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.
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,