I FEEL CHANGE IN SO MANY ASPECTS OF MY LIFE!

cutting grass with a machete.
cutting grass with a machete.

“And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after:and your Father KNOWETH that ye have need of these things. But rather SEEK YE THE KINGDOM OF GOD; and all these things shall be added unto you. FEAR NOT, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”- St. Luke 12:29-32

 

I absolutely LOVE these verses! Seriously, we all have to understand that when we do what God wants us to do, and we follow His commandments, He will bless us. Not only spiritually and emotionally, but economically and physically too! He knows what we need to survive and He will help us acquire those things as long as we are obedient. Put the things of God first, and everything else will follow…I promise you that.

 

Well, VERY GOOD DAY EVERYONE! This week was so. great. To start off, we went on divisions with the Hermana Leaders and THEY ROCK. I got to go off with Hermana Quizhpe (keeshpay) and she is so great. I seriously admire her. She’s from Loja, Ecuador and she knows Spanish, English, French, and Mandarin. COOLEST PERSON EVER. Anyway, so I learned a lot from her and we even found people who wanted to get baptized! So that was cool. 🙂

 

Second, I got FOUR packages and FIVE letters!! Thanks for all the support…seriously. (shout outs to Pop Pop and Grandma, aunt Melanie, Jan, Wes, and my Family!) You have no idea how much you all keep my spirits up! 😀 gah! you’re great.

 

Third, we got MEDALS. Gold, of course. For real though. Every district meeting, the person with the highest numbers gets a medal that says “maquinas de la semana ZONA IBARRA” And we won this week!! So, even though I can’t watch the olympics right now…we are kind of recreating our own. Except without sports. Or fans. Or tv. Or competativeness. Or……okay it really isn’t that similar, but I can dream can’t i?

 

Fourth, there was a baptism in my branch this last week and I got to eat CHAWARMA. Kay. For all of you who don’t know what a chawarma is….FIND OUT. Go to your closest Arabic food restaurant, order a chawarma, and scarf down heaven. Seriously, there are only chawarmas in el centro…so I can only get those on special occations because I can’t leave my sector. Anyway, it is basically a burrito but with a pita breadish wrap and super great chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, and something similar to tzaziki sauce. Way good. That was definitely a highlight of the week.

 

Fifth, we had a service activity on saturday where the hermanas got to sweep this house (it was brand new and full of dust from drywall and stuff) and the elders got to machete the grass and weeds……so I was pretty dang jealous of the elders. I went to go join them, and the man we were doing the service for told me that it was man’s work to machete…but I did it anyway and it was SO MUCH FUN. Seriously. But one time, the machete swung back and hit my leg. pretty hard too….so i had to go to the hospital. HA JK. but it did hit me. Luckily, i didn’t get hurt though 😀 Buuuuuut….that man was right. It is man’s work because my arms ACHE now. Like, pretty bad. But hey….it’s all good because it was worth it.

 

Sixth, our sacrifices are really paying off!!!! This 17 year old, David, came to church with us!!! We literally stopped by 15 investigator’s houses before his and NO ONE could go. They were either gone, or “too busy”….lame sauce. But he came and LOVED it and wants to bring his family next week! ah!! so that is CRAZY awesome. He also has a date to get baptized for the 15th!! So we’ll see.

 

 

 

This week I was also able to finish memorizing The Living Christ in spanish! gah. it is soooooo long. but i loved it! it is so beautiful and everyone should read that document 🙂 Well this week I have really learned how amazing this mission is. I’m not just growing spiritually…I feel a change in so many aspects of my life. I tried to disect why, and I wrote down some things you learn on the mission:

 

Psychology: You have to analyze how people are responding to your lessons and know when they are comfortable or not or if they are saying what they really feel…and if they’ll react a certain way if you say something. You have to know the emotional state of your companion at all times so you have to be able to tell when something is off with them.

 

Sociology: You have to talk with EVERYONE. You have to learn how to make conversation (which i am awful at…) and be able to get along with others.

 

Anthropology: You have to learn the norms of the culture and adapt your life to how they live.

 

Public Speaking: You have to get over this fear. It definitely isn’t an instantaneous thing, but it happens. You have to get used to speaking to big groups of people, which was really hard for me before.

 

Strategic thinking: You have to plan your day every night and figure out what would work out better, who you should have as a backup plan if something falls through. You have to always be calculating time and numbers and making sure everything is going to add up all right.

