Monday, March 5, 2012

                           This ice bear looks like the crystal candy bears we used to get at Christmas.
                                       A spotted seal ice carving at the entrance to the Ice Festival.
Welcome to Alaska and the Ice Festival.
                        Jung Ames, one of our "graduated/married" young adults and her sweet daughter.
                                          This would be Sister Spens desk at the institute.
                                            Surprise, we found Cristina is already a family friend.

     The pictures above represent friends, events and conditions here in the great Anchorage Alaska mission. As our adventures continue so do our circle of friends and associations and even additions as shown above with the birth of a child of one of the young adults that had just been baptized before our arrival eighteen months ago. And by the way we are now on one of the new six month senior missions as that is approximately the time we have remaining in our assignment here. I have the feeling that the time will pass all to quickly. We are already approaching midterm break in the spring semester of the institute class schedule and we are thinking about the summer schedule of classes.
     The ice sculpting above is representative of pieces all over town. It is a very popular activity here in Fairbanks due to the constant cold that preserves the ice. The international ice festival is currently underway and it attracts artists from around the world.
       As you can see above Sister Spens desk area is highly organized  as our assignment has finally taken on a certain routine with teaching institute classes, conducting inservice for early morning seminary as well as taking care of all of the attendance and grading records, etc. We have also had three new seminary teachers to train and get set up for this semester. Even though we still have plenty to do at least we are not quite so overwhelmed with the whole thing, but rather just keep going and working and moving the work of the Lord in these areas along to the best of our abilities.
     Cristina pictured above is a law clerk working here in Fairbanks in the court system. She also happened to stay at Andrea and Trevor house while in Salt Lake because of her relation to the Chileans that visited Trevor from his mission. We were all surprised with the connections between her and our family.
     We had a great CES fireside with Elder Quentin Cook as the speaker. He basically told the young adults that they were a great generation that were more prepared in terms of their spiritual preparation than any generation in the past. They are called by some the millennial generation and some think they are ill prepared for their future. However, Elder Cook chose to differ and said that the youth of the church and especially the 18 to 30 year olds have better preparation than any other generation in the restored church and will take their place as leaders, fathers and mothers in Zion and that the church is in good hands.

Jim and JoAnn