Monday, April 20, 2015

So I Ran a Red Light... and other Life Lessons

Life Lesson:  Always check what color the light is before following a great big truck....

So I ran a red light. Without knowing it was a red light because there was a huge truck in front of me who was also running the red light and I could not see anything in front of him. He did not slow down at all, so I ran the red light thinking it was still green and nothing had changed at all. I was in Vancouver.The office made up for it though, they felt really bad, they fed me homemade strawberry shortcake and gave us a new car. A really nice car, the Assistants old car. Anyways, it wasn't my fault, the office knows, but the church is not supposed to have that publicity, and Canada is weird about this stuff, they would make me go to court if I didn't pay it or even if I told them why it wasn't my fault, so, I will be paying that soon. 

Life Lesson: The Temple is beautiful any day of the week!

We got to go to the temple on P-day. Which meant the temple was actually closed, but we got to walk on the grounds because it was close to a body shop we had to take our car to. So that was exciting!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Pancakes, the Ocean, and the Language

Things are good here in Canada!

We have been making pancakes for lunch a lot, and for dinner too. They are pretty easy and quick to make and they are always worth it too. Kind of like our lessons. They are not always easy (obviously) but they are all pretty quick. They go by really fast and every single one of them is worth it because you know that you were doing your best, and hopefully they understand the things we taught. 

Then it comes to the syrup! The best part that everybody still expects with the pancake. We all expect a baptism with our investigators, eventually, it will always come. Some times it happens after a long time, sometimes it happens after a short time, but it eventually always will happen. We give all those little lessons in hopes that they will be able to go to the waters of baptism. 

We pray it doesn't just stop there, we pray that the pancakes will "nourish and strengthen our bodies" we pray that one day it will nourish and strengthen their seed. That one day they will go to the temple, make those covenants and be sealed to their families for time and all of eternity. That would be wonderful! 

We are talking more than just syrup now, this is like strawberries and chocolate and yummy goodness. And it is available to all people! 

This yummy goodness is for all people. All they have to do is learn how to make a pancake, (take the lessons) add the syrup, (blessings of baptism) and then just keep it going (adding all that other good stuff). 

Missionary mind, I know. Not a ton of people relate the gospel to a pancake. But why not? Everybody eats pancakes, everybody can read the Book of Mormon too. They are totally alike!

The gospel is available to so many people that the church lets the all the resources to be available in any language you can think of. I watched General Conference in three different languages this year, and almost had two more. 

We watched conference in English, Mandarin, and Korean. We almost watched it in French and Spanish too, all because one person needed it. 

Yesterday we got an oil change and met a member who was down in Salt Lake translating for a local Indian language that I had never heard of. It is awesome! God's kingdom is moving forward! Things like that, do not just happen. Ultimately, it all comes down to the language of the Spirit. It doesn't matter what language you use to speak with, you learn new things with the language of the Spirit, which can communicate to you so specifically and so personally that it we all kind of have our specific language. And yet it is all connected. 

Like the ocean, it all connects. 

There is no missing link, when the Spirit talks to you, you can't deny it, He talks to your spirit. He communicates with our hearts, and only we can understand. That is why it is so difficult to explain to people what the Spirit feels like, because it is different for everybody. Because He gets personal. 

I know that the Lord has given us the Spirit so we really all can learn, there is a scripture in Alma 5:45-46 that explains to us that He will testify to you of all things, but it doesn't tell you how He does it. Heavenly Father is so personal. He made us our own language, and has helped us get our own pancake, with our favorite type of toppings. 

I love being a missionary.

Here is the cute funny Alyssa tidbit I got in my letter. It shows that some Alyssa's will always be Alyssa's. I promise I brought her up as a good Christian. I'm not quite sure why she thinks Good Friday is a Canadian Holiday! 

Hey mom, sorry I didn't email yesterday. All of the libraries were closed still because of Easter. They celebrate it differently here than in the U.S.. They have it stretch for the course of a couple days. It starts on Friday, they have their own holiday called Good Friday, which I guess is the day that Christ was crucified. Then, on Monday is when they celebrate Easter, they have Easter Monday instead of Easter Sunday, because He was resurrected three days later. Pretty cool I guess. I like remembering the resurrection more than the death, but hey, both things needed as a part of the Atonement, so good that they all remember the whole process. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Jesus Take the Wheel

Today we received our transfer calls and things are changing again! They called in the middle of studies, weird, but it was good because it helped me direct my studies for sure.

