Monday, April 27, 2009

300 Mormons Embark on Large-scale City Clean-up

300 Mormons embark on large-scale city cleanup

By Marcia Moore 
The Daily Item 

SUNBURY -- Cindy Knight donned a yellow vest, picked up a rake and joined about 300 fellow Mormons in a large-scale spring cleanup in the city Saturday morning.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints painted parking meters, stained gazebos in Cameron Park and along Front Street and raked leaves in playgrounds and several public areas throughout Sunbury.

Knight, of Port Trevorton, said she was thrilled to be part of the effort to spruce up the city.

"We moved (to the Valley) from Texas 20 years ago and always loved Sunbury, its older homes, historic feel, and the people were so friendly," Knight said. "It's neat to have a chance 20 years later to do something like this."

The church has done similar service projects throughout the world for more than 20 years, but it's the first time it's been held in the Valley, said project coordinator Michael Hoffman, of Williamsport.

Several communities were approached, he said, and Mayor Jesse Woodring was the most receptive about the proposal to beautify the city.

"It's a Christian service. We're trying to spread goodwill," Hoffman said.

About 20 city employees joined the cleanup.

Woodring was pleased with the turnout and outcome.

"It's astounding what we've accomplished today," he said.

Volunteers came from across the state and included Woodring's sister, Beverly Southwell, of Altoona, a member of the Mormon church.

"It was a great community effort," he said. "We're not only happy with the work that's been done, but the meaning of it all. People getting involved to help communities."

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Three Reasons Why I LOVE MY LIFE.

Autumn - Celebrating her half birthday today!

Scarlett - Footloose and diaper free.

Guy - The Dinosaur Hunter.

And a fourth reason:  We (that's my husband, my children and I) will be a family for Eternity because of the doctrines of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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Friday, April 17, 2009

Find Me on Facebook and PLAY ALONG...

Dear Loyal Friend (tee hee) - I am inviting you to participate in a little fun, good times, online, but also in real life, easy-yet-creative-as-you-wish-experiment via My Facebook page.

Does that just say it all, or what? What...Ok, here are the deets - 

1. Choose an inspirational phrase from the recent General Conference. (I chose "The future is as bright as your faith.")

2. Bring your quote to life in some way. (I am sewing a quilted wall-hanging, but you will probably do something way better and cooler like creating an awesome chalk drawing in a public place somewhere incorporating the words from the prophets...or create a video...or simply take a cool picture, or stamp a card...or create bumper stickers...or draw on the windows of your friend's car...or convince your Seminary class to spell the words out using their bodies for letters...or write the words on the check you sign at a get the idea...Just do what you DO.) 

3. Take a picture of what you have made/displayed and include details and a link to the Gen Conf talk online in the caption. A brief personal testimony scores extra "points"! :)

4. Either tag me in the picture or POST the picture to my profile so that my FRIENDS all have access to YOUR AWESOMENESS.

5. The TOP THREE entries will receive a totally desirable prize and a sense of satisfaction...and bragging rights, if you're into that kind of thing. :) Perhaps there will be more prizes depending on the participation.

THE EXPERIMENT ends in two weeks. I will judge the results and choose the winners in a completely unscientific, yet pretty unbiased way and announce the top picks on FRIDAY, MAY 1ST.

Thanks in advance for playing...and I hope you have a total blast with this!! 

Your Friend on Facebook...and in REAL LIFE! - Jocelyn Christensen

You are welcome to invite your other LDS friends to participate!
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why I Care About the Movement to Legalize Gay Marriage

Sometimes being a Latter-day Saint means standing up for seemingly unpopular or out-moded moral values.

Yesterday was one of those days for me. When I read the following letter-to-the-editor
in our local paper, I decided to respond with a letter of my own. My letter
appeared in today's paper. I have included both letters for you to read below.

Mine is the second letter titled "Caring opponents".
Faith in politics

Although I carefully read Maggie Gallagher's recent rant ("Gay marriage and the future of religious liberty," The Daily Item, April 9 ) against gay and lesbian marriage, I came away just as confused as before. What I simply cannot understand is, "Why does she care?"

Indeed, why does anyone care? It is no skin off anyone else's nose if that gay or lesbian couple down the street want to marry.

How is Ms. Gallagher or anyone else, for that matter, even slightly inconvenienced by someone else getting married to whomever they wish?

Perhaps by way of argument, Ms. Gallagher writes, "... God himself made man male and female and commanded men and women to come together in a special way to image the fruitfulness of God."

Be that as it may, she is certainly free to believe it or not as she sees fit. So am I. And so is everyone else in this country. She, and everyone else in this country, is even at liberty to live her personal life by that rule, if that is what she wants.

