Friday, 26 September 2014

Stake Youth Fireside "For the Strength of Youth"

A stake youth fireside held on Sunday 21 September was an opportunity for youth to know the standards outlined in the booklet 'For the Strength of Youth.' The focus was understanding the doctrine behind the standards and the importance of upholding them so that youth can stand against worldly influences.

Lizzie Prebble, a laurel of Esk Ward and Austen Howe, a priest of Devonport ward, were two of the youth in attendance on the night. Both commented on the joy in living the standards. "The standards in the (For the Strength of Youth) book are clear and easy to understand, and following them brings happiness in our own lives", said Austen. Lizzie also mentioned her gratitude in upholding the standards: "I am so grateful for the standards that help keep me grounded and focussed on what is most important. I know that the choices I make in life do matter and it's through the gospel of Jesus Christ and its teachings that I can make the right choices and experience true joy."

The fireside started with an overview of the For the Strength of Youth booklet, given by Macady Roberts. She spoke about how we should be honest with ourselves and how doing so can help us better live the commandments and the standards contained in the booklet. Macady shared her own personal experiences and also spoke about youth around the world, who had decided to "stand for humility" And "stand for what they believed was good and right".

The night was then broken up into workshops where youth received object lessons from Carlos and Ashley Furlan, Bishop Aaron and Elissa Woolley, and Scott Prebble on the topics of honesty, dating and language.
The dating workshop included fun ideas and activities and left the youth with important lessons. "A key point to me was that each person is responsible for the other's honesty and virtue in a dating situation," Austen said. Lizzie similarly learned that "the purpose of group dating is to protect each other's honour and virtue.

Bishop and Sister Woolley taught that bad language isn't just swearing; bad language could include mocking and ridiculing. They talked about counteracting negative comments with positive comments. "It doesn't take much to be complimentary...We all have the spirit and it will guide us to say positive things" the Bishop said. Sister Woolley compared listening to music with a little bit of swearing to eating chocolate fudge with a little bit of dog poo in it. "I think everyone was a little worried about the free fudge after the workshop" came a cheeky remark from Austen.

Using a clever object lesson comparing the content of raspberry cordial (which contains no raspberries at all) and Ribena (which is packed with real fruit), Brother Prebble demonstrated that integrity is about being the same on the inside as you are on the outside. "Our actions should always reflect who we are and what we believe, regardless of the circumstance," Lizzie was reminded.

A meme posted on Facebook by Austen Howe.
After everyone reconvened to the chapel, James Sayers spoke about a process he calls "flipping the switch" on situations where standards are questioned, even at times, in a negative light by others. He said that by teaching the doctrine behind the standards in question, any reasonable person will naturally come to understand why those standards are important - in the same way flipping on a switch would shed light to a room. "The effect works, especially if we understand the doctrine, especially if we believe the doctrine and especially if we are living the doctrine" he said.

Youth were left with a three-step challenge: 1 - Understand the reason why we have and need these standards; 2 - Try 'flipping the switch' in a situation when standards are questioned, 3 - Invite  a 'plus one' to the final activity of the year which has the focus on specific standards.

The final stake youth activity will be held at Devonport chapel on the 15th of November. It is entitled 'Body Shop' and will focus on the importance of looking after our bodies. The youth leaders and youth committee, which is comprised of five youth around the stake have promised this to be an outstanding activity and one not to miss."

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Impressions of the Recent Stake Temple Trip

Jim and Ruth Pawson from Esk Ward share their thoughts on the Stake Temple Trip earlier this month and on the Missionary Fireside. The following are their words:

Despite the early morning start Jim and I always enjoy the Stake Temple Trip days.  There is something very special about going to and being in the temple with other Stake members.

It is nice to have other members who are perhaps coming on the temple trip for the first time as they bring an air of excitement with them which seems to infect the whole group.

This time we had youth from the Deloraine Ward  and they were especially happy to be going to the temple.  I love the fact that once we arrive at the temple we really do have the opportunity to leave "the cares of the world " truly behind us and focus on participating in the work of "redeeming our loved ones"  I noticed that every one of our members had a determination to complete as much temple work as they possibly could.

The "days at the Temple" are really a great blessing to individuals and also to our stake and  I would encourage all of our Stake members to set a goal to attend at least one a year.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Impressions of Stake Conference - Part 2

For Part 2 of the series we have chosen to share some writings from Sister Simone Triffitt, a Mother of 5 from Deloraine Ward.  The following paragraphs are her words:

Over the stake conference weekend, I had the privilege of attending the Saturday night session at the Deloraine chapel. I began the night, thinking I would just write down some of my favourite quotes from each talk but by the end of the night I had written over 8 pages because everything each speaker talked about, resonated within me.
The first speaker President Buckley, talked about an article by President Uchtdorf in a First Presidency message in 2013 called Walking In Circles. President Uchtdorf explained that if we are out bushwalking and don’t have something to fix our gaze on, a visible landmark as such, that we will start to walk around in circles. President Buckley said that we have our own landmarks such as reading the scriptures that help us and if we remove our gaze from these spiritual landmarks that lead us to eternal life, we will end up walking in circles.  President Buckley brought up Jacob 4:16 and explained how the Jewish people had the Saviour in their midst but they looked beyond him, they  “looked beyond the mark”. President Buckley said that we have many things in this world that can distract us from our spiritual landmarks and when we turn to these things, we are looking beyond the mark.
President Buckley also touched on Alma 37: 38-46 and the Liahona. He said the words of Christ can be a personal Liahona to us, as is our Prophet, President Monson.
President Buckley reissued a challenge set down by President Monson in 2012 for more senior people to go out and serve missions. He reiterated a quote by Elder Oakes that said “special sacrifices are made by senior missionaries”.  This challenge by President Buckley made me think of my own mother serving a family history mission in Salt Lake City and finding out about all the amazing work, senior missionaries are doing over there to “hasten the work”. What a great example and motivator are our own ward members out there serving senior missions.
The musical item was very beautiful and it truly brought a feeling of the Spirit and peace and humbleness into the meeting house. The choir sang “Lord I would Follow Thee” and many people were wondering why they didn’t showcase in the Meander Valley choirfest the previous night. Next time!
The second speaker was Sarra Triffitt who spoke about how children and youth can serve their families both living and deceased through family history. She touched on how family history research is suited to the rising generation who love to use modern technology for everything. She quoted Elder Bednar in a talk he gave in October 2011 about it being no coincidence that FamilySearch and other tools are coming forth at a time when young people are so familiar with technology. Sarra talked about doing family history work during mutual and preparing to go to the temple next week. She spoke of her experience in the temple last year and how what she learned about the temple in Primary and FHE, now made sense to her.  I remember going to the youth temple day with her last year and seeing her enter the waters of baptism for the first time as proxy and to see her standing there in white surrounded by other youth from our Stake was a very special experience that both she and I and everyone in attendance will never forget. Sarra talked about her Nan serving a family history mission in SLC and the vast amount of work being done. For example 300,000 indexers work around the world each day, entering names into the FamilySearch database. Sarra said that working together this way, gives each person a greater chance of finding information about their own ancestors and be able to take those family names to the temple.
The next speaker was Samantha Triffitt who spoke about how family history can help young parents appreciate their own families. She highlighted a talk by Elder Allen Packer in 2013 who outlined the difference between family history and genealogy. Elder Packer said family history includes the past, present and future of families. I thought this was quite profound and saw it as our families in the present working to help our families of the past to benefit our families of the future. We have the very important job of connecting our ancestors to our descendants. Sam talked about finding out about her own family history and reading the conversion story of her grandfather, Jack Prebble senior. She sees it as the beginning of the Prebble line in the membership of the church. Sam said that this means she and her children are a part of that family history, binding her to family members yet to come. Sam also highlighted a talk by Elder Packer who outlined some ways you can create history with your children as you live in the present. These included recording stories of ancestors, putting memories in a box, picking a relative and finding out more about them and performing ordinance work in the temple.
The next speaker was Brother Corey Bailey who talked about how people of any age can master the tools of family history. He explained that we have spiritual tools in our hearts and hot just handheld tools in our hands. I loved that statement and it made me realise that technology is no barrier to anyone if we have the right spiritual attitude toward family history. I also liked it when Brother Bailey said that people don’t need an apprenticeship or years of study to become proficient in family history work. Brother Bailey explained that with the surge in modern technology even since 1994, we now have family history centres in our homes. Some of the tools available to us at home are indexing, FamilySearch, find my path and With the addition of FamilyTree now, people can attach recordings and stories to FamilySearch lines.
For me, to be able to go into FamilySearch and see photos and stories about my ancestors really brings them to life and makes the work so much more exciting.
Sister Maxwell spoke about how family history can help us in our missionary work. Sister Maxwell compared Elder Uchtdorf’s journey out of East Germany to the safety of West Germany, saying that was one of his family history stories and how families have their own story of making it to the safety of the gospel. Sister Maxwell said that “everyone wants to know where they came from”. This is a great tool for missionary work because members can give their friends a copy of the booklet, “My Family” and invite their friends to find out more about their ancestors. Sister Maxwell talked about an article in the New York Times that suggested that children who knew about their family stories and felt that connection were more resilient in life. A simple question for missionaries is explaining their name badge and asking if the person knows anything about their own family name. Sister Maxwell talked about the importance of adding saving ordinances to the family history connections. She said that the retention rate of new members is 95% in those who within 3 months of baptism, go to the temple on a limited use recommend. She also explained that in the last year there were 21,000 baptisms in the Pacific region but only 400 of those new members took a name to the temple so there is work to be done.
Brother Josh Triffitt recently returned from a mission in New Zealand and spoke about how full-time missionary service has changed his life. Brother Josh explained that he didn’t wake up one morning and feel different but that it was a process over the 2 yrs that has changed him for the remainder of his life. Brother Josh highlighted the importance of studying Preach my Gospel and that “you can’t convert beyond your own conversion”.  He said that serving a mission changed the way he thought about the gospel. I think this was my favourite part of his talk when he said,” it (the gospel) was not something to be done but a way to live”.   Brother Josh also said that his mission changed his perspective in that he now has a long-term perspective that brings him closer to Heavenly Father rather than just day to day goals. Practical changes that have happened include learning to talk to people and get along with your companion. Finally Brother Triffitt urged all young people to serve a mission because it is the best thing you can do.
Sister Tammy Rowlings was asked to talk about how we can help youth to prepare for a full-time mission. Sister Rowlings quoted Elder Bednar in a talk from November 2005 where he talked about becoming a missionary before you go on a mission. Sister Rowlings said she asked her son Jakob who is serving a mission in Japan, her teenage sons and the current full-time missionaries serving in her ward, what could be or what was done to help them prepare for a mission. Her son Jakob said working to save for his mission and having the trust of his parents to be a little independent, helped him to develop maturity before going out into the mission field.  Other helpful suggestions were having unconditional love from parents, the love of the gospel in the home, attending seminary and youth leaders who go the extra mile.  Sister Rowlings then touched on spiritual and physical preparation fo9r a mission. She said help the youth by understanding their hearts by taking advantage of teaching moments and be willing to listen to them talk about their day. Sister Rowlings studies “Preach My Gospel” with her two other sons and feels the closest to them each night as they do this. She also suggested that once your child turns 12, to make attending the temple with them a priority each year and let them see you attending the temple.
In relation to physical preparation, Sister Rowlings emphasised a talk by President Faust where he talked about future young missionaries working before their missions to learn responsibility and independence because they won’t automatically know how to work in the MTC. Lastly Sister Rowlings said always pray for guidance in how to help your child prepare for a mission because each child is an individual and needs help in different ways.
Next Brother Gary Woodward spoke about the power of everyday missionaries and based his talk around the book, “The Power of Everyday Missionaries” by Clayton Christensen.  Brother Woodward said that when he came off his mission, he was doing everything that he was doing on his mission but he felt like he wasn’t as close to heavenly Father like he was on his mission. He figured out that the one thing that was missing was that he was no longer sharing the gospel.  Brother Woodward talked about redefining the success of missionary work for members. He spoke about the fear of opening your mouth and said that each person is a successful missionary as soon as they invite someone. Even if they say no, you have still succeeded because you have given a person the opportunity. He referred to 2Nephi 2:16 where it talks about enticing men to do good and said that unless we invite people to do good, the only “enticing” will be by the devil because they have not been given a choice. Brother Woodward shared the experience of how he met his wife Lisa and how she came to join the church. He finished by saying that we are not to prejudge who we invite because we may not see people how the Lord sees them.
Elder Maxwell spoke about preparing for mature missionary service. I love the quote he gave that “logistics wins battles” and it is something that senior missionaries can do really well. He spoke of a senior couple in the mission office who were dearly loved and did so much for the running of the office. Elder Maxwell outlined some critical points for preparation for a senior mission. These included a desire to serve, to be willingly obedient, disciplined and financially prepared and the importance of scripture study in keeping your testimony burning brightly. He raised a point by Elder Henry B Eyering that “great faith has a short shelf life” so we need to continually study the scriptures to keep the spirit as our teacher. El;der Maxwell then touched on the blessings of serving a senior mission. These included friendships that last forever, high adventure, miracles and great joy, the memories from your mission remain with you for eternity and you learn lessons that last you for the remainder of your life. Finally he related a story by Elder Holland who said he thinks about his mission everyday and he is counting that it was 50 yrs and 11 days ago because it had such a big impact on his life.
President Walters then concluded the meeting with his testimony. He said that people are usually given a talk topic not because they are outstanding examples of the topic but that Heavenly father wants them to learn something and we learn something through them giving the talk. He said that every ward now has a monthly ward temple night to do family history work and every 3 months our stake has a temple trip to participate in saving ordinances. President Walters encouraged each of us to become actively engaged in hastening the work. He said  “sharing the gospel is the reason we join the church. Sharing the gospel was the only reason why the church was restored in these latter days”. Finally he encouraged each of us to go home and ponder tonight’s  topics and how Heavenly Father wants each of us to enlist in hastening the work of salvation.

I loved listening to each of the talks. The topics were truly inspired and each one has given me much to ponder on. I have always liked the idea of family history but I know now I am really going to enjoy the doing a lot more. I am excited to try out the new tools on FamilySearch. I already feel sorry for our ward family history consultants as I come armed with motivation and enthusiasm from tonight’s meeting ready to learn more how to  “hasten the work” and in doing so my connections to my loved ones both living and deceased will be strengthened as too my testimony of this great gospel work for those who have gone before us.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Impressions of Stake Conference - Part 1

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. We are grateful that they are being involved in Elder Bednar's challenge to Share Goodness.

For Part 1 of the series we have chosen to share some writings from Brother Jackson Corona, a young Priest from our Burnie Branch.  The following paragraphs are his words:

"As most of you may already know, this last weekend was Devonport Stake Conference. Its the time of year for us to take a step back and recharge our batteries through uplifting and educational talks given by a variety of people throughout our stake. The outline of the conference was ‘ We are all enlisted.’ Over the two days of sessions we were instructed on how to better ourselves in the areas in which we are enlisted. Whether it be Young Womens, Elders quorum, Primary etc, there was something for you at this conference."

"I was lucky enough to able to attend the Saturday evening and Sunday morning sessions of conference. Both sessions were really good and i certainly feel more uplifted and enlightened than i did before the conference. One of my favourite talks was given by Brother Gary Woodward at the Saturday evening session. His talk was about the dangers of judging others, specifically when doing missionary work. He shared the story about how he met his wife Lisa, and her conversion story. It was not only touching, but a prime example of why judging someone is wrong. I’m not going to go into the details, but if you wanted to hear the story I’m sure he would love to tell it again. It taught me to try and see people not for what they are, but for what they can become. We should try to see people in a different light. Learn to put aside the negative things and try to see them as a child of god. This leads to a greater love for that person and a greater desire to share with them the gospel of Jesus Christ and help them to experience the joys that we experience. Through my own missionary experiences i have seen the blessings of not judging someone for who they are at that time, but seeing what they are able to grow into. Jesus Christ sees all of us not by our mistakes, but by our potential. He sees our hearts, not our appearances. Therefore we must do the same to our brothers and sisters."

"That session was definitely one i won't forget, and the Sunday morning session was just as good. This session set clearly the theme of ‘We are all enlisted’ by hearing talks from a representative of the different groups one can be involved in throughout the church- Young mens, Relief Society, Priesthood etc. We were even privileged to hear from a Hannah Walters, a 10 year old girl from Primary! Through these representatives the whole congregation was able to learn how they are individually enlisted in the Lord’s work. We were also we taught about the importance of Motherhood and Fatherhood in raising children to become servants of the Lord. It was an overall brilliant session of conference and I feel spiritually refreshed and ready to keep improving myself as a priesthood holder and servant of the lord. “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your god.”- Mosiah 2:17 This scripture kept going through my head whilst listening to conference and i believe it is a good summary of the message that the conference gave."

"In President Buckley’s talk in the Saturday night session he spoke about when people don’t keep landmarks when journeying they walk in circles, and how that also applies on a spiritual level. I agree that sometimes we can get a bit lost in our lives and lose sight of our land mark. I see these conferences as little marks on trees or stakes in the ground that remind us that we are on the right path, give us strength throughout our journey and sometimes even point us back on the right path when we are lost. I bear you testimony that Jesus Christ lives. He has enlisted us in a great and marvellous work that can only bring us happiness. Whatever your calling may be, Christ is right beside you ready to help you fulfil it. He has prepared the way and he has prepared you. We have to keep being diligent, obedient and faithful and in doing so, we will be blessed and cared for throughout our journey. I am a strong believer in keeping an eternal perspective, having an eye singled to god, keeping our eye on that land mark. Our goal is to return with our brothers and sisters and family to our Heavenly Father’s rest to receive the blessings he has in store for us. Don’t ever forget that the Saviour loves you infinitely, you will always be able to find a friend in him. He has enlisted you in the great work of bring souls unto him and he will help you all along the way as you do so."

Monday, 15 September 2014

Second annual Meander Valley Choirfest a success!

On Friday 5 September the Second Meander Valley Choirfest was held at the Deloraine community complex. The purpose was for community and church groups around Northern Tasmania to come together and enjoy an evening of music. The theme "Sacred Song" was chosen to recognise the important role religion has in strengthening communities.

Choirs, small groups and soloists from Launceston right through to Burnie gathered in the beautiful town of Deloraine to perform for the Meander Valley community. The programme was made up of choirs such as Right on Cue, Diminished 5th, Devonport Men’s Quartet (comprising of Devonport ward members) and In the Groove from Devonport and the Meander Valley Choir and Del City Singers from Deloraine. We also heard beautiful arrangements of LDS hymns from the Deloraine and Launceston wards. The most breathtaking performances of the night would have been the two soloists' performance by Georgina Harvey singing When the Saints Come Marching in and Charlotte Austin-Lund with Right on Cue's rendition of Coldplay's "Fix You".

The performers enjoyed themselves and the reception was highly positive. The audience was captivated throughout the whole event and many were impressed with the quality of the performances.  Each person made a gold coin donation with all proceeds going back in to the Meander Valley community to help support families in crisis. It was great to see so many people supporting these families and recognising the importance of helping the hands that hang low.

Mark Shelton MHA wrapped up the evening well with his closing remarks. He mentioned that he comes across a lot of people that are disconnected from society and it is great that things like the Meander Valley Choirfest can give people the opportunity to network with others.

It was an entertaining night with an opportunity for church groups, community musical groups and the Meander Valley community to mingle together. Because of its success this year and musical groups wishing to participate again next year, we will look forward to another Choirfest in 2015!

By James Sayers

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Review Stake Conference for a limited time

Dear brothers and sisters,

Thank you for an uplifting and inspiring stake conference. Your faithfulness in attending and participating in the sessions - especially over a Father's Day weekend - was a blessing to all who were there. We hope that you felt the Lord's call to enlist in His hastening work of salvation.

We are pleased to offer a delayed broadcast of stake conference for a limited time. To access the broadcast click the "Stake Broadcast" link above or go to

We encourage you to share this link with your family and friends who live within the boundaries of the stake. Please do not post your invitation as a general status message on social media but make personal contact with those you wish to share conference with. The broadcasts will be removed on Saturday 20 September.

We look forward to an exciting and miracle-filled six months as we act upon the messages from this stake conference to deepen our faith in Jesus Christ, share the gospel with our neighbours and extend the saving ordinances of the temple to our ancestors.


The Stake Presidency

Monday, 1 September 2014

Devonport Ward enjoys a boot scootin' bush dance

Last Saturday night 30th August, Devonport Ward family and friends donned their boots, jeans and checkered shirts ready for a boot scootin’ bush dance!

We were privileged to hear musical items by Brother Tom Triffitt, James Sayers and the Primary children who played instruments and performed 2 musical numbers. Aaron Buckley courageously sang a solo of “Waltzing Matilda” and was joined by the rest of the Primary children to end with “The Church of Jesus Christ”.

The energetic atmosphere provided a night of wholesome entertainment, good company, dancing, photo booth fun, music, and yummy snacks enjoyed by one and all.

A big thanks to those who helped to make the night a success, especially our bush dance instructor Clinton Garratt, those who helped organise and decorate the hall and bake treats, and to everyone who came along to make it a fun night out.

By Aimee Sayers

Are you prepared for Stake Conference weekend?

Dear brothers and sisters,

Every six months stakes of the Church around the world gather together to be instructed and uplifted by leaders and members on the principles of the Gospel. Our stake conference is this coming weekend, 6-7 September and "we are all enlisted!"

Conference weekend will begin with the second annual Meander Valley Choirfest on Friday 5th, 7pm at the Deloraine Community Complex on Alveston Drive. This unique community event is hosted by the Church and will feature guest choirs, ensembles and soloists from around the region. A gold coin donation will be collected with proceeds going to families in crisis. We enlist your help to attend and bring your friends!

The Saturday sessions will be held at the Deloraine chapel (153 Emu Bay Road), with Priesthood Leadership at 3pm for all members of stake and ward priesthood executive committees, their counsellors and secretaries AND all Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidents, and the Hasten the Work Session at 6.30pm for all members ages 12 and over.

On Sunday at 10am at the Devonport Stake Centre (cnr. David and Young Streets, East Devonport) we will be treated to music and messages from primary children, youth and adults on the topic of how "we are all enlisted in strengthening the family." What better way to celebrate Father's Day!

Some years ago, President Eyring of the First Presidency described the gravestone of a mother and grandmother which had the following enscription, "Please, no empty chairs." Her plea to her descendents was for them to receive all of the saving ordinances and covenants of the gospel so that there would be no empty chairs in their heavenly home.

As a stake presidency, we extend this challenge to you: "Please, no empty seats!" In other words, fill up your cars with people who would be unable to attend conference without your help; fill up your homes with people who might need a place to stay over the weekend; and fill up the stake centre with people who need the messages of stake conference! We echo the Lord's promise of joy, peace and forgiveness as you accept and act upon this invitation.

We sincerely look forward to the opportunity of worshipping with you this weekend.

The Stake Presidency
Lionel Walters
Dion Triffit
Peter Buckley