Monday, January 20, 2014

January 13 Letter

I'm headed to Geneseo!! I'm actually super excited about that. Geneseo was in my district back in Warsaw (Haha I really haven't left this little corner of my mission... ostracism? solitary confinement? quarantined?) and I love it there! It's a big college town, and is actually kind of the "honors college" for the State University of New York system, and it's such a fun town. It's like this weird oasis of brilliance right in the middle of Western New York farmers. Plus, I'm with Elder Ryser, who is from Switzerland! He's a way funny kid. I'm pretty excited. PLUS, I completely called where I was going about two days before.  PLUS, Amy Vrooman already agreed to bring Grant (the coolest 2-year-old in history who is from Warsaw) to visit me from time to time!  PLUS this will probably be my final area, which is a good one to end on!

Haha really, it's a pretty good thing that transfers happened when they did, though. Any other week, even Geneseo with Elder Ryser probably wouldn't have gone over as well as it is now. It's been a rough week. Just to show it, we were doing our weekly planning yesterday, and we really had like four people to even try to set up appointments with. And most of those are just in hopes that they'll start moving forward sometime soon. It's not that nothing has gone on, it's just that in the past few weeks a lot of less actives and recent converts have progressed past where we usually help them and just hand them to the ward, and then this week, we had a few implosions. Blech. I was pretty bummed, and then got transferred which picked up my spirits a little bit.

I am trying to think of happy, uplifting things to share... so while I am thinking I'll share my pure depression. The Asians finally got back, right? Well, we went over and had a fine and dandy lesson. It was wonderful! They talked about how they'd been reading the Book of Mormon their whole five week trip. Then they talked about how helpful that was. We went over the importance of the Restoration. They both nodded in agreement. Everything was going great! So, we invited them to set a goal to be baptized the final Sunday of the month, and just read and pray everyday from now until then. Jerry was nodding that he would do that; Andrea, unsurprisingly said no. We figured it was her same reasoning from before of not wanting to commit to anything she didn't feel perfectly comfortable with. But then she went on a long explanation that I really didn't fully understand... and as she went on she said she thinks she needs to study on her own for a while and that she didn't want to meet with us or go to church anymore. Whaaat? She said she felt like she'd grown the most when she really started to read scriptures and think about things and ask questions; somehow she equated that to the fact that she started doing that only when she wasn't going to church or meeting with the missionaries. We tried to help her see that that was exactly what we'd been asking her to do all along. We tried to help her realize how much she'd learned in church. She even readily admitted that she felt "inner peace" at church! We read Alma 32, and talked about how the seed of church attendance had "swelled, sprouted, and began to grow" and that now she was doing exactly what it warns against towards the end of the chapter. We would talk to her, the Spirit would be sooooo strong and then she would just say the exact same thing over and over again. It was so frustrating. We didn't want to beg her... but it was just so heartbreaking. To make it worse, Jerry pretty much always just goes along with what Andrea does. So, by the end, he agreed with her

On my mission, I have been told by a companion that he had specifically requested to get transferred from me. I have been falsely accused of very inappropriate relations with an investigator. I was transferred from my first area after being there and getting to know people for over eight months. I've had signs hanging up at doors telling us not to come back. I've had a less active who I'd gotten close to tell me that if came over anymore he would shoot me. I could go on and on. But still, I really don't think I have ever felt as frustrated and hurt as I did Saturday night when this all went down. It kind of felt like I put all my eggs in one basket, only to have that basket get run over by a dump truck.

It has brought my attention to Alma 28:8: "And this is the account of Ammon and his brethren, their journeyings in the land of Nephi, their sufferings in the land, their sorrows, and their afflictions, and their INCOMPREHENSIBLE JOY."

So, with that, I've tried to remember a lot of the things that have brought incomprehensible joy this past year and a half, and even more so these past six months. Haha without going into details, there's been a lot of it! There are a number of families in the ward who told me this week that I "can't" get transferred. One of them even said that they used to never like missionaries coming over to their house until we came along!

Then of course there was Stephen! Hard to beat tracting into a guy who was as prepared as he was!
And Guojian! We went over and watched the CES fireside with him yesterday and it reminded me of how much I love that guy! I really don't think there is a more humble man on the whole planet. And he said he would name his first son after me!! ;)

Then of course there's good old Kevin! Haha crazy as that man is, his faith is incredible. Granted, in one conversation, we'll probably go off on a thousand other tangents... but he's awesome.

And interviewing the Santiago's and just seeing how much they absorbed what they taught. And their ability to quote scriptures and prophets without knowing the quote even existed. THAT is being prepared by the Spirit!

I could ramble on about some of these things for a while longer, but I've probably already written about them at some point or another, so it would be redundant. Haha I'm glad that I am leaving Kenmore the one weekend that I really don't care that I am leaving. I'm upset that I am leaving on a bad note. But I'm very grateful for the six months that I have had here!

Aside from that... I survived a legit blizzard! It was Buffalo's first blizzard warning since 1993! I don't know if it was in November or December, or if it was somewhere between January and March... but this could have been Buffalo's first blizzard since I was born! And I survived! Haha granted, President didn't let us go outside... It was about -30 degrees with the windchill. Especially given our lack of a car. Haha pretty much we spent the whole day indoors. Lots of reading got done though! I now finally understand Galatians 3! And it is SICK!!! I could explain it all and have it make little to no sense to you... but the Church is legit. Abraham had the fulness of the gospel, the same as Jesus brought and the same as was restored by Christ through Joseph Smith. That's HUGE! Anyways, enough of that tangent. Yes, I survived.

Then the next day,  I spent a large chunk of the day finishing my Huntsman Scholars application. Finally finished. Phew! I hate applications.

Annnnd that's pretty much all the excitement I have to update on. Plus, I gotta go pack.

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

Elder Allen

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