Monday, July 27, 2015

Week 43: "The Best Birthday Gift EVER"(:

                                               The view from the top of Casper Mountain!

Oh my goodness, so many things to say and not enough time. First of
all, thank you so much to everyone who has made my birthday so
special. You're all so sweet and I just love ya. I'm so thankful for
the people God has given me in my life. I am just so happy!!(:

                                                               B_______ S___'s baptism!! 

 We had an amazing week. Busy, exhausting, stressful, but so so so
amazing. The most wonderful part was B_____ S__ and C____'s baptism. It
was so awesome to see Brother H________ baptize them, and B_____ S__ looked beautiful in her white dress (she turned her wedding dress into
her baptism dress). That family has a special place in my heart, and
it brings me so much joy to see them coming closer to Christ together.
Seeing the joy on B______ S__'s face once she walked out of the water
was priceless. And, they were baptized in the river, so that was
pretty cool. President and Sister Brown showed up, which was such a
nice surprise! There were five other 8 year olds who were baptized as
well. It was a very spiritual experience and one that I know I'll
never forget.

After the baptism, B______ S__ threw a little combined birthday dinner
(her birthday was on Sunday) and it was so much fun. I love her. On
Sunday, she got the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Talk about the best
birthday present ever. The spirit was powerful and I couldn't help but
shed tears of joy. It was cute, afterwards she said, "You know, the
fact that I'm getting such an awesome gift kinda makes up for the fact
that I'm turning 30,". Haha so wonderful(:

                                                                       I'm 21 today!!
 Sister W made me a poster just like my family does back home!! She is awesome!

                                                                Hiking for my birthday! 
We had so many great lessons with so many people that I just love. We
met with Brother H_______. Brittany and her parents came, and we all had
lunch together. We talked to him about the importance of obedience to
God's commandments. It was so great. Brittany bore a powerful
testimony of how obedience has blessed her life. I know that obedience
to God's commandments really does bring blessings. When we are
obedient, we show our Heavenly Father that we love Him. When I look at
the beauty all around me, at the people in my life, and the every day
miracles that I experience, I am so filled with gratitude. I know that
saying prayers of thanks is one way to show that gratitude, but I also
know that acting on that thankfulness that is in my heart is just as
important. I'm grateful for the guidance and the commandments that God
gives to us.


                                                             Bowling with Aunt Julie! (: 
 We got to see Sister T a lot this week. I love her. She is such a good
example to me in so many ways. It was really sweet, she gave me a
beautiful little heart necklace for my birthday. She really is one of
my favorite people. We also got to see Aunt Julie! She took us bowling
last Monday, and she came to the baptism on Saturday.

                                                 Awesome family that we went hiking with!
Yesterday in church, we had a great sacrament meeting that was focused
on pioneers. Brother Jones, one of the new member of our Ward, said
something that really stuck out to me. He said, "The pioneers have
left a legacy of diligence, faith, and love. What legacy do you want
to leave?". I have pondered that a lot. I want to leave a legacy that
would make my Savior happy. I want to leave a legacy of love and
happiness, of compassion and kindness, of faith and trust, of strength
and diligence. I want to leave a legacy that I can look back on with
joy in my heart, knowing that I gave all that I had to the person who
gave His all for me. I love this work. I love being a missionary. I
love seeing people's lives change. I love seeing the peace that comes
from living the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that He lives, I know
that this is real, it is true, and it is the greatest blessing in my
life.

                          Me at the top of Casper Mountain for my birthday hike on P-day!!   

 Sorry this is so short, my brain is all over the place and so I'm just
going to end it now. I love you all and hope you have a fantastic
week!

Love, Sister Allen

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week 42: "Barbacoa??"

                                                                    our necklaces                                                                                                                                         from B______ S___ 

Hi everybody!(: I hope you all are doing fantastic. This week was an
adventure. Seriously. So many things happened and I can't even begin
to fit it all in an email, but I will do my best.

So we had some amazing lessons this week. B______S__ is doing so great.
It was so good to finally see her and give her a big hug. She has such
a strong testimony and is so excited for her baptism this upcoming
Saturday (time has flown by!). I love her so much and am so happy that
the gospel has brought us all together(: the H_________'s are a family
that I will always love and forever be thankful for. We are so glad
that they have wonderful member friends who are good examples. We
taught tithing and fasting and B______ S__ was like, "My friends have
told me about this! It's so cool,". Good friends make such a huge
difference. Also, B______ S__ and Sister Williamson are both super into
this one show called Dr. Who. I've never watched it, but B_______ S__ got
all three of us these necklaces because she said they are going to
turn me into a fan after my mission haha.
                                                                      road tripping
We also met with B_____, R___, and V_____. They are so great. B_____ has a very strong testimony of the Savior still, and it's neat seeing how her testimony helps to uplift R____ and V_____ during lessons. We are so excited to continue teaching them and helping them to grow in their relationship with Christ.
                                                              Sister Thompson and I
We went on two exchanges this week, and I got to stay in Casper both times(: Sister Thompson came from Wheatland, and we had a blast. She's so sweet and she's been out for about 4 weeks. It's so awesome to see what a good teacher she is already, she really knows how to follow the Spirit. We had a great lesson with B______ S__, and then with Sister Glasgow as well. We talked to her about repentance, and it was a very spiritual experience. Then, Sister Malekamu came here to be with me. She is wonderful. It was so much fun, lots of laughs and amazing lessons. We met with Brother H________ and talked about the Word of Wisdom. It was a powerful lesson. We talked about the blessings of fasting in helping us to gain the strength that we need to overcome our challenges. I have such a strong testimony of fasting. I know that it really does give us the spiritual power to defeat our personal Goliath's. Through the strength of the Lord, we can do anything. Brother H_______ has come to church twice, and is excited to fast in a couple weeks. Sister M said something very sweet when we were talking after nightly planning. She said, "I love having you Sisters as my STL's, because I can tell that you genuinely care about me,". Hearing that made me so happy. I love our Sisters so much. They are amazing and I'm thankful for all that they teach me.
                                                            Sister Malekamu and I
During our lesson with the C___________'s, Sister Williamson and I both had a prompting come to us to invite their son in law and his kids to take the lessons. We are going to talk to them about it next time we go over. It was amazing because we both walked out of the lesson and looked at each other and were like, we need to do this(: I love when that happens.
                                                     C____ and A_______ with Baby J___!(:
Okay, so, C____ and A______ invited us over to have a lesson and eat lunch with them. He said he was making Barbacoa. We just kinda assumed that it was some kind of barbecue. Come to find out, it's not. It's actually....cow tongue. Dun dun duuuuunnnnnn. Needless to say, I was a teensy bit horrified. Everyone else ate it in burrito form, but since I can't have the tortilla, I just got a nice heaping plate of cow tongue. Sister Williamson and I were very proud of ourselves for finishing everything he gave us, but it's definitely not something either of us have a desire to try again. The whole time, all I could picture is a cow standing in the grass with its tongue hanging out. Shudder. It was an interesting experience to say the least! Our lesson with them went wonderful though. They are making progress! Church was amazing yesterday. I felt absolutely inspired after sacrament meeting. This man from 1st Ward spoke to us (Brother Potter), and so many things that he said stuck out to me. I am thankful that he had the Spirit to be his guide as he gave his talk. One thing that I loved that he said was, "Just because I'm not a bad person, doesn't make me a good person. Don't get stuck in complacency. Satan doesn't necessarily have to get us to do something wrong, he just has to keep us from doing something good,". I sincerely believe that is true. It is so easy in our lives to get comfortable, to just kind of stay where we are at and not seek for something better, because it requires stretching and growing. But I know that there is progression, and there is regression, and if we're not progressing then we are moving backwards, even if we don't see it right away. As we follow the example of Jesus Christ, as we reach out to others, as we earnestly strive to be our best selves, we will be happier, we will feel better about our lives and ourselves and our future. I know that God designed us to be progressive beings, and as we live the gospel, we will find the most joy and positive progression that there is. I love the Lord. I love that He has complete faith in us to become what He wants us to become.
                           a few of the reasons why me and my comp love each other
I hope that each of you can take some time this week to look for opportunities to do something good. Your kindness and positivity can and will make a difference in this increasingly negative world, I can promise you that(: I love you all! Love, Sister Allen

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Week 41: "Be His Friend"(:

                                            *Me and my purdy companion with the Fife's daughter Bina 
                   (this picture was actually very painful because my hair is getting pulled hahah)*

Hey everyone(: I hope you all had a wonderful week. I am so happy. So happy to be a missionary, so happy that I have so many amazing people supporting me in this great work for the Savior, and just so happy to be living the gospel. It truly is such a blessing.

