Sunday, August 14, 2011

                                              Elder Smith       Tim Surap            Elder Gledhill
                                        Elder Gledhill, Scott West, Andy Pusateri, Elder Smith
                                                A giant cabbage at the fair with a blue ribbon
                                          Melanie Johnson Payton dancing with her radio "star"
                                                   Robin Johnson with her orthodontist "star"
                                          Adam Dewey with his elementary school teacher "star"
                          Sunset in Fairbanks after a rainy drive home from teaching in Delta Junction

Missionary work is going strong in our Branch here.  Tim Surap and Andy Pusateri were both baptized this week.  Tim was baptized on Monday and Andy on Saturday.  I was asked to play the piano for both baptismal services.  This week we have another baptism scheduled on Wednesday.  What a blessing to see these men learn and make commitments to follow the Savior.

We had our last Institute classes for the summer this week as well.  I think we will really miss our drive to Delta Junction.  Some of our dear friends there are not returning to school in Fairbanks this fall, and we will miss them all.  Spencer Tappen just received his mission call to Campinas, Brazil.  He was so excited! 

The new carpet has been laid and we are returning to the Institute.  It's not my favorite color--a combination of blue, mauve, green, brown, and gray.  At least it won't show the dirt very much.  On Friday we took the computer, etc. back to the Institute.  We were able to get most of the pictures hung on the walls.  They take on a new look against white painted walls.  Hopefully it won't take us long to get organized once again. 

This week was the Fair in Fairbanks.  We decided to go to watch the branch members "Dancing with the Fairbanks Stars."  We were well represented with four of the seven dancers being members of the church.  Melanie was a member of the branch before she got married.  Her sister Robin and Adam Dewey are also from the branch and one seminary student Kyle Ashcraft also danced.  It was lots of fun watching them dance.  They all performed very well.  Adam has received his mission call to Brazil as well.  He will be leaving just after Christmas.  The produce at the fair made us realize that we didn't start early enough.  Giant cabbages are the "talk of the town" so to speak.  Our produce has been very meager.  Even though there is so much sunlight, it has been a very cool and rainy summer with lots of clouds.  Gardening in Alaska is an adventure.  The sun is now setting just after 10 pm.  Nights are beginning to get longer and the trees are beginning to look like they want to turn colors. 

Several of the young people here for the summer are leaving this week to return to school.  It has been a great experience getting to know them.  Perhaps some of them will return next year.  Elder Smith is returning home this Tuesday to Highland, Utah, after a wonderful mission.  We had Elder Smith and Elder Gledhill over for dinner this week for a farewell meal together.  It was fun to make lasagne with moose meat! It did taste good. 

We started a temple preparation class during Sunday School for two couples and Adam Dewey.  It's such a blessing to help them prepare to receive the great blessings of the temple.  (As a service project this week I have been altering Rachel's wedding dress.  It's tricky to buy a dress on the internet.  We had to cut 8" off the bottom and do some adjusting in the shoulders.  I felt blessed to figure out how to make it fit without taking it all apart.)

Our blessings here in Alaska are amazing.  We love being a small part of the Lord's work. The testimonies of the young missionaries and the young people continue to strengthen ours as well.  We encourage our family to share their testimonies with each other and their friends.  The Lord has greatly blessed us all. 

JoAnn and Jim