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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Three Baptisms! (04/21/2015)

So we had our interviews yesterday for the Klamath Zone and these interviews always take longer than they say they will. For example saying that we will start at 9am and end at 1pm. WRONG. We start at 8:30 and end at 4. We had the specialized training til 11:30 or 12 and then the interviews started from the farthest away to the closest in location so time isn't super wasted. We are just 10 minutes away so we basically went last and didn't leave until 4pm. Again my interview wasn't long or anything special. He basically just said I'll talk to you in a couple weeks for the exit interview so I can get along to the rest of the missionaries :). Hakuna Matata. We also had a specialized training, centered on obedience and diligence. President is calling the mission to repentance for not having focused meaningful studies and not getting up on time. Of which I have not had any problem with (except one companion) my entire mission thank you ;).
Klamath is a strange area, but it has been great for me to feel I've ended my mission strong. Everything looks the same so we always need a GPS. We can certainly find people to listen but many of them are not truly interested. Most everyone here is pretty noncommittal on religious things, but there are a few gems :) With that said, and I now realize I totally forgot to mention this... We had three baptisms this past weekend! A mom and her two daughters. It was amazing and they are a huge wonderful addition to the ward. They were a referral from members in a different ward. The man in the picture is the one who referred them and baptized them. It was a very happy day :)
Can you send me my 4-Generation Pedigree chart? There is a wonderful family history consultant here and she is super fun. I told I had basically nothing done on my chart and she said she'd put the things I had in and see what other things she could find. She is very excited :)
Yeah so I'll be sending 6 boxes home this week and that should take care of everything. I have accumulated way too much clothes these past 18 months. These will be the only boxes because we will be going to Crater Lake next Monday! Don't worry I'll take tons of pictures and make sure not to fall in ;). <Mom Note: If you have clothes that are worn out and you will never wear again, don't bother sending them home. Either throw them out or donate them.>  Ok. Sounds good, I will do that. I certainly have a lot of well loved clothes that need to be retired now :)
I have prayed and I feel really great about going to USU. I am especially excited about the Institute. I plan on taking classes there too :) I still really like dealing with plants and am finding I really enjoy it with all the yard work and maintenance we do out here :)  I might try to do something that'll mix horticulture and geography.
Sister Duenas trying to not cut her head off with the ridiculously large paper cutter 'thingy'
<Mom question to Sister Duenas: Did Kristina tell you about volunteering you to speak at the Youth Missionary Fireside when you come back home?> HA! Yeah she did! Can't say I didn't expect having to speak in something like that. Not super jazzed about talking in front of tons of Youth but, as the OEM motto goes, "Stand Tall. Doubt not; Fear not."
Ok and now I gots to go! Talk to you next week and see you in 14 ish days!
Can't wait to talk to you! Focusing on the work still but can't say I'm not countin' down the days too <3 
Will be going to Crater Lake Monday morning so I'll be sure to send pictures! And then to the Portland temple on Tuesday! Great last week coming up for me :)
See you soon! <3<3<3<3

Spring is in the Air (04/13/2015)

Hey Mumzy!
Klamath Falls has had random cold snaps this past week that have brought snow and then it would be beautiful sunshine.
Glad the snow has melted and weather can get back to normal back home in NY. Is it all brown and squishy now? 
Don't worry about the Spring cleaning I won't care how clean the house is.<Mom Note: psshhh...whatever...I do this every Spring, Dear :) > Speaking of the house, are there any changes? You said a long time ago that the tvs were bad and some other stuff I can't remember.
Thank you for the flowers! I still can't believe I got that scholarship. It's kind of like being in a dream.

Just to let you know I have a request for when I come home. Specifically for my first meal ;). So here is my order: Meatballs and Perogies with corn or green beans(the ones with garlic and pepper) and blueberry bread as dessert OR a nice juicy steak and a talk glass of real milk OR wagon wheels and blueberry strudel as dessert. Of course it is completely up to Jim though. Whatever he wants, he can use my coming home as a way to get the meal he wants :) (you're welcome Jimbo!)
Sounds like you are doing great things in the Primary and the kids love you!
Sad about the Sister's leaving the Greene Branch, but it does make sense. It's going to be hard with the initial wave of missionaries coming home and not as many coming out to replace them.
Here's my face from yesterday, since I know you like to see me :)
I get to go to the Portland Temple one more time before I come home! All of us missionaries that are leaving on May 5th get to attend the temple with President and Sister Russell. Super exciting! I love the temple.
Since we will be having interviews with President Russell next Monday, our p-day is being moved to Tuesday instead.
Love you!

Service Work in Klamath Falls (04/06/2915)

Holo Madre!
I am not in 2 wards, we just visit two older ladies in the other ward since they need sisters to help out.  
My District is small, just six of us,two other sets of Elders and me and my companion.
We have done a lot of yard work so far. We are working with the YMCA (maintenance/yard work), the Red Cross and a couple other local things every once in a while. It's been pretty great to just serve in the community. People will start to recognize us as normal human beings eventually from seeing us serving everywhere. The yard work/maintenance was just normal yard work, raking and such. For the Red Cross, we will be sitting at the sign up desk or the concessions making sure people don't faint.
I played rugby every Saturday morning during my last transfer in Newport. Usually 8 to 14 people playing, us and the Elders. It was pretty fun :)
We baked chocolate chip cookies for Easter to give out to everyone.
Sister Duenas making chocolate chip cookie dough
Loved the Easter box of course! The candy is almost gone since I'm trying to savor it. Tell the Branch I got their Easter box as well and that I love it too! And to whoever sent them I really like the Jane Austen note cards.
There is a member here in Klamath Falls who studied Geography in BYU. He is working on a water project here in Klamath since water is becoming scarce for the summer. He talked to me a little about it and it only solidified that I wanted to be in this major. Not sure what emphasis yet of course but I'll figure that out when I get there.
Love ya! Bye!

