Thursday, July 28, 2016

I'm Going To Where I Belong!!!!.....July 25, 2016

Ghetto here I come!!!! I've been waiting for this day MY WHOLE
LIFE!!!!!! I'm going to Scotch Plains to be an STL and send Sister
Wood home. My 2nd kill here on the mission, my 3rd transfer as an STL,
and my 1st transfer in the ghetto.... IM SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm
just slowly moving my way up haha: started in zone 1, then went
straight to the bottom at zone 8, then zone 7, and now I'll be zone 6-
better watch out!

Don't get me wrong though, I'm also super sad. I literally cried my
eyes out and was a poor, pitiful mess last night for over an hour when
I heard. I tried to pack a little, but I kept getting super hurt and
sad lol, so I had to stop. I was a blubbering mess. I love the people
here in this Ward and area so much. I feel like I'm leaving a huge
part of my heart with them. And I was just starting to be able to reap
the fruits of my labor for once in my mission, and God takes me away
again haha! I'm just glad He finally let me taste them before He took
them away this time.

We had a crazy, packed, spiritual, miraculous, fun, hilarious, awesome
week this week! SO much happened! We went on 3 exchanges, had a
baptism, and a temple trip, and we were able to find and teach and
love so many people along the way!

Sister Baine and I were only together for a grand total of 48 hours
this week. The other 120 hours were spent with other companions in
other areas. We had our first exchange on Monday night after Pday and
it ran until Tuesday night- but we ended up having to get permission
to sleep over at their apartment because they needed a lot of help and
love and talking. We slept on the floor. Then we had service Wednesday
morning, right after which we drove an hour to the coast to exchange
with our other sisters- I got to see so many of my Eatontown people
that night!!!! It was awesome! Then the next day we were together for
a couple hours (which we spent weekly planning). And then on Friday we
spent the morning at service again, and right after we exchanged
again! And on Saturday we drove allllllll the way back from the shore,
for a second time this week, and ended up spending a long time in Pep
Boys to get our car fixed. Which lead us right into Sunday- where we
were at the church from 7:45am-3pm after which we left at 3 and didn't
get back until 7:30pm from the temple open house. Whew. I'm EXHAUSTED.
This was the craziest, busiest, awesomest week of my life! It was the
biggest, bestest bang to end off on haha!

Lydia's baptism went beautifully! It was a great first one! It was
funny trying to prep for this because I feel like everyone was looking
to me on what to do because I've been here the longest- and taught
Lydia most often, but I've never planned a baptism before! I had NO
idea what to do. I was just running around like a chicken with its
head cut off: cleaning the font out of spiders and spiderwebs (of
which I still shudder at because there was a kazillion of them),
flipping out because the font takes 1hr 45min to fill, finding out the
jumpsuit closet is locked, and then opening it to find that it's all
wadded in balls of no specific order or sizing, having no baptismal
record sheet to fill out until we asked the elders for one, having no
pianist so we sang really off key and out of sync, and realizing we
never told Lydia that she should probably not talk so loud as she gets
into the font and exclaims "is the water cold!?". LOL. It was awesome.
I feel like that's how it's supposed to go though right? All the funny
antics and craziness that leads up to the awesome spiritual
experience- basically how my life goes 24/7!

Ah! And the TEMPLE! It was gorgeous. We had Alan and Amos come with us
and the Houts. Amos LOVED it! He had so many questions and you could
tell that the reverence and spirit of the temple hit him as we walked
through, whereas Alan looked more at the temporal side of it: how much
it cost, how big it was, etc. However, Alan did turn to us and say
afterwards "Why were we the only ones that came to this? Why did the
others you invited not show up?" Ha! Gotcha Alan! You can try to hide
behind your weird comments, but we really know you were touched! The
temple was just beautiful. I want to live inside the celestial room!
And the decor was wonderful, the chandeliers and sconces and floor
made me feel like I was in a colonial house. Super similar to
Independence Hall I've heard! And the outside is perfect. It's right
next to the high rises of downtown Philly! God is so good.

This week was a huge blessing for me. I've felt the Spirit so
strongly. It was a wonderful last hurrah!
Love you all!
Stay Jersey Strong.
Love, Sister McAllister

Monday, July 18, 2016

9 Exchanges in 6 Weeks: Challenge Accepted and Accomplished!....July 18, 2016

Holy moly wow wow wow wow wow wow WOW do I have a lot to tell this
week. I am so sorry in advance for my long-windedness and for boring
you all to tears with my life story...but these last weeks in the
transfer are PSYCHO!

