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A surprise night of service for a branch in Virginia

By Seth Saunders

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Sept. 4 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

Members and friends of the Pembroke Branch showcase their completed hygiene kits.

Hunter Saunders

Enlarge photo»

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A surprise event for the Pembroke Branch, Virginia Beach Virginia Stake, included the testimony of a new member, other speakers and a service project to help members of the Spanish-speaking branch's testimonies of service.

The night began with introduction and then an incredible testimony from the branch's newest member, Arturo Villcherez. His 17-year-old daughter Ana was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints months earlier — after he had not necessarily felt it was the right thing. After attending her daughter’s baptism, he had a change of heart and began to meet with the missionaries.

After his testimony, members and their friends heard about the blessings that come from serving others from Sister Alina Hamblin, wife of President Tino Hamblin of the presidency of the Virginia Richmond Mission. She shared of the joys that come from serving others, even when it may be difficult to do so.

President Hamblin shared about serving others and how doing so is the true example of what "the pure love of Christ" means.

The members and friends then put together hygiene kits for LDS Church so that those in need would have the necessities of life during their most trying times.

The joy that came from this activity was wonderful, according to those that participated. After this service activity they were treated to a group dinner, as is customary for this branch.

"This was an amazing activity and the messages on service from the Hamblins were the best I have ever heard," according to Carlos Medina, a member of the Pembroke Branch.

Although the Pembroke Branch may be small in number, there is a very strong and powerful spirit that accompanies the branch.

"The night of service activity changed my families life, the spirit testified the importance and role that service has in bringing true happiness in this life," said Luciano Rodriguez, second counselor in the branch presidency.

Seth Saunders is currently branch president of South University Virginia Beach and a founding board member of The Pink Shoe Hero Foundation. Seth has been married 15 years to his amazing wife Amber and is the proud father of three wonderful sons.

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