Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 56: "An Answer To My Prayers" (:




"My wonderful companion...I LOVE HER <3"
Okay everyone, I'm going to try my best to put into words the amount
of gratitude that is in my heart this week, but it might all just come
out like a jumbled emotional mess, so I apologize in advance if this
makes 0% sense haha(: 

 So, for the past few transfers of my mission, I have been seeking how
to be a better missionary and a better person. The answer that I've
always received is to be exactly obedient to my Heavenly Father's
commandments, not because I have to be, but because I want to be.
Sometimes, people might make you think that keeping God's commandments
isn't the "cool" thing to do. They'll tell you that living another way
is more fun or fulfilling. I can honestly say that that's so far from
true. 

Obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience, with a humble
and willing heart, brings miracles. I've been spending the last few
months doing some self-evaluation, weeding out the parts of me that
are contrary to what the Lord wants and needs, and striving to be
better. I've seen direct blessings and miracles in my life as a result
of this. It's been humbling and hard, but so worth it. All I want, not
just for my mission but for my life, is to do the Lord's work with a
happy heart and willing hands. I want to work hard and do exactly what
He needs done. I haven't met anyone who feels as strongly as I do
about that until Sister Tahere, she is an answer to my prayers.

"Last day with Sister Martin.... :("
We got a phone call on Tuesday saying that Sister Martin would be
leaving on Thursday for Colorado and finishing her mission out there.
It was so hard to say goodbye to her :( but I have so much love for
her. I know we'll always be best friends, and that her hilarious and
wonderful self will continue to bless so many lives back home. She's
amazing and I miss her and can't believe she goes home tomorrow! 

 Sister Tahere and I have had so many conversations about what we want.
We both determined that the thing we want the most is to follow the
Lord's commandments with exactness so that we can show Him just how
much we love Him(: this Sister truly is my kindred spirit. We are on
the same page with everything, and we are so excited to spend the next
six weeks together. Oh yeah, I'm staying in Casper for six more weeks!
Yay! I love my companion, the people here, and the area itself. I just
love life(: 

 We had an amazing lesson with Becca, Russ, and Conner this week. We
taught about the Plan of Salvation, and the spirit guided the lesson.
When baptism was brought up, Conner asked us how to be baptized. We
explained it to him, and he said, "I want to get baptized!! Can we go
to the river tomorrow??" Hahaha(: we invited Russ and Conner to enter
into that covenant with Heavenly Father and they both said yes. They
will be getting baptized on the 21st of November! Becca looked so
happy for both of them(: we had a kneeling family prayer and it was
amazing. They all came to church yesterday and they really felt the
spirit. I am so thankful for Heavenly Father. His timing is
everything. 

 Bobbi Sue. I have so much love for that woman and her sweet family. We
had a few amazing lessons with them this week. They are so awesome,
and they came to church yesterday as well! She's been so sick
because...she's pregnant! So exciting! But it's been really hard for
her. On Saturday, she told us that the spirit told her she needed to
be at church. And she came and it was awesome. Devlan (her son) sang
in the primary program. He loves the song "Follow the Prophet", and he
was standing up there marching and smiling as he sang. So cute haha.

"My two best buddies!"
So remember Robert and Kendra who we kept trying to get in touch with
again? Well, Sister Martin was on exchanges last week with Sister
Conger, and they went and tried them. They said they would love to
meet with the missionaries again. We had an appointment with them on
Sunday night and Sister Tilley, this amazing member in our Ward, came
with us. Oh. My. Goodness. It was one of the most powerful lessons of
my life. They are so prepared. Once again, timing is everything.
Sister Tilley bore such a strong testimony of the Restoration, we all
felt the spirit as she spoke. We invited them to be baptized on the
28th of November and Robert got so pumped and said, "Yeah! Let's do
this!". As we were walking outside, he looked over to me and said,
"Thank you for never giving up on us and being persistent. We
cancelled on you so many times in the past and shut the door in your
face and you always kept coming back. Thank you so much for doing
that,". I was able to tell them that God is the one that never gives
up on people and that I know that because He never gave up on me, and
that He was the one who directed Sister Martin to their house that
day. I am incredibly thankful for the spirit of the Lord. 

