Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Dec 28, 2015
Was Christmas this week?
Wow! Christmas is full of caroling and candy and chocolate.

This past week we decorated a tree for a cute old less active lady, caroled, went to a store 
and met a real nice black guy from Tennessee that we might start teaching, caroled, 
wrapped presents for service, caroled, delivered cookies, caroled, watched Bible videos, 
caroled, and went to church for seven hours! (I'm not quite bishop status yet...)
Did I mention we caroled a lot? I'm very grateful for a companion who can sing in tune. One
 cool place we sang at was the Pioneer Home here - a nursing home. We were supposed 
to sing for everyone after lunch, but we were late and so everyone had already gone back 
into their rooms... So instead, we took the gifts someone had donated and hand delivered 
them to all the residents and sang to the ones who were awake. There were some criers, 
some jokers, and overall just a wonderful Spirit there. It was almost just like when we go 
caroling back in Cincinnati, which was really wonderful.

Sister Webster was feeling awful one day, and it was cold and rainy so I watched about an 
hour and a half of the Bible videos, which was really nice. And very appropriate for the day 
after Christmas.

Current moose count: 40.

Oh, I almost hit a moose driving this morning! We were driving down the mountain and one
 ran right out in front of us... Of course, the road was slick and we slid a good ways, but 
luckily we missed the moose! Little Geraldo lived to see another day. Although I think he
probably would've survived much better than we would have if a collision would have 

People are taking good care of us.

ute .
Love y'all! Be strong and of a good courage. Read Hebrews 11, it's awesome.

Sister Rollins

Downtown Palmer at noon

My birthday dinner with the cute ole Beames

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Dec 21, 2015

And then I pet an alpaca

Once upon a time, in the wintry land of Alaska, there lived a sister in the North Pole. She 
worked hard teaching Santa Claus (no joke) and Olive the other Reindeer (yes joke) the 
Gospel so they could learn the true meaning of Christmas. Right before the actual day of 
Christmas, however, she descended to a lower part of Alaska and settled in the small town of Palmer, home of the state fair and fireworks after Thanksgiving. That sister, Sister 
Webster, became my companion! And it's been a good time.

Sooo because you will all ask about her, she's from Hood River, Oregon. She went to BYU-I for a year before she came out, and she's almost as crazy as I am. She loves Miranda 
Sings and working hard. She also sings very loudly and very in tune. She pretty much rocks.

In other news, we were expecting about 10 people at church yesterday! And only 1 came. 
So, although disappointing, we still love them.

We also have procured a Christmas tree so that we can properly celebrate Christmas! (Of 
course, all you really need is Christ in your heart, but the tree that points toward heaven is a good reminder.)

Oh, we had a neat experience the other day: we were driving to an appointment and passed a lady walking down the street (somewhat abnormal). I felt like I should stop and offer her 
help, but I didn't want to interrupt Sister Webster's story, so I made it a good 50 feet down 
the road before I stopped and turned around. She said she could use some help feeding her alpacas, so we helped! It wasn't too strenuous, but it was fun! And she said she'll be 
feeding them around the same time every day for the next couple days, so I see many
alpacas in my future...

Well, I now have the A Savior is Born video memorized, so if you haven't seen it by 
Christmas at Christmas.mormon.org, call me and I'll quote it to you!
Much love and blessings,

Sister Rollins

Sis Webster, me and Mary Lou the reindeer

 My and my mommy and daddy at transfer meeting :) (Sister Rose and Sister Price)
 Happy birthday Jesus!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sister McGraw and I with the tree we decorated for some members... Hebroke his back so we got to do some service :)

Sister McGraw and I with the tree we decorated for some members... He
broke his back so we got to do some service :)

Dec 14, 2015
Christmas trees and taco salad and laughing

There are many kinds of Christmas trees in this world, and I've think I've seen about all of 
them this week. A lot of people in Alaska just cut them down from their backyard, and some of them are rather homely.  But a lot of people go insane and have ten trees in their house! 
It's been fun to see them all, and we've even gotten to decorate a couple!

Something else we saw a lot this week was nativities! Our church building hosted over 1200 Nativities and was all decked out this weekend. We even had shortened church (so my talk was short too!) to accommodate more visitors. It is so neat to see all of the representations of Christ and feel the Spirit that accompanies that.

People are super cool! Missionary work in Lazy Mountain is taking off! People are coming to church and reading the Book of Mormon! I get to teach an ex-convict! The premortal life 
blows people's minds! I'm training a reindeer (name suggestions are welcome.) Jesus is 

Oh, and transfer calls! Sister McGraw is leaving, headed to Anchorage.  Sister Webster is 
coming here!

Sister Rollins

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Dec 7, 2015
Lots of fog = chocolate frog

Greetings, citizens of the world! Getting stuck on the ice/in a snow bank, decorating an old 
folk's home, going through a movie collection of about 200 movies, attending the temple for
the first time in seven months, being generally unable to find houses in the dark, going on
exchanges to Anchorage, playing piano at a baptism, and teaching about the millennium 
has taken up most of my week.


