Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Alaska World Ice Art Championships

                                                            Ice sculpting of an Indian
                                    This train ice sculpting is huge like fifteen feet tall and twenty feet long!
                                             This multiple piece was called "Garden Party".
                  At night the colored light give a different look to the pieces like this viking ship.
                                      This is a Chinese themed work with all kinds of animals. 
               This is a large leopard after a porcupine.  It was one of our favorites. It took first place in the contest for the multi-block carvings.

This final piece is one that some of our young people had been working on during the day we visited the international ice sculpting contest. It was the first time that they had done any ice sculpting. It was a pair of wings still waiting for details on the rest of the ice block. President Olsen and Elder Spens both worked on the ice with a wood working chisel to just get the feel of what it was like to carve in ice and it was very unique. We had a sizable group of young single adults attending an activity at the ice festival. There are people that come from all over the world to work on the carving competition. Some work on single blocks of ice like five by eight and two feet thick and others work on multiple blocks and get some of the works up fifteen or twenty feet into the air. There is a small lake next to the festival area where they cut the block of ice. It is amazingly clear with few bubbles and is free of any derbies that would discolor the ice. It is clear as glass even though it is two feet thick.

President Olsen is the branch president of t the YSA branch and even though he is our land lord and we live in his basement we have become very good friends with him and his wife. We actually have a lot in common with them including the raising of five boys and three girls. He has interests in wood and metal working and she is a quilter. We have come to know many of the LDS families that live here in the Fairbanks stake and we would include them now as our friends. Since we have never been transferred while serving here in Fairbanks and probably will not be transferred any where else our circle of friends from here continues to grow. Of course our main circle of friends are the YSA group and that group continues to add to our list of friends as well. Although the YSA group is in a state of constant change with all of their coming and going.  We also have a set of missionaries assigned to the YSA branch, and we have just received a new set of young men to work at the branch. We do work closely with them and do all we can to support and encourage their missionary activities. We continue to have investigators come to institute class that have been invited by the YSA's.

We are beginning to see some definite signs of the approaching spring here in Alaska. The sun is now high enough in the sky during the day to feel heat and the sun is warming the air, trees and the ground. We are actually seeing some beginnings of melting!  They call it the break up season rather than spring because of the many rivers that thread through the country. When the ice gets thin enough and the rivers start to flow enough the break up occurs and the rivers become navigable once again. They still use the large rivers to access the many villages along their shores.

We are looking forward to general conference this weekend and we always set up the institute for the viewing of all of the sessions along with breakfast goodies on Saturday and a pancake breakfast between sessions on Sunday. President Olsen challenged all of us at our family night to watch conference with the idea of having either questions on our mind to be answered or to simply listen to see what President Monson and the other general authorities will be teaching us to do. We are continuing to enjoy our calling as CES missionaries in the great Anchorage Alaska Mission.

 Elder and Sister Spens