Friday, 18 March 2016

Burnie Branch Family History "Tell Me a Story" 2016

On the 18th of March, Burnie branch held its second 'Tell Me a Story' Family History night. After the success of last years 'Tell Me a Story' we thought it a great way to be able to remember that the ancestors we search for are more than names, but people.

The night consisted of branch members sharing stories and favourite songs of their ancestors. It was a great night where we were able to learn the importance of our families stories and how they can bring the spirit into our lives.

It was quite amazing hearing stories of grandparents flying or sailing across the world to reach Australia or to hear of those who were in the Navy. We also had a good laugh at a few of the stories one member in particular shared. One I am sure none of us are soon to forget about a cat and an axe.

There was also a non-member sister who informed me after the night that she had been in the same migrant hostel as my Grandfather. She said that she can remember doing the same things that I explained him doing whilst reading out his story. It goes to show that we are more connected with each other through our ancestors than we ever thought. It is small and simple things like this that can help others feel of the Spirit. For "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass" (Alma 37:6).

Overall it was a fantastic success! The Spirit was strong as we heard love filled words for those loved ones who have passed. Family History work truly does bless the lives of all involved. I am sure that I am not alone when saying I look forward to the next tell me a story night!

Paige Triffitt

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Young Women in Excellence

By Georgia Christie, 17, Deloraine Ward

The Young Women in Excellence night was a really great night to celebrate the different achievements from every girl. The leaders got up and introduced every girl, telling the audience what they were good at and why they loved them. Not only did it make the girls feel appreciated and loved, but it allowed others to get to know them better. I learnt new things about girls that I've known for years and it was amazing to see the talents and personality they possess.
The focus on Personal Progress was a great reminder of how important the program is. As someone who is nearing the end of the program it was awesome to look back on all the things I have done and how I have grown in the last six years. I am a testament to how Personal Progress can influence your life and how valuable the teachings are in it.
The Young Women in Excellence night was a fantastic night to gather together as women, with our parents and leaders, and celebrate each other’s differences and achievements.

Friday, 13 November 2015

I have read Elder Pearson’s The Book of Mormon Reading Schedule

Provided by Sister Peggy Bogar

Speaking about the St Helens Group in the Tamar Ward of the Devonport Australia Stake, Jo-Anne Jenkins was the first one, to my knowledge, who finished The Book of Mormon Reading Schedule provided by Elder Kevin W. Pearson and although life seems to be embroiled with disappointments and trials for that family her faith has remained strong and her charity overflows as she continually helps others without thought of reward.

My delight is that I have now caught up with her and today, the 12 of November 2015 got through the reading schedule. So what have I acquired from this self-discipline? Well my husband instead of asking me to come and help him do some outside activity asks “Sweetie, when you finish reading your scriptures, if you have not read them yet, would you be so kind as to…..”

Photo supplied with permission: Jo Jenkins, Natalie Smith and Steven Bogar

President Lionel Walters asked us to dwell upon the mercies of the Lord in these readings. I have felt cloudiness depart as the light of Christ illuminates my understanding. Moments of great concern intermingle interactions with those I love and I resort to old conference notes to find the whys. The scriptures often contain the answers and there is peace through knowing others have gone before and come through the other side of the storm, even when enduring death through martyrdom was required for some. Death is not the end.

I find joy in indexing and arbitration work. Presently there are Tasmanian records of births that invigorate my effort. Am I 100% accurate? No but can improve with concentration and slowing down to take time to double check. I love the work and recently overheard my husband tell my dad that I sometimes get up at three or four in the morning if I have pain and can’t sleep and go on the computer doing family history names. Dad was most surprised. Pity I can’t say that I just get up to give the Lord an hour or two out of love, rather than because I can’t sleep.

The Stake held a special weekend in St Helens recently for which I am most grateful. Many saints travelled and stayed in local accommodation which would have been financially hard but gave up other treats in order to make the journey. Why? Because in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we are strengthening the Stake through our prayers and efforts to study the scriptures and invite others to come unto Christ and give them the right to say yes or no or not now.

I was very happy that my husband came and my son brought his daughter in and there was a less-active man who had a chat and swapped information too. So was it worthwhile? Yes, emphatically yes because so many Saints in the town doing righteous works and keeping the Sabbath Day holy, is a missionary part of the gathering of Israel and I am strengthened to build the Kingdom of Heaven by their example.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Impressions of Stake Conference - September 2015

A special thanks to the following three Sisters who were kind enough to share their impressions from the Devonport Stake Conference held at the Devonport Chapel on the 12th and 13th of September. 

By Sister Simone Triffitt (Deloraine ward)

I always enjoy the Saturday session of Stake conference. Perhaps it is the more intimate gathering or the extra time spent listening to our visiting speakers. (Mission President Elder Maxwell of the Australia Melbourne Mission and President and Sister Hoare, the Melbourne Temple President and Matron) Whatever it is, the theme or messages delivered are a gateway to perpetuating the feeling of the Spirit into the Sunday session of conference.

The overall theme that came across to me during Saturday’s session was about serving the individual, particularly through home teaching and visiting teaching and inviting the Spirit as we represent the Saviour.

President Buckley spoke about the worth of souls and how much each of us as individuals means to the Saviour. He touched on a number of scriptures that talked about leaving the 90 and nine and searching for the one and how we can be like the Saviour by trying to be a good shepherd. We are shepherds to those we VT and HT. 

President Buckley showed us a Mormon message about “Lifting Kathy”, a lady with multiple sclerosis that was being helped by the brethren at church each and every night for the past 7 years. For some of the men, it started out as being a burden but as they took their turn on the roster, their hearts were changed.

President Buckley asked us a number of questions in relation to those we VT/HT. DO we know about the significant events in the lives of those we visit? Are we there for families in times of trouble? Do we take the gospel of Jesus Christ when we visit?

Finally President Buckley said that being a disciple of Jesus Christ is for life and our HT/VT assignments are life-long assignments.

Sister Justine Page shared an experience from when her family was living in Jakarta and were going through a difficult time and the rapport that was developed between her family and the home teacher and the visiting teacher. Based on this experience Sister Page came up with a list of things we can do as HTs  to foster meaningful visits. Here are a few of them:

  • take a message that you feel inspired to give
  • Pray for those you visit
  • Frame your visit around this question-  “how can I strengthen this family”.
  • Develop a guardianship attitude
  • Allow your HT/VTs to serve you
  • Be consistent
  • Hold confidences and preserve trust
  • You are the role model for the families you visit

Sister Page also came up with a list of principles we can apply as VTs. This was compiled from a number of experiences that were collated from a recent Stake RS activity:

  • go beyond the 20 minutes/once a month visit
  • develop a true genuine friendship
  • be loyal
  • be consistent
  • do not judge
  • be a righteous influence
  • don’t give up
  • persist in reaching out
  • help her feel loved and welcome
  • care for the whole family

Kylie Bailey & Kym Rogers

Brother Simon Triffitt then spoke about how inspired teaching can lead to inspired invitations to come unto Christ, whether that be in a HT/VT scenario or in a lesson or more informally. He said that there are so many resources out there to help us teach but we must be inspired to know what to deliver. We are all teachers and have a message of the gospel to share. He said we often talk about saving the rising generation but that starts in the home and we can show our Sunday best on Sundays but our children see all our cracks and crevices and we need to be that example to them so we can use every opportunity in the home to teach a gospel principle.

Brother Triffitt shared that inspired teaching cannot take place without the Spirit. He shared a number of ideas:

  • what is your motivation behind your teaching
  • stick to the basic fundamentals
  • share personal experiences
  • bear your testimony on what you have delivered

If you have an inspired message, an invitation to come unto Christ will come naturally to the individual.

Sister Jessica Prebble spoke about her experience sitting on a ward council as the ward Primary President. She shared President Uchtdorf’s words on ward councils. He said that (and I paraphrase) that the purpose of ward councils was to:

  • seek inspiration of the Spirit
  • help ward members serve the Lord
  • help ward members to learn to love their neighbours better than themselves.

Sister Prebble talked about a full functioning ward council will have complete unity and the Spirit would be in their midst. For example each ward council member could contribute to issues or concerns that don’t directly affect their calling.

A child is ready for the ordination of Baptism. The RS President can help with clothing, the Sunday School President can organize a FHE on Baptism and the Ward Mission Leader can organize for non-member invitations with the full-time missionaries. Sister Prebble concluded with Elder Ballard’s words that instead of calling ward council a meeting, it is a revelatory experience.

President Peter Buckley & Corey Bailey 

Next President Buckley conducted a Q and A session. Questions had already been distributed around the room for members of the congregation to read out and those on the stand were invited by President Buckley to comment. Here are a few of the questions and answers:

Q  -  how to help a sister sitting alone, look after her children.
A  - Sister Hoare shared an experience of when she was sitting alone with her children and another sister volunteered to be her Sunday Mum and help out with the children for the entire time they were in that ward.

Q – irreverence before Sacrament
A – Elder Maxwell proposed that prelude music be played and all members of the ward council be seated early as an example to the rest of the members.

Q – struggles to get children to go to nursery and stay in there.
A – Sister Challis suggested that nursery workers visit the child in the home

Q – doing family history
A – President Hoare said each ordinance turns our hearts to Heavenly Father and helping people participate in these ordinances will help them to do so too.

A – President Walters shared an experience about a lady who was the only member in her family. Doing family history and temple work gave her spiritual power and she no longer felt like she was the only member in her family in the church as she had generations behind her.

Lisa Wheeler and Jenny Taylor 

Finally President Walters  wrapped up the meeting by encouraging us to take our HT/VT assignments seriously and instead of asking “have you done your HT/VT”, ask the question, “how are your families”. President Walters then pointed out what if we feel too burdened to serve with everything going on in our own lives. 

President Walters brought our attention to a scripture in Matthew 11 where the Saviour talks about us being heavy laden and if we take his yoke upon us then we will find rest as his yoke is easy and his burden is light. President Walters suggested binding ourselves to the Saviour through prayer, yoking ourselves to him and following the Saviour’s example by serving as we promised to do in our Baptismal covenants.

Finally President Walters said that our Baptismal covenants gives us the opportunity to follow the Saviour, the Priesthood covenants gives us the opportunity to represent the Saviour and our Endowment covenants gives us the opportunity to know the Saviour.
And it would be remiss of me finally if I did not mention our uninvited guest speaker, who made numerous humorous interruptions from the pulpit…. Brother ANT. 

Maryanne Woolley (Devonport Ward)

I so thoroughly enjoyed the Conference.  Both,  Saturday night and Sunday morning. 

What an outpouring of the spirit. It quite rejuvenated my soul. It gave me strength to go on, and it gave me hope in the future. I thought of the quip, 'united we stand, divided we fall.'

The world is very weighty these days,  always has been, but, as we know it is getting very gross.  
But conference brought home quite powerfully the unity we all share,  in standing together against the world. 

We were certainly 'Endowed with Power from on high' this weekend. It was palpable.  I felt the unity and strength will stay  with us as we stand as  witnesses of God, in all things,  in all places and at all times.

Margaret Triffitt (Devonport Ward) 

Notes from the Devonport Stake Conference Sept. 2015   
Saturday evening and Sunday morning sessions.

The talks were centred around the theme of:
"Increasing our faith in Jesus Christ by 1. ministering to the one (Saturday evening) and 2. by strengthening our families (Sunday morning)

The Saturday evening session was  opened by the Burnie Choir singing beautifully and clearly - 
"Ere you left your room this morning." and "How gentle God's commands"

Their singing immediately  brought the spirit into the meeting.

The talks focused on how being a disciple of Jesus Christ is for life.  Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is for all of us and we need to lift and strengthen each other on this journey.

The Lord's organized way of helping us is through Home and Visiting teaching.  This is the way we can lift and strengthen and teach each other as members and reach out to those are temporally lost.
Ask yourself, "What are the needs of the families I watch over?"  The Lord will show you what their needs are.  Everyone has some challenges and struggles both physical and spiritual.

Because of the Saviour's Atonement  we can one day become like Him and live in the eternities. Because of the Saviour's Atonement, life can be made bearable for all of us.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

O Ye That Embark Devotional

On Sunday night, at 6:30pm, the youth from the Devonport Stake got a call out to go on a mission to rescue. The mission given to the youth was one of great importance: the saving of souls. From the mouths of youth and youth leaders alike the call was given to embark on rescuing the lost and lowly souls of our brothers and sisters. Through the use of past personal experiences, insightful workshops and indepth group discussions, we learned what our rescuing mission entails. We learnt that our brothers and sisters need to be reminded just how much they are loved by us and by their Heavenly Father. They need to know that we want them in our congregations and we want them as our friends. We learnt that our Heavenly Father needs us to be a rock to these people and that we must be spiritually prepared to rescue them. We learnt about the kinds of things people struggle with and how we can counter them, and help them back on the right path. If we happen to feel inadequate for this task, we know that the Lord will not let us fail and he will help us as we strive to bring souls back to his fold. With our 'prep talk' completed we were challenged to go out and go to the rescue! With hearts full of the Spirit, minds full of the knowledge and Heavenly Father on our side, it is now our responsibility to answer the commandment and go and rescue our wayward brothers and sisters and bask in the blessings that our Heavenly Father has for all his faithful children.
Jackson Corona

The recent Youth Devotional focused on helping ourselves and others with the gospel, on coming to their rescue. As Christ taught, we have to feed His sheep. 
The missionaries taught us that questions that we or other people may ask us can always be found within the scriptures. If we pray and earnestly seek these answers, they will be revealed to us. 
Brother Simon Triffitt led a workshop in which he showed us how he prepares for his search and rescue in his work force. Brother Triffitt carries everything in his 30kg pack that he will need for his rescues, and more. Likewise, we need to prepare for every situation with out spiritual toolbox. Our toolboxes are filled with things such as the scriptures, prayer, patriarchal blessings and the Holy Ghost. It is important to keep our personal toolbox topped up so that when we go through trials we can hold fast to our testimonies. By keeping our testimonies strong and bright, we can help rescue others by helping them find their own testimonies, or strengthening their already existing ones. 
We learnt that the people who need rescuing are not just those who are inactive, but also those who may be struggling, sick or lonely. Rescuing others might be scary because we are afraid of rejection, but we have to remember that we are on the Lord's errand and we have to show our love for these people to really help them. 
The main thing that I personally gained from the devotional is that we have to save ourselves and grow our own testimonies before we can help others. We should be motivated by love when rescuing and follow Christ's example of unconditional love.
Georgia Christie

Sunday, 5 April 2015

The First Presidency Easter Message


First Presidency 2015 Easter Message

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following Easter message:
2015 easter message
Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the power of His Resurrection, all of God’s children will be raised unto life eternal. He gave us His Beloved Son as our Savior to make that possible. The Savior in Gethsemane and on Golgotha paid the price of our sins so that we could be cleansed. That purifying can come to those who have faith in Jesus Christ.
The darkness of death is dispelled by the light of revealed truth. “I am the resurrection, and the life,” spoke the Master. “He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25).
The assurance of life beyond the grave provides the peace promised by the Savior when He said to His disciples: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
Thomas S. Monson
Henry B. Eyring
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Impressions of the Devonport Stake Conference - Part 2

Prior to the recent Devonport Stake Conference we invited a number of people to put pen to paper (or finger to tablet) and record some of the thoughts and feelings they had about the meetings, which we could share on this blog. Over the coming days we will be sharing some of the responses we received. We hope you are inspired by the words which these fantastic individuals have to share. 

Austen Howe

Remember, Elder Meurs said, is one of the most important words in the dictionary. The recent Devonport Stake Conference was certainly one to remember! We were blessed to have Elder Meurs of the Seventy presiding at the conference, sharing messages at the general session of conference and also a Youth Devotional afterwards, where he shared the 5 things to remember.
The Sunday Morning session was an excellent spiritual feast. Some of the highlights included President Walters talk about helping those who are astray even if we may not have a full testimony ourselves. Sister Challis gave a wonderful talk about the impact of the choices of women. Sister Triptree gave an inspirational talk about sharing the Gospel, and having the confidence to do so. In the ensuing weeks I really took this talk to heart, having many more chances than I would have ever thought to share the gospel. Sister Nicole of Devonport Ward gave a truly inspiring testimony about her conversion story.
Despite the mini-heatwave that Sunday, the spirit continued burning at the Youth Devotional straight afterwards. President Walters began by talking about spiritual self-reliance, starting by trusting in the Lord and having faith in Him. Elder Meurs then gave his talk about 5 things to remember, that we are literal spiritual children of Heavenly Father, we have a body and a spirit, we don’t really know who we are and could become, our future is not determined by past mistakes and that the world is waiting for us.
I know that I grew spiritually after attending this conference, and I am absolutely looking forward to the upcoming General Conference coming up in April.

Lucy Gorniak - Devonport Ward

It was such a blessing to attend Stake Conference and to be spiritually uplifted and enlightened by the messages spoken. Elder Meurs from the seventy attended our conference. I had met him a few months earlier at the YSA Perth Convention and had been touched their by his presence and I was excited to see him again at the conference.
We were taught by Elder Meurs about the importance of each individual and their journey in the gospel; their journey to perfection. Too often we get used to routine in the church and significant moments such as receiving the Priesthood or going Visiting Teaching becomes mundane. As we listened and discussed this concept with Elder Meurs I reflected on two aspects. One being on my mission and the other being about the Pre-mortal life. Firstly On my mission we taught many people. Every person was different and had a different pace in learning and applying the gospel in their lives. What made a big difference in the investigators life were the small and simple moments. Such as coming to church for the first time. This may not have seemed like a big deal however to that individual this was a moment they will remember forever and always reflect back on their ‘first time.’ Once that investigator wants to take the step in the gospel it is then up to us missionaries and members to help that investigator have a wonderful first time at church. Likewise when a child turns 8 and gets baptized in the ward even if we aren’t close with that family we still should reach out and support that child and family. Because I know that child will remember and recognize the efforts. Whenever I witnessed a baptism of a person on my mission the individual always commented on how amazed they were at the amount of people who came just for them. You would think that the individual would be more amazed and excited about being baptized and making sacred covenants, becoming a member of the church, or the service, but no the most important thing to them at the moment was seeing the support around them.
While listening to Elder Meurs I then reflected on the Pre-mortal life. We know that we existed before this life. We don’t know too much about our pre-mortal life but we know we were told about God’s plan of happiness for us. I like to think we would have been looking forward to the monument moments in our life.
Star Wars was used by two speakers as they made the analogy of Obi Ko nobice to worthy men receiving the Melchezidek priesthood. It is always enjoyable to relate the gospel to a well-loved movie to understand the concept. I feel movies are used because we look up to certain movies that contain strength, majesties, powers and omniscience. However the gospel is all of these things. The Priesthood is so much more than any power in any movie. It is God’s power! His literal power which has been used to create this earth, to raise the dead, this power is given to worthy men. I am sure we would have been very excited in the pre-mortal life knowing here on earth we could assist in the Priesthood power to assist God’s children.
One of the Relief Society presidency sisters spoke saying it takes a village to raise a child but a congregation to get a missionary out. I loved hearing this. When I was preparing to serve my mission I really depended on my ward members advice and help. As I am the first in my family to serve a full-time mission for the church I wanted as much help as I could receive. I don’t think my members in my ward know the impact they had made in preparing and being on my mission. It was little things that they did for me such as: preparing a night to talk about England before I left, writing to me on my mission, praying for me, and supporting my family when I was gone. Once again the little things make a big difference and help those significant steps in the gospel to be remembered with fondness. All members are needed to help each member.
President Walters taught about the importance of engaging fully in the work of salvation and to not worry about trivial things. We have not come to earth to find time to do gospel centred tasks but we have come here to live the gospel and become like our Saviour Jesus Christ. He talked about the importance of being honest in all we do. The next day I had work; I do In-Home care support work. I was taking the clothes of my client off her clothes line and I accidentally broke a part of her peg. I thought about telling her or just leaving it because the peg still worked. I didn’t feel that comfortable on the inside and I knew that the spirit wanted me to tell her. So I told her and she sarcastically said ‘Oh dear you broke a peg, do you feel better now you had confession?’ She was totally fine and I was very happy I didn’t hold it back because she was able to learn that I was an honest person and I knew that following the spirit is always the best choice to make.
Sister Jess Tripptree taught me an important lesson. She continuously stated that we should never pre-judge someone on whether they would accept the gospel or not. I know that we are all God’s children and He wants us all to return home with Him.
In conclusion from this conference I have come away with the important message to remember that Satan will make us focus on unimportant things in life. Therefore it is imperative that we do not waste this precious earth time but we help our brothers and sisters every day to come closer to their Saviour Jesus Christ in turn as we do this we will be coming closer to him. Each day is a gift!

Brother Peri Kauwhata - Tamar Ward

President Triffitts talk: he spoke about strawberry's and how much work there is to get a paltry amount and that he was going to try again in the next year as he felt he had got the right specie or plant, the right spot and the right soil.

Then he introduced the scripture Moses 1: 37 - 38 and this resonated with me. It says in 37 at the end that all the heaven's "they are mine" and " as one  earth shall pass away, shall another come".

What made me sit up and notice was that I too am the Lords and are His creation. So I felt that if I failed to serve Him in a given task that another would be given the opportunity to receive the blessing. There are lots of opportunities "right in our way, do not let them pass by and say sometime I'll try...". I know that the Lord prepares his children to receive blessings and that sometimes I am that blessing through impressions I get from Him.

This was only one of many great moments in conference, I wish all could have been there to witness it.

P.S. The elders quorum from Burnie presentation in First Session - they quoted Star Wars - what would they know? They quoted Obi Wan Kenobi  - everyone knows Yoda had the wisdom! Guess what - you had to be there!

Peggy Bogar - St Helens Group

Thinking upon The Lord’s: ‘When ye have done this to the least of my brethren ye have done it unto me’ e.g. feeding the poor, clothing the naked and visiting those in prison inspired me with the analogy: when we do Genealogy and Family History and add these names to have their ordinances performed in the Temple, and participate in this sacred work, we are Saviours in Zion, we are rescuing those imprisoned, we are visiting them with our research finds and they are encouraging our endeavours and loving us finding their stories and photos.

It’s the same thing as finding the one who is lost but still living on this earth whereby we may be instruments in instigating the way back for one individual leading to their spouse and children on occasion, so can deceased families return to the fold on the other side of the veil.

Finding one ancestor can lead to a hint, either that green leaf on or the links to Birth, Death and Marriage or Census records etcetera in FamilySearch. It feels good to know we have helped with indexing Passenger lists, obituaries, and other records that will be used to hasten the work of salvation.

Watch out you don’t get concussion being hit with all those ancestral branches. Go slow, have joy in the journey and always begin with a prayer in your heart asking for the Spirit of Elijah to accompany you like that young woman who prayed and read her scriptures and lived her life with Temple focus which equates to a Christ-focused model.

Do not be afraid to ask next of kin if you can present their deceased loved ones name to have all the ordinances necessary for them to enjoy eternal life because if we remain silent and they are not members, nor interested in Missionary discussions at this time, they may not feel the love we can show them.

So be respectful, tell them something you liked about their deceased family member and entice questions to do with the Gospel as hearts will be softened through sincerity and service.