Utah Valley DfG Reaches out to girls in Uganda

Does news coming in get any better than this??–

 2014-7-24 Jessie Maughn Uganda (8) Ann,

We just finished our outreach on the Buvuma Islands. We had a wonderful experience there. As you know, we had really wanted to address the issue of girls dropping out of school due to lack of sanitary products when they are on their menstrual cycle. The Buvuma Islands as you know are a group of about 52 islands that are quite underdeveloped because they are difficult to reach.


Because we were unsure of the supplies available on the island, we considered the kit distribution because it would not require having the supplies. However, we also felt that sustainability was in issue we wanted to consider. So, our project consisted of two parts; kit distribution to the girls in the schools and teaching women on the island how to make the shields and liners so that we would leave them with a skill. 


After working with the Days for Girls Uganda, we were able to get the supplies for 35 kits which we would be making with the women on the island. The group here was so helpful in working with us to get everything we needed. Then, through the help of the amazing women in Utah and other areas, we were able to come prepared with 200 full kits for distribution.

2014-7-24 Jessie Maughn Uganda (10)


I wanted to give you an update on the outreach and give you a follow-up on our experience. Monday, we reached the island and got settled in. We met with the local authorities of the island who were so grateful we had arrived. They continued to express gratitude just for being there and were especially excited for the working we were doing with the reusable menstrual pads. Tuesday morning, we had quite a large turnout of women who had come to learn how to make the reusable menstrual pads. We initially requested a group of about 20 women. However, word traveled on the island about what we were doing and we ended up having about 45 women including some of the female local authorities, teachers, and health workers. We had three sewing machines as well as needles and thread to teach them how to sew the shields and liners by hand. Our group of volunteers took turns working with different groups to teach them step by step. The women were so excited to be learning how to make the kits on their own. We had to leave in the afternoon to go distribute them to one of the schools, but we arrived back at the site just as it was getting dark and there was a women (one of the tailors who had brought her sewing machine) and she was still there sewing. I spoke to her about her experience as a tailor – she had come from a better area in Uganda but had come to the Buvuma Islands to be a tailor to provide clothing and school uniforms for people on the island. She had lived there for the past 25 years. As I talked to her about the reusable pads we had made, she talked about wanting to see what she could do to start up a business and keep sewing those for girls and women on the island because there is such a great need. 

2014-7-24 Jessie Maughn Uganda (6)


Tuesday and Wednesday afternoonm we went to two schools – a primary school and a secondary school. At the primary school, we asked to speak to the older girls. We had prepared a lesson on reproductive health to teach them about their menstrual cycle, what to expect, etc. They had some good questions we were able to address. Then, we distributed the kits and taught them how to use it/wash it, etc. They were so excited.  (I will be sending you some pictures).


Wednesday, we went to the secondary school in the afternoon. These girls range from 14-18. These girls had all started their periods. We again taught them a lesson on reproductive health, then finished up with a question/answer session. The older girls were much more open and willing to talk to us and discuss some of the related issues. We had a group of 5 or 6 female volunteers teaching the lesson which I think was what made them open up to us alot more. As we were finishing up with questions, one of the girls and the female teacher stood up to us and thanked us for what we had done and what we had given to them and expressed gratitude for something that could change these girls lives and is something that even their mothers cannot provide to them. It was a really touching experience to be a part of. 


I just wanted to say thank you for all of your help in getting the kits and allowing us to extend the efforts of so many in Utah and other places to influence these young girls lives for the better. 


If you are able to pass on many thanks to those who worked hard preparing the kits with such last minute notice, we would greatly appreciate it. 


Thanks again,

Jessie Maughan2014-7-24 Jessie Maughn Uganda (11)

Pictured here:  Jessie in the middle with our DFGI Uganda Team


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Happy Pioneer Day!

Crossing The Sand Ridge by Jeremy WinborgIt’s Pioneer Day in Utah, a day we pause to remember our ancestors who arrived in this valley on this day in 1847.  I’ve spent considerable time learning about the lives of my pioneer ancestors and their struggles and sacrifices.  Things they did then have been life-changing for me here and now.

It’s a bit sobering when I think that what I am doing here and now may have that same effect on those who follow me.  When I consider this (and I do almost every day), I think about comments made in a BYU devotional address by President Gordon B. Hinckley on 30 November 1999.  His words ring in my mind and heart:

Gordon B. Hinckley

Keep the Chain Unbroken

Recently, at the dedication of the Columbus Temple in Ohio, I had an interesting experience. My wife and daughter were with me. A granddaughter and her husband and children drove up from St. Louis.

As I sat in the celestial room, I thought of my great-grandfather, the first in my family to join the Church. I had recently visited his place of burial in Canada just to the north of the New York boundary line. He accepted the gospel when the first missionaries came there from Kirtland. His children were too young for baptism. He died at the young age of 38. Tradition has it that he was the victim of a smallpox epidemic that raged through that part of the country. I do not know of anything of significance that he did in the Church other than he kept the faith.

