Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sappington's Say "Orevwa"

Ed and Linda Sappington have prepared for a lifetime to serve as Perpetual Education Fund specialists for 18-months in the West Indies Mission. Ed, a former banker with First Interstate . . . and later with Wells Fargo Bank; and Linda, who has recently stepped down from her longtime position as Director of the Volunteer Center of Washington County, are excited about their assignment although it will be hard to leave behind their six children,(nearly) 13 grandchildren and one adorable little "great."

The Sappington's will divide their time between Trinidad and Guyana, where - they have been told - constant change is common in this fledgling mission field so one of the best skills couple missionaries need to have is the ability to “roll with the punches.”

Geographically speaking, Guyana is at the top of South America, immediately next door to Venezuela. It is described as a country of exceptional natural beauty, a very high cost-of-living and a turbulent past. In this, the 3rd smallest country in the mainland of South America, the official language is English, and is one of only two remaining countries where traffic still drives on the left. Georgetown, the capital city of Guyana, has a population of about 250,000 people (roughly twice the size of Washington County), fine colonial buildings and wide, tree-lined streets.

The church in Guyana has only been recognized for about 30 years so is still small with about 5000 members in 15 wards and branches.

The West Indies Mission includes the South American countries of Guyana ("Where the Caribbean meets South America"), Suriname and French Ghiana, Trinidad and Tobago and several little islands northeast of Venezuela in the southern Caribbean.

Back in the earliest days of the church, Brigham Young established the Perpetual Emigration Fund to provide the means for new converts from all over the world - most of these more than 66,000 pioneers were impoverished - to obtain a small, low-interest loan to purchase wagons, horses or oxen and supplies needed to cross the American frontier as part of the second largest exodus in the history of the world.

In 2001, President Gordon B. Hinckley introduced a modern version of the PEF in the form of the Perpetual Education Fund which provides loans to needy, ambitious and temple worthy members - mostly in impoverished 3rd world countries - seeking additional education, mainly through vocational school and technical training. Career training options include school teacher, network administrator, computer science, systems analyst, human resource specialist, flight attendant, managerial, clinical lab technician, computer support technician, university faculty, political analyst, physician's assistant, physical and corrective therapy assistant, lawyer and judge.

In its first 8 years, more than 40,000 students in 40 countries have improved their position in life through PEF. These loans, for college / university schooling, have resulted in an average increase in wages from $179 a month to $756 a month, an increase of 320%

Ward members are invited to follow the Sappington’s spiritual journey in the West Indies at

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ward Choir Makes the Rounds

In spite of rain and cold weather, the ward choir warmed the hearts of ward members on their annual Bloomington 7th Ward Choir Christmas Caroling Open House. Thank you to Brother Dick and Sister Ruth Graf for hosting a memorable experience.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Christmas Around the Ward"

Members and friends of Bloomington 7th Ward enjoyed a delightful and tasty “Christmas Around the Ward” on Sunday, December 19 following the meeting block. Homes on display included Fritz and Gayle Morawetz, Dave and Bonnie Adams, Bishop John and Roma Goldhardt, Doug and Janet Labrum and, of course, Ruth and Dick Graf. The delicious treats included cheese balls and crackers, saucy meatballs, chips and salsa, an assortment of dips and chips, cookies, cakes and candies! Displays included the Bishop’s German nutcracker collection and dozens of nativity scenes from around the world; the Graf's amazing collection of Department 56 Villages, beautifully decorated Christmas trees, wreaths and much, much more. It was a wonderful way to enjoy the Christmas holiday. Thanks to all who opened their homes and provided good food and an opportunity to socialize.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

B7 Celebrates Christmas

Ward members “gathered around the Christmas tree” on Saturday, December 4 to enjoy good food, good friends, and good entertainment. Thanks to the Activities Committee, chaired by Barbara and Doug Schaerrer and including Adolf and Taj Becker, Jim and Ellen Sorenson, Jim and Debbie Harrison, Sherolyn Pederson, for organizing this festive evening which drew a capacity crowd. The food - including baked ham, baked potatoes, jello salad, green beans and rolls - was delicious and the entertainment was outstanding, with Boyd Kanenwisher on the jazz guitar, an Aaronic Priesthood choir, a piano and flute duet by Elizabeth Larson and Aspen Erskine, and Christmas carols sung by the Primary just before Santa arrived. To every member of the Bloomington 7th Ward . . . Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Jillian is Ward's Newest Member

Jillian Thomas (aka “Jilly” or “Jillybean”) was baptized on the Saturday morning before Thanksgiving by her uncle Randy Simkins (with whose family she has lived for more than four years) and confirmed by her grandpa - Shar’s father Dave Taylor, to become the newest member of the Bloomington 7th Ward. Through her obedience to the commandment to “come unto Christ” Jillian, in the 3rd grade at Bloomington Elementary School, is setting an example of righteousness to other children in the Simkins household, including her brother Jarrett Thomas, cousins Summer and Shane Simkins and half brother Jaxon Mills and half sister Jaselle Mills - as well as to others in the Bloomington 7th Ward Primary.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

B7 Relief Society Celebrates Christmas Around the World

In true Relief Society style, Sisters Ward, Chappell, Temple and Church - along with several dozen others - gathered for dinner and to celebrate “Christmas Around the World” on Wednesday, November 17. Under the direction of Deanne Hill (assisted by her creative committee, including Nancy Church, Leah Graham, Shirley Golding, Penny Walbom, Mary K Temple, and Pauline Smyly), the sisters enjoyed music, socializing and inspiration from speakers who shared experiences celebrating the birth of the Savior in countries outside of the United States.

Carol Stephen spoke of her time in Armenia, Shirley Golding reported on holiday festivities in the Philippines, and Luana Warner spoke of the yuletide season in Pakistan. Music was provided by Emma Warner Nelson and Janet Labrum singing holiday carols from England, France, Ireland and the United States.

Thanks to the food committee chaired by Margo Parker and including Ann Brown, Gayle Morawetz, Barbara Pinder, Elaine Tucker, Pat Chappell, Janet Labrum, Claire Cammack, Barbara Schaerrer, Nancy Church, Sherolyn Pederson, Ellen Sorensen, Patty Downen, Jeanine Smith and Marilyn Orlossy. Special thanks, as well, to Trudy Oviatt and Julie Terry for designing the invitations and to Penny Walbom for the programs.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Meet the Conrad's

Roger and Bonnie Conrad - like many others in the St. George area - found their way from the northern part of the state to Utah’s Dixie after growing weary of shoveling snow. About their home in Woodland Hills, Roger says, “the snow doesn’t clear until April and since we have business concerns involving student housing in both Cedar City and Provo, we decided it was just as easy to drive north as it is to drive south!”

However, even after the decision was made, it took another two years of looking before they found the right house with lots of wall space and the right lighting for Bonnie’s large body of award-winning oil paintings representing more than 20 years of professionally painting the American West and her rural heritage! She is a Signature Member of Oil Painters of America (OPA) and American Women Artists (AWA) as well as American Plains Artists (APA). Her work is in the permanent collections at the Pioneer Center for the Arts in St. George, Utah and the Clymer Museum in Ellensburg, Washington. Among her many prestigious awards she has the American Plains Artists First Place Oil 2009 and Best of Show 2004, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation 2008 Poster artist, St. George Arts Festival Best of Show 2004, Zwei Tu Color Award Oil Painter's of America 2003, First Place Oil American Academy of Women Artists 2003, Best of Show Western Spirit 2003.

On her website at, she writes: “Painting for me is somewhat of an addiction. I am often referred to as a 'painterly' painter and when I get into that mode of freedom…applying the strokes with calculated abandon…I am at the height of my glory! Exploring the use of color and light is what captivates me. There is power in being able to breathe life into a two-dimensional image thru the use of value and temperature and strategically placed unexpected color notes can make a piece sing.

There is something about a masterfully executed painting which touches deeply the inner soul. I am constantly challenged to accomplish that type of response in myself and others. The best compliment a viewer ever gave me is ‘WOW!’”

Roger spent 20 years as “the boss” on numerous big ranches of the “for profit” side of the LDS Church’s commercial and agricultural operations in Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Texas and Oregon. “Some days I was in the saddle or in the feed lot . . . some days I was in meetings with the FDA or Crow Indian tribal leaders,” notes the businessman. He became “voluntarily unemployed” in 1996 when he quit ranching to work four years with Sinclair Oil and another few years with a land developer in Oregon before pursuing a career in real estate. Currently his license is on the back burner until he decides if 14-15 years is enough! About his career, Roger notes, “I’ve never worked a day in my life! On the ranches, I got to choose how I spent every day and I’d frequently ask ‘They’re paying me to do this? I’d do this for free!’”

The Conrad’s are the proud parents of six children (“all boys except five,” jokes Roger) and 23 grandchildren, ages 14 to “just barely.”

In their life in rural America, the Conrad’s have always served the Lord. She has been a Relief Society president, a Young Women’s president, a Primary president, taught clogging, played the piano (until rheumatoid arthritis made it impossible to continue), and according to her husband, “really knows how to put on a roadshow!”

He has served in 4 bishoprics - including two stints as a bishop. He has been on a BYU high council and has served as a scoutmaster.

Evelyn Conrad, lives with her son Roger and daughter-in-law Bonnie in their Bloomington home. Born 90 years ago in Storrs, Utah, a coal mining town in Carbon County, she grew up in Helper and attended school in Wellington. There were very few members of the church when she was a young woman, so her mother called Church headquarters asking that missionaries be sent to their community. Evelyn married young but went on to live a happy life with Don Conrad. The couple, who enjoyed 70 years of wedded bliss before he passed away at age 94 of Alzheimers disease, raised a family of six children (one died in infancy), which has now resulted in 30 grands and “lots of greats”.

Says the new ward member, “I love to read, cook, quilt, iron and dance. I’ve enjoyed being a mother and I’ve raised a wonderful family. Other than that, I’ve really not done anything spectacular in my lifetime.”

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Q is Baptized

Quincy Adams, affectionately known as "Q" by his friends and family members, stepped through the gate and onto the path to eternal life when he was baptized by immersion and received the gift of the Holy Ghost - both ordinances performed by his father. The son of Quincy and Sunnie Adams, and grandson of Steve and Sylvia Peterson, is a student at Bloomington Elementary School and the newest member of the Bloomington 7th Ward.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Trunk or Treat is Halloween Fun

The Primary Trunk or Treat event on the beautiful Halloween afternoon of Saturday, October 30 drew a record crowd of ghosts and goblins . . . and about thirty trunks filled with treats! Witches, space men, cowboys, a princess or two, duckies and a large assortment of other costumed revelers went from trunk to trunk. Thanks to the Primary for arranging the fun and festivities and to all the generous ward members who showed up in the church parking lot in costume . . . and with candy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Good Morning, Bloomington 7th Ward

It was unseasonably cool on Saturday morning, October 23 when Bloomington 7th Ward friends and family gathered at the church for breakfast prepared by the Activities Committee including Barbara and Doug Schaerrer, Adolf and Taj Becker, and Jim and Ellen Sorensen as well as helpers from the Elders and High Priest Quorums. Despite the overnight rainfall which left the grounds wet and the grass soggy, there were no dampened spirits as participants enjoyed breakfast potatoes, sausage, scrambled eggs, juice and socializing . . . as well as Dutch oven peach cobbler topped with ice cream prepared by Claude Warner and Dave Putnam. Yum . . . and thanks to everyone who took part!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Til We Meet Again, Vanetta Johnson

Vanetta Johnson, mother of Anita Williams, slipped from mortality on Thursday, October 14 to return to her sweetheart Harold and her loving Heavenly Father. 87-year-old Vanetta was born and raised in Indiana where, as a young woman, she met a handsome Air Force captain and pilot on a blind date. Two months later, she became Mrs. Harold Johnson and the couple settled down together in Huntington, West Virginia.

In the southern United States, the Johnson’s yearned for a religion the entire family could embrace - a decision which lead them to the LDS Church where Harold served several years as a branch president. They wanted to be sealed, so they saved up to make the cross-country trip to Salt Lake City, only to find the temple closed. Not to be thwarted in their plans, they drove to Logan for the ceremony. Vanetta’s favorite calling was as YM/YW leader for the East Central States Mission which gave the couple the opportunity to travel together in Harold’s plane to meetings throughout Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

After Bruce and Anita returned from medical studies in Germany, Harold and Vanetta relocated to northern Utah where they served for several years in the Salt Lake Temple, then followed their daughter and son-in-law to St. George, again serving in the temple while continuing in their role as "active grandparents."

Throughout her lifetime, Vanetta’s favorite hobby was always "mothering," but she also excelled in bowling, oil painting, and water color art. According to Anita, her mother was "an excellent seamstress who made all my clothes when I was a child, has a wonderful eye for colors and fabrics and her porcelain dolls are incredible!!!”

Although Vanetta lost Harold - the love of her life - more than a decade ago, and her youngest son three years ago, Vanetta found peace in the gospel of Jesus Christ during difficult times and always referred to hers as "a great life!"

Condolences to the Williams’ family for their loss. Vanetta will be missed by those who knew and loved her.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Elder Forsyth Says "Zai jian"

Brandon Forsyth, second son of Steve and Tina Forsyth, younger brother to Adam - and older brother to Aubrey, Cody, Emily, Dallen, Noah, Idie and Nathan, entered the MTC on Wednesday, October 13. For the next two years, he will serve the Lord and His children in the Singapore Mission where he will teach the gospel in the language of Mandarin Chinese.

Elder Forsyth, who studied Chinese in high school and has loved all-things-Asian since he was a child, is excited about a call to Singapore.

According to his mother, he frequently uses movie lines relating to the Asian culture, including his most recent favorite, “clearly you’ve never been to Singapore” from Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Following his mission, Elder Forsyth hopes to study international business with an eye on a career somewhere in Asia.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in this tropical rainforest country with no distinct seasons, is still in its infancy. In the second most densely populated country in the world, there is only one mission, 10 congregations and a total LDS population of fewer than 3000 members among more than 5 million residents.

In 1960, there were only four members living in Singapore where this small group of Latter-day Saints from the British military and from Hong Kong met together as often as they could. Missionaries first arrived from the Southern Far East Mission in March 1968. That same year the Church established the first congregation in Singapore and a year later, the Southeast Asia Mission was created. In 1970, government officials restricted preaching and limited visas for missionaries but, through the efforts of approximately 100 local members, the Church continued to grow, and in January 1980, the Singapore Mission was reopened.

Admittedly, growth of the Church in Singapore has been slow, but with Elder Forsyth’s hardwork and dedication to the work, many will hear the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ over the next two years.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Catching Up: Meet the Goldings

Bob and Shirley Golding are newly called as shepherds in the Bloomington Young Single Adult Ward where they will work with 18-30 year-olds to encourage them to stay active in the church. The Goldings, who returned in July from 18-months in the Philippines Manila Mission, are no strangers to guiding young people in the right direction. In addition to their own 3 sons, 1 daughter, 13 grandchildren and 29 greats, she kept a watchful eye on the needs of 24 missionaries while he served as a counselor in the mission presidency. Although they initially found it difficult to leave behind their large family in the United States, they found it equally hard to leave their mission family, including the people of the Philippines, the young missionaries and five other senior couples with whom they had developed a deep and loving friendship.

Missionary work is a comfortable calling for this couple who served two years as ward missionaries, then 3 years in the church’s Addiction Recovery Program before accepting their first mission away from home.

In his working life, Bob was employed with Pepsi Cola in Salt Lake City and in St. George where they were one of the first homeowners in the Vintage. After two years in St. George, Bob accepted employment with CBS Outdoor in Las Vegas where they lived for 21 years before his retirement and return to St. George by way of the Philippines.

Bob, who grew up in the church and Shirley, who stepped into the waters of baptism at age 18, hope to serve another mission together, but in the meantime they are happy to be back in St. George where they are already getting acquainted with those in their neighborhood and in the ward!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sage is Baptized

Sage Wilkes, stepped into the waters of baptism on Friday, October 1, holding the hand of her father Robert Wilkes who performed the baptismal ordinance after which her Grandpa Hans Wilkes confirmed her.

Through her baptism, this beautiful 8-year-old, covenants - as do all members of Church - to abide by the laws and requirements of the new and everlasting covenant and “to come into the fold of God” - that is, to become the newest member of the Church of Jesus Christ - and to “serve God and keep his commandments” throughout her lifetime.

Sage, the 4th of Rob and Chardell’s 5 children, is in 2nd grade at George Washington Academy. She LOVES to sing and memorizes the lyrics to songs she likes then sings them all day long. She has an amazing spirit. She's been anxiously awaiting her baptism for years and especially looks forward to being an activity day girl.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bishopric Reorganized

As members of the Bloomington 7th Ward extended a vote of thanks to Ryan Barton for his service since February 2009 as 2nd Counselor in the bishopric, they also raised their hands to sustain Roy Stephen to the position, called to serve by the spirit of revelation and in accordance with the Law of Common Consent.

A lifetime scouter, an avid fisherman and golfer, and most recently the Young Men's president, Brother Stephen is no stranger to service in a bishopric. While living in Oakland, California he was in a Vietnamese branch presidency. Soon after moving to Bloomington, he was called to serve as a counselor to Bishop Dean Christensen and later to Bishop Jim Ottesen.

In between fishing trips and golf games, Brother Stephen will have duties relating to oversight of the YM/YW program, Scouts, music, Activities Committee, fast offerings, stake farm, preparedness, Deseret Industries and the cannery.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Avery Makes the Wright Choice

On Sunday night at the Bloomington Stake Center, Avery Wright took part in an ordinance as old as the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Surrounded by family and friends, the 8-year-old "made of sugar and spice and everything nice" was baptized by immersion and confirmed by her father David Wright in obedience to the Lord's commandment, and to receive the many blessings promised to her as a member of the church. Avery is the youngest daughter of David and Gentry Wright and a 3rd grader at Bloomington Elementary School.

In the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley, it is now the duty of the members of the Bloomington 7th Ward to help Avery "become a strong and faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - a young woman who loves the Lord, who understands the gospel, who fellowships with the Saints and who partakes of the beauties and wonders of the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Stake Picnic Marks End of Summer

The weather was clear and hot, the dogs were tasty, the music lively, conversation relaxed and comfortable and dark glasses were prevalent among nearly 1000 members, family and friends who enjoyed the annual Bloomington Stake picnic - marking the final day of summer - on Tuesday, September 21. There were lots of activities, including a bounce house, to keep the kids enthused; and, as the old saying goes, "a good time was had by all!"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Scouts Celebrate 100 Years

More than 4000 Scouts of all ages, including those from the Bloomington 7th Ward, the Bloomington Stake and the general scouting community took part in the 100th anniversary celebration of the Boy Scouts of America on Saturday, September 18 at the Washington County fairgrounds. Through A Year of Celebration, A Century of Making a Difference, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venture Scouts enjoyed the daylong celebration of the incredible impact of living the Scout Law and the dedication of young men throughout the country to five of Scouting's core values: leadership, character, community service, achievement, and the outdoors.

The day was filled with noisy fun and challenging games testing skills and abilities. Cub Scouts learned how to make catapults, swords, shields and how to read a map. They even got to battle in mass chaos (whose idea was that) with 3000 of them going at it simultaneously. Bloomington 7th had no injuries and blue beat yellow! The closing ceremonies - with live music, an address from President Monday and fireworks -were the best ever!!! All the leaders are still recuperating . . .

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Young Women Reorganized

Cindy Stephenson (center), who recently moved into the ward with her family, has been sustained as President of the Young Women’s Program. According to Sister Stephenson, "this is the first time I've been in YW's . . .ever!! It's going to be an all new experience!"

She will be assisted in her new assignment to help each young woman, ages 12-18, learn the gospel and develop strong testimonies "that they may come unto Christ," by 1st Counselor Linda Felder (right in red), 2nd Counselor Karin Smith (left in green), and Secretary Mary Jean Carson. Also sustained (but not pictured) were Debbie Harrison as Beehive class leader and Lori Schall as teacher of the Mia Maids class while Paula Bown will continue as Laurel class instructor.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Toe-tapping at Tuacahn

Nearly a dozen sisters from the Bloomington 7th Ward donned a uniform of black slacks and white shirts to serve as Tuacahn ushers for a performance of “Crazy for You!” This unusual - and unofficial - Relief Society activity was a perfect end to the long, hot summer. It was hard not to smile throughout the performance which included a number of familiar Gershwin tunes and lots of dancing. In fact, it was so much fun to “step out” together, the sisters are going back on September 22 for “Tarzan.”

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Meet the Stephensons

Bob and Cindy Stephenson have lived in St. George for 11 wonderful years. With their recent move across Man-O-War Bridge, they are pleased with their new neighborhood and look forward to getting to know another ward family in the Bloomington Stake.

As a young man, Bob served a mission in the Washington DC/Virginia area, then returned home to attend Utah State University where he graduated with a degree in Landscape Architecture. Cindy received an associates degree from Ricks College, then almost completed a bachelors degree in English Literature at Utah State before her studies were interrupted when she met and fell quickly and madly in love. Bob and Cindy were sealed in the Oakland California Temple and have enjoyed 31 delightful and eventful years. Throughout their married life the Stephenson’s have lived in lovely places from the east to the west -from Maryland to Oregon and a several places in-between.

Bob and Cindy have been blessed with 5 wonderful, talented children, all who have served or are now serving missions.

Eldest sons Rob and Joe are both married with children and both families live in St George!

Only daughter Anna was married in June and now lives in Logan with her new husband, where they both work and go to school.

Clark recently returned from a mission in Chile, and plans to complete his associates degree at Dixie then finish his college education elsewhere.

Youngest son Brian left in July for a mission in Ventura, California.

Bob and Cindy have both served faithfully in the Church throughout their married life, each serving in a variety of callings. She has taught and served as president in Primary, and as a counselor in Relief Society. He has been in a bishopric and together they have served in the nursery, in scouts and as chairmen of the activities committee.

Bob has been in real estate development for the last 18 years. With the downturn in the economy, he has returned to residential landscape design and repair, as well as website SEO optimization for companies wanting to increase their online presence.

Cindy has what she honestly believes to be the best “job” in the world. For the last 7 years she has had the blessing and privilege of being a hiking guide for a local health spa. This means she gets to hike 3 to 6 days a week in the glorious red desert of St George!!! The added benefits of this 'job' is she gets to share her love and appreciation and beauty of the area . . .plus, she often gets to share her feelings about being a member of the Church. She gets to hike, exercise and meet new people from all over the country, all in the name of 'work.”

“We have been greatly blessed and know all our blessings come from a loving, compassionate Heavenly Father, whom we love to serve,” notes Cindy.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Allen Scott Lives to Laugh Another Day

There probably aren’t many people who get the unique opportunity to see the reaction to their passing from this life while still among the living, but Allen Scott is certainly among that number! Last week, the story of Brother Scott’s death went through the ward like wildfire. No one knows how the rumor got started nor could anyone verify the story - not from the bishop, the newspaper . . . even local mortuaries had no information. Finally - after numerous calls and e-mails from worried ward members - the bishop called Sunnie Olsen, the Scott’s daughter to inquire as to the health of her father. She responded, her mother . . . and her father were very much alive and enjoying some vacation time on a California beach. When Sunnie called her parents to relay the story, they all enjoyed a good laugh. Now Brother Scott can say, as the American author and humorist Mark Twain is reported to have said after reading his own obituary in a hometown newspaper, “the report of my demise have been greatly exaggerated!”

Monday, September 6, 2010

Brianna is Baptized

Brianna Stanley, youngest daughter of Gary and Diana, was baptized and confirmed by her father on Friday, September 3 to become the newest member of the Bloomington 7th Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Those in the circle of priesthood holders were Bishop John Goldhardt, Brianna’s uncle DJ McDonald and her grandfathers Ken Hayes and Lynn Stanley.
According to her proud momma, “NeeNee (a nickname given to her by Lane when he first started talking) turned 8 on June 15, but we delayed her baptism until my parents could be here from Georgia. She was very excited about her baptism and talked a lot about wearing white clothing that evening and being clean.”

Brianna is in 3rd grade at George Washington Academy, where her favorite subject is art. She's an avid reader who is currently enjoying the books Eragon and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Catching Up: Meet the Hollowells

Bob and Carol Hollowell are understandably proud of their family, consisting of four handsome sons: Jordan, Baron, Montana and Bronco! According to a parent who tries her best not to sound boastful, each is making his place in the world in different, but distinct ways.

At the moment, Jordan is serving as a zone leader in the Thailand Bangkok Mission and due home in April, 2011. Baron is about to venture out into the world, too, leaving soon for a short term humanitarian service mission in Brazil, one of 25,000 volunteers traveling abroad with Cross Country Solutions. Montana, at age 17, "is involved in everything," says his mother. Indeed, it would appear so as this senior at Dixie High School runs cross country, placed first in the Utah State horticulture test, tries out for the Madrigal Choir and for a part in his school’s production of "Phantom of the Opera." At the same time, he is fielding a choice of college scholarships for both sports and academics. Bronco, at age 13, is also a fierce competitor in cross country, placing 2nd at Dixie Middle School. "I don’t know what I’d do without him," states his devoted mother. "I don’t want to brag, but personally, I think he is the best kid in the world."

Husband and father Bob Hollowell recently took a job at Hafen Insurance, where he shares office space with Valerie Swanson, another member of the Bloomington 7th Ward. Carol, a graduate of Oregon State with a degree in exercise sport science, works part time selling telecommunications services. In their spare time, the couple enjoys hiking, golf, taking care of neighbors in need and spending time with their sons.

Both from Bend, Oregon, Bob and Carol were raised in the church. He served a mission to Indiana before they were married in the Portland Temple, then each served in a variety of callings including in the Young Mens and Young Womens programs. He also served as Elders Quorum president and she as a chorister ("but, don’t tell Dori Wilkerson," she jokes). Along the way, however, they left the church . . . until they moved to St. George where they are currently serving as Webelos leaders and gradually coming back into full activity.

Two years ago, Carol’s uncle fell ill with kidney disease and desperately needed a transplant. Carol stepped up to offer this gift of life, but was not a match. Still anxious to help, she offered her kidney to a 2-year-old stranger in Salt Lake City on the condition her uncle be moved to the top of the list until an appropriate match could be found. "It was a powerfully spiritual experience," notes Carol. Now 4-years-old and doing well, little Amelia is the main reason the Hollowell’s moved to southern Utah. "We wanted to be close to her, but couldn’t bear the thought of living in Salt Lake City. We're glad we found St. George. We love it here and have already made many wonderful friends."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mo-Mo is B7's Newest Member

Surrounded by a large gathering of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and ward members, Melissa Mae Larson, the second of Aaron and Rebecca Larson's five children, was baptized by her father on Saturday, August 28 and confirmed by her grandpa Larrance Larson. Along with her cousin Nicole Lewis (the daughter of Rebecca’s sister), with whom she shared this sacred experience, Melissa stepped through the “narrow gate and onto the strait path” to become the newest member of the Bloomington 7th Ward. The third grader at Bloomington Elementary School, who reached the age of accountability in mid-August, has learned at home and in Primary about the importance of her baptism by immersion as a representation of the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The ordinance also serves as a reminder to Melissa and Nicole of their promise to follow the Savior and keep His commandments.