Monday, June 30, 2014
Our New Church Branch
If you don't already know, I'm Mormon. The congregation we attend is determined by geographical location. Because we are in a rural area with a low LDS population, our congregation is extremely small. It is called a branch. On an average Sunday, about 30 people show up, 7 to 10 of which are missionaries. Definitely different than the LDS-dense areas I've lived in in the past--Southern California, Utah, and Arizona. Justin grew up in this kind of environment, though.
Our first Sunday there, Easter Sunday, everyone was so excited we had moved into the branch and were not just visiting. They were excited we were a young family with little kids, especially a baby (though there will be another one soon). They were excited we were active in the Church. One sister senior missionary admitted they prayed for a family like us to move in. No pressure, right?
Everyone was super friendly and loved the kids. We weren't sure if we would stay in the branch since we hadn't found a permanent place yet and were looking in several areas. Every week they asked us if we needed help moving in yet. They did not want to see us go! Fortunately, we found a place within the branch boundaries.
It has been interesting each week, and sometimes very different for me, but what I love about my church is that no matter where you go, it's the same--the doctrine, the ordinances, the music, the practices, the feeling of immediate family and friends. We've already made friends too. We love all the missionaries that served and have now left. We enjoy the branch socials and informal after-church celebrations, which are so easy and cheap to do considering our small numbers. We have been invited to dinner and hosted a dinner. We have new playmates for Caden, and everyone fights over holding Gabe. There is no shortage of voluntary babysitters! We have felt very loved since the moment we first showed up.
Justin's calling is branch mission leader, and he spoke in sacrament meeting about missionary work. I too spoke in church, about applying the scriptures to your life, but have yet to be called to anything, though I will be substituting in Primary the next two weeks (as in Sunday school, Sharing Time, and Singing Time. I hope the other kids show up so it's not just me and Caden!). There are lots of calling possibilities since most auxiliaries have no counselors. Any predictions?