Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December 29, 2014


Can you believe that 2014 is days away from being over? I sure can't. Time has just flown by. This week has been good. It was hard to find people because they weren't home, had family over, and/or were too stressed out with Christmas and wanted absolutely nothing to do with us. Great, huh? We pretty much have been able to see members the whole week (mainly because they're the only ones that let us in and they love us) and we've been inviting them all to fast with us. So the AZMM is going to experience miracles in the next couple of months. President Jenkins and the MLC have a vision and a plan to double the amount of baptisms in March 2015. Last year we had 50, so next year we want 100. Amazing?? Yes. We're dubbing it "Miracle March." In order for this happen, things need to take place in January and February. So, in January our goal is to find 1,500 new investigators. We're inviting all of our members to participate in a mission wide fast. With our combined fasts and faith, miracles are going to happen! It's been really cool personally inviting members to join us because it's something that they feel they can do. It's really exciting! Both of our bishops invited us to come up and invite everyone to fast during ward business. That was probably the best idea ever. Miracles are going to happen.... The wards have been slowly improving and I feel like we're going to start seeing some fruit soon!

Christmas was crazy. We (the sisters I live with) decided to make Christmas Eve special. We tried to reenact our family's Christmas traditions to the best of our abilities. One thing we did was get our mattresses off of our bunk beds and placed them sardine style "underneath" the Christmas tree. Talk about a party. We've been too lazy to move them back. The living room area is our new bedroom. We drank Martinelli's and made crazy time-lapse videos on our iPads. We woke up at our usual 6:30 to open presents. That was crazy. I never really knew how much the members loved us until like 5 gave us really nice gifts! I got a sweet "Arizona" shirt and a microfiber towel for my hair. And these gifts came from members that I wasn't particularly close with. #somuchlove #immagonnacry We had Christmas breakfast with Brother Smith and his crazy family and got to call home from there. That was nice, except for the darn dog. She wanted to take all my face time away! #punk We spent the rest of the afternoon with Bishop Lingard and his family. We played with their crazy presents. They got these things called Poppers (Their son Michael read the packaging wrong and thought they were "Poopers". LOL). They're squeezable toys that you can put a little foam ball into. Then you can squeeze them and cause instant fake death. We had a blast shooting people. Our evening was spent at the lights. Every night there are performances and the entire mission was the entertainment for Christmas night! Imagine 240 missionaries singing Christmas songs after only practicing 1 as an entire group..... Don't worry, members told us we sounded like angels. :) It was a really amazing experience being on stage with 240 of the best people on the entire earth. I couldn't help but cry because of the intensity of the Spirit. It was probably one of the most memorable nights of my mission. Then we stayed up late working at the lights. It was a great day! :)
Here's a really awesome experience from a couple of days ago from working at the lights. We were in front of the temple by the fountain where the white nativity statue is found. We were having a hard time finding people to have a meaningful conversation with. We were having lots of small talk going on and picture snapping out the wazoo, but not what we really wanted. As we were stepping aside to let a big crowd through I saw a young mother just staring at the temple. I could tell that she was struggling with something with the "deep in thought" look pasted on her face. After waiting a minute, I couldn't wait anymore and we started to talk with her. Her name is Amber and she got baptized in January of this year. We were just getting to know her and she kept talking about how she couldn't wait to go inside the temple. She would say that over and over and over again. As missionaries we're so excited for her and were congratulating her because she could go in a month. Then she would look troubled again and gaze at the temple. I didn't know what to do and she didn't appear to be open to what we had to say. So we offered to take her picture. Afterward she just opened up and said that she doesn't feel worthy to go to the temple because she doesn't have a "calling" like a teacher or like the other members in her ward. She started crying as she told us that and my heart broke for her. The Spirit swooshed in then and used me as a mouth piece to comfort her. I told her about how as a missionary I really wanted to come out and baptize like crazy. After a few months I didn't see any results. Did I not have enough faith? Do I need to be more obedient? Why am I not seeing more success from my labors? I got really discouraged. I was following the counsel of my mission president and the guidelines found in Preach My Gospel. What was I doing wrong? Then I told her how the Lord comforted me and let me know that I was successful. Our success isn't determined solely by the number of baptisms we get. It's determined by the life we live. We're successful if we have the spirit with us and he's working through us. I told her that her success (or worthiness) as a member wasn't determined by the calling she had. Her worthiness was determined by if she has the Spirit. You can know if you're worthy and clean if you feel the Spirit because the Spirit cannot dwell in unclean places. Holy cow. Her countenance did a 180. At that moment I knew that Spirit had touched her heart. She heard the words she needed to hear. Miracles happen at the Christmas lights and this experience was my personal evidence of this. We all can have experiences like this. We just need to be at the right place at the right time with the Spirit as our BFF. 

I guess work wise the week has been pretty good. Emotionally it has been pretty tough. After talking with my family on Christmas it finally hit me that my mission is ending. In my mind I always knew that but my heart refused to accept that. Needless to say, I've had a few breakdowns. I never thought that I would ever get to this point. I always thought that I would be a missionary forever! My life before the mission is like a blur right now... just figments of my imagination. Reality is my mission and that what it was going to be forever... until now. I ended up getting a blessing yesterday from our ward mission leader in Las Sendas. I'm doing so much better now, but I've had a lot of time to reflect on mission as a whole. What good did I do? What did I learn? What are my accomplishment? Stuff like that. It's been really good for me actually. I have a difficult time seeing the good that I do and the good that's in me. Doing this has really opened up my eyes to help me see all of the good that has come from my mission. I am in no way ready to go home yet, nor do I want to, but the Lord is helping me accept it so I'm not a complete wreck when I go home. :) In case you can't tell, getting ready to go home is terrible. Don't ever go home. ;P

Well, we're getting ready to party some more! The mission is having a new year's day party (mainly to avoid drunks and to give the members a break) and I'm soooooooooooooo excited!

-Sister Dunn

December 22, 2014

This week went by quick! Miracle!!! Remember Ed? Well, we went by and visited him the other day and he looked so healthy! We had a really good visit with him and at the end we were like "Ed, you ready to start the lessons again?" He was like "Yes, see you Wednesday." He told us that the time we haven't been teaching him he's been learning to let go and really give things over to the Lord. I'd say he's done a pretty good job about doing that. :) I think he is going to get baptized this time. :D
Stonebridge is coming alive!! Our potentials are meeting with us and we're getting referrals like crazy. Our hard work is starting to show finally. Bishop Lingard is more on board with missionary work than he's ever been in the 6 months I've been here. Our auxiliaries are on board and good things are starting to happen. I'm so excited! We're busy and working hard. 
Sorry, but I don't have much time to write. Too much crazy Christmas stuff that's happening today. Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-Sister Dunn

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 15, 2014

I rolled my ankle and this was the most humbling/worst week ever.
First, story time. Tuesday morning my companion and I were doing our regular morning work out on the snazzy little hill off of Brown and the 202. We usually like to hike up it and then run down it (at a reasonably slow pace of course). I've done it a lot with Sister Krueger and was going to make it a regular thing with Sister Taylor.
The hike up was nice, but a little dark. We got to the top and waited a few minutes for the sun to come up. When it got light enough we started the run down. I always pray before hand that we'll be safe because this hill is a little sketch going down it. Normally it's really hard to concentrate where I'm placing my feet because I'm jumping and being jolted all over, but this time my mind was clear and going down was a breeze. As I thought "man, this is easy this morning" (about 100 yards from the top) my ankle found THE ONLY rock on the SMOOTHEST part of the hill and decided that it would be fun to roll. And boy did it roll. Luckily I didn't fall and make it worse, but I couldn't walk on it. Thank goodness Heavenly Father makes us go two by two! My sweet companion carried me down the rest of the hill on her back. I secretly want to know that the other hikers were thinking as they saw a 5'10" missionary sprawled across the back of a 5'4"
missionary... I was on crutches until Sunday. I was officially classified as a cripple.
Being crippled it not as fun as everyone thinks it is. I used the crutches during the day and a wheelchair at night when at the temple for Christmas Lights. Just for your info, people are clueless to those who are disabled! And ADA does not exist! In the future, I am only going to design spaces that will meet the requirements for ADA. Go handicap people!! Well, overall the experience was very humbling. It was humbling because I saw just how little I was but also what impact I make. Second, it was terrible because we weren't in our area a lot as a result. Realizing that I couldn't do a lot of the small things was frustrating and it was really hard to let my companion help me. I couldn't even carry a silly piece of paper because my hands were occupied with crutches! I learned a lot about the Atonement, reality, and patience. I feel that every time I experience something hard I experience a different part of the Atonement. I've never injured myself before and I didn't know how to handle it. I had a lot of time to study, pray, and ponder while I was taking care of my ankle. The Savior helped me let go of my pride and let my companion help me (that was super hard being a prideful and independent person). I now have a greater appreciation for the patience of our Heavenly Father and Savior. Who would have ever thought that I would learn this?? I've also never felt so much love before. Members and other missionaries showed me love that I've ever thought was possible. That love really helped me to get through the week.
We had meetings and the temple and more meetings with members. The times we weren't in meetings I had to ice and elevate my ankle. We didn't really spend a lot of time in the area and I feel like I kinda failed this week. If I only hadn't decided to go to the hill or something.... You know when you just want to put the blame on yourself? Yupp. Feeling that way right now, but it's getting better.  At least I'm not on crutches anymore and I'm not limping around today! So this coming week is going to be 1,000 times better because I'm not going to get injured, no one is going to get sick, and everyone is going to be home.
Being crippled while serving in the temple rocks. The workers are friendly to begin with, but they show an outpouring of love and service when you need help. They give you the royal treatment. You get to take the elevator and they smile more (I think out of pity, but hey! It's a smile!) and they let you cut in line and you're the first to do everything. It's the best but please don't go injure yourself to get this kind of royal treatment. Also, being in a wheelchair at Christmas Lights is the best. People actually talk with you and can't ignore your existence because they have to walk around you. There are some good things that have come from being crippled...
So there was a competition in the mission among the elders to see who had the most Thanksgiving dinners and we totally won!!! YES!!!!!!! The sisters beat the elders! WHOOOOOOH! Just thought you should know. :)
-Sister Dunn
P.S. I got to be companions with Sister Willahan last night!!!! MTC comps unite!!!!!! President totally should have made us companions.....

That's me being a cripple. I practically lived on this sofa.... This was me getting ready about an hour after the roll. More pictures to come next week!
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

December 8, 2014

What a happy Christmas week this has been! I'd forgotten how exhausting Christmas Lights are. I've never been so tired yet so happy. We've had so many small miracles happen while working at the lights. I have seen so many families from Vista Peaks it's not even funny. Our first night, the beehives found me and practically squished me on the ground. Needless to say that made my night. We've been setting goals for how many "He is the Gift" cards we want to send out and the number of meaningful conversations we want to have. We've only been working for three days, but we've almost met our goals every night. Setting goals really helps you stay focused at the lights. It's super easy to go into auto mode and forget that the people around you need what you have to offer. We've received a couple of referrals too and it's amazing to see that if you just talk with people the Lord will make up the rest. He makes things go naturally if you're trying. 
President Jenkins is a man with a vision. He's termed March as "Miracle March" because he wants to double the amount of last year's baptisms. We had about 50 last year, so his goal is to have 100. Pretty amazing. So he and the MLC this past week have been creating a vision, goals, and plans to make this happen. He know's that we can't do this without the members, so he sent out an email with the basic overview to the stake presidents who then sent it to the bishops who sent it to the ward council. Las Sendas is totally on board for the vision for the next 4 months! It was really cool as we explained what was going to happen and what we wanted to do how the Spirit touched the members hearts and helped them accept and want to help. Bishop Hurst heard about it before we did and quickly got the word out to the entire ward council. We visited our ward mission leader and he started to talk with us about it and we had no idea what he was talking about! I know that good things are going to be coming from this ward! Stonebridge isn't quite there yet, but at least Bishop Lingard knows about it. :) That's something, right? 
CRAZY STUFF!!! Mack has a stake calling!!!! He hasn't even been baptized a month and a half! He's the new stake sunday school secretary. He's going places...... It's amazing to see him and his wife grow. We were helping them put the information they had gathered and put in their "My Family" booklet into familysearch.org and they found 8 names that they're going to take to the temple!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was so amazing. When they finished putting in the info and submitted the names, a red dot appeared. I knew that it meant that they had names ready for the temple. As I told them that their jaws dropped and the spirit came in like a ton of bricks. Miracles. We're going to get them to the temple in the next week or two. :)
Working with Sister Taylor is going well. She's very bold, which is really good. Someone has to keep the wards on their toes. :) I hope to learn a lot from her and make this transfer the best one yet! This is going to be the best week ever too! We get to go to the temple and have a mission Christmas party!!! WHHOOOOOOOH!!!!!! I can't wait! Last year's party was a blast, so we're going to see if they can measure up this year. :)
President Jenkins just loves us so much! To help us DISCOVER the gift, EMBRACE the gift, and SHARE the gift he's come up with a reading schedule like he did for Easter. The reading schedule is amazing. It's really helping me focus and have the Spirit of Christ with me. It's been a great enhancement to my studies. I've been reading the nativity story frequently in the Bible and Jesus the Christ as well. I've learned a lot from Jesus the Christ. It has helped me not get caught up in the many interpretations of the nativity and focus on what really matters most: the fact that we have a Savior. When I think about it, often times we get just as distracted with fanciful accounts of the nativity as we do with shopping. Anything can be turned into a distraction. Even the lights at the temple can be distracting if we don't constantly think about why they're there and why we even have this time of year.
I hope everyone has had the opportunity to watch "He is the Gift" because it's pretty amazing. Please share it. Keep the true Spirit of Christmas.... the Spirit of CHRIST.... alive in our hearts and help others discover it!
-Sister Dunn

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December 1, 2014

This week has been so good! I don't know what's about it, but it was good. "HE IS THE GIFT" HAS STARTED!!!!! I'm so excited!! This is going to be such a positive thing! We were just at Winco before emailing and this good christian couple and I started a conversation about delicious Tillamook food and ended up talking for a minute about Christ and inviting them to watch "He is the Gift" and invite the Spirit into their lives. It's the most genius thing the church has ever come out with. When we first got the cards we were so excited that we just went up to the first person we saw and said "Hey!! We have a gift for you!!!" and proceeded to talk about the initiative and gave these two gentlemen a pass-along card, an invitation to learn more (which they declined *sad face*), and an invitation to Christmas Lights. It's the perfect thing we need to start talking with people.
It was really cool because I got to talk to one of the cashiers that we see every week at Winco today as well! I asked him how his Thanksgiving went and he went on about his family. Then I asked him what other traditions his family has and he went on about Christmas and having his entire family get together. What a perfect segway into Christmas Lights! This man was so excited when he got his invitation and said he's going to bring his entire family Christmas night to hear us perform. The miracles that are coming from this Christmas season!
It truly is a season to celebrate Christ!!
So, get your Ensigns out and set goals and make plans to hand out the 9 pass-along cards that were given to you. I'm also pretty sure that not handing out these cards is not an option. We believe in keeping the commandments, right? We learn the commandments from the word of God, or scriptures (ensigns for modern day prophets). We get the scriptures from prophets who speak for God. So when God tells us to do something though his prophets it becomes a commandment. This "He is the Gift" initiative is from the first presidency, so it's basically a commandment. I promise that it isn't hard to hand them out. It's actually really easy to start a conversation when you say "I have a gift for you!" This is coming from a person who struggles to start conversations. It's easy. If I can do it, you can too! Especially if it's to a friend or someone you love. Why not wrap the card with one of your favorite things? Be creative and be sure to involve the Lord through prayer. I promise that as you make yourself available to be an instrument this Christmas season that you will become one... the one the Lord needs you to be. :)
Since we can't really contact in our area, as a district we decided to spread "He is the Gift" around in a super creative way. We set up a hot chocolate stand at the church building at the turkey trot (which was along the route of the race). We started at 7:30 and waved at people as they drove by. We had more success once the race was finished, but the racers saw our stand as well as the drivers! We didn't just hand out hot chocolate; we handed out gifts as well! We wrapped pass-along cards and pamphlets to hand out to people!
Seriously this was the best idea we ever had. Here's a small miracle. We had the idea Wednesday morning during district meeting and had everything together by evening. Miracles. Even though people were hurrying, I know that someone somewhere was touched and will be changed as a result. The elders were really good about handing out the gifts and we got a lot out to people. The real spirit of Christmas and the restored gospel are being spread in the Salt River stake!
We haven't been able to meet with any of our potential investigators this past week... They all left to be with family for Thanksgiving. I mean, it sucks because they're gone but it's also good because they're with family. But small little miracles happened throughout the week!  Especially on Tuesday. I had prayed and asked Heavenly Father if we could have a really good night of finding people. We didn't have any appointments and I did not want to be contacting empty doors all night. Well, Heavenly Father is good and answered my prayers. Every house that we went to was opened. One was a former investigator family and said we could come back after the craziness of Thanksgiving.  Another was a PMF that had never opened their door in the 5 months we've been here. We were an answer to an active member's prayers as we visited her and helped her feel the spirit. Many more wonderful things happened. PLUS! This all happened in Stonebridge. Miracles.
Transfer news....... I'm staying here for my last 6 weeks but Sister Krueger is leaving... :'( Well, I'm sad to see Sister Krueger leave but I'm not upset or super emotional. When I read my transfer news email I was a little sad but peaceful at the same time. The Spirit really speaks to me through peace and he wasn't allowing me to get upset. He was just telling me that this is from God and it's the way things need to be. I'm super excited to be with Sister Taylor from Idaho! I love her! One of my favorite exchanges I ever went on was with Sisters Taylor and Taylor. I'm excited to see what the Lord is going to have us do together.
Good news! We survived our 7 Thanksgiving dinners! I never want to eat a big meal again, but we survived!!!! We made a plan that we would only eat one or two things at each house. At one we only had potatoes and another only pie and so on. We started our feast at 9 am and went until 7 that evening.
I also have to share this small miracle that happened this morning.  Last night we discovered our phone with a broken screen. We have no idea how it happened, but Elder Preston has been the best and got us a new phone. We thought we lost all our contacts but Elder Preston said that we could take our phone to the nearest Sprint store and they could transfer all of our 450 contacts to the new phone. Talk about a blessing! We get there and waited for our turn when a worker named Brian Dunn (funny because my name is Brianna Dunn.... I guess I found my long lost brother!!) and as he worked to get our contacts over he said that it wasn't working. He had tried 2 times and the machine told him no. I start praying and asking for a miracle (Sister Krueger is doing the same) and MIRACLE! The machine just started to transfer our contacts without a command. Brian was shocked and could not believe it. This man just witnessed God answering prayers and we let him know that too! MIRACLES!!
-Sister Dunn
We were just lining up to start the race!

It's a turkey-tater

Food. :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November 24, 2014

I SURVIVED THE 5K!!!!!! I ran it in 31:02. For a person who has never run in her life and started 9 weeks ago, this is pretty amazing. I learned that God gives his children many talents, but mine is not running. I'll just design the facilities that runners can use. ;) We also ran in the stake's 2 mile "fun run". I'm all runned out. This week has been kinda funky. I got sick earlier in the week. It really stinks getting sick... My body has this weird timeline where I get a sinus infection every six months. It's that time again! I'm so grateful for the members because they let me rest while another took out Sister Krueger to get some work done. 
ZTM was really good this past week. We were trained a lot about diligence and having pure desires and motives. It was probably the best ZTM I've ever been to. I was asked to give a talk on persistence vs. diligence. It was really interesting preparing for this. I had always thought that they were the same things, but they're not. I guess to sum up what I learned, persistence is working hard on your own; diligence is working hard with the Lord and for the Lord. 
Miracle! Jessica and her mom have shown an interest in the church again!!!! She kinda fell off the face of the planet, but we found her again! We just went over on Thursday and had a really good discussion with them about the Atonement. Right now they're content with their church, but are willing to look into another one! YAY! I was super sad when we lost contact with her, but we're not going to let her go this time! We're making an extra effort to let the ward know about her and inviting them to reach out and be her friend. Good things must come.... They might even come to church next Sunday because we're giving talks! YAY! After five and a half months in this area we are finally giving talks. 
Our transition lesson won't be happening for a couple of weeks... This investigator keeps bailing on us! UGH. Just when things seemed to be going right.... We're working really close with her fellowshipper and trying to coordinate another time to meet with her.
Stonebridge seems to be doing better. At least there are things going on! The new auxiliaries are doing a good job and motivating the other auxiliaries to reach out. We're planning on an open house in January and miracles are going to follow. :)
It's Christmas Lights time!!!!!!!!! They start on Friday and I'm SO EXCITED. We start working on the 3rd of December every other day. I can't wait and we get to be in our area!!! Last year we were never in our area during the evening during Christmas Lights. We had our official training on Friday. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Speaking of Christmas, those of you who are on social media should be all over Facebook on Friday the 28th. The church is coming out with a Christmas initiative that will seriously change you and the world. Take advantage of it because the church is making it easier and easier to share the gospel. We no longer have any excuses to NOT be sharing the gospel. 
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! I'm looking forward to spending time with the 7 families that have invited us over. Don't worry, we have a plan to not overeat. :) 
-Sister Dunn
After finishing the stake "fun run"

