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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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Those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster should get jabbed by end of June



ALL those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster are being urged to take up their offer of the vaccine before the end of next month.

A deadline of 30 June has been introduced to ensure all those eligible for the spring booster will have a long-enough interval between this and the autumn 2022 booster, if they are also eligible.

An announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about which groups will be eligible for the autumn booster is due to be published shortly.

The JCVI has advised that people over-75, older care home residents and all those aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are eligible for the spring booster.

Those who are 75 on or before 30 June, can get their booster at any point up to the deadline.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “It is important we continue our very high take up levels of the vaccine to help protect us against the risk of serious illness from Covid-19. I would urge everyone who is offered a spring booster vaccination takes up the invitation.”

If someone eligible for a spring booster has had a Covid infection recently, they will need to wait 28 days from the date they tested positive before they can be vaccinated. They will still be able to get vaccinated after 30 June as part of this campaign if they have to postpone their appointment.

All those eligible for spring boosters will be invited by their health board or GP.

It is not too late for anyone who needs a primary dose (first, second or third) to be vaccinated.

Please check for local arrangements.

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Young people in Wales being failed when moving from child to adult mental health services



MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES are failing young people when they move from child to adult services, says a mental health charity.

Mind Cymru is calling for Welsh Government to make urgent changes to improve the system.

Nia Evans, Children and Young People Manager at Mind Cymru, said: “Young people have told us that their needs, thoughts, and feelings about moving to adult services are often unheard, or ignored.

“Welsh Government must support Local Health Boards to make sure this doesn’t happen, change the way services are run and make sure our young people are being heard and properly cared for.”

Mind Cymru has published a report, in ate the result of interviews with young people about their experiences of moving from Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – (SCAMHS) to AMHS.

They highlighted five key areas where services are failing young people:
– Poor information offered to young people, particularly on their rights
– Inconsistent use and follow through of care and treatment plans
– High thresholds for SCAMHS and AMHS referrals to be accepted
– Feeling abandoned / cut off from SCAMHS
– Age still dominates decision making process for moving from SCAMHS to AMHS

Nia Evans said: “Any one of these issues could make the process of moving from children’s services to adult services difficult for our young people. But often, more than one is happening at any one time.”

“Our young people have a right to care and support from a mental health system that has been put in place to help them recover. Action must be taken immediately to make sure support systems are robust and doing the job they were designed to do.”

Mind Cymru is asking people to email their Member of the Senedd (MS) and amplify the voices of these young people whose experiences are often unheard, and use the #SortTheSwitch hashtag on social media.

The full report is available here, including what a good move from SCAMHS to AMHS would look like for young people, and where the current system could improve.

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Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre



LESS than two months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p a litre cut on the average price of fuel – diesel prices have reached a record high price of 180.29p a litre.
The previous high of 179.90p was recorded on March 23rd 2022 – the day of the Spring Statement from Sunak.

In recent weeks, the UK government has tried to move away from its reliance on importing Russian oil, following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Worryingly for drivers of petrol cars, the price per litre is fast approaching the record levels of 167.3p per litre set on March 22nd.

This latest price rise adds another challenge to UK households, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p.”

“Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel.”

“While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.”

“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank.”

“As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.”

“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”

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