Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December 21, 2015

Hermana Human saving the day and taking the burning frying pan outside

The after effects of the fire

charred cabinets, but it all came off with a good cleaning

Hermana Allan and Melgar

Christmas dinner with the President Boucher and his wife

The whole zone
Hello familia! Wow, this week has been a blur but in the best way possible! :) With this new transfer, Hermana Melgar and I set some pretty hefty goals so we've been working like crazy to reach them and we've seen so many miracles and so many good things happening here in Cabo Rojo!

First of all, Monday was the last pday for Hermana Human so Hermana Melgar decided to do a little "farewell gift" and make us Honduranian empenadas. So while she was cooking, I was sleeping, and Hermana Human was putting on a facial cucumber mask. I was woken up by a super loud "BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! FIRE! EVACUATE!" I ran into the kitchen to see Hermana Melgar holding a frying pan with a giant flame shooting out of it. She was just putting it in the sink and threw water on it and of course that made it bigger. So she dropped it in the sink while we frantically tried figuring out what to do. Hermana Human eventually picked it up and stuck it out on our balcony where it eventually went away. And we were left inside with a ton of black smoke and charred cabinets and melted soap and tupperware..... It was pretty exciting. Eventually we were able to clean everything up so you can't even tell now that anything happened. It wasn't the best way to wake up from a nap, but it was a pretty interesting farewell for Hermana Human. :)

Then, we dropped off Hermana Human on Tuesday. It was weird this week with only one companion, but it's nice at the same time.

Also, K. and H. weren't baptized but it's for a good cause! C. (the husband) wants to baptize them but he has to work through some things with the Bishop first so once he's ready, they're ready! He's hoping to be ready by the 2nd of January so we're keeping our fingers crossed!

There's a 16 year old girl that's been coming to church for months now and I thought she was a member but we found out this week that she is an investigator and no one has been teaching her or anything! We were shocked when we found out so immediately we set an appointment with her and she said that she's been wanting to get baptized but that she just didn't know how to tell people that. So now we're preparing her for the 16th of January to be baptized! She's super awesome! :)

The elders here in Cabo Rojo found a less active that just moved here and ever since they found her, she's been coming to church! And we talked with her and she wants her two little girls to be baptized so now we're teaching them as well and I know they'll get baptized!

We had a Christmas activity in Cabo Rojo 2 which was super fun! It was a bit weird because Hermana Human was there with her family and it was weird seeing her not as a missionary.... but it was fun at the same time. :)

Then, on Sunday we had Christmas dinner with the Bouchers! It's three hours from here to San Juan so we had a nice little road trip driving through Puerto Rico! I love road trips, but I must say, it's a lot funner when you're the passenger...But it was still fun to drive because I've missed driving so much. :)

And I finally received the Advent calendar! It wasn't really melted at all and tastes great! Thanks so much! Also, I received the other two packages! Thanks! Also, I don't know if you already sent one or not and I feel bad asking for something more from you guys, but if you haven't already would you mind sending a Christmas package for Hermana Melgar? I feel bad because she can't receive packages from her family.... It doesn't have to be anything big but just something small would be nice if you guys don't mind doing it. And it's ok if it arrives late, it's the thought that counts right? :) She likes Reeces and peanut butter and needs a new journal or a watch (not expensive) or.... something like that. She likes surprises so maybe you could throw one in there somehow. Thanks so much!

I'm so excited to skype! I'll be skyping around 3 oclock here so I think that's like noon in Utah. And I have only 45 minutes so write down what you want to tell me beforehand! :) Anyways, hopefully it works! See you on Friday!

I want to share a few quotes with you that I found this week in my personal studies. The first is by Sister Linda S. Reeves from general conference. She said "What will it matter, dear sisters, what we suffered here if, in the end, those trials are the very things which qualify us for eternal life and exaltation in the kingdom of God with our Father and Savior?" I love this and the emphasis it puts on the importance of having an eternal perspective. This life is the time to prepare, not to receive blessings. So maybe we won't see the fruits of all we do in this life, but we can be assured that we will receive them in the next life and that our joy will be great in the kingdom of our Father!

The other is by President Thomas S Monson. He said "As we make Christ the center of our lives, our fears will be replaced by the courage of our convictions." How cool is that? I just love this quote and encourage you all to ponder on this and find a way to apply it in your own lives and figure out what fears you have that are holding you back and how you can overcome them with your faith in Christ.

