Elder Kyle M. Allen in Hong Kong

Read all about Elder Allen's adventures as a full time missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints in Hong Kong


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Every Missionary Here is My Friend

April 27, 2014

Well, we are on to May….I guess that means HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!  Look at that. This time he didn’t even remind me!  And I still remembered! (Last year Kyle forgot to wish his dad a Happy Birthday. I think everyone has forgotten that but him. Mark’s birthday is May 2.) I’m getting pretty good at this!

Well Happy May to everyone as well. May the 4th be with you this week. Ha-ha… I just had to throw that out there for Sarah and Chase before I forget about it… which I’m sure I will… but anyways. (Star Wars fans like Chase celebrate “May the Fourth” because of its similarity to “May the force” be with you. But I’m sure you already knew that.)

Yesterday I think I went to the best Sunday meeting of my entire life. It was just so awesome. Elder Wong and his wife finally got back from Salt Lake City and they were able to speak in church.  He even taught a combined Priesthood meeting.  Best third hour of church ever.  He started by saying he didn’t think he was going to be home before he got his assignment to serve somewhere. However, President Packer told him that he had a new assignment this week and that was to be at home.  It was so awesome!  The change is already just so crazy!  He was only here for the weekend and then he flew back this morning to go get his calling to serve! Crazy!  He was getting super into the Priesthood lesson.  You knew he was getting into it because all of the sudden he would just start quoting scriptures in English and just saying super powerful sentences in English. Then he would catch himself and start talking Chinese again until a few minutes later the same pattern would start again.  He taught on President Eyring’s talk from November entitled, “To My Grandchildren.”  It was just super awesome.  For like half the time I felt like he was just staring right at me no joke. More than half the time, maybe.  I left that meeting feeling like I just left the Conference Center.  Honestly though.  I have to show you the notes I took on it.  I didn’t know he’d be there so I didn’t have any paper except my planner.  It was filled!!!!  Well…anyway…I hope your Sunday was just as good as mine!  (In this talk President Eyring addresses those who seek advice from him on how to have a happy family life – including his grandchildren.  He says it all basically boils down to keeping the commandments and putting yourself where you can feel “the joy of forgiveness through the Lord’s Atonement.”)

This week was just a pretty normal one – just pretty busy with language pass-offs and getting ready for Mission Leadership Council. We caught a break when we found out that our Stake President’s meeting was pushed back to next week.  It’s all good!  The missionaries here are the greatest ever!  They are a good people who are humble and ready to work.  I could call every one of them my friends and they are.  I’ve been doing language pass-offs every week for 9 straight months now since the program started.  It’s getting pretty… let’s just say I’ve heard the missionary lessons so many times… it’s ridiculous.  But I love it and I will continue to do it every week for years and years!  Just seeing the progress that these people make every week all by themselves with the power of the Spirit and their willingness to accept criticism and learn is just awesome!  If I had to do these back when I was a young missionary I would’ve had a panic attack.

It was another just awesome week in Sha Tin.  The days are beautiful and at the end of the night I just feel good about the things we have accomplished.  Of course there is always a few tiny things that could have gone better but it’s just that I can’t remember them! They are swallowed up in all the joys of the week.  Really though.  Some days, when not a lot happens, I just think back on the day and I realize that I’m wrong and that miracles happened and I am just being too stubborn to recognize them.  In my journal at the end of every day I write down the biggest miracle of the day and it helps me a lot!  I’ve done this for probably a year straight now and looking back at days is just so awesome to see the bare arm of the Lord in His work.  I can’t believe all the things that happened, even this week!  If I did not take witness of them myself, I would not believe.  But I have witnessed, and I am testifier of the great blessings.  The blessings that go along with missionary work are real and I am a firm believer in miracles. 

Here is a miracle this week. Although it might not seem like a miracle, it totally is.  Karen finally has a concern about the gospel.  This whole time we were teaching great lessons but we could tell something was missing.  It might be that “the load” was missing like Elder Bednar taught us.  She was just super willing to do everything, like she reads and prays everyday, but there was still just no real conversion.  It really just wasn’t moving and it was frustrating.  However, our lesson with her this week was great!  We talked about baptism and the Doctrine of Christ and she just openly came out that she wasn’t ready for baptism because she is still drinking tea!  We had no idea because she was telling us that she had stopped and even to her church friends she was saying the same thing, but this time she was just super open and now we know what she needs.  Some other things also came out in the lesson that were vital to know, but the Word of Wisdom was the biggest one.  It was super critical and the Spirit was strong!  I didn’t want the lesson to end, but it’s good that it did!  She was going to bring her mother and brother to church this week, but then her Dad had to go to the hospital Saturday night so none of them could come.  I hope he is all right.  It sounded kinda serious.

Another miracle happened in finding this week.  In companionship planning we decided to go to this place that I have never been.  I have spent many hours finding in Sha Tin, but I’ve never been here and it’s pretty obvious why. The place was just so crowded and very noisy.  Well, during planning I was just confident we had to go there.  So we did!  And it was the right choice!  Did we find anyone “golden”?  No!  But yes at the same time.  Right when we got there (and I mean immediately – it must have been less than 30 seconds) we ran into one of Elder Brown’s recent converts from his last area that moved to college and went less active ever since!  Amazing!  She was surprised but happy to see us!  I think this will turn into something too!  We talked for a good 10 minutes or so and she knows she has to come back to church, it just got jumbled with all her other priorities.  It was just so awesome!  No one had any contact with her but the Spirit is always in contact with her.  It’s so awesome.  I am tempted to ask, “Why don’t things like that happen every day?”  But then I don’t think those things.  I like the way things are.

Solomon Ko was brought back into full activity yesterday!  Two and a half months ago he was a “lost sheep” with no one in Hong Kong knowing who he was and now he is a solid member.  He walks to church a lot and yesterday was in a normal t-shirt just dripping with sweat when he arrived.  We were a little disappointed that he didn’t come in a shirt and tie but when he came out of the bathroom there he was!  Shirt and tie!  He just didn’t want to get it dirty!  He is awesome.  His knowledge of the gospel still isn’t great, but his faith makes up for any of that.  His wife gets back from mainland this week so we hopefully can start meeting with her again.

