Friday, June 27, 2014

June 23, 2014


What a week! This has been a really great week because of transfers which means fresh starts and more! This is going to be a really good week and transfer! I live in apartments, but we hope to change that. I mean, these people have million dollar homes, they can spare a bedroom for a couple of sister missionaries. ;) Just kidding! I love being in apartments, but I wish they were closer to our area, but OH WELL! It could always be worse!

I feel really good about the area and my companions. It just feels right! It's hard to describe but I am really enjoying being in a trio.  To be honest, when I found out I was going to be in yet another trio I was not happy. The last trio I was in was a disaster and I was scared to be in another one, but I quickly humbled myself, repented, and told the Lord I would do whatever He needed me to do. Ever since then I have felt really good about my companions. I feel that we work really well together... like soul sisters :) I haven't been this happy in a long time. I feel that I am actually enjoying the work. We all have different strengths to bring into this area and we are going to make miracles happen! I'm just afraid that because we are like best friends that we will slack a little in the work or the rules. I feel I have to be on my guard to be and do my best to be obedient and to be Christlike.

The area is hard. I can't think of anther word to describe it, but I love it and I know I'm supposed to be here. The members are great but they are struggling a lot. We've spent a lot of time getting to know our members and finding out what their needs are. The members need A LOT of love. They don't even love each other so why would the Lord trust them with a new convert? It's sad to see that they don't serve each other or reach out in love. They're in their own little bubble. We've spent a lot time praying, pondering, and discussing as to how we can help them come unto Christ. We've decided to do it through music! We are going to be teaching members the lessons but we all feel that the hymns will be able to reach a part of their hearts that the spoken word can't reach. We're putting together a medley of hymns that teach about the Savior's love. The progress of the members will be slow and I'm praying everyday that I will remain patient and accept the Lord's timing. These wards have the potential to be baptizing and I hope that we can help them reach that potential.

Crazy story. The bishop in the Stonebridge ward has an older brother who lives in Utah. That brother happens to be my stake president AND neighbor. It was weird seeing a picture of the stake president on the wall of the bishop in the area where I am serving. Crazy. I know. I keep finding all these random connections. Like, there was a returned missionary who served with my amazing cousin. These connections are everywhere! I love it!

We had some really awesome miracles this week. We have an investigator named Ed who is almost impossible to catch. It was actually yesterday. We were praying to know where we needed to be and Sister Krueger felt that we needed to see someone not on our list. We take a leap of faith and go to the home and no one is there. We all look at each other and we thought it was random, but oh well! We continue on our way and we feel like we need to go a certain way. This certain way was the long way to our investigators house, but we thought "what the heck" and we go the long way. We get to his house and as we're walking up to his door he drives up and we're able to have a great lesson with him. The Lord really does work in mysterious ways and it takes a lot of faith and courage to follow even the most seemingly random prompting. If we did not listen to the Spirit we would have missed Ed! Miracle!

We said goodbye to John Taylor last week. He's the investigator that lives in Gilbert. We lovingly let him know that we could no longer teach him and he needed to continue to be taught by the missionaries in the ward where he lives. He took it really hard but he could see that we didn't want to do it but we were doing it in love and obedience for the Lord. As far as I know he's taking the lessons there and will be baptized in a couple of weeks. That was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I'm writing blog post about it (with their permission of course) because there's too much to write in an email. I learned a lot about faith and the power of real Charity and love. Those Christlike attributes really do have the power to change hearts, we just have to be worthy for that power to work with us and through us.

I also had to say goodbye to Christian this week. The cute, sweet 9 year old broke into tears. It was tender to see pure love from a child. It made my heart swell and I am eternally grateful that I got to spend 6 months in Vista Peaks. They're like family to me. I thank God for that opportunity to serve in that area every single day.

I can't wait to see what lies ahead this next transfer! Time is going by so fast and I can truly feel the Lord hastening His work. I'm just trying to keep up because that rate that He's working at is fast!

-Sister Dunn

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 16, 2014


Transfers are this week.... *drum roll* ...... I'm getting transferred! I'm going to the Salt River stake and going to the richest area in all of Mesa! YAY! I'M SO EXCITED I CAN'T CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT!!!!!!!! BUT! I'm in a trio.... AGAIN! Clearly the third time was not the charm and I didn't learn my lesson yet ;) Just kidding! My new companions are Sisters Chase & Krueger. I know then and they're great sisters. I can't wait to serve with them in this AMAZING area with little to no work. Here I come member missionary work!

