Monday, August 8, 2011

          This is 'fire weed' it grows all over Alaska and adds waves of purple color to the roadside views.
                                    Wildfires are common in in the vast interior forests of Alaska.
                                    They are allowed to burn unless they threaten property.
                                    This one is in the Tanana valley looking out from a hill in Fairbanks.
                  Every Thursday after institute class the YSA linger for food prepared by Sister Spens.
                                 This is our first tomato of the season grown in a small green house                                                                   in our land lords back yard.
                        There are a great variety of mushrooms that grow in the forest here in Alaska.
                        They are all very colorful if not eatable.

     We continue to have our 'office' in our apartment while we wait for the new carpet to be installed in the institute building. The good news is that it should be installed this coming week and then we can move back in to the institute building. We had an inservice meeting for the early morning seminary teachers this last Friday that included a good meal. We did not have many of our teachers attend because some were still out of town or possibly due to the distances between branches and wards in our stake. President Payton of the stake presidency attended and gave council to the teachers.
     We are winding down our summer semester of institute classes as we plan to start up both early morning seminary and the fall semester of institute classes. We have no idea how many YSA will be here after all of the ones who are working here for the summer leave and the new students attending UAF arrive for the fall semester. There is just constant turnover. There was a young man baptized a week ago and three more young men will be baptized in the next two weeks. Some of them attend our institute classes and all are attending the branch services on Sunday. It is great to see the growth of the church due to the missionary activity here in the YSA branch.
     As noted above you will see our first ripe tomato (a single sweet million cherry variety) on the plate waiting to be eaten. Coincidentally the day we picked and ate our first tomato was also the day that there was the first frost warnings for the Tanana valley. Summers in Alaska are a little wet and cool. There is little farming in Alaska and the few commercial farms grow cool weather crops or grain crops. Most people that have gardens here in Fairbanks use containers within greenhouses.
     We continue to teach classes, feed and fellowship the YSA and work closely with the investigator and recent converts as well as try to expand the blessings of institute classes to more YSA in the stake. We love being missionaries and working in the great Alaska mission.

Have a wonderful week!
Jim and JoAnn