Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 74: "Guard" (:

Sister Jenks and I  and my awkward arm! (:
This week was so amazing. Honestly my heart is brim with joy right now(: but it's a bittersweet moment because today is my last day with my beautiful companion/best friend, Sister Jenks. I love her so much and am so grateful for the Christ-like attributes she has taught me. She is humble, full of love and faith. I am going to miss her dearly :(
Our true colors! (:
However, I'm very excited about my next adventure! Heavenly Father is sending me to Wellington, Colorado to be companions with Sister Larson(: I'm going to be finishing her training and I've actually already gotten to meet her once because I was her STL this past transfer. She is lovely and a wonderful missionary, I know the Lord is going to bless us with miracles as we work together and I can't wait to see what happens!

We had an awesome lesson with Grady this week(: He is a great young man. He has been inactive for a long time, and then one day he just showed up at church! We started teaching him, and he is the definition of being "an example of the believers,". He has willingly made huge changes in his personal life to be more like Jesus Christ, he is reading and praying, he wants to have the goodness of the gospel in his life. He is going into the Navy soon, and as we taught the Plan of Salvation, we spoke about receiving the Priesthood, and how that can bless his fellow man while he's away. Grady received the Priesthood yesterday(: I'm thankful for our awesome Bishop, because his friendship has helped Grady a lot. I know that he's just going to continue to progress.

Two highlights from this week: Brother Beck's baptism, and our lesson with the Caldwell's(: Heavenly Father has been so good to us.
Me, Brother Beck, Sister Jenks, Sister Beck (:
Brother Beck's baptism was amazing. I love the Beck's so much, and I'm so happy that Brother Beck made the decision to be baptized. Their son Chris, who hasn't been to church in years, came to see his dad be baptized, and it was a really sweet experience. The smile on Chris and Sister Beck's faces after Brother Beck came up out of the water were priceless(: I won't ever forget that moment. Brother Beck received the Gift of the Holy Ghost yesterday in church, and my heart just swelled with joy. I'm grateful for this man, for his humility and his trust in the Lord. I know this is going to bless his life and his families life so much, it's exciting! 

We had an amazing lesson with the Caldwell's, honestly it was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. We have been teaching them for a little while, they are a less active couple in the Ward. We sat down and started teaching about the Plan of Happiness. I watched Brother Caldwell's eyes as we spoke and I could just feel the sadness there. I pleaded with Heavenly Father to help me know how to help him. All of a sudden, I felt prompted to talk about the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's from the Book of Mormon. These men were so wicked, and then the light of the gospel touched their hearts, and they gave up everything to know God. They "..became a righteous people; for they did lay down the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more, neither against any of their brethren. Now, these are they who were converted to the Lord..". I felt the Spirit speaking through me as I spoke about how we all have our weapons and things we hold onto, and how burying them is essential to truly forgiving ourselves and moving on. I was able to bear personal testimony of burying my own weapons and how letting go of the past has helped me move towards a better future with a "perfect brightness of hope,". As I spoke I had tears running down my cheeks, and Brother Caldwell began to cry. This burly, bearded man began to pour out his heart, his struggles, his difficulty with forgiving himself and letting things go. The amount of love that I felt for him in that moment was way more than a person can feel. I know that it was God's love for him, and I got to have the tiniest glimpse of how Heavenly Father feels towards that man. It was a little overwhelming, and I won't ever forget how that felt. Brother Caldwell wants to be better, and he is willing to bury his weapons. I can't wait to see where he is five months from now, a year from now. I know I was supposed to come to Cheyenne to meet him(: 
Us and the YW from our ward in Cheyenne....I will miss them SO MUCH: (:
So last week, a member challenged me to read the Book of Mormon in a week. Today is my last day and I'm almost done. As I've been reading, I've noticed a common theme. Every single time the people focus on the things of the world, or they let their spiritual guard down, they fall into wars and contention and they lose everything. In Helaman Chapter 1, it talks about the Nephites. For years, they have lived in righteousness and have seen the miracles of God in helping them conquer adversity. Then, some trials start to happen and listen to this, "And it came to pass that because of so much contention and so much difficulty...they had not kept sufficient guards..they supposed that the Lamanites durst not come into the heart of their lands...". Verse 19 speaks about the Lamanites, "...Their march was with such exceedingly great speed that there was no time for the Nephites to gather together their armies...". 

We have to guard our testimonies, always. Satan doesn't take a break, in fact, when he sees us start to falter in our spirituality, he moves even quicker to come against us. In our world today, there is no time to waste. We have to be focused on what matters most, we have to seek after the good things in the gospel, we have to immerse ourselves in the scriptures and seek strength and fortitude through prayer. We need to be on the defense, ready for whatever the adversary is going to throw at us. When we go through hard things, we sometimes feel distanced from God, but He is never the one that has moved. In Helaman 12:15 it says, "...For surely it is the earth that moveth and not the sun,". We are the earth, God is the sun. When we struggle, it's even more important that we turn to Him because He is the one who will be there every time, no matter what. He is the one who can help us the most, better than any book or TV show or YouTube guru or even our best friends. Heavenly Father knows us, loves us, and will guide us, always(:

I hope that this week, we can all do the necessary things to guard our testimonies even more. I know that if we give ear to the counsels of God, He will direct our paths for good. I love my Heavenly Father, I love the privilege of being a missionary, and I love all of you.

Love, Sister Allen(: