Ben

Ben

Week 37 - 5/23/16 - 5/29/16

W6 of T7 5/23/16 - 5/29/16
Bike Stats
Total: 807.66 miles
Weekly: 69.345 miles
MaxSpd: 29.4mph
AvgSpd: 10.5mph
Time: 6hrs 31min 59sec

Man! A lot happened this week!
1. Exchanges! We had two of them this week and it was awesome to go with other missionaries and see what they do differently in their areas!
2. We made the news apparently for rescuing a kitten!
3. Last week of the transfer!
4. I had the best steak I have ever eaten last night!
5. It rained a lot this week!

Well. This is going to be a short email, cause all those thingy' s speak for themselves. It was a fun week!

Today was transfers and we are both staying for another transfer!

Love y'all! Have a good week.

-Elder Allen


Stormy the Cat



HUMBLE, Texas — Two Mormon missionaries in Texas, usually tasked with serving mankind and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, recently rescued a member of the animal kingdom.
Little did Elders Allen and Lacusta know when they left home a recent spring morning that they would save a small, furry life by the end of the day.
A kitten's cries for help got the attention of the two young men, serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who were riding their bikes home from an appointment on May 20.
After collecting the necessary tools, Elder Benjamin Allen, of Kaysville, Utah, and Elder Darren Lacusta, of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, lifted the manhole cover off a storm drain and Elder Allen wandered in to respond to the frightened kitten's pleas for help.
Elder Allen eventually beckoned the kitty to hobble over to him. (Note: The attached video captures the rescue, and was shot from above the storm drain by Elder Lacusta. Little happens until about 2:05, when the little kitten wanders out.)
The missionaries, who are serving in the Texas Houston East Mission, called their mission president and received permission to keep the kitten with them until they could find it a good home.
Saturday morning the elders sent a text message to Heather McGhie, a member of the LDS Church who lives in the area and who already houses two rescue cats, asking her to adopt the cat. She agreed and took the kitten — who had injured one of its back legs — to a vet the following Monday.
Early in the week, the kitten — the now aptly dubbed "Stormy" — faced brief scare in which it almost faced the amputation of its back leg. Elder Allen's father, who heard about the rescue from his son via-email, said he would pay for the cost of the animal's medical expenses, and an orthopaedic specialist said Stormy's injury could instead be fixed by having pins inserted in her leg through surgery.
As of Saturday, Stormy was recovering from surgery and was happily settling into its new home with the McGhies.

Editor’'s note: The Missionary Handbook for missionaries serving for the LDS Church encourages missionaries to follow safety rules and avoid dangerous situations.

video




Week 36 - 5/16/16 - 5/22/16

W5 of T7 5/16/16 - 5/22/16
Bike Stats
Total: 738.31 Miles
Week: 33.267 Miles
MaxSpd: 22.3 mph
AvgSpd: 11.8 mph
Time: 2hrs 48min 4sec

My goodness, where to begin this week... I have no idea. There was a
TON that happened this week!

Last Week Tuesday Morning
We played a prank on another missionary and shoved a snake down his
bike... We had to borrow their bikes for the night after pday cause
they dropped us off and we didn't have our bikes. So they, being the
nice people that they are, let us borrow their bikes. We, being the
little imbeciles that we are, pulled his seat off and shoved a dead
snake down there.

Rest of Last week
The bike stayed on the back of their car in the sun, all day, every
day. It roasted. The heat helped speed up the decomposition of the
snake...

This Monday Night and Tuesday
By now, the snake had sat in the sun, on the back of the car, roasting
in a metal coffin for a week straight. The smell was so bad. I went on
exchanges with this Elder Ericson. The back of their car smelt really
bad. Really, really bad. We stuck our head underneath the back of the
car to see if a dead animal had crawled up there. We knew what it was.
They didn't. I felt sooooo bad for keeping the secret that I almost
told him. Little did I know, Elder Lacusta was just about telling
Elder Combrink the same thing. But neither of us told them what it
was. So we let it sit another night. Tuesday morning rolls around and
Elder Ericson and I go about doing missionary work in the other Elders
Area. We were in the car all day and there was no smell whatsoever
inside the car. But everytime we went to get out of the car, it
smelled like something died and went to heaven a long time ago.
Terrible. The stench was so bad that Elder Ericson almost threw up.

Fast forward to Wednesday
10:00. We get a call from the Zone Leaders. They didn't sound too
happy on the phone... They had decided to actually really hunt around
and look for the stink. In doing so, they were going to take the car
through the carwash and they needed to take the bike rack off. As they
took the bikes off the rack, strange goo started dripping from Elder
Ericson's bike. The goo smelt really bad. So they investigated the
source of the smell. After looking at the entire bike, Elder Combrink
realized that the source of it was actually inside the bike. So the
took the bike seat off. Lo and behold! A bunch of little white maggots
fell off the bike seat! They called us immediately, assuming that we had shoved something down there, which wasn't technically wrong. This is the conversation that
followed:
"Elders! What on earth did you shove down my bike?!"
"What are you talking about?" Have to play innocent on this... They
don't know what it is yet. They didn't even know it was us. They just
assumed that it was...
"Wait, y'all didn't shove anything down my bike?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Oh, sorry about that. We thought y'all shoved something down my bike.
We found the source of the smell and it's coming from inside my bike."
*snickering* "Man! That's crazy! Do you know what it is yet?"
"We think it's a mouse or something like that."
"Probably. But it could be a nice big ol' Buck Deer!"
"Haha, maybe. Alright, we are going to go wash it out."
"Alrighty! Let us know!"
*click*

They hang up and get some bleach to kill the maggots. As they poured
the bleach down inside the bike frame, all the snake juices started to
turn to gases instead of liquid... They said the bike huffed steam for
a good while.

They take it to the car wash to try and get what's inside back on the
outside, where it's supposed to be. Elder Lacusta and I are dying
laughing back at our place.

They start to spray down the bike and maggots start to fall out of it.
And there goes the spine, vertebrate by vertebrate. And spray a little
harder. Oh! There it is. Skin! They walk over to examine the skin,
realize it's a snake and call us about .03 seconds later very not
happy. Here is the conversation that followed.
"Elders! How are you?"
"Better than your from the sounds of it..."
"Did you shove the snake down my bike?"
"Ummmmmm... *Elder Lacusta looks at me and I nod my head yes* Yessir, we did"
*Click*

They proceed to wash it out and clean it thoroughly and it still
smelled like very dead snake. We call them and ask if they want us to
clean it out. They say no cause they already cleaned it, but then call
us back and change their mind cause they are angry and not thinking
straight.

We take possession of the bike and find all the bleach and pine sol we
can. We take the bike into the woods by our house and fill the frame
up with this stuff. We let it sit for a second and then we let it
drain. Now it smells good like pine sol! I take some of my tools and
tune the bike up for him, I lube the chain and adjust the brakes and
derailers for him.

They come back to the house to pick it up an hour later very not happy
still. We cook them some bacon to try to make up for it and they
aren't happy. But, they came over later that day and we apologized for
putting a snake down there. He wasn't happy cause there were maggots.
But, in our defense, we didnt' put any maggots down there. We put a
snake and then nature put the maggots... But it's all good now. Cept
they are gonna try to prank us back. We found out for a YSA member
that they are going to glitter our apartment Monday night for the YSA
FHE activity. Shhhhh, don't tell them that we know. We don't know how
we are going to foil them, but we are. We are open to suggestions!
Please, if you have any ideas, let me know! But that's the whole snake
in the bike story.

Holy cow, it's been a long week.

We had Zone Conference with Elder Snow Of the 70. He spoke at the last
conference and it was a good talk! The training we received was super
good! He spoke a lot on member missionary work and that was super
cool! He taught us some neat things about the work and how to do it. I
believe that his training will help this mission a lot.

We have a little kitty cat now... Friday night we were riding home for
the night and were almost home and heard a bunch of meowing. We were
like, "What?" So we circled back around to pinpoint the sound of the
meowing and realized it was coming from the storm drain. For those of
you not familiar with storm drains in Texas, they're massive and they
are every 100 feet or so and all connect to form an intricate drainage
system that can drain a bunch of water really quick. We were able to
shine a light down there and see the cat in distress and realized that
it was just a little kitten! We went back to the apartment and got
some tools that we could try to pry the manhole cover off the drain to
hop down there cause we couldn't fit down the one in the curb. We
grabbed some bike wrenches and stuff and after struggling for a time,
we managed to get the thing flipped up and over onto the grass. I
hopped down into the drain and the cat ran away... Not what we had
planned, but we were still gonna give it a try. I sat down in the
drain for about 5 or so minutes meowing and calling to this little
kitty who was about 30 yards away in the drain. Slowly but surely, it
started to make its way to us! It finally came and we were ecstatic! I
grabbed the thing and lifted it up to Elder Lacusta up top who had
been filming and holding the light for me. So yep, that is how we came
into possession of the little kitty known as Stormy.
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865655241/Watch-Mormon-missionaries-rescue-kitten-from-storm-drain-video.html?pg=all

