Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 52: "For The Beauty of the Earth" (:

"a picture from our mission tour last month with
Elder Zeballos and his wife!"

Hi everybody!(: I hope that you all had an amazing week. And if it
wasn't very amazing, I hope that you can feel the Lord's love for you
and His strength helping you through whatever might be happening. I
know that He cares, and so do I!

This week was awesome. It was full of miracles. We got to start it off
with a beautiful hike up Casper Mountain with Sister Ungricht. I love
hiking. I love the trees and the view and the wide open space once you
get to the top. I'm so thankful for the magnificent creations that our
Heavenly Father has blessed us with. Every sunrise and sunset, every
mountain and river, the stars in the sky, they are all gifts to us.
And when I think about the beauty of it all, and how Heavenly Father
tells us that we are His greatest creation, it's very humbling. I know
that God truly does love His children(:

 We had a chance to do a Zone service project. It was the Casper River
Cleanup. We assumed we would be picking up trash...we were wrong. We
were given the assignment to go and look for Russian Olive Trees (?)
and then flag them. The man giving us instructions said, "It looks
like this tree over here, except different,". So needless to say, we
spent an hour looking and found 0% of the trees. We did put our
service vests over our heads like nuns and run around though. That was
fun, and I may or may not have serenaded my companion with a song from
Nacho Libre. We also got some cool shirts, yay for comfy clothes! 

 We had lots of opportunities to testify in random situations this
week. I love it when that happens. At Joshua's, this woman came in and
I told her I liked her hair. We got talking and she broke down in
tears as she told me about how she had recently lost a loved one. I
felt the spirit so strong as I testified of the Plan of Happiness and
the love of our Heavenly Father. She smiled, and she seemed to leave a
lot happier than she was when she came in. I'm so thankful that God
provides us with opportunities to share His light in every situation(: 

 On Tuesday after an awesome meeting with our Ward mission leader, we
felt prompted to go see a less active named Serena. A couple transfers
ago, we had tried to talk to her and she was not happy to see the
missionaries at all. This time, we knocked on her door, and when she
opened it you could tell she'd been crying. We started talking and she
told us about how she and her daughter were getting evicted and had to
be out by Thursday. We told her we would help her with everything, and
then I felt really strongly that I needed to tell her that God loves
her and that He hasn't forgotten her. As I did, her eyes filled with
tears and we hugged for a long time. Over the next couple of days, we
packed up her entire apartment and got her moved into a new place.
After we got done helping her unpack, she said, "So, when can I start
taking the missionary lessons?". She has had a complete change of
heart. She said, "You two are a gift from God, I know He sent you for
a reason. I was praying for a miracle and then you came here,". The
Lord's timing never ceases to amaze me. 

 Speaking of timing, we had something really cool happen. We were out
contacting some referrals, and every one that we tried wasn't
interested. As we were getting ready to walk back, I got a really
strong prompting that we needed to go try the house at the end of the
street. So we walked down and I knocked on the door and no one
answered. I was kinda confused, because I didn't understand why I felt
that way when no one was home. So we turned around and started walking
back the way we came, and we saw a girl standing outside. She wasn't
there before. We walked up and talked to her and as we did, she told
us that she would be very interested in meeting with us because she
and her mom had just barely been talking about how she needed to get
into a church. Her name is Stephanie and we are so excited to start
teaching her this week!(: I'm so thankful for the promptings of the
Holy Ghost, and I know that Heavenly Father will always bless us when
we follow them, even if it's not in the way that we thought He would. 

 We had Women's Conference this week. Oh my goodness, it was amazing.
We went out to dinner with Sister Tilley and her daughter beforehand.
It was so much fun, I just love them. Then we went to the conference
together. So many questions that I had and some personal struggles
that I have been dealing with were addressed. I know that the Spirit
speaks so individually to each of us. I know that when we come to
conference, to sacrament, and really to any meeting with a sincere
desire to be taught by the Spirit, we will learn the things that can
help us to become happier, healthier, and more Christ like
individuals.


"Hiking" (:
A quote I loved from the meeting was, "A friend sees your good
qualities and ignores your weak ones,". Sister Martin is that kind of
a friend to me(: she's my best friend and we always have such good
conversations about life. Last night, we were talking about trials.
Something I've come to realize is that some of the trials we face in
this life won't ever go away. For some people it's a physical ailment,
for others it's mental, but no matter what it is, we all have
something that we struggle with. 

