Thursday, March 27, 2014


This is IT. Memories, experiences, and lessons learned are flying through my mind from these last marvelous 18 months. How do I wrap it up all in one email?

I'm afraid I do not have much to say in this final email. I now understand what Jeremy, then Elder Annen, had been talking about just before he left. Have I done enough?

I am SO happy that it's bursting out of my mouth as laughter and bursting out of my eyes as tears.

All I can say is that I love my Heavenly Father. I love Him so much.

All of my love each of you and ALOHA,

Sister Annen

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Life is Good

Ni hau and aloha everbody!

This week was packed full of great, wonderful things. The goodness in my life really just never ends and it's a day in day out kind of a thing. Whether I deserve it or not, I have a testimony that "men are, that they might have joy".

I had my exit interview with President Warner on Saturday. It was so great and so needed! We talked and talked about my mission, and lessons I have learned, and experiences I have had, and my goals for the future. He gave me the most wonderful advice for my life ahead and he helped me to be just excited for life. He helped me to see that rather than being sad about leaving my mission, how happy I can be to live what I have learned these past 18 months. We finished at 3:40 pm, just in time to race to our dear Brian's baptism at 4:00!

Yes, Brian was baptized last Saturday! It was such a wonderful day. His uncle Travis just received his priesthood after years of inactivity and so he was able to baptize Brian. It was such a special day for the both of them. It was so wonderful and I felt so blessed from Heavenly Father to have this experience at the end of my mission. I was also able to go to TWO call openings from two amazing girls whom I taught a year ago! It was such a special day to see them bear testimony and to be called to serve Heavenly Father. Bri is going to Washington Everett, and Pare is going to Baltimore Maryland! Both leaving April 23. I've been just overwhelmed at the blessings I have seen, especially as I have looked back on my mission hoping I did everything I could.

On Sunday, the Visitors' Center had a fireside with Brother Quinn who is a professor at the University of Michigan and was the MIssion President in Australia. It was fabulous! Wow I learned so much. Even with the huge amounts of people there, he told us that he would be specifically talking to the full-time missionaries. In the end, I felt like he really should have said, "I will be specifically talking to Sister Annen." because it was hand written for me! I needed to hear every word of it. As I talked with the other missionaries afterwards, they told me they felt he was speaking directly to them, and I thought, "but wait, he was speaking to ME!" Hey, that's what happens when the speaker is inspired of Heavenly Father. How grateful we all were to him. There are so many things I want to improve on as a missionary and listening to his talk helped me to know what I can do better. I wish I had more than one week to work on it that's all! But it's all good because I'm going to make this last week, the best week of my mission. 

After Brother Quinn spoke, they had me sing for the last time. I have never sung a solo before, and I was planning on singing with another sister. But it was unanimous (except for me, which isn't unanimous, but what can you do 100 to 1? :D) that I sing "Where Can I Turn for Peace" on my own. I was terrified! But as I sang, I just pretended I was teaching a lesson about the Atonement which I get to do everyday. And I survived! :) I was really glad I did it, even though I'm not sure I want to do it again :) haha we'll see. It was a great experience though.

You see what I mean by my life being packed full of wonderful things? Goodness, I feel like I'm dreaming everyday! Life is good.

I love you all so very much and don't you ever forget it!


Sister Annen

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ni Hau!

Aloha nui loa!

How are we all today? I just have so much to say so here we go!

First off, this is a total shout out to my man Hunter Annen!! Alpine German-Speaking Mission?! YES! Wow I am so so happy for you and couldn't be prouder. I actually met a couple whose oldest son was called there and will leave the same day as you! I wonder if you'll ever be companions. You know what's cool is that I have an investigator that I'm teaching online right now who is in the Alpine German-Speaking Mission boundaries so maybe you'll get to meet her! I'm just so happy right now. Sharing the gospel is the greatest thing you could ever do Hunter boy. Way to be :)

I had my last Zone Conference last week. It was wonderful and also a bit emotional for me. Whenever it's your last zone conference, they have you bear your testimony and so I had the chance to go up and say a few things to my La'ie zone. I wasn't sure how to express all that I had learned and gained a testimony of in the last year and a half, but I got up there and pretty much cried and closed my crying in the name of Jesus Christ and sat down. Ha there had to be some words said in there, but I can't really remember. 

