Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 26, 2014


Happy Memorial Day! I completely forgot that today was a holiday. It explains why a lot of store are closed today... It's crazy how easy it is to forget about those things because we don't celebrate them as missionaries. I guess that's another fun "qwerk" of being a missionary!

Zone Conference was so good! I really enjoyed the talks that were given. I think this is the first zone conference where I felt everything was pointed towards the "eternal" effects of my mission rather than immediate results. I really felt the Spirit tell me that I came on my mission not just to find, teach, and baptize but to be changed into the person I need to be to bless my family back home and my own future family. Elder Boone's, of the Assistant's, talk really hit it home with me. I do not want to return home the same person I was when I came out. I also don't want to change just a little. I want to be unrecognizable, but in a good way of course. :) I've spent a lot of time pondering and creating a vision of who I want to become and what I would need to do to make it happen. I'm grateful for my Patriarchal Blessing because it has really helped me see who I need to become to receive the blessings that have been promised to me.

My mission has not been anything like I had envisioned at all. I think I'll keep saying this over and over again and then say it some more!  I've needed my mission for myself. During my pondering I see that I needed the first half of my mission to learn the gospel and learn basic, but very important, life skills and I needed to be humbled a lot to recognize my Savior and see my need for the Atonement. I wouldn't have seen or done this if I hadn't come on my mission. Right now I'm really working on developing faith; real powerful faith like that of the Brother of Jared. I know it will be a life-long process but I'm getting a head start here on my mission. :) I'm just beginning to recognize how small my mission is yet it has the power to change eternity for me, so I'm trying to make every moment count. I frequently ask myself in the evening how I made today count and what I learned. As I do this my mission is beginning to mean more and more to me.

I don't want to sound selfish; like, my mission is all about me (which it isn't) but this is what I've felt and what has been revealed to me in the past couple of weeks. Despite what it sounds like, I've actually been very selfless the past couple of weeks. Rather than thinking about what I want I think about what the Lord wants and I try to understand others more and I constantly ask for the gift of discernment in order to help others. I am just beginning to see how my mission is changing me into a brand new and better person. I could go on forever on this, but alas! I have other things to write about!

The work in the Adobe Villa ward is on FIRE! We have had so many amazing lessons this week with our progressing investigators and we've received at least 2 more potential investigators that are VERY promising. When we taught Charlene (the one who has the service on the weekends) the Plan of Salvation she was crying and she kept making comments like "I want to be a part of this. I like this most out of all the religions we've looked at. I know this is true." She is so amazing and the Spirit was powerful during this lesson. Raymond is the same way and they're softening my heart and helping me see that the Lord is softening hearts to hear about the gospel. They're a miracle family! Kathy and Ashley will probably be moving soon; they have TERRIBLE living conditions. We will be sad but they're very open and love what they're learning. The next set of missionaries will be so blessed to have such prepared people! This ward is doing great and all the ward missionaries are active in the work with us and our Ward Mission Leader is doing great in his calling and fulfilling his responsibilities. Wonderful things are happening here. :) This ward is so on fire that as I was typing this a member just called us with yet another referral!

Vista Peaks is going to start to get better soon. In ward council on Sunday Bishop Baird led a discussion about how to help us, the missionaries, find people to teach because he sees that we've exhausted every avenue of finding in the ward. The entire ward council decided that initiative needs to be taken in having the ward members get to know their neighbors. As a ward mission we've created a plan where the ward missionaries go into the homes of members and give them a 15-20 minute lesson about ways to do missionary work and invite them to create a mini family mission plan. Then when we go and visit them we can follow up on the commitment and give them further encouragement and inspiration. I feel so good about this plan because the ward missionaries will all have a responsibility and we can work together to help make the ward not only missionary-minded, but missionary-active! Vista Peaks is really going to be all about getting the members to do missionary work. We have some investigators that we've found on our own though! Rosie, Ashley, and Jamie Jr. are a miracle! We taught them the Plan of Salvation this week and this lesson was AMAZING! Ashley was especially interested and really engaged in the lesson. After she told us that this makes more sense than what she's been taught her entire life and she wants to learn more! She's coming to church next week with or without her family. She loves what she has learned. She said a prayer at the end and this is what she said: "God, I know this plan is true. It makes sense to me and I know that know other plan is true." Yeah. I know she's awesome!  We had planned to invite her to be baptized but the Spirit told us to wait. Rosie was trying to grasp it as well, but was having a harder time than her daughter, but she said that she would study the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Miracles! Especially because they are born and raised Central Christian! Miracles!

