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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Take Into Account ALL The Words of God (12/22/2014)

Hi Mother Dearest!
Yes, the horse...I think his name is Jericho, or something like that. Oh, trust me, it's taken a while before I got to the point of not being afraid of it. I just think of it as a big, big, super big dog and stand as still as possible, and things seem to go ok :) Nope, I haven't ridden the horse, it is against missionary handbook rules to go horseback riding.

Still doing yard work for the temple. Since it's still in the upper fifties here, we do anything for yard work still. We've planted a lot of flowers and fluffy bush thingies, spread/dug up dirt so plants can breathe and stuff, dug up crazy stubborn bush things and deadheaded and watered things. The lady is the groundskeeper/landscaper for the temple, Sister Clayson. We absolutely love her :) We saw a picture of what the temple grounds looked like before all the yard work and it is a ton better than it was. Sister Clayson and Brother Gorze (the maintenance president guy) always shake their heads whenever they remember how it used to be. There is a cute little nativity on the grounds too that Sister Hall and I want to take a picture with/of but keep forgetting. I'l make sure to get one soon.
The warm'ish weather (upper fifties in December) is totally normal for the area I guess. I miss snow so bad!!!
Sister Hall, Sister Clayson, Sister Duenas - in service clothes due to yard work at the Medford Temple
The song for District Meeting was pretty good actually. We sang "Mary Did you Know?" in parts and no one was wincing so I think that means it went well :)
I made the Grinch Cookies for the CP2nd Ward Christmas party and, because people didn't know what they were, I still had some left over. Silly people :) But the Elders were excited about it since they now get them. The people that tried them at the Christmas party liked them though.

That's super cool that you're in the primary now! Don't worry you'll do great! It's just a lot of patience and educational/fun activities. All of the songs are pretty catchy so you'll learn them fast and likely won't get them out of your head for a while hehehe :P
No, I haven't gotten too many Christmas cards or anything from other people back home. I think most sent a birthday card and were done, which is totally fine :)
No new investigators, but we have a couple cool challenges for Christmas this week from President Russell.
1- send out 6 letters of love to Less Actives to invite them back to full activity.
2- give a goody bag to a homeless person and invite them to learn about the gospel or come to church. (I think we'll put in the goody bag some cookies, a hat and scarf and Sister Hall might give some of her hand warmers too.)
3- be observant and make a miracle happen for someone this Christmas.
He told us these things in a conference call last night and we are all super excited, or at least I am. Especially since Sister Hall and I have already been doing these things in a way, now we just have even more purpose :)
Lots of missionaries are getting hurt the past few months and just not being smart. Though from the stories that Pres Young shared with us about the craziness of his time as mission president, these things are normal to happen, if not entirely preventable. They have definitely been feeling the stress of being mission parents. Lots of prayers for them.
I haven't been able to look at all the college major info yet, but from what I've seen, I like it. And for some reason, as I was doing the college essays, the deaf language studies stuck out a little more for me. It'd be a really great thing for me to study. I'd always be paying attention and it's something beautiful that I could share with others too. Maybe I can combine it with Special Ed and ASL, though I am leaning more toward the ASL. It would take lots of effort, but the kind that isn't super scary for me. I'd still be DOING something instead of sitting at a desk somewhere all day every day, and I think ASL is really beautiful, so I'd love to learn it.
Thank you, Mom, for the Christmas lights and thank you, Lynne, for the white Christmas tree :)
Another crazy story from last week, it was a weird experience, but it still helped to strengthen my and Sister Hall's testimony. We went to see a potential investigator that we thought would be a great investigator. This man was super nice at first and he listened to us when we asked if he'd like to learn more about the restored gospel and the blessings it has to offer his family. He then asked us what in the world we'd ever have to teach him about the scriptures and the gospel since he is in his 50's and we are just kids. He asked us to tell him what the gospel consisted of. We told him (1) Faith in Jesus Christ (which he agreed with and said he didn't need to know any more about), so then we started to talk about (2) Repentance and change for our progression to become like our Father in Heaven. His response will forever be with me. The man said, "Jesus redeemed and atoned for us, so we no longer need to be subject to the Father. We are perfect and God no longer has a right to judge us."
It hurt our hearts so much to hear such a thing.....To love Jesus so much, and yet disrespect Him and our Father in Heaven (God), and deny the true purpose and power of the Atonement that Christ went through for each of us. We just didn't understand how the man could think this, but all of this was made clear to us when the man told us that he only focuses on one chapter in the Bible as his basis for not repenting, Romans 9, talking about faith and how we must have it if we are to get back into His presence. I am grateful for the Gospel and for learning and taking into account ALL the words of God, and for the fullness of the Gospel that we have, to bless our families' lives and our individual lives continually.
okie dokie, I gots ta go now. Bye Bye, Love you!!!!! Merry (early) Christmas!!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Always Be Kind (12/15/2014)

