Tuesday, June 28, 2016


This week was a good week here in Burgos!  We are busy busy busy every day and are working hard.  It's still rainy season here in the PH, but even though it's rainy, it's still so so hot.  It rains every night, so it's cool at night which is nice.  But during the day, it's just the same hot hot hot weather.  Our house gets really hot during the day, but at night it's okay.  We had a "brown out" (power outage) for a few hours one morning this week.  If we have a brown out, we have no electricity for our fans and the water also gets shut off.  No power = no water.  The power went out at about 5 am and I woke up because I was sweating to death.  We had to go out back and use our landlord's bumba (pump) and fill up a bucket and bring it back inside the bathroom to take our showers.  It was fun. :) 

My Tagalog and Ilocano are getting better and better every day.  I think and dream in Tagalog.  Haha.  Ilocano....not yet!  I can understand Ilocano, mostly, but I just can't speak it as well.  I really love the Tagalog language and I feel so blessed that I have been given the gift of tongues to learn this crazy language.  I've been learning children/nursery songs in Tagalog lately, which is really fun.  I will sing them for you when I get home!  :)

We didn't have as many lessons as our goal this week, which was a bummer, but it's okay because we tried our best.  We only taught about 20 lessons.  School just started here in the Philippines (it's backwards from schools in America!) so we can't teach a lot of our younger investigators as often because they are in school.  We're trying to figure out how to adjust our lessons now that school has started.  We try and teach the older nanays and tatays during the early afternoon and we save evenings for our youth-age and family investigators.  

This week we taught a new family, the Garuella family.  Jessie and Selly are husband and wife and they have four sons.  The oldest three are grown up and have moved away, but the youngest, Jeffrey, still lives with them.  He's deaf mute.  He's really nice.  He can't hear or talk, but he can read and write.....but only in English.  Haha!  He doesn't understand Tagalog.  He also knows sign language, which is really cool.  We taught them the first lesson this week:  The Restoration.  They believed everything we taught and were so receptive to our message.  They soaked in every word.  Jessie had a lot to add and had lots and lots of questions.  As we were wrapping up the lesson, Jessie said, "I have a question.  Don't be shocked by this but...."  (I immediately was afraid of what his question would be!)  He continued, "Sister, what do I have to do to be a part of this church?  What do I have to do to have what you have?"  Ding ding ding!  Golden question!  We happily told him that all he has to do is come to church and be baptized.  We invited them to baptized and they both enthusiastically said "yes!"  We are excited to keep coming back and teach them.  It was amazing.

This week was also transfer week.  Transfers didn't effect Sister Escalante and I at all.  We're still here in our same area in our one cute little branch, Burgos 1st.  We got a new Zone Leader in the Burgos 2nd branch, Elder Bice from Utah, and a few new missionaries in the Burgos zone.  They are nice and fun!  

The people who got baptized this June are doing so well.  Carmelita, Kylene, and Angelica are doing well and are continuing to come to church and progress in their gospel learning.  Their conversion is also getting contagious. :)  We are teaching more members of Nanay Carmelita's family, including her husband, Hildo (Who hasn't smoked in two weeks!  Whoohoo!).  We also started teaching Angelica's mom and two siblings and two of Angelica's best friends, Sherell and Regine.  Conversion really is contagious.  It's amazing!  We are having a lot of success with Sherell and Regine and we were able to set a baptismal date with them for the end of July.  

Me and Sister Escalante are doing good.  Sister Escalante is getting better at teaching every day and is starting to figure everything out better.  We are also officially halfway done with training!  Training is two cycles (12 weeks).  We just finished the first cycle, so only one more to go!  I can't believe how fast this cycle flew by.  

I miss you all so much!  It's hard being so far away from you, but I know that it is worth it.  I miss you every day.  I am so grateful for each of you and for all the love and prayers that you send me.  I love you so much!  I'm sending all my love to you, always.  Have a fun week at the beach!  


xo Sister Allen
P-day at the chapel where we played basketball and volleyball. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Pictures from the baptism!  Finally!  
(Someone at the baptism sent them to me :) )

Hello beautiful people! 

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, DAD!  All the missionaries always joke that it’s unfair that we get to call on Mother’s Day, but not on Father’s Day.  Haha, sorry about that.  But an email is just as nice, right?  Thank you for being such a good dad, a good adventure buddy, a strong priesthood leader of our family, an example of strength, and a good friend.  I am so happy that I have a dad like you!  I love you!

On Tuesday, we traveled to Ilagan City for a Special Training with President and Sister Rahlf.  It was ahhhmazing.  President and Sister Rahlf focused on the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  We learned all about the Atonement; what it is, what it covers, why we need it, etc.  It was so spiritually filling.  Of course I understood a little of the Atonement before, but at that meeting I really felt what it means.  Atonement literally means: at-ONE-ment.  How cool is that?  It is us becoming one with God again.  I am starting to realize more and more how much I need my Savior and how much I need the Atonement in our lives.  The Atonement isn’t just for when you have a sin or when someone dies – it is an everyday thing.  We need His love, His strength, and His help every single day.  We truly are nothing without Him.  But because of Him, we have everything.  We have hope, we have grace - the enabling power of God - and we can return to our Heavenly Father and inherit all that He has.  How amazing that is!  It is unfathomable what Jesus Christ was able to do for us, because it is so amazing and so infinite.  I am so grateful for the Atonement and the sacrifice of our loving Savior for each and every one of us. 

Here are some quotes about the Atonement from the training that I like:

“One does not speak lightly of the Atonement or casually express appreciation.  It is the most sacred and sublime event in eternity.  It deserves our most intense thoughts, our most profound feelings, and our noblest deeds.  One speaks of it in reverential tones; one contemplates it in awe; one learns of it in solemnity, now and throughout eternity.”     - Elder Tad R. Callister

“He came to pay a debt He did not owe, because we owed a debt we could not pay.”  - Unknown

“Atonement means taking two things that have become separated, estranged, or incompatible, like a perfect God and an imperfect me or you, and bringing them together again, thus making the two be ‘at one.’”  -Stephen Robinson

The training also was a “goodbye,” “until we meet again,” kind of a thing for President and Sister Rahlf.  I didn’t know how hard it would be so say “goodbye” to these two wonderful people.  I cried like a baby.  I felt like my parents were leaving me!  They have been such a blessing to Cauayan, to the missionaries here, and to me.  They will always be on my list of “people I look up to the most.”  They have impacted my life so greatly and I have changed for the better because of them.  With their help and guide, I am becoming the missionary – and girl – that my Heavenly Father wants me to be.  I am so thankful for them and for their constant love for me and for this great work.  I will miss them so much. 

We are also so happy to be receiving a new mission President and wife:  President and Sister Hiatt!  They will be arriving on June 30th.  President and Sister Rahlf will leave the mission the following day; only a one day overlap.  I am excited to meet them!  I’m also a little nervous.  But, I know that they have been called by God and that they will be amazing.

Our companionship is doing well.  I think I'm doing better with my patience this week.  Sister Escalante is doing well and I can see her progressing.  She has started to really contact on her own without fear or hesitation, which is wonderful!  She's getting the hang of CASH contacting and is also improving in her teaching skills every day.  She's doing great.  

Our branch also really stepped it up this week.  The Relief Society is organizing the visiting teaching schedule/assignments and have told us that they want to work with us.  They haven't done visiting teaching in a long time!  I made us so happy to see the changes that are starting to take place.  I know our branch will be strengthened because of their willingness to do their part.  

Also this Friday we had our usual exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders.  My companion was Sister Ferguson.  She is from Utah too.  Two American girls…we got a lot of strange looks that day.  I get enough attention with just myself being American, but with two of us, we got twice as much shouting and open-mouthed stares.  It was funny.  We had an amazing day and I learned a lot from her.  She is done with her mission and will be going home this week.  At every single appointment that we had, those that we taught poured out their hearts in thanks to her, told her how much she helped them change, and how much they love her.  It was so touching.  I hope that I can make my investigators feel the way she made them feel.  I hope that at the end of my mission, I have given as much of myself as she has.  To end our wonderful day, we got smoothie/shake like things, where I tried a corn shake.  It sounds disgusting, but it was actually delicious.  So that was my weird food for the week.

I love you all so much!  Thank you for always lifting me so much each week with your words.  You all know how much I love words…..so keep sending them to me!  I hope you have a wonderful week and that you always remember how much your Savior loves you.  He’s always right by your side, ready to lift you up.

I love you I love you I love you I love you

xo Sister Allen

After the training, President and Sister Rahlf shared some departing counsel.  
Then we cut ties and handkerchiefs, etc. for their mission quilt.  
There will be 578 missionaries represented in this keepsake!  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Trainer Sister Allen and new missionary Sister Escalante

Hello po!  Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat! 

I don't have pictures again this week....sorry!  I gave my memory card to Brother Mark, a member in Burgos 2.  He's going to try and restore my pictures that got lost last week!  Hopefully he will be able to do that.  Sorry again that there's no pictures…… (editor note: Yay for the mission blog!  I was able to include some cute photos of Anna.)

This week was another good week.  We are working hard, heat and all!  Training is going well.  Sister Escalante is improving a lot, and she is getting more and more confident in teaching and missionary work every day.  

After the wonderful baptisms last week, things have slowed down a lot in this area.  The baptism was a peak, and now we're on a downward slope.  Everything's slowed down and kind of settled.  We don't really know what to do next!  We are continuing to find and search for investigators who are ready for our message and are continuing to strengthen the investigators and less actives that we have.  We're working hard every day to find new people to teach.  We really need some new investigators!  

One thing that's very effective for finding new investigators is referrals, especially when that referral comes from a brand new member.  We have been asking our recent converts, including those that got baptized last week, for names of their family, friends, and neighbors that we could teach and introduce the gospel to.  With the help of those recent converts, we have been having success.  We were able to teach a new investigator, German, who was a referral from our recent convert, Jason.  German is a one-eyed, quiet, sixteen year old boy who is very sweet and kind.  During our first lesson with him, we talked about the Restoration, and then taught him about prayer.  He told us he has never prayed in his whole life!  It always breaks my heart when I hear people say that.  Prayer is such a blessing, and I can't imagine what my life would be like without it.  Sister Escalante and I tried and tried to have him pray with us at the end of the lesson, but he was too shy.  He kept saying, "hindi ko araw ito" - "it's not my day."  I told him:  "It's always your day to pray.  Every day.  Every hour.  Every minute even, if you need to!  Heavenly Father is waiting for you to talk to Him.  He loves you and He wants to hear from you."  For each of you - for each of us - it is the same.  Heavenly Father wants to hear your prayers.  He wants to hear what you did today, your fears, your hopes, your dreams.  No matter how seemingly insignificant the details in our life may be, Heavenly Father wants to hear about them because He loves us.  I have come to realize that God is in the details.  It's often times the small things that matter the most.  German agreed to try and pray on his own first, and in our next lesson would try to pray.  At the end of the lesson, Jason - the recent convert - piped in and told German about the first time he prayed and how much prayer has changed his life.  His testimony and experience were powerful, and I could see that German was catching onto every word.  The recent converts truly are powerful and have powerful testimonies.  We have had several other experiences with other recent converts and their referrals this week.  

On Wednesday, we also got to go to Cauayan City to the mission home for the "New Missionary and Trainers Training" with President and Sister Rahlf and the senior couples.  On our way, we drove through my first area.  It was fun to see all the places I used to go and teach.  It made me feel "old" as a missionary!  The Training was wonderful.  We were taught and had discussions with the assistants to the President, President and Sister Rahlf, and the senior couples.  We spent time with all the missionaries together, and then split off into groups of trainers and trainees. We talked about how the training was going, training tips, went over a few rules and procedures (for the newbees) and had a question and answer session with President Rahlf.  We also got free lunch.  Whoohoo!  It was a great day!  I especially loved getting to see some of my friends, especially my batch mates from the MTC, at the training.  It was so much fun.  Going to the mission home kind of feels like coming home.  President and Sister Rahlf and all the senior couples are so loving and kind, the mission home is so lovely and homey, and the atmosphere there full of love.  I can't believe President and Sister Rahlf go home so soon!  The mission will definitely change a lot after they leave, but I know that President and Sister Hiatt, the incoming mission President and wife will also be wonderful.  

Yesterday night, we had a dinner appointment with the Cariaga family.  We started talking about weird things that people eat here.  The Filipinos eat everything!  Frog, snake, dog, rat (yes, RAT! blech!!!), lizard, and much much more.  They said they would cook rat for us next time.  Ahhhhh!!  No thank you! 

I hope you all have a wonderful week!  Always remember how much I love you, but more importantly, remember how much your Heavenly Father and Savior love you.  I miss you everyday.  I hope you are all always happy and smiling and that you are always trying to find the joy in everything.

