Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November 24, 2014

I SURVIVED THE 5K!!!!!! I ran it in 31:02. For a person who has never run in her life and started 9 weeks ago, this is pretty amazing. I learned that God gives his children many talents, but mine is not running. I'll just design the facilities that runners can use. ;) We also ran in the stake's 2 mile "fun run". I'm all runned out. This week has been kinda funky. I got sick earlier in the week. It really stinks getting sick... My body has this weird timeline where I get a sinus infection every six months. It's that time again! I'm so grateful for the members because they let me rest while another took out Sister Krueger to get some work done. 
ZTM was really good this past week. We were trained a lot about diligence and having pure desires and motives. It was probably the best ZTM I've ever been to. I was asked to give a talk on persistence vs. diligence. It was really interesting preparing for this. I had always thought that they were the same things, but they're not. I guess to sum up what I learned, persistence is working hard on your own; diligence is working hard with the Lord and for the Lord. 
Miracle! Jessica and her mom have shown an interest in the church again!!!! She kinda fell off the face of the planet, but we found her again! We just went over on Thursday and had a really good discussion with them about the Atonement. Right now they're content with their church, but are willing to look into another one! YAY! I was super sad when we lost contact with her, but we're not going to let her go this time! We're making an extra effort to let the ward know about her and inviting them to reach out and be her friend. Good things must come.... They might even come to church next Sunday because we're giving talks! YAY! After five and a half months in this area we are finally giving talks. 
Our transition lesson won't be happening for a couple of weeks... This investigator keeps bailing on us! UGH. Just when things seemed to be going right.... We're working really close with her fellowshipper and trying to coordinate another time to meet with her.
Stonebridge seems to be doing better. At least there are things going on! The new auxiliaries are doing a good job and motivating the other auxiliaries to reach out. We're planning on an open house in January and miracles are going to follow. :)
It's Christmas Lights time!!!!!!!!! They start on Friday and I'm SO EXCITED. We start working on the 3rd of December every other day. I can't wait and we get to be in our area!!! Last year we were never in our area during the evening during Christmas Lights. We had our official training on Friday. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Speaking of Christmas, those of you who are on social media should be all over Facebook on Friday the 28th. The church is coming out with a Christmas initiative that will seriously change you and the world. Take advantage of it because the church is making it easier and easier to share the gospel. We no longer have any excuses to NOT be sharing the gospel. 
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! I'm looking forward to spending time with the 7 families that have invited us over. Don't worry, we have a plan to not overeat. :) 
-Sister Dunn
After finishing the stake "fun run"

We finished the 5K!!!!!!!!!

Car selfie!!

