President and Sister Dunn

Monday, May 15, 2017

Memorial Day Breakfast (Hike or Bike)

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Mark your calendars for another opportunity to gather as former SAJMers. Due to Thomas Graham's wedding on Friday May 26, we will have a few RM's coming from far away (Austin Allen-Washington, Saul Hentunen-Finland and Mattias Bergman- Sweden) 
So, we are planning a canyon breakfast and optional hike and bike on Saturday May 27 at 9 am in Millcreek Canyon. You can meet at the Dunn's home (4045 Mt. Olympus Way) to carpool at 8:30 am or the Park and Ride at 3900 South and Wasatch Blvd. Carpooling is encouraged- $3 fee per car in the canyon. Dutch oven breakfast served at 9 in a campsite in the Church Fork campground- located about 2 miles past the guard gate in MillCreek Canyon.
After breakfast there will be two activities available if interested. For any hikers in the group, Sister Dunn will lead a hike up the spectacular Grandeur Peak (5 miles roundtrip) President Dunn will guide a group of road or mountain bikers up the canyon. (bring your own helmets and bikes)

Let us know if we can expect you and if you are interested in hiking or biking. As always, significant others are welcome to join with you.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Graduation Day

On Saturday May 13th our oldest son Jeff graduated from a Master's Program in Virginia, called the Brand Center. We are so proud of him...and

With his greatest support....Whitney, his darling wife.

 Missionaries graduate when they finish their missions and we celebrate all these transitions. They are exciting times and filled with anxiety as one moves to another stage of life.

Monday, May 8, 2017

President Dunn speaks!

President Dunn was asked to speak in Stake Conference and I thought his talk was so relevant for all our missionaries, both at home and in the field.  Enjoy!:)

“Securing your own oxygen mask”
Mount Olympus Stake • Stake Conference 7 May 2017
Michael A. Dunn

Good morning, my dear brothers and sisters. What a joy it is to be with you in Stake Conference today. As much as we miss the Saints and missionaries of South Africa, that ache in our hearts is more than made up by being home with you, our dear friends and neighbors of Mount Olympus.
Between our return from Johannesburg, a few weeks ago, and then catching up on family and business, I have been doing a lot of air travel lately. And it was on one of those recent trips where an important airline safety protocol, brought me great clarity about the topic I’ve been assigned to
speak to day which is, “how do I help strengthen the faith of others?”
There are many obvious answers and even covenantal obligations to this age old question. Such as we need to love unconditionally, not be judgemental, and like the father of the prodigal son, always be ready and in waiting to receive those who have strayed and return, with the utmost joy and celebration. We also need to find a way to meaningfully serve those who have strayed, just as Ammon taught us with his simple offering of tending a king’s sheep.
But today I want to suggest that the most powerful and effective way to strengthen the faith of others, is by simply being a stellar example of a faithful latter-day Saint.
As I mentioned, this idea is taught in a very simple airline safety protocol each of us hears every time we board a plane. Or some of us hear, anyway, provided we have not yet put on our headphones or dived into that latest spy thriller novel.
It usually goes something like this: the flight attendant says “if we experience an unexpected loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling.” Which is a very nice to know, and especially if it were to happen at 36,000 feet. But what then follows is a puzzling, almost counter- intuitive dichotomy; “Please put on your own mask first before assisting children or other passengers.” Really? Isn’t that the epitome of selfishness? Kind of like the sea captain being the first one into the lifeboat
of a sinking ship? And doesn’t it fly in the face of Christ’s seminal instruction in the Gospels that, "He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it?” Not exactly. In fact, as I want to argue today, it is exactly the most important thing we can do when turbulence shakes someone’s testimony or faith. And here’s why it works in the case of a loss of cabin pressure at 36,000 feet or a loss of testimony at 5,246 feet—our altitude right now.
I believe in matters of faith, that there is nothing more important and influential than the power of another’s example.
Writing in Psychology Today, Dr. Alex Lickerman said:
“Nothing can encourage us as powerfully as someone else's good example. Want to create value with your life? Become a good influence. Stop and think. What better service can you provide someone else besides being a good example to them? Not with conscious intention, which always seems contrived and has little power to encourage, but by simply becoming the examples you yourself want to see. When you've actually become something, others see it in almost everything you do.”
The American humourist Mark Twain said it a bit more succinctly—and sharply— when he penned:
“Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.”
In 1st Timothy Chapter 4, verses 12-16, where the Apostle Paul teaches some profound things about the power of our example as committed latter-day Saints:
“Be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come give attendance to reading, to exhortation to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee which was given thee by prophecy...Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profitiing may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine, continue in them; for in doing this thou shall both save thyself and them that hear thee.”
In other words, the way that we save ourselves and those around us is by making sure that in all we do, think and say that we give ourselves “wholly,”...and that’s “Wholly” not “H-O-L-Y”, as Paul says to the things of God. We need to have our oxygen mask on..and not just on, by the way, but as the FAA proscribes, “securely” so we are fully equipped with oxygen—or the Spirit— flowing, and be able and willing to assist others. As Jesus told Peter: “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31–32).
But to really give ourselves “wholly,” we clearly need to be committed ourselves first to God and then committed to love and
serve others, as Christ detailed in the two great commandments.
In defining what committed means, President Howard W. Hunter said:
“The ability to stand by one’s principles, to live with integrity and faith according to one’s belief—that is what matters, that is the difference between a contribution and a commitment. That devotion to true principle—in our individual lives, in our homes and families, and in all places that we meet and influence other people—that devotion is what God is ultimately requesting of us.
A successful life, the good life, the righteous Christian life requires something more than
a contribution, though every contribution is valuable. Ultimately it requires commitment—whole-souled, deeply held, eternally cherished commitment to the principles we know to be true in the commandments God has given.”
As I hear a prophet’s words, I am thinking— as I hope you are— of people in this stake and in this valley who were once very much committed to the church, but who now have—for lack of a better description—are oxygen deprived. Simply put, these are our brothers and sisters who once felt the life- giving light of the Gospel in their lives and now—for a variety of reasons ranging from sin to plain old laziness—are no longer, “...fellow citizens with the saints.”
To you, and to them, and to anyone shaken by the rough air which surrounds us, II ask the question which Alma of old so aptly put:
“...And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren (and sisters), if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?” (Alma 5:26)
As Alma challenges us, Can we recall, feel and be buoyed by that first spark of testimony which eventually brought us faith? A testimony that brought a perspective of the eternities to you, and a glimpse of heavenly happiness here on earth that you could have never before imagined?
Yet, as the author Charles Stanley said, that bar is too high for most people. Wrote Stanley:
“Too many Christians have a commitment of convenience. They'll stay faithful as long as it's safe and doesn't involve risk, rejection, or criticism. Instead of standing alone in the face of challenge or temptation, they check to see which way their friends are going. “
Which is exactly my point. If we are an example of standing firm, we allow our friends to see the blessings of doing the things that will keep us strong. And they see a commitment to a direction regardless of which way the winds are blowing.
When Joshua who was leading the tribes of Israel was told to destroy the city of Jericho, many people under his leadership must have felt a strong need to reach for their oxygen masks when they came upon the imposing, twelve meter high walls that surrounded that fabled city. Except that they also knew that Joshua was a 100% committed disciple. And although they knew not the means, they were assured as to the outcome, because they were certain that Joshua was, indeed, on the Lord’s errand.
And sure enough, hose walls not only fell, but certainly some doubt and disbelief did as well.
Years later, with their enemies subdued, peace achieved and the wars and
destruction behind them, a weary and aged Joshua called all Israel for his farewell testimony.
This great military and spiritual leader, now 110 years old then urged an unflinching and unequivocal commitment, when he said, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve; ... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Josh. 24:15.)
Clearly, each of us must work out our salvation before God. That is the beauty of the nexus between faith and agency. But if we can do as the Savior enjoined; and be that dazzling light on a candle stick, we will dispel the “dark veil of unbelief” as Alma called it, and help others continue on their covenant pathway.

If we are “all in,” on the Gospel then we have to go “all out” in living the Gospel, immersing our entire beings in it, and live it with verve and gusto. And that is the greatest way to influence and perhaps save any friends or family who are struggling.
Brother’s and Sisters, there is no doubt that there is turbulent air around us and ahead of us. But may we through our personal faithfulness give ourselves and others a flowing and unfettered pipeline to the sweet air of the Gospel is my prayer in the sacred and glorious name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Cinco de mayo gathering

What a fun night to have with a casual gathering with missionaries. We felt of all our returned missionaries presence and feel so blessed to have missionaries all over the globe. Whether you with us or not, we feel of your presence. We ended up visiting more than sharing specific ideas on keeping memories alive. 
The best ways to keep them alive is to connect with those from your mission in any way you can. The photos and scrapbooks are wonderful to have, but the relationships are what matter. Taking time to send a FB message or an e-mail is so meaningful. 
We will continue to reach out and invite to events - either over cyber space or in person. We love you all and feel so blessed to have served together in the best mission in the world. We also feel so blessed to have our testimonies deepen and our love for the gospel rooted in us.
Love, President and Sister Dunn

May 5, 2017
We gathered for a Cinco de Mayo dinner and were delighted that over 20 missionaries were able to drop in. It was wonderful evening for us. We provided a taco bar and ice cream sundaes. The missionaries made a lot of effort to be with us and brought a great feeling into our home.