I WENT HIKING THIS MORNING AND I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!! We went to the "Wind Caves" (indents in the mountains...hills.... made by the wind). It was really cool. The entire zone was there and it was a blast. It took about an hour to get to the very top. We had to do a little rock climbing to get there but it was so worth it! We could see the Gilbert Temple and 5 of the 6 missions in Arizona. It was really cool and I've decided that I'm going to do this hike once a month. On the way back down, Sister Sparhawk and I ran most of the way and got a really good work out in. Yet another thing that is making my mission really cool!

I really loved President Jenkins email to the mission this week. I think this is applicable to anyone in a situation where they have a calling. Here it is:

"One of the things that I hope our missionaries learn while here is how the Church operates in general. I want to prepare you for your future in Church service by having your mission be a preparatory experience.
 For example, in the Church we neither ask to be called to positions or asked to be released. The same should be true in the mission in order to prepare you for your future. It is appropriate both here and later to explain your circumstances to your leaders so we might have the information necessary to make inspired decisions. Later in life this will include family circumstances, work or school hours and demands, health considerations and anything else that the bishop needs to know in order to choose the right calling for you. The same information may be shared in order that the bishop might know when it is appropriate for an inspired release.
 Also, in the Church there is no "up" or "down" in Church callings, only forward or backward. It is completely acceptable and customary to be the bishop one Sunday and the deacon's quorum advisor or a Sunday School teacher the next or visa versa. There are no promotions or demotions. The same holds true in the mission field. There is no leadership "ladder" to be climbed. One transfer you might be a zone leader and the next a junior companion. In the Church and in the mission we serve where we are asked and where we are needed. It is always "how" we serve and not "where" that is important.
 Just as not every man is going to called to be the bishop, nor every woman will be the president of the Relief Society, not every missionary is going to serve in every position. The Church and the mission both have need of every member of the 'body'. Every member is needed in order for the body to function and work together. Some are more skilled at being the hand or the foot than another. It does not mean they are more important than any other part of the body, but that they have the gifts and talents to function in that capacity.
 The more completely you learn and accept these principles here in the mission, the easier it will be to live by them after the mission, because that is exactly how the Church operates!"

What he said really opened my eyes about church leadership and callings. I hope that in the future I can live this principle more rather than just talk about it. I view my callings differently now and I'm more grateful for the opportunities that I have had to serve on my mission. Looking back I wish I had done things differently, but I learned what I needed to learn and I'm moving forward onto the next chapter of my life.

This week was really slow but it went by so quickly. I can't believe that another transfer is starting. We've had quite a bit of teaching opportunities in the wards this week. I think my favorite happened on Tuesday. Sister Hamberger and I were on splits; She was in Adobe Villa and I was in Vista Peaks. I went with another Sister in the ward to the Sekaquaptewa's. Anthony is a nonmember and has taken the lessons on and off. His home teacher, Mike Hixon, pulled us aside a few weeks before and shared some feelings about Anthony being ready to take the lessons and learn again. We then set up an appointment and during this appointment Brother Hixon took charge and followed the Spirit in teaching how the gospel blesses families. Adrian is not ready right now, but the cool part was seeing the member get excited and follow the Spirit. At the end he wasn't discouraged because Anthony was not ready. Rather, he was excited to go and find someone else who is. Things are starting to improve in Vista Peaks and a new set of faces will really help move the work along and to encourage the members. I'm seeing from first-hand experiences how powerful it is to have members be involved in every step of missionary work. If members could just get out and feel the spirit of missionary work then miracles would happen. Members and missionaries would truly be on the same side. I'm going to take this excitement and experience into my new area.

The lives of all of our investigators has been nuts. Everyone has either left for vacation because it's summer or their picking up more time because it's summer. It's been a struggle this week to meet with them but we have seen lots of less actives! We had 3 come to church in Vista Peaks and they appear to be starting to come regularly as well! Even though we haven't had a lot of success finding investigators, I think we've been fairly successful in getting less actives back on the path to activity.

