Thursday, November 26, 2009

Transfers THANKSGIVING- November 26, 2009

Hola!This week has been another busy week. My area from my first transfer got split in half for the second transfer and now for this third transfer, the area has been combined again. So, it's been exciting to get to visit some of the people I taught from the first six weeks. I can't believe that it's been 5 months already. My new companion is Elder Krueger from Utah- near Provo. His dad is actually a branch president at the MTC right now. He's an excellent companion. I've learned so much from him already in this week. There's basically a group of 7 missionaries here that have about 9 months left and then 7 that have been out around 5 months. So, he has about 9 months left before he goes home. He's a really hard worker and I'm very excited to be with him. The biggest thing that I've learned from him so far is how to not only love the people, but express the love that you have for them in a way that relates to them and their culture. The hispanic culture is simply more animated about emotions and expressing them and that's something that I'm having to come out of my comfort zone a little bit with. I think that Elder Krueger was really what this area I am in needed. The Spanish is coming along well. Elder Krueger is helping me correct some of the habits with the language that I had developed over the first 3 months here. Right now I'm really trying to focus on appropriate grammar. I've picked up a decent vocabulary to be able to teach adn express my self and now I'm trying to refine the grammar. As far as the work, we're really teaching a lot of people. I've realized that I've been blessed to start out my first couple months in a very active area as far as investigators. We're trying to put together an active ward mission plan with the ward. Our ward's current plan is a little dead- so we're trying to excite the auxilary leaders- to set specific goals for their auxilaries concerning missionary work and make plans how to accomplish those goals. We really feel that if the ward all works together with excitement and defined plans- the work in this area will take off. Especially here in an English speaking country- the members really are our best tool and only real effective tool to find new people to teach. We just got a new Elder's Quorum president that is really making a lot of great changes concerning missionary work as well. I'm excited for what is to come in the ward.This past Sunday was the confirmation of the Salazar family. The father is a mechanic here in Calgary and took a test to become officially certified 8 months ago. He told us that he had been awiting for his results and certification to come- because it takes a while since he's here on a work permit from Mexico. He had recently talked to someone and didn't expect it to come for another couple of months- but it arrived the day after his baptism in the mail. He was so excited when we arrived the day after his baptism to tell us what his Heavenly Father had blessed him with. To see their happiness and joy about being members and finding the church brings a joy to me that's hard to describe. They're a choice family of our Heavenly Father.We're actually going to get a United States thanksgiving tomorrow. There's a member family that is making us all recipes from home. I hope that you all enjoy the food and family and spirit of thanksgiving. I miss you all and love you!Con amor, Elder Dunlap

November 17, 2009

Hola!This past week has been a very good week. Saturday we had our Noche de paises or activity with the different countries. It went very well. The gym was full of people at the 17th ave stake center- which is a very, very large gym. I took some pictures and videos and will send you them soon. Each country set up a booth with food from their country and some authentic decorations. We ended up making chili, cheese hot dogs and president wanted us to sing a hymn. So, we sang the spirit of god in spanish. A lot of investigators and less actives went to the event and we met a lot of new people as well. It was a lot of fun to see the members and investigators having fun together and enjoying each others company. Sunday was the baptism. It went very well and I baptized the son. I think I put him a little too far under the water because he had trouble standing back up, but I just wanted to make sure we didn't have to do it again. They had been wearing jeans to church, but bought all new clothes for this past sunday and for the baptism. It's great to see a slow change happening in their lives. The members were all very supportive and a lot of them showed up for the baptism. President and sister archibald came as well which was a nice surprise. It meant a lot to see them there and surporting us. They brought a little gift for the family as well. There was an investigator that came to the baptism that is an atheist and the bishop during his welcoming specifically addressed this investigator and testified to him of the divinity and reality of our Heavenly Father. We thought it was pretty neat. Today is transfers, but I haven't yet recieved an email telling me where I'm headed. I hope to stay in my area, but I'm sure I'll be happy wherever president feels I should serve. I think the place I'd least like to go is to Lethbridge- just because it's about 2 hours south and you don't get to see the other spanish elders at all. I think in lethbridge there's about 30 spanish speaking members that attend an english ward. They're working to establish a branch, but there's just not many spanish speaking people there. The spanish work seems to be the slowest there. I think that you teach both in spanish and in english. Christmas is quickly approaching, I think that a member from the ward sent you something in the mail. I'm not sure what it is, but they asked me to see if you had recieved something. I know that they're planning a dinner for all of us one day in december as well. Mom asked what I want for christmas- and i really don't know. There's not much that I need right now. Maybe some nice church music. I really don't have much music. I just got the email and found out that I'm staying in the same apartment and area- which I'm excited about! I'm getting a new companion- Elder krueger from utah- which I'm excited about as well. he's in my district and i really like you all and thanks for the love and support!Con amor,Elder Dunlap

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November 10, 2009

Hey, We are emailing today because tomorrow is rememberance day in canada and the library will be closed. I assume that it's like veterans day in the US. People here have been wearing red flowers no their shirts for a couple weeks now and I was told that it's for rememberance day. We don't really get to experience the canadian culture too much because all of our dinners adn the people we work with are solely from South american countries. I'm sure that I'll pick up some things though. My companion says Eh a lot. Before the mission, I joked about speaking spanish and saying Eh, but some of the members that have been in canada for a long time actually do that. I think that it's pretty funny. Next tuesday morning, I'll find out about transfers. The whole spanish program will most likely be switched around because we've all been with trainers for 3 months now. I really hope that I stay where I'm at, or at least in the ward that I'm in. I'll get an email on Tuesday morning telling me where I'm going. I think that we're moving aroudn the boundaries in the ward a little bit again, so I really have no clue what will happen. This week, we're preparing for the baptism of the family of 3 from mexico that we're having on sunday. The ward is preparing for the cultural day this saturday. I think as for the US, we've decided to make sloppy joes. It'll be us 12 spanish missionaries and we're trying to talk president and his wife into coming and doing a song or dance with us. There's been somewhat of a fun rivalry in the ward recently as each country prepares their food and dances for the activity. It kind of seems that Mexicans are discriminated a little in south america as well as north america. We had an investigator come to church for the first time on Sunday. A funny but somewhat inappropriate story is that . There is a new elders quorum presidency, and so at the beginning of priesthood, they asked everyone to stand up and introduce themselves and say something about them that no one else knows. Our investigator was the first to raise his hand and go. He told everyone his name and that he's had a vasectomy. After church, the mexicans had a meeting to discuss what everyone would bring for the cultural night. He had just heard the word of wisdom a couple days before and rose his hand and said he could bring the beer. I don't think some people appreciated his humor, but it was pretty funny. Everything really is going well. I've been blessed with how well the spanish seems to be progessing. I still have a ton to learn, but am getting more and more confident. I've read the BOM out loud for 30 mins a day since a couple weeks into my mission. I think there's power in the book not only for our lives, but learning a language. The investigators that truly grow and progress and accept the message are those that embrace the BOM. There truly is power in the words and guidance and protection for our lives. I just foudn out we're eating homemade sushi with a Guatemalan family tonight. I'm pretty scared for what we might eat. I assume we'll have to dip it in salsa or something. Love youElder Dunlap

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


This week has been another good week. We've been trying to keep in daily contact with our baptisimal dates so that we can help them stay strong and committed. Our "golden" family is still doing very well. We had another FHE with them this past Monday and they decided to move their baptisimal date up to November 15th. We're teaching the commandments tonight and are praying that they'll accept them well. They already have strong beliefs in the truthfullness of the Book of Mormon and so I feel that this will help them overcome any doubts that may arise from the word of wisdom or tithing tonight. The member family is very good too about sharing thier own experiences and testimonies and makes teaching a lot easier as well. We may have another baptism soon as well. We're teaching a man that's Columbian and is leaving for the winter. He spends every winter in Columbia and works in Calgary in the summers. He studies a lot and shares the gospel with all his friends and family. He's very excited to get to Columbia and share it with his parents. The problem is that he just wants to wait until next spring when he comes back to Calgary to be baptized. We've been working with him and I feel that he'll be baptized before he leaves. He watched a Special Witnessses of Christ video from the church. It is the testimonies of all 12 apostles and the first presidency about Jesus Christ. In this movie, there's a story of a current apostle leaving a book of mormon with a testimony in it and a signature with an investigator. He had us sign his BOM and write our testimonies for when we become apostles. He also read the proclamation to the world adn got worried that he hadn't taught his kids about Jesus Christ. So, he sat his kids down for an hour adn taught them the lessons from the pamplets. Then, he slapped his son really hard and told him that now he'll never forget it. He told us that the physical pain will make his kids remember the message and never forget it. We have another investigator who loved all the pictures of Christ in the pamplets that we hand out and so he cut them out and glued them in his BOM and made bookmarks out of some of them. It's interesting to see different people's excitement about the Gospel and how they express it. I feel like we have many weaknesses and things we can improve, but the people really have genuine respect and love for us. It's such a blessing to see the joy and excitement in those that really understand and embrace the message of the restauration and understand how it truly affects their lives.A great part of working with hispanic people from all different countries is that we get to experience diferrent foods and cultures. This week, we ate a traditional dish from Guatemala that they prepare for the 1st of November. It was all types of meats and sausages mixed with some vegetables and beets and cabbage. I've been trying to take some pictures of the food so you can see what I'm eating. The weather has warmed up a little bit. There's warm air fronts called Shinooks that randomly come during the winter. For a couple days, it'll be pretty warm and melt the snow. Then, all the water freezes and more snow comes on top of it. We're getting excited for the cultural day coming up. Partly because, all the Spanish elders will be there. All the countries are putting together a traditional song or dance. As missionaries, we're representing the United States and are going to put together something. Some elders are trying to get permission to do the Electric Slide or the chicken dance and get president and sister archibald to do it with us. If not, we'll probably end up singing the star spangled banner or a hymn in english. Can someone send me the mission office addresses for the Baltimore Maryland missiona and the Jacksonville FLorida mission. I've got some freinds that I want to write but don't really have a way to find those addresses. Also, my siblings should write me about what's going on in their lives.Love you all. Thanks. Elder Dunlap