I love you to the moon and back and all the stars 

xo Sister Allen

 Cauayan Zion Missionaries
Going forth in faith.

Great friendships in the mission field!

Monday, June 6, 2016


I am so happy to be writing you!  This week was so busy. Happy Summer to you!  This morning I chopped my hair!  It's too hot and too difficult to have long hair here.  It's the same length as it was when I went into the MTC.  It's SO much cooler without my blanket or hair on my neck and back.

This week was an amazing week, and it ended beautifully with the baptisms of our three investigators, Carmelita, Kylene, and Angelica.  It was a magical day!  Everything went smoothly on the morning of the baptism.  The three beautiful girls looked so peaceful and so happy in their white jumpsuits.  They looked like angels.  There was also a little girl in our branch there for her baptism, Kaykay.  She just turned eight years old.  They each had a glow in their eyes.  We started the service at 10:00 am.  I was the pianist.  We sang, then heard two short, but sweet, talks, then started with the baptisms.  Each baptism was wonderful, and only two of them had to do the "immersing" twice. Hehe.  It's not a baptism if something little doesn't go wrong, right? :)  They each were so happy and smiling as they came out of the water.  Watching them, I couldn't stop smiling.  My eyes were wet with tears, but they were tears of joy.  I smiled especially wide when Nanay Carmelita got baptized by her grandson, Jason.  It was such a sweet moment.  I could feel Heavenly Father's love so strongly as each of those beautiful daughters of God were baptized.  One of the best feelings in the world is the feeling you get after you get baptized.  One of the best feelings in the world also, is seeing someone you love get baptized.  I love Angelica, Kylene, and Nanay Carmelita so much and it was such an amazing feeling to see them make this important step towards their Heavenly Father.  I am excited to see them, later, learn more, grow, and eventually enter the temple.  What a blessing this week was.  What a miracle!  I will never forget that special day. 

On Sunday afternoon, Carmelita and Angelica were confirmed members of this wonderful church.  Kylene, unfortunately, was late to sacrament meeting and didn't get confirmed yet.  That caused a major panic attack for Sis. Escalante and I!  She said she took a really long time choosing what to wear.  Hahahaha.  But, all is well, and she will be confirmed next Sunday.  

I am so blessed to have witnessed these daughters of God be baptized and confirmed.  These are the moments that I will never forget.

I took so many pictures at the baptism.  I was so excited to send them and print them off for those that got baptized.  When I got to the computer shop and plugged my memory card in.....everything got wiped.  All my pictures got deleted and are gone.  I am so upset about it.  I cried and cried here at the internet shop.  I have a copy of my pictures from before, but all the pictures from this week - all the pictures from the baptism - are gone. :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( 

This week, on Tuesday, we also had our interviews with President and Sister Rahlf.  This was our last interview with them, because they will be headed home on June 30th.  It was nice to spent some one on one time with them, even if it was only for a few minutes.  Sister Rahlf asked each of us to prepare a three word goal that describes what we want to be as a missionary.  It was really really hard for me to choose.  I finally chose this phrase: finds the joy.  I hope that in my mission, in my life, and in each moment, I choose to find the joy.  I want to always choose to be happy and choose to see the good in everything, even when things are bad.  I hope you all choose that too!  Later on that evening, I really did have to choose to "find the joy."  As we were out working, about ready to head back to the apartment for the evening, a huge rain storm hit.  The electricity went out.  We didn't have our phone to call for a ride home (we accidentally left it at the house).  We just had our umbrellas and about a 30 minute walk ahead of us.  I'll be honest.....I was pretty scared.  It's scary enough to walk around at night here, and with no lights to guide us, no way to communicate with anyone, the rain pouring down, and the thunder and lightning flashing all around us, it became even scarier.  But, we had no choice, so we just started walking.  Then, we started to sing as we walked.  As we sang, I felt safe.  I felt like we were protected, and I felt that angels were watching over us.  We sang all the hymns and Primary songs we knew!  Despite all that was happening around us, we found the joy in our situation and sang as we walked and walked in the rain.  

I love you all so much!  Sorry again that there's no pictures.  Trust me, I'm just as disappointed as you are.  Thank you for all the light and love that you give me every day!  I hope you all have a wonderful week. 

I love you to the moon and back and all the stars 

xo Sister Allen