News of the Church


New Missions Created, Others Combined

On 1 July 2002, seven new missions will begin operating in the United States and western Africa. Five other missions will be combined with neighboring missions, bringing the total number in operation to 335.

The new missions are the Arizona Mesa Mission, the Colorado Colorado Springs Mission, the Texas Lubbock Mission, the Washington Kennewick Mission, the Cape Verde Praia Mission, the Nigeria Ibadan Mission, and the Nigeria Uyo Mission.

Map of the United States

Seven new missions have been created in the United States (above) and in western Africa (below).

Map of Africa

The Austria Vienna Mission will combine with the Germany Munich Mission to form the Germany Munich/Austria Mission. The Netherlands Amsterdam, Switzerland Geneva, and Belgium Brussels Missions will be realigned to form two missions, the Belgium Brussels/Netherlands Mission and the Switzerland Geneva Mission. The England Bristol Mission will be combined with the England Birmingham, England London, and England London South Missions.

The Italy Padova Mission will be absorbed by the Italy Milan and Italy Rome Missions. Much of the Portugal Lisbon North Mission will be combined with the Portugal Lisbon South Mission to form the Portugal Lisbon Mission. The remaining portion of the Lisbon North mission will become part of the Portugal Porto Mission.

According to Elder Charles Didier of the Presidency of the Seventy, executive director of the Missionary Department, the changes will allow more missionaries to serve in areas where there is a greater need for them.

Finally, the name of the Lithuania Vilnius Mission is being changed to the Baltic Mission. This mission, headquartered in Riga, Latvia, includes the countries of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania.

Stake Missions Recently Dissolved

In an effort to bolster member missionary and fellowshipping efforts, the First Presidency recently dissolved stake missions and instructed bishops and branch presidents to directly oversee all missionary and retention responsibilities in their units. By dissolving stake missions, the responsibility and accountability for missionary work now rests with individual wards and branches.

The callings of ward mission leader and ward missionary will now be extended on a ward level rather than a stake level, under the direction of the bishop or branch president. Ward mission leaders will report directly to the bishop rather than a stake leader and will continue to coordinate the missionary efforts of the unit.

Ward missionaries will continue to prepare people to be taught the gospel, fellowship investigators and new members, teach new-member discussions, and encourage members. Callings are no longer issued for a specified term of service, and ward missionaries no longer wear nametags.

New Family History Products for European Genealogy Announced

The Family and Church History Department recently announced two new tools to assist people with genealogy work—Sweden: Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Part A and The British Isles Vital Records Index (second edition).

Sweden: Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Part A

This new workbook features easy-to-follow instructions, colorful graphics, and tear-out worksheets to assist in researching Swedish roots. The publication is designed for those who have already gathered and organized some information from their family and are ready to search public records.

The 20-page guide introduces a new strategy on how to go from one record to another, providing simple, expert advice every step of the way. It explains different types of records in Sweden and tells when and how to use them. Users will learn where to start, how to find and use Swedish records, and what unique elements to look for. It is ideal for people who have limited genealogical experience or little time to do research.

Sweden: Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Part A covers the period from 1860 to 1920. Part B, which will be available in 2003, will cover additional time periods and research strategies.

More guides in the Finding Records of Your Ancestors series will be published in 2002, including those for the British Isles, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Spain, and Switzerland. Additional guides for African-American, American Indian, and Pacific Islander research will follow. Denmark: Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Part A was released earlier this year.

British Isles Vital Records Index (second edition)

Millions more birth, christening, and marriage records from selected parishes in the British Isles, some dating back more than 450 years, are now available on compact disc. The British Isles Vital Records Index (second edition) updates and includes the British Isles Vital Records Index Resource File released in 1998. The second edition adds approximately 7.3 million birth and christening records to the index for a total of 12.3 million. Spanning an approximate time period from 1530 to 1906, this new set of 16 compact discs contains names from England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man.

“These CDs may save families hundreds of hours of time and painstaking research. The process is as simple as typing in a name,” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson, executive director of the Family and Church History Department.

The CD set also includes the most recent version of the Family History Resource File Viewer program. Other features include a parent search, book marking, print options and GEDCOM export.

The second edition of the British Isles Vital Records Index (item no. 50126; U.S. $20) and Sweden: Finding Your Ancestors, Part A (36579; U.S. $3.25) are available through Church distribution centers or at www.familysearch.org.

Old Testament Chronology Chart

Published in the January 2002 Ensign, this chart can now be purchased as an 11-by-48-inch foldout poster. The chronology chart (item no. 22321; U.S. $.50) is designed to assist members in their personal study and teaching of the Old Testament. To order, contact your local distribution center or visit the Church Web sites www.ldscatalog.com or www.lds.org.

Appointments

Leon T. Ballard and Flora Miller Ballard, Snowflake Sixth Ward, Snowflake Arizona Stake, have been called as president and matron of the Snowflake Arizona Temple.

Eran A. Call and Katherine Groesbeck Call, Edgemont 14th Ward, Provo Utah Edgemont Stake, have been called as president and matron of the Monterrey Mexico Temple.

Jay B. Jensen and Alice Edwards Jensen, Lubbock Fourth Ward, Lubbock Texas Stake, have been called as president and matron of the Lubbock Texas Temple.

Donald R. McArthur and Donna Hall McArthur, Country Park Third Ward, South Jordan Utah Country Park Stake, have been called as president and matron of the Kona Hawaii Temple.

Elder James M. Paramore, an emeritus General Authority, has been called to preside over the missionaries and volunteers in the Family and Church History Department at Church headquarters. Elder Paramore’s wife, Helen Heslington Paramore, will serve as his companion.

First Meetinghouses Dedicated in Sri Lanka, Serbia, and India

The first meetinghouses in Sri Lanka, Serbia, and India have recently been dedicated, blessing the faithful Saints in these countries.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s first meetinghouse was dedicated on 2 December 2001 in Colombo by Elder John B. Dickson of the Seventy, Second Counselor in the Asia Area Presidency. More than 300 members of the Colombo Sri Lanka District and neighboring branches attended the dedication.

The Church has been in Sri Lanka for 24 years. The Colombo district was formed on 22 October 2000, and the groundbreaking for the meetinghouse took place that same day. There are two branches in Colombo.

“I am delighted with the culmination of this long-prayed-for event,” says Colombo district president Sunil Arsecularatne. “We will look for a stake here in the future.”

Serbia

The first meetinghouse in Serbia was dedicated on 19 January 2002 in Beograd. Elder Douglas L. Callister of the Seventy, Europe East Area President, gave the dedicatory prayer. Approximately 150 Church members, government officials, and community members attended the meeting.

Members of the community were also invited to an open house preceding the dedication and provided information about the Church.

Missionaries arrived in what is now Serbia during the 1980s. Because of ongoing civil conflict, the presence of full-time missionaries in Serbia has been sporadic. But local members have faithfully upheld the Church throughout the country’s turbulent times.

“For the Saints of Serbia this was a reward for all they have lived through and endured during the last 10 years,” says Sladjan Mihajlovic, president of the Beograd Branch, speaking of his branch’s new building.

The new meetinghouse is a remodeled villa built in the early 1930s. It is located in the center of the city and is surrounded by several foreign embassies.

“This building houses the Lord’s embassy,” says Dragomir Savic, Beograd district president.

India

Elder H. Bryan Richards of the Seventy, President of the Asia Area, dedicated India’s first meetinghouse on 2 February 2002. The new building serves the Rajahmundry Branch of the Hyderabad India District. More than 400 members, many from as far as Bangalore, a 10-hour train ride, attended the dedication.

The local community also welcomed the new meetinghouse. More than 2,300 people attended an open house held prior to the dedication. Hosted by Karl E. Nelson, president of the India Bangalore Mission, visitors in groups of 10 to 20 were escorted by the full-time missionaries and branch members through classrooms and the chapel. By the end of the tour, the visitors had heard the first two missionary discussions, learned the role of Church auxiliary programs, and received an invitation to sign up for a copy of the Book of Mormon.

On the first Sunday after the open house, 50 children attended Primary. Not even 10 of them were Church members; most were visitors from the surrounding area. Several adults visited as well.

“The people are astonished at this miracle from Heavenly Father,” said Padmanandam Chalanti, president of the Rajahmundry Branch.

The Rajahmundry Branch was formed nearly two decades ago with 38 members. The branch now numbers more than 400.

[photo] The first Serbian Church meetinghouse is a remodeled villa located in the city of Beograd. (Photo by Sladjan Mihajlovic.)

[photo] Church members gather outside the Rajahmundry Branch building after its dedication in February. The new Church meetinghouse—India’s first—attracted more than 2,300 visitors to its open house.

In the Spotlight

BYU President Elected to National Education Board

Elder Merrill J. Bateman, a member of the Seventy and president of Brigham Young University, was recently elected to the board of directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). NAICU represents more than 900 private colleges and universities on policy issues with the United States federal government.

Primary Teacher, 90, Has Taught Three Generations

After continually serving for more than 50 years in her ward’s Primary, Eva May McCallister, 90, was honored at a recent gathering by dozens of her former and current Primary students. A member of the Copperton Ward, South Jordan Utah Glenmoor Stake, Sister McCallister has taught three generations of children, including those from less-active families and families of other faiths. Among the children Sister McCallister helped to activate are many returned missionaries and several bishops and stake patriarchs.

Latter-day Saint Wrestler Has Perfect NCAA Record

Cael Sanderson wrestled 159 times during his collegiate wrestling career at Iowa State University and came off victorious every time. His wins made him the first wrestler ever to achieve an undefeated record and to take four U.S. National Collegiate Athletic Association titles.

A member of the Iowa State University Branch, Ames Iowa Stake, Brother Sanderson completed his college career on 23 March with a 12–4 victory in the 197-pound weight class of his fourth NCAA tournament. He has also been voted Most Outstanding Wrestler of all four NCAA championships and awarded the Dan Hodge Trophy (the equivalent of U.S. football’s Heisman Trophy) three times. Twice he has received Academic All-American honors. Cael, who grew up in Heber City, Utah, hopes to compete in freestyle wrestling in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Cael’s father, Steve Sanderson, says wrestling “has pretty much been a family affair.” Brother and Sister Sanderson coached and assisted their four sons in their high school wrestling, in which all four brothers won state championships.

[photo] Sister Eva May McCallister (center, front) poses with some of the hundreds of people she has taught during her continual 50-year calling as a Primary teacher in her ward.

[photo] Church member Cael Sanderson is the first wrestler ever to win four NCAA championships.

Comment

Strength in Troubled Times

To all those responsible for the wonderful articles in the Ensign magazine, we would like to express our thanks and gratitude. The articles have been a strength to us in these troublesome times. We know you are following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

Clem J. and LaRie Thompson Rexburg, Idaho

Thanks for a Hymn

Thank you for including the hymn “ ’Mid the Stillness of the Night” in the April 2002 Ensign. I sat down at my piano today and played it through. It is a beautiful hymn, perfect for Easter. I have often wished that the Ensign would publish more hymns and songs like the New Era and Friend. Please let this be one of many hymns you publish.

Emily Milner Lindon, Utah

Stake Organized Earlier

I read with considerable interest the article “A Branch of Faith in the Forest” (Apr. 2002). Many of us here in Whatcom County know of the members mentioned. Theirs is a noble and distinctive pioneer heritage.

I did want to point out that the Bellingham Washington Stake was not organized in 1994, as was mentioned in the article, but in 1981. The stake was first organized with five wards and a dependent Sunday School on the Lummi Indian Reservation.

Eugene C. Hatch Bellingham, Washington

Inspiration to Change

I have not been active in the Church for quite some time. I was recently skimming through the pages of the Ensign when I came upon various articles concerning problems I have been facing in my life. As I was reading the articles, I began to cry. For so long I did not realize my unhappiness came from the poor choices I made, but now I feel the importance of repentance and forgiveness. I just want to express gratitude for helping my understanding grow into a desire to change.

Name Withheld