Category Archives: Ecuador

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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7 weeks in Ecuador

Como estan mi familia y amigos?!?! Les extraño muchisisimo!!!! This week we had a Family Home Evening with the Cardenas family. It was so much fun and really spiritual too. After we taught the lesson, the family started a game. We played hot potatoe and whoever ended up with the hot potatoe had to do something in front of everyone. Hermana Alva had to act like someone on a bus trying to sell food. haha, there are a lot of people here who hop on buses, tell pity stories, and beg people to buy their food. It’s pretty sad, but it is also very well recited, so i don’t know how much i believe half of them. Anyway, so that was funny. Then I had to go outside of the house and yell”El chanch sea muerto!” Three times. It was so funny. This family has a little girl and boy. They’re like ten and eight so they were laughing like CRAZY. Gosh. I loooove little kids. They’re so perfect. They are ALWAYS excited to see “las hermanas” (that’s me, b t dubs), and they are so patient with my spanish. ahhaha my spanish isn’t bad. but it isn’t superb. When the little kids start talking SUPER fast, I CANNOT understand them. haha so i always just look super confused and go “COMO?!” and they start laughing but then they talk slower for me. They’re so sweet. always.
AHAHA! Okay, also this week, hermana alva and i were buying some food off the streets before one of our contacts because we were starving. So, we started talking to the cook about her food and the gospel and all, and out of no where this drunk guy pipes in and starts yelling at us saying he wants to pay for our food. He started whisteling and like knocking over chairs…it was weird. We told him it was okay and that he should calm down. Everyone was laughing…then he got really close to me and almost grabbed my arm but i moved and told him to please not touch me. Then he said like ten times “tranquila” which is similar to “calm down” or “no worries”. Then i whipped out one of the Word of Wisdom pamphlets and handed it to him. hahaha I told him that he didn’t have to pay for us and that we actually had a present for him and that if he read the pamphlet, that he would be a lot happier in life. Then he drunkedly thanked me and laughed and tried to hug me so Hermana Alva and i BOOKED it out of there. haha aw man. I wish I knew what happened when he came to and found that pamphlet in his hand.
Also this week Hermana Alva and I gave a tour to some of our investigators and it went really well. The spirit was really strong. And at the end, one of the investigators, Mercedes Galarza, came up to me. I was so excited because i thought she was going to say something about the church but then she straightened up my back and told me to have better posture. hahaha AHHH Mom. You ALWAYS told me the same thing, and now it’s like since you’re not here with me, other moms are taking your place. hahah I told her how you alllways tell me that and that i am working on it but it’s hard and then her daughter, Carolina (she’s 24…) said how Mercedes does the same thing to her. haha So SHOOT. I thought i got better at that, buuuut apparently not. But, I WILL have good posture when i get home. It’s just hard because i alllllways have a backpack on and it hurts less when my shoulders are forward. But whatevs. First world probs, i’ll get over it.
Something else quite amazing i realized this week is that we have eyelashes. And eyelashes block out dust. But when stuff DOES get in our eyes, our eyes water…to push the stuff out…hahhaha okay but seriously, how cool is that?! Heavenly Father is ingenious!!! That is seriously amazing that our eyes know to water to get the stuff out…stop laughing. I’m being completely serious. Because here in Ibarra there is dust and dirt evvvverywhere that’s always flying in my eyes haha because there are so many trucks that bring that stuff to the streets and just….yeah. well you get it. Eyelashes and tears are gifts from God. End of story.
Something funny that Hermana Alva ALWAYYYS does, is when she sees a white person or a white couple she yells “hermana Dunne! Sus parientes!!” or, “Sister Dunne! Your parents!!”. The first time she did that, like when i first got to Ecuador, i FREAKED out. I was like “no. nonono…they can’t be here…there’s no way. how did they know i was here?!” but uhhh, yeah. I was pretty let down when i saw two Europeans walking down the street. Whatevs.
So another thing that people are aaaalways telling me is that i’m going to get sick. Here the weather is pretty crazy, like Oregon. It will rain when it’s sunny out or it will be super hot one moment then reeeeally cold and windy the next. I usually just wear short sleeve shirts because i get hot walking around and i bring a sweater for when it gets colder at night. But all the investigators and members are so concerned for my health. Buuut i think that’s a wivestale! You don’t get sick from the cold!! I mean, maybe if every day and night I wore short sleeve shirts and shorts when it was thirty degrees outside…yeah, i can see the logic in that. But, i haven’t gotten sick yet and i never FEEL cold. I dunno. I guess i will test it out more, but up till now I am totally fine.
So, our goal this week for our district was to invite people to be baptized the first contact we have with them. A contact is just when we talk with a person about how we are missionaries and we talk about the gospel. It’s hard to do that on the streets because people are usually busy and the cars and trucks are soo loud. But we are trying to reach that goal when we contact door to door. We usually don’t knock on doors because it takes up too much time and usually is not successful. But we are trying to teach more families also, so we have been doing a lot more of that. So, we knocked on this door and a woman answered and we talked to her about our message and asked if we could talk a little more about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She let us in, and we taught her that lesson. Then, we invited her to be baptized. The spirit was so strong! And I am so much better at teaching more in simple terms and explaining things clearly so i thought it went really well! She said she wanted more time to think about it and talk it over with her husband, which is fine, but i was so happy because we have never been able to teach someone the first lesson the first contact. It was cool.
I also taught about the Restoration the first contact with this taxi driver this week! Hermana Alva wanted me to do it all by myself so i could learn better and have more confidence…hehe…so! I started talking to the driver about his life and stuff and then i began to tell him how Jesus Christ truly restored His church on the earth again! And that we have a living prophet once again!! He was really intruiged, so i taught him the whole first lesson! I talked about how when Jesus Christ died, and his apostles died, no one else on the earth had the priesthood. And that some people tried to remember the gospel of Jesus Christ and started their own churches based off of what they remembered, and what they liked in the Bible, but they also changed a lot of really precious things in the Bible and changed ordinances like baptism. Then i talked about how Joseph Smith in 1820 wanted to know which church was true…I talked about the first vision, the answer he recieved, and how he received the Priesthood that Jesus Christ and his 12 apostles had and that through that power, he was able to translate the book of mormon. AH. Hold on a second. How amazing is that?!?! God is so merciful. He knows we need this gospel. He knows that Christ’s gospel is PERFECT. And He knows that through this gospel, we can live with Him again…we NEEDED this restoration. We weren’t progressing. We needed it. Okay, i will bear my testimony about the restoration another time…so this taxi driver was SUPER interested and amazed! Unfortuantely, he doesn’t live in our sector, so he’s a reference for the elders. But i really hope that everything goes well with him.
There are so many times that I wish that i was a convert. To see how amaaaazing it would feel to hear about the gospel for the first time. To find out that CHRIST CAME TO THE AMERICAS when i had never known that before. To know that we have A PROPHET once again on the earth. That he truly receives revelation for us…that he guides us. That the gospel has been restored again in the EXACT same manner that Jesus Christ established His church. What a miracle. How great would that feel to hear of that hope for the first time in my life. It is such a blessing to have known about this church since i was old enough to comprehend what church is, but gosh would it be amazing to see how my life was before I heard about the gospel, and then see how much my life would change after. Crazy stuff. This is what keeps me going. People HAVE to hear about this gospel!! This gospel brings people out of depression. It gives people hope. And it provides people with the ordinances, or promises, NECESSARY to return to live with God again! How great is that?! Everyone HAS to hear about what this gospel offers. There are too many people living with depression, guilt, sorrow, anger…they need hope. They need REST from these feelings. Spiritual rest is what brings us true happiness, and I NEED to find the people that are ready and praying to hear about this gospel.
Isn’t prayer amazing?! I think i have already said this, but how INCREDIBLE is prayer?! We have a way to communicate with God almighty. The Lord OMNIPOTENT. And he ANSWERS our prayers. I just can’t believe that we have the blessing to be able to speak, to pour out our souls, to the God who created the forests that surround us. Who created our bodies so our souls would have somewhere to dwell. Who created music so our spirits can feel the love of God pulsing through our bodies. Gosh, i can’t even express what prayer means to me. I don’t know how i could only take a minute or two to pray before my mission. My prayers never last any shorter than 15 minutes now. There is so much to be thankful for. So many people to pray for. wow.
The Holy Ghost truly helps us be stronger. Resist satan’s temptations easier. Feel more at peace. Feel comforted when we feel sad or alone…the Holy Ghost helps us learn and grow spiritually. What a gift.
Something else that we learned during district conference was that if we run errands, and watch tv, and hang out with friends, and do whatever else first and then tell ourselves that we’ll read the scriptures later and pray later…we will never read or pray. But if we pray and read first, we will ALWAYS have time to do the rest of the things that we want to do. And if we aren’t reading or praying…we aren’t progressing spiritually. And if we aren’t progressing spiritually, we are regressing. I have seen that to be true in my life, sadly, and i feel so blessed to have the sacred time in the morning to be able to study and pray and ponder what I am learning.
As missionaries, we always invite people to read passages in the book of mormon, and to pray…because that is the ONLY way they can know for themselves that these things are true. It has never been that “the mormons” try and “push” their religion on others. They KNOW that this gospel brings TRUE, ETERNAL happiness. And they KNOW that it would bless their friends’ and families’ lives immensely. immensely. “Mormons” invite their friends and family to read and pray about these things because they know they are true, and they truly–from the depths of their soul–want their loved ones to feel and KNOW of the same happiness.
I really hope all is well with everyone still and that you can feel the spirit through my emails. I feel the spirit very strongly as i write, and I want everyone to know…all my family and friends…that this gospel is true. And I hope with all my heart and soul that you can take the time to investigate this church. To learn more about what it is, how it is, and if it’s true. I pray for you all day and night and I know that you all will be blessed if you do take the time to learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love you all and can’t wait to talk to you next week! 🙂 Take care, and stay strong in your faith. Know that through prayer and reading the Bible and Book of Mormon you find true spiritual rest and comfort. Never forget that God loves you and has provided you with these means in order to be happy in life. Love with all my heart, Hermana Dunne! 🙂

If you can braid you can baptize!!

Us with familia Garza
Us with Familia Garza.
I found a Christmas tree right across the street from our house!!
I found a Christmas tree right across the street from our house!!
Me and Hermans Stephenson reunited again!!  She was my CCM companion.
Me and Hermana Stephenson reunited again! Just for the day though.

So here we have Estefanie and Carolina….they love my braids!

YELLOW! Okay soooo let me just say that this week was basically CHRISTMAS. Holy smoooookes. I’d like to thank my family for being SO THOUGHTFUL and sending me an awesome package with food and socks and skirts and ish that i LOVE. Second, i would like to thank all of the beautiful people that contributed to my FIFTEEN LETTERS. What the heck!!! hahahaha. This isn’t the only reason it felt like
Christmas though. Okay, lemme give you the deets:
So, on tuesday we had interviews with our mission president. It was SO nice to see him and to eat cookies that Hermana Richardson baked us…those are the ONLY moist cookies in all of Ecuador. I don’t get it. Like, why doesn’t ANYONE here think to make moist cookies?! Anyway. Been craving those so that was fantastic. It was also nice seeing everyone in our zone.
Then, the rest of the week we had quite a lot of contacts and citas so we stayed busy which was really nice.
Thursday night we took a bus to Quito which took about a little over an hour and we stayed the night in a hotel. Friday, we went to the chapel and met up with all of the greenies and new trainers. I SAW HERMANA STEPHENSEN!!! Ah. oh my gosh. I missed her SO MUCH. So that was a gift seeing her. While all the trainers got instruction, the greenies (yes, that means me) went to the Panecillo. The Panecillo is this HUGE statue of an angel at the top of a hill and President Richardson and his wife told us how apostles went to that exact spot and dedicated the mission of Ecuador. It was a really touching experience and super super beautiful because it overlooks all of Quito.
So, that’s why it was Christmas for me.
Moving on, after the conference in Quito, we took an hour long bus ride to the terminal. It was crammed. Very uncomfortable. and very long. So i got bored and told hermana alva i wanted to sing hymns. We started singing and then pretty soon ALL of the missionaries joined in. haha it was SO COOL. We were like….ruling the bus. hhah there were misisonaries in the back, the front, and middle where i was. We sang mostly Christmas songs and everyone was content. Once we sang “We thank thee, O God, for a prophet”, this man stood up and told us that we should be respectful of others’ religions and to not force our beliefs on others and that since it is PUBLIC transportation, we should be quiet. Hermana alva said something back like “exactly, it’s public. and we aren’t forcing our beliefs on anyone. we are singing.” and then she started to cry. This woman who was also being rude saw that she was crying and apologized. Then this man who was right next to us told us to stay strong and to please keep singing. So we sang “All is well”. then “When there’s love at home”. It was awesome. And no one else said anything and no one else appeared to be mad. Later, the man told us that he is a member of the church! So that was a blessing. We were meant to be standing next to him so this man could comfort hermana alva and cheer us on. The was a really interesting experience, and it felt super empowering singing with everyone.
One more thing that happened that was suuuch a relief was that we got our house dedicated. I don’t think it was dedicated before. And after the blessing, the priesthood holders as well as me and hermana alva felt like the room felt wayy lighter and happier. it was so nice. we haven’t had any creepy experiences since. and i think the rat is finally gone.
OH MY GOSH!! Okay so this week, Hermana Alva and I were in a taxi. Whenever we start talking to someone and they ask where we’re from, we always say “De donde cree?” Or “where do you believe?” So the taxi driver was guessing where we are from and he turned to Hermana Alva and said “Well, you’re from the United States because your accent isn’t very good. And I don’t know where you (me) are from.” AHAAHAHHA I was laughing SO HARD. She got so offended though. hahahah She gets that SO MUCH. Apparently, she can’t pronounce her Rs very well….EVERYONE guesses that she is from the United States. This happened again when we were buying groceries. The cashier asked her what part in the United States she is from. hahahha oh man. It is times like these that I feel a little better about my spanish.
So, the mosquitoes. They are little devils!!!! They are tiny and SO FAST and you can’t stop them. haha and when the bigger ones bite, IT HURTS. like, it doesn’t just itch. This week I got bit on my ankle and it made my whole ankle ache. Like, I had rolled it HARD or something. It was the weeeeirdest feeling. But now it’s gone and all is well.
Sidenote: Dad, everyone thinks you are either french or italian or latin. HAHAHA it is SO FUNNY. And mom, they think you’re my sister. ALWAYYYYS. And they think that nana and grandpa are my parents. so funny. I like showing people photos to see what they have to say.
Speaking of italians, I am the go-to braider now. If you can braid, you can baptize. HA JK. But for real, since I have those braids i do that like cover my whole head, my investigators have been more sincere and friendly with me. hahahah really weird. But they like beg me to braid their hair!!! it is the weirdest thing! So I have been braiding hair more…and teaching lessons on the double. pretty cool.
So, on a more spiritual note. This week we also met a woman named Juliet Ordoñes. She was washing her clothes and we asked if we could help. She refused but she let us teach her while she washed her clothes. We taught her about the restoration of the church and gave her a book of mormon. We invited her to read the book of mormon and pray to know it is true. and if she received an answer if she would be baptized. She said yes! We were happy, but usually people just say that and then when we visit them again, they haven’t read or prayed and don’t remember being asked to be baptized. But, we visited her two days later. I asked her if she had read…and she said yes!!! And that she always prays before she reads and asks to have the holy ghost to help her understand what she is reading better!!! LIKE, WHAT THE HECK!! Golden investigator!!! Then, i asked her how she feels about the book of mormon. She said she LOVES it and it is just like the Bible but easier to understand!! And she KNOWS it is from God. HOW AMAZING IS THAT?! Ahhhhh such a blessing. She is perfect. and so excited. And in the back of the spanish BOM, i dont think we have this in english, but there is a “Guia de las Escrituras” and it lists topics, describes what the topic means, then lists scriptures that support it in the bible AND book of mormon. She thinks that is the COOLEST thing ever. i do too. haha. So that was amazing and pretty much added to my christmas week!
OH! speaking of christmas, i don’t actually know what we get to do for christmas, but i am so excited. There is a huuuuuge christmas tree put up in the parkinglot across from our house now! And i think this christmas is going to be a lot more special because i wont have the distraction of decorations, or presents, or anything….i will get to focus on Christ more. On what this season truly is about. And i know that i am going to feel so much closer to Him this year. Feel so much more love. Feel so much more like Him. He was on this Earth alone. He didn’t have his Father in heaven. But he had the people he was teaching on this earth. I don’t have my family. But i have the families i am teaching here, and i really do feel like they’re my families. They are SOSO sweet. I cannot believe the amount of love i feel for them. I am excited for this Christmas! It will be nice. PLUS. I will get to skype my family!!! 🙂
This week we had changes and well…NOTHING CHANGED. haha Hermana Alva and I get to be companions for the next 6 months again! I am reeeeally learning patience and it is so hard but i need it. She has heath issues and works at a slower pace than most people so it gets SO frustrating for me at times when I want to go teach more people, or eat fast so we can make it on time to a lesson, or walk faster to get somewhere so we can have more time to do other stuff….it’s just like we can’t ever do anything fast. But she is amazing and i truly do love her! This is a lesson I need to learn, so she is a blessing in my life. President Richardson’s wife thanked me for being patient and she told me that i will be training soon. So i’m not SURE this will happen, but i am guessing that after these last six weeks of training that i might be training someone here in Ibarra. We’ll see though.
Also, if anyone wants to hear the most beautiful voice in the whole world, listen to Calee Reed. Her voice is PERFECT. My favorite songs are “Closer to you” and “Better than a Hallelujah”. Enjoy.
I don’t have much more to say this week. But i do want to bear my testimony on the power of the Atonement. “Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy.” 2 Nephi 2:25. Heavenly Father gave two commandments to Adam. One, to reproduce and two, to not eat the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve had the minds of children. They didn’t know right from wrong. There is no way that they could know how to have children. So it was CRUCIAL that they ate the fruit. My theory, and this is not doctrine, is that the commandment of not partaking of the fruit was more like this: When parents are trying to teach their child that they shouldn’t touch the burner because it’s hot and it will burn them, they know that it is reeeeally important to remind them of that and tell them NOT TO TOUCH IT. But they also know that the best way for them to learn for themselves that it is bad, is to touch the burner. Heavenly Father had to have known that it was crucial that they took of the fruit. He knew they would feel sorrow and pain and they would sin and eventually die, but He also had to have known that the only possible way for them to know how to have children was to eat the fruit. Thanks to Adam and Eve’s decision, we are all here on this earth because they had children. But, also thanks to their decision, we sin and we die. And guess what our SAVIOUR did for us? He literally saved us from these things. It was CRUCIAL that Jesus Christ came to this earth to save us. Because since adam and eve caused that we would die and we would sin, we NEEDED someone to help us so we could return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. Christ suffered for ALL OF OUR SINS so we could repent and be forgiven. Do you realize that at that moment that He was in Gethsemane, he thought of YOU. He suffered for YOU. He KNOWS YOU. How incredible is that? And that if we don’t repent, then His suffering is in vain. Because he suffered so we have the ability to REPENT and be forgiven. He didn’t suffer so we can live in sin and not be affected by what we have done. It is also necessary that we do our part and repent. Second, he died on the cross for us and after three days he resurrected. Because of Him, we can OVERCOME DEATH and resurrect too. How incredible is that? It is absolutely amazing. Like, we cannot even begin to imagine how truly incredible everthing is that He did for us. I love Jesus Christ. I know that he knows each an every one of us and that at one moment, the moment of His suffering, that He thought of each and every one of us and that he even FELT all of our pains that we will ever feel. Try and put that into perspective. We are so indebted to Him. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Till next week! I challenge everyone to read in Luke 22 and ponder and meditate what it means to you. Take care!! I love you all! 🙂 Love, Hermana Dunne!!

