Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Jan. 28 Letter

Well, well, well... Where to start with this week...
I guess I should say that Amanda wasn't baptized yesterday haha. We're finding really quick how hard Satan pushes against baptisms, but we're running out of things preventing it. This week the issue was that Amanda may have TB... So they tested her on Wednesday, and the results should have been in on Friday! Buuuut, they did the test wrong. So, we'll know by Tuesday for sure if she has TB, but then if she does they'll just start her treatments and she'll be uncontagious by Thursday and we'll be good to go by Sunday for sure.
Maybe I shouldn't speak so fast... Elder Wilcox told me about a lady who, on the day of her baptism, drove into a cow. As if that isn't bad enough, she actually hit the cow hard enough that it flew through her barn window. So, instead of a baptism that day, they just fixed a barn window... and ate fresh steak hahaha. Luckily, Amanda says she doesn't drive by cows. We spent the morning planning out her baptismal program, so things are finally starting to become more and more finalized.
We spent all day Saturday over at Krissa's parents' house, putting up their wood ceiling. I guess I'll take it as a compliment that when Curt (her dad) sees us helping at Matt and Krissa's house that he will still invite us over to his. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be a pro at installing ceilings soon enough. This is my third one in just over six months in the field! I'm getting pretty skilled with a power nailer, as well.
I'm getting a little nervous about how things are going with Krissa, though. The past couple visits with her have felt a little more... apprehensive. We finally got talking about it, and I think the idea of going forward without Matt is getting harder and harder on her. The past three weeks of Sunday School have been "Families Can Be Together Forever," "Family Responsibilities," and "Eternal Marriage," so you can only imagine how it's felt for her. I just wish that Matt would come along so we could avoid all of this! When we teach her, I don't know what to say sometimes. She knows it's all true, but really wants it to be a family thing... I obviously can't just tell her that it shouldn't be a family thing, so it's just a matter of helping her decide if how badly she wants this, especially right now. Oh, the stress!!
I feel way dumb. We had interviews with President this week, and he asked me like three basic questions, then just turned it on me: "So, do you have any questions for me?" I totally stalled! I could have asked the most spiritual man anything in the world, and instead I just asked him one question (that went on for about ten minutes) about a scripture I'd read earlier. I could have asked him anything, and I blew it! Haha it was pretty frustrating.
Oh, and Jesse said he is "starting to believe that the Book of Mormon is from God." I know that sounds super basic, and I really don't have much to build off of after that, but it is awesome! He'd long avoided learning anything until he came to church with us, but just never would (still hasn't...) come to church so that we could start teaching him. I think the Book of Mormon has been the key thing in actually teaching him, now. We just read a chapter that talks all about the lesson we wanted to leave anyways. (2 Nephi 2 for Plan of Salvation, 2 Nephi 31 for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, etc.) Hopefully he'll actually come to church sometime, too haha.
All right, now ready for the crazy cool story of the week??
We got a call yesterday from Liz wanting us to come over as soon as we could to talk with Kathy. I don't remember how much I've told you about Kathy, but she has the absolute worst skeletal system I've ever seen. It is completely crippling for her sometimes, and puts her in pain all the time. Some of her vertebrae are completely twisted around, jabbing at her, and it's just awful. Usually when we go over to talk to her, it's to calm her down and help comfort her, oftentimes to give her a blessing. That's what I was expecting to have to do.
Well, we got there, and sat down around a table, and Liz and Freddy left the room. I was still expecting the worst. She started giving a recap of her usual pains and frustrations. Then she said that the day before, she had been in really bad pain and had Liz check her back. They saw a sore down by her tailbone and were stunned to realize that her bone was literally sticking through the skin. (Why they didn't go to the ER immediately, I'll never know... People are weird out here.) The next day--yesterday--it was very blistered and infected. She says she went into the bathroom, and just collapsed in pain. She then prayed, and just called out, saying she absolutely couldn't take it anymore; she didn't know what else to do, but she couldn't keep going like this. That's when she felt like someone literally took her in their arms, was just right next to her to comfort her. She says she really felt like someone was right there with her.
Then... she stood up. She says it's the first time she has stood up on her own in four years. She said the pain was completely gone! She said while laughing, "When I felt someone there, I thought I was crazy... but you can't crazy away pain!" She really was moving around better than I've ever seen her move. It was incredible!
She remembered a few months ago, when she was sitting in Relief Society. She says Sister Nielson turned to her one day and said, "You know Kathy, you're going to be a testament someday that God still does perform miracles."
It's hard to explain over an email... but it was so awesome to talk with her yesterday! SOOO cool!
Well, I can't think of much else to write. But write me! And go to brackenallen-thinkonthesethings.blogspot.com! I wrote a new post just a couple days ago that's well worth the read (in my opinion, of course!).
I love you, but I don't miss you!
Elder Allen

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Jan. 21 Letter

My mocking of your weather bit back this week. It's really cold... and really wet. Ha I read something once, though, that said that in the winter, missionaries should go outside smiling. That way, when your face freezes solid, at least it's in a smile.
Anyways, 'twas a good week.
Probably the highlight was last night, when President Christianson held a fireside right in our branch. I could go ahead and just dictate everything that he said here, but instead, he essentially talked about his own testimony and how everything we do should point to "pleasing the Master" because our wounded souls can only be healed through Him. Cooler than what he told us, though, was who he told it to. Krissa came, which was good but kind of expected. Who was really exciting to see was Matt!! I think his pride probably won't let him just come to us and be like "Elders, I want to take the lessons now, too." But what we do hope will happen is that he'll lighten his heart a little bit about the church. Hopefully he'll accompany Krissa to church again in the near future, maybe even sit in on a Book of Mormon reading somewhere. I don't know for sure what will happen, but that is the first religious thing he's ever agreed to do with us, so we are very stoked!
Also there was Ashley, who we taught once... about five months ago. She is actually Nate Owens' girlfriend (he just left on his mission to Mesa), and I taught her once while on splits with him, but at the time we had it set up as a "practice." Practices are funny, because we ask her all the same questions we would ask an investigator and she answers them the same way she would if she were an investigator, then we extended an invitation which she committed to and even followed through on. Essentially, we taught her the Restoration without her even knowing it. Anyways, Nate has been working with her since that point, and had her promise to come to President's fireside. Well, we have our second appointment scheduled for this Wednesday!
On Wednesday, we (finally) met with Amy again. It had been a few weeks since our last visit, which really doesn't work, especially when you struggle keeping committments anyways. We'd left her with Alma 5 to read... which she actually meant to read! But instead she thought we'd said Alma 25, which would make no sense to her without context. So we read Alma 5 with her. It's a really cool chapter, because it just asks question after question after question about our own conversions, so it's really easy to just turn each of these questions to your investigator (or yourself). We had a really good conversation about her own responsibility in her conversion, and how it wasn't all on us. In the end, we committed her to pray about a specific baptismal date that we left her. Hopefully she follows through on that AND meets with us again this week!
On Saturday, we picked up a way funny new investigator. He was a referral from a member of the branch, but it's been tough to meet with him, because he has two homes: one in our area, one in a different area. But we finally met with him and had an AWESOME first lesson. He's had a very tough life, with some very heavy drinking that has completely destroyed his liver. Every few weeks, he actually has to have the toxins pumped out of his body, because he gets so loopy. He told us a way funny story actually. Apparently when the toxins build up, he loses brain functionality. So a couple months ago, his mom hadn't heard from him in a few days, so she went over to make sure he was still alive. When he came to the door, he was butt naked. "Um, Scott... you don't have any clothes on," she told him. He thought about it a little bit, then said, pointing to the dog, "Well neither does he!" Haha he is hilarious! But really, he agrees with us on almost everything building up the Restoration as far as the importance of prophets and the Great Apostasy goes. Then he agreed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it so that he can know if the Restoration really did occur through Joseph Smith. He's read the Bible, the Qu'ran, and all sorts of other books, so I think he will definitely read and study the Book of Mormon. I'm very excited about our next appointment on Thursday, assuming his hospital treatments go okay today.
Well, I'm just at the church using the computer that the whole zone shares, so I probably need to cut this email short. Oh, real quick, I forgot to tell you that we are planning on Amanda's baptism this Sunday afternoon! I'll definitely talk about that one more next week.
I love you, but I don't miss you!
Elder Allen

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Jan. 14 Letter

I think I should start this email with some minor gloating. Yesterday, we surpassed 60 degrees. Yes, that is warmer than Tucson. Haha the Lord is watching over me!!

Well, this has been quite a week! Parts of it have been very frustrating. When we were weekly planning a week ago, we were excited to see that Friday and Saturday were already full of appointments. Well, Friday didn't work nearly as we had planned, and only about half of our appointments actually came through. Then Saturday came... and every single appointment fell through. That's one of those times where you just sit in the car and say "Welllllll.... we could always..... tract..." But, be not afraid! Not only did we have some cool things come about on both days, but it was a really cool week!

One of the best stories from the week was one of our appointments that actually worked out this Friday. We had tracted into Patty last week and started asking her what she knew about the Chruch. We were surprised to find out she had a Book of Mormon and had been the the Cumorah Pageant. We were even more surprised to find out she was really close friends with our branch president. Still, she was a bit apprehensive to talking too much with us, because she was pretty satisfied with her own church. But, we convinced her to let us just come and read the Book of Mormon with her. So, on Friday, we did just that. We read the introduction and the first two chapters of 1 Nephi, and it went awesome! We talked all about Lehi's model for personal revelation in 1 Nephi 1, and about Nephi's righteous, yet human response to tough commandments in 1 Nephi 2. We then really talked about how the primary difference between what we believe and what she believes can all be proven through the Book of Mormon. You wouldn't believe how much she opened up as we kept talking! It was so great! At first we could read for 15 minutes, then we could read the Intro and a chapter. Then another chapter. Then we talked about the Restoration. Then we got invited to come back this week! It was sweet.

Then, when everyone blew us off on Saturday, we decided we'd go visit Jesse. He hasn't made any progress in over a month, and we were leaning towards dropping him. It's crappy days like Saturday that keep us from doing so, though, because we can always just stop by and have a little conversation. Well, this time around was much more than a little conversation! We asked if he'd had the chance to read the Book of Mormon, to which he said he'd read bits and pieces, but asked where it starts talking about Christ. Haha well.... maybe like the first verse or so... But, we pointed out some chapters that are extra focused on Him like 2 Nephi 2, Mosiah 3-4, Alma 34, and 3 Nephi 11. We then asked him if we could read a little bit with him, so we sat down and read through 2 Nephi 2. Now, that covers a bit of somewhat deeper doctrine, that we normally wouldn't go over as the first time really reading with an investigator. But, it felt right, so we went with it. In the middle of our reading, Jesse out of nowhere said, "That makes sense! My daughter and I were just talking about that. We figured Eve had to be a dumb blonde or something. I mean, if a snake came and started telling me to do something--I don't care what it is--I'm not going to do it. But... I guess she really didn't know what choice was quite yet... and that would be kind of a useless life. So, God must have known all along that that needed to happen, huh?" It was awesome! Such a perfect transition into talking about how the Book of Mormon clarifies the Bible, which easily transitions into the whole purpose of the Restoration, because we simply didn't have all the details we needed as a result of the Apostasy, which easily transitioned into the importance of him gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon. It might have been one of the most natural Restoration lessons I've ever taught. It was great!

Also on Friday, one of our cancellations even made me really happy. It's a former investigator from about five years ago who I think was probably dropped back then for being a bit spacey and struggling to follow through on appointments, and has had a few similar problems since I've started working with him. (I've been working with him for about five months now, but only really met with him four times.) Well, two Fridays ago, we had probably our best discussion with him, where we read Alma 32 and taught a brief Restoration lesson. This Friday, we were supposed to go back over, but we got a call. We missed it, but his voicemail explained that he had been called into work. What made me stoked, though, is he said, "I've been reading a little bit more and I really want to meet with you guys again, so call me back so we can reschedule." Woo hoo!!!

Part of our worries this week were based on Krissa being one of the many who kept cancelling appointments. Where Matt has been a little apprehensive about the Church all along, and especially since he randomly decided he wanted to go to Hope Lutheran again last week, we were getting really nervous about Krissa. She's definitely recognized the importance of family in the church, and so it made me wonder whether she'd choose Lutheranism with her family, or Mormonism without it. When she repeatedly cancelled on us this week, I was in a panic! Luckily, she came to church yesterday, and we set up an appointment with her for that evening. We ended up talking to her for two and a half hours! Holy crap! Haha I hope we didn't completely overload her, but it was such a good conversation! We talked all about having a testimony of this gospel, and aspects of it that are unique. We talked about Doctrine and Covenants and even Joseph Smith Translation; we talked about "praying always"; we explained the symbolism and importance of the Sacrament; we talked more about baptism; you name it, we probably talked about it for at least a couple sentences haha. But, one of the coolest parts of the whole night was when she was talking about one of her son's friends who is Baptist, who started asking her questions about Mormons, and she answered them all! Haha she said it caught her off guard because she started realizing all the things that she new, and how defensive she was getting about it. A month or two ago, we asked her to write down her testimony, and it's so cool to talk to her about how that's going. She says she keeps getting surprised, because she thought she knew what she would say when she started, but more and more keeps popping into her head to write. Haha she's going to be a heck of a disciple of Christ someday soon!

Now for a few really random thoughts that I wanted to get down. These are the things you realize when you have a lot of time just to think:
- If you are ever trying to figure out if a letter is actually written by me, look for the use of the word "though." I use it way too much.
- If a girl had arms as ridiculously hairy as mine... it'd be pretty gross.
- When you read the scriptures for 1-3 hours a day, you start adopting phrases like "peace, be still" and "(insert name here), I fear thy joy doth carry thee away unto boasting" into normal conversation.
- When your companion is English with a really strong accent, you avoid situations where words like "vitamin" are going to be used. (Apparently there, it's a short i sound at the beginning. You learn new pet peeves when you're with someone nonstop for so long.)
- Pertaining to the previous comment, you also find great joy when your companion (who really likes talking to himself) gets so cold you hear him muttering "Bloody hell!"
- Not everyone is going to get this, in fact very few will (SigEps better), but this week it was cold a few days, and I started shivering, and said "Brrr!!" in a really high voice. (The high voice is important.) Since my voice was so high, I,without even thinking, said, "Oh, Joyce!" My companion just looked at me like I was an idiot. MaPaDa and Charley, you have ruined me.

Oh, yesterday was way funny! But, let me back up to two Sundays ago so you can really comprehend the humor of the situation. It was fast and testimony meeting, and I was sitting next to Kelly Myers (the lady with all the goats). I nudged her, and said, "Hey, go bear your testimony." No," she said, very bluntly (like Kelly would do it), then said, "You bear yours." I told her I would if she did. "No," she said, just as bluntly. "If you don't, I'm going to have Elder Western (he's the Elder of our senior couple, and also the second counselor in the branch presidency) make you give a talk this month," I said, as if I really had the ability to do that. "Or not!" was her reply. Later that night, we were with the Westerns, and Elder Western asks, "Elder Allen, do you have Kelly's phone number?" "Yeah," I answered, ".... why?" "I need to call her to ask if she'll give a talk." "Oh man... she's going to kill me." Haha sure enough, she totally threw me under the bus in the introduction of the talk. BUT, it was phenomenal!! It was all about conversion, and since she's only been a member of the church for about nine months, her insight was incredible. One of my favorite lines of the whole thing was, "Sure, the path may be straight and narrow, but that doesn't mean there aren't briars and thorns, branches and boulders all throughout it." It's really cool to see when recent converts keep growing and get such awesome testimonies.

Well, I've actually been at the library almost three hours now. I just get way to distracted... but I think I'm going to call this email done now. Oh, except let me explain a few pictures that I'm sending along! 

This one is me burning a tie two Saturdays ago, on my six year anniversary as a missionary. At twelve months, I'll burn a shirt; at eighteen, I'll burn a pair of pants; and at twenty-four, I'll burn a suit! The shirt is courtesy of SigEp, the pajamas are courtesy of my mother! 


These'uns (really?? What is New York doing to him?? - Megan) are some of those pictures that you can only get in Freedom. Yes, those are calves on leashes all in dog houses.


Oh, and keep the letters coming! This was a great week for letters, and it made me feel like I was still remembered! Thanks everyone! Oh, and go to my blog brackenallen-thinkonthesethings.blogspot.com so you can learn all sorts of cool gospelly things from me!

