7 weeks in Ecuador

Como estan mi familia y amigos?!?! Les extraño muchisisimo!!!! This week we had a Family Home Evening with the Cardenas family. It was so much fun and really spiritual too. After we taught the lesson, the family started a game. We played hot potatoe and whoever ended up with the hot potatoe had to do something in front of everyone. Hermana Alva had to act like someone on a bus trying to sell food. haha, there are a lot of people here who hop on buses, tell pity stories, and beg people to buy their food. It’s pretty sad, but it is also very well recited, so i don’t know how much i believe half of them. Anyway, so that was funny. Then I had to go outside of the house and yell”El chanch sea muerto!” Three times. It was so funny. This family has a little girl and boy. They’re like ten and eight so they were laughing like CRAZY. Gosh. I loooove little kids. They’re so perfect. They are ALWAYS excited to see “las hermanas” (that’s me, b t dubs), and they are so patient with my spanish. ahhaha my spanish isn’t bad. but it isn’t superb. When the little kids start talking SUPER fast, I CANNOT understand them. haha so i always just look super confused and go “COMO?!” and they start laughing but then they talk slower for me. They’re so sweet. always.
AHAHA! Okay, also this week, hermana alva and i were buying some food off the streets before one of our contacts because we were starving. So, we started talking to the cook about her food and the gospel and all, and out of no where this drunk guy pipes in and starts yelling at us saying he wants to pay for our food. He started whisteling and like knocking over chairs…it was weird. We told him it was okay and that he should calm down. Everyone was laughing…then he got really close to me and almost grabbed my arm but i moved and told him to please not touch me. Then he said like ten times “tranquila” which is similar to “calm down” or “no worries”. Then i whipped out one of the Word of Wisdom pamphlets and handed it to him. hahaha I told him that he didn’t have to pay for us and that we actually had a present for him and that if he read the pamphlet, that he would be a lot happier in life. Then he drunkedly thanked me and laughed and tried to hug me so Hermana Alva and i BOOKED it out of there. haha aw man. I wish I knew what happened when he came to and found that pamphlet in his hand.
Also this week Hermana Alva and I gave a tour to some of our investigators and it went really well. The spirit was really strong. And at the end, one of the investigators, Mercedes Galarza, came up to me. I was so excited because i thought she was going to say something about the church but then she straightened up my back and told me to have better posture. hahaha AHHH Mom. You ALWAYS told me the same thing, and now it’s like since you’re not here with me, other moms are taking your place. hahah I told her how you alllways tell me that and that i am working on it but it’s hard and then her daughter, Carolina (she’s 24…) said how Mercedes does the same thing to her. haha So SHOOT. I thought i got better at that, buuuut apparently not. But, I WILL have good posture when i get home. It’s just hard because i alllllways have a backpack on and it hurts less when my shoulders are forward. But whatevs. First world probs, i’ll get over it.
Something else quite amazing i realized this week is that we have eyelashes. And eyelashes block out dust. But when stuff DOES get in our eyes, our eyes water…to push the stuff out…hahhaha okay but seriously, how cool is that?! Heavenly Father is ingenious!!! That is seriously amazing that our eyes know to water to get the stuff out…stop laughing. I’m being completely serious. Because here in Ibarra there is dust and dirt evvvverywhere that’s always flying in my eyes haha because there are so many trucks that bring that stuff to the streets and just….yeah. well you get it. Eyelashes and tears are gifts from God. End of story.
Something funny that Hermana Alva ALWAYYYS does, is when she sees a white person or a white couple she yells “hermana Dunne! Sus parientes!!” or, “Sister Dunne! Your parents!!”. The first time she did that, like when i first got to Ecuador, i FREAKED out. I was like “no. nonono…they can’t be here…there’s no way. how did they know i was here?!” but uhhh, yeah. I was pretty let down when i saw two Europeans walking down the street. Whatevs.
So another thing that people are aaaalways telling me is that i’m going to get sick. Here the weather is pretty crazy, like Oregon. It will rain when it’s sunny out or it will be super hot one moment then reeeeally cold and windy the next. I usually just wear short sleeve shirts because i get hot walking around and i bring a sweater for when it gets colder at night. But all the investigators and members are so concerned for my health. Buuut i think that’s a wivestale! You don’t get sick from the cold!! I mean, maybe if every day and night I wore short sleeve shirts and shorts when it was thirty degrees outside…yeah, i can see the logic in that. But, i haven’t gotten sick yet and i never FEEL cold. I dunno. I guess i will test it out more, but up till now I am totally fine.
So, our goal this week for our district was to invite people to be baptized the first contact we have with them. A contact is just when we talk with a person about how we are missionaries and we talk about the gospel. It’s hard to do that on the streets because people are usually busy and the cars and trucks are soo loud. But we are trying to reach that goal when we contact door to door. We usually don’t knock on doors because it takes up too much time and usually is not successful. But we are trying to teach more families also, so we have been doing a lot more of that. So, we knocked on this door and a woman answered and we talked to her about our message and asked if we could talk a little more about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She let us in, and we taught her that lesson. Then, we invited her to be baptized. The spirit was so strong! And I am so much better at teaching more in simple terms and explaining things clearly so i thought it went really well! She said she wanted more time to think about it and talk it over with her husband, which is fine, but i was so happy because we have never been able to teach someone the first lesson the first contact. It was cool.
I also taught about the Restoration the first contact with this taxi driver this week! Hermana Alva wanted me to do it all by myself so i could learn better and have more confidence…hehe…so! I started talking to the driver about his life and stuff and then i began to tell him how Jesus Christ truly restored His church on the earth again! And that we have a living prophet once again!! He was really intruiged, so i taught him the whole first lesson! I talked about how when Jesus Christ died, and his apostles died, no one else on the earth had the priesthood. And that some people tried to remember the gospel of Jesus Christ and started their own churches based off of what they remembered, and what they liked in the Bible, but they also changed a lot of really precious things in the Bible and changed ordinances like baptism. Then i talked about how Joseph Smith in 1820 wanted to know which church was true…I talked about the first vision, the answer he recieved, and how he received the Priesthood that Jesus Christ and his 12 apostles had and that through that power, he was able to translate the book of mormon. AH. Hold on a second. How amazing is that?!?! God is so merciful. He knows we need this gospel. He knows that Christ’s gospel is PERFECT. And He knows that through this gospel, we can live with Him again…we NEEDED this restoration. We weren’t progressing. We needed it. Okay, i will bear my testimony about the restoration another time…so this taxi driver was SUPER interested and amazed! Unfortuantely, he doesn’t live in our sector, so he’s a reference for the elders. But i really hope that everything goes well with him.
There are so many times that I wish that i was a convert. To see how amaaaazing it would feel to hear about the gospel for the first time. To find out that CHRIST CAME TO THE AMERICAS when i had never known that before. To know that we have A PROPHET once again on the earth. That he truly receives revelation for us…that he guides us. That the gospel has been restored again in the EXACT same manner that Jesus Christ established His church. What a miracle. How great would that feel to hear of that hope for the first time in my life. It is such a blessing to have known about this church since i was old enough to comprehend what church is, but gosh would it be amazing to see how my life was before I heard about the gospel, and then see how much my life would change after. Crazy stuff. This is what keeps me going. People HAVE to hear about this gospel!! This gospel brings people out of depression. It gives people hope. And it provides people with the ordinances, or promises, NECESSARY to return to live with God again! How great is that?! Everyone HAS to hear about what this gospel offers. There are too many people living with depression, guilt, sorrow, anger…they need hope. They need REST from these feelings. Spiritual rest is what brings us true happiness, and I NEED to find the people that are ready and praying to hear about this gospel.
Isn’t prayer amazing?! I think i have already said this, but how INCREDIBLE is prayer?! We have a way to communicate with God almighty. The Lord OMNIPOTENT. And he ANSWERS our prayers. I just can’t believe that we have the blessing to be able to speak, to pour out our souls, to the God who created the forests that surround us. Who created our bodies so our souls would have somewhere to dwell. Who created music so our spirits can feel the love of God pulsing through our bodies. Gosh, i can’t even express what prayer means to me. I don’t know how i could only take a minute or two to pray before my mission. My prayers never last any shorter than 15 minutes now. There is so much to be thankful for. So many people to pray for. wow.
The Holy Ghost truly helps us be stronger. Resist satan’s temptations easier. Feel more at peace. Feel comforted when we feel sad or alone…the Holy Ghost helps us learn and grow spiritually. What a gift.
Something else that we learned during district conference was that if we run errands, and watch tv, and hang out with friends, and do whatever else first and then tell ourselves that we’ll read the scriptures later and pray later…we will never read or pray. But if we pray and read first, we will ALWAYS have time to do the rest of the things that we want to do. And if we aren’t reading or praying…we aren’t progressing spiritually. And if we aren’t progressing spiritually, we are regressing. I have seen that to be true in my life, sadly, and i feel so blessed to have the sacred time in the morning to be able to study and pray and ponder what I am learning.
As missionaries, we always invite people to read passages in the book of mormon, and to pray…because that is the ONLY way they can know for themselves that these things are true. It has never been that “the mormons” try and “push” their religion on others. They KNOW that this gospel brings TRUE, ETERNAL happiness. And they KNOW that it would bless their friends’ and families’ lives immensely. immensely. “Mormons” invite their friends and family to read and pray about these things because they know they are true, and they truly–from the depths of their soul–want their loved ones to feel and KNOW of the same happiness.
I really hope all is well with everyone still and that you can feel the spirit through my emails. I feel the spirit very strongly as i write, and I want everyone to know…all my family and friends…that this gospel is true. And I hope with all my heart and soul that you can take the time to investigate this church. To learn more about what it is, how it is, and if it’s true. I pray for you all day and night and I know that you all will be blessed if you do take the time to learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love you all and can’t wait to talk to you next week! 🙂 Take care, and stay strong in your faith. Know that through prayer and reading the Bible and Book of Mormon you find true spiritual rest and comfort. Never forget that God loves you and has provided you with these means in order to be happy in life. Love with all my heart, Hermana Dunne! 🙂

If you can braid you can baptize!!

Us with familia Garza
Us with Familia Garza.
I found a Christmas tree right across the street from our house!!
I found a Christmas tree right across the street from our house!!
Me and Hermans Stephenson reunited again!!  She was my CCM companion.
Me and Hermana Stephenson reunited again! Just for the day though.

So here we have Estefanie and Carolina….they love my braids!

YELLOW! Okay soooo let me just say that this week was basically CHRISTMAS. Holy smoooookes. I’d like to thank my family for being SO THOUGHTFUL and sending me an awesome package with food and socks and skirts and ish that i LOVE. Second, i would like to thank all of the beautiful people that contributed to my FIFTEEN LETTERS. What the heck!!! hahahaha. This isn’t the only reason it felt like
Christmas though. Okay, lemme give you the deets:
So, on tuesday we had interviews with our mission president. It was SO nice to see him and to eat cookies that Hermana Richardson baked us…those are the ONLY moist cookies in all of Ecuador. I don’t get it. Like, why doesn’t ANYONE here think to make moist cookies?! Anyway. Been craving those so that was fantastic. It was also nice seeing everyone in our zone.
Then, the rest of the week we had quite a lot of contacts and citas so we stayed busy which was really nice.
Thursday night we took a bus to Quito which took about a little over an hour and we stayed the night in a hotel. Friday, we went to the chapel and met up with all of the greenies and new trainers. I SAW HERMANA STEPHENSEN!!! Ah. oh my gosh. I missed her SO MUCH. So that was a gift seeing her. While all the trainers got instruction, the greenies (yes, that means me) went to the Panecillo. The Panecillo is this HUGE statue of an angel at the top of a hill and President Richardson and his wife told us how apostles went to that exact spot and dedicated the mission of Ecuador. It was a really touching experience and super super beautiful because it overlooks all of Quito.
So, that’s why it was Christmas for me.
Moving on, after the conference in Quito, we took an hour long bus ride to the terminal. It was crammed. Very uncomfortable. and very long. So i got bored and told hermana alva i wanted to sing hymns. We started singing and then pretty soon ALL of the missionaries joined in. haha it was SO COOL. We were like….ruling the bus. hhah there were misisonaries in the back, the front, and middle where i was. We sang mostly Christmas songs and everyone was content. Once we sang “We thank thee, O God, for a prophet”, this man stood up and told us that we should be respectful of others’ religions and to not force our beliefs on others and that since it is PUBLIC transportation, we should be quiet. Hermana alva said something back like “exactly, it’s public. and we aren’t forcing our beliefs on anyone. we are singing.” and then she started to cry. This woman who was also being rude saw that she was crying and apologized. Then this man who was right next to us told us to stay strong and to please keep singing. So we sang “All is well”. then “When there’s love at home”. It was awesome. And no one else said anything and no one else appeared to be mad. Later, the man told us that he is a member of the church! So that was a blessing. We were meant to be standing next to him so this man could comfort hermana alva and cheer us on. The was a really interesting experience, and it felt super empowering singing with everyone.
One more thing that happened that was suuuch a relief was that we got our house dedicated. I don’t think it was dedicated before. And after the blessing, the priesthood holders as well as me and hermana alva felt like the room felt wayy lighter and happier. it was so nice. we haven’t had any creepy experiences since. and i think the rat is finally gone.
OH MY GOSH!! Okay so this week, Hermana Alva and I were in a taxi. Whenever we start talking to someone and they ask where we’re from, we always say “De donde cree?” Or “where do you believe?” So the taxi driver was guessing where we are from and he turned to Hermana Alva and said “Well, you’re from the United States because your accent isn’t very good. And I don’t know where you (me) are from.” AHAAHAHHA I was laughing SO HARD. She got so offended though. hahahah She gets that SO MUCH. Apparently, she can’t pronounce her Rs very well….EVERYONE guesses that she is from the United States. This happened again when we were buying groceries. The cashier asked her what part in the United States she is from. hahahha oh man. It is times like these that I feel a little better about my spanish.
So, the mosquitoes. They are little devils!!!! They are tiny and SO FAST and you can’t stop them. haha and when the bigger ones bite, IT HURTS. like, it doesn’t just itch. This week I got bit on my ankle and it made my whole ankle ache. Like, I had rolled it HARD or something. It was the weeeeirdest feeling. But now it’s gone and all is well.
Sidenote: Dad, everyone thinks you are either french or italian or latin. HAHAHA it is SO FUNNY. And mom, they think you’re my sister. ALWAYYYYS. And they think that nana and grandpa are my parents. so funny. I like showing people photos to see what they have to say.
Speaking of italians, I am the go-to braider now. If you can braid, you can baptize. HA JK. But for real, since I have those braids i do that like cover my whole head, my investigators have been more sincere and friendly with me. hahahah really weird. But they like beg me to braid their hair!!! it is the weirdest thing! So I have been braiding hair more…and teaching lessons on the double. pretty cool.
