Monday, Dec. 9, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

SNOW!!! We had a huge blizzard this last week, and it took a day for the trucks to come out to plow the streets, but now it's just beautiful outside and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas :)

This transfer we have been going on mini exchanges with the sisters, purely focusing on improving studies. It has been super beneficial and has taught me a lot about the importance of studies, especially letting them be guided by the spirit. I love studying, and one hour of personal study is not enough! There is so much to learn, and God just pours down revelation when we take the time to study, search, ponder, and FEAST! 

Sis. McKendrick and I are so happy together!! We find so much joy in the work and every day is full of miracles. I feel so grateful every day to have her as my companion--she helps me so much, and we have so much fun and work hard! The recent lessons we have taught to our investigators have been so spirit-guided and they have flowed so well--I don't even know how to describe it. There have been several members who have been letting us come visit them, who before were closed off, but for some reason we are getting into doors we couldn't before! 

C was supposed to be baptized yesterday, but over Thanksgiving her parents brought up some concerns about the church. They actually believe the church is true because they believe all the doctrine, but their concern is the people behind it--God only has imperfect people to work with. I believe that as soon as they step into a church building they will change their mind. C spoke at Why I Believe last night where recent converts share their conversion story, and even thought she is not yet baptized she knows it is all true. She should be a motivational speaker. She is incredible. We will continue to teach her and follow the spirit in knowing when the right time is for her to be baptized.

We are part of a great district and they are very supportive and helpful. The work is going so well, and we are so blessed to be part of such a great area and branch. I love the members here! We're teaching several Chinese students who will be here over the Christmas break, so we're putting together a Chinese class for them to come to while they're here! One of them said as we were teaching him, "I don't care about eternal life. I just want to know God." I guess that makes sense, why would He want to live with God if he doesn't even know if God is real? We're working on that :) My amazing companion said in the lesson, "The only way to know God is to become like him." We invited him to be baptized on a specific date 3 times in that lesson, but he still wants more time. He texts us questions a lot, and he is very sincere. It is one of the greatest privileges to be able to teach Chinese people, and I absolutely love it. One Chinese girl is working on quitting coffee, and she feels guilty whenever she drinks it now. She really is changing, because before she didn't even know God was there, and now she recognizes the difference between right and wrong. She is repenting, and she knows she will be blessed for it! The first time she bought a coffee after we taught her the word of wisdom, it fell on the ground. We told her that was probably a spirit knocking it over... :) ANOTHER Chinese girl we're teaching (she was actually baptized in 2007 but hasn't been very active) came to the conclusion, after watching the Joseph Smith DVD, that it takes effort to receive answers from God, and once we receive answers we have to stay loyal to what we know to be true, just like Joseph Smith did. It was amazing the conclusions she came to on her own, I was just blown away! 

Last week we went to the Shalom Center (a homeless shelter) looking for a guy who called us, but we couldn't find him. We had some extra time so Sis. McKendrick said, "Let's sing some hymns." We started singing "How Great Thou Art" and people kind of quieted down. Two women came up to us and started singing with us, and one started crying. Afterwards we talked with her and she couldn't stop thanking us. We got her phone number and address, and told her we'd get in touch with her. This week we were able to visit her, and she really wants fellowship and get back to church! It sure is fun to get creative in missionary work, and she is a direct result of that. 
ANOTHER cool thing we saw last week was when we were looking for service opportunities. I've been trying to make a goal for myself every morning when I wake up, and I tell God in my prayers what my goal will be. That morning I prayed that I would have the courage to talk to everyone. We went to the Opportunity House, reminds me of DI, and talked to the lady in charge. Before we left we saw this black guy walking around, and he kept looking at us. But we left, and I started backing Sis. McKendrick out of the parking lot. I knew we needed to go back to talk to that guy, so I walked up to the car door and said, "We need to go talk to that guy." She said, "The black guy?" So she re-parked, got out of the car, and we went back in. He was still inside and we started talking to him. We introduced ourselves, talked a bit about the church, and got his phone number. He said, "You knew you needed to come back, huh?" I think God was testing me to see if I really would act on the promptings of the spirit, and the guy we talked to knew we were supposed to talk to him. I am excited to see the fruits of that.

I LOVE THIS CHURCH--I love my family, I love music, I love visiting teaching, I love paying tithing and getting BLESSINGS for it, I love meetings, I love young women's and relief society, I love missions and missionaries, I love Motab, I love going to the temple, I am obsessed!! Another speaker at Why I Believe last night talked about how the church is his identity now--it is so much a part of him, and it impacts every single thing he does. I feel the same way. And I am so happy because of it.

Yes we go through rough patches, some that last a lot longer than we'd hope. But things always get better. I know God answers prayers, and I am so grateful for it. The last transfer and a half of my mission are going to fly by because we are having so much fun.

Life is so good. Christmas is the greatest time of year. The gospel of Jesus Christ brings the greatest joy. It is so cool to be Mormon. We watched the Christmas devotional last night at a member's home with a bunch of other missionaries, and I had to capture that moment in my mind because it's a unique thing to be able to sit in a room with ten other missionaries knowing that I am one of them. I love my Savior and I love being able to appreciate and worship Him. Merry Christmas everyone :) 

Love, Sister Allen

Picture: Our wonderful zone! Love all these missionaries.

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