Happy Christmas

All week I have been quoting “Happy Christmas,Harry.” “Happy Christmas, Ron.” I taught all the latinos to say “happy” instead of “merry” hehe…So this week I forgot my book with all my thoughts so i don’t have my spiritual thoughts or funny things that happened with me 😦 So i will try and remember SOME things.
First of all, Hermana Alva and I have been working so much better together!! We have found so many new people and almost all of them had dates to be baptized. We had thirteen people with dates….the most we have EVER had at once was four. So that was pretty crazy. But most didn’t show up at church this week so we have five now. But that is still great! And they are all SO GREAT. Gosh, i admire the faith people have here soso much! seriously. We are teaching one family of 5, a mom and four children, who have incredible faith. Their dad died, which is suuuuper sad, but the mom, to stay strong, prays every morning starting at 5 am and prays until 6. THEY’RE CRAZY. She has two sons of 20 and 8 years old and two daughters, 15 and 9. They are so loving and invited us over for Christmas dinner tomorrow!! πŸ™‚ I will be making brownies. πŸ˜€ They’re gonna make turkey and …other stuff. I don’t remember ahha but i’m excited!
I got a package from mi familia and Wes this week!!! :))) But i am saving them until tomorrow, of course! It’s gotta feel a LITTLE more like Christmas. ha. Anyway, thanks guys for the packages! πŸ™‚ I also got a card from Elder Nevins and Hermana Hill and President Barnes, so that ROCKED! I love you all! Thank you so much for keeping my spirits up!! πŸ™‚
Today as a zone we went to this place called Cotacachi, which is known for their leather…goshhhhhhh i wanted to buy everything. ha but then we took a little bus…well it’s called a bus but it’s a truck and we sit in the bed and there is a little cover so we don’t get toooooo cold with the wind…………to this lake! Lake Cuicocha. It’s a lake in a crater and has an island in the middle. It is SO GORGEOUS. I will try and send pictures today but we are super limited on time. We have to be in the house by 6 tonight and 5 tomorrow. The people are crazy here and I guess it’s not safe. 😦 But we got permission for a member to pick up every companionship in our district to have a dinner together tonight at 6 so that will be fun! πŸ™‚
Speaking of being limited on time…this week T. Dods told me that my emails make her hyper because I sound either hyper or rushed..WELP it’s both! We are always rushing and I am always hyper because Pdays are awesome…! So sorry if i have too much energy in my emails, y’all. Ps- When i write, at times the Holy Ghost is so strong…like it is just so strong so I might also seem hyper because of that!
Sidenote, this week i was walking down the street with Hermana Alva and we passed this really drunk guy. She was walking on the sidewalk on the street side and I was closer to the wall. I saw him looking at me all weird but I just looked away and walked with confidence…because when you walk all shyly they pick on you so much more. Then he did “pssst psssst” (aka the most disgusting sound ever..i am NOT a dog, thank you.) Then as i walked past him, he grabbed my waist and like squeezed me!! I was SO surprised and elbowed him and spilled his beer. Then hermana alva ran around me and pushed him and said “DEJE!!” Then we walked away…she is so cute. She said Deje and pushed him so delicately. hahaha she is precious and always protecting me. A few weeks ago, we were walking downtown and it’s always crowded and this man made a SUPER loud kissing noise in my ear (practically touching me) as he walked by and since he walked so fast i didn’t have time to react but hermana alva was a little behind me and she hit him. HAHA! She’s great.
So I don’t have much time to talk this week. I have to go now but I hope everyone has a really great Christmas and that they really ponder about what Christ did for them. Take a walk alone and go pray in a forest. Go kneel in the snow and have a moment with God. In the forest with snow is also like the most quiet place ever. Highly recommend it. So sad there isn’t snow here. My face is burning. Buuuuut I love the people here. They feel like family. AND I GET TO SKYPE MY FAMILY TOMORROW NO BIGGIE. Anyway, remember what Jesus Christ did for you. Remember he has felt all your pains and sorrows and not only did he do that to save us from sin and physical death, but he also did it to know how to comfort us. Good deeds aren’t ever coincidences. God inspires those good deeds to answer prayers. Alma 7. Love you all so much. have a great christmas! πŸ™‚ Love, Hermana Dunne πŸ™‚

The dogs here are basically all possessed!

This is a traditional knitted mask from Otavalo…..funny huh.

jey. como les van? que bien. so yeah, the mission is still fantaaastic! But i am going to start off with ANOTHER dog story. Because the dogs here are basically all possessed and freaking crazy.
So Hermana Alva and i were walking to a member’s house one night, at like 8:30…so it was pretty late because we are supposed to be in our house at 9. anyway! we were walking down this dark road and we heard dogs barknig. i ignored it because they are ALWAYS barking. then hermana alva started screaming my name. I turned around and these two HUGE dogs came spriiiiiiiiiiiinting out of this garage at us. OH MAN. My heart was beating sososososo fast. All i could think was “welp. tonight i am losing a leg. or an arm.” ha okay that is dramatic, but REALLY! i was ready to just get attacked because i didnt have time to pick up a rock or anything. Then i felt this rush of energy (fight or flight mode…) and i raised my arm super high and acted like i was throwing a rock really hard at the dogs. (at this point they were in arm’s length) Then the ran in the other direction and left us alone. WHAAAA……i was so scared. i couldnt believe that actually worked. Then we get to the top of this hill (only like 30 seconds after this happened) and this little girl runs, crossing the road…and almost got HIT by a truck! Seriously, the truck SLAMMED on its breaks and was inches away from hitting her. aw man. My heart had run all the way to Quito by this time. I had never been so surprised/frightened ever!!! Two major things had happened in the past minute. Luckily, no one was hurt…
I had to eat liver this week for lunch. it was awful. i got sick afterwards too. never again.
WE ARE FINALLY RUNNING. i convinced hermana alva to go to the new park here! it used to be an airport so it is HUGE. I run all around and she stretches. I am so content.
Here, if you want to shake someone’s hand and it’s dirty, they give you their wrist to shake. it’s funny. is that normal in the US? I dont know
So GREAT NEWS! They are reopening the orient and the coast for hermanas!!! it was closed before because it was too dangerous. I am soso happy! but i probs wont go there for another transfer or two, if i do go. We have transfers in two weeks and my Zone Leaders, Hermana Leaders, Mission President and Hermana Alva are telling me to prepare myself because i will probably be training. AH QUE MIEDO. nah, if i do train i am reallllly excited!!!! but. I just have my own little fears about the age difference or if i really know everything well enough to teach it or if theyre american and i lose my spanish or…well dumb stuff. I know the Lord will help me. It`s just a little scary. but HEY no promises that i will be training! Just something people have been telling me i MIGHT do.
Blackberries taste differently here, so that’s a let down. They’re sour. and…not as good.
That’s really all for this week.
Spiritual thoughts for the week:
D&C 64:7–Do NOT judge people for their sins or weaknesses. Judge them for their accomplishments and strengths.
D&C67:3–This may be why sometimes it takes longer for our prayers to be answered. I found this to be soso interesting and really helpful to know.
D&C64:31-33–I think we all would be happier if we applied this to our lives.
D&C 64:8-12–Holding so much bitterness in our hearts brings us nothing but irritation and sorrow. Read especially verse 10.
Alma chapter 14–WOW. I have read this story before, but WOW this week it hit me hard how powerful this chapter is. They saw and experienced SO MUCH SUFFERING. But the power of faith is stronger than we think! It truly can bring prison walls to the ground. Amazing, amazing chapter. Everyone should read it. It will strengthen your faith.

As for our investigators, half of them didn’t go to church so they dont have baptismal dates anymore. But the other half are GREAT! Jeison is going to be baptized this saturday!! He has such strong faith and he can sense people’s feelings, which is cool. He said he can tell me and hermana alva truly have good hearts which is nice. i hope so. haahha His sobrino (sorry i forgot the word) MiguelAngel is getting baptized the 28th! And Jhonatan the 23rd. (It is so funny because there are so many people here with English names and they just butcher the spelling because that’s how you’d pronounce it in spanish.) So, no, those are not typos. Anyway! Jhonatan is getting baptized on a monday (yes, we will be sacrificing our PDAY FOR HIM) because our ward is going to the temple in Guayaquil on the 26th and he wants to get baptized so he can go! Gosh, he is so great and his faith is SO STRONG. He wants to serve a mission. He goes to church on his own (and shows up half an hour early even–which is unheard of because Ecuadorians have their own time and always always always show up late)…he rocks. so that’s that.
Life is still great and there is nothing i would rather be doing. This gospel heals lives. This gospel brings hope as well because we can live with God again after this life..and be with our families for the ETERNITY. Not only that, but every single person who has ever lived has a chance to hear the gospel after this life too, and change their lives through repentance, faith in Jesus Christ, baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost. What a gift. How merciful is God? It is incredible.

CAN’T WAIT TO SKYPE MY FAMILY! Love you all and hope you have a very, very merry Christmas! πŸ™‚ Enjoy your gifts, stuff your faces till you gain twenty pounds, and always always remember Jesus Christ. Remember the gift that HE gave us. The gift of Repentance, and the gift of Eternal Life. Thanks to His Atonement, we can repent. And thanks to His resurrection, and His example of how we should be baptized, we can live with God again. For ever and ever. How amazing is that? He loves us all and I love you all too! πŸ™‚ Stay strong in your faith and never, ever lose hope. Love always,
Hermana Dunne πŸ™‚
stay happy! bought fake raybans this week. theyre tiiiight just found these iphone icons, wuddup bought a today. K LOVE Y’ALL! bye for real!

These beautiful mountains and clouds always make me miss snowboarding!!
These beautiful mountains and clouds always make me miss snowboarding!!

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This T-rex and plastic bottle tree are at the new park…pretty cool huh.

Week 8 in Ecuador

Week 8 in Ecuador

Cute kids making dirt castles.

Wow! hello everyone! So, this week i have even more to say than what i usually have to say so get ready for another novel.
There are grass balls that grow on the telephone wires. They are literally just balls of grass. I don’t understand why or how they are there, but they are.
One day hermana Alva and I were walking to an investigator’s house. There were two dogs by the door we needed to go to and usually when there are dogs, i just pick up a rock and they leave. (that was what our mission president told us to do. when we see dogs, we are supposed to carry rocks for our defense. Never throw them. Just scare them.) So I picked up a rock and kept going. Hermana Alva stopped behind me and i didn’t even realize that she stopped, because she was too scared, until i had almost reached the door. All of a sudden, the dog CAME AT ME. Like fuuuuuull on. It was bearing it’s teeth and snarling and barking and growling and foaming at the mouth and was running at me in zig zags. MY HEART STOPPED. I lifted the rock up like four times and it hesitated once. So I started backing up because this dog was seriously determined to rip my face off. Then finally I got far enough away that it left me alone and i through the rock on the ground and hermana alva and i RAN. She was so scared, she couldn’t talk for a few minutes and I felt like i had seen a ghost. It was the most FRIGHTENING thing ever. So, we’ve tried to visit that house again, but when we see the dog we turn around. Unfortunately, that investigator will have to wait till that dog dies until they can hear the gospel because there is no way to safely get to her house. 😦 That was harsh, but very true.
I really like the custom here of how they say hello. We always put our cheeks together and make kissing noises (only with women, duhhhh) and it is just the most endearing thing ever! ahah, so i will be doing that when i get home. sorry bout it.
So, this week was my Christmas!! We got to go to Quito with our zone and the north orient zone. We met at the Mission President’s house and had a dinner. When i walked in the room, i almost cried. It smelled like Christmas and the decorations were SO homey….Hermana Richardson also acts like my mom and it is so sweet…so comforting. I talked with her a lot and even helped her bake some things while everyone else was waiting to be fed. We had turkey, jello, mashed potatoes, something close to sweet potatoes with marshmellow. We also had rolls and it all tasted just like home! πŸ™‚ I also got to talk to the Pres and Hermana Richardson’s daughter more…she’s 14 and i almost started to cry!! I was like, “my sister is 14 too!!” and of course she was just like “coooool…. ;)” ahhaa buuuut it was a touching moment for me… Then we had tres leches for dessert which was DELISH. After that, we watched a video on our mission and then we went outside to carol. I was so beyond excited to go carolling so i lead all the songs and even the mission president asked me after each song what we would sing next, so that was kind of cool. Then we went back to the mission house and watched more videos on Christ–which were soooo touching. The zone leaders then acted out the nativity scene and it was hilarious because the tallest, whitest elder was baby jesus. haha. Then we played some christmas songs with bells and chimes! After that, the president and his wife gave some closing remarks and also gave us journals and candy as our presents. They also gave us a new goal to memorize “Jesus The Christ” in the next six weeks. I have already memorized a paragraph and a half! We are doing it in spanish as a mission and it is amazing how beautiful it is. More homework, peeps. Read it.
I also got a package from Jan and it is SO AMAZINGLY SWEET. So thank you SO much for that πŸ™‚ You have no idea how happy that made me!
