Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Adventure Is Out There!

Well folks... It has come to this. I have not been looking forward to this. Ask anybody here in Arlington YSA and they'll tell you how much I DO NOT want to go home. Don't be surprised if I don't make it to their airport-- they probably kidnapped me. They've been making threats all week.
We had a great week! We met with our investigators and I'm happy to report that Sweet Soul and Weightless are back on track! They both had experiences where they realized they wanted CHANGE and that they were fed up with the ruts they were in. We also set TWO baptismal dates with our two new investigators from last week! YUSS. I don't care if ya sin so hard ya black out, if it makes you come back and change then AWESOME. Without being casual, that's what the Atonement's for. That's why we have a Savior. So that we can change and move on. Doesn't matter how far you've fallen, you CAN (and WILL, if I have anything to say about it!!) get back up. Is the Atonement infinite? Or is it infinite???
So, this is my last email as a tagged missionary. Come Thursday, I'm gonna take my nametag off (read: Pres. Houston will have to tackle me to the ground and wrestle it from me) and that's gonna be about the only thing that'll change. Oh, well, I guess I'll start wearing pants again...
But I wanted to share with you (for those of you who've never heard it) my personal testimony story. So, yes, this will be a hecka long email, but go big or go home right? (haha..................... wait.)
There was a point in my life (circa high school) when I became spiritually Less Active. I went to church cuz that was the Gunson house rules but I never read my scriptures and I never prayed. I slowly started slipping until I just didn't... care anymore. My parents tried to intervene, but no matter what spiritual experience I had, it never STUCK. This all started when I had tried to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and didn't get an answer back. I was like "what the heck, man?? I thought there was a promise in here!!" This went on for I want to say maybe 2 and a half years or so... And that's when I was like "this is stupid. This is ridiculous. I'm gonna read the Book of Mormon." I was angry and sad and grumpy all the time, I fought non-stop with my family, just wasn't fun. I remembered all the many blessings my father had given me, telling me to JUST READ THE BOOK OF MORMON. If I did that, I would be safe. So, I picked it up and decided I was gonna read a chapter every night. A week later, I started praying every night AND reading every night. And within just barely under a month, things turned around.
So that's how I got my testimony. But my conversion story is my mission. I knew this stuff was true and out here, I got to apply it. This mission has been the making of me, the sanctifying of me, the burning-away-a-bunch-of-dumb-stuff in me, and now having completed a full and fruitful mission, I can say that IT IS ME. I can say that the scripture that told me to go on a mission(Jacob 5:75) wasn't just a prompting but a prophecy. I have received a GREAT joy in my service. So much joy that the first 15 minutes of my studies this morning was  bawl-praying my thanks to Heavenly Father for letting the ultimate goober serve a mission. Thank GOODNESS He took that chance on me.
What have I learned? I have learned that God lives! God is my HEAVENLY FATHER, who loves me with a depth I cannot comprehend. He has watched over me and those I love carefully and mercifully. He's never let me out of His sight or out of His arms. And I will always have that relationship and nothing can take that away from me. I have learned that Jesus IS the Christ! His Atonement is INFINITE, people!! He can change ANYONE who is willing to listen and willing to ACT. No matter how black the Friday, Sunday ALWAYS comes because of Him. I know that Joseph Smith was a man of God and has done more for me than any other latter day prophet-- maybe more than any prophet! The Book of Mormon is the word of a LOVING God who would never let His children live in darkness unless they chose to. It is relatable to me and to my day and time. I have learned to be holy, to be sanctified, to put off the natural man and to ditch old habits and old personalities in favor of my eternal personality. I have learned to LOVE. Brothers and Sisters, friends, family, people I don't yet know and even my enemies, LOVE CONQUERS ALL. It trumps everything and anyone who tries to bring you down. I know how much the Savior loves me because He has allowed me to love YOU. And He has shown me the proper way to do so.
I had my exit interview on Saturday and I received an incredible blessing. In that blessing, I was given a clear vision of what I need to do. It wasn't specific-- I still have various ideas about which major and I don't know my husband's name or where I'm gonna live-- but I know who I am and I know God's plan. And I will be walking confidently into the future as a woman of God and a disciple of Christ.
Last thought: I had been scared of transitioning. I was scared because I was like "I need something to work towards, I'm not gonna have a vision, no accountability, AHHHHH" but then I read Chapter One of Preach my Gospel. There is nothing in that chapter that does not apply to every baptized member of Christ's church. Especially Page 10-- where every missionary looks to make sure they're doing their job right. That's where every member needs to be looking to know if they're living up to their baptismal covenants, honestly. In that last blessing, it was promised to me that I would continue my missionary work. And while I REALLY would like to put my name tag back on, I know that the world is my mission and you're all under my circle of influence, which makes YOU my area. So get ready to be spiritually edified, son, cuz I'm coming home!!
Love, Sister Hannah Gunson

Sunday, November 2, 2014


You know why you do your family hsitory work? When you know where you come from, lots of things make sense. We come from outspoken pioneer-missionaries with a big-- sometimes sassy-- mouths. Sayin' it like it is since... whenever we joined the church. (Another reason why you do family history work? Exact dates.)
So this week was better. Life wouldn't be life without its trials! It adds salt.
GOOD NEWS: ED AND WOAH GOT BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!! They shared a program! And it was so cool!!! Haha, Satan REALLY did not want that baptism to go down.... The master key did not work and when we tried to open the accordion doors so that the audience could see the baptism, that didn't work either. We waited for like 10 minutes while we got some stake member back-up who had a key. Woah popped her head out of the side door where she went through to get to the font and said "guys, I just want to be baptized! I promise!!" Bro. Reyes, the member that baptized her, kept saying "LIFE IS GREAT, LIFE IS AWESOME!" and it helped me relax a bit. Just gotta let stuff roll off your shoulders. They got baptized and confirmed and then later that Sunday, they both signed up to go on exchanges with us this week. Such spirits!
SIDE NOTE: Ed is from India and we looked up his home state and how the church is doing.... It's really cool. In India they mostly have little  branches of the church, but where Ed is from, they have a WARD. We got a little side-tracked and started looking at temples around the world... it is so cool. Ed's gonna go back to India and convert his family and friends and one day, we're gonna have a temple there. I also REALLY want to serve another mission when I get home... can I do that? I'm doing that. 14 year mission? Nobody misses me THAT much...
On the sad side... Sweet Soul and Weightless and Song aren't doing so well in their progression. The worst part is that they ALL know it's true, we know why they're not growing, THEY know why they're not growing.... and they still won't fight off the buffetings and temptations of Satan to experience the greater gospel light. Sweet Soul told us that he's trying to get his freedom.... And when we told him to read his scriptures, he read the chapter heading only and then wondered why he didn't feel better. When I asked him why he didn't read more, he said that a missionary in the past told him to take baby steps. And now he was using that as a crutch.
Well...... Baby steps didn't cross the Delaware. Baby steps didn't break down the Berlin Wall. Baby steps won't fight off Satan. True, by small and simple means are great things brought to pass... but chapter headings do not exactly divide asunder the cunning wiles of the devil.

I'm reminded (once again) of my own personal search for truth. I wanted freedom from darkness SO BADLY, I accepted the terms the Lord gave me.
The Lord has never asked for a grand show-- just to take 7 baths in the Jordan river, or to look up at a snake on a stick. NOT THAT HARD.  (Janet's note:  these are references from the Old Testament.  Stories of faith and healing.)
I went on an exchange with my Sister Training Leader and we visited a less active sister. She had texted us the night before, saying that something had bugged her, so she spent an hour in the scriptures trying to figure it out and would like to go back to church some day. We ran over that morning and invited her to share... she had an experience a lot like one I had had before.
She wanted faith. She wanted to pray. She wasn't praying because she felt turned away. She felt denied because she was listening to that enemy of us all who told her she was a disappointment. My STL and I teared up. I felt such a swell of love for her. And I told her with absolute conviction that Jesus, as the Christ, loves her. And there's nothing she can do to stop that love. Pharisees tried that already-- worked out GREAT, wouldn't you say?
I'm grateful for the experiences that gave me such conviction. Even now, coming out of a brutal week, I'm able to look at this sister in the eye and tell her that once she finishes her repentance process, she'll KNOW with unshakable faith that the Atonement is REAL. Because I know.
I'm re-reading the Book of Mormon (like ya do..) and when I got to Alma 26, I prayed to know why this chapter hits my mom so hard. She'd told me the story before, but I'd forgotten details. I still don't know her experience, but I know what it means to me.  (Second Janet's note:  Go read it!  It is the most motivating, joyful chapter!)

"... this is my LIFE and my LIGHT, my JOY and my SALVATION, and my REDEMPTION from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God who has been mindful..."
This gospel is freedom. This gospel means the world to me. I love the Book of Mormon. I wish I could give you my testimony so you would know exactly how I feel.... but honestly, if you're curious about how I feel, the Lord can show you. Just ask the missionaries-- they can help.
Love, Sister Gunson

Sunday Will Come Oct. 20, 2014

Before I say anything more, you need this talk: It's Sunday Will Come and it's my favorite.
I told Aunt Judy I'd email this story today. This one comes from Euless, my first transfer training. It's famous around my companions... really anyone I serve around. They've probably heard me say things like "well, I prayed for it, so it'll happen!" or "PRAY FOR IT" and this is that story:
I was having a really hard time. I was stressed and exhausted and all I wanted was chocolate. Not a lot, just something sweet, all to myself. And so, in passing, I said "Heavenly Father... you know what I want? I want chocolate." I felt this calming peace come over me.... and I KNEW I was getting chocolate by the end of that day. I waited through sacrament, I waited through Sunday School, I waited through Relief Society and I was unphased. I was getting my chocolate!

Well, our dinner appointment cancelled, but because he's awesome, he was like "no, sisters, you're not going hungry, I'm packing ya some sack lunches." He drops em by and I dump mine out and the last thing in that bag were 2 chocolate coins. Not a lot-- just enough. I stared at those 2 coins and was like "GOD LIVES!!!" I called the member to share the miracle and he said "weirdest thing happened, sister. I was making your lunches and I felt prompted to look in the freezer. I NEVER look in the freezer-- but I did. Saw those. Dropped em in your bag. What do ya think of that?"

So I've told every companion that. And they know that when I pray for something... I get it.
This week was surprisingly hard. The fear and stress of going home compounded with some brutal attacks by the adversary knocked me flat on my back in some kind of spiritual panic attack. I don't want to dwell on that because there were certain "pray-for-chocolate" miracles that ensued.
The first is that I got to see my Aunt, Judy this week. She's the first piece of family I've seen in a year and a half. And I was SO GLAD to have some support. I'm never alone in a mission of 270+ missionaries. But... having family gives you that boost.

Second, Friday, when I was having a REALLY rough day, one of my old STL's happened to pop up in the church building where Sister Nielson and I were. She had gone home in April, but came back to live in Southlake. As she was walking down the hallway, I had this feeling of "HOLD ON. HELP IS COMING." and after we caught up, I asked for her advice and sure enough, strength and refreshment came.
Third, we went to our mission-wide fireside (where we get to bring all our gators to meet President) and we brought Weightless. Well... Recent Convert Best Friend from Lantana and Awesomeness from Euless were there. And guess what? I had been praying that Weightless would get to talk to them because they both struggled with some things prior to their baptism that she's going through right now.

I wish to tell you more, but I'll be seeing y'all in a couple of weeks anyways, you'll get more stories. But I want everyone to know that Sunday comes. Chocolate gets dropped into your lunch sack. A member makes you fajitas and pie for dinner on a really bad day. And an investigator affirms your spiritual power. You have to find the good things and be optimistic and it's so hard to do that and I'm not perfect at it. But good grief, do we believe in an infinite Atonement and an all-powerful God or don't we??
My heart has been made tender. It's all squishy and stuff, so I'm gonna get off because that's just sick and ain't nobody wanna listen to a sensitive sister hehe....
Love y'all!
Sister Gunson

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mission Life....It's Now or Nevarr!!!!

Hannah uses mission lingo so much in this letter that I don't even want to attempt an editor's note... Please ask me if you would like further clarification on anything!!  Although I will explain this one thing--to be endowed means to enter the temple and make covenants with Heavenly Father.  When you keep covenants with God, He "endows" you with blessings and power.  That's why we get so excited when people go to the temple to receive their endowments! :)

Begin forwarded message:

From: Hannah Gunson <>
Subject: Mission Life!.... Now or Nevarr!
Date: October 13, 2014 at 12:30:37 PM PDT
To: Janet Gunson <>

Hank Smith gave a talk called "My Soul Hungered and My Stomach Growled" (thanks a ton Elder Wright for sending that to me!!) and there's a part where he's talking about how sometimes we're rebellious and he kinda whispers "It's My Life" (a song by Bon Jovi). Somehow, Sister Nielson and I decided to say it at every opportunity. Someone will do something and we'll pause and say "'s her life!... Now or Nevarr!!" Anyways. Just explaining the title.

Last week, I found out that the Joker from my last area was being endowed on Saturday!! However, I wasn't able to make it. And that's okay-- as it turns out, the Lord needed us in Arlington!

Reason #1: Sister Nielson got a rash on her foot (I've been calling it leprosy... it's not leprosy. But that doesn't stop me from calling her my "little leper.") and we had to get that checked out (cuz DUUDE it looks NASTAY) and that took FOREVER. After that, we went potential hunting and had a couple of cool experiences.

Reason #2: We met this guy as he was getting out of his car and we engaged in some polite missionary contact... Funny thing is in Texas, you can find the elect like RIGHT AWAY because the elect will let YOU talk. Those blinded by the craftiness of men usually spend 45 minutes explaining that there's no spirit world, there're no familial bonds in the after life and all we do there is wake up, praise God, go back to bed...for eternity. (Side note: I would not worship a god so vain that he created us just so that we could come back and spend our eternity worshiping him... no thanks. Also, why would we have families here if we didn't need them thereafter....?) Anyways. While we were talking with this guy, Sister Nielson and I had the strong impression to testify boldly of the restored truths of what really happens after we die.  He might be in the spirit world before he listens...
Reason #3: We met 2 teenagers, also on the sidewalk. We had walked past them and the spirit told both of us to turn around (the Spirit speaks Texan y'all) so we quickly turned around and taught these two. They're both in high school and they were the elect we were looking for. Spanish missionaries had actually been teaching one of the teen's mom before. And they "kept reading out of some book..." We were like ".... you wanna know what that book was?" and both of them said "SURE!" Long story short, we're meeting with them this week. And they were so polite for high- schoolers!! That's always a plus.

More cool things happened this week:

Remember that little stinker last transfer, whom I aptly nicknamed "Stinker?" He called us and asked us for the New Member Lessons. He's had a really rough go of it this year. To protect him and respect his privacy... we're gonna say he's just had some really negative stuff going on. Before, last transfer, he was closed off and negative, even seeking to remove his records from the church. And then, after returning from trying to move away, he came back to Arlington and asked us to teach him. We have a long way to go with this one, but it was so cool to get that phone call!!! Met with him Sunday, he decided he wants to go on a mission. The Atonement truly is infinite!

Last story. And this is a long one, so just keep holding on. We were at dinner with a member at Chipotle Friday night and these people came up to us, asking us "what's the difference between the Mormons and Christians?" Excited at the reverse contact, we leaped into the first lesson... only to discover the true intentions for starting this conversation. It went from pleasant testimonies of Jesus to ripping into Joseph Smith, telling us that we were wrong, denying our experiences in praying about it, telling us that we worshiped Joseph Smith, he saw a fallen angel and not God, that we weren't Christians... all the sort of "bunk" we usually get. Mostly, it was annoying how they wouldn't listen. No matter what we said, no matter how we testified, they denied its authenticity because it didn't agree with their doctrine.

But the funny thing was: At lunch earlier that day, I had been reading from my D&C seminary manual about the prophet's martyrdom. It referred me to Section 135, John Taylor's testimony of the prophet. I felt impressed to read it out loud. As I read it, I felt the strong impression (coupled with the strong desire) to pray for confirmation. I couldn't even get the question out, the Lord was so excited to DUMP, just POUR His confirming spirit to that prayer.

Forward to later that night at dinner,that confirmation was put to the test. Finally, the opposing team went too far and I interrupted them, put my foot down and bore the most powerful testimony I ever have that Joseph Smith was a prophet and servant of the Lord. I don't worship him, but I am thankful for him because through him, I gained a greater understanding of my Savior. That man made the Savior PERSONAL to me and has influenced my life in such great ways-- for that reason, I sing "Praise to the Man."
WEEKLY SOAPBOX: Not only is this experience cool--if obnoxious and rude--but I learned several things from it that testify to me of the truthfulness of not only Joseph Smith, but of this church.
#1: THE ROLE OF THE SPIRIT IN CONVERSION / WHAT IT FEELS LIKE: The second this guy started talking, I couldn't understand him. I think he was testifying of Christ... and I think he was speaking English, but the whole time, I was like ".... wut?" NOTHING HE SAID MADE SENSE. I feel like that's a sign the Spirit just up and left. For the life of me, I can't even remember what he was testifying of! First lesson learned: the Spirit is CLEAR, direct, enlightens and makes sense-- when YOU are open.
Not only was it confusing, their spirit was rude and biting. They denied our spiritual power, insulted our beliefs, and, despite telling them many times how often we pray-- especially about this!-- they told us we were still wrong. They told us "we love you guys and are concerned for you!" Well I've been loved before and it doesn't feel like that. THEN they told US that WE weren't open. Because if we were, then (and I quote) "the spirit of God would've come down on you and y'all would've been on the floor, speaking in tongues!"
*le sigh*
The Spirit is ennobling. It takes farm boys with 4th grade educations and turns them into prophets. It doesn't take 20 year olds and make them look like drunk toddlers. Alcohol does that, the spirit DOES NOT.
#2: MY RELATIONSHIP WITH HEAVENLY FATHER AND JESUS CHRIST: Amongst all the soul-assaulting insults of the evening, the worst insinuation was the denial of my honest, loving and truthful relationship I have with the Godhead. I've heard each one of Them speak to me, I know what They sound like, feel like and the idea that either I'm not praying to the right God or the God I've been praying to has lied to me about the truth gets under my skin. Dude. I've prayed too long, too hard about this and many other subjects to not know the truth. And if I've been praying to the wrong God, or the God I have been praying to hasn't told me by now that all this isn't true and that this isn't the way to get back to Him... then honestly, I'd rather go to hell because at least then the devil would care enough to do everything in his power to drag me down to be with him.
And if this is all wrong, and we all do go to hell, I'd rather be in hell with my family and Joseph Smith anyways. Better company, in my opinion. Anyways. I CLEARLY have feelings about this.

