Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013

Hello again!

This past week has been a week that I have used and appreciated the Atonement like I've never done before. 

This week was a hard week. We weren't getting as many lessons and lessons that we had planned with investigators, less-actives, and members were falling through and we were knocking on a lot of doors that remained unanswered. It was discouraging to have to keep walking away without sharing something. We did leave cards with our names and numbers! This really brought me down. I felt like I wasn't as aware of the Spirit as I could have been and I worried too much about the little things and what I felt like I wasn't doing correctly or at all. I was focused on me and that ruined me this week!

We had exchanges this week with Sister Brownell. We didn't get to spend a lot of time working with her because of the temple (which was absolutely amazing! I feel so blessed to have a temple so close that I have an opportunity to go once a transfer), but I learned a lot from her! As we talked, something that I wanted to work on was taking the lead. Taking the lead is so hard for me because my personality tells me to sit back and just listen! But I wanted to overcome that and grow. So that's what I did! I changed my attitude, overcame my fear, and took the lead all with the help of Jesus Christ. Without him I wouldn't have been able to do what I did this week. After Zone Conference, my zeal and fire for my mission was kindled again and my desire to have Jesus Christ in my life grew immensely! I know I have a lot to work on and it's easy for me to beat myself up for all of my short-comings, but I know it doesn't do me any good and I know it's something that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do not want me to do. I know they're proud of me and the only thing they expect me to do is not be perfect but keep progressing. I don't know why I got to this low point but I'm glad I did. I needed to learn this lesson and recognize that I need my Savior more than ever. I wouldn't have been able to learn this without my companion! She is amazing and is a wonderful example of what a true disciple of Jesus Christ looks and acts like. She sees what I can become and tries her hardest everyday to help me progress towards that goal. She is really amazing and I'm so grateful to have her in my life. I've learned so much from her in the past 4-1/2 weeks than I've learned ever! She pushes me to get out of my comfort zone and gives me wonderful words of encouragement that help me strive to do my very best. I love her!

Since we don't have a lot of investigators we are teaching the members and less-actives. We are really starting to focus on them and helping them strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ. We've asked our ward mission leaders to help us set up appointments with members and less-actives. We're trying to have dinners with less-actives, but they usually fall through. But at least we showed them that we want to meet them! We were successful when we were invited!
Jesus is doing great! He shared his testimony on Sunday and we had a wonderful lesson on the Plan of Salvation at the Knight's home Saturday night. We heard more of how he came to the church and how he came to know it is true. He is such an amazing young man and he's so humble too! He's still on track for his baptism date on November 2, 2013. I feel really blessed to be teaching him right now.
Sister Beckford hasn't been progressing. She's cancelled our appointments and hasn't asked the specific question "is the Book of Mormon true?" yet. I was beginning to think we should drop her soon but on Sunday we were talking to a member who takes two of her boys to church and she said that Sister Beckford and her daughter Tia were going to go to the General Relief Society Broadcast on Saturday but got the wrong address. She also said she was dressed and ready to go to church but then an emergency came up and she couldn't go. This is huge! This is the closest we've ever gotten her to coming to church! I'm sad that I doubted her. We still need to follow up on reading and praying, but she's making a huge effort to come to church! Her two boys who come are going to be an amazing example for her and they're going to also be a source of strength for her as well. 
I've had a good week. I've learned a lot and I've been humbled. I feel like the story of the Provo temple that was told at Zone Conference -- I feel like I've been burned and had my interior completely removed, but now the Savior can start working on me to build me into a beautiful, sacred temple.
Zone Conference was absolutely amazing! It changed my life! The theme for the conference was the Atonement. I played the hymns and one of the songs I chose, "Master the Tempest is Raging," pretty much summed up the conference. We are living in a world where the waves of life are crashing all around and we all are scared for the turmoils that are happening. But as we turn to the Savior and ask for help he will give it! Matthew 14: 22-33 is where the story happens; I encourage you to read it. We have life all around us and we see so many people, but as we take the time to recognize the Savior in our lives we can have the calm and peace we all desire! I felt like Peter when he started to walk on the water and let fear get the best of him. He began to sink but the Savior was right there to grab hold of him and helped him out of the water and they walked back to shore together. I hadn't been walking by faith. Rather, I was letting my fear of man get in the way of my ability to share the gospel with everyone. This Zone Conference on the Atonement helped me rekindle my fire for the gospel and my love for Jesus Christ has never been stronger. Everyday I make an effort to study him. I want to get to know him and who he is so I can try my hardest everyday to become like him. I've been studying "Jesus Christ" in the Topical Guide. Right now I just finished Jesus Christ, Appearances, Antemortal. It's amazing. I cannot even begin to write what I've learned in studying him. So do it for yourself so you can learn who he is and begin to strengthen your relationship with him and God. 
I love President and Sister Jenkins so much! I look up to them in everything! So after each meeting, we have what we call 10% which is dedicating 10% of the meeting to things that we can use after our mission. We had talked about education and how important it is to get as much as possible after our missions. It was great information that President Jenkins shared. Then cute Sister Jenkins got up and her ten percent was making sure your garbage disposal is on the correct side. We all got a good laugh out of that one. She is just the cutest thing ever!
I loved the General Relief Society Broadcast! I got to go and watch it at the Citrus Heights Stake Center and I was blown away. All I can say is I have a new found and deep appreciation for keeping my covenants and promises I've made with the Lord. After going to the temple on Tuesday, I have this new drive to live and remember my covenants as much as I can until I can go again and remember something more and get renewed strength to keep going.
So... Some super fun stuff now! So you know Elder Cook? Like, the Apostle Elder Cook?? Well, his daughter lives in Northpoint ward. So Cool!! Whenever I give her a hug I feel like I'm hugging her dad. She is just the greatest woman! She's the Young Women's President and is so cute and fun. We had a lesson at her house Saturday night with Jesus. She also has a Steinway & Sons piano. I about died when she said I could play it on P-days. We won't be able to go and play today, but we will definitely next Monday. I'm so excited!!!!!
Another random fact! I'm been keeping count and in the past almost 11 weeks I've gotten a total of 70 mosquito bites! Yay! These bugs are vicious here! They still bite me even when I spray myself with repellent. Gotta love bugs! I also saw my first scorpion yesterday. They are absolutely disgusting and I never want to see one again!

