Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gabby is Newest Baptized Member

Gabrielle Graham is the youngest of Bruce and Leah Graham’s three children and the first ward member to be baptized in 2010. Gabby turned 8-years-old on January 19, but waited so she could share the baptismal experience with her cousin, Hannah Graham, daughter of John and Angela of the 4th Ward. On Saturday, February 27 at the Bloomington Stake Center, Gabby and Hannah stepped through the "narrow gate and onto the strait path" when they put into action lessons learned at home and in Primary about the importance of baptism by immersion. The ordinance performed by their fathers Bruce and John Graham represents the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and serves as a reminder to Gabby of her promise to follow the Savior and keep His commandments.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

All Aboard the Good Ship P. P. Paradise!

The Young Women of the Bloomington 7th Ward gathered with parents and leaders on Tuesday, February 23 for the "New Beginnings Aboard the P. P. Paradise." The Relief Society room was decorated to resemble a cruise ship and in keeping with the nautical theme, the girls were welcomed aboard by the Cruise Director Lisa Carson and heard remarks from Debbie Harrison, the Activities Director. The evening also included an orientation to the Personal Progress program, to the Young Women theme, logo, motto, and the eight values which will lead these beautiful young women to a personal knowledge that each is " . . . a daughter of Heavenly Father who loves me" and a desire to have ". . . faith in His eternal plan which centers on Jesus Christ, my Savior." Tiana Schall and Kendi Hansen spoke on Faith and Divine Nature. Caroline Bown and Liz Larsen addressed the values of Individual Worth and Knowledge. Choice and Accountability was discussed by Ashley Wilkes and Aspen Erskine spoke of Good Works. Sarah Smith and Toshi Becker explained the values of Integrity and Virtue, followed by Lisa Carson who shared her testimony of the Personal Progress program. Bishop John Goldhardt reminded the young women of the strength and integrity of Ruth in the Old Testament (Ruth 1:16-17) while encouraging them to strive to reach their full potential in life and spirituality. The evening ended with an enthusiastic game of "Personal Progress Jeopardy" and a delicious fruit pizza dessert.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bloomington Missionaries Meet

In a country of nearly 49,000,000 people, Elder Dean and Sister Elaine Christensen, president of the South Africa MTC . . . and Elder Dean and Sister Margaret Hooks, serving South African saints through the Perpetual Education Fund, recently found each other and, according to Sister Elaine, "We took a picture to prove it! Our shipment just arrived (only took a month!) so we are getting our computers set up and ready to go and maybe, if I can remember what to do, I can get my blog going. We have been absolutely ‘buried’ with all there is to do and know and remember so not much time to do anything else. We miss you all and hope you are doing well."

Margaret Hooks adds, "It's good to see the Christensen’s survived the 21-hour flying time to reach South Africa. It takes several days to over come the jet lag and to begin to think straight again. They have accomplished this but find themselves so very busy with the immediate duties of teaching and interviewing. But it can be said they already love it here in Africa as they become acquainted with the elders at the MTC. They have not seen any of the country side of Africa except for a local mall for shopping. Their offices and apartment are in the MTC (which also includes classrooms, cafeteria and bedrooms for the elders). This facility is under the same roof as the Johannesburg Mission office. Their building is in a large complex which has a high brick wall around it with guards at the front gate. This secure complex consist of a stake center, the regional CES offices, physical facilities office, institute class rooms with extensive land containing soccer fields, volleyball court and open spaces with shade trees and benches. Our office is across the driveway from the MTC in the CES building. So we are within yards of each other most days, but have so little time to visit. Greetings to the members of the 7th Ward. We only wish we could bottle up some of this rain and the green to send to you.

Love from the Christensen’s and the Hooks

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sister Amanda Sevier Says "Adios, Tambien!"

Amanda Sevier, youngest daughter of Rudy and Tami Sevier, left February 10 for the Provo MTC where she will study for 3 weeks then travel to the Guatamala MTC for another 6 weeks before serving in the Honduras Comayaguela Mission. A 2005 graduate of Dixie High School, Amanda notes she hoped to be called to a Spanish-speaking mission since "my whole family is Hispanic on my Dad’s side. Everyone in the family tried to guess where I might be sent . . . but Honduras wasn't on anyone's list." Sister Sevier will be in the Provo MTC at the same time as her brother Cameron who entered the MTC on January 13.

The Church in Honduras has grown steadily since 1952 when the gospel was first introduced by Elders Spencer W. Kimball and Marion G. Romney of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The first convert was a hotel waiter with whom they left a copy of the Book of Mormon. A month later, missionaries began actively preaching the gospel and the first branch was organized less than a year later in Tegucigalpa in March 1953. Today there are 20 stakes, three missions and the country’s first temple under construction in Tegucigalpa, the largest and capital city of Honduras. Until this temple is completed, Saints in Honduras and Nicaragua will continue to travel 214 miles each way to attend the Guatemala City Guatemala Temple (dedicated in 1984).

According to recent estimates, Honduras is one of the church’s fastest-growing Central American countries with an estimated 16% growth in membership in 2007, bringing the total number of members in the country to about 125,000. Comayaguela, where Sister Sevier will labor, was founded in 1537 and became the most important city in colonial Honduras. Today, as a manufacturing center with an estimated population of 65,000, Comayaguela serves as the westernmost commercial center of Honduras.