Area Authority in Argentina

“Music is an important part of our home,” says Elder Claudio D. Zivic, Area Authority Seventy in the South America South Area. His wife, Dina Noemí Alvarez, and all five of their children play the piano, and the two oldest teach music. Elder Zivic is a frequent vocal soloist at weddings, funerals, sacrament meetings, and other functions. “Especially,” he says, “I will never forget the day I was able to sing a traditional song of our country for President Spencer W. Kimball, who was at that time a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and visiting for a regional conference.”

Having grown up in the Church, Claudio Zivic was baptized at the age of eight in the Liniers chapel in Argentina, the first meetinghouse built by the Church in South America. “My wife and I met when we were children,” he says. But Dina’s family moved to the United States for a period of several years and then lived in Chile for several more. When the Alvarez family returned to Argentina, Claudio and Dina began dating and were married in 1972. “Since then,” Elder Zivic says, “she has been a source of inspiration and constant help in all the accomplishments and challenges of my life.”

He tells of an experience he had as a teenager: “On receiving my patriarchal blessing one day before turning 19 years old, I shed tears of emotion and gratitude throughout the prayer because I felt my Heavenly Father was the one talking through His servant, the patriarch. That experience marked my life with fire because I clearly knew the blessings that would come upon me and my future family if I strived to progress in every aspect of my life, especially working in the Lord’s service.” Elder Zivic says that following the Lord’s guidance has helped him in his professional life as an accountant and in his personal life as a husband and father.

“My earthly existence centers around the gospel of Christ,” says Elder Zivic. “He is not just a part of my life, but He is my whole life. Thanks to the gospel, the perspective that my wife and I have of eternal life has been expanded to levels unthought of in our youth.”

[photo] Left to right: Leonel, Elder Claudio D. Zivic, Damián (front), Sister Dina Zivic, Nelson, Evelina, Adrián.

Upholding the Law

As a young girl she grew up wanting to be a flight attendant or a schoolteacher, but in October 1998 Janice S. Strauss became the chief of police in Mesa, Arizona.

Sister Strauss is the first female police chief in Mesa’s 120-year history. The promotion makes her one of the top five female police chiefs in the United States. Serving in the Mesa Police Department since 1978, Sister Strauss was promoted through the ranks: officer, detective, master police officer, sergeant, lieutenant, and then captain. In 1994 she became Mesa’s first female assistant chief and served in that capacity until being named acting chief when the former chief retired. After a nationwide search, she was chosen as the new chief of police from among the 19 final candidates, including applicants from the Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas police departments.

More important to Sister Strauss than her professional accomplishments, however, are her children and grandchildren. “My family is always number one,” she says. A single mother for nearly four years now, Sister Strauss says she has been fortunate in being able to manage her time to be with her children as much as possible. “I’ve really been blessed with great children,” she adds. “I couldn’t have done all this without them.”

Her three children are quick to return the compliment and congratulate their mother for her many accomplishments. All three say that Janice is a wonderful mother and now a wonderful grandmother to her two grandchildren.

In her free time, Sister Strauss loves to participate in sports. And she has been able to combine family and fun as she plays on a city-league softball team with her oldest daughter and son-in-law. In fact, every member of their team is a relative.

Sister Strauss currently serves as the Young Women Laurel adviser in the Alma Seventh Ward, Mesa Arizona West Stake.Roxie Heussner, Gilbert, Arizona

The Hymns Are Hers

Mandy Kunitz, age 33, of the Tooele Third Ward, Tooele Utah North Stake, likes to be busy and involved wherever she goes. In 1995, one year before her family moved from South Africa to the United States, she traveled to Connecticut and competed in the Special Olympics, where she won a gold medal in bocce, a bowling game played on a fine gravel or smooth lawn. During this visit she also had a chance to meet Church President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Mandy makes friends easily. “The warmth and acceptance of ward members has always been such a blessing,” says Mandy’s father, Ron. “You sometimes hear that people don’t know how to react to or share with individuals with Down’s syndrome, but fortunately Mandy has never been ignored. In fact, if anything, she’s been indulged.”

Her leaders and teachers in Durban, South Africa, where Mandy grew up, were among her best friends. They helped her graduate from Primary, earn her Young Womanhood Recognition award, and participate in Relief Society, where she still loves to sing and give prayers. She made another good friend when a child in the Durban Bluff Ward was hurt in an accident and lay in a coma for several months. Mandy wanted to comfort the child’s mother, so she sat by her at church and visited her home.

Mandy’s pleasant manner and desire to fully participate make her a well-loved member of her ward, where she helps with the Primary. In her calling, Mandy makes out a certificate for each child who offers a prayer or gives a talk in Primary. Mandy is also in charge of hymnbooks, an assignment she had in Durban and continues to enjoy in Tooele. She sees that all hymnals are where they belong after meetings and before sacrament meeting each week. When still living in South Africa, Mandy also posted the hymn numbers at the front of the chapel.

“Mandy’s dependability is exemplary,” says her mother, Pat. Back in Durban “Ron and I didn’t get to the chapel early enough for her, so she walked the half mile to church an hour early. She wanted to have the hymn numbers posted well before the meeting.”Vera Bell, Durban, South Africa

[photo] Mandy Kunitz and her bocce partner Giovanni Chapasco at the 1995 Special Olympics.

Always Current

Record keepers are important servants in the Lord’s kingdom. In their work—done largely behind the scenes—clerks of all kinds keep track of various facts, events, and actions taken.

For over 40 years Walter R. McDonald of the Caldwell Park Ward, Pocatello Idaho East Stake, has served as either a ward or stake clerk. For nearly half of his life, Walter has been entrusted with keeping financial, membership, and other ward or stake records.

Length of time in such service presupposes not only willingness to serve but trustworthiness and accuracy in the work as well. Walter was always meticulous in his work as a clerk, but then he takes great care in everything he does.

For nearly 40 years, he was an electrician in Pocatello. “With electricity you are always careful,” he says. “Excuses and explanations don’t work with electrical currents.” Walter has 2 children, 9 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren, so record keeping has taken a personal turn as he keeps track of his growing family.Ardath E. Johnson, Pocatello, Idaho

In the Spotlight

  • Ryan Max Rowberry, ward clerk in the BYU 104th Ward, BYU 5th Stake, was awarded one of 95 Rhodes Scholarships, one of the world’s most prestigious academic awards, in December 1998. Brother Rowberry will study at Oxford University in England for three years, seeking a master’s degree in medieval studies.

  • James E. Moore was recently named the National Chief of Chaplain Services in the Civil Air Patrol. He is the first member of the Church to receive this appointment. Brother Moore praised the work being done by about 30 other LDS chaplains who are serving across the U.S. in the Civil Air Patrol. Brother Moore is a member of the Lakewood Ward, Lakewood Colorado Stake.