News From The Branches


Jul/Aug/Sep 2016

Blue Springs Branch

Sr. Ardyce Nordeen Reporting

Our summer months have been busy. We have had a number of our branch away for camps, reunions, and summer travel. However, we have enjoyed good fellowship and good weather here in the Center Place. In June, Daniel Klick, son of Debra and James Klick of the Blue Springs Branch, was married to Hannah Rae Winters in Odessa, Missouri.

In July, our Church family joyfully joined with three young families as they brought their babies to be blessed. One Sunday, two little cousins, Eleanor Jean Tims, daughter of Ben and Jenny Tims, and Adeline Grace Richardson, daughter of Mike and Emily Richardson, were blessed by grandfathers, High Priest Steve Tims and Elder Tom Killpack and a proud great-grandfather, Patriarch Lee Killpack. Both girls are the great-granddaughters of Lee and Karen Killpack, and they had lots of family joining with the Blue Springs Branch on that day. The following Sunday, Levi Dean Evans, son of Jacob Evans and Ashley Moore, was blessed by two of his adult cousins, High Priest Steve Tims and Patriarch Don Kite. Such joyous occasions are a blessing to all of us!

In August, we resumed our Sunday evening activities after the close of the Center Place Summer Series. Each month we try to include a hymn sing, a family fellowship, and a testimony or preaching service. The goal is to increase interest and attendance on Sunday evenings. If you are in town, please join us!

Bountiful Branch

– Sr. Annie Williams Reporting

Bountiful Branch has had a change of landscape this summer. The crop planted this year was corn and it has grown so tall that when you drive into the entrance to Bountiful, you can hardly recognize the place! We are also experiencing road improvement this summer, which will bring a smile to everyone’s face when it is finished. Brother Ralph Damon made some picnic tables that we will use for community gatherings or perhaps an outdoor class or prayer service.

This summer, we had one member enter his teen years (Kyle Williams), and one precious child turned one year old (Kevin Romer II).

We had a well-attended Bountiful Branch (and folks from other surrounding branches as well) Fourth of July party at the home of Andrew and Megan Romer. Beautiful weather, fun, fireworks, and fellowship were enjoyed by all who attended.

At the time of this writing, Kurt, Dawn, and Sariah Hoover’s home is nearly finished and they are anxiously waiting to move in. We have more new homes to be built and new members to join our little branch on the horizon. We give thanks to God for all of His blessings!

Carthage Branch

– Elder Dustin Westbay Reporting

This has been quite the busy year for us down in Carthage. In March, we lost our beloved sister, Pat Shank, and her memorial service was held in April. On May 10th, Caleb Bayless and wife Nicole welcomed their second daughter, Anna Grace Bayless. In early June, the Junior / Senior High class at the Carthage Branch held a car wash to raise funds for summer camps and other youth activities throughout the year. Jeremiah Rea attended the Senior High Camp in June, and Joshua Rea attended the Junior High Camp in July at Blackgum, Oklahoma. Both young men reported back to the branch that they had a great time and the Spirit was with them in abundance. Also in attendance at the Junior High Camp was Elder Dustin Westbay. Dustin was a counselor for the camp and taught a “Scripture Fun” class in the evenings. Sister Lea Conlee (Westbay) and her husband, Keaton, welcomed their second child on June 8, a daughter named Iris Paige Conlee. Sister Barbara Miller donated a lovely piano, in memory of her late husband Jerry Miller, to the Carthage Branch. With the year half-way over, we are looking forward to what God has in store for us.

First Branch

– Sr. Brenda Evans Reporting

This quarter’s news begins with some May activities. First Branch wants to congratulate Chandler Bryant and Katelin Bryant who graduated from Oak Grove High School in May, 2016.

Congratulations and blessings are extended to Eric and Samantha Wilson who welcomed their new baby boy, Collin, to their loving family. He was born on May 3rd, and was blessed July 24th at First Branch by Presiding Patriarch Carl VunCannon and Patriarch Leland Collins. “But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world…” Moroni 8:13

At a business meeting on May 22nd, Priest Eric Wilson and Deacon Terry Holloway accepted their calls to the office of Elder in the Melchisedec order. Their ordinations took place on May 29th during the morning worship. Brother Holloway was ordained by Bishop Kevin Romer, assisted by High Priest David Van Fleet; Brother Wilson’s ordination was administered by Bishop Dan Keleher, assisted by Presiding Patriarch Carl VunCannon, Jr.

The month of June found many First Branch members attending the Church reunions held in Iowa, Idaho, and Oklahoma. Senior High Camp was attended by campers Sarah Bass, Keilah Zahner, and Jacob Zahner.

