Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My Dying Christmas Wish....December 26, 2016

I cant believe Christmas is over already, boy that went fast!
This week was packed and crazy amazing because of the holiday, so bear with me while I try to recap it all haha

Tuesday we went on exchanges with the Morristown Hermanas, and you guessed it, I went to the Spanish area haha! I swear, I never stay in my area anymore. But it was good, I was with Hermana Allen and Hermana Villanueva (they're in a trio)! We found lots of success knocking and trying the people we had planned, that was all pretty foreign to me haha, but exchange miracles are real! I learned more Spanish, and I can understand a conversation when it's small talk or about the gospel- pretty cool that I've picked that up! And God is definitely the reason, I know He helps me understand what's going on, even if I can't contribute myself. Although, I did bear my testimony in Spanish for the first time!!! With what little Spanish I know I pieced together a sentence, and as I was thinking about it I felt the need to share it with this man named Walter we were teaching. Right after one the Hermanas taught something I said "No hablo espanol y no se todos, pero se que estas cosas son verderdas." (I don't speak Spanish and I don't know everything, but I know these thing are true.) It was pretty cool to me anyway, I felt the Spirit testify to me that no matter what language, country, or background we come from, the gospel is still true and it's still the same. It never changes! It doesn't matter if I couldn't understand some of the things being said, the Spirit was still there, it still testified of truth to me. And I know it did the same thing for Walter. God is so good to us.

Wednesday we went to dinner at the Trunk's house and 2 other families were there too, the Jackson's and the Walker's. They're all in their 20s and it was kinda cool to see the different places God needed them to be at in their lives. One has 4 kids and a house, the other has 1 kid with 1 on the way and an apartment, and the last is newly married with an apartment- but they're all within years of each other. I don't know, call me crazy, but I just thought it was so cool how God needed them in different places for different things at the same point in their lives. He has an individual plan for us, FOR us. It was cool! And it was a party with them all hahahahah! I stinkin love all of them so much! One of them actually just moved into the apartment in our building. Which means 3/4 apartments now belong to members haha! Aka we basically have our own church building ;)

 Friday we had interviews with President Taggart in the morning (though i didn't have one since I'm going home) and then we were running from place to place all day. One of the coolest things that happened that day was at the Teets house. They're a family of less actives that we've been trying to work with this transfer. This time we sat down and decided to share #LIGHTtheWORLD again, even though we had already showed it to the grandma and mom before. We wanted to ask them to share it with others, but as we were talking before we showed the video, the son and his girlfriend showed up and started talking with us. We showed the video, and the Spirit was palpable. We asked them who they knew that needed to see that video, and everyone in the room basically pointed at Morgana (the girlfriend). She just slowly nodded her head in agreement and told us that the video made her feel "warm and peaceful". Now this girl is normally pretty loud and outgoing but for the next 10 minutes she sat their in silence absorbing everything we talked about. The mom and grandmas actually brought up baptism and repentance themselves, talking about the peace and joy you feel afterward. And they both described how repentance is such that God forgives your sins and remembers them no more. Morgana perked up and talked about how she's more spiritual than religious because so many church gave her flak for her choices and different personality. She's a really sweet girl, and we're looking forward to teaching her! Miracles happen! There are people everywhere who are searching for the truth and the only reason they don't have it, is because they don't know where to find it. Now, not only does this less active family have someone to love and teach about the gospel, this woman also has a family to help her and support her in her decisions and trials. God is amazing.
Friday night we got invited over to the Boyle's for dinner, but there was going to be dinner at a special Christmas lesson at the Bible study class at the church. So we went there, and proceeded to have our minds blown with the historically and biblically accurate version of the nativity. Man, I learned so much about Mary and Joseph and the angel, and especially about the shepherds and where the birth of Jesus would have actually taken place. We learned about the wise men and Herod and and and and and and and! Lol, I took lots of notes, so maybe one day I'll share it with you all- there's too many to include here. But let's just say, the symbolism in His birth is so much greater to me now, and it all makes a lot more sense! I'm so grateful for Sister Izquierdo's knowledge of the Bible. That definitely something I need to get better at.

Saturday we went and did service at Homestead, playing bingo with the residents, and it was fun to see everyone so happy and decked out for Christmas! S.Hall also reminded me about halfway through the day that it was my 18 month mark...I was just too focused on Christmas Eve ok! Haha, I completely forgot, it was the weirdest thing. Its weird to look back on, it was too short haha! To celebrate (Christmas Eve, that is lol) we went over to Bishop Jensen's house and had chicken cordon-bleu for dinner. Ok, I have to say they were way better than Swann's frozen cordon-bleus haha! And after dinner we put on a live nativity with all the kids. We had filled all the parts, but the shepherds had no sheep...so you guessed it, I filled in lol! It was pretty fun, and afterwards we watched the real Bible video "Nativity" online. I love those videos, I can't wait for the Book of Mormon ones to come out!

And yesterday was wonderful, beautiful Christmas!!! We had breakfast with the Stevensons, cinnamon rolls and eggs, and then we had a musical Christmas sacrament meeting where we sung O Little Town of Bethlehem. It was a really spiritual meeting! I've noticed more and more on my mission how we can truly worship through song- hymns are one of the quickest ways to bring the Spirit! After being laden with gifts and cookies and other such things, we went to our investigators' house! Lisa, April, Nicoletta, and Michael had us over for ham and Panera Bread mac n' cheese! Wow, they have just opened their arms and welcomed us right in. If I weren't a missionary I'd think it really bizarre and weird how they've opened up so much to us in such a short time. It was a great time! LOL they even gave us our 1st ever lotto tickets...yeah that was a funny one to explain XD
Then we went over to the Cooks house right after that! It was a blast and they had lots of good food too. We rooks pics, colored with the kids, had some good caramel apple cider, and then came home and Skyped.

Overall it was a fantastic Christmas weekend and I'm so grateful for everyone that made it so!!! Gosh, I love you all.
See ya in 2!

Stay Jersey Strong.
Love, Sister McAllister
 Christmas Eve
 Christmas jammies
 epic fail

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Whip, Lady Liberty, and Public Singing....December 19, 2016

Whew. This week was a doozy! I'm glad we made it out alive with all our sanity intact...barely. Haha!

