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!  

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