Monday, December 17, 2012

Remembering the Savior at Christmas

I know that the Christmas spirit is that of amplified love, joy, peace, and giving. In this time that we think about the Savior, we remember his humble beginnings which eventually lead to his eternal sacrifice and his triumphant return. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, He has been since the foundation of the world and will be for eternity.  We should live every day in the Christmas Spirit, always with a fullness of love, joy, peace, and giving always in remembrance of the Savior.

Elder Eli Allen

Monday, December 10, 2012

Typhoon Bopha

Editor’s Note:  It was a scary week as typhoon Bopha headed for the Philippines. It hit Mindanao, about 400 miles south of Eli, and left 600 dead and 100,000 homeless, those affected by the storm can use your prayers. Then Bopha turned back toward Luzon.  It looked like it would pass off to the north, but then it headed straight east...straight for Eli.  Bopha had 98 MPH winds when it turned for Luzon.  But miraculously, the storm fell apart as it came ashore.  It looked like it came across the Cagayan Valley as a few bands of ferocious rain between midnight and 2am Friday night.  We watched the satellite loop over and over.  It was pretty cool to watch it break up as it headed for Cauayan.


We heard a little about the typhoon, but I didn’t realize it had caused that much damage, or even headed up this way.  Honestly, we couldn’t even tell there was a typhoon up here besides a little rain and cooler temps. Besides that, no damage here in the Cauayan mission. Thanks to your prayers. 

This is an insirational message, ala the Philippines.
That explains a lot. Puroks are the way little towns
are divided up. Thats my area.
Elder Elgan heads home Wednesday. I tried to convince him to extend his mission about 10 months, but no luck.  Elders Huffstutler and Hamblin were supposed to have 2 more cycles after this one but they have been cut down one cycle and go home in January.  Everybody’s leaving me. I need to make new friends.

The Plan of Salvation is difficult to teach here, because they don’t really understand concepts like that.  In America you can ask simple questions like, "Have you ever thought about where you’re going after this life?" and they may say something like, "Of course, who doesn’t?" or, "I’ve always wondered," but here you ask that same question the answer is almost always, "No."   They just don’t think that way.
The Cauayan Zone
But you understand the importance of the Plan of Salvation. which we all need to understand, because it is what the Gospel’s all about: Eternal Families.

I love you very much. Thank you for your prayers. I’m sure that’s what helped us out up here.
This is funny because its really how tagalog is.
He is asking if the other guy is going down.
The other guy is saying he is going down.

Mahal ko kayo,

Elder Allen

Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving dinner at the Mission Home.
Photo shamelessly borrowed from
Sis. Shaner via Grace Nay.
This week was Thanksgiving.  We were invited to Thanksgiving lunch with President and Sister Carlos and the other Senior Couples.  'We' is Elders, Huffstutler, Miole, Bluth, Gloria, Samar and I. President Carlos cooked a turkey and a whole bunch of other things.  A little taste of home.  After eating we put up the Christmas tree.  Then when finished with that, we ate pie. Lots of pie. It was a good Thanksgiving. Then we ended the day by going to the very nice funeral of a really old member we didn’t know.  So it was a fun day.

Of the two Thanksgivings I have had on my mission, they were both great. Besides that our week has been pretty tough, getting punted everywhere. We just walk back and forth trying to catch people to teach while leaving a trail of OYM's (Open Your Mouth) preaching everywhere we go.

I helped set up the Christmas tree.
That’s all that has happened this week. Thanksgiving was great. And Thanksgiving sounds like it was great for all of you.

I love you all.

Mahal ko kayo,

Elder Allen
Elders Huffstutler and Miole,
as they normally appear.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Welcome to Cauayan!


I didn’t tell you last week that there were transfers this week because I didn’t think there was going to be much of a change. I was wrong. I have been transferred out of Ramon and into my fourth area and my... eighth? companion. I am now in Cauayan 2nd branch, Cuauyan Zone, Cauayan Mission. My new companion is Elder Samar, the Elder that Elder Valdez trained back when I spent a lot of time with him in Alicia when I was in Jones.  We live only a few streets away from the Mission Home and live in the same house as the APs (Assistants to the President), Elder Huffstutler and Elder Miole, who were both my ZLs (Zone Leaders) when I was in Jones with Elder Elgan.  So we are having a pretty great time. New area and new companion, and I am very excited for this Cycle.  This is Elder Elgan’s, Miole’s, and Olivas’, and a whole bunch others last cycle, so it’s going to be an excellent six weeks before they go home.

Mahal ko kayo,

I love you all.

