“The greatest events of history are those that affect the greatest number for the longest periods. By this standard, no event could be more important to individuals or nations than the resurrection of the Master.” Ezra Taft Benson, “The Meaning of Easter,” Ensign, Apr. 1992, 2.
“Unity Among All His People” declares the sign carried by the Young Women of the Bismarck North Dakota Ward. Dressed in their Native American “fancy shawls,” they are marching in the International Powwow and Bismarck Folkfest Parade ahead of a grand float, complete with a large headdress. The Bismarck Young Women have become a fixture in the parade over the last several years, and their float has won multiple first-prize honors. Much of this success is thanks to the guidance and inspiration of Sister Marilyn One Feather, who started the unity float.
Sister One Feather wanted the float project to promote unity. She invited the Young Women to be involved in building and decorating the float, which encouraged a spirit of friendship among the girls. Speaking of the experience, Mia Maid Barbara Gietzen said, “It builds faith. It takes a lot of faith to get these things together.”
During the parade, Mia Maids Jenna Byzewski and Mindy Bowen, who both have Native American ancestry, participated in traditional dances alongside the float with several other Native American youth from the community. This kind of collaboration and interaction will, Sister One Feather hopes, foster a greater spirit of fellowship within the community at large.
The float brought the Young Women together as a group and taught them the value of unity—within the Church and the community. “Having unity in your life is really important,” says Beehive Becky Gietzen. “Everybody—not just the people you hang around with, but everybody—should be a part of the group. You try not to leave anybody out.”
Playing the Santiago Organ
The famous Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in the northwest region of Spain is the supposed final resting place of the Apostle James, the brother of John. It is an impressive structure with a world-renowned organ. Over 100,000 Catholics travel to the city each year to visit the Shrine of St. James inside the cathedral.
When Elder Tyler Clair Neel and his companion, who are serving in the Spain Bilbao Mission, visited the cathedral, Elder Neel asked for permission to play the “awesome” organ. The dean of the cathedral directed him to the organist and permission was granted.
“I’m probably the first Latter-day Saint to ever play the Santiago Cathedral organ, and I played hymns of the Restoration!” Elder Neel said about the experience. In fact, Elder Neel was able to play the organ three times. And the cathedral organist enjoyed the hymns so much that Elder Neel presented him with a large-size, spiral-bound copy of the LDS hymnbook as a thank-you.
In the photo above, Elder Neel is playing the organ at the cathedral in Leon, Spain, one of his previous areas.
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