Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bloomington 7th's Newest Member

Meet the newest member of the Bloomington 7th Ward and of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

Members of the ward have been watching Thomas Larsen grow for the last 8 years and can hardly believe he was old enough to be baptized last Saturday at the Stake Center.

The Larsen Family is pretty excited about the decision Thomas made to be baptized and make his first covenants.

"To be baptized as Jesus was by one who holds the priesthood true,
and thus obey God's holy laws, is just the thing I want to do.
"I Like My Birthdays", Children's Songbook pg. 104

Congratulations Thomas!

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Christensen's are Home

Dean and Elaine Christensen recently returned home from a two year mission as Bro. Christensen served as the President of the Missionary Training Center in South Africa. Our ward was blessed to hear them speak in Sacrament last Sunday the 29th.

Sis. Christensen spoke of her gratitude for the privilege and experience of serving in the MTC.  She taught that Heavenly Father does indeed look out for missionaries and their families and witnessed the reality of the promise given in D&C 84, where the Lord promised, "...for I will go before your face.  I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."  She also taught that sometimes we--you and I are the angels on the errand of helping and bearing up missionary work.

We learned that there are 30,000 missionaries trained every year.  One third of those are trained at one of the 14 international MTCs, like the one she and her husband served at.  During their time in South Africa, they served close to 800 missionaries in the MTC.  Sis Christensen shared how most of the Africans that come to the MTC are new members of the Church.  They are generally older than most American missionaries and they have suffered many challenges in order to become a member of the Church.  Many are disowned and persecuted.  These missionaries have amazing faith and strength.  They believe if they live the gospel, every thing will work out.  The gospel changes their lives in profound ways.

If we want to enrich our faith, we must keep the covenants that we've made.  She suggested that we ask ourselves, "Do I have to be asked if I will accept a calling?" Knowing that we have made covenants with the Lord, we should in reality have already accepted all callings willingly.

Sis. Christensen closed her remarks expressing how grateful she was for her mission and for opportunities to step out of her comfort zone, to have her testimony grow, to have her knowledge enhanced, to understand what Jesus can do and to appreciate His Atonement even more.

Bro. Christensen began his remarks with explaining that in the MTC, they taught the missionaries who they are--that they and all of us are sons and daughters of Heavenly Father.  This knowledge enables them and us to fulfill our missions in life, knowing that we are literal children of God.

He taught us the definition of a mission:  Where someone leaves for a short time so that others can be with their families forever.

Faith and miracles come along as Bro. Christensen witnessed on their mission.  He shared examples of great faithfulness and miracles that occurred.

He also taught:  Obedience brings blessings.  EXACT obedience brings MIRACLES. Literal fulfillment of this promise was illustrated in an example of missionaries being protected from harm during political upheaval. Because these elders exactly followed the rules given to them by their mission president, they were removed from a situation that could have resulted in their deaths.

One of the principle goals of our life on earth is to change from a natural man by listening to the Holy Ghost.  In D&C 88, we learn that as we keep going, we are renewed.  On their mission, the Christensen's felt a sanctification took place, a softening of the soul, patience, and a settling of the mind as they became better acquainted with Jesus.  If we really believe that the Church is true, then how can we turn down callings?  "Faith is the 'why' for obedience."  We have to do everything we're asked to do, everything, to build the kingdom.  Then we become someone that hopefully resurrects to a celestial being, and live not only with Jesus, but our Heavenly Father in the Celestial Kingdom.

The Bloomington Ward is so grateful to have the Christensen's home and we know that we were all blessed by their service in the MTC in South Africa.  They are valiant examples to us all.
Welcome Home!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Well Done Elder Sevier

Elder Cameron Sevier returned home last week from serving the Lord in the Guadalajara Mexico Mission.  He spoke in Sacrament on Sunday and testified that Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been restored because of this vision.

He also spoke of the change of heart that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.  On his mission, he witnessed many hearts that had been changed but believed that it was his own heart that he saw change the most.

Elder Sevier taught of the importance of coming to church each week.  He also shared how happy our Father in Heaven is when we are obedient in attending our church meetings and that we will receive blessings, some of which are an abundance of the earth and protection of the Spirit.

As part of his homecoming, Elder Sevier sang a musical selection of "Lead Kindly Light" with family members and friends in Spanish.

We welcome home Cameron Sevier and are proud of his service as a missionary.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Spectacular Rehearsal

Rehearsals for the Youth Spectacular to be performed on May 12th are underway.  The Bloomington Stake will be performing Polynesian dances as part of the program.  Tonight our 7th Ward youth learned a Samoan dance.
Here's a sample of what we will see this summer...

Youth Spectacular Rehearsal January 24, 2012 from Cheryl Kanenwisher on Vimeo.

Our youth are awesome!

For more information on the "Arise and Shine Forth" Youth Spectacular, visit: