Monday, December 18, 2017

Bienvenido a casa, Hermana Simkins

Hermana Summer Simkins returned to her St. George home and family on Friday, December 15, 2017 after 18-months of full-time service to the Lord's children in the Argentina Neuguen Mission. She was greeted at the airport by many friends and family members - including Shane, Jarrett, Jillian, Jaxson and Giselle - noting coming home is "weird.  She is missing those she loves in Argentina but is happy to be back with her family and friends. What's in her future? She is a semester away from having an Associate Degree from Dixie State University and with her 18 credits of bright and shiny new Spanish-language skills she will be ready to move ahead toward a degree in, maybe, journalism or literature.

Summer is still in that crazy place where she is speaking in English after she has translated in her head from Spanish.  She calls hers the best mission in the world and reports she loved the people who are “so loving!”  

Apostle Melvin J. Ballard dedicated the country of Argentina to the preaching of the gospel in 1925 when the first mission in South America was established. Today there are 445,108 members, 14 missions and 2 temples – one in Buenos Aires (dedicated in 1980) and one in Cordoba (dedicated in 2015).

Welcome home, Summer.  We’ll miss your enthusiastic and testimony building letters every week.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

B7 Celebrates Christmas 2017

B7 Ward members, friends and neighbors gathered together to celebrate Christmas 2017 on Saturday, December 9. The dinner was delicious, the Primary sang their little hearts out and Santa Claus was a big hit! Thanks to all who came out for the fun and socializing. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Relief Society Celebrates Christmas

B7’s Relief Society Christmas Party was, as always, delightful and filled to capacity with neighbors, friends and sisters in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Thanks to all who helped with beautiful stage and table decorations, including Lain Carter, Roena Soliai, Natalie Saari, Marina Hunsaker, Ashley Lund and Cheryl Terry.  Thanks, too, to Aubrey Van Wagoner and her daughter Kara Brown for catering our delicious dinner (Kara, a Sterling Scholar, has recently been notified of the award of a scholarship to study Culinary Arts at the amazing new Dixie Technical College – Dixie Tech for short) and to B7 Young Women who served the hot meal to the sisters in the room.  Another sincere thank you goes to Sylvia Johnson who created the posters and invitations … and to all the sisters who brought desserts and those who helped with the cleanup.

The program, called “The Garden Path:  Reveries and Reflections of Mary, the Mother of Christ” was written and presented by Kathryn Barclay as the "reflective Mary," including some of the music, performed by Lauretta Swansborough with accompaniment by Julie Welch.  Maureen Taylor gave a touching performance of the young Mary. Technical support was provided by Rebecca Swansborough. 

It was a wonderful evening, filled with good food, socializing, beautiful faces and a richly spiritual program.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Trunk or Treat is B7 Halloween Fun

Another fun Halloween Trunk or Treat - on Halloween, Tuesday, October 31, 2017 - for the "kids" of the Bloomington 7th Ward. Lots of good food, social interaction and plenty of candy for all the little (and big) boos and ghouls. Winners of the Chili Cookoff: 1st place, Lauretta Swansborough; 2nd place, Aubrey Van Wagoner; and, 3rd place went to Chardell Wilkes.  Thanks to all who dressed up, showed up with candy and chili.  Lots of fun for everyone!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Brown Sisters Awarded

Cara and Laura Brown, two of Sister Aubrey Van Wagoner’s four beautiful daughters were recognized in Sacrament meeting on Sunday, October 22 – Cara with her Young Womanhood Recognition Award and Laura with her Honor Bee award – by Bishop Mike Bair.

Cara (on the left) graduated in December, 2017 from Dixie High School and is now enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at Dixie Technical College with a life goal to become an executive chef.  To earn her Young Womanhood Recognition award she had to meet all the following requirements, including attending sacrament meeting regularly (where possible); living the standards outlined in For the Strength of Youth; completing the value experiences and value project for each of the eight values; keeping a personal journal; attending seminary; reading the Book of Mormon regularly; and, recording her testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ.

Laura Brown, a sophomore at Dixie High School with a life goal to become a food or macro photographer, or – with her love of history – to become a teacher, earned the Honor Bee charm, historically given to young women willing to do more than was required, after completing the requirements of the Young Womanhood Recognition medallion, which she earned as a Beehive. To earn an Honor Bee charm, Laura read the Book of Mormon again, maintaining her daily habit of scripture study; and, served others for a total of 40 hours, including mentoring other young women with their Personal Progress.

Congratulations to both young women for their accomplishments, to date!  They are certain to go far in life.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rock Peterson is Newest B7 Ward Member

Rockstin Peterson, 8-year-old son and middle child of Brett and Briette Peterson’s 5 kidlets, was baptized by his father and cofirmed by “Papa” Paul Peterson on Saturday, September 16 to become the newest member of the B7 Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Family traveled from as far away as northern Utah and southern California to be part of the momentous life event for young Rock. 

Rockstin is a 2nd grader at Bloomington Elementary School where he, in addition to his ABC’s, is also learning Chinese. He loves to play basketball, soccer, ride his bike and do anything outside. Says his Mom Briette, “He loves his newfound friends, as we are new to the area by 6 months. He is a happy loving boy and we are blessed to have him as our son!” 

In the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley, it is now the duty of the members of the Bloomington 7th Ward to help Rock "become a strong and faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - a member who loves the Lord, who understands the gospel, who fellowships with the Saints and who partakes of the beauties and wonders of the gospel of Jesus Christ." 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Til We Meet Again, Sister Lucile Crockett

Lifetime church member Lucile MacFarlane Crockett returned to her loving Heavenly Father on Thursday, August 31 after 99 years of writing, singing, dancing and giving to others in every way possible.

Lucile, also known by family and friends by her nicknames"Moonie" or "Queen Bee," believed all people should be treated with equal love and respect.  Lucile, who grew up in a pioneer adobe home with three sisters and a brother, met and married her handsome Marine while attending USU on a music scholarship. After their marriage in 1942, she followed her Marine officer husband around the world, living in Panama, Hawaii, Saipan, Italy and both the east and west coasts of the United States with her three children and her violin in tow.

Her beloved family, includes husband Vern, three children, nine grandchildren and twelve “greats.”

A celebration of her remarkable life was held on Saturday, September 16. Interment is in the Logan City Cemetery.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Activity Day Girls Get Into the Swim

B7 Primary Activity Day Girls had a pool party at the home of Dean and Elaine Christensen on Monday, August 7. Their last activity of the summer before the start of school on Monday, Aug. 14 included water games, hot dogs, chips, soda and Klondike bars under the hot Dixie sunshine. Those attending were Nellie Green, Emma Alldredge, Maeven Taylor, Meg Fraser, Makissa Peterson, Kaylee Stokes, Lexie Broberg, Grace and Lucy Christensen, Hannah and Ella Wall and Ellie Anderson with leaders Elaine Christensen, Anita Sterner, Donna Ortiz and Tami Sevier overseeing the fun. A great time was held by all.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Til We Meet Again, Brother Ray Robinson

Ray Robinson had five loves in his life:  first and foremost, his wife Ruby with whom he was almost inseparable; and, his family, including a deceased daughter Linda and a son Kelly as well as 7 children (Glenda, Bonnie, Laurie, Mike, TJ, Ray, Jr. and Pat); 26 grandchildren, 82 “greats” and to date, 5 great-great grandchildren. 

Ray also loved his country for which he served in the U. S. Army in World War II and recalled numerous experiences in Japan during the “clean up” period after the Armistice.

He also loved his Church.  A longtime member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ray and Ruby were team teachers in the 7-8 year-old Primary class.  The calling he held at the time of his death was that of a greeter before Sacrament meeting – an assignment he performed faithfully every week until his health detriorated.

And, finally, he loved Rotary! His legendary “service above self” attitude included several years on the board of St. George Rotary including a year as president (RY2000-01); 10 years hosting – with wife Ruby – numerous foreign exchange students in their Bloomington home.  For his support of Rotary youth program’s Ray was named Utah Rotarian of the Year a few years ago.  He had 19 years of perfect attendance, due in part to his role as club song leader.  He never wanted to miss leading his Rotary friends in a rousing rendition of “God Bless America” or what he called “the tootsie wootsie song.”

He was also involved in his community, serving on boards of the United Cerebral Palsy Association, Chamber of Commerce, American Cancer Society, and the Salt Shakers both in Salt Lake City – where he was President and CEO of Rio Grande Building Products, a commercial hardward firm – and in St. George where they retired in 1999.

One of the Robinson’s favorite self-appointed services was waiting at the bus stop every morning to be certain the neighborhood children got safely on the school bus.   This simple act earned them the name of “bus stop grandparents,” a title he wore with honor.

Ray also enjoyed golf, music, woodworking, outdoor activities, but was never too busy to spend time with any family member who needed his attention or wisdom.

Ray passed quietly from this life on Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at his Bloomington home after a short battle with esophageal cancer.  He will be missed by those of us who knew and loved him and whose service impacted their lives in many, many ways.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Camp RS Travels to Cove Fort

CAMP RELIEF SOCIETY …. a great idea and a really fun event!

In its second year, B7’s Camp RS was held in Cove Fort, to celebrate the church-owned historic site’s Sesquicentennial with hot dogs, ice cream, pioneer arts and crafts, entertainment, stage coach and wagon rides; and, tours of authentic rooms and outbuildings filled with all manner of pioneer furnishings and memorabilia.

Originally built as a way station providing safety, rest, food and comfort to weary travelers between the Central Utah communities of Fillmore and Beaver, today Cove Fort provides more than 70,000 visitors annually with a chance to reconnect to America's pioneers. Among those nearly 30 B7 Ward members who traveled to Cove Fort on Friday, August 4 to take a brief respite from triple digit summer temperatures in St. George were:

·               Royce and Jill Jones
·               Jim and Jayne Creed
·               Dinorah Goettig
·               Betty and Leon Maxwell
·               Wanda McEntire
·               Pam Bingham
·               Roena Soliei
·               Margaret Hooks
·               Renae Dennison
·               Steve and Sylvia Peterson, and their grandchildren Tyson and Jessica Woodland
·               Arlene and Jess Thomas
·               Lauretta Swansborough
·               Karin Smith
·               Carol Case
·               Ed and Linda Sappington
*       Ralph and Elaine Tucker
·             and Bishop Mike Bair, Lori, Aspen and Cara Bair

Thursday, July 27, 2017

B7 Ward Cools Off in Pine Valley

Great food, great company, great conversation, great temperatures ... all elements of Bloomington 7th Ward's annual picnic in Pine Valley on Wednesday, July 26. Thanks to all who traveled to this beautiful mountain popular with early pioneers - especially expectant mothers - as their favorite place to get out of the heat, but which also produced amazing gardens, milled lumber for homes and businesses in St. George and tall, straight pine trees which became the source for the pipes in the world-famous Tabernacle organ.

The annual ward picnic at Pine Valley, in the words of Sister Julie Welch, "twas a bunch of fun with wonderful food." Thanks for all the delicious salads, side dishes, and desserts contributed by ward members and the hot dogs and hamburgers cooked by the members of the B7 Bishopric - Bishop Mike Bair, 1st Counselor Jason Schall and 2nd Counselor Mike Foley.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Jorgensen's Called to Sharon, VT

Elder Nick and Sister Kim Jorgensen entered the MTC in Provo on July 3 for a year in the New Hampshire Manchester (including Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire) but expect to spend most of their time in Sharon, Vermont, the birthplace of Church founder Joseph Smith. As Church historical site missionaries, they are assigned to oversee the Prophet’s birthplace, including gardening, trail maintenance and occasionally serving in the Visitor Center.

In all, about a dozen early leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were born in Vermont. In 1831, one year after the Church was organized, Church member Jared Carter taught and baptized 27 converts in Vermont. But, in 1833, many of these early Latter-day Saints migrated to Ohio.In December 1905, a 100-ton, 38-foot granite monument - one foot for each year of his life - was dedicated to commemorate the centennial of Joseph Smith's birth. During the Christmas season, lights adorn the monument's surroundings. About 70,000 visitors, including those at Christmas, come to the site annually.

There are currently about 4,500 members in 12 congregations scattered around the Green Mountain State.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Activity Day Girls Enjoy Visitor's Center Outing

B7 Primary Activity Day girls spent the morning of Monday, June 12 with their leaders Elaine Christensen, Donna Ortiz, Tami Sevier and Anita Sterner at the Temple Visitor’s Center where they heard the Savior’s words as they gathered around the Christus; saw a movie “The Entertainers,” and, had fun looking at all the displays. They capped off the morning with a blizzard from Dairy Queen.

Monday, June 12, 2017

B7 RS Celebrates 90's for Twelve

Set to the music of Nat King Cole and Perry Como, the B7 Relief Society honored twelve ward members who are in their ninth decade of life on Friday, June 9 at the Vintage clubhouse.  Thanks to the hard work and amazing talents of Sisters Wanda McEntire and Lynda Hallman, the celebration included lovely decorations, delicious refreshments, corsages for the honorees and memory booklets.

The incredible individuals who have made our world a better place are Beth Foxley, Lucile and Vern Crockett, Betty Kingsbury, Beverly Burton, Myrl Rasband, Doris Hansen, Ruth Anderson, Beverly Briggs, Ray Robinson, Bob Steed and Garth Larsen.

They are truly "unforgettable."

Lutjet tona janë me ju, Presidenti dhe Motra Anderson

Former Bloomington Stake President Hal and recently released Southgate Stake Young Women President Julie Anderson, enter the MTC in Provo on June 24, before flying halfway around the world to report on July 1, 2017 for three years of service as President of the Adriatic South Mission.

Life is full of many twists and turns … something President Hal and Julie Anderson have learned first hand in the past several weeks, particularly when it comes to their mission call, originally to serve as President of the Baltic Mission.  In the middle of April a few months into their preparations – the Andersons were notified their call had been changed and they would now be serving as President of the Russia St. Petersburg Mission. The couple first called to preside over this mission is from the Ukraine, and, as such the Russian government would not issue them a visa. Because of this, the couple was reassigned to the Baltic Mission where their Russian language would be very valuable.

President and Sister Anderson felt good about their new assignment – since both had heavy winter coats – but then, because the former Bloomington Stake President had served in the U. S. military during which time he had been issued High Level Security Clearance, the Missionary Executive Council decided the Russian government would likely not issue a visa to the Andersons either and if they did, the government would make it difficult for the Andersons to accomplish their missionary labors.

By the end of April the Andersons were once again reassigned to preside over the Adriatic South Mission (including the countries of Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia). The Latvian language they have been learning for the past several months has now been replaced by Albanian – which they are trying their best to learn at an accelerated pace.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is still very much in its infancy in this part of the world. Kosovo and Macedonia (the first part of Europe in which the apostle Paul preached the gospel [Acts 20:1-2]) have barely three branches between them, although Albania has 2888 members in 12 branches. Currently, the missionaries have been busy translating the Book of Mormon into Macedonian as the Church has not yet completed this translation. In fact, the Macedonian language is not taught in the MTC at this time so missionaries called to this country are taught Bulgarian in the MTC and then must learn Macedonian in country.

In preparation for their adventure, the parents of six and grandparents to 13 have been busy shopping for cold winters and warm, humid summer weather; spending countless hours in online training, Skype sessions with mission leaders, being tutored mostly in Albanian and have sold their home.

“We are very, very, very excited, but overwhelmed at the same time,” states Julie Anderson of the call, which came from President Henry B. Eyring. The thoughts of our responsibilities,including keeping track of 70 young missionaries and four senior couples, is consuming us.”

 These dynamic and spiritual members of the B7 Ward will be missed! We wish them love, safety and godspeed.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

2017 Graduates Moving On

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, three young women have achieved this momentous objective, graduating in the Burns Arena on May 23, 2017.

Grace Bown, the 4th of five daughters (and one son) of James and Paula Bown, not only graduated top-of-the-class at Dixie High School but was also named Valedictorian. She was also named to Academic All-State which recognizes students who have excelled in the classroom as well as in athletic competition. With over 85,000 students participating in high school activities, this award is the most prestigious honor the UHSAA presents to senior students. This well-rounded young woman plays volleyball, piano and maintains a 4.0 gpa and states her most memorable high school experience involves the whole journey to becoming valedictorian.

Hannah Kerr, oldest of Charlie and Sarah Kerr’s four offspring, has now graduated from Dixie High School where her grades earned her scholarships to her choice of  either Dixie State University or Southern Utah University. Her future plans include a semester at DSU, after which she hopes to serve a fulltime mission. Her most memorable high school experience is – unquestionably – being part of DHS's two time winning Utah state championship drill team!!!

Aspen Honey Bair, one of three B7 Ward graduates and 3rd of Bishop Mike and Lori Bair’s four children, was also recently awarded Dixie High School’s 2017 Atlas Award Female Athlete of the Year. The main criteria for her selection was participation in multiple sports. Aspen has played volleyball, basketball, and track and field at Dixie High School for 4 years. She has been an ambassador for the past two years at Dixie High and her academic GPA puts her on the high honor roll and earned her several scholarships. She will be attending Dixie State University in the fall and will be DHS’s 9th grade volleyball coach this coming year.

Congratulations to these amazing young women!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Mantenerse a salvo y godspeed, Elder Haus Jones

Elder Hauser Jones, youngest of Corwin and Diana Smith's combined 13 children, will serve 2 years as a full-time missionary in the Honduras San Pedro Sula East Mission, one of 4 missions in this Central American country.

Originally called to serve in the Guatemala Guatemala City Mission, Elder Jones was delayed due to problems navigating the difficult waters of immigration to get a visa, so attended a semester at BYU until his travel plans could be resolved. "It's been quite a journey," he noted of the lengthy process, “but I am better prepared and eager to serve.”

The Church has a relatively short history in Honduras where Elders Spencer W. Kimball and Marion G. Romney of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles first visited in the early 1950s. These Church emissaries left literature with a hotel waiter who not only read what he had been given, but was later baptized. Missionaries were first called came to Honduras in December 1952, baptizing the first converts and organizing the first congregation in March 1953.

 In 1980, Church membership in Honduras was 6,300. Today Honduras has 172,253 members in 235 congregations in four missions. The first temple in Honduras was built in Tegucigalpa, a 28,254 square foot structure dedicated by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf on March 17, 2013 enabling members to take part in sacred ordinances which before had required a 12-hour trip to the Guatemala City Temple.

Elder Jones enters the Provo MTC on Wednesday, May 24.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Activity Girls Celebrate Mothers Day

Fourteen B7 Primary girls enjoyed their Activity Day in May at the Wood Connection on Riverside Drive where they made Mothers Day gifts. The girls had fun sanding, gluing, painting and creating computer generated messages expressing their love and appreciation for Mom, Momma, Ma or whoever it is who cares, nurtures, teaches and loves them on the home front. Thanks to Activity Day leaders Elaine Christensen, Anne Sterner, and Donna Ortiz for organizing this fun activity.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Welcome Home, Elder Gwilliam

Elder Steve Gwilliam "returned with honor" on Thursday, May 4 from his 2+ years of service to the Lord and His people in the Kansas Wichita Mission.  The "plus" of his service came as the result of an injury - a badly broken left leg sustained during a sports activity only about 60 days after entering the MTC - which required him to come home for nearly five months to recover.  Told he could count this as time served, he opted instead to finish what he started, serving from January 7, 2015 until May 4, 2017.

What's next for this tall, hardworking and dedicated RM?  "Earning a degree in forensic science or criminology is what I hope will launch my future career," he states.  He hopes to study at Dixie State University, but his father, commercial airline pilot Steve Gwilliam, Sr., must take mandatory retirement from United Airlines in September.  To continue flying Steve, Sr. will likely need to move to a larger area with more employment options.  As such, Steve, Jr. may have to look at furthering his career goals at Utah State University or Utah Valley University, depending on where his family lands!

In the meantime, he will continue sharing the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ in every way he can.  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Bloomington Teens Sang as They Walked, and Walked, and Walked ...

B7's Young Men, Young Women and their leaders took their annual walk to the temple, an event started several years ago by Sister Cheryl Kanenwisher for the combined purposes of "just a fun way to be together," a chance to talk about the importance of temples in God's Plan of Happiness and how lucky we are to have this beautiful "House of the Lord" - the first built in the West - so close by.  Once on the grounds of the temple, the youth enjoyed a speaker who shared his thoughts and testimony about the importance of perseverance and setting goals.  Of course, the afternoon ended with pizza and drinks before everyone was transported home.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Breakfast and Service on a Beautiful Spring Morning

The Community Breakfast and Humanitarian Day of Service on Saturday, May 6 was another huge success for the Southgate Stake.  The weather was perfect, the breakfast was exceptional - with scrambled eggs and hash browns, bacon, sausage and pancakes - and the crowd of all ages was large and enthusiastic.  The humanitarian service options included tying quilts, knotting fleece blankets, creating hygiene kits for those in need, and stuffing toys reminding all those with busy hands, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Youth Conference for Southgate Stake Youth

The Southgate Stake Youth Conference was held this year on the weekend of April 21-22 at Quail Creek where young men and women, ages 14-18 camped overnight on the big lawn at the Marion D. Hanks Scout Camp.  Friday night was filled with fun, games, dancing and ended with a devotional around the campfire where Br. Steve Gwilliam spoke about "holding to the rod."

Saturday morning was filled with workshops, special speakers and team building experiences.  In the afternoon, there was a hike and an activity where youth were blindfolded and had to "hold to the rod" tightly while listening to a cacophony of voices trying to persuade them to go the wrong way ... but only one was "the right voice."  The experience ended with a meeting with their YM/YW presidents followed by a luau complete with entertainment provided by the youth of the 9th Ward who put on a great show!

It was a fun weekend where lots of good memories were made among friends.  Thanks to the leaders of the Southgate Stake for planning such a wonderful event.