Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 24, 2014


This week has been... really good. It was really hard near the beginning of the week because I really missed my family, but it got so much better near the end. The members in the Vista Peaks ward have been fantastic and have shown so much love and compassion for me and my family this past week. I've never felt so much love from a ward before. Friday was a little harder for me, but it went well. Heavenly Father definitely helped me this week. He helped my mourning speed up so that I could be as effective as I possibly could. There was this really sweet member last Sunday. I was in the bathroom crying because I was sad and in mourning. She came up and gave me a hug. She didn't even know that Grandma had passed away. But later that week on Tuesday her husband, who is one of our ward missionaries, came to visits with fudge sticks and a card for me. The card said that she later found out about my Grandma and she wanted me to know that their family was always there for me. Then she said "I was going to get you flowers and ice cream, but I hope that you can settle for fudge sticks instead." She is so sweet and loving! This ward is really fantastic and I've never felt so much love from members before... ever! I love Vista Peaks! The members have made this week super wonderful, but my studies have really helped me as well. My personal study is my favorite hour of the day. This precious hour has given me solace and has brought me peace, comfort, and love. I'm studying a Book of Mormon with this question in mind. It's "How does Heavenly Father see me?" I've received so much personal revelation this week and it has been amazing. I feel guided to know what Heavenly Father would have me do to live up to my potential. This week in DLC we were discussing what we can do to help the zone grow and live up to our potential. We decided that we needed to get back to the basics of basics and learn who we really are as children of God. The way that we're going to help the zone do this is start with our selves and when we see the other missionaries tell them about it and share our enthusiasm about what we are discovering. I'm really excited to see what will happen in the zone. I know that I've already seen many blessings from doing so. 

Our area is picking up work! YAY! We've found 3 new investigators this week through many miracles. We have return appointments with them this week and we've found members to come with us each time. The ward is starting to really get on board and is more willing to help and come out with us. It's exciting to see the ward grow. We had a really neat experience on Tuesday. One of our goals is to help the ward become more converted, especially the sisters. We had a member, Sister Lautenschlager, come with us to contact a potential. We were able to see the potential, share a message, set a return appointment, and have a prayer. It was so amazing. The Spirit was so strong and I know that both the member and the potential were touched. Afterward, Sister Lautenschlager thanked us from the bottom of her heart that she had the privilege of feeling the Spirit, watching someone else be touched, and for strengthening her testimony of the gospel. Our goal is being accomplished! It's so exciting! She shared that experience in Relief Society and I could see that the other sisters were touched as well. 

A HUGE MIRACLE HAPPENED ON SUNDAY!  Our investigator, Christian, came to church with his super less active mother and they stayed for all three hours!!!!! HUZZAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've never been so happy in my entire life! But, we have to push back his baptism date.... His dad will not let him be baptized. :( but we'll keep teaching him! Him mom is ok with us coming over and teaching. She is the custodial parent, but she doesn't want to cause problems between her and Christian's dad. Until then, we'll keep teaching and praying :)

I feel very hopeful. I feel like I'm emotionally, almost physically (my back is causing me problems again....), and spiritually stronger. I feel like the Lord is able to do more work through me now. It's a really sweet experience and feeling. I know I still have a lot of learning to do, but I'm seeking to earnestly learn and improve every day. Good things are going to happen, I know it. I hope I'm in the right place, at the right time, with the right people when it happens.

Love, Sister Dunn
Elder Nilson

Monday, February 17, 2014

February 17, 2014


This has been such a hard week. I'm not gonna sugarcoat it because it doesn't need it. I don't want to glamorize how hard this past week has been. This has been the most challenging week yet on my mission. I'm glad it's over and a new week has begun.

My week has been hard because we've worked SO HARD to try and get members with us every hour. We've prayed, fasted, and called to get members out. We planned in advance and called and texted often to make sure that this would happen. Out of all the people we asked to come with us and agreed to come, only 3 were able to make it. That is really discouraging. We're working so hard to do what has been asked of us and everything is literally crumbling in our hands. It's the most sad thing to see and feel. It's been hard to not get mad or sad, and I'd felt that I'd been doing pretty good not feeling sad or mad.

