Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Thank you for the great email’s!  I love hearing all about what everyone is up to. 

To answer your questions mom:  I only get to play the piano a little bit.  If we have time before district meetings or if we're ever waiting at the chapel, I can play.  Other than that, I don't really have time!  Yes, I really wash my clothes in a bucket.  I only wash my underclothes by hand in a bucket.  I'm getting better and faster at it!  I take the rest of my clothes to a laundry shop near by.  They do it for me and they have a washing machine, and a dryer, and they fold the clothes all nice.  It only costs about 90 pesos!  Worth it, for sure!  My clothes are holding up okay.  A lot of my skirts have stains that won't come out (from who knows what) but they're okay.  I found a black skirt at the mall last week, and I've been wearing that a lot!  The darker colors are nice because if I get dirt or something on me, you can't really see it.  I also really like the gathered skirts (with the stretchy, not body hugging waistband).  I don't wear the fitted skirts I brought.  They're too uncomfortable!  Especially with walking so much and with the heat. 

Something about the culture:  Here in the Philippines, it's not rude to tell it like it is.  If someone thinks you're fat, they'll tell you.  In America, that would be so offensive, especially to a girl.  But here, it's not.  It's only happened to me once so far.....haha.  

I really want to be a happy, good, successful missionary.  As I was thinking, and as I've been thinking for the past few days, I know I have a purpose here.  It's just up to me to find it!  But, I've learned that we must walk by faith rather than by sight.  We must have faith, in ourselves, and in the plan that our Heavenly Father has for us.  With patience, diligence, obedience, and perseverance, I can do it! 

One scripture that helped me was in Omni 1:26:
“I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of His salvation, and the power of His redemption.  Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole should as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end…”  I must give my whole soul!  With all my "heart, might, mind, and strength."  I know that with the Lord on my side, I can do all things.  

We found two separate investigators who are what you would call "golden." :) I am so excited to start teaching them more.  Their names are Jay and Nicole.  They both were referrals, and both of them are dating return missionaries!  It's true what they say:  who you date influences you!  They both have seen the good and the blessings in their boy/girlfriend's lives, and they want to have the gift of the gospel in their lives. 

I love you all so much!  I know that angels are watching over me and strengthening me every second of every day.  I know that this work is divine, and that we could not do it without some divine help.  
Mahal kita.

xo Sister Anna Ray Allen

Most of our zone at the Hacienda De San Luis

Me and my comp

A dinner appointment at a cute Nanay's house this Sunday.

A baptism of the elders in our branch.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I had a great week, it flew by. SO. FAST.  This whole week only felt like a day.  I can't believe it's P day again today already.  It's kind of scary how fast time is flying by.  I hope it doesn't go by too fast....I don't want to miss a thing!  I want to make each second count. 

This week was just another great week.  Working, studying, planning, and sharing the gospel!  We had a great experience with one of our investigators, Aileen.  We have been teaching Aileen (14), and her sister Novi (13) for a while now.  They are interested, and they have a baptismal date set, but they struggle with coming to church and setting time aside for us to teach them.  They are very busy!  But, we were able to teach Aileen this week.  We decided to show her the Restoration video.  We taught her about Joseph Smith the lesson before, but we wanted her to understand and feel the truthfulness of the message more.  As we were watching, I felt the Spirit so strong.  Watching the Restoration in Tagalog makes me pay attention more, because I have to focus a little harder to understand what they are saying.  That extra focus made me feel the Spirit and the truthfulness of the message that much more.  I couldn't help it; I just started tearing up.  When I looked over at Aileen, she was crying too!  After the video was over, Sister Teabwabwa and I each shared our testimonies.  We said we knew that Jospeh Smith's experience was true.  Aileen smiled and looked at me straight in the eye, and said, "I do too. I know that it's true."  (In Tagalog though, of course.)  I have watched that movie a million times, and I've heard the story of Joseph Smith about ten million times.  But seeing Aileen, who has heard the story of Joseph Smith maybe two times, testify with asurity that it is true, touched my heart.  That's how powerful our message is!  It doesn't take long for the truth to touch someone to the very center.  It was a very wonderful experience.  

There is also one beautiful scripture that I want to share.  I randomly was flipping through my Book of Mormon, and just opened it and started reading in Alma 26:15.  It says:  "Yea, they were encircled about with everlasting darkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlasting light, yea, into everlasting salvation; and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work."

That's us!  We are the hands in this marvelous work.  How lucky we are to be encircled about with so much light and love.  I love being those hands in this work.  You can all be those hands too.  It's the small and simple things that show people the most love.  After all, "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass."

xo Sister Anna Ray Allen

Monday, January 11, 2016

Rice fields. 

This week was a good week.  We just do what we always do every day....work!  I decided to change our family motto from "work hard, play hard" to "work hard, pray hard" while I'm here.  Haha!  We were busy busy busy this week.  We taught so many lessons this week.  We had 42 total lessons this week.  So many!  Sister Teabwabwa and I are working hard to improve our area and help our investigators, less actives, and recent converts.  

My companion and I are doing great.  Sister Teabwabwa is so amazing.  If I didn't have her as a companion, I would want her as a friend.  We have really warmed up to each other, and she has opened up to me about her life, her mission, and her ideas.  I love hearing her stories about Kiribati and about her life.  She is also so funny.  We laugh and laugh all day long.  It makes the work that much more fun.  Sister Teabwabwa really is a great missionary.  She has a quiet strength that I admire.  Even when she's feeling sick, can't get a hold of her family for her Christmas call, steps on nails, and all the other crazy things that happen to us here....she remains joyful.  If there was one word I could use to describe her it would be joy.  I want to be more like her, as a missionary, and as a person.  She is also a great teacher and is helping me become a better teacher too.

This week, we were walking back from an appointment on a little dirt path through a field with cows, carabao, and goats all tied up on long ropes.  They can graze and kind of go where they want, but they can't get free.  We walk past there all the time, but for some reason, the carabao close to the path was grumpy....and he charged!  He snorted and all of a sudden ran straight at us.  Sister Teabwabwa and I screamed and were running away into the field to get away.  Luckily, the rope around the carabao's neck stopped him from coming closer after a few yards.  Unfortunately though, while running away, Sister Teabwabwa stepped on a nail and it went right through the bottom of her foot.  Ouch!  We had to get her some medication, but she's all good now.  

This week we also had the Area Broadcast from the area presidency of the Philippines.  I had to play the piano for the opening hymn and closing hymn.  Since being here, I've survived a typhoon, a tricey crash (Fam: I don't think I told you that....but yes, I got in a tricey crash on the highway!  But we were fine. Haha!), and being chased by a carabao....all of which I could handle.  But playing the piano for a group of people scares me more than those three things combined.  It about gives me a heart attack!  I don't know why it scares me so bad.  But, I played, and it was fine.  I think I'd rather take a charging carabao though.....

I love my area!  I love the people in it and I love the branch.  It is so fun.  We have great missionaries all around us as well.  The elders in our same branch are the zone leaders.  They are great!  Their names are Elder Treyes and Elder Navarro.  One Filipino, one American. 

Our investigators are doing well.  And....we finally had some investigators at church!  YAY!  We had three people come:  Novi, Lady Grace, and Keishi.  Lady Grace and Keishi are cousins in their late-teens, early-twenties.  They are so cute and fun.  Novi is a young women age investigator.  She told us after church that she made a lot of friends and wants to come back to church and go to the mutual activities.  It made me so happy that our branch made her feel welcome.  It is so important for people to feel at home when they come to church, especially if they are an investigator.  I hope all of you are kind and loving to everyone in your wards.  Everyone needs a friend at church.  

Update on Rosalie:  We would love to talk to her husband and teach him, but he is working abroad in Taiwan and has been ever since we met Rosalie.  Rosalie only has told us about him and she tells her husband about us in their phone calls.  He's okay with us teaching her, but he doesn't want her to be baptized.  But we got his name, phone number, and address, and are planning to refer him to some missionaries.  :)  He just doesn't know about the church, so he is scared.  He needs some nice sisters or elders to help him out!  Rosalie is doing great.  She continues to read and pray.  She likes to flip randomly through the Book of Mormon and just start reading.  She told us that everything she reads always applies to her.  It's true!  No matter who you are, what you're doing, or what you've done.....the Book of Mormon applies to you.  

I love reading the Book of Mormon.  I have started it over myself and I am in 1 Nephi 7.  I have decided to highlight all words that describe our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ (like "Lord" or "God") and I am also highlighting the word "heart."  It appears many times!  Everything in this gospel is all about the heart....it's about love with your heart, changing your heart, and making your heart more like the Savior's.  

I love being a missionary!  I am more focused on the work than I ever have been.  I love it here.  I am getting used to the heat and the language, and I feel better than ever.  It's really hard work.....but it's such happy work!  There's no where else I'd rather be.

xo Sister Anna Ray Allen

Sister Allen and her companion Sister Teabwabwa

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Malibagong taon! (Happy New Year!)  I can't beleive 2015 has already come to a close.  Hello, 2016!  I am excited for this year!  Thinking that I will be a missionary for this entire year is crazy.  It seems really long.  But, I am so so happy to be here!  I think this will be a good year for all of us.  New Year's here in the PH is so exciting!  People love it here.  We returned to our apartment at 6 pm and had a nice dinner of spaghetti. (Hooray! No rice!)  Then we watched Inside Out.  It was so cute!  I really liked it.  And yes, I cried multiple times.  I think I've cried in every movie I've ever watched haha.  There are a lot of gospel themes that I saw while watching, but one that has been on my mind is about talents.  Towards the end of the movie, when Rylie is on the bus running away, all of the islands in her mind are destroyed and the little Headquarters workers can't make her feel anything.  This part made me think about how important it is for us to develop and keep our own "islands" of personality in our lives.  The scriptures teach us over and over again to develop our talents and to continue to grow and improve.  And if we don't develop our talents and try to grow, we will become like Rylie:  we will feel nothing.  I think that is exactly what Satan wants us to feel.  Satan wants us to feel nothing and be nothing.  But, through our talents, our families, and our experiences, we grow, our personalities grow, and little "islands" of personality and experience appear in our minds.  This church encourages FHE, family time, sharing talents, has callings for people to show their talents, and encourages people to grow in knowledge and experiences.  I really enjoyed the movie and New Year's, here in the Philippines.

There were SO MANY fireworks.  Everyone has the big up-in-the-sky ones that explode out.  And there was also these dynamite fireworks too that were so loud, our house shook.  EVERYONE at midnight was lighting up fireworks.  We were allowed to watch the fireworks at midnight, which was awesome.  Everywhere you looked, there were fireworks in the sky.  There was a lot of smoke too.  At midnight, I heard everyone cheering, car horns honking, and more fireworks.  No one does New Year's like the Philippines!  It was a lot of fun!  

This week I also got a new companion:  Sister Teabwabwa!  She is from Kiribati, which a little island in Polynesia.  I was so so nervous when we got assigned and I had a little breakdown when my nanay/trainer left me, but I am so happy now.  Sister T is a great companion and is so wonderful!  She is so humble and so strong.  I admire her very much.  She is the epitome of peace and quiet grace.  She is a great missionary, teaches very well, and has a lot of good ideas for our area and companionship.  I can see how much she loves missionary work and how much she relies on the Savior for strength.  Also, since our common language is Tagalog, I am speaking more Tagalog and am learning more about the language.  I think I have learned more this one week than in my first twelve weeks here.  I am looking forward to this cycle with Sis. Teabwabwa!

Our investigators are doing well too.  I had a cool experience with one of our investigators this week.  Her name is Rosalie and she is about 28 years old.  She reads and prays every day, and wants to get baptised, but her husband doesn't want her to.  When we got to her house, I introduced my new companion to Rosalie.  Rosalie told us that she knew my companion and that she had seen her before.  They are from different countries, and it is impossible that they could have seen each other.  But, I got an impression in my mind that Rosalie and Sister T knew each other before they came here to this earth.  It was a subtle thought, but I know it is true.  I felt the Spirit so strong.  I just smiled and laughed and moved on with the lesson.  But, I think that they really did know each other before.  I am excited to continue teach Rosalie with Sister T.  


Sister Allen

So sad to say good-bye to my first companion. 

The sky was purple!

The coolest tricey ever!
 (A popular mode of transportation is the motorized tricycle, for hire like a taxi.  The "tricey" is the most popular means of transport in small towns, especially in the rural areas.  They are usually made by building a sidecar and attaching it to a motorcycle.)