 We also have a new investigator! Jessica, the lady who we talked to in
her front yard last week(: we had a really amazing lesson with her.
She and I have had very similar life experiences, and the Lord really
testified to me that we were meant to find her and help her(: I love
her so much already.
"as you can see....I NEVER take this jacket off...haha!"
So long story short, God is good. He directs this work. We are His
instruments.
 I am happy. So so so happy. I love the Lord and I love
this gospel. It's all true. I know it's true. 

 I love all of you. I hope you have an amazing week(: 

 Love, Sister Allen(:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Week 55: "Patience = Hope" (:


"My Best Friend" (:
Hello everyone!(: I just wanted to let you all know that I love you. I am so thankful for the people the Lord has placed in my life to help
me learn, grow, and change. Yesterday in Sunday School, we had a
lesson on being shepherds, on loving people who are lost and helping
them come unto Christ. I'm so thankful for the people who have made my
journey back to the gospel even more amazing through their loving
kindness and patience with me. Thank you, thank you, thank you (: 


This week has been amazing. It was Sister Martin's birthday, and on
Monday, the Tilley's, Fife's, and Ungricht's set up a surprise
birthday party/dinner for her. We coordinated it and came to the
church and we all got to surprise her! It was so fun. The next day was
her actual birthday and I was able to surprise her with a few of her
favorite things (sticky notes, highlighters, and videos of our awesome
Sisters singing her happy birthday). It was great. I love Sister
Martin so much and I am so sad that this is my last week with her, but
I know that we will always be best friends(:

"Sister Martin's party....she is really happy!" (:
We got our third companion on Wednesday! Her name is Sister Tahere and
she is from New Zealand, so she and Sister Martin have lots to talk
about. It's really fun, they've taught me how to sing/say some things
in Maori. It's definitely an adjustment having three of us, especially
since we all do certain things differently, but it's a growing
experience and it's wonderful. 

 We had interviews with President Brown this week. Something that
really stuck out to me that he said was, "Being diligent is very
important, but being patient with yourself and with the Lord is even
more important,". I felt the Spirit very strongly as he gave me
counsel and as he said the closing prayer. I love my mission president
and his wife, and I know that they love me too. I'm thankful for all
that they do for me. 

 Sister Tahere and I went on exchanges with Sister Thompson in
Wheatland. It was so awesome! Sister Thompson is amazing and I learned
so much from her. I can honestly say I love her. It's been so fun to
be here to see her be trained, and now she's training. And she's doing
such a good job. I know that the callings we receive, whether it's
during the mission or after, are inspired by the Lord. They are meant
to grow us and stretch us, but that just means we become better and
more Christ-like people. If it doesn't challenge you in some way, it
doesn't change you. 

 Okay, so, lots of miracles. Here are just a few. Last week, I felt
prompted to invite Elizabeth to read Alma 32 after our lesson and
think about what it means to have faith. We went back on Saturday
night and she hadn't read it yet, so we asked if we could read it with
her. We did and the Spirit was powerful as we discussed the chapter.
Then, we invited her to come to church. She said, "You know what...I
just need to do it, I'll be there tomorrow!". And she was!!!(: the
coolest part? All the talks were on Alma 32 and faith. She had re-read
the chapter that morning too. Such a huge blessing directly for her
from Heavenly Father. I was talking with her afterwards and she said
she felt so happy and good and that she loved it. So awesome. I love
Elizabeth so much. 

 We went and tried to contact people one day, and we walked past a
house. I really felt like we should go knock on the door, so we turned
around and when we did, a man stepped outside. Turns out, he's the
uncle of one of the people in our Ward. He's been to church before and
he told us that us showing up at his door was probably a sign that he
needed to come to church. He was there yesterday! We also stopped and
talked to these two ladies named Nicole and Jessica. We were able to
share a message of the Book of Mormon. Jessica had some questions
about things she's heard about Joseph Smith, and normally it's
something that I wouldn't really know how to answer. But the spirit
totally took over and I don't even remember everything I said. I just
know I talked about modern day revelation and prophets and she was
like, "Well there's my answer! Thank you,". Sister Martin and Sister
Tahere were able to answer some of Nicole's questions too. We left
them with a prayer and it was really amazing.

Me and the awesome Sister Martin! (:
I've been thinking a lot and studying a lot about patience this week
since my interview. There is a scripture in Romans 5 that I love. "3:
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that
tribulation worketh patience; 4: And patience, experience; and
experience, hope: 5: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of
God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto
us." I read that the other day and it helped me realize that patience
is hope, and hope is faith. So if I grow my patience, I grow my hope
and faith. And ultimately that means that I deepen my conversion. So
I'm striving for more patience and trust in myself and the Lord, and I
can't wait to see what happens as a result.

