Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August 22, 2016 - My Purpose

District Photo

Matching for Intercambios!

Anniversary :)
I love hearing from you guys every Monday! I love you all so so very much!

This week was a blazing hot week, but super good! M. is still preparing for baptism on Saturday, but he's having some problems.... he had surgery last week because he had kidney stones, but now he's having more complications so he's back in the hospital. We're hoping and praying that everything goes well and that he can still get baptized on Saturday. Please include him in your prayers!

Also, we found a new couple this week that are absolutely golden!  They're both in the army and they have the cutest baby girl and they said "we know it's a commandment to congregate, but we just aren't sure which church to join..." That alone is a huge miracle, because most people here don't understand that there is only one true church. But they already understand that and are so eager to learn and find out for themselves if this is the truth. The hard part is that they prefer English and teaching in English is soooo hard. But it's a fun challenge. :) But they have been so prepared and I just know they'll receive their answer and that they'll be baptized!

Then we had a really cool experience with another investigator who asked us "If you were studying, had a good job, good family, and had all you needed, why leave it all behind to come here to be missionaries full-time? Why can't you do all at the same time?" The Spirit was so strong as we explained why we do what we do. We talked about how there is no time to waste because Christ could come any day now so we have to prepare ourselves NOW. So we need full-time missionaries to go out and bring as many people as possible to the knowledge of the gospel. He couldn't understand why we would sacrifice so much, but I know its because he just doesn't have a testimony of the restored gospel. If he truly understood the message we share, he would understand its importance and the urgency of getting it out to everyone. It was a very powerful moment as we focused on our purpose as missionaries. I made this sacrifice and am out here for a year and a half because I truly believe in what we share. I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe it. I wouldn't be here if I hadn't received any blessings or if I didn't think it would be beneficial for others. I know without a doubt in my heart that what we share is true. I know it's of eternal importance. I know that it can bless the lives of everyone in the same incredible way that it has blessed mine. That's why I'm here. Because I believe it and because I love the Lord and I want to be His hands in blessing the lives of His children.

I also got to go on an intercambio with Hermana Melgar! It was so fun being able to work together again! For companionship study, we studied about our purpose as missionaries in Preach my Gospel and she said something that I loved. She said, "Really the Lord doesn't need me to baptize these people. He has the power to do it himself. But He loves us and wants to bless us and wants to give us the opportunity to strengthen our own testimonies and see the Atonement in action, and because of that He has sent us here to teach these people and help them progress towards baptism. So really we aren't here because the people need us, but we're here because we need the people and we need this experience." I loved that. It is such a wonderful opportunity to be here as missionaries to proclaim the gospel and I know that it's the greatest investment that I will ever make! Being a missionary is the best and I'm so grateful that the Lord has given me this opportunity to be an instrument in His hands and witness His miracles. I love everything about it! :)

I totally forgot to thank you for the package! I'm a horrible person. But, thank you so much!!!!!! I loved it!!!!!! :) 

Oh yeah, and we had transfers! Hermana Keith and I are staying the same, but they are taking out the other two sisters in our house, so it'll just be us two. I'm pretty sure I'll be dying in Guayama and that Hermana Keith will kill me so we probably won't have any changes until the end of my mission. But I'm super happy about that because I love Guayama and I love Hermana Keith!!! :)

I'm sorry that you guys had such a crazy and stressful week! I hope this week is better. I'm praying for you guys! Good luck Heidi with your road test! You'll do great! :) And did you say you are planning on dropping gymnastics?!

Say hi to Maddie for me!

I love you guys so so so very much!!!!! I hope you have an absolutely wonderful week and that you're able to rest a bit! :) I love you!!!!

~Hermana Allan

August 15, 2016 - Working by the Spirit

zone conference

super soaking wet

Hello family!!!! Wow, pero wow. So many wonderful things happened this week! First we had zone conference on Tuesday! It was absolutely wonderful. We talked about doing missionary work in the Lord's way and always by the Spirit and we already have seen huge changes in our area and in the zone due to applying these things with our investigators. It's incredible how the work really is so much more effective and effecient when we have the Spirit with us.

So we focused a lot on following the guidance of the Spirit and we were led to so many families! We hadn't found a family in a long time, so it was so wonderful to find so many this week! We found one, that I had actually contacted before with Hermana Helmick, but the first time, they weren't interested at all. But we were led to that same area again this week and we talked to them and they are so prepared! It's a mom and three kids, and they all are so interested and are reading the Book of Mormon and everything! They are wonderful!!!

Also, we've been teaching this couple for awhile now and they just hadn't really been progressing and we were debating if we should drop them. But we felt like we should keep teaching them and try harder to get members present iin our lessons with them. So we started having more lessons with members and almost immediately, they started progressing. Now they are reading every chapter that we leave them in the Book of Mormon, they came to church, and they even accepted baptismal dates! It's been such a HUGE miracle! They weren't all to interested in the beginning but now, they're asking for work off on Sundays and they just love all of it! It has been incredible and I know it's all because of the members.

M. is so awesome! He is so ready to be baptized, but unfortunately his operation was moved to today so he won't be completely recovered by this Saturday, but we're hoping for the next Saturday. we're not worried though, because he has such a strong testimony of the gospel, so he'll definitely get baptized. :)

Also, did I tell you that Hermana Curneal is still in Cabo Rojo and she's been working with A.'s parents and his dad is getting baptized!!!! They didn't want anything to do with the church while we were teaching A., but A.'s example changed them and now they get to be part of it as well! I'm so happy for them! :)

This week was a little bit painful as well... there was one day where the sun was so strong and it was so bright that we couldn't even open our eyes. So we were looking straight down at the ground as we walked because it was too blazing hot to look up. Well..... next thing I know, I run face-first right into a ladder that was sticking out of the back of a truck. Literally, forehead+ladder=BANG. It hurt so bad. And needless to say I had quite a big headache afterwards.... But hey, something to laugh about now. :)

Also, we got caught in the rain walking home one night and we got absolutely soaked! Mission life is just so much fun!! :) And yes, every single Puerto Rican was watching the tennis match and it was so hard keeping my eyes of the TV. I wanted to watch it so badly, but don't worry, I didn't. :) But it was a huge deal! Everyone was partying and shouting in the streets and everything. It was great! :)

I've been thinking a lot about prayer lately. How wonderful it is that we have access to the power, love, wisdom, and peace of God, all through a simple prayer. One of the most profound things we can do is humbly get down on our knees and plead to our Father in Heaven. I know that if we fervently pray and pour out our souls to God, our life will be filled with so much more meaning and we'll begin to see the Lord's hand more in our lives and recognize the answers to our prayers. Prayer is such a wonderful tool to finding peace, joy, help, guidance, etc. Anything we could possibly need, can be resolved through a simple prayer. I know that our Father in Heaven loves us and cares about us and wants to hear from us. He will listen to our prayers and send down blessings from heaven so that we can be happy and be able to continue onward and endure to the end.

I love you all so much and am praying for you each and every day! I love you!!!!! :)

PS- when did I get old enough to have friends and even people younger than me getting married?! Such a strange thought.... Thanks for keeping me updated! And say hi to Jessica for me! She's in my prayers as well.

I love you all! :)

~Hermana Allan

August 8, 2016 - True Conversion

Hermanas Keith and Allan

Intercambio with Hermana Gubler

Hello everyone! What a very interesting week it has been! On Wednesday we had MLC with all the leaders of the mission and yet again it was so amazing! The spirit was so strong and we left so edified and inspired. It was incredible. We talked a lot about becoming like Christ and purifying our hearts so that we can better help those around us. I know when we become more like Him and follow in His footsteps, we will be better positioned to lend a helping hand because we will be able to love them and see them as He sees them. MLC is the most wonderful experience in the world and I'm so grateful I get to be a part of it! :)

We had quite a lot of things fall through this week, so many times we were just left walking left and right all over Guayama, but in the end we ended up seeing so many miracles! We had three investigators show up at church and two of them we didn't think would come! It was super exciting to see them there!  And M. was there too, and he even had a white shirt on! He's basically already a member. :) He's super prepared and perfectly ready for his baptism on the 20th. Unfortunately, Victor didn't want to be baptized this Saturday, so it didn't happen, but he loves the gospel and just wanted a little bit more time, so I know he'll continue in the states and hopefully he'll be baptized over there.

Also, we had one investigator that we had an appointment with but our plans before that fell through and we felt like we needed to go to this investigator earlier. So we did, and turns out her husband had just got home and was about to leave again, but we were able to teach both of them and her husband had a ton of questions! He's been really hurt by some people in his life and has been searching for some answers and some peace and the Lord guided us there right at that moment to be able to lead him to the source of truth and help him with what he's struggling with. It was an incredible experience. We'll be passing by again tomorrow and hopefully they'll find what they're looking for and come unto Christ.

So, it's kind of funny that Elder Allan shared the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehis because that's what I was going to share today. :) I was studying that story this week and learned so much from it. It's incredible that they had that faith to bury all of their weapons of war and just lay themselves down in front of their enemies to be killed. It shows how strong their conversion truly was. Their hearts were completely changed and converted to doing good and following Christ and they turned away from the very thought of doing evil and fighting their enemies even in defense of themselves! It just makes me wonder, How converted are we? Have we buried all of our "weapons of war" and are completely dedicated and converted to following the Savior at all times? If we give our all to the Lord and leave behind any and all resistance, that's when we become instruments in His hands. That's when we become example to others so that they may be able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Just like the death of these Anti-Nephi-Lehis brought the conversion of thousands of Lamanites, we too can help bring others to Christ through our own personal dedication to the Lord and His teachings. I just love this story so much and am in awe of all they did. I hope I can become like them and have that incredible, unwavering faith and complete conversion to the Lord.

I love you all so much!!!!!!! Thank you for everything! And CONGRATULATIONS mom on finishing school!!! You're such a wonderful example to me and I love you so much! Good luck with school Heidi and Amelia! And thanks Dad for your love and example to me! I love you all so much and I hope you know that and never forget it. Love you!

~Hermana Allan

August 1, 2016 - In the Service of the Lord

Wow, how does Elder Allan write such powerful letters?! Mine seem so lame next to his... he's an inspiration! :) Thanks for sending them to me! I'm so glad you guys enjoyed a nice "staycation" before school and work starts! And thanks for the emails and the pictures and the spiritual thoughts and everything. I love you guys so much!

This week was such a wonderfully spiritual week. All week I've just been on the verge of tears- full of gratitude and love for my Savior and for the gospel. I've felt an overwhelming amount of love for Puerto Rico, the culture, the people we're teaching, the members, etc. Life is beautiful. The people are wonderful. And the church is true. It just can't get any better than this. :)

And of course, there were a ton of miracles this week!!! We've been working with a less active named C. and we've always tried teaching her husband and grandkids that live with her, but they always hide from us when we visit her. But we've been praying so hard to find people that already know members. Whether it's family members, friends, neighbors, etc. And the Lord definitely helped us with that this week. On Monday we felt prompted to pass by her house so we did and in the middle of the lesson, her granddaughter just walks out and sits down next to her grandma and listens too. We were shocked. Someone who had hid every time just decided to randomly come out and listen. And she is awesome! She had almost been baptized before, but her mom hadn't let her because her mom doesn't like the church, but now, she's not under-aged so she doesn't need her mom's permission so she's totally going to get baptized! We're super excited for her!!

Also, a member introduced us to her friend, V. He is super interested and loves the message of the restoration and has been to church 3 times now and we were super excited because we just knew he would get baptized in August, but then yesterday, he told us that he's moving to the states on August 11. So if he's going to be baptized it has to be this Saturday. Basically we need a miracle, but I believe in a God of miracles and that it can happen. So we're going to be working super hard with him this week so that he can prepare for baptism before he leaves. Please pray for him! :)

And M. came to church! It was the best thing ever seeing him at church! He's definitely going to be baptized on the 20th! He is such an inspiration!

One night, we were talking about the apostasy we've seen in Puerto Rico in our missions as we were walking to an appointment and unfortunately the conversation took a slight negative turn and we were feeling a bit depressed about the lack of interest of the people, but as we were talking we passed a young man that said "hey wait! You guys are missionaries right? I have some questions for you." So we stopped to talk to him and basically he's a golden investigator! He's been passing through a lot of difficult situations and he's decided to turn to God and search the scriptures to find the peace and answers that he's looking for and he wanted our help to help him understand the scriptures and God's plan for him. It was such a huge miracle! It was like God had hit us with a ton of bricks. like He was saying "hey, there are people waiting for you! Love them and get to work! They need you!" It was a very humbling experience and I truly know that there are tons of people that the Lord is preparing to receive this message. I love Puerto Rico and the people and am so grateful that I have this chance to work as the Lord's representative here on this little island. I can't wait to come visit Puerto Rico with you guys so that you can also enjoy this paradise! :)

Also, it was a bit strange, but we got to go apartment shopping on Wednesday! They are making some changes to the area next transfer so they needed us to find a new apartment for the elders that are moving here to Guayama. It was so fun driving all around Guayama searching for apartments. It was super weird as a missionary but I guess missions prepare us for the rest of our lives so I guess I'll just be a pro apartment shopper when I get back. :)

Then on Sunday, we had the most amazing and spiritual lesson that I've ever had in Relief Society. It was about service. Service is a great opportunity to help others feel the love of their Savior and to help them feel important. Our Savior Jesus Christ was the most perfect example of loving others and serving them, and we should strive to see others as He sees them and serve and love them at all times. Before my mission I feel like I was very self-centered and never really searched for opportunities to serve, but I hope that I can be different after my mission, because everyone deserves to feel loved and we can be the instrument that helps them to feel that love. We should strive to love each and every person we meet and seek opportunities to serve them and help them feel the love of the Savior. In that lesson about service I just felt so full of the love of the Lord and then at the end they played a slideshow of pictures of service with the song "Love One Another" and the last picture was a picture of missionaries preaching the gospel and I started to cry. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for this opportunity to be a missionary and learn to love and serve others as the Savior did. It's the most fulfilling and gratifying thing we can do. My mission has changed me in so many ways and I'm so extremely grateful for who my mission is helping me to become. Thank you for raising me in righteousness and for giving me this opportunity to serve our fellow men and bring them to Christ. I'm having a hard time fully expressing how I feel, but truly I love this work and I love being a missionary. I know that we will draw closer to our Savior and feel more of His love for us if we serve others and love them as the Savior loves them.

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

~Hermana Allan