Wednesday, September 30, 2015


With mini missionary, Hermana Rivera

Bavarian creme cake she loves!

Parcha fruit she says is delicious

Goodbye to mini missionary, Hermana Molina

Zone activity
Sister Stevens birthday 

Picking up new mini missionary

Sept. 28, 2015

With her new companion, Hermana Pardo
Hello familia! Transfers went great! It was weird to leave Hermana Stevens, but it was also very exciting to meet Hermana Pardo. She is awesome! She is almost 24 and has 6 months on her mission and speaks a little bit of English but basically we only speak Spanish. It was really hard at first getting used to each other's teaching styles and I was super stressed to take the lead in the area but I learned so much from all of this. I've already learned so much from Hermana Pardo and I can't wait to learn more from her! And it was so cool to really see the Spirit of the Lord work through me this week and I prayed and prayed for guidance to lead this area and not forget anyone that we are teaching and to be led to the places we needed to be. There were many instances when I felt prompted to visit a certain person or go to a certain places and we ended up finding someone that was interested or needed service or something of the kind. It was so cool and so humbling to see that if we put complete faith in the Lord we won't have to worry or fear because He will guide us and help us know His will. 

We were able to watch women's conference on Saturday but it was in Spanish.... from what I could understand, it was really good! But I can't wait to get the Ensign for next month and be able to read them in English. Also, did you guys get to see the Eclipse last night?! It was so cool! :)

To answer some of your questions- stake conference was pretty incredible because I was able to understand the majority of what was said. The gift of tongues is real! And another cool experience I had with the language this week is that we were contacting and we started talking to this elderly lady and she switched between spanish and english and there was a point in the lesson when I had the thought "Is she speaking english or spanish?" It was so weird because she was speaking in Spanish at that moment but I could understand everything and I didn't even realize that it was spanish. It was so cool! :)

I can't tell you how excited I am for general conference!!!!!!! It's going to be amazing! And I can watch it in English! Yay!!! And we will get THREE new apostles! Yay!!!! :) So excited! However, watching women's conference made me pretty homesick so hopefully general conference won't make me as homesick.... but I'm just so excited!!!!! :)

K. and J. are still slowly but surely progressing. They won't be ready for their baptism on the 10th but I know it will happen at some point. They are so eager to learn and willing to keep all their commitments. They're awesome! It was so sad because we visited them the night before Hermana Stevens left and K. just broke down bawling. It was so sad. But they already have a pretty good relationship with Hermana Pardo now so hopefully they continue moving forward. Thanks for keeping them in your prayers!

Amelia lost a tooth?! I'll have to start calling her toothless now! :) 

Saturday was really interesting, because Hermana Pardo and I had a super deep conversation about the Plan of Salvation. We talked about it in between appointments and contacts for about 3 hours! It surprised me because I realized that I have so many questions about the Plan of Salvation that we don't have answers to. I've always been pretty nervous to ask my questions out loud because I've always thought that questions were the same as doubts- if you question a certain doctrine, then you doubt that doctrine too. But I've come to realize that that's not the case. Just because we are in the true church of God, doesn't mean we won't have questions. Knowing the truth and being members of the true church doesn't give us all the answers, but it does give us the faith that there is a Supreme Being who does know all the answers and the hope that in His timing and according to His will, all will be revealed unto us. I was fascinated that Hermana Pardo and I have so many questions about the Plan of Salvation, but at the same time have firm testimonies of this same Plan. I can't wait for the day when we will truly know the mysteries of heaven and have all of our questions answered. But until then we can trust in the knowledge that has been revealed and we can push forward with hope that God knows the rest. 

Thanks so much for all of your support and love and I hope you all have a fabulous week!
Love you all so so very much!!!!!!!

