Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29 Letter

Well these next few days will certainly be exciting! If you haven't been watching TV, just Google "Frankenstorm" haha. Or here, how about just look at this:

Hahaha we're on total lockdown from 5 o'clock tonight until at least 5 o'clock tomorrow night.... maybe more depending on how things are looking. But, I have food and a bunch of blankets, just in case, haha. They are saying that in NYC and New Jersey, it could be the worst storm in 100 years!

Well now, let me think of exciting stories to tell you.

First, I suppose I should say that Justin's baptism was postponed until this week, because his daughter, Savannah, had a mandatory cheerleading practice last Friday. Cheer is insane out here. We went to watch her competition on Saturday, and I have never seen a gym so packed! Girls start cheerleading at about five years old out here! Haha it's pretty funny to watch, actually. Anyways, Savannah's group won, so that was exciting!

Wow... I'm really drawing a blank here...

Oh, how about this one! We went street contacting in Freedom.... and it WORKED! Hahaha normally street contacting in areas like this is laughable, but we were out of things to do at about 7:45 on Friday, and it was too dark to tract, so we just went on a walk, committing to talk to everyone we saw. In half an hour, we saw one person. That one person is now a progressing investigator! Haha I was blown away! So, here's the story:

We were coming out of the gas station (Yeah... halfway through our walk I decided I needed a Dr. Pepper...) and saw a guy walking across the parking lot. We went up to him, introduced ourselves, and he says, "MORMONS!?" Haha "Umm... Yep! Have you talked to us before?" "Nope, but I've heard about you." "Well, could we come and talk to you sometime?" "Hmm... sure. How about tomorrow at 11:00?" Hahaha and thus it began. We went over there Saturday at 11, and it was the craziest lesson I've ever taught. He had apparently gone to the seminary to become a pastor, but quit when the first book they handed him was about how to keep books... he didn't like that. After he told us this story, no joke, his next statement was, "You know, ever since the Apostles were rejected and killed off, Christ's church really fell apart. People just took bits and pieces as they pleased..." Hahahaha I was blown away. THEN, he starts talking about how he doesn't think there should be any books aside from the Bible. "Shoot...." I told myself, "Another of these..." Haha but then he finished what he was saying, "Except, John 10:16 does talk about other sheep. You know... Jesus talked about Gentiles plenty. If he meant the Gentiles there, he probably would have said Gentiles. He must have gone visiting other people. I guess the Book of Mormon would make some sense, then. Can I have one?" Hahaha THEN he said, "In the Old Testament, they always had a prophet. It seems that that was the only way to keep the church going the way Christ wanted it. We need a prophet, today. Do you guys have a prophet?" Hahaha I've never been so blown away. I kind of sheepishly handed over a Restoration pamphlet, not really knowing what to add onto what he'd already said.

We had a specialized training with President Christianson on Thursday, where we just learned about the House of Israel, its blessings, its scattering, and its future gathering. The big emphasis of it was why missionary work is so important. 3 Nephi 29 really emphasizes that when the Book of Mormon comes forth, it is a sign that the gathering of Israel is commencing. Israel's gathering is also one of the primary signs of the Second Coming. One of the main purposes of the Book of Mormon, actually, is to show that God always remembers and keeps his promises, and will never forget about any of His children. Then, in Doctrine and Covenants 88:73, the Lord says, "Behold, I will hasten my work in its time." President bluntly said of President Monson's recent announcement, "This is the most exciting time for missionary work in the Earth's history." It's hard to explain exactly what all President said, but here is his blackboard, so I'm sure you'll get the point:

Crap, we really did have an eventful week, I don't know why nothing is coming to me.

Oh! I should say this! Yesterday was definitely a good day for "enduring to the end"! Three recent converts all made huge strides! Freddy Alexander received the Aaronic Priesthood. Kelly Myers got her Patriarchal Blessing. Terry Alexander got everything set up so that he can be sustained for the Melchizedek Priesthood next week at stake conference. It was especially cool to be there when Freddy was ordained since I have seen him grow from the very start. I was stoked!

