Monday, January 26, 2015

Miracle! God Loves all His Children

My AWESOME District

Sounds like everyone is busy and doing a whole lot a good back at home. I am really impressed. 

The church is so strong in our ward.

No word on the visa.. but what else is new.. haha! Don't worry! I will tell you as soon as I know. I heard they are having trouble with visas everywhere. The missionaries that were going to the Netherlands back at the MTC didn't get their visas on time either.

Here are some great things that happened this week...

Yesterday, in Sacrament meeting I sang, "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" I was so grateful for the opportunity. Later that day we were contacting people on the streets and I told this "hoodlum" that I sang in church today and he missed out.. he said what song did you sing? I told him the song name and he said, "You Know that Jesus Lives?" I said, "no redeemer you know how Jesus is our redeemer.. he said, "oh ya that makes sense." I thought it was funny.

The missionaries teach a Book of Mormon class every Tuesday night and it was our turn to teach it. We taught on 2 Nephi 9 and it was so awesome. We had a lot of people participating and one of the less actives we have been working with showed up! We were so happy!

We were visiting a less active couple this week and the lesson was about change. They had an atheist friend sitting in the background listening to our lesson. We went back to visit them this week and they told us that our lesson really made an impact on their friend. He was trying to decide what he should do with his life and it motivated him to act. He said that the next time he see missionaries he will invite them in. Miracle! God loves all His children!!!

We were able to have a less active member come to church on Sunday! We were soo happy to see him! He says he wants to hold the priesthood. We are so excited for him. Wahoo!

Hope all is well back at home! Keep the faith! Remember that the Lord loves you and is the only one that completely understands you. He can make weak things become strong. I know this because I have seen it happen in our own life. Go to Him with your weaknesses and see what He can mold you into. Discover who you can Become and who you are meant to be. 
Love you all! Have a good week!

Sister Allen

AP's "Awesome Missionary Experience"

This is an email that Jess got from her APs about an experience they had in the mission that they wanted to share with Jess and her companions.  She thought it was really cool.  

Hi Mom!

I am forwarding you this email from our AP's.. it is incredible. Forward it to whoever you want.
 How are you? I am going to read all my emails and then write the big email.


I love you Sisters! I hope you enjoy reading this over and over. I know you will! The Church is True!!! xoxo

Sister Elzinga a.k.a Mom Elzinga :)

Elder Williams and Elder Brewer’s Awesome Missionary Experience!!

"Elder Brewer and I had an incredible opportunity this past Wednesday. Honestly, it was the coolest thing I have ever done in my entire life. 

The head pastor of the Episcopalian church here in Kingwood asked for us to come and teach about our religion to his congregation. President asked Elder Brewer and I to go and take care of it. Long story short, we taught a 45 minute restoration lesson to an entire church and then had a 30 minute question and answer section. How cool is that! 

I don’t think the pastor expected us to convert his congregation, you should have seen his face when we started our presentation by stating,

"we know that each of you have great faith in Christ, 
we invite you this night to consider what his will is for you. 
Pay attention to the holy ghost that will be present 
and consider the things that it will teach you this night." 

Mom, the spirit was so strong in that church. We had never taught a lesson together up to that point, but the spirit allowed us to teach in perfect harmony. I can’t even explain how it felt to bare testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph smith and then invite a whole church to put their faith in God and read that book and pray to God to know of its truthfulness. I felt like Wilford Woodruff or Dan Jones of old. The entire congregation listened intently, absolutely stunned that two 20 year old boys could teach in such a way, quoting from the Bible and explaining true doctrines with simplicity. We were so thorough in our teaching of the restoration, that their questions were not "bashy" questions. We were able to explain everything from church history, Joseph smith's life, temple’s and family history, baptism, the sacrament, the Spirit world, and of course polygamy. The whole congregation was intently listening and searching their souls. 

When we finished, many of the members came up to us and requested a Book of Mormon. Each one of them said that they had Mormon neighbors and how great of families they were and that they wanted to read the book of Mormon to know if it is true. We handed out about 20 Book of Mormons. The head pastor came up to us and asked for a Book of Mormon, he then told us that he wanted to take us to lunch so we could teach him more about it. Since then, he has called us twice and sent president Drake 2 emails thanking us for the job we did. We are going to lunch with him this week. 

I am just amazed that God allowed us that precious opportunity. Going into it we were both so nervous, but we knelt in prayer and pleaded with God to grant us the spirit. We both felt confident that there were many souls in this congregation that would accept the gospel. God truly answered our prayers. It will be awesome to see what comes from this experience! Not many missionaries get the opportunity to teach an entire church, that is a dream come true!"
Elder Williams

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sunshiny Texas

Hallo Alle!
I am still snakke pa Norsk.. 

