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.