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!