The Good News is: God loves you! Ally’s letter Sept. 23

Hola Familia Y Amigos,
Man, this week has been super super busy. I feel like I haven’t been able to catch a breath in days but it has been awesome. I love it! I love serving the people of Greeley and Evans. I love it all! Shout out to Brooke, Heber, Elsie and Henry for sending me an amazing package with some beautiful artwork. I loved it! (more about it later) and Madison and Megan Mittleman for their letters this week. Also to Sister Webber, Brooke, Tiff, Sharon, Haylie and Elder Roush for their emails too. They were all awesome and I am hoping  to have lots of time for letters today so hopefully all who sent a letter to me in the last 2 weeks will receive one back this week. I wont promise but I will certainly try.
Anyway, this week has been a week of lots of growing and doing new things and trying hard and being humble. It has been a good week, but I am not going to lie. It was fairly challenging. We did more than double the amount of service this week than normal. Most of our service took place at the red cross shelter, we also did a lot of work at the food bank, and essentially became official translators for the city of Evans. All of these projects have been really good though because we have gotten to know a lot of people in the community. This week, I have mingled with the Greeley Police force, official (and I think fairly high up) employees for red cross, the Mayor of Evans gave me an awkward side hug (his shirt was slightly unbuttoned and he was in jeans and cowboy boots and sneak attacked both me and my companion. He kept chatting and holding on to us and both of us stood there with our arms pinned to our sides with an awkward and uncomfortable smile on our faces as the other missionaries there with us just laughed and laughed), we have mingled with city managers and the poorest of the poor who have lost everything. It has been a really interesting experience. I have realized a lot this week how much the nametag changes people’s perceptions of me. People look to us for guidance. People look to us for counsel and comfort. People expect us to know what to do and what to say and often times, I don’t but the spirit does. It has been really neat to have the spirit help others through me this week. We are not allowed to talk about the church when we are serving, unless people ask us questions but they have had lots of questions for us lately and that has been really need for us to be able to talk to all these people. We will be going to the red cross every day this week too, and I hope we can continue to help and share a little more. The translating is coming along. Thankfully, we have Sister Soto. She is one of the Hermanas assigned to this area. She is a native spanish speaker and her english is near perfect so she has been doing most of the translating but we try to help as much as we can.
 
This week has probably been the hardest week on the mission so far, and I don’t say that to complain but I think it will help you all understand the significance of the things that happened this week. So on wednesday, We were doing our studies after a few hours at the red cross. I was tired and did not want to do language study. I was frustrated and I just had a moment where I thought “Can I really do this for the next 16 more months? Will I really be able to “Endure to the End?”” So we start all of our studies with a prayer, so I sat down on the floor of our apartment and started to pray silently. I prayed for probably about 10 minutes. I just kept saying “Heavenly Father, can I do this? Can I really do this? I am tired and exhausted and I don’t know if i can do this. Give me the strength to be a missionary.” So I prayed and then my companion told me she needed something from the car so I walked down with her to the car and she decided to get the mail. She came back with a package, for me, from the slabberts and a letter. I nearly started crying just right then and there. We walked back up to the apartment and I opened the package and then I really did just start bawling. There was candy and letters and pictures and all these amazing things from Brooke and Heber and Elsie and Henry. It was such a tender moment because I was so downtrodden just a second before and then this came. I felt like Heavenly Father was telling me, “Don’t you get it Allyson Bren Mehner?!!! I LOVE YOU! I know this is hard, I didn’t say it would be easy but I will help you. I love you!” I just kept thinking about how if my companion hadn’t needed something in the car or hadn’t thought to check the mail, how the package wouldn’t have been quite as sweet. I needed it at that exact moment. The letter was also such a blessing. It was a letter from Madison Mittleman (I had gotten Megan’s the night before and it was so great!) They both just said they knew I could do it. They knew that I would be a blessing. I just realized that God loves us so so so much. muchisimo. He loves us more than we can comprehend and He blesses us so much and we strive to obey and to serve His children. I know He is helping me so so much each and every day and I am so grateful for that.
 
I am also really grateful this week for the priesthood. I am grateful that people have it and use it wisely and worthily. This week I have seen the priesthood help me and others so much and I am really happy to have a knowledge of it.
 
This week, I was assigned to teach our district meeting (about 10 missionaries from the area, get together and learn and practice teaching and such). I was given the assignment about two weeks ago so I had been studying how to study the scriptures and how to gain knowledge and why it is important for about 2 weeks. Anyway, I taught and it was terrifying because every missionary is older (mission age aka how long you have been out) than i am and I felt very inadequate and unqualified to teach to all these experienced missionaries. Anyway, it went really well actually and I just tried to bare my testimony about how the scriptures can heal people. I know they can. I know they have healed me this week and I am really grateful for the scriptures. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and I know, no matter what trial you may have, the Book of Mormon can help you. I just know it can.
 
We also ate with some members this week and Hermano Pato (secretary to the branch presidency) told us his conversion story. I asked for his permission to share it with you but I know I won’t do it justice. I just want to tell you that I felt the spirit so so so strong as he testified to me and to others how the Gospel of Jesus Christ had changed his life. He talked about how his father had died and he was getting a divorce and his kids were avoiding him and how on the day that he considered, the worst day of his life, the sister missionaries decided to knock on his door. He said he slammed the door in their faces and then instantly he was told, by a voice in his mind, to open the door again. He was shocked but he did so and now he is a member of the church. I sat there in that hot kitchen as the sun set and I just knew it. I knew and I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s church on the earth. I know that God loves each of us so so much, more than we can even comprehend. I know that on your darkest and most challenging days, Christ is with you. I know that He can help you and you will feel His love if you strive for it and ask for it. This week, the question that has been asked of us a lot (by others and by ourselves) is “Why are we hear? Why are we paying to get up at 6:30 in the morning and get lots of doors slammed in our faces? Why are we here?” The answer to that question, is because this is God’s church on the earth. This is the true church of Jesus Christ. I am here, serving a mission, struggling with spanish, talking to people that are total strangers because this church is true. I know it. I know it so so so much. I am here to help people become acquianted with their Savior Jesus Christ. I am here because if this church is true (and I know it to be) then what else matters? Nothing. It doesn’t matter if I have to be away from my family for 18 months if I will be with them for eternity. Now, I am not saying that this is easy. It isn’t but for me, already, it is so so worth it. It is worth it because my testimony and my knowledge of the church grow every single day and I love it! I love every minute of this. I really and truly do. I love you all too. Thank you for your support and your prayers. I feel them. I feel the strength from them. I really do.
 
Okay,  some talks that I have loved this week are
– “Look Up”
– “A Time for Faith, Not Fear”  (Shout out to Brookie for being the first one to share this talk with me. I read it on the plane ride to Mexico and I just keep reading it because it is awesome)
– “Teaching by the Spirit”
– “The Temple Stairs”
Sorry that I do not know who they are written by but they were all in ensigns in the last few years. Search for them on Lds.org. Shan or Tiff, Can you put these talks or links to them on the blog.
 
Scriptures:
Mosiah 4:30
D&C 98:12-14
 
D&C 84:106, 109-110: this is the scripture we have been sharing with our members a lot. It talks about how the church is like a body and we are all part of the body. We have been sharing how you can live without an eye or without a hand, but life is better when you have a complete and whole body. The church is the same way. The church can survive without specific members but I know it is better with members. I know that we can all benefit from others as we try to help those who are struggling and as we strive to remain a part of the body of the church. Another interesting point- the body can live without a hand, but that hand cannot live apart from the body. I think we all need the church a little more than we think we do.
 
One other thing: This coming week I have a goal to study the plan of salvation as much as possible. I would love to learn from all of you as well. If you have a minute- study the plan of salvation and send me scriptures or insights or talks about the Plan of Salvation. I want to learn as much as I can about it. Email me before next monday about what you learned. That would be much appreciated.
 
Thank you for all of you who continue to write and pray for me and other missionaries around the world. We all appreciate it a lot. Really, it means the world to us. Keep praying please. Know I am praying for you. Love you all!
Hermana Mehner
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