Sunday, June 3, 2012

               Wildflowers are blooming along the roadsides.  These lupines were on the way to Healy.
                                            A final district photo before transfers this week.
                                   On Saturday the branch had a flower planting service project.

                                                         These pansies were a great choice.
                                               Pres. Olsen,  Doug Maynes and Elder Spens
                                               A wedding reception for Jeris and Bethany.
Another quilt for a happy couple who "graduated."

     Yes we call it "graduation" when any of our YSA get married and leave the YSA and become young married adults. There are two additional weddings planned this summer along with two couples who are engaged and will be married after we leave in the fall. Sister Spens has been ambitious and able to produce a quilt for each of the YSA who get married under our watch. Marriage and the process of finding that person who appears to be the "right" one is one of the goals of the majority of our YSA. The are always some relationships brewing especially in the summer when there are so many more young people here to work along with the returning students who have been away and the returned missionaries of which we have had a recent surge in that population. 

     Living in this cool forested northern climate the wild flowers seem to flourish, and they are just starting. They seem to love to grow alongside the roads in the open areas where there is less competition. It is always a beautiful sight as we walk or drive places to have the different varieties show themselves as they decorate the highway or the roadside. 

     It does not take us long to settle into the new semesters institute schedule and we are doing so this summer. It is a more abbreviated teaching schedule with only two evening classes but we still seem to have many other things to accomplish to fill in the time. As you notice above the institute flower planting activity went very well. Before planting we trued up the beds and added compost to the soil. We let the YSA chose the flower type, color and quantity and it came out great. The "forget me not blue" pansies should do very well in our cool and long daylight growing conditions. We were quit amazed last summer at the rapid growth and the spectacular size of the flowering plants here in Fairbanks. The extra solar energy seems to be the secret. 

     There are two missionary districts in the Fairbanks zone and one of those districts is pictured above. Two of the elders pictured are being transferred out of the zone, and two of the elders are being moved into the Denali Park area to work with the influx of young people that have come there to work for the summer. At our institute class in Healy which is the city by Denali Park the young people there talked to us last week about talking to their friends about the church so hopefully there will be some YSA referrals this summer for the missionaries working there.

    There are new and exciting things happening this summer with a new area seminary coordinator having been assigned to the Fairbanks stake. We will now actually have a professional seminary and institute person who will be working very directly with us for training and supervision. We have not had this direct contact in the past and is should be a benefit to the CES programs here. We have five new seminary teachers to train this summer before school starts in the fall. Also we will have some time to train our replacement missionary couple who we understand will be starting about the 20th of August. We continue to be exited to be full time missionaries especially as we can see the close of this mission assignment coming fast. We love to work with the strong youth of the church and to do what we can to build and strengthen the church here in beautiful Alaska. 

Elder and Sister Spens