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, December 27, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  We hope that all have had a very Merry Christmas and you are all set for a productive and happy New Year.  We have had a wonderful Christmas season here in Alaska.

One of the things that has made Christmas so good for us, even though we're far from home, has been the thoughtfulness of our Bishop and his family.  As we mentioned in the last post, they sent us a 12 Days of Christmas that included a little gift for each of the 12 days.  You saw the first one (the Santa's hat) and each one was geared to the number of days.  They were all quite clever and, since our bishop is a dentist, a number of them were oral hygiene-related - toothpaste, toothbrushes and dental floss.  The best one of the group, though, was the 5th Day of Christmas - Five Marvelous Minnionaries!  Each was an individual, four were elders and one was a sister.  Here are a couple of pictures - the sister minnionary and the outfit for one of the elders --

We took them to the office and everyone went nuts over them, both the senior couples and the young missionaries.  Again, thank you Ponds for the all the effort and thoughtfulness you put into things.

Another of the things that made our holiday nice (and hectic!) was dealing with the DELUGE of mail, mostly packages, that came to the mission office.  We had truckloads of boxes delivered almost every day for the last couple of weeks.  Then it was our job to sort it all out, forward stuff to the outer areas and get the local stuff all handed out.  There were days when 5-6 people were all working together on the mail.  It was fun to play Santa Claus!

We received all manner of boxes, packages and letters, but the most interesting package we received was this one --

Yep.  As you can see, it came just like this.  We don't know how they got the stamps to stay on and the potato was in amazingly good condition (much better than a couple of "fragile" boxes we got).  No, it wasn't sent from Idaho.  It came from Wisconsin.  If there was a particular story behind it, the receiving elder wasn't sharing.

On Christmas Eve we (the senior missionaries) were invited to the Mission Home for dinner.  The dinner was excellent.  We had deep-fried shrimp and beef ribs (with all the other goodies).  Then we played a game of Farkle, watched a couple of church videos on Christmas and then read the Christmas story from Luke 2.  It was a very enjoyable evening.

Sorry the light wasn't the best, but here we are.  And, just because I know one of you yahoos will bring it up,
those are sparkling cider bottles on the table.

On Christmas Day, we got up late (no kids - no 4 AM!) opened our gifts and went to one of the other missionary couple's apartments for brunch.  It was the first time in 43 years that we have opened gifts on our own.  Kind of interesting, but enjoyable none the less.

And before we leave Christmas, thanks to all who sent cards, letters or gifts, it was wonderful to be remembered by loved ones.

The other thing that occurred this last week, although some of you in the Lower 48 probably missed its passing, was the Winter Solstice!  The days are now getting longer as we speak!  Hurray!  More daylight!  We've talked about this a little bit before, but here's an extra picture to give you the flavor of the season in the north.

This photo was taken on Dec 21st, the Winter Solstice, at about 12:30 PM.  The camera darkened the picture a little because of the direct exposure to the sun, but it really wasn't much lighter than this.  That is as high in the sky as the sun gets in Anchorage on the 21st.

Just to get a little more of the light today, we went out for a drive this afternoon.  It was pretty grey, windy and cold.  These photos were taken on the Turnagain Arm, just south of Anchorage.

But a little cold, snow, wind and ice doesn't slow down the Alaskans.  A little closer to town is Potter Marsh, where we do a lot of our bird watching in warmer seasons.  Everything was frozen over and you could see tracks everywhere of bicycles, skies, etc.  At the south end of the marsh, we saw these families out enjoying the winter.

We hope all is well with you and yours.  Thanks again for your thoughts during this Christmas season and Happy New Year to you all.

1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year, Elder and Sister Taylor!! I sent you our letter on your regular email. Hope you got it. It is terribly long by might be enjoyable to think of what we have been doing all year when you are working so hard for the Lord. I remember those packages at Christmas and it was crazy. I didn't get any help from the other senior missionaries except Sister Kellogg when she had time. She was a dear to make time everyday to help at least a bit. We also did some deliveries but I am sure your travel is huge in comparison. We have had snow on the ground about 5 weeks now. A big change from last year when we only had a bit of snow a few times that never stayed over a few days in length. Time marches on and you have nearly been out a year. Wow!! Hard to think of that time going so quickly for us. Missing you.
    Love to you both, Kari