 

Problem solving: You have to think out of the box. You have to find ways to help people with their troubles or problems. You have to find new ways to get your investigators interested in the lessons…apply them to their lives more.

 

Compromising: You have to learn to give up something good for something better. You have to be able to agree with your companion. You have to put others before yourself and realize that their needs are more important in the mission.

 

Language: You learn a new language. You learn how to truly express yourself in a different language.

 

Teaching: You learn how to teach. Not only gospel topics, but how to sing hymns (there are so many people who don’t know how), how to speak English (in English classes), how to treat each other (there are a lot of machisto men who order their wives around), and how to be a friend (there isn’t much unity in the branches here).

 

Being a leader: You have to learn to take the lead in things and like it. You have to set the example for others, and help them grow in all these aspects as well in the mission. You have to make good decisions…decisions you know God would approve of as well.

 

Coping: You have to learn to live with the bare minimum and be happy. You might not always like your companion, but you have to make it work out. You might have had a long day but have to go home and do a lot of paperwork, writing what you did, and get to bed late–compromising your sleep. You have to be happy with what you are given;your sector, zone, companion, members, ward or branch…because you are not serving with all your heart, might, mind, and strength if your heart is serving grudgingly.

 

Managing time and money wisely: that is really straightforward…you have to be really frugal and really punctual.

 

Goal setting: Not only in the amount of lessons you want to have per day, but also setting goals for how you can acheive characteristics you want in your life. Setting goals so you can truly come back a better person than you left.

 

hygeine and physical fitness: I am showering every day now -__- and we have to stay healthy by working out and eating well and avoiding street food… (sooo hard….the corn with cheese on it like you see in Nacho Libre is way too good)

 

…and well there is a lot more but this letter is already long enough. haha. basically, i am learning A LOT and I know that this is an experience that i will never forget and I can learn from for the rest of my life. I love every moment on this mission and I understand how important it is. I will never waste a day because I will not be returning with regrets. I love the Lord, I know that He lives. I love serving and teaching others, and I feel the true love of Christ as I do it. Everyone who has the ability and opportunity to serve a mission, needs to take this chance. You will truly be a stronger person in all aspects of your life both temporally and eternally. I promise that you will see miracles and blessing as you decide to serve, if you truly serve with all your heart, might, mind, and strength and are exactly obedient.

 

I love all of you! Thanks for all the support and thanks for being such great examples for me. 🙂 I learn from you all as well as from my investigators and members…you are all wonderful people and I am trying to develop all the good qualities I see in you all in my life. Keep at it, be examples for everyone else, and never lose sight of what is truly important in this life. Love,

Hermana Dunne 🙂

 

pictures: machete, wuddup. real gold medals. K BYE! TAKE CARE! :}

good day
good day
tan line and my bad paint job.
tan line and my bad paint job.
yummy chawarma
yummy chawarma
gold medals awarded to us because we had the best numbers of the week.
gold medals awarded to us because we had the best numbers of the week.
taking a break on the road.
taking a break on the road.
sweater made by a member
sweater made by a member

I’m seeing miracles left and right!

Buenas tardes! Espero que todo este bien con todos! Les extraño FUL. :}

 

Okay so seriously this week has been absolutely fantastic.

To start off, I ate cow stomach soup. Okay, that actually was awful. Couldn’t take the texture and gagged a few times.

I heard the Beach Boys this week which was awesome.

I miss 40’s music so much.

For Valentine’s day my comp made me a smoothie and heart shaped pancakes. presh. The zone leaders also gave everyone in the zone (elders included) roses which was sweet. Haha

 

So this whole sacrifice thing is SO HARD but SO REWARDING. Seriously. I am seeing miracles left and right. I only have time to write one down though:

 