We brought it home and bathed it and loved it and fed it some ham and let it sleep
with us. It is now Monday and we still have it... We called President
to let him know about it and he told us to baptize it then figure it
out... so we did. It's now a good active Mormon here in Summerwood! We
have a home lined up for it cause we aren't allowed to keep pets in
the house or anywhere. We have justified it thus far by claiming that
it is a refugee:) there is a member who wants to adopt it and they
will be a good home for it!:) We are super excited for it. And we will
be able to visit the kitty when we are up that way from now on.

Almost done, promise!

Saturday I had the opportunity to go back down to Broadway for a
baptism! A lady that I taught down there finally decided to get
baptized and it was so cool!!! It was absolutely beautiful to be a
part of that experience. Her name is E. M. and her brother is
the one that baptized her, M. He is a Stake Patriarch down by the
border. He was so grateful that I showed up and was able to be there!
You can't explain the joy that comes when someone finally decides to
enter the waters of baptism. This is so eternally significant and
wonderful that as a missionary, you feel at peace with it.

Something that I have been able to learn a lot on my mission is the fact that in
order to convert others, you have to first convert yourself and if you
aren't doing the little things like prayer and scripture study, you
can't possibly expect others to do the same. But, when you do, the
Spirit of the Lord is with you and will touch the hearts of everyone
that you come in contact with during the day.

Wow, that's a lot that happened this week. Told you! But it's made for
some good stories and lots of wonderful memories. We have learned a
lot this week. Sorry for rambling, but I hope you enjoy reading! Love
y'alls very much and thank you for supporting me in being out here!
Miss you very much!

-Elder Allen

Ps. Attached are pictures of the rescue and the baptism. There aren't
any pics of the snake in the bike, sorry:(
Pps. Seriously though, any suggestions on how to avoid a glitter explosion would be very much appreciated!

Ppps. When you realize that you can't have a little kitten forever:( but we found her a good home!)


Week 35 - 5/9/16 - 5/15/16

W4 of T7 5/9/16 - 5/15/16
Bike Stats
Total: 705.04 Miles
Week: 29.921 Miles
MaxSpd: 29.4 mph
AvgSpd: 10.8 mph
Time: 2hrs 45min 56sec

Yep, this whole day by day thing just isn't working the way I imagined it!

Another week has come and gone! And there was rain! It rained just about all week and that made it all fun and stuff like that.

What happened this week? Just about everything fell through and our most solid people dropped us.:( A lady that was supposed to be baptized this upcoming Sunday decided that she didn't want to get baptized this week. She has absolutely nothing bad to say about the church, but she doesn't want to get baptized. So we don't really know what happened other than she just decided to not get baptized. We think that there was some family opposition involved. But, she wants to keep coming to church, so thats good, right?

That was probably the biggest downer of the week. There wasn't really a biggest upper other than church. Church was awesome and we have some promising people right now coming to church and thats good!

Remember that your Heavenly Father loves you very much. No matter what you are going though, He will always be there for you. Thats where true relief and joy is found. 

We changed things up a bit this week and bought a pack of bacon and made bacon every morning for breakfast. That made things a lot of fun! I do enjoy bacon and this is the first time I've had it on my mission:)

Thats it for this week! We have covered just about every emotion this week and its made for an interesting adventure!

Love y'all!

-Elder Allen



Week 34 - 5/2/16 - 5/8/16

W3 of T7 5/2/16 - 5/8/16
Bike Stats
Total: 675.12 Miles
Week: 26.089 Miles
MaxSpd: 23.1 mph
AvgSpd: 11.6 mph
Time: 2hrs 14min 00sec

Well hey y'all! I'm trying to get back into this whole day by day thing, buts it's already Thursday...

Monday was good! We had a fun pday at the church and played basketball, chair soccer, and volleyball and it was a blast! We didn't have a basketball to play with, so I had to break into the sports closet in the gym with a knife and a credit card. It's amazing to see what skills you pick up on a mission

Tuesday was good too! We taught lesson after lesson and it was awesome! The member work is really picking up now days. It's super nice. We are getting a lot of support from the Ward and I am learning a lot from Elder Lacusta. He has been out for a little longer than me and has member work pretty much figured out. It's good to be able to learn about the 'How' more so than the 'what'. Everyone knows the 'what', not a lot of people know the 'how'.