Last week during shopping time we contacted a Park-N-Shop lady.  Well Tuesday at District Meeting she called us and said she was waiting for us at the train station in Tai Wai to go and tour the church!  We were all the way in Ma On Shan still but we ran over to the MTR and then taught her and her son.  She is super awesome and at the end wanted to pay us 50$ for every time we taught her and her son!  She was strongly for paying us mone – it was unlike any other person I’ve met on my mission.  We finally got her to put the money away and told her just a reschedule would do.  It’s so “lucky” that we met her even.  Every week her only day off is Monday, our only day at Park-N-Shop.  But since last week was still Easter Holiday she had Tuesday off instead!  We are meeting her actually right after we finish emailing!  Things are going great!

Less-active work continues to go great as well.  Ava Lau has put in a better effort to get Sundays off at work and this time she did! She loves that Mandarin Sister missionaries are now in Tolo Harbour and especially in Tai Po because her less-active daughter who speaks Mandarin better than Cantonese lives up there!  When we met with Ava this week her prayer was super sincere about finding a way for her daughter to come back to church!  And then the next day we started teaching her neighbor, Jack!  His family has potential!  They are all super nice and love missionaries! We were very welcome in their home which is a great start!

Have a great week everyone! Below are pictures of Jack and the cockroaches that you find in your showers everyday! This one was the biggest this week! (i wonder if there is a weekly contest or something.)  I love you all! Have a great week!

With Love,

Elder Allen

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Elders Allen and Brown with their new investigator, Jack.

 

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This week’s biggest cockroach.

 

 


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April 21, 2014

It’s Easter in Hong Kong and like America, everyone wants to go to church on Easter!  The only problem was that a ton of people thought that the Sha Tin Ward was meeting in mainland this week!  Or in their own beds for some reason!  Ha-ha!  It was so weird! But no joke it was like a little strange.  The fewest people came to church that I’ve ever seen!  In Hong Kong they get Friday and Monday off as public holidays and most people get Thursday off as well so they all went to mainland!  Church itself was good, although we didn’t sing any Easter songs!  It was crazy!  But still good!  Those who went still had a good time!  We still had some investigators come and less actives so the work of the Lord will not stop for any holiday!

So as you can see, I’m still in Sha Tin with Elder Brown for my final transfer!  I’m really super excited about it!  That’s what I wanted and so I can do nothing but be thankful!  Half the zone got switched up and we added another companionship making 28 people in the zone!  IT’S HUGE!  But not as big as Kowloon Zone was before they split it up.  Anyway, a cool thing happened when Elder Cederlof moved in to live with us and serve in the other Sha Tin companionship.  His Grandparents and Grandma and Papa are apparently good friends, so that’s exciting!  I’m excited for this new transfer to get on rolling!  Oh yes, and just a side note, Happy Birthday to Grandma (I think?)!!  I read her letter and if I’m reading the signals right, she gave me a hint that her birthday is this week. I think it’s on the 26th but I can never remember (Surprisingly enough, her birthday is on the 26th!)  All I can remember is their gate code number ha-ha.  But Happy Birthday!  Besides mom and dad she blows everyone else out of the water in the writing emails category!!  She is an awesome grandmother!

A crazy story happened this week.  While finding on the big river that is in Sha Tin we see a bunch of HUGE people in red shirts running along. They pass by us and it’s the Tongan national rugby team!  They apparently all knew who missionaries were and stuff and were super friendly to us!  One of them stopped us and said he was a member!  Apparently they played in the World Cup’s championship game on Saturday against Japan.  I still don’t know which team won but I hope it was Tonga!  They beat the United States in the semis.  Well anyway they kept on training and we kept on finding, but pretty soon there were red shirts everywhere! There must have been 40 players on the team.  We passed by a group of them.  They were the smallest so it must have been the wingers or something.  Anyway, before we pass them they stop us!  And they ask for a picture with us!  Here we are and the world’s best rugby team asks to take a picture with us!  It was sweet!  I guess overall three on the team are members but the whole team is friendly to missionaries!  It was like the best picture I’ve ever taken in my life.  The two standing up on the left hand side are the ones that are members.  After we took these pictures they asked for like personal ones!  Ha-ha!  I’m not sure why…anyways…did they win? (I looked it up and Japan beat Tonga 35-10 on April 19th. It was the Junior World Rugby Trophy Championships. Here is that picture he is so excited about.)

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Elder Allen, Elder Brown and the Tongan Junior National Rugby Team.

Last week we rode our bikes to a giant Kun Yan statue, the largest in Asia in fact.  We thought it would be fun to rent a family bike (one with like a seat in the back for someone).  Bad idea.  It was so hard the whole way!  I never knew that when riding bikes in Tai Po, both ways are uphill.  We (there were 8 of us total including Elder Howell my good friend from high school) took turns pedaling but it was a workout after 4 minutes.  It was a fun activity.  We got through all the hills and stuff only to find out it was closed!  Oh well… I can check it off the list of things I’ve done and never want to do again.

So this week was a great week.  Nothing too big to report on besides that our teaching pool is growing and growing every week, which was sorely needed before!  We have really been trying to contact everyone!  Just this morning we contacted the Park-N-Shop lady (Park-N-Shop is like the Wal-Mart of Hong Kong. It’s where missionaries go for groceries every week) and it was actually great! (Park-N-Shop has more than 200 stores and 9,000 employees in Hong Kong alone.  They call themselves “lifestyle” food stores and stock a large variety of imported goods as well as fresh fruit and vegetables and many nonfood items.  Unlike Wal-Mart however, they try to appeal more to the higher income customers.)  She said she and her son are going to meet with us this week!  We have recently hit a great streak with new investigators, a great blessing from Heavenly Father.

Karen, our baptismal date for next week is doing great. We went over to a member’s house for dinner and a lesson where she brought her little brother as well!  The best thing is that both of them came to church this past week but there is a problem.  Karen just isn’t ready for baptism. We’re not sure what is keeping her from fully committing to it, but there definitely is something there.  She will definitely get baptized, we just are not sure when!  She is reading the Book of Mormon, but her friend, Elder Brown and I are trying to help her understand it now.  I think it’s just that we thought she was going to progress faster than she actually is so we want to drag her along.  Everything is all right though.

Kira and her mom are doing great and not so great at the same time.  They have been running into some problems with friends recently and immediately turn to the Book of Mormon!  She called us a couple of times this week explaining their situation and then asked where they should read in the Book of Mormon to find out how to make it better.  It really is awesome!  We were going to pick them up on Sunday morning to go to church and that’s when the not so good comes in.  Mona, the investigating mother, was all ready to go!  We were excited!  Kira was still asleep though.  (In Hong Kong houses are different… their front rooms are also their bedrooms.  So when we entered the house Kira was fast asleep right there.)  It was all right because we came super early (we were expecting to teach them before church.)  But as the time went on everyone’s efforts to try and get Kira to wake up just dwindled and dwindled.  We ended up being at their house for a good 45 minutes just trying to wake Kira up.  Her mother was moving her around and hitting her and stuff and we, well there isn’t much we could do just provide encouragement, but nothing.  We had to leave to make it on time.  Mona said she would try and wake her up and they would come together, but they never did.  That was pretty disappointing, but we will try something new this week or something.

The work is going great here.  I love you all!  Everyday is a struggle to wake up (it’s not a problem though) and a struggle to quit working.  It’s an awesome time to be here and do what I’m doing.  Have a great week everyone.  May Heavenly Father continue to bless us.  He is blessing me more than I can imagine!

Until next week,

Elder Allen

 


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Such Big Words

April 13, 2014

What a great weekend Conference was!  It was just so awesome!  I just don’t know why.  Perhaps its because it is an English meeting… but most likely it’s just because its Conference!  Just talk after talk was awesome!  The leaders of the Church sure seemed to love the cultural celebration that was put on!  What an awesome event that must have been!  All the way around the world, sitting next to this little TV, the three of us from Gilbert that were watching it together had some great Gilbert pride!  But anyway, watching conference was the best!  It’s pretty funny here, any Chinese member that can speak English goes to the English session (just because I hear the translations are confusing.)  Cantonese has its spoken language and then a written language, and they translate conference into written Chinese, so it’s hard to understand, even for the native speakers.  I though, felt I could hardly understand the English. Such big words.

The whole stake went to Tai Po on Saturday to watch it and there I sat, close by a less active who I helped come back, Janice Leung.  That was so cool!  I just turn around and there she was!  Listening to the English!  It was awesome to see her!  And then on Sunday, everyone watched it in their own ward buildings (it’s weird…they don’t have BYU TV here… I know… weird) and there I sat by someone who taught me in the MTC ages ago.  It was so cool!  It’s hard to explain, but it was like great memories of my life just coming back to me in one weekend’s time! It was awesome! 

These past few weeks I have been eating some new foods.  A family in the ward chenged (the Chinese word for taking someone out to eat and paying for their meal) us out to dinner with an investigator and one of the things was like every weird piece of a pig that you could imagine.  As for me, I choose some of his intestine and his ear… poor pig.  But ever since I got to Hong Kong I have tried to follow the example of Bruce Lee.  We went to his museum last week and in this interview (you have to look it up its hilarious) he tells everyone to be unpredictable and shape-able, like water.  There is a whole section of the museum based around his line “be water my friend.”  Ha-ha, the guy is hilarious.  His museum was not bad though!  So try being water, and do something you’ve never done before. 

Transfers are coming this week.  It’s weird but on Thursday I start my final transfer.  We find out tomorrow where we are going to be. I sure hope I’m still here in Sha Tin. I still feel like there is more work to do here and more people to help.  I love waking up everyday and just going to work!  But I also like to get up and go and do what Heavenly Father would want me to do, and if that is somewhere else well… it’s just another life lesson!  There always needs to be a load in the truck to keep on moving! 

This week was just excellent.  We had some quality time for finding which was awesome.  We met a couple of great people who have some interest in the gospel.  One of those people is a new investigator this week, Yeung Kwong Man, and we already met him twice.  Apparently his son committed suicide a couple of years ago by jumping out of their house 30+ stories high.  He has met missionaries before, but this is the first time he has met with us again because his family is super against the church.  Funny story was that we wrote down the wrong number or something so we thought we would never see him again.  We went to the place where we were supposed to meet at the designated time, but no one was there.  Kinda disappointed, we went to another lesson (well we are never disappointed when going to a lesson but you know what I mean.)

Well during he lesson, a number calls us 5 times.  After the lesson, we call him back and it was Yeung Kwong Man!  He thought the meeting was an hour later and he was waiting for us!  We rushed over to him and taught him!  I think this is awesome!  An awesome start indeed.  Whoever calls us on their own accord and is still nice to us after a mistake that is our fault well… that’s great! 

Finding.  I love finding and I’ve never been so excited for it.  We got home around 9 after one long day of finding with minimal results. After we get in, I feel the smallest impression to go out for another 15 minutes.  We were contemplating whether or not to, because we had a lot of people to call in that 30 minutes time, but if there is one thing I have learned throughout my mission, it is to follow the smallest of promptings.  So after I thought of that in my head, the decision was made!  We went out finding.  Nothing spectacular happened, although we did get a phone number, but looking back that 15 minutes was just full of excitement and adrenaline and just awesome!  I can’t imagine what would have happened if we didn’t go out.  Actually I can.  Nothing.  And that’s that!  We still called all the people; we just did a little bit more and who knows how the Lord will bless us?  I don’t.  But I know he will.

The ward is just more excited for missionary work.  For the past 7 weeks we have gotten at least one referral from the ward!  It is so awesome!  A lot of these aren’t the most “golden” of people, in fact most of them haven’t had interest (so far) but it is so awesome! And the members can feel it too!  How awesome participating in the Work of Salvation is!  I love it!  I am truly learning what it is like to “expect miracles.”  Sha Tin is a miracle.  They are all great people who love the Lord.

