News of the Church

By and Don L. Brugger, Associate Editor

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    Temples for Bolivia and Brazil

    The First Presidency has announced plans to build temples in the Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Recife, Brazil, areas.

    Map of South America

    Sites have been selected in both areas, and construction will commence once plans are complete and necessary governmental approvals have been obtained.

    The temples will be the first in Bolivia and the second in Brazil; the Sao Paulo Temple was completed in 1978.

    There are some 80,000 Church members in the twenty-two stakes and districts that will be served by the Cochabamba Bolivia Temple.

    In the Recife Brazil Temple District, there are some 102,000 Church members in twenty-three stakes and districts.

    There are now forty-seven operating temples spread throughout the world. With this announcement, there are eleven temples in various stages of planning and construction.

    Saints in Kobe Rally after Quake

    Church members and others in Kobe, Japan, are recovering from a January 17 earthquake that rocked the area, killed more than 5,000 people, injured another 26,000, and left 300,000 homeless.

    “The local Church leaders and members have been marvelous,” reported Elder David E. Sorensen of the Seventy and president of the Asia North Area. “The people are extremely patient and stoic in their suffering. We have not seen any form of rioting or lawlessness. Everything is orderly, even though some of the people are still living in schools and tents and makeshift shelters.”

    The earthquake, Japan’s deadliest in the last seventy years, registered 7.2 on the Richter scale and struck in the early morning hours, damaging almost 56,000 buildings and destroying more than 20,000 homes. There was no serious structural damage to any Church buildings, and two Church meetinghouses were used as shelters for members and others. The Japan Kobe Mission home was used as a center for preparing meals.

    One member, 76-year-old Kimiko Nagai, and her nonmember husband, Kozo, were killed in the quake. Two children of an investigator family were also killed. Members cared for the family, and a memorial service for the children was held in the Kobe Ward meetinghouse.

    Thirty-five member families were left homeless by the disaster. Within two weeks, all but five of those had found homes with either Church members or friends or families, Elder Sorensen reported. “In some cases we realigned our missionary quarters,” he noted. “We’re working on finding housing for the others as well.”

    Elder Sorensen had high praise for the local members, especially local Church leaders and the sisters. Japan Kobe Stake president Tsutomu Donomoto and Kenji Takagi, bishop of the Kobe Ward, “are the laboring oars in this great humanitarian effort,” he noted. Sisters in the area carried water, prepared food, and took care of the children.

    Some of the first assistance arrived from Fukuchiyama district president Yasufumi Kadowaki, who delivered basic supplies to the area and hauled water in his own truck for several days after the quake hit. Because of broken water lines, water was one of the greatest needs in the area. Within a few days, truckloads of food and other needed items were delivered from neighboring wards, stakes, and the Fukuchiyama district.

    Church volunteers took shifts around the clock to unload trucks, inventory supplies, assess needs, and deliver the items. Most of those deliveries were done by bicycle, motorcycle, or on foot. The hardest hit area of the quake is only a fifteen-minute walk from the Kobe meetinghouse.

    After reporting to mission leaders, missionaries in the area immediately began doing what they could to help. In addition to helping distribute food and water and tracking down members and investigators, one of the most significant contributions they made was simply providing a listening ear.

    After several days, members and missionaries also began helping as much as possible in cleanup efforts. One bishop in Osaka received approval from the city and organized a group of missionaries to assist throughout the area. “Local members will also be joining them from time to time,” Elder Sorensen noted.

    Both Elder Sorensen and President Curtis P. Wilson of the Japan Kobe Mission noted the tolerance and concern of the Japanese people. In the few stores that hadn’t been damaged or destroyed, people stood patiently in orderly lines. When people who had purchased food and supplies saw the length of the lines, they returned some of their purchases so others would have enough. “This is typical of these people,” President Wilson noted.

    Offers of assistance have been pouring in, noted Elder Sorensen. Particularly touching, he said, was the gift of thirty woolen blankets from the Relief Society sisters in a Northridge, California, ward, who had suffered an earthquake exactly one year earlier.

    “We’ve received phone calls, letters, and faxes from concerned Saints in other areas of Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and various places in the United States. There’s been a great outpouring of concern and sympathy and love,” Elder Sorensen said.

    The earthquake caused the heaviest damage in Kobe, a port city of 1.4 million people. However, Japan’s second-largest city, Osaka, which is located across the bay, also sustained heavy damage.

    [photo] On January 17 a 7.2 earthquake rocked Kobe, Japan. (Photography by Tasuke Hosoya.)

    [photo] Local leaders meet to organize assistance efforts.

    [photo] Supplies gathered by members for quake victims.

    Humanitarian Aid for Those in Need

    Many have inquired how they might assist Church members and other victims of the Kobe earthquake. Those wishing to help with this and other similar efforts may do so by sending their contributions to Humanitarian Service, 50 East North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150. Church members may write “Humanitarian Service” on the Other line of the standard Tithing and Other Offerings slip, enter in the desired amount, and give the slip with their contribution to their bishop or branch president, who will immediately forward it to Church headquarters.

    Church Pageant Schedule

    A schedule of Church pageants has been announced for 1995. Here are performance dates and locations:

    April 8, 11–15, Mesa, Arizona—“Jesus the Christ,” Mesa Temple Visitors’ Center

    June 21–24, Independence, Missouri—“A Frontier Story—1883,” Independence Visitors’ Center

    July 6–8, 11–15, Manti, Utah—“Mormon Miracle,” Manti Temple grounds

    July 7–8, 11–15, Palmyra, New York—“America’s Witness for Christ,” Hill Cumorah

    July 7–8, 11–15, 18–22, 25–29, Oakland, California—“And It Came to Pass,” Oakland Temple grounds (tickets required)

    July 27–29, August 1–5, Castle Dale, Utah—Castle Valley Pageant, Mountain Amphitheater

    July 28–29, August 1–5, Nauvoo, Illinois—“City of Joseph,” hillside adjacent to Nauvoo Visitors’ Center

    August 11–12, 15–19, Clarkston, Utah—“Martin Harris, the Man Who Knew,” amphitheater in Clarkston cemetery (tickets required)

    December 18–25, Calgary, Alberta—Calgary Nativity Pageant, Heritage Park

    Additional details about any of the pageants may be obtained by calling (801) 240-2767 or by writing to Church Pageants, 430 West 400 North, Salt Lake City, UT 84103.

    [photo] Actor portrays ancient prophet in Mormon Miracle Pageant.

    Teaching Development: Support for Teachers

    Although she’d served a mission and taught freshman English at Brigham Young University for a couple of years, Lori Raymond felt ill prepared when she was called to serve as the teacher development coordinator in the Timpview First Ward, Orem Utah Timpview Stake.

    The position, which replaced all in-service teachers in the ward, was created when new instructions came from Church headquarters on teacher development in 1993.

    “I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to do,” Sister Raymond recalls. But following directions she found in a Church bulletin titled “Instructions for Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders on Teacher Development” (January 1993) and using material from the Church publications Teaching—No Greater Call (33043) and Teaching Guidebook (34595), Lori jumped in.

    Under the direction of her bishop, she holds a quarterly training meeting for teachers of all ward organizations and teaches the ward’s Teacher Development Basic Course. She also attends ward council meetings. Those responsibilities are outlined in the instructions for teacher development. In addition, Sister Raymond writes a monthly article for her ward newsletter, regularly visits classes in the ward to observe and assist the teachers, and continues to encourage attendance at the quarterly training meeting.

    “I’m only now seeing the potential and responsibilities of this calling,” she says. “There is so much that can be done. It’s exciting as I study the scriptures, pray, read the manuals, and prepare to help teachers meet their challenges as well as I can.”

    In January 1993 the Church asked bishops and branch presidents to call a ward teacher development coordinator and introduce quarterly training meetings (see Ensign, June 1993, p. 75). This coordinator would replace all auxiliary and priesthood in-service teachers and meetings. The purpose behind the new calling and the teacher development program was to—

    “1. Help members teach the gospel effectively.

    “2. Continually train and support priesthood and auxiliary teachers” (“Instructions for Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders on Teacher Development,” p. 1).

    Under the direction of ward or branch priesthood leadership, the teacher development program consists of the Teacher Development Basic Course, ongoing teacher training, and support for the teachers. Suggestions for meeting these responsibilities are provided in the instructions sent out to local Church leaders.

    As a result, stake leaders in the Columbus Ohio North Stake are in the process of strengthening their program. “This is the ideal way to improve teaching,” observes Gerald Prince, the high councilor assigned to oversee teaching in the stake. “It’s a much more hands-on experience. We’re encouraging our ward teaching coordinators to meet with the presidencies of the organizations right now, to get a feel for what is needed. We’re also encouraging our coordinators to visit classes to give ideas and demonstrations for and perhaps with the teacher.”

    One of the challenges some leaders face in some localities of the Church, Brother Prince says, is finding people to fill the position of teacher development coordinator. “This is an important calling,” he noted. “If we are able to call a strong person as the coordinator, he or she can train others. Teaching is really the core of successful learning. We need teachers who are constantly learning and growing so the students can be learning and growing too.”

    In the West Jordan Utah Stake, President Greg Downs echoes those same sentiments. “It’s so important,” he says, “that our Church teachers allow students to get into the scriptures in the classroom, to feel of the Spirit, to experiment upon the word.”

    Stake leaders in the West Jordan stake began by holding training meetings for the teacher development leaders. “We encouraged the teachers to use the scriptures and follow the Spirit rather than just lecturing and talking. We taught them how to involve the students more.” Teaching coordinators were also asked to read several addresses by General Authorities on teaching.

    “Then we turned responsibility for the programs over to the bishops,” President Downs continues. “Our teaching coordinators attend ward council meeting, so teaching is a regular part of the monthly agenda.”

    And it’s working. Several months ago Sherrie Martin, a teaching coordinator in the stake, began the Teaching Development Basic Course. “I was teaching a lesson on being self-reliant,” she explains. “At first I was tempted to just tell the teachers everything they needed to know. But then I remembered some of our earlier training.”

    Sister Martin divided the class into groups. One group was assigned to read a scripture story and outline the gospel principles taught. Another group organized a Primary Sharing Time using scriptures and the Church magazines. A third group was given a list of scriptures and asked to draw upon personal experiences comparable to those found in the scriptures. The last group was assigned to find scriptures on journal keeping. “Of course, they discovered that there weren’t any scriptures on keeping journals,” Sister Martin says. “But they found lots of scriptures on record keeping.”

    There are difficulties, of course. Attendance at ward training meetings seems to be a challenge in most wards and branches. Some teachers are more open to help and direction than others. Moves and changes in ward and stake organizations mean that there are always new teachers facing new students.

    “But the key is to persevere,” notes Sister Raymond. “It’s taken almost a year, but I’m seeing a difference. Our teachers are starting to feel like I’m on their team, and they are sharing their challenges and insights with me. I look forward to the future and the potential that comes with this calling.”

    [photo] Quarterly teacher development meetings help teachers learn to share the gospel more effectively. (Photography by Jed Clark.)

    [photo] The teacher development coordinator offers support and instruction.

    [photo] Church publications promote effective teaching.

    Church Membership Reaches Nine Million

    Church membership has reached nine million according to estimates from the Member and Statistical Records Division. Recent statistics show that the Church has added a million members since 1 September 1991, when membership reached eight million.

    The rate of growth since September 1991 has been about 840 new members each day, the equivalent of about two wards. The equivalent of a typical stake of 3,800 members was created every four and a half days.


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    Missionary Training Center Presidents Named

    The First Presidency has appointed five couples to preside over missionary training centers.

    New training center presidents, their wives who will assist them, and the locations of their assignments are:

    • Eran A. and Katherine (Kay) Call, Provo, Utah—Mexico

    • Ralph L. and Luda Lee Cottrell, Ogden, Utah—Philippines

    • Angel M. and Marta Isabel Fernandez, Buenos Aires, Argentina—Argentina

    • Scott T. and ThoraLyn Lyman, Provo, Utah—Colombia

    • Van L. and Joyce Kartcher McCabe, Sandy, Utah—England

    Little Rock Saints’ Foundation of Faith

    A riverside rocky bluff named La Petit Roche (“The Little Rock”) by a French explorer in 1722 marks the site of Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas. Settled in 1820, the town was visited in 1835 by southern states missionary Wilford Woodruff, but it wasn’t until the baptism of the Ben Baker family in 1900 that the Church gained a foothold in the Barney area, thirty-five miles north of Little Rock. Ben was a general store owner who supported the Church by aiding missionaries and opening his home for Church services. News of a foundling branch attracted other LDS families to the area. In 1914 the one-hundred-strong Barney Branch built a chapel on land donated by branch president Davis Baker, Ben’s father. As persecution increased, the chapel doubled as an alternative school for their children. Two years later a cyclone devastated settlements throughout the county but left the chapel and all branch members unharmed.

    By 1930 the Church in Little Rock had its own branch. Decades later, growth continued to come mainly from families who moved into the area. Texas-born Dick Cobb is one example. In California in the mid-1950s, he and his pastor decided to investigate the Church to prove it wrong. Their plan backfired. Convinced that the Church was true, Dick joined and later baptized several people who had once been part of his former denomination.

    “Some of them asked me if I had it right this time,” he says, chuckling. That nearly four decades later he presides over the 2,100-member Little Rock stake whose focus is on missionary and activation work is answer enough—he’s still got it right!

    In 1974 Joy Geisler’s life also took an unexpected turn. In answer to her many prayers that her newly married daughter would have a Christian home, the couple one day announced their plans to join the Church. Joy was very active and content in another faith but decided to investigate the Church out of concern for what her future grandchildren would be taught. A few months later she was baptized.

    “The Christian concept is so much fuller now,” she says, referring to her understanding of the plan of salvation and other truths of the restored gospel.

    In 1980 Harold and Lanniece Lewis were looking for a church that was right for them when they stopped at a Little Rock restaurant. Lanniece asked the waitress about the beautiful wall pictures and learned they were LDS temples. Later taught by missionaries referred to them by the waitress, the black couple was baptized.

    “My conversion came from logic,” recalls Harold, now bishop of the Little Rock Second Ward. “Later it came from the heart, when an unexplainable feeling came over me that this was my church—the place where the Lord wanted me to be. I felt like my heart was melting. I had tears in my eyes. I felt at home.”

    Another convert to the Church is Margie Malczycki, a single mother with a seven-year-old son, Marcus. She is grateful for how the Lord, working through her bishop, has seen her through tough adjustments and bolstered her self-esteem and testimony in the process.

    “When you give the Lord a chance, he will teach you,” says Margie. She tells how she felt the Lord’s healing balm after putting complete trust in his perfect love.

    Since that turnaround, she has become a self-sufficient breadwinner and a frequent temple attender. She also enjoys teaching a Primary class in the First Ward.

    “I tell all the children: ‘Look at the little ones—eyes so big, taking in everything. You’ll grow up, go on a mission, get married, and spend your adult life trying to get right back where you started.’”

    Heeding the stake’s call to fill its twelve chapels, Little Rock Saints find it easy to broach the topic of religion with their neighbors of other faiths. Then “the challenge is to present the Lord’s program in a manner that these good people understand and respect,” says Jack Woodworth, a stake high councilor. Baptized with his family in 1955, Jack had been introduced to the Church by his boss, then himself a recent convert.

    With three wards in town and another stake across the Arkansas River in North Little Rock, the Church here is poised for progress as its members reach out to others yet cling to their sure foundation of faith, testimony, and gospel fulness.

    [photos] Arkansas River near the city of Little Rock. Inset: Little Rock Arkansas Stake Center. (Photography by J. Leo Aday and Nick Stegall, except as noted.)

    [photo] Stake president Dick Cobb and his wife, Ann.

    [photo] The Harold and Lanniece Lewis family time together in their yard. (Photo by Margie Malczycki.)

    Dorothy Maxwell is the Relief Society secretary in the Little Rock First Ward, Little Rock Arkansas Stake.

    Of Good Report

    City Park Project

    With the approval of the Guayaquil, Ecuador, city government, more than 250 Church members joined together to clean the Guayaquil Park. The project was part of an effort by Church members to become actively involved in community service projects.

    After picking up garbage and debris at the park, members further beautified the grounds by painting a large obelisk.

    Members of all ages participated in the project, and local media representatives covered the activity. Several television reporters interviewed local Church leaders during the day, and one newspaper article talked about the good example of Church members.

    The efforts of local members won the admiration of city authorities, who praised the workers’ efficiency and unity.César H. Cacuango, Guayaquil, Ecuador

    Group Effort

    After local Church leaders and members toured Step 13 facilities (men’s and women’s homeless shelters) in Denver, Colorado, members from the area eagerly looked for opportunities to help the organization.

    The first activity involved collecting and sorting used clothing. Volunteers then drove to both facilities and distributed the donations. In addition, members spent an hour pulling weeds in the backyard of the women’s shelter.

    Six weeks later, youth from the Aurora First Ward showed up with a truckload of sod. Before long, the whole backyard and half of the front were green. Pleased with the improvement, women in the shelter finished the rest of the front yard by themselves the next morning.

    Members in the area continued to be involved with the organization. Bins were set up in the Denver Colorado Stake parking lot, and members donated glass and aluminum to be recycled. The proceeds benefited Step 13.

    Relief Society sisters in the Crestmoor Ward planted flowers at the women’s shelter, and single adults in the stake prepared and served a meal at the men’s shelter.

    Several Scouts in the stake organized various Eagle projects to benefit Step 13. Clothes, including work clothes for the men, eyeglasses, and books were donated. One young man planned a project that included painting the interior of the women’s shelter.

    When one sister saw an empty chapel at the men’s shelter, she asked the program director about church services. Now members are helping provide music and talks on Tuesday evenings for spiritual services.Joy K. Young, Sandy, Utah

    Festival of Children

    Sisters in the Relief Society of the Westminster Third Ward, Huntington Beach North Stake, recently participated in the International Children’s Festival at Golden West College.

    About one hundred preschool-aged children enjoyed a morning of music, dance, singing, games, puppetry, and storytelling from cultures around the world. Mimi Lozano Holtzman, volunteer event coordinator, demonstrated puppets from China, England, India, Indonesia, and Mexico. Darlene Jensen shared Norwegian troll tales she’d learned on her mission. Marcy Woolf displayed Brazilian folks dolls she makes, and Shirley Pitchforth showed an antique music box and told of her ancestors’ trek across the Plains. Heather Usevitch played the violin and shared tidbits of European heritage. And Laura Diehl led the children in singing, using many Primary songs and games.

    The children also made paper leis to wear home. The festival theme of cultural heritage was emphasized by distributing a simplified pedigree form for the children to take home to encourage their families to appreciate their heritage.

    “With the help of Mimi and the women from her church, it was a wonderful multicultural experience enjoyed by young and old,” said the director of the Intercultural Center at Golden West College.Carolyn Sessions Allen, Huntington Beach, California

    [photo] Members in Guayaquil join efforts to clean up local park.

    [photo] Teresa Dever shows children some Mexican money.


    A Healing Experience

    It was a healing experience for me to read the answer to the question on forgiveness (I Have a Question, June 1994). The article truly explains the turmoil an abused person goes through. Church members who have been abused know of the commandment to forgive. The guilt accompanying our difficulties in doing so is very real.

    I would like to add one more thought. I have found that what looks like an inability to forgive can actually be the inability to trust the abusive person, especially when the perpetrator has not recognized any accountability for his or her actions. I feel certain that when the abused person who has a desire to forgive can trust that the perpetrator has either truly repented or is no longer in a position to hurt him or her, then the abused person is capable of feeling the full peace that comes from forgiving the perpetrator.

    Name Withheld


    In the January Ensign, page 69: Lilas Swenson Clark has played the organ or piano for an estimated fourteen hundred funerals in her lifetime; and Maureen Ward, a grandmother of nine, has served in various callings in the Primary, Young Women, and Relief Society since her conversion to the Church thirty-one years ago.

    In “Pioneers in East Africa” (Oct. 1994), an Elder and Sister Whitecourt are mentioned on page 25. This couple, serving a mission in Cairo, Egypt, was actually Ross and Bonnie Whatcott. They returned from their mission and reside in the Burbank Second Ward, North Hollywood California Stake.