Monday, December 26, 2016

Me and my companion, Sister Delinila.


I love you all so much and I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season.  I have had a great Christmas.  It was so fun to celebrate Christmas and talk to my family.  

My absolute favorite story in the scriptures is the story of Christ's birth; the Nativity.  It is rich in doctrine and has beautiful, uplifting stories of amazing people.  It is also a story that every one can relate to.  I love what Neal A. Maxwell said...

"Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus."

I hope each of you have room enough in your life for the Savior of the world.  Let Him in!  Let Him fill your life with joy and beauty.  Let Him in.

I love you all!

xo Sister Allen

Harold and Elizabeth and their cute daughter.  They were baptized on December 17th!

Our Zone Christmas party!

My first time as a STL with splits...I spent the day with Sister Recano!
We were companions before.  She's the best.  I had fun with her!

Our splits companions, Sister Mafi and Sister Recano.  Sister Mafi is tall!

This is Christina, a daughter of one of our investigators.  We are at the ward Christmas party.  She's so cute!

The youth and single adults from the ward put on a show!  They had elves dancing...hahaha.

At the ward Christmas party.

At the Christmas zone conference.  Every missionary received a stocking from some of the missionary moms and dads in the sates.  It was filled with candy, cookies, and all kinds of goodies!

Some of my batch mates.

Some karabao poop....decorated for Christmas!  The little kids always decorate the poop that's on the road (weird, I know).

Christmas Eve!  We watched church videos with our housemates on the night of Christmas Eve to celebrate. 

My pile of gifts!

At Robinson's mall!  It looked festive and pretty.

Me and my anak, Sister Escalante, at the Christmas zone conference.  I love her!

Christmas zone conference.  My zone: Solano, Bambang, Santiago North and South.  

Monday, December 19, 2016

Working with Sister Hiatt.  This is a part member family that we met.  They really have the potential to progress and they were very interested in our message.

Hello po! 

I have had a good week!  Christmas is so close!  Only 6 more days.  I am so excited!  Christmas is the best time of year and it is also my favorite holiday.  Christmas is also a wonderful time to be a missionary.  Although I do miss being home with my family at Christmastime, I also love being here in the Philippines for Christmas.   Someone told me in my emails once that a mission is the only time in my life when I don't have to think about anything I "have to do."  It's the only time in my life when I'll be able to think purely about others.  So, I am trying to do just that!  I am doing my best to lose myself in the work.  I am still working on adjusting to the area.  I'm trying to memorize all the investigators and all of their houses so that I am prepared for upcoming companion exchanges with the other sisters. 

As for me and Sister Delinila, we are doing well.  We work well together as a companionship and we have fun together.  I love working with her.  I am learning a lot from her.  We are working hard to help the other sisters under our care.  About half of our sisters are brand-new to the field, so we're trying to help them adjust by being friendly and loving.  We send out encouraging texts and call at least one companionship daily.  So far, they are doing well.  They have good trainers and they are working hard.  It makes my heart wrench to see the foreign sisters' frustration with the language barrier.  I was there once, and I know what that feels like.  I think it would help the foreign sisters a lot if their trainers would translate for them in lessons, meetings, and at church so that they don't feel so outcast.  We're working to help each sister according to their needs. 

Here's what I did this week:

Last Monday after emails, my companion and I did our usual grocery shopping and errands.  We went to a mall called Robinson's to do our shopping.  The mall is soooo nice.  I felt like I was in America!  We did our groceries and then spent about an hour window shopping.  It was really fun. 

On Tuesday we had our usual district meeting.  I met my new district here in Santiago.  It was a good meeting.  I was super nervous for the whole meeting though, because afterwards, Sister Hiatt would be working with us.  Pres. and Sister Hiatt do these things called, "24 hour exchanges" with the zone leaders and sister training leaders once a cycle.  They draw a name of a set of zone leaders and a set of sister training leaders to work with - President works with the zone leaders, and Sister Hiatt with the sister training leaders. We were the lucky winners!  I wanted to die.  I thought it was going to be the most awkward thing in the world.  To my surprise, it was a really good day.  Sister Hiatt is the best!  I got a lot closer to her over our 24 hour exchange.  She is a hard worker and is up for anything.  We had some really great lessons with her.  She brought a special spirit into our lessons.  She also brought her iPad, which we used to show the #lighttheworld video in our lessons.  It was really fun!  We even cooked with her and planned with her.  Everything we did, she did!  She's awesome.

