Life’s a journey, not a destination…..

HEY! Great day to all 😀 This is going to be a long one. Sorry.

So i absolutely LOOOOVE my new sector. It is a lot more country than Ibarra was. It is pretty uncivilized. I hand wash my clothes every day, my shower is cold, and everyone does things the hard way! Seriously, there are no machines or anything to make things faster. haha. They cut their crops, wrap em in a blanket, and carry it on their backs to wherever they need to go.

me and a pig
me and a pig

Everyone speaks Quichua. I am studying it again! Haha. My companion, Hermana Rojas, speaks Quechua because they speak that in Bolivia. It is a little different from Quichua, but she can understand at least! So she is helping me a ton. Church is allllll in Quichua and i almost understand NOTHING. I only understand a few words because they kind of mix it with Spanish a little. It was funny though because the branch president (yes, i am back in a branch…87 people has been our record number of attendance) asked me to bear my testimony. So i went up and said “Na yachanichu quichuata” which means “I don’t know Quichua” then i bore my testimony in Spanish. They all got a pretty good laugh out of that -__- haa I just don’t like when they talk about us. No one knows that Hermana Rojas can understand, and she translates and sometimes they are talking about us but heyyy it’s whatever.

I was wrong about people not having TVs or watching the world cup though. They may be sleeping on the ground and barely have a roof over their heads or something to eat each day–but they all have TVs. I don’t get it. So that’s been a struggle. On the bright side, USA beat Ghana. Who would have guessed?

Every morning my comp and I run to the waterfalls of Peguche. It makes me think SO MUCH of Oregon because it is super great and beautiful and…i love it. aaaand i am finally getting back into shape. haha. We also are going deeper into the forrest some days, like behind the waterfall, and I got to boulder a little bit which was way cool.

A fun trip to Peguche
A fun trip to Peguche

My comp was in the Bolivian army as basically a firefighter, which is cool. She is actually so cool. And wayy cultural. haha Bolivia has a really cool culture.

My sector is literally just a mountain. We are always walking up and down the mountain and it is really hard to find people to teach because they all hide in their houses when they see us. They are a super timid community.

It is seriously like I just walked into the Book of Mormon though. Everything is so real. Everyone here (men included) has super long hair and it is always in a pony tail or braid. Everyone wears their traditional clothes, and for the men it means all white shirts, pants, and shoes. It is actually so incredibly beautiful here–the culture.

Right now we are going through the celebration of “San Juan”. It is insane and we have to come home early at night because everyone goes crazy. They basically march down the streets in huge group of people, playing music and dancing and singing. It is the coolest thing ever. But once they hit the end of the road, they enter the forrest and go bathe in the waterfall at midnight. Apparently it “washes away all the bad”. But then they get really drunk and crazy and knock on doors and try and enter your houses at like 3 or 4am…It’s sketch but pretty fun to watch. haha.

This week I made a friend named Tupaj (too-paj) (the “j” is just like a flem sound) which means “king” in Quichua. anyway, it sounds like Tupac so he’s pretty cool.

This week Humberto got baptised! I have only known him a week now, but he was in a reeeeally bad place in his life. This gospel seriously saved his life. He has left his friends completely and is starting over fresh. He’s only 22, but he is seriously determined, seriously strong, and seriously changed. I feel really lucky to have been able to meet him and learn from him.

Humberto's batism
Humberto’s batism

 

The people here are so humble and it is incredibly refreshing. There may be a lot of hard hearted people who at times shoo us away with brooms…but there are some really amazing people here too. I never want to leave. I seriously adore this culture and these people.

The people here don’t understand or read or talk very well though. I have had to teach lesson in extremely simple terms. The other day, we were sitting on the ground teaching about repentance and I had to put rocks and dirt on my hand to represent sin and show how we can leave that behind and be clean (as i poured water on my hand)…he only understood by that example. This is how i pictured my mission to be. I feel like i am truly doing what God has called me to do and it is a refreshing feeling i have never experienced before. I love these people so much. I never want to do anything else. Just teach, serve, and speak spanish…!

