At general conference with the cute sisters of Tueguegarao North and South Zones.
I am doing well! I am loving it here and am loving living the life of a missionary. I have been so happy this week. I am enjoying the work, which doesn't really feel like work at all. We were able to teach almost 40 lessons this week, which was good. We have been struggling with members attending our lessons, even though we have many members in our ward. That is something we are trying to improve. Usually, only the youth and YSA want to work with us, which is good, but it would also be nice to have some Relief Society sisters and some of the Elders Quorum work with us as well. That is one of our goals! We have many good investigators with potential. Like I said before, right now is a planting time, not a harvesting time. But that's not a bad thing, it's a good thing! Planting and harvesting are equally important. I am the happiest missionary planter on the planet. My speed walking skills have improved and Sister Barranco and I are hastening the work here in Penablanca.
To answer some of your questions:
Yes, I do get 8 hours of sleep every night. It's actually part of the mission rules! We go to bed at 10:30 pm every night and wake up at 6:30 am every morning. I have thought multiple times since I've been on my mission that maybe part of the reason why I am so happy all the time is because I am getting good sleep every day. Good sleep really makes a big difference!
I email you from a little quiet, internet shop across from the McDonald's in Tuguegarao City. It's air conditioned (hallelujah!). We travel from Penablanca to the center of Tuguegarao city for our p-day every Monday. So that's where I am right now!
The highlight of my week was watching the Rebroadcast of General Conference. I LOVED it. I felt so inspired and uplifted, so peaceful and content. I have learned to love general conference here on my mission. I noticed a theme of missionary work in the conference, and I think all are pushing to have "every member a missionary." Which is wonderful! From magnifying callings, to serving a mission, to home teaching and visiting teaching, from simply sharing your testimony - it's all missionary work. I hope that every one takes the call to be a missionary to heart.
I think my favorite talk from all of conference is still "Fourth Floor, Last Door" by President Uchtdorf from the General Women's Session. But all the talks made me feel the Spirit and I loved each and every one. One of my favorite talks from this weekend was by President Russell M. Nelson. He spoke about one of my favorite things...JOY. I liked what he said: "Missionaries teach and baptize to bring joy to the people of the world!" That's true. He also said, "Joy is powerful, and focusing on joy brings God’s power into our lives." That's also true. I have never been as happy and joyful as I have been on my mission, and I know that I am that way because I am focusing my life on my Savior, who is joy.
I also really enjoyed President Uchtdorf's other talk on Saturday morning. I liked what he asked: "What shall we give in return for so much?" I have been so blessed in my life. I am blessed with a loving family and loving parents. I am blessed to have been born in such a beautiful and safe place. I am so blessed to have so much. I am blessed with the sure knowledge that I am a daughter of God and that He has a perfect plan for me. I am so blessed to be a missionary. I don't know how I can ever give enough in return for all the blessings that I have, but I will try. I will try to give. I will always serve my best and I will always be a missionary. I will give my love and my strength and my time to the One who gave me all. I am so grateful for General Conference and for the words of our living prophet and apostles and for the inspiring weekend that I had. If you haven't watched or read general conference yet, watch it or read it! It's amazing and I'm sure something will inspire you to do a little more to be a little better.
Here's what I did the rest of my week:
Tuesday we had District Meeting and then went out and taught - of course! We taught a lesson with Cindy and Janna, and we were able to talk with their mom and build her trust a little. Our relationship is improving with her and she has been kind and welcoming to us, unlike before. Her heart is beginning to soften. One of our goals for the next few weeks is to teach a lesson with Cindy, Janna, their mom, and their dad. We are really trying to focus on families.
On Wednesday we taught in part of our area, Larion. It was a good day. That night we had dinner with the Ringor family, a family in our ward. They are so awesome! They are a little outspoken and kind of loud, but I love that about them. It was fun to spend time with them and become close to them.
On Thursday we taught and taught and taught and that's all. :)
On Friday we also taught and taught and taught. We worked again in Larion. We taught our investigator, Sheila. She is a young mother of three and is very intelligent and is starting to progress. She is reading the BOM, and praying, so our next step is to get her to church. We usually send out a mass text on Saturday night to all those that we are teaching to remind them about church on Saturday morning, but Sheila doesn't have a phone. Her brother offered his phone number to us so that we could remind her, for which we were grateful. But then the situation got weird when Sheila's brother texted us and called and told us and said, "sister, I'm in love with you".....we're not sure what to do about that! Hahaha. I keep telling Sister Barranco that she's the one he's in love with, and she keeps telling me that it's me. He hasn't specified who yet. We haven't gone back to Sheila's house yet because we haven't had time. I don't want to go back because of the weird boy, but we have to go back for Sheila so....we'll see what happens. Haha.
On Saturday and Sunday we spent most of the day watching General Conference. Even though all you do in conference is sit and listen, it made me so tired! Haha. I had NO energy after each session, but I just stuck it out and we still worked hard (of course!).
I love you all so much! I am so proud to be your daughter/sister/friend. You are always in my prayers and in my thoughts. I love you so much and I miss you every day. I hope you each have a wonderful week filled with JOY.
M A H A L K O K A Y O!
xo Sister Allen
This is the main market in our area. It's called the "palengke."
We usually don't shop here, because there's not many goods,
but sometimes we buy fried chicken.
This is a kalesa! I still haven't ridden in one yet...
They're waiting in front of the elementary school to pick up some of the kids.
This is the road in front of our apartment. Green and dusty.
This is our apartment! We're caged in pretty good.
The white gate in the center is the entrance. Home sweet home.
This is a view from the side of our house. This is where the big gravel
trucks go back and forth from the river, which is quite noisy and dirty!
But the mountains are pretty!
Some cute little boys walking to school. Here in the PH, you go
to school in the morning, then go home to eat lunch for about an hour,
then come back. I guess they're coming back from lunch.
This is a typical house here in the PH.
Most of the houses are cement with a metal/tin roof.
There's always clothes drying outside of every house.
Laundry...and ice 4 sale. (Which we never buy because it's unsafe to drink.)