Yes,  leaves are falling all around.  As the September Blog ends, there have been beautiful sunny days with the trees looking so decorative in their autumn colours but the forecast ahead calls for wind and rain.  Sam and Jeannine dress for a cool morning walk, just before the trees loose their beautiful coats.

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Unfinished business from the SJ McCollum mission AUGUST BLOG entry: Thanks to friend Linda F. from Abbotsford BC; she solved the license plate riddle: Ocean Liner.  Apparently this is a name for a long boat-like car!  Thank you for the comments S&J receive regarding their Mission Blog from their readers.  It is wonderful to keep in touch!


Elder and Sister McCollum load up their vehicle with six missionaries and drive 45 minutes West of Lloydminster to accept an invitation to attend a fun activity in the town of Vermilion on Labor Day weekend.  The weather cooperated: not too hot, not too sunny and no wind.  PERFECT!  The participants, teens and adults were divided into two teams.  Game #1: Each batter stayed at home plate until they “hit” the ball.  Game #2: The game begins with three batters.   When one of the batters is put out, he goes to the end position on the field; all other players move forward one position around the field. It was a fun time for participants and for spectators.  The children played ball at a nearby field.  Of course the fun ended with a BBQ!

Sister Hacking, ":First Baseman" and Elder Kunkel as runner.

Sister Hacking, “:First Baseman” and Elder Kunkel as “runner”.

Sister Ard (Washington) and Sister Hacking (Utah) were great sports even while wearing their sister missionary skirts!

Sister Ard (Washington) and Sister Hacking (Utah) were great sports even while wearing their sister missionary skirts!

Yes, Elder McCollum's shoes got this dusty just a home plate while at bat. He had a proxy runner!

Yes, Elder McCollum’s shoes got this dusty just at home plate while at bat. He had a proxy runner!

FYI: Young Missionaries may attend a ward/branch activity when they invite an investigator to attend . Sister Hacking and Sister Ard invited Chris and her daughter (35 year old) Olivia to attend.  Olivia who has cerebral palsy is confined to a wheel chair and cannot talk.  But everyone was very friendly with Chris and talked to Olivia.

Gathering together for the BBQ.

Friends gather together for the BBQ. You can see Elder McCollum over by the food, of course!

great time

There is a good turn-out by those who drove from Lloydminster to attend the event.

The Vermilion Provincial Park where the Ball games and BBQ was held is located right in the town site.  It is a community treasure, reaching out over nine miles (750 hectares) along the south shore of the Vermilion River Valley. The park is open year round.

Boasting approx 23 kilometers of hiking trails, including Wild Rose Trail, Cathedral Trail, Fescue Trail, and Lakeside Trail, you can hike to your heart’s content! There are also a number of trails for cross-country skiing and horseback riding. Five kilometers of the trails are paved paths for rollerblading and biking, and to also accommodate guests in wheelchairs.

The winter snow transforms the hiking trails into one of Alberta’s finest cross country skiing venues. The ski season is extended because many of the trails are located along the southern slope of the valley and protected from the sun.

Vermilion park

For the serious bird watcher, the Vermilion Provincial Park is home to more than 100 different species of birds. And if you’re lucky, you’ll see owls, Canada Geese, and Great Blue Herons too! Nature is bountiful and the park is the dwelling place for white-tailed deer, porcupines, squirrels.

For the fishing enthusiast, the park features the Claude N. Brennan Memorial Trout Pond, a man-make lake. The pond is circled by a paved walking trail, with several benches around the perimeter for a quick rest stop to enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Tasty trout can be caught and cleaned on site at the fish hut.

The Vermilion Provincial Park is a popular spot for tourists who love to camp! The campground has all amenities you’d need to enjoy overnight camping, and features 98 camping spots, (some wheelchair accessible) as well as group use areas, electrical hook-ups, a sewage dumping station and picnic shelter. Additional areas include the two shale ball diamonds where we held the Base Ball games, several soccer fields, children’s wading pool, and a mini-golf course.

A distinctive feature in the park is the fully restored CN train station, that can be used for community and private functions.

This park just might be a good reason to move to Vermilion.  The Vermilion Campus of the Lakeland College might have a job opening for you!


As senior missionary volunteers: S&J and Ralph & Brenda  make their way north from Lloydminster to the High School at Onion Lake Cree Nation on the first day of school in most parts of Canada, they are delighted by a beautiful sight, a fog steam over the river valley.

