January 4, 2016

Hello everyone! And happy new year! Can't really believe that it's 2016. On Friday I couldn't help but look through my journals from the past year, I've probably said this already (but this is my email so I'll say what I want!) but I remember being back in east sac with Sister Kandare sitting in the car in tears asking her and myself how the heck was I supposed to do this for another 14 months...and somehow the year has come and gone. Fun to re-read journal entries and look through pictures. Oh memory lane. As I've thought about what I wanted to write about from this past week, I've noticed how scattered my thoughts and the range of topics are. So are you ready for a wordy and ranty (is that a word? Probably not) letter? Okay, here we go. 

I'll start with our area, we recently either dropped most of our investigators or they dropped us. There were a few that I could tell weren't really progressing, when we asked them if they had a desire to learn more they all basically said no. So that's always hard, especially when you come into the area with a solid teaching pool and over time it gets smaller and smaller. We're trying to work with our members; set up appointments, teach a principle from preach my gospel etc. I love the ward but we've been getting kind of a push back from them over the past few weeks. We know that they like us but when it comes to sharing the gospel there are really only a few families that seem to want to help us but a lot of them are pretty focused on their own lives. And I totally get it, especially with how many young families with small children there are. But it's hard for us at the same time. We really need to find families and we know they're here. So please keep it in your prayers we'll find them and that we can know what we need to do to help this area. I'm thankful for an awesome ward mission leader and bishop who are very supportive and want to help us. 

This week I attended several trainings and meetings in preparation for zone training on Thursday. We focused a lot on distractions and how we can be more focused and think less of ourselves and what holds us back and think more about serving the people here and remember who it is we represent. President was pretty bold about a lot of the things he said. Definitely something I needed to hear. I attended two zone trainings, one in Manteca for the zone we're in and also in Modesto where some of the sisters I work with are. President was at both of our trainings and asked the leadership to debrief afterwards. He asked us both times what we learned and we shared some of the thoughts and insights that we had. There was a different spirit about the second training we went to, both of them were good and I learned something from both trainings but the second one especially. When he asked me what I learned I said, maybe this is too honest to say but I learned that I'm thankful for the distractions that I have because they help me to remember that I'm far from perfect but I'm not expected to be either. And that the distractions I have help me to rely on the Lord and his atonement and to repent daily. Because I'm learning that repentance doesn't have to be some huge complicated process. 

Sunday was both really good and bad. Hard for different reasons so I asked my ward mission leader for a blessing to stay focused the last few months that I'm here, and the the testimonies that were shared and the lesson in gospel principles were just for me. And just what I needed. I've been feeling like a complete failure this week. With our area, and challenges with sisters I've just felt like I'm failing and can't do anything right no matter how hard I try to do what I need to do. But yesterday, during my blessing especially I felt so peaceful. And received the confirmation that yes he loves me. And to just keep going. I was going to add more, but I don't really have the words to do that. So we're just holding on. Keep us in your prayers. 

Thanks everyone for the fun pictures and emails, it's always so great to hear from you. Have a great week. 

Sister Allen 

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