I left this morning at 5:15 and had to be there at 3:15! My whole family came to see me off. I didn’t even cry, I was just excited for my adventure. I actually got to call my mom when I got to Dallas and talk to my sister too. I think another sister missionary was sitting at the gate waiting with me so that calmed me down a bit. I was feeling a little nervous. (these are things Madison said. This is her mom typing this of course) We’re so proud of her. She’s in Mexico City as I type this and hope to hear from her soon.
This is most everybody. We couldn’t fit everyone in but thank you soo much everybody for all your support!! You made my day.
Me and Crisi and the whole gang.
These are my beliefs.
Being Mormon makes me happy. The doctrine this church teaches brings me true happiness. I have never felt any happiness quite like this. Without belonging to this church, I wouldn’t be the cheerful person I am. Every principle this church has is designed to make us happy, and is inspired of God. All things joyful are inspired of God.
I believe that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. It was written by prophets who were chosen and inspired of God to write down His wise words. This book is an amazing history of the people on the American continent, but it is also scripture just like the Bible. This is because the Bible is the word of God given to prophets in the old world. The Book of Mormon is the word of God given to prophets on the American continent. I can sincerely say that reading this book has changed the way I look at life and my fellowman. It confirms to me that God loves everyone all over the world equally. I believe in the Bible as well.
I know that Jesus Christ atoned for my sins, as well as everyone else’s so that we may have eternal life like Him. He felt all the pain and anguish everyone has ever felt, and is ever ready to listen to our prayers. I know that He has unconditional love for every single person that has ever existed. I know I can go to the Lord in prayer and ask for comfort if I need it. I know I can talk to him and tell him everything that’s concerning me, and find solace. I love the Lord. Without Him, I would have no salvation.
I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God, that he restored the gospel to this Earth and translated the Book of Mormon with the power of God. I know that if the Lord is the same “yesterday, today, and forever” that he would never leave us without a prophet. He wouldn’t give a group of people in one part of the history of the world a prophet of God to help them, and then leave the rest of humanity in darkness with no revelation. I know that prophets receive revelation from God. I know that the priesthood is power that comes from God and was restored to this Earth. Not renewed. Restored.
I believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. I believe that they are “One” in purpose, but not literally one being. Matthew 3:13-17 shows to me that if Jesus Christ is being baptized, God is speaking from the Heavens above, and the Holy Ghost “descends as a dove” then there is no way that they could all be the same person. I know that the Holy Ghost is with me to help me choose the right. I also know the Holy Ghost is also here to comfort me, and touch me spiritually.
I know that everyone is a child of God. We are His children. He loves each and every one of us. I know that God is our Father and that He created us.
I know that literally every single thing that happens in life has a reason behind it. Everything has a purpose, and God doesn’t make mistakes.
I know that everyone has a chance before God. Even after this life. I don’t believe in a “heaven and hell”. I believe that when we die, our body stays on this Earth and our spirit goes to a place called “paradise”. I believe that everyone has the chance to hear about God’s gospel there. People are taught and converted as they please. They have the choice to deny the gospel, and the choice to accept it. Heavenly Father has given us free agency, so of course we have the choice. If someone has never heard of the gospel of God on Earth, it doesn’t make sense that they would go to hell for “not accepting Jesus into their life”. They get a chance too in Heaven, or paradise, after they die. I believe that Heavenly Father judges us and He is the One who places us in the degrees of glory (Heaven) or outer darkness (Hell).
I strongly believe that everyone deserves to hear this gospel and what it is all about. This gospel is a gospel of happiness. It is built as a support group. It is built for people to love one another, and to serve each other as the Lord wants us to. To love and worship and thank our gracious Heavenly Father. To admire the beauty He has surrounded us with on this Earth. To find a purpose to our lives, and better ourselves. To live a happy life.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our loving Saviour, amen.
If there is anything that didn’t make sense, you can click on the link on the right side of each page that says “what do mormons really believe?” which will take you to mormon.org. This website is run by my church and can answer frequently asked questions, and/or any other question that may come to mind. If you have a desire to learn more about this church, you can also click on any of the links that spark your interest which are on the right side of each page in alignment with “what do mormons really believe?”.
Moroni Chapter 10:
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
For those of you who don’t know, the purpose of an lds mission is to, “invite others to come unto Christ and provide service for others”. What I do is teach people about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Christ’s doctrine. I also serve people if there is an opportunity available or if someone tells me that they need help with something.