Holo Mumzy!
First things first, yes, I have found a place to do the Christmas call. Super nice people, the Day family. The Days are super wonderful. Sister Day is our Gospel Principles teacher and she's amazing at it. Lots of participation and fun learning. Also made our hamburger rice and peas dish for them last night. I did not take a picture of it though because, even though they found it scrumptious, I KNEW I had done it wrong and it wasn't what it was supposed to taste like. I accidentally overcooked the rice, so it came out a bit mushy :( But they said it tasted really good and when I said I'd take it home with me so they didn't have to eat the rest of it they "Definitely NOT. That's our dinner tomorrow!" So I guess they really did like it, though if I had more time I'd make it the right way for them and drop it off so they knew what they were truly missing. <my pride kinda hurts if ya can't tell >
I am on early because we have to go to practice singing "Mary Did You Know?" with a couple of members around 1:30. Good thing both Sister Hall and I know the song. We will be singing it for District meeting this week.
No service projects other than the food pantry still, but we've had one ward Christmas party so far and a wonderful Christmas Cantata. Amazing singing that could totally compete with the MoTab (Mormon Tabernacle Choir)... well maybe not quite, but they were super good.
Yes, we got the letters from Zone Conference. It was a nice surprise for all of us! I absolutely LOVED his <Jim's> letter tell him I was really grateful for it. He has a beautiful testimony :)
Zone was good and spiritual. We learned a lot about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, just testimony strengthening stuff and more basic doctrine things. It's really nice the things we feel and the strength that we get from Zone Conference. Although, I would love more lessons on how to incorporate what we learn into our teaching efforts.
I got the box and the Christmas lights are already up, and the fingerless mittens were worn to keep my "fingies" warm in church yesterday. Went shopping and got the ingredients for the cookies. Will be making the brownies, Grinch cookies, my cookies, the apple thingy and the cream cheese brownie cookies for my last two weeks in Central Point, true I don't know that I'm leaving, but it's like a 100 to 1 ratio, sooooo.
Sister Duenas at the Medford, Oregon Temple

I've also prepared a couple boxes to send home with Christmas presents inside too ;)
Yes, I got the box of chocolate from Gma......yep :) muy delicioso :)
We have had some pretty ridiculous experiences this past week. First we ran into three crazy people (all at separate times) who were very much against the church.
We were leaving our investigator's house and on our way to our car and we saw an older lady (kinda homeless looking and sad) sitting on a half wall by our car. Of course, everyone must know that if you sit, stand or walk anywhere near a missionary's car you WILL be spoken to ;) This lady did NOT want to be spoken to at all. We said hi and she went off in saying she doesn't want to be bothered by brainwashed kids. We told her that we are missionaries anyway and asked if she's having a good day. She replied that she isn't anymore and how do we know she wasn't praying when we so rudely interrupted her and said Hi? She yelled at us some other things about how we believe in Christ way too much and we are so radical and obsessed with Him. She just kept telling us to go away and when weren't walking fast enough for her she started yelling that we better not ever talk to her ever again. I sweetly said that we won't talk to her if she wishes it, but we will say Hi and wish her a good day if we do because of course that's something a follower of Christ would do. She had nothing to say to that and so we wished her a beautiful day, got in our car and left :)       KINDNESS STRIKES AGAIN!!!  :)
"Love and respect will overcome every element of animosity. Our kindness may be the most persuasive argument for that which we believe." - President Gordon B. Hinckley
Signing off now since we have to go sing, but I will try to send the rest of the experiences, which were crazy good, another time.
Love you,

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Central Point Ward is Awesome (12/08/2014)

Hi Mumzy!
Yes, I promise to be nice, observant and compassionate this Christmas :)
The First Presidency Christmas Devotional was pretty great. I really loved President Eyring's talk. We got to go to a member's house to watch it so we were nice and comfy with some chocolate cake :)
Sister Hall and Sister Duenas with the Bishop's family
I will be sending Lynn her card very soon with all the Christmas cards. Also, I plan on sending a package of extra stuff back home since transfers are coming up and its highly unlikely I'll be staying here :(    It's actually interesting, the Ward council is making a small contingency plan for when I go. There are a couple of people that have been able to come back and since I've been in the area longest they've kinda made an attachment to me. The Ward council wants to prepare for a  potential fall out once I'm gone (potentially after Christmas transfers). Especially Nikki, since she might not truly understand why I'm leaving. Anyways, I just really love this Ward. It's been the best Ward I've served in so far. Everyone is so considerate and work together in everything they do. Very good balance of responsibility and hard workers here and tons and tons of love. No matter what happens everyone is taken care of.
ZTM (Zone Training Meeting) and Zone Conference are two different things. ZTM is just missionaries being taught by the Zone leaders and STLs (Sister Training Leaders) and lasts about 3 hrs, whereas Zone Conference is by the Mission Pres, one of his counselors and the APs (Assistants to the President) and lasts about 5-6 hrs. We learned lots of good stuff at the ZTM.....we learned a lot about how to use this season to find tons of people and help others in the Ward come closer to the spirit of Christ, and we are all excited to get the Share the Gift initiative into high speed action :)  Just look on You-Tube and the biggest Ad up top and you can see what it is ;)  Hopefully the missionaries at home have shared it with you and the whole branch.
I made my cookies for the ZTM instead of the apple-cinnamon bites. I'll make that for a Ward Christmas party. Everyone loved the cookies of course. One of the Sisters asked for the recipe, but I said its secret ;)   The cookies came out super good this time. Usually I get about 3 1/2 dozen cookies out of it, but this time I got 57 cookies and they were all pretty good size for a little treat. I have been commissioned to make more for next district meeting and for someone's birthday too.....hahaha.
Cookie batter for the cookies Sister Duenas made for Zone Training Meeting
We got to go to the temple last week!!! It was so nice to go. It was even more special in a small way because the person I went through for was from New York while everyone else's were foreign. Just a little tender mercy at the temple :)
I took tons of pictures that I will make sure to send you soon. 
For Nikki the MS makes her weaker than usual for holding herself up and it prevents her from getting things from her brain to her mouth. She has a hard time speaking, whenever she wants to agree with something she just says "Because I believe in God" and if she hears something, like about the wicked Lamanites, she says "They do not believe in God". She has the most beautiful simple faith I've seen on my mission. The Ward is doing really great in trying to be accommodating and taking care of her :)
There was a Lights Parade in Central Point last week. It was pretty neat. If you keep up with the news stations you might be able to see Sister Hall and I on their news coverage of the parade. There was a camera man right in front of us. We stepped out of the way but we are actually just right off to the right on the corner of the sidewalk.
We've lost some investigators so we have to get out there and build our teaching pool back up. Lots of work ahead of us.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

#ShareTheGift (12/01/2014)

Hola Madre!The week got too busy for me to make something for District Meeting. But I'll be making the apple cinnamon cream cheese thingy for ZTM (Zone Training Meeting) this Friday.
Tell Gma Duenas that I tried my best with the Pancit recipe, but it's probably a far cry from how good hers is <3.
Lots of activities planned for the wards in December, two ward Christmas Dinner events and a Cantata, and we are excited to invite as many people as possible to them.
I super love the mitt you made! It's so nice and warm. Sister Slater and Sister Collins liked it too.  Yep! They came and dropped in on me for my bday! It made me so so happy!
I got to have my MTC companion and my trainer for my birthday and they of course made MY cake. You sneaky mommy :) Thank you so so much! <Mom Note: Sister Collins contacted me by email the week before Sister Duenas' birthday and asked for the recipe for Sister Duenas' favorite cake so that she could make it and surprise her for her birthday. What a sweetheart Sister Collins is. >

Sister Collins made Sister Duenas' favorite cake for her birthday <3
Yes, I did get my birthday box from crazy mommy! I can't believe you actually sent me a mixer! The wards don't know what's coming for them now. Mwahhahahaha! Crazy baker mode is getting cranked UP!!
This past week we were invited to two Thanksgiving dinners and two birthday dinners.
The Wells family showed me lots of birthday love too. I just love these girls so much! Thank you guys!

Nikki is doing great. I feel like her baptism was a miracle. Not just with being able to get through the whole process without any issues, but also with the timing.
We got another person on date to be baptized this month! Though she's decided to go over to the YSA (Young Single Adult) Ward, so we won't be the ones teaching her anymore. BUT she's going to be BAPTIZED, so that's all that matters . Her baptism date is Dec 27th, so we'll still be able to go to her baptism before either of us leaves. We are so so excited for her!! Her name is Shelby.
The missionaries aren't getting together for opening Christmas presents that I know of. But we will get together for the movie, just the Zone though. Each zone gets to chose their own movie for Xmas and then for New Years. We will watch them both at which ever member wants to have us all over. I'm such girl! Totally got teary eyed when I saw your cookies. Miss you. For Christmas decorations, I have just the white Christmas tree that Lynn sent me. I'm so sad that I left my Christmas lights at the Grants Pass apartment, but I'll just go to Good Will and find something good :). Thrift store shopping is the bomb! <Mom Note: psssssh...You will not go buy lights. I will send you some multi-colored Christmas lights....'tis a requirement for feeling extra 'jolly' during the holidays ;) >
White Christmas tree sent to Sister Duenas by her Grandma Beach
Always, but especially this time of year, we are reminded in John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
There is a beautiful new movie about Christ and Christmas. The first gift of Christmas was a simple gift given by a father to all his children, to us. He gave us His Son, the Christ. HE is the gift. #ShareTheGift 
I got to go now. Tell everyone hi for me! And I send my love! 
Xoxoxoxooooo --> just for you mommy Love you!! Bye bye! TTM

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Righteousness Always Conquers (11/24/2014)

Hi Mumzy!!!
I got the first package. You are lucky I looked at my emails first instead of attacking my present.
<Mom note: Ummmmm.....packages that arrive 1 day before your birthday just may be a birthday present, so you should have assumed it was your bday box little Miss Sassy!!! :P  > Hahaha, well of course I knew what it was, but if there is a letter in there I have to open it today to read it or wait til next Monday ;)

No service projects this week. But when we went to the Calvary Temple for the food pantry a person there gave Sister Hall and I pretty knit scarves.
Pretty knit scarf given to me from a person at the food pantry
So I was perusing a members cook book and found these great recipes: Apple-Cinnamon Cream Cheese Bites and Potato-Leek Soup with Ham. Could you make them and see if they are 1. do-able for me and 2. tasty :)
<Mom Note: The apple one looks do-able and yummy. It would be one of the most complicated recipes you have attempted, but you CAN do it. Do you have a rolling pin? A veggie peeler? And a muffin pan? If not, I could revamp it to make it easier.> sounds like someone doubts my attention span and reading skills :) Nah, that's ok. We can totally borrow from a member. They love us here. 
I just used box mixes to make the Snickerdoodles and Sugar Cookies. Unlike some recipes, I don't have those ones memorized and I'd definitely rather not do them without a mixer. I made pumpkin cookies (also from a box mix) for district meeting and gave away some more peanut butter fudge. Everyone loves the fudge.
Peanut Butter Fudge using G-Ma's recipe :)
We have a birthday dinner and a Thanksgiving dinner scheduled... Well, we actually have two B-Day dinners and two Thanksgivings ;) Since we have two wards everyone wants to show there appreciation, so two dinners :)
OH!!! And super exciting!!!!!! We will be going to the temple next week!!!!!!!!!! And for Christmas we get to watch a movie, I am so excited. We will be watching "How To Train Your Dragon 2".
I'll send you some pictures from the baptism from my camera. It went so so well. At first there were so many problems and we didn't know if it was gonna happen. Nikki has a pretty severe medical issue. She has a hard time walking if it's longer than a minute or two and because of that she has to be carried into the font. Problem --> Central Point baptismal font stairs are very narrow and steep... Change of venues required. TO MEDFORD!! Hallelujah!!! Accessible Stairs acquired. Anyway, lots of things could've gone wrong with the baptism <Satan doing his dirty work> but ya know that righteousness always conquers :)
Sister Hall, Nikki, and Sister Duenas at Nikki's baptism
So I'm hearing a lot of missionaries around me signing up for classes and doing other college stuff. Do I need to worry or think about any of that? I feel like I can do/learn the culinary things throughout my life and/or take classes over time. I'd really like to focus on the Studio Art thing and have that be my career focus. Then as my back up safety net it'd be cooking and stuff. So what do I need to do? Cause missionaries can get permission from President to work on their applications and stuff. Will the 3D/Studio Art program involve a lot of drawing? Cause I don't think I'd be able to do that very well, whereas I think I'd be good at sculpting and ceramics and stuff like that. Colors and 3D I think work better for me.
Found this and thought it was totally cute <3
HA! Well, I'm not 21 yet <still one day left>, but I feel old for sure.
NO SNOW WHAT SO EVER HERE in Central Point :(((
BYE!!! Love you bunches!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Staying in Central Point (11/17/2014)

Hey hey hello!
Transfer news - So yep I'm still in Central Point, and still training Sister Hall :)
I am still assigned to serve in two wards at the same time and it's just awesome! We are always busy.
We will be having a baptism this weekend! Super exciting.
Our new District Leader is Elder Galloway, who will be performing the baptism this weekend with his companion.
Sister Hall and I will be giving the opening and closing prayers for the baptism, and other ladies that our investigator knows will be giving the talks on baptism and on the Holy Ghost.
Super cool about that picture of the Cruz family (Great Uncles and Great Grandfather) that you sent. I'd love to do some family history when I get home. There's some cool stuff out there.
Haven't seen the CES Devotional but it looks good.
A member we are working with has a farm. We get to play with the animals when we visit them.

Don't worry about the gloves, I still have my pink ones for now :). I'm sure they looked fine. Everything you make is awesome. 
Speaking of awesome I made the peanut butter fudge for the Central Point 1st Ward correlation meeting and to randomly just give out to people. 
I even gave out the recipe to our Senior Missionary couple because Sister Pease liked it so much :) It was super rich! 
I think I've either gotten desensitized to OUR family's cooking dinner or I did the recipe wrong and I know I followed it exactly. Rich, but people love it. 
So far I've made Snickerdoodles, Sugar Cookies, peanut butter fudge and Pancit. 
The new District Leader has asked if I could bring snacks to our district meetings now. Guess I got a new calling ;)
I'd really like our Mac n cheese recipe, hamburger peas and rice, and the scrambled breakfast casserole dish thingy would be nice too :) And please send the brownie recipe and stuff! 
I think that's very likely what I'm going to do with the rest of my life. Make food to bring smiles and hopefully do my color artist thing too! Go to college for both is my plan :)
There wasn't anything super special about the week. Just baked, served the lord and studied bunches <3
A super cool quote from Gospel Principles class when we were talking about Talents.
Just sent you a surprise! Hope you get it :) love you!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Decide to Seek the Light (11/10/2014)