Well, this week I have learned a ton. It is crazy how I can keep learning something new every week, but i love it. Something I learned is that by doing the right things and being obedient to God, we will be blessed. But we will also see trials and the adversary in our life. Satan never gives up, which means neither should we.

I had been thinking about that saying that goes “Life’s a journey, not a destination” but if you think about it…in a journey, you still have a goal. You still have a purpose. So just because you’re on a journey, doesn’t mean you should just let life shape you. Be firm in your purpose and do what God requires of you. This life is the time we have to prepare to meet God. If we aren’t preparing, then why are we here? We must be constantly working on our relationship with our Heavenly Father. As the Cheshire cat says in Alice in Wonderland “if you don’t know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take.” So figure out where God wants you to go. Figure out where you want to go. Then take the path that leads you there.

 

MUCH LOVE! Alichishi,
Hermana Dunne 😀

 

I’ve moved to a mountain!

hi!!!! Okay. First off, I HAD CHANGES. Soooooo bittersweet. I have seriously come to love my comp, hermana gonzalez, SO MUCH. She is seriously one of my best friends. I have never worked so hard or been so happy as i was with her…! So we definitely cried when we said goodbye….but HEYY as the saying goes, all good things come to an end. I’ll see her again sometime though. i know it!

Now i’m in the province of Imbabura again instead of Pichincha….My sector is Quinchuqui. Basically, my sector is a mountain. haha So I am actually wayyyy too excited! It’s cold here, but it’s a really nice break because the sun in Calderon was SUPER strong. My new companion is Hermana Rojas. She’s from Bolivia and way cool also. Apparently we have a baptism this saturday, so that’s great! haha. I cannot wait to wake up tomorrow and have a full day to work. I love this gospel and I LOVE that i am out in the country again, I seriously missed it. oh! I forgot to mention that my comp, and best friend, from the ccm HERMANA STEPHENSEN is in my zone!!! As well as my mom in the mission–Hermana Alva!!! EEP 🙂 wayyyy too excited for this change. It will be really great. 🙂

the view from my window
the view from my window

I have been running every day and lost 5 pounds! woooo so i’m going to keep that up. However, some of my skirts dont fit me now -__- they’re too big so that’s a problem.

Anyway, onto the important stuff! HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! My dad has been an incredible example to me all my life and i have learned so much from him. I want him to know that i love him and always will. THANKS DAD.

Well this week Patricia Valverde got baptized and confirmed. I cannot describe the joy I felt these past two days. Patricia is seriously incredible. After she came out of the waters of baptism, she couldn’t stop sighing and then we went into the bathroom she started crying. She told us that “today marks the end of my life of slavery to sin” i was really touched and couldn’t help but cry as well. She bore her testimony later and it was the most beautiful thing ever. Hermana Gonzalez and I also translated “Be still, my soul” into spanish and sang that hymn for her and the spirit was way strong. The next day she was confirmed a member of the church and received the Holy Ghost and you seriously saw a different glow in her face.

I just have to testify that this is the Lord’s work. HE prepares the people to hear and accept this gospel. HE guides us to where we need to go. HE gives us the words to say. All we do in this work is follow the Spirit, and the Lord does the rest. The way of God is incredibly beautiful and glorious. This is His work and I am only an instrument in His hands.

This week we also were able to find a woman moving into her house and we helped her out a little bit. She ended up being REALLY in need of the word of God. She told us that she let us in because we all seemed to be shining and that she had never felt or seen something like that before. It was really beautiful to hear that.

I know that God is an Eternal God of miracles. We will never stop seeing miracles. He lives, He loves us and He blesses us according to our faith and our obedience.