We finished the 5K!!!!!!!!!

Car selfie!!

Fit for the Kingdom

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November 17, 2014

Is it really Monday again? The time went by so fast this week. We managed to stay pretty busy doing service for our recent converts (ironing curtains and playing with play-dough with an 8 year old), teaching 8 year olds and preparing them for their baptism, and preparing for zone conference!
I'm not quite sure what you wanted the missionaries to learn from Zone Conference, but I left so pumped to go out and work! The Spirit was the teacher there. I think this was the best zone conference that I have ever been to. All the trainings were inspired and I want to make family history a bigger part of my work. We're changing the way we plan to incorporate what we were asked to do, and I'm more focused on my purpose than I have ever been. I feel I went up to the next level in my missionary work. It's really cool actually! I really think our purpose was driven in deep... Hopefully good things will come as we apply the things we learned. My group's training went really well! Between golf clubs and physics, we hopefully were able to teach how to make online proselyting effective and a powerful tool in our work. President liked it, so I think it was a success. :)
The Phoenix Temple Dedication was AMAZING!!!!!!! I cannot begin to express how grateful I am that I've been able to experience TWO temple dedications on my mission. If I thought I loved the temple before, I saw nothing of what I would experience after watching the dedication sessions. I learned that our vision of inviting others to come unto Christ needs to lead them to the temple, not just the font. The whole purpose for us coming to earth was to gain a body, have experiences that would make us learn, and to be obedient to the commandments of the gospel and receive all the ordinances that are also associated with it. THAT is why we do missionary work. It's to unite God's children and be together in the Celestial kingdom. I got that before, but now it's a part of who I am. I just wish the members would understand that. Attending the temple is more than just something we do. It needs to become a part of who we are. If we understand why we even have temples in the first place then we'll attend more and have a vision and goals to help others around us to get there. That's another reason why family history is so important. As people do their family history the Spirit of Elijah comes and bears witness of the divine nature of the family and helps them care for the eternal welfare of others! I could just keep going on and on and on. I love the temple. I want it to become more of who I am than what I do. I hope to be able to help others understand that as well and use family history as a finding method in our area. 
I'm so excited for the Christmas season to start!!!!!!!! We worked hard on Saturday handing out Christmas lights invitations to people we saw on the streets and we're making a goal with our ward mission leader in Stonebridge to make these invitations an effective missionary tool. We're definitely not going to just put them next to the programs for sacrament meeting. We're creating a plan that's going to be super effective... :) The church is coming out with initiatives similar to Easter. There's going to be a video called "He is the gift." So be on the lookout on social media channels to watch this video and share it with EVERYONE!!! These initiatives that the church is coming out with is genius! Good things are going to happen because of these wonderful tools that we're being blessed with! Whenever we visit with members and we get to discuss Christmas, I always make it a point to teach about the real meaning for Christmas and emphasize that we are celebrating the birth of our Savior! Focusing on the fact that if this event never happened, we would have no Savior, no Atonement, no hope for life after this. Go Christmas!!!
The Word of Wisdom and it's promises are real. Seriously. Live it exactly and see the blessings and miracles that follow. So training for our 5K has sucked. Who ever thought that running for 30 minutes straight was fun?? A crazy person, that's who. But I wanted to run the entire thing and made it my goal. This past week for running has been rough. I couldn't seem to break running for more than 25 minutes. Once I reached that time my body would shut down and I couldn't run any more. It was really discouraging! One morning I was sitting on our couch thinking about just running for that time and walking the rest. Then I remembered that the Word of Wisdom has a powerful blessing associated with it if you are obedient... "[you] shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint." I thought to my self "God always keeps his promises. Why not this one?" So I made a plan to eat exactly what the Word of Wisdom teaches (within my control of course... I can't control the enchiladas the members make for dinner) and took it to Heavenly Father in prayer. Guess what!? It worked! After a few days of eating better, the next time we ran I went for 28 minutes and could have kept going for another 5. The word of Wisdom is real!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amen. 
-Sister Dunn

Sunday, November 16, 2014

November 10, 2014

My mission president is the best!!!!!!!!!!! My dear Aunt Sherrie and Uncle Neil got to take me and my companion out for lunch! It was like the best thing ever! It was strange because I was with my family which is typically a big no-no, but SO GOOD because they're the best! I got swedish fish! I haven't had those in a LONG time! Family is just the best!
This week has been pretty good! Miracles, no matter how small they may be, are happening in Stonebridge! We met with some of the new auxiliary this week WITH our ward mission leaders and they are on board with what we are doing as a ward mission! MIRACLES! THEN! Another member of the ward council (who in the past has been very reluctant to help doing visits) actually set up an appointment and is coming with us! MIRACLES! I'm taking what little bit of light and hope I can get!

