April 2017 Post #3 Millionaires & Virtuous Women

T H E   U P S   A N D   D O W N S    O F   S P R I N G: We have hopes; then it snows!

A heavy blanket of wet spring snow.

A heavy blanket of wet spring snow.

The snow melts away but hoarfrost "blossoms" decorate the trees.

The snow melts away but hoarfrost “blossoms” decorate the trees.

Now we see the leaves of tulips appearing.

Now tulip leaves appear….

Yes! Pussy willows give us hope.

and pussy willows give us hope.

A robin is sighted on the tree out our living room window. YES, a sure sign of Spring!

Then a robin is sighted on the tree out our living room window. YES, a sure sign of Spring!

On one of the TWO spring mornings we had in April, we were finally able to “enjoy” a walk in our neighbourhood. We discovered a Byzantine Ukrainian Catholic Church. We learned that there are actually 23 particular catholic churches, yet of the same faith that operate under the Pope of Rome but they have their own rites shaped by geographical culture, languages and history. 14/23 are Byzantine, originating from catholic churches in Greece and Asia Minor.  Apparently, this Holy Spirit Parish church extends services in English but often with some Ukranian “flavouring” thrown in from time to time.

Church 1 Church 2

Church 3

And here is an even better “spring” photo…. from Calgary: granddaughter Autumn with our daughter in law, Andrea.

Here is an even better "spring" photo from Calgary: granddaughter Autumn with our daughter in law, Andrea.


On the last day of our service with indigenous students at Lakeland College enrolled in the OTO (Oilfield Truck Operator) Program, we had a young married man from the Cree Nation come up to us and ask us a curious question.  “Hey! You guys are millionaires, aren’t you?”   We really were curious as to why he drew that incorrect conclusion.  We had to think about this and several weeks later at the graduation ceremony for the OTO students, we came to a conclusion.  READ ON.

At Lakeland College, the West side entrance of the Vic Juba Theatre  has a very interesting mosaic mural entitled, The Buffalo Twins.  Created in 2005 in remembrance of the Centennial of the town of Lloydminster (1903) and Lakeland College (1913), the mural contains 336 painting by 270 artists.

Closeup of individual paintings.         Mural from a distance; sorry photo taken in bright sun with a shadow on the bottom rt corner.

LC mural 1 LC Mural

The Theatre is named after local resident Mr. Victor Juba who had a long and successful career with Husky Oil and is well known for his deep commitment to the community of Lloydminster.  He was instrumental in the development of a community theatre at the College.

The CEO of FIELDS, the non-profit we serve through travels from Idaho to have meetings in Alberta.  Doyle Anderson has lunch at our apartment.

Sam, Jeannine and Doyle


In the evening, we attend an event at Lakeland College’s, Vic Juba Theatre with Elder and Sister Rhoton and Doyle Anderson.

Doyle, Sam, Jeannine, Andrea & Darwin

Doyle, Sam, Jeannine, Andrea & Darwin

The six of us are enthralled by speaker, Clara Hughes an Olympic Medalist who trained and competed in the games while battling depression. The event is in support of the Health Foundation in Lloydminster.

Clara Hughes

Clara 2

Clara is a six-time Olympic medalist in cycling and speed skating; she’s the only athlete in history to win multiple medals in both Summer and Winter Games.  For Clara, success meant more than earning medals.  It meant having a voice and using the opportunity to reach out and help others.  When she uses this voice, it’s loud, clear and very uplifting.

FYI: In 2006, Clara donated $10,000 of her personal savings to the “Right to Play” programs.  This donation challenged Canadians to support the cause, raising over half a million dollars for the international humanitarian organization that uses sport for development.  In 2010, she donated her $10,000 medal bonus to the Vancouver inner city school program, ‘Take a Hike’, which uses adventure based learning to give youth at risk a better direction in life.  Clara was given the great honour of being the Canadian Flag Bearer for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, proudly leading the home team to its historic medal winning performance.

