Sunday, March 18, 2012

 Occasionally we have to wait for a moose to cross the road in front of us and this one seemed to be in no hurry as it just lumbered across in front of us. They are about the size of a large draft horse.
 Sister Spens at the tomato green house at Chena hot springs. There are ripe tomatoes on those vines.
A YSA from the branch Eric is the greenhouse manager at the Chena Hot Springs greenhouses. That is lettuce growing in a hydroponic system and doing quite well.
 The pond behind is a hot spring at the Chena Hot Springs resort. It is a popular swimming spot here in Fairbanks. Pond temp. about 100 degrees air temp. about -4 degrees.
We had a zone conference this week and this is the zone picture with us and the Beesleys in the center.  Sorry some missionaries got cut off in the picture.
 We have an energetic pair of sisters working here in the Fairbanks area. Everyone loves the sister missionaries.
 The Alaska flag with the big dipper is also part of the symbolism of the mission logo.
That is a fire engine that was part of the experience at the Music Man production.
We had great Auroral displays this week. They were intense enough that we were able to see them from the area of the institute for the first time. This shows the top story of the house we are living in.

     This has been spring break at UAF and so there were no institute classes this week. We had a little time so we drove out to the Chena Hot Springs resort where a young single adult member of the branch is greenhouse manager. It is really quit amazing to see the vegetables growing and doing very well at their facility. We had lunch at the resort which included a delicious salad from the greenhouse and then had a guided tour of the greenhouses. All the plants are grown in a hydroponic system and the heat and light is all generated from the hot springs so it is very inexpensive to grow the plants. The road out to the Chena hot springs is pretty much a solid ice sheet. It is like driving on a scatting rink. We tried to pull a car that had slid of the road but we could not get any traction on the slick road to pull the car out. You can drive in those conditions but you just have to be very cautious.
     We have two brand new Elders serving the YSA branch and after a meeting with the branch president they proceeded to become stuck in our driveway. They had just slid off the relatively steep driveway and could not get out. I was able to hook our tow strap to their car and pull them down the driveway about thirty feet through the snow and free their car. I guess we should have taken a picture of that situation but our main concern was to get them out and on their way.
     We seem to see the moose on  a regular basis because we have been told that the moose herd here in the greater Fairbanks area is larger than it has ever been because the wolves that were their natural predators have been eliminated in the area. They are always interesting animals to watch. They seem to be quit oblivious to human presence and do not spook or run away easily.
     We had a zone conference this week and our mission president and his wife came up to Fairbanks along with two other senior couples who are in charge of vehicles and apartments. It was fortunate that we had a great Auroral display for them especially on Friday night. The zone conference was great. We had wonderful training from the zone leaders, the mission assistants and Pres. and Sister Beesley. Most of the training is in the proselyting domain which is not our exact assignment, however it is still very helpful since we have direct working relationship with the branch elders and the investigators they often bring to institute classes. Sister Spens made a batch of her famous home-made sweet rolls for breakfast at the zone conference. The zone conferences are always great spiritual experiences and a time to renew our commitment to serve the Lord in our missionary assignments.
    Lastly the picture of the fire engine above was a unique event. Our family evening group had gone the a performance of the Music Man put on by the Fairbanks Light Opera Society at the West Vally High School auditorium.  Gary Holyoak from our branch presidency took part with his barbershop quartet.  Well, during the performance the fire alarm system went off and we had to evacuate the building and stand out in the parking lot at -4 degrees and wait for the all clear. We waited about fifteen minutes and then returned to a great performance.  On our way home we saw a beautiful display of the northern lights as a finale to the evening.
 Elder and Sister Spens