We had our first lesson with the member's friend in Stonebridge. It went pretty good! She told us up front that she just wants to learn, not convert. Too bad that we don't have control over the convincing power of the Spirit! I know she felt it and at the end of the lesson she agreed to read the Book of Mormon! Miracle! We have another appointment set up with her this week, hopefully things will go well. I'm kicking myself in the shins though..... She doesn't live in the area but the member is INSISTING that we teach her. If it goes well this week, we're going to transfer her to the missionaries in her area. I can't handle this whole "teaching outside of your area" thing and I hope members will understand that someday.... It's just an excuse to not doing missionary work within the ward, but I'll take what I can get.

Mack and Maria are doing SO GOOD! Mack received the priesthood this Sunday and is glowing! They're reading the Book of Mormon, participating in the church activities, and bearing their testimony to everyone. This Sunday a student from MCC (Mesa Community College) came because he needed to look into another religion for his religions class. At the end of gospel essentials, Mack goes up to this man and bears his testimony about the blessings that have come into their lives since joining the church and that he knows it's true. He's a superstar. She is too, but you could really see that he's in the church for life after this event.

All of our other recent converts and less actives that we're working with are doing really well! I feel that the wards are stepping up a little bit in retention and activation. They're making a bigger effort to reach out to those who may be struggling. I hope I can be a resource for them! The adult session of stake conference last week was all about our roles in the work. Hopefully someone will see that the missionaries are the resource for the members!! We're full-time teachers, not full-time finders.

Well, I feel completely inadequate to be giving a training on online proselyting! I've been praying a lot for guidance and the Spirit, so I hope our training will help the missionaries. It's definitely made an impact on my own proselyting. I'm reading a page of the guidelines before I begin and I'm constantly watching what I do to ensure that I am fulfilling my purpose. I've definitely felt a difference; I know that the Spirit is always with me guiding and watching over me. If no one else gets anything out of this training, know that I did and I'm making a goal to become more effective!
We got to go to the temple again this week! It was our regularly scheduled time rather than "the missionaries can't be out proselyting" temple trip. I just love the temple. I always leave with an assurance of God's plan for his children and an added measure of spiritual strength to out and tackle the next 6 weeks. Temples are such a blessing! Know that the family is eternal makes building stronger relationships all the more important. I just love the temple!!
I also had a very strong testimony building experience last Monday. We didn't have any appointments and we were just trying to stay positive. We were going through the ward list trying to contact less actives. Contacting empty doors for three hours is not fun or encouraging. I kinda had low spirits as we neared the end of the evening, but I was determined to stay positive. The last two people we saw were not happy to see us. I don't think because it was late, but because Satan had gotten a hold of their hearts and influenced them to hate the gospel and everything associated with it. They didn't say anything except "never come back", "we want nothing to do with you", "we don't take visitors", and "no one ever comes to our door" but I felt the waves of hatred as I tried to find a face beyond the security screen. I had never felt so terrible! I broke down crying on our way home because I didn't understand what I was feeling. What I was feeling was a portion of the rejection that Christ felt. It hurt! Rather than being upset, I turn to the things that we are taught to go to: the scriptures and prayer. These things aren't just "primary answers" or things to keep us busy. They are conduits that help us reach out to Heavenly Father and for him to reach back and help us. These simple things allowed the Atonement to come into my life and let the Savior take the lead. Without the gospel, prayer, and scriptures this event would have traumatized me for weeks, but with it I was healed that evening and my life continued on the next day like it had never happened. The Atonement is REAL. The small daily things allow us to access the Atonement and be healed through the blood of Jesus Christ. 
-Sister Dunn

We love the temple!!
I just wanna touch Mary and Joseph!
Lunch with Aunt Sherrie and Uncle Neil
Sister Krueger and me
At the Visitors' Center
My funny picture for the week....