One whole month in Ecuador!

Okay, so sorry bout the novel last week. I enjoy pouring my heart out. This week i can’t because wellll i am pretty short on time. So here goes:

This week tuesday and wednesday I had a fever and my whole body ached and i couldn’t do squat which really sucked because we had SO MANY good citas. Like, shoot! We had new families, menos activos…the whole shabang. So that was not fun. But we got to work more in the carpeta de area which was nice.

The rest of the week went really well and we met a lot of our goals for once.

On another unpleasant note, this monday hermana alva and i were walking down the street and all of a sudden something breathed in my ear really forcefully and growled. At first i thought it was hermana alva and i turned and said “CHOOSOH HERMANA! PORQUE?!” she was more confused than i was. apparently she didnt make that noise. but I FELT IT. It was STRONG. So i got SUPER FREAKED OUT. We said a prayer and all was well. The next day when i was feeling sick and couldn’t do anything, i was laying down to take a nap while hermana alva was in the bathroom. i heard the same growl really loud..like it filled the whole room. WHAT THE DEV.I was sooo scared. So i sang hymns till i fell asleep. Later that night when i was sleeping, hermana alva had woken up three different times. The next day she told me that when she woke up those three times, she heard taht same growl and it came from different parts of the house. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH. yeah, i wanted to cry. I was sooo scared. So THENNNN we come home later that day and our bathroom door was locked. NO ONE ELSE HAS KEYS TO OUR HOUSE. The wind couldn’t have closed it either because it was LOCKED. FROM THE INSIDE. So yeah. We freaked out and called our zone leaders and begged them to bless our house. Buuuut, they told us that our faith is strong enough because we have the power of the Lord on our side. So we said a prayer and basically blessed the house and ever since then? NOTHING! Let me tell ya, satan has his creepy little spirits on this earth to scare us, BUT the power of God is INFINITY TIMES STRONGER. So that happened. And God reigns conquerer.

also this week, i had a dream that i was in the mall with my family and all of a sudden the floor COLLAPSED and then we saw this HUGE wave of water destroy the mall and come towards us and then we died. and i woke up. and i was so sad. But then i thought “hey! i could invent ____________ to save lives in these situations.” okay, so i may not be able to save lives but i could help people survive a little better than someone who isn’t prepared. Anyway, i started a book of ideas because that is what i want to do. i finally know what i want to do! i want to find ways to help people during natural disasters. Find ways they can be safer. be more prepared. survive. After i prayed about it, and i felt super good in my soul soooo i will try and pursue that dream.

sidenote, i definitely dance in the stalls if we go to the bathroom in public. it’s cool.

So, we have cambios next sunday. I AM SO PUMPED!!! Because we get to go to Quito friday and i get to see hermana stephensen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)))))))))))) i miss her so much. okay. enough of that, but we will have changes and who knows what will happen. i will most likely be in the same area and just get a new companion, because hermana alva has been here for SEVEN months. Buuut there is also the possibility that i will be training beause they need trainers right now. AH! who knows. Technically i am supposed to be trained for six more months, but we will see.

Another sidenote, i think i am allergic to papaya because members always make us papaya juice to drink and my tongue always stings and hurts. hahahahhaa it is not very pleasant.

another song for y’all, “mix cumbias tribales”. like it or leave it.

On a spiritual note, I have never read Moroni chapter 10 all the way through before this week. GOSH is it amazing. Seriously, there is POWER in that chapter. i was so amazed. Everyone needs to read it, okay? Especially verses 9-18,20-23,26-27,30-34. What a gift.

I have been focusing more on Doctrine and Covenants more. I have never read it all the way through, so that is my goal. There is SO MUCH power in that book. Seriously, after i read it I feel like Heavenly Father is standing right there with me. I have also been reading the book of mormon over again. But i am marking anywhere it says Christ or God’s name or refers to them like “He” in red. I am marking obedience in green, and moments where i go “wow..” in blue. I am also counting how many times it refers to Christ in the book of mormon. I am only in 2nephi and i am already in the thousands! haha. so cool. I challenge you all to do this. Get a new book of mormon, or the one you have, and look for just ONE THING as you read through it. Go through the whole thing and mark whatever it is. It puts a whole new paradigm to it. super cool.

