Thanksgiving Transfer Calls

Monday, November 28, 2016

Hey fam! A ton of stuff happened this week and I'm going to try and cram it all in here really quick because writing it all out takes a million years. First of all, with this week being transfers, I'll just start by saying that YES, I'm getting transferred. And I'm pumped about my transfer call. I'll be going up to LAZY MOUNTAIN in PALMER to be in a TRIO with SISTER CHRISTIAN who was trained by Sister McGee-like me) and SISTER MATELLE (who was trained by Sister Ewing-also, like me) and I'm so stoked! In the wise words of Elder Bird, "it's always a good time to be in Palmer". Saweeet!

Last Monday, our zone was able to go and help with a super cool service project called "Thanksgiving Baskets" that was organized by a different Christian church but we were able to jump in and help out, which was so awesome. Organizations had teamed up and freely donated turkeys, potatoes, stuffing, apples, and all that other Thanksgivingness then people came and showed proof of residency or something like that, received a number, waited in line, were called up and shared how many people were in their family, then we helped them through the lines for food, loaded it all up in their cars, and they drove away. It was flawless. We helped feed over 2500 people for Thanksgiving! Serve, serve, serve. Then we all went to Taco Bell bc we were starving. 

Tuesday morning we dropped Sister Ewing off at the airport for her 48 hour trip to Juneau for exchanges and then the Huffman Tria was born! SO BLESSED! We had our last district meeting (sad day bc the Turnigan Arm district rocks) and then we celebrated my lifeaversary (the one year mark since my Tincup Canyon car accident) with sodas from the Holiday gas station and making cute Thanksgiving cards to ding dong ditch the Huffman and Oceanview member with. I could be in our Huffman Tria for the rest of my life. It was SO good. We also finished the 12 Week Missionary Training program which means I'm finally a real missionary! Yayayayay! Praises. 

For Thanksgiving, we went over to the Barbachano's house and had Huffman tag along with us because no one in their Ward invited them over (sad). But let's be honest, it wouldn't be a thanksgiving party without them. That night, President Robinson was going to be calling all the sister missionaries about transfers and so we decided to go to our next door neighbors, Elder and Sister Mayhue, for our calls because they had never heard a transfer call before. It was so funny to watch their faces as they heard President say, "Sister Dunlop, the Lord wants you to be transferred into a trio with Sister Christian and Sister Matelle in the Lazy Mountain area,". Haha I was dying. I adore them. 

Friday morning, Sister Robinson (our mission president's wife) invited all the sisters serving in Anchorage to come to the mission home for lunch and help her decorate for Christmas! We set up like a zillion nativities, Christmas lights and wreaths, and then the [fake] Christmas tree. The APs stopped by to grab something from Sister Robinson, but I don't think that they knew #1 we would all be there and #2 that they hadn't been invited to decorate too. I think they were a little salty about it too #sistermissionaryperks. 

We took our district out to "dinner" at the Yogurt Lounge on Saturday night because none of us had had people sign up for dinner and a member in Oceanview had given us $50 for food so we spent it on froyo. Not mad. My last Sunday here was celebrated by having to give the opening prayer in Sacrament Meeting in the Bush Branch and then being asked to speak in Oceanview's Sacrament Meeting too. 
Big things, I know. 

Today is a mad scramble of finishing packing, dropping missionaries V, W, and X off and then picking up at Y and Z whatever time, cleaning, our district volleyball tournament, and all this other busy stuff. Tomorrow morning is the start of my transfer journey up to Palmer and I won't get to my new area until Wednesday night #alaskanmissionaryproblems because of some insane logistic travel plans. 
It's going to be chilly, but what else is new? I'm so excited!
I love you allπŸ’•☃️
Love, Sister Dunlop the Eskimo

Here's an insane & conglomerate mess of photos from this week:

It's warmer in my freezer

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I had this super sad (but awesome, because Alaska rocks) moment this week where I realized it was warmer in our freezer than it was outside...killer. We were knocking doors in 12 degrees on Saturday (yay for human popsicle life) but at least the sun finally rose around noon so it warmed up a little bit (to like 18) haha. I love AK. This email isn't going to be very long, but I promise to make up for it with lots of photos because let's be honest here, some of you only look at the photos. Don't worry, that was me too. 

