Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 61: "Understanding Grace"(:

"Me and Sister beautiful companion....Thanksgiving Day!"

Hi everyone!(: I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a very happy week. We definitely did here in Casper(: 

Robert and Kendra are doing amazing(: I have so much love in my heart for them. Every time we're all together, there is just a whole lot of love and spirit and joy in the room and it's such a happy feeling. Robert had a really sacred experience, and Kendra had an awesome moment too where Heavenly Father helped them know that this is the right path. I love that we all feel the spirit so differently. God knows us as individuals, and He knows the kinds of answers that we need. Their baptism is going to be this Saturday instead, and they are so pumped and prepared for it! They are so wonderful and they get along so well with everyone in the Ward. If I had to describe them in one word, it would be genuine. They are the most genuine and real people I've had the privilege of meeting, and it's beautiful. I've learned so much from them and I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father has allowed us to have a small part in their spiritual journey. I can't wait to come back in a year to see them be sealed for time and all eternity(: 

Thanksgiving was amazing. We got to spend it with so many people that we love. We got to go and see the Briones family, and that was awesome. Sister Briones' nephew agreed to start taking the missionary discussions and that was super cool! He's been through a lot in his life and is really searching for joy, true joy. We know that it comes through the gospel. That really is the only way to have the most happiness here(: it's so simple. After that, we went to the Ball's house and spent some time with them and with Zach and Cassie. Then, we went to the Heward's. The Tilley's were there too and it was a blast(: I love both of those families so much. It was really sweet, Brother Heward took the time to make me an allergy free apple pie. And it was delicious! Afterwards, we went to see Kris. She made a beautiful Thanksgiving meal and Robert and Kendra came. So did Angie, our awesome investigator who lives here/in Cheyenne. And guess what?! Brother Hoopes is home!(: he just got back from Saudi Arabia and he was there at the dinner too. So many beautiful souls in one room, so many people who God has placed in my path and given me the chance to love. It was honestly one of the best nights of my life. We laughed, we ate good food, and we had a very spiritual message afterwards. I honestly felt such an overwhelming joy. It was kind of surreal.
"My Special Pie" (:

After all of the Thanksgiving events, Robert and Kendra took us to see this beautiful church and statue downtown. It was a really amazing moment to have with them, talking about spiritual experiences and how much God will do just to help one person to feel of His love. He cares about us each so much. He sees exactly where we are and who we can become. He doesn't dwell on the past, He forgives and He forgets as we repent and strive to change. He knows us perfectly, and for that I am eternally grateful.

We had an awesome lesson with Jennifer(: she fed us lettuce wraps and we talked about the importance of prophets, it was kind of the best thing ever. She has grown so much. She is so hilarious and you can see that she just really wants to know truth. She wants to follow Christ and she's doing all she can to find Him and walk His path. I love that girl and I'm so happy for her.

This week, I've been focusing a lot on grace. In the Bible Dictionary it says, "..The main idea of the word is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ...It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts...".

I love that. Grace is an enabling power. It helps us do, it helps us grow, it helps us become. It gives us the strength to continue to press forward, to endure the difficult things in this life and to come out of those moments happier and more Christ-like people. In Mosiah 15: 7-9, it talks about how Christ made intercession for us. Something really interesting I realized is that Heavenly Father gave Jesus Christ the power to do that, to stand between us and justice, to atone for our sins. But Jesus Christ still had a choice. He didn't have to do it. He chose to do it. He, in a sense, said, "I love you so much, I am willing to take the first blow, the most painful part of it all, and then I am willing to lend you my strength to get through anything else that might come your way,". 

I know that when we are obedient, when we repent, when we live the simple yet profound truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we aren't doing it so that we can be perfect in this life. That just won't happen here. We are human and we will always fall short of perfection because we are imperfect. We are doing it, we are living it, because that's what shows our love and appreciation to our Savior for what He chose to do for us. That's what allows us to access His grace and His Atonement more fully in our lives. In Brad Wilcox's talk "His Grace Is Sufficient", he says, "..We may receive grace before, during, and after the time when we expend our own efforts. Grace is not a booster engine that kicks in once our fuel supply is exhausted. Rather, it is our constant energy source. It is not the light at the end of the tunnel but the light that moves us through the tunnel. Grace is not achieved somewhere down the road. It is received right here and right now. It is not a finishing touch, it is the Finisher's touch". 

I testify that what he said is so true. Christ is pulling with us, lifting us, and at times carrying us. Does that mean we just stop trying? No. It means that we do all that we can to show Him that we are thankful for that grace. We can choose to be happy now, to use the Atonement now, to change now, and to let His grace transform us, today. We need to stop setting deadlines for ourselves. "I'll be happy when....." or "I'll start trying after...". We can have all that joy every single day, we just have to let ourselves(: 

I love you all and would invite you all to read or watch "His Grace Is Sufficient" this week(: I can promise it will help you to feel of the Lord's love for you and it will increase your desire to show the Lord your love for Him and all that He has done and continues to do for us. 

Love, Sister Allen

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Week 60: "An Attitude of Gratitude"(:

Hi everyone!(: so I'm super exhausted and this email might not make sense, but I just want you all to know that I am so full of gratitude. This last week has been so busy and hard and crazy, but it has been wonderful and the Lord has literally been picking me up and helping me stay happy and excited about the work. I love Him(: 

So we found out this week that we will now be covering two wards, 4th and 6th. We know that the decision definitely has to be divine revelation because Casper 6th Ward is 30 minutes away from 4th wards boundaries, and the meeting times on Sunday are 30 minutes apart. It's been cool to already see some blessings there. Bobbi Sue's best friend Jaime and her family are in the Ward, and I've known them ever since I came to Casper. Her husband's not a member, but he's really wonderful. Their daughter Trish is so cute and I just love her. She came up and hug attacked me on Sunday. She was like, "You're my missionary now!! Finally!!!!!". Haha it might have made me tear up a little(: we are excited to get to work with two wards that are full of great people and lots of potential. It'll be great!!

We had an amazing lesson with Jennifer, the YSA girl that we are teaching. She really is one of our favorite people. She has a desire to learn and to grow in the gospel, and it's been awesome to see her start to have the foundation of a solid testimony. She isn't afraid to be herself and ask questions and she's just really amazing. We love her and she loves us and it's just really great(: she asked me about my conversion story in our lesson, and I was able to share it with her. It felt so good to reflect on the powerful and special moments that my Heavenly Father has provided me with. I am so thankful that He never stops reaching out to me, even though I am stubborn sometimes (okay a lot of the time). He never gives up on any of us, and I know that's true. The time where we feel the most alone is when He is wanting to help us the most, we just have to allow Him to do it.

Robert and Kendra are doing amazing. We had an awesome opportunity to do a special fast with them on Thursday. It was powerful and we had dinner together that night and broke the fast together. We taught about eternal marriage and the spirit was so strong. Robert told us that we are like daughters to them and that we are going to be great mothers someday(: honestly the best compliment I have ever received. It meant so much to me that he would say that. Kendra is amazing too, she has so much faith and knows that this gospel will bring her closer to God than any other. They are both so excited for their baptism this Saturday. Please keep them in your prayers, the week of your baptism is always the hardest, but we know that they have the Lord and so many others on their side(: 

We are teaching this sweet older couple named Bev and Errol. We had a lesson with them this week, and it was our second time going back. Bev has Alzheimer's, and it's pretty severe. The amazing thing? She remembered both of our names(: and as we discussed what they read in the Book of Mormon, she was so focused in on everything we said. There was a wonderful spirit in their home and they agreed to start from the beginning in 1 Nephi and read together. Errol is so awesome too, he's a runner and he had so many good questions about the gospel. As we were leaving, Bev hugged us both and said, "Please keep coming back!". So cute(: I love them.

Heavenly Father sent me some angels this week. One was Sister Jensen. We went on exchanges on Tuesday and she came here to be with me in Casper. She is seriously so sweet and just a genuinely caring human being. It was so fun spending time with her and learning from her. I love her a lot and she helped me so much. The other was Brittany, an awesome member in 4th Ward. She served a mission in Paris, and she really helped Sister Tahere and I de-stress from all the craziness going on. I love her(: 

So this week, I'm studying the gospels and the student manual that goes along with them. Something I'm realizing is that all the apostles were so different. Matthew is really smart, he knows a lot of facts and history. Mark likes the action packed stuff and is detailed and kinda spazzy I would imagine. John is very bold and loves to bear strong testimony and speak of the Savior as who he is and less about what he did. And then there is Luke. He loves to talk about the love, mercy, and forgiveness that is found in Christ's Atonement. I feel like Luke and I are kindred spirits. The biggest thing I realized is that while all the apostles testify differently, their purpose is the same; to bring others to Christ. I feel like that correlates directly with each and every one of us. We are all so different, with different backgrounds and testimonies, but each one is needed in this work. It's so important to just be yourself and bear your testimony the way you know how, because that is why God made us all individual and different. I'm so thankful for the person that God made me(: I have my strengths and my weaknesses, but I am me and I'm happy with that(: 

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I've been thinking a lot about all that I'm thankful for. The list is too long to put in an email, but I want you all to know that I am incredibly thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am thankful for His grace, His love, and His knowledge of who I am and how to help me. I'm thankful for my parents and my siblings, my grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles, who love me unconditionally. I'm thankful for sunrises and sunsets, I'm thankful for the little moments where me and my companion sing hymns really loud in the car, and I'm thankful for all of the people in my life(: Albert Einstein said, "There are only two ways to live life; one, as if nothing is a miracle, and one as if everything is a miracle,". I prefer the second one(: I hope we can all recognize the little miracles this week and always.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!(: I love you all so much!

Love, Sister Allen

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 59: "He Knows The Way" (:

"I love pine trees!!"(:
 Hi everybody!(: I hope you are all having a wonderful week. Things here in Casper are amazing, there is so much to talk about and not enough space to write it all, so I'll just share a few of the miracles we experienced.

Robert and Kendra and Lexi. I love this family so much. Honestly I am so thankful that Heavenly Father allowed me to meet them, because it has deepened my conversion to the gospel. We had some awesome spiritual experiences with them this week. We had a family night with them on Monday and we taught the Word of Wisdom. They were all so willing to live it, and Robert has especially been working hard. He is so awesome! They all are. Lexi went to her grandparents this week, but she downloaded all the gospel pamphlets and said she's going to study them for the next time we see her. She's such an amazing girl, I love her a lot. We got to talk a lot about baptism and why it's important and how the gospel is all about continual progression. I'm so excited for her! Robert and Kendra both received a priesthood blessing from one of our great members, Brother Jones, to give them the strength to continue to work towards their goal of baptism. They came to church yesterday and we were so happy to see them there! We had a lesson with them last night on tithing and fasting and it went so great. The spirit was wonderful, and Sister Tilley came with us. We all bore our testimonies on the blessings of tithing and it was so sweet, Robert was like, "I'm thankful for tithing, because without it you both wouldn't be here!". So true(: As we talked about the spiritual power in fasting, we decided to all have a special fast together on Thursday to help them continue to receive the blessings and answers they are searching for. I know the Lord loves Robert and Kendra so much, I can feel that love every time we're with them. It's a blessing and a miracle to be able to know them and see them the way Heavenly Father does(: 

We met with Elizabeth! Sister Deru, this adorable sister in our Ward, came with us. We talked about the importance of obedience and prayer. It was awesome, Elizabeth said that she's been praying every day to know if these things are true. I know as she continues to ask and then act on her faith, she'll get answers. I love the definition of prayer in the Bible Dictionary, "As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part. Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings,"

I know that is true. Heavenly Father loves and knows each and every one of us and has a desire to bless us, but He won't do it against our will. We have to have the faith to ask for those blessings, believing that they are real and accessible, and then we will receive "the highest of all blessings,"(: how cool is that?!? The Creator of all that is good is just waiting on us to come to Him. It really is that simple. 

One night, I really felt like we should go and see our potential investigators Ryan and Zoey. So we went and knocked and set up a return appointment. Then I saw their neighbors door and felt like we should just knock there too. We did, and we met Amanda. She is so cute! She's really sweet and has such a good attitude about life. She let us in and we got to talking, and then her roommate Jake came downstairs. Turns out, he's a member of the YSA Ward here! We shared the Restoration with them, and as I told her about Joseph Smith's experience, the biggest smile came over her face. I asked her how she felt, and she said that hearing that gave her the chills! I love when people feel the spirit as we tell them about the Restoration. She has agreed to read and pray, and we'll be seeing her again this week! Heavenly Father is so awesome, I'm thankful for His continual guidance in this work(: 

We've had a lot of interesting experiences regarding the latest standard that the Lord has set for same gender marriage/baptism. I want you all to know that I know Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's servant on the earth today. We have a living prophet, and he receives revelation for the world. I know that this revelation has come directly from a loving Heavenly Father. This gospel is centered on families, on helping them have peace and happiness. I know that God doesn't want contention between parents and children, between brother and sister, or between the different denominations of religionists. He wants us to love our neighbor, He wants us to serve each other. Christ iseveryone's Savior, not just the people who are living righteously. It isn't our job to judge, it is our duty to love fearlessly and unconditionally while still remaining steadfast in the truths of the gospel. My invitation to anyone who is struggling with this change is to watch Elder Christofferson's interview, read the letter from the First Presidency, and then pray. Pray and tell God exactly how you're feeling about it and ask Him if it's true. I promise you that He will speak peace to your heart. We are all in this together, I hope and pray that we remember this. Be kind, be gentle, be peaceable, and be like Jesus Christ(:

I had a really wonderful realization this week. I was reading in Mosiah 8:20 and it says, "O how marvelous are the works of the Lord, and how long doth he suffer with his people...,". I realized that Jesus Christ's Atonement really is infinite. When He suffered for our sins and afflictions in the Garden of Gethsemane, He felt all of our pain that we will ever feel. But right now, in this very moment, He feels my pain, my sadness, my everything. He feels it all with us again. What a huge expression of love. I know that He feels our happiness too(: and I want to help Him feel happy, which means that I have to be happy! It's so cool knowing that we are working together with the Savior to have peace and joy in our lives(: 

I love you all so much. Thanks for all you do for me and for your prayers and letters. You are wonderful!

Love, Sister Allen

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 58: "He Will Bless You" (:

Hey everyone!(: Alright, so much has happened this week, I don't
really even know where to start. I'm so thankful to my Heavenly
Father, He truly is pouring out miracles here and I feel so humbled
and thankful to be around to witness it and be a part of it. 

 So, super embarrassing/kinda hilarious story. With my health stuff
that I have going on, I get these random moments where I have super
intense stomach pains and vertigo and it usually ends with me getting
sick. Well, we were on exchanges on Friday/Saturday. I was with Sister
Conger in Wheatland. All day Saturday I wasn't feeling so great, but I
just shrugged it off. We got to our last appointment of the night, and
as we were sitting in the persons home, my stomach and I weren't
getting along so well. Needless to say, I got sick at some random
persons house in Wheatland, Wyoming. I was mortified. But Sister
Conger was a trooper and totally distracted them for me. 

Then, I had
the two hour drive back to Casper. I was already sort of stressed
because of the cute deer that always seem to walk in front of our car,
and basically running on no sleep and sick. The whole drive was pretty
much a "Jesus take the wheel" moment (just kidding mom). But really
though, I know that we got home safely thanks to some divine help.

 In my blessing I got last week, I was told that I "will be blessed 100
times more than what I have sacrificed". I am definitely seeing that.
The Lord and His timing never cease to amaze me. We decided to do some
tracting one day. Sister Tahere asked me what my favorite number was.
I told her 13. We tried to contact some referrals but they weren't
home, and then as we were turning around, I saw house 13! So we walked
over and knocked on the door and we met Hannah(: she's so wonderful.
We are pretty much the same person. She's a naturalist, and she's a
vegan too and she's awkward in the best way possible. So yeah.
Basically we were meant to meet each other. We had an awesome first
lesson with her, and she's going to start reading the Book of Mormon
and praying. Later, Sister Tahere asked me where we should go, and
Dahlia Street had been in my head all day so we went there. I was
driving and then all of a sudden I just stopped in front of this one
house and felt like we should knock. So we did. The lady who answered
(Cherelynn) was a lady I met in Joshua's earlier that day! I couldn't
believe it. We had a great first lesson, and she told us she knows
that this is a sign from God that her life needs to change. So cool(:
the spirit totally directs this work, I know that for sure.

"I love this family!" (:

"Robert, Kendra, Sister Tahere, Lexi and Me!" (:
Okay, so Kendra and Robert. Wow. We had some very powerful experiences
with them this week. We taught the Plan of Salvation one night, and
when we got to the part about the Atonement we both bore testimony of
Christ's grace and His ability to help lift our burdens. I shared my
favorite verses in Mosiah 24. The spirit was just so wonderful and
Robert and actually, all of us, shed tears of joy. It was
so awesome. Later in the week, we had another lesson scheduled and we
came over. Robert wasn't feeling good, but we got to meet their
awesome daughter Lexi and have a lesson with her and Kendra. 

There are moments on your mission where you know without a doubt that you were
meant to meet someone, and that is how it felt when I met Lexi. We've
had some similar life experiences, and I just felt this instant
connection. I know God placed her in my path for a reason; no
coincidences right?(: anyways, we taught the beginning of the Gospel
of Jesus Christ, and it was amazing. We all felt the spirit really
strong, and we shared the video "The Hope of God's Light". After the
lesson, Lexi and I hugged for a long time, and it felt so familiar and
was full of love. I can honestly say that this lesson and experience
was one of the most powerful things that has ever happened on my
mission. I'm so thankful(: 

 Robert and Kendra came to church and had a great time! We had another
lesson with them and Lexi later. They are all progressing towards
baptism together as a family now(: the spirit totally prompted me to
invite Lexi and I'm just so happy for her and for her parents and I
can't totally express the amount of joy in my heart right now. It's
"full to bursting" as the scriptures would say(: 

There were a lot more really amazing experiences that happened this
week, but I'm going to cut myself off there. I want you all to know
that I love this gospel with all my heart. I know it's true, there is
no doubt in my heart or mind that it's true. I know that the Atonement
of Jesus Christ is what has made all of this possible. His love is
sufficient, His mercy and His grace is real and it is accessible, all
that we have to do is ask. He has felt every pain, sorrow, annoyance,
hardship, and loss that we will ever experience. He is a fully
comprehending Savior, and He has overcome it all. He can help us to be
"overcomers" too(: I know that He is helping me every single day. This
isn't "my mission", it's His mission. I love Him so much. I love my
companion, I love this area, I love all the amazing people that I have
met and continue to meet every day. And I love each and every one of
you. And God does too(:
So feel happy, stay positive, and when you feel hurt or downtrodden,
please know that you have the Savior and Redeemer of the world
cheering you on and waiting to pick you back up again(: you just have
to let Him. Something I realized this week is that Christ invites us
to "become as He is,". I know the Savior would never invite us to do
something that's impossible. With His help and our willingness, we can
become like our Savior someday. Little by little, it is definitely

Have a great week!!! 
 Love, Sister Allen

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 57: "Be Someone's Ruth"(:

Hi everyone!(: this week has been crazy busy and so wonderful. I'm so
happy to be here in Casper serving with Sister Tahere. I'm so thankful
to be surrounded by so many amazing people and I'm grateful for the
chance God has given me to love and get to know them(:

 Okay, so Robert and Kendra came to church yesterday! So awesome. They
surprised us because they didn't even tell us they were coming. It was
so good to see them there and I just know that they are so loved by
Heavenly Father, I could definitely feel that love as we sat next to
them. I know that they'll continue to receive answers to their
questions as they come to church. 

 We had some really amazing lessons this week. Brittany, this hilarious
and awesome member in the ward, came with us to a couple of them. We
got to see Elizabeth. We had a great lesson about the commandments and
why Heavenly Father has given them to us. I felt really prompted to
share the Pearl Story with her, and when we got to the part where it
talks about the little girl giving up the thing she loves the most and
receiving something greater in return, Elizabeth's face softened and
we all felt the spirit really strong. She is so wonderful, and I love
her so much. She wants to take the necessary steps to make God a
bigger part of her life, and I think that's amazing. Brittany was bold
and testified powerfully, I look up to her a lot for that. We also got
to meet with Becca, Russ, and Conner. They are so great, and Conner is
so excited to be baptized. He said that he's been praying at school
and he said a very powerful prayer at the end of our lesson, "Heavenly
Father, please help me not to have the desire to do bad things, help
me to be good and on the right path, and please help Sister Allen to
come visit us after her mission,". That last part especially melted my
heart(: He has an old soul, he's been through a lot and he is really
taking the lessons seriously, it's an amazing thing to see. We gave
him his own personal Book of Mormon and he was like, "I'm going to
read a lot of this tonight!". It was so cute. Becca's son, Robbie,
also wants to be baptized, so we are going to be teaching him as well

Okay so as a missionary, you rarely ever get phone calls from people
saying they want to meet with you. On Wednesday, we decided to go
contact people in the morning. No one was home and it was freezing,
but we felt like we should just keep walking. As we did, this lady
pulled over in her car to talk to us. Her name is Laura and she lost
her dogs. I had seen one of them a while back and told her where, and
then we gave her our number and she got ours so she could call us when
she found them. She called us later and said she found them and we
were so happy for her! We asked if there was anything else we could do
for her and talked for a little and then hung up. A few hours later,
we had a voicemail. It was Laura! She said, "I was so impressed with
you ladies, I would love to sit down and have lunch and talk
sometime,". So cool!!! We are meeting with her this week. I know the
spirit touched her heart, I'm so grateful for the Holy Ghost and its
ability to motivate people to act.

"My cute companion with Cash and Dev!" (:
That same day, we were walking down the street and I felt really
prompted to knock on this door. So we did, and we met Jennifer. She
let us in right away and we were able to share a message with her.
We're going back to see her this week(: Yesterday, I felt like we
should go see Zoey, a potential investigator. We went, and we met her
husband Ryan. He is so nice! We felt the spirit so strong as we talked
with him and he invited us to come back and teach them today! Then
Sister Tahere felt like we should go see this less active named Eric,
and he is so awesome and said we can come teach him on Tuesday!!!
Miracles. I know that as we strive to listen to and follow the
promptings of the spirit, we will recognize and feel it more
frequently. I'm so thankful for its guidance in this work. 

 In Relief Society, we learned about Ruth and Naomi. As we talked about
the selfless service that Ruth gave to her mother-in-law, I thought
about all the people in my life who have been "Ruth"'s for me,
especially recently. I'm so thankful for the love that everyone back
home showed me as I worked to return to activity in the gospel, people
who were and still are my true friends, not just "fellowshippers". The
people here in Casper who have been here for me during all the health
issues I've been having lately, who are my true friends, not just
people in the ward who feel obligated to help the missionaries. I
don't like having to be "Naomi". I like to do things myself and I
don't really like asking for help, however, I know that there are
times where we need to humble ourselves and allow people to be our
Ruth. It blesses us and it blesses those who serve us. I know that
when you lose yourself in the service and loving of others, you find
yourself, because there is so much more of yourself to find. Service
makes us better, brighter, happier people. Even if that service is
just a simple hug or a smile(:

"Friends" (:
In conclusion, I'd like to invite all of you to look for ways to be
someone's Ruth this week(: or maybe, humble yourself enough to be
someone's Naomi. Either way, I promise the blessings and the joy that
will come will be amazing(: I love you all, I know this gospel is
true, and I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father and Heavenly
Mother. I've felt her love a lot this week(: 

 Love, Sister Allen