Monday, May 30, 2016

Sweet! So it's kind of been a slow week again- A lot of our appointments fell through... well most of our appointments fell through. We only had 5 lessons with some less-actives, and that's it! A little disappointing, but I'm sure we will be able to pick things back up soon! :) 

On Tuesday we had our district meeting as usual, but this week our district leader asked me to do the training! So I prepared and lead the discussion on "The Book of Mormon: Our Most Powerful Resource in Conversion." It was only supposed to last for 15 minutes, but everyone had so many great experiences and testimonies of the Book of Mormon that it went for 40 minutes! And I didn't even get through 1 page of the 8 pages I had prepared... haha! It was a really spiritually uplifting experience to just talk with everyone about the Book of Mormon and really think about what it means to me, and where my testimony stands with it. And all I can say is I LOVE the Book of Mormon. There are so many experiences I could tell you about where it has blessed my life, and where I received a witness that it is true. But I sort of took too long replying to other e-mails this week so I don't have much time to write again... 

Later that day we also finally started the new-member lessons with Andy! And the Young Men in the ward taught him again about the Restoration, and really focused on the Book of Mormon! It was great to really have a whole that was so focused on just that! Andy is making great progress, and really growing so much every day!

This week Sister Allard decided we should celebrate Christmas since we wouldn't be together in December. haha I know, SUPER random! I thought the same thing! But she is so cute, and because my birthday is dec 23, and hers is dec 24, and then christmas is the 25th, she wanted to spend the best 3 days of our lives together... in may! Haha:)
So she got out all the christmas decorations, and hung them up, and then on May 23, we celebrated my birthday, then May 24th was hers, and the 25th was "christmas!" 
So we did all sorts of fun things for that! :) AND the morning after Sister Allard decorated like it was christmas, IT SNOWED! So that was pretty hilarious! It really felt like Christmas at that point! 

On Thursday the 26th, I hit my 100th day of being a missionary! So that was pretty fun too! I know most people think it's weird how many countdowns/ups I have, but they really help me remember to make the most of every single day because time flys! 

Transfers are on June 9th, so Sister Allard and I are pretty sad about that. We don't know anything for sure yet, but it's pretty safe to say we won't be together another transfer:( My training was officially over a few days ago! Crazy!  So you better believe we will be making the absolute most of the next 9.5 days we have left together! 

SO yeah! That's all for today! Here are some fun pictures of the week!

I love you all SO much! 
Thank you to everyone who writes me e-mails! They are always SO fun to read! 
Have a wonderful week!

<3/ Sister Dobyns

Scripture Study with Andy in the Park! 

Sister Allard has the world's smallest Book of Mormon! 

Christmas in May! 

The 9 actual gifts Sister Allard gave me for fake Christmas... 

Sleep over in the living room...

The wind broke my umbrella:(

Happy Birthday Mom! 