It was a pretty good week up north. On Tuesday, we were able to go to the Anchorage temple with our zone and it was so awesome. I love the Alaska temple! Alaska and Wyoming now have the same number of temples (one, haha) so that's really cool. The Heckels weren't feeling too well on Wednesday so Sister Ewing whipped out these hidden chef talents she has and made them chicken noodle soup! She even handmade the noodles! I was so impressed and just watched her work her soup magic the whole time. We left a giant vat (@amillz) of the soup on their porch and  tried to ding dong ditch their house. I slipped under the car while we were running back, but I don't think anyone saw me haha. Slipping is a daily struggle for Sister Dunlop. I had my last trainer & trainee meeting on Thursday which was super happy because those meetings sometimes feel like forever and a day long. I also turned 3 months old that day, along with the other four sisters (Richards, Cox, Lake, and Jewel) that came out with me. Yay! There is a lady in the Oceanview Ward who owns a floral company and we texted her Thursday night to see if we could come by and get some flowers from her to take over to Sister Heckel the next day (because it's the anniversary of when her mom passed away). She called us back and invited us over to her house to help her do a huge Christmas floral arrangement thing in honor of Sister Heckel's mom #tendermercies. Friday & Saturday were exchanges with the Jewel Lake sisters and Sister Neild came to Oceanview with me and Sister Ewing went with Sister Jimenez to Jewel Lake (which was the area she was trained in!). Sister Neild and I were at the church building doing some Bush Branch calls and this lady had been in the gym setting up for a party later that night, and we get to talking to her and she tells us how she was the first sister missionary in Alaska. SHE IS LEGEND! So, so, so cool. She told us about how she and her companion opened up Ketchikan and then now here we are with almost 30 sister missionaries scattered over Alaska. 

This next week is insane. Today we only have half a PDay because our zone is going to help with a giant Thanksgiving service project for Anchorage and then Sister Ewing is getting dropped off at the airport at 6am tomorrow morning to go and do exchanges in Juneau (little salty I'm not going, but hopefully I'll get to Juneau eventually) for two days and so that means I get to TRIO WITH HUFFMAN FOR TWO DAYS! So stoked. We have a partial PDay on Wednesday, I'm not really sure why that is, but I'm not complaining. Thursday is thanksgiving (duh) and we have dinner at the Barbachano's and then we are just going to house hop for leftovers and whatever for the rest of the day until we get transfer calls that night *anyone who guesses my transfer call correctly gets fireweed honey or something* and I honestly have no idea what's going to happen. I could stay here, but then I will have been in this area for almost 5 months by the time next transfer rolls around, or I could get shipped off to Fairbanks or Eagle River or something like that. And then Saturday is the 100th day of my mission- they grow up so fast. 

Also, I know this isn't really AAM related but, tomorrow (11/22/16) is the one year anniversary of my Tincup Canyon car accident. I think about that day all the time and have never ever questioned for a moment that Heavenly Father was watching over me as my car crashed into that icy river. Even though I was the only one in my car, I know I was not alone. And I know that we are never alone. My car accident is such a strong testament to me that God is our loving Heavenly Father, that He has a plan for us, and that He is always watching over us. I don't know why things turned out the way they did, but I know they could've (and logically should've) turned out much worse. I'm grateful for the companionship of the Holy Ghost, seatbelts, Lifeproof phone cases, the human body's "fight or flight" nervous system/adrenaline rush, the random strangers that picked my dripping wet and freezing cold self up, and so many other little puzzle pieces like that. I know guardian angels are real and I know that they were there that day to pull me out of my car. So remember that you're never ever alone and that you have a Heavenly Father who knows you and loves you and that He has a plan for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love, Sister Dunlop

Photos from our PDay hike last week (AK=😍)
Anchorage Zone at the Anchorage temple
Baby trainees turned 3 months old & graduated trainer and trainee meetings
Freezing our faces off (what else is new)
Just a little reminder about guardian angelsπŸ’•

Soldotna, French Toast Friday, and Wild Game Dinner

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hi doods. So I decided not to voice record my email this week because I feel like I left a zillion and a half things out last week that I wanted to tell y'all about but I can still send some if you want. Whatevs works. You tell me. Also, the stream of emails I get from everyone on Sunday night makes my heart so happy, so thank youπŸ’•

Hopefully you're all staying warm down there because at one point this week I was knocking doors in single digit weather. Happy November in Alaska. PS: I know that I make all these sassy remarks about Alaska being ridiculously cold all the time but I still love it anyways #manyarecalledbutfewarefrozen. 

