Monday, April 8, 2013

Terra -- The Marathon Runner that I am

I'm standing in Ohio and over the river is Kentucky!
Went to Kentucky for the first time!  Someone we teach lives there.
Well, now that I'm out of my "party pooper on my birthday" funk, let me tell you about Ohio and life here with a better attitude. 

WE HAVE A BAPTISM THIS WEEKEND!!!! Paige! I love Paige. She's my age, (well she was, until I had a birthday) and is super awesome. So, we're really excited for her. And Jody and Denny and their family are getting baptized on the 27th of this month. That date isn't quite as solid, and since it's farther away, more can go wrong, but we are praying and working hard to make sure that it doesn't. This is a special family, and we love them a lot, and they will be so blessed with the gospel in their lives. 

Us and the fam. This is Jody and Denny's family.
They're on date for getting baptized April 27th!!

The other week we were trying to visit a former member of the church, but when we knocked on the door, three African American guys came to the door, and we asked "Does Sharon live here?' Turns out, we had the wrong door. But we prayed with them, told them about the Restoration, and they became our three newest investigators! They play basketball for UC Clermont and are ridiculously cool. Their names are Curt, Rob, and Wayne. We met with Curt and Rob once, and then once again with Curt. He's the most interested. He also came and watched General Conference with us. It's really neat teaching him and he really enjoyed hearing about the plan of salvation. But then again, who doesn't. Celestial happiness is a wonderful thing to learn about.

Sister Kimball came and stayed with us for a night 
and she taught me lots of good things!

So, here's something no one will believe. We run a mile every morning, and I love it. Two things that I didn't even think were possible. 

After our morning run.  Green grass is the best bed.

Mom, I want you to tell Elder Lavalua and Elder Lewenilovu that they are wonderful. They were bigger examples to me than I thought. I always wonder what it would be like to be a missionary there instead of here. Because that is my home! And where I am is home for people too. I don't know, it's just fun to think about. But I wonder how they're doing a lot, so tell them I said hi and thank you for being awesome examples! And Elder Hammond if you ever see him. AND MITCH FULTZ!!! 

Life of weekly planning

So this week was a little rough. But something that I have noticed with every struggle--each one of them is parallel to something that I have already dealt with before in my life. It's CRAZY. The other morning I got really frustrated and kind of angry, and I told Sister Ward, "Next time I do that, I need to walk out of the room, and then walk back in happy, and if I don't come back happy the first time, I will keep going out until I do." I told her that when we used to do that for Family Home Evening in the blue room, I always ended up coming back happy! It's got to work now too! But seriously, everything directly relates to experiences and lessons and people that I've had or known previously in my life. There's no coincidence there. Crazy. Even while doing service at a members house, I washed of the cupboards and drawers in the kitchen, just like I always had to in ours. All life lessons are worthwhile.

Me, the harpist

Happy as can be!
Sister Ward is a rockin pianist. We're starting a band soon.

This week I got to eat with Nancy Harward (Grandma Allen's cousin). She brought dinner to our church building right after Sister Ward and I had a meeting there. It was a super yummy dinner. Homemade spinach and cheese raviolis. :] Thanks Mom. :] Funny story. Earlier that week Sister Blackham asked us what our favorite meal to eat at home was. I pondered for a minute and then said, "spinach and cheese raviolis." Then we had them with Nancy, and I asked her. "did you talk to Sister Blackham?" She said, "No, I talked to your mom." You knew the answer!!!! The smart mother you are. :] Anyways, it was a fun dinner. Tears almost came at many moments as tidbits of Grandma Allen were brought up, but I was able to hold them back. After dinner, Sister Ward went in the kitchen to do dishes, and Nancy brought her chair to my end of the table and showed me pictures of her family and her daughter's wedding last year. I told her that Cebre got married last year, and I told her how special is was that we could all be together as a family one last time before Grandma passed away. We both just sat and looked at each other, and then the tears came. What sadness we felt in our hearts, as we cried and talked about how much we missed Grandma Allen. But what an enormous comfort we both felt from being in the physical presence of a relative who loved Grandma Allen as much as the other. We sat there are cried, and laughed, and mourned, and thanked God for the beautiful blessing of being with our families forever. This is an experience I will never forget and something that I will be forever grateful for. It was the greatest tender mercy that Heavenly Father could have blessed me with. I love Nancy, and she will always have a very special place in my heart for being my special cousin during a difficult time. 

Our dinner with Nancy

I gave a talk last Sunday, about the Character of Christ. So that was really fun to hear that you focused your Relief Society lesson on that! We both taught the same principles on the same Sunday! That's pretty special. :] I'm constantly thinking about the Character of Christ. This morning I read the talk you sent to my by President Eyering ("Mountains to Climb".). Mom, nothing was more perfect for me to read. How did you know that it was just what I needed? (cue "Cars" song). It really was though, and I'm going to read it again and again. The thing that stood out to me the most (maybe it wasn't written in the talk exactly, but it was implied) was that when we go through difficult times or trials, we are at that moment comparable to the Savior, who went through exactly what we are going through, and much more. We are then standing beside Him feeling some of the same miserable feelings that He already felt for us. Yet He was long-suffering. I want to continue to be comparable to the Savior beyond my struggles. I want to be comparable to Him through how I deal with them with being long-suffering and submissive. That is the more desired comparison, I think. And I think that's what Heavenly Father really wants us to do. We are to follow the example of Jesus Christ in EVERYTHING. Including how we deal with trials. He was the perfect person and the perfect example. Choosing a different way to act (than ways that He did) would just be silly, because we know that those won't bring us true happiness. Yet time and time again we do. I do. It's all a learning process. They are all mountains to climb.

Cooking with the Blackhams on Easter

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes!!! It was a great birthday. :] But I'm still going to consider myself 20, because that was my favorite age so far. Well, being 17...that was too. Maybe 21 will be as well. 

Annabel (one of our investigators) and I on my birthday. She cracked a confetti egg over my head.

I love you all so much. It was super fun seeing familiar faces on General Conference. If I wasn't on a mission, I would have been on TV!! haha. But being here is probably the better choice for me. Be strong and of good courage. Be nice to people. Throw away your trash. And remember to floss your teeth. All important things of life.

Love, Sister Allen

Stuffing eggs!
Sister Ward . . . is crazy.
(to which I said, "Oh good!  Then she's a great match for you!)

Us & our matching braids & bright tights at Logan's for dinner! 

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