Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December 29, 2014


Can you believe that 2014 is days away from being over? I sure can't. Time has just flown by. This week has been good. It was hard to find people because they weren't home, had family over, and/or were too stressed out with Christmas and wanted absolutely nothing to do with us. Great, huh? We pretty much have been able to see members the whole week (mainly because they're the only ones that let us in and they love us) and we've been inviting them all to fast with us. So the AZMM is going to experience miracles in the next couple of months. President Jenkins and the MLC have a vision and a plan to double the amount of baptisms in March 2015. Last year we had 50, so next year we want 100. Amazing?? Yes. We're dubbing it "Miracle March." In order for this happen, things need to take place in January and February. So, in January our goal is to find 1,500 new investigators. We're inviting all of our members to participate in a mission wide fast. With our combined fasts and faith, miracles are going to happen! It's been really cool personally inviting members to join us because it's something that they feel they can do. It's really exciting! Both of our bishops invited us to come up and invite everyone to fast during ward business. That was probably the best idea ever. Miracles are going to happen.... The wards have been slowly improving and I feel like we're going to start seeing some fruit soon!

Christmas was crazy. We (the sisters I live with) decided to make Christmas Eve special. We tried to reenact our family's Christmas traditions to the best of our abilities. One thing we did was get our mattresses off of our bunk beds and placed them sardine style "underneath" the Christmas tree. Talk about a party. We've been too lazy to move them back. The living room area is our new bedroom. We drank Martinelli's and made crazy time-lapse videos on our iPads. We woke up at our usual 6:30 to open presents. That was crazy. I never really knew how much the members loved us until like 5 gave us really nice gifts! I got a sweet "Arizona" shirt and a microfiber towel for my hair. And these gifts came from members that I wasn't particularly close with. #somuchlove #immagonnacry We had Christmas breakfast with Brother Smith and his crazy family and got to call home from there. That was nice, except for the darn dog. She wanted to take all my face time away! #punk We spent the rest of the afternoon with Bishop Lingard and his family. We played with their crazy presents. They got these things called Poppers (Their son Michael read the packaging wrong and thought they were "Poopers". LOL). They're squeezable toys that you can put a little foam ball into. Then you can squeeze them and cause instant fake death. We had a blast shooting people. Our evening was spent at the lights. Every night there are performances and the entire mission was the entertainment for Christmas night! Imagine 240 missionaries singing Christmas songs after only practicing 1 as an entire group..... Don't worry, members told us we sounded like angels. :) It was a really amazing experience being on stage with 240 of the best people on the entire earth. I couldn't help but cry because of the intensity of the Spirit. It was probably one of the most memorable nights of my mission. Then we stayed up late working at the lights. It was a great day! :)
Here's a really awesome experience from a couple of days ago from working at the lights. We were in front of the temple by the fountain where the white nativity statue is found. We were having a hard time finding people to have a meaningful conversation with. We were having lots of small talk going on and picture snapping out the wazoo, but not what we really wanted. As we were stepping aside to let a big crowd through I saw a young mother just staring at the temple. I could tell that she was struggling with something with the "deep in thought" look pasted on her face. After waiting a minute, I couldn't wait anymore and we started to talk with her. Her name is Amber and she got baptized in January of this year. We were just getting to know her and she kept talking about how she couldn't wait to go inside the temple. She would say that over and over and over again. As missionaries we're so excited for her and were congratulating her because she could go in a month. Then she would look troubled again and gaze at the temple. I didn't know what to do and she didn't appear to be open to what we had to say. So we offered to take her picture. Afterward she just opened up and said that she doesn't feel worthy to go to the temple because she doesn't have a "calling" like a teacher or like the other members in her ward. She started crying as she told us that and my heart broke for her. The Spirit swooshed in then and used me as a mouth piece to comfort her. I told her about how as a missionary I really wanted to come out and baptize like crazy. After a few months I didn't see any results. Did I not have enough faith? Do I need to be more obedient? Why am I not seeing more success from my labors? I got really discouraged. I was following the counsel of my mission president and the guidelines found in Preach My Gospel. What was I doing wrong? Then I told her how the Lord comforted me and let me know that I was successful. Our success isn't determined solely by the number of baptisms we get. It's determined by the life we live. We're successful if we have the spirit with us and he's working through us. I told her that her success (or worthiness) as a member wasn't determined by the calling she had. Her worthiness was determined by if she has the Spirit. You can know if you're worthy and clean if you feel the Spirit because the Spirit cannot dwell in unclean places. Holy cow. Her countenance did a 180. At that moment I knew that Spirit had touched her heart. She heard the words she needed to hear. Miracles happen at the Christmas lights and this experience was my personal evidence of this. We all can have experiences like this. We just need to be at the right place at the right time with the Spirit as our BFF. 

I guess work wise the week has been pretty good. Emotionally it has been pretty tough. After talking with my family on Christmas it finally hit me that my mission is ending. In my mind I always knew that but my heart refused to accept that. Needless to say, I've had a few breakdowns. I never thought that I would ever get to this point. I always thought that I would be a missionary forever! My life before the mission is like a blur right now... just figments of my imagination. Reality is my mission and that what it was going to be forever... until now. I ended up getting a blessing yesterday from our ward mission leader in Las Sendas. I'm doing so much better now, but I've had a lot of time to reflect on mission as a whole. What good did I do? What did I learn? What are my accomplishment? Stuff like that. It's been really good for me actually. I have a difficult time seeing the good that I do and the good that's in me. Doing this has really opened up my eyes to help me see all of the good that has come from my mission. I am in no way ready to go home yet, nor do I want to, but the Lord is helping me accept it so I'm not a complete wreck when I go home. :) In case you can't tell, getting ready to go home is terrible. Don't ever go home. ;P

Well, we're getting ready to party some more! The mission is having a new year's day party (mainly to avoid drunks and to give the members a break) and I'm soooooooooooooo excited!

-Sister Dunn

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