Elder Allen

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Week in Ramon


My week has been okay. Elder Sarcauga and I spend a lot of time going to very far out areas and getting punted and sent away all day. I’ve eaten balut 3 times now.  It has turned into a dare kind of thing, though I hear, that the first time Elder James ate balut (my companion in the MTC) he took one bite, ran away and threw up, and ran right back, loosened his tie and announced that he was going to finish it, and to everyone’s surprise, finished it.  We found an all-you-can-eat buffet earlier for 100 pesos, but you can’t leave a thing on your plate or the price doubles to 200 pesos.  It makes me feel bad for wasting food at Golden Corral.

We have been teaching a very frustrating group of people.  None of which show any progression. one says she really wants to go to the temple but isn’t willing to do anything to get there, one is super polite super catholic, another is a 5 year investigator who has yet to make a step of progression, and another is a brand new investigating family that refuses to believe that we can know for ourselves the truth through the holy ghost.   That's who we are teaching plus the many varying less-actives and in-actives.

Mahal ko kayo,

I love you all.

Elder Allen

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Adventure Time


I take back that they don’t celebrate Halloween. They do, but its called "all saints day" and all they really do is get together and eat food and celebrate dead people. Nothing like in America. 

The Ramon Elders at the baptism of Jay Padilla.
Elder Hamblin got tired of Tracting because he found it boring and depressing, so he has re-named it, "Adventure Time," the time that we scour the deepest caves, the densest forests and scale the highest mountains looking for those that need to hear the "good news."

Tracting is just looking for new investigators by talking to random people about Jesus.  Adventure time is much more exciting. He now writes that in his planners…with the addition of a sword.

Interesting news about the new age limit of missionaries;

Abad is a common name in this area,
but it doesn't always work on a business.
When we heard this Friday from President Carlos, There had been 8,000 mission papers submitted since the announcement. You know how many mission papers usually get submitted in that same period of time? 300 to 500.  The fact becomes more amazing when you think of the process of mission papers and how many more will continue to pour in. There is going to be a bit of an influx of missionaries would be my guess, over the next year of course. This is an immediate installment of strength.

I have been receiving serialized letters from my father about his life and conversion, he had better keep writing them.

I love you all so much.

Have a great week, everybody.

Mahal ko kayo!

Elder Allen

Monday, October 15, 2012

Blessed are the Merciful


It’s fun living as 4 instead of 2 because you get the chance to learn from 3 others you are living with rather than just your companion. The area was so huge that we couldn’t go to any neighborhood in the area more than once a week, and we still couldn’t make it all around the area.  And with the surplus of missionary's coming in, president saw fit to put four of us in one ward, so we go to church together and everything.  This week was General Conference for us, so we finally got to hear the news for ourselves.  We don’t know what to think of it, really. 19 year-old sisters and 18 year-old elders are going to be different but I probably won’t see any until I have about 6 months left.  That was a great announcement from the prophet to celebrate my one year mark,  though.

Elders Oliva, Amoi, me and Sarcauga
eating like champions.  
This week Hamblin and me went on splits and traveled all around our area and met no success. Better luck this week. I hear that you are having my siblings pray for me to eat more food.  I’ll try.  I’d love to just live off the fruit here, but that would be too expensive.  We have very far places in our area and we walk to those very far places and then walk all the way back. This is the biggest town I’ve been in, but its still a far shot from a city.

My favorite talks in conference were Elder Larry Echo Hawk’s talk on Saturday, and actually, the closing prayer to the priesthood session. It may sound weird that the prayer was one of my favorite parts, and it’s not because it was 'finally' ending, but because it was so short and so simple and seemed to be pointed directly to me.

They do not celebrate Halloween in the Philippines, in fact they don’t celebrate anything between the beginning of September and Christmas, except Christmas.  So actually on September 1st we started to hear Christmas music everywhere we go and they start singing Christmas hymns in church. 

Dorian fruit.  Smells like rotten eggs,
 tastes like egg salad.  Mmmmmm.
I study love and charity daily and have been since I realized I was a little short. Charity is defined in Webster’s as 'good will or love towards humanity' or in a simpler word, 'Mercy.'  The merciful will obtain Mercy and the merciless and the brutal will be lost. I understand my weakness and I will strive to do better.

I love you Mom, and the rest of you. I love you all so much.

Fight like Dragons... merciful Dragons.

Mahal ko kayo,

Elder Allen

Monday, September 24, 2012

Same Town, New Area


This last week was transfers. we (the Ramon Elders) were given a special invitation. we were told we had to be there. The area was split between me and Oliva. I'm opening a new Area on the other side of Ramon. its just Ramon 1st and 2nd now. I'm in Ramon 1st now but its still just one ward. My new companion is Elder Sarcauga (Sar-ka-ooga). He's from Davao and is about five months in the mission. I am follow-up training him after hes spent 3 cycles or 18 weeks with his first companion. The only thing harder than training is follow-up training someone who is set in their ways. Elder Oliva's new Compaion is Elder Amoi from Fiji. He's a 250 pound rugby player. We talk about rugby a lot. 

