Sunday, May 1, 2016

April 25, 2016 - "The Tempests of Life"

Hiking through some caves

Hello!!!! What a wonderful week! Basically everything was centered around A. and getting him ready for his baptism. And let me tell you, I have never seen anyone so prepared, so ready, and so excited for their baptism. He is amazing! He has such a strong testimony and I feel like he converted me more than I taught him. And his baptism was probably the sweetest moment on my misison so far. Hermana Curneal waited for him outside of the font and when he came out he just covered his face in his towel and wept. He knelt down and just started praying saying "Thank you God, thank you." It was the tenderest and most spiritual experience ever. This is what it's all about. Watching others come to know their Father in Heaven and then changing their lives to draw closer to Him and then seeing them experience the blessings and the joy that comes from the restored gospel. It's incredible. And President Boucher and his wife came down for the baptism too! It was such a wonderful moment. :) I was going to send a few quotes from A. but I forgot my journal where I wrote them down so I'll have to send some next week.... but just know that he's amazing and has such a strong testimony. :)

Also, today we had a zone activity! We visited some caves in the middle of nowhere. We had a gorgeous hour long hike in the mountains in the rain to get to the caves and then had a little "fireside" inside the cave. It was absolutely beautiful!!!!! I love nature and am awed by the beauty of the world. They truly do "denote there is a God." It was wonderful. :)

I got lots of questions from you guys this week so I'll try my best to answer all of them.....

Mom- The members sister that we had such a cool experience with- we actually can't visit her anymore..... her husband is completely against the church and told us we can't pass by again. It was heartbreaking. But we're praying that his heart will be soften so that he will accept us and more importantly, accept the gospel.

Dad- I don't know if I'm going to be able to get to all of your questions but I'll try my best.... Ward council is basically all about missionary work. He just gives the time over to us and we talk about our investigators and their needs and how the members can help us. The Ward Mission Leaders basically are only involved if we're planning a baptism. Favorite meals..... There's too many. :) I love pastalone, fried chicken, pollo guisado, tostones, temblaque, pinchos, etc. The meals here are almost always some kind of rice with beans and some kind of meat. So I really like it when it's something different.... :) For me revelation comes mainly in prayers and studying the scriptures. It comes more often when I'm really pondering on the particular question and diligently searching for the answer. The advice for Christopher and for Nathan will have to come later when I have more time to think and pray about it.... Thanks for the questions!

That is the cutest picture of Nathan and Michelle ever!!!! I can't get over their cuteness. Do I get an invitation? :)

Oh, and Mother's Day is so soon!!!! Yes, we can skype, we just have to find a member with skype first.... What time to you guys have church? We're trying to plan around your schedule and if I remember right, you guys have it in the afternoon and Hermana Curneal's family has it in the morning so we're not quite sure when we're going to do it.... It'll probably be later on in the day, maybe 4ish? I'll have a more sure time next week but really we can do it whenever so when would be best for you guys?

I was going to share a few thoughts from my studies this week with you guys but I also forgot that at our house.... just know that I know this gospel is true with all of my heart. What else could bring us so much joy and peace and give us so much purpose in our lives? Even when times are rough, it's the gospel that pulls us through. I've been reading the story of the brother of Jared in Ether and I found something that I absolutely love. It talks about the winds that tossed them around in the ocean and that pushed them under until they were buried by the waves, but even amongst all that, it was the same wind that continuously nudged them towards the promised land. We have our own winds in our lives that bring trials and tribulations but ultimately, they're also blowing us towards our own lands of promise. Those trials and tribulations refine us and help us become who we need to be and help prepare us for that promised land that God has in store for us. In your moments of struggle, don't get discouraged. But keep moving forward and think of how that trial is moving you towards that promised land.

I love you all so so very much and can't wait to see you in 2 weeks!!!!!! Have a super fantabulous week! :) :) :)

~Hermana Allan

April 18, 2016 - "The healing power of the Gospel"

Hello family! I love you all so so so so so so very much!!!!!!!!! I just hope you all know that :)

