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