Saturday we went out to this pueblo called Concepcion. It is the coolest little pueblo. All of the people looked at us like crazy because not very many people go over there. We were there for a service project with our district. We ended up cutting avocado trees, and tilling the ground. I LOVED it. There were so many times where i just stopped and soaked in the beauty….the life i am living. It is such a blessing to be here. The mountains were so gorgeous, the sky as well, and everyone was so happy. It seriously feels like a dream. I also found a lot of obsiddion and i went a little rock crazy finding more. So that was really cool! Overall, it was such a great experience. And after, we ate dinner at the mayor’s house and I cleaned the dishes with hermana Henderson in the place where they wash clothes because they didn’t have enough water in the kitchen to clean dishes. I felt like i was in a movie! Like, gosh! I am so lucky to be here in Ecuador, getting to know the people, serving them, and just feeling exquisite joy!
This week we also taught with a member (finally) named Hermana Mayra. She said something that also really touched my heart. She said that she always tells her children why it is so important that we read the scriptures and pray and go to church. She says, “Jesus Christ died for you so you could have these things. How would you feel if you created a church with all the things necessary for your family to return to live with you again, but then they never went to church. They never did any of the things that you asked them to do because they just didn’t feel like it. or it was too hard. or they had grown to love other things. And you DIED for them. You died for them so they could live again with you and they didn’t act like they cared. How would you feel?” I thought that was so powerful. We always talk about how in order to understand people better that we should try and put ourselves in their places…do that with Christ. What do you think Christ thinks about you? Are you making Him proud?
Hermana Alva also has taught me to thank Heavenly Father for trials in my prayers. Thank Him for the experiences. D&C 58:4 says “for after much tribulation come the blessings”. Trials give us room to grow and they also give us opportunities. They allow us to change and to become who God wants us to be.
Here are some other scriptures that i really enjoyed reading this week:
D&C 59:18-20 I thought were so beautiful and touching! “both to please the eye and to gladden the heart!”
Matthew 5:45 is very beautiful too.
Romans 5 included. Really really amazing.
I like how in D&C 59:14 it says that fasting=joy. Cool way to think of it.
D&C 63:47 says “he that is faithful and endureth shall overcome the world.” it’s SO powerful! And how do we overcome the world? By staying faithful to Christ, and resurrecting in the end so we can live with God once again.
I have also come to realize something really important. The Atonement, Christ suffering for us, is how Christ provided a WAY for us to be saved. But in order for His Atonement to apply to us, we have to repent. The Atonement made it possible for us to repent of our sins and be forgiven. By our faith we will be saved, but faith without works is nothing. We can’t assume that we can just do whatever we want in our life and then because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we’re saved. He didn’t suffer so we can sin all our lives and then after we die, POOF everything’s all good. No. If we do not repent of all the wrong things we have done, and move forward–changing our ways…then He suffered in vain. I know this to be true and it is so important that everyone knows this. This is why all the prophets in the Bible and the Book of Mormon are always “crying repentance”!! It is crucial. I came to know this to be true by reading in these scriptures: Helamen 5:10-11 and Alma 34:16-
We found someone that God has definitely prepared to meet us. His name is Jonathan and he is 17 years old. We taught him about the Restoration of the church, and he believes EVERYTHING. He has read and prayed and he knows it is all true. We took him to a baptism the elders had on saturday and Jonathan said “what do i have to do to get baptized?” Then he came to church with us sunday and he turned to me and said “when can i get baptized?” And hour later he asked when he can SERVE A MISSION. What the heck!!! Seriously, I know that i am meant to be here at this time and that God truly has be preparing Jonathan to meet me and hermana Alva. Jonathan truly knows for himself that this church is true and is SO anxious to become a member!!! He is amazing and i wanted to just brag about how great he is for a minute. Everyone should have the same excitement about the church ALWAYS! This church is TRUE! and if you know it, then show it! Let people SEE the happiness it brings you!
I love you all and hope you’re all still doing well. I pray for you day and night! Take care and keep reading your scriptures and praying!! ;D Love always,
Hermana Dunne!!

my zone doing service
my zone doing service

 

knocking on doors but nobody is answering....I wonder why
knocking on doors but nobody is answering….I wonder why

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Christmas dinner at the presidents house.
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The view of Quito from the president’s home

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