Friday, July 31, 2015

"El Evangelio de Jesucristo es Bonita" -The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Beautiful

Hola Familia! Como Esta? 

This week has been such a great week! I have learned so much about myself and this amazing gospel. On Sunday, our Branch President came in and called for a zone prayer before church. Before the prayer he told us how his second counselor, Brother Jeffs, wasn't going to be at church today because his three year old granddaughter drowned at  Lake Tahoe Saturday afternoon. She was life flighted and was currently in the ICU, luckily breathing on her own. We decided to say a zone prayer on her behalf and it was the most beautiful prayer I have ever been a part of. The power when you get a group of missionaries together is undeniable. I literally felt as though angels were round about me, surrounding me, because of the faith from all the missionaries. His grand daughter was released from the ICU later that afternoon and is showing no after effects. Miracle. 

So this next experience is a little embarrassing on my part, but I'm so excited with what I have learned:
On Tuesday, the Elders went to choir practice so it was just the Hermanas and the teachers. Hermana Smith and I got to have a one on one discussion with Hermano Chambers. He wanted us to practice giving the first lesson as simply as we could in 5 minutes. As we started, we began with how God loves us and sent his Son, Jesucristo to atone for our sins. Hermano Chambers then asked, " Why did God have to die?" 
We continued to teach and explain to him about the Atonement the best we could and then out time was up. I was so frustrated at our teacher because he kept asking question after question and we could not answer it the way he wanted. 
Hermano Chambers then went on to tell us how we just kept getting way to deep and couldn't explain his original question. "Why did Christ die?" I thought I knew, but when I was asked to explain...the answer "because God loves us" wasn't a good enough answer. I felt so embarrassed. How could I not explain the Atonement!? Hermana Smith and I left that clase feeling very humbled and also very frustrated. We asked him for some scripture references so that we could study the Atonement later that day. Hermano Chambers wanted us to focus on

1. Why he died
2. To whom did he pay
3. How and why it leads us to Baptism. 

The next day, Hermana Smith and I were determined to be able to explain the principle of the Atonement. Personal Revelation is true. This is what I learned:
God is a just God and has laws. With laws come consequences. If there were no consequences there would be no enticement to do well. When Adam and Eve came to the earth, God gave them a law to not partake of the Forbidden fruit. Adam partook and as a consequence, we are cast out of God's presence. This was part of God's plan because now we have TIME to repent and "prepare to meet God". 
Okay. Christ had to come to earth because we need to be saved by mercy. God is a just God so he could not have performed the Atonement because he can not be just and merciful at the same time. So Christ had to come because he and God are ONE in purpose. No one else could do it. Because Christ suffered the Atonement we are all subject to him and he now can requires things for us to do in order to return to God's presence (faith, repentance, baptism, endure to the end).
The biggest thing I learned is that repentance is a GIFT.  Christ has already payed the price of our consequences. He has taken them all away so that we can live with God. God wants us to get back to his presence. We ALL CAN GET THERE. The problem is that we might not want to. If we don't use this time, this consequence of time, to practice, to prepare and to CHANGE through the Atonement, we will not be ready to live with God and will choose not to. Repentance and Baptism is how we use the Atonement in our lives in order to prepare ourselves to be back in God's presence. ITS SO BEAUTIFUL.
Okay sorry for my rant. I just llove the gospel. Please feel free to tell me your opinion. It's so sad it took me 19 years for this to truly hit me. Man.

We got to skype someone from Argentina! Her name was Yanilla and she was 15 and so adorable! The connection was SO BAD and there was someone in the background taking on the phone so it was really hard to hear and give a good lesson, but I already love the Argentine people. She definitely laughed at me A LOT, but I loved it. I love moments that make being a missionary THE BEST EVER. 

Lastly, my Ode to Marco:
Yesterday was our last lesson :( It was such a beautiful lesson. The spirit was so strong and I could feel the spirit teaching. He bore his testimony on his conversion and started crying which made me start to cry. He is so so sweet . He asked Hermana Smith and I for our emails and said he writes all the missionaries every Monday. THE SWEETEST MAN. He even wanted  picture with us. He is attending UVU this fall, which makes me happy. He is retired and just has such a happy heart. He even complimented our Spanish...which at first I thought he was just being really nice, but then he got all serious and said. "No Honestly. I'm completely serious." (In English) hahah I didn't like it when he spoke felt off. haha 

So today I'm supposed to be getting MY TRAVEL PLANS! QUE EN EL MUNDO!? So i still don't know any Spanish and apparently I hear its a 30 hour bus ride from Buenos Aires to Salta so start praying.  

I love you family. I miss you all so much. Keep the letters coming. 
Thank you Thank you. I love hearing from you all! 
Hope all is going well at home. If I didn't write you today I will try and write you a hand written letter. Know that I LOVE EVERYONE. Missionary life is LA VIDA. 
I still don't know spanish and I'm a tad freaked out to leave and speak, but God knows spanish and so I can do it. 