The craziness really started on Thursday, and we haven't had much of a break until now. We're exhausted lol. So on Thursday we were running all day from appointment to appointment trying to fit weekly planning into the middle of it all. We luckily got everything done that we needed too, but let's just say my pillow never felt so good before haha!
That night we were able to meet with our new investigators that came to the Ward Christmas Brunch last Saturday! Lisa and her girls are so awesome! We brought Sister Roberts, the YW president, with us and the 2 daughters want to start coming on Wednesday's now! The family is so nice, and we're becoming good friends with all of them. We even met all of their boyfriends and everything lol, that was kinda awkward, but still cool. We also spent a little while that night serving them by helping them make stuff for a bake sale they're doing. We made these strawberry milkshake cookies from Pinterest and I fell in love. They are my new favorite cookie! They're just melt-in-your-mouth goodness wrapped in a pink and white cookie haha. And then, Lisa took us downstairs because she wanted to show us her Christmas tree and all the decorations. Or at least, that's what she said- but when we got down there she went to the tree and pulled out 2 presents and gave them to us! My heart just melted right along with those cookies we were eating! It was sooooooo sweet. I just know I'm going to talk with this family forever, whether or not they get baptized haha :)

Friday was the All-Mission Christmas Conference! It was so exciting to see all my friend again!!! I was Picture-Happy all day that day haha. We started off the conference listening to Bart Oats of the NY Giants and SF 49ers talk to us about winning 3 Super Bowls and how we need to live our mission like a "2 minute drill". He actually used a clip from the Giants beating the Patriots in a super bowl a couple years ago to demonstrate a lot of principles, so that got my hyped for this years super bowl haha! Some of my favorite one-liners from him are: "One wrong choice, one mistake, does not define who I am. One of the very few things I control on a mission is my effort. Give my best, doesn't matter if it's better or worse than anyone else. and Always fight. Never give up!" He passed around 2 of his bowl rings too, and man, those are a piece of hardware haha! They're huge! And one of the things he told us is that the team gets to pick the style and everything on their rings when they win! I thought that was cool.
Then President and Sister Taggart talked with us, and I loved some of the things they said too. President talked about how this is their 3rd and last Christmas here in NJ, and I loved the chance I got to spend it with them. I'm so grateful my mission got pushed back those 2 weeks, so glad I got to be here for this wonderful season and holiday. I can't imagine it any other way! 18.5 months in a state I now consider my 2nd home! And Sister Taggart was just amazing too, she talked about how she's been looking at the weather constantly the past week and just watching the number sink lower and lower and the snow raise higher and higher. She said that she just sits there and prays for us. She knows we have to go through trials and hardships, but (she was in tears relaying this all) she pleads that it doesn't have to be THIS cold, THIS windy, THIS snowy. They both just brought me to tears while they talked. You can't help but feel the love they have for us, they truly do have 180+ children to watch over and love out here- and they've been parents to like 300 others! I just love these 2.
Then we had lunch and hung out all together as a mission. There was song, raps, dancing, the whip, laughter, a slideshow, pictures, presents, letters, good food, the price is right, minute to win it games, and just lots and lots of fun! I said goodbye to all my Spanish friends, because unless they come to transfers, I won't see them again :(  that was rough. I've been feeling both raw and overwhelmingly full these past few days! I said bye to Elders Mendoza and Justice, and Sisters Pace, Virgin, Holguin, and lots of others but I'm starting to get sad listing these names so I'm gonna stop lol! Gosh, endings are so hard. And I know I'll get to chill with them later, but that's months down the line! For some of them it's almost a year away haha
But yes, it was a fun day! And I got your package and letters family! Thank you!

Then on Saturday we got to go to Ellis Island!!! It started snowing at midnight and continued through the morning. We had to scrape off a couple inches of snow from our car, and then navigate the roads that hadn't been plowed haha! I drove 30mph on the highway in a single file line, slipping and sliding all over the place for 2.5 hours to get to Ellis Island lol! It was an adventure. But now I can say that I know how to drive in the snow, and I have in fact done it. Boom. It was actually not too bad. And it was technically S.Hall's day to drive, but she didn't want to, so I'm glad we survived lol! But Ellis Island was super fun! Not too many people were there, so the staff let us walk around the museum for a little while. I've done it before, but I got to see the exhibits that I hadn't before. That was pretty cool! It was a fun day.

Sunday was the English Missionary Christmas Fireside where yours truly sang in a small group in front of 500+ people...yikes! I was suuuuuuuuuper nervous all day. But it ended up going pretty well I think. I have a video of it, so you guys can be the judge lol! The music was amazing last night. I love how we truly can worship Him with song, and it's one of the quickest ways to bring the Spirit in to your heart too! It was a real fun evening! And I got to see the Murch's and S.Abraham from Eatontown, the Alkemas from Princeton, the Russell's from Emerson, and S.Williams and Monique and Br.Peña from Scotch Plains! I'm sad more people weren't there, but it was nice to get to say bye to them all and catch up for a bit! I also got to say goodbye to my English friends too. Elders Oakley, Hicks, Adams, Koo, Jessop, and Sisters Llana, Flinders, Burk (basically I'm naming people for my own benefit of looking back on this lol). It was a good night, sad as well, but good. I've become real good friends with one of the elders, and he lives all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, so we were both pretty bummed out that that was probably our last time ever hanging out. Lame. One day I'll go to the U.K., I have to find Hogwarts! Haha

But yup, Christmas is in 6 days, it snuck up way quick on us! We started a countdown on our whiteboard on Dec 1st! It's already Dec 19th!!! Gah, time slow down!!! I'm excited for it though, we already have 2 members having us over on Christmas Eve, and one on Christmas! Woohoo! Party! 