I love this gospel with all of my heart and I love you all so so very much! I can't wait to see you on Friday! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

~Hermana Allan

Monday, December 21, 2015

Bonus pictures - from Sister Boucher (mission president's wife)

Sisters Zone service project

Zone Conference

Zone Conference

December 14, 2015 - another transfer in Cabo Rojo!


Ward Christmas Party

Hello! This week was pretty exciting and we had a HUGE miracle!!!!! First of all, I tried some food from the Dominican Republic called Mangu and it was absolutely amazing!!!! It's like mashed potatoes but with plantaines. It was sooo good!

Also, we had a really cool experience with a less active that we are teaching. He has been wanting to come back to church for a really long time now, but he smokes a lot and is afraid of people judging him. He's tried a lot of different things to try to stop smoking, but nothing has worked so far. Usually when the missionaries visit him they teach about the Word of Wisdom, repentance, keeping the commandments, the importance of church attendance, and things like that. But we felt inspired to teach about the priesthood. We had a super spiritual lesson and at the end, he told us that that was the first time anyone has ever taught him about the priesthood and that it was the most beautiful lesson he had ever heard. It was a really cool moment. We're hoping that if he understands the blessings of the priesthood and that he can have this power and authority, he will have enough motivation to stop smoking and come back to church. I love that we can be guided by the Spirit in all things! :)

Now, time for the miracle. There's a less active named C. that we've been meeting with and we've been teaching his girlfriend K. and her 8 year old daughter H. They had baptismal dates for the 12th (last Saturday). We were sad because on Tuesday we decided that they needed more time because we hadn't taught the law of chastity yet and they needed to get married and a couple other problems so we decided to change the date to the 2nd of January. That night we called them to confirm a teaching appointment and they said they were too busy and couldn't meet with us. So then we asked if we could pass by Thursday instead. He was quiet for a minute and then said, well actually, we're getting married on Thursday.......... WHAT? We were in shock! We hadn't even talked to them yet about marriage or anything and they already had plans and everything! It was so exciting! And the wedding was just beautiful!! So now, we're hoping to prepare them for this Saturday for their baptism! I'm so excited!!!! :)

Transfers were yesterday! And surprise, surprise, Hermana Human is leaving (tomorrow) and Hermana Melgar and I are staying here in Cabo Rojo. Wahoo! It's going to be weird having only one companion now but I'm excited at the same time. :)

Oh yeah, and on Friday, we had a Christmas activity with one of the wards.... it was kind of a flop. The food was really good but the "show" afterwards was awful..... it was kind of sad. But we had a ton of less actives show up so that was a great opportunity for them to befriend the members and feel more included in the ward. We all enjoyed ourselves and had a good laugh so it's all good. :)

Good luck on your finals mom! How exciting that you're done with the semester! Wahoo!!!! And thanks for all the pictures! I love you guys so much! And don't forget, amongst all the fun of gifts and lights and decorations and snow and all that good stuff, the most important part of the season is our Savior Jesus Christ. He was sent here to redeem us from our sins and give us hope. He gave us a chance to improve and become like our Father in Heaven and through Him, we can be perfected. He is the reason for the season. I know this church is true with all of my heart!

I love you all so much and thanks for all of your support and love and I hope you all have a fantastic week! Love ya!

~Hermana Allan

Sunday, December 20, 2015

December 8, 2015

With Mission Presidents Wife - Sister Boucher

Matching companionship shirts

Hello familia! So sorry for the late email, but yesterday we had an activity with the sisters in my zone so we weren't able to write. But better late than never, right? :)

Well, this week was pretty good! It was great because for contacting we went caroling! Instead of starting with introducing ourselves and talking about our message we started singing Christmas songs. It was so effective! There were a lot more people willing to stop and listen and then we shared a little Christmas message with them after the song. We got to talk to so many people this way and now we're just hoping that we can find them again and teach them more!

