Happy New Year & Merry Christmas all in one post:)

HAPPY OLD YEAR!(as they say here)  New Years really creeps me out…they make all these paper mache dolls or masks and they put the masks on stuffed bodies. The bodies are stuffed pants and shirts put together to look like people. On new years eve at midnight they burn them in the street because they are supposed to represent the old people they were and that they are starting new this year. Or it’s just because people generally like to burn things. Either way, not the biggest fan. THOSE DOLLS ARE CREEPY! And most of them have horror movie faces.  They were everywhere. I took “not amused” photos. So  we stayed inside, studied, drank something siiiiimilar to apple cider, and we made our goals for 2015!!! Some members also brought burritoes to our house which was probably the highlight of the day.

the New Year's dummies and masks
the New Year’s dummies and masks
not amused
not amused

The people are craaaazy here… there are men called “widows” and they dress up like women and roam the streets dancing on cars or standing in the middle of the road in SUPER short dresses, begging for money. Some people put up cords so you can’t pass until you pay them. I don’t know if it’s illegal or just no one cares but I just felt slightly uncomfortable. But seriously I forgot how loney and sleep depriving new years eve is as a missionary. Didn’t sleep a wink that night.

Can you BELIEVE it’s already 2015?!?! I can’t. I just got here in 2013, what the devvv!! Anyway. Here are some of the goals I made:

– Read the Bible from the very beginning to the very end.
– Read my scriptures every day
– Exercise 5 days out of the week
– Do something kind every day
– Criticize less, act more.

That last goal, for me, means that I will stop criticizing myself, and just fix what I need. I will also stop judging others or situations and just act to help the person or change the situation.

Last night, we were leaving an appointment and we were running late….hahhaha that’s funny…so we started RUNNING and I didn’t see that the sidewalk was wayy chueco and i TRIPPED AND ATE IT SO HARD. Seriously I flipped and rolled….suuuuuuper embarrassing. The member saw me and came running to help and was freaking out but he helped me get some alcohol on those wounds. Scraped up and bruised everywhere. But nothing too serious.  Just a  FAT LIP. So that was a highlight for sure. -__-

my fat lip:(
my fat lip:(

 

So  I have been pondering life a lot… life is very precious and delicate. We probably don’t realize many things until we are put in the position to either leave it or keep doing it. For example, watching movies with sexual connotation; there are movies that are really funny but they have some sexual scenes or off color jokes in them. Our brains will remember those things more because they are more risque and will stand out more to us. When we are going through our day and we aren’t thinking necessarily about anything, thoughts tend to pop into our minds. Sometimes scenes from those movies might pop into our minds. Or it could be lyrics to a song that speak immorally or speak of topics that aren’t uplifting for our minds. If we have to refrain from listening to a certain artist for the rest of our lives, or any movie that has any type of sexual connotation…would we choose to do that?  Would it be a hard decision to leave it?  Would we have a fight within about still watching or listening to it? If so, we must remember that we should love God more than we love sin. And it may not be a great sin seeing or hearing things like that, but it will drag us down slowly, and our souls will progress spiritually slower and slower until they are going backwards, away from God.

This is something I plan on doing when I get home. Analyzing all that I do or watch or listen to and make sure that it is something that will uplift me and help me progress, because if not I will leave it behind. There is SO MUCH we can do if we are purer and purer before God. There are SO MANY blessings awaiting us. So many gifts God can give us–in the form of blessings, opportunities, joys, or even talents that we can use for our benefit and the benefit of others. My point is that the purer we are, the more elevated is our intelligence, ability to choose correctly, our joy, and our ability in all aspects of life. God causes us to rise above all and remember that we are divine children of Him with a divine purpose. The closer we get to Him, the more we become like Him and we see the divine talents and abilities that He has given us that we didn’t even know existed before.

My Christmas post:

Me dressed up as otavaleña because i miss it AND a member from Quinchuqui sent me an anaco (the skirt) but sewed as a skirt instead of having to wrap it around me!
Me dressed up as otavaleña because i miss it AND a member from Quinchuqui sent me an anaco (the skirt) but sewed as a skirt instead of having to wrap it around me!