~Hermana Allan

Sept. 21, 2105 - Back to the Basics

Caguas District


Sisters Stevens and Allan

With a few branch members
Hello familia! I'm trying to decide if I should talk about transfers now or make you wait to the end to find out..... haha, no I'll just start with it. So... I'm staying here in Aguas Buenas! Hermana Stevens is leaving to be an Hermana Entrenadora in Toa Baja and my new companion is going to be Hermana Pardo from Columbia. I secretly was hoping for a Latin companion right out of training so I'm really excited! Wahoo! We change on Tuesday, so that will be fun. :)

Anways, other than that, this week was pretty normal. We walked and taught and walked some more, etc. I also got to paint a room for the first time! We got to paint a baby's room for one of the members in our branch and it was so fun. I decided that I love painting! 

Then, we had stake conference this weekend which was awesome. It was so powerful and just incredible to be able to listen and understand the talks in Spanish. I loved it!

However there was one thing that happened this week that wasn't so fabulous... Remember that family we are preparing for baptism on the 10th? Well, this week the wife was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (spelling?). It's super serious and causes her a ton of pain. So she is super super sick so it's really difficult to visit and have an official lesson and focus on baptism when they are trying to adjust to this shock. It's been pretty rough and now we aren't sure if they'll be ready by the 10th.... But we just keep on praying for them and being there for them and working with them and I know the Lord will work miracles in their lives and who knows? Maybe they will still make it by the 10th. So that was a bit difficult, but we just keep pushing on!

Thanks for the pics of Chris' homecoming. I'm glad they had fun! Also, thanks so much for the package! You know me all to well with the swedish fish, oreos,and pretzels. :) Thank you! You're the best! And that's so cool that you're memorizing more scriptures! It's so helpful! I haven't done very many myself but I really want to. I know it will help a lot. Thanks for your example to me! :)

Dad- Thank you soooo much for the information about the priesthood! I'm going to study what you sent a bit more and hopefully I'll be able to understand it. Thank you!

Spiritual Thought for the week is another general conference talk by Bishop Gerald Causse. He gives three steps for how we can stay excited and engaged in the gospel. "First, never tire of discovering or rediscovering the truths of the gospel." "Second, anchor your faith in the plain and simple truths of the gospel." "Finally, I invite you to seek and cherish the companionship of the Holy Ghost." There are so many blessings and miracles in our lives each and every day that come from this gospel but all too often we look right past them and take them for granted. But if we can find joy in learning (going to church, reading our scriptures, etc.) and keep our testimonies centered on the basic principles of the gospel we will be stronger Saints of God and will be more sensitive to the Lord's hand in our lives. And as we live worthy for the companionship of the Holy Ghost, we will remember all the Lord has given us and will live everyday with this gratitude and a more eternal perspective. One way to start, would be to get excited for conference in two weeks! :) There is no better way to find joy in the gospel and focus on the basics and feel the Spirit than to listen to the Prophets and Apostles of Christ bear their own firm testimonies of these truths. I want to invite you all in these next to weeks to write down some questions you want answered or guidance/revelation you want to receive and I know you will find your answer in one of the conference sessions. How great is this gospel and the knowledge of our loving Father in Heaven who loves us and has prepared a way for us to become like Him. And how great is the infinite sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ that ennables us to overcome every pain, every temptation, every weakness in this life. I know this church is true without a doubt! I'm a Mormon! I know it, I live it, I LOVE it.

I love you all! Have a fantastic week! :) 

~Hermana Allan

Sept. 14, 2015 - Day of Mirles!

A sample of the hills they walk each day. 
They do a lot of walking! 14 miles walked in one day. 
Wow. So much to say this week! First, we had zone conference on Tuesday. It was so good! We talked a lot about obedience and developing Christ-like attributes. Someone said something along the lines of "Who you are and what you do are inseparable. To be = to do. To do without being is lying to those around you. To be without doing is lying to yourself." I thought that was really interesting. We should be constantly working on developing Christ-like attributes and if we do, we will become more like Christ and do the things we're supposed to be doing. It was such a spiritual conference and I loved every bit of it! They also challenged us to memorize the Living Christ by Christmas so that we can share it with our families. Hermana Stevens and I were a little too excited about it so we got going right away and we already have half of it memorized in English and in Spanish! Anyone want to join the train and try memorizing it by Christmas? (In English :)). 