So... Once upon a time Sister Rollins was driving the fun Equinox she loves driving and 
missed a turn. She decides to turn around at the next street, but unfortunately doesn't 
realize that street was actually an ice rink disguised as a road! So she gets most of the way
around and slides a solid twelve feet into a snow bank. Luckily, she and her companion are
 only a five and a half minute walk from the house they were visiting. The said investigators 
in the house are bemused by our plight and offer to pull us out, which offer we gladly
accept. They drive their truck down to our car and begin to turn around, only to find 
themselves sliding as we had! Frantic prayers were offered, and the truck misses our car 
by inches and goes into a ditch, where the wheels are spun until the truck is solidly stuck.

Luckily, a member lives next door! So the seven minute trek is made, and a plea for help 
for now two cars is responded to. That member laughs at us and then promptly goes and 
pulls both of us out using his lived-in-Alaska-for-thirty-years skills. It was a cold, good time.

Going to the temple was really nice! I unexpectedly got to see a few people from Soldotna, 
which was delightful. One of the girls who had prepared, submitted papers, and then gotten
 her call for her mission while I was there was receiving her endowment! She was super 
grateful I was there, and it was really fun to see her and a few other ward members.

Perpetual snow and ice is super exciting to drive in! Alaska's been getting a real winter this 
year, versus last year's wimpy one, which is fabulous.

We found two someone's to teach this week! People told us to go visit some supposedly 
unfriendly people, but they turned out to be friendly and very open to hearing from us. In 
fact, they were really excited for us to teach them, which is not always the case. It was 
probably one of the most awkward interactions I've ever had (which is saying something. 
Don't worry, I haven't become less awkward on my mission!) but Sister McGraw and I 
decided that's what they needed - to see that we are definitely not perfect teachers by any 
means. We're mostly just awkward.

Talking to people in the five hours of daylight is difficult but possible. Seven is officially the 
middle of the night.

Exchanges in Anchorage was fun! Sister Dall is a gem and made me wear a Utes 

Christmastime is the best kind of time! If you haven't watched the new Christmas video, "A 
Savior is Born," I would encourage you to do so now. It's definitely different than last year's 
video, but the message that Christ is born is the same. Actually, watch this year's and last
year's for maximum upliftment.

The invitation it leaves with you is to discover why the Savior was born - why He's the 
reason for the season! I love hearing everyone's reasons, but one that's stuck out to me is 
so that we can be happy because we are free from guilt. We don't have regrets because 
we know we can be forgiven. The Savior was born so He could do the great work that 
redeems us in an inexplicable way from the sadness, sorrows and tumult of this world. So 
rejoice greatly and take the sacrament this week to renew that covenant that binds you to 
Him and allows you to access His grace.

Okay, much love and happiness! And as a wonderful old black lady told me this week, 
"Evry tongue shall confess to Jesus!" In the Millenium, so might as well do it now.

Sister Rollins

At the Anchorage Temple

Found this at the church...someone must have really not liked Isaac

Monday, December 7, 2015

23 Nov 2015

Excepts from a birthday letter to her Mother,

Alaska is still treating me well!  This winter has already gotten colder and snowier than it ever did last year, and I'm quite enjoying :)  Here in Palmer we live on a mountain in an apartment over one of the members' garages.  So getting down the 3 miles of mountain roads has been fun. :)  And I'm definitely learning how to drive in the snow!  It cracks me up how much conflicting advice about driving in the dark and cold and snow,, so I'm just rolling with it.  :)

I learned a lot this week about patience.  Sister McGraw stayed pretty consistently sick this week, and our mission nurse, Sister Taylor, told us to stay in.  So we haven't left our apartment much...the Lord taught me to work hard and be diligent in Soldotna, and now He's teaching me to rest and care for my companion.  It's quite interesting to see how the Lord teaches us...certainly not how you expect Him to!  I definitely didn't that that on my mission there would be times where I didn't see many people.  And in this past week , I haven't seen hardly anyone!  In fact, we didn't even go to church yesterday.  :(  It's been pretty cool recently that as I've focused on making the Sabbath and particularly the sacrament a more spiritual experience, when I don't partake of the Sacrament I miss it a lot more - like for General Conference or for Stake Conference.

Hmmm...well, let me tell you about my companion, Sister McGraw!  She is 22 and from Perry, Utah - a little town outside of Brigham City.  She has been out two transfers, or 3 months, longer than I, so she just hit her 1/2 way mark of 9 months!  A lot of sisters call it their "hump day" of the mission.  Sister McGraw reminds me a lot of Elisabeth Robertson.  She's really smart and loves history.  She was homeschooled for most of her life, and she is very careful with her money.  She also is very hardworking, so her sickness and being tired and sick all the time has been really hard on her, since she wants to go and work!  She is also SO aware and always worried about those around her - worried her coughing keeps me up at night (it doesn't) and that I'm going to get sick and that she's not teaching me abou the area fast enough, etc.  I tell her to stop worrying and just get better.  :)  She's trying, but this bronchitis just won't go away...and the cold, of course, doesn't help.  That's why Sister Taylor wanted us to stay in our apartment!  But it's hard.  Today we went over to the member's house (the Beames), which is about 50 feet away.  So Sister McGraw could email her family.  Even that was tiring...poor Sister McGraw.

We haven't used our car for a couple days, and so it's covered in snow!  In Palmer it's windy enough that even ifit doesn't actually snow, (although it is actually snowing right now), your car gets snow on it.  :)  But most people here also plug in their cars and turn them on about 20 minutes before they go anywhere, so there's not usually too much scraping we have to do.

The Beanes!  Are the members who we sort of live with  They are so cute!  They have 4 daughters and 1 son, and he's the youngest  :).  So that's fun.  They range from 16 to 8 and are pretty loud and fun!  They are also musical and have a piano, which is nice!  O haven't been  about to play hardly any here, but I'll probably mess around for a bit today.

Wow, the snow has really picked up since I started writing.  It's coming down pretty hared now.  Although not as hard as I've seen...one night, the flakes were so big you could see their designs!  It was super awesome.

Oh!  Did I tell you I saw the northern lights?!  Well I did!  Once very faintly, a second time really well - they were moving around, yellow and green and a hint of pink - and then once, our investigator took pictures of us with them!  It was only 7:15pm, too, which is insanely early for the lights to be out.  It was awesome!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Nov 30, 2015
Reindeer Farm in Palmer, AK
 Old Pictures and Fireworks!

So it turns out that every Saturday after Thanksgiving, if you'll head on over to Palmer, AK 
you'll see a brilliant fireworks display. We're talking about rivaling Disney World - a solid 
thirty minutes of blasting insanity! It starts at 7:19, because the guy who sponsors it
has a birthday on July 29th and can't let off fireworks on that day (firstly, there's not enough dark here to do it anytime aside from about 2 in the morning and secondly, there's usually a fire ban in the summer. Did you know Alaska is a desert?) So as Sister McGraw and I
sat inside with dear Sister Giese and were just beginning our lesson, we suddenly 
discovered ourselves on a walk to see said fireworks. I think I only lost hearing in one ear 
from standing about 50 feet from where they were actually shooting off the fireworks.

Speaking of Sister Giese, this week I have absolutely seen the power God has in our lives. She has definitely not led an easy life, and everyone else in her family but one sister has 
abandoned church as helpful in any capacity, but she still knows it's where God wants her
to be. She hates the judgy stares she gets every week, she hates fake friendliness, and she hates that sometimes it takes a long time for people to even say hi to her. But she still 
comes! She has an amazing testimony, and after all of the things she's been through I'm 
amazed she's even alive. The fireworks were also perfectly timed to transition from a 
"getting things off my chest" session into a reading of the Book of Mormon, which really 
changed the atmosphere and helped us all be happier. God's really good at that whole 
timing thing...

Our district is pretty fun. Also, if you didn't know, real reindeer are actually pretty small. Like, deer-size (imagine that!) Nowhere close to moose or even elk or caribou size.

So in other news... Sister McGraw is still sick. It's been three weeks now, and she's 
supposed to be better... I think the Lord is teaching me how to take care of sick people. 
Or at least trying to.

Oh! Thanksgiving! How could I forget that was this week? It was full of thanks. At The 
high school here they had a free dinner for anyone who either didn't have enough to have 
a Thanksgiving meal or just didn't have anyone to have it with. We had a lot of fun serving 
food, and met lots of interesting people! There was a Hawaiian guy that was pretty nice that spent awhile trying to convince me to join him and his religion. However, he spent a lot of 
time talking about how religions are just systems of oppression, so I'm not sure why his 
religion isn't oppressive? It has something to do with all you need is a love relationship with Jesus, because the fig tree doesn't bear fruit by trying to, it just soaks up the sun, the light of the world! So don't join any religions, except for his.

But there were also tons of other kind people there! And it was fun to serve and talk and run around trying to get food for people and not offend anyone. Good times.

After that, we were able to eat dinner with a family here, which was fun. Then we were 
coerced into playing Snatch Bingo... Where you can steal other people's prizes. It was only mildly vicious, and I came out with a Darth Vader notebook and a sticker book, so I was 

Everyone and their dog were at church yesterday, including us! It is so neat to see people
 come closer to their Savior. 

Remember Jesus! Remember that prayer isn't that complicated - It's just talking to your 
perfect Father. As the Bible Dictionary describes, once you understand your relationship 
with Him, prayer becomes natural and instinctive. 

Much love and happiness to all!

Sister Rollins

Monday, November 23, 2015

Nov 23, 2015

God teaches Sister Rollins patience

Poor Sister McGraw is still sick! So I've been reading Ensigns and calling people and 
learning patience. And making Sister McGraw sleep. Apparently, I'm not very good at it. If 
anybody has any tips on how to make people sleep, let me know.

We had Sisters' Training this week, where all the sisters in the mission get together and 
have lunch and learn more about the Gospel and being sister missionaries. It was nice to 
see old companions and other sisters I've gotten to know! The main theme was about 
hearing the music of the Gospel, and not just dancing the steps. So in missionary work, we need to love the people and make sure we're understanding the love God has for us, and 
not just following the rules and blindly obeying. We had 27 sisters there, and soon we'll be
down to 22 sisters in the mission! Weird.

Well, stay strong! Don't get caught in snow drifts or freeze in the -10 degree weather.

Sister Rollins

Monday, November 16, 2015

Nov 16, 2015
Then half of my companion's tooth got drilled off...
Obligatory selfie of me and my new companion! Who, if anyone cares,
was actually trained by my last companion, Sister Galli. Also please
take special notice of the weird wall carpet stuff present in every
LDS church building ever - the Church is true, even in Alaska.

Hello hello from Palmer, Alaska! Home of a reindeer farm and the Alaska State Fair.

It's starting to get a little chilly up here... It's been pretty consistently in the negatives, but we broke 0 today! It honestly doesn't feel as cold as you think it is. Most of the time.

So this week was a little slow, because my wonderful new companion, dear Sister McGraw, has caught quite a bad cold... And this cold air certainly isn't helping her get better! We've 
been offered most remedies under the sun, but if you think of any feel free to send us
some more! Because hopefully I won't catch it, but if theoretically I did... At least now we 
have plenty of tissues, NyQuil, lozenges and also sorts of warm drinks and Jello!

So Lazy Mountain is, indeed, a mountain. I'm sure that surprises most of you, but I now live on a mountain! It's pretty fun to drive up the switchbacks in the dark, especially with ice on 
the road. But I'm not an official, true blue Alaskan driver until I survive the winter. So
here's to hoping I survive...

I've seen two more moose here, but more importantly, I went to a reindeer farm! They only 
have a couple hundred reindeer, but we helped the vet check their mouths/draw their blood. Helping mostly entailed us herding/holding the reindeer. Reindeer like to spit...

The member missionary work here is amazing! We visited three families who had invited their friends over to meet with us, and they all went really well. Also, we sang happy birthday to someone, and I didn't quite know how to sing it nicely... But it wasn't quite as bad as my
family usually sings it - there were no crying babies, at least.

In my studies this week I've really been focusing on the Book of Mormon, and I've learned 
some cool things. The purpose of the Book of Mormon (which I knew before, but it never 
really hit me) is to testify of Christ to the Lamanites. So many writers in the Book of Mormon
prayed for the record to be preserved just so that those who didn't get a chance to really 
learn about Jesus Christ and his plan for us could know - and their prayers were totally 
answered! The millions of copies of the Book of Mormon now available are an answer to all of their prayers, and now it's our job to share its message of love and the possibility of 
forgiveness to not only the Lamanites, but everyone!  Neat-o to think about.

Have a great week! Remember that your trials are blessings in disguise. Like because 
Sister McGraw was sick, I got to clean out our whole apartment!

Remember who you are and whose you are :)

Sister Rollins

Monday, November 9, 2015

Nov 9, 2015
More snow and heading out!

So it's still snowing here, which is delightful! It also starts getting dark around 5, which is 
less delightful. It's mildly amusing to knock on someone's door at 7 (that you know) and 
them to be surprised that you're visiting so late! Especially when at 9 in the summertime 
it's barely evening... But who needs clocks anyway?
So I'm leaving Soldotna! After four transfers and almost six months, it's weird to be leaving.
I definitely will miss it, but I'll be heading to Palmer! Which is nearish to Wasilla, if anyway 
knows Alaskan geography. If you don't, I'll be about an hour north of Anchorage, so still in 
the middle of the southern half of the state. It will still be cold and snowy. I love Alaska.

Current moose count: 28

Current caribou count: 17

Future companion count in Soldotna: 3! Everyone jokes that they need two missionaries to 
replace me... So Sister Grieve and Sister Larcom will join Sister Galli for her last transfer.
Sister Galli and I have had a rollicking time together! It's been weird to help her plan for 
BYU this winter semester... So anyone in/around Provo, lookout for Laurel Galli - she rocks!
 I'm sad to leave her, but my new companion is actually her trainee! So Sister McGraw and 
I will be serving together in the Lazy Mountain ward.

It's been good to wrap up my time here. I received some socks and Chapstick as a going 
away present, which was really nice. Pro tip to any Christmas present givers to 
missionaries in Alaska: you can't go wrong with socks.

The Lord has been so good to me! We had a great dinner with a lady in our ward who is a 
mental health therapist for a hospital up here, and she had lots of great sociological advice.
 We also had a great discussion about identifying the Holy Ghost and choosing to believe.
She might be my new favorite person, which is a shame because I'm leaving today. But 
the Lord definitely sends us people who we can have real conversations with when we 
need them.

I was reading the conference talk "Seeking the Lord" from April of this year and loved this 
quote from it: "A deeper understanding of Jesus Christ will give us greater hope for the 
future and, despite our imperfections, more confidence in achieving our righteous goals." 
Hope is something that I feel like I've gained on my mission a lot - it's much easier to gain 
when you are around hopeful people all of the time and are constantly surrounding yourself
 with uplifting messages and cut out most media. There's certainly still adversity, but you 
feel like you have the tools to deal with it and have a lot of hope for your current and 
immediate future. I also love this quote from the section about hope in Preach my Gospel: 
"Hope is an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to you." Isn't it fascinating that
hope is only related to His promises to you?

Anyway, have a wonderful and hopeful week this week! Do what truly makes you happy.

