Monday, March 31, 2014

52 Blessings - Belonging

cheering on our young men in the church basketball tournament

I’m grateful to belong to the of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is a great blessing.

  • Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has given me fellowship. 

We call each other Brother and Sister and our congregation is considered our ward family.

On Monday we went to a funeral. We had never met the woman, but we know her son and his family well. They are a part of our ward family, so we went to mourn with those that mourn.

Brother Jensen was at the funeral as well. When Brother Jensen meets you in a crowd, or on the street, or in the driveway, or at a funeral he tells you a joke to say hello. Monday after the service, he came over shook my hand and told a joke. But, he forgot the punch line. Try as he might he couldn’t remember it. He walked off shaking his head trying to think of it.

Thursday night at 9:00, Brother Jensen called. He answered my hello with, “First a ring then you wake up.”

I said, “Pardon me?” and he repeated a little louder, “First a ring then you wake up. That’s the punchline.”

I laughed heartily even though I no longer remembered the joke, because there is just something funny about a delayed joke from an eighty year old brother at 9:00 at night.

  • Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not only given me fellowship, but also opportunities to discover and build talents.

On Wednesday we taught the Young Women a lesson about honesty and helped them make a flannel board story they could take home to teach their families. I made a big batch of caramel popcorn (from a recipe that I’m fairly certain is in every Mormon cookbook published since sweetened condensed milk was invented) to use as an object lesson. Being a member of the LDS church has giving me lots of opportunities to teach and develop teaching skills.

  • Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not only given me fellowship and opportunities to discover and build talents, but it’s given me experiences to serve others.

Saturday was bow day. Five young men plus Brother Tucker, Brother Roylance, and Brother Clark came and worked in the shop while Calvin helped them make their bows. At noon they came in to eat. We had hoped to have a wiener roast, but it was too windy, so we had pasta bake (all right, all right, it was goulash) instead. When the boys started the bows a few weeks ago, I suggested to Calvin that the boys come in the house to eat rather than eating in the shop. I thought of those boys, some who live in chaos, and doubted they seldom if ever have family meals together. I thought everyone ought to have that experience. So they do. They come in together, laughing because Calvin and Brother Roylance are teasing them. They wash their hands at the kitchen sink and ask what they can do to help. Yesterday all nine of those bodies crowded around the kitchen table. Down the middle of the table was the oversized pan of pasta, a wire basket of hot breadsticks, and a bowl of green beans. After a blessing was said on the food and the men had filled their plates, Calvin had everyone go around the table and give an appreciation to the man sitting to their left. It was down-right neighborly and good for everyone. Seeing those men fill their plates again and again, and listening to the conversation was very satisfying. For dessert they ate a cookie sheet full of chocolate chip bars.  I learned to cook for a family as a girl, but I have honed crowd cooking by feeding my church family.

  • Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not only given me fellowship, opportunities to discover and build talents, and experiences to serve, it’s also given me understanding of the laws of God and great peace from the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Saturday night I attended the General Women’s meeting of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hundreds of thousands of women across the world attended (or tuned into this meeting). It wasn’t necessarily what was said, though it was inspiring. It wasn’t necessarily what was sung, though the songs were beautiful. It wasn’t necessarily seeing the mothers holding their little daughters’ hands, or young women standing with confidence and hope, or the older sisters sitting comfortably next to each other, though each scene was tender and sweet. It was all of it. It was a massive group of women gathered together to learn from sight, sound, and example graced by the Spirit of God. I felt peace in a muddled and troubled time of history. I sat quietly crying inside as I participated in the meeting because the Spirit felt so calm and beautiful.

Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not like a club I participate in weekly, it’s a way of life. The teachings, doctrines, and covenants apply every day.  And it's a daily challenge to live what I know and believe.

But the best part is that everyone is invited to participate in and belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It's not a church for an exclusive few.  It's for everyone.  I'm grateful to be a member.


Deanna/Mimi said...

Oh my dear fill every void a woman has in her heart. You say the right things...things that count and make me want to do better, be better, appreciate my blessings more, etc. When God created you he created an elect daughter, a wonderful teacher with her mind and her heart, an exemplary in all titles a woman has in her lifetime, a woman of so much goodness and righteousness that it exudes from your very being. To be in your presence is like being near an angel, an honor and a blessing. Thank you for being you. I am old but I am learning so much from such a jewel of a woman. May our Father in Heaven continue to bless you as you bless my life with your words, your ways, your gifts He has given you. Love, Deanna

Grandma & Grandpa said...

Beautifully said, Jane. Thank you from all of us for sharing all our feelings so well. How blessed the Spanish Branch is to have you all working with them. They are warm & wonderful people.
Love you, Loye

Deidra said...

My sister and I were laughing the other day how "pasta bakes" are cool, but really they're just casseroles. They can call it whatever they want, but we all know it makes you feel cozy inside.

I loved the mothers and daughters holding hands Saturday night. 5 1/2 more years and I can hold Millie's as we go together. What a great sisterhood to belong to, together.

Brenda Goodrich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenda Goodrich said...

Perfectly said. Thank you.