I also had a neat experience with learning to recognize the voice and influence of the Spirit. It was Saturday night and we did not have any appointments and we honestly did not know what we should do or where we needed to be. So we prayed and asked for specific guidance to know where we needed to go. We had a specific name come into our minds and we felt that this is the area we should be headed for. As we were driving along Recker, we saw an old man walking and we had a feeling to stop and see him. Unfortunately there was not a single place to go and park to go and talk to this man. We decided that we would continue onward towards the name that we both felt inspired to go and see. We get there and the person we went to see wanted nothing to do with us. As we were walking back to the car we felt terrible. I felt that this was not where we needed to be. Sister Hamberger and I look at each other and we knew and felt that we needed to find the old man and talk with him. We ran back to the car and began our search for him. As we were driving away I began to feel better and as we continued to drive the better I felt. We eventually found him, pulled over, and talked with him. This old man was so sweet and very nice but not really open to learning, but we learned a valuable lesson that night. I learned another way that the Spirit speaks to me. Often times it's like a game of hot & cold. The closer we follow the feelings and promptings of the Spirit the warmer we get and the better we feel. If we don't follow the Spirit we do not feel good, a little unsettled, and the colder we get. It is our opportunity and responsibility to recognize how the Spirit is speaking to us and to boldly and courageously follow it. The Spirit truly helps us learn and he keeps us on our toes by stretching us and making us work to follow him.

Well, I'm not too shocked about transfer news. I saw and felt it coming. Adobe Villa is really sad and a little ticked off that they're being white-washed again. It was really funny... one of the members started throwing a tantrum and this is what she said "Ask your mission president this: was he really inspired? Did he pray about this?" Her facial expressions were priceless and it was funny, but the members are sad. We reassured them that they were getting fantastic sisters who would continue the work and do more than we could have ever done.
We got the fire rekindled and now the new sisters will have an opportunity to keep the fire going and turn it into a bonfire! I'm excited for them :)

-Sister Dunn

June 9, 2014


Another week and flown by and I don't even know where it went. I can't believe how fast time is flying by. This week has had many ups and downs, trials and joys, and many crazy experiences.

This week has been so hard because Satan has just been attacking me with everything he has in his artillery. I really don't like him. He's been sneaking into my mind and causing me to question and doubt. He's been in the minds of the people we're working with and throwing trial after trial in their path. He has been relentless and I'm exhausted. I don't understand why he can't just leave me alone! He's like one of those annoying flies that keeps coming back even though you've swatted him away 1,000 times. He keeps coming back for more.... He's been very forceful with me this week and it's been hard to let the Atonement come in and help. As soon as I let Christ in Satan comes in with a bulldozer to remove. Even though I'm pushing him back, he always manages to always be there. I'm looking forward to the second coming where he will no longer be around. That will be a glorious day!

Besides being treated like a punching bag by the Adversary, we had a good week. We found 4 new investigators in the Adobe Villa ward! Man, people are just coming out of nowhere. It's great, but the problem we're running into now is getting our investigators to progress. It's easy to teach them on the spot, invite them to do something, and set up a return appointment. It's another thing to have them keep their commitments and return appointments. I know that there's a lesson to be learned here... I'm just not sure what it is yet. We get to experience these miracles of finding and then nothing happens after that. *sigh* I keep praying that everything will work out and I'm doing all that I can to ensure that I'm worthy to follow the Spirit and to allow the Lord to work miracles through me. I definitely need to develop patience because it is not a virtue that I have right now. Everything will work out in the Lord's time.

Charlene and Raymond have been bombarded by attacks from the Adversary. With all that is going wrong in their lives we have not been able to teach them this week. Our members have been awesome though and have gone over to their home by themselves to reach out to them, share love, and give encouragement. They told us that things are going to calm down this week and we have an appointment with them on Wednesday. Hope all goes well! We're sad we have to push their baptism back, but it's has to be so and it's what they need.

John Taylor is doing great! He's starting to get answers to his prayers. He's beginning to know for himself that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that through him Jesus Christ established His church on the earth. It's really amazing to hear him put the pieces of the puzzle together. I know he'll be baptized soon. That being said, he lives in Gilbert and we have to transfer him to be taught by the missionaries over there. Please pray that we can transition him. We've only taught him twice but it's still going to be hard. He's dead-set on being taught here. He loves this ward and his girlfriend is here. I hope and pray that he will see that he needs to be taught where he lives.