Our mission is the only mission in the world that has sister districts, as in, no elders and only sisters. Recently, our first Chinese zone was established, just this transfer! So we had two Chinese districts, one of the elders and one of the sisters.

I was asked to be the district leader of the Chinese Sister District this morning. Elder Rolfson, (the assistant who gave my companion and I the news) told me that I have to represent President Burt in being a district leader because he does not speak Chinese, and he has to make sure that there is no language barrier between the missionaries and him. Scary.

As soon as he hung up the phone, I thought of an experience and really awesome companionship study sister Chan and I had.

A couple days ago we had an exchange with some other sisters in Vancouver. Neither of them drive, so I was the one driving us to their middle way bus stop and we were going to switch companions at the half way mark. On our way home, we had a pretty scary experience while driving. Like really scary.

Like we almost died scary. And I went into shock. I was driving in shock. I do not remember how I got home. There was no recollection what roads I took. There was no GPS. I didn't look at the map. I just somehow drove all the way from the heart of Vancouver sky train station to White Rock. I was so scared! I remember the person I was with, sister Xie, was very calm. She was working to help calm me down too. heavenly Father really took the wheel from me and just took on the trial for me. Took it all away, there was no stress, just driving along to make sure we made it to our next appointment on time.

The next time I was with my companion in companion study, we realized how driving can relate to life. We have to be humble enough to let Heavenly Father drive all the time. We have to be open to being humbled, not making Him just take over when we can't anymore. Heavenly Father has NO blind spots, so we don't have to worry about getting hit or getting scratched. We might get into scary situations like that day where we almost died, but we have the ability to stay in the middle lane, on the straight and narrow, making sure that we don't get dents or scratches. Our car is totally fine, we lived without any physical damage. And if we take care of our car, take care of our spirit like reading scriptures daily and praying often, we aren't ever going to have those problems of not being able to be repaired. The Atonement is so good! Christ really takes care of our car, and lets us repair all the time! 

Today, I was asked to be a district leader and continue training Sister Chan in White Rock. I've really got to be the humble person I can be so that Jesus can take the wheel every time without me trying to give Him directions. I've got to help take care of my car so i can let others hop in when they need a ride. Things are good, but they are going to keep improving because Jesus is going to be driving.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Answered Prayers and Priesthood Power

Family and Friends,

I love being a missionary!!!

I have been praying for new things to happen, been actually praying for miracles, and really just looking for Heavenly Fathers guidance. I have been making an extra effort to just do what I can. 

This week was crazy, we had a really great start on Monday, we had a member visit and an MPL with somebody who said she would be willing to accept baptism once she learns more. We are going to continue to meet with her for sure. Then, Tuesday came and every lesson fell through for the week until Thursday night. No big deal, because we were able to set another baptismal date, who is actually the son of the current baptismal date we already had. 

Their names are Megan and Derek. They are wonderful. Megan's back is pretty sore, she tore something (I think, they were using Chinese, something really bad happened) while gardening and she currently cannot walk or sit up for any period of time. She has been sleeping on the ground this entire week because it is the only thing that is hard surface enough for the healing to happen. Anyways, she was not able to go to church this week, and her son was at home taking care of her with his twin brother Jimmy. 

When we were writing the teaching record this Saturday night we thought of what we could write under the "Help wanted from the ward" category, we thought of a priesthood blessing but we didn't know if she would really understand what it was, because even though you teach about the priesthood, people don't really understand about it until they see it, she has only seen them bless the sacrament. We decided to write it down anyways. It was Priesthood council instead of ward council this week so we were not at the meeting, but our ward mission leader and the elders were giving the information in the meeting for us about our investigators. They mentioned about how she might need a blessing and the priesthood were so WILLING to help! 

We found two brothers that day at church to come to Megan's house that night to give her a blessing. But we still had to tell Megan that we were coming over, because we hadn't yet. So we called and she didn't want to inconvenience anybody, she did not want to make them come over and see her sick. We assured her that it would be fast and easy and that the reason why we have invited them over was because that we and they loved her and wanted to see her get better. She agreed to having them come over and so later that night we went over.

The veil was softened yesterday night. I felt like I was literally walking with God. The Spirit was SO STRONG. We asked the brethren to explain what they were going to do and why they needed the oil. We let the brethren explain what the priesthood was again so she could understand and have it fresh in her mind. They started with explaining to her that the blessing would be dependent on her faith, she was a little nervous about that, not knowing if it would be enough. The ordinance was performed and then we all started to cry in silence. 