We had exchanges down in Soldotna this week and I got to go and be down there with Sister Williams for a day (blessings on blessings). Soldotna is dope! I actually got out of Anchorage for the first time in forever (#quotesFrozeninweeklyemailandnoshame)! Sister Williams showed me around all over Soldotna; the pretty part (all the glacier melt rivers and lakes that are crystal blue and the super dense forests) and the sketch part (we saw a house that had 9-12 old cars in their front yard and the back of the house was smoking (it had been on fire for a couple of days haha), a guy riding his snow bike with a laundry machine tied on the back, a mannequin riding a stuffed moose (not like a stuffed animal moose, like a moose that was once alive but was shot and now is stuffed kind of animal), and all this other random stuff. Then I met one of their new converts who is an Alaskan native and he's super nice. He is going to baptize his daughter in a few weeks too so that's pretty cool. It's a little more than a three hour drive from Anchorage to Soldotna so we met back up at a sketchy cabin motel spot near Hope to exchange back on Thursday. Our drive back to Anchorage was super duper sketchy. It was snowing, hailing, and raining (at the same time) and then under the thick layer of slush on the roads was ice. Want to talk about some PTSD from my Tin Cup car accident?! Yep. Thanks Alaska roads. Once we got to Girdwood, the roads cleared up a little more and so Sister Ewing and I pulled over for a quick sanity check/Dunlop needed to get out of the car and breathe moment. We somehow made it back to Anchorage in one piece #missionariesareprotected.

When I was at home, Mama Laura celebrated "Cookie Friday" every Friday. It was the best! But now I don't have Cookie Friday up here and so I decided to start French Toast Friday because we somehow ended up with a ton of the extra bread from the Mission Office. It's a new holiday (in addition to the pre-established every Friday holiday known as, "Flannel Friday"). It's awesome. I smashed up Cinnamon Toast Crunch and then put it on top of our French Toast before we baked it in the was amazing!! Trademark that. We also tried it with crushed up Captain Crunch, and it was good but not AS good. I don't even need Pinterest...JK, I miss it everyday. Everyone is invited to join in our happy French Toast Friday celebration if they wish. 

On Saturday, after morning district tract in Brayton (where it was raining ice, not snow or raindrops, ice. Go Alaska) our district went to lunch at Sam's Club (yay greasy and cheap pizza). Then Sister Ewing and I went over to the Heckel's house to help them prep and cook for the Wild Game Dinner later that night. The Wild Game Dinner is an annual activity that the Oceanview Ward hosts at the end of autumn where members cook up all their extra random game meat from their summer hunts and then we all eat it. It's way sketch haha. There's bear, elk, caribou, moose, reindeer, halibut, salmon, frog, wild boar, turkey, pig (not ham, it's "pig"), and a bunch of other stuff. We made caribou kebabs with Brother and Sister Heckel which turned into a real life episode of "Chopped" because they realized they were missing a bunch of ingredients so Sister Heckel made some crazy substitute concoction that worked out somehow. Cool. PS: I don't remember if I told y'all this last week, but the Heckels were on date to be baptized, then they weren't, then they were, and now they are (long story- I'll tell you when I get home) and so they are scheduled to all be baptized on December 7th! What's really cool about this date is that it's the nine year anniversary mark of Sister Heckel's convert baptism. Cool, huh? And what's bonus cool about it is that Brother Heckel is working on getting the Priesthood so he can baptize them. Booyah! 

The Wild Game Dinner was so...Alaskan. I don't know how else to explain it. It was kind of a mad house with random meats and desserts and whatever all over the place but that's about how all Mormon Ward activities go really. There wasn't any muktuk there so that was a bummer (I promised myself I wouldn't leave Alaska without trying it) but they did have just about everything else. Moose, caribou, and reindeer aren't all that bad but I haven't decided how I feel about eating bear yet. It just smells really weird. And it's a bear, like I'm eating a weird. Also, I met Mont Mahoni there. He's a Third Nephite from Big Lake. And he was wearing a Utah State hoodie, so he's definitely a righteous one (#goaggies). You'll have to ask Elder Bird for all the sources, stories, and evidence of all of Mont Manhoi but basically he's real and I met him at Wild Game Dinner. If I was a Third Nephite, I would hide out in Alaska too :)

Sunday was the Primary Program for both the Bush Branch and the Oceanview Ward. It's pretty much the greatest Sacrament Meeting all year. The Bush Branch program was so cute because there's only like four Bush families with primary age kids in them and so each of the kids had a mini talk on something and then the whole family would sing something like "I Love to See the Temple" or "We Thank Thee O God For a Prophet". President Andersen, the Mayhues, Sister Ewing, and I were laughing the whole time. One of the kids got up and said, "You shouldn't do anything that's bad for you, because that makes it hard to have a testimony". Wise words from a kid that's going places. The Oceanview Ward Primary president asked us to come and sit with all the kids on the stand for their program (basically to make sure they all stayed in their seats and got up when it was their turn to speak) and then sing "Called to Serve" with them. Super awkward but whatever. 

That's about all I've got. I'm making Sister Ewing and the Huffman sisters come hike Flattop with me (because I'm sick of lame P-Days we've been having just playing volleyball in the gym with the Elders) later today so I promise to take some photos to share with you next week. We get to go to the temple this week and I turn 3 months old on Thursday! Yay! Other fun news: I had my first Alaskan wipe out this week and landed straight on my face after slipping on some ice (Sister Ewing just laughed and kept walking). That was joyous. But mostly painful. I'm a survivor. Christmas is in 41 days!
Love y'all, Sister Dunlop the Eskimo⛄️

Week #9

Monday, November 7, 2016

Hi peeps! So writing weekly emails takes me forever and a day and an elder showed me this thing where you can just record your weekly email (or random thoughts by Sister Dunlop) instead. Hopefully it works. If you hate it, tell me and I won't do it anymore but anyways, I love y'all. Peace & blessings. Go forth and be awesome.
XOXOX Sister Dunlop

Week #9 - Audio Letter

I hate emails who don't include photos too, so here's the only ones I took this week (Sis. Ewing doesn't really like photos) and here's a selfie of us with Elder and Sister Mayhue in the big, huge AAM van they use to pick up and drop off missionaries from the airport in. It has four rows of seats!

8th Week in AK

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Happy Halloween! After a lot of thought, I decided to be a sister missionary for Halloween (and the next one too) this year! It's super unique and exciting, I know. 

After our district meeting on Tuesday, we rallied the district to come and help a family in our ward pack and clean their house because they were moving down to California this week. Sister Martinez, Jewel, Ewing, and I scrubbed the kitchen clean for almost four hours while the elders loaded the moving van and cleaned the bathroom. It was a little nasty but she paid us in pizza and fresh (but frozen) halibut #alaskaperks. 

We had exchanges with Huffman on Wednesday/Thursday and so Sister Martinez came to OV with me! So blessed. Five minutes into our exchange, we got a call from the Spanish elders to come over and help one of their investigators pack up her apartment and move. Fun fact: if you're ever moving and want to get it over with fast, call the missionaries - we are pro. Anyways, so Sister Martinez & I drive over there (it's really like around the corner from our apartment, but it was so cold outside) and it's Adriana's apartment hahaha. Remember the Spanglish lesson from a little while ago? Yep, that one. So we packed up her house and then the elders drove the moving truck and followed her out to a storage unit where she's keeping all her stuff. I don't really know what's going on there, I was just used to pack, tape, carry, and load boxes. Then Sister Martinez and I did some Bush Branch calls, visited and taught the Heckels, had dinner, and then had a super powerful Restoration lesson with Arthur that Elder & Sister Mayhue (our cutie senior couple missionary neighbors) called in too. Thursday morning we had these big dreams to go and walk around the cemetery and find people to teach, but ended up getting locked in and had to go and ask the people at the front desk to let us out. So awkward. Later that day, I brought Sister Ewing over to Wanda's house to meet her (and because I wanted a giant Ziploc bag of candy). Then we had a lesson with Kaeloni and went to dinner at Moose's Tooth with the Rinlinsbacher's from the Oceanview Ward. 

More exchanges on Friday/Saturday with Campbell Park and Sister Slaughter came here with me. I've been on at least one exchange every week of my mission so far and so sometimes I don't even remember what area I'm assigned in anymore. We did a lot of finding/tracking down less actives in our ward that day and then went to a baptism for the O'Malley elders that night. I've never had so many doors slammed in my face in such a small amount of time as I did during our district tract on Saturday morning in the Rabbit Creek area, so that was a good time. We stopped by the Alley's birthday party on Saturday afternoon before Trunk or Treat to say hi and invited them to church on Sunday. They didn't come and Trunk or Treat was an epic fail because it was cold and raining and so it only lasted about an hour before all the kids were frozen and crying. Sometimes that's how I feel too when we are out tracting forever. I get it too, kids. But the Heckels were all emojis for Halloween so that was adorable and the smartest costume ever because you could wear a coat and all your warm clothes underneath!

Next week is busy with interviews and meetings and trainings so stay tuned. Sorry this email is super short and super lame.

Sister Dunlop