Happy Spring Family and Friends,
Spring has not yet arrived on the high plains of Wyoming, but the beautiful blossoms in the form of our returning missionaries have. It's been an exciting week welcoming our old friends, and some new, back to the Cove. They have brought with them a new energy and given us Polar Bears a big boost in our desire to serve. They have hit the ground running and already they have gotten things spruced up and shining. We've already had a trek group of over sixty trekkers show up this week. These brave souls wanted to have a authentic pioneer handcart experience, and they certainly did. After visiting Martin's Cove, they spent the night in tents at the Willie Center. Elder Jorgensen reported that they camped on the snow and then the next day he led them on a trek for 10 miles in the snow which measured an average of 10 to 12 inches with drifts up to 4 feet. At about the halfway mark they were given the option of taking a shorter route back and forgoing the long women's pull directly ahead. This is the part of the trek where the men leave women and wait at the top of a long hill while the women pull the handcarts up the hill by themselves. When given the chance to opt-out, one young women stated that, "I have not come all this way to wimp out". As the young men marched ahead up the hill, on their own they decided to march in two lines to break trails through the snow so that the women's handcart wheels would not get stuck. The young men also took as much of the camping equipment out of the handcarts as they could carry to give the girls a fighting chance. It was still a very difficult pull up the snow covered trail, but they made it, and we were told that there wasn't a dry eye in the group. It's amazing how these treks change lives. It also about did Elder Jorgensen in!
We had a great visit with our family last week and want to thank them for their hospitality and love. It was so much fun to see our grandkids and see how much they've grown.
The highlight of the visit was our granddaughter Olivia's baptism. To watch her dad perform the ordinance was a heart touching experience. Her older brother Conner (12) gave one of the most beautiful talks on baptism I have ever heard, and he prepared it entirely on his own. Her older brother Garrett (9) also gave a beautiful prayer. These are the experiences that lift our souls.
Thanks to Al and Jo for inviting me to Jo's birthday breakfast at the Coffee Cup in Boulder City. No, I didn't have coffee, but I did have their fabulous potatoes and gravy.
Although we traveled through blizzards coming and going to Boulder City, Nevada we entered into a whole new world of spring in Southern Nevada with leaves on the trees, green grass and flowers blooming everywhere. Go less than 200 miles north, we experienced the most snow we've seen all winter in Cedar City, Utah. Fortunately we were able to dodge some of winter's worst storms, frequent road closures and with the Lord's blessings made it back safely.
Well, we love you all and appreciate your prayers on our behalf and think of you in ours.
PS This will be the last email we will send to the 2nd year returning missionaries because they are here to live the experience with us.
Hi everyone -- I first want to explain that I didn't know about Jo's birthday until "after" we got back home to Martin's Cove. I had breakfast with my incredible "sissy's" that morning and Charlie didn't let me know until we got back that Jo had had a birthday. MEN !! Belated Happy Birthday to Jo from me.
We had a fabulous trip home despite the harrowing trip down -- we've seen more snow this Spring than we've seen all winter. As Charlie said, when we got caught in the blizzard out side of Cedar City, we could not even see the lines on the road -- it was white knuckle time for me !
Olivia's baptism was so special -- I'm attaching a picture. We appreciate all that our kids did to make us feel loved and pampered while we were home. It was so fun spending a little time with our grandkids and to see how much they have changed even in the short time we have been gone. I loved the sleep-over with my granddaughters and never tire of seeing them play with their dolls and dress up in Grandma's scarves. Many special memories !
Well, our second year Missionaries are back and many of them battled the same blizzards and icy roads we did trying to get back. Thankfully, everyone made it safely. We all love each other so much, our Reunion was sweet and emotional. It's wonderful seeing our friends, catching up on the last six months, and as always, working hard to get prepared for the Trek Seminars and the Trekkers.
I have just one thing to add -- the Bluegrass band had its first practice today. I was determined to be in it this year so Charlie bought me an autoharp for our anniversary. Today was the first time I have played it and I had a blast !! Eventho it is out of tune (Sister Fenn will tune it for me this week) that didn't stop me from strumming away. I know being in the band is going to be one of my favorite experiences this summer. I have visions of joining the bluegrass band in Boulder City if they'll have me -- what about it Ken and Donlee ??
My love and prayers to you all,
Sister Leavitt aka Peggy