This week was wonderful. It's been so exciting as we've been preparing our investigator A. for his baptism this Saturday. He is incredible. I feel so honored to have been chosen as the missionary to find him and teach him. He inspires me. Everything we teach he accepts without a complaint and is changing his entire life around. He's always had a pretty rough life and hasn't been involved in good things but he seriously has done a 180 in his life and it's incredible to see the change and to see how happy he is now. We talk to him just about every day and every time he always bears his testimony to us and thanks us for the wonderful opportunity we've given him to learn of the gospel of Christ. This week we taught the word of wisdom and he had a huge problem with coffee. He basically lived off of coffee. So every day we called him to give him our support and remind him not to drink coffee. One day when we called him, he said, "It's ok, I already did it. I dropped it and I'm never going back." what?! We were so happy!!! Also, one day we got a call from him and he was super depressed and was going through a lot of things and told us that he just wanted to "go home". We knew what that meant and it scared us to death. In that moment I prayed harder than I have ever prayed in my life and we called him probably like 5 times that day to make sure he was ok and to share some scriptures and positive thoughts with him. Then a couple days later he told us. "I'm a man of my words and before, I would never give you my word that I wouldn't take my life, but now, because of the knowledge of this gospel that you've given me, I give you my word. I will never do it." It was the most wonderful moment. The gospel truly heals us. It truly comforts us. It truly saves us.

Also, one day a member was giving us a ride to an appointment and when we got there they told us that their sister lived next door. He said she had never received missionaries before because she had listened to her brother and sister (who are members) talk about the church and it didn't interest her at all. We told him we would pass by when we could and then we left for our appointment. Well, our appointment wasn't home so we thought let's just pass by her now. So we dropped by and she left us in! We started talking a bit and halfway through, she breaks down crying and opens up to us and tells us all these things she's going through and that we were an answer to her prayers. It gave us a great opportunity to introduce her to the healing power of the gospel and she seems to be so receptive and I'm sure she'll find what she's looking for in the message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's incredible that God prepares these people and that they'll come to the knowledge of the truth in the right place and in the right time and it's up to us to make sure we're in the right place at the right time so that we are there for those who the Lord has prepared in that moment. It was such a cool experience!

Thanks mom for getting that package together! You're the best! Also, you should download FB messenger because there is a recent convert we're working with that has been sending you pictures of us when we visit her. And it has a cheesy video of us singing so.... yeah. :)

Hermana Curneal and I were brainstorming this week for how we are representatives of Jesus Christ and how we're like Him in our service. She mentioned something that I thought was really profound. She said that just like Christ is our advocate with the Father, we are the advocates for those we pray for. We plead for their souls and for the things they need and have faith that Christ will hear our prayers and bless them with the things they need. I thought that was really cool. We really can become like Christ in all things that we do. He is our example and through His atonement we can become perfected in Him.

Oh I guess you want to hear about transfers huh? :) Well...... drum roll please..... I'm staying here with Hermana Curneal! I was not expecting that at all. I'm going to have 5 transfers here or in other words, almost 8 months! Crazy, huh? It's weird because I get two skype calls on my mission and both will be here in Cabo Rojo... But I'm really excited. I have a feeling that it's going to be a great transfer! I know there is so much more work that needs to be done here and I'm so grateful that I have another transfer to work with these people and that I can be here for A's baptism! :) And Hermana Curneal and I get along great so it's going to be wonderful! :) and honestly I don't think it'lll feel any different from training. I really never felt like I was training. She was already trained. :)

And thanks dad for doing my taxes! I hope you all have a wonderful week! Good luck with school and work and everything!!!! :) LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

~Hermana Allan

April 11, 2016 - "Finding Strength"

Sisters Allan and Curneal

District Photos

New companion for exchanges

Back with Sister Curneal
Hello everyone! This week we were so blessed with a countless number of miracles!!!! Last week we had basically started again from ground zero so this week we desperately needed new investigators and we found so many! Heavenly Father truly blessed us and helped us find these people and we're so excited to work with them this coming week. They all have so much potential so we're hoping for lots of progress, baptismal dates, and investigators in church on Sunday. The sad news is that our golden investigator, A., won't be getting baptized this Saturday. But don't worry, he's still golden! He's progressing like crazy and it's amazing seeing how much desire and conviction he has. He just had problems with transportation so couldn't make it to church on Sunday and he needs more time to quit coffee so we're moving his date, but I'm positive he'll be baptized by the end of the month.

This Sunday was a super difficult heart-breaking Sunday for me. We showed up a bit late because our ride came late so when we got there I just went straight to the piano to start playing. When I looked up at the ward, I was overwhelmed by the number of empty rows. There were hardly any members there.... It just broke my heart in two seeing how many people had let the small and simple things slip out of their lives and had forgotten about their testimonies and the many blessings of the Lord in their lives. It made me so sad. This has been the biggest struggle in my mission so far- having two wards to work with. They're still new and are so dependent on the help of the missionaries so when we work with one ward, the other ward crumbles. I've found it very difficult to support both wards at the same time. So this week was a bit rough, but honestly I've learned so much from this experience working here in Cabo Rojo. I've grown and been strengthened and I know that everything has happened for a reason. I'm just hoping and praying that these members can be strengthened as well and that this ward can pick itself back up and get going again. Your prayers would be much appreciated! :) 

Really I've loved my time here in Cabo Rojo. It's been hard at times, but I've fallen in love with the area and the people. I don't want to leave, but I most likely will at the end of this transfer. I've loved it here and I can feel of the love that God has for each and everyone of these people!

