Saturday, January 31, 2015

Nellie is Newest B7 Member

Nellie Green, 8-year-old daughter of Jake and Annie Green and sister to Gracie, Lucie and Baby Jake, was baptized and confirmed by her father on Saturday, January 17 at the Bloomington Stake Center with parents, siblings, grandparents Joe and Becky Peterson and other family members who were present to witness this important event in her young life.

Nellie, who has now reached the age of accountability, has learned at home and in Primary about the importance of baptism by immersion which represents the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and promises to always honor her baptismal covenant to follow the Savior and keep His commandments.

Welcome to the Ward, Martinez Family

The Bloomington 7th Ward sustained a new bishopric in March 2014.  As usually happens when such a change occurs, the new Bishop and his councilors set a goal to reach out, meet with and learn about all the families within the ward boundaries.  One of those families was Larry and Brandi Martinez and their two boys Elijah Brose and Jackson Gardner.  This part-member family expressed interest in having their boys participate in local scouting activities and Brandi was particularly interested in having her sons learn about their Savior and about the gospel plan.  Larry was a long-haul trucker so scheduling lessons around his work schedule was nearly impossible … so to make sure he was involved, the missionaries hit upon a plan to use the phone and internet to link him to each family / missionary lesson.  From hundreds of miles away, he listened in on the teaching of his boys and was also touched by the Spirit.  When the boys set a date for their own baptisms, he was impressed to ask them if they would be willing to wait until he could prepare and be baptized first. 

Within a few months of work, study and progress, trucker dad entered the waters of baptism.  A few weeks later, both boys were baptized by the Priesthood holding Dad.  Now they are working together finding and preparing family names for temple work.

Welcome, Martinez family, to the best ward in the Church!  We love you all.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Happy Birthday, Cub Scouts

Ashton Gardner, son of Shauna Gardner; Jackson Gardner, son of Brandilyn and Larry Martinez (and Ashton's cousin); and, Thomas Larson, son of Aaron and Rebecca Larson, along with their parents and leaders enjoyed dinner and a bake-off for which each Scout received a participation award.  The eagerly anticipated Blue and Gold Banquet was held on January 22 at the Southgate Chapel.

For most Cub Scout packs the Blue and Gold Banquet is a “birthday party” celebrating the pack’s anniversary, but it is also an opportunity to bring families together for an evening of fun and cheer, say "thank you" to pack leaders and other adults who help the pack and inspire leaders, parents and Scouts for the upcoming year.

Thanks to Wolf leader Susan Foley, Bear leader Kimberly Daniel, Webelos leader Andrew Nelson, Cubmaster Scott Daniel, 11-year-old Scout leaders Mike and Bobbie Twitty and Scout Committee Chair Carl Johnston for your hard work on behalf of our Cub Scouts.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Missionaries Coming and Going

Adam Clarke (left), recently returned from the Arizona Mesa
Mission.  Elder Steve Gwilliam enters the MTC on
Wednesday, January 7, 2015.
Steven Gwilliam, oldest of Steve Gwilliam’s three sons, enters the MTC on Wednesday, January 7 in final preparation for 2-years of fulltime service in the Kansas Witchita Spanish-speaking Mission. 

The 6'7" elder, whose father is a commercial airline pilot who has seen just about every corner of the world, was not disappointed at being called to serve a stateside mission to Kansas where there are  nearly 200,000 Spanish speakers for him to find and teach! 

"I took a semester or two of Spanish in high school - and learning a language was on my missionary wish list," states Elder Steve.  As the official language of more than 400 million people in 21 countries, it is the third most widely-spoken language in the world, after English and Mandarin and is quickly becoming the language of business.  Experts predict by the year 2050, there will be 530 million Spanish speakers in the world, of which 100 million will be living in the United States.

Missionaries in Kansas first taught Shawnee and Delaware Indians in 1831. In 1846, members in the state joined the Mormon Battalion as volunteers in the United States' war against Mexico and were trained and equipped in Fort Leavenworth. For those Church members emigrating from Europe, the area around Atchison, Kansas became a layover site on the journey up the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers in 1855.  A camp called Mormon Grove was established where more than 100 acres were cultivated and crops planted for future immigrants. The camp only lasted one summer, but fulfilled its purpose. In 1882, missionaries arrived in Kansas and organized a branch on the border between Dickinson and Salina counties.  Soon after, missionaries left Kansas temporarily after mob threats but returned in 1887.

By 1930, Church membership in Kansas had grown to 2,060 with congregations established in Blau, Kansas City, Leavenworth, St. John, Topeka, and Wichita, but it would be more than 30 years before the first stake was organized in June 1962.  Today, there is a mission and nearly 36,000 members in 75 congregations in the Sunflower State.

Returning from 2-years of full-time service in the Arizona Mesa Mission, Adam Clarke, son of Lee and Denise Clarke, calls his mission "the best - and the hardest - two years of my life."  His immediate future will involve work alongside his dad who owns and operates a local towing company.  School is in this returned missionary's future, but he's "not sure which school or when I will enroll."

Some of the first members of the Church in Arizona marched with the Mormon Battalion preparing to fight in the Mexican-American War, in the winter of 1846-47.  Other members, sent from Utah in 1873, came to colonize the area, build a fort, dig canals, build dams while struggling to adjust to the dry land.  When members left Mexico in 1912, Arizona was a place of refuge for many Mexican Latter-day Saints. 

Today, there are more than 410,000 members, 6 missions and 5 temples in Arizona.