Sunday, August 21, 2016

Canada is BIG

We love what we are doing in Canada. We are serving in the Grande Prairie Stake to help YSA take hold. The Grande Prairie Stake has 4 wards, 5 branches.

In Grande Prairie there are two of the wards. The Wapiti and Bear Creek Wards. The Young Single Adults, YSA, from both wards meet together on Monday nights for Family Home Evening, FHE. We go and be with them. There are 5 or 6 kids who are regular attenders. About 14 others come, not at the same time, when work allows. Three of the number have now gone South to attend school. South is Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, or the States. We have a list of potential YSA who have stopped coming. We are trying to find them and tell them we are meeting and having fun. We are also trying to have a monthly activity in addition to FHE. Another part of our mission is to organize YSA in the other 2 wards and 5 branches.

We did find out just this week that Fort St. John Ward, in British Columbia, has a functioning YSA Group. They have 4-8 attend depending on work schedules. However, two of their number are going South to school. A few of those kids live an hour away from the church, and can't make it every time. Long travel is pretty much the norm in Grand Prairie Stake.

One of the favorite things we do is give rides to the Wapiti Elders and the Bear Creek Sisters when we go to District Meeting once every transfer. (About 6 weeks.) All the other times we have District Meetings via Skype. Having them ride with us saves both companionships some "klicks". (Kilometers put on their cars.) The first time we drove to Fort St. John. It was a full day.

Our District is the Elders from Wapiti Ward, and the Elders from Dawson Creek Ward.
The Sisters are from Bear Creek Ward, and Fort St. John Ward. The Fort St. John Sisters drive a truck.

This is a park in Dawson Creek, B.C. at mile post 0 of the Alaskan Highway. It is on the way to Fort St. John. Our second time going to District meeting just last week, was at Dawson Creek.

This is the Railroad Museum in Dawson Creek, B.C. It was a stop to use the washroom. There are no rest stops along many highways of Canada. You look for visitor's centers.

This is the sign welcoming us to British Columbia. Alberta doesn't have a place like this when coming back. There are lots and lots of rocks strewn in this area. People write their names on them and put where they are from and the date they passed through.

We did take a short side trip to see, and drive, on this old bridge still in use along the old Alaskan Highway. It goes to a Provincial Park in British Columbia.

OK, we did show you a map of the Grand Prairie Stake in one of the first blogs. We have both worked at this, doing the math, and using Google. Here is a repeat of the first map, in color this time. And two other maps.

This is a map of half of our mission. the little inset in the bottom corner shows all of North America. The red portion is the area of the Canada Edmonton Mission. Pretty amazing isn't it. It is the largest mission by area in the Church.

This is the same map as the first time showing the area of the Grande Prairie Stake. The circles with plus signs are the locations of wards and branches. The kind of empty areas have members scattered. 
Some of the areas are forests. 

I'm sorry the lines are so light, and Hudson Bay is messed up. But this map is traced from a map to show the scale. The Grande Prairie Stake is roughly the same size as Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. We were shocked to realize this scale. 

The distances are:
Grand Prairie to Valley View 1 h 10 min.
Grand Prairie to Dawson Creek 1.5 h
Grand Prairie to Fort St. John 2.5 h
Grand Prairie to Fairview 1h 20 min
Grand Prairie to Peace River 2 h 20 min
Grand Prairie to High Prairie 2 h 40 min
Grand Prairie to High Level    281 miles    4 h 35 min.
Grand Prairie to Fort Smith, NWT 644.8 miles 10h 42 min. to Watson Lake
Grand Prairie to Hay River, NWT 476.4 miles 7 h 47 min.
Grand Prairie to Fort Nelson, BC, 363.8 miles 6h 5 min
Grand Prairie to Fort Resolution NWT 565.1 miles 10h 4 min.
Grand Prairie to Whitecourt, 173.7 miles 2 h 45 min.
Fort Smith to Watson Lake (top boundary of mission) 1141.8 mile, 16 h 36 min.
Western boundary is continental divide a little farther south from Jasper National Park.

Grande Prairie to Yellowknife 725.2 miles 12 h 7 min.
Yellowknife to Slave Lake 196.8 miles 3 h 13 min.
435.7 miles 6 h 50 min to Lloydminster
378.9 miles 6 h 6 min to St. Paul

Distance by crow fly
Length x width
Utah is 350 miles x 270 miles
Colorado 380 x 280
Arizona 395 x 340
New Mexico 370 x 342

Grand Prairie Stake is 750 x 624 the same size as UT, AZ, CO, NM

Now we are glad we didn't bring the Suburban on our mission. It only has 124,000 miles, but is 20 years old. Our mechanic just didn't want us in some wide open space in the middle of nowhere, stranded. We feel that was a tender mercy. And, the mileage wouldn't have been too good. 

People here are just so used to driving long distances. Of course when they travel 5 hours to Edmonton to go to the Temple, they have relatives they can stay with so they don't have to drive home the same day. Then when they want to go to Calgary, Lethbridge or other places South, they have other relatives they stay with. We understand when they come to Grande Prairie for Stake Conference, people from GP open their homes for out of town people to throw out their billet. (Sleeping bags.) Meetings and activities happen on Saturday, and then the Sunday Conference. We will have a big YSA activity on Saturday night.

We love our mission. We are looking forward, even to the travelling. The countryside is beautiful. We see lots of nature and wildlife. We just don't want to find that wildlife on the highway with us. 

Keep travelling with us. Thank you for emails you send us. Don't try to mail anything. We got a picture mailed from Quinn that took 19 days to get here. Postcards from Nevyn and Delaney got here weeks after they mailed them. Jill mailed a package to us the first of August. It got to Vancouver on August 8. We still don't have it. We went to the post office to trace it. They said maybe we will get it by next weekend, 26th or 27th. Pray that we get it. We will be royally messed up if it doesn't get here.

Sister Brown, Mom, Grandma, Robyn

Friday, August 19, 2016

Can you find us on the map?

The first month we were here it rained every day. And we noticed that every truck in town was really dirty. The people driving the trucks work in the oil or natural gas industry, or the lumber industry. They drive on dirt roads, which in rainy season, are mud.

This is our car. We drive on regular roads. Where the lumber trucks pass by our house, they leave a muddy trail. When we drive through that section, it splashes on the car.

This truck in our complex is in the oil industry. His truck was only half dirty this day.

We have also noticed that a lot of people in Grande Prairie play golf. Hey, why not? It doesn't get dark until 10:00 PM and that is in the middle of August. Note that almost every vehicle at the country club is a truck.

This is the first aisle at the Grande Prairie Country Club.

This is the second aisle at the Grand Prairie Country Club.

This is the third aisle at the Grand Prairie Country Club.

This is the overflow at the Grande Prairie Country Club.

There was some kind of tournament on this particular Friday. We didn't see anyone golfing. It was raining. There was a hospitality tent with a lot of people waiting. 

We are going to give you an idea where we live. It is quite a unique place.

In the middle of town, the blue sign at the top tells which way to go to Alaska. The mile 0 of the Alaskan Highway is in Dawson Creek 1.5 hours away. But Grand Prairie is the start of the Alaskan Highway. There is only one road to Dawson Creek. 

Now I am going to show you where we live.

The driveway by the white car is going in to Canfor Lumber Industries.
This picture above is the driveway into Canfor.

In both pictures above, Elder Brown is pointing to our apartment building. It is the yellow one on the end. We are at the intersection of the logging road going into Canfor.

These two pictures show the dirt road that is the logging road. It is one way arriving at  Canfor and is almost 200 miles long.

This is a close up of our apartment building. Our apartment is at the opposite end of this building. That gas station is on the other side of our parking lot.

This view from our little patio is looking south. It is the parking lot of the gray apartment building you could see when Elder Brown was pointing. Just beyond that little white shed is a grassy berm. That is where the logging road is. I thought I had a picture of the logging trucks going by, but I guess I erased them. It was always raining and the pictures didn't turn out that good. I'll put one in next time.

This is a Google Map of our area.,+AB/@55.1573417,-118.8168097,1805m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x5390914965fb9b97:0x60726bc60c9e6409!8m2!3d55.1699396!4d-118.7986152

Copy and paste this url address into your browser. It will come up with an aerial view of our neighborhood.  You can see where it says Canfor Industrial. Cross streets at the West edge is 84 Ave. The street on the South is 108 St. It is an old picture, The corner of that intersection is an empty strip which is now a little shopping center. You can see the road that is Canfor Hauling Road. Then there is a building, a vacant lot, and another building. Our apartment is in the vacant lot between the two buildings (55.155589, -118.814639). What you are seeing on the Canfor sight are huge stacks of big logs. The really long white building is the sawmill. In front of that building are stacks and stacks and more stacks of 2x4s. All of the buildings on the South side of 108 are industrial businesses. Very few of them have asphalt parking lots.The area west of our apartment, is residential. If you zoom in, you can see the piles of logs. They are really tall stacks. That place is big. Triple trailer trucks move along that road all day, every day. Probably not Sunday, but we are never here to see.

It has been awhile since we have posted to the blog. We need to fill you in on what we are doing. Stay tuned, it will be coming soon. We love you all and think about you and pray for you always.

Sister Brown, Robyn, Mom, and Grandma

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

8.3.2016 The weather in Grande Prairie

Last night, August 2, 2016, we were at the church, meeting with the Stake President, who has been out of town since we got here. We got there in a torrential downpour. This video is not going to play, but it shows the rain pouring down and spilling over the gutters at the church.

When we came out it wasn't raining as hard, but the parking lot was full of water.

This was the road in front of the church. The man is up to his knees in water. We were prevented from getting back to the highway because there were too many cars stranded and the road was closed.


This view is the other corner from the church. The man down the road by the stranded red car is almost waist deep.

We were able to turn right and proceeded to go home. We ended up doing quite a few detours.

It rained 9.2mm in two hours which is 3.6". We had some mud washed into our parking space, but our ground level apartment was high and dry. We feel so blessed. There were some flooded basements in Grande Prairie, but no one was injured.

The temperature today was 22 C. That is 72 F. Not bad, but with all the moisture it was REALLY humid. And there are lots of big mosquitoes.

We had another tender mercy happen today. We were finally able to turn some of our American money into Canadian cash. Just in case we ever need a loonie or toonie for something like a parking meter, or the like.

Oh, yes. Our meeting with President Cherwak confirmed what we have been led to believe. We are the Stake YSA advisors. We are going to build the YSA program. "If we build it, they will come." We have 12 who have been to the three meetings since we got here. We will rally these troops and get all the other YSA that could be here to come. We need fun activities and events. And when we get that going, we will get the others in the outer branches in the stake organized. There are fewer there. But, hey, we should at least have great activities for them to do the Saturday before Stake Conference.

We could use any ideas that have worked for any of you, or that you know about, and we will pass them on to these great young single adults.

We hope you will get cooler weather soon. We love and miss all  of you.
Sister Brown, Robyn, Mom, and Grandma