Love, Sister Dunn

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 23, 2013

Hello again!

We've been busy this week! So, Jesus got permission from his parents to be baptized! YAY!! That's a miracle because his parents are very Catholic and were not open to him becoming a member of the church. We've set a date of November 2. He is absorbing the gospel like a sponge and is growing stronger every time we meet with him. We have some work do to with the Law of Chastity, but I have faith that he can commit to living it and that he will find strength in Jesus Christ. 

We had an interesting teaching opportunity this weekend. On Friday, the Davis family in Estate Groves had a friend, Jason, who was coming from Texas to visit and he wanted to have the lessons while here. So, they set up the time and place (President Gulbranden's home) and we had lessons! President Gulbrandsen just returned from Argentina serving as mission president and he LOVES teaching the gospel. He loves it so much he practically taught the first lesson by himself. Sister Clemons and I did get some words in, but he extended all the commitments and invited him to be baptized. Afterward we were evaluating the lesson, trying to be positive because we really wanted to teach Jason! As we were sitting in the car I had made the comment that we were like witnesses to this lesson. Then Sister Clemons exclaims that we should be honored to have been witnesses to such an amazing lesson! And she was right! We were so prideful because we wanted to do everything. But we were humbled because Jason still felt the Spirit and began to have feelings that were nudging him in the right direction. The same thing happened on Sunday. We learned a lot and we are going to apply some of the things President Gulbrandsen did because they're valuable and effective. We're really going to start following up on commitments that we extend including every member we've had a lesson with. Jason is back in Texas now and the missionaries down there are aware of him and are going to continue what was started here.

Our other investigator in Estate Groves is Sister Beckford. She's slowly progressing, but she reads the Book of Mormon and prays. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and I invited her to be baptized! I've never done that before and that was something we did not plan on doing. During the lesson, the Spirit kept prompting me to talk about baptism and that's what I did! She was surprised by the invitation. She has a solid foundation in prayer and knows she can receive answers to prayers. So we prayed with her and helped her recognize the answers she was getting through thoughts and feelings. She felt peaceful and happy after praying and we are praying that she'll recognize the answer to her prayers when they come. She also came to the conclusion that she needs to say prayers specifically about the Book of Mormon and baptism and not have them be combined with everything else she prays about. We are making daily contact with her and we're excited to hear about her experience!

I've learned a lot this week and I've done some things that I've never done before. I was really down this week and I could not figure out why I was feeling the way I was and nothing seemed to be working. Members were being too missionary minded and made teaching/dinner appointments absolutely miserable. I felt really lost after one dinner where a member took control of a golden teaching opportunity. The member kept saying "these girls know a lot about this stuff" but the non-member said "I'd rather hear this stuff from you..." Yeah, that was a blow. I felt like I was in limbo after that for the next 2-3 days and I was having a hard time working and being diligent. But reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and talking with Sister Clemons and working through whatever was happening worked! After getting out of this funk I have never been so happy and I have never felt the Spirit so present in my life before! I've experienced wonderful miracles the past 3 days and I'm humbled because I know that without the Atonement, I wouldn't have been able to get through that difficult time. I know that no matter how the work gets done, the Lord makes sure the work gets done; even if we're just witnesses!

Love, Sister Dunn
Sis. Clemons, Sis. Foster, Sis. Dunn

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16, 2013


Life has been absolutely crazy the past two weeks. This transfer has been amazing. It's challenging but amazing.