Karen is doing great.  I have learned a great lesson on “if you expect miracles you will get them” this week from her.  She was super busy these past two weeks with Ching Ming Festival and tests.  However, we totally expected a miracle this week with her and got not only one, but two!  First of all, she miraculously had time to meet with us this week and then the next day she came to General Conference!  The later one was especially shocking because she has told us many times how busy her Saturday’s are, but she was still able to find time and come to Conference.  Besides her friend who referred her, she is meeting a lot of the Young Women, which is crucial!  She has been reading the Book of Mormon, but we need to help her understand the Holy Ghost more. That is our challenge with her if she will get baptized this month.  A member invited us to dinner with her on Thursday at their home, so hopefully we can help her recognize the Spirit.  Even after the lesson, she thought the Holy Ghost’s only role was to tell us if we shouldn’t be doing something.  It is sometimes frustrating when you think you are explaining something, but its just so new to them that they have a hard time grasping it.  (As an instructor at a community college I understand just what he is saying here.) We’ll keep working with her.  She is a great person.

Kira is finding true joy in helping her mother Mona learn more about God.  It is awesome!  They read together probably five times this week and prayed even more!  It was pretty funny though, Kira will only read certain scriptures with her Mom because she thinks that only certain scriptures apply to her.  So I think they read Alma 32-34 five times this week.  I can’t complain though!  Maybe I should start doing that!  They might be the most powerful 3 chapters in all of scripture (next to every single set of 3 chapters) . When meeting with Kira, she said that Mona already knows most of the commandments and Kira was only worried about how active she’ll be after baptism.  Ha-ha!  That’s a funny problem considering we’ve only taught her twice, but I like it!  We’ll work on the “enduring to the end” as time comes along.  She is just so busy!  She works 12 hours a day 6 days a week and then Kira isn’t the nicest to her. Their relationship is…interesting.  But both of them will become strong in the faith

Have a great week! I love you all and pray for you all! The Lord is truly in his work!

Elder Allen

 

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Tolo Harbour

 

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Out for dinner after the priesthood session.


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Telling Family Members Apart is Difficult

April 6, 2014

 Wow what a great week for everyone it seems like!  I’m glad Jenna is okay! (Jenna was in a car accident earlier in the week. Her car was totaled but no one was seriously hurt.  Here are the pictures we sent him)

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And Courtney is married! (Kyle’s cousin Courtney Allen married Luke Gless on Friday, April 4. Here are some pictures.)

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And it’s Sarah’s Birthday today!! What an awesome week! It would have been as awesome if I got to watch conference (that was the best part of today. coming online and hearing the conference talks. Except sadly, the text isn’t up yet?!) But that’s okay because I know we will get them this week!

Sarah sent me pictures of three people in a car playing around. I didn’t recognize a single one of them! Maybe it’s just me, but Hadley looks a lot like Maddy at the time of when I left. Sarah sent Kyle this picture of his three nieces driving their little car around my backyard. They are from left to right Katie’s daughter Charlotte (Charly), Sarah’s daughter Hadley, and Katie’s daughter Madelyn (Maddy.)  Both Maddy and Charly were born before Kyle left on his mission.

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 I think you know we’ve talked about how it is hard to tell Asian people apart?  Well now that stuff is a piece of cake, it’s just your own white family that is a trouble.  What can you do?  But really, It’s hard to tell people apart (I saw Chris and thought it was a grandma…oh wait its always been like that) Chris is Kyle’s brother-in-law (Julie’s husband) and they love to give each other a hard time.  I personally don’t think he looks much like grandma. Do you?

 

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Big news coming from Sha Tin.  Elder Wong from our own ward got called to be a member of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy! And just think.  Two weeks ago I was teaching him how to be a better fellowshipper.  Kidding.  Everyone knew something big was happening.  He went a week earlier than he normally goes to Conference and this time with his wife, which has apparently never happened before.  I sat right behind his family yesterday at church.  Their youngest daughter, Joy, is only like 15 or 16 years old.  It’s crazy!  But the whole ward was pretty excited about it!  This makes me famous right?  Kidding, but it is a cool fact of the week!  Sha Tin is just such a blessed area!  What a great place to be!  The best! 

In other news, back in December Elder Arrington and I were helping this less-active come back to church and his wife was an investigator.  They are the Tong Family.  Well I always knew they were going to get baptized and when I left Cheung Sha Wan he was almost active again and she had started coming to church regularly.  Well she got baptized this past week!!!  And Brother Tong baptized her!  It’s amazing what happened to that FAMILY!  They were just so prepared to let Christ into their lives!  From what I hear, the rest of Sister Tong’s conversion was pretty easy.  She had a dream in which her friend that died one year ago came to her and told her to keep coming closer to God because it is true.  Dreams are the greatest things in the world, they really are. 

Awww yes, there is a new animal to add to list of eaten (I think) – Stingray. I might of had it earlier, but to make sure I had it again this week. You have to get everything in and secure them while you are here.  Kyle doesn’t say how the stingray was prepared but most of the information I could find online indicated that it was best when cooked on the barbeque. Here is a picture I found and for once it doesn’t look half bad.

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Well like every week, it was a great for us – Elder Brown and me.  Just a busy week!  We had almost no time to go finding.  But that’s okay, because we have been teaching!  And you find to teach, so we are happy.  This week was a great day at Kowloon Tong for the mission leadership council, which I thought was one of the best missionary meetings I have ever attended.  It was just so inspiring!  I hope that the zone members got even one fraction of the complete joy that I felt, and the rejuvenated energy I felt after attending such a meeting.  Zone Training meeting was a great meeting indeed.  We talked a lot about the “anti” that is coming our way.  Since I have been in Tolo Harbour this time around, 4 people have been fit and ready for baptism, but have been stopped by anti-material.  This is a great time to be here.  To see the work of the Lord destroy all these dark and incorrect falsehoods.

As a mission, we want to celebrate 65 baptisms in July to celebrate missionary work in Hong Kong.  Ever since we set that goal investigators have been experiencing some stronger anti-feelings, but even more miracles.  This is a great work.  It just shows me how much Heavenly Father is pleased with us working towards this goal, and how much Satan is trying to do to block this work. What a great time.  It is almost like we are in heaven right now, and we are seeing the heavenly battle being held right here in Tolo Harbour.  I call feel us getting close to heaven as we go out everyday.  Again what an awesome feeling to be here!  I don’t want to be anywhere else. (I assume this includes home…)  We jumped from exactly 400 total lessons in February to exactly 700 this past month.  What a fun time and a great opportunity to sharpen are teaching tools.