I love you all!
Stay Jersey Strong.
Love, Sister McAllister
 Driving to Ellis Island in the snow
 Ellis Island
 Ready for Christmas
 The Taggart's....Mission President and his wife

Alpacas and President Hugs....December 12, 2016

This week has been a crazy long week, but yet it's flown by! It's already Dec 12th man!! Yikes. (Shoutout to Sis Kafu for embedding that word in my vocabulary ;)

Monday was a fun day full of dodgeball, shopping, and driveway mishaps. We went to Marshalls to get S.Hall some new dresses, and I just so happened to find a cute top there that fit me, so Merry Christmas to me! You'll probably see it in most of my Christmas pics I'm sending home in the next few weeks- it goes great with my red skirt haha :) We also played sports, yada yada...and then we went and ate at the Leete's house! They're some members that we haven't really talked to too much, but man oh man, we found out they are the coolest people ever!!! I adore their family. It was such a fun night! She talked a lot with us about her mission stories and it was cool to see how her kids knew some of her companions, and a lot of her stories- I want to be like that when I grow up! I want my kiddos to know the coolness of a mission, and that it's ok if you don't serve one too, it's up to them and God. Now, the Leete's have a crazy driveway that is a steep downhill that curves between rocks and a telephone pole. Getting in was hard...but then backing out?? Almost impossible! Aye ya yie, I had such a rough time backing out. Br.Leete had to come and help direct us because S.Hall didn't know what to do backing me, and even then it took almost 10 minutes. But I didn't scrape the rocks or the pole, so we good! Success!!! Haha

Tuesday was Traditions with the Taggart's in the mission home! It was soooooo awesome. The craziest thing about it though, was the fact that I had my departing interview right before it. The APs called me to arrive early so President could interview me...guys, I still have another 5 weeks for crying out loud! Lol, I was his first interview of the transfer! It was crazy, but I loved talking with him. He gave me awesome advice and counsel about my plans for college, life, job, etc. He really helped me set some goals and figure out my future. I'm so grateful I had those 40 minutes with him to talk one on one and to feel of his testimony, experience, and love. I firmly believe a big reason for my call to New Jersey was so I could serve with, learn from, and love like the Taggart's. They've become a second set of parents to me, and I couldn't ask for a better pair! Gosh, I just can't wait for the years ahead where I can continue to rely on them for support and happiness! I love em to death.
So the only bad part about having my interview before, was the fact that I balled my eyes out at the end when President hugged me...and then I had to go downstairs to where the rest of the missionaries in my zone had arrived while I talked upstairs...and they all saw my tear-streaked, red, puffy face the second I walked down. Yeah. I got a lot of stares and weird looks. Lots of them were super confused why I was having such a rough time lol! None of them knew I had my interview until later on hahaha, gosh, I'm such a mess! Curse my weak tear ducts.
For Traditions with the Taggart's they shared with us one of their traditions. Each year they write on a piece of paper a gift they want to give God that year. Then they put it in a box to open next Christmas. Sister Taggart showed us her box, and she has dozens of tiny pieces of paper full of the gifts she has given God over the years! I was so excited to write mine down and I keep the box by my clock so I can remember it every day. What a cool idea! Definitely something I'm going to continue.

Wednesday we had service and a doctors appointment for S.Hall, and then we went to dinner at Bro. Lloyd's house. You should have gotten a pic of me with a huuuuuge steak mom haha! He loves cooking and he's really good at it too, so it's always a pleasure to go over there :)  Right after that we went to the church to help out with a Relief Society Christmas dinner, where we got piles of food handed to us on plates and in Tupperware to take home. Ugh. You had to roll me home that day- I was SO full! But it was really fun to talk with and get to know the RS sisters better. This ward is stellar. I love love love love love everyone here! NJ has become a home away from home for me. I love this crazy state haha!

So Thursday a member backed into our car and left a teeny lil scratch on our bumper, but even though it was so small, we still had to fill out a bunch of paperwork and online forms about it. The poor member was distraught about it, but we've kept assuring her it's fine and it isn't even that bad. So we'll see how long it takes with the estimate and taking it in to the shop. We also have to get our oil changed and new windshield wipers....oh and our brakes checked. Lol! "This car is a disaster!" (Please read that in Esteban's voice from Suite Life;)

OKAY! Now time for the good stuff haha! Saturday we got to go to a........drum roll please........Alpaca Farm!!!! Yup. Alpacas. Here in NJ. Spoiler alert: they're super soft. Lol, our LA's son works there and they had a holiday extravaganza this weekend. We stopped in for 30 minutes to talk with him and show our support. He was thrilled we had come, so that was cool! We got to pet and feed and get our faces licked by a Tibetan Yak named Zak, and we got to pet and take pics with Paca-Claus! So, some interesting facts for you- yaks have no top teeth, they love eating donuts, and the babies are adorable. And alpacas are way nicer than llamas, they're super soft, and a sweater made from their fur costs $180. Overall it was a pretty neat experience haha! We got to talk to a couple of cool people too. After the farm we went to our ward Christmas brunch. That was also a blast! We had our investigator Lisa there with her 2 daughters and the ward just scooped em right up!! They loved the event and they had such a fun time talking with us and the members. The only problem with them is that they're super devoted to their church since they've been going to the same one for 22years- so we'll see where this goes. But the coolest thing is that the ward is gung-ho about missionary work! They all want to come with us to see them, and we've just been swarmed with people asking about Lisa. Hopefully we can keep the masses at bay, we don't want to overwhelm her and scare her off haha :) It was a beautiful Saturday.