This is the struggle of my life. Every. Single. Day. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Oh my goodness, words cannot describe how wonderful my day was, and honestly my week because of that! 
I loved every second of our day! When we first pulled up to the temple I was really shocked at how tiny it is!!! All the pictures make it look like the Draper Temple, but it's actually suuuper tiny! 
But there were several zones there so I got to see my old district leader, and that was really fun. Then when we went into the temple there was a huge line of all the missionaries getting their temple clothes, and we were at the very end. But then the temple workers called out our names and had us skip all the way to the front because we had family names they were holding for us that they wanted to make sure we got! So that was kinda funny:) 
But the actual temple experience was so wonderful! The spirit was stronger than I have ever felt it before! Something to do with being in the closest thing to Heaven on earth with a bunch of amazing people just trying to do their very best to follow Christ. It was life changing. I wanted to stay in the Celestial room forever. 
I love it when we go through experiences that are so testimony fortifying. I know that opposition is so crucial for us to grow in this life, but I will be honest- I love the ups of life, and Tuesday was definitely the highest I've ever felt before. I love when the gospel just becomes so real. So factual. There are days where it doesn't even seem like faith anymore because you just know it to be true so strongly. My desire to share the amazing message of the gospel increased so much that day, and I had thought that I was really motivated before that experience. 
After the Temple session we went across the parking lot to one of our church buildings and had a great discussion about the Atonement. We have been reading a collection of talks about the Atonement as a mission and finished them the day before we went to the temple, so we all talked about the different parts that we liked and the things we felt we learned as we did our studies and how we have applied them to our lives. 
I am so grateful for the Atonement. There are no words to express how much it means to me and how deeply I love it. As I studied the Atonement more deeply the thing that stuck out the most to me was the potential we have in this life and the next because of it. I have really been thinking lately about the things we are asked to do as members of the church. My friends, that is quite the check list. And I'm sure we have all felt a little inadequate to accomplish everything that's been asked of us at times. But we need to really take a step back and remember the why. I remember people would always tell me in Young Womens "Personal Progress is not just something you check off. It's something that helps you growth and learn and change and become more like the Savior." And I always understood that, and agree with that. But it hasn't been until recently that I have really let that truth about the gospel sink into my heart. It's so easy to learn all of these things about the gospel and know all of the "right answers." But until we let those truths sink down from our brain into our hearts it's just information. It's not beneficial for us at all. You can visit every needy person, and weed 100 yards, but until you let those experiences soften your heart, and help you develop true Christ-like charity, they won't be benefit you a single bit. They will just be things that fill in the blanks in your schedule. There was a quote in one of the talks that I read about the Atonement by Neal A Maxwell, and when I read it, these things really stood out to me and I realized how much more I could be becoming every day. He said: "Remember, not only are we to have faith in Christ, but we are to strive to become more like him in our goodness, and loving-kindness." The Atonement allows us to do that. As we better yield our hearts to Him, He will help us recognize the divine potential we already have inside us. It's not so much that we are changing who we, rather we are discovering who we really are, and who we really want to be. I am so grateful for the Atonement and how it enables me to better pursue my divine nature and potential each day. I look forward to the day when I get to see my Savior again. I love Him more than I can simply express over an e-mail. And because of that I have for Him, and that I know He has for me, I want to do everything I can to show him my gratitude for what He has done for me. I don't want a single moment of His suffering to be in vain. I want to use it to help me make those changes and overcome the challenges each and every day, so when that day comes that I do get to see Him again, I will be able to say "I did everything I could." 
So as I left zone conference with these thoughts in my mind, I felt so uplifted and so empowered. The temple is a wonderfully beautiful place. I never realized how much it meant to me until I wasn't able to attend for so long. I have been able to feel the blessing that come from the temple every day since we attended. 

In other news! President Miles made an exciting announcement to conclude our conference. PRESIDENT NEILSON WILL BE COMING TO SPEAK TO US JUNE 11th!!! :D I can't believe it! I was overwhelmed with gratitude when I heard an apostle was coming to our mission last month, and now we will have a second coming in less than 20 days!! I promise I will be better at telling you all about the experience than I was when Elder Christofferson came!
It's funny, as I look over my journal to write about the highlights of my week I realize that everyday I have had a wonderful testimony strengthening experience. Wednesday I thought a lot about prayer and how wonderful a privilege it is to talk with our Heavenly Father every day of our lives. On Friday we had an amazing lesson with a less active about our Heavenly Father and His nature. He felt because He is "a just God" there is no way for Him to be a loving God, or a merciful God, and he doesn't ever want to be that kind of a dad, so why would he take the time to get to know Him, and try to become like Him? It was actually a really tough lesson, but at one point I just stopped the debate that was going on and told him the truth. We don't have all the answers. I honestly don't think we ever will. But what I can tell you us that I know that my Heavenly Father loves. I know He loves me. And I know he wants what's best for me, and is willing to bless me as long as I do the things that will help me become a happier person. And that, is enough for me. I then asked him what will be enough for him. He is a very intelligent person and is really good at analyzing every single thing and really dissecting things and learning so much more because of that, but like I mentioned before- he has all the information in his mind, but he hasn't let it sink into his heart. So no matter what we talk about in our lessons, he always has more questions. So I invited him to really think about what will be enough for him, and then turn to his Heavenly Father and pray for the answers He sees fit for him at this time. 