Much love and charity,

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Nov 2, 2015
Missionary life unedited version
CW: graphic descriptions of sickness/puking

So then I went on exchanges and ate at Taco King... And then puked my guts out at this 
poor less active lady's house... Like everywhere. Poor Sister Johnstun dry heaves if she 
even hears someone else throw up, so she was no help. I think it was inspired, though - it 
was better than throwing up at the apartment, where I would have had to clean it up, and 
Sister Pike is my HERO and didn't complain one bit - aw, sweetie, go in the bathroom and 
clean up! Don't worry about it, I'll clean it up here - and cleaned it up with a mop bucket like
a champ in about 15 minutes. I mostly just felt bad that I had gotten it everywhere (I 
probably puked about 5 or 6 times) but I missed her couch and her rug, so she only had to 
clean up hardwood and the bathroom, which didn't seem to bother her too much... I slept a 
lot, drove home from exchanges, slept some more, slept a little more the next day and then
was completely back to normal. Don't eat at Taco King, kids!
And I really am completely fine!

I love snow. I love snow. I love snow. Did I mention I love snow?
It snowed a glorious amount here in Soldotna! Did I mention it's beautiful? And it snowed. 
Really only a couple inches, but it nigh covered all the things in a iridescent blanket of 
magic. Because snow is magnificently fantastical. And makes everything gorgeous. It also
seems to put a damper on people and their interactions with other humans, but the Lord 
still puts people in our path!

Sheila and Dennis are doing really well! They weren't able to meet with us during the week,
but managed to come to church on Sunday and had a blast. Sheila just wishes there was 
more singing and praising the Lord Almighty! We told her we'd work on that. They are truly 
an example to me of humility - they take everything we say, mull it over, and aren't afraid to
just accept it! It's crazy how willing they are to believe and just love everyone.

Funny River is always an adventure! The people there are so kind and always offer us too 
much food. We get offered a lot of food, actually - if anyone wants some leftovers... The 
wonderful couple that lives out there we've been seeing is actually now gone to Florida, so
they're adorable and happy there. They're actually stopping in Cincinnati on the way down 
to visit her brother in the hospital, so if you see the Neals, let me know! They're cute and old.
Halloween was a fun time! Sister Galli and I dressed up... As each other! It was a fun time. 
We went to a baptism of someone in our neighboring ward that was so fantastic, and met 
tons of nonmembers that were super friendly and interested!

Right afterward was the dual ward Trunk or Treat! It was dark and freezing cold, even at 
6:30. But it was also a blast! We passed out candy and met people. We were glad we had 
to go in at 7, though, because we were able to be warm and listen to conference talks while
doing a puzzle.

The Sabbath truly was a delight yesterday! Focusing on the sacrament and the changes 
you are making in your life, as well as seeking to serve as much as possible, makes all the 
Sister Rollins

Monday, October 26, 2015

Oct 26, 2015

At the beginning of this week, Sister Galli's goal was to have more meekness in trial (she's 
studying the song "More Holiness Give Me" line by line each week.) It wasn't as bad as we 

In fact, we met an amazing couple yesterday! They were invited by some members to our 
Meet the Mormons movie night we had on Friday, and then they wanted a Bible, and 
missionaries make great messengers :) so we raided the church library and headed on 
down the road! They were super friendly and Sheila has a beautiful Texan accent that Sister Galli picks up as she talks to her. They love learning about other religions and right now are just searching for what God wants them to do. Talk about prepared! They're fabulous and 
wanted to make sure we came back again.

We also had some fun finding experiences. We've had a goal to talk to 10 new people a 
day, which would happen if there were actual amounts of people in Alaska. We've been 
averaging probably about 3, which is most of the people we see that aren't in their cars. In 
an effort to see and be able to talk to more people, we decided to walk most of the way 
across town (about 30 minutes) and talk to everyone we saw. Since it was Saturday 
morning, we figured we'd see several people... And we saw a whopping 2 people getting 
into their car 50 feet up the road. It was a good time. The best part was that I felt inspired to walk up to this house and knock on their door, so I head up the driveway with my trusting
 companion. We get close to the door and see a lovely little sign on white paper written with a nice red marker: "Do not knock. Don't ring the doorbell. Go away. JUST LEAVE." We had a good laugh... Poor guys, they must have had a rough day. #alaska

Stocking salmon and ammo for the Second Coming is actually a thing.

Sister Galli is doing really well at not being trunky, even though she's only got one transfer
 after this one. We've convinced ourselves she has another year. As for other elders in my
 district... I can't say the same time. Describing how you're so excited to buy your RV and
drive back to Alaska every day doesn't help.

Two of the big families in town have kids who just got engaged, so that's the talk of the town.

Grace is my new favorite subject. Divine assistance you receive through faith and
 repentance. I don't know about you, but I need all the divine assistance that I can get.

The trees are now all bare, both of leaves and of snow. All of Soldotna is holding its breath as we wait for real winter to set in. We haven't plugged in our car yet!

Stay warm, remember who you are!

Sister Rollins

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Oct 19, 2015

Ditch diving


Pro tip: don't drive into a ditch. If you pray hard enough, you might be able to get out of it (Sister Rollins: 1, Ditch: 0) but then you might lock the keys in the car (Sister Rollins: 1, 
Ditch: 1). We'll see if I can win next week. Did I mention that this Jeep we drive is still 

People are doing pretty well. Sister Galli got to experience Funny River for the first time! 
It's... Tiny, and odd. Classic Alaska, with dirt roads and people talking about driving into 
town and lots of old homesteaders. They're probably the cutest people ever.

