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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Transferred to Central Point, Oregon (08/25/2014)

ok, so now I am transferred and am in the Central Point 2nd Ward with an awesome Sister missionary as my companion. Her name is Sister Haugen and she is from Cali. So far she is just amazing.
Ok so the pictures.....
The ones with the picnic table and grill are members. It was a beautiful day out, so we had a picnic dinner. They are wonderful people and they are so cute! They sang to us a cute little folk song. Here is a part of the lyrics. "My heart goes boom bang-a-bang, boom bang-a-bang when you are near; boom bang-a-bang, boom bang-a-bang loud in my ear. It's such a lovely feeling when I'm in your arms. Don't go away. I wanna stay my whole life through boom bang-a-bang bang close to you." <Mom Note: of course I had to look up the lyrics. It is from a song called 'Boom Bang-a-Bang' sung by Lulu in 1969 in the United Kingdom.>
The wooden rocking horse is actually a wooden rocking LLAMA. Yep, a llama and it was super cool, so Sister Collins and I got pictures with it :)
The cat picture. I took it because I was so envious of it. Just flopped there minding its own business and having a nice lazy day. So not mission life, even on P-Days.
In the next 5 years or so there will be lots of changes and progress in missionary work. Especially when all the missionaries that came out in the wave (October 2012 - December 2013) will be home and eventually starting families and doing member-missionary work. Nashville Tribute even wrote a song about it :)
Only Elders really do anything to celebrate their missionary "markers", burn tie at 6 months, shirt at 1 year, suit coat at 18 months, and a whole suit at 2 years. Sometimes we take silly pictures like the "funeral" one. The pic of the elder laying on the table is his "funeral" since he is "dying" tomorrow (going home after completing his 2 year missionary service).
The iPads...we each have our own iPad-Mini. We keep it for our entire mission and then we can buy it or something at the end I think. Since the OEM (Oregon Eugene Mission) was one of the pilot missions for the iPads we didn't have to buy ours yet. 
In the last District Meeting we talked about being guided by the Spirit and sharing short, but powerful statements on the doorsteps or on the streets. The shining moment was at the end when we had our own little testimony meeting. It was awesome and super Spirit led. We all spoke about the Atonement and our Savior. Even if I don't have anymore people baptized on my mission I am so grateful for the testimony I have gained of my Savior and His Atonement. I'm excited to be able to share it with everyone when I eventually return home. I'd write it down, but I am most certainly not strong in writing :)
District Meeting in Eugene
In Primary, when Sister Collins and I were helping out a few weeks ago, we were helping a member in her Primary class because her co-teacher was sick and not at church. The lesson was on Gratitude and how we have a lot to thank our Heavenly Father for. We made a list on the chalkboard and then had to write our own letter to thank our parents. Sister Collins and I just shared our "gratitude testimonies" and helped keep the kids in line.
I will read "Lord, I Believe" (Elder Holland). "Cast Not Away Therefore Thy Confidence (also Elder Holland) is a very good talk. I read it back in Grants Pass in my early days :)
I really like "We Are the Architects of Our Own Happiness" by Gerald J. Causse. READ IT! IT'S AWESOME!!!
Love you!
Sister Duenas
Say Hi to everyone for me!
Pray always <3
& study the scriptures <3

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Servants in the Lord's Hands (08/18/2014)

Hi Mom!
Wow....wonderful use of your restraint :)
So, I bet you realized by now that your big, big, big, long letter has yet to arrive. Yeah.....that's because I decided to write letters to Matt, Tate and the kids. They wrote me back in March and I'm such an awful person that I only now remembered to write them back. So, instead you'll get a big, big, big, long email :)   (Well, maybe not super big, but I shall try).
So, my week has been going alright. We keep trying to get new investigators, but no luck this week. We give out Books of Mormon and have spiritual conversations on the doorstep, but once we ask if we can return to share more they all get cold feet and say "uh, no thanks, I'm busy this week". This happens even if we have just had an awesome conversation....Sigh...missionary work is rough. BUT! We have 2'ish people on date to be baptized in September, Darryl and a woman named Tana, who a different set of Sisters are teaching, but need to hand over to us since she isn't a YSA (Young Single Adult). So, yay for that atleast.

