Monday, September 26, 2016

Hello po!  

This week flew by so fast.  It was a very good week for me.  I am doing well.  I am enjoying the work and getting to know the area better.  This week I have been working on not being too quiet or shy to the members so that I can establish a good relationship with them quickly.  Sometimes I'm shy and quiet at first, but I'm trying to break that so that I can establish better friendships.  I'm getting better!   I am happy!

Sister Barranco and I are doing great.  We've become close already.  Working with her is easy.  Our work and lessons just flow well and go smoothly.  Even though we've only been companions for a short time, we already have unity and a good system of teaching.  We  were very busy this week with lessons and teaching and working hard.  The work is much faster paced here, mostly because there is more people here in the city and the houses are closer together.  We taught almost 40 lessons this week.  It has been pretty cool weather here, which is surprising.  They say that Tuguegarao is the hottest place in the PH, but his time of year is the "coldest" so I guess that balances out the heat.  It's pretty warm during the day, but it's rainy in the evening and cools down a lot at night.  We just got a text with a typhoon warning, so the weather will probably be pretty rainy this coming week.  When it rains here, it rains HARD.  Like, you're soaked in two seconds hard.  Good thing we always carry our umbrellas!

Here are some fun things to know about my new area, Penablanca, Tueguegarao:  Out of all the cities here in Northern PH, Tueguegarao has the most tricies of all!  There are tricies everywhere here in Tugue (short for Tuguegarao).  People also ride in things called kalesas.  They are little horse drawn carriages that you can ride in for transportation.  Students like to ride in them a lot because they are cheaper than tricies.  I haven't ridden in one yet.  The horses here are very small!  Not like the horses in the US.  Here in Tugue, their specialty food dish is called "batil patong."  It's noodles with toppings of meat, egg, veggies, and this yummy sauce.  It's good!  In my area in Penablanca, the native language is Itawis.  Yes...another language!  But I won't be learning this one, haha.  Thank goodness.  People here mostly speak Tagalog, but there is some Ilocano too.  Only people from Penablanca speak Itawis.  There are so many languages here in the PH!  Missionaries always joke that the tower of Babel was here in the PH, and that's why there's so many languages.  In our area, most people work as farmers (farming corn or rice) or they work at the gravel and sand companies.  There's a big river running through Penablanca where they excavate sand and gravel.  Because of that, our area is pretty dusty.  We live pretty close to the river. 

I really love it here in Penablanca!  I had missed my mountains.  I love the mountains here....even though walking all day in them gets me winded sometimes haha.  It is very foresty and lushy green here.  When we walk through our area, sometimes I feel like I'm walking through the Jurrassic Park set because it's so green and wild looking.  I love it! 

This is my week:

On Tuesday we had our District Meeting with our district leader, Elder Clarite.  All the people in my district are awesome.  We learned and practiced "How to Begin Teaching."  If you don't know what that is, you can look in Preach My Gospel.  That is what we as missionaries do when we teach the very very first lesson to people and how we establish good relations with the people that we teach.  It's always important to make a good first impression!  It was a good meeting.  That afternoon, we just taught a bunch.  We taught two cute girls, Cindy and Jannalyn.  They have been investigators for a while and have been coming to church for about three months.  They haven't been able to get baptized yet because their mom doesn't want them to.  We met their mom this week and were so nice and tried to build some trust with her.  We're trying to soften her heart.  We have yet to crack her shell, but we're trying.  Cindy and Jannalyn are so cute.  I know that someday, they will be able to be baptized.

On Wednesday we had another busy day of teaching. We taught this old less active lady named Nanay Valeria.  We teach her a few times a week.  She's almost deaf, so for us to teach her, we have to sit next to her right ear (her good ear) and shout at her.  I always feel silly teaching her because I feel like I'm screaming.  But she loves it!  She loves us to come and visit and loves to hear our lessons.  She is very old and lives all alone, and I think she is very lonely.  It always makes her so happy when we come to visit.