For me personally, I know there are
some things that I will always have a hard time with. I believe that
we all came to this life with certain crosses to bear. I know that
those things were given to us by a loving Heavenly Father, not to tear
us down, but to teach us to turn to Him to find the strength to bear
up those burdens. Sometimes we ask the Lord to take the burden away,
feeling as if we've learned the lesson, like we've done all that we
can do. But that's not His plan for us. His plan is to refine us. 

In 2
Corinthians 12: 8-10 it reads, "For this thing I besought the Lord
thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is
sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most
gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power
of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities,
in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for
Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong,".

I love that verse. 

I was thinking about the Savior today, how growing
up He must have known that in the end, He would suffer for us, He
would die for us. I imagined the burden that must have been for Him.
But He bore it willingly, gracefully, and lovingly. I wonder what life
would be like if we could learn to bear our burdens the way that
Christ bore His? I want to strive to be more like my Savior in that
aspect. I want to be made strong in my weakness, and I know that
through Him it is possible. 

 "I do not know why we have the many trials that we have, but it is my
personal feeling, that the reward is so great, so eternal and
everlasting, so joyful and beyond our understanding that in that day
of reward, we may feel to say to our merciful, loving Father, ‘Was
that all that was required?’"

 I testify that this is true.

I love you all so much! Thank you for all that you do for me(: 

 Love, Sister Allen

Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 51: "Humility is Beautiful"(:



Us with Fife girls! (:
Hello everybody!(: So many amazing things happened this week. I seriously love the gospel, and even though missionary work is really hard, I'm so thankful to be here in Casper sharing it with people. I hope you all had a fantastic week and that you felt God's love for you.

We had a really awesome lesson with Becca and Russ on Monday. We talked about the power of family prayers, and they both were so willing to start praying with their family. They have such genuine hearts, we're so excited to see how the gospel impacts every aspect of their families life. 

Broken door! (:

On Tuesday, we got a note left on our door saying that the electricity was getting shut off on Wednesday to our apartment complex because they are going to basically tear it all down, so we needed to find a new place to live. Luckily, an amazing member named Kris felt prompted to call us that morning. She said we could move in with her! So awesome(: It was also transfer day and a couple of our friends were getting transferred and we had new sisters coming in, so we wanted to go and say goodbye/hello to everyone. We were getting ready to leave and we realized that the keys were locked in the apartment. The window was shut too so we sat there for a little bit contemplating what to do. I realized that they would be tearing our apartment down anyway, so if I broke the door down it wouldn't matter. So I grabbed the handle and ran into it with my hip and shoulder and it flew open haha. I guess the squats are paying off? Anyways, we got to the church and it was sooo windy. We opened our doors, and a bunch of papers flew up from the seat and started hitting Sister Martin in the face. It was hilarious. I had to say goodbye to some of my really good friends. It was hard but I know they're going to do awesome things in their new areas!

Our new place! (:

We packed all of our stuff up and moved to Kris's on Wednesday. It was a pretty quick process, and we were so thankful to the people who helped us move everything over, and to Kris for letting us come with such short notice. People are so wonderful. I'm so grateful to know so many Christ-like individuals here. We had a great lesson with the Cadwallader's that evening. The spirit was very strong as we talked about the ability that the gospel gives us to change and become better. I'm so thankful for the infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ and for the chance that we all have to repent and really try to be better. I know that Christ will never give up on us. As long as we are willing to put forth the effort, He will help us every step of the way towards becoming who He needs and wants us to become.

We went and did service at Joshua's on Thursday. I love serving there. I love getting to talk to people and smile at them. Smiling is my favorite(: This man came in and said, "Thank you for being here, you are always so happy and you always say nice things to people even if they're not very nice to you. You brighten people's days!". It was so sweet. Then he told Sister Martin that her hair looked very nice (she had a giant clippy on top of her head because she always has to blow her bangs out of her face). Afterwards, we went to Sister Fife's house. I love her so much. She is such a good example to me of the kind of mom that I want to be someday. She's very patient and kind and hilarious. She reminds me of my mom in that way(: we spent time with her and her daughters. We laughed a lot and had a good talk about mawwiage. It was great. We got to have dinner and a lesson with Bobbi Sue too. She's so awesome. She's really been relying on prayer a lot lately and I think that is super amazing. I love her. 