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November 3, 2014

It has been a pretty good week! We've managed to stay busy and have had little tidbits of success! The member who invited their friend to Stonebridge's Halloween party took her to the Phoenix Temple open house and she's agreed to take the lessons! This member is on fire! It was a really neat experience being there when she invited her friend because she realized how hard it actually wasn't. If you invite, then you're successful! We're going to work with that and this friend is going to learn and feel the Spirit. :) We got to go the open house one last time on Saturday with this member and her friend. I just love this temple! I can't wait to go inside it when it's dedicated!
Trying to work with Stonebridge's new auxiliary hasn't gone according to plan this week. No one has answered their phones or isn't home... Times like these really test the extent of your patience... I'm getting a glimpse into how Heavenly Father feels sometimes when we don't do the things he's asked us to. Our goal is to still meet with all of them this week WITH our ward mission leader. That's the goal anyways....
All of our recent converts are doing really well, especially Mack and Maria! Mack gave a talk during the Saturday night session of stake conference (mind you he's only been baptized about a week too)! He had the entire audience crying and the Spirit flooded the room. The new member lessons are underway and they're reading the Book of Mormon! They're coming down from a spiritual high, so we're trying to get them to a stable place so they don't crash and burn. They're going to be great leaders in the ward in the near future... They're even better missionaries than the members! During conference, President Whimpey (the stake president) had all the missionaries come up and stand in front of the audience. He asked a few of us to share with the members exactly what they can improve on. Sister Poppe said that when she came into the area the members didn't know their neighbors. Nine months later these members still don't know their neighbors. Maria knows all her neighbors, invites them to everything, and even has gospel discussions! Who does that?? She's setting the standard for each of us. The essence of the gospel is love. One way we can show love for our neighbors is by getting to know them and showing interest in their lives. Over time, as we live the gospel, they will become interested in ours and will ask us why we are so happy. That opens the door to the gospel. It's not an overnight process, but it works!
We had a regional broadcast for the general sessions of stake conference. IT WAS SO GOOD!!!!! Elder Bradley Foster, Elder Christofferson, Sister McConkie, and President Uchtdorf all spoke. And the lady who directed the music is the mother of one of my friends from jr. high! I'm noticing a pattern in the talks given by our general authorities. They want us to gain a testimony, be converted, and endure to the end. I learned the power that comes from keeping an eternal perspective when going through challenges. Elder Foster gave us 4 things to remember: 
1.) We are all children of God 
2.) Our life has an eternal purpose
3.) God has a plan for YOU
4.) Remember that progression is eternal 
Sister McConkie talked about strengthening families through keeping our covenants (another theme from the General Women's Meeting). Elder Christofferson taught us about being truly converted. My favorite quote from him was "The Atonement is what writes the law (or gospel) on our hearts." The way we let the Atonement do that is by acting in faith to do what's been asked. We read the scriptures, pray, attend our church meetings and keep the sabbath day holy, attend the temple frequently, share the gospel, repent. President Uchtdorf taught us about the blessings of the temple. In case you didn't know, the Mesa Temple is where he received his own endowment! He loves Arizona so much and I love Arizona so much! We have so much in common!! #potentialbestfriends Anyways, he taught us that the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet is a guide that tells us what we must do outside the temple to be able to receive all the blessings that come from inside the temple. Spectacular? I think yes! 
Being out proselyting on Halloween was prohibited, so we got to go to the temple instead. :D I had so many tender mercies/miracles happen it wasn't even funny. One of my favorite families in Adobe Villa works in the temple Friday nights and I told Heavenly Father that it would be nice to see Brother and Sister Mangum. It wasn't a demand, just a thought that I told him. After I had changed to do initiatories I heard a voice say "Sister Dunn!" I turned around and there was Sister Mangum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my! It was so good to see her! I got to talk with her for a few minutes and she asks me "now, what's your name? I can't remember..."....................... The voice that said my name was not hers.... It was the Spirit. It was Heavenly Father letting me know that he heard my prayer. He let me know how much he loves me. He wants to bless us! We just have to ask and if it's his will, it will be done. It was such a tender moment to have that prayer answered. And then I also got to see Sister Austen from the Adobe Villa ward too!!!!! Tender mercies in abundance!!
Remember my explanation of my new found love of sushi? Well, to show our gratitude for Bishop and his wife, we decided to one-up heart attacking. Our genius idea consisted of cutting out papers, coloring them, and making everything look like something you would find on a plate of sushi. Chopsticks included! As we go up to the house, I stayed in the get-away car and Sister Krueger runs and places everything on the door, Bishop and his wife drive up. You would think that I would hide my face, right? Wrong. I quickly tell Sister Krueger to hurry it up while they go and park their car all the while knowing that they saw me. You would also think that being caught would cause you to stop and talk, right? Wrong. We book it still and we die laughing about what happened all the time. Moral of the story? You NEVER get caught heart-attacking, but sushi-ing is a lost cause. Trust me :) I have a lot of heart-attacking stories with situations that would seem impossible to accomplish the task of taping hearts to a door.
This coming week is going to be SO GOOD! We get to go to the temple again and President Jenkins has me and a couple of other missionaries working on a training for Zone Conference. On online proselyting!!! No pressure. 
-Sister Dunn
1. Phoenix Temple open house!!
2. Sister Poppe thought it would be a genius idea to take a dare given by a youth to eat 8 corn dogs on 50 cent corn dog day on Halloween.
 Phoenix Temple open house!!

