Saturday, October 8, 2016

October 3 2016 - Divine Love and True Joy


Intercambio with Hermana Larsen
Hello family!!! This week was pretty good! We had some cool experiences finding people this week. One day, we had this impression to contact in an area super close to our house. We yelled "Buenas Tardes" at one house and woman came out and just started saying "Could this be? How is this happening? Is it a sign from God?" We were so confused as she immediately invited us in and when we entered and turned the corner, we saw that the elders were there too! They had also been contacting there and had found her and found out that she was a less active of several years. She was in shock that both the elders and us had been sent to her house that day. She said that God must have a purpose for her and this was His way of showing her that. It was incredible! We actually aren't supposed to be in the same house as the elders so it was a bit awkward at first as we tried to leave, but I don't think she really noticed and I think she was truly impacted by the double visits so hopefully she comes back to church! :) The Lord truly wants to bless His children and He will lead us to them so that we may help them. 

Also, we found someone who had been listening to the missionaries several months ago and immediately she started telling us that she didn't want to get baptized and she wasn't going to change, etc. But we were persistent and we shared a spiritual thought with her and then asked her if she had prayed about this message. She thought about it for a second and said, "actually no, I haven't prayed about it. But I guess if I did, maybe God would tell me to get baptized huh?" So she committed to praying about it and give it a second chance. That almost never happens! It was such a cool experience and I know that the Spirit will touch her heart and she will know that this is the truth. 

If you find out the date of BYU registration could you let me know? I know I set things up before the mission but I'm having second thoughts so I think I'm going to ask permission to look at my classes and figure things out but I need to do it before registration opens, so if you could let me know that would be great! 

We had transfer calls yesterday! And I'm staying here in Guayama with Hna. Keith!!!!! :) I'm super excited to be able to finish up here. And I'm super excited to have three transfers with Hna. Keith. She is an awesome missionary and I just love being companions with her! This next transfer is going to be the best transfer ever! :) 

WASN'T CONFERENCE JUST SOOOO GOOD?! :) Wow, pero wow. It was so powerful and so inspired. I wish I had time to share everything with you guys but I'll share a few of my favorites. First of all, the entire Saturday afternoon session was incredible. Anything about missionary work has just been a really sensitive/emotional topic for me lately and that entire session was basically dedicated to missionary work through the talks and the missionary choir and everything. It was incredible. I LOVE being a missionary. I loved Elder D. Todd Christofferson's talk about the divine love of God. He truly does love each and every one of us and I've felt God's love for me and for so many people here in Puerto Rico and it's the most beautiful thing in the world. It truly is infinite and unconditional and eternal. It's the greatest gift of God. Through this love, He can see and know of our potential and He will empower us to reach that potential. God loves you. He loves us all and He will reach out to us and bring us back home if we let Him. 

I also loved Elder Dallin H. Oaks' talk about missionary work. (claro! :)). I liked two things in specific that he said. 1- "What is more joyful than sharing God's truth with God's children?" And after being a missionary, I can say without a doubt, there is nothing more joyful than sharing the gospel with everyone. 2- Our participation in missionary work is a reflection of our testimony of the gospel and of Christ and our love for the Savior. If we truly love our Savior and have a testimony of this gospel, we will have this desire to share this joy with everyone. And that brings me to the next talk I loved by President Russell M. Nelson about joy. "Joy is intentionally trying to live a righteous life." This gospel brings us true joy. We should strive to be joyful at all times as if there were a sign over us saying "I have found true joy. Want to know how?" Others will be able to recognize our joy and will want to know what makes us so joyful- opening the doors to missionary opportunities. No matter how difficult life gets, there is always something to be joyful about. We have the fulness of the gospel through the restoration of the church of God. This is something to be joyful about. We know that we are children of God and that He loves us and that we have the divine potential to become like Him. This is something to be joyful about. This gospel is joyful and in Christ we will find joy.

I love you all so very much and am always so grateful to hear from you each and every week!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!! :)

~Hermana Allan

September 26, 2016 - Refuge from the Storm

On splits

Sisters Activity

In Humacao

Loving her mission

Hello family! So sorry that I couldn't email you all yesterday but thank you for being so fiel and emailing me every week! I love you all so so very much!!!! :)

So this week was very good/interesting. First, last Monday Hna. Keith and I took a little companion date to Humacao to find a spot for a sisters activity. It was so super fun and truly I'm in awe at the beauty of the world. Everything is just absolutely gorgeous and I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to be here on this beautiful island! 