Roof dog! (:

Friday was great! We got a new investigator. His name is Chuck and he's such a good person. He's the man that we met while he was out grilling a couple of weeks ago. We had a great lesson on the Restoration with him. He has a lot of faith and is so willing to read and pray, I can't wait to see how the gospel blesses his life. We also had a great first lesson with Cassie and Zach. They have asked to start meeting with us every week(: we're so happy and really thankful for this chance to share the gospel with them. They are really striving to know and do God's will. It's cool to see how positively it's effecting their relationship.

Us with our new roommate, Spike! (:
This week at church, we had a lesson on pride. It was amazing. One of my favorite quotes from the lesson was, "The proud depend upon the world to tell them whether they have value or not. Their self-esteem is determined by where they are judged to be on the ladders of worldly success. They feel worthwhile as individuals if the numbers beneath them in achievement, talent, beauty, or intellect are large enough. Pride is ugly. It says, “If you succeed, I am a failure.”,". I really do know that pride is a sin that leads to all the other sins. When we are prideful, we are not aligning our will with our Heavenly Father's will, we are simply seeking after what we want. I know that Jesus Christ is the perfect example of humility. He always put others before Himself, He reached out to those who were different than Him, He constantly sought to do His Father's will. I want to be more like that. I know that humility is truly what makes someone beautiful. I know that our Savior lived a beautiful life, and I know that following His example is what can really help us have true beauty in our lives and in who we are as individuals.

"Classy!" (:


I love you all so very much. You are so wonderful and your prayers are felt. I am thankful that I have such amazing people in my life, I know that God has placed certain people in my path for a reason(:

Have the best week ever!

Ofa Atu, Sister Allen



Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 50: "And We Hugged All Night Cause It's The Best Transfer News Ever" (:


There is sunshine in my soul! (:
                                                         
This has been such an amazing week(: seriously. I cannot get over how
wonderful God's plan is. He really does know what is best and when we
trust in Him, good things will come, even if we can't see it in the
moment. 

 This week, we went on exchanges with the Riverton Sisters. I stayed
here with Sister Jensen and it was super fun! I loved getting to know
her and work with her here in Casper. We did service and then went out
and tried to contact some people. As we were walking, I realized that
I left all the Mormon.org cards back at the apartment....we'd walked
pretty far already and I was a little annoyed with myself haha. We
started our trek back to grab the cards and we saw a man outside
grilling. So I walked up and we introduced ourselves. Turns out, he
used to take the lessons and has been to church before! He was so kind
and he said that he wants to meet with us this upcoming week!(: I now
know for a fact that I was supposed to forget those cards so that we
could run into him. God has perfect timing, and if we are willing to
open our mouths and share our light and happiness with others, He will
provide us with lots of opportunities to help brighten other people's
days. 

 We had a really awesome District Meeting on virtue this week. It was
powerful. I have such a strong testimony of living virtuously. I
didn't used to live my life that way, and I can remember how empty and
self conscious I felt all the time. I was always seeking approval from
others for how I looked and acted. There is a scripture in Doctrine
and Covenants that describes how I feel now that I am living a pure
life. "Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly, then shall thy
confidence wax strong in the presence of God...and the Holy Ghost
shall be thy constant companion," (D&C 121:45-46). I am so thankful
for the gospel and how it teaches us to respect ourselves and others.
I know that virtue is one of the most important attributes that we can
have in this life. It truly does bring us a joy unlike anything else.
Did I mention that my companion is Justin Bieber? (:
I was super happy to be back with Sister Martin after exchanges. She
is seriously my best friend. We had an awesome dinner and lesson with
the Beddes's (a great family in the ward), and then later that night
Sister Martin shared this story with me called The Pearl Necklace. It
seriously meant so much to me and was exactly what I needed to hear.
If you haven't read it, you should because it's awesome! 

 We had an amazing lesson with the Cadwallader's about the temple this
week. Lindsay came with us and it was awesome. We were able to be bold
but loving at the same time. I know that the temple really is the
house of God, and that it can strengthen us and our families. We are
excited to help the Cadwallader's experience the blessings that are
waiting for them there.
Us making fun of Bobbi Sue's little boy....he loves to show us his "teef" (:
We had some amazing lessons with Bobbi Sue this week. She said the
closing prayer during one of them and it was so sweet. She has such a
genuine heart and I love her so much. I know that the Lord loves and
cares about her and her family, and I know that they will be able to
be sealed someday. A lot of times in life, we set these amazing goals
for ourselves, and we experience a lot of difficulties as we reach
towards the desired results. I know that the Lord sees our efforts and
He will strengthen us to help us take one more step or reach a little
further. He will never leave us alone. I know that He is watching out
for Bobbi Sue, and I am thankful(: 

 So, as many of you know, this transfer was a little crazy and full of
lots of hard things that we didn't expect. Every time something
difficult happened, Sister Martin and I just kept saying that it was
because something awesome was waiting around the corner. Saturday and
Sunday, we finally made it around the corner, and it was miraculous. 

