We can offer up much in the large, but to make sacrifices in little things is what we are seldom equal to.
Mormons Making Mention
When the votes were counted at Mountain View High School in Mesa, Arizona, last spring, a tradition had been broken. A Laurel was the new student-body president, the first girl ever to be elected to that position at MVHS. Lyric Boyle is a member of the Mesa 38th Ward, Mesa Arizona East Stake, and is also serving as president of the Arizona Association of Student Councils since MVHS will host the association’s annual convention this year. Lyric, who plans to attend Mesa Community College after graduation, was the second counselor in her Laurel class when she won the election.
Kirsten Christensen is one high school student who is glad she chose a foreign language as an elective course of study. A Laurel from the Tempe Eighth Ward, Tempe Arizona Stake, Kirsten spent four weeks last summer in the Federal Republic of Germany. She was one of more than 70 high school students from the United States who received study grants for excellence in the study of the German language. They were selected on the basis of high scores in a national testing program administered by the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG). While in Germany, Kirsten lived with a German family and attended Nuremberg High School. In addition, she visited cultural and historic sites and toured East and West Berlin. The grant was awarded by both the AATG and the West German government.
A desire to follow a prophet’s counsel of “fixing up and painting our property” helped a teacher in the Ontario Third Ward, Nyssa Oregon Stake, become the first Mormon ever elected student-body president at Ontario Junior High School. “President Kimball said we should paint and clean up and take more pride in our homes,” explained Phil Bartle, “and I thought the same thing would apply to our schools, so I used that as one issue in my election campaign.” Following his victory, Phil organized a group of students who cleaned and painted the junior high school bleachers, backstops, poles, entryways, and garbage cans. In addition, they erected “Spirit” and “Pride” signs on the grounds. Their efforts appeared to pay off in more than one way as the football team went undefeated for the first time ever last fall.
An Oregon Organist
Twelve-year-old Rochelle Barlow of the Corvallis First Ward, Corvallis Oregon Stake, sat down confidently, a happy twinkle in her eyes, her heart pounding slightly. Although she had been playing the organ for several years already and enjoyed recitals, this was not an ordinary concert. This time Rochelle was playing for faculty members at the Conservatory of Music in Verona, Italy.
In addition to presenting two recitals in Italy, Rochelle also performed in London, Germany, and Switzerland last summer as part of a two-week European tour arranged by her instructor William Fawk. Mr. Fawk, who is well-known for discovering musical prodigies, said of Rochelle, “Of all my students, she has accomplished the most for this very young age. She plays the organ better now than do most university organ students.”
Rochelle began taking piano lessons from her mother at the age of six and organ lessons soon after. She presented her first public piano concert when she was seven and her first organ recital at eight. She also progressed through a four-year piano course in one year. She composes music, began playing violin with the intermediate school while still in elementary school, and is the ward choir pianist and senior Sunday School organist.
When preparing for a concert, Rochelle generally rises at 4:45 A.M. so she can practice for two or three hours before leaving for school, and then she practices an hour right after school. (“I think it’s fun getting up in the morning before anyone else does,” she said.) In addition, Rochelle, who is the oldest of seven children, is inteven children, is interested in swimming, gymnastics, playing racquetball with her dad, stamp collecting, sewing, and cooking. She is now an eighth grader and serves as first counselor in her Beehive class presidency.
Funtime! in Taylorsville, Utah
With that introduction, the Taylorsville Utah Central Stake quartet sang “Dear Hearts and Gentle People” to the members of three stakes assembled on the Granger (Utah) High School football field. It was the opening number in a tri-stake music and dance festival called “Funtime ’79.” For nearly a year the youth and adults of the Taylorsville Central, West, and West Central stakes rehearsed a variety of songs and dances in preparation for the June festivities.
The night of the festival, skies were clear and blue as the football field filled with priesthood and Relief Society choruses, adult and youth dance groups, square dancers of all ages, and numerous quartets. Many learned dances they had only watched before. Brian Booth, a priest from the West Central Stake, said, “I really enjoyed performing the polka and the waltz. I’m not a dancer, and this gave me an opportunity to learn while having fun. I really had a good time!”
Some of the musical numbers presented included a medley from the Gay ’90s era, an old-time spiritual called “De Animals Are Coming,” an aria from an opera, a medley from the musical My Fair Lady, and a number performed by the combined choruses and quartets of all three stakes, “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” Dance numbers ranged from disco to ballroom, with a polka and square dance blended in to complete the spectrum.
Eagles in Action
William and Danny Gillespie of the Granite Sixth Ward, Sandy Utah Crescent Stake, fulfilled a family goal recently when they each earned the Eagle Scout award. Their three older brothers, Scott, Paul, and John, had also earned their Eagles. In addition, all five have earned the On My Honor award. Because they were an air force family, the Scouting careers of these young men included many memorable experiences in such places as Germany and Italy. The next goal the brothers have set is for each one to fulfill a mission. Once again, Scott is leading the way by serving full-time in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission.
Dane Cluff, a deacon from the Ashland Oregon Second Ward, Medford Oregon Stake, is the first young man in the Crater Lake Council of the Boy Scouts of America to become an Eagle Scout by his 13th birthday. By his court of honor Dane had earned 24 merit badges and nine skill awards and completed the required Eagle project. His project consisted of planting iris bulbs at a nearby rest area and raising the money to cover the expenses. (An unexpected boost came when a local flower shop donated 500 bulbs in five different colors.) The highway department approved his plans and rototilled the area in preparation for planting. Dane designed the planting patterns, organized workers to help in the planting, and did much of the planting himself.
Achieving the Eagle award before the age of 13 is only one of the goals David Nielsen of the Orem 63rd Ward, Orem Utah South Stake, has set and fulfilled. In addition, he has earned all of the Boy Scout skill awards, 53 merit badges, his Trail to the Duty to God award, the Boy Scout Conservation award, the Presidential Physical Fitness award, and two citations in the American Red Cross Basic Life Support Course in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. He earned the Boy Scout Lifeguard award (which included swimming a half mile) while his arm was in a cast. He also made two 25-mile bike rides toward his cycling merit badge during the same time.
Jeffery Hendricks of the Apple Valley Ward, Barstow California Stake, became the youngest Eagle Scout in the history of his troop and council when he received his Eagle award on his 13th birthday. He has currently completed 32 merit badges, earned his bronze and gold palms, the On My Honor award, and has been inducted into the Order of the Arrow. He is patrol leader in his troop and is the president of the deacons quorum in his ward. For his Eagle project, Jeff raised enough funds to purchase two electric typewriters for orthopedically handicapped children at a local school.
The Book Nook
Be Your Best Self by Thomas S. Monson Deseret Book Company $6.95, pp. 209
“Jesus changed men. He changed their habits, their opinions, their ambitions. He changed their tempers, their dispositions, their natures. He changed men’s hearts.” Be Your Best Self is a compilation of some of Elder Monson’s most inspiring talks, given in a way that admonishes us to follow the life of Jesus Christ if we truly want to be the best we can become. Individual discourses teach the importance of prayer, faith, obedience, sacrifice, love, and many other gospel principles, and are richly illustrated by personal examples, stories, and scriptures. Elder Monson assures the reader, “Jesus filled his mind with truth, … His life with service, … His heart with love …” and admonishes each reader to implement the same formula in his own life.
The Missionary Set Deseret Book Company $12.95, seven volumes
Whether you are going on a full-time mission, have been called as a stake missionary, or just want to increase your effectiveness as a member-missionary, the new boxed missionary set by Deseret Book could hold something helpful for you. It consists of seven previously published volumes of doctrine, teachings, and reference material now printed in paperback form. Included are Jesus the Christ, A Topical Guide to the Scriptures, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Gospel Principles, Truth Restored, and How To Make a Good Mission Great.
Echoes from my Prairie by Ardeth Greene Kapp Bookcraft Publishers $5.5, pp. 112
Echoes from My Prairie is a collection of memories Sister Kapp has compiled of growing up in a little prairie town in western Canada. She reminisces about such things as haystacks and turkey pens, undertows and learning to swim, waiting for her 14th birthday so she could attend the Church dances, getting her own horse, falling in love, and snowstorms. Interwoven with the stories are the lessons that she learned from her environment, experiences, and relationships with family and friends as a child and young woman. Sister Kapp explains, “The common incidents echo and re-echo as the child grows; and those experiences become the reservoir from which lasting attitudes and values are drawn.”
Get Ready! Get Called! Go! by George D. Durrant Bookcraft Publishers $3.95, pp. 72
You know you are supposed to go on a mission, and you really think you want to go on a mission, but you aren’t sure you are really ready to go on a mission? George Durrant, returned missionary and former mission president, gives encouragement to any potential missionaries who find themselves feeling that way: “If I were still mission president, I’d like you. … You are sorely needed. There is something to do that needs a man just like you. Certain people are waiting for their missionary to come. And their missionary isn’t perfect, because he is you.” In ten inspiring and story-filled chapters, Brother Durrant discusses how to receive and strengthen testimonies and the value of commitment and other qualities of successful missionaries. He writes about companionships, couples, sister missionaries, transfers, and the joy of bringing converts into the Church.
A Personally Quilted Personal Progress Quilt
The Laurels in the Arvada Second Ward, Arvada Colorado Stake, exemplified the meaning of sharing at their “Time for Sharing” program recently. Earlier they had determined to make and give a quilt to someone as a service project. When their “Time for Sharing” night drew near, they decided to present it to their stake Young Women president, scheduled to be the guest speaker. The girls wanted the quilt to be something Sister Felice Swain would treasure as she had served lovingly for six years and was now preparing to move to Arizona. After discussing different ideas, they decided to incorporate the six areas of focus of the personal progress program into the quilt.
The Laurels spent one evening learning to quilt and getting started on their project. Copies of the pictures representing the areas of focus were hand-appliquéd onto the quilt. In addition to their Mutual night, the girls also planned a Saturday afternoon quilting bee and potluck lunch with their mothers. Many extra hours after school, as well as some evenings and Saturdays, were devoted to finishing it. As a final touch each of the Laurels embroidered her own autograph onto the back of their handmade gift of love.