We don’t get paid. Missionaries actually pay monthly to serve a mission. A mission is seen as an opportunity, not a job.
If we don’t have a person to visit already, we may go door to door or contact someone on the street to explain a principle or teaching of His gospel. We also may have the opportunity to chat with people on mormon.org or over the phone if they have any questions about the LDS (Latter-day Saints) church. We set up appointments to teach people who are interested in learning about this gospel.
Girls serve for 18 months starting at age 19, and guys serve for 24 months starting at the age of 18.
We are always together with a companion. We are never alone.
One day out of the week we prepare for the rest of the week by doing our laundry, shopping, writing our families by email…and if we get permission we can even go sight see or play sports!
If you have any other questions about an LDS mission, you can go on mormon.org and find out or ask an actual Mormon missionary. 🙂
My name is Madison Amy Dunne and I am happy. :}
I grew up in beautiful Eugene, Oregon…
With two loving parents, and two obnoxiously fun sisters…
As well as lots of great friends and family.
I then went off to college at BYU-Idaho for a year and survived the negative 20 degree weather.
It went from this in September…
…to this by late October.
I also met some really amazing people! Here are some pictures of only a few of them…
Elder Christopher Esteves
My roommate Miss Talia Hansen
Elder Connor Schroeder, Elder Wesley Anderson, Elder Chris Esteves, Elder Peter Gregory, and Elder Orion Biberston
Elder Troy Prigmore and Elder Ryan Payne
Elder Kyle Schroeder, and…
Elder Wesley Anderson!
As you might have noticed…almost all of these people have the title “Elder” in front of their names because, well, they’re all on missions! And guess what?! I have exciting news…
I am serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 18 months in the Ecuador Quito North mission speaking Spanish. (Hopefully you knew this coming onto my blog in the first place…ha ha) If you draw a horizontal line across Ecuador right at Quito– what’s north of that is my mission from the coast to the mountains. I’m unsure what towns or cities I will be living in until I get there.
This is the most pivotal decision of my life, and I expect to grow a lot from this experience. I know this is something I will look back on the rest of my life, and I know this is something I need to do. I have prayed a lot about this decision to serve a mission, and although it may be very difficult at times, it will also be incredibly rewarding.
The first six weeks of my mission, I will be in Mexico getting trained in the Missionary Training Center; Learning how to teach, and learning the language. After October 8th I will head off to Ecuador. You can ask my parents for my new address once that happens.
After I serve a mission, I hope to get my dream job working for National Geographic and travel the world taking pictures. Enjoy life everyone, and treat everyone as you want to be treated!!
Today I gave my farewell talk in church. And what a miracle it was that it happened and I didn’t cry. I woke up this morning two hours later than I wanted to because my mom came in to wake me up. We had an hour before church started. I needed to shower. I needed to pack. I needed to start my laundry. I need to read my talk–I hadn’t even read it ONCE. I was an emotional wreck and so overwhelmed. I took my shower as fast as I could and got ready and with the fifteen minutes I had left, I printed my talk out. I read over it once only to find that I hadn’t finished writing one part of it. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. My eyes were red from crying and I was felt so unprepared to stand up in front of all these people and give this talk when I looked and felt like a mess. I got to church five minutes late, but luckily the service hadn’t started yet. All I can say is that the Lord really does work miracles. As unprepared and scared as I was, the Lord took over and helped me calm down. He brought me peace. And it was so comforting to look out and see my family’s loving, encouraging eyes. I gave my talk and even though I was shaking like crazy, I was able to collect all my thoughts and speak without stuttering (too much). I felt so at peace and comfortable–a feeling I was not expecting to feel. All in all, it was a struggle to pull that all together but I know that the Lord is by my side, helping me as I go through these struggles. And he helped me feel accomplished and loved afterwards with all the warm smiles and hugs of friends and family. I’m so blessed to be a part of this church. So blessed. Here is the talk I gave this Sunday:
Read 3 Nephi 9:19-20: This is when Christ visits the Americas and he gives them this advice. He says to sacrifice a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
Having a broken heart means that you are humble. Having a contrite spirit means you are willing to listen to the Spirit and be taught and act on the things that you learn.
Considering all that Christ has done for us, and sacrificed for us, this sacrifice he asks us to make seems very minimal. It is something we should be willing to do for Him. For the person who sacrificed himself—all that he had—for us. Each and every one of us.
