El Camino Real Week 5

Friends and Fam,

Another great week! I guess you could say things have finally gotten back to normal. Well, I guess as normal as it can get for covering 2 areas at the same time. So I guess I’ve gotten some feedback that I didn’t explain the situation very well. Essentially I still have my first area that I started out with. But when Elder Chia and his companion had to leave our zone Elder Varela and I had to cover their area as well. So we still have all the same investigators just a few more were added to our list. And by a few more I mean like 15 haha. But it’s been fun to get everything organized since it was kind of left to us in a big mess. Probably what’s going to happen is once we finally get a hang of it all since transfers are next Tuesday one of us will be moved out or something will happen haha. But whatever the Lord commands, I’ll try my best to do. I think I’m finally starting to get a hang of this whole missionary thing! Today we went shopping for some office supplies for studies and I actually knew what exactly I needed. I guess that’s one of my pet peeves, I have to know anything and everything asap. Being a missionary has definitely helped me adjust that mindset a little, but it still feels good to actually know what I’m doing haha.

I wanted to start out with my favorite day this past week: Tuesday. It was so great. Basically, Elder Varela and I had super bien studies that morning and then after lunch and a couple hours of service at Salvation Army we taught 4 straight lessons in 4 hours! I don’t think everyone can fathom how crazy that is in our mission. Everyday we basically make backup plans for everything becuase we already know that someone is going to cancel or something is going to come up so that we can’t go. But that finally didn’t happen this time! As I was driving around from lesson to lesson it blew my mind that everything actually went to plan haha. And during that time we even got a new investigator! His name is Jesus and he was really cool, but due to some family problems he had to move out later in the week and we had to drop/refer him to other missionaries. But it was still way cool at the time.

That was something we were really successful at this week: finding new investigators. We found more this week that we had the entire previous weeks combined. That was something I had been struggling with before, that we had always been working so hard and dilligently but the results weren’t actually what we wanted. But that’s not how our Heavenly Father wroks. We have to be patient and with time we will be able to recognize the blessings in our life. It was quite a humbling experience for me. And remember Ricardo the golden contact? Turns out he has a brother (Juan) that is super awesome too. We taught them a couple times this week and made a lot of progress. We hope to commit them both to baptism next visit becuase we feel they’re almost certainly ready to start preparing for real for real.

We also had Zone Conference on Thursday, my first one. Word can’t do it justice: President and Sister Hall are so great. I think I took maybe 8 pages of notes during the meeting haha. There were 2 basic focuses: “Forget yourself and go to work” and the introduction of the 2015 Mission Training Plan. That quote comes from a letter written to President Hinkley when he was on his mission and had been struggling hardcore. What Sister Hall did is she twisted it a bit into pointing out to us that if we are able to tuly consecrate ourselves (devote ourselves 100%) and work hard we will become successful missionaries. She also follwed a pattern of teaching I thought was interesting. She would bring up a topic, for instance the Savior, and say to us “tell me what you know”. We would do that then she would say “show me” and we would have to find scriptures to back us up. Finally she would end with “testify to me”. The three basic principles of teaching as a missionary! 1. Tell 2. Support 3. Testify. If we can all be able to follow that effectively imagine the results in missionary work worldwide. And you don’t just have to be a missionary to do that! Everyday people can put that in practice and share the Gospel with their friends and neighbors. Then President Hall presented the 2015 “Great San Fernando Mission Training Plan: Become a Preach My Gospel Missionary”. Preach my gospel is seriously such an awesome resource. I thought earlier in the week that if everyone had a copy of that book and actually read and applied the teachings within it the church as a whole would be unstoppable. Seriously. He also stressed the importance of being “anxiously engaged” instead of just going through the motions every day. He referenced a lot to a talk given by Elder Randall L. Ridd called “Living with purpose: the importance of real intent.” I want everyone to go out and find it and read it asap. And pay special attention to a “modern day parable” he gives. I don’t want to spoil the surprise so try that out and see if it helps you devote yourself to becoming a better member, friend, and ultimately, person.

The rest of my week was pretty normal. Still struggling with church attendance, spanish getting better, all that. The joke between Elder Varela and I is that when we get frustrated with learning Spanish/English we usually say something like “Yo no poder hablar the espanol!!”. Spanish speakers are probably the only ones that get that haha. Elder Varela is seriously so fun and light-hearted sometimes it’s hard to focus but we try our best. 🙂

This week’s Bednar minute: “How can I be a Preach My Gospel missionary after my mission?” I thought that tied in really well with our new mission training plan. Answer: missions are like spiritual boot camps! Even when we are eventually released we are always going to be missionaries. We go from being full-time missionaries to life-time missionaries. So the best way to become a PMG missionary after the mish is to never stop being a missionary! Simple as that.

Hope everyone had a great week. Isn’t today MLK day or something like that? I honestly can’t keep track of holidays anymore haha. All I know is that school is out for whatever reason so that means more contacts! Haha. A few quick things: someday this week (I can’t remember which one) we were getting ready for bed at night when the entire apartment complex’s fire alarm went off. Everyone was like “uhh what do we do” because there wasn’t any smoke anywhere. So we went outside and apparently some guy had pulled it because he was fighting with his girlfriend. But it was fun because we were outside and since we’re supposed to be in bed before 10:30 we were thinking about asking the firefighters “excuse me, but we have to be in bed in 5 minutes, is it okay if we go back to our apartment while you all are doing your required inspections?” Haha, just joking though of course. We took a bunch of pics with the firefighters like dorky teenagers and had a blast haha. I also had my first real exchange with one of my zone leaders. It was no biggie because since we live right across from them I didn’t feel like I had to prove to him I was a “real missionary” or anything like that haha. Just a pretty normal day, just with a different companion for a bit. Have a good week everyone!


Elder Allen


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