23 November 2013

All things are relative

I met a couple this week who lived in Vermont for a few years. They told me their ward covered 5,000 square miles. Astounding! I felt a little better about our "Twig".

Tomorrow I'm teaching the Relief Society Teachings for Our Times lesson using the talk Small and Simple Things by Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela. It's about missionary work, but can easily be related to doing Visiting Teaching. It has been my goal in my calling to inspire the sisters to learn to love and do Visiting Teaching. I still haven't been visited by any sister in this branch, but we have seen the reactivation of several sisters and at our 2nd Annual Relief Society Homecoming last Saturday we had double the attendance of our first homecoming. As part of that event I asked the sisters each to name one thing they like about Relief Society and I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the majority appreciate the sisterhood and unity they feel.

Thank you Heavenly Father for that!

14 November 2013

Everyone is Needed

Pondering while doing the dishes today and a thought entered my head. If everyone, who already is a member of the church, would actively participate in living the gospel and keep their covenants life would be easier for us all. 

Do you find it easier to live the gospel when those around you are living it? When they unconsciously set a good example and encourage others by their actions? Do you find it easier to do your visiting teaching and home teaching when the sister or family is welcoming to your visit and receptive to your efforts to serve? Do you feel encouraged to be obedient and keep your covenants when you are visited regularly?

Does serving in the church feel better when you can count on those you've given assignments to, knowing that the work will get done? Doesn't it seem easier to serve when you see all around you others who are serving and giving?

Everyone is needed! Needed to be active, participating, covenant keeping, obedient to the commandments.

Wouldn't it be fantastic to be in a ward (branch or twig) where all the members could say with one voice: "Yes, we believe all the words we heard in General Conference, and we know the words are true because of the witness of the Holy Ghost, which has brought about a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually and keep our covenants." (see Mosiah 5:2)

If only everyone who enters into the waters of baptism would hold fast to the Iron Rod and press forward with steadfast faith, instead of giving up at the first sign of trouble or hardship.

Think of how the Kingdom would move forward!

Well, a Relief Society President can dream, can't she?

05 November 2013

Compare and Contrast

Last month I did some figuring. I got out the map and measured the area of our branch. I did the math three times because I just couldn't believe the figures. Our Branch (which I call a Twig because our attendance and activity numbers are so low) covers an area of approximately 2,700 square miles, includes 22 towns, and covers all or part of 7 counties.

When I shared all that with my husband he said "Now I understand why we put more than 30,000 miles per year on our car."

I'm sure that there are units that are bigger geographically. And I'm sure there are units that are smaller in members. Just pointing out that this has been a culture shock to us, and still is after three years.

Another shock is the pervasive attitude among long time members here of "We've always done it this way, and NOBODY is going to tell us what to do differently." It is the antithesis of a humble, teachable attitude, and it drives me crazy!!!

Okay, I got that off my chest.

This unit is the polar opposite of the one we attended in Provo, Utah which covered 4 square blocks, and a few BYU housing units (some of the RA's attended our ward). We had one non-member family, and I think, two inactive families. Our back door neighbor was in a different ward! The activity rate was in the high 90's and the only reason it wasn't 99% is because some of the members were elderly and homebound. There were so many active people that instead of having 2 or 3 jobs, 2 or 3 people shared a job! We had half a dozen organists for Sacrament Meeting alone!

But, as John Bytheway would say, I'm not bitter.

Have a great day! And count your blessings.