This week we found such an awesome family! The family T. is a family of 5 (mom and 4 kids) and they are all so interested in learning about the gospel and they all accepted to be baptized on the 22nd of Oct! Only one of them was able to come to church on Sunday, but really they are just so amazing and so prepared! It's been a huge miracle being able to know them and teach them. Please pray for them! :)

Also, you probably heard about the major power outage here. Luckily for us, we were only without power one day, but there are some areas that didn't have power or water for several days! But the Lord truly blessed and protected us that night without power. Everything was super pitch black, because the street lights weren't working but we kept on working. We planned to go to a specific area to contact and find new people but before we got there, we were passing one of our investigators (an old lady) and right as we were passing she was walking down a driveway and she slipped and slammed her head on the ground and was in a lot of pain. So we ran over to help and spent the rest of the night helping her out and we ended up having to call the ambulance to come get her. It was super crazy, but later we found out that it was a huge blessing! We heard that some people took advantage of the power being out and there was a shooting in the area where we had planned to be. If we hadn't been with that lady, and we had kept going to that specified area, who knows what may have happened? The Lord was truly watching over us and I'm so grateful for His love and guidance. But then the next day our power came back, so everything is good now. :)

Also, one of our investigators already has her Christmas tree up! Crazy, huh?! But also, Women's conference was SOOOOO good! I loved it so much! I absolutely loved Elder Uchtdorf's talk and Sister Oscarson's talk. They were incredible. I'm a bit short of time so I can't share very much, but I'll share more next week. :)

Then we had our sister activity yesterday, and it was super fun! I love being surrounded by so many wonderful people. They are such great examples to me and I love them so much! :)

Mom- thank you for your email! I loved the thoughts that you shared! And poor Amelia... :( Tell her I love her lots! 

Dad- thank you as well for your email! What you shared was perfect and I learned a lot. Thank you! Did you get your denture cleanser? :)

I love you all so much and wish I had more time, but next week will be better! Have an absolutely fantastic week!!!! :)

~Hermana Allan

September 19, 2016 - Truly Converted

Members from Aguas Buenas


Deep cleaning - before.....

Hello family!!!! I love you all so very much. I'm so grateful for each and every one of you and I hope you know how much I love you!

This week was really good! We've seen so many miracles and received so many blessings and I'm just so overwhelmed with gratitude for all the Lord has done and is doing for us. It's incredible. First, on Tuesday we had zone meeting! It was wonderful because we taught about something that I absolutely love- Personal Revelation. I absolutely love the definition of Personal Revelation in the Bible Dictionary. Revelation is absolutely essential and I'm so grateful that through the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ we have this miraculous blessing of people able to communicate with our Father in Heaven and receive His guidance in our lives. 

We've been teaching a less active named Y. and I don't think I've seen a bigger change in anyone else. When we first met her she was so critical and negative and said she didn't believe in God and didn't want anything to do with religion and she was constantly swearing and saying horrible things about her family members and basically just hating life. But this week we went and visited her and the change was so incredibly huge! She listened attentively as we read 3 Nephi 11 with her and she offered to say the prayer and she told us that she believes in God and that she loves us and is grateful for our help in bringing the love of God into her home and she doesn't complain or criticize anymore and she told us she's going to start coming back to church every week! It's incredible what the Atonement of Jesus Christ can do. It was hilarious though because as we were reading about Christ's appearance in the Americas, we paused for a second and looked up at her and she had this huge smile on her face and said "He came to destroy didn't he?" It was the funniest thing! But don't worry, we cleared that one up. :)

Also, we had stake conference this weekend! It was so good and I got to see the members from Aguas Buenas again! It was wonderful. I learned so much from the talks given and one that I especially liked was about true conversion. He said if we are truly converted, we fear God more than man and we keep the commandments not because we should do it, but because we WANT to do it. It reminded me of a scripture in 3 Nephi 6:14. The Lamanites were truly converted and were "willing with all diligence" to do what is right and keep the commandments. True conversion is a process and comes with time but it's completely possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He also said that conversion is the result of revelation and repentance. I thought that was really interesting as well and clearly explains that it's our choice. If we want to be converted we have to repent and we have to be worthily seeking revelation. If we do, our testimonies will grow and we'll be firm in the faith. 

