Yes, it is hard for us to believe that we are already into our sixth month of our Canada Edmonton Mission. For CANADIANS everywhere, Happy Canada Day!
FYI: Sister McCollum/Jeannine subscribes to a web site that sends out notifications when there is a high chance of viewing the Northern Lights. Early in June this email arrived: AuroraWatch red alert issued at 7:10pm MDT, valid until dawn.
For full information, please see http://www.aurorawatch.ca/alert
In the past, often the alerts arrived when she was fast asleep. Sometimes, if she heard the email arrive, Jeannine would look out at the winter sky and just see heavy clouds. Once in March, the alert arrived at midnight but Jeannine happened to see the alert when she was awoke at 2pm. So she got Elder McCollum/Sam up and she and her “agreeable” husband dressed warmly in their winter garb, trudged off to their vehicle and drove North out of the city. After just a few miles they pulled over, got out and looked towards the sky at the northern horizon. Gradually they began to see a slight shimmering of white light but nothing special, especially considering that they had awoke in the middle of the night and had to stand outside on a very cold winter night.
In June, Jeannine got the notification from U of Alberta at 7:10pm on a cloudless evening with warm temperatures. The McCollums made a plan: get to bed at 9pm and then get up at midnight. The plan worked. They got a good viewing of the Aurora Borealis, somewhat faint white shimmering and then some strong green lights zig zagging across the northern sky. This experience has encouraged them to keep trying for an even more spectacular viewing in the future, like the framed photo that hangs in their apartment.
In April and May, Sam and Jeannine prepared a Challenge Workshop, FIRST FLIGHT, using power point, stories of the Eagle and examples of First Nations heroes. First Flight is to encourage youth and adults to make wise decisions and choose a path that leads to success in life. They have based the workshops on a booklet produced by Howard Rainer, a native American from New Mexico, Taos Pueblo-Creek Nation. There are seven challenge worksheets. ( see #4 Blog 2017)
Check out this web site: Notice that the booklet these young Native Americans were given is FIRST FLIGHT.
As we previously explained in our blog, Sam begins each workshop with experiences from the life of an eagle that relate to one of the challenges. At the end of each workshop, Jeannine shares a brief life sketch of a First Nation Hero. Heroes shared thus far:
*Allen Sapp (First Nations artist) from the Cree Red Pheasant Nation near North Battleford – see blog #1 2017
*Eugene Brave Rock from Kainai Blackfoot Nation, Standoff (South of Fort McLeod AB). If you been watched a movie on the big screen recently, you may have seen Brave Rock portraying CHIEF in the movie “Wonder Woman”. Gene, as his family calls him, left the reserve at age 17. He worked in Paris France in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. He went on to become a Hollywood Stuntman, stared in the TV series “Hell on Wheels”. When “Wonder Woman” opened at a theatre in Lethbridge AB, he returned to home and filled a theatre with youth from his old Kainai High School where his auntie is principal. Now 39 years of age, he plans to spend summer time with his wife and 20 month old so.
*Alec Decoteau (1887-1917) was born and grew up on the Cree Red Pheasant Nation, near Battleford SK. At age 21, he moved to Edmonton to live with his sister and her family. He loved running and joined a running club. He came in 2nd on his first race, from then on he always took first place. At age 24, he joined the Edmonton Police Force; he was the first full-blooded First Nation to be on permanent staff of any police force in Canada. At age 25, he represented Canada in the 1912 Olympics held in Sweden; he failed to earn a medal when he got cramps in his leg and came in 6th place. At 29, he joined the army to help preserve the freedom of our way of life in Canada. He won foot races while stationed in England and was presented a winning watch by King George. In 1917 while fighting in the tranches in Europe, Alex was killed by a sniper’s bullet. He was all but forgotten, until a grand-niece nominated him in 2014 as a contender for an Edmontonian of the Century. Edmonton Inner City Schools now hold an annual run in his honour.
*Buffy Saint- Marie was born on the Cree Piapot Nation, near Regina SK in 1941 but was adopted by a US couple when her parents died. Her adoptive mom had Native American background, Mikmaq Nation. At age 4, they realized Buffy had musical talent. By age 16, she had begun creating her own songs on the guitar. Her first big hit was “Universal Soldier”. In the 1970s she agreed to appear on Sesame Street with her young son, sharing life of the indigenous people. Buffy is a contemporary of Leonard Cohen. She shares her time and wealth helping indigenous programs. She appeared on stage at the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Concert in Ottawa, Canada. In 2016 at the age of 76 she went on tour in USA. Buffy lives in Hawaii.
NEXT BLOG….more First Nations Heroes
ONION LAKE – FIRST FLIGHT WORKSHOPS
LLOYDMINSTER COMPREHENSIVE HIGH SCHOOL – FIRST FLIGHT WORKSHOPS
We met with these students twice a week/for 2 weeks to present the First Flight Workshops during their lunch-time mentoring group sessions. Each time we came, aromas of lunch feasts drifted into the hallway, that had been prepared by their advisor/teacher Denae B who is an excellent Indigenous Co-ordinator at LCHS and treats her students so kindly.
In the classroom, we got to see two First Nation fan regalia/creations.
CANADA EDMONTON MISSION – ZONE CONFERENCE WITH A SPECIAL GUEST
On a Friday morning, Elder and Sister McCollum headed to Edmonton to attend a Mission Zone Conference followed by a luncheon with young missionaries held at the Millwoods LDS Stake Centre, Edmonton AB.
After lunch, we headed off to the Edmonton LDS Temple. Surprise! Even though the McCollums do not know that many people in the Edmonton area, it seems they manage to meet “old friends” when they attend the temple. This time it was Chris and Geniveve Massey from years gone by in the 1990s when they all lived in Victoria BC on Vancouver Island.
At 6:30 pm we made our way to a dinner where Senior Missionaries gathered. We meet Elder and Sister Burnett who kindly offered us a bed for Friday night at their missionary accommodations. Now we have overnight accommodation when ever we attend the Edmonton Temple.
AND again we discover, it is a small LDS world. Elder Burnett knows our daughter Leah and son-in-law Jason Berry. In his “previous life” Elder Burnett was in the Stake Presidency in the Medford Oregon Stake.
SPECIAL MISSIONARY MEETING WITH AN APOSTLE – M. Russell Ballard
While we do not have photos of our special Saturday morning meeting with Elder Ballard, all missionaries did have the opportunity to shake hands with Elder Ballard, Elder Wilford W. Anderson of the first quorum of the Seventy and Elder Larry Spackman (from Calgary) Area Seventy. Jeannine also got to have a brief hello and took a picture of Sister Flora Spackman with some of the young sister missionaries.
Elder Wilford Anderson and his wife spoke briefly. We are especially interested in Elder Anderson because a LDS video has been made using a General Conference talk he gave re:
Elder & Sister Spackman both spoke briefly also. We have known Larry for over 50 years; Sam took some of the missionary discussions in Grant and Beth Spackman’s home, Regina SK when Larry was a young boy. Larry and his wife Flora live in Calgary; Elder Spackman is called as Area Seventy, North American Central Area for US/Canada. Our son Glen who lives in Fort Collins, Colorado met Elder Spackam when Larry attended a Stake Conference in Fort Collins. See photo below.
During a portion of the meeting, Elder Ballard asked the young missionaries to raise questions, a great learning opportunity for them. Sister McCollum and a few of the other senior missionaries took notes which were combined for a summary of the message that was later shared with all the missionaries for review and study.
Following the meeting and after Elder Ballard departed to attend other meetings, Sister Pattison organized a great surprise. We all got to be part of a group photo taken of the Canada Edmonton Mission.
Elder and Sister McCollum are in the second row from the front, just two couples to the right of the centre.
SHERWOOD PARK STAKE CONFERENCE – FIRST EVER: Sunday June 11, 2017
Yes, our new stake, Sherwood Park Stake had its first stake conference and the visiting general authority was an apostle, Elder Ballard. How special to have the visit of an apostle! So Elder and Sister McCollum again had the opportunity to sit,feel the Spirit and learn from an apostle. The Stake Conference originated in the Sherwood Park Chapel (just East of Edmonton) but was watched as a live-feed video at the Lloydminster LDS Chapel and 8 other widespread locations: Clarkdale Ward, Glen Allan Ward, Nottingham Ward – these 3 wards are in Sherwood Park; Cherry Grove Ward, Vermilion Branch, Fort Saskatchewan Ward, Wood Buffalo Ward (Ft. MacMurray), Bonnyville Branch, St. Paul Branch.
PREPARATION DAY – time to be tourists
Senior missionaries have a more flexible schedule than the young missionaries; the young missionaries are allowed to visit tourist sites on P.Day as long as they have someone drive them to the location. We set out to take Sisters: Morris, Baloo and Nichols to visit the Ukranian Cultural iHeritage Village (just 30 minutes east of Edmonton) and Elk Island National Park. It was our second visit to both spots.
On the way there, we stop in the town of Vegreville to visit yet another tourist attraction.
The Vegreville egg is a giant sculpture of a pysanka, a Ukrainian-style Easter egg. The work by Paul Maxum Sembaliuk is built of an intricate set of two-dimensional anodized aluminum tiles in the shape of congruent equilateral triangles and star-shaped hexagons, fashioned over an aluminum framework. The egg is 31 ft (9 m) long and three and a half stories high, weighing in at 2.5 t (5,512 lb). It is designed so it will move with the wind. It is the second largest pysanka in the world. The biggest one was built in Kolomyia, Ukraine in 2000.
Previously when we visited the Ukranian Culture Heritage Village, we were slightly disappointed as we compared it to Heritage Park in Calgary. Upon this visit, we had a totally different experience since we were sharing the site with 1600 elementary school children on a field trip.
The employees of the Village dress the part and act “in character”. From their accents, we determine that in real life they are university students from Quebec with summer jobs here in Alberta.
Then just down the road and across the highway we again visit Elk Island Park, thankful for the gift of FREE entrance to all National Parks for 2017.
On our previous visit to the park, we arrived late in the day so spotting large mammals was possible but on this mid-day visit we did not see any buffalo or moose but we did enjoy a family of Canadian favourites (Ha! Ha!) geese: father, mother and babies who shared the road with us. We saw a beaver and some frogs on a walk through the woods.
The adirondack chairs in Elk Island National Park are placed throughout the park in scenic locations, like this open meadow.
ENJOYING MORNING WALKS
Finally we have weather to allow us to enjoy regular morning walks when our schedule allows.
We appreciate the lilacs blooms ; they are not to be found in Hawaii!
LAND OF THE LIVING SKIES
While the Saskatchewan license plate aspires for SK to be the Land of the Living Skies, Alberta too has wide open spaces that allow the beauty of sunsets to give us a trill as magical as fireworks!
THANKFUL FOR FATHERS
At church in our children’s Primary on Father’s Day, they played a game, “Whose the Dad?”.
Dad #1 Then the children and their father sang their favourite Primary Song together.
Sister McCollum created an acrostic poem for the father of her children.
Elder and Sister McCollum are thankful for a father in their homes as they grew up.
ONION LAKE VOLUNTEERING
Our young FIELDS volunteers come, go and grow: a companionship of two, to a trio and then the addition of another companionship of two. It will likely change with the upcoming transfer in early July. On a very windy day, photographer Elder McCollum get a shot of six Sister missionaries just after our return from a day of service at Onion Lake.
EAGLE VIEW HIGH SCHOOL – GRADUATION JUNE 27TH 2007
The FIELDS young volunteers (Sister Missionaries) helped decorate the Onion Lake arena for the graduation ceremonies. Sam and Jeannine (alias Elder and Sister McCollum) were invited to the evening event; along with the high school staff, we helped serve the meal. It was fun to greet and meet families of the graduates.
As Sister McCollum reviewed the program, she noticed that the valedictorian’s name was Clinton. His name seemed familiar. Then when the Governor General Award was presented to the student with the highest marks in the core subjects, it was also Clinton Dillon. Ahh yes, Clinton!
We were gratified when we realized that Clinton Dillon who received ECHS Governor General’s award, was the same student for whom we arranged a Physics 30 tutor, at the request of Andrea Pahtayken, the school guidance counselor. We are thankful that we were able to give suppport by finding an experienced high school student from Lloydminster that was able to work with and tutor Clinton in a self- study/ Physics 30 course as he reviewed in preparation for the final exam. (ECHS does not offer Physics 30.) The tutor is a young man from the Lloydminster Branch of the LDS Church; Tim O. volunteered to do the tutoring and gave up his time to drive back and forth to Onion Lake.
HAPPY CANADA DAY 150
Thank you to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for wishing Canadians Happy 150 Canada Day!
DOWNTOWN LLOYDMINSTER SUMMER 2017 STREET FEST
We were pleased with the beautiful perfect weather to enjoy this community event filled with great entertainment, street-food, unique art work and giftware and baked goodies.
WE ARE GREAT-GRANDPARENTS!
Baby Rohnan Granger Anderson surprised his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents by deciding to come to Earth ahead of the scheduled event. He continues to grow and is currently well cared for at Vancouver BC Women’s Hospital/NICU. As new parents to a premie, we would say his parents will definitely have an uphill learning curve! Here are the stats:
Birth Date/Time: Thursday June 15, 2017 at 6:42 am
When granddaughter Caesha posted a short video of Rohnan wiggling and whimpering, it made Great-Grandma wish she could get on a plane for Vancouver BC!
HAPPY CANADA DAY TO OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS, THE READERS OF OUR MISSION BLOG!