From around the world

North America West Area

Youth support community

SAN JOSE, CALIF. - Some 80 youth in the San Jose California South Stake recently took part in a community effort to support the Almaden Valley Emergency Response Team. They formed a choir to perform in an all-day music festival that was held to raise funds for "arks," which are storage containers for food, bedding, and supplies for use in emergencies.

"We believe it is important that we as members of the Church be more involved in our communities outside our Church circles," said stake Pres. Lynn Shurtleff.

The choir's performance was one of many at the festival, sponsored by the community-based organization.

Utah Central Area

Curbing gang violence

SALT LAKE CITY - Incidents of gang violence in Salt Lake City have escalated an alarming 100 percent in the past 10 months, Salt Lake Mayor Deedee Corridini told religious leaders in a meeting Dec. 21. If the city doesn't "get a handle on it we could lose our community," she told clergy meeting in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in the first of what is expected to be an ongoing forum for local religious leaders to share ideas and implement solutions to the area's social ills. Organizers of the meeting included Elder John E. Fowler of the Seventy and president of the Utah Central Area and the Rev. William K. Weigand of the Catholic Church's Salt Lake Diocese.

The mayor asked the religious leaders to identify families with children who are at risk and intervene early, before the pressure to join a gang begins to mount. She asked for churches to recruit volunteers to help in local schools and appoint "mentors" to these youth who have few, if any, role models.

In an interview with Gerry Pond of the LDS Church's Radio News Service, Elder Fowler said: "We could provide, I don't know how many, mentors for troubled parents or youth we might have in our community. I think that this is one community where, with all the clergy working together, we can really organize that kind of an effort. Can you imagine what good can be done if we have a successful grandparent-aged couple of some religious faith who is willing to spend the time helping either a single parent or even a struggling husband and wife learning how to be better parents?"

North America Central Area

26 faiths join in prayer

DENVER, COLO. - A recent "Day of Prayer" organized by the Colorado Council of Churches at the suggestion of Denver Mayor Wellington Webb involved Latter-day Saints among ministers, priests, rabbis, lay representatives and youth from 26 religious communities.

Peggy J. Richard, director/media relations for the Denver Multiregion Public Affairs Council, said about 2,800 people attended the recent event in the Colorado Convention Center. The purpose, she said, was to seek God's help in solving the problem of increasing violence, particularly as it relates to young people, gangs, drugs and drive-by shootings.

"Following approval from the North America Central Area presidency, Pres. Grant Marsh of the Littleton Colorado Stake was asked to act as the adult representative of our Church in offering a prayer for peace" at the event, Sister Richard said. "Cambria Lambertsen, a Laurel in the Seven Hills Ward of the Arapahoe Colorado Stake, offered a prayer in behalf of the youth of the Church."

North America Northeast Area

3,000 family names submitted

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Following an admonition from Syracuse New York Stake Pres. Dallas Jones to do more family history work, stake members have submitted more than 3,000 names from their family files and completed more than 11,000 temple ordinances.

In December 1992, Pres. Jones challenged stake members to create the equivalent of a stake through family research. The goal was accomplished by the end of October. The stake's Pulaski Ward, under the leadership of Bishop Dennis Dauphin, expects to have another 2,000 family names submitted by March 1994.

"I think it is a matter of obedience," according to Bishop Dauphin, who said he gave the matter a great deal of prayer, and that the spirit of the work has been contagious throughout the ward.

North America Southwest Area

Children visit temple

GRANBURY, TEXAS - Children from the Granbury Ward Primary recently made a trip to the Dallas Temple at the conclusion of a year of learning about temples. Twenty-seven of the ward's 50 Primary children made the trip and were accompanied by nine adults. Several of the adults who had not yet been through the temple were impressed enough by the trip to make commitments to attend the temple with their families.

Temple workers asked the children to sing for them. Patrons stopped and listened as the children, sitting on the interior steps of the lobby, sang "I Am a Child of God" and "I Love to See the Temple."

Lisa Crawford, Primary president, said that after the trip she knew "the children have made a commitment in their own hearts to go to the temple when they grow up."

North America Southeast Area

Tote bags donated

COOKEVILLE, TENN. - Relief Society sisters in the Cookeville Ward, McMinnville Tennessee Stake, sewed tote bags filled with personal hygiene items and distributed appropriate materials to a woman's shelter, a hospital's newborn baby care center, and a rescue mission for homeless.

"I marvel at the power that a loving act of charity has in healing the human heart," said Gwen Haney, ward Relief Society president.

Philippines/Micronesia Area

Dental clinic sponsored

MANDAUE CITY, PHILIPPINES - Members of the Cebu LDSSA here recently joined the Cebu Doctor's College in sponsoring a free dental clinic at one of the Barangay Health Centers. Dentists and interns extracted and cleaned teeth free of charge for more than 30 people during the clinic. LDSSA students assisted the medical effort by running errands.

The activity concluded with the LDSSA members cleaning the health center.

"This project is one of its kind. I wish we could have this [kind of] project next year," said Norberto Ceniza, Barangay Health Centers chairman.

North America Northwest Area

Branch centennial noted

BAKER, ORE. - Following the centennial celebration of the founding of the Baker Branch, the first Church unit in the Northwest, members in the area have a heightened awareness of the branch's role in Church history, said Pres. James E. Kerns, second counselor in the La Grande Oregon Stake presidency. "Our celebrating the centennial had an impact and made people aware of our heritage. They now realize what went into the making of this area," he said.

The branch was formed July 23, 1893, under the direction of Elder Franklin D. Richards of the Council of the Twelve. It was comprised of LDS families who came to take part in a large lumber operation started by Utah businessmen Charles W. Nibley and David Eccles.

Central America Area

Youth visit missionary center

GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA - The recently completed Missionary Training Center for this area helped missionary work even before its dedication, according to Elder Carlos H. Amado of the Seventy, president of the Central America Area.

On Dec. 14-16, the new facility was opened to LDS youths aged 14 to 15. Six meetings were held for some 1,200 youth from 13 area stakes. Elder Amado or Elder Joseph C. Muren of the Seventy, second counselor in the area presidency, addressed the meetings and told the youth of the importance of their serving a full-time mission.

After the meeting, the youth were taken on a tour of the classrooms and living quarters in the new facility, which will be dedicated in January.

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