They want to know why my hair is yellow!?

We painted a roof for community service!!

Hello everyone!!! I hope everyone is still doing great and loving life 🙂 This week for me was great, once again! haha. Even though there is definitely a lot of stress in the mission, all of that stress and worry goes away when I teach or when I pray or when i read my scriptures…the gospel is really the only thing that can ever bring true peace to the heart, i promise that is true.
So this week i got a package from Nana and Grandpa!!!! WOO the food is delish and the card was so sweet so thank you SOSO MUCH!!!!! 🙂 The roasted almonds and jelly beans were my favorite part…i didn’t realize how much i liked jelly beans until…well until i took a break from them haha tahaaaaank youuu!!
So it is pretty crazy how stereotypical people really are! Like, all over the world. We have stereotypes of Ecuador and Ecuadorians have a lot of stereotypes of how America is too. And I still SO FREQUENTLY get asked why my hair is “yellow” hahaha it makes me laugh every time. I just say “Yo naci asi!” (I was born this way) and they just give me a confused look. Then Hermana Alva explains how people in my country have yellow hair. hahaha so that is pretty cool.
This week we had an activity for our branch! Apparently all the activities we usually have suck and no one comes so i was like pretty anxious that no one was going to turn out…but it went SO WELL. And some of the elders from the other branch helped us out too. It was AWESOME. We had a water balloon toss, tug of war (which, btw we only had a cord to play with and as soon as i counted up to three and they began to pull, it snapped in half and everyone fell on the ground. hahaha SO FUNNY), the game where you put a cookie on your forehead and have to move your face all weird to make it into your mouth, and lots of other games! So many people came! Like, investigators, less active members included! Gosh it was so great. And we ate lots of food. We had Colada Morada. That’s a really special drink to Ecuador and it is INCREDIBLE. look up the recipe and make it FO SHO. If you make it right, you will be pleased with the outcome. eh eh. OH YEAH! okay, real quick sidenote: so last week Elder Peter Gregory in his email said that people in the Phillippines say “uh huh” for no and “uh uh” for yes (which is totally backwards for us americans) and they do the same thing here. and unfortunately, i am starting to do it. hahaha it is so hard not to laugh when people do it though. i don’t know why everything is so funny to me. I need to calm down. Anyway, back to the activity! so we ate lots of food and then we had a little dance! the music kind of didn’t work so we had to end early but everyone was so happy. ah! it was GREAT.
And GUESS WHAT ELSE happened this week!!!!! CAROLINA GALARZA GOT BAPTIZED!!! oh. my. gosh. I love her so much. She’s 24 and we have been teaching her and her mom and sister (who also have dates to get baptized now) and Carolina’s boyfriend, Eduardo. They are the funniest, most sincere people ever. I feel like she is one of my best friends.So yeah, i definitely cried the night she got baptized. And after when she was supposed to tell everyone how she felt after being baptised, she was only able to say that she was really happy and then she started to cry, got embarrassed, and sat down. So after, when everyone was eating cake (which, btw, was super good! Personal opinion: the cake here is absolutely awful. haha cake is NO BUENO. Buuuuut the bread lady that hermana alva and i ALWAYS buy from made a chocolate cake especially for us and it was sosososo good. the only good cake i have had here. so that was a plus) I went up to Carolina and asked her how she felt and she said she was happy and that she felt different. I asked what different meant and she said that when she came up out of the water, she truly felt that her sins were washed away. She felt so pure and so happy and like she had a new heart. HOW COOL IS THAT! And She was already suuuper super happy and nice before she got baptised, but now she truly shines. Like, i don’t even know how to describe it. She is just like this ray of sunshine and everyone loves her! So yeah. That was really really awesome and the highlight of my week!!! Gosh. It is just SUCH a great feeling to teach people, see them grow–see their testimonies and happiness grow, and then to see them baptized..!!! gahhh. Seriously, I just feel so proud to know Carolina and i feel so proud of her because she really does have her own testimony now. She KNOWS this church is true. So cool. I can’t even explain it.
So Christmas is coming soon and there are decorations here and there in Ibarra buuuuut i have not heard ONE christmas song and i am getting pretttty disappointed. like, WHAT THE HECK! Where is the spirit?!?! Bueno, the spirit is with the missionaries when we teach, duh, but the Christmas spirit!!!!! it is so sad. Ibarra is kind of boring when it comes to celebrations that aren’t catholic. Most of the families i have talked to don’t even give presents to each other for Christmas! They just eat a big meal and it is different because they eat turkey. so sad! i mean, if they enjoy that then that’s great! but goshhhh…i dont know. But if there is a catholic holiday that has to do with a saint or the virigin mary or something, they have HUGE celebrations. Ibarra is very very very very…..very catholic. They have catholic symbols and pictures literally on every single bus, every car, every building, every bus stop, there are like fifteen or more cathedrals….biiiig cathedrals too. So that is kind of hard. People are raised seeing catholic stuff their whole lives and so it is harder for them to make a change if they do end up knowing that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. Like, Carolina’s sister doesn’t like coming to church because there aren’t big sparkly, gold emblems or anything. And our Branch president doesn’t wear super extravegant clothes. She knows this church is true, but she likes the fanciness of catholicism. So that’s just one desafio! But all is well in Zion 🙂
