All but one of the new missionaries arrived on Monday. We have had two elders called from the Philippines who have been serving there for several weeks while waiting for their visas. Week before last we received word that one of them had finally come through and that the elder would be arriving from the Philippines on the same day as our regular group. Then two days later we learned that he had had an emergency appendectomy and would be delayed. He arrived on Thursday, one week after his surgery!
Of course one of the high spots of the week was hearing the testimonies of the departing missionaries. We had one sister and 8 elders going home and they each bore strong testimonies of the Savior and of their personal progress during their missions. One young man bore a particularly touching testimony, telling about the sudden death of his father when he was in middle school. He told how he had prayed so sincerely that his father would be spared and about his anger when his father died anyway. He struggled for several years afterward, doubting the love of his Father in Heaven because He had let his father die. When the time came, in spite of his doubts, he decided to go on a mission anyway. When his call came, it was to Alaska, the same mission where his father had served, 30 years before. As he served, this elder was called to the same areas his father had served in, met some of the people his father had taught and saw many of the same sights. He said that he felt like he was walking in the footsteps of his dad and that the Lord had granted him this tender mercy in answer to his prayer so many years ago.
Also this week we have had a sister staying with us off and on whose husband is in the hospital here in Anchorage. They were visiting their daughter and family out in the bush and he developed pneumonia and had to be Medivac'ed (by Lear jet) to the hospital here. Their daughter and family are members of the Bush Branch and we told our branch president that she could stay here and we'd see that she got back and forth to the hospital. She's a very sweet lady. She and her husband are from Alabama. A long ways from home to have to deal with something like this. Her husband is doing pretty well and they anticipate him being released in a couple of days.
In the middle of all this, Sister Taylor had to put together a powerpoint presentation for the Mission Leadership Council meeting that was held on Thursday. She got to talk to the Zone Leaders about cleanliness and how they could teach their missionaries that personal and apartment cleanliness would keep them healthier. It was apparently well received, we have been getting feedback from the elders about the training the zone leaders gave them. Sister Taylor's biggest weapon were the up-close photos of a dust mite and a bed bug. They were all pretty grossed out! It apparently got the point across.
And speaking of the Bush Branch, we are enjoying our new assignment! It was great to be in a position to help out the couple from Alabama. We learned of their situation last week when we were talking with the Branch President. The reason for our conversation was the fact that the presidency was going to be out of town for the July 4th weekend. They needed us to go to the office and operate the Polycom and music player so that they could conduct the meetings from out in the field. I was scared to death that I'd push the wrong button and shut the whole thing down! It was interesting to be the only ones there, having the sacrament by ourselves and the whole thing. And then this week we spoke in Sacrament meeting! It wasn't too strange for me, I'm kind of used to speaking into a microphone, but Sister Taylor said that it was really weird. The only person you can make eye contact with is the Branch President who is sitting across the desk from you. Fortunately, today we had several people attending with us in the office. It made things a little more normal.
Sooo..... since we have been so busy this week, we haven't done any fun sightseeing. So that you won't go into picture withdrawal, I have included some that we haven't posted in the past.
|Landscaping with edible plants in each box.|
|A wattle fence lining the path.|
|Some interesting and pretty flowers, oh, and a bee. And did you know that Alaska has 14 species of orchids that are native? They all grow in the ground and have already finished blooming for this year. Maybe next spring we'll get to see them.|
Well, this coming week we are off to Zone Conferences where Sister Taylor will be training on injury prevention. We'll let you know how things go.
We miss all our family, especially our grandkids, of course. Love to you all.
Elder & Sister Taylor
Grandpa & Grandma
Dad & Mom