It's been another wonderful week!! I do have to get down to business because we don't have much time to email today!
I must start out with a pun that occured in our lesson with Kim last week. So there we were on her couch and her daughter brought over this Dungeons and Dragons-like card and showed it to her mom. The girl thought it was a bunch of pigs. But Kim said: "No, those are orcs!" So I said: "Hey, maybe we can start an ORChestra!!!" Oh, man. I have to say, I'm pleased with that one. xD It turned out to be a great conversation transition because Kim played the clarinet and was in an orchestra.
Next, we went to Red Lobster to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!! It was so great. But then a guy we don't know (who is part of the church) bought our lunch for us!! He was sitting behind us and apparently we weren't supposed to know about it. #awkward!!! So, we of course were very grateful and appreciative. :) I didn't get to use our gift cards so I guess we have to go back!
I installed "old fashioned" blinds and mopped the wall for the first time at the Beacon House this week. Craziness!
And yes, we had to trade our truck in with the Elders and in exchange we got to ride... bicycles!!! Now, these weren't just ordinary ones. NOpe, they are BOY bicycles with super uncomfortable seats. And I happened to be wearing not the best skirt for bike riding. #scandalous!!!!!! Yes, so picture this, two out of shape sister missionaries getting high centered on these super tall bikes, then having to go downhill on the freeway, ultimately having to cross the freeway, so we could make it to the bike trail and get back to our apartment. Ahhhh!!! It was terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. #jesustakethewheel. We were going so fast I thought the bike would tip over! And, to make it an even better fashion statement, I had to tie my big winter coat around me becasue it was unbearably hot. I had to ditch my purse becasue it isn't bike-friendly and stuff my pockets. xD So, that added a nice "cape" to this bike-riding fiasco. Yep, all 6 miles back to the apartment. And we rode a bit the next day. Ouch! Haha, it was pretty funny. But on a more spiritual side, I definitely had to rely upon the enabling power of the atonement, as I was praying we would be able to make it home and not die! :P I think that my 24 hours as a biking sister was plenty for me. I gained a new found appreciation for our truck!!! They have a new car now, so it's all good. :)
We had an awesome lesson this week with Aubrey. Her friends are having a great influence on her, by the way. She's been reading the Book of Mormon every day for a week and has been liking how it's been causing her to have better days. Yay! But anyway, we taught her about Lehi's Dream and she was super happy because she got to color. She is very, very smart and we have to be very silly with her, while inviting the Spirit and teaching her about the Gospel. It is how I imagine it would be to have a lesson with my sister Ashley!!! haha, it was fun. She really liked the fruit, and especially the great and spacious building. She wrote "don't Let it Go!!" (referring to the iron rod) and drew Elsa in the great and spacious building. Very entertaining and she definitely wants a part of that fruit business. xD She was at church again and really liked it!
Also, I must point out that Aubrey has the greatest TV remote ever. She hands me a Harry Potter wand and tells me to wave it at the TV. So I do and... it turns on!!! That's right, a Harry Potter wand TV remote! It changes channels when you wave it a certain way, and the same thing for volume. So. AWESOME!!!! xD
Also, Mom, I tried to line Reba up with a cute friend. SIster Nuremberg, a lady we teach out in Sawyer, has a cute male chihuahua named Cinnamon. I showed them a picture of Reba and they agree they would make great friends!!! :)
You know how there's an embarrassing story with each companion? Well, here's the one for Sister Dunlap. So we went to get ice cream after dinner (don't judge becasue there is basically no ice cream in Marquette and it's been forever!) and I ordered what I thought would be a simple concrete that we could finish in the car before Institute. We also had Sarah with us. Well, turns out the strawberry shortcake flavor I ordered was actually a giant bowl full of strawberries, shortcake, and whipped cream!!! Totally NOT inconspicuous. So I had to bring THAT in to Institute. :P Oh dear.
We also had our amazing mission conference!!! It was a 6 hour drive down to Milwaukee (each way!!!) and we stopped to pick up the Appleton sisters on the way.And we stayed overnight in West Bend. It was actually really fun, but I was SO tired I kept having to drink soda to stay awake! The meeting itself was incredible. Our ENTIRE mission was there! All 250 something of us. It was so great to talk with my former companions and my friends! Sister Cutler compared it to how it will be when we are reunited in heaven. So great!
We were supposed to have Elder Perry there, but he was reassigned last-minute. But we still had a couple of Seventy there with us. I was not-so-secretly anticipating ipads becasue I was sitting next to a giant projector. But, instead it was used for President Cutler's usual explanation of how eternal life= family life. This is his favorite saying. :)
It was a really powerful meeting, ipads or not!!! haha, we were asked what things we might be envious of as missionaries and someone said "ipads!" Hahahaha. Anyways, the spirit was really strong. Elder Craig C. Christensen did most of the talking. I don't really have time to go in to detail about everything he talked about. Just highlights. :) First of all, we all got to shake their hands. Then they apologized for not being Elder Perry but that they actually have the same authority just different keys (see D&C 107) and since they were acting under Elder PErry's direction, it was almost as good as if he were here. :) Anyway, he had us stand up and share our favorite scripture about the Atonement in the Book of Mormon. It was so neat to see how many there are!!! He challenged us to think of a prophet who doesn't write about the Atonement in teh Book of Mormon. It was cool! Then he taught us in-depth about the Atonement. There are 4 aspects he shared: 1. overcoming physical death (fall of Adam) this is the unconditional part. 2. overcoming spiritual death (conditional) 3. the healing aspect 4, the enabling power. We always talk about the first 2 and not so much the last 2. It was so powerful and so amazing to learn about how the Atonement can heal us from ALL issues of life and give us hope, energy and vitality (this gives special meaning to D&C 121:7. Perhaps the Lord was trying to indicate this to Joseph Smith. It's an interesting insight, anyway). The enabling power allows us to do what we can't do through our own strength. As missionaries we are doing things Christ does and we absolutely need to rely upon this power. Can we convert a soul through our own efforts? No way, no how! So, I was very much inspired to apply the Atonement even more in my life, especially the last two aspects I mentioned, the healing and enabling aspects. I learned so much in this meeting, I can't really describe it. I know that I was definitely inspired to be a better me!!! One other thing that stood out is how powerful love is in this work, how it influences those we work with and how our missions change us because of it. I have definitely seen that!!!
Perhaps the greatest part of the meeting was the question and answer session. I asked a question about what their favorite references were about why we must act to allow the Atonement to work in our lives. It was really awesome to hear their responses, as well as President Cutler's. There were some other really great questions asked about how to repent with godly sorrow every time, and how to develop a better relationship with the Savior. His answer was found in D&C 68:10. Wow, was I inspired!!!
Alright so the last bit of news is that Mary finally got her answer about the Book of Mormon!!! And, don't worry, it was a good answer. :) She had an amazing dream experience, very similar to Lehi's dream and Joseph Smith was there, inviting her to taste the fruit of the tree of life. Just to be sure, she asked for Heavenly Father to show her the dream again, in case it was a mistake or just a dream. So she had the same dream again!!! Amazing. She wrote it down and shared it with us. So amazing. As she put it, she doesn't do "warm and fuzzies." She knew she needed a more concrete answer than that, and this was her "baseball bat to the head" answer from the Lord. I can't really describe the joy I feel. I am so indescribably happy for her!!! Jack was also at church AGAIN, too! So happy for all these wonderful people.
I absolutely know, with every part of my being that this work is true!!! I know that God lives and loves us! If we turn our lives over to Him He will work miracles through us. I love you all!