So this week was also sad because Marisol’s baptismal date fell through 😦 Her dad all of a sudden decided against it, which really really sucks. But we have been teaching a woman named Carolina who is hard core catholic along with her sister and mother. Her boyfriend is a member of the church and at first she had SO MANY questions for us! and alllways asked us “where does it say that in the bible?” most times we would find answers to her questions but we got sick of it and basically said “you told us you love the bible, you should know where it says this! you can find it!” haha. but she thought it was funny and took the challenge. anywya! she accepted a baptismal date!!! AH it is a miracle. And she really has a testimony. finally. AND she comes to church. That is the biggest thing here. baptismal dates fall through sooo frequently because they dont ever come to church. but it’s okay! because we have  a plan to solve that and it is working.

Make sure investigators of the church always have friends. always. that is key. teach with members, visit with members, introduce them to members…..make sure they have friends to support them within the church. there is too much adversary outside of it that will sway them away from things that are good.

That is all for now. Until next week!

Ciao!! –Hermana Dunne

P.S. IF YOU SEND ME A PACKAGE PLEASE MAKE SURE IT IS LESS THAN 4 POUNDS!

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Me and Alejandra and Lesly.  Lesly has a baptism date!

 

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Here we are in our favorite panaderia.  The lady didn’t really want to take a picture.

 

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Here I am flying:)

Too much sugar = mosquito bites!!

HOLA FAMILIA!!!! COMO ESTAAAAAN!??!!?! Wow! This week flew by SOOO FAST. Holy smokes. Okay so today I am in a suuuuper good mood because…welll….i am always in a good mood on Pdays. hahaha Today we went to San Antonio (where i am emailing right now) and bought cool trinkets. haha This town is suuuper cool and really artsy buuut they are prettttty obsessed with sculptures and paintings of naked people doing…well innappropriate things. So that’s great. But oh my gosh! I don’t know where to start!!! Hm. Okay. So first off, I GOT INTO BYU!!! Woohoooooooooo! Second. Tuesday i don’t know what I ate but the food made me suuuuper sick so that wasn’t the best experience. It is seriously the hardest thing having to walk and focus energy on making other people happy when you don’t feel good. Like…I don’t want to smile …i want to throw up. But hey, all is good in the hood ahora.But okay, here is the real ish i have right now. I luhluhloooove the pastries and bread here. Like, way too much. And it doesn’t help that all the drinks are super sugary too…and okay, i’m sorry I talk about food in EVERY email, but it is def a highlight of my week. So anyway, since i have been eating a ton of sugar lately, i have recently been getting mosquito bites. hahahahhahaha THEY SUCK. There are like huuuuge mosquitoes which i NEVER see, but their bites hurt super bad. And there are little ones which are suuuper fast and you can never kill them. So that is a great gift that God has blessed us with on this Earth. For real though, opposition is great. And these mosquitoes have helped me realize that i need to cut back on the sugar. So, this week i am thankful for mosquitoes…kind of. Moving on. Our dueñas are kind of super annoying because whenever we have an issue, they don’t do SQUAT about it. We FINALLY have hot water. Oh, thank the heavens. But when we flush the toilet, water comes up out of the drain on the floor aaaand well it smells HORRID. Also, we didn’t have light literally last sunday until this sunday. hahahaha That was real fun too. It’s funny because we literally almost spend half of our day planning and studying and getting ready in our house…and we had to use the flashlight Wes gave me. THAT SAVED US! (so thank you, Wes!) 🙂 But right as my flashlight died, i decided to screw the lightbulb in and out and like adjust it (because the dueñas didn’t do anything to help us!)  and now we have light. Whew. But….one more thing. This is the exciting part. hahaahaha we have a RAT in our SINK. hahahahhahahha oh my gosh it is so disgusting. We literally hear it trying to chew its way out and it squeals when it gets frustrated. We have tried putting bleach down the drain to poison it and we boiled water today and when we heard it chewing, we chucked it down the drain as fast as we could….five minutes later it was squealing again. So that is reeeeally superb. So disgusting. So our dueñas are pretty annoying for not helping us out but HEY that’s life. You have to deal with people who are lazy and thoughtless. I’m sure they are very great people, really though…ANYWAY!

So today we’re in San Antonio, right? We see this huuge sculpture/slide. I’m all “OH HECK YES” and climb on up, take a picture, and go down the slide. This slide was sketttttch. I don’t know why I went down it. But it literally goes straight down and then horizontal. liiiike a 100 degree angle. So on the way down hhahahhah you just hear two loud thumps. I stand up, suuuper confused and realize 1-my tailbone is BASICALLY BROKEN. okay, not really but it hurt like noooone other. and 2- my belt was hanging of the end of the slide broken in two. haahahhaha WHAT THE HECK! I just wanted to have some fun 😦 So yeah, my belt is broken as well as my pompis. I have decided I will not go down a slide unless someone else goes before me. I will send the pictures of me climbing up and going down the slide RIGHT before my dream was crushed.

So wednesday, hermana alva, black, hendersen, and i got to paint a member’s house briiiight green. it was so much fun and i got to wear pants finally and i also got to hear american/reggaeton music which was nice for a change…hehe….sorry bout it….but then the woman who lived there offered us lunch. Okay, once again–lunch here is like dinner for Americans. And sometimes almost like thanksgiving dinner. So we were stoked! But hermana alva and I realized that we were scheduled to go eat at someone else’s house for the day. We didn’t have her phone number so we couldnt call and cancel. Soooo we had to eat TWICE. We were literally fooooorcing the second lunch down our throats. like,it made us soo sick. the whole way home we were holding our stomachs saying “OOF! LA MAMA!” (that is just something you say here and it is hilarious so we always say it) I have never been so full in my life. The only other time I have been that full was when I was at the MTC. Hermana Stephensen and I were so full and we layed on the ground and rolled around to feel better. Trust me, that works. This is not a joke. But I was laughing sooo hard with Hermana Alva because I told her that story and we were laughing about how awful we felt and how we still had a whole day ahead of us of walking and teaching…we threw up on the street. HA PSYCH, gotcha. We didn’t throw up. But we were really close to it. Anyway. That was a super great story. Sorry about that.

Anyway, ahem, we are teaching this family from Columbia and the dad makes bricks for work. All he does all day is make bricks and then stack them and we told him that one day we want to help but he never asks us. So one day we showed up randomly and he was stacking bricks! So we helped him. It was fun. However, I sliced my fingers up pretty good. But that’s beside the point. While we were doing this, two little boys ran up to the barbed wire fence and just stood there, watching us. hahhhaa So i started to talk to them and see how theyre doing and where theyre from and everything and they asked me if i was from ARGENTINA. hahaha what the devvv?! I was so happy and flattered! But i told them no and to guess again. Their other two guesses were Canada and Australia, so that is pretty cool. Theyre parents thought I was from Cuba…i dont get it. Maybe i am getting a tad darker? I dont know. But i was pleased with those guesses.

Halloween here is realy only for pèople who go to clubs to dance. NO ONE CELEBRATES IT. And the famillies here that we teach from Columbia say that it is really big there, so i dont get it!!! But on Halloween it was Elder Garcia’s birthday (an elder in our district) so we bought a piñata and had a mini party after one of our district meetings. It was so much fun, and we at least got sooome candy. hehe.

Back to the food. This week hermana alva and i went to this notorious ice cream place. The presentation of their ice cream? A plus. I took my first bite and found out that they put CHEESE in my ice cream. Apparently that is like the custom here in Ecuador. They like to put cheese in their ice cream. So that was fun to eat but not my favorite.

During church a boy we are teaching, daniel, was sitting behind me. Little did  I know, he was PLUCKING HAIRS OUT OF MY HEAD. he literally ripped sooo much of my hair out and was just admiring it. He is thirteen years old! WHAT THE HECK! It was the oddest, most uncomfortable, and infuriating thing ever. hahahahha not really, but it was pretty dang weird.