River 1River 2River 3

Since the mornings are becoming cool and crisp we are able to enjoy a phenomenon that goes by many names including river fog, evaporation fog etc. So what makes it happen? Bodies of water, such as lakes, ponds, and rivers, are much slower to cool down than land areas. During clear nights, the warmth of the land escapes into space. As the air over the land cools, it will drift over the warmer river. A thin layer of air above the river is warmed by the river water. Water evaporates from the river’s surface into this thin layer. The thin, warm, moist layer of air over the river then mixes with the cooler air from the land. As it cools, condensation occurs and a fog forms. It looks like steam rising off the water, hence the name ‘steam fog.’

Now, next time you go out for a morning drive along a lake or crossing a river and you see this happening, you too can appreciate not only the beauty of it but also the science behind it!

Here is a sight that is hopefully being repeated on the sweeping fields of grain between OLCN and Lloydminster.  The weather with rain and wind has made for a difficult harvest season.



Within a few weeks, the trees along the banks of the North Saskatchewan will have lost their foliage.

Below is a summer-past photo of the same area.  Quite a contrast.  WATCH for Next scene….SNOW, Winter along the North Saskatchewan River!

Summer arrives along the banks for the North Saskatchewan River


First Day of high school at ECHS, the students gather in the gym to have a welcome and pep talk from their principal.  When Mr. D. Whitstone notices  FIELDS volunteers, he introduces the volunteers to the students.

EXHS exterior

Eagleview Comprehensive High School front-exterior


Assembly in the gym

ECHS gym rulesECHS intramurals

Sam, Jeannine, Ralph and Brenda assist with new student registration at ECHS on Tues-Wed September 5 &6, 2017. At first, it is rather chaotic and wild  but gradually the event gets organized.  Help is given in the library by directing the students, finding their transcripts and then after they get their course registration confirmed, school supplies are handed out and locker/locks assign.

If you look at the back on the left you an see Ralph K. and Sam McC; Jeannine in there too.

If you look at the back on the left you an see Ralph K. and Sam McC; Jeannine in there too.

ECHS - Sam:registration

Registration Caos

Registration Chaos

On the drive back to Lloydminster from Onion Lake Cree Nation the car takes a detour to Sandy Beach Park, located just East of Highway #17.  It is a Saskatchewan Regional Park and entrants must pay an $8 fee per car to enter.  Elder Kunkel pays the fee for a driving tour.  There are campsites, RV sites and many cabins of varying sizes located around the lake.  This part of SK has rolling hills dotted with beautiful lakes, just made for summer fun.

SB 1SB 2

SB 7SB 6

SB 4SB 3

SB 5 



Meanwhile our Albertan grandchildren are heading back to school.

In Calgary, Lincoln and Autumn are off to school with little brother Ryder wishing he was school-age too.  13 year old grandson Maxwell (butterfly photo) heads back to school along with his brother Hunter and Griffin in Okotoks Alberta.

Canada school Canada school 2


Elder and Sister McCollum have tried to make a walk part of their week at least 3 times.  Using a city map, they are checking off all the parks where they go for walks in an attempt to complete the list this fall before snow flies.  Just 4 more parks to go.  The favourite so far is the tree lined Anniversary park with a large natural aspen grove; how fitting with 2017 being S&J’s 50th anniversary year.

On the grounds of City Hall, there grows possibly the hardiest and toughest shrub in the world, the old-fashioned carrigana hedge which will grow well in any hostile and dry site on the prairies of Canada.  It has showy yellow flowers in spring.  Jeannine remembers just such a hedge that grew around the yard of Tom & Nora Hodgson, Taber Alberta at the home of her grandparents.

caragana hedge City Hall

border post Coat of arms

READERS, do you remember the previous photos of the very tall orange spires that mark the border between Saskatchewan and Alberta on the downtown main street of Lloydminster?  Click on the photo, above, and you can see Jeannine standing beside the orange post.  This will will give you an idea of the height of each spire. The base of the spires are decorated with the crests of the provinces of SK and AB and the city of Lloydminster.

Artwork 2 Artwork 3 artwork 4 ARtwork

These photos show a great piece of artwork, a sculpture of an RCMP officer comforting a young boy.  This artwork  shows the talent of the artist.  Not sure of the cost but the price was worthwhile especially if it were compared to recent pieces of urban landscape “ART” purchased by the city of Calgary! From comments heard in Calgary, the impact is mainly complaints about how much the Un-art work costs! Hey!  Calgarians, please send photos of some of this costly “art”. 

