What Do We Do With Sis. Dunlop? || Wasilla, AK

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Hello hello family & friends! Can you believe I made it this far? I can’t. This is insane. I’m pretty sure you’re all just here for the photos+transfer news anyways so...I’m staying in WASILLA for the rest of my mission #ripsisdunlop. This is not a drill. When I came up here in the beginning of August, did I think I would stay here until the middle of March? No. When President Toone called us to tell me I would finish my mission in Wasilla and that Sister Bentley was going to be my last companion, did I think he was kidding? Yep. What’s six more weeks when you’ve already done six months? πŸ™ƒ it’s definitely bittersweet #sisdunlopcantbestopped. I’m pretty sure that President just didn’t know where to put me anymore because I’ve already served all over the mission and so he just left me up here in Wasilla. If I’ve learned anything about the transfers of my mission, it’s to trust in God’s timing and not my own #patienceishardsometimes. Sister Melton is heading down to Eagle River to be with Sister Jewel (lucky) before Sister Jewel and I head home in March. Mission life is crazy.

I went to the Colony Ward with Sister Fa’anunu on exchanges Tuesday & Wednesday and we celebrated my seventeen month mark on January 17th (ps happy birthday dad) by eating ice cream for lunch. Oops. Sometimes I forget that we were companions up in Fairbanks together for so long and then we go into teaching appointments together and say the exact same things haha. She’s a good one πŸ’•

This week Sister Melton and I have continued working our tails off trying to lay a strong foundation for future missionaries serving in the Wasilla Ward. Lots of tracting and contacting. Frozen hair and frosted eyelashes. Some return appointments but a lot of “we are not interested but stay warm out there” and a shut door in the face. Sister Melton is a champion though because she’s felt sick all week but still wanted to go out and work. I adore her #proudmom.

Our return appointment with the Cult book lady went well, I guess. She had cancelled our prior set lesson on Tuesday because she wasn’t feeling well (everyone and their mush dogs have the flu up here right now) but we stopped by on Friday to check in and see how she was doing and almost an entire century later, we popped back out of there alive. Patti (that’s her name) wanted to know how+why the Book of Mormon had made such a big difference in our lives and our personal testimonies of it. She had a lot of “deep questions” that we helped clear up for her using the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Things are starting to click for her. Conversion isn’t an overnight process but “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass”. It’s coming.

Because we’ve been tracting so much, we’ve met a lot of people who have potential to become more serious investigators. So we have been touching base with a lot of them and figuring out who’s really ready and willing to let us invite them closer to Christ and help them grow. I think that one of my favorite parts of being a missionary is that the message that we share in no way demeans or destroys the already standing testimony of those we meet, but it enhances and enlarges it. The gospel is so good. 

I don’t know if you remember me telling you this, but Sister Melton and I set a goal to read the entire Book of Mormon together this transfer. And we did it πŸŽ‰
I absolutely love the Book of Mormon and am so grateful for the way that it has brought me closer to my Savior and to come to know Him better. People love to bash the Book of Mormon and tell us that “it’s replaces the Bible” or bring up the scripture in Revelations 22 - which is not relevant to the Book of Mormon - or whatever but that’s usually because they have no idea what it really is. In no way does the Book of Mormon replace the Bible, it supports it. It’s an additional witness. Here’s a really good chocolate chip cookie, don’t you want another one? Duh. Anyways, I wanted to share a scripture that I read and loved this week with you, it’s a classic ☺️
“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.” - Moroni 10:32
I love this scripture because it invites us to “come unto Christ” and have total faith in Him. Total faith is scary sometimes but He always meets us where we are and helps us become more. “His grace is sufficient”. He loves you more than you know.

I’ll just be up here in Wasilla for the rest of my life if you ever need me.

XOXO Sister Dunlop the “Wicked Witch of Wasilla”

I'm Not Throwing Away My Shot || Wasilla, AK

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Hey friends. I’m still up in Wasilla fighting off Satan #godunlop and trying not to become a human Otter Pop in someone’s driveway and make sure Sister Melton survives being trained in Wasilla. It’s always an adventure, that’s for sure.

We’ve still been tracting a ton, despite the ridiculously cold wind and frozen solid ice snow. Our goal is to tract for at least two hours each day and then get at least one return appointment with someone. We’ve been doing pretty good so far and Heavenly Father always blesses us with some characters to write home about ☺️ and so here’s my favorite tracting experience from this week: the weather this week was slippery, dark, windy, rainy, grossness but we kept doing missionary work anyways #goteam #stopSatan2k18. We were out tracting this neighborhood of apartment complexes and the wind and rain was ripping so bad our faces stung and we were praying that someone would let us in so we could thaw out (not the first time on my mission that I’ve prayed for that). We get to the apartment on the corner and do our missionary thing and the lady at the door tells us that she’s not interested because she’s “already been saved” and all those fun excuses that we hear all of the time. But I was freezing and I was going to get in this door - I’m not throwing away my shot. So I asked her if there was anything that we could do to help her and she said “you can read the Bible” which then commenced Sister Melton and I spitting out the 8th Article of Faith (“we believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. We also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God”) almost simultaneously and then testifying of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Restoration. She stood there silently and then reluctantly invited us in after asking a few more probing questions. We sat down in her living room and she left to go get something and came back almost ten minutes later with a pile of books. I could tell that it was a bunch of anti-Mormon stuff and she was furiously trying to flip through the pages to find something to throw at us but couldn’t find it. Then she pulled out a little red book from her stack called “Cults” and started reading about Mormonism *eye roll. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that “Mormons are a cult”, I could end world hunger and then have leftovers to resolve world peace. It’s insane. She jumped right in and started to read it out loud spewing old and outdated myths about the Church that were just flat out false for about five minutes before Sister Melton and I got her to zip it in the politest way we could think (“this book sounds really interesting and there’s a lot of things we would love to come back and clear up for you, but would it be okay if we shared a quick message with you?”). No objection from her. We shared the message of the Restoration and testified of it’s power and truthfulness without a single interruption of anti from her. She felt it and something clicked inside her. She accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and we have a return appointment with her tomorrow...

We had to let one of our investigators go this week and doing that always rips my heart up - that part of being a missionary sucks. She hasn’t been progressing for a while and hasn’t been keeping commitments either, and so sometimes we have to move on and invest our energy into others who are more ready (readier?) as we invite them to come to Christ. It’s hard. But shoutout to the Area Book app on our devices because in six months from now, her name will pop up again and send the missionaries that are here to go and check in on her - that’s a huge blessing. Missionary work is sometimes like planting seeds and as time goes on, those seeds will grow and eventually be ready for harvest later down the road πŸ…

Thursday was Sister Melton & I’s last Trainer Trainee Meeting togetherπŸ’”I absolutely love Sister Melton and have learned so much from her. Alaska isn’t going to look the same when she’s done with it #proudmom. [my last] Transfer Calls come from President Toone this Thursday night and so it will be interesting to see where+how things are going to wrap up for Sister Dunlop in Alaska. Time has seriously flown by so fast - it’s a little scary. Stay tuned.

Church on Sunday was a struggle bus mess. Saturday was full of “ice rain”, which made the streets of Wasilla a giant ice rink and so zero people wanted to drive to church Sunday morning. Someone sent us a mass text that church was going to be cancelled because of the roads and then we woke up the next morning to another text saying that it was “uncancelled” thirty minutes before it was supposed to start - we boogied to church and made it there with the (maximum) seven other families that were there. The whole meeting was an impromptu/pull it together party because no one was really there, so that was exciting and adventurous. Go Wasilla.

“It’s in the DOING, not just DREAMING that our lives are blessed” - Thomas S. Monson
Just go & do it.
1 Nephi 3:7
XOXO Sister Dunlop 

PS super sorry about the most pathetic photo selection this week - here’s our Zone photo from Zone Conference last week πŸ™ƒ

I'm Honestly Impressed That I Haven't Frozen Solid Yet || Wasilla

Monday, January 8, 2018

Hello hello! Alaska continues to be my greatest adventure despite the fact time is flying by - it’s a love/hate relationship. I think one of the worst parts about people finding out that you’re on the homestretch is that they just automatically assume you have the next five years of your life planned out and ready to go. Yeah, nope.

Talkeetna Report: It was cold and windy and we didn’t get to see Mayor Stubbs, but a nice man bought our lunch at Subway and Mt. McKinley was so pretty on our drive in that I started to cry #worthit πŸ˜πŸ™πŸΌπŸ”

Missionary Report: one of our Zone Leaders always says, “you can do missionary THINGS or missionary WORK,” and let me just tell you that Sister Melton and I have been putting in some serious missionary WORK these last two transfers. It’s awesome. We’ve been doing a ton of tracting and the other day it was so cold out and we had been tracting so long that our jaws started to freeze up and we couldn’t formulate words at the doorstep. We had a good long thaw out session in the car after that. We’ve also been going through lists of former investigators, which is always an eventful time. Lots of door slams and almost getting decked with a frying pan, but we are still alive. Wasilla Zone Conference was this week and all got our new smartphones - they are super weird. They’re Samsung smartphones and I have zero idea how to use them but luckily I’m surrounded in a zone of greenie missionaries that all have Samsung tablets so they just rock and roll with everything #grandmadunlop. Go team. 