How fun to have a little birthday getaway! I sent a package... I hope it gets there soon! :) But I'm so glad that it was a good day! I love you all so much and good luck, Heidi at homecoming!!! Have a wonderful week!!!!

~Hermana Allan

September 12, 2016 - Capturing Every Moment

Sisters Retreat
So excited to have carpet and a real bed!

Cool tree

In el Yunque with all the STL's and zone leaders. 

With mission president, President Boucher. Hard to open eyes, the wind was so intense. 

Hello family! What a roller coaster week, but it was wonderful. Let's start with Tuesday. A new thing that we are asked to do as STLs is that we get to go to other district's district meetings to see how things are going over there and get to know those missionaries so this week we drove over to Humacao and had a WONDERFUL district meeting about developing Christ-like attributes. Christ is our example and each and every day we should be striving to become more like Him. My goal is to pick an attribute each week to study and work on and apply more in my life. I'm super excited to do it and I invite you all to do the same, because this is the only way that we'll be able to be examples to others and be able to reach our full potentials. I absolutely loved this district meeting! 

And then we drove back to Guayama and worked for a couple hours and then that night we drove to the mission home in Bayamon for a leadership activity! We had a little devotional and then a sleepover! It was the first time I've stepped foot on carpet for 15 months.... it was divine. :) We had a blast, but none of us were able to fall asleep that night so the next day we were soooooo exhausted. In the morning we left at 6 and headed up to the only rainforest in the U.S.A. the Yunque! It was absolutely gorgeous!!!!!! Then we came back and had MLC the rest of the day where we discussed personal revelation, goals, and church attendance. I love talking about personal revelation because it's something that has helped me in countless ways on my mission. We also talked a bit about our purpose as missionaries and that we're here to invite others to come unto Christ. It doesn't say that we're here to invite non-members or less actives, but everyone! At all times we can be representatives of Jesus Christ and help others know Christ, through our examples. It was such a wonderful and super spiritual meeting and I'm so grateful for the inspired leaders that I can learn from! 

And from President Gonzalez, he talked about three things: opening our mouths, finding common ground, and sharing the Book of Mormon. He encouraged us to talk to absolutely every single person that is put in our path and then before telling them what we believe, we should listen to them and find what they believe so that then we can be on common ground. And after we've found common ground we should go straight to the Book of Mormon because it's the best and most effective tool we have to share the restored gospel. We tried it out a couple times this week and every time the person would just flat out reject us, but we're going to keep trying and I know we'll see success and miracles because I know that the Book of Mormon is true and is the best way for others to be converted to God and feel of His love.

Then the rest of the week was a little bit difficult because we haven't had much success in finding new investigators lately so we were out contacting a lot, but yesterday we had a huge miracle! We felt prompted to do some follow up on past contacts and we found a 16 year old girl that we had met when we visited one of our investigators and we called her and set an appointment to visit her on Sunday. And when we went, we met her entire family and all of them are super prepared and super interested! They are active in a Pentecostal church but the girl told us that she goes because she feels good there but she doesn't know if it's the true church and she wants to find out which is the true church. It was awesome! We're going to visit them again tomorrow and I hope and pray that they accept to be baptized and come to church. They are wonderful! :)

This week it kind of hit me that I'm not going to be a missionary for forever. Sometimes it just feels like I'm going to be doing this the rest of my life and I get super excited thinking about all the cool experiences that I could have and then this week for some reason I had a reality check that the Lord has another mission for me back home and that this has to come to an end at some point. It was a tough pill to swallow, but it's helping me appreciate and enjoy every single moment as a missionary. Even though this week was a bit rough, I still had the opportunity to preach the gospel and invite others to come unto Christ and that's priceless. I absolutely love teaching Boricuas and I love walking all day just to see that miracle at the end of the road and I love feeling the Spirit so strongly at all times and I love getting to know my Savior on a more personal level and I just absolutely love being a missionary!!! This is the best thing I have ever done and that I probably will ever do. I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

I love you all so much and hope you have an absolutely wonderful week! and HAPPY BIRTHDAY dad!!!!!!!! :) :) :) I love you!!!!

