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From around the world

Africa Area: Y.W. program successful

PORT HARCOURT, NIGERIA - The first year of the Young Women in Excellence program in the Port Harcourt Nigeria Stake ended successfully with the Port Harcourt 2nd Ward recently holding its first Young Women in Excellence program.

One young woman, Agnes Teigbanyo, received her Young Women Recognition Award and medallion, believed to be the first Nigerian to do so. In addition, six other young women received progress reports and recognition certificates. For her Laurel projects, Agnes taught a missionary game to the ward's Primary children and helped other young women improve their reading skills.

Conducting the program was Lori Ballew, first counselor in the ward Young Women presidency, an expatriate from the United States. She and her husband, Colby, second counselor in the bishopric, have been living in Nigeria for two years.

Decorations for the recent ceremony were bright - colorful balloons and ribbons of each of the Young Women value colors. Included in the decor was a poster filled with letters and pictures of members of the Copperfield Ward, Houston Texas Katy Stake, who have been pen pals with these Nigerian young women.

Asia Area: Books donated to China

NANJING, CHINA - More than 1,500 new textbooks in business, English, and science were recently presented to the Nanjing University of Chemical Technology in the People's Republic of China.

The textbooks were shipped by the Church as part of its Humanitarian Services at the request of Church members Laida and Ken Papenfuss, who have been volunteer teachers in English and business at the university in China for the past two years. Brother Papenfuss is a retired Ricks College business instructor. The Papenfusses teach business and English at Nanjing University and were honored previously by the school with "Teacher of the Year" awards.

Dr. Xie Yusheng, president of the university, received the books and expressed appreciation for them. He had recently returned with a group of students who had been hosted at Brigham Young University.

Europe West Area: Gifts soften separation

BAUMHOLDER, GERMANY - Women in the Idar-Oberstein Military Branch, Kaiserslautern Germany Military Stake, recently put together and sent gift boxes to branch members serving with the military in Bosnia.

Nearly all of the men in the branch, composed of U.S. military personnel and their families, have been deployed to Bosnia, with many on peace-keeping missions and others there for field exercises. Only two priesthood holders were left in the branch.

"We are now more than three months into the deployment and anticipate another eight months of separation," said Relief Society Pres. Diane Bybee. "As Easter was approaching, we sisters decided that we wanted to reach out to all of the men who were deployed from our branch - both married and single - so we gathered one evening and put together gift boxes for everyone. There were even several left over that we were able to share with other soldiers.

"I have recently received a letter telling me about missionary work that has come about as a direct result from this activity. Other soldiers in Bosnia were impressed that a group of women from a soldier's church would care enough to think about him, and they now want to know more."

Pacific Area: Medical care upgraded

NUKU'ALOFA, TONGA - The Humanitarian Service Division of the Church Welfare Department, working through Deseret International Foundation, sponsored a project "to upgrade cardiology and anesthesiology training and general surgical skills" of staff physicians at the Vaiola General Hospital here.

Church members Dr. William S. Dunford, general surgeon, and Dr. Vance Campbell, anesthesiologist, volunteered in the hospital from early February through mid-May.

They worked an intensive schedule teaching, assisting and holding clinics with the staff doctors. The Church donated a substantial amount of medical equipment and supplies, totaling 731 items. The doctors returned home to Salt Lake City having been recognized as great contributors to improving the medical care in this kingdom.

North America Central Area: Family topics taught

AURORA, COLO. - A recent Family Fair on strengthening family relationships was held for the community in a local stake center. The family fair was sponsored jointly by the Arapahoe Colorado Stake and the St. Michael the Archangel Parish.

Among the topics were: "Teen and Parents - Can We Talk? You Bet We Can," "Marriage Communication," "Inexpensive Activities with Children," "Finding Your Family Story," "Family Budgeting," and "Setting Aside a Family Night."

The event began with a continental breakfast at the parish, followed by an address by Mary Gill, member and former principal of the nationally recognized Cherry Creek High School. Some 80-100 participants then attended classes in the stake center and were served a free lunch at noon.

North America Southwest Area: Food collected, donated

MESA, ARIZ. - Students at the Mountain View Seminary here collected food for the United Food Bank recently. Given a challenge by their leaders to triple their previous year's food drive total of 3,500 food items, several students began a project in which they collected canned goods door-to-door, saved their money to buy more canned goods and brought goods from home.

These students' efforts resulted in all the seminary students catching the spirit and accelerating the effort. The group collected 23,800 food items.

North America Southeast Area: 850 attend fireside

TUSCALOOSA, ALA. - A crowd of more than 850 people jammed the Tuscaloosa Ward meetinghouse to hear Dale Murphy, a former professional baseball player, and Glen Tuckett, University of Alabama athletic director, speak at a recent fireside.

The theme for the evening was "A Focus on Family." Brother Murphy and Brother Tuckett also had the opportunity to speak with local civic and education leaders at a banquet prior to the fireside.

Brother Murphy, who is currently serving as bishop of Alpine 2nd Ward, Alpine Utah Stake, toured the university campus and spoke to the Crimson Tide baseball team earlier in the day. His activities also included a press conference with members of the local media.

North America West Area: Items for sort center

LAIE, HAWAII - The Laie Hawaii North Stake held a "Super Service Saturday" recently during which members prepared hundreds of items for people in need.

Some 300 Latter-day Saints spent a recent Saturday making 51 hand-tied baby quilts, 394 painted toy wooden trucks and cars, 144 children's hospital gowns, 90 crib sheets, 52 knitted bandages and 113 hygiene kits.

Most of the items will eventually go to third-world countries via the Deseret Industries Sort Center in Salt Lake City, while many of the hospital gowns will be sent to Tonga. The bandages will be donated to those with Hansen's disease on Molokai, Hawaii.

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