Thursday, March 27, 2014

March 24, 2014


This has been the fastest transfer of my entire life. I cannot believe that it is practically over. I say how fast time flies every week, but I'm not exaggerating how quickly these past 6 week have gone by. I felt like I just barely blinked and it's already gone!

Transfer news!! I'm staying in Vista Peaks!! And I'm getting TWO companions! Yes, I will be in a trio! Sister Sacher and Sister Hartley are my new companions. We're also getting another ward, the Preston ward. I'm still a solo Sister Training Leader. Crazy stuff.

Well, transfer news was a definite surprise. It caught me off guard actually. First, it was different having it come from the assistants (that was different) and second.... I don't know. I'm just in shock really. I have a lot of mixed feelings that are confusing me and making me scared and nervous. I've never felt the way I'm feeling before and I'm working to make them go away and be replaced with hope and happiness, but it's been hard. The reading schedule on the Atonement that President and Sister Jenkins gave the mission has helped me tremendously. The talks have helped make the Atonement... more graspable... if that's even a word. I feel that I am learning how to really apply the Atonement and grasp onto it for dear life.... literally!

I'm a bit leery for this next transfer. I've never been in a companionship where I'm not being trained/training (the possibility of training this transfer was slim since there are only 3 missionaries coming in and they're all elders.... ;P). I was scared and very uncertain after getting my news. During Sacrament Meeting yesterday our opening song was "Be Thou Humble." Boy did I need to be humbled! The second verse really stood out to me. It says, "Be thou humble in thy calling, and the Lord thy God shall teach thee to serve his children gladly with a pure and gentle love." My fears were in the way of me being humble and being able to accept the callings that the Lord has given me here in the Mesa Mission. I learned how valuable humility is. I wish that I was always humble and that I wouldn't have a problem accepting the Lord's will 110% and all the time, but I'm grateful and humbled that I was humbled when I was. Better late than never, right? I know that the Lord trusts me and that He has a plan for me and a specific work for me to do. I just hope that I can remain humble enough to pay attention to the subtle whisperings of the Spirit telling me what the Lord needs me to do. The thing that I'm going to do to be humble and build unity in the companionship is to acknowledge that Christ is the center of our world and that as we're humble He will show us where to go to find those that are seeking the truth and He will teach us to serve our wards, other missionaries, and each other. This transfer I'm going to work extra hard to devote everything that I have to the Lord and not get distracted by the little insignificant things. Here's to next transfer!

As I look back over this past week, it went by really fast (a HUGE blessing) but I feel we didn't get much done or were able to see many people (not so much a blessing). Everyone that we are actively teaching left for spring break along with their fellowshippers. It was really weird to plan because there wasn't a whole lot of planning to do. We actually spent a lot of time in our assisted living center (Legacy) where a few of our members live. It's here in Legacy where I experienced an amazing miracle from the Lord. We were in a commons area talking to one of our members, Shirley Jensen, and a couple of her non-member friends. Well, the last time we were there her friend Jean was present for a short lesson on the Plan of Salvation and loved the message of it. We invited her to learn more but she declined. This time Shirley, Jean, and another lady named Polly were there and we got to teach and testify of the Book of Mormon. As we bore simple testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon you could see the countenance, especially Jean's, change and they lit up like their spirits were remembering something that they'd forgotten. Both Jean and Polly took a Book of Mormon and committed to read it. The Spirit was so strong and these ladies truly wanted the book because they felt that they wanted it. Afterward we were getting ready to leave and we gave them both invitations to the Easter Pageant and this was Jean's response: "Oh no, Honey I'm not interested in going at all." As I reflected on this I was amazed at how the Spirit works. As we bore simple and bold testimony about the Book of Mormon the Spirit helped these sweet ladies accept it and have a desire to read it but when we simply invited them to the Easter Pageant they both declined. The Spirit testifies of pure truth! That was such an amazing experience! In Legacy we also have a very missionary-minded member who also invited Jean to sacrament meeting and said that she would come. Miracles!! Miracles in abundance!

It was really hard trying to see everyone else that we are teaching, but we worked hard to keep in contact with them via text, Facebook, etc.. Despite this week being transfers, there's going to be a lot of work done in both the Vista Peaks and Preston wards. I'm scared, excited, anxious, and humbled to begin this transfer and to be working in the wards with these two sisters. 

I had a wonderful birthday! I received TWO cakes, ONE cheesecake, TWO pies, and TWO cinnamon rolls and a bunch of muffins. Needless to say I got fed well on my birthday. The members showed so much love and I feel so blessed to be serving them. I also got to plant cantaloupe at some investigator's home! It was a blast. Here's the best part of my birthday..... I GOT A DOCTOR WHO SHIRT!!!! FINALLY!!!!!!! WHY DID I NEVER HAVE ONE BEFORE!?!?!?!?!?!? My life is now more complete. End of story.

-Sister Dunn

Saguaro Zone Temple Trip

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March 17, 2014


I can't believe that transfers are next week. Where has the time gone? Oh! HAPPY SAINT PATRICK'S DAY!!! Hope you all have a little green on! This week has been overall really good. Zone Conference was spectacular. President Jenkins talked a lot on obedience. I really needed it because I needed to be more obedient. It's not that I wasn't obedient before, I just needed to be more EXACTLY obedient. I'm working really hard now to be obedient in everything and I'm exercising more faith that blessings and miracles will happen as a result. Hope all goes well! I also accompanied two musical number (note to self: never agree to learn two songs when you can never find the time to practice. Lesson learned.), and we also had ZTM... two meetings in the same day! I gave a training on teaching people not lessons. Not gonna lie. It was super awesome and drenched in the Spirit. I could see that the other missionaries really needed it. But near the end of my training, in walks President AND Sister Jenkins. No pressure right? It went great! I only blushed a little! AKA I was as red as a tomato.

Something that we're starting to focus on as a zone is what we discussed in MLC, especially planning and really thinking about the needs of our investigators and others that we're working with. As I've really taken time this past week to focus in on the needs of others I can feel that I'm developing true love for them and I can see that others can see this love and are more open to what we teach and ask them do. It's really amazing to see the pure love of Christ in action. 

WE GOT A LESS ACTIVE FAMILY TO CHURCH!!! AHHH! We've been working with the Nino family for months now to get them active and to get to church and they came! We were giving talks in Sacrament meeting so we arranged for awesome families to sit next to them and I could see that they loved being there and could feel the love of members around them. Unfortunately they had to leave right after Sacrament meeting, but they sent us the sweetest text that made me cry! It said: "I also wanted to share that RJ's mom let me know that RJ had made a comment on Facebook about how the missionaries were over and have made him realize how far he has steered away and wanted to be better." RJ is 16 and has the biggest gauges in his ears. He basically looks like a punk, but he has been touched and he has let the Spirit guide him!!!! AHHH! Miracles!

I went on exchanges with Sister Sacher this week! So many miracles happened it's not even funny! But this is the big one for the week. We were going to contact a referral from church headquarters. The house look super sketch and not safe but we go anyways. The person that we're looking for comes out along with a man.... the story is about the man.... The lady said she had no idea how we got her name and is not interested in learning right now and walked away. After that little exchange the man walks up to us and asks where he can get his own copy of the Book of Mormon. How awesome is it that we just happened to have one in our hand to give out!? It was his lucky day. We gave him a Book of Mormon and bore our testimonies and set up a time where we could come back and teach him. He was the most open person I've ever contacted.... and he was sincere too! He really want to know! And he said he would go to the Easter Pageant as well! MIRACLE!!!!

We have had a hard time finding investigators, but we had plenty of less actives that we're working with. Currently we are working with 3 families and they're all progressing towards becoming active again. How exciting is that? The total amount of people that are coming back is 15. Even though we're struggling to find investigators, we're helping lots of people come back and start keeping the covenants that they're made and start feeling the blessings from doing so. I feel really accomplished right now. I'm frustrated with finding, but I still feel accomplished. 

Well, nothing too exciting is going to happen this week... except I feel that the entire ward is going to throw me a birthday party on Saturday. I'm anxious to see what tricks they'll come up with! This ward is so amazing and I feel so loved by them. I hope I get to stay here another transfer! 

-Sister Dunn

All my sisters!!
Demon cactus - the name says it all!  What an evil looking thing . . . .

Laser tag :-(    
I suck!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March 10, 2014


I can't believe that it's already Monday. Where did the time go? I'm having a hard time recalling what happened because it literally FLEW BY. 

I LOVED MLC ON THURSDAY!! It was so amazing! I learned so much and received a lot of revelation. I actually took a lot of notes which is a rare thing! I learned so much about the Doctrine of Christ and the eternalness it has in everyone's life. I learned most that we are not just trying to get someone baptized, we are helping them receive eternal life like our mission statement says. That is our purpose as missionaries. Until this meeting I had never realized that I "get it" like Brother Packer (a member from the missionary department from Salt Lake who also happens to be the grandson of Elder Packer.....) kept saying. I get why we do the things we do and I get why the people we work with need to do certain things. I'm not teaching people to mark off one more check on the list of things to do. I'm literally helping someone become like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again. This knowledge is so precious to me and I recognize that it is the driving force of why I'm a missionary. I want all of my brothers and sisters to come back! Now I take more time to think about a person's needs and I seek revelation to know what Heavenly Father would have us do to help this person. Planning means so much more to me now than ever and I want to make it powerful, effective, and a time to receive revelation. Brother Packer had us do an activity in the parking lot of the church. We stood at one end of the parking lot and when Brother Packer said something like "invited to read the Book of Mormon" we would have to decide how big of a step to take that would bring us to the other side of the parking lot which represented baptism. The activity in the parking lot made me really think about how big the little things like prayer and reading the Book of Mormon are in someone's journey to eternal life. I LOVED MLC!! I gained such a strong testimony of the Doctrine of Christ and everyday during my studies I seek earnestly to learn the doctrine more and to find way to make it apply to EVERYTHING and try and see the eternal perspective of everything. I LOVE THIS GOSPEL!