I've spent a lot of time praying and studying in my spare time and that's help a lot. But I still feel like I failed in someway and I'm trying to figure out what I did wrong. I don't know, but it's been hard. The the other thing that made my week hard is my Grandma's death. I can't explain this enough: No matter the amount of preparing or bracing yourself you do for a death, it's still hard. I can FEEL her loss and I'm hurting because I can't be with my family at this time. I'm a little sad and mad because their lives are going on while I have to live mine like they don't exist... But they do. I'm completely cut off and there is nothing that I can really do to help them except pray. But I want to do more to help them! I wasn't ready for her to go. Who would have ever thought that my short time with her on Skype would be the last time I would see her in this life. I literally would not be here or be as hopeful as I am if I didn't have a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. I don't know how people make it through life without that knowledge. I guess that's why I'm a missionary ;D

I got a letter from Elder Perry (yes, THE Elder Perry) on transfer day. When I read it I thought it was kinda weird. It wasn't bad but I didn't see the meaning of it. But after my Grandma's death this sweet letter brought me so much comfort.

It says: "Dear Sister Dunn, Leo Cornia and his wife are great friends of mine. They have done just what they should in this life of rearing a good family, taught them the joy of honest labor, and built a faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in their children and grandchildren that should be the envy of parents all over the world.

"Now as a granddaughter you have the obligation to carry on the same spirit. They have certainly given their family tree a rich source of nourishment for continued growth of the Cornia family.

"We wish you good blessings as you serve in the mission field. As I have traveled around, we see how valuable the sisters have been in this new effort of hastening the work. You have been called at the right time. With the background you have, the training and heritage which is yours I am sure that you will make a contribution that will endure like that of the Cornia's."

This is what I needed to not be depressed. I needed motivation to keep going and not get down. Yes I am mourning, but I'm not disabled or incapable of work. My family motivates me now. Even though I am separated from them and I feel cut off, I'm working hard to keep my sadness  and anger at bay. There's no room for it here. I know that they are still ok and are moving on with this chapter of their lives. I need to as well.

In President Jenkins email to the mission for the week he wrote something that I really needed. He wrote: "Never lose hope (don't be afraid). Never give up or give in. You are stronger than you think.  The power of the scriptures, of our personal righteousness, and of our faith and belief in the Savior, combined with the enabling power of the Atonement are sufficient for all our challenges, trials, heartaches, addictions, tendencies, and weaknesess. I promise you that this is true." I felt that a part of it was written specifically for me. I really needed because this is a difficult time in my life, but I want to be stronger from it. I don't want it to incapacitate me. I still have a lot of emotions going through me so fast that I have a hard time keeping up, but I have definitely felt heaven's help. I always feel Heavenly Father's and Jesus Christ's love for me and I can see the tender mercies that they are blessing me with. They know that I'm having a hard time and they are helping me.

I'm really hopeful for this coming week. I don't know what's coming or what's going to happen, but I'm hopeful. That's all I got right now; hope, Christ, and Heavenly Father. There's more I have, but these things are going to play a major role this week :)

Love, Sister Dunn

(PS.  You have no idea how many hugs I got on Sunday! I hadn't made it too public that Grandma had passed away but people were just giving me hugs right and left. Then when they found out I felt like I was at Niagara "hugs" )

