News of the Church

By Molly Farmer, Church magazines

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    One Mission Enough to Change Lives, But Not to Satisfy Desire to Serve

    When Rose and Ron Harvey got married in 1950, they didn’t anticipate they would go on to spend 16 years of their marriage in full-time missionary service.

    “I never dreamed of that,” Sister Harvey said.

    Since 1992, the Canadian couple has served nine missions for the Church, preaching across the United States, Canada, and into the Pacific Islands.

    Their experiences have been uplifting. “You come back on a spiritual high,” Sister Harvey said. But the change of heart they have received isn’t reserved only for those who serve 16 years. “You don’t have to serve nine missions. After our first mission, we came home changed people.”

    Brother and Sister Harvey have had success, grown in the gospel, weathered trials, and overcome feelings of inadequacy. Today, their relationship is closer than ever, and they are quick to tell of the strength they have received and the blessings the Lord has given them and their family.

    Called to Serve—Again and Again

    Brother and Sister Harvey’s first mission to the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission in 1992 was a wonderful experience, especially for Sister Harvey, who had wanted to serve a full-time mission since the time her children had prepared to go on their own missions. She and her husband found joy in reactivating members and seeing a branch organized.

    Later the couple served another proselytizing mission in the South Dakota Rapid City Mission, followed by family history missions at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and at the Utah Correctional Institute. The latter brought unique challenges, and Brother and Sister Harvey felt great sympathy for their incarcerated brothers and sisters.

    They served another proselytizing mission in the Canada Vancouver Mission, then two humanitarian service missions in American Samoa and Sacramento, California, USA. They were called soon after that to serve another family history mission, this time in the Canada Calgary Mission.

    After a year and a half in Calgary, they are now serving another family history mission within the Calgary mission to Golden, British Columbia, and Cardston, Alberta.

    Facing Common Challenges

    Brother and Sister Harvey’s years of service haven’t come without challenges. They had to overcome some of the same obstacles that face all soon-to-be missionaries such as financial considerations, fear, finding the right opportunities, and family concerns.

    Finances: Living simply and frugally made it possible for Brother and Sister Harvey to serve. They simplified their finances by getting rid of unnecessary expenses and bills and had their retirement and government pensions automatically deposited into an account. Though not excessive, their funds were always enough. “We never had a lot of money; we just had a lot of faith,” Sister Harvey said.

    Fear: In his journals (they have both kept journals since their first mission to Minneapolis) Brother Harvey wrote that he felt inadequate to preach the word, and Sister Harvey at times shared that sentiment. Their concern was, “Do I know enough?” she said. “We weren’t educated … and yet here we were stepping out in the world, trying to convert people. … It’s a big responsibility to represent the Lord.” Through their experiences, they have found that the Lord takes care of those who serve Him.

    Finding the right opportunities: There are service opportunities to match almost any skill or talent a couple has. Couples are counseled to consider their unique talents and abilities as well as their health and financial situations when approaching the bishop or branch president. The capacities in which Brother and Sister Harvey have served are as varied as the places they have lived. They were pleased to serve wherever the Lord called them, whether as humanitarian services missionaries, family history missionaries, or proselytizing missionaries.

    Family: One of the greatest concerns shared by senior missionaries is being away from their families. For Brother and Sister Harvey that includes 7 children, 39 grandchildren, and 25 great-grandchildren. Leaving them for years at a time has been difficult, but they now feel closer to their posterity than they did before they left. “I can hardly express the love that grew between us. … If you think you can’t go because of your children, you’ve got it all backward,” Sister Harvey said.

    Through it all, Brother and Sister Harvey have remembered that they are on the Lord’s errand. “It’s His work and His glory. You have to have faith that that’s true,” she said.

    Establishing a Heritage of Faith

    The service Brother and Sister Harvey have contributed extends far beyond their mission boundaries. It has blessed their posterity in ways they never could have imagined. “We are in awe of what it has done for our children,” Sister Harvey said.

    Their descendants all agree that Brother and Sister Harvey’s example has had a great effect on their lives. “When the grandsons and granddaughters go out to serve in the mission field, they think of grandma and grandpa applying their heart, might, mind, and strength at their mature age and are inspired to do their best as well,” said Teri Kearl, one of Brother and Sister Harvey’s daughters.