So one of our investigators who had a date to get baptized is in the hospital. We couldnt decide whether or not we should visit him because we didn’t have much money. So we prayed and received the answer that we needed to go. I told hermana Z “we’re going to meet someone on the way back from him. we have to go.” I barely remember even saying that…i only know i did because she told me later! So anyway, we get there and teach him a lesson in the hospital. The spirit was WAY strong and he started crying after we sang a hymn for him. I was so pumped up with the spirit…like i was determined to find someone that day and change their life. So after his lesson rocked, we left the hospital and started walking towards our house. We passed this man standing outside of his mechanic’s shop and i stopped and told Hermana Z we NEEDED to talk to him. I just felt really drawn to him. So we started getting to know him better and ended up teaching him about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a really great lesson and he was wayyy receptive. Everything made sense to him, and he understood the importance of it all. The craziest thing is that the Spirit was SUPER strong…we were on the street…that never happens. So at the end, he told us how he was trying to be better and we asked him if he wanted to take a step closer to Jesus Christ and be baptized…he excitedly told us YES!!! THAT was a miracle. Unfortunately, he belongs to the other Hermana’s sector, but that doesn’t matter! That is someone who is going to take the amazing life changing decision of baptism. Gosh, so we kept walking around after that–super pumped up and ready to meet more people who are ready to take this decision. And guess what? We found 5 more new investigators. We have also been trying to be more bold and ask people to be baptized the first time we talk to them on the street (or in a contact). Some wanted to think about it, but one of them said yes!!! I had never felt so guided by the spirit in all my mission. I know with all my heart that his truly is the Lord’s work and that I am just an instrument in His hand. I really just have to pray, let him direct me, make sacrifices, and He’ll get done what He wants done. Amazing.

 

I truly feel like these sacrifices we’re making are making me a better person. We’re:

-Fasting two times a week

-Getting up at 6 instead of 6:30

-Praying individually for each person we are visiting morning and night (which takes about a half hour)

-Avoiding bread 😦    (i only eat bread if i’m offered it now..so sad..)

-Only listening to music from General Conference

 

I’m starting to work out every day again too…kind of doing a boot camp with my comp. It’s seriously fun. haha We play soccer and jumprope and do pushups…..eetz tha bessssssst.

 

So all of this is really great, and we are seeing so many miracles….but it is seriously exhausting. I literally come home every day mentally, physically and emotionally worn out. My comp and i both barely have enough energy to plan for the next day….to do anything! It’s not just exhausting getting up early and walking everywhere but as missionaries we are seriously like therapists sometimes. It’s hard to not let their emotions attach onto you when you love them so much. But gosh do i feel so happy. Like Wes said, I have never been happier! I come home feeling like i truly gave the Lord my all. I will never waste a day in my mission because I am really here for such a short time and I need to devote all I have to the Lord. This mission doesn’t affect us missionaries only temporally in this life…but for the eternity. It is important to know that each day has eternal significance and i will never forget that.

 

 

During sacrament meeting this sunday, a member spoke on trials and it really touched my heart. I’m going to leave you all with the parable she gave because I absolutely love it:

 

There was a boy who always complained in life. He was never happy because he had gone through a lot of trials. He wondered why God gave him such a hard life. Why he had to suffer so much. His father gave him a lesson about trials so he could understand this better. He put three pots in the stove with water and boiled carrots in one, eggs in the other, and coffee beans in the third. After they had all been boiled and cooked well, he called his son over to analyze what had happened.

 

Each of the subjects had gone through the same process. They were all boiled with water, but each came out differently.

1 The carrots started out hard, but came out softer than before.

2 The eggs started out fragile and came out harder.

3 The coffee beans started in clear water and ended up changing the color of the water completely.

 

His father said,

“We all go through trials in life. We all go through the same things, but everyone reacts differently. There are some who are like carrots; who start out hard hearted, but after going through a trial, their heart is softened and they end up closer to God. There are some who start out fragile, and when they are hit with a challenge in life, the come out with a harder heart, being resentful and farther away from God. Then, there are those like the coffee beans. They go into their trials, not letting them affect them much because they change the way they look at things. They change the situation and their perspective just as the coffee beans change the water. We have a choice as to how we want to react to our trials and difficulties in life. We can choose to open close our heart to God, or we can choose to change the situation. We can change it by seeing our blessings, finding a way to solve the problem we are confronted with, and to trust more in God. When we do all we can to get through the hard times and we trust in God, always staying loyal to His commandments, he will help us.

 

I leave you with my testimony that I know this to be true. We can always change the situations or trials we are faced with. God is forever with us, forever listening to our prayers, and although He won’t take our trials away, He can make our burdens lighter. May God bless you all. Pray day and night to the God that gave you life, the God who gives you daily breath, and the God of miracles. Trust in Him in all you do. I love you all so much. 🙂 Have a really fantastic week! Love,

Hermana Dunne

 

pictures: celebrating the ZL’s birthday a few weeks back, my favorite family ever! La Familia Coral: Esteven, Dario, Alexandra, y Juan. seriously cool. aaaand sun rays coming out of the clouds above Milagro! GORGE. A tire wall we made for a service project. I love y’all german style. ta ta for now!

the tire wall we made
the tire wall we made
i love you in german
i love you in german
view above Milagro
view above Milagro
ZL bday party
ZL bday party

I’m dying my hair black!!

service project
service project

“Go thy way and do as I have told you, and fear not thine enemies; for they shall not have power to stop my work.”-D&C 136:17

Something I am learning through this experience is to not fear others’ opinions. Contacting people (going up to random people and talking to them about the gospel) was probably my least favorite thing starting the mission. I love it now. I love seeing how people react. I love seeing people who give me the hail mary. I love seeing the people who ask me when I can visit them, with tears in their eyes. I love seeing people who say they’re never at home, but then when I ask them more questions I find out they’re actually home every night and i CAN visit them. (hehe) I love seeing people tell me they’re Jehovah’s Witnesses and glare and walk away. I love it all. I am here, with my companion, to share a message of joy, hope, and eternal peace! If they turn me down…that’s their loss! A lot of the reactions really just crack me up. But it’s when we find those people who really do want to hear, those who are looking for a change in life, and it makes all of these sacrifices worth it.

Speaking of sacrifices, we are making sacrifices these next two months as a mission. President says they do this every year in February and March. He makes the rules even stricter this month and then in March we only get some of the rules lifted if we reach certain goals. We can’t listen to EFY music anymore this month 😦 Only MoTab. Last year we weren’t allowed to email boyfriends or girlfriends….luckily that doesn’t apply this year (phew…). We can’t have any activities. There is only a slight possibility of having an activity if we reach our goal he’s set for us in baptisms. There are a lot more rules and i don’t want to go into details, but basically…I have nothing.

We are also supposed to make our own sacrifices on top of the sacrifices our mission president gave us. I have decided to fast every sunday for the next two months, and to get up at 6am instead of 6:30…doesn’t seem like a big sacrifice, but i’ll let ya know IT IS when you get home every night absolutely exhausted and it’s only 9pm…and then you have to make it to 10:30 because you have to plan and fill out papers and stuff….meh. So anyway! Those are the sacrifices I’m making. I also need YOUR help, kay? Here’s where you all come in: PLEASE DO NOT email me about:
-the olympics (i’m going to cry)
-march madness (i dont even ever watch that…waste of your time…) (ps that one was a joke) ha………….ha
-new songs/types of music
-new movies
………………………………………………..basically, just please don’t email me anything unless you’re just letting me know how you are, or if you have something spiritual to share! Sorry, but this is to keep me focused. Honestly, when President Richardson told us we had to make our own sacrifices too, I thought, “what is there to sacrifice?!” All I have are YOUR emails, aaaaaaaand……and…….time and sleep. It’s not like i could give up watching tv cuz well….we can’t watch tv. Or…….bread. Let’s be real here. We live off of “aguita y pancita” here. Gotta be realistic. So that’s that!

Today we had changes. I’m staying here in…good ole’ Ibarra. “el duro”….and I will be finishing Hermana Zaragoza’s training! Hermana Henderson left to Imbabura where the wards only speak Quichwa..so I’m nervous for her. aaaand super super sad because she was my best friend out here. 😦 Really today has just been so sad, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry. But everything happens for a reason, and the Lord’s work will go on.

Exciting news….CARNAVAL IS STARTING HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, don’t think I’m excited in the slightest though. -__- For Carnaval here, they throw water balloons and then cover you in flour or this weird foam stuff that comes in bottles like silly string. Me and Hermana Z were walking through this sketchy part of our sector this week and I heard this malcriado yell “LA GRINGITA!!!” I turned around, BOOM. HIT. I was soaking wet and my arm hurt from getting hit with the water balloon. Luckily, they didn’t have flour on them….but this water balloon ish has been happening all week and apparently they do this until march SO THAT’S REAL COOL. I’m dying my hair so i fit in. All black. Get ready.

That’s all I’ve got for y’all this week. Take care and turn to God in all that you do. Love ALWAYS,
Hermana Dunne! 😀
DSCN0063

DSCN0082

GOD LOVES EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU!

Oh my gosh hello!! Just want to start off by saying that God loves every single one of you aaaaaaand…so do i! And today’s a good day so smile 🙂

So, wow. I am going to start off with the funny, then the bad, then the good. Yeah? yeah.