And then yesterday we got to teach YW's!! I was SO nervous. It was weird haha, you'd think I'd be used to teaching people now, but I was really wanting to just go home sick from church or something lol. I'm so lame! But we talked about spiritual gifts and how we can develop them/recognize them/ use them to help others. It was a Spirit-filled 30 minutes, and I and a few of the leaders teared up a bit (though that doesn't take much for me...) I kinda miss YW's, in the sense that I miss my awesome leaders and all that they did for me over the years, and for the girls that made Wednesday's and camps fun :)  So it ended up going real well, and the leaders were grateful we had come. Woohoo! I'm glad that's over haha

One funny thing this week: I thought that most people in the ward knew I was going home soon, but it turns out that almost no one knows! The people I told had forgotten, and the others just didn't know- so that's been the talk of the town lately. The rumors spread like wildfire haha! I think pretty much everyone knows now, because I have random members from the Elder's area coming up and talking to me about it now haha. It's been funny to see everyone's reactions to the news 😂

I love you all!
Stay Jersey Strong.
Love, Sister McAllister
 first snowfall
 Zak the Tibetan Yak

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

(Please) Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!!!....December 5, 2016

Hola mi familia y amigos! 
We can now all safely say "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!" without getting yelled at by the Scrooges out there who like Thanksgiving more haha
Guess what!! It finally snowed here. Last night we got a whole......inch! Yes. An entire INCH of snow! I was soooooooooooo excited and yet so mad it wasn't more haha! But apparently it's supposed to snow more this week, so I'm looking forward to it. I need a better Christmas than last year. Ain't no way I'm gonna let it be 65 degrees again! It didn't even feel like Christmas (probably because we went to the beach and there was a bunch of people surfing too haha).
In December there are LOTS of activities for me to look forward to! We have the missionary Christmas Fireside, an all-mission Conference, Traditions with the Taggart's tomorrow where we get to hang out with President and Sister Taggart, and we're going to Ellis Island on the 17th, AND our ward has a bunch of lunches/dinners/fun events they're doing! And of course, Christmas itself. Can't forget about that. Woohoo! Best month ever!

This week was super weird for me. There were transfers on Tuesday, and for once in my life I didn't go! What?!? I ALWAYS go since I keep getting new companions every transfer. But we had a nice loooooong Tues to go and work instead, so that was awesome! We got to see lots of less actives, and even a few that have never let us in before! Christmas really does soften hearts people! When we mentioned we wanted to share a Christmas video they let us right in. Then we talked about #LIGHTtheWORLD and about the example of Jesus Christ. I wouldn't say we were exactly sneaky, but we definitely were able to get inside so we could talk about how Christ can help them and how they can come closer to Him- so I call it a win/win haha :)

District meeting was also weird on Wednesday- half of our zone got transferred out on Tuesday, so we have a bunch of people I've never served around or even seen before haha! It was sad because all of my friends left, but now I get to chill with new people before I leave. Hopefully I'll make some new friends, Wednesday wasn't too promising lol. I'm like an odd duck in this zone now, so I gotta get my social on! But you all know how hard that is for me...
Anyway! We got to practice for the musical Fireside on Wednesday as well, and let's just say not one of us knows how to sing! The poor missionaries who actually know how were having such a rough time teaching us how to sing in parts and get the notes right. I'm just glad it's not only our zone singing- we have another 60ish missionaries to drown out our voices lol!

This week we were able to pick up a new investigator. Her name is Mary and she's 84 years old, and just the sweetest lady you could ever meet! She's actually a member's referral, they've been chopping her wood and helping her for 3 years now, and they asked us to teach her! She's really open to our message too. She's had some hard trials over the past few years, and she's lost loved one along the way, so she was thrilled to hear that families can be together forever. We're going to be seeing her every other day now! We know that through that member family, and through others in the ward, she is going to feel SO much love it will (gently) blow her off her feet!! We're excited to keep working with her and loving her.

This week I've also learned a lot about service and the power of it. Since #LIGHTtheWORLD started and has been going, we have found many ways to serve our neighbors and friends. Even the small and simple acts of service have changed and touched hearts! I've got a firm testimony that service not only softens hearts, but melts them! It changes a person's perspective of you and it will open doors and change lives. The times on my mission, and especially in this area that I've felt the Spirit lift others, has been when we stop and serve them. Guys, service works miracles!!! I love it.

We weren't allowed to watch the Christmas Devotional last night, so I'm looking forward to watching that today. I'm sure it had lots of good stuff in it! :)
 And to end, here's a scripture that really stood out to me this week in my studies: "But Alma went forth and stood among them, and exhorted them that they should not be frightened, but that they should remember the Lord their God and he would deliver them. Therefore they hushed their fears..." Mosiah 23:27-28

Love you all!!!
Stay Jersey Strong.
Love, Sister McAllister
 beginning of the end??
 tree from mom
 DQ closes for the winter so they had to make one final run
The Store they helped organize and clean

Grateful For Ham, Left Legs, and Water...November 28, 2016

Hello (hello) Hello (hello) I welcome you today! Hello (hello) Hello I'm glad you came my way- to share with me a Preparation day, and be my guest in a very special waaaaaaaaaaay! Hello (hello) Hello (helloooooooo) I welcome you today (hey)!!!!!!

Ahhh, the good ole Primary days, full of snacks, songs, and the never-ending urge to wiggle out of your seat like it was on fire. Those were the days *wipes away a tear*

Hey, so this week was super awesome. And before I get into it, I'm going to go on a side tangent and make a remark on how weird and completely random my email opening paragraphs have become...like what the flip?? I'm so weird. The mission is getting to my brain haha!

Super sorry I was a lameo about emails last week! I hate to say it, but I'm super unmotivated to take 2 hours and email, when I could be doing something else...like whooping elders at dodgeball! Haha, so ya, sorry about that. I promised myself that I would be better this week. So I'm making sure I'm better. Cuz I'm trying to call myself a "truther" (10 points for whoever gets that reference)!

Ok! So! This week! Yes. On to that. Right now. No more tangents. Focus. *hee hee who who hee hee who who* Wait, why do people breathe like that anyway? I feel like it would just continue to stress me out, not make anything better. Huh. Weird. Hahahah I'm just pulling your legs, I'll get on to the letter now ;)

This is going to be a long one...you've been warned.
This week was a BLAST! Oh my goodness I am thankful for SO. MANY. THINGS. I'll list some, and get to others as I go along. I'm grateful for this ward and how kind and loving and funny they are, I'm grateful that 2 of our 3 dinner appointments on Thanksgiving served turkey AND ham, I'm grateful that my team won so much in the Turkey Bowl and that our color was camo, I'm grateful my trainer gave me an extra blanket 14 months ago so I'm not freezing now, I'm grateful for my companions past and present and for all they taught me (and for all they put up with!), I'm grateful for my dog who is cute and lovable and not weird like some of the dogs out here, I'm grateful for the use of my left leg (I shall explain later), I'm grateful for indoor plumbing and clean water that you don't have to boil whenever you want to drink it (also will be explained later), I'm grateful for my cuckoo family and for how I grew up, and most of all I'm grateful for my Savior and my Father in Heaven and all they did for me!

So I probably haven't told you this yet, seeing as I'm a total flip on Pdays and all, but guess who is singing in a sextuple at the statewide Christmas Missionary Fireside...yup. This girl. The one with NO musical or singing talent WHATSOEVER. Tip of the day, never say yes to a nice Korean Elder who asks for a favor- don't be deceived by their niceness!!! I will now be singing a 5 minute long song, in front of 500+ people, with only 5 other voices to mask mine. Aye ya yie. I'm so nervous about this! I need vocal lessons, or I need to pull an Ursula and steal Adele's voice or something. So yeah, this is my next greatest adventure into the unknown and uncomfortable! Woohoo!

As you may have already guessed, the highlight of this week was Thanksgiving. Literally EVERYTHING happened on Thanksgiving. Everything. We woke up around 6am, got ready, donned our football-domination-clothes, and headed out with the Elders to a diner in Florham Park to have breakfast as a zone before the Turkey Bowl. As we were leaving  we noticed the streets were flooded on both sides with running water, though it hadn't rained. So we knew something was up, but we kept going. Anyway, it was a super fun breakfast! We got some cool pics that I'll be sending later today! Then we had the Turkey Bowl!!! I was SO pumped for my team! It was E.Hicks, E.Oakley, E.Peterson, E.Manuma, and S.Millington with a couple others- and we looked super tight. We had black, camo, and eye black as our uniforms. It was sweet! We played for a few hours, and on one of the fields it was covered in dew/water...k, I literally took 2 steps and slipped flat on my back. And that happened 3 times in the course of 15 minutes. After the game I noticed my left hip was suuuuuuuper sore. I couldn't lift my leg very high without it hurting. I shook it off and kept playing though (I know I know, don't give the screen that look mom!) Ya, so my hip continued to be on fire until I woke up on Sunday. I literally couldn't even lift my leg to put my pajamas on it hurt so bad. And it's funny, because I learned I do a LOT of things with that leg: get into bed, get into the shower, climb stairs, etc and I couldn't anymore haha! So I'm grateful for the functionality of my left leg!! Also on Thanksgiving, all that water we saw on the streets? Yup, the water main broke. No showers for us after football haha! Our whole town was without water....alllllllll day. And we've been on a boil advisory ever since- we've had to boil any water we want to drink. Some members came to the rescue and got us a couple gallons of water, but we've still boiled some and left it to cool overnight. Craziness! So I'm grateful for indoor plumbing and clean water.

On Thanksgiving we got to go to the Trunk's for lunch, the Jensen's for appetizers, and the Cook's for dinner and dessert. Boy lemme tell ya, I am SO glad I wore my stretchy skirt! Ain't no way I would have fit into anything else after that- I almost needed to be rolled home. Our food comas hit hard that night haha! It was an awesome day and I'm so grateful for this ward and all it does for us.

Speaking of which! Drum roll please..................IM STAYING IN SPARTA FOR MY LAST TRANSFER!!!! I was honestly so scared they'd pull me and pop me somewhere random to die, but now I get to die here! And S.Hall will still be my companion, and E.Victor and E.McBride will still be in the ward too! Woohoo! This is going to be the BEST 6 weeks ever! I'm excited! And terrified....it's my last 6 weeks. Yikes! No thanks. Send me back to the MTC. Sorry mom, I'm going on another mission! I'm not ready for the real world yet haha

Ok, last little bit about my week, and then I'll hush up! On Friday and Saturday we helped Sister Harriott and Sister Boyle with the thrift store they're opening at the bottom of our building. We've been moving tables and chairs, loading and unloading trucks, dusting furniture, organizing and pricing knickknacks, etc etc. Boy are we sore!! But it was so fun, and I just love giving service. I'm excited for the new Christmas initiative #LIGHTtheWORLD and how it focuses on giving service each day. We also got to watch a Thanksgiving parade from the store on Saturday, it was our own teeny tiny Macy's Parade! It had 5 Santa's in it, so I'm sure that confused the children, and it also had LOTS of fire engines too! So that was awesome.

Life is good over here! I love it!
Some things i loved from this week:
President Harold B. Lee “Life is God’s gift to man. What we do with our life is our gift to God.”
President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994): “Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace.”

Love you all!!! Hope you had good turkey :)
Stay Jersey Strong!
Love, Sister McAllister
 Turkey Bowl
 Thanksgiving Parade

Erica, Lisa, YSA, and exchanges....November 21, 2016

Ok, I sincerely apologize, but I have like no time today to email. We went to an appointment earlier because he couldn't meet any other day, and we had to travel 40 minutes to get to the zone activity. Sooooooo, I'm forwarding my companions email. Sorry if it's weird and doesn't sound like me and talks about me in the 3rd person. I'm trying to fix it :)

Today was Role Play class and District Meeting! For Role Play class we did family time, so we were all assigned someone the other night to compliment them and tell them what we appreciate about them and share it with the whole zone. We also talked about prayer, how if we don't ask we won't receive. We did an object lesson: one person was the Holy Ghost, then there was someone blindfolded and the rest of us were tempters of Satan! He could only ask questions to the Holy Ghost of where to go. It was interesting afterwards as we talked about it all that we assume that the Holy Ghost or Heavenly Father will just tell us where to go but really we need to ask, they are ready and willing to answer!  After we finished district meeting and had lunch we helped out some Morristown members with a few things to set up for the Special Cresche event! We got home talked to Sister Harriott for a bit then got on the road to drive to Pennsylvania! We have a family that lives there who comes to our church. The Elders also joined us and we had a fun evening. 
Today we had a miracle happen! During our companion study Sister McAllister saw that she had a message on messenger and it was from a lady who she met 2 months ago knocking doors. We messaged her on Friday to see if we could meet and we never heard back from her until this morning and we met with her at a dunkin doughnuts! She's the cutest thing in the whole world!! We talked about the difference of our religions and she was so surprised how similar our beliefs are. We are praying that she will continue to desire to meet with us. We went home had lunch then headed to service! We played 21 again with Helen and the Elders. Helen was hilarious today, we were all laughing nonstop it was so fun :) next we headed to go see the Teets! We met with Sister Teets and read the Book of Mormon with her.  Then we drove up to Morristown to exchange companions with the STL's! 
Today we got up and did our studies and were waiting for the other sisters to join us. We grabbed pizza and had lunch together before we started our weekly planning! Weekly Planning was good, tiring but all good. We were super busy most of the day, we had linner with a less active named Fabricio! It was really good and we had apple pie for dessert which was divine! We asked if we could share a message and he said yes but then he was like oh I was reading in the gospel principles book about prayer and I need some help with a few questions. It was so great we were so happy to help clarify the story of Enos and it was interesting because the wording that bugs him is that god is a jealous God yet he's perfect so we are trying to study up on that for him! . But Sister McAllister and Sister Pace had a great night! They found 2 new investigators which is awesome!! I'm super excited to meet them. We also found an investigator near our house and her name is Ronda! This woman has gone through 3-4 sets of sisters but she wants to meet with us! Sometimes they just need to meet the right missionaries and we pray that we will be able to help her in every way possible! 
We all got up and got ready then did our studies then afterwards we took the sisters to the church to get their car. Once dropped them off we went back home to finish our weekly planning and to make brownies for some members! Next we had service at Bristol Glen and we played matching games and help make decorations for their thanksgiving dinner! These women are super funny, they can't remember the matches even though they just saw what they picked up. We had fun with Helen, she's my favorite :) Sister McAllister afterwards had to call one of her recent converts to see if they will be going to the temple next week for her endowments so I just hung out for a bit. We were suppose to have 2 lessons with 2 less actives but they both juked us....lameos. We decided to run the brownies to neighbors so we went to the Trunk's sadly they had a babysitter so we weren't able to talk with Sister Trunk but it's all good. We were talking to Sister Harriott before and she asked us to grab her Diet Coke and chocolate ice cream from friendlys! She taught me a new float, Diet Coke and chocolate ice cream! Haha it's interesting :) so we were able to finish our night out with her as we talked about certain things for the ward, how we both want pomskys, Ellen and jazz! It was a fun Friday night with Sister Harriott! I love her to death! :) 
This morning we went to the church to do family history with Sister Mathusek! Bingo was super fun today! I have a new boyfriend, he calls me tootsie! I was playing bingo for a woman who fell asleep haha and had to wake her up when she got a bingo. Then we had to go to a store to get Sister McAllister a Gatorade because that's what our mission nurse said to do. We then had dinner at the Thompson's! They are so kind, I was admiring their Christmas decorations :) we had roast, mashed potatoes and blueberry pie :) it was so delicious! We were talking about why missionaries have to get their endowments out before they go. We were thinking because we needed more knowledge of the plan of salvation and jazz but the real reason is the protection of the garments. It all makes sense because we are constantly protected! If you go to a ghetto area and there are gangs everywhere they tell you if anyone bothers us we tell them so they can solve it haha! I'm so grateful for all of the prayers that are sent to us everyday. In the temple, families, random people throughout the world praying for missionaries! I am trying to take full advantage of this because when this comes to an end I won't have the constant prayers blessings me haha! Well it's starting to rain and get cold, here comes the fun! :) 
It snowed!!! But melted Later. We got up early to eat waffles made by our ward mission leader as we discussed our peoples we are teaching! Then we had ward council and talked about the Christmas season coming up with parties and sub for Santa. Church was really good! We went to gospel doctrine today and I learned that it's a commandment to study Isaiah....what? Haha oops I'm usually skipping over it because I don't understand! Now I know we really have to read it and ponder. Also this comment made in Relief society was really cool, instead of asking your children what they learned that day ask them when they felt the spirit that day because it's very important to teach your children at a young age to recognize when they feel the spirit! I thought that was so neat :) after church Brother Carroll called us in a panic and asked if we could come help him. His health is really decreasing, it's scary and sad. We made him lunch, threw his laundry in the wash, did his dishes and situated his oxygen tanks outside and in his car. He couldn't walk 10 steps without running out of breath and having to sit down, he had to get another oxygen tube to help. So he had 2 things of oxygen pumping at once because he was not getting enough. I never want to get old, he says he's ready to go and he knows it's coming soon. We ran to the Murray's after and had dinner there! This family kills me, they are hilarious and so weird but I love them to death! :) we ran over to Gene and Sister Menendez's house because they invited us over for their grandsons birthday party! He was turning 1, we had some cake and talked a little then headed out. We headed to the church for our YSA thanksgiving dinner! It was really fun, we all just laughed and partied the whole time then played phase 10 for a bit. 

Sorry I didn't email really! But just know I love this area and hope that I get to stay here for next transfer! I'll let you know next Monday what's gonna happen. Hopefully good things! Also, I might get to go with Laura from Plainsboro to the Philly temple on Saturday for her endowments...with Sister Bulson!!!! I'm super excited and hope it all works out. Please pray that she'll be able to make it :)
I love you all MUCHO!
Stay Jersey Strong.
Love, Sister McAllister
 Newton graffiti
 YSA Thanksgiving dinner

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cookie Miracles...November 14, 2016

This is a story all about how cookies spread the gospel through our town, I'd like to take a minute just sit down your buns, and I'll tell you how we became queens of a place called Newton. West side of America born and raised, on the mountains is where we spent most of our days- chillin out, relaxing, acting all cool, playing in the snow while they cancelled school. When a couple of guys who were up to some good, started calling us on missions using the priesthood. I got on one little plane, and my mom had fears, she said "what will I do without you for one and a half years?"

Anyways, lol! Yes. Cookies are a beautiful way to spread the gospel and get into people's houses- that was my original point, but then I got too absorbed in the rap. What can I say? I'm a prime rhymer.....I'm so lame *facepalms* 
COOKIES work miracles! With the mission focus on less actives lately, we've been being stiffed by a bunch of them as we've tried to make return appointments, and first appointments, etc. But, when you tell them you want to drop off cookies, they want you to come over that day. We were able to meet with 2 new less actives, and see 3 others that have been tricky, all because of cookies! The way to anyones heart, is through their sweet tooth haha! And no, it doesn't technically count as trickery- it's service. Yup. Totally service.

