PREPARATION to SERVE
With the call to serve by January 9, 2017 in the Canada Edmonton Mission, Lloydminister Alberta with the indigenous people, December became a month for visits and farewells. Although we did not get to visit with all of our children and grandchildren at Christmas, we had made summer and fall visits to BC, Oregon, Utah and Colorado.
2 visits to Victoria BC with son Cliff, his wife Deanna, da. Nyah & da. Caesha & her fiancee Kole Anderson. 2 visits with grandson Zach/Vancouver.
2 visits to Medford Oregon with daughter Leah, her husband Jason and grandsons: Logan and Rowan.
Grandson Ethan leaves June 1st for a mission. Visits in September with son Glen, his wife Danelle and sons: Thayer & Cooper in Ft. Collins CO.
Visits in Kaysville Utah with son Robb, his wife Kimberly and sons: Samuel and Henry.
CHRISTMAS SEASON 2016
PLAYTIME ON NEW YEARS EVE
GOODBYES IN OKOTOKS
Thanks to our sons: Jared and Andrew, grandson Lincoln and Maxwell (see his green hair at bottom of photo) and young missionary/Elders from Elliston Park Ward/Calgary Bow River Stake, the rental moving truck got loaded despite the -20C daytime high temperatures. Thanks also to Jeannine’s sister, Glenda Nixon for feeding the crew. After the loading, we enjoyed time with some of our family.
Our loading crew, the moving truck and our vehicle, and farewell tears with Andrew, Andrea, Lincoln, Autumn and Ryder.
Sunday evening January 8th, 2017 accompanied by Glenda (J’s sister) we head to the office of President Thompson, Calgary Bow River Stake at the Willow Park Chapel, to be set apart as service missionaries for the Canada Edmonton Mission (CEM).
JOURNEY TO OUR MISSION ASSIGNMENT
Considering the LOW temperatures and blizzard-like snow conditions, the 6 hour drive North, then East to Lloydminster, AB went smoothly with Sam driving the rental truck and Jeannine the Dodge Journey. The temperature was -20C for a daytime high when we got to Lloydminister at 3pm. We had a crew of four strong warmly dressed angels there to meet us and unload the truck at: Unit 3, 5015 57 Street, Lloydminster, AB. We thanked them with a bucket of fried chicken. Two days later, we had furniture delivered by two missionaries that serve in the Canada Edmonton Mission Office: 2 desks, lamps, table, chairs and a dresser. We had brought along our mattress/bed frame, kitchen goods, Lazyboy chairs, clothing and personal items.
Our apartment is two levels. Upper: kitchen/living room with a good size entryway. Lower: bedroom, storage/sewing room, bathroom and laundry/furnace room. It is a good apartment and with the two levels, we certainly do not need a stair master exercise machine! We have not lived in a home with our own refrigerator and kitchen since November 2014. (Our son Robb & wife Kimberly shared their home with us while we served in the Hawaii Honolulu Mission Jan 2015-June 2016; Glenda, Jeannine’s sister, shared her home in Calgary from July 2016-Dec 2016 in between the visits with our children in Victoria BC, Medford OR, Kaysville UT and Fort Collins CO. We are certain R&K and Glenda are glad to have all the space in their frig to themselves.) It has taken time to get unpacked and settled in, but we are enjoying our Lloydminster “digs”. Unlike young missionaries, we will not get transferred to a new area nor will we change companions!!
Our apartment is in a small complex of two buildings. Each building contains 8 – two level apartments, back to back. We do not have any common hallways, nor do we have anyone living above us or below us, although we can sometimes hear our neighbours using their stairs. The buildings may need some care on the exterior, but we are happy with the inside of our unit.
With the day time high of -26 C for the next two days after our arrival, we were faced a few issues: #1 Our door key broke off in the lock (& we had to be rescued by our caretaker). #2 We found our vehicle unplugged and it would not start but we got a tow truck eventually. #3 One morning we awoke to a COLD apartment as the power had gone out a few hours earlier, but soon after we awoke we heard the furnace start up. So we’ve been tested.
We discovered a lovely Christmas light display at the nearby curling rink. Evening views out our windows often show the vapour of a jet from the nearby Canadian Forces Base (Cold Lake). Our dining/office area is very functional.
In this small city, we do enjoy many exceptional prairie scape sunsets. Our entrance hall and kitchen area are great too.
Elder Darwin and Sister Andrea Rhoton from Eagar Arizona are the senior missionaries we are currently serving here in Lloydminster until they go home in April 2017. Another couple will replace the Rhotons in July. Darwin and Andrea have been so kind and helpful in welcoming us here. Elder Rhoton was one of the angels that helped move us into our apartment. The Rhotons and the young sister missionaries live in a new apartment building at the West end of the city, on the outskirts. We are near city centre so when the weather improves, we have lots of exploring to do on foot.
TRIP TO EDMONTON
President Pattison (see above with his wife) asked us to bring young missionary, Sister Lee to Edmonton so she could attend the Edmonton Temple before her departure for home. We met some old Calgary friends of 30 years earlier at the temple and were able to have President Pattison be a proxy son for some ancestor/family sealings. Then we enjoyed dinner at a nearby restaurant with the Pattisons; they shared with us the process of their being called to serve in the Canada Edmonton Mission. We had a sleepover at the Mission Home in Sherwood Park, SE of Edmonton, before heading back home early the next morning. (The Pattisons are CANADIANS from New Brunswick.)
There are 4 very TALL orange markers at the intersection of Highway #16 and Highway #17 (which runs parallel with the 4th Meridian/110 degrees West marking the AB/SK border). This intersection is in the middle of the city, downtown core (such as it is).
We live 2 blocks West of the border on the Alberta side of the city which has a population of 30,000. Every time we leave our apartment, we enter SK when we drive along #17 highway and cross railway tracks. The LDS Church is just off #17 highway on the Alberta side of the city and South of where we live.
The movie theatre (above), Canada Post with the flag (down the street from the theatre) and the Native Friendship Centre are all in SK as is the hospital. All the local schools are all under the province of Saskatchewan Education System. Provincial sales tax is not charged by any business in any part of the city. What about Alberta’s carbon tax? Apparently all gas stations on either side of the Meridian are charging the same, but we haven’t heard yet what that means.
When we served our mission in Hawaii we had 3 name badges: #1 LDS Church badges, #2 BYU Hawaii University badges, #3 the Polynesian Cultural Centre Badges (PCC). We only wore the PCC badges when we served at the PCC; it only had our first name on the badge. We did not “advertise” the LDS church.
Here in the CEM (Canada Edmonton Mission), we only wear the LDS Church badges on Sunday or when we attend CEM meetings. During the week, we wear the FIELDS badge: Foundation for Indigenous Education, Leadership Development and Sustainability, showing that we represent a non-profit organization serving the indigenous people. We serve, not to convert, but to assist and serve the First Nations and Metis in this area.
ONION LAKE RESERVE
We’ve already had a few meetings out at the Onion Lake Reserve, 40 minutes North of Lloydminster, meeting with the leadership of the ATOSKASOTAN programs. (Cree name pronounced: Ados-ka-so-tan. The first “T” is pronounced with a “D” sound.) This is the employment training and upgrade centre for those over 18 years of age. We’ve met with Irene, Lydia and Iris in their offices. (See sign in middle photo.) Jeannine was gifted the beaded lanyard, she is wearing in the photo, after the visit Sam and Jeannine had with Iris.
WORLDWIDE MISSIONARY BROADCAST
On Wednesday January 25, we had a 10am life-feed from SLC at the LDS church in Lloydminster that allowed the 6 Lloydminster Missionaries to watch and listen to a Missionary broadcast presented by the 7 members of the LDS Church Missionary Committee. It really was directed to the young missionaries but we appreciated being part of the event. The missionaries were instructed in how to share the teachings of Christ. A new program was also presented that allows the missionaries to be flexible with their choices concerning the use of their time each day. We feel this change will allow the young missionaries to become more responsible for their own time and prepare them for the transition as they return home.
Back row: Elder and Sister Rhoton, Elder and Sister McCollum
Front Row: Sister Gambler (Navajo/Utah), Sister Smith (Australia) and we were also joined by two young sister missionaries that serve in Cold Lake Branch of the church. One young sister took the photo and the sister in the photo to the right is actually Albertan/Canadian from Claresholm AB. After the broadcast we returned to our apartment to pack for a one night stay in Edmonton.
A “missionary tour” is the term for a district/zone/geographical area within the mission. It was our Mission President’s first Missionary Tour and ours also. (When we served in the Hawaii Honolulu mission we were never given the opportunity to be part of meetings with the young missionaries because with the concentration of senior missionaries in Laie, we could not all be gone from our service positions at the same time.)
The Rhotons kindly drove us to Edmonton. We enjoyed a Senior Missionary dinner banquet with the guest speaker, a general authority/priesthood leader Elder Echo Hawk who is actually Native American, Pawnee; he lived on a reservation in Oklahoma as a child. He shared personal experiences, the conversion of his family to Christ’s gospel and bore his personal testimony of the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We were billeted at nearby members home, the Appletons. Brother Appleton is the grandson of a friend of Jeannine’s parents who lived in the same senior assisted living in Lethbridge AB. Small LDS world.
We stayed in the “Lego” bedroom at the Appletons Home (left photo). We felt like we were staying in the bedroom of one of our grandsons. The next morning and part of the afternoon, we “sat at the feet and learned” from our mission president, Sister Pattison and Elder and Sister Echo Hawk. We got to share photo-time with the Echo Hawks. The luncheon was excellent, a Latino menu enjoyed by everyone. Then we headed East out of the city for the drive back to Lloydminister with our new friends, Elder and Sister Rhoton.
RED PHEASANT RESERVE
Friday February 3rd, we took a 2 hour each way drive with the Rhotons out to The Battlefords. Explanation: There is a town called North Battleford, Saskatchewan on the North side of the highway; there is also another part of the town, south across a small valley, hence The Battlefords.
From The Battlefords, we drove south for 30 minutes to the Red Pheasant Reserve. The Rhotons visit there at least once a week. This day, we all worked in the library re-shelving books that needed sorting. The school staff were so friendly and we visited with them while we shared a prepared lunch.
This dear native lady prepared soup and bannock for the staff and volunteers.
Is this in your local school curriculum? Red Pheasant students learn: how to make a snare, catch a rabbit and learn the rules of gun safety. After the school visit and before the long drive back to Lloydminster, the Rhotons took us to their favourite museum in North Battleford.
ALLEN SAPP ART GALLERY
Allen Sapp (January 2, 1928 – December 28, 2015) was a Canadian Cree painter, who resided in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. His paintings tell a personal story, and many feature images of his grandmother (usually in red) who raised him, and reflect the love he had for her. Sapp was born on the Red Pheasant Reserve, south of North Battleford. His mother died from tuberculosis in his adolescence. As a child he was often ill and spent long hours in bed. His grandmother nurtured him and encouraged his love of drawing, teaching him in the Cree ways.
He attended the Red Pheasant school, but was often mocked and teased by the other children and teachers because of his desire to draw. After his grandmother died, he then moved to North Battleford to try to make a living as an artist, selling paintings door to door. Dr. Allan Gonor recognized Sapp’s talent and encouraged him to paint what he knew — life on the reserve. His work became known across North America.
SAPP was made an Officer of the Order of Canada “for his portrayals of Native peoples and of life on the reserve”. He was awarded the SK Order of Merit.He was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and received the Governor General’s Award for English language children’s illustration for the book, The Song Within My Heart. He died in his sleep on December 28, 2015.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON DRIVE
The Rhotons invited us to visit Paradise! Honestly, there is a small town near the AB/SK border named Paradise Hill. The school goes from elementary to high school. Several families from the Branch of the church live out there, including two LDS Korean Families that run a grocery store and a restaurant. We are excited to visit there again when we have time to try out the restaurant and see the town without all the snow.
SUNDAY MEETINGS – LLOYDMINSTER BRANCH of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Here are Elder McCollum, Sister McCollum (wearing our Sunday badges) and President Paul Kristensen.
Sunday Feb 5, 2017 the Edmonton Bonnie Doon Stake Presidency visited the Lloydminster Branch: President Robert Mendenhall, 1st Couns. President Paul Kristensen, 2nd Couns. President D. Laurie. The Lloydminster Branch Presidency was released and new men were called to serve.
We were excited to see Paul Kristensen after about 30 years! He grew up in Calgary; his mother Barb currently attends Elliston Park Ward (the ward we attended before leaving for this mission.) Also, President Mendenhall as a child lived with his family in Lethbridge AB and attended a ward with Jeannine’s parents. Pres. Mendenhall’s older brother was a friend of Jeannine’s brother Tom. It is a small LDS world!
NOTE: Did you know that unlike young missionaries, Senior Missionaries are allowed to leave their mission and travel at their own expense to make short visits for important family events? Watch for our next Blog entry to see where and why we flew out of Edmonton to visit with family.