Then there was my grandfather, who was baptized in Nauvoo and who subsequently crossed the plains in the migration of our people. His young wife and his brother-in-law both died on the same day. He made rough coffins and buried them and picked up his infant child and carried her to this valley.

At the request of Brigham Young he built Cove Fort, was the first president of the stake in Fillmore, and did a thousand other things to move this work forward.

Then came my father. He came here to the BY Academy as a very young man and was taught by President Karl G. Maeser. He went east to school, and then he taught here in the business department until the Brethren asked him to move to Salt Lake City and take over responsibilities there. He became president of the largest stake in the Church with more than 15,000 members.

These three good men represent the three generations of my forebears who have been faithful in the Church. Reflecting on the lives of these three men while I was seated in the temple, I looked down at my daughter, at her daughter, who is my grandchild, and at her children, my great-grandchildren. I suddenly realized that I stood right in the middle of these seven generations—three before me and three after me.

In that sacred and hallowed house there passed through my mind a sense of the tremendous obligation that was mine to pass on all that I had received as an inheritance from my forebears to the generations who have now come after me.

I thought of an experience I had long, long ago. In the summer we lived on a farm. We had a little old tractor. There was a dead tree I wished to pull. I fastened one end of a chain to the tractor and the other end to the tree. As the tractor began to move, the tree shook a little, and then the chain broke.

I looked at that broken link and wondered how it could have given way. I went to the hardware store and bought a repair link. I put it together again, but it was an awkward and ugly connection. The chain was never, never the same.

As I sat in the celestial room of the temple pondering these things, I said to myself, “Never permit yourself to become a weak link in the chain of your generations.” It is so important that we pass on without a blemish our inheritance of body and brain and, if you please, faith and virtue untarnished to the generations who will come after us.

You young men and you young women, most of you will marry and have children. Your children will have children, as will the children who come after them. Life is a great chain of generations that we in the Church believe must be linked together.

I fear there will be some broken links. Do not let yourself become such, I pray.

Stay close to the Church. Stay close all of your lives. It really does not matter where you serve, what office you fill. There is no small or unimportant duty in this Church and in the kingdom of God.

Pioneer trail

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Days for Girls Goes to Ghana

2014-07 Ghana Kits, Classroom Tomorrow we are sending a Sewing Center to Ghana.  For the last several weeks we have enlisted the help of 100s of men, women and girls to help us prepare everything needed to start making feminine hygiene kits for the girls of Ghana in Ghana.  Tomorrow 16 people with lots of bags will get on a plane with everything needed to set up a Days for Girls Sewing Center in Accra.

Today at my quilt group, as I told my friends of the many miracles that have taken place just in the last week that have led to this, we all sat in awe at the thought of it.  We have found sources for the Polyurethane waterproof lining for the shields (after searching for months).  We’ve found a wholesale source for cotton and flannel that is affordable.  We’ve had a washer and dryer and a serger donated this week.  We doubled our goal of sending parts and pieces for 1000 kits to Ghana–we will send 2000.  We’ve involved 100s of women who send their love to girls they’ll never see or know.

There is a word that plays in my mind as consider my involvement with this project:  It has UNFOLDED.  As I look back, considering all that has happened in the last 8 months, since our first kits were made and delivered, I am absolutely amazed at what has happened here.  The process has unfolded before us as we made choices to serve.  We had no idea in the beginning where this would take us.  We just wanted to help.  Now we are running a full-time non-profit organization.  Every day is filled with emails, phone calls, computer work, cutting and tracing fabric, distributing fabric, gathering donations and cut pieces, and cheering on our helpers.  Yesterday alone I received 7 emails and phone calls requesting help hosting an event.  We have helped with more than 70 events already this year.  We are refining the process and learning the best ways to involve anyone who is interested.

As all of this has unfolded, we marvel at what is happening.  Sometimes I think it’s a good thing that we have trial and error and figuring out and searching.  It helps us to appreciate and understand the process.  We know every step we had to take to get where we are now.  If we always knew the end from the beginning, we might not ever start.  It might overwhelm us.  Sometimes we just have to trust, and take the next step.

Tomorrow that step will be in Ghana.  I’m so pleased I probably won’t sleep much tonight.

Here is a local Ghanaian TV Broadcast about the work we have started.  This is only the beginning.


2014-07 Ghana Kits, TV Crew


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We do receptions here.

2014-7-19 April Robins Reception (15)There are about 500 people in our yard tonight.  It’s a wedding reception.  What fun!  This party is for Adam’s sister-in-law, April who was married this morning in the Provo Temple.  By 6:00 this evening the yard was looking fabulous and was ready to receive guests.  John loves to work in the yard and he has been working hard for the last couple of weeks, getting every weed pulled and every area dressed.  I went through the yard this afternoon dead heading Day Lilies.

We have a lot of events and receptions in our yard.  It’s the perfect place for friends and families to gather.  One summer we had 9 wedding receptions here!  It’s nice to be able to share this corner of Eden with others.

Our love and congratulations tonight to April and Jared.  What a perfect starting place for all the grand adventures that await them.