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

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Jan. 7 Letter

Well, transfer calls came last night and.... I'm still in Freedom! Haha I'll be here seven and a half months at least now! And who knows, they might split the area next transfer (we are getting 29 missionaries from the MTC and only sending 12 home in the next two months) so Elder Jones and I might split and each run one of the areas next time.
Oh, happy six month anniversary by the way!! Woo hoo!
This week has been really weird, so I'm not sure what all to write about... We really spent most of our week going around to people who we've hardly met at all before and saw what we could get rolling. It was pretty successful, actually, but there's just not a lot of stories from it...
Oh, but we met a World War II veteran tracting! Haha we talked to him for about 20 minutes and set up a follow up appointment with him! He was way nice (a little weird... that happens when you're 86 I guess...). How cool would it be to baptize a WWII vet?!
Geez... we've been so busy, there has to be SOME story that I could share.... Crap.
Oh, we made some way cool progress with Ron this week! He's a former investigator from about 5 years ago that I've been trying to meet with ever since I got to Freedom, but nothing ever came of it. This Friday, though, we FINALLY had a real lesson with him! We first read Alma 32 with him and talked about how with everything we say, it will be up to him to plant the seed in his heart and just test it out. Since we read the Book of Mormon, though, we naturally had to explain to him where it came from, leading right into the Restoration. It was awesome, because the Book of Mormon brought the Spirit so strong it really set the stage for an understandable discussion about the Restoration of the gospel, plus it made the invitation to read and gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon all the more understandable.
That's one thing that really clicked in my head this week: the Book of Mormon. Krissa has been reading the Book of Mormon from the start, and has been progressing nonstop. Amy was reading the Book of Mormon and was progressing quickly; she stopped reading and stopped progressing completely. Amanda struggled reading for the first bit, and struggled really comprehending what we were teaching her; in the past two weeks, she's read from the middle of Jacob to the start of 3 Nephi and is now more gung-ho about baptism than ever before. Justin started reading the Book of Mormon and was baptized within a month, even though he'd been taking the discussions for 12 years. Kathy, despite health problems, has an incredible testimony because she's emphasized the Book of Mormon. Cora hasn't read the Book of Mormon since she was baptized and just won't come to church anymore. The Book of Mormon and prayer are where true conversion happens! The missionary discussion teach you what you're converted to, but the Book of Mormon and prayer are where the testimony actually comes from.
Oh, and we're starting to go home teaching now with the branch! There's a quote by Harold B. Lee that says "Missionary work is but home teaching to those who are not now members of the Church, and home teaching is nothing more or less than missionary work to Church members.” We're hoping this will really help with our reactivation and retention efforts in the branch. It's really common here to have someone baptized, be super gung-ho about the Church, then get into the church and not have anything to do when they're here. It's pretty sad, really. Hopefully having us going on splits with members helps the home teaching really get going. (Right now, I think there are two members who consistently do their home teaching...)
Oh, we finally met with Roger Regnet this week! He has been meeting with missionaries for about seven years now, and says he trusts us more than his own family. One of the former missionaries who went home about six years ago is actually at his house for the week visiting, so that's how close he is with missionaries. Hopefully we can really get him progressing this time around. He's a way nice guy, just I have no idea where to go to get him moving forward!
Well.... I know this is a pretty boring letter, but I can't think of anything and have literally been trying to come up with stuff for an hour and a half.... so this is what you're getting. I'll try to do more exciting stuff this week!
I love you, but I don't miss you!
Elder Allen

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dec. 31 Letter

Ready for a crazy week?

First, let me start off with the highlight before I get all drudgey haha.


Now, I have set baptismal dates for like eight or nine investigators on my mission so far, but none have made me nearly as excited as this one. Granted, it is a ways off (we set it for exactly seven weeks from Saturday, since that's the last Saturday we can guarantee I'll still be in Freedom), but I'm so stoked!

Really, we've spent the whole week with her. We were with the family for Christmas Day, where we had an awesome dinner (T-bones!!), called home, and just hung out. Then Wednesday, we helped them tear down the ceiling tiles of their kitchen and replace it with wood boards. Thursday, we went to a Trans Siberian Orchestra concert in Buffalo with them. Then Saturday, we taught her the rest of the commandments that we are supposed to teach and she agreed to a baptismal date!