Love, Sister Gunson

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Singin' In The Rain

Quick editorial:  to "kill" a missionary is to be their last companion and send them home.  Just don't want any false doctrine being spread that we condone murder...

Begin forwarded message:

From: Hannah Gunson <>
Subject: Singin' In The Rain
Date: September 29, 2014 at 9:53:25 AM PDT
To: Janet Gunson <>

I'd like to start off this email by telling y'all once again how much I love my mission. YOU GUYS. I LOVE MY MISSION OKAY??? It's the best thing I've ever done!! I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT.
Okay. Now that that's over with.
So, transfers.... Sister Christensen the Second is LEAVING ME. She's gonna go kill Sister Heap! Haha, all my companions serve with each other! What is up with that... So we're not exactly enthralled with transfer doctrine, but, well, what're ya gonna do? It came from God, so... go forth and do.
Last week for pday we went to the Dallas Cowboys Stadium!! AHH IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! I'll send some pictures :) But it was so cool to realize that I'm best friends with my companion. That ROCKS.
This week, we've seen some people flake out... Crispy is a bit of a turd. He sent his brother to come out and tell us that he didn't want to meet today. And he just sat in bed, playing on his phone. I about kicked in the door and would've drug him out by his tshirt, but... that doesn't exactly bring in the Spirit and you kind of need that to teach. So..... impasses. Am I right?
BUT. We saw a lot of progression!! Gawee, the LA part of the LA/PM relationship I've mentioned before, is so cool. When I first met him, he was struggling with just about everything that'd keep you out of the temple. And then they broke up and Gawee and Weightless have just progressed like CRAZY. They still have bad days, but we were meeting with him on Wednesday and just kinda regrouping. We talked a lot about Mosiah 5 and he was kind of beating himself up because he felt like he didn't have "a mighty change of heart." So we took him through his experiences-- how much he's grown, how he sees the temple, what he's willing to do, what he IS doing right now. He says that he's still caked in evil and he has no heart, but then he tries to take us out to dinner and always comments on our daily contact scripture. He takes our advice to put up pics of the temple and he comes to church when he doesn't have his daughter. We told him that it takes a bit to shake off the chains, but he's started to! And he is DETERMINED to get to the temple!! It's a real goal for him and he works towards it every day! We told him that now he's going to have a powerful testimony of the Atonement. And once he's past all of this, he's going to be such an incredible advocate of it.
Weightless and Woah came with us to the Women's Conference! And it was SO COOL to have them there!! Serving in YSA is funny because it feels like I'm teaching my friends... so whenever we go somewhere, it feels like we're just another group of friends, going to get some spiritual nourishment! Which is so cool because if you asked me 5 years ago what I'd like to be doing on a Saturday night with my friends, it probably wasn't going to hear Pres. Uchtdorf talk about keeping commandments. And now... That to me defines a friend. Someone you can do uplifting things with. And who will eat good Mexican food with you beforehand.
I've noticed that Weightless has more of a relationship with God. She's coming slowly into her role as a daughter of God and it's so cool to watch that.
Same thing with Woah. This stuff is just... so natural to her! Some kid on the UTA campus saw her reading the Book of Mormon and was all "oh, Mormon bible!" and immediately she said "na-uh, it's not the bible, it's different! They go hand in hand with each other!" We had to tell our Ward Council to make sure the ward knows Woah's not a member. Haha she just blends right on in!
Sweet Soul had a really rough week... And so when we called him to set up an appointment, we had originally asked for this coming tuesday (tomorrow.) Instead, he said "um... could we meet earlier?" and when we met on Saturday, he said "I just had a really rough week and so I knew I needed to meet with you guys. I knew reading the scriptures would help me feel that relief again and that warm feeling." We read Ether 12 with him and had a good discussion. He really lives up to his name.
So, in conclusion. I love my mission. I love the people I work with. I will assuredly love the new sister. I loved Women's Conference! I'm excited for General Conference! And here's my weekly soapbox:
Read Mosiah 18. I was reading it this morning and felt that the things Alma was saying to the people were things he was telling himself. He had to run through that checklist. And so when he gets to baptizing Helam, he prays to have the spirit's cleansing influence so as to make him holy enough to do this. Oh man!! I can just feel Alma's remorse for his sins and his burning desire to do the Lord's work. He's experienced that mighty change and now all he wants to do is help others get there. I want to personally testify that the Savior's Atonement works. For everyone. And I'm really glad that the missionaries I look up to in the Book of Mormon had some imperfections to overcome because it means I'm in good company. God doesn't look at the mistake as much as He looks at the recovery!
Pres. Uchtdorf said that we all have umbrellas of doubt fear and sin that shield us from the blessings of God. But as we live the commandments, we take those umbrellas away, we find our true selves, our real selves, our eternal nature and divine inheritances as sons and daughters of God.  I'm the most comfortable in my skin as I've ever been and it's because I'm SOAKED in the blessings Heavenly Father has RAINED on me.
I'm in a flippin' DELUGE.
Sorrynotsorry for the hecka long email!! LOVE Y'ALL!! Take chances, make mistakes and use the Atonement!

Love, Sister Gunny

Thou Shalt Not Kill

The sad sad realization of my mission is that no matter how well I descibe my experiences, no matter how many journals I've kept, pictures I've taken, not even if you met some of the characters in these stories, you will never know the full extent of my mission. It's a dream that I shared with my companions and even then... It's so surreal. It's WEIRD.

This week was good! We picked up some new investigators! Crispy kinda breaks my heart and makes me mad because he's searching for peace and stuff (you know... the stuff the gospel provides freely and liberally..) but doesn't really do much to go get it.... Being a missionary turns you into a mini-psychologist because you sit there and pick around their brains with the Spirit. They say one thing, you hear what they're REALLY trying to say... What he suffers from is Spiritual Emancipation-- he's orphaned himself from his Heavenly Father. That's sad to watch. But he still meets with us pretty regularly, so there's room to work! 

We taught Woah the 10 Commandments.  That same morning, I had been reading my Old testament Seminary manual and I got some really cool insight on the 10 comms. As we talked about it, I saw deeper into the Savior's law that, with His earthly ministry, fulfilled it. We talked about "Thou Shalt Not Kill" the longest because as we delved further we saw that the higher law is "Thou Shalt Help Others Live." It's not about not killing, it's not even about refraining from rude comments-- it's about loving another person and helping them LIVE. Living is hard, okay? And we need all the help we can get! 

Sweet Soul is... going at his own pace. We talked about some weightier subjects and helped him step closer into the light... but we have to walk with him. We tried to run the other day and it killed the Spirit. It was a hard lesson to learn, but I'm glad we know now what we should be doing with him. It's hard to not get excited... but then we turn on the firehose and they can't drink so well from it. 

Ahhh... people and their brains. 

Anyways. This email is a little disjointed. BUT. Thanks to everyone who sent me birthday wishes!! I loved them all and was so thankful to know that y'all haven't forgotten I exist! Ha... 

Final thought: There are a lot of RM's (returned missionaries) in this YSA (Young Single Adult) ward. Heck, lots of RM's in this world. And you know what I learned? It's not impressive to be an RM. Serving a mission does not make you awesome. Letting the mission change you makes you awesome. I've been really unimpressed with some of the RM's I've seen in my mission life and if I have anything to say about it, anyone within my circle of influence does not get to come home unconsecrated!! I know a good missionary when I see one. Wherever you are, tag or no tag, be that kind of missionary. Please. Let Christ's life change you. Have faith? ACT ON IT. 

Goes back to what I was saying before, "Thou Shalt Not Kill" is wayyyyy more than just not stabbing your neighbor. That's easy. Help others to LIVE. Lift them UP. 

LIIIIIIIIIIVVVEEEE!!!! LIVE LIFE TO ITS FULLEST! And the fullest is in the service of God!! Be full and be happy!! 

The fullest, happiest Sister Missionary EVER.

It's So Easy To Be Happy


I remarked to President that my whole mission, I've been on the hunter end of the Jeremiah 16 spectrum. And it's been hard, hunting in holes and rocks is not a cake walk. So this whole fishing side of the spectrum has been really weird.... Not complaining.

So, in Arlington YSA, it hasn't always been this way, but the gators swim to you. And they come SOOOOO PREPARED. I've ranted about Woah (perhaps not enough...) but like seriously guys. You haven't met prepared until her. We asked her how her scripture reading has been going and she says "I try every day to be so diligent in reading and praying. And I've just felt so much better! I feel less stressed and worried... it is so easy to be happy!!" We set a baptismal goal for her of mid-October!!! SHE'S SO AWESOME. She's just diving into everything. I've never taught anybody quite like her!!

Ed is a newer gator, I think I mentioned him and his member friend last week. This week, we taught him in one of our bishopric's home. The spirit was SO THICK you could cut it with a knife! Though why you'd want to escapes me.... Anyways! We invited him to be baptized and he accepted!! We asked him why and he said "I watched the changes in my friend and he's happier and better now and I want that. I'm ready to give up my sins and my old ways." dumbfounded, I said "So when do you want to get baptized?" and he thought for a second and said October!! We handed him a calendar, he looked at it, and picked the 18th!!! And then he came to church on Sunday! WHOOHOOO!!

Weightless, the PM part of the PMLA relationship (now broken up) is on track for baptism as well! She's set a goal for January 3rd because she wants to make sure she's doing it for herself. But you know what.... she could totally get baptized in October too if she wanted haha. She's giving up her alcohol and partying... We were talking to her and she said she had a house-warming party to got o on Saturday... we got a little nervous (cuz her friends are big drinkers) but then she said "I was a little worried about going, but then I realized I can't stay out to late because I have church the next day!!" That was her first thought?? Haha, she's awesome. We can see and feel the weights coming off of her as she lives the Word of Wisdom, as she works forward instead of running around in circles. She's awesome!!

RANDOM STORIES: for FHE on Monday, the YSA was doing a flour fight. We took Danielle and were gonna leave after she got integrated into the group, but several members ran up to us and DUMPED flour all over us!! (pictures to follow). We tried to run away, but it was kind of the equivalent of 2 elks trying to grab a drink of water in a pond surrounded by hunters.... So.... it was a little inevitable. (?)

One Month's dad likes to meet with us when we teach the New Member Lessons to One Month. The Arlington 6 elders are trying to help him get to baptism. He wants to, just has a lot of fears. So whenever we go over, it's a lot of resolving concerns, and then we get to teach one Month. Anyways. They had to make a new bap date for him because he didn't come to church to make it to the one they had set. So I looked at his calendar, pointed to the 20th and said "Get baptized on the 20th." He paused... and said "okay." I like investigators I can do that to.

It was an awesome week! Don't let the devil get ya down! Cuz it's pretty easy to be happy ;)

Love, Sister Gunson

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Has This Been Here the Whole Time?

Man, I love my mission. Every dang moment of it. Even when I hated it, I secretly loved it. You know those obnoxious couples (like my parents) who are soooo in love and can't stop talking about how awesome the other is? I'm like that about my mission.

Anyways. First, a funny story. Last p-day, I ditched the blonde. I decided to go for a nice conservative dark brown... in so doing, I managed to find a  secret, concealed burgundy amongst the ashier colours and the burgundy gained the upper-hand in the colour-wrestle that ensued... Long story short, I went from Rapunzel to the Little Mermaid. We ran to the market to grab another box of almost black brown to mute it. A week later, it's subdued to an auburn cast of brown. So I know repentance is real and that the Lord makes a way for our escape.

We started teaching a UTA student (I'll call her Woah.... you'll see why if you keep reading) that we found from an on-campus event last week. As we started talking more, she said that she works summers at a Scout Camp-- and subsequently ran into several Returned Missionaries. They quickly shared the gospel with her and gave her a Book of Mormon. She found us through the LDSSA (Latter Day Saint Student Association) at that aforementioned on-campus event, came to church last Sunday... and now she's our favorite investigator! Have you ever met the elect...? You haven't till you meet Woah. She's always felt there was something more than what her non-denominational friends were teaching and what the world was preaching... She's already living the Word of Wisdom(we didn't even teach her that yet! Go RM friends!!) and has seen the benefits and blessings from it. She prays and reads every night and diligently searches. She's INCREDIBLE. I've never been so blessed to teach and discuss with her!

Our Part Member/Less Active relationship broke up... which is funny because we totally called (prophesied?) it in weekly planning. The Spirit told us to sit back and watch... and told us that we had to work with them separately because their paths and goals were totally different. Sure enough... they broke up, moved out, and now we're meeting with them separately. We also have this habit of texting the Less Active right as he's about to light up a cigarette. We're working really hard to help him keep the Word of Wisdom. He's down to alcohol!!

On Wednesday, we sat down In the foyer before Institute to teach A Work of Salvation.  When he left, a non member and her LA friend came in and shortly therafter, One Month walked in. When she walked out, an RM and his friend came in.  So...  In about 45 minutes, we marathon taught 5 or so different people. It was really cool... the spirit would just direct us to the next person as to what they needed and the questions to ask. I grabbed an Ensign, not knowing why... and used it 5 different times. It was one of the neatest things to sit back with Christensen the 2nd and be all ".... did that really just happen?" And then someone gave us chocolate. I guess the church is true.

Earlier in the week, we had gone to dinner with 2 sweet members. One of them was a convert of 3 years and the other had just started coming back to church a year ago. We started talking about how awesome missions were and I could feel the gears turning... well on Fast Sunday, they both got up, bore testimony, and announced that they would be going on missions!! I ran up there and had to establish their words. I got to bear testimony of how my mission has changed me. The greatest miracle I've ever seen in this process--and there have been many-- has been me. I never thought this would happen, but I am becoming the person I imagined I would be in the MTC.

I got to share my Jacob 5:75 story to Superman and our YSA advisors. I could never have imagined in July of 2008, sitting on the UNLV campus, that I'd be here in Texas.... the advisor started crying and I wanted to cry and the sweetest spirit just PERMEATED the room. I'm so glad I went on a mission.

Final thoughts: IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A SIGN OR ANSWER FROM GOD AS TO WHETHER OR NOT YOU SHOULD SERVE A MISSION, HERE IT IS: DO IT. It is the greatest thing you could ever do. Feel like Heavenly Father is letting you choose? DO IT. You will never regret it.

Woah has lived across the Institute building for about 2 years now, I think. She's driven and walked past it so many times. She finally got into the building and in our first lesson, she said "I can't believe I've walked past this-- has this been here the whole time??" Not only has the Institute been here for a while, but the gospel is here.  We walk into this random gas station food joint called Epic Cones, in walks one of the employees about to start her shift, sees our name tags and shouts across the room "hey sisters!! I'm a Less Active member!!" we say "no way!! come to church!!"  We pass some guy in Target who's been taking the lessons for 9 months with the elders in some other ward and we commit him to be baptized, with journals and pens as our witness and he says "yeah, I think I should do that... I'll tell the elders tonight."  We get hit on walking to our apartment at the end of the night and instead of giving our number, we give a pamphlet, get his number, and send the elders to his door.

You finally see who you are to God. These miracles have been here this whole time. This gospel has been here this whole time. Where are you?

Servin' in Texas, that's where.

Have a great week y'all! Love ya!
Sister Gunson

PS: have some pictures.

My new hair and the back of my name tag

PS from Janet:  Hannah sent me a "before" picture of her hair--it was PURPLE.


So YSA is different.... haha I've been serving in a family ward for so long I forgot that people my age existed. So it's been fun trying to talk to them.... I'm so very very awkward. A sister in the ward started calling me Sister Goober and it hasn't been a full week. 

But other than my supreme awkwardness, it's been AWESOME. It's good to get some change... I needed something new in which to forget myself. It's interesting to see the reasons why I'm here come popping out of the woodwork. I really questioned for a while if YSA was really where I was needed... it was just so out of the blue! But in the past couple of days... I've seen a lot. 

We taught Sweet Soul in a McDonalds. He doesn't have a car so he's limited to the places he can go. (Side note: He lives right past the Ranger stadium... And the Cowboys Stadium... and Six Flags. It was pretty fun driving past 'em) We're in this McDonalds and he's just bearing his soul to us and we're telling him he's a son of God and if he read his scriptures and said his prayers and came to church, his life would build back up.... IN A MCDONALDS. Ah, the sweet vicissitudes of mission life. The best part was after our lesson, we saw 2 teenagers and we contacted them. Taught L1 and L2. The entire time, one of the kids was like "man, I need to be a Mormon. I'm gonna be a Mormon. I'm texting my Mormon friend and telling him I'm joining!!" Sister Christensen and I left McDonalds and doubled over in laughter. We were quoting him the rest of the night. 

We had a baptism on Saturday too!! One Month is SUCH a sweetheart! She was so tender the whole week/weekend... it was good to talk to her. I didn't get to walk this path with her, but seeing the end results was really cool. So proud of her!! And we have another baptism this weekend!! Stay tuned!! 

Last night, we taught Stinker... and he's basically a younger Joker except I don't click with him as much as I did the Joker. Same sort of situation... He was in the military--and saw stuff-- and now has doubts. And I looked at him and said "Do you believe the Atonement is real?" and he said "I don't know, it's hard for me to believe what I can't see." I testified that the Atonement was something you can see and feel. As I said that, I thought about everybody in Euless, everybody in Lantana, everybody in Justin and everybody in River Trails.... Heck, everybody back home, myself included!! I've never had so much conviction that something was true as when I testified of the Atonement in that instance.

So for anybody that doubts whether or not God is real, if He loves you, if Jesus really died to save you, then come to church, partake of the sacrament and watch yourself literally change. You CAN become a better person and you WILL be with His help. He can loose any addiction, climb any mountain, trudge through every swamp and He understands everything you're going through. And He is so anxious to help you that He enlisted me, the goobiest goober in the world to preach His perfect gospel. They let me out of the MTC -- I don't know how-- so that I could tell the world the glad tidings of great joy. This is a message of hope. SO GO SPREAD IT. 

