Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Weekend Seeing Arizona

Zone Conferences for our mission began on Friday, May 4th.  Elder Beckstrand and I decided we would enjoy attending the conference in Snowflake, in the northern part of our mission.  On the way we enjoyed seeing that the cactus had blossomed and were sporting pretty flowers.  It almost seemed like they were lovely ladies wearing their new spring hats.

This pretty yellow blossom grew on a cactus that was more of a bush.  It only grew about 3 feet high.

 Once in Snowflake we attended the zone conference (which was wonderful), then went to the temple to do a session.  We had never seen this pretty little temple before.  It is the first one we have seen  with two colors of exterior tile.  The layout inside reminded us of the Zoetemeer Temple in the Netherlands, which made us a little homesick.  We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the northern part of Arizona where mountains and lots of pine trees reminded us of Utah.  The temperature was about 20 degrees cooler, too.  I'll bet the missionaries fight to be assigned to Snowflake in the summer months!

 On Saturday we had a huge group of Primary children come to the center for a tour.  Our sisters showed them the Christus Statue then divided them into smaller groups to see God's Plan for His Family, the Armor of God Presentation, and an outside tour around the temple.  We love having ward and stake groups come to the center, and were surprised when the Primary President told us that some of the children had never been to see the temple before.  We felt privileged to be the first ones to introduce them to the beautiful Mesa Temple.

The sisters were pleasantly surprised later in the afternoon when a group of Young Women brought them several boxes of snacks.  Sister Burton is taking advantage of her break to sample the treats.  The YW brought Chex mix, cookies, Capri Sun drinks, and also healthy snacks like apple slices and carrot and celery sticks.  The girls LOVE to be spoiled by the members!

We are a strong believer in the saying, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" so we took Saturday night off and went to the Rockin' R Ranch Dinner Theater for an evening out with the other senior couples who serve in the Visitors' Center.  This crusty old cowgoy met all of the guests with freshly baked dutch-oven biscuits.  Mmmm...

 Elder Beckstrand visits with Elder and Sister Jenkins while we wait for the Livingstons to arrive.

It wouldn't be an authentic western town without a saloon.  Being here was like taking a step back in time about 150 years.

The Apache Indians were a big problem for the original Mormon settlers of Arizona.  Things in the territory got a lot more peaceful when Geronimo was finally captured.

 This was the building that contained the dining hall and stage.  On the right was a Drug Store that sold homemade fudge and other delicious treats.  They also produced some delicious homemade ice cream for the guests' dessert after dinner.

 This young lady provided part of the pre-dinner entertainment.  She was the daughter of the owners and had sung in Nashville prior to her mission in Brazil.  She was really talented, and we enjoyed hearing her yodel like a pro in some of the numbers she performed.

 The Livingstons (on the left) arrived in time for us to get a group photo before we were called into dinner.   It's not often that we take off our missionary attire and relax in casual clothing.  The badges still helped us feel like missionaries, however.

The multi-talented biscuit maker was also delightful as a peddler of Pecos Pat's Cure-all Elixir.  He told stories and assured us that his magic elixir would cure anything from a tummy ache to a broken arm.  Pretty powerful stuff!

Once inside the theatre, Big Jim Robson welcomed the audience and told us about the evening ahead.  We received detailed information (in cowboy speak) about what we would be eating and how it would be served.  He reminded us several times to hold onto our tin plates with two hands.  We could understand why when they just kept heaping it with baked beans, biscuits, applesauce, barbequed beef, barbequed chicken, a baked potato, and raspberry dutch-oven cake.  What a feast!

Doctor Dan on the fiddle, Sweet Mary (Big Jim's Wife) and Big Jim on guitar really made the hall ring with rousing western music.  They were tremendously talented and fun to watch.  We were treated to the "Orange Blossom Express", which Dr. Dan did on his fiddle, and many wonderful cowboy tunes with lots of yodeling and western dialect.  The Robson's great-grandfather was one of the original settlers of Mesa, and was called by Brigham Young to help settle Arizona.

When they saw our missionary name-tags after the show, they proudly announced that their Mexican cook had just been baptized that morning.  It sounds like they aren't too busy with their business to do a little missionary work of their own.   What a fun evening!

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