On Saturday, we went and had lunch and a lesson with Kris (Jake's mom)
and Angie and Terrance. Lunch was super fun, and then we talked about
faith and trusting in the Lord. We shared a scripture in Alma 32.
Kris, Angie, and Sister Martin all talked about faith building
experiences that they have had in their lives. We talked about how
faith and trust are intertwined, and how the Lord knows what is best.
As we sat there, the Spirit prompted me to share The Pearl Necklace
story with Angie and Kris. So I pulled it out and started reading. The
spirit was so strong as the story came to a close. We all sat there
for a moment, and then Angie said, "Wow..that was powerful..it gave me
the chills,". After a few more seconds of silence, Angie started
bawling. She looked at me and said, "That is exactly what I needed to
hear, thank you, thank you so much," and then she pointed to her heart
and said, "He is working in here right now,". I started crying. I felt
the spirit so strong as she spoke to me and I just know that we were
meant to meet Angie. She loved coming to church last week, and she and
Terrance came again this Sunday! She is going to be taking the
missionary discussions here and in Cheyenne as well. We gave her the
Book of Mormon, and she's already started reading it. Angie is a
miracle, and I love her so much.
Me and Happy....not looking so Happy...poor puppy! (:
Later on Saturday night, we had a Ward Dutch Oven activity, and we
invited Becca and Russ to come. And they did! They brought their
family too. Bishop Gleason and so many other awesome members came and
introduced themselves and just really made them feel welcome. I love
our Ward, there are so many wonderful people here. Zach was also at
the party (he came with Brother Ball) and he said that he and Cassie
are excited to start meeting with us! Finally, to top off the amazing
day, at 9:40 pm, Sister Martin and I got a phone call....WE ARE
STAYING TOGETHER FOR HER LAST SIX WEEKS IN THE MISSION!(: We literally
ran around the apartment and hugged for like twenty minutes. We are
both so happy and I am so excited to see all the amazing things that
happen this upcoming transfer with my best friend(:

My cute companion! (:
In my studies on Saturday morning, I read the talk "Trust In The
Lord," by Elder Richard G. Scott. There was a quote in there that
really stuck out to me. It said, "The Lord will place in your path
packets of spiritual sunlight to brighten your way,". I believe that
is so true.

 I am so thankful for the spiritual sunlight in my life.
This weekend was an extremely bright patch on my mission. God is so
good, I know He loves me, I see that every day in the light that the
gospel brings to my life and through the people He places in my life.

 I hope you all have a bright and happy week! I love you. I pray for
you. And I am thankful for you!

Love, Sister Allen

Monday, September 7, 2015

Week 49: "You Are Worth It" (:

                                                       Welcome to colorful Colorado!

Hi everybody!(: I hope you all had an amazing week, full of miracles
big and small. I know that we definitely did. The Lord is in the
details of our lives for sure(:

We had some really great lessons with Bobbi Sue this week. She is
amazing. She has a lot going on in her life right now, but she also
knows how important it is to make time for her relationship with her
Heavenly Father. We talked about the importance of the Lord's timing,
and how He gives us certain people and puts us in certain places for a
reason. She really is trying so hard to press forward through all the
difficult things that life throws at her. This is all new for her, but
I know that as she keeps trying her best and relying on the strength
of the Lord, she will be able to see miracles and blessings every day.


                                                                     Food poisoning....
                                                 
I hit my 11 month mark on Tuesday..and celebrated with food poisoning from the night before! So much fun. Not really, but I'm thankful that it only lasted for the day. Lindsay (an awesome RM who comes out with us) was so sweet and brought me Vitamin Water. And Sister Martin was super sweet and helped me have a good day still despite feeling pretty gross.


