The Center Of Everything Is Christ

Christmas time is an important time of year in the spiritual development of each of us and our families.  What better time of the year is there to get lost in the service of each other and ultimately service to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  I look forward to feeling the love of family, friends, and ward members.  I hope I can put others first this time of year and focus on the gift of the happiness and joy of others.  There are so many great examples of service in our ward.  This month we will welcome two missionaries back home.  Elder Austin Ison and Elder Brady Wheeler have successfully served as missionaries for the past two years.  Elder Ison will report to the ward on December 17, Elder Wheeler will report on December 31.  What an exciting time for these two young missionaries and their families.  I’m looking forward to celebrating the completion of this significant act of service with each of them.

This month the theme in Sacrament meeting is Christ.  As we all know the center of everything is Jesus Christ.  My mission president used to say that everything we do, we should do in the name of Jesus Christ.  When we go to work, school, household chores, church, family time, everything can be done in the name of Jesus Christ.  I hope that I can do a little better this month as we celebrate Christmas.

The ward will have a Christmas party on December 20.  We hope that everyone will come and enjoy a brief program from our primary kids, a visit from Santa Claus, good food, and most important the fellowship of ward members.  Enjoy this time of year with your families and friends.

Merry Christmas!

Bishop Applegarth

Missionary Christmas

As a sister missionary, 15 years ago, I was lucky enough to spend two Christmases on my mission. Surrounded by the splendor of Oregon at Christmas – famous for its Christmas tree and Holly Berry Farms; I reveled in the joy of the holiday season. But, as a missionary I wanted more. Even though my life was focused on studying and teaching about my Savior, Jesus Christ, I wanted to strengthen my personal relationship with Him. I felt impressed to read, Jesus the Christ, by James E. Talmage in its entirety during the month of December. This was an amazing experience! Elder Talmage wrote this book in the Salt Lake Temple, and the truth and spirit infused in it is profound. I enjoyed the experience so much and was so uplifted that I read it all again my second December in the field.

I am so happy that the book Jesus the Christ can be found for free in the Gospel Library App. I have read it a few times since my mission. I especially love to read it in December. I love my Savior! He has healed me spiritually, emotionally, and physically. He shows His love for me constantly with tender mercies. How blessed I am to be a member of His church! And how grateful I am for this beautiful season of love and giving where we can feel His presence more strongly as we celebrate His birth!

Becky Zundel

The pure love of Christ

“In today’s world of so much suffering because of different circumstances, sending a text message with a funny emoji or posting a nice picture with the words “I love you” is good and valuable. But what many of us need to do is leave our mobile devices behind and, with our hands and feet, help others in great need. Love without service is like faith without works; it’s dead indeed. The pure love of Christ, which is charity, inspires us not only to act and provide service but also to have the strength to forgive, regardless of the situation.”

Jose L. Alonso, “Love One Another as He Has Loved Us”

Talk about Christ by Russell M. Nelson

Elder Applegarth – December 2017

Mission Office Address PO Box 263 Freetown Sierra Leone

Spencer continues to enjoy his service as a missionary to the good people of Sierra Leone.  He recently was transferred from Koidu back to Freetown, where he will train a new missionary.  Below is a short excerpt from his last e-mail:

We had an amazing baptism! The other companionship baptized 6 and we baptized 1 so it was a lot of fun! We went to where we were last time and this time we had to ride in the back of a truck and were packed in tight haha. It reminded me a ton of home and going up the mountains! The baptism went really well and everyone loved it! President Moi baptized everyone, so that was cool. On Sunday I got to confirm Isheka a member and give him the gift of The Holy Ghost. That was a really special experience for me! The spirit was just so strong I can’t even explain. It was just awesome. Then we got transfer news. I am getting transferred to Kontoloh in Freetown, and I will be training!! I’m a little bummed that I am leaving Koidu, but I’m pumped that I’m training that will be a ton of fun – but a lot of hard work for sure!  It was super hard to say goodbye to the people in Koidu. Some were even crying. It was so hard but we have done a lot of work in Koidu and it was so much fun to see the branch progress from nothing to what it is now. From going to super apostate to not really any apostasy at all! It has been a good run that’s for sure!  So we will see what the next area brings! Everything else is going good just love being on the lords errand!!

Bishop Applegarth

Applegarth2

Elder Jessee – December 2017

Mission Office 29 Wiryeseong-daero 22-gil (Ogeum-dong) Songpa-gu Seoul-teukbyeolsi 05655 South Korea

Elder Jessee is currently a District Leader and Trainer in a brand new area that he is loving! Following is from one of Elder Jessee’s letters:

This week was a lot of fun. We didn’t get to meet with our investigators but we proselyted a lot, had a few meeting, and met a lot of people on the street.

