Sunday, May 25, 2014

Welcome Home, Elder Macklin Brown

Macklin Brown, son of Ronald and Vanda Lawson and brother to Dalan and Warner Brown, is newly released from two years of fulltime service in the Australia Sydney South Mission.  When he left for the MTC his family was living in Portland, Oregon but within a few weeks of beginning his missionary journey, the family packed up and moved to southern Utah and he was reassigned for one transfer (about six weeks) to the Colorado Colorado Springs Mission – known as the anti-Mormon capital of the world - while waiting for his visa.  Both missions were difficult – but for different reasons.  In Colorado, there was a continuous barrage of hate and “church bashing” but in Australia, where there was no persecution, the lifestyle is easy, the people are content and there is no need for anything beyond what they already have.  “We knocked on doors for hours and hours every week and were thrilled to find even one person who was interested enough to invite us back,” says the former Elder, “so we changed our approach and focused our attention on member referrals.  We found the most solid investigators are those who come from member referrals.”

For the next few weeks, Macklin will be on the Bloomington Stake “speaking circuit” while he searches for various schools in pursuit of an education which will train him to help people maintain their good health through nutrition and exercise.

Welcome home, Elder Brown.  Members of the B7 Ward look forward to getting to know you!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

B7 Grads Look to The Future

Graduating from high school is a milestone event … tangible proof an important life goal has been achieved ... and the first step into adulthood.  In the B7 Ward, the following four have achieved this momentous objective. 

Stetson Jones, son of Teak Jones and Corwin and Diana Smith, has been a proud Dixie Flyer for only about a year, but in that time, he has made a name for himself playing football and wrestling, and has even found time to work toward a pilot license through the school’s JROTC program.   In addition, he graduated on May 22 with a gpa over 3.75, received a WCSD Honor Diploma and was one of 70 Utah Scholars in his graduating class.  During the weeks immediately following graduation, he will be very busy as he prepares to enter the MTC on July 30 in the final step toward full-time missionary service in the Philippines Cebu Mission.  

Aleia Anderson, daughter of Gary and Nancy Anderson, graduated from 4 years of seminary then joined 325 of her classmates at the Avenna Center on the DSU campus to receive a diploma from Dixie High School. Aleia, who calls winning “Best in 3D” for sculpture in the Dixie Conesite Festival a highlight in her high school career, was awarded the Merit Scholarship to Dixie State University and plans to further her education at DSU majoring in art. 

Ashley Wilkes, daughter of Rob and Chardell Wilkes, graduated in early May from the Success Academy at Dixie State University, a rigorous early college high school program with an emphasis on computers, engineering and science, where her favorite class was Psychology.  Highlights of her high school years include placing 3rd in chemistry in the SUU Science Fair and receiving the Dean’s Scholarship to DSU.  Looking forward, this artistic young woman is excited about taking an oil painting class from Del Parsons, is planning to serve a mission and hopes to attend BYU. 

Bridger Kanenwisher, daughter of Boyd and Cheryl Kanenwisher, was one of 54 graduating this year from Tuacahn High School. Bridger graduated with honors and has earned a full tuition academic scholarship to Snow College. She leaves in August for school. She was a member of the state award-winning Tuacahn Madrigals choir and participated in 2 other choirs as well. 

Congratulations, B7 Grads!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

YM / YM Walk to the Temple

Last Wednesday B7’s YM and YW completed the second annual walk to the St. George Temple.  This tradition started last year when they left the Mulberry Chapel for the almost 5-mile walk to the St. George Temple.  This year, YW President Cheryl Kanenwisher wanted the journey to be a bit more meaningful … a pretty tall order considering 12-18 year old boys and girls were gathered together and sent out in 82-degree weather … not always an ideal setting for reverence.  “It's not that I wanted this event to be perfectly holy and upright," said the YW President.  "I wanted them to have fun, but there also needed to be a purpose.

Each year for Girls Camp, the Young Women are required to go on a hike as part of their yearly certification.  I had to get permission to use our walk to the temple to qualify for that certification.  One of the requirements of a 3rd year camper is to learn how to use a compass for orienteering purposes.  I figured we could accomplish this task of teaching them how to use a compass, certifying for our hike and applying this event as an analogy of how the temple is like a compass in our life.

We began in the Relief Society room with a brief discussion of what a compass is, it's historical use and how it is helpful.  The dictionary describes a compass as a device used to find direction by means of a needle which always points north and as something to help a person make choices about what is right and effective.

I asked the youth how compasses are helpful.  Here's what we determined:

·                Compasses always point to true north.
·                Compasses help us find direction.
·                Compasses help us negotiate through unfamiliar territory.

With those definitions in mind, I asked the youth to think of how the Temple is a compass during their walk to the temple.  We left shortly after our discussion and headed to our first stop at a park where a water stop was provided by our advisors in YW's.  Along the way I pointed out the 'petroglyphs' made by pioneers high up on the desert varnish depicting the Cotton Mission established by Brigham Young when he sent settlers to this area to colonize.

During our 15 minute break in the shade at the park, Brother Kanenwisher took our 3rd year campers aside and demonstrated the use of a compass. After hydrating, we set off again and by this point in the hike, the temple was in our sights for the rest of the journey.

We followed an established walking/biking city trail route until we reached Dixie High School, where we left the trail and crossed the street over to the temple.  After a quick drink and photos on the steps of the temple, we all joined together in a circle under a tree in the grass for a quick discussion where I asked the youth to tell me what their impressions were about how the Temple is a Compass in their lives.

With the same definitions as established before:

·                How does the temple point to True North.  
·                Who is True North?
·                How does the Temple help us find direction?
·                How does the Temple help us negotiate through unfamiliar territory?

I asked each one of the youth to share how the Temple is a Compass in their life.  I asked them to complete this sentence:  The Temple is a compass in my life because...

We had some wonderful and thoughtful remarks. I don't know if this activity left as big of impression in their lives as it did mine, but the Spirit did testify of the importance of the temple in our lives.  I also asked the youth to list some other 'compasses' in their lives.  They named the Holy Ghost, scriptures, patriarchal blessings, parents, prophets and teachers.

Applying the same definition of a compass as before, these are all great compasses in our lives.  We are blessed to have these tools given to us to lead us back to our Father in Heaven.

After our discussion we walked over to the church parking lot across the street from the temple where Sister Bair had pizza waiting! Spiritual and physical nourishment are both important!  I gave each of the youth a small compass on a carabiner along with the print out from above.

Thank you to all those who participated in our Temple Walk, both leaders and youth.  We had so many parents come to help deliver the youth home afterwards, too.  I'm so grateful for the support of wonderful leaders and parents in this ward.  Girls Camp hike, accomplished.   Compass discussion, accomplished.  Successful and meaningful joint activity, accomplished. I'd say this was definitely a mission accomplished.  

I feel encompassed in the love of our Savior and friends.  I thank Him for temples.”

Monday, May 5, 2014

Farewell, Brother Byron McLeese

Byron McLeese, a long time member of the B7 ward, passed from this life on Tuesday, April 29 at the Southern Utah VA Center in Ivins.  Although his health deteriorated dramatically over the past two years, Brother McLeese maintained his passion for life and sense of humor to the end.  

Said to have “earned every advantage” Bryon was “a testament to the American dream.”  He loved his wife Betty, their two children – Francine (Kerry) Cox of St. George and Bradley McLeese of SLC - his three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  He also loved his church, his country, the U. S. Constitution, the Jazz and living in St. George.  Friends and family call him “punctual to a fault, fun loving but easily agitated and always a loyal and faithful friend.”  He was proud of his beautiful head of hair, but when it began to fall out due to chemotherapy, he took the shears and “evened it out!”

At the time of his marriage to Betty Kochevar in May, 1961, Byron worked as a title insurance executive at First Security Title. In 1969, the McLeese family moved to St. George where he became “busily engaged in life in red rock country” and a key player in developing Bloomington. Byron was a successful real estate broker “and a modern pioneer whose fingerprints are all over this town.”  Byron also owned and operated several convenience stores.

Byron served 25 years as an engineer in the U. S. Army, including a tour of combat duty in Korea.  In 1977 he retired as an Army Reservist with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Byron was active in the community serving many positions in the Rotary Club of St. George, Washington County Board of Realtors, Dixie Sunshiners, Bloomington Community Council, Dixie College Athletics, and the GOP Executive Committee. Honored as Washington County Realtor of the Year and Outstanding Republican, he was the first from Southern Utah to be appointed by the Governor to serve a term on the Utah Real Estate Commission.  In the B7 Ward, Byron served as “an exceptional” Executive Secretary to Bishop James Bown.

Byron was an avid sportsman who loved hunting with his friends and his son Bradley  Expeditions included Kodiak bear in Alaska and elk, moose, antelope and mountain lion in Utah. He enjoyed ownership of guns and target shooting which included reloading his own ammunition. Additional interests included golfing, boating, and spending time with family.  He received his pilot's license while in the Army and continued to enjoy flying in his civilian life.  

Brother Byron … you will be missed by family and friends who knew and loved you.  Rest in peace!