~Hermana Allan

September 5, 2016 - Come and See

Hermanas Keith and Allan

Hermanas Corneal and Allan
Hello family! It's so exciting reading all of your letters each week! Thank you for all the updates and your love and support! I love you all so very much!!

This week was a bit rough, but of course, still wonderful! We went and visited Modesto on Tuesday to talk about his baptism and how he felt and he asked us for a photo of his baptism which we happened to bring with us. When we pulled it out to give it to him, he had that same expression of absolute joy that he had when he was baptized. It was incredible and truly, he is incredible. It was such a powerful moment and I can't fully express how grateful I am for the opportunity the Lord has given me to witness the conversion of these people and witness the Atonement working in others' lives. Es maravillosa!

We had a cool experience this week, because we had the impression to pass by a recently reactivated member's house, but we weren't sure if we should because it didn't help with one of the key indicators, but we kept feeling like we needed to go, so we did. When we passed by, she had a couple family members over that we were able to get to know and a share a message with. The members 11 year old daughter asked, "can you repent after you're baptized?" We started explaining a bit about repentance and then the members sister who was also there asked "If someone was baptized and then falls away for a really long time, can they come back too?" We started explaining that as well and then later on we found out that this member's sister is a less active so it implied that she wants to come back but just wasn't sure if she could. It was such a spirit-guided lesson as we were able to help her realize her potential and that she can always come back to the outstretched arms of a loving Father in Heaven. I love how the Lord works in mysterious ways and that through the simple and innocent question of a child, we were able to also understand the concerns of the less active sister. The Lord truly loves every one of us and wants us to feel of His love and come unto Him and He will use us to bring these tidings of good news to others who are searching for that assurance in their lives. I just love being a missionary! :)

Then we had a super strange experience..... we set an appointment with an investigator who has been coming to church and when we showed up at her house there were two other missionaries from another church there as well. She had totally set it up so that the other missionaries could bible bash with us and convince us that we were in the wrong. It was the first time that this has happened to me on my mission and I was super nervous and wasn't really sure what to do. But with a quick prayer, asking for the guidance of the Spirit, I felt calm and we were able to know what to say and do to be able to avoid contention and arguments and be able to handle what they threw at us. We simply listened and then briefly testified of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and were able to leave in peace. It was super stressful but it was incredible how the words that we needed to say were given to us through the Spirit to be able to simply echo the invitation of Jesus Christ to "come and see" what it is that this gospel has to offer. 

Yesterday we had a 1/2 mission conference with our new area president, President Gonzalez and it was amazing! He taught us some new ways to contact and find new investigators and I'm so super excited to apply them because I know they'll bring lots of success and help us find more people who have been prepared. It was also fun because I got to see Hermana Jacobsen and Hermana Curneal again!

Thanks for all the pictures! Looks like so much fun!  And Heidi looks like a model! so cute and grown-up! I hope you had a wonderful birthday Heidi and just know, I have something for you but I'm going to send it in a week or two with dad's birthday present as well. :) 

To attempt to answer your questions for cub scouts..... to be physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight it all comes down to the basics. It's the small and simple things like praying, reading the scriptures, going to church, and taking those small daily efforts to follow Christ and remember Him that helps us be strong and do what is right. Alma 37:6 is a good scripture to explain this. By small and simple things are great things brought to pass. And a moment when I had to be brave.... that's a harder one. I feel like there are so many times each day as a missionary that are really difficult and that I feel like giving up, or I just want to sit there and cry with those who are hurting and suffering, or I feel inadequate, or I have doubts and fears, but there are also so many times each day that I feel the strength of the Lord. I can feel Him pushing me onward, giving me the strength to comfort those that stand in need of comfort, helping me know what to say to answer the probing questions of those searching for the truth, blessing me with peace to simply trust in the Lord and let Him lead the way, etc. I know I'm not very brave and many times I struggle to keep going, but the Lord is who helps me face these difficulties with strength and with faith. I'm sorry that I can't think of a specific experience to share, but hopefully this can help a bit. :)

I love you all so very much and hope you have a wonderful week!!! Love you!