So, on a more spiritual note. This week we also met a woman named Juliet Ordoñes. She was washing her clothes and we asked if we could help. She refused but she let us teach her while she washed her clothes. We taught her about the restoration of the church and gave her a book of mormon. We invited her to read the book of mormon and pray to know it is true. and if she received an answer if she would be baptized. She said yes! We were happy, but usually people just say that and then when we visit them again, they haven’t read or prayed and don’t remember being asked to be baptized. But, we visited her two days later. I asked her if she had read…and she said yes!!! And that she always prays before she reads and asks to have the holy ghost to help her understand what she is reading better!!! LIKE, WHAT THE HECK!! Golden investigator!!! Then, i asked her how she feels about the book of mormon. She said she LOVES it and it is just like the Bible but easier to understand!! And she KNOWS it is from God. HOW AMAZING IS THAT?! Ahhhhh such a blessing. She is perfect. and so excited. And in the back of the spanish BOM, i dont think we have this in english, but there is a “Guia de las Escrituras” and it lists topics, describes what the topic means, then lists scriptures that support it in the bible AND book of mormon. She thinks that is the COOLEST thing ever. i do too. haha. So that was amazing and pretty much added to my christmas week!
OH! speaking of christmas, i don’t actually know what we get to do for christmas, but i am so excited. There is a huuuuuge christmas tree put up in the parkinglot across from our house now! And i think this christmas is going to be a lot more special because i wont have the distraction of decorations, or presents, or anything….i will get to focus on Christ more. On what this season truly is about. And i know that i am going to feel so much closer to Him this year. Feel so much more love. Feel so much more like Him. He was on this Earth alone. He didn’t have his Father in heaven. But he had the people he was teaching on this earth. I don’t have my family. But i have the families i am teaching here, and i really do feel like they’re my families. They are SOSO sweet. I cannot believe the amount of love i feel for them. I am excited for this Christmas! It will be nice. PLUS. I will get to skype my family!!! 🙂
This week we had changes and well…NOTHING CHANGED. haha Hermana Alva and I get to be companions for the next 6 months again! I am reeeeally learning patience and it is so hard but i need it. She has heath issues and works at a slower pace than most people so it gets SO frustrating for me at times when I want to go teach more people, or eat fast so we can make it on time to a lesson, or walk faster to get somewhere so we can have more time to do other stuff….it’s just like we can’t ever do anything fast. But she is amazing and i truly do love her! This is a lesson I need to learn, so she is a blessing in my life. President Richardson’s wife thanked me for being patient and she told me that i will be training soon. So i’m not SURE this will happen, but i am guessing that after these last six weeks of training that i might be training someone here in Ibarra. We’ll see though.
Also, if anyone wants to hear the most beautiful voice in the whole world, listen to Calee Reed. Her voice is PERFECT. My favorite songs are “Closer to you” and “Better than a Hallelujah”. Enjoy.
I don’t have much more to say this week. But i do want to bear my testimony on the power of the Atonement. “Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy.” 2 Nephi 2:25. Heavenly Father gave two commandments to Adam. One, to reproduce and two, to not eat the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve had the minds of children. They didn’t know right from wrong. There is no way that they could know how to have children. So it was CRUCIAL that they ate the fruit. My theory, and this is not doctrine, is that the commandment of not partaking of the fruit was more like this: When parents are trying to teach their child that they shouldn’t touch the burner because it’s hot and it will burn them, they know that it is reeeeally important to remind them of that and tell them NOT TO TOUCH IT. But they also know that the best way for them to learn for themselves that it is bad, is to touch the burner. Heavenly Father had to have known that it was crucial that they took of the fruit. He knew they would feel sorrow and pain and they would sin and eventually die, but He also had to have known that the only possible way for them to know how to have children was to eat the fruit. Thanks to Adam and Eve’s decision, we are all here on this earth because they had children. But, also thanks to their decision, we sin and we die. And guess what our SAVIOUR did for us? He literally saved us from these things. It was CRUCIAL that Jesus Christ came to this earth to save us. Because since adam and eve caused that we would die and we would sin, we NEEDED someone to help us so we could return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. Christ suffered for ALL OF OUR SINS so we could repent and be forgiven. Do you realize that at that moment that He was in Gethsemane, he thought of YOU. He suffered for YOU. He KNOWS YOU. How incredible is that? And that if we don’t repent, then His suffering is in vain. Because he suffered so we have the ability to REPENT and be forgiven. He didn’t suffer so we can live in sin and not be affected by what we have done. It is also necessary that we do our part and repent. Second, he died on the cross for us and after three days he resurrected. Because of Him, we can OVERCOME DEATH and resurrect too. How incredible is that? It is absolutely amazing. Like, we cannot even begin to imagine how truly incredible everthing is that He did for us. I love Jesus Christ. I know that he knows each an every one of us and that at one moment, the moment of His suffering, that He thought of each and every one of us and that he even FELT all of our pains that we will ever feel. Try and put that into perspective. We are so indebted to Him. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Till next week! I challenge everyone to read in Luke 22 and ponder and meditate what it means to you. Take care!! I love you all! 🙂 Love, Hermana Dunne!!

One whole month in Ecuador!

Okay, so sorry bout the novel last week. I enjoy pouring my heart out. This week i can’t because wellll i am pretty short on time. So here goes:

This week tuesday and wednesday I had a fever and my whole body ached and i couldn’t do squat which really sucked because we had SO MANY good citas. Like, shoot! We had new families, menos activos…the whole shabang. So that was not fun. But we got to work more in the carpeta de area which was nice.

The rest of the week went really well and we met a lot of our goals for once.

On another unpleasant note, this monday hermana alva and i were walking down the street and all of a sudden something breathed in my ear really forcefully and growled. At first i thought it was hermana alva and i turned and said “CHOOSOH HERMANA! PORQUE?!” she was more confused than i was. apparently she didnt make that noise. but I FELT IT. It was STRONG. So i got SUPER FREAKED OUT. We said a prayer and all was well. The next day when i was feeling sick and couldn’t do anything, i was laying down to take a nap while hermana alva was in the bathroom. i heard the same growl really loud..like it filled the whole room. WHAT THE DEV.I was sooo scared. So i sang hymns till i fell asleep. Later that night when i was sleeping, hermana alva had woken up three different times. The next day she told me that when she woke up those three times, she heard taht same growl and it came from different parts of the house. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH. yeah, i wanted to cry. I was sooo scared. So THENNNN we come home later that day and our bathroom door was locked. NO ONE ELSE HAS KEYS TO OUR HOUSE. The wind couldn’t have closed it either because it was LOCKED. FROM THE INSIDE. So yeah. We freaked out and called our zone leaders and begged them to bless our house. Buuuut, they told us that our faith is strong enough because we have the power of the Lord on our side. So we said a prayer and basically blessed the house and ever since then? NOTHING! Let me tell ya, satan has his creepy little spirits on this earth to scare us, BUT the power of God is INFINITY TIMES STRONGER. So that happened. And God reigns conquerer.

also this week, i had a dream that i was in the mall with my family and all of a sudden the floor COLLAPSED and then we saw this HUGE wave of water destroy the mall and come towards us and then we died. and i woke up. and i was so sad. But then i thought “hey! i could invent ____________ to save lives in these situations.” okay, so i may not be able to save lives but i could help people survive a little better than someone who isn’t prepared. Anyway, i started a book of ideas because that is what i want to do. i finally know what i want to do! i want to find ways to help people during natural disasters. Find ways they can be safer. be more prepared. survive. After i prayed about it, and i felt super good in my soul soooo i will try and pursue that dream.

sidenote, i definitely dance in the stalls if we go to the bathroom in public. it’s cool.

So, we have cambios next sunday. I AM SO PUMPED!!! Because we get to go to Quito friday and i get to see hermana stephensen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)))))))))))) i miss her so much. okay. enough of that, but we will have changes and who knows what will happen. i will most likely be in the same area and just get a new companion, because hermana alva has been here for SEVEN months. Buuut there is also the possibility that i will be training beause they need trainers right now. AH! who knows. Technically i am supposed to be trained for six more months, but we will see.

Another sidenote, i think i am allergic to papaya because members always make us papaya juice to drink and my tongue always stings and hurts. hahahahhaa it is not very pleasant.

another song for y’all, “mix cumbias tribales”. like it or leave it.

