Carol Adams, Former Police Officer and Founder of the Carol Adams Foundation, partnered with members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to help provide resources for the Carol Adams Foundation. 75 Church members of all ages gathered together on Saturday, June 8 and packed 212 hygiene packs, 68 art kits, and created 122 cards for kids of all ages who participate in her programs.
The Carol Adams Foundation started with a mission to aid women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Providing a safe place for women and children is something of dire importance to Adams since she, herself, had been impacted by domestic violence in her childhood, and has witnessed the effects of violence as a police officer. “At critical times … when someone is ready to make a move, we need to be there to help them.” says Adams. “Life happens, like it happened to me, but that does not mean you stop living.”
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were visibly moved by the words spoken by Carol Adams. Domestic violence has become more and more of a growing concern in many of our communities. The Carol Adams Foundation started the movement “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” to lead the way on the crusade to reduce domestic violence and provide a foundation for many affected by it. Adams has a strong personal testimony of her mission to serve others, which is something members of the Church can relate to as they strive to share with their communities how they can better follow Jesus Christ.
“God created us all with a mission, we need to be out and be about it.” says Adams. She sees her mission, and the mission of all mankind, as helping our brothers and sisters on this earth in any way possible. The Carol Adams Foundation is always looking for volunteers to help the organization reach more people in the community. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are looking forward to volunteering with The Carol Adams Foundation this summer and throughout the rest of the year.
For volunteer opportunities with The Carol Adams Foundation, contact them through their website or at HandOnRVA.org.
-Tarell Cisneros-Harrison is a member of the Chippenham YSA Ward where he was baptized just over a year ago. Today he serves as both a Ward Missionary and Public Affairs Specialist over Media and Social Media for the Richmond Virginia Midlothian Stake.
To a high school student, waking up early every weekday to attend a scripture study class before school might seem crazy, but that is exactly what teenage members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do. Why? Here’s what some local senior seminary students have to say:
Anni- “At first I thought, ‘it’s like another church meeting’, but it’s fun to be here and it’s a good start to your day.”
Zenobia- “A lot of kids worry about friends that they are going to have and seminary is definitely the place where you are going to have friends. These are kids you basically grow up with everyday, see them every morning.”
Hannah- “I think it just helps because we are all here. We can learn and read our scriptures on our own but it’s cool to get different people’s opinions and ideas because everyone sees things from their own life experience.”
Dalia- “You generally don’t think it’s a big deal when you first start out as a freshman. As I’ve gotten older, waking up one hour earlier than everybody else seems like the worst thing in the world. So it’s kind of like a game of what matters more to you.”
Tessa- “I definitely see a difference when I don’t come to seminary”
Most of these seniors have been attending seminary together for the past 4 years, but it doesn’t take long for a group of teenagers who sacrifice sleep for something important to bond with each other. Patricia told me “I started coming to town when I was a junior. Before that, my mom taught seminary at my home and there were only 2 other students. We learned a lot, for sure, but with a bigger group you make more connections with their stories and different things.”
The day I visited, class starts off at 7:10am with a video introduction addressing the question “what happens to us when we die?” (Doctrine & Covenants 138). Students trickled in until the seats were mostly filled. Their teacher, Sister Sandy Willis, reads scriptures and starts discussions with her students, then ends with her testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ.
Sister Willis, in her 4th year of teaching, occasionally invites her students to teach lessons. One of the students, Patricia, said “Sometimes we’re going to focus on things that seem important to us and skim over the stuff that doesn’t seem to apply to us.” Sister Willis said, “When they teach, it’s amazing to watch. They bring out the best in each other which helps to invite the Spirit into the classroom. I wish you could hear one of their lessons.” At 8:00am class is over and the students go straight to High School, either Godwin, Freeman, Deep Run, Tucker, Glen Allen or home school.
Speaking about what they’ll miss after graduation, Jacob said “The food, and being all together.” The students receive grades for the scripture class based on attendance, required reading, and test scores. Students who go above and beyond receive a special award at the graduation ceremony on June 9th. But the thing these students are most proud of? Waking up in time to make it there, day after day. At least most of the time, and mostly awake.
To find out more about seminary, visit www.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
“Whether you attend a Church school or not, whether you attend college or not, do not think that you are too busy to study the gospel. Seminary, institute, or religion classes will provide balance to your life.” - Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
-Jen Haines is a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and mother of four, one of which started seminary last fall as a freshman in high school.
At the end of March, Elder Dudley of the North America Northeast Area Authority met with Rev. Chandler, President of the Virginia NAACP conference, along with local Stake leaders and church members and local NAACP branch leaders. They enjoyed a breakfast at the Grace Street Chapel of the Richmond Branch, listened to speeches given by Elder Dudley and Rev. Chandler, watched inspiring videos, and engaged in conversations between the two groups. Brother Stuart Scott, who organized the event, reported that quite a few people had their hearts and attitudes changed and both sides left that morning feeling like they could work well together.
The theme "Good Faith Through Service" was inspired by The First Presidency’s meeting with national leaders of the NAACP in Salt Lake City in May of 2018 where Pres. Nelson said “Together we invite all people, organizations and governmental units to work with greater civility, eliminating prejudice of all kinds and focusing more on the many areas and interests that we all have in common.”
*You can find more information about the Church’s efforts to promote greater civility and mutual respect among all of God’s children HERE.
*More information about the Virginia Conference of the NAACP can be found HERE.
Elder Tayler Katoa and Elder Justin Jennings of the Virginia Richmond Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sat on my sofa, smartphones in hand, talking with my family about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, sharing scripture passages, and offering an occasional inspirational video. The Elders (a title indicating their Priesthood ordination and role in the Church) have been regular dinner-time visitors in our home for over two decades. Before Elder Katoa and Elder Jennings were Elder Salisbury, Elder Anderson, Elder White, Elder Brown, Sister Pugmire, Sister Thompson, Sister … the list goes on and on and on. Every few months a new missionary would pass through, as a familiar one would move on to another area or return to their home. Sometimes it would be us that moved on to a new location. Yet, on a regular basis, no matter where we were or who we were with, we would receive regular visits from these young men and young women with a Divine message.
Their backgrounds are varied. Some grew up with wealth and affluence. Others grew up in families that struggled from paycheck to paycheck. Their parents were married, or divorced. Some had the support of their families, others did not. No matter their background, no matter their experiences, they all chose to give 18 months to 2 years of their lives to teaching and preaching of Jesus Christ somewhere in the world - often away from home.
Elder Katoa, for instance, left his spot on the University of Southern California (USC) football team to come to the Richmond area and spend his days reaching out and serving people he had never known or met before and telling them what he knows of Jesus Christ and His Restored Gospel. When his two year mission is complete, Elder Katoa will return to USC to play football, if he chooses. The spot on the team is still awaiting him. But as he sits on my sofa, his football career is not discussed. That is a world he has left behind for the moment, because there is something more important for him to talk about right now … his testimony that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior of the world.
Likewise, Elder Jennings left his studies at Brigham Young University (BYU). As he teaches my family about keeping the Sabbath day holy or about taking care of the bodies that God has given us, he leaves no trace of his life as a Judoka and wrestler, Valedictorian, or Eagle Scout. In fact, to learn these facts about his life I had to do some research on my own, because those things are secondary to his mission. They are secondary to sharing what he knows and loves about the Gospel with people who need it, and even those who might reject it.
Elder Salisbury has a baseball scholarship on hold. Sister Weloth missed her sister. One Elder had a significant stutter, but he had words he wanted, he needed, to speak; so he served a mission. He served like they all serve, out of a love for God and for their fellow men.
We do not just have missionaries serving in this area. We have missionaries serving from this area, too. In the Midlothian area alone, there are 18 missionaries currently serving. That number shifts and changes through time as new missionaries leave and experienced missionaries return home. Their stories are varied, as well. One young man serving from our area lost his little brother a year before he left to serve his mission. One young sister learned that her mother was hospitalized with a serious health condition while she, herself, was serving across the world in Russia. One family I know of has a son on a mission who is struggling to learn two new languages, while back at home the father of the family lost his job and the whole family struggled to stay afloat. But at the core of each of these stories is a deep and abiding faith in Christ.
Elder Truman Murray currently serving in the Brazil Piracicaba Mission from RVA told me, “Everyone experiences many trials and tribulations, no matter if you´re a member or serving a mission or what. That´s life! But there is a lesson to be learned or a person to help through every challenge.”
Elder Kye Nuffer, serving in the California Rancho Cucamunga Mission from RVA, told me: “I know in life our Father in Heaven needs (us) to be a light for others, to lead out of darkness to witness of our Heavenly Father’s love.”
These sentiments are echoed in the voices of missionaries throughout the world. They feel a duty to serve the Lord and teach the doctrines that have shaped and blessed their lives. My own daughter, Catherine, served an eighteen month mission in Nebraska and she has three brothers preparing to serve missions in the future. They feel, as she felt, a call to act on and share their faith.
If you are interested in learning more about what these young men and young women are teaching, or if you are interested in talking to these Elders and Sisters to learn for yourself why nearly 66,000 of them are serving throughout the world right now, visit www.comeuntochrist.org .
-Elizabeth S. Stiles
Cancer always happens to other people. When you are 67 and fit – playing tennis every Saturday, training for a 5K, taking 20-mile bike rides – it’s the last thing you expect a doctor to say when you think you simply have a bad cough. Lee Warnick found himself in that situation in August of 2017. Within hours of going to Patient First thinking he might have pneumonia, Lee and his wife Kim found themselves at the hospital. When an oncologist came into the ER talking about necrotic tissue, the reality struck. This time it wasn’t happening to someone else.
Through the ups and downs of treatment, failed treatment, worsening symptoms, and more, Lee understood that there is a plan for each of us. He came here to earth to receive a body, to learn gospel truths, to walk by faith and to ultimately return to his heavenly home, through the grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He and his wife built a strong family through the principles and ordinances available in the Church.
Lee’s life of service to the community and, most importantly, his honorable role as a father and husband were successful and significant because of the principles and truths he learned as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His family knows they will see him again. Meanwhile, they work to follow Lee’s example to build the Lord’s kingdom on earth, to share the truths that enrich their lives with others, and to serve and honor their Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ.
If you or someone you know has a uplifting story or thought to share, please contact us at jenhaines@LDSPublicAffairs.org
When my husband first left, I had three young toddlers, ages two and one (twins). I found a job as a clerk-typist making $12,000 a year. Each month I would turn in my tithing check for $100 and the bishop would give me two checks in return – one for the rent, the other for the more than $600 daycare bill for the boys. Everything else was my responsibility. I had only been a member of the church for 6 years, and this support has cinched my testimony of tithing ever since. Eventually I was able to work up to a position where I could meet all my family’s need myself, but it was never with much breathing room. Always living on the edge of financial disaster made me very uncertain of my real worth. The biggest challenge was that the twins were not able to take on full-time jobs when they graduated from school, and I never saw them as real resources in providing for the family, although as adults their financial needs had increased. For years I’ve watched my finances with the real fear that a single crisis would push us over the edge.
When we had the opportunity this year to take one of the self-reliance programs, I knew it was something that we should do, but I didn’t have any real faith that it could make a difference in our family’s circumstances. So my niece (who lives with us now) the younger of the twins, and I joined a self-reliance group for the 12-week program. It started out with information and counsel that I already felt familiar with, so I sat back expecting to easily cruise through.
And then we came to budgeting. Although the program stressed the necessity of budgeting to gain control of family expenses, I found I completely lacked any faith in my ability to create and manage a budget. There had been numerous attempts over the years but all had fizzled out. The self-reliance program provided the information, structure, and support I needed to commit to tackling a budget again. This time, with the support of a caring facilitator, genuinely concerned group members, and a commitment to seek the Lord as we proceeded, we, as a family, have come into a new place where the boys are genuinely interested in how the family’s finances are progressing, and have stepped up to the challenge of assisting financially in ways I had never thought possible. In the two or three months since participating in this program I have gained real confidence in the family’s ability to provide for itself – not just me carrying it. The budget gets maintained almost daily by one of the twins, and we’ve set goals and action plans in place to do things that have always felt out of reach.
As usual, the Lord’s challenge to “prove me now herewith” Malachi 3:10 has proven that he blesses each of us as we try His challenges. Each member of my family has gained personal blessings unique to their needs from taking advantage of this program. I encourage everyone to prayerfully consider if there may be areas in your life where the truly personal help of the Lord could bring blessings to you and your family.
More information on Self Reliance, including local resources, can be found here:
rva.mavsr.org; Please sign in using firstname.lastname@example.org with the password RVAStake47
If you or someone you know has a uplifting story or thought to share, please contact us at jenhaines@LDSPublicAffairs.org
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
In the Richmond area there are 29 congregations of Latter-day Saints. We strive to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and spread His light in our community.
This is not an official site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.