    Seeing the positive influence they had on their family after their first and second missions inspired Brother and Sister Harvey to keep serving.

    “In a sense, as you go out and serve as grandparents, you are serving your family in many ways as well,” said Sister Harvey.

    Their granddaughter Nicole Kearl, who is serving in the Idaho Pocatello Mission, recently wrote this about her grandparents: “Seeing their devotion to the Lord has given me a greater desire to serve the Lord. I’m sure that my desire to serve a mission was partly influenced by their great example.”

    Drawing Closer to Each Other and the Lord

    Brother and Sister Harvey feel closer to their children and grandchildren because of their service, but they’ve also grown closer as a couple. Sister Harvey described their daily scripture study regimen as “the greatest blessing ever.”

    Brother Harvey added that he feels much closer to his wife through their continued service. “Her feelings are my feelings. When she cries I cry. When she laughs, I laugh,” he said.

    Their relationship with the Lord has also grown as they rely on Him for comfort and guidance. “You get out on a mission and you’re all by yourself,” Sister Harvey said. “You rely on the Savior like you’ve never relied on Him before.”

    Brother and Sister Harvey found they were cared for as long as they were willing to listen to the promptings of the Spirit.

    “It’s like the Lord keeps opening the doors … faster than you can walk through them,” said Sister Harvey. “A desire and a willing heart—it’s all you need.”

    Rose and Ron Harvey, pictured here on their mission to American Samoa, have learned many things from serving multiple missions.

    Courtesy of Ron and Rose Harvey

    Whether sunny or snowy, each mission experience was unique.

    Courtesy of Ron and Rose Harvey

    Presidency Reorganized in South America West Area

    The First Presidency has announced that Elder Marcus B. Nash will serve as president of the South America West Area, succeeding Elder Walter F. González effective December 20, 2007. Elder González was sustained as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy at the October 2007 general conference.

    Elder Nash was called to serve as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy on April 1, 2006. He was an Area Seventy in the North America Northwest Area when he was called to be a General Authority.

    Two Area Seventies will serve as counselors in the Area Presidency. Elder Alexander A. Nuñez, currently serving as Second Counselor in the Area Presidency, will serve as First Counselor. Elder Nuñez was named a member of the Fourth Quorum of the Seventy on April 3, 2004.

    Elder César H. Hooker, an Area Seventy since April 1, 2006, will serve as Second Counselor.

    New Opportunity Allows More Members to Serve

    Thelma Taylor was happy with her calling at her local family history center in Mesa, Arizona, USA. For 17 years she assisted, guided, and supported men and women in their quests to find their ancestors. A move to Coolidge, Arizona, in 2005, however, put 40 miles (64 km) between her and the family history center whose patrons she had faithfully served.

    Nearly blind and unable to drive, the 83-year-old woman feared her inability to travel to Mesa would mean the end of her family history service. Then a thoughtful leader offered a solution to this problem in the form of a Church-service mission Sister Taylor could perform from home. Since 2006 she has served as a FamilySearch Support missionary for the Church, using her home computer to help people do their family history work.

    “It has blessed me beyond my ability to count all the blessings,” she says of her experience. “I’ve grown so much in that area in family history and in my ability to serve.”

    A New Resource Brings New Needs

    As the Church begins testing the new Web site in eight languages, there is a significant need for Church-service missionaries like Sister Taylor to help patrons use family history tools to find their ancestors.

    FamilySearch, the Church’s online genealogical resource, is being rebuilt with new features in Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. The new site, among other things, is meant to help prevent duplication of ordinance work. The need for Church-service missionaries from around the world, particularly in these languages and others to come, will continue to grow as the new FamilySearch is made available worldwide.

    “They have the opportunity to propel the Lord’s work forward with each interaction with a patron,” said Art Johnson, area manager for FamilySearch Support.

    Using New Technologies to Serve

    Using a Web-based telephone program, the missionaries, who can be located anywhere in the world as long as they have broadband Internet access, respond to as many as 10,000 inquiries per month. Patrons’ questions span many topics, including family history research, indexing, and submitting names to the temple.

    Though her eyesight is poor, Sister Taylor—who now supports six fellow missionaries—can increase the font size on her computer enough to read patrons’ e-mails and respond to their questions.

    Service missionaries are given extensive online training they can complete at home. The missionaries do not need to speak English, but can work in their own language with local staff who will help them with their questions and provide individual training and help. Once they’ve finished the training, they have access to a database that includes some 4,000 articles they can refer to for answers to patrons’ questions.

    Sister Taylor didn’t learn how to operate a computer until she was 66 years old, but she says it is a beneficial, useful skill. “Your age doesn’t matter,” she said. “You’re not too old to learn how to use a computer.”

    Who Can Serve and How

    A Church-service mission with FamilySearch Support is not meant to be a substitute for full-time missionary service, but it provides an option to serve for those who are not able to serve a full-time mission.

    “This is an ideal situation for me because I can continue to learn and serve,” Sister Taylor said. She said her Church-service mission has helped her to feel useful at an age when her options are limited.

    Church-service missionaries are set apart and wear nametags, just as full-time missionaries do. They receive intensive training on the workings of the Web site and learn techniques on how best to answer patrons’ questions. FamilySearch Support missionaries serve some 15 to 30 hours a week for 6 to 30 months and can serve the full mission from their homes.

    There are currently some 700 service missionaries assisting in this capacity, and that number may need to double over the next year as the new FamilySearch is made available to more areas. Men and women interested in becoming Church-service missionaries should contact their bishop or branch president. For more about FamilySearch Support opportunities e-mail or visit for local phone numbers.

    A Blessing to Missionaries and Patrons

    The lives of many members, elderly and young, have been blessed by the opportunity to be service missionaries, their leaders point out, and many souls will feel the effects of their labor.

    “The spirit of consecration [that Church-service missionaries] bring to their calls has enabled us to really see miracles in the growth and expansion of the work,” Brother Johnson said.

    The work is fulfilling and contagious. “The spirit of this work gets into you and doesn’t turn you loose,” Sister Taylor said. “No matter your age, you can be of real service as a FamilySearch Support missionary.”

    Brother Johnson said the support provided by service missionaries is crucial to the success of the new FamilySearch. An answer provided to a patron may help someone find an ancestor and complete his or her temple work, and that is a very important, sacred undertaking.

    “Through our efforts, we can enable our brothers and sisters on the other side of the veil to receive the same blessings and ordinances of the gospel we enjoy,” Brother Johnson said.

    10,000 Volunteers Sought to Put Latin American Family History Online

    FamilySearch is calling for 10,000 volunteers who can read both English and Spanish to help digitally preserve and index online millions of Latin American records that are now difficult to access because they are located on microfilm or in an archive.

    Volunteers can spend as little as 30 minutes a week indexing records from their home computers. Volunteers simply type in the information highlighted on the digital image. The completed products will be free, fully searchable online indexes linked to the original images at

    The 10,000 bilingual indexers will be added to a growing army of volunteers that will soon top 100,000, well ahead of projections.

    Those interested should register at, which will allow them to download one batch of records at a time.

    Church-service missionary Elizabeth Perry helps David Parra find information on his ancestors. The new FamilySearch Web site will allow users to do more from home, including receiving help from Church-service missionaries also serving from home.

    © 2007 Intellectual Reserve, Inc.; all rights reserved

    Temple in Tonga Attracts 40,000 Visitors Before Dedication

    The renovated Nuku‘alofa Tonga Temple was dedicated on November 4, 2007, by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The dedication was held following a month-long open house attended by 40,000 visitors.

    “Taking a visit to the temple is one of those memorable events in my life,” said Moimoi Hola, a Tongan native who was among the visitors.

    The number of visitors is equal to 40 percent of the total population of the island nation, though it includes visitors from other islands as well. Special guests included Her Royal Highness Princess Pilolevu and Mrs. Ainise Sevele, wife of Tongan Prime Minister Feleti Sevele.

    “My visit to the temple was a personal journey into the realm of all that is holy, which is peace, serenity, hope, happiness, and joy,” Mrs. Sevele explained.

    Another guest, Finau Nisa, added, “I felt like I was in heaven while I was in the temple.”

    The Nuku‘alofa Tonga Temple was first dedicated in 1983. In 2006 it was closed for a significant expansion, which has added more than 5,000 square feet (465 square meters) to the structure.

    With some 50,000 members in more than 160 congregations, Church membership in this nation of 110,000 ranks as the highest per capita (roughly 46 percent) of any country in the world.

    Princess Pilolevu of Tonga, right, visits the renovated Nuku‘alofa Tonga Temple during the public open house.

    © 2007 Intellectual Reserve, Inc.; all rights reserved

    New Rexburg Idaho Temple Opens Doors

    After a month-long open house, the Rexburg Idaho Temple was set to be dedicated on February 10, 2008. Tickets to the 40-minute tours were available to the public free of charge, and tens of thousands of tickets were requested on the first day they were available.

    Organizers were preparing to accommodate some 150,000 visitors during the open house, which was scheduled from late December 2007 through January 2008.

    The Rexburg Idaho Temple is the third temple to be built in Idaho, along with the Idaho Falls Temple, dedicated on September 23, 1945; and the Boise Idaho Temple, first dedicated on May 25, 1984. The fourth temple in Idaho, the Twin Falls Idaho Temple, was announced in October 2004. Ground was broken on April 15, 2006.

    Rexburg Idaho Temple

    © 2007 Intellectual Reserve, Inc.; all rights reserved

    Groundbreaking Held in Cebu for New Philippines Temple Complex

    Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles broke ground for the Cebu Philippines Temple complex in Lahug, Cebu City, on November 14, 2007.

    During the ceremony, Elder Oaks said they were there not only “to dedicate the land to the Lord,” but also “to pray … that we may prepare ourselves for the blessings of the temple.”

    In his dedicatory prayer, Elder Oaks invoked a blessing for the Filipino people to live in peace, harmony, and prosperity; for the temple to be built without flaw; and for the people who come to it to feel the holiness of the building.

    Some 400 members, including stake and district presidencies, bishops, branch presidents, stake auxiliary presidencies of seven neighboring stakes and districts, the six mission presidents in the new Cebu Philippines Temple district, and local community leaders gathered for this historic event.

    Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder Keith R. Edwards, Philippines Area President; and his counselors, Elder Won Yong Ko and Elder Michael J. Teh of the Seventy, were also in attendance.

    Twenty-three years after the first temple in the Philippines was built, President Anthony John Balledos of the Cebu City Philippines Stake expressed in his prayer how grateful the Filipino Saints are for having the second temple in the Philippines built in Cebu to serve members in the central and southern parts of the Philippines.

    In the evening, after the groundbreaking, Elder Oaks held a devotional with more than 3,000 Saints and counseled them to prepare for the temple by developing “holy habits.” He said holy habits help us “be ready to answer the questions the Lord will ask us” in the final judgment. These habits include having personal and family prayer, reading the scriptures, and partaking of the sacrament every Sunday.

    The Cebu Philippines Temple complex, having an area of 4.7 hectares, will include patron housing, a meetinghouse, homes for the temple and mission presidents, and a mission office. The temple itself will have an area of 2,391 square meters.

    The Cebu Philippines Temple is the 132nd temple of the Church that is announced, operating, or under construction.

    New Temple Announced for El Salvador

    On November 18, 2007, the First Presidency announced plans to construct a temple in the Central American country of El Salvador.

    The announcement is welcome news for members in El Salvador, who not only cope with long-distance travel to the Guatemala City Guatemala Temple, but also have had to deal with a recent rise in highway robberies.

    “With a prayer in our hearts, we go,” said President Manuel Ernesto López of the San Salvador El Salvador Stake. “We must go and perform those ordinances.”

    Despite the challenges, the San Salvador El Salvador Stake has increased in the number of members who regularly attend the temple.

    For many members in El Salvador, the typical 32-hour round-trip temple trip will be reduced to a more manageable 6 or 7 hours.

    The announcement of the San Salvador El Salvador Temple brings to six the number of temples either operating, announced or under construction in the Central America Area, which includes the seven countries that stretch between Mexico in the northwest and Colombia in the southeast.

    Currently operating temples in the area are the Guatemala City Guatemala Temple, dedicated in December 1984, and the San Jose Costa Rica Temple, dedicated in June 2000. Work on the Panama City Panama Temple began in October 2005.

    Two other temples, the Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple, the second temple in that country, and the Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple have been announced and are awaiting groundbreaking.

    When completed, the six Central American temples will serve nearly 600,000 members residing in some 100 stakes in 12 missions.

    Adapted from Church News, November 24, 2007.

    map of Central America

    Six temples are now operating, announced, or under construction in the Central America Area.

    Map by Thomas S. Child

    Web Site to Aid Technology Specialists

    Stake technology specialists can access information online for supplemental help in fulfilling their callings. A site launched as part of provides troubleshooting solutions for a number of tasks these members are called to perform.

    “We wanted to make sure that these specialists knew there were resources available to them,” said Bill Bush, program manager for the Information and Communications Systems Department of the Church.

    A collection of hundreds of articles concerning common assignments are available, covering a range of topics such as receiving satellite transmissions, compiling and maintaining computer records, and using the missionary online recommendation system for those countries where the system has been implemented. PDF versions of letters and broadcast information are accessible from the site as well as a summary of the roles and responsibilities the technology specialist fulfills.

    Any feedback technology specialists provide on the site is appreciated. Brother Bush said, “We’d like to know what issues are on people’s minds.”

    The site is currently available in English and Spanish and is being translated into German, Japanese, Portuguese, and Russian. Access the site at

    Additional Sharing Time Ideas, April 2008

    The following are additional ideas Primary leaders may use with the Sharing Time printed in the April 2008 Liahona. For the lesson, instructions, and activity that correspond with these ideas, see “Heed the Prophets—Follow What They Say” on pages F4 and F5 of the children’s section in this issue.

    1. 1.

      Show Gospel Art Picture Kit 102 (Building the Ark) and 520 (Gordon B. Hinckley). Compare and contrast the prophet Noah and President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008). Help the children recognize that although only Noah’s family listened to his words, many Church members listened to President Hinckley’s counsel to read the Book of Mormon. With approval from the bishop or branch president, invite a family to share their experience of following the prophet by reading the Book of Mormon.

      Help the children look up 2 Nephi 32:9. Memorize the phrase “I say unto you that ye must pray always.” Learn a song or hymn about prayer. Bear testimony of the Book of Mormon and the power of prayer.

    2. 2.

      Create a “Follow the Prophet” maze by using Primary 3, lesson 8. Enlarge each picture on the maze onto a separate piece of paper. Place the figure of the child at the top left of the chalkboard and the picture representing the Savior at the bottom right of the chalkboard. Place the other pictures around the room. On separate pieces of paper, write the phrases that go with each picture. These will be used as clues.

      Sing verse 9 of “Follow the Prophet” (Children’s Songbook, 110–11), and ask the children to listen for what we can get if we follow the prophet. Teach them that our prophet gives us direction all along our way. If we follow him, we can return to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

      Invite a child to choose a clue. Ask his or her class and teacher to act out the clue for the other children to guess. When a child answers correctly, have him or her find the matching picture in the room. Place the picture on the chalkboard, leading from the figure of the child to the picture of the Savior. Sing the chorus of “Follow the Prophet” after you place each picture on the chalkboard. Continue to act out clues and post the pictures on the chalkboard until they have all been guessed. Bear testimony of the blessings that come from following the prophet.

      For older children: Choose scriptures that go with the clues, and write the scripture reference on the clue. Ask the children to look up the reference and read the scripture before acting out the clue.

    3. 3.

      Song presentation: “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” (Hymns, no. 19). Hum or play the first line. Ask the children to raise their hands if they have heard this hymn before. Share the first five words: “We thank thee, O God,” and explain that this hymn describes blessings we have received from Heavenly Father, and when we sing this hymn, it is an opportunity to give thanks for His blessings. Invite the children to share what they know and feel about this hymn.

      Hold up a hymnbook, and show where the hymn is found. Point out that the word brightly is used to describe how it should be sung. Help the children feel the rhythm by clapping the steady beat of 4/4 time as the pianist plays the first line. Then have the children clap the rhythm of the first line. Divide the room in half. Have one side clap the steady beat and the other side clap the rhythm of the melody line. Change sides and repeat.

      As you teach the words of the hymn, invite the children to listen for blessings that Heavenly Father has given to them and how these blessings help us (for example: the gospel, a prophet to guide us, and so on). Help the children recognize the phrases that describe things they should do because they have been blessed (for example: “feel it a pleasure to serve” and “love to obey thy command”).

      Share Mosiah 2:41. Testify that we are blessed and happy when we do what the prophet asks of us.