Monday, July 13, 2009


Hi treasured family and friends,

How are all of you getting along, we hope very well, because we pray for all of you everyday. Life here is good. We stay very busy working at our different jobs, and manning our different posts. I finished this week with the irrigation ditch, and I must admit it looks pretty good. My supervisor told everyone that with the backhoe I could pick a fly off their nose, but I told them that it was easier than it looked, if you just took your time and took off one wing at a time. My wife says I never let the truth interfere with a good story !?!

During the middle of the week we had the opportunity to tell pioneer stories to a group of young people from Cardston, Alberta, Canada. (I told the truth) What a great bunch of people! Sister Leavitt told them about Amy Loader who came across the plains with her children after losing her husband, and through creative means, kept her children from freezing to death.

I told them about 3 of my hero's, Joseph A. Young, Abel Garr, and Daniel W. Jones who were the advance riders looking for the missing handcart companies. They rode through blizzard conditions across the Wyoming wilderness for hundreds of miles, without stopping, until they found these pioneers and were able to bring them to the rescue wagons. Had these men given up or turned back, which would have been easy to do because these handcart companies were found far beyond where they had expected them to be, there is no doubt that all of these people would have perished. Instead about 20% of the approx. 1200 people of the Martin Company lost their lives. This trek group from Canada was very appreciative and gave us a souvenir of a handmade miniature handcart. One of their leaders also gave each missionary a diamond willow (found only in Canada) which makes beautiful walking sticks.

On Friday and Saturday we received permission to travel to Sister Leavitt's hometown of Pinedale, WY. for the famous Mountain Man Rendezvous. What a great time we had. Not only did we have a great room at Hampton Inn (which was comped by a good friend from Pinedale, Darlene Penton), but the festivities were great. On Friday evening we were able to go to dinner up at Fremont Lake ( a gorgeous glacier lake situated right up against the Wind River Mountains) with Bob and Darlene Penton, and two of our missionary friends who were also there, Elder and Sister Fenn. On Saturday it was amazing to see little Pinedale come alive with all kinds of vendors including fur traders, jewelry makers, and delicious food. Saturday afternoon they had a fabulous parade which ended with hundreds of people dressed up like Mountain Men and Indians parading by. You have never seen so much fur and leather.

After the festivities we were able to go out to a ranch owned by another one of our missionaries, Elder Noble (who happens to be one of Sister Leavitt's family friends). It was a beautiful rustic ranch with a perfect view of the mountains. While we were there his daughter showed us some old pictures. One was of a dog they had named Grady. Grady was a Great Pyrenees just like Oscar, the famous trek dog. ( you can read Oscar's stories in the Children's Friend magazine) When we got back to Martin's Cove, Elder Noble told us that Grady was one of the most amazing dogs he had ever seen. He told us one cold winter day while his wife was herding sheep (about 100 head) Grady took off, leaving the sheep, something he never did, and no matter how much they called after him, he wouldn't come back. There had been a severe snow storm the night before and one of the sheep was missing. A few hours later here came Grady with the little sheep leaning up against his side. He took the sheep right into the middle of the herd and then left it. The Noble's discovered that the eye lids of the sheep had frozen shut and it couldn't see. Grady had gone out and found the little sheep and became it's seeing eye dog. Kind of reminds you of a parable doesn't it.

Well we love and miss you all, and hope to see you in the fall.

Elder Leavitt

Well, Elder Leavitt has left me speechless again. It really has been a full week. We love being able to get out and visit with the trekkers and tell them pioneer stories.

Our trip to Pinedale was especially fun for me. I hadn't seen the Rendezvous since I was a kid. We used to participate in it when we were children. Now it is a major, 3-day event which includes a rodeo, parade, all kinds of special presentations at the Mountain Man Museum, plus the pageant itself. We didn't get to see the pageant as it was on Sunday, but hopefully next year we will be able to get more than a day off so we can enjoy more of the events.

I did get to see some people in Pinedale whom I hadn't seen in awhile -- I hadn't made plans to see anyone but Darlene, but happened to run into them on the street. One was April Harbor Kim, who was a girl we knew from the Single's Ward. She and her husband just moved to Pinedale, and she happened to walk by while we were watching the parade. It was so fun to see her and her darling little girl.

We passed out our Relief Society Directories last week and we have received so many compliments and "thank you's" for them. Our intent was to find a way that the Sisters could get to know one another a little better and I think we accomplished our task. It was very gratifying after so much work to have it so well received.

We have another busy week ahead --Charlie will be teaching Sunday School this week. Last week he taught Priesthood and was told by some of the men it was the best lesson they had ever heard. That's an amazing compliment ! We get to call square dancing this week and will be telling more pioneer stories at the camp grounds.

We love hearing from all of you so keep those cards and emails coming.

Our love to all of you,


Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Benny & Debbie Leavitt's son Carlin is in a band called This Romantic Tragedy. Below is a link to an article from the St George Spectrum about them. They will be playing in St. George on July 3rd. Debbie told me at reunion that their band has been signed with a recording contract. Carlin just graduated from high school in June. He is off to a great start.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Hello again Family and Friends,
greetings from the Cove this 4th of July weekend, This has been a week of events. First on Monday night we hosted a pancake supper ( strange huh) on Monday night, this was our contribution to Family Home Evening. I cooked pancakes on an outside griddle for about 25 or 30 couples. It turned out to be allot of fun. Even though I haven't cooked pancakes in about 40 years, I was throwing pancakes in every direction. After the dinner there was square dancing, but I had to sit it out as I began feeling very tired and my chest was feeling congested. That night I was having trouble getting my breath and had to get up and sit in a chair most of the night. I knew I was having a severe asthma attack and so I started searching for my rescue medication. It has been so long since I have had a severe attack that I found I had allowed my medicine to expire last fall and it didn't seem to work. I was trying to stay calm and not panic, but when you can't get your breath it's not easy. I thought I might have to wake Sister Leavitt to take me to the hospital so they could put me on oxygen. Finally I found an old rescue inhaler that seemed to help a little. The next day I stayed home and rested, but I still had a hard time breathing. Sister Leavitt went into work and was going to call my Doctor to get another prescription for Albuterol. As it turned out the Doctor was on vacation. Great luck huh! Later I received a Priesthood blessing and prayed for rain ( the week had been very hot and dry) to knock down all the pollen that has been in the air and might be causing my attack. That night it rained hard and I slept like a baby. I have been feeling fine ever since. We are still trying to get my prescriptions refilled, but thankfully it has been raining some everyday. This week I have been working on about 1000 ft of irrigation ditch.The ranch wants it lined with plastic because its leaking badly and water is running across the road and flooding the handcart storage area. The ditch hasn't been cleaned in many years and was completely overgrown with brush and trees. The ranch wanted it fixed because it waters a large pasture next to Devil's Gate, that impressive natural cut through the mountain where the Sweetwater runs. I now have it cleaned out and have put a nice access roadway next to it. We should have the project finished by next week. Sister Leavitt put on a great barbeque on Friday and invited all our neighbors. It was supposed to be to introduce them to our good friend Maria Heaton and her family who were coming to visit. But, they got lost on a side trip to Nebraska and didn't make it until the next day. Consequently, we had a great party with the neighbors' anyway. Everyday we hear of, or witness spiritual experiences here at Martin's Cove. This is such a sacred and amazing place to serve. There's no doubt the spirits of those pioneers who suffered and died here want their lives and experiences to be remembered. This past week many of the Missionaries have had family visit for the holidays, it really makes us homesick for our family. Hopefully some of them will be able to visit us this summer. We love and miss you all, Elder Leavitt
Hi Everyone -- I don't have much to add to Elder Leavitt's report other than he says the weather has been good for his allergies but it's not good for entertaining or being outside. The night of our BBQ were we all huddled out side with our winter coats on. In fact, I had on a sweat shirt, a wind breaker and a parka ! We ended up inside the motor home to visit as it was so cold outside. We had a great time w/ Maria. It was so fun to share our excitement about being here w/ someone from home. Again, the only downside was the weather. We were going to watch the fireworks over Alcova Lake but it was pouring rain, so we just came home. This upcoming week, we are going to Pinedale for the Green River Rendezvous. We were hoping to see the pageant but just found out this past week it is on Sunday and we were planning on coming back Saturday night. However, they have all kinds of other activities planned the week before so we are going up to visit friends and enjoy the festivities that are available. We enjoyed a beautiful evening w/friends tonight around a campfire making apple pies --out of bread and pie filling w/ a little contraption that looks like a sandwich maker. They were really yummy. We watched a full moon coming up over the trees -- it was just gorgeous. We deserved this beautiful evening after all the rain and wind. Well, we need to get to bed--morning comes early when you're as busy as we are. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. Love, Sister Leavitt


Howdy Pilgrims,
Well another week of the good life,with the exception that I lost my prescription glasses somewhere in Casper. We searched every where with no luck! Fortunately I'm farsighted so I only really need the glasses to read and we have plenty of generic reading glasses. I'm not much of a book worm anyway. I've been able to do a few interesting projects this week. We have a 4000 gal. water truck that they had to throw a fill hose into the river and use a trash pump to fill it. (most of the roads are dirt and need to be wet to control the dust) It took between 25 and30 minutes to fill it, when they could get the pump to work. ( it was sucking up a lot of mud and rocks from the bottom of the river)So I designed them a wet well out of a piece of galvanized culvert,cut some holes in it and placed it in the river. Then I ran a 3" pipe to the wet well and then ran it down so that it stayed above the bottom out of the mud. I also set it up so the fill hose could run directly to the truck. No one previously had been aware that the truck was designed to pump its own water and fill itself. It will now fill up in about 12 minutes without needing a separate pump. I've also had the opportunity to work allot with the backhoe this week, which feels right at home to me. The other day we had the opportunity to work with a family group of about 80 people from Idaho. This family had about 30 little kids with them. While most of the adults visited the Cove the kids stayed at Handcart parking where we were stationed. I was not only were able to tell the Martins Cove story to the adults up in the Dan Jones Cove, (named after one of the rescuers, who risked this life for the handcart pioneers) but I was also able to tell some stories to the kids. When I finished telling one story I asked if there were any questions. One little boy about 3 years old raised his hand,and when I called on him he said,THANK YOU! Isn't it great to feel appreciated. We also had the opportunity to help 3 young people who had a blow-out on the highway. Their rim was ruined and Elder Freeman, our mission leader, drove them into Casper to a junk yard to get a replacement. As it turned out the new rim was slightly the wrong size rim, but I was able to do some grinding and make it work. So we sent them gratefully on their way with the advice to check the lugnuts regularly to make sure they stayed tight. As far as they were from a town, it was a blessing that they broke down near a place equipped and willing to help them. Sister Leavitt was also a great help as she communicated with their mother in Washington state who was frantically trying to get them help. They had called their mother to find out where out where the nearest town was located . Their mother saw Martins Cove Historical Site on the map and called us. It's my turn and as usual, ElderLeavitt pretty much covered all the bases. Although we stay really busy and go to bed exhausted, our weeks are getting more "routine"and it seems we don't have as much to report. For Relief Society we had a class on "rock hounding" -- finding the rocks (which there are a lot of around here!), polishing them and then making jewelry. It was very successful with about 35 people there. We also have finished our directory of the Relief Society Sisters --including pictures. This was a huge project and thanks to my counselors, we got it done. This week we are looking forward to seeing our friend, Maria and her parents and sister. We have a BBQ planned for the 4th of July and fireworks over Alcova Lake. Also we're having a pancake dinner for Family Home Evening on Monday and Charlie and I are in charge. So will close for tonight and thank all of you who are sending us emails and letters. With love, The Leavitt's