From around the World

Europe West Area: Service promotes unity

ZOETERMEER, THE NETHERLANDS - On a recent Saturday, members of the Zoetermeer Ward, The Hague Netherlands Stake, performed community service by cleaning up a park and adjacent parking lot, cleaning up a community petting zoo, and visiting residents of a nursing home. Four local newspapers covered their service efforts.

"We all felt the spirit of selfless service, and the joy of making someone else happy," said Marieke Moolenburgh, whose husband, Edward, helped coordinate the activity.

"We all felt an increase of love and friendship as we shared time together."

Pacific Area: Pioneer musical draws 800

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - About 150 members of the Melbourne Australia Braeside Stake recently took part in a "Faith in Every Footstep" musical production. More than 800 people - a full house - came to the production on two nights in the newly built Frankston Cultural Center.

The story told by the production featured pioneers from throughout the world leaving homes and joining the journey westward with wagons and handcarts. The Australian pioneer story was of particular interest to many guests.

The production concluded with explanations by several adults and their children of how they came to join the Church. Stake Pres. Dirk Smibert paid tribute to the many different pioneers who are active today in their communities. He presented plaques of appreciation to representatives of the Red Cross, Scouting Australia, Rotary Brotherhood of St. Lawrence, Historical Society, Lions Club and the Returned Soldiers League.

North America Northwest Area: Share gifts with neighbors

PORTLAND, ORE. - A Christmas missionary activity that was started two years ago is bringing good feelings to members and their neighbors, said Doug Norman, Sunset Hills Ward mission leader.

The activity began when members of the Sunset Hills Ward gave small, framed pictures of the Savior, with a scripture on the back, to their neighbors as a Christmas gift. After the first year, the Cedar Mill Oregon Stake adopted the activity and many additional pictures were given to neighbors.

"The members readily accepted the challenge to share a gospel message at Christmas time," said Brother Norman. "It helped some of our friends and neighbors realize that Latter-day Saints truly are Christians."

North America Northeast Area: Youth build friendships

LONDON, ONTARIO - More than 300 youth attended a recent gathering that included workshops, a talent show and competitive games. Sponsored by the London Ontario Stake, the gathering was held to build testimonies and help the youth become acquainted with other Latter-day Saint youth in the area who attend local schools. The event closed with a testimony meeting.

The theme of the conference was "Pulling Together in the Last Days."

One group of youth went to the effort to compile a book containing expressions on various subjects by the youth who participated. Accompanying their comments were the words of Church leaders on the same subjects.

"It is true that we may comprise few students in our schools, but we have learned that although we appear to stand alone, we are not and never will be, alone," wrote Jake Toso, Marjorie Saunderson and Rosalind Irvine, members of the London Ontario Stake leadership council. "With our testimonies as our shields, we have found a way to overcome all bounds."

Utah North Area: Monument to midwife dedicated

BOUNTIFUL, UTAH - A monument in the cemetery here was dedicated Nov. 22 in honor of Patty Bartlett Sessions, known as "the mother of Mormon midwifery." She delivered up to 4,000 babies from Maine to Utah. She her husband, David, settled in Bountiful with their adult son, Peregrine, its first settler.

She established the Sessions Academy where many children were educated.

The monument was dedicated by Elder Kenneth Johnson of the Seventy.

North America Central Area: Area families entertained

INDEPENDENCE, MO. - The Steven and Claudia Goodman family, singers and entertainers from Utah, recently made five appearances in this area with composer and singer Kenneth Cope. They performed in conjunction with the second annual Family Unity Night, sponsored by the Independence Missouri Stake and other local community groups to give area families a chance to spend time together to enjoy uplifting and inexpensive entertainment. Welcoming the audience was Independence Mayor Ron Stewart.

The price of admission was one or more items of food. More than 125 large boxes of food were donated, and distributed by the Boy Scouts.

The Goodman family, which lost three of its members in a tragic auto accident a year ago, also presented two firesides and sang for a local congregation as well.

Independence Stake Pres. C. Kent Wood joined with several local agencies to present an award to resident Barb Friedmann for her service as founder of the Coalition for Families, a network linking 400 Kansas City-area agencies that work with families.

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