Sunday night was fun because we had a sleepover with the sisters! We had 12 sisters stay at our tiny little apartment last night and then left early this morning to visit the lighthouse and then go out to lunch. It was so much fun and I'm so grateful that I have had this opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and I'm so grateful for their examples to me and for their love. Pictures will come next week! :)

It looks like you guys had so much fun on the cruise! I'm a little jealous, but we'll just have to go on another one when I get back. :) Thanks for all the pics! I sure have a lovely family! And bendito, Nathan and Michelle are THE cutest couple ever. ADORABLE!

I really do love you all so much and am so grateful for your examples to me. This week I was filled with gratitude for our loving Father in Heaven and was reminded many times of His power and goodness. I know I'm weak and that alone, I wouldn't be able to accomplish anything. I have so many faults and weaknesses that would hinder the Lord's work, but how grateful I am for God who loves me, is patient with me, and who helps strengthen me to be able to do His work. It's only with His help and by His power that we can work miracles in our lives and in the lives of others. Go to Him. Rely on Him in everything. He will be with you and He will help you.

Thanks so much for all you do! Love you all so so very much!

~Hermana Allan

April 4, 2016 - "Master of Miracles"

Yummy Chinese Food

Beautiful sky

Conference morning pancakes made by Sister Curneal

With awesome ward members

I have been so awed by the power God has manifested unto us this week. I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude and like Alma, "I cannot say the smallest part of which I feel." (Alma 26:16) I feel so blessed to be a missionary and to have this opportunity to share the glorious news of this gospel with the world!

This week started out really rough. Every single one of our investigators in both wards dropped us and we hit rock bottom with absolutely nothing. For the past three weeks we've been struggling a lot and have been faced numerous obstacles and have been passing through an extremely long test of our faith. I was thinking a lot about this and wondering why this trial has lasted for so long and what God is wanting us to take from it. I remembered that God will always give us the opportunity to prepare for the blessings He has for us and to earn them based on our actions. So we figured that if God has been testing us for so long there must be something absolutely wonderful in the end so we made the goal to keep going forward in faith and follow the Spirit so that we would be where we needed to be when the Lord needed us to be there. And that's exactly what happened at the end of the week!

A week or two ago we had met a man named A. We had contacted his dad in his house and as we were talking and introducing our message A. came out and invited us in. He told us that he never invites people in but he was impressed by the respect that we showed to his father and by the love he could hear in our voices. We had talked a bit with him that day, but then had never been able to see him again after that. This week, we felt prompted to recontact him again. So Saturday night we had a lesson with him and after we had taught and testified he told us, "I know that this message must be true because of the conviction with which you bear your testimonies." It was such a sweet and powerful moment. Then even better, he came to both sessions of general conference on Sunday! The power went out in the middle of the second session so we decided to make the most of that and have a lesson with him right there in the chapel. So we asked the bishop to join us and then had an extremely Spirit-filled lesson. I felt prompted to invite him to be baptized and I asked him if he would prepare to be baptized on the 16th. He just stared at me for a few seconds and then with tears in his eyes said "yes! yes, I will be baptized. Thank you for giving me this opportunity." He was shocked by the trust and confidence that we had in him that he could take this step and be part of the true church. He's faced a lot of rejection and denial in the past but he told us that here he feels included and loved and feels like this is where God's true gospel and path to salvation lies. It was incredible. "We do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God." God is truly a God of miracles. He is the Master of Miracles, the all-knowing, all-powerful, Omnipotent One. He was right next to us every step of the way in these last couple weeks and was pushing us along so that we would be ready and prepared to witness this divine miracle. I'm so humbled to have been a witness of this moment and to see the Lord's power work in this man. This is why being a missionary is the sweetest of all experiences. It's the opportunity to see others experience the joys of the gospel and the love of God for the first time in their lives and to see them change and draw closer to Christ. I love it and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I'm so grateful for every heartbreak, blessing, sorrow, joy, and miracle that I've experienced on my mission and for the person the Lord is shaping me to be.

And wasn't conference just the most wonderful thing ever?! There were too many wonderful things to just pick one, so I'm going to share of few of the things I loved! :)
- Elder M. Russell Ballard, his talk on family councils was awesome! It actually made me miss Daddy's corner... :) I never thought that would be something I would miss but I do! Mom and Dad, thanks for setting a great example for our family!
- Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, We know it, but do we believe it? We must never become complacent to the greatest gift we can receive with the fulness of the gospel. The gospel must move from our head to our heart.
- Elder W. Christopher Waddell, the pattern for peace. "learn of him, listen to him, walk with him."
-Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, no matter how broken or shattered we are, God can and will pick us up and rebuild us if we let Him. Obedience is the lifeblood of faith and the process in which we discover what we are made of. It brings out our "radiance of goodness."

And I'm sure there were more good ones in the Sunday afternoon session but we haven't been able to see that one yet.... I'm dying for Elder Holland's talk... :) I'm so grateful for conference and for the inspired words of God's chosen prophets and apostles. I testify that they have the true authority of God and that they lead and guide this church under His direction. I'm so grateful for their inspired guidance and for the opportunity we have to learn from them. Review the talks often and make a goal to apply them in your lives. They will truly help you draw closer to God and become who He needs you to be.

I love you all so so very much and hope you enjoy your vacation!!! Send me pictures! :)

Love you all so so very much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

~Hermana Allan

March 28, 2016 - "Charity Never Faileth"

Sister Zone Activity

Biggest Calzone Ever!
Happy Easter!
This week was so much better! Hermana Curneal started feeling a bit better and we started working a bit on Tuesday and then on Wednesday we were able to do a full day again. So that was really nice to be out working! :) On Friday night we had a lesson with an Atheist which is the first Atheist that I've taught on my mission. I was super nervous because I wasn't really sure what to say, but we went in there completely relying on the Spirit to help us know what to say. In that lesson, I felt the love of the Lord so strongly for that couple. They had a hard time accepting the message of the Restoration, so really all we could do was bear our testimonies of the existence of God and of His son Jesus Christ. It was a powerful moment. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the knowledge I have of a Father in Heaven who loves us and cares about us and is with us in every moment. The Spirit worked through us to be able to use the authority and power which we have been given as missionaries and testify of God and of Jesus Christ. And even though they never accepted the message and don't want our visits anymore, my own testimony was strengthened from that experience. I know we have a loving Father in Heaven and the Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He lives. How grateful I am for that knowledge.

I was also so filled with love for these people this week. I've been praying to really feel the Lord's love for each and every one of them and this week I truly felt that. I know that the Lord loves each and every one of us and that "the worth of souls is great in the sight of God."

We had an interesting experience with a lady we were teaching. We had just finished teaching the Restoration and we took some time to get to know her husband and her son and they offered us a drink so we said yes and they came out with something that looked like apple juice. We kept talking and as I started taking a drink, it didn't taste like apple juice... or like anything I had tried before. But I thought that it must be a kind of fruit that I had never tried before so I kept drinking. Then the husband mentioned something about iced tea and I was like... uh oh. I hesitated for a moment and started thinking, "well just drink it this time, but next time ask what it is before you drink it..." But after a moment, I was like "of course I can't drink this!" So I told them that we don't actually drink iced tea and after a awkward moment or two they changed out our iced tea for some juice. Then later on in the conversation the husband mentioned how he had a hard time respecting people who don't live what they believe. How awkward would that have been if we had finished the iced tea and then he had found out that we aren't supposed to drink it? Never again will I hesitate when it comes to withholding the Lord's standards. Jeopordizing those standards isn't worth avoiding a few moments of awkwardness. Learn the Lord's standards and do all you can to keep them and stand up for them. I'm so grateful that I was able to have that experience and stand up for what I know is true.

Also, we met a golden investigator this week! She was a contact from several weeks ago but Hermana Curneal had the thought to call a few old contacts that we hadn't revisited yet and she was one of them. (Her name is A.). A. accepted an appointment with us and in the first lesson was so interested and excited to hear about the Restoration. She committed to reading the Book of Mormon, to being baptized if she received an answer, and to coming to church with us. Sunday she loved church and all of the classes were perfect for her! It was incredible! I'm super excited to teach her! :)

Saturday we had an activity for the 174th anniversary of the Relief Society and after that we watched the women's conference which was absolutely incredible!!!! It was a spiritual boost that I desperately needed. I felt the Spirit so strongly and feel so inspired and motivated to be a good person and to always be lost in the service of others. I love the quote that says "love is making space in your life for someone else." As we give our time to helping and serving others, they will feel of our love and even more importantly, they will feel of the Savior's love for them. I encourage you all to pray for service opportunities and then be aware each and every day for those opportunities to bless, inspire, and enrich others' lives. One of the sweetest feelings is knowing that you acted on the Lord's errand in answering the prayers of His children. I promise that as you pray and search for these opportunities, the Spirit will guide you to those who need your love.

Unfortunately, Easter doesn't really exist here... I was looking forward to talks and classes in church centered around Christ and the atonement but there weren't any.... but it was ok, because they addressed better the needs of our investigator. :) But no one really celebrates it, so it was a normal day contacting and working hard. But it was good. :)

I didn't see Holly, but I'm glad she enjoyed her stay! That's funny that she mentioned the humidity, because honestly I've kind of forgotten about it. It never feels humid to me anymore. I just love it. :) Puerto Rico has my heart and I'm just never going to leave! Until November anyways.... :)

I'm glad you guys had a good Easter!!! Thanks for all your prayers in behalf of Hermana Curneal and for all of your support and love!!! And also, I think you should postpone your cruise until november... just saying. :) I love you all!!!!!

Mom- good luck with school! You can do it! You're almost there! :)

~Hermana Allan

March 21, 2016 - "Home Sweet Home"

Sister Curneal super sick

Got a yummy "acai" bowl to get out of the house during a long sickness
Well, "home" wasn't so sweet this week. We had a pretty good start of the week (which I'll talk about in a bit), but then Friday the alarm goes off at 6:30 and Hermana Curneal turns to me and says "Hermana, I'm really sick." She had a super high fever and was in a lot of pain and didn't have any energy at all. So we called for the elders to come give her a blessing and then stayed the whole day in the house so she could sleep. We thought she would be better after that, but she wasn't. Saturday and Sunday we spent all day in the house as well. The first 3 or 4 hours in the house were really nice because I could catch up on sleep and study some of the things that I haven't had time to study, but after that, we were so bored. We've watched every single church movie we have and I've read a gazilion chapters in the scriptures and I've written a ton in my journal, and we've just struggled entertaining ourselves. We are pretty sure she has Chickenguna which is a pretty common virus from mosquitos. The sad part is that it really affects the joints and bones, so it just hurts her a lot to move and she runs out of energy really fast. We're hoping to be able to get out of the house a bit more this week, but it usually lasts a week or two so we'll see what happens....

But the first half of the week had been pretty good! We found a lady named M. who had had visits from the missionaries about 10 years ago but then had lost contact with them when she moved to San Juan. But just recently she moved back and was so excited to see us! I know we were truly guided to her and that now is her time. I'm so excited to teach her! Also, I've been working and praying so hard so that I can be more bold and I had an awesome experience with it this week with a man named Miguel. He was a contact in the street and we were talking to him about attending church and he told us what he thought we need to do to follow Christ and after sharing a few scriptures and explaining that to follow Christ we have to go to church, he didn't know what to say. The Spirit helped us know what to say so that we could confound him in all his words and help him recognize how important it was to go to church. In the end he muttered, "Yeah I guess I need to come to church..." It was awesome. :)

Well, that was about all this week. Hermana Curneal is still really dead today so we'll be sleeping a lot again, but hopefully tomorrow we can hit the ground running. :)

Mom- my clothes are doing pretty good. Some are looking a bit worn, but they're holding up great! Also, my scriptures could use some new cases.... if they're expensive don't worry about it, but just some cheap plain ones would work great. That's crazy that Holly will be in Puerto Rico! I'll let you know if I see her. I kind of hope I do because that will mean that we're out of the house and working again.... :)

Sorry that my letter is so short this week, but just know that I love you all so so very much and am praying for you every day! I love you!!!!! :)

~Hermana Allan

March 14, 2016 - "It is Worth It"

Beautiful Puerto Rican Sky


Sunday Selfie
What a week. It was a roller coaster for sure. We've been working so hard the past two weeks, but honestly, we haven't seen much success or progress so it's been really difficult to not get discouraged. But we've been fighting! We're pushing along and are being shaped and molded in the process and I know that the Lord is preparing us for something even bigger and even better further down the road. And the best part about missionary work is that even when it's hard or frustrating or tiring, we have the assurance and the hope that it is all worth it. Everything single bit of it. Our efforts are never wasted. Even if we can't see the fruits of our labors immediately, we are promised that as we serve and bring the restored gospel to others with diligence and faith, the blessings will come. That has helped me so much this week and I know that we will always be blessed for our efforts if we just keep pushing on and keep trying. :)

Last Sunday, one of our less actives came to church and she brought her friend with her who is super interested in the gospel! She has come to church two times and she went to a ward activity and we've been able to teach her a couple times now with members so we're super excited about that! The only problem is that her parents are very Catholic and she doesn't want them to know she's receiving the missionaries or going to church or anything so right now we can't set a baptismal date with her which was a bit disappointing but I'm confident that with time, she'll feel the Spirit and the testimony that she has will grow and she'll accept a baptismal date.

Also, we had a baptism on Saturday for an investigator of the elders! She's the cutest and we've been working a bit with her too and we'll be doing the post-baptism lessons so it was so good to see her be baptized! And this week was a seafood week! Up until this week I had only eaten fish once or twice and it was at the beginning of my mission and I told Hermana Curneal on Tuesday that I was so happy that I haven't been given very much seafood because I don't like it at all. And that jinxed the whole week..... We were given fish three days in a row! And not just a little bit of fish but a lot of fish and we had to have seconds too! It was a bit rough.... but I did it! :) But don't worry, I still don't like seafood.... :)

This week was perfect because as we were struggling a bit I came across this scripture in Alma 26 in my studies:
 27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.
It was an answer to my prayers. It was exactly what I needed to pick myself up and get back to work because the Lord has promised success if we are patient amidst our trials. I love how the Lord really knows what we need and because He loves us, He will put these things in our lives to strengthen us and give us that boost we need. Even though this week was a bit difficult I've been humbled and strengthened and I'm ready to get back out and get going and share this message that has changed my life in so many ways with everyone I see. I love being part of the Lord's army to prepare the world for His coming. No matter how hard it gets, I love being a missionary!!! :)

Thank you all so much for everything you do for me! Thank you for your prayers and for your support and your love. I love you all so so very much and I hope you have a wonderful week! I'm praying for you every day and I wish you well in all you do! :)

Love you all!!!!! :)

~Hermana Allan

March 7, 2016 - "Reaching Our Potential"

On her birthday at the lighthouse - district photo op

Bowling on Pday

Origami with Sister Curneal
Wow... I'm a little shocked that we made it through this week, but we did! I'm still alive! :) This week we were WAY busy and pretty stressed. I love being busy and working hard, but this week was a bit too much and we are just totally exhausted. But it was so worth the struggle because we've seen so many blessings and so much progress! We were able to have the baptism of the little 8 year-old girl Maggie! It was such a spiritual experience. The Spirit was so strong during the service and I know that it was an inspiring moment for her, her family, the members, and for us. It was so good! And now her mom is reactivated and Maggie is a member and they're headed off on the right road! :)

We also had two activities this week (one for each ward) and it was crazy getting ready for those and inviting everyone but they ended up being pretty good. One of them was a dessert night and I think I may have diabetes now..... but it was so good! Seriously. I LOVE Puerto Rican desserts! :)

We also had exchanges this week with the sister training leaders. I stayed here with Hermana Brown and I learned so much from her! I love how we can have these experiences to learn from missionaries who have more experience than I do. She taught me a lot about receiving personal revelation for our area and how, as a trainer, to help Hermana Curneal understand revelation and how to receive it. It was exactly what I needed! I know that the Lord is aware of us and knows exactly what we need and will send us His help so that we can learn what we need to learn to help us progress even more. It was perfect!

And yes! Transfers were yesterday! Hermana Curneal and I are staying here in Cabo Rojo! I'm really excited about it actually. I love this area so much and the people and my companion and everything - I never want to leave! So I'm super excited to have another transfer here to see even more blessings and miracles in these people's lives.

I realized that I haven't been answering very many of your questions lately so I'm going to take a second to answer some of them from the past couple of weeks....

First, my thoughts and experience with training! I have loved training! Really my job is super easy though because Hermana Curneal is basically already trained. She is such a good missionary and is so determined to be obedient and do everything she can to help these people. Of course, she's struggling a bit with the language, but it's totally normal and honestly, I've seen so much progress in her Spanish! It's incredible! Most of the time, I feel like I'm learning more from her than she's learning from me. This opportunity to be a trainer is really refining me and helping me progress even more as a missionary and as a disciple of Christ.

I think mom asked me this one about what President Boucher told me in my interview with him. One of them was that I needed to be more bold and straightforward. It was incredible because I could tell that something was holding me back and that something was stopping me from teaching super powerfully with the Spirit but I wasn't sure what it was. Then when he told me that, I knew immediately that that was it! And as I've worked to be more bold and straightforward I've felt a stronger spirit in our lessons and have been able to see a lot of blessings from it. I'm so grateful for the inspired counsel of our leaders and that they're worthy to receive this revelation to help us reach our full potential.

And to answer Dad's question... no S. and her husband aren't really progressing. It's been pretty hard with them because they always say that they're going to do things and come to church and all that, but then they never follow through. So we're working on that. But we have a 19 year old investigator now that we're working with that's been coming to church and our activities and is super interested so we're thinking she'll progress quickly and be baptized soon!