Then, guess what dad? I ate Shrimp! Yuck! :) We were eating the normal rice and beans and chicken at a members home and she was telling us about all the different kinds of rice she makes and all of sudden she remembered a type of rice that she had made that was in the fridge so she pulled it out, warmed it up, and dump a large portion on each of our plates and it was rice with huge chunks of shrimp in it. She was so proud of it and was anxiously watching us to see if we would like it or not so of course we had to eat it and let me tell you- it was so hard to smile and tell her it tasted good. But somehow (probably with the the Lord's help), I was able to eat it all. I just hope I never have to do that again.... :)  But on a more positive note, she gave us Temblake (spelling?)! It is the most divine dessert I have ever tasted in my life!!!! It's kind of a mix of flan and jello and basically is just food from heaven. :) I'm definitely going to learn how to make it so I can make it for you guys later!

Saturday was a day of miracles! We visited a family of 3 who we had talked with each of them individually in the street but never in their house and never together. But Saturday we found all of them at home and found out that their cousin had just been murdered and they were having a hard time healing. It was such a perfect intro into the gospel and I think because they were in that vulnerable state, they were so open to our message and I know they felt the Spirit. It was a really powerful lesson and I know Heavenly Father prepared them for our visit that day. After that lesson we started walking to a less active's house and as we started going, I had a prompting that we should walk to her house a different way. So we changed directions and ended up passing a recreation center where a man was sitting outside. He told us that he had been told that there was going to be a basketball game there and that he was supposed to open the building for them and supervise the game. So he showed up but no one else had showed up. So we just talked to him for awhile and he ended up telling us so much about what he's been through in his life and the miracles he's seen. It was really cool because he had been through so much in his family, but still was able to see all the blessings that the Lord was giving him. I know that he was called in to work not for the basketball game, but to meet us and that we walked that way to meet him. It's incredible how the Lord works and how He prepares people for the message of the gospel. It was such a spiritual experience!

After that, we got to the less active's house and after talking to her for about 30 seconds she said, "I'm going to go to church tomorrow. Will you find me a ride and call me in the morning?" What?! We were shocked! We hadn't said anything yet about church or about the gospel. It was such a humbling experience! It taught me that really, I'm not doing anything. All of the progress and miracles and conversion that I see in others is all the work of the Lord. I'm so grateful for the Lord's help and that even through my mistakes and broken Spanish, the Spirit can work in the hearts of the people and convert them to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was incredible! And then to top it all off, we taught the family with baptismal dates and they are so awesome! They understand everything and are so eager to follow the commandments and be baptized. We had to move their baptismal date to the 10th of October for a couple reasons, but I am confident that they will make it for that date. They are so awesome and are progressing so much! And basically Saturday was just a fabulous day! :)

Transfers are next week so we'll find out on Sunday. We have no idea what's going to happen but I think I'll stay here and Hermana Stevens will be transferred, but I'm really not sure. I guess we'll see next week! :)

I'm so sorry to hear that about Michelle's dad. That's terrible. I'm so sorry. They will definitely be in my prayers. And why did Grandpa need the surgery? But I'm glad he's recovering well!

Thanks for adding bug spray in my package! That will be super helpful! I lather my legs in bug spray everyday and somehow I still get attacked. The ants are the worst here. All the ants are poisonous or something because ant bites get super red and huge and hurt a lot. (I have a couple of them on my legs in the pics I sent). Anyways, so I'm not sure what else to do to avoid the bugs, but oh well. 

Happy Birthday tomorrow Dad!!!!!!! Hope you have a fabulous day!

Love you all!

~Hermana Allan

Sept. 7, 2015 - Service!