Ok ok, first off, I am now basically fluent in Spanish. Sé que estas
cosas son verdaderas. Entiendes? Bueno. Moving on. Hahahaha I had the
awesome privilege of going on not 1, but 2 Spanish exchanges this last
week! It was a blast! I got fed breakfast lunch and dinner on the 2nd
one, and on the first we had the joy of figuring out the public
transport system here in NJ. The Hermanas' car was in the shop all
week, so we had to walk everywhere. We ended up taking a bus to
Princeton and then walking all around there contacting and teaching,
and then taking a bus back that night. We met some interesting people
on the bus, one obsessed with Pokemon (about 40 years old) and the
others were just awkward haha (not that that one wasn't...). We spent
$15 bucks and 2hours for the bus that day- you could say I'm not a big
fan. But it did give me a chance to get to know Hermana Virgin better!
She's awesome! Hails from Alis Viejo in Cali, and did water polo at
BYU. She also is Rapunzel personified because her hair is soooooooo
long! Oh and pretty cool story there, we were about to teach the
English class that they have every week at the library, and we stopped
and started talking with a lady about her kids. Now, for some reason I
can follow a convo in Spanish pretty well, have no idea how to say
anything, but I can understand. Well, this lady was talking and
talking and then turned to me and asked if I knew any Spanish, and I
said nope, only English here! And to make a story short, we got her to
come to our English class and the Hermanas now have all her
information and she's super sweet! Miracles!
On my 2nd exchange I got to teach another English class with Hermana
Millington to a lot of people in Lakewood. They were all so funny! And
they enjoyed making fun of me as I sat there pretty oblivious to what
they were saying about me haha. One thing about Lakewood- it's chuck
FULL of Hasidic Jews. I'm talking ear curls, top hats, tassels,
beards, glasses, yamekahs, skirts, headwraps, and everything else
EVERYWHERE! Literally driving down the street you see at least one per
block walking, biking, playing, etc. kinda crazy!

Oh and this week were going on a whopping 3 exchanges because all our
district leaders want us to go with some of their sisters again. Yup.
3 exchanges. In 6 days. With a baptism to plan. And a temple trip to
Philly to coordinate. And last week of the transfer stuff to do.
Hahahahaha...ha....ha....aaaaahhhhhhhh. I'm gonna die!

So right now our teaching pool contains 2 atheists, 3 Hindus, a
Ghanian in the Army, a Jamaican family, and our YW President's
daughter. Yikes haha. Sounds pretty crazy. But the cool thing is: one
of the atheists has prayed twice since we started teaching him (he's
the boyfriend of a less active) and those are the only 2 prayers he's
said in his life, the other atheist is coming with us to the Philly
temple on Sunday and has started to understand faith more, the 3
Hindus are coming to believe in Jesus Christ and they are reading the
Book of Mormon and the Spirit is uber strong while we teach them, the
Ghanian is also coming to the temple and he's starting to understand
why he needs to be baptized with the proper priesthood authority, the
Jamaican family is learning how this can bless each of them and their
family relationships, and the YW President's daughter is getting
baptized on Sunday!!!!! OH! And add in there an Italian who just moved
here after being in an LDS host family in AZ for a year and he wants
to know more about the church and who these awesome people are!!! Wow!
This area is starting to look up and I feel SO blessed being able to
see the difference from when I first got here to now. The Lord is
blessing us so much! I'm actually hoping for the first time in this
area that I stay another transfer. I don't want to leave yet! I'm just
starting to make lasting friendships with the members/investigators
and I just want to stay here 6 more weeks! Gah. I bet He'll move me
just because He can hahahahaha, nah, but I bet it'll be a repeat of
Eatontown where I left way before I wanted to.

Thursday we had a super spiritual Zone Conferece. And I got to see all
my buddies again! I've made so many friends with the Elders out here,
it's been awesome. And some of these sisters I'm gonna be friends with
until we're old and senile on rocking chairs on our porches yelling at
each other about "eating hamburgers" ("did you say there's a
burglar?!?") lol, it'll be great. I'm so glad I came to Jersey. I love
it out here. Despite the constant 95% humidity and 90 degree weather,
the mosquito bites all over my legs, never going in grass because
you're scared you'll die from a tick, being drenched in a downpour
every other day, people crossing to the other side of the street to
avoid walking past the two girls in skirts, slammed doors and locked
gates, the New York mentality, needing accent translators when talking
to people, and always having to drive in the right lane of the road
because you never know when a left turn is really a jughandle... It's
been wonderful! I love love love love LOVE it here and I never want to
leave, but I ain't paying for living here cuz it costs not only your
arm and leg but also half your brain and your firstborn child. Not
about that life... Lol! I've basically turned into a Jersey Girl and
it's great.

Oh, and shout out to all my old companions because I love them lots
and they're all super great and fantastic and I wouldn't be who I am
today without them! I love yous!!!

Stay Jersey Strong.
Love, Sister McAllister

 Food Pantry service

Saturday, July 16, 2016

MIRACLE WEEK!....July 11, 2016

Heeeeeeellllllllloooooooo everyone! I hope this email doesn't find you
as hot and sweaty and hating-humidity-because-it's-of-the-devil as I
am in Jersey right now ;)
This week was a week of miracle after miracle after MIRACLE! And I'm
exhausted haha- but it's so worth it! Ok, so this will probably be a
super long email, because SO much has happened this week! Sorry!

Monday was the 4th of July!!!!! It was fun. There wasn't any fireworks
near us because of rain, so we didn't see any fireworks. And we didn't
have any members invite us over, so we mooched off the elders BBQ with
some members of our ward haha. It was fun to just sit and talk, and we
watched the NYC fireworks on TV and stayed out til 11pm. Man, I was
feeling soooooooo weird that night though. I kept thinking "we should
be doing something, there should be some ppl we try to talk to. Yikes
it's 9, that's curfew! Oh gosh, it's 10:30 the Holy Ghost just went to
bed!" Etc etc. LOL! All 4 of us missionaries were just so on edge that
night 😂

And then this week I had the privilege of being on exchange
practically ALL week. I went for 3 days with S.Shaffer and 24hrs with
S.Hale. S.Baine and I were only together on Mon,1/2 of Thurs, and Sun
this week! But it truly was amazing and I love my sisters SO much!!!
I'm so grateful I get to be an STL because my love for missionaries
and the sisters out here, and my mad respect for each of them too, has
grown exponentially! They are such dedicated workers and they strive
so hard to follow the Spirit and bring souls unto Christ. Each
exchange it's more like I'm learning a ton from them, rather then them
learning from me. Honestly, these 2 sisters are going to be leaders at
some point, because they are WAY more qualified than I haha. They're

Anyways, so on Tuesday S.Shaffer and I started our exchange and we
went to Laura's (a recent convert) house for our weekly meeting.
Awesome news: she's been out of the hospital for a whole 2 WEEKS
now!!!! That's the longest period of time she's been out since 2 years
ago! Unfortunate news: I don't know how long that will last because
while we were there her stomach acted up. I won't get into all the
gory details and gross visuals, but it was bad to say the least. Her
insides are paralyzed, and have been for 15 years. Laura's gone
through so much. But getting to the miracle part of all this- she was
basically groaning very very loudly in pain, and it was really scary.
But S.Shaffer and I were able to get her medicine for her and all that
so she could take some, and then I knelt and offered a prayer.    Wow.
That was the strongest I've felt the Spirit in a while. I prayed that
Laura would be watched over and protected, and that the pain she was
experiencing now would pass soon. When I closed, S.Shaffer and I were
both crying, and Laura was no longer groaning in pain. I felt God's
love for Laura so powerfully. It was a testimony to me that He knows
each of us exactly where we are and what we're going through, and that
we only need to ask and He'll help us.
Wednesday we knocked for hooooooooouuuuuuurs in the 95 degrees 90%
humidity heat. We were both super heat exhausted and sweat was
literally pouring from every part of us (sorry gross visual). But we
were able to talk to so many people, and S.Shaffer really taught me
the meaning of hard work, just through her example. She truly is an
amazing missionary. I could see her being the 1st sister assistant to
President haha.

On Friday I got to be with the wonderful S.Hale. She is a rockstar
missionary as well, and I can see her being S.Shaffer's companion as
they become assistants haha! We knocked for 5 hours straight on
Friday, 1st in the gross heat and humidity again, and then it turned
into a torrential downpour for the last 2 hours- it was an adventure!
We were running from apartment to apartment getting SOAKED. But it was
sooooo worth it. We met 3 FATHER LED FAMILIES! And all 3 of them are
the most solid return appointments and new investigators that we got
out of the 10 people we taught and got information for. One just moved
here from Nigeria, another is from the Dominican Republic, and the
last is from Haiti. And all their kids were SO cute, and we get to
meet their wives this week when we go back to teach them!!! Ah. My
feet hurt so bad, and I was uncomfortably sticky with sweat and
rainwater, but I could not have been more happy. Missionary work
brings such joy into my life!

AND THEN: we had a temple fireside with the one and only Vai Sikahema
on Saturday about the PHILIDELPHIA TEMPLE OPEN HOUSE! Guys, I get to
go to Philly on the 24th!!!!! The Spirit was so strong in the meeting
and I literally cannot wait to be a part of this once in a lifetime
opportunity! I love the temple so much. I'm so grateful I got to be
here at this time in this stake, the only one in the mission, that is
a part of the temple district. I get to go to Philly!!!!

