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

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