OEM Mission-wide Conference (03/30/2015)

Hi Mumzy,
Klamath Falls is nice. We are serving in one ward. Here are a couple pics from last weeks transfers.
Sister Duenas and the Mission President's wife - Sister Russell
Sister Duenas (with umbrella) - a typical rainy day in Oregon
Here are my long awaited for notes from the amazing OEM Missionwide Conference!
President Russell - This meeting is making history as a mission in coming together. Listen carefully and gather promptings.
Elder Brent H. Nielsen (of the Quorum of the Seventy) - 
Our purpose as missionaries is to: invite the spirit, receive revelation and open the heavens.
Doctrine & Covenants 43:8-9 - "ye shall bind yourselves to act in all holiness before me".
There has been 39 million views of  "He Is The Gift" video and it has resulted in 34,000 referrals.
The new Easter video is still in rough draft but we still got to see it before all others!! #BecauseHeLives - AMAZING!!!
The OEM will be rolling out the next phase of iPads. The OEM was a pilot mission to start the iPads and now we are one of the first missions to roll out the new iPads. The iPads are to be used to help fulfill our missionary purpose. The best filter for appropriate internet usage is our relationship with the Lord and our Heavenly Father. Don't let it (the internet/technology) be a distraction here on our mission OR in life in education, job or role of mother/father.
Brother Heaton - 13 years Director of the Missionary Training Center in Provo, and worked for 40 yrs at the Provo MTC.
Alma 39: 2-4 and 9-10, also Matthew 16 - Don't boast in thy strength and wisdom. Be humble and obedient. Don't forsake the ministry. Don't follow the "popular" crowd. Take up the cross and deny yourselves of all ungodliness. Be humble and listen to elders, counsel with your brethren.
Be the primary source through which the Holy Ghost teaches. Use the iPad to access and show church approved media/videos only to support the missionary message. Let the spirit guide.
Elder Nielsen (again)-
Personal testimony and righteousness -> How firm is your foundation?
Moral Agency - By choosing to be baptized and making covenants in the temple, we have chosen to follow God. By choosing to follow God, we have already 'spent' our agency. We have chosen to become agents of our Heavenly Father and we are accountable to him for our actions/choices. We have covenanted to be disciples of Christ for a lifetime.
Love you bunches!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bye Bye Newport! Hello Klamath Falls! (03/23/2015)

Holo Madre!
Sister Chalfant and I were double-transferred out of Newport. We will be replaced by elders and there will be no more Sisters on this part of the Coast. I am back in Klamath Falls and will be serving in the 3rd and 4th Wards. My new companion is from Idaho and is in the middle of her mission right now. 
Sister Chalfant and I had to wake up at 4:15am (we went to bed at 12:15, since we had so much cleaning and set up for the Elders to get done) to arrive at the Corvallis transfer spot at 6:15. Left there at 6:40 or something and got to Eugene around 7:50. Left Eugene and got to Medford at 12 something, got lunch and then left for Klamath at 1:30. Arrived at Klamath at 3:15pm. 
Apparently I'm now in a pretty good ward and dabble a little in the neighboring ward because they are in need of sisters so bad. This'll be an interesting last transfer I think...there was still snow in the mountain pass and it is not just light sweater weather like it was in Newport. Now I need to get my jacket scarf back out. On the plus side, I might actually get to see Crater Lake.
Now that I've been able to ponder things a little more, I think I'd be ok if I stayed at BYU for college. (Then I can visit Mara and Josh and Desmond and help out with cooking and stuff! I can have fun cleaning other people's houses :D, just not mine hehe.) I think I just got scared my first year there because of the crazy fast pace of everyone around me, but I know now it's nothing to be afraid of. With finding what I want to do with my life after my mission, I find it a little more exhilarating.
So with all that said I think I'll take summer classes at BYU. Thank you so much for getting all that college stuff done and signing me up for Summer classes at BYU. So were you able to get me signed up for those Fall semester classes? If you didn't get my email I really liked the 2F graph the best. I actually read the descriptions first and picked my fave classes and that one I think had all of them! Perfect!!! 
Here are some pictures from my last week in Newport.
-- A fabulous St. Patrick's Day package, the apple jacks, chips, pasta and caprisun are already gone :)

-- crazy awesome and delicious Grape Ape donut from Voodoo Donuts in Portland

-- and a picture with Wi, great New Zealander who we play rugby with and get our chicken fixes from. He owns a food place called Flippin' Chicken. 

ok, gotta go!
Love you bye!! 

A Crazy Busy Productive Week (03/16/2015)

Holo Madre!
The temple trip was amazing as usual with our entire Zone. It was a beautiful day if a bit long. We got to stop by Deseret book too, like I said last week. As for the long day at the temple....Well, we had to get up at 0430 am to get ready to get to the 9am session at the temple. We started the day pretty early and that's why it seemed to last so long.
The Zone Conference we had on Tuesday was very good. We learned a lot more about how to better teach the restoration of the priesthood to investigators. By not skipping or skimming over that part, they are able to know how important the power and AUTHORITY of God is right from the 'getgo'. 
Then, we had short lessons from our Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders about prayer and its importance. You'd never believe how hard it is getting someone to pray out loud. People are so scared of being judged or rejected that we have to bolster their faith and confidence that they are loved by their Father in Heaven so that faith and love out weigh the fear.
Then, of course, we had the Atonement talks from various missionaries plus one certain curly haired one ;) I could send you the talk I prepared but it wouldn't be the one I actually gave. See, I had written the talk a couple weeks ago, but then we met a member who just moved into the ward and she shared her story. With her story and the spirit I felt, I realized I needed to change my talk a bit. So unfortunately, no, you kinda can't get the talk. The talks were pretty good and the spirit was especially strong that Conference. 
Then, at the end, we all got our new iPads. Basically they are the same as the ones we had previously just faster and with more storage. There is a rumor going around that Facebook will be back in a couple months in our Mission, and if that's the case it doesn't especially matter to me since I'll be back East side :).
PREACH MY GOSPEL - Newport Beach, Oregon
And now I dare you to ask what eventful thing happened on our way back from zone conference ;)
As for the "eventful thing" I would say you should talk to the stupid deer and give it a talking to for walking in the road but alas, I don't think it can speak at the moment...The mission car has a couple good dents in it now with some nice clumps of fur :) And No, t'wasn't me that was driving :)
This past week was crazy because it's rare that awesome or even super productive things happen on Mondays since we only have a couple hours of work and people just want to be left alone at those hours (7-9). 
Then we had Zone Conference on Tuesday which took the entire day, and we hit that dumb deer. 
And because we hit the deer we had to take care of it on Wednesday which ruined our hours from 11-1:30. 
We were still able to get things done but  it wasn't until Thursday, Friday and Saturday that we were able to get great things done in the area. We saw people we hadn't been able to have lessons with in a while and set up more lessons for this week. The best part was that we were able to meet the mother of one of our investigators. So now we know more of where our investigator is coming from and how we can best help her to understand the restored gospel. 
District photo
Sounds like you are doing great in Primary! Totally knew you could do it :) 
And for being on a nice healthy diet you certainly make a lot of great food for others to gain on...hahaha.
So, I made my Strawberry cookies twice and the Pancit too. Everything was eaten by the time I remembered to get a picture. Everybody loved them :) The Pancit came out better this time, but still not what I remember it looking or tasting like texture wise. But everyone absolutely loved it and some want recipes so :)
Yep I got my Pinewood Derby cars and will graphite them the day before the race. The Elders are super excited that I am letting them use one of my Pinewood Derby cars. They will share my gold car. Though I told them they can't have it until the day of the race. Sometimes boys can be very accident prone if you know what I mean.
Didn't get any other package <box for St Patrick's Day>. That box is so cool!! I wish it would come so I can show everyone! Stupid USPS indeed. When do you think it'll get here?
hmmmm....Me thinks my mother knows me too much since she keeps dropping movie references in the most perfect places. I have educated you too well :)
Gots ta go! Love you!

I Love to See the Temple (03/09/2015)

Hi Mom!
HA! So now you've joined the stalker Moms huh? hahaha well I'm glad you were able to see that video. That is the OEM Mission song we sing after every lunch at Zone Conferences. President Russell had told us that we could sing our other thank you song for the people who provided our lunch. Then he started waving his hands once it was done for us to leave. Well, lets just say this, we love our President but there was NO WAY that the ENTIRE mission was gonna come together and NOT sing the OEM song. After a minute of sadness, disappointment and shuffling feet from a lot of us we all heard such a wonderful familiar song being started softly by a couple brave Elders. Then everyone burst into the song! I looked back at President standing with his wife and he could tell he had been over ruled.. even by his wife who was singing proudly with Sister missionaries a few feet from him. He gave in with a smile and joined the song. Once it was done I looked over at him again and he had tears in his eyes. This was truly a moment never to be forgotten. All the OEM together, all proud to be serving in Oregon. The spirit was pretty thick.
The voices singing loudest were likely Elder Pickett, Perrine or bah...I can't remember who else was standing with them, but yeah they have pretty good voices. Awww, I love my Mom. Well, it did help that I was the one practically right in front of him <the Elder shooting the video>. I'm sure I'm in the other videos too since we (Sister Chalfant and I) were in the middle of everything :)  Sister Chalfant took a video too but I'm not in it. Totally bummed I didn't grab my camera before going to lunch like the others did. Oh well. I'll just get one this Zone Conference. It's likely my last one :(
Sorry forgot to grab my notes again from the mission-wide conf but I'll try to get it to you next week with the notes I will be taking tomorrow at the Zone Conf as well. We have zone conferences every other transfer so this one tomorrow will be my last. I will cherish it like crazy.
The temple was awesome as usual! I love to see the temple and am grateful that my mission allows me to go every 3 or 4 months.
Portland, OR Temple
We drove up to the Portland Temple with the senior missionary couple and before we came back we made a stop at the Deseret Book store. Man! We need one of those in New York. There is so much stuff there that I wanted. Lots of great books from General Authorities and fiction and stuff, but alas I cannot touch them yet. I did get a cello hymn cd to listen to and it's beautiful to listen to on Sundays. There were a lot of great Sheri Dew books and some I wanted to look at from Elder Holland, Elder Callister, Elder Bednar, Elder Packer or Elder Ballard I think, and John Bytheway. I didn't pay too much attention to titles since I knew I wouldn't be able to read them anyways <until after my mission> so I can't tell you anything else.
Glad the box got to you ok. Just make sure to be careful with it because there is something in there I made that is fragile. I hope it didn't get ruined even though I wrapped it pretty good. I can tell you this though...One of the gifts you and Jimbo will both love and the other will likely torture you a little ;) hehehe (both are for Jim though).
ok gotta go! Wish me luck! i'll be making the Pancit this week.
Love you!! <3<3<3
....really quick though. The ward is having pinewood derby and ANYONE can enter. Could you send my black car and my gold car? I'd like to see if they still got it ;)