There you go, short & sweet. 
I love you from Alaska and back. 

XOXO Sister Dunlop πŸ’•

2018 || Wasilla, AK

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Hello hello! HAPPY 2018 FRIENDS πŸŽ‰πŸ‘πŸΌ❤️
I can’t believe that another week has flown by and it’s already time for another one of these weeklies. Life is crazy, but also super good #nocomplaints. Also, I FINALLY convinced my Zone to actually do something fun on PDay instead of playing basketball all day so we’re going to Talkeetna 😍
Side note: the mayor of Talkeetna is a literal cat #AK

Last Wednesday evening we had blocked out some time to go knock doors. We’ve set a goal in our mission right now to spend at least an hour each day finding new people to teach and then scheduling at least one return appointment with someone. It’s been really successful and has helped us grow our teaching pool a TON, but it also means that sometimes we have to put our big girl pants on and go tract in some ridiculously cold wind + weather, but it makes you tough #icandohardthings. Anyways, the sun had set a few hours ago and it was about four degrees outside with the glacier winds ripping through the Valley for an added bonus. It. Was. Cold. We had a quick dance party in the car (with the heat cranked all the way up), prayed that we would find someone whose heart was ready and open for the message of the gospel, and then made the polar plunge outside and started knocking. It started out with the usual: a few slams in the face, “we’ve already been saved but stay warm out there”, some conversations through a sliver of an opening in the front door and over loud barking dogs, “we’re JW”, etc. All that good stuff. We had been out for about an hour and still hadn’t set up a return appointment yet and everything from our nose to our toes felt like an ice cube. But let me just tell you that when you ACT IN FAITH, God ALWAYS provides. Faith + works = power. We have a few more doors to go and are hoping and praying our little hearts out that we can find someone to bring the joy of the gospel to, and then we met Glen. After we spit out our “we’re the cold little sister missionaries at the door trying to spread goodness” line, HE LET US IN πŸ™ŒπŸΌ I will praise his name forever. He had questions, like real and genuine questions that didn’t come from a place of hate or trying to bash (like usual), that we answered and then shared the message of the Restoration with him and invited him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. He was all about it. We set up to meet with him again a few days later and brought a few members of the Wasilla Ward to come with us. We get there and Glen pulls out his computer and has an entire list of things he wanted to talk about, which was completely loaded with Bible and Doctrine and Covenants cross-references and General Conference talks and everything. This guy is a smart cookie who had some deep doctrine questions that we usually don’t go into with investigators but he asked, so we answered. It just about got to the level of talking about the body temperature of a translated being. Deep stuff. We eventually roped in all back in and challenged Glen to continue read and pray about the Book of Mormon. He said he would read the whole thing. Stay tuned people. 

Spoiler alert: when you find out that your investigator has already been baptized. 
There’s this lady that we’ve been meeting with since I came up to Wasilla in August - Barb. She lives in Wasilla Ward’s boundaries but had requested for sister missionaries to teach her, so I met her when I was serving in Memory Lake and then when they pinkwashed me into Wasilla, I just got to keep her. She’s this sweet old lady who has had some rough stuff in her life’s journey and has been going to another Christian church for a long time and loves it there. We had usually just stopped by off and on to check in on her and see if we could do anything to help her because she’d said that she wasn’t interested in having missionary discussions anymore. Sister Melton and I had decided that we would try to slip in a few lessons here or there and so on Thursday night we stopped by with one of our cute ward missionary ladies who had just moved into the ward. Let me just tell you, those two were a match made in Heaven. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and at the end of the lesson, we invited Barb to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the Priesthood authority. She paused and said, “want to hear something funny?” then she goes on to tell us that she thinks she was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints when she lived in Washington like 60+ years ago. I died. 
We did some FBI missionary research and found her records. Yep, she’s a member πŸ™ƒ

We finished cleaning up the “Man Cave” (see photo evidence below), helped carry some giant drawers from the truck to back porch, and then fixed some welding tools in the garage #whenthesistersareasbossastheelders. 

We had a Zone Tract for the Memory Lake Elders on Saturday and went to this neighborhood that Sister Yeates and I had tracted out a few months ago. It hadn’t been super successful when Sis. Yeates and I were there but it was so interesting to see that just in that little amount of time, people’s hearts had been changed and we were able to set up return appointments and share the Book of Mormon with families. 
Go Memory Lake. 

We had to be back to our apartments early last night because of New Year’s Eve but spent the day after church having lunch with one family and then dinner at another. At dinner, one of the daughters’ boyfriend was there and he isn’t a member of the Church (yet) so the dad asked if we could share the first discussion with them about the Restoration. The Willow elders were there again too #quadsqaud. We invited the kid to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and he said he would. He seemed genuinely interested, and not just because his girlfriend’s dad was sitting right next to him. So that’s good! We were going to turn our apartment into a blanket fort for New Year’s Eve but remembered that we had to give all of our extra blankets away to some sisters in Palmer so we didn’t have any extras. Plan failed. 

I hope you have a super sparkly 2018 and that you love & laugh every day. 
I love you. God loves you. Life’s a party. 

XOXO Sister Dunlop 

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas || Wasilla, AK 12/26/17

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Hello hello fam+friends. I hope your Christmas was the bestest and that Santa treated you well. This week was totally INSANE - a jam packed missionary work fiesta. Time is flying so fast it’s scary. Part of that may also be because of the Winter Solstice passing by on Thursday (where the sun peeked up for a quick three hours and then bounced) and now each Alaskan day gets lighter and lighter #superblessed ☀️

Okay, this week. Sister Burdick came on exchanges with me Tuesday and Wednesday where we taught some lessons, wiped up someone’s dirty bathroom floor (yay for service), had a fab dinner at a member’s house where they started spitting marriage advice to Sister Burdick because she goes home soon, and then went and crashed the youth “Minute To Win It” party because THREE of our investigators were there. AND it snowed #goteamwasilla.

Sister Melton & I drove down to Anchorage on Thursday morning for Trainer & Trainee Meeting and saw one of the prettiest sunrises in my LIFE as we drove through Eagle River. President Toone shared a pep talk training about Doctrine & Covenants Section 4 and how guess are qualified for God’s work by your DESIRES. Not by how many times you’ve read the scriptures, or your high school GPA, or your favorite ice cream flavor - it’s all about your HEART. “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called”. We are all enlisted. He needs you. He needs me. He uses our talents and personalities and gifts and abilities as INSTRUMENTS in His hands to bless the lives of those around us. There you go. Sidenote: one of the blessings of training a new missionary is that Anchorage has all the good food places so after T&T, you can go to lunch with some homies real quick πŸ’•πŸ™ŒπŸΌ

On Friday afternoon, an investigator asked us to come help him move some stuff from his house into the broken down old school bus sitting in his front yard that he was using as a storage unit. Alaskans. Then we went and helped a member who has asked us to organize his “Man Cave” which was full of guns, books on deep doctrine, photos out the wazoo, and this giant warthog head that kept staring into my soul. Then we were invited to the most awkward family Christmas party of all time and history. Moral of the story: when you invite the missionaries to dinner, talk to them and make them feel loved. Maybe even let them sit at the table with you because we all know how hard it is to balance a plate on your knees while sitting on a squishy couch. 

Christmas weekend: our sacrament meeting was combined with the Memory Lake Ward so I got to see a ton of my favorite people #christmasmiracles. I teared up as I sat between one of our cutie investigator girls and Sister Melton (with another investigator next to her) right there in that chapel as I thought about how lucky I am - my cup overflows. God is so good. We popped in at a few families houses on Christmas Eve and then went caroling with our zone in Willow. We spent Christmas morning with a family and then came home and Skyped our own [❤️πŸ‘ŒπŸΌπŸŽ‰] before continuing our house bouncing. We had moose for Christmas dinner (it’s super good, you’re missing out) with the Willow elders at a family’s house and then got to share a little bit of the Plan of Salvation and share the Book of Mormon with a potential investigator that was there. So. Good. We wrapped it all up with another caroling party with our zone and then crashed in bed. Best Christmas. 

I hope you know how loved you are. 
Merry Christmas. See you next year. 