Hey Mumzy,
This will be a shorter email for me as well. Since this is the last Monday of the transfer, we will be doing Zone activities. We will either be doing frisbee, volleyball or wiffleball. We were going to hike Table Rock, a huge plateau thingy here in Central Point, but too many weren't in favor of it. 
If you go to Sister Hall's FB you can find a picture of us together at the temple. Speaking of the temple....we will be going there for endowments either at the end of November or the beginning of December!! So, So excited!
The temple tour with our investigator went very well of course. Brother Gorze knew so much about it and was able to answer a lot of our investigator's questions. We will definitely be utilizing the temple more often.
One of our investigators (not the one that went on the temple tour) is going to get baptized on the 22nd!!! WOOOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!
Yep, I got the box from Lynne. Let's just say it made me very happy. Two beautiful soft scarves, mac n cheese, my fave candy and a nice sweatshirt jacket. I will send them a letter this week or next since I don't know when this zone activity is going end.
A puzzle that I completed recently
Our Stake Conference was yesterday and our speakers were: President Thomas S. Monson, Elder Neil L. Andersen, Elder Kent F. Richards and Sister Jean A. Stevens. It was pretty amazing and I got lots of good notes.

Elder Neil L. Andersen
- Christ has told us to Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.
- Virtues of FAITH, DILIGENCE, PATIENCE - Alma 32:41-43
41 But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.
42 And because of your diligence and you faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.
43 Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.
- We should speak more of the Savior and of His divine mission.

Sister Jean A. Stevens
- Little by little, love changes hearts
- Alma 37: 6-7 small and simple things
6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me, but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
7 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by the very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.
- Never give up in keeping your covenants.

President Thomas S. Monson
Notes from Pres Monson's talk at Stake Conference
Elder Kent F. Richards of the Quorum of the Seventy spoke about Light and the importance of deciding to seek the light. 
- Light is good and is always more powerful than darkness, and is truth conveyed through the Holy Spirit. 
- The wonders and need of sunshine is only made sweeter by the ever present rain.
- Lehi's dream - started in darkness and only by prayer and faith (exercising faith) was he able to get to the light.
- The Brother of Jared, himself, came up with a way to dispel darkness. The Lord allows us to learn how to seek the light, to grow and to leave darkness and to step into the light by seeking Him and exercising faith.
- This light is within every child's reach.
- Even if we can't see the tree (light), we can hold onto the iron rod in the darkness and hold to the path and and come out in the end having endured.
The next pic is my continued study from this morning on bringing light into our lives (In the Book of Mormon - Helaman 5: 38-43).

We must work for the light to always be with us. Someone told me once that our testimonies are like light bulbs. There are only a couple watts for them to go out. Either we let them fade and die out because of forgetfulness and our inaction in using it; we take it out ourselves or flip the switch, meaning that we willingly abandon the things we know to be true and good preferring the darkness or we can be aware of our light and testimony and when we see that it is starting to flicker (doubts, trials, questions) we take action, go out and get a fresh bulb (studying, praying, exercising faith and enduring to the end) so that our light will never go out and our testimony is always increasing in strength. Take care of the light you have. Decide now to seek the light, choose to follow Christ's brightest example. Because, in all honesty, darkness never was happiness even if they have all the cookies and brownies in the world. It's just not worth it.
Got to go now. Bye! Love you! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ephesians 2 - Fitly Framed Together (11/03/2014)

Hey Mommy,
So since we had to chauffeur the other sisters in our area around for P-Day I didn't have time to write your letter :(  They ran out of miles for the month so they couldn't drive until Saturday when their miles get renewed. So, here's a pic of ma face for you instead <3

In ZTM (Zone Training Meeting) that we had just last Friday, yep right on Halloween, we had this great scripture to focus on. It's Ephesians 2:19-22.
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone;
21 In whom the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an inhabitation of God through the Spirit.
We focused on the part that says "fitly framed together". We related this to our missions and how we as servants of the Lord need to be working together. That message in itself is pretty great, but then you look up the meaning of the word "fitly" and it gets even more AWESOME!!! Fitly means "of a suitable quality, standard or type to meet the required purpose; having the requisite qualities or skills to undertake something competently". 
Isn't that awesome?! When we all (and this doesn't just go for missionaries) work together as a body fitly framed together we can literally do anything when we put ourselves in the Lords hands.
We will be giving a temple tour to one of our investigators too tomorrow so that'll be nice and super spiritual! And we have the temple maintenance president guy to help us out in telling her about it so that'll be nice. It's so great having the temple so close.
Also could you pray for one of our investigators? We are going to be inviting her to baptism this week....Prayers would be nice :)

Those pictures <of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" movie to be released in 2015> are just too funny. And you're right in both accounts. I think it's a bit funny but also I am mortified that someone is using these precious characters so dreadfully. Jane Austen is rolling in her grave, I just know it.
This isn't quite how I remember it <the Pancit> looking, but it tasted good to me and my companion and the Elders.
Sister Duenas made Pancit for District Meeting
The wok was a bit small for it and we forgot a lid, but other than that it was pretty easy. The wok was so small that, even though I stirred it at the slowest pace possible, it just got everywhere! Haha...oops, but at least it was super fun to make. I followed the recipe exactly so I don't know what happened. It was rather bland to my taste. Everyone liked it though. None of them had ever had it before. When I first mentioned it all I had to say was I'm going to cook something and they were all for whatever it was. 
These Elders don't care what it is as long as they get food :) So silly. They're like little puppies. 
So here's basically how the conversation went when I initially mentioned making Pancit for District Meeting:
Me - Hey Elders, I'm thinking of making some food for next district...
Elders1 - (before I could finish) You cook? Sweet! Yeah totally.
Me - Yeah I'm gonna make...
Elders1 - (to other Elders) hey Sister Duenas is going bring food next time!
Elders2 - Really? Sweet food!
Me - Yeah I got this Guamanian dish...
Elders1 - oh sweet, Islander food! Yeah you bring and we'll eat it. Thanks Sister.
Me - (finally given up) Yeah no problem. Later Elders.   **Me thinking - guess they don't care what it is, and I could be making something completely gross and they wouldn't even know** sigh, Elders.

The ward here had a trunk or treat on Halloween night, but it was at 630 and we had to be in our apartments by 6, so we couldn't go. But that's ok, since the members are giving us all their extra candy anyways ;)    

Some things I saw and did on Halloween :
Passed this awesomely decorated haunted house
Tortured, I mean, made a dog pretty in a Santa Paws costume - at the request of her owner of course :)
Followed the "Ghostbusters" on the way back home. Safest I've ever felt on my mission <smirk, wink> ;)
For Service this week, we will be doing more temple grounds work on Tuesday and we have some more wood splitting is in store and we might be helping with some demolition next week as well. Lots of fun stuff. 
The wood splitting is for an older couple preparing for winter. They've got tons of wood. We got a wood-splitter and they won't let us Sisters handle the machinery. More like the boys want to play with their toys ;) So, we Sisters stack the wood. And apparently I do such a great job at it that everyone else just chucks the wood at me and let's me put it all into place. They don't want to use their brain that early in the morning to make sure everything fits and is secure. I'm happy to do it, but my back always kills me when we are finished. Last time we stacked five rows deep of wood and about 12 feet across, and 5 and half feet tall. Lots of wood. Ok, well actually, Elder Pease, the Senior Missionary, handles the machine, while the Elders lift the wood onto it and carry the split wood (or pitch it) to me. Sister Hall takes care of the smaller pieces and puts them on a wagon, which is also dragged to me and stacked.

Okie dokes. I gots to go now :(
TTM! <3<3<3

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Favorite Quotes and Need the Pancit recipe! (10/27/2014)

Hola Madre!
Stat! I need the Pancit recipe! I think I sent all of the recipes you gave me home on accident, so now I got nothing. Perfect! That's what I needed! Oh I love my Mumsy!!!!! I will be feeding like 6 people at the District Meeting on Friday. 
<Mom Note: Nothing like trying to remember the Pancit recipe on the fly today while out of town. I sent it with a certain 'someone' when she left on her mission, but she (who shall not be named, but who is currently my favorite Sister Missionary) lost the Pancit recipe and needed it asap so she could buy the ingredients on P-Day. She is cooking it for her entire District this coming Friday. Pancit is a Filipino recipe that I learned how to make by watching Sister Duenas' grandmother who is from Guam. The recipe has rice noodles, chicken, pork, shrimp, cabbage, carrots, onion, celery and soy sauce. It is delicious! For the sake of keeping it inexpensive, I suggested that Sister Duenas only use chicken this time (no pork or shrimp as we usually do). Kiana has helped me make the recipe a number of times, but she has never made it all by herself. this will be her first time cooking it solo, but I'm sure she can do it :) As a friend of mine said, the Holy Ghost can bring ALL things to our remembrance...even a recipe!>
Love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cool pictures from what I've been doing for my P-Day (Preparation Day) today. We went to old town Jacksonville. Its kinda like Ellicottville with all the antique shops. It was super fun and I was able to get some presents for people.
Of course she couldn't resist taking pics of adorable goats!
I'm sure Sister Duenas couldn't pass up giving the goats some face rubs :)
Possibly the coolest license plate evah! It's New York, sooooo...... :)
Here are some of my favorite quotes for this past week by Elder Holland, Elder Uchtdorf and Elder Eyring.

Here are some quotes and stuff that I've liked throughout all my studies on my mission.
I've read so many talks that I feel like I'd never really be super nervous again to go up there myself. I know what a good talk sounds like, and ever since I left Eugene I haven't given a single one yet. I think it's because these wards are so big they have endless people they can ask to give talks, so they don't have to ask the missionaries. That's good, but I'd still love to give one :)

My favorite inspirational General Conference quotes (from various years):
"[Recently,] the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve published a letter to leaders of the Church across the world. In part it read: 'Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society. His law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife.'.....

President Thomas S. Monson:- "Courage not compromise brings the smile of God's approval."
- "Once we have a testimony, it is incumbent upon us to share that testimony."

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:
- "My dear brothers and sisters, there will be days and nights when you feel overwhelmed, when your hearts are heavy and your heads hang down. Then, please remember, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, is the dad of this church. It is HIS gospel. He wants you to succeed. He gave His life for just this purpose."
- "Even when we think we can't rise up, there is still hope. And sometimes we just need someone to look us in the eyes, take our hand, and say, "You can do it NOW!""

Elder Russell M. Nelson:
"Even if everyone is doing it, wrong is never right. Evil, error and darkness will never be truth, even if popular."

President Boyd K. Packer:
- "Faith, to be faith, must be centered on something that is not known. Faith, to be faith, must go beyond that for which there is confirming evidence. Faith, to be faith, must go into the unknown. Faith, to be faith, must walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness."
- "We all live on spiritual credit. In one way or another, the account builds and builds. If you pay it off as you go, you have little need to worry. Soon you begin to learn discipline and know that there is a day of reckoning ahead. Learn to keep your spiritual account paid off at regular intervals rather than allowing it to collect interest and penalties."

President Gordon B. Hinckley:
- "The trouble with most of our prayers is that we give them as if we were picking up the telephone and ordering groceries - we place our order and then hang up. We need to meditate, contemplate, think of what we are praying about and for, and then speak to the Lord as one man speaks to another."
- "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."
- "You are good. But it is not enough just to be good. You must be good for something. You must contribute good to the world. The world must be a better place for your presence."
- "God planted within women something divine." That 'something' is the gift and gifts of motherhood. Elder Mathew Cowley taught that "men have to have something given to them [in mortality] to make them saviors of men, not women. [They] are born with an inherent right, an inherent authority, to be the saviors of human souls.....and the regenerating force in the lives of God's children."
- "When [an individual] is motivated by great and powerful convictions of truth, then he disciplines himself, not because of demands made by the Church but because of the knowledge within his heart."

Elder Neil L. Andersen:
- "As the world slips away from the Lord's law of chastity, we do not."
- "While many governments and well-meaning individuals have redefined marriage, the Lord has not. In the very beginning, God initiated marriage between a man and a woman - - Adam and Eve. He designated the purposes of marriage to go far beyond the personal satisfaction and fulfillment of adults to, more importantly, advancing the ideal setting for children to be born, reared and nurtured. Families are the treasure of heaven."
- "Faith is not only a feeling; it is a decision."

Sheri L. Dew:
- "Satan has declared war on motherhood. He knows that those who rocks the cradle can rock his earthly empire. And he knows that without righteous mothers loving and leading the next generation, the kingdom of God will fail."
- "Like Eve, our motherhood began before we were born. Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality, righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege of motherhood."
- "Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us."

Elder D. Todd Christofferson:
- "In measuring success, we recognize the profound truth underlying all else - - that our lives belong to God, our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Success means living in harmony with Their will."
- "Our lives should be a confession of Christ, and together with our words testify of our faith in and devotion to Him."
- "If we remain firmly rooted in faith in Christ, we are in a position both to receive and to offer divine help."

Love you!!!!!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

1-Year in the Mission Field (10/20/2014)

Hey Mommy!
So this first pic is the one I've been looking at for my "Mommy fixes". Now especially since I guess I'll be staying on my mission til May 5th.  Guess I'll be home just in time for Mother's Day.
Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Duenas so much for the card. Tell them I send my love! <Mom note: I did tell Grandma and Grandpa Duenas and their response to Sister Duenas was "Please tell her that she is forever in our hearts, and we are sooo very proud of her.">
Here's my map of the wonderful plan that Heavenly Father has set up for us.

The members feed us way too well here. We have dinners every night all the time. I'm trying to get healthier in the last 6 months of my mission. For exercise, I'm trying to run a bit more, stretch less and do more lunges and stuff. If it wasn't so wet, I'd ask for bikes or something.
This week we were able to have a lot of lessons, meet new people and get new investigators.
We've met some very interesting people and now know why some people just don't want to speak with us though they might be kind. <Mom note: Sister Duenas provided some examples of what some well-intended but misinformed people think that Mormons believe, and attempts by Sister Duenas and her companion to clarify the misinformation were not met with acceptance.>
Training is going well. It is pretty cool seeing how much I've learned as I teach someone who is right back where I was just one year ago. <Mom note: Sister Duenas reaches her one-year mark in the mission field on 10/23/2014! Can you believe it?! We are so proud of her sticking to it, serving with love, and for the growth and learning she has experienced as a Sister Missionary.>
Anyway, a very interesting week. Full of service again too. We split logs for 4 hours and worked at the food pantry for 2 hours, and then worked at the Medford Temple for an hour as well. It's been super fun.
Got my hair cut today. It hasn't been cut since March, back when I was in Eugene. Whatcha think?

               BEFORE                            AFTER  :)
Do I have the Pancit recipe? I think you sent me out with it. Though I don't know when I would have time to make it for anything.
<Mom note: I sure did send it with you :)  >  
Tell the Greene missionaries I said thanks for the advice. I think I'll really use the study one from the Sisters.
Love you bunches!
Sister Kiana Duenas

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Missionary Training for New Trainers (10/13/2014)

It has been a very interesting and most exhausting week.
First I sent off Sister Haugen, and since I was companion-less, I had to hang out with some other Sisters before my new Sister came in. It was cool to help this companionship out and see what it was like in their area, but it was just so awful having to be out of my own area for three and a half days. So many appointments had to be rescheduled.
Wednesday afternoon I, and other trainers, took the transfer van up to Eugene. Our vehicle coordinator is awesome. He stopped at Dairy Queen on the way and we got ice cream :)
Then we had a Training Meeting with President Lowary and the AP's (Assistants to the Mission President). They had lots of great advice for us new Trainers. Mainly it was, don't put your stress or worries on the new missionary because they are handling enough trying to learn everything; love and serve them; be understanding and firm in their learning; be an example of an "exceedingly obedient" missionary.
Missionary Training Meeting
We likely wouldn't be able to use those books ("I Want to Be Baptized" and "The Holy Ghost is Like a Blanket"), but they definitely seem great to use when teaching future children.
(Regarding my college major and future career) I honestly don't know what I want to do with my life at this point. I have some ideas, but it's difficult because the things I want to learn are different than the things I'd like to do for a career. Lots of things to think about for sure. I just started today to really think of what Elder Godoy said about our patriarchal blessings and if we are doing what we need to (in order) to get the blessings promised in them. Today, I wrote the blessings promised and next I'll write the things I need to be doing and see where I stand so far.
Speaking of coming back home. Now I have no idea when I'll be  returning. It used to be that Sisters could choose to come home Early Transfer or Late Transfer, since 18 months doesn't fall on a Transfer evenly. But now I heard (a rumor) that all Sisters will just go home Late Transfer. If that is the case, then I would be coming home on May 5th instead of on March 25th.
 My new companion is Sister Hall, from Utah. There are challenges of being a Trainer, but it is a good experience too.
Sister Duenas and Sister Hall
Super exciting news this week though!
We get to see "Meet the Mormons", work on the Temple grounds, split some more wood and continue the Lord's work. It's gonna be great :)
Love you!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Rainbows and Repentance (10/06/2014)

Hola Madre!
Hey, yeah I'd love those copies (of the May 2014 Ensign and 2015 Relief Society Manual - Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson) if you'd send them!
So, transfers week...
I am staying in Central Point and Sister Haugen is going to Corvallis up north.
Yeah so I don't know who my next companion is because I will be training!!  :)  So so excited!
This day was absolutely gorgeous. This rainbow knows where its at and is pointing people in the right destination :)
Rainbow at Medford , OR Temple
Rainbow leading to Medford, OR Temple
<Excerpts from a letter received on 10/03/2014>
So, I've been reading in the scriptures about repentance.
Here are some things I found and learned:
- We must have faith, humility and real intent when repenting and when coming unto Christ to be healed.
Omni 1:26 - offer up our whole soul
3 Nephi 18:32 - full purpose of heart
3 Nephi 9:20 - broken heart and contrite spirit
- Heavenly Father forgives us and then keeps helping us to return to His presence. It's not a repent, don't do it again and then you're done. We repent and then make even better choices and continue forward and upward. We ought to use the new clean slate He's given us and make something of it. We've returned to the path and have the Holy Spirit with us again, so now we can use it and continue to better ourselves and follow the Lord's will and commandments.
- Christ suffered and paid for our sins, but he didn't take away our personal responsibility. The blessings of the Atonement are available to all on conditions of repentance (daily), accepting Christ (fully), and having faith in obeying His commandments (continually).
- As we repent, our outlook on the world and ourselves changes. We are able to see our own worth and potential. Something our Heavenly Father has always seen inside us. We are so much more than who we are now :)
So, obviously you can tell I really loved President Uchtdorf's talk at Women's Conference. He and all the prophets/apostles know what to say and what the Lord needs us to hear. Can't wait for General Conference this weekend!

Something I've finally determined is what I want on my missionary plaque. I want one.
My scripture on there will be Mosiah 4: 9-10: "Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all things which the Lord can comprehend. And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them."
I feel this scripture fits me very well since I've learned and been on my mission.
The "Meet the Mormons" movie will be showing here in Medford and us missionaries just might get to see it!
<Email from 10/06/2014>
Oh man! You need to finish watching General Conference! It was AMAZING!!! President Monson and really all the Apostles were so serious about their messages (though of course there were a couple of jokes cracked). My favorites were by Bednar, Oaks, Jorg K. and Anderson. really they were all great, but these really struck me and/or excited me.
A 30 pound watermelon given to us by some caring members
Me and Sister Haugen on her birthday
Love you bunches!
Sister Kiana Duenas