The Sha Tin ward is just great.  Absolutely great.  We almost have a brother who has come back from inactivity – Brother Solomon Ko.  We are working with getting his wife to come to church now.  Every time I think of his story, it just amazes me about how he lost contact with the church for 20+ years, and then within 3 months of living in Hong Kong, found missionaries.  We went over with the Bishop to go visit them.  The wife is willing to hear the gospel, but coming to church is another thing.  She has promised twice now that she’ll come to church, but nothing so far.  That is totally okay.  She is willing to hear the gospel.  This family might take a while, but the circumstances are totally right, white and ripe, and ready to harvest.  He and his daughter love having missionaries come over to their house!  And we’ll happily come over and help them.  They will go to church eventually as a family and then I am sure that Sister Ko will be baptized, no doubt about it.  The situation is just too right for her not to be baptized.  We were a little disappointed when church started and he wasn’t there, but right as the Sacrament was starting we saw him walk in – shirt and tie, with his daughter and two friends!  Amazing!  And then he went up and bore his testimony as well! That was unbelievable!

Another miracle yesterday happened during ward council.  We were talking about how to help Ava Lau come to church more and become active, since she is so close but she just has to make that last push!  Well after mentioning her name its like the Spirit just lifted the entire room up and everyone all the sudden (it really was all the sudden) just wanted to help her.  At first we were struggling to find a fellowshipper, but then all of the sudden we had a car to go in (since it was raining) and the bishop, his first counselor, and two of the Relief Society presidency sisters to go visit her!  It was amazing, the convoy that showed up to her little tiny house on top of the little hill where she lives.  What a great meeting!  We planned on visiting her and then teaching her neighbors, but since so many of us were there, we decided to just help her and she what she needs.  I think she was very grateful for it.  I don’t think she has had that much company at her house since…well ever! 

We also had another random thing happen to us Sunday (it really was a great day).  The Stake President’s daughter came up to us after church and said her friend was coming to the church right now and he wanted to learn about the gospel!  So we taught him! And although his interest wasn’t high and he is in a high level position at his church right now (working there everyday too) we’ll for sure see him again!  The members are just so awesome! 

Kira is doing better now and brought her mom to church!  A great miracle happened.  I was very worried about her since she was putting all her eggs in this one basket.  The basket was a beat box competition to go to Korea and become a beat box star or something like that.  There are thousands of people going to compete and 2 will be selected.  Well Kira has only been learning for like a month now.  Anyway, she got an email this week and got notified – about 5 months after her application – that she got accepted to go study in Canada!  She really wanted to do this (more than beat boxing she says) but pretty much gave up on the idea since they hadn’t responded in months!  Well she wants to go to school now instead of this competition and she is so happy that she is teaching her mom the gospel now.  They are reading the scriptures together, coming to church etc. It is a great relief. Heavenly Father has perfect timing. 

I love you all.  There are many disappointments throughout the week, but I am happier and happier every single week.  It is weird. How can Heavenly Father understand everything so perfectly?  It’s amazing!  I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Allen

 

 


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Hiking with Money in Your Boots

March 30, 2014

You heard it right. There was almost one entire week of sunlight!  It was so awesome!  I don’t know if you realize that when I say there wasn’t ANY sun for about a month, I truly mean there wasn’t ANY sun for a whole month!  Well… this week was different!  It was just the best week for being outdoors and representing Jesus Christ ever!  It really was!  Oh and there was sunlight too! But…sadly then good things didn’t last… meaning the sunlight.  On Saturday we planned to go hiking with the Elders Quorum. We had an investigator, a less active, and some referrals going as well!  We were a little hesitant to go because it was going to take up a good chunk of the day, and to be honest we weren’t going to go, but the ward really suggested that we go with them. Well, we get to Sai Kung, about 45 minutes from Sha Tin – it’s like the only spot in Hong Kong where people can go hiking and camping etc.  It’s the closest thing to woods as you can get, except there are still people EVERYWHERE!  The Chinese do hiking differently.  One lady (I’m still not sure why she was there exactly…its was an Elders Quorum activity and she is like in her 60’s) came with her rolling backpack, and everyone just brought a bunch of stuff.  Anyway.  On to the hike.  We get about a half an hour in and to this old house that’s been turned into some museum and it just starts POURING!  The clouds came from nowhere and it just turned black!  And it pretty much has been black and stormy ever since then!  Right now it looks like it’s 7 at night.  Anyway, so we all hurry back (we had umbrellas though for some reason… I think they were the ones left over from the “I know its going to rain” party) to the bus stop and Sai Kung’s little village.  Well, the old lady that is with us wants to cheung us all out to eat!  We didn’t want to do that either and we must have said no 7 times but then somehow found ourselves sitting down with everyone for lunch!  Her name is Sister Tong and Sister Tong then pulls off her boots and in them are 500$ bills!!!  She is so rich!  She owns a racehorse!  But anyway, who brings 500$ bills hiking with them?!  In their boots nonetheless?!  And then she had like 10 of every bill so at the end when everyone was paying their fees (this must be their word for the “check” at a restaurant (we settled on paying for some of it) she could exchange money in probably anyway possible!  It was a good hike!  More funny than anything, but everyone that went had a good time! (Kyle sent pictures of their “hike” a couple of weeks later and here they are.)

Hiking in Hong Kong Overlooking the Harbour Elder Allen and Elder Brown on P-day Beautiful Greenery It Just Turned Black

China is such an interesting place.  The police here don’t have very much to do.  This past week there have been a lot of dead fish in the river that we live next to.  It’s sad but it’s like whatever.  But ever since the first day that happened, the police have like been investigating, and counting how many dead fish there are in the river!  It’s like it is a murder scene!  Maybe it was… but of fish!  The Hong Kong police…. they are right on top of every case!  I just can imagine what it was like when Brother Chan was at their head! They must have been just better than any military in the world.