And CONGRATULATIONS mom on your job!!!! I'm so excited for you! You'll do great! :)

Something I found this week that I want to share with you guys is from General Conference in November. The talk is called "Blessed and Happy are Those who Keep the Commandments of God" by Elder Von G. Keetch. I love what he says - "True obedience, therefore, is giving ourselves entirely to Him and allowing Him to chart our course both in calm waters and in troubled ones, understanding that He can make more of us than we could ever make of ourselves." I love this so much! I know that when we are obedient to God and to His commandments, He will help us reach our potential and mold and refine us in ways that we never knew were possible. As we place our trust in Him we will begin to change and we will be begin to become who He needs us to be. I love my Father in Heaven and my Savior and I'm so grateful that they love us enough to allow us to grow and progress. I know that with Their help, we can and we will reach our potential!

I love you all so so very much and hope you have a marvelous week!!!! :) Love you!!!!!

~Hermana Allan

Feb. 29, 2016 - Cabo Rojo

I'm sorry that I sent UN MONTON of pictures! But I hope you enjoy them. :) This week was wonderful! It started with a wonderful birthday full of fun! And then the next day in district meeting, the elders bought us all donuts to celebrate! Then, this week we worked way super hard! We were having a really hard time finding new investigators, so we were praying really hard to be led to those who the Lord was preparing and one day we were driving to an area to contact but halfway there we had a feeling that we should stop. so we stopped and then started contacting right there and we found so many people that have so much interest and potential and we are super excited to go back and teach them! It was such a great experience. I know that finding by the Spirit is just as important as teaching by the Spirit, and the Lord truly guided us to these people who would accept us and our message.

Also, we've been working a lot with a girl named S. who has a baptismal date for the 26th of March and this week her husband accepted a baptismal date too! However, they keep saying they are going to come to church, but they never do, so that's a huge bummer. But we're working with them on that and hopefully they come this next week!

This week, the husband of K., (his name is C.), left to go help his brother in the states for a month or two so I may not be here when he gets back. He realized that and he called me and was so sweet as he thanked me for what we had done for his family in helping them find the gospel and progress towards being sealed for all eternity. It was the sweetest thing and filled me with so much joy! This is what I love. This is what makes me the happiest. Being able to be an instrument in the Lord's hands to bless the lives of others is the most beautiful and humbling experience. It was so sad to say goodbye to him, but Í promised them that I'm coming back when they get sealed in the temple. :) I know that as we give ourselves over to the Lord and become as "clay in the Potter's Hands" He will shape and mold us to become who we need to be in order to bless the lives of others and help them come unto Christ.

Sunday we had a great experience as well. At the zone conference two weeks ago, Sister Boucher had talked about the power of sharing our testimonies through music. As she was teaching I felt like I needed to do that. So I asked the bishop if I could do something in sacrament meeting and so on Sunday I had the chance to play a piece that was centered around Joseph Smith. The Spirit was so strong. And right after me, Hermana Curneal gave a talk on the Book of Mormon which was super powerful as well and was perfect after the song about Joseph Smith. It was incredible. Afterwards, one of the members came up and said "Sister, thank you for sharing your testimony with us through your music. Some times the most powerful testimonies are the ones where nothing is said at all." I am so grateful for music and for the spirit it brings. I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to share my testimony of Joseph Smith through the power of music.

And then today we had a super fun zone activity! We went bowling and then we all went out to eat at Sizzlers. It was so so so fun!!!! :)

I can't believe Christopher is going to Germany! Our family is truly leaving it's mark on that part of the world. :) Congratulations Christopher!!! Thanks for all the pics and your letters and all your love! I love you all so so very much!!!

This week I learned a lot about the principle of Repentance. It's such a wonderful gift we have to be able to change and become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. It gives me so much hope and peace knowing that I can always overcome my weaknesses and shortcomings and that through the Atonement, I can be strengthened and I can be perfected. I've learned that Repentance doesn't just mean repenting of our sins but in a simpler way, it's the ability to improve and become just a little bit better each and every day. If we truly are using the gift of Repentance in our lives, we're striving each and every day to become a little more like our Savior and put our life in harmony with the will of our Father in Heaven. I know that this is a gift given to each and every one of us and will help us find the strength and the capacity to follow in the footsteps of our Redeemer Jesus Christ. Through repentance we can become who our Father in Heaven needs us to become and we will be prepared to stand before Him at the last day.

I love this gospel and I know its true with all of my heart. I love you all so so very much and am always praying for you. I hope you have a wonderful week!!!!!

~Hermana Allan

Feb. 22, 2016

Happy 20th Birthday! Yummy cake from Sister Curneal!