We've been doing a lot of less active work now, and spent about three hours mapping out every member's house in our entire area last week. Now, we'll just go spend whole days jumping from one house to another. I was pretty excited about one family we found in Bliss, a little town of 255 people. It is the Van Ocker family, who I had never even heard of. As we met with them, we realized we hadn't heard about them, because they'd just moved from a different branch because the parents were going through a divorce. They'd been in Bliss for a few months, never realizing they were in a different branch's boundaries. They'd been avoiding going to church because her husband was still going to the Warsaw Branch. She seemed pretty happy about the idea of coming to Freedom. It reminded me a lot of Mosiah 7, where Ammon goes to the people of Limhi just to see how they are doing, not really expecting anything of it. All of the sudden, when the king of Limhi realizes who Ammon is, he starts celebrating that Ammon came to save his people, even comparing Ammon to Moses saving the Israelites from Egypt. All the while, Ammon has no idea what is going on or who he is even saving them from. Haha it really is kind of comical to read, but really stands out to me as the whole purpose of less active work, and even home and visiting teaching. We never really know when we are going to be perceived as "saving" people, but we always need to go and check up on them regularly, just in case.

Wow, I'm really just blabbering on today. I just realized that a big reason I don't have much to write about is because I spent about half of last week in the Cattaraugus area last week, then a whole day at that specialized training, then half of Saturday at a branch Halloween party, then yesterday all at church and then at a fireside of President's. Because of that, I didn't do a ton in my own area.... so I'll just say this is as good of a letter as you're going to get this week.

Sure hope that I survive the storm!

Love you, but I don't miss you!
Elder Allen

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22 Letter

Dear Everyone,
What a crazy week! After driving to Rochester and back to pick up a new companion, Elder Frost, it has been a crazy week trying to get him used to the area--especially because I'm going to a different area until Wednesday today, so he had to know things well enough to fill up a few days on his own. To make it better, we are pretty much out of miles, so we've been on bikes in the biggest area in the mission. Regardless, have I got some stories to tell you!
First, let's just go with the coolest one. Justin has been investigating the church for about ten years now. His sister is a member, and was the first in the family to get baptized a while back, after getting married to who is now our branch mission leader. Now Justin's two other sisters and mom have also been baptized, as well as his wife, Tanya. Since I've been here, we've had three different baptismal dates set for him, and all have fallen through because of Word of Wisdom issues. The most recent date was set for this Saturday, but we hadn't met with him for over a week, so I was pretty much writing it off and getting ready to postpone it again. I texted him to see if he could meet, and he couldn't. Great. I asked him how a baptism on Saturday was looking, and here was his response: "Sat is not good cuz Savannah has her competition"--Of course...--"I was thinking about Fri. I was also thinking that Savannah could be baptized on the same day." Wait.... what!? Haha forever the plan had been that he would be baptized, and a few weeks later when he had the priesthood he'd baptize 8-year-old Savannah. We got to talking, and he was dead serious. Ha JUSTIN IS GETTING BAPTIZED THIS WEEK! After ten years of investigating! What the crap, I'm so stoked!
It's going to be an awesome program too. About half our branch is related to him, so both baptisms, two of the talks, and both confirmations are going to be by different members of the family. Then since they've been meeting with missionaries so long, all of the missionaries who are still around who have taught him (there are seven of us now) are coming down, giving both the prayers and one of the talks. It's going to be so awesome!
Haha so this is currently my Facebook profile picture out here.

