Sunday in Yakima

IMG_9849We bumped into these fine Elders today in the Randal Park Ward here in Yakima.  They are teaching these good friends.  We enjoyed meeting them and the members here.

Then home to work on the NEWSLETTER while Pres Lewis went to the Selah and Yakima Stake Correlation meetings.  I’m on a deadline.  Which means I may be dead or flatlined before this night is over!  The Newsletter needs to go to press first thing in the morning so we have them for Zone Conferences starting Tuesday.  I didn’t have time to start working on it until last night.  I turned in at 2:00 a.m.

Here’s where I work, up at the top of the stairs.IMG_9851

This evening the Nelson family brought Elder Folkman and Elder Kneip to the Mission Home.  They are kind and good.  Both Elders haven’t been feeling so great.  Elder Folkman will be heading home tomorrow and Elder Kneip will stay here for a bit and try to get well.IMG_9853We had a nice meatloaf dinner waiting and enjoyed some time together.IMG_9855IMG_9857We are grateful for the good members here who look after our missionaries when they need some extra TLC.

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A Baptism in Yakima!

2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (3)This evening Brittany Caudle was baptized here in the Yakima Stake Center.  It was a joyous event for her and her sister and children.  We were happy to be there.2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (18)2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (19)2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (4)2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (5)2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (6)2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (7)2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (8)2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (9)2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (13)2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (15)2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (16)2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (21)2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (23)Bishop Black and Pres Lewis:2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (25)2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (26)2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (28)2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (30)2017-6-24 Yakima Baptism (32)

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Missionaries Helping with Days for Girls in Yakima

2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (29).JPGToday was another hugely successful Days for Girls Event in Yakima.  Many of our missionaries came to help and to mingle with members of our Yakima community who come to serve.  This is one of our favorite days every month.  As you can see, we got tons of work done!

If you have not yet discovered Days for Girls, please go take a look here:

2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (28)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (12)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (20)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (24)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (25)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (27)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (30)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (31)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (32)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (33)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (40)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (37)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (46)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (47)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (36)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (54)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (56)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (109)Even the Elders help!  Real men know how to say “Feminine Hygiene.”2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (63)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (64)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (65)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (67)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (68)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (69)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (72)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (89)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (90)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (91)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (99)2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (92)Today we assembled 260 more finished kits!2017-6-24 DfG Yakima (108)What a perfect day.  Truly.  I love these people.

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A Special Visitor–Mary Ellen Edmunds!

2017-6-23 Mary Ellen Visits (3)Today my dearest friend, companion and mentor, Mary Ellen Edmunds passed through town with our friend, Leanne.  They stopped at the Mission Home for an hour or so and we had a sweet reunion.  Mary Ellen and I worked together at the MTC many years ago, and then we were companions in Nigeria, where our lives were changed forever.

I owe the world to Mary Ellen.  She taught me to be a missionary and she taught me to open my heart to all people everywhere.  I love her with all my heart.

Here we are in 1984, at the dedication of the first church building in a town called Aba, Nigeria. Today there is a Temple of God there.


You can read a fun 1984 letter (and see photos) we sent to Salt Lake from our home in Nigeria as we were settling in on the link below:

Ann Laemmlen and Mary Ellen Edmunds in Nigeria: Our report to headquarters 27 October 1984



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Interviews with the Yakima Valley Spanish Zone

Today we stayed in town to meet with many of our Yakima Valley Spanish Zone members.  These fantastic missionaries serve in the Terrace Heights and Englewood Ramas.  A couple of weeks ago the Englewood Rama was made an independent branch! Such good things are happening here.  These missionaries LOVE serving with these wonderful Hispanic members.

Elder Favila and Elder Bown, Zone Leaders serving in the Yakima East area2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (2)Elder Favila:  I love traveling from beautiful green areas to dirt and wheat in 20 minutes. I love driving down long and dusty rural roads and I love the orchards and the fruit–especially the cherries and the apples.

Elder Bown:  I love the amount of fruit we get.  The people here are so awesome.  They are humble, helpful, and have a belief in God.  It is so beautiful here!  I love the orchards, the volcanoes, the mountains, and all the things to do here.2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (3)

Elder Davis and Elder Veropalumbo, serving in the Selah / Naches areas2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (6)Elder Davis:  I love the orchards–so pretty and green.  I love that the mission is very energized and is one big family.

Elder Veropalumbo:  I love going around areas and knowing so many different places.  I love being set apart from the world.  And I love  being a representative of Christ at all times.

Hermana Pinckard, Hermana Tolliver and Hermana Bangerter, serving in the Yakima North area2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (8)Hermana Pinckard:  I love the people, the scenery and Hermana Tolliver!

Hermana Tolliver:  I love the desert, Rosalva Cuevas and Hermana Pinckard.

Hermana Bangerter:  Everyone here is obedient and wants to be here, engaged in the work.  I love the Hispanic people–they are incredible.  They are generous, loving and will listen to us as we teach.  I also love the APPLES!2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (11)2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (15)Supplies and treats:2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (16)

Hermana Cluff and Hermana Andrews, serving in the Yakima central area2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (19)Hermana Cluff:  I love apples from this Garden of Eden (probably).  I love the members!! And I love all my missionaries and Pres & Sis Lewis and the unity in the mission.

Hermana Andrews:  We have the best fruits and veggies EVER!  I love that so many people here are prepared for the gospel.  Our mission has such a unique culture and energy about it that makes it feel like the best mission on the planet.  We are one giant family here!

Hermana Robinson and Hermana Powell, serving in Moxee and the Terrace Heights 2nd Branch2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (21)Hermana Robinson:  I love the FRUIT.  I love doing service and meeting people ALL THE TIME.  I love being a missionary and feeling God’s love for everyone.

Hermana Powell:  (looking for my notes here)2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (23)2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (24)2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (25)

Elder Sanchez and Elder Olivas, serving in the Yakima south area2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (26)Elder Sanchez:  I love the members because they love to help the missionaries.  I love Pres & Sis Lewis because they always have the right things to say to me.  I love the weather here because it’s colder than in Mexico.

Elder Olivas:  I love getting to know a place I never knew existed.  I love the people I’ve met and the amount that I can learn here.

Elder Hoogland and Elder Nunez, serving in the Yakima Union Gap area2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (27)Elder Hoogland:  I love the missionaries–they are my besties!  I love the Columbia River and I love free cherries!

Elder Nunez:  I love the green and the desert and the different kinds of apples.  I love the people who live here, like members and not-yet members.  I love the friends that I have here.2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (28)Studies:2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (29)2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (30)Interview room:2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (31)Food Calendar:2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (35)Nice planner cover:2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (37)2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (38)2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (39)Hurrah for Israel!2017-6-23 Interviews Yak Valley SP (40)

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Ellensburg Does Hay

Ellensburg is surrounded by hay country.  You won’t find orchards here.  The Kittitas Valley is one of the most beautiful farm areas in the Washington Yakima Mission.  The first of 3 summer crops of hay is being harvested now.

I learned a few things today about the hay harvest during our interviews.  Many of our friends here “trabajamos con secate” or work with the hay harvest.  The steps are these:

  1. Cut the hay into rows, let it dry in the wind and sun for a few days
  2. Fluff the hay in rows, let it dry for a few more days
  3. Bale the hay
  4. Pick up the bales and stack them into trailers
  5. Haul the hay to the hay stacks
  6. Tarp the hay (before dew falls)
  7. Sell the hay to an exporter
  8. Hay is compressed or vacuum packed
  9. Hay is exported in containers to places in Asia (for dairies and race horses)

Ellensburg hay 1Here is a look from above of the Kittitas Valley:Map EllensburgLooking closer, you will see very few crop circles.Ellensburg MapThese are hay fields.Ellensburg Map fieldsThis is Wesco, a hay exporting company owned by Bishop Shilling in Ellensburg:Ellensburg Westco HayEllensburg hay Wesco

Here’s a very interesting article that will teach you more about this unique area and the hay exporting:

Japanese pay top dollar for Ellensburg’s timothy hay
By Erik Lacitis
Seattle Times staff reporter


On a recent summer morning, a sales manager from Japan and his assistant were driven to a 1,100-acre hay farm about three miles southeast of town.

They had flown into Seattle a few days earlier. At this particular farm, the sales manager, Kenny Miura, of Yoshi International out of Tokyo, went inside a massive barn stacked 20 feet high with bales of timothy hay.

Timothy is the hay that is predominantly grown here in the Kittitas Valley.

Miura pulled some of the hay out of a bale and quickly gave it a grade — in this case, what amounts to about a “C.”

“It has a little bit of bluegrass in it,” he said.

To the surprise of many who don’t live here, 90 percent of the timothy grown in the valley will never be eaten by an American horse or cow.

The closest locals will get to it is when a hay truck goes by, or motorists see stacks covered with vinyl tarps in fields alongside Interstate 90.

Nearly all of the timothy from here is shipped by sea to Japan and, in lesser amounts, to countries such as South Korea and China, and also the United Arab Emirates.

It means $35 million to $38 million is paid to the farmers, and an additional $80 million or so pumped into the economy as the farmers then spend money on everything from equipment to labor, according to the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce.Ellensburg hay 2

At a time when some wonder what the United States can export other than movies and video games, the exporting of timothy hay is an amazing success story.

Timothy hay is named, naturally, after a guy named Timothy Hanson, who promoted it in the early 1700s.

The publication Agricultural History tells how, because of a lack of good forage, livestock on the average farm in colonial America “were generally thin, weak, and susceptible to disease.” That is when various kinds of grass seeds from Europe were tried, including one that would become known as timothy grass.

It was native to Scandinavia, and, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture reference book, became popular because it “is one of the most cold-tolerant cool-season grasses.”

Horse and dairy-cow owners in this state do buy some of the timothy, but for the most part, they’re priced out. Farmers can get $180 to $320 a ton from export sales, broker Rollie Bernth said.

Ellensburg hay 3

Selling timothy hay for export is profitable, but it does have its own idiosyncrasies. Buyers generally focus on how green the timothy is, not its nutritional value.

The grading criteria for timothy used by a buyer such as Miura is formidable, and, to an observer, perplexing.

There are Super Premium Horse, Premium Horse and No. 1 Horse grades. There are Super Premium Dairy, Premium Dairy, No. 1A Dairy, No. 1B Dairy, No. 1.5 Dairy and No. 2 Dairy.

The differences in grading are because of the presence of bluegrass in the hay, or the length of the seed head, or the thickness of the stems.

“It’s almost purely aesthetic,” says John Kugler, a retired educator with Washington State University’s Grant/Adams County extension, who has researched timothy hay. “It’s the visual aspect, just like people want to buy potatoes that don’t have scabs on them.”

But the grade is what affects the price. That is why timothy growers fear rain, which bleaches out the green.

Kugler says a little rain, and a little bit of bleaching, don’t reduce the nutritional value of the timothy.

“A horse doesn’t care, and neither does a cow,” says Bernth, president of Ward Rugh, about green timothy. His company is one of half a dozen brokers in Ellensburg that export timothy.

But as they say here, it’s not the horse writing the check, but the owner.

Ellensburg hay

Ellensburg hay

The international market for timothy hay out of Ellensburg began in 1971 with a bit of serendipity. It was an unexpected phone call to Ron Anderson, who, along with his dad, Clarence, founded Anderson Hay & Grain in Ellensburg. The company is a big player in the hay market.

Ron Anderson, now 80, had been flying around the country in the 1960s in his Cessna 180 to promote timothy hay.

He found markets at racetracks and Thoroughbred horse farms in Canada, California, the Midwest and numerous East Coast cities. A particular selling point, of course, was how green the Ellensburg hay was.

Anderson says that in 1971, he was contacted by Japanese investors who had been going to buy racehorses in Kentucky and saw the Ellensburg hay.

A company history that Anderson Hay published in 2010 for its 50th anniversary recounts, “Our hay always had the most beautiful color … The Japanese were immediately captivated by the green color of the timothy and were particularly amazed by the length of time that the Washington state hay kept that attractive verdant hue.”

And so in 1971, Anderson Hay shipped 200 tons of hay to Japan.

In 2009, it was 183,000 tons of timothy hay that were produced here and headed mostly overseas, says the county.

Now, every summer, the Japanese buyers descend on this town.

They poke the bales and the brokers pay close attention.

As John Kugler quoted an exporter in a research paper Kugler presented in 2004 at the National Alfalfa Symposium, “High quality timothy is whatever the customer says it is!”

Winds make difference

Bernth has been driving Miura, one of his clients, around to farms.

Says Bernth, “It’s the only cash crop here that you can make a living at.”

Miura is 45, a city guy, and had earned his college degree in international law. He then went to work for Yoshi, a large trading company.

He was assigned to the feed division and has worked in that section for the past 22 years. He comes to Ellensburg several times a year.

It is the Ellensburg winds that make the valley so desirable for growing timothy. “As much as we bitch and cuss the winds in this valley, it dries out the hay,” says Jeff Brunson.

On this day, Miura was visiting the farm that Brunson runs with his wife, Jackie.

A hay farmer is always betting against the weather.

With Brunson’s $2.5 million investment in farming equipment, a few days of no rain matter a lot. Brunson says he needs five days of good weather to dry, bale and store the hay.

If there is a drenching rain, the green color is washed out of the timothy. It turns straw-colored, and that top rating of “Super Premium Horse” is forever out of reach. The hay descends into feed for dairy cows.

“If it rains for a couple hours,” Brunson said, “you’re done.”

Ellensburg hay by Vantage

Compressing the hay:
Ellensburg hay compresser

Containers filled with hay, ready for export:Ellensburg hay containers

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Interviews in Ellensburg

Our next stop was in Ellensburg where we met with more of our Selah Zone missionaries serving here and in Cle Elum.

Elder Hanna and Elder Ranta, serving in Cle Elum2017-6-22 Interviews zEllensburg (1)Elder Hanna:  I love that Pres Lewis is my Mission President and Sis Lewis is my Mission President’s wife.  The Church is true here in Washington.  I love that I have the privilege of sharing my testimony in the best places on earth!

Elder Ranta:  I love the harvest season (#Ranier cherries).  I love the country folk, humble and honest.  I love the amazing missionaries.  I learn from them.

Hermana Lindsay and Hermana Peterson, serving in the Ellensburg Spanish areas2017-6-22 Interviews zEllensburg (5)Hermana Lindsay:  The people here have changed my perspective on life in the BEST way.  I love the small town feel anywhere you go.  I love how the people wave back to you from their cars.

Hermana Peterson:  I love Pres and Sis Lewis.  I love speaking Spanish with our investigators and everyone we meet.  I love being centered in the gospel 24/7.

Elder Woodard and Elder North, serving in the Ellensburg 2nd and YSA Wards2017-6-22 Interviews zEllensburg (8)Elder Woodard:  Things I love:  NOT the Ellensburg wind!  I love the greenery and the rain and wet seasons.

Elder North:  I love that there is No traffic.  I love the fresh fruit and I love that Pres and Sis Lewis live here.

Elder Roe, Elder Kneip and Elder Boshard, serving in the Ellensburg 1st & 3rd Wards2017-6-22 Interviews zEllensburg (13)Elder Roe:  I love the apples, peaches and cherries.  I love that the people are very diverse.  Some are very wealthy and classy and others aren’t!  It makes things exciting.  I love being a missionary!

Elder Kneip:  I love Pres and Sister Lewis!!!  I love the spirit of our mission.  I love the views around Yakima of Mt Adams and Mt. Ranier.

Elder Boshard:  I love the food (Mexican food is bomb).  I love the people (they are down to earth).  I love the Mission President’s wife (she’s really cool).2017-6-22 Interviews zEllensburg (15)End of interviews:2017-6-22 Interviews zEllensburg (16)Another beautiful sofa. . . with matching side chairs:2017-6-22 Interviews zEllensburg (17)Map of the Ellensburg Brick Road building:2017-6-22 Interviews zEllensburg (4)


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