2014-7-19 April Robins Reception (8) 2014-7-19 April Robins Reception (7) 2014-7-19 April Robins Reception (5) 2014-7-19 April Robins Reception (10) 2014-7-19 April Robins Reception (4)

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Mary Pane Holt b. 16 July 1814–Celebrating 200 Years!

Mary Pain is one of my 3rd great grandmothers.  Today we mark 200 years since her birth near Lebanon, Wilson, Tennessee.  Her parents were John Pane and Elizabeth Smith.  On the 22nd of January in 1830 she married James Holt in Wilson County, Tennessee.  In 1839 they joined the Mormon Church, then moved to Iowa, then to Nauvoo, where she is listed in the 1842 Nauvoo Census.  Because of the hardships she faced with unhealthy living conditions, Mary watched her first three children die as infants.

Below is the Marriage Bond of James Holt and Mary Pane:Holt, James & Mary Pane Marriage Bond

After leaving Nauvoo and traveling up the Iowa River, she gave birth to her 8th child in 1844.  She died two months later in October 1844, a young mother, only 30 years old.  The doctor gave her a dose of Lobelia when her stomach was too weak to stand it.  Mary’s casket was made by cutting down a large tree and hewing out the coffin with an adze. She was buried between the bank of the Iowa River and a large tree, where wolves would be less likely to dig up the body than if left out in the open.  Less that a month after Mary died, her 8-year-old son Leander also passed away at the site above Kitchen’s Settlement. Three months later the baby died.

Remembering Mary today helps me put a few things into perspective.  I’ve been shedding tears over some lost computers files and photos.  Mary lost children.  And then her own life slipped away.  I am grateful for Mary, a woman I know very little about, other than that she suffered greatly.  In spite of all she lost, she gave.  She gave life to my great great grandmother, Mary Ann Pain Holt, and because of that and those who followed, I am here today.  What a gift she gave, the gift of motherhood!  Today I honor and remember her for giving all she had.  For me, that is enough.  Happy 200th Birthday, Mary!

Mary’s Children:
Jesse Hyrum Payne Holt, 1832-1832
Washington Payne Holt, 1833-1833
Sarah Elizabeth Holt, 1835-1835
Leander Holt, 1836-1844
Leroy Payne Holt, 1838-1910
Mary Ann Pain Holt Barker, 1840-1916 (my great great grandmother)
William Alma Holt, 1842-1920
John James Payne Holt, 1845-1845

Holt, James & Mary HistoryHolt, James & Mary History 1 Holt, James & Mary History 2

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A Few Words from Aaron in Santiago

Aaron with BoM 2014-7-7 Aaron has been away 6 months now.  We get weekly emails from him, every Monday.  Missionaries have time Mondays, their prep days, to do laundry, write home, get caught up on shopping, or do a bit of sightseeing.  We look forward to hearing from Aaron every week.  Here are a few parts of the letter that came yesterday:

Wow.  okay, I am completely SOAKED writing this email.  I had to walk through rivers to get here!!!! LITERALLY.  you cant even see the pavement through the raging rapids.  


I had a very cool experience in the Metro this week. We completely ran out of plans, and couldn’t think of anyone to visit.  So Elder Guevara said “yeah, let’s go to the metro and do contacts.”  Okay! hahah it was about 6:30 and so we went and there were a TON of people.  I went and sat down inbetween 2 people, and started talking to one guy about the World Cup (the best conversation starter).  But he left and I stayed.  And so did the other guy.. He was about 22ish.  I asked him why he didnt leave, and he said, “becasue I come here to think”  Then we entered into a long conversation about how he had moved away from his home and family in Rancagua, to Santiago, in order to find school and a job.  But things were not going well.  He doesn’t like Santiago, and says that all the people are bad and evil.  I told him that it is because nobody is following Christ.  He has a sister that is Mormon, and she, before she became Mormon, did drugs and smoked, along with her now husband.  But when they got baptised, their world changed, the husbad got a good job, and they stopped doing bad things.  I told the guy (named Daniel) that God wants to bless us.  But we have to trust in Him first, and seek Him.  The whole time, I was praying for the Spirit to guide my words, and I was able to tell him very directly and clearly, that I was sent to him that night, by God, to tell him the way to go.  To tell him that he has to look for God more in his life, and that will be the way that he will get a job.  It was amazing to feel the Spirit put the words in my mouth.  After the conversation, his mom called him, and he told her that he was in the metro, talking to a Mormon missionary.  The next thing I know, he handed the phone to me and said “my mom wans to talk to you.” ummmmmokay! hahaha so I listened as the mother told me “Elder, I am very worried about my son, and I know that you guys are good people.  That you can change lives.  You did it with my daughter and now you need to do it with my son.  Please help him”  I couldn’t help but smile as I told her that I would.  It was such an amazing experience.


Many other good things happened this week, but I am out of time!  I hope that I will able to make it back to the pension.  Maybe I’ll buy a kayak…..for real, I’d be able to use it.  Love you all!!!!!!


Elder Lewis

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Happy Birthday Grandpa Rudolf b. 13 July 1899

Laemmlen, Rudolf  young man

Rudolf Laemmlen, b. Grossgartach, Germany 13 July 1899

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