Sunday, December 20, 2009


Merry Christmas family and friends,

This past week has been anything but merry for Sister Leavitt. Some how she came down with a serious case of shingles. For those of you who may not be familiar with this particular disease, it is a virus which usually manifests itself with a blister type rash and can be very painful. Not only do you experience excruciating pain where the rash is, but also in other parts of the body. Sister Leavitt was in so much pain, I thought I was going to have to shoot her to save her life. Fortunately we got her into a doctor in Casper who prescribed some anti-viral medication which seems to be helping. Albeit, she spent most of the week in bed. Today, Sunday, is the second time she has ventured out of the apartment this week. She attended all of her Church meetings and our Sunday pot-luck, so I think she is on the mend. The other time she ventured out was Friday to attend our Christmas program put on by President Lorimer's brother and sister-in-law. Brother Lorimer is an accomplished baritone and entertained us with beautiful Christmas music. He was accompanied on the piano by his wife who is a concert pianist. The rest of the Christmas program was narrated by Elder Bretzing our Farmland Reserve director from Salt Lake. The Bretzings drove 350 miles just to take part in our program. After the program we had a sumptuous dinner. We also had about 15 guests. Some missionary couples from Casper, our High Council Representative and his wife, a rancher and a saloon owner from over by the Willie Center, Tina Sun and one of her ranch hands from the Sun Ranch, ( the largest ranch in Wyoming on which Martin's Cove Visitors Center used to sit ) the Singh family, an Indian (India) family who live in Rawlins and are investigating the Church. Sister Leavitt was in a lot of pain, but she loves any kind of musical performance, especially Christmas, and could not resist. We know and feel that all of your continuing prayers on our behalf have helped.

My week has been pretty much the same, installed a couple of more air hose reels in the woodshop, serviced the heavy equipment, loaded and hauled gravel to the Cherry Creek Campground. Fortunately the ground is not frozen solid so I'm still able to dig gravel out of the pit. Actually the weather has been fairly warm for Wyoming. (the mid-thirties) The only downside is the wind. When it blows, which is most of the time, the thirties feel like the low teens, but if you dress for it, the weather has been fairly tolerable.

We are really going to miss our children and grandchildren this Christmas. This is the first time in many years we have not been able to celebrate the Christmas season with them. We want our family and all of our friends to know how much we love and appreciate you and what you mean to us.

May the Lord bless and keep you safe this Holiday Season!
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah!

Elder and Sister Leavitt aka Peggy and Charlie

PS Conner, Garrett, Olivia, Wyatt, Tommy, Parker, Preston, Delaney, Rory, and Isabella. Grandma and Grandpa hope you have the best Christmas ever!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Hello again everyone,

Greetings from the Cove. It's been another productive week in the cold, snowy, windy high plains of Wyoming. This has been an interesting week weather wise, with temperatures ranging from 30 degrees above to 37 degrees below zero and winds from 0 to 60 miles per hour. But, the work goes on and so we don't really have time to think a lot about the weather. I think I'm becoming somewhat acclimatized to it, or maybe I'm just frozen senseless. Sometimes I have dreams about playing golf on the beautiful green grass of the Boulder City golf courses, but then again look at the money I'm saving, and I certainly wouldn't have herds of beautiful deer walking around me every day! Some of them have turned into little beggars, but how could you turn down those sweet little faces. Seriously though, the weather, so far, has not been nearly as bad as we anticipated.

The first of the week I was busy making a stockpile of gravel for the roads and parking areas at Cherry Creek until a hydraulic hose on the backhoe sprung a leak. Because I couldn't work on the backhoe, until someone went into Casper and bought a new hose. As an alternative I installed a new air compressor in the welding shop, and new air hose reels in the welding shop and in the mechanic shop. In the process of hooking up the electrical for the compressor I accidently tripped the welder breaker. As hard as I tried I could not find the tripped breaker. There was a panel in the woodshop with a breaker that was marked welder, but it was not the right one, and to make matters worse, no one knew where the right one could be found. After a prayer for help, and fruitless searching, something told me to look in the far corner of a large room we call "the barn" which was the farthest distance possible from the welder, and there in a dark corner was a breaker panel with the tripped breaker. It was in a place that common sense would have never led me to look! Another one of the Lord's tender mercies. Tomorrow I will help install a new air compressor at the Willie Center, after a prayer!

Yesterday, after I repaired the backhoe, I was able to remove snow from around the Visitors Center, as it had built up considerably from the drifting, wind -blown snow. Due to the wind, the snow doesn't build up at all on the flats, but around structures and fences it gets pretty deep. The blowing snow looks almost like the blowing dust at home. Sister Whitlock, one of our Casper missionaries stepped into a two foot snow drift next to the Visitors Center, fell down and couldn't get up. It took two elders to pull her out. She was a little embarrassed, but okay.

On Tuesday of last week we had the great privilege of giving a tour of the Martin's Cove facility to 65 full time missionaries from the South Dakota Mission which includes Casper and Gillette, Wyoming. This was probably the worst day weather-wise this week. But, these valiant young men and women insisted on visiting the Cove and so they braved the elements (snowing with temperatures below zero) and made the trek. It was a great spiritual experience and I'm sure they received a small taste of what the Martin and Willie handcart pioneers endured. A few of the young men were even wearing tennis shoes, but none of them complained.

Today, Sunday, we had the privilege of having President and Sister Lorimer as our Sacrament meeting speakers. Sister Leavitt and I were scheduled to speak, but were more than happy to delay our assignment until January so we could listen to this great couple. You former missionaries know what we're talking about. For those of you who don't, President Lorimer was the Riverton, Wyoming Stake President who oversaw the creation of the Martin and Willie visitor sites, as well as the placement of all the Historical Monuments on the trails. He was also the liaison between the Church and the Sun family in arraigning for the purchase of a portion of the Sun Ranch (a miracle in its self) on which the Martin's Cove Visitors Center now sits. A person can listen to this man for hours. I'll let Sister Leavitt tell you about their remarks.

Love you all, Elder Leavitt

This has been another fabulous week. We so enjoyed having the Missionaries here. Although they did trek - they didn't do the entire trek. The Elders transported them up to hand cart parking so they only walked 1 1/2 miles rather than about 5 miles. However, the weather was so severe that day, as Elder Leavitt said, they really got a taste of what the pioneers experienced. I do want to thank Adrienne and Audrey for the long underwear, which I wore that day :) We fed them lunch and as part of lunch we had a special treat for them -- homemade cinnamon rolls. Of course, I was the only Sister who didn't make any -- those of you who know my culinary skills will not be surprised. As I explained to my Sisters up here, I have never made anything that requires yeast :)

Wednesday night I worked on a humanitarian project -- I helped sew handles on school bags that will be shipped to Salt Lake and from there, distributed all over the world. I have learned that I can sew a straight seam, but nothing more complicated than that !

As Elder Leavitt said, the Lorimer's talks were not only spiritually uplifting but very informative as well. Both of them tied information they have learned on trips to the Middle East into the Christmas Story. Sister Lorimer talked about the shepherds being chosen to be the first witnesses of Christ's birth. She explained how the least of us can be chosen by God to do the most important work here on earth -- all He requires of us is a willing heart.

President Lormier talked about the 3 Kings (or Wise Men or Magi). He explained the region from which they came and how difficult a journey it was for them to find the Christ child. He said they were the scientists of their day -- learned men who had studied about the Savior and his coming. I won't go into all of it as it would take too long and I'm sure you're tired of reading already. However, I want to share with you what we learned about the gifts the Wise Men gave to Jesus and the significance of each: Gold -- was a gift for Kings. Frankincense is sap from a tree (did you know that?). These particular trees grow only in a small region in the Middle East, between Oman and Yemen -- it was very hard to get. Among other uses, it has/had curative powers. It was considered more valuable than gold -- it was a gift given only to Priests or High Priests. Myrrh -- again is a sap that comes from a tree and is grown in that region. It is used to embalm people and is a commodity that is given to a man who is going to die.

After lunch the Lorimers gave each Missionary couple a beautiful wooden box with a picture on it that Sister Lorimer had taken while they were in the Middle East. It is a desert scene with camels in the distance. In the box were samples of gold, frankincense and myrrh that they had brought home with them from one of their trips. President Lormier explained that Sister Lorimer had given away all their belongings when they were in the Middle East --everything-- so they could pack their suitcases with gifts for their family and friends back home. So President Lormier said he wanted us to remember he gave away his clothes so we could have our gifts:) Seriously, it is a precious gift to us and something we will always cherish.

Enough for tonight -- thank you for reading all of this.if you have gotten this far.

We love you all and are loving the Christmas season in Wyoming,

Sister Leavitt aka Peggy

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Happy Winter to all our family and friends,

This has been a very invigorating week, with the temps not getting much over Zero, especially with the wind chill factor, in fact today the wind chill was about -20. But the work goes on! I have been grading for a new campground at Cherry Creek to add to the two existing at this location, not counting the one we added at Jackson Campground last summer. It seems we just can't get enough space for all the trekkers. Next year we have already scheduled 10,000 more trekkers than this year and still counting. Adding additional campgrounds requires a lot of work, including restrooms and water wells, not to mention fencing and parking areas.

Because of my experience with the sprinkling system last spring here at Martin's Cove ( I've become the sprinkler guru) the Director wants me to be in charge of putting in a system next spring at the Willie Center ( about 65 miles to the west of us ). For those of you who are not familiar with the two ill-fated handcart companies caught in the early winter storm of 1856, the Martin Company was stranded here at Martin's Cove and the Willie Company was stranded at the sixth crossing of the Sweetwater River 65 miles to the west. Eight of the ten Mormon Handcart Companies that came west to Utah traveled with few out of the ordinary challenges. In fact, because they were walking and pulling handcarts they stayed healthier and generally traveled faster than the wagons.

Even though we are having a great experience, we really miss our association with our family and friends, especially our beautiful grandchildren. I even miss my golfing and lunch buddies. Golf has been somewhat difficult here, by the time the ball stops rolling it is about a foot in diameter, and you have to travel 65 miles to go out to lunch. But, other than that this has been a walk in the park, that is, if you dress like an Eskimo.

Yesterday and today we were supposed to travel to Casper for Stake Conference -- this is where all the Wards in our area, (a Ward is a church unit of about 4 or 5 hundred members) get together for a Sunday meeting to hear from our Stake leaders and receive spiritual nourishment. But due to the snow and icy roads we chose to have our Sunday meeting here at the Cove. Our speakers were the Boltons who are a couple serving as ranch missionaries and work with the cattle ranch. Sister Bolton is a retired College Professor and Brother Bolton is a retired Social Worker. Brother Bolton and Sister Leavitt are able to share a lot of war stories. The Boltons both gave great talks (especially considering they had only a few hour to prepare) Sister Bolton talked about never giving up on life's challenges, and Brother Bolton talked on the importance of forgiveness, especially forgiving others and following the Lord's commandment to not judge one another and forgive everyone.

I received a nice call from my brother Lynn this week. It seems he has finally decided to retire from parking cars at age 83. I don't know what his problem is, I think he still has few good work years in him. The truth is he was forced to retire! I really love this brother who along with the Savior carried me figuratively on his back through most of my early years. May the Lord bless him with a long healthy retirement. I know that his 5 sons are always there for him. Well, were going to try to call the grandkids, so I'll sign off.

Love you all, Elder Leavitt

Hi everyone-- the message this week is probably the weather -- I promised some of my friends that I wouldn't complain about the weather, and I'm not, but it has been an interesting phenomenon to watch this storm we have been having. Eventho is snows like crazy, the wind blows so hard, that the snow doesn't really accumulate. I was up and down last night peeking out the window as I thought the snow would be getting deeper, but it really didn't. However, the snow drifts due to the high winds, so against buildings and snow fences, which you see all over Wyoming, you do see deeper snow. I now understand the phrase that it snows horizontally in Wyoming ! :)

For those of you who know Elder and Sister Bolton, I have to say that their talks were a spiritual feast this morning -- so inspired and powerful. I wish you all could've heard their remarks. For those of you who don't know the Bolton's, Charlie didn't mention that Sister Bolton is about 90% deaf, but it certainly doesn't hinder her in communication. She is a brilliant woman. Between their biological children and their adopted children, they have 15 kids -- sounds like my friend Audrey :)

We have a busy week ahead -- the weather is supposed to continue to be stormy and we have 65 Missionaries who are planning to come here for a Zone Conference to trek to the Cove. I can't imagine they will do it as cold as it is, but our Director said the as of Saturday when he talked to the Mission President, they were still planning on coming. We'll let you know next week what happens.

With all the singing of Christmas carols and everything that goes along with this holiday season, it makes us miss all of you and the traditional events we celebrated as a family and as friends . However, we feel so blessed to be here and are having the time of our lives. It seems strange to us now that we ever dragged our feet about staying the winter -- we would have missed out on this great experience and adventure.

Love to you all,

Sister Leavitt (Peggy)

Saturday, December 5, 2009