FYI: For Your Information
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“FYI: For Your Information,” New Era, Sept. 1979, 46–48

For Your Information

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else.

—Charles Dickens

“Eagles in Action”

Doug Hymas of the Riviera Ward, Torrance California Stake, received his Eagle rank ten days after his 13th birthday—the youngest age at which a Boy Scout may qualify for this award. His Eagle project consisted of raising money for and rebuilding and repainting the Lago Seco Park recreation center offices’ tables, bulletin boards, and equipment areas. When he was named an Eagle Scout, Doug had already earned 33 merit badges and has since added seven more. In addition, he has earned the Silver Palm, the “On My Honor” award, has been senior patrol leader in his troop, and first counselor in the deacons quorum presidency of his ward.

Following President Kimball’s Challenge

by Margit Däweritz

Anyone familiar with Frankfurt, Germany, (or with most European communities, for that matter) knows how difficult it is to obtain garden space in a bustling city. Whenever ground is allocated for gardening, there are waiting lists; sometimes people wait years before a place is available for them. But as young people in the Frankfurt and Frankfurt-Hoechst Wards, Frankfurt Germany Stake, we had listened to President Kimball’s conference address, and we wanted to follow his challenge to grow at least some of our own food.

When a new telecommunications tower was built in the city, some garden areas became available, and we were able to lease a surprisingly large plot. Each person was allotted a small area to plant as he wished. The result was a hodgepodge of intermingled plantings, with seeds in lengthwise rows in one area and crosswise or diagonal rows in another. Lettuce popped up here and there, and tomato plants were scattered through the entire area. One girl even planted flowers in a circle with radishes and spinach in the center.

One of the nicest benefits of the garden, however, was the missionary work it allowed us to do. Most of us didn’t know a lot about gardening, so we asked those working nearby for advice. It didn’t take long until they found out that we’re Mormons, and we have become great friends with them through working “next door” to each other. They have shared plants with us and seem to enjoy having us around. And there is plenty of time for gospel conversations while tilling soil and hoeing weeds. We may not know much about horticulture, but we’re learning. And we’re certainly learning some lessons about sowing seeds—seeds of friendship and understanding as well as seeds for plants. We hope to continue our garden project for many years.

A Rising Talent in the South

by Peggy M. Mills

As one of only a few Mormons at the Tifton, Georgia, High School, Bill Osborne feels the challenge shared by LDS youth throughout the world. “If you are LDS, everyone knows you are different. I found out very quickly that if I stand by my commitments the other students respect me for it. They know what I’m supposed to do. And they expect me to do it.”

Bill has a lot of commitments to stand by, too. In addition to being the teachers quorum president in the Tifton Ward, Douglas Georgia Stake, Bill sings with the ward choir, participates in the roadshows and talent nights, and is saving his money for a mission. He also plays the piano and 12-string guitar, is a member of the high school a capella choir, has sung for the past few years in the Georgia All-State Chorus, and was the recipient of the first-place trophy in the Douglas Georgia Stake Music and Arts Festival. Bill keeps in good physical condition by running two miles each day. “Staying in shape not only applies to athletics, but to everything else,” Bill explained enthusiastically. “The winners are prepared.”

He has further developed his talents by participating in numerous theatrical productions at Tifton Junior College. These have included Peter Pan, Annabelle Broom, the Unhappy Witch, and Fiddler on the Roof.

“As I participate in competitive situations, I find that my determination comes from the love and testimony I have for the Church,” said Bill. “I thoroughly enjoy singing with the All-State Chorus, but there is a different, special feeling that comes from singing with the ward choir. I always plan to do what my Heavenly Father wants me to do. His work will come first,” Bill stated.

“This Is the House the Priests Built …”

Members of the Palo Alto First Ward, Menlo Park California Stake, watched in anticipation as a three-bedroom, two-bath, fully-carpeted home on Eighth Avenue was built last summer. Complete with a sun deck protected by overhanging oak boughs, the house is like many others in the region except for one thing—it was built, and then sold, by the priests quorum in the Palo Alto First Ward.

The project was undertaken with a fourfold goal in mind: (1) to strengthen quorum brotherhood, (2) to put the principle of work into action, (3) to raise money for a special summer activity, and (4) to prepare for missionary service. A year’s worth of work went into the planning, construction, and selling of “the House.” After paying off the loan and other expenses incurred in the project, the quorum made a profit of $10,000. Eighty percent of this went into a missionary trust fund for quorum members, ten percent was divided among the members, and ten percent went into a fund to finance quorum activities.

Each member of the quorum had specific tasks for which he was responsible. Some of these included lot acquisition, demolition, carpenter foreman, payroll and accounting, shingling, electrical work, heating, sheet metal work, plumbing, and interior design and color coordination. The quorum was assisted by members of the teachers quorum and four nonmembers who are now actively participating in and/or investigating the Church and its programs. Adviser for the entire project was Young Men president and priests quorum adviser Dick Jacobsen.

An Adventure in Canoeing—New Zealand Style

by Mark Reed

After much study and two days practice on a small river, our teachers quorum was ready for the big event of our summer—a canoe trip down the Waitara River! Our plans were to cover about 35 miles with at least 50 rapids of varying length and turbulence during the two-day trip.

When the day came for departure, the four of us met at our adviser’s home with life jackets, crash helmets, sneakers, and small waterproof packs that contained our food, utensils, and tents. We launched about 10:00 A.M. and spent the next two hours in hard, solid paddling. After a lunch break, however, we began meeting the rapids. At first this was a little scary, but we soon found that we could maneuver the canoes quite easily in and out among the big rocks, away from huge fallen trees and into the best channels of the fast-flowing, mud-colored river. The beautiful and ever-changing landscape added to the thrill of the trip. One minute we were dwarfed in a magnificent canyon with huge towering and overhanging cliffs and waterfalls and in the next instant we had shot out into the serenity of rolling, bush-clad country.

Around 5:00 P.M. it began to rain, so we decided to stop for the evening and make camp. We soon had a roaring fire going that dried our wet clothing and provided heat to cook a scrumptious meal. By then the day’s paddling had taken its toll, so after group prayer, we dragged ourselves off to our sleeping bags.

The next day’s journey was exciting, colorful, and unforgettable—but ended too soon. As we progressed down the widening, winding course of the river and saw farmland ahead, we knew that the tough job of guiding these little crafts along the river with its pleasures, dangers, thrills, and excitement would soon be over. And it was. But our shared memories, strengthened friendships, and increased testimonies had made the trip something we would always remember. (We are members of the New Plymouth Branch, New Plymouth District in the New Zealand Wellington Mission.)

Mormons Making Mention

Art by Dwane Cude

If there were a Church version of “What’s My Line,” Beehive Susan Cowley of the Westwood Second Ward, Los Angeles California Stake, might well stump the panel of experts. Susan has had the unusual Church calling of ward calligrapher for over a year. Her duties consist of inscribing baptismal, confirmation, and ordination certificates, writing invitations to ward functions, and doing special lettering projects upon request from the bishopric. She learned her skill in school where she was motivated by a quotation from the Chinese calligrapher Tseng Yu-Ho: “Calligraphy is the most direct form of all artistic expression. Just as each movement of the dancer is absolute, so every gesture of the calligrapher is essential.”