Sunday, November 21, 2010

                                         Our first moose sighting on the way home from church.
                                          There are warning signs on the roads here in town but
                                          they seem to keep to the woods
                                    Sunrise from our road with the Denali range in the background.
                                    From here Denali is about 125 miles away across the forested plain.
                                            Elder Spens with the ice sculpture at North Pole. Can
                                           you tell which is which?
                                          Sister Spens with her warm coat good to -45 degrees.
                                          Anyone for a sleigh ride?
                                          Sunset from the Institute building. The sun at mid-day is
                                          only as high as the tops of the trees in the foreground.
                                      Denali park in the winter.It is cold wind swept and abandoned.

       We drove down to Denali  while visiting early morning seminary teachers in outlying towns. In winter even though the park is open it is pretty well abandoned. All commercial hotels , gift shops and restaurants are closed and snow blown.  Most all visitor facilities are shut down at the park as well.  The park rangers do have several dog sled teams you can rent with a guide to venture into the park.  The Nenana valley where Fairbanks is located is a vast sub-arctic forested plain that supports a very large population of moose. There are a lot of them that live here in town but there is so much forest that you just don't see them to often especially in the winter.
         We are starting to work on the curriculum for nest semester at the institute, and I believe we will be teaching more classes and be much busier.  It has warmed up today to 29 degrees and that seems very warm after weeks of around zero. We are starting to see dog sled activity as the snow gets a little deeper and we have seen people with a single dog pulling them along on cross country skies which seems to be quite the thing here. We are have a big Thanksgiving dinner/family home evening with all of the young single adults on the Monday of  Thanksgiving week. It is apparently the big event for the season. Last week I taught the Doctrine and Covenants class and it was the first time that we did not have any young single adult investigators attending. We are in constant communication with the proselyting elders assigned to the single adult branch and Institute and trying to come up with ways to introduce young people to the church.  JoAnn has invited the Elders over for dinner on Thanksgiving eve for a good spaghetti dinner.
          We are so grateful for family and friends that have taught us so much.  Each day is another blessing.  We continue to pray for you and for your families.  How grateful we are to be able to serve the Lord on this mission.  May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Jim and JoAnn