TSO was waaaay sick, too. I've only been to a handful of concerts, but this shattered all of them. Holy cow, they are talented! Plus, since I'm a missionary and all, I should acknowledge it had a really spiritual message, too. All of their concerts revolve around a story line, that is narrated by the same guy each time. This story was about an angel who God sent to the Earth to figure out who was best carrying on the work of His Son. He ends up meeting a wide array of people in New York City, some who are clearly good people like a homeless guy who tells Christmas stories to kids, and some who aren't, such as a businessman who is described as a Grinch and has hated Christmas ever since his son was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and was sent to an institution because he was going to be so handicapped. Well, to ruin it all, the angel kind of follows everyone around and watches as even the businessman eventually lightens up and even goes and finds his son, who can now hear and walk, even though he can't talk. When the angel goes back to God, he reports who he thinks is best carrying on the work of Christ, saying one name... then another... then another... until he has listed off every person he met, including the businessman, because he realized how much everyone can change and live a Christ-like life.

Haha.... hmmm... how can I make that relate to missionary work? Hahaha I definitely wasn't expecting it to be quite so spiritual, but it was awesome!! In the MTC, they teach about "revelation through prayer," "revelation through the Book of Mormon," and "revelation through church attendance," but I think they left out "revelation through rock concerts."

Nowwww for the downer side of the week. Without going into too much detail--since I really can't--Amanda's boyfriend, Jacob, got out of jail this week and has lead to crazy amounts of drama, including police reports, Child Protection Services, and who knows what else. It's been really hard on me for a number of reasons, all stemming from how close I've gotten with that family. It's rough, because there really isn't a ton that I can do as a missionary, because I can't get involved in domestic issues like that at all. We are still meeting with Amanda, obviously, but we can't meet in her apartment at all anymore, even with a member present, to avoid any possible accusations being made against us. Then, it's just really hard. We promise people that as they develop a closer relationship with Jesus Christ, their lives seem more peaceful and more bearable. And then this happens? It's been really hard... Plus, she trusts us so much that she gives us all of the details... which creates new, added stress.

You know how it feels when your house is really warm on a really cold day, and you keep going in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out? It's exhausting, right? It makes you feel sick. Eventually, you just really want to stay inside. Haha that is how I feel this week. It's like extreme happiness, extreme stress, extreme happiness, extreme stress, extreme happiness, extreme stress, extreme happiness, extreme stress, on and on and on. 

Haha when I get done with this mission, I will have experienced it all. More and more I'm understanding what one elder said in his last testimony as a missionary when I first got to New York, "If anyone needs the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, it's Western New York."

In the Freedom Branch, there's a whole lot of other crap going down, too. Some of it we're involved in, some of it we aren't. Either way, it's getting really stressful.

It's made me think a lot about the days leading up to Christ's birth as described in the Book of Mormon. A few years before, Samuel the Lamanite came and prophesied of the coming of the Messiah, and listed a number of signs that the people should look out for. As is always the case with the gospel, some of the people accepted it, while others didn't. After many years, the promised signs still hadn't shown, and man did persecution pick up! Eventually, the unbelievers set a specific date that either the signs be given, or anyone who doesn't deny Christ will be put to death. In 3 Nephi 1, Nephi is getting VERY stressed out, leading right up to the very night before he is about to be killed for waiting for the Savior. He prays for quite a long time, when he is answered with the following from the Lord:

Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.

This was the very first Christmas Eve. The bottom line is that God will aways "fulfill all that which [He] has caused to be spoken." Sometimes we have to wait it out through the most dire of circumstances. Whether it is situations like that of my investigators' or like that of the Nephites', the Lord will never put us through more than we can bear, and His promises will be fulfilled.

Haha these two stories made me totally miss a much more comical one! We were going to a scheduled appointment on Friday, but when we got there, Stephanie came out and said we probably didn't want to stay, because one of their sewage pipes had burst in the basement. We eventually convinced ourselves to convince her we wanted to stay and help. So we spent the next hour carrying poop-buckets up from the basement and pouring it out in the back yard. What a crappy visit! (hahahahahahah!)

Oh, I also threw a few pictures here. The one that I didn't explain yet is our Nativity reenactment at the Owens' house Christmas Eve. We also had a gingerbread house competition, went carroling, all the traditional stuff!

Also, if any of my friends are reading this, I know you have a break from school right now. What a perfect time to write me!! Splendid!!

I love you all, but I don't miss ya!

Elder Bracken Allen