Stay tuned for the next activity to be on Saturday May 27th. Elder Thomas Graham gets married in Salt Lake City on Friday the 26th and we are offering a canyon breakfast the next day followed by the option to hike up Grandeur Peak or bike up Millcreek Canyon. More details to come.

Elder Todd, Elder Peterson, Elder McCallister

Elder Nathan Henley and his girlfriend, Grayce

Elder Keaton Segil, Grayce, Nathan Henley, Sean Pickup and Tegan, Ashlan and Mrs. McCallister:)

Nick and Lindsay Menendez. I love the tablecloth that was given to me by Val Caldwell when we left. Thanks, Val. Fun to use it for these special occasions.

Thomas Graham and Adam Swindlehurst

Ben Pedersen and his girlfriend, Fiona!

Photo bombing!
Connor, Landon and Tanner

This group stayed a little longer and ended up washing the dishes for us! Thanks to all of you!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Come Join With way or another!

We know that many of our beloved Elders live far away and cannot attend gatherings but please still participate with us by sending any thoughts on how you have kept your SAJM memories alive. We will share any and all ideas with everyone via Face Book and this blog.This is an invitation to all the 2014-2017 SAJM returned missionaries to respond and participate.

You are invited: 

Friday May 5, 2017 
Casual SAJM Dinner Gathering 
4045 Mt. Olympus Way, SLC.
7:30 pm*

In addition to socializing, after dinner we will focus on
"How to keep your SAJM memories alive"
We will showcase some mission videos and slideshows and encourage any of you to share how you have preserved pictures and memories. Please feel free to bring any mission scrapbooks you and/or your family created. 

In honor of the Cinco de Mayo date- we will have a taco bar 

You are invited to also bring wives, fiancee's or 
dates (if you have one!:) 
Totally great to just come stag. 

Please RSVP 
* start time is later due to Albert James May's wedding reception that evening!!!

Monday, May 1, 2017

We love the Wheatley's

We loved getting a visit from Adam Wheatley and family today (Sunday April 30)
Adam served with us during our first year in South Africa. His mom was actually in our ward when she was a Beehive and we were a newly married couple. It was so fun to realize she had a sin that was in the same mission that we were called to in July 2014. It is a small world.

We have not see Adam for almost 2 years time and it was so fun to re-connect. He is to do a summer sales job back east and then will return in the fall to continue a degree in Nursing at Weber State University. He is currently working at an assisted living center and specializing in aging services. His nursing degree will be perfect for his career aspirations and natural talents.  What a compassionate young man. We are so honored to know Adam and be able to have served with him in the best mission in the world.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Special SAJM connections

Adam Swindlehurst was our first SAJM missionary to see once we returned..befor our homecoming n April 9th. Adam met us at the BYU Broadcasting Building on April 7th, which was actually his birthday. So fun to re-connect with our missionaries.

We also connected with Ryan who works at BYU Broadcasting and let us know he had served in London many years ago and had Bonnie and Chappie Winstanley as his mission presidents. The Winstanley's were one of the first South African couples to be called as mission presidents. Fun to make that connection.

In the same day we headed over the Benefits office to set up our account and met Cindy Marsden, who is Elder Marsden's mom. It was so fun to connect it all and see pictures of Elder Marsden with his percussion performance.

So fun to have her as a new friend on campus.

Before we left South Africa, we ran into a few mom's of our missionaries. It was so fun to meet Sister Mpyikake at the temple. She was so sweet about her son and it was so fun to meet her.

A few days before we met Sister Hlophe at the Johannesburg 1st ward. She was so darling and it was great to make this connection.
Just a few days ago, Jennifer Robison stopped by our house to pick up some items we shipped home for them. It was fun to connect with my South Africa friend here at my house. Jen and Ace are heading back to finish up their last year in their Humanitarian capacity.

Jennifer brought Lorna Wood with her. Lorna and Lowell Wood were the mission presidents in South Africa during the years of 1979-1982. They were also Jennifer's missin presidents and Lorna lined Jennifer up with Ace a few years ago. So fun to make this connection.
So, all of these pictures represent that the connections will continue to bless our lives.