Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Feb. 25 Letter

Hello! (Hello.) Hello! (Hello.) I welcome you to read! (Hello.) Hello! (Hello.) Hello! (Hello.) I'm glad you clicked on this page! To share with me the events of the week, and see what I've done, I hope you don't find it bleak..... Hello! (Hello.) Hello! (Hello.) I'm glad you're still here to read.

This has been one of the craziest weeks of my mission without anything bad happening! Monday and Tuesday we weren't able to do much because of transfers, right? So in essentially 5 days, Elder Thueson and I ended up teaching 50 lessons. One of those days we did 15... I was pooped. It's just hard because we have such a big teaching pool, there's no way to give everyone the time they need, so we always have to debate about how much time to spend where, doing what, with whom. Then we have to decide if our best bet is to reallllly focus on a few people and get them fully going in the next five weeks, or just spread ourselves thin over all of them and keep their interest at least a little perked until they (hopefully) split the area next transfer. It's been interesting, for sure!

It's been cool to work with Elder Thueson. He's an Idaho farmboy from just outside of Rexburg. He apparently does a bunch of rodeo-ing and stuff. Not that I do, but it's a good fit for out here in the sticks. But really what's nice is that he... brace for it.... actually talks in discussions! It's been the coolest thing to teach and actually both testify! Plus, it's way cool, because he has dyslexia so he has an iPad that reads the scriptures for him. That doesn't affect me at all, obviously. But what DOES, is he got it approved to have all of the Mormon Messages on it, so we can show them during discussions. I swear any concern that gets brought up, I have some random scripture that applies, then he either has some analogy or some Mormon Message to show. It's worked out really well, actually. haha really, though, it's just the fact that he talks during discussions that still gets me! It's been a very cool week because of it!

I'm trying to even think of good stories to tell from it, though... when you teach 50 lessons, it's hard to sort out what was what....

Oh, on Saturday, we helped Kelly and Jim tap maple trees! Haha while I still don't really think it was the best use of our time, it was pretty cool to learn how to do it! Really, I think it's the least efficient thing ever haha. It takes fifty gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup, that then sells for about 45 bucks. I dunno... I guess if you like doing it, though. Regardless, it was neat to do. It's surprising how quick the sap pours out, too!

We also finally made good contact with Roger again. I think I've probably only mentioned him once earlier, if even that. He is a very cool guy who has been meeting with the missionaries for some eight years or so, but just has rarely progressed. Every now and then, missionaries just stop going over there anyways, because mostly he seems to just want to hang out with us. But, we went over there this Saturday and had a really cool conversation with him, where he talked about how he wants to go to Palmyra again sometime soon, wants to make it to church again, and all sorts of stuff. He definitely opened up with us waaaay more than he did when I was with Elder Jones. I'm hoping that we can keep that going! He would be the BIGGEST strength to this branch I can imagine. 

We've also started putting a lot of emphasis on the youth. I realized that when 85% or so of the branch is converts, no one really has ever done Young Men's or Young Women's stuff. Then, when so many of the youth are converts, themselves, they really don't even know what they are supposed to be getting a testimony of. I started thinking about this earlier this month, when Mariah Owens said she had to finish the Book of Mormon in like three weeks to get her Personal Progress before her birthday. From there I would text or call her just about every day to make sure she was reading fast enough and understanding what she read. We even went over and read with her a few times. Then, she said something really interesting that got me thinking. She told her mom, "Elder Allen is the first person who has ever actually followed up with me on scripture reading and made sure I actually got what was happening." Mariah lives in a family where one way or another she'd be able to have a testimony. A bunch of the other youth in the branch? Not so much. So we've started up what we hope becomes weekly visits to the Buziaks, who are a family of converts with kids from 5 to 18, all who don't fully know what the church is really about. There's also another Young Woman who is a convert of under two years who we've started working with a bunch, too. Hopefully this will eventually provide some firm foundation for the branch in the future!

Oh man! Speaking of youth! This week, the Buffalo Stake did the COOLEST activity EVER. They called it the Journey, but essentially what they did is spend the past three months doing family history work and gathering names of their deceased ancestors. Then, over the course of three days, they went to Palmyra where they rotated between a whole bunch of different workshops and going into the temple to do baptisms and confirmations. The goal was to baptize a stake, which is generally about 2,000 people. By the end of the weekend, they did the work for 2,254 people! Look for the story in the New Era in the next couple months! They were there to write an article on it!

Bum-ba-da-dump... I don't know what else to say........

Haha, oh yeah! We went over to Jesse's house this week to talk to him a bit, and he said the funniest thing. First he said, "You know, when Elder Allen leaves, I want to stay in contact with him. I've gotten pretty close with him." Ha so I was already feeling a little big-headed. Then he kept going, "Really I would like to just have an intellectual conversation with him. I think he'd make a great teacher. I know he says he wants to go into politics, but I don't see that... He's too honest." Hahah I just really liked that last part. I'm too honest to be a politician haha. 

Geez... I hate it when I have good weeks and have no idea what the heck to say about them.... I've found that the longer I'm out here, the more pathetic my emails home are getting. Hopefully you'll forgive me for that haha.

Well, write me! I wanna hear from all of you!

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

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