Be Brave Little Champions. 
Te Amo. 

Hermana Allen  

Travel Itinerary- So excited!
Last Goodbye with my "California" Hermana 
Favorite MTC Investigator "Marco"
The Sisters of the Zone

Friday, July 24, 2015

"I am not here in the MTC to learn Spanish...I am here at the MTC to learn how the Spirit communicates with me and His children."


Happy Pioneer Day. Basically its like a national holiday here and everything is closed. Once again no temple today :( 
I am half way through the MTC YIPPEE!
This week has gone by so fast and I am so excited to be a missionary. Its crazy how fast this is going. The other two districts in my zone got their travel plans and are leaving on Monday. Most of them are going to Argentina and it's so weird that our district will be the "oldest" in the zone. I still feel like I don't know anything, but I am so excited for the other missionaries who are leaving. We have all grown so close together here at the MTC both my district and my zone. I really do feel I have made some friends for life. 
One thing that has been super fun is during gym time our sand volleyball district games. Gotta love gym time. 

On Wednesday we got to go on exchanges with people in our zone. I was companions with Hermana Oldroyd and Hermana Mella! It was way fun! We got to teach new investigators and experience new teachers it was such a cool experience.
We taught our first lesson in the morning and I felt really frustrated at first because I felt like I was doing all the talking in spanish. I was thinking to myself "Why isnt Hermana Oldroyd saying anything she knows way more than I do!" Later that day we had a lesson taught by Hermano Olsen.  I have never had him as a teacher before and it was by far the most spiritual experience I have had here in el CCM. He did a "demo" lesson in class to show us how to ask "inspired questions" There would literally be a few minutes of silence during the lesson. At first I thought it was really awkward, but then after a while the spirit just hit me. I realized that earlier that day Hermana Oldroyd wasn't saying anything because she didnt want to, or because she didnt know what to say, but it was because she was waiting for the opportunities to have the spirit teach the investigator, or for her to feel inspired to ask a question. It was such a humbling experience. I am not here in the MTC to learn Spanish. When I get to Argentina I have a pretty good feeling that I will go right back to not knowing anything. I am here at the MTC to learn how the Spirit communicates with me and His children. 

On Sunday I even taught Relief Society about the Holy Ghost. It is so amazing how God was preparing me to hear what he wanted to tell me. Since being here in the MTC I realized how much I have been feeling the spirit on a day to day basis in my daily life. It was something I struggled with before coming on the mission, and honestly something I was nervous for. I have felt the spirit before, but I didn't know truly how the spirit communicated with me. I'm still learning, but I feel I have a better understanding on how the Spirit communicates with me and I'm really excited to see God's hand more in my life and throughout the mission. 

Thank you ALL for the letters and packages. You don't underestand how much they mean to me. In the MTC Letters/emails/packages are LIFE. Please keep sending...even if it's one sentece about your day I LOVE hearing from you all. 
Thank you Grandma and grandpa Allen for the letter and Grandma and Grandpa Merrill for the yummy brownies. (my district love them too). 
Mom, Hermana Smith and I are wearing the shirts you sent and all the Elder in our zone who are going to Argentina are super jealous. We got a lot of compliments on them. 

Dad, to answer your question....I teach Marco twice a week and the TRC investigaors we dont know for sure if they are real or not. I pretty sure Marco is a member though, but I still love him and he is the nicest person EVER. He helps me with my spanish and it great. All my lessons are in Spanish. I can't even imgaine what it would be like to teach in English. 

Also, any updates from Thomas?! I need to know about his life. 
I saw Heather Lane today and I just about cried. I miss Kimber so much. I think about her everyday and how she is probably fluent in Spanish. I also read Rebecca's general email today and I loved what she said about hope! I love missionary work and I SO HAPPY I made this decision. I can already see the blessings.
Pray. Pray all the time. 
Sister Vassau told me right before I left how that is all she did on her mission and I know see way. Prayer saves me. I wish I would have done it more often about everything in my life. Pray for others. It's amazing how much your testimony grows when you love others. 
I love you all so much! 
Have a great week! 

Hermana Allen   

Our MTC District

Friday, July 17, 2015

"...the Power of the Book of Mormon is What Changes People Most"

Hola Familia! 

This week has gone by so fast I can't believe it! Next week I will be half way through the CCM and it is seriously amazing I love it so much! 
I thought I would share with you what I do pretty much everyday:

6:30 Wake up
7:00 Breakfast
8:00-12:00 Clase de Espanol 
12:00 Lunch
12:1:00 Gym time 
2:00-5:00 Teaching/Preparing 
5:00 Dinner 
6:00-9:00 Study 
10:30 Bed 
So pretty much as you can see, I eat and sit all my life. Spending a majority of my day learning Spanish is so exhausting and very stressful, but I have grown to love it so much!  Spanish is such a beautiful language and when I can understand it/kinda speak it, it is the best feeeling in the enitre world! 
I love this gospel and all it has to offer. The gift of tongues is so real! 