On Wednesday, we woke up and did exercise with Sister Hiatt.  She's a beast!  (I mean that in a good way of course.)  She was even doing one-armed push ups.  Ah!  We did push ups and squats and ran stairs and did jumping jacks and did ab workouts for what felt like forever.  Sister Hiatt is in much better shape than I am!  After, we did our normal studies with Sister Hiatt.  That afternoon when we went out to work, we were searching for a less active lady we had heard about.  After a while of searching, we finally found her.  We introduced ourselves to her and to her family and were able to teach a beautiful lesson.  They are a middle aged couple with three young kids.  The sister, Sharon Manlangit, hasn't been to church since she was a teen and her husband, Ariel Manlangit, isn't a member.  Brother Ariel was so involved in the lesson and was really interested in our message.  He is so ready for the gospel.  He told us how much he wants the blessings of the gospel for his family, and that he was willing to sacrifice for it.  He even asked us if he should quit his job so that he could come to church!  (We told him to maybe just ask for Sundays off first.)  They are one of the most prepared people that I have ever taught.  I'm so excited to keep teaching them.  They asked us to come back the very next day, which we did.  After that lesson, we said goodbye to Sister Hiatt and had a good afternoon of work.

On Thursday, we had a new leaders training meeting in Cauayan with President and Sister Hiatt.  It was a great meeting, and I learned a lot about how I can be a better leader.  It was also fun to see the other sister training leaders and get to know them better.  It was uplifting and spiritual. 

On Friday, we had a nice day of hard work.  We taught the Manlangit family again and they accepted a baptismal date for February 2017.  We are so excited for them! 

On Saturday, we had a baptism of Iza and Harold Bergundo.  They are so amazing!  Their baptismal service was nice and they both bore wonderful testimonies.  

On Sunday, we had church and some meetings and then went out of course to work work work.  It was good. 

I am so happy to be a missionary at this time of the year!  I hope you all have an amazing Christmas.  


xo Sister Allen

We're cooking!  We're burning the skin of the eggplant so that we can peel it off.

Us contacting a guy. 

Eating lunch!  We made fried bangus (or in English, fried milk fish).

Pajama picture with Sister Hiatt!

Eating dinner with Sister Hiatt.

My trainer's trainer and my trainer's trainer's trainer visited us this week!  
They are so cute.  They fed us McDonald's. :)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Saying goodbye to the members in Penablanca.

Hello po! 

I have had a great week!  I have been assigned to SANTIAGO SOUTH ZONE!  This will be my last area.  Santiago City is about an hour away from the mission home in Cauayan City.  Our area here is half city, half farm land, and it is filled with many wonderful people who are ready to hear the gospel.  My trainer, Sister Maroket, and my trainer's trainer, Sister Acosta were also both assigned as STLs in this area.  Haha!  I guess it runs in the family.  My companion is Sister Delinila.  She's the best!  She is from Cebu, which is in the southern part of the PH.  She is 22 years old and graduated college in accounting.  We have a lot in common!  We like all of the same things.  She's very proper and serious about the work.  She's fun to talk to and she's a great companion.  I really like her a lot!  

This week has been a week of growth.  I am doing my best to build myself into the person my Heavenly Father wants me to be.  This week, I have felt at moments inadequacy, fear, and doubt, but all of that was washed away by an overwhelming peaceful assurance from the Spirit that as long as the Savior is by my side, I can do all things.  My companion and I are assigned as sister training leaders.  We lead, teach, and help all of the sisters in the Santiago North, Santiago South, and Alicia zones.  We also are part of the missionary leadership committee with other zone leaders and the assistants to the president.  As STL's, we help direct the work to carry out the plans that our mission president has for our mission.  We go on exchanges with the sisters in our assigned zones, teach the missionaries at zone training meetings, and help the missionaries to become the best missionaries that they can be!  It's a great opportunity for me and my companion to be a good example and guide for the other missionaries.  A lot of the sisters in our assigned zones are training, so there are many new missionaries that we will have to help out with.  I am excited (still a little nervous) about this calling.  It is an opportunity to serve the Lord with all my heart, might, mind, and strength.

Here in Santiago, I also have some housemates again!  I am glad I have housemates.  They are Sister Ruyeras and Sister Montandon.  This is the third time that I have been housemates with Sister Ruyeras, so I know her well!  She's a Filipina from Tacloban, PH.  Sister Montandon is from Las Vegas, NV, and just got to the mission on Wednesday.  She's brand new.  It's fun to watch her and remember the things that I experienced when I was new too.  Our house is pretty nice.  It's a lot nicer now, because I cleaned it really good this morning. :)  The only thing I don't like is my bed, because it's a bunk bed and I'm on top.  I don't like climbing up and down, but it's okay.  It's comfy, and I sleep good. 

