Fall is finally here! With it came General Conference. What a great opportunity to listen to divine messages. I have a strong testimony that Russell M. Nelson is a prophet. It will be interesting to see the changes implemented as we move to a new schedule at the beginning of 2019.
In addition to General Conference we got to listen to a missionary preparing to leave and a returning missionary. They’re both amazing. Good luck to both Kevin Johansen (headed to Cincinnati, Ohio) and Trent Seely (returning from California).
The theme for November is Gratitude. A perfect fit for Thanksgiving, and contemplating the Savior’s birth in December. I’m so thankful for the gospel, and for the members of the 4th Ward. I hope you all have a wonderful month!
Bishopric 2nd Counselor Brother Walker
On the 24th of October, the 4th Ward held their annual Fall Social and Cub Scout cake auction. Close to 200 ward members and neighbors attended the event, many in Halloween costumes. After the dinner, Ben Johansen auctioned off a dozen or more cakes and pies made by the wolf, bear and Webelos scouts…with parental supervision. Close to $475 was raised to fund the Scout day camp, Webelos woods, and Blue and Gold banquet. We would like to thank John and Sherene McClellan, our activities committee, Wes and Trish Power, our Cub and Asst. Cub masters, Ben Johansen, our Committee Chairman, all those who brought their favorite Soup and Chili dishes and Ed Staker who furnished his excellent apple cider. Also those who brought candy for our trunk or treat. To see more pictures of this event CLICK HERE.
On Sunday the 21st, the 4th Ward held a Court of Honor for two fine young men. Preston Condie and Kevin Johansen.
Both received their Eagle award and we couldn’t be prouder. We would like to thank their Scout leaders, merit badge counselors, mentors, parents, and all who are involved in the Scouting program, for their efforts. Congratulations!
Bishopric 1st Counselor Brother Gunderson
“We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. My sincere prayer is that we may, in our individual lives, reflect that marvelous virtue: an attitude of gratitude.”
President Thomas S. Monson
Our topic this month is Gratitude. There is nothing on this earth that I am more grateful for than my family, so I will start with a brief introduction. We are the Johansen family, who moved here from Wyoming. Ben worked in the oil and gas industry for a long time so we have moved around quite a bit, from Rock Springs, Vernal, Arkansas, and Pinedale. Parkinson’s has changed our plans and brought us home to be near family. We both grew up (at least that’s what they say you do in High School) in Sanpete County. So, a Hawk and a Templar can get along! Bringing children into our family was a bit of a struggle but we were blessed with 3 boys and finally a daughter. Along the way Heavenly Father called one home and another one will forever be a child even as his body matures. It’s amazing how many wonderful things he teaches me. Our oldest son is serving his mission in Bogota, Colombia and loving it right now. Although, he says everyone feeds him rice and fried bananas. Our youngest is a teenage girl, so, you can guess how that’s going…but we love her dearly.
Gratitude can be a tricky thing. When things are going great it’s easy to be thankful. Blessings seem easy to identify when our situation is full of positivity, until we get so used to things being good that we start to forget who is blessing us. When times are tough, it’s sometimes a struggle to find the good things to be grateful for. It is so much easier to say why me, instead of thank you, Lord, for the refining process. Albeit, I have found when I feel things are at their lowest, it’s pretty easy to find joy when unexpected good things happen. So how do we find the right balance? How do we know we are thankful enough, in the high points of life when everything is going our way or at the bottom when we feel we are losing the fight with a trial? Can we find gratitude in every situation, even the toughest trials? I say yes we can. In certain situations, my yes might come eventually, but it does come. I don’t think our Heavenly Father expects any one of us to always have a heart full of gratitude, without an occasional complaint. He knows that we will have times when things are just plain hard, times when we feel broken or lost. There are going to be times when we do question, why me or can you just pass this one on to someone else? Even Christ in the garden asked, is there not another way? He understands what it’s like for things to be tough. Christ completely understands how it feels. Tears and trials, were part of the plan, because they teach us to appreciate and long for smiles and laughter. They make us hope for happiness and gratitude.
I have had times in my life when I was not especially grateful for things that were going on around me. When it was hard to find something to say thank you for, but later I realized I wasn’t looking hard enough. I couldn’t see beyond the trial right in front of me. On the other side of the trial I see the blessings that my tears were hiding. Looking back always helps me catch things to be grateful for that I missed at the time. I see how prayers were answered for my benefit, even when they weren’t what I thought I wanted. I find that when I try to find something to be grateful for, even if it’s something minuscule it makes my day better. After all, we each have a Heavenly Father who loves us individually, and a brother who made all things possible for us. None of us are perfect but we can one day be, because of Christ’s atoning sacrifice and that is enough to be grateful for every day.
Sierra Leone Freetown Mission Office Address PO Box 263 Freetown Sierra Leone
He has had an amazing mission. He has been so blessed in many ways. As has been our family having a missionary out. Spencer truly loves the people of Sierra Leone. He loves President and Sister Clawson, and we are so thankful for them and the love they have given our boy. My heart breaks for him today, I know how hard it is to leave the people he has grown to love and admire. It is my prayer that Heavenly Father continues to watch over the loving people of Sierra Leone. God be with them till Spencer can meet with them again. Spencer’s homecoming will be on November 11th.
Paraguay Asunción North Mission Office Address Av. Santísima Trinidad N° 1280 c/Julio Correa Casilla de Correo 1871 Asuncion
Hermana is doing well. She has been out 4 months now and is loving every minute of it. She recently had a wonderful surprise as the missionaries were able to meet with our dear prophet President Nelson as he embarked on his South America Tour. This is what she said about that experience:
Today we all came into Asuncion and we were waiting for the prophet to come in and take a picture with us! He came in and we all stood together it was awesome, the spirit was so strong! I sat almost right behind him, I could’ve taken a selfie with him haha but really though! Then after the picture he wanted to greet each one of us and shake our hands. He is so lively! He was making us all laugh! When he came in he just said “Wow you guys look great!” He has so much energy and just so much love for each one of us! So I met the prophet in Paraguay!!! Que raro verdad because I live in Utah! He talked to us a little bit about marriage. He said us hermanas can’t say yes to a guy unless he truly has a love for God. He testified of the Book of Mormon, and I loved that. It really is the key to our religion!!! To hear his testimony of that strengthens mine for sure! I love you all and I want to let you all know that I know that we have a living prophet on the earth today, it’s a way that Heavenly Father shows us his love!! To help us He guides and directs us today. Also President Nelson told us to tell our parents thank you for raising a disciple of Christ! So thank you!
This week I got a lesson in with a non-member by beating them in basketball, they said if I made a half-court shot I could share with them, so I prayed in my heart and sure enough I made it! So the Lord is definitely on my team!!
I love you all so so much!! Thanks for the support!! I love Paraguay but especially my family here in Paraguay!! I’m blessed with this opportunity to serve. I know this is the church of Jesus Christ and we have a living prophet today!! ROHAYHU!
Vancouver Washington Mission Office Address 2223 NW 99th St. Vancouver WA 98665
She is doing awesome and really focusing on finishing out her mission by working super hard and being obedient. She has loved this transfer with Sister Hindmarsh and has really embraced her calling as a Sister Training Leader. She loves being in Ridgefield which is the same stake she has been in for over 6 months which has allowed her to be able to go back to Battleground on exchanges as well as having the opportunity to continue teaching Blue who now has a baptismal date for Dec 8th!!!!
Jentry realizes how fast the end of her mission is nearing and she isn’t too happy about it. She loves being a missionary and serving the people of Washington. Here is a little bit from her email this week.
Something that I learned this week was how much the Holy Ghost teaches and we are just guides! Heavenly father blesses us in so many ways and one of the most important is through the spirit! I am grateful for the companionship of the Holy Ghost to lead and guide us! I love my Savior and what he has done for us! I know each of you are so loved by our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and they want to answer you. Seek for answers because they are there! I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen!
Colombia Bogotá North Mission Office Address Calle 72 # 10-07 Oficina 1005 Edificio Liberty Seguros Bogota, Cundinamarca Colombia
It’s amazing how much he has grown in just eight weeks in the mission field. He is seeing first-hand how the gift of tongues works. He was so worried about his Spanish, but in each email I see how well things are going. He throws in Spanish constantly. By the end of his mission, I think, I will need an interpreter just to read his emails. He says everyone feeds them and the hardest part of the whole mission is eating all the time. They found 11 investigators in just 4 days, and have set a goal for 3 baptisms this month. He loves the Latino people but says he sucks at soccer. My favorite part of his last email was “Being here in Colombia has opened my eyes to see that there is more to life than things, and that all the people of the world are equal in the eyes of God and should be in our eyes”. I think that is the best lesson anyone can ever learn.
New Zealand Hamilton Mission Office Address P.O. Box 9542 Hamilton 3240 New Zealand
Kia Ora, Everybody!
I finally was able to see conference. There were so many great talks, and a lot to learn from them. This week has been pretty good. I got my NZ drivers license, and I am certified by the mission. All the new missionaries are so scared of driving on the other side of the road, but it is easy. One of our Zone Leaders, who has been out for 18 months, accidentally turned like an American, so I guess sometimes things may go wrong.
Spiritual Thought- One of the threads that formed the rope of conference was the theme of strengthening our and our families true conversion. There is a difference between a testimony and true conversion. We all have a testimony, but until we put that testimony into action, actually applying what we know to be true, are we truly converted. I challenge all of you this week to push beyond just a testimony. Show that what you know is true by doing what you know is true.
I hope everyone has a great upcoming week. It is summer here now, so the weather is nice. However, I do hope you all stay warm.
Washington Yakima Mission Office Address 1006 S 16th Ave Yakima, WA 98902
This past month, Elder Walker has been getting used to his new area: Naches, Washington. He is enjoying the ward and the teaching opportunities there. In his previous area, there was much emphasis on service to build the ward and the member’s reception to the missionaries. His new area appears to be more established. He’s had more teaching opportunities and practice with using the priesthood. This picture is taken by his mission president’s wife at the Columbia River Temple. Josh is on the back row on the far left. For more details of his experiences, see this blog.
As many of you know in the October 2018 General Conference Elder Quentin L. Cook announced many exciting changes in his talk Deep and Lasting Conversion to Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. One of those changes will be that starting in January church meetings will be compressed from 3 hours to 2. To facilitate that change many more small changes will need to happen so our short time in Sunday meetings will be Christ centered. One of the changes that Elder Cook mentioned is the removal of the announcement section at the beginning of meetings.
In preparation for this change next year I have created a new section of this website called Current Events. This page can be reached by clicking Current Events on the top menu bar, second option from the left.
This page now includes the information that was included in the monthly Calendar and Lesson Schedule with a new section called Weekly Activities. In this new section I have listed all the activities for the ward, that I know of, for the current and subsequent weeks. I have also broken down this information by day. Every Sunday I will make sure that the information is updated for the current week.
If you know of any events that are not on the calendars please email me at email@example.com, call me at (717)668-5930, or use the Contact page on this site so everyone can stay informed on what is going on in the ward.
According to the announcements in General Conference the Church is moving to a more Family Centered, Church Supported, program. They suggested the formation of study groups to help fill the gap created from less church instruction. If you would like ward members to know of these study groups, empty nester FHEs, or any other event feel free to contact me so I can spread the word.