President Hinckley described sacrifice beautifully in the book “Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley”: He said:
“Without sacrifice there is no true worship of God. … ‘The Father gave his Son, and the Son gave his life,’ and we do not worship unless we give—give of … our time, … strength, … talent, … faith, … [and] testimonies”
As I am leaving Tuesday for the Ecuador Quito North mission, I find it fitting to relate sacrifice to serving a mission.
Let’s go over each thing Gordon B. Hinckley says we should give as a sacrifice to our Saviour.
He first mentions our time. As a missionary, I will be dedicating 18 months of my life to the Lord. I will be serving and teaching and growing to love the people in Ecuador that the Lord will put into my life. 18 months may seem like a long time, but in contrast, it really isn’t much. That is only 18 months out of my entire life. I know that I need to put all my effort and time into serving and listening to the direction the Lord gives me on this journey. This is HIS time.
This leads me to the next point: Strength. I should be sacrificing my strength for the Lord. I will be walking all day and when I finally get home at the end of the day and I am tired and weary, I will continue to work. To read my scriptures, to plan out the next day, to counsel with both the Lord and my companion. And if my strength isn’t enough, the Lord will help me with the rest so I can do all that he wants me to do.
President Hinckley goes on to say that we should sacrifice our talent. Everyone has their own individual talents. One I will be exercising on my mission is the talent of being able to listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and act on them. To know when the Lord wants me to do something, and apply it to my life. Aside from serving a mission, I think that sacrificing talents is a huge part of this church. We come together as a family and find out what we’re strong in and when that thing we are strong in is lacking, we can step in and help. Everyone brings their talents together and help each other. This church is such a helpful, selfless church. Especially in this ward. Everyone is here to help each other and we all bring our talents together to help, which I find absolutely amazing.
Faith is the next thing Gordon b. Hinckley says is a sacrifice. It is a great sacrifice to have faith in the Lord and trust Him. To know he has a plan for you and to know that everything will be okay is a hard thing to do. But as we sacrifice what we want and what we think we need, and rely on what the Lord KNOWS we actually need, that is the great sacrifice we make through faith.
Lastly, he mentioned that we should sacrifice our testimonies. I think this is such a great point to make. Usually every first Sunday of the month, we have a fast and testimony meeting. We sacrifice two of our meals for the day and pray for whatever is of a concern to us. Then, we can sacrifice our money for what we would usually spend on those two meals and give it to people who are in need of the stability of having food by paying a fast offering. Following this, we spend the whole sacrament meeting by sharing our testimonies. I love that we all have the opportunity to come up here and express what we believe. It may be a scary step to take getting up here, but it is a sacrifice we make. We may not be necessarily strong in speaking, but we do it anyway because we can still touch people’s hearts with our testimonies.
I want to share a poem with you that has a lot of meaning to me. It really put things into perspective for me and I consider it to be part of my testimony. It’s called “The Dash Poem” by Linda Ellis:
The Dash Poem
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end
He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years
for that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real.
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
So relating to the dash, how we use our time in this life is directly reflected by how well we live with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. How well we can be humble ourselves and submit our will to the Lord. Submitting our will means to leave what the future holds in the Lord’s hands. If we do our part and do our best to live righteously, he will guide us and bless us and make sure to keep us feeling happy and at peace. I know this is true because I have experienced the ups and downs of this promise.
Through preparing to serve a mission, I have acknowledged that I am sacrificing a lot. Just like all the other people in this ward who are serving missions, I will be sacrificing the comforts of having my family and friends nearby and all the familiarities that are present in my life right now. I will be sacrificing my time, and effort. I will be sacrificing usual communication to draw closer to my Heavenly Father and closer to the people I am meeting and teaching.
There will be different customs, different environments, a different government, different foods, different smells. And although it may be hard to adjust to at first, I will come to love all of it. It is a scary thing stepping out of our comfort zones and putting all of our trust in the Lord by sacrificing our comforts and time. But, through sacrificing these things, the Lord will bless us.
Sacrifice comes in all forms in this life. Whether it be a person serving their country, and risking their life by doing so or someone sacrificing one meal a day so they can save up enough money to buy a car. Everyone makes sacrifices.
I believe that the drive behind making sacrifices is love. We sacrifice our time, effort, strength, talent, faith, and testimony for the Lord. God so loved the world, so he gave us his only begotten son. Jesus Christ, our Saviour, sacrificed his life for us because he loves each and every one of us. Think about when you sacrificed something and why you did it. It is usually because of love. And the pure love of Christ is charity.
