Going to church in a new ward can be stressful and intimidating--but I love it. Here's why.
Moving is hard. I would know—on average, I’ve moved every two years since I was born. And not just down the street. I’ve moved thousands of miles away in one go. And it is stressful. Finding housing, changing schools, even starting a new job can all be part of the stress of moving. And for us Mormons, making new friends and finding your place in a new ward can be stressful, too.
But let me let you in on a secret of mine. One of my favorite things about moving is that I love going to a new ward.
Though to be fair, I didn’t always love it. In fact, only in my past three or four moves have I discovered the secret to enjoying the still-sometimes-stressful changes involved in attending Church at a new building with new people: it’s all about looking for the opportunities.
Here are five reasons to love moving into a new ward.
1. We get the chance to start over. Moving to a new ward is like a fresh start; nobody knows us or our past mistakes. And because nobody knows us yet, it gives us the chance to define who we want to be. Then we can take the opportunity to really make a good effort towards being more Christ-like without being held back by our past.
United States Air Force veteran Gail "Hal" Halvorsen, recently featured in the Church's cinematic release Meet the Mormons, is known to the world as the Berlin Candy Bomber. He talks about hope, gratitude, and how sharing two sticks of gum changed the course of his life.
“It all started when I was maybe 10 or 12 years old,” explains Colonel Gail S. “Hal” Halvorsen. “I was raised on a farm. We had two teams of horses to pull a wagon, and one day after a storm, when it was muddy, my dad stopped and took me up to an old 2,000 pound draft horse.” Instead of the expected toothbrush lesson, Halvorsen was surprised when his dad said, “See this little bit? This bit that goes in the horse’s mouth? It turns around that whole 2,000 pound body."
Halvorsen continues, "My father quoted James, how out of little things proceed that which is great, and then repeated how we put bits in the horse’s mouth and we turn the whole body about, just like the helms of ships turn the ships about. He said, ‘As you go through life, any decision you make without the Holy Ghost is going to be dangerous.’”
This lesson stuck with Halvorsen through years and wars. But there was one particular instance of heeding a prompting, of having the best bit to guide him, that changed Hal’s life and the lives of countless others.
In the wake of World War II, Halvorsen, then a lieutenant and pilot for the United States, was assigned to fly flour into West Berlin as part of a war recovery effort. He recalls, “I was up against the fence in Berlin, shooting movies of the airplanes coming overhead and landing. The kids were on the other side of the barbed wire, 30 of them.”
In our very social church, sometimes we still feel lonely. We're told to give service and help others, but what if those prescriptions don't actually cure us of our loneliness?
Hi! How are you? What’s your name? My name’s Jenny. I’m an extrovert—can you tell?
I consider myself a very social person. I never felt lonely growing up as the youngest of five and the friend of many. On my mission when I was surrounded by people and constantly with a companion 24/7, I usually felt like I had people who loved me and someone I could turn to.
But when I had a sudden transfer that moved me from a comfortable French island to a third-world, poverty-stricken country, I seriously felt alone. Until then, I had never known that it was possible to feel lonely and still be surrounded by people.
I couldn’t understand what my new companion was saying because I didn’t speak the language yet. I spoke English. She didn’t. I spoke French. She didn’t. Everyone spoke this new foreign language I’d never heard of in my life—and I had no one to talk to. For the first two months, the extrovert inside of me just died. I was constantly surrounded by people, but in reality, I was lonely.
I’ve since read a lot of talks on loneliness, and I’ve heard the same counsel in many of them: stop focusing on yourself and serve others. It’s wonderful counsel, and I truly believe that it has worked for me many times when I’ve felt down in the dumps.
It was one year ago today that the Philippines was devastated by typhoon Haiyan, just a few weeks after a massive earthquake. Read about the miracles Church members witnessed during the storm and how the Saints there are rebuilding, stronger than ever.
Today Elder Scott celebrates his 86th year. In a long life dedicated to the Lord, he's learned a lot. Here are 21 divine truths Elder Scott has shared to help us all live more fully by the Spirit.
Photo from lds.org.
Humankind has always benefited from obedience to true principles. The fearless Polynesians in precarious craft crossed an immense ocean for destinations thousands of miles away. That feat was accomplished not by chance but by adherence to sound principles of celestial navigation. They prepared carefully and did not succumb to temptations to deviate from their course or delay en route. In like manner, you and I can be assured of reaching worthy objectives in life by understanding and consistently following correct principles rooted in revealed truth: