Tuesday, July 26, 2016

July 25, 2016 - All is Well

Zone Meeting

New companions, Hermana Keith and Hermana Allan

Exchanges with Hermana Chavez
Wow, wow, wow. So much to share and never enough time, but I'm going to try my best!

This week was amazing! We started off with zone meeting which was super crazy because it was Hna. Keith's first one, but it went so good! We had a mini heart attack, because right before we started Pres. Boucher and his wife walked in..... but we survived so it's all good. :)
Then we had a gazilion miracles! We're teaching someone named M. and he has been so prepared! Every time we teach him, he understands so well and is so willing to keep all of the commitments. This week we taught him the word of wisdom and he had some major coffee problems but after we explained it to him, we asked him to give up coffee and he said "well, I have to do it. I don't have a choice. That's the only way that I can get baptized and follow Christ." What?! It was incredible! He's going to be baptized the 20th of August so please keep him in your prayers!
Also, we've been trying really hard to get more member referrals. So we prayed to know what members we should visit and then made plans to visit them. On Saturday we visited one and while we were there, her friend whom she had brought to church last week came in and we started talking and getting to know him and then we shared a message about the restoration. He loved it all and then came to church again yesterday! Another wonderful miracle! Missionary work really is a lot more effective and efficient when missionaries work together with the members. We should all be participating in missionary work to be able to strengthen the church and bring others to Christ. Sometimes I think "I wish I could be a missionary forever." But really, we can! We all can be missionaries! I'm super excited to work with the missionaries when I get home. It'll be so fun! :)
Then, we left that members house we started our super long walk to our next appointment. 5 min later, some members drove by and asked us if we wanted a ride, which we of course accepted. So we got to the area of our appointment early and felt like we should contact before going to the appointment. We past a couple that was unloading groceries so we stopped and helped them bring the groceries inside their house and then we stayed and talked to them for awhile. Turns out, they are less actives and are so willing to come back to church! I know the Lord had been preparing them and that He put us in their path. We never know who the Lord is preparing so we should always be searching for opportunities to share with others. :) Another incredible miracle! 

Today I found a cool little scripture chain that I want to share about studies. I was thinking that it's such a cool thought that me, along with 70,000 plus missionaries start their studies at 8am (mas o menos with time changes) to study the scriptures and start the preparations for the day. In our studies we prepare ourselves by putting on the armor of God and by developing an "eye single to the glory of God" which, according to D&C 88:67, allows us to receive more light. When we receive more light, we are receiving the "image of God upon our countenances" (Alma 5). That prepares us to leave and preach the gospel and represent Christ because we will literally have His image "engraven upon our countenances". Our studies prepare us to represent Him and bear His name and receive the light that we can then share with others as we share the message of the restoration. I'm so grateful for the time we have for studies each and every day and that we can draw closer to Christ to be better disciples and instruments in His hands.
Also, Hermana Keith and I were talking a lot about the joy of being a missionary. I have never been happier. Nothing I could have done back home would have given me this level of happiness and joy. There's something so incredible about spending every moment talking about Christ and about the good news of the restored gospel. This is true joy. Sure, missionary work is super hard and I'm not a huge fan of walking all day in 100 degree weather and constantly having a waterfall of sweat down my back and having doors slammed in my face and watching people reject the gospel, but I'm still happy. I love what I do and I love the gospel and I love my Savior. I know that no matter how hard life gets, or how many challenges and trials are thrown at us, or how bad things are in the world, the gospel of Jesus Christ will bless us with internal peace and joy and we will be able to smile and say "All is well."
I love you all so much and am so grateful for your emails every week! Good luck with school and work and everything! I'm praying for you. LOVE YOU!!!!!! :)

~Hermana Allan

Friday, July 22, 2016

July 18, 2016 - I Know that My Redeemer Lives

Exchanges with her old companion Hermana Melgar

Loosing Hermana Helmick, gaining Hermana Keith

With her new companion Hermana Keith
Hello family! I love you all so so very much! Please, never forget that. :) 

This week was wonderful. Monday night we had an amazing lesson with an amazing investigator. His name is H. and I think he was the first person I taught when I got to Guayama. He was awesome and was studying the scriptures and everything but then he left for the states for several weeks. But last week he came back and he called us and asked us to visit him again. (miracle #1). So we visited him on Monday and he said that he had gone to church with his son (who is also listening to the missionaries), and had attended a baptism, and had brought his Book of Mormon with him and had been studying it. (miracle #2, #3, #4). We were speechless. It was incredible and such a huge miracle!!! Then we talked about baptism and he said he really wants to be baptized but wants to make sure he's ready first. So we explained that we'll pass by and help prepare him and then he accepted to be baptized the 6th of August. He's leaving for the states again for one week, but I know he'll make it by the 6th. He has been so prepared by the Lord and I'm so excited for him to make this choice and get baptized!

Then on Tuesday, we were in the car all day long doing transfers and moving everyone where they needed to be. It was crazy, but it was fun at the same time. It was nice having that time to talk to Hna Helmick. I love and miss her so much. It's crazy how close we got after only one transfer. But really it was so fun on Tuesday having so much time to talk and get to know each other better. And guess what? Hermana Melgar is in my zone now! I got to see her on Tuesday and now I'll be doing intercambios with her! I'm super excited! :)

And Hermana Keith is absolutely wonderful! We get along so well and I just love her so much! She is a wonderful missionary and is super focused and works really hard. She truly cares about the people and puts in all of her efforts to help others. I love working with her and just know that we're going to see so many miracles this transfer! :)

I love the mission so much!!! This is the best experience of my entire life and am so grateful to be here and be able to share the restored gospel with the people of Puerto Rico. I love seeing the change in others and in myself as well. The gospel truly does change us and makes us better. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. That He has saved us from hell and pain and eternal torment. That through Him, we can be perfected and refined and become more like our Father in Heaven. Through Him we can be happy. We can have peace. We can have comfort. Through Him anything and everything is possible and we can obtain eternal life. I'm so grateful for my Savior and for His selfless atoning sacrifice. I know He lives and that He loves each and every one of us and knows us personally. "I know that my Redeemer lives. How sweet the joy this sentence gives." 

I love you all so much and am praying for you all! Have an absolutely marvelous week! :)

~Hermana Allan

July 11, 2016 - Who Am I?

With Hermana Ahlander

Hermana Allan and Hermana Jacobsen

Hermana Helmick and Hermana Allan

With the leaders of the Caguas zone

With the AP's

Not sure about wearing pants....

Hermana Helmick trying out the pants before going home

A member took them to get Frappes

Making Mofongo

Exchange with Hermana Mellado from Chile

A member makes these ceramic dolls for every missionary
Hello family! Thank you all so much for the emails and the pictures and all your love! How crazy is it that there are two missionaries out now?! So cool! :) Thanks for forwarding me his email! He sent me the sweetest email last week that I'm going to forward to you so you can read it too. :)

This week we went and visited a less active named W. We invited her to share the gospel with friends and family through social media and she was so excited to do it! She said, "let's do it right now! Let's record a hymn and I'll post it!" So I'll send you the video too. :) 

On Wednesday we had MLC and it was seriously the most spiritual meeting I have ever been in. It was incredible. We talked about being consecrated missionaries and giving ourselves completely over to the Lord. It's so cool that when we give ourselves over to the Lord we are actually gaining more than we are giving, because He is so much greater than ourselves and He can make us into more than we can imagine. When we give Him our will, it allows Him to change us and change is the greatest blessing we can receive because that's how we become more like our Father in Heaven. Then, at the end all the people going home were given their chance to bear their testimonies and it was just so spiritual and so cool to see how the mission truly changes people and helps us draw closer to Christ. 

Then, I had an awesome intercambio with Hermana Mellado from Chile. She is an absolutely INCREDIBLE missionary and I learned so much from her!!!! I just let feeling so inspired and motivated and I hope that I can be that example to others. That through knowing me, people will want to know Him and have the desire to listen and accept the gospel in their own lives. It was such a great experience!

Also, our investigators asked us to help them out at their kids birthday party and it was so much fun! We got to be superheroes for a bit and do some service at the same time. It was wonderful! Oh, and I got to meet batman. :) 

Also, TRANSFERS!!!!!!!! Well, Hermana Helmick is finishing and will leave on Wednesday morning and then my new comp is Hermana Keith from Utah! I think the Lord really wants me to have awesome mission reunions after the mission because basically all my comps are from Utah so I'll be able to see them all the time afterwards. It's awesome! :) Hermana Keith were really good friends when I was in Cabo Rojo so we already know each other so I know it will be so fun working together! And, Hermana Melgar is getting transferred into my zone so I'll get to do intercambios with her! I'm so excited!!! :) 

So, seeing Hermana Helmick get ready to go home made me realize that I should probably start a couple things as well... Would you guys be able to check on housing and class registration for winter semester at BYU? I'm not sure when they start so if you guys could look into that that would be wonderful. And Nathan and Michelle could probably help a lot with that too. Thank you! 

I've been thinking a lot lately about our divine nature and how the Lord sees us. I remember at the beginning of this transfer when I was called as STL, I kept thinking "Who am I to lead these sisters? Who am I to speak in front of all of them and tell them what to do? Who am I to be 'in charge'? I'm nothing special. I'm not any better than they are. Why should they listen to me?" But then one day I realized, "Who am I not to be?" The Lord is the one who knows us and sees our potential. He's the one who knows what we need and what others need and puts us in their path to be able to help them. The Lord loves each and every one of us. Every soul is of great worth to the Lord. If we put ourselves in His hands, He will help us reach our full potential and will help us help others reach their full potential as well. So next time you have negative thoughts about yourself, remember that you are a child of God. He has great plans for you and loves you for who you are. Who are you? You are a child of God with great worth and divine potential. 

I love you all and hope you have an absolutely wonderful week!!!! IIIII LOOOOVVVVEEEE YYYOOOUUUUUU!!!!!!!! :) :) :) 

~Hermana Allan

July 4, 2016 - Limiting the Lord

District Meeting

Celebrating Hermana Helmick being out for 18 months

Hello family! This week was soooo good! Ever since being called as a sister training leader I've seen more blessings and miracles than I had ever thought possible! We have to take out so much time from working for driving, meetings, intercambios, etc so we can't work the full week in our area, but the Lord knows that and He blesses us in so many ways so that we can still work with the time we have and still see progress in our area. It's incredible. 

This week we were on our way to a less active and we had a feeling that we should go a different way than usual. So we did but we weren't too familiar with the new way so we got lost and went down the wrong street. But we passed a man who was out working in his yard and we stopped to give him a card and we ended up talking for awhile about religion and then at the end he asked "Would I be allowed to go to church with you?" We were speechless. No one has ever asked me before if they could come to church with us! It was incredible. Then we had another lesson with him later with our ward mission leader and it was so incredibly spiritual. He is golden! Sadly, he never showed up at church, but I know he'll come next week! 

We had a super cool member-missionary moment this week too. The bishop's daughter took us to the house of one of her friends and introduced us to the whole family and again we had a wonderful, super spiritual lesson. It's incredible that the Lord is putting all these people in our path who are so spiritual ready to accept the gospel. And I definitely learned to appreciate member missionary work and hope that I can find a way to help the missionaries when I get home! :)

Then, we've been noticing that the members didn't feel super comfortable with us (which of course we don't want because we want them to give us references and ask for our help and such) so we started thinking of ways that we could gain more confidence with them. We picked a few members and wrote cute little letters for them and gave them to the members at church last week. Right after church, one of them called us and thanked us for the card and asked us to help us clean her house. It was awesome! She was a member that usually stayed away from the missionaries and did everything herself, but she asked us to help her! So we got to spend one morning with her cleaning her house. It was so fun and now she definitely trusts us more and hopefully will come with us on visits! :)

We had some fabulous exchanges this week but unfortunately I forgot to take pics with them.... :( so those will come next week! :)

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you all enjoyed the parade, fireworks, BBQ, etc. :) We had a super fun district activity to celebrate the 4th of July. We did this super intense hike, straight up a mountain to get to the most gorgeous view I've ever seen. The pictures don't do it justice but it was absolutely gorgeous!!!!! Puerto Rico truly has my heart and I'm just continuously in awe at how beautiful this world is. I love it! 

One more miracle..... we had prayed to know which old investigators we should visit again and we picked one named E. We tried finding her house but the direction we had was wrong and then we asked some neighbors who said she moved to the states and then other neighbors said she moved to a different area and basically we just spent several weeks trying to find her but we never could. Then on Saturday we stopped in a bakery to use the bathroom and a lady came up to us and started talking to us and asking us where we're from and such. We asked her what her name is and she said E. Turns out, that it was the same E. we had been looking for for so long!!!! It was such a huge miracle!!! So we have an appointment with her this week and hopefully it goes well! :)

The spiritual thought I want to share has to do with what happened Sunday last week. Hermana Helmick and I have been working so hard to reach the standards of excellence at least once on our missions, but we hadn't been able to. They're pretty difficult goals for Puerto Rico and hardly any missionaries get them. But we set lots of goals in June to be able to reach them and last week we were a little bit short. Sunday was our last possible day to reach them. We needed a reactivation and 4 more investigators in church. Things had kept falling through so we weren't sure we were going to reach it. But we prayed on Saturday to know what more we could do to make it happen and we opened to Enos 1:15.

I cried unto him continually, for he had said unto me: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it.

