November 23, 2015

Be of good cheer

Hello dear family and loved ones,

I'm pretty sure i ask this every week but how is it Monday again? I swear every morning as I'm getting ready for the day I think to myself how is it already is it already Thursday...and here I am again, how is it Monday? The week flies. 

I asked Sister Neeley a minute ago how she started her email to her family for this week. She says, "this week's been a pretty hard week for me, not gonna lie". So yes, this week has been hard for several different reasons. At the moment all of our investigators are either MIA or have told us they want to continue learning but aren't ready to commit to baptism anytime soon. We went over for a lesson with David and when we had gone by a few days before he had told us he had several questions so we were pretty excited. We knew that we wanted to invite him to be baptized that night, so we're sitting there and talking when the temple comes up. THE TEMPLE. We were really excited; DeAnne is asking how about the endowment and how to get a recommend so I asked David if getting sealed was something they were wanting to do. He pauses and says no, not really. To be honest I'm not really interested in converting anytime soon. I don't like the commitment and having to go to church every sunday. We were crushed. We finished the lesson, he does want to keep meeting and learning but as he said, isn't ready to convert, at least not now. By the time we finished it was time to get back home and we were really bummed. Here is this golden family: he's showing interest, she's starting to come back to church, it's perfect. But it just isn't the Lord's time for this family right now. Sister Neeley was so sad. But we know that things will work for this family in the right time; they feel the spirit when we're there and we know the Lord is working with them. 

We've spent several days working with sisters in other parts of the mission; on Thursday we were in Galt, Saturday we were wayyyy up at the top of the mission in one of our sister's area in this teeny town. It takes us almost 2 hours to get there and then that same amount of time to get back so that took up the whole day. Then Sunday was an off day, those are the worst. We didn't have ward council before church like we typically do so that gave us an hour or so to go out in our area and work but everyone was so rude. We were on one of the paths by our house and saw a dog wandering around. We called the number on the collar and let the owner know that we'd found the dog and she says over the phone, "put the dog down, he knows where to go" whoops...sorry. Thankfully we were able to head back home and go to church and take the sacrament which made all (or at least some) the difference. 

Some of the elders came by to our apartment last night to help with Sister Neeley's bike and I was talking with our zone leaders about our week. I know that my companion has been pretty discouraged about our area and I had been concerned about some of our sisters in the mission that morning. I've said it before, but it's been stressful and difficult at times trying to find the balance between our area and these sisters. Especially when our area was doing so great a few weeks ago and things haven't been going so well since we became companions when we have to leave a lot of the times to work with our sisters. We set goals in faith that we'll find all of these investigators and invite people to be baptized, but this week it just didn't happen. And at times you feel kind of crappy, we're supposed to teach people, right? But when you have sisters all over the mission who need help or when their district/zone leaders are calling us about concerns, they come first. I was telling the elders some of these things from the week and one of them reminded me that even though we haven't been to teach non-members very much, we've been getting hands-on experiences ministering and teaching these sisters. We're helping them fulfill their purpose so that they can be worthy and ready for the people the Lord puts in their path. I was talking more with Sister Neeley about all of this last night as we were getting ready for bed. I knew she was feeling down and I knew exactly what she was feeling and knew where she was at. It is frustrating. You want to teach, you want to baptize. Worthy and righteous things to desire for a missionary. But it's the Lord's work, not ours. We have to yield our hearts and let his timing and will replace ours. I told my companion that I remembered sitting in the car with my companion once when I'd been out at 4 months, in tears asking myself how I was supposed to do this for another 14 months. We weren't teaching or baptizing and this was harder than I had ever imagined. But you get through it, those hard days pass. And in the end, the Lord is so much more concerned about who we are becoming; how we are loving and serving his children than he does what our numbers look like or how many people we are teaching. Yes he  wants us to teach and for them to join the church, we know that. But it's in his time and in his way. I love how comforting it is to read in the scriptures during Christ's ministry he often told the people "be of good cheer" it's all going to work out. I was reading that this morning and the thoughts came to mind, He will provide. Those prepared people and families will come. Just do your best everyday, serve the sisters we work with, serve your companion and help her find the peace she needs as she experiences this for the first time. 

So despite a difficult week, I feel calm and know that everything will be just fine. We'll work with our sisters, we'll work in our area. We'll be where the Lord needs us to be and know that that is what is best. 

Several of you have asked about Thanksgiving, we'll be with several families in the ward and we're so excited to spend time with them! I wanted to add a cute list of things I'm thankful for which is probably cheesy to do, but I'm sure everyone and their dog is doing the same thing all over facebook and instagram so who the heck cares, I'm doing it! 

In no particular order I'm thankful for:

Sister Neeley; my beautiful, wonderful incredible family; studying the gospel everyday; wearing my name tag; taking the sacrament; all of the friends I've made on my mission, both in Sacramento and Modesto; cereal; morning runs; prayer; laughter; mission memories & experiences; President and Sister Palmer; pretty leaves; chapstick; homemade jam; general conference reports.

The list goes on and on and on. I am so thankful everyday and especially this time of year for the countless blessings the Lord gives me. I hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday. Eat lots of pie, and do some shopping at 3 in the morning for me as well!

Have the best week,

Sister Allen 

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