Monday, January 31, 2011

January 31, 2011

Hola familia!
Sorry, i think that i may have forgotten to send my email from last week. I opened my email today and saw that I had a draft saved from my email from last week. I deleted it thinking it was weird and then realized that for some reason it might not have ever been sent. So, sorry again if you didn't recieve it. We had a great week. There was a family of 3 plus a 2 year old that got baptized in the branch yesterday. Here are a couple pictures. I was able to do the baptismal interview and it was a great experience. I recieved several impressions of things to specifically talk to each individual about that I didn't think much of until they were confirmed and given strength and blessings about in their confirmations the next day from our branch president. The mother asked me to baptize her after the interview which was neat. I had to do it twice though because she stook her foot out of the water. The hot water heater had a problem at the chapel and so the water was very, very cold. They seemed happy though despite all the shivering.
We had a very interesting experience this past week with on of our investigators. After teaching for about 15 minutes, the Jehovah's Witnesses knocked on the door and saw we were there and pretty much let themselves in. They sat down beside the investigator and started talking and teaching as if we weren't present in the room. I could tell that the investigator was very uncomfortable and after about 15 mins, we had to excuse ourselves because we had another appointment to go to. Apart from it not being very courteous, my testimony was strengthened of the inspired teaching pattern that we're given in Preach My Gospel that comes from Jesus Christ himself. Although it was an experience that I hope we're not faced with again, I can say that I have more appreciation for the guidance that we have.
I hope that everything goes well with the sealing and baby blessing. I'm sure that it'll be a great experience.
The weather has been warmer. We have been a little bit over freezing during the day. I never thought I'd say that just above freezing is good weather, but after being used to -30, it feels like spring weather. I even saw some people outside in shorts. Everything else continues to go great. I'm trying to help Elder Solis realize that ice cream for breakfast isn't too healthy and he's been eating raw cabbage salads all week because he thought it was lettuce. We've had a couple close cooking disasters as well so I'm teaching him some different things. He's doing great though.
Thanks for everything!
Con amor,
Elder Dunlap

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 12

Hola familia!
I'm running a little short on time, so I copied you my email to president for the week at the end. I don't know why I haven't done it much before though. i basically type the same stuff over again. i hope that all is well at home. i got deda and grandma's box this past week and so thank you very much. it's been a week of new experiences, but it's been a good learning experience. recieving a new elder that didn't go to the MTC hasn't exactly been easy, but everything is going great. we have a first appointment tonight with a colombian family that seems very prepared to recieve the gospel. right now, we're probably seeing more success as far as finding that I've experienced so far on my mission. we have many other first lessons scheduled for this week as well. the weather has been almost unbearable. the temperature is about -15 with very strong wind and some snow. the wind chill has been aroudn
-30 which makes short trips to knock on a door pretty cold. we've gotten a lot of crazy looks and people telling us that we should take a break and stay inside. I love you all. thank you for your prayers and support.
con amor,
elder dunlap
Area- The area is great. We have been teaching the basic missionary lessons to our members so that we can get some good practice and it really has brought the spirit to our visits. We've also focused on really getting everything out of our area book with former investigators and potential investigators. We've been putting in the extra effort to frequently stop by them and make calls and it has led to several people accepting visits from us again. They are people that Elder Nielsen and I had tried by or called on occassion, but consistent effort during the last week has brought some great blessings.
Companion- Elder Solis is great. He's definitely an example of obedience and dedication. He studies diligently and is always excited to share the gospel. He often runs around me as we're walking up to a door so that he can talk to them. We're working a lot on understanding preach my gospel and especially the basic doctrine of the church.
Testimony- I fasted and prayed a lot leading up to the arrival of Elder Solis so that the area would be prepared and that he'd have a good experience to begin his mission. I've been trying to focus on following what the Lord wants us to do and say in all aspects of the work from planning to contacting and teaching. I've felt a greater love for the individuals that we meet and work with as I've simply focused on looking them in the eyes and trying hard to communicate the love that our Heavenly Father has for them. We've been able to see great success in setting up lessons with potential investigators during this past week by applying that principle.
We statistically had a hard week. We had 7 canceled investigator lessons during the past week. But, they all rescheduled for this coming week and so we're excited for the teaching opportunities that we will have. I'll admit that during the week it was pretty hard, but through some sincere prayer and contemplating I realized that our canceled appointments led to many other opportunities to be where the Lord wanted us to be. I'm very excited for what's going on in this area. We set a baptismal goal for three for this month and I'm just trying to feed off of Elder Solis's belief. He wanted to pack his baptismal clothes and carry them with him the first day in case we found someone.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 3

Hola familia!
Everything is going great here. I found out at the end of last week that I would be training the new elder coming into the spanish program. He lives in Toronto, but is from Argentina. I haven't met him yet, but he could possibly not speak much spanish at all. President really isn't sure how long he's been here in Canada. I'm excited to have a native companion that will be able to help me with SPanish even more. He's not able to leave the country because of immigrant laws and so he'll be coming straight here from Toronto. It'll probably be interesting because he won't have the MTC training that others have, but it should be fun. We are going to the mission home tonight to meet him and for a little testimony meeting with all the new elders. I'm goign to be staying in this area to train him as well.
We've seen quite a few neat miracles as I'm sure the Lord has helped us prepare the area for the new elder.
We had a goal all this month to reach the standard of excellence of one investigator from our own finding efforts. This past Tuesday, we were able to begin teaching Milagro. She's from Cuba and just arrived for a 3 month vacation to visit some of her family members. We taught her twice this past week and she has such a strong desire to soak up any religous knowledge that she can find because of some of the restrictions that still exist in Cuba. On Thursday, she told us that she knows everything we taught her about the Restoration and Book of Mormon is true and that she'll get baptized next time she returns to Calgary to visit. She is reading in the Book of Mormon and hopefully as she continues learning, her desire will continue to grow to follow the Savior.
We also started teaching a lady from Nicaragua that had been taught twice in the past, but they've been out of town for the holidays. We tried to ask her questions about how she felt and she really opened up and told us that she didn't think that the church was right for her and that baptism wasn't her goal. We felt our hearts sink a little, but tried hard to listen to the spirit to determine what she needed to hear. After more questions, we foudn out that she was really just upset because she had given her mother in law a bag of coffee and a cross for Christmas and was offended that she didn't accept or like the present. After explainging the word of wisdom and why we dont use crosses, she opened up even more and we both shared our testimonies and conversions. By the time we left, she said that she wanted to continue learning and that it was like they teach people on sesame street- you can't say that you don't like a food until you actually try it. We left humbled because we really knew that listening to her and then the spirit had really helped open up her heart. It's something that I've really tried to develop more recently and we've seen a big difference in our teaching.
I thought I'd send you a picture of our truck that I get to drive just in case it makes you jealous.
Everything else is good, we have stake conference and then branch conference the coming two weekends which is kind of a bummer. I really enjoy them, but it's hard to get investigators to come when everything is in english. I hope that you all enjoyed the holidays!
Con Amor,
Elder Dunlap