Monday, January 12, 2015

Week 15: "Happy, Though Skies Are Gray"(:

Hello everyone!(: I hope you all had a fantastic week. I am so thankful for the chance that I have to tell you all about the amazing experiences the Lord helps me to have out here in Colorado. I know that we can ALL have these kind of opportunities, we just have to ask! He is ready and willing to lead us to the people who are prepared to receive the gospel(:

F______ is back!!! Oh my goodness, Monday was such an exciting day. So first, we went and stopped by a less-active families house. They were in the middle of dinner though so we asked if we could come back by later. We headed off to our dinner appointment and we were passing by F_____'s house. We noticed the lights were on in his apartment, and then we saw people in the hallway who could let us into the complex. We freaked out and pulled over and ran to the door. Once we got into the building, we tried to act as normal and nonchalant (other missionaries will understand that this is very hard to do when you're this excited). We knocked on his door, and just as we did I noticed someone coming up the stairs. Guess who?(: F_____! He let us into his apartment, where we met his wife L___, who was visiting for the holidays so that they could spend Christmas together with A_____. We were able to find out that the reason we hadn't heard from him was because his old phone broke, and he has a new one but didn't have our number so he couldn't get a hold of us. We were so relieved and we have an appointment scheduled for this week(: We are hoping L____ will still be in town, because we'd love to share with her the same happiness that F_____ has been experiencing. Later, we went back to the Saxton's house and we were able to share a message about keeping our foundation on Christ. It went really well and they are such a nice family, I love them already. Also, Brother Saxton collects Lord Of The Rings swords, so obviously we got along very well. He even let me take pictures with all of them. I can now say that I held Sting while on my mission.

On Tuesday, we had the opportunity to go and visit a man named J____. He is a former investigator who we have been trying to meet with for a while. He seems genuinely interested in the gospel, and he actually grew up going to Primary, but was never baptized. He had to get surgery done on Wednesday, and we asked him if he would like a Priesthood Blessing beforehand. He said he would love that. Tuesday night after dinner, we headed over there. We had our Ward Mission Leader and Assistant Ward Mission Leader with us to give the blessing, and then we also needed a woman to come with us and so Brother and Sister Prestwich came. Six people, including us. So basically, we showed up at J____s door with the Mormon Battalion hahaha. He was totally fine with it though, and we were able to talk about how the Priesthood was restored, how our faith is a huge factor in allowing the blessing to work in our lives, and then Brother Renken was able to share what it's like to give a blessing. It was so awesome, and the blessing itself was a very spiritual experience. Afterwards, J____ said that he didn't feel worried anymore, and that he felt peace. It was so amazing. We stopped by to bring him soup on Friday, and his surgery went well with no complications. We talked a little bit about baptism and how that same Priesthood Authority is used when we make that covenant with God. He said we can come back and have a lesson with him this week to talk more about it(:

Wednesday was one of the best days I have had so far on my mission. During personal study, I was praying to know what we needed to share with our investigator Z_____, who we were having a lesson with at 7:00. I got the impression that we needed to invite him to read 2 Nephi 31. We went to Z____'s house, and knocked. There was no answer. We called and he didn't pick up. We were feeling a little discouraged. We got back into the car with Sister Baker (an awesome member of the ward who comes with us to lots of lessons) and then he texted! He said he was sorry, he'd fallen asleep, but he still wanted to meet. He said he needed to get ready, but that we could come back at 8:30. We went with the plan of teaching the Plan of Salvation, and it was really cool because the first question he asked us was what we believe about Heaven and Hell. It was really neat, because it wasn't us teaching him. It was the Spirit. As we would share things, he would pause and think about them. There was this comfortable silence, and I know that the Spirit was able to witness to him that the things we were talking about were true during that time. We were able to help answer more of his questions, and Sis. DeFord extended a really nice invite to come to church. Sis. Baker did a wonderful job of talking about the blessings of church, and how on the weekends that he has his girls, they could come to Primary. He couldn't make it this week but he will hopefully come next week(: Then, I was able to invite him to be baptized. When we first met Z____, he told us he didn't believe in organized religion, and didn't know how he felt about God. That night, he told us that he isn't opposed to baptism, and that he will be baptized when he knows that this gospel is true. He said that he knows God is present in his life. Amazing. Simply amazing(: I'm so thankful that the Spirit was able to be felt that night, and that it was able to help me talk with him about baptism, even though I was nervous.  We invited him to read 2 Nephi 31 and are meeting with him tonight to talk about it.

Thursday we spent time visiting a few different less actives. Sister DeFord and I have decided that we need to start a Stop Smoking Knitting Club. It's a work in progress, but we really do have a few people that we are visiting and that is the only thing holding them back from enjoying the full happiness that comes from keeping the commandments that God has set up for us. We were also able to stop by B______'s house. We haven't been able to meet with her yet, but we wanted to bring her a Book of Mormon and give her a chapter to read in it so that when we do meet, we can talk about what she thought/felt while reading. It was really sweet because when we got done talking to her about it, she looked at us and said, "I will definitely take the time to read this,". She seemed so sincere, and we are really hoping to be able to see her this week so we can talk about it with her.

Friday was our Mission Conference with Elder Bednar(: It was amazing, but not for the reason that you might think. Don't get me wrong, it was amazing to meet him. I know that he is truly an apostle of God. I know that he holds Priesthood Keys that allow him to give us guidance and direction and promised blessings that come directly from the Lord. There are so many things that I admire about him, but the number one thing I admire, is that he didn't come here to teach us. He came here to help us learn by the Spirit, and allow the Spirit to do all the teaching. And that is exactly what happened. I received some much needed guidance, inspiration, and love from the Holy Ghost throughout the entire conference. Elder Bednar had asked us to read three talks. Then, he asked us to tell him what we learned from those talks. I was able to raise my hand and talk with him about how applying the direction given in his talk "Seek Learning By Faith" has helped me do a better job of allowing the Lord and the Spirit to answer people's questions as they ask in faith rather than doing all the answering by myself. He then asked me to tell him about an experience I've had, and so I told him about our lesson with Zach. He asked me how it felt to see that Zach was learning by the Spirit, and I couldn't help but smile huge when I told him it was amazing! He said "Look at that smile!" haha(: It was really awesome to get to see him interact with many other missionaries that same way, with an attitude of love and understanding. He truly loves and cares about each of us so much, you could feel it every time he spoke. I am so thankful that I was able to have that experience.

*I got to see my old companion, Sister Metzger, at the Mission Conference! (:

We did a ton of tracting this week. It was so much fun! We were able to meet so many people who said we can come back, and we were able to give away all of our copies of the Book of Mormon. One of the days while we were out, we met a man named J_______. He said he didn't have time to talk right at the moment, but if we had something that he could read he would love to see it. We asked him if he'd ever read the Book of Mormon, and he said, "No, but I saw the musical!". Then, Sister DeFord said, "Well, would you like to read the book?". It was hilarious, and he totally accepted it! Two days later, we were walking down the street and we passed a group of kids walking the opposite direction. They told us that we needed to watch out because there was a man on the corner turning left and it looked like he was carrying a gun. We were a little freaked out, so we decided to take a round about way to get home. We were walking through a park and saw a man walking towards us with a long beard and one hand in his sweatshirt pocket. I'm not going to lie, my heart was beating so fast. I looked at Sister DeFord and after talking for a bit, we decided to keep walking toward him. We said hi, like we usually do when people walk by, and he said hi back. Then he said, "I got all the way through the introduction of the Book of Mormon! I'm into Nephi now, is that how you pronounce it?". It was J______! We didn't recognize him at all. We were able to talk with him about what he'd read and gave him our phone number. He said he wants to call us when he gets a little further through it and then he wants to talk with us about what he reads. We are so excited!

This week, I learned that patience and faith are divinely intertwined with one another. You can't strengthen one if you don't have the other. I was doing a Preach My Gospel activity on patience this week, and I was reading about the Sons of Mosiah. How they are the vilest of sinners, and then they turn their hearts over to the Lord. After a lot of repentance, they are able to feel that burden of sin lifted, and they want nothing more than to share the gospel with others. They go and begin preaching, but no one will listen. The Lord says to them, "Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls,". The Lord is infinitely patient with us. This week I have been working so hard at being patient with the work here and the people that we love and teach. As I have been striving to have that Christ-like patience, I have truly seen miracles. God's timing is perfect timing. And something that I've realized is that I probably won't get to see most of the good that comes from me sharing that gospel. The point is that I am sharing what makes me happy and what I know can make others happy. And someday, that could make a difference in someone's life(: Even if I'm not around to witness it. After many people are converted, Ammon recounts their experiences. He says, "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success,". I know that as long as I trust God, press forward, and have faith in His timing for those we love, there will be success. And it doesn't matter if that person is baptized when I'm here or when someone else is, what matters is that they are coming to know our Savior, and that I get to play a small part in that(:

I love you all!

Love, Sister Allen