Monday, April 18, 2016

Week 81:.....the last email from the mission..."Truth"(:

Me and my beautiful best friend!
Hi everyone!(: I hope you are all feeling happy and bright today! I
guess if I had one word to describe this past week, it would be
surreal. My heart is so full of joy and gratitude for the miracles
that the Lord blessed us with, and at the same time I'm so incredibly
sad to have to leave Sister Larson, the people we are teaching/the
members in here in Wellington, and most of all, my full time mission. 

 We had an awesome lesson with Melissa and her best friend Jim this
week. She invited him to come and listen to the first lesson and have
lunch with us(: she's so awesome. We had a great discussion and he
said he is going to read and pray, and that if he finds out its true
he'll be baptized! My favorite part of the whole lesson was when
Melissa bore her testimony(: it's been amazing to see how far she has
come in a short 7 weeks. She has a light in her eyes and conviction in
her voice when she speaks about the Savior, and that is so cool to
see. I love her(: 

 Eric is progressing so wonderfully. The Lord is strengthening him and
changing his heart. We had a lesson at the Flakes, and we watched
President Monson's address in the Priesthood session of conference,
and afterwards we taught him about the priesthood. Brother Flake was
so involved in the lesson, it was awesome, and when he bore his
testimony about how the priesthood has changed him, the Spirit was
powerful. Eric just sat there, not fidgeting or distracted like he can
sometimes be, his eyes were just focused on Brother Flake. Afterwards
he was like, "I really like that. It's all to bless others, I think
that's awesome,". In our second lesson, we had three members with us,
and we taught the Word of Wisdom. Eric said he is going to live it,
even if that means giving up coffee(: I am so incredibly grateful for
the Word of Wisdom. Living that commandment of the Lord has changed my
life and my vision, and I know that the Lord really does know what is
best for us. I just love Heavenly Father(:

Us with Eric!
Sami came back into town!(: and guess what? She got her answer from
Heavenly Father that the Book of Mormon is true and that she needs to
be baptized. She had some really eye opening experiences this past
week that led her to her answer. She said, "So I'm gonna do this, I'm
gonna get baptized. And I'm going to start quitting smoking today, I
know I need too,". She is so great! Her grandpa is a pastor for
another church, and she called him to tell him the exciting news. He
wasn't too happy, and said he won't be attending her baptism. When I
asked her how she was feeling about the whole situation, she said,
"It's fine. I can't deny what I know now, and ultimately it's my
decision, and this is what I want,". Ah I'm so excited for her and so
proud of her! It reminds me of what Joseph Smith said when he was
being persecuted; "I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could
not deny it,".

 Sami and Eric both came and watched someone be baptized this Saturday.
They loved it! Eric said, "I just want to jump in there right now!"
Haha. Sister Larson and I were asked to give talks in the middle of
the service, and Sister Larson had Eric come up and bear his
testimony. It was so sweet to see him bear a simple, powerful
testimony of the most basic principles of the gospel. I was praying in
my head the whole time that he would be able to say what he needed to
say, and that I would be able to know what to say afterwards. As I
stood there, a scripture came to my mind. Mosiah 5: 2, "Yea, we
believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we
know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord
Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts,
that we have no more desire to do evil, but to do good continually,".
I shared that, and I don't remember what else I said, but the Spirit
warmed my heart and I realized that Eric and Sami are both
experiencing this mighty change of heart. Their desires have changed.
And it's because of the Spirit and the love of our Savior. It's
amazing(: and that's what the gospel does, it changes us from the
inside out. It helps us to become new creatures in Christ, better than
we could ever even imagine.

 Eric and Sami are both so excited to be
baptized in July.

Yesterday, we were at Brother Cary's with Eric and Kate. Brother Cary
was playing the guitar and we all sang "I Am A Child Of God,". Eric
was just sitting and staring out the window. All of sudden, tears
filled his eyes. We all sat and watched him for a moment, and then he
said, "You know, I'm changing. I can feel it. My life is so different
now than it was a year ago, and I just can't believe it. I'm so
different,". He wiped more tears away and then just sat still and
quiet. 

It caused me to reflect so much on how my life has changed. It
was almost 3 years ago that the gospel really became a part of my
life. I have changed. I can feel it(: it's the best change, and there
still needs to be a lot more change, but I know that it is possible
because I have my Savior. His Atonement has made all of this possible,
and I don't know where I would be without Him. 

 Later, we all headed over to the Stevens for dinner. They were so cute
and they had a bunch of little decorations set up for me. We had just
finished dinner, and all of a sudden the Rhodes walked in the door. I
was super confused. Then the Holmans, then Sister Hansen, and then so
many more people that I love. "Surprise!!". Tears started running down
my face. Sister Rhodes and Sister Larson and the other members and our
investigators all came together and planned this little surprise party
for me. It was the sweetest thing ever. I love everyone here so much.
At the end of it all, Brother Stevens asked me to give a closing
prayer. The warmth and joy in my heart as I prayed was such a
wonderful feeling. I'm so grateful for the chance that I have had to
love so many of God's children, not just here in Wellington, but in
Fort Collins, Longmont, Casper, and Cheyenne as well. It has been such
a privilege and a blessing.

The Stevens girls!
I had two really special experiences this week. 1. I got to have my
departing interview with President Brown. I love President and Sister
Brown with all of my heart. And I know that they love me. More
importantly, they love the Lord. I have learned so much from both of
them, and I know that the Lord knew I would need their examples in my
life. President Brown gave me lots of inspired counsel, and I'm so
thankful. There were lots of laughs, and even more tears. He gave a
beautiful closing prayer, and once it was over I couldn't help but
feel an aching in my heart. I'm going to miss them so much. 2. I got
to go through the Denver Temple(: after not going to the temple for a
year and a half, it was much needed. The peace and the love and just
the feeling of being there was even better than I remembered. I know
the temple is the house of God. I know that it is so worth it to go,
it's so worth it to fix whatever we need to fix and do whatever we
need to do to step foot into that lovely place, because the Spirit of
God is there, and it is there in abundance(:
Departing Temple Trip
I've been reflecting a lot this week on the last 18 months. A year and a half ago, I stepped off the plane in the Denver airport, and "from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost,". 

Because of this chance to
labor in the Lord's vineyard, I have grown to love so many beautiful
souls and I've grown to love my Savior more than ever.

Every good thing in my life has come because of the gospel of Jesus
Christ. Every joy that I experience, every amazing human that I've had
the chance of meeting, every peaceful moment in the midst of turmoil,
and every weight that has been lifted through repentance, all of it
has come because of this gospel.

 I know that Jesus Christ is real. He
lives. This is His gospel, this is His church. He is our Redeemer, and
He loves us. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and we have a prophet
today, President Thomas Spencer Monson. The Book of Mormon and the
Bible are the word of God, and they are true. This is all true. I know
it with my whole heart, and it makes me feel so overjoyed to be able
to say that. 

I love Heavenly Father, I love Jesus Christ, and I love
the Holy Ghost. "I have been supported under trials and troubles of
every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has
delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I
do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me,". 

 My full-time mission is over, but my lifelong mission is just now
starting, and it's going to be a wonderful, glorious, difficult
adventure. However, I know that if I put my trust in the One who has
never given up on me, He will always direct my path(: 

 I love each of you. Thank you for sharing in this journey with me.
It's been amazing, you're all amazing, and I can't wait to give you
hugs/talk with you in person! Stay in touch. 

 Love, Sister Sarah Anne Allen(: