This week I have been sent to help the Willie Center missionaries. The Willie Center, also known as Sixth Crossing, (the location the pioneers crossed the Sweetwater for the sixth time) is located about 65 miles west of Martin's Cove and also located on the Sweetwater River. This is the spot where the Willie Handcart Company was also caught in the big storm of October, 1856. And they, like the Martin Company suffered greatly due to starvation and cold. I was asked to bring the backhoe over and dig up some broken waterlines. It seems that several of the hydrants used for supplying water to the missionary RV spots were leaking water down at the bottom. The Willie winter missionaries wanted to get them fixed before the summer missionary's began to arrive. One of the messy problems I encountered was that the hydrants extended down into the ground about 7 feet, but we hit a lot of ground water about 6 feet. Consequently, after digging through the frozen ground to get to the breaks, I had to keep bailing water with the backhoe bucket to allow us to fix the breaks. Each time I bailed enough water to get it about a foot or so below the break we only had about ten minutes to try to make the repairs before I had to start bailing again. Kind of reminded me of riding in a leaky row boat, bail or drown. Some of the problems we encountered were due somewhat to inferior installation skills used during the initial installation. These are some of the problems you encounter when you have old people (like me) from all walks of life serving as your primary work force. But, in spite of our limitations we seem to get the jobs done, though sometimes twice. Although it was a cold, muddy job, we were successful in fixing the ones we found leaking. When the weather warms up, and other lines have a chance to thaw, maybe we can have some more fun! When I returned to Martin's Cove I continued working on the Humanitarian Center expansion.
Today in church we had a beautiful little family from Casper talk to us. They included the father who is on the Casper Stake High Council, his wife who is their ward's Young Women's President and a descendant of handcart pioneers, and four of their five daughters, the oldest being about 10. The only one who didn't give a talk was the baby. It was a special and spiritual meeting and the little girls were as sharp and cute as they could be. The two oldest girls gave their talks entirely on their own and kept us spell bound.
Well, this week we head home for a few days and we can't wait to see our family and while we're there give Uncle Sam his due in taxes. When we get back to the Cove the summer missionaries should start arriving and so things should start buzzing around here. It will sure be great to see all those with whom we served last year.
We love our family, our friends, and our Lord and consider it an honor and privilege to serve Him in this unique little part of the world. May the Lord bless you all! You're in our prayers!
Hi Everyone --
Today concludes a very busy week. Those of us who work in the office finished putting all the material together for the new and returning Missionaries in the "red book" and also completed all the script books (script books contain all the stories that we tell our visitors about the Martin and Willie Handcart Companies). Huge job and I'm glad it's done. We have a few housekeeping types of things left to do to be completely ready, but we're feeling like we've got the bulk of the preparation work done.
Today was the last time the Polar Bears had our Sunday services and pot-luck with just the Polar Bears. Missionaries will start returning this week and the 2nd year Missionaries will all be here by April 7th. As excited as we are to see our friends, we were feeling sentimental today that the winter is over for us. None of us can believe it passed so quickly and we all agree that it was one of the best experiences of our lives.
We celebrated Sister Freeman's birthday on Wednesday by having a surprise birthday party -- and I must say she was totally surprised !! (See attached picture) We decided on having a breakfast as that is the only time we could get us all together. We decorated the Gathering Room and it looked so festive. As usual we had a delicious meal and laughed and laughed and had a great time. We appreciated an opportunity to do something special for Sister Freeman as she had done so many thoughtful and special acts of service for all of us that is was wonderful to be able to do something for her.
While I was booking treks this week I had an interesting conversation with a man whose in-laws were Missionaries here when Martin's Cove Site was opened and dedicated. He talked of being in the presence of President Hinckley when we stated that in the future thousands of people would be coming to this site and that it would have a transformative power over the lives of our youth. We have certainly seen that statement come to fruition with the thousands of kids we have seen just since we have been here.
Well, I can't conclude without mentioning the weather -- on Tuesday we woke up to the most snow we have seen since we've been here. We were so excited we ran out of prayer meeting and started taking pictures. See attached picture of Charlie attempting to get the snow off of his truck. Of course, because it was a Spring storm, most of the snow is gone today -- and the WIND has begun. I feel like I did when we arrived last Spring when the wind was howling day in and day out. I bet the wind was blowing 40 miles an hour today. Thank heavens I have the "Charlie Leavitt Special" haircut and as the wind doesn't bother it too much. :)
I've started the process of packing up my winter clothes to take home and trying to decide what to keep. I don't want to make the mistake I did last year when I didn't have warm enough clothes for the Spring and I felt like I was freezing most of the time.
Happy Birthday to two special "girls" -- our daughter-in-law Leanna's birthday was yesterday and our granddaughter Olivia's today. Our love and best wishes for a great birthday to both of you.
Because we will be home next week, you won't hear from us for 2 weeks. Until then.....
Well, it has been another great week here. We had our zone conference here this week. Elder Ko of the seventy taught us the secrets of missionary work, or at least some really cool stuff about it. I also got a sweet comment from the mission presidents wife that i am looking really good lately. but she also said mom that she doesnt want you thinking that i am being deprived here. so mom im not being deprived here. I also hit another great milestone this last week. but i have a story about it so ...... travel with me down memory lane. (swirly twirly music and a spinning motion as we enter the past)
It was a sunny friday afternoon. Earlier in the day we had done our weekly planning. I made some delicious rice and food from a can for lunch. Afterwards I thought to myself, "self wouldnt a quick nap be really great right now since you have an hour until you need to get to work for the day." so i took a rather delightful nap even though it was a really hot after noon. and my house heats up like an oven. about ten minutes before i needed to get up and get changed I awoke with a slight pain in my abdomen. "Nothing big just need to work with the pain," says I to myself. Ten minutes later I was wandering around the house unsure what to do. The pain had grown and grown until I was in fear of passing out from this pain in my stomach. I wandered outside trying to figure out what my body was about to do when suddenly I felt it happening. I think of you know what is happening here. I hurried over to a wall and was able to shortly stare my lunch in the face. ( that is my milestone by the way. First time puking in a foreign country.) anyways long story short. I still went out and worked that day even though i still felt terrible inside. After a few hours I didnt think my body could do the twenty minute walk to our next appointment. So my ward mission leader who is only 19 threw my arm over his shoulder and I was able to half walk half be carried to our next appointment. It was pretty sweet seeing his love for this work and not wanting it to be stopped because my physical body didnt want to. He knew that the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. (Matthew 26:41) any ways that really stuck out to me how great this work is that one person not feeling good cant stand in the way of Our Heavenly Father's great plan for all of his children.
well i hope you guys have a great week. i love you all.
Well it's been a schizophrenic weather week here at the Cove. One day it's beautiful, and the next we are in the middle of a blizzard. But it's still a great experience and we're getting a ton accomplished. This week I have been working on several projects, including digging footings and building a pad for the Humanitarian Center expansion, taking down a couple of gigantic cottonwood trees from in front of the pavilion at missionary village (which will allow for the expansion there), and placing a 24" X 20' culvert under the road I built across Cherry Creek. This has also been a week of snow removal when needed. With this push on projects it's been a very tiring week to say the least, and I can hardly wait for reinforcements to begin showing up. The other Polar Bears have been busy also. They have been finishing up the new apartment which will be occupied by our new chefs, the McAtees. They have also been reconstructing the kitchen in the barn to make it more user friendly. We have added some huge refrigerators and a freezer which will accommodate a great deal more food. Just what we need, more food! Truthfully, we are looking forward to Sister McAtee's great culinary skills! With the McAtee's new assignment I wonder if Elder McAtee will find the time to retain his title as "Champion Rattle Snake Hunter."
In a couple of weeks we will be able to go home for a few days to get our taxes done and attend our granddaughter Olivia's baptism. We are really looking forward to seeing our family and catching up on their lives. We are sorry that we won't have time to see all of our friends who live in that area, but our time will be short and our priority, of course, will be our family. We are excited that many of our family and friends have told us that they are planning on coming up for a visit this summer. We'll try to make it worth your while! But then again, the Cove experience alone is worth the trip.
Today in church we had a young man from Casper give an inspiring talk on personal inspiration. As part of his remarks he told us of an experience that happened on his mission a few years ago. He told us that he and his companion were giving the missionary lessons to a young man who seemed to be interested in the church and although the young man still had a number of concerns he was praying about them. One of his concerns was accepting the Book of Mormon. The young man told the missionaries that he would be gone for a couple of weeks to visit his father and seek his council. He also knew that his father had shown a lot of animosity toward church because of his father's own religious beliefs. The night before this young man visited his father he had a vivid dream in which he saw a Book of Mormon on his fathers table. He knew that realization of this dream was highly unlikely due to his fathers Anti-Mormon stance. When he walked into his fathers house, sure enough, there on the table was a Book of Mormon. When he questioned his father about the book, the young man was told by his father that the day before he had found it laying in the street and although he "hated Mormons", ( an attitude I have a hard time associating with someone who believes in Christ ) for some reason he was prompted to pick the book up and bring it home. He said he had every intention of throwing it away later, but had laid it on his table and forgotten about it. Consequently, because of this spiritual experience, or what some may term a coincidence, the young man decided to join the Church and is now a strong member.
To those of you who are not of our faith this story is probably hard to relate to, but to all of you who are, this is just another one of the countless examples of personal spiritual experiences that tie us to our faith.
This story is not made a part of this email to try make those many family and friends, who are "not" of our faith, believe! But on the other hand, we desire to share these experiences with those many family and friends who "are" of our faith and who, because they have personally had spiritual experiences, are touched by the spiritual experiences of others which help ground us in our faith. I know they touch my heart!
We love and respect all our family and friends no matter what your beliefs and consider all of you a blessing in our life.
Hi everyone !! As Elder Leavitt said, the weather has been a topic of conversation this week. I think we experienced what I would call our first blizzard this week -- certainly more snow in one storm than we have seen so far. I'm grateful that we were warm and cozy in our apartment and could watch it out the window and not be out "in" the storm.
We have had many visitors this week -- probably because of Spring break and also because of the aforementioned storm, I-80 was closed. This forced some people to choose the longer route to get to Cheyenne so they therefore drove by Martin's Cove. I met several visitor's who were not Mormon but were nevertheless touched by the story of the courageous handcart pioneers. I was also privileged to meet a descendent from the Hodgett wagon train (which met up with the Martin's handcart company here at Martin's Cove), a descendent from one of the rescuers, and a direct descendent from a family who traveled with the Willie Handcart Company.
I'd like to quickly tell the story of the woman I met who was the great great granddaughter of Charles Moulton, who was an infant with the Willie Handcart Company. Charles was born on the ocean voyage to America and not only survived the ordeal of getting to Iowa but also the handcart trek across the plains. But what is even more amazing is that he was able to hang onto life after having been caught in the frigid winter storm that hit the Willie Company on Rocky Ridge. After this baby arrived in Salt Lake, "when his pitiful little body was held up in the sun one could see right through it, so little flesh did he have". Another miracle is that his whole family made it which included his parents and 7 siblings. Before they left England their mother was given a blessing in which she was promised that her entire family would make this incredible journey safely. Surely the Lord had his hand on this family and now they have a great posterity who honor their pioneer ancestors.
Happy Birthday to our precious little Isabella, who is 3 years old today. When we talked to her this evening, she told us about her birthday party and the gifts she received. It was so fun to hear her sound so grown up :)
Well, enough for today. We love and miss you all and are getting excited to see our Missionary friends who will be arriving soon.
Here is our weekly letter with a couple lovely pictures that Cameron sent to us. He sent a bunch of pictures I will try and get posted on our blog this week. He would love to hear from you, and snail mail is only 97 cents, and makes him feel so important when he goes to the mission home to get his letters. Here is his address again if you need it:
Elder Cameron W. Leavitt Philippines Angeles Mission 1827 Gumain St. Redwood Villas Clark Field, Angeles City 209 Pampanga Philippines
From: cameron leavitt [mailto:email@example.com] Happy Days are here again!
grabi naman. another week is gone. time goes by so fast. its weird cause looking ahead i have a really long time left here but looking back three months went by liquid fast. well this week i had some intersting experiences with some parades. parades here happen all the time. so seeing one is no big deal. but this week i happened to see a gay pride parade going down main street of my little town here. it was pretty disgusting. one of the grossest ones came up to my companion and asked for money. they were trying to get money thats why they had a parade. EWWWW. any way this week is also the fiesta in my town. they had four parades yesterday. and since my house is on the main street of the town i heard them all. the earliest one was at 5. AM yeah i was angry when i was awoken by the sounds of horns and drums that early in the morning. i was more angry when another one went by the house at 6. i just wonder if they could have coordinated this a little better. the next one was at 9 and blocked off traffic to the church so my church that is supposed to start at ten started at like 10 15 because nobody could get there. it was rather funny but not at the same time cause we had to scramble to get things ready for the sacrement Meeting. well i had some really great lessons this week. we started teaching one guy that his wife is a member and missionaries have been trying to teach to him for 6 years he just hasnt wanted to listen and runs away from the house when he sees them coming. it is pretty cool that we are teaching him. well this week Elder ko of the seventy is visiting my mission. hopefully we pass cause i think he is going to crack down on us for area book stuff. well love you guys. have fun. also sent a lot of pictures this week.
Elder Leavitt put his foot down and said that I had to start out the email this week. We had the Visitor's Center this afternoon and he had several visitors (I stayed home and let him handle it) so he decided since I was "loafing around", I should start the email.
We were prepared for Spring -- temp's in the 50's, the birds singing, and a warm breeze blowing. However, we woke up to snow this morning and the wind howling -- I took a picture of the gate coming into Martin's Cove today after Church so it gives you an idea of what it looked like. We are told, despite the cold temp's today, that it will be back in the 50's this week.
We had a wonderful visit in Denver -- the drive down was a little scary as the roads were the worst we have driven on. Between Rawlins and Cheyenne they were icy and very snowy but they were not closed -- we heard they were the following day. It seemed like the minute we crossed the state line into Colorado, the weather was beautiful and we enjoyed mild temps the entire time we were there.
Charlie and I went to the Temple Saturday morning and enjoyed that lovely Temple. (see attached) It was really busy and we had a hard time finding a place to park -- I think they had 3 weddings that morning. We saw a new bride outside getting her picture taken and eventho the weather was nice, I was impressed that she wasn't wearing a coat -- it was still chilly. However, we've discovered here in Wyoming, and I'm sure it's true in Colorado, that when we still need coats we see kids walking around in shorts and T-shirts.
While in Denver, we were able to visit my sister, Helen, and brother, John, and their families. We had a great time and I really appreciated the opportunity to get caught up on what is going on in their lives. I was able to bring a little piece of my family back with me as my sister-in-law, Karole, gave me a painting of antelope with the Wind River Mtns. in the background, that my mother had hanging on her wall for many years. I had coveted that painting as we are in the perfect country for the painting and I wanted it hanging on "my" wall. When I mentioned it, Karole was gracious enough to part with it so it's now in our apartment and feeling very much at home with us :)
We were also able to work in a quick visit, with Sandy Strack, who is a childhood friend --she lived down the street from me when we were growing up in Pinedale. Again, we had a wonderful visit and were so happy to see her and her husband, Art.
As for news around here -- still busy, busy getting ready for the Missionaries. It will be just a few weeks before the 2nd year missionaries arrive -- what a reunion that will be ! I think they will be impressed with all the work the missionaries have accomplished this Winter.
The new couple who will be managing the Ranch associated w/ Martin's Cove arrived yesterday. They are a cute young couple with a darling little 18 month old boy. All the Sister missionaries are going crazy over having a baby here -- they'll have plenty of baby-sitters, that's for sure :)
The other picture that I'm attaching is one I took of Elder Leavitt after he had transplanted a pine tree. He's had an eventful week, so I'll let him tell you about it -- just suffice it to say, I had my laundry challenges this week.
We want to wish our son Chris, a Happy Birthday on the 20th ! When his birthday rolls around each year, it always brings back a flood of memories as he celebrates his birthday the same week we celebrate our anniversary. He just turned 13 when we got married so I'm not going to tell you how old he is by telling you how many years we have been married. Happy Birthday, son -- we love you !
That's it for me -- it's Charlie's turn :
I think Sister Leavitt did an exceptional job covering all the basic information so there's not much I can add. I have been excavating at east end of the Humanitarian Center this week preparing for a 34 foot expansion. While I was working in that location, I took the opportunity to dig up a leaking water hydrant by trenching down about 7 feet. While I was repairing the hydrant Elder Warr walked by just as the trench caved in covering my legs. I think it scared him a little, but even though I couldn't pull my legs out, being an old ditch digger I knew that all I had to do was dig around my legs by hand to free them. The ground on top was frozen down about a foot, but the water leak had softened the lower ground making it pretty unstable. (as an experienced excavating contractor I should have noticed) Anyway I got the hydrant fixed and while the trench was open I was able to add a water connection for the new restrooms that we will be adding to the new expansion. Last week I had the opportunity to build a much needed roadway across Cherry Creek. During the trek season the trekkers have often had to detour about a 1/4 mile up to the old highway and around to get across the creek. With this new roadway, and with the culvert we're installing to carry the water under the new roadway, the trekkers can leave Cherry Creek Campground and head straight out onto the original Pioneer Trail on their way to Jackson Campground.
I would like to thank my nephew Lorin Leavitt for sending me a re-supply of Pro-Arginine on a moments notice, my arteries were beginning to plug up because I had been out for about 3 weeks. Thanks tons, I'm back in tip top shape. Hug Dianne and give Conner and Dillon a high five for me!
The Lord loves Martin's Cove and so do we. The Spirit is very strong here and the veil between heaven and earth is very thin. We feel it a blessing and a privilege to serve here and have the opportunity to have so many rewarding experiences. May the Lord bless and watch over each and every one of you.
Love Elder Leavitt
PS. Congratulations to our son Glen on his promotion to a permanent position with the Clark County Regional Transportation Center.
Congratulations to our grandchildren on being some of the cutest and smartest the world has ever known.