From around the world

Europe West Area: Branch's 90-year wait ends

RICHTERSWIL, SWITZERLAND - After a 90-year wait, the Richterswil Branch, Zurich Switzerland Stake, finally has its own meetinghouse. The branch, in a rural area near Lake Zurich, met in rented quarters for nearly a century.

The branch was unable to purchase property within its boundaries until five years ago. After property was purchased in 1990, permission to build was still long in coming. When legal permission to build was obtained, the site was approved by the Church after a visit by President Howard W. Hunter in August 1994.

Some 400 people attended an open house of the completed facility, 150 of whom were non-members. The event was covered by four local newspapers that have a combined circulation of some half a million. Local community and religious leaders welcomed the branch to its new home.

Zurich stake Pres. Francois Radzik dedicated the building as "a place of inspiration" for members and non-members alike.

Africa Area: Sister missionaries meet

ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST - Sister missionaries in the Ivory Coast Abidjan Mission are making a contribution as their numbers increase.

The eight sisters in the mission, seven from the Ivory Coast and one from Ghana, recently met in a training conference. In the first-ever such conference in Ivory Coast, they were instructed on such topics as community service, how to strengthen branches and how to teach about the Book of Mormon.

The workshop was directed by Sister Jennie Kallunki, wife of mission Pres. J. Thomas Kallunki. Sister Carole McRae, serving with her husband, Elder Gary McRae, taught information about the auxiliaries. They said the sisters have made progress in many areas while serving missions. Some have learned to play the piano and to accompany hymns.

Asia Area: LDS interpret for educators

HONG KONG - Two groups of Church members volunteered to help more than 600 educators from throughout the world who gathered in Hong Kong to attend the recent five-day Eleventh Conference on Gifted and Talented Children.

The conference was co-chaired by a member in Hong Kong, Caroline Kwok, who is a BYU graduate. Four other members served as interpreters: Henrietta Yung, Daisy Kwan, Chan Ching Chi and Kitty Tong. Another six, Alic Chan, Fiona Chan, Human Choi, Cher Lai and Jacqueline Tsui, served as photographers.

In addition, four Church members from Utah gave presentations at the conference. Jay Monson from Utah State University spoke to Hong Kong teachers, while a presentation on handicapped gifted was conducted by Sally Todd from BYU for the special education department staff of the Hong Kong Education Department. Other LDS presenters were Phyllis Embley of BYU and Ann Larsen of Weber State University.

North America Northwest Area: Moms, children sing

FAIRBANKS, ALA. - A mothers' and children's choir recently sang LDS musical numbers at an interfaith program at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Fairbanks.

The choir later joined with the choirs from the Fairbanks Lutheran Church and the First United Methodist Church to perform additional hymns. Dee Ritchie, a stake high councilor, presented a scripture reading.

North America Northeast Area: Pavilion, film anniversary noted

PLAINVIEW, N.Y. - The 25th anniversary of the Plainview New York Stake Center, originally the Mormon Pavilion in the 1964-65 World's Fair, was celebrated recently. It was originally dedicated by President Harold B. Lee. The Church film "Man's Search for Happiness" was first shown in the building during the World's Fair. That movie, along with slides showing the building's construction, were shown during the celebration. Music was presented by a stake youth choir, under the direction of Vivian De Rosa.

W. John Bailey, president of the New York New York South Mission, was presented with a plaque of thanks for his years of Church service. He served as a missionary in the area during the World's Fair and gave interesting insights about the building and the film.

North America Southwest Area: Essay contest sponsored

TULSA, OKLA. - The Owasso Ward, Tulsa Oklahoma East Stake, sponsored, organized and publicized an essay contest about families recently. The contest, held to celebrate National Family Week, has been a tradition in the ward since 1986.

The ward selects a theme and the school and business community support the project with encouragement and donations. The judges are a group of retired teachers and interested community citizens. The program has had from 400 to 700 entries each year.

"We feel that you can tell a lot about what is happening in a family by what the children write," Diane Mitchell, Owasso Ward public affairs specialist, said. "We are looking for families that stick together and work through the problems they have."

North America Southeast Area: Young women help family

LEXINGTON, S.C. - Young women in the Lexington Ward, Columbia South Carolina Stake, spent much of the holiday season collecting household items and necessities for a family in Lexington - a single mother with four children - who lost their home in a fire.

The Young Women even tied a quilt for the family.

Amanda Ryan, Young Women president, said a majority of the 32 young women in the ward participated by either purchasing or collecting clothing, sheets, towels, blankets and household items and making the quit. She added that the girls found fulfillment in serving the family - especially during the Christmas season while they were thinking about Christ and the sacrifices He made for them.

"You never know when something is going to happen to you or your loved ones," she explained. "It is nice to know that there is someone out there who can help."

Youth enjoy temple service

BENTON, ARK. - During their Thanksgiving break, 27 youth from the Benton Ward, Little Rock Arkansas Stake, traveled to the Dallas Temple to do baptisms for the dead. A few weeks earlier, the young women and young men met at the stake family history center to conduct their own research.

"We had the youth bring any family names that had not had their temple work done for them," Amy Daniel, Young Women president, said. She said ward members are trying to make temple work a continuing focus - not just something the youth think about before they take a temple trip.

Caroline Henrichsen, a 15-year-old Mia Maid, called the trip "something all the youth in the ward look forward too" and that they are "thankful for."

North America Central Area: Congregations perform cantata

JOPLIN, MO. - A 60-member combined choir from the Joplin 1st and 2nd wards presented a Christmas cantata at the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Dec. 13. The cantata, "The Savior of the World," was directed by Sonja Bodon of the Joplin 1st Ward.

After the cantata, a reception for the choir was hosted by the RLDS congregation.

Utah North Area: 9 bishops live in ward

PLEASANT VIEW, UTAH - All of the former bishops of the Pleasant View 2nd Ward - nine including the current bishop - attended a recent reunion of the ward, which was organized in 1960. All of the bishops reside within the current ward boundaries.

The bishops are: R. Raymond Jones, William Soelberg, Ross Olsen, LaMoine Wall, Mark Manning, Geary Mecham, Scott Ballif, Sheldon Nelson. The current bishop, Terry Jones, welcomed his predecessors.

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