Then on Sunday Sister Allard and I sang a duet in church. We sang "I'll go where you want me to go" by Craig Petrie. It is a beautiful arrangement, and I was really happy with how it went! I love that song so much, and this gave me the chance to really think about the lyrics and what they mean to me. I'm grateful for music and how we can feel the spirit and God' love that way. Hopefully we will have more chances in the future to sing again:)

Alrighty, I'm out of time! Sorry, there were so many amazing things that happened this week I don't have time to write about, but I'm sure I'll tell you all about it some time down the road! :)

I love you all and hope you have the chance to really take that step back and evaluate your life and testimony and see where you can improve. 
Don't waste a single day.
Each night ask yourself what did I do today to come closer to my Savior?
I pray we will always be able to think of something every night. 
Have a wonderful week!

Sister Dobyns

We did service on Saturday all morning long! We were freezing but it didn't rain on us so we felt pretty blessed! :) 

3 month mark eh? 

temple pics! 

temple temple temple!

My mission mom and dad! Elder Varble and Sister Allard

Monday, May 16, 2016

This week was strangely one of the slowest weeks of my mission. I'm not too sure why that is, but I think it has to do with we spent a lot of time at home because Sister Allard has been having a really hard time sleeping lately. So she sleeps in pretty late, and then isn't feeling too good the rest of the day. But this week we went to see a Physio Therapist that has given her some stretches and stuff to do that will hopefully help her start feeling better. It's amazing how much we take for granted our health, especially as missionaries. We both just want to go out and work hard all day every day, but we have to slow down and try and find a balance between working hard and resting/healing. 
In other health news, Sister Trimble, one of my sister training leaders, got the flu this week too! So there is some sort of nasty bug that is going around, and a lot of the missionaries are taking a hit from it. So Sister Allard and I are doing everything we can to stay healthy, because the last thing we need is for Sister Allard to get the flu on top of her bad health already, and I refuse to go a round 2 with that bug. 

This week was another pretty successful week when it comes to the fight against desserts! For those of you who don't know, my mission has an average weight gain on 25-30lbs!!! NO JOKE! There are several missionaries who always complain about how much weight they've gained, and I just always shrug it off and tell them they're perfect how they are, and how weight doesn't matter- and I still full heartily believe those things- but then they showed me pictures of them in the MTC and I wanted to cry! I refuse to have that happen to me, so I have become a lot more brave in telling members I don't want dessert. I know it seems like such a little thing, but it is a battle every single day! The members ALWAYS make us homemade something crazy delicious for dessert, and always insist that you stop worrying about your weight and just have some. So for the first 2+ months of my mission I had dessert every single day!!! But for the last 3 weeks I've been able to some how weasel my way out of their houses without having anything, or at least having extreme minimal amounts haha:) 
We have also started using our bikes a lot more! It's hard when the weather is crummy, but if we think we can manage it, we take our bikes! So I'm grateful for the additional exercise we are able to have most days! 

On Saturday we went to a funeral service for a woman who wasn't active. She wasn't actually in area, but her non-member son is. I guess she had told him before she passed that she wanted an "LDS funeral" so he contacted our bishop and set everything up with us. It was a really different and unique experience. There were only maybe a dozen people in attendance, and they were all non-members, or not active in the church for many years. But we were able to talk with almost all of them and hear their stories about the woman, and talk to them a little bit about the Plan of Salvation. They all seemed comforted by the things we talked about, but no one was really interested in learning more. But it was really nice knowing we were able to help some people sleep a little better because they had hope this life isn't the end. 

