Saturday, July 15, 2017

It is hot here too!

Short Version:
Once again another busy couple of weeks. I think I was called on this mission to fix lawn mowers lol. The Church historical department has said they would like to reduce our 5 acres of grass mowing and put in more natural landscaping. I would vote for that.

The office keeps telling us this is our busy week and then the next week is even busier. I have learned it is a lot of busy weeks in a row for about for 2-3 more weeks.

Last Saturday we were able to go to the Temple in Fort Collins, Colorado. It is out of our mission but we have permission to go once every 4 months. We went with 3 other couples and it was a very full day but it was great. It was great to be able to attend the temple. We were waiting in the chapel and it was very crowded and full and I look back and the last sister to walk in was Sister Anderson from Manassa, Colorado. It was so neat to visit with her and again run into somebody I know on my mission.
Left to Right: Elder & Sister Honey, Elder & Sister Hough, Elder & Sister Sigmon, and Elder & Sister Waldmann.

We did have to talk in church last Sunday. I think it went fairly well. Sister Sigmon does such a great job but I’m glad it’s over. It continues to be warm weather but bearable. 

I love you all,
Elder Sigmon

Longer Version:
I know I do a lot of talking about treks but let’s face it right now it is the main focus. We got one this time of 13 people which were 2 families. We have not had one this small and we weren’t sure what to expect and didn’t have a lot of background other than one family was from South Africa. We came to find out that the 2 dads had gone to grad school together and the one from the states had introduced the other to the church and baptized him 21 years ago. They both got married and had children close in ages. They planned a church history trip together and had started in Palmyra and were working their way through staying in 2 RV’s. They were a very enjoyable group and the families got along very well. 

One of the highlights of this trek was we finally were able to start some river crossings but without handcarts. President and Sister Pace caught up with us just in time to get in the river with them. Elder Sigmon and I did not get in. It was cute. One of the younger kids started to go with an older sibling but as soon as he hit the water he started crying and decided he didn’t want to go in. Then his mom came and asked if he wanted to go with her. He decided to go. He went but did some crying as he did and about ½ way President told him “you are almost there.” He made it all the way across but it wasn’t his favorite thing to do. I asked him later if he was glad he did it. He looks at me and says “I don’t know.” It was cute. I did tell him at least he can look back on it and know he can do hard things.
 The little boy in the picture in the purple shirt is the one I talked about with his brother. This is as far as he got the first time. In the picture below you see him with his mom and he is at the point President Pace told him he was 1/2 way there and it wasn’t that much farther. He was doing a great job. It helped get him over the hurdle and to keep going. Isn’t that much like life and some of our trials? We just need to keep going.
The next trek we went on was a ward and they were about 58 people. It was a great ward with great people! Elder Turpin, the Trek Coordinator, wanted us to take our handcarts through because he wanted to see how the bearings did. The river is still a little high and goes over the hub but he wanted to see how it really affected the bearings on the carts. So since we were a small group and only had 6 carts he came out to be at the river crossing. I have a knee brace I have been wearing and didn’t want to get it wet so I asked the people in the back cart if they would mind pulling me across. They said no problem. They had already adopted me into their family even though their cart didn’t have a family flag. It was supposed to have been the coolest flag but the Ma had somehow left it at home. They were the Conquerors since the Ma and Pa’s last name was Conk. And it had scripture references pertaining to it and one girl who was quite artistic helped with it. I had to take her word for it but I was all in. When I talked with the Trek Leader about crossing and that if he would lead them across because Elder Sigmon would be walking over the bridge and not through the water and meeting us and I would be in the rear. He decided it would be better if I went in the lead cart with him and some others. My family was disappointed but I told them I would be back since I am in the rear of the trek most of the time. So it was all good. Well I put my walking stick in the cart and climbed in. There was a deeper hole in the river at the start where we went in. So we stopped and rearranged the bucket I was sitting on to move it back a little more so I could put my feet in front of me instead of sitting sideways. (I broke 2 nails in the process)  But with the deepness of the hole one of the guys said “Sister, hold onto my shoulder.” We were all a little concerned I might topple out of the cart. The water came up over the bottom of the cart and so the bottom part of my shoe and feet got wet but we made it without any incident. As I saw where we had to walk to get back on the trail I was going to tell Elder Sigmon to make sure he used his walking stick for snakes and I went to grab mine and it was gone. It apparently rose with the water in the bottom of the cart and was at just the right height to float on out the back of the cart. So Elder Sigmon gave me his and he didn’t have one. Luckily we didn’t run across any snakes as we headed back to the trail. I was sad it just floated away. If I had known I could have held on to the strap. The story of life--Live and learn.

I took this picture after we got across of the rest of the group crossing the river.
These were my handcart pullers!
Now for the small town excitement!  **WARNING: If you are not a snake fan read but don’t look at pictures! But remember Karl lived it!

As Karl mentioned we talked last Sunday. Karl likes to practice his talk by using something for his pulpit and saying it like he is giving it. So he went over to what we call “the pavilion.” It is a building where we gather for our socials and Family Home Evening. There is a stove, sink and counters, serving tables, etc there. Well when he got there another Elder was there using the oven to melt the cheese on his casserole because their RV oven is too small. So Karl didn’t get to practice but he visited with Elder H. Ward for 5 minutes and they both headed out. When they look over to the side of the building Karl sees a snake and says “What’s that?”  So they go to investigate a little closer thinking it is a bull snake and Elder H. Ward is carrying his casserole in his hands. As they get closer they see something sticking up and Karl realizes that it is rattles on a rattlesnake. He isn’t coiled up just his tail is folded about halfway by his body. So there they are and Karl is like “We can’t let it go we need to kill it. Do you know where a snake catcher is?” With a No for an answer the next questions is “Do you have your radio?” Again neither one has a radio. So Karl tells Elder H. Ward to run home with his casserole and get a radio. While Elder Sigmon is waiting and watching the snake it keeps moving towards him. He was debating whether not a snake would climb a bench. While Elder H. Ward got his radio he made a call if someone knew where the snake catcher was because they had a rattlesnake by the pavilion. Of course then all the people come out of the houses and begin to congregate. 

I was home laying on the couch resting after our long hot day. I don’t remember if we had a trek or not but our radios were off and it was quite pleasant and my eyes were closed. When all of a sudden WHOOSH as the door flies open and Karl is saying something like “there’s a rattlesnake by the pavilion and I need Elder Ward!” Then off he runs. So I go running out with bare feet to knock on Elder Ward’s door (We have two Elder Wards so hence H. Ward and just Ward. One couple came when we did and the other couple came later near May so we call the one that came with us 1st Ward and the other one 2nd Ward lol). Back to the story. Elder Ward was in the shower but I see there are a lot of people coming out to help and one had a snake catcher. So I ran back to get shoes and my phone for pictures! Elder Schow was able to catch it and they couldn’t find a shovel so they found a flat hoe and since he was on gravel they put it on a board to finish it off. It was about 4’ long and had about 8 rattles on it. 

Elder Taylor had bought a snake tanning kit and was at Rock Creek Hollow for the week so we all decided to save it for him and put it in the freezer. It is in a black bag so no one will be shocked when they open the freezer and see a black bag. By the way, now Elder Sigmon can no longer say he hasn’t seen a rattlesnake. But he did say it helped him to see how they caught it. I missed that part as I grabbed shoes and a phone. But he also did say the stick is still way too short! I do have to give props to Sister Schow for being brave enough to hold the bag they put it in. 
**DON'T LOOK -- Pictures!  Move on if too timid
For nice nature pictures one day when we were coming home the twins were just lounging on the road looking at us until we got a little too close. I did get a picture before they took off. Another day Karl and I were sitting by our house on the picnic table and a female antelope walks up and looks at us and then walks up and to our right as she passed through and then along behind her come 3 little ones who also look at us and keep following the other antelope. They weren’t 5 feet from us. Crazy! 
Karl did mention we talked on Sunday and it went good. Lately we have been having Young Women come every week to church and so we as a Presidency have been taking turns giving the lesson. It has been anywhere from 2-4 girls between the ages of 12-18. It will be my turn this upcoming Sunday if we have some Young Women. If not then it is my turn the next time they come. We tell the girls a story about one of the Young Ladies that came over either with the Martin or the Willie handcart company. Then we have the girls make a hankie doll they can take home with them. It is always an enjoyable time and we love visiting with these girls. They all have different personalities. Some are shy and some are ready to pipe in with a comment or what they have learned or what they can apply to their lives from the story we tell. But by the end of the time they all usually are more comfortable and share with us.

On Wednesday I was mowing lawns again on the riding lawn mower. President Pace came over and stopped me and wanted to know if I am always smiling when I am on the riding lawn mower. I had to laugh. There is something about the wind in your hair, the smell of fresh cut grass, and being alone with your thoughts and just enjoying being outside! 

That’s about all the excitement around here! Hope you are all well. 
Karl and Monica

Monday, July 3, 2017

So far no Rattlesnake Sightings!

Short Version:
It has been a very busy few weeks. But also very rewarding. It is kind of like a yoyo where I have these spiritual and emotional highs and then I’m tired. Then I have another spiritual high and then I’m tired. But I am happy and enjoying myself. I was able to spend a few days in the shop lately and some parts came in for some equipment that was broken so I was able to get some things fixed and back in use.
Saturday we were serving in the Visitor’s Center and this sweet family came through with 3 couples and 8 kids. They wanted to take a handcart into the Cove. They were waiting by the lawn and picnic area while we retrieved a handcart for them to take. When we got back one of the dads had picked up this big bull snake and of course you know me and snakes we don’t like them. He is showing all the kids and asking if they want to hold it. The mothers are all “no, no don’t let them hold it.” He asked Sister Sigmon “What do you want me to do with this snake?” She says “Whatever you do don’t give it to Elder Sigmon. Maybe go let it go by the river over there.”  He then says “They make a hissing noise and said do you want to hear it hiss?” As he keeps moving closer to my ear as I keep moving away. About that time I look over towards the office and President Pace walks out. So he is standing there looking at us and I just kind of shrug my shoulders and tell the guy to go let it go over by the river. The man goes to turn it loose and President Pace comes walking over to me “Huh, Elder Sigmon that ought to be great. We are having a baptism over there in an hour. We’ll just see if that snake comes back around or moves on. Maybe you should conduct it.” He did say it with a smile. Part of me wanted to say when the guy asked me what he should do with it. I was tempted to say “chop it up into little pieces and throw it into the bushes!”
We had one trek this week. It was a smaller group of about 80 people. They were well prepared and had a great spirit about them. As I was leading the head cart a small little Mia Maid about 14 years old was helping pull the cart. I was asking her questions and making conversation with her. I was asking her how her Mia Maid class in church was going and if she had been to girls camp yet, how she was enjoying the trek, etc. Then she kind of turns the table on me and started asking me questions. She said “Elder, what are you doing to prepare for the Second Coming?” I thought wow that’s a great question! I then told her I was following our prophet’s counsel which was reading the scriptures, having family home evening, family prayer and bore my testimony about living prophets and if we follow their counsel we would be prepared for the Second Coming. She then told me that she had a personal goal. I asked her “What was that?” She said “I want to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ like Joseph Smith and other Pioneers had.” My heart was so full of joy when she said that. I told her that she could have that and that Heavenly Father loved her and Jesus Christ loved her. I just wanted to stop the trek and give her a big hug but I couldn’t. The more I work with the youth the hope and faith it gives me that the church will be alright as we move forward towards the Second Coming. 
On Monday night we had Family Home Evening. We had a camp fire and made S’mores. Each District was to tell some kind of camp fire story. I was able to tell how my Great, Great Grandfather who lived in the Hayward Valley in Georgia was converted when the missionary, John Morgan, came through as a missionary.  There were 25-30 families who had their bibles marked a week before by a man who came through. He said a man would soon come and explain those scriptures to them. It was John Morgan who came and stopped to have dinner with the first family and talked to them about the church and showed them some scriptures. These were the same ones which had been previously marked. It turned out that every family except a few ended up joining the church. John Morgan and others believe perhaps this was one of the 3 Nephites who came and marked the verses. When I finished the story one of the Sisters in the group asked if that was a true story and if it was documented. Guess she might have thought I was making it up. I told her it was true and it is documented. We had a wonderful evening with the others telling their stories.
I love you all. I continue to be homesick. I don’t think that will ever go away.
Elder Sigmon

For the longer version read on.
This week was our first week of care packages. The first one was from my sister and her daughter, Kylie, who spent some of their free time making lanyards for the wood medallions we give away to the school children and kids who come to the Visitor’s Center. There were 620 of them. It was fun to open the package and see all the lanyard and colors. Thanks guys!
The other package was a nice surprise! One of Elder Sigmon’s favorite desserts is homemade carrot cake from his family. Well believe it or not you can mail a carrot cake from Colorado to Wyoming and it can arrive in tack and very much able to be eaten. We also got some other nice goodies snuck in the package. Thank you to his Sister Suzan.
I have to insert a picture of humor. As you know the mechanic twins are Elder Roundy and Elder Sigmon. Well today we had three of them all ready to work and they have worked together and can cause their own mischief. You know the saying “Two boys are half a boy and 3 boys aren’t a boy at all!” Just looking at the three of them all excited about maybe working together. It has been quite a while since we have been so busy and on different assignments. Sister Hough and I laughed and decided we needed to get a picture of these guys together. We decided that the three of them should be called “Triple Trouble!” I want you to notice Elder Hough on the left end there. He isn’t afraid of Elder Sigmon or doesn’t want him to touch him. He is trying to stand on his tippy toes so he can be a little taller. When I went to take the picture he did say something about not taking a picture of the feet. I didn’t understand what he was talking about until later. It was so funny! He is just trying to stay on the sidewalk and not fall over but be taller.
Left to Right: Elder Hough, Elder Sigmon, Elder Roundy
Later in the week we over at a neighbor’s home welcoming them back from Rock Creek Hollow and hearing about their experiences. Elder Hough and Sigmon were sitting on the picnic table and Sister Hough commented on how she thought they looked like twins so I took another picture. I actually really like this picture of them together.
Left to Right: Elder Ward, Elder Sigmon, Elder Hough
They were suspicious of our smiling and picture taking. Elder Sigmon thinks I just take pictures to make fun or tease him. Totally not true! I am innocent!

