Monday, July 16, 2012

                                        Fire weed field view 150 miles north of Fairbanks on the Dalton highway

                                                   After dinner with Fairbanks friends.

                                  Tim with his wedding quilt in the institute director's office.
                                            Close view of the great quilt made by Sister Spens.

                  This is a viny blue flowered weed that grows along the roadsides in Fairbanks

                                 Our cool weather garden of kale. It is great in salads and sandwiches.
                        Missionary fireside choir plus 3 YSA sisters practicing before the fireside.

We have enjoyed another great week of missionary work, institute class teaching and training of new early morning seminary teachers. We also started training our official replacement couple the Hulls. They are a local service live at home couple who will be taking over our position on the 20th of Aug. We had our first training session with them this week. They also attended the training sessions for the early morning seminary teachers. This training for the first time since we have been here was conducted via a video/computer connection from our new coordinator Scott Beams. In the past all of the training has been entirely done by us. It will be a great strength to the seminary program to have  a professional S&I coordinator to do training here in Fairbanks. I don't know why they did not have such a position in the past few years here in Fairbanks especially with us serving as new to the entire program.

We also had the opportunity to review a masters thesis presentation from Cameron Bodly who is a physics student at UAF. His presentation was on acoustic and shock waves and was very interesting at least to Elder Spens if not so much to Sister Spens. Cameron is completing his degree and leaving Fairbanks. He is representative of the  many YSA we have come t know and love for a season then they leave to go off to school, go on a mission or get married. There are only about half a dozen YSA that are here now that were here when we arrived almost two years age.

We continue to have the opportunity to teach visitor/investigators that come to our institute classes. They are usually invited by YSA friends. One commented after class this last week that she loved to come to "institution". They always have to learn the LDS culture and terminology. We gave a copy of the Book of Mormon to an older brother who has been attending our class in Healy (the city at Denali Park).

President and Sister Beesly have been in Fairbanks this week as well. They came for training and to do interviews with the young missionaries. We had our "interview" at the Pikes Landing restaurant over dinner on Friday night. We spent a great hour by the Chena river just talking with them. The senior couple interviews are quite different then the young missionaries.

Sister Spens had the opportunity to go on splits with the sister missionaries on Sunday and that was a first for her.

On Sunday evening we had a well planed missionary fireside with music from the missionaries and instruction from President Beesly and from President Duval. There were several investigators present, recent converts who spoke, and a UAF chemistry professor who will be baptised soon was there as well. The church is growing surely and steadily as people continue to find the gospel. Conversion is always an amazing process and is truly a miracle. Our specific assignment is not proselyting, however, we seem to on a regular basis have people cross our path where we have the opportunity to either introduce them to the gospel or teach them through the institute classes. We have been and continue to be truly blessed in our missionary assignment here in Alaska. The more we work here the more we realize that this is exactly the place that the Lord wanted to send us to serve for these two years.
Elder and Sister Spens