Also, sidenote, I just have to add that being in south america and NOT being allowed to watch the world cup is INCREDIBLY difficult and sad. buuuuut it is a true sacrifice and I’m just glad i got changed to be out here in the boondox because basically no one has tv so that won’t be a problem. haha

Yay for the World Cup
Yay for the World Cup

Something I studied this week that I found interesting was in Alma 10:6-8 where Amulek was living a pretty wrong life. He knew about the commandments and all but just chose not to live it. But he was visited by an angel and told that he’d be feeding a prophet. That changed his life. He shaped up and started doing things right. This made me think; what changes would you make if you knew you’d be visited by the prophet? Would you be more obedient? would you dress more modestly? would you clean up your language? would you treat your family nicer? Now what changes would you make if you knew that Jesus Christ would be visiting you? Think about what you would change, and change it.  This life is a life of probation but also a life of learning and joy. We should always be striving to be better. Start little by little–it’s easy!

That’s all i have for y’all this week. Hope you all had a fantastic week and have an even better one this week! :)))) much love,
Hermana Dunne

 

Today, a truck tried to run me off the road.

Buenas tardes!!!  The food in the picture is my breakfast.  It’s called Mote and the way my companion makes it is very yummy!!

First off, I have to report two really great accomplishments of this week.

1. I learned how to whistle SUPER LOUD.
2. I finally made my signature super cool.

Welp! Till next week!

 

ha. THAT’S a joke. I have way too much to say this week!!! As always!

So this week I chopped off a lot of my hair. I forgot how awful it feels cutting your hair so short -__- man.

DSCN2886

I also have been wayyy congested all week to the point where i cannot HEAR. hahha It is super funny but also extremely annoying. I couldnt hear the speakers in church, or the investigators or sing in tune hahahah THE WORST. I feel like Maria Cortez. We literally have to talk loud in her ears so she can hear us…that is what hna Gonzalez had to do with me this week…ridiculous.

Maria Cortez at her baptism!
Maria Cortez at her baptism!

But speaking of Maria Cortez, SHE GOT CONFIRMED THIS SUNDAY! AYYYY! That was a relief. She was super happy and cute as always. We also gave her some of our skirts because she only has one.

 

We have  been working a lot in this little town called San Miguel and the people there are SERIOUSLY prepared to hear the gospel. Every single person we contact, invites us in and listens. Almost everyone has told us that they know that this church is true.  Gosh, I love this work so much. I wish i could do it my whole life. Seriously, I have never experienced a joy greater than the joy I feel here right now. I love this gospel and i KNOW it’s true. I crave those moments when we share this message with people and their faces totally change and you see how incredibly life changing this gospel is. Patricia is a really great example of this.

Sidenote, this week i laughed more than i have ever laughed in my whole mission. There were soooooo many things that went wrong and so many odd things that happened. I had a few men meow in my ear as i walked by them so that was disgusting. Today, a truck tried to run me off the road. I seriously was inches away from being slammed by the truck, but my comp yelled and I moved. I think he was antiamerican because he didn’t even honk haha so that was sad.

One day this week we had a SUPER great day and I was just like bouncing with joy. I wanted everyone to know how happy we were so I was just beaming and all, and we pass by this truck, and I had to step up onto the sidewalk (which, by the way, was like two feet off the ground of the street…) and BOOM I ate it so hard. hahahhaa RIGHT in front of a truck full of men too and i was so embarrassed and covered my face with my scarf and we booked it. So that was good.

But aside from all the ridiculous things that happened this week, it was a really spiritual one for me too. First off, Luke 12:14 hit me pretty hard. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Where is your treasure in this moment? In your family, in your clothes, in your occupation, or in the gospel of Jesus Christ? What is your priority in life right now?