XOXO Sister Dunlop

writing weeklies is rough sometimes but you only get ten more from me || Wasilla, AK

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Hello hello fam+friends. It’s been another crazy busy week of Sister Melton and I running around Wasilla trying to squeeze everything in before the sun sets and then stumbling around lost in the dark looking for addresses in a place that doesn’t believe in putting numbers on their houses πŸ™ƒ Luckily, Winter Solstice is this week so we will finally start to see the sun a little bit more up in the Great White North ☀️ Let me just tell you, as scary as pinkwash training is, the Lord provides. We have seen blessings on blessings and miracles on miracles - it’s so amazing. Missionary work is hard, don’t get me wrong, but it’s worth it. Missionary work is how God shows His love to His children. All the door slams and the unkept commitments don’t even make a dent in how amazing it feels to help someone feel the Spirit or to share the Book of Mormon with them or to see them dressed in white ready to make covenants with their loving Heavenly Father. It’s. So. Good.

Fun stuff: the Settler’s Bay elders came to dinner with us on Friday (long story) at a family’s house in Wasilla where they always eat ribs when the missionaries come over. The standing record for “most ribs eaten in one sitting” at their house was fourteen. Elder Litchford ate sixteen like a champ then had room for dessert after πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌ

Only one new sister missionary came out this transfer and she is getting trained over in Lazy Mountain - lucky ducky. On Thursday morning we headed over there with the Colony Sister to decorate their little red barn (#tbt) before she and Sister Lake came back from Anchorage. We covered their desks with confetti and sticky notes and strung streamers and balloons up the stairs. I still have no idea how we managed to smash a trio of sister missionaries in that thing last December was a good time. 

The Young Women’s President invited us to come and speak with the youth on Tuesday night about missions & missionary work and have an open floor discussion with them. It was awesome. They asked questions like, “what’s the worst thing you’ve had to eat” or “can we watch your call video” or “why are you on Facebook now” or “what is the coldest temperature you’ve been in” and things like that. We wrapped it all up with the missionary pep talk of the year about how THE LORD QUALIFIES the called and that your DESIRES qualify you for the work (read Doctrine & Covenants 4 to join the party). Missions are the hardest, bestest, funnest, weirdest adventure ever. 
You won’t regret serving a mission.
Just do it. 

Spiritual stuff: Sister Melton and I have set a goal to read the entire Book of Mormon together by the end of this transfer (which ends at the end of January) and this week we have been studying in Mosiah. Here’s some good stuff for your Monday: Mosiah 27:25 reads, “and the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.” AMEN AMEN AMEN. Earlier in Mosiah we learn that “the natural man is an enemy to God”. We all have struggles and challenges, that’s just a part of being human. It’s part of His Plan. God knew that we would mess up. But He still [and always] loves us, and that’s why He gave us a Savior, His Only Begotten Son. It’s because of love. Jesus Christ came to their Earth as a perfect example for us and He atoned for each and every one of us - all of our sins, sorrows, everything. He knows. And He knows because He felt it all. Because of love. Now, the ball is in our hands and it’s up to us to “be born again”. It’s up to us to choose God and to choose good. Choosing God doesn’t immediately make your life rainbows and unicorns though, sometimes it’s even the opposite. But when we choose God and rely on Him, the blessings overflow. We read repeatedly in the scriptures that when we keep the commandments, we prosper in the land. Change your heart, change your life. 

Merriest Christmas. 
Loves and hugs.
XO Sister Dunlop

PS part of being a missionary and running around with your head chopped off means you’re really bad at pictures for your weekly #newyearsresolution #sorrymamalauraπŸ’•

Slippin' || Wasilla AK 12/11/17

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Hello fam+friends! We’ve survived another adventurous week in Wasilla. It’s an ICE RINK up here [because it was really warm and all the snow melted, then it rained and cooled down so everything froze into a slippery mess] and as such, Sister Melton and I have had some pretty epic wipeouts this week. Bruised elbows, borderline broken fingers, etc. #hardcore #AAMproblems. 

Long story short, we spent a huge part of the week contacting people from lists that the ward auxiliaries had given us and Christmas partying. It was a good time. K cool. 

On Saturday night we had a pass off lesson with the Fishhook elders with this cute lady that told us about how she feels like something is missing in her life, but she doesn’t know what it is (@PMG!!) and we are really excited to start teaching her. She got really sick yesterday and wasn’t able to make it to church, but we have an appointment set up with her later this week #staytuned. 

In other news: because our zone is so small, President Toone is dissolving the two Wasilla districts this transfer and now we’re just one big district/one tiny zone. I love it. Also, our mission is getting smartphones in a few weeks which means we can finally be in group texts and send emojis πŸ˜πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸŽ‰

We are all just praying for some snow up here so it can look like December already. I haven’t worn a coat all week✌🏼

XOXO Sister Dunlop
WASILLA DISTRICT (the cooler district because it has the Sisters in it)

   WASILLA ZONE #homiescanbetogetherforever