On a spiritual note, I have never read Moroni chapter 10 all the way through before this week. GOSH is it amazing. Seriously, there is POWER in that chapter. i was so amazed. Everyone needs to read it, okay? Especially verses 9-18,20-23,26-27,30-34. What a gift.

I have been focusing more on Doctrine and Covenants more. I have never read it all the way through, so that is my goal. There is SO MUCH power in that book. Seriously, after i read it I feel like Heavenly Father is standing right there with me. I have also been reading the book of mormon over again. But i am marking anywhere it says Christ or God’s name or refers to them like “He” in red. I am marking obedience in green, and moments where i go “wow..” in blue. I am also counting how many times it refers to Christ in the book of mormon. I am only in 2nephi and i am already in the thousands! haha. so cool. I challenge you all to do this. Get a new book of mormon, or the one you have, and look for just ONE THING as you read through it. Go through the whole thing and mark whatever it is. It puts a whole new paradigm to it. super cool.

So this week was also sad because Marisol’s baptismal date fell through 😦 Her dad all of a sudden decided against it, which really really sucks. But we have been teaching a woman named Carolina who is hard core catholic along with her sister and mother. Her boyfriend is a member of the church and at first she had SO MANY questions for us! and alllways asked us “where does it say that in the bible?” most times we would find answers to her questions but we got sick of it and basically said “you told us you love the bible, you should know where it says this! you can find it!” haha. but she thought it was funny and took the challenge. anywya! she accepted a baptismal date!!! AH it is a miracle. And she really has a testimony. finally. AND she comes to church. That is the biggest thing here. baptismal dates fall through sooo frequently because they dont ever come to church. but it’s okay! because we have  a plan to solve that and it is working.

Make sure investigators of the church always have friends. always. that is key. teach with members, visit with members, introduce them to members…..make sure they have friends to support them within the church. there is too much adversary outside of it that will sway them away from things that are good.

That is all for now. Until next week!

Ciao!! –Hermana Dunne

P.S. IF YOU SEND ME A PACKAGE PLEASE MAKE SURE IT IS LESS THAN 4 POUNDS!

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Me and Alejandra and Lesly.  Lesly has a baptism date!

 

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Here we are in our favorite panaderia.  The lady didn’t really want to take a picture.

 

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Here I am flying:)

Too much sugar = mosquito bites!!

HOLA FAMILIA!!!! COMO ESTAAAAAN!??!!?! Wow! This week flew by SOOO FAST. Holy smokes. Okay so today I am in a suuuuper good mood because…welll….i am always in a good mood on Pdays. hahaha Today we went to San Antonio (where i am emailing right now) and bought cool trinkets. haha This town is suuuper cool and really artsy buuut they are prettttty obsessed with sculptures and paintings of naked people doing…well innappropriate things. So that’s great. But oh my gosh! I don’t know where to start!!! Hm. Okay. So first off, I GOT INTO BYU!!! Woohoooooooooo! Second. Tuesday i don’t know what I ate but the food made me suuuuper sick so that wasn’t the best experience. It is seriously the hardest thing having to walk and focus energy on making other people happy when you don’t feel good. Like…I don’t want to smile …i want to throw up. But hey, all is good in the hood ahora.But okay, here is the real ish i have right now. I luhluhloooove the pastries and bread here. Like, way too much. And it doesn’t help that all the drinks are super sugary too…and okay, i’m sorry I talk about food in EVERY email, but it is def a highlight of my week. So anyway, since i have been eating a ton of sugar lately, i have recently been getting mosquito bites. hahahahhahaha THEY SUCK. There are like huuuuge mosquitoes which i NEVER see, but their bites hurt super bad. And there are little ones which are suuuper fast and you can never kill them. So that is a great gift that God has blessed us with on this Earth. For real though, opposition is great. And these mosquitoes have helped me realize that i need to cut back on the sugar. So, this week i am thankful for mosquitoes…kind of. Moving on. Our dueñas are kind of super annoying because whenever we have an issue, they don’t do SQUAT about it. We FINALLY have hot water. Oh, thank the heavens. But when we flush the toilet, water comes up out of the drain on the floor aaaand well it smells HORRID. Also, we didn’t have light literally last sunday until this sunday. hahahaha That was real fun too. It’s funny because we literally almost spend half of our day planning and studying and getting ready in our house…and we had to use the flashlight Wes gave me. THAT SAVED US! (so thank you, Wes!) 🙂 But right as my flashlight died, i decided to screw the lightbulb in and out and like adjust it (because the dueñas didn’t do anything to help us!)  and now we have light. Whew. But….one more thing. This is the exciting part. hahaahaha we have a RAT in our SINK. hahahahhahahha oh my gosh it is so disgusting. We literally hear it trying to chew its way out and it squeals when it gets frustrated. We have tried putting bleach down the drain to poison it and we boiled water today and when we heard it chewing, we chucked it down the drain as fast as we could….five minutes later it was squealing again. So that is reeeeally superb. So disgusting. So our dueñas are pretty annoying for not helping us out but HEY that’s life. You have to deal with people who are lazy and thoughtless. I’m sure they are very great people, really though…ANYWAY!

