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, April 12, 2015

Monday this week we went up to Palmer for Family Home Evening with all the senior missionaries and members of the mission presidency.  We were hosted by Elder and Sister Saunders, who live between Palmer and Wasilla and have a lovely home with a magnificent view of the mountains.  Elder Saunders is quite the hunter and had a number of animal heads mounted in their family room from animals he has hunted all over the country.  He had a moose from eastern Canada, some pronghorn antelope, a bear skin from Washington, caribou and a few others.  The largest and most impressive was a bison (buffalo) that he shot in Colorado.  It was HUGE!

Wednesday the other senior missionaries had a combination birthday lunch for Sister Taylor and welcome lunch for a new couple recently transferred from Haines (near Skagway) to Anchorage.  We had pizza/salad/etc., and enjoyed getting to know the Westons.

Thursday was actually Sister Taylor's birthday.  To celebrate, the two of us went out to IHOP for breakfast and then went downtown to an Army/Navy Surplus (and much more) store where she had seen some excellent slippers she liked.  After buying those for her birthday we accompanied an Elder to the dentist's office. (Woohoo!)  We got back to the mission office at about noon and found that the others had bought Sister Taylor a birthday cake.  At the end of the day we went directly from the mission office to the movie theater and saw The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  All in all, a very enjoyable day.

After P-day chores on Saturday, we spent the afternoon at the Anchorage Museum.  Lots and lots of Alaskan history, from incredible artifacts and examples of Native Alaskan culture to the Russian possession, to the fir trade, to the development of the oil pipeline, the coming of statehood and the history of Anchorage.  We didn't take our camera in because we thought they wouldn't allow it (and then found out differently) but we do have a few shots taken with Sister Taylor's phone.

The main area of the first floor is the Alaska Gallery.  It has several display areas and rooms of various size and is just that - all about Alaska.  We saw some amazing artwork by school children, exhibits about the history of Anchorage, displays about statehood and the role of the Aleyska Oil Pipeline, and numerous displays about the native peoples of Alaska.  Of course, Alaska wouldn't be Alaska without all the wildlife, so there were a few of them around as well.


Various tools, implements and woven material

Fishing tools - spears, basket trap, hooks, etc., along with the snowshoes, of course.

A collection of rudimentary masks.  There were also many very fancy, well-made masks of later periods.

We saw many, many baskets of all sizes and ornamental designs.  These are all woven from grass and have very tiny cross-stitching for the decoration.   It reminded Sister Taylor of the Hmong embroidery she saw in Seattle several years ago.

As you can see by the drawing on the wall behind it, this is a dog blanket.  It is very
ornate and beautifully done with tiny, tiny buttonhole stitches done with tiny bone needles.

A closeup of the stitching on the dog blanket.

Of course, scrimshaw was very big throughout Alaskan history.  Both the native peoples and the sailors and merchants from  Russia and various European nations participated in the carving of the ivory and bone and in the marketing of it.

This is a "dress" parka, normally worn to potlatches and celebrations of one sort or another.
If you're confused, you are looking at the back.

These are ceremonial mukluks.  In the corner behind, and in the picture below,
are the everyday, real-thing, moose-hide mukluks.

Sons/Sons-in-law - if you look in the book "Wildwood Wisdom" that I gave you a few years ago, you will
find instructions on how to make these out of moose hocks.  Looking closely, you'll note that a tube of
hide has been stripped off the leg, turned inside out and then the bottom sewn closed.
The hair on the inside keeps your feet nice and toasty.

These are warm-weather mukluks.  They are made of fish skin and, according to  the placard,
are very durable.  We also saw, but were unable to photograph, several parkas made of
seal or sea lion intestine.  Waterproof and very light.  You could almost see through them.

There were lots of knives, spears, and clubs displayed, but I just had to take a picture of this little knife and its cool ivory/bone/antler/whatever sheath.  (The display didn't say what it was made of .)

 The second floor was devoted to  an amazing display of artifacts and information on the Alaskan Natives peoples.  The exhibits were encased in glass and the lighting was very subdued so we were not able to get many pictures, but Sister Taylor had to show you these.  They are women's "house pants."  Apparently the living quarters for these people were very warm (No, not igloos.) and the men wore loincloths and the women wore these "house pants."  No, they don't cover any more than you think.

The third floor was devoted to exhibits about Captain Cook, his voyages and what their impact was on Alaska.  Very interesting, but not much to photograph.

Navigation instruments of the period.

The fourth floor was a regular art gallery with an exhibit of a modern artist.  Not my "cup of tea."  Hence, no pictures.    None of these pictures really do justice to the museum.   It was awesome.  All in all, a good week.

We are gearing up for transfers this week.   The new elders and sisters come out and the old ones are returning home.   Kind of bittersweet, as we have grown attached to many of them already.   Also the Alaska Mission is roughly the size of the western US and covers almost 2,000 miles from north to south, so if any missionaries are transferred around the mission, chances are good we won't see them again until they go home.   

We will especially miss one of our Elders from downstairs.  Elders Bowen and Stephan were the first that we met in the mission.  They picked up our bags at the airport and took them to our apartment for us.  Later they moved in to the apartment below us and we are assigned to the same ward.  Elder Bowen is being transferred out and we will miss him.  We're glad to have Elder Stephan staying with us, at least until next transfer.

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