Sunday, June 28, 2015

Welcome Home, Chase Evans

Elder Chase Evans, the oldest of Eric and Shannon Evans three children, has recently returned with honor from two years of full-time missionary service in the Wisconsin Milwaukee Spanish-speaking Mission.

In a letter from his mission president, the handsome red-headed returned missionary was said to be, "an outstanding leader and an exceptional young man who served with zeal and determination and brought many families to the gospel of Jesus Christ."

One of only 28 Spanish-speaking missionaries among the 200+ who served in the mission, Chase shared his strength and testimony of God's love for His children and for the Book of Mormon, not only as a missionary, but as a trainer, a District Leader and as a Zone Leader. 

What's in his future?  Chase plans to attend BYU in the fall where he will minor in Spanish and major in business with a goal to earn a Masters in Business Administration.  For now, he is enjoying time with his family, reading the Book of Mormon every day and attending the temple weekly.

In 1841, after early members of the Church had drained the swampland and built the community of Nauvoo, a group of Church members traveled into Wisconsin to gather timber.  They floated pine logs down the Black River to Nauvoo using the lumber for the construction of the Nauvoo Temple.  By 1843, there were more than 150 people in the settlement at Black River.  When Church members learned they were harvesting lumber in Native American territory, they sought out tribal leaders to pay for the wood and stayed to preach the gospel to the Native Americans.

When persecution forced the Saints from Nauvoo in 1847, many Wisconsin members joined the westward trek.  Missionary efforts resumed in 1878.  The first official congregation was formed in 1899 and Wisconsin's first chapel was built in 1907.  There are currently nearly 26,000 members and only one mission in the state.

Bienvenido a casa, Elder Evans.  Estamos muy contentos de tenerte de vuelta.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Three Recognized at Scout Court of Honor

Three members of B7's Aaronic priesthood were recognized on Friday, June 19 with the prestigious Eagle Scout award in a Court of Honor held at the Mulberry Chapel. Cole Wilkes, son of Robert and Chardell Wilkes; Jake Stokes, son of John and Kristina Stokes; and, Mitchell Smith, son of Eric and Karin Smith received the highest advancement rank in scouting before a group of about 60 friends, neighbors and ward members.

Peter Bown, recently returned missionary; Jim Bown, 2nd Counselor in the Bloomington Stake Presidency and Gail Maxwell all shared personal scouting experiences and encouraged the three new Eagle scouts to incorporate the values of scouting in their daily lives. 

The requirements for an Eagle award are rigorous and take a dedicated determination to complete, including:  Be active in the troop for a period of at least six months after achieving the rank of Life Scout.  Demonstrate adherence to the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law in daily life. Earn a total of 21 merit badges. Demonstrate responsibility in scout positions. Take part in a unit leadership conference and complete an approved Eagle project and an Eagle Scout board of review ... all before the age of 18.

Congratulations to all three for the accomplishment of this important goal.

Welcome Home, Sebastian Fraser

Sebastian Fraser, oldest son of Steven and Jill Fraser, is newly home from two years of fulltime missionary service in the California Fresno (Hmong speaking) Mission.  Brother Fraser entered the mission field two weeks after his high school graduation in the first wave of young men after the minimum age for missionary service was lowered from 19 to 18.  He calls his mission, “a time of change.  It has made me who I am today.” 

What’s in his future?  Where does he go from here?  At the moment he is looking for work, hopefully something relating to music.  He is available to teach cellists of any age while he prepares to go to school where he plans to major in cello performance, although he has not yet decided which school he will attend. 

There are nearly 6,500,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; 19 missions - more than any other state; and 7 temples in California.  The Fresno Temple, dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley on April 9, 2000, regularly conducts sessions in English, Spanish and Hmong serving more than 28,000 members in eight stakes in and around Fresno.

Fresno California Temple
The Hmong population in Fresno originated in Southeast Asia, primarily from Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, many who resettled in the U.S. as war refugees following the North Vietnamese invasion of Laos during the Vietnam War.  Today, the Fresno Metropolitan area has the nation's second largest Hmong community of approximately 60,000.

Txais tos lub tsev, Elder Fraser.  Peb yeej txaus siab tau ntsib koj.  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Welcome Home, Dakota Black Bair

Dakota Black Bair, only son of Bishop Mike and Lori Bair and brother to Brianna, Aspen and Cara Bair, has returned with honor after two years of fulltime service in the Oregon Portland (Spanish-speaking) Mission. 

Although he is pleased to be home, and looks forward to what lies ahead in his life, he calls the end of his mission “bittersweet.  Fulltime missionary service has been my norm for the past two years and it seems strange not to put on my black nametag everyday.”

Church membership in the state of Oregon now exceeds 150,000 in 306 wards and branches.  The state also has three missions and two temples.  The Portland Temple – the Church’s 42nd operating temples - was dedicated in 1989.  The Medford Temple – number 79 of 173 temples currently in operation – was dedicated in 2000.

What’s next in this young man’s life?  At the end of the summer, he expects to begin his college education at BYU where he will complete general studies before moving into his major, although at this time, “I have no idea what that will be.  I have a lot of things I am considering, but haven’t made any decisions.”  He also hopes to try out for BYU’s football program.
Bienvenido a casa, Brother Dakota. Te echamos de menos!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Girls Camp

Five Beehive and two MiaMaid girls with seven Laurels as camp counselors recently enjoyed this year’s annual Girls Camp, held June 3-6, 2015 at Clear Creek Family Ranch near Zion National Park.  Young Women leaders, including camp director Cheryl Kanenwisher and assistant camp director Lisa Carson were well-prepared to take B7’s Young Women on their own special 3-day cruise involving fun, games, service and spiritual growth around a theme of “Embark!”

Over the perfectly beautiful summer weekend, the girls enjoyed the cruise ship theme when they visited Port Faith, where they were spiritually uplifted during a devotional led by Caroline Bown, then had "the faith to leave the harbor" in paddle boats.  In Divine Nature Bay, each girl wrote a message in a bottle to herself, then each designed her own canvas tote bag.  On Individual Worth and Knowledge Pier, the young women were invited to personalize a journal for their use.  Relaxing in the Choice and Accountability Spa, nails and toes were prettied up.  Club Integrity and Virtue took the young women on a hike where they enjoyed the beauty of nature in Zion Canyon.  And, finally, on the Dock of Good Works, the girls took part in a mini-service project when they cleaned up the campground.

Thanks to recently returned missionary Dakota Bair for sharing his thoughts on the Atonement, his love for the Savior and his testimony during an evening fireside … to our priesthood leaders Bishop Mike Bair, Brothers Kanenwisher, Schall, Wilkes, and Erskine for their help in many ways; to Jake and Annie Green for the loan of their truck and to the Bair family for providing dinner for our hungry campers on Friday night.

And, to quote Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who understands the sacrifice of YW leaders:  "I am grateful for Young Women leaders who go to girls camp and, without shampoo, showers, or mascara, turn smoky, campfire testimony meetings into some of the most riveting spiritual experiences those girls—or those leaders—will experience in their lifetime."(October 2010 General Conference)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Fathers, Sons Celebrate the Great Outdoors

Probably the Church’s first official Father and Son campout happened when Lehi took his boys out into the wilderness to sleep in tents, discuss family history around the campfire; eat off the land; hunt, fish, and hike; and just enjoy their quality time together. 

On the weekend of June 12-13, Fathers and Sons from the B7 Ward followed this ancient prophet’s example when they belatedly commemorated the restoration of the Aaronic priesthood while enjoying nature, friendship and the importance of family relationships at the Enterprise Reservoir. 

Thanks to Claude Warner who prepared Friday evening’s delicious Dutch oven dinner of Shepherd’s Pie; to Steve Gwilliam for his famous peaches and blueberry cobbler Dutch oven dessert as well as a marshmallow chocolate cake with ice cream.  Landon Munk, B7’s new Elders Quorum president was assisted by members of his quorum in preparing the Saturday morning pancake and hungry man breakfast for our campers; and, to Roy Stephen who provided utensils, paper goods and bottled water for the outing.  

Fathers and sons (as well as grandfathers and grandkids), rested and relaxed and then with full bellies enjoyed hiking, looking for crawdads down by the reservoir, playing a ropes golf game and just being together on a warm summer morning.

Thanks to all who participated and who helped make this event another B7 success!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Scout's High Adventure in California

B7’s Varsity Scouts Adam Gwilliam, Pete Fraser, Jarett Thomas, Stephen Larson, Wyatt Woodland, Jacob Stokes and Luke Wilkes had a great time at this year’s High Adventure Scout Camp (May 27-30). On the first day they traveled to the Las Vegas Temple, the Newport Beach Temple and finally the San Diego Temple to do baptisms. It was a very long day but filled with many spiritual experiences. The second day they went deep sea fishing on a boat called the Chubasco 2. The fish were plentiful and every boy caught something - either rock fish, kelp bass, California scorpion fish or California yellowtail. After fishing all day they boarded a train for a trip into the heart of San Diego to attend a San Diego Padres game at Petco Park. The third day they went to La Jolla Cove for kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling, boogie boarding and swimming. The final day was a quick stop at the Orange County swap meet before a very long day of travel back to sunny St George.  Fun was had by all … and thanks to our Varsity Scout leaders Aaron Larson, Mike Foley and Steve Gwilliam for their planning and leadership making this a successful and memorable event for the boys!