Monday, August 31, 2015

El Libro de Mormon es el Camino

Hola Familia! 

This was a really weird week. I feel like it was all such a blur. I can't believe tomorrow is my 2 month mark....QUE EN EL MUNDO. 
I am loving it here in Arizona. The members are so kind to me It's amazing. They get all happy when I tell them I'm from California because they think I know Spanish, but then I can't understand anything they say after that and I'm sure they change their mind. haha 

On Tuesday we had another exchange, except this time I went with Hermana Knudson who came out the same day I as you can imagine it was a pretty interesting day. We literally spent forever trying to find out were people lived. I felt so bad because it wasn't my area I wasn't that much of a help, and we both don't have ipads yet so we didn't even have the area book. So we made cookies and just tried to see as many people as we could that could speak both Spanish and English hahaha. The best part of this story is that we had to teach a SPANISH CLASS. Yes Spanish. NOT English. A lot of kids here have parents who speak only spanish and since they go to school here and learn english they don't know spanish very well, so that's were I came in. It was actually way fun and we just did simple simple basics! I just thought it was so funny. 

Thursday night and Friday morning Hermana Aguilar was sick with the flu :( Entonces, I had a LOT of study and reflection time to myself. Not going to lie, it was very lonely and depressing after awhile. However, I learned so much about how I need to be better. As a missionary I have been finding it hard to distinguish Godly sorrow and shame. Since I am set apart and don't have the normal distractions, Satan likes to tempt missionaries with missionary work....if that makes any sense? Sometimes I get down if I'm not being PERFECT or if I didn't completely fulfill my missionary purpose exactly in one appointment, or if I cant speak fluent spanish and dont contribute much to a lesson. I guess I have been so worried and have been really hard on myself because I know better. 

But I am finding out that those have been major thinking errors on my part. I read the talk "Latter Day Saints Keep Trying" and I realized as long as I'm trying my best Heavenly Father is proud of me. Even in those moments when I know I am not doing my best, I know I can repent and change and do better the next time. I think that is what I need to remember. It makes sense that Satan tries to tear down missionaries, I guess I just never thought he would twist missionary work to do it. It was so confusing for me to try and understand at first. "Am I feeling this way because I am bad?" or "Am I feeling this way because Satan wants me to be discouraged?" 

Once I have been able to recognize that God never discourages you. He will always calm, comfort, and lead you. Satan rushes, pushes, worries, confuses, and discourages you. That is why reading the scriptures is SO IMPORTANT! Here is when God teaching you. Here is where God will tell you how to be better, how to repent and change to become more like Him. It is simply beautiful. 

As a mission we are focusing on the Book of Mormon this Transfer. Everyone that we talk to we MUST share something from the Book of Mormon and spend at least 30min in personal study reading it. 
During my interview with president Jenkins, he asked me how reading the Book of Mormon has helped me since I've gotten here. I had to think about it because it didn't even cross my mind that it was helping me, but when I began to express my gratitude I broke down crying (embarrassing) . I realized that the Book of Mormon has given me the most comfort while I have been here. I thought that the mission would be full of feeling the spirit every second of everyday, but its been challenging to feel the spirit at times. Reading the Book of Mormon has been the closest I have felt to God, especially during my first week when I felt so alone.
Mom, I LOVED what you said about the Book of Mormon being the best self help book out there. It's so true! Keep reading! <3

Yesterday Hermana Aguilar and I were asked to give the presentation at a baptism of one of her investigators in her first area. President Jenkins was there and I was so nervous to speak Spanish in front of him for some reason, but I did it! hahaha Also we have been having some pretty amazing rain storms. Many trees have been pulled out of the ground. The temple had three palm trees knocked over. We were able to see Mario the other day! We taught him the Plan of Salvation and his reaction wasn't what I was expecting, but he agreed to meet with us again so that is awesome! He prayed for the first time in front of us and it took us a lot of convincing for him to do it. After his prayer he was SO SO Happy. It was so sweet. Missionary work is the best. THE BEST. 
Also we were walking to see Julio and this little girl Nathan's age starting talking to us. We then starting talking to her Dad (who didn't seem too interested) then Lilly (the little girl) popped up and said "Are you the girls that go around talking about God? I REALLY want to come to church. I want to learn more about God." I was so surprised by this little girl and her desire to learn more about Jesus Christ. I think I am starting to truly understand what it means to become as a little child. All the children here adore missionaries. You can really see the innocence and humility in there eyes. They are so sweet. I have gotten so many drawings and pictures and hugs from children who we only see for one visit. 

Sorry I feel like this letter is me just talking about random stuff. Know that I'm learning so much about Faith, Repentance, Patience, Humility....pretty much everything I need to work on :) 
That is the beauty of this gospel. Try a little harder to be a little better. 

Be brave little champions! 

Hermana Allen 

Hermana Allen and Hermana Aguilar
The "Argentine" and the "Chilan" getting along just fine :)
Hermana Allen made a digital B-day card for her Mama then asked an investigator send it.
Baptism for Hermana Aguilar from her 1st Area 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tengo Gozo En Mi Alma Hoy 
-I Have Joy In My Soul Today

This week has been so much better! I finally feel like the transition is kicking in and missionary work is just so awesome! This week hasn't been too "successful", but I have just been so happy. As a zone we are focusing on little miracles that happen in our everyday lives.
Last Monday night I expereinced a tender miracle. We were trying to contact this one potiental, but she wasn't home so we were walking down the street and ran into Mario. Turns out he is living with another potiential of ours (Dora), but she has been in Mexico these past few weeks. We started talking with him and I could understand bits and pieces of what he was saying, but not all of it. Hermana Aguilar just started talking about the Plan of I went with it...and the spirit was REALLY strong and I looked up and Mario was crying.
After we set up another appointment with him and left, I asked Hermana what exctally happened. Aparently his parents just recently died in Mexico, but he couln't go back to Mexico to see the funeral. This has been really hard for him becuase he still feels like his parents are alive. Of course we continued to tell him that his parents are alive and that he can live with them again. Hermana Aguliar said when she was talking she could feel his parents with her and she knew that it was the spirit speaking through her. Unfortunatley Mario wasn't home when we tried for our appointment. I'm really hoping this week we can meet with him agian and tell him more!
On Thursday I went on exchanges with Hermana Guevara and it was so fun! It was a day of miracles. It was a day full of appointment after appointment and everyone was home and no one canceled! It was so much fun to teach like that and I learned so much from Hermana Guevara.
Saturday we had the opportunity to volunteer and the opening of the light rail. It was so much fun! We just handed out water bottles to everyone walking by. I saw Dad's cousin and even talked with this guy named David Smith..? He saw my last name and immediatley told me this story about he lived next door nieghbors with our relative who lives down the street from the visitor center...oh I forgot who....I need to do better with our Family History. Anyway, aparently he fell and cracked his head open when he was younger and one of our realtives saved his life. Story ring a bell? I don't really know....but I thought it was a cool story hahaha.
On Sunday JULIO CAME TO CHURCH. This is a miracle because we contacted Julio on my first or second day in the field. However, he kept making excuses of not seeing us, or would reset appointments. (we have never taught him a lesson) Saturday we went over to invite him to a ward activity and he said no, but then said that he would come to church. I didn't really believe him, but he came! Again, I'm not sure if he will progress but it is so amazing how God just puts little miracles in your life every day.
There have been so many times when memebers will just randomly see us, invite us in to cool down for a sec, give us water, or help us in anyway. It's so fun to see members in a differnt light. I am getting a whole new perspective on members and missionary is seriously so cool.
All the time I think of what I've done or what I've been able to learn in these past few months. Although its hard, there are so many things I don't think I would have learned ANY OTHER WAY. Missions are such a blessing. Ah!
I love you all so much!

Hermana Aguilar and Hermana Allen 
Downtown Mesa

Randomly met Dad's cousin Kyle Jones and wife.
(He is currently serving as a Stake President in Mesa)

Missionaries in Mesa

"My favourite animal is puppies. I like serving the Lord. Hiking, play volleyball." -Nacho Libre

Mission Life

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bienvenido a Arizona!

I am so spoiled here in Arizona! I have an amazing companion Hermana Aguilar!! She was born in Chile (shout out to KimberLee) and raised in speaks perfect spanish and English *dream come true. It was funny because when president Jenkins annouced our companionship at transfer meeting, he said "I don't know if it is a good idea to put a Chilean and an Argentine together...there might be some problems" haha I LOVE HER.  She reminds me so much of Melissa Hoynacki. Like so much. She has such an amazing outlook on missionary work! This is her first time training and being full field (she was called to the visiting center). The people here in Mesa are so so so nice. Even the people that reject you..they do it in such a nice manner. hahaha. I'm so spoiled here. We have a really nice apartment, car, phone, ipads, and we get fed every night. The members are so so sweet.
okay so I'm sure all of you have heard that it was 117 degrees here. yeah. It really isn't that bad!!...mostly because we have a car.
I am over two wards! The Eden Park YSA ward and the Tierra Rica branch. I am definitely speaking more English than I would like, but it's also nice to practice contacting in English. We also have to get a little creative when finding people teach. In my area there are only like 3 Hispanic neighborhoods and as you can guess, not that many YSA. I have learned so much this week about God's will and having faith. The field has been a hard transition for me, and I have had to depend a lot on Heavenly Father. Sometimes I feel so small and insignificant, but I just have to keep reminding myself why I'm here and who I'm here for.
My mission president is so nice and pretty much the greatest! President Jenkins reminds me a ton of Grandpa Allen...don't really know why, but it makes me happy :) There are so many different cultures here! I love it. We are teaching a man Enrique from Guatemala

Saturday we didn't have that many appointments, so most of the day was spent finding. It was the end of the day when we decided to go to this one house in the area book and see if the person was interested or not. When we pulled up to the house I started to feel really nervous. (I was kinda upset with my spanish from the previous lesson so I thought that just made me extra nervous). Hermana Aguilar asked how I felt and I said "great." 
When we approached the door, we were standing outside for a good minute and I had this thought come to me "you need to leave NOW." I turned to Hermana and asked if we should go and she agreed. The minute we turned and left I felt this HUGE chill go through me.. like the spirit telling me it was the right decision. The feeling was so so overwhelming I burst into tears in the middle of the road. Hermana Aguilar turned to me and said she was so glad we left because she remembers coming to that house before and having a similar feeling. God's hand really is in my life and I'm so grateful for it. 
I love being a missionary. I loved walking down the street and watching people quickly walking to the cars as if we are going to attack them. I love serving. I love Spanish. I'm so blessed to be here and to have such and amazing experience.

Sister Emma Allen 
Arizona Mesa Mission 
2525 North 32nd Street 
Mesa, Arizona 85213-181

ps. I miss my MTC district. Hope you all are doing well!

Welcome to the Arizona Mesa Mission
(and 117 degree record breaking temps.  August in Arizona)

Hermana Allen with President and Sister Jenkins
Arizona Mesa Mission Presidents
MTC Selfie

Twinning Companions

Goodbye to the MTC Hermanas

One Final MTC District Photo

Friday, August 7, 2015

We're BREAKING FREE. Soaring! Flying!


Only a few more days until I leave for the real world. As Zac Efron would say, "We're breaking free." I'm so excited for the new adventures to come in Mesa, Arizona. On Tuesday when I found out that my visa wasn't ready, the travel office called me in so that I can get my fingerprints done again. I got into a cop car and drove to BYU and was sitting in the JKB for like a whole hour. IT WAS SO WEIRD. I kept hoping someone I know would walk in. 

Tuesday Russell M. Nelson came to speak to us! An Apostle for my last devotional, not bad at all! It was his first time speaking since being called as President of the twelve. When he walked in and all the missionaries stood up, I could feel the spirit rushing through my body. It was such a great experience. He is so nice and sweet and adorable. I just loved it. He talked about how we need to have the Gospel engraved into our hearts and how, if anything, we need to come home converted to the gospel. He also talked about repentance and how God is always there with open arms to help us and forgive us. "As oft as they will repent, I will forgive." I love the beauty of repentance. I can't believe I have learned so much about the basic doctrine of Christ since  being here.

 President Nelson also talked about how being a missionary is not being a salesperson. Its inviting others to become more like Christ. That has been the theme of my week. On Sunday, we had the opportunity to watch Bednar's mtc devotional from a few years back called "Becoming a missionary." It was so amazing. Between that talk and Character of Bednar is amazing. Also the letter I received from Dad talked a lot about becoming the person that God wants me to become. I'm so excited to serve in Arizona! I know God is going to shape me and help be become a great missionary from this experience. 

Sunday for testimony meeting, I bore my testimony en espanol! It was such a cool experience. I really love spanish so much. I still have a lot to learn, but it really is such a beautiful language. The gift of tongues is so real. I feel like I can only really speak during lessons when the spirit is there. Dios sabe espanol. 

This morning we went to the templo as a districto. It was such a cool experience. I love the temple more and more each time I go. We also went and ate breakfast after our session in the basement. It was SO GOOD. I forgot what real food tastes like. 
I'm going to miss the MTC so much. I have grown so much here and have really felt the love of God everyday. My district has been family to me, and I am so grateful I have been blessed with such an amazing companion. I'm going to miss the MTC, but I'm so excited for what awaits me ahead. I have been asked like 50 times this week. "What is one thing you have learned in the MTC that you will take with you on your mission?" 
I think the most valuable thing I have learned, is how to love others in a way I have never loved before, and to rely on my Savior more than I ever have before. When I focus on these two things I experience the greatest amount of happiness. This mission would be IMPOSSIBLE if it wasn't for him. Learning a language, planning lessons, teaching those who have more experience, relying on faith, stepping into the unknown, asking for help in every moment...I just love it. Basically I have learned that I have been living my life so wrong. I thought I knew what it meant to pray. I thought I knew what it meant to serve. I thought I knew what it meant to feel the spirit. There is so much more power as a missionary it's incredible. 

So I thought that I would never see Marco again, BUT Hermana Smith and I were sitting outside doing companion study when we see Marco on his way out walking to his car! We had a discussion with him about his REAL life (not his fake investigator life) I love it. He gave us beautiful advice about the mission field about putting our trust in the Lord and not comparing. He then told us this beautiful story about when he was reading in the Book of Mormon yesterday and received personal revelation about how he needs to be a better husband to his wife. I think he was being to hard on himself but it was so nice to listen to him and talk about his real life needs. 

SO basically I need to leave the MTC because everything is funny. I mean everything. Its a problem. 
Thank you all for the letters, packages, dear elders, and love! It really makes me so happy to hear about anything. 
I am so happy to be a missionary and to have this gospel! This has been the fastest 6 weeks of my life. 
Next stop Arizona, then Argentina bound. 
Hermana Allen

Love wearing our Argentina t-shirts on P-days

Enjoying some amazing sugar cookies!