As far as Brother Chan is concerned, he’s on vacation these next couple of days with his family.  He was at the church until like 5 o’clock yesterday helping us out with an interview.  Eight college students want to erase the church’s anti that is here (there is quite a lot… but not everyone knows what the “anti” is) so they filmed some of the members in the ward and talked to us.  It was quite a long interview, but it was cool!  They aren’t members at all and this interview was different from the others.  It felt like they have strong potential to learn the gospel.  We’re going to call them this week and invite them to church!  The Lord’s hand is made manifest in his work!  Even the non-members are fighting for the church now!  We spent most of the interview talking about families and all the stuff that missionaries do etc.  Like how we train (I was about to invite them to Zone Training Meeting this week) and everything like that.  Even one of the interviewer’s parents didn’t want her to go to the church to interview us!  She thought it was that evil!  How sad!  Well… she came anyway!!  There was also a white girl from Mississippi there… that was random.  But I guess the class is an English speaking class (most are here)… still we did the interview in Chinese…weird…oh well.

Well this week.  My heart just keeps getting bigger and bigger for Sha Tin and Tolo Harbour.  I just can’t imagine myself in any better place than right here, right now (and forever.)  The ward is just amazing!  The area is just amazing!  And the missionaries surprise me everyday!  They are just so hardworking and diligent.  There isn’t one companionship that is having difficulties or anything . It truly is the best place to be right now.  Tolo Harbour.  We needed a couple of more baptismal dates to secure our monthly goal.  Well the zone responded well and instead of getting the 1 or 2 we needed to make sure we got it, I think we ended up with something like 10 new baptismal dates!  The zone just won’t stop building and building!  I can’t wait to see what April has in store for us!  We made 6 of our 8 high goals this month!  Every key indicator went up like crazy!  We are so excited and the best part is that, at least I know that it has nothing to do with us.   It’s all the Lord, just hastening his work, fulfilling his promises. To add frosting to the cake, we even made our zone bonus goal of inviting 100 people on the street to be baptized!  We wanted to invite 100 people in 4 weeks and we ended up with like 111!  It’s just incredible, the missionaries here I mean.  I just want to talk about the zone more and more, but it was a good week for the best ward in the zone, Sha Tin.

We had a slow start to our week.  A lot of appointments fell through and things we were planning to happen, just didn’t.  I decided about halfway through the week that we needed to do things different – different than ever before.  Miracles needed to happen.  The first one was with Karen, our baptismal date for April.  We couldn’t contact her the whole week and long story short, we couldn’t find her during the time that we were supposed to be teaching her (she never confirmed nor answered).  I was pretty down because this was supposed to be a good, important lesson for her!  And we hadn’t taught her for 2 weeks (although she had been to church).  Well about 15 minutes later, the phone rings and it’s Karen and her fellowshipper wondering where we were!

We were about 15 minutes away (we decided to stay in the area even though she never confirmed) and just ran as fast as we could to the church!  We taught her an awesome lesson on studying the scriptures.  We hid a chocolate bar in the room and said she had to find it (it was like salvation or something).  She couldn’t find it in the allotted time cause it was in a crazy weird place.  But we had a guide to help her and she totally got it! It clicked with her how important it is to really go searching in the scriptures.  That’s the way they aren’t boring to us!  Even I learned in that lesson!  She felt the Spirit.  I know it.  She is just so close to fully converting, she just doesn’t understand the apostasy.  Just wait till next week when we do a demonstration on the apostasy.  We will say the chocolate is hidden somewhere, but there will be no chocolate anywhere. It’s going to be good

Saturday was also busy and full of miracles.  We had a tough choice.  Do all of companionship study, or try and go see a less active sister Ava Lau.  We decided to go see Ava, although it seemed really random and we weren’t sure why we were going.  We called a member to go with us and it’s so amazing what happened!  She said how she is feeling so down right now and she knows she has to go to church but doesn’t want to.  She was so grateful that we came to her at that time to help out.  We are planning to go up to her house this week and do some service.  Since she doesn’t live in a nice building, but her own house, the trash around her house is just a mess.  She really does need our help. It’s hard to explain the story, but I think going to see her and listening to the Spirit was the biggest thing that happened this week.  She was so grateful that we visited that she invited us over to eat later that night!  There we met her less active daughter (who is 18 and living with her 29 year old boyfriend and his mom – but that sort of thing is normal in Hong Kong) and 2 of her neighbors!  It’s so awesome to know that Heavenly Father knows who needs a good visit!  It’s our job not to get in the way of that Spiritual power!  Bonnie, her daughter said she’d go to church next week, and we will meet the neighbors again this week to start teaching them the gospel!  It’s so exciting!  And Ava came to church!  Everything about it just went well!  I’m so amazed by it!

There is so much to report but time is up.  I love you all! It’s going to be a good exciting week!  We have Mission Leadership Council, Zone Training Meeting, and our meeting with the Stake President and President Hawks!  It’s an awesome time!  I love you all!  Go Devils!  I can’t believe Sarah is pregnant?!  (Sarah told him this week that she and Chase are expecting their second child.)  Have a great week!  Courtney is getting married this week too! (Kyle’s cousin Courtney Allen married Luke Gless on Friday, April 4.)  Wow!

Elder Allen


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Can a Missionary (Brother Chan) Go to Far?

March 23, 2014

It is just crazy what happened this week.  Now we all know that Brother Chan is a great guy and the closest thing to perfect as anyone will ever get (did I say how last week in the temple we randomly saw him?  He said he had “a little extra time”) and just the perfect example of magnifying your calling.  Well this week it was in my mind just a little too far… but that can never happen in missionary work.

So here is the story. The 2nd Counselor in the bishopric and a sister in the ward (the really rich one whose house I took a picture from) got married this week!  Congratulations right?  (Brother Chan sealed them in the temple.)  Anyway, instead of having it be a regular reception and stuff that a normal wedding would have, he turned it into a missionary event!  I can’t believe it!  I mean of course Brother Au and Sister Tsui were all for it, but he actually decided that the reception should be based around “The Family A Proclamation to the World.” He knew the mission doesn’t really let missionaries go to weddings, funerals etc. but to combat that he had a list of 80 non-members that would go to the reception.  Chinese wedding receptions are a little different (or at least this one was).  There was a complete program arranged and you came at a certain time, and sat in your seat the entire time until the party was over.  Well we called the mission and got their permission then went to the ward activity… I mean wedding.  We gave like a 5-minute speech adding our congratulations to the newlyweds and talking about the Family Proclamation.  I admit… I didn’t want to do it… but the party was good!!