I can't say I've ever been applauded for after testifying at the Visitors' Center...til now :) ha remember how I was telling you about how I have been practicing my double testifying in Chinese for when the day came? Well, it CAME :) A group of about 30 Chinese came to the VC the other day and Sister Su began the lesson/tour by showing the Christus and teaching/testifying of the Savior. She always does an excellent job especially doing it all on her own without a companion to help her out! It's why Heavenly Father called us to go two by two because it's really hard otherwise! but when you don't speak Chinese...Sister Su does all the work. Ah I just love and respect her so much. 

Anyway, so she did a wonderful job, and then in Chinese, she told all of them that I would be saying something to them in Chinese. I could tell when she said that, because all of a sudden 60 beautiful Asian eyes stared right at me just shocked and waiting to hear what would come out of this white girl's mouth. I began my spiel by telling them my name was Sister Annen and that I was learning Chinese, and that I knew what Sister Su said was true. Three sentences! Nothing big! But once I thanked them in Chinese, this ROAR of applause filled the Christus room! It was unreal! Ha all of the sisters were in shock, I was in shock, it was the greatest moment of my life :)

Once everyone dispersed and started looking around on their own, this one Chinese woman came up to me and started talking to Chinese! Ha since I had said a few words at the beginning, she figured I could speak fluently! So here I am just standing there staring at her hoping that I would just suddenly understand what she was saying; but I didn't, so I turned to Sister Su to save me and the woman said, " don't understand?" I should've just stopped her at the beginning, come on Sister Annen, but that didn't happen. Sorry that was kind of a long story! But it was such a great day and I feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many of Heavenly Father's children from all over the world. I can see why He loves all of them so so much! Why wouldn't He? I mean, I've only met wonderful people in my life.

I love you all so much and just couldn't be prouder of all of you. I couldn't ask for better examples in my life. What did I do to deserve this :D

Hugs and Kisses!

much Aloha,

Sister Annen

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hale sweet Hale (home sweet home)

Aloha from LA'IE!!!

How grateful I am to be BACK! Oh my goodness I have missed it so. Laie is definitely my home away from home. Leaving the people in Aiea and Pearl City was one of the hardest things I've had to do; but being back here in Laie couldn't make me happier. I have gained such a testimony of the spirit of the temple and temple grounds (having not lived around it each and every day). I felt the spirit each day out in Aiea and I experienced miracles daily. I will be forever grateful for the lessons I learned there. With that, I gained such a testimony of my call to the Laie Temple Visitors' Center. It is a place that people take with them when they go back to their home. Heavenly Father blessed me to meet and to see people I had already met from the PCC and VC while I was out there. Whether I was out tracting, teaching, or at IHOP of all places! I met people who had not forgotten the way they felt during their stay at the Visitors' Center. I could share loads and loads of stories! but I will save them for next month.

So THIS transfer is my last transfer...And it has already gone by too quickly. My new companion is Sister Su and she is from Taiwan. I love her oh so much! Her English is incredible and I can't imagine having to learn another language to teach the gospel. She is pretty amazing; I can't wait for you to meet her. There are choke people from China who come to the VC, and so I get to see Sister Su in action by teaching the gospel in Mandarin. It's awesome! We stay with each other in tours if it's not busy and so I get to just stand, listen to Sister Su and smile at all the beautiful asian faces :) I feel so pathetic and useless sometimes to be honest! I wish I could speak Mandarin so badly! Haha I try to run around and grab any pamphlets or Book of Mormons for her in Mandarin if someone is interested in one. I'm her "water boy" in a sense, and if that is how Heavenly Father needs me to be a missionary, then I am more than happy to do it :) The other day I decided that I wanted to do more than just deliver pamphlets. I asked Sister Su to teach me how to say, "I know that was she says is true." in Mandarin in order for me to double testify of all she teaches. So during her language study to learn English, I've been learning my ONE phrase and I just got it down! Boy, it was tough :) But I did it! Man, no wonder they are so smart! Just communicating and getting the intonations right makes you breathe hard ha. Props to them. Here my phrase (just to help me get it down a little more) 'Wo dzu dow ta shuwo duh, shoo doy duh'. I haven't had the chance to say it yet, but Sister Su and I are just waiting for the chance :) Oh how I love sharing the gospel so much! Good thing that doesn't have to end at the end of this transfer.

She and I are living at the little beach house :) The same one I lived in when I first came out and the same one I lived in when I was training Sister Knudsen. And now here I am again at the same pad!
This morning, we went to the temple which made my whole week. Love the temple!