Fit for the Kingdom

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November 17, 2014

Is it really Monday again? The time went by so fast this week. We managed to stay pretty busy doing service for our recent converts (ironing curtains and playing with play-dough with an 8 year old), teaching 8 year olds and preparing them for their baptism, and preparing for zone conference!
I'm not quite sure what you wanted the missionaries to learn from Zone Conference, but I left so pumped to go out and work! The Spirit was the teacher there. I think this was the best zone conference that I have ever been to. All the trainings were inspired and I want to make family history a bigger part of my work. We're changing the way we plan to incorporate what we were asked to do, and I'm more focused on my purpose than I have ever been. I feel I went up to the next level in my missionary work. It's really cool actually! I really think our purpose was driven in deep... Hopefully good things will come as we apply the things we learned. My group's training went really well! Between golf clubs and physics, we hopefully were able to teach how to make online proselyting effective and a powerful tool in our work. President liked it, so I think it was a success. :)
The Phoenix Temple Dedication was AMAZING!!!!!!! I cannot begin to express how grateful I am that I've been able to experience TWO temple dedications on my mission. If I thought I loved the temple before, I saw nothing of what I would experience after watching the dedication sessions. I learned that our vision of inviting others to come unto Christ needs to lead them to the temple, not just the font. The whole purpose for us coming to earth was to gain a body, have experiences that would make us learn, and to be obedient to the commandments of the gospel and receive all the ordinances that are also associated with it. THAT is why we do missionary work. It's to unite God's children and be together in the Celestial kingdom. I got that before, but now it's a part of who I am. I just wish the members would understand that. Attending the temple is more than just something we do. It needs to become a part of who we are. If we understand why we even have temples in the first place then we'll attend more and have a vision and goals to help others around us to get there. That's another reason why family history is so important. As people do their family history the Spirit of Elijah comes and bears witness of the divine nature of the family and helps them care for the eternal welfare of others! I could just keep going on and on and on. I love the temple. I want it to become more of who I am than what I do. I hope to be able to help others understand that as well and use family history as a finding method in our area. 
I'm so excited for the Christmas season to start!!!!!!!! We worked hard on Saturday handing out Christmas lights invitations to people we saw on the streets and we're making a goal with our ward mission leader in Stonebridge to make these invitations an effective missionary tool. We're definitely not going to just put them next to the programs for sacrament meeting. We're creating a plan that's going to be super effective... :) The church is coming out with initiatives similar to Easter. There's going to be a video called "He is the gift." So be on the lookout on social media channels to watch this video and share it with EVERYONE!!! These initiatives that the church is coming out with is genius! Good things are going to happen because of these wonderful tools that we're being blessed with! Whenever we visit with members and we get to discuss Christmas, I always make it a point to teach about the real meaning for Christmas and emphasize that we are celebrating the birth of our Savior! Focusing on the fact that if this event never happened, we would have no Savior, no Atonement, no hope for life after this. Go Christmas!!!
The Word of Wisdom and it's promises are real. Seriously. Live it exactly and see the blessings and miracles that follow. So training for our 5K has sucked. Who ever thought that running for 30 minutes straight was fun?? A crazy person, that's who. But I wanted to run the entire thing and made it my goal. This past week for running has been rough. I couldn't seem to break running for more than 25 minutes. Once I reached that time my body would shut down and I couldn't run any more. It was really discouraging! One morning I was sitting on our couch thinking about just running for that time and walking the rest. Then I remembered that the Word of Wisdom has a powerful blessing associated with it if you are obedient... "[you] shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint." I thought to my self "God always keeps his promises. Why not this one?" So I made a plan to eat exactly what the Word of Wisdom teaches (within my control of course... I can't control the enchiladas the members make for dinner) and took it to Heavenly Father in prayer. Guess what!? It worked! After a few days of eating better, the next time we ran I went for 28 minutes and could have kept going for another 5. The word of Wisdom is real!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amen. 
-Sister Dunn

Sunday, November 16, 2014

November 10, 2014

My mission president is the best!!!!!!!!!!! My dear Aunt Sherrie and Uncle Neil got to take me and my companion out for lunch! It was like the best thing ever! It was strange because I was with my family which is typically a big no-no, but SO GOOD because they're the best! I got swedish fish! I haven't had those in a LONG time! Family is just the best!
This week has been pretty good! Miracles, no matter how small they may be, are happening in Stonebridge! We met with some of the new auxiliary this week WITH our ward mission leaders and they are on board with what we are doing as a ward mission! MIRACLES! THEN! Another member of the ward council (who in the past has been very reluctant to help doing visits) actually set up an appointment and is coming with us! MIRACLES! I'm taking what little bit of light and hope I can get!

We had our first lesson with the member's friend in Stonebridge. It went pretty good! She told us up front that she just wants to learn, not convert. Too bad that we don't have control over the convincing power of the Spirit! I know she felt it and at the end of the lesson she agreed to read the Book of Mormon! Miracle! We have another appointment set up with her this week, hopefully things will go well. I'm kicking myself in the shins though..... She doesn't live in the area but the member is INSISTING that we teach her. If it goes well this week, we're going to transfer her to the missionaries in her area. I can't handle this whole "teaching outside of your area" thing and I hope members will understand that someday.... It's just an excuse to not doing missionary work within the ward, but I'll take what I can get.

Mack and Maria are doing SO GOOD! Mack received the priesthood this Sunday and is glowing! They're reading the Book of Mormon, participating in the church activities, and bearing their testimony to everyone. This Sunday a student from MCC (Mesa Community College) came because he needed to look into another religion for his religions class. At the end of gospel essentials, Mack goes up to this man and bears his testimony about the blessings that have come into their lives since joining the church and that he knows it's true. He's a superstar. She is too, but you could really see that he's in the church for life after this event.

