Monday, April 11, 2016

Week 80: "The Greatest Of These Is Charity" (:

me and my best friend(:
Good morning everyone!(: I hope you all had a fantastic week. We have seen so many miracles this week, and I'm so grateful(: it's has been one of the best and hardest weeks of my mission, but I know that every trial equals out to an even greater blessing, and God has been pouring blessings out upon everyone that we have been teaching. He is so wonderful!(: 

We had some really awesome lessons with Sami and Amanda this week. They asked us to come over on Monday night so we stopped by and taught the Restoration again (Amanda wasn't there for it the first time). As I shared the First Vision, Sami got a huge smile on her face and said, "That gave me the chills again! I love hearing about Joseph's experience,". The Spirit is so awesome(: Amanda opened up and talked about how she wished she could have an experience like that, that God could come and tell her that her dad was okay and in a good place up there with him. Then, she said, "Oh, I just remembered something!". She went to her bag and found a little picture of her dad. On the back was a poem, and in the poem it talked about her dad being safe. We explained to Amanda that the Spirit brings things to our remembrance and that it was the Spirit that helped her remember that picture in her bag. God answered her prayers(: as soon as we said that she started crying. It was a very sweet moment and the Spirit was very strong in the room. They both expressed a desire to be baptized, and Sami especially wants to do all she can to align herself with God so that she can get to that point. When people feel His love and are open to the Spirit, it motivates them to act in faith. Sami is a perfect example of that!(: 

We went back again with Sister Rhodes, and had a very powerful lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sami said that she wants to be baptized on the 16th. She said that she knows that God is reaching out to her and moving her in the right direction, and that she feels so good about all of this(: we were so excited for her! The next day, we got a phone call asking if we could come over. Sami found out that she and her boss and Amanda are all moving :/ they were renting the house and the ranch and it's been sold now, so they have to leave. With the help of people in the Ward, we helped them fill a truckload of stuff. Sami said that she is still planning on meeting with the missionaries wherever they end up moving to. I know the Lord will help Sami along her way(: He can see her desires and He knows what she needs right now. I trust that wherever she ends up, things will work out, and I'm so grateful for the time we got to have with her and Amanda. It was cool, when we were helping their boss (Kat) move stuff, we found out that she is a less active member who has been thinking about coming back to church! We got to have some great talks with her, and she is planning on going to church next Sunday(: definitely not a coincidence that we met her.

We had some very powerful lessons with Eric this week(: he's such a good man, and his heart has definitely been prepared to receive the gospel. The Flakes came with us to one of the lessons, and the Rhodes came with us to another one. I love these humans so much, and their testimonies were wonderful! Eric said the closing prayer in the first lesson, and it was the best and most meaningful prayer that he has said yet. You can see that he has been talking to Heavenly Father when we aren't around, and that is such a happy moment as a missionary(: he has been asking God to help him know if he should be baptized on the 16th. He said, "Just so ya'll know, I'm really going to do my part with reading and praying this week, because I feel like this is my next step but I just need to be sure and that's only gonna happen if I do this every day,". We came back for our second lesson, and we were sitting outside talking because it was a beautiful day. Eric has a friend named Mike, and we see him all the time and he's super nice. He walked by and Sister Larson and I both really wanted him to come and talk with us. I started praying in my head and asking Heavenly Father to give me something to start a conversation with. Then, I noticed that he was wearing a Bon Iver shirt!(: lightbulb. We started talking about uplifting music and he actually ended up staying for the whole lesson on fasting and the sabbath day. He even asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon afterward. I know that God helped that happen, and I'm super grateful! Eric and Mike both agreed to fast, and Eric specifically fasted about being baptized(:

The Rhodes picked him up for church the next day, and he came for all three hours. Everyone in the Ward was so awesome, Eric made so many friends and looked overjoyed the whole time. He called us later and we asked him how he liked church. "Girls, I loved it. I felt so happy there and it was just awesome. I loved it so much. And I want to be baptized on the 16th!"(: As soon as we hung up the phone, Sister Larson and I freaked out haha. I'm so grateful to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, to the awesome people here in Wellington, and to the Spirit for helping Eric receive his answer. He is going to talk to his supervisor in his recovery program today about being baptized, we are praying that it all works out the way it is supposed too.