It is time for me to tell you about the day I was a cohort in being sneaky.  I know I have mentioned Sister Scussel was going to have surgery on Wednesday last week. She finally ended up having it late in the day and coming home about 10 p.m. Everything went well and she was expected to have a quick recovery but on Thursday I was in the office to try and help handle things or if she was coherent do things she needed me to do. Well on the way in I stopped to talk to her husband at base and she how she was doing and if I could go in and check on her. His statement was “please do. I gave her medicine at 6 this morning and she is due again for another at noon.” When I went in to check on her after our correlation meeting. It was about 9. She was still a little tired and was going to sleep another hour before maybe thinking about breakfast. The other side of the coin is as a scheduler for treks she talks with a contact person for each group. Some them you end up developing a relationship with over all the communications. That is what happened with this one group coming in from Laguna Niguel Stake in California. So this group came in the night before and she really really wanted meet up with the lady. They were already out on the trail and so she had asked me how they were doing and where they were.

I had gone back out to the office which is attached to her house and in about 15 minutes she shows up at the door all dressed and telling me to come into the house and help her. I’m like “what are you doing?” As if I didn’t already know she is planning on going out to meet the trek on the trail so she can visit with this girl. I was right. So I made her eat a little breakfast and then I had to make 2 slings for her to get her arms in with ice. The dish towels were just a little too short to tie around her neck. Then just as we are about to get in the truck and drive to base where we can walk down to the statues her husband calls on the radio and wants me to go to the private channel so he can check on her. I think he is like Elder Sigmon, just kind of has a sixth sense of what I am up to. He asks me “How is she doing?” So I tell him “Oh good she has eaten breakfast and is doing pretty good.” Then the next question…”What is her intentions?” All I could say was “well you know your wife pretty good and we will be at base in 5 minutes.” His reply, ”that’s what I thought.” As we are driving out Sister Scussel tells me the doctor had called to check on her and she did say she felt like taking a walk and he told sure no problem, go ahead. I just looked at her and said “you neglected to tell him it was part of a trek!” Then she tells me “you need to be prepared when you see Elder, he’s going to have a grouchy face.” You think? lol 

Well he did say “How stubborn can you be?” but because I was with her off we went. She wasn’t sure if she was going to go into the Cove. I informed her she was not going that far. Then as we are walking she tells me you can’t let Sister Bowden know what we did. (She is another missionary but also a nurse.) Well the next thing I know we are walking past another trek and there is Sister Bowden’s husband looking at us going “Oh No! Oh No!” She was so busted. As we are getting closer to the statues Sister Scussel says I think we will be okay because I think President Pace is in the Cove and so he shouldn’t see me. Then the next thing as we approach I see President Pace and he is just looking at us. I’m like “Sister Scussel I think that worked because I think that is President Pace.” Then he walks over to someone and then I see Sister Pace’s head come up and look at us. So I tell her “I think you are going to get me fired and my office privileges revoked!” Actually President and Sister Pace took it very well since I was with her. I told them she wasn’t going into the cove. She did get to visit with the Sister she was looking for and so all was well. I did tell President Pace I was trying to figure out the best way to get her back to the Homestead. Either walk on to handcart parking and have base bring in a rover or backtrack to base and drive her back home. Her husband didn’t take a car out so he could drive his own car back if we didn’t go get it. President told me he liked plan A…bring in the rover to go back. So as we started walking to handcart parking her husband at base asked if everything was okay and I told him yes we were heading to handcart parking and then needed a rover. So he calls Trek Coordinator and asks for an “Extraction” which means a medical extraction. Sister Scussel wasn’t happy and it was his way of getting even with her lol. When we got back she went to bed and rested. I know how much this group meant to her and if it was any other group it wouldn’t have been such a big deal. I didn’t get fired or end up losing any privileges but she totally got busted and wasn’t very sneaky as she thought! In the picture left to right Sister Pace, Sister Harris who was the Trek Host, and Sister Scussel. President said this moment needed to be documented since here is Sister Scussel just hours from having surgery and Sister Pace wearing a hat who said she would never wear a hat. I even matched the slings with fabric from the sewing center to match her blouse to be less conspicuous.
Left to Right: Sister Pace, Sister Harris, Sister Scussel
That’s about it! We spent today the 3rd of July with Karl’s sister and her husband who came into Casper to see the other new grandchild who was born recently. Her name is Abriel and is very cute. We enjoyed good food and good company.

Hope you all have a fun and safe holiday. 
Love Karl and Monica

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Spirit of Trekking!

Short Version: Too tired to dictate or type this week.
Elder Sigmon

For the Longer version read on.
I haven’t always had space to put in a lot of the nature pictures because there are just so many and you wouldn’t believe how many of them are not cows. I think they raise more antelope around here than cows. This first picture I need to give a little background on to appreciate the humor of the picture.

I know I have mentioned Sister Gillespie and what a cheerleader and excited person she is. Well she asked if we were going to do things to our yard to make it look nice. The Gillespies live in neighborhood back home where they would go around and give yard of the month and it could be in your yard when you came home. She thought it would be fun to do something like that here. Well the Wards are an adventurous couple and had bought those spinning things at Dollar Tree which he figured out how to reinforce so they don’t fall apart and blow all the way to Nebraska. Hence they decorated their yard some and ended up with the yard of the month sign. Then magically there were flowers put with a rubber duck on the front of their yard. With no confession of who put it on their lawn. Well one day Karl and I were sitting in our truck and I look over onto the Ward’s lawn and see their new lawn décor. I couldn’t resist texting them to ask when they got the new lawn décor. By the time they came out to check it out Bucky had left.
He totally was relaxing, enjoying the scenery.

I also wanted to mention a great thought which was shared on one of our previous treks. It was a smaller group and they had a little talk before going up into the Cove about hard things. It is all a matter of perspective. Sometimes our problems seem so big and we just want them to go away and be gone. But the Lord may have another thought and He knows it is something that really isn’t as big as it seems and may be necessary for us to go through in order to become better. He has the bigger picture. They had handed all the kids a rock to carry with them. The speaker had the kids get out their rocks and wrap a towel around them and hit them with a hammer. Just like we are hit by our problems or trials. But when it broke open there was something more beautiful inside. We too can become better and more beautiful to the Lord as we go through our problems and trials. I loved the analogy and being such a visual person it really made an impact on me. They were geodes they had given them and it looked like an ordinary ugly rock. They gave them a baggie to put their broken rock pieces into to remind them they can do hard things and be better for it. So can we all!
Tuesday, June 20th we were at the Visitor’s Center. I always enjoy that and visiting with the various people who come through. But one thing funny I saw was someone laying on a rock with their feet up. I couldn’t figure out exactly what they were doing. So I went and investigated and took some pictures.
I actually only saw the legs with feet from where I was sitting. I took the picture when I got a little closer. It was just Sister Hill weeding. Our landscape is very green and full of flowers and fun plants. We don’t want any obnoxious weeds.

