Saturday, July 22, 2017

We had Exciting Visitors!

Short Version:
A lot of the same thing. The highlight was my son Lance and his family coming to visit us. We have had a couple of smaller treks which were spiritual and awesome. I can’t believe I am missing the 24th of July celebration in Manassa. I always look forward to that. I love the pioneers and all they have done for us. Next week we will have the opportunity to serve at Rock Creek Hollow. This is where the Willie handcart company camped after crossing Rocky Ridge. I am looking forward to that experience.

Love you all and hope you are having a great summer.
Elder Sigmon

Read on for longer version:
I am not sure how long this version is going to be. Like Elder Sigmon said we have had Lance’s family come and visit us. It truly was the highlight. They were here for only a short time but quality was priceless! They arrived at noon and the hugs were awesome! Family just give the best hugs! It was fun to introduce them to our friends while we ate lunch in the barn with everyone. After lunch we headed out to do a trek into the cove. I gave them the option of not taking the handcart since time was limited but they wanted to take one. They were able to cross Pete’s creek. If you are good you can make it across on the rocks and not step in the water but it is tough navigating a handcart through the rocks and water.
The kids did pretty well for the most part. Kate and Jaelyn had a little trouble with the heat but I had some neck coolers and we reminded them to drink. They were troopers and it was so good to spend this time with them and share the scenery and the experiences with them in person. Pictures and stories are just not the same as being here and experience it. It was such a special experience to sit in the Lower Amphitheatre with them and talk about these people and their experiences and what they went through. Then to ponder why the Lord didn’t temper the weather which we know he could have. Lance mentioned there was a reason the pioneers had this experience as their refiners fire. We all will probably have an experience which will be our refiner’s fire where we come to a point where we just can’t do it by ourselves. We need help and the Savior can give us that help. Will we take it? 
There was such a sweet spirit and I love the view from this spot. The meadow, some shade and benches to sit on. It is almost to the summit but gives you a chance to rest before moving onto the summit. We headed onto the summit and misted ourselves off and refilled our water bottles. On the way back down we were able to see a spotted fawn. It ended up being two of them.
We had special permission to eat dinner with them in Rawlins and bid them farewell as they were leaving in the morning onto other adventures on their vacation.

The very next day we went on a trek with the West Bountiful Ward with about 50 people. There was such a sweet spirit with this ward and I enjoyed visiting with some of the adults and the youth. They are great people and doing wonderful things. I wasn’t sure how I would do since I had just gone with my own family the afternoon before. So I had asked Elder Swingholm if he would be willing to go with Elder Sigmon through the cove and I sit with his wife at Handcart parking if I was having a hard time. But when I got to Handcart parking I felt I was doing fine and so I did end up doing the whole thing after all. I am very grateful for people who are so willing to step in and help and are more than happy to do it. I also had Elder Scussel our District Leader asking me if I was going to be okay before we even left because he knew I had been out the day before. So many kind people.

This group had their bulk of their program at the Rescue Statues and had 4 girls sing a beautiful song called “Bring them In.” The words are very moving and they did a great job.
Now I will tell you the rest of the story of the rattlesnake from the last post. After the snake was killed we had put it in the freezer for Elder Taylor when he got back from Rock Creek Hollow. Well he used his tanning kit and it came out quite nice! He plans to use it for a hat band. 
Today is preparation day and after correlations we came out to a flat tire. We are in the wait and see mode whether or not they will be able to repair it or if we will be buying new tires all the way around. They were able to fix our tire! Yay!

We also finally found Bessemer Bend on our way into Casper today. This is where the Martin Handcart Company was found by the rescue party for the first time. The Platte River is behind me. This isn’t where they crossed the Platte. It was further back in Casper but it took them 4 days to go 10 miles from Casper to Bessemer Bend in subzero temperatures and in at least a foot of snow.
That’s it for now. Hope all is well with you and you are enjoying your summer.
Karl & Monica

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