Sister Chan and I shared our testimonies and it was incredible. We asked her how she felt, and she said that she was extremely more comfortable. ("bi jiao shufu" for my Chinese Speaking friends) It was a miracle.

Love Sister Allen

Monday, March 9, 2015

I'm teaching English!

I teach English class now! It has been very new and it is so exciting! I love teaching these people! They are people who come from China and move here with their kids and grand kids. Most of their families can speak English because they learn in school, but these people have not. This week they were all learning how to say "Hi, my name is ____" and "I am from China" some basic starters! They are great!

We start out with a prayer, and explain to them what prayer actually is. Once they know what prayer is and that it helped me learn Chinese this fast they are more willing. 

Because prayer has to do with God and religion, a couple of them have started calling us and wondering how to learn more about God! Wonderful! We are finding a lot of good success from it. 

The class really just helps. It helps us get excited to help others to learn, it helps the Chinese people learn English living in Canada, it helps people get into the church and it helps me just be happy.

It was such a blessing that we got to teach English this Friday! It really set up my day for some successful happiness. Stuff that you can't take away. I was so happy. Friday's plans changed like crazy. The only thing that stayed on schedule was the actual English class itself. 

We had three other lessons planned that day and a member for every single one of them locked in and ready to go. Every single investigator then called within minutes of the lesson and canceled. 

The great thing was, neither my companion or I freaked out or got upset. We knew that we were needed somewhere else at that time. We just stayed happy and did our best to have that good attitude. But we got better, we moved on with the day and found miracles. And we smiled all day, it is incredible how influential it is when you just choose to smile. 

That night, we were writing three things we were grateful that happened in our planners during daily planning. We both realized that because we had been so happy in English class that day and chose to smile throughout the day, things were good. 

We were both a lot more grateful for things even though every single appointment changed. We were so happy to be out on a mission and to be able to tell people that we were missionaries and that we became missionaries because we know that Jesus Christ was resurrected, and that God loves us so things were good! 

Anyways, I know that English class was a part of what I needed to have happen that day. I know that it really was a part of God's plan for that day so I could choose to be happy. 

So I could remember those big things that happened that can make a simple difference in my day. I know that God lives and that He loves me. I know that Jesus Christ was resurrected and that's why we want to go out and let people know that because He was resurrected we can be too! Being a missionary is so good.

Sister Allen

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A light turned on won't flicker or blow out

Dad was asking me a ton of questions when he emailed me this week. And one of them was who are our top investigators. I started thinking and the thoughts like "I wish I knew" were coming into my head and I started typing thinking that it was going to get better. 

I really am trying to lose myself and go to work. It has been one of my biggest concerns since I got my call, knowing that I would need to NOT worry about myself and just make sure I grow with my investigators. I have always been worried that I won't do enough.  I am trying to be a better example with Sister Chan, which isn't hard because she wants so badly to improve. 

I am studying Preach My Gospel like crazy and read my scriptures every morning with a question written down on a paper so I can help my companion and our investigators. I am pretty sure it is helping a ton! I see it making a difference in my efforts.

You can probably tell I am getting too locked up in the numbers, I am working on that. It is something my mom and dad have raised us up telling us that it is not about the numbers. They encouraged us all to serve missions. They served in Italy (neighboring missions) and my mom had one baptism her entire mission, my dad had four. They had to make sure they weren't caught up in the numbers, so I have been hearing stories like that all my life. I just need to remember that it really doesn't matter if I see people to the waters of baptism as long as I am being an effective missionary and bringing people unto Christ.

We currently have Megan Chen as our baptismal date, she has March 21st planned for a baptism. But she hasn't been to church for a while, so we've got to work on that. Also, her boys are very likely to be baptized when she does. Which would be great! She has finished reading the Book of Mormon and is reading it again to understand more. 

We also have Sabrina and her family. Sabrina had a baptismal date for February the 28th, she wasn't baptized but she came to church by her self yesterday! She doesn't have her license so she can't drive, but she found one of the people who come to church every week and got a ride! It was such a tender mercy for me to see that. And then one of our new investigators came to church. She did not make it in time for sacrament but brought her daughter to primary and went to Gospel Principles class with her husband. It was such a blessing to be there with them showing up. 

I went to church not knowing if any investigators were going to come, it didn't seem likely that any would, Heavenly Father definitely blessed me. Things are getting so good. 

Yesterday was my 5 month marker for my mission so far and my companion and I celebrated after getting back to the house. We were just going to have hot chocolate but she gave me a gift. She told me to close my eyes, so it could be a surprise. 

She gave me a plastic candle, the kind that take batteries. She said that even if it gets dim for a couple seconds, it can't ever be turned off unless we let it.

I thought it was a really cool analogy. It might not smell like a normal candle, but it wouldn't ever flicker on and off. It would always be on. I liked that because no wind would be able to blow it out. Then she related it to me which was sweet. She said that no wind can blow me out as long as I am working on keeping the light turned on. All I have to do is those easy steps like reading scriptures and going to church and really praying. Heavenly Father makes it so easy for us to have that light! I am so excited to go keep working. Things can only get better! Not that they are currently bad, but things can really only get better. I just have to keep my light turned on.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I'm Training Someone From Hong Kong!

So my week has been insane!

I started off by saying goodbye to my trainer on Sunday/Monday because she was going off with another missionary to visit all of their converts together. So even though she didn't leave till Wednesday, she was gone. 

That was hard, but at the same time I knew she had done her best to train me to the point that I was ready to take over the area. I felt pretty good about it. 

Then President Burt told me that night that I would be training. Crazy! I knew exactly who it would be because there was only one Chinese speaker coming in. Awesome! I was pretty much jumping around all over the place after he told me. Then I realized I was training, boy did I hit my knees real hard. Crazy.

Tuesday, my new companion was not in the country yet so I was with another companion for a bit. She was good and while we were there, her sister training leaders came over to help clean the apartment and get it ready for her new companion. We found some pretty nasty things in the 72 hour kit. That is a sandwich from who knows how long ago. 

That night we went back to my area for ward coordination meeting, and then had a surprise lesson with one of our investigators while we were up in White Rock. It was good. The bishopric is trying to see her more now too, it is pretty cool to see everybody trying to get involved!

Wednesday I was helping with transfers. Being in the lower mainland I got to help with transfers all morning, till they were done. Then I went to a new area for the night till the next day when my companion would be in the country. 

Thursday, got caught up in traffic so we barely made it to the transfer meeting in time to meet our new companions. But we got there! Since then we have been working hard. She is always looking about always improving, a skill I could learn form her. She is awesome! I love her tons! things are good.

I have just been working on my prayers a ton lately, and when I found out that I would be training, I really found reason to personalize my prayers, they are a lot less robotic now, it is good.

Also, just a side note, March 1 is my 5 month marker on my mission! Ahh! It is going so fast!

Sister Allen

Monday, February 16, 2015

Chinese New Year

Kane was baptized! He is now a part of the White Rock Ward and loves it. He cut off his hair, shaved his beard, and took out his gages, without anybody telling him to! He said if he was going to join the church he wasn't just going part way, crazy, it was awesome. He surprised all the missionaries when he said his roommate wants to baptized too! He now has a date, the elders are teaching him because they teach in English, but things are going well! His roommate got to see him baptized and confirmed, he was bummed when he couldn't go up to stand in the Priesthood circle to give Kane the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was really great.

The Chinese New Year party was this weekend! Miracles just kept happening one after another! We did not have a ton of Church members present at lessons this week. But we were able to be with our investigators all week, they were not able to meet for an actual lesson, but they were all helping out in the kitchen and with the performances for the Chinese New Year party. 

So we went to them. We were able to talk to every one of our investigators this week as they volunteered their time and talents. We had some of our performances come from the connections with the investigators and because some were so willing to be a part of this big party, they were willing to perform for free. We had some investigators bring their friends to show others that our church is not a cult. 

We had a lot of people come to church the next day and talk about what a great experience it was for their friends to come and get involved, they aren't even baptized yet! And here they are doing the missionary work! The members also asked us to do a performance, so we danced a traditional Chinese dance with the bishopric as the Lions. It was awesome! We had over 500 people come to the party and maybe half of them were members. All but 2 people in the kitchen (of the ten) were investigators! It was a huge miracle. Awesome.

The next day we had church and I cried a little during the sacrament. I loved seeing all of those 12 year old boys that I have gotten to know the families of over these past couple weeks. I didn't realize how important it was for the young men to be passing the sacrament until yesterday. A lot of those young boys have tried to stay worthy so they can pass the sacrament. And then all of us in the ward doing our best to partake of the sacrament too is just such a miracle. I didn't realize how incredible it is that we really are all of God's sheep, we are His heard. He gives us the sacrament so we can keep going, and has his little sheep, lambs, do it. To help us remember we need to be the teachable ones, we need to be childlike and listen. 

I love how this is the year of the sheep and we are referred to as Christ's flock all the time, I especially love that we have a Shepard, guiding and showing us the way. I love this Gospel! Goodness, God is so good.

Monday, February 9, 2015

I Didn't Realize Missions Go This Fast

My companion is going home pretty soon. At the end of this transfer my Sister Dahl is heading back to Arizona. Today we will be going on rounds of meeting a couple of her recent converts before she goes home.

I got to see the complete two opposite ends of the mission in just four months of the mission. I got to be with my district in the MTC all learning together and figuring out how to even learn Chinese much less learning how to teach or contact. We learned that stuff too, but we were all beginning. 

I did not realize how much I would be speaking English in Canada and that I would need to learn how to get to know people in more than one language. I learned a lot with my MTC district. We were all beginners. 

Then, I saw a completely different spectrum. My trainer was going home soon. I get to go through a lot of the emotions with her and it was completely different from what I had expected. I thought she would run so hard to the end, and she has, but there have been sad days, some incredible days, some days where she really realizes she is going home and those days are roller-coasters. 

I am so grateful for how crazy in tune with the spirit our mission presidents are. Giving us companions we work with from the beginning to the end of each transfer, trying to build more unity. We just keep going. It is so good that we have a companion the mission President was inspired to put us with 24-7, because I don't know how else we could do this work. We have so much responsibility and so much encouragement at the same time! God is a genius. No surprise there! I have only had two companions, but I have learned so much with both of them. I can't wait to see how much I learn with the next one! 

I have already been serving a mission for 4 months and this last transfer has quite literally flown by! We didn't have any baptisms but we have been teaching so much! We have been teaching our investigators, our less active members, our recent converts, and it makes it so easy to sleep at night. I cannot think of a single night this week where we haven't gone to sleep as soon as we could after filling out records and planning. 

I love being a missionary!

Love Sister Alyssa Allen

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

We Found the Border!!

Our ward is literally to the Canadian and US Border. So we we really wanted to find a reason to go down there. But, we actually needed a reason. Trying to keep to our duties as missionaries, we thought we would just let it happen. But, we were really, really, really wanted to go. Eventually, we actually got a referral in the area. We were going to "knock into him" because the person who gave the referral was a little iffy about letting this person know who thought it was a good idea to see him. We were a little bumed about that, but hey, we were going to the border! 

Well, we knocked into him and he was not interested at all. But he was very nice at the door and had just moved here form China a couple weeks ago. He was actually pretty cool! Nice guy. and hey, we made it to the border! 

That picture is of my companion while we were driving away, realizing we had not yet taken a picture. Cool. 

Moving forward.

We had an exchange this week and I got to go with another newbie in the field. We were both in our second transfer out and we got to see a lot of miracles:

1. I can use my Chinese on the streets now without the support of my companion (English exchange in an area full of Chinese people)

2. We got to invite tons of people to church and had more quality gospel conversations than I have ever had on the street before.

3. The other side of the transfer was also good, my companion and the missionary with her found a man named Kane.

Kane is a miracle.

Kane, was found on the street. He is a video game skinner and has traveled the world because of it. He is only 23. When he lived in Italy, he lived right next to an LDS church. He went a couple times but never thought anything too much of it because there are tons of churches in Italy. When he came back home to White Rock, he felt he should start going to church again. He was thinking of our church, but didn't know where to find one. He ended up finding himself walking down this street that has a bunch of shops, and he ran into my companion. They talked and she felt he was pretty promising without knowing any of this. 

He was taught a lesson right then and there. I then got to meet Kane the next day. We exchanged back, and we were teaching him the Restoration and about the Book of Mormon. He committed to reading the Book of Mormon, coming to church, dressing in slacks and a tie at church, meeting with the Elders (we aren't allowed to do more than a follow up lesson with English speakers, he speaks English), he was already living the word of wisdom, and now has a baptismal date for February the 14. And we have the Ward Chinese New Year party right after the baptism! 

Seriously, quite the miracle!

Things are good here in White Rock. 

Love Sister Allen

PS> the other picture is of a recent convert. Sean. He is 18, and always carpools with some of the oldest people in the ward. They are adorable together, we always have waffles and a recent convert lesson every Sunday at 2. Their whole situation is just adorable. 

I also received a special email from Alyssa this week. She took a picture of her desk. When I look at it I can see her studying, laughing, working hard. It is a glimpse into her daily life and I love it!

Sydney Allen

Sydney Allen
Where are we off to now daddy??

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