Giving Back to the Lord
In the summer of 1992, Carol C. Green was dismayed to learn that many pediatric nurses spent their own money on clothes for needy newborns. And sometimes, when these babies died, hospital staff would have to bury them in paper sacks.
Never again, she told herself. At least, not while I can do something about it. She started making phone calls to area hospitals, adoption agencies, crisis centers, and homeless shelters to find out how she could help. The demand for baby items amazed her.
Just one week later, on 7 July, she created Newborns in Need, a volunteer organization that makes and donates hospital gowns, blankets, teddy bears, burial layouts, and other articles to organizations that provide for premature and newborn infants and their families. Since that time, about 20 satellite organizations throughout the United States have been formed, and thousands of babies have benefitted from the compassion and response of numerous volunteers and donors.
With the enthusiastic support of Sister Green’s six children and particularly her husband, Richard, their home has been turned into Newborns in Need headquarters, where Sister Green does everything from sewing to storing items to letter writing. Known in her community as the “Mormon Baby Lady,” she is frequently stopped at the grocery store or other public places and informed of crisis situations where she may be of help.
Sister Green attributes much of the organization’s success to the community, which has “really backed us up.” One day each month the Houston Missouri Ward hosts a day-long work meeting at which people help sew for the organization. Many of the participants are not members of the Church. “Ours is a nondenominational organization, but people know that those behind it are LDS,” she says. “In my brochures I quote King Benjamin from the Book of Mormon. We open and close our meetings with prayer. It’s given the Church a high profile and shown people that Latter-day Saints do care.”
Sister Green says she sees the Lord’s hand in her work. On one occasion when a work meeting was fast approaching, she had no fabric to use. “I gathered my children into my office and we said a prayer, telling Heavenly Father that we really needed his help,” she recalls. “Then I pointed to the closets and said to my children, ‘I promise you they will be so full that things will spill out onto the floor.’” It wasn’t more than two days later that a semitruck from a clothing store came by with a load of sheets, towels, bedding, and children’s clothing—too much for the closets in her office to hold.
“It isn’t a sacrifice,” says Sister Green. “It’s a privilege and an honor. All I have comes from the Lord—I’m just giving some of it back.”
Sister Green is Young Women secretary in the St. Robert Missouri Stake.
“I create opportunities for missionary work,” states Bill Cortelyou, who has been a cab driver in a Boston suburb for 22 years. During the past 15 years Brother Cortelyou has given away more than 6,000 copies of the Book of Mormon and 10,000 pamphlets of The Prophet Joseph Smith’s Testimony to his passengers and other people he meets.
Brother Cortelyou files the material alphabetically by language and keeps them in a box in his cab or in an athletic bag that he carries when he uses public transportation. “Then when I meet an Ethiopian, for example, and ask if he speaks Amharic, I can quickly hand him the appropriate copy,” says Brother Cortelyou. “I usually have something with me to give away. Otherwise, it is a lost opportunity.”
Because Boston is a center for medicine, technology, finance, and education, people from all over the world gather there. Since Brother Cortelyou’s route includes Logan International Airport, he transports visitors from places such as India, Nigeria, Japan, Bolivia, and Italy. Among his passengers have been scientists, doctors, Nobel Prize winners, priests, rabbis, and government officials from many nations. He has given away copies of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith pamphlets in more than 35 languages, including Polish, Thai, Greek, Swahili, and Vietnamese. “Rarely do I encounter somebody who speaks a language that I don’t have something for,” he says.
On an average day Bill makes 20 trips in his cab. He typically gives Joseph Smith pamphlets or copies of the Book of Mormon to four or five of his passengers. “People don’t often turn down my offer, because the Spirit helps me,” he says. “They’re usually very kind and receptive. Sometimes my offer leads to a discussion about the Church.
“I know of one person who has been baptized from my giving her a Book of Mormon. And once I sent two copies of the Croatian Book of Mormon to a doctor in Zagreb who had been my passenger. He wrote me a nice note of appreciation. I would love to know about others, but when we give service we do not always know the outcome. My missionary work is to create opportunities for someone to make the choice about learning the truth of the gospel.”
Brother Cortelyou grew up in Oceanside on Long Island, New York, and joined the Church while in his 30s. Though he did not have the opportunity to serve a full-time mission, missionary work now fills much of his life.
He serves as a counselor in the presidency of the Revere Second Branch, Boston Massachusetts Stake.—, Sandy, Utah
A Love for Temples
For several years Artie Leroy Peck and his wife, Vaudis, were ordinance workers at the Jordan River Temple. Having attended many sessions in the Salt Lake, Logan, Provo, Ogden, and Alberta Temples, Brother Peck developed a love for these sacred buildings. In 1994, after 60 years of marriage, Sister Peck passed away. “I sat around for a while feeling crazy,” Brother Peck says, “and then I thought, I’ve got to do something.” A retired federal employee whose experience included carpentry, bricklaying, and locksmithing, he finally decided to build temples on a miniature scale. His first project was a five-by-eight-inch replica of the Kirtland Temple, made out of wood and glue.
Brother Peck has since completed a total of 13 temples. He likes to tell his children, “I guess I will go to my shop in the basement and do some temple work,” and he passes many hours on this activity.
At 89, Brother Peck still attends the temple whenever he is able. He lives in the Draper Second Ward, Sandy Utah Hidden Valley Stake.—, Sandy, Utah
In the Spotlight
David S. Baxter, president of the Ipswich England Stake, was appointed director of the Information Society Initiative, an organization within the United Kingdom’s Department of Trade and Industry.
President Baxter’s responsibilities include advising government ministers on policies and activities supporting the development of the information society.
Marcia Gunnell Madsen of Washington, D.C., has been elected chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Public Contract Law. The organization is comprised of attorneys nationwide who focus on contracting with federal, state, county, and municipal government entities.
Sister Madsen is a member of the District of Columbia Branch, District of Columbia District.
Dean L. Allen, a retired teacher in the Clark County School District, was honored with the naming of a new school in Las Vegas: the Dean LaMar Allen Elementary School. Brother Allen is a member of the Fort Apache Ward, Las Vegas Nevada Lakes Stake.