Sunday, May 29, 2011

                                       A view of the valley and mountains in Denali National Park.
                                   A couple of caribou we saw trying to find something green to eat.
                                         Can you find the Ptarmigan - the real state bird of Alaska?
                             We saw this grizzly bear making it's way across the snow a long ways away.
                                               Two Dahl sheep posing by the side of the road.
                                    Our local wildlife.  This mosquito flew into our apartment today.

This week took us to Healy, near Denali National Park to set up the institute class there.  Things are never what you expect them to be here in Alaska.  We found out that they had already had the class early due to a Relief Society meeting and graduation scheduled on Wednesday.   However, all was not in vain.  We were finally able to meet Roben Shreeve, one of our seminary teachers, and her husband Weston who is the branch president.  We left some materials for Tallon Shreeve, the institute teacher, to use in the class.  The tourist season is in full swing near Denali and the Shreeve family is very involved.  We also met an investigator that is preparing to be baptized before long.   The Lord blesses us in unusual ways.  We only were able to meet the Shreeves because we were looking for Katrina Miller, one of our branch who is working in the gift shop this summer.  Roben happens to be her boss. 

We had previously arranged to take the tour bus into Denali.  It was a 6 hour trip and was very enjoyable.  We were very fortunate to see all of the major wildlife in the park, the moose, the caribou, two grizzly bears, one wolf, and the Dahl sheep.  I'm grateful that we had our binoculars with us to make animal watching a lot more fun.  Denali Park will not be green for another couple of weeks. 

Our institute class here in Fairbanks started on Thursday.  We are studying the Pearl of Great Price.  We were delighted that there were several new people that attended class.  We never know how things will go with the work schedules of our students.  The cinnamon rolls and milk were a hit as well.  We are so blessed to be able to work with the students here.  They are remarkable.

Today we had a wonderful sacrament meeting.  The speakers were assigned to talk about how prayer had helped them in their lives.  It was very inspirational.  Afterwards during Priesthood and Relief Society, President Olsen spoke to the whole group about the song "Keep the Commandments."  He told us how those three words were the advise given to the press by President Howard W. Hunter on the passing of Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith.  He committed all of us "Keep the Commandments" by studying the scriptures every day, having a kneeling prayer at least two times every day, and by doing some service to someone every day.  He promised that the Lord would help and protect us if we did those things.  We, too, know that the Lord will bless us every day as we keep His commandments and serve others.  May the Lord continue to bless and be with our family and friends.

With love,
JoAnn and Jim