Elder Applegarth – June 2018

Mission Office Address PO Box 263 Freetown Sierra Leone

Spencer has been transferred to a rural community a couple of hours away from Freetown.  It is a town of about 11,000.  There is a little more jungle feel in this community, including large snakes and other critters that come into town.  They have a pet “Potto” which is kind of like a monkey that hangs out in their compound.  Spencer has his first American companion since his trainer.  Elder Jones is from Orem and Spencer is enjoying serving with a companion that has a similar background to Spencer.  The branch in the area is small about 30 people come to church.  However, there seems to be a lot of interest in the gospel and Spencer is busy teaching people. In his last e-mail he stated:

It rained hard Saturday night, well we got to church early but nobody showed up until a little after nine.  Even the presiding authority didn’t show up till then. When we finally started the meeting it was around 9:15 and the 1st councilor was conducting since the branch president wasn’t there.  He stood up to conduct and said “presiding over this meeting is our lord and savior Jesus Christ and I am conducting.”  I rolled my eyes and just about died laughing.  Then I got to give a talk and I talked about time management.

Spencer continues to enjoy being in Sierra Leone.  He loves the people of Africa and is enjoying the opportunities that full time missionary service provides.

Bishop Applegarth

The Covenant Path

Welcome to the month of June! The Memorial weekend is past so, according to our resident experts, it’s safe to plant our gardens. No more frosty mornings until October.

Our theme for June is on the Covenants we make with our Father in Heaven and the promises He makes with us when we hold them sacred. Covenants we make when we are baptized. Covenants we make when we receive our Endowment. Covenants we make when we are sealed to our Eternal partner. Covenants we make when we do that vicarious work for our ancestors who have passed on. Covenants that are Eternal and will lead us to Immortality and Eternal life.

This month we can look forward to listening to Mariah Hafen, Natalie Jorgensen, Trevor Olson, and Josh Walker in Sacrament Meeting before they are called to their Missions in Paraguay, Arkansas, New Zealand, and Washington State. That’s ten missionaries from the Mt. Pleasant 4th Ward!  And if you include Kevin Johansen who will soon submit his Mission papers, that will be an amazing eleven!!!

Our Primary, Sunday School, Young Men, and Young Women teachers can all take pride in teaching correct principles to these fine young men and women. As a Bishopric, we thank you.  However most of the praise lands squarely on the shoulders of the Mothers and Fathers who have led their children, through example and inspiration, along the Covenant Path. I love the third Epistle of John where he says “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth”(3rd John 1:4) As a grandparent, I think it’s appropriate to include grandchildren.

Brother and Sisters, as we look for strength and inspiration to continue on the Covenant path that leads to a loving Heavenly Father, let me quote our Prophet Russell M. Nelson “I declare my devotion to God our Eternal Father and to His Son Jesus Christ. I know them, love them, and pledge to serve them, and you, with every remaining breath of my life.”(As We Go Forward Together – January 16, 2018)

Brother Gunderson 1st Counselor

Covenant Reflections

Since being invited to write this article, I’ve spent some time considering what covenants means to me. It’s fitting that last month’s topic was on the Restoration, because understanding covenants begins by having an understanding of the Restoration.

My early understanding of the Restoration began during my mission on the banks of the Susquehanna River. Currently, there is a Visitors’ Center, restored homes, sculptures, and groomed paths at the Restoration Site in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. But during my time there the Visitors’ Center was not yet built, and only the sculptures alerted those passing by that the location marked something of significance. I remember the peace I felt when visiting the location, but it would be many years before I would grasp a deeper understanding of what the Restoration and making and keeping covenants means for me.

We enter into covenants through the power of the priesthood. Through the Restoration this is possible. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we know that covenants are important because they demonstrate our commitment to God. For example, our foundational covenant is performed through baptism. This is when we promise to take upon us the name of Christ. We know that each Sunday we can renew this covenant by partaking of the Sacrament. Other covenants can be made in the temple, qualifying us to spending eternal life with Heavenly Father.