So today we’re in San Antonio, right? We see this huuge sculpture/slide. I’m all “OH HECK YES” and climb on up, take a picture, and go down the slide. This slide was sketttttch. I don’t know why I went down it. But it literally goes straight down and then horizontal. liiiike a 100 degree angle. So on the way down hhahahhah you just hear two loud thumps. I stand up, suuuper confused and realize 1-my tailbone is BASICALLY BROKEN. okay, not really but it hurt like noooone other. and 2- my belt was hanging of the end of the slide broken in two. haahahhaha WHAT THE HECK! I just wanted to have some fun 😦 So yeah, my belt is broken as well as my pompis. I have decided I will not go down a slide unless someone else goes before me. I will send the pictures of me climbing up and going down the slide RIGHT before my dream was crushed.

So wednesday, hermana alva, black, hendersen, and i got to paint a member’s house briiiight green. it was so much fun and i got to wear pants finally and i also got to hear american/reggaeton music which was nice for a change…hehe….sorry bout it….but then the woman who lived there offered us lunch. Okay, once again–lunch here is like dinner for Americans. And sometimes almost like thanksgiving dinner. So we were stoked! But hermana alva and I realized that we were scheduled to go eat at someone else’s house for the day. We didn’t have her phone number so we couldnt call and cancel. Soooo we had to eat TWICE. We were literally fooooorcing the second lunch down our throats. like,it made us soo sick. the whole way home we were holding our stomachs saying “OOF! LA MAMA!” (that is just something you say here and it is hilarious so we always say it) I have never been so full in my life. The only other time I have been that full was when I was at the MTC. Hermana Stephensen and I were so full and we layed on the ground and rolled around to feel better. Trust me, that works. This is not a joke. But I was laughing sooo hard with Hermana Alva because I told her that story and we were laughing about how awful we felt and how we still had a whole day ahead of us of walking and teaching…we threw up on the street. HA PSYCH, gotcha. We didn’t throw up. But we were really close to it. Anyway. That was a super great story. Sorry about that.

Anyway, ahem, we are teaching this family from Columbia and the dad makes bricks for work. All he does all day is make bricks and then stack them and we told him that one day we want to help but he never asks us. So one day we showed up randomly and he was stacking bricks! So we helped him. It was fun. However, I sliced my fingers up pretty good. But that’s beside the point. While we were doing this, two little boys ran up to the barbed wire fence and just stood there, watching us. hahhhaa So i started to talk to them and see how theyre doing and where theyre from and everything and they asked me if i was from ARGENTINA. hahaha what the devvv?! I was so happy and flattered! But i told them no and to guess again. Their other two guesses were Canada and Australia, so that is pretty cool. Theyre parents thought I was from Cuba…i dont get it. Maybe i am getting a tad darker? I dont know. But i was pleased with those guesses.

Halloween here is realy only for pèople who go to clubs to dance. NO ONE CELEBRATES IT. And the famillies here that we teach from Columbia say that it is really big there, so i dont get it!!! But on Halloween it was Elder Garcia’s birthday (an elder in our district) so we bought a piñata and had a mini party after one of our district meetings. It was so much fun, and we at least got sooome candy. hehe.

Back to the food. This week hermana alva and i went to this notorious ice cream place. The presentation of their ice cream? A plus. I took my first bite and found out that they put CHEESE in my ice cream. Apparently that is like the custom here in Ecuador. They like to put cheese in their ice cream. So that was fun to eat but not my favorite.

During church a boy we are teaching, daniel, was sitting behind me. Little did  I know, he was PLUCKING HAIRS OUT OF MY HEAD. he literally ripped sooo much of my hair out and was just admiring it. He is thirteen years old! WHAT THE HECK! It was the oddest, most uncomfortable, and infuriating thing ever. hahahahha not really, but it was pretty dang weird.

Usually when people say my name they cant pronounce it. It either sounds like they say “doonee” or, my personal favorite, “dung”. hahahhaa oh my gosh i cant help but laugh when they say it the latter way. Gosh. Yeah. That’s funny.

Also, this week one of our Mamita’s forgot about us so we had to eat Chifa for lunch. Chifa is like chinese but with a mixture of ecuadorian recipe. it is pretty good. not super great though. anyway, while we were in there they were playing SUCH good dancing music. Seriously, the worst temptations for me on this mission are bread and dancing.