I only have my Norwegian Name tag in Texas so people always ask me, "what is that?!" haha I love it. 
This week was full of miracles! It's amazing to be a missionary.. you have front row seats to the best change of a person's life!

Sister Hornton & Jess 

Jess & Sister Mulivai

On Wednesday we went contacting and found a women that wanted missionaries to come to her house! Amazing! We seriously did nothing! She said she grew up baptist, but she doesn't think it is for her and her grandparents were LDS at one time. She felt like she needed to look into this religion. So amazing.. Then.. she referred us to a neighbor down the way. We found this woman outside looking very upset. Sister Thornton asked her if we could sing her a song. We sang "Nearer My God to Thee" and she let us into her house. She wants us to come back and see her.

On Thursday we taught a family that was referred by their cousin. We taught the Restoration and Sister Mulivai in the lesson said, "Sister Allen will now tell you that experience that Joseph Smith had.." I was able to say the 1st vision word for word in that moment. I hadn't practiced it since mission prep at home. I had it memorized in Norsk, but not in English. It was truly the spirit working through me.

On Friday, I was feeling kind of down and inadequate from the days before because I felt like I wasn't connecting with some of the people. I prayed that I would connect with someone that day..
We visited a less active teen and I was able to share my heart with her. It was the first time I felt like I had something to give and offer. Because of what I had gone through I was able to help her. I prayed to my Heavenly Father in gratitude for the tender mercy. The rest of the day I was on fire. 

Every morning we state our purpose and say: 3 Nephi 5:13. 
"Behold I am a disciple of Jesus Christ the Son of God, 
I have been called of Him to declare His word 
among His people 
that they might have ever-lasting life."
We are representing Jesus Christ and our Loyalty should be to Him.

I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I have come to know Him because I had a DESIRE to know Him. He is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIGHT. He is the LIGHT. Have you ever thought of that? Everything on earth that is light and good is Christ. He is EVERYTHING. People can CHANGE through Him and His Atonement. The Book of Mormon is either true or false. Ask if it is good? Then do something about it. Have Faith, Have Hope, and Have Charity. This is the best way to live. It is more fulfilling and satisfying. God is REAL and He LIVES. MIRACLES happen everyday. Now go shine your light on others!

Sister Allen

Answers to your questions:
-We drive a car, walk, and when we get our bike fixed.. we will ride bikes.
-Houston is warm and sunny. I don't have the right clothes for here.
-We get $70 a transfer
-We eat lunch at home.
-We have a computer lab at the office of our apartments. Soo nice.
-I have a washer and dryer in my apartment. I am spoiled.

exchanges with cute Sister Casas.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Humble Texas

My address:
8455 Will Clayton Pkwy
Apt. 107
Humble, TX 77338

They call us the Humble Sisters. :) So cute.

Sister Allen

So I love Texas! I am in a place called Humble and I have two companions because I am a visa waiter.  My companions names are Sister Thornton (from Alaska and leaves in March) and Sister Mulivai (from Hawaii got here three months ago). I love them! We all get along well. 
Sister Mulivai, SIster Thornton, & Jess

So I have soo much to say, but soo little time. I get an hour a day for language study, so that is good. Sister Horner is in my district, so I get to see her at least twice a week and have language study with her. 

The church in Texas is amazing and soo missionary minded. The members are so involved with the missionaries and the work. We have a member feed us every night for dinner. 

Funny Story: So Sister Thornton is a Sister Training leader, so I got to go with her to Spanish land Friday-Saturday. So guess what? I taught two lessons in spanish and gave a Spanish book of mormon out..hahaha then that night we went to a spanish baby shower. The spanish culture is soo nice. We got there and the lady having a baby came up to me and kissed me on the check. The cutest. 

Missionary work is fun! If I would have known this before I came out.. I would have come out a lot sooner. Missionary work is very busy, but it's good to be busy and it's good to be doing GOOD busy things. haha People love the missionaries out here. Most people here are religious and believe in Jesus Christ. We already have so much in common. Not gonna lie, contacting freaks me out, but my companion said that I think contacting is awkward for a reason.. they will diffidently remember us. 

I never realized how often miracles happen every day! People are so prepared. God put them in our paths for a reason. Ah the church is true. 

