There hasn't been a lot to tell you about of late so I haven't posted anything for awhile. We continue to work hard (or at least Sister Taylor does) in our support of the young missionaries and the spreading of the gospel here in Alaska. We haven't traveled much lately, outside of the occasional trip to Wasilla/Palmer area to attend doctors' appointments with the elders and sisters.
In addition to work, we do have the occasional gathering with the other senior missionaries in our mission. There are eight of us in the office plus some Military Liaison missionaries and CES missionaries and we include the members of the mission presidency and their wives. We attend the temple together once a month, go on the occasional outing for a hike or a movie, etc., and get together for Family Home Evening. (FHE) We have had our FHEs in the homes of some of the mission presidency and, several times now, we have met at the institute building. We have one senior missionary couple who are on a CES (Church Education System) Mission, working with the young adults who are going to college at UAA (University of Alaska, Anchorage). They have invited us to meet with them at the institute building, which is a very nice facility with kitchen, lounge area and, of course, classrooms that are very comfortable. It is located next to one of the chapels in the north end of Anchorage. We have enjoyed lessons, movies, games and, of course, refreshments! Our current plan is to get together there for Thanksgiving. That should be a lot of fun.
We had a remarkable incident this last Thursday. We were just leaving the office, a little after 4:00 PM, and we had a pair of moose, mother and yearling, working their way around the parking lot, trimming our trees for us. The weather is changing and winter is coming so we are starting to see more moose again. Still no bears, though. Sister Taylor and I have been here eight months now are still waiting to see a bear. So far, no luck. Whether that's good or bad, we don't know.
On one of our P-days, Sister Taylor and I stopped by one of our bird-watching places, Goose Lake, a pretty lake and park located right in Anchorage. Though we didn't expect to see any birds, we did see a couple of ducks, a pretty Mallard cruising around the lake followed by female Bufflehead - a new one for us! We got so excited that we drove over to Westchester Lagoon and saw a bunch of Buffleheads, both male and female.
|Goose Lake - looking ESE toward the Chugach Mountains. Hard to believe that this is right in town, right next to the University.|
|I post this just because Mallards can be pretty, at least when they haven't been rooting around in the mud.|
|Kind of cool looking, huh? A male Bufflehead duck.|
Another time we drove down Turnagain Arm, just to get a little fresh air. We ended up seeing some Dall sheep and some Beluga whales! We couldn't see either very well. The sheep were way, way up the mountain side from us and all you could see of the belugas was their occasional white hump and their spouts. But we enjoyed it none the less! The sheep we saw from Beluga Point and we saw the whales from Bird Point. Figure that out.
|This is the hillside we were looking at. See the little dark bump on the top, just to the right of center?|
|That's the dark rock on the left of this picture. Let's hear it for telephoto lenses!|
|And these guys were just below that little bump.|
|Elder Taylor and others looking up at the sheep. (Well, some of the others.) With the naked eye all you could see were some little white spots that moved.|
|Sister Taylor at Beluga Point, looking out over Turnagain Arm and the mountains on the far side.|
|Also at Beluga Point. Sister Taylor got quite a kick out of this tree.|
|More of the Turnagain Arm and mountains. What a gorgeous place this is! This is at Bird Point, which is a a few miles further up the Arm from Beluga Point.|
|Sorry. This is the best shot I got of the belugas. They were a long ways across the Arm from us.|
And, in parting, here are a few pics that really didn't fit anywhere else but that I thought you might like.
|Sunset at Westchester Lagoon|