Shout out to Kelsey Jost for reading most of blog posts. Luh yoo ;D
We also had a SUPER good meeting this sunday with the leaders of each organization in our branch. And we will FINALLY be working with the members so much more! The president assigned leaders to do visits with us right then and there and decided who we will visit at what time on what day. So that was REALLY helpful 😉
wow i can’t do a normal smiley face, there is only a winky key here. how annoying.
Right now I am in Otavalo! Here there are a lot of members. they call it Utahvalo. haha which is really funny. And whenever there are missionaries from Utah, in the mission they say they’re from “la fabrica” or the factory which is hilarious. haha But here is where there are a lot of indiginous people. They wear all white clothing, with really colorful belts, and sashes, and jewelry. The men don’t cut there hair and since they usually have lots of layers on, it’s hard to tell their gender sometimes haha but they are SO sweet. They speak Kitchwa here. It’s harder to learn than English, sooo i probs won’t be learning that anytime soon. The only thing i know that hermana alva taught me is “atatai!” which means “que asco” or “how gross, disgusting.” so that’s SUPER useful.
We came here with hermanas black y henderson. they’re cool. we bought clothes. lots of clothes and i am really happy. hehe.
Transition.
I wish i knew how to put this all together more smoothly, my apologies. haha
So there are a lot of people who turn down our message because they say they’re going through hard times in their lives right now….I DON’T GET IT! This gospel brings HOPE. it brings COMFORT. it brings SALVATION. If you are going through a trial, all the more reason to learn about this gospel! Because, this gospel brings miracles and through prayer, obedience, and scripture study, they can see their lives be turned around.
Recently, we taught one of our investigators, Lesly, with her friend Dilan. (i’m not sure if i already told this story or not, but here goes) Dilan took a book of mormon home to his family and ever since they opened the book and started reading it-miracles happened! They finally were able to open their restaurant, they’re finally making enough money to pay for all their debts, they’re happier and have more unity in their home, and they said they wanted to get baptized!! Now, it probably won’t happen like this for everyone, but this is proof that miracles do happen when people learn more about this gospel. God was a God of miracles in the times of the Bible, and since God is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” He is STILL a God of miracles. Never ever doubt the power of God. Because He is eternal and He will never, ever change.
I have such a testimony of this gospel. I know the joy and hope it brings people–it is incredible. If i could just give my testimony to everyone…let the whole world hear what i have to say, i could rest in peace. But that is why i am here in the mission! I neeeed to share this gospel. When we contact people for the first time, I don’t just say this gospel brings peace and hope and that we talk about Christ and how families can be forever. I also tell them that Jesus Christ RESTORED HIS GOSPEL once again to the earth. And that once again we have a prophet to guide us just like there were prophets in the bible! I ask if they believe in the bible. I ask if they believe God is the same forever. Then i ask if they believe God is merciful. When they answer yes, i say that that is exactly why we are blessed enough to have a prophet again. Because it has ALWAYS been the way of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to have a prophet, and that He WANTS to bless us. He WANTS to guide us. And the only possible way we can be guided is by a prophet. God has given us the means to return to live with Him again. HOW INCREDIBLE IS THAT?! We should take advantage of what He has given us. We should listen to His counsel. Not one person, after i have presented the gospel in this way, has denied what i have said. Nor have they declined us teaching them. This gospel is powerful because Jesus Christ Himself is at the head of it. He called a prophet. Peter, James and John gave the priesthood to Joseph Smith so he could have the AUTHORITY to RESTORE the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are twelve apostoles again today and their words should be treasured just as prophet Thomas S. Monson and his counselor’s are. I know this church is the true church of Jesus Christ and I will never deny it. I know we can live with our families for the eternities. I know that this church has blessed, is blessing, and will bless millions of lives and that we can live with God once again because of the promises we make. I love this gospel with all my heart and cherish the book of mormon, the bible, and the words of Thomas S. Monson. I hope and pray day and night with all the sincerety of my heart that everyone who reads my emails, or knows of someone who is LDS will come to know this gospel as i do. And come to feel in the very marrow of their bones that Jesus Christ lives, Joseph Smith was a true prophet, the Book of Mormon is true and supports the Bible just as the Bible supports the Book of Mormon, and that our families can be eternal.
I don’t have much more to say except these things. So I hope everyone has a fantastic rest of the week and takes time to read the Book of Mormon, pray, and draw closer to God each day! Love you all with all my heart! 😉 Love, Hermana Dunne

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