And why are they not frozen? Because their hearts are warmed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Welcome to our blog! We hope you enjoy our travels and dialogues as we journey to Anchorage Alaska for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Well, we have passed one month in the Alaska Anchorage Mission!  We got in on the end of a very mild winter and we are into "break-up," which is what Alaskans call spring.  The sun is out, the temperatures are into the 40s, the snow is coming off the hills and what snow is left in town is "black snow," piled along the roadsides and in parking lots.

This pile is in our church parking lot.  You can probably see that the
reason it is black is because it is covered with the pea gravel that is
used for traction during the winter.
We are told that there is a massive cleanup every spring and all this gravel is reclaimed for use next year and, while things look brown, black and generally yucky right now, the city will be beautiful by summer.

We are learning some of the terms in use up here, one of the most interesting being "cheechako," which is what we are and will probably still be when we leave a year and a half from now.  We understand that cheechako is a combination of Chinook and another Native Alaskan dialect and it literally means, "newcomer."  Some consider a person cheechako until they have been through their first Alaskan winter.  Others use it to refer to anyone who isn't a long-time resident.

This last month has been very interesting.  I know that the blog is mostly a travelogue, but most of our time is spent in supporting the young missionaries in the work of the Lord.  We are slowly getting into the swing of things, both with our individual responsibilities and where we fit into the overall work of the office.  Sister Taylor has dealt with everything from concussions to food poisoning to injuries caused by falling on the ice or overreaching oneself in basketball on P-day.  Elder Taylor is, as he has indicated from the beginning, the mission "gofer" and all around handyman.  He helps coordinate and track some of the service hours put in by the missionaries, assists the mission nurse (traveling with her to doctors' appointments, inventorying and organizing medical supplies, etc.) has installed new printers, helps the other office missionaries with some of their computer problems and has updated the office phone system.  We have only had a couple of missionary experiences.  Sister Taylor got to begin the teaching of a young man who walked into the mission office one day, asking about the church.  We have befriended a young non-member single mom who lives next door to us and has been attending church off-and-on.  She and her son are native Alaskan and are originally from a small town north of Nome called Teller.  We have also met a member couple who live close by and are not attending church due to medical problems.  We try to check in on them every day or two to see how they're doing.

Next week the two Elders who are assigned to our ward are moving from a nearby apartment building into the apartment directly below us.  Guess we'll have to cut back on the wild, late-night parties.  Sister Taylor is starting a tradition of having fresh-baked cookies/banana bread/etc., ready for these Elders every Sunday evening as they return to their apartment.  Rough deal, eh?

On Friday we met the Senior Missionary couple from Whitehorse, Elder and Sister Patrick.  They were here to attend the temple with their ward.  They are in our mission but they reported directly to Whitehorse when they came out and none of us had ever met them.  They've been out a month longer than we have and they're from Edmonton, Alberta.  They know the Vartys, a couple from Edmonton that we went through the MTC with.  And, may I add, they are Canadian right down to the accent!  They told us how to spell Canada - "C eh, N eh, D eh."  Really a neat couple.  We had a breakfast for them at the office and then we all went to the temple together in the evening.  They are having some awesome experiences teaching the gospel in the Yukon.

Yesterday we decided to find a place to go for a walk.  There are trails all over Anchorage and in the west end, next to Cook Inlet, is a huge park area called Kincaid Park.  We discovered that all the trails in the park are dedicated to nordic skiing (in the winter) and they are still covered in ice/snow. 

 The park is on an old Cold War military installation where the government had Nike missiles aimed at Russia and is now devoted to soccer, Nordic skiing and disc golf.  

You can see from this map that there are 7-8 soccer fields, the disc golf course
around that and the Nordic ski trails all around what you can see here.
This is a small part of the view from several of the tees on the disc golf course.
The tidal flats of Cook Inlet and some of the mountains of the 
Alaskan Range on the other side of the Inlet.
It is an awesome place, we even found a small lake where some folks were still ice-fishing.  The ice has got to be getting pretty thin!

After exploring the park we went to the Hood Floatplane Base, which is right next to the main airport in Anchorage.  It consists of two small lakes that are currently ice-bound.  There are float planes parked all around the edge of both lakes and there are acres and acres of small planes nearby.  I have never seen that many small planes in one place.  We couldn't help but think about Sister Taylor's dad, Blaine Nyberg, and how much he would have loved to be there.

Never seen anything like this before!

Parked all around the lake, each with a small shed.

Planes of every size, description, age, and condition, but most are small and a bit "weathered."

Sister Taylor was excited about buying this, getting her license
on P-days, and then flying home by way of touring the state.

Of course a little ice doesn't stop them in Alaska! 

Here are a couple of short videos of planes after they had landed on the ice.  The first one is on skis and the second is on floats.  I would think that you'd have to touch down pretty softly on those floats.

The only birds we have seen here so far are the ravens (everywhere) a couple of magpies, a couple of eagles and we have heard a woodpecker in the trees behind the office.  We still have not seen a moose.  Lamenting that fact produced this photo and video from one of the couples here in the office.  These are two different instances when moose were at the office door, which is located on the back of a chapel right in town.

Sorry if the video(s) aren't the best quality.  Our camera takes HD video but I haven't figured out how to get them on the blog in any kind of good quality.  Let me know if you know the secret.

1 comment:

  1. yyyiiiippppeeeeee ..... lets go flying Sister Taylor .... How fun would that be !!!!!!!