Saturday, November 13, 2010


                                                                SANTA'S HOUSE                                 
                                                            ONE OF HIS REINDEER
                                        THESE ELVES ARE MAKING A BEAUTIFUL ICE
                                      SCULPTURE OF SANTA'S SLEIGH AND REINDEER
                                                   IT'S FROSTY AND COLD UP HERE

We have had a wonderful week here in Alaska.  We had our first experience using the "polycom" to have an inservice meeting with our seminary teachers across the state.  It's a device that can be used to have a large phone-in meeting.  Technology is wonderful.  We have also been substituting in a seminary class and in an institute class this week.  It is giving us a taste of what is to come.  We were able to travel to Nenana about 60 miles away to visit a home school seminary class.  The people here are wonderful and love the Lord.  Even though there might be only 1 or 2 students, early morning seminary classes are held faithfully.  We had a beautiful drive through over 60 miles of frosted forest tundra.  It takes many days for the frost to melt because the sun is low and the temperature only gets up to about 17 degrees.  We are told that this high temperature is unusually high for this time of the year.  On Friday we joined the Mission Zone Conference in North Pole.  Since it was light, we decided to take pictures for the grandkids.  At the conference, I met another Park Lane student--Elder Bryce Greenwell.  What fun to see how these boys have grown.  For lunch, the Relief Society served a "Thanksgiving/Christmas" feast for the missionaries.  We won't see the Mission President again until February.  (Note:  Look at the long shadows in the pictures at 11:30 am.)

Our mission president challenged us to count our blessings and give more thanks this season.  We are truly thankful for our wonderful family and friends who love and support us in this endeavor.  We are thankful for good health that makes it possible.  It is a blessing to us to meet new people who are quickly becoming our friends as well.  Each day we are thankful that we had a remote start installed in our car to warm it up before we have to travel to our destinations!  We are ever thankful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, and that his gospel has been restored to the earth after being lost and changed.  We know that He lives and that we can look forward to living together as a family and with Him and our Heavenly Father in the eternities to come.

Love to all,
Elder and Sister Spens (Grandpa and Grandma)

Monday, November 8, 2010

                                          Behind us is the Institute building here in Fairbanks.
                                          We are getting to know the facilities and the young single
                                          adults that attend classes,social activities and church services
                                          Here are some Inupiat Indian dancers at the University of Alaska
                                          performing traditional dances. There are many native American
                                          groups that live in Alaska. They all have their separate and
                                          distinct cultures.

We attended a CES fireside on Sunday, November 7 .  Elder Ballard was the speaker at that fireside and brought up some very interesting points.  He talked about the growth of the church, and how long it took for the church to have 1000 stakes and that was around 1920.  He then went on to talk about how it took fewer and fewer years for the stake number to increase by 1000 to the point that now and in the future the growth of the church will continue to require more and more stake presidents, bishops and every other leadership position in the church from 70s to scoutmasters.  He then went on to ask where are these people that will be taking over those leadership positions in 30 years from now when the church has grown too much more significant size that it is today?  He then pointed out that he was speaking to those leaders.  The youth of the church.  I realize this also includes our grandchildren, and all of the young  in the church.  That is the reason that we need to teach all of the youth of the church the basic doctrines of Christ, while they are young.  Much of what he said came from the book Preach My Gospel, which he highly recommended that all members of the church should be using especially parents to teach their children the basic doctrines of the Gospel.  It was a great fireside that we thoroughly enjoyed.  As we drove home on snow-covered roads I said to JoAnn that it is getting very wintry .