Sunday, February 20, 2011

                               A part of the group that we traveled with to the Anchorage Temple.

                                            Elder Spens                        Pres. Robert Hull
                                                        Mallory            Jung               Hannah
                                                       The caribou soup was delicious.
                                                           Some of the young adults from the branch on the bus.

The Anchorage Temple is 350 miles away from Fairbanks and in the winter the road is ice packed most of the way. Temple attendance during the winter requires a long and  difficult journey. However, before the Anchorage temple the temple in Seattle was the closest and required a trip by airplane or ferry of over 100 miles. Laura Bruger, a member of our Wed. night class, invited us to ride the bus with her ward.  As it became closer, more seats were available for members of our Young Adult Branch to ride as well.  The cost of the bus as well as the hotel room was provided by some very generous members of the 2nd Ward.

On the bus ride we had excellent views of the twenty thousand foot high Mt. McKinley  from the parks highway.  Even though the weather was clear,  clouds surrounded the summit of the highest mountain in North American. They say it is so tall it makes its own weather. We also had a grand view of the northern lights on our return trip late Saturday night.

Jung, a recent convert to the church who was raised in the farming and military community of Delta Junction attended the temple for the first time, and her enthusiasm for that event was overwhelming. She did not think she could sleep at the hotel the night before we went to the temple. Then in the morning when the bus approached the temple and she saw the angel Moroni statue on top of the temple she felt the spirit so strongly she cried at the sight. She performed baptisms for the dead and after I told her that she had just barely scratched the surface in terms of the blessings that the temple had in store for her. She said she could hardly wait until she could return.

Besides the temple trip we are already starting to think about the summer semester and what courses to offer at the institute, and also how we are going to set things up. We also need to set up an extension class at Denali park for the summer to accommodate all of the BYU students that come up to work at the park. Apparently the park service and concessionaires recruit at the BYU campus in the spring. All in all it has been a great week.

We are so blessed to have so many temples available to us.  Please take advantage of attending the temple.  We also want to encourage our grandchildren who are old enough to go to the temple and do baptisms.  Life comes into clearer perspective when we are serving others who have died without a knowledge of the gospel.  You will be blessed every time you go. 

Jim and JoAnn