From the world

Africa Area

Legal status in Cameroon

YAOUNDE, CAMEROON - Missionary work is progressing in this West African nation, although a lack of missionary couples is a serious problem.

Cameroon Pres. Paul Biya approved the Church's request for legal recognition on Sept. 9, 1993. At the time, two missionary couples, Elder and Sister Gerard and Georgette Gagne of Montreal, Quebec, and Ken and Bea Nielsen from Calgary, Alberta, were serving in the French-speaking country. Up to the time the government granted recognition, about 30 people had been baptized, and another 60 investigators were attending Sunday meetings. Since then, 30 more have been baptized and Sunday attendance averages about 100 per week.

However, the Gagnes have returned home and no other French-speaking couple has been available to replace them.

Cameroon was originally designated as a mission headquarters site in 1991, but the mission was later moved to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, which is also French speaking. In Ivory Coast, work is progressing very rapidly and requiring additional missionaries as well.

Philippines/Micronesia Area

Single adults gather

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, PHILIPPINES - A two-day conference of single adults on the island of Mindanao was held Dec. 22-23 with some 350 people attending. They came from four stakes and five districts. Many of those participating traveled by bus from distant areas, and many of the participants met each other for the first time.

At the conference, the members were instructed in such matters as self-reliance, money management and moral cleanliness. A dance and talent night concluded the first day, and a 5:30 a.m. devotional was held the following day, which was the anniversary of Joseph Smith's birthday. Speakers at this devotional included Elders Pedrito Miole and Danilo de la Varga, regional representatives; Emmanuel S. Mascardo, Church Educational System area director, and several stake presidents and their wives.

Europe Area

Slovenia missionary serves

LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA - Elder Matjaz Juhart is the first full-time missionary called from the Republic of Slovenia, part of what was formerly Yugoslavia. He is serving in the Utah Salt Lake City Mission. He entered the Missionary Training Center Sept. 15, 1993.

Elder Juhart was baptized in February 1992, and, at the time of his call, was serving as counselor in the Ljubljana Branch presidency. He also served in the Slovenian Army from October 1992 to April 1993.

Pacific Area

Food drive aids drought victims

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - Members in the Brisbane Region recently organized a food drive for families affected by drought in western Queensland. At least 40 tons of fruit, vegetables and other food items donated by members and non-members were packed by members and delivered by two semi-trailers to 1,000 families scattered over a sparsely populated area of 75,000 square kilometers of bush. A twin-engine light aircraft aided in distributing food, flying to landing strips at remote sheep stations more than 1,000 kilometers from Brisbane.

The project began in the 27-member Stanthorpe Branch, located in a fruit growing area 218 kilometers southwest of Brisbane.

Brazil Area

Missionary efforts successful

MANAUS, BRAZIL - A total of 158 people were baptized in services in Manaus and other interior Brazilian cities of the Brazil Manaus Mission on Dec. 22. Forty-two were baptized just in Manaus.

Other services were held in the cities of Roraima, Rio Branco, Porto Velho, Belem, Macapa, Vilhena, Manacapuru, Itacoatirara and Tefe.

The large number of baptisms was due to a joint effort between members and full-time missionaries, said Pres. Aldo Francesconi.

"A strong missionary spirit both before and after this massive effort was felt between missionaries and local members," said Pres. Francesconi.

In addition to the baptismal services, missionaries also participated in a community event in December. A missionary choir presented a half-hour musical program at the Amazonas Shopping Center on Dec. 21 and 24. The music they performed included hymns and seasonal music.

South America South Area

BYU society meets in Chile

SANTIAGO, CHILE - The Rabbi Esteban Veghazi was the featured speaker at a recent meeting of the Santiago Chapter of the BYU Management Society. He spoke of the historical significance of Judaism, and how it is the spiritual foundation for the beliefs of millions of people since the Old Testament patriarchs.

About 70 LDS professionals attended the meeting, as well as various representatives of the Chile-Israel Institute of Culture of Santiago.

The meeting, held in a meetinghouse in the Providencia section of Santiago, also featured the Church's area historian, Rodolfo Acevedo, who spoke on "Mormons and the House of Judah," and spoke of the many descendants of the House of Israel in the Church.

At the conclusion of Brother Acevedo's remarks, Rabbi Veghazi reaffirmed his opinion that many people with the blood of Isreal, who brought with them their traditions, lived in the Americas before the coming of Christopher Columbus.

Also speaking at the event was Jaime Moreno, professor at the University of Chile, who presented a scientific look at the scriptures.

North America Central Area

Church supports open house

DENVER, COLO. - On Dec. 17, members of the Denver Colorado North Stake provided refreshments for the open house of the Providers' Resource Clearinghouse (PRC). The PRC is a multi-denominational, community-sponsored organization that provides clothing, personal hygiene items and household goods to Denver's homeless, battered women, the mentally ill and the working poor. The open house enabled subscribers to see first-hand the operation and facilities of the PRC.

"Director Ann Jesse was pleased with the refreshments provided but we were even more pleased to have provided them," spokesman Randy Bergman said.

North America Northeast Area

Bridges join LDS, community

Wards in the Dartmouth Nova Scotia Stake wrapped up 1993 with events that created awareness and built bridges between the Church and the community.

More than 500 people attended the Dartmouth Ward's fourth annual Carol Festival in December. The Dartmouth and Sackville ward choirs were joined by three others - the St. James United Church Handbell Choir, the Church of the Holy Spirit Anglican Choir and the Windsor Community Choir - in the hour-long concert.

For the finale, all five choirs sang "Let There Be Peace on Earth," with the audience joining in singing the song a second time. Members of the Church and others who attended praised the music and spirit of the concert.

In November, the Kentville Ward sponsored its fourth annual Patriotic Concert at the ward meetinghouse. Music was performed by a local community choir,and colors were presented by cadets from the Royal Canadian Army and a message delivered by Chaplain Don Crouse.

North America West Area

Former leaders return

SAN JOSE, CALIF. - The recent rededication of the San Jose California Stake center featured four past stake presidents, one being 97 years old, who served when the building was first dedicated in 1959. Presiding at the meeting and rededicating the building was Elder David B. Haight of the Council of the Twelve.

The past presidents spoke at a fireside the night before the rededication. Speaking, in order of their tenure, were Vernard L. Beckstrand, Horace J. Ritchie, Joel E. Leetham and Laurence E. Peterson. Also speaking was current stake Pres. John A. Downs. Each speaker shared memorable spiritual and humorous events.

The following morning, the building was rededicated during a stake sacrament meeting attended by some 1,200 members.

Utah South Area

Laurel heads food drive

MONROE, UTAH - Maria Bagley, a Laurel in the Monroe 1st Ward, Monroe Utah Stake, helped spearhead an effort during December in this southcentral Utah community to provide food for 10 families.

Maria visited classes in the elementary, middle and high schools in Monroe to deliver posters promoting a food drive, along with red-wrapped boxes to collect canned items. She spent 80 hours making trips collecting and delivering canned goods for the various families and otherwise assisting project chairman Dan Whyte, local postmaster and member of the Richfield 1st Ward, Richfield Utah East Stake.

About 1,350 canned items were collected and distributed, along with clothing, paper products and toys for the children. To cap off the collection drive, Maria provided a small party for the class that contributed the most items.

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