There is a story I LOVE that is in the bible in John 21.  It always brings me to tears. In this moment, Jesus had left. He had resurrected and left his disciples. At this point, what are the apostles supposed to do? Their Saviour and leader had left. They had recently been converted to this gospel…maybe they felt like the load was too big, like being an apostle might be too hard. How would they know what to do next? They go back to what they knew best: fishing. So they’re fishing and are catching nothing and Jesus shows up on the shore and tells them to cast their net on the other side. Immediately, their net fills up to the point where they can’t even lift it into the boat. They knew it was the Saviour and rush over to Him. Once they get to the shore, Jesus is there with breakfast all ready for them. He loves them so much. Then He asks Simon Peter, “lovest me more than these?” He asks Peter this three times. When He asks him this, He isn’t just asking him if he loves fish more than Him. This is a question for us too. Do we love Jesus Christ more than “these”? Do you love Jesus Christ more than your job? Your clothes? Your money? You favorite TV show? Your reputation? Your friends? Your video games? Your manicures and pedicures? …Do you love Jesus Christ more than yourself? Again, where are our priorities?

John 21
John 21

Alma asks us “…have you spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?” (Alma 5:14) Because if we truly put Jesus Christ first, we will not only feel this change in our lives, but others will see a change in us. They will see a difference in your face, your attitude, your personality…in everything that you do. We were born physically to this earth and now we must all be born again spiritually, and clean our spirits of all ungodliness.

I’d like everyone to know that these scriptures hit me hard this week because I am in this process. I am not perfect and I still have things I’m working on. The words of these prophets have seriously inspired me and I hope you all were able to feel the power of them as well. Always put your life into perspective and make the changes necessary to put your life in line with the gospel of Jesus Christ and the commandments of God.  Make Him proud.

I love you all and hope you take these words to heart. The Spirit was testifying to me strong today and i felt very strongly that I had to share these words with you all, whoever you may be. Until next week!

Hermana Dunne

SEE YA!

9 months down and 9 to go……

Hey everyone! WOW…i am so. grateful.

First i would like to start off by telling EVERYONE to ALWAYS work out. deffff been slacking off on that in the mission, and I am feeling the consequences. hahaha i did a round off backhandspring a few times today and I am already feeling the pain. Tomorrow will be awful.

This week I have laughed more than I ever have in my whole mission. My companion is HILARIOUS and exactly like a mix of Caitlin Tilby and Delaney Clevenger and I love her. hahaha

I AM SO GRATEFUL. I have never worked so hard or seen so many blessings in all of my mission. My companion and I work incredibly well together and have already seen two baptisms with a third for the 14th of June! I know baptisms aren’t what matter, “converts” do. And all of them are completely converted to this gospel. They know it’s true, and they live it, and it’s beautiful to see.

Not only have we been seeing miracles in baptisms, but also in our investigators. Recently we went to a new part of our sector called “San Miguel”….there are like a billion places in Ecuador called San Miguel. They love Michael, the Arcangel..which is cool! ha. so anyway, San Miguel is a little town off the Panamericana. It’s really small and the people live in reeeally humble circumstances. We went there and seriously EVERY person we contacted heard us out and invited us  in.  They are extremely open there and almost all of them told us that they know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ, restored to the earth. They were so grateful and begged us to come back. THAT has NEVER happened to me on my mission. ever. Almost no one wants to hear us…but this town has been seriously prepared by Heavenly Father and are ready to hear this gospel.

I seriously THRIVE off of this work! It is the most incredibly beautiful thing we can do! There are SO many people suffering from regret and pain for past sins that don’t know how to repent or even that by doing so, they would feel spiritual relief. This gospel changes lives because it gives them the hope and peace they’re searching for. It is even more amazing that I am blessed enough to be called by a prophet to be here in this moment in Calderon with Hermana Gonzalez. It is such a blessing to be here on this mission and I have never, ever, been any happier than I am now. I love this gospel! I know it heals the wounded soul. Sometimes I wish i could just preach to a crowd of people hahaha…like, I feel like I’m not doing enough even when I’m giving it all. I KNOW with all my soul that this is the very church Jesus Christ established and that it has been restored because there is nothing in this whole world that could bring me more joy. Nothing.