Share your little raindrop of goodness because this world needs it!! You can't completely eradicate darkness... but we can overcome it! Always look to the light and find 5 good things out of any situation!! And be sure to share that with others because everybody needs a reminder. 

Well folks... I'm teaching punks, frat boys, hipsters, just about anything you can find on your average college campus.... and I LOVE IT!!! 


Love, Sister Gunson 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Don't Knock It 'Til You Try It!

Hannah's email if you only have time for a couple lines:
Her address if you can write more:  1500 West Lovers Lane #216
  Arlington, TX 76013

I do not like emailing on not-Mondays.... so if this is a tad hurried... oh well.

SO THIS WEEK WAS KINDA PRETY COOL. We had interviews with President and he and I had a real nice chat. It wasn't a heavy deep doctrinal cry your eyes out kind of interview. We talked like peers about the work. I love President. We had to leave early because we got to go to the UTA campus and do like a freedom of speech thing where all the clubs get on campus in a giant strip-mall kind of fashion. We had an incredible turnout at the on-campus event!! 47 sign-ups and 3 of them came to church on Sunday!! WHOOHOO
One of our (investi)gators, Song.... is..... starting to make progress. He came to institute (DyC went wayyy over his head) but had a good chat with our bishop who made him promise to read the BofM. As we were walking out, one of our convert members grabbed him and told him his story. We drove past the two walking and talking and Sister C the 2nd (Hannah had another companion named Sister Christensen..) and I were like ".... woah." It's the feeling you get when you watch miracles take place.
We made progress with one of our PMLA (part member/ less active families)... well, they're not families (hence the YSA  (Young Single Adult) part of my proselyting demographic) but in a relationship. By himself, he's cut down on so many of his Word of Wisdom issues. This week, he decided to quit smoking hookah and yesterday he stopped the chew. He let us smash his hookah heads (thus rendering them un-usable) as a kind of "get thee hence" party. I really like my mission.
We had a good, real honest conversation with Sweet Soul.... in McDonalds again...  where we laid it all out for him. We drew him a little road map (and I am so stinking proud of that teaching aid!!) of how to get from here to the Celestial Kingdom. We kept no secrets (except for those which are sacred...) and at the end he said "Okay.... okay I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'M GONNA COME TO CHURCH TOMORROW!!!" He grabbed our hands and was kinda shaky. We could feel the spirit just FLOOD his body and he was so giggly and giddy he didn't know what to do with himself. And then HE DID come to church! And stayed for 2 hours! (we thought he'd only make it to the sacrament meeting) and he even spoke up in sunday school!!
So President had set a date with One Month's dad (who's been studying with the elders in the family ward). We get to her house, planning on teaching her when her dad says  "Sisters.... I'm gonna throw a curveball at you" he told us that he had said yes to the date to get them off his back... but then we had an honest conversation with him and at the end, he said "well... I have no fear now! I'm getting baptized!" We just hope it sticks. I love having honest conversations with people. It's my all-time favorite thing to do as a missionary is to just ask people questions, listen and watch the Spirit teach them.
And then we ended the week with a baptism!!! Superman is probably the funniest convert I've ever met... he came to his baptismal interview wearing his Superman onesie because he had worn it to work for pajama day. My kinda convert. Our pictures that we sent into the mission office are PRICELESS-- so I sent them to you. Happy Birthday!  
Twas an excellent week. I love it here. I couldn't even begin to tell you how much I love this place. Or how much I love my mission. Sister Christensen and I have a lot of really good conversations--it's like the companionship study just goes on all day. It's awesome to be able to talk again. She tells me that I motivate her to work and to help her not think of home, that I have a "live like you're dying" mentality.... yeah, well, I do. I hate sitting (unless I'm teaching), I hate the car, I LOVE awkward missionary moments and I LOVE THIS GOSPEL AND HE WHO FOUNDED IT.

This area is gonna teach me a lot about how to not strangle my future kids though.... We get a lot of those just-barely-out-of-their-teens and they say stuff to get a rise and they're not committed, and then they blame stuff on Heavenly Father and they're all 'I'M SO DONE WITH THIS." Dude... you haven't even tried it. You can't quit something you don't start-- so don't do drugs and pick up the Book of Mormon!! Because there's a lot of good stuff in there. You can't say you hate Mormons until you spend time with them! So call the missionaries! And we'll help you figure out if you like us or not ;)

Have a great week!!


Love, Sister Goober (somebody in the YSA nicknamed me as thus.)

Ofa' Atu, Euless

Heeeeeyyyyyyyy ttthhhhheeeeeerrreeeee.... 

Well.... I'm being transferred. Everybody say BOOOOOO. By way of quasi-eulogy for my time spent here, I'd like to say a few things. Euless was HARD. I struggled and stretched in so many different ways but now I'm flexible and buff. Nothing was easy here and it all inched along. But yesterday, our Ward Mission Leader had some kind of fire under him for missionary work and he took over the whole Ward Council and advocated like a boss. He made the auxiliaries take responsibility for finding. There's a family that we've been trying to work with to get to the temple and he said "GET THE MISSIONARIES OUT OF THERE, IT'S OUR RESPONSIBILITY." I looked across the room at our elders and we just about burst into proud tears. I am so immensely proud of the progress we've made, the baptisms we've seen, the miracles we've worked... not just as an area, but as a zone. The Colleyville Zone is NOT the hardest zone in the mission-- it's the hardest-WORKING ;) 

I've had some time to reflect on true success as a missionary... mostly because I've been on my soapbox preaching at Sister Kuli in efforts to improve moral. There are several things I can't stand in life.  #1: the fact that Disney put Ariel-- a REDHEAD-- in a PINK dress (COME ON, REALLY??) #2: Agency (elaboration: when people do dumb things because they have been given agency. Agency is a glorious principle, I picked the right third y'all, don't worry...) #3: the devilish depression that comes from negative thought processes-- especially when they concern your individual worth and self-confidence. DON'T GIVE PLACE FOR THE ENEMY OF YOUR SOUL. 

We've lost You Asked For It as a progressing investigator. Every time she talks, I get these flashbacks of 1Nephi 29. So that was a painful lesson to go through, having her kick dirt on stuff she once praised. Gotye missed church yesterday, so he can't get baptized in August. September is still on the map though!! The Boy that Lived continues to come to church and stay all 3 hours and usually give us a lift home! But the hardest part of this week was seeing the disintegration of True Grit's grit. And it's all because she hasn't been partaking of the sacrament weekly. 

I honestly don't know how people can forget this stuff. Then again, Laman and Lemuel saw angels and heard the voice of God and then went on to teach their children to hate their cousins. But to this, I say "get over yourself, and CPR!!" (Janet's note:  I think that means "Church, Pray, Read")

I'm doing the Bednar challenge (Elder Bednar is a current, living apostle)-- which is when you take one of a million plain blue BofMs, write a question on the spine (or inside cover) and search that book for the answer to your question. President has asked us to do this in preparation for the coming of a general authority (church leader). I've decided to focus on how to make myself (or stay) forever strong and converted to this gospel. And in everything I've read so far (I'm still in 1nephi....) it struck me that hardening your heart is the start of moral disintegration. 

So, my last soapbox stance in Euless is this: DON'T HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AGAINST THIS. If you have a problem, PRAY. SEEK GUIDANCE. Answers do come-- they always come to the humble and penitent learner who seeks with real intent. 

Other than that, no new adventures to report. Stay tuned for the Arlington YSA chapter..... *shudder* YSA..... I shrink to think of the close contact with my demographic I'll be having. Guys, I like primary, okay? Primary is THE PLACE. 

Love, Sister Gunson


Who's Gonna Stop Me?

Ayn Rand once said "it's not about who's going to let me-- it's about who's going to stop me." With that in mind, I open this digital soapbox. 

This week was pretty full of cool stories. Last week was crazyness, this week it's been adventure time with the spirit. We started it off with an INCREDIBLE Zone Council (oh yeah-- we've changed the name from Training to Council. BOOM. More spiritual efficiency.) It cam etime to decide our baptismal goals for August and September.... May I remind you that Colleyville isn't exactly a Brazilian mission (sorry for the could-be-take-as-a-deragatory-remark, I love you Brazil and I'm almost sorry y'all didn't win the world cup, there's nothing wrong with a Brazil mission, I'm just saying y'all have some stereotypes in your statistics....). Our current ZL was serving here in the Tongan Wards and it was a miracle if they were able to get 2 baptisms a month. SO when our ZL writes a huge 8 on the board and says "I think 8-- what do y'all think?" we all were like "........ hm." Here's what was going on in my head: I started to get a little jaded about our area. I was like "yeah, we could baptize in September, I don't know about August though... that'd take a miracle" and I still haven't learned that Heavenly Father answers prayers, dag-gummit!! The other half of our zone was like "that's... impossible, let's not get our hopes too high" and the other half was saying "OH YE OF LITTLE FAITH!!" We went into overtime by about 20 minutes. We said "okay, let's write everybody on the board with any slim chance of making it to baptism in August." Not including the 2 already dunked and the 4 projected.... 10 names were on that board. About 10 minutes later, we were all in agreement that we were gonna move Heaven and Hell to get this goal!! It is a big miracle... but it is doable. Because all things are doable with a limitless God to back you up (WHY HAVEN'T WE LEARNED THIS YET) 

So what's become of that horrible french I've been learning and attempting to speak...? Well, it's invited two people to baptism!! Gotye and our newest investigator are Congo-French speakers and they've both accepted baptism!! AND GOTYE ACCEPTED AN AUGUST DATE!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH See, this is what happens when you believe!! THERREE CAAAAN BEEE MIRRRAAAACCCLLLEEEEEEEEESSSS!!!!!! 

Plus, the Joker came up to me before sacrament meeting yesterday and showed me his preisthood ordination interview form. August 24th is gonna be the best stake conference OF MY LIFE. There is very little stopping me from tackle-hugging this little man and his wife. 

On a sad note (for me-- my mother and Miranda are simply OVER-JOYED) I got my trunky packet this week. My ZL (he goes home with me) texted and said "SISTER GUNSON DON'T GET THE MAIL" right as I got to the mail box and I went ".... no. Sister Kuli, this big white envelope is for you." I was thinking about it that night after I said my prayers.... Guys, I can't imagine a life without these people and this place in my life. I almost cried to Awesomeness the next day cuz I told her that Texas owns some of my best friends and there is no part of my life that won't include them. It's hard for me to wrap my brain around the idea that I didn't know these people.... I remember flipping my mission call over and over in my hands.... not knowing that it contained the greatest blessing, the best decision and the greatest love I would ever know. I feel like these names were tucked away secretly in some pocket in thatr envelope.... Does that make any sense? 

Anyways.... I love Texas. I'm still in denial so y'all can count days but I will gleefully remain oblivious. 

Have a great week! 
Love, Sister Gunson 

PS: HAPPY (admittedly late) 75TH BIRTHDAY PAPA!!! KEEP ROCKIN' IT! 
PPS: Thank you to the Youth Conference kids who wrote letters-- whoever drew the dinosaur is totally making the next planner cover.

I'm Not Going Away!!!

From Hannah:

Heyyyyyyy everybodyyyy...

I got to go to the temple today. I finally felt completely peaceful. And then I left and the world sank in and now I'm like "yeeeeeuuuck get it offa meeeee!!" 

I'm trying to remember everything that happened this week... hm... well, lemme go backwards. 

I went on an exchange to Southlake with our sister training leaders-- that was awesome!! We taught some really cool lessons. I love XC's!! It gives me the chance to get out of my box for a bit, kinda clear my head! Plus my STL's are the bomb!! So I got a lot of great advice for some of my trials and struggles. It felt like I was getting my armor repaired-- if that makes sense. 

We had Zone Conference!! I got to see some of my ol' Lewisville pals!! Sista C found herself in my old town of Justin!! So we had a good talk about that... It's very interesting, she's dealing with many the same things I did when I was there. Zone Conference blew the roof-- as usual. We talked about 3 new finding ideas that aren't actually new: family history, 21 tips for better grades and a new way to use the pamphlets. All of which work tremendously when put ot good use (as directed by the spirit). We're definitely in the process of sifting the wheat from the tares... so I invite y'all to just listen to what the 2 dudes in white shirts and ties (with little black nametags) have to say. (or the 2 chicks in skirts and sensible shoes-- also with nametags) 

We went on an exchange with Ms. Awesomeness to go see a less active member. It was the saddest experience ever. This sister has placed herself so far out of the circle of influence of God's Love that she can't find her way back. She told us she was up to some really bad things and that God doesn't want her back. 



If I could say only one thing to this world, it would be this: God loves you, you little turds. I know it, I know that God knows I know it, and you could sooner turn purple with orange spots than I could ever stop believing in a loving Heavenly Father who's only mad when you forget that He loves you and has made every way possible, devised every means necessary to get your mug back into his presence.He made it possible for you to go back UNASHAMED, with honor and glory!  I know this because of You Asked For It. On Monday, when I have more time I'll tell you her story... but to every one who follows in the footsteps of this unfortunate aforementioned less active member, I say to you:  what makes your sins so special that God-- the creator of all things, Alpha and Omega, Endless is His name, He speaks and the earth melts-- can't forgive you? Who are you to tell God what His Son's Atonement can and can't do? He's limitless in His very nature!! 

Awesomness is the epitome of this. She stood at that sister's door for 5 straight minutes, just knocking. She paused every once in a while, but if you've ever seen the Big bang Theory.... She could rival Sheldon's door-knocking techniques. She knocked and knocked and said "I'm not going away! So answer the door!" 

You think YOU'VE knocked at the door till your knuckles bled? I know someone who's one-upped you. 

I know God loves you because He loves me. He's forgiven my many mistakes. And there's nothing He wouldn't do for you. 

Romans 8:16-17, 35-39. 

Just pray!! 

Sister Gunny 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sister Gunslinger and The Boy That Lived


I'm sure y'all remember me talking about The Boy That Lived. He's next summer's activity, I've been invited back to be his nanny. HE DONE BEEN DUNKED THIS WEEK WHOOHOO!!! And all of his non-member/ Less-Active family was there!!! YAY FOR PROGRESS AND SUCCESS! Ah, triumph. During his confirmation, I knew, i just KNEW he was one of the elect. Only age 10, his confirmation promised an eternal family and a full-time mission. Missions are forEVER. They are not 18months-2 years!! That's where they start, but the impact goes on for SO LONG. I can't believe I didn't realize this sooner...

So yes, it's been a much better week than the past couple I've bene having... Sunday night,while I was saying my prayers, I had such a warm, comforting feeling. It came on slowly and then all of a sudden I was just wrapped in this toasty blanket. I knew that God was proud of me and that I had passed whatever test He had wanted me to. I had endured well and God gave me a good pat on the back.

And then God handed us everything. This week was on fire!! Every day was jam-packed with appointments and the times when those appointments backed out, I just walked with faith to the back-up plans and I knew that God would bless us and put us where we needed to be. Sure enough, He did. We met at least 2 solid people this week. One of them came to church AND the baptism we had yesterday!! His name is Gotye and.. he's another french speaker. From the Congo. Haha.... no seriously guys, help me learn french. DAD. HELP ME. So we met him Friday, and then he came to the baptism saturday and then church on sunday. During the baptism, he told me that once, in the Congo, he saw "les Saints de Dernier Jours" spray-painted on a fence. He said "it's.... odd, no?"  I was about ready to bounce out of my chair!!! "DUDE, are you serious???" I didn't say that... but... I thought it. Foreshadowing. Eh, Gotye?

We also met Rough Rider-- she stopped us! And we met with her everyday until she got a little virus. We gave her a book of Mormon and told her to read it. The next day when we went over, she had read all the way into 1 Nephi 12. And you could feel and see the spirit around her. She said "I feel like my life is starting over! I feel excited! Fresh! I was praying that God would send me someone to show me the right way. And he sent you." She had gone to many churches before but always felt like something was missing from each one of them... She's had a very rough life, it actually scared me a little (read: a lot.) She had been held captive and abused over in Azle (which is in the mission) and she finally turned her life over to Christ. I love meeting the "I should be dead right now" people because there's a reason they're not dead yet. I think I know the reason...

This week was good. Really good. I'll forever be grateful for the muscle and callous that developed because of those trials and the privilege it was to be hated for my Savior's sake. I love Euless. Some of my bestest friends are here. Y'all won't mind if I spend next summer here.... right???

Love, Sister Gunslinger

There's An Upside To This Story

Petition from a mother:  Hi y'all.  As you can tell from this letter, Hannah could use some encouragement. Would you write her a little note of love?  Especially you who have recently returned from your own missions (or are currently still on one!)  and understand just what she's feeling....  I think it would mean the world to her to hear from her friends and siblings in Christ.
Thank you, Janet

4909 Canyon Trail North #2505
Euless, Texas 76040
Or even send her a short email:

If you let me know you wrote her I'll send you cookies. :)  Maybe not to Europe; they'd go stale before you get them.  Maybe I could make you granola and send that....?

Okay, from Hannah:
I just want to let y'all know that after I write this email, Sister Kuli and I are going to get food and then sleep for the entire rest of the pday. And I'm going to enjoy it.

THE BOY THAT LIVED IS GETTING BAPTIZED THIS SATURDAY!!!!! And that kid is going to change worlds. Our District Leader was in primary last sunday and when he asked 'so who's going on a mission??" The Boy That Lived raised his hand excitedly and said "I AM!" The DL said "I felt the spirit flood me. He's going on a mission." His soul is one of the most pure I've ever met.

We met with Joker and Harley Quinn this week.... THEY SET THEIR SEALING DATE AND THE JOKER IS WORKING TO GET THE PRIESTHOOD NEXT MONTH!!! DAHHHHHH which reminds me, Mom, can I come back to Texas the week of December 15th? And just... stay that whole week and meet you in Florida....?

Our mission continues to gain momentum. Texas Fort Worth is not an army that is easily stopped. President came out with some new finding techniques using 21 Tips, Family History and a new way to present the pamphlet that works 95% of the time. We're definitely a force to be reckoned with. (side note: that's why my pirate ship's name is "The Reckoning.".... you know, whenever I get a pirate ship... okay, that was an inside joke for Sister Chantry whenever she sees this.)

In summation: there's a lot of disturbing and annoying of Satan's telestial kingdom and he's been getting a little irked. Which is probably why yesterday was so......... well.

Lately, I've been feeling like the devil sent some of his biggest beasties to go bully me. I feel like I haven't slept for days, I can't get some peace, it feels like devilish heckling. Yesterday we had two different people within 2 hours of each other tear down the Plan of Salvation, attack us personally, and defame everything I hold near and dear. One of them was Murphy. Who called us to preach a bitter sermon mingled with profanity about how God doesn't care, how we're all so wrong-- all of our teachings, our scriptures, you, me, it's all wrong. The only thing I could really hear, though, was the hurt. I didn't hear anger, I heard some kid who fell down and skinned his knee, and needed someone to hold him. But because of pride, he pushed away the loving arms that have always been open and took it out on us. At the end of his rant, he said "just wanted to let y'all know." and hung up... if that doesn't tell you how much of a kid he is...

Normally, this wouldn't have been so bad, but it just came at a bad time. It caught the tail end of a pretty rough 7 weeks.

BUT THERE'S AN UPSIDE. I was praying that night and the peace finally came. I understood the why's of it all. It's not because I'm disobedient, it's not because God doesn't love me. It' because I need to be refined. I didn't do anything wrong, God just loves me enough to burn the dross away. My faith is unshaken, despite the vehement attacks. If anything, I have grown closer to my Savior because I caught a little glimpse of what His life was truly like. How blessed am I to suffer in His name!!!!

Elder Holland gave a great discourse to missionaries in Frankfurt in 2002. He said "you think you're the only missionaries who've ever been depressed?? EVERY MISSIONARY HAS BEEN DEPRESSED! What kind of missionary would you be if you weren't depressed?? It comes with the territory, it's like MTC training!" He goes on to tell us that if we're the kind of missionaries we should be, the disciples of Christ we say we are, then how can we ask for another path or another cup to drink from? If we don't walk in Christ's footsteps, who are we following? And Christ walked a very long, very hard road.

Opposition is real, and so is God's love. Just keep your covenants, read your scriptures and PRAY YOUR LITTLE HEART OUT.


Love, Sister Gunson

Monday, July 7, 2014

"Is The Iron Rod Out Of Glow?"

My Mission President has spent, basically, all of his mission trying to tell me to not run faster than I can. And this week I learned what happens when we don't sustain our leaders by our obedience.

This week was hard too. I was running faster than I had strength (sometimes literally). I was pushing for goals that, while admirable, aren't exactly attainable right now. And then we lost our 3 most promising 'gators. Murphy was one of them. All of them were sudden and, on Murphy's part, pretty rude. It cut me deep. Simply because I know the pain they're going through and they turned their backs on the balm of Gilead. It was the straw that broke our backs, that day, and I ended up sobbing in front of True Grit instead of teaching her about the temple. But it turned out to be a good experience anyways. I don't want to focus on the negative because this story has a really good turnout. So let's just say that we were at our breakin' points and then this happened:

#1: True Grit is the big sister I never had.  5 minutes before we met with her, Murphy had just cut us off completely and inexplicably, so the weakness juice was leaking already. I broke down crying about the intense week we'd been having and she nursed us spiritually back to health. She rubbed my back while I cried and said "it's gonna be okay. Just pray for them. Because they don't know what they're doing." She told us to never let ourselves be degraded, to never feel beneath anybody because we're the strongest ones out there. I cried harder, cuz then she said "you girls are the example to my daughter of what kind of woman she should be. I want my boys to marry girls like y'all." She bore testimony of why she joined the church-- that we were loving and unjudgemental and that's what we needed to be. And it's because we love people so much, it's why we don't flinch in the face of such vehement and occasionally violent opposition. She said "go show the world what it's all about! Is the Iron Rod out of glow?? No! Then smack those fools upside the head with the Iron Rod!!" Then she told me that I should be a Southern Baptist for Halloween. I apologized for crying on her and she said "well, remember when the shoe was on the other foot? When I thought I couldn't go on? And I thought that there was no hope? You not only convinced me that God loved me and that I was precious to Him, you showed me. You gave me hope."

I got to bear some of the most powerful testimony to her.  She was saying that she wasn't pure "like us." I said "NO. You're more than pure. Not only because of Christ's Atonement but because God gave you the most precious spiritual gift. You love just like the Savior loves. You exhibit the most Christlike of all the Christlike qualities. God gave that to you in the Pre-Existence and you have used it since then."

Love really does conquer everything. And I mean EVERYTHING.

Sunday rolled around and it brought such blessings and miracles. We had 2 ward council members tell us that we're doing a great job and that they love our vibrancy and enthusiasm. The Joker set his own goal with the Bishop to get the Melchezidek Priesthood. I just felt that the members were actually happy to see us walk into the room. And just this morning, we had our Assistant WML call us and say "NONE OF YOU ARE LEAVING, ARE YOU??" I told him no and he said "okay, GOOD."

So, the assignment for the week is to read Mosiah 24. And then pick an experience that was brutally hard and find all the moments where God helped you out. And how your testimony grew stronger because of it. Then find a friend and share it with them before next Monday and report it back. if you can't find a friend, blog it, tweet it, post it on facebook-- make sure someone knows that YOU know God is not only alive but looking out for each and every one of us. BONUS ROUND: go out with the missionaries for an hour.

I love y'all so very very much. Please be good. Read your scriptures. Say your prayers.

Or else I will smack you upside the head with the Iron Rod.

Love, Sister Gunson

Monday, June 30, 2014

Lessons and Blessun's

A quick clarification regarding Hannah's abbreviations:
WML is the Ward Mission Leader--the member who is in charge of missionary work for that particular congregation.
AWML is the Assistant Ward Mission Leader
LA is a less active member of the church
PMG is Preach My Gospel, a study guide for missionaries and well, everyone.  If you don't have one, I can give one to you.  It's an awesome tool for understanding the scriptures and the doctrine of Christ.
Gator is an investigator.
And keep in mind that Hannah uses nicknames for the people she serves.  I have no idea what M#3 means but some of the other nicknames give us glimpses into their personalities so I love it. :)
This week, man. We ran some spiritual marathons this week. You might see an over-arching theme in this email of people being jazzed and excited while we're there and somehow the novelty dissipates by Sunday......

1st Mile: FINALLY set a date with Murphy!!!! For August 2nd! Can he make it there?... yes, if he comes to church and keeps the commandments. Right now, for whatever reason, despite knowing the good from the evil, he's still hanging out with evil. It breaks my heart because I know we're gonna get a call from him later this week that's all "oh no this bad thing happened, Sisters, what do I do?" and I know-- he knows too, we've told him many times before-- that if he would just keep the commandments, he would receive blessings. I guess he will have to learn the lesson over and over and over and over and over and over and over again...

2nd Mile: We finally found our brick wall concerning our member missionary work. Our game plan as 4 missionaries is called "D&C 121." We have to a) reinforce their testimonies-- making sure everyone is studying hard-- b)love and encourage our ward members gently along and train them how to be good missionaries c) work with what we've got. I'm going to come back to that thought later. But I've been feeling that we really need to love and serve our members. So I've been praying fervently for opportunites.... and they found us!!! YAY!!! I love Heavenly Father's hand in all things. As we've been obedient, we've seen so many blessings!!

3rd and 4th Miles: I love teaching softer hearts. I love it when it's slightly easier.... We got 2 new gators this week, M#3 and Teddy. I love teaching them because they respect us and they go into our lessons not seeking to prove us wrong or stump us, they're not there because they feel forced into it, but because they're curious and genuinely interested. As we start explaining blessings and the why's we have a certain principle, their eyes light up. In M#3's case, she said "oh, my son needs this. I want him to have this." She recognized that we have what makes people strong and tough. **side note: has anybody taken a look at our history, I mean really looked at it? Our people are the toughest people around. We make some pretty hard-core people and launch them into society. The church is kind of awesome. End note**

5th Mile: Wonderful is back on the map! She's stabilized to the point where we can share more than just a scripture and a prayer!! YUSS. This week, we'll be setting her date and teaching her more and more! Meeting with her is always an adventure though... a couple of weeks ago, a murder attempt was made on her life and then a couple days ago, she told us that her husband was murdered and she had to clean it up and now she has insomnia.... I definitely used that as a segue to inviting her to church. Dude, she needs some calm. Come get some calm on Sunday. And she was all ready for it! We got her a ride!.... and then the ride fell through.... Technology can be just as much a pill as agency sometimes.

6th Mile: THE JOKER HAS A TESTIMONY. I REPEAT. THE JOKER HAS A TESTIMONY. The EKG has stopped flatlining and we are getting the smallest pulse imaginable, but dude, it's a pulse!!!! I was bouncing off the walls, telling everybody I could find! We're in the lesson and after reading a scripture, I say "so, what are you thinking?" He was silent for what felt like an hour (which makes me think that Ammon's description of King Lamoni's silence might've been an overstatement) and then said "I get it." we were like "wha...." and he says "I get the point of you guys coming over here. I recognize the spirit. Scriptures mean something to me, that's why I highlighted this! Some days, I get in my car and I'ma ctually happy. I think 'man, I could do anything!."

My jaw promptly fell to the floor. I wanted to jump up, shake him, shake his wife, shake my companion, and tell the whole world!!!

7th Mile: And I'm literally the only person in the whole ward missionary committee that cares. We brought it up to everyone we could see and the only person excited was Awesomesauce. Because... dude, she's made of awesomesauce, what do you expect. But our WML didn't even notice. The Assistant WML didn't notice....

8th Mile: all they could see was that none of our investigators were at church. So we sit down to Ward Coorellation and after our WML says his schpeel, our elders say "our gator came to church! and that's all we got!" he turns to me and says "kay, what about you?" I hand him a full front-half back progress record STUFFED with Investigators and LA's we've been teaching, explain our problems, our game plan to fix them and then excitedly share the highlights. Well, our WML, apparently having a bad day, took out his frustrations on member involvement, told me I was too involved, didn't care that the Joker has had his glimpses of light and truth, glances over the INCREDIBLE changes that have happened since I walked into this area and culminates his rant on me and all the problems I have yet to solve (which... let's face it, are his duty to solve) with this line: "your stewardship ends at 18 months... consider your time management."

Sliced open, gutted like a fish, nobody stood up for me (and we had more than just the set-apart missionaries in that room) the AWML quoted PMG at me in a kind of "I second what the WML says" kind of thing and I was 5 seconds away from going postal.

Sometimes, not gonna lie, I want to just break into Eminem rhymes whenever I see WML. The line "I can't tell you what it really is/I can only tell you what it feels like/and right now it's a steel knife in my windpipe" comes to mind. I have a really bad habit of not getting sad, but mad. So there's a lot of me flipping my hood up and glaring going on. But because I'm a missionary, I didn't get to do that.... I got to smile and say "okay, we'll work on that this week."

Okay, so, maybe we ran 8 miles this week. But that's fitting because I just mentioned Eminem in my above (apostate) paragraph. But this week was all about learning lessons and receiving blessun's. I just wish somebody could learn their lesson and receive those blessun's. Oh wait, the Joker did. Haha :)

ANYWAYS. Have a great week!
Love, Sister Gunson

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Well OBVIOUSLY, we have missionaries in Euless Texas!...

... SO hide yo' Catholics, hide yo' Baptists and hide yo' Methodists, cuz they baptizin' everyone in here! 
Frank and apparent apostasy notwithstanding, it's been a pretty cool week. I just have a bunch of stories I'm gonna vomit onto this digital page. Wonderful imagery, don't you think?

Interviews were this week! And they were INCREDIBLE. I ended up having an hour and a half of studies and they were centred entirely around a lesson we would be having that night. We taught a 7 year old, Lilo (and her mom, Stitch) about Heavenly Father and our relationship to Him. I kept thinking about Moses 1. But I kept batting it away and thinking "no, that's in the Pearl of Great Price, we don't use that..." But it kept coming to my mind so I said "fine." When Sister Kuli and I got together to set the lesson, she said "okay, so I kept flipping to Moses 1... why?" Turns out, in her desperation born of not knowing where to go, she was opening her triple over and over. And each time, it landed on Moses 1. So we used Moses 1 and I'm glad we did. We explained that in our lives, we have to tell Satan that we truly are daughters (and sons) of God and that there is no reason to worship him (Satan). There is an understandable desire to fear when he starts throwing temper tantrums, but lets face it--there's nothing more pathetic or unattractive as a teenager who's mad because he's not getting his way. 

We're starting in on teaching a part-member family. The wife, when we first stopped by, was vehemently anti. Well, two days later after Super-Awesomesauce-Member talked her down and into meeting with us, we were kneeling on her floor in a circle as she begged us to say a prayer for her. She's been stressed out of her mind. We and the Super-Awesomesauce-Member bore powerful and real testimonies of the Book of Mormon, using phrases such as "little tiny sunbeams coming out of your body!" and "being bundled up on a cold day when the wind's howling outside and you're snuggled under heavy blankets". I think she connected well to it. 

Also, the gift of tongues is incredibly real. Fort those of you who don't know, I took 2 years of French in high school. Yes. 2 years. For those of you not familiar with sarcasm, I suck at French. I can't even speak good English half the time. And yet... we were street contacting and we met this man hanging out under a tree. We went over to talk to him and he tells us that he only speaks French. Well. Armed with the spirit and 2 years of French (who am I kidding, I didn't even pay attention in French class) I managed to introduce ourselves as missionaries and present him with a card. I wasn't so much able to speak French, but I understood everything he was saying. He told us that he has a hard time believing in modern-day prophets. Then he told us to get married because without marriage, we were "incomplete messengers of God's gospel because we hadn't received all the blessings, such as children."...... moving right along.... He was interested enough to let us come back, but we brought a french-speaking member with us this time. 

We got a phone call from our elders inviting us to a memorial service for one of their investigator's wife. We sat in the back and the whole time, I wanted to grab the mic and say "DON'T YOU PEOPLE GET IT. FAMILIES ARE FOREVER." At the end, I didn't want to pass cards to people... Even though I knew the gospel would help, I just... I couldn't proselyte. I asked myself the age old question: "what would Jesus do" and Sister Kuli and I ran around giving everyone hugs and telling them it would be okay. That felt like more effective missionary work than throwing Plan of Salvation pamphlets. 

Sunday was just funny. I wish I had more time to tell you all the funny stories, but I'll just end on one: I really really really wanted chocolate. I didn't have any chocolate. It was dumb, and it was stupid, but while praying in my heart, I said "Heavenly Father, if you want to know what I want... I want some chocolate." I felt calm. I went through the rest of the day thinking "I don't know how, but I'm going to get chocolate." Sure enough, our dinner appointment had to cancel the appointment part of dinner, so he brought over an elaborate paper-sack lunch. In the lunch sack, there were 2 chocolate coins. I got my chocolate. Because, like I was saying last week, God is our Heavenly Father. We called our dinner appointment afterwards and told him and he started laughing. 

This is the same member that seems to answer all of my inexpedient prayer-question-wants. He's been doing it on a weekly basis for 3 weeks now. 

God loves us. Bless y'all a thousand times! 
Love, Sister Gunson 

I Cannot Believe in Anything Else

Sister Kuli quote of the week: We're trying to get one of our investigators to break up with her dysfunctional boyfriend... so I said "okay... how are we going to get her to break up with him?" and she thinks for a minute and says "oh! We could kill him!" I thoroughly enjoy working with her.

So, we had zone conference on Tuesday. In it, they told us the secrets of weekly planning. I love President so much because he shows up and starts streamlining everything. President Sagers taught us to work hard and President Ames is making us so dang efficient!!! He cuts all the fluff and mystery away and shines light on shadows that don't need to be there. He broke planning down to 7 steps and when we applied them that Thursday... holy cow. It was the first planning in a year where I haven't been stressed and frazzled out of my mind. I would share these secrets with you, but I'll wait for the spirit to teach you ;)

We're teaching The Boy That Lived again!! Getting him ready for his July baptism!!! He's such a spiritual kid... but he has a hard time communicating. He was trying to explain to us how he felt about Christ's atonement, but everyone was confused. Except for me. I fully believe that the spirit of tongues involves understanding kids and I was the only one who understood what he was trying to say. Not even his mom understood! I'm telling you-- it's the spirit!! We explained the priesthood to him and told him that it helps people who are in pain. He said "my mom needs that!" (his mom has arthritis in her spine). and then he said "when I'm baptized, can I give my mom a blessing?"  He's 10 years old folks, say hello to a future apostle.

I made Sister Kuli do some old-fashioned walking this week! IT FELT SO GOOD. Last week we were running from place to place and this time we had time to knock some doors, do some potential hunting and wear out some soles! We walked past a Tongan methodist church (yes, that's a thing.) and they were getting ready for a Luau or something because when we walked past the church's "backyard" (for lack of a better word) they were roasting what must've been 20 whole pigs. WHOLE. PIGS. It smelled so good, but I got Lord of the Flies whiplash...

On the way home from church, we were talking to a LA (less active member) who grabbed us after Relief Society and begged us to come over this week and teach her daughter about Heavenly Father. There's no man in that household and her daughter is feeling it hard. I imagine the level of plea in her eyes was of the same strain as the man who begged Jesus to heal his son. We figured a time and then she gave us a ride home. On the way back, she unloaded on her week. Her venting was punctuated by testimonies of how she knew God was her Heavenly Father. She pointed out details of her trials that she pinpointed as evidence of "only a father could have divinely set that up." We pulled up to our apartment and as I looked her in the eye, I told her "I cannot believe in anything other than a literal Father in Heaven." She started crying again and said "neither can I."

Heavenly Father has dealt me so many tender mercies to let me know I"m doing fine. I mean, of course God loves me, He hasn't struck me with lightning yet....

I'll leave y'all with a quote from Lion king that has SUCH eternal truths....

"You have forgotten who you are and so forgotten me. You are my son and the one true king."

Let us not forget Whose we are... lest we forget who He is.

I LOVE YOU DADDY. You're the best earthly dad I could have!!!!

Love, Sister Gunson