Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Missionary Moments

We finished up our spring institute class last week.  We only taught six lessons because of our arrival date.  We loved it and those who came.  This week the summer classes are starting.  We taught our first Mission Prep class last night.  We are so excited for this one.  We have 38 kids registered, but most of them are seniors and won't start coming until mid May after they graduate.  We did have 8 last night, 3 of them were seniors.  We are excited for the class to grow.  Classes end on August 6th.  I think we will be given several opportunities to fill in for other classes through the summer.  The other class we are teaching starts Thursday. It is The Gospel and the Productive Life.  We don't expect that one to be very big.

The LDSSA sponsored a showing of Meet The Mormons on campus last Saturday night.  We had not seen the movie so we were excited to go.  It was mostly institute kids who attended.  Loved the movie.

Sunday night we had an Institute Recognition Evening.  It was the first one that had been held for a while.  We had a lot of students receiving course completion certificates, several who were given advanced certificates and one graduate!  It was a great evening that we were happy to be a part of.

We attend our district meeting every Tuesday morning.  We attended lots of district meetings in the MTC.  It has been great to view these missionaries in the field.  Each companionship gives their area accountability report and receive input from others if they are struggling a bit.  There have been a couple of times when they specifically asked for our input on some things.  We love that meeting and the missionaries in our district.  For the most part they are working hard and doing great.

Still cooking!  Cookies before classes (hooray for Costco frozen cookie dough).  I don't know that I agree with serving cookies all the time but the students love it.  Friday night is always a big cooking night.  Last Friday was Waffle Night.  We had everything cleaned up  at 9:00 when a group showed up who had been to the temple.  They were hungry so we just brought everything back out and cooked more waffles.  They were very appreciative.

I am so excited for the warmer weather.  Everyone tells us how beautiful the summers are and we can't wait.  I am sad to have missed the Tulip Festival and all the spring blossoms.  I am sure summer will make up for it.  I am also liking the longer days.  Last night at 10:30 it wasn't quite dark yet.  I asked someone how they sleep with so much daylight and they said "you just go to bed and close your eyes".  Sounds easy enough!

A shout out to my Weight Watcher friends.  Hope you are all doing well.  Our schedule allows me to workout in the morning.  Fresh produce is rather expensive here.  We have been buying more frozen vegies than fresh ones.  I added salad to our soup nights at the institute.  I think they have all caught on that Sister Mansfield wants a little more than cookies and brownies.  It gets eaten every time!

"When it's Springtime in Alaska"

There are a number of signs that it's "Springtime in Alaska"!

First of all, a link--

The temperature finally broke into the 50's--The 19th of April.

The trees are budding out and getting ready to have leaves!

A little patch of green grass was found next to the sunny side of our apartment!

Again, on the 19th of April, at 10:15 pm. It's still light outside!

Elder Mansfield took his jacket off to play Ping Pong with "Kola" at the Institute! -- Also went and bought a short sleeved white shirt for Summer!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Random Mission Moments

We loved General conference in the mission field.  Friday night we still did our Soup and the Spirit night.  Loren made yummy chicken noodle soup.  So grateful he is a cook!  On Saturday morning we were back at the Institute bright and early for Cereal and Conference.  When they said we needed to eat at 7:30 I questioned why so early since conference didn't start until 10:00.  They patiently reminded me that in Alaska it starts at 8:00am.  This picture shows two of the four missionaries who came and watched conference with us at the Institute.  When the morning session was over everyone just stayed.  A couple of the kids were doing homework, but most of them were just visiting or playing ping pong or pool.  This companionship sat at one of the tables to study.  We asked them if they would like to go into the little library we have and they did.  What a great example of diligence and obedience!  We ate lunch at 11:30 and then watched the afternoon session.  We made pulled pork sandwiches and just had chips and brownies.  But I did make a salad, and was so happy that they ate it.  I think they pretty much know now that Sister Mansfield is going to bring a few healthier things to the table!
Once each month the senior missionaries meet together for Family Home Evening.  This one was in Palmer at the home of Elder and Sister Saunders.  They are Military Relations Missionaries and obviously live at home.  We sang "Hark, All Ye Nations" -- most of us didn't know all the words.  I loved that everyone whipped out their phones.  Even us seniors love technology.  President Robinson and his wife are in the center.  We rode out to Palmer with them and it was great to get to know them better.  What I didn't take a picture of, but wish I had, was the family room off of the kitchen.  Elder Saunders loves to hunt.  Hanging on the walls is a buffalo, caribou, moose, bear, and a few other things.  It was a bit overwhelming and I was grateful Loren doesn't want that in our home!

This is our last district meeting before transfers this week.  It was Sister Thacker's birthday and the Elders had put up a sign, and they also decorated their car when they weren't looking.  Two of our Elders are missing because they are the Zone Leaders and were attending a different district meeting that morning.  We have loved getting to know these missionaries and hearing about their experiences as they each report on their area.  At the end of the meeting they all guessed who would be staying and who would be leaving and where they would go.  Obviously the only one they were guaranteed getting right was us!  No transfers for Elder and Sister Mansfield.

Tony Knowles Coastal Trail & Earthquake Park

This is a portion of the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail (looking back towards downtown Anchorage) that runs 11 miles or so along the shoreline from near downtown Anchorage to Kincaid Park, southwest of Anchorage. This is in late March and as one can see, there are not too many signs of spring yet. If you look closely, you can still see ice and snow on the path in shady areas. You can also see the mountains that are east of Anchorage.

Although we didn't see any, moose and other wildlife are often seen along the Coastal Trail.