All of our other recent converts and less actives that we're working with are doing really well! I feel that the wards are stepping up a little bit in retention and activation. They're making a bigger effort to reach out to those who may be struggling. I hope I can be a resource for them! The adult session of stake conference last week was all about our roles in the work. Hopefully someone will see that the missionaries are the resource for the members!! We're full-time teachers, not full-time finders.

Well, I feel completely inadequate to be giving a training on online proselyting! I've been praying a lot for guidance and the Spirit, so I hope our training will help the missionaries. It's definitely made an impact on my own proselyting. I'm reading a page of the guidelines before I begin and I'm constantly watching what I do to ensure that I am fulfilling my purpose. I've definitely felt a difference; I know that the Spirit is always with me guiding and watching over me. If no one else gets anything out of this training, know that I did and I'm making a goal to become more effective!
We got to go to the temple again this week! It was our regularly scheduled time rather than "the missionaries can't be out proselyting" temple trip. I just love the temple. I always leave with an assurance of God's plan for his children and an added measure of spiritual strength to out and tackle the next 6 weeks. Temples are such a blessing! Know that the family is eternal makes building stronger relationships all the more important. I just love the temple!!
I also had a very strong testimony building experience last Monday. We didn't have any appointments and we were just trying to stay positive. We were going through the ward list trying to contact less actives. Contacting empty doors for three hours is not fun or encouraging. I kinda had low spirits as we neared the end of the evening, but I was determined to stay positive. The last two people we saw were not happy to see us. I don't think because it was late, but because Satan had gotten a hold of their hearts and influenced them to hate the gospel and everything associated with it. They didn't say anything except "never come back", "we want nothing to do with you", "we don't take visitors", and "no one ever comes to our door" but I felt the waves of hatred as I tried to find a face beyond the security screen. I had never felt so terrible! I broke down crying on our way home because I didn't understand what I was feeling. What I was feeling was a portion of the rejection that Christ felt. It hurt! Rather than being upset, I turn to the things that we are taught to go to: the scriptures and prayer. These things aren't just "primary answers" or things to keep us busy. They are conduits that help us reach out to Heavenly Father and for him to reach back and help us. These simple things allowed the Atonement to come into my life and let the Savior take the lead. Without the gospel, prayer, and scriptures this event would have traumatized me for weeks, but with it I was healed that evening and my life continued on the next day like it had never happened. The Atonement is REAL. The small daily things allow us to access the Atonement and be healed through the blood of Jesus Christ. 
-Sister Dunn

We love the temple!!
I just wanna touch Mary and Joseph!
Lunch with Aunt Sherrie and Uncle Neil
Sister Krueger and me
At the Visitors' Center
My funny picture for the week....