On Thursday we had another good day of work.  Work work work work work. :)

On Friday we taught a bunch of lessons.  One of our lessons was with a young girl named Perlyn.  She will be baptized pretty soon.  We always start our lessons with a hymn, and my companion chose "Joy to the World" for us to sing.  (Christmas already?!?! Hahaha).  When I handed Perlyn my little hymn book to borrow, she said, "wait, where's the hymn?"  I responded, "There!  The one that says "Joy to the World."  She looked confused and said, "Oh!  I always thought it was called "JOIN to the World."  I laughed so hard!  So now when I sing that song, I always say "join" instead of "joy."  Hahaha.  

On Saturday we taught a ton.  We met so many nice people and taught so many great lessons.  It was wonderful.

On Sunday, we had church.  It was good.  

That was our week!  It was so great and it went by so fast.  I love being a missionary! 

I love you all so much!  I hope you have a great week!

xo Sister Allen

Monday, September 19, 2016

Hello po! 

This week was a CRAZY week.  It was such a good week.  I also have a surprise for you.... I AM transferred!  Don't worry, I'll tell you what happened later in this letter....

On Tuesday, we had our district meeting.  I was still feeling pretty bummed about transfers and was feeling kind of wimpy.  Our district leader taught us about the Armor of God.  It was a good lesson.  I felt the Spirit and I felt strength from that lesson.  I love the concept of the armor of God.  If we are righteous and are pure, we can have protection from the world.  Every piece of the armor is important, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, the shield of faith, and everything else.  We cannot let our righteousness become weak or our faithfulness falter.  If that happens, our armor will lose its strength and we will not be protected.  We can't have a chink in our armor!  We must be perfectly armored so that we can perfectly be protected and happy.  What can you do today to strengthen your armor?  Whatever it is, do it!  What is putting a chink in your righteousness?  Whatever it is, get rid of it!  There is no greater blessing than the joy that comes from righteous living.

On Wednesday, we had a nice normal day of work.  It's really hard to work when you're sad and your feelings are focused on yourself, so I did my best to accept the fact that I was not transferred (or so I thought) and just forgot myself and went to work.  It made me feel SO much better.  Life really is much simpler and happier when you're not focused on yourself.  I was finally starting to feel okay with the fact that I was staying and I was focusing on the positive that would come from my time there.....but then Thursday happened...

On Thursday it was transfer day.  That morning, me and my companion and my housemates headed to a community service project.  We were going to help a lady paint her newly remodeled house.  As we were getting things started, I was happily working.  At about 9:30 am we got a call from the zone leaders, Elder Bice and Elder Dialino.  "Sister Allen!  YOU ARE TRANSFERRED!  There was a mistake!  Hurry and get your things packed and get to Cauayan as fast as you can."  !!!!!! I was STUNNED.  It turns out in the rush and complication and confusion of transfer lists, the AP's (assistants to the president) forgot to add my name to the list that they sent us.  They forgot about me!  They didn't realize that they had made a mistake until the actual transfer day, and they saw that I wasn't there.  I was a mix of happiness (because I was transferred), anger (because they forgot about me), and sadness (because I had accepted the fact that I wasn't transferred but I actually was).  After a few minutes - after screaming and jumping up and down and talking with my house mates - my feelings calmed down and I felt such peace.  It felt so right!  Before transfer lists had come, I felt - really really felt prompted - that I would be transferred.  I also felt that I would be transferred to Tuguegarao.  I have learned here in the mission to recognize promptings, and I know that that prompting was true.  Then when the transfer list came and my name wasn't on it, I doubted myself.  I felt disappointed.  It felt wrong.  Hearing that I was actually transferred just confirmed the feelings that I already had had.  It felt so so right.  My feelings were also confirmed when I found out where I was transferred....I am now in Tuguegarao South Zone.  The Spirit is awesome, right?!  Hahaha.  I am now assigned in the Penablanca Ward of the Tuguegarao South stake.  After I found out that I was transferred, we hurried and rushed home and I packed my bags with the help of my house mates, took a shower, and headed to Cauayan.  It was a rush, but I didn't feel stressed or worried, I just felt happy!  I made it to transfer day, said goodbye to my anak (she cried :( ), and made the three hour trip to my new area in Tuguegarao with my new companion Sister Barranco.  She's awesome!  She's from Bicol (in PH Naga Mission), is 21 years old, and 4'9''.  She's the smallest missionary in the whole mission.  Her size doesn't match the rest of her though.  She has a big loud voice, is very friendly and talkative, and walks faster than I do.  I love her!  She already graduated college.  She majored in Education with an emphasis in English, so she's very good at speaking in English.  She's really smart and loves to read too.  I really like having her as my companion.  I think we are going to do great things this cycle!

