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Church News Archive 2006

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['Roots of gospel' sunk deep in Brazil] [New stake presidents] [ Rich pioneer legacy continues in Pomerene ] [New stake presidents] [New temple presidents] [New stake presidents] [New mission presidents] [New stake presidents] [Foreshadowed life of Church service] [New Area Seventies] ['Great conference' strengthens faith] [The newly called are sustained] [ Returned LDS missionaries reuniting in Utah this weekend] [New stake presidents] [New and returning mission presidents] [New stake presidents [New stake presidents] [New stake presidents] [Olympic luge run] [Messages of inspiration from President Hinckley]

Saturday, September 23, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: Z03

'Roots of gospel' sunk deep in Brazil
Pres. Hinckley addresses members in parts of South American country
By Gerry Avant
Church News editor

   Members in the stakes of Brasilia, Fortaleza and Manaus gathered in stake centers Sept. 17 to listen to President Gordon B. Hinckley address them in a satellite broadcast that originated in a Conference Center studio in Salt Lake City. [The following is an excerpt.]
   He spoke of temple work increasing in the area, and commended especially members in the vicinity of Manaus for whom travel to a temple has been long and extremely difficult; a trip to the Sao Paulo temple required as much as two weeks. "Since you have been invited to attend the Caracas Venezuela Temple, you can get there in four days, at a third of the cost," Elder Nelson said, observing that those members have increased the number of ordinances from 400 per year to a projected 1,200 by the end of this year.


Saturday, July 29, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: Z13

New stake presidents

   Stake reorganizations [excerpt]
   GUAYANA VENEZUELA STAKE: (May 7, 2006) President — Javier Rafael Montalti, 42, business owner, succeeding Pier Angelo Dottor Colmenarez; wife, Eulise Valenzuela A. de Montalti. Counselors — Alberto Andis Alvarez M., 45, Church regional coordinator; wife, Aurora Maria Rojas M. de Alvarez. Cruz Juvenal Yendes S., 41, professor at U.E.C.P. Lino Valle; wife, Domelys Otilia Rodriguez F. de Yendes.


Saturday, July 22, 2006 LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: Z06

Rich pioneer legacy continues in Pomerene
Descendants of early settlers make up majority of ward
By Sarah Jane Weaver
Church News staff writer

   POMERENE, Ariz. — Drought in the San Pedro Valley has taken Pomerene, Ariz., back in time. Fields, once farmed, now stand fallow; tumbleweeds blown three or four feet high cover fence posts. The riverbed that runs through the valley is dry. So are many of the wells dug by early Latter-day Saint settlers.
   Like Pomerene's fields, the rest of the town is also quiet. With the exception of the school and the Church's stake center, the post office is the town's busiest building.
   Standing in center of this quiet town, with a population of fewer than 1,000, it isn't hard for visitors to imagine what members of the Mormon Battalion might have seen when they made their historic march through the valley in 1846. (The Battle of the Bulls occurred just 20 miles south of Pomerene.) Or what Pomerene settlers found just more than 50 years later, when they came to the area.
   Back then, settlers supplied vegetables to Benson, Ariz., a railroad town. Today, Pomerene supplies a different commodity to nearby Benson; Fort Huachuca, Ariz., 30 miles away; and Tucson, Ariz., located more than 50 miles west: ground to build homes.
   "The only thing in Pomerene now is the post office, the school, the fire department and the water department. It is not like it used to be when we had a lot of water," said Louise Fenn Larson, who has been a member of the Pomerene Ward for the past 72 years and wrote the town's history.
   Once a farming community of predominately Latter-day Saints, Pomerene is now a growing suburb, said Sister Larson.
   Her parents, Alvah and Carmen Fenn, fled Mexico during the Mexican Revolution in 1912, leaving everything that would not fit in their wagon. On their journey, the couple's 8-month-old baby took sick. Desperate to get their child help, the couple left their wagon and boarded a train to Benson, Ariz. However, before they reached their destination the baby died.
   When Pomerene's founder, James M. Cosby, learned their story, he met the couple and took them into his home. With his son, Branch President Millard P. Cosby, he helped the couple make funeral arrangements for their baby.
   From that point forward, Pomerene — then called Robinson — became the Fenns' home. Alvah Fenn drove the first horse-drawn school bus in town. Although Alvah followed employment opportunities outside Pomerene for a few years, he returned. He bought a farm and raised cattle. He dug the city's first irrigation well.
   Alvah Fenn also became Pomerene's first missionary. While he was away, his son, Karl R. Fenn, was born in Pomerene.
   Just down the street from Sister Larson's home, a rock wall her father built still stands today; Karl and his wife, Thelma, live on the property behind the familiar rock wall.
   "As many as six generations are still here in this community," said Sister Larson of the descendants of the town's early settlers. In fact, she added, the town's pioneer roots run so deep that a majority of the members of the current Pomerene Ward are descendants of the original settlers of 1910-1912.
   Those early settlers started a branch in the area in 1911. The school house was built in 1913, and the cemetery was started a year later. In 1915, the post office in town was established. The U.S. Postal Department rejected the original town name of Robinson, as there were other post offices by that name. So, in order to establish the post office, the town of Robinson was renamed Pomerene, in honor of U.S. Senator Atlee Pomerene.
   Sister Larson, also the secretary and treasurer for the Pomerene Cemetery Association, knows much of Pomerene's history by heart.
   Each year she looks forward to a town breakfast, followed by a cleanup in the cemetery. She is grateful for her pioneer heritage.
   "I am impressed with these early settlers that came here," said Sister Larson. "I don't know these people personally, but I just feel close to them. I have read their stories and I take care of them in the cemetery."
   From those first settlers the Church has grown in the area, she said. The Church building on Pomerene Road is the St. David Arizona Stake Center.
   The people who settled the area "were what you call pioneers," said Stake Patriarch Neil Carruthers. "You don't see that type of pioneer anymore."
   Brother Carruthers and his wife, Marguerite Fenn Carruthers, left California in 1981 and moved to her hometown. They speak of the strength of Church members who are raised in the community.
   "They are faithful people," said Brother Carruthers.
   Brother Carruthers is also impressed by the large number of missionaries that come from the area.
   Following in his fathers' footsteps, Karl Fenn, for example, served nine full-time missions, including as president of the Mexico Missionary Training Center and as president of the Venezuela Maracaibo Mission.
   Karl Fenn made a living in Pomerene doing masonry work and constructing buildings; he designed and built a rock monument to the Mormon Battalion at the stake center as well as rock fireplaces and other structures in town. Across the street from his home, new houses are being constructed by Karl's son, Mark Fenn, a third generation builder in Pomerene. Church members hope those new houses and others will bring in new and younger Church members to strengthen their already strong ward.
   It is already happening, notes Brother Fenn. Sitting in his yard, in the shade of an unusually large tree for this area, he reminisces about the years he has spent in Pomerene, and talks about the future of his town.
   As a rabbit hops into the yard — seeking refuge from the hot temperatures in this drought-stricken region — Brother Fenn and his wife, talk about rain.
   Flash floods, they say, bring water across the entire town. The dry river bed has been full to overflowing, they add. It's approaching monsoon season, or "non-soon season," these days, said Sister Fenn. Since October, there has been no measurable rain in Pomerene.
   They don't worry, however. Pomerene, they say, attracts strong people, ones who can subsist on whatever they can get. New residents of the town are new-age pioneers; they work hard, many endure long commutes to work.
   Drought or not, said Brother Fenn, the houses they are building stand on soil rich in pioneer history.


Saturday, July 22, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: Z13

New stake presidents

   A new stake has been created.
   Maracaibo Venezuela West Stake, which includes the La Concepcion and Villa Baralt branches and La Pastora, La Paz, Nueva Independencia, San Miguel, and Valle Claro wards, has been created by Elder Benjamin De Hoyos of the Seventy.

New stakes
   MARACAIBO VENEZUELA WEST STAKE: (May 7, 2006) Created from the Maracaibo Venezuela Centro and Maracaibo Venezuela South stakes. President Eulogio Jose Quero P., 44, business owner; wife, Zoraida Coromoto Urdaneta C. de Quero . Counselors — Manuel Angel Garcia P., 52, pilot at INEA; wife, Maria Elena Leal P. de Garcia. Rafael Jesus Ramos L., 59, employee at El Turco Jewelry, Josefina Prato B. de Ramos.

Stake reorganizations [excerpt]
   MARACAIBO VENEZUELA CENTRO STAKE: (May 7, 2006) President — Ruben Llontop L., 33, self-employed, succeeding Eulogio Jose Quero Pernalete; wife, Mary Elena Martinez L. de Llontop. Counselors — Mario Ricardo Molero, 32, employed at PDUSA Occidente; wife, Lilia Isidora Navarro L. de Molero. Carlos Javier Caldera U., 27, employed at Onix Jewelry; wife, Mariela Ramirez M. de Caldera


Saturday, July 1, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: Z11

New temple presidents

   Two new temple presidents and matrons have been announced by the First Presidency…

N. Gaylon and Margaret Ann Hopkins

N. Gaylon Hopkins, 67, Harvest Hills 5th Ward, Saratoga Springs Utah North Stake, called as president of the Montevideo Uruguay Temple, succeeding James R. Driggs. President Hopkins' wife, Margaret Ann Childers Hopkins, will serve as temple matron.
   President Hopkins is a patriarch and temple ordinance worker, a former Missionary Training Center president in Guatemala, president of Venezuela Valencia Mission, counselor in stake presidency, bishop, high councilor and member of district presidency. He is retired as an instructional designer and trainer and institute instructor for the Church Educational System and a former member of BYU Jerusalem Center faculty. He was born in Soda Springs, Idaho, to Nephi C. and Martha Grace Moore Hopkins.
   Sister Hopkins, a temple ordinance worker, served with her husband when he was a mission president and president of the Missionary Training Center in Guatemala, and is a former gospel doctrine teacher, ward Primary teacher, ward Young Women president and counselor, ward and stake Relief Society president, member of stake Relief Society presidency, Cub Scout leader and nursery leader. She was born in Alton, Ill., to Marion A. and Virgia Childers.


Saturday, May 13, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: Z13

New stake presidents

   Stake reorganizations [excerpt]

   SAN CRISTOBAL VENEZUELA STAKE: (March 19, 2006) President — Guillermo Ignacio Guardia A., 39, sales manager at I.P.A.; succeeding Javier Ibanez Leon; wife, Sobeida del Carmen Petro G. de Guardia. Counselors — Benedicto Correa M., 44, sales representative; wife, Maria Jesus Guerrero M. de Correa. Vidal Navas B., 38, sales representative at Dislever; wife, Maxienell Terehkova Rojas M. de Navas.


Saturday, May 6, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: Z12

New mission presidents

   Seven more mission presidents and their wives have been called by the First Presidency to begin their service about July 1. Assignments were announced in the March 4 issue of Church News. The [flowing is an excerpt]:

Flor L. and Fidel A. Coello

Fidel Alberto Coello, 43, Venezuela Maracaibo Mission; Cabudare Ward, Barquisimeto Venezuela Stake; former stake president and counselor, counselor in the Venezuela Valencia and Venezuela Maracaibo missions, bishop, high councilor and missionary in the Venezuela Caracas Mission. Coordinator, Church Educational System. Born in Maracaibo, Venezuela[0], to Fidel Jose Coello Castillo and Ernestina Zambrano de Coello. Married Flor Maggaly Lastra, three children.
   Sister Coello is a former stake Young Women president and counselor, ward Primary president, counselor in a ward Relief Society presidency and missionary in the Venezuela Caracas Mission. Born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, to Jose Delascar Lastra Rojas and Florinda Medina Lastra.

Katiuska and Alexander T. Mestre

Alexander Trinidad Mestre, 36, Venezuela Barcelona Mission; San Francisco Ward, Maracaibo Venezuela South Stake; former bishop and counselor, counselor in a stake presidency, counselor in the Venezuela Caracas Mission and missionary in the Venezuela Mission. Institute director, Church Educational System. Born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, to Armando and Luisa Elvira Montiel Mestre. Married Miriam Katiuska Andarcia, four children.
   Sister Mestre is a former stake Young Women president and counselor, ward Primary and Relief Society president, Sunday School teacher and teacher improvement coordinator. Born in Caracas, Venezuela[0] to Aristarco and Catalina Diaz Andarcia.

Abraham E. and Alirica A. Quero

Abraham Eulogio Quero, 49, Venezuela Valencia Mission; San Antonio Ward, Caracas Venezuela Stake; former stake president and counselor, bishop, counselor in the Venezuela Maracaibo Mission and missionary in the Venezuela Caracas Mission. Country director, Church Educational System. Born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, to Eulogio Ramon Quero Rojas and Maria Antonia Pernalete Medina de Quero. Married Alirica Alfonsa Orono, three children.
   Sister Quero is a former ward Relief Society president, counselor in a ward Primary presidency and nursery leader. Born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, to Angel Emiro and Angela Rita Villasmil Orono.


Saturday, May 6, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: Z13

New stake presidents

Stake reorganizations [excerpt]

   BARQUISIMETO VENEZUELA STAKE: (March 5, 2006) President — David Alfonso Davila M., 31, director at Dayaiso; succeeding Fidel Alberto Coello Zambrano; wife, Yoanna Mejias C. de Davila. Counselors — Jose Antonio Bamio L., 50, administrator at Florecom Corp.; wife, Luisa Cecilia Bonnet C. de Bamio. Jhonny Mariano Colmenarez M., 38, natural therapist; wife, Nora Dolores Patiarroy C. de Colmenarez.


Saturday, April 29, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: Z11

Foreshadowed life of Church service
New Seventy's love for land and culture developed early
By Jason Swensen
Church News staff writer

   Grow up a boy in the Mormon Colonies of Mexico and you'll know what it means to work — be it outside in the apple orchards, inside chicken coops or while fulfilling a Church calling in the rural corners of northern Mexico.
   Elder Daniel L. Johnson's Colonia Juarez upbringing afforded plenty of opportunities to get his hands calloused and dirty.
   "I was raised tending fruit trees, gathering eggs and cutting off chicken heads in preparation for Sunday dinner," said the newly called member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. He remembers guiding a horse-drawn plow.
   But beyond the physical labor, Elder Johnson also adopted the Colonies' distinctive spiritual work ethic that has served him well for almost six decades. While still a little boy, he would tag along as his father, Leroy Johnson, traveled the mountain communities of Chihuahua to conduct Sunday services in tiny, rural branches. Young Daniel was often enlisted to ring the bell at the Pacheco Chapel, calling folks from their homes to worship in the humble meetinghouse.
   Indeed, the Mormon Colonies provided a home for Elder Johnson where the fabric of community and Church duty is woven endlessly together. A graduate of the Church-owned Juarez Academy, Elder Johnson learned from his family and hometown a love for the Spanish language, the Latino people and service, service, service. His first ancestor to join the Church was baptized in New York in 1831. His father was a faithful missionary. His mother, Rita Skousen Johnson, taught him to never say no to a Church calling.
   So Elder Johnson's decision to serve a full-time mission came long before his bishop extended the invitation. He would labor in the West Mexican Mission, deepening his love for Latin America. His affinity for the area seemed to foreshadow a future life of professional and Church duty south of the USA border.
   After returning from his mission, Elder Johnson enrolled at Brigham Young University and studied accounting and economics. During a break from his studies he bought a car and drove to Idaho where a job spraying pine trees was waiting for him. While eating one day at a diner, he noticed a friendly waitress and hoped to see her again. He did, unexpectedly, a short time later when the blind date arranged by friends turned out to be LeAnn Holman, the waitress from the diner.
   "I received an impression that something was going to happen between us," said Elder Johnson, smiling.
   LeAnn was on a break from school herself. Like her future husband, the Idaho girl knew how to work. Sister Johnson's father, Rulon J. Holman, suffered from multiple sclerosis while she was growing up and was unable to earn a living. Her mother, Marva Weston Holman, was a school teacher. LeAnn learned from her parents that almost any problem could be remedied with hard work and a good education. Brother Holman also taught his daughter valuable lessons on endurance. "He never complained — never once said, 'Why me?"
   Shortly after that first blind date, Daniel Johnson and LeAnn Holman were engaged. In 1970 they were married in the Idaho Falls Temple. After finishing school, the Johnsons would soon move to Mexico City — the first chapter in a series of professional opportunities that included stops in Mexico, Honduras, Uruguay and Venezuela. With each assignment, the Johnsons marveled at the growth and spiritual maturity found throughout Latin America. Small branches in, say, Mexico, where Elder Johnson served as a young missionary, had evolved into two stakes.
   "The Lord blesses His people in every way," Sister Johnson said. "If they are faithful, they will develop." She added that the greatest miracle can be found in the development of local leadership.
   The Johnsons were also able to participate first-hand in the growth of the Church in Latin America together when Elder Johnson was called to preside over the Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission in 1991.
   The couple's six children had long been the beneficiaries of their parents' international lives. They learned second languages and were exposed to many cultures. Still, the Ecuador assignment posed challenges for the family. One teenage Johnson daughter was the only Church member in her school. Many of the students did not practice LDS standards, "so she set her own standards," said Sister Johnson.
   Setting one's own standards high is a decision that all young members must make if they live in Ecuador, Utah, or any other place in the world, she added.
   Elder Johnson greets his new calling in the Seventy with the same enthusiasm he felt years ago when his dad asked him to ring the bell at the Pacheco Chapel.
   "How wonderful it's going to be to dedicate my whole soul to one single purpose — I'm excited about that."


Saturday, April 22, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: Z10

New Area Seventies

   The following Area Seventies were sustained at general conference April 1, 2006: [excerpt]

Javier Ibanez

Javier Ibanez, 51, San Cristobal, Venezuela; sales representative; stake president and former mission president, district president, high councilor and branch president. Married Tahis Maldonado; five children.


Saturday, April 8, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: Z03

'Great conference' strengthens faith
President Hinckley reminisces, expresses appreciation for blessings

At the end of a "great conference," filled with magnificent music, inspired prayers, and talks and testimonies that touched hearts, lifted spirits and confirmed faith, President Gordon B. Hinckley stood and expressed his love for Church members worldwide… [section deleted] In addition, 17 new Area Seventies were called: Jose L. Alonso, 47, San Nicolas, Mexico; Vladimiro J. Campero, 60, Santa Cruz, Bolivia; Juan A. Etchegaray, 61, Montevideo, Uruguay; Hernan I. Herrera, 50, Santiago, Chile; David J. Hoare, 52, Sunbury, Australia; Cesar H. Hooker, 47, Lima, Peru; Javier Ibanez, 51, San Cristobal, Venezuela; Daniel M. Jones, 53, Cedar City, Utah; Stephen C. Kerr, 45, Stirling, Scotland; Joni L. Koch, 44, Bal Camboriu, Brazil; Daniel A. Moreno, 53, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Kent H. Murdock, 58, Salt Lake City, Utah; J. Michel Paya, 61, Mougins, France; Stephen D. Posey, 58, North Augusta, S.C.; Carlos F. Rivas, 46, San Salvador, El Salvador; Juan M. Rodriguez, 54, Mexico City, Mexico; Carlos Villanova, 43, Porto Alegre, Brazil… [section deleted]


Saturday, April 1, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: WEB

   The newly called are sustained
Deseret Morning News

   Ten men were sustained to the Quorums of the Seventy during Saturday's afternoon session of the 176th Annual Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and another was moved from the Second to the First Quorum. Also named were 17 new Area Seventies, while 16 were released from their positions as Area Seventies.
   President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, read the names of those newly called and asked church members assembled for their sustaining vote.
   Members of the First and Second Quorums are full-time general authorities who help administer the church throughout the world, while Area Seventies usually retain their own full-time employment and serve the church on a part-time basis, presiding over specified geographic areas of the church. There are now eight Quorums of the Seventy… [the following is an excerpt]
   Called as Area Seventies were Jose L. Alonso, San Nicolas, Mexico; Vladimiro J. Campero, Santa Cruz, Bolivia; Juan A. Etchegaray, Montevideo, Uruguay; Hernan I. Herrera, Santiago, Chile; David J. Hoare, Sunbury, Australia; Cesar H. Hooker, Lima, Peru; Javier Ibanez, San Cristobal, Venezuela; Daniel M. Jones, Cedar City; Stephen C. Kerr, Stirling, Scotland; Joni L. Koch, Bal Camboriu, Brazil; Daniel A. Moreno, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Kent H. Murdock, Salt Lake City; J. Michel Paya, Mougins, France; Stephen D. Posey, North Augusta, S.C.; Carlos F. Rivas, San Salvador, El Salvador; Juan M. Rodriguez, Mexico City; and Carlos Villanova, Porto Alegre, Brazil.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: Web, Page: WEB

   Returned LDS missionaries reuniting in Utah this weekend

   All reunions, including those submitted too late for publication here, are listed at deseretnews.com/reunions.

[the following is an excerpt]

   Venezuela Maracaibo (Martino and Rogers 2000-2005), Friday, Mar. 31, 7 p.m.; BYU Tanner Building, room 710; Stephen Anderson, (H) 344-5269.


Saturday, March 11, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: Z13

   New stake presidents

   Two new stakes have been created.

   Barinas Venezuela Stake, which includes the Moromoy and Socopo branches, and the Barinas, Barinitas, Dominga Ortiz, Guanare and La Carolina wards, has been created by Elder Benjamin de Hoyos of the South America North Area presidency.

   Meridian Idaho Paramount Stake, which includes the Bridge Tower, Linder, Lochsa Falls, McMillan, Paramount, Sunnybrook and Tully Park wards, has been created by Elder Robert K. Dellenbach of the Seventy.

New stakes

   BARINAS VENEZUELA STAKE: (Dec. 18, 2005) Created from the Barinas Venezuela District. President Alexander Gamez V., 37, salesman at Grivalrej of Venezuela[0]; wife, Luz Vicenta Briceno M. de Gamez. Counselors — Frank Rafael Reyes R., 32, accountant; wife, N. Raquel Araujo R. de Reyes. Angel Eduardo Martinez A., 38, teacher at Ministry of Education; wife, Pilar Maria Lopez S. de Martinez. [Remainder of the article deleted]


Saturday, March 4, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: Z08

New and returning mission presidents

Assignments for 108 missions announced (Total number of missions — 341) [The following is an excerpt.]
SOUTH AMERICA
Mission New President Returning President
Venezuela Barcelona Alexander Mestre Gamaliel D. Osorno
Venezuela Maracaibo Fidel Alberto Coello Teodoro Hoffmann
Venezuela Valencia Abraham E. Quero Omar A. Alvarez


Saturday, March 4, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: Z13

   New stake presidents

   Stake reorganizations [excerpt]

   PUERTO LA CRUZ VENEZUELA STAKE: (Dec. 11, 2005) President — Jose Jesus Acevedo H., 31, accountant; succeeding Jaurogui Nicolas Nieves Pino; wife, Mari Leonor Rodriguez R. de Acevedo. Counselors — Gustavo Robinso Leon Q., 37, music professor at Ministry of Education; wife, Gloridalba Ortiz G. de Leon. Pedro Manuel Gil, 45, administrative assistant; wife, Susana M. Prieto E. de Gil. [sections deleted]


Saturday, February 25, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: Z13

New stake presidents
   Stake reorganizations

   CARACAS VENEZUELA STAKE: (Nov. 20, 2005) President — Willelmus Jacobus Van Doorn, 47, self-employed; succeeding Abraham Eulogio Quero Pernalete; wife, Liberata Domenica Ruscitti Del Giudice Van Doorn. Counselors — Juan Vicente Rodriguez H., 43, technician at Telematica; wife, Irene Guitian B. de Rodriguez. Jose Alfredo Sanchez R., 44, administrator at Korp Interior Design; wife, Lucila Munoz R. de Sanchez.

[Remainder of the article deleted]


Saturday, February 18, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: Z13

New stake presidents

   Six new stakes have been created... [excerpt]
   Caracas Venezuela Los Teques Stake, which includes the Carrizal and Coche branches, and the El Centro, El Valle, La Rosaleda, Los Teques and San Antonio wards, has been created by Elder Benjamin de Hoyos of the South America North Area.

New stakes [excerpt]


   CARACAS VENEZUELA LOS TEQUES STAKE: (Nov. 20, 2005) Created from the Caracas Venezuela Stake. President Juan Carlos Chacin N., 34, systems supervisor for the Church; wife, Ingrid del Carmen Prada C. de Chacin. Counselors — Jose Ignacio Rivero S., 64, attorney; wife, Alida Coromoto Fonseca M. de Rivero. Jesus Humberto Santana M., 46, coordinator of instruction and laboratory chief at telecommunications laboratory; wife, Tibisay Bianco P. de Santana.


Saturday, February 11, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: Z11

Olympic luge run
Faith was tested at high speed on ice in Italy qualifying trials
By Greg Hill, Church News staff writer

    OREM, Utah — Sitting at the top of the luge run at Torino, Italy, last November, Michelle Despain knew it was her last chance. With three runs to qualify for the 2006 Winter Olympics, she had missed the mark on the previous two.
   Then a scripture popped into her head.
   "Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.
   "Nevertheless — whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people." (Mosiah 23:21-22.)
   After that thought, she prayed, "Heavenly Father, I'm trusting you. If I qualify and make it to the Olympics, that would be good. But I don't have to. Just help me to be safe."
   Being safe was important to her because two days earlier she had injured herself during a practice run and was still hurting, she said during a Church News telephone interview. Another crash could make it worse, she knew.
   After her prayer, she decided if she had a bad feeling, she would just stop. "But I felt all right," said Michelle, a member of the Lindon 22nd (YSA) Ward, Lindon Utah Stake.
   The run went well and her time put her within 7 percent of the fastest time, the requirement for Olympic qualifying.
   Now she is in Italy where she will compete under the Argentine flag in the women's luge Feb. 13 and 14. Her father, Richard, is from the United States; her mother, Susana Carbajal Despain, is from Argentina and Michelle was born there during a family visit, giving her dual citizenship.
   Michelle, who has been sliding for less than three years, traveled to Torino in November for a World Cup event in conjunction with the Olympic qualifying opportunity. Her faith was tested following the crash on curve 18 during a practice run.
   The previous winter, she had also been there where part of the track was open for practice. Curve 18 was the site of several accidents at that time including, Michelle said, one which put a slider in a coma; the worst accident she had ever seen.
   The real problem, she pointed out, is curve 17. A mistake there makes the luger vulnerable on the next curve, and that's what happened to her.
   She described her crash: "The curve took me up and spit me back, and picked me up and spit me out again." Riding her 50-pound sled, she hit a wall going about 70 miles per hour, jamming her entire body. At first, she felt only a pain in her knee. But later, she felt excruciating pain in her back. She couldn't even think of lifting her sled, let alone make another run.
   Her coach, Ioan Apostol of Romania, told her if she was in too much pain to compete the next day, he wouldn't dare let her attempt to qualify for the Olympics. That night, she prayed a lot and read her scriptures. She received a priesthood blessing from family friend Werner Hoeger who is from Idaho and competing for Venezuela[0] in the Olympics luge races. (Racers competing for several small countries traveled together as a team, Michelle said.)
   She woke up the next morning still hurting too bad to slide. "I guess that's it," she thought.
   She spent the day in the hotel. When teammates returned in the evening, they told Michelle the coach was willing to let her try to qualify the next day if she felt well enough.
   That night, she called her family and asked them to pray for her. She said she prayed herself, and read her scriptures, including the passage in Mosiah that would inspire her the next day.
   She still struggled with the pain the next morning, but she could move and bend, "and I could actually pick up my sled." She was confident that Lord was with her and helped her accomplish what she set out to do once she put her trust in Him.
   Best of all, she will compete in the Olympics fully recovered from her crash, just as Brother Hoeger promised her through the priesthood blessing.


Saturday, February 4, 2006
LDS Church News, Edition: All, Page: Z02

Messages of inspiration from President Hinckley [excerpt]

Convert retention
I plead with you . . . that you will put your arms around those who come into the Church and be friends to them and make them feel welcome and comfort them and we will see wonderful results. The Lord will bless you to aid in this great process of retention of converts. . . . Will you please accept that challenge to warm up and be friendly to every man, woman, and child who is baptized into the Church. It all depends on you. — From member meeting Maracaibo, Venezuela[0], Aug. 3, 1999

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