Matt Chote learned his love of gospel service at the knee of his grandmother, Ani Kairuma Tamihana, who raised him. Sister Tamihana always kept a room in her home set aside for the missionaries. When land was needed to build a chapel at Tahoraiti, Matt’s grandmother donated it. When there was a district conference, a Hui Pariha, Matt would sit beside Sister Tamihana in the horse and gig as they traveled up to sixty miles to attend.
Conference numbers would range from five hundred to two thousand, and the people traveled great distances to be there.
But distance was never an insurmountable barrier for those intent on living the gospel. Matt remembers his grandmother and her second husband, Whatu Renata, preparing to travel with thirty others to the temple in Hawaii. “This trip was made with tremendous dedication and the sacrifice of their life’s savings. This was their once-in-a-lifetime visit to the house of the Lord,” he says.
Matt and Neat agree that some of the happiest years they have known were the twenty-five years they followed his grandmother’s example by having missionaries live with them. From 1951 to 1955 Matt was president of the sole branch in Auckland, which covered an area from Wellsford to Pukekohe—about one hundred miles. At that time, there were two cars and 120 families in that vast area. He later served as Auckland district president until the formation of the first stake in New Zealand in 1958, when he was called to serve on the first high council.
He also served as a counselor to two stake presidents and two mission presidents. In all, Matt Chote has given forty years of continuous Church service.—, Auckland, New Zealand
A drawing of a mother with her newborn baby decorates the living room wall of Fay Daley’s Lake Villa, Illinois, home. That it took Fay seventy hours to complete the drawing is not remarkable. That those seventy hours were accumulated in fifteen-minute intervals over 280 days is. Done in chalk and colored pencil, the drawing is more than a tender scene in pastel shades; it is a tangible example of how Fay Daley has made noteworthy accomplishments “line upon line.”
Fay began drawing twenty years ago when she sought time for creative expression amid the demands of young motherhood. “I decided that I could allocate fifteen minutes a day to do artwork. I knew that if I chose to work in oil paints, it would take me too long to set up and to clean up. I chose chalks and pencils because I could pick them up and put them down easily. I set a kitchen timer during the youngest children’s nap time and had the others look at books or do their own art beside me. I thrived on it.”
In time, Fay discovered ways to market prints through a bookstore. Thus began her twenty-year involvement in publishing. Fay has had countless pieces of artwork and writing published and has received a number of prestigious awards for illustration.—, Flossmoor, Illinois
Walk of Wisdom
It is not uncommon for LDS fitness buffs to credit the Word of Wisdom for their physical conditioning. What is uncommon is for someone to walk three thousand miles to demonstrate that conviction. That’s what Byron Young, of Sparks, Nevada, did.
In 1968, at age forty-five, Brother Young walked from California to New York, hoping to set record time for walking that distance and thus bring attention to the value of keeping the Word of Wisdom and honoring the Sabbath.
To break the record without walking on the Sabbath, Brother Young knew that he would have to average at least sixty miles a day. He remembers preparing himself by exercising before and after work for six to eight hours a day, six days a week, for two years. He researched books on nutrition, walking methods, and suitable apparel.
His walk started at the Golden Gate Bridge and was to end on the Manhattan side of the George Washington Bridge. Almost immediately there were problems that frustrated his attempt—numerous wrong turns, fifteen miles of blizzard, fifty miles of heavy rain, shin splints, and painful inflammation of his leg tendons. Despite the precious hours lost, Sundays were set aside for worship, rest, and reading the scriptures.
When he finally reached Manhattan, Byron had walked 3,200 miles in sixty-four days and fourteen hours, beating the previous world record by two days—even though he rested on the eight Sundays of his journey.