We had been praying and fasting so much to reach the standards of excellence and when we read this scripture we realized that we weren't having enough faith and that we were limiting the Lord. But like the scripture says, if we ask in faith, we will receive it. If we asked with sufficient faith, the Lord would give it to us. So we did all we could and tried our best to not limit Him and then we trusted in His power and waited. It was so stressful as we started church with only 2 investigators there and none of our less actives. As I sat at the piano I prayed and prayed and prayed, hoping that more would show up. Then right before the sacrament started, in comes 3 more investigators and a less active. If I didn't have to play the sacrament hymn I probably would have lost it and started bawling. We were able to reach the standards of excellence and it's all because of the Lord. Sometimes we limit the lord in what He can do because it's not "logical" or "reasonable" but truly, He can do anything and everything. If we give ourselves completely to Him and have faith in His power, we will receive. I testify that that is true. God is all powerful and He will bless us with miracles if we let Him. This is the true gospel and I'm so grateful to be a part of it. There aren't words to explain how marvelous it is, but truly it is the way to eternal life and true joy. 

I love you all and hope you have an absolutely wonderful week!!!!! I love you so much!

Good luck Christopher on Wednesday!!!! (oh and you should check your email)
And HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMELIA on Sunday!!!!! :)

~Hermana Allan

June 27, 2016 - A Week of Miracles

Service project

Self-Esteem issues? Think wisely. You are a child of God, and with His help you will develop your full potential. 
With the Mission President's wife, Sister Boucher

Making 150 cupcakes to celebrate Mothers/Fathers Day

Wow this week was insane! But so good as always! :) And I hope you don't mind if I send a gazilion photos because we just did so much this week and there is so much to say so hopefully I can do it all justice. Here I go :)

These week has been super crazy because all the members are trying to do something for Hna. Helmick to say goodbye so we've been eating a lot with them and doing other things with them which has been crazy but really fun! 

Also, we had a fun activity on Wednesday where we put backpacks together to give to children in need. It was so much fun! Later that day, Hermana Boucher came down and we went on visits with her! She is so amazing! It was so fun to teach with her and learn from her example. She's a rockstar :). 

Then we had so many miracles. We found several investigators that had disappeared and we were finally able to find out what is going on and if they are still interested and the good news is that they are still willing to progress and prepare for baptism! One of these miracles was with the miracle couple M. and A. We had had such a spiritual experience finding them but then they had disappeared and we weren't sure why. But we found them this week and all is well and we are going to continue teaching them and helping them progress! Then we had several amazing experiences with a young man whose mom was killed in a car accident so now he's left alone without any other family. The Lord lead us to him at the perfect moment and we have been able to help him turn to the Lord for strength. He is so humble and so broken and it's been such a beautiful experience seeing the gospel putting those pieces back together and healing his heart. 

Then, Thursday was the craziest day ever. We had been planning a baptism for Sunday for the daughter of a recent convert that we've been working with but then when we talked to bishop about it he told us about a meeting Sunday night that would conflict with the baptism. So we told the recent convert that and she said "well, how about we just do it today?" We were shocked. That never happens. So we called bishop again and he was like "Sure. Go for it!" So in 4 hours we planned a baptism and called all the members, etc, and had a baptism! It was wonderful! And I'm so extremely grateful for this ward and the members here. In any other ward it would be so hard getting the members support and getting people to plan a talk with such short notice but all the members were like "sure! I'll be there! I can totally give a talk!" It was such a HUGE miracle! I know the Lord made it all possible and that we couldn't have done it without Him. 

Then the next day, the other sisters here in Guayama had a baptism too! And right after we had such a fun ward activity to celebrate Mothers and Fathers Day. And we made 150 cupcakes for the activity! It was crazy but so much fun! :) The Lord is giving us so many opportunities to serve, learn, grow, love, and live. He is so wonderful! :)

And then today we had a wonderful sisters activity with all the sisters in the zone. We went to a gorgeous nature reserve and had a great time! Life is just so beautiful and I'm so grateful that I have this opportunity to be here in Puerto Rico, serving the Lord for a year and a half. It's the best experience in the world and I wouldn't give it up for anything. 

Thanks for all the pictures! You guys all look so stunning and happy! How fun to be with all the family! :) I must say, I'm very impressed with Chris. He emailed me this week and made me cry. He has changed and I know that he's ready for his mission and that he is going to be a wonderful missionary and servant of the Lord in Germany. I just love you all so so very much and I thank my Father in Heaven everyday for blessing me with such wonderful parents and siblings who are wonderful examples to me. I love you all so very much! 

And congratulations mom!!! You're so stinking close to the end! Keep going! You can do it! I love you!!! Dad, I'm so glad you got my letter. Hope you had a wonderful Father's day! And Chris, there's a letter for you in the mail so don't leave on your mission until you get it. :) I'm so glad you all survived the craziness of the wedding and farewell and everything and I hope you can rest a bit this week. Love you all so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. I'm out of time now, but remind me next week to tell you what happened on Sunday. It was a huge miracle and I don't want to forget. :) Thanks!

~Hermana Allan