We are working with a lot of people who I met at the beginning of my time here and either 
were busy during the summer or we just lost contact with and now they're interested again. 
It's weird having the same teaching pool as I did five months ago... And thinking that it's
been five months! But good. I love it. There's lots of cute old ladies.

Our spiritual message that we've been sharing with people at dinner has been going really well. First, we pull out a bucket of jelly beans. Then, without telling them what it is, we go 
down the list from chapter 4 of Preach my Gospel and tell everyone to take a jelly bean
for every experience that they've had. Then, if they want to, they can share some of those 
experiences. It's been really cool to hear people's experiences, and they catch on to the 
theme pretty quickly, but some of them surprise you... The point of the jelly beans is that
we often limit our spiritual experiences to church and maybe reading the scriptures, but in 
reality, just as there are many flavors of jelly beans that are all sweet, so too are our spiritualexperiences different but still sweet. It's been really cool to be able to feel the spirit that is 
brought from sharing experiences as well. Hey, here's my commitment to all of you: go over that list and share one of those experiences with someone. It could be me, or it could be 
your mom, or anyone else. But do it.

I love you all! I see moose and miracles on the daily, and miracles probably more often. But they're both real and awesome.


Sister Rollins

Monday, October 12, 2015

Oct 12, 2015
Comforters and muddy roads

Rain! Rain. Rain. No snow. Raaaaain. Oh hey rain.

The clouds make it just barely not snowable.

This week was great! Sister Galli and I have finally gotten into the swing of things. She now gets my jokes when no one else does, and we've mastered communicating without anyone else noticing.

Raking leaves and chopping wood happens often. A lot of people here don't rake their 
leaves, though - they just mow over them and grind them up. It works pretty good, especially because there's no such thing as leaf pick-ups or even trash pick-ups in most of Soldotna. #smalltownlife

Chopping and stacking wood is fun! More so with a log splitter. I think I've talked about it lots of times, but it happens a lot. Maybe this week I'll take a picture so you can see our district 
in action.

One of our converts of a little over a year got to go do baptisms at the temple for the first 
time on Saturday! The drive is about 3 hours, so it's not made too often. Even though she 
was surprised at some things, she definitely felt the Spirit and the feeling of peace that you 
always get from the temple. I was so excited for her, especially since I haven't been for... 
Five months now. Woo. (I thought I was going at transfer meeting, but then it was closed for cleaning. Sad face.)

We came up with the next big Mormon missionary hit song: "The Commandments are to 
Make People Happy!" It's a catchy ditty. Remind me to sing it at my homecoming talk.

Ronnie got confirmed on Sunday! That kid is just a dear. He is one of the sweetest kids I've ever known. His dad came, too, which was super awesome and somewhat unexpected.

We made some delicious halibut! Sister Galli has mad making-up-recipe skills, so we took 
some halibut from our freezer and made a cream cheese and basil and honey mustard plus other things I didn't catch spread. And baked it in the oven. It was delish with the naan some
one had given us.

People are fascinating. Zone Conference was fun. Ponderizing scripture of the week: 
Moroni 8:3. I'm trying to be mindful of everyone in my prayers. They get a little long, but 
thinking of other people all the time is what I'm trying to do, and it's going pretty well. So
know that I'm thinking about all of you and praying for you.

Sister Rollins
Sister Galli and Sister Rollins

We found a pretty sunset and cooked some fish! Too bad most of our
pictures only one of us is smiling...

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Oct 5, 2015
To be determined

GeNeRaL cOnFeReNcE holy smokes! Was amazing and edifying. Also, instead of the first 
session being at noon, the second one was at noon. But that's okay! Because then there 
was time on Sunday night for Ronnie's baptism. His whole family came (which was probablyaround 20 people) plus many members of our ward, which was so good. His dad, who
hasn't been attending church for several years, gave the baptism talk, and it was awesome. Not because he was eloquent or for anything in particular that he said, but because he just 
radiated happiness because his son was getting baptized. He still has a long way to come
back, but he's started.

Scripture I'm ponderizing this week: Jacob 2:8.

The trees have lost nigh unto half their leaves, and the first snow has yet to fall in Soldotna 
(although Homer, 90 miles south, and Cooper Landing, 30 miles north, both received their 
white blessings.)

Miracle of miracles, we actually tracted into someone who was interested! She has a good 
friend who's LDS, and they've had several in-depth conversations about religion. She was 
very friendly and invited us in (who does that? Only people who are prepared!) and we
had a really good question and answer session that was actually the Restoration lesson. So that was an amazing blessing. Also, since Sister Galli has mad people interaction skills, tha was super helpful.

We also helped out at the farm for the final week. All summer we've enjoyed the delightful 
farm folk and fresh vegetables, and it was sad to say goodbye! But it's a little chilly to be 
sticking your hands in a bucket of water, and the vegetables have barely been surviving the
frost, so the season is over and we now have open Wednesday mornings. 'll probably miss 
the rants about how awful Fish and Game is and how beavers are annoying. You win some,you lose some, you shoot some mose and life is good.

Wood stacking is fun. I am now entirely comfortable with a log splitter. Those things are awesome.  And loud.  Don't worry, I only lost hearing in one ear.

Sister Galli! My new companion is fabulous. It's really strange after being with Sister Price 
for four and a half months, but it's still good. She's from Salt Lake City and will be going 
home in three months! So she's excited to go back to BYU this winter semester.
The church is true, the book is blue! Remember that "Our purpose in this life is to have joy and prepare to return to Gods presence" (Preach my Gospel). Not our purposes, but just the one purpose. We have to have joy as we prepare to return to God's presence. That was
definitely a theme from conference - we're not here necessarily to receive all the blessings, but life on earth should be a time of joy! So keep on smiling :)

Much love,

Sister Rollins
Sister Rollins and Sister Galli in front of the Anchorage Temple
It's snowing and Sister Rollins is the only one that is excited.

This is me and Ronnie and Sister Galli! Like literally 50 people came
to his baptism. It was awesome. And crazy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sept 28, 2015
Big girls don't cry, so I suppose I'm big
Sister Rollins, Marie and Evie, and Sister Price (Marie and Evie are two of our favorite old people  :)  The assisted living center Evie lives in is the one I want to live in someday, for future reference.  It's super awesome.

The Soldotna district at Exit Glacier in Seward!  Fun times
Hello hello from Soldotna, 
Alaska! Still my home for yet another six weeks, which will put me at six months here! Crazy 
to think that I'll have been here this long. Unfortunately, Sister Price is leaving,though... And 
my new companion will be 
Sister Galli! She's from Salt
Lake and went to BYU as a 
freshman year the same year I did. I've been on exchanges 
with her once, so I already 
know her a little, and I'm 
excited! She'll probably end hermission here, since she has buttwo transfers left.

It hasn't snowed here yet... 
Fairbanks already has several inches, but it's supposed to snow tonight here. It's been chillyin the mornings, not so bad in the daytime... But it's not cold yet. Because 30 isn't cold, it's 
just cool.
Since Sister Price is leaving here after being here for six months, we've had a lot of 
goodbye lessons, which is somewhat sad. Lots of people are giving her little departing gifts, and then they feel bad not giving me one... So they give me stuff too :) I now own some 
Russian-made pashanka (I have no idea how that is supposed to be spelled, my apologies) dolls, which are cute and adorable.
Thank you for all of the letters and little things people send me! I really appreciate them, 
even if I don't get back to you right away - our preparation days are quite busy.

A moose hit a member in our ward's car this week! He bounced off the windshield and over 
the car. Their windshield thankfully didn't shatter, but it had approximately 10,563 cracks in 
it and is now missing a side mirror. Kids, if you're going to hit a moose, hit a baby one... 
Otherwise your car will not survive.

Tracting in the rain is hardly effective, but sometimes necessary. I almost lost a shoe to the mud, but I was able to save it from a cold and dreary death.

I'm excited to finally be able to go to the temple again - I haven't been able to go since I've 
arrived. Missionaries in Alaska get to go once a transfer if they're within an hour or two of 
Anchorage, and Soldotna's a little far... But since we're going to transfer meeting, we'll get to go! Since we've been teaching Vaughn and Samantha a lot about the temple and the 
blessings we receive from going there, it will be nice to actually get to go.

I was able to reach my goal of reading all of Preach my Gospel this transfer! The 
instructions in that manual are truly inspired. Probably my favorite chapter was the fourth 
one - "How do I recognize and understand the Spirit?" I've definitely grown to better 
understand how the Holy Ghost is present in my life - when you can literally do anything thatpops into your head because you have time and a companion to help you, you realize that 
so many things that pop into your head are actually useful, valuable things to other people. So go do some of those things this week.

I love you all! We'll be very busy this week, what with Sister Galli meeting everyone and 
Ronnie's baptism on Sunday to prepare for! General Conference is also something to be 
excited about - I loved the General Women's Broadcast this past Saturday! It's a bit odd to 
think the second session will be at noon instead of the first, but hopefully I'll survive :)


Sister Rollins

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sept 23, 2015
Hello from Alaska!!!
My wife and I enjoyed spending a partial P-Day with your lovely daughter and her 
companion.  We ate lunch together and then went fishing for a little bit.  No luck on fish but 
sister Rollins turned out to be a "natural" with the open face spin cast reel.  She did a 
fantastic job!  We love your daughter's cheerful and friendly demeanor .... such a sweet gal.  Always has a smile on her face!  My wife and I spend summers here renting a couple of our cabins ... and I fish-guide a little.  Lots of fun ... and Alaska is AWESOME!!!  Make sure you visit sometime ... you would love it!  Thanks for raising such a choice young daughter of 
Brother and Sister Heap

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sept 23, 2015

Hyperoxygenation via rectal injections of ozone

Somehow, last week we made it to Seward! In a sketchy old 70s van with three sets of 
missionaries and a baby. And the baby's mother, of course. So now I've been to Seward 
twice, once on purpose and once on accident! Fun times. This time we went and hiked Exit Glacier, which was super touristy and I met a lot of Asians. It was cold and a little sad how much it's shrunk... Even the nice ward member who took us says she remembers it being 
way bigger when she went on a field trip to go see it 10 years ago. You can't even touch it 
anymore, which is sad. No glacier water drinking for us :(

Also, note to future peninsula visitors: Homer food > Seward food.

We had some cool experiences this week! One of Linda's neighbors, Mercedes, had her 
first baby and there were many complications. (Linda was baptized about two months ago.) Linda, who is one of the most kind and caring people ever, of course went to go help her in
the hospital and such. And she told Mercedes she really needed a blessing, and she
agreed. So we went with the elders for her to receive that blessing, and it was a beautiful 
experience. I haven't seen a days old baby many times, and they are so precious. 
The blessing was beautiful, and all present were humbled by the experience. And to think 
that baby was just with God not even a week ago!

Speaking of kids, the Soldotna Primary Program was yesterday! I don't think I've realized 
how many kids are in this ward, but there's a lot. Like, too many to fit on the stand all at once. Which is good. They did a great job singing and testifying, and a couple of kids played
Primary songs, which was neat. There was the classic kid who sang extremely loud (almost as loud as Max Spencer!), the seventeen boys in senior primary who only mostly paid 
attention, and the sunbeams sitting on the front row - one of them walked up to the 
microphone, looked to her teacher for her line, got told her line, and then said "that one's not mine." Dear Sister Lockett smiled and said "okay, perfect!" and then they sat down.

Ronnie, who was in the Primary program (he's 10) is on date to be baptized General 
Conference weekend! He's super pumped. He was a little bummed I couldn't baptize him, 
but he's excited and learning really fast. His parents are supportive, but didn't even want to 
come to church for the primary program...

Dustin's fallen off the map. I guess he doesn't like us anymore?  Yeah, Dustin's kind of disappeared... And everyone's asking about him and we don't have anything to say because he hasn't talked to us or his sister or anybody really in three weeks... Awkward.

Current moose count: 14
Current caribou count: 6
Current companion count: 1
Current countdown until transfers: 8 days

My ninja accomplishment of the week was taking off a pair of tights (they were sticking to 
my skinned knee that I got because I'm clumsy) during a lesson without anyone noticing, 
including my companion. #skillz

Oh, and I've been trying to get a picture of this giant stuffed musk ox that's in somebody's 
house. They have giant windows. We'll just have to knock on their door and ask, maybe...

Remember, as the primary kids sang: your savior loves you. A lot.

Sister Rollins

Monday, September 14, 2015

Sept 14, 2015

And then I was actually on a golf course legally

Some weeks, you feel really ineffective. But then you look back to the beginning of the week and realize you have progressed. Even if it's not as much as you would like.
The theme of my week has been patience! Patience with people. Because I like results. And people are not results,  they're progress. So be patient with people. "As God encourages us to keep on trying, He expects us to also allow others the space to do the same, at their own pace. The Atonement will come into our lives in even greater measure" (Renlund, April 2015). Not just their lives, but our lives. I've definitely seen that this week.
Funny texts members have accidentally sent to us have been about steam rooms with 
eucalyptus oil and little kids finally pooping on the potty! If you ever want to cheer up a 
missionary, send them something weird "on accident."

Four new investigators in one week this week! #ballin #alma26:12

Golfing. Going to a driving range, unlike go karting, is allowed on p-day. So we went and hit a couple buckets of balls. I now know how theoretically I'm supposed to be hitting the ball... Actually doing it is quite another story. Also shoutout to my companion who did much better than I.

Read the word of God daily. That daily pattern is so essential to growth in the Gospel.
Serve. All the time. Also accept vegetables from strangers, it makes them feel better and 
fresh picked carrots are sweet and delicious.


Sister Rollins

Everyone in the whole Alaska mission has a car, except one companionship area that 
occasionally doesn't get a car in the summer... Out here in Soldotna, we try to drive 
1400 miles a month or less. The elders on the peninsula have an allotment of about 2200 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sept 7, 2015
Patience helps you find the end of the highway

Greetings, civilians!

Another week has come and gone... This transfer is halfway over, meaning I've been out 15 weeks! (yes, you read that right. Fifteen. Five plus ten.) and that's just in the mission field!

God gives you some weeks to remind you that you need to learn patience. So I'm learning patience. Probably the most exciting thing this week was that Linda actually read in the Book of Mormon by herself! Oh, and Teresa came to church! So two exciting things.
There's lots more, but one thing about a mission I'm continuing to learn is that the most exciting things aren't really describable in an email.

Also, I'm gaining faith in the converting power of cinnamon rolls. They've been 100% effective in getting people to church thus far.

Last preparation day, we were supposed to go fishing with the rest of our district. We left a little late, but we asked the elders for directions and they said to just start driving up the highway, so we did. And we did. And we did... And ask for further directions, and get
a reply: "Retreat now." So we stop and take pictures because everything in Alaska is pretty and then we keep going... And find the end of the highway! And a muddy river with no fish. And the elders, covered in mud. To quote Elder Dickson, "it was great."

Zone meeting was exciting. If you ever get a chance to watch the addiction recovery videos, apparently they're really good for everyone. Except children.

Humility is saying "I'm awesome, but only because the Lord's awesome and I'm trying my best to follow him" (see the Sister Rollins edition of Preach my Gospel)

Or, to quote the real thing, when you are humble then "you are confident that you can do whatever the Lord requires of you if you rely on Him."

Gotta get headed!


Sister Rollins