Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Babay and Dalayegon sa Diyos, Elder Jones

Stetson Jones, son of Teak Jones and Corwin and Diana Smith and a recent graduate of Dixie High School, opened a letter from President Thomas S. Monson in April calling him to fulltime service in the Philippines Cebu Mission.  He entered the MTC on July 30 for final preparations including six weeks of language study.  He is very excited to be called to this part of the Lord's vineyard and looks forward to learning Cebuano, the language spoken by 93% of more than 20 million Filipinos who live in and around Cebu City.

During the Spanish-American War in 1898, two members serving in the U. S. artillery battery, and who had been set apart as missionaries by the Church before they left the United States, preached while stationed in the Philippines. Missionary work ceased in this part of the South Pacific at the beginning of World War II.  It was two decades later missionary work resumed again.

In April 1961, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley traveled to the islands, met with a small group of American residents, servicemen and Filipino members and officially opened the islands for missionary work. By 1967, the work had progressed to the point where the Philippine Mission was organized.

In 1969, the Church had spread to eight major islands and had the highest number of baptisms of any area in the Church. The Manila Missionary Training Center was established in 1983. In 1990-91, Church relief efforts helped with the damage caused by major earthquakes, flooding, volcanic eruptions, and governmental conflicts. Membership in 1984 was 76,000 but by 1990 had grown to 237,000 members.

Currently, membership numbers 688,117 in 1148 wards and branches.  There are 21 missions in the Philippines, including Cebu located about midway in the more than 900 inhabited islands.  To accommodate the spiritual needs of Filipino members, there are two temples – one in Manila, dedicated in 1984 and a second dedicated in 2010 in Cebu City, the oldest city in the Philippines.  A third temple was announced in 2010 to be constructed in Urdaneta, about 100 miles north of Manila.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Varsity Scouts Enjoy High Adventure

A dozen Teachers and Priests - Matthew Clarke, Jake Stokes, Mitchell Smith, Haus Jones, Warner Brown, Cole and Luke Wilkes, Cache Bertschi, Tanner Nelson, Adam Gwilliam, Dallen Forsyth and Bryce Nelson - and their leaders Rob Wilkes and Steve Gwilliam traveled to Beaver Mountain for their  High Adventure camp the week of July 21-24. The official Boy Scouts of America facility was prepared for their arrival with a long list of activities for these young men including river rafting, hiking, marksmanship, climbing, rappelling and zip lines.  And, according to Cole Wilkes, the boys met the challenge of cutting down "a legendary tree" ... legendary because many had tried, over the years, to chop it down but were unable because of its size.  B7's High Adventure Camp was another successful mountain adventure with good friends, good food and good fun.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Girls Camp: The Special Ingredient Was Love

“To say preparing for this year’s Girls Camp was a lot of work is an understatement,” states YW President Cheryl Kanenwisher. 

Preparation for 4 days of high altitude, outdoorsy living at Camp Little Thunder on Cedar Mountain, began last January when Bloomington Stake YW leaders announced the theme this year for camp would be “Come Unto Christ.”   Each ward was then asked to choose an attribute of Christ as their own theme for this camp. B7 YW made a list, narrowed it down, then unanimously chose the attribute of "Love.”

To expound on this attribute, while making it fun and memorable, the girls decided they would be the Master Chefs with a motto of “The Special Ingredient is Love” which included a baking theme with aprons and chef hats.  The camp cheer was – what else – “All you need is love!”

For six months, the YW’s and their leaders were involved in fundraising, designing logos, making camp decorations, creating packing lists, hiking, certifying, skit writing and rehearsing, and practicing songs.

Girls Camp, attended by Liz and Melissa Larson, Aspen Erskine, Cara and Aspen Bair, Caroline Smith, Aleia Anderson, Caroline and Grace Bown, Emily Forsyth and Vivian Fraser, included many great spiritual and physical experiences. YW rock climbed and repelled as their high adventure activity, conquering fear as they scaled 100-foot cliffs.  On Skit Night, they shined, then won the crowd over even more by passing out homemade chocolate chip cookies at the end of their performance.  The most memorable of the girls’ four nights together included a wonderful fireside with talks and music and which ended with balloons released into the air, each with a testimony tied to it.  The girls then retired to their ward campsite for their own testimony meeting where they discussed the attribute of love.

Sister Kanenwisher, YW’s and their leaders express love and thanks to all those who contributed to the success of Girls Camp 2014.  “We appreciate our Camp Director and Organizer Sister Iliana Carter who did so much to make this a memorable activity.  Thanks to Sister Annie Green who prepared pounds of chocolate chip cookie dough and darling decorations ahead of time for our camp.  Sister Lori Bair and her daughter Cara baked dozens of cookies – then brought all the B7 campers dinner from CafĂ© Rio (probably the YW’s favorite part of camp) on Friday evening.  Thanks to Sister Rebecca Larson who joined the party on the last evening and provided rides home for our girls. 

“Special thanks also goes to Bishop Mike Bair and First Counselor Boyd Kanenwisher who helped haul gear to camp, set it up and then came back to help take it down and bring it all home.  We would not have been able to feel the Spirit or have enjoyed the atmosphere of camp without all their efforts.  We appreciate the Stake Presidency and the Stake Young Womens Presidency for all the time, sacrifice and inspiration which went into making this Girls Camp amazing.  The B7 YW are excited and ready to accept the challenge given by the Stake to read the entire Book of Mormon in 40 days!  We are warriors!  We can do it!”

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Scout Camp Was "A Blast!"

This year, B7 Scouts Stephen Larson, Jarret Thomas, Shane Simkins, Pete Fraser, Noah Forsyth, Wyatt Woodland, Cache Bertschi, McKay Goldhardt and Adam Gwilliam found their scout camp at Wayne County’s Round Lake, near the town of Loa.  From July 14 to July18 the boys and their leaders enjoyed hiking, fishing, canoeing and swimming while these members of Troop 817 also worked individually and collectively to complete several Merit Badges.  After the sun went down, there were discussions around the campfire about gospel subjects and how to prepare for their future, as well as every camper’s favorite nighttime treat - S’mores!  Special thanks to scout leaders Matt Chappell and James Bertschi for organizing these four fun days and especially to Brother Gwilliam for plenty of good food for these 9 growing boys! 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Levi Departs for Georgia Atlanta Mission

Elder Levi Bertschi with his cousin Austin Morris,
both preparing to leave for the mission field
(Georgia Atlanta and Peru Missions)
The Bertschi family got a surprise call from Bishop Bair on the morning of June 30 advising them Elder Bertschi was called to serve in the Georgia Atlanta Mission.  He could either leave right away or leave at the end of July.  Elder Bertschi decided he should leave immediately to finish out his remaining 21 months of full-time missionary service.  

He was set apart on Tuesday, along with his cousin from Washington Fields.  "This was a very spiritual experience as we felt the love of our Heavenly Father during both blessings," said his mother Anne.  

So, after picking up another suit, he boarded a plane for Atlanta on the morning of Wednesday, July 2

Elder Bertschi would have loved to have returned in the West Indies, but feels very blessed to be able to serve in Atlanta, where Elder Simeon Lovell is also serving.  In his first transfer, Levi's mailing address is 3268 Lancer Drive,  Powder Springs, GA 30127.

Missionaries first arrived in Georgia in 1843 to preach and to campaign for Church President Joseph Smith's United States presidential bid. After Joseph Smith was martyred one year later, the Church's growth slowed . Activity resumed in the late 1870s when the Southern States Mission was headquartered in Rome, Georgia. One early convert to the Church donated land and built a chapel at Mormon Springs in Haralson County.

Missionaries left the state for a decade following the murder of one missionary in July 1879. By 1908, Church membership in Georgia was approximately 6,800 but in 1930 membership was 4,311. The first temple to be built in the Southern states was completed in 1983 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Today there are 80,500+ members, 151 wards and branches, 2 missions and 42 family history centers.  The church in Georgia increased its profile in 1992 when Latter-day Saints were very visible  with disaster relief after Hurricane Andrew destroyed homes and families in Albany.  In 1994, some 6000 Church volunteers helped homeowners recover from flooding in the area.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Youth Conference Successful and Spiritual

During the weekend of June 19-21, more than a dozen young men and women from the B7 Ward traveled to the Wasatch Front to take part in what Young Men’s President Ralph Bingham calls “a well-organized, very successful and spiritual” youth conference.  

The three day event began in Manti at the Mormon Miracle Pageant, which Luke Gwilliam described as “a really cool experience … downright cold, actually.”  New ward member Vivian Fraser noted, “there is no better way to see examples of ‘coming unto Christ’ than by attending the Manti pageant.  My toes were freezing, but it was a great experience.” 

In Salt Lake, the group spent time at the Church’s Welfare Square and touring the Church Office Building.  Many of the young people say they expected Welfare Square to be “really boring,” but almost unanimously agreed they very much enjoyed the tour because “it was fun learning how everything was done.” 

Liz Larson noted, “Manti was an incredible experience … welfare square was amazing … but the view from the 26th floor of the Church office building brought me closer to heaven.  I could have stayed there forever.”

Waiting for the opportunity to perform baptisms at the Provo Temple was considered by some to be “incredibly boring” but as Dallen Forsyth testified, “the invitation to come unto Christ (this year’s conference theme) is the most important invitation we can extend to all men and when we invite others to come unto Him we come closer to Him as well.”

For many, the highlight of the conference was fireside speaker Kory Kunz who had young men and women laughing, crying and thinking about the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The B7 Youth Conference was a special experience, where young participants gained a testimony that Satan – as well as Heavenly Father – is hastening his work on the earth, learned more about the saving ordinances of the gospel, felt the spirit in abundance, and saw the eternal perspective of the gospel of Jesus Christ.