Over four hundred Houstonians flocked to the LDS Church building on Richards Road in Spring, Texas. They came to attend free classes ranging from sprouting to sour dough fermenting to beekeeping all presented at an annual preparedness fair co-sponsored by the Houston North Stake and Spring Texas Stakes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The fourth such event, classes and displays emphasized the importance of self-reliance in all aspects of living both in times of natural and man-made disasters, and in day-to-day activities. [Read more…]
Eleven seniors of the class of 2013 from five area Latter-day Saint congregations graduated from seminary or received certificates of partial completion of the four-year seminary program operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. [Read more…]
By Carol Santiago
As the sun set at Alexander Deussen Park, runners set off at the inaugural Dusk Dash 5k & Family Run to benefit Boy Scout Troop 474 sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Summerwood. [Read more…]
More than 60 area girls aged 12-18 turned off all their electronic gadgets and headed to Camp Edgewood in Dequincy,
La., to attend Girls’ Camp for the Summerwood Stake congregations of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (An LDS stake is a geographic area comprised of eight or more congregations. Summerwood Stake congregations include members from Fall Creek, Summerwood, Pine Trails, Liberty/Dayton, Atascocita, Eagle Springs, and Galena Park.) [Read more…]
Recently I was reading from Matthew chapter 6 with my pre-school aged son about treasure. My son has a little metal box with all his “treasures” inside such as half of a doorknob, a matchbox car, “lots of money” (a.k.a some loose change), and some cap gun ammo “to protect against the bad guys.”
Naturally, he perked up a bit when I read verse 19 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth (audible gasp) where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.” [Read more…]
How far would you go to uphold your principles? Better yet, how far would you pedal — more than 140 miles? How about also burning more than 8,200 calories and helping out a good cause?
Ah, but one more thing. It has to be done in one day. [Read more…]
Juliann’s husband, Andrew, had been one of the 19 firefighters killed Sunday, June 30th, as he fought a fast-moving wildfire near Yarnell, Arizona. Though the news was devastating to her and their four young children, she received peace when a message that she believes was sent from her husband and from God came to her in the form of a charred, rubber bracelet: ‘Be Good.’
After officers returned salvageable personal effects to the 19 firefighters’ families, Juliann received Andrew’s belongings. “There weren’t a lot of things that came back intact,” she said. “The damage was pretty catastrophic. Everything was charred and melted — his pocket knife, his compass. They couldn’t even find his watch.”
But besides his pocket knife and compass was his rubber wristband–formerly white, now yellowed and singed, but still recognizable to Juliann.
Six months earlier, Andrew had been in charge of their Family Home Evening–a Church practice where families gather weekly to strengthen faith and family bonds through scripture study, games, treats and prayer. Juliann recalled how Andrew’s lesson was aimed at their young children, ages 6 and under, to be good so that they could be a family forever. As part of the lesson, Andrew got everyone white, rubber wristbands to remind them all to “be good.” From then on the family called them their “Be Good bracelets.”
“The kids and I wore ours for a few days, but then we took them off and only wore them once in a while,” Juliann recalled. “But Andrew promised me that he would wear his until it fell off his wrist–because it was so worn out–or until the day he died. To him, it was a symbol of his commitment to me and to our family and that it was forever. So he wore it all the time, and he told me he looked at it a lot. It reminded him of us, and it made him want to be a better man.”
While Juliann had no expectation that the bracelet would survive the fire, she was overwhelmed by what she knew was a gift from God.
“It was a miracle that it survived the heat and flames,” she said. “I just see it as a tender mercy from Heavenly Father. Andrew made me a promise, and he kept it. And God wanted us to know that he kept it.”
Juliann spoke of her husband as a “good man” who always made good choices, even before he joined our faith.
Due to his strong Christian upbringing, Andrew kept his standards even when on tour with his rock band after high school. As other band members would go do things rock band members stereotypically do, Andrew always declined saying, “It’s just my personal choice.”
“So ‘Choice’ became his nickname,” Juliann said. “Everyone who knew him in those days called him ‘Choice’ because that’s what he was all about.”
Juliann was always impressed by Andrew’s good choices ever since middle school when they met. They dated on an off throughout the years until their marriage in July 2006.
Although LDS missionaries were frequent visitors in their home, Andrew was not interested in our faith until he saw a video about Joseph Smith.
“Something clicked for him that night,” Juliann said. “I don’t know why, but everything just sort of fell into place for him. That night before going to bed he told me he wanted to be baptized. I didn’t really respond–I was afraid he didn’t mean it. But the next morning he said, ‘Yeah, I’m serious.’ ”
Since joining our faith, Andrew has been as active in our Church as his job would allow. Together with their two oldest children, Ryder and Shiloh, they were sealed in the Mesa Arizona Temple in 2009. “Andrew cried more than anyone else in the room that day,” Juliann said.
Over the next four years, the family continued to grow spiritually and develop, including the addition of two more sons: Tate and Choice.
The youngest was named after Andrew’s nickname and for the fact that his mother was medically advised to terminate her pregnancy due to physical complications, but made the ‘choice’ to keep him.
Just in the last six months, Andrew became the leader he was always destined to be for his family, Church, and work.
“He would lead us in family home evening and family prayer,” Juliann said. “He would come home and really throw himself into family activities even though I’m sure he wanted to nap because he (had) this really hard, physically demanding job. Andrew represented the Church and our family well.”
Although it has been a difficult time for the family, Juliann said she has not only felt the comfort of other people’s prayers, but also knows she will see her husband again.
“I’ve always been a believer,” she continued, “but . . . going through this, I’ve really had to come to terms with everything I’ve thought and believed. And now that Andrew is gone, I find that I don’t think or hope or believe that I’ll be with him again–I know that I will.”
By Sarah Brenner Jones
TOMBALL, Texas — New advancements in digital technologies are transforming genealogy research by making it easier, more accessible and increasingly more personal. A case in point is the incorporation of social media features in the recent redesign of FamilySearch.org, a free family history website produced by FamilySearch International. FamilySearch is the world’s largest genealogy organization and a nonprofit sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The website’s new social-media-compatible features include photo and story sharing capabilities, which encourage collaboration between individuals in building family trees and sharing personal and family histories. Utilizing social media platforms to disseminate genealogical data and pictures speeds up the research process while encouraging real time family connections.
Judy Frazier, director of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Family History Center in Tomball, said, “The new Photo and Stories feature adds a fresh dimension to typical genealogy research. When I investigated a new photo of one of my ancestors posted online at FamilySearch.org, I discovered three stories I had never heard.” Excited by the discovery, she quickly copied them over into her personal files. “These new stories invigorated my desire to upload my own collection of family photos and mementos,” said Frazier.
Also new to FamilySearch.org is Family Tree, a simple, online application where users begin with their own personal information, building outwards through searchable records of 900 million existing entries to create and expand their family tree. Alongside Family Tree, the new Photos and Stories application allows for photos and stories to be uploaded and tagged, allotting up to 5,000 photos per user. These images and text can then be shared through social media sites and can be made available to other FamilySearch users.
“FamilySearch.org is a great tool for collaboration with others who may be working on the same family lines,” said Jeff Kirk, a Northwest Houston resident who used the new application to find a photo of the two-room house where his mother grew up. The image had been posted by a distant relative who located Kirk through the FamilySearch website.
While FamilySearch boasts LiveHelp, a service providing product help, research assistance by phone and web chat 24/7, there is also face-to-face help available locally. FamilySearch has 4,600 facilities in 126 countries where anyone can access genealogical records and receive personal assistance with their family history. These facilities include the world-famous Family History Library in Salt Lake City, which houses the largest collection of genealogical information in the world. In addition, there are smaller Family History Centers that are usually found inside Latter-day Saint meetinghouses, including one in Tomball serving the Cypress, Waller and Tomball areas.
Family History Centers are free, open to the public, staffed by knowledgeable volunteers and offer both beginners and experienced researchers the tools and resources they need to learn about their ancestors. At the Tomball location, visitors can receive training in how to use the latest FamilySearch online resources, as well as gain free access to subscription genealogical websites. For a small fee, patrons can also access the vast circulating collection of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which includes 2.5 million microfilms from over 100 countries.
The Tomball Family History Center is located at 12310 New Hampton Drive, Tomball, Texas. Hours of operation are Tuesday, 9-1; Wednesday 6-9; Thursday 9-1; Saturday 9-1; and by appointment. Contact Judy Frazier at 281-635-0325 or at Tx_Tomball@ldsmail.net for more information.
Jamie Devereaux, LDS Public Affairs Rep
These missionaries, who serve as representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are just seven out of more than 70,000 missionaries in more than 180 countries around the world. [Read more…]