If the pure love of Christ is charity, then charity must be the ultimate sacrifice. The Bible Dictionary definition of charity is:
“The highest, noblest, strongest kind of love, not merely affection; the pure love of Christ.”
It is the strongest kind of love. That being said, we should be showing charity by making sacrifices in our lives. Whether it be for our fellowman, or for our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Either way, we is serving the Lord and he will bless us for it.
In conclusion, I want to quote Gordon B. Hinckley once again when he said, “You will come to know that what appears today to be a sacrifice will prove instead to be the greatest investment that you will ever make.”
My heart is full today. As I have gotten closer to the date I leave, I have been feeling so much more love in my heart. I may not have even met some of you, but I feel an enormous amount of love for everyone here today. Our Heavenly Father knows every one of you PERSONALLY and he has an abounding love for each of you. I am getting just a small taste of how much he loves you all and it’s too much for me to handle. (half laugh, half cry) I just hope that as you all journey on through your lives that you trust the Lord and make sacrifices for Him because he has sacrificed more than we can even comprehend for us. I love this gospel and I cannot wait to share it with the people in Ecuador. It has brought and enormous amount of happiness and comfort to my life and I can’t wait to bring that to others.
I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
A good friend of mine, Carly Upton, brought this talk to my attention. It is exactly what I needed to hear right now. However, it is a good talk to watch or read anytime. It totally changed my perspective of life, and it reminds us of what is truly important in life. Take the time to read this talk or watch the video. It’s well worth your time.
As the time gets closer to my departure, I am coming to cherish the time I have with the people I love more and more. It’s easy to forget that time is precious, people are precious, and life is precious. I don’t mean to throw the word ‘precious’ around, either. I mean it in the traditional sense; “Of great value; not to be wasted or treated carelessly.” I have always felt love within my family and home, and I’ve always known how blessed I am to have this amazing family in my life, but I don’t think I have really, truly put it into perspective until now. They are so dear to me, as are the other friends and family in my life that I love. I have always believed that every single person we come across throughout our lives is put into our lives for a specific reason. The people who love you, those who annoy you, those who do favors for you, those who deceive you. Everyone has an impact on your life and makes you who you are. I know that my family has had such a positive impact on my life and I want to thank them for that.
As I am really cherishing the time I have with my family, I am also cherishing the time I have living in this beautiful city. Eugene is really beautiful. She has all of my favorite quirky, delicious restaurants. There are bike lanes and running paths everywhere. It is just so perfect. I’m going to have to adjust to not having these things around me that are so familiar to me. And even though I will be missing these things a lot, I know I will come to love Ecuador and the different forms of beauty she holds as well.
I am cherishing the luxuries I have in my life now too. Like simply being able to drink out of the faucet. In Ecuador I will have to filter or boil the water before I drink it, or just drink out of bottled water. Such a simple thing like that can still be a pretty big adjustment. For example; I have to make sure the water is clean before I put it on my toothbrush–I can’t just use faucet water like I do in my usual routine. This isn’t a huge deal, but it’s still something I will have to adjust to.
One more thing I’m cherishing right now is time itself. Time goes by fast. Really fast. We all know this!! But it is so much more evident to me now. There are only so many hours in a day and with this date getting closer and closer, running errands has been taking up my entire day! I never realized how fast time goes by when you’re busy. This makes me sad and happy. (Again, the very bittersweet feeling) I’m excited because if these 18 months go by fast, I will be seeing my loved ones again very soon! Which realistically, it is pretty soon. In the big picture, 18 months of my life is nothing. Then again, I know I will grow so close to the people, the culture, and the environment–I won’t want to leave! I know that my love for them will also grow with my love for this gospel and for Jesus Christ. It will probably be hard leaving Ecuador and going back to normal life. It will be so amazingly fun serving others and making others feel of Christ’s love for them. Not having to worry about myself or focus on myself will be nice too. So, I will also be cherishing the time I will have on my mission. I won’t ever get those 18 months back, so I am ready to give it my all and work as hard as I possibly can.
Okay, my venting is over now. I just really wanted to stress how crucial it is that we recognize how precious everything is around us. Everyone and everything in our lives. Take time to appreciate the people and the environment you live in. These passing days are days we will never get back. Cherish them.