Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I guess the cold is effecting the brain!  We haven't taken our camera the last few times that we should have.  Elder Garrett is usually cold so he really gears up for the cold weather when we go somewhere (also he is the one who starts the car and cleans off all the snow!) I usually wear a warm sweater and my leather jacket and I am just fine.  But that changed last week!!  It is really, really cold and will get worse!  We have never felt so much cold!

We did have a wonderful Thanksgiving this past Saturday.  We went to the Nestman's house.  He is Elder Garrett's 1st counselor (also the only one right now) and the family that got here about the same time we did.  They are from South Jordan, Utah and a great blessing to us.  As I said, forgot to take the camera but had a wonderful time and wonderful dinner with them.  We had the turkey and dressings with all the trimmings.  We ate about 1:00 and spent the rest of the afternoon visiting and playing games.  Brother Nestman told Elder Garrett he was glad to be his wingman!  We enjoy working with them and spending time together.  Their thirteen year old daughter even told them it was fun to be with the Garrett's.  Now that is a compliment!

On Sunday evening we had a broadcast from the stake about the new youth program.  There were thirteen of us here for that.  Sounds like a pretty big change.  We are looking forward to implementing it here.  I made refreshments and we had an enjoyable time visiting afterwards.

A little visiting after the Sunday evening broadcast from the Edmonton North Stake Center
 Elder Garrett is still working hard on the in-actives and we even had two people that he called attend church this past Sunday.  We were excited about that.  We are enjoying this experience and are very grateful for this opportunity.  We enjoy Heavenly Father's blessings each day.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving in Yellowknife

In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated the second Monday in October.  That is one reason they are already into Christmas so much.  The Santa Claus Parade was last Saturday night.  A family that lives on the parade route invited the branch for hot chocolate afterward. It was a little branch social so we went.  We walked there and back and didn't even freeze. But, forgot to take our camera so didn't get any pictures, maybe next year!

Have pictures showing what we did on Thanksgiving day.  The most special part is that we got to FaceTime with most of our family.  We had fourteen of those sweet little children together.  Nothing makes us homesick except seeing those beautiful little faces.  Makes us contemplate all the wonderful blessings we have in our life.  What a loving Heavenly Father we have.  He has blessed us more than we could have dreamed possible!  What a blessing to be here to serve Him.  What a blessing to have this wonderful gospel in our life to lead and guide us back home to Him with our family.  I think of these great blessings each day but what a wonderful time of year we have to share all this with each other.  We are thankful for this "plan of happiness" that we have been blessed with.  Thank you, to all of our wonderful children for choosing great spouses and choosing to raise those beautiful children in the gospel.  Thank you for supporting and sustaining us as we strive to serve the branch in Yellowknife.

Elder Garrett also had an Addiction Recovery meeting.
Mr. Fix-it is at it again. We are drying out up here! Our skin and sinuses are not used to this weather. Elder Garrett found this humidifier in the closet. He spent the morning cleaning it and putting a new filter in it. He had afternoon appointments.
Sister Garrett cleaned the chairs in the Chapel and Relief Society room.
Sister Garrett worked on her Relief Society lesson for Sunday.
Our Thanksgiving feast was "fried bologna sandwiches." Don't do that too often, though!!!
We had company for dinner last night and had the leftover peach cobbler with our sandwich!!!!
We had Stake Priesthood Leadership meeting tonight. It was a broadcast from Edmonton. So Sister Garrett had cupcakes and milk for our three Priesthood leaders!!!
We will share our Thanksgiving day with the Nestman family on Saturday.  Brother Nestman had to work today.  So we will not be missing out on all those great looking meals we saw on Facebook today!

Friday, November 16, 2012

When we first arrived here it was already cold and snowing.  So I was surprised that people were just wearing jackets or hoodies. But the colder it gets the bigger the coats get!  So I thought it would be fun to show you some of the winter wear around here.  They layer it on because soon it will be forty below!!!  For instance tonight it will be -20 but that is Celsius in Fahrenheit it is -5.  But by next Thursday it will be 20 below in Fahrenheit.  So they say up here "this is just the beginning."  We are looking forward to checking out the "ice road."  There is also a crew that builds an ice castle and that is open for viewing in March.  They have been doing this for about sixteen years and I hear it is pretty spectacular.

This is Brother Bellis, the Priesthood leader here.  He and Elder Garrett have already become fast friends!  They talk to each other just about every day and have been doing some home teaching together.  I took his coat to hang it up and almost dropped it, it was so heavy!  All the coats have hoods with fur around them.  We saw this coat at a shop here, it was $1,124.00.  Brother Bellis says it is very warm.  He's ready for that forty below temperature!

This is the President Garside.  He lives in Edmonton - yes, it's pretty cold there too!!!

This is Brother Nestman, counselor to Elder Garrett.  He works downtown, close to us.  He walks home from work every day.  It's about twelve blocks.  He needs this coat.

This is Sister Milnes, the Relief Society President.  Sister Garrett was called to be her First Counselor.  She lives about four blocks from us and usually walks here.  She is ready for the cold.

This is Sister Bellis and her daughter Julia coming to a Relief Society activity last night.  Julia says this is not even her winter coat!!  Hey, Wade Julia is your age - don't you wished you looked that good!!  She has two sons, one 22 and one 18.  They are both putting their missionary papers in.  How awesome!!!

This is Elder Garrett gearing up for a five block walk to visit a member.  You have to wear a hat and scarf.  You need to wrap the scarf around your neck so you can pull it over your nose to keep it from freezing.
This is Elder Garrett all geared up and ready to go!!  He has to have help stuffing the top of his gloves inside his coat sleeves because there is Velcro on the sleeve to make them tight so the cold air won't blow in.  Also, you have to leave pretty quickly when you get all geared up or you will start sweating immediately!!!

Also the days are getting shorter.  I understand by Christmas it will be only four to five hours of daylight. We are doing fine with that so far because when we are in our apartment it really doesn't matter!  Brother Bellis was telling us the worst part is in March when the sun comes out.  The days are so long and the sun is shining so much that the ice and snow will start melting when it is twenty below.  Eventually in the summer there will be only three to four hours of darkness.  What an adventure!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

As some of you know Elder Garrett has been involved in the Addiction Recovery Program for several years now. It is a wonderful program the church has been doing for a few years.  Elder Garrett started one in the ward about seven or eight years ago before the church came out with the Manuel.  He got permission from our area social services to start the program and taught it for several years.  He is totally devoted to the program and believes it can help everyone.

Elder Garrett going to Addiction Meeting

He has started a class here in the branch and has two people attending.   Want to come and join the class with him? Last night we were talking about how amazing it is for us to be here and we never dreamed at our age that we would be able to be having such a fresh adventure!!!!  It is completely new and different!  We will be letting you know more about being up here in this part of the world!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Awesome Sacrament Meeting

Today  we had thirty people in Sacrament Meeting!!  (Seven children)  This is up from sixteen the first week we were here.  (Two children). The Edmonton North Stake had Youth Conference the second weekend we were here.  The church pays for flying the youth there since it is 1,300 miles away.  We had five of the youth go from Yellowknife Branch.  The Nestman family that just moved here that weekend had two teenagers to go.  The other three were grandchildren of the former branch president.  Any way, we had four of them speak in our Sacrament Meeting today.  They just didn't relay what happened in the conference, they all gave great talks!  Elder Garrett was prepared to take up any extra time but didn't even have to.  These were some of the best youth talks I have ever heard.  We were very impressed!

Christina and Emma Johnston and Jordan and Samantha Nestman

The Nestman family have a beautiful little ten year old with downs syndrome.  She got up to direct the music with Sis. Sutherland.  Sis. Sutherland just took her hand and directed the music with her!  It was just beautiful!  Amanda is very loving and loves on everyone in the family and will go up front and sit with her Dad sometime.  The Nestman's are a special family, so glad to have them here to help out!!
Sister Sutherland with Amanda Nestman

Friday, November 9, 2012

"P" Day Activities

We have been amazed at the huge produce section in the grocery store.  Have you ever seen a persimmon in our grocery store? There is a big display of them here and all sorts of different produce.

 Anyway we noticed strawberries our first trip to the store and was surprised.  They have the produce 50% off I guess when it starts to get outdated.  We noticed strawberries on sale.  We have missed our strawberry freezer jam.  Elder Garrett loves English Muffins with strawberry jam.  I make strawberry jam every summer, so we are spoiled.  So we picked out a couple of boxes and decided to see if we could find Pectin.  We did find that but they did not have jars so we decided to improvise.
Strawberries and Pectin

I did not have a blender here so I mashed the berries with a potato masher.  Only four ingredients, strawberries, sugar, water and pectin.

 I had some small glasses so decided to use them.  The first box of berries were perfect and the second one only had two bad berries in it.  I made some delicious strawberry jam and now we will feel right at home this winter!!  It is some of the most delicious jam I have ever made!!!  Hey, Courtney there is probably some still in my freezer at home!!!!

I put the jam in my small glasses and put Saran Wrap and then some foil for the lid.  The next week we found discounted strawberries again so I sliced and sugared some and put them in small containers for the freezer.  I have a couple of recipes that I use strawberries in plus they are delicious thawed on vanilla ice cream.  Also one of Elder Garrett's favorites----and Carly's and Jenna's and Georgia's!!!!!!
In other news, Mr Fixit is at it again.

The springs were broken on the couch so he repaired it.

The rollers were clogged up on the chairs, he fixed them.

He repaired about 35 Hymn Books.  Some of the backs were off and coming apart.
The paper shredder didn't work.  He repaired it.  It works now!!!

Many Are Called But Few Are Frozen

We have had snow showers almost continuously for two weeks.  Of course, that doesn't stop anything    up here!  People walk everywhere!  Some don't even wear a cap or hat when it is snowing.  So, every day we have to clean the snow off our car.  The snow is so dry it reminds me of that fake snow in a bag that you buy at Christmas.  Elder Garrett bought a snow scraper and brush combined.  This has a log handle on it and you just brush the snow off your car.  Well, one night last week we had freezing rain.  I was told that this doesn't happen much.  We were glad to hear that because it took some time with the car running and both of us scraping to get it off.

While in the process of scraping, the cell phone in Elder Garrett's pocket started to ring.  We both had on gloves and in the process of trying to retrieve the phone I dropped it in the snow.  Finally, I got it open and it was the mission office calling.  We are working under the direction of the mission and the stake now.  They are both always checking on us to see how we are enduring the cold.  It was Sis. Woodruff in the mission office calling.  (Her husband is a direct descendent of Wilford and we enjoyed getting to know them the one day that we were in Edmonton.  They helped us get winter tires and winter clothing.)  Anyway, she is on the phone wanting to know if we were frozen yet!  At the moment we were almost!

She proceeded to tell me the story of a senior couple who put their missionary papers in.  In the papers they asked not to be sent anywhere that it was cold because both of them had a hard time dealing with the cold.  Their call came back and it was to Ukraine so they decided they just couldn't go there because it was just too cold.  So about eighteen months later they felt like they were still in good health so they decided to submit their papers again.  Again the call came back and it was to the Ukraine.  They decided they must go this time.  They were assigned to work in the prison system there.  After being there for about a year a prisoner was brought in to see them.  This was their son who had been missing for several years.  When in the Ukraine you can get put in prison for the least little thing and it is almost impossible to get out.

We have always felt that The Lord knows what He is doing when making missionary assignments.  We are very thankful to be here and know that we will be blessed in our service.  We have heard other stories similar  to this attest that The Lord knows what He is doing.  We hope to serve and make a difference in this small branch.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Big News in Yellowknife

Elder Garrett was called to be the Branch President for the Yellowknife Branch.  The Stake President, Pres. Garside came to sustain him and set him apart November 4th.  He actually called him before we left Edmonton on October 10th so have been waiting for him to have the time to fly here.  And yes, Elder Garrett has been restless and waiting to go!!  The High Councilor over the Yellowknife Branch, Brother Durham came with him.  On Saturday night they took us and the out going branch president and his wife out to dinner.  This was the first time we had been out to a restaurant since arriving here in Yellowknife.  We had an enjoyable time.  When we came out of the restaurant snow was really coming down and the wind was blowing.  We invited everyone to our apartment for desert and Idid not know if they would come since the weather had gotten so bad.  But people here just keep going and act like nothing is happening!

President Garside, President of North Edmonton Stake. President Garside reminds us of David Denton, in looks and in mannerism.  He is an amazing and humble man.  We love him.
Brother Paul Nestman and his family. Brother Nestman is the first counselor for Elder Garrett.  They are from South Jordan and got here the week after we did.  A great, amazing family!!!  They have four other children.

Elder and Sister Garrett with President Garside.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Calgary Temple Dedication

 Another portion of an e-mail from mom dated October 29.

The Temple dedication was awesome.  It is absolutely beautiful.  Maybe we will stop and do a session on our way home.  They had three sessions and we got to see the first one.  So we got to see the sealing of the corner stone.  Pres. Monson spoke about it and said it is symbolic of Christ being the chief cornerstone of our religion.  He put the first mortar on and then had several others come up.  He had several children and a couple of teenagers come up.  There was a choir outside and they sang two hymns.

When they came back in Elder Ballard spoke.  He served as a mission president in Canada.  And also one of his grandfathers was a mission president at one time in part of the U.S. and Canada.  Pres. Monson also was a mission president in Canada and they both spoke of Canada fondly.  

Pres. Monson then spoke and offered the Dedicatory Prayer.  The choir did a great job too.  There were 16 from our branch there.  There are a few more that we would like to have been there so we will be working on that.


Snow. And more snow.

It was snowing when we arrived here October 12th.  It snowed about 5 inches and the next night it snowed another 2 inches.  That snow melted and we did not have any for a whole week!  Then, Sunday before last it started snowing again. And the temperature dropped below freezing.  It has continued for over a week.  They call it snow showers!!  We call it cold!!!  And this is just the beginning!!!  Soon this lake will be completely frozen over. 

They do not plough the snow here.  When it gets so deep that there a ruts in it, they will smooth it out some.  The streets are still pretty clear right now.

Elder Garrett cleaning snow off the porch.  He has been doing this every day now!!!  The temperature averages around 17 during the day.

Today is the first day in over a week that the sun has been shining and it is still snowing!!!!

This is the snow plowed off the grocery store parking lot the first weekend we were here.  It melted everywhere else.  I understand this will stay until around March!

Off and Running

An portion of an e-mail sent to me (LeAndrea) on October 23.  I had asked mom several questions.  These are her answers.
We have been very busy right now just cleaning this apartment and we are not finished yet.  There has been no one here for about a year so it has been very dusty.  Plus you know how missionaries clean!  Everything in the kitchen had several layers of grease on it.  You know Elder Garrett is the fix-it man.  The vacuum cleaner was filthy and the filter had never been changed, so he spent hours taking that apart and we went and bought a new filter.  The fan in the bathroom in the ceiling was barely running and was filthy so he took that apart and fixed it.  The leg on the couch was broken so went to the store to get glue and a clamp to fix it.  There is a big storage room here and we went thru all of that and organized it.  There was just about everything in the kitchen that you needed.  Of course I brought my stuff, so used some of the stuff that was here and part of my things.  I have about 3 boxes of my things I am not using.  I kept my dishes packed up.  But on Sunday the Relief Society President invited us to dinner but she has dogs so we invited them to come here.  She made lasagne and I made a salad.  There were five of them so we brought the table from the Relief Society Room in here and I got my dishes out because there are only four plates in the apartment that I am using.  We had a good time visiting and they stayed til almost 8:00.  I think they enjoyed it!!!  The husband is in the bishopric but has been a little less active.  I think it was good for him.  He told Elder Garrett when they were leaving that he has not been very active.  Elder Garrett said "that's o.k. we'll just go forward from here."  You know how he can be very kind and gentle.

We are thousand miles from the stake.  The church will fly us to Edmonton twice a year for stake conference.  The branch is very small here and we are the only missionaries.  I think the mission president has in mind sending a couple of Elders in a little while.  The branch president was out of town when we got here and only got back last weekend and the 1st Counselor was in and out of town so to this point we haven't even gotten a ward list!  We got a list from the R.S. president but it didn't even have addresses on it.  So Elder Garrett has been getting a little restless about being able to start contacting in-actives.  We did make up a letter we wanted to drop off to in-actives but there was no toner in the copy machine and no paper!  There has been no v.t. or h.t. here for quite a while.  I know in R.S. it has been a year or more.  The R.S. president is a fairly new member and just doesn't know how to get started.  Elder Garrett is actually meeting with the branch president right now to get a branch list and go over it.  So hopefully we will be able to move on from here.  There seems to be some problems here and I guess we will find out.  One good thing is a new family of five just moved in from the SLC area so that will help some.  This Sunday for Sacrament meeting we will be able to see the new Calgary Temple dedication so we're looking forward to that.

There are four stakes in Edmonton.  Yellowknife is in the Edmonton Alberta North Stake.  Yellowknife is over 1300 miles away.  When stake leaders visit they fly here.  They are very concerned about the branch and someone comes here every other month.  Brother Durham is on the high council in charge of Yellowknife.  He usually comes but the stake president, Pres. Garside will come next month and in December the Stake Patriarch will come.  We met with Bro. Durham for about two hours on Saturday and then again on Sunday morning.  We are making plans to help the branch here grow.  We will be doing some home teaching and visiting teaching and visiting in-actives.  We had a new family of five move in, we had 22 people on Sunday!
When you see the temperature here that is celsius so it has actually been above freezing.  I love to go somewhere in the car each day so I can see what the temperature is in fahrenheit!!!   But don't let that fool you, this is only the beginning.  We have had flurries all week and the temperature has dropped some.  We are on the middle floor in this apartment and have not had the heat on since we got here.  In fact I have on sandals and light clothes and we still get hot sometimes when we are really busy - even Dad!!  So I don't think we will have to worry about getting cold in the apartment. 
They say you can see the northern lights on clear days quite often.  Think you have to go to certain places though.  We'll find out.  Of course that won't be for quite a while yet.  The grocery actually has a huge produce section.  Groceries are quite expensive but they seem to have something on sale all the time.  Clementines were on sale for $ 3.98 the first week for a big box.  They were not as flavorful as the ones we get at home.  We are still eating on them!  We got prune plums on sale and they were good.  Roma tomatoes were not too expensive and you know I love my tomatoes!   Lettuce and cabbage were not too high.  But overall the milk products are way expensive, almost $ 5.00 for a gallon of milk and a block of cream cheese is $ 3.28. A roasted chicken was $ 10.00 so probably will make tortilla soup with canned chicken.  I brought a stack of that with me!!

Looks like we got out work cut out for us here so hopefully when Elder Garrett gets out of his meeting we will be off and running!