What else can I update you on. Hmm...OH! We have a new VC Director! Duh Sister Annen! Ha ya, that's been new! He's great guys. He was a mission president before, and so he's good. Of course I miss my dear Mcdonoughs though. They were here for most of my mission. But the VC will be left in wonderful and inspired hands. The other two senior couples whom I've come to just love so much are leaving around the same time as me. I'm so happy we all live in UTAH! The blessings from living in Utah :)

Anyway, goodness I'm sorry let me just explode on you guys! Ha I just gave you a bus load there. I hope it all made sense. I am just so happy to be here, back at the VC, with my dear companion Sister Su, in the Laie 2nd Ward. Life is good.

I love you nui loa! I am thrilled to hear about my dear future Elder Annen and where Heavenly Father needs him! Please record the call opening ya. I am so happy. A mission has been the greatest, hardest, most rewarding blessing Heavenly Father could have ever given me.

Talk to you soon! xoxo

Much Aloha,
Sister Annen

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

For the Birds

Aloha and happy Monday everyone!
How's it family? It sounds like it's been quite the week for all of you my goodness. Keep doing what you do and show the world what the Annens are made of :) Know that you have a number one fan on a little island called O'ahu.
This week was wonderful. Which is normal over here. Just last Sunday, Quinton Kamaunu, who just got baptized in December, received the priesthood!! It was the greatest sight to see as he stood up in his suit and the ward sustained him. He was beaming just like he did after he was baptized and after he received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Feeling the spirit just does that to people. It truly is the greatest gift Heavenly Father can give us on this earth. I was so happy and I couldn't stop smiling all three hours or all day or all week.
I need to finish my favorite story about member missionary work! I'm so sorry it's taken me so long! Did you guess why the father looked for the birds? I will tell you. He knew that if he found the birds, he would find the fish since the birds eat the fish.

Now, why would I tell this story? Whenever my companion and I are teaching a member family after a dinner appointment, we will tell them that, we, as the full-time missionaries are the fishers in the boat. We try to find the 'fish' or those who are prepared and ready to hear the gospel. But sometimes, or a lot of the time, it is difficult to find people to teach on our own. So we look to...the birds! And who are the birds? YOU!! :) We look to you because you go to school with them, work with them, and play with them. You are their friends and family and we are here to help you guys. As my companion and I finished telling this story one time, this cute little boy said, "So we're the birds huh? So we eat the investigators?" haha oh man I was laughing so hard!
I have so many other stories and experiences to share but I'll have to save them for later.
Sorry this is kind of short! The length of my emails are definitely not a measure of how much I love you let me tell you that. If that were the case, this computer would crash because the email would be so long.
I love you!!
much aloha,
Sister Amen

Monday, January 27, 2014

Catching Fish

Mele Kalikimaka!
I know Christmas is over, but I really wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas in Hawaiian. What a special treat to talk and SEE you! Oh boy what a good looking family. And I mean that not only by your great looks, but, you all really just radiated and made me so happy. Thank you for helping me feel the true spirit of Christmas even more. We were so blessed to go to a baptism that same day. It was so special. Talk about giving a gift to the Savior.
This transfer with Sister Tui'moala has been so fun! Wow, do I have a testimony of working hard and having fun at the same time. She sure knows how to do it, and I love that. She is a great teammate as well as the spirit. I love our threesome!
We had the privilege and blessing to have Elder Auna, our Area Seventy, come and have a meeting with all the ward council leaders in our stake. He trained us on Hastening the work of Salvation and what we can specifically do to to work together as member missionaries and full-time missionaries. One of my favorite things he talked about was how we as a people right now are in the exact situation as the people in Helaman were. This is why. They were preparing for the Savior's coming. Aren't we doing the same?? We are preparing for the Savior's coming right now! This just happens to be His second time coming to this earth :) As the people were preparing and diligently sharing the gospel with others before the coming of the Savior, this is what happens: "And it came to pass that in this same year there was exceedingly great prosperity in the church, insomuch that there were thousands who did join themselves unto the church and were baptized unto repentance. And so great was the prosperity of the church, and so many the blessings which were poured out upon the people, that even the high priests and the teachers were themselves astonished beyond measure." (Helaman 3:24-25) Have you thought that perhaps the same thing could happen now? Absolutely! Heavenly Father has prepared those thousands-more even! already for each of us to share the gospel with them. What a wonderful thought. All we need to do is show our faith and be prepared. Heavenly Father will send the prepared to the prepared.
This training reminded my of one of my favorite stories I've learned out here on my mission and my companions and I love to share it with our members at dinner appointments. It's a Tahitian analogy of how full-time missionaries can work with the members to bring salvation to the Heavenly Father's people. As I tell you the story, think about how it relates to working together.
Once upon a time, there was a small boy and his father. The father wanted to teach his son how to fish; and not only to fish, but to fish well. One day, they brought their fishing spears and their little boat, and sailed into the ocean to catch some fish. The little boy was so excited because this was going to be his first time ever to catch a fish. He sat in the small boat with his spear ready to catch the first fish he saw. After many hours, the little boy couldn't catch one fish. He didn't even see one! Discouraged, he turned to his father, and asked, "Father, how are you catching the fish? I can't even see one let alone catch one." As he turned to his father, he noticed that rather than his father sitting in the boat with his spear looking into the water, his father was standing in the boat and looking out into the sky.
"Dad what are you doing?? We're trying to find fish here and you're standing and looking at the sky! How do you expect us to catch fish??"
The father turned around and said, "Son, I'm looking for the birds."
Now why would the father be looking for the birds instead of the fish?
Ah man this always seems to happen, but I'll have to save the rest for next time sorry family! Be thinking about it, and how it relates to working together and then I'll write more next time.
Have a wonderful week in the year 2014! I love you so so much! Muah! :)
love and much much aloha,
Sister Amen

