Monday, June 13, 2011

                                 We found about 100 butterflies gathered on the edge of a stream.
                                   Roger Holyoak a co-worker at Eisenhower Jr. High and father
                                   of our Branch Elders Quorum President here for a visit.
                                     Institute students working on a project during class this week.
                                          President and Sister Dance with our Institute t-shirts. 
               Our final Fairbanks Zone conference with Pres. and Sister Dance before they return home.

This week has been eventful to say the least.  On Tuesday for our anniversary, we did some exploring to find a site that might be a good place to take Trisha Haines and her family when they come visit next month.  Her brothers want to go gold panning.  We did find two old Alaskan guys that demonstrated how it is done.  We brought home some buckets of mud from a couple of rivers to see what we might find.  I think we will be lucky to find a tiny speck, but it's out there.  The country is beautiful and green now. 

Wednesday we started another class in Delta Junction.  There were five wonderful young adults there, and we expect more this week.  Delta Junction is 100 miles away.  Although we have to travel close to 2 hours to get there, it's worth it.  Coming home isn't a problem, because it doesn't get dark anymore.  Sunset today is at 12:37 am and sunrise at 3:05 am.  That's about 2 1/2 hours of "night?" 

Gary Holyoak brought his family to the Institute for lunch on Wednesday.  His dad worked with Jim at Eisenhower Jr. High several years ago.  It was fun for them to see each other again.  His parents and brother and sister came to see Alaska.  Gary served a mission here and came back to work and go to school.  On Saturday night we were able to attend a concert in Pioneer Park.  Gary sings with a barber-shop quartet as well as a larger group.  They are really good.  Gary is the "token young person" and the others are "old sourdoughs."  We had a fun time.

Thursday we had a wonderful group of students come for Institute class.  They often come early to play games or help out with anything.  I was grateful to have their help husking corn for the Zone Conference the next day.  Our Branch continues to grow.  Every week we have more young people that have come to work.  Today we had two missionaries speak that just returned home this week.  Their families have really been looking forward to having them back at least for a time. 

Friday was zone conference.  Our Branch was in charge of feeding the Elders at lunch, so I volunteered to help out since I would be there anyway.  The Relief Society President purchased all the food and brought it to me.  I was glad that I had time on Thursday to start some of the cooking.  I was so grateful for the members of the branch that were able to come help along with some of their mothers.  The lunch was a success and the missionaries stomachs were filled.  Thursday evening it was decided that zone conference would be at the Institute instead of the Stake Center because of construction.  We were so glad to have all the missionaries together with us.  President and Sister Dance will be leaving in a couple of weeks to return home.  Their guidance and direction and love have really made an impact on all of us.  We will truly miss them.   Our conference lasted all day and ended with a wonderful testimony meeting.  What a blessing it is to be able to share the blessing of the gospel of Jesus Christ with others.  We are so fortunate to know that the Church of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth and invite all to come to know the Savior and receive the blessings  His gospel brings. 

May the Lord bless you!
JoAnn and Jim