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November 3, 2014

It has been a pretty good week! We've managed to stay busy and have had little tidbits of success! The member who invited their friend to Stonebridge's Halloween party took her to the Phoenix Temple open house and she's agreed to take the lessons! This member is on fire! It was a really neat experience being there when she invited her friend because she realized how hard it actually wasn't. If you invite, then you're successful! We're going to work with that and this friend is going to learn and feel the Spirit. :) We got to go the open house one last time on Saturday with this member and her friend. I just love this temple! I can't wait to go inside it when it's dedicated!
Trying to work with Stonebridge's new auxiliary hasn't gone according to plan this week. No one has answered their phones or isn't home... Times like these really test the extent of your patience... I'm getting a glimpse into how Heavenly Father feels sometimes when we don't do the things he's asked us to. Our goal is to still meet with all of them this week WITH our ward mission leader. That's the goal anyways....
All of our recent converts are doing really well, especially Mack and Maria! Mack gave a talk during the Saturday night session of stake conference (mind you he's only been baptized about a week too)! He had the entire audience crying and the Spirit flooded the room. The new member lessons are underway and they're reading the Book of Mormon! They're coming down from a spiritual high, so we're trying to get them to a stable place so they don't crash and burn. They're going to be great leaders in the ward in the near future... They're even better missionaries than the members! During conference, President Whimpey (the stake president) had all the missionaries come up and stand in front of the audience. He asked a few of us to share with the members exactly what they can improve on. Sister Poppe said that when she came into the area the members didn't know their neighbors. Nine months later these members still don't know their neighbors. Maria knows all her neighbors, invites them to everything, and even has gospel discussions! Who does that?? She's setting the standard for each of us. The essence of the gospel is love. One way we can show love for our neighbors is by getting to know them and showing interest in their lives. Over time, as we live the gospel, they will become interested in ours and will ask us why we are so happy. That opens the door to the gospel. It's not an overnight process, but it works!
We had a regional broadcast for the general sessions of stake conference. IT WAS SO GOOD!!!!! Elder Bradley Foster, Elder Christofferson, Sister McConkie, and President Uchtdorf all spoke. And the lady who directed the music is the mother of one of my friends from jr. high! I'm noticing a pattern in the talks given by our general authorities. They want us to gain a testimony, be converted, and endure to the end. I learned the power that comes from keeping an eternal perspective when going through challenges. Elder Foster gave us 4 things to remember: 
1.) We are all children of God 
2.) Our life has an eternal purpose
3.) God has a plan for YOU
4.) Remember that progression is eternal 
Sister McConkie talked about strengthening families through keeping our covenants (another theme from the General Women's Meeting). Elder Christofferson taught us about being truly converted. My favorite quote from him was "The Atonement is what writes the law (or gospel) on our hearts." The way we let the Atonement do that is by acting in faith to do what's been asked. We read the scriptures, pray, attend our church meetings and keep the sabbath day holy, attend the temple frequently, share the gospel, repent. President Uchtdorf taught us about the blessings of the temple. In case you didn't know, the Mesa Temple is where he received his own endowment! He loves Arizona so much and I love Arizona so much! We have so much in common!! #potentialbestfriends Anyways, he taught us that the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet is a guide that tells us what we must do outside the temple to be able to receive all the blessings that come from inside the temple. Spectacular? I think yes! 
Being out proselyting on Halloween was prohibited, so we got to go to the temple instead. :D I had so many tender mercies/miracles happen it wasn't even funny. One of my favorite families in Adobe Villa works in the temple Friday nights and I told Heavenly Father that it would be nice to see Brother and Sister Mangum. It wasn't a demand, just a thought that I told him. After I had changed to do initiatories I heard a voice say "Sister Dunn!" I turned around and there was Sister Mangum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my! It was so good to see her! I got to talk with her for a few minutes and she asks me "now, what's your name? I can't remember..."....................... The voice that said my name was not hers.... It was the Spirit. It was Heavenly Father letting me know that he heard my prayer. He let me know how much he loves me. He wants to bless us! We just have to ask and if it's his will, it will be done. It was such a tender moment to have that prayer answered. And then I also got to see Sister Austen from the Adobe Villa ward too!!!!! Tender mercies in abundance!!
Remember my explanation of my new found love of sushi? Well, to show our gratitude for Bishop and his wife, we decided to one-up heart attacking. Our genius idea consisted of cutting out papers, coloring them, and making everything look like something you would find on a plate of sushi. Chopsticks included! As we go up to the house, I stayed in the get-away car and Sister Krueger runs and places everything on the door, Bishop and his wife drive up. You would think that I would hide my face, right? Wrong. I quickly tell Sister Krueger to hurry it up while they go and park their car all the while knowing that they saw me. You would also think that being caught would cause you to stop and talk, right? Wrong. We book it still and we die laughing about what happened all the time. Moral of the story? You NEVER get caught heart-attacking, but sushi-ing is a lost cause. Trust me :) I have a lot of heart-attacking stories with situations that would seem impossible to accomplish the task of taping hearts to a door.
This coming week is going to be SO GOOD! We get to go to the temple again and President Jenkins has me and a couple of other missionaries working on a training for Zone Conference. On online proselyting!!! No pressure. 
-Sister Dunn
1. Phoenix Temple open house!!
2. Sister Poppe thought it would be a genius idea to take a dare given by a youth to eat 8 corn dogs on 50 cent corn dog day on Halloween.
 Phoenix Temple open house!!

Sister Poppe thought it would be a genius idea to take a dare given by a youth to eat 8 corn dogs on 50 cent corn dog day on Halloween.
Mesa Temple with Aunt Sherrie & Uncle Neil

Lunch with Uncle Neil & Aunt Sherrie

Sister Krueger