But in this country religious belief is entirely a private matter. And what neither she nor anyone else is at liberty to do is to attempt to impose, by force of law, their private religious beliefs on other people.

Dale Hurliman,


Caring opponents

A reader of The Daily Item posed this question to people who are opposed to legalizing gay marriage: "... Why does anyone care? It's no skin off anyone else's nose."

Simply put: I care about what other people do, because I care about other people.

I care about my neighbors. I care about my children. I care about perfect strangers. I care about society. I care about religious liberty. I care about each person's right to choose how they will live. I care about the fact that every decision I make affects others, whether they realize it right away or not. I care about how our choices today will affect future generations.

The debate over whether to legalize gay marriage will not end soon. Surely there are misunderstandings on both sides of this important issue facing society. But let there be no misunderstanding on this point: Most people who oppose legalizing gay marriage do so because we do not see it as a path to true happiness, peace and stability for any individual, family or society -- and we earnestly care about every individual, family and society.

Ultimately, we will all choose how we will live our lives, thanks to this democracy in which we live, but only time will tell if our good intentions on both sides of this issue were appropriately placed.

Jocelyn Christensen, Lewisburg

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Christ Suffered Alone So We Don't Have To

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Preserving Your Testimony

Here is an excellent example of writing down and preserving your personal testimony for family members to enjoy.  Read what my AuntLin did to preserve her conversion story, in an article she had published in Deseret Saints Magazine, April 2009 Edition.  It's an excellent exercise in pondering your own faith in Christ and how that has affected your life.  I hope to do this project as a gift to my children.
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Sunday, April 12, 2009

He Is Risen - Easter Countdown Day 12

EASTER – Day 12 – “The Empty Tomb” stands as one of many testaments of Christ’s Resurrection. 

Matthew 28:5-7

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.   And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”

 Luke 24:36-51

And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.  But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.  And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?  Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.  And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.  And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?  And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.  And he took it, and did eat before them.

 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.   And ye are witnesses of these things.

 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.

And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.”

John 10:14-16

“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.  As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.   And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”

 After appearing in his resurrected form to his disciples in Jerusalem, Christ visited his “other sheep”.  He reveals that the people living in ancient America, the people of the Book of Mormon, are some of those other sheep.  The Book of Mormon shares the account of the resurrected Christ’s visit to the American continent.  Here is an excerpt:


3 Nephi 11: 10-15    

“Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.

 And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cupwhich the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.


 And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should showhimself unto them after his ascension into heaven.  And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying:


 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the Godof Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.


 And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and didfeel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.”


3 Nephi 15:13-17 and 24  (Christ knows all of his “sheep” and his infinite Atonement covers all peoples of every land and every time in the earth’s history.) 

And behold, this is the land of your inheritance; and the Father hath given it unto you.  And not at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell it unto your brethren at Jerusalem.  Neither at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell unto them concerning the other tribes of the house of Israel, whom the Father hath led away out of the land.  This much did the Father command me, that I should tell unto them:  That other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd…. ye have both heard my voice, and seen me; and ye are my sheep, and ye are numbered among those whom the Father hath given me.”

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Stone Was Rolled Away - Easter Countdown Day 11

Day 11 – “The Stone Was Rolled Away”

Matthew 28:1-4

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men."

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Christ's Burial - Easter Countdown Day 10

Day 10 - “A Piece of Cloth” symbolizes the clean linen cloth used to wrap Christ’s body for burial. 
Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.  And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;  And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,  And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.  Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.  And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:  Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.   When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple:  He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.   And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.”
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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Three Hours of Darkness - Easter Countdown - Day 9

Day  9 – “A Piece of Black Cloth” symbolizes that a shadow of darkness covered the Earth when Jesus was crucified. 

Matthew 27:39-45 

And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.  Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.  He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.  Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.”


3 Nephi 8:19-23  (The Book of Mormon account also testifies of this veil of darkness—that it was experienced at the same time by people on another continent.)

“And it came to pass that when the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the storm, and the tempest, and the quakings of the earth did cease—for behold, they did last for about the space of three hours; and it was said by some that the time was greater; nevertheless, all these great and terrible things were done in about the space of three hours—and then behold, there was darkness upon the face of the land.  And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could feel the vapor of darkness;   And there could be no light, because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceedingly dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all; And there was not any light seen, neither fire, nor glimmer, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness which were upon the face of the land.  And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen; and there was great mourning and howling and weeping among all the people continually; yea, great were the groanings of the people, because of the darkness and the great destruction which had come upon them. 

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Cross - Easter Countdown Day 8

Day 8 – Christ allows his tormentors to nail him to a cross and crucify him for our sakes.

John 19:19

“And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

3 Nephi 27:14

“And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil— “

John 10:17-17

“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Upon My Vesture Did They Cast Lots - Easter Countdown Day 7

Day 7 – “A Die” to remind us that the soldiers “cast lots” for Christ’s clothing
And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
And sitting down they watched him there;
And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS”
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Monday, April 6, 2009

A Crown of Thorns - Easter Countdown Day 6

Day 6 – Mocking Christ’s Divinity, the soldiers made a crown of thorns for him to wear.

Mark 15:17-20

“And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head,

And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews!

And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him.

And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.”

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

"I Spy The Prophet" Spyglass

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Note: If you like this, you can find 
ALL of our General Conference traditions & activities on my

We had a lovely weekend watching General Conference in our home.  With such young children, we have to think up good ways to keep them interested and reverent for such long periods of time, so that we can all enjoy the words of our church leaders.

On Saturday, we had fun identifying President Monson and each apostle as they spoke in conference.  When a new speaker took the stand, we checked our conference packet print-out and put a sticker by each apostle as we identified them.  This was a good activity for our three and nearly two-year-old.  

Today, I realized that my little boy needed an "I Spy The Prophet" Spyglass to take his conference adventure to the next level.  Using an empty paper towel roll for our "spyglass", we cut pictures of Christ and various prophets and apostles from old issues of the Ensign magazine and taped them all the way around our spyglass.   Then I decoupaged the clippings to make them adhere to the spyglass which also made it much more durable.  

The result was a really fun toy that my little Guy used to spot the Prophet and Apostles during General Conference today.  I wanted to take a sharper close-up picture of the spyglass, but I think it's nestled next to my little explorer upstairs in bed.

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Even His Closest Friend Denied Him - Easter Countdown Day 5

Day 5 – “Feather” to symbolize the cock/rooster crowed two times and that even his closest friend Peter denied Him.

 Mark 14:66-72

“And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest:

 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth.

 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.   And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them.

And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.  And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.”

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Christ Heals the Soldier Who Comes to Arrest Him - Easter Countdown Day 4

Day 4 – “Soldier/Servant Arrested Jesus”

 Matthew 26: 47-50

“And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.

Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.

And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.

And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.

And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.  Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.  Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?   But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me?  I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.

 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.”

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Christ Willingly Suffered For Our Sins - Easter Countdown Day 3

Day 3 – Christ willingly “drank the bitter cup” as he performed the Atonement, in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross.

Matthew 26:36, 39

“Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder…And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

Alma 21: 9

“Now Aaron began to open the scriptures unto them concerning the coming of Christ, and also concerning the resurrection of the dead, and that there could be no redemption for mankind save it were through the death and sufferings of Christ, and the atonement of his blood.”

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Guidance For OUR Day: General Conference

If you are curious about what Mormons believe and how church doctrine applies to situations in the world today, this weekend's General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be an excellent resource for you.   The church holds this conference twice a year.  It is a two-day stretch of talks given by the general authorities, apostles, and the President and Prophet of the church that is broadcast all over the world.

You can listen to or watch the speakers on the church's website starting Saturday.  Tune in from noon to 2pm and 4-6pm (Eastern) Saturday and Sunday, April 4-5, 2009 to hear guidance and sound advice from men of God for the times in which we live.  
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Betrayed For 30 Pieces of Silver - Easter Countdown Day 2

Day 2 – “30 Pieces of Silver” representing amount Judas was paid to betray Christ

 Matthew 26:14-16 

“Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?  And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.

And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.”

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Paxinos Cross - Something To Look Up To

Last year, I was asked to write a story was about the history of a giant cross that was erected by a group of boy scouts here in Paxinos, Pa in the early 1960's.  I was fortunate enough to meet and talk with many of those original boy scouts and to now call them friends.  Every year on the Saturday before Easter they host an Easter service up on the mountain where a cross still stands.  This year, the service will take place on Saturday, Aprill 11th at 2:30pm.  To attend, meet at Clark's Grove Church at 1:30pm to follow the group up to the cross.   Martin Reigel, mentioned in the story below, will be the speaker at this year's service.

Written by Jocelyn Christensen

On a crisp Good Friday morning in 1961, a small band of Boy Scouts from Explorer Troop 250 began their ascent up Paxinos Mountain in Irish Valley. They climbed up a small steep path for over a mile carrying nails and raw lumber to erect a symbol of their faith - a 14-foot tall cross that would be visible to motorists traveling through Shamokin on Route 61 and to the surrounding community for miles around.