This Sunday was the 187th Anniversary of the Restoration of the Priesthood! 
And Andy was conferred the Aaronic Priesthood! I thought that was really awesome, but I think he was little less impressed with the coincidence..
But it was really amazing to see him accept that responsibility, and the blessing that come with it. And next week he will be blessing the sacrament! I can't wait! He is making so much progress so quickly! Our next step is going with him to the temple to perform baptisms for the dead!
Tomorrow is going to be an extremely exciting day! Tomorrow will be my 3 month mark as a missionary! (And yes, I do plan to celebrate it every single month) And it's also our Zone Conference! And this transfer we are going to the temple for conference!!! It will be my first time attending the temple since the MTC, so I'm pretty excited! It will also be the first time I go to the Calgary Temple! AND it will be the first time I take a family name through the Endowment session! 
We've been working with Sister Lee each week on our family tree's and this last tuesday I was able to find a name to take with me tomorrow! She dropped off the name at the temple so the prior ordinances could be done, and they said it will ready for me at the front desk when we go tomorrow morning! I can't wait! It's so exciting because the name I am taking is actually someone who I found and added on Family History. So she has been missing from our tree, but now is getting all of her work done in 1 week! 
So I am really looking forward to tomorrow! :) 

And lastly, yesterday Brother Burke asked Sister Allard and I if we would sing in sacrament meeting next week! He gave us a beautiful arrangement of "I'll go where you wan't me to go" and I am really excited to work on it today for p-day:D And it will be a really great experience to have before Sister Allard is (most-likely) transferred! 

I hope everything is going wonderfully for everyone at home, and when they aren't I hope you are making the most of them and choosing to rely on the Lord and really become a better person because of it. Don't ever let the opposite happen to you. Don't ever let life make you bitter. 
Like the story with Paul and Christ walking on the water, I hope you always choose to focus on Christ rather than the raging storm around you. I know as you remember Christ every day and the sacrifice He made for you, you will have a better perspective, and will be able to continue moving forward and becoming a better, happier person every day. That is after all what the gospel is all about. Simply learning how to be truly happy.

I love you all!
Have a Christ-centered week!
Sister Dobyns

Biking Selfie! 
(No missionaries were harmed in the taking of this photo.)

Just a random picture of us hanging out at our apartment starting our nightly planning:) 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Well, I'm not too sure what to write this week since I already had the chance to spill my guts about everything in the world to my family yesterday!

This week our investigator Alex had surgery on his eye from a construction accident he had 20 years ago! The surgery will hopefully allow him to be able to see better, but there's also a chance that it will cause him to blind in that eye. So keep his recovery in your prayers if you can! 
The good news about it, is that he isn't allowed to work for 2 weeks, so we will FINALLY be able to visit him again! So we are really looking forward to that. 

We had exchanges again on Tuesday/Wednesday and we did a TON of street contacting! I was crazy uncomfortable at first, but Sister Blaser is so good at it, so thankfully I was able to eventually warm up and even gave out a Book of Mormon! She was new to Calgary and was just out looking for a job, but she was open about talking to us! So we got her information and will be passing her off the YSA sisters! 

Then on Thursday I woke up sick to death! I basically slept from Wednesday night to Friday morning, only getting up long enough to throw up a couple times and go back to sleep. Thankfully the bug passed by friday, but then I was super weak because I had no food in me. The only problem was I couldn't get myself to eat anything, and I was just craving Jamba Juice! That's when I realized how spoiled I was by my parents who would always go out and buy me a smoothie whenever I sick. So shout out to them! I am so grateful for their love. (So grateful that I went through love withdrawls when I couldn't get a smoothie!) 

So not a whole ton happened this week. We spent most of our time with our less-actives, and trying to serve some of the mother's in the ward for Mother's Day!

I LOVED talking to my family yesterday, was it was completely heartbreaking in the end when I had to hang up and my little sister just broke down. How do you not let that get to you? Needless to say I was quickly trying to wipe away the tears before the members came over to talk to me once I hung up. 
But I am so grateful for the love of my family. 

Sorry that it's another boring e-mail! But know that I am loving life here, and things are going well! :D 
I hope you all go out and have the most amazing memorable week ever!
I love all and will write more next week! :)

Sister Dobyns
Selfie with my Family! 💙

Sister Allard trying to take a picture of me writing in my journal? 
(I'm still not really sure what was happening here, but She's a cutie, so I figured I'd send it:) 

Monday, May 2, 2016

It was another really busy week, but when I look back on it, I don't actually have many stories to tell! I know everyone always laughs at how much I usually write, but I really don't have too much to tell this week!

