Invite People to Be Baptized & You'll See Moose

Monday, October 3, 2016

I've heard that with missions, the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days...THIS IS SO TRUE! I feel like I've been on a mission for a million years but at the same time it feels like I just got kicked to the curb at the MTC haha. We seriously get so much done and jam pack every week. Woo! So here's some of this week in Alaska...

On Wednesday afternoon, the sister missionaries serving in Soldotna came up and we did double exchanges with them in Oceanview. President Robinson decided that it would simplify our lives (and put less mileage on our car, Rhonda) if Soldotna came up and worked in Oceanview and then they could stay the night with us before Sister's Training Meeting on Thursday morning. Sister McGee and Sister Williams (Soldotna) took half of our investigators to teach that day and then Sister Gardner (other Soldotna) came with me to teach the others. Honestly, it was kinda terrifying to be in charge but Sister McGee goes home in two weeks *tears* and so I'll be taking over Oceanview anyways pretty soon- depending on transfer calls. Scary. 

For our first appointment, Sister Gardner and I went and met with the Heckel kids and I taught them about the Restoration. When I was in the MTC, I didn't like teaching the Restoration to our investigators because I felt like there was so much information packed into the discussion that it would just overwhelm those we taught. PSYCH! IT'S FREAKING AWESOME! Each point of the Restoration aligns with our message as missionaries that we are children of our loving Heavenly Father & that He still speaks to us in the latter-days and has given us the restored Gospel in its fullness! It's the coolest, happiest, greatest, and most amazing message the world has ever known! And I get to share it all the time! At the end of the lesson, I invited each of the kids to be baptized. AND THEY SAID YES!! I was so excited, I started tearing up and gave all the kids the best high fives ever. So there you go, the Heckel kids are getting baptized! SO PUMPED! Side note: a couple of days ago, I complained to Sister McGee that I'd been in Alaska for a month and hadn't seen any wildlife yet. But, the day I invited three people to be baptized, I saw three moose. It's a sign. Invite people to be baptized and you'll see moose. Heavenly Father's sneaky like that, haha!

Thursday was our mission's Sister's Training Meeting (we ate Halibut Lasagna there and it was nasty I thought we were all going to die - I also ate reindeer this week, another scary food moment for Sis. Dunlop in Alaska). STM is so cool because all of the sister missionaries in the Alaska Anchorage mission get to be there, either in person in Anchorage or we Skype them from Fairbanks and Juneau. Technology is cool. Sister McGee and I had planned some of STM with President and Sister Robinson and decided to base it off the scripture, 2 Nephi 5:27, that talks about living "after the manner of happiness". We wanted to build a STM that made the sister missionaries leave feeling happy and stoked about missionary work and knowing that they can do it! We opened the training by showing clips of some of the sisters opening their mission calls. Sister McGee and I seriously had the exact same reaction when we read, " are assigned to labor in the ALASKA ANCHORAGE mission..." haha, of course. But we wanted the sisters to remember that joy, faith, and excitement that they had had when they opened their calls and we wanted them to re-implement that into their lives and work as missionaries right now. We are living our dreams! Then we watched Kid President's Pep Talk (because it's my favorite) and talked about finding joy in the journey and shared with the other sisters our inspiration to have every day on our mission be a "Disneyland Day". It was probably the happiest STM in the history of ever #TheRedsareonfire

On Friday night, we had a little bit of time before we needed to head back to our apartment and while we were planning the night before, I had felt really strongly that we needed to plan to go and visit a less-active member of our ward, Wanda, some time soon. We drove over to her house and had been knocking for a few minutes before she opened the door. Wanda was in her bathrobe and jammies and her eyes were wet with tears. "You're seven minutes late," she whispered between sobs. We were very confused what she meant by this but she let us into her house and we went on to find out that her daughter had passed away one year and seven minutes ago tonight. You could say that us knocking on her door that night was a "coincidence". But Sister McGee has taught me never to believe in "coincidences". As missionaries on the Lord's errand, we are directed to those He wants us to meet. I have no doubt that Heavenly Father needed us to be with Wanda that night; ESPECIALLY that night. We shared with her the joyous message of the Plan of Salvation and that she would be able to be with her daughter again. THE PLAN OF SALVATION IS SO REAL YOU GUYS! This wonderful and amazing Plan makes it so that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father again and be with our families forever! Wanda then went on to tell us about other trials her family is facing right now and all this crazy stuff she's going through. She's a trooper. Before we left, she handed us Ziploc bags to fill with candy and then sent us with 40 pro-biotic juice drinks that she wanted us to give to all of the Elders haha. We love Wanda. 

This weekend we (all 14ish missionaries in Anchorage) watched all the sessions of General Conference at the Stake Center, right next to the Anchorage Alaska temple. It was so cool to walk out of conference (into the freezing cold rain) and see the temple right there! One bummer of Alaska though (there's only one) was that conference was on at 8am and noon instead of 10am and 2pm. It was rough, honestly. But there's a super awesome family in the Stake that makes breakfast for all of the Anchorage missionaries before the Sunday morning session, so at least we got pancakes as a reward for waking up super early. But can we talk about how amazing General Conference was this weekend?! IT WAS FIRE! SO GOOD! And it was like all about missionary work! I loved Elder Oaks & Elder Andersen & Elder Hales' pep talks about missionary work. They rock. Missionary work rocks! I also especially loved when they talked about how missionaries go out to convert people to the GOSPEL, not to the Church. A mission is SO NOT about baptismal stats. It's about bringing people JOY! 
That's all I've got for y'all this week. Go back & listen to conference because it's so good! Go forth and be awesome. 

XOXOX Sister Dunlop
conference morning pancakes
Anchorage area sisters
Letter from Grandma Charlotte
Selfie with a moose :)

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