Friday, October 30, 2015

Oct. 26, 2015 - Frozen in Puerto Rico

Don't have much time today because we have a zone activity but hopefully I can type everything fast enough...

This week we focused a lot on contacting old investigators and we found some that we really excited to see us so we are hoping that there is some potential with them! Then, it was cool because one day as we were walking back to our house and man stopped his car in front of us and asked us who we were and what we were doing and later asked if we would meet with him and his wife. So a couple days later we met at a pizzeria with them and had a great time! They are Jewish and it was so interesting learning about their religion and then finding ways to connect their religion with our religion. It was super cool and we're hoping to teach them again some time this week! 

Also, I had my first "family dinner" here in Puerto Rico! I've never sat down to eat with an entire family before, but this week we visited a member and had dinner with her husband and her son. It was so nice! It made me miss our family dinners a bit... I'm super grateful for family dinners and it's incredible to see the difference it makes in families. This family is a lot closer to each other and a lot happier and I know it's because of the time they spend together. It was really nice!

Also, Yes! I got the package and the letters! It was perfect because we had just finished a long 3 hour session of weekly planning and were just about to head out the door when the elders dropped by with mail and I had a package and lots of letters! It made me so happy! It was like Christmas morning! :) So thank you so much! And I love the shirts! Thanks for including me in your girls night. :) 

This weekend has been so cold!!!! We're freezing! It's funny because it would probably still be warm for you guys but because we've adjusted to the Puerto Rican heat, it's so cold! It's been pouring rain the past couple days and we just get utterly soaked. Saturday we got so wet and were shivering from head to toe so we had to go back home to dry off and change clothes. It's the weirdest feeling to be cold again.... I think I like the heat better. :) But I love the rain, so it's been pretty fun!

This week I learned a lot about receiving personal revelation. I had started to feel like I wasn't receiving any revelation for my studies or for the area or the branch and I was a bit frustrated about that. But then I realized that I never asked direct questions and usually didn't wait for an answer. It was always just things like "help me know thy will for this area and this branch..." etc. But this week I tried to ask direct questions like "What do I need to study in my personal studies today?" and then I waited for a response and it came every time. It was so cool! I was led to the exact things that I needed to study in the mornings, or in lessons I was led to an exact scripture to share, etc. Revelation is available to all of us, we just need to ask for it. It's a test of how much we truly rely on the Lord and trust in Him and how much faith we have that He will answer our questions so He waits until we ask. And I know that if we wait a bit to hear His answer, we will hear it and we will be guided to do His will. I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father loves us so much to give us a way to receive His guidance and revelation in every aspect of our lives. 

Dad- thank you for your suggestions! Those are great! We've been needing new ideas, because contacting just hasn't been working... so maybe we'll give a few of those a try. Thanks so much!

Heidi- wow you got some major air on the beam! That's incredible! I'm sure you did fabulous! I wrote you a letter today so hopefully you should get it soon.... :) Love you!

Thanks so much for all you guys do! And be sure to send me pictures of all the Halloween costumes! Love you guys!

~Hermana Allan

October 19, 2015

Town of Aguas Buenas

Plaza of Aguas Buenas

Wizard of Aguas Buenas

Wow, so many people to write today so I'm going to try to do this fast today, but hopefully it will still all make sense. :) I feel like everyone single week is just walking and contacting and walking and contacting and walking some more. By Sunday we are just completely exhausted. It's a bit frustrating because we contact so much but still hardly ever find anyone to teach. But we keep on going. I know there's someone somewhere and we'll find them eventually! 

This week, the family that had baptismal dates moved with hardly any notice so that was a bummer. But on the flip side we have a reactivation! A mom and her daughter have been coming to church again lately and all they need is an interview with the president of the branch and they can be counted as active members again! Yay! We're super excited for that! :) 

Other than that, not much happened this week. But I learned some really helpful things this week too. For one, we decided to focus more on obedience this week. We chose one thing to work on and this week is was to stay out until the very last second that we have to be home. The night-time is so hard because no one wants visits and no one is in the streets and we can't contact and so sometimes we get to our house a little before our curfew. But this week when we got to our house before curfew, even if it was 5 or 10 minutes before, we kept on walking and every time Heavenly Father put someone in our path to talk to. It was really cool to see the blessings from exact obedience and using every second to find and to teach. 

Also, I've been reading in Alma this week all of the war chapters. It's a bit difficult to apply in our lives but we still can learn some really important things from them. One of the things goes along with what you mentioned mom in your sunday school lesson- prepare. The nephite army at first had about half the amount of men as the lamanite army but they still were able to defeat the lamanite army because they were prepared. They came with armor and well-made weapons and were able to withstand the blows of the lamanites. If we prepare and put on our armor through the gospel of Christ, we can withstand anything that comes at us in this life. I also love how Moroni didn't know where to go to block the lamanite army so he asked Alma to ask the Lord and the Lord gave them a clear answer of where they could go to do it. I love this example that really the Lord can lead us and guide us in any and ALL aspects of our lives. No matter what problems we are having or what decisions we may be trying to make, God WILL HELP US. There is nothing beyond His reach or beyond His knowledge and He will do all He can to lead us and guide us in the the way that will lead to happiness and peace.

I love this gospel and I still love being a missionary! It's the best thing in the world!!!!!

Hermana Pardo is great! She is soooo patient! Sometimes I get frustrated pretty easily when I can't understand her but she patiently repeats everything 2, 3, 4, or 5 times until I understand. I'm so grateful for her patience and hope that I can learn to have the same patience as her one day... Sounds like you guys had a great time at Cornbellies and Park City! I love those traditions! Thanks for the pics and the updates on everything! 

Dad- I love the shirt! I'm so glad you wore it and that it fits! :) Haha, no I'm not native speaker but people have told me a couple times that I sound like a Puerto Rican. Yay! :) However, yesterday we were talking to a mom and her daughters and I said something to one of the girls and she gave me a weird look and then looked at her mom and said "I can't understand anything she's saying!" And her mom said, "It's ok. It's because she's American!" It was really funny. Other than that, it's coming along. Still have much to learn, but little by little it's coming. 

Heidi- 3 books in 3 days?! Holy cow! That's awesome, though. I love the Harry Potter books! Good luck in school and gymnastics! I know you can do it! Love you!

Chris- I'm so jealous that you might be going on heritage tours. You will have so much fun! You better send me lots of pics! 

Nathan- Thanks for writing me! Good luck with school! Hope everything is going well!

Amelia- I LOVE YOU SOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for everything! Love you guys!

~Hermana Allan

October 12, 2015

Hello Familia! Wow what a week! This week we worked super hard and walked SOOOO much so on Sunday we were just about dying. this week took a lot of effort, but it was a pretty good week! We were finally able to contact all the references we have received in the past couple weeks and visit a lot of less actives and contact a TON of new areas. Also, at the beginning of this week I realized that I've been complaining a bit about the area because there's not much progress so I made a goal to work harder to see the miracles and blessings every day throughout the week and wow! There were so many miracles, it was incredible! 

One, was that we had spent an entire day contacting an area that was about an hour and a half away and we had ended up staying there longer than we had planned on so it was already dark when we started walking back. The road was super small and scary with lots of curves and no lights, and there are a lot of creepers out at night so we were super nervous. About 10 minutes into walking, we were in a super scary area so we stopped and said a prayer asking for someone to offer us a ride and about 2 minutes later, someone offered us a ride! It was a huge blessing!

Also, one day we stopped at the hospital to use the restroom and while I was waiting the lady who was working at the desk came up to me and asked if I was a Mormon. When I said yes, she got super excited and asked if she could have a pamphlet and our number. I gave them to her and then she had to go back to work but said she would call us later. And guess what? She did! The next day she called us and said she really wanted to meet with us and go to church! She said she had seen missionaries come in to serve the people in the hospital many times and that she felt something special when she saw us so she wanted to know more. She got really sick after that so we haven't been able to have an official lesson with her yet, but we're so excited to teach her! It was definitely a miracle!

Another one, yesterday we had an appointment with someone an hour away from where we had been contacting. so an hour before the appointment we started walking towards the other area. About 20 min into our walk, someone stopped and offered us a ride so then when we got to the area where our appointment was we still had 30 min left. we weren't quite sure what to do, but then we both had a prompting to visit a contact that we had met the week before that lived really close by. When we got to her house she was super sad and stressed and lonely and just started bawling as she started telling us everything that was going on. She really just needed some company and some support and we were sent to help her. It was such perfect timing to be able to show up during a time of crisis and be able to help her and comfort her. I know Heavenly Father sent us that ride so that we would have enough time to visit her. It was a miracle! And now that we have her trust, we're going to try to start teaching her and helping her progress toward baptism. We're super excited!

There were a lot of other miracles and blessings that happened every single day and it was amazing to be able to recognize them and realize how much the Lord is helping us every single day. It was great! 