Because the priesthood is restored, we can make covenants with God and be deeply affected— we can pledge our commitment to take upon us the name of Christ, family relationships can continue beyond death, and ultimately we can qualify to return to God’s presence. The doctrine of the Restoration and the principles of making and keeping covenants brings me great peace. We are not alone. God’s power is on the Earth today, and through it we can show our willingness to be a disciple of Christ and embrace those tools (covenants) that will qualify us to return to live with Heavenly Father. Though I do not bear the priesthood, I can be affected by its power through the covenants it provides. That is empowering!

Kami Walker

Walker1

Sister Ison – June 2018

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

Sister Ison & Sister Perry are seeing great miracles in Battle Ground and are loving every minute of being on the Lord’s errand.  They have found new investigators to teach and have a lot of fun while doing it.  Jentry is soaking up every opportunity to spread the Gospel and really can’t believe how fast the time is going.  She hits the halfway mark this month!!!  Here is a little bit from her email this week that I thought would be good to share.

How often do we judge people for things they probably can’t even control? We must always remember to see people through God’s eyes and that is when we will develop that love for them! Yes people make mistakes but if we can be forgiven for our mistakes so can they. A lot of people ask “how do we develop love for them?” You pray and ask Heavenly Father to help you love them, but make sure it’s because you really want to not just because you know you are supposed to. You must be willing to really want to know how you can best help them! One thing that our Relief Society president said to this question was that the commandant “love thy neighbor as thyself” is something that most of the time has to start with us. It does say love them as THYSELF. Sometimes we have to look inward and gain that testimony that we are all God’s children and He loves us, and we have to see that He gave His only begotten son for us and our Savior loves us and suffered for us as well. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ thought you were worth it and so do I. I INVITE each of you to ask Heavenly Father to help you find that inward love for yourself so that once you find that you may love others in any circumstance. We are all God’s children and He loves each of us, He gave his son for each of you individually and your worth is great in His eyes. I love you all so much and hope that you have an amazing week and thank you for all you do. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

                                                                Kristie Ison

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Elder Jessee – June 2018

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

This week we had transfer day and I am now with Elder Lott! He is from Bountiful Utah, has been on his mission about the same amount of time as Brycen, and is a great guy. We have been working hard visiting members trying to build their faith and asking the leaders of the ward how we can do better as missionaries. We have been having fun and speaking a lot of Korean, we made a goal to speak Korean whenever we are out of the house, and it’s been working pretty well so far!

We were also able to meet with our two recent investigators. They are doing great and progressing pretty well. One of them has come to church the last two weeks. Their names are Jo Hyeun Soo and Nam Seyoung Won. They have some interesting questions mainly because they looked up some stuff about our church on the internet but luckily they ask us before they believe it. The members have been a great support in helping these two. After church one of the members pulled me aside and told me that while Jo Hyeun Soo was reading Alma out loud in one of the classes he felt the spirit strong and feels that he would be a great member. One funny story is that yesterday there was a baptism in the ward and we asked our investigator if he wanted to watch it. He looked very uncomfortable and said no. We asked why and he said that he didn’t want to see naked people. It was pretty funny. We told him that nobody was going to be naked, that they would wear white clothes! Ha-ha! Love these two investigators. They are both 17. I was reading the Book of Mormon this week and came across a scripture, Mosiah 28:3. I have read this scripture many times throughout my mission and evaluated myself based on my desires with the desires of the Sons of Mosiah. Obviously these Sons of Mosiah were very special, dedicated and consecrated missionaries, and in my mission I have tried to be at least a fraction of the missionaries they were. I begin to think of how if one of the sons of Mosiah entered our mission, what he would do, what he would say, what he would even think. It gave me a greater desire to become like them and strive to rely on the Lord to do His work in a more holy way. To desire that every person hear the message of their Savior. This time when I read it, I was able to feel that my desire for other’s salvation has grown through my mission. It was a great feeling. Though I have eons to go I know that each of you, if started now, can develop that love and desire for other people’s happiness. Keep your thoughts elevated and your love strong. Love you a lot!! Have a great week, finish the school year out strong and keep doing your best! Come closer to the Lord through reading the scriptures and prayer daily! They are little things but they do add up!

 Elder Jessee

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Lesson Schedule – June 2018

June 3rd Stake Conference 

June 10th – Gospel Doctrine: Lesson 20: All the City … Doth Know That Thou Art a Virtuous Woman, Relief Society & Priesthood: April General Conference Message

June 17th – Gospel Doctrine: Lesson 21: God Will Honor Those Who Honor Him, Relief Society & Priesthood: April General Conference Message

June 24th – Gospel Doctrine: Lesson 22: The Lord Looketh on the Heart, Relief Society & Priesthood: Ministering to Others –  The Savior is our perfect example of ministering

The Fullness of the Gospel

“I don’t know how many more “rushes” we can handle this weekend. Some of us have weak hearts.” -Elder Holland

What a great month it’s been!  It finally feels like spring has arrived.  To start with General Conference and to hear the inspired words of a living prophet was wonderful… but more on that in a moment.

The Young Men and Young Women had the opportunity on the 15th to attend Music and the Spoken Word at the Tabernacle on Temple Square.  It was beautiful!  Our Ward Game Night on the 18th was great as well.  Special Thanks to all who made it such a fun night.

We’re excited to begin with the changes in the Priesthood organization, and the new Ministering program which President Nelson called: “a newer, holier approach”.  We hope that the spirit of love will fill our ward as we do so.  It’s easy to feel the love that our Prophet has for all of us.

The topic for the month of May is The Restoration.  I really like L. Tom Perry’s talk from the April 2007 Conference.  I leave you with his words, adding my testimony to his:

“Our message is unique. We declare to the world that the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. We declare with boldness that the keys of the priesthood have been restored to man, with the power to seal on earth and in the heavens. The saving ordinances pronounced by the Lord as requirements for entering into eternal life with Him can now be performed with binding authority by those who worthily exercise the power of His holy priesthood. We declare to the world that this is the day referred to by biblical prophets as the latter days. It is the final time, before the coming of Jesus Christ to rule and reign over the earth.

We invite all to listen to the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ from us. Then you can compare the glorious message with what you may hear from others, and you can determine which is from God and which is from man.

My witness to you is that this is the Church of Jesus Christ, established in the latter days. In the name of our Lord and Savior, even Jesus Christ, amen.” – L. Tom Perry

Brother Walker 2nd Counselor

The Blessings of the Restoration

The restoration of the church and the true gospel of Jesus Christ has brought many gifts into my life, everything from Relief Society sisters to Priesthood blessings to a Patriarchal blessing to the temple. By far, the greatest gift I received was the sealing of my parents (both deceased) to each other and my sealing to them in the Manti Temple in 2017. That was easily one of the most profound spiritual experiences I’ve ever had. An immeasurable amount of light poured through me, through my two friends who served as proxies for my parents on that day in the sealing room, and through all the people who were present as witnesses–it was a palpable, awe-inspiring experience. Many tears of joy were shed, and Jesus infused all of us with an immense, remarkable amount of love.

In addition, the restoration has allowed me, a Jewish woman, to partake of the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ while continuing to embrace my genetic and cultural heritage. I see the gospel as an expansion of my spiritual path, not an “either-or.” I still celebrate Passover and other Jewish holidays–often with my LDS friends–as those holy days align with the gospel, I also can now fully embrace Christmas and the glory of Easter. I have learned that, through the restoration, there is room in this gospel and this church for everyone.

Alyssa Wolf

Elder Applegarth – May 2018

Mission Office Address PO Box 263 Freetown Sierra Leone

Spencer hit his 18 month mark in April. He is excited to be serving the good people of Sierra Leone and is looking forward to his next 6 months of service. We are really looking forward to Mother’s Day when we will enjoy the last skype with Spencer on his mission. Time is short and Spencer is working hard to make sure he accomplishes everything he can as a full-time missionary. Spencer is still serving in Kontollah, which is in Freetown. He has really enjoyed working in this area. He trained a missionary that was from Sierra Leone, Elder Newton. Elder Newton waited for about four months, before he finally got his visa to serve in Mozambique. Elder Newton came to the Provo MTC to learn Portuguese and to prepare for his mission. Kathryn was able to meet Elder Newton at the Provo Temple. Many members of our ward kindly donated clothes and money to Elder Newton. He recently left Provo and is now in Mozambique. He was excited about his new pants, shirts, and ties. He is well equipped and looks every bit as good as Spencer or any other missionary from the Mount Pleasant fourth ward. Elder Newton called Kathryn from the airport to let her know he is on his way. It sounds like Kathryn has another African son, we are expecting a call from Elder Newton for mother’s day.

Spencer is hoping to serve the last 6 months of his mission in the rural areas of Sierra Leone. He is ready to be out of the big city, but has really enjoyed the Freetown area. He is planning on several baptisms on May 4th.  The work in Africa keeps going forward. In Spencer’s last letter he said “we have been preparing 5 people for baptism. All of them are doing well with an exception of 1 named brother Prince. He is the one who has the problem smoking. He is getting better but still has a little bit of a problem so he won’t be able to be baptized on the 5th but maybe the next baptism. I love trying to help the man out. He is slowly starting to overcome the habit. We have also been expanding our teaching pool. It was a blessing to see most of them at church yesterday!” Spencer celebrated his 20th birthday this past month. He described his birthday as follows: “I was able to baptize 6 people this week!!! Every time I put them under the water the spirit filled my heart. It was so amazing to be able to do that for them. After they came out of the water each one of them looked me in the eyes and said thank you. That is when tears started to roll down my face because all I could think about is my saying the same thing to our Savior one day. It was truly a humbling experience. What better birthday present is there? Then I got to spend some time with my converts and they made my day special for me, we had a lot of fun! Sunday was also an amazing day as I stood in the circles for their confirmations the spirit filled the room.  After the blessings the recent converts that I baptized a while ago all got callings!!! It has truly been amazing to see everyone’s progress!!”

Other exciting news for Spencer is that his companion for the past four months finally got his visa, so he is attending the MTC in Provo where he is learning Portuguese.  He will be preparing to serve in Mozambique.  The final elections happen this week in Sierra Leone.  Hopefully democracy continues as a peaceful event there.

Bishop Applegarth

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Elder Jessee – May 2018

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

Well, our little investigator Jo Yeon Woo is now a member! He was baptized and confirmed yesterday! What another great baptismal service. I am so happy to have a small part in bringing another soul closer to the Savior, and help him make the first step in his journey back to God and Jesus Christ! He has such a great spirit about him! During these last two months as we have been teaching him, I was amazed with his willingness to keep the commitments we gave him and how his knowledge and testimony and understanding of the gospel grew as he came closer to God and Jesus Christ. He understood more, and quicker, than most of the older and smarter men I have taught on my mission. This testified to me that in growing a testimony and coming closer to God humility, willingness, and a desire are the most important things. Through humility, willingness, and desire we can come closer to God, know what His plan for us is, and become more than we ever could by ourselves. God will mold and shape our lives into something we can’t even imagine! I’m Grateful for all these experiences I have had on my mission.

We have also been meeting with a less active for the last few weeks. He wasn’t coming to church because he worked on Sunday, but has recently quit his job and is now able to come back to church. He is a 28ish year old guy named, Gwon Hyo Moon and was baptized only 2 years ago. He is a really great guy and this week we went and ate at a meat buffet with him!

Elder Jessee

Sister Ison – May 2018

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

She has been transferred to Battle Ground Washington and has a new companion Sister Perry.  She LOVES Sister Perry and the new area.  They are white washing the area and are having some great success finding new people to teach and reaching out to those that are inactive and just are having an amazing time.  They have wonderful member missionaries who feed them and help them find new investigators.  Their mission has been given a commission to baptize 50 people each month and Sister Ison and Sister Perry are working hard to help that goal be met.  Here’s a little tidbit from her last email….

“I know that the commission that this mission has to baptize 50 each month is totally possible! As we have that day of decision and give our will to the Lord he will make a lot more out of us than we ever thought we could! I know as we are obedient and act on promptings we receive we will be blessed for it and we will bless others. Each of you has a divine purpose and you are all children of our loving Heavenly Father! I know our Savior Jesus Christ lives and is walking with us always along this journey through life! He suffered for our sins so that we can BECOME AS HE IS! Our Savior Jesus Christ and our loving Heavenly Father want us to return to them! So keep going, keep working hard and remember to serve others! Always remember to do what our Savior would. Yes we all make mistakes but use the atonement and strive to become better, he only asks that you try your best and you exercise your faith. I know that families can be together forever and that we can all help someone know this for themselves! I know that prayers are answered I have seen it! I love you all with all I have and I say these things in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ amen!”

3 Nephi 5:13 “Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of Him to declare His word among his people, that they might have everlasting life”

Kristie Ison

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Lesson Schedule – May 2018

May 6th – Gospel Doctrine: Lesson 16: I Cannot Go Beyond the Word of the Lord, Relief Society & Priesthood: Council Meeting

May 13th – Gospel Doctrine: Lesson 17: Beware Lest Thou Forget, Relief Society & Priesthood: April General Conference Message

May 20th – Gospel Doctrine: Lesson 18: Be Strong and of a Good Courage, Relief Society & Priesthood: April General Conference Message

May 27th – Gospel Doctrine: Lesson 19: The Reign of the Judges, Relief Society & Priesthood: Ministering to Others –  What does it mean to minister?

Bishopric – Resurrection and Atonement

Spring is finally here.  I’m sure most of us are glad to see winter in our rear view mirror.  We saw a significant amount of moisture in our mountains and here in the valley this last month which will benefit us all.  Maybe there’s enough to put a garden in this year.  Watch the Staker and Allen families.  If they start to till their back yards, then we all can!

Our theme for April is the Resurrection and Atonement. In fact, Our General Conference this year will be on the Saturday before and Easter Sunday. Listening to General Conference gives us an opportunity to hear the voice of the Lord.  Along with the messages from the General Authorities and Auxiliary Presidencies, we’ll have the opportunity to sustain Russell M. Nelson as our newly ordained Prophet and President of the Church, along with President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring as his counselors. Their message to the members of the church from our First Presidency is to be “endowed with power in a House of the Lord, sealed as families, faithful to covenants made in a temple,” which are key to “strengthening your life, your marriage and family, and your ability to resist the attacks of the adversary. Your worship in the temple and your service there for your ancestors will bless you with increased personal revelation and peace and will fortify your commitment to stay on the covenant path.”

We also need to remember the new 2018 materials “Come Follow Me” for Relief Society and Melchizedek Priesthood meetings will be taken from our General conference messages which will include both Saturday, Sunday, and Priesthood sessions.

We as a Bishopric wish to express our love for all of you and are grateful for your selfless service in the Ward and our community. May the Lord bless you and your families in the coming month and may we all remember “Because of Him, Death is not the end.”

Brother Gunderson 1st Counselor

What the Atonement means to me

When I think of the Atonement I think of my personal conversion. I was raised in the church, but as many teenagers do, I stopped going to church at age 14. During the next 5 years my life went seriously downhill. But at one point I felt something missing in my life. As I started looking into friend’s churches, taking yoga classes, etc. someone close to me had an emotional crisis. He was an emotional wreck, and nothing anyone could say would console him. I remember the conversation that night well. Even though he was the one with the problem, I felt so lost. I wanted to help him, tell him it was going to be alright; but who was I to tell him something like that? What right did I have to comfort someone else when I wasn’t living up to my potential? As I pondered these questions I felt an overwhelming urge to tell my friend that the only way he would find peace was to bring his problem to the Lord.

I never found out whether my friend took my comment to heart, but I felt that was a turning point in my life. My feelings of inadequacy deepened as I went home, but I felt awe as well. It boggled my mind that with my life in shambles God could still use me to try and touch someone else’s, that I could still receive promptings from the Holy Ghost. That night I got on my knees and prayed the most heartfelt prayer I have ever said. The Spirit witnessed to me that The Church of Jesus Christ is true, and directed me how to cleanup my life. It wasn’t easy, but I got my life on track because I knew how much Jesus loved me. That is what the Atonement means to me. That Jesus loved me enough to die for me. That even though I am a sinner He still loves me, and has provided me a way to change – repent.

Calvin Zundel