From around the world

Pacific Area

Novices are island championsTARAWA, KIRIBATI - A group of first-time basketball players from the Church's Moroni High School here, who are the age of U.S. high school sophomores and juniors, recently won the title, "Champions of Kiribati."

Under the direction of their coach, Jonathan Shute, an American teacher, the team of nine young men won a tournament of the best teams on the island, and won the Division II championship at the end of the season.

After they had won their division, they defeated the former Division I champions, a team of 20- to 30-year-olds who have players as tall as 6-foot-5.

"The team credits their stamina to living the Word of Wisdom," said Elder R. Gibbons, a missionary on the island. "They have blazed a trail that reflects credit on the Church and on Moroni High School."

Brazil Area

Helping clean, beautify

SANTA CATARINA, BRAZIL - The young women of Tubarao 1st and 2nd wards in the Florianopolis Brazil Stake recently visited a care center for elderly women where they helped the women beautify themselves.

After they finished that project, they cleaned the building of debris that collected during a heavy rain, said Daniela Martins Pereira, a seminary teacher.

Africa Area

Family histories traced

WINNEBA, GHANA - A great deal of effort of tracing and recording family information and submitting the names for temple work is being completed in the Winneba District of the Ghana Accra Mission.

Akua G. Konadu-Ampratwum Opoku, district Relief Society president, is setting the example in getting the work done.

Since most of the country's genealogy is oral, she records names dictated by the elder members or their relatives in various villages. Names are then submitted to the Johannesburg South Africa Temple.

"Members are thrilled when the names come back from the temple cleared for the ordinances to be completed," she said. "Unfortunately the temple is far away and the members cannot do work for themselves but they are grateful for willing patrons who will complete the work for them."

She noted that she and her non-member father have traced their family history back to the early 1800s.

Europe North Area

Clean river, win award

LONDON, ENGLAND - For the second year in a row, a team of 20 youth from the London England Wandsworth Stake have won the Port of London Authority Annual Driftwood Award. The award was presented to stake Pres. Julian Jones on behalf of the youth of the stake.

During the year, the youth collected 25 tons of rubbish on various "driftwood" clearing exercises along the shore, according to Elsie Rock, assistant stake director of public affairs.

After congratulating the team on its second successive win, David Jeffery, Port of London Authority chief executive, presented each team member with a certificate.

He commented, "Through the year their dedication has added to our own effort in ensuring that the river is cleared of as much unsightly waste as possible."

Many youth organizations in the London area offer their services in helping to keep the River Thames clean and safe.

North America Central Area

Software to provide information

TULSA, OKLA. - A computer software program to provide vital information in the event of a community disaster has been developed by Church leaders here and is being shared with other faiths in the community. The software lists the locations of emergency services and people with special training, said Carline Downing, director of public affairs.

She explained that in a disaster, people often don't know where to go for help - to the American Red Cross, the state or local police, or other agencies. Larry Wassen, regional welfare agent, explained that the software is a reporting system where lists of trained people can be entered and easily retrieved. It can be adapted to suit any congregation, he said.

The software is being distributed by the Church to the Tulsa Metropolitan Ministries, said Brother Wassen.

North America Northeast Area

Alliance lauds crackdown

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Religious Alliance Against Pornography, of which the Church is a member, commended the U.S. Justice Department for its recent crackdown on computer-based child pornography. In the crackdown, called Operation Longarm, 31 search warrants were issued and arrests made in an effort to prevent importation of pornographic materials. Several people were convicted as a result of the largest such effort in U.S. history, according to Justice Department officials.

The point of the crackdown was not only to catch those trafficking in this criminal activity, but also to discourage others from entering the field.

The Rev. Jerry Kirk, co-chairman of the alliance, also paid tribute to the Church for its active role in opposing child pornography.

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has had a profound influence on these organizations because of their deep commitment to the well-being of children and their commitment of the Judeo-Christian family values revealed in the scripture," he said.

North America Southwest Area

Outing ended with clean-up

AUSTIN, TEXAS - At the end of a Scout river trip for some 15 boys in troop 500 of the Austin 3rd Ward, the boys spent a long day cleaning the back lot of the meetinghouse at the Bastrop Ward, where the trip ended. About 140 service hours were spent on the project, said Danny Bills, director of public affairs of the Austin Texas Oak Hills Stake.

North America West Area

Singles make new friends

PALO ALTO, CALIF. - About 560 single adults from throughout California gathered for a conference at Stanford University here recently.

The daylong event, called Summer Surfin' Safari, included a 5K walk and run, many other outdoor events and bowling. The festivities ended with dinner, entertainment and dancing at a campus amphitheatre.

Stephen Wm. Bilson, chairman of the Summer Surfin' Sarfari Committee, said the conference went "exceptionally well. Many new friends were made."

Utah Central Area

Gardens against hunger

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - Many Church members, as well as those of other faiths, have taken part in the 12th annual Share the Harvest program for the homeless. In the program, sponsored by Utahns Against Hunger, those who have home gardens donate their excess food to the program. The produce is collected at 12 locations around the state and goes to feed the homeless.

In addition, the Church also donates canned goods and other supplies to feed the homeless, said Steve Johnson, spokesman for Utahns Against Hunger.

Fighting hunger at the local level is an ongoing concern for everyone, he said. "In terms of the emergency food supply [to various agenciesT, the involvement of the LDS Church is vital. There are significant donations of food that go out to food pantries throughout the state."

Utah North Area

Preparing for the temple

OGDEN, UTAH - A group of Primary children from the West Weber 2nd Ward, Ogden Weber North Stake, visited the Ogden Utah Temple as part of the emphasis on the Primary theme, said Pres. Harvey M. Broadbent, temple president.

"Their leaders had done a remarkable preparation for bringing them to the temple," said Pres. Broadbent.

In addition, each child had planted, tended and harvested a garden, and the produce was brought for the temple cafeteria. Flowers were given to the temple workers, he said.

"One young boy, as he shook my hand, pointed to a large watermelon and said, `I grew that one for the temple,' " said Pres. Broadbent. "Such a great experience it was for us to see the spirit of these young folks. It was a sweet, sweet moment."

Readers from around the world are invited to submit news items and photos for this feature on Church events worldwide. Submissions should include a telephone number of someone who can be contacted for additional information. Items should be mailed to Church News, "From Around the World," P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110. Fax No. (801) 237-2121.

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