From around the world

North America Northwest Area

Pioneer descendants reuniteMEDICAL SPRINGS, ORE. - For the first time in more than 150 years, descendants of the Mississippi Saints who crossed the plains in 1847 and 1848 held a reunion.

"It really is a dream come true," said Orrin Lay, a descendant of early pioneer William Lay and organizer of the event. "I never expected to find so much interest and cooperation. If our family can do it, I know others can, too. The family is now closer than we ever supposed."

Among those attending were descendants of early pioneers Elizabeth Coleman Crosby and her son, William Crosby; her daughters Nancy, Sythia and Elizabeth who married John H. Bankhead, William H. Lay and John Brown, respectively. Also attending were descendants of their servants Oscar Crosby, Hark Lay and Green Flake. The last three crossed in the original pioneer company in 1847, and then returned to help bring other Mississippi members west in 1848.

Among the 350 who attended were descendants of other children of Elizabeth Coleman Crosby who did not join the Church or come west.

North America Central Area

Storms don't stop service

CHICAGO, ILL. - Relief Society sisters of the Woodridge 1st Ward, Naperville Illinois Stake, recently donated 130 gowns for premature infants to The Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

The sisters donated fabric and other sewing items to make the gowns. Then they spent two homemaking evenings making the gowns.

"Unfortunately, the weather on both homemaking evenings was terrible - yet still the sisters came to perform this worthwhile service!" said Margo Butler, recently released as Relief Society president.

A letter of appreciation from Donna P. Iglar, a registered nurse at the hospital, thanked the sisters for "the adorable gowns." It also stated, "It is important that you know how much these gowns mean to our families. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and kindness."

North America Northeast Area

Research skills taught

GRAND BLANC, MICH. - More than 200 people attended the eighth annual family history seminar sponsored by the Grand Blanc Michigan Stake, said Lois Budzynski, assistant stake family history consultant. About three-fourths of those attending were non-members.

Many of the 22 classes were taught by non-members. Non-members also assisted in organizing and setting up nine displays presented by local genealogical societies. The seminar was under the direction of Sandy Fagan, stake family history consultant.

North America Southwest Area

`Garden of many colors'

HOUSTON, TEXAS - A choir from the Houston stakes participated with the Mt. Hebrem Baptist Choir during a recent commemoration.

The commemoration was held on June 19, the anniversary of the day in 1865 that people in Texas learned that slaves had been emancipated. Nearly 2 1/2 years passed after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation before the news reached slaves in Texas. The anniversary is remembered annually in Texas.

The Rev. C. Anderson Davis, executive director of the National Emancipation Association, said, "We are making a dent in race relations. On this day, we emphasized that America is not a melting pot, it is a flower garden with all colors in it."

He said that Mormons hold dear what he believes the black community needs: Christian ideals and family unity. "The walls come down when people come together and emphasize their similarities," he said.

North America West Area

Intercity children enjoy luau

CARSON, CALIF. - Members of the Harbor 2nd Ward, Torrance California Stake, a singles ward that meets in Carson, recently presented a Polynesian luau for children at Camp Max Strauss, which is operated by the Jewish Big Brothers. Attending the camp in the summer are underprivileged children of various races and denominations from the Los Angeles intercity, said Dinah Weldon, camp services coordinator.

The ward members and children worked together to prepare for the luau, making grass skirts and leis of plastic bags and colored paper. At the performance, the children were so enthusiastic that, during the final song, they flooded the stage to dance with and embrace the performers. Among the children were several emigrants from Russia.

Utah South Area

1,300 attend singles meet

PROVO, UTAH - Happiness comes from inside, not from the pursuit of material things, Elder Malcolm S. Jeppsen told those attending the recent Utah Valley Singles Conference.

"We all see people who invest so much of themselves in amusements, fleeting, contrived pleasures and recreation only to be disappointed," said Elder Jeppsen of the Seventy and president of the Utah South Area. "Truly happiness doesn't consist of the luxuries of the world, or what the world would call `a good time.' Nor will it do any good to search for it in far away places with strange sounding names."

More than 1,300 singles attended the conference. Twenty-one workshops on a variety of subjects were presented at the five-day conference that included western, contemporary and ballroom dances, concerts with prominent LDS entertainers and outings.

Other speakers included Elder Robert L. Backman, General Authority Emeritus; Richard Klein, regional representative; Michaeline P. Grassli, Primary general president; and Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah.

Africa Area

`Spoken word' praised

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - Dr. Johan Buitendag, head of the religion department of South Africa Radio and Television, praised the quality of the programming for "Music and the Spoken Word," which has been broadcast throughout South Africa for the past two years.

Dr. Buitendag was so impressed by the program that he recently traveled to Salt Lake City to see the program's production. He described South Africa's people as "prepared for evangelizing. I am convinced that as evangelists, we have a great responsibility in getting the message across and to be of service."

Philippines/Micronesia Area

Mansakas being taught gospel

MACO, PHILIPPINES - Sister Bernadine Sumaval, a missionary in the Philippines Cagayan de Oro Mission, has a number of "firsts" to her credit.

The college graduate and former clerk in a law office was the first in her community, located in southern Mindanao, to accept the gospel and be baptized. She was also the first of the "Mansaka" cultural minority to be baptized, according to M.T. Tuason, public affairs director of the Philippines Pasig Stake.

The Mansakas are distinguished chiefly by their unique dialect and colorful and heavily beaded clothing. Her father is an honorary "datu" or chieftain in the community.

She is presently teaching the gospel in the Mansaka dialect in her native Mindanao.

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