Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Texas: Week 1

SO this is going to be the longest and most amazing letter you have ever read! BUT first I need to get through some technicalities. These past two weeks have been the craziest of my life! I have never felt so far from my family because I hadnt heard from any of you for a week or so before I left the MTC. I know some of you wrote me and I hope they are forwarding that on since there is no other way for me to get them. It might take a week or so for me to get letters because they send them to the mission office first who then sends them to my apartment. To send me packages they need to go to the mission office first so that they dont get stolen:
Hermana Allen
200 West La Vista Ave
McAllen, TX 78501
To send letters:
Hermana Allen
802 Haisley #1
Odem, TX 78370
Which brings me to the next point that some of you may not know: I was reassigned to TEXAS (temporarily)! We arrived last Monday (we had left at 3 in the morning!) which is why I did not get a P-day to write letters or email because the day was full of traveling and meeting the Mission President and his wife. I had the opportunity to call mom but when she tried to connect the phone to Miranda it kept ringing and hung up. It takes almost 200 minutes on a 500 minute calling card to make a call and it said that I didnt have enough minutes to make another call after it disconnected us. Sorry mom! I LOVE YOU!! I'm sorry I didnt get to talk to anyone other than mom and lindy but I love you all and I'm so thankful for your support! If you have written me a dearelder or a letter and I havent written you back yet, I will write you today if I received it. 
If I think of anything else I need to include I will add it but I want to get into how this week went and my awesome trainer! Being in the field was a little terrifying to me at first mainly because I was worrying like I normally do about things that were not important or that were unnecessary and I was making up. We arrived Monday in McAllen and it was like stepping into Illinois again which is not what I was expecting. I was not expecting humidity and mosquitos but I hear it is a common misconception. I thought it would be dry but hot so I was still appropriately dressed for hot weather (more or less). The thing that has been the biggest issue is I was prepared more for cold whether but the area that I am in is a little of both so I am still doing well with not roasting. They gave us a run-down of the whole mission and what to expect, what some of the rules were, so on and so forth. The mission president gave each of us an interview (there were 21 total: 8 visa waiters and 13 regulars) which took until 10:45 at night. By the time we each got to where we were sleeping it was 11:30 and we had to wake up at 6:00 the next morning. That has been the hardest struggle for me so far. I have never been so tired in my life! Anyway, the next day we found out our assignments and who our companion would be. FYI: I am in an ALL ENGLISH SPEAKING AREA. The area is Sinton, Texas but it covers around 8 towns or so, which means we drive everywhere as well. I really enjoy the luxery of teaching in english because it has helped me focus more on the spirit and how to teach with it. My spanish needs tons of work but my companion and I have a plan to work towards that each day. My companion is Sister Monsen (mun-son) and she is quite different from me but I have been so blessed that she is my trainer. Many of my weaknesses seem to be her strengths and vice versa, but the best blessing is her confidence in me and my ability to follow the spirit.
One such example of following the spirit was the very first day. I felt prompted that we should drive to Mathis to visit Sister Yoshimura in the branch (Mathis is the farthest area away and it was towards the end of the day so it would be using miles and very little time could be spent there). I continued to feel prompted and when we both prayed about it she felt like we should as well. Upon arriving in Mathis we could not find her house so we called her and she said that she didnt have time at that moment to visit with us. We then decided to visit some formers that my companion had been wanting to visit in that area but she couldnt remember where they lived. As we drove around town and eventually in the direction she thought it was in we came upon a road that was similar to their address but she didnt think looked familiar. I felt like we should go down it and upon driving down this forsaken road, we came upon a super creepy house. We stopped before pulling onto their property and she asked what I felt like we should do. We prayed and I felt like yes: we should go (can I just remind you this is my FIRST experience actually doing missionary work). We went and knocked on the door and the spirit was SO STRONG! I dont want to get your hopes up because nothing happened with this man further than this visit, but we did talk to him for a little and he said he wasnt interested. We turned to go and my companion stopped before we got in the car saying that she didnt know why we were there but she felt the spirit really strong too. I then remembered the story of the elders who went back to a mans house to testify that they did know Joseph Smith was a prophet and I felt like that is what we should do as well. We went back and we talked about the atonement and gave him a book of mormon and pretty much left but it was still an amazing experience. If nothing ever comes of him accepting the gospel I atleast learned a little more about following the promptings of the spirit and gaining confidence in those promptings.
Continuing on: we have a baptism happening next week! WOO! His name is Jesse and he is 52 or so. He has come such a long way and I feel privelaged to witness a portion of this change. Hearing how he was before and seeing how he is now is such a testimony builder! He was taking medication so strong when the missionaries first met with him that he couldnt really form complete sentences or understand what they were saying but he did understand enough to recognize the spirit they had. Gotta love the Holy Ghost! Anyway, he has been attending church for the past few months and just started back with the missionaries because he went on a lower dosage of his meds. The Book of Mormon HEALS!
This week was not all find and dandy of course. It was extremely hard too. There were many times where we felt promptings to go somewhere and nothing came of it except people saying they were born and going to die catholic. We did have a couple great experiences yesterday that helped us to see Heavenly Father's hand in all things. We taught a lady yesterday that let us in just because she wanted to let us have the chance to teach someone because everyone else said no. The spirit was so strong and when I recited the first vision (in spanish because I dont have it memorized in english --> good thing she understood spanish!) the spirit was sooooo strong. I have never felt it like that before. I normally get a chill sort of feeling of comfort that starts in my back and travels down, but this time, I felt like my entire body was bursting. It was not bad in any way like some may think, but it was so peaceful and happy. When I pointed it out to her she said she felt it too and that she knows that the Book of Mormon is true. She could feel that, but she did not want to set a date to get baptized. We are meeting with her again on Tuesday so lets pray she is in my next letter! I'm sorry my letter was not actually as amazing as I originally said but I wanted everyone to read it! I have more experiences but I am out of time.
I love you all!!! Thank you so much for everything and I'm sorry about not being in contact for so long! By the way I will be here for AT LEAST 6 weeks total (5 more weeks). I am hoping to get my visa to Argentina soon, but we will see.
Hermana Allen

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