On Friday and Saturday were my first days of normal work here in my new area.  It is so pretty here.  It reminds me of SLC, because it is surrounded by mountains.  I really love it here. 

On Sunday we had church and I got to meet the ward.  This is my first time being assigned in a ward, not a branch.  There was a wonderful feeling throughout the whole service.  The members are so nice and welcoming.  I am excited to get to know them more.  I also ate dragon fruit on Sunday, which was delicious and fun.  

So that was my crazy week!  I love my new area and the change I have had.

I love you all so much!  You are always in my prayers.  I hope you all have a great week. 


xo Sister Allen

My huge luggage in the tiny kulongkulong.

Brother Roland refused to smile...he was sad that I was transferred.

My notes from our district meeting on Tuesday. 

The baptism in Burgos of Nanay and Tatay Garuella.  I missed it by two days!
But it's okay.  I'm so happy that got baptized! 

My new companion, Sister Barranco.

The view from my window in Penablanca.  There's a TON of noisy chickens...

Our bathroom. 

My bed!

My desk.

Our kitchen.  Notice the microwave...I haven't used a microwave in almost a year!
I was so happy when I saw that we have a microwave.  Haha!

Tuguegarao South Zone!

The sisters of the Tuguegaro South Zone.

Me and my kabahays (housemates), Sister Montejo and Sister Fukofuka.

We had an activity at Callao Caves this morning. It was fun!

We climbed 184 steps to get to the Callao Cave.

Inside the cave there's a bunch of shrines and things like that.
People go there to worship sometimes.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Hello po!  

I miss you all so much!  Thanks for your awesome letter and for your awesome pictures.  You all sound and look great.

My sickness and fever are all gone and I feel great.  The weather has been pretty hot and it hasn't rained in a while.  I got a little sunburn this morning.  Hopefully it rains soon!  Our branch and our investigators are doing amazing.  We taught about 20 lessons this week.  I am doing good!  Still working, still kicking.

This week was a good week.  It was an up and down week. 

I am feeling kind of bummed today.  We received the transfer list this morning, and I am not transferred.  Neither is my companion.  This will be my fifth cycle here in Burgos, and my fourth cycle with Sister Escalante as my companion.  I thought for sure that I would be transferred or that I would be experiencing a change this cycle, but I am not.  I know that there is a reason.  I will bloom where I am planted and do the very best I can.  Through change comes growth, but maybe unchanging will bring a change inside me that I need.  I'm not sure what the reason is right now, but I know that there is one.  I will always do whatever the Lord asks me to do.  I will be okay.

Getting the news that I wasn't transferred is hard.  It makes me think of how important it is to endure to the end.  My nanay, Sister Maroket emailed me this last week: 

"This morning, our Zone had the chance to go to Banaue Rice Terraces! It looks more beautiful in person, and it gave me comfort that everything will workout....I wonder how the people in Ifugao made the terraces. Obviously, it took them a lot of time, effort, and sacrifice. After several years, their efforts really paid of. People from other places of the world visit it. 

