Monday, April 18, 2011

                                                      Early morning seminary teachers:
                                              Diane Roe, Lori Ames, Sister Spens, Maureen Law
                                                     Marcia Evarts, Sue Hull, Trisha Johnson
                                           Gary Holyoak, Pres. Olsen, Elder Spens, John Boyle
                                   A great bonfire while we waited for a dark sky that never came. 
                                                            Alaska sky at 10:30 pm.
                                               "Singing Mothers" at Stake Conference

   Well we continue to move along with our missionary work here in Alaska. We have now passed our six month anniversary and it seem like we just arrived yesterday. Time certainly flies while we are busy here with Institute teaching, early morning seminary coordination and inservice and our continued work with the YSA branch. We are starting to receive young people that are coming to Alaska for the summer to work in the tourist industry. Our branch and institute will apparently grow in numbers for the summer season. We are responsible for starting a summer class at the Healy branch down at Denali Park for the large number of YSA that come from the BYU and BYU Idaho campus every summer.  It will be an interesting experience.

     The Alaska Fairbanks Stake is the largest geographical stake in the USA. It goes from Barrow in the north to Tok in the south a distance of about 800 miles. Stake conference is broadcast to the outlying branches. That is our stake presidency sitting on the stand at conference. (The conference was held in the auditorium of the high school.)  The singing mothers chorus had over 100 members including women in the outlying branches that joined in. JoAnn and I were asked to bear our testimonies at the general session of stake conference so that people in the stake would get to know us a little better. I was talking to a Brother in Barrow on Sunday evening and he said we came across just fine in the broadcast. If you want to see the testimonies you can go to the stake web sight at  move forward to minute 138.00 in the general session if you do not want to hear all.  We just took a couple of minutes each to bear witness of the truthfulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  Also if you want to hear JoAnn sing, the choir is recorded at the beginning and also the closing song.  President and Sister Dance, our mission president and wife, also spoke.  It was great to have them there as well.

     Also above are a couple of pictures of the Friday night star gazing activity.  However, it fell a little short because it is now at a point where it just does not get dark. Alaska always amazes us.  There is a prevailing dusky glow all night that will turn in to all but full sunlight in June. Also pictured above are some of our 13 early morning seminary teachers. Notice the clock on the wall. Yes, we did start our early morning inservice at 6:30 am.  The rest participate in our inservice via a telephone polycom system. It is great to be here in Alaska and to be teaching the gospel and serving the Lord.

Jim and JoAnn