Monday, August 31, 2009

Temperature and Climate in Thunder Bay

Current (August) temperatures in Thunder Bay range from an average high of 23 °Celsius (74 °Fahrenheit) to an average low of 10 °C (50° F) with record highs of 40 °C (105 °F) and record lows of -1 °C (30 °F).

The city is quite sunny with an average of 2167.7 hours of bright sunshine each year, ranging from 283.4 hours in July to 88.8 hours in November, sunnier than any city in Canada located to the east of it.

People in Thunder Bay are used to getting a white Christmas as they usually get an average of 44 centimeters (17.4 inches of snow) in December.

January temperatures range from an average high of -9 °Celsius (17 °Fahrenheit) to an average low of -21 °C (-6 °F) with record highs of 8 °C (47 °F) and record lows of -41 °C (-42 °F). That is cold enough that if only one kind thought is sent his way (to his mailbox), the temperature is bound to rise by a a degree or maybe two.

On January 10, 1982, the local temperature in Thunder Bay dropped to -36 °C (-33 °F ), with a wind speed of 54 km/h for a wind chill temperature that dipped to -58 °C (72.4 °F). As a result, it holds Ontario's record for coldest day with wind chill. It might have taken more than a friendly thought to warm that day up (but a postcard or two would have done it).

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thunder Bay

The following information on Thunder Bay is comprised of a few highlights freely adapted from Wikipedia:

European settlements in the region began in the late 1600s with a French fur trading outpost on the banks of the Kaministiquia River, more precisely in 1679 as Fort Caministigoyan. As the population grew the communities merged and in 1970 the twin cities of Fort William and Port Arthur together with the townships of Neebing and Mcintyre became Thunder Bay with a metropolitan population of 122,907.

The city takes its name from the immense bay at the head of Lake Superior, known on 18th century French maps as "Baie du Tonnerre". The city is often referred to as the Lakehead or Canadian Lakehead because of its location at the end of Great Lakes navigation.

The port of Thunder Bay forms an important link in the shipping of grain and other products from western Canada through the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway to the east coast. Forestry and manufacturing play important roles in the city's economy, but this is changing toward a "knowledge economy" based on medical research and education.

If the map below does not show on your computer, please copy/paste the link into your browser's address box in order to view it:

Google map of Thunder Bay:

Google satellite image of Minnesota and Thunder Bay, Ontario:

The distance between Minneapolis, Minnesota and Thunder Bay, Ontario is 488 kilometers (303 miles).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Flag of Canada

The National Flag of Canada, also known as the Maple Leaf, and l'Unifolié (French for "the one-leafed"). Its adoption in 1965 marked the first time a national flag had been officially adopted in Canada to replace the Union Flag.

Flag of Ontario

The current Flag of Ontario was proclaimed the official flag of the Canadian province of Ontario by the Flag Act on May 21, 1965.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Minneapolis Temperatures

Current (August) temperatures in Minneapolis range from an average high of 27 °Celsius (80 °Fahrenheit) to an average low of 4 °C (61° F) with record highs of 39 °C (103 °F) and record lows of 4 °C (39 °F).

January temperatures range from an average high of -6 °Celsius (21 °Fahrenheit) to an average low of 3 °C (-16 °F) with record highs of 15 °C (59 °F) and record lows of -41 °C (-41 °F).

Friday, August 21, 2009

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 023 - This is it, I AM HERE now--in MINNESOTA!

This is it, I am here now--in Minnesota! I'm finally here! It took a while but I got here and I arrived in style with everyone waiting (our flight was delayed because of a tornado raging in the south of Minneapolis). It was pouring down with rain when I came and I felt welcome and right at home! It's been "bad" weather ever since! I love this place!

Today has been pretty intense and it's been quite the experience. We had some trainings and info meetings just to make sure we knew what was going on. I still really haven't seen much of the states yet as I've only been at the MTC and the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission Home.

A couple of hours ago we had the meeting where we found out where we were going and who we were to serve with. The way this happened was by seating all the new missionaries with their not yet assigned trainers in a big circle. This was approximately fifty plus elders and six sisters. President and Sister Howell then in turn read the letters that our parents sent describing us, what we did and who we were before our missions (slightly edited for our privacy and protection), so that we all knew all we ever wanted to know--and them some about each other, before going to work. Then we were assigned a companion and an area. I already knew where I was going, as the Spirit had confirmed it to me the day before. The peculiar thing about it was that I just used a lot effort and time just to get to Minnesota. . . and then they go and deport me to Thunder Bay, Ontario (and yes, that is the Ontario in CANADA)! I finally get to Minnesota and then I'm off to Canada. Wonderful, this is all just one adventure after another. Mission travel and transfers usually happens on "Prep-Day" (the very day where I write my mail, shop for groceries and do my laundry). Please don't get dissapointed if that means no mail next week.

While it might sound ironic to go through all the visa problems to go to the US and then they send me to Canada, the country where I was born, does not at all mean that I am not excited. I AM THRILLED and way EXCITED to go up there! It is not unsual for missionaries who go to Thunder Bay to STAY up there for around six months, so they might not be expecting to see me down here again for a while. This means that I might be celebrating Christmas in the frozen north of Thunder Bay! YES! WOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! My chances for a WHITE CHRISTMAS just went up by SEVERAL percentage points! I wonder how one might bicycle in DEEP snow?

I have a bike, do not worry! Which is pretty lucky since a lot of the required mission gear ate up what I originally had intended for a mission bike. But, the Lord knows what is going on and He's got His finger on the pulse. A missionary who had just arrived shortly before me got really sick and had to return home, so he and the Lord decided that his missionary bike could still serve the intended mission, carrying an Elder around the Minnesota Mission. His last wish before returning home was that his fancy new bike should be donated to a missionary who really needed it (ME). This whole mission is becoming a continuos line of answers to prayers as my being on a mission itself is an answer to prayer.

I feel blessed beyond belief as the Lord IS taking care of me every step of the way (lucky thing to be in the Lord's service, He knows a lot of people). While on the subject of blessings, I received this BIG BOX from Anita when we all arrived, it was the BIGGEST BOX there! THANK YOU, THANK YOU & THANK YOU, Anita! You sent me so much nice stuff, towels, bedding and everything I could need and didn't have yet! I feel so spoiled, I will send you a more personal thank you, as soon as they let me! It has been my experience that it is really difficult to find time for more than these e-mails, so please don't be dissapointed if it takes me some weeks (it doesn't mean that I am not grateful), but there is so much to do out here and I have so little time to do it. Much too soon this mission of mine will be nothing but a memory. But from what Mom has already told me about you, combined with the care you put into sending me the items so desperately needed, you are a true Saint and way ahead of me in understanding my situation. That you are one of my mom's friends makes you part of very select group of people that I think all are a lot like my mother and that makes you a GREAT person, THANK YOU again. It's almost like discovering, that I have yet another mother out there caring for me. In the meantime you and a constantly growing list of good people will be in my prayers.

I love you all, every one of you!

Elder Jepsen

My new mailing address:

Elder Lee E. Jepsen
Minnesota Minneapolis Mission
5931 West 96th Street
Bloomington MN. 55438-1715

Minneapolis from the Air & on the Map

The name Minneapolis is attributed to the city's first schoolmaster, who combined mni, the Dakota word for water, and polis, the Greek word for city. Minneapolis is nicknamed the "City of Lakes" and the "Mill City" as Minneapolis was once the world's flour milling capital. [Wikipedia]

Minnesota State Seal

The state motto on the seal is French, "L’√Čtoile du Nord" for "The Star of the North (the basis for Minnesota's nickname as the North Star State).

The symbolism found in the seal is as follows:

The sun on the western horizon signifies the flat plains covering much of Minnesota.

The Indian on horseback is riding due south and represents the Indian heritage of Minnesota.

The tools: the Indian’s horse and spear and pioneer’s axe, rifle, and plow represent tools that were used for hunting and labor.

The stump is a symbol of the importance of the lumber industry in Minnesota.

The Mississippi River and St. Anthony Falls are depicted to note the importance of these resources in transportation and industry.

The cultivated ground and the plow symbolize the importance of agriculture in Minnesota.

Trees: beyond the falls, three pine trees represent the state tree and the three great pine regions of Minnesota–St. Croix, Mississippi, and Lake Superior.


The original version, drawn by Seth Eastman while Minnesota was still a territory, depicted a Native American galloping east, not west, into the setting sun. The Latin phrase "Quo sursum velo videre" ("I want to see what lies beyond") represented the pioneer heritage of Minnesota, but was unfortunately misspelled. When Minnesota became a state in 1858 the seal was corrected. The Native American was depicted galloping east and the Latin phrase was changed to the state motto "L'Etoile du Nord". When Minnesotans began questioning the depiction of Native Americans on the state seal in the 1960's the seal was changed again. The new seal depicted a white settler, not a Native American, galloping off into the sunset. In 1983 the fourth and current state seal was approved by the legislature. Several state trees (the Norway Pine) were added and the settler on horseback was replaced with a Native American on horseback galloping toward the farmer.


Minnesota State Flag

The present state flag of Minnesota was adopted in 1957 and is blue with the state seal superimposed on the middle of it. The three dates woven into the wreath represent:

1858 - The year of statehood.

1819 - The year Fort Snelling was established.

1893 - The year the original state flag was adopted.

The nineteen stars symbolize the fact that Minneapolis was the nineteenth state to enter the union after the original thirteen. The largest star symbolize the North Star and Minnesota.

The most common color seen in Minnesota is lighter than shown here, usually a royal blue, though it may not be official. Minnesota is a Dakota word meaning approximately sky tinged or tinted waters. That is, waters the color of the sky. Minne = water, sota = sky color.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 022 - Soon, I'll be OFF TO MINNESOTA!

The MTC is a spiritual feast beyond the mere inadequacy of words, but words are my only tools available for sharing this, so I have to try: I've had the privilege of being district leader for a wonderful district these last two weeks. Conducting interviews with my whole district every week is a new experience which can be awkward at times, but extremely giving. I'm surprised how much I've learned in my short time here and how much it has taught me about myself. Besides the obvious in preparing for a mission that I am already in the middle of, it's as if everything I am doing here will forever change my priorities and views on life. I'm so much looking forward to use the new me and what I have learned for my mission, although I strongly suspect the impact of this to carry far beyond the bit of time that a mission really is. I really feel like my life has taken a more permanent turn for the better over these last few weeks.

Since my last e-mail to you I have had a pretty intense week. No time is wasted here at the MTC and there is not a moment in the day that has not been planned for. All missionaries here are completely accounted for at all times of the day. Except for the Temple Square (Salt Lake City) excursion, we only leave this place to go to the Provo Temple. It may sound restrictive to some, but being here has been a one the best and most teaching experiences in my life so far, and as long as they have something planned for me here I have no inclinations to be anywhere else than here. Life here is so uncomplicated and so very simple, you wake up, follow the schedule, eat, and go to bed again. This allows the freedom to totally focus on the task at hand and I've never done or learned so much in a day as I have here. I love it.

But, as much as the experience here is incomparable, I know it can't go on forever. I like it here but I am looking forward to what comes next.
I have a mission waiting and in view of all the obstacles with the new visa rules it was almost looking as if it would never happen, but it is happening: I'm out of here next Wednesday and off to Minnesota and I have so been looking forward to that part. I was supposed to be arriving in Minnesota only five whole months ago (that's like being told on the morning of December 24th that a new rule has postponed Christmas). I almost can't wait to see what new exciting adventures await me ahead. I've heard that there is twenty-eight missionaries going to Minnesota at the same time as me, not at all like my first mission travels where I stuck out like a sore thumb. For this first time in my mission I don't stick out and I can blend in, although probably not for long though. I have noticed an uncanny ability og mine to stick out no matter how uniform a crowd I might try to hide in.

There is a flu going around in my district and I'm the latest victim. My voice has gone down two octaves and my nose is like a faucet that just can't be turned off all the way. T
o speed up my recovery I have asked sister Harris (branch presidency counselor's wife) to bring me some cayenne. That stuff works miracles every time!

Well, I wish I could just hug you all and you would know exactly how great an experience this really is. Words are such a poor substitute. I love you all! I hope that things are going OK at home! I miss you! (not enough to wish myself to anyplace other than here though). How are you all doing these days?

Elder Jepsen

PS: To watch the videos you must install Flash Player in your browser (unless you already have it). A simple and easy process, it installs itself if you download it by clicking on the link below:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 021 - Unpacked and Ready to Learn

I was at Temple Square today! What an experience seeing the Church so... everywhere! We saw the new conference building, the Tabernacle, the Church History Museum, Joseph Smith Memorial building, the big church office building, the Lion's house, the Beehive House, the Visitor's Center and a nice replica of Bertel Thorvaldsens "Kristus"... (the original, together with Thorvaldsen's twelve apostles still remains in Copenhagen, Denmark). Our day was all very impressive and quite an enjoyable experience.

But, while playing the tourist what really tempted me, all I really wanted to do, was to get inside the doors of that beautiful temple. I'll be back. (Yes, the Schwarzenegger pun was intended, sorry--can't help it).

My companions are wonderful and they are a great additional blessing to my MTC experience. We have lots of fun and our compatability helps get things done.

I have been called to be a District Leader and I am looking forward to what I might learn from that experience, although I wasn't exactly looking for more responsibilities as becoming the kind of missionary that the Lord can and will use a pretty big responsibility in itself.

The Missionary Training Center (MTC) is like a little University Of Christ and I have learned so much already. The Spirit here is very strong, and it's clear to see how it influences all involved.

I am really trying to get as much out of this experience as I can and I've been busy filling in the gaps from my previous missionary service, trying to improve and become a better, more commited missionary before I leave. I don't want to waste any time becoming as effective as I can be, as I know that the Lord sends prepared people to prepared missionaries. I need to be more prepared.

When God reaches into his great toolbox I want to be one of the sharp and ready tools that he can use. Chipping away with a dull chisel accomplishes little more than tiring the handler and I wouldn't want to do that. Effort spent on keeping a chisel honed and sharp minimizes wasted time and need for repairs, placing the effort as a sharply defined edge exactly where needed and wanted, producing a good piece of work in the hands of a Master. Even the smallest miracles and marvels don't come about with dull tools.

Love y'all,

Elder Jepsen

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 020... finally, at the MTC

I'm finally at the MTC and oh, does it feel weird. While I still have a long way to go and lots to learn as I have only just arrived, I was surprised to discover how much I've already learned while serving in Denmark!

I have 2 way cool companions. Elder Taniuchi from Japan, who is going back to Japan for his mission (he plays the ukulele) and Elder Tuiasosopo from the Samoan Islands. The are both very special people and I admire their dedication. I am truly blessed being here, experiencing the spirit and the testimonies of the missionaries I serve with.

I hope you are doing well back home. I recieved a blessing from President Olausson before I left for the MTC. In it he mentioned my family and that they will be blessed and taken care of in my service. The Lord knows our struggle. Later during testimony meeting he made me a promise that with the authority and keys that he held as a mission president, the wishes I had for my family would be fulfilled. I would not need to be concerned, for they were taken care of and they were in loving caring hands. It truly makes me grateful to know that the Lord knows us, I love you all and I am so grateful that we have the priesthood.

Here is my mailing address for the next three weeks:

Elder Lee E. Jepsen
Information desk
2005 North 900 East
Provo Utah 84604-1793


Following MTC my address will be:

Elder Lee E. Jepsen
Minnesota Minneapolis Mission
5931 West 96th Street
Bloomington MN. 55438-1715

Take care!
Love y'all

Elder Jepsen

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