May 29, 2017

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Yep. Still in Fairbanks. It snowed this week. And hailed. Love life.
Also, so sorry that I have lost all my creativity in thinking of subject lines for my emails. I'm boring now #9months. And sorry that I never have good photos for you anymore. I'll try and be better.

We've been doing a hecka ton of tracting this week #faithtofind. Every time we knock doors, the people that actually talk to us/we get return appointments with end up being YSA so we have to pass them off to the elders and it's the worst. We've seriously passed like four referrals off to them! #weareallonthesameteam #butstill.

Our last zone conference with President & Sister Robinson was this week. And in all honesty, it was filled with a lot of bummers: President & Sister Robinson leave in a few weeks, we got TIWIs (they're these little computer things that monitor your driving and say things like, "check your speed", "check your seatbelt", and "aggressive driving" but they have a hard time with all the dirt roads and pot holes in Fairbanks so they just beep and yell at us all the time. They're super stellar and way awesome), and the Fairbanks+Juneau zones don't get to fly into Anchorage for the missionary conference with President Nelson in a few weeks so that's #lamesauce. We will just PVC into it. Woo. But other than that, ZC was good. We talked more about the Book of Mormon and being "all in". It's so easy to glide through your mission; a little here, a little there. But Heavenly Father wants us to be all in. "You only have eighteen months to be awesome". That goes for all you real lifers too. It's so easy to just slide through life and make it out okay. But God wants us to be great. He wants us to do great things and feel great joy. Be all in.

Another gross AK service experience for you: the 6th ward elders texted us and asked if we could come help them and some other missionaries build a fence for one of their members...sure what the heck. So they sent us the address and it's the same lady that we got to spend all day filling sand bags for a few weeks ago (can't remember if I told you that story or not, but she's a cray cray gypsy cowgirl chick). Killer. So we go over there and she asks us to straighten this sketch barbed-wire fence that's all over the place and so that was just a hot mess because in all honesty, no one knew what they were doing. But we did it. The fence looked straighter(ish). So that took like an hour. Then she moves us all up to the front yard to fix another fence and tighten up the wire there and then she thinks that because I'm a sister missionary I love animals like some Sleeping Beauty/Snow White Disney princess living in the woods kind of a thing and so she has me clean out this nasty, nasty abandoned chicken coop (it was just about as bad as the maggot dog food last week) #sos #momcomegetme #nothanks #isthisreallife. Then she starts ringing a cow bell and yelling at us to "come eat grub". I look at Elder Miller like dude, no freaking way #weareallinthistogether. We all endured and survived the mystery soup lunch before she sent us back out to work.
Side note: we all thought this was going to take like two hours max. No. We were there from 11am-6pm. Here comes the worst part. She puts the elders back to work on the fence and sends Sister Fa'anunu and me down to the garage with her son (also loco) to BRING THE CHICKENS BACK UP THE HILL AND INTO THEIR NEW AND IMPROVED HOME sponsored by Sis. Dun over here. I'm freaking out but am way too scared to tell this lady no. So we go down there and Josh (the kid) opens the garage and there's two giant boxes-like the big ones you see at Sam's Club or Costco that they put oranges or watermelons or whatever in, like the big giant huge ones-FULL of chickens. This is not real life. And these chickens aren't like cutie little Easter chicks. They're like legit chickens. I was dying. And when we opened the lid of the second box, these black turkeys flew out! NO THANK YOU. Then Josh left for a second and Sister Fa'anunu and I were freaking out trying to figure out how to get these birds up to the chicken coop without having to touch them. We found a big blue bin and started scooping the chicks in it. I am not touching these things. They want to kill me. Then Josh came back with Elder Miller and Elder Caldwell and they rescued us and started picking up the chickens and filling the bin. Basically, service as a missionary is always a good time. So while Josh+the Elders were running a blue bin of chickens back and forth from the chicken coop, Sister Fa'anunu and I cleaned out the chickens’ water thing. Then we had to load the gigantor empty Sam’s Club boxes into the back of the lady's truck to take to the dump and there was still chicken mess all in it. It took all the missionaries to load it. So nasty. Then we finally told her we had to go and so we bounced. I think I'm done doing service in 6th ward for a little while #maggots #poopscoop #fences #chickensthatwanttokillme. I'm sure there's a billion other details I am forgetting about this service learning experience but I'll just tell you all about it when I'm home.

Something Fairbanks, AK has definitely taught me: Heavenly Father has a much different timeline than our own. Be patient. It will all work out. He knows what He's doing. Trust Him.
Love your faces.
XOXO Sister Dunlop
Queen of Fairbanks

How Tuf are you? #xtratuf

Crazy AK hair, don't care

May 22, 2017

Monday, May 22, 2017

Hello. My name is Sister Caitie Dunlop and I've been in Fairbanks since the beginning of time (aka 2017). It's been a long time. And seriously, it's been a rough run. Really rough. But good too #learning #growing. And I'm still here. Why? In all honesty, I wouldn't even be a little surprised if President Robinson just forgot how long he’s left me up here. It's cool. Forever. Remember how when I landed here it was like -40 degrees and it hurt to breathe outside? Well, the other day it was 75 degrees and I thought I was going to die. Even got a little sunburn. Where am I? Oh, the top of the world. This place is insane. Anyways, I'm staying in Fairbanks at least until the beginning of July. Woo #fairbanksqueen #prayfordunlop. Also, don't remember if I told y'all or not, but "Leaf" happened last Saturday. Legit one of the craziest/coolest moments in ever. Fairbanks has been gray during Break Up (since April-ish) and we woke up Saturday and things were starting to blossom/grow/whatever and then as we went through the day, things were getting greener. And then we came back to Sophie’s - the sketch apartment complex we live in - and everything was GREEN. Like bright green green. So crazy. So pretty. Since then, things have just been getting greener. It's like a whole different world. Moral of the story: Leaf is real.

The Jepsen kiddos are doing awesome! School in Fairbanks finished up this week so now that it's summer up here, we can meet with them more and wrap up their lessons to prep them for baptism #tourguideBarbies. (PS now that it's summer out here, the world is so much happier! Also, everyone is home/outside so the chance of us knocking the doors of empty houses has significantly decreased #blessup). We talked to the Jepsen’s about possibly bumping the date of their baptism up into June because they only have a few lessons left. That would be awesome but their grandpa is flying up to come and baptize them, so we just have to wait and see about flight prices before solidifying a date. Sometimes I forget how far away from the rest of the world Alaska really is. Zach read 1 Nephi 3:7 to us the other day and it was one of the sweetest moments of my mission. Sydnie, Samantha, and Leah all had friends over when we taught about the Plan of Salvation a few days ago, and it was so fun to teach all of those little girls. Teaching kids about the gospel has been one of my favorite things on my mission. I love to watch the foundation of their testimony begin to solidify as they come to know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Seriously, so awesome.

We did one of the grossest services I've ever done in my entire life this week. It was SO bad you guys! Elder Miller+Caldwell (6th) asked some of our district to come out to their area with them (way the heck out there #AK) and help one of their members with their deck. We all thought we would be building a deck. Nope. Worse. After driving a million hours and a day, we get to this sketch, sketch, sketch half finished house on the side of a cliff. Killer. Then we see that there's this ghetto Mcghetto bridge of death from the driveway/dirt to the front door. PS it was like 15 ft. from the deck (on the ground) up to the door. As we walked closer, we saw that the deck had collapsed under the weight of the snow/mountains of stuff on top of it. And in all honesty, I wouldn't be surprised if it collapsed just because whoever build the sketch "bridge" to the front door had build the deck as well. You all should've just been there to witness this mess. This lady comes out and tells us how she wants us to clear everything off the deck so we can get under it and lift it back up to the door. Lol what the heck no dude. Literally she was planning to have all of us climb under the deck (even though it was pretty much entirely broken) and get under it to lift it up. No idea how she was planning to keep the deck there after we got out from under it, but whatevz. Some of the elders climbed down to the deck and started handing/throwing stuff up to Sis. Martinez and I and then we would hand it up to the other sisters on top of the cliff ledge. Sketch. It started out as old books, a glove, a light, etc. And then it became a giant box moldy cat litter that all fell out when I lifted it off the deck because the bottom of the box was soaking wet. At some point, my hand was cut and I was bleeding but our cars were forever away and no one just so happened to have bandaids with them (lol I’m the worst CNA). And then there was a huge bag of dog food that was too big to throw up to me, so I climbed down the deck to help Elder Caldwell push it up to everyone and it EXPLODED AND MAGGOTS CRAWLED OUT. I. WAS. DONE. Oh my gosh seriously so gross. Elder Caldwell and I thought we were going to die. It smelled so bad. So we tapped out for a hot sec and had to go breathe some real air. Then once we had all cleared the whole deck off and were figuring out how in the heck we were supposed to lift this huge [and so broken] thing, the lady told us she wanted us to come down and poop scoop. She has like a zillion dogs. It was mountains of poop people. So we poop scooped for like an hour and then finally Elder Miller told the crazy lady we had to bounce. I've never been so excited to leave somewhere in my life. All of us went running towards the cars, had a gratitude prayer that none of us died [or threw up] and that Dunlop survived with minor blood loss, and then headed back into Fairbanks. Praise.

I went on exchanges with Sister Neild in 2nd ward this week. Bless her soul she's a scary driver. But we survived #missionariesareprotected. We tracted lots and then had dinner with this cute family on Post where the dad was complaining that he keeps getting older but the missionaries are always like nineteen years old haha. That night, we went out for birthday ice cream at Hot Licks (the best ice cream EVER, even better than Moo's #sorrynotsorry) with one of 6th ward's recent converts, Britt and his "lady friend” Phyllis. They're like 70 years old and pretty much the missionaries’ grandparents up here. We adore them. Technically Britt lives in our area, but it's this whole mess about how Britt is moving back into 6th ward and just temporarily living in 5th la la la. We all know he’s going to end up staying in 5th ward because it's the best. Sorry Elders, sisters win. Britt was telling us that he thinks sister missionaries should be called "Elderess" instead of "Sister". Elderess Dunlop up here. Haha heck no that sounds like I'm from Zelda or something.

Sister Paula Hess has her baptismal interview tonight! We are really excited for her. She's been really, really sick and so we've been shuffling around her baptism date back and forth and right now it’s set for June 3rd. Hopefully all follows through for her! She's been investigating the Church since 2012 and so Sister Fa'anunu and I figure it's about time she gets baptized! Pray for Paula! We had a really awesome conversation with her [via text] the other day about the Holy Ghost's role as Comforter. I think that that has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. Whether it was before WY State Dance competitions, after rolling my car off a cliff, being dropped at the MTC curb, or whatever - I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father has given us the Holy Ghost to be our comforter when things get rough & tough.

What else this week? Hit my Hump Day. Passed my golden girl, Sherrie, off to Sister Martinez & Sister Neild via Chapel Tour #sadbutawesome.
Met this lady while tracting who talked to us for a hour on her porch [while we were getting eaten alive by mosquitos but trying not to make it too obvious we were getting all the blood sucked out of our veins] and ranted about her husband doing something or other; love my life. Tracted some more. And more. Found the best donuts in Fairbanks (they're at Lunch Cafe). And that's about it.
Love y'all. Sorry for the lame two pictures.
Go & be great!

XOXO Sis. Dunlop

Mother's Day Update

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Hi all, 
We didn’t get a weekly email from Caitie on Monday because we were able to face time her on Mother’s Day - happy day! We were in Rexburg for her cousins’ mission farewell (Eliza is going to Nicaragua, Laura is going to Peru) so she was able to chat with a lot of family and even say hi to her cousin, Michael, that is serving in Brazil. It was awesome. SO good to see her face and hear her voice. She is happy and healthy (ok, she’s tired, but happy!), funny, feisty as ever (especially about the Elders that have “her truck” and won’t give it back), she’s working hard, growing, learning, and nearly halfway through her mission. The news from Alaska is that she will stay in Fairbanks with Sister Fa’anunu for another six weeks. She was hoping for a change of scenery, but she’s feeling hopeful that with the change of seasons and everything finally turning green, she will find some new energy and ways to serve in Fairbanks a little longer. She loves the people in their ward (she called from a ward member’s house that is actually a high school friend of ours - small world!) and loves being a missionary. She has learned to love salmon and bought herself some Alaskan fishing boots - she is figuring Alaska out :) 

Thank you for all of your love and support for Caitie - she loves you all!


Monday, May 8, 2017

I'm working on becoming a better person- it's a long process but, from the moment they clicked my tag on me at the MTC, I knew that I wanted to return home in 18 months better than who I was. Probs not the first missionary to say that, but it’s true. Luckily, the gospel makes good people great. If I've learned anything so far, it's that my mission has been a giant Refiner's Fire. Super hard, but super awesome and I've heard that it's all worth it in the end. And I've got a lot of refining to do. Also, I feel like I've been skimping out on some stories for y'all. And I'm sorry. So here are some really long ones. Read them if you want. Other than that, I'm alive and Fairbanks is Fairbanks.
XO Sister Dunlop

Story #1: Hiking+Zombie Apocalypse Mosquitos
So I magically convinced/dragged the elders out to Angels Rock last Monday for PDay (after an hour long drive though The Middle of Nowhere, AK and on sketchy roads they haven't filled the potholes for yet...sorry) and our hike was SO FUN! I LOVE MOUNTAINS! The snow and ice still hadn't totally melted down in the trees so we were slipping and sliding all over the place until we finally got a little higher on the mountain. Then it was just muddy the rest of the way up. But anyways, we're hiking along and there are these gigantor mosquitos (like seriously, the baby ones are the size of a coin) buzzing around like helicopters trying to suck out all our blood and leave us out dry - they're preparatory for the Zombie Apocalypse, I swear to you. Random and not really related to this story (or anywhere else in this email): we've been seeing SEAGULLS around Fairbanks. What. The. Heck. They are so lost or something like literally I have no idea where they came from or what they're doing here. But whateverz. 
So anyway, good hike, bad mosquitoes.

Story #2: Hot Mess Tuesdays
Tuesday afternoon/evening was a hot mess. After district meeting, we go to paint nails at the senior center and I'm seriously the worst ever at it. I paint like everything but their nails. Luckily, a lot of them don't have microscopic eye sight so I don't really think they notice :) From there we went to go and see one of our favorite less actives, Sister Deitch (she's a little crazy but we love her), in the hospital because she has been there for the past few weeks with pneumonia and some other stuff. So we go over there and go up to her room and it's empty. Her bed is made, the curtains are closed, everything's clean in the room. Now, a patient-less and clean hospital room means one of two things: the person got better and is home now, or they died. She had told us they were going to keep her in the hospital at least for another month so we started freaking out because we thought she was gone. Literally. We try calling her, no answer. Freaked out and called the elders (Sister Deitch adores elders so she has met like all of the elders in our district) and they were zero help in our quest for Sister Deitch. We decided we needed a McDs ice cream cone to feel better (this homegirl member gave us McDs gift cards and so sometimes we treat ourselves to ice cream when we have breakdowns/our less active homies go missing). We're in the drive thru and our phone starts ringing...IT'S SISTER DEITCH! CHURCH IS TRUE! She was like, "I'm not in the hospital anymore. I was sick of that place so I took a cab and went home. I'm home now. Can you come and visit me?" she like straight escaped the hospital. Whatever, we were just grateful she's not dead.
Then we did other missionary stuff and had to go and pick up Sister Nield and Sister Martinez and take them to the airport to go down to Anchorage so we get there and remember that the back of our Jeep still has our snow tires in it (reason #3857128 I want my red truck back) and so there's no way for us to put the sisters or their luggage in the Jeep. So then I get blessed and have to drive the sisters' truck to the airport and then we remember that the YSA elders had signed us up to take high school girls in Mission Prep out on splits with us. But we don't have time to go back and get the Jeep so we go pick them up in the truck and then they have me take two girls and Sister Fa'anunu take two girls but there's not enough seats in the truck for all of us so we have to drive separate (we had separate lesson appointments to go to anyways) and Sister Fa'anunu kinda knows where things are, kinda not so they leave and these cute girls get in my car and I'm FREAKING OUT because I realize we are supposed to teach Paula the Law of Chasity that night and so it's just going to be hecka awkward. And we are planning on having a member come with us so that's killer. We pull in to Paula's driveway and knock on the door and no answer. So I have two high schoolers all fired up to do missionary work and a member sitting on the porch with me, but Paula's not home. So we call her, no answer. Text her, no answer. Knock on the door again, no answer. Awesome. So then the cute member we were with starts talking to the girls about her mission in Japan and all this stuff that worked for them, what didn't, and all that la la la. Then it was time to go and meet back at the Institute. On our way back to the Institute the girls were like, "Sis. Dunlop, what is missionary work really like?". Homegirls, I'll tell you. Being a missionary is the hardest thing I've ever done. I've never felt such heartbreak or such joy in my whole life. I figured that after awhile I would be numb to the sound of a door slamming in my face or having someone tell me they're "not interested" [in their opportunity to be sealed to their family forever] or that they're "too busy" [to learn eternal truths]. But I was wrong because it still is hard. But it's good. And joyful. And that's what makes all the door slams worth it. Because "it's all for the one", that's something President Robinson says all the time. The one. 

Story #3: Tour Guide Barbies
So we've been teaching Sydnie, Samantha, Leah, and Zach Jepson and we finished up the first lesson (the Restoration) with them and invited them to prepare to be baptized on July 8th. Yes, we know that's like a million years away, but we can only meet with them every other week so it's going to take us about that long to finish all of the missionary lessons. We also told them that we would be their "Tour Guide Barbies" to the Church and towards their baptismal date. The member present with us made a joke that if the sister missionaries were Tour Guide Barbies, then the elders would be Tour Guide Ken. The Jepson kiddos thought that was the funniest thing they've ever heard. I adore that family. 

Story #4: Exchanges
Exchanges with Sister Martinez are like holidays, the happiest days ever. I freaking ADORE her. She was also trained by Sister McGee and was training Sister Jewel down in South Anchorage when I was being trained in Oceanview. We served around each other down in Palmer but I just did a "one and done" there and then got sent up here to Fairbanks. So I hadn't seen her in forever and ever and then she was transferred up here to 2nd Ward which was one of the happiest things in all of Alaska. So we went and visited people in 2nd, had dinner with their investigator who is getting baptized on Sunday and had the most profound and deep things to say about the gospel that I've ever heard. And he is receiving the priesthood next week so he can baptize his wife #goals. Love them.

That's all I have for right now.
Love ya bye

Sis. Dunlop

May 1, 2017

Monday, May 1, 2017

This is going to be kinda shortish because I FINALLY convinced our zone to go on a hike today and we're heading up to Angels Rock out by Chena in the middle of nowhere. And as you all know, I do not like writing these forever long email report things. But I do it because I love y'all.

Things about this week: I tried Chaga. It's this sketch AK tree drink thing. Super sketch tbh. One of our less actives gave it to me. Sister Fa'anunu was too chicken to try it but basically this guy goes out into the woods and finds these growths on the sides of birch trees, knocks them off, brings them home, saws them down, puts the sawdust in a coffeemaker, adds some water, and drinks it. I guess there's like a zillion health benefits to it but I don't know, it just tasted like tea water. Probably won't try it again unless it turns out that I can become a stellar superhero by drinking more of it. 

We've been tracting a lot this week trying to grow our teaching pool. I am learning to love tracting, still super don't like it, but learning to love it because we do it so much. We found a stellar potential investigator...that we have to hand off to YSA because she's not married but whatever #notbitter. When we knocked on her door, she was wearing a Color Run t-shirt and in my head I was like "this chick is Mormon but she doesn't even know it". Anyways, we were talking to her and did the 8 Step Door Approach (@sisMcGee) and it was awesome and then she started asking more questions and I ended up teaching her the Restoration right there on her front porch. Then we gave her a Book of Mormon that she was really excited about and she said she would come to church, but we didn't see her yesterday so we'll have to go track her down and get her to YSA.

On Saturday our ward helped with the Community Clean Up in FBX. All around the city, people cleaned up all the nasty garbage from Breakup that was on the sides of the highway. It took us three hours and we found stuff like pj pants, needles, Taco Bell sauce, and all this other random stuff. But it looks so much better! I have so many sketch stories from doing service in Fairbanks, I'll probably have to write a book about them all when I get home. Also, we have a bishop now! IT'S BROTHER POWELL! We absolutely love the Powell family (as I'm sitting on their couch eating cookies and doing laundry). Yay for 5th Ward!

That was a super random email but whateverz.
Love y'all. Peace and blessings.

XO Sister Dunlop