Doing service for a member - loves using the machete 

Her new favorite yard tool - mom's new worry ;)

Beautiful Puerto Rico

Wow, sorry for the overload of pictures, but there's a brief gallery of the past 5-6 weeks! :) 

Anyways, what a week! What this area needed was a stronger branch and more trust with the members so we decided to send around a sign up sheet last Sunday for the members to sign up for a day that we could go serve them. While most of those appointments turned into them just cooking dinner for us (Puerto Ricans don't like to be served), it was incredible to see the blessings that came from it. We got to know the members so much better and I think that will help us get members present in our lessons with investigators and in getting references. And I think giving each of them a little spiritual boost helped a lot too! At church on Sunday, they were all so happy and so friendly with each other and bore such strong testimonies, it was incredible! People actually stayed around after church to talk and socialize which never happens. This branch is being strengthened so much! And the member's food was pretty good too.... :) But it was really nice being able to serve them too. Service truly brings people together and brings us closer to Christ. It was a very good week!

Also, we finally have baptismal dates again! We met this family that is just so eager to learn and the father told us that he believes that we are an answer to his prayers so he just soaks up everything we teach and at every lesson is so excited to find out what his next compromiso or "assignment" is for the next lesson. The spirit is so present in every lesson with them and I have literally never seen anyone so prepared to receive the blessings of the gospel. I can't wait to keep teaching them and preparing them for their baptism on the 26th!

It's great too because the mother is a chef so she sends us home with so much amazing food everytime! Last time she gave us massive slices of nutella and cheese flan. Oh my goodness. Best thing I have ever eaten. Of course that's not why we keep going over to their house, but it's definitely a plus. :)   

I'm so glad you guys got my package! Hope you enjoyed it. :) And thank you so much for the card reader! I haven't gotten any letters from anyone or your package yet.... hopefully tomorrow because tomorrow we have zone conference so they should be bringing the mail. 

Spiritual thought for the week is from General Conference by Elder. Dallin H. Oaks in his talk "Parable of the Sower". I love when he says "we must increase our exposure to spiritual truth in order to strengthen our faith and stay rooted in the gospel." In order to have good soil that nourishes the seed or the word of God, we must constantly be exposing ourselves to the things of God through prayer, scripture study, service, fasting, and partaking of the sacrament. I know that if you consciously do something every day to bring you closer to Christ, you will feel more peace and more happiness and more direction in your life. Doing this will strengthen your faith and will help you "stay rooted in the gospel."

Sorry, there's not much to say this week, but it really was fantastic and being a missionary is really the best thing in the world. I've never been so happy or felt so closer to my Savior Jesus Christ. I've learned and grown so much and have seen so many miracles in other's lives because of this gospel and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know without a doubt that this is the true church and that God really did restore the gospel of Jesus Christ through His prophet Joseph Smith. I know it without a doubt and am so grateful for the wonderful blessing this knowledge has been in my life. The church is true! :)

~Hermana Allan

August 31, 2015 - Hurricane Season!

What a week! So much to say as usual so hopefully I have enough time to type this all up.... here I go!

Well, to answer all your questions about the hurricane.... it was extremely disappointing. It was supposed to come on Tuesday, but it didn't. Then it was supposed to come on Thursday, but it didn't. Then it was supposed to come on Friday, but it ended up being a little tiny tropical storm instead. I was so excited to experience my first hurricane, but oh well. We still did get a lot of needed water though, thank goodness. (some areas have to go 4 days without any water because of the draught and all the rationing! Crazy!). It made missionary work a little difficult though because no one wanted to meet with us because they were frantically preparing for the "hurricane" (it was as if everyone was preparing for the end of the world!), and we couldn't go contacting because no one was outside in the streets, and if by chance we did find someone to talk to, they were too busy telling us about the storm and to go home and get out of the streets instead of the gospel so it was kind of a struggle this week. But it also opened some doors for other things, which was awesome! 

Because we haven't had anyone really to teach, we've been focusing a lot on the members and less actives and I can see a huge difference in our branch as we've served them and helped strengthen them. It's incredible! And we had three less actives come to church! It was so exciting! Friday afternoon, we got permission to leave the house in service clothes rather than skirts to go contacting and find people to serve who were affected by the storm. People were so much more interested in talking to us and giving us references because they saw that we weren't there just to preach and convert but also to serve and help them. We gained the confidence and trust of so many people and I think that will help so much when we try to find them again and teach them. It was a really cool experience!

