We started at 9:30 am and we were 10 minutes early. I quite like the early schedule as the kids are bright eyed and busy tailed and no sleeping on the way downtown. This probably would have been a better schedule for us, but funny how we always think we know what is best.
It was just an amazing testimony meeting. (The first Sunday of the month members of our congregation can come up and share their feelings about their testimony of the church or really anything) I always get so torn with what to type and share as I know this is out for the whole world to see, but I could just write story after story. We will see how I do with sharing information in the next paragraphs but was so touched today by these stories.
Our congregation has members who worry about food and shelter every day. I have never been in a congregation like this and this has never been a worry for me in my life. "unto whom much is given much is required ” - has a whole new meaning to me this year. I feel we have been very blessed to have two highly functioning cars that have made it possible to drive each week downtown. I have felt it has been our responsibility to help bring people to church where it could be difficult for them to come. I am so grateful I have not had one Sunday (knock on screen) that I have had my three kids on the side of the freeway calling someone to help us. We didn't do anything to deserve nice cars, it has been a blessing to make it possible for us to get to church and to serve this year.
Sally Jane found a bag of gummies in my purse and put 6 green ones in her mouth at once. She chewed on them for awhile and then came and sat on my lap and then threw them up in my bare hands. That made for a nice exit from the chapel for a minute. Too bad I don't have a photo of this.
I was very touched by one girls (she can't be a day over 25) story of her trials in her life. She shared her experience of living with her young child in a motel and how every day was a struggle to find the $39 to pay the bill to be able to sleep there that night. One week they were moved from room 19 and she was not too happy about it. The next week part of the motel was permanently closed and one of the rooms was room 19. She shared what a blessing it was for her and how the Lord had watched over her to protect her and her child to still have a place to stay. Her whole life she has been on her own and has started coming to our church since before Christmas. She shared of many struggles in her life but that she feels that when she no longer has to struggle for daily necessities that she will appreciate so much more what she has because of this time in her life. She was introduced to our church by an amazing young woman who came to the city as a BYU intern for 6 months. The BYU intern had wanted while she was here to share the gospel with 5 people. This was one of those people. I am so impressed by the intern who came here to further her career, single, young - but dove into our congregation and was just amazing.
So speaking of interns we got a whole new set today. 6 couples! When they all stood up to introduce themselves it was just awesome. We need them so bad as they can add so much to our congregation. Can you imagine living somewhere for only 6 months and making such a difference in a ward? These young people have that ability! I always love hearing what they are doing for their internship - working at the Smithsonian, US commerce, the Holocaust Museum, Senators etc. I told some of them today I just want to jump into their lives for just a week.
While I was out in the hall during the first part of primary avoiding my 4 year old who climbs and is all over me like a leech, one of the couples came up to me and asked if I was in Primary. They then said "we just moved in the ward and were wondering if you needed any help today?" "WHAT?" I of course hugged them, started crying (I am always so weepy on Sunday's in this ward, Annie Kate says I could build a lake on Sundays) The older kids were out in the hall waiting to get into class. This couple just meshed with this kids and were starting to memorize their names. As we walked into the room the girl said, "I play the piano if you need any help" Our piano player and song leader were out of town. So for the first part of primary the President was teaching them the first part of the song then sitting down to the piano to play the song. Talk about a one man band. So I told this girl, "yes please can you play a reverence hymn" She played to whole time during primary and even offered to play the welcome song that we sang for her and her husband. This couple is what I like to call a powerhouse couple. They as individuals I am sure are awesome, but together they are unstoppable! I seriously could not believe that their first Sunday in a ward found the primary room and said, "What can we do to help?"
As we were teaching the children the song "I am a Child of God" (if you have never heard the song it is really worth listening to here) the husband of the "power couple" , and I must note he was wearing a pink shirt, asked if he could share a story. He said a family member is currently in Baghdad and often sings this song during his day to help him not be scared. He then told the kids to sing this time any time they feel scared or alone. again... AMAZING!
Wow. what can I say. Our Sunday's our packed with lessons to be learned. I get so nervous that I am sharing other peoples personal information but at the same time how can I keep all these incredible stories to myself? So since I feel vulnerable I am hoping someone will say something so I don't feel like I am talking into space
I am asking a few questions with my post... don't be shy.
- Have you ever offered to help on your first Sunday in a ward?
- Does this story encourage you to do so?
- Are you a part of a powerhouse couple?
- Have you ever sang the song "I am a Child of God" to calm your fears (I did during my MRI last year)
- Have you ever been a ward or church congregation for 6 months felt like you made a difference?
- Has your child ever thrown up on you during Sacrament meeting?
- Was I too revealing in my post?
- and is that photo of Caroline not the cutest ever??? Do you have photos of your kids in front of your church at different ages of their life. This one is one of the best, Natasha you inspired me! This is her kids on Christmas Eve going to church.. priceless
- Next Sunday will you take a photo of you or your kids out front of your church building?