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!!

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