Right now we only have a few investigators. Jesus is the best. He's so prepared and is so hungry to learn the gospel. Every time we teach him he just gets it and asks questions of the soul. He's been through a lot in the past three months and has found peace and joy in the gospel. We're working on setting a baptism date but his family is not supportive of that. They can accept him taking lessons and learning about the church but will not be ok with him being baptized. We're praying really hard to have the hearts of his family be softened. He just glows whenever he talks about the gospel and bears his testimony. I'm humble to be teaching him!

Our other investigator is Carolyn Beckford. She's an older woman who has four adopted sons who are 10, 11, 15, and 16. She's had a lot of contact with missionaries in the past and knows what we teach but doesn't know and feel that it's true. We've gotten to a point where all we can do is see her and testify. She knows she needs to take action and pray with real intent for an answer but she doesn't have the desire to do that. Her two youngest boys are amazing. They're involved in scouts and come to church every week with a member family and absolutely love church and what they learn. We're praying a lot for their family and will continue to work with them and teach them. It's really up to them if they want to continue investigating the church. 

I've been having a lot of back pain lately and it came to a point where I was going to physical therapy to help with pain. I got a blessing from the Elders in our zone who live in the same apartment complex we do. Every time I get a blessing I am amazed at these younger men who act on behalf of God. The priesthood is really amazing and I'm grateful that I can feel the power of the priesthood. We had a lesson on the priesthood in Relief Society in Northpoint ward and the teacher used a lamp to describe the priesthood. The outlet was the power of god and the cord was the priesthood holder. The lamp was the ordinance (whether it is baptism, blessings, or the sacrament) and the light bulb was the power or blessings we experience and can see. We all are given the ability to experience the power of the priesthood but only the worthy can receive the authority to administer that power. I'm grateful to have the power and authority of God here on the earth again to administer ordinances needed for salvation and exaltation.

Love, Sister Dunn

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 2, 2013


This week has been a week of new things! First off, my transfer went great! I love my new companion Sister Clemons. She is so dedicated to the work and does everything she can to work long and hard to serve the people in our area. We serve in the Citrus Heights Stake and we work with Northpoint and Estate Groves wards. These wards are awesome and the members are very active and many are missionary minded and there's like 20 families who have missionaries out serving! This area is crazy! There's a lot of work to be done here.

Right now we don't have any investigators and it's hard determining where we need to go. We are trying to gain the trust of the members to let us go and visit their referrals. Many members give us referrals but tell us not to go over until they've talked to them. We want to let them know that we can be trusted and we can go together to see their friends. We want them to exercise their faith in us and know that the Lord will make something happen. 

We do teach a lot of members though! One of our focuses is to help everyone go to the temple and receive exalting ordinances and to remember them. So we teach members and help them come closer to Christ. And by being in their homes, we hope that they will want and have a desire to give us referrals. We're exercising our faith a lot right now. But this month's theme is also finding with FAITH. This is going to be a great month to find people to teach.

We taught part of a lesson in Relief Society in Northpoint about what we can do to help the work progress in the ward. We talked a lot about faith and being a friend first. We used the story in John 21 where Peter and two apostles were fishing after the Savior's ascension to heaven and were having no success. The Lord happened to be on the shore and instructed the men to put the nets on the other side of the boat. They did as they were told and got so many fish the boats began to sink! It was then that Peter realized that it was the Savior and literally swam to the shore to greet him. When everyone arrived there was a fire there and the Savior provided a meal for his disciples before he began teaching them. There's a power lesson taught here. I learned that becoming a friend is so important when we want to introduce people to the gospel. Friendships are one of the things we take with us to the next life. If we establish a friendship first, then sharing the gospel becomes more natural because we want our friends to know about what makes us happy! I think the sisters learned that too and I can't wait to see what happens!

So the Saturday before I got here Northpoint had a baptism. A 66 year old man named Harry joined the church. Sister Clemons and I are teaching him new member lessons and each time I meet with him I'm amazed at his spiritual knowledge. Heavenly Father knew that he was ready and is blessing him with knowledge and strength. He has a son we were going to teach because he showed some interest but now he's asked us to delete his number from our phones and to never contact him again. I really believe that each person who is taught the gospel is prepared by God. Harry and his son Shawn are living proof! Harry was prepared and welcomed the gospel into his life while Shawn isn't ready and God knows that. 

Even though it's difficult not having a lot of people to teach, being able to study the Book of Mormon everyday has blessed my life immensely. I've been studying a lot about faith looking for patterns of strength received when faith was acted upon. Right now I'm studying Mormon and Mormon is such a role model to me! Even though Mormon was working with extremely wicked people, he never gave up on them. He had faith that one day their hearts might be softened and remember the teachings of the Savior. And even though that never happened, his faith made him stronger and he grew closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I feel the same way right now.

I'm grateful to be in the area I'm serving in and I know the Lord wants me here right now :)

Love, Sister Dunn

Lazona Ward Party