The ordinance of baptism was witnessed at First Branch on June 12th when Christina Marie Ingram was baptized by Elder Terry Holloway, and confirmed with the baptism of the Spirit by Elder Terry Holloway, assisted by High Priest Philip Strecker. Welcome, Christina, to the fellowship of the Saints who have also made this covenant with God to repent and be obedient to His will. “And now, because of the covenant which ye have made, ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons and his daughters.” Mosiah 3:8

On June 26th, an ordinance of the “blessing of little children” took place at First Branch. Bryson VerDught, the son of Matthew and Leslie VerDught, was blessed by his grandfather, High Priest Ammon VerDught, and High Priest David Van Fleet. “Then there were brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them and pray…” Matthew 19:13 We give thanks for the love and dedication of our young parents who have brought their little children to the Lord for His blessings.

First Michigan

– Sr. Kathleen Haley Reporting

May 1 – Elder Tom Vanderwalker reminded us of the true meaning of the Communion experience.

May 15 – Although we had beautiful clear blue skies and sunshine at the branch, the Canadian members of our branch could not come because they had white-out conditions due to snow. We were sorry that they missed a very good sermon given by Priest Karl Bell. He related to us that his baggage was held up when travelling by plane because of something that was shiny in his luggage. It turned out to be the gold edges of his Scriptures. The flight attendants and everyone were very surprised. Brother Bell shared that the Father and the Son are the same – they are two personages, but are of like minds. He discussed how the Spirit of Truth enlightens everyone who comes into the world, but it is our choice what we do with that knowledge. He posed the question, “DO YOU ACT LIKE JESUS?”

June 5 – Elder Tom Vanderwalker shared from the 6th chapter of John and posed several thoughts and questions. When our physical bodies get

hungry, we have to feed them. Do our spiritual bodies get hungry too? Jesus showed us the way when He fed us the bread and the wine and explained that it represented His body given for us, and His blood that He shed for us. “This do in remembrance of me,” Jesus said (Luke 22:19). He has also given us the gospel to help feed our souls.

June 19, FATHER’S DAY – Apostle Bob Murie Jr. expressed to us that we should always honor our Heavenly Father and we need to follow Him. In the boundaries that God outlines for us, we still have a chance to use our agency. We need to always obey God.

July 3 – On this day it was shared that Satan brought sin into this world because he wanted to be above God. There are many ways to sin. Proposed food for thought was that we may not be sinners because we sin, but because we choose to sin. Sin is a violation of the laws of God.

July 17 – Elder Mark Owens told us the experience of the Centurion who had faith that Jesus Christ could heal his servant. “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith:…” Matthew 8:10. With the world conditions of today, do we have that type of faith that will see us through what is to come?

As of this writing, we are looking forward to August 20th and 21st when Elder Alex Vun Cannon will visit and share with us his study of the ancestry of the Church.

We are asking prayers for those who are on prayer lists in every branch. May our faith be strong enough to heal them all.

Sperry Branch

– Sr. Debbie Eastin Reporting

I need to begin this article with an apology and big congratulations to high school graduate Keeley Burd from Broken Arrow High School. Please accept my apology for this omission in my last article.

Our branch was blessed to have three dynamic speakers this quarter, starting with Patriarch Carl VunCannon, Jr. in May, Bishop Andrew Romer in June and Elder Denny Post in July.

June was a busy month with these highlights. The Mens’ and Womens’ Departments held a combined breakfast and Church clean-up day. Special thanks go to all who attended, cooked, cleaned and organized. On Saturday June 11th, Patrick Meledeo and Jaysie Stowe were united in marriage. That Sunday, the service began with a business meeting to present Brother Alex Tibbitts and his priesthood call to the office of teacher, which all supported.

On a sad note, long time members Bea Vickery and Judy Baldwin went on to be with the Lord. A memorial service was held on June 18th to honor both Bea and Loyd Vickery. Judy’s Funeral service was held on June 27th.

Summer would not be complete without reunions and camps. South Central States (Oklahoma) Reunion kicked off with ten people attending from our branch. Senior High Camp included five participants: Christian and Deven Dobson plus Alex and Parker Tibbitts with Cynthia Tibbitts as volunteer cook. The Junior High Camp included Parker Tibbitts and Caitlin Dobson, with Alex Tibbitts as CIT. I am confident fun was had by all!

Isolated Saints

Sister Janet Lee Kahtava of Warner Robins, Georgia, reports the passing of Tev (Teuvo) Uolevi Kahtava.  Born July 9, 1932, he passed away on April 2, 2016.  He was very active through the years as a local and district youth leader, priest, and elder.  He served as an assistant pastor for several years, pastor for seventeen years, was a district president for several years, and was sent by the district for two years each to Germfask, and Gulliver, Michigan.  He also served as a pastor to the isolated Saints upon his retirement.

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