Donuts provided by her district to celebrate

At the lighthouse
First of all, I just want to send a HUGE thank you to everyone who has made my birthday so special! I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude for the wonderful family I've been blessed with and for all of your love and support and examples to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm absolutely in love with the book of pictures! I seriously can't stop looking at it. Thank you so much for the thinking of me and helping me have such a special day. Now I'm a bit trunky for family but thank goodness it's a p-day so I have some time to refocus myself on the work. :) Thank you for everything! I love the shirt and the necklace and the cupcakes and the journal and everything! I love you all so much!

So far my birthday has already been just grand and dandy! We've been working a lot with one of the elders' investigators because she's had some problems and some setbacks while preparing for her baptism and she needed some women's advice so we've gotten really close to her this week and she brought me giant cupcakes yesterday at church! It was so sweet of her. :) Then today, we are planning on going to the lighthouse and then we have a fun family night set up for tonight with a less active and Hermana Curneal is baking me a cake, so I think my birthday is going to be wonderful! :)

This week was so super busy and so super good! We had zone conference on Wednesday and it was AMAZING! I learned so so much but the best part was my interview with President afterwards. It was really cool, because everything he said was as if he knew me inside and out. He is such an inspired man and I'm so grateful for his counsel and guidance. He told me "there are 2 things that the spirit is telling me that you need to work on to reach your full potential." and those 2 things I know are exactly what I need to do and focus on and it was just such an incredible moment and I've already seen so many blessings this week as I've been focusing on these things. It was such an incredible and inspiring day!

And right after the conference, we met a mom of 7 kids who is so interested in religion! It was really cool to be able to talk with her and answer her questions and introduce her to the church. She is the leader of a small cult of 20 and we actually got to attend one of her cult meetings yesterday. It was really interesting.... but I can just imagine the entire cult of 20 and her family of 9 all dressed in white entering the waters of baptism. We're super excited to work with them and we're just praying so hard that they'll be open to the message of the Restoration and that they'll take the needed steps to know that it's true.

We also had a really cool experience with a less active that we've been trying to find for months. We heard that she was really sick and that she's only been less active for about a year and so we've been trying to pass by to see her but we've never been able to. Finally there was one day when we were in the area and as we were driving by I had the impression that we needed to pass by again. So we did and right when we got their, her son was just getting home and he was so excited to see us and said yes, yes, please come in and visit her!" So we got to meet her and talk to her and we found out that she can't walk so she's stuck in the house and that for the past year her daughter that has been "taking care of her" has had her locked up in the house and never gave her any food or anything. The only way she ate, was when her neighbor could slip the food in through her bedroom window. For a whole year she lived liked that! Then just a couple weeks ago, her son got out of prison (he was there for 16 years) and now he is taking care of her and is trying to undo what the daughter did. So that's why he was so excited to see us and let us in. It was incredible that the Spirit led us to her house right at that time and that we could give her that spark of hope that everything is going to be ok again. We sang I know that my Redeemer Lives for her and she was crying and couldn't stop saying, He's saved me, He's saved me, He sent me these angels and He's saved me. It was an incredible moment. The Lord really is aware of His children and will use us to answer the cries and the pleas of others. We need to always strive to be worthy of the Spirit so we can be led to those who are in need of comfort and hope.

It has been rainy so much this week and we had an earthquake this morning! It was super exciting! :) This week I've been pondering a lot on the beauty of our lives and of this world and of this gospel. We are here to be happy, and as we draw closer to our Savior and our Father in Heaven, we will feel that true happiness that will last in the midst of trial. We will be more aware of the little beauties that fill our everyday lives and that surround us at all times. We will see the miracles and the blessings that come from the joyous news of the restored gospel of Christ. Each day, I'm more and more in love with this work and with this gospel and with life in general. It is beautiful. This gospel is true. Jesus Christ lives. We have a Father in Heaven who loves us. Our families can be together forever. We're guided through a living prophet. Joseph Smith was a prophet. This is the truth and I know it with all of my heart. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Dad- Good luck memorizing the Living Christ! You can do it! :)

Mom- Good luck with your interviews! I hope you can find a good one that you like! :) And thank you for that acronym you sent. It's awesome and I'll definitely be using it!

Chris- I'm sorry about your mission call, but I'm sure it'll come this week. But also, CONGRATS on getting in to BYU!!!!! That's super exciting! See you there in 2 1/2 years! :)

Heidi- I'm so sorry that you've been so sick! But thanks for still writing me! :) I hope you feel better real soon! I love you!

Amelia- I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!! :)

~Hermana Allan