Monday, April 7, 2014

This week was quite the treat!  On Tuesday Sister Woods and I went down to Idaho Falls for the Departing Temple Trip (I counted as a departing missionary, even though I am leaving in the middle of next transfer :) It was a beautiful and wonderful experience and great to see some other missionaries. Since Sister Woods and I were the only Sisters there (the rest were Elders), President and Sister Brinkerhoff took us out to lunch :) I just love my Mission President and his wife! They are so cute, and I just want to stay with them forever! For lunch we went to Olive Garden, and were able to have some one-on-one time with them. I have heard from many missionaries that they never saw their Mission President, so I feel very blessed to see mine about every two weeks! I loved spending that time with them, and we were able to get some information about Transfers. 

Thursday is the official day for Transfer Calls, where President Brinkerhoff sends out about 14 voicemails that go throughout the whole Mission and detail each change that happened in each of the Zones. President Brinkerhoff never lets anyone know beforehand what is going to happen, but I figured I might as well try my luck. I told him that I knew I was only going to be here for two more weeks past the Transfer Day, so I asked him if I would be put in a trio for those two weeks, and if so, where. He smiled at me, and then asked me if I really wanted to know what was going to happen to me. I responded very enthusiastically, so he proceeded to tell me what they had in the works. 

President Brinkerhoff created a new position in the Mission for me, that they are calling a Traveling Sister Training Leader. I will stay with all of the Sister Training Leaders, and training them on their role and then staying for two nights with struggling sisters and helping their companionship. I will be in Idaho Falls for two days, then Iona/Ammon for two more, then back to Idaho Falls South for three, then down to Blackfoot for two, then waaaaay down to Grace and Montpelier for three days, and then ending my time with my last three days in the Idaho Pocatello Mission serving in Pocatello and helping out with Sisters there. Needless to say, my jaw dropped! I will be getting my own Mission phone (which is practically unheard of, even the Assistants share a phone) and I will just strengthen the entire Mission of Sisters! He asked if I would be up to the job, and I was at a loss for words so I just nodded. He even arranged a way that I can come up on Saturday for Jacob's baptism!! 

I could not have asked for a better way to end my time in the Idaho Pocatello Mission, and I am humbled at the trust that President Brinkerhoff has exhibited in me. I am VERY excited about the prospect of traveling for the last two weeks I will be here. It will be so exciting! A new set of companions and Area every day? I already knew my Mission was unique, but holy cow! I will try the best I can to help as many Sisters as possible. I am certainly not a miracle worker, but I will try to prepare myself to be able to receive revelation for these Sisters as to how to best help them, and to be an instrument in the Lord's hands. 

President Brinkerhoff tried to be funny, and say, "So your new Area extends from the Lower Loop of West Yellowstone, to the edge of Bear Lake, and then East to Jackson Hole." Haha! My new Area per say for these next few weeks will be the entire Mission! I told the cities of the places that I will be placed in, but those are just starting points. I might be placed in Iona, but then get shipped out to another place for the day! I will be wherever the Lord needs me I guess!

Jacob, who will be getting baptized this Saturday, is doing so well. Throughout Jacob's teaching process, we have really emphasized the importance of him receiving a spiritual confirmation that this it the Lord's one true Church. We had left Jacob with that commitment on Saturday, and told him to experiment on our words and pray about it over the weekend. A few days later, we went to the Devotional on Campus with him on Tuesday. The speaker was the Sunday School General President, President Osguthorpe. He spoke of vocalizing specific and deserved praise, and then invited the audience to take out their cell phones and text someone specific and deserved praise. We had not had a chance to talk to Jacob yet, and we were not expecting a text from him either. It was our immense delight when we got a message containing the words, "Thank you for helping me find the one and only true Church of God. I know that this is what I have to do!" I could have jumped for joy from seeing those words! I have found such joy and delight from helping others to come unto Christ. I have loved being here in the Idaho Pocatello Mission, and wish that I did not have to leave!

This Transfer has been pretty crazy as far as Sisters go. We have had a few go home, and so two Sisters had their companions leave, and so were temporarily put together but have to manage two Areas. We took some time out of our week to go there and help them get the work going again, with myself going with Sister Mafi in Iona and Sister Woods went back to Ammon Foothills with Sister Hallet. My day in Iona was so fun! I was back with my little Hawaiian bud, and it was filled with laughter. We received a phone call that day from President telling Sister Mafi that the Iona South Area would be split into two, and that we needed to split the Area book and prepare both places to be whitewashed, or in other words have two sets of missionaries that are new to the Area. He also told Sister Mafi that she would become a Sister Training Leader in Blackfoot, so she needed to prepare for that as well. Thursday was spent setting up appointments next week with Leadership, organizing, and training on how to be a Sister Training Leader! I swear, I am so busy sometimes I feel like I don't have a minute to breathe! It was wonderful though, and Sister Mafi will do great things in Blackfoot. I also found out my replacement here in Rexburg will be Sister McKnight, who is currently the STL in Pocatello. She is AMAZING and will be a great companion for Sister Woods during her last transfer. 

On Friday we met again with Ayeli at her work, Costa Vida. She was the sweetest thing, and treated us to dinner! So yummy, I will definitely miss good restaurants when I go back to Nauvoo! We all enjoyed ourselves, but then found ourselves crunched for time. We did not have enough time to go back to her house and teach a lesson there, but also it was too loud in Costa Vida to feel the Spirit. So, we went outside and sat on the outside tables at Jack in the Box! It was pretty great, two Sister Missionaries teaching some investigators outside of Jack in the Box on a busy street in Rexburg, ID. Just an average day in the life of Sister Allred though! I just had to laugh about the thought of it all :)

Funny Moment: Last Saturday one of our Family Wards was having a big Variety Show to showcase everyone's talent! Some brought artwork, others brought wood and leather work, and then others brought food to showcase their cooking skills. It was a great time to visit with everyone and get to know the Ward and meet non-members. Then, after an hour we went into the other half of the Cultural Hall to see some people perform. Some were great, some were funny, to quote the famous Drama teacher, "I laughed, I cried, it was better than 'Cats'!" Then, as we were sitting there, the MC announced that now the Sister Missionaries were going to come up and showcase their talent. Sister Woods and I looked at each other, positively mortified! As we were walking to the stage, Sister Woods squeaked, "What are we going to do? My only talent is people sometimes think I am funny since I talk in a British Accent!" I then told her that since we had to do it together, we could teach them something. Then of course, the only thing I could think of teaching was the Law of Chastity! Haha! Somewhat awkward to teach to a room full of families! So we improvised and actually taught the Ten Commandments with the hand motions! We got some little kids to come and help us, and it turned out well. Little did we know though, that the Spanish Elders were in the back of the room, video-taping our performance! Those goof-balls!

Spiritual Moment: This week we have also had the privilege to see the Lord's hands in the lives of others. I do not know if you remember Sister Goss who went home a few months ago, but her sister is up here at BYU-Idaho. Sister Goss' sister's name is Dayna. We were contacted by Dayna's husband because she was struggling with her testimony and suffered so greatly from depression that she had not left her bed for three days. We went over a few weeks ago in response to her husband's request and have gone over once every week since to try to help her. On one of our visits, Dayna was non-responsive, and all that I could do was to turn to the Lord. I know how much Heavenly Father loves her, and wants her to be happy. I felt impressed that she did not have the resources or guidance that she needed to succeed. Then, CLICK! In my head I realized that she needed to plan her days just like missionaries do. However since she was without a job or children, she needed ideas on what she could do. I asked for a spare notebook, and she searched until she found a little bound journal. In the front, I started to form different categories of ideas of activities to productively fill her day. Some categories were Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, Intellectual, Home, Service, and many others. Then, under each heading Sister Woods and I wrote down ideas of short activities she could do for each. We also included many, many ideas from the Adjusting to Missionary Life book since they seemed to be applicable to her. We then explained how she could plan her day, and committed her to plan to do an activity from each category every day, and plan in time to attend the temple. As we left our appointment, I felt hopeful that she would do it, but a small question of if she had the motivation. Trusting in the Lord, we continued on our day, not to see her until the next week when I would be on Exchanges with Sister Fredrick. 

That next Wednesday, we went through the same door, but walked in to an entirely different apartment. Gone was the clutter, the dust, and the mold. Darkness and gloom seemed to be banished to another dimension. We even saw a whole new, entirely changed Dayna! I expressed my pleasant surprise, and asked how she was doing. As she was describing her week, she actually seemed happy! Before we continued on with a lesson, I stopped her and asked her what had changed. Did she get a job? Did her Visiting Teacher stop over and help her clean? What was it that had caused such a miraculous change in her? Dayna expressed that planning her day, and doing the little things had made a huge impact on her life. Last week after we left, Dayna shared her thoughts with her husband and together they had planned the rest of her week to include an item from each category. Dayna felt like she had a purpose now, and a job to do! She also said how after a few days of trying out planning, she was feeling guilty that she did not have enough faith. As an answer to her unsaid prayer, their Sacrament Meeting was focused on Faith, and the High Councilor spoke about how it is natural to have up's and down's in your testimony. The Spirit quietly reassured her during that hour, and she came out a new woman. From my perspective, it was actually pretty amusing because I had prepared Sister Fredrick by telling her how deep of a depression Dayna was in, but then she walked into the apartment to meet a happy, well-adjusted Dayna! 

I feel so privileged to be able to see the Gospel and the Spirit work in people's lives. I am always continually thankful for being a missionary!

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