Little did they know that their humble, anonymous display would affect the lives of an entire generation and would still be standing as a local landmark nearly 50 years later.  "Of all the goofy things we did as kids, this was just one goofy thing that actually worked out," says Ron Miller, son of the man whose idea it was to put up the cross: Scoutmaster Johnny Miller. Ron, who now lives in Texas, recalls hauling heavy 2-by-12 wood beams up the steepest part of the mountain - a feat he chalks up to youth and sheer tenacity. "We weren't going to be told that we couldn't do it!" adds Miller. Fellow Scout George Nye of Danville recalls they built the cross using materials that had been anonymously donated and generously loaned. In order to make the cross visible at night, the boys employed good old-fashioned thriftiness and ingenuity. "We didn't have generators, so I convinced my dad to let us have two headlights and a car battery. We rigged them up to illuminate the cross. It worked great," Nye says with a laugh, "but I had to climb the mountain every couple of days to replace the battery." "We didn't do it to earn a merit badge," explains former Scout Gary Lewis of Danville. "We were just a bunch of boys out for an adventure." "I don't think any of us envisioned what it would mean to us years later," adds fellow Scout Marty Reigel.

As the tight-knit group of teenage boys graduated and moved on with their lives, the cross served as an anchor—inspiring them to become leaders and men of character in their professions.   Their legacy also inspired future scouts to continue the tradition of caring for the cross.


Harvey Buriak of Danville practically grew up on Paxinos Mountain.  For almost as long as he can remember, the cross has been a part of his life.  In fact, he built his first house on family-owned land adjacent to the mountain.  From his living room, he had a perfect view of the cross.


It was only fitting that under scoutmaster Buriak’s direction new generations of scouts began maintaining and making improvements to the cross.  In 1986, the troop replaced the original cross with a much larger one.  The cross that stands now is 26 feet tall and 12 feet wide and can be seen three miles away.  Later, scouts added benches for visitors and reflective material that makes the cross glow in the dark from the flash of a headlight and shine in broad daylight.  The effect is stunning. 


Each year since 1986, the current scouts of Troop 250 have held an Easter service at the cross on the Saturday before Easter.  The mountaintop service is open to the public and regularly draws over 100 people.  While gathering at the cross, service-goers enjoy a breath-taking ten-mile wide view of the valley.


Many notable figures have come from various walks of life and corners of the world to speak at the Easter cross service.  In 2006, before State Representative Frank Andrews Shimkus was elected to office, the former news anchor and ordained minister told the congregation how the cross grounded him during a night when his life seemed to be flying out of control.  "I was losing my wife to a mental illness that doctors told me was untreatable,” said Andrews.  That night, overcome by grief, “I shook my fist at God…and then I started driving,” he continued, “When I saw the cross, my heart was softened.”


“This [cross] is an Easter tradition, but it means so much more,” said Andrews, referring to the hundred or so Boy Scouts who have worked on the cross through the years. 


“We hear about all the bad things that kids are doing these days,” says Buriak, “These kids that work on the cross are good kids, doing good things, carrying on a good tradition.” 


In fact, Boy Scout Troop 250, which is affiliated with the Clark’s Grove United Methodist Church in Irish Valley, has turned out a remarkable number of upstanding men in the community—doctors, businessmen, military servicemen, valedictorians, and Eagle Scouts.  By one accounting, 50 percent of the troop’s scouts achieve the Eagle Scout award, which is the highest award in scouting.  The national average is two percent.


Those responsible for the cross and for the training of these boys are slow to take credit for their contributions to the many lives that they have touched, but if there is one mantra that Harvey Buriak lives by, it is “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is older, he will not depart from it.” 


Former scout Marty Reigel says that although it gives him a great sense of pride to see the next generation of scouts carrying on the tradition that he and his contemporaries began, “We didn’t do it to draw attention to ourselves.  We did it to draw attention to the Lord and to give people something to look up to…to give people hope.”


Plenty of people have had the opportunity to be inspired by the cross over the years.  PennDOT estimates that more than 6,300 people drive past the cross every day while traveling that stretch of Route 61.  However, according to Ron Miller’s calculations, “If it has influenced just one person, then it was worth it.”


In 2006, 45 years after the boys erected the original cross, their leader Johnny Miller finally received public recognition for their inspiring effort when Shamokin Township Supervisor John Klinger officially declared April 15th “Johnny Miller Day.”


“We will keep that cross going long after Johnny Miller and the others are gone,” says Klinger, “It stands as a reminder of what they did up there all those years ago, and more importantly, it is a reminder of what the Lord has done for all of us.”

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