Haha the same night he told us that he was getting baptized on Friday, he texted me and said, "nice facebook pic by the way! That's what did it for me, if you would have shown me that months ago i would already be a Mormon." Hahaha I think that made my whole day.
Haha it's super funny, though. We announced the baptism in Sacrament meeting yesterday, and when he did it, he said, "Well, I guess that means I'm committed now, doesn't it?" What I didn't realize is that he hadn't actually told his family yet... Haha when I talked to him last night, he was like, "Well, I figured everyone who I would need to tell would be there, so it would save me some trouble!" Haha his mom and sister weren't amused... hahaha.
On our car ride to Freedom, I told Elder Frost he was going to the best area in the whole mission, and we set a goal to have three baptisms this transfer. On Wednesday, we met with Alicia, who is good friends with Kelly Myers and is looking for a church that would be good to raise her family in. We had a really neat lesson with her, and she accepted a baptismal date for the middle of November. Of course, there's a lot of work to do between now and then, but she definitely absorbed what we told her about the Restoration very well. Her main question was about the differences between the LDS Church and the Methodist Church. Ha, quite an easy segway into the Restoration, no question! It'll be fun to watch her progress.
A week ago, we took Krissa, Matt, and Marcus to family home evening at the Owens' house. Like normal, the Owens kids were crazy, but they definitely will not ever allow you to feel like a stranger in their home haha. Since it was Elder Inkley's last time, they did "compliments" which is a tradition in their house. Everytime it's a missionary's first FHE, they all ask him one question that he has to answer, then he asks each person a question. For his last time, though, they do the same thing, only with a compliment. Krissa had a really hard time with it, because she'd grown so attached to Elder Inkley, and apparently almost considered not meeting with us anymore because she was worried about when other missionaries would leave, but I'll get to that more next story. Anways, Sister Owens gave a lesson about eternal families after compliments. Afterwards, we were all talking, and Matt said something that really caught my attention. Normally, he says something like, "I really don't want to talk about religion, because I've seen things that ahve really made me question things." Monday, he said, "Krissa can meet with the boys if she wants, but I'm not ready, yet." Haha I probably looked ridiculous because of how much I smiled at the new addition of the words ready and yet!
K, so Krissa. Like I said, she was nervous about meeting again, but she did anyways! We went over the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ, which covers faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. It was such an awesome lesson! She talked to us about how much better she's felt about everything since she'd started meeting with us. She said, "I guess... I guess it's reassuring to know that someone is out there who cares about all of us" (referring to God, if you missed that haha). We got to the point where we invited her to be baptized at the end of it, and she said she'd already been thinking and praying about it! She didn't say yes, but the fact that she's already praying about it is incredible!! If there is one person I want to see continue to progress, it would have to be Krissa! I have never seen someone grow such a strong testimony in such a short period of time. She's reading the Book of Mormon daily, praying about what she should do, and relying on her new-found knowledge that Jesus is her personal Savior in her daily life. It's so awesome to watch!
Now to blow your mind. As most, if not all, of you probably know, President Monson recently lowered the age to go on missions from 19 to 18 for men, and from 21 to 19 for women. Well, there has been a HUGE influx of people wanting to come out now. Unfortunately, the Church can't get enough visas for them all. So, in order to compensate, they are planning on creating about fifty new missions in the US, likely one in New York. (My best guess is the New York Buffalo Mission... meaning I don't know what mission I will be in by next year.) In our mission, alone, we currently have 46 Elders serving. By next year, we are expecting 96 MORE. In order to find room for them, my area is going to be split in two, my zone will be split in two, and missionaries are going to be packed into areas we've never put much attention to! As my zone leader, Elder Teichert, said, "We aren't part of God's Army; we're just the little militia holding off Satan until the real army comes!"
I love you, but I don't miss you!
Elder Bracken Allen

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15 Letter

Well yesterday we got our transfer calls! Thank heavens, I'm staying in Freedom! Elder Inkley, though, is headed to Bath, which is a lot the same setting as Freedom, just in the South Palmyra Zone. Haha if you want to know about my new companion..... just write me. Haha what I will say about Elder Frost is that he only has one more transfer left on his mission, so I will almost definitely be in Freedom for at least three more months! Woo hoo!!

I've also been asked to be the new District Leader here, so that'll be an interesting experience of its own!

K, now I'm just going to write about Saturday actually, because pretty much the day sums up the coolest parts of my mission.

The morning started off pretty great, with a baptism for Freddy and Liz Alexander! It's been a long time coming for both of them, and they were both very ready. What the coolest part was, though, is we had them bear their testimonies after they were each baptized. It was incredible to see just how far they had come since we first met with them my very first week in the mission field. Haha Freddy was the most ridiculous kid to teach! It literally took us three times of teaching the first discussion over and over until he realized that the Restoration wasn't "when Joseph Smith was baptized into the Mormon Church." Meanwhile, Liz wouldn't stay listening to us, and would just start walking around the house. Really both of them were only listening because Freddy's dad, Terry, had been baptized a few months before and wanted them both to follow. For them to go from that to the testimonies they each bore on Saturday was incredible!

Then, we went to Pumpkinville with Matt and Krissa for the afternoon. It's this little carnival-pumpkin patch thing that they have been going to ever since they were kids. Haha it was a kind of goofy place, but was still quite a bit of fun. They bought us dinner and pumpkin donuts and even a pumpkin! When we got home and were about to go, I thanked Matt for everything, and he (having been in the Coast Guard for many years) said, "Don't even worry about it. I know what it's like to be away from home over a holiday, and I figured we could just let you in on some of our family traditions so you could feel like you had a home out here." Haha... I don't think I need to really explain why I liked that.