 

So you know that rat that chewed a hole in the sink tubing? It chewed another hole. And guess what? Two nights ago, it woke my comp up THREE TIMES during the night by…crawling on her shoulder. WHAT THE DEV! Okay, so that was awful. The first time it happened, she woke me up freaking out because she didn’t know what it was. I was soooo tired and delirious so i juts told her to say a prayer and go back to sleep. hahahahaha…so then she wakes up again, i open my eyes and she’s sitting at the table with the light on telling me she’s not going to bed. I was like, shoot! We aren’t going to be able to work tomrorow if she doesn’t sleep…so i get up and when I start waking up a little more i realize that a rat had been crawling on her. So i go to the kitchen (because i heard it digging around in there) and turned on the light. After i banged a cubbord or two it scampered behind the oven and I started crying. hahaha I was so out of it and just scared. It was seriously SO FAST i barely even saw it. So i hit around behind the oven with a broom and it ran back into the cubbord. So i closed the cubbords and we left it at that.

 

Two days later (today), it’s gnawing at the cubbord trying to get out during study time…so i was FED UUUUUP. It had been chewing at it the past two days. I went in the kitchen and banged on the cubbord and opened it up. I found the rat curled up in the corner in the torn up wooden floor, squealing. What the messsss…So I told my comp to watch it while I got my camera and flashlight. We got the housemaid to come help us get it out. Guess what she did. All she did was take the back of a broom and BOOM hit it in the corner and held it there until it died…i felt like such a pansy. aaand it wasn’t a rat. it was a mouse. End of story.

 

There is also black mold growing all over our walls, which is freaking me out because Hermana Henderson said black mold is really dangerous and kills people..so I have been talking to the zone leaders and secretaries trying to figure out if we can move. We’ll see where that goes.

 

This week we also had our district meeting, as always, and we took a taxi to get there. When I told the man we were missionaries he said “ustedes me caen MUY mal!!!” I said “porque?! Nosotros no le hemos hecho nada!” And he just shook his head and mumbled. Later in the drive i told him to take a left turn and he sped up SUPER fast and drifted around the corner…i was SO FREAKING SCARED. Then he started caaackling like a crazy psychopath. So I told him i wasn’t gonna pay him for the right but ended up paying anyway and saying “gracias por asustarme…” he was weird. and really freaky…never again.

 

HA! Also this week, we passed a beggar down in centro and he asked me for money. As missionaries we aren’t supposed to give money out because we don’t want to appear rich aaaaand, we really are just poor! So i didn’t give him money and he hit me with his bag! That was an odd and disturbing experience…..

 

We went to a baptism this week and there was a little blonde baby there and all the members and elders started calling her Hermana Dunne hahaha that was funny.

 

 

 

 

I have only cried during two lessons on my mission so far. The first, I cried as I was talking with a family about how there is nothing else we can do to help them progress. They have to do their part, and if they don’t, we have to stop teaching them. It was really sad because I love them. The second time was this week as I testified of the truthfulness of the  Book of Mormon. I hadn’t cried from being so happy on my mission until then…and it was such a powerful moment for me. The spirit was so strong and it even brought tears to their eyes as I spoke. Brothers and sisters…I know with all my heart and soul that this book is true. Heavenly Father has told me through the Holy Ghost. I know it with every ounce of my soul! Read it. I know that it changes lives. I have seen it. Not only in the people I’m teaching either–in mine too. I hadn’t read the book of mormon all the way through until a year ago. I can honestly say that my testimony was strengthened ten fold by reading it. You will feel the power of God working within you. You will feel the truthfulness of everything you read. As your spirit learns that this book is true, you will also learn that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God because he translated that book. You will feel so much love for Joseph Smith as I do, as you read his history. Read about what he went through to get this book to us. To correctly, and under the direction of Jesus Christ Himself, restore this gospel to the Earth so we can be baptized and be able to live with God again.

 

I would like to end this email with two quotes:

 

D&C124:55: “Prove yourselves unto me that ye are faithful in ALL THINGS whatsoever I command you, that I may bless you, and crown you with HONOR, IMMORTALITY, AND ETERNAL LIFE.”

 

D&C128:22-25:

 

“GO FORWARD and not backward. Courage, brethren [and sisters]; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be ecxeedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel…let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord…and let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together…And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever.”

 

Que Dios les bendiga. Live as God wants you to…confide in Him in all that you do, keep his commandments and you will be blessed.

 

Con todo mi corazon,

 

Hermana Dunne 🙂

 

dead mouse on the street
dead mouse on the street
I got to see Hermana Alva again!
I got to see Hermana Alva again!
church activity
church activity