~Hermana Allan

August 29, 2016 - The Church is True!

With a convert from Cabo Rojo


Transfer craziness

Teaching with a member
What a wonderful week. Full of ups and downs but it ended in a bang. Tuesday was transfer day so we spent all day again switching the sisters around. We got lost several times but in the end, we all made it! :) Also, two new sisters came this time and both of them are in our zone! It's super fun having two greenies to work with. They are wonderful! :) 

The highlight of the entire week- MODESTO WAS BAPTIZED!!!! We weren't sure he was going to make it. On Sunday, after we heard that he was back in the hospital we were super nervous that he wouldn't feel better by Saturday. But we immediately started a fast and then we got in contact with the missionaries that worked in the area of the hospital and asked them to give Modesto a blessing. On Monday night, we got a call from them saying that they gave him a blessing and that he loved it. He also told them that he was still planning on getting baptized on Saturday, so that definitely raised our spirits! On Friday, he passed his interview and Saturday he got baptized. It was the most wonderful baptismal service I have ever been to. There was so much member support and an investigator as well and Hermana Keith and I did a musical number with her ukelele and the spirit was just so strong. After Modesto came up out of the water, he looked out at us through the glass with the biggest and happiest smile I've ever seen. It was the most beautiful moment ever. He truly changed and is so much happier now that he has the truth in his life. I love being a missionary and having these opportunities to see peoples' lives change. I love it. And I'm so grateful for the priesthood and for worthy men who hold it and use it to bless the lives of the children of God. The church is true. :)

Also, I had the biggest surprise on Sunday. We walked in to church and greeted some members and then I looked down the hall and there was Angel from Cabo Rojo!!! He drove out to Guayama just to visit me and see how I was doing. How sweet is that? It was so good to talk to him and see that he is still strong in the gospel. My biggest fear is that the people that I've worked with in Cabo Rojo will forget their testimonies and fall away, but he reassured me that all is well and that the wards in Cabo Rojo are growing like crazy! I'm so full of gratitude for all that the Lord has blessed me with and that He is watching over the people of Cabo Rojo and that I had that opportunity to see Angel again. Have I mentioned that I love being a missionary? :) 

Then we had a great lesson with Leslie and Miguel! They truly are searching for the truth and humbly want to follow God so that they can be good examples to their baby girl and have a strong, united family. I just absolutely love teaching them! The spirit is always so powerful. I know they will receive and answer and know that this is the truth. The problem though that we're facing with them and with 4 other couples that we're teaching right now is that none of them are married. Marriage is becoming less and less popular and it's so sad to see how many broken families there are. I hope these couples will decide to get married and be able to build their families around Christ and His gospel and be able to live with their families for all eternity. I know that we truly can enjoy eternal families through the gospel of Jesus Christ and I'm so grateful for the eternal family I have and that I was raised with these values and that all of this is possible through the sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

We also taught another couple this week, C. and Juan. C. actually came to Modesto's baptism which was awesome! But it's really sad because both of them have desires to follow God but they feel like they've gone too far astray to be able to come back and be true followers of Christ. We had a very powerful lesson with them as we explained repentance and the Atonement of Jesus Christ and I'm so grateful that we have this hope and peace that we can change and that we can turn back to Christ. The Lord loves us and is waiting for us with open arms. If we just begin with the desire to come to Him, begin by reaching out our weak and feeble hand, He will grab on to us and pull us closer to Him. I know that Jesus Christ truly is our Savior and that He suffered and died for each and every one of us so that we can become more like Him and be able to fulfill our purpose here on earth. 

Thank you guys so much for your emails and the thoughts you shared with me! I love you all so so very much!!!! I'm sorry mom that you have to deal with so many difficult situations... that must be so hard. But I know you're making a difference in their lives and that you're the right one to help them out. You can do it! :) Also, thank you dad for your thoughts. I know the Lord has sent me here for a reason and that hopefully He can use me to bless the lives of His children here in PUERTO Rico. :) 

And.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY HEIDI!!!!!!!!! I love you so so very much and hope you have the very best birthday ever! 

I love you all and am always praying for you! Have an absolutely wonderful week!!!!

~Hermana Allan