Funny story. So at 6:30 my alarm went off right? I open my eyes and there is this girl going through Hermana Smith's jewelry in a white nightgown with long black hair down to her bum. 
My first thought was, "am I in the wrong room?"  
I was so confused (mostly because I had just woken up). It was seriously really creepy. Then Hermana Mella got up and asked he if she was in the wrong room...she was. 
She just walked into my room! hahahhahaha In that moment she seriously looked like she was from a horror movie.

So super cool experience! On Monday Hermana Smith and I were preparing for our lesson for Marco. We were going to teach him about the Atonement and faith. In our preparation we were reading a scripture for our lesson and then we kept on reading in that chapter and found a really cool scripture on what the spirit feels like. I forgot where it was...but during our lesson he was saying how he doesn't think he has faith and that God doesn't really answer any of his questions. He said he couldn't recognize the spirit. He committed to baptism and we told him that we would help him prepare the best we could. We were so excited because we a literally just read a scripture about how it felt and it really hit him hard. That was such a cool testimony builder on how the spirit works in our lives. 
After that lesson Hermana Smith and I were super pumped and we had this huge plan to study more about the spirit and help Marco feel the spirit in our lesson on Thursday. We spent hours preparing and found some amazing scriptures that would help him and we also decided to learn "A child's Prayer" en espanol to sing to him (even though our singing is not the best hahah). We were so excited to teach him and when we got to the TRC lesson the director said Marco was getting sick and that he had to go home. WE WERE SO BUMMED. I was depressed pretty much the rest of the day. We were so excited to share our message with him and the fact that he was sick made me so so sad. If you can't tell Marco is my favorite investigator and is just the absolute best. It's amazing how being a missionary allows you to love people in ways that you have not experienced before. 

This past Sunday we watched the older Joseph Smith movie. I haven't seen it in a while....definitely cried. I love Jospeh Smith so much and I am so grateful for all the pain and trials he went through for this church. I am sometimes hesitant to share the restoration right then and there because I am always so afraid of what people will say about it, but I have realized that  Joseph's experience and the power of the Book of Mormon is what changes people the most. If we don't teach with the Book of Mormon we basically waste our time because every time you read it or testify about it the spirit is so so strong!

Thank you! Thank you for the letters! I love you all so much! The mission is so great and I'm still in denial that I am experiencing these amazing new changes in my life. I am so blessed to be with such a great district/zone. I am so excited because I finally get to go to the templo today!!!
I wish I had more to say. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! 

TE AMO! <3

Hermana Allen

Preparation Day in the MTC -Laundry

Friday, July 10, 2015

"I don't know Spanish, but God 
knows Spanish"

Hola Familia!

The famous saying "make it to Sunday" is absolutely true! I am doing so well here in the Provo MTC. 

Okay. I have so much to tell you and I am going to be typing as fast as I please fogive me with all the grammar mistakes. Last Friday was my first lesson in Spanish and it went horribly! haha Hermana Smith and I basically spent hours writing and planning out a script and the lesson was super awkward and we could not understand a word our investigator was saying. We taught him again on Saturday and it went pretty much the same way.  Sunday I was super frustrated with myself and in my interview with my sister training leader, I asked her for some advice. She told me that the biggest lesson she learned was to teach by the spirit. It was kinda a slap in the face because I realized I was being so prideful and selfish. I was so concerned with how well my Spanish sounded that I didn't have any Faith that Christ would help me. Sunday night Hermana Smith and I decided to to not write our lesson word by word. This was super hard...especially for Hermana Smith because she had some similar concerns as me. We both wanted it to be the best lesson that it could be....I guess you can say it is just perfectionism in us. 

Monday was our first lesson teaching our first TRC with Marco. This was our first lesson without a "script" and it went SO WELL. THE SPIRIT WAS SO STRONG. Marco has polio and come from a Catholic background. He is probably one of the nicest people I have ever met. Word on the MTC street is that Marco is one of the real investigators! We just talked with him and I was speaking spanish (kinda) and he was already reading the Book of Mormon...his sister is LDS. Sunday I fasted that I would have more faith that He would help me feel comfortable not knowing the lanugage and that He would help me as long as I put my trust in Him. God is real. After that lesson Hermana Mella and Hermana Rumsey had a similar experience with their TRC investigator.  Hermana mella jumped on the bed and said "I DONT KNOW SPANISH, BUT GOD KNOWS SPANISH." I laughed a little bit when she did this, but it is SO TRUE! God knows His children more than I ever will and He has the power to touch the lives of those seeking truth. 