“I continue to exercise regularly and observe the Word of Wisdom and the Sabbath day,” says Brother Young, now sixty-eight years old. “And I hope to influence others to enjoy the blessings of doing so, too.”—, Orem, Utah
Her Primary Rolls
“There are just two rules: I do the driving, and you may not honk the horn in the building,” says Sister Sharon Lundell, laughing as she and the children roll along the halls of the Lorin Farr Ward meetinghouse in Ogden, Utah.
The big smiles on the children’s faces indicate just how much they enjoy this traditional Sunday ride in the wheelchair that transports their diminutive Primary president.
Sharon has some advantages working for her. Her position in the wheelchair puts her at eye level with the children, and they are quieted by her soft voice.
Children also feel Sharon’s deep love for the gospel. The ward Primary has doubled in size during the four years Sharon has served as president. Children from less-active families or from difficult home situations have found a haven there. And the children who are in unfortunate circumstances learn from their leader to overcome obstacles in their lives.
In spite of her handicaps, Sharon’s parents always encouraged her to do her best. When she was in the ninth grade, her artwork was featured in the Weber County Library Art Show. Later she was Utah’s representative to the National Very Special Arts Festival, and one of her oils hung in the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Sharon intended to study art as she went into higher education, but a family friend and physician encouraged her to study counseling. “You can help disabled people,” he said. “Others of us who try to counsel them don’t really understand how they feel—but you understand.”
The first disabled student to complete four years at Weber State College, graduating cum laude with a B.A. in psychology, Sharon was honored as the outstanding psychology student of the year. She then earned a master’s degree from the University of Utah in rehabilitative counseling. She now devotes many hours to counseling head trauma victims and their families at Ogden’s McKay-Dee Hospital Stewart Rehabilitation Center. Her life blesses everyone who knows her—including the fortunate children who ride in her wheelchair.—, Salt Lake City, Utah
His Gift Is Beyond Words
When Kyle R. Jaussi, former president of the Richmond (Kentucky) Branch, chatted with members and visitors in the small chapel foyer on Sundays, the scene was not as typical as it appeared. Kyle Jaussi is deaf, and the more than two hundred members of the branch he led can all hear.
When Kyle was called as president, he asked that a few adjustments be made, such as rearranging the placement of chairs on the stand so he could read the lips of the speakers. Other adjustments followed.
Born deaf in one ear, Brother Jaussi began losing his hearing in the other ear two years after his marriage to Ursula. He was totally deaf by the time their fourth child was born. The cause of the hearing loss went undiagnosed by doctor after doctor and was not arrested until it was too late. The deafness was irreversible, and Kyle Jaussi’s world would never be the same.
Kyle eventually became skilled at reading lips, and with the advantage of having grown up as a hearing child, he had the language background many hearing-impaired people do not have. But watching movies or attending the symphony or opera became pleasures of the past.
His wife’s companionship took on new dimensions. For instance, they developed a whole new nonverbal communication system to cover emergencies that occur when it is too dark for Kyle to read lips. The family’s communication improved because they had to work so hard on it.
Brother Jaussi’s guiding philosophy through all these changes was the same philosophy that had guided him before the hearing loss: “If you do what the Lord wants you to do, he will bless you.”
Both Kyle and Ursula had grown up in Smithfield, Utah. When Kyle completed his master’s degree at Utah State University, he received an opportunity to teach for the Church Educational System at the Seminary for the Deaf in Ogden, Utah, a job that began an odyssey for the Jaussis through five states—from California to Iowa and most recently to Kentucky.
“The Lord opened doors for us that were definitely not coincidences, so I could study and work in some of the best programs in the country in deaf education,” Kyle recalls. Homes sold—or didn’t sell—in the right order to put or keep the Jaussis where they felt they needed to be. He earned a doctoral degree, taught at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, and now trains teachers of the deaf at the University of Arkansas.
Though the frustrations have been real and the challenges many, Kyle Jaussi has used his hearing loss to strengthen him and those around him. For him, the greatest challenge remains the same one we all face—that of enduring to the end.—, Richmond, Kentucky