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Europe Area: Chaplains learn LDS beliefs

HANAU, GERMANY - Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander of the Seventy and president of the Europe Area recently addressed U.S. Army chaplains at an open house at the LDS meetinghouse here.

Elder Neuenschwander explained LDS beliefs and doctrines to chaplains representing the Roman Catholic and various Protestant faiths assigned to the 104th Area Support Group in Hanau.

Sponsor of the open house was Maj. John H. Bjarnason, LDS chaplain. He said the event was a success. "Many of the chaplains thanked me for inviting Elder Neuenschwander because he gave them a clearer understanding of the Church. Many said it would now be easier for them to help the LDS members serving in the U.S. Armed Forces."

Maj. Bjarnason said, "I wanted our chaplains to see the intimate role the Savior takes in everyday life of members and how His gospel permeates the soul of the Church."

Pacific Area: Missionary work opens

HONIARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS - A missionary couple has opened missionary work here, and the first sacrament meeting in recent times was held Feb. 5, 1995.

The couple, Elder E. Crawford and Sister Judith Jones of Moses Lake, Wash., are stationed on an island best known for the intense battles fought in World War II, the capital island of Guadalcanal. Elder and Sister Jones will be joined by two Polynesian elders who speak the local language, according to Sister Jo Hunter, public affairs missionary in Sydney, Australia.

The Solomon Islands are part of the Papua New Guinea Mission, under the direction of Pres. John Gibson.

"Friends have helped with visas, provided a car, and found them a place to live," said Pres. Gibson. "It is a Christian country with many denominations."

The population of Guadalcanal is about 40,000, with the majority living in Honiara, he said. The Solomons consist of hundreds of islands located about 700 miles northwest of Australia and 580 miles east of Papua New Guinea.

North America: Central Area Anti-porn efforts continue

HELENA, MONT. - Although efforts by Church members and others to enact a state law to outlaw the sale of obscene materials failed this year, leaders are continuing their fight against pornography. Dallas Erickson of the Stevensville 2nd Ward and founding president of Montana Citizens for Decency Through Law Inc., said such a bill this year passed the Montana House of Representatives but was tabled by the Senate.

The bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Jack Herron, a Church member from Kalispell, Mont. The bill, written by Len Munsil of the National Family Legal Foundation, is patterned after laws that have been passed by 45 states, said Brother Erickson.

Because Montana is among the few states that do not have such a law, "it acts as a magnet to the most violent and degrading obscenity produced," he said.

"We are now organizing anti-obscenity groups in all the major communities in Montana."

North America Southhwest Area: `Expression etched in hearts'

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - Volunteers in the San Antonio 8th Ward Relief Society refer to themselves in jest as the "Relief Rangers." They take on "extra-mile" compassionate service tasks.

"We call ourselves the rangers, because this is Texas," said Audrey O'Banion, ward Relief Society president. She explained that a typical recent project was to help a local member who has 11 children. This woman, she said, always wanted a room with crown, or ornate wooden molding, around the top but could never afford it.

While the mother was away from her home for a day, "16 of us then painted, stained, repaired, cleaned, mopped, did all the laundry and even installed crown molding," said Sister O'Banion.

"It was a marvelous experience for all of us who participated, but the delighted expression on her face when she came home is etched in our hearts."

North America Northeast Area: Church's beginnings re-enacted

FAYETTE, N.Y. - Missionary couples serving in the area took part April 6 at the rebuilt Peter Whitmer log home in commemorating the 165th anniversary of the organization of the Church, said Sister Kit Poole, public affairs missionary.

The couples met on the site where the Church was organized in 1830 by the Prophet Joseph Smith. After the couples were seated, a knock at the door was heard. Pres. Neil Pitts of the Rochester New York Stake entered, dressed as Joseph Smith. Elder Robert L. Stephenson, director of historic sites of the Cumorah Region, dressed as Oliver Cowdery, joined him.

The two then conducted a faithful reproduction of the original meeting that included Pres. Pitts reciting the 21st section of the Doctrine and Covenants, re-enacting the sustaining of the first and second elders of the Church, and testimony bearing by the members in attendance.

"When Pres. Pitts entered the room, he bore such a startling resemblance to the Prophet Joseph that I was in awe," said Elder Eudean Gunnell from Preston, Idaho, one of the missionaries. "It was very real to each one of us."

North America West Area: Children combine voices

OAKLAND, CALIF. - A program of children's music was recently presented here that featured the well-known "Children's Gospel Choir of America," combined with the Oakland area Temple Hill Interfaith Youth's Choir. Representatives of more than 40 faiths participated at the Oakland Interstake Center on Temple Hill.

The gospel choir is directed by Emmett Powell, a Baptist singer and radio show speaker, and the interfaith choir is directed by Paula Shea, a member of the Church. This interfaith choir performs at various locations around the San Francisco Bay area.

During the program, the children sang a song, "God Sends a Child," composed by Kendall Ross Bean, a Church member. He wrote the song for a children's program called "21 Days of Light," which originated in Oakland this year.

As the song was being performed, a video portrayed moments of love expressed between parents of various nationalities and their children.

Utah South Area: Book of Mormon musical opens

ALPINE, UTAH - Portraying Book of Mormon characters so well that they seem to come to life was the goal of a new musical production, "Children of the Dream," produced by the Alpine Utah Stake.

The musical depicts Lehi's journey into the wilderness and the struggles he and his family endured in the wilderness. It ends as they embark for the promised land.

The musical was directed by longtime actor and performer Marvin Payne, with the music created by Tricia Hall and Connie Stauffer. It was written for stage by filmmaker Laird Roberts. All live in Alpine, Utah.

"As we have rehearsed, the people in the Book of Mormon have become very real to everyone involved in the production," said Brother Payne.

The musical was recently presented to large audiences at the Utah State Development Center theater in American Fork.