Toward the end of our shift at the Visitor’s Center Elder Turpin came up very concerned and said “We have a problem. The pump at handcart parking where everyone can fill their water containers and water bottles before going up into the Cove is broken.” So Elder Sigmon and Elder Roundy went with Elder Turpin to go check it out while Sister Turpin stayed to cover for the missing people. It turned out the bushing wore out and so it won’t pump. The decision was made to check some of the other well pumps at the campground and see if they had the same type of bushing and steal one off of it and put it on the one at handcart parking so we could function with all the treks tomorrow. So on the way home we stopped at the 2 pumps and one did have the same bushing but it was about ½ way worn out but would do for now. The other one was totally different. So Karl took it off and hammered his hand in the process (but he’s okay). We left it for Elder Roundy to put it on in the morning since we had a trek before everyone is out on the trail again. Phew! Another crisis solved. It is ongoing but keeps things different and definitely never boring.

Wednesday, June 21st we had a trek with Orem Canyon View. It was a big group of 466 people. They split it into two groups and the Turpins had the first half and we had the other half. They were such a great organized, group. They had everything covered by their youth. All the stories, music, etc. There was a special feeling with this group and I loved working with them. This picture is in the Dan W. Jones Amphitheatre before going into the Cove. They sang a song called “Hallowed Ground.” I love the song and they did a beautiful job with it.

I complimented the Trek Leader on how organized both groups were and how wonderful the spirit was with their group and their youth doing everything. Their trek leader told me “you told us what to do and we did it.”  Yes they did and they did it well! We have had a couple groups who have been similar and others who have not. You really see the difference! 
We were training Elder Swingholm so he could go out as a Trek Host. He did a good job and will be fine.
Thursday we had RRA RRA duty (Restroom Assistant.)We had to be up early because we needed to get the bathrooms cleaned on the trail before people are out on the trail. The nice thing is you get done earlier.  BUT then Elder Sigmon worked on brother Roundy’s rover and I went in and worked in the office so we ended up having a longer day instead of a short day. 

Friday was handcart parking duty. This was a new duty for us since we haven't done it yet. The day actually was quite pleasant weather wise! Actually perfect! It wasn’t too hot, there was a nice cool breeze and it was the perfect day for trekking! What is handcart parking? Let me tell you. This is the spot where all the trekkers come and line up their carts according to flag color which they are assigned at the beginning of their trek. The lead cart has the flag and we all talk to each other identifying ourselves by the flag color, i.e. Blue Flag 1 to Blue Flag 2 (us the missionaries, Trek Hosts) or Blue Flag 1 to Base, etc. They come to handcart parking twice during their trek. The first time is after going to the river crossing, statues and before going into the Cove. The second time is after coming out of the Cove. They eat lunch there one of the times they are there. Both times it is used as a restroom stop too.

While you are working at Handcart parking you make sure those people who just want to walk into the cove who are just a basic visitor/tourist are prepared to do so. You ask them if they have water, bug spray and if needed sunscreen. You also answer questions they may have. For the trekkers you direct them in to line up behind their flag color. You have already put out the color flags coming in for the day. You listen to the radio and figure out which treks are coming and in what order. It can change from the schedule depending on if they were late or if one group is tending to be faster, etc.

There was this one boy with the group who went off by himself (at the pump which Karl fixed). He was playing the Harmonica and it was nice. He was self-taught.  Those other things by him are rickshaws. They are for those who end up with medical needs and can’t walk. Other people will pull them on the trail.
The other picture is of a group which is there and are having a bathroom and lunch break. The boy above is with this group and there are more groups to come but so far they are the first ones here.

There was a lull and Karl had gotten a new hat about 2 weeks ago and I was looking at it and decided to put it on. I kind of liked the hat. It was a smidgen too big but not bad.

The Honeys came in with a trek and Sister Honey doesn’t do too well with walking into the Cove so Elder Sigmon offered to go with Elder Honey and Sister Honey to stay with me. She thought about it but he convinced her he was fine and he went with Elder Honey but there went my hat and my man! He did return though lol. I’m glad he offered because she would have been suffering later if he hadn’t. It was a long day for her as it was.

Monday, June 26th should have been our preparation day but Sister Scussel is going to have surgery on Wednesday for carpal tunnel and pinched nerve in her elbows on both arms. She wanted me to be in the office to help her get Week 7 schedule ready so she doesn’t get behind. We are starting Week 5 this week. But you need to get emails out to the Trek leaders to find out vehicles they are bringing, final numbers, what activities they are planning on doing, if they need missionary assistance, if they need rickshaws for their group, etc. Sister Scussel had talked to scheduler to have me in the office to help to get it done. I was scheduled for Tuesday but Sister Scussel is going to be on a trek and they also had me scheduled to do 5 pie stories. I am not sure how that was even going to work? There are so many facets to making this all work. So we talked about it and Sister Scussel asked if we would be willing to change our preparation day to Tuesday and me working with her in the office on Monday. So that is what we did. 

Karl was able to catch up on the pile of equipment building up in the shop which he couldn’t work on last week because we were scheduled everywhere but work crew. He fixed a riding lawn mower, a push mower, a pressure washer, and a 4-wheeler. By the end of the day the 4-wheeler is back in for repair. Not Elder Sigmon’s fault. Here he is in his home away from home.
The month of June seems to be the month of the birth of antelopes. We have discovered they are like sheep and have quite a few twins. It was funny because one of the missionaries said “Oh this one mom had 8 babies.” We both looked at each other and smiled. Antelopes are a herd type of animal and as such they tend to stay together. What we have seen is one antelope is usually with the babies and the others all kind graze not too far away. So we have determined they must take turns of who is in charge of the babies. Now that would have been great when my kids were little. Although I can’t complain because when my brother lived nearby and the kids were little they were often together at one house or the other. So I did have some breaks and Kathy is a fun mom!

Here are one set of the twins that live by us. So we always say “Oh there’s the twins, hello twins!”
That’s about all of what is going on here in Wyoming. Hope all is well with you and love hearing from everyone! It is a highlight. Love you and miss you!
Elder and Sister Sigmon

Monday, June 19, 2017

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Short Version:
It sure has been busy couple of weeks. We are in the beginning of the busy trek season and broken equipment has had to stack up in the shop. I know the Lord will provide and we will get everything fixed someday. It never ceases to amaze me who comes through Martin’s Cove who I had association with. The other day a gentleman by the name of Don Hausteddar came through the Visitor’s Center. He was the owner of Don’s Kawasaki in Alamosa when I bought a motorcycle from him 40 years ago. Of course he knew my father and was telling me about the time my dad gave him a ride in an old stock car that he had. He said he loved my dad and always admired him. We had a great visit. We had various assignments over the last few weeks from Trek Hosts to Campground Hosts, cleaning restrooms, work assignments, Visitor’s Center, etc. I really don’t have a favorite cause I am blessed every time I serve in any capacity. I have been thinking a lot lately about families because that is what we get most coming through the Visitor’s Center. It is so neat when we take them through the restoration room and ask the children questions about Jesus and Joseph Smith and to hear them answer with such conviction and humbleness. I also know many families are struggling in the world and as we ask many of them to think of who they can rescue their eyes become filled with tears as they think of someone in their own family that needs help whether it be a kind word or a kind deed. We also have many motorcycle clubs come through. Some of them just want to use the restroom and others will come through the Visitor’s Center. Even these adult men have the inherent need to be in a family. We are doing great here. Every day seems to bring new challenges and new successes. Hope everybody is well.
Elder Sigmon

Read on for the longer version:
Things are getting into full swing and getting busy. We are having bus & van loads of kids, leaders and support staff coming in for their treks.

  • What happens with the groups are several different things. They can have anywhere from 1 day up to like 4 days scheduled on their itinerary. They can arrive the same day as their trek and then leave for home.
  • They can arrive in the afternoon, pick up handcarts and trek to the campground, Trek the next day and then go home. Or camp that night and go home the next day all at Martin’s Cove.
  • Some groups come into Sixth Crossing, an hour away, and do camping and trekking there and then come over to Martin’s Cove for a day of trekking and go back and camp at Sixth Crossing.
  • The groups can also add on going over to Rock Creek Hollow and camping and spending a day there too. Rock Creek Hollow is where the pioneers came into and camped after climbing Rocky Ridge.

I know it is a little confusing but I wanted to lay a foundation for how the treks work since there will be a time when Elder Sigmon and I will be over at Rock Creek Hollow for a week being Campground Hosts there and tending to those duties needed out there. We will be there the end of July and first of August. While we are there we will have in one group 800. That is going to be a lot of handcarts to get washed and returned. There will be another couple with us from Sixth Crossing. I’ll explain more when we have experienced it and done it. Rock Creek Hollow is 2 hours away by car but not by trekking.

Sister Harris and I were asked to do the pie story for a group as they trekked out to their campground after picking up their handcarts. The next day they will go out for their trek. I had heard that it can be an interesting experience. We are acting out the Louisa Mellor story where her mother is so tired, hungry and weak. She had lost twins before boarding the ship to come to America and left her father behind which took a toll on her emotionally too. She had hit a point she just couldn’t go on any more and kissed her children and her husband to send them on their way and wanted to be left on the side of the trail to just give up. Louisa stayed with her and encouraged her to continue. Her husband promised to get the other children settled into camp and then come back for her. After everyone had moved on Mary Ann, the mother, sat on a rock and wept and told Louisa to go on and leave her, saying she was tired, hungry and didn’t think she could go on. Louisa didn’t know what to do and so she went off a little ways and knelt in prayer asking the Lord that he would protect them from the wolves and help them reach camp. Louisa wrote:

“As I was going back to where Mother was sitting, I found a pie in the road. I picked it up and gave it to mother to eat, and after resting awhile we started on our journey, thanking God for His blessings. A few miles before we reached camp we met my father coming out to meet us. What a joyful meeting that was. Many times Mother felt like giving up and quitting; but then she would remember how wonderful the Lord had been to spare her so many times, and she offered a prayer of gratitude instead.”

I love this story and it reminds me of the tender mercies that the Lord does bestow up us and we need to remember them when times get hard. The Lord is there for us and can buoy us up when times get rough.

I had been told when we were trained and going over doing some of these vignettes that we will be surprised how those fake tears will actually become real tears as the spirit comes into play and you actually feel those emotions.

Sister Harris and I were prepared and walked out to our assigned rock and had our fake pie ready and waiting for those unsuspecting trekkers to come along. (the leaders knew and had arranged for us to be there but not the rest of the group.) Sister Harris was Mary Ann and I was Louisa. It was a sweet experience. As Sister Harris was crying on her rock I was trying to stop the trekkers and get their attention saying “Help me, I don’t know what to do. Mother is tired and hungry. She doesn’t want to go on.” Meanwhile Sister Harris is crying saying “Louisa you are only 15 go on you are young, I’m tired, I’m hungry. I can’t go on.” A boy in the group said “what do you need?” Another said “Get in our cart, we’ll take you. We’ll help you.”

The leaders gathered the group around to hear what we had to say and so we began our vignette. It was so true I remember feeling those emotions Louisa must have felt in this situation. Her franticness of not knowing how to help her mother continue. The thought of maybe having to leave her here. Then the total wonder and surprise, the miracle of a pie appearing out of nowhere in the road. The joy of it all and feeling the love of a most caring, loving Heavenly Father to be mindful of them at this time. I was totally in character. (So not like me lol).

When we finish we are hugging each other and grateful for the Lord’s mercy. So to get the group to move on we say something like “Ok mother let’s go find father and head to camp.” So I say that and start to move her and Sister Harris says “Let’s not forget the pie.” We had set it down to hug each other. It caused some giggles from me and some in the group.

Here is a picture of us waiting to go out and meet the group. And then us doing the pie story.
 Magpies have become not one of my favorite birds. They are pretty to look at but that is the only positive I am discovering about them. They will tear open trash bags, they steal baby eggs out of other sweet innocent birds nest and eat them, PLUS they poop on everything so we have to clean off their poop from benches, picnic tables, statues, bridges and fences. Anyway, Sister Roundy, our most loving person you will ever meet. If you are around her or she hears any hint of you desiring a certain food she will feed you or give you some. Even if it was her food. She is always doing someone else’s cleaning assignment so they won’t have to, etc. You get the picture. Well one day in correlation she said “If President Pace will let me shoot one magpie then all the others will come to the funeral and we can get them all.” The room filled with laughter because we couldn’t believe Sister Roundy was the one who said that. It apparently is the custom for magpies to gather when one has died. It was hilarious.

Then later on in the week there were a bunch of magpie feathers on the visitor center lawn and President Pace joking said “we aren’t sure what happened but it has been reported there are a bunch of magpie feathers on the Visitor Center lawn, Sister Roundy.”

One afternoon I was working at the visitor’s center and a magpie came along and ran the bird out of her nest just above a light under the eve. It managed to grab 2 eggs and had them in its beak. I was able to scare it off and it dropped one egg into the grass and I got it with a Kleenex and put it back in the nest. The mother accepted it and sat on it. The magpie ate the other one. Later on during the week I noticed the mother bird was not there anymore and so that darn magpie obviously came back and finished stealing the eggs. I was not very happy with it. I have added a picture of these naughty birds. If I was home the mother bird would still have some eggs in her nest.
We had a trek on Friday, June 2nd with a group from Omaha, Nebraska. Any way things were a little crazy with it and it was a big group of about 220 people. We had us and the Wards as Trek Hosts. When it was all said and done it ended up splitting into two groups and our backpack was on the lead handcart. We usually pack things in the backpack we may need on the trek such as water, neck coolers, water misters, aspirin, duct tape, bandaids, rain coats, our lunch, etc. Well by the time Elder Sigmon and I came in with our group the first group of handcarts were all emptied and cleaned out and our backpack was nowhere to be found. We looked and other people looked but it was gone. We determined it must have made its way off to Omaha. It was an old backpack one of the kids had used in High School making it a little sentimental to me. Then I started thinking of the things in it. Most importantly my light weight gray down jacket which is so important in my layering in this crazy weather. Elder Sigmon was telling me it was okay we can buy a new one. (I wasn’t in agreement since it is the wrong time of year). The other sad thing was we had put our lunch bag in there. We have many at home in New Mexico but we forgot to bring one and had to buy one at Walmart. So now I am going to have to buy another one I don’t need (Sigmon luck). After a day someone reminded me of another missionary and how her shoes went off to Canada with that group and they called them and they mailed it back. So I talked to Sister Scussel and she made a call.  After about 4 days our backpack was finally found and they were going to mail it back. I was so excited. If nothing else I wanted the jacket. I can’t believe they found it and it is going to be coming back. It really did make me kind of sad to lose it even though most of it was easily replaceable. We had even used those rain coats on that trek.

Our 35th Anniversary was on Sunday, June 4th. It was a nice day and we got a candy bar each from the President and his wife and everyone sang us a Happy Anniversary song. Later in the evening our neighbors, the Wards had their daughter visiting and they had made a fire ring in their yard. They had an impromptu campfire gathering. Everyone was invited and we brought chairs and roasted marshmallows and enjoyed each other company. It was a very nice relaxing evening. Although when we came inside later I realized my clothes and I smelled like a campfire lol.
Well so far there are definitely snakes out here. Elder Sigmon has been blessed to not see any rattle snakes. Although we have seen bull snakes. I am not going to lie I have seen a rattlesnake but apparently Elder Sigmon missed it. The Lord is blessing him. This bull snake we saw was along the road into Martin’s Cove. It was about 5-6’ long. In the picture part of his tail is still in the weeds.

The next picture is a crazy one. We watched as this bull snake first tried to go in the bathroom door with his little head hitting the door but it was closed and so he headed over to this tree you see him on. The significance of this tree is it is right by the sidewalk where we all walk from the chapel to other places but it is by the sewing center building. It is also a tree which Sister Tobler walks under a million times a day to a water hydrant to water the various hanging flowers and window boxes. We couldn’t believe it was going straight up the tree and ended up in the branches. You could barely see its tail and if you weren’t looking you would have no idea the snake was there. It may have been on a mission to get eggs from a birds nest but whatever the reason I kept expecting it to fall off the tree. Of course I showed Sister Tobler the picture of the snake and let her know she should look very carefully before going over to the water hydrant. She was very appreciative of my information. I thought it would be nice to know instead of some snake falling on top of you and figuring it out that way. If you don’t like snakes just skip the next couple pictures.

Thursday, June 8th we went on a trek with Ceadar City North group from Utah of 269 people and it went very well. They came in to trek with us for the day at Martin’s Cove. They had all the stories and events covered so we only had to be there to make sure they had permission to leave from one site to the next so we weren’t bumping into other treks and that everything went ok. From what I have observed it seems so much better when the groups come prepared with their own people doing the stories and participating either by singing, playing an instrument or bearing their testimony. They all know each other and it means more to them when it is someone they know doing their part. Some groups think oh we want the missionaries they know everything and it will be wonderful for them to do it. But those people don’t know us and we don’t have the same connection that someone from their group would have with them. I’m not saying we can’t or won’t do a good job and they won’t enjoy it. I’m just saying I think there is deeper feeling and meaning when it comes from their own group. The spirit is just a little stronger because of the connection they have.

That day was a busy day. There were 9 treks on the trail and 1600 people. At one time there were 23 buses in the parking lot as the kids were coming and going. Everyone was busy and it was a warm day in the upper 80’s. I enjoyed the trek leaders we worked with. They were organized and had prepared well. At the river crossing they had a girl sing a song and it was beautiful. I have attached a picture of the girl singing at the river.

From what I understand it is one of many weeks which will be this busy. Oh my goodness!
By the time we left for the day there were only 13 buses left in the parking lot. We weren’t the last group of trekkers. There were some other groups behind us so there were other missionaries still out on the trail with their groups but there were also others who were ahead of us and those missionaries and trekkers had already left.
On one of my work days I put together a baby quilt so that there could be something for the woman to do on a day when they needed to be in doors or when the work was heavy labor and the woman needed something lighter to do while the men did the heavy work. They had quilt frames and stands but they only had plain wood and used thumb tacks to hold the fabric. As many of you know I have been around quilts all my life being my mother’s daughter. Sticking a thumb tack into fabric and then into a piece of wood is NOT what I have grown up doing and do not understand. So I went and talked to the Mission President and his wife before altering their quilt frames. Of course I don’t want to do something they wouldn’t approve of and I also wanted to explain my reasoning for wanting to alter them. So when I spoke to President and Sister Pace and explained I only had 3 thumb tacks so we will need to buy more if they want to keep it that way or I propose since we have an abundance of fabric--stapling fabric to the wood and then you can just pin the quilt to the fabric to be able to work on them. They both looked at each other and said great as they remembered a quilt they had worked on trying to use thumb tacks and how hard it was to put them in and to take them out. Not to mention sometimes it can tear your fabric. So I got the go ahead and President said he knew we had a staple gun and someone could surely help me get it done. I assured him Elder Sigmon could do it and has done it many times for me and my mom already. I with the help of another Sister picked a fabric we thought no one else would use for another project. I also put a picture of one of the done quilts.
Monday is usually our preparation day for now and we had a trek coming in and trekking to their campground and having the pie story on the way. We weren’t sure how this was all supposed to work since they were to be coming in during the afternoon time. What we found out was we could just let outfitting know that we wouldn’t be there and to tell them we would meet with them later at their campground.

Well we had been checking out the weather and it was supposed to be 54 degrees, 20% chance of rain and 20 mph wind. As you know we lost the backpack with some important items. I was just sure it would show up on Wednesday, the day after the trek. So while we were in Casper we bought another lunch box and rain coats. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for a coat and was pretty sad about being cold. I hate to be cold! 

As we got closer to the Homestead about 5 pm we can hear the chatter on the radio of what is going on and we realize our trek is just getting in. They had some car troubles and were about 3 hours behind schedule. So we stopped and met them and were introduced to the group at the Trek Center as their Trek Hosts but we didn’t take them to the trail to trek to their campground. We let outfitting do that since we had groceries still in the truck and it is an hour drive from Casper and then the time we spent with their video, etc at the Trek Center. 

BUT for the cool part! Before leaving to where we stay we stopped to pick up our mail and lo and behold there was a big box, our package, from Omaha, Nebraska!!!! Our backpack made it home from its field trip just in time for me to use my lightweight down jacket! I was so excited. I also discovered my water shoes were also in that backpack. That would have been very hard to replace. What a tender mercy to have it just in time!

Well the river has been rising again with the last of the snow melt and the water is crossing over the trail in several places. It was decided Monday night while in conversation with one the guys from Base and the Trek Coordinator when we were trying to figure out how high the river was and how much of the trail was covered. The Trek Coordinator suggested I have some of the boys let me ride in a handcart over the part of the trail covered in water since in some places it was up to mid-calf and the first section is about a quarter of a mile long. The last section is much shorter but also still a little deep. This way my knee brace wouldn’t get wet and it would give them a little more of the real feeling. 

So when we talked to the Trek Leaders that night at their campground we asked if they would do us a favor and have some of the boys let me ride in the cart. They totally agreed. They were very nice and it is a small group of 33 people. I’m so excited to have a small group and I will even be able to see Elder Sigmon with only 3 handcarts in our whole group! 

While we were waiting for them to come up the trail on Tuesday morning from the campground Elder Sigmon and I were busy taking some selfies, shadow pictures and how we look pictures to use some of the time. So you get to see them lol. Ok I want you to know in my defense in the how we look pictures I did mention the high was going to be 54 degrees and I am a California girl and I don’t like to be cold. Hey but my Carhart jacket isn’t even zipped up! The sun helped some lol. Now on the other hand Elder Sigmon is from Colorado and wearing a jacket is cold weather attire even if it appears to be a lightweight jacket.

As we got to the first stretch of water the last cart closest to me had 3 boys with it and when I talked to them they were very kind and happy to carry me across in their handcart. It was very nice of them and from what Elder Sigmon said I also didn’t end up with cold feet.
We ended our busy week with being Campground hosts at Cherry Creek Campground which is about 4 miles from the Homestead and about 6 miles from where we live. It is in the middle of both. Part of the responsibilities is to be there 45 minutes prior to when they need to leave the campground to meet their Trek Hosts at the footbridge bathrooms. Also in the evening if they have square dancing then we made sure there was a sound system where they were going to do that. We would have their group send us 2 priests to help lift the equipment into the rover and ride with us to the location and unload it. Then repeat the process when we returned it to the shed they are stored in. So a couple of the mornings we had people needing to leave camp at 7 so we needed to be there at 6:15 a.m. which meant Elder Sigmon wanted to be up at 5:15 so we wouldn’t be late. Let me just tell you with 20 mph winds it doesn’t take me that long to get ready. I just need a handy dandy hair clip, some clothes, breakfast, and a toothbrush. Especially since I can come home, eat lunch and shower before having to run back out again. But I don’t always win the discussion of what time would be best to wake up.

Here is one of the groups getting ready to leave camp, trek to return and clean handcarts before going on to Sixth Crossing for their activities there. It was cute because the trek leader was proud that they were on time and ready to go at their assigned time of 7 a.m. but we couldn’t let her go because their medical vehicle wasn’t over at base. It has to be there before they can start trekking. We had told him 3 times. She was bummed.
Hope you are all well and doing good.
Love you—Karl and Monica

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Love Service Projects!

Short Version:

Hi all,
Doing great here in Wyoming. I saw my first snake last week it was a big bull snake that was on the side of the trail, it took off and then just turned and looked at us. Other missionaries have seen rattle snakes but I have not as of yet. Been busy with still trying to control the not so sweet Sweetwater River. We have a berm around part of the low spots and we continually have to build it up.  I have been driving a cool dump truck and a big backhoe/frontend loader but it is still tiring.  I did get the backhoe stuck and could not dig myself out. I had to go get Elder Hall to help me. He is a professional hoe operator.  He is also our acting FM (facilities maintenance) guru. Elder Crist had to leave the mission for a while he is the real FM man. This coming week Elder Hall will be gone to Rock Creek Hollow so I will be the FM person. Still continuing to fix equipment, we have two out of the three riding lawn mowers broke waiting parts. (Sister Waldmann let Sister Pace know it wasn’t her lol). Had to work on a sewage pump (not fun) to get the bathrooms to drain in one of the buildings.  Plus many other jobs.  I love working with so many great people and we do have a lot of fun….every day is a new adventure.

Serving in the visitors center is always fun. I love testifying of Jesus Christ and his love for us. I am sometimes disappointed when a member comes thru and they want the shortened version since they already believe. At the end of the visit we ask people if there is someone in their lives they could help rescue, with a hug, a kind word, a smile or a Book of Mormon etc. This often brings tears to their eyes because we all have people we love that need help. I hope we can all look around us and help rescue someone this week.  I love being here with my wife she is such a blessing to me. We are happy and enjoying the work.
Love Elder Sigmon

Read on for the longer version:
Friday, May 19th the snow and the Canadians came in. The Sweetwater river was still threatening. It was all hands on deck this morning to work on the dykes and fill sandbags. There is also some beauty to all of this weather. The welcome cabin which will greet and tell trekkers where to go looked so pretty with its icicles hanging from the roof. I couldn’t believe how long they were.
When we got to correlation meeting today the men were asked to be out there working on the dykes and bringing in truckloads of sand for sandbags and then dirt for the building up the dykes using plastic, etc. 

Then they also said that the Canadian trekkers were going to do a service project to help us and they would help fill the sandbags so some of the men were assigned to oversee that they had the bags, sand, etc to fulfill the project. As a result the women ended up not having to go outside in the weather and we were assigned to go to a first aid class for training.
Of course Karl was able to be one of the dump truck drivers. They had two dump trucks running that day. But the sweetest thing was watching all those kids working filling the sand bags. They filled 1300 sandbags in 1 1/2 hours! Yes you read that right! It was an amazing sight to see. They were all so happy and not one word of complaint. The boys and the girls were shoveling, holding open bags, tying knots in them and even loading them onto rovers so they could be taken to where we were wanting them to go. They even helped unload the rovers after they got to where they needed to be. They were sad when the sandbags were all gone and even mentioned how they loved doing service projects. It was decided if we had been left to do the work ourselves without their help it probably would have taken 5 days and probably 4 trips to the hospital. It was absolutely amazing! If the future is in their hands then we have nothing to worry about!

Here is a picture of the beautiful sight of them all working in their pioneer clothing.
On Sunday, May 21st we were at the visitor’s center so I decided to go and take a picture of the baptismal font to see how much the Sweetwater has risen since the last time I saw it when I was mowing earlier last week.  It has risen about 3” since then. While I was walking back I heard a whistle like sound and thought maybe it was one of the birds so I didn’t turn around. Then I heard it again and decided what if someone is trying to get my attention. So I turned around and sure enough someone was trying to get my attention. Marc Simpson and his family had Stake Conference for church and decided to come to Martin’s Cove for a picnic. It just happened to work out that we were there and were able to see them and take them through the visitor’s center and pull a handcart. As we left the baptismal font, Linc grabbed my hand and off we went! We also got to meet Toni’s parents, sisters and brother. It worked out perfectly with us being there and them just showing up. 
I also got a picture of Parker since I wasn’t holding her this time. She was quite comfy in her car seat. 

On Monday, May 22nd after Family Home Evening we noticed a bald eagle on a tree right by the Pavilion so of course we all had to come out and check him out. He was quite regal sitting on that branch checking things out.

Tuesday, May 23rd we went on a field trip to Rock Creek Hollow. This is where the Willie Handcart company camped after they climbed Rocky Ridge. It was one of their most disastrous days. The travel day for some wouldn’t end until sunrise the next morning. Rocky Ridge was a climb of 600 feet over a distance of about 3 miles. People were already worn down by hunger and fatigue and had to pull their heavy handcarts up that grade. In places the road was covered in deep snow and the temperature was below 0. They had to make frequent stops to rest. Stopping chilled them to the bone and they needed to keep moving. They buried 13 people in a community grave at Rock Creek Hollow. The next day they buried 2 of the people who helped dig the grave. 

We will spend a week there and greet the kids as they come in from crossing Rocky Ridge. We also let them go through and visit the community grave and contemplate the sacrifice and commitment these people had in coming to Salt Lake to be together with their families for eternity. It was very important to them at whatever the cost was. Even sacrificing their life. We will take care of the campground, help clean and wrangle the handcarts so they can be sent back to Sixth Crossing. Our turn is for a week that starts Thursday July 27-August 3. Rock Creek Hollow is about 2 hours east of where we are and so we will need to pack up clothes, food, bedding, etc to stay in a trailer they have put on site for us. We will be with a couple from Sixth Crossing while we are there so we will be two couples handling the duties.  We report at 1 p.m. to replace our Martin’s Cove couple. Then the couple from Sixth Crossing who came in Monday will train us. Then they leave the following Monday and a new couple comes in from Sixth Crossing and we train them. When the new Martin’s Cove couple comes in at the end of our week we leave at 1 p.m. Then we go home do our wash and the next day is our preparation day.

Here is a picture of one of the memorials there at Rock Creek Hollow. Not every couple will get the opportunity to serve at Rock Creek Hollow. I know it will be work because while we are there we will have a group of 800 people coming in. This is only one of the groups but I also hear it is one of the best experiences we will have while on our mission. 

I will keep you posted on how things go while we are there and yes I will try to take pictures. I am sure I will not have internet while I am there. I don’t remember if we have phone service or not. I don’t think I looked at the phone or tried it. I guess that would have been helpful to remember to do. Just one more sign of my memory slowly going. There is a grassy area with benches to sit and enjoy the moment. There is also a river nearby. 
We had car pooled with the Taylors to Rock Creek Hollow. On the way home they asked us if we saw Noah’s Ark. I’m thinking they mean the movie. But then I asked you mean here because they are talking about a road. It wasn’t the movie. It was cool their Noah’s Ark in Wyoming. And as we got close to home there was a beautiful sunset with split rock and the other mountains close by. I have added these pictures in. Can you see the elephant and the other animals as they climb up to the Ark? 
Wednesday, May 24th we had a gentleman come in who reenacted the passing of the mail as a Pony Express rider for the field trip group who were there that day. Since I was doing school groups I was able to see him come in. 
Karl and I also drove out to Rattle Snake Pass and saw some of the names carved into the rocks of some of the 500,000 people who came through on either the Oregon, Mormon, California Trail or the Pony Express. We drive on part of this road every day and it is on actual trail which is kind of cool. 
And yes since we are right there by Rattle Snake Pass there are actual rattle snakes we have to keep an eye out for. Not one of Karl’s favorite things. So far, knock on wood, we haven’t seen any ourselves personally but they have been sighted by other missionaries. We are hoping our luck will continue to hold out. We of course don’t mind seeing them at a distance. We just don’t want to have to remove or kill one of those nice little creatures. If you know what I mean.
Thursday, May 25th was a special day because we had family come from home and spend a couple days with us. Bill Carr came up and he got there just as a school group came in so I sent him with Sister Waldmann and her group of kids. This way he got the opportunity to see things you normally don’t get the opportunity to see and have explained to you.  Then we ate lunch together. After that he went off to do some things and we finished at the visitor’s center. We were done by 2 p.m. and then we were able to go up into the Cove with him. We had a great time. His timing was perfect. The calm before the storm. Next week all the treks start coming in and we will be busy with all the different tasks. 

Bill even brought me roses from my rose bush. They traveled two days in his cooler and still looked great and smelled so nice! He said he cut every one off the bush.  I told him that was just fine. Since there wasn’t any one to really enjoy them anyway. Plus it always makes the rose bush have more roses come into bloom. So it is a win, win.

Friday, May 26th Bill was still here and he went over to visit Sixth Crossing. He wanted to go for a bike ride but the weather was a little cool and sprinkling. Elder Sigmon went into Casper with Elder Hall to buy parts they needed and I stayed at the Homestead because I was on school groups. We had two coming in—one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I got home just a few minutes after Bill got back and he had been into Lander and bought some groceries to make us Chicken Alfredo for dinner. Elder Sigmon finally got home so we could eat dinner. It was quite good! We always enjoy Bill’s company and hanging out with him. We are sorry he has to leave early in the morning but I guess trying to attend a graduation is a good reason to leave. 

Saturday, May 27th was our preparation day but we actually got to do some more sightseeing. So we went to National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper, Wyoming. It was interesting and we spent quite a bit of time there. Elder Sigmon stood by a Pony Express Horse model. It was quite cool! Afterwards we went and met some of the other missionaries who also had preparation day for lunch.
Monday, May 29th we had another preparation day since we will now be switching to Mondays for the next 6 weeks. I came home to a cute little surprise in my front yard. We have these small lawns we are in charge of watering, mowing and taking care of. We even might end up with a “yard of the month” sign in our yard. I say “we” meaning someone in missionary village and most likely not us! You know how I am about trinkets and things you have to dust and take care of. Hence why I don’t have any knick knacks. But in the spirit of not being the only totally plain lawn I went to the dollar store and bought a few of those whirly things in nice patriotic colors for Memorial Day. Let me just say with the wind here one of the two lasted only one day. I picked up the missing petals in hopes of my neighbor, Elder Ward, being able to repair it. Apparently I lost a couple more of the petals than I thought so it was a lost cause and we put the sad little pinwheel back out with it’s 4-5 petals it had. The other one he took home and reinforced it with fishing line. Well from the picture you can see the one he reinforced and the little surprise for the other one which apparently lost more petals.

If you can’t read it—it says: (Mine the blue one) I’m a sad lonely survivor. (Their’s the green one from one of their original pinwheels hence why he reinforces them.) Me too. Let’s get married.  
I doubt we will ever have the sign in our yard but at least I have something there. 

Tuesday, May 30th I spent the day out at Cherry Creek Campground with Elder and Sister Schow, Sister Thunell, and Elder Smart painting the benches in one of the amphitheaters. Elder Sigmon was busy working on the dyke/berm again. Hopefully it is coming to an end as far as building up the dyke.
Hope you are all doing well. We love and miss you.

Karl and Monica