A few days ago Elder Diaz and I met with some Jehovah’s Witnesses. I saw a man named Kim Chan Ho on an old record and decided to give him a call to see if we could meet. After we talked on the phone, and scheduled the appointment, I read more into his record and saw that he was a JW. He told us to meet him at Giheug subway station. When we got off at the station he called me and told me he is in a coffee shop. Elder Diaz and I walked there and see 3 very old men. They stood up and begin to greet us bowing and shaking our hands. One of them had a big blue button pinned to his suit coat that said “JW.org”. I thought we were only meeting with one man, but I mean the more the merrier … right? Hahah!

The leader asked one of his assistants to get us some coffee. We told him we don’t drink coffee, which I am sure he knew. They asked why and I told them it was revelation received by God to not drink strong drinks, which coffee is. He then told them to get some bread instead, which was coffee bread.. haha! I know there is some coffee bread you can eat, but I didn’t feel right about it. I could feel the Spirit tell us not to – so we didn’t. They got us some egg bread instead, which was delicious. He began to talk to us and tell us that he wanted a 편견 없이 discussion, which means without prejudice. We talked for a little, just some small talk, during which I asked them if I could translate for my companion. He Then started the conversation by asking me what we thought happens after we die. I told him that we are resurrected and live with God and Jesus Christ again if we lived a righteous life. Then he asked where will we go, heaven or earth? I told him “with God, where that will be exactly I don’t know but we will live with Him”. He then opened up scriptures to share with me their doctrine. He told me of how we will live on earth for the rest of eternity. Told me how when we die we are really dead and cannot think, see, hear, move, and that is the end – until God comes back to the earth. They did this for about 20 minutes. This whole time Elder Diaz has no idea what is going on, so I translated for him here and there. I thanked them for the bread and began to bear testimony to them that God loves them, that he loves all people, and that is why I came to Korea to tell others this great message. I testified to them that I knew we lived with God and Christ before this life and will again after if we follow his teachings and live a righteous life. I told him I know we can live with our families forever and testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I explained to them that as missionaries we don’t fight with others, but we teach our message and invited them that if they wanted to learn these simple truths, we teach 5 lessons. I told them I would answer all their questions and then we left them with a Plan of Salvation Pamphlet. We said thank you and parted ways.

God really helped me that day through the Spirit to avoid any conflict. This was a huge testimony builder for me. The words “You will not be confounded before men” came into my head. I am grateful for the Spirit, the Priesthood, and the power of God on my side. Truly without Him I am nothing.

Elder Jessee

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Elder Ison – December 2017

Montana Billings Mission Office Address 1848 Rimrock Rd Billings MT 59102

Elder Ison is finishing up his mission in Missoula.  He was released as a Zone Leader and transferred there on November 15th. He will spend the last month of his mission training a new missionary Elder Johnson.   He absolutely loved Great Falls and said it was hard to leave but he was excited to be back in Missoula serving in the YSA ward, especially while to training again.  Time and goodbyes are becoming bittersweet. He is excited to come home and see his family again, but he is heartbroken leaving his mission and the people of Montana.  He was also in a car accident Thanksgiving evening. Everyone is ok and he knows that all involved were being watched over, however as a result of the accident he has lost driving privileges for that remainder of his mission.

He has loved serving the Lord and serving the people of Montana and knows he will be leaving a piece of his heart there.  As he reflects on his mission he says that it has been the best 2 years of his life and he is so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve.  His testimony and love for the gospel has increased and he can’t imagine his life without it.  He is so grateful to those in the ward that have supported him throughout his mission and he is focused and just wanting to give it all he has these last few weeks.

Elder Ison will return home December 16th and will give his report home talk the following day the 17th.

Kristie Ison

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Sister Ison – December 2017

Vancouver Washington Mission Office Address 2223 NW 99th St. Vancouver WA 98665

Sister Ison is doing amazingly!  She is just finishing up her first transfer this week and will be staying in Vancouver with Sister Phillips for at least another transfer which she is so excited about.  She loves Sister Phillips and is so grateful that she is her trainer.  She had her first baptism 2 weeks ago and they have several people that they are teaching including Sister Phillips’ father who left the church years ago when she was a little girl, and they are just so excited to get to teach him and her step mom via social media.  They are so grateful for the new ways they are getting to use social media to “hasten the work”

Sister Ison encourages us all to be member missionaries.

Kristie Ison

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Lesson Schedule – December 2017

December 3rd – Gospel Doctrine Lesson 44: Being Good Citizens, Relief Society & Priesthood: By Quorum/Group Presidency

December 10th  – Gospel Doctrine Lesson 45: “The Family Is Ordained of God”,  Relief Society & Priesthood Chapter 23: The Blessings of the Holy Temple

December 17th – Gospel Doctrine Lesson 46: “Zion—The Pure in Heart”,  Relief Society & Priesthood Chapter 24: The Atonement of Jesus Christ: Vast in Its Reach, Intimate in Its Effect

December 24th –  No second or third hour due to Christmas

December 31st – Gospel Doctrine Church History Chronology and Maps,  Relief Society & Priesthood: Combined under direction of the Bishopric

Christmas Clasics

Book Highlight

I am sure that you are bored of hearing suggestions and experiences from Becky and I. So this month’s Highlight comes from our beloved Prophet Thomas S. Monson. In his address “Because He Came” at the 2011 Christmas Devotional he said “For almost as long as I can remember, I have had a particular tradition at Christmastime. My family knows that just before Christmas I will read again my Christmas treasury of books and ponder the wondrous words of the authors. First will be the Gospel of Luke—even the Christmas story. This will be followed by a reading of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens and, lastly, rereading The Mansion, by Henry Van Dyke.”

This is what GoodReads says about A Christmas Carol

“In October 1843, Charles Dickens ― heavily in debt and obligated to his publisher ― began work on a book to help supplement his family’s meagre income. That volume, A Christmas Carol, has long since become one of the most beloved stories in the English language. As much a part of the holiday season as holly, mistletoe, and evergreen wreaths, this perennial favorite continues to delight new readers and rekindle thoughts of charity and goodwill.

With its characters exhibiting many qualities ― as well as failures ― often ascribed to Dickens himself, the imaginative and entertaining tale relates Ebenezer Scrooge’s eerie encounters with a series of spectral visitors. Journeying with them through Christmases past, present, and future, he is ultimately transformed from an arrogant, obstinate, and insensitive miser to a generous, warm-hearted, and caring human being. Written by one of England’s greatest and most popular novelists, A Christmas Carol has come to epitomize the true meaning of Christmas.”

And The Mansion

“There was an air of calm and reserved opulence about the Weightman mansion that spoke not of money squandered, but of wealth prudently applied. Standing on a comer of the Avenue no longer fashionable for residence, it looked upon the swelling tide of business with an expression of complacency and half-disdain.

Van Dyke’s Christmas story about a mansion that speaks “not of money squandered but of wealth prudently applied” – the companion story to The Other Wise Man.”

Both are beloved holiday classics and are now in the public domain. You can get free copies of both from Project Gutenberg here for A Christmas Carol and The Mansion.

Calvin Zundel


Bishopric – Gratitude

Another month come and gone.  2017 is quickly drawing to a close.  October was a great month!  General Conference provides such a spiritual boost.  I love that all of the uplifting talks are available for us to re-read and re-watch. We ended October on a high note with our Ward Social and Cub Scout Cake auction.  There was a great turnout with delicious soups and chilis, amazing cakes and baked goods, in the beautifully decorated Cultural Hall.  A big thanks to all who participated.  It’s always so nice to mingle with this wonderful ward.

The topic for November, appropriately enough, is Gratitude.  One thing I missed this last Conference was listening to President Thomas S. Monson.  Looking back at some of his previous talks there are several about gratitude.  I’d like to share a few quotes from one entitled “The Divine Gift of Gratitude”

“My brothers and sisters, do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love.”

“This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways.”

-Thomas S. Monson

I’m excited to learn more about this important virtue in the coming month.  As we approach Thanksgiving I hope we’ll take a minute to be truly grateful for the blessings we have.  Then with grateful hearts, we can look around us for those who we might serve.

Brother Walker 2nd Counselor

Reflections on Gratitude

When I think of Gratitude I think of the old saying “Gratitude is an Attitude”, which I definitely agree with. As I reflect on what I am most grateful for many of them were difficult times in my life. I am grateful that I was born with a spine deformity making me ineligible for military service which enabled me to serve a mission for the church instead. I am grateful for my son. Even with all his special needs he brings a joy and happiness into my life that I don’t know what I would do without it. I am grateful that I have moved around a lot, not that I want to move again, but I have found many places I dont want to live.

Over the last thirty years of my life I have put a lot of thought into what I would change in my past, if I had the power. I have come to realize that I would not change a moment of it; I would not do anything different. I am who I am because of what I have been through, and I am grateful for it all. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the trials and hardships I have faced, and I am grateful that God has gifted them to me – the good times and the tough ones.

I am most grateful for my wife. These last seven years we have spent together have been the best, and hardest, of my life. Becky is my rock. Her love helps me to get through anything. I don’t know who/what I would be without her. I look forward to many wonderful, and stretching years with her at my side.

Calvin Zundel

Elder Applegarth – November 2017

Mission Office Address PO Box 263 Freetown Sierra Leone

Spencer had an exciting month.  There were 6 baptisms, which were the first baptisms in the history of Koidu.  The elders have also found a couple of members of the church that were excited to find out a new branch has started in Koidu.  The work is moving forward.

Another exciting event is that Spencer hit his year mark.  To celebrate, Spencer bought a goat for $26.  With the help of the branch president, he killed and butchered the goat.  The branch came together for dinner.  They enjoyed the goat meat.  A soup was made from the guts, the hide was consumed as was the brain.  There wasn’t anything that went to waste.

Spencer is loving Sierra Leone, he loves his mission.

Bishop Applegarth

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Elder Ison – November 2017

Montana Billings Mission Office Address 1848 Rimrock Rd Billings MT 59102

Elder Ison is doing great and loves the Great Falls area.  His new companion is Elder Bennett and he absolutely loves him! He thinks that he will finish his mission with Elder Bennet and he is happy about that because he’s a great missionary who likes to work.  Elder Ison is still serving as Zone leader and with those responsibilities has been traveling a lot to different areas, training missionaries doing zone conferences & exchanges and interviews so he was excited to get back to Great Falls this week to their area to continue their work with their investigators.  But because of exchanges he was able to go to Billings this week and attend the temple so he was very grateful for that.  They are teaching a woman named Dana and she is so prepared and wanting to change her life and they have set her for baptism in a couple of weeks.  Elder Ison loves being a missionary and I am starting to see that sadness in him knowing that his mission is coming to an end, but he is working hard to be able to leave knowing he served his Father in Heaven well.

Kristie Ison

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Sister Ison – November 2017

Vancouver Washington Mission Office Address 2223 NW 99th St. Vancouver WA 98665

Sister Ison has made it to Vancouver.  She absolutely loved the MTC and although she had some homesickness the first week, she has worked through it and is loving being a missionary.  While in the MTC she had a couple of tender mercies to help her through her homesickness, one of her roomies had played basketball for Snow College so they were excited that they were both Snow players and her other roomie had actually met her brother Elder Ison in Montana so she felt like the Lord had blessed her by them being her roomies.  She was also able to see and talk to my cousin Julene who serves in the MTC and able to give her a big mom hug and reassure that she would be fine.  Her companion at the MTC was sister Young and she loved her.  She made it to Vancouver and was assigned as Sister Phillips trainee.  Sister Phillips is from St. George and Sister Ison loves her to death.  She says she is an awesome trainer and such a sweet person.  They are in the Vancouver area and it is a biking/walking area so they are spending a lot of time in the rain. Sister Ison says it’s so beautiful and green!  They have hit the ground running and have several people they are teaching and a baptism scheduled in November.  She loves Washington and the people there but mostly loves serving her Heavenly Father as a missionary.

Kristie Ison

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November 2017 – Lesson Schedule

November 5th – Gospel Doctrine 40: Finding Joy in Temple and Family History Work, 3rd Hour By Quorum/Group Presidency

November 12th – Gospel Doctrine 41: Every Member a Missionary, 3rd Hour Chapter 21: The Latter-Day Miracle of Missionary Work

November 19th – Gospel Doctrine 42: Continuing Revelation to Latter-day Prophets, 3rd Hour Chapter 22: Reaching Out with Love to New Converts and Less-Active Members

November 26th – Gospel Doctrine 43: Take upon You My Whole Armor, 3rd Hour The Sabbath is a day to remember what God has done for us.

Frontier Grit: The Unlikely True Stories of Daring Pioneer Women

Frontier Grit: The Unlikely True Stories of Daring Pioneer Women by Marianne Monson is a compilation of true women pioneer stories. With candor and cleverness the author weaves these magical tales that inspire the grit and perseverance that can be found in each of us. Though there are around a dozen stories only a couple are of LDS women. They are all interesting. You can read about a woman who dressed as a man and became a well-known stage coach driver. A woman from Hawaii who joined the LDS church, but saw separation and tragedy in her life due to leprosy. A woman who rescued Chinese slave girls in California. An LDS woman who became a famous Physician, Senator, and a polygamous wife. A woman who traveled in the wilds of Canada to rescue a group of men who had become stuck by winter weather. From the gold rush to women’s suffrage, you are sure to find a story and a person who inspires you to become more.

It is available to borrow online on OverDrive from the Utah Public Library in audio book format. The reader did a wonderful job bringing the stories to life. Many critical reviews on Amazon and GoodReads make listening to the audio book the best choice, in my opinion.

Becky Zundel

Fall Social – November 2017

On October 25th we had a great Ward Party. There were lots of great costumes including a dinosaur, and Chewbacca even showed up. There was a chili/soup cook-off with lots of tasty entries. The winners were 1st Delbecq 2nd Molly Anderson and 3rd Gunderson for chili. Soups were 1st Sister Staker 2nd Sister Honey and 3rd Sanders. The Cub Scouts had a bake sale and cake auction. The cakes sold anywhere from $55 for Sister Staker’s volcano to $5 for a batch of brownies.

Brother Zundel

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