Speaking of service, this week we had a blast on Wednesday at the nursing home. I can't remember what I've told all of you about it before- sorry if this is a repeat! We go to Bristol Glen in the memory wing and do puzzles/play games with the folks there. What's special is that even though they ask you the same question 50 times in an hour, they also have a vague recollection of who you are! Helen is the lady we work with most, and she is hilarious! We were playing a card game with her and the Elders, and each one of us were crying from laughter. She's a hoot. Then, we got a huge group of them together and helped them exercise. The trainer would throw a beach ball to each of them and having them throw it back as part of the exercising- well, he skipped over me naturally, and Helen goes "hey! Don't skip people. That's not nice." So he had to come back and throw it to me lol! It was a fun time though, it really uplifted my spirit that day.

We were also able to see Sis Morse this week. She's an elderly, mentally and physically handicapped, woman who lives in a nursing home. She got to go to the temple Saturday and get sealed to her family! She was so excited! She couldn't stop talking about it, and we were so glad she would be able to make it. It's been amazing to have the opportunity to serve her. I was there when we went over to help her fill out her My Family booklet, and now 2 months later she's been to the temple to be sealed to them all! She's such a sweet soul, and I'm grateful I got to be a part of the process.
Speaking of temples: LAURA IS GOING TO THE TEMPLE IN 2 WEEKS WITH ME AND SIS BULSON AND IM SOOOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!!!!!! Please please please please please pray for her that she'll be able to stay out of the hospital!!! She's been looking forward to it ever since August, but her health has been too rough. I've been looking forward to this ever since I met her in April in Plainsboro! This is gonna be amazing!!

This week we had lots of miracles. One being that we were fed a record 5 times this week!!!!!!!! We are so blessed! It ranged from lobster tails, to a quaint French cafe, to steak, to chicken, to hot dogs over a fire and some chili- and I loved every single one of them. Yes mom, even the hot dogs. I know, I know, but please stop staring at the screen in shock, you'll scare the children haha ;)
Another miracle was that President didn't send me home! Haha just kidding, we just had interviews with him on Friday. I love President Taggart! He's such an amazing man. Their family is wonderful. I feel so blessed to have gotten to know them all and to have served around/with them here in NJ! 
But the biggest miracle this week is Leonard. It was 8pm and super dark, and we were going to find another less active. The address we had didn't have an apartment number, and we pulled up to a house with 2 doors on it. One door was dark and silent, while the other had lights and people laughing inside. I knew we needed to knock the one with the lights, but as I stood
on the porch, I felt that we should also knock the dark one, just to give our full effort. Down the stairs came a Hispanic man a little older than us. He didn't speak much English, but he did confirm that the man we were looking for lived next door. As we fumbled through what little Spanish we know, we asked him if we could show him a video in Spanish. We pulled out "Gracias A Él" and afterwards all he said was "Jesus, si." All I could says is "Sé que estas cosas son verdades." (I know these things are true.) Don't ask me how, but we were able to get his phone number, and give him the Hermanas number. We went away from it thinking that he wouldn't be too interested, and it would probably be just another random contact. Wrong! The Hermanas texted us that night and said they had just gotten off the phone with him and had an appointment for Friday! Then, on Friday, they talked to us and said that Leonard is golden! He is so prepared and he's been looking for the church ever since he moved here from a Mexico a month ago. Oh my goodness!!! Sister Hall and I started jumping around we were SO happy! God seriously takes our small efforts and makes them grand and amazing. I had no idea I was even listening to the Spirit, but now looking back, I know He guided us to Leonard. I would have knocked on that door otherwise. I'm so grateful He's directing this work, and that I get to be a part of it. Leonard is now a progressing investigator!

Alma 37:6-7 "Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls."

I love you all!!!
Stay Jersey Strong.
Love, Sister McAllister
 mission life
 treats from home
 sister activity

Monday, November 7, 2016

Horace the Deer....November 7, 2016

A couple awesome and a couple crazy things happened this week! 
First of all- we got to go to the TEMPLE!!!!! Ah sweet relief. Best day of the past 6 months haha! I love the temple so much- the second I walked in I felt peace and joy and a sense of calm serenity. I wanted to just fall asleep and spend my whole day in there. I'm glad I got to go with this zone too, so many of my friends are here! We also got lost trying to get out of the City....so we ended up walking for an hour trying to find our bus terminal that would take us out. We walked past some signs that said Times Square on them, but we didn't go to the Square itself- so close! Haha   And then we got in line for a bus and learned it doesn't take cash, you have to buy tickets, so we rand back downstairs to buy them, and then came back up to only have a 40 minute wait until the next bus showed up. Let's just say we all got to know one another really well! And we got lots of pics of Manhattan.
On Thursday we had the chance to help 2 different people move. One of them being a nonmember, and the other a less active. We were able to establish a connection with the nonmember, and she was so grateful for our help. We were able to uplift her and her boxes lol, I'm a regular comedian, I know. But anyways, we got our workout in that day, she lived on the 2nd floor! I was so sore the next couple days.
A funny thing happened Friday morning: we had to run to WalMart to pick up some medicine for S.Hall, and in the process we bumped into a less active. We started chatting and then out of NO where I feel an arm sling around the back of my neck across my shoulders....the less actives face got SO scary lol! It turned out to just be my pal Billy, and don't worry, he took his arm off right away. The less active looked at us and was like, "I was gonna deck him in the face!" Ah. It's nice to know I've got some friends who got my back if anything ever happens haha! But Billy's so cool! I love that kid a lot. I want him to come back so bad, it kills me that he's going through such a rough time right now. He reminds me a lot of some people I know from college, gosh, I just want to be his friend and I want him to come out west. Super cool kid.
Saturday we went to Ellis Island and had a blast! I love going there so much!
Sunday we literally came within a foot of hitting a deer. And the craziest thing is that we had talked about it 5 minutes before it actually happened. It was SO scary! I thought for sure I was either going to kill the deer, or it was going to kill us! It popped up out of the dark, like daisies! Also, some really creepy things have been happening with our apartment lately, and let's just say I'm super grateful for the hope and happiness of the gospel. And I'm also glad nothing worse has happened to me, but it's still been suuuuuuuper creepy.
I have to go, it's almost 6, but I love you all! Sorry my email was kinda lame, we did zone sports and even did a sister activity beforehand. Also, we played gator ball for the first time in a year...so beautiful!