The terraces are made strong, and no doubt that there were several storms that tried to destroy it. Yet it is still there -- standing strong, no matter what. The same is true with our lives. The Lord building us up through His commandments and the covenants we make with Him for us to be strong with unwavering faith. Our lives are one evidence that there is Someone who created us and we are not of this world (Alma 30:44). The Banaue Rice Terraces is no doubt not made by humans alone. When the people of Ifugao made the terraces, Heavenly Father did His part by making it strong. 

We need to do our part by being obedient to His commandments. It is the only way for us to reach our divinest potential and for us to be truly happy. Heavenly Father can make so much more of us than we can of ourselves."

Her words are so true!  Just like she said, success takes a lot of time and effort.  I think that is true for me here.  Maybe I need to do more here so that there can be success.  Whatever the reason is, I will continue to endure to the end.  God made me, and He can make me strong enough to get through anything, if I will love Him and trust Him.

Here is my week:

On Tuesday we had our Zone Meeting.  It was pretty good.  We talked about getting investigators ready for baptism, the requirements, and what we can do better to help them be prepared.  It was a good lesson.  Mostly businessy stuff.  After we took some pictures, which was fun. :)  While we were in the meeting, my companion was not looking good.  She caught the fever I had last week!  After the meeting, we went back to the apartment and she rested for the rest of the day.  She got better, and we were able to work well for the rest of the week, which was good. 

On Wednesday, we had a good normal day of work. 

On Thursday, I went to the doctor's office to get my big toe inspected.  I have a gnarly ingrown toenail!  The doctor gave me some medicine and told me to come back when the infection is gone.  I've been taking antibiotics and the infection is going away.  Hopefully I'll get the ingrown removed this week!  So yeah, that was fun.  After that, we just worked.

On Friday, we had another good day of work.  We taught with Nanay and Tatay Garuella and helped them prepare for their baptismal interview and get things figured out for their baptism on Saturday.  It was amazing!  They are so prepared for the gospel.

On Saturday, we spent the afternoon tracting in Luna.  It was HOT.  But we got a few new investigators and met some new people, which was good.  That evening, Nanay and Tatay Garuella had their baptismal interview with our district leader, Elder Davis.  We are not allowed to sit-in in the interview, so we just waited outside.  I was nervous and was praying that everything would go smoothy.  After the interview, Elder Davis said that everything was great and that Nanay and Tatay are ready to be baptized.  Yay!  I was so happy.  Elder Davis told us that when Tatay closed the interview with a prayer, he said, "I have been to many churches and have learned about many religions in my life, and I am so thankful that I have found the true church here on earth.  I am so happy to be a part of the true church of Christ."  That is amazing.  Tatay and Nanay are so prepared! 

On Sunday, we had church.  It was good.  After church, we had a branch coordination meeting and then went to Brother Roland's house for lunch.  They offered me dog to eat, but I kindly said no.  Haha.  Then we taught a bunch of lessons and it was awesome. 

I love you all so much.  I miss you all so much!  I think of you always.  You are always in my prayers and in my heart. 


xo Sister Allen

The Burgos Zone!  This was taken after our zone meeting.

Zone meeting.

We climbed the roof of our branch president's house to get some fresh buko (coconut).  Yum!

Me, my companion, and our branch missionaries!  They are awesome.

Sister Escalante and I were taking a selfie...but we got interrupted by a bucket of water.  Haha!

After the water fight.  We are soaked!

Yum, yum, yum!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Hello po!

This morning when I opened my email, there was an email from the mission office with information "in preparation to get you home."  Ah!  I, of course being me, burst into tears.  I'm not ready to go home!  Although I still have quite a bit of time left, seeing that letter really freaked me out and made me feel like I only have a little time left. :(  

This week was okay.  We had about 20 lessons this week.  Not bad, but we can do better.  The weather's fine.  It's still hot during the day and cool and rainy in the evening.  It is harvest season, and everyone is out and about reaping and threshing corn.  There's corn everywhere!  Sadly, it's not the kind that people eat.  Too bad, because the corn on the cob here is delicious!  

