September 21, 2015

Ch-ch-ch-changes! Isn't that the name of a song or something?

How is it already Monday? These weeks go by faster and faster! Anyway, hello! Can you believe that this week fall officially begins? I'm sure everyone's facebook and instagram feeds are starting to fill with pictures of pumpkins, leaves, and sweaters with lots of #sweaterweather haha. Enjoy it for us, here in Cali things are still pretty warm. Yesterday it was 100 but hopefully within the next week it will start to cool down. For my sake, pray that it does!

This week also marks my year since I entered the MTC...I blinked and a year has come and gone. I think I mentioned this to Cooper the other day, but I remember before I came out thinking to myself, "how the heck am I going to go all of 2015" but this year has gone by so quickly. Thankful that I still have a good amount of time left!

We had an okay week here. Nothing too much to report on, we felt like we needed to go on one last exchange with the sisters in Galt with all of the challenges that they've had this transfer. We've been concerned about one in particular who told my companion while they were together how unhappy she's been. Missions are not easy! But it breaks my heart when if you take away the issues or differences you have with companions, discouragement in the area and aren't content or feel peaceful with what you've been called to do and who you represent. The assistants called on Wednesday night to let us know the sisters would have quick interviews with President on Thursday at the office. On the drive back afterwards I started feeling really sick and ended up spending the rest of the night and most of Friday in bed, I guess my body had just had it. Thankfully sleeping it off did the job and I was able to go out to work the rest of the weekend. We even went out on bikes on Saturday! We also had a surprise visitor on Friday night...WHITNEY WILSON! The guy she's been dating the past few weeks served his mission in Fresno before it split so they flew out for the weekend to visit people from his mission and they stopped by for a few minutes. It was so much fun seeing her and catching up for a little. I love that girl and miss her a ton.

Sunday we got the calls about our transfers, so many changes! We've been told the past 6 weeks all of the sisters would be training but I was surprised when I found out that I won't be training, instead I'll continue as a sister training leader and am being transferred to the North Modesto zone covering the young single adult ward with another sister who has been a sister training the past few transfers. Her name is Sister Maukeni from Samoa and she has about 3 transfers left. The two of us and another companionship in a different zone are the only sister training leaders over the rest of the companionships and trios which will be between 11-13 companionship of sisters are both coming straight from the MTC without a trainer! So even though we won't be training one sister, we'll be helping out a lot with all of these new ones. I wasn't really expecting this one, but I'm very excited to be in a new area, I've wanted to serve in a YSA ward just to see what it's like so I'm sure things will be very interesting the next six weeks. Sister Amos will be training in a new area and two new sisters will be in this ward. We spent some time last night and will visit a few more families tonight, it's been so bittersweet getting to know these incredible and faithful families and having to say goodbye to the ones you've grown close to is always hard.

Okay now don't mind me rambling while I write this novel. But on Thursday when we went in for our interviews, President asked all of the sisters to ponder how we can gain more spiritual self-confidence and view ourselves more the way the Lord does, something we as sisters (and people in general) all struggle with and how he and the rest of the leadership in the mission can be helping. My thoughts immediately went to the general conference address last year "approaching the throne of god with confidence" that has some great principles we can apply into our lives to gain more spiritual confidence. But my mind has been a stream of deep thoughts on the subject over the past few days. It seemed like all of the conversations I had with people focused on just that: spiritual self confidence. Mom sent me the most incredible article written recently that my mind has kept going back to, the mantra and theme throughout the article is something I've thought about constantly: When in all of eternity will this matter? The writer has a daughter on a mission in Africa who went to get her hair trimmed but instead a huge amount was hacked off. Instead of freaking out, that was what she said, "oh well. When in all of eternity will this matter?" What wisdom. This sister has seen so much sadness on her mission with the difficulties and poverty the people face there so when you take a step back, and look at things with an eternal perspective, instead of freaking out and crying about it she's asked is my haircut really worth getting upset about?So I've had to ask myself this same question when I've found my thoughts turning inwards, worrying and nitpicking about how I look or worrying too much about myself, this is what really matters and something I need to remember when the transfer brings challenges or the sisters aren't getting along or whatever it might be...

Then in ward council the bishop brought up a similar question: how can we provide opportunities for the youth (and all of us, really) to be serving and turning outwards to others rather than focusing on ourselves? A member of the ward council made a valid point: when we think less about ourselves, the happier we become. And we find more of a true sense of self, belonging and value because we aren't focusing on our flaws, weaknesses and insecurities although we all have them; instead we are reaching out and thinking of how we can help other people. And wasn't that exactly how Jesus Christ was? Never, ever, ever was he worrying about his hair or the clothes he was wearing or what other people thought of him, heck no. He was serving others, always loving, teaching and knew exactly who he was and didn't need a single person to tell him otherwise. I'm not sure if any of these thoughts connect or make any sense at all, but to me as I've been pondering the topic of spiritual self-confidence these are the ways we (I'm speaking for the sisters and mainly for myself) can see myself/ourselves more how the lord does: keep things with that eternal perspective. Instead of getting in a huff or annoyed about the new blemish or challenges with the sisters, I need to ask myself that question: when in all of eternity will this matter? And just taking the minute to ask myself that question I'll know that most of the things I'd typically overthink and worry about won't matter. Smile and move on. Then second, to stop thinking and comparing myself to other sisters, other members instead find a way to love more and serve someone that's around me. I know that spiritual self-confidence is a journey but I know that it's something the Lord wants for each of us. To know who we really are, not to get worried and frantic about the small things that really don't matter and know who we can become.

Like I said, I'm not sure if any of these connect, or really go back to the original topic of spiritual confidence at all, just a few of my thoughts and definitely something I'll continue to ponder but with all of the changes happening here over the next six weeks, something the Lord has made clear I need to work on and remember what really matters.

Side note, a sister and I have the same CTR ring and took a picture, she's so cute. I love her.

Happy fall and have a great week!

Sister Allen

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