Stay Jersey Strong.
Love, Sister McAllister

For Scotland!!!....October 31, 2016

This week has been amazing! We've seen so much progress with the area, and we've been having lots of fun adventures along the way. :)
 So first the fun awesome stuff, and then I'll finish with the fun spiritual stuff!

On Saturday we had the trunk or treat/chili cook-off for the ward. It was SO fun! The chili was awesome, and the people hilarious. Some of those costumes were just too good haha! We passed out pass along cards with candy taped to them, and you know, the kids go around 10 bazillion times, so they should have a nice stack to hand out later lol
Last night and tonight we have a curfew at 6pm, because only here in Jersey would they create something called Mischief Night and let everyone run rampant through the streets...I love this state haha! Last night we had dinner at a Members house, and to get there you have to drive through a backwoods road for a few miles. Well, we drove back in the dark, after it had rained, and even with the brights on you could hardly see anywhere. Let's just say I almost hit a deer and 3 baby raccoons while I was driving haha! But don't worry, I missed them all. Later, S.Hall and I painted our faces while we went through area lists and tried contacting our people on the phone or through FB. I tried making mine look like the Scottish flag, but also look tribal and war paintish- yeah, looks nothing like either, but whatever lol! And S.Hall was a tiger. It was a pretty fun night :)
Oh! Saturday we were running around helping the members get ready for the cook-off, while also running to appointments, when we saw that our street was covered in tents and cool merchandise. We stopped to try and talk to a few people, see if we could get anywhere with them, and we met a lady selling LuLaRoe. Now, idk if any of you know what this is, but it's literally the cutest clothes I have ever seen in my life! I was so excited to see she was selling them!!!! But they're also the most expensive clothes of my life...so no bueno for cheapo me haha. But we talked with the lady and got to know her a bit- she was so sweet. She's truly awesome! And after we got done talking she grabbed some leggings and gave them to us for free! And maaaaaaaan are they comfy and soft and they actually fit me and it was just beautiful! We've been wearing them every night right before bed because that's the only time we can haha- it pays to be a missionary!

Ok, spiritual missionary awesomeness time!
Lately there's been a focus in the mission to go and find the less actives and bring them back. President Taggart was inspired with a way to go about doing this called "the Invite". We show the video "Because of Him" and then go through the process of the Invite. Each time it brings the Spirit so powerfully, they really feel of God's love for them! So S.Hall and I have been going around doing this on all the less actives we can find. This week we found 6 of them, of those we have 3 part member families, and 2 people that want to come back and want to get back to the temple!!!!!!!! We've met some truly amazing people, and I feel successful in a way I haven't for a while! It's been so exciting to see them feel the Spirit and have that desire to come back.
Also on Friday we were able to have dinner with the Cook family in Blairstown. We don't go there too often because it's a good 35 minute drive away, but we decided to block out a whole day to go there and find less actives and others that we can teach. We ended the night at the Cook's house, and they invited their neighbors over! Mary is a sweet old lady who lost her husband last year and is taking care of her autistic son Josh. We talked a lot with them, and they've actually been taught by Elder and Sister Dunn (senior missionaries) last year, so they have a BoM and she knows that families,can be together forever. Super awesome! She wants to meet with us regularly now!!! It was so cool to see what good comes out of doing service. The Cooks have been splitting Mary's wood for the past few years, and then this happened! Nothing you do is ever wasted guys!
Ok, last thing, I don't want this to be super long for you all. On Tuesday we had our normal roleplay class at 10, district meeting at 11:30, and then afterwards we had fundamentals with President at 2. Such a long day haha! He was training us on the Invite and how to do it successfully. Well, the time came to roleplay it, and he was going to pick 2 missionaries to come up, and ROLEPLAY IT IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE ZONE.....ya. You've probably already guessed where I'm going... the second he started describing what he was going to do I started thinking "oh man, please please please please please please please PLEASE do NOT pick me not me not me not me please" etc etc etc.  K well, as I'm thinking that i think "the fact that I totally dont want to do it probably means he's definitely going to pick me. President can smell fear, I bet he can hear my thoughts right now...don't make eye contact! No wait. What if he picks the ones who avoid eye contact??? Ok. Look at him. But not excessively, just normally? C'mon act innocent! Don't be overly confident, but don't look like a wiener either! What if.....aaaaaaaaand he picked me...... *internal screaming*" I was literally sweating SO hard. I was nervous and I had to go to the bathroom and I was sweating and I was jittery and I wanted to pass out and fall through the floor and do ANYTHING to make it so I didn't have to be standing there in front of the whole zone and my leaders and President! Ugh. I wanted to cry.......aaaaaaaaaaand you guessed it. I did. *facepalms* I literally cried my eyes out, lips quivering, unable to talk, in front of EVERYONE. Blah. But in my defense, it wasn't from nerves, it's because the Spirit was epically strong in the roleplay. These 2-3 minute videos the Church has produced are spot on and beautiful. It hit me so hard watching it, and then as we talked to "Mitch and Marvin" (aka our zone leaders) I didn't have to wonder what to say, I wasn't worried about all the missionaries looking at me and judging my lack of skills, I was focused on the Spirit and on what the two of them needed. It was an awesome experience, one I hope to remember forever- even if it did give me a heart attack haha! So in other words, I'm grateful for President picking me to do a slightly humiliating and embarrassing, but building and strengthening roleplay. In front of 20 other boss missionaries. 

Ok ok! I'm done for now, sorry for the long email haha!
Love you all!!!
 Stay Jersey Strong.
Love, Sister McAllister