Vista Peaks is doing alright. We've been seeing a lot of members this week and they recognize that they need to do more missionary work to help us. Thankfully we have messages and commitments to give to members to help them do that! It's great! We're really encouraging our Ward Mission Leader to start acting on the plan we made a couple of weeks ago to help the members do missionary work as well.

I have the most kind and loving Ward Mission Leader in the Adobe Villa ward EVER! So I was looking into getting a new iPad case because the keyboard/case I had kept falling off and my iPad was beginning to get destroyed. One Sunday I looked over my shoulder and I saw that Brother Austin had a brand new iPad and a really great case that was with it. I asked him how much the case was because I was looking into a keyboard/case combo. He told me and I began plotting in my mind how I could save to obtain one. After thinking I decided to not buy a new case and to just get a new one from the mission office and use the keyboard I had. A couple of days later, and after obtaining a new case from Elder Hansen, we were walking and talking with Brother Austin after a fabulous lesson with John Taylor. Me being dumb and gullible did not see what was going to happen. Brother Austin asked to see my iPad. Of course I said yes because I wanted to show him the new case I had just gotten and to share my excitement for my iPad not falling out of it. Then he asks how to connect devices to an iPad, so of course I showed him how to do it. I was so out of it that I do not remember him grabbing my iPad, taking it out of the case, and putting it into the one we had just talked about a few days before. Then he handed me my iPad in HIS CASE, walked away, got into his car with his wife with the BIGGEST smile on his face, and drove away. Needless to say I was in shock and I couldn't move for a few seconds before I registered what had just happened. That man is so giving, I love him a lot. There are some really great members here and I feel so blessed to be a recipient of their love and generosity.

Here's the biggest miracle for the week! When we first found Charlene and Raymond there were two kids that really wanted to learn as well. This super cute 10 year old boy and 7 year old girl were so excited to learn about Jesus. Well, we never actually got the chance to teach them because they moved out of the blue and we had no idea where they had gone. We were deeply saddened, but we prayed that they were in a much better place. A couple weeks later Sister Quiocho and Schulte called us and told us that they had just found the kids and their parents! The family is no longer lost and they still want to learn! Although they're not in our area, I'm so happy that they're safe and that these wonderful sisters found them. Huge miracle!

Going to the temple on Friday was absolutely wonderful and desperately needed. After this week of hand-to-hand combat with the adversary it was so nice to be in a place where he cannot dwell and I was not going to let him in either. It was so relaxing and peaceful. We got there plenty early and I loved it. It gave me time to calm down and get into a state of mind to receive revelation. Pondering and listening to the music brought the Spirit into my soul and it felt wonderful. My question going to the temple was about how to become a better missionary. It was very vague, but I knew that Heavenly Father would tell me how to become better. Sitting in the Celestial Room is one of the best places on earth for Heavenly Father to speak to you. He told me that I needed to become like Christ. As I pondered I saw that I needed to learn to serve and love the way He did. Everyday I study the New Testament seeing how the Savior served and looking at my own life to see what I can change to be that way. This is going to be something I'm going to work on for the rest of this transfer and probably the next one as well. Not only do I want to become a better missionary, I want to become a better person and I know that trying to become like Christ will allow me to do that.

I'm looking forward to what this week has to offer. As each week passes by I always recognize how Heavenly Father is blessing us and how the Lord is leading and guiding us. Now it's up to us to be worthy, listen, and act on the guidance we receive and not to take any blessing for granted.

-Sister Dunn
New temperature high for the week!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June 2, 2014


It is really Monday again? I feel like it was just Monday. I guess time flies by when you're busy. This week did not go according to the plans we made and prayed over. BUT! We still experienced some very sweet miracles and despite what we wanted we know that the Lord was helping us this week to execute his plan. And it was HOT! I have a beautiful tan!

Had ANOTHER amazing lesson with Charlene& Raymond with the Austin's. We taught the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ. They learn really well from the pamphlets. They just read it and teach themselves what it says. If they have questions we'll answer them and we'll also clarify things and provide examples and share personal experiences. They really comprehended what the Gospel is and they are taking what they learned very serious. We invited them to start living what they had just learned. Raymond was a bit hesitant. He explained that he wanted to be in it 100% or not at all. That's when Brother Austin began to testify about how happy living the gospel makes him and his wife (Charlene & Raymond always tell us how happy they are together) and the Spirit was so strong. The Spirit bore witness to him that he needed to live this. After that powerful testimony, Brother Austin asked Raymond if he knew this was all true. Raymond responded that he knew it was true the moment we first began teaching them. They know this is true! They just need more encouragement to read the Book of Mormon and gain a testimony for themselves that the book is true. They're such a great couple, but we're really struggling to help them to understand the importance of doing what we ask them to do. They have lives but they have made lots of excuses for not seeing us this week so we have to push their baptism back :'( It's not what we wanted, but it is what needs to happen. I know that as we exercise our faith, the Lord's plan for them will play out. We'll keep being diligent with them and we will do all we can so that the Lord can help us and be worthy to be guided by the Spirit.

I learned a very valuable lesson about the Atonement yesterday during the sacrament. We had been waiting in anticipation for Raymond and Charlene to come to church. They said they would and we trusted them. Well, they did not show up and I was really disappointed. The feeling I had was something that I had never experienced before. During the administration of the sacrament I felt I needed to read the Book of Mormon. I opened it and was guided to Mosiah 14 (one of my all time favorite chapters). Verses 3-4 really made an impression on me. They say "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted." The word sorrow really stood out to me so I looked up the meaning of the word in the dictionary. It means "a feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others." I realized that I was feeling sorrow, real sorrow. I was disappointed by the lack of effort shown by our investigators when they said they would do things. I was truly sad deep down. That's when the Spirit enlightened my mind and comforted me. The Savior has experienced that sorrow. He's a man of sorrows! There's no one else who knows sorrow better than him. As I continued to ponder, a relieving feeling came as I read this line: "He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows..." I felt the healing aspect of the Atonement. It was amazing! I felt the sorrow that I was feeling carried away. The Spirit also told me that as I remained diligent and faithful and prayed earnestly that all would work out for our investigators. There is not an aspect of our lives that the Atonement cannot touch to make whole. "And with his stripes we are healed (v.5)" and it is true.

We found another amazing investigator in Adobe Villa. He's the boyfriend of a member and he's been coming to church with her for the past 3 months. He's been wanted to learn from the missionaries for a long time so we got to teach him! I'm not sure why the elders before didn't teach him because he is AMAZING! His name is John Taylor. We taught the first lesson and at the end we invited him to pray and ask God to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. We were thinking that he would pray when he got home but NO! He got down on his knees right there and began to pray. Needless to say we were in shock, but in a good way. After a very heartfelt and sincere prayer we asked him how he felt. He said that he didn't really feel any different but he knew that God would answer his prayers through studying the Book of Mormon, praying, taking lessons with us, and going to church. It was really amazing to see his testimony of prayer. We also invited him to be baptized. He doesn't want to rush into the font but being baptized is in his plans. He's praying about a date. We're praying for July! But June would be good too :) He came to church with us on Sunday and our ward mission leader bore an amazing testimony about Joseph Smith along with 2 or 3 other members. Later we were talking with our WML and he told us he didn't know why but he felt that his testimony was meant for John. Sister Hamberger and I freaked out and the Spirit told us that these testimonies along with some other things were an answer to that prayer offered during our lesson. Crazy stuff! He's great and is eager to learn!

We've received quite a few referrals in the past week (all in the Adobe Villa ward) and we hope to find more people to teach. People are just coming out of the wood work here! I love it! We did have one of family of investigators move out on Saturday. It was really sad, but they're going to be living in a better place rather than the 2nd most ghetto apartment complex in Mesa. We pray for them constantly and we hope that they can find a more stable place to live so they can more fully learn and accept the gospel. It was a bittersweet day.

I also can't believe that it's June. May did not exist. Well, I am going to make sure that June exists and counts! I can't wait for the miracles that lie ahead! We also get to go the temple this week with President and Sister Jenkins. I am so excited! It feels like a lifetime since I last went even though it was only a month ago. Pray for miracles to happen in your areas and have the faith that the Lord is leading and guiding your every footstep to reach out and find the "one."

-Sister Dunn
I thought it was HOT!!

I thought wrong!!!!!

Welcome to zone sports!  This is what we were greeted with as we went and played chair soccer.  Only elders . . . . . .

Bring it on summer!!