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


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 20, 2014


This week has just been so blessed! I WISH YOU ALL COULD COME TO THE MACK & MARIA'S BAPTISM ON FRIDAY THE 24TH!!!!!!!!!!! They're just the most amazing people of my entire life. 

We've been working so hard with them this past week. Maria got really sick and we were afraid that we wouldn't be able to teach them what they needed to know to be prepared. But don't worry because the Lord provided a way! We used FaceTime to teach them!! I am sooooooo grateful that the Lord has blessed our mission with such amazing technology! If we didn't have any of this we would have never taught them and Satan would have won this round. But not today!!! During one of our lessons this week we taught them about fasting and tithing. We did some HTBT (how to begin teaching) and asked what they knew about fasting. Mack went off and told us what he knew and went on to tell us that they had fasted on fast Sunday and that they started with a prayer and were fasting for one of their children. Mind you that we taught the lesson AFTER they had already fasted. Who does that? I feel like we're not really teaching them because they're teaching themselves! They are the cover model for preparedness. 

We had a really cool experience with a PMF. Brother Kummings is a very less active member who has a non-member wife. His very active sister came to visit from Utah and when we stopped by she practically smothered us with love. We got to chat for about 30 minutes. She asked us so many great questions about our missions and some of the experiences we've had. Before we left she asked both of us to share one of our most spiritual experiences we've had while serving. As Sister Krueger and I shared our experiences the Spirit washed into the room. The non-member wife really payed attention and began to be curious and asked questions. I don't know if she'll ever accept the gospel, but that night the door was opened and she felt something. I am so grateful for members who are bold and not afraid to open their mouths. If that member hadn't asked us to share some of our experiences the Spirit wouldn't have been able to touch hearts as deeply as it did. Go members!!

Members in Stonebridge are actually doing missionary work!!!! It's small, but better than what was going on before! Friday night was their youth conference and we went and crashed to share a message. In midst of boonie-ness, dutch ovens, and mosquitos was a young man who wasn't a member and was there because his friend invited him. This kid loved the activity so much and admires the kind of life that his friend lives that he wants to learn more about the gospel and come to church. Guys, this is such a miracle and an answer to our prayers. I never thought that this would happen while I was here but it did. This kid thinks his parents will be ok with him learning and possibly even getting baptized. I am making it a goal of mine to help Stonebridge have a convert baptism by the end of my mission. This drought period is going to be over. I know that with the Lord's help this can be possible. We just need to keep praying and being diligent in what we're doing and good things are bound to come forth. 

We got to participate in Project Connect this week and it was so amazing! Project Connect is a charity that provides services for homeless people. They could get a meal, take a shower, get new clothes, get a birth certificate, get banking advice. You name it and it was there. We were 'guides' and we got to help 3 guests receive the services that they wanted. It was such a learning experience to just be serving people out of the love of my heart. My favorite part was at the end of helping one of the guests named Mike. They needed to fill out a questionnaire about how they found out about the event. One of the questions was "What was your favorite part of the event?" His response was "working with you two." Shucks! That made me feel good! I was on cloud nine as we went and helped another guest. The people we served were more touched by the love that we showed them rather than if we had just approached them on the street. Hopefully many good teaching opportunities will arise in the future because these guests will remember the love that they felt. Such a great opportunity! I hope there's more in the future!

Oh! Transfer news! I'm staying with Sister Krueger in our area for another 6 weeks!! YAY! In case anyone wanted to know, training for a 5K is NOT fun but it's going well. I haven't died yet. So I guess that's good. :) Also, balloon volleyball is a serious work out. We got to play a round with a family in Las Sendas and my arms are sore. We had a blast and the kids got to add a memory of playing with the missionaries to their album. I got to see "Meet the Mormons" this week! President Jenkins received a copy for the mission and after receiving seriously the best family history training I've ever received we got to watch it with the mission. I bawled with the candy bomber and laughed at the humanitarian who was a goofy dancer. It was a perfect glimpse into what the gospel does to enhance our lives. Heavenly Father truly created the perfect gospel. Eveyone, no matter their background or history, needs the gospel. It enhances every element of good in our lives and retracts the bad. It helps us become our heavenly selves. I wish everyone could understand that. When we ask people to start living a specific principle or standard it isn't to restrain us, it's to set our spirits free and relish in the blessings that come from living the type of life that God enjoys. Obedience brings blessings. Always. Disobediences brings misery. Always. I think Henry B. Eyring said it best. "What we DO allows the Atonement (or gospel) to CHANGE us into what we must be." I hope we can all look at our lives and see where we can let the gospel change us and invite good into our hearts. It's an act of humility that will bring exponential joy. 

-Sister Dunn

Just an Arizona sunset. :)

Sister Krueger and I enjoying a sunrise after a nice hike up a hill. 

Us and the Sewell's; our all-time favorite family in Las Sendas.

Sometimes we have rules where we aren't allowed to eat in the car... I found a way.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 13, 2014

It has been a pretty good week! A lot happened and much was learned. We did a lot of service for people in other wards in the stake. We karate chopped sticks, turned our lungs brown, and heart attacked like crazy. Here's a funny story from service. One of our zone leaders has major ADD and didn't quite get to take his medicine that morning. He was literally saying crazy things. While karate chopping a stick he had a brilliant idea to brainwash one of the children there. He broke a wand-sized stick off and beckoned one of the kids. He said,in a quiet, yet dead serious voice, "Now, this is a very special stick. It's made from the same tree that Harry Potter's wand came from. This wand, is for you." This kid fell for it big time and for the next 45 minutes we heard exclamations of spells and the tale of how this wand came to be. Priceless.

We have received revelation to help the Stonebridge ward!! We went on exchanges with Sister Evans this week and in an evaluation email she told me that she feels that we need to just go into every home and teach about the Atonement. We did that immediately the next day and we began to see a glimmer of hope. If we can keep doing this and not get discouraged for not seeing immediate results, good things will happen in the ward. We've figured out that the members are good at talking about the gospel with their friends, but are terrible at inviting. I'm sure teaching the Atonement and inviting them to act will do something, right?
Preach My Gospel says that when a person increases their understanding of the Atonement and experiences it, a desire to share it with others will follow. :)

Mack and Maria are set for the 24th! We're almost finished with the lessons and their testimonies are growing brighter and brighter everyday! We're getting the word out and many people are planning on coming and they're telling everyone they know too! This is how amazing they are: We had a lesson with them on Thursday and they TOOK NOTES. Who does that??!! They're so amazing. We also saw them on Tuesday and followed up to see if they were able to see a session of General Conference. They didn't watch just one, but four of the five sessions. They also recorded it on their TV so they could pause it every time they didn't understand something and look it up in the Gospel Principles manual. The only question they had was this: "Now, explain to us what a 'seventy' is and what a sealer does." Again, amazing. They're not golden; they're platinum. :)

It rained this week! On the day we had interviews and car inspections too! It was actually a lot of fun checking tire pressure and fluids in the rain. Thank goodness I didn't straighten my hair! Or President might have disowned me for my messy hair! He wouldn't do that, but seeing his reaction would have been... intense. During the interview we discussed what he asked us to read the week before. He asked us to read 1 Nephi 1-5 and relate the experiences Nephi had to ourselves. We discussed a lot about obedience and his email to the mission basically sums up what we talked about.

"Elders and Sisters, obedience means obedience. The principle, the attribute, and the commitment is to be obedient in all things, not to pick and choose what we will obey and what we won't. There is no such thing as disobeying "small" or "little" things. It is all disobedience and it always leads to big things. If we obey some things but disobey or ignore others, we are not blessed for being obedient missionaries because in reality---we are not obedient. There is spiritual and physical safety in being completely obedient to every mission and missionary rule and guideline and to every one of the Lord's commandments. Having agency does not give a person the 'right' to disobey. It may grant one the privilege, but God has never given anyone the right to do wrong. It is not in His nature, for He cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. To intentionally disobey is to also intentionally agree to the full and complete consequences of the act of disobedience. It is impossible to choose one and not choose the other. We cannot pick up one end of the stick without also picking up the other."
So, be obedient. Here's a tip to those of you who hold callings. Please don't openly tell the missionaries or anyone how much you hate your calling and desperately want to be released.... just, don't... We had this experience this week and it didn't leave a good impression and it made us not want to be around her, let alone work with her.... Sister Dunn's life advice #334883672638.

All of our recent converts in Las Sendas are doing well! Members are reaching out to them, helping them feel love and getting them involved in upcoming events. We're trying to work with our less actives still. This week was harder to see them (and everyone) because it was fall break... summer all over again! But it's over and everyone is back and work will pick up again!
Here's a question to ponder throughout the day: What has the Savior done for me?
-Sister Dunn

Catching a quick bite.  Yum!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October 6, 2014


What a great week! General Conference was just absolutely amazing. I'm so grateful for my mission because I've learned the priceless value of the meeting and the spiritual power that comes from it. I don't have a favorite talk. All of them touched me in different ways and I received revelation during each of them! I know what I need to do during the next 6 months and today I sat down and made goals and plans to accomplish what I was prompted to do. It was really cool. I wrote down significant things that I needed to remember from the talks (like Elder Scott's on the 4 tools that will help us come unto Christ) but I would also write down specific things that the Spirit prompted me to write. I didn't notice a lot of it until I went back and reviewed my notes. The Spirit works in the most interesting ways sometimes. I will say this: probably one of the biggest messages I got out of conference was how vitally essential it is to be converted. We were given in such plainness the things we need to do to become converted. Everything that was shared I had to learn on my own! Now it's available, so no one has the excuse of "I don't know how" because it's been given to us by our prophets and it's as plain as day. So, go and get converted everyone! We have received counsel over the past few years of how to be physically prepared, so now is the time to be spiritually prepared for the whirlwinds of life and the coming of the Savior. 

We watched the first session with Sister Victor! She was so welcoming and let the entire district come and eat breakfast and enjoy the first session with her. We made french toast, delectable omelettes, and Sister Victor made fruit smoothies that tasted like cheesecake. We had such a great time! We love Sister Victor! All the other sessions we watched at the Stake Center... I feel like we practically lived there the past 2 days..... 

Mack and Maria are set to be baptized on the 25th! They're so excited! We were with another of our recent converts in the ward and when they found out he recently was baptized they couldn't wait to tell him that they were getting baptized later in the month. They want this and are working so hard for it. We took them to the Visitors' Center and talked quite a bit about the temple. They have a goal of going inside one day. They were actually disappointed that our tour of the VC didn't include going inside the temple. They're being loved into the ward and are loving church! They watched General Conference on their own and loved it too! We're going over on Tuesday to discuss it with them and to talk about some other things that they have to do to be prepared to be baptized. Seriously golden people. 

We're really working on convert retention and activation right now in Las Sendas. Efforts in this were and are severely lacking. We've had a lot of appointments in the last week with all of the recent converts in the ward. We're helping them facilitate experiences that will help them be converted. So far it's going really well! We're doing the same thing with less actives and performing service to get inside the door of some. We're super busy in that ward. It's great! Stonebridge is as dead as ever. Still not sure why either. Frustrating much? Yes. I feel like NO ONE wants us in their homes except for a lone ward missionary.... We did receive revelation during General Conference as to how to cope with the lack of work. Elder Chi Hong Wong described what's happening perfectly. His talk was about the man with palsy being carried to the Savior. If everyone is not working in unison then the person who lowers their corner too fast will result in the man falling off the bed. Right now we're trying to go faster in Stonebridge. We know how important the work is! But the rest of the ward isn't on the same page. As a result the man is falling off the bed. We're going to readjust what we're doing to help the ward as they lower the "palsy man". No one is going to fall off the bed!
1. General Conference selfie #selfiesunday
2. General Conference with Sister Victor!!
3. To be obedient little missionaries, some elders in our district have to wait outside until the other elders show up. Luckily they got to enjoy their smoothies in beautiful 80 weather!
4. le District
5. ze elders mocking the sisters in the district
6. la Sisters in the district
7. My district in a nutshell.