We've been working alot with this part member family of 8 and I think they are super interested! They said they would come to church but that had last minute emergency, so they didn't come. But it was a legit emergency so I think they are sincere and that they'll come next week. In one of our visits with them, they started asking us about the things we like to cook and we ended up planning a feast! We chose what we wanted to cook, they went and bought all the food and then Saturday night we cooked everything and then had a nice feast on Sunday. I had told them that I like to bake so they assigned me the dessert and then when they bought the food, they bought two betty crocker box cakes! So I had it really easy. It was great! :)

One night we were contacting/caroling and I had an impression to go to a particular house, so we went and we yelled "Buenas Noches!" (everyone has a gate around their yard, so we have to yell instead of knock). We called 3 times and no one came. Usually at this point we leave and try a different house, but then Hermana Melgar felt like she should try one more time and this time someone answered! She told us that she's been looking for a church because she's been through some life-threatening experiences recently and feels like God has a plan for her because He's helped her survive. So she's been searching for a church so she can find out what's her purpose in life. How cool is that? She is so prepared! We're going to go back and visit her this week and I know she'll find her answers in this gospel!

We didn't get to watch the Christmas devotional, but I hope I can soon... And the trio is going pretty good! It's a lot better than I expected it to be. Transfers are this Sunday so Hermana Human only has one week left.

Our baptismal date for this Saturday is canceled because she didn't come to church and we're pretty sure she's having problems with the Law of Chastity. But we set a new date for the 2nd of January so we're holding out faith that she'll make it for this one! And, the elders had a baptism! It was a really special service and almost all the members showed up to support him! It was great! Also, after all the success we had at church last week, we didn't have anyone in church this week. It was really disappointing. But this week we're going to have 10! I can feel it! :)

This gospel is true and is the most wonderful thing in the world! Take time everyday to study it and find out how you can improve every single day, because this will bring you the most joy! And if you have the December Liahona, you should read the talk called "Things I learned as a young convert." I really enjoyed it. I love you all so much and hope you have a fabulous week!

And Christopher, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

~Hermana Allan

November 30, 2015 - Cabo Rojo

Beautiful moon with a white circle around it

Before 4 Thanksgiving appointments

After 4 Thanksgiving dinners

Full but happy.
Hello! This week was so great and I have so much to say so here we go!

First of all, we had zone conference on Tuesday and it was amazing! We were introduced to the new church Christmas initiative. You guys should go watch the video. The website is christmas.mormon.org. And I finally had my first real interview with President Boucher! It was really nice because he had some really good counsel for me and it helped me a whole this week. basically, it was just a fantastic conference! and, yes, I received your package! Thank you so much for everything! It was perfect! :)

Also, funny story. One day we were teaching a family of 8, (the mom and 3 kids are less actives and the dad and the other 3 kids are non-members), and at the end of the lesson the dad left the house to talk to someone outside so we finished up with the rest of the family and when we left the house the dad was still outside talking to missionaries from Jehovah's Witness. and as we passed them to leave, the dad turned to us and asked "so when are you guys coming back?" It was so funny. The Jehovah's Witnesses were just staring at us, dumbfounded. It was priceless. :) I wanted to tell them "and you can come too!" but we're not supposed to do that, so I didn't... but it was really funny.

Then, on Wednesday we set two baptismal dates! It's the girlfriend of a returned missionary that is less active and her daughter. They have been receiving missionary visits for a long time, but have never accepted a date, but now they have! Wahoo! We are so excited! We hope that if they progress towards baptism, he will come back to church too. I'm so excited!

Thanksgiving started super early for us. We had an activity in one of our wards at 5 in the morning! We met at the chapel to sing hymns and listen to a few talks and watch the sunrise and then have breakfast. It was actually really cool, but it just made us exhausted the rest of the day! And yes, we had 4 dinner citas! We were STUFFED! But it was so fun. Here in Puerto Rico, after they eat dinner, they all sit around the table with a guitar and maracas and other smaller instruments and sing cultural Christmas songs. It was so fun and I absolutely loved it! It's something I'm definitely going to start doing every year. :)

Remember AZ and Jovani, two of my investigators from Aguas Buenas? Well, I saw them in Cabo Rojo this week! It was so funny, we were just walking down the street and I hear someone yell "Hermana Allan!" I was super excited to see them! They still aren't progressing or going to church which is really sad, but it was nice to see them again. :)

Also, sunday was awesome! We had FOUR investigators and TWO less actives at church! It was a huge miracle and we were sooooooo happy! Miracles really do happen. I think the difference is that after zone conference we talked about some of the things we learned and decided to put more faith in the promises of the Lord and to act with that faith. It helped us so much this week and brought several people to church! It was so great!

One of the things I learned from my interview with President Boucher is that we should do all we can with the things we can control and let go of the things we can't control. This helped me a lot this week, because once I stopped worrying and stressing about all the things that I couldn't change, I found myself a lot more calm and also a lot more reliant on the Lord and the Spirit. I found that I could put more faith in the Lord and that I had enough strength to act on that faith. I knew that if I did all I could, the Lord would do the rest and would send His Spirit to those we were teaching. I know that the Lord follows through with every single one of His promises and that if we truly trust in Him and do all we can, He will take care of the rest and everything will be ok.

Sorry, one more thing. I thought of one thing that I want for Christmas. I want each of you to give someone a Book of Mormon or invite someone to church or do some sort of missionary work between now and Christmas and then write me with your experiences. I would absolutely love to hear what happens and it would make Christmas especially wonderful if you could all try to do it. Thanks so much! :)

And can I just say, I have one handsome family! You guys all look so great and so happy! Thanks for the pics! I hope Chris feels better soon. That's never fun... And that story with Amelia is hilarious! I was laughing so hard :) 31 STAKES?! I can't even imagine having that many! That's crazy.

Sorry, one more thing, are all the missionaries ok in France? Several of my friends are serving over there and I just hope they're all ok. Are they pulling the missionaries out? Sorry, I just haven't heard from any of them so I'm just super curious.

Well, I think that covers it all..... You guys are fabulous and I love you all so so very much! I'm going to try to start Advent with my companions and I'll be thinking of you! Love you all!

~Hermana Allan

November 23, 2015 - Cabo Rojo

A photo from a member's backyard while on intercambios (exchanges) in Isabella.
Hello! How are you guys? Are you all freezing yet? It's the weirdest feeling preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas in 90 degree weather..... I miss the cold, but oh well. I'll enjoy this while it lasts. :)

This week was a bit slow because Hermana Melgar was sick for a bit and then Hermana Human got sick too, so we couldn't get a whole lot done, but I had some cool experiences this week so it was still good. :)

First, on Thursday I had intercambios with Hermana Portillo and she is absolutely wonderful. I left the intercambio with a huge list of things that I learned and wanted to change and do in my area. It was such an incredible learning experience and I'm so excited to try these new things here in Cabo Rojo.

One of the things I learned was to really and sincerely pray for EVERYTHING! Like what should we do? And if we need to contact... Where should we go? Which street? Which side of the street? Very specific so that we can be guided to those who really are ready instead of wasting our time at a whole bunch of houses with people who aren't interested. So we tried it on Saturday. I felt inspired to contact a certain side of a street so we started there. A mom and her daughter were walking towards us but crossed the street right before we got to them, but I felt a distinct impression to talk to them. So I crossed and stopped them and started talking to them and found out that the mom and her 6 kids are members! They haven't been coming to church because she was really sick in the hospital and then her husband died and they had to sell their cars so they didn't have a way to go to church. We checked our ward directory and they weren't even on there so it was a miracle that we found them! We had an awesome lesson with them and I think they'll come to church this Sunday. It was such a great experience and really strengthened my testimony of the guidance of the Spirit.

Thanksgiving is definitely celebrated here! We have FOUR dinner appointments that day! I'm already planning on gaining 20 pounds..... And for Christmas, we'll be able to Skype so yes, please send me your info! :) Also, about music, I would LOVE new music! But a couple things, the only music we can listen to is music that has been produced FOR or BY the church. EFY, Motab, Hymns, stuff like that is ok. Spanish and English songs would be great. And have you heard of the musical Lamb of God by Rob Gardner? I don't know if it was produced for the church, but if it was, could you send some of the songs from that musical? He is an incredible composer. And the best way to send it would be to put the songs on a CD or on a flashdrive. Thanks so very much! And yes, next week I'll send the numbers for my perscription.

And thank you so much mom for your thoughts about what I said last week. That was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Heidi- Oh good luck with proofs! Those were my least favorite.... And maybe you should start doing little finder exercises to strengthen those fingers! :)

Dad- Thanks for your thoughts as well! Love you!

Love you all so much! See you in a month! :)

~Hermana Allan