Monday, August 20, 2012

As we conclude our mission here in Alaska here is the small institute class in Healy with one returned missionary, one investigator and one newly called missionary who will be going to Utah.
 Sister Spens teaching the last summer 2012 Pearl of Great price institute class and also our last institute class of our mission!  (The students are working together on an assignment.)
 The kitchen has been a busy and popular place for YSA with Sister Spens most excellent cinnamon rolls.
 This was a great baptism in the Chena River no less. The man baptized is a chemistry professor at UAF.
Our home grown forget-me-nots are finally in bloom by our apartment doorstep.
 The taiga (or boreal interior forest) of Alaska is filled with a wonderful variety of unusual mushrooms this being a fine example. It was fifty feet from our apartment door.
Fall continues to press on here in the north. This is the leaf of a fire weed turning a bright red to contrast with the yellow of the birch forest.

This past week has been very busy with the final week of institute classes and the work involved with getting early morning seminary classes ready to go. With our five new teachers the training we are asked to do with those teachers and the preparation of the classes on the computer it has taken a lot of effort. Sister Spens has put in a great amount of time to get things all structured and ready. We had our last new seminary teacher called this past weekend so we met her on Sunday for a brief orientation. We are in the process of turning over our mission calling to a new couple but the sister is out of town for this week and we will just continue to do what we can to get things going for fall seminary and institute. Hopefully within the next two weeks they will completely takeover for us and we will be on our way home.

We have started to get our car ready and pack a few things and have looked briefly at the route home but we are still at the institute doing those things that are needed.  We still have to train our replacements so we can let go. 

The baptism shown above was a great experience. The brother was introduced to the church by having LDS students attend his classes at UAF and noting a significant difference in them compared to the general population of university students. He is excited to have received the gospel and become a member and will be a great member. It was the first time Sister Spens and I had witnessed a baptism in a river. The water was about 40 degrees at the most but the day was warm and sunny. Brother Edmond bore his testimony directly after being baptized. It was great.

We have also turned our institute investigator over to the full time Elders. There are no young elders or branch missionaries serving in the Healy area. So we took two Fairbanks Elders down to Healy with us last week to meet the students including our investigator, and they will continue to teach the class for about four more weeks and hopefully brother Bill the investigator will make good progress.

It does seem kind of strange that our work here is coming to an end. We have come to love all of the YSA and the other members here in the Fairbanks area and we will miss them. We will also miss our association with the investigators and recent converts we have associated with as well. We love being missionaries but it seems all callings in the church have an end.

Elder and Sister Spens