News from the Branches

Volume 18, Number 4, Oct/Nov/Dec 2017, Issue 73

Ava Branch – Apostle Terry Patience Reporting

When Ava’s branch president, Elder R.J. Mendel, refinished the basement of the Ava Branch years back, he hoped  that it would someday be of use to the church. However, health and financial issues halted the progress just shy of completion. He did a wonderful job, however, which made it possible for others to continue the work. A
few work days were scheduled and held in Ava in late August. Frank and Frances Potter and their daughter, Rhonda, began the work by painting and making one of the bedrooms comfortable for guests. With donations of furniture, bedding, and lamps (thanks to Jeri Madden, Jonna Patterson, and the Clothes Closet), plus some left-over paint from the headquarters building, Frank, Rhonda, and Terry and Cindy Patience worked together to make it habitable. Because Ralph Damon loaned them his truck, they were able to get the donations to Ava; and thanks to Frances, all were well fed. Six rooms, including a kitchenette/dining/living area, two bedrooms, two shower rooms, and two half-baths have been painted, shined up, and partially decorated foruse by the many priesthood members and spouses who visit Ava to provide missionary support and ministry.

Through Frank’s planning efforts, the branch was blessed to have the ministry of the Scott and Harrington families on the first weekend in October. These two
families comprise the gospel singing group, Echo. They performed outdoors on a trailer bed for members of the community. The weather was wonderful, and the night was filled with joyful music as we watched this dedicated, well disciplined, and honed group offer their talents and ministry for Christ. Though advertised well, the turnout at the Saturday night performance was not as expected. Those who did attend were greatly blessed, and the homes around the area were also blessed by the music as it filled several blocks in each direction with amplified joy. Who can measure the success of such an effort? The next day we were uplifted again by a prayer service followed by a communion service with an address given by Elder Will Jobe, and beautiful, worshipful music offered by Echo and Elbert Rogers. Prayers continue for Brother Mendel and his family as they have suffered many illnesses and losses in the past year and also for Sister Potter in her recuperation. Her quiet support of Frank and his work with the church is appreciated.

Blackgum Branch - Gail Kightlinger Reporting

The Blackgum Branch has received many blessings.

Sister Yevonne McEver has been working with our children and teaching them new songs. They are very eager to learn. Sister Charlotte Jamison took a few children to the “Pumpkin Patch” where they enjoyed hayrides and food, and even brought home pumpkins, including some for children who were not able to go. She is such an angel to so many. Her passion is to give and to make others happy. We are very blessed to have her in our branch. Plus, she also has the voice of an angel.

The South Central District Women’s Retreat was held here at Blackgum in October. Patriarch Leland Collins preached a beautiful sermon on Sunday. Everyone was
blessed. We are so thankful when we have visitors from other branches.

God bless everyone.

Blue Springs Branch – Ardyce Nordeen Reporting

The Blue Springs Branch has had a very busy autumn season, and we, with all of you, look forward to the opportunities and adventures in the new year!

In September, we enjoyed our annual Church School Recognition Day as our children received recognition for their participation in the past year and were assigned to their Church School classes for the coming year. In our Worship Notes program, we give points to those who attend classes and worship services and who turn in their Worship Notes each Sunday. A total of 600 points or more earns the child a special reward. This year, we awarded a bound three-in-one Scripture set, with their name engraved on the cover, to Isabel Sisk and Jacob Baugh. There were five children and youth who also had the 600 points but had earned their Scriptures last year, so this year they were
each awarded a Hymnal of the Remnant Saints with their name engraved on the cover. Those five were: Andrew VunCannon, Jared Martens, Leah Martens, Piper Erickson, and Elizabeth Purvis. We are proud of all our young people and their families.

Just a week later, Blue Springs Branch hosted a five-night evangelism preaching series sponsored by the Order of Patriarchs. The theme for the series was,“Jesus Christ and His Church---Why?” We had good attendance for each night and shared in wonderful, Spirit-filled ministry from the five men who spoke. Patriarch Ralph Damon spoke on Monday evening on the theme, “To Provide the World the Way, the Truth, the Life: Jesus.” Tuesday night, Patriarch Donald Kite brought the message, “Proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God as Given Through Revelation.” High Priest Austin Purvis spoke on Wednesday night and centered his thoughts on “Gathering and Preparing a People to Establish the Kingdom of God on Earth.” Patriarch Dennis Evans was the Thursday evening speaker, and his theme was “To Express God’s Desire for His Children’s Immortality and Eternal Life.” Presiding Patriarch Carl VunCannon, Jr., spoke on the final evening in a sermon titled, “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God.” That evening was closed with a time of refreshments and fellowship. It was an exhilarating week!

Our other branch news includes some changes among our members. Michael and Stephanie Durant remain on our branch rolls, but are moving now with Michael’s
Air Force assignments. We keep them in our prayers and look forward to the times they can be “home.”

One of our young deacons was married in an autumn wedding. Dustin Houchen and Kaitlyn Meador were united in marriage on September 24, 2017. Patriarch
Donald Kite performed the sacrament of marriage for them.

Two new baby boys have joined families in our branch this fall. Jeff and Brandy Lascoe welcomed Malcolm Dakota, who was born on August 9, 2017. Malcolm was blessed by Patriarch Carl VunCannon, Jr., and Apostle Donald Burnett in a service on October 15th. It was an exciting day for all of us, but especially for the Lascoe-Erickson-VanMeter-Blanton family! Hudson Alexander Klick was born to Danny and Hannah Klick on September 30, 2017. He is welcomed by a large,extended family in our congregation, also, including his grandmother, Debbie Klick, and his greatgrandmother, Myrna Williams.

Two couples in our branch have moved into assisted living centers recently. Bill and Agie McCurry are now living at The Groves in Independence, and Lane and Ruth Harold are living at Benton House in Blue Springs. While their participation in our activities is somewhat more limited, we still look forward to having them with us as much as possible.

Our women’s study classes, using materials prepared by the Women’s Council, are off to a good start. We have a class each month, taught by different women each time. We are enjoying learning and growing together.

Our end of the year greetings go to all our brothers and sisters throughout the church and around the world. May God bless us in the new year to do his will and build his kingdom!

Bountiful Branch – Annie Williams Reporting

Bountiful Branch has had a busy summer with many of us attending reunions and youth camps. Experiencing the Spirit in those places gave us a joy we brought back and shared with our branch.

We came together as a branch for an ice cream social at the end of July. A few members brought homemade ice cream, and the rest supplied the toppings. We played a few games and had a lot of fun and fellowship.

If you go by Jerry and Barb Sherer’s house on a Wednesday afternoon, you will be blessed by the sound of music! Every Wednesday afternoon, the children of
Bountiful meet at the Sherer’s to sing and fellowship. A great time is had by all!

The women of Bountiful have started attending a monthly study class. It is a blessing to get together and be of one heart and mind in our studies. It is great
getting some new insights from the study book and each other.

Trevor and Allie Purvis’ house is coming along in the building process, and we are all excited for when our newest family will be able to move in!

The branch’s new church building is also moving along. We broke ground on October 19th. Bountiful cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for us this
fall and winter!

Carthage Branch - Elder David Tevebaugh Reporting

On August 13th, many of us traveled to Ava, Missouri, to fellowship with their branch and share the Lord’s word. On the 20th, Patriarch Ralph Damon led us in a discussion during class time, and a wonderful sermon followed. Brother Ralph and Sister Marci joined us in fellowship and potluck afterwards. We missed Barbara Miller and her daughter, Patricia, who were on an Alaskan cruise and had a great time.

September began with Elder Will Jobe bringing us the sacrament message; he made us think about what it really means to “give all.” The next Sunday, September
10th, District President Elbert Rogers and his wonderful wife, Coral, surprised us with a visit. After hearing a short, but powerful message from Elder Ron Westbay, Brother Elbert shared some thoughts and challenges. Coral played the piano for us, and we had fellowship over lunch afterwards. The September 17th services were canceled, and the Lord allowed Elder Ron and Jeannette Westbay, Deacon Scott and Debbie Michael, and Beverly and me to attend the South Central District Conference in Rogers, Arkansas! Many great prayers and testimonies were shared by members of the South Central District branches, and we heard many great speakers! President Jim Vun Cannon presented the sermon. Great food and fellowship followed. Many thanks to the Rogers Branch for hosting. I attended the Branch President’s meeting at Church Headquarters on the 23rd. The Lord truly blessed us with spiritual experiences and enlightenment as we joined in “One Endeavor.” September concluded as Patriarch Ernie Shank challenged us on the 24th to spend more time with our Scriptures, to be prepared to bear testimony and prayers on the upcoming sacrament Sunday, and
to show the world we are Remnant saints.

Many thanks to Apostle Don Burnett, and everyone involved, for providing copies of the Book of Mormon for Elder Charles Palmer to distribute! Even though
home-bound, he spreads the Lord’s word to all who will listen.

Fall arrived, and we witnessed God’s beauty as the trees went through their changes. I was able to attend the October Priesthood Assembly with Deacon Scott Michael. In Saturday’s class on personal communication styles, I learned that my wife has been correct all these years; I am hard to communicate with! October 15th, Apostle Terry Patience was scheduled to speak but was called elsewhere. To our surprise, Elder Charles Palmer came for class. He gave a wonderful sermon. I am sure his doctor did not approve, but when the Lord said, “Go and speak,” Brother Palmer did so.

We ask everyone to give special prayers for our priesthood, as the devil is working overtime trying to find a small crack in our armor. Even after being ordained, we are only human. Some of our priesthood should read Doctrine and Covenants R-158:5a and get back to the Lord’s work as we move forward toward Zion.

God bless you all. We look forward to being together again.

Center Branch – Cindy Patience Reporting

Zion is shining at Center Branch. The building is looking squeaky clean in recent weeks as many of the members have met for two Saturday morning sessions to clean, straighten, dust, repair, and decorate their church home. Their efforts are greatly appreciated.

September was a busy month for Center as the children and youth of the Center Church School department, under the direction of their teachers, presented a wonderful service for the branch during the church school hour. The Women’s Department has also started a monthly study course prepared by the Women’s Council called Gifts and Talents. We welcomed the Faulk family into our branch as well. The young women welcomed Laina with open arms as we did her parents, Kevin and Theresa. A movie night was held one Sunday evening in September as well. The movie shown was A Case for Christ, a true story about a man who, through his thorough investigation of the facts surrounding Christ’s life, became a believer.

On a sad note, we were sorry to lose our dear sister, Pat Gilliam, in September. Her loving and sweet nature will be greatly missed by all of us, especially by her good husband, Verne Gilliam, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Pat was a great blessing to her family and offered much ministry to our branch with her gentle, kind, and giving spirit. She will be missed.

Prayers continue for our branch president, High Priest Bill Derr, and his helpmate, Connie, as he has recently endured a series of surgeries. His condition has been
very serious and has weakened him considerably. We pray for his healing and his comfort.

News from First Branch – Brenda Evans Reporting

First Branch continues the uplifting program of testimonies of life experiences on one Sunday evening every other month. This has been a great opportunity to know our
members better as well as to receive their ministry. In August, Dan Keleher, Kay Van Fleet, Ken Byrd, Tiffany Terry, Roger Schuelke, and Esther Paris witnessed to the branch on the theme, “We Walk in Faith.” In October, the theme was “What Changed My Life.” Ammon Ver Dught, Glennis Bryant, Tyler Kreutner, Beckie Hogan, Christy Mercer, and Dennis King brought the spirit of humility and devotion to the branch as they shared their experiences with the Lord.

The preaching ministry has also elevated the spiritual experiences of First Branch. In September, the morning ministry was delivered by Seventy Will Baker, President Fred Larsen, High Priest Corwyn Mercer, and Patriarch Leland Collins. Apostle Terry Patience was a guest minister for a September Sunday evening. The October schedule included Elder Wayne Bartrow, President Jim Vun Cannon, Apostle Don Burnett, and High Priest Joe Bryant. The dedication, humility, and sincerity are evident to the people when men of God magnify their calling.

On the first Sunday of the month, all children are invited to attend Junior Church. This is a well-received program. They are now studying and practicing the
virtue of “kindness.” The Church School children are practicing for the December 10th Christmas program. Classes for prekindergarten and kindergarten are taught by Esther Paris. Linda Burnett teaches the primary class. Deb Schuelke and Beckie Hogan teach the junior class. Pre-baptismal class is taught by High Priest Ammon
VerDught.

Elder Wayne Drosche passed away on September 29th. He had lived in a nursing home for several years and was unable to attend church but will be remembered
for his friendly smile and his steadfast faith. His wife, Maurine, preceded him in death last April. They had gathered to the Center Place from Marlin, Texas, where Maurine’s brother, Patriarch Arthur Allen, continues to reside. “I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thylaw is within my heart” (Psalms 40:8).

Sister Karen Blakeney’s husband, Ronnie, passed away on October 22nd. Ronnie was a decorated Vietnam Veteran, an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed watching sports. His example of determination and courage live on in his two daughters, eleven grandchildren, and all those who were close to him. A memorial service was held at the branch on Sunday, November 5th and burial with military honors occurred the next day at the Missouri State Veterans Cemetery in Higginsville,Missouri. “Then it shall come to pass that the spirits of those who are righteous, are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise; a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles, and from all care, and sorrow” (Alma 19:44).

First Michigan Branch – Kathleen Haley Reporting

At our August 6th communion service several different testimonies were given. Elder Jim Malmgren told of his experiences at Geneseo Reunion, including the baptisms of
six young ladies, which included his granddaughter, Anastasia (Ana) Foss. During the Aaronic Moments, Priest Karl Bell told of his experiences on the death of a very dear
friend. Deacon Tim Edwards explained how his life has changed since he and his wife, Barbara, joined the Remnant Church. It was a very Spirit-filled service.

When Apostle Robert Murie, Jr., arrived at church on August 20th, he was not feeling well. Instead of teaching Church School, he asked for prayers from the branch for himself. Elder Tom Vanderwalker administered to him, and we had a prayer service on his behalf. We all have great faith in God’s healing power. God heard us and blessed Bob, who was feeling much better by the end of church. In his sermon, Priest Karl Bell spoke about the great faith we need when living in this totally confused world of today. No matter what happens - God is still in charge.

On September 3rd, Deacon Tim Edwards reminded us, in his Aaronic Moments remarks, to continually praise God for all things. Elder Tom Vanderwalker, in his communion address, explained how we need earthly food to keep our bodies strong and healthy. We also need the bread and wine of communion to strengthen our spiritual bodies. He quoted Matthew 26:22-23, Mark 14:20-22, and Luke 22:17-20.

September 17th was a very special day. Newly baptized Ana Foss was confirmed by her great-uncle, Apostle Robert Murie, Jr., and her grandfather, Elder James Malmgren. The communion was served to her and those present who missed communion on September 3rd. It was a very Spirit-filled service. After our service, we sang “Happy Birthday” to Tim Edwards. His wife, Barbara, brought a cake, and his two grandsons lit the candles that read “72.”

In the Aaronic Moments on October 1st, Deacon Tim Edwards let us know that God wants to work through us to produce good works, and we must always display the good works of the gospel. Priest Karl Bell, in his communion address, brought to our attention the “tender mercies” that are spoken of in Psalm 69:16 and 1 Nephi 1:23. These can be the thoughts or ideas that the Lord puts into our minds as a reminder or warning of upcoming situations or events. It is our choice to heed them or not. Thank you Lord for your direction.

The sick are always with us, and in this day and time many are also in mourning. We need to always remember them in prayer.

Thank you Lord for all the blessings of life you have given us. May we always be worthy to walk by your side. In your Son’s name, Amen.

Marlin Branch – Patriarch Ralph Damon Reporting

Over the past several years, the saints in Marlin, Texas, have gathered together in October to celebrate the ongoing ministry that the church has provided to that community and the north-central Texas area. For years longer than anyone can remember, this small community has benefited from the presence of the Restoration as a vital part of its spiritual life.  The year 2017 finds this small branch celebraing 130 years of continuous ministry, a remarkable feat when its struggles and trials are taken into account.

Over the past twenty years or so, a large number of its members have come to the Center Place and established their homes here. They bring with them their testimonies
of the quality and power of the ministry that the Marlin Branch provided to them during their years there. But as members left, it became increasingly difficult to replace them with new members, and the small branch slowly found its attendance dwindling and a shortage of priesthood leadership. Today, it is not uncommon to find only three or four members in attendance on a Sunday morning.

However, with the combined support of Presiding Elder Richard Hoover and Patriarch Arthur Allen, it may be that year 130 in the life of this branch will find new energy and life developing in Marlin. October 22, 2017, found this small group walking into their new worship center in the heart of Marlin. Having sold the building where they previously worshipped, they moved directly across the street into a very adequate building that will provide room for expansion, as well as an open and conducive environment to gather together on Sundays. On this day, nineteen members and guests welcomed each other and sat under the ministry of Patriarch Ralph Damon. This included family and friends of members who had also helped on Saturday to move the furniture and fixtures into the new worship center for the Sunday service.

Some of those who attended this special service were family members of Jamar Hayes who was recently baptized by Apostle Roger Tracy. We welcome him and his family into the fellowship of the church and hope that his influence with family and friends will open the doors of an even greater expansion of ministry in Marlin. Conversations are ongoing regarding an outreach ministry in Marlin, Waco, and Austin to determine the potential of growing the church in that geographical area.

Rogers Branch - Laura Minardi Reporting

Greetings from the Rogers Branch! We have been a busy bunch!

Jim and Lucy Minardi welcomed their third grandchild the end of May. He is a healthy baby boy, named Calvin, born to AJ and Bonnie Minardi. Calvin was blessed at the Rogers Branch over the summer.

The Minardi family and Norma Billings enjoyed a mountain vacation out in Colorado in June. They were able to visit family in Colorado, as well. Bev and Robert Parrish enjoyed a beach vacation in Florida and also visited Gatlinburg, Tennessee! Chuck and Sharon Petentler also enjoyed an extended vacation.

We have enjoyed several guest ministers, including Patriarch Ralph Damon. As always, we enjoy hearing God’s word from guest ministers. In September, the Rogers Branch had the privilege of hosting the South Central District Conference and worship service. We had about fifty to seventy-five saints in attendance from the Carthage, Rogers, Sperry, and Ava branches. The Spirit was definitely present and felt by all. Tara Hartman, Nita Cook, and Helen Atkins all were able to attend the South Central District Women’s Retreat held at the Blackgum Campgrounds.

Sperry Branch - Patti Jobe Reporting

The last of summer and autumn has passed quickly for the Sperry Branch.

In July, we witnessed a joyful occasion when ninety year-old Norma Farmer, mother of Coral Rogers, was baptized and confirmed.

Vacation Church School was enjoyed during the evenings of July 31st to August 4th for adults and children alike. Several area non-members attended. The theme was “Be Busy for God.”

Teacher Alex Tibbitts celebrated his high school graduation with a party at the church on August 12th.

On September 24th, we were blessed with visiting ministry from Seventy Darrin Moore and his wife, Melody. As always, our potluck dinner and fellowship were wonderful!

Members and priesthood attended the Women’s Retreat and Priesthood Assembly in Independence the weekend of October 6th to the 8th.

On October 22nd, we had a potluck and wedding shower for Megan Crank and John Christianson. Megan is the daughter of Jim and Karen Crank. Their wedding was
November 11, 2017.

We look forward to the Thanksgiving season and enjoying the annual dinner at the church.

The number of those suffering from illness, injury, and cancer has been very high lately. We would ask for prayers and blessings for them and their families.