Monday, February 22, 2016

Me and my friend Sister Canlapan.  She was my housemate for my first 
3 cycles.  She goes home in a few weeks!  I love her!


My week was a good, but busy week.  Busier than normal missionary life, if you can imagine that!  Haha.  On Wednesday, it was Sister T's birthday!  She turned 24 years old. Ah!  That morning, we had a community service project.  It was really fun.  We, along with our district, helped a lady weed her yard.  We used huge machetes to chop the grass and the weeds.  Luke would have liked that part!  It was nice outside.  There was a little cloud cover and a nice breeze - not too hot.  It was fun to do a little work.  After, the woman we helped fed us lunch which was really nice of her.  Yum!  That night, we went and had dinner at a member's house.  The woman's name is Emily.  To make a living, Emily raises pigs.  It's called a piggery.  She has SO MANY pigs.  She said she has 70 of them!  And they are huge - I mean HUGE.  Like the size of a twin size bed.  HUGE.  I had never seen pigs so big.  They were kind of scary!  She had a ton of little piglets too.  Hopefully within the next few weeks, we'll do a service project at her house.  She said she wants us to wash the pigs!  Haha, gross!  But it will be fun.  

After dinner, we went home and surprised Sister T with a cake and ice cream.  She is so cute!  I hope she had a good birthday. My companions are doing great.  I love them both!  To be honest, being in a threesome is kind of strange, but we are finding ways to work better together and become a more united companionship.  Training is going well.  Sister Teabwabwa and I are still trying to get Sister Recano out of her shell a little bit more. It's probably hard for her to come into our companionship - especially because Sister Teabwabwa and I are so close and get along so well.  I am going to focus this week on making sure that no one in our companionship ever feels left out.  Overall, we are doing well as a trisome.

On Thursday, we had Zone Conference!  I love Zone Conference.  It was just a day with President and Sister Rahlf and a few of the zones in the Philippines Cauayan Mission.  We received the new Standards of Excellence for the year.  I helped with the special musical singing!  Four of us sang, "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy."  It was really beautiful.  That is one of my favorite hymns.  After that, we talked a lot about how to contact people.  It's called "CASH" contacting:
C - compliment them 
A - ask them a question
S - smile
H - help/offer to help them
This is a really effective way to contact people on the street and to talk to new people.  It makes it less weird!  We practiced it a lot.  After that, we talked about the phrase "bloom where you are planted."  We talked about doing our best, whatever the circumstances may be.  It was a really great day.

Also....I am so sick.  But don't worry, sister Rahlf is taking good care of me!  She checks on me every day. I have had a fever for 6 days and I have a cough, runny nose, and body aches.  Also - I can't talk over a tiny tiny whisper!  It hurts to talk too.  I have a still small voice. Hahahaha.  In the lessons, I just have to sit there and smile. But I am taking medicine, and I am starting to feel a little bit better.  Our area is doing well.  I was so happy with some of the goals that we achieved this week!  But, all of that work wasn't from me:  it was from my companions.  I've been kind of out of commission since I have been sick, and I was really pleased at how well Sister Teabwabwa and Sister Recano picked up the work and took off with it.  They really worked hard this week!  Our area is doing well and we have been consistently improving each week.

I am so happy!  I love it here in the Philippines and I love all of you.  I can see you in the faces of the people here and hear your voices in theirs.  As I teach them, I often relate them to you.

I love you!  I miss you!  I think of you always!  



Sister Allen

 Me and my comps squished into a trycie. 

A Valentine display at the mall.

A cute bike and side car at our CSP on Sister T's birthday.

I decorated Sister T's desk.  The sticky notes say "happy birthday" in Kiribati.

Sister T's birthday!

Saying goodbye to our fellowshipper/friend Michael.
He and his family are moving.

Monday, February 15, 2016


This week was a good, but crazy week!  On Monday, we had P-day, which was normal.  On Tuesday, Sister Teabwabwa wasn’t felling well.  We only went out and worked for a little while, and she slept and rested most of the day.  I reorganized my desk, put away my laundry, and did some extra personal study. 

On Tuesday night, about 5 minutes before we were supposed to be asleep, President Rahlf called on the phone.  I always have a tiny heart attack when I see his name pop up on the caller ID.  He asked us if we would come by the mission office the next morning because he had a "special assignment" for us.  We weren't sure what to think, so we went to sleep wondering.  I thought maybe he wanted help with something for the zone conference coming up, but I was wrong.  We headed over to the mission office in the morning and sat and waited for Pres. Rahlf.  He pulled us into his office and told us that we would be getting a new companion.  We are a trisome!  Our new companion, Sister Recano, had just spend a week at the MRC (Missionary Recovery Center) in Manila because she had been sick.  Not only that, but Pres. Rahlf also told us....we are now trainers too!  Sister Recano is very new to the mission - only 6 weeks!  She is 22 years old and is from Tacloban.  We are now her trainers.  So, I have an Anak in the mission now!  I was a little bit overwhelmed by it all at first.  I felt inadequate to train.  I felt stressed about being in a trisome, especially because I have heard so many times that trisomes are hard.  But, I know that Heavenly Father is a master planner, and that he has put us three together for a reason.  I also know that the Lord prepares his servants for everything He needs them to do.  I am excited for this cycle. 

Our area is doing well also.  We are having progress in our missionary work, and I have also seen more strength in our branch.  We are still weak in our member present lessons, but we are working on pushing and asking for more members to work with us more often.  I love our area, and I hope and pray that my companions and I are leaving the area and the people there better than we found it.

We had a good week with our investigators too.  I'll tell you about one investigator:  Nicole.  She is great and is considered a progressing investigator.  She is 18 years old and is really searching for meaning in her life.  Her boyfriend is a return missionary from a neighboring ward.  When we met Nicole for the first time, she had already read to 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.  She had many many questions about God, her life here on earth, and the creation of the world.  But, to her surprise, we had answers to all of them!  This week, she asked us a lot about trials.  She has many trials in her life - some trivial, and some not - and was wondering why.  As I have thought about her questions and experiences this week, I have learned a lot about trials.  This is what I told her, and what I want to remind all of you as well:  Heavenly Father doesn't dish us anything we can't handle.  He will never give us a commandment that we cannot follow.  He will never give us a trial that we cannot get through.  He will never give us a weakness we cannot overcome.  It made me think of a scripture in 2 Nephi 2:2.  Lehi is talking to his son, Jacob.  This is what he says:  "Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain."  That last part is the key:  everything that comes at us is for us to grow.  Just like trees:  trees that grow in windy conditions grow deeper, stronger roots.  Without the opposing wind, the trees wouldn't become strong.  Storms make trees take deeper roots.  And trials make people become stronger, better people.  That is something I have learned so far, here, on my mission.  This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done, physically, emotionally, and mentally.  But, I can see a change in myself.  I am getting stronger.  

I love you all so much and I am so grateful for all your prayers and love that you send my way!  I'm sending all my good vibes and love back to you as always....

I miss everything about you all and everything about home.  But I am so happy to be here and to be serving the people here in the Philippines.  

Sister Anna Ray Allen

p.s.  This Friday, I will hit my 6 month mark!!!!!! AHHHHHHHH! 1/3rd of the way done...... :)

My new companion Sister Recano

My two companions and our fellowshipper, Michael.  
He is preparing for a mission!

Part of our area in Reina Mercedes.  A barangay is like a town.  
Barangay Dangan is my favorite!  Every barangay has a sign 
like this in the ground and made of cement.  I thought they 
were grave stones at first when I first got here.  

Monday, February 8, 2016


I am doing well.  I still can't believe how fast time is flying.  One week feels like just one's kind of scary!  This cycle went by really fast.  (A cycle is 6 weeks.)  This morning as I was washing my clothes in my bucket, we received the transfer list....and I am not transferred!  I am happy.  I've been having weird dreams where I get transferred to a weird place, and I was feeling a little bit nervous.  But, I am staying in Cauayan City for another 6 weeks. Yay!  And, me and Sister Teabwabwa will still be companions. Yay!  I really like her, and we have a great time together.  Sister Teabwabwa is such a kind soul.  She teaches me a lot by her example.

This week was a good week.  I am confident that serving a mission is the best decision that I have ever made.  I am starting to understand how much a mission blesses lives - not just my life.  A mission blesses my family at home, the people we teach, my ward back home, the people we contact, and much much more.  What a blessed time this is to serve.  I know that I will never be the same after my mission.  My little brother, Luke, emailed me and said that he thought I didn't really need to go on a mission, that I was okay the way I was before.  But, he also said that because of going on a mission, I will be much better than I was before.  I think about what he said all the time.  I hope and pray that what he said is true.  I want to become a better person from this experience.   I was okay the way I was before, like he said, but now, I am becoming who my Savior and Heavenly Father want me to be.  They can make me more than I could ever make of myself. 

This week was good.  The Philippines is such a wonderful place.  It was "freezing" here this week.  I had to wear my cardigan and socks and long sleeves around the house all day because I was so cold.  I checked my thermometer thing to see what the temperature was, and it was 71F!  I was so surprised because I was SO cold.  It made me think how cold I'll be when I get home, especially because I'll be coming home in the winter time.  I'm going to freeze to death when I get home haha.  Here, the normal weather makes you sweat even when you are sitting still.  So pretty much, if you're not sweating, it's considered "cold."  All of our investigators were so funny about the weather.  They would tell us to keep our shoes on inside their houses because it was too cold, but I always tell them, "it's okay!  It's colder in America."  That always makes them laugh.

I will tell you a little bit about my area.  One part of my area is called San Fermin and is where our house is.  It's mostly city, but it's not like the cities at home.  There's still cows, chickens, and dogs everywhere, and there's only a few roads that are paved.  The city has a lot more people than the more farm areas, but that makes it very very dirty and very very loud.  Also here, the garbage system isn't very established.  Everyone burns their trash here.  The air is really smokey all the time.  Sometimes, it gets so smokey, it looks like fog.  When you enter into Cauayan City, there's a big sign that says, "Hello!  You are entering a smoke-free city!"  That always makes me laugh, because it is not true at all.  

Our area is doing well.  We have some great investigators and are seeing some progress.  We have one investigator who we are really excited about: Jay.  He is dating a return missionary, and she has taught him a lot about the gospel already.  He is very prepared for the gospel and is progressing very quickly.  We are trying to also do more with our less actives as families, and we have been having success with that.  I am excited to keep working with them as families.  I really love teaching families as a whole. That is the ideal setting for the gospel after all! We have been focusing on three particular families.  We taught each family from Helaman 5:12 and talked about having Christ as the Foundation for your life.  All of the lessons were really good.  I felt the spirit so strong.  On Sunday, all the families came to chruch!  It was such an amazing feeling.  It's nice when you can see the fruits of your labors.  

I miss you all so much.  You are always in my heart and on my mind.


xo Sister Allen

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Kumusta po kayo? 

I am doing great this week!  Working hard makes me feel happy.  I know I can do hard things!  I am trying really hard to choose to always be happy, and it is helping me in many ways.  It helps me wake up with more energy and happiness, it helps me have better, more spiritual studies,  it helps me have more fun throughout the day, and it helps me feel the Spirit more.  I know that a mission's success can't be measured by numbers or by lists of names.  A mission is measured by how much love you give away.  The more love you give away, the better!  I can give as much love as I can, but it's up to my investigators and the people that I meet to accept it.  It's like what Elder Bednar says in a missionary video:  we can bring the Spirit UNTO, the hearts of the people....but it's up to them to bring it INTO their hearts.  It's the same with love.  If I give love, the people will know how much I care, how much their Savior cares, and how much their Heavenly Father cares about them.  And then, they will open their heart to all the love, the Spirit, and all the wonderful blessings of the gospel.  I just have to do my part the absolute best that I can.  

I watched a Mormon message this week called "Deep Beauty."  I really liked it.  I know that a mission will help me share my deep beauty with others.  It's all about what's on the INSIDE. 

Some things from this week:
Our investigator, Nicole, came to church!  She was really shy, but she liked it a lot.  We also had a lot of progress with our investigator, Jay.  The members are really helping out with fellowshipping him, and it's making a huge difference.  He prays and reads so much!  It's so wonderful!  Also, my favorite less active family (shhhh....I'm not supposed to have favorites :) ) moved!  My heart was so sad.  But they are moving so that their kids can start going to school, so that makes me happy.  I included some pictures of us with them.

This week, we also had our companion exchanges with the Sister Training leaders. It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot. I really enjoyed working with them.  I felt the Spirit in our lessons, and I enjoyed the work.  They are so easy going and diligent in their work.

My companion, Sister Teabwabwa, is so wonderful! She is one of the happiest people I have ever met. She has had so many trials here in the mission, yet she presses on and has joy. She is so strong. I want to be more like her in that way. I really admire how happy she is, despite all that is going on. She really doesn't let anything get her down. I want to be like that! I am so happy we are companions. I love Sister Teabwabwa! 

I love this work and I love the Philippines Cauayan Mission!  I know that the decision to serve a mission was the right one.   I am so happy to be a missionary.  

"The decision to serve a mission will shape the spiritual destiny of the missionary, his or her spouse, and their posterity for generations to come."  Elder Russell M. Nelson


xo Sister Anna Ray Allen