I’m passed the halfway point of my mission now. I have been reflecting a lot. Maybe I haven’t been happy my entire mission, but I have grown. Maybe I haven’t seen a ton of baptisms, but I have seen people be truly converted to Jesus Christ and helped people. Maybe I haven’t enjoyed eating fish eyes, pig skin, or cow intestines…but i have had food to eat. Maybe I am far away from my family and the people i love…but i am helping unite families eternally here. I. LOVE. BEING. A. MISSIONARY. I beg everyone that can, to go on missions. You will never find a greater joy in your entire life, i promise you.

Now, if you’re not serving a mission then the way you can find incredible joy and peace in your lives right now is by simply being obedient to God’s commandments. Commandments were given to us, so as we keep them, God can then have a REASON to BLESS US. I know He loves us, and He created this life to be a joy for us. Be obedient and you will find a joy you’ve never experienced before.

We are teaching a woman right now, Patricia, who will be baptized June 14th. She had been talking to missionaries on Facebook and came to the church to talk to the bishop, then with us. We talked to her and she has been going through an incredibly horrible situation. This gospel, she said, is the only thing that has been able to bring her peace. She has come to church the last two sundays, and she has been feeling a great peace she said she’s never felt before. This gospel has brought her hope and healing and she said she is going to stay the rest of her life because she knows that only God can get her out of the situation she’s in. I have never seen someone with so many vices weighing them down, change their life so drastically and leave them behind so fast. She is determined and has an enormous faith. I am learning a lot from her.

This life is not about our circumstances temporally or physically or economically. It is about our circumstances emotionally and spiritually. Matthew 16:26 asks us “For what is a man [or woman] profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Are you exchanging temporal or worldly things for the wellbeing of your soul right now? If so, change it because when you leave this life, you will have NOTHING………..Make God happy and be more concerned for the wellbeing of your soul!! THAT is what truly matters.

Life will be hard, it’s not easy for anyone, BUT FIGHT. Mosiah 23:21-22 tells us that “the Lord…trieth their patience and their faith. Nevertheless-whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day.” God will try us, but it is just an opportunity for us to show him our fidelity and faith in Him. He will bless in the end. I can testify of that!

OKAY. sooo i forgot to explain the most scary, hilarious, and beautiful moment of my mission. HAHAHA. Okay. So Maria Cortez got baptized this thursday!!! It was a miracle that it happened and that she lived. First off, the mission leader had left the font filling up and we didn’t have keys to open the door and stop it. So it TOTALLY overflowed and overflowed the room and the hallway all the way till it got outside. BAHAHA. We were sweeping and mopping like crazy until the mission leader came and helped us out. THEN! We finally get to the baptism and it turns out she’s really scared of water (she is 65 years old). We talk her through it and all and after doing the prayer the second time, she goes under! YAY! she got baptized! But then she comes up out of the water….choking. She couldn’t breath and i seriously thought she was going to die. Five men ran up and started hitting the water out of her and she ended up breathing again….but it was the scariest thing ever–especially since her family doesnt support her decision at all–what would they have said?!?! So anyway, THAT scare ended and then came her testimony. She can hardly hear anything and I told her about ten times to bear her testimony…so FINALLY she understood me and yells “ohhh!! i am REALLY HAPPY!” and then went on this rant about how she almost drounded in a pool one time and ended in the name of Jesus Christ. it was the most hilarious and precious testimony ever. I love her dearly. And that is all i have to say about that experience.

Maria Cortez at her baptism!
Maria Cortez at her baptism!

I hope you all have a really really great week 🙂 Be obedient so you can be happy 🙂  Weelllll that’s all folks! have a GREAT DAY! Love, Hermana Dunne

Here’s an awesome talk given by one of our apostles that I think you’ll really enjoy. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/we-are-all-enlisted?lang=eng