Monday, May 14, 2012

Family home evening going for a walk at Creamer's Field.
                                 Green is starting to show on the trees in the hills and the valley.                           
                                                                  In Creamer's Field
                                    The Canada Geese are here at Creamer's Field bird refuge.
                                 Dinner for our friend Chris Johnson at a local Thai restaurant.
                Elaina and Miriam were baptized on Friday.  They have just been adopted by the Smith family.

What a wonderful week we have had.  Monday our family home evening group went for a walk in Creamer's Field and enjoyed the beautiful cool weather and the very large mosquitoes.  It's so much fun to spend time with the young people we have met here.  Every week we have more returning home to Alaska and more coming to work here for the summer.  There are new friends to make every week.

The hills are finally beginning to turn green.  Probably within a week the trees will be totally leafed out and it will be summer.  The first flowers -- dandelions are starting to bloom.  We are really enjoying the nice weather and the sunshine.  The sunrise is at 4:30 am and sunset is at 11:00 pm.  Night never gets really dark now.  The sun continues to stay longer each day.  It's just Alaska.

Our last institute class for this semester was on Tuesday evening.  Although it began as a class for older stake members, most of them have stopped coming.  On Tuesday, we had 12 new young adults come to class from the Branch.  It was wonderful!  This week we will begin our summer schedule.  Things are always changing, but lots of fun.

Chris Johnson who was in our branch presidency when we first arrived, flew into Fairbanks this week for a short visit.  He has been working in Pennsylvania.  Several of his friends went to dinner at a local Thai restaurant, and we were invited to join them.  It's good to see friends if only for a little while.  Elder Spens took some flyers along that advertised our English classes for Thai speakers that are taught by a returned missionary from Thailand. 

Friday was a special day for Elaina and Miriam Smith who were baptized.  They have recently been adopted into the Smith family who have been their foster parents for a few years.  They were so excited to be baptized.  They have been waiting for two years.  They are beautiful girls.  We have come to know them through our associations with the Verhagen family in Nenana.  Their mother is a former Verhagen.  Now they are looking forward to being sealed to their new parents in August in the Anchorage Temple and become part of an eternal family. 

Today was Mother's Day.   I'm so glad I can still call home to my mother.  She had her 90th birthday this week.  I have learned so much from her beautiful example of faith and service.  Happy Mothers' Day to all the beautiful mothers in our lives and in our family!!

Today was also Seminary and Institute Graduation.  Our theme this year was from Proverbs 3:5-6.  "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct they paths."  There was a wonderful spirit and the speakers were excellent.  All of the seminary students within driving distance (100 miles) sang "If the Savior Stood Beside Me."  It was beautiful.  I will admit that I get a little crazy getting everything together and ready with last minute changes, etc., but all went well.  We are so grateful for the faithful teachers who spend so much time and energy teaching these students to love the Savior.  They are truly blessing the lives of those they teach.  As we thought about the theme, we realized how important it is to trust in the Lord.  Our trust in Him has lead us here to Alaska.  It has blessed our family and continues to do so.  We are so grateful.

Love to all,
JoAnn & Jim