Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Farewell, Sister Baker

Our beautiful and fun-loving Lois Baker, a longtime member of the ward, passed away peacefully at her Bloomington home on Sunday morning, August 25 while waiting for her daughter Jill Jones to pick her up for Sacrament meeting. 

This child of the Great Depression and World War II was the 4th of 5 children who spent the first 16 years of her life on the family farm in South Dakota, but at the first opportunity for "escape" she ran off to California where she met and later married her first husband - the father of her two children Greg Anderson and Jill Jones.

After 25 years at the front desk of the Hacienda Hotel in Las Vegas, Lois moved to St. George in 1997 to be closer to family, unaware of the great blessings which would soon come into her life, because it was in St. George she met and married J. Ray Baker and soon after joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Lois was never happier than when she was married to and dancing with Ray with whom she spent the summers in Beaver, but also traveled the world, including China, Alaska, Europe and "golfing in every one of the 50 states"  

Her family and friends knew her as opinionated - especially about politics, creative, frugal ("Use it up, Wear it Out, Make it do...or Do without"), competitive and one who participated fully in life!!!  She had a big, infectious laugh and found humor in both the silly and the serious.  In her leisure time, she enjoyed crossword puzzles and researching her family genealogy.  She also took great pleasure in spending time with any of her 31 grandchildren and 54 great-grandchildren.  Everyone who knew Lois considered her their friend and an example of Christ-like love.  True to her character, Lois remained positive and upbeat to the end, despite battling cancer – and requested, in lieu of flowers, those who wish to do so may make a donation in her name to the Humanitarian Fund of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Elizabeth Bown Says "Do widzenia"

Elizabeth Bown, 2nd daughter of Jim and Paula Bown, enters the Provo MTC on August 22 where she will develop language skills in preparation for fulltime missionary service in the Poland Warsaw Mission. 

Her decision to serve a mission “did not come like a bolt of lightning,” says Sister Bown.  “I turned 21 in September.  I pondered whether or not I should go and prayed for inspiration as I completed the somewhat complicated and time consuming process.  The process went smoothly and perfectly, but I still had not received an answer.  Then President Anderson helped me realize I had been following the promptings of the Spirit as I completed the process and the Spirit testified to me I was making the right decision by choosing to serve."

This beautiful sister missionary drove home from BYU in order to open her call letter surrounded by her family.  “There was dead silence when I read that I would be serving in Poland and would teach in Polish,” she remembers. “Within five minutes I knew Poland was where I was meant to serve and that it was by divine inspiration I had been called there. The spirit testified this truth to me and my testimony of missionary work was strengthened.” 
Sister Bown's arrival at the MTC is two months earlier than she was originally supposed to report, due to an urgent request from her mission president.  After 9 weeks of language study and spiritual preparation, she will fly to Poland at the end of October just in time for winter – which are notoriously cold.  According to Sister Bown "from November to March the temperature in Warsaw averages -30 degrees with only 4 hours a day of sunlight!"  Brrrrrr!

The Church was officially registered in 1961 in Poland, a country of historic value relating to WWII and to the music of Chopin. A decade later, Poland's only small branch was closed. In May 1977, the Church was again officially registered but only foreign missionaries served until 1989, when the first Polish missionary – Sister Urzula Adamska was called.  In that same year, ground was broken for the first meetinghouse.  In July 1990, the Poland Warsaw Mission was established.  Approximately 89% of the general population is Roman Catholic. Still in its infancy, the LDS Church in Poland currently has less than 2000 members in 13 operating branches located in Warsaw, Lodz, Bialystok, Lublin, Gdansk, Bydgoszcz, Poznan, Wroclaw, Katowice and Krakow.   

She will be missed in Bloomington, but Sister Bown will be warmly welcomed in this cold country where she is certain to have many memorable experiences during her 18 months of service to the Lord and His children in Poland.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Primary + Water = Summer Fun

On a hot and sunny Saturday, August 18, the eagerly anticipated Primary Water Party was held on the hillside behind the Manzanita Chapel.  Nearly two dozen B7 Primary children were on hand to slip and slide, get hosed down by the big red fire truck - courtesy of the St. George Fire Department - and eat popcycles!  It was a great way to spend one of the last of the "dog days of summer."  Thanks to Gary and Nancy Anderson for creating the amazing slide and for the Primary presidency for arranging the fun!  (Thanks to Nancy Anderson for this picture.  The ward blogger took some adorable pictures at this event, too, but unfortunately, I had my camera on the wrong setting!)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Farewell, Brother Keith Landon

Longtime Bloomington 7th Ward member Keith Vernon Landon passed from mortality in the early morning hours of Thursday, August 16, 2012, at his Bloomington home. 

He was just four months short of his 99th birthday and, although he was unable - due to his failing health - to attend church for the past year or two, he nevertheless, departed this life with his testimony burning brightly!
Members of the Bloomington 7th Ward only knew Keith as a retiree who loved golf, gardening, mechanics and maintaining his beautiful home in prime condition, but for more than 30 years he and his wife Ruth lived in Covina, California where he first sold real estate, then worked as a department manager at Douglas Aircraft, before accepting the manager position of a large and very popular restaurant in Pasadena, California. 
As a child, Keith’s father developed painful rheumatoid arthritis which, for a time, made him bedridden.  When he was finally able to work, he took a job outdoors along the shore of a beautiful lake – which made for an idyllic childhood for Keith and resulted in a lifelong love of lakes.
Religion always played a part in his life.  In his youth, the family lived across from the Glenwood Baptist Church.  His father was very religious and very involved in evangelical activities.  Speakers scheduled for the church’s tent meetings would frequently stay with the Landon family, including Billy Sunday, the most celebrated and influential American evangelist of the 1920’s.
Keith met Ruth Aiken, his wife of 54 years when she came into the restaurant seeking a position as a hostess/cashier.  She got the job!  Their marriage in 1958 created a blended family including his son Berl, her daughter Diane and later, their two sons, James and Scott.
As a result of Ruth’s missionary zeal, Keith joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1962.  He was ever grateful to her for that decision and was a faithful member to the end of his life. He served in many capacities and in numerous callings, including scouting, High Priest Group Leader, a counselor in the Elders Quorum and Sunday School and as a genealogy coordinator, but his favorite calling was working in the baptistry of the St. George Temple where he always said he felt “a tangible spirit of love.”
Keith’s kind and gentle demeanor, strong work ethic, dapper good looks, love of home and family and devotion to Ruth and his faith, will be long remembered by his neighbors and friends. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pine Valley A Break from Dixie Summer Heat

Pine Valley - with food and friends - in the “dog days of summer” . . . it doesn’t get any better than that! 

Not unlike the early pioneers who found respite from the scorching hot Dixie sunshine, on Friday, August 10, members and friends of the Bloomington 7th Ward traveled up and up in altitude while the temperature went down and down - from 105° in downtown St. George to a cool and comfortable 80° in the beautiful new Pine Valley Mountain campground.  The pot luck dinner – with pulled pork sandwiches provided by the ward - was delicious and plentiful.  The games were entertaining and the conversation was lively.  Thanks to Brother Marv and Sister Vicki Dove and all others who made this wonderful annual social event another big success.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Youth Conference on Temple Square

In her recent Sacrament meeting talk, Ashley Wilkes admitted she thought a youth conference at Temple Square in Salt Lake City was going to be nothing more than just walking around looking at buildings.  However, she - and approximately 20 other young men and young women who traveled to Utah's capital city with ward leaders - called the well-planned annual event "wonderful, memorable, inspiring, spiritual and a lot of fun!"

The Young Women and Young Men of the Bloomington 7th Ward spent July 25-27 together at this very special event.  According to YW President Cheryl Kanenwisher, “Our youth were great examples of the theme, ‘Arise and Shine Forth’ throughout the entire trip. We learned to make ‘Smith’ Chicken in a cooking demo taught by the Executive Chef of the Lion House, we toured the Conference Center, played Family Search Jeopardy, and learned about the printing of the Book of Mormon in the Church History Museum.  We are so blessed to live in this time and in this place where we have the fulness of the gospel, living prophets and the testimonies of our pioneer ancestors.

Bloomington 7th Ward Young Men and Young Women extend thanks to Bishop Goldhardt for making this youth conference possible and to the leaders who sacrificed their time and means to help the youth have this memorable experience.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Priests Explore SoCal

The B7 Priests Quorum had an enjoyable time together in Southern California last month.  During five days (June 25-30), they managed to fill every minute with a mix of spirituality and high adventure.  They attended and performed baptisms in the San Diego, Newport Beach and Los Angeles Temples . . . all in one day - a highlight for both the priests and the adult leaders — everyone ended the day with a strong Spirit and a greater love for the temple.

Then it was off to the beach for a day of ocean fishing near Dana Point followed by a day at Corona del Mar State Beach where the young men enjoyed exploring tide pools and learning how to use a Boogie Board.  Some even had an added lesson on the importance of sun screen!

The young men also spent a day with full-time missionaries in the Huntington Beach Zone where Zone leaders prayerfully selected companionships for each priest.  The Priests had the opportunity to study with the missionaries, perform service, go tracting, visit investigators, assist with lessons, and place copies of the Book of Mormon – all activities which got the Bloomington 7th priests enthused and excited for their own missions in the very near future. 

“Mormon Night” at Dodger Stadium found the Dodgers losing to the Mets, but the loss didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits.  Fireworks on the ball field was fun, too!

Each night, the priests and their adult leaders sat around the fire and de-briefed what was learned that day and its priesthood applications.  In addition, nightly fireside topics included the following:  “I Will Make You Fishers of Men”, “The Spirit of Elijah”, “Morality for Youth”, and “The Best Two Years”.

Special thanks and appreciation to leaders and chaperones Jake Green, Claude Warner, Cameron Sevier, and James Bertschi.  “It was an absolute honor and privilege for me to spend this week with our quorum,” said Bishop Goldhardt.  “We spent valuable time with one another growing, learning, and laughing together.  These young men are powerful, and I’m a better person because of them.”