After we'd come home from Pumpkinville and before thanking Matt, we actually spent about an hour reading the Book of Mormon with Krissa. We were in 1 Nephi 15, and it is unbelievable the way that people can become so touched as they understand what the Book of Mormon says. Krissa sometimes struggles understanding the language of the scriptures (who doesn't?), but she loves reading with us because we can discuss everything with her. We are trying to figure out the best way of going about teaching that family, since Matt doesn't really want to learn about the gospel like Krissa does, but we don't want to scare him away as a friend. Regardless, it is awesome to have probably our fastest progressing investigator (Krissa) and one of our best friends (Matt) all in the same house!

Well, when we got home that night, we realized we'd missed a call from Freddy. He and Liz are still living with Kathy, who was just baptized a few weeks ago. They just requested we come over. When we got there, Kathy was in the living room just sobbing. Apparently Liz's dad had said something very harsh to her, and she had just been overwhelmed the rest of the day. She has a horrible back and it always does pain her. But since she's always been able to stay so happy, she doesn't let the pain show. Sadly, when she becomes unhappy, she essentially loses her ability to fight off the pain. When we went into the room, she just looked at us and yelled, "I can't take the pain anymore! I can't do it!" We kept talking to her and she finally calmed down enough for us and two members of the branch to give her a  Priesthood blessing. When we finished, she just looked at Elder Inkley and me and said, "You guys are the best!" and jumped up and gave us each a hug. Haha I know generally missionaries aren't supposed to give hugs... but we figured that this would be okay this time haha.

Hmm... this is a remarkably short email home. Sorry about that, but I can't think of much else to say. I'll add on some pictures to spice things up a little bit for you! 

Also, just a reminder, PLEASE follow my own personal study blog at Every day, I spend about three hours just studying the gospel. I am using that blog to write about some of my biggest revelations.

Also, feel free to use the Arcade address again, since I am certainly going to be in Freedom for a while longer!

I love you, but I don't miss you!
Elder Allen

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


"Real quick! Transfers are this week, and there's a chance I'm going to be moved. So, if by some off chance you are planning to write to me, PLEASE send it to the mission office at:

Elder Bracken Allen
New York Rochester Mission
460 Kreag Rd
Pittsford, NY 14534

Love you all!"

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 9 Letter

Holy Conference!!

I don't know if I'm just that much more spiritually in-tune or what, but General Conference on the mission is incredible!! My mind started fully blown with having a Tucson, AZ temple. That thing had better be up and running by the time I'm looking to be married! Then, the missionary announcement. THAT is going to have a HUGE impact out here. The New York Rochester Mission has about 90 missionaries (excluding senior couples), and almost exactly half of them are sister missionaries. In all reality, the change in the age of Elders I don't think will change too many things, but I think next year, there will be about four times as many Sisters coming out. We'll have the 21-year-olds who would have came anyways, plus the 20- and 19-year-olds who would have came in a few years, plus the 19- and 20-year-olds who say they would go on a mission but instead end up married or engulfed in college, plus a random hodge-podge of girls who never thought about a mission until President Monson made his announcement. 

Anyways, Conference was incredible! One of the most powerful Priesthood Sessions I've ever seen. Then, we had five investigators show up to at least one session, and I swear, they all came to the session that would most benefit them. One of the most interesting for me was when the Zarkovitch's came. Bob Zarkovitch is a baptized member.... but we think (really, we don't fully know) that he might have been excommunicated a while back. Since then, he is a Born-Again Christian pastor. His son is this mega-scriptorian who put himself in as a referral just so he could have a Book of Mormon to study. He says he studies random scriptures and other religions about three to four hours a day, and as such has some really weird philosophies. Anyways, they are both very dedicated to their faith, and we have had a couple conversations (unproductive conversations, mostly) about if there can be any real scripture aside from the Bible, and we've had to convince them multiple times that yes, we do believe in the Bible. They did come to Conference, though, mostly I think out of curiosity on what a modern prophet and apostle would be like. I watched Ben (the son) the whole time, and he wrote down every single reference to the Bible that any of the speakers made, which was A LOT for the Saturday afternoon session.. As they left, Bob (the dad) told me, "That was awesome. Incredible speakers." Like I said, any time that we had an investigator there, they came to the session most applicable to them, which was just awesome to see.

Hmm.... I'm trying to think of our other goings-on this week.

One of the big ones, that I can clearly only say so much about on here is that one of our investigators (an eternigator, really) went to jail for four months last week. It will be very interesting to see what role the missionaries now take in the lives of his fiance and his kids. She's been talking to us more this past week than any other week, but it is definitely unfortunate the circumstances to lead to this... I'll keep you updated!

Oh, and Matt came home from China! Ha unfortunately... he wasn't too thrilled at how much Krissa was picking up on what we were teaching... What was awesome though was to see Krissa defending it! We asked her about how Matt was taking things, and she said he was a little upset about it all, but she told us (not even kidding), "He's always talked about what he believes, and now I finally believe in something...." She is getting a freaking testimony!!!! So stoked! Haha we had given a For the Strength of Youth pamphlet to Marcus, her son, to read, and she ended up reading it as well, and told us, "I wish I'd had something like that as a kid! It's just so clear: this is good, this is bad." Haha she's currently reading 1 Nephi 14 for the second time (she reads each chapter twice to make sure she understands it), and I am just sooooo excited to see her keep progressing!! 

Oh, dumb me. I just made it sound like Matt is furious at us. I don't want to go and alter that whole paragraph around, though, so I'm just going to explain what happened here. So, he came back from China last Monday, and we went to go see him on Wednesday. He was very friendly, but as soon as we would ask Krissa about anything to do with church, he would just book it. We then talked to her a little about it on Saturday afternoon, and she explained the situation a little bit (pretty much what I explained last paragraph). He came down a little after we talked though, and out of curiosity, I invited him to Priesthood Session, which he bluntly turned down and said that things that he has seen as an EMT and as a member of the Coast Guard made him question just about everything he believed. This is where Krissa came in and bore her testimony again and said, "You know, Matt, I was questioning a lot of things too, but I haven't felt as good as I have since talking to them for a long time." Anyways, I was super stressed out that he was going to start obstructing her from continued progression in her testimony and relationship with Christ. I prayed sooooo hard about that; I didn't necessarily need Matt to leap into the discussions, but I couldn't bear seeing Krissa be pushed away from learning. The next day, she texted me to say they wouldn't be at conference, but that she had had a real sit-down talk with him after we'd left that was "good and productive." Then last night, he calls us to invite us to dinner! He doesn't hate us! Then, we start talking about Krissa's reading, and he stays there the whole time!! I'm on splits with Elder Munnerlyn right now, who asked Matt if we'd taught him at all, and he still said "No, I'm the one they come and play ball with and talk about hunting, I'm good." But he stayed there! I made sure to include him in as much of the conversation as I could be constantly referencing the Bible stories that he knows (he is baptized and confirmed Lutheran), and it was just fantastic that he still not only wanted us to come over, but was willing to be there even while we were talking about church!

Haha well, that was pretty much my week. Oh yeah, and I helped build a house. That was fun. 

Oh, and we went to Letchworth State Park! I would upload some of my pictures, but I don't have my camera on me. Look it up, though, super pretty!

I'm super bummed I missed the presidential debate. It's articles like these that make me happy, though:

Welllll.... I can't think of much else to write, except a thought I've been having a lot lately. When I came out on my mission, I was set on being the hard-working missionary. I emphasized having all of our schedule filled up and making sure we were doing good, productive activities all day long until we came back to the apartment right on time at 9:00. This isn't exactly the worst attitude to have, but looking back, I realize it was flawed. Quickly, the people I was with became the means to the end of being hardworking. My whole purpose was off! These past few weeks, I'm really starting to love a lot of the people and families in Freedom. Where before, there were times that I could not come up with anything to do with my time, now I can't find the time I wish I could spend with my investigators or the members of the branch. It's crazy!

I love you, but I don't miss you,
Elder Allen

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1 Pictures

Me at Niagra Falls... Hopefully one of these times I can find a group 
who will pay the $15 to go down to the bottom where you can really admire the falls.

The Palmyra Temple. AWESOME place!

Me splitting wood with one of our investigators, Justin.

My favorite sign that is super popular out here!

This is how freaking awesome the leaves are starting to look up here!

Elder Inkley, myself, and two girls, Melody and Kaylee, who we're really building a funny relationship. It's going to kill me whenever I have to leave them...

 The wedding.

The wedding cake we helped make.

October 1 Letter

Really, I love Freedom! I don't know what all to add that is too different from last week, but it is incredible to see this weird little network growing, and the buzz that is... buzzing?... without Elder Inkley and me even doing the work!

Before I start, though, I want all of you to hurry and go to and follow the blog. The New York Rochester Mission is unique in that we do "internet proselyting" via Facebook, blogs, and I started up this blog with my own little scriptural insights here and there... but it would make me quite happy if you would follow it! (Don't worry, while I can't be your Facebook Friend, I am allowed to have you follow my blog!)

Now, I have to talk about Krissa (Matt's wife). I talked a little about her last week, but the progress she's made is HUGE! We went back to talk to her about the Restoration pamphlet we had left with her, and she was just full of questions about it, which is awesome, because then we actually know what she cares to learn about. But the proceedings were even more awesome:

Let me interject here, and it will make sense in a bit. In the MTC, there's what they call the Teaching Resource Center, where people volunteer their time to act as investigators for us to teach. Sometimes it is very helpful, but sometimes, it's just absurd because they play into our hands too unnaturally well, because they are all members already. Case in point, I was teaching a lady about the Book of Mormon, and out of nowhere she asked how much education Joseph Smith had, and when I told her she responded, "There's NO WAY he could make this up!" It was stupid. 

Now, the reason I share this is because this is almost how our conversation went with Krissa. She asked about how Satan had come to be, so I briefly explained the Pre-Mortal Life and the War in Heaven. When I finished, she asked, "So... why did we need to come to Earth?" So, I explained how the purpose is for us to gain experience that could only come through temptation, agency, and mortality. Now, I kid you not, her next question: "Well then, where do we go after we die?" Haha, if anyone hasn't heard the missionary discussions, it's almost a cliche now to ask someone at the doorstep, "Have you ever wondered where we came from, why we're here, and where we will go after we die?" I just couldn't believe that she would ask the exact same questions so perfectly!

Then, later on, we asked her about her Book of Mormon reading. She said she had read the Testimony of the Three Witnesses, the Testimony of the Eight Witnesses, and the Testimony of Joseph Smith. We asked her if she had any questions, and she was all, "Well... just one. Am I reading it right that Joseph Smith got the Book of Mormon on September 22nd?" We had no idea why this would matter to her, but after thinking a little bit said yes, that was true. She continued, "That's what I thought... and that's the day you gave me the Book of Mormon." Hahaha now, I'm sure that many people received a Book of Mormon that day. But it was INCREDIBLE for us that she picked up on that and took it very seriously!

We've now had legitimate discussions four different times. She's reading the Book of Mormon--she actually read 1 Nephi 8 and 1 Nephi 11 a few times a piece to really understand Lehi's vision--she's reading the pamphlets, she's praying, she even came to Sacrament Meeting yesterday! We then took Brother and Sister Owens (the branch mission leader and his wife) to a discussion at her house yesterday. We talked a lot about how the Holy Ghost speaks to us, and as we explained the peace and comfort that testifies of truth, she kind of chuckled and said, "I felt that same warm comfort when you two had me pray last time." We'd had her pray after we spent about an hour reading the Book of Mormon with her to know if it was true. So, we spent a lot of time teaching her that that was an answer. She also talked about how she had to keep holding back tear during fast and testimony meeting. Again, we taught her about how the Spirit touches people.

It's just incredible to watch how quickly she's learning and growing and accepting everything! And it's all so real! Sometimes we get investigators who jump on it, but you can tell they're not really absorbing much. That is NOT how it is with Krissa whatsoever!

Also, we had a really neat experience with Amy, who we hadn't taught in a couple of weeks because of her back problems combined with her Crohn's disease acting up. She's feeling better, though, so we went over and taught her the third discussion: The Gospel of Jesus Christ. She is an incredible lady, and picks up on things quickly, but that wasn't even my favorite part about this lesson. What was my favorite is that after Elder Inkley and I started the discussion, Sister Forster and Brother Duncan kind of out of nowhere just started bearing their testimony and answering her questions and literally covered every single point of the discussion. Brother Duncan even went so far as to invite her to be baptized! Haha I was just stunned! She said she didn't feel she was quite ready yet, although definitely wanted to eventually. Brother Duncan didn't take that, though, and went on telling her she did have a testimony and had felt the Spirit. Hahaha she still didn't commit to baptism, but I think it definitely got her thinking!

Yesterday, we had one of our coolest Sundays yet. We had SEVEN investigators at Sacrament Meeting. In the past, we've been lucky if we've had three or four. To make it better, Freddy and Liz, our two regular investigators who have been planning on baptism for months but were just waiting for their wedding, weren't there this week (not that that is a good thing) so the seven were all seven people who were really looking into the Church trying to actually investigate it! It was just awesome! Elder Inkley and I didn't know who to sit with, though!

Oh, I guess I should talk at least a little about Freddy and Liz's baptism... But I can't think of much to say... Haha I don't think I'm much of a wedding person, I guess. The cake was awesome though! And wanna know the cool part of that? Elder Inkley and I helped make it!! Really we just stirred the batter and cleaned the dishes... but still. Who would have thought that at one person's house--Kelly's--I would do everything from clean up goat poo to make a wedding cake?! Oh, I also got to play the role of Liz's dad during the wedding rehearsal the night before--that was funny.

I started reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning again this week, as well as reading from the beginning with Krissa, and something new really stood out to me this time around. In chapter 2, Lehi is commanded to leave all of his riches and flee from Jerusalem. The fascinating part about the chapter is it shows three very unique reactions to such a commandment. In verse 7, it says that as soon as he had fled, Lehi "gave thanks unto the Lord our God." I don't know about you, but I find that VERY impressive! He just got booted from his all of his possessions and he just thanks God for making him do it? Clearly, Lehi is a very righteous and admirable person for having such faith, and I think it is someone we could all look to.

Later, in verse 12, it talks about Laman and Lemuel, who are really just ticked that they were asked to do such a thing. It says, "they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them." I think we all know that this is NOT the right thing to do in this situation. They ignored the fact that the Lord just saved their lives and just moaned about what they were missing out on.

But what I think is a more reasonable goal for all of us--unless you really are in tune enough to be like Lehi--is to act like Nephi. In verse 16, Nephi writes, "Having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers." See, we don't always have the ability to just jump into things solely on trust. It would be great if we could, but we're mortals and Heavenly Father understands that. What we can do, regardless of the circumstance, is trust in the Lord enough to simply ask him for comfort and help. He can and will soften our hearts and help us understand what has been asked of us.

Now, don't take this as me being all holier-than-thou. I think part of why this stood out to me this time around is how much I need to be more like Nephi. Transfers are coming up in under two weeks, and something is telling me that I'm about to be moved. Elder Inkley and I both asked President Christianson if we could stay in the area for a couple more transfers at our quarterly interviews on Tuesday. When Elder Inkley asked, he said, "You know, I think that would be great! I think you could really do a lot of good by staying there... I might have to do that!" To me.... he laughed. First he laughed, then he said, "Well Elder Allen, I'm glad you like your area. Ha ha ha!" Elder Olsson, one of our Zone Leaders, says he feels like one of us is probably going to be moved, too. Then, everyone says that you pretty much know when you're about to be transferred... Maybe I'm just paranoid and am making stuff up, but I feel it coming.

I'm nervous. The area is really coming alive, like I said! Krissa was even commenting on all the talk about us, saying she's never seen anything like it from anyone in the area, let alone Mormon missionaries. First, on a selfish side, I don't want to miss watching this area just blossom over the next few months. But then, I really don't want the area to implode! We have a lot of people who have said they rarely trust missionaries and we've helped them open up to the idea. I don't want some new missionary to come in and either scare off people we've been teaching or serving, or even just forget they exist...

BUT, I need to be like Nephi! And I'm working on it... I know that we are assigned to areas by revelation and that if I am moved there is reason for it, but hopefully soon I'll be as faithful as Nephi and really be able to internalize that and be comfortable with leaving Freedom, be it this transfer or in the future.

Love you, but I don't miss you!
Elder Allen

Oh, p.s. there's one more picture of us and the wedding cake! Haha and tonight we're going to a volleyball game for Mariah Owens, the daughter of the family we always go to for Family Home Evening. In order to excuse going to a volleyball game, we made Sister Owens promise us that she would introduce us to everyone she knew, and we both have signs for Mariah, who is number four on her team, mine reads, "Families are #4-ever" and Elder Inkley's says, "The prophets #4-told." Haha, pictures to follow some other day!