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

February 10, 2014


I can't believe that another transfer has flown by... Where did the time go?! I'm staying in my area (huzzah!), staying as a STL, and Sister Mitchell and I are still companions. I'm grateful that I get to stay in my area. I definitely felt that my work there is not done and that the Lord still needs me to do a specific purpose. Right now our Bishop is making a big push for strengthening the members (especially the sisters) and having the ward become more converted. The best way we know how to do that is to get the sisters out with us doing visits! I firmly believe that this is what our ward needs, especially the sisters! It's been hard in the past to get sisters out with us because they had no experience before we came so we didn't make the effort that we should have been to get members out with us every hour. But I've changed my way of thinking and I'm always thinking about who we could take out and how we can inspire the members to do missionary work on their own. During our weekly planning we created a list of when we needed members and who we planned on seeing, then we called people who we felt would be great to bring out with us for specific people and who would really benefit from coming out with us. We spent hours doing this because we wanted to listen to the counsel of our leaders and act on the inspiration we've received about strengthening the ward. I've definitely seen the blessings of doing our best to do what we've been asked to do. By no means are we perfect at it, but we've seen and experienced some sweet miracles.

One of our miracles came through a 9 year old boy named Christian. Christian's parents are less active and divorced and he spends half the week with his mom and the other half at his dad's. We found him through his mom, who lives in our ward. We found out about Lisa from our primary president who encouraged us to see Lisa. When we saw the family for the first time you could just feel how prepared Christian is and you could feel his desire to be baptized. He's so awesome! When we asked him if he wanted to be baptized this was his response: "Yes, I do want to be baptized! But.... I don't know if I'm prepared enough..." How lucky for him that we're there to help him be prepared! His mother is ok with us teaching him; she wants to come back to church herself! From watching her during our first lesson, I could see that she was interested and was happy that we were there. He's reading and praying on his own already and committed to ask God to know the truth. He's 9 years old and so prepared! When he goes to his dad's, he does attend church with his grandma so the next step is to get Lisa to take her kids to church. We've set a baptism date for March 8th. We're waiting for permission from his dad... So hopefully this will all work out.

We had a really neat experience on Saturday. We do combined companion study as a zone each week and normally we do something from 12 Week, but his study was a little different. The zone leaders include me in their DLC meeting the previous day and we discussed what we could do to make this transfer end with a bang and keep the enthusiasm and energy of the missionaries up. So, Elder Moschetti led us in a study that, for me at least, got me pumped to keep going even if I had gotten transferred. He had us do a personal study activity from PMG chapter 8. We planned our homecoming talk and gave it in front of each other. Doing this activity made me think a lot about the person I want to become, what I want to do on my mission, and what differences others will notice in me. I've realized that I've come a long way since the beginning of my mission, but I have a long way to go. But I have the motivation and enthusiasm to keep working and improving. My end goal, or the vision that I have for myself, is to have others recognize, feel, and see me as a disciple of Christ. I want others to know how much I love him and want to do exactly what He asks me to do. I've made some huge steps towards this goal. I'm gaining and exercising my faith, developing Christlike attributes, and I'm willingly accepting the will of The Lord as my own. I'm far from perfect, but I've definitely progressed and I hope to keep progressing. 

We also got to go to the temple this week! It was so amazing and much needed. I'm still amazed how pure the Spirit dwells there. So much peace! I love it!!

I'm so excited for this transfer!! This transfer is going to be filled with blessings and miracles! Make February FABULOUS!

Love, Sister Dunn

Friday, February 7, 2014

February 3, 2014

With Sister Mitchell at Mesa Temple

What a week! I don't even know where to begin! So many emotions and events have been flying around that I'm barely beginning to get my feet back on the ground. I really loved MLC on Thursday; it was exactly what I needed! I had been struggling to know what I needed to focus on because there's so much I can do but I really needed something that would help me grow and stretch. Going back to the basics and going back to a missionary is what I really needed to do. I was getting caught up in the little things of life and I was getting lost in what was most important: missionary work. I did some reevaluating and saw some areas of improvement in the basics that I can do. One of my weaknesses is talking with everyone. I always rationalize not talking to someone. I usually make an excuse for not going to talk to someone. I really want to work on that. This will be the perfect area for me to exercise my faith and never doubt the Lord. I started this on Thursday and my human mind thought that I would be perfect from that point on, but I now know that this is something that will come with time. But I'm doing it! I'm scared each time I approach someone but I pray every time for help from the Lord. I'm not perfect or even good at it yet, but I'm trying and I can see how the Lord is blessing me for my effort. I'm excited to see the growth I'll make as I continue to be diligent in doing the basics of missionary work. 