This week was busy! And we had some really hilarious experiences happen. We had lots of opportunities to do service and a ton of awesome less active lessons. It was great. While we were at Joshua's, I was helping this man get his food, and my toe cramped!!! I don't know if you've ever had that happen but it is so painful. I was like trying not to freak out and just keep smiling but I was slightly falling over and it was so awkward. I was finally like "Okay, I'm sorry, my toe is cramping and it's super painful so hold on,". He was cracking up and I was so embarrassed haha. Then, this news reporter guy comes in and starts filming a commercial for Joshua's. Both Sister Williamson and I really hate being on camera and so it was a little mortifying. 

We had an awesome lesson with Sister C____________. She's grown so much and it's amazing to see how the gospel really is helping her to find peace in her life, even in the midst of trials. We also had an amazing lesson with Sister S_______. Did I mention that she and her husband were at church last week? It was awesome(: she's got such a good heart. 

B______ S__ and her family were out of town all week, so we didn't get to see them at all, which was so weird! But we have some great lessons planned with them for this week(: She asked us to water her plant for her while she was gone, she said that as long as we had faint would live. So we go over two days after they leave on their trip, and it's shriveled up over by the window! She has literally had this plant for forever. We were freaking out. Luckily, Sister Williamson is much better at taking care of plants than I am. She brought it back to life and it looks happy now, so all is well.

We had a great lesson with the B____'s daughter on forgiveness. She has a lot of faith, and it was cool because when we asked if she knew anyone who could use the gospel, she had a friend in mind already. I love when that happens. I know that it's the spirit prompting people to share this joy with their friends. Then, we went and saw C____ and A______. They just seem so much happier, even with the lack of sleep from little baby J___. They were all at church last week as well and that was so cool to see. We talked about the importance of obedience and how it truly does bless our lives. I know that the commandments of God are not meant to confine us, they are meant to free us. They help us to be truly happy, and to avoid the bondage of sin and heartache. His plan is perfect, and when we seek to follow it and repent when we have our moments where we falter, we really can find the peace and love that we are meant to have in this life.

On the way home from their house, we saw seven raccoons! I was terrified, and Sister Williamson was laughing at me. In my defense, the only time I've seen a raccoon is in the movie Elf, and that one was vicious, so I had every right to be afraid haha. 

We had an awesome FHE with the Fife's(: I seriously love that family. Sister Fife is so wonderful. She's like my long lost older sister I swear. I love seeing the joy they have in their family and feeling the spirit that is in their home. It's comforting and reassuring. I'm excited to have that someday. 

We had to give a training at Zone Meeting this week! It was scary, but I'm thankful for the Holy Ghost and the promptings that it gives to us. We talked about the importance of diligence in the work and I was really thankful that some people participated, because not every one was getting involved. One of the elders in our zone, Elder Brickey, bore his testimony on diligence and it was really awesome. We also asked a lot of others to participate in bearing their testimonies and they did a wonderful job. After that, we started our exchanges with the Riverton sisters! I got to go to Riverton with Sister Gardner and it was a blast!  We had a great dinner with President and Sister Cooper (who are over the YSA Branch there), and we had such a fun time getting to know each other better(: we got to go to this fun Bishopric Breakfast together, and this cute little girl taught me how to say "I love you" in German. Sister Gardner is so kind. She's a wonderful missionary and she is doing an awesome job with training. 

Once we exchanged back, Sister W and I had an amazing lesson with Brother H_______. His mom is living with him now, and she is so sweet! She served a mission and has such a strong testimony. We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Brother H______, and it was really cool to see him have a desire to be so involved. It was a very powerful lesson, and his mom bore testimony of how the gospel has blessed her life. It was truly wonderful. And the best part? He was at church yesterday!(: it was so exciting. He is truly striving to have a better relationship with the Savior. He's awesome.

