Monday, October 25, 2010

october 2010

President’s Message

     New Curriculum We are really excited about the new MTC curriculum training materials we received last July. When Preach My Gospel first came out in 2004, there was a real focus on planning; something that 19-21 year old males do not normally do well. In July, the Church issued a new eight lesson curriculum, to be implemented in the Missionary Training Centers around the world in May of 2011. So that the Missionaries who go into the mission field after it is implemented don’t arrive in Missions which are not using the teachings of the new curriculum, the Brethren are implementing the new curriculum lessons in the Mission field now.
     Lessons The lessons are wonderful. They are intended for Missionaries and they focus on several areas in which Missionaries can significantly improve their teaching effectiveness. For example, they teach the importance of the Spirit in conversion and the importance of reading the Book of Mormon, prayer, and Church attendance in an investigator receiving revelation. They focus on helping Missionaries actually teach to the needs of each investigator (this lesson is entitled, “We Teach People, Not Lessons”). They do not replace Preach My Gospel—they simply highlight parts that need improvement.

     Teaching As we’ve taught these Preach My Gospel-based lessons to our missionaries, we’ve seen real, significant improvement in their teaching and inviting skills. It is wonderful to watch. They are making a real difference. 
     Sharing Sister Nelson and I are so pleased to be here with your sons and daughters. They are an incredible group of wonderful, excited, loving young people. We love them for who they are and who they are becoming and we are so grateful to you for sharing them with us. They are a joy.
     PS. We are also very grateful to you Senior Couple families, who are sharing your parents and grandparents and (gasp) great grandparents with us. They are making such an important, incredible difference in the lives of our members, investigators, and Missionaries. More on the next update.

Random Act of Service
    A Letter of Commendation--
    Incorporated Village of New Hyde Park,
    Village Hall
The following is a letter addressed to Bishop Shaw of the Little Neck Ward regarding two of our missionaries. It was written by a passerby who happened to be on a Trustee on the board of the Village of New Hyde Park. (September 2, 2010)

Dear Bishop Shaw,
     I would like to commend the actions of Daniel Casperson and Ryan Rouch. While approaching Jerico Turnpike from Lakeville Road at 10pm Sunday night, I noticed several thousand pieces of paper littered in the street and in the municipal parking lot. Apparently, a box of labels had fallen from a truck and scattered with the wind in the area. I made a mental note to contact the Village Department of Public Works to affect a clean up in the morning.
    While waiting for the light, I observed two well dressed young men who also noticed the mess. Almost immediately, they began picking up the papers one by one. I was so impressed that they acted simply because it was something they could do to fix the problem, instead of passing by as so many others must have done before them. By the time I drove around the block, each had collected a large hand full of papers and they were still at it.

     It is rare that someone stop to pick up litter, much less collect so much. However, the amount of paper was not as impressive as the spontaneous reaction that these young men had to a situation. And while they could not pick up each and every label, the fact that they took immediate action to right a wrong seemed instinctive.
     Mr. Casperson and Mr. Rouch are obviously men of high character. They seem genuinely concerned with the greater good and unconcerned with taking credit for their labor. I would like to give them that credit and share with you an isolated and, perhaps, not so random act of good that seems to reflect a deeper quality in these two young men.
Lawrence J. Montreuil,Trustee
cc Mayor Daniel Petruccio

Elders Rouch and Casperson  

Queens College – Sociology-a Graduate Studies on Religions (Oct. 2010)
     President and Sister Nelson accompanied President Stan Kauffman, who is in charge of the Church Education System in our area, and his wife Shirley to Queens College, where he had been invited to make a presentation on Mormonism to a group of graduate students studying world religions. The presentation took about an hour. Afterwards, he opened up time for the students to ask questions. It was a very nice exchange. The purpose of the group was not to challenge, but to find out more about Mormons and our beliefs. Some of the points that were covered are as follows:
     Children We explained that we believed that we were all God’s children and that he loves us all equally, irrespective of our strengths or weaknesses.
     Wards It was explained that a ward is a congregation. The term, “ward” is an old English word that designates a geographical boundary.
     Missionaries Here in New York we have over 170 Missionaries between the ages of 19-21. They serve from 1 ½ to 2 years. They finance their own way. The clergy, etc. in our Church aren’t paid, either. President Kauffman explained that President Nelson was a retired businessman who received a three-year call to serve as a mission president. He also mentioned that many teachers in the Church Education System were volunteers.
     Prophet The question was asked—”How do you choose your prophet.? President Kauffman said simpley, “by revelation.”
      Joseph Smith and his vision We believe that the truth has been restored to the earth today. There were many reformers, Martin Luther, etc. who played a part in preparing the way, but that this is Christ’s Church, restored in these latter days by Joseph Smith, a prophet of God. The Priesthood, the authority to act in God’s name, was restored as well. We currently have a prophet at the head of the Church.
     The Godhead We believe that they are three separate beings—three separate persons, as witnessed by Joseph Smith.
     Women We were asked if women could be priests/bishops. The answer was no—it’s not that we esteem them less than men are, but they don’t hold priesthood positions.
     Tithing A couple of the women in the group had attended fast and testimony meetings the week before. They asked two questions: Why did we allow people to stand up and talk (“preach”) when they hadn’t had any formal training? They also noticed that we didn’t pass the plate for contributions. We talked to them about tithing and fast offerings. Contributions are a confidential matter between the person and the bishop.
     Nationalities President Kauffman said that we have missionaries throughout the world, and members (and missionaries) of all nationalities. We encourage members to remain in their own countries to provide leadership for the Church.
     Humanitarian Brother Kaufman also pointed out that the Mormon Church is heavily involved in relief efforts throughout the world. For example, $380 million were donated to the relief efforts over the past few years. He noted that the Mormons are always among the first to arrive.
     Same-Sex Marriage They also asked us about our stand on homosexual practices. We were very clear that we didn’t accept the practice--that it was against the commandments of God. But as children of God, we are all of equal value and he loves all of us equally—it isn’t dependent on our beliefs or practices. We don’t recognize same sex marriage. It was pointed out that a marriage between a man and a woman was ordained of God. Same sex marriage is ordained of man, not God.
     Plural Marriage The question also came up about plural marriage. We explained that although it was practiced in the late 1800’s, it is strictly forbidden. They asked us about TV and other groups that they had heard about. We explained that we really didn’t know who they were, that they weren’t a part of our Church. It was pointed out that almost all religions have splinter groups.
      Pre-Marital Relations It was added that another unique position of our Church is that we don’t believe in sexual relations before marriage, asking the group—”Who else believes that today? Nobody. We just believe differently than other people.”
     Young Mother: A student approached me (Sister Nelson) after the class. I told her that this seemed like a very interesting class and asked her why she was taking it? She said that she was looking into other religions. I believe what you are saying. It’s hard for me to say anything in my church, because they think I am closed-minded. The values aren’t constant—they keep changing—it will be too hard for my children. However, she said that she would not be able to leave the traditions of her religion (mainly believing that God and Jesus Christ are two separate beings). We said that that was fine. We don’t tell people how to believe—that that is a personal decision. I told her to start to read the Book of Mormon—two minutes each night. She said that she would.
Note. President Kauffman serves in the NYNYS Mission Presidency.


Arriving Missionaries September 2010
The “Arrivals” from the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah arrived here September, 27 and spent Monday night at the Mission Home in Port Washington. In the morning, the missionaries went to the Rego chapel in Queens for a transfer meeting where they were assigned to their new companions and area. The “Arrivals” were as follows:
     Sister                               Language
    Sister TauraLee Heiner   Spanish
    Elder Douglas Beadles    English
    Elder Scott Clement      Spanish
    Elder Kyle Finlinson        English
    Elder Daniel Hall            Spanish
    Elder Wei Yu Hsu          Mandarin
    Elder Kenneth Scott      Spanish
    Elder Gary Wilson          English
    Elder and Sister Rasmussen
     The Rasmussen will be working in Richmond Hill. Elder Rasmussen, a former bishop, will be in involved in leadership training in the Brance, CES teaching and auditing. Sister Rasmussen is a nurse by profession and will be over the medical area. One of her goals is to come up with a more comprehensive list of doctors and medical facilities that are more accessible to our missionaries. Many of them still need to go to Manhattan for their doctor appointments (we have some really great doctors there).

Departing Missionaries September 2010
On Tuesday evening, the Departing missionaries came to the Mission Home for the traditional farewell dinner and testimony meeting. In the morning beginning at 5:30 they began to leave for the airport for their return trip home. The “Departures” are as follows:
     Sister                                 Language
    Sister Lachelle Crandell   Spanish
    Elder Jihoon Kim             Korean
    Elder Pun Yui Lam          Cantonese
    Elder Kenneth Merrill       English
    Elder Juan Mijangos        Spanish
    Elder Garrett Nagaishi     English
    Elder Michael Olsen        English
    Elder Kurtis Roberts        English
Note. We now have missionaries serving in the New York South Mission from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Korea, Guatemala, Russia and Taiwan.  These are the first group of missionaries who will end their missions serving under another President.

Flu Shots
Sister Rassmusen along with Rosemary Romero, our former mission nurse, helped to arrange for flu vaccinations this year (the missionaries were not happy to hear this news). These shots were effective in cutting down the number of illnesses last year. Sister Romero has since moved to Carolina (she answered her phone while on a 100 miles bike ride). As mentioned before, Sister Rasmussen is a retired nurse.

President Gordon B. Hinckley “Every morning…, missionaries should get on their knees and speak through them to the blessings of those they will be teaching. If they will do this, a new light will come into their lives. There will be greater enthusiasm for the work. They will come to know that in a very real sense, they are servants of the Lord speaking in His behalf. They will find a different response from those they teach. As they do so by the Spirit, their investigators will respond under the influence of the same Spirit.”  (Preach My Gospel, page 94)

New York South Missionaries...