Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go

Last week while I was in Utah, they made a big announcement at church...

They're changing our meeting time from a 3-hour block to a 2-1/2 hour block! I've been waiting for this day since the moment I heard that my cousin's ward meets from 11:30-2:00. Shorter lessons, streamlining announcements, less numb is a happy day!

Oh, wait. That's just what I wanted to hear.

What they really announced was a special meeting next week to create a new ward [congregation] in our area.

After getting over the initial disappointment that my letter campaign and 1.2 million signature petition sent to church headquarters were being ignored I decided that maybe a little change wouldn't hurt us too badly. Mixing things up a bit can be a refreshing way to get off to a fresh start.

Then, people started speculating. Our leaders told us not to waste our time speculating, but we all did anyway. Our ward was going to get ripped asunder. Our bishop was going to be in the new ward. There wouldn't be any youth left. Eek, this could get ugly!

But then the worst rumor of all started spreading around. Everywhere we turned (literally) people kept telling us that we were definitely in the target zone to be zoned straight out of the ward and into a neighboring stake (that really does have fewer youth and primary).

Suddenly this "change is good" thing started losing its savor. I started losing sleep. Sleep that I did NOT have to give in the first place between my jet lag and early morning seminary hours. I laid awake at night wondering how we would tell our kids that we were in a new stake where we don't know anyone and that the nearest youth to us now lived 5+ miles away. How could we show support for our leaders while we were bawling at the mere thought of the boundary change?

Yesterday it all came to a head for me. We heard through more official channels that they really were zoning people to the other stake and that it really was in our neck of the woods. My worrying turned into full-blown panic.

I went to women's conference last night just praying that no one would start talking about it too much, because I was pretty sure there was no way I was going to be able to hold my emotions all together. As I sat there listening to the broadcast, I enjoyed the peace I felt there and the messages that were shared, but still had the nagging worry eating at me.

Then we came to the closing song, "How Firm a Foundation". Not only did I just love joining in song with all the women in the stake, but I also loved that it was this song that my kids have been learning in primary this past year.

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

Suddenly these words that I'd sung dozens of times with my kids over the last several months just sunk into my heart. Although moving to a new stake would be hard for us and way, way, way out of our comfort zone, it wasn't like we'd be left all alone. Wards are just gathering places for us to love and serve God and each other. It was then that I knew that we were going to be okay whatever the outcome was.

So what happened today?

Same ward. Same bishop. Lost only one family with youth aged kids. Stake boundary moved one mile closer to our house. 26 families moved to other stake. 109 other people to a neighboring ward in our stake.

Whew! We are safe, but change is hard, even when it's not you. Good friends and strong leaders will be sorely missed in our congregation, and it seems impossible looking forward that we can fill our callings with a third fewer people and still 100+ kids in primary. Then I remember...

I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand...
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

We're going to be okay.



Steve-Rosanna said...

Thank you for your excellent post.

Much ado about nothing thankfully!

We were delighted to hear the news this afternoon about your staying in the Vienna ward.

Although the day will come sooner or later when there will be a new ward-you will be prepared.

Be interesting to see exactly how many kids are still left in primary. Bet it is way less than 100.

Love, Dad-Mom

Lara said...

The stake gave us the stats on every ward affected and there actually are still 100+ kids in primary. I'm just thinking that that number includes nursery now, whereas before we had 100+ kids + another 30 in nursery.

alexandra said...

Amen to your post. When they announced that the Falls Church bishopric was there, I was panicking with you. Can't imagine you guys not being in the ward!

FYI, I went through the list last night. We've got 83 active kids in Primary (51 in junior, 32 in senior). I'm still trying to decide whether we should combine for opening exercises again or keep them split. Do you think the kids would like to change to a fourth schedule this year?

Denise said...

wow! where did the boundary move? who did you lose? details woman...details!!!

angela said...

Ah, I am always anxious for any news regarding our beloved Vienna ward! It seems like not that long ago was the last change. That means the work is moving forward and the church is growing! So exciting, until you realize how much you love and miss the people that aren't in your ward anymore. I am glad the changed didn't effect your family too much personally. That could have been a hard adjustment for your kids, although I am sure they would have done great with it. The Goold family would be a treasure in any ward!

Angela Jensen said...


Angela Jensen said...


Andie said...

Those kinds of changes can be hard, especially for the youth. We felt kind of guilty for "ward shopping" when we decided to move, but the size of a ward's primary was a really big deal to us seeing as how we were coming from a ward where Nolan would be turning 12 and there wasn't a single young man coming out of Primary after him for six entire years. So I totally get what you're saying.

I loved that song at the end of women's conference, too. It was a great meeting, with singing that particular hymn being a high point for me as well.

Also love your family pics from Utah. You guys all look great! :)

K said...

I am so relieved that things went ok with the change. I know how nervous you were about it.

I'm happy to say that our ward here is in absolutely no danger of needing to be split anytime in the forseeable future. People just don't stick around long enough in the area.

Lara said...

Angela (and whomever else might be reading this post who was moved to another ward),
I just wanted to say that I sincerely apologize if any of my words here were offensive in any way. It was certainly not my aim to hurt or offend. My heart has been and continues to be so full over these changes and perhaps I came off a little overzealous in my expression of relief.

I'd had both of my youth aged kids in tears over the prospect that we would be scooped out to the other stake (without a single other youth living in our general vicinity that would likely join us) that our relief was quite tangible that we wouldn't have to face that hurdle...yet. But with that relief came the heartache knowing that there were a whole lot of good friends who were facing the very thing we were fearing.

I'm sorry I have hurt you. Please forgive me.

JenJ said...

What a great and real and faithfilled post. Thanks for sharing.

I cried through that whole hymn. I LOVE that last verse and I was so touched they sang it.

Thanks for being so good to Tina. She seems really happy.

Franksfam said...

And there I was sitting next to you thinking--the Goolds can't leave, I don't think they're going to leave our ward, but who else will be leaving?. I had a really hard time concentrating on the talks and by the time the closing song came, I was ready to leave. Too bad I missed that sweet spirit that you felt!

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