Sunday, July 22, 2018

Hot, Busy and Fun Visits!!!

Short Version:
It has been a hot one, literally. We had lightening that started a brush fire on the Sun ranch, our neighbor. While I was on a trek at the top of Martin’s Cove I saw the lightening hit in the distance. When we got down back to the Homestead from our trek you could see the smoke. Elder Roundy and I had to take out the water truck again to go help put it out. It was in a pretty remote area and I wasn’t sure I could get this water truck in there. We did finally find a path that we could travel on. We were able to help put it out and get it under control. Then of course when we get it under control the big boys show up and finish putting out the hot spots. It burned about 5 acres. Luckily the Sweetwater river was on one side of it.

We’ve been doing some trekking. One group that we trekked with we met them the night before and one of the older men and I had a great conversation together.  Then he presented to me a small leather pouch with a bottle of consecrated oil in it. They wanted all their Priesthood holders that were Elders to “Be ready now” like Ephraim Hanks was. I have been able to see the Priesthood in action through blessings and service of all kinds.

I have been busy on the Homestead mowing lawns, pumping septic tanks, working on plugged up toilets, and fixing everything else that breaks. Our projector in the Visitors’ Center in our video room quit working. But we were able to call Salt Lake and have them send us 2 new bulbs (one for a spare). I had a box that was labeled spare bulb for the projector but when I opened it up it was a piece 3” pipe threaded on both ends. Needless to say I was a little surprised, disappointed, dumbfounded, etc. Anyway Salt Lake overnighted it and we were back in business the next day.
The 6 couples that will spend the winter have been identified with one of these couples being the new FM. It is sad to think of going home and being replaced at the end of the season. But they are a great couple and we will start mentoring and training them after trekking season winds down. It has been fun learning new stuff every day and having the experiences we have had and are having. I love you all and miss you.
Elder Sigmon

Longer Version:
As Elder Sigmon said we have been so busy! It is a constant coming and going of so many different things. We love to wake up and stand at our bathroom window and look out at all the comings and goings or even the quiet stillness before the buziness begins. I like to tease Elder Sigmon and sometimes as I walk up and ask him “Looking over your kingdom again?” The sad thing is when it comes to an end it doesn’t ease off, it just drops off, which is different than how it slowly builds at the beginning of the trekking season. The end will be here sooner than we know. After the first week in August with everyone busy getting ready to start school and back to their lives all the treks just end—that’s it everyone is gone. Having been through it once before I don’t want to miss a minute or experience. Even on the days it is hot and I’m tired and it would be nice to do nothing (like that ever happens lol), I am thoroughly enjoying it! I know I have said it before but I’m sorry I am going to say it again. I am so glad we came back to serve one more summer at the Wyoming Mormon Trail Mission! It is going to be a sad day when we are all packed up and drive home. We have so many cherished memories and friends. There are days we drag in, eat dinner and then we need to go back out and check on how projects went, what needs to be done and just see how things are in general. As we climb into the rover and are sitting side by side and heading down the road seeing the beautiful Sweetwater River, antelope and Martin’s Cove. I can’t help but slide a little closer so grateful to have my husband by my side sharing this wonderful experience. Then I say to him “It doesn’t get any better than this. What mission can you do this on? Where else can you have these experiences? This is the best mission ever!” 

As you know we have had so much wildlife around us. We enjoy seeing the antelope and especially when they start having their babies. They actually have quite a few twins. I remember when we lived out at Missionary Village they were right there on our lawns and weren’t really afraid of us. They kept their distance but they are used to having us people around. Moms and babies would be right there. One day I even caught a mom and her babies playing what I would say was a game of tag. It was so cute. Well once again the babies appeared. But there is that circle of life that goes on and Elder Sigmon was called and told that a mother antelope was dead near one of the trailers and probably would need to be removed. The sad thing is she had two twin babies. They spent the remainder of the day laying right where their mother had laid. But it has been about 3 weeks now and they have still managed to survive and are staying in Missionary Village. There is water out for them and they had been eating grass prior to their mom’s death so that was a blessing. We are hoping they make it to adulthood and I’m glad they at least have each other. It would have been sadder if it was just one.
It is always sweet to get pictures from the grand kids and so when this picture came it just melted my heart. I can’t believe how grown up they are getting and they now have some additions to the chickens. They have three new baby ducks and a few turkeys. The baby ducks I believe were only a day old when they got them. Aren’t they the cutest!
Since we are talking about critters. We have one that has been getting into Bertha (the place where we put our trash to burn). It will dig out the trash and spread it all over choosing what it wants to eat. Elder Roundy put the old well pump in front to block it and a bunch of gravel. Upon inspection the next morning the critter managed to pull it back along with the gravel. It is almost like it has swept everything back. That pump is not light and easy to move either. 
Upon further inspection we noticed some sooty footprints along the water truck fire hose. Yes, we believe it is raccoon prints. We ended up welding another flat piece of metal along the bottom so it can no longer reach in and make a daily mess. We don’t have time to clean up after it lol.
We had a wonderful family come from New Mexico, whom we dearly love, come to experience Martin’s Cove with us. The Biggs family! They came on a Sunday evening and spent Monday with us before leaving for Sixth Crossing on Tuesday morning. We were able to share the Visitors’ Center with them where we found one of their ancestors, Daniel Tyler’s, journal entry. It was a 3 pager. He was with the Martin handcart company. They pulled a handcart. You know Lana she wants to see and do it all.
We walked the Cove.
We were able to talk and visit for a little while at the top of the Cove before heading back down.
Thanks for everyone’s patience while I remembered how to set the timer on my phone to get this picture. I have several pictures which I deleted with my face up close looking at the phone. Obviously because I was taking the picture instead of setting the timer but we got it figured out. Failure is not an option! J

Everyone who knows Lana knows she is so creative and fun! Sister Pace’s birthday was Wednesday and I had the brilliant idea it would be fun to decorate her door (only because Lana was here). So I asked her if she would help me do it. Of course she was more than happy to do it. Her first question was “Do you know what her favorite color is?” I had no clue but I did say she likes to scuba dive. So then Lana says “Oh we can do some seaweed, and bubbles with the letters in it…do you have some colored cardstock?” I had the cardstock and she left me to make the bubbles and the lettering. She then proceeded to freehand everything else. I was amazed. She just looked at a cartoon crab and then cut it out and drew a few things on it to finish it off. Last but not least we put it all up using masking tape. There again she amazed me. I was cutting one piece at a time to make the round loop to put behind the cardstock and trying not to get all tangled up at the same time. Lana had me tear off a very long piece of masking tape and then she would proceed to do about 4-6 of those loops and have them done and stuck on different parts of her fingers and wasn’t even tangled up a little bit. Crazy!

Here is our finished project!! It shows the creator and the receiver. It was really fun to do and I love working with Lana. She even taught me how to make a lei out of yarn. She made one and I made another. She said I did really well for my first time. I didn’t even have to start over. I had a little trouble with tying it off but it was easily taken care of.
Elder Sigmon touched on a trek we had been on and I wanted to talk about a few things which really touched my heart with this same group. We went to meet with the Trek Leaders in their camp the night before we were to go out trekking with them. They were a big group so they were going to be going in two separate groups. They had put a lot of work and effort into preparing and having their leaders and kids do the same. We went down to the amphitheater to visit with who would be with our group and as we walked down there they had used those strings of white lights as a rope going down to the front as a border or fence from either side with a big picture of the temple in the center. On this string of white lights (which weren’t on) there were these strips of white fabric with something written on them flapping in the breeze. It was covered. It was eye catching to see and then one of the leaders told me as a stake they had been trying to do temple work. They had asked the kids to find a family name they could take to the temple and their goal was 1,000 names. They actually had 1,022 names that were done. These names were each written on their own strip of white fabric. This is what was tied onto those lights flapping in the wind. It was a beautiful sight to see. They had accomplished this goal and on this evening they were having a special fireside and were even going to surprise a few of the kids with a picture of their ancestor and their story which would be totally unbeknownst to the kid. They also had every Bishop from each ward and I think all of the Stake Presidency there with this group. These Bishops were bonding and getting to know their youth better in these 3 days than they have been able to in the last year. The spirit you felt being with them was awesome.

The next day we trekked with them and I actually did my very first river crossing. This is because I wear a knee brace while trekking and I didn’t actually go through the water on any of the river crossings last year. I rode in handcarts or walked around to the bridge. When the year was done I was kind of sad I hadn’t. So this time I decided I would take off my brace and do at least one river crossing this year. So it was today. Sister and President Pace had come to join our group for the river crossing and she was kind enough to take a few pictures for me.
I am so glad I did it! 

They also did a women’s pull on the way back to their campground. They usually have a talk before the girls pull the handcarts up the hill without the help of the men. There are similarities but there are also differences in some of the points or things which are discussed for each one. One of the things which was said that I hadn’t heard before was the difference between the words “can” and “will”. If someone asked you “Can you pull your son 700 miles in a handcart or pull your husband you would probably say “No I can’t.” But if someone asked you “Will you pull your son or husband 700 miles in a handcart.” It is different. Sometimes we don’t think we can do things but if we are willing to try we may be surprised at what we can manage to do especially with the Lord’s help. Before we left to pull the handcarts up the hill they gave all the girls a bracelet. It has a heart with footsteps on it and on either side there is a knot. We were told this bracelet represents “Faith in every footstep—Doubt Not—Fear Not!” I love mine and I have worn it every day since I was lucky enough to also receive one. Sister Pace has one too! We need to do exactly that have Faith in our Savior—Doubt Not and Fear Not. What a great everyday reminder to have. Sorry it looks a little worn. I had to take it off to get a picture.
We had some unexpected people. I was home when there was a knock on my door asking if I was Sister Sigmon. This girl was here on a trek for a family reunion of one of the missionaries serving here with us, the Hansens. Well she ran into my niece while shopping for pants to come on trek and mentioned her aunt and uncle serve at Martin’s Cove. My niece said “so do mine! You need to take a picture with them!”  She lives 2 doors down from Laura. Nice to meet you Reghan Rohner!
Then one evening while we were at home we got a call that there was a family at the Visitors’ Center who were from Albuquerque, New Mexico and they really wanted to meet us. It turns out they lived in my son’s ward and knew them really well. Their son was good friends with the twins. They have recently moved to Utah. Of course we had to send a picture to Lance and say guess who we met. The Paxton family!
As for the work side of things we have been pretty busy since the 1st of July with 9 to 14 treks a week. Both sites have been busy. There are a couple of weeks that Sixth Crossing needs to take 2-4 of our couples to even cover all of their treks they have over there. Not to mention 35 of our handcarts too. It is crazy but it is exciting to see how it is all going to work out and the Lord is in charge so it will all work out. This year we are 5 couples less than last year so it has been interesting on Mondays and Saturdays which are preparation days to see how some of the necessary work crew jobs get covered along with everything else for the treks coming in and going out. 

We have some porta potties behind some vault toilets at Handcart parking. They need to be pumped out every week on Saturday or Monday. How it has been working out is when Elder Sigmon and I don’t have preparation day that is the day it gets done because we are the only ones on work crew. Elder Bowden is Trek Coordinator or Base depending on what is happening and usually tries to help with it too. So there we are the three of us pumping them out. To do it involves the water truck which is the same truck Elder Sigmon went to fight the fire with Elder Roundy. It holds 1,000 gallons of water. I mainly hold doors open and spray and wipe things down after it is all said and done with sanitizer spray. 

So on my very first time to help them do it Elder Sigmon had told me it didn’t take very long. So he is in the first toilet trying to suck everything out and I’m holding the door open and standing there and standing there and standing there. He keeps banging and moving the pipe and I can’t figure out how at this rate it doesn’t take very long because it seems to be taking quite a while just to get one toilet done. Then Elder Sigmon finally pulls up the pipe and there is a cell phone stuck to it. Yes someone dropped their cell phone in the toilet. After he got it knocked off the suction tube worked much better. There was also a little bottle with an eye dropper top in there too. Elder Bowden was the lucky person to put a trash bag on his arm and pull those fun items out. I had a picture of them in the bottom of the toilet but somehow it got deleted off of my phone! I am so sad. So you only get to see the picture of the phone on the ground. No one wanted the phone so it ended up in Bertha. (Big Surprise!)
We went out on another day with the water truck and had to charge (fill with more water) the vault toilets because of the heat and evaporation. Here is Elder Sigmon charging the toilet. Again I hold the door.
On the way back from charging the toilet I got to run the water control panel and let’s just say I pulled every possible lever there was to pull. Left Front, Left Middle, Left Rear, Right Front, Right Middle, and yes Right Rear! Now I totally see why last year he was so disappointed when they ran out of water. That was so fun!!! Seeing the water go out there is awesome!!!!
The funny thing was at one point Elder Sigmon pulled one of the levers and his window was down and the wind was blowing and needless to say he had one nice little shower. I couldn’t help laughing! Luckily it was a hot day! 
Elder Sigmon and Elder Roundy had to get a tire off the water truck because it was flat. We had to take it into town to get it fixed. It was a little tough to get off and they had to use a cheater pipe.
Needless to say it was on tight and the cheater pipe did not help the breaker bar. It is going to have to be bent back into shape after it served its purpose. But once again….Failure is not an option!
We got the opportunity to do Base. This is the person who is like air traffic control for all the treks out on the trail. I’m not quite sure how we ended up with this job since we have never done it before and weren’t trained on it but we are up for anything. Luckily we only had one trek out on the trial and we were able to spend the day watching them move from place to place. I even got some computer work done while we were out there. Here is a picture of Elder Sigmon looking out the big window with his binoculars to make sure the group is together, still at the river crossing, leaving the statue or whatever they may be doing. This is where it all goes down. I think we did pretty well. We had no incidents, everyone was accounted for and I had fun!
Ok so I have to tell you a funny story. Well it doesn’t start out funny. Sister Roundy’s brother passed away unexpectedly and they left for his funeral. Whenever anyone leaves it is like something is missing and you notice they aren’t here. We have weekly schedules that tells us where we are needed and the assignments we need to do. With the Roundy’s gone there were certain things we needed to make sure were covered if they were assigned to them. Some of them being a Trek Host or handcart parking. On Thursday there was a trek Elder Roundy was supposed to do with Elder Honey and their wives were both scheduled for handcart parking. This is where the treks come and leave their handcarts before going up into the Cove and also eat their lunch. Elder Bowden asked if Elder Sigmon would go with Elder Honey and I would go with Sister Honey. Elder Sigmon’s trek was supposed to come in and eat their lunch prior to going out on the trail. I made my lunch to take with me in a cooler and left his in the fridge for him to eat before leaving on the trek. Eating before going out on the trail is out of the norm. Most of the treks eat on the trail. Other times we have been split up like this I will take both of our lunches in the same cooler and we will eat together at handcart parking.

Well when Elder Sigmon came in with his trek I saw him and went over to talk to him. President and Sister Pace were there. We had 5 treks out on the trail that day and the Paces try to hit each one at various points. So we were visiting and I asked Elder Sigmon if he had eaten his lunch and he says “no I brought it with me.” I guess something changed and they were eating their lunch on the trial now. So he reaches in his possibles bag and pulls out his sandwich. Taking one look at it I burst into laughter!!! Along with President and Sister Pace. He was trying to push it all back together and into shape.

He said “We didn’t have another cooler for me to put it into.” A picture is worth a thousand words.
Every once in a while something makes me think back on that sorry little sandwich on a hamburger bun and I begin to laugh. I haven’t said a word to Elder Sigmon and he looks at me and says “Well it tasted okay.” He knows exactly what I was laughing about. I think it will crack me up for a while. Can you see his bag of chips?

Sorry this is so long but I guess that is what happens when a whole month has almost passed by. As usual we hope you are all well.
Elder and Sister Sigmon

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Out and About

Short Version:
It has been hot and windy with some days hotter than others and some days windier than others. I think we’re supposed to get a little rain this next week. We have still been busy maintaining the place and keeping things going. We did have a brother from Salt Lake visit us who is in charge of all mission vehicles. He only had 2 on his list out of the 10 we own. So I thought that was kind of interesting. He did say President Pace can order a new vehicle so that will be fun to see a new vehicle come in. I wish we could get a few new rovers. We have been band aided a few for a couple of years. We’ll see how long we can keep them running.

One of the benches broke on one of the picnic tables so the bench was down on one end and up on the other kind of like a ramp. I was looking out my window one day and saw some families having a picnic and there were 3 little boys perhaps between 3-5 years old. They would run up the ramp and back down or jump off the end and were having such a wonderful time. My thoughts turned to the pioneer children and how they came through here in 1856. They did not get to run and play. One of my favorite stories is about Peter McBride and how he was given a bone of an ox to eat. He skinned it and cooked it on the fire. Then 2 older boys came and took it from him. He then picked up the skin, cooked it and ate it.  As he tells the story in his journal it seems as though he holds no ill feelings towards those boy. I have been mad at them ever since I have first heard the story. But as I learn more of their dire circumstance I can see how they were starving and they were just being boys. One of the things I’m trying to gain better understanding of while on my mission is forgiveness and how I can be a better person and forgive others more readily and not hold a grudge and be more Christ like. We can learn so much from our pioneer history. I am thankful for those that kept a journal and I am going to try and do better myself. I love and miss you all. You’re continually in my thoughts and prayers.
Elder Sigmon

Longer Version:
We have been surrounded by so much nature and new life. There is one deer and we seem to keep crossing paths and surprising each other. I still have not been able to get a picture of it because it is always as I am going to or from the office trying to take care of something. I round a corner or come to the side walk or gravel and then suddenly there we are just feet away from each other, just looking at each other in surprise, and then off it goes. So of course no picture.

There is also a tree right by Elder Sigmon’s office with a cool little hole in it. Inside is a nest of 3 little birds. Every day you could hear them chirping and as they were getting bigger they would stick their heads out to see if we were bringing them any food. A few days ago Elder Sigmon said they look big enough to fly away. Sure enough the next day the hole was dark and quiet. They were gone. It sure isn’t any fun to walk by the tree. It actually is a little disappointing.
Oh and the antelope babies are being born. Funny story…Elder Sigmon and I had to go out to the Cherry Creek campground for something and while we were driving in the rover I saw in the sagebrush the smallest baby antelope. It couldn’t have been more than 2 days old. Elder Sigmon backed up so I could try and take a picture BUT it jumped up and ran off to mom. The next morning in correlation Elder Sigmon had Elder Lewis tell a funny story that had happened to him while he was out doing mosquito fogging. It goes like this: I was out in my rover with the headlights on so I could see where I was going and all of sudden something jumped up from the sagebrush and was scrambling around. I couldn’t tell if it was coyote or what. Then then next thing I know it jumped into the cab with me. Then it manages to jump out and we both sat there with their hearts pounding a hundred miles a minute and I finally figured out it was a baby antelope.

I know it was the same one we had seen earlier that same day because it was in the same area we had seen it. It was hilarious. With it being dark and headlights shining in its eyes I’m sure it had no idea what to do.

Here is a photo of a much older baby we saw nursing as we drove into Missionary Village for Family Home Evening. Of course by the time I could get my phone out it isn’t nursing any more but is checking us out.
With the FM responsibilities we never know day to day what might come up which wasn’t anticipated. It always makes it more interesting and sometimes exciting. We have speakers located at different locations on the trail for the treks to stop and tell a story or where their leader may talk to them. We were having problems with one of them and so Elder Bowden brought it in so Elder Sigmon could look at it and figure out what the problem was. I had to take a picture because it reminds me of many items I have had in my house over the years…the least of which was a transmission in my kitchen. I do have to say we were in the middle of remodeling so there was not any finished flooring down just the sheeting. I never know what I will see laying around. Good memories. I guess I should also mention he was able to figure out what was wrong and got it working again.
On this day there was a lot of activity going on. People were coming from all directions. Some were coming back to the trek center after a day of trekking.
Others were coming to start their trekking experience as they unloaded from their vehicles or buses and came to outfitting.
Yes Elder Sigmon was right and we did have some rain this week. We had a trek this last Wednesday with a great ward from Arizona. There were 60 in our group and we really enjoyed spending the day with them. We had the best weather. The few days before there were a few thunderstorms which appeared for a little bit. Luckily our day ended up with no thunderstorms but we did have some clouds and intermittent sun. Perfect trekking weather.

Our last preparation day ended up being the day before Father’s Day. We went with some other couples to Texas Roadhouse to celebrate. The company was good and the so was the food.
Front to Back: Meadows, Calls, Gortons and Us

Elder Sigmon also got a nice tie tack for Father’s Day.
Today I was working on 2019 trek schedules and I was getting frustrated going from screen to screen. I’m so used to having dual monitors. Sister Bowden has them on her desk but the desk I was working on doesn’t. I went home and got my lap top and with Elder Bowden’s help was able to have dual monitors. I was in business! I was able to be quite productive today.
We have been busy but we are definitely happy and doing well. Serving here in Wyoming has been very rewarding and we have seen many blessings. There are many days of laughter, smiles, hugs, tears, feeling the spirit, hard work, sore body parts, etc. If you have been trying to figure out what to do when you have retired may I suggest service. It is the best! Hope you are all doing well.
Elder & Sister Sigmon

Monday, June 4, 2018

So Blessed and So Grateful!

Short Version:
Another great week here at the Cove. We were able to go on a trek last Friday. It was a small ward from Utah with about 50 people. We had a wonderful time and the spirit was very strong. We came home sore and tired but spiritually uplifted. I am ever so thankful for the Pioneers and their faithful sacrifices.

On the FM things have slowed down some since treks have begun. This can be good and bad. We now have to mow our lawns in between treks or when we have enough people and the stars line up. I am enjoying serving in this capacity. When I first received this assignment I was wondering if I would have as many spiritual experiences as I did last year. But every day working with these wonderful missionaries gives me a new insight of how much the Lord blesses us all. We have so many people with diverse talents and backgrounds it can be interesting to try and figure out assignments and how to pair people up. But the thing we all have in common is the gospel and our love for our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Also this week I get to celebrate my 36th wedding anniversary with my wonderful wife. If any of you have the capability to serve a mission with your wife don’t let this opportunity pass you by. It is a wonderful thing to share together as a senior couple.

Well we are driving to Casper right now to pick up things we need for upcoming projects, a dishwasher, some prairie dog poison, plumbing supplies, electrical supplies and I think we’ll go to Olive Garden for our anniversary lunch. Hope all are doing well. I challenge you all to look around and see the Lord’s tender mercies in your life.
Elder Sigmon

Longer Version:
I have to start with being so thankful and grateful for my wonderful companion for the last 36 years. It actually would be almost 37 if you count the 11 months we dated before being married. As I look back on our time together and the memories I just have to smile. We have 3 wonderful boys who have grown up into wonderful husbands and some are also wonderful fathers. For those of you who know my boys I’m not saying some aren’t wonderful fathers, one just isn’t at the moment lol. But I’m have no doubt he will be just as wonderful as his brothers! We have created many memories we can all look back on, smile and laugh about. Our family has grown and we have been so blessed. Elder Sigmon and I fit together like puzzle pieces. Together we make a good whole. I feel as long as we have each other there isn’t anything we can’t handle or do. It may not always be easy but we have each other’s back and we are there for each other through the good and the bad. I love when he makes me smile or laugh. I love his tender and compassionate heart. He is my rock! Sorry I got mushy but it has been a wonderful 36 years and I am looking forward to more years and adventures together!

Here is a picture of a Green Apple Fizz from Olive Garden. We were able to eat lunch there for our anniversary. It actually had some cotton candy on it. I LOVE cotton candy!!!! I didn’t know it had cotton candy on it.
Moving on….I know I have said this before BUT…the weather here can be so CRAZY! Last week Saturday it was a beautiful 80ᴼ weather. Then the next day Sunday it begins to rain like crazy along with a bunch of hail. It didn’t hail for just 10 minutes no—a few of us were stuck in the barn waiting for it to let up for almost an hour! It went from pea size to grape size to pea size! Then it cleared up and the sun somewhat came out and you would have had no idea what had just happened if it wasn’t for the evidence it left behind.
What we call the bone yard was a small lake. Also when we get a quick heavy rain we have noticed we get some waterfalls in the granite rocks near the Cove. There were several of them flowing quite heavily. It actually was quite beautiful to see.
 The funny thing was when Sister Taylor brought us the white board which is outside on the Campground Host cabin. This is where we write a welcome to the Treks coming in for the day and where they are to set up their campground. Well unfortunately this white board was exposed to the weather and in the wrong spot. It took the full force of all that rain and hail and this is what was left of that white board. I think it is officially dead! L This will be another item we purchase today.

One of things I needed to do as helper to Elder Sigmon was to purchase the hanging baskets to go around the Visitors’ center and a few other places. We are also trying to simplify the work which will go into keeping the grounds looking beautiful. Sister Hysell is the person we put in charge of the grounds and landscaping. She lives in Wyoming, loves gardening and is very familiar with what works well and what does not. So she is our go to girl on all of this. She has been working hard with help and has got things looking good. There is a big flower bed in front of the Visitors’ Center with a handcart in it. It is pretty to look at from a distance because it looked green and full. The problem is when you get up closer a lot of it was clover and weeds. She and I decided to start trying to pull out the weeds and see what we had left when it was all said and done. When it was first started there was a lot of dirt. Some were a little alarmed and worried. But after talking together we decided to carry on and we could add some things which would not be weeds, and stay in their own locations and also just leave some space and dirt for definition. The other planters were looking good this way so why not give it try there also. After everything was out people were really liking how it was starting to look. We bought some plants to add there also.

Just to acquire the plants was 2 trips into Casper over 2 days and 4 of us each time. It wasn’t like just running to Home Depot at home (around the corner). The day before we had all the other plants going into the barrels, planters and flower beds. Here is the 2nd day-- the truck loaded with the 21 Hanging baskets and some top soil.
Here is a picture of Elder and Sister Hysell clearing out the weeds in this flower bed.
Here is a picture of the Visitors’ Center and all the hanging baskets.
 Here are what we picked out for by the Museum and Sewing Center

Here are the planters.

The next picture is of the Visitors’ Center flower bed. Don’t they all look so nice?

I want to share with you some of the many tender mercies we have experienced. We have found the Lord’s hand in both the temporal and spiritual aspects of our lives.

About a month ago I went into Casper to take in some paperwork. While I was at the FM office the mechanic was there and they had bought a new truck they wanted to replace our FM truck with. So I left with a Ford truck and came home with a Chevy. When I got back I gave Elder Sigmon the keys and he kept turning them over in his hand looking at them and I could tell he was confused so I said “They made me give them a perfectly good Ford for a Chevy.” It is true! This Chevy has a shell with boxes on the side and a rack on top. As Elder Sigmon was going through it and opening compartments he found a gas detector in it. He was all excited. The Smarts were here with us last year and stayed through the winter. They had been complaining about a smell in their apartment since the end of last year when we left. Sister Smart had mentioned the smell is better but she still thinks there might be a gas leak in the laundry area. So when Elder Sigmon saw this he said “I’m going to go and check that out and see if there is a leak or not.” When he got some time he did in fact check and there was a leak. He was able to get it fixed and there is no longer a smell!

The funny side of the story is that when we ate lunch that afternoon I could see that the clip that holds Elder Sigmon’s badge was still on his shirt but his magnetic badge was nowhere to be seen. So I asked him where his badge was. He figured it must have come off while he was working around the dryer at the Smarts. So we went back to back track and look for his badge. Elder Sigmon was busy looking behind when I spotted it. It wasn’t behind it. But I do have to say they have a pretty strong magnet!

Then later that day I was working in the office and Sister Erekson was weeding outside the office when she had me come out there. She said “I can smell gas and I have a pretty good smeller.” So I called Elder Sigmon on the radio to come and bring his gas detector with him. He shows up and checks out where she was working and nothing was registering so he said he would go around a little bit and sure enough about 8’ down the side there was a gas pipe poking up and it was going off! There was a leak! Sister Erekson just decided to help Sister Hysell do some weeding right there in that spot, smells gas and then Elder Sigmon detects it and now it is fixed! No coincidence!

This next experience I am going to share I know some will think “this is a blessing?” But I truly do believe it is.

I talk to my mom every day just to touch base and check in on her and see how she is doing. Over this last week some things discussed in our conversations left me scratching my head trying to figure out what was going on. Things which she would normally do wasn’t happening and it wasn’t making sense to me. Then I found out on Thursday mom was using a walker because she had a sprained ankle or a stubbed toe, depending on which version. Apparently she was trying to keep everyone under sworn secrecy not to tell me so I wouldn’t worry. Then Friday everything started to come to light when I got a text from my son that he was meeting my mom at the hospital because she had fallen. It turns out she had fallen 2 weeks ago Monday. After the x-ray and MRI we found out she had a stable fracture in her pelvic area. This means she is able to walk and move around and doesn’t need surgery to put her back together to be able to walk and move around. She is just going to need some time to heal and mend. This is a miracle! It is amazing it was not worse and that she is able to still move and walk around. I know it is probably painful but what a blessing! I am also blessed in the fact she is loved by so many. My niece has come out and is spending the week with her to help her out. So many have leant a helping hand for which I am truly grateful. I am sure my mom is too. Thank you!

The Lord is in the details of our lives and he has so much to offer to us if we will let him. He loves us and wants us to be happy. Because of His sacrifice and love I can be lifted and strengthened. I can do hard things and be blessed for it. Because of Him I can be a better person. I can live a better life. I can find joy even in hard things.

As Elder Sigmon said we had our first trek on Friday. This group had a wonderful Bishop and you could feel his love for each and every one of them. When we got to the Lower Amphitheater he talked to them there. The spirit was so strong. One of the things he said was “Who can we bless and lift up as the Lord has lifted us up.” I challenge you to think about that and see if you can be that light or lift to someone in your life or you come in contact with.

We love you all and we hope you are all doing well.
Sister Sigmon

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Rescue, Visitors, Work & Fun

Short Version:
Well we have been here two months. We have been very busy! I think last month we started to mow our lawns, pick up cow pies, clean campgrounds and I think we painted every bench and railing in the Cove and anything else that takes BLM brown. This week we had to put in a new pump in a well although I’m still not happy with the way it works. It’s still pretty sandy and I need to get more air in the pressure tank.
L-R: Elder Ward, Bowden and Sigmon

We finally have all the missionaries here that will be assigned to Martin’s Cove. Some days I have 15 couples that I assign jobs to. But after trekking starts this weekend that average will go down to 3-4 couples a day. On a real busy trekking day maybe none. I think back when I was in the Bishopric and was over our chapel building which really only consisted of a plugged up toilet, a hornets nest in the ceiling light or someone lost their keys. I thought wow this is keeping me busy. Little did I know I would be taking care of up to 20 building, 5 acres of lawn and miles of trail, plus all the vehicles, equipment, and all the facilities like water, sewer and electricity but I absolutely love it. I see the Lord’s hand in many of the temporal duties. I am reminded every day that he knows who I am and is aware of my needs. I would not be able to do this without my wonderful wife beside me. She has such a great personality. I once said I wish I had a business where I could work with my wife every day and now I’m doing the Lord’s business with my wife beside me every day. I love you all and am so thankful for your love and support.
Elder Sigmon

Longer Version:
There has been a lot happening. One Sunday we were working at the Visitors’ Center and we both saw this black cat walking by the Sewing Center. I thought to myself, self I wonder if one of the ranchers has a black cat that hangs out around here now. I didn’t see one like it at all last year and we have been gone for 6 months before coming back so we aren’t familiar with the animals hanging around now. Elder Sigmon also saw it but we didn’t talk to each other about it. The next morning there was an announcement over the radio that a family lost their cat while they were at the Visitors’ Center yesterday and its name is “Batman.” Both Elder Sigmon and I looked at each other and I said “I saw that cat. I wondered if it was a rancher’s cat.” And he said “I wondered it if it was someone’s cat and I hope it wasn’t coyote meat.” We both headed off to Correlation and then after the meeting everyone went off to do their various assignments. I went off to the office and Elder Sigmon and Elder Bowden were off to do something but on their way they found Batman. Sister Bowden called the owner and they were so happy Batman was found and alive. They had prepared themselves for the worst and were relieved it wasn’t the case. It was going to be a 5 hour drive to retrieve Batman.

It was decided to keep Batman in Sister Bowden’s laundry room area which is between the back office where we were and her apartment. Sister Pace is allergic to cats and Sister Bowden isn’t a cat fan so I was the one who got to interact with it. Elder Bowden seemed to be more of a cat fan and would talk to it and even hung out with Batman a bit. Now Sister Bowden is one of the most prepared people I have ever known. She had canned tuna so she could give it some food and a small metal tin to put water in. Believe it or not she even had cat litter. The cat litter was in case they got stuck in the snow while driving. Needless to say I was very impressed. We didn’t have to use any cat litter.

This was the coolest cat ever!!! It was nice to go in and check on Batman periodically throughout the day. It’s favorite place to hang out was on top of this cabinet which was very high up. All I had to do was go in and reach up. It loved to be petted and slid forward until eventually it was in my arms, snuggling and purring. At one point I think some thought I didn’t remember Batman wasn’t mine. But I did remember but it was so fun to have a black furry animal to pet and hold for a bit. Batman’s family did show up and they were all reunited. I’m glad it was a happy ending.
Okay now I have to tell you a funny story. We were shopping for groceries and I mentioned to Elder Sigmon that I would like a few little bananas. Sometimes it is nice to have a banana sandwich for breakfast. We do it every now and then so I didn’t think any more about it and Elder Sigmon was getting some of the produce on the list while I was busy getting other items we needed for the week. Then at one point I looked down in the cart and I see these bananas. I had to take a double take and pull them out to look at them. Elder Sigmon sees me and says “What?” and I say “What are these?” He responds with “Well you said you wanted some little bananas so I got them.” Yes these are little bananas. I put the package of oatmeal so you can have some perspective on the actual size of these bananas. If you know my boys then you now know where they get their little antics from. It isn’t me! I never knew there was such a thing as a mini banana! Apparently there is.
Here I am in the back office working with Sister Ward on the weekly scheduling for the missionaries. It is an interesting process. We have a magnet board we set up in the gathering room. It has magnets with all the missionaries names and then all the jobs which we need for each particular week. Then we have to make sure it is fair in rotation of who does the jobs. We can’t decide Elder Sigmon gets RRA (cleaning the toilets) every day because we don’t want to do it. lol The same goes for leading the music in correlation, playing the piano, etc. Even Visitors’ Center we keep track of who had the early shift or the late shift. Who worked a Sunday, etc. It is definitely a puzzle each week.
As you know the Crists have left and so it was decided we should move from Missionary Village (10 miles away) to the Homestead. This way we could be on site and see to taking care of the facilities a little more effectively. We loved being over at missionary village and the small town feel. It was nice to look out the window and see the people walking about, returning home after their day, stopping and visiting or running over to a neighbors to visit because Elder Sigmon was being boring and taking a nap. lol

They each have their pros and cons. It is nice to be right here and not have to drive over every morning but I also don’t have that drive time to give my mom a quick call every morning. Sometimes she doesn’t get a call until the evening. The view from every window is beautiful! These pictures were taken our first morning there from our bedroom window in our new place.
That is the Trek Center and around that rock in the background is Martin’s Cove. The Trek Center is where the kids will begin their trek by watching a video and then taking their handcarts out and down the trail to Martin’s Cove after they cross a small creek called Pete’s Creek. The orange thing is a wind sock. It is amazing I have a picture of it in this position. It is a rare occasion. No wind! The white thing to the left is a teepee.

This next picture is just looking the other direction to the left from the same window. There are some picnic tables there where the school groups might eat their lunch. Just beyond that is Fort Seminoe and what we call Outfitting. This will be a hustling, bustling place in another week. This is where the Trekkers will come in, get their handcarts, get organized by families and learn a little bit of what happened here at Fort Seminoe before heading off to the Trek Center to begin their trek. Our First trek will happen on the 31st of this month. Elder Sigmon and I will take out our first trek on Friday, June 1st.

The road to the right is the road which is called the Sun road will lead you out to Cherry Creek campground where the kids will stay if they spend the night here.
 Here is the front of the Triplex. The Sun Ranch road is right in front there.
I have drawn signs to where each couple lives in the building. Under us is the Gathering Room. This is where the special visitors will stay when they come to visit such as a General Authority or an Area Seventy.

Sister Erekson is in charge of having fun activities for the missionaries and so there was an activity planned for Cinco de Mayo. It ended up being cancelled because it was the eve of Fast Sunday and we were going to have a dinner. For those of you who do not know what Fast Sunday is I will explain. It is usually the first Sunday of the month and we are asked to Fast for 2 meals and the money those 2 meals would cost we donate as Fast Offerings. These Fast Offerings are used
to help those in need. Most people begin with their evening meal for Fast Sunday.
As such Cinco de Mayo was changed to 10 de Mayo. We decided we could have twice the fun. Well Sister Erekson and Sister Ward got to talking and decided a piñata would be a fun addition to the party. To their benefit it happened to work out that Elder Sigmon and 2 other missionaries were in Casper for Mosquito spraying training and Fog machine calibration. So it was my  good fortune to text Elder Sigmon to give me a call so I could ask him to stop by Party America on the way home and buy a suitable piñata and something to go inside it. When he repeated “you want me to go to Party America and buy a piñata?” I could hear a little roar of laughter over the phone from his companions. The next statement was “You know that is all the way on the opposite side of town, right?” Poor guys, they were ready to come back home and now they were waylaid.

I do have to report Sister Erekson and a few others created quite the wonderful atmosphere.

And Elder Ward created quite the most ingenious rig to move and dangle the piñata from. The funny thing was they did not use any blind fold and so Sister Pace was the first one to hit the piñata and start the flow of goodies and then it was Sister Peterson’s turn and let me tell you that women went to town on that piñata and it didn’t stand a chance! 

Here is a picture of the piñata. Sister Erekson modified it by drawing on it since there were no Chilis or Cinco de Mayo appropriate piñatas to pick from.
Here is Sister Peterson hitting the jackpot! I can’t believe I actually got the picture timed just right to see the candy spilling out of it. But there it is!

The very next day we had some special guests arrive from Montana for a visit.

The Scussels! Jeff isn’t in the picture because he’s taking the picture. lol But it was really good to see them again and spend time with them. They were able to go out the next day trekking when Sixth Crossing came over so that was fun for them and for us to have them here with us. She brought me some of my favorite flowers that seem to last forever. So they were added to the can that Sister Crist had left me with some beautiful pink flowers. So my can is fuller and I love it!
This next picture is a small snippet of what some of our day entails. Elder Sigmon being called to investigate how something currently works and is there something we can do about it. In this situation the center TV does not turn on when the switch is flipped with the other TV’s. You have to use another remote control to turn it on but you have to come and stand directly in front of it for it to work. We were also in the process of repainting the Trek Center floor so all the chairs are stacked in front of the TV on the stand. They trying to assess the situation (Elder and Sister Ward along with Elder Sigmon) Elder Sigmon was actually laying across the chairs on his stomach but by the time I got my phone out to take a picture he had moved and came in from the side. You can see the chair in the front leaning more than the others. That is where he had started and was laying across to the front from there. It would have made a much better picture but I was nice and didn’t make him recreate it for me. J
For Mother’s Day the men lined the sidewalk to the barn so after Relief Society they were there with a rose for us. It was quite a nice surprise.

My little can of flowers just keeps growing.

Last year we remember having to have the cow pies picked up in the campground to get it ready for the kids who would be staying in them. It is just part of having an active cattle ranch and it wasn’t terrible. There were just areas here and there which needed to be addressed. The cowboy has a system of how he runs the cows to keep the grass in good condition and the cattle fed. They usually don’t stay in one place for very long.

One of the things we did was drive by Cherry Creek campground on our way in this year. I do have to say it was quite the sight to see. I think the cows had a party in there! I had not seen so many cow pies. I wasn’t sure how we would be able to get the campground ready with just the missionaries trying to pick them up. We would be there all summer and maybe get ½ of it done! It was finally decided maybe the Cowboy and his wife could bring their tractor and harrow it. We aren’t sure how long they spent working on it but when we went by later and took a look it was night and day! They weren’t able to get into some places and so we would need to take care of the rest but compared to what it was….this was doable! We were very grateful!

The funny thing is now with this new system of how we do work crew and our tickets of assignments we have to report how many people and how many hours it took to the Casper FM guy. Of course it isn’t something we got done in a day and it took a bit to get it all done and I send a cc of the file to FM guy in Casper. I think one week we had 52 hours. The FM guy emailed me and asked how we could minimize the cow pies so we didn’t have to spend so much time cleaning them up. So now maybe we can get something set up that will minimize the cow’s access to inside the campground and will be beneficial on having fewer cow pies to clean up every summer. Here is a picture of the pretty green grass with NO cow pies! It looks so beautiful! I should have taken a before picture for you.

On this Friday I was working in the office with Sister Bowden and it isn’t unusual for Elder Sigmon to come find me with a question or looking for help. So he walked in the door but the first thing I noticed was a bandage on his hand. With all that he does I was concerned because usually a bandage means it isn’t good. Well it turns out he was getting a chain to help secure some landscape timbers we were going to return and he sliced his hand. When he grabbed it there was a sharp barb on it and it cut his hand. I was going to have Sister Bowden (who is a nurse) look at it to see if it needed stitches but he informed me that Sister Gilliland (who also is a nurse) helped bandage it up and together they decided it didn’t need stitches.

Later that day we went back to Sister Bowden’s office and unbandaged it to see how it was looking and decided to super glue it. It wasn’t in the best of places since it was right across his palm and so he had to be careful every time he tried to open or close his hand but it actually did quite well and I don’t think he will have much of a scar from it. That super glue works pretty well too.

Elder Sigmon tried to find the barb to file it off so it wouldn’t happen to someone else but he couldn’t find it again. The crazy thing was he had the prompting to take his gloves with him this morning. He did follow the prompting and put them in the truck. The only problem was he forgot to put them on his hands while working.
I do have to say we see tender mercies every day in all that we do both temporally and spiritually and I love it. I love being here and serving with such wonderful people who have set aside their daily lives and have come to serve the Lord for 6 months. Everyone is just like us. They have left family, animals and responsibilities behind to serve. I feel so blessed to be in such a special place where others have walked before and have had such faith, obedience, charity and sacrificed to have the blessings of being an eternal family. It was what was important to them and they were willing to do whatever it took to have those blessings in their lives. I often think of how blessed I am and how I don’t want to take it for granted. But also what am I willing to sacrifice to have the Lord and his blessings in my life? It is easy to get complacent and into a routine and I want to be more aware of those daily blessings and do those things which are asked of me willingly and with a happy heart.

I enjoy talking with Elder Sigmon and finding out how his day went and what projects he watched get done. Sometimes there are a few jobs he would like to see how they turned out or some things he needs to go investigate before assigning them the next day. That’s when I say “Shall we go for a ride?” and off we go on the rover side by side in this beautiful country. It doesn’t get any better than this!

Here is one of the many tender mercies. These are the landscape timbers we had to return after buying them 1 ½ years ago for an Eagle project which did not come to fruition. There were 376 of them and we were pretty sure we might get maybe 50% of what we paid for them in store credit. When we got to Mennards to take care of it they were so wonderful to work with. First we had to count them and then go to the back. When we got there we stopped someone to ask where we should go and the gentleman we talked to said “oh some of these aren’t very green anymore.” We had to agree and he was in the process of saying he needed to go get someone when he looked at me and said “Did I talk to you about this on the phone not too long ago?” I answered yes because I knew Elder Crist had called about it. So he did not have to go get any one he just took care of it himself. What are the chances of dealing with the person who already knew and explained how to return them? Not coincidence. Then how they were loaded was not the best trying to get a fork lift in there to unload them. Elder Sigmon did apologize saying he didn’t do them any favors the way it was loaded. The guy again said “If this is the worst thing we have to deal with today…it is a great day.” He was so kind. To get the back bundle off it actually took 3 fork lifts to do it. Another coincidence. They called their most experienced fork lift guy over to asses it and he decided he wanted a particular other person to help and radioed him. He said he was with a customer. In the meantime another girl showed up and then that guy he radioed showed up. It wasn’t even 5 minutes of waiting and we had 3 fork lifts right there working it. The girl was at the back and lifted the bundle then the other two fork lifts came in from each side and put their forks under it and lifted it up until it was high enough for Elder Sigmon to pull the truck out from under it. Here is how the last two bundles were taken off and they all stayed together and came off quickly and a lot easier than we all thought.

Last but not least when we went back in to get the paperwork on how much credit we would be getting….they gave us full price for every one of them in store credit. We couldn’t believe it! God is good!

We are so grateful to all of our family and friends and those who make it possible for us to be here and serve! Thank you for all you do and it does not go unnoticed. The same goes for all those who are serving with us in this mission. There is always a smile and willingness to do what is asked of them and things get done.

We love you,
Sister Sigmon