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

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Wearing a lot of Hats!

We are doing fine and love being here on our mission. It has been a busy month trying to recover from the winter and get things ready for the summer trek season. It has snowed on us several times since last month. But as you can see from our picture yesterday was a beautiful day (which actually was the was 18th of April…we’ve been a little busy. We’ll do better). We are excited to be here. We love completing our assignments and serving in the Visitors' Center. We love the Lord and being in his service with all these wonderful other couples who also love their Savior.
We did a trek this week with all the missionaries. We were a little bit out of shape and hopefully we can prepare and be ready for the summer. As our mission president talked to us and pronounced a blessing upon us I knew we were in the right place. Where we needed to be. We know our Savior lives and that he atoned for our sins. We know Joseph Smith was a prophet and restored this gospel. We can hardly wait to share our testimonies with those who come through this year. We love you all.
Elder and Sister Sigmon

Longer Version:
I would say that this season is a little bit more on the cooler and windier side of things than last year. I also don’t think I mentioned that we were called as Assistant Facility Managers. Elder and Sister Crist who were here when we came last year are the Facility Managers (FM). They had been here the summer of 2016 stayed the winter and then were here when we came in 2017 but they went home due to illness in his family. They returned just a little before we came home and stayed the winter again and are leaving the 1st of May. So they are kind of iconic. The FM guy is the one who runs around and knows everything about everything here at Martin’s Cove. They are the ones who come up with all our jobs and what we do to keep everything running nice and smooth. There is a lot of knowledge in their heads. Normally what happens is the President looks at all the missionaries as they come in during the spring and determines who would have some skills to do this job. Then they would pretty much spend the summer learning all they could from the Crists before they left in the Fall and stay the winter and next summer. BUT this year is different. The Church Historical sites have a volunteer couple who they call for 2 years to be a FM and they live at home and do their calling. That means we will still be Assistant FM’s and here for only the season working with them. We are the last Historical site to do this because of the distance. Casper is an hour away so they will be doing some driving. We are in the process of waiting to find out who that couple may be. It is determined by their Stake President. At this point we do not have any one in this calling. So we are in the process of trying to understand all the things that go into making this place run like a well-oiled machine. The Crists have been great at trying to write things down, telling and showing us stuff. BUT…We all have been recently trained on a new method of tracking all the things we actually do do on a daily basis here. This entails something called work orders. We have gotten little tickets with our jobs and who is doing them together so that isn’t new. The new part is how many people and how many cumulative hours. So if there were 2 of us for 2 hours then the job took 4 hours. So trying to figure out how to record all these items to open the work order, close it and have the other information along with a cost if there was one has been a little challenging as there isn’t a form to follow. It is new. I am on revision #3 or #4, not sure. But I think I might be onto something which won’t consume so much time. Thank heavens for Excel! 

A couple of weeks ago Elder Crist brought Elder Sigmon up to let everyone know he would be kind of doing things to get a feel for how things flow. So when the new couple comes he will be a help to them to know how this place runs. Most of you know Elder Sigmon and his humor. When he got up there by Elder Crist he says “There’s a new Sheriff in town.”  Of course we all laughed. But then as he was handing out some jobs and he was explaining that the South side of the Triplex needed to be painted. Earlier I had said maybe some people don’t know which way is south. Maybe you should say the back side of the Triplex. So he says some of you may not know which way is south and he happened to be looking at another sister and she says “me?” And Elder Sigmon says, “no sometimes my wife doesn’t know which way is up.” I did in my defense mention I did know my Norths and Souths in New Mexico. lol But then Sister Roundy says “have you ever seen a Sheriff hung?” Of course more laughter. I couldn’t help it and said “You better be careful too many people like me.” But of course he didn’t hear me. J

One of my Assistant FM jobs was to help get the recalled fire extinguishers returned and replaced. This sounds easy but it has entailed a lot of hours. We did have some fun emptying a few of the extinguishers before mailing a few back. Sister Pace wanted to be able to practice with one and so we all went behind the office and pretended there was a fire and practiced using them. It was a learning experience.

#1-You need to pull a red pin or other type of pin first in order to be able to push the handle down.
#2-You need to figure out what part to press down on before you actually have to use one because it could be important if there really is a fire! 
#3 -They don’t last very long at all. 
#4-You should pay attention to which way the wind is blowing because it doesn’t taste very good if it gets in your face or mouth. 
I do have to admit we had fun! Even President had to come out to get pictures.
Here is Elder Sigmon looking at a job which he handed out to be done by Elder Hysell. The old “TIN CAN” holder was falling apart and so we needed a new one built. Everyone had already gone home for the day but we stopped by the wood shop to check out how it was coming along. I think it came out quite nice and will do the job quite well.

Elder Sigmon spends most of his day coming and going and sometimes it is hard to say what he has done for the day but if nothing else he looks busy. (I am starting to feel some of that myself). We really are busy.

Here is Elder Sigmon is after getting a call from Elder Hansen saying their rover was stuck and wouldn’t move. We were just getting ready to eat lunch but he picked me up by the office and we made a detour down Sun Ranch road to help them out. Let’s just say you won’t get a speeding ticket driving a rover. 
Other things Elder Sigmon might be doing are looking at a washing machine to determine why the hot water won’t heat up or why another washer won’t work. We may be out driving along a fence and stopping so he can get out to put caution tape on poles which have broken from the weight of the winter snow and now needs to be replaced. He can be working on plumbing issues with various trailers, the list goes on. I have caught him a few times in the FM office at the computer not playing solitaire but looking for parts to fix a rover, washer or whatever may need a new part.

Despite the cool weather and snow it was nice to see a little spring in the yard. Sister Crist brought it in for Sister Bowden to enjoy in her office. Which means I also get to enjoy it since I often share the office with Sister Bowden.  Sh She is a fellow California girl and we share a love for the ocean along with warm weather.
Here is a picture of Sister Ward and I in the Gathering Room figuring out the weekly schedule for the missionaries for the upcoming week. Having a magnetic board with everyone’s names helps. We still sometimes double book someone but we are trying to perfect that and not have mistakes.
One night on the way home and a long day I told Elder Sigmon I really felt like going to Freddy’s for dinner. Which I knew was not a possibility but it did sound really good. But being the great guy he is he said he would make me a burger. Who was I to complain? After a bit I hear a little chuckle from the kitchen so I came over to see what was funny. Then he says to me “I guess I need to get a little less hamburger because I think this is too big.” I definitely had to agree it was too big. We put a dinner plate by it so you could have a comparison as to the size of his one hamburger patty he had made. It became more than one and tasted soooo good!!!! I had chips instead of fries but it was still wonderful! I think I’ll keep Elder Sigmon around for another couple weeks.
We have called Elder Crist the “Energizer Bunny.” It doesn’t matter how early or late you are up and out doing things you can be sure Elder Crist has already been up and about long before you. You cannot keep up with the man. At the same time there are many projects Elder Crist is trying to finish up before he goes home. 

The very next day while we were in correlation Elder Crist officially called Elder Sigmon up and he had bought him an official “Sheriff hat and badge” which he put on him and pinned on him. Then he talked about how he is turning things over to him and everyone was Elder Sigmon’s deputies. Then Sister Crist came and took me up as the baton passed from them to us. I do have to say it was emotional for me in the thought of them leaving. They have been here since before we came the first time. They are going to be a hard couple to follow and there is no way we can fill their shoes but we will do the best we can to keep this wonderful Historic site running and cared for the best way we know how. Allowing others to feel and enjoy the sweet spirit that is here.
On Friday, April 27th President and Sister Pace welcomed us for officially being here. The 27th was our official report date.  I can’t believe we have been here since the 24th of March. I am not sure where the time has gone!

Today the Crists left for home. It was after we had correlation and just before they left the highway was lined with stands on either side holding flags. Spread amongst the flags were all the missionaries who drove out on rovers and lined either side of the road as we waved and wished them safe travels as they begin the next chapter of their lives. I can’t believe they really are gone! No pressure!
I can say in many ways today is definitely a day which stands out. 

#1) It is the first day the largest group of people can register for treks. It is the one we have anticipated and worried about knowing the new calendaring/registration system would cause some worry or confusion. We thought of how we could leave a message on the answering machine so when people called they could be directed on how to navigate through the registration process. We thought this was a great plan and would help keep things a little smoother and not so frantic. Well as all great plans go by the time we came into correlation we had 53 missed calls and no messages. Highly unusual. So I called the office to see what was happening and why there were no messages. Sure enough instead of the recording Sister Pace painstakingly recorded was not there only a message saying “Your operation cannot be completed” and then it hangs you up. Not good.

#2) The Crists drove off and are no longer here. They actually left!

#3) There was a tentative school group on the calendar but they never called to say they were coming for sure. Well they showed up about 3 pm. I guess they tried to call to let us know but of course the phones weren’t working so they just came. So there was a call for all missionaries available to come in whatever they were dressed in today, blues or trail dress and be ready to take a group and show them around. There were 50 people in the school group. Of course all was covered and there was not a hitch in making it all happen with everyone willingly pitched in.

#4) Elder Sigmon grabs me and says “we have a problem!” It turns out one of the propane tanks is down to 20% full. When we talked to Elder Crist we thought they were on a regular keep it full plan and that the company monitored it. So I had to help him figure out who is the propane company and how do we get a hold of them to come and fill the tank. We were able to do so and they will fill it on Thursday.

#5) On the humorous side we can have fun too. Elder Sigmon gets a text saying the wind sound in the fort diorama isn’t working. So Elder Sigmon’s reply was “Open the door and get the real thing.” Of course he will look into it but he couldn’t resist.

I love the many facets of serving here in this mission. We are surrounded by many great and wonderful people and on many occasions we are uplifted and spiritually fed. We are surrounded by many examples of compassionate, charitable people. I love working and serving with these people and at this site. We are on the ebb of the high tide of all those who will soon be coming on field trips, treks and vacations. We will soon be humming with people coming and going and it is going to be awesome! I can’t wait! We are happy to be here and serving.

We hope you are all doing well and are happy. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

All is Well!

As of today we have been here for 2 weeks. We are settled in and things I forgot which I can’t buy arrived in a package so I think we are good. Knowing we had put our papers in and that our returning to Martin’s Cove was probably just around the corner I thought about the past season and our time here. One of the things I thought about was the weather and how good it actually was from what I had heard. I had a feeling this spring was going to be with more snow and probably a lot more wind. I told Elder Sigmon I was taking every coat I own. I am very glad I did because they have already come in handy. I will admit there a few days I wish I could somehow drag along my Sherpa.
We have had about 5-6 days with some snow and some very strong winds ranging from 17-44 mph to none. One day walking from the office across the street to the Gathering Room it took Sister Ward and I a bit to get across because we were at a standstill. At least we weren’t going backwards. The temperature can be 16 degrees with the high for the day up to 24. On the positive note the next day (today) we got up to the 50’s and had some sun and no wind. Until 5 pm and then it starts to rain and the wind comes back. But it is all good.

Here is a picture of the snow coming into my porch in front of the door to my house. This was the windy 16 degree weather day.
During the week I walked by and noticed this small pile and I knew I had to take a picture. Last year Elder Sigmon thought I had way too many shoes. So after I took the picture I asked him if this was all of his shoes. His response was “yes this is all my shoes!” The sad thing is that it really is pretty true. He may have a pair of slippers, sandals and water shoes but this truly is most all of his shoes. So here’s all his shoes and those are all my coats. (I did bring fewer shoes. Only because I found some not to be functional or comfortable.) Good thing we aren’t in a competition.
Some of my other duties are to do the weekly scheduling and trek scheduling. The weekly scheduling is the assignments of what each missionary does every day for the week. It is a huge jig saw type of puzzle and one thing affects another so Sister Ward is the main person in charge and I am her second set of eyes to just double check we haven’t double booked someone or left someone off. Right now is a lot easier because ½ of the duties aren’t being done right now. It will get a little crazier when we start trekking season and people need to cover all the duties associated with that. We use a big magnet board to try and look at everything visually. Just so you know Elder Sigmon and Elder Taylor did not get Preparation day all week. They have been working hard. You can always count on someone teasing you or trying to be funny. It is what makes working and being here enjoyable. I don’t know when they snuck in and filled it out but it is not going to work!
We did have a little excitement this week. The missionaries have been working all winter trying to simplify the registration process for treks. After getting all the schedules figured out, simplified and the OK from Salt Lake for 2019. The IT guys started to get them set up. The 2019 registration begins for the people who are within 325 driving miles on the 1st of April. Our first hiccup was for some reason people were unable to get into the site to register. The good news is it isn’t one of the heavy registration periods so that was good. No need to panic and things were up and running in a few days. And no it wasn't an April Fool's Joke. 

What we didn’t know was there was a ripple effect of things. While they were setting up the 2019 schedules and simplifying it by just have A-L instead of A1, A2, etc they didn’t know it was inadvertently affecting the 2018 scheduled treks. Treks were being cancelled and deposits were refunded. As you can imagine people were a little panicked but the good news was everyone’s treks were not cancelled and we still have them all scheduled. It was going to take a few days to get everything all sorted out so we just needed to let everyone know not to panic and “All is well.” 

The funny thing is Sister Bowden had given me a pair glasses and written on it was “Rose Colored glasses for scheduling.” This was before we knew what was in store. So I decided when I walked in to help straighten out things I would bring them with me.
Okay I have my “Rose Colored Glasses” we can do this! Together Sister Pace, Sister Bowden and I were able to get a lot of phone calls made and instructions on how to proceed from here all done and taken care of. I love working with these women!
There was one thing we did forget to bring but was a little too bulky to have packed and shipped and that was our sign to put in front of our trailer. Elder Taylor was very kind and made us another one. That’s about it for now. I’m not sure I will be posting every week. It will depend on what is going on around here and if there is anything different or noteworthy to mention which you don’t already know. We love you all and appreciate your love and support while we are here serving in this wonderful place. There is a lot of joy in doing those things you know you should be doing and hope we in some small way can make a difference in someone else’s life. 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Whirlwind Month and a Half!

Short Version:
Hello everyone from the Wyoming Mormon Trail Mission. It has definitely been an exciting 6 weeks. I am so thankful that Sister Sigmon and I had the same spiritual experience in wanting to return again this summer here in Wyoming. We have seen the Lord’s tender mercies in our preparation and in our lives to be able to serve here again this summer. Many of our experiences are very personal and close to us I will not share those in this letter. We arrived here last Saturday and it did not take long to get settled in. We are excited to be here and it does feel like home.

I was called to be an assistant FM (Facilities Management) over Martin’s Cove. I am somewhat intimidated but excited to serve in this capacity. We have a great facility to take care of. I don’t fully understand this role as of yet since the church is making some changes on certain responsibilities to this position. This week I have been doing lots of plumbing getting water turned on in wash houses and trailers. It has been quite exciting. Typically the water is blown out in the fall from all the pipes but as you know this does not always work. In the old trailer which we lived in last year when we turned on the water we had to repair 7 bursted pipes. Needless to say I think this trailer was one which was forgotten to be purged last winter. Normally if you had a Home Depot close by and a week to work on it it wouldn’t be such a big problem. Somewhere the schedule was missed and people arrived to move into this trailer on Wednesday. It was very busy afternoon trying to get it ready for them.

The Wyoming weather has not changed. We have been snowed on 2-3 times this week then it is sunny, then the wind blows so you always have to have gloves and coats with you. You never know if you have to dress up or dress down. It is kind of fun getting to wear my cowboy hats again. It has been a great week working with the couples that we worked with last year. These Elders and Sisters are truly some of my dearest friends. I know this is where the Lord wants me for the next 6 months. We were able to serve in the Visitor’s Center on Wednesday afternoon. We had 3 different families come through and they were all just amazing. I just wish they would come through all at the same time. Then I would only cry once instead of 3 different times. Gotta run for now. I love you all and thank you so much for your support. We could not do this without your love and understanding.
Elder Sigmon

Longer Version:
We tend to get into a trend called life and at the same time we try to do those things which the Lord would have us do to be of service and aid to others around us. As you know we have been home from our mission since late September last year. We loved it but it also was a lot of hard work.
We decided to go back and visit our mission the beginning of February. At the end of the treks with the kids there is a video they show called the “Remember Video.” It has scenes of the places they walked and saw while on their trek. They show them in the summer and then they also show it in the winter. You see the Rescue statues covered in snow, handcarts, etc. Because of this video Karl wanted to come back and see the winter scenes for himself. The trip was planned and we decided to travel back to Martin’s Cove in Wyoming and then on the way back home we would stop and visit some of the former missionaries we had served with. The whole trip would take a week and it ended up being 2500 miles and 40 hours of driving. Luckily I got to be the passenger and since Karl likes to be a truck driver who am I to deny him that privilege.

We started out by stopping in Denver and having dinner with family before heading onto Wyoming the next morning. When we arrived to Martin’s Cove it was about 1:30 in the afternoon and we were able to have lunch with Elder and Sister Taylor. Then we headed over to the Gathering Room where we stayed. While we were there all the missionaries serving the winter came over to visit with us. We had a wonderful evening full of laughter and being together once again. This was Saturday evening and the next day was church. We were excited to go to church and share in their meetings and the potluck afterwards. Something happened at these meetings we did not anticipate and it was that morning we both knew we would be coming back and serve again in this mission this next summer for 6 months. But with this knowledge comes a lot of things to set into motion and get taken care of in order for this to happen. The regular person would have already begun this process long before February 4th.  Especially since the anticipated report date would be March 21st.

Some of the things which needed to happen was to get home and let family know of the new path we would be on. It definitely was a surprise to some and not so much to others. I do have to say it was a surprise to us to but we were also very excited as we loved serving last year in the Wyoming Mormon Trail Mission! Things needed to be figured out like who was going to be able to take care of our dog, Jedi along with many other logistic things. We needed to wrap up projects we had been working on and get them to a stopping point. We needed to resubmit our papers to the church and wait for a call to our mission to come. The one thing we didn’t have to do again was return to the Missionary Training Center in Utah. But to turn in our papers we needed to have physicals to make sure we could do all the work required and the dentist to make sure our teeth wouldn’t be falling out. These appointments were able to be made quickly and all the necessary paperwork and interviews taken care of in a timely manner. Then we just had to wait for the call to come so we could accept it and get on the road. While waiting we were working hard trying to tie up the loose ends on our projects so we weren’t home packing. You know the show “I Can Name that Tune in ….. Notes?” Well we always said if we went back to our mission we could be packed in 2 weeks easily. Well we ended up packing in 12 hours. I wouldn’t recommend trying to pack for 6 months in 12 hours 😃.

The days were going by and no call was coming. It was Wednesday, March 21st and we were still waiting for our call. Then we got a text from our Bishop saying that when he went to check on our status it said Assignmnent made. So we made a few calls and found out our call could arrive today or tomorrow by FedEx. It was 10 a.m. and we decided to run some necessary errands. As we pulled out of our driveway we saw the FedEx truck so we quickly backed up and met the FedEx guy.
We ran in and accepted our call. Our report date was April 27, 2018. We called our mission President to see what date he wanted us there. The response was as soon as possible. So Karl said we will leave Friday and be there Saturday. The next thing we needed to do was call our Stake President. He is over all the members in a certain geological area. It is necessary for him to “set us apart” to our new calling as missionaries for the next 6 months. So we arranged for him to do that Thursday evening. Then we left Friday morning.
We took Jedi to his new home (the Ivey’s) while we are gone which is out in the country where he can play with Pygmy goats, chickens, ducks, several other dogs and other humans and children. I even think there may be a cat. Needless to say he is being spoiled and seems to be adjusting quite well. I hope he can contribute something to his new family while we are away and not be a problem. I am very grateful he is happy and looks quite comfortable.
We have jumped right into things and reunited with missionaries who served with us last summer. There are 16 couples who returned from last summer. We make 17. New missionaries start coming in Wednesday, the 28th. We already started having dinners together. This is harder to do once we get into the full swing of things but it is nice while it is a little lax. 
L-R: Elder Ward, Sister and Brother Smart, Sister Ward, Elder & Sister Sigmon

Oh and to remind us that we are in Wyoming and it is still winter and what snow looked like we had some on Sunday and Wednesday. Wednesday was quite a bit more.
It is all good and we look forward to the different and similar adventures this season as we serve here at this wonderful place and with these wonderful people. We hope you are all doing well and we love you.