Elder Nay and his MTC batch
We spent most of the week tracting because we have no one to go to and found a nice 52 year-old woman who is not a member but one of her kids is a bishop in manila. She said she seen the temple and said it was the most beautiful thing she had every seen and is willing to do anything to get into it because thats how she imagines heaven. So we gave her a baptisimal goal date and invited her to church then she grabbed one of her grandchildren and said," We are going to church."  It was great.  Hopefully her faith is as strong as it sounds. That's an investigator we have here now. 

There is nothing more important in this life than happily loving and serving with all your heart, might, mind, and strength every soul that crosses your path and nothing should ever stop you from doing it.

Some pictures!
First is Elder Nays enitre batch singing at Transfers.
then my Batch (me, Nielsen, Procter, and James)

I Love you all very much.

Mahal ko kayo,

Elder Allen

My MTC batch, one year into our missions.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Perfect Brightness of Hope


Our new apartment!  Finally!
Life can sometimes be viewed as "the long night." We wait for the promised blessings of a new day. Though life can sometimes be very dark and lonely, we must look forward with a perfect brightness of hope, that the sun will rise again. Though it may not rise tomorrow, and it may not rise the next day or for a very long time, if we do as the Lord commands, the sun will rise and it will be bright and glorious and "the long night" will end.

That's my spiritual thought of the day. 

We moved again this last week, and transfers are this coming week, so I may only get to live in this house for 4 or so days. But thats okay. Next week I'll give you the good news. I dont know what the good news will be, but it will be good news.

I love you all.

Take the good news to heart and share it with everyone that crosses your path.

Mahal ko kayo,

Elder Allen

Balut, a fertilized, fermented duck egg.
One of the delicacies of the Philippines.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lost Over 30 Pounds


An interesting fact:  I had lost about 30-35 pounds out here, but I am gaining it back slowly through eating (important pala) and exercise.

We are continuing to try and move houses again.  And that’s about all the drama we’ve been dealing with this week, making things a little stressful.   We are also having a tough time trying to deal with the size of our area.

The sign says "its forbidden to fix cars here".
That doesnt stop them
 What we like to call 'the gathering of
Isreal.'  Those little lizards are 'butikis' or gekos.
They are everywhere and they poop on everything.
Typical interaction between
Elder Hamblin and I
That’s about all that’s happened this week.

Mahal ko kayo,

Elder Allen

Me and Oliva. He was trying to look tough,
so naturally I had to give him bunny ears.

Editor's Note:  The weight loss not only explains why he looks so skinny, it also explains all the food in the last post.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Eating Large in Ramon

Elder Hamblin and me eating a pizza. A pizza like 
that is almost impossible to find here in Isabela. 

About two weeks ago Hamblin and I split this pizza between us. It’s meant to feed an entire street of Filipinos, but we managed and everyone was impressed.  Then last week after District meeting Elder Griffin dared us to try the 'Godzilla Burger' challenge.  Four of us each bought a burger and we each finished it with only a few side effects.

Giant burger.  We've been taking on 
wierd food challenges lately.
I am trying to move again this cycle. It will be my 3rd move, 3rd cycle in a row, and 3rd house in one area. I have yet to live in any of these houses that I find and bargain for for an entire cycle.  The new house is kind of like a small mansion here. Hardwood floors; now tha’ts impressive. President wants to put another pair of missionaries in our area. So the house needed to be big enough for 4. The senior couple who looked at it thought it was big enough for 6. I am now recognized as the house hunting missionary. Fortunately, the houses I find aren’t bad. We are actually trying to move out of our apartment now without the landlord knowing because he’s not a very nice person. We are leaving him with 2 extra months pay in advance and no contract because he voided it by not being nice…so he has nothing to complain about.

So this week we have some old and new house drama to worry about. And I’m going on Splits with Elder Griffin this Thursday in Ramon. Ramon was one of his old areas so he’s excited for that.

That’s all the news I’ve got.

Mahal ko kayo,

Elder Allen

I found my icecream shop.
I knew I left one around here somewhere.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Same Area, New Companion

Typical small market.  Note the chicken.  
The eggs are really fresh.

My new companion is Elder Oliva. He is in Elgan’s batch for going home, so he doesn’t have much time left.  This last week I spent a bunch of time with Hamblin and was officially companions with him for one night.  I got to see all those people I like at transfers (like Elder Nay!) and the night before at the farewell. After Elder Sister left the area to me, we have been trying to visit all those places he didn’t like to go. So the work is picking up again as I lead the area. Elder Nielsen and Procter and are training new missionaries and Nielsen was made district leader without his knowledge, so he’s pretty stressed.  

Hey I marked the family scriptures, but I didn’ t write them down. Will you please send me a list of where to find all of our favorite family scriptures?   Thank you.

And you can tell Tanya to just email me if she wants, instead of printing off her family emails and mailing them to me. I would tell her, but I  just don’t have her email.