 I love you all. Have an amazing week!

 Love, Sister Allen (:

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 54: "Just Listen" (:

Martin's Cove (:


Hi everyone(: I hope you all have had a wonderful week and I hope that
this upcoming one is amazing as well. Our week was busy and full of
miracles! Also, this week is Sister Martin's 21st birthday!! It's on
Tuesday and I'm so excited to celebrate the birth of my very bestest
friend(:

"Lizard faces" (:


We had a great preparation day on Monday! Lindsay took us to Martin's
Cove and we had a blast. We walked over to Devil's Gate and we took a
tour of the Visitor's Center, guided by this adorable and sassy Senior
Sister (Sister McRae). She was hilarious and she had her hair in
pigtails. I want to be like her when I'm older.

"Martin's Cove with these two lovely ladies!"


We had a really awesome exchange with the Riverton Sisters. I got to
stay here in Casper with Sister Barlocker. She is honestly one of the
sweetest humans I've had the opportunity of meeting, and I'm so
thankful that we got to spend 24 hours together. I can honestly say
that I love her so much! We had a really fantastic day. We went with
Lindsay to go contact some referrals that we received from the
Babcock's (this adorable family in the ward). Neither of them were
home, but we saw these two girls standing outside, and then there was
a man standing across the street. We started walking towards the two
girls, but the Spirit prompted me to go towards the man across the
street instead. So we walked over and introduced ourselves to James(:
he is so cool. We were able to have a very spiritual discussion about
how God really is our Heavenly Father, how He knows us and our
circumstances perfectly, and how His gospel can bring us and our
families the most happiness in this life. We talked a lot about faith,
and how God never gives up on us, we just have to exercise the
"particle of faith" within our hearts. He asked me a lot about how I
found my faith. I love bearing my testimony of the infinite Atonement
of the Savior. James agreed to have us over to teach his whole family
this upcoming Wednesday and he even let us say a closing prayer on his
driveway(: I'm so thankful for the Spirit.

We stopped by and saw Peyton and Elizabeth. We just dropped in to say
hi, but we ended up talking for a long time. We set up an appointment
for Monday, and left them with a prayer. After we drove away,
Elizabeth sent the sweetest text message, telling us she loves the
happy feeling we bring in their home. I love the spirit and I love
Elizabeth. I'm so thankful for her(:
"Exchanges with Sister Barlocker" (:


Sister Barlocker and I had a very spiritual companionship study before
we exchanged back. I felt like I should ask her how she gained her
testimony and her faith in Jesus Christ. As she bore her witness of
God's love, His timing, and His plan for her and her family, I felt
the spirit so strongly and it was wonderful. I am so grateful that she
was willing to share her testimony with me, because it strengthened
mine immensely(:

We met with the Cadwallader's, and it was great! Also, Cassie and Zach
came to church! It was a really amazing testimony meeting. We were
able to have a lesson with them afterwards and we read from 3 Nephi
11. It was really awesome seeing them make the connections between the
Book of Mormon and the Bible. I have faith that they will come to know
the truth for themselves in time, and it will be amazing!

This week, like most weeks, has been full of some of the highest highs
and some of the lowest lows. I know that trials, no matter what they
may be, really do bring us closer to our Savior. He suffered the same
temptations we do, the same setbacks and heartaches, but He was
perfect. And I know that He wasn't just perfect because He is the Son
of God, He was perfect because He chose to be perfect. I know that we,
in our very human state, are always going to make mistakes. I'm
thankful for the grace and mercy and patience of our Heavenly Father.
As Kim B. Clark said, "We do not have to be perfect, but we have to be
good and getting better,".

The gospel makes us better in every aspect of our lives. It's made me
a better sister, a better friend, a better daughter, and a better
disciple. It's changed the way I see people, the way I treat people,
and the way I treat myself. I know that I can continue to change, we
all can, but we can't just sit by and wish for those changes. We have
to go and do. And it all starts with being willing to humble ourselves
and listen to the counsel of our leaders, our loved ones, and most
importantly, our Father in Heaven. I know that if we follow His will
for us, we will never be led astray. And that is a knowledge that I am
eternally thankful for.

