Monday, July 8, 2013

Dearest family and friends,

President and Sister Cleveland are awesome!!! We had a meet and greet meeting on Wednesday, and while I was playing prelude music, they walked in from the back of the chapel and all the missionaries stood up. The spirit immediately filled the room, and my eyes started filling up with tears, because I know they are supposed to be my new mission president and wife right now. When Pres. Cleveland spoke, he was so bold and so ready to "hasten the work." Sis. Cleveland has never served a mission or experienced anything like this, but she is so down to earth and cute and spunky. I'm excited to work with them! 

This past week I have been struggling to know how to make the most effective use of time. There is a lot of change occurring in missionary work, and we're trying to figure out how to deal with the transition. I have been in two of the nicest areas in Indiana so far, and after 11 months I can say that tracting has not resulted in baptisms--not to say it isn't effective, but I know there is a more effective way to baptize people. And I know that is through the members of the church, and soon the modern technology that missionaries will be implementing. I have really tried on my mission to work closely with the members, and that is a big focus for us right now. Our Bishop and ward mission leader are so involved and helpful. I recently read a talk from April 2013 General Conference called "The Lord's Way," and I am trying to do things the Lord's way here in Fishers. My biggest goal right now is to follow up with people more--members, nonmembers, everyone--give them that extra push. I pray that my efforts are paying off and that my work is pleasing to the Lord. I am so humbled and grateful and happy to be a missionary. I love this work more than anything else.

We had two investigators at church on Sunday which is huge for this area!!! We found a guy named Joe this week at a park, and he talked to us about how he used to be an atheist, but through several experiences realized there has to be some sort of higher power, and he started researching God. We had a lesson with him at the church last week, and this Sunday he showed up for church!! He hasn't been to church since he was a little boy, so it was a lot for him to take in, but he's definitely searching. And our wonderful Sis. D was feeling well enough to come to church, so she got picked up from a wonderful member of our ward and sat in the back in her cute teal and flowery skirt and shirt! That was a such tender mercy for us. 

For the 4th of July we had a fun ward breakfast, a barbeque at a member's home, and a lovely weekly planning session in our apartment after dinner! We had to be in by 6pm so we could be away from those crazy 4th of July fanatics :) Nothing beats a weekly planning session on the 4th! We did see a few fireworks from behind the trees by our apartment, and they've been going off every night since! 

I went on an exchange with a sister in Avon, and we started coming up with scenarios for people that we passed, then we would do a roleplay of how we would introduce the gospel to them. Great way to practice! It was super fun actually.

I'm learning a lot from going on exchanges with the sisters here in Indiana. I love seeing their progress and all that they are learning, but mostly I am just very humbled to be here and to have this calling. I am amazed at how much I have learned as a missionary, and I hope that what I have learned has helped these sisters. It's cool to explain a concept to them, and the next exchange see that they have implemented it really well! 

Transfers are next I will let you know if I'll be staying in Fishers or moving on...eek! Love you all!

Sister Allen

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