Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Burnie BillionGraves Activity

On Saturday the 4th of March Burnie branch held its first BillionGraves activity at the Somerset cemetery. There were around 35 members that participated. We all used the BillionGraves app on our smartphones to take photos of the gravestones, a tricky exercise with many shiny gravestones which made it more like taking a selfie than a legible picture of the gravestone's information. Despite the heat, everyone was able to capture the gravestones in their assigned area having to help each other along the way tidying up any debris as they went.

Once the pictures were taken we all headed back to the chapel where we transcribed the pictures over pizza and delicious desserts. We were able to get a lot of work completed! Check out our efforts on the BillionGraves website!

It was an absolutely fantastic activity where we were able to serve each other, our fellow man and the Lord, fellowshipping with each other along the way. We even had a member's great-great-grandma buried in the cemetery and was able to capture her information!

The Waratah-Wynyard council have requested a copy of all the photos taken for their records. I feel like this was not only a great family history activity for our members but also a way to serve our community and put the Church's name out there. Something I think we need more of as the gospel message needs to be shared with not only each other but with the communities that we live in. Whether they accept the gospel or not, it is a great way to show true Christ-like love and be that example and light to others.

I would like to thank everyone who attended and made the activity a success as well as all those who helped organise and run the day and the Waratah-Wynyard council who allowed us to undertake the project and provided the maps. I have heard that some have even been asking when the next one will be! Which shows just how much everyone enjoyed themselves! It was a true joy to come together and do something meaningful for so many.

By Paige Triffitt

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Burnie Branch Conference

Paige Triffitt
The weekend of April 17 was Burnie’s branch conference. We started off the weekend with a branch dinner on the Friday night. It was a wonderful night with around 60 people in attendance. The adults were able to participate in a Church quiz whilst the children played ‘pass the parcel’. It was a great night where families and friends were able to enjoy each others company as well as a delicious meal cooked with love by Sister Linda Szekely. She provided us with a choice of potato or pumpkin soup, followed by apricot chicken, mashed potato, carrots, gravy and corn and to top it all off we enjoyed a delicious apple strudel with ice-cream for dessert. 

I would like to thank her for her amazing effort and love for the Burnie branch! I know personally that I had an amazing time with many good laughs. One in particular with the YSA at breaking the tip of the only sink plug in the building and having to stick a piece of corn in the hole made so the water would not drain out and we could wash up! At the end of the night I was pleased to see that everyone pitched in to help pack and clean up. It is times like these that remind me of the love of Christ that shines through each one of us when we serve and help each other.

On the Sunday the Burnie chapel was filled with Stake visitors. We all enjoyed and appreciated the lessons that we were taught and the Spirit that we felt. For me there was something in each talk and lesson that stood out and I would like to touch on each of them.

President Szekely, Burnie Branch President, was the first speaker. The points I remember from his talk are that when we have a change of heart others will see the difference and come unto Christ as we live what we believe. Something that has really stood out to me as I have worked around children is that they watch us and they follow our examples. If our influences are so profound when we truly are living what we believe others will notice and they will want to know why we do the things we do and why we seem to shine. Our desire to do better and follow Christ with broken hearts and contrite spirits will not go unnoticed.

Sister Sam Triffitt, of the Stake Relief Society, was the next speaker and spoke on callings that we do not feel capable of fulfilling. With all the recent changes in callings throughout the Burnie branch, I felt her talk was very relevant to us all. Sister Triffitt gave this talk so well, drawing on her own experiences and in a way that I have never heard before. It reminded me that the Lord, who knows our fears and weaknesses better then we do, asks us an imperfect people to do a perfect work. He trusts us enough to do His work and He knows what we need and what others need perfectly. Sometimes we are called so that we can be in the right place, at the right time, to say the right thing for the one person who needs to hear it. Her talk reminded me of a comment Elder David A. Bednar made at one of his face to faces; he said that he travels around the world and gives talks not for everyone who hears or sees him but for the one person who needs to hear what he has to say in that very moment. So long as we have done all that we can and have touched the heart of one person, whether we know it or not, we have done enough. One other thing that I wrote down from Sister Triffitt’s talk was that Christ calls us to positions in His Church to show us who we can become, who He wants us to become and to show us that if we look outside ourselves and serve we will become that person. He truly does know our potential and we need to trust in Him.

President Buckley of the Stake Presidency was the final speaker. He talked on the importance of the Temple, which has been something that I have been focusing on this year. The House of the Lord is a place where there are no distinctions; it is the most peaceful place on earth and our homes can be Temples on earth. Like Temples our homes can be where we seek comfort and peace as well as love and guidance. President Buckley reminded us that everything we do should lead to the Temple. I feel that in a world that is getting increasingly further from the principles of the gospel of Christ we need to have the Temple always in our sights and always working towards being able to go therein. I know that as we prepare to enter and to research and find our own family names to take with us we can find added strength to overcome the challenges we face and can find rest from worldly cares. President Buckley ended by saying something that really stood out to me, he said “the field is white ready to harvest, here and for those who have passed, but the wheat doesn’t harvest itself. We can be saviours on mount Zion.” The Lord never said that the harvest would be easy, but it does bring great rewards and not only for ourselves.

Brother Honey taught the YSA Sunday school class and there was something he said as a side note to the lesson that really stood out to me. He said that we need to expand our circle of friends without there being a thought that we want them to join the Church. Simply have the intention of being a friend and they will notice the difference and light that shines through us. I think that this was especially pertinent to me as I was talking with one of the other students in my one of my uni classes who informed me that she was Christian. I told her that I was also and we talked briefly about our beliefs. I instantly thought of what an amazing member she would be if she was taught and accepted the gospel of Christ. She speaks about her beliefs in a way we all should, without fear and as apart of her life, in fact through her example she has taught me much. But my intention of writing this was that yes it would be fantastic if she was taught by the missionaries and baptised but that I need to be her friend without expectation or intent of her joining the church, but with intent of being an example. Our examples often speak more than anything we could ever say. As we become friends with others we will learn to truly care for them and with that love comes a true and righteous desire for them to have the gospel in their lives. We can often have the righteous desire to share the gospel with others but for me I have found that sometimes my intentions may have been misplaced in bringing others to the church rather than bringing them to Christ. And I feel that to fix this is first and foremost becoming their friend and having a sincere love and desire for them to come unto Christ.

Relief Society was taught by Sister Tammy Rowlings, the Devonport Stake Relief Society President. She reminded us all that we are children of God. She pointed out that in both the Relief Society and Young Women’s themes the first line states that we are daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. Too often this simple yet profound statement becomes mundane, we need to remember always who we are but not only remember, sincerely know it. The simple truth that we are daughters of God should be how we define ourselves, for we truly are His children. Sister Rowlings had Sister Sam Triffitt take a handful of ‘goop’ (cornflour and water) and mould it between her hands. I cannot remember the exact analogy but my interpretation of it was that as we remember who we are and act on that knowledge we are able to become who we are meant to be, Christ is able to mould and shape us. But, just like the goop when not moved which turns to liquid and falls from your hand, when we forget who we are we fall apart. It is so important to remember who we are and what that truly means.

As you can see the weekend was full of entertainment, friendship and Spiritual learning and growth. It was a weekend that I was very much looking forward to! The branch also held our ‘mingle and munch’ after church, which always seems to happen when Stake comes, though I am not sure whether that is deliberate on our part or theirs! It is a privilege and a delight to learn from our Stake leaders and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity.

Jackson Corona
Branch conference. Always a really great sabbath experience. This time was no exception. When I think back a week later to what I took from it, a quote springs to the forefront of my mind. "Dissapointment, but never discouragement." This quote was given to me the Wednesday before conference by the missionaries. We had just been stood up by a prospective investigator. The reason this quote was pertinent was due to the rocky start that was my branch conference morning. I had invited a friend to attend with me, but was stood up the morning of. I was given a bit of comfort as President Szekely instructed us that "Success in found in the invitation" this hit home to me again during priesthood class when we discussed how we can be better at rescuing our struggling brothers and sisters. In this recount, I didn’t want to just retell what happened, but rather show you it through my eyes. You never know that something you say could have such an effect on someone. You are called, placed, prompted to be where you are in this very moment. You never know who you are influencing. I needed to hear those specific quotes from those people at that specific time. This was my experience from branch conference.

The gospel is true.

Pat Brown
What a wonderful weekend the Burnie Branch has experienced. It started on Friday evening with the Burnie Branch Council Conference Dinner and Social. The event was held in a beautifully decorated hall at the chapel and a large number of the members and friends attended as did President Walters and some of his family. Sister Linda Szekely did the catering, cooking and serving with the aid of our branch YSA and the meal and the entertainment was enjoyed by all who attended. President Walter’s comment about the evening was that it was a unique evening the kind that used to be held and enjoyed quite a long time ago.

The conference on Sunday was well attended with many visitors from throughout the Stake. After the formal proceedings and a presentation by a choral group President Szekely told a story about a Welsh man’s conversion to the gospel and spoke about his change of heart after he recognised the ‘spiritual radiance’ exuding from the missionaries who knocked on his door. He was able to see how different it was from that of the minister whom he had always rejected. He said that radiance shows when you are a member of the Lords church and how people will recognise this. So we should never underestimate how useful this is when we ourselves have a missionary opportunity.

Then we learned from Sister Triffitt why we are given callings and how our calling will not only bless our own lives and help us to grow, but will also bless the lives of others that we serve.
The last speaker President Buckley quoted the fields are white and ready to harvest and said it is not a spectator sport but we must be involved in the harvest. He also spoke about the importance of temples and the peace and blessings we receive in them. In the temple there is no distinction, we are not lawyers, doctors, farmers or manual labourers we are all the same, children of God. He told us how important it is for us to let others know about the blessings of the temple.

The Sunday school and Relief Society classes were taught by Stake members and the parable of the olive trees and a general conference talk titled ‘I am a Child of God’ also fitted in with the conference theme.

A soup and sandwich lunch followed which allowed the members to mingle and catch up before they travelled home.

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