Here is what I did this week:

On Tuesday we had our district meeting.  I really enjoyed it!  Our district leader taught us about our purpose here (one of the many purposes that we have here, I should say).  Our purpose here is the LOVE and to SERVE.  We love and serve the people and we love and serve our Savior, Jesus Christ.  If you serve someone, but you have no love for them, your service means nothing.  If you love someone, and you don't act on that love and serve them, your love means nothing.  Love and serve!  Love and serve!  Love and serve!  There is no better combination.

As we were working, we worked in a part of our area called Bliss.  We visited a woman we had contacted before and were hoping to teach her that day.  When we got there, she was kind of a mess because she had just gotten back from the hospital.  Her husband had a stroke, and the doctors sent both of them home earlier that day.  The doctors said there was no more that they could do for her husband.  He was laying inside their house, unconscious, and looking very unwell.  The woman, named Cattelina, asked us to pray for her and her husband before we left.  We told her that our prayer might not bring her husband back to full health, but that it would help her feel peace.  She said, "yes, I know" and seemed to understand.  We prayed and asked that her and her husband would feel peace at that difficult time and that whatever happened, they would feel of God's love.  When we came back a few days later, her husband had died.  We stopped by to ask how she was doing and if there was anything we could do to help her.  She was very peaceful and seemed okay.  She wants us to come back after the funeral for her husband to teach her.  At this difficult time in her life, the gospel is exactly what she needs to hear!  We are excited to go back and teach her the plan of salvation.  

On Wednesday, we had a CSP and started painting the food stand thing for Lyka.  It was fun!  We're not finished yet though.  Then, we taught some lessons, one of which was with the Garuella's.  They are awesome!  We had to move their baptismal date to September 17th because Tatay hasn't come to church enough times to be baptized, and they need some extra preparation and time before the big day.  They are so excited for their baptism.  I'm so excited too! 

On Thursday and Friday, I spent all day in bed.  I was so so sick!  I started to get a fever and not feel well on Tuesday but I just pushed through it.  Finally on Thursday, I was feeling really crappy.  I had body aches all over, a fever, and a stuffy nose.  So that wasn't fun.... but I am feeling much better now!  It really sucks to stay in bed all day, especially when you are a missionary.  I just wanted to get up and get out and work!  My companion was kind and patient with me, even though it wasn't fun for either of us to stay in the house for two days.  I slept most of the time.  When I wasn't sleeping, I watched the church movies that we had laying around our apartment.  I actually learned a lot from the church movies haha.  I really love the new-ish Joseph Smith movie, "Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration."  It's really good.  I just cried and cried as I watched it because the story is so beautiful, and I felt the Spirit testify to me how true the Restoration really is.  You should all watch it!  

On Saturday, I was feeling a bit better, so we went out to work!  We just had a good normal work day.  That night, we went to visit a member, Sister Jhajha.  She returned early from her mission after being there for one month.  (She was extremely homesick and was having a hard time.)  We went to visit her and talk to her.  I didn't really now what I should say to her, so I just hugged her and asked how she was doing. 

On Sunday, we had church.  I wasn't the pianist this time.  I bore my testimony during sacrament meeting.  I was wearing my Liahona necklace that Sage got me, and I showed it to everyone, then bore my testimony about how the Holy Ghost is like our Liahona and that He is always there as our guide.  After church, we just went out and worked again!  It was a good day.  

That's pretty much all I did this week.  Hopefully this coming week will be much better!  

I love you all so much!  I miss you all so so much!  Thank you for sending all your love and prayers to me.  I send mine too, to you.  


xo Sister Allen

*I really failed at pictures this week.....I took no pictures at all!  Sorry sorry sorry.  I'll take a bunch for you next 

week. :)