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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