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