Monday, February 20, 2012

                                        At family home evening, we met up with Flat Stanley.
                                        He is a character in a favorite story book that has world adventures.
                                               A beautiful sunset from our front yard.
                            On Saturday we went for a walk in the forest at Creamer's field.  The sun was
                            warm and the sky was clear and blue, and it wasn't too cold,  20 degrees.
                          Our friend Cristina took this picture of us.  We met her and walked with her.
            This is the aurora on the 18th of Feb. It was quite a spectacular display of the northern lights.
                       Another picture the same night of the aurora over Fairbanks from our front yard.
                                 These bands of intense green move and flow like a river in the sky.
                    The aurora sometimes starts like this and then intensifies as it moves across the sky.

     We have had another great week here in Alaska. The night skies were lit up with fairly intense aurora for the last couple of nights. Our land lord Bro. Olsen who has lived here in Alaska all of his life said that the display on Saturday night was just about as spectacular as he had seen in his lifetime. The pictures above only show a small portion of the horizon to horizon display. The aurora is constantly moving sometimes very slowly and sometimes very rapidly as the colors ebb and flow. It is truly a glorious sight to behold and no camera or even video can portray the splendor of the northern lights. We were returning home Saturday night about 8 PM and I said to JoAnn wouldn't it be nice if we had a good display of the northern light one of these nights since this will be our last winter here. JoAnn saw a small aurora display in the sky as we drove along our normal route home. By the time we arrived home the sky was beginning to intensify and so it continued.  There were some beautiful displays on Valentine's day, so we decided to figure out how to take a long exposure pictures on our camera for the next time.  We were pleased with our pictures on Saturday.

    Our work with teaching the YSA continues as we spend most of our time at the institute building. We are either preparing, teaching or working on clerical or administrative tasks to keep the institute and early morning seminary programs running.  President Packer said that the seminary and institute programs were nice but not necessary when they started but now are a bulwark of protection for the youth of the church without which the youth of the church would be at a great loss. This week we also met three or four brand new YSA three of which were new investigators looking into the church and one was a young lady who just dropped into the institute to indicate a desire to return to activity in the church and just wanted to know what time meetings and classes were. We also have frequent calls to the institute regarding YSA or their families requesting information about the church and its meeting schedule or how to get church records etc. Our phone number is the only one in the City of Fairbanks that when they call in the day time they will get a person to answer and we seem to help a good number of people this way.

     I guess we had better tell you what the significance of "Flat Stanley" is if you do not already know.  Often in second grade the children read the story of Flat Stanley.  This particular Flat Stanley (because he is flat) was sent to an aunt in Fairbanks from a young girl in the lower 48.  His adventures in Alaska will be recorded on film and also on paper and returned to the sender.  It makes a very fun class activity to learn about many places around the world that Stanley visits. 

Jim and JoAnn