Monday, November 14, 2011

                   Baked potato toppings, potato soup, and potato-topped shepherds pie with moose meat.           
                               Jeremy Roe, Gary Holyoak, Matt Chandler, David Hartshorn enjoying potatoes.
                                           David Hartshorn, Tyler White and others enjoying home evening.
                           Elder Spens, Lyndell Goolsby, Graten, Sister Spens after seminary in Tok.
                     The beautiful Alaska range  mountains near Tok as we were returning this morning before sunrise.

It's been another wonderful week.  On Monday evening, we had a combined home evening at the Institute.  The main purpose was to teach the young people how to use potatoes in making nutritious meals.  We had great fun preparing baked potatoes, twice-baked potatoes, potato soup, and a potato-topped casserole.  Those that came had a great time and left with full stomachs. 

Besides regular classes, this week we had an inservice class for our seminary teachers.  Several called in to join us by phone.  It's a great way to share ideas and meet with those in far away places.  It's always a delight to meet with the teachers.  Yesterday (Sunday) we drove to Tok which is about 240 miles away near the Canadian border.  We were curious about the origin of the name "Tok"? We were told that when the highways were first being built that there were a lot of Japanese workers there and they called the junction "Little Tokyo" and it just became Tok. The word that is pronounced tok is also the Inupiat word for hacking away at ice. Anyway the branch meets in the Goolsby's home.  Since they only have about 30 members total, they were happy to ask us to speak.  It was a good thing that they meet at 1 p.m., because it took us about 4 hours to get there.  Pres. Goolsby said after our sacrament talks that we had been an answer to his prayers. He did not elaborate but our talks were just our regular presentations that we have been using at various sacrament meetings. JoAnn talks about agency and Jim talks about the doctrine of learning. After meetings, we were invited to join Pres. Goolsby and his family for dinner.  It's always fun to be in their home.  The Goolsby's moved into their new home in February.  It's lovely.  This morning we met with Sister Gooslby and their son Graten for a class on the Old Testament.  Sister Goolsby also home teaches her children, and she is always well prepared.  On the way home, the mountains were visible and the sky was clearing.  Alaska is a beautiful place. We saw about four moose along the road and  we were surprised to find it warmer in Tok than in Fairbanks.  It was about 14 degrees there.  It is unusual for them to be so warm at this time of year. 

On Thursday I had the opportunity to teach a class on becoming and finding an eternal companion.  Even though I only had three students, we had a good discussion.  I felt like it was time well spent.  Elder Spens' class was larger as usual.  There are more students that are off work in time to come to his class on the Old Testament.  We also had two students view it online on our stake web site.  We hope that broadcasting the classes will encourage more to participate. 

I have been working on cataloging the library as often as I can.  It's coming along pretty well.  We stopped in Delta Junction at their public library to stretch our legs on the way home.  The librarian is a member of the church there and always welcomes us.  It always reminds me of wonderful times working in the library at Park Lane and the wonderful friendships with those I worked with.

We enjoyed talking to Jenny and the kids on Sunday evening.  It's hard to believe that we have been here over a year.  We can tell that the grand kids are growing up fast.  We do love each one in our family and miss all of you.  Don't forget to have family home evening.  We love the Lord and love being missionaries. 

 Love to all of you!
JoAnn & Jim