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Copy and Paste

Aloha to you!
I have so much to say. So much to say! I wish I could copy and paste my mind family :) I feel this way each Preparation day and I even feel this way every night before I'm about to write in my journal! Heavenly Father never ceases to bless me with unlimited experiences, lessons learned, people met, and miracles seen or felt that I'm dying to write down for others to read and for me to remember later on in the future. I'll be sitting like Nephi in front of a desk instead of a bolder, with a pen instead of a chisel, a paper journal instead of gold plates, and think to myself, "Where on earth am I going to start??" I never feel I can write fast enough. Can you imagine how Nephi must have felt as he tried to describe his father's dream, or his experiences with Heavenly Father, or the miracles that he witnessed unto golden plates letter by letter with a chisel? Wow, I'm just amazed. You've got to know that Nephi along with all the other prophets knew that what they were chiseling line after line, word after word, letter after letter was true. It was no copy paste. I am continually in awe of the scriptures!
I'm kind of going off, sorry about that. What I've been dying to tell you is that, as you know, Sister UV and I have been teaching Quentin. He has known that the gospel is true and even cried as he gave the closing prayer. It was so sweet. We met with him on Friday and he wants to be baptized this Sunday!!! He had his interview a couple days ago and it went great. We couldn't be more excited. What a wonderful Christmas present for Quentin, his family who are members, for me, and for the Savior.
Sister UV and I have also been teaching Shantel (age 8), Chanelle (age 8), and Naturelle (age 10) who are adorable recent converts. They have such strong testimonies and have been through so much already in their short little lives. They live with their grandma who is a member and also with their mom, Agnus, who is not a member. We have been trying to teach the girls' mom as we teach them their after baptism lessons, but with no success. She would normally leave or go take care of the baby. Due to certain circumstances, about a week ago, she accepted to start taking the lessons with us! Oh boy we were so excited :) We met with her for the first time on Friday to see where she's at, and to teach her the Restoration. Without hesitation, when we talked to her about baptism, she said "I want to be baptized and I want to baptized on the 22nd." Jaws dropped, hearts attacked, we finally get out, "Of January?"....

So let me stop here and tell you that we have two baptisms this Sunday the 22nd. Ah!! Two! Needless to say, it has already been a pretty crazy week getting everything ready for the both of them. I am so so happy. Nothing can beat seeing the gospel change the lives of people you care about ya. Nothing. It's the best feeling and the best present Heavenly Father could have given me this year.
Time is out already, but I also just have to say that I will SEE you on Christmas! Yep, there's this thing called Skype... :) WHOO!! I'm super happy and I can't wait to see you! And Elder Annen is coming home in TWO days!! Wow, that is amazing. Take pictures for me ya? I'm so happy for you all to see him!
I love you all so so much! Keep smiling and spreading your sunshine. It hits people. It really does.
Sister Amen