I've been reading through the Book of Mormon again (3rd time through on my mission) and I'm now on 2 Nephi 15 (the Isaiah chapters). It's always hard to get through these chapters, but as long as you are able to get one thing out of the chapter, you are doing good :)   My favorite chapters so far (in 2 Nephi) are 2 and (the end of) 10. I've also been marking any time a parent or some family member gives advice or shows love in the scriptures. 2 Nephi 4 (the beginning), and Alma 38 is also a really good one for parental advice....Oh and there are other ones, but I just can't quite recall them at the moment. Note: I am not mentioning 'parenting' for any specific reason, it's just what I've been studying lately, and you asked.
We had to take a 15 minute survey for Sister Missionaries on the missionary age change. I am thankful for the missionary age change. I am here on my mission having experiences I never would have had otherwise....and enormous growth in my testimony and character is happening, so yes I like the age change. The age change for the Elders is good and bad depending on the Elder. Some are prepared and focused. Others just want to have fun and are doing their duty. It really just depends, but by the end of their missions, I'm sure the age change enabling them to come out on their mission has had an effect on them and is good. It just takes time for them to realize WHY they are truly invite and be servants in the Lord's hands.
We (Sister Collins and Sister Duenas) had dinner with the Lowarys again and were able to ask them tons of questions since they are so knowledgeable about the gospel and stuff.
Random info for you: We each have a mini iPad. Enchiladas and cinnamon buns cake don't really go together. What happened with Elders Johnson and Brailsford (one talking a lot and the other not talking much) happens to companionships all the time. It is wonderful to get comments on Facebook posts as a missionaries, even if the comments are from our Moms :)
ok, here I am in the present writing my Mumzy. Love you! <3 <3 <3 <3  
This is the last week of this transfer. I am not being called as a Trainer, but I won't find out if/where I may be transferred until Saturday.
Bye! Love you!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

One of the Best Days of My Mission Life (08/11/2014)

Yo Mumsy! You there?
We helped an older lady member clean her patio last week in the morning at 10am. She was hoping we could come at 5am, but luckily our morning schedule doesn't allow that :)
Could you order me a hardcopy of the Book of Mormon? I need another one for my studies since the one the Youngs gave me is a bit chaotic with random notes everywhere. I'd like to start over with my Book of Mormon studies.
The first picture is from last Monday or Tuesday (08/04 or 08/05)...the days kinda blur together in Mission-time. Sister Collins and I went to heart attack one of the members here for her birthday.

Looks like the missionaries really love our little Greene Branch :) and who wouldn't? It's the best place ever! Especially for that new missionary in his first area.....
I wish the family HQ could be a little closer to the East coast. I mean I love Oregon, but I will always love the east coast the best. Although, I do like Idaho more than I like Utah. When G-ma moves to Idaho, what is she going to do with all her awesome stuff?!? I want dibbs on some stuff probably! :)  <Mom Note: Gma is already giving you her miniature teddy-bear collection :) >
Yes, the Sisters in this Zone had the wonderful privilege of cleaning the Mission Home before President and Sister Young left and the Russells came in <at the end of June>. It was super fun. Sister West and I cleaned windows on the roof  8P 
.....and I cleaned up after a mouse since all the other girls were chicken. The cleanup of the mission home lasted 3 hours and it was great to get the Youngs all to ourselves to ask questions and get last minute advice. 
.....Sister Collins and I <3  (don't worry, the car wasn't moving when the pic was taken).

Ok, so I'm only in 1 ward now, back to Eugene 3rd Ward, such a relief. Having all of the leaders and auxiliaries working together and sharing burdens & loads is a big key for how well wards do in the work out here and just in the ward in general. My District is still the same too.
We did have something awesome happen just yesterday. Our investigator came to church for the first time!! And he loved it! It was super funny during Sacrament meeting, he spoke a couple of times, but he's in his 70's and REALLY hard of hearing, so we couldn't exactly tell him to be quiet. Right before the sacrament prayers started he said "Ah bread and water time". Then he saw the tiny pieces of bread and said "guess lunch won't be spoiled for later. Hehehe." When the water came, there was only one left on the tray for Sister Collins and I so he said "Guess you'll have to split it. Oh, nope. Roy got one for ya."  And lastly when they started walking back up to the sacrament table he said about the water "that didn't taste like blood."
Hahahahahaha! He is such a hoot! He's like Gpa and Floyd put into one :) Definitely one of the best days of my mission life! :)
 ....last pic was from yesterday (Sunday 08/10). Found this sign at a members house and thought it was pretty awesome if I do say so myself.   ;P
Never mind about the (extra) Book of Mormon. I wasn't thinking very practically. Sister Collins just has so many study BoM's that I got a bit jealous and wanted another of my own...hehehe :) Yep, I will get back to using my Quad. I do love it so much. I just wish that the pages weren't so fragile. Oh well, first world problems :)

ok, gots ta go now....
Til next week....
Love you!

ps...Might start sending some small stuff home next week, since it is likely that I will be transferred to a new area :)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Grateful Heart (08/04/2014)

Hi Mom!
Oh my gosh Mom! So many questions! I think you've topped yourself again and made a new record. Totally brings whole new meaning to when you get answers more questions come of them.
The Capture the Title of Liberty game with my Zone went great last week. It's just like Capture the Flag, just without light sabers - the only difference between this version and the way that Mara, Ben and I used to play it. My team lost, but that's ok cuz we had tons of fun. We played it at a park and there were about 24 of us playing the game.
I hope you liked my present/letter of pictures for you. I am so Grateful for: all that you've done for me, your love and support, prayer, Prophets, the Gospel, temples, the sacrament, the Book of Mormon, Jesus, Gospel Principles class (the basics of our foundation), Mail <3, flowers, cupcakes, Superheroes, steak, fishing, blueberry bread, camping, mac 'n cheese, YOU!

Tell Jim its awesome that he gets to teach! I studied "The Gift of the Holy Ghost" chapter that Jim taught yesterday...How'd that go? I absolutely loved that whole chapter. It is severely highlighted and shines with many pretty colors :) Be sure to make his favorite meal for dinner as a "just because you're awesome" gift :) There you go Jimbo, get that Potato Soup!
I saw that wonderful pic of Grandma! It is her personality perfectly :) Such a little cutie.
Hey so this is a picture of my new outfit. Sister Collins wanted to go to Ross or Good Will to find a good white shirt since it's been a bit warm here. Been in the 90s for the past couple months...ick :(   Yeah, so I wasn't going to get anything, but then I found this outfit and I thought you'd approve. ps...hehehe...I look like you :)
Super sad that half your missionaries are leaving :( It seriously is just heart-ripping when that happens, for both parties.
We have an investigator "on date". If you all could pray for him I'm sure your prayers will help him stay strong. We've been teaching him for about five months and he's been "on date" before, but he wasn't confident he'd be able to truly commit to the gospel standards, so we've gone back to the very foundation of the gospel (faith in Jesus Christ) and retaught him from there. He is an amazing man with an even more amazing testimony. Though, he may not completely understand certain concepts or principles in the gospel, he knows them to be true because he feels the Spirit testify of it to him when we're speaking or he prays and "listens real hard" until he gets that answer.
We have to study Elder Bednar's talk in the April 2014 General Conference "Bear Up Their Burdens With Ease" and a shortened version of "In the Strength of the Lord". They are both awesome talks and I have them printed out and already marked up.
<Mom Note: here is the video of Elder David A. Bednar's talk "Bear Up Their Burdens With Ease">

The World Junior Championships is like the Junior Olympics for Track & Field players. This year it was hosted in Eugene's historic Hayward Field. Eugene, Oregon is Track Town USA, where a bunch of people come to train I guess. With such a big opportunity to do service and get out there, missionaries got signed up as volunteers and mingled with tons of people. First my companion and I worked at the airport to sign-in athletes, media, family and get them to the campus. The we participated in the flag ceremony. Sister Collins and I were more toward the end in the "S" countries. Then our last station was an information desk in the dorms for six hours in case people needed information.
There are going to be new rules/policies/changes to the way missionary work is going to be done in the next couple of months. We will be doing a LOT more service where we get seen. There is a mission in California that does 50-50 service and proselyting work.
Lately, I have been reading the Book of Mormon again cover to cover and marking every time it says "commandments", "keep the/my commandments", etc. Anything related to obedience really. I'm really liking it :)
Love you guys! Live the Gospel! Keep Sunday happy & healthy!
Sister Duenas

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Joy in the Journey (07/28/2014)

Hi Mom! Hi Jim!
Sorry I didn't get to send a Goodbye email this past week. We ran out of time super fast and had to get to a Relief Society sisters' activity 10 minutes away that we were already late to...... oops. But it all turned out well because everyone was late or hadn't picked out their pottery yet. It was a super fun activity! I painted a pretty circular box with a sun (like in Tangled) as the lid...which was also charged to your card hehehe. Oh! And it also had a face on it. Not quite sure how it's gonna turn out, but it'll certainly be colorful :)  It's your gift so I hope you'll like it :)
Nope, I don't need anything else. I'm really liking the post-it's and stationary you sent. You will be getting two (maybe three) letters in the mail this week. Well one of them will actually be pictures and a note, but a picture is worth a thousand words, right ;)
I only have one pair of shoes that are a bit worse for the wear, but they are the black ones I've had for years so it's about time they lost their "souls" hehehe get it? Souls like a....Well yeah you get it :P
That dessert (Peanut Butter Mousse Pie) sounds SO good! Oh my goodness and SO rich and addicting and wonderful. Hahaha Mara would hate it, since it's got so much peanut butter. You should totally send the recipe to Josh!
Do the Greene missionaries have any investigators coming to church? I'd love to pray for them.
My MTC (Mission Training Center) Sisters back together again! This was such a great thing! We were squealing and everything. They are all doing great in their areas. All three of them are training a new sister missionary and since all the new missionaries first come here to Eugene I got to see them. I sent the pic to our MTC Elders in Canada too and they were so jealous. MTC was good times.
Mini-Reunion of MTC Sisters: Slater, Fletcher, McCleary, Duenas
This is Darryl, our investigator, who will be getting baptized soon. He is a crazy old man and we just love him :) He's like Grandpa just with a little less history knowledge and more silliness. He is wearing a funny werewolf mask he had from Halloween. We were eating dinner with his family and he just came into the kitchen/dining room with it on to be silly. He is really tall so it worked pretty good. It was so good, I just had to take a picture of it :)

The missionaries volunteered at the World Junior Championships here in Eugene! It was so fun! We even participated in the flag ceremony.

The last picture is of Pauline. She is Eugene's own 'Betsy Ross'. Well kind of. She sews all the time and got asked to fix this flag for the 4th of July. It was HUGE!

I am still so excited at having been able to go to the temple the other week. The Portland Temple is BEAUTIFUL! I want to go do baptisms and other ordinances there again with you so you can know personally how great it is. When we were there, 3 couples were getting sealed! One young couple, one just a bit older and then a couple in their 40's or 50's. All of them were absolutely glowing. I can't wait for when it's my turn! Haha don't worry it'll be quite a few years before my turn comes up. But seriously, I can't wait!
The Gwynn's visited?! Oh I love Sister Gwynn, tell her I miss her :) Can't wait for her letter. She has been a great influence (of many other women) for me on my mission. I hope they are doing well.
You are just a busy little bee aren't you? :)
How many times have you fed the Elders now? A bazillion? And so many church activities too! No wonder I'm seeing so many blessings :)
Gotta go play Capture the Title of Liberty now with the Zone! Wish me victory!!
Love you!