Another lesson Heavenly Father has taught me this week is that 1. I needed to trust Him more 2. I need to not focus on myself. Sunday night I had the opportunity to watch Elder Bednard's talk "Character of Christ." Literally the best talk I have ever heard. They say they only show it in the MTC but everyone should look it up and find it because he lays down the law. Totally changed my attidute about a mission and the MTC and basically life. He talked about how we just need to look outward and never inward, A mission is never about the missionary. It's about the investigator. The rest of the week I started to make a goal that whenever I said the word "I", I would say a little prayer that I would rememebr that this experience isnt about me, but It's about how Heavenly Father is going to shape me to become the best missionary that I can to help His children. 

By the way....HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY! 
Thank you for all the Dear Elder letters, packages, and love. Everyone in my district makes fun of me because of the mail I get...but they are really just jealous ;) On the 4th we had a special devotional followed by watching the Stadium of Fire fireworks. I was way fun! We even got to "stay up" past 10:30

Spanish Update:
So I can pray and  bare my testimony in Spanish. Every class is entirely in Spanish. I dont think I've heard my teacher speak in English once. Each day I'm understanding more and more and it truly is amazing how real the gift of tongues is! There is no way I would be able to speak the way that I do at the pace that I am if it wasnt for the spirit and faith in Christ. I still can't believe that I will one day be able to speak spanish! 

I love the pictures of our new kitty! I CANT WAIT TO HOLD HER. I love you all so much! 

Hermana Allen 

Tres Hermanas
The must have "Map Photo"

The District

Her "This is Hard" look

(that is actually her journal
she is looking at. Ha! )

MTC Companion

Provo Temple Outing
Hermana Allen with Her Cousin
(The taller Elder)
headed to Guam

Friday, July 3, 2015

Famous Day Three is Already Here


Well it's already P-Day! The famous day 3 is already here. These past three days have been a roller coaster of emotion. It has finally set in that I am now a full time missionary! The good news is that I still remember a little bit of Spanish, but it is so crazy how much I don't know hahah. My companera's nombre es Hermana Smith. It's funny because we have like the two most generic white last names. She is from Orem, UT and is so sweet and really nice and is going to the Salta Mission as well! There are five people in my district (including me) who are serving in Salta, so that is way fun and so exciting! We have a big district....eight Elders and four Sisters. The Elder we saw at In N Out is not in my district, but the sisters in my district know him because apparently there was a Salta chat group that I was not aware of. The other sisters in my district are Hermana Mella and Hermana Rumsey. Hermana Mella is so adorable and is serving in SAN DIEGO! She is going to be one of those cute sisters working in the Mormon Battalion. 

The MTC has been exhausting, but I am learning so much. The Provo MTC is such an inspired program and I'm so grateful to be a part of it. The very first night was probably when I felt of the spirit the most so far. As a class we had to teach these investigators by answering their questions and and telling them what they need to hear. One investigator, Chicho, was by far my favorite. He is Catholic and has seven children. His wife past away seven years ago, and he lost one of his sons when he was only a few days old. He was such a sweet and loving man. He had heard about the Plan of Happiness from one of his friends and was way excited about it. However, he felt guilty because his son never got baptized and he thought his son was in limbo because of him. A missionary read him the scripture in Alma and n D&C where it talks about how when little children die, they automatically go live with God. Tears filled his eyes and the SPIRIT WAS SO STRONG. I even started to cry because you could really feel of God's love in that room. 

Another reason I love the MTC is because it is so easy to love strangers. I just feel a love for everyone around me and I can't really explain why. There is just such a sweet spirit here. 
I SAW SOEUR LONAS! I love that girl! She is leaving for Canada in a few days and I don't want her to leave. We live in the same building, so last night we got to chat for a little bit before bed. She is practically fluent in French and LOVES the MTC.  I have seen Thomas a few times too! He seems to be doing well. On the first day they had all the cousins stand up and it was so fun to stand up together among the FIVE HUNDRED NEW MISSIONARIES. I think there are about eight thousand total. crazy. 

Tonight Hermana Smith and I are going to teach our first lesson in Spanish. A.k.a attempt to get through the lesson and just do the best I can. haha We planned a short little lesson on the Atonement and our purpose here on earth. We now just have to translate it today before our lesson...Yikes.  

I hope you all are having so much fun at the lake! Tell Adam to email me and tell me all about efy. I would love to hear all about it. Thank you mom for your letter, prayers, and sweet testimony. I can totally feel the Lord starting to stretch me. I know that this is what I'm supposed to be doing in order to become better. I'm so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and I can't wait to learn more about myself and my Savior. Sorry this letter isn't super has only been one full day....hahaha. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! Please send lots of letters.. LOTS. please. :) 
Have a great day and a fun July 4th
Hermana Allen