Usually when people say my name they cant pronounce it. It either sounds like they say “doonee” or, my personal favorite, “dung”. hahahhaa oh my gosh i cant help but laugh when they say it the latter way. Gosh. Yeah. That’s funny.

Also, this week one of our Mamita’s forgot about us so we had to eat Chifa for lunch. Chifa is like chinese but with a mixture of ecuadorian recipe. it is pretty good. not super great though. anyway, while we were in there they were playing SUCH good dancing music. Seriously, the worst temptations for me on this mission are bread and dancing.

. i just cant wait for the day i get to dance again. haha. Speaking of dancing, i taught hermana alva how to spongebob and bernie when we were in our house. haha she says americans dance really really oddly. but she likes it. apparently, at all dances she said they just move their hips and feet really fast. she showed me and it is so cute. haha she is so cute and i love her.

Okay, so here comes the change in topic. We are visiting some families that live in like the same complex..they have a dirt courtyard looking thing in the middle where they have a well and clotheslines. And we are over there a lot…there are ALWAYS these four kids who are always alone. their dad is out of the picture and their mom works all day. gosh it makes me so sad. like, we invite them to come to our lessons and come to church and they never really want to. theyre pretty quiet and seem really sad. gah! it just breaks my heart! like, there are soooo many kids here that are just like them. They dont have a parent to take care of them and teach them and it is so sad. And since they dont have someone to look up to or know where to find true, eternal, happiness, they turn to temporary happiness. drugs and alcohol and friends who DO NOT respect them. It breaks my heart. I pray for them every night.

So, i am reeeeally starting to love these people more like God loves them. This week I cried over them because i can see the desire in their eyes and by the things they say to me that they truly want to change and they know that this gospel will help them, but i can also see the pain and the frustration and disappointment. Like, there are so many people who want to get married but cant because their papers are in colombia and if they go back there, they will be killed. Or addictions. So many people dont want to accept baptismal dates because they think that if they mess up, then they lose everything and theyre sinners. THAT IS NEVER TRUE. you can ALWAYS repent and turn to God. Another thing they fear is that it is harder to resist things after they are baptized. THAT IS NOT TRUE EITHER. After you get baptised, you can and should receive the Holy Ghost. When you have the HG with you all the time, you are stronger. You feel God’s love, you remember the covenants you made, you are able to discern better what is good and bad for you, you have more self confidence, you confide in God more…EVERYTHING IS BETTER. Everything. And maybe trials will come your way, but you are stronger than the temptations or the heartache you feel because GOD IS ON YOUR SIDE. Always. And as long as you pray to Him and beg for his help and let Him know that you are grateful for life itself, HE WILL HELP YOU BE STRONGER. We have to do our part…stay away from those temptations…and when we have given our all, Heavenly Father will make up the rest and help strengthen our weaknesses. God is so amazing. Seriously! He only wants the best for us. It is truly amazing the unconditional love He has for us.

We have one investigator named Bolivar. He used to drink a lot and beat his family but he said he feels really good when we teach him and like he truly has another chance. He has stopped drinking. He faces that temptation DAILY. And he always remembers how he is trying to follow the path God wants him to follow. For work he trains chickens to fight. He decided that that is not something God would want so he wants to try and breed them more and sell them and sell their eggs and stuff….he is changing his life. And although he feels awful about his past, he finds comfort in prayer and reading the scriptures, and realizing that he truly is changing his life for the better and he truly is immensley happier overall in life. How great is he? He is such an example to me. We can overcome anything. Absolutely anything, as long as we TRULY with all the sincerity of our heart believe that God will be helping us and strengthening us each day, because He is. And He is giving it His all. We should too. He made this plan for us to come here and experience life and He also gave us a way to RETURN to Him and LIVE with Him…he WANTS us to return there so he will be doing all he can to help us achieve that goal. But WE HAVE TO DO OUR PART TOO. He can’t help us if we aren’t willing or believing enough to change the way we live.

Another thing i read this week that was WAY powerful is the talk “The Miracle of a Mission” by Elder Holland in the Brazil MTC. I could hear his voice in this talk…gosh i love elder Holland. This talk has changed the way I look at this mission. I am so much more driven now. I know I need to work hard daily. Every second matters. Every second.

Something our ward is starting to do is every tuesday at 7pm (my time) everyone in the ward, wherever they are, prays for missionary work. The missionaries, the investigators, the presidents…everything and everyone that has to do with missionary work! i think that is so powerful. If you want to, you can join too! 🙂 I think it is pretry cool. It is really hard to motivate people to come to church. At the beginning of this year 150 people were asisting every sunday. Now we are down to 90 if we’re lucky. It is so sad. So we are trying really hard to spiritually strengthen the members, and less actives now. and it is SO IMPORTANT that our investigators make friends in the church or no one will want to come. That is really the hardest thing right now. No one can progress because no one makes it to church. But that is going to change fast! 🙂 The members are helping us a lot more now by giving us references and teaching with us, which is super nice for a change. It is so much more powerful when other people outside our church can hear the testimonies of members. Not just the missionaries. Try and help the missionaries out in your wards and branches too! They need you!! 🙂 Alright. I am out of time. Take care, everyone! Till next week!! 🙂

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This is called a guagua.  it’s a doll made of bread but I broke it in half:( 

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This is me right before I hurt my tail bone.  Look at the angle on this slide!!

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This is my room.

 

 

She’s been on her mission for 2 months!!

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Wow what a week!!  we had exchanges this week with the sister leaders and i was paired up with hermana pando. We had a heart to heart about missing family and working hard and she helped me think of some ways i could cheer up. One way is to DRAW. i miss drawing sosoossososo much so this week i drew a picture of Jesus! 🙂

Next story. So we were on the bus this last thursday because we had a zone meeting and then we celebrated someone’s birthday and we were headed home. Hermana Black and Hendersen are in our ward so we are super close. They were on the bus as well as another companionship. Anyway. The bus was suuuper crowded and we are always told to put our backpacks on the front of our bodies and make sure to stay away from people because they rob. Very well. So this old woman and man come on the bus and they WILL NOT sit down or choose a spot to stop. It was suuuper odd. She kept coming towards me (ps they target gringos) so i moved and made sure i had my backpack on the front of me. I also have a sling bag i always wear. I dont know why, but i had it zipped up this time. i NEVER zip my bag, but i felt like i should that day. So the lady is about to get off the bus, and she is like trying to get past me so i try and move out of her way, but she follows me and i realize she is TUGGING ON MY BAG. She was literally trying to put her hand in my bag but couldnt because there was a zipper, so i pulled her hand out and she got mad and said “PASE” like “goooo” and i said “NO. No tengo que bajar.” when i should have said “HEY EVERYONE THIS WOMAN IS A THIEF” well shoot. She BOOKS it off the bus with her husband and the doors close. I immediately told Hermana Black what happened and she just laughs and goes “yeah! you’ve got to be careful! Dang. i better check if she robbed me.” laughing, she reached in her bag…CAMERA, KEYS, MONEY, AND PLANNER GONE. They lady actually robbed her. She said she remembered that lady kept following her and she felt tugging, but thought nothing of it. So the next time the bus stopped, we BOOKED it off the bus and took of RUNNING. It was like 90 degrees, we are wearing skirts and it’s windy, my shoes are falling off….but we ran probably six blocks. We searched for them for 45 minutes and didnt find them. So yeah. That was a pretty sad moment. Buuuuut it has helped me be a heck of a lot more aware now. 

So on October 26 I woke up feeling sick to my stomach. Not like i was sick with anything but like i felt like something really awful happened. Did anything bad happen to anyone around 9:30am? I got a blessing of comfort later in the day and felt okay…but i just felt like something really awful happen. Information appreciated.

So this week I was also asked if there are flies in America….PEOPLE PLEASE. Jk. but for real, the people here think America is PERFECT. It is nuts.

I teach an English class every saturday night with two other american missionaries and it is SO fun. It is fun and feels suuuuper weird to speak english again, and the people CRACK ME UP.hahaa pronunciation is my favorite part. it’s funny for everyone.

I have been out for 2 months now! yyayayayaya. haha i love it here.

K. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Everyone and i mean EVERYONE needs to read the talk “Why I am a mormon (based on a talk given by Douglas Brian of Ogden Utah” Seriously it is so amazing and i LOVE the take this guy had. He took it from a realist’s point of view. PLEASE, everyone read this. Take five minutes out of your day. And while you’re at it, read 1 Nephi chapter 13. verses 12 and 13 talk about Christopher Columbus, 16-20 talk about the revolutionary war, and 20-42 talk about the Bible and the Book of Mormon and how they will be united. Reeally cool, interesting chapter of the BOM.

Speaking of the BOM, if you pray about the book of mormon and find out that it is true…then EVERYTHING IS TRUE. The BOM is true, then Joseph Smith really was a prophet because he translated the book. If JS really was a prophet, then he REALLY saw God and Jesus Christ and they REALLY told him to restore Jesus Christ’s church on the earth. So if that is true, then EVERYTHING this church stands for is TRUE. Everything in this gospel is true. How amazing is that. Gosh. The book of mormon is so powerful. I truly believe that the book of mormon can heal people. Just like Elder…Holland..or Uchtdorf said, Hearts can be healed just as bones can be healed. Think about it, a bone is healed by giving it more strength and time. Now how are hearts healed? Well, our spirits communicate through feelings and thoughts. And usually a broken heart is because of hurt feelings or negative thoughts. Therefore, you need more spiritual strength. Only God can heal that. Truly. So, the more you read the scriptures (and i can testify to this), the more you are LITERALLY FILLED with God’s love and the Holy Ghost. That love and those positive feelings literally fill our hearts and our minds. How amazing is that. And those feelings will strengthen the pain. And just like bones, it takes time. We need to be spiritually nourished daily so over time, we can be completely or mostly healed. How great is that? I strongly believe that this is true. The only way I can TRULY cheer up when i feel sad is by reading the scriptures (book of mormon AND the bible) and feel God empower me with positive thoughts and feelings. It is truly amazing. God is real. God is living. And God is aware of how He can communicate with us. We communicate with Him through prayer, and He answers and strengthens us through answering with amazing feelings of love and peace. How amazing is that? I think it is incredible.

Hermana Alva and I walked to one of the family’s houses during church and told them to join us. They said they were still getting ready (they were already 45 minutes late to church) so we had to go back because we have a class to teach the second hour, and they said they would meet us there soon. On our way out of that housing area, a woman said “Yo quiero escuchar la palabra!” or, “i want to hear the word!” So we told her we would visit her later. WE NEVER HAVE PEOPLE REACH OUT TO US LIKE THAT. So that was awesome. Later at church, the family never showed which was suuuuper sad. We can never trust their word 😦 But after church, we met with this woman, her name is Daisy, and her three daughters. We taught her about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and after, I asked that when they receive an answer that the book of mormon is true, if they will follow Christ’s example and be baptized. She didnt even hesitate! She said yes immediately along with her daughters. HOW GREAT IS THAT?!?! Oh man. When something sad or bad happens, something great always happens afterwards. 

Aside from this family, we are also teaching two other families and it is AMAZING to see the sacrifices people make so they can change their lives for this gospel. When a person knows it is true, they will do anything to be able to get baptized. It has touched my heart so much. There is a man named Bolivar who trains chickens to fight for a living…yes that is LEGAL here…and he asked us if we think it is a bad job. We didnt want to make him feel bad, so we told him to pray about it. He is looking for a new job now. ALSO. Almost everyone we find here is not married but are living together with children. Bolivar and his wife, Margot, have decided to get married now too! AH! it is just soo great. I love these people. 

Most of the families we are teaching are Colombian. The Ecuadorians dont usually want to hear what we have to say, but the Colombians alllways do. Most of them are here as refugees or moved here for safety. Apparently, there is a war going on in Colombia right now and it is SUPER BAD. Like, random people by the dozens get shot daily for absolutely no reason but to strike fear in people. It is so sad hearing these people talk about how their old home used to be…a lot of them still have family living there too which is so sad. They have to call frequently because they’re afraid that their family members are going to be shot. I can’t even imagine being in their situations, but they are SO STRONG. And have the STRONGEST faith i have ever seen. I look up to these people so much. i LOVE them. I want them to find peace and happiness so badly, so i have been working a lot harder. Trying to get to know them better, share my testimony more, find ways to help them emotionally and also economically. There are also a lot of couples who want to get married but they dont have the money for it. So we are going to have a baking sale or something soon to raise money for them. Missionaries have done that in the past and it helped a ton. 🙂 Gosh! I seriously can’t express to you the feelings of love i have for these people. And God loves them even more, which is incredible.

So there ya go. Poured my heart out for y’all. Also, fun fact: in 2 Nephi 12:2 if you look at the words” mountain, established, mountains, hills” vertically it spells UTAH. How cool is that. And the verse is talking about temples! super cool. Hermana Alva showed me that. She is trying to read her scriptures in English more and she found that. prettttyyyy cool.

Anyway! I hope everyone is doing SUPER well! Pleeeeease pray for the people i am teaching and please pray for me to be able to say and do the things they need. I love you all!! Till next week. 🙂

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a guava fruit and her English classroomImage

the Duena’s puppy…..(the owner of the house)

She’s been on her mission for 2 months already!!

Wow what a week!!  we had exchanges this week with the sister leaders and i was paired up with hermana pando. We had a heart to heart about missing family and working hard and she helped me think of some ways i could cheer up. One way is to DRAW. i miss drawing sosoossososo much so this week i drew a picture of Jesus! 🙂

Next story. So we were on the bus this last thursday because we had a zone meeting and then we celebrated someone’s birthday and we were headed home. Hermana Black and Hendersen are in our ward so we are super close. They were on the bus as well as another companionship. Anyway. The bus was suuuper crowded and we are always told to put our backpacks on the front of our bodies and make sure to stay away from people because they rob. Very well. So this old woman and man come on the bus and they WILL NOT sit down or choose a spot to stop. It was suuuper odd. She kept coming towards me (ps they target gringos) so i moved and made sure i had my backpack on the front of me. I also have a sling bag i always wear. I dont know why, but i had it zipped up this time. i NEVER zip my bag, but i felt like i should that day. So the lady is about to get off the bus, and she is like trying to get past me so i try and move out of her way, but she follows me and i realize she is TUGGING ON MY BAG. She was literally trying to put her hand in my bag but couldnt because there was a zipper, so i pulled her hand out and she got mad and said “PASE” like “goooo” and i said “NO. No tengo que bajar.” when i should have said “HEY EVERYONE THIS WOMAN IS A THIEF” well shoot. She BOOKS it off the bus with her husband and the doors close. I immediately told Hermana Black what happened and she just laughs and goes “yeah! you’ve got to be careful! Dang. i better check if she robbed me.” laughing, she reached in her bag…CAMERA, KEYS, MONEY, AND PLANNER GONE. They lady actually robbed her. She said she remembered that lady kept following her and she felt tugging, but thought nothing of it. So the next time the bus stopped, we BOOKED it off the bus and took of RUNNING. It was like 90 degrees, we are wearing skirts and it’s windy, my shoes are falling off….but we ran probably six blocks. We searched for them for 45 minutes and didnt find them. So yeah. That was a pretty sad moment. Buuuuut it has helped me be a heck of a lot more aware now. 

So on October 26 I woke up feeling sick to my stomach. Not like i was sick with anything but like i felt like something really awful happened. Did anything bad happen to anyone around 9:30am? I got a blessing of comfort later in the day and felt okay…but i just felt like something really awful happen. Information appreciated.

So this week I was also asked if there are flies in America….PEOPLE PLEASE. Jk. but for real, the people here think America is PERFECT. It is nuts.

I teach an English class every saturday night with two other american missionaries and it is SO fun. It is fun and feels suuuuper weird to speak english again, and the people CRACK ME UP.hahaa pronunciation is my favorite part. it’s funny for everyone.

I have been out for 2 months now! yyayayayaya. haha i love it here.

K. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Everyone and i mean EVERYONE needs to read the talk “Why I am a mormon (based on a talk given by Douglas Brian of Ogden Utah” Seriously it is so amazing and i LOVE the take this guy had. He took it from a realist’s point of view. PLEASE, everyone read this. Take five minutes out of your day. And while you’re at it, read 1 Nephi chapter 13. verses 12 and 13 talk about Christopher Columbus, 16-20 talk about the revolutionary war, and 20-42 talk about the Bible and the Book of Mormon and how they will be united. Reeally cool, interesting chapter of the BOM.

Speaking of the BOM, if you pray about the book of mormon and find out that it is true…then EVERYTHING IS TRUE. The BOM is true, then Joseph Smith really was a prophet because he translated the book. If JS really was a prophet, then he REALLY saw God and Jesus Christ and they REALLY told him to restore Jesus Christ’s church on the earth. So if that is true, then EVERYTHING this church stands for is TRUE. Everything in this gospel is true. How amazing is that. Gosh. The book of mormon is so powerful. I truly believe that the book of mormon can heal people. Just like Elder…Holland..or Uchtdorf said, Hearts can be healed just as bones can be healed. Think about it, a bone is healed by giving it more strength and time. Now how are hearts healed? Well, our spirits communicate through feelings and thoughts. And usually a broken heart is because of hurt feelings or negative thoughts. Therefore, you need more spiritual strength. Only God can heal that. Truly. So, the more you read the scriptures (and i can testify to this), the more you are LITERALLY FILLED with God’s love and the Holy Ghost. That love and those positive feelings literally fill our hearts and our minds. How amazing is that. And those feelings will strengthen the pain. And just like bones, it takes time. We need to be spiritually nourished daily so over time, we can be completely or mostly healed. How great is that? I strongly believe that this is true. The only way I can TRULY cheer up when i feel sad is by reading the scriptures (book of mormon AND the bible) and feel God empower me with positive thoughts and feelings. It is truly amazing. God is real. God is living. And God is aware of how He can communicate with us. We communicate with Him through prayer, and He answers and strengthens us through answering with amazing feelings of love and peace. How amazing is that? I think it is incredible.

Hermana Alva and I walked to one of the family’s houses during church and told them to join us. They said they were still getting ready (they were already 45 minutes late to church) so we had to go back because we have a class to teach the second hour, and they said they would meet us there soon. On our way out of that housing area, a woman said “Yo quiero escuchar la palabra!” or, “i want to hear the word!” So we told her we would visit her later. WE NEVER HAVE PEOPLE REACH OUT TO US LIKE THAT. So that was awesome. Later at church, the family never showed which was suuuuper sad. We can never trust their word 😦 But after church, we met with this woman, her name is Daisy, and her three daughters. We taught her about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and after, I asked that when they receive an answer that the book of mormon is true, if they will follow Christ’s example and be baptized. She didnt even hesitate! She said yes immediately along with her daughters. HOW GREAT IS THAT?!?! Oh man. When something sad or bad happens, something great always happens afterwards. 

Aside from this family, we are also teaching two other families and it is AMAZING to see the sacrifices people make so they can change their lives for this gospel. When a person knows it is true, they will do anything to be able to get baptized. It has touched my heart so much. There is a man named Bolivar who trains chickens to fight for a living…yes that is LEGAL here…and he asked us if we think it is a bad job. We didnt want to make him feel bad, so we told him to pray about it. He is looking for a new job now. ALSO. Almost everyone we find here is not married but are living together with children. Bolivar and his wife, Margot, have decided to get married now too! AH! it is just soo great. I love these people. 

Most of the families we are teaching are Colombian. The Ecuadorians dont usually want to hear what we have to say, but the Colombians alllways do. Most of them are here as refugees or moved here for safety. Apparently, there is a war going on in Colombia right now and it is SUPER BAD. Like, random people by the dozens get shot daily for absolutely no reason but to strike fear in people. It is so sad hearing these people talk about how their old home used to be…a lot of them still have family living there too which is so sad. They have to call frequently because they’re afraid that their family members are going to be shot. I can’t even imagine being in their situations, but they are SO STRONG. And have the STRONGEST faith i have ever seen. I look up to these people so much. i LOVE them. I want them to find peace and happiness so badly, so i have been working a lot harder. Trying to get to know them better, share my testimony more, find ways to help them emotionally and also economically. There are also a lot of couples who want to get married but they dont have the money for it. So we are going to have a baking sale or something soon to raise money for them. Missionaries have done that in the past and it helped a ton. 🙂 Gosh! I seriously can’t express to you the feelings of love i have for these people. And God loves them even more, which is incredible.

So there ya go. Poured my heart out for y’all. Also, fun fact: in 2 Nephi 12:2 if you look at the words” mountain, established, mountains, hills” vertically it spells UTAH. How cool is that. And the verse is talking about temples! super cool. Hermana Alva showed me that. She is trying to read her scriptures in English more and she found that. prettttyyyy cool.

Anyway! I hope everyone is doing SUPER well! Pleeeeease pray for the people i am teaching and please pray for me to be able to say and do the things they need. I love you all!! Till next week. 🙂

They call me Muneca Barbie:) (week 8)

My comp and all the members call me the “muñeca barbie”. it is hilarious. no one has ever called me that…buuuut yeah. they call me that cuz they love my hair and i am white. We are going to start having an English class so i am super excited for that! We had a baptism for a boy named Josue Alexander. he is cool. People allllllways say “hello” or “how are you” or “I luff you”….and it is really annoying cuz it is always creeps so i am starting to say “bonjour!” so they think they are mistaken. jejjejjejjjejjejjejjee.

OKAY CRAZY STORY TIME. So this woman we are teaching told us how she was going to go on a trip for school and how she was really worried and asked us to pray that she would be safe. we prayed A LOT for her. Guess what happened? She ended up missing the first bus for her trip and was all annoyed and had to take the second bus. Turns out, the first bus got in a reeeally bad accident a lot of people died. So sad but so crazy. Prayer IS REAL. God IS REAL. God REALLY ANSWERS PRAYERS.

I ate guinea pig for the first time. Here it is called Cui. it is…well it tastes like chicken but it is really hard to chew. haha aaaaand the foot and claws creeped me out JUST A LOT.

Okay time for the spiritual portion of this email…

This week I have had a total change of heart. To be honest, this week i have been SO HOMESICK. I felt so awful in the morning and at night. I was only happy when i was teaching or talking to people. Finally one morning i was studying with Hermana Alva and i just BROKE DOWN. i was bawling my eyes out and she hugged me and asked what was wrong. I told her how i feel so homesick and how i dont know how to focus better on the mission and be happier. We read  ALOT of really uplifting scriptures that seriously helped so much. When you are sad, open the scriptures and read because they have POWER and bring the Holy Ghost closer to your heart so you can feel peace and comfort. The scriptures we read are:

1 Chronicles 28:20

Omni 1:26

Joshua1:6,7,9

Isaiah 58:11,41:9-10

Ephesians 3:7

Hebrews 10:35-36

1Timothy 4:13-14, 6:12

2Timothy 2:10

James 5:11

Phillippians 4:13

After that i felt a lot better but i still didnt feel totally okay. I just felt so weak. So inadequate, so on the verge of crying all the time…so alone. That night I prayed with ALL my heart and soul. I told everything to Heavenly Father. How alone i felt. How i wanted to speak better spanish. How i was sick of coming home soaking wet and cold (it downpours here). How i wanted to focus better on my mission. How i wanted to wake up happy. How i wanted to connect more with the people. And of course i cried once again. After praying and expressing everything i felt, i felt at peace and i went to bed. People. GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS. I can´t say that enough. The next day i woke up with more of a desire to serve. i woke up happy. i went to work and read talks and scriptures which were exactly what i needed to hear. When we went outside on our way to lunch, IT WAS SUNNY. I hadnt seen sun until that day! We get to the mamita´s house for lunch and her daughters played with me and made me feel at home and feel loved. We shared a scripture with the mamita and bore our testimonies and she started to cry…it touched her heart and she touched mine. i felt like we connected better. We talked to someone on the streets and this woman was so humble and searching for happiness in her life. She said she wanted to meet again as soon as possible. After we talked to her, we turned around the corner and saw a rainbow peaking out of the rolling hills….so beautiful. Hermana Alva told me when she sees rainbows it means God is proud of what we are doing. We met someone else that night. His name is Javier and he has a wife and a son. He is the COOLEST person and cheered me up so much. We visited one more family that night and we had bread and hot chocolate…exactly what I wanted. Heavenly Father gave me a BILLION reasons that day to thank Him. He gave me no reason to complain. No reason to feel alone. No reason to be sad. I realized how selfish i had been. Heavenly Father loves me so much. He has blessed me SO MUCH. I am finally starting to love the people more and find better ways to make them feel loved and to teach them about this saving gospel. I am finally starting to focus more and wake up HAPPY and EXCITED to share this gospel. This gospel has brought me SO MUCH JOY in my life. I should be EXCITED to share it with others! I am starting to try and put things into perspective more and focus more on the positives. Because focusing on the negatives does me no good. It makes me sad and stressed and lowers my confidence level. When i cant say something right in spanish, i should laugh and say it how i think it goes anyway because people wont care. they see that i am trying and they will understand me. The past three or four days have been soooo much better and I love this mission. I know it is making me stronger. I feel stronger spiritually, emotionally, and physically and i know i can only go uphill from here. I am sooo humbled by the people here. They have dirt floors, bad water, cold beds, cold showers…but all they see is their blessed families and God. They thank God every day for LIFE. Why dont i thank God for giving me life each day? I am definitely learning from the faith these people have. They are incredible examples to me and they are helping me humble myself a lot more. I love it here. It is beautiful, the people are the most genuine people you will meet, and I have God always on my side. It couldn´t get much better than this. Mom and Dad, Thanks for giving me the opportunity to serve this mission and thanks for giving me the life i have. I wont waste time here. I am working harder and I WILL make you, and God prouder. I love you so much. 🙂 Till next week! Love always,

Hermana Dunne 🙂

p.s.  today we were praying and i amm teaching my comp english and so she prayed in english. she said “please bless us with hell” i wanted to bust out laughing so baaaadly. but i diddnt. she meant health. she is a sweetheart. also it is pretty asnnoying because the peoplehere add “ita” to eeeeverythin as a term of endearment or to make something sound cute. like “hermanita” or “lindita”…ayyyyyyyyyy k bye bye! love u!

Having cake after this boys baptism
Having cake after this boys baptism
A fun trip to Peguche
A fun trip to Peguche
Hermana Dunne & Alva
Hermana Dunne & Alva

Many men whistle at me and make weird creepy sounds….

Hello everybody!!!! okay please excuser my spellingerrors, i am on a super crappy computer and i have to litterarlly pound on the key to make it work. !Okay! so this week has definitely been a rollercoaster. Ecuador is beautiful.The people are SO humble and SO kind. There are many men who whistle and make weird creepy sounds at the missionaries…and it is annoyingbut that is okay haha we just ignore them.here are the thoughts i wrote down from this week;

so my house isa part of another house and it is in the back. it is prety new and smells likse dust and paint. haha kind of hard to breath but it is pretty nice. we only have cold water. sooo showers are nightmares. wes told me i should shower every day. so did the mission president. and  my family but uhhh YEAH NOT HAPPENING. It is awful hahaha but it is kiind of fun. i just feel like i jumped in tamolitch pool is all. the water here is reall ycold the weather is super off and on and it will b e really hot one second then literally a minute later it is POUIRINGH. the children here are SO much mnore polite and they are so cute and happy all the time! There wasa girl in church…during sacrament meeting…playing with a centipede. hahahahha oh man it was soooo weird.the culture is very differebnt. I am super hujmbledhere. OH! i am in Ibarra!!!!if you can find the supermaxi on googlemaps, look across the street where there is a street that goes into a neighborhood and go down two blocks thento the left and my house is on the right. haha my companion is from peru. WUDDUP DAD, PERUUUU!!!!! viva! and her name is hermana Alva. She is very quite and calm and tedious and dainty., haaha she is pretty cool and i know i needed to be companions with her. she helps me have confidence when i feel down in the dumps. She has a problem in her throat though so she has to eat suuuper slow and she cant have acidic foods or driniks. it is so funny because here lunch is the biggest meal. for breakfast we usually have a piece of toast and maybe a fruit. the lunch is at 1ish and we dont ahve dinner. but HOLY SMOKES after lucnh i am not hungry until the next day around 12 or 1. so nice. why dont we do that in america? problem is that i get sideaches after eating ahha it is so much food. bu yeahi love it. and the food is SO FREAKING GOOD. SO BACK to hermana alva, I finish my whole lunch in the time that she finishes literally about one fourth of her food. so i either talk with the people or if they arent in the room i nap. hahaa. oh ya! wwe have people called mamitas who are from the ward and the cook lunch for us every day. super nice. the bread is way too good here. same with te pastries and the postres. the other day i had a bread thing with cooked chieese on the inside and suger on top- ahhah so gooood. okay so we walk and take buses everywhere. oh maaannnn i would love to see your faces on these buses. they are INSANE. they stop for a second for you to get on and then once you are barely in the bus, they start to drive off. and u ahve to whip out a quarter for them and then either make it to your seat or stand as he drives away. it is so chaotic and so much fun. their driving is horrid and so you fly all over the palce but i absolutely love it.  the other day i trieda fruit called a granadia. you crack it open and slurp the juice and seeedsout. haha it is actually so disgusting looking but verrrry delicious. 😉

so work. we are basically opening a new sector because our mission zone is having so many changes so our ward is super small. we teach a classe evcery sunday. it is fun. for some reason i keep saying. ummm my spanish is improving a lo.t i am so gald i have a native companion to help me. sometimes i get suuuper excited after teachinga lesson and i turn to her and say “oh my gosh!i felt the spirit so strong!!!!” and she just gives me a blank stare. everyone here that i teach is very humble. thereare so catholics who are pretty rude sometimes, but i just smile and laugh. they have their beliefs and are following God and i respect them. but they could be nicer! but every family i have taught lives in a house taht is basically very broken down walls and whatever they can find to use as a roof. dirt floors. they have cloths or blankets to separate rooms. usually just a living room/tv room/kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. three rooms. and it is all probably the size of our front room, family. crazy huh? they always are SO KIND THOUGH. i am so humbled by the faith these people have. they are sooo grateful for what they have. it amazes me. i feel the spirit so strongly with them. Heavenly father is so proud of them.

so i am not gonna lie, i didnt cry over being homesick until i came out into the field. When i get thinking about home or wes or how long i am here for i start to get super emotional. which makes me so mad. i wantto be here. i need to be here. and i am trying really hard to strengthen myself this week, with the help of HF of course. I have realized taht when i am thinking more of the people i am teaching and i and actually teaching and talking to people, i feel heavenlly fatherslove so strongly and i dont want to leavethe people here. they are so sweet. so kind. make me feel at home. i love them with all my heart. i also love how everyone greets each other with a hug and you touch cheeks and make a kissing sound. everyone is so kind. you always say ciao. and well yeah i just love the culture here. there is nothing i would rather be doing right now. i love this gospel and i know that this is the ONLY way, i promise the ONLY way to find true, eternal happiness. i am so blessed. and so is everyonewho has thisgospel.

okay random. Everyone says “CHOOsoh!” and flicks their wrist super hard like they burned themselves. it makes some weird sound. haha iti is just used to express emotionand it is like saying “shoot” haha it is so fun. i am the only gringa who can do it right hehehe. okay so people are always really surprised with my accent. i think it is so fun. i always catch people by surprise when i speak. and they say i speak castellano and that it sounds prettier to them,. teeheeahhh! okay i have to go. i will try  and send pictures but no promises. i love you all! CON TODO MI CORAZON,

hermana dunne!Image