As a result we met with like 7 or 8 less actives and even more non-members!  Actually, two of them came to church the next day for the first time in a long time, and we are meeting with another one tonight!  We also met their whole family!  It was awesome!  And then, Brother and Sister Tsui (now Au) wanted us to be the ones who stayed with their relatives while they were getting sealed.  In Hong Kong, you have to get married civilly first (so we were like the shepherds and tour guides, leading their entire family around for the 45 minutes they were gone.)  Oh what funny times.  A little crazy but overall, if one person was interested in the gospel then it was worth it right?  I mean it only took up about 3 or 4 hours!  The only problem is…. the interested ones don’t live in Sha Tin.  We call those assist baptisms here.

We had our ward conference yesterday.  Who knew ward conferences were such a big deal as they are here?  There were so many people there!  It was remarkable!  The whole chapel was filled!  Usually it’s about 60 percent filled at best, but this time we brought some investigators in at around 5 minutes before the meeting started and it was packed!  We had to sit in the back row (which we weren’t too happy about but at the same time it was a great sight to see.)  Usually people are filing in late but when the meeting started, everyone was there!  There were some people that came in a little late but the majority of them were even more less-actives and the semi-active members who usually don’t make it to Sacrament!  It was so amazing!  I think we counted about 17 non-members there and just a ton of less-actives and visitors from the stake. I think the Bishop was about to cry when he stood up for his talk. He was certainly out of breath. He said, “This is what we wanted at the end of the year and look! It’s already happening.” It was an awesome experience for everyone.

The meeting was fine.  A good normal meeting, but the whole ward was just excited.  We have recently been trying to work with some less-active sisters in the ward.  We saw them on Saturday and then it was an, “Oh maybe we’ll come” but the Relief Society was so good that they were both there the next day!  We are trying to work as hard as we can but the ward is doing just as much work as us!  They are so good!  I really love this ward!  It has it’s share of really strong, gospel-oriented members.  To add fuel to the fire the whole day was centered on the topic that now seems like the topic for every week; hastening the Work of Salvation.  What an awesome day!  It’s pretty easy to look at the people we had scheduled and see about half not show up, and get down.  But yesterday was something special and different.  Those feelings were nowhere near our minds.  Probably one of the most memorable Sundays of my mission, and I didn’t do anything!

We had a neat experience with another ward’s member this week.  Sister Kwong lives very far away from Sha Tin, but goes to school with someone in our area.  Bryan is super involved at his other church and has weird views on Latter Day Saints, but she felt like she needed to give him a Book of Mormon.  She said this was one of the first times she really ever fasted hard for a missionary experience in her life and his named “popped up.”  Well, the day of her fast she went to the cafeteria even though she wouldn’t be eating and was hoping he would be at school that day and going to eat lunch.  She sat down at a random table and then to her surprise, 10 minutes later Bryan comes down and sits right next to her!  They aren’t friends or anything but he just “randomly” sat by her.  She was thankful to have brought her Book of Mormon along and gave it to him!  Well he met with us this week (after coming straight from his other church’s services) and it was awesome!  He said he’d come to church with us next week!  He’s not really interested in joining (yet) but he wants to learn more.  That’s a start! Missionary work is just so alive right now!

Karen is doing great right now.  She wasn’t able to meet with us this week because of testing, but she came to church early and was wearing a skirt for the first time!  It was so awesome!  She set a goal to finish reading the Book of Mormon by a certain date (the thing she is lacking on) and she seems committed to it!  The ward is doing great things with her!  Timothy, the man I had a dream about one night to invite him to church and when I called him the next morning wanted to come, came again and is doing fine!  He and his sister Yip Suk Wai almost accepted a baptismal date, but they have both been baptized before and don’t quite understand the need for proper authority.  We’ll keep working with them!  Yip Suk Wai wanted to come to church too, but she is still recovering from heart surgery so it is too dangerous for her to even leave her house right now.

The zone is just a miracle.  Week after week they are just working hard and the blessings of Heavenly Father are being poured around the zone.  There are just more and more miracles every week.  We just have to work on getting baptismal dates to church! We are bringing an INCREDIBLE amount to church, but we just need all the dates to come now!  Everyone is pitching in, doing their part and it’s just one giant miracle.  We will see how this last week turns out but we’ve already made about 6 of our 8 goals and are honing in on those other two!  It is such a fun time to be in Tolo Harbour!  I don’t think I would leave this for anything!!!

I love you all! Go Devils… kinda… oh well.  I love every single one of you and am so grateful for you!  The work of the Lord brings an indescribable and an otherwise unobtainable happiness that I cant say, certainly can’t type! Have a great week!

Elder Allen

 

Kyle's Birthday Packages

Elder Kyle receives his birthday packages.

 

Kyle and His Companion Elder Brown

Elder Allen and his companion Elder Brown.


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The Sun Will Come Out – Tomorrow

March 19, 2014

Really the weather here has been bizarre – more bizarre than the Bazaar at Disneyland. I thought it was just me at first, but I started talking to people about it and basically all of Hong Kong knows about it. Well they should!! It’s about time! There has been no sunlight here or no sightings of the sky for literally weeks. Until today that is! It finally came out! It was real weird. Like going into another world of light! But alas, it went away and I’m just looking at clouds again. Eh, oh well. We’ll just have to suck it up!

Sounds like everybody is doing well at home! I can’t believe the Devils even made the tournament! (The Sun Devil basketball team made the NCAA Basketball Tournament this year.) That is amazing! I hope they win at least one game, although I bet no one has them winning anything.

Disneyland seems like it is going good as ever! Just busy, busy, busy! I was wondering this the other day – how many times have you been to Disneyland these past two years?  It must be up there!  It’s like once a month at least. (Unfortunately it isn’t like once a month.)  I can’t believe Cooper comes home this week?!  That will be so crazy for everyone!  He comes home so fast!  To think I saw him in the MTC, he comes home this week, and I still have about a year left! (Lately Elder Allen has seemed a little bit reluctant to admit that he only has a few weeks left of his mission.)  His time really did fly past! 