Not too long after our second lesson with Eric, I started to feel really weird. I was dizzy and my stomach hurt, but I was like, "It's fine, I don't want to waste time, blah blah blah,". Well, we got to dinner at Brother Cary's house, and the second we walked in his door I knew that things were really not good. Sister Larson is such a sweetheart and she was really worried. I ended up having another stomach attack thingy at his house (this is the first time we have ever eaten with him), and it was the worst one I've had so far. I felt so bad, but he was so sweet about it. Sister Larson asked if I wanted a blessing, and I know that was inspired, because when I said yes, Brother Cary looked nervous. He went on to tell us that he had just been ordained an Elder not too long ago, and that he had never given a blessing before. We opened up our white handbooks and let him read how to do it, and he called Brother Walker over to help. It was such a sweet blessing, and the Spirit was so comforting. I know that I needed to get sick at Brother Cary's so that he could have the chance to exercise his Priesthood authority(: it was a very sacred experience, and I know I won't ever forget it. While the pain didn't leave immediately, I felt the calm reassurance that God knows what is going on and He is watching out for me. I love Him, and I love the fact that there are so many worthy Priesthood holders in my life. I'm so grateful.

beautiful, wonderful, absolutely lovely Colorado!(: 

Lastly, one of the best moments of my mission. So we've been teaching Melissa, a less active woman in her 20's. She has been returning to activity, and her life has been incredibly difficult. She has two little boys and she and her husband aren't together anymore. She's a personal trainer at the gym (we seriously have so much fun talking, I look up to her so much and she's inspired me even more to reach for my goals and dreams), and she's been doing CNA classes. She's so busy and she has really been striving to turn to Heavenly Father. We had an amazing lesson with her this week where we talked about conference. She has been reading and praying and feels God's help in times of temptation. She has grown so much, and it has been awesome to witness(: I love her. Yesterday during sacrament, she got up and bore her testimony for the third time in her whole life. She was in tears and the light that illuminated her face as she spoke of the gratitude she has for Heavenly Father was absolutely beautiful. Sister Larson and I were both crying, and the amount of love and happiness in my heart at that moment was kind of surreal. I remember when I bore my testimony for the first time after coming back to the gospel. It was a little scary but it felt amazing, and you could see that Melissa felt amazing standing up there. I am so proud of her for the changes she has made(: 

So, Eric just called us and let us know that he talked to his supervisor at the program he's a part of, and he said that Eric can't be baptized until he finishes the program. They said he can still meet with us and go to church every Sunday, but they are worried that if he converts other people will start wanting to do that too (a reasonably good worry). The emotion and the sadness in Eric's voice was a little heartbreaking, but in that moment, the Spirit spoke through Sister Larson and I. We were able to help him know that God is proud of him, that this is a test of faith and patience, and that it will all work out as he keeps meeting with the missionaries, reading, praying, and coming to church(: he said, "Well...that's what I'll do! I'll stay here and work hard and keep going and then in July when I graduate the program, I will get baptized! I am so excited!". 

As we hung up the phone, I couldn't help but feel a little sadness in my heart that Eric can't be baptized. Then, literal words came to my mind, saying, "Sisters, he may not be able to be converted physically, but he has been converted in his heart,". It brought tears to my eyes and the warmth of the Spirit washed over my soul. I know that God is at the helm, and I can't wait to come back in July and see Eric get baptized(: 

So long story short, Heavenly Father is amazing. I love Him, I love this gospel, I love my best friend Sister Larson, I love all the people in Wellington. I love this work!(: I'm grateful for the power of prayer, the power of fasting, the power of the priesthood, the power of the temple, and the power of love. I know that the key to enjoying our lives and enduring to the end is charity. The key to happiness and fulfillment and eternal life is charity. The key to being a great husband or wife, parent or child, or just a great human in general, is charity(: "Wherefore my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail,". All things must fail, but the pure love of our Savior is the one thing that is constant and unchanging. And it's something we can feel, share, gain, and experience every single day. We just have to pray for it!

I hope that this week we can all spread charity to the people that we come in contact with(: I love you all!

Love, Sister Allen