Sunday, July 17, 2011

 This is a panoramic view of the city of Fairbanks from above the hill on which we live. As you can see the forest is thick and blocks the view of much of the city except for the larger business and industrial areas in the distance. If it were a clear day you would be able to see the Alaska range 125 miles in the distance across the Tanana valley.
 We continue to notice the wildflowers that grow here in Alaska including the Monk's Hood variety seen here.

 This is a clump of what appears to be wild delphinium growing along side of the road.
We have also noticed a profusion of mushrooms in the forests here. This is a pretty red variety pushing itself up through the leaves. We have no idea as to whether they are poisonous or not and we do not plan to find out either. The are just an interesting part of the spectacular Alaskan environment

     We have now been excluded from the institute for two weeks and our office and work area is now in our apartment. We moved our desktop computer and a table from the institute into our living room to create another office area. We will be in this situation for another three weeks or so until the building is painted and re-carpeted. It makes us appreciate so much the facility here in Fairbanks and the blessing it is to the YSA as well. It will be nice to be back into our home away from home institute building. We will post pictures of the new updated look when it is finished.
     We are about midway in our summer schedule with two main institute classes, one on Thursday at the stake center and one on Wednesday down at Delta Junction. We are teaching the Pearl of Great Price at both locations which is a wonderful book of scripture that is a pleasure to teach. We have a faithful group of YSA who continue to attend class. Our classes are made up of returned missionaries, college students and recent converts as well as the occasional visiting investigator. We still have remote areas of our stake some of which are literally in the 'bush' of Alaska and so they are only accessible by aircraft. Occasionally we will have a YSA visit from one of those areas. We are working on plans with the stake to try and provide institute services to those areas via the Internet broadcast of classes. This will require some new technology that our director in Seattle has approved although it has currently no budget. It is a work in progress.
     We had a surprise visit today in our block of meetings from Pres. and Sister Beesley. They decided to drive up her to Fairbanks from Anchorage to just visit the missionaries and do a few interviews. We had a chance to be interviewed briefly  after meetings and meet with Sister Beesley.  The Beesleys are working hard to keep the missionary work going in Alaska. They are truly great people and will be a real asset to the mission. We love the work here especially with our association with the YSA and for the opportunity to teach them. We have come to know many of them and many of their struggles, however they are faithful to the church, and we know the Lord will bless them.

Jim and JoAnn