Well it’s been a while since I last wrote and a lot of things have been going on. I’ve never seen a group of missionaries this dedicated to reaching goals and finding people to come unto Christ in my life!  It seems like every time I call someone for a question or something, they speak of this crazy miracle that happened or something along those lines!  These stories are like, you hear them from 2 or 3 companionships every transfer, but right now I think everyone it is reporting just crazy stories!  We are no exception! Heavenly Father is looking down upon Tolo Harbour and the things that I have experienced this month are enough for a whole mission’s worth!  We are changing our lives, starting with our own!

So get this. On my birthday, we see this girl on the MTR.  I point her out to Elder Brown because her phone case is HUGE and it’s in the shape of a perfume bottle.  End of story right?  Well, we go down to the Hong Kong island to celebrate my birthday.  After the festivities were over, we were coming back, got on the train and there she was again!  Sitting down in the same car!  We didn’t recognize it until it was time to get off, but we both knew we should’ve talked to her or something!  We could have done more!  Okay end of story?  Well, in the night, hours later mind you, we went up to Tai Po to train some missionaries.  That’s good and so we are coming home, and we decide to ride first class on the MTR (I mean it is my birthday and all!) which is something that I’ve never done before, nor will ever do again just because it’s like double the price.  I don’t think any missionary has ever done it.  Anyway, we sit down (that’s what first class is, seats) and we look up AND THERE SHE WAS AGAIN!!!  I couldn’t believe it.  We were both in shock the entire time!  We knew we had to do something, so instead of getting off at Sha Tin, we decided it would be best to wait till she gets off.  We do that, and then I try and contact her – she doesn’t even acknowledge my existence.  Then Elder Brown goes, and the same result. It is the craziest experience and I’m not sure the meaning of it.  Maybe she was weirded out because two white guys in suits were following her the whole day and the last time she saw them they had their mouths open but couldn’t say anything for like a half an hour!  Miracles are happening! 

The work is just starting to pick up everywhere you go! We have noticed it more than ever this week that the Lord is truly making his arm bare in the hand of his work.  I forget the exact wording of the scripture, but it’s something like that.  It started by seeing a girl three times on the MTR in the same day. Although she had no interest, she definitely needed to see us for whatever reason! And then just yesterday, a person came up to us on the MTR asking if we were preachers. We started talking to her and even got off the train unexpectedly to keep talking with her, but when it came down to it, she was Atheist and had no interest in hearing. She was doing a school project so she took some pictures and asked some quick questions. Those aren’t the only two experiences; there have been others THIS WEEK that have probably doubled my count of people engaging me in a gospel conversation. The weird thing is, that none of them are really interested right now. We do everything we know to try and meet them again, but its just not working. However, these experiences are what make a mission just so much more amazing. Heavenly Father is truly guiding his children to us. I can’t wait for them to happen this week! 

We did have one success story this week with people contacting us. It was last week and we went and visited the Ko Family.  Brother Ko is a “lost sheep” member that was found when some other Elders ran into him on the street.  His family is very, very nice and his wife even invited her niece over to hear the gospel.  They were super focused in the lesson, even though Brother Ko is really hesitant to share the gospel with his family.  She is so nice that she even made dinner for us!  We were in a bit of a hurry to meet missionaries to start a Zone Leader/District Leader exchange, but felt like we couldn’t turn it down so we stayed and then taught them.  Everything turned out great and she promised that she will come to church this week even!  Incredible!  The only problem is that we were really late to meet the other Elders.  Instead of walking we took the mini bus over to the MTR station.  Well, we sat pretty close to the driver and as soon as we got on he said “Hello Elders” in English!  Turns out he investigated the church some 10 years ago but stopped investigating because his favorite Elder got transferred.  Well we had a good gospel conversation and he didn’t give us his phone number, but he said that we could come over to the mini bus station and he will talk to us anytime!  He really liked us!  So I count that a great success.  Everything is a success when you are with the Lord, this one is just a great one!

Oh yes, I’m reminded of yet another experience of someone contacting us!  Well, we have been working with this less active for a couple weeks now, her name is Ava Lau.  Her story is sad.  She was married for a long time, and had an 18-year-old daughter living in a nice home.  Well, just in this past year her husband left her and took everything, then her daughter (who is the only member of the church in the family) moved out and is living with her boyfriend now.  Well we went to her old house (she couldn’t afford the other one) and helped her clear out all the beds, furniture etc. so she could sell the house.  (She moved back to her childhood home, which is Sha Tin ward).  A lot of the day was spent in service, but she was so grateful that she decided to come to church!  That was about two weeks ago and she has come both weeks since!  The first Sunday we were waiting for her at the bus stop to show her where the church was.  She was running late and we were really scared because we were far away and church was close to starting.  But as we were waiting, someone contacted us and we taught him yesterday!  It was a great experience!  It turns out he is a former investigator, and knows the church is true, but his parents are super against the church so he can’t commit to going.  Kinda funny – he said if he lived in America he would’ve been a member a long time ago.  That is just a faith problem but that’s why we are here right?  To help people resolve their concerns!  Anyway, we met with him, and we were still on time for church with Ava!  Ava is a great person, I hope she keeps coming to the church.  Apparently, the missionaries in her old ward were trying to get her to come to church for about a year but she didn’t!  This is just a start but it’s a good one.

The member missionary class just ended in our ward and now each member knows how to be a fellowshipper.  I was a little skeptical at first and it was really scary teaching a member of the Asia Area 70, the stake president, and everyone else how to be an effective member missionary.  But with the help of the Spirit and Brother Chan, we are seeing miraculous results!  Lessons are going awesome and the fellowshippers are just the best!  Everyone is willing to fellowship and they always end up exchanging phone numbers, inviting them to do things with them, it is a miracle! 

A great week at church and hopefully this week things just get better and better, and they will.  Karen, our baptismal date for next month, is doing really well and her lessons are going well.  She commits to read everything and pray, and come to church, we just need to help her become converted.  We are finding there is a big difference in the two!  She is good, we just have to help her come out her shell, and then she is solid! 

Heavenly Father is blessing us so much. I find it crazy how in the Book of Mormon they say “and not one hundredth of the things can be written.” I kinda know what they feel like, except they have much, much greater experiences over years and decades. Mine are just over the span of a week, but nevertheless God is with us. I can feel it more than ever! I love you all! Thanks for your letters and support! Remember I love you!

Elder Allen