Sunday, October 24, 2010

                                                                                The Malaspina ferry ship of the Alaska Marine Highway.
                                          We are in Katchakan on a Sunday returning from church
                                          The Malaspinia in Sitka harbor on pilot maneuvers. Sitka
                                           was the old Russian capitol.
                                          A very old Russian Orthodox cemetery in Sitka.
                                          The Russian Orthodox church in Sitka. A parade is about
                                           to start celebrating the sale of Alaska from the Russians
                                           to the U.S. its called Alaska day Oct. 18th. It is only
                                           celebrated in Sitka.
                                          Driving on the Alaskan highway through Canada towards
                                           Alaska. Frozen roads were typical and night time temps.
                                           at about 1 degree below zero.
                                           The Fairbanks area with the frozen Chena river in the
                                          We stopped for the night before taking the ferry here
                                           in Maple valley near Seattle at the home of the  Seely's
                                          (our son Mike's wife's sister) and went for a walk with Merrill and Ruth
                                          (Merrily Seely's mom and dad).

     Our journey to the Alaska Anchorage mission was certainly spectacular.  The Alaska Marine Highway with all of its mountains, spectacular water ways and whales was an adventure of scenic splendor  a slow tour of beautiful country.  We eventually worked our way north to Haines Alaska.  It is surrounded by spectacular alpine snow covered peaks.  Then we began our 700 Mile Drive from Haines to Fairbanks.  The first thing we ran into by the river that flows into Haines was a collection area for bald eagles   We saw dozens of bald eagles perched on trees and flying,  waiting for salmon in the nearby river.  As our trip continued we drove deeper and deeper into Canada and the temperatures got colder and colder.  The road became frozen and icy and we felt quite isolated in that  there was very, very little traffic.  We spent one night in the farthest western city of Canada called Beaver Creek and  the temperatures  dropped one below zero.  We arrived safely in Fairbanks and have been settling into our apartment, getting things organized through a little shopping and touring the city of Fairbanks to get used to the road. At the Institute JoAnn has been receiving training  in the office and I've been working on preparing lessons to teach and  getting used to the system and preparing to do in service for early morning seminary.  There are a great group of young single adults here that we will be teaching and attending church with on Sunday, and getting to know.  We had a great stake conference this last weekend and got to know many of the people.  The faithful saints are here and we realize also that they have a great stake president, who is a powerful spiritual leader of the saints.