Monday, February 13, 2012

                      Some of the Branch learning teaching and learning how to family history indexing.
                             We have several new missionaries in Fairbanks here in a training meeting.
                                    A city Bobcat "shoveling" the sidewalks in front of the Institute.
                              Here comes a road grader to help out. Interesting equipment in Alaska.

 The weather has been warmer, and we are grateful for that!  When it gets warmer, the tractors start coming out to clear the sides of the roads and the sidewalks which are also used for bike paths.  We thought this was an interesting pair of machines working on our sidewalks. 

It's been a fun and busy week here.  There have been new missionaries to meet as well as other interesting activities.   Monday nights always mean Family Home Evening with a group from the Branch.  For an activity we made Danish woven heart baskets to put on Trisha and Cristina's Christmas tree for some Valentine decorations.  We each selected a scripture about the heart and wrote it on a slip of paper that we put inside the basket.  It was fun watching the guys make baskets they probably hadn't made since elementary school. 

Tuesday evening we had class as usual.  We broadcast our class on the Fairbanks Stake web site in hopes that we might be able to reach some of those who cannot attend.  Along with class, we had an activity for the elders quorum to learn how to do indexing.  It was a great opportunity to show the guys how to look at old records and transcribe them on their computers making them available for people to use in finding their ancestors.  We felt like we had accomplished something by the end of the evening and hopefully we will be able to help others get enthused with this great service. 

Wednesday morning we had our inservice meeting with our seminary teachers.  We were able to share some of the training that we received in Anchorage last week.  We are so grateful for our teachers' commitment and willingness to teach early morning classes.  They are wonderful.  When we have to be at the institute by about 6:00 a.m. we really appreciate those who teach early every day. 

Thursday we had classes again.  I was so pleased to have seven students attend my class.  It was an answer to my prayers and I told them so.   We have so many wonderful young people that we wish would take the opportunity to join with us in our classes.  Today we had Bro. and Sister Thomas come to the branch.  They have just been called as leaders for the stake for the single adults and have been asked to help in activating  those who are not attending.  It will be great to work together in this project.

President and Sister Beesley were here in Fairbanks for training and interviews.  They came to visit with us this evening over a bowl of soup at the institute.  We also were able to call in on the polycom to a fireside in Barrow.  Elder Tonga (who is from Tonga) told how he became a member of the Church.  He had a friend that invited him to attend church with him for a long time.  However, he didn't want to know anything about it.   One evening it was his birthday and he was having a big drinking party with his friends.  His friend next door came over and gave him a gift for his birthday.  It was a copy of the Book of Mormon.  He was so upset that he threw it out in the yard and told his friend to leave.  Later that evening he got very drunk and just trashed his house.  In the morning he saw the book in the yard and wondered how it got there.  He picked it up and opened it.  He read a few verses that really touched him.  His friend saw him out in the yard with the book and went over to see him.  Elder Tonga wondered how his friend got a broken nose.  He told him that he had hit him while he was drunk.  Elder Tonga didn't even remember.  However, he did read the book and prayed about it to know if it was true.  After turning his life around, we was baptized and is now serving a mission to help others come to know Jesus Christ and have the blessings of His gospel in their lives.  What a blessing it has been to us to get to know some of the wonderful missionaries in Alaska.  We also know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and it will bless the lives of those who read it and pray to find out if it is true.

Happy Valentine's Day to all of our family and loved ones at home!

JoAnn and Jim