Wednesday was good also! We didn't have too much to do today, but we taught some lessons and contacted a few people.

Well we had a few good days this week! There were lots of things that we were able to see happen and people that we have seen progression in!

This email will be short cause everyone already knows everything that I am saying... You heard it last week too! We didn't bike a lot this week. We got a bunch of rides from members and we walked quite a ways, which was nice. We are trying to find new ways of commuting to and from appointments, and it seems to be working!

I got to talk to my family! They are doing good and they are still alive! That's good:)

-Elder Allen

Oh! Funny story. We were teaching a lesson to one of our investigators and there was a knock on the door. We had a member with us and after our investigator got up to answer the door, we started making jokes about how the Jehovah's Witnesses were at the door. Well, it turns out that it wasn't them. But, it was the Kirby Vacuum salespeople. Our investigator came back and the Kirby Vacuum salesperson was with him. They started setting up the whole presentation thingy and we continued teaching our lesson. the Kirby Vacuum salesperson came over to start to listen to us. He was religious guy and we started asking him some questions. So, it came down to the fact that he WAS a Jehovah's Witness... So that was hilarious. Then we taught him the Restoration and our investigator was teaching with us and that was hilarious! After the lesson ended, we got the guys info and sent it off. Then we decided to stay and sit through the whole Kirby Vacuum live commercial thingy. You know how much they want for a vacuum? $2400. Way too much for a stinking vacuum. But it was hilarious! The guy kept on trying to get us to buy it. He tried sooooo many different tactics to get us to buy it. And our member shot down every single one cause he had seen it a ton before! It was really funny:) Thats our funny story for the week. When we left, he was still trying to get our investigator to buy it. He is probably still there trying to get our investigator to buy it.

-Elder Allen


Week 33 - 4/25/16 - 5/1/16

Bike Stats 4/25/16 - 5/1/16
Tot: 649.03 Miles
Weekly: 48.838 Miles
MaxSpd: 27.7 MPH
AvgSpd: 11.8 MPH
Time: 4 hrs 7 min and 1 sec

So, I told you that I would get back to this whole Bike stats thingy at the beginning of my email. 

so there it is.

We went to the temple this week on Wednesday and it is super cool! i love the temple so much! 

I was sick on Tuesday and that was an adventure. That was fun!

We have so many investigators that are awesome! There area so many that are close that we are working with! I will let y'all know what happens with them all, but hopefully it'll be good! 

I always love fast and testimony meetings cause they are super cool! The Spirit is always super strong when the testimonies born are centered about Jesus Christ. He is the center of everything that we do and that is what we teach the Investigators and then for them to come and hear a bunch of testimonies about how Jesus Christ is our Savior, it really hits home for them. 

We found 2 dead snakes on the side of the road this week. So we made sure they were dead and took them home with us to play some pranks...

Love y'all very much!
-Elder Allen





Week 32

Well. Lots to report on this week!

So transfers were supposed to be last Monday but the rain and the flooding made it so that some people couldn't get to transfers, so they postponed them till Saturday. So we had our apartment packed up cause our area was getting shut down and we had to unpack to live in out apartment for the next week, right? We had taken all of our food to the other missionaries apartment cause they needed food and we had a bunch and since we were being transferred on Monday, we didn't need it. Well, we survived on very little food. After we had basically unpacked a lot of our stuff over the course of two days or so, we got a call. This was Wednesday. The call said that we needed to make sure the apartment and the car were clean for tomorrow (Thursday) for transfers. So transfers ended up being on Thursday instead of Saturday, which made it nice to get to the new area and have some food...;)

My new area is called Summerwood. Its at the NorthEast corner of Beltway 8 and it is a biking area! I'll get back to the whole weekly mileage thingy, but its not that big of an area, about 6x6 miles or so. It also happens to be completely different in demographics than my last area! There are about 3 black people... The houses are all very nice. Very nice. Very very nice... I don't know if I like it yet or not. 

My new companion is Elder Lacusta from Calgary! We have had some fun conversations about the different words for things and stuff like that. He and I are basically the same person from different backgrounds. It'll be really cool to see how things work out over the next 5 1/2 weeks. I'll send pictures later on. He's been out about 22 months as near as we can figure. He had to go home for heart surgery a while back and came back out a transfer after I did.