Also, I gave my first real talk in Spanish! (the ones in the CCM don't count.... :)). It was cool because the 4 missionaries here in this branch all spoke and without coordinating with each other, we all spoke on topics that worked really well together. Heavenly Father definitely knew what He was doing and what the branch needed! I spoke on what it really means to be a Latter-Day Saint based on the talk by Elder Renlund from the last general conference. I encourage you guys to read it when you get a chance, because I absolutely love it! 

We had so many cool teaching experiences this week too! There is one with a lady named M. We contacted her in her car two weeks ago, but she had said that she was going to the DR on vacation and asked us to come by when she get back. So we've just been waiting. But then one day we walked across the street to a members house to check on something with her and she had company over that was talking with her and one of them was Millie's husband! We got to know him a bit and he asked us to come over to their house later that day, so later we dropped by and they have so much potential! Their daughter and her family about to move in with them and then her sister is going in for brain cancer and they just need all the support they can get right now. We are going to go back and help them paint their house and clean and such and I can't wait to officially teach them, because they are just the nicest people ever! 

We've also been working with this man named J. who has a really bad drinking problem. When I first got here, he had just completed a month of no drinking and he was so happy and so spiritual, but somehow he slipped back into his addiction and we hadn't seen him for a month. Then we finally saw him again this week and he came up to us pleading for help to help him stop drinking. We asked him to say a prayer with us, and when he did, it was the most sincere and heartfelt prayer I have ever heard. He repeated over and over again "Perdoname, perdoname" (Forgive me, forgive me). He begged God for forgiveness and for strength to leave these things behind. It was such a spiritual experience and we were all crying by the end of his prayer. We had plans to go somewhere else, but we both felt that we just needed to stay and listen so we sat and talked to him and listened for about an hour and a half. The spirit was so strong and I know it was working in him the whole time we were with him. It was such a spiritual and powerful experience and we are praying so hard for him. I know through Christ He can change and I can't wait to see the Atonement work in his life. 

The family of 5 is doing great too! We haven't been able to have too much contact with them from the storm, but they are still going strong! And we found a family of 7! It was one of the "storm" days and we didn't have anything to do so we prayed to ask where we should go and a certain person came into my mind and a certain area came into Hermana Steven's mind and they were both in the same direction so we headed that way and that's where we found the family, basically just waiting outside for us. :) It was so cool! We haven't actually taught them an official lesson yet, but we can tell that they have so much potential and I'm so excited to teach them!

Being a missionary is literally the best thing ever! I just can't get over how rich this experience is! I'm loving it so very much! 

Mom- I haven'y gotten the camera cord yet, but I hope it works! Thanks for sending it! Also, I was thinking about you this week and found this scripture in Mosiah 27:14. I know you were troubled because of the actions of others and I love this scripture because the Lord helped Alma the younger because of the faithful prayers of his father. I love that the Lord will help others because of the prayers of the righteous. if we are living worthy of the Spirit and have the faith, and plead for others in our prayers, God will hear our cries and will help those who we love and care about. Love you so much! Good luck with your new job and with school!

Dad- Thank you so much for your answer about Alma! That helps me a lot! Muchismas Gracias! And the exercise disc is called "You on a Diet" I think.... Also, thanks for that thought about missionary work. Everyone here says yes to commitments but never keeps them, so that's a great idea! Thanks!

Nathan- Thanks for finally telling me about Michelle! :) I hope everything goes well between you two! And good luck with school!

Chris- Good luck in school as well! Don't mess around too much! :) And when can you turn your mission papers in?

Heidi- I'm glad school is getting better for you! I know you can do it! And good luck with gymnastics as competition season comes up!

Amelia- I love you so much!!!!! You are just the cutest! Have so much fun at school!

I love you all so so very much! Be strong and keep pushing on in the strength of the Lord! Love ya!

~Hermana Allan