Monument to WW1 & 2 Prince Ed 2 Prince Ed tree

Sam is standing by the cenotaph, a monument in memory of the fallen soldiers of WWI and WWII.  Note the tree and placard.  The Earl of Wessex is Queen Elizabeth’s fourth and youngest child, her son Edward.  We did not know that Edward Windsor had visited Lloydminster in 2003!!

Canada 150 flowers Parks

On city walks, S&J continue to enjoy the Canada 150 blooms in Lloydminster, at least until the first frost hits the city.  Just look at the cathedral arch of trees in an older area of the city. Just beautiful!


Sam and Jeannine’s favourite spot on earth suffers from a wild forest fire started by lightening! Crews from the Calgary Fire Department as well as Coaldale arrive on the scene and began to soak the structure of the hotel. They executed preventative burns on the tall grasses around the perimeter of the hotel and worked tirelessly to secure and maintain the water supply. By September 11, the wildfire had intensified and was moving towards the townsite. Crews drenched the hotel’s exterior in water and fire retardant. Three ladder trucks hose the building down. By late that night, the fire was knocking on the hotel’s door, with flames in the area reaching 400 feet into the sky.

The protection of the hotel was outstanding.  There were embers the size of baseballs that were landing on the roof of the hotel.  At one point, the fire was 50 yards away. The nearby Visitors Centre burned to the ground (see below), and also the hotel’s maintenance shed was left in ashes.

Estimates claim 50% of the forest of the park is destroyed but after a winter rest, the grasses and wild flowers will renew the burned ground.


Waterton 2 Waterton



August 2017, a Young Single Adult (YSA) Stake has been formed in Lethbridge, Alberta.; this is the first YSA Stake outside of USA.  The presidency of the newly created Lethbridge Alberta Young Single Adult Stake (for ages 18 – 30): (left to right) David L. Orr, first counsellor; Eric R. Wilde, president; and A. Clayton Leavitt, second counsellor. The Young Single Adults ward/branches are in the towns/cities of Taber, Lethbridge, Raymond, Magrath, Fort Macleod and Cardston.

When S&J served their mission in Laie, Hawaii, as senior missionaries they were assigned to attend a Young Married Ward, which was part of a Young Married Stake.  Also on campus at BUYH there were two Young Single Adult Stakes for those ages 18-30.

Here is Lloydminster there are just a few  young adults in the branch, more in the summer when students come home to visit their parents.  The branch president asked Elder and Sister McCollum to organize activities for Young Adults (both married and single ages 18-30) in Lloydminster & area.  A fire pit event was recently held out in the country on an acreage.  The young Elders serving in the branch attended also.


Also a game night for the young adults was held at the church building with 12 attending.  A a home-made version of an old board game, Personal Preference was enjoyed by all.


FIELDS volunteers: Sam, Jeannine, Ralph and Brenda Kunkel and two young missionary sisters, Savannah and Kathryn, give help with reading assessments at the Eagleview Comprehensive High School.  Sam also gets invited to attend an outdoor education day for the Cree Immersion school.  He brings back freshly cooked moose meat which he shares with the other volunteers (Sister Hacking and Ard in photo below)!

EVHS moose

These are views from the back of the high school school where we ate our lunch.

ECHS back 1 ECHS back 2

UPGRADING CLASS – OLCN (Onion Lake Cree Nation)


FIELDS volunteers continue to help adults in the Upgrading classroom which is housed in the Kihew Waciston Cree Immersion School.  In this classroom, adults work on lessons from booklets/paper based materials (not on-line) to complete high school courses and eventually earn their high school diploma.  It is like a one room school since there is only one teacher, Jacqueline B. (JB) who is there to help from 6-20 students.  JB gives individual instruction when students have difficulties.  FIELDS volunteers, usually the young sister missionaries from Lloydminster, assist students Monday – Wednesday from 9am – 3pm; at times senior missionaries give assistance.  Sam and Jeannine have been using the  First Nation’s Sacred Circle to help the adult students plan their study time and life in general so they can keep their life in balance.  How balanced is YOUR LIFE?  Do YOU give the time needed to your  body(physical), your spirit(culture, prayer), your mind( education, learning, teaching) and your heart (family, service etc)?



Lakeland College, Lloydminster holds part 1 of 4 in a series of TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Call to action) events sponsored by the college and planned by the Indigenous Council at the college.

Fred S 1

Fred Sasakamoose was the first NHL player with treaty status.  Fred began his talk by sharing that he feels it is harder for aboriginals to fit into the Canadian Society than immigrants from other countries that settle in Canada.  84 year old Fred stated the First Nations people are not looking for sympathy but empathy and understanding.  He was born on the Sandy Lake Cree Nation in northern SK.  His grandfather taught him to skate and play hockey.  In the winter they would head to the lake with a bucket for grandpa to sit on and bob stakes for Fred.  Then grandpa would whittle a hockey stick from a red willow, harden the wood it in a fire and they’d find dried apple or horse manure for Fred to use for a puck.  Fred became proficient at  hitting the “puck” with a “narrow tree branch”, so when he eventually got a hockey stick he never had to look down to find the puck.

Fred 1

At age 8, he began attending Duck Lake residential school. At the residential school, Fred had to learn how to fight to protect himself. He was so homesick; he was never allowed to speak his language or participate in any of his native Cree culture practices. His parents were never allowed to visit. There were no hugs or kind words at the residential school, just stern words and strict rules from the nuns and priests. Fred would trade his rare fresh apples for cash; he would work extra hours in the school barns to earn funds until he was able to purchase a real hockey stick. It took him two years to raise the money. One of the priests took up the role of hockey coach for Fred; the students played on a nearby pond.

Fred 2

At age 15 he went home for the summer and helped stook the grain.  One day while working, a car drove into the field and men got out to speak to his father, and then his mother.  He was given the opportunity to go to a hockey training camp in Moose Jaw.  After two weeks he was so lonely amongst all the white people that he just left and began the 500 mile walk back to his home, eating dried berries for food but finding little water to drink.  One evening as he was prepared to sleep in a ditch, his coach, Mr. George V. found him and convinced Fred that he needed to work at becoming somebody.  Fred got a raise in pay for playing hockey!  Instead of 25 cents a day he got 50 cents; he was able to buy more chocolate bars and pop.  Mr. George V. kept in touch with Fred and became like a parents to him.

During the years Fred attended the residential school, he thought there were either white people, the cowboys or red men, the indians!  When he went to play on a team with a black player and a Asian player, he received an education about the world outside of Saskatchewan.  Fred became good friends with these two players.  He played centre and the Asian as left wing and the Black fellow as right wing.  To show the bond between these three young men, Fred wore a yellow lace on is left skate and a black lace on his right skate! Fred received the most valuable player award several times in the Western Hockey League.  As a young man, when he played in Kamloops BC, he was nicknamed, Chief Thunderstick.

At age 20, Fred skated out onto the ice at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto for his first NHL game. Fred played 11 games for the Chicago Black Hawks in the 1953-54 NHL season.  He was a contemporary and acquaintance of Gordie Howe and Maurice Richard. He retired from competitive hockey in 1961 to dedicate his time to family and encouraging youth in sports.  Fred and his wife have been married 62 years.  He stated that he is rich with 31 great-grandchildren.  He shared with the audience that he reads his Bible every night, still lifts weights to keep his muscles strong and he is ready to be carried to the good hunting grounds.

Fred & signature Fred 3

This year  2017, with the 100th Anniversary of the NHL, Fred Sasakamoose is involved in the events. He has been chosen as 1 of 100 players to be honoured for the 100 year celebration of the NHL. His “hockey card” will be hung up in a  7 X 5 foot framed picture for the hall of fame (Chicago Black Hawk Hockey Card, #21 Fred Sasakamoose.)

It was a great event to be able to attend; Fred S. gave such a personable presentation.   He autographed his #21 card for those that wanted to wait in line to visit with him, which included of course Sam and Ralph.  Note the signature on the card.

ATOSCASOTAN,  OLCN – Employment Office

A group of 12 enthusiastic young adults, ages 18 -25 years old, that are in a employment upgrade program, gather for FIELDS volunteers to present FIRST FLIGHT, a challenge program. The program was presented in 2 sessions, each lasting 2 hours.  Next month it will be a resume workshop.

Atoscasotan 1 Atoscasotan 2

SEPTEMBER 28:  With a warm fall night and a cloudless sky,  Jeannine woke up at 2:30 am.  She checks her email to see if there is an”Aurora Alert.”  Her email reads: AuroraWatch red alert issued at 10:10pm MDT, valid until dawn 28 September.  For full information, please see http://www.aurorawatch.ca/alert       Regards,  AuroraWatch.ca

Jeannine quickly wakes up Sam: “Please, lets go for a short drive!”   They  dress and step out onto our deck and immediately see Aurora. Hoping for a better view without their neighbours porchlight spoiling the sighting, they drive North out of the city, just 5 minutes.  The sky is alive with Aurora across the north and east horizons and above in the heavens..  The lights shimmer and flow, mainly just  silvery light dancing above them but now and again some pastel pink lights streaked across the dark sky.  S&J feel it was so worth getting up to enjoy the viewing.   They will keep trying for more colour….maybe next time when Aurora Watch sends  an Alert and they pull ourselves out of bed!  S&J will keep you posted.


Recently in our gospel studies we read the article “The Gospel Path to Happiness” by Elder J. R. Holland.  Coming across three unfamiliar words, Jeannine pulled out the dictionary. The most interesting was the word: Troika (referring to the Three rights in the US declaration of Independence: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness) BELOW: a photo that shows the history/meaning of the Russian word, troika or group of three.

russian-troika copy

The message of Elder Holland reminded S&J that happiness is not a right; we have to pursue happiness! Elder Holland reminds us of a verse in the Book of Mormon,       2 Nephi 5:27, “lived after the manner of happiness”….not gloriously happy but striving for happiness.  Life is full of trials and difficulties, but as we put our trust in the Lord, we will find rays of sunshine and glimpses of happiness  despite “Mournful Mondays, Tearful Tuesdays or Weary Wednesdays” as Elder Holland pointed out.  S&J decided to finish the list: Thankful Thursdays, Finally Friday, Speedy Saturdays and Sacred Sundays!



Elder and Sister McCollum visit the Edmonton Temple on a lovely fall evening.  The hydrangea bushes are still sharing their beautiful blooms.


Flag 3

Raising of the flag by Cree student while Lakeland College President Alice Wainwright-Stewart  (wearing the brown suit) looks up as flag is raised.

Metis flag with representatives

Metis flag with representatives

Flag 4

Chief Fox, from Onion Lake Cree Nation is one of the speakers.

The McCollums and Kunkels were able to attend this historic event held at the flag poles at Lakeland where the flags were raised; then we all went indoors for a few short speeches and luncheon.  The ceremony and flying of these indigenous flags is to give First Nations and Metis students a feeling of inclusion and belonging.  The flags will also fly at the Lakeland Vermilion campus.


While helping with registration at the OLCN high school, Jeannine found two books filled with artwork of CREE Artist, Allan Sapp.  His paintings are truly a record of the history of his people.

Saap 1

Fishing on the North Saskatchewan with a net made from willows.

Saap 2

This painting of a hockey game on a pond, shows a beautiful sunset!

Saap 4

Fall Harvest!

Saap 3

The winter paintings are a reminder that SNOW is on its way!

“Grandson” ELDER SCHMALTZ – Philadelphia Mission

Elder Schmaltz

Photo taken when Albertan, Elder Schmaltz (far right of photo) got to visit Harmony Pennsylvania, an LDS historic site where the Aaronic Priesthood (through John the Baptist) and the Melchizedek Priesthood (through Apostles Peter, James and John) were again restored to this Earth.

GREETINGS: Sam and Jeannine wish you a Happy Thankful Thanksgiving as we post this blog.  We appreciated last weekend sitting in our apartment and  being able to listen to the apostles and leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as the General Conference was broadcast via satellite across the Earth in 92 languages.


  1. Elsie and John

    Beautiful FALL time! Hope your winter turns out not too cold. Continued blessings in your ministry. THANKS for sharing!

  2. Linda Fredrickson

    It’s wonderful that you are sharing so much of your mission with us. I love all the pictures of you two. I miss you both and hope you will be coming back to Abbotsford when your mission is completed.
    (Bishop Vidal’s son and family have moved, so their house has lots of space these days.) (hint*hint*hint)

  3. Linda Arnold

    Love all the beautiful photos especially the autumn leaves. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We have so much to be grateful for. Sending lots of love your way Linda and Brian.





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