The next thing I want to talk about I'm actually kinda scared to share. This has been something very close to me that I have had a hard time accepting. This has to do with our area as well. So, this Sunday we had a meeting with our bishop and ward mission leader about how we can help hasten the work of the Lord. During this meeting, bishop let us know what his vision is and what he feels the ward needs to do. He feels that the ward needs to become more converted to the gospel. We talked about what our struggles were. One was getting members out with us. This is the first time this ward has ever had sisters so the sisters in the ward don't know what to do. They're excited to have us, but they're not converted to the work the way the brethren are. As our meeting went on, the central message that bishop was talking about was strengthening the ward so that people are more converted. I'm really good at strengthening wards and bringing less actives into activity again. Every area that I've been in hasn't had a lot of baptisms, but we've been able to bring 2 or 3 back into activity. I've felt this for a while but was confirmed by what bishop was saying. I don't feel that I'm good at helping others be baptized (sad, I know) but I have this knack for helping others come back. I feel that is why I'm in this area; to strengthen the members and to help those that have left to come back. I can see the events that have led to this. We haven't been able to find investigators; our investigators are dropping us; no one in interested and I feel we've tried everyone in the area; all the referrals that members are giving us are less actives. It was exciting during MLC to have such an awesome and challenging goal of 150 baptisms for the quarter, but I'm afraid that I won't be able to contribute. We're trying so hard to find people and baptize, but these less actives are right there and open for us (we saw 10 during a week!). I guess what I'm scared of is that I feel I can't contribute to the work like the rest of the missionaries. I've been scared to accept this because I feel that I will be looked down upon because the key indicators don't show this so it will look like I'm not trying. This is really close to me because I love helping others come back, but I'm afraid that my companions will resent me. I don't know. I just felt like I needed to share this. But I've heard good things about areas that I've left. They now have investigators and the members are stronger...
With Sister Mitchell and little colorful friend.

But I am happy! Actually, I haven't been this happy in a while. I can feel the Lord helping me and guiding to know what to do. I can feel the power of the Atonement changing me for the better. I feel the Spirit working through me.

Alrighty! Next, Sister Mitchell! She's growing up and maturing! YAY! She has caused herself a lot of unnecessary pain because of her... youth... She now she recognizes that instead of letting things bother her and judge people she needs to let go and love people for who they are. That was a huge thing for her. She's learning to be a missionary fast though. She's becoming more efficient in her teaching and she's starting to talk to people more willingly (she sets a really good example for me). She's learning more about the Atonement everyday and is using it. It's been wonderful to see the change that has happened in her over the past week. I'm excited to devote more time to 12 Week this week. Exchanges have made it hard to do it and it has been neglected :( I don't know what will happen next transfer, but I hope Sister Mitchell will be able to do 12 Week the way it is intended to be done. She misses home a lot still and I'm still unsure of how to help her. It creeps up on her and then she's homesick. We're staying busy, but it's the people she meets and the houses she's in that makes her homesick. Being in Mesa makes her homesick! She's working on being "obsessive" about her mission. We're going to work together to help her treasure the experiences she's having on her mission so that homesickness will eventually go away. We had a lot of things we were able to work through and we're more unified as a companionship. Training has been much harder this time. She's so independent..... and stubborn.... just like me. I've learned to be patient and I feel the power of having charity. I've learned a lot this transfer and I've grown a lot. I know that the Atonement brings strength when I'm weak. The lessons I've learned have been simple, but they're powerful. I'm a changed person who is more patient and loving.

I can't believe that transfers are next week. This transfer has just flown by! I mean, I've been out for 7 months today! Crazy stuff is going on... But as much as I love the snow, I'm really enjoying the 70 degree weather right now... :)

-Sister Dunn