Dear Family and Friends,
Here we are already at the downhill side of the trek season, the trekkers are coming less frequently now and so our responsibilities are getting to be a little less. We're still getting allot of family groups and people who see the highway signs and come in to check us out. We have even some bikers who have been coming to and leaving Sturgis, the big motorcycle rally up in the Black Hills.
And the spiritual experiences seem to continue. For example one of the sisters walked into the woodshop the other day with a fly swatter to swat a few flies and left the door open. As she was talking to a couple of the Elders a humming bird few in through the door and landed on her fly swatter, and just sat there. She then decided take it outside because she thought maybe it was disoriented, but when she got it outside it continued to sit on the fly swatter and even let some of the men pet it. It stayed there long enough for her to get her camera and take a picture of it. After a while it just flew away. It seems to be the same with all the animals here, they don't seem to have much fear of the people.
Friday we had a group of Mennonites come to visit. There were about 8 charming ladies from Pennsylvania in their white bonnets and black dresses with white collars, I really think they enjoyed their visit. Its amazing to see the diversity of people who visit this sacred place and are touched by the Cove story and the trail on which hundreds of thousands of pioneers passed on their way to settling the west.
On Saturday we were invited to an open house at the Pathfinder Ranch. Its a 250,000 acre ranch which is our next door neighbor. I think its owned by a couple of Texas oil men. They fed us breakfast, lunch, and a big steak dinner. All day long they had events going, including a rodeo, horse show, and all kinds of competitive events for kids. Then that night they gave out awards to the winners as well as raffled off all kinds of prizes including tack and saddles. Great time! They must have spent a fortune. .
Some of the missionaries who are just here for 12 weeks are leaving this week and its sad to see them go, we have developed such close friendships with all of the missionaries and have really grown to love and appreciate the good people they are.
Oscar the trek dog is still going out with the few groups that are coming in, though I think he is about worn down from all the work. He will probably be glad to get back to his ranch and rest for the winter. For Sister Leavitt and I it has been a great summer and we hate to see it end.
Love Elder Leavitt
It's my turn and it's several days after Charlie started this email. One update is that Oscar has returned home for the summer. His owner called the office on Tuesday and said that he ate a big dinner, had a long drink of water and went to sleep. I know he must be exhausted from the hundreds of miles he trekked w/ the kids this summer.
We went to the Wyoming State Fair in Douglas on Wednesday with some other missionary couples. It doesn't really compare to the Clark County Fair but it was fun and we saw some interesting things. The most interesting to me was the live stock and the judging. I was amazed at the vocabulary of the judges and the many ways they could describe a sheep -- mostly in terms of how it would taste on a plate ! Also, I never turn down a chance to have a little funnel cake :) And, I bought a cute cowboy hat -- Charlie says he finally has his cowgirl !
Another choice experience this week was hearing the story of one of our missionaries here. When he was in his 20's, he was stationed in Alaska in the Air Force. He and 2 other men, one of whom was a bush pilot, crashed in a remote area of Alaska when they were flying a small plane. It was in April, but of course, it was freezing cold and none of them had any survival gear -- amazing, but true. He talked about how with his jaw broken in 2 places, his scalp torn back, and with broken ribs he survived in the wilds of Alaska. I won't go into a lengthy explanation of all they went through, but it took 3 days for them to be rescued and his feet were frozen. He wanted us to hear his description of what it was like to suffer from this terrible frost bite and the subsequent extreme pain he experienced for years after to help us understand what the pioneers went through. As he said, when they arrived in Utah, their problems weren't over. Most of them probably suffered pain for rest of their lives.
Well, the days are getting shorter and I don't feel like we've even had summer yet. We have had only 2 days in the 90's so it's been a very mild summer - even by Wyoming standards. We have been enjoying many evenings out by the campfire visiting with our friends -- I will miss these days when our Mission is over.
Our love and prayers are with you all,
Peggy (Sister Leavitt)
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