In my personal study this week I found something super cool! In the spanish scriptures there is something in the back called "The Guide to the Scriptures" which is kind of a mix of the topical guide and the bible dictionary with a little bit more. I found one that was super interesting to me. It's the "signs of the true church". It lists 10 characteristics of the true church of God. They are: The correct concept of the Trinity, the first principles and ordinances, revelation, prophets, authority, the publication of new scriptures, the organization of the church, missionary work, spiritual gifts, and temples. I thought the one about the publication of new scriptures was really super interesting. I didn't realize that in the Bible it prophesies that the true church in the last days will have a new set of scriptures to testify alongside the Bible. I was super excited to find that. :) I know that we are in the true church and that we have prophets and apostles to lead and guide us and that they have the proper authority of God and receive modern revelation for our day and time. I know that book of mormon is the word of God and that the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are the key to obtaining exaltation. I'm so grateful to be a part of the truth and even more, to be a part of sharing the truth with others. 

Mom- the earthquake wasn't all that big so it probably wasn't news worthy. :) I LOVE mia's school pic! How cute! And thank you so much for that spiritual thought from Lindsay Hammon about at least converting ourselves on our missions. That was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you!

Chris- nice wookie costume! love it! What song did you guys do? 

Dad- thanks for the email and the spiritual thought. That's definitely been the hardest part of my mission so far is Satan telling me that I'm not having any baptisms or progress because I'm not working hard enough or because I'm not a good enough missionary. So thank you for the reminder that I can still be successful even if others aren't willing to use their agency to choose the right. Thank you! And good luck with your ward! I'll be praying for them. 

Heidi- I love you so much! Thanks for writing me every single week! I really appreciate it! I love you!

Thanks everyone for all of the support and love! I love you all so much and never forget that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you too! Good luck with everything this week!

~Hermana Allan

October 5, 2015

Sisters in her zone

Zone sisters

Playing with the effects on the camera

Fun with camera effects in between conference sessions

Having fun
Oh boy! This week was just full of contacting! I think that's really all we did. The people here aren't very receptive to the gospel so it's really hard finding people to teach, but we just keep pushing on! I know God is preparing someone here, and I know we'll find them shortly! :)

The family that had baptismal dates is now planning on moving to the states so.... we're kind of at a standstill with them and aren't sure if they'll be baptized before they leave. We hope so! Or at the very least, I hope they continue with the lessons in Massachusetts. It'll be interesting to see what happens with them.

Also, on Friday (maybe Thursday...) we had an earthquake! It was great! :) We were both saying our nightly prayers and our room just started shaking for about 5 seconds. It was really short but super exciting! Strangely, I love earthquakes. 

On Friday we had a missionary activity with the branch where we taught them all Lesson 1 and then helped teach them how they can share it with others and how to invite others to FHE or church or algo asi. We each had a section of Lesson 1 to teach and each did a little activity with it. I had the section on the Book of Mormon, prayer and the spirit. It was so fun and such a cool learning experience with the members! 

CONFERENCE WAS AMAZING!!!!!!!! There are way to many talks to talk about. I really liked the one by Elder Larry R. Lawrence and how he invited us to ask the Lord what more we can do and what is keeping us from progressing. It was really cool, because I did it that night and clear as day the Spirit told me what I needed to do. It was awesome. Also, I loved how President Henry B Eyring spoke about keeping our testimonies "fresh" in preparation for hard times. That as we constantly and consistently nourish it, it will grow and be strengthened so that we can have the guidance, comfort, and help of the Spirit when tough times come. And poor President Monson. That seriously broke my heart. But how grateful I am that we have a living prophet of God who guides and directs us. I know He is the prophet of God and that the Lord speaks and leads His church through Him. And Elder Holland's talk about the love of a mother.... wow, that was a powerful talk but a difficult one as a missionary. I just want to say thank you mom for all you are. For the example you have set for me and for your loving patience and diligent efforts to lead me in the way of the Lord. Thank you for always being there for me and for exemplifying Christ-like attributes and being someone that I can strive to be like. I love you so much!!!! There were so many other talks to that I simply loved but I'll save those for another week :)

Also, miracle moment! After conference yesterday we decided to contact some references we had received and while we were walking through pueblo I had a thought to visit a recent convert. I asked Hermana Pardo about it and she felt the same so we turned around and headed to their house. When we got there, she was having a breakdown and going through something pretty serious. We were the answer to her prayers and I'm so grateful that we acted on that prompting and were able to be there for her and help her through it. I know that when we are close to the Spirit the Lord can work through us and we can be the answer to others prayers. 

I love Amelia's pic! How cute! And Heidi your quote designs are awesome! I loved them so much! And I'm so glad you're keeping up the car dancing! Just keep right on dancing like no one's watching... :) I love you all so much and pray for you every day! Good luck with school mom, I know you can do it! :) Love you!

~Hermana Allan