This week has been really amazing. I still struggled, cried a little, and got frustrated but the miracles and tender mercies that the Lord has blessed me with have made everything worth it. I'm looking forward to the coming week. This week is going to be full of miracles. As a mission our goal for baptisms in June is 65 and we hope to exceed this goal. We set quarterly goals and this quarter was 165. We can do it!  Last quarter we set a goal of 150 and we got 165. Anything is possible, especially with faith. Last quarter we only had 80 baptisms for the first two months, but then during the last month (March) we got almost 90! Please pray for missionary work all over the world, but especially in your own area! The Lord IS COMING and He needs all of us to help find the "one" and prepare them to greet our Savior when He comes. I know that the Lord will help guide you to the "one" you are supposed to find!

-Sister Dunn

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May 19, 2014


If I had to describe this week in one word it would be insane. There were so many crazy things happening right and left that were polar opposites that it was.... insane, but good in many ways as well. I don't even know where to begin... I guess I'll start at the beginning of the week :)

I was not feeling well at the beginning of the week and I was not getting better quickly, so I asked for a blessing from Brother Mangum and Hoopes in the Adobe Villa ward. The Priesthood is miraculous; that's all I gotta say. I received very specific counsel as to how to get better and heal and what to do after I am better. Listening and doing what Heavenly Father has asked has brought miracles. I am no longer sick, look sick, or sound sick! It's a miracle that I am so well that I can barely remember being sick. Miracles right there! This is the fastest I've ever gotten better from a sinus infection.

After that we spent a lot of time visiting the members in the Adobe Villa ward trying to find a place to even start working because there was NOTHING. We were able to help these families and individuals create mini mission plans and set goals of when they're going to reach out to their friends and neighbors and how they are going to do it. The members were excited and many needed the extra push to get out and be a friend to those who have reached out to them. We're going to start doing the same thing for Vista Peaks and help the members really step it up. Right now we don't have many progressing investigators and we want to find more, but because of the very... affluent area it is people are content with their lives and won't really open the door for us. But if members can get in they can help soften their hearts to accept the gospel. That is our plan in that ward and we're going to be getting it going this week. We've tried everything to find in Vista Peaks and aren't having success. We feel we need to focus on the members to get the work moving forward in the ward again.

Adobe Villa is great! I don't see how the previous missionaries couldn't find people to teach! People are so humble here and guzzle the gospel like their life depends on it! I will say that most of our area is a little leery if not sketchy, but we try and be as careful as we can be :) When we were on our exchange with Sister Evans she was dying because she loves the ghetto with all her heart. She just went to town and went crazy talking to people. We even tracted... good, old-fashioned tracting. I really hated it, but it made us stretch and talk with people! It made me really uncomfortable actually, and not in the good kind of uncomfortable either. The experience made me really rely on strength that was not my own. I really got to see my strengths and my weaknesses and where I need to improve. I am not great at talking with everyone. When I first started my mission talking in general was a hard thing, but now I feel comfortable and confident to talk to people in their homes and to teach them. Going up to someone and just starting a conversation is EXTREMELY difficult for me. I'm ok at it but it takes a lot for me to do it, so tracting was hard for me. I know there's a better way to do missionary work (which is through the members). Needless to say that we were really blessed afterward for being diligent! We found 5 new investigators later that evening!

