Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Off she goes

Today at 12:45 we dropped Sarah off at the Missionary Training Center in Provo. We were instructed to say our goodbyes and take our photos beforehand, because at the orderly drop off in the parking garage of the new section of the MTC there would only be time to pull out her suitcases and give her a quick hug goodbye. It was indeed a quick goodbye. Here are our photos prior to driving to Provo to drop off Sister Emmett.

Sarah will be in the MTC until September 12th.

Take a tour of the MTC here:

She will then serve in the Ogden Utah Mission until her release date of March 12th 2019.

You can follow her missionary adventures on her blog:

You can write her at:

 Who will be taller when she returns?

Prior to a 2008 trip to the Holy Land, I snapped this cute photo of the three kids just as Will spontaneously reached up to pull his siblings in. Today Will wanted to recreate this classic photo.

In October 2007 our family helped host some delegates from Indonesia to the BYU Law and Religion Symposium. One day we took them to Kennecott Copper Mine.

When the wife (who was missing her children, hence the hugs above) of one of the delegates learned of my missionary service in Indonesia, she turned to Sarah (age 9) and Joel (just about to turn 7) and asked them if they were going to serve missions too. Today on our drive to the MTC, Sarah told us that that conversation, nearly ten years ago with a Muslim woman from Indonesia, was the time that she decided she was going to serve a mission. I don't think she imagined at the time that she would be serving so close to home.

Off she goes into the MTC. This is the only photo we managed to take among the tears.

 In other transitions this week, Will began7th grade on Tuesday,

And Joel started 11th grade.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Jade Nativities from Myanmar

Our family loves to collect Nativities.

Whenever we travel we keep our eyes on the lookout for new additions to our collections.  While on Semester at Sea we found new Nativities in India and South Africa. We looked in other countries as well, but without luck.

 Bogyoke Aung San market (Scott's Market) in Yangon.

Our lovely, determined, self-appointed guide who helped us try to find a Nativity in the market.

 In Myanmar, with the help of a local sales girl, we scoured the many stalls of Scott's Market (recently renamed Bogyoke Aung San Market) for a local Nativity. We found statues of Jesus and Mary, but nothing related to the birth of Jesus. In our quest, we met a nice jade merchant (I never learned his name) in the back section of the cavernous market. He had religious items for sale but no Nativities. I explained what we were interested in and he expressed interest in learning more. He said he was always looking for new items to sell. Back on the ship, I sent him an e-mail linking him to our blog about Nativities. I also included a few photos of standard looking Nativities that he could perhaps use as a template or model.

Here he is at his jade stall. 2015

Last month our friends Jeremy and Rochelle Johnson traveled to Myanmar. Prior to their departure we had several opportunities to visit about travel in SE Asia and in particular Myanmar. We told them about the jade merchant and gave them a copy of his card so they could find him. We were curious to know if he had ever done anything about creating jade nativities. The Johnsons found our friend in the market. He now happily and successful sells jade Nativities. Filipinos are his main customers. They have suggested that he add the Latin term "incarnate" to the Nativities and that he also start selling jade crosses.

The Johnsons bought us two nativity sets. One large and one small. Each includes Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, a sheep, ox and donkey. They are beautiful. The merchant is willing to make a larger set, but worries that a cost of $35 will be too expensive for tourists. I really like the hard wood base and the unique design of the pieces. My only frustration is that if bumped, the pieces fall like dominoes.

 I found it hard to accurately capture the soft green colors of the larger nativity. It looks whiter that it really is.

As a token of thanks the merchant gave us this lovely set of jade elephants on parade.

It has been fun to play a small part in helping an enterprising entrepreneur to expand his business and to help like-minded Christians to find Nativities in Myanmar. 

"The moon gets its time in the sun"

Last January when Marie heard about the eclipse in August she mentioned how fun it would be to drive to Idaho and see it. Then a few weeks ago the topic came up again. This time Sarah expressed interest even though the celestial event was happening two days before her mission departure. Let's do it.

First task was to order NASA approved eye protectors.

Next task was to decide where to go. At first Idaho Falls seemed the natural choice--it was a straight shot north on I-15. Then talk of traffic delays and big crowds turned my attention to Wyoming. Alpine at the north end of Star Valley seemed to be the easiest destination, but then I thought it might get spill over crowds from Idaho Falls and Jackson. My third consideration seemed to be the best bet. Head up Provo Canyon to I-80 east, turn north on US 189 and head through Kemmerer, Big Piney (the "ice box of the nation") and Daniel until the Zone of Totality is reached. We made a good choice.

Our destination was about 4 1/2 hours away so this morning we departed at 6:06 hoping that we would not be delayed by heavy traffic. No worries. Central Wyoming was full of high plains of sage brush, but not many cars.

 Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass proved to be a great lullaby.

After crossing the Green River at Warren Bridge we entered the Zone of Totality. There were clusters of watchers gathered at open spots along the way. Clouds loomed overhead so we pushed northward a few more miles. We finally turned right on a ranch road and headed northward. The Wind River Mountains loomed in the distance. Eventually we crossed a cattle guard into the Teton-Bridger National Forest.

We settled here.

A tail gate brunch. We grazed as we gazed.

Will broke his left pinky last Wednesday in a soccer tournament.

In between looks at the moon as it slowly crossed over the sun, I sat and took photos of the many grasses in our meadow.

These siblings sure do like each other.

At one point along the way Sarah noted that today was the day that "the moon gets its time in the sun."

About half covered.

I didn't bother with many photos of the partial eclipse because I didn't have the right equipment or the know how. But this attempt (taken with my eclipse glasses on) revealed a crescent reflection of the nearly covered sun.

Starting to get cool and dark.

Full eclipse (off come the glasses). It brought audible exclamations of surprise and delight. So cool, but too short.

Will in the dusk-like dark.

Post eclipse stupor.

There was a steady stream of cars driving south, but only a few slow downs. For the most part we were able to drive the speed limit or a little above. Once we hit I-80 the only traffic jam we met was at a broken traffic light in south Provo. 

A non-controversial monument in Marbleton. It pays tribute to the farmers, ranchers and miners who settled the area.

Kemmerer is the home of the first ever J. C. Penney Store. No time for shopping. We had to get home for final mission preparations and for Will to go by the  jr. high to give his locker combination a few more practices before starting seventh grade tomorrow. Today was a most excellent last hurrah before the start of mission and school.