. i just cant wait for the day i get to dance again. haha. Speaking of dancing, i taught hermana alva how to spongebob and bernie when we were in our house. haha she says americans dance really really oddly. but she likes it. apparently, at all dances she said they just move their hips and feet really fast. she showed me and it is so cute. haha she is so cute and i love her.

Okay, so here comes the change in topic. We are visiting some families that live in like the same complex..they have a dirt courtyard looking thing in the middle where they have a well and clotheslines. And we are over there a lot…there are ALWAYS these four kids who are always alone. their dad is out of the picture and their mom works all day. gosh it makes me so sad. like, we invite them to come to our lessons and come to church and they never really want to. theyre pretty quiet and seem really sad. gah! it just breaks my heart! like, there are soooo many kids here that are just like them. They dont have a parent to take care of them and teach them and it is so sad. And since they dont have someone to look up to or know where to find true, eternal, happiness, they turn to temporary happiness. drugs and alcohol and friends who DO NOT respect them. It breaks my heart. I pray for them every night.

So, i am reeeeally starting to love these people more like God loves them. This week I cried over them because i can see the desire in their eyes and by the things they say to me that they truly want to change and they know that this gospel will help them, but i can also see the pain and the frustration and disappointment. Like, there are so many people who want to get married but cant because their papers are in colombia and if they go back there, they will be killed. Or addictions. So many people dont want to accept baptismal dates because they think that if they mess up, then they lose everything and theyre sinners. THAT IS NEVER TRUE. you can ALWAYS repent and turn to God. Another thing they fear is that it is harder to resist things after they are baptized. THAT IS NOT TRUE EITHER. After you get baptised, you can and should receive the Holy Ghost. When you have the HG with you all the time, you are stronger. You feel God’s love, you remember the covenants you made, you are able to discern better what is good and bad for you, you have more self confidence, you confide in God more…EVERYTHING IS BETTER. Everything. And maybe trials will come your way, but you are stronger than the temptations or the heartache you feel because GOD IS ON YOUR SIDE. Always. And as long as you pray to Him and beg for his help and let Him know that you are grateful for life itself, HE WILL HELP YOU BE STRONGER. We have to do our part…stay away from those temptations…and when we have given our all, Heavenly Father will make up the rest and help strengthen our weaknesses. God is so amazing. Seriously! He only wants the best for us. It is truly amazing the unconditional love He has for us.

We have one investigator named Bolivar. He used to drink a lot and beat his family but he said he feels really good when we teach him and like he truly has another chance. He has stopped drinking. He faces that temptation DAILY. And he always remembers how he is trying to follow the path God wants him to follow. For work he trains chickens to fight. He decided that that is not something God would want so he wants to try and breed them more and sell them and sell their eggs and stuff….he is changing his life. And although he feels awful about his past, he finds comfort in prayer and reading the scriptures, and realizing that he truly is changing his life for the better and he truly is immensley happier overall in life. How great is he? He is such an example to me. We can overcome anything. Absolutely anything, as long as we TRULY with all the sincerity of our heart believe that God will be helping us and strengthening us each day, because He is. And He is giving it His all. We should too. He made this plan for us to come here and experience life and He also gave us a way to RETURN to Him and LIVE with Him…he WANTS us to return there so he will be doing all he can to help us achieve that goal. But WE HAVE TO DO OUR PART TOO. He can’t help us if we aren’t willing or believing enough to change the way we live.

Another thing i read this week that was WAY powerful is the talk “The Miracle of a Mission” by Elder Holland in the Brazil MTC. I could hear his voice in this talk…gosh i love elder Holland. This talk has changed the way I look at this mission. I am so much more driven now. I know I need to work hard daily. Every second matters. Every second.

Something our ward is starting to do is every tuesday at 7pm (my time) everyone in the ward, wherever they are, prays for missionary work. The missionaries, the investigators, the presidents…everything and everyone that has to do with missionary work! i think that is so powerful. If you want to, you can join too! 🙂 I think it is pretry cool. It is really hard to motivate people to come to church. At the beginning of this year 150 people were asisting every sunday. Now we are down to 90 if we’re lucky. It is so sad. So we are trying really hard to spiritually strengthen the members, and less actives now. and it is SO IMPORTANT that our investigators make friends in the church or no one will want to come. That is really the hardest thing right now. No one can progress because no one makes it to church. But that is going to change fast! 🙂 The members are helping us a lot more now by giving us references and teaching with us, which is super nice for a change. It is so much more powerful when other people outside our church can hear the testimonies of members. Not just the missionaries. Try and help the missionaries out in your wards and branches too! They need you!! 🙂 Alright. I am out of time. Take care, everyone! Till next week!! 🙂

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This is called a guagua.  it’s a doll made of bread but I broke it in half:( 

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This is me right before I hurt my tail bone.  Look at the angle on this slide!!

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This is my room.