Other VanOrden Posts

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Moving on, to the Future---A Very Good Thing

We spoke with our financial planner yesterday.  We are about 45 days away from being “retired” and the application process is feverishly going forward.  Everything looks good for take-off into retirement. 

It’s a bit scary but the cash flow looks “sufficient” for years to come.  We are glad to have a good financial planner who protects our investments. 

My career position in Alaska has been taken over by a young energetic educator who has new ideas and enthusiasm.  It has already proven to be right that I am getting out of the way to let things go forward with new eyes. 

Church Education has come a long way since I first came to Fairbanks Alaska in 1983.  Back then I think there were 2 stakes in Alaska and now there are seven.  Release-time seminary is established and progressing toward reality in two more locations in the state. 

My Master’s Thesis at the University of Alaska in 1987 was about the development of Release Time Religious Education in the state.  The program has proven to be an essential cog in the protection of our youth in Alaska, where most of the social wandering by young people is due to substance abuse and premature sexual exploitation.     

Two LDS Institute facilities have been built for young single adult members of the Church, one in Fairbanks, and the other in Anchorage.  Young Single Adult Wards have grown from zero to five. I was instrumental in establishing two of those YSA Wards.   I had the privilege of dedicating two new chapels.  Priesthood leaders have seen the wisdom in allowing Seminary & Institute programs to go forward.  A key person in all of this was a pioneer Church Educator Dennis Kendall, who spent his entire CES career in Alaska.   

An LDS Temple has been built in Alaska and expanded.  The Mormon Church is a bulwark of strength and safety for Church members and their Alaskan communities.  It has been a privilege for us to be a small part of these accomplishments.  But all good things must eventually come to an end so we are moving closer to our family and out of the long dark winters.  OK---there you have it, I have admitted this last winter finally did me in. 

Above all good things have been the people we met and served with.  They are true Alaskans, friends, and pioneers.  They will always be a source of happiness and strength as we remember mutual experiences.  Hopefully we can visit with you when you travel through the Boise Idaho area where our retirement home is being established, or perhaps when we sneak back up to Alaska for a visit.  You have had eternal impact on our lives. 

I am referring literally to 100’s of people.  We have been so blessed to meet and become closely affiliated with so many of you.  We extend a heartfelt thank for your friendship, kindness, dedication, and prayers.  We wish we could do this personally with each and every one of you.  You will be in our thoughts and prayers for evermore.