We started working on Family History with Andy this week! So we're excited to help him find a name and take it to the temple ASAP! :) We're thinking about having a lesson with him on the Temple grounds soon, and talking more about the work we do there. 
I've also been able to make a lot of progress with my own family history! I've been amazed at how quickly you can pick up on it, and how addicting it actually becomes once you understand how it works! I honestly always thought I'd never enjoy family history, but I couldn't have been more wrong. I know that's because of the Spirit and Heavenly Father blessing my efforts. Family History is SO important! And I know it's something that everyone dreads and only does out of guilt every few months, but I can personally testify of the blessings that will come into your life as you move past that initial hesitancy and begin helping your ancestors receive the saving ordinances we all need to progress in this life and the next. 

Initially, I found the work really frustrating. But the more you try the more you begin to realize that this work is EQUALLY as important as missionary work. I know I personally forgot all too often that death in this life truly isn't the end. And while we have the veil erasing our memory of that, they are still real, live, people who need the gospel just as much as you and I do. 

I know everyone is panicking as they read this because you know what's coming... But I want to challenge each and every one of you to go and find out more about Family History. Talk to someone who knows how it works, or watch the training videos available for "Family History Consultants" on It will bless your life in more ways than you know. And let me know how it goes for you! I want to hear about it! Even if it's nothing but frustrating at first like it was for me. I promise it will get better, SO much better the longer you keep moving forward! :D 

All of our appointments with investigators fell through this week, but we were able to work with a lot of less-actives! I think I've said this before, but before my mission I always thought of missionary work as going out and finding people who don't know anything about the restored gospel, and teaching it to them. But I have realized really quickly that there is far less of that, and much more work with people on every level of understanding and testimony. Family History, Less-Actives, Non-Members, AND Active-Members all need the gospel equally as much. Heavenly Father loves every single one of them infinitely, and wants them to be able to find true joy and success in this life. Christ already suffered the Atonement for every single one of them. He understands them perfectly, and understands how much each one of us need the gospel, and what aspects we are in extra need of. I have loved getting to know, and working with all of these different people who are at different stages of their lives. The Gospel is real and true for everyone. There are no exceptions or exemptions. And I am so grateful for the knowledge we have. I feel so sad and sick when I think about how many people go throughout their lives without ever having all the blessings that Heavenly Father has to offer if we only follow His commandments and follow the footsteps of His only begotten Son. 

Sister Allard had a doctor's appointment this week. So we drove an hour away to see Dr Larsen, who is a member of the church. They talked some things out and he said he would call Sister Miles and make a decision on what the best course of action will be to help her as much as possible. Fingers crossed they figure something out soon so she can start feeling better ASAP! 

One miracle we had this week was we completely ran out of food! (No, that's not the miracle.) We had several dinners cancel on us at the last minute and Sister Allard and I didn't do the absolute best job planning this last p-day when we were getting groceries, so long story short, we ran out of food. It was friday and we went to our appointment with a less-active whose parents live with him, and without saying anything, they sent us home with a grocery bag full of food! I was so grateful that they were in tune with the spirit and were able to answer my prayers! I hope everyone always remembers how important it is to act on every single prompting because if they hadn't, we would have been fasting for 3 days! 

I am so excited for mothers day! And hope you all have a terrific week!
I love and miss you all, and hope all is going well in your lives!
Stay strong, and tell me about your family history experiences! ;)

Sister Dobyns
Sometimes I feel like I'm more like these two's babysitter... They decided to take a break from the lesson yesterday and climb this tree. It was pretty fun to watch sister Allard climb it in a skirt and try to stay modest the whole time!

Tuesday's package! Definite highlight of the mission so far! 

I redecorated the wall in front of my desk after getting some family pictures in the package I got! 
And I didn't even go all OCD on it! ... yet. 

Waiting for the bus to come! ...Story of our lives!! :) 

Shout out to Sister Allard and Elder Woodward in Boston!