"Disciples of the Digital Age" (03/02/2015)

Holo Madre!
I am now past freaking out and just trying not to think about it too much. I am excited for home (it's home, who wouldn't be?) but I am just so close that I am wondering where the days are going and finding it increasing harder everyday to not push our investigators and people to progress in the gospel before I can't help them anymore. SO from now on til the last two or three weeks of my mission zip it on the homecoming unless it is for college things or something important, if you would kindly :)
Yep I found the rice noodles and will be making the Pancit twice. First for the Relief Society birthday activity and then for an investigator who is interested in learning to cook new things. I am thinking about cutting the recipe in half though since I had a hard time last time making it in such a large portion. SO for the recipe do I just cut all the ingredients in half or no?
An investigator named Carol taught me how to crochet and I really like it. It's different than knitting (which I still like the best). However, if I'm ever feeling down and feel like I'm not getting anything done I can just do two rows of crochet and it looks like I've done a lot! Yay exaggerated accomplishment! hahaha;)
As a missionary, I have learned to how to get crafty in order to create visual 'props' for object lessons. My Plan of Salvation out of felt is especially useful since we teach the Plan of Salvation frequently.
Here are the projects that I told you about last week.
I made a Plan of Salvation out of felt.
And I have my favorite "Armor of God" man to substitute for "Hangman"
I will make sure to send you my notes on what the conference with Elder Neilsen was about. But just as a sneak peak: It was all about iPads. We will be getting new ipads next week with new handbooks and ways to do online missionary work. They want to prepare us as "Disciples of the Digital Age" for hastening the work here on our missions and also for preparation and protection for going back out into the world of technology. If we are trained here how to use social media and technology to it's proper use than it ought to be easier for us when we are back home. The new iPads have new, stronger walls of filtering and restrictions. We will be trained to do Facebook better (once we get it back that is), we can do Facetime and Skype lessons and tons of other stuff I don't remember. The iPads we have now will be exchanged next Tuesday at Zone Conference for better heavy duty ones that the missionaries, who will be going home after August 23rd, will have to pay for like a bike. They will be their own iPads instead of being owned by the church. Break it and the missionary will have to fix it or buy a new one. Since I leave before then, my new iPad is basically a 'loaner', it belongs to the church and I don't have to pay for it.
We will be going up to Portland this Thursday for the temple!! So excited :)
I will get to go to the temple one more time at the very end of my mission and I truly don't care which one I go to for my last time. If it's the Portland temple, yay because it's pretty and has a small visitor's center. And if it's the Medford temple, yay because I might be able to see some old friends form Central Point :)
Love you bunches!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

16-Month Mark - Only 2 months to go! (02/23/2015)

Holo Madre!
I can't believe it is the end of February!! I am totally gonna freak when March 1st comes along. Today is my 16 month mark, so I am already freaking a little bit. It feels like I just got here in Oregon and yet I feel so much time has gone by as well. I have no idea how I'm gonna handle being home with no set schedule. Here is the District I was in before this last transfer, with the exception of the guy in the vest. 
Of course, me and Sisters Burrell and Chalfant (lower left). The one kneeling right above me is our District Leader. Above him is his previous companion who is now home. The other two are the Waldport Elders and our Senior Missionary couple, the Deals.
So, I can't seem to find the Pancit recipe. Could you resend it to me? I will be making it for the Relief Society birthday party in March. I'll just do a half-batch though, since the last time I made it it was just gigantic and no one has a pan big enough.
Here are a bunch of pictures from the Tide Pools last p-day. It was all pretty much on the shore. We got to go at low tide and it was totally perfect. Since it was President's Day, we got to get in for free!!! It was a great, long walk up too, since we had to walk across treacherous cobblestones to get to them. Talk about unsure footing.
The green things are the Anemone. We weren't allowed to touch the Starfish since they are recovering from a mysterious disease they had back in June of last year. 
No oysters, but we did see a lot of mussels. There were entire beds of them everywhere that we were advised not to step on. Totally not allowed to touch them or pick them up. You'd be literally tearing them out of their home and possibly body if you're not careful. 
The only thing we were allowed to take out of the area was drift wood, which I have a huge armful of now to make something super cool ;)  Not sure yet who I'll give it to yet though. I did make something for Mara and Josh that I'll be sending today hopefully. I got a 'Living Christ' and put it in a bigger frame. Then, around the edges I cut out different pictures/scenes with Jesus and put them around the border. It looks pretty good if I do say so myself ;) I'll take a picture of it and send it to you later so you can see it. And you can tell Jimbo that I got him a birthday present that I'll be sending but he isn't to open it until his birthday hehehe ;)
Seals and tons of birds hangin' out on a little rock island thing we couldn't get to.
And here are some super cool pictures that any one missionary who comes to the coast has to get :)
Photo on the left is a bed of mussels.
I got a Valentine's package full of awesome chocolates and letters from Jay and Kim and the kids. Please tell them Thank you from me :)
Hahaha (no sugar allowed in the house) sounds ok to me as long as I get to have my Foo Chow chinese food when I get home. I am dying for Foo Chow and Roma's. And even more for my bookshelf. I am just going to stare at my books for a while when I get home and then take them off the shelf, put them on my bed and sleep with them. They've been oh so neglected ;)
<Mom's response to Sister Duenas: "So, you want me to go move your books around for you? Then they won't feel so neglected......muwahahaha <evil laugh> ;)   >
AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! DON'T YOU TOUCH MY BABIES!!!!  unless you are going to dust them of course, then feel free :)    I WILL know if they are out of order :(
What?! Movies I understand going without, but how have you lived without Foo Chow for 16 months?? I had to live without any good chinese food for a year until I got to Central Point. Now I'm in heaven with 5 chinese restaurants pretty close by. Seriously, Newport is amazing and I would totally consider living here permanently.
This is a new project I am doing. I've learned how to crochet and I am making a washcloth for whoever what's it :) 
I've been super crafty lately...that's just scary. I'm crocheting, made the 'Living Christ' frame thing, made a Plan of Salvation out of felt, made a Restoration tower out of Jenga blocks, and now I have my favorite "Armor of God" man to substitute for "Hangman". Crafts are addicting once you get into them. Scary, scary....hahaha. Seriously, I have soooo many visuals for nearly any kind of lesson now it isn't even funny. They are all pretty cool though. I'm proud of them :)
ADIOS! Love you too!!
xoxoxoxoooo.............and back <3

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Homework - Study the Atonement and Resurrection (02/16/2015)

Holo Madre!
We get to go to the Portland Temple March 4th! So very excited!. I have written a letter for Jimbo in response to the letter he just sent me. Great letter, highlight of the day award :)  Tell Roger and Lynne I got their card as well, and the money. Please tell them that I said Thanks and that I can't wait to get back there to see everyone. Also got the chocolates and card from Gma Darling, yummy! and a card from the Collyers/Momma C. Tell everyone thanks for me. Tell Patty Mayonnaise I said HI as well!
Yes, We are still serving in the Food Bank and we might be helping out in the garden soon too.
Check this out! Lilian Lane is the north boundary on the coastal area of the Oregon Eugene Mission. It is at the tippy top of Depoe Bay. Technically if we stepped over it we'd still be okay and in our boundaries but if we went around the bend past it then we would be in Oregon Salem Mission territory.

The Alaskan senior couple is finally here in the OEM Mission Office. It'll be fun now that we have two sets of Christiansens in the office. We also got two Chinese sisters! Great things are going to happen in the OEM! Haven't met the Chinese Sisters yet since I'm out on the coast. We will be having a mission wide conference though with Elder Nielsen again on the 24th so I might get to meet them. Homework for the mission-wide conference is to study the resurrection and Atonement...oh darn ;)    Seriously one of the greatest subjects to focus on. Since it is the entire mission there's no telling if I'll have to talk or not. We all have to prepare a talk and I don't know how many will be asked to speak. 
Valentine's Day was just like any other day for the most part. We got some valentines from the young women and some 'mystery' white and pink tulips with chocolate covered strawberries from someone ;)  Thanks Mom! 
We had scheduled lessons for that day, but when our people remembered that it was Valentines Day they all cancelled on us. Such is mission life. So instead we went outside and street contacted since everyone was outside anyway enjoying the beautiful day. 
To end the day, we had the evening session of Stake Conference. Despite the holiday there was a good number of people present. It was a great session and Elder David Evans of the Quorum of the Seventy is an awesome speaker. He was someone you wanted to listen to, you could tell that really loves the people and you could just feel that the Spirit and him are good friends. The Stake Conference was a lot about councils; Ward councils, family councils and then down to the smallest husband and wife councils. It was great for the members to know that the bishopric and all the other auxiliaries always council together in keeping the ward unified and healthy. I think most people think that the bishop is always the one who makes all the decisions, but often it is really a group of people making decisions based on what's best for the ward or branch. Elder Evans also talked about forgiveness, both giving and receiving. He mentioned that when we confess to the Lord and have gone through the repentance process that, as it states in the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord remembers them (our sins) no more. Of course you, I and many others already know that scripture well, but then he added this wonderful insight. Once we have repented and the Lord has forgiven us, virtue lost becomes virtue again. The lair becomes honest (in a way) again and all is set back into original place with a nice clean slate to instead make the right choices. Of course I couldn't remember what he said exactly so it's a paraphrase but you get the idea. The Atonement is a beautiful gift and I am grateful to be out and sharing it.
Love you! I'll make sure to get pictures at the tide pools.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Finish the Race Strong (02/09/2015)

Holo Madre, 
Yes I got the little package! I absolutely love the little Book of Mormon!! I have given it a name it is so adorable, it's name is Bomito. BoM = Book of Mormon and then -ito for little :)
We have been getting tons and tons of rain this past week, and today I think is the worst. I had to drive from Corvallis back to Newport this morning at 6:45am in the crazy sideways rain and impatient drivers. It wasn't bad, though I had stayed up with Sister Haugen (love her!) helping her pack and stuff til midnight last night and so I was really tired since we had to wake up at 5:30 the next day for transfers :) We all drove up to Corvallis so Sister Burrell could get to the transfer spot at 6:30 and we wouldn't have to wake up at 4am to get her there from Newport. We stayed with Sister Haugen and her PA companion Sister Geisler and had way too much fun talking all night long. She is going to Riverside Grants Pass, neighbor to my Missionary "birthplace" (first area of her mission) Redwood.
My companions wanted to see how long my hair could get. So, of course, that means they had to straighten it. I have very long hair right now :)
Last P-Day... laundry, eat, and wrote letters. A rare nice relaxing P-Day :). We hope to go to the tide pools next Monday since it says it'll be sunny. The low tide is at 4:30 pm so I'll make sure to get pictures to you the next Monday since I'll have already emailed.
Believe me. I am in hyper-drive trying to get everything done here before I go. There is work still needed to be done and 3 months is nothing. We had a specialized training this last week and those of us going home in May, June and July have been given a challenge. Since we are the last of the people who answered the call immediately after the change (aka. part of The Wave) we are part of history and we are to be finishing the race strong and not slowing down because we see the end of the tunnel. Missionaries leaving in the month of May (me!) have been challenged to get 2 baptisms before they leave, missionaries leaving in June - 3 baptisms, and missionaries leaving in July - 4 baptisms. We are all pretty excited about it and feel the spirit working within us. As soon as President issued the challenge I thought of certain people we needed to get more serious on working with. We have a great teaching pool but now we need to really light the spiritual fire under them. These last months are going to fly by and I just hope I'll be able to help Newport out in some way before I get to the chopping block and have to leave these wonderful people :)
Time to go grocery shopping now.
Love you,

Had a super fun time playing "Minute To Win It" game for Newport Ward activity.
There were five challenges that each team member had to complete. Our team placed a very close 2nd overall. 
1- Sail boat races; paper sail boat to blow around a "buoy" (rock) with a straw, most lap in the minute wins.
2- M&M Mover; suck up M&M with a straw and transfer it over into a cup at the other end of the table. I did this one and tied with another member, he one the second time. Though since he is a bagpipe player I feel like he cheated. Who would be able to beat that great lung capacity?
3- Penne Pick Up; spaghetti noodle in mouth to skewer a penne noodles and transfer it to the plate. No hands.
4- Cookie Face; move oreo cookie from forehead down to mouth just using your face muscles. Totally got it ;).
5- Stocking Smackdown; with a stocking that has a tennis ball stuffed in the end on your head you must knock over half filled water bottles on the ground. Super funny to watch.
M&M Challenge - part 1
M&M Challenge - part 2
Winners of the Oreo Cookie challenge

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Still Loving Newport! (01/26/2015)

Hi Mom!
Yes, I am liking the ocean more but it still makes me nervous. The ocean is nice just to take pictures of and walk on the beach, but definitely not going in it now or in the future unless on a boat (but not as a missionary) :) It's pretty to look at, but not to touch because of obvious reasons like getting 'eaten' :)
We do "walk week" or "walk day" stuff to contact more people on the streets, and to be seen and save on gas and miles. We usually have certain people we are seeing each day who are in specific areas, so we plan finding places and times for walking/tracting based on our appointments. We don't do much tracting (walking) at all since many people here know LDS members and they kind of just ask us questions. Plus, we do a lot of service so  they come to us and members are a bit helpful in the finding too. We do have a good size teaching pool, but we are trying to find more people since we baptized the ones we had in our teaching pool. We also do a good amount of work with 'less active' members, but that's typical. There are some great people out here. I absolutely LOVE the area and the Newport Ward!
The Hatfield Marine Science Center was fun. We built houses out of Legos and sent tsunamis after them. Mine totally stayed standing! Yay me, maybe I have a future as an architect... HA yeah right :)
A gingerbread lighthouse and ocean!!
The college placement test went pretty well. I did well on 2 out of the 3 sections - Sentence structure and Reading comprehension were great, but the math was ... sydu5sdlf7dfkui#@*!!!. It took me about 2 and a half hours to take and then we did lunch. We went to this small cafe that gets a rating of "meh ok". But THEN!!! We went to this place across the street called Sweet and it had this huge counter and on the far left was tons of chocolates and in the center was cookies and fudge and then the last two sections of counter had ice cream!!! I got a Red Velvet truffle and a Raspberry Velvet truffle and some ice cream (one scoop cake batter and the other marionberry pie). Super delicious :D. That ice cream was super good and it did indeed have small pie chunks in it :) I was going to get some fudge but Sister Chalfant got a whole pound of it of various flavors so I didn't want to go over board. Sugar high week is coming!! 
Yay free time at lunch! #missionfun. I built the Medford Temple and Portland Temple out of Pass-Along cards and turned into a 'bridge' because I'm clumsy and the top fell down. They were built on a 'sure foundation' - my study journal filled with notes from all scriptures, the life of Christ, General Conference, Stake Conference and Hang Man ;)
A member treated us to breakfast at La Mason, a French restaurant. I had the traditional Eggs Benedict, my new fave, and our breakfast came with an appetizer of bananas and cream with brown sugar on top. It was delicious!
Minute To Win It is a game show and we are doing a smaller version of it for a fun Ward activity this Saturday.
It is Sister Burrell that cooks and plays the ukelele. She is a 'ginger' and gingers can do anything :)
The (National College Championship) football game was an atrocity. I am 'hurting' for The (Oregon) Ducks - they played so bad. Bro Phillips and Elder Deal (senior missionary) explained football things to me so I knew enough what was going on. It was entertaining, but also sad to watch....poor "Ducks".
We were given permission to watch a local production of the play "Shrek" since 22 of the 65 people in the cast are LDS members and are in the Newport Ward :) But, unfortunately, we didn't have an investigator to go with us, so we couldn't attend the play. However, the Director of the play (who is LDS) recorded it, so she might give us a copy for after our missions ;D Next year we think the play will be The Little Mermaid and we all want to come back for that.
This is a funny sign that we passed while out walking. Super great restaurant that we will go to when I come back to visit, since it is more pricey than my missionary budget will allow. Of course that's only if you would come to Newport with me after my mission :)
Love you bunches of baby elephants!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Serving in a Threesome is Awesome! (01/19/2015)

Holo Madre!
It is very windy here! We've had tons of wind and rain on and off over the weekend. It's finally super nice today in the 60's with a light breeze :) We are planning on going to the Hatfield Marine Science Center today with our Ward Mission Leader and his family. They are super awesome! We have frequent correlation meetings with him and always keep each other informed and updated on new people coming into the ward or needing any kind of assistance spiritual, temporal or otherwise. He gets the "Fantastic Ward Mission Leader" award. 
I have other pics I can send you too about where I live which is basically right next to the ocean. Every time we see the ocean we want to go down and write the Plan of Salvation in the sand. We are relatively close to the church building, just 5 or 7 minutes depending on traffic and tiwi :).
One of our tools for teaching the restoration through a tower that gets knocked down when the Priesthood gets taken away.
We have a record number of missionaries in the ward of 3 Sisters, 2 Elders (Blackwelder DL and Heaton) and a Senior Missionary couple (the Deals)! It's super nice having Senior missionary couples in the Ward to help us out. Let the Branch back home know that a Senior Mission is like you are on vacation with the Lord. The rules of regular missionaries have no ground with Senior couples. They can very nearly do whatever they wish as long as they are helping the Ward and Missionaries where they are stationed. We love our Senior Missionaries!
It is so much more fun as a trio that's for sure and I think that we can get more things done and there isn't as many awkward moments in proselyting and dinners. There is always something to talk about, sing about or reflect on together. Teaching is a bit more of a balancing act but it always goes well since the Spirit is the guide and teacher.
We have a food pantry that we volunteer at in this area as well. And since all the missionaries come to serve at the food pantry at the same time, we get tons of things done and then the boss has to think up more things for us to do. She is astonished at how much work we get done and we love doing it. We're not just a whistle while you work crowd, but one that talks and laughs together and swaps crazy missionary stories and spiritual studies as well. I'm sure that sometimes she has no idea what we are talking about and finds us strange but we can definitely see her feeling the Spirit and being more happy whenever we are over. We go every week for a couple of hours and it's so fun. Though instead of grabbing the food and giving it out to people like in Central Point we are sorting all the food and stocking the shelves... hmmm, it sounds vaguely familiar if only it was soap and candles...hehehe ;)
No activities Ward or Relief Society activities yet, but we are preparing one for Jan 31st, a Minute to Win It game night. Everyone is super excited about it and hopefully we have a ton of people coming. There might be some rootbeer floats too :)
Oh my goodness.....such silly people. Everybody keeps asking me that question. It's just a pretty ribbon! :( We were helping a member wrap her presents for Christmas and she said I could keep the bow. So, not to lose it I put it on my tag. It shiney. Me likey. Me takey :)
Here is a song we've been singing to people as a trio. I mean we have a ukelele, so why not?
Love you bunches!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Seals and Whales and the Pacific Ocean, Oh My! (01/12/2015)

Holo Madre!
I am really loving my new area! It is beautiful and the people here are amazing!
The Newport Ward covers a couple places so it's rather large. The cities/towns of Toledo, Newport, Depoe and Siletz is the area I cover right now. Depoe Bay is by far the prettiest and combined with Newport has just tons of seafood and other places to see and visit. Love it here! Though I'm still convinced that the ocean is going to eat me. Seriously, it is way too huge for my comfort and if a tsunami comes we are totally soaked toast. We can see the ocean from our apartment and it only takes one minute to get there by foot. But since we are so close we get tons of great pics :)  Ok, here are some great photos of me at Depoe Bay!  
Sister Duenas at the Whale Statue at the sea wall in Depoe Bay, Oregon
Depoe Bay is the whale watching capital of the Oregon Coast because it is 'home' to a pod of gray whales for 10 months of the year. It is also the smallest navigable harbor in the world apparently. Here is a continuation of sunset pics at Depoe Bay. So so pretty.

Sunset at Depoe Bay
We had nothing to do on New Year's Day (turned into a p-day by President), so we went to to the bayfront. If you ever want a good dish of fish n chips DON'T go to Sail Inn Cafe...'tis gross - the fish tasted like rubber and was super bland and no juice, bleh! 
Go to Mo's restaurant instead, it's owned by members of the church and it has awesome seafood and clam chowder :) After eating there we went to peruse the gift shops where I got some cool knick-knacks to remember Newport. Newport is very tourist-y, but there aren't very many tourists here yet until the summer, since school is still in. I'm grateful I'll be leaving right as it gets crazy :) 
Yep, New year's Day was the day of 'evil' tights incident that hurt my back. My back is much better now. There's just a bit of leftover soreness, but it doesn't hurt anymore thank goodness. I got a new pillow to celebrate :)
Seals and the docks at Newport. 
There is more ocean than houses and stuff in Depoe since it's a small place. Just look at the pictures! It is obviously more pretty. I've had seafood 4 times so far ;) LOVE IT!!!!
The first pic is Newport and the second is Depoe Bay.
Newport, Oregon
Depoe Bay, Oregon
My companions (Sis Chalfant and Sis Burrell) are pretty wonderful. Sister Burrell is another "ginger" friend and she loves Doctor Who and Star Trek and other nerdy things just like me. But tell Katie not to worry because Sis Burrell doesn't know much about anything Jane Austen or whatever, so Katie is still my favorite ginger ;)
Sisters Chalfant, Duenas, Burrell
We have been given permission to watch the (2015 National Football Championship - College Football Playoff Game) football game between Oregon University (the"Ducks") and Ohio State (the "Buckeyes"). Though I know very nearly nothing about football I'm still going to watch and just cheer and boo when everyone else does, that or eat chips :)
It's funny every time I tell someone I don't understand football they say "oh don't worry I'll explain it to you!" and then the game starts and they completely forget about their poor  uninformed friend. Maybe this time I'll understand since I'll be with the Ward Mission Leader's family and the senior couple. Older people love explaining things :)
Love you bunches!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Goodbye Klamath Falls, Hello Newport! (01/05/2015)

Hi Mom,
Yeah, so I am no longer in Klamath Falls. So, I had a pretty cool companion and was super excited to serve there, but alas 'twasn't in the program. I got to Klamath Falls last Monday afternoon, helped my companion pack her stuff all night, got up and cleaned the apartment, put stuff back in the car, and drove back to the Mission Home in Eugene through the snowy mountain pass. We got to Eugene around 1pm. I was reassigned to Newport and will be in a threesome for the rest of this transfer. Newport is a city on the Oregon coast. Left for Newport at 2:30'ish, picked up some extra stuff (bed and table for me) and got to Newport at almost 6pm...'twas a long day.
Sorry I only got one picture from Klamath Falls, but I wasn't even there a whole day/24 hours. Though, I did get to meet the Bishop and his family :) He and his family are very nice, and he is from PA, so it was cool to talk to more East Coast'ers.
Sister Duenas and Sister Bonetti (Klamath Falls, OR)
Don't worry, I am staying nice and warm. At the end of this transfer I'll be sending more boxes home, since it'll be warmer come February and March out here. Oregon is NOT like New York holding on to its' winter through 'til April.
I absolutely love my new companions (Sisters Chalfant and Burrell). I am in one ward (not two) again, but it feels like there are so many people here, even though it's the smallest ward I've been in so far. My first Sunday here in the Newport Ward was super nice, especially since it was Fast and Testimony Meeting. They had me give the closing prayer since I'm new to the ward.
So, my back injury incident...I was finishing up packing my things last Monday, and as I bent down, and not lifting or moving anything, I got up and something in my back went kind of "snap twisty". I said 'ow' and just didn't slouch anymore for the next couple of days. It hurt, but it was manageable pain....and then the evil tights incident happened :(  grrrrrr    I decided to wear tights one day, even though I knew I couldn't bend very well, because it was going to be cooler that day, so I needed tights. As I was attempting to manage the tights, my back screamed in protest and I heard a very loud evil "POP". I rested for a few minutes, then get down on my knees to pray.....another discovery, Kneeling = mucho pain. We got some numbers of LDS Doctors in the area, but they are all on vacation...HAPPY NEW YEAR!! :) So, we went to a walk-in clinic and got to sit and wait in very 'nice' wooden chairs (ouch!). The doctor prescribed some pain killers, and they help, but they make my brain fuzzy and that's not good, since my brain is already weird anyways...hahaha. Between the meds, the bag of frozen corn and the heating pad, the pain is easing up. Don't worry, I got a Priesthood blessing on Saturday.
Articles of Faith (Klamath Falls)
On a happy note, I do like Newport. 
Though I truly believe that the ocean is going to eat us all, since it's just ridiculously huge :)
Love you bunches of baby elephants!

<Mom Note:  We received an update from the Mission President's wife on January 7th about Sister Duenas' back injury. The pain is lessening and Sister Duenas will be fine, but has to be careful with her back, no lifting things that are too heavy and take short breaks if driving long distances and use a lumbar support for her back where possible.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Transferred to Klamath Falls - YAY for SNOW!!!!! (12/29/2014)

We had a wonderful video-chat with Sister Kiana Duenas on Christmas Day! 
Sister Duenas was surprised and super happy to see so many family members on the call.
Sister Duenas sends her love to all her family and friends back home.
She loved her Christmas presents and stocking (Well, all except for the adorable pencil skirts her Mom tried to sneak in there. It was worth a shot, but Sister Duenas says NO...hahaha :)
Sister Duenas' presents under her beautiful white Christmas Tree made for her by her Gma Beach
Christmas morning with her Missionary District back in Central Point, Oregon.
Sister Hall, Sister Duenas, Elder Galloway, Elder Tonini, ElderPorter, and Elder Segrera
Holo Madre!
I'm off to Klamath Falls 3rd Ward. Sending two big boxes home too. Good thing you sent me warm things, there is snow and ice in K Falls. I am so excited to have snow!!! This might very well be my last area too.
Klamath Falls is a nice place so far of what I've seen? I am not training again, my new companion (Sister Bonetti) has been out a little less than a year. She is absolutely wonderful and we are getting along great so far. My comp is from PA!! YAY, EAST COASTERS!!
I was super close on time (getting packed for the transfer) so I wasn't able to grab a couple of things that I'll send later. The Christmas stuff that I want to keep and the 9x13 pan which still had brownies in it so they will send it to me once they are eaten :)
I don't know if I'll be driving or not but I'll let you know :) and don't worry, I'll be careful. 
We are just 30 miles from Crater Lake actually so I definitely plan on grabbing a member to take us. And, thankfully, I am just in one ward now :)
(For our Christmas goals when I was back in Central Point), There aren't really any homeless people in Central Point who we could find and give a Goodie Bag to, but I hope that the Sisters there will continue to look. 
I don't even remember when I lost my blue hat. I just remember one day I was looking for it and when I couldn't find it and I realized that I hadn't seen it in a long while. It's probably at a member's house or on a homeless persons head by now :( That red hat you made is super nice! Hope will love it, especially since it's similar to Donna's Dad's hat on Doctor Who.
Klamath Falls, Oregon - Sister Duenas is SUPER EXCITED to be in a beautiful, cold, snowy area. Klamath Falls should feel just like home for her :)
Love you bunches of baby elephants!