A Legacy of Charity

Another January has come and gone!  I hope we all took a moment and thought about the coming year… if not to make resolutions, then at least to rededicate ourselves to being more like our Savior, Jesus Christ.

It was with mixed feeling that I heard the news of President Thomas S. Monson’s passing on January 2.  He was truly a great man and Prophet of God.  He’ll be missed and remembered for his selfless service.  It was comforting to see the new Presidency established.  President Nelson, President Oaks, and President Eyring… to paraphrase a scripture: If God (and his Prophets) be for us, who can be against us!

January saw the implementation of a new curriculum for Relief Society and Priesthood quorums.  It’s a big change and will likely take some getting used to as we strive to follow this inspired counsel.  If you haven’t had the chance yet, check out the last few pages of the November Ensign: Come Follow Me – For Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society.  It’s full of good information on why the change, and how it will improve our class experiences.  There’s also a great article in January’s Ensign: To Sit in Council.

All of that leads nicely into February’s theme: Charity.  President Monson was my hero and example when it comes to Charity.  He taught it.  He lived it.  He helped show us how we can have “the pure love of Christ” more fully in our own lives, and how to share that love with others. I end with his words from April General Conference:

“Let us examine our lives and determine to follow the Savior’s example by being kind, loving, and charitable. And as we do so, we will be in a better position to call down the powers of heaven for ourselves, for our families, and for our fellow travelers in this sometimes difficult journey back to our heavenly home. I so pray in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord, amen.”

Brother Walker, 2nd Counselor

It takes a ward/family …

Most people know about the accident that I had three and a half years ago. It had been around six months since the accident and I was asked an interesting question.  Alyssa Wolf and I were talking about it, and she asked me if I had learned anything from my experience. Aside from not riding a bike at night without a helmet, I told her that I had. Our ward is the most giving and charitable ward that I have ever been in. That’s saying a lot because we have been in three wards just in Mt. Pleasant. Our ward fed our family for two months while I was healing after I got home. I had many visitors. Angie Jorgensen brought me a bunch of videos to borrow and watch, which was great because sometimes the days were very long. Sue Johansen brought me a fan because we don’t have air conditioning. I was working at the Drive-In at the time and Molly Anderson and all the employees that I work with gave me part of their checks for the rest of the summer. There were countless others who visited me in the ICU, even when I was unconscious and I found out later that they had been there to see how I was doing. I know I will never be able to repay all that everyone did for me, and I am thankful for this opportunity to thank this wonderful ward. You are truly Christ-like. Sometimes it is hard to accept charity, but it was humbling and deeply appreciated.

Crystal Bailey

Elder Applegarth – February 2018

Mission Office Address PO Box 263 Freetown Sierra Leone

Spencer continues to enjoy serving the good people in Sierra Leone.  He is continuing to train a new missionary and he really loves his companion.  He indicated that his companion is a hard worker and enjoys the work.  The following is an excerpt from Spencer’s last e-mail:

We had almost a full day of contacting, and man I hate that. Towards the end of the day I was tired, but I saw some little kids playing around so we went over and started playing with them. Playing with a white man started the kids being super loud.  We were having a ton of fun and all of a sudden a man from inside the house yells at us to shut up.  You could hear him walking out to probably beat the kids, but when he saw me he didn’t know what to do.  I said to him “sorry sir I was just having some fun with your kids” then continued to explain to him who I was and what I did.  He invited us into the house and we had an amazing first discussion with him. The spirit was so dang strong! It turns out that he is a catholic but is doubtful about the religion and has been looking for another church for a while.  It just goes to show that God really does use what you love and your talents to bring others unto Christ!!

Bishop Applegarth

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Sister Ison – February 2018

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

She was able to stay one more transfer with her trainer Sister Phillips; and they were ecstatic! They now have 4 people set for baptism, so they knew they needed to stay together because they had work to do.  They are seeing tons of miracles in finding people to teach especially through social media. She is so grateful for the opportunity she has to serve a mission and she absolutely loves Washington.  Here is a little piece of her email…

Things here are honestly so great! I really want to stay here in Mountain View another transfer or two! I wouldn’t mind spending half of my mission in Mountain View! It’s awesome and I love it!  I love this work out here and the people!

Kristie Ison

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Elder Jessee – February 2018

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

새복 많이 받으세요! Happy New Year 2018!! 2017 was a blur, but what an incredible year it was. The year I was a missionary for the full year, what a blessing. I learned so many things that I will be able to take for the rest of my life. It was truly a blessing. This year I was able to see two investigators I taught enter the waters of Baptism and make a covenant with God that as long as they would try to keep His commandments and follow the Savior they would always have the Spirit and receive eternal life. I saw two men change their lives to follow the Savior, and in turn they changed mine.

In the year of 2017, I learned about the power of Jesus Christ’s Atonement and more about repentance as well as forgiveness. I learned more about: the Saviors’ earthly ministry, the miracles He performed, the temptations He resisted, and the example He set. I came to yearn more to become like Christ in all I do. I learned more of why trials and challenges are necessary in our striving to become better disciples of the Son of God. I came to understand, on a deeper level, why Christ died for us; which increased my gratitude toward our Heavenly Father for sending His Only Begotten Son and how hard it must have been for Him to do so. Because of Their LOVE for us, we are eternally blessed. I have come to love the people of Korea. I pray for them daily which increases my desire for their salvation. I am trying to become like the prophets of old, who literally wet their pillow at night for their people. What a special opportunity I have to be serving a mission and bringing others unto Christ. These things, and so many others, I have learned this year. My gratitude is so full; I love this gospel!

Today we started the New Year by getting up as a house, all 7 of us, at 5:30 am to hike to the top of the highest mountain near our house. Something that a lot of Koreans do on the morning of the New Year is hike to the top of a mountain and watch the sunrise, so that is what we did. Watched the rising of a new year. I brought my Book of Mormon and read a little while waiting for the sun to rise. What a great experience that was.

On Saturday night we received transfer calls! I have been called to a new area! My 4th on my mission. It is called 부천 bucheon. President has asked me to be Zone Leader; and my new companion is a native named elder Kim Ji Heyun. He has been on his mission for about 10 months. It looks like I will be speaking a lot of Korean these days.. haha really excited. I have heard nothing but good things about my next companion. This means I finished training Elder Diaz… Time has flown by. I am in my 11th Transfer now. As missionaries we serve 16, so I have got 6 left. Ready to give it all I got to the Lord.

Elder Jessee

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Elder Seely – February 2018

California Redlands Mission Office Address 7000 Central Ave Highland CA 92346

On Sunday January 28th some of the missionary mothers gave reports about their sons. One of them was Sister Seely. Here are some of the highlights she shared.

Elder Seely has been out for 15 months. He is currently serving in Yucaipa as a zone leader and has 3 people with baptismal dates. The Redlands Mission is participating in a Facebook pilot program for The Church. This has enabled them to integrate technology more into their teaching. An example of this was a lesson he had with a lady on FaceTime that had a member present who was currently driving somewhere else. He is working with one of his investigators with The Word of Wisdom. He promised them if they gave up their habits he would give up Oreos, and he now thinks he is dying from the lack.

He had a great opportunity to give service by cleaning the temple. He had an experience when he was depressed and read The Book of Mormon and it completely changed his outlook. Some of The Church leaders visited Googles headquarters and worked with them to make Mormon.org more prevalent when questions of the soul are searched for. For Thanksgiving he was at a Samoan house. He had a contest with the other elders that went, and won. They bet on who could gain the most from that one meal. He returned to his apartment 6 pounds heavier. He looks forward to continuing bringing gospel to others lives

February 2018 – Lesson Schedule

February 4th – Gospel Doctrine: Lesson 5: If Thou Doest Well, Thou Shalt Be Accepted -Relief Society, High Priests, & Elder’s Quorum: Council Meeting

February 11th – Gospel Doctrine: Lesson 6: Noah … Prepared an Ark to the Saving of His House, Relief Society: Value Beyond Measure – Joy D. Jones – Priesthood: October General Conference Message

February 18th Stake Conference

February 25th – Gospel Doctrine: Lesson 7: The Abrahamic Covenant – Relief Society, High Priests, & Elder’s Quorum: Sabbath Day Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Sabbath

The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis

There is a book that has always intimidated me, but that I have always wanted to read. It is not a very big book. But, I knew that when I read it there would be so many insights given that I would never catch them all. And I was right! Luckily, the Mt. Pleasant Public Library chose it for their book club book for the month of February (You can still read it and join!! Monday, February 12, 10 -11 am at the library.) The book is: The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis.

Screwtape is a devil who writes letters to his nephew, Wormwood, giving advice on how to get his “patient” to not follow God (“the enemy”). Of course, this gives a good blueprint on how to follow God. Have fun reading and learning!!

Sister Becky Zundel

Amazon

GoodReads

Selfless Service

Can you believe it? Another year has come and gone. Sadly we had members of the 4th ward move away during this last year, but many new families have moved in. Let’s all extend a hand of fellowship to our new neighbors and members. We can also express our love for them through selfless service.

Speaking of selfless service we had two missionaries recently come home off their missions. Austen Ison, who served faithfully in the Montana Billings Mission, and Brady Wheeler who returned with honor from the Australia Perth Mission. We are happy they came home in time for Christmas.

It seems the holiday season is especially hard on our missionaries who are so far away from their loved ones. For many, it is their first Christmas away from hearth and home. Therefore, it is especially comforting to receive letters from ward members who send their love and gratitude for their selfless service.

Since we have so many missionaries from our ward still serving throughout the world; Bishop Applegarth thought our theme for January should be missionary work. The Bishop also thought it would be nice to hear from the mothers of our fulltime missionaries this month during sacrament meeting. We will have them share some spiritual stories and letters with the ward members. We promise to have a fresh box of tissues at the podium for those tender moments.

May the coming year be one of peace and happiness, and may we always strive to have a Christ centered life.

Brother Gunderson 1st Counselor

Sharing The Good News

While I was serving a mission up in Montana, I had the great privilege to meet a man by the name of Milo. He had been investigating the church for a while and when I got to the area he was able to share his story with me. He grew up in a polygamist colony down in Mexico, so he knew a lot about the church. However, he was part of a break-off group, and once he left the colony he never felt to find out more about the true church. He had many family members who had left the colony and joined the church. After much time, his nephews invited him to attend the YSA ward activities. Once he did, he slowly came to church and then took the discussions. Milo’s life was completely changed, and he came to know many things for himself and to know they were true. His most special experience was when he came to know that the prophet today is called of God.

Milo changed a lot; he knew the gospel was true and was changing him. He felt a desire to share it and to help be a good example to other family members and friends who were not members of the church. It was amazing to see how quickly he started to share the gospel and wanted his family to have that same joy and goodness he felt. He was the perfect example of taking the blessings we receive and sharing the good news of the gospel with others who don’t know it yet.

                                           Austin Ison

Elder Applegarth – January 2018

Mission Office Address PO Box 263 Freetown Sierra Leone

We enjoyed Skyping with Spencer for Christmas.  We got to speak to him for about an hour and 20 minutes.  We spoke briefly with Sister Clawson, his mission president’s wife, as well as Spencer’s companion.  Spencer’s companion is from Sierra Leone and is waiting for his visa so he can go serve in Mozambique.  The area Spencer is serving in is fairly well developed.  There are two wards that meet in the building and the building is a nice building.

Spencer wanted us to pass on to both Austin Ison and Brady Wheeler a hearty welcome home.  Attached is an excerpt from Spencer’s last e-mail:

We had a baptism this week, the baptism went really well! It was crazy for sure. We got to our baptism font and the water that had been put in the font was pure brown, it was seriously so nasty. We were freaking out because we didn’t really know what to do, but we heard that some other missionaries were holding a baptism as well at the stake center. So I called them as quick as I could and asked them to wait for us.  The stake center isn’t far from our chapel but the problem was that one of my candidates wasn’t there yet. So my companion and I ran up the hill to her house and she was still getting ready.  At this point it was like an hour after we were supposed to start; ha-ha these people don’t know how to tell time at all!  We did get her to the baptism, it ended up starting 2 hours late, but it was super spiritual and it was a way good experience!!  I’m glad that our Father In Heaven provided a way for us to hold their baptisms! The confirmations on Sunday were also awesome.  The kids from the ward performed the baptisms so it was cool to see a ward that has some priesthood holders that could do that.  I haven’t seen that in a while! Another exciting thing that happened was I got to see president Moi from Koidu this week! He came down for some reason or another and we greeted each other with a huge hug! It was way cool to see him I really love that man!  All in all a hard but a good week!  My companion is still doing way good. He is a total stud and I’m loving training him! 

Bishop ApplegarthApplegarth1

Sister Ison – January 2018

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

Sister Ison is doing great in Washington.   She survived her first Christmas away from home and although it was hard she had a great Christmas season in Washington, and even got a little snow for Christmas.  She is grateful for those from the ward that took the time to send her a letter or card for Christmas; she really enjoyed them.

She and her companion Sister Phillips are hoping to get to stay together one more transfer.  Their mission President told them if they could get 2 baptismal dates for January and 2 for February then they could stay together. They are on track for that so please keep their investigators, and that they will continue to progress and set those baptismal dates, in your prayers.  They just know they need to stay together for one more transfer because of the work they know they need to finish together.

She loves being a missionary and even though it’s hard says she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Kristie Ison

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Elder Jessee – January 2018

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

What a week!

We had a few fun festivities with the stake. We had something called a New Friends Party. It was a party for the recent converts, investigators, and less actives members. As missionaries we had to put on some performances so Elder Bratt, the zone leader and one of my best mission friends, choreographed a dance. Get ready everyone, when you become missionaries, making songs and dances the day before or – even the day of – is a common thing (we only practiced twice).

We worked a lot as a district this week to give cookies out to the members and share a Christmas message with them. It has been great to show the members that we really love them, and think about them often. I gave a talk yesterday in Sacrament meeting on trials and the how we can lean on Christ and His Atonement to overcome trials and find peace. I shared 2 scriptures, of course D&C 121:7-9 and Alma 7:11-12. After sacrament meeting I had a newly baptized member, 김주영 kim ju young, come up to me and thank me for my talk and the scripture I shared in D&C. He said that he had something come up during his week that was really tough and that the scripture really helped him. He is such a great guy. This is why I do missionary work, to help other feels more joy and peace and to bring others unto Christ, but something I have realized is that they are bringing me closer to Christ. These people are helping me way more than I could ever help them. Every time we try to serve the Korean people they serve us even more.

We met with some investigators but, they aren’t really progressing. We had to drop a lot, and really don’t have any solid investigators. Trying harder and harder everyday trying to find new people that God has prepared.

I hope that you all have a great break for these next few weeks but make it productive! Do good things. Brighten someone’s life this break, do something to serve someone and help them in their path back to our Father in Heaven; shovel their driveway, make them cookies, and ask them how you can help. Smile, shake their hands, hug them, look them in the eye and share the light of Christ everywhere you go! What a great season, this Christmas time. Full of fun, joy and the Spirit of Christ. Glad you kids are all doing so well! Keep going strong. Love you guys a lot. Thanks for all that you do for me! Great examples to me in my life. Read “The Living Christ”, that the Prophet and apostles wrote, at some point this week; each line has eternal truths and things to think about. Ponder them and come closer to the Savior.

You are all the best! Play in the snow, drink hot chocolate, read your scriptures! Also the holiday donuts at Terrels I remember are pretty good.

Love you all so much!                                                                                                                                             Elder Jessee

 

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Lesson Schedule – January 2018

January 7th – Gospel Doctrine Chapter 1: This Is My Work and My Glory, Relief Society & High Priests: Sunday Council Meeting, Elders:The Voice of Warning By Elder D. Todd Christofferson

January 14th  – Gospel Doctrine Chapter 2: Thou Wast Chosen Before Thou Wast Born,  Priesthood:October General Conference Message, Relief Society:Turn On Your Light By Sharon Eubank

January 21st – Gospel Doctrine Chapter 3: The Creation, Priesthood:October General Conference Message, Relief Society:Abiding in God and Repairing the Breach By Neill F. Marriott

January 28th –  Gospel Doctrine Chapter 4: Because of My Transgression My Eyes Are Opened,  Relief Society & Priesthood Sabbath Day: Is a day to remember what God has done for us