I love you all so much!(: thank you for your prayers and your
encouraging words/advice. It means more to me than you will ever know!

Love, Sister Allen

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 53: "He Takes Us As We Are" (:

"Haircut!" (:
                                         My heart really is so full of gratitude right now. 
As I've been reflecting back on this week and the countless miracles and
spiritually strengthening experiences that have happened, I can't help
but feel happy and thankful(: I love the Lord, I love my amazing
companion, and I love being a full time missionary! 

 We had some amazing lessons this week. We met with Elizabeth, and she
honestly has such a pure heart. She read the chapter in the Book of
Mormon that we left for her, and she even highlighted a favorite
verse. She is so prepared, and I'm praying that she will receive the
answers that she needs. I know she will as she continues to seek for
the truth(: we also met with Becca and Russ, Cassie and Zach, and the
Cadwalladers. All of them are striving to do what is right and what
will bring them true and lasting happiness. That has been a really
beautiful thing to see, because you can tell that little by little,
they are changing. And that's what this gospel is all about(: 

 We got to have a lesson with the Hoflund family on the Restoration. It
was really powerful. Cash was taking notes and it was the cutest thing
ever. Bobbi Sue and Clint are both so wonderful. She's been so sick
lately, and he's been having some hard stuff happen as well, but
instead of letting it get them down, they've been using it as a chance
to rely on the Lord more, and I think that says a lot about the kind
of people they are. I love that family with all my heart. I don't
think I'll ever be able to fully express how much they mean to me.

"Just another day in the Hoflund home!" (:
We had exchanges and I got to spend the day in Lusk with Sister Danz.
I love Sister Danz so much. She's one of the sweetest people I know. I
got to meet a lady named Carrie while we were doing service. She
reminded me so much of my Nana, it was a tender mercy(: We also had
MLC this week, and guess who's an STL now?? Sister Jenson!!(: it was
so great to give her a big hug. I just love her and have missed her so
much. She's awesome. 

 General Conference was amazing. I received so much revelation not only
for myself but for the people here in Casper that we are striving to
help come unto Christ. I learned so many things that I can improve not
only to be a better full time missionary, but also to be a more
consecrated disciple of Christ and better person as a whole. Seeing
President Monson deliver his address was powerful. Even though he was
weak, the Lord provided him with the strength to finish his talk. I am
truly amazed at the power behind this man, this prophet of God. He
gives all that he has, including his physical strength, to the Lord. I
am thankful for his example.

"Me and Sister Jenson!" (:
The Holy Ghost touched my heart during a lot of the talks, but
especially during Elder Stevenson's. When he talked about feeling
inadequate, I could totally relate, as I'm sure we all can. I don't
know how many times I have felt like I'm just not strong enough, not
smart enough, not good enough, to do what the Lord has asked of me or
to press forward through the hard things in life. As Elder Stevenson
talked about President Monson looking him in the eyes and saying, "The
Lord will always qualify those whom He calls,", I imagined the Savior
looking me in the eyes, with love and understanding in His face. I
could almost hear Him say, "I will always qualify you for what I have
called you to do. Just trust me,". 

This took my thoughts to one of my
favorite talks, President Uchtdorf's, when he said, "We don't need to
be more of anything to start to become the person God intended us to
become. God will take you as you are - at this very moment - all you
need is a willing heart and a desire to believe and trust in the
Lord,". 

 This week, lots of things happened that I didn't feel qualified to
handle. However, as I spent lots of time on my knees in fervent and
pleading prayer to my Heavenly Father, I was given the words to say,
the actions to take, and the thoughts to cultivate in the times where
I needed it most. I know that God loves us, I know that He speaks to
us if we are willing to ask and really listen, and I know that He
loves us for who we are, today. He will help us be better. He will
help us be happier. We just have to trust in Him. 

The scripture that
I'm "ponderizing" this week is 2 Nephi 31: 3. It talks about the
plainness and simplicity of the gospel, and about how the Lord will
speak to us in a way we understand. How thankful I am for the ability
and privilege to receive answers and counsel from the One who loves me
more than I will ever comprehend. How thankful I am for the fact that
He takes me as I am, and strengthens me to become who He knows I can
become.

"We finally found a Russian Olive tree.....in our backyard!!" (:
I love all of you. Thank you to everyone who sent me videos and emails
for my one year mark!!

 I am thankful for your prayers and support. 

 Love, Sister Allen(: