From around the World

Europe West Area: Austria celebrates heritage

HAAG AM HAUSRUCK, AUSTRIA – Members from across Austria gathered for a historic celebration of pioneers in America as well as in their own country, July 11-13.

They traveled by train to Haag am Hausruck, a 1,000-year-old Alpine village where the first member in Austria, Paul Hoslinger, joined the Church in 1865. As they arrived at the train station, they were transported by either a horse-drawn wagon, a 1914 panel truck or a 1930 bus to the site of the first Church building dedicated in Austria.

The celebration at this location included showing movies relating to pioneers, as well as displaying exhibits with pictures and artifacts of Austrian pioneers, among them missionary Thomas Biesinger, imprisoned for proselyting and who, until 1901, was the only member in Austria.

Other activities included games and music on the picture-postcard hills surrounding the valley. A variety show where 150 actors portrayed Church events since the arrival of the pioneers in Salt Lake Valley 150 years ago was also held in a rented hall. Members sang Austrian folk music, accompanied by a zither. At this event a member of the Catholic Family Council expressed his appreciation for the Church and its support of families. The mayor of Leonding, Austria, also attended.

Sunday services were held in nearby Linz and Salzburg where Austrian pioneer members told of their experiences in the Church.

Chile Area: Cleaning, painting, repairing

SANTIAGO, CHILE – Throughout this nation, local wards and branches took part in the July 19 International Day of Service, cleaning, painting and providing repairs of public equipment, said Rodolfo Acevedo, Chile public affairs director.

"The members worked with their hearts and minds focused on the great sacrifices made by the pioneers," he said.

Among those who served were priesthood holders in the Santiago Chile Puente Alto Stake, who cleaned an avenue, while the Relief Society members and youth of this stake scrubbed and painted a children's hospital and afterward gave toys and games to the children.

Members of the Santiago Chile Alicahue Stake cleaned streets and a plaza. Members of the San Antonio Chile Stake cleaned streets and parks, assisted by local businesses. Leonardo Wilches, a counselor in the San Antonio stake presidency, told a local newspaper that "congregations all around the world are devoting this day in service to their communities." Local official Rafael van Gein said the Church's efforts "were an example worthy of other institutions to follow."

North America Northwest Area: Governor honors Idaho wagon

BOISE, IDAHO – Gov. Phil Batt met Aug. 11 with Idaho participants of the re-enactment trek of the Mormon Trail wagon train. Attired in pioneer clothing, the participants drove their wagon to the steps of the State Capitol where they met with the governor.

Gov. Batt earlier officially recognized the participation of Idaho's wagon in the re-enactment by issuing a proclamation. In the proclamation, the wagon was named "The Idaho State Wagon," and citizens of Idaho were encouraged to "celebrate and honor the spirit of those determined pioneers and the legacy of devotion, integrity and industry they demonstrated."

Europe North Area: Combine service, activities

COLCHESTER, ENGLAND – Members of the Ipswitch England Stake observed the Church's International Day of Service here July 19 with both service and commemoration activities.

They organized four major service projects in Colchester. They painted playground equipment and fences at two playgrounds, cleared litter and waste from Grimes Dyke, an earthwork that pre-dates the Roman invasion of 43 A.D., and cleared litter and made a path in Magdalen Wood.

After the service projects, members presented displays in High Woods Country Park that explained Church history. They displayed crafts, offered handcart rides, and provided a display honoring the 160th anniversary of the arrival of missionaries in England. The ancestors of the Prophet Joseph Smith and Apostle Heber C. Kimball emigrated in the 17th century from areas within the Ipswitch Stake.

Among the guests at the commemoration were the mayor of Colchester, Counsellor Jenny Stevens. She was hosted by stake Pres. David Baxter and Colchester Ward Bishop Adrian Foster, said Roger Burden, stake director of public affairs.

Pacific Area: Marqueses gain meetinghouse

MARQUESES, FRENCH POLYNESIA – The first meetinghouse on the Marquesian island of Hiva-Oa, French Polynesia, was dedicated May 11 by Tekehu Munanui, president of the Tahiti Papeete Mission.

The 30 members of the Atuona Branch and their guests filled the little chapel. Branch Pres. Pierre Robert O'Connor welcomed those attending.

Mayor Guy Rauzy, a Catholic priest, a Seventh-Day Adventist minister and the commandant of the Adapted Military Service attended the dedication services. Primary children sang traditional Church hymns, and some guests and Church leaders shared their feelings.

North America West Area: Battalion's march re-enacted

BAKERSFIELD, CALIF. – More than 1,000 people witnessed a re-enactment of the Mormon Battalion's march through what is now Kern County, Calif., 150 years ago. About 150 marchers portrayed a group of the battalion who headed north from Los Angeles over the Tejon Pass. The original battalion members were discharged from military service at Fort Moore in Los Angeles on July 16, 1847, and were on their way to be reunited with their families, who were either waiting at Winter Quarters or were en route west.

The re-enactment, held at Fort Tejon State Historic Park, about 35 miles south of Bakersfield, was the first-ever event of its kind in this area to commemorate the battalion, and was well-covered by the media.

Included in the commemoration were remarks by Elder C. Max Caldwell of the Seventy, first counselor in the North America West Area, a performance of the Southern California Mormon Choir, and the prepresentation of an original musical drama that featured Galen Young, a television news anchor and great-great-grandson of Brigham Young.

In addition, certificates of commemoration were presented to all Mormon Battalion descendants who attended.

Crossing the area was a struggle for the original battalion members, who wrote: "the weather was excessively hot and suffocating . . . it almost seemed that all must perish . . . all agreed this was the hottest day they ever experienced in any country."