We were going to this super sketch apartment complex and a group of kids came up to us and we asked if they wanted to learn about Jesus and they all exclaimed yes! We taught them all about prayer and showed them how to pray then we asked them if their parents would be interested and they all ran to their homes to ask. One boy, Tommy, got his mom and sister (Kathy & Ashley) and we had an opportunity to bear testimony about eternal families. Ashley took a Book of Mormon and her mom said we could come back and teach them more! We thought that was awesome until Kathy came up to us and said that her friend Charlene wants to learn as well and we got to teach and testify about eternal families along with her husband Raymond! We set up appointments with them for the next day. When we went back Kathy and Ashley (especially Ashley) had really great questions about life after death and why bad things happen to good people or why God lets people die. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and they had a lot of their questions answered. We also invited them to be baptized and they said yes! We're planning on June 21st. They are so humble and are looking for truth that will strengthen them through this hard time in their lives. If this is great it gets better. After this lesson we went to Charlene and Raymond's and taught them the Restoration. They kept making comments about how this all makes sense and this is what they were looking for and that they feel they can belong in the church. Holy canolie! Talk about prepared! We also invited them to be baptized and this was their response: "Wait, you guys baptize people? We wanted a place to be baptized! We want to be baptized together!" They agreed right on the spot and as we talked about what we taught they said that they knew it was all true by the feelings they were having. Everything inside of them just... clicked :) They're amazing! We also found some kids who want to learn and got permission from their guardian to learn so we hope to get something going with them. Miracles!!!!!!! This is what I've been waiting for my entire mission! We also have two new investigators in Vista Peaks and we hope to set baptism dates with them tomorrow :) Good things are happening in our area! Patience brings blessings! Four baptism dates and six new investigators, not too shabby for a weekend! I am in shock with what the Lord has blessed us with. I'm going to take this and learn and progress and not disappoint the Lord.

Training is going great! We're working on teaching A LOT and vital teaching skills. We're also working on testifying of restored truths with everyone! I'm going to do it until I find it bearable! Go street contacting! Reading the Consecrated Missionary talk has been a big call to repentance for me. I'm working on developing stronger faith and the talk told me very specific to get uncomfortable, give up my fears, and go out and do to grow my faith. Reading it was a big slap in the face by the Spirit and I recognize more than ever how important it is to truly give everything I have to the Lord. We promise to consecrate our all in the temple and if we aren't doing that then we are not fulfilling our temple covenants and are denying ourselves of those blessings; blessings that will, in the long run, bless us eternally. I am going to work hard everyday to consecrate my all to the Lord. I know it will be hard, but it will be eternally worth it!

I can't wait for Zone Conference! We're encouraging, very strongly but with love, everyone in our ward councils to come and receive some training. Our Ward Councils need this so bad! We didn't even get to talk about the work in either ward on Sunday. The Lord's plan revealed through Elder Perry is what they need... and they need to do all the steps rather than just one :) Great stuff! We got to speak in Adobe Villa and the members are super excited to have us there. We talked about what the members can do to be better member missionaries and many came up to us afterward and complemented our talks and that they were the motivation to get out and be better friend to their neighbors and coworkers. Good stuff is happening!

-Sister Dunn
Sister Dunn with Sister Hamberger

Sister Evans and Sister Dunn

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May 12, 2014


What a week! It was really good... and different.... but good! I got really sick (AGAIN! More than once on a mission is too many times!) and that took me out at the end of the week... which stank! My mind couldn't function plus I was contagious, so I was stuck inside. Miracles still happened though! I got better (I'm like night and day from a day and a half ago) and we found people to teach! YAY!

We found a mother and daughter to teach in the Vista Peaks ward. We were so desperate to find people to teach that we were resorting to just walking and talking to every creature that could breathe (cats included!). On Tuesday we were going through our potential list and saw Rosie (the mother) and Ashely (15) and decided to stop by. Lo and behold they were more than welcoming and invited us in! They loved having us over because they love learning about God and Jesus Christ. They're VERY Central Christian but open to what we have to teach. Ashley especially seems open. She wants to make sure that she is forgiven of all her sins. She wants to go to heaven and NOT to hell but she thinks that it's unfair that those who sin but go to church and ask for forgiveness then go and sin again as soon as they leave get to go to heaven just because they ask for forgiveness. Little does she know that we have answers that can help her resolve her concerns! We are so excited to begin teaching them. They're a miracle from the Lord! Right when we were about to give up finding in the this ward did the Lord show His hand and lead us to this family. Miracles everywhere! Other wise Vista Peaks is doing better. The ward leaders are really stepping it up and helping everyone in their auxiliaries to be overall better members and to live the gospel. Things are starting to look good here :)

Adobe Villa is doing alright... I guess. We haven't had a lot of time to go and see the ward since I've been sick but from what I saw at church it looks ok. Talking to some of the leaders I could tell that it had been neglected a little and they're so excited to have sisters. Different windows and opportunities just became available and the Relief Society President is ready to put us to work! We don't have a lot of work going on, but we received a lot of referrals on Sunday from members so the work will get going and going fast! We're excited and so are the members!