My birthday was so great yesterday! All the missionaries in the district wished me happy birthday via text and left messages. I said the closing prayer in Sacrament meeting in Norsk. It was pretty cool. We have this AWESOME family in the ward that put on a birthday dinner for me and made me a cake. It was such a great birthday. 

Thought for the day:
Today I was studying on how to find people and the word "minister" came to mind. Any time I hear that word I think of Jesus Christ and the life he lived when he was on the earth. Part of our baptismal covenant with God is to take upon Jesus Christ's name and mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. Anytime we talk to someone it should be with charity and with Christlike love. I am so grateful for the Savior and the Life that he lived. It makes me want to be a better person.

Hope you are all doing well! 
Love you all!
Soster Allen

Monday, January 5, 2015

MTC Farewells

Saying Goodbye to Bro. Bartholomew & Bro. Williams

Saying Goodbye to Bro. Smith -Norsk Teacher

Our final Temple Trip

last day of class... this picture came TINY

Sis. Randall

Our Zone

Leaving the MTC at FOUR AM!!!

Ran into Jill & Todd Williams at the Houston airport

Off to Texas

Monday, January 5, 2015

Jessica left the MTC at 4 am and drove to the SLC airport.  Once she checked in her bags and got through security she called home around 5:45 am.  She only had an hour before she had to start boarding her plane to Houston.  It was so good to talk to her.  She sounded really excited and happy.  She was really talkative and outgoing for being so early in the morning.  That has certainly changed since being in the MTC, she never really loved mornings.

I talked to her first.  She said she had an emotional Saturday.  She had received her letter from the Church's travel office about her visa and her new assignment in Houston for the next 6 weeks.

She was pretty bummed about it.  That night they were saying good bye to their instructors and it was emotional.  They were taking some pictures and one of the sisters was taking a picture with Jessica's new camera and dropped it.  It broke and Jessica said she just lost it.  She had a major break down.  An Elder tried to take her new camera and fix it back in his room.  It just made it worse and he felt terrible and offered to give her $200 for a new camera.  Jessica felt horrible about taking his money, so she refused to take it and she felt bad that the sister who broke it felt so bad.  So, she found the sister and gave her a big hug and told her it was ok.  It was just a camera.  So, maybe it is good she is going to Houston.  She can find a new camera and it will probably be cheaper in Houston than in Norway.

She received a blessing from a young 18 year old elder last night.  She said the power of that blessing was incredible.  He blessed her with specific things that she was struggling with and she hadn't even told him about them.  The spirit was so strong as she shared this experience with me, it made me cry.  So great!!!!

She has absolutely loved the MTC, her teachers, and especially the 4 girls in her district.  One sister has already gone on to Denmark.  Two left for Norway today and Jess and her companion are waiting for Visas in Houston.  It was very hard for her to say good bye to these gals.  They will be friends for life!!!  I could really feel the love she has for these girls.

She is a lot more positive about going to Houston.  In fact, this morning she was actually really excited about it.  Someone told her not to worry about the language, just teach the gospel and the Lord would make up for it when she finally got to Norway.  So, she is taking their advice and is excited for this adventure.  This will all be part of her mission experience.

It was so great to hear her voice and feel her energy and excitement.  I can't wait to hear from her once she gets settled in Houston. Hopefully she will get a new camera soon so we can see pictures too. I will let you know her new address when she sends it, but you can always send her an email anytime.  Once again, thanks to all of you for the support and prayers.  She says she has really felt them.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Visa Delay

January 02, 2015
Missionary Department 
50 E North Temple ST 3WW 
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-5400

Sister Jessica Ann Allen 
2815 W Lake Houston Pkwy #109
Kingwood TX 77339-5220 
United States

Dear Sister Allen:
Visa Status
By now you are aware that your visa to Norway has not yet been approved. While this is undoubtedly a disappointment, please know that we are doing everything possible to secure your visa. We will notify you immediately when it is received. We ask that you and your family members not do anything, such as call or e-mail the consulate, to try to secure your visa more quickly. Such actions may actually slow down the visa process already in place.
While you are waiting, your mission experience in the United States will prove to be a great blessing in your preparation to serve in Norway. We encourage you to work hard, remain focused, and be involved in all aspects of missionary work. As you serve the people in the Texas Houston East Mission, your testimony and ability to teach will increase, you will set the pattern of study and hard work for the rest of your mission, and you will come to love the people.
May the Lord continue to bless you and your family as you dedicate yourself to preaching the gospel to those who are seeking and ready to accept your invitation to come unto Christ.
Eduardo Gavarret Assistant Executive Director