Ok ok. Last miracle, I promise! Then you can go on to better things
than me rambling about my week- we met a super prepared and amazing
woman last night named Jackie. We were walking around a complex
talking to people and knocking. Honestly, neither of us were feeling
super thrilled, and it was 20 minutes before we were going to head
home and eat dinner and end for the night. When S.Baine sat on the
ground and said she would wait there for a miracle....guys. That
miracle came! A lil white dog ran up to us out of nowhere with 2 lil
kids chasing it, and they led us back to their mom on her porch.
Originally she said she's not interested and she doesn't speak much
English so we should go away. But S.Baine pushed to show her "Because
of Him", and it turns out Jackie is a sucker for movies haha. She
watched, and it devolved into an hour long conversation about her
life, her struggles, her questions, her searching soul, her hopes for
her kids, her desires for herself, and very personal information about
herself and her upbringing. I felt so much love for Jackie in that
moment. I KNEW she was my sister, and I KNEW we were supposed to talk
to her last night. And in this contact, it was clearer than ever
before to me, that the Gospel really does resolve every concern,
answer every question, make every unfair thing fair. Ah! It was
wonderful and beautiful, and she opened up to us right away because of
the Spirit. And the Spirit was able to testify to her, and to answer
some of her questions, and He led us to her last night. And we had no
idea. But God did <3

Wow wow wow wow wow wow wow WOW! Isn't this so cool??? I finally get
to be a part of someone entering the Lord's kingdom! All the past
13months of work has paid off because my joy is so great bringing one
soul unto Christ :D

Love you all!
Stay Jersey Strong.
Love, Sister McAllister
 Hindu Temple
 President and Sister Sikahema and group
 another exchange

Merica...July 4, 2016

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!! *cues music* "Oh say can you see? By
the dawns early light"--- it's her 240th birthday!

This week was a great week.
Tuesday and Wednesday I was on exchange with S.Carlson over in
Eatontown, so it was pretty cool! We got to talk about our Emerson
people, and then the people she's getting to know in Eatontown! And we
got to talk about all the good times together, and our families, and
all things new in our lives- it was a blast! It's so cool to be her
leader 6 months later, and see how far she and I have grown since
being comps.
And Friday we had a wonderful, spirit-filled Mission Leader Council. I
learn so much from President Taggart each time, I'm so grateful to be
a leader just so I can participate in those. Well...I don't really
participate...I just listen. I'm such a chicken. Haha, man. It's never
going to leave! #ShyTilTheEnd
Then we had District Leader Council on Saturday at a diner with the
elders. Man, I get so attached to elders it's terrible...ok,
clarification. Not that attached, but like a brother attached. I've
been so blessed to be in BroZones my whole mission so far *knocks on
wood 1000x*  They're just super cool and not nearly as much drama as
sisters.  ok sorry this is so scattered, I'm getting super distracted
by the other missionaries right now haha
Ok ok, Saturday was our MIRACLE day! It's gonna take me forever to
detail it out, hopefully I can make it!
First we had a lesson with a guy named Jorge, who had spent 15min on
Wednesday arguing with us about who Christ is and was just being super
rude until we tried to give him a card and walk away and he proceeded
to tell us he wanted us to teach him more lol. So we taught him the
restoration and he's real cynical and analytical like every other
stinkin person in Jersey ive met, but he said he'd read the BoM! Then
we met a guy named Luis who was talking on his phone, but we chatted
for 5 min and he said he'd love to meet with us! THEN as we were
driving back we passed Main St and saw a guy in pajama pants that we
had seen 2.5 hours earlier as we had passed it! We thought we should
probably pull over, but then we saw one of investigators further up
the street and knew we NEEDED to pull over. We couldn't track down the
pj guy, but we did manage to see Justin and meet his 3 friends and
give them all BoMs :)  one of them said he had been beat at bball by a
sister out contacting a few hrs ago hahaha! Then, we were by the lake
by Main St and a lot of people were fishing so we were going to start
contacting them one by one. We walk towards the 1st guy, and out of NO
WHERE a lady and her daughter ride up on bikes and stop right in front
of us. Her phone fell out of her bag and I was able to grab it before
it hit the ground, she about lifted me off the ground when she hugged
me haha! Then she straight up said "where's your church? When does it
meet? Can I come and bring my daughter? Do you have a message for us
today?"......whut!? S.Baine and I were flabbergasted. It was so
psycho. This kind of stuff happens only in dreams!!!! We were able to
give her all our info and the church's, and we got all of hers, and we
have a return appt, and she took a BoM, and she's just amazing! That
was one of the most spiritual contacts I've ever had. It's wonderful
to see how the Lord works. God knew we needed to meet Grace, so he
placed the pj pants guy for us to get our first nudge from the Spirit,
and then Justin so we KNEW we had to pull over. We were put in the
exact spot we needed to be in for it all to play out. ITS SO COOL!
Oh, and yesterday we got fed twice, and one was by this new couple in
the ward who's pregnant with their first child and they are soooooooo
funny! I love them so much already! I want to be their best friends

I hope you have a fantastic 4th!!!!!
Love you all ❤️
Stay Jersey Strong.
Love, Sister McAllister