I am good! Burgos is doing well. It's rainy and has cooled down quite a bit. Our branch is doing good. I saw the numbers/statistics this week, and our branch, Burgos 1, has the highest attendance in the whole district. Yay! Our branch is getting stronger and we are having progress here.
To answer some of your questions:
What do you miss most about the USA? I could write a really long list of things I miss from the US! But I'll say just a few. Of course the thing I miss most is my family! Haha. I also miss is air conditioning. I have grown such an appreciation for it since being here! Every building in the US has AC, but here, only a handful of buildings have it. I miss the cleanliness of the US. Everything here is kind of wild and in shambles. I miss Diet Coke. (They just have normal Coke and Coke Zero here.)
What kinds of things does your companion compliment you on in your daily companion inventory? What does she say you need to do different? During our nightly evaluation, my companion has complimented me on a lot of things! It's different every day. She says I'm kind, a good listener, obedient, hard working, and things like that. She told me once that I'm grumpy in a positive way. ??? Hahaha, I don't really know what that means and I didn't know how to respond. For things to work on, she usually says I have nothing to work on.... I wish she would tell me things so I can improve more.
Here is my amazing week!
On Tuesday we started out the day at our district meeting. We talked about developing Christlike attributes and how we can help our investigators and others overcome concerns. It was good. I had a cold this past week, and it's peak was on Tuesday. My throat hurt, I had a low fever, a runny nose, a head ache, and I was coughing and sneezing non stop. The afternoon of Tuesday, I rested for a little bit before we went out to work because I did not feel good. Then we went out and worked and taught some of the wonderful people in our area. I felt a lot better after working. If you're feeling down or sick, go out and do something that makes you focus on others. It will help you feel better!
On Wednesday we had a normal day of working and teaching. We taught some of our recent converts and a few investigators and one member family. It was a good normal day.
On Thursday it was Sage's birthday! One of the couple missionaries, Elder and Sister Jones (who I LOVE), dropped by our apartment to deliver some Book of Mormons, pamphlets, etc. that morning. They also brought me the package that you sent! It was the Peru package with the notes and trinkets from Sage. I LOVED IT! Thank you so so much for sending it. It was perfect that it got there on Sage's birthday. I felt like I had a piece of Sage in a package. I loved all the stuff that you sent! Especially the Liahona necklace. I have worn it every day since I got it. I really liked reading her journal entries from the trip too. The trip sounds amazing! Reading it made me verrrry homesick, haha. I miss you all so much!
On Friday, we headed to Ilagan to have our cycle-ly splits with the Sister Training Leaders. My companion was Sister Porter. She's from Utah too. She's awesome! We are so alike it's kind of creepy, haha. It was so much fun to work with her. Going on splits is always so refreshing. You're in a new area, with a new companion, with new investigators and people to teach, just for one day. Splits give you a fresh perspective on everything and you notice things about your self that you maybe wouldn't have noticed in your own area. Sometimes you get in a rut being in the same area with the same people all the time, but splits are a nice refresh button. It was fun to be in Ilagan and to work with Sister Porter.
On Friday was also my one year mark in the mission! I can't believe it's already been a year. I didn't know time could go so fast. This year has been amazing, challenging, and joyful. I have changed and grown so much. The decision to serve a mission is the best decision that I have ever made. One year ago, I was just entering the MTC, and I didn't really know what I was doing or who I was or who I wanted to be. But now, I know! This has been such a blessed year.
On Saturday morning, we had a service project at the elementary school again. The cafeteria/restaurant owned by our branch mission leader there always floods out whenever it rains. It gets super muddy and gross, so we tried to fix it up. We shoveled gravel into buckets and carried it to the spots that flood to try and help control the water and mud. It looked a lot better after that. (Then that night it rained really hard and all our work was ruined and the restaurant flooded anyways. Darn.) I also fixed up that hanging menu I made for them last time.
In the afternoon, we taught a bunch of lessons...all at one house! We started with teaching Angel, our investigator. Then after her lesson, our recent convert Jason walked in and said, "Teach me!" So we taught him. Then his cousin John Carl, also a recent convert, came over and said, "Teach me!" That happened a few times in a row with various recent converts and less actives that are all part of this huge family. It was fun! Haha.
On Saturday night my companion, Brother Roland (our BML), and Sister Lyka surprised me with a "happy one year mark" party. If you know me, you know how much I love surprises.... haha not! (They're on my list of things I would rather not have happen....) BUT! It was a good surprise and it made me very happy. It made me feel loved! They put in a lot of effort and I was very grateful. They had a cake that said "Happy One Year Sister Allen" and they made graham (my favorite Filipino dessert). We just ate and talked and it was fun.
On Sunday, we went to church. I was the pianist in sacrament meeting again. We were lucky to have two of our investigators there at church, Tatay and Nanay Garuella. The members were so welcoming to them and they had a good experience. We called them on the phone before church started at about 7:00 am, just to check if they were coming to church. I was surprised when they said, "Yes, we're coming. We're already ready in our church clothes." They were the very first people at church, besides me and my companion. The doors weren't even unlocked yet! We're excited for them and their progression. They are amazing! They loved church. After church, we taught them at their house. Our lesson was one of my favorite lessons I've ever had here in my mission because it was so cute. At church earlier that day, the lessons in RS and Elders Quorum were about eternal marriage in the temple, and they had questions and wanted to talk about it with us. The lesson we had prepared for Nanay and Tatay was the Law of Chastity. Our lesson ended up being eternal marriage and the LOC combined, and it turned out wonderfully. We talked about how men and women are meant to be together and how God gave us temples so that we can have our families and spouses forever. They loved learning more about the blessings of the temple. I felt the Spirit, and I know they felt the Spirit. Partway through the lesson as I was teaching, Tatay frowned and said that it was too bad they hadn't gotten married in the temple when they were young. I explained to them that they can still go, even now, and be married for time and all eternity. Tatay turned to Nanay, smiled wide, and said, "Let's get married in the temple!" They were giddy! It was so cute. They really understand the gospel and the blessing that await them if they are baptized and if they enter into the temple. Because of that understanding, they want baptism and the blessings of the temple so badly. They are craving it! I am so excited to see what happens to them in the future.
Fun fact: People here in the Philippines are VERY superstitious. They have a lot of funny superstitions. I'll give you a few: 1) If you have a boil, you need to go and un-plant all of the plants that you have planted recently and replant them upside down, with the roots sticking up. If you don't, your boil won't go away. 2) It's bad luck for a woman who's just had a baby to read. She can start reading again one month after the baby is born. 3) It's bad luck to sweep the floor at night. 4) It's bad luck to take a shower if you have a fever. 5) If you take a shower on Good Friday (the day Christ performed the Atonement), you will go blind. These are just a few.
I love you all so much! I hope you have a great week. You are all so amazing and I love you all so so so so so so much.
MAHAL KO PO KAYONG LAHAT!
xo Sister Allen
Happy birthday to Sage! I made a birthday wish for her.
HP! HP! HP! HP! HP!
Happy birthday Sage! I love you! Mahal kita! My makeshift cake and silly sign for Sage's birthday.
This weird fruit I tried called balinbin. It tastes kind of like cherries. Yum!
Me, Lyka, Roland and my companion.
Chicken feet! They are surprisingly delicious. They put out the chicken feet at lunch yesterday and I put some on my plate and everyone freaked out! They were like, "you eat that? We thought you had never tried them and didn't like them." But I do like them. Hahaha! Weird.
My companion, Lyka, and Brother Roland threw me a surprise "happy one year mark" party. Haha!
My companion left this on my desk on Friday...cute!
Me and Sister Porter! She's the best. This is our "haggard selfie."