew God was really there weren't
good, but I am grateful for the mistakes and the trials because they
helped me come to know the truth, and that is something I cherish so
much now. My parents really tried to help me understand it, but we
each have to find out for ourselves eventually. I love being able to
meet people who are searching, and helping them to come to realize
that God loves them before they have to go through lots of heartache,
and I hope we can do that for Matt.



Us with Eric! (:

We had a couple great lessons with Eric this week. He looks so much
happier than he did when we first met him. He even brought his friend
to sit in on one of our lessons! So awesome. He also got us a huge box
of 78 chocolates, which Sister Tahere has really been loving haha(:

We met a less active named Kristine, and she's so sweet. We're going
to be helping her with a service project of gathering materials to put
together bags for the homeless this Christmas. When we were over there
visiting with her, she opened up so much about how she is ready to
change her life, but feeling like it's too late. We were able to
testify that it is never too late to use Christ's Atonement. I know
that there is so much hope for her and her families future, and
reaching out for help is the first step towards achieving a happier,
more Christ centered life(:

We had a great lesson with Brother Hoopes and Kris. It was really nice
to teach him again after he's been gone for so long. He has such a
kind hearted spirit and he really has changed so much. I'm excited to
see the miracles that prayer and scripture study work in his life as
he's away working again this month.
Us with Bev and Errol! (:

Bev and Errol are as wonderful as ever. They are just so sweet and
Errol is really looking for answers. He's been studying and he even
said the closing prayer in our lesson! He wrote letters for Sister
Tahere and I. They were so sweet, it was basically a recap of our
conversion stories that we shared with him and how they made him feel.
I love Bev and Errol so much, they make my heart happy.






Christmas Devotional! (:
We had our Christmas devotional this week, and it was great. President
Brown had us all share our testimonies and it was a really neat
experience to have with all the great missionaries in our zone. He
surprised me when he was like, "Sister Allen, will you start us off?".
I don't even remember what I said, but I felt so good afterwards(: I
also got to share my testimony in 4th and 6th Ward yesterday. I know
that as we share a part of ourselves, we grow. My testimony and
conversion have grown so much more as I've been sharing it with
others.

Our stake performed Handel's Messiah last night. It was really
wonderful, and Bev, Errol, Robert, and Eric all came. It was so fun! I
love the eternal friendships that my mission has blessed me with.

I know that this gospel is true, with all my heart. Nothing in this
world has ever made me so incredibly happy. Hard times still come, and
I'm still an imperfect human, but I'm a happy imperfect human(: and
that's what matters. I am so thankful for the peace and understanding
that the gospel brings. I know that God is so aware of us and that His
plan for us is perfect. I know that our Savior suffers with us. I know
that He chose to do what He did because He loves us perfectly.

As I've been learning more about Jesus Christ and His nature, I've
come to realize why He was able to be perfect. It's because He loved
perfectly. When you love perfectly, you aren't prideful, or jealous,
or angry, or selfish. You live your life in the service and privilege
of loving others. That's what He did, and that's what I want to do,
always(:

I love you all, and I hope you have a wonderful week!(:

Love, Sister Allen



Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 62: "The Generous One" (:



Hello everyone(: honestly, my heart is so full of joy right now. I had
some of the most spiritual experiences of my life this week. I highly
doubt that I'll be able to express my thoughts clearly, but I will try
my best!! 

 We had a spa day with Kendra and Robert on Monday, and Kendra painted
our nails. She is such a sweetheart. Seriously Mom and Dad, I can't
wait for you to meet these people(: we watched The Testaments all
together, and as per usual, we laughed for the whole first hour and
cried at the last five minutes. It was such a fun day, just spending
time with people that are so near and dear to my heart.

They had their interview with President the next day. Robert said that
President Brown said that it's not normal for a missionary to stay
longer than six months in an area, but that I stayed here for them(:
so cool. The Lord has a perfect plan and timing for everyone. I'm
thankful that my plan was to be here at this time to witness this
amazing transformation. After their interviews, there was a beautiful
sunset that lit up the sky with a big pillar of light in the middle.
It was like Heavenly Father was rejoicing and it was such an amazing
thing to see(: we were all so happy. 

In our lesson with them that
night, Robert said some things that I really needed to hear. It was an
answer to my prayers, and I know that he was speaking the things that
Heavenly Father wanted me to know. Afterwards, Kendra gave me a hug
and it was like getting a hug from Mom. It was such a miraculous
night, I won't ever forget it. 

