Sunday, January 15, 2012

                             It was so good to see the sun that I had to take a picture out our window.
               Today's newspaper talks about the low temperatures we have been having.  It was -47 when Jim and President Olsen went to pick up a returning student last night. 
  In his spare time this summer, Jim created this birch bowl similar to one we saw in the Anchorage Museum.
            Another artifact replica of a knife and box with Tlingit designs that Jim made this summer.

We started out this week with specialized training for the missionaries at the Institute with Pres. and Sister Beesley.  It is always a pleasure to have them come and feel their testimonies.  Their encouragement and direction to the missionaries is a blessing.  We appreciate the time we have to spend with them.  Their son was also with them this time sharing their mission experience.

With classes starting this week, we have been preparing lessons and schedules.  We are excited every time we see one of the students return from the holidays.  We expect others to come back this week as well that were gone for Fall semester.  I have also been working on completing the cataloging of the books in the library.  Each day I get closer to the end.  I hope it will be helpful.  We have had a lot of use of the library last semester, and I hope it will continue.

This week we stopped by a quilt store near the Institute that I had seen before.  I saw a quilt in the store that caught my eye.  It was called a 10-minute block quilt.  It looks like we may be having more weddings in the future, so I decided to give it a try and get ahead of things.  Sister Olsen has quite a collection of fabric that she had offered to build these quilts.  I was able to find some fabrics that went together quite well.  When the weather is well below -40, it is easy to spend preparation day sewing in the warm house.  It's much easier to create quilt throws than bed quilts as well.  They are not as large.

Today it was -45 degrees and there was ice fog in the valley.  That means that we only have sacrament meeting.  The cold can be dangerous if you get stuck.  We offered to stop by and pick up Trisha and Cristina on the way to church, but they said they would be fine.  Half way to church, we got a call asking us to come to their rescue.  Trisha's car would not start.  Often on cold mornings our meetings are a little slow to start in hopes that others will arrive.  This morning they were waiting for us.  We had a wonderful talk from the stake primary president on the importance of having courage.  She talked about Queen Ester in the Old Testament and how much she needed courage to go before the king.  However, she prepared herself by fasting and prayer and asked her people to do the same in her behalf.  We all have things in our lives that require a great amount of courage.  It takes courage to live the commandments and to be examples of those who love the Savior and show it by the lives we live.  We are grateful for family and friends who have shown us great examples of courage in the face of illness or life's troubles--or even when life seems relatively good.

We are so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We love serving here in Alaska even in the cold.  Our hearts are warm with our testimonies that Jesus Christ lives and that this is His church restored to the earth for the last time.  He loves all of us and wants us to follow Him so that we can return to Him someday.

With love,
JoAnn and Jim