Monday, Feb. 3, 2014

Dear Family and Friends...

Oh my goodness this has been the CRAZIEST week ever, all sorts of emotions. Happy, sad, anxious, nervous, extremely blessed, overwhelmed...can't describe it.

We had a hard lesson with a wonderful young couple this week, and he basically told us all the doctrine he didn't agree with. The hard part was that he got all his information directly from No anti. But he couldn't come to terms with some things. It was really really hard, and it broke my heart when he said they couldn't meet anymore, and he gave us back the Book of Mormon. Sis. Bambrough and I both cried in the lesson, and we just bore our testimonies. I think seeing people firsthand who either don't know or don't accept the gospel has been really hard for me. It's hard when people question something that is so dear and so true to me. So that was rough. But they are incredible people, and they are truly searching for the truth. They will find it.

But this week is going to be the best last week ever!!! We have two baptisms on Saturday, and I also get to go to another baptism in Bloomington! God is so good, and things could not have worked out better. He is so aware. This transfer has been so busy and just crazy and amazing, and I know I was supposed to be here, even though it was so hard to leave Bloomington. But of course God is blessing me with three baptisms, and I can't even express how I feel. I'm just overwhelmed. I'm coming home soon and it is the weirdest feeling. But people keep telling me, "The best is yet to come." I'm grateful that God just gives us more and more. We think we have it all, but God says, "Just wait. There's more." That's what the celestial kingdom will be like. He'll just keep giving us more and more. I can't handle all this happiness! But man, it sure takes a lot of work to get there. Hard work is worth it.
Oh, funny story of the week. We were stopping by a potential investigator's home, and there were three huge dogs outside. We calmly got out of the car and walked up to the door, and then started walking to another house. The dogs started chasing after us and inside I was freaking out, but Sis. Bambrough said, "Just keep walking." One of the dogs jumped on me wanting to play, and he knocked the pass-along cards and my white handbook out of my scriptures. The other dog grabbed the white handbook between his teeth and started playing with it. I didn't know what to do! Luckily Sis. Bambrough is dog-pro and she grabbed it out of his mouth. The elders told us later, "You should've just let him keep it and you could've told President, 'Sorry, I don't have my white handbook, a dog ate it,' and it would have been true!"
I LOVE YOU ALL and I'm so excited to see you soon!!!!!!! Missions are the best ever!
Love forever.

Sister Rebecca Allen

Monday, January 27

This is a quicky because I'm out of time...but we are seeing miracles and staying busy in Lafayette! We have a baptism coming up this Saturday and another next of course we are doing all we can to keep these people sane because their lives are going crazy which always happens right before a baptism. But that helps because it's keeping me focused on the work! Two weeks til the end! I'm fighting til the very end! And we are seeing miracles. We are so blessed.

Stay warm in this freezing weather. I heard it's warmer in Alaska.
Love, Sister Allen

Monday, Jan. 20, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

How does time go so fast?? We are staying busy and teaching a lot. We have a couple baptisms coming up in the next two weeks. One is a young 12-year-old boy whose mom is a member, and he has been meeting with the sisters for the past couple months. He's excited! The other is a girl in her 20s who's engaged to a member and started meeting with the sisters because she wants to be married in the temple. She didn't realize how much she would have to change...but her life has made a complete 180 and she is so happy. She has a pretty crazy money, just barely got a job, has to move out because she's living with a guy, and every day is just drama for her. But she's incredible. She just stopped smoking and drinking coffee, and she is so determined. The only thing holding her back right now is finding a place to live. As soon as she does, she'll be in the water! It's been great to see the change in her, and to see the incredible support from the ward. As soon as the word was out that she had no food...three members stopped by at different times and unloaded groceries for her. And they got her clothes for work and everything else that she needs. She keeps saying, "Heavenly Father does the craziest things." She attributes everything to Heavenly Father, and for the first time in her life she realizes how much He loves her.

I really love to teach. It's one of my favorite things. I'm excited for opportunities to continue teaching. It's so neat to understand a principle, answer people's questions clearly and simply, and see it click for them. So so cool.
Life is good, and cold! Stay warm and cozy. Read your scriptures. God will speak to you.

Love, Sister Allen

Monday, Jan. 13, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Things have been busy here, even during the insane snow storm last week. We've seen so many miracles, it's crazy! Here's one: We were supposed to have a lesson with a woman who is married to a member and she's been wanting to get really involved in the church. That lesson fell through on Thursday night so we were pretty bummed. But as soon as we found that out, we got a call from the zone leaders telling us we should go visit a girl they had just met and helped dig her car out of the snow. We had time, so we called her and stopped by. She is 20 years old and said she has always wanted to talk to real Mormons about what we believe. So we sat down and taught her the Restoration. She loved it. She had a ton of questions, and she is golden! We had lunch with her and her husband a couple days later, and he is even more golden! He is a strong believer of taking things to the primary source, so he's already in Alma, and he has 4 pages of notes and questions. And he really wants to come to church. Prepared? I think yes. Pretty amazing.
Random question of the day: What do you do to stay happy every day?
Some answers I've found helpful: Smile whenever you remember. Recognize your blessings. Look for an opportunity to serve. Think about times in the past when you've been the happiest. Tell a joke. Laugh. Don't stress about the little things. Express love to those you spend your time with.
It works! Any other ideas? I'd love to hear.

