Sunday, April 29, 2012

                                     A few of the senior missionaries in front of the Mission Office.
                                       What a beautiful day to enjoy a trip to the Kenai Peninsula.
  This is looking across the Turn Again arm of the Cook bay south of Anchorage. The forest as well as the snow come right down to sea level in this part of Alaska.                                   
                       This old Russian Orthodox Church is in old Kenai and is on the historic register.
                                         Some of the senior sisters in the mission home kitchen.
                                           An "official" photo with Pres. and Sister Beesley
                                               This Tlingit art is in the Anchorage Airport.

It has been an interesting week for us.  We made our final trip to Anchorage to our Seminary and Institute training with our area leader.  We really enjoy learning from the experienced teachers.  There are so many things to learn about being a better teacher and taking care of the program here. Those in charge of the Seminary and Institute program of the church are trying their best to turn us into official S&I teachers.  Some changes were made in the organization of our area which will allow us to have closer contact with Bro. Beames who will now be our area coordinator.  The state of Alaska was split up in two general areas.  We look forward to working closer to Bro. Beames.  He plans to come visit next month to give us more direction.  It was a hard thing to realize that we probably wouldn't see Bro. Greg Bishop again or the Schlindlers who will be leaving Juneau in July. 

As always, we took the opportunity to attend the Anchorage Temple.  There were a few crocuses blooming on the temple grounds to welcome spring.  We still don't have leaves on the trees, but it looks promising.  It is a great blessing to be able to stay in the mission home.  Pres. and Sister Beesley are so kind and helpful.  All of the senior missionaries that were in the Anchorage area had a dinner on Friday evening.  It is a great opportunity to talk with the other missionary couples and share experiences and just get to know each other better.   The Parkers will be leaving next week, and others later in the summer.  Things are in constant change, but the work goes on. 

Thursday we borrowed a mission car and took a little trip out on the Kenai Peninsula.  We have been told how beautiful it was.  We really enjoyed the opportunity to see a little more of Alaska.  It is interesting to see a little history as well.  There is still a bit of Russian influence in the old towns especially on the coast. 
Earlier this week we had a homeless man come into the institute to see if he could "hang out with God's children."  He was very aware of how important it is to help others improve their lives.  He visited one of our classes and was at church again today.  He told us how impressed he was with our young people who not only talk of Christ, but also try to live as He did.  They really are good examples.  

Today we had our last temple preparation class with a couple that is planning to get married and with a new sister missionary who got her visa and will be flying to Brazil to begin her mission next week.  It is such a blessing for us to associate with such wonderful young adults.  I am so grateful the the blessings of the temple that allow families to be sealed for time and for eternity.  We are aware everyday of the blessing it is to have a family and how important our families are.   We pray for the Lord to watch over and bless all of you while we are here.

With love,
JoAnn and Jim