I also just got a check for fifty dollars from Nana and Grumps. Unfortunately, in the Philippines there’s nothing I can do with it.  What should i do with it?

The flooding in Manila has been very bad, but has not affected us up here.  I was wondering if you had heard about it.

So that’s about it.

Love you all very much. I hope to see you all maybe a year from October and no sooner.

Mahal ko kayo,

Elder Allen
My last district/zone.
Elder Lasay and James two of my old
companions enjoy the back of the bus.

These are the tools you need to
read Talmadge's Jesus the Christ. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

On the Move

The news of this week is that Elder Teh, the Area President will be speaking to us tomorrow in Santiago.  It's a pretty big deal, so we are all getting pretty excited for it.   I was bitten by a small child this week during a dinner appointment.  He drew blood and I thought about calling Sister Carlos about Rabies, but I didn't.  Elder Quentin L. Cook is coming to the mission in August, as well.  This is apparently the first time an Apostle has come to this mission in a very long time, so it is very special.  Besides that, this last week was pretty normal. Oh, and I moved again.  I have had 3 areas and lived in 5 houses now.  I've moved twice in the last two cycles from houses that missionaries had lived in for decades before. Thats all the news from Ramon.

I love you all very much.

Elder Allen

"Mahal kita" means "I love you" or technically "you are my love."  "Kita" is a sub for 'ko ka' which just sounds funny.  But this means that "mahal kita" is saying "I love you (singular)," if you want to say "I love all of you" or "I love you guys" its "Mahal ko kayo." "mahal nila sa akin" means "they love me" and you can see how that gets complicated.  Just a small lesson in Tagalog.

Mahal ko kayo

Monday, July 9, 2012


Elders Samar, me, Lasay, and Valdez. 

Ramon is a nice place.  I'm slowly learning the area and relizing that I know a little Tagalog.  I just today got a package from Grandpa Fred. A whole box of Cromers popcorn and peanuts. You cant imagine how excited I was to get that. I dont know how im gunna eat it all, though.  Mosiah 20:11 ends with "...and like dragons did they fight."  I think we should all go to bed at the end of the day and ask ourselves, "Did i fight like a Dragon today?" Whatever it is you do, you need, you love, or you believe, fight for it like a dragon.

I love you all, and i know you can do it, whatever it is.

Dad, do you remember when you told be about the time you saw the "Church of God - Zillah" in Washinton?  I often think about that, as unimportant as it may seem, it reminds me that sometimes as a religion you just have to laugh at yourself.  I love you and mom for the things youve taught me and the knowledge you've given me.

Mahal kita,
Elder Tadena, after surgery to repair
his shattered leg when he was hit by
a motorcycle. Did I mention I got to
spend the night in the hospital?  
Elder Allen

Sorry I'm a little short on time today...
Me with a power line, safely hung out
of the reach of children under 3.
We met this guy dancing in the street,
so I joined in with my awesome moves.  

Me with Elder Hamblin, ZL.
Me with Elder Lasay...I miss him.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

New Area for my Birthday!


I’m 20 now... depending on where you are in the world. I was transferred this week to Ramon in the Santiago North Zone. It’s a ward. Whoopie! My new Companion is Elder Sister. He’s a nice kid, I’m killing him this cycle (that means he’s going home at the end of this cycle).

Me with Tay Quejas (Chaos).
My one success in Jones.
There’s an elder here who I had meet in the MTC.  Elder Jimenez, turns out he was best friends with my cousin Kelen Packard in Houston Texas. He told him about me earlier but he had forgotten my name and Kelen just mentioned me again to him.

Elder Huffstutler, who I’ve spent a lot of time with since I came to the mission, is now Assistant to the President with Elder Miole.  They were both together as my Zone Leaders in Alicia and now they are the Assistants to the President together.  That’s awesome.

In my New Area we have a dinner appointment every night, so I will probably gain all that weight I lost in Jones back.  I'm also excersizing regularly now because I have food too.

Me, Elders Samar, Lasay, Valdez.
Elder James, My companion in the MTC took my place with Elder Lasay in Jones. I gave him the down low and wished him good luck. I feel bad for him, it’s a tough area.

My last two weeks in Jones I actually lived in Angadangan because of some stuff going down in Jones and got to kill (send home) Elder Justin Valdez.  He was awesome to spend time with and he’s back in Utah now.

Don’t worry, I got the birthday package last Monday night after emailing. Thank you so much for everything in it. It was great.

So this used to be the Illagan Mission. It’s the only mission in the Philippines that’s completely land-bound, it takes the longest time to get to our mission from Manilla (the mission above us gets to fly in), and we haven’t been to the temple in who knows how long.

That’s what’s going on right now.
An angry monkey.  

I love you all.

Mahal kita,

Elder Allen