I've decided I can handle any animal since being here in Indiana...we walk a woman's dogs and she owns 2 pitbulls, a lab, and a mutt. They are CRAZY! They jump all over us and have no self control. But...They are super cute, and they each have their own personalities. One of them loves to snuggle on my lap. There's something about animals and my lap's weird. One of our investigator's cats jumped right on my lap during a lesson, and she said, "That is so weird...our cat hates people." Maybe it's the Spirit :)

Funny experiences of the week:
1. One of our dear investigators received a blessing this week to help her quit smoking. When the brother who have the blessing left, her 5-year-old daughter said, while snacking on a bag of candy, "I wish the preacher would give me a blessing so I could stop eating candy!"
2. In the middle of our lesson that night, the little girl said, "Mommy, I love you. I wish you were a swan. A sparkly swan." 
3. We gave our 12-year-old investigator a prayer rock so he would remember to pray. At our next lesson, his mom told us that he was lying down for bed one night and he smacked his head on the rock that he forgot to move off his pillow. The next morning, she heard a crash in his bedroom and he had tripped on his rock on the floor and fallen into his nightstand. He definitely remembered to pray :)
Lots of love to everyone! The church is true!!!
Love, Sister Allen
1. Snow!
2. Outside our apartment during the crazy snowstorm.
3. Me and my new companion. Sis. Bambrough. She's awesome.

Monday, Jan. 7, 2014

Dear family and friends,

I am serving in Lafayette for the last 6 weeks of my mission! I miss Bloomington a ton, but I have a great new companion named Sis. Bambrough and we have a lot of work to do here! And the weather has been CRAZY. It has actually been a blessing because it has given Sis. Bambrough and I time to update records and organize the Lafayette apartment, which was so needed. There have been a lot of young missionaries here and they've done a lot of good work, but the records have piled up and people have fallen through the cracks, so this has given us an opportunity to really get things put back together. The map is looking much better, and we are going to be able to be a lot more effective the rest of this transfer!
So I don't have lots of time, but I want to wish you all a warm week! Stay cozy and safe on the roads.
Lots of love,

Sister Allen

Monday Dec 30, 2013

And my next area is... idea!!! President called last night to tell me I'm being transferred!! I have to admit, last night's call came as quite a bit of a shock to both me and Sis. McKendrick. I suppose that things were too good to be true. We were too happy together. But looks like I get to be a normal missionary again for my very last transfer. No more sister-training-leadering, just normal missionary work, which is awesome!! I am ready to do whatever God has in store...I have read and re-read Elder Dube's last general conference talk about Moving Forward in Faith. It doesn't matter what we have done, what matters is what we are willing to do. We can't look back and dwell on the past, we must look forward in faith. Faith is always pointing towards the future. And whenever God extends a release from a calling, we must joyfully accept that release and willingly accept whatever is to come. That is my prayer this next transfer, that I will look ahead and not backwards. God is really testing my faith, and I will miss Bloomington and the people here like crazy, but I know that wherever I go is where I am needed. I trust God completely, even though it's hard when He changes things up on you! And these crazy changes just make missionary work more exciting and unpredictable! It definitely requires us to rely much more on the spirit. 

Students have been gone during the break, but we have definitely been blessed to meet with people who live around us, it's amazing. We've set up some appointments just from delivering Christmas treats to people! Chocolate really works! We're passing quite a few people to the elders in the family wards, so they are very grateful. We're excited for the students to come back to school, and Sis. McKendrick knows she has a big responsibility ahead. She's excited to take on the challenge, and I know she and her new companion will do so well. She's an incredible missionary and has been a huge blessing for me. 

Christmas was absolutely wonderful. So relaxing and joyful. The McClellans, the senior institute couple here, had us over for dinner on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. We have gotten really close with them, and they do so much for us. And it was so great to talk to my family!! I love you all lots :)

Some thoughts from this week:
- We bring people KNOWLEDGE, and knowledge brings PEACE.
- I get to feel the spirit so consistently as a missionary, and after 17 months God has become my best friend. He loves me better than anyone else. I trust in Him and can talk to Him about anything, and He is so patient with me.
- I don't know exactly what Christ did for me or how He did it. I just know He did it. And I am eternally grateful.

I'm ready to work hard my last transfer of the mission. I'm excited to put together everything I have learned and use it all to its fullest. I'm grateful for everything I've learned, and I hope to be a blessing to my new area.


1. Writing letters on Christmas day.
2. Christmas dinner!

Monday, Dec. 23, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

I've been thinking a lot about why God loves us, and how I can feel His love more often. I realized this week that the Spirit of God is the spirit of love. In order to feel His love more, we need to be worthy of His spirit. That is by obedience. We have this right to the constant companionship of God's spirit, or in other words God's love, and that is conditional upon our willingness to accept God's will and obey Him. I've noticed that when I am more obedient I am more receptive to what God wants for me, and I have a more accurate understanding of His love for me. When I am less obedient, I have more of a skewed perception of God because I don't feel Him with me as much. When we receive light, God gives us more light! The gospel is black and white, but it is harder for us to discern between right and wrong when we are farther away from the light! I love the principle behind obedience!!

Well, all of our investigators are home for the break, so our plan is to just not teach anybody. Just kidding :) We are getting creative! We are focusing on less-actives and meeting with people we've met who live around our apartment. This will actually be a blessing because we'll finally have time to try people we haven't been able to for weeks! We're praying that our investigators who are committed to baptism will be able to talk to their parents and keep their testimonies strong while they're home. 

Christmas Conference was a success! Our kazoo performance was very first for the talent show, and we got a pretty good response. :) It sounded pretty great, almost like real trumpets.
I spoke on hope, among some other sisters who spoke on other Christlike attributes. The first half of the mission conference was very spirit-filled, and it really helped me remember the meaning of Christmas and how grateful I am for my Savior. 

We are putting together a Chinese class during the break, and we're crossing our fingers that people come! A lot of our Chinese investigators are going home for the break, but hopefully the ones who are staying will be able to come.

Love you all! Merry Christmas!!! What a wonderful time to be alive!

Love, Sister Allen