This week was a great week.  We taught just over 30 lessons this week.  We have been busy!  It's a good kind of busy; the kind that makes my day happy and makes me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile.  Time flies when you're busy!  Each day has seemed so short for this whole week.  Christmas is so close!  Christmas really is the best time to be a missionary.  It's fun to teach about Christ at this time of the year.  Everyone is much happier, much more giving, and much kinder at this time of year.  Even though I have only been in Santiago for a few days, I have met many amazing people. 

Two of those people are Harold and Iza.  They are a young couple with a cute four-year-old daughter.  They are getting baptized this weekend!  I didn't do much of the missionary work to help them get to the baptism (because I just got here!), but I am honored to know them and to be able to witness their baptism this week.  They are amazing.  They are so ready for the gospel.  Sister Iza is SO excited for her baptism.  She kept asking us if she could get baptized sooner than Saturday.  She's cute!  They are a great little family, and they will thrive as members of the church.

Another amazing person I met is Nanay Rhodora.  She is an older woman, and was baptized a few months ago.  She's also blind, but she wasn't always that way.  She told us she went blind because of her diabetes.  She is so sweet as has such a strong testimony.  When I met her, she smiled and held her arms open and said, "Come here Allen!  I will kiss you!"  Which she did.  She kissed me on the cheek and gave me a tight hug.  Then she asked me all about myself, including what color hair I have and what color eyes.  She just calls me "Allen" and calls all the other sisters by their last names too.  "I call you 'Allen,'" she told me, "because I know you are my daughter, not just a sister."  She's so cute.  When we visit her, we read the Book of Mormon to her.  She always hugs and kisses us and feeds us hot chocolate. 

I am excited to explore this area more and to meet more amazing people.  I am so excited to be here in Santiago! 

I hope you all have a wonderful week.  Keep sharing the light!  I love you all so much.

xo Sister Allen

Saying goodbye!

Saying goodbye to my companion. 

Saying goodbye to housemates, my companion and Bishop Tumaliuan.

My new house!

Some scripture verses I drew and gave out for #LIGHTtheWORLD

My desk with all the new cute new decorations you sent! :) thank you!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Hello po!  

This week has been an amazing week of service and happiness!  I love the #LIGHTtheWORLD campaign that the church is doing.  We have been giving service to everyone.  I have been enjoying planning and serving and sharing the LIGHT.  

I am doing very well.  I am oh so happy!  The work here in Penablanca has been good, but also kind of slow.   Our teaching and finding have been great.  We've been working hard and have been trying to focus on teaching those who are most important for us to teach, which is of course the investigators.  We're still on the search for golden investigators!  We had a miracle this week with one of our investigators, Sister Jenky.  Her husband is a less active and she has been taking the missionary lessons for a while now.  Before, she was interested, but she never wanted to act.  If we invited her to church or to be baptized, she would always tell us that she has agency.  We had actually been thinking about dropping her to a former investigator, but we decided to wait and teach more.  This week, we taught her about temples and families, using the new pamphlet from the church.  It was an amazing lesson!  The Spirit was strong, and I know she felt it.  We explained to her about family sealing, family history, eternal marriage, and baptisms for the dead.  We also explained that only worthy members of the church can enter the temple.  She surprised us at the end of the lesson by asking us, "So what do I need to do so that I can become a member of the church?"  We were so surprised by her question, we were speechless!  Of course, she knew the answer:  baptism and repentance.  We are working towards setting a baptismal date with her.  She doesn't want to come to church or start on the path to baptism without her husband.  We will work with her husband for reactivation so that together, they can get on the path that leads to the temple.  We are so exited for them.  Our lessons with Jenky really was a miracle.  I love being a missionary!  

My hair is also doing fine.  The lice, as far as I know, is gone.  There's still hair falling out, but not a ton.  Thank you so much for sending me hair care stuff and vitamins. :)  I hope it gets here!  Thank you thank you very much.

This coming Wednesday is transfer day, and I am getting transferred.  I am excited, but also sad to leave my beloved Penablanca.  I don't know where I will be assigned yet;  I'll find out on Wednesday.  I have been praying to be sent to the area where I can be of the most help to others. I was also surprised this morning when I got a call from President Hiatt.  I have been called as a sister training leader in the PCM.  I am very humbled and excited for this call.  I am excited to be an influence for good among the sisters in the mission.

