Friday, April 4, 2014

March 31 Letter

Hola family!

This week was a good'un, even though I have come to give up on Spring
ever actually coming. For about the fourth time, we will have a day in
the 50s or even 60s... Followed by a day that is in the 20s or lower
and snowing. Saturday night and Sunday morning, we went from
completely clear of snow to about eight inches... Haha as a result,
less than a third of our ward was at church and so we cancelled second
and third hours. Regardless, I don't think Spring is going to exist
this year. I was looking at pictures of my birthday over at the
Boccicchios from last year since it is at about the same time of the
year, and everyone is in shorts and tank tops, we were in short
sleeves or had our sleeves rolled up, we were all sweaty, the trees
were green, we were playing in the yard, it was great. This year, it's
either going to be white or muddy!

A vast majority of our success came from online haha. Good stories
there, but only a few I can really go into detail on here. So over the
past 21 months, I've built up a strange network of friends, including
some people who quite honestly just seem to be real Facebook Mormons,
where this is just how they fulfill their "every member a missionary"
role. Well, two of them run a number of Facebook groups. One in
particular, Alex, runs a group designed only for members of the
Church, "UK LDS Singles." Then, whenever nonmembers request to join,
he refers me to them. Vast majority of the time, it goes nowhere. But
one of them, Simeon, has been pretty interesting! He isn't religious
really, but he is full of questions. Many of his long-held beliefs are
our long-taught teachings, like Jesus' Atonement including more than
just the cross. We've talked three or four times now, and it's
interesting to see the similarities and differences of teaching
someone online. It's great because, for instance, Saturday morning I
taught four people in an hour and a half! But it's hard to really hold
them accountable to act on their own. Hopefully,
Though, Simeon will act and we'll see where that takes us! Aside from
him, I've been teaching a handful of people from past areas who I
started losing contact with, as well as even some friends from home
who have been asking questions! Good stuff!!

Unfortunately, most of our regulars fell through again this week :/
It's rough because transfers are this upcoming week, and I'm afraid
that if we don't see most of them this week and if I get transferred,
they just go off into nothingness because Elder Holt hasn't met them!
Ugh... Still,we had some exciting lessons.

Easily the most exciting was with Jenn. We opened up having her mom,
who got baptized three years ago, 45 years after meeting missionaries
for the first time, share what finally lead to her baptism. It wasn't
directly correlated to what we were going to teach, but man did it set
the mood for the lesson! We then had her write on a small notecard the
biggest stressor in her life. She's going through a divorce, her older
son is still with her ex, her younger son has some learning
disabilities, she's going to nursing school, and who knows what
else... so I couldn't really tell you what she wrote down. But after
she did that, we watched a video about a lady whose son died in a
sledding accident. After the accident, she got really depressed and
was having all sorts of anxiety attacks. Then, someone challenged her
to read the Book of Mormon in 90 days. As she did so, she was struck
by how much the people in the Book of Mormon deal with loss, and how
they always fall back on God's plan of happiness in order to get
through that. We then talked to Jenn about some of our own experiences
when the Book of Mormon has been able to speak right to us. How does
God manage to apply all the scriptures to us so individually? Well, we
read most of Alma 7 together. Obviously we read verses 11-12 about how
Jesus felt everything we felt so that he can succor us when we need
it. But then we talked about Alma's statement the next verse that this
is the testimony in him. Finally it transitions to talking about
really utilizing the Savior and making covenants with Him. We
explained that God can speak to us through scriptures because He had
been right where we are and knows exactly what we need, so He knew
what needed to be written and He knows what we need to read. We then
invited Jenn to get a testimony of the Savior like Alma's. So every
day this week, she is going to pray about the stressor that she wrote
down then read from the Book of Mormon. She acknowledged if she feels
that God is using it to speak right to her, she would gain a testimony
of Christ and of the Book of Mormon. If this happens, she said, she
would get baptized!

Haha we also followed up with Vinnie from last week. We weren't able
to have a real lesson, but he's reading the Book of Mormon! "Yeah, I
like it," he said. "It's like it gives me a feeling of peace when I
read it." Haha I don't know if this was this week or last week that he
said this part, so I might have already mentioned it, but we were
talking about his upcoming move to New Jersey, and he said, "Are there
guys like you down there? Maybe you could get in contact with them and
just tell them, 'Hey we have this guy coming to your area who wants to
join the church.'" Hahaha it was pretty funny. He was coming up on his
deadline for his magazine, so he was pretty busy last week,but
hopefully we'll be able to sit down again this upcoming week, and
teach again!

Transfers are this upcoming weekend. It's odd, because there is no
"likely" situation.pretty much here are the options:
-I get moved which means I have two areas with only two transfers each.
-Elder Holt gets moved after only being here one transfer.
-We both stay until next time, when I get moved and have only one
transfer in my last area.
-We both stay until next time, when he gets moved after only being
here two transfers. (Probably the most likely)
-We stay together three transfers.
None of those scenarios are logical at all, except one of them has to
happen. It will be interesting to see which one does! I hope I don't
get transferred, because I don't feel like I've had much of an impact
here, and I don't feel like two transfers is enough to make an impact
in my next area either. On the other had, if there's one area I
wouldn't mind leaving after only a few months... it'd probably be this
one. Not because of the area or the people or anything - I love all of
that. This transfer has just been rather frustrating haha. But, I
still vote that I stay put.

We did have a really cool tracting session on Saturday night! No one
that is usually home was home, so we had to fill up an hour and a
half. So we went to the church and each said a quick prayer and
scoured a map, writing down any street that stood out to us. After a
few minutes, we compared lists. One of the streets, Melody, was on
both lists, so there we went! After an hour of tracting (in freezing
rain, mind you haha) we have three solid potentials! One girl, Mickey,
was just getting home so we awkwardly met her as she got out of the
car; while she didn't have much interest in religion, she actually
scheduled an appointment with us haha. Then we went to Larry; he was
just headed to work, but it was hilarious! He explained that he was
leaving, but wanted to ask his wife if she was interested. "Honey, do
you want to talk to the Latter-day Saint missionaries?" "Tell them to
come back when you're home so we can meet with them together!" we
heard from inside. Haha no shpeel necessary! And finally we went to
Sheila, who didn't want to open the storm door because she was sick,
but when we habitually asked if we could come by another time, her
response was a surprisingly pleasant "Please do!" Haha so hopefully
Melody turns into our miracle street!

The weather this year is killing me. For the fifth week in a row or
so, we will have a day in the 50s, followed by........ Shoot. I just
realized I opened up this email with the same complaint. Hahaha no you
see how much I really hate weather. Haha

Well, I guess to close, I'll just say that I'm happy :) haha I might
have complained a lot about how stupid a lot of our investigators have
been lately, but I'm still quite enjoying myself! Promise!

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

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