Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 73: "After" (:

Hello beautiful humans!(: I hope you are all having the best day ever.
I'm not going to lie, this last week was one of the hardest weeks
(physically) since I've been on my mission, but Heavenly Father is so
awesome and always provides me with the strength that I need to do
what He needs me to do(: all I have to do is ask for it. I'm so
grateful for His perfect understanding of our struggles and the fact
that He can help us overcome them. I'm also really grateful that He
has blessed me with a wonderful companion, Sister Jenks has been such
a huge support to me. I love her! 

 We saw some huge miracles this week, and the first one that I'll share
is Brother Beck. That man is so awesome, and through the Atonement of
Jesus Christ, he is even more awesome now than he was when I first met
him. We had a really awesome lesson with the Beck's earlier in the
week, and the Spirit prompted us to really be bold when speaking about
the commandments that God has given us. Sister Jenks' Dad emailed her
on Monday and said he felt like we should read Mosiah Chapter 4 with
them, so we did and it was perfect! I know that God doesn't give us
commandments to be bossy or to make us feel like we are being
controlled; it's the opposite actually. God gives us commandments
because He knows exactly what is right for us, what will keep us out
of the bondage of sin and confusion, and He knows what will bring us
the most happiness in the long run. He has an eternal outlook on our
lives, and we tend to see things more "in the moment". I can honestly
say that keeping the commandments of the Lord has brought an
indescribable joy and peace into my life, but I didn't know that until
I gave it an honest effort. And you guys, that is what Brother Beck
did this week(: he gave the commandments, even the tiniest ones, an
honest effort.
The next time we saw him was at his baptismal interview. He walked up, shook our hands, and looked me in the eyes and said, "Sister, I have a headache. You want to know why? No. Coffee." (: talk about feeling "exceedingly glad" haha(: He passed his interview and will be baptized this upcoming Saturday. I love that man and I'm so proud of him for placing his trust in God and keeping the commandments. 

 We've really been focusing on finding new people to teach this week,
and it's been awesome! I love knocking on people's doors and smiling
at them and inviting them to learn more about a God that loves them
perfectly(: even if that's all you get to do before they hold a gun up
to you (yes, that did happen this week. But no worries mom, he ended
up being a pretty friendly guy) or slam the door in your face, you can
walk away knowing you did all you could, because you invited(: 

When I
was on exchanges with Sister Wade in Wheatland, we met this sweet man
who only had one leg. He opened his door and smiled big at us. He said
he wasn't interested just then, but maybe another time. All of a
sudden, I said, "Do you like to read?" (Random, sometimes the Spirit
has you say things and you're like, what just came out of my mouth).
He was like, "That's all I really can do!". We bore our testimonies of
the Book of Mormon, and handed him a copy. He looked at us with eyes
full of gratitude and said, "I am going to read this book," (: 

 Even though this didn't happen while we were knocking on doors, we had
an awesome miracle happen that I believe is a direct blessing of our
efforts. We were sitting in the church parking lot having a phone call
with some of our Sisters, and a man drove up in a truck with his
little daughter sitting next to him. I rolled the window down and he
explained that he needed to get his little girl to Laramie to go to
the Doctors there. He just lost his job and he had surgery on his arm,
and he had no money for gas. My heart ached for him as he spoke about
his hardships. We told him about the message of peace and hope that we
have to share, and how it can bless his life. He said he wants us to
start teaching him!(: As he was getting ready to leave, I remembered
something. I forgot to pay my fast offering from the week previous,
and so I still had the $20 in my wallet. I had been so frustrated with
myself earlier for forgetting AGAIN, but now I know that it was meant
to happen so that I could give it to David! Heavenly Father works in
mysterious ways. And I was able to pay my fast offering this week, so
yay! David was able to get to Laramie safe and sound and his little
girl, Fiona, is getting the medical help she needs now. Prayers for
them both would be much appreciated(: 

 We got to see the Mitch and Lola, these two awesome humans in the
Ward. She is a recent convert who hasn't been to church in a couple
years. We went inside their home and started to teach the Restoration.
The feeling in the room was tense and awkward. I said a prayer in my
head as Sister Jenks bore powerful testimony of how the gospel blesses
us in our families. I asked Heavenly Father to help me be bold, and He
did(: I really felt the Spirit teaching through me as I said, "Okay
you guys, I'm just going to be real with you, we aren't just here to
get you to show up at church. That would be nice and all, but we are
here because this is salvation, this is eternal life with your family,
this is all that matters. That's why we knocked on your door, because
you need that,". After Sister Jenks' brought the Spirit in with her
testimony, He was able to help me know what to say, and after that all
of their concerns came flooding out. They said we can come back again
this week(:
Something I've been considering this week is the word "after", and how many times it appears in the Book of Mormon. "Ye recieve no witness until after the trial of your faith,", "..After I had prayed unto the Lord...I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy...", "..After I, Nephi, had heard the words of my father..I was desirous that I might know of these things...". I love that so much. God wants us to have knowledge, He wants us to grow, but He can't do anything until after we exercise our faith in Him. After we pray, after we read, after we go to the church or the temple, after we are kind to someone, after we give up that one thing that is holding us back. Then, we receive what need. 

Laman and Lemuel NEVER had an
"after" experience, because they never took the step of exercising
their faith. They were dormant, stagnant, and unwilling to do what was
necessary to gain the desired result. I know that each of us can have
spiritual experiences with God if we are just willing to put in the
effort beforehand(: 

 I hope that this week can be full of "afters" for each and every one
of us(: I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father who answers our prayers
with what is best for each of us. I'm grateful for the chance to
exercise our faith each day.

 I love the gospel and I love all of you! 

 Love, Sister Allen