Friday, December 18, 2009

Menjivar Family had a dinner for the Elders

Hi Sister Dunlap!

Sunday's Christmas dinner was great! Thank you so much for emailing us pictures and letters for Elder Dunlap. We had all 12 spanish speaking missionaries gathered at our chapel with the permission of the Mission President. We invited my uncle and his family as well. My family and I decorated the stage while we waited for the south missionaries to get there. As soon as they did, we allowed them all to go in and we started with a small family home evening. Both district leaders shared Christmas messages which really brought the Christmas Spirit!After the family home evening, we served the food. As an appetizer, we gave tamales followed by the main course; "spanish" turkey with rice and vegetables. After dinner, we showed all the baby pictures and the elders had to guess who was who. Following that, we had showed them a slideshow we made of 2009 mission pictures (formal pictures and crazy mission pics which they enjoyed seeing). At the end of the mission pictures, we put the rest of the baby pictures we received and the missionaries found out who was who. Everyone recognized e. Dunlap! It was a lot of fun and we all had some good laughs! (Because of all the demand, we'll make a copy of the slideshow to give to the missionaries.)After the slideshow, Josh, my brother went to change into his Santa Suit. We had to stall in order to give him time. We told the missionaries that someone wanted to come see them and they were pretty clueless. The missionaries got to sit on Santa's lap and we gave them their family letters and a present from our family (all 12 elders got matching ties). And than we had dessert =)My family and I really enjoyed having them all together and sharing a little with them. Yet, we feel we received a lot from them. We're thankful for the missionaries we have and for their wonderful spirit! We hope you and your family have an amazing Christmas and a Happy New year! Thanks again for everything!--The Menjivar Family

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Hola!I hope all is well at home and that everyone is preparing for Christmas! The weather here has warmed up a bit. We had a couple days last week of negative 30s and 40s. Today and yesterday have both been around freezing or a couple degrees below. It has felt like summer in contrast. We had a Christmas dinner on Sunday after church with all of the Spanish missionaries. President gave us permission for the south elders to come up and be with us as well. We had a short christmas program and the family had prepared a Christmas dinner for us. They put together a slide slow of all of us and santa also came and gave us all matching ties and letters from our families. Thank you for all your letters of love. It's such a blessing to have members here that really love us and take care of us. We've already been invited over for christmas and christmas eve by many members, and so I'm sure that we'll be taken care of. We're still teaching a lot and our investigators are progressing well. We've felt like we were extending ourselves in too many areas. So, we've prayerfully selected several families that we're really concentrating on and really trying to make short daily visits to. We've challenged almost all of them to read all of 3 nefi before christmas, adn so that's given us a good excuse to stop by daily adn check up on them. Through this, we've had some very powerful lessons and really seen the spirit working in the lives of our investigators and their families. We've really learned the value of daily contact. The families feel our spirit while we're their, but the advesary works in their lives the rest of the week. Daily contact has also increased their daily accountability to us as we check up on their reading and prayers. The basic principles that fortify our lives are really fortifying and building the faith of our investigators.Often as missionaries, we go to appointments in the evening and are surprised with a second dinner that is already prepared. This happened last night. We had fasted all day adn then ate a big dinner at a member's house. We hurried to an appointment with a Columbian family and the bishop was meeting us at the appointment. We were surprised by a meal already on the table waiting for us. As missionaries, we've learned that we just have to say a prayer adn eat as much as we can. But, the bishop tried to talk his way out of eating- saying that he didn't know and was full, and that his plate had too much food on it. The family kind of shrugged him off and gave him the response we always get- that they're sure we have room to eat more. He looked scared, but managed to stuff down his whole plate. My companion and I thought it was pretty funny that he got a little taste of what it's like for us sometimes. I think for some people, they just show their love for us by making food. We've just came to accept that sometimes we just can't talk ourselves out of eating.As we focus on the Savior and emphasize that to those we teach, my testimony of the atonement and the mission of the savior has definetely grown. People seem to have a more loving and caring spirit at this time of year. A spirit that I wish could be carried with all of us always.I love you adn miss you all. I look forward to talkign to you on Christmas. I think that you'll probably be calling at around noon my time. I'll give you the number and specific details next wednesday in my email.
Con amor,Elder Dunlap


Hola!This week has been a pretty cold one. We had a snow storm on thursday and friday. The roads turned out pretty bad and we weren't able to drive our car friday or saturday. This made working pretty hard, but we managed to walk to a couple of appointments both days. I'm not sure how much if snowed, but probably about a foot and a half and then with drifting it was a lot higher in places. The snow ended up canceling the temple trip that we were supposed to have on saturday. We were pretty bummed, but still got to take a preparacion day on saturday. The snow was bad enough to shut down some of the main roads and I heard that people slept in malls aroudn town because they weren't able to get home. Alot of people rely on buses for transportation and the buses were getting stuck. We heard though that this is one of the worst snows in a couple years. The work is still going well in the area. The snow was kind of frustrating because it made visiting people hard for a couple days. We're going to start volunteering at some english classes aroudn town. We had the idea yesterday during the day. Last night, we had an appointment with a less active who started talking about his wife taking a class nearby. We stopped by last night after the appointment to talk about volunteering, and met a former investigator in the lobby who wants to meet with us again. The Lord is already blessing us with people to teach from this.Yesterday was zone conference. It was very spiritual and centered aroudn the atonement. President talked about how people carry burdens at this time of year and how we can apply the atonement to their lives and teach the atonement to help them overcome these challenges. I learned a lot about the enabling power of the atonement in our lives. We often teach the redeeming power of the atonement- the ability to repent and be forgiven and redeemed of our sins. But, the conference was focused on the enabling power of the atonement. The strength that we can draw from the atonement to overcome our weaknesses,struggles, and burdens in our lives. Sometimes we pray for the Lord to lift our burdens, or to change our circumstances. But, the enabling power of the atonement is the understanding that the Lord can help us through our burdens. Can give us the strength to have hope and remain steadfast and have joy through our burdens. We also learned about how it applies to our lives as we try to become better. The BOM is a history of the teachings of prophets and of this struggle of man. The struggle to go from bad to good and good to better. To become saints and perfected through the enabling power of the atonement. I really love zone conference. We always find answers to our prayers about the people we're working with and ways to improve our teachings.The phone call rules have been changed. We're calling now on Christmas morning sometime between 10-2. I'll send yuo our cell phone number on the 23rd adn what time we're worked out for you to call. Members have alligned christmas dinners for us, so I'm sure we'll be recieving lots of love. Our christmas starts this sunday because a family in the ward is having a dinner for all the spanish elders in the mission at the church for us. It should be fun.I'm glad to hear that everything is going well! I love and miss you all and look forward to talking to you in a couple weeks! Love, Elder Dunlap

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December 2, 2009

Hola!The weather has really turned off cold recently. I thought that winter was already here, but I guess that it hasn't. Calgary doesn't really plow the roads and there was a snow last friday that turned into pure ice. Wrecks were happening everywhere and it took us about 1.5 hours to make a normal 5-10 minute drive. But, the good thing is that people from canada said that it's the worst traffic that they've ever seen. We had to get out of the car and push people that were getting stuck at stop lights and couldn't get going again on relatively flat roads. I'm staying warm though. We've been staying busy with appointments so it keeps us out of the weather. The work is going well. We're actually teaching two Ateists right now. One is married to a member and the other is a single guy. Both are very nice and actually come to church practically every Sunday. It's been interesting teaching them. We have to take a different approach to presenting the lessons and the doctrine. It's been fun but also frustrating. We really just try to help them feel the spirit as much as we can and help them recognize it and the manifestations of God in their lives. We've had some great spiritual experiences and miracles this week. We got a referall from an english class that the church offers for 3 mexican guys who live together. We were told that they are home on Saturdays adn Sundays and gone during the week, so we decided to stop by and see them last saturday and try to catch them at home. When we walked up to the last, an old former investigator that had been lost was standing at the front door knocking as well. He ended up being freinds with the people we were trying to visit. Different things that day had came up and worked out so that we stopped by at the time we did. It really was a blessing of the Lord and a miracle to be able to find this guy again. He had been taught by my current companion several months ago in another part of the city and had left for Mexico. He returned to Calgary after several months and we were able to find him in our path. We're working with a lot of people that we feel are very close to baptism, but seem to have one hump, doubt, or problem to overcome. We're really emphasizing on praying hard so that the Lord will help them exercise their faith. President has exerted to me and my companion recently over the first couple weeks of this transfer his confidence and feelings that there's goign to be several baptisms in this area this transfer. So, when you pray for us, pray that our investigators can overcome their doubts and take that step. President has counseled us both to pray specifically for baptisms and they will come. The ward is taking a bus to the temple on saturday adn we've gotten permission to go. We get to email today, but our actual Preparation day this week will be on Saturday. I'm excited for the opportunity to go. I think that the other spanish elders in the branch in the south are goign as well- so it should be a fun trip. Mom asked about Christmas suggestions and calling. I think here we will talk to you guys on Christmas eve. We are supposed to be home at 6 in the apartment and I'll give you guys the cell phone number and you'll just call that number. So, I shouldn't need a calling card. If I do, I still have that one that deda and grandma sent. The mission office saves all the missionary packages that come in this month and then distributes them aroudn Christmas. We're supposed to save them and open them christmas morning. If you send anything, make sure you write gift on the outside and christmas presents as well so that they'll hang on to it at the office. I can't really think of much that I need. Music, sweaters- they have to be v-neck and can have a pattern as long as it's conservative, and every missionary loves new ties, stamps or stationary stuff. I'm doing pretty well with warm weather clothes right now. Mom also asked about my allergies adn health and stuff. I'm doing well. There's really nothing that's wrong. I've gained a little weight but I don't think too much. It's pretty unavoideable in this mission. The people really just love to feed us. We definetely don't have a problem finding food. We're actually given too much, but it's how everyone expresses their love for us so we like it. I ran a little with my last companion inside the stake center that's near us in the mornings so I've been kind of active. The current weather has inhibited it a little recently though. Thank you for the emails, love, support, and prayers. I hope that all is well!Con amor, Elder dunlap