I love you all so dearly.  


xo Sister Allen

The Philippines Area Presidency had these made for all the members in the PH! There are 25 ornaments for the 25 days of the #LIGHTtheWORLD campaign.  You cut out one ornament everyday and write on the back what service you did then hang it up!  It's so cute.  

The ornaments are the traditional decoration of the Philippines called "parol."

DAY1:  We did a service project at the chapel with our district to kick off the Christmas campaign.  We gave the chapel a really good deep clean.  It was filthy, but now it looks great!  #LIGHTtheWORLD

Cleaning the chapel.

Me and Sister Fukofuka!

The Cataggaman District

DAY 2:  I washed all of our rubber shoes that we have.  Even a little act of service counts, right?  Hehe.  #LIGHTtheWORLD

DAY 3:  Sister Fukofuka finished her new missionary training, and we surprised her with a graduation cap and a candy crown and medal.  #LIGHTtheWORLD

DAY 4:  We visited Sister Golong in the hospital and fixed her hair.  It was a mess!  Because I know you're wondering...she is in the hospital because she accidentally dumped a pot of scalding water on herself.  She has 3rd degree burns all over the lower part of her abdomen and the top of her legs.  She's been confined in the hospital for over a week now.  So sad! But she is getting better.  #LIGHTtheWORLD

It took us awhile to brush through her hair!  Her hair was CRAZY.

She has pretty hair again!  :)

DAY 4:  We did two service things on day 2!  We got these lollipop flowers for all the sisters in the Tugue South Zone and passed them out at Stake Conference.  #LIGHTtheWORLD

Tuguegrao South Stake Conference - with the youth and young single adults from our ward.

This is the first thing my companion did when we got home on Sunday night...needless to say, she's tired.  Hahaha!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Me, about to get drenched in the rain. :)

Hello po!  

Thank you for your wonderful email!  I'm glad you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you had a good week.  It looks like you had a lot of fun and did lots of amazing stuff.  You all look so handsome and pretty in your pictures!  

I have had a good week.  I am alive and kicking!  Although this week has been kind of slow.... It was pretty rainy and cold all week and I have a nasty cold again.  But it's all good!  I am still so happy.  :)  Also....Happy Thanksgiving!  I didn't really celebrate Thanksgiving here, but I was sure to count my blessings.  I hope you all did too!  We each have SO MUCH to be thankful for.  We had kind of a slow teaching week as well.  Only about 20 lessons, but still good.  We found a few new people to teach too, which we are excited about.  Two of them even came to church on Sunday, which was great!  Their names are Jeremiah and Maria.  The only problem is, they are kids.  They're both 15 years old, the children of a less active member.  Before anything can happen, their mom has to come back to church again.  We are hopeful and are working hard that she will come with them to church to that someday, they can be baptized.  We're still searching for the "golden" ones.  I'll let you know when we find some!  Hopefully that's soon.

My hair has also started to become a problem.  I don't know if I told you this, but I have LICE.  Yuck!  My companion was playing with my hair and noticed it.  I bought some shampoo that gets rid of lice, so hopefully it goes away.  I think I got it from one of the little kids in our area.  They're always playing with and brushing my hair.  Also, I have been having an unusual amount of hair fall....all of my hair is falling out!  I don't know why.  Will you still love me if I'm bald?

Next week is already transfer week....this cycle has gone by so fast!  I don't know if there will be any transfers, but it's possible that I may transfer.  We'll see!  December is so close, and there's only 27 days until Christmas!  I'm so excited.  Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year.  It's also the most wonderful time to serve as a missionary.  Everyone is nicer and more receptive to the gospel.  I love Christmas!  I especially love the church's Christmas campaign this year..... #LIGHTtheWORLD.  If you haven't seen the video, check it out.  Here's the link:

We each were born with a light inside of us.  Each of us has talents and abilities that we can use to make the world a better place.  This Christmas season, we are all invited to do one act of service for 25 days, counting down the days until Christmas.  Jesus Christ is the light of the world.  In honor of Him and His birth, we each can serve Him and share the LIGHT that we have.  We missionaries will be kicking off December with a day of service (CSP's) in our areas.  I hope each of you can find a way every day to share your LIGHT.

I love you all so much!  I miss you all so much.  I hope you have a wonderful week. 

xo Sister Allen

It was my companions, Sister Urdaneta, birthday!  
We decorated her desk.  She is 22!

I made mango graham cake for her birthday.
It was delicious!  I'm so proud of myself haha.
(Taylor Swift sings "I'm feeling 22, everything will be all right 
if we just keep dancing like were twenty-twwwooooo").

It was raining so hard this morning!  Also, lots of fog.
There's a typhoon in the Southern Philippines.