This week, I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be a true friend. A friend is someone who listens, who cries with you, who helps you be better, who lifts you up, and who genuinely cares. The Savior is our best friend. He loves us more than we can comprehend, He listens to us when we reach out for Him, He comforts us when we are sad, lonely, or feeling hopeless. He lifts us, gives us strength, and helps us to be better. He genuinely cares about each and every one of us. He gave everything that He had, for us. Are we true friends to the Savior? Do we listen to His voice and give heed to His words? Do we remember the tears He shed on our behalf? Do we thank Him for helping us be better? Do we lift Him up above the rest of the things that we are surrounded by in this increasingly selfish world? Do we genuinely care about Him? These are questions I've asked myself this week, and I feel like it's helped me open my eyes and earnestly strive to be a better friend to Him. I love my Savior, I am so thankful for His sacrifice and his grace. He helps me every day, and I couldn't do this work without Him.

I hope you all can reflect on these questions this week(: 

Ich Liebe Dich!(: 

Sister Allen


Monday, July 6, 2015

Week 40: "Whom the Lord Loves, He Chastens" (:

                                                "Happy 4th of July from Sister Allen" (:


Hello everyone! I hope you guys had the best week ever and an awesome Fourth of July, full of fireworks and family and barbecues and fun. People are still lighting them off here (and yes, they are illegal) so even though we couldn't do our own, we see/hear them from time to time haha. Oh! By the way, remember my friends Samuel and Emily that I talked about a lot in Longmont? Well, Samuel just got his mission call to Ecuador!(: so exciting. He's going to be great.

We had so many wonderful lessons this week. Seriously. I love everyone here so much. Sometimes I'm like, I didn't know it was possible to love this person even more an I already did, but now I do. That's what is so wonderful about being a missionary. Instead of seeing people the way you normally would, you get a glimpse of how Heavenly Father sees them, and it is beautiful. Everyone is special and individual and amazing in their own way and it's so cool. 

We met with C___ and A______ twice this week. They are both working so hard to overcome challenges in their lives and be good parents for their little boy. They came to church yesterday and looked so happy! And they are getting married soon(: we are so excited for them and the huge steps they are taking to align their will with God's. The temple is one of their goals, and I know that if they keep pressing forward with faith and trust, they will get there.

B____ S__ and her family are doing so great. They are progressing together and I know that is making all the difference. They are there for one another and supporting each other. And they have the support of so many awesome members as well. It was really sweet, they took us out to dinner with their family, and afterwards we got a text saying, "Thank you for going out with us, we love you guys,". Brother H______ always tells the kids how important it is that they listen to the lessons we teach. It's the coolest. I'm so thankful for this sweet family. I'm thankful for the gospel and the chance it's given me to meet them and love them. God is so good and totally knows who we need in our lives. They are some of the people that I need in mine(:

We had an amazing lesson with Brother H_____. Brittany came with us again and it was so spiritual. He really opened up and told us he's been feeling the Spirit while he reads the Book of Mormon. This brought tears to my eyes. A man who hasn't felt that since he was 9, can now feel it as he reads God's word. It's amazing. I love the Book of Mormon. I love that it truly is written for us, in our day. I know it's true and that knowledge has blessed my life in so many ways. I'm so grateful.

We had a lesson with D_____. He is such an awesome kid. We taught part of the Plan of Salvation and he had so many good questions. I love teaching children, because it's such a good reminder to me of how truly simple the gospel is. Sometimes as people, we complicate it, but it really is beautifully simple. We invited him to be baptized when he gets an answer from the Holy Ghost, and he said yes! We are so happy for him.
                                         "Sunset on the drive to Ft. Collins for out MLC" (:
*sorry the pic is sideways!

We had an MLC this week and our interviews with President Brown, and I left both of those meetings feeling absolutely inspired. The spirit was powerful and helped me know what I need to change in order to be a better missionary and person, and to help the people that I love here. We have to be chastened in order to grow. 
One of my favorite quotes is, "I would like to speak of one particular attitude and practice we need to adopt if we are to meet our Heavenly Father’s high expectations. It is this: willingly to accept and even seek correction. Correction is vital if we would conform our lives “unto a perfect man, [that is,] unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). Paul said of divine correction or chastening, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth” (Hebrews 12:6). Though it is often difficult to endure, truly we ought to rejoice that God considers us worth the time and trouble to correct,". This week, I sought correction, and I received it. And now I am growing(: it's hard but it's wonderful, and I'm thankful that the Lord takes the time to help me learn. I know that prayer is our way to communicate with God, who loves us and wants us to ask, to thank, and to tell Him everything about our lives. I love prayer and am grateful for the gift it is in my life.

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Love, Sister Allen

PS: I hit my 9 month mark last week...where has the time gone?