OOPS….SHE HAS NOT MOVED

My new companion Hermana Zaragoza and I with Hermana Mercedes Galarza who just got baptized.

Hola everyone!!!!! wowwww….so this week was so full of SO MANY EMOTIONS. Lemme just start by saying this:
A mission is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It is also the most amazingly beautiful thing i have ever experienced.
A little clarification, mom, dad: I’m not in Quito! I just went to Quito to pick up my companion. I was only there for two and a half days.
Here is how my week went:
We had changes and I said bye to Hermana Alva 😥 So that was really sad.
So, the next day, tuesday, I found out that I had to leave early for Quito because it would be almost impossible to catch a bus new years day.
That night I got to stay with the Hermana Leaders and their other four roommates! It was soso great. We even stayed up late and burned a viejo. hahhaa…so here for new years they buy dolls and burn them. They’re real jeans and shirts that they stuff with paper and then they put really funny or reeeeeally scary looking masks on them and they burn them in the streets. Yeah, just burn it wherever you like. We chose the sidewalk right in front of our house…so weird. Anyway, the “viejo” is supposed to represent the old them and as they burn it, it’s as if they’re starting over. You could look down the street and see thousands of fires and fireworks. It was beautiful. I also had normal carton ice cream for the first time since i left and it was deliiiiish!

But, man! It was so great being with them. I truly learned a lot. I also learned how after they teach lessons in taxis, they say prayers with them. So, I’ve been doing that and having so much more success. The people can see that you really do care about them. And they really open their hearts when I ask what they want me to ask for in the prayer. It’s crazy…and the spirit is sooo strong. It’s really beautiful. I think it is so great that people open up so much to us. They trust us soooo much! And it’s not because of how we talk or look or act. It’s because they can feel and KNOW that we are good people and that God has sent us to meet them.
Thursday I picked up my companion!!! Her name is Hermana Zaragoza. This has probably been the hardest week of my mission, and possibly my life. It’s so humbling training someone. I’ve learned how hard it is to keep a smile on your face and keep teaching when you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders.

On a happier note, I went to the ArcAngel again today with my zone and it was goooorge! I needed that. We also played Ecuavolli…which is just volleyball with a higher net, a soccer ball, and you don’t use normal technique because it hurts too much so you just punch it. It’s so much fun! I am burnt again. Gringita, I am.

Something I learned from my zone leaders when I talked to them is that the more we apply the Atonement to our lives, the happier we are. I didn’t understand how to though. And i feel as if most people don’t understand it either. I really encourage you all to thoroughly study the Atonement and see how you can actually apply it to your life. That’s what my goal is for the week, and I will find a way to find more meaning than I have already found in it…and let you all know what i’ve found. It’s interesting because I felt like I understood the Atonement really well. Jesus Christ came here for us, He suffered for us, He paid the price for us, and He resurrected. But there is so much more to it. Find scriptures and talks on Christ’s Atonement and apply it to your lives more.

I don’t have much more to say, but I do want to say this:
When things start to get so hard for you that you just want to break down and cry….when you feel like there is no hope…when you feel as if nothing will change and you’re stuck: Pray. I already bore my testimony on prayer before, but I am going to do it again. When I felt all of these emotions, and then some more, I prayed with all the energy of my heart. I knew I couldn’t teach if I wasn’t happy. I prayed for almost an hour, just pleading with God to help me, and when I finished there was peace in my heart. I felt at ease again. I felt better, but I didn’t feel healed. As soon as I went out and started finding ways to serve people and teach people, I felt almost healed. Service is one of the greatest things we can do. It truly does heal us. I promise you that. When you serve someone, you feel more love for them and they feel the same for you. They make you feel loved and wanted when you don’t feel any of that before. You feel accomplished and happy because you are helping someone. It is such a great gift. And to put my heart back to where it needed to be, I got a blessing of comfort.

These things are key.

When you feel as if there is nothing that can make you happy again, when you feel as if all odds are against you, or when you feel so alone and so hopeless…

pray.

serve.

get a priesthood blessing.

THAT is how a heart is healed again. THAT is how you bring your spirits up. THAT is how God works. and THAT is my prayer for all of you. That you can see these actions work miracles in your lives too. God is a God of miracles. Always has been, always will be. Find those miracles. Use your faith and ACT. Be an example for others, make GOD proud, and I promise you will find true joy and an eternal happiness.

I love this gospel. I know that the support of my family, friends, leaders, and God is what keeps me stable and that the only reason I am still fighting out here is because I know that this gospel is true, I know God lives, and God really is helping me day by day. Without Him, I am nothing. Without Him, I would not meet the people I meet or teach the people I teach. Without Him, I would not be able to say the words I say or speak how I speak. Without Him, I would be home right now. I know this is where I need to be. I know that everyone should go on a mission and experience this because not only am I maturing spiritually, but I am learning how to be a better person. I am learning how to deal with real life situations that I can’t run away from. And when it’s only me and God working together, there is nothing that can bring me down. He makes me strong and I owe Him all that I am.

I leave you all with my testimony that this gospel is true and that miracles do happen. That hearts can be healed even when you have the worst of thoughts and experiences because God loves us and He will find a way to help us if we just exercise our faith in Him. I love you all so much and hope you’re all doing great. Please pray for me, for the Rama El Ejido, and for the people of Ibarra. We need it.

Love always,
Hermana Dunne! 🙂

me and a stray puppy
me and a stray puppy

Me and Hermana Zaragoza....yay the Christmas tree is still up
Me and Hermana Zaragoza….yay the Christmas tree is still up