My new apartment is very very nice! There is carpet and a washer and dryer inside the apartment. I don't know what the address is yet, but I'll get that here shortly. 

We have a lot of people that are so ready for the fullness of the Gospel! It'll be awesome to help them progress.

Well, that's about it! Love y'all! Send pics! I'm forgetting what all y'all look like. 

-Elder Allen


******

The flooding hasn't affected really anyone in our mission. Its mostly the other two Houston Missions that have been affected the most by the flooding. Sounds like you had a lot of fun on the asphalt Paver! Looks like you did too! I didn't get transferred to the boonies. I wish I had. But I am here in the Summerwood neighborhood. Its sick. So much wealth in one spot. Look at some of the houses on Google Maps. The most 'ghetto' neighborhood in my new area is about as nice as the nicest neighborhood in my last area. I don't know how I feel about it yet. President Rascon lives in our area and this is his ward if that gives you any inkling about it... But, all in all, the Ward has a lot of potential and I think we will be able to do wonderful things here!

-Elder Allen



Week 31

On Apr 18, 2016, at 3:46 PM, Van <vallen@xmission.com> wrote:
The pics remind me of how it was when I was a kid….now you know what I meant when I said I floated down the street on an inner-tube…..I wasn’t joking.

Cool videos

-Dad

From: Ben Allen [mailto:ben.allen@myldsmail.net]
Sent: Monday, April 18, 2016 1:48 PM
To: Xmission <vallen@xmission.com>
Subject: Re: water

Probably not. There were only 2 areas that got flushed this transfer, us and an area in Cleveland up North.

I've uploaded most of em, still have a few to go though. Then I have a bunch of pics on my iPad. I'll keep taking pics though!

-Elder Allen

<image001.jpg>

Haha, look what we picked up this week

On Apr 18, 2016, at 2:37 PM, Xmission <vallen@xmission.com> wrote:
So the two of you get to stay together. Just in a new location?

Well be safe and have a good week I'm sure they'll be plenty of cleanup to go around. We all miss you over some great pictures take some more and upload them kids love them.

-Dad

On Apr 18, 2016, at 10:13 AM, Van <vallen@xmission.com> wrote:
I hope you have a good swimsuit today. 

Remember the storm drains. Stay away from them. Better only 1 person be lost than 2 in a rescue. They are overwhelmingly powerful.

It is cool to see all that water. I remember it so well as a kid. It was a highlight of mine growing up.  Lots of stories to tell.

Have a good day. I guess this really messes up transfers today.

-Dad






Happy bday! 

So I'm being transferred again. Our area is being shut down and we are being flushed. So basically we are doing the same thing we did last transfer. We have to pack up e apartment and make sure the area book is up to date and the records are being transferred correctly. 

We went to another missionaries apartment this morning to pick some stuff up before the rain was too bad for transferred. We waded through the parking lot and didn't think too much about it. We made it to the other missionaries apartment just fine without too much trouble and picked up the stuff and hung out with them for a minute or two. Well, on our way back home, we couldn't get home. The rain had picked up and everything was super flooded. We were on the feeder just down the road from our apartment and we couldn't get through. So we turned around on the one way road and went the wrong way. It's ok though, cause everyone else was too! We tried another way, made it a little closer, but it was still blocked. Then we tried the next way. Same thing. We drove around for a half hour trying to get to our apartment. We couldn't do it. So the four of us parked the car and hoofed it a half mile in the water to get to the apartment. Three of us had shoes and then one of them broke... So two of us didn't have shoes and we were walking through the streets of Houston, barefoot. We made it, picked up some shoes and an extra change of clothes and hiked back. 

We then found out that transfers have been cancelled and pushed back to Saturday cause it's supposed to rain all week. So we are here for another 5 days in an area that we've already shut down. We are in the dilemma of what to do for the next week. We will probably help out the other missionaries with the area if they ask for help, but if not, we will help them anyway!

-Elder Allen


Week 30

Well. Hey.

Another week came and gone. 

Big news! I was sick all week! And then my comp got it two days later. And then it went through the rest of this district. Some still have it. Crazy huh? Germs. This week wasn't fun, but it was good.

Not much to report this week, just stuffs. 

Oh! We rode our bikes around. And drove.

So we saw a dead cat this week. So we spent the rest of the week making dead cat jokes.

Some of our investigators are like dead cats. They just don't do anything!

People from Houston are like dead cats. They shouldn't be driving.

You know what speaks Spanish better than me? A dead cat.

-Elder Allen