Monday, November 28, 2016

Lest We Forget

We have been so busy and it is way past time to update our blog. November 11 was Remembrance Day in Canada. It is the three day school and government holiday for November. For some people it is a day for the family to get away. But there were also people who were celebrating Remembrance Day. Every Community had a Cenotaph. We enjoyed seeing how Armistice Day is observed in Canada. In the United States it is called Veteran’s Day and has parades, poppies and memorial services. School doesn’t typically get out, but there are assemblies in most schools where Veterans are assembled and honored by the student bodies. And in both Canada and the United States, it marks the 11th month, 11th day and 11th hour that ended World War II.

The word cenotaph is derived from the Greek kenos taphos, meaning "empty tomb." A cenotaph is a monument, sometimes in the form of a tomb, to a person or group of persons buried elsewhere. Ancient Greek writings tell of many cenotaphs, although none of them survives. Existing cenotaphs of this type are found in churches (for example, in Santa Croce in Florence, where there are memorials to Dante, Machiavelli, and Galileo). The term is now applied to national war memorials.

For the missionaries, November 11, was a zone conference. Some of our zone came to Grande Prairie the night before because of the distance. Those companionships who are 1 to 1.5 hours away came in the morning. We all met at the church and carpooled to the hockey arena for a Cenotaph.

We all had been wearing our poppies since November 1.

All 22 of us went to the top of the arena. 

It is not a huge arena, bleachers seat just under 3,000. The ice was covered with plywood and by the end of the ceremony the floor was frosty. The room was cold. Cold air blasted the whole time from all the vents. 

These two military men came in first and maintained this pose for the whole program, 1 3/4 hours.

They didn't move at all.

The floor filled with processions entering to the pipes and drums.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) was impressive.

The two groups in front, closest are the Canadian Beavers, Cub Scouts and Scouts.
The front groups farthest are the Canadian Brownies and Girl Guides.

The Grande Prairie Boys Choir sang Oh Canada, and that was followed by 2 minutes of silence at 11:00 A.M.

There were welcomes and prayers and someone recited Flander's Field. (It was written by a Canadian Army doctor.)

There were special musical numbers from the choir. There were 43 separate departments, groups, and organizations who were escorted by cadets with pomp and ceremony to lay their wreath on the Cenotaph. At the end about 15 families brought wreaths to be laid on 
the Cenotaph.


This is the last family placing their wreath. The entire congregation sang How Great Thou Art at the end. Then attendees could place their poppy on the Cenotaph.

Attending the Remembrance Day Memorial with the Grande Prairie Zone was such a great experience. We all grabbed a bite to eat and met at the church. President and Sister Pattison drove from Edmonton and met us at 1:00 when we started the Zone Conference. The Zone Leaders and the Sister Training Leaders gave us good training. It was good to connect with Sister Pattison again. We hadn't seen her since we arrived on July 11, at her home. 

President Pattison interviewed the 20 Elders and Sisters the rest of the afternoon and evening. We met with Pattisons at their hotel at 7am Saturday and had breakfast with them. They both enjoyed hearing about our missionary experiences so far. Next time they come, they want to meet the Dude. 

I am thankful to those who have served their country in foreign wars to maintain peace and security at home. I am thankful to those who gave their lives and for their families. I am thankful to be serving a mission in the Canada Edmonton Mission. We are having some really great experiences. A 76 year old man walked up the stairs to the top of the arena, sat on the step next to me and we talked for 15 minutes before he returned to sit with the group of veterans down on the floor. I am thankful for the letters and prayers from our family and friends to support and encourage us. We love and appreciate all of you. Jon, we are praying for the job to be your job.

Love, Mom, Grandma, Sister Brown and Robyn

Friday, November 4, 2016

From beginning to now.

The beginnings of the church in Grande Prairie.  A District was formed in the Peace River in September 1948. The first Sacrament Meeting in Grande Prairie was the following April 12, 1949. There were 22 members there, one had come from Slave Lake. Also attending were 16 missionaries and the mission president from the Western Canada Mission. The Canada Edmonton Mission was organized a couple of months later. The mission president's name was Parley A. Avery. He later became an assistant to the Twelve Apostles. President Avery presided and gave a short opening. Then he gave a dedicatory prayer for the new District and opened the meeting for testimonies. Following all the testimonies he was the concluding speaker. The meeting opened with the song, “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet” and ended with “God Be With You Till We Meet Again.” As a side note, those were the two hymns sung every Sunday thereon until December when new hymnbooks arrived on the train. One of the missionaries at that meeting was Phillip P. Sonntag who later became a member of the Quorum of the 70.

The meeting was held in a rented hall called Memorial Hall. It was across the street from the Bose Crystal Gardens (Canada Games Arena). It is now called the Revolution Center. (Home of the Storm)
Later the Church bought a piece of land and hauled in a WWll hut from the air base until construction of a building. 

The first phase of two chapels was finished in 1964. Elder Thomas Monson from the Quorum of the 12 came to Grande Prairie and Dawson Creek to check on the new buildings. He traveled from Calgary to Edmonton, Edmonton to Grande Prairie, and Grande Prairie to Dawson Creek BC and then back, on gravel roads. The headlights on the mission car, were broken by flying gravel, and had to be replaced when he first got to Edmonton, and on his way back in Grande Prairie. They were replaced a third time when he got back to Calgary, along with the windshield.

On April 12, 1998, The Grande Prairie Stake was formed by Hugh Pinnock, a member of the Quorum of the 70. The first Stake President was Lenard R. Shaw. 

The Canada Edmonton Mission was organized on 1 July 1998. During a six-province tour of Canada in July-August of that year, President Gordon B. Hinckley visited the members in Edmonton. He visited in Lethbridge on 2 August. Also, that summer, a group of Church members and others interested in historical re-enactment, began a 735 mile wagon trek from Preston, Idaho, to Cardston to memorialize the early pioneers who settled Alberta. The caravan of 14 wagons and 90 people left Preston on 10 August and arrived in Cardston on 28 September.
The Edmonton Temple was dedicated on 11-12 December 1999 by President Gordon B. Hinckley. It was one of the first smaller scale temples constructed by the Church. At the time of dedication, Church membership in Alberta numbered about 63,000. The first Church Educational System satellite fireside broadcast hosted outside the United States was held in Calgary on 7 May 2000. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve addressed the worldwide audience.

As I have said before, Elder and Sister Brown are working with the YSA for the Grande Prairie Stake. Past blogs show maps and tell about the size of this stake. There are 4 wards - Wapiti and Bear Creek in Grande Prairie, one in Dawson Creek, and one in Fort St. John. And there are 5 branches - Valley View, Fairview, High Prairie, Peace River, and High Level. A YSA group exists in Bear Creek, Wapiti, Fort St. John, and Valley View. One is being formed currently in Peace River. Keep watching for further news of YSA as it continues to happen.

Pictures from some YSA activities

YSA like to play Mafia. On this night, Sister Brown randomly pulled "vampire" from the hat, for three games in a row. It made for an interesting evening.

In September we traveled to Fort St. John Ward, 2.5 hours away and in B.C., to be with their YSA. We played volleyball and that group is good  We watched and provided the treat. The sister missionaries were there with two investigators. 

Playing Apples to Apples and  Melissa and Doug Suspend game, two YSA favorites.

The Elders came with two of their investigators. They had to get loaded up and had plenty to choose from. Nathan, one of the investigators said it is his favorite activity so far.

Board game night is always fun and challenging. The Elders came for a few minutes to check up on Scott, an investigator.

We met at the twin's home to "Make your own pizza" 18 people had a really good time. There were 3 investigators.

This night was a gym night, another favorite activity. Half of the YSA play basketball. Some of the rest play chair soccer. And, two sit and watch, a third was injured.

These three are getting ready to play the 2016 YSA Cwazy Quest. Teams from individual wards had to go different places to do stuff and send in the pictures and videos. The pictures and videos were put into a slide show and we watched the results at a YSA Stakewide party after the Saturday Adult Session of Stake Conference. Two wards and one branch had teams that played. The week everyone would have been doing the quest was really stormy which prevented two other units from getting together to play. Winter came early to Northern Alberta this year. It also affected how many YSA were at the Stake Conference.

Bear Creek Ward - reading Dr. Suess at the library.

Wapiti Ward - a stretch. Take a picture in front of a sign saying the name of your city or town.

Peace River Branch - take a picture of your team standing on a picnic table.

We watched the slideshow of the group's pictures and videos. We had refreshments and handed out prizes. A bunch of people left to go home. The remaining group played two-man games, and rotated every 5 minutes. It was a fun way to compete.

Halloween night was stormy. But we had lots of fun playing flashlight games. 

Aha!! The Relief Society sisters from the two wards in Grande Prairie joined together for Super Saturday. Sister Brown did these four crafts and helped tie a quilt. It was a fun time. Do you like our tartan tablecloth? It was made at an earlier time and I am making two tartan Christmas stockings.

We hope all of you are doing well. We are doing well. Winter makes a new change to things. We don't travel to the far reaches. We lost three hours of daylight in October. We keep busy, but also find ourselves with free time on our hands. And what should we do? We are almost finished reading Jesus the Christ. 

President Gordon B. Hinckley“This is the restored Church of Jesus Christ. We as a people are Latter-day Saints. We testify that the heavens have been opened, that the curtains have been parted, that God has spoken, and that Jesus Christ has manifested Himself. …
“God be thanked for His marvelous bestowal of testimony, authority, and doctrine associated with this, the restored Church of Jesus Christ.
“This must be our great and singular message to the world. We do not offer it with boasting. We testify in humility but with gravity and absolute sincerity” (“The Marvelous Foundation of Our Faith,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 81).

Love, Sister Brown, Robyn, Mom and Grandma