Sister Hamberger is doing pretty well! She is a great caretaker if you ever get sick! But she's really starting to get back into the swing of things again and is learning and picking up skills relatively quick.
We're really focusing on 12 Week and we're integrating the weeks that have us work on the lessons with the other weeks... It's a hodge-podge 12 Week, but it gets the job done! We're really focusing on TTI's so that we can find people to teach on the spot or add them to the potential list. We want to be effective and teaching people not lessons while street contacting. We just want to be better overall with our skills as missionaries.

Fun Time! I got to FaceTime my family yesterday! It was so great! I saw Jamison for 20 seconds (that's more than Christmas!), Grandpa for 20 seconds, and Dad for 20 seconds as well! We're hitting new records here with the family and FaceTime! It was great to talk to my mom and have a legitimate conversation. I love my family dearly :) After FaceTime with the fam, the members that we were calling from had a talent show! It was so great! Our WML's son, Joe, likes to be the center of attention. So no matter who was sharing their talent, Joe was right beside them conducting or dancing. It was quite comical!

Then after that we went and heart attacked President and Sister Jenkins door. We did our own version of the Mormon Message "It was Mom" and called it "It was Sister Jenkins" and numbered hearts with things that are made possible and things we love about Sister Jenkins. But this was a super hard heart attack to pull off! Right by the front door is President's office, plus there's a squeaky gate we have pass by that is SO LOUD. Anyways, they live in a circle so before we went and parked we drove around the circle to see the conditions we would be up against. Well, all the odds were NOT in our favor. President's window to his office was wide open along with every other window in the house AND HE WAS IN HIS OFFICE! We thought we would have to scrap this one because we thought that there was no way we couldn't get caught. But after many prayers and much faith President walked out of his office and we took this as our opportunity to attack the door with hearts. THIS WAS THE MOST INTENSE HEART ATTACK EVER! The tape wasn't working and if you named it, it went wrong but by some miracle we got all the hearts up and RAN just before President came back into his office. Mission accomplished and much love was felt. Best Mother's Day EVER!

This coming week is going to be great! Miracles are going to happen, it's going to be hot, and much more! I can't wait!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 5, 2014


Transfer News!!!!! I'm staying in Vista Peaks! Prayers really are answered! I'm staying with Sister Hamberger and finishing her training. We have another ward as well, Adobe Villa. I'm so excited to be staying in my favorite ward! There's so much potential here we just need to help the members unlock it. I'm excited to help Adobe Villa... The previous missionaries there didn't do a lot of there and I'm excited to help them :) I also was released as a STL... Thank goodness! I loved the calling but it was really stressful training, or being in a trio, or white washing.... I learned a lot from the calling and I'm excited to lead from behind :) Plus! Most of my zone is staying the same! Only 2 missionaries are leaving and everyone else is staying as is. It's really exciting!

This week has been really long..... Only having one ward is great and I loved it, but it was really hard. We spent a lot of time trying to contact people.... We did a lot of street contacting and adding people to our potential list. It was exhausting and it's hard to see a lot of fruits of our labors, but I can see the future blessings! It's hard to see, but it's there!

On the plus side, we had lots of miracles happen with our less actives! One of them, Bonnie Maynard, wants to go to the temple and do ordinances for her own family members! She recently retired and she needed something do now with all of her free time. She is so excited and told us that she will do what ever she needs to do on her part to get to the temple. She also said that whenever we go over she wants us to teach her with the goal of the temple. We're so excited! She's made a lot of progress in the past four months! We've also been able to meet with a lot of other less actives this week that we haven't been able to see.... ever! That was a real blessing since finding investigators has been a real struggle in the Vista Peaks ward...
We'll keep working hard to find people to teach even though we will have another ward. Miracles will happen with faith :)

We also went to the temple this week! I love being able to go once a transfer... it's definitely a blessing to be able to do that. Today as a zone we had a "useless talent show"... it was so entertaining! I needed a good laugh! I hope to email a video of the talents of Sisters Adams and Hartley.... :) I hope this week goes fantastic and that lots of miracles can happen! Bring on the heat! It only got to 107 degrees inside our car the other day... no biggie!

-Sister Dunn