 We had an amazing last District Meeting. The Zone Leaders were there
too, and we had a conversion story and testimony bearing meeting. It
was honestly the best District Meeting I've ever been too. Elder
Stock, one of our Zone Leaders, shared his conversion story. As he
spoke, it was like I was hearing my little brother Adam speak.
Everything he said gave me an insight on how my little brother must
have felt when I left my family and the gospel. The spirit was so
strong and it was exactly what I needed to hear. I'm so thankful for
the healing power of Christ's Atonement, and that it has helped
rebuild those bridges in me and Adam's relationship.

The biggest highlight of this week was Robert and Kendra's baptism(:
oh my goodness you guys, it was amazing! They are so full of love and
joy, it is absolutely beautiful. They showed up and got into their
white outfits. We didn't have any quite big enough for Robert, so he
wore this one that was a little tight and had an awesome collar. He
looked like Elvis hahah(: Kendra looked beautiful and they were both
just glowing! Lots of awesome members showed up to support them. 

They
asked Sister Tahere and I to be the speakers. Sister Tahere spoke on
baptism, and did a great job. Then, they were baptized by their friend
Mark. They were so cute afterwards, they had the biggest smiles on
their faces. After that, Sister Tahere and I sang "Come Unto Christ".
We did it acapella and it felt so good to finally sing in front of
people again!!(: Sister Tahere has helped me work up the confidence to
do that again. Then, I gave my talk on the Holy Ghost. I was nervous,
but the spirit helped me say exactly what needed to be said. It felt
so good(: They got confirmed and bore their testimonies together and
it was just the best day ever. They are amazing.

We got to go over and have a lesson with them and Lexi the next day. I
love Lexi so much(: it's so crazy, there are some people who are just
so familiar, I know that Lexi is one of the people I was meant to meet
here. Every time we hug it's the happiest thing ever, like we've known
each other for ages. She has such a huge piece of my heart. We taught
the Restoration, and as the lesson was coming to a close, I had the
strongest prompting to express how much God loves her and how much we
love her, and how special she is. It felt so good. 

 In the Christmas devotional, I love how Christ was described as "The
Generous One,". This week, so many wonderful people have been generous
towards me and Sister Tahere. Examples: This sweet sister named Marla
let us come into her home and treated us like family. The lady at the
gas station spotted us a dollar so we could get quarters for laundry.
Sister Ungricht got us beautiful necklaces for Christmas. Robert and
Kendra saw that my watch was cracked so they got me a new one and got
a necklace for Sister Tahere. And then when they found out that my
blender broke, they showed up at our apartment with a blender, fruit,
and protein powder for me. It was honestly the sweetest thing ever,
and I couldn't help but cry tears of joy. All those acts of kindness,
that they didn't have to do, were so generous. Normally, I would have
a really hard time with people giving us stuff like that, but it was
so easy to see that it was motivated out of love. I was reading in
Mosiah, and it talked about how the Nephites were going through some
really hard times, but they pressed forward with their own strength
and went to battle against the Lamanites. Every time, they lost. After
the third time, they were humbled so greatly that they cried out to
God, which enabled Him to ease their burdens. He didn't take them
away, but He made them lighter. Eventually, the Lord brought them out
of captivity and into a better place, but it all required their
reliance on Him and in the servants that He sent to them.
Humility is something that I've been working on. It's not easy for me
to just open up and tell people when I'm struggling. I just want to be
happy and do the work and forget about all the other stuff. This last
week, Kendra and Robert and my companion were all able to help me to
open up and just be honest about it all. When that happened, I also
realized that I need to be more honest with the Lord in asking for His
help and strength with my struggles. I have felt my burdens lightened
in a huge way as I have turned to Him. They haven't gone away, but my
capacity to bear them and feel happy while doing so has increased. I'm
so thankful for the love and generosity of my close ones, and I'm so
thankful for the generous nature of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know
that He lives, and I know that He sends people into our lives to help
us through the difficulties of life. I'm thankful for the people He
has placed in my life(: 

 I love you all, have a great week!(: 

 Love, Sister Allen 

 PS: SIX MORE WEEKS IN CASPER WITH SISTER TAHERE(:

 Pictures: the best things in life(: