Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Week 5 at the MTC

Ok...there's a lot to say. Thank you mom and Rod for the goodies package. I just got it yesterday because of the mail being closed on Saturday. It's funny though, because there are PLENTY of goodies and all you can eat food here at the MTC which is terrible! but I'm trying to control myself ha ha. But the goodies are good! Maybe just not another box though ha ha. If anyone want's to send me stuff, a good idea is pictures! I love them! and everyone else does too. :-)
Please copy and send me an article from April 2004, Sunday morning session of General Conference. (sent) It is called "But if Not..." by a member of the 70 and send it to me? It's really good and I encourage you all to read it. It's about having faith whether or not things go the way you planned.
Well, the beginning of this week stunk! Yesterday during gym time I went to check and see if they had scheduled my MRI for next week. As most of you know I have a stupid brain cyst thing and it's given me a lot of grief !! (but no physical side affects) As I did that, the Dr. came in and the girl who was scheduling it asked him some questions about it. Then he, a little insensitively and frustrated, asked me why I hadn't "taken care of all this before I came to the MTC" (we did!) and that in my situation he would probably say that I'm not going to go to Salta because they would want me to stay in the states if anything about my MRI looked questionable! I told him that Salt Lake City Medical had reviewed it and that the Dr's had approved me to go to Salta... as long as this MRI looked good. He was just kind of rude and said that they had never let him in on anything ... so he was kinda taking it out on me!! He just kept mentioning how he doubted I would still go to Salta and that I needed to get the MRI right away! So they made the appointment for that day asap. I asked if I even had time to go change into my skirt because we were in gym clothes... they said no, you have to go now. Well I had forgotten my name tag, so we went back up and got it and I just started crying because of the Dr and the fact that I wanted a blessing before I went to get the MRI, but I couldn't because all of the elders in my district were at the gym. We went to the classroom to get my cough drops so that I wouldn't cough and move during the MRI and luckily my teacher hmo Messer was there early.. I asked him to give me a blessing so he pulled a teacher out of the hallway and they gave me one. ....still bawling I went out to the curb and waited for the shuttle and my elders came by and asked what was wrong and said a prayer with me and my other teacher hmo Hidalgo too. Originally they wouldn't let us go off MTC campus in gym clothes but they let us since I had to get there right away. I got there and they had to stick me 3 times to put an IV in because my veins are too small, so that stunk. But luckily I was calm and didn't cough during the MRI. Then we went back to the MTC and I got to call mom and talk to her for 15 min and tell her what was up, so that was nice. When I went back to the Dr. here that had been kinda mean, he was like, "you didn't take your original MRI with you?!" I was like ...uh, NO I thought you were going to look at that and compare the two and you NEVER told me to take it!! So there was TOTAL lack of communication throughout the whole day and I had to go BACK to the clinic to give them my first MRI. SO, it was a long, stinky day and I was super tired and had a headache from it all in the end.... But life goes on and the elders, my companion and my teachers were all very loving and supportive.
I went to see the results today but they of course are not back yet, so I have to wait till tomorrow, which means you all will have to wait till next p-day unless I get to call home again. ugh!!
So what have I learned from all this......Patience and long suffering and to trust in the Lord and have faith in him. I've done all I can do and now it's all up to him. That's where the talk, "But If Not..." comes in.... so read it everyone!
On the up side, I got to go to the temple today!! It's finally open, so that was GREAT and felt really nice.
Well love you all!
Hermana Dunn

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mission Photos!

Tawny's district group photo by the world map from left to right
Elder Bunnell, Elder walker, Elder Edwards, Elder Cathro, Tawny, Hermana Papenfuss, Elder Nelson, Elder Johanssen and Elder Obray (who is behind Elder Johannsen and you can only see his ear.)

Tawny's district group photo by the temple. Back row from left: Elder Nelson, Walker, Johannsen, Bunnell & Obray. Front Row from Left: Elder Edwards, Hermana Papenfuss, Hermana Dunn, & elder Cathro.

Tawny and MTC Sign

Tawny Studying

Tawny and her companion Hermana Papenfuss

Tawny and World Map

This is a picture of Tawny and Nicole Meyers. Nicole Meyers is a friend of Tawny's from Coeur d' Alene who got there a couple weeks before Tawny did! So funny how those things work sometimes.

Hermana Papenfuss studying

First Day Dork :)

Hermana Papenfuss First Day

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Week 4 at the MTC

I sure learned my lesson this week ha ha. Also another lesson as well. So we are just starting to speak more Spanish now and starting to outline the lessons in Spanish. well the plan of salvation, lesson 2, is hard! And in Spanish it's worse ha ha cause there's different tenses you have to use which is confusing. So the other day we practiced lesson 2 in Spanish for the first time just winging it and it took me FOREVER!!! The language is just all jumbled right now in my mind and I still need to learn more vocab everyday so I'm struggling to get it all organized and use it right. Well I was frustrated, and for this last Sunday the 18th or whatever the topic for everyone to write their 5 min talks was the plan of salvation.! Since I was called last week, the counselors wife said I wouldn't be called again cause they like to hear from other people. So I started to write my talk and then quickly got frustrated with my language skills or lack thereof and quit. The next day, Sunday, we went to church and had opening exercises and then of course they announced the speakers right before they are supposed to speak. Well he called an elder up and then he said MY NAME!!!!!!!!!! You can imagine the shock on my face and on everyone else in the congregation! ha ha! They all looked back at me and I was just in shock mouthing to them, "DID HE REALLY JUST CALL ME AGAIN?" Everyone was like ....uhhhhh! ha ha including me. I couldn't believe it! ha ha So I was like well, I guess I have to, so I had to borrow my companion's Spanish scriptures and she was nice enough to find me a scripture because I was just sitting there flabbergasted not having a CLUE what I was gonna say! and ONLY having gone over it in Spanish ONCE!!! ha ha OH NO!!! So I took up the lil plan of salvation pamphlet that I had and opened it up to the diagram and just looked at that and had one scripture in mind and ended up not using my companions, so as I awkwardly walked up to the stand I stopped to make sure that they wanted me to talk and said...."Well I talked last week" and Brother Jergens, who is always stern and blunt and kinda intimidating said, GOOD. lol. So I had no idea what I was gonna say. At first I said awkwardly... "surprise..... para mi!! (for me)" ha ha and everyone laughed. Then I wanted everyone to know that I hadn't prepared a talk ...and to kinda rub it in brother Jergens face secretly, that I was still doing it off the top of my head. I went for it though and talked mostly about the pre-mortal life, the fall and the atonement. And I did pretty dang good! The words just kept coming to my mind and the conjugations!! Luckily I was reading about the Plan of salvation in that pamphlet before church. And the lord just totally helped me!!! ha ha I kept looking at the native speakers for the support and when I would say a word with question in my voice as to whether or not it was the right conjugation they would smile and nod at me ha ha. Then when I bore my testimony the spirit definitely came and helped any lack of speaking ability. This whole time the two counselors couldn't understand me because they both speak German and no Spanish!! I was kinda bummed because I did pretty dang good for barely going over the lesson! Then brother Jergens had to give me a hard time on the stand and kinda scold me that I wasn't prepared but whatever. ha ha. I learned the lesson to always be prepared which I normally am! But my companion told me something different. She said that she really didn't think it was to teach me to be prepared because she said that I was always prepared for lessons and everything, but that it was a lesson to trust in the Lord and not in my outlines or talks! To follow the spirit and do and say what the Lord wanted me to say! I hadn't even thought of it like that but it's totally true! Trusting in the Lord may seem hard at times because we like to know "now!" and control our lives, but just remember that the Lord is the one in control and will watch over us and we need to trust in him. So I learned two lessons that day!! ha ha.
The best way to be prepared spiritually is to always study the gospel and the words of the Lord and the prophets and understand them...then you can do anything and say what the Lord wants you to say, like what was doing....hopefully ha ha. Read D&C 84:85
I would like to challenge everyone to read their scriptures (particularly the B.O.M.) for at least 10 min each day and I promise that if you do that, your day will go so much better and more organized or whatever! Try it for a week and see how it goes!

Pues, LES AMO!!! I love you guys!
Hasta La Vista BABY!
PS....might I add that Sunday....the line for the showers was horrendous!!! and I didn't have time to take a shower that naturally....the day I don't shower and am not prepared I get called A SECOND TIME in a row to speak!! ha-ha
OH AND they called me up because they forgot that I went last week!!!! THEY FORGOT! They said I was a good sport and a trooper and so did the native speakers who thought I did really good. ha ha. I don't mind that I got called up again...just having to do it in Spanish for the first time was the only part I minded.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

week 3 at the MTC

Hello all!!!

One thing I wanted to share this week is, making time for the Lord. I've learned a lot more about when you make time for the Lord, go to church, say your prayers, serve others and strive to keep his commandments HE WILL BLESS YOU!!!! You make time for Him and He will make time for YOU!!! Remember that! I can promise you He will because I've seen it in my life!
In the Referral Center I talked to this man on the phone for 15 MINUTES and basically gave him the first half of the first lesson, all by myself!!!! It was AWESOME! He's strict Catholic which he kept saying, but was interested in the Mormon church....either for the heck of it or for more!? I couldn't tell, but I re-sent his order which he had never received and also a book of Mormon, because he wanted one. He was really nice and said that it was really nice talking to me too. He wanted me to call back in 2 weeks so I will, to see if he got the things and to talk too him more. My heart was pounding like crazy talking to him as it was basically the first time I taught most of the lesson to someone real and not role playing....and all by myself!!!! lol He didn't think the name Tawny was very feminine but loved my middle name when he asked for my name again hahaha.. So mom, I guess you slipped up on giving me a good name hahaha. Just kidding. I laughed when he said that.
ANOTHER AMAZING STORY!!!! Sundays, everyone is supposed to prepare a 3-5 min talk on a given subject IN SPANISH plus include your testimony of course. Then they randomly pick 2 speakers that morning in sacrament and a member of the branch presidency is the concluding speaker. GUESS who got called up! ME! hahah Yup the first Sunday we did that and the topic was on the restoration of the gospel. haha. I did pretty good even though my heart was in my throat. lol. .....In Spanish!! By the way my Spanish is coming slowly. I've forgotten a lot and yesterday we had an "English fast" where we could ONLY speak Spanish and it was HARD!!!!! It stunk because I am so slow at speaking and conjugating and putting it all together to make sense. So it''s been a little frustrating.
THEE BEST STORY NOW! Sunday night we had a fireside like always. My companion and I were a little slow getting there and the room was FULL!! We were just standing there trying to find open seats and about to go to the overflow when this elder walks up to us randomly and says , " I have two seats, do you want them? and we were like OK! He took us all the way up to the 4th row from the front, kind of on the side and next to the piano. As we were singing the opening hymn guess who walked through the door! ELDER DALLIN H OAKS! Member of the 12 apostles! We were literally sitting 3 rows behind him, 20 ft or so away!! His daughter, "Jenny Oaks Baker" was the speaker/performer that night!!!! IT was AMAZING!!! This girl started violin at age 4 and went to some crazy school in PA and Julliard too I think and performed with so many people and at Carnegie Hall! Look her up on the internet. She played about 7 songs? and spoke in between! THEY WERE AMAZING arrangements of, "Be Still My Soul", "I Need Thee Every Hour", "Amazing Grace", "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" , This is the Christ" and some other songs that were AMAZING!!! Her nephew played the piano and I could read her part and his from my seat because I was on the isle! She's world renowned or something or should be! It was beautiful and I was flipping out how amazing it was and how I was sitting SO DANG CLOSE! IT WAS SO AMAZING!!! I went up to her nephew Jared Oaks, after the fireside, introduced myself and asked if they had arranged those. He said no but that she had violin albums out with arrangements like it, that I could buy and a Christmas one too! So I want to get those and her CD's when I come home. The elder that seated us was really a blessing that day. We asked why and how he picked us?? He just said "you were the ones"! It blew my mind! That probably made my whole MTC right there just getting to hear her and her testimony. Plus sitting right next to Dallin H Oaks!
I only have 5 min left. Sorry I can't send pictures to you! AGGGHHH! I don't know why but these computers here won't allow me to! Sorry I'll just have to print them out and send them.
Love you all,

July 6th

Ok so 30 min on email stinks so I'm gonna write you the rest of what I had to say in my July 6th email, "Trust in the Lord"

My motto for my mission is "No Regrets!" along with the lines from Elder Jeffery R Hollands talk about Missionary work, that I loved! (1) When you study...STUDY! (2) When you pray...PRAY! (3) When you work...WORK! "You only have 18 months! And then the rest of your life to think about what you did on the Mission!"

The devotionals and firesides and all the meetings we have all the time are amazing! You feel the spirit so strong and they just make you want to work so hard and also be a better person. I think one the THEE most important things I've learned here as a missionary is that it is NOT about you! It is about finding those that the Lord has prepared for you to help & to teach. It is about the Lord's children! There are millions of people out there waiting to hear & learn about the gospel and it is our duty to follow the promptings of the spirit always & find them. One thing that has been stressed is that we need to look at these people as the Lord would see them. Love them like He loves them, treat them as He would treat them, see them as He would see them... Picture everyone dressed in white, because that's how the Lord sees us. Sadly, there are those prideful missionaries out there that are only in it for the # of baptisms... I hate to say it, but there are and that is SO NOT what they teach us to do here! But rather to truly grow to love the people as Christ & Heavenly Father loves them and to truly help them in whatever needs they have and teach them how the gospel really blesses them and their families and their lives. Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ we can truly return to live with our families and with Heavenly Father. That's His whole purpose for it!!!! To give us joy and to grow and then to return to live with Him for eternity with our family's.

There are two places that we go for teaching experience. The RC which is the Referral Center, where we actually call people up and confirm whether or not they got the DVD's or free Bibles or Books of Mormon that they requested from our website. In there our teacher challenged us to bear testimony to them or teach a little bit about the church. It is nerve wracking but exciting at the same time. Cause you don't want to tick people off, but at the same time you can really teach them or share something that they needed to hear that day. I've mostly got answering machines but with a couple people I've talked about Heavenly Father's love for us and the atonement and Jesus Christ and eternal families... It was awesome! Then there's the TRC "Teaching Resource Center" where volunteers from the public ...who are members...come and act as investigators so we can practice teaching with them. That's what Spike did! Only he does it for the Portuguese speakers. When we first taught it was awesome!!! Having the spirit in the lesson really is the only thing that matters. What converts people is the spirit...the missionary is only acting as a mouthpiece for the Lord.

So.... Here's something I never thought I would admit or even come close to think! It has to do with a lesson I had about enduring to the end & never giving up or turning around!!! They used this marathon analogy in one of our classes. A marathon runner from Tanzania was competing in the Olympics or something and got injured before the end of the race. Because of that injury he limped the rest of the course not giving up until he crossed the finish line. He said: "My country didn't send me 5,000 miles to start the race. My country sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race!." It made a triathlon sound sooo much more appealing. Purely for motivational purposes and being able to say, I worked hard, I endured and I made it!!! No matter what time you got, it was the effort that counted and I just thought, "Huh...maybe someday... I might want to do a triathlon!?" HA! Then I laughed hysterically at that thought & said to myself..."That would be the day!!! ...long from now when I could actually be fit to do one!" But I think... if I had strong motivation & maybe even someone to do it with?....Em? Leah? Up for it?! ... That I might actually try! But that's a long time from now. Who knows, I never thought I would go on a mission & look at me now!! Same goes for the triathlon thought... Maybe I will Someday... LOL. "Maybe" & "Someday" are KEY words in that statement people... I'm not makin any guarantees.. HA HA!

One last story. Just something really stupid & embarrassing but really funny haha! The other day my companion and I were walking to class and one of the Elders who is our Zone leader & really cute I might add, called us from across the way. We turned around & talked to him from where we were. Well, when we said goodbye I started to walk & immediately turned around & LITERALLY walked right into a pole! LOL! well almost... I was a half of an inch away from hitting my nose/face & probably get knocked out because I turned around pretty fast. Well my reflexes we're cat-like luckily & I caught the pole & pushed myself back & my head jerked away from it as well... but basically I walked into a pole!...and a bunch of Elders were walking by too & probably saw. Luckily elder Grover, the Hot zone leader, didn't see! Hermana Papenfuss and I burst out laughing. As probably all the girls at the office will too. ha ha... yes I'm giving you permission to spread my humiliation for the "Humor at the MTC". LOL It was pretty dang funny though. I guess I was just so "awwed" by Elder Grover. LOL! HA!

Well that's all for this week.
Love You! Hermana Dunn

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Week 2 at the MTC

Hola everyone!
Well ALOT has happened the two weeks I've been here and it has definitely gotten better. It's good to know that I'm surrounded by other missionaries that are going through the exact same things as I am. We help each other and encourage each other. If there's one thing that I've learned here it's how wonderful it feels to always have the spirit with you. Not that I didn't before, but here at the MTC you can feel it SOOOOO DANG STRONG! All the time too!! It's truly amazing the joy that comes out of living the gospel. It's really not just rules and do's and don'ts, but ways to help edify and strengthen our lives and family ties here on earth and have a happy and abundant life. PMG (preach my gospel) is amazing and gets better every time I read it. So I encourage ALL to read it and study it and mark it up! Just today I read a single sentence that spoke to me louder than anything out of the entire book. That is... "Remember, however, that your confidence and faith should be in Christ, not in yourself." pg 97. No matter how many times I told my self something similar to this sentence it never pierced me as much as it did today and totally made everything that I've been learning here make even more sense. And what I've learned, that as missionaries it doesn't matter what our strengths are or how good a lesson plan we have, but that the most important thing is to teach with the spirit and follow the spirit...even if it means throwing out your lesson plan in that very moment...because like recorded in D&C, it says to study the gospel and scriptures as often as possible and the Lord will tell us what to say in that very moment. Now don't get me wrong...self confidence is good and healthy and helpful...but not as important or crucial as having confidence in the Lord! He is our loving Heavenly Father! He loves us and we are literally his children! He is loving and forgiving and caring and is sad when we're sad and happy when we're happy. More importantly he wants the best for us and knows us better than we know ourselves. Our lives are in his hands and when we show our faith in him and our confidence in him and do what he asks and commands, he blesses us GREATLY for it! More than anyone can imagine. Showing our obedience to his plan shows our love for him. That's one thing that I've come to appreciate and learn, that when we are obedient , we are blessed with the spirit. I have definitely learned that I depend greatly on the Lord! That is why the MTC is so hard though, with all the doctrine and lessons to learn and how to talk to people and how to help people and then to learn a whole new language all in just 9 weeks!!! So little really is good though because like I say, we all depend on the Lord and sometimes forget just how much we really do. But I know that with his help and with our effort and sincere desire to learn and do....we can do anything with the Lord cause he is always by our side ready to help us when we ask.
It's amazing with how strong the spirit is here and how isolated and scheduled we are. I forget a lot about the outside world. I saw a friend of mine who works here, Kofi, and he called out my name...Tawny....and it was SO WIERD hearing it! I pretty much have forgotten my own name ha ha. I also saw Spike here one day! He volunteers to be "an investigator" that we practice teaching. I've also forgotten about music ha ha. Because they don't allow us to listen to it ....Mainly because the only time we are in our rooms is to sleep....but of course we still sing. Throughout the day I often have hymns stuck in my head but then occasionally a few songs from different musicals will pop into my head. ha ha Random I know but oh well.
My companion Hermana Papenfuss is from Fountain Green, UT and is really sweet! I've learned a lot from her including patience as I move a lot quicker than she does ha ha. I have definitely learned a lot about the scriptures and doctrine and whatnot just from her as well. She has a lot of great input and we get along really well. We balance each other out I think. The guys in my district (class) are awesome! Elder Bunnell is going to Las Vegas, Elder Obray going to Paraguay Asuncion, Elder Cathro Fort Lauterdale FL, Elder Johannsen Argentina Bahia Blanca, Elder Nelson Argentina Neuquen, Elder Edwards Eugene Oregon, Elder walker Carlsbad CA and Hermana Papenfuss Argentina Resistencia. I love them all.
For all you Dr's in the fam! Elder Cathro...yesterday just out of nowhere his right side of his face went paralyzed! but he's ok....He went to the hospital and it was NOT a stroke, but Bells Palsy. They don't know why or how he got it but he's been a good sport about it. It could last 2-6 weeks they say and he's taking Prednisone and Acyclovir. He can't shut his eye or raise his eyebrow and it's really funny to see him try to smile. So yeah it's a mystery why he got it but he's a good sport about it.
I only have 5 min left. Oh this is weird... I met an elder who looked really familiar and it turns out he went to Canfield middle school!!! He's a year younger so Emily look in the yearbook for me....his name is Phillip Mckay and his brother who's a year older is Matthew Mckay ha ha and get this!!! THEY WERE IN DALTON GARDENS WARD!!! only for middle school though...not high school. He's cute and looked so familiar but I don't recognize the name.
So love you all! Hope to hear from you by!
Love Hermana Dunn