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Vegas to Llanelli – The Mormon’s Journey

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Suited and booted: Robby and Kurt     Photo: Alan Evans

They are a familiar sight in villages, towns and cities across Wales. Smartly suited and booted fresh faced all American boys on bicycles ready to preach the gospel of Mormon to you. Having passed these boys by on the street or more often than not whizzed past them in the car as they struggle up a 1 in 10 hill on their bicycles The Herald decided to stop a while and have a chat with them to find out, just who are these guys and why are they here.

Elder Robbie began by telling The Herald : “We are missionaries and I am from Seattle Washington and Elder Kurt is from Las Vegas, Nevada. We were called by a prophet to serve in the Midlands of England and South Wales. We fund ourselves by working before we travel. The church has a fund and the church pays out what you need to live wherever you may be. We get a basic allowance and our mission homes are found for us. We begin work by getting up at 6:30 am . We have to be dressed and have eaten breakfast by 8 am. From 8am to 9am we study scriptures. From 9am to 10am we do companion study and after that we go out. We have to be back by 9:30 pm and in bed by 10:30 pm.

Mondays are our preparation day so we can go out and do chores, write to our family or go shopping etc.” The Herald asked the elders how they coped with being away from their families for so long. Elder Kurt said : “It is a big commitment and when we go home we just carry on with where we left off. It is a sacrifice because we don’t see our families. We have recently been given notebooks and they are useful for emailing our families. We volunteer for two years so we are away from our families for that amount of time. I miss my family and I am excited about going back to go to university and starting my career. Our religion is bigger in the States and a lot more people come to the church.” Not being familiar with the work of the Mormons, The Herald asked the elders to shed some light on what they did. Elder Robbie said : “We try to find opportunities to work within communities and that is not easy. We help people with their gardens or with their housework. We also help people trace their family tree. That side of the work is very popular with people. Anyone can come to us for researching their family.”

The elders told The Herald that hey had been Mormons through their family upbringing. Elder Robbie said : “My Mum was taught by missionaries and my Dad was a missionary in Hong Kong in 1984. I was raised in this belief but I didn’t bother with it as a teenager. I saw that I wanted a happiness I didn’t have that my family had.” We asked the elders what their faith was all about. Elder Kurt said : “The bible consists of the writings of the prophets. When Jesus and the apostles were killed there was a time when the full gospel was not on the Earth and we believe that a restoration happened. God called a modern day prophet to restore the gospel and that is why we read from the book of Mormon along with the bible. The prophet’s name was Joseph Smith but the book was written by a number of prophets. Joseph Smith could barely write a letter himself. The book states that it is actually a testament of Jesus Christ. It is not meant to dismiss the bible. They can be seen as two pieces of a puzzle that work together to give us a full picture of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We invite men everywhere to read the book. We go around knocking on doors, handing out leaflets books and cards and chatting with people. It is a non paid ministry. We have a base in a chapel in Morfa Llanelli near Lidls. Anyone can come to our chapel from 10 am until 1 pm on Sundays and any denomination is welcome.”

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. David Pootersnoot

    February 4, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    I would be far more impressed if they were not riding their bicycles through a pedestrian precinct where cycling is prohibited.

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Cllr Kevin Madge elected as new county council Chairman

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THE new chair of Carmarthenshire County Council said he will work tirelessly during his term of office.

Cllr Kevin Madge, member for Garnant, takes the chain of office whilst celebrating 40 years as a councillor.

Taking the chair, Cllr Madge paid tribute to outgoing chairman Cllr Mansel Charles, member for Llanegwad, saying he had fulfilled his duties with passion.

Cllr Madge will chair the council for the next 12 months, with Cllr Ieuan Davies, member for Llanybydder, as his vice chair, and his wife Catrin as his consort.

“I’m very much looking forward to the year ahead, I will do my best for everyone. I will work tirelessly,” he said.

Cllr Madge has chosen the Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of food banks and emergency food provision for people in crisis, as his Chairman’s Charity of the Year.

The Chair is the first citizen of Carmarthenshire County Council, and is elected at the Annual General Meeting.

Duties include chairing full meetings of the council, representing the council at formal and ceremonial occasions, welcoming visitors to the county, and attending and supporting events organised by local people and organisations.

Cllr Madge has been a county councillor since 1996, and a member of Cwmaman Town Council since 1979.

He also serves as chairman of the Royal British Legion Garnant branch, Garnant Family Centre and Cwmaman Meals on Wheels, and is a member of Amman Valley League of Friends.

He represents the county council on the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, and the Mynydd y Betws Wind Farm Community Fund, and is on the governing body of Ysgol Y Bedol.

A former pupil of Amman Valley School, Cllr Madge has worked in the Amman Valley throughout his life, most recently as agent and researcher to Dr Alan Williams MP until 2001.

A keen football supporter, he has served as chair and president of Cwmaman Football Club and spent 25 years as a Welsh League and Neath and District football referee.

He is married with two children and three grandchildren.

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‘UK Government should work with the Welsh Labour Government on Tata’

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LOCAL Assembly Member Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said ““This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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MP and AM call for Trostre certainty after merger fails

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LOCAL ASSEMBLY MEMBER Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said “This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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