"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.
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