The work in the ward is coming along. Our most promising investigator is Jackie. She and her boyfriend Don (who looks exactly like Johnny Depp....) are former investigators. Don was the main person being taught when they first starting investigating. We've gone by a few times to talk with them and we've attempted to teach the first lesson with no luck. But every time we've gone by we teach them about how God is our LOVING Heavenly Father. Don has his own beliefs and rolls his eyes at us (we'll keep working on him....) while Jackie is attentive and you can see that she listens and wants to know if God really loves her and is her Heavenly Father. Last night we taught that principle again and I felt like I needed to share a very special experience about how I came to know that God is my loving Heavenly Father. The spirit was there so strong and she was crying and I was crying and I'm sure if the Spirit could physically cry He would have been crying as well. It was so spiritual and peaceful and I KNOW that she felt the Spirit. We're not sure that Don was touched as much though... We're praying that his heart will be softened. We invited her to pray and she was more willing to do it. All the lessons we've taught them have been on their porch, but not the next one! A member offered to have the lesson in their home so our next lesson with be in a member's home where we know the Spirit can be there. Jackie is our most promising investigator that could really PROGRESS. Otherwise we have 3 less active families that are returning to activity! YAY! There's so much going on in our ward. We always have people to see and teach and we're doing what the Bishop has asked us to do... which is to help the members of the ward be more converted. We've seen the excitement level of the ward increase and the members willingness to come out with us, especially the sisters, has skyrocketed. There's a lot going on! Although we don't have a lot of investigators, that part of the work is starting to pick up now that the members are more on-board. So exciting!! 

I'm so excited for Zone Conference this week. The talk that the assistants asked everyone to read in preparation for Zone Conference is the talk "What's the Blueprint of the Church?" by Elder Callister. I study it all the time and I'm strengthening my testimony that this is Christ's church on the earth. Reading this talk, studying the scriptures and "Jesus the Christ," and even watching "The District" DVDs has really helped as well. This Zone Conference I'm determined to be the most prepared that I've ever been. I'm so ready for it!!

Oh, it was so cool seeing President and Sister Jenkins at our stake conference. Now our members have a face for the name. Many of our members were touched by the comments they made about families and how easy it is to talk about family. Many, many, many LOVED it. With a new stake presidency and after being fed spiritually and receiving encouragement for how to do missionary work, I know our members will blossom and grow. I hope that we can keep this excitement going! 

-Sister Dunn

The pictures are of the stage for the Easter Pageant. The structure is BIGGER than the Visitors' Center!! I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!

Beautiful flowering tree

Tree flower

Monday, March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014


This week has been absolutely crazy with three exchanges, blitzes, and
life in general. Last week was super busy, which is great but I'm
grateful that it's over and a new week has begun. I'm ready for a
fresh start :)

Sister Mitchell is doing great with the exchanges. She learns a lot
from them and gets different perspectives on missionary work which is
AWEOME. She's really supportive and goes with the flow when life gets
crazy. She's progressing well :)

Well, I'm not sure that there's a lot to report on in our area. We've been
working hard to find people to teach and help to get baptized, but I
swear that everyone that we've talked to either is not interested,
can't contact, is excommunicated, or whatever. I've never worked so
hard and yet it's hard to see the fruits of our labors. This ward is
on the verge of greatness! We still have a lot of work to do though.
We're seeing and teaching a lot of less actives and many are on their
way back into activity. So, I guess that's success... Right?

Well, I honestly don't feel like I have a lot to write today, which is
not normal. I loved the Gilbert Temple dedication! This was definitely
not my first and probably not my last, but this one was the most
amazing one that I've been to yet. It was the most memorable and
spiritual. I definitely journaled that one. President and Sister
Jenkins got to be in the Celestial Room with President Monson and
President Eyring. How cool is that!?

It poured on Saturday. It was about time too! The roads were beginning
to flood and it was an adventure! I loved it! This is an example of
why you don't park your car under a tree during a storm. Lesson