She is the National Spokesperson for Bell Canada’s Mental Health initiative and the ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign.  By sharing past struggles with depression, Clara has helped break down the stigma associated with mental illness.  She grew up in Winnipeg coming from a troubled home with an alcoholic father that lead to her parents going through a divorce.  As a teen she followed her sister into the streets filled with drugs and alcohol until she saw a TV ad with a guy competing in the olympics.  She turned her self around and became an athlete but all the while struggling with ups and downs of depression.  She is a dynamic speaker. Clara had us on the edge of our seats.  Now retired from competing, she’s an avid adventurer and enjoys bike touring, distance hiking and exploring with her husband Peter.

BANNOCK COOK-OFF at Lakeland College

Judges for the Event

Judges for the Event

During Aboriginal Week at Lakeland College,  we attend a Bannock Cook-Off.  The judges include the Aboriginal Representative Clint C. with whom we’ve become acquainted, Lakeland College President and two locals.

Sam with VP, Michael Crowe

Sam visits with Lakeland College VP, Michael Crowe

The contestants

The audience in the cafeteria/hall of Lakeland.

Contestants explain their particular style of bannock.

Contestants explain their particular style of bannock.

Students & staff from Lloydminster Composite High School attend.

A few students & staff from Lloydminster Composite High School  and Bishop Lloyd Middle School attend and enjoy the bannock.


Sister McCollum with Sadie,

Elder McCollum take a photos of Sister McCollum with (L to R) Adrian, Carter, Gavin, Sadie & Jonah.

Elder and Sister McCollum spend 45 minutes Sunday mornings teaching these 4 year olds, Sunbeams in one of the Lloydminister Branches children’s classes.  ALSO big church news: Creation of the 5th Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Edmonton area.  Lloydminster Branch members join with other distant church units via webcasts to be part of a historical church meeting as the Edmonton Sherwood Park Stake boundaries are announced.  Our new stake includes 3 wards (congregations) in Sherwood Park (just East of Edmonton) and 7 other units in Northeastern Alberta up to the Saskatchewan border: Cherry Grove Ward – near Cold Lake(the largest in membership); Fort Saskatchewan Ward, Wood Buffalo Ward (in Ft. McMurray), Tofield Branch, Vermilion Branch, St. Paul Branch and Lloydminster Branch.  The new stake does include a small part of SK since the city of Lloydminster  includes parts of AB and SK and our branch spreads out into the farmlands to the East to include various villages/farmland in SK near Lloydminster e.g.: Paradise Valley.

FYI: A stake is the name for an administrative unit in the LDS Church composed of multiple congregations and includes a geographic area. When members say they are going to the Stake Centre, we are not going to a Steak House for a beef dinner!


NOTE: Senior Missionaries do not need permission to travel within their mission boundaries.  If we leave CEM boundaries, then we request permission from President Pattison.

Taking a walk around the Mall.

Sam taking a stroll around the West Edmonton Mall (WEM).

At WEM on our “preparation Day” to meet up with our son Andrew, his wife Andrea and our grandchildren who travel from Calgary.

Ryder at play

Ryder at play…

and with his mommy

and with his mommy

We get dizzy just watching!

We get dizzy just watching!

Flight Fun!

Flight Fun!

Get the photo before they go into the tunnel.

Quick, get the photo before they go into the tunnel!

Grandpa get a group photo ...

A group photo as we eat dinner …

and suddenly the fun is over and we head EAST and they head South.

and suddenly the fun is over and we head EAST and they head South. Hugs & Kisses!


On a Friday morning, we travel East 2 hours to North Battleford to meet students and staff of this Indigenous High School with youth from four different reserves.  Darwin and Andrea Rhotons have been preparing students to be Mentors for the Fall 2017 with incoming  grade 9 students.

Front of Sakewew High School

Front of Sakewew High School

A familiar photo on the wall.

A familiar photo on the wall.

Sacred Relics

Sacred Relics

How about this sign?

How about this sign? “LISTEN TO WHAT THE ELDERS HAVE TO SAY.” Yes, listen to the Mormon Elders and learn of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ!  

ACTUALLY, this sign reminds students to listen and learn from their “Elders“.  Each first nation school has a senior member of their community that visits the school on a regular basis to share traditions and legends.



There is a lot of beautiful artwork lining the hallways.

Here we are standing below a large painting by famous First Nation artist Allen Sapp.

Here we are standing below a large original painting by famous First Nation artist Allen Sapp whose gallery we had previously visited in North Battleford.

It is of children on a school playground.

Closeup of the mural: “children on a school playground.”

High up in the gym, a huge mural of a buffalo jump fills the wall - art also by A. Sapp

Then we find, high up on the gym wall, a mural that fills the wall of a buffalo jump;  again, art work also by A. Sapp


LC prog LC prog 2

We are invited to the graduation for the Oilfield Truck Operator Program.

LC Cathy

Kathy Wilson of Continuing Education/Lakeland College welcomes graduates, family members, instructors, tutors and guests.LC left

LC rt

LC LydiaLC Clint

LC thanks 1LC S&J

We had helped tutor these students in preparation for taking the testing for their learners permit for SK Class 1 professional driver and Air Brake “A” Endorsement. Here we are receiving a thank you card and handshake.

LC thanks 3 LC thanks 2

As mentioned above, a few weeks earlier, one of the students spoke with us and said, “Hey, you guys are millionaires, right! Our class director told us that you don’t get paid for tutoring us.  She told us that you are volunteers and do this for free.  Is that right? ”

It seems strange for these young adults from Onion Lake to learn that there are actually people around the community of Onion Lake and Lakeland College that give service and expect no financial return.  We now understand why he considered the possibility that we were MILLIONAIRES.  From their life experiences on the Cree Nation, they know that everyone gets paid for any “work” they do at Onion Lake.  Volunteerism is not a part of their culture.

Now if this student asks us this question again, we will answer, “Yes, we are millionaires.”  Why? We are receiving MILLIONS of BLESSINGS in our lives as we give service and extend our arms of friendship and love to the Cree Nation people.


No we are not living in this tent!

LR photo

But we have decorated a wall in our apartment with this Aurora photograph that is printed on a large canvas; a scene of a frozen lake with an ice fishing tent in the foreground and the dancing northern lights in the night sky.

FYI: Jeannine has signed up to receive from U of Alberta an email-alert when there is a 90% probability of sighting the Northern Lights in our area.  So….. Jeannine sees an email at 2am: “90% chance of Aurora Viewing”.  She awakes Sam, they get on their coats, mitts, hats and boots and drive North on #17 highway just until they leave the city lights behind, just a five minute drive.  They get out of the warm car and stand out in the darkness of a COLD winter night, gazing into the cloudless northern sky above them.  All they see a SLIGHT glimmer of white lights streaking above them in the sky BUT no beautiful green dancing lights.  Any recent signs?  No, just cloudy skies.  If we have had a “good” view, we would have phoned The Rhotons, the other missionary couple serving here in Lloyd.  They are anxious to have another viewing before their April 19th departure, the end of their mission in Canada.  Sam and Jeannine will keep trying and keep you posted.

More on our apartment…..

apt lids

Sam  came up with a way to give us easy access to all the lids for our cooking pots.  He just installed handy hooks (you know the kind that are removable by pulling the sticky pull tab.)  Sure is a nice quiet way to find and store our pot lids. Thanks Sam!



Just one of several good-bye dinners with the Rhotons (Darwin & Andrea).  Joining them for dinner are the Martinez family (Aristides, Nancy, Max and Amelia originally from Mexico) along with Sam and Jeannine.

Then a birthday celebration for June Hudy of the Lloydminster Branch of the LDS church and final farewell luncheon.  The McCollums and the Sister Missionaries: Gambler, Baloo & Morris bid  farewell to the Rhotons.

FYI: all the missionaries in this celebration photo are from ARIZONA except McCollums!!  After our service in the Hawaii Honolulu mission, we felt most “missionaries” came from UTAH.  Here in the corner of the Canada Edmonton Mission, Arizona wins!

Rhoton Farewell

As a farewell gift, Sam and Jeannine give the Rhotons a framed poster of the 13 virtues represented by the poles of the TIPI.  The elementary school education program at Onion Lake focuses their lesson-planning around these virtues.  The Rhotons assisted in the classrooms, often sharing activities and stories about these virtues.

Tipi poles

We will truly miss the Rhotons who have been our mentors in showing us the way to serve and love the Cree people.  They have also been an example to us of enduring through the harsh Canadian prairie winter of 2017, especially since the Rhotons are returning to their homeland of southern USA, the state of ARIZONA.  So Long. Farewell. We will certainly keep in touch with our new dear friends!


Making the drive north from Lloydminister, we head out of the city on #17 highway. Even though the April skies do not show signs of spring with so MUCH snow in April, the North Saskatchewan River knows it is spring because the river is flowing!  All the ice is gone.  Have a look!  Keep watch.  Maybe those hills will soon turn green.

NS bridge NS flowing

We continue on the road to Onion Lake  to serve at Atoskasotan/Adult Career and Education Centre and also in the adult Upgrade classroom.  As Jeannine enters the building, she notices a  different poster on the wall advertising educational and training opportunities.   Have you ever seen this career advertisement? A UNIFORM WITH YOUR NAME ON IT IS WAITING FOR YOU.

Check it out at: rcmpcareers.ca

You can choose to take your training in Saskatoon or Regina SK.  (Years ago, actually 51 years ago, when Jeannine lived in Regina SK taking her Medical Librarian Course, she saw so many recruits for the RCMP round-about the city, easily recognized by their very short hair cuts. )  Looking for a new career: Go online and check out the Basic requirements and pay scale.


Sam meets with Lydia (Onion Lake-Career planner & Industry Liason) and a young adult from the reserve.

Resumes Onion Lake

Sister Missionaries: Cheyenne, Ella and Leeta tutor in the upgrade classroom.  Just recently, when upgrade teacher, Jacqueline B. was speaking to her students and also thanking these three young women (who are actually mormon missionaries but also serve under the FIELDS non-profit group) for the great assistance they give.  She went on to refer to this trio as, “these virtuous women that serve in our classroom”. Indeed, a beautiful and descriptive compliment.

Upgrade sisters

Here is Sam working with Jorell to help him manage his study time in the classroom.

Sam at upgrade

Have you previously heard the name Jor-El?  Yes, it is the name of Superman’s birth father.  Good name.  We have noticed many unusual first names amongst the Cree Nation people.  We don’t hear many “common or well-used” names like: John, Peter, George, David etc.  Perhaps, we will begin to keep a list that we will share with you in another blog. In Hawaii, we kept a list of countries that students came from; we collected 46 countries.  So we’ll being with the list of Cree Nation Students.  Of course many of them have interesting First Nation family names but name with names of European heritage.


Grandson Hunter (16 years old) of Okotoks AB has an amazing school trip with the opportunity to travel to Japan.

Hunter Japan

Grandson Thayer (17 years old) of Fort Collins CO is part of a school club, Alpine Robotics.  He and his team get to take  “Hugh”, their robot to participate in Championships in Houston TX; he and his team worked hard for this tremendous opportunity.


In our “spare” time, Sam and Jeannine are preserving electronically a bin of old photos we brought with us, in preparation for our 50th upcoming wedding anniversary.  We use a tool called a “Scan Jig”along with a cell phone.  The photos then go to our main computer/ into  iPhoto where we crop and edit the pictures. Amazing quality.  Here are two shots of how it works. It will do all sizes and colour and B&W.

jig 1 jig 2

Two photos that are “blasts from the past”.  Actually from 1966:  Sam with his parents and siblings; Jeannine with her parents, siblings, a brother in law and sister in law and a few nieces and nephews.

Are you able to find Sam?

Version 3

How about Jeannine?

1966G&F fm


We will probably average at least 1.5 trips  each month to Edmonton! As “Elder and Sister McCollum” we  make a 3-part day trip to Edmonton to:

#1 Attend the Edmonton LDS Temple

#2 View the displays at a Preparedness Fair

#3 Visit Elk Island National Park

Following a 10am-noon session at the Temple,  we attend a Preparedness Fair and find most interesting and helpful displays.  Here is an idea we’d like to try out when we get the opportunity.

TO DO:  Use a chain saw; make 2 cuts in a tree stump BUT make sure the stump is well secured so it cannot move while making the cuts.  Next, place the log is on a metal stand or place a few rocks just underneath so that air will circulate under and up into the opening of the cut.  Start a fire on the top of the log, in the “hole” using tinder to get it going.  Place a frypan on the flame to cook your dinner!  The fire will burn for HOURS.  What a great source of heat to store for emergencies! The couple with the display call this the “Swedish Cooking Log”.

Log 2 Log 1 Log 3

After the fair we set off for our first visit to ELK ISLAND NATIONAL PARK.

FYI: Elk Island Nation Park received its official designation in 1913; in 1930 the Canadian Parliament passed the National Parks Act.  The park is 35 km east of Edmonton, along #16, thYellowhead Highway, which actually splits the park into two parts.  It is Canada’s 8th smallest National Park in area but largest fully enclosed national park.  The park is representative of the northern prairies plateau ecosystem with a mix of native fescue grassland, aspen parkland and boreal forest. If you are blessed, you will see the largest and the smallest terrestrial mammals in North America, thwood bison and pygmy shrew respectively. The larger and more aggressive Wood Bison with a hump on the back of the neck, live on the south side of the park; the more docile and smaller, lighter in colour and with prominent busy beards and manes you’ll see the Plains Bison/Buffalo on the north part of the park which is open to the public with a drive-through roadway.

The fenced park also keeps in a large herd of Elk and Moose.  Elk from this refuge have been sent around the world to help other populations recover.

There has never been any permanent First Nations settlement in the park boundaries but there are over 200 archaeological remains of campsites and stone toolmaking sites of Blackfoot, Sarcee and Cree peoples.

A variety of mammal species including coyoteplains bisonmoosemule deerlynxbeaverelkwhite-tailed deerporcupine, and bison are year-round residents. Occasionally Black bears and timber wolves have been spotted living in the park for a time. 

Over two hundred and fifty bird species that can be found in the park at various times of year. Most notable among these are the red-necked grebesAmerican white pelicansdouble-crested cormorantsgreat blue heronsred-tailed hawksAmerican bitterns and the trumpeter swans.

EXCITING SIDE NOTE: After a successful translocation of bison from Elk Island National Park to Banff National Park in February 2017, the first calf was born on what is perhaps the most fitting of days – Earth Day. It is the first time bison calves have been born in the national park in over 140 years.

Now you are thinking, “Enough of the nature lesson.  Show us some photos.”

Follow the map

Follow the map (we used photographed the map for you.) See how the #16 highway in RED runs through to cut the park into the North and South sections.

Here we go. Where are the buffalo?

Here we go. Where are the buffalo?

Oh, just drive to your right onto the roadway  rightly called the "Buffalo Loop". Sam takes a stroll.

Oh, just drive to your right onto the roadway, rightly called the “Buffalo Loop”.                      Sam takes a stroll.

When we get back on the main drag, look what we find on the edge of the roadway!

When we get back on the main drag, look what we find on the edge of the roadway.

One of the Plains Bison come right up beside our vehicle!

One of the Plains Bison come right up beside our vehicle!

A very large Beaver Lodge

We leave the buffalo to make room for other viewers; we spot a very large Beaver Lodge….

...with a nearby mother-in-law suite

…with a nearby small mother-in-law suite

Even the bark on the trees is a great sight. We look forward to a summer visit but the leaves will hide the creatures!

Even the bark on the trees is a interesting sight. We look forward to a summer visit but the leaves will hide the creatures!

Note the fence which keeps the animals in the boundaries of the park.

Note, the park fence which keeps the animals inside the boundaries of the park.

Now it is time to leave the park for we still a two hour drive back eastward to Lloydminster while it is still daylight.

AND time to finally close this BLOG posting of April 2017.  Sending you greetings from the border town of Lloydminster AB/SK. We appreciate this opportunity we have been given to serve, learn, grow and love Heavenly Father’s family in this area of the Earth. Please be in touch.  We enjoy your comments and emails. 




  1. Shirley Ellis

    Hi Brother & Sister McCullum,

    Both Paradise Valley, AB and Paradise Hill, SK go to the Lloydminster Branch. That is just for your information.

  2. Kay Ridley

    Wonderful blog, thanks for sharing. Looks like and sounds like you are doing a great serve their. Keep up the great work. Love you both your friend. kay and Danny

  3. Linda Arnold

    Live reading your blog and seeing all the photos. You are certainly doing a great work! It was nice that you could spend time with your grandkids in Calgary. We are heading to the Temple tomorrow. We are doing well Brian is on the go everyday doing his hospital visits and other service so many people are in need Of! Keep up the good work you are Doing!

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