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Unusual Missionary Presentation in Yamagata

There weren’t any strings attached—and this was one case where they could have been. Members and missionaries of the Yamagata (Japan) Branch staged a puppet show centered on the Book of Mormon.

The missionaries suggested the subject, and the members put together the script. Everyone wanted to get into the show, so the Relief Society sisters made the hand puppets and the brethren built the stage and props for the presentation. Lighting and other technical areas were handled by members also. The missionaries provided the willing hands for the puppets. Members and nonmembers were invited, and after the show, questions were answered and basic gospel principles were explained.

Working in the Japan Sendai Mission, the Yamagata elders have contacted investigators in department stores, while singing in neighborhoods, and on a local radio station. The missionaries credit “an enthusiastic attitude” with their success. “By everyone working together we can truly feel the love of the gospel,” said one elder.

Auckland Stake Members Have Roaring Birthday

The Auckland New Zealand Harbour Stake recently stepped back 50 years and once again made the twenties roar.

The stake held a Gold and Green Ball to celebrate its first birthday, and 750 Church members showed up dressed for the occasion—complete with flapper dresses, boas, and skimmers.

The Charleston and Black Bottom were revived, and everyone joined in chorus to wish the stake a happy birthday. The hall was turned into a makeshift garden for the event, and everyone had a roaring time.

These Scouts Enjoy Being Pinned to the Wall

One of the reasons young people in the Monument Park 16th Ward (Salt Lake Monument Park Stake) feel they are special is because their priesthood leaders feature them on a special bulletin board in the lobby of the chapel.

When a boy reaches Scouting age, his picture is placed on the board. From then on his progress in the priesthood and through the Scouting ranks is carefully charted. Merit badges, leadership positions, Scouting ranks, and other special awards are all placed on the board next to his picture. After he becomes an Eagle Scout, a bronze nameplate is placed in the upper left-hand part of the board for permanent display. Then, of course, his picture is taken down, and there is room for another new deacon.

Brother Robert Sorbonne, who thought of the bulletin board idea after several experiences with Scouting, explained why he designed the board in the first place:

“Placing their badges on a bulletin board provides an incentive for both the boys and their parents to really get involved in Scouting. It is a definite motivating factor. Before we used the bulletin board, I found that most of the badges ended up in dresser drawers—after, that is, they had gone through the washer at least once in a pair of jeans.”

The board also stimulates younger people to get interested in Scouting. Between meetings on Sunday there are usually several people of all ages looking at the latest changes on the board.

Bishop Waldo Lincoln Macey described the bulletin board as a piece of “dynamic history, a chart that is always changing.

“It has also helped the young people in our ward respond to President Kimball’s challenge to be leaders. Our deacons quorum adviser is really just an adviser. He hasn’t had to give a lesson for eight months because the boys have become so involved that they enjoy teaching the class themselves,” he added. The bulletin board is also a good place to display pictures taken at the last activity, whether it was a camping trip or a service project. Just pinning a picture or badge in the case heightens everyone’s interest and motivates them to start planning for the next activity or advancement.

Youth Genealogy Seminar, or Branching Out at BYU

“Heaven Helps Those Who Help Heaven” and “Aunt Ellen Hasn’t Already Done It All!”

There are going to be some youths this summer who won’t go barking up the wrong tree—family tree, that is. Those attending the youth section of the Brigham Young University Priesthood Genealogical Research Seminar will take both motivational and practical classes. In addition, the five-day seminar has scheduled time for swimming, bike riding, crafts, games, and a trip to Salt Lake City.

Personal traits of ancestors, surnames, keeping a journal, books of remembrance, oral histories, and using libraries will be among the topics discussed at the seminar. The classes will supply youths with material and ideas to take home with them.

The seminar is scheduled from July 28 (Monday) to August 1 (Friday). The registration fee is $16 and must be postmarked by July 3. After July 3 the cost is $18 and must be paid on campus. On-campus housing is $3.50 per night. For additional information write: Church Continuing Education, Priesthood Genealogy Seminar, Box 7164 Dept. SCC, University Station, Provo, Utah 84602.

Although this is the first youth seminar, the closing day’s activity is already set—a trip to the cemetery!

Elderly Friends

Hearing one sister’s recollections of her childhood in a large pioneer family brought tears of happiness to the eyes of many Danville, California, Mia Maids as they hosted a luncheon for elderly ward members.

The Mia Maids sent out invitations, put up cheery yellow and white decorations, and served lunch to the elderly sisters of the Danville Ward, Walnut Creek California Stake. In addition, the sisters were introduced and interesting points in their lives were related. Each received a corsage and shared short inspirational experiences with the girls.

Later each sister was presented with a Mother’s Day cake made by the class.

Youth in Harmony

There’s a lot of harmony among the youths of the Phoenix Arizona West Stake. Six of them recently walked away with top honors in a young people’s concerto competition.

Marcia Skousen, a junior at Trevor Brown High School, won first place in the senior piano division playing Concerto #3 by Prokofieff. As the grand prize winner she appeared with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. She also received a full-tuition scholarship to the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Malinda Nuttal, a sixth grader, won first place in the junior piano division playing Concerto #3 by Kabelevsky. She will appear with the Phoenix Youth Symphony and receive a full-tuition scholarship to Northern Arizona Music Camp.

Suzy Morgan, 15, placed third in the senior string division playing Concerto # 22 by Viotti.

Three members of the Robert Marshall family also won music honors. Their father is their teacher. Kaylene, 15, performed Dello Joio’s Concertante for Clarinet and Piano, placing third in the senior woodwind division. Maureen, 13, performed Corelli’s concerto for oboe, rating first in junior woodwinds. Mark, 11, was selected third in junior brass, performing Mozart’s Horn Concerto in D Major.

The Sounds of Zion—Missionary Notes

A mission doesn’t have to end when you’re released by the stake president. The Sounds of Zion from Utah State University have proven that. An estimated 2,000 referrals resulted from their musical tour through Mexico.

The group has been affiliated with the LDS institute in Logan since 1959. The chorus attempts to further missionary work and serve others through music. “It gives returned missionaries the opportunity to keep sharing the gospel,” says Wayne Murri, a returned missionary from Mexico.

Each of the 48 members must spend from six to ten hours in practice each week. For some even more time is required.

Terri Thackeray, head accompanist, spends an extra few hours each week learning the music. Along with a full load of credits at the university, she has found time to make many of the chorus uniforms for the past four years.

The group has received invitations to entertain on a variety of occasions, performing sacred, patriotic, classical, and popular music.

“You put as much enthusiasm into your singing as I put into my preaching,” commented Elder LeGrand Richards after a performance.

Since the first group tour in 1962, an annual tour has become traditional. Previous tours have included the United States, parts of Canada, and most of Mexico. These tours are financed by variety shows, contributions, and various group projects.

Last year’s annual tour took the Sounds of Zion to Mexico. In 14 days they gave 27 performances, with an estimated combined audience of 30,000. A 35-minute TV program in Mexico City enabled the chorus to perform for several million. After each performance the chorus members spent a few minutes answering questions about the Church.

This summer the Sounds of Zion will travel abroad to nine European countries. Bern, Munich, Brussels, Zurich, London, Manchester, and Frankfurt are among the major cities on the tour.

[photo] Phoenix musicians (back row): Mark Marshall, Maureen Marshall, and Malinda Nuttal. In front are Kaylene Marshall, Suzy Morgan, and Marcia Skousen