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