So this week was GREAT because I skyped my family! It was the first time I saw Willy (my puppy) and didn’t cry too so that was a plus. hahaha no but really it was really refreshing seeing all those shining faces 🙂 Soon…in person. ugh seriously that’s the saddest thing ever and someone reminds me of that every day “wow, you don’t have much time left, huh?” “the time is short. use it well.” “oh that’s exciting, you’ll be out of here soon!” LAME. This is the best experience of my life. I am using the time well entonces no os preocupais.

moving on from THAT….so this week on the 26th at 5am i would up being shaked like crazy. i turned over and asked my companion why she was shaking me and then i only turned to see her in her bed looking at me…she wasn’t shaking me…it was an earthquake. haha again. It seriously woke me up because of how hard it was shaking me. Pretty cool experience, but left me shaking just because i was so scared. haha

TODAY we went to this place called “El TeleferiQo” as a district. It’s super pretty. You take a lift that is completely closed in to the top of the mountain Pichincha and it’s a reeeeally beautiful view of Quito.

beautiful view
beautiful view

 

 

I want you all to know that this really is a marvelous time in the history of the world! We are SO. BLESSED. There is a lot of tradgedy and sorrow and war and rumours and chaos that goes on (when has it not?) but when we focus more on God and Christ and their gospel, we are elevated to a higher understanding of it all and we are given to understand the meaning behind it all. We are able to escape all of those hard things and be happy even through hardships. It’s a really sublime feeling. Take more time to pay attention to the silence of the world; the wind, the sky, the forrests, the rolls of the ocean waves, the serenity of the mountains, the wave in the grass, the smell of fresh air, the sensation of the rain (or snow, in the case of many of you)…all of the beautiful creations God has given us to enjoy. Let us focus more on the quiet, comforting, and protecting whisperings of the Holy Ghost.

Have a good one, Hermana Dunne

 

The week before Christmas……..

Well, it’s a very HOT christmas. I’m pretty sure i got sunburned…again today. Here there are stands all along the streets where everyone sells the same thing; santa hats, nativity scenes, virgins…lots of virgins and saints, lights, and bags of all sorts of candy. It’s kind of cool. Some of the only traditions I’ve heard of is that they eat dinner as a family at midnight tonight and then they exchange gifts.

As for me and my companion, we have plans to be in our house at 6pm, make hot chocolate, make a gingerbread house (Thanks, Jan!!) and STUDYYYY. AYYY! LO MAXIMOOO!

Haha, actually it’s a really interesting point of view this year. Last year I didn’t have this hunger to study the scriptures…just play card games, write letters or sleep…but it’s incredible how much has changed with the time. I can’t believe that I haven’t seen my family–or anyone i know, for that matter–in over a year! It’s weird. But it’s also a really beautiful experience…

This morning we had a gift exchange within our zone so that was fun 🙂 Hna Rojas was my secret santa and she bought me fuzzy cow pajamas…which was cool because every christmas eve with my family I open one gift and it’s ALWAYS pajamas.

our new pajamas
our new pajamas

Lastly, I’d like to share my testimony of Jesus Christ:

I know that He lives. I know that He governs this world and gospel with His allmighty power. I know that He loves us more than we can even comprehend…He gave everything for us. He has never done anything that has not been for our benefit. He is the perfect example. He is the Only Begotten of the Father. He is our Saviour–He has saved us from both temporal and spiritual death. He taught us His gospel in order to show us the way back to our Celestial Father. He has such an immense amount of love for each and every one of us because He understands us perfectly. He has passed through the exact same pains and sufferings and sorrows as we have. We can trust in Him. I know He comforts us. I know that He is the King of kings even though He was born in the most humble of circumstances. He is patient, full of love and charity, humble, diligent, obedient, full of faith, and He is the reason I am out here. He has saved me from everlasting death. He has saved me from the traps of the adversary. He will come again and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall profess that He is the Christ, the Son of the Omnipotent, Everlasting God, the Redeemer and Saviour of the world. I love Him more than words can express.

A nice firm handshake,

Hermana Dunne

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