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WAZILLA - 11/20/17

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Facebook. So weird, but awesome. I found out that pretty much all I’ve missed from not being on Facebook over the last 15 months is that everyone got married while I was gone. Kids these days. At Zone Conference on Tuesday when they had us log on, I had no idea what my password was because I hadn’t been on for forever and a day and so that was a mess but shout-out to Dad for saving the day. Facebook as a missionary is sweet! It’s so much easier to contact members and investigators-share talks/videos/scriptures with them through group chats, teach lessons through video chat, etc. It’s another awesome tool that Heavenly Father has given us to help Progress the work even more. 

We are still working on finding people to teach; people who’s hearts are willing, people who are brave enough to ask God for themselves, people who are ready to build their lives into something better. It’s whatever. We are teaching this single mom and her two daughters that we tracted into a few weeks ago and they are the nicest people ever. They went up to Chena Hot Springs yesterday so they weren’t able to come to church but we had dinner with them last week and taught the Restoration and gave them the Book of Mormon and they are it right up. We love and adore them. 

Miracle. At Zone Conference, Elder Ryan told us about this part member family that he had taught a little bit when he was serving in Settler’s Bay that Sister McGee (#legacy) had found when she was serving in Colony. Long story short: we found them on Facebook (holla) but couldn’t get in contact with them to set up a time to meet them and all these things were just working against us and then yesterday we are sitting in sacrament meeting and they just casually WALK IN. Sister Melton and I flipped. They stayed for all of church and we got their phone number and they said we could come by for dinner some time and all this good stuff. God is good. 

Story time: we were force fed someone’s pet rabbit this week. No lie. There’s this super nice heart of gold lady that just moved to Wasilla and she asked us to help her unpack some things and clean her house. We go over there and she has this whole surprise lunch set up on the kitchen counter for us with this mystery meat. Then she tells us that it’s rabbit...so then have to be nice sister missionaries and put some on our plate (I took one tiny baby piece and then piled salad on top of it so I might be able to get away without having to eat it #ignoranceisbliss. We are enduring to the end of this meal and that little piece of rabbit is chilling on my plate still and Sis. Melton leans over and is like “try it” and so I put my big girl pants on and right as I put it in my mouth Sis. Melton asks the lady where the rabbit came from🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️. The lady tells us that it was their pet rabbit *Sis. Dunlop tries not to throw up and die all over their new apartment* and that they had butchered it the night before with their friend. Alaskans are insane humans. We survive lunch and then the lady has us go upstairs to start folding laundry and right as we get to the top of the stairs, there’s this empty rabbit cage #ripthumper. My life. She had signed up to feed us for dinner a few nights later and we go in the kitchen and there’s this new little rabbit in a box on the floor...probs our dinner for next week, stay tuned. 

“...take upon you the name of Christ; that he humble yourselves even unto the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place he may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that he LIVE IN THANKSGIVING DAILY, for the many mercies and blessings with he doth bestow upon you,” -Alma 34:39
Be thankful in all things. 
Wear your seatbelts & angels are real. 
Love y'all from AK and back. 

XOXO Sister Dunlop

Humble & Kind - Wasilla, AK 11/13/17

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I’ve come to a point where the weeks feel like months and the months feel like moments. This week felt forever long. Last Monday night Sister Melton & I were super brave and had dinner at this person’s house that we had tracted into the night before. I know that sounds really sketch but it turned out really good. They had pulled into the parking lot as we were finishing up tracting their apartment complex Sunday night and I was just mentally preparing for them to just sit in their car awkwardly until we walked away or something (but this was also right after a dude had just answered the door in a towel with shampoo bubble still in his hair so at this point, nothing really phased me). But they didn’t. They got out and recognized our little black name tags then started talking to us. It was a single mom and her two daughters and they have a friend living over in Palmer who is a Mormon and they had been to dinner at her house when the elders were over there once. Then they invited us in to their apartment and gave us a bunch of leftover Halloween candy and said that we could come over and have dinner with them whenever. No one had signed up on our dinner calendar for Monday night-another PSA to #feedyourlocalmissionaries2k17-and so we had to put our big girl pants on and eat dinner at a stranger’s house. It was amazing though, way worth it. The Palmer member came to dinner too and we all just got to chat about the gospel and Jesus Christ. They invited us over to their house again for dinner on Wednesday night so that should be exciting.

I’ve just got to say that God prepares people’s hearts for the gospel; I have such a testimony of that. And it’s been such a huge blessing to be an instrument in a little piece of it. Last week, the YSA branch president called us and asked for us to go and visit a lady named Erin, who wasn’t a member of the Church [yet] but was going through some rough patches in her life and had asked that the sister missionaries come and see her. Sister Melton and I are the only sisters in the Wasilla area so we get to go on all these “Sisters Only” adventures and experiences all of the time, sorry elders. We contacted Erin and set up an appointment to meet her on Wednesday afternoon. Sister Melton and I had picked some of our favorite scriptures that talk about God’s love (because you can never get too much of that) to share with her and then by the end of it, we found ourselves setting a baptismal date with Erin. Her heart was so ready and all we had to do was walk in there and invite her to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the Priesthood authority. It was amazing as the Spirit buzzed in the room. God is so real. Plot twist: Erin is moving down to Kansas City at the end of November to live with her sister (who is a member of the Church) and so she will probably be baptized down there so some of her family can be there. We are going to teach her all the lessons and then get in contact with the Kansas City missionaries to pass her off to them. Church is true.

Last Sunday night, we went and met a potential investigator in our Area Book named Bobbe. She’s this cute little old lady who the elders had met years ago and we felt like we needed to try and stop by and meet her. We showed up and the apartment complex was locked but luckily by sheer miracle (but really God), someone had seen us try and get in and came and let us in the apartment #majorblessed. We knocked on Bobbe’s door and she let us right in and we talked to her about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. She ate it all right up. This lady loves God and dogs more than anyone in the whole world and just wants to do whatever God wants her to do. She said we could come back and teach her more later in the week and so we come back and the apartment is locked again but luckily someone ordered a pizza and the pizza man snuck us in #againmajorlyblessed. Bobbe was being all weird and so we asked her what was going on and she told us that she had told her lady friends that she was meeting with us and they freaked out and started showing her a bunch of Anti-Mormon YouTube videos that scared Bobbe and left her with a lot of questions that we tried to resolve for her. Bobbe sat on the couch while we sat at her feet testifying and flipping from scripture to scripture showing her proof of what we taught. It felt like we were fighting for Bobbe’s soul, and we were. At one point Bobbe burst out, “why do you girls even do what you do?!”. And then the feels. I’m sitting on a dog hair covered carpet at the feet of this sweetheart old lady and in my attempts to convey just a sliver of what being a missionary has meant to me and done for me and why I knock doors in the Arctic cold and why I labor to love and labor to learn and every little aspect of missionary work, I totally start crying. Full on tears. It’s because of Christ’s peace. Eternal joy. God’s love. We all need it and so I’m out here to share it. Then Sister Melton drops her fire testimony and we are fighting for Bobbe because she needs the light of the gospel so bad in her life and we want nothing more than for her to receive it. She says the prayer at the end thanking God for her Mormon sisters and then tells us to save her a seat at church tomorrow. But she doesn’t show. I thought she was in it to win it with us. *only keep reading this paragraph if you want your heart to break too...Bobbe sent us a big long text this afternoon about how much she loves us but that she doesn’t want to disappoint her friends by letting us visit her. I know. It’s such a bummer. We’re so sad. Her heart is just not ready yet, it will be though. Eventually. Sister Melton after experiencing her first drop: “this feels like a breakup text!”.

A few more things: a lady just moved into Wasilla and she is a recent convert from Palmer and it turns out that Sister Christian, Sister Mataele, and I taught her when we were in Lazy Mountain together a year ago #smallworld. We have Wasilla Zone Conference on Tuesday and let’s just say that some big things are happening in AAM. Stay tuned. Super excited. Other than that, I have no idea what’s going to go down in Wasilla this week. Every day is an adventure, that’s for sure #alaskansaretheirownbreed.

Here’s some pep talk scriptures that have been keeping me alive these last few weeks:
Mosiah 24:14-16 “I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up there burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord. And it came to pass that so great was their faith and patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: be of good comfort.”

Moroni 10:32 “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 heart, might, mind, and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by 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.”

Isaiah 41:10 “fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Doctrine & Covenants 121:7-8 “peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment. And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.”

Stay warm down there kiddos.
You can do hard things.
Lots of love,

XOXO Sister Dunlop

Jesus Take the Wheel - Wasilla 11/6/17

Thursday, November 9, 2017

In the MTC they always tell you “if you just make it to Sunday, you’ll be fine” and it was a “just make it to Sunday” kind of week this week. I feel like we’re running around with our heads cut off and we keep singing “Jesus Take the Wheel” whenever we start losing our minds (which is actually a lot) but Elder Ellis told us in General Conference that we’re strengthened in the struggle so...here we are [tracting in the fresh foot of snow we got a few days ago #blessed]. First of all, my baby Sister Melton is a CHAMP. I’m such a fan. Early Wednesday morning, Sister Yeates and I drove down to Anchorage for transfer logistics in the craziest, thickest fog I’ve ever seen. The next twelve hours after that were just a blur. At one point there were like twenty missionaries slipping all over the parking lot loading luggage into mission cars and trucks and then I found myself sitting in this tiny room with President Toone and five other elders waiting to get our trainees and then Sister Melton and I were eating pizza and having our first companionship study and then I was with my departing missionary homies (you know who you are) and all the new kids at the temple. It was insane. Eventually, Sister Melton and I were road tripping it back up to Wasilla (which is normally about an hour and a half from Anchorage, but this time it took us three hours) in this crazy fog but once we get to Eagle River, we get trapped in the worst traffic jam Alaska has ever seen. The entire population of Alaska was on the road. Once we made it back up to Wasilla, we had to make a quick Qdoba stop because #hangry and then came home and slept like rocks.

Day #1 of pinkwashing in Wasilla wasn’t as rough as I thought it was going to be. It’s actually kind of nice because there’s so many things you can do-meet members, tract, contact investigators, etc. There’s a ton of potential investigators that have been sitting in the Area Book for who knows how long (literally some of them are +3 years) and so we decided to go through and meet everyone. We set up a lesson with a lady who ended up living super far out in the boonies (and we later found out she didn’t live in our area #oopsies) and when we get there, she pulls out her Book of Mormon (what) and has all these questions about God and prophets and life after death and tells us about how she wants to find truth out for herself and wants to do what God wants her to do and we invite her to be baptized and she is open to it and it was just miracles all over the place. We stopped by a members’ house and they invited us for dinner and let me just tell you that was an experience #freezedriedeverything. Then we went and tried to contact a potential investigator in this super sketchy apartment complex and I think I scared Sister Melton to death #welcometothemission. She’s a trooper.

Day #2 wasn’t quite as gold. We had a struggle bus Weekly Planning session because we know like one person in our area and then we helped Peggy and Bobby with the Memory Lake elders hang up some Christmas lights and Bobby almost staple gunned our fingers to his house. Sketch. Then we had a referral to try but it ended up not being an investigator and instead it was actually was the first councilor in the bishopric, so that was awkward. We had a lesson with this new member who told us she served her mission to the Interior Lamanites and she has this greasy rat dog that watches tv and eats toast with her that was crawling all over the place and then there was this hungry dog in the backyard throwing itself against the door trying to get in and eat us. Love mission life. Then we tracted this street and the wind and snow was blowing all over the place. No one had signed up for dinner (PSA: the missionaries don’t care if you just feed them grilled cheese, they just like being fed #feedyourlocalmissionaries2k17) so we went to Wendy’s for some 4 for $7 (#alaska) and then Sister Melton had lost her allotment card so we went back to our apartment looking for it and in the process of our searching, our phone broke. Literally broke in half. The old Wasilla elders had given us this trash phone where the screen wasn’t totally attached to the keyboard because some screws were missing and so the next hour was this hot mess process of trying to find some elders that could get us a working phone and looking for Sister Melton’s allotment card. There have definitely been brighter days.
This email is getting ridiculously long so: we had Saturday morning crepes with the Young Women’s President, did some service with the elders at this Family Carnival Day that no one showed up to, tried to set up an appointment with an investigator and a recent convert showed up instead (#awk), survived church and met a few more people, tracted in the snow and dark, felt prompted to stop by a potential’s apartment complex but it was locked and we couldn’t get in and then #faith and someone let us in and we met this cute lady and talked to her for two hours about the Restoration and she was so excited and told us about the “warm fuzzies” of the Spirit. I love being a missionary.

XOXO Sister Dunlop 

Wasilla 10/30/17

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Hi friends. 
Long story short: we went to the temple last week so we didn’t get to email and I’m pinkwash (where they take the elders out and put sisters in) training a new missionary in the Wasilla Ward starting Wednesday. Life is insane. But good.

XOXO Sister Dunlop

God is great, Cafe Rio is good, and Alaskans are crazy || Wasilla, AK

Monday, October 16, 2017

Hey friends hey. It was a good week. Like a really good and amazing week as I look back on it. I know I say this all the time, but seriously I adore being a missionary. Every time Monday rolls around and I get to share with y’all some of the lessons I’ve learned this week and the miracles we’ve seen, I’m just at a loss for how great Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, are. They are so amazing and I feel so lucky to be a teeny tiny part of His whole big plan. My heart is so full💕
For some reason this is a long one, sorry. 

Using my magic Sister Dunlop powers, I convinced some of the elders to come and hike the Palmer Butte with us last PDay and it was freaking amazing up there. I love Alaska. Throwback to when Sister Christian, Sister Mataele, and I climbed the Butte last December in -20 and froze our little toesies off [almost]. I love outside and am super enjoying the fact that I don’t have to bulk up in a parka & snow boots and cover my mouth with a scarf before I go out the door everyday...yet.
It’s coming though. 


On Tuesday morning our district went and helped one of our former investigators move. Didn’t know that going on a mission included being part of a moving company, but I guess it does. When we got to the new apartment and started unloading the truck, one of the elders was being a baby so I had to carry his share of couches and tables up the stairs #godunlop. There were all these skinny doorways and steep staircases that we had to squeeze all the stuff through so I think I got my workouts in for the rest of my mission just with this one moving day. I was sitting in one of these big fluffy chairs in the moving truck and all of a sudden the elders picked me up in it and carried me out. It was terrifying because one elder was really tall and the other was really short and I was just set up to fall out and die. Made it back onto Earth safely. 

AWESOME MIRACLE #274 of this week: there’s this family, the Channers, that we’ve been working on getting back to church for the past little while but their lives are so busy and all over the place that it’s tricky for them to make it. Their oldest daughter hasn’t been baptized yet and so we’ve been working on that too but there’s a couple of things that need to be ironed out in their fambam before that can happen, so we’ve just been working on loving them and helping them have a DESIRE to come back to church. Everything starts with desire. One day we stopped by and caught them at home and planned a night that we could come back and have dinner with them #superblessed. Tuesday night we go over and Sister Channer’s dad had made us LEGIT chimichangas (@mamalaura they were so freaking good, cilantro in them and everything). Then we played games for a little while with the girls until Brother Channer came home from work. It was kinda awkward at first because we couldn’t tell if he wanted us to be there or not, but he started playing the game with us and all was well. Eventually we had to leave before our car turned into a pumpkin and this is where things became really amazing. Brother Channer gathered us all together and we knelt to pray. The Spirit was there as he prayed over each of his three little girls and asked Heavenly Father to help them be strong and courageous. My heart. I absolutely love the Channers. Hopefully things start piecing themselves together so we can help them get back to church and be sealed as a forever family someday. 

This weekend was just jam packed with spiritual awesomeness. I feel like the Spirit has just had me on this buzzing high for like four days-it’s amazing. We had interviews with President Toone on Thursday night and I know I rave about him all the time but seriously, I adore him and am so grateful for his love and council. AAM is the luckiest. We had Wasilla Zone Conference on Friday and it started out with all these spiritual pep talk trainings from the APs, Zone Leaders, and President Toone (always a fan) and then tender mercy of my life is that the Relief Society Presidency in the Big Lake Ward [#shoutouttoauntruthanne] made us CAFE RIO for lunch🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼. I haven’t had that cilantro ranch in like fourteen months and dang, it was good stuff. After lunch it was time for the Talent Show. We planned out district talent and skit the day before and never even practiced our companionship one. Luckily, nothing was too big of a hot mess. At least I don’t think so. Sister Toone has videos of our talents so I will have to snag those from her, but it was pretty awesome. For our companionship talent, Sister Yeates and I did that thing where one person is the face and the other person is their arms (hopefully you know what I’m talking about), but we did a makeup tutorial which resulted in eyeliner across my forehead, mascara in my hair, and lipstick down my nose. Super pretty. For our district skit we did a “mock district meeting” and was just making fun of all the dumb things that missionaries [sometimes] do. Then (this is the best part) we did a dance to this remixed Primary song and taped glow sticks all over our bodies so we looked like those glow stick people. It was pretty freaking awesome. Just the fact that I got the elders to learn and perform a dance was a big fat miracle. President Toone said it was his favorite talent he’s seen so far in the mission #duh. I’ll try and get video proof for you for next week...

Saturday morning was frosty and cold but we went out to district tract in Wasilla’s area before having lunch at Burger Jim’s for Elder Masters’ birthday. After that, we were driving along and passed Peggy’s (our former investigator who we helped rake her yard last week a ton) house and I felt prompted we needed to turn around and go invite her to Stake Conference this weekend. So we flip around and pull in her driveway but realize she’s not home and I’m like dang it, I swear we needed to come here and talk to Peggy! And then [as He always does], God provides. Peggy pulls in right behind us. Booyah! We invite her to the conference and she said she would try and make it! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaas. Love life. 

There’s a couple of people in Memory Lake that absolutely no one knows anything about and one of those is Brother Pack. Sister Yeates and I had stopped by his house late Friday night but his house was pitch black inside so we decided we would come back another time-probably in the daylight-and try and contact him. Saturday afternoon, after seeing Peggy, we were in the neighborhood again and figured “why not” so we stopped by. He let us right in #missionarymiracle. Brother Pack is an older man and he and his girlfriend were sitting at the kitchen table when he invited us in. They gave us chocolate chip cookies and OJ (with pulp, which I don’t think I’ve had for like a year #bless) and then Brother Pack jumped right into “Deep Doctrine” questions about exaltation and the Spirit World. It took us kind of by surprise but luckily we were able to answer his questions and ended up sharing the Plan of Salvation with them. We found out that his girlfriend isn’t a member of the Church [yet] but that her parents had both recently passed away (also not members) and she had heard from Brother Pack about eternal families and temple sealings wanted to know more. She even told us, “it’s so interesting that you two stopped by because Lloyd (Brother Pack) and I were talking about Mormon temples not even an hour ago,”...lolzies it’s like the Church is true and this is the Lord’s work or something. Then she started asking about our missions and I got all weepy when I was able to share with her just a fragment of all that I’ve learned so far and how I’ve come to know Christ in a way that I would’ve never been able to know Him without serving a mission and how I’ve seen His hand in my life each day and all these amazing miracles. Missionary work is God’s way of sharing His love with His children. We shared when video of President Monson announcing the age change of missionaries from General Conference a few years ago, and the Spirit was so strong. We said a prayer with them and then had to bounce for our dinner appointment before Stake Conference but they said we could come back anytime so that’s a good sign. 

Wasilla Stake Conference was awesome. And want to know what made it even awesomER?! Sister Yeates and I were sitting in the front row of the gym (on the cold & hard chairs because apparently you have to show up 45 minutes early in Wasilla, not 30, to get a cushion pew) with Brother Lonnie Evans and in walks Miss Peggy. There’s this feeling you get as a missionary when an investigator comes to church that is one of the best feelings ever. She sits right next to us and eats the whole Conference up. Afterwords, a bunch of members that knew her came up to her and loved her and I just about melted inside. Go Church. PEGGY LET US TEACH YOU!

During Stake Conference on Sunday morning, President Toone was up at the pulpit speaking and being passionate about the gospel and inspiring the members to be better at missionary work and just doing his President Toone thing and then he asks for all the full time missionaries to stand up. Up pops Elder Kaibetoney, Elder Brown, Elder McGee, Elder Litchford, Elder Masters, Elder Stewart, Elder Hawkins, Elder Tauvalau, Elder Bauers, Elder Pullan, Elder Wright, Elder Pierce, Sister Yeates, and I. And I totally start crying. This is my team, my family. I love these people. We’re just a bunch of twenty year old trying to save souls and spread joy. When you think about it, it’s a pretty big and crazy job. But it’s God’s work, so even in our hands it’s all going to work out. And we have this amazing mission president who believes in us and he’s standing up there telling the members of the Wasilla Stake that we are here to help them share the love they feel with those around them and help them bring the truths of the gospel that they hold so dearly to their friends and family and coworkers and neighbors. It’s amazing, really. And I feel too lucky to put into words that I get to play a little part in it all. God is good. 

Awkward Sister Dunlop story for your week: Sister Yeates and I accidentally chaperoned a single adult lunch for two. Yikes. Before Stake Conference started, we ran into Sister Larger in the hallway. She’s the single adult rep in Memory Lake and is the sweetest lady ever. She said that after the meeting she was having a lunch at her house that a ton of the single adults in Wasilla were coming too and so she invited us over to have lunch and meet them. Missionaries love free food, so of course we were there. We drive out to her house after and see that no one’s there yet and don’t want to be awkwardly early, so we wait a few minutes and still no one has shown up. Eventually we just go inside and hang out with her and her two middle school boys for like fifteen minutes before this one random dude shows up. That’s it. It’s so awkward. But the food was good. The guy keeps hitting on Sister Larger and her boys are sitting right there and Sister Yeates and I are just at such a hard core loss as to know what to do so we finally escape our way out of there as soon as the guy starts showing off magic tricks. Oh man. Almost as awesome as Sister Fa’anunu and I crashing those weddings in Fairbanks. Almost. 

One more thing: we almost got charged by a moose while we were tracting this week, we came around a corner and it was this big mama moose with her ears back and the hair up on her neck and Sister Yeates pulled out her tablet to take a picture and I was like nope and had to drag her away from the moose as we power walked backwards to the car. Tourists. 

If you ever think you don’t make a difference, THINK AGAIN. God puts each of us in the right place and at the right time to inspire, lift, build, and love others. I know without a shadow of a doubt that Heavenly Father will NEVER EVER ask us to do something we can’t handle, He will ALWAYS provide a way for us to do what He asks. And often times, it requires a big huge leap of faith for those things to be accomplished, but that part of learning and growing into all that He knows we can become. 
1 Nephi 3:7. There’s blessons all over the place. God doesn’t “half-bake” in the miracle department. Ever. Things always work out better when you trust God, I can for sure promise you that much. 

XOXO Sister Dunlop

Wasilla, AK: Why do people rake leaves?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Hey awesome people. I saw a full moon for the first time in seriously forever and a day last Monday night, it was amazing. I haven’t seen the moon all summer #AKproblems. We were out looking for a part member family and we saw the moon peek over Pioneer Peak and I almost died it was so pretty. I pulled over and made Sister Yeates enjoy it with me for a hot sec, I’m pretty sure she thinks I’m insane but I love that girl so it all works out. It’s starting to get dark earlier up here and last I heard, we’re losing about six minutes of daylight every day up here from now until December. That means in a week, we will have almost an hour less of daylight than we do right now (*Kim K. cries). Winter is coming.

This week was a little all over the place. I feel like my time in Wasilla in general has been a little all over the place (my whole mission has been all over the place tbh) with some random service projects here and there and a lot of door knocking. And some sickness. Good times. I could finally breathe out my nose on Wednesday morning so that was a big fat blessing. Being sick is terrible #whatdoesntkillyoumakesyoustronger.

In anticipation for the oncoming snow, Mother Earth has just been dumping rain on Alaska this week. I would choose snow over rain any day, so that’s been kinda a bummer. Bobby D. (the retired bull rider with a “tumbleweed heart”) and his neighbor Peggy (a former investigator who has the kindest old lady heart) had us come and help them with their yard this week a couple of times. The first time it was just Sister Yeates+me and the weather wasn’t that bad. Then Bobby requested that the elders come with us next time #hepicksfavorites so we plan to come back on Thursday and of course...it’s totally pouring rain. Trying to be good missionaries, we show up despite the puddles everywhere and Peggy is like, “actually they’re forecasting rain for most of the day today so I don’t think I’ll be out there helping you, but the rakes are sitting around the back and all these leaves need to get raked up before it snows...” and then she closes the door and goes back in her warm and cozy house. K. Needless to say, it was some good district bonding. Peggy brought us cream soda and smoked salmon once we finished both of their yards #goteam. Maybe I’m just dumb but honestly...what’s the point in raking the leaves off your lawn if they’re just going to be covered with white snow in a few weeks? I don't get it. Raking is a good arm work out though if you do it long enough, so I guess I can see the perk of it there. It’s some good cross training prep for snow shoveling too.

We went through a copy of the Memory Lake Ward roster this week trying to find more people to teach and seriously I have no idea how Memory Lake is considered a “ward”, it’s really more like a branch. There are about 120 members on the roster and we found that more than 40 of them have moved and about another 20 are “do not contact” people. The rest of them are either active or “not interested”. Good stuff.

Saturday was the most perfect Alaskan October morning in the history of ever. After studies, I dragged Sister Yeates out of our apartment and made her go on a walk with me. I thought that because it was a beautiful Saturday morning people would be out and about but nope, they were all still snoozin. We talked to some little kid sitting on a swing set though so I guess that’s good. It’s been raining since then and in all honesty, that’s probably the last little bit of sunshine Wasilla is going to see for a few months. Killer. 

Last night, we were at the White’s house for dinner and FHE with them and the Dory’s and Sister Yeates has been really excited to share this object lesson that the elders in Juneau taught her about Helaman 5:12 and building a strong foundation on Jesus Christ so that when life gets rough and bumpy, things don't get too all over the place. She put a Book of Mormon on the coffee table and set her fingers on top of it. In her other hand, she had this can of green beans that she was going to smash her fingers with. She explained how because her fingers were on the Book of Mormon, “on a strong foundation”, that it wouldn’t hurt when she smashed them. Pause: before we went to their house, I made her practice a few times because I was worried that it was going to be an epic fail. But she managed to do it, so I had full (kinda) faith in her performance at FHE. Resume story. So she smashes her fingers and everyone is freaking out because they thought the can was going to explode or that she was going to dent the coffee table or something (I was scared about that too tbh but Sister Yeates has big faith) and then when she lifts up the can, there’s the imprint of her fingers in it. She was fine! It was amazing haha. Then one of the White’s sons wanted to try it too and it worked again (bless). The whole thing is that when you set your foundation on Christ, everything ends up okay because you have a firm foundation. Christ will never let you fall. He is always there cheering you on because He loves you. Build your foundation on Him and even a can of green beans can’t knock you down.

This upcoming week: President Toone is spicing things up with Zone Conference this transfer and we are having a talent show at the end of our meeting [and we get to show up in service clothes (aka sweats...bless) for the whole thing #notmad]. Each companionship and district has to perform a talent for the zone and we have no idea what we are going to do for our district talent so if anyone has a brilliant idea (or at this point, really any idea will work), let me know asap because #strugglebus. We are having Wasilla Stake Conference this weekend and the rumor is that things are going to get mixed up; either a new bishop in Memory Lake, a new Stake President, or new ward boundaries. Or maybe all of the above. Or none. Idk. Stay tuned. 

I love being a missionary. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ it’s message of hope and of God’s love and being able to share it with the people of Alaska.
Remember who you are. Trust God and the rest will fall into place.
Have a super sparkly day.

Love, Sister Dunlop

Wasilla 10/2/17

Monday, October 2, 2017

Hey friends.
I’m currently drinking hot apple cider and watching the last few autumn leaves on the trees outside our front window get blown away so if that’s not prep for the arrival of Old Man Winter, than idk what is. It’s going to be a cold one. I had to break out my hand warmers the other day because I couldn’t get warm to save my life #whatsnewdunlop. Things are good up here. I’ve been really sick the past week so that’s been fun and exciting. Not really. I hate being sick. Luckily, the Evans (a recent convert couple in our ward who are the bomb.com) have been taking good care of me with all these herbal potion something somethings and amazing pb cookies-which is just about all I’ve been eating for the past four days #noshame. And Sister Yeates is a trooper, so that’s been a huge blessing too. I don’t have a ton to tell y’all about because I’ve been down and dead most of the week, so this won’t be too long.
We tracted into this Russian mom and her daughter and they let us in (bless). We shared the message of the Restoration with them and everything was going awesome until we got to Joseph Smith. You guys, of course God would call prophets. We are His children and He loves us, He wouldn’t leave us in the dark without direction. Especially in the world today when there’s differing opinions and ideas all over the place. Shoutout to General Conference this weekend, good stuff. But yeah, prophets. What a blessing! We invited Braden (our 11 year old investigators whose mom and older sisters are recent converts) to be baptized at the end of October and he was really excited until we realized he was going to be out of state then. Awko taco. His mom told us they would look at the calendar and pick a day then let us know when works best for them. Stay tuned. That’s about all I’ve got, sorry kiddos. Happy October!

XOXO Sister Dunlop
 

Wasilla 9/25/17

Monday, September 25, 2017

Hello dearest people! Idk about you but, this week was insane.

Transfers.
On Monday, we threw Elder Rider and Elder Morley's funeral because they went home on Wednesday #rip and then Sister Pike and I drove down to Anchorage that night and stayed with Sister Johnson and Sister Willden in Jewel Lake. We all got up super early to take Sister Pike to the airport but after many failed attempts at the little computer self check in stand and needing to talk to an actual human at the desk for help (#adultingishard), we found out that Sister Pike's flight to Juneau was booked for Wednesday morning, not Tuesday. Joy. Thanks APs. Then Sister Pike and I were stuck in Anchorage for an extra day and Sister Willden got really sick and slept for almost ten hours. I played Nurse Dunlop for the day while Sister Pike and Sister Johnson went out and taught people. Let's just say, I read a lot of General Conference talks in ten hours #godunlop. Then (tender mercy of this transfer hot mess) the Oceanview sisters called and said they were going over to see the Heckels and invited us to come. I freaking ADORE the Heckels and it was so fun to see them and be with their cute family. We bounced over to the Oceanview sisters' apartment for a sleepover because we were scared of catching whatever Sister Willden had, the poor little kiddo. We got up super early (again) and took Sister Pike to the airport so she could for realzies go to Juneau this time. Then the Oceanview sisters dropped me off at the Jewel Lake apartment and I was with Sister Johnson and Sister Willden for the rest of the day. Sister Willden had come back to life and so we went out and did missionary work on Wednesday #yayayay! We went to the Anchorage Library and helped set up for this naturalization event where a bunch of people were becoming American citizens that day, it was pretty cool. And they had America cake, also a bonus. We were supposed to pick up my new companion, Sister Yeates, from the airport at 3pm and it gets to be 3:30pm and we still haven't seen her. We call the APs and figure out that her flight was delayed an hour so (another tender mercy of this transfer hot mess) we went to the Mission Office and got to see Sister Martinez and Sister Clawson before they drove back down to Soldotna. I love those girls. Then we go back to the airport-my fourth time in 24 hours-and Sister Yeates finally comes walking out to the curb #praises #canigobacktowasillanow. We took Sister Willden and Sister Johnson back to Jewel Lake, gave them hugs and mad shoutouts for being the best hosters ever, and finally headed home.

Wasilla.
I was a little worried about the drive all the way back to Wasilla because it's awkward to pick some random person up from the airport that you've never met before and then drive with them for two hours. Mission life is weird like that. I just figured Sister Yeates would be exhausted and fall asleep before we even got out of Anchorage. Nope. She talked the whole way home. Literally. She's been out for four months and I found out that she's actually from Ohio, not Idaho. Oops. We finally get to Wasilla around 7pm (we were supposed to be here at 4pm yesterday #lolzies) and our dinner was homies and packed it for us to go so we ran by the Hartvigson's, ran by our apartment because I was going to pee my pants, and then ran to the church to meet with Bishop Bowen. After that we came home and crashed. Nothing will make your semi-awesome missionary apartment mattress feel so amazing as two nights on a deflating air mattress #blessingsonblessings. Thursday morning we wake up ready to rock and roll. We went and saw Bobby D. (the blind tumbleweed bull rider), the Evans (my fav...shhh don’t tell), Sister Groff (still living in her sketchy shack but we just love her anyways), and had pizza at our Ward Mission Leader's house. On Friday we planned for the upcoming week and I think it exploded Sister Yeates' brain a little bit, she's a trooper though. She's this little greenie full of faith, I love it. We were setting goals for the transfer and I asked her what she wanted to accomplish this transfer and she was like, "make the elders look like they're the joke” haha okie dokie then. Side note: I'm the oldest missionary in our district. And just under the zone leaders, I'm the oldest in the Wasilla Zone #grandmadunlop. What the heck. Later that day we made invitations/reminders for General Women's Conference and went out delivering them to people and did some door knocking in the pouring rain #woooooo. On Saturday morning, our ward had planned a community service project out at the Birch Tree school but when we pulled into the parking lot, it was just us and Bishop Bowen. OKAY MEMORY LAKE THIS IS A TEAM EFFORT KIDS. So we said a prayer that more people would show up because there was a ton of work to do and literally within five minutes of saying "amen", loads of people starting showing up. Heavenly Father answers prayers you guys. We had to shovel a bunch of piles of gravel and spread them around the playground while we prepped it for snow. We shoveled for like three hours and then we started weeding the front gardens. Luckily, Sister Bowen brought everyone Donut King donuts or I would've quit hours ago. JK. We came home and put skirts on then headed to the Stake Center to watch the broadcast of General Women's Conference. Can I just tell you that Sister Eubank is like the coolest person ever?! Such a freaking fan. I love her. Go listen to her talk asap. We had soup with all of the women there after the meeting and then went and had a lesson with a returning less active and talked about Family History. Sunday was good. Your first Sunday in a new area is always overwhelming, but Sister Yeates handled it like a champ. I tried to make banana bread after church but we only had like half of the ingredients the recipe called for so I tried to be creative but it was an epic fail. Luckily, the Evans texted us right after I pulled the nasty bread mess out of the oven and invited us over for cranberry pineapple upside down cake and to have a lesson #Godlovesus. Then we had a Ward Missionary correlation meeting with Brother McQueen and the Hensons (our only ward missionaries) and hopefully we are going to get some member missionary work fire going in the Memory Lake ward in the next few weeks so Sister Yeates and  can have some people to teach.

That's about all I've got for you.
Have a super sparkly week.

Love, Sister Dunlop

Weekly from Wasilla 9/18/17

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hello beautiful people who I love so dearly. Hope you know how much I adore and appreciate you guys, I seriously have the greatest support crew in the whole world #beyondblessed. Today is insane because long story short, I have to drive Sister Pike down to Anchorage tonight and we are staying the night there and then I'm dropping her off early early early Tuesday morning at the airport to fly to Juneau and then I am trioing it up with Sister Johnson and her trainee, Sister Willden, in Jewel Lake for the day and then will pick up my new companion, Sister Yeates, from Juneau later that evening and then she and I will drive up to Wasilla that night and go to work! I guess that totally gave away transfer calls...oopsies. The Alaska Anchorage mission takes pride in it's transfer logistics of pure insanity I guess.

This week we had to take our Jeep (yeah, I'm still driving the mom car Jeep of the AAM #godunlop) (her name is Whitney) in to get an oil change and some repairs so we had to call the Colony sisters and let us ride around in their back seat with them for the day. Bless. I love those girls. We went tracting and found this awesome Christian family and the mom is the director of a hip hop dance crew and they're the sweetest people. Hopefully Colony can start teaching them! Then we went and helped one of their investigators with some yard work (in our skirts #classysisters) in the pouring rain so we got super muddy but luckily our Jeep was eventually done so we could drive back to Wasilla and change before dinner.

We had to be in Anchorage at 8am on Wednesday morning for that big six zone conference thing with Elder and Sister Foster that I told y’all about last week. We had to get up so freaking early and meet our zone at the Stake Center to caravan down there. There were SO many missionaries at that meeting in Anchorage. I mean like not really because our mission is only like 180 missionaries anyways and that’s not even that big and not even all of them were there but it's just been a hot sec since I've seen more that fourteen missionaries I guess. The meeting was really good #duh. Remember how I said that President Toone told us how he volunteered our mission to be a test mission for some of these new and big things coming to missionary work in the next six months? Yeah, well we are already starting it. That’s how much faith President Toone has in us. He tells us three weeks ago that something huge is coming in six months and three weeks later he has us doing it. We don't know all the details of it yet but he called it "online proselyting" and how it has to do with Facebook. Idk stay tuned because it should be really freaking amazing and awesome. After the meeting, they ordered pizza because everyone was hungry after sitting and listening forever (it was good, but sometimes missionary
meetings are hecka long) but then the AAM doctor pulled the Wasilla and Soldotna zones aside and made all of us go and get flu shots because we live so far out that this was going to be the only time for us to get them. So we wait a hundred and a half billion years in this Disneyland long line doing paper work and all this to get a shot (the guy doing the shots was a member from the Mt. Baldy Ward so that was awkward/funny/bonding) and then...they're out of pizza and all the other missionaries had left. What. Doesn't everyone know that like half the reason why these giant missionary meetings are so awesome is because you get to see your mission homies?! Dang it. But they ordered another few pizzas for us that we inhaled before getting back on the road and driving a thousand miles back to Wasilla. I made Sister Pike stop at the Yogurt Lounge (Sister McGee's and my guilty pleasure back in my Oceanview training days 1+ year ago) for some pistachio froyo #sorrynotsorry.

Zone leaders sent out a text Thursday morning calling for "dope Zone lunch" at noon so we got our favorite sandwiches from Freddie's and then headed over to the Wasilla Stake Center. The thing about being the only sisters in the zone is that whenever we get together as a zone, we just feel surrounded by a freshman football team. Y'all a bunch of crazies. Then they wanted to try that Human Knot thing and it took them forever and a day to figure it out and eventually Sister Pike and I had to coach the poor kiddos. We went and visited the Evans, a recent convert couple, who have the kindest hearts in the whole world. They made us these necklaces with healing stones (like jade and hematite) in them and are making us these raw diamond stud earrings #bigfan. Then we went and visited Bobby (a returning less active blind and deaf bull rider old man with a "tumbleweed heart”) and are helping him prepare to go to the temple so we are working on helping him do some family history work but he just chats our ears off so our efforts usually just end up in up sneaking in a little gospel here and there. Killer.

On Friday, the Willow elders called and asked us to come and help them with some service at this lady's house. I thought that nothing could ever top some of those things we did up in Fairbanks, but this one ranks pretty high up there. It was bad. This lady and her husband and their two year old daughter literally live in a dump. It's so gross but they don't even seem to care that much. The whole things reeks like soggy wet garbage that's been sitting there for a few years just waiting for the zombie apocalypse to happen some time soon. Like burning plastic and molding Big Macs and old gasoline and just garbage. Garbage. Don't stand downwind or you'll hate you life #wateringeyes. There's more than twenty one (yes, I counted) old cars just sitting around their lot also waiting for the zombie apocalypse apparently. They live in a little tin trailer surrounded by piles of random stuff. I don't understand hoarding but I've met a billion and a half hoarders in Alaska. So for "service" they had us move some of the piles from one end of the lot and put them over in another pile of stuff. The stuff we carried was dripping all over the place as we walked back and forth. So. Nast. We were there for almost three hours and we just shuffled piles of trash around. Probs never going back there again. They need some serious help. Or like a dump truck. Or to move. I would move.

Transfer calls. Sisters usually get them Thursday night but President Toone was busy hosting Elder and Sister Foster this week so he called us on Friday night #thesuspensewaskiller. But like I said, Sister Pike is heading down to Juneau and Sister Yeates is coming up here (from Juneau lolzies) to serve in Memory Lake with me. I'm really excited to serve with her. She's from Idaho and is a new missionary and so that will be super fun. The curse of transfers is as soon as you hang up with President from calls, everything becomes a hot mess mad dash; packing, getting the apartment ready, saying goodbye to people, re-scheduling lessons and appointments, planning the week, cleaning out records, and all that stuff. But somehow it just all falls together #churchistrue. Also, it's insane that I only have three more transfers after this. Being a missionary just feels like normal and ordinary life now. It feels like this is what I'll be doing for the rest of my life, just cruising through Alaska knocking on random people's doors to tell them about how awesome Jesus Christ is and then
having a blind dinner dates every night and just being cold all the time; it's freaking fab. I love being a missionary!

A treasure trove moment of my mission: being able to go down to the Anchorage temple with Sister Fa'anunu and be there for the Luke family's sealing. Sister Fa'anunu and I taught Aaliyah back in February and then they invited us to come to their sealing on Saturday. I absolutely love the Luke family. It was so special you guys. I feel like I can't even adequately describe it. But it was such a blessing and tender mercy to be able to be there and feel of Heavenly Father's love and the Spirit there in that little Anchorage Alaska temple sealing room. Just being able to sit in that room…that is what the gospel is all about. It's about joy. This life is about so much more than just these little day to day things that we get ourselves all tangled up in sometimes. I'm so grateful for eternal families and for the gospel that allows us to grow and progress and learn and love together. God is so good.

Alaska moment for you: we pulled into Bishop Bowen's driveway for dinner on Sunday night and they were like, "hey sisters, look what’s in the garbage back in the back of our truck," da da da okie dokie maybe it's candy or something...IT WAS A GIANT BLOODY MOOSE HEAD! Sister Pike almost threw up haha. It stankkk. Remember how Elder Oaks talked about his cousin having the "road kill coordinator" calling in her ward up in Alaska at my farewell? That's still a legit calling in the Church up here. Parks and Rec has this list you can sign up on where if a moose or bear or some other game gets hit by a car and they have to let it go, they will call you and you have like twelve hours to come and pick it up #freedinner #normalalaskathings #skinninganimalsonthesideofthefreeway. So yep, there's a picture of me with a nasty moose head to finish out this weekly-you're welcome.

Actively be yourself. Lift where you stand. Spread love. Be sparkly, be grand. Kick butt and take names. Smile. Remember whose you are. You can do hard things. You're loved.

XOXO Sister Dunlop

Wasilla 9/11/17

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

This last week: It was Elder McGee's birthday last Monday and so our whole zone went out to lunch at the Trout House and Sister Pike and I (the STRAIGHT UP MOMS of this zone full of elders) planned this whole elaborate birthday celebration. It was freaking sick. We love parties, but mostly planning them. We made him this for realz birthday cake-not like a box cake but like a legit cake cake #gosisters-topped with nineteen trick candles. Trick candles are fun for like five candles, not nineteen but we didn't really realize that until it was too late. Oops. We smoked up the whole restaurant but in all reality, this restaurant was like a bar with fourteen missionaries, a bunch of old local dudes, and some tourists inside. No biggie. Everyone even sang "happy birthday" with us. Alaska man, I love it. We also made Elder McGee this birthday book with a ton of notes in it from the missionaries who have served around him and it had all these photos and quotes and things. It was pretty freaking fantastic, just saying. He loved it. Then all the elders wanted to go and play volleyball at the park...why the heck would you play volleyball when these mountains are like a ten minute drive away?! IDK. Whatever. Sis. Pike and I just went and hiked in the mountains by ourselves haha.

There's this less active lady we go and visit every Tuesday afternoon who lives in this shack thing full of black mold and it's dark and humid in there and she has all these little birds in a cage that just tweet and chirp our entire lesson with her and imma freakin lose my mind #dunloplearnspatience. She has this dog tied up outside and every time we walk by, it's barking it's head off and I'm just waiting for the day that it breaks free and bites my leg off. Stay tuned, it’s terrifying.

Sister Oliver came on exchanges with me in Memory Lake and it was the first time I've driven since Fairbanks and we were just lost like all day. Alaskan road systems make literally zero sense making my Sister Dunlop life really freaking hard. It's fine. Sister Oliver is adorable. We went and tried to contact a few people then went and helped Bobby with his yard with Elder Morley and Elder Rider, good stuff then Bobby's neighbor, Peggy (a former), invited us over to her house for s'mores. She pulled these rock solid marshmallows out of the cupboard and started a fire in her fire pit full of garbage and had us roast these break your teeth marshmallows over it. For some weird reason, all our marshmallows caught on fire and fell in the fire...weird. The next morning, we got a frantic call from Sister Pike and Sister Jewel because we had a meeting for the sister missionaries serving in the Valley (Lazy Mtn., Colony, and Memory Lake) and it was Sister Anderson's birthday. The next hour and a half proceeded to be a hot mess scramble to pull a birthday together but like I said, love party planning, so it somehow all worked out. Cupcakes and party hats and everything. And twenty more trick candles. But this time, we were in the church building and as soon as she blew them all out, we realized how stupid we all were and opened all the windows and tried to fan all of the smoke away before the fire alarms went off. Sister Dunlop never learns.

Sister Pike and I were asked to teach the Young Women's class yesterday at church. There's only four young women in the Memory Lake Ward and they meet in this itty bitty corner classroom of the church building, way sad for those girls but they're the sweetest. We talked about words and how what we say has the power to either build others up or tear them down. We shared this really awesome video, I'll add it on here but words are so powerful. I think that sometimes we don’t really realize their impact but seriously, everything that comes out of your mouth makes a difference.

We magically convinced some of the elders to go up to Talkeetna with us for PDay today. It was sprinkling rain the whole time but I freaking love that little mountain hippie town. Their mayor is a cat. I'm serious. Google it. We didn't get to meet him though, he was probably busy with meetings or something today. That town is totally run by a cat. We ate good pizza at this little hut called Mountain High Pizza Pie (#tbtjhole) and then and played tourist at all the gift shops and walked down the train tracks to the river and took photos by the bridge. We were there when the train and the cruise ship busses dropped all the people off, and it was just like Jackson in July-people were swarming the little two street town. I love it.

Upcoming week: Remember how last week I raved about how President Toone just crazy believes in us and thinks we're amazing (and we are all still recovering from trizone where he challenged us to step it up)? Yeah okay well we are having this General Authority just like spontaneously come up to Alaska and so all the six zones-North & South Anchorage, Chugach, Palmer, Wasilla, and Soldotna-get to head down to Anchorage for an impulse conference with him and Fairbanks and Juneau will just Skype in. It's like when President Nelson came, except it’s not President Nelson and I actually get to be there in real life for it instead of just watching it on TV and missing the first hour of it because the connection isn't working. It's going to be awesome. TBH also way excited for it because I get to see a ton of my missionary people who I love with all my heart, not going to give any shoutouts though because it keeps them humble. They know who they are.

Transfer calls on Thursday night. Scary. But also not really because the Sisters in AAM are freaking dope and so I'm not too worried about it. In interviews a few weeks ago, President Toone dropped that Sister Pike and I are getting separated next transfer *tears. straight tears. I freaking love this chick. IDK why we got blessed enough for #roundtwo but I'm not mad. I'll probably be camping out in Memory Lake for another round but with the pattern that my mission has gone so far, I really have no idea and just don't even guess anymore #blessthismess. And the fact that I only have four transfers left is scary too. I probably will have one more area before going home but again, I really have no idea and just don't even guess anymore. Mission life is crazy, but I absolutely love it.
Anyways, hope life is happy and sparkly down there. Go be great.

XOXO Sister Dunlop


Whirlwinds

Monday, September 4, 2017

I first off need to start this weekly by attempting to briefly convey how simply fantastic and amazing President Toone is. I don't know what AAM did to be so blessed with such a loving and kind mission president, but we are seriously the luckiest mission in the world and I am forever grateful for him and his sweet wife. We had interviews with President Toone this week and I had just been feeling overwhelmed by the whirlwinds of being a missionary-investigators not keeping commitments or being too busy to meet with you, doors on doors on doors being shut in your face before you even have the chance to breathe just because you wear a little black badge, a ward of wonderful people who need a lot of love but feeling blank as to knowing what more you can do, being homesick for my people, not having a ward mission leader to help us homegirls out because we're feeling directionless and lost, the earth starting to turn brown and gray as the fresh snow settles in the mountain tops #freezin, families whose hurt would be healed by the gospel and through the Atonement because that solves everything but they're not willing to give it a chance, people thinking that missionaries are just a free labor moving company, and the weight of trying to be His heart and His ears and His eyes and His hands and be perfect at it and be a part of all these missionary miracles and just feeling really small. I went in and sat down with President Toone and he helped heal me. He pulled me right out of the whirlwind, planted my feet on the ground, and brought me back. Everything President Toone and I talked about and all that he said to me was exactly what I needed and my heart is so grateful for that. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows me and my AAM well enough to know that we needed President and Sister Toone with their love and zeal for the gospel of Jesus Christ. God is good. 
Here's how I am feeling...Mosiah 2:20-22
20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another--
21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another--I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.

Other exciting things that have been happening: OH. We had this less active member that neither Sister Pike or I had ever met before, show up to church last Sunday and was asking all these deep and not related to the lesson strange [sketch] questions in class and the teacher suggested that he meet with us sometime this week and we could answer his questions...great. Sis. Pike and I were a little freaked out by this guy so we had the Knik elders come with us to his lesson #safety. We get in there and he starts explaining to us how the government writes Latin code words in the sky and if you were to cut a table in half or a wall in half, the Latin would come out. Latin is everywhere. And then he told us how he has these five military soldiers that follow him around because his father discovered a dark secret about his family in the past and now the military is out to get him/watch him to make sure he doesn't spill it. Also, according to our dear friend, the military hides symbols in the palms of your hands and Latin letters that spell out your destiny. I was so lost. We mostly just sat there in silence trying to figure out what to say while he rambled. It was like we got thrown into Inception or the Da Vinci Code or National Treasure or something #whirlwind. I guess he moved back to Virginia or something that day because Bishop Bowen told us he's gone now...bye friend, good luck out there. 

Apparently dizziness is contagious. Earlier this week, Sister Pike had been feeling really dizzy and nauseous and then she started feeling better on Thursday and then I started feeling dizzy and nauseous for the rest of the weekend. It's really weird because it's not like dehydration or something like that, it's just like that feeling you get when you stand up too quickly and see stars everywhere. But like, constantly #whirlwinds. There's not really anything we can do about it so we're just surviving. We've just been waiting for either of us to pass out during a lesson or while tracting on someone's porch, it hasn't happened yet but I'll keep you updated if it does-should be exciting.

We were our district tracting in the Wasilla elders' area on Saturday and we were heading up to a door and this cute mom stuck her head out the window and was like, "hey! Are you the LDS missionaries?! I was just reading a blog from this mom on the east coast who was talking about how much she loves the LDS missionaries coming over," ...we were speechless. Then she told us about she's a blogger and was working on a post right now so she couldn't chat but told us we could come back (you're welcome Elders) and then she said, "if everyone was as serious as you guys are about your faith, going door to door, it would heal the world,". Amen. Amen. Amen. The gospel solves everything. In missionary work we talk a lot about "the one". The one family that opens their door to you while you're out tracting, the one investigator that comes to church on Sunday, the one lesson where your investigator (who really become some of your greatest and sweetest friends through this whole thing) commits to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized. At the end of the day, we do all of this for the one. 
Doctrine & Covenants 18:15-16
15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!
Serving a mission has been one of the hardest things I've ever done. But I've never felt so much joy or peace or gratitude as I have serving a mission. It's tough, but amazing. It's a whirlwind. And it's all worth it. Idk, I'm just feeling really blessed and grateful up here and have seen tender mercy in tender mercy on tender mercy happen around me. Life is so good and I love being one of His missionaries. 

XOXO 💕Sister Dunlop

Memory Lake, Wasilla, AK - 8/28/17

Monday, August 28, 2017

Hey friends! Sorry for being MIA last week, we got to go down to the temple and so it made our PDays all funky. Still not really sure why they do that, but it's okay because Wasilla to Anchorage is kinda a long haul (#tbttomissingmyflighttoFairbanks) anyways. Also, for those of you who know Anchorage, Sister Pike and I accidentally got lost on the back streets of Mountain View hahaha 

I don't really know where to start because a ton happens in the missionary world in two weeks, and let's be honest, these weekly email things are such a labor of love and take 5ever to write anyways. And y'all are probably just like me and only read them for the photos #guilty. Minus the fact that the Fireweeds are closing up and there’s already a dusty powder of snow on the mountain peaks, things are really good up here. We had an amazing trizone conference (#tbttowhenitrainedatonelastyear #daythreeofmymission #goreds) with the Palmer, Chugach, and Wasilla zones and President & Sister Toone this week that gave us a lot of things to grow with. President Toone came back from a mission president's conference and shared with us that Elder Oaks [#homie] has told them that "something big was on its way to missionary work". I AM SO EXCITED IDK WHAT IT IS BUT ITS PROBABLY REALLY DOPE SO I AM PUMPED FOR IT. And then President Toone being the fabulous mission president that he is, called Salt Lake and was like, "my AAM missionaries are ready for whatever this new thing is. We would love to be a test mission for it or whatever, we are ready, bring it on, let's go..." that dude has some serious faith in us, it's freaking awesome. And then Salt Lake was like, "well there’s ten things that your missionaries need to be doing first and then we can give t to you,". So now we have this list of ten things that we need to implement in our missionary work  to be ready for whatever this "something big" is. We have a lot of work to do and it's freaking awesome. President Toone (love him) also has this magic gift where he teaches so lovingly and amazing and you don’t even realize until after trizone that he was just hardcore calling all of us to step up our game and rise to our potential. It's freaking awesome but then we went home and just had a meltdown. But then we set a ton of breakthrough goals to help us be better. [From Laura: Slightly random thought process upcoming from Caitie..but if you know her well, you’ll understandBeing a missionary is a little like being Hannah Montana because right now it's concert time and so you have to be Hannah but in reality, you're Miley but you have to be Miley to be Hannah but you can't be like Miley right now because you’re Hannah. And you can't be just Miley because then everyone will know that Hannah is Miley and Hannah needs Miley to be Hannah but you’re Miley so you have to figure out how to be Hannah and Miley. You get the best of both worlds. Nobody’s perfect. We're pumping up the party now.

We are teaching this cute native couple, Mary and Barry, that live down the street from us. I know...Mary & Barry, too cute to be true, but it is #myheart. Barry came to church yesterday while Mary was out berry picking (Natives LIVE for berry season up here), so that was really awesome. We are hoping they continue to progress towards being baptized but there are a few holes we need to patch up first to help them. They're fabulous humans. We are teaching a boy named Braden, whose older sisters were baptized about a year ago. He doesn't feel quite ready to be baptized but we're working to help him feel more comfortable. His dad isn't a member of the Church yet either but is super kind and we would LOVE to teach him. We'll just keep praying and see what happens. Also, there's this less active family that we love and their dad works up in Barrow so Sister Pike and I haven't met him yet but they have a senior in high school, a freshman, and a little second grader (I think?) who really want to be baptized and so we are going to start teaching them the lessons. I'm so excited. We also got to go help a homegirl less active garden in her peony field in the sprinkling rain. Barefoot. I was so happy. We've also had a ton of opportunities to share and teach the Plan of Salvation, which I’m really grateful for because of how much the Plan testifies of God’s love for His children. I am so grateful to know that life is not over after death and that we can be with our families forever. I left my forever family for a little bit to go and help others have the opportunity to be with theirs forever too.

Last last week (not a typo) Bishop Bowen asked me to speak in sacrament. Usually missionaries get to just come up and share their testimonies and sit down but he had me like speak speak, gave me a conference talk to base it off and everything. And he did give me like a three day notice, so that was super kind. But still, Sister Pike and I are super busy and it was hard to find time to like sit down and write a talk. But I did it. And maybe I'll just save it for my homecoming [in a million and a half years] so I don't have to write another one. It was fun though. And it gave me an opportunity to announce to the whole world the right way to pronounce my name. I didn't think that would be such a big deal on my mission, but I can’t tell you the number of times I've been tempted to paint a white "e” on the end of my name tag. It's fine. Bishop asked me to base my thoughts off of Elder Holland's talk from last General Conference about “Songs Sung and Unsung". There's a part in there where he talks about how we all have an important part in the choir and how each of our roles is important and needed. If you're really super interested, Sister Pike recorded my talk and I could send it to you (I think...idk iPad technology is occasionally not my friend). But I could try #truelove.

Weird things I've eaten this week:
Shepherd's Pie (didn't even know what that was until my mission) made by a blind and deaf cowboy, rainbow fruit swirl ice cream from Little Miller's, we asked the YSA elders to bring us ice cream post trizone
meltdown and they brought these freezer burned vanilla ice cream with two nasty globs of slimy peanut butter in it, a giant piece of apple pie as big as my fat head (idk why people think that as soon as we finish dinner, we are ready for dessert. NO.), some kind of peanut butter caramel fudge truffle Blizzard thing from DQ, and I don't think any road kill or bear or something but honestly you never know with the Alaskans.

Oh yeah, and I've been a missionary for 376 days now. That's insane. Insane. It feels like it's been that long, but it also feels like my parents dropped me on the MTC curb this morning. But then I realize that I'm becoming one of the old sister missionary hags around here and I'm like, "oh, I guess that I have been out for a while and now there are all these little greenie elders overtaking AAM,". Time is so weird. My mission has been the greatest adventure and it has been such a blessing time and time again to know that this is exactly what Heavenly Father wants me to be doing with my life right now. I love being a missionary. I love Alaska and these people have such good hearts. The gospel of Jesus Christ resolves any problem, heals any hurt, and lifts every burden. What a blessing! The mantle of a missionary isn't always easy. It's heavy, but it's good because it helps me be stronger. It all works out. Trust in the process. Let go and let God. Someone told me yesterday, "we are all here to smooth out each other's life trails". Truth. We are here to help and love and lift and build each other up. We're all just walking each other home.
Go be great. Hugs and loves.
Sis. Dunlop

All the spiders in Alaska are like this...WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME?!



 
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