                                                what Sister Martin does while I am sick.....
We had a really inspiring District Meeting this week. Sister Martin and I were asked to give the training. It's amazing how the spirit works. The training we were given is something that we've really been struggling with, and as we studied and prepared, we received a lot of revelation on how to help the people that we are working with. It was a huge blessing and I'm very thankful that the Lord knows and understands our situations perfectly.


We also had a great MLC. I feel so motivated and excited to take the
things that we learned there and apply them to my missionary work. I
am thankful that the Lord provides opportunities for me to stretch and
grow and become better. I love progression, and I know that is a
fundamental part of God's plan for each of us.


                                FaceTime with our Sisters (they accept us and our weirdness)
Brother Hoopes, the less active man that we have been working with,
got a phone call for a job! He had fasted about it a couple weeks
before, and then he got this phone call. He knew it was a direct
answer to his prayers from Heavenly Father(: he works in the oil
field, and he will be going over to spend a couple months in Abu
Dhabi. He invited us over to have one more lesson/lunch with him
before he leaves. He invited his friend Angie and her little grandson
Terrance over as well. We felt strongly prompted to talk about God's
love and the power behind reading the Book of Mormon. The spirit was
really powerful as Brother Hoopes bore his testimony of how the Book
of Mormon has helped him feel the spirit in his life again. He said
he's going to take it with him on his trip and find a new favorite
scripture every day(: We brought these pictures of Christ with us. We
felt like we should bring two, even though we didn't know Angie would
be there. We were able to give her and Brother Hoopes both a picture.
On the back of hers, it said, "Lost No More,". She got emotional as
she stared at it. Brother Hoopes asked me to offer the closing prayer
since this might be the last time we see each other. I honestly can't
remember what I said, but Sister Martin said that Angie was tearing up
as I prayed. I am thankful for the love of my Savior, Jesus Christ.
I'm thankful that He helps me feel that love for other people. I
honestly love Brother Hoopes and am so proud of him for the changes he
has made and is continuing to make in his life. I can't wait to see
where the Lord leads him as he continues to embrace the gospel.

                                      Me and Sister Fife (I love her so much) looking                                                                             fabulous (being photo bombed by a stuffed hampster)

Sunday was such an amazing day. Angie and Terrance were supposed to
leave early that morning to go back to Cheyenne. To our surprise, they
came to church!(: we were so excited to see them there. Apparently
their car wouldn't start...coincidence? I think not. I love Angie.
She's so sweet and genuine and I know that the gospel can bless her
life. She stayed for all three hours of church and actively
participated in all the classes. Terrance had lots of fun in primary.
The teachers told us he was singing right along with all the songs
even though he didn't know any of the words. So cute(: he told us he
was happy to be at church. I'm just so happy for them!


                        The Fife's daughters made me and Sister Martin look pretty.


Something that absolutely terrifies me is getting up and bearing my
testimony. Not because I don't love to bear my testimony, but because
it's really intimidating talking in front of that many people.
Yesterday I felt strongly prompted to bear my testimony. As I sat
there with my hands shaking, Sister Martin said, "You need to go up
there. Someone will benefit from hearing your testimony today,". So I
went. As soon as I started talking, my heart calmed down and the
shaking stopped. I don't remember anything that I said, but I felt so
much joy and peace wash over me as I testified of what I know to be
true. Towards the end I said, "I know that I am a daughter of God, and
I know that He loves me, and I know that He loves all of you too,".
When I said it, I just felt this overwhelming sense of conviction in
my heart. I know that. I know that I have worth and value because I am
a child of God. I know that we are all His children and that He loves
us so much. 

Sometimes, we forget that because we forget to love
ourselves. Sister Martin always says, "It's easy to have charity for
others, but the hardest person to have charity for is the one in the
mirror,". 

 This transfer has taught me how to have more love for others, more
love for my Heavenly Father, and way more love for myself. I'm so glad
I bore my testimony yesterday, not just because other people needed to
hear it, but because I needed to hear it. I am so thankful for Jesus
Christ. I am so thankful for His Atonement. He gave his life for us.
Even though sometimes we feel like we are not good enough, like we
will never measure up, the Savior of the world looked at all of us and
chose to give His life for us because He felt that we were worth it.
We were worth the pain, the sorrow, the suffering. He did it all for
us. I know that He loves us.

 I know that our worth is "great in the
eyes of God,". I hope that we can all realize our worth and our
potential, and then "live so as to reach our possibilities,"(:

 I love you all. Thank you for your prayers, your love, and your
examples. Have an amazing week!

Love, Sister Allen