Monday, October 31, 2011

                                              A sample of the Thursday night treats for Institute.
               Joe Verhagen at his going away party as he leaves this Tuesday for his mission in the New York City South Mission.  (The same general area where Elder Spens was a young missionary.)
                            Nick Maynes at the Halloween party.  This Alaska bear gave his all for this costume.
                                          Andy Pusateri and Karlie Gray, our latest engaged couple.
                                           The pie eating contest at the branch Halloween party.
                                                     (Anne, Riley, Ethan, Taylor, Nick)

Another week has passed with more adventures in classes and other fun activities.  We were excited to have some of our students from Delta Junction and Nenana come for classes this week.  It's always a boost to our spirits and to the classes when the students from a ways away are able to come join us.  President and Sister Hull spoke at our Institute class on Tuesday night and it was wonderful to hear their testimonies on how faith in Jesus Christ can help us provide for ourselves and others.  Sue Hull is one of our seminary teachers, and Pres. Hull is a member of the stake presidency.  Both of them are wonderful teachers.  Our broadcast is getting better, but it is only available at the time of the class because of our internet speed.  We hope some are able to log in on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Saturday evening we took two of the young adults with us to Nenana to the Verhagen's home to say good bye to Joe.  He is a great young man and he is so excited to go to the big city to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Some of his family have been having a wonderful adventure in Utah being part of the cast for the New Testament videos the Church has been filming in Goshen.  We were able to see some wonderful pictures and hear about their experience.  We can't wait until the final production comes out.  Josh Verhagen is very grateful to be clean shaven again and have his hair cut as well.  Here is a link to a video clip of the filming.  Josh is the young man standing behind the girl in the first picture.  He is also standing behind the widow as she deposits her mite in the temple coffers.

Saturday evening was also the Branch Halloween party at the Institute.  The kids did a wonderful job of decorating and planning a fun time.  All of those that were there had a great time.  It's fun to see them having such a great time together.  They really enjoy each others' company.  Nick gave me quite a start when he hid behind my door in his real black bear skin.

Today was Sunday.  We traveled to Healy about 128 miles away to speak in Sacrament Meeting.  We needed to visit our seminary teachers there and were able to do some training as well as have a seminary lesson with the two families that are teaching seminary at home.  We were anxious to get them started.  Some times we have a difficult time getting in touch with our teachers that are far away.  I hope things will go well with their seminary experiences.  Each family has one child that they are teaching.  At least now we have some contact information and know who we are talking to.  That is a huge help.  They were very kind to have a nice lunch for us afterwards.

It has been a great blessing to be able to study the gospel of Jesus Christ and share it with students and branches here in Alaska.  The more we study and learn of Him, the more we will feel His love for us and He can become our greatest friend.  Understanding and relying on the Atonement of Jesus Christ takes a lifetime of learning that can bring us the greatest joy.  Have a wonderful week.

JoAnn and Jim