Sister Poppe thought it would be a genius idea to take a dare given by a youth to eat 8 corn dogs on 50 cent corn dog day on Halloween.
Mesa Temple with Aunt Sherrie & Uncle Neil

Lunch with Uncle Neil & Aunt Sherrie

Sister Krueger

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October 27, 2014

Maria and Mack got baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  :) :) :)!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay!!!! They had a great service and everything went according to plan. I don't have the words to describe how amazing it feels to have them baptized. I don't even know how amazing they feel! They're letting us know that they're in this for a lifetime and are getting ready to serve. The high priest group leader has really taken good care of them and they have the best home teachers the world has ever seen. And Mack is now a home teacher as well! Maria has her visiting teachers and they're loving every minute. After their confirmation yesterday, Maria came up to us and said "What are all these tears about? They won't stop! Is this normal?" They're definitely feeling the Spirit. These two are the perfect example of the power of fellowshipping and being patient until the timing is just right. I'm excited to work with them more as they continue to progress. They are looking forward to going to the temple in a year from now! We were in the celestial room in the Phoenix Temple and Mack said "WOW. I can't wait to come back!" They have an eternal vision with a strong desire to learn. Love them!!
Most of our week was spent with Mack and Maria preparing them for their baptism. We went over a lot of last minute details and talked a lot about what was going to happen after their baptism. We went to the Phoenix Temple open house with them and LOVED every minute of it! That temple is AMAZING!! I think I loved it more than the Gilbert Temple!  The Gilbert was too flashy and sparkly. This one was full of color and I could just feel all the thought and detail that went into it. It felt more like a home. I loved it. The Celestial Room was oval and had 4 beautiful chandeliers that were simple spectacular. The artwork in the temple was stunning. I felt that there was a large emphasis put on the Savior (at least during the tour). My favorite painting was one of the Savior in Gethsemane with the angel comforting him. I've never seen anything like that before. It was surreal to see an image that depicted how intense and excruciating the Atonement was. Christ was called and prepared to perform this life-saving task, but he couldn't imagine how hard it was really going to be. Heavenly Father always is merciful and sends someone at just the right moment to come and lift us up. What kind of person was the Savior REALLY to put himself under that much pressure and pain? I'll let you know when I find out. :)
Here's my favorite "Angela" moment: "Missionary, I'm going to be a missionary just like you!" Doesn't that just make your heart cry because she's so sweet?? I always feel better after a little chat with dear Angela. :)
Both of our wards had their Halloween parties this week and many nonmember neighbors and friends came! A member in Stonebridge had a huge success at her party. For the party we were asked to set up a table with Book of Mormons and pamphlets. This member has been trying to get this friend to at least learn for years. She finally had success and her friend took a Book of Mormon, all the pamplets, and an appointment to meet with the missionaries. Miracle! She shared her experience in Relief Society and she's walking on cloud nine right now. There is a but.... this friend doesn't live within the ward boundaries.... But you know what? I'm going to take that as progress because nothing has been happening up until now. I'll take whatever miracle or tender mercy I can get!
I think good things are also going to start happening in Stonebridge.... I think.... Most of the auxillaries got new presidents in the past two weeks and we have a plan to go with our ward mission leader and meet with them and get things going.... Pray for us to have success!!
My new favorite food is sushi! After the baptism on Friday, our bishop and dear wife took us to get sushi. I love it so much. It's like a tortilla. You can put anything in a tortilla. Well, you can put anything in seaweed and rice! I got some wasabi rolls and had the time of my life clearing out my sinuses.
I'm looking forward to this week! I can't wait to go to the temple!!!!!!!!! My soul has been yearning to go! President Jenkins gave us permission to go do initiatories and endowments on Halloween!
I got to see one of my really good friends from Vista Peaks yesterday (she's only been a member for a year and is getting ready to go on a mission to Australia) and she's going to come to the temple with us!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait!!!!!!!
Las Sendas had their primary program yesterday. I think out of all my favorite things this world has to offer, the primary program is in my top 10. These kids are so funny! One was yawning, another had their face in their hands and occasionally giving a very loud burst of noise, and one fell asleep. I mean, how priceless is that? But more than the comedies that come from 100 children, the music and the messages that they share are powerful. I remember sitting there and feeling the Spirit testify to me of how much Heavenly Father loves each of us by giving us families and a Savior. How lucky are we to have both?!
I've been studying a lot about trials and going through them joyfully rather than with resentment. Today with studying Mosiah 24, I found a quote that perfectly describes Alma's people during their trials and what we each should do when we think our load is too heavy. "If you question everything you are asked to do, or dig in your heels at every unpleasant challenge, you make it harder for the Lord to bless you."    -Richard G. Scott. We each have our own personal challenges, burdens, and loads. Rather than praying "why me?" we need to be positive.  That's what Alma's people did. Being positive invites the Spirit into our lives more and it's easier (I've noticed) to recognize blessings and to pour out our hearts to God in the Spirit of thanksgiving and gratitude. I've been working on that a lot and I see the power that our attitudes have in our ability to effectively work and be an instrument in the Lord's hands. It's amazing to see that when we forget ourselves and just remember the Lord and do His work how He makes everything better; almost to the point where we can't feel the load this is on our backs.
Anyways, I hope you have a great week!
-Sister Dunn
Mack & Maria's Baptism